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alabaster

An Otakon Music Festival - Input Wanted!

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So, it's no secret that I've been noodling around the idea of doing a separate music festival, at some time OTHER than the convention. There are tons of great acts who've expressed interest in that, and I think it could work.

I must emphasize that we are in the PURELY BRAINSTORMING stage, and that nothing is remotely concrete yet. There is no proposal built yet, nor any serious cost exploration. This is just about getting a little feedback from some of our regulars. We need to have an idea of what might be feasible -- and at this point you can take this as just me, personally, getting that feedback. So again, REALLY EARLY here, and this may all amount to nothing.

Assume, for the sake of argument, that we do this. And assume, for the sake of argument, the following:

1. We're probably talking about 3-4 bands, tops. Most or all of them would need to already be in the US, because airfare would be a deal-killer for a starting show like this. They'd be the sort of group that has already played other cons or other venues, successfully, with possibly some lesser-known acts filling out the ranks.

2. We're probably talking about the DC/Baltimore, and some large club like the 930 or the RamsHead. (Or some other venue of about that size -- I think we'd need at least 500 people to make this worth while.)

3. You'd get a discount for being a registered member of Otakorp, Inc. -- or perhaps you'd get preferred seating or some other cool thing.

4. The venue would probably be happy to sell you refreshments, but if you've bought a coke or a beer lately at an event, you have some idea of what that'd run....

So....What's it worth? Typical small-act concerts cost about $25-$35. And running the very basic outline of costs, that's pretty much bare minimum to put on a show. More bands would obviously raise the costs.

- What if we said $50, but $40 for registered members?

- What about $50 for everyone, but Otakorp members get a free limited edition concert t-shirt, or a signed program book, or something like that?

What if the event were co-sponsored by a beverage company or gaming company or something like that? Would that pose any issues for you?

I need to emphasize here that we don't yet know what the costs would be. One thing that would be certain, though, is that having an Otakorp membership would be very much to your advantage -- either through a discount or some other perk.

Please note that I am NOT INTERESTED right now in what bands you'd want to see (yes, i know that makes the difference in whether you'd buy the ticket). But right now we're just trying to come up with the right balance of costs to make this viable.

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This sounds a little like Akiba Fest. They have their next (totally awesome) event coming up at UM College Park in April. Look at how they do things.

Sponsorship would not be an issue for me, personally. Try the local nerd-friendly places like Big Huge Games, Firaxis, Geppi's Entertainment Museum, etc. Also, check to see if the Asian Arts and Culture Center at TU. They cosponsored Tigercon, and may be up for assisting with the unorthodox like that.

As for location, do it someplace not beholden to Ticketmaster, of course. Obvious reasons.

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honestly...i wouldn't mind paying 50 bucks without a discount. if you really think about it, save for huge sponsored festivals, concert tickets run about that much anyways. as far as sponsorship...maybe companies like funi or bandai? i'm not quite sure. i don't really pay attention to sponsors for things like this unless they have direct affiliation with band(s).

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I think I would pay even more than $50 USD for more than 2 bands. I like the idea of member perks, like preferred seating or autograph signing / photos.

Definitely worth the price! and it could be some kind of "Otakon founding"

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DC would be perfect as well. The pricing sounds fair (for 3-4 bands at least) And sponsorships sound good.

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Since you already want the bands to be in the US you might want to look into who is playing Japan Night at the SXSW (South by South West) Music Festival in Austin, TX in March.

Have you thought of other venues like the Ottobar or Sonar/The Talking Head? The Talking Head is small but it is connected to Sonar. You could utilize the Talking Head for smaller acts and Sonar for the larger act to save time between sets and even give more time for sets.

$50 might be a stretch depending on who you have play. The JapaNoodle Tour featuring Peelander-Z and friends was between $20-$25.

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I think very conservatively in general, so take these thoughts however you want. I am going to take the questions provided and then give my thoughts. I don't think the admission should be more than about $30 for the event. This is not a full weekend convention and much of the target audience will want it as affordable as possible. I would have no problem with a Otakon member perk or with a sponsor or two as part of it.

