Info 4 Venues

Johnny D's Restaurant & Music Club

Johnny D’s Restaurant & Music Club, Somerville, MA

Independent bookers/promoters (like me) and venues should not have an antagonistic relationship. Indeed, it should be friendly and symbiotic, realizing that we have the same goals in mind. However, at times I have discovered this not to be the case, or at least in part. There is no good reason for this, and I blame myself in such cases for not being clear and communicating as well as I should have. I realize each venue is different. Each item on this list has been gleaned from my actual experience. GPI greatly appreciates its hosts, and wishes to make each event as smooth sailing, profitable for the venue and enjoyable as possible for all involved, especially the audience (we haven’t had anything but great shows).

  • Venues ideally have a deep appreciation for the music of Gram Parsons and understand his contribution within the context of true country music.
  • It would be nice if the venue signs the Petition to Induct Gram Parsons Into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
  • The venue should understand that Gram InterNational is not a typical night of gig slots;  it is in fact a tightly run one-night festival which some venues have never really done before.
  • Generally like to keep a simple business model: Gram InterNational takes the door; you take the rest (bar/food). A guarantee may be necessary, with a percentage if above that.
  • The entire venue is inside the space of the event; in other words, the door is paid at the door to the outside of the bar/venue, NOT inside at the entrance to another room or a space divided by a curtain.
  • Strict adherence to the 10- or 15-minute changeovers are a must (unless otherwise agreed upon); this has not been an issue except for venues that don’t get this concept. Yes, there will be some fine tuning on the fly, and the sound engineer especially needs to understand this.
  • A club that provides back line gear, at least a good drum kit and bass amp, is preferred.
  • A very good and helpful sound engineer with whom I can communicate before the night of the event and often during as necessary, who needs to respond quickly as requested by me or the artist on stage.
  • A decent size stage, stage monitors.
  • Decent stage lighting, doesn’t leave drummer in the dark.
  • Solid P.A. and a sound board somewhat near the 21st century.
  • On a public transportation line and/or good free parking.
  • Adequate storage space for bands’ gear; a good-sized green room is great, preferably stocked with a fridge.
  • Preferably load in through a separate entrance than customers, especially if parking in front is difficult.
  • While realizing that we have up to 45 musicians in one night, a discount on beverages and food for musicians and GPI staff is appreciated, or some other minimal accommodation.
  • A realization that Gram InterNational is a well-respected multi-year festival event that has been held in six cities, 20 nights in three countries and that we have proven that we will be one of your premiere events of the year.
  • A good website with a calendar that will fit our acts; and a page I’ve found very helpful points me to a media list!
  • An understanding by the venue or the booker that represents them that this is a festival-type situation with upwards of 30 to 40 musicians and that there no doubt will be some changes in personnel and the lineup for various personal reasons, and that we will do all we can to substitute, if necessary, for bands or artists that drop out for such legitimate reasons. Such “tweaking” in the lineup shall not negate our agreement with the booker and/or venue.
  • After an agreement is reached and a date is set, please don’t wait until the week of to send me all your fine print or a contract! Or to let me know you really don’t have the equipment you promised. I hate surprises. If you have one of these, please send it months earlier (usually) when we have an verbal and email agreement.
  • A desire to front some of your area’s top alt country bands in one night of great music and a reputation that you do.
  • If a sponsor is involved, I need to know the details of the deal and how/if it affects me.
  • And then we do it again next year!

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