It is no secret that attracting a younger audience has not, as yet, been successful and a diminishing older audience has resulted in an average attendance of only 53 over the last two financial years.
With Pete Lay being both Editor of Just Jazz and musician and bandleader, it does bring a conflict of interest, which is so obvious in his last few Editorials.
At Jazz-on-a-Sunday we can only pay musicians what we can afford. There is no argument that the talented musicians deserve far more than we are able to offer, but there is no obligation to travel to Rochdale either. We are as hospitable a! we can be, and, what is a fact, every year, we are able to accommodate at least ten bands who enjoy their visit, despite the fact that we are unable to pay 'Big Bucks:
We agree a contract and would never suggest reducing a fee once it had been agreed, but because of our financial limitations, we cannot afford certain bands whom we have contacted. With regard to young full-time professional musicians, meeting their financial needs is always going to be difficult with the bands travelling long distances. Where accommodation is requested, we try to oblige.
However, to maintain
Jazz-on-a-Sunday, we have to 'balance the books: Audiences do have their
preferences, and yes, quite a few are 'dyed in the wool'! We also welcome a
Rochdale social group at one gig per month who, while not being dedicated
'jazzers, enjoy both the music and the social aspect. This, of course, is often
a source of 'talking; mentioned in a previous Just Jazz article, but we have to
accept the 'rough with the smooth' and try to balance out the evening for the
benefit of all who pay at the door. Jazz fans are not always the most generous
at paying door charges, whilst happily frequenting the bar during the evening.
Peter plays most of his gigs in the South, where door prices tend to be higher,
which then corresponds with band fees. There is not a perfect solution, as the
musicians and fans are both of similar ages, with corresponding health problems,
often resulting in deps being called in at the last minute. Therefore, to
maintain the jazz club scene, fans must stop whingeing if a dep appears with a
band, and, as most bands realise, that we live in 'a two way street'; those who
are unable or unwilling to accept the problems of the volunteer club organisers,
will just have to stay in their own little conclave, getting paid what they
demand in the few venues who can afford to do so. Jazz-on-a-Sunday 'tells it as
it is' and that is why so many bands contact us before we can even contact them.
Guys enjoy life, it's later than you think!! Tony Sheldon Chairman,
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