Thursday, October 30, 2008

College Day at CMJ Recap Part 1- Miss Li, Juliana Hatfield, and Event Planning Tips

Miss Li performing at CMJ "College Day"
October 23, 2008

The day that I was most looking forward to at last week's CMJ Music Marathon in New York City was "College Day" on Thursday, October 23rd. Unlike sessions the rest of the week, College Day began bright and early at 9am, with breakfast, photo opps with the creepy Chocolate Axe man, and live performances from the soulful Stockholm singer Miss Li and long-time indie darling Juliana Hatfield.

Juliana Hatfield at CMJ Music Marathon
October 23, 2008

I really enjoyed both artists, although was annoyed when people talked through Juliana Hatfield's quiet acoustic performance. She did two songs, then left the stage to get water during her third, never to return. It was kind of sad and uncomfortable. Definitely a bummer for the talented artist who during the height of her fame was on the cover of Sassy magazine and did a guest appearance on "My So-Called Life."

"Radio Hostesses with the Mostesses" Panel at CMJ
October 23, 2008

College Radio & Event Planning

Following the music, the first panel of the day was "Radio Hostesses with the Mostesses," a discussion focused on tips for event-planning. Jennifer Disse from WXJM (James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia) talked about her station's role in organizing the annual 2-day MACRock (Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference) festival. Although the event was initially put on solely by the station, it has now grown and it handled by a separate non-profit organization (with much help from the radio station).

Kelly Reid from WKNC (North Carolina State, Raleigh, North Carolina) gave an overview of the "Local Beer, Local Band" night that her station has been doing for nearly 2 years. She said that the event was slow to build, but that now they make about $250 a week from it.

Dylan DiLella from WNYU (NYU, New York City) said that at his station they co-present a lot of shows, which primarily means that they do publicity and ticket giveaways. It's a low-cost way to get some publicity for your station, while helping to promote bands that your listeners are interested in. WNYU is also working to do a concert on campus, which for their station, is cheaper than doing an outside event. However, other stations have found it easier to keep station events off-campus, since often there is less red tape.

The panelists gave a lot of tips about how to have a well-run event and Kelly reminded everyone, that "throwing an event [is]…an extension of being a DJ…about giving music to your listeners…it’s about the music….don’t ever let that get pushed aside."

The Q&A actually produced some of the more interesting tidbits. A college DJ from a small town asked for advice on how to get bands to play there. The panel suggested that radio stations just reach out and ask artists directly. They also recommended trying to work with local motels and businesses in order to get trade deals for lodging for visiting bands. Someone else asked about finding venues in towns with few live music options. The folks on the panel suggested that stations consider house shows and atypical venues like record stores, firehouses, tattoo parlors, and VFW halls.

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