I don't think this is viable as an event due to the economy. There are not many people who are wanting to try to do a new event in this environment. There are four anime/East Asian Cultural cons in Baltimore/DC, Sakura Matsuri, other CHerry Blossom festival events and events done by the Kennedy Center. For an area with little East Asian population, we are over saturated with events related to the East Asian Culture. This isn't the market to do something in. It may be better to team up to support an event like Akiba Fest (put on by Tenbu Productions) over doing your own event. Otakon would put on a fantastic event, but I don't want event to be a quarter filled at 9:30 Club in DC.

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Since you already want the bands to be in the US you might want to look into who is playing Japan Night at the SXSW (South by South West) Music Festival in Austin, TX in March.

Have you thought of other venues like the Ottobar or Sonar/The Talking Head? The Talking Head is small but it is connected to Sonar. You could utilize the Talking Head for smaller acts and Sonar for the larger act to save time between sets and even give more time for sets.

$50 might be a stretch depending on who you have play. The JapaNoodle Tour featuring Peelander-Z and friends was between $20-$25.

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$50 with a limited edition concert shirt for members sounds good to me.

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Since you already want the bands to be in the US you might want to look into who is playing Japan Night at the SXSW (South by South West) Music Festival in Austin, TX in March.

Have you thought of other venues like the Ottobar or Sonar/The Talking Head? The Talking Head is small but it is connected to Sonar. You could utilize the Talking Head for smaller acts and Sonar for the larger act to save time between sets and even give more time for sets.

$50 might be a stretch depending on who you have play. The JapaNoodle Tour featuring Peelander-Z and friends was between $20-$25.

The JapaNoodle tour was much smaller scale in a much smaller venue. Besides P-Z and TsuShiMaMiRe, the acts were pretty unknown. Though man, Quaff was good.

(Insert BUCHIKAMASOU! here)

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Suggestions about the other venues are definitely welcome. I'd forgotten about SONAR; last time I was there was for a Rollins spoken word gig, and that's been several years now.

To be economically viable, the event needs to pay for itself. It needs to be more than just a one-off show by a single touring band. Japanoodle is a tour, and depends on those sort of economies of scale to be cost effective.

I'd really prefer to bring costs down to the $25-30 range if we can, and I'm pleased to have found out that I overestimated the cost of the venue.

What the performers are looking for from us is access to a hard-core fanbase of 25,000+, positive coverage, and the credibility and power of our brand name. What we are looking for is an event that provides a bonus to our membership, that fulfills our mission by showcasing asian-influenced music, and that enhances/reinforces our reputation as *the* folks who do the music thing properly.

Tom, I share your concerns about the economy having an impact...but that just means that the event has to be worth attending. We know how to make an event worth attending, so the next step is to make it as cheap as we can manage so that cost is less of a factor.

We are, as I said, still very much in the research stage, but your feedback is very helpful.

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I think working off SXSW's list is a smart idea, although I'm not sure if that's what you're going for here.

The idea of working off of SXSW's Japan Night list is that it could work in theory considering The Pillows have played SXSW the last couple of years and possibly play this up coming year. But then again, you never know.

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I'll throw in a suggestion for another venue. The Electric Factory in Philly. If I remember correctly they're about the same size as Ram's Head give or take. Might be a bit farther than you're looking for though.

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We are, as I said, still very much in the research stage, but your feedback is very helpful.

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I am impressed that Otakon is interested in focusing more on Japanese music, as I've been hosting music panels at the con for the past four years and have always hoped to get more exposure for the artists and bands.

I agree with MikeAwesome about looking towards what SXSW-Asia is gearing up for this year. Since last year, they've sponsored TWO Japan Nite showcases at the festival in Austin, as well as a 5-7 city tour that follows. Traditionally they only hit New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles... so it's not far-fetched at all for them to add a Baltimore/DC area stop to that list. At that point, Otakon could become more of a sponsor than the end-all promoter and booker of the event; the main responsibility for Otakorp would entail securing the venue, promotions and some sort of profit sharing. SXSW is one of the most credible and respected music festivals in the world too, which means that "serious" artists are much more likely to flock to them if they have inklings of going international. However even if Otakon did not try to get involved specificly with SXSW Asia's Japan Nite, there are just as many Japanese acts that come to play "normal" shows at the festival too, and most of them time the bands try to put together a little tour for themselves while in the states.

