Monday, October 04, 2004

Chasing Rainbows

Yesterday was the Rainbows Festival here in Phoenix. Basically, its like a gay pride festival that's a little smaller and without the parade. It was really nice to see a lot of my friends that I haven't seen in a while, especially since I haven't been going out much lately.

After the festival, there were a couple of tea dances afterward, so I split time between the two of them to be supportive. One of them was held at the club formally known as Crowbar. They've really done some nice things with the space -- makes me a little wistful for the days where we actually had a gay dance club in town.

That being said, I know I went to the events a little early, but turnout was pretty light. I hope more people showed up later, but I can't imagine that they had the types of crowds they had hoped for. Of course, this really isn't a new phenomenon -- the gay dance scene in Phoenix has been in quite a malaise in the past year and all of the promoters have been making the same mistakes and losing a lot of money. While I can agree with those that gripe that the community should support these events, the reality is that the promoters need to adjust their tactics if they want to be successful. Since nobody seems to be figuring out some of the basic rules, here is my cut:

1. Work together. There was no reason to have two events after the Rainbows Festival. It just assured that neither event would do well. There's a lot of knowhow between all the people who have put together events here in town. You'll all be better off if you pool all that talent.

2. Keep your expectations small. If you need 1000 people to show up in order to break even, you're screwed before you even start. Start off small -- no more than 150 to 200 for your first event. The other reality is that Phoenix people are cheap. I know you can charge $20-$30 cover in LA or NY. If you haven't noticed, we're not LA or NY.

3. Publicize, publicize, publicize. This is a really hard thing to do here in town. Basically, I think you need to start publicizing months in advance -- get people talking early. Handing out flyers the day of the event isn't going to cut it.

I know these aren't exactly groundbreaking ideas, but I really think they'd work.


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