Why do you stay home instead of going to a show?
Thanks to everyone who responded to the poll question I posted the other day. It got way more response than I expected, and, judging by the answers I got, it got way more honest response than I expected. There were only a few ridiculous answers submitted under the “Other” option; most of the rest fell into categories roughly defined by the questions the poll asked. With one exception: There was a good bit of hostility toward going downtown to see shows; quite a few respondents mentioned finding parking, getting panhandled, and dealing with douchebags downtown as things that kept them home. It didn’t even occur to me initially, because those things – as real and relevant as they are – have never kept me from a show that I actually wanted to go to … however, Friday Night Douchebaggery has definitely have kept me from going to see a show I was on the fence about.
I did toss out a few answers that came in under the “Other” category, because they didn’t actually answer the question or they neglected to notice that I was asking what keeps you from going to a show that you want to go to. Thus, all the people who said “No good bands come to Orlando” are clearly as illiterate as they are incapable of reading a show calendar. The main point of asking this was to help those people who are always wondering “Why didn’t people come out?” maybe start to come to some of their own solutions.
Judging by the response, I’d say a pretty good way to start would be to start having non-smoking shows that have the headliner wrapping up by midnight, with a limited and appropriate selection of opening acts. (I’ve long advocated for having opening and closing acts on a bill; I know it seems weird, but why not have one opening band on at 9:30, the headliner on at 10:30, and then, with, say a half-hour intermission after the headliner, a couple of other bands for the folks who want to hang out and drink until late? Just a thought!)
Here’s how the answers broke down (and yeah, I know it comes up to 101%; I think my spreadsheet program did a little rounding it’s not telling me about.):
- The bars are too smoky. (26%) This is pretty self-explanatory. I know it’s a tough call for a bar to make, in balancing their role as, you know, a bar, and their role as a music venue, but it’s clear that a whole lot of people are just staying home instead of subjecting their lungs and sinus passages to the same abuse they would have allowed their liver and ears to endure. On one hand, I’m not at all surprised that this is the #1 answer, but at the same time, I’m completely surprised.
- The shows start too late and I’ve got a job. (25%) Again, pretty self-explanatory. Starting four-band bills at 10:30 does a good job at keeping employed people away. And employed people are the ones with money to buy tickets and beer. Just sayin’.
- Unappealing lineup (14%) This category of answers includes two of the responses that were on the poll – “I don’t want to sit through a bunch of bands I don’t know to see the one good band I do know” (8%) and “[that band] plays all the time; I’ll catch ’em next time” (5%) – as well as similar “Other” (1%) responses like “not interested in seeing unpracticed bands” and “over-booked bills.”
- Personal (13%) Almost all of these were “Other” responses, but mainly were along the lines of “don’t feel like going out alone,” “kids and family duties,” “already have other plans,” “burnt out from other shows,” “I’m lame,” and, my favorite, “laziness/Netflix.”
- Economics (12%) I lumped in two poll responses – “tickets are so expensive” (5%) and “drinks are so expensive” (4%) – with likeminded “Other” responses (3%) such as “paycheck didn’t clear on time,” “not in the budget” and “I end up drinking too much and spending all my money.”
- Promotion (6%) This is a combination of the “I don’t find out about the shows until too late” (4%) and “I forgot the show was happening” (2%) poll responses.
- Downtown (3%) See above. These were all “Other” responses, so folks felt pretty strongly about their antipathy toward going downtown.
- Other (2%) These answers spanned from practical (“sometimes it’s 21 and i’m 19,” “tickets were sold out”) to useless (“not enough good bands play in orlando”).
Anyway, thanks again to everyone who participated. Hopefully some club owners/promoters can learn something from it.