As far as cost, anything more than $35 is utterly ridiculous, especially at the size venue that such a concert would take place at. Ram's Head will most likely charge an arm and a leg to book there, 9:30 club is probably more reasonable but they are a premiere venue in DC. Again agreeing with MikeAwesome, Sonar would be a much more feasible venue both cost-wise and space-wise; plus it's very close to the inner harbor which is where most Otakon attendees are familiar with, and they have that big parking lot, too. Looking to DC another decent choice might be The Black Cat, which is smaller than 9:30 Club, but also boasts 3 total stages.

The deciding factor will ultimately be the bands that you aim to get though, because obviously your venue will have to cater to what the band/artist will attract.

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In all seriousness I would SKIP Otakon & just go to something like this if it were held, & so would my friends.

Some of us only go to Otakon for the J-music, period.

'08 was AMAZING!!

NOT only were the 2 concerts some of Otakon's BEST yet, I received all the bands autographs on their merch with no problems, (JAM Project, DaizyStripper, Marbell, & The Underneath), received free swag from Alabaster for guessing The Underneath right as a guest (I just want to say thanks man, that bag of goodies was AWESOME!!) , & I also had a chance to chat it up a bit with the bands, & even got a HUG outta Yoshiki Fukuyama for being a long-time fan!! :)

YOU CAN NOT put on price on that experience in my head, it was just that special for me.

All of that made '08 one of the BEST years since I started attending Otakon in 1999 for me hands down (the other best being '04 & '06).

I can't thank all of the fine people enough who help make these moments a reality. Seriously, it means so much to me & will always be a cherished memory.

And I ONLY did the Jrock events in '08, SO, for me, a Music Festival idea like this would be the ultimate, & my friends & I would surely go!!

The Japan Nite Tour has done something like this as a tour for years with Benten Tokyo, & for a meager price, I have seen great bands like GO!GO!7188, Ketchup Mania, Scandal, HY, & Pistol Valve, & have been very happy with all of the 6 acts they promote each year. It's a great way to experience a favorite & something new, which is how Otakon '08 was for me... pure win.

I think this is a fantastic idea & hope you explore it further, making it the best thing for J-music in the US.

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I would love, love, LOVE to see something like this happen. For me, at cons, the musical guest panels, signings, and concerts are the most important events so to have an event like this would be great.

Considering that I (and many other j-music fans) have flown across the country for other j-music festivals I don't think that 50-60 dollars would be prohibitive at all (I could and would pay more, since it's a lot closer than the west coast!!). Especially considering that there would be multiple acts AND given the fact that the quality of Otakon's acts are pretty consistently high (even the "lesser/smaller" ones).

I think the choice of a club would be good since it's made to handle that sort of act/crowd (the mucc concert was a particularly good experience) although something like an outdoor concert could be cool too.

As far as the benefit for being an Otakorp member... perhaps that gets you into (or to the front of) the autograph lines? (Though I have no idea if an autograph/meet-and-greet session is really feasible for this sort of thing.)

And I don't see co-sponsorship being an issue at all either.

I know this isn't even in the planning stages yet, but I have to say I'm definitely all for it and I can't wait to see what (if anything) comes out of it. In the meantime though I'll go back to biting my nails over who this years musical guest(s) will be.

PS to Aresef - Thanks so much for mentioning Akiba fest! I had no idea it even existed and I will definitely be attending this year!!!

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Most concert tickets are around 50-60.

Thats what I'd be willing to pay personally, possibly even a bit more, depending on how many bands. Also depends on whether a t-shirt is included. But I'd still go, just for the experience.

It really depends on what bands you can get. Ideally the event would have one really big act, then some smaller acts. Basically get them in the door with the big name, and open their ears to some of the lesser known bands.

