This is has been an amazingly grueling weekend. I woke up at six thirty Friday morning and was at the Burbank Airport for a flight to Phoenix where I was attending the Far West Folk Alliance (www.farwest.org)
For those of you who don't know about Folk Alliance, I suggest you check it out. (www.folkalliance.org). It's not your parents folk music. It's everything acoustic and semi acoustic and there are some players at these conferences that make you realize, no matter how much you practice, that you aren't practicing enough. I am always inspired, encouraged and nurtured by these conferences. Please do yourself a favor and check into it.
Because I had a really good engagement in Orange at the St Matt's After Dark series, I could only attend one day, that being Friday. (Check out: http://www.saint-matthew.org/St Matts After Dark/St Matts After Dark.html). I played until 1:15 or so and was in bed by two a.m. Then up at eight for the flight back to Los Angeles and then a couple of hours drive to the next gig. Loooooonnnnng day and I will tell you about that in a minute or the next post. We'll do this chronologically.
So, back to Friday. I arrived by noon and was at the hotel by 1:15, only to discover that even thought we had booked a four day conference at the Marriott Mesa, they wouldn't let me check into my room until 4 pm, as that is the "official" check in time. I strongly suggest using someone other than Marriott if you are planning a conference. They don't seem to understand what it is they should deliver.
After waiting around for three hours, I finally got my room, checked in, changed my strings and laid down for a twenty minute power nap and then off to the great schmooze fest. They have a meet and greet cocktail party where we all hang out and re-establish our relationships.
This is where you connect with as many promoters and concert producers as you can, as well as re connecting with as many wonderful musicians and friends (new and old) as you can.
Then it was over to catch a few acts and then back to my room to play for an hour or so to warm up before my main stage showcase at nine thirty. And this is the reason for this post.
Because I was only going to be there Friday, I accepted invitations to play at four different showcases. At 9:30, 10:30, 11:30 and 12:30, all on Friday night.
Let me stress this. When you go to these conferences, your inclination is to do as many showcases as you can. There is only one result from this choice. You have fewer people at each of your showcases.
I have attended at least a half a dozen of these and discovered that the best thing you can do is to do one show case each conference night and make certain that each one is well attended.
I don't know how I forgot this valuable lesson, but I did. I guess I figured because I was only going to be there one day, I should take full advantage of it, but full advantage would have been the main stage showcase and perhaps, and I mean a big PERHAPS, one other showcase.
The rest of the time I could and should have been establishing or cementing relationships. Instead I was racing from one showcase to another, unable to hear more than one song from other acts who were showcasing and unable to do any real business there.
At each conference, I always book dates. I know what my expenses are to attend these conferences and I figure I need to book at least four times the expense to make them worthwhile. So far I have been lucky, fortunate, determined and employed.
I will begin my email campaign tomorrow to see if I can get work from this conference but it is the only conference I've been to in years that I have not left the stage to find work waiting for me.
And how would I know? I was off to my next showcase. I couldn't stand around and connect with anyone who might have enjoyed my show enough to want to bring me to their town.
So here's today's lesson.
When you attend a music conference where you get to play; play one show each night. Spend the rest of the time establishing, reconnecting and maintiaining relationships with the people you work with and hopefully love.
And when you do private (guerilla) showcases, you want to ascertain that both you and the presenter are both going to be doing all that one can to put an audience in that room. Doing five showcases a night is doing you and the presenter a disservice. Make every showcase an event. And nobody has five EVENTS a night.
Okay, I guess I'll tell you about the St Matt's concert on Wednesday. It was fantastic. Standing ovation. I love it when that happens.