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Advice on Organizing Benefit Concerts - nhpeacenik
Advice on Organizing Benefit Concerts
I just wanted to pass on this very detailed an optimistic blog from radical singer-songwriter David Rovics on how to organize a benefit concert.


Dave says:
When only a few people show up or the band sucks, a benefit concert can be demoralizing. But when done right it can accomplish a number of important goals. It can raise much-needed money for activist groups, energize and inspire your community, help your group do more outreach and networking with the broader community, and they can even help support artists! By my informal accounting, at least 90% of the progressive community could really get something useful out of this article. Please feel free to share it!

Fundraising is something I really don't like to think about. I hate phone solicitations and other mass fundraising techniques (no matter which end of the phone I'm on), and I feel bad about increasing the amount of guilt in the world, but since our current socio-economic system tends to make fairly tax-supported remedies for hardships and injustices unlikely, we need to do fundraising. Technique does matter, but the overall emphasis needs to be on getting people cheerfully involved in a practical way and only then soliciting funds in a structured way. Rovics says that if people hear about a fundraiser from three plausibly-independent sources, they'll pay attention to it.  A concert or reading is SO different from a dunning-letter or a robo-call. It has the potential to bring people together in the context of having fun, experiencing art, and even creating the new world in the burnt-out shell of the old.

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3 comments or Leave a comment
tibbie_x From: tibbie_x Date: May 11th, 2010 04:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only thing that sucks about this is unless the band is established it costs the band money to play and often times speaking from experience if your a decent local band (especially punk bc there are a lot of activist punks)you can get stuck in a benefit trap...you come across as a jerk asking for at least cab fare because its charity- sometimes the drummer coming from queens out to brooklyn gets stuck with 100$ car service bill bringing all the equipment etc
then if you start turning down benefit shows because you cant afford it you end up out of the activist loop which is 80% of the scene.
nhpeacenik From: nhpeacenik Date: May 11th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think Dave talks about paying bands as an "overhead" expense, meaning that what the band gets paid is not dependent on the amount raised and they get paid roughly what they'd be paid for a regular commercial gig of the same size unless they volunteer to give back an amount they can afford. Everybody has to be realistic about costs, you're right. Benefits shouldn't be a trap for anybody, but they sure are exploitation with a happy-face a lot of the time.
tibbie_x From: tibbie_x Date: May 11th, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Totally. Outside of NYC where bands are less expendable they probably get treated better also. Here if it's a benefit show unless it's PETA or someone huge your playing for free and it's considered rude/selfish to ask for $. Still much better than a newsletter!
3 comments or Leave a comment