By Mike Kaufmann
I was introduced to someone once as a music promoter and while it’s true, I did promote music, that title just didn’t seem fitting as I generally think of people who bring acts like the Rolling Stones or Santana or Buddy Guy as “Promoters.” Not to demean my role in the local music community, I considered myself more of an event creator than promoter, but a rose is a rose by any name, and what is most important about all of our roles in this thing is that we SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC!
There is so much local musical talent in North Florida that it’s almost unfathomable to think of all the choices we have to hear great music and have a wonderful time out, really, on any given night of the week. I mean, I don’t know exactly how many bars/restaurants are in Jacksonville that offer live music every night, or 5 nights a week or even 3 nights a week, but if you did the actual research you would find that it all adds up to like thousands of potential bookings and gigs per year. Tens of thousands probably. I mean if there were 200 restaurants in town (bars) that offered live music 3 nights a week thats 600 events to choose from per week. Multiply that times 52… (wait a sec while I open my calculator), thats over 31,000 gigs per year in North Florida! THIRTY ONE THOUSAND!!!! Thats Crazy!!!!I was doing a minimum of 4 events a week for a while, and they were all pretty successful. I mean enough people were coming out to sustain them, enough people were supporting my events to give four bands work every week for a long time. The support of local music for my events had been for the most part overwhelming. And some musicians might say that it doesn’t matter if the room is full because they are guaranteed to get paid, but trust me, a band that plays to a packed room has a way better night than if the room has fifteen people in it, and the people in a packed room all have a way better time too! And a music event to a packed house, to me, is what supporting local music is all about! But how do you support 31,000 gigs a year, and that doesn’t count the ticketed concerts at the big venues? You pick the bands that you love to hear, you share their info on social media so your friends know you are going and you go to those select events instead of sitting home with Pizza Hut delivery playing video games or watching television! And thats what a lot of people do or there wouldn’t be the continuous gigs that there are all year long!
When people showed up to the events I created and promoted, I made it a point to thank each and every person for coming. Without all of you supporting these shows they really would cease to exist. And that makes each of you special. Whether it’s at Whiskey Jax or Lake Shore Bar or Whiteys or anywhere else, its you, the fans of music who keep the wheels turning. But how do you know who is playing where and when? Of course Facebook plays a major role, but Folio Weekly has an online calendar as well as the Beaches Leader and every other publication that supports the arts. And besides event pages on Facebook, there are community pages and groups that offer places for musicians (and promoters) to list their gigs. In North Florida some of the leaders are Whats Shakin Jax, Stage 904, Ordinary To Extaordinary Life, Local Band Postings and more! Anytime you are looking for something specific you can visit these pages to see what bands are playing and where.And there are so many great bands in town I could never list them all but some of my favorites are Smokestack, Mojo Roux, Firewater Tent Revival, Briteside, Brady Clampitt, John Austill, Melody Trucks Band, Parkerurban Band, Cat McWilliams Band, Kim Reteguiz and the Black Cat Bones, Perry Phillips Collective. There are sooooo many!!!!
Please just continue to support local music and take a minute here and there to share an event or post to social media about your favorite upcoming upcoming show! THAT is how word spreads and venues fill up!
Set up Musician Spotlights on local musicians and bands, write feature stories related to the local music scene and write non music related features.