How to Support Your Local Performing Artists

By Jennifer McHaffie

It’s date night and you’ve chosen a local restaurant because you’ve heard there is a jazz musician who plays there on Thursday evenings. Sitting in the outdoor area under the stars, the saxophone player creates an ambiance that stimulates relaxation, conversation, and nostalgia.

Or perhaps your friend, family member, or co-worker invites you to a play, poetry reading, or recital. The performers conjure times and places of history, emotion, and inspiration. Their costumes, line delivery, and incredible connection to the music and rhythm impressed you.

Or, maybe you meet up with your friends week nights and weekends at local festivals, live bands, and community events. The fire dancers you saw at the local pub crawl were mesmerizing, you sang Everlong enthusiastically along with the cover band and the rest of the bar, and you just had to jitterbug when you saw the Zydeco band at the lakefront.

Your local performing artists create, inspire, move, and entertain in your community restaurants, coffee shops, festivals, charity events, and nightclubs. They appear randomly in malls, at holiday events, and in the streets of your city. If you have ever wanted to show appreciation for their performances, here are some excellent and effective ways to say “Thank you, I enjoyed your show.”

See the Show

You are witness to the artist’s performance. This means everything to a performer. If there is no audience, there is no show. Let them see you smiling and hear you laughing, singing, or clapping. Groove while you stand or in your seat. Rock out near the stage or outside while you smoke with your friends. There is a sense of connection and gratitude performers feel when an audience expresses their appreciation. Every single one of you matter.

Payment, Tips, and Verbal Appreciation

In addition to the many hours of practice and rehearsals, performing artists must learn, explore, and perfect techniques. A professional performer will likely have spent many hundreds of dollars on workshops, lessons, and private instruction. Props, costuming, instruments, and equipment range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Musicians and other performing artists must also take into account damage to instruments, equipment, and props as well as consider the cost of fuel for traveling to venues.

If you enjoy an artist’s performance, purchase a t-shirt or CD. Put a few dollars into the performer’s tip jar or basket. Buy a ticket. Make sure to pay the cover at the door. If you have an entertainment budget for your luau, wedding, birthday, Halloween party, charity event, or festival, book a local entertainer. A performing artist will set the mood, provide entertainment, and inspire guests and patrons to enjoy themselves.

Many artists perform for a percentage of what the venue makes and some artists perform for nothing but tips. If you haven’t a budget for booking or the merchandise doesn’t appeal to you and you don’t have anything under a $20, let the performer know you enjoyed the show by saying so. If there was something you especially liked, let them know. Your appreciation is priceless.

Spread the Word

In a long conversation with local a promoter, we discussed the many aspects of organizing, promoting, and managing performing artists in our area. There are so many aspects of putting a show together. It involves finding the right venue, organizing the line-up, scheduling interviews, and distributing all the promotional materials. A lot of effort goes into getting the word out.

If you are a fan of a performing artist, bring your family members, friends, and co-workers to their performances. Hand out flyers. Talk about your experiences. Share their websites. If you post photos or videos, make sure to hashtag/tag the performer or band! Like their Facebook pages, Instagrams, Twitters, and Snapchats. Share their events, photos, and videos. Post their music from Soundcloud and YouTube videos. Take their business cards or stickers and recommend them to a friend or business owner. Your liking, sharing, feedback, and participation has an impactful influence on the various types of entertainment you will enjoy in your community.

Enjoy the show!