About this project
To perform two free community concerts per month in 2017 in the northwest suburbs of metropolitan Chicago at local businesses or places that don't ordinarily have a budget for music or a live performer.
I gave a concert in 2002 in a local city for their weekly antique car show. One day, as I was singing on stage, I noticed a mother and her young daughter walk up to my merchandise sales table, and speak with my intern who was attending to it. I saw the lady walked away with a CD without paying for it. Suddenly the lady turned around, put the CD back on the table and walked away angrily. I wondered what had happened?!
After the concert I asked my intern about that moment and she told me this... The lady wanted one of my CDs because she really liked my music, and thought she could just take one and leave. When she was called back by my intern, and told that the CDs are for sale, she put the CD back and angrily complained that, "Music ought to be free!" Her young daughter who also loved my music really wanted the CD, so she pulled out her purse, and tried to buy the CD. But the mother made her put her money away, and demanded again that, "Music ought to be free!" and stormed off with her sad daughter in tow.
I understand both perspectives.
- Music can build community spirit, as a way of passing on stories, lessons, and experiences about life from one generation to the next. Why should it be that only those with the money to buy a CD or concert ticket can listen?
- On the other hand, recording a CD and performing concerts require a LOT of physical and mental labor. Writing, arranging, practicing, recording, editing, and mastering the songs are only the beginning. An artist must also find & book venues, write contracts, design and layout press releases for multiple types of media, deal with copyright and publishing rights, and do general bookkeeping. Since this is what I do for a living, with no "day job" to fall back on, I also have to consider overhead costs and general living expenses.
The ability to make music is a gift freely given to me; I need to give back freely as well. Free community concerts are an ideal way to do just that.
In 2014, after my mother and father died, I decided to give a few free concerts to the community, in their honor. People really liked them! The economy fluctuations have messed with some people's incomes and I am seeing a real sense of relief and appreciation for a little bit of free joy in their lives. Still, it costs time and money to give a free concert... so I decided to give kickstarter.com a try.
Please help make free community concerts and free music a continued joy for everyone via a donation to my overhead expenses. Again, my goal is to perform two free community concerts per month in 2017 in the northwest metropolitan suburbs of Chicago at local businesses or places that don't ordinarily have a budget for music or a live performer.
The funds will go towards: Electricity, heating gas, office supplies, office space rental, office phone and internet services, accounting software rental, fliers for each event, labor costs for an assistant, P.O. Box rental, sound system rental, artist production expenses, website maintenance and server space rental and insurance. Thank you.
Risks and challenges
I have figured into the goal amount, the following factors:
*Insurance: My concerts are fairly tame, thus there haven't been any injuries or damages. However, having liability insurance is a necessity to be sure things go smoothly just in case.
*Equipment failure: A newer sound system is one way to prevent this.
*If I get ill and need to cancel a concert - I have a pool of accomplished musicians I can pull from to fill in. 'The show must go on".
*Inclement weather is always a risk for outdoor concerts. I have a canopy tent for sunny days, and would need to reschedule the rainy day concerts. Rescheduling incurs a marketing cost to get the word out to everyone again. So I have planned into the costs for three rainy day concerts. Backup venues will also be scheduled for rainy outdoor days.
*Competition sabotage: While we would all like to believe that such a thing does not exist... reality check is that there are individuals out there that get jealous, insecure and mean. Having a good lawyer, emergency marketing back up plan and liability insurance are my best defenses against this.
* The amount of time and work it takes to put on a quality concert: Is A LOT! Part of the funds will go towards two employees part time to help with processing everything, setting up equipment, gathering materials, etc... They will also help with fulfilling rewards and gathering additional sponsors and advertisers.
The question has come up about why not just leave "free" concerts to the local city or village which is funded by the citizens already?
A very limited number of artists are hired to perform these concerts, and in this area anyway, the same artists seem to get the same gigs year after year. The selection of artists for these concerts is left up to one person and it is not their job to consult with the general population about which artists to choose each year. They go by what seems to be popular or affordable or personal reasons, etc... This seriously deprives the audience of fresh, new, and different music, artists, and experiences.
Sunshine for the Spirit also brings the music into venues other than the village or city run stages and events. By playing in nearby theaters, stores, etc..., and at non city sponsored events, we support small local businesses that may not be able to afford a concert but love to have music in their parking lots or stores to help draw attention to their products and services. These concerts are enjoyed by a wider audience, people that may not necessarily attend crowded city run events or who want to hear something new and fresh and different.
Or perhaps crave live music sooner than the annual city or village run event.
Music is a very powerful tool when used for good.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter