UPDATE 05/03/12: We’re in the homestretch and it looks bleak for a fan-funded Jamboree. The reasons seem clear: People want to know a headliner or lineup before they jump in. We understand. We tried to get bands to agree to come “if” we could raise the dough. No one bit on that dubious offer. We understand the drawbacks of that for them, though we also wish many of them remember what it was like and how they were before they had things to lose. They scrapped and they scraped and they fought and they bled. Now they’re comfortable and they need “contracts” and “assurances” and “offer letters.” It’s cool. But this ended up being a chicken and egg thing: The bands wanted us to show them the money, the fans wanted to see the bands. We may elect to fund it through corporate sponsors, which is dicey, because he who pays the freight calls the shots. That’s why we came to fans first. We want you to have the loudest voice. Always. So, if you want to fill out the survey below, that will help should a few partners pony up the requisite crazy amounts of money it will take to do up Jamboree right. Thanks in advance! Below the surveys, we’ll leave up Mike’s letter from weeks back explaining why Q101 used Kickstarter in the first place.
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Mike at Q101: For many months we’ve been meeting with companies that manage and plan major festivals such as Jamboree. They’ve offered budgets and we’ve pored over them line by line and item by item. We’ve brainstormed about the best places to have it, called around, hunted people down (literally), and spent considerable time touring suitable sites. We’ve met with many, many people and had many, many hours of discussion with them. We have about a half dozen potential sites and a couple of non-traditional venues (that is, places you normally don’t go to see shows at) that we’re VERY excited about.
The discussions we’ve had on this topic have been interesting: Some places we brought up to promoters and others are now being used for concerts this year. The stadium the Kane County Cougars play in is one such place. Wilco will be playing there. Now, for all I know there are big shows there every year, and if that’s the case, forgive me. I have honestly never heard of a show there, let alone one by a kick-ass band like Wilco, and now, out of the blue…poof! There’s a show happening there. Weird.
Matt talked about having Jamboree at Medieval Times. How strange would that be? I know…unlikely. People’s faces turned different colors when we mentioned that site. Guess that’s weird to them.
It’s not weird to us. (Now watch: a big show takes place there in August!)
What we think is weird to always have concerts take place in the same 4 places in the city. There are, what, 9 million people, and hundreds of square miles of land here in the Chicagoland area? And, yet, every show is in one of the regular old places. And, what’s more, there’s just…bands. Usually not much else to do. Who decided that? The people who own concert venues? Oh yeah, I guess they did.
So we’ve been thinking since last fall: it would be great to do something…different. Have kick ass bands, but then also have rides, games, attractions, different types of food (maybe pizza and hotdogs and pretzels is all people want? Maybe we’re wrong that it would be cool to have different things to try?), oddities, freaks, performers, celebrities. I remember going to some dog ass lineups at Lolla in the 90s because I knew if I didn’t dig what was happening on the mainstage, there was another stage, and some other things to do there. I knew I was going to…a happening. I’d like to see something like that take shape with Jamboree 2012, and Matt does too.
What do you want?
We’re asking everyone who is a “fan” on Q101’s facebook page and who’s email and cell phone number we have on file to contribute to the building of an event heretofore unseen, at least at previous “Jamborees.” If we’re wrong and no one wants something like what we envision, it would be great to know now and not take out loans with our houses as collateral and end up in a field with stilt walkers and Dave Grohl and a $400,000 bill. We could do what “big” corporations do and ask investors and banks to back us and then spend money like drunken sailors and if it all goes to hell in a handbasket, the investors can hold the bag while we run out the backdoor with our dough in hand. We think that mindset has been destructive to the radio and media industries, and to America. We don’t live that way. We believe you should pay for things you can afford. We don’t have all sorts of debt. We don’t run up our credit cards to take vacations. Old school? Maybe. Are we alone? Maybe.
So, if you’re with us, and you think it would be cool to do things a little differently than the rest of the world does things, we hope you’ll go to http://Q101Jamboree.com and stand with us. 450 people have backed us so far, and to them, our thanks! You are the best!
