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Battle of the Bands

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by achstechdirector, Mar 20, 2009.

  1. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    Our school is considering hosting a battle of the bands as a fundraiser for the theatre department. Is this a good fundraiser? What are the pros and the cons. What all is involved in hosting one of these? Is this very popular in high schools? What are some suggestions on organizing and executing this fundraiser? All ideas are welcome?
     
  2. ReiRei

    ReiRei Active Member

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    In both of the high schools I've gone to we've done a Battle of the Bands every year. In my old school, we just did it in the commons but at Ashland High, we've done it at the gym and I think we're going to do it at the armory this year because we have no gym.

    All of the administrators and my TD even won't let Battle of the Bands so much as sniff the inside of our theatre. It wasn't built for bands that don't really know quite what they're doing. Even during the talent show, a few bands entered and it was a huge mess of bleh! One band brought their own microphone and mixer and it didn't work when they went to play so we just took them out another mic. During sound check only one of the bands listened to anything the Sound guy and I had to say. If their guitar was so loud that you couldn't hear the singer and the bass, we would tell them and they were basically like, "what do you know? You're not in a band!"

    It is a pretty popular thing in high schools and they usually have a big turnout though, so if you can deal with teenagers and their giant egos then it'll be worth it.

    Make sure everyone knows when sound check is. Write it on their forehead if you have to... Five hundred times...
     
  3. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I have had to deal with ego for a long time so I am good.
    Should they sign a contract?
    Where do you make the money?
    I am completely stupid about this. It got suggested and since Im the Prez they said research and get back to us at the next board meeting.
    Do bands pay a fee?
    Is there a prize?
    What should you charge?
    Someone said something about door prizes?
     
  4. NickJones

    NickJones Active Member

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    Try an in-school one, we had a sucessfull one last year, meaning the students are the ones playing, (This year's one epic failed) basicly, students paid $1 or $2 to get in, and they got to watch bands playing for the whole of lunchtime, Gyms aren't the best places to work, especialy in terms of lights. The easiest thing to do is to not bother about a wash (if your gym is like ours that is with the clear plastic roofing) because you allready have light, and just make some chases or somthing, in the end I decided to give up on doing lighting in the gym and just focus on the Vision Mixing. Nothing like chroma keying flames & satan dancing over a band in a Christian School.....
    Nick
     
  5. Gretsch

    Gretsch Member

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    Few tips:

    Charge people at the door. Don't pay the bands get donated prizes from local companies (i.e. sports tickets, movie tickets, gift cards, studio time...ect.) Have bands sign an "intent to compete" contract that includes clauses that say the band forfeits all prizes and is liable if any damage occurs to the facility. Tell all the bands they all get the same amount of mics (7 drum, 1 bass, 3 guitar, 3 vox) and the same amount of imputs and monitor mixes NO MATTER WHAT. This eliminates a band wanting to bring their 32 piece kit or to have a 13 piece orchestra. Also they all need to told they all have the same amount of setup/line check/sound check time (say 20 min) this keeps bands from getting super picky with their mixes and keeps the playing field level. Finally just generally schedule the crap out of it. All the bands should know when to show up, when to set up, when to be on deck, and when to play. Don't let them bring friends in for free (or you don't make money.) Battles of the bands can make lots of money if you make it compelling to compete, and limit your talent, 4 or 5 good bands competing will do the best. Hope all this helps.

    T
     
  6. museav

    museav CBMod CB Mods Departed Member

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    Get an attorney involved, probably one from the school. You have numerous issues to address from liability (e.g. what happens if anyone is injured while on the school property or if a performance somehow causes injury or damage) to intellectual property (e.g. performance rights for any cover songs) to address, especially as this is not an "educational" function for the school and if you charge for admission. You may also have to address things like what if a band cancels or 'no shows'. If it is an official school function, the school administration may want to preview or approve what is played just to be sure they do not incur any potential liability. Also think about things like whether any security may be required, what happens if a band damages your equipment (intentionally or unintentionally) and so on.

    I agree with Gretsch on the scheduling, and be ready to enforce it, but I disagree a bit on the tech limitations. While I concur that any tech requirements or limitations should be addressed and discussed upfront before any band commits, I would not necessarily put a specific limit on it unless it really is a physical limitation of the facility or system and would definitely not apply such a specific assignment, keep it more generic such as total number of inputs, number of monitor sends, etc. You might also want to require every band to reset everything to some nominal default setting, I have seen bands intentionally mess with things to make it difficult for the next band. Oh, and some reasonable sound level limitation is typically a good idea so that it is about the music and not who runs the system the loudest, potentially damaging it in that pursuit.

    Quite frankly, I have yet to see a "battle of the bands" that wasn't somewhat a joke in regards to the outcome. I still remember one where all bands had to be unsigned, and they were when they initially entered the contest. However, the winning band, which was far from the best performance, just "happened" to have signed a contract with one of the judges days before the actual competition. So identify up front how the winner will be selected and be willing to address any resulting "disagreement" from the audience (that may be where some security requirements come in to play).
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  7. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I think that I have more details.

    Admission Price: $3
    Event Starts: 7:00pm
    Band Entry Fee: $15m (they will pay double to do it but...)
    No. of Bands: 5
    Location: School Theatre

    We don't have drum mics or subwoofers, what do you suggest?
    We really don't have a large budget since this is sort of an awareness fundraiser (Raise awareness of our program, and make 100 dollars)

    Our schoold doesn't interject in our programs or fundraisers, as long as noone gets hurt. Sometimes I thnk the administration forgets where here.
     
  8. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    My advice: If you're not able to have the same equipment for each band (not bring your own amps) or if you don't have the equipment to do so, find a way to minimize set changes. People (students especially) get bored during the few minutes it takes to switch bands. Find some really good emcees to fill that space and keep the audience happy. People will get less rowdy.

    Also, make sure you and your team have final say over sound. If the guitar is too loud, they have to turn it down on your say so. This prevents people from coming up to you later and saying "I couldn't hear the words!!!"

    With regards to drum mics, you may not need them, depending on your space. And depending on your speakers, you may not need subs. If you can't get them, you can't get them. If you DO need drum mics, spare SM57s or 58s work well. If any of your bands are trying to go pro, they may even have a kit mic set. Or check with your music dept.
     
  9. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I don't believe we will need to mic drums but i don't know about subs
    Thanks for all the help and I am pretty sure that we will do like the sound co. in the FOH article about the grammys did. Our men will actually turn the knobs and their sound guys can advise during sound check and be there during the actual event, but I doubt that the bands will have a problem with this. I have ran sound for most of them and they, for the most part, trust my team.
     
  10. Eboy87

    Eboy87 Well-Known Member

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    Regarding set changes: have a stage manager. I've done far too many shows like this where we constantly run behind schedule because no one is in charge. Have a schedule made out for set duration, changeover times, etc, and have someone in authority enforce it.

    Regards to drum mic'ing. If you have a condenser and a large boom stand, you may get away with a single overhead (unless you have a china basher) and something on kick, like a '57.
     
  11. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    YES!!! And make thorough, detailed lists of who needs what equipment, and where it goes on stage. Post this list everywhere so the acts and your stagehands can see it!!!!!!!! Also, label mics, cords, everything both at the board and on stage. Someone will unplug something and you will be screwed up if it is hard to tell what has to go where.
     
  12. willbb123

    willbb123 Active Member

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    I just did a show like this. It was a rental, and the person incharge of the groups had no idea what he was doing. It turned from a simple battle of the bands show, to using projection and using a ton of mics.

    Tell them what you have. Make sure every group gets the exact same thing. Schedule the hell out of it. Set up sound checks backwards (opening band checks last), that way the openers equipment is on stage. See if groups can share drum kits. They aren't gonna like it but it will make change over a heck of a lot easier. If you have a large space and have 4x8 platforms you can put casters and set the kit up on two, that way all you have to do is roll it in.

    If this was happening in our space, we would probably make them use the midstage drop (more like (3/4). Our stage has literally no wing space and even less back stage space with the cyc or the B.O. in. With the mid stage drop in will will have the back 1/4 of the stage to store there equipment.

    I've missed if it was in a theater or a gym. If you have stage with lighting give all groups the same five(ish) lighting looks. That way its not a lightning contest. I would have the house LD do lighting for it. For the rental on of the groups game me a sheet with times on it and what they wanted the lights to do. They had no idea what equipment we had or if it was possible. I just ended up giving them what looked good with the music.

