[Via - Bob Lefsetz - Lefsetz Letter, July 10th]
“This is an utterly fascinating story that should be read by bands and concert promoters alike.
I tell everyone that if a genie came out of a bottle and offered me the ability to go to summer camp for the rest of my life, I’d take that deal. That’s where I had my first girlfriends, where I made fast friends, Camp Laurelwood in Madison, Connecticut. (http://www.laurelwood.org/home/)
We didn’t call it Color War, we called it the Olympics. The Big O is coming! The Big O is Coming! A counselor would start this chant in the dining hall and you knew, in only a matter of days, the entire camp would be divided into teams and all other activities would be thrown overboard and for seventy two hours, we’d compete.
Competition was the key element of the baby boomer lifestyle, we’re all about winners and losers. But the younger generation is all about participating, being a member of the group. The so-called social revolution. Social media allows you to stay in touch with your buds, make new ones, 24/7. Which is why Facebook is so exciting. It’s not dead, it’s not genealogy, it’s about bringing all your lifelong contacts together and having a party.
Which is not only the essence of summer camp, but Woodstock. It was about being there as much as the music. Which is why Coachella and Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza are so successful today. Really, the music is secondary to the experience.
The challenge for the promoters of traditional concerts is how to bring this social experience to the arena, the shed, the stadium.
There needs to be a Facebook page for the event. A place at the venue where everybody can connect. There needs to be prizes, there needs to be togetherness.
Been to a gig recently? With the giant Verizon texting screens? I can’t take my eyes off them, even though they’re talking about people I don’t know, I’m fascinated by the fact that these people are here TOGETHER!
You’re not together at a movie. And too often, a concert is a show. It’s about what comes from the stage more than what’s going on in the audience. But if there’s to be a live music renaissance, the attendees must be equal partners. It’s not about ripping them off, but providing an engaging experience that is truly two-way.
It’s hard for boomers to understand. Who grew up with cheap concerts by artists whose music defined the era. We’ll all pay extreme amounts to be close to the fire. But how many acts provide that intense flame today? Maybe GaGa, maybe Swift, but the most successful road acts are almost anti-star. This is the lesson of the Grateful Dead, not free music. It’s about building community. About seeing the same friends at each gig. About needing to be there. If the band plays the same rigid, stultifying set do you really need to go next year? Obviously not. And maybe not even if the price is cheap.
We’re experiencing a social revolution. It’s all based on interconnectedness. Old wave media hates this. The newspaper is used to dictating! Music has always led. Why can’t music get down in the pit with listeners and embrace them?
Sure, the deal has to be fair, fans can’t be abused. But it’s more. You’ve got to get concertgoers INVOLVED! You’ve got to allow them to connect with each other, as well as the band…if you can e-mail a band, why can’t you meet them, especially if you’ve paid an admission price? Why can’t you meet the roadies, tour the stage, not only at VIP prices for Bon Jovi, but for middling or developing acts too! This is where you create the bond. You want fans to come home with summer camp memories. I went every year, and like I said, I’d still be willing to go, those were the best years of my life.
P.S. Camp Bisco may only be 15,000 people this year. But everything good starts small. And blows up when you least expect it. Suddenly, everybody gets the memo and has to participate. And you go from doing 15,000 a night to 150,000.
This is the Phish phenomenon, absent social media/the Internet which can spread the word so much quicker than in the days of yore. Stop telling me you need development money, you need to get on the radio, on television. Phish had none of that and they can do better live business than today’s Top Forty wonders. Focus on music and culture, not marketing.”
Rollo & Grady interview with Bob Lefsetz (Click Here)