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Not much to add here just now (I've been sick, and there have been holidays, and the Otakon musical guest stuff is still a priority over this festival idea)....but I haven't been ignoring it and your feedback is definitely appreciated. I am talking with someone about helping out with this in a pretty major way, so rest assured that the project is still alive and moving.

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I'd pay to go to that >w< it sounds awesome

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I think that the idea of such an event is a great one, and one that I would be definitely interested in attending (depending on who the acts were).

responding to your prompts:

I would have no problem at all paying in the range of 40-50 dollars. Mind you I am considering this as a non-member because, I likely wouldn't be attending Otakon itself and therefore wouldn't be purchasing a membership. Paying a higher price for more bands is a perfectly understandable and acceptable cost to me, however obviously the value of the ticket would for me, depend solely on who is performing. On its own merit, several bands for 40-50 dollars is something id be interested in.

With regards to sponsorship by a company, I would not have any objections at all. Its certainly not an outrageous consideration to think that a company would be interested in sponsorship as a means to advertising and I imagine it would increase the chances of the event actually occurring due to significant financial backing. (And if it makes the cost for the fans decrease then more power to them)

So in short, i think its a great idea based on whats been suggested so far.

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I am talking with someone about helping out with this in a pretty major way, so rest assured that the project is still alive and moving.

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Well, as a really frequent concert goer, here's my input.

First off, if we're talking about ticket prices, one of the main things you should take into account is the venue's means of ticket distribution. There's a difference between paying 50 bucks for a ticket and paying 50 bucks, and then having to pay another 8 bucks because Ticketmaster is your only means of getting tickets to the show. This is another reason why Sonar is a far far better choice than Ram's Head and the 9:30, who deal exclusively through Ticketmaster and Tickets.com respectively (both are complete leeches). The Sonar also just has a much better 'feel' than the other two.

For those who're claiming that concerts normally cost 50-60 bucks, I haven't a clue where you're getting that figure from, unless you exclusively attend Hannah Montana concerts, and nothing below that fine caliber of performing prowess (god, my sarcasm is so thick and buttery it could be spread over pancakes). A good 75% of shows that I attend (note that I go to at least one show every week or two) cost under 25 dollars, and the large majority of the 25% that don't are normally festivals or things of that ilk.

Sponsorship's fine, and I honestly wouldn't care if it were sponsored by Coca-Cola or Tide detergent or Red Bull, as the whole "But it's not underground enough!!" theory is completely imbecilic and childish.

As far as the actual music goes, I haven't a clue if I'm alone in thinking this, but I know that I wouldn't spend 50 dollars to see 3 or 4 bands whose popularity is dependent solely upon whatever anime they've done the OP for. Honestly, at least from my standpoint, I see this as an opportunity to really expose the musical aspect of Asian culture in a way that is completely unrelated to anime at all , but maybe I'm just mentally insane for thinking that. Not to say that there's anything wrong with anime, as I watch it, so it's not like I'd really be in a position to criticize, but Japanese music isn't completely reliant upon anime, so I honestly think something dedicated to 'asian culture' should reflect that.

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1. I'd argue the point about Sonar having a better "feel" than the others, but I haven't excluded it from consideration.

2. The average concert price in 2004 -- average as in the number quoted in news media that track that sort of thing -- was about $50. That was five years ago. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4601934/ -- though of course I re member this argument from that time) and prices have certainly not dropped since then. The cheapest non-lawn seats for the last few concerts I went to (in venues that seat more than a few hundred people) were $50-$75.

But here, lest people think I'm pulling numbers out of nowhere.

http://articles.latimes.com/2007/jul/03/business/fi-prince3

....and a quick bit of googling found at least five sources that put average prices for a concert ticket today in the range of about $65.

An observation: unless you're pretty wealthy and immune to the current economy, you go to FAR more concerts than the average person if you're hitting 3-4 per month. ANd if you're hitting that many shows, you're probably experiencing lots of smaller, newer acts who play small clubs.

At a small club (seating under 500 people) things are quite different and heck, when I see shows at Rams Head Annapolis they average about $30. And I have certainly attended plenty of shows in the $25 range too.

I'd remind you that we ARE talking about a festival here.