    The music equipment house, has alot of these concerts. I think its like $50 to enter then you either win money or recording time. (I remember one time you paid more then you could win :rolleyes:) I think it depends on you school and the interest, if you should charge the bands or not. If you have a bunch of bands interested, charging them will get the numbers down. I would charge 3 - 5 for a ticket. With rock concerts costing $30ish and cover charge into a bar being around $5, I dont think any of the kids will have a problem with that. Plus they are students and wont leave donations.

    I would also have some t-shirt style security, standing infront of the stage. And depending on the space some sort of barricade. We've had people unplug and knock over mics when the could reach on stage.

    P.S. For big shows like this spike tape is your friend. And a stage manager that was there for all the sound checks. Sometimes they make sketches, but now its easy enough to take a pic with a camera phone and just refer to that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2009
  13. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    It's exactly that line of thinking in the 1960s that forced early Rock staging into gymnasiums and sports arenas. Theatres, auditoriums, and opera houses felt the acts "not artistic enough," and thus the genre "Arena Rock" was born.

    So rather than playing Drury Lane, Covent Garden, or Royal Albert Hall, Michael Jackson is playing 50-100 shows at the O2 Arena.:rolleyes:
     
  14. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Security is critical. Get your School district security involved or pay an off duty cop or two to be there. When I was teaching we had all kinds of problems with talent shows... we finally canceled them because of how rude the audience was to acts that didn't play the right type of music. This is a school... not Bob's Country Bunker! You also need an adult or two backstage who will be respected as authority figures. We found booze backstage and several members of my crew were threatened by a band at one of these fabulous talent shows.

    Finally for those thinking for the future let me suggest an alternative that is very successful. A high school in the area here holds a district wide American Idol style contest. Students from all three high schools can enter. They have music teachers from area colleges and local musicians be the judges. They do multiple rounds, have a nice prize, raise a TON of money, the theater is packed, the audiences aren't as rowdy... it's more a cheer on your friends atmosphere than it is a party. It's also technically a lot easier since you don't have bands setting up.
     
  15. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    One of the schools in my area does Air Band, which seems to require a lot less risk and the students seem to enjoy more.

    Basically, each "act" puts together an audio bed and they perform to it. The content can come from anywhere. In order that they don't sneak in any inappropriate content, all the acts are previewed by faculty beforehand, and the final discs are kept by faculty so that the students can't re-edit them.

    The event is in the gym and this year there about 2800 including parents (3000 student school) My company provides audio and lighting and the school shot the video. At $5 a head, the school does fairly well on this.

    Here's some youtube samples.

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhOmECuyvWY[/media]

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y2YHUQWYaw[/media]

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cEV5-21pP8&feature=related[/media]

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cEV5-21pP8&feature=related[/media]

    BTW, the followspot is always student run. We have no control over that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2009
  16. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    I like the American Idol idea and the Air Band but don't think Air Band will go over well at a school with somewhat like 7 bands. The American Idol the SGA has already got and they do it like 2 times a year. We are looking into demographics and think that the battle of the bands would be the way to go with the way our student body lies. We are going to require them to attach a copy of lyrics to their contract and to preview the song. We have a pastor for principal (We are still a public school, it just fell that way) BUT a very artistic pastor, he is at every theatre show, every talent show, everything that requires artistic flair is he behind 300% but does not care for sports. KINDA WEIRD HUH?
     
  17. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Not weird... just unusual. But a very good thing for you. Very good.
     
  18. achstechdirector

    achstechdirector Active Member

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    AMEN leiperjp. We have had a whole lot of an easier time dealing with tech issues.
     
  19. rcopley

    rcopley Member

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    At the school I'm at we have had one student organize a concert as a fundraiser, this was her last year organizing it as she is a senior, but someone else is already working to organize it for next year. From a technical standpoint I would strongly recommend keeping a surplus of surge protectors and extension cords. Imagine more than a dozen bands, all wanting to use there own amps and equipment fighting over a few outlets. One top of all that I had to find an outlet for my sound mixer (by the way it's an MX3282:cool:, a little overkill, but completely awesome).

    We met with all of the bands to make it very clear that space would be provided, but the school or anyone involved with the event would not be held responsible if anything happened to the equipment. Most of the bands shared a single drum kit to keep things moving quickly. If you have someone speaking between acts to give the bands time to set up, make sure they know what they are doing, they did not realize I had to turn on there mic so they ended up treating one of the mics as if it was broken.

    In the end the fundraiser worked out well, we did not have any trouble finding bands willing to preform, and it raised a decent amount of cash.
     

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