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Everything posted by wishbonecav

  1. Read it again, Jeff. I know you cant wait to argue the point and be the smartest guy in the room, but "local band kids get in free" was a starting point. In my estimation, that's "something"; but I'm sure you'll maintain your 15 year track record of not giving an inch so you can dismiss it out of hand. It's boring and, not to belabor the phrase, a waste of time. If you don't want to expand on or root for other ideas or if you have all the answers, I can get you in touch with Allen. I'm sure you could do the same (or could have done the same long ago). Be well.
  2. The marketing department? I'm not sure its understood what DCA actually is. It's a handful of people who are decent organizers and get paid either a small stipend or nothing at all (most hours are volunteer) and run the circuit from home. The marketing department is every member past and present deciding to spread the word. That's the most people and the most effective. Suggesting the use of the alumni lists as a starting point didnt get much traction here and I believe that might be from misunderstanding what "DCA" is in the first place. Yes, being on that team for several years (pay: $0) gave me the opportunity to see it first hand. In many ways, it runs with spit and glue.
  3. But wait...i did. "Membership is mostly younger students (admit it), so the DCA schedule has to accommodate return to school for HS and college age people. That is mid-August. There is no real discussion that can start without this as a base line. Unless DCA suddenly attracts kids that aged out of junior from 2013-15 (and there are fewer of them than ever, especially on the east coast) then making this a bona fide WEEKEND activity for LOCAL kids who can actually PARTICIPATE without pissing off their band program is the only way to go. Then, i gave you the weekend schedule with the why's and wherefores. Good try, brother. Like I said, waste of time.
  4. LOL. I forgot where I was. Fresh ideas or enthusiasm are not expanded or brainstormed further on DCP. Another sad waste of time.
  5. How was regular season attendance? That might be a barometer of sustainability and a measure of the relationships the local organizers have with their community. You dont always need headliners to have a full house (see Rome, NY as an example) That said, its hard to host a show in a region where there are no more corps (Western NY) and the other member corps in the circuit are unwilling to bear the expense of travel. Appearance fees make the Buffalo, Rome and Erie DCI shows viable for all parties. Would the DCA down-staters go upstate for an appearance fee to have a show in Syracuse or Rochester? You cant reach fans if you dont reach out and meet them where they are. Central and Western NY and Canada are historically strong areas for drum corps. A mid season Saturday-Sunday slate in Rochester and Syracuse could be a cool happening for members and fans, alike. Vince subsidized the corps to get them to Rochester. Maybe that kind of shared risk / shared gate is a window to opportunity. I'd pay to see the Bucs and Cabs with 3 or 4 others. I might not travel very far to do it, but if the corps made an impression on that visit, I'd have good reason to consider making the trip to Champs to see them a second time.
  6. Say what you will. Youtube search Renegades 2007 Minicorps at DCA and let me know if that looked like a good time. Not everything is for kids. The 24-35 set ripped everyone's faces off (and they are some of the best players ever in the activity...look it up) and the 35-54 set that threw babies at the end didnt need to babysit high school marchers that day in order to claim the event as "theirs." DCA has never been for kids, but not everyone in that convention hall showed up in a wheelchair or with a walker or cane, either. That said, if the 9000 people (and there were 9000) that cheered for the Westshoremen in 1996 or the full houses from Allentown and Rochester are just old farts that deserve derision, I'd say that's a pretty cynical way to treat fans and comrades. Not only doesn't it help, but knowing they are treated that way is part and parcel why people run from the activity. Bringing them back after the damage has been done falls on those who care enough to do so. Joe Cav DCA Contest Staff 2007-2010 DCA Sponsor Liaison 2008-2009 WGI Regional Contest Staff 2013-present FFCC Contest Staff 2011-present FMBC Contest Staff 2012-present CSJA Visual Judge 2009-present UCF Pegasus World Guard Staff 2013 Jackson Heights Winter Guard Show Coordinator 2016-2017 Pegasus Cadets Director 2018 Rochester Patriots 84-91, Rochester Crusaders 90, Empire Statesmen 92-96. Hilton Cadets, Williamsport Millