Friday, March 10, 2006

How much?

So how much am I willing to pay to see a musical act in Iqaluit? That question came when I began seeing ads for The Navigators around town. The band is playing here next weekend which is, of course, St. Patrick's Day weekend. This is utterly without coincidence. It's common knowledge back home that many of the really good traditional bands don't stay in St. John's during St. Paddy's day because they can make so much more money playing somewhere else on the mainland.

Here's the thing though, I don't really think I can justify spending $50 a ticket to see the Navigators. There are several reasons for this. First, I don't think I've spent $50 to see any single band in my life. There are acts I will do this for, of course. That I would spend much more than $50. I would for U2. I would for Springsteen. But the Navigators? I just can't seem to make myself pull the trigger.

There's also Cathy's theory on how much you should pay for a band. She is perpetually rotted by how much Great Big Sea charges whenever they play in town. I mean, how much are tickets for their shows at the Arts and Culture Centre? $50 or $60, isn't it? (So much for the "we never charge more than $35 a ticket for our shows because we feel that's too much" that an official with the ACC once told me).

Anyway, Cathy saw the band when they were first starting out for about $5. I can remember seeing them opening for the Irish Descendents at the TSC and spending maybe $15. She believes that as someone who supported the band when they were starting out, and who still has the ticket stubs to prove it (I get mocked for my comics, but it is not dissimilar to the obsessiveness of people who scrapbook, but I digress) that she should get a discount. In fact, she should get a ticket for $5.

It doesn't quite work that way, but I do understand her line of thinking. I recall seeing the Barenaked Ladies at the TSC and spending $10 and the place was still half full. When they played Mile One a decade later and wanted $55 for the lousy seats well, I had problem pulling the trigger on buying tickets, even though I would have liked to have seen them.

This is a roundabout way of saying - I could see the Navigators for $5 on George Street on almost any given weekend and the place certainly wouldn't have been packed. And to quote a friend, they're also "Just Another Fucking Irish/Newfie" (JAFIN) band. So yes, a bit of home would be welcome. And yes, there is the cost of getting a band up here. And yes, it's St. Paddy's day.

But are we going to drop $100 to see them? Nope. we're not nearly that homesick.


Terri Lynn said...

Hey Craig, I've been keeping up with your blog for a while now, it's always an interesting read, and I figured I'd drop you a line. I started my own blog recently, somewhere to vent I guess, so I figured I would leave you a comment.
Oh yah, and 100 bucks is way too much to pay for just another crazy newfie band, even for the sake of nostalgia.

Kirsten said...

Hmmm, that's funny you should mention it. We had a lengthy discussion on Friday on how to reward the people who've been with ARCTIC from the beginning and ensure that they're not cut out of the picture if & when the band starts playing bigger venues. Ideally we'd like to make it easy for long-term fans to get advance tickets, and make sure that you're taken care of.

The trouble is that until a band hits a certain level of fame, they may not always be able to get very many tickets to their own events at larger venues, depending on the promoter. (Especially as an opener - you take what you're given.) Great Big Sea is probably well past that level, though.

The other trouble is, how do you authenticate these things? Most of the venues we're playing now don't actually sell tickets; it's a pay-at-the-door thing. If Cathy has GBS tickets, who does she bring them to? How does that person know they're legit? If it comes down to Cathy or a person with an equal number of shows on different dates, who gets the cheap/free ticket?

w.a.s.t.e, Radiohead's fan & merch business arm, has people sign up to their list and then they do a lottery to see who gets a predetermined number of tickets for each show. But there's always a few scalpers that sneak in, and no way to control that.

It's an interesting dilemma.

rj said...

There is no reason why GBS can't provide cheaper shows at home. It wouldn't kill them to charge $20/ticket in St. John's. The whole Newfoundland Pride bit they put on is great on the outside but it is beginning to look a little fake from the inside. I saw GBS for free (maybe $5) on the George St. stage about 9 years ago; now I can't afford to go see them. What is it they are proud of exactly?