Update from Music in Monmouth regarding live music at The Queens Head, Monmouth.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
To all people interested in Music at the Queens Head, Monmouth.
Firstly let us thanks all of you who have supported the gigs over the past six years and in particular during difficult first half 2012. I’m sure you would all agree that the quality of music that has been second to none and the reputation of ‘Music at the Queens’ has enriched the town’s cultural profile and extended far beyond the region. It is without doubt a favourite amongst many musicians, who have been prepared to provide their services for very low fees because they buy into our mission to provide a varied range of programming, performed by players of the highest quality, with no admission charge. In addition to this generosity it has always taken a very large subsidy from the Queens Head to provide the financial support to keep the music programming going all this time. Unfortunately this can no longer continue!
In the spring of 2012 we issued a statement of affairs affirming our vision of providing alternative high quality music for all ages and all pockets. We highlighted the declining attendance figures, and how the economics of hiring such bands depended primarily on drinks sales and hence attendance numbers. We also included some proposals for sustaining the exisiting program by actively inviting more audience, looking for sponsors, looking for benefactors, and some fund raising activities.
For a while attendance did increase but unfortunately not significantly and has not been sustained. On wet sales alone, band fees are simply not economically viable, and the Wednesday night programme has only continued due to direct external support. As a simple example it was disappointing for the ‘Laplace Transform’ gig there were only 2 people in the room at 9.00pm; as the evening went on it eventually swelled to about 25 people but even then it is insufficient - it’s easy to see the problem; 25 people at about £3 per drink doesn’t come to very much.
The music programme has been sustained since our last statement, by a financial agreement whereby the Queens Head funding for the gigs is supported by a contribution from Music in Monmouth. Music in Monmouth funding is derived from a mixture of individual gifts and contributions (thanks to those silent heroes), the collection taken at the thursday night jam sessions (thank you to the musicians), fundraising (thank you Paul for the ‘Queens Head/Music in Monmouth’ Tee shirts - still available at £5 each), and in particular a major grant from the New Grove Trust for which we are extremely grateful.
The situation now is that ‘Music in Monmouth’ will run out of cash at the end of the July programme and the attendance has not shown any significant signs of improvement. The Queens Head cannot continue to bear all the costs as it will just mean having to sustain more losses. Obviously something radical needs doing and after a considerable amount of deliberation we (The Queens Head and Music in Monmouth) have decided to restructure music at the Queens as follows:
1) As Monmouth Festival has been moved there will be four extra Wednesday gigs in August (1st, 8th, 15th & 22nd) (details will be on the Queens website and via e-mail)
2) The last ‘Jazz Jam Night’ will be on thursday 22nd July
3) Sunday ‘ROOTZ’ nights will continue throughout the year
4) After the 22nd August there will be no regular Wednesday or Thursday night gigs (we will review this in a year’s time)
5) There will be occasional gigs held, every six weeks or so, when major touring bands have approached us and we have enough funds to guarantee their fees. These will be heavily publicised using all media open to us as well as via this mailing list.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, the supporters of live music, for your enthusiasm over the last 6 years, the musicians for playing ridiculously fine music for equally ridiculously low fees and the the Jazz Jam musicians who were also so supportive.
Finally, if people would like to support ‘Music in Monmouth’ we would be most grateful and we will do our utmost to continue to bring ‘stuff never heard before’ to delight the ears of ‘those who discover’.
Neill Bell - The Queens Head
Lyndon Owen, Caractacus Downes - “Music in Monmouth” Community Arts Group
JAZZ MANN FEATURES
The sun shines on the final day of an excellent festival.
Ian Mann soaks up the vibes at Cheltenham Jazz Festival.