Archive for July, 2010

Clowns to the Rescue!

Monday, July 26th, 2010

The Clowns

Wear a red nose with pride.

Posted in our culture news feed this week was an Economist interview with a clown. Not one of those clowns who doesn’t know they are a clown (a politician for example?), but a young woman who celebrates the title, Selena McMahan.

McMahan is a member of an incredibly wonderful organization, Clowns Without Borders. Clowns Without Borders (CWB) is devoted to providing support and laughs to communities affected by trauma from natural disasters and political tragedies.

CWB raises funds to send clowns to refugee camps, countries in conflict, and areas affected by humanitarian emergencies. CWB’s recent projects include working in Egypt with Sudanese refugees, in Ethiopia with orphans, in Myanmar with children in distressed areas, in Guatamala after the hurricanes, and in Haiti after the earthquake.

CWB was founded in 1993, when Tortell Poltrona, a professional clown, was invited to perform at a refugee camp in Croatia. Seeing laughter’s effect on so many children in such a dire situation, Poltrona founded CWB to create a network of clowns willing to help. Currently, CWB has organizations in nine countries: Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, and the United States.

CBW’s tag line? No Child without a Smile.

That’s not just a great tag line. That’s a great mission.

For another story of art as a powerful aid, listen to this week’s podcast with Sonya Mazumdar about the Laya Project.

- Bill Reichblum

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Festivals: Best Biz, Best Price, Best Event

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Ticket

Photo by Mark Chang — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

This just in: It helps to be special, and to be fair.

As posted in this week’s news, the Wall Street Journal reports on a tepid summer for aspects of the live music business. Is it a long-term trend? Or, is it a short-term lesson?

Good news: it’s only a short-term lesson, and one that’s great news for fans.

Lesson one: You know your business is in trouble when your model is in the airline industry. A number of concerts this season have adopted the airlines’ approach to selling tickets: you never know how much or how little your fellow passengers have paid for a seat. While airlines at least favor those who commit to travel the most in advance, some concerts have lowered their prices closer to the event, so that their most devoted fans who bought early are paying more than those who waited. That’s no way to run an airline, or to build fan support. The key is make your best fans feel that they are getting the best price.

Lesson two: You know your future is in doubt when you rely on the past tense. Who’s not doing so well on the road? The baby-boomer oldies’ acts that keep doing the same show year, after year, after year. On the other hand, special event acts, such as James Taylor and Carole King Troubadour Reunion tour is doing boffo biz. In other words, just like everyone else, the boomers pay for live events that are genuine events.

Selling special events is why the festival business continues to grow. Noted in the same WSJ report, festivals are doing very well. Festival business thrives because it combines a bang-for-the-buck pricing value with the atmosphere of a special event. One price for multiple acts gives everyone a sense of value. Moreover, the best festivals combine acts you know with acts you are delighted to discover. Life is great when you can report: “We were there, when….”

So, no need to fret from complicated pricing schemes and has-been saturation. Celebrate festival value and discovering new sounds.

(P.S. One way to build fan support is to give away free tickets through special offers. Want a free ticket?)

- Bill Reichblum

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