[Harp-L] Do blues jams turn off the public

Bill Hines is right about our local jam.

He is also right about how many actually support the local blues bands which are around 8-10 just in the metro Harrisburg area. The jam may attract 200 to 250 people per week but out of that number 40-50 may be musicians. Out of the remainder there may be only 10 to 12 that you will see out on the weekend to attemd blues gigs. Harrisburg is down to 2 blues clubs. One has blues only bands Friday nights. The other a mix of R&B with blues on Saturday night. A few offer a variety of different music.

Other bar jams in the area have tried and failed because musicians see the local blues society jam as home so they support it.

Now the next question should be do blues jams hurt blues bands attendance?

Maybe so in our area. The jam is held every Thursday night. Close enough to the weekend without having to wait for the weekend to go out. Gigging musicians, including myself attend. When the audience can see you Thursday night why venture out Friday or Saturday night to see you with your band. So they do something else. You have to invite them to your gigs in person in order to get a lot of them to attend beyond the initial 10 that do.

Many local bands have got their start hooking up at the jam but it also ends up the only place to get a good audience but you can't play it as a working band. It's 100% jam. Funny thing about our jam, it's mostly the newbies that play early. The "star" players that want to be seen hold off until after 9 or 10pm to hit the stage.

On Oct 13, 2011, at 2:43 PM, harp-l-request@xxxxxxxxxx wrote:

Message: 4
Date: Thu, 13 Oct 2011 15:16:41 +0200
From: Bill Hines <billhines4@xxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Harp-L] Do Blues Jams turn the public off?
To: Harp- L <harp-l@xxxxxxxxxx>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1

Hey don't blame the problem on us blues jam hacks! In Harrisburg, PA our jam
is a celebration of the blues, a very cooperative situation where the big
guns light up the crowd and often act as mentors to the folks who are just
coming up (which leads to them being entertaining, crowd pleasing big guns
later someday too!). We get a pretty huge crowd at our jam, normally host 8+
sets of *pure* jam (no host band). sometimes it's magical, sometimes not,but
it's always entertaining. Now if we could get all those people to show up at
the regular band bar gigs, but we have a core group that does. I agree with
whomever said earlier that a jam doesn't have to suck, it's all on who is
running it and how.

Bill Hines

Michael Easton

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