3. I agree, and that's why we've increasingly had bands at Otakon who may not have an anime connection at all. But the connection CAN help because sometimes there is promotional money from the anime distributor (less likely in the current economy), and at very least it means that a lot of NON hardcore j-music fans would be interested.

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Well, I can assure you, I'm feeling the economy just like everyone else, but the amount of concerts I'm able to attend is more derivative of the fact that it's what all of my money outside of necessities goes to. I don't really spend money on nice clothes or video games or anything, all my money goes towards music. And as far as the whole 'small clubs' thing, a good 60% of shows I go to are at Sonar, Ram's Head, or 9:30 (and like 30% more are at Jaxx, which is about the same size, give or take a bit), which are the same venues in question here. If you look at Sonar's website, there isn't a single concert over $25 (excluding Maryland Deathfest, which is 55 bands, 22 of which are from outside of the country, so it doesn't really count), Ram's Head is far more expensive but they only have 2 concerts over $40, and the 9:30 only has 1 show over $40, so a $65 average doesn't make much sense, at least around here. From my personal experience, I'll pay an average of 20 bucks a show at those venues, and 10-15 at smaller clubs. The last time I payed 50 bucks for a concert was like 2 years ago when I went to see Bob Dylan in Virginia. And I honestly don't see the point of jacking up the price on the grounds of it being a festival when you'd basically be booking three or four bands, which is the amount you'd see at any non-festival show you'd go to.

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Well with the economy tight I dont think a lot of people will come.

For otakon, millions of people fly across the US and the world just to go to otakon for 3 days. I wont fly just for a festival thats only going on for a day or two. Plane tickets cost 2 to 3 hundred and then you have to pay to get it in which would be bout 30 or 40. I could save that money to buy merch at the dealers room instead of a festival.

I love the idea tho. Its just the money and people gettin laid off. But i will add. If the guest are very popular and its a once in a life time thing guest, then yea ill go. It all depends on the guest

(Trying not add to much pressure on u about the guest!) (:))

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By "once in a lifetime guest", I'm assuming you mean a popular artist in Japan. Even without airfare, concerts for major artists are much higher than $25. With airfare for the artist and their entourage, as well as their equipment, even $50 for 4 bands is too little money. (Thus Jim's comments about the performers most likely being US bands.)

For a $25 ticket, I think we're still talking bands that are still trying to get their name out there. Not a band that has an anime theme credit to their name. (Are there even many anime artists living in the US?) And not someone who can fill a venue with their own name.

Even with a LOT of corporate sponsorship and playing a small venue, major Japanese bands playing on the west coast charge about $40 for base price for tickets for a concert featuring just one act.

Let's at least be realistic about our expectations here, people. Jim may surprise us all, but it's better to keep our expecations reasonable.

Off topic, Hannah Montana is pretty mid-range for base price as far as "superstars" go, if not lower range. But then you have all the scalping. The upper end Britney Spears tickets are supposedly going for several hundreds of dollars. U2 and Madonna tickets make even yuppies welp. $65 seems pretty average, if not low, to me.

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Well with the economy tight I dont think a lot of people will come.

For otakon, millions of people fly across the US and the world just to go to otakon for 3 days. I wont fly just for a festival thats only going on for a day or two. Plane tickets cost 2 to 3 hundred and then you have to pay to get it in which would be bout 30 or 40. I could save that money to buy merch at the dealers room instead of a festival.

I love the idea tho. Its just the money and people gettin laid off. But i will add. If the guest are very popular and its a once in a life time thing guest, then yea ill go. It all depends on the guest

(Trying not add to much pressure on u about the guest!) (^_^)