It would appear many people are taking a “wait and see” approach on this. That’s fine. In the first 10 days we have surpassed 10% of our goal. Not bad, and, again, thanks to those who have backed. At this pace, we’ll be there in…90 days. Trouble is, the way this Kickstarter works is this: If you “back” our project, and we don’t meet or surpass our goal, you pay nothing. If we meet our goal (or hopefully blow right by it…the more dough we raise, the better we can make this event…i.e., the more expensive and exclusive the talent can be), then Amazon, the credit card processor of Kickstarter, will charge you, take their fees and Kickstarter will get its fees. Your money will be pooled with the money Matt and I have in the pot…about $50,000 right now, and Matt and I will then have the Herculean task before us of activating our festival management partner, negotiating a contract with the best venue possible from our pack of 6 contenders, and then we’ll start hiring bands, performers, celebrities, etc, and every day and night for 5 months we’ll be working on making this 2 day festival the best ever!
So over the next 30 days, in addition to asking you to participate and share the news of this Kickstarter event to fund the initial payments of Jamboree (again, Matt and I have, for better or worse, thrown our own family’s money into the kitty to the tune of $50,000 in addition to the other costs of operating Q101), we’ll be asking you, quite candidly, to be active and loud in what YOU want. The survey below is the first step. We’ve been working on it for a bit, and now we want to know what you think:
Who do you want to see at Jamboree? Quite obviously, the people who “back” us at http://Q101Jamboree.com get the most say in the matter. Some bands are booked (or have expressed disinterest privately) so they’re not listed below. Just because a band isn’t on there doesn’t mean the backers won’t get a vote on them. This is a partial list. Now that Lolla has declared their lineup, we know some are blacked out of the Chicago market for the late summer/fall. It’s still helpful to know you dig those bands, so we’ll keep ’em in the survey!
These bands below are ones we 1) Believe to be still touring (HA! You’d think that would be easy to answer, right?), 2) Believe would be a good fit for Jamboree to some degree (ok, there are a couple in there that I’m just curious to see what you think about…they wouldn’t be my first choice to see, but, I want to know what you think so I threw some in there for testing purposes), and 3) Believe we could actually hire based on what the “experts” have told us about band prices. To be perfectly honest: We’d have to blow by the goal of $300,000 on Kickstarter, and maybe even triple it, to actually be able to afford the Foo Fighters. Matt and I have been in and around this stuff for 20 years and we didn’t know that they might cost anywhere from $300k to a Half Million Dollars. Wow. Makes me wish I stuck with the guitar a little longer in 1992. So getting Dave is probably out of our reach…unless we do what other Kickstarters have done, and fund this event by a factor of 2 or 3 or 4 times. It’s happened before. Check this one out: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1104350651/tiktok-lunatik-multi-touch-watch-kits?ref=most-funded
In the coming days and weeks we’ll release more news and info and videos and audio about what we’re thinking, where this whole thing is at, and how it’s all coming together. If you don’t believe in this, I respect it. Live and let live my friend. If you back, I’m grateful. If you can only throw a buck in, that’s something and we thank you. You can always increase your pledge (from a $1 on up) later, but you can’t pledge after May 5th. One thing I believe to be true: People are watching this whole thing. The people who threw the Alternative format away last summer, Merlin Media. The people who gave them their money, GTCR. The people who sold us Q101, Emmis. The rest of the radio and media community in Chicago like the brass we’ve been speaking to at multiple places. Advertisers and businesses.
How do I know? Some of ’em are starting to get a little crabby about the whole thing. That’s interesting to me. Actually, fascinating. When radio reps and other websites in town and the promoters of other concerts across America are acting like jerks about this whole thing, maybe we’re onto something. I got a call the other day that started with “I was in a meeting in LA and the subject of Q101 came up…” That’s #winning. I love that. I was corresponding the other night with the manager of a legendary alt band about what it would take to get his guys here for Jamboree. He started with, “Love what you are trying to do.” And he got back to me within minutes. That never happens.
They want to see what we do. All of us. Together.
If we raise $300k, that will be powerful and that will be noticed. These people all want to know if Rock is Dead In Chicago. They want to know if there is an audience. If there is money. If there is support.
If we miss our goal but demonstrate that there are a lot of “backers” who care and stand up tall, that will be noticed.
If we miss our goal and we can’t motivate people to throw in $39, $25, or even $1? That, my friends, will be noticed BIGTIME.
Last summer, no one asked you what you wanted. They chose for you. Like always.
This year, Matt and I are asking: What do you want?
Not many corporations ask for your input. We not only want it, we’re telling you straight: We need it.
The floor is yours my friends. Use it or lose it.