A month or so ago I put on sale one of my SWN promoted shows, a triple bill of FRANKIE & THE HEARTSTRINGS, SUMMER CAMP and THE NEAT. A great triple bill of three new bands which I will promote in Cardiff in October. When you promote touring bands you often have to provide agents with twice weekly ticket figures - once every Monday and Friday. I did this for the first week sales, which was something like 50 odd tickets if I remember rightly, and I had a text from one of the agents, aghast, telling me we were outselling the rest of the UK. I knew that 50 sales, for a show of just 200 capacity, was very strong for an opening week. As the weeks have gone on and the sales have increased, I've run into other people associated with the shows and the sales have become a talking point.
If you've ever asked someone in the music industry why so many bands don't come to Cardiff, then ticket sales are inevitably one of the key things they'll bring up. Ticket sales in Cardiff (and Wales) are slow. I mean really s.l.o.w. Often shows will sellout *eventually* but never at the pace of the rest of the UK. Almost guaranteed, Cardiff will be last.
Take 2008. I promoted an amazing bill with FUTURE OF THE LEFT, THE JOY FORMIDABLE, PULLED APART BY HORSES, PSYCHIC PARAMOUNT and STRANGE NEWS FROM ANOTHER STAR at Clwb Ifor Bach. Future Of The Left have played Clwb Ifor Bach many, many times.They have a great following in Cardiff, and I imagine they could sellout Clwb Ifor Bach with their friends alone. We'd been looking to step the band up to a larger venue, and the show was going to be announced to take place at the 500 capacity The Point, but just prior to announcement The Point closed down, so we put it on sale at the 220 capacity Clwb Ifor Bach. Easy, we all thought. No. Sales dragged, and dragged. With a week to go we'd still only sold half the tickets. Then in a rush we sold out the night before, and on the day turned close to 100 people away. There'd been no single, no album launch, no TV appearance to kickstart that last minute rush. Just the usual slow take up on tickets.
Imagine you're a band or a manager or an agent planning a UK tour. You'll have a limited budget or limited days to tour, so when you're picking your route you'll probably prioritize the towns where there'll be the biggest crowds, or the quicker selling shows. If a gig's going to sellout, then better it sells out way in advance so you can talk it up. If you're a national promoter, then you'll pick the places that sell quickly, not the places where you have to work harder and spend more money - denying you and the band an income. As a result Cardiff doesn't ride as high up the lists as it should for a capital city, and bands will often play a dozen shows in England with at least one in Scotland, before considering to come to Wales.
So if you were thinking of coming to Frankie & The Heartstrings, Summer Camp and The Neat, then don't procrastinate. Buy your ticket now. Look, here's the ticket link http://www.wegottickets.com/event/85803 Believe it or not, those advance sales will make a difference, and the knock on effect will be that if Cardiff improves in selling more quickly then more bands and agents will prioritize Cardiff, and Wales, when routing a tour. If you're coming to the show anyway, then what have you got to lose?