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Well, I can assure you, I'm feeling the economy just like everyone else, but the amount of concerts I'm able to attend is more derivative of the fact that it's what all of my money outside of necessities goes to. I don't really spend money on nice clothes or video games or anything, all my money goes towards music. And as far as the whole 'small clubs' thing, a good 60% of shows I go to are at Sonar, Ram's Head, or 9:30 (and like 30% more are at Jaxx, which is about the same size, give or take a bit), which are the same venues in question here. If you look at Sonar's website, there isn't a single concert over $25 (excluding Maryland Deathfest, which is 55 bands, 22 of which are from outside of the country, so it doesn't really count), Ram's Head is far more expensive but they only have 2 concerts over $40, and the 9:30 only has 1 show over $40, so a $65 average doesn't make much sense, at least around here. From my personal experience, I'll pay an average of 20 bucks a show at those venues, and 10-15 at smaller clubs. The last time I payed 50 bucks for a concert was like 2 years ago when I went to see Bob Dylan in Virginia. And I honestly don't see the point of jacking up the price on the grounds of it being a festival when you'd basically be booking three or four bands, which is the amount you'd see at any non-festival show you'd go to.

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Well, I can assure you, I'm feeling the economy just like everyone else, but the amount of concerts I'm able to attend is more derivative of the fact that it's what all of my money outside of necessities goes to. I don't really spend money on nice clothes or video games or anything, all my money goes towards music. And as far as the whole 'small clubs' thing, a good 60% of shows I go to are at Sonar, Ram's Head, or 9:30 (and like 30% more are at Jaxx, which is about the same size, give or take a bit), which are the same venues in question here. If you look at Sonar's website, there isn't a single concert over $25 (excluding Maryland Deathfest, which is 55 bands, 22 of which are from outside of the country, so it doesn't really count), Ram's Head is far more expensive but they only have 2 concerts over $40, and the 9:30 only has 1 show over $40, so a $65 average doesn't make much sense, at least around here. From my personal experience, I'll pay an average of 20 bucks a show at those venues, and 10-15 at smaller clubs. The last time I payed 50 bucks for a concert was like 2 years ago when I went to see Bob Dylan in Virginia. And I honestly don't see the point of jacking up the price on the grounds of it being a festival when you'd basically be booking three or four bands, which is the amount you'd see at any non-festival show you'd go to.

Clearly you haven't been attending mainstream artist shows, or shows at bigger venues. (And I'm *shocked* that you got Dylan for $50 -- but even then, you're in a venue where there is likely premium seating.)

Let me put it this way: you are more than welcome to attend all the $25 shows you like. They will be, almost exclusively, by bands hitting a LOT of venues on tour -- usually the bands provide their own transportation, insturments, and roadies because they are set up for that. And occasionally they will have an opening band.

You will get about 60-90 minutes out of such a show.

What I am talking about is four 60-minute sets, and a day long festival. If possible, I would like meet-and-greets and Q&A stuff built into the festival structure. If we were to bring a west coast band, they're NOT driving in -- they'd have to fly in and that costs money. We'd need to drive them to and from the airport and that costs money. They'd have to rent at least some equipment.

I've run the numbers and the kind of show we're talking about here is NOT going to cost $25, even with sponsorship. If you're not happy with those facts and find the price too high, you can skip the show -- but I simply cannot rely on your anecdotal experience over the facts.

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Stepping in to request that the topic resume - that is, providing input on the proposed music festival.

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Just a bit of anecdote, a lot of bands do play for cheap. And I'm talking about just in what I go see in Manhattan. Most of them do run at around the $30 range. But they're all pretty small operations too, most venues don't top out over 1000. But of course, not all bands are equal.

But I presume that is not what Jim is looking for, so the price of tickets will reflect whatever Jim is going to set up ultimately. The way I see it, it totally depends on the act that plays. The festival structure is something you can play with but that's not going to bring in the extra fans. Sure, it would make the fest more awesome if the bands played awesome long sets, had autograph sessions, whatever, but don't let that inflate the cost (too much). Basically my point is people will come from all over to see their favorites play, so that is really what matters the most.

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The way I see it, the big cost is getting the here. And if they're here and just perform, that's okay. But it would be *more* awesome if we turned this into an event where our members get to learn something, since that's our mission after all.

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For the people concerned about the price, the anecdote I wish to submit is Virgin Festival. The best one, 2006, with The Who, RHCP, Gnarls Barkley et al. Admission cost around $95. You had at least two bands people would happily pay $95 to get good seats for (heck, I once got $100 tickets to see the Who at Hollywood Bowl in the nosebleed section), plus a bunch of other acts well worth hanging around for. That was the best $95 (plus an arm and a leg for food and merch, let's not go there) that I could have possibly spent. The point is that it doesn't matter how much the tickets are as long as the acts are worth the money.

