Doug Lazy with Razette from Raze at Cinderella Rockerfells, Cambridge Sunday 13th August 1989
There is only one golden rule:
The ONLY thing that gets people into events is other people. If you already have people coming, other people will come. As far as nightclub events go, this is the ONLY rule that matters. I promise you.
- As a promoter, your job is to convince people that other people are already coming. That’s the only thing that matters. See the golden rule. If you try to convince people of the merit of the event, you are wasting your time. See the golden rule.
- People may tell you the golden rule is wrong, and they may cite examples. They are wrong. The golden rule is the ONLY way you get people into nightclubs.
- The golden rule is a secret that other promoters don’t want you to know about. Ignore it at your peril.
Here’s a few other lesser rules:
- Get people talking about it on Facebook. Mention it over and over again. And then mention it again and then some more. Get your friends doing the same. People will only come to your event if they think other people are going. See the golden rule above.
- Promote narrow and deep – i.e. choose who you are promoting to and hammer them again and again and again. This is WAY more effective then trying to blanket cover lots of people.
- If you are giving out flyers – or particularly if you are paying people to do so – only give one flyer at a time. Flyers are expensive.
- Don’t give well meaning people flyers to hand out on your behalf. They won’t do it, I *guarantee* it, and flyers are expensive.
- Noone will come to your event from seeing a flyer. Flyers will only reinforce the golden rule above.
- Put posters up if you want but noone will come to your event from seeing a poster. Posters will only reinforce the golden rule above.Posters are expensive.
If you follow the golden rule, you have a chance of success. If you don’t, you have virtually no chance of success. Concentrate on the golden rule. When you realise how easy it is (people follow people), you may have a career as a club promoter, and you may earn lots of money for little work (the first time you fill a club, the golden rule has been fulfilled, you then just need to maintain it) – at which point you can give me a credit on your website.
Here’s the “How many people are coming to my event” Forumla:
- If they say they aren’t coming, they aren’t coming
- If they say they might be coming, they aren’t coming
- If they say they are coming, they aren’t coming
- If they say they are definitely coming, there’s a 1/10 chance they will come.
All this digging out old stuff from my past as a Chicago Rock Cafe DJ in the 90s reminds me that they used to have this thing called “Chicago Cats” or something. Basically, the bar staff would work out a dance routine to something awful, like “Greased Lightning” and at some pre-appointed time, probably midnight, the DJ would put on the record and the “Cats” (ie barstaff) would stop serving drinks, get on the bar and perform their dance routine.
It was, without doubt, the most excruciating thing ever.
In 1996, all the Chicago Rock Cafe DJs got together and had a big meeting (unpaid). They put on their very best thinking caps and entered the Chicago Rock Cafe ‘Think Tank’, chaired by the self appointed ‘Head DJ’, where they voiced their very best ideas. Luckily someone was on hand to minute the meeting and distribute to all the Absentees (i.e. me). This is the cream of the UKs DJ talent, thinking their very best ideas. Be awe inspired.
This diagram came from the handout provided by Luminar Leisure during one of their monthly “Patronise a DJ” meetings (which, I hasten to add, I never attended, despite constant ‘last’ warnings). So in 1997, nearly ten years after turning professional, I was bemused to receive a memo containing the following diagram, presumably telling me what I had been getting wrong over all these years. Idiots.
It’s 1992, I’m the DJ at Cambridge’s first Student night, the club’s busiest night by far, my contract has just been extended and I’ve been given a payrise. Enter the New Manager, who’s first action was to sack the existing DJs so he could put his mates in. As I’d been there nearly 5 years, had a baby son and felt a bit hard done by, I didn’t want to take this lying down.
So whilst clearing out the garage today, I found this heart warming series of letters.