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It would be kinda cool to have an Otakon music festival during the cherry blossom festival in Washington, DC. If otakon partners up with the festival organizers, we could have this as part of the street festival maybe. last year they had a j-pop group in there 'j-pop land' section. i cant remember their name, but they were pretty good. there was also a good amount of non-otaku there listening to them.... which tells me that japanese music groups that otakon brings in could be rather successful.

i dont know what the logistics of this would be, but it certainly would be a nice addition to the already awesome cherry blossom festival

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It would be kinda cool to have an Otakon music festival during the cherry blossom festival in Washington, DC. If otakon partners up with the festival organizers, we could have this as part of the street festival maybe. last year they had a j-pop group in there 'j-pop land' section. i cant remember their name, but they were pretty good. there was also a good amount of non-otaku there listening to them.... which tells me that japanese music groups that otakon brings in could be rather successful.

i dont know what the logistics of this would be, but it certainly would be a nice addition to the already awesome cherry blossom festival

That would be interesting, and it would ride off of the popularity of the festival time as well, possibly increasing the attendance of both our and their events. It would also, however be rather difficult to organize. I would have a few concerns about a music festival during that time.

My concerns would be that as I understand it, Alabaster would like this event to pay (at least mostly) for itself, and if it were part of the matsuri, there would be no real way to ticket such an event. Unless it were used as a teaser for a later concert, which bleeds into my next concern.

A big concern is obtaining a venue for an good-sized concert down in Washington DC during that time would be both difficult and cost prohibitive, especially if it were all-day. Many groups connected to the festival would already have rented out the theaters and concert halls.

And another concern is with our staff's workload. The spring is when a good number of our staff start to go into full preparation for Otakon, and something as big as an all-day, multi-band concert would be a serious drain on our staff, who would have to think about prep for the event, closure of the event, and prep for Otakon. If the music festival fell after the convention, there would be less pressure on our staff and less stress-induced breakdowns.

However, your suggestion has planted a seed of thought into my head. I think I am going to have to pursue that a little bit once I have more time. Hmm...

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Referring to ticket prices and SXSW again.

SXSW Asia has announced there line-up and tour dates for March 2009 with ticket prices ranging from $10-$15 depending on the venue and city.

SXSW Asia Tour Info

That's dirt cheap for 8 bands, then again the tour looks to be sponsored by Benten Tokyo and SXSW Music Asia, which could be keeping the cost per ticket down or even the venues that have been booked.

I still think $40-$50 is a little too much for a festival with 4-5 bands that have no real exposure to the US market outside of possible Anime conventions and general fans of J-Music. I'm sure a good portion of Otakon attendees will flow to this festival for the $40-$50 price range but what about people that are just looking to experience something new. That's where the price of $40-$50 can hurt.

I'm all for this idea and I think having some sponsorship to bring down is something to really look into. Maybe you could look into contacting SXSW Asia with this.

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Rest assured, keeping costs down for attendees is one of my main goals here. We are talking about worst-case scenarios in the cost area.

* From a money perspective, the festival has to pay for itself, and perhaps bring in a little extra revenue. Paying for itself is a must.

* It should, if possible, be cheaper for members -- either that or they get special access that others do not, such as early ticketing, admission to a meet and greet, or a free t-shirt or something. Whatever we work out, people with Otakon memberships should receive some significant benefit.

Our next step is to take a second look at the costs, talk to the venue folks about possibilities, and meet with a few potential sponsors.

In the meanwhile, I want to thank you all for your input. I'm taking the discussion offline for now, but I come away from this with the following:

1. Cheaper is better, with the ideal being in the $25-$40 range (ie, up to $10/band).

2. People will pay more for a rare headliner.

3. People are enthusiastic about the idea in general.

4. Some people will complain about whatever we do. (But I already knew that.)

Rest assured, I'll make some updates as I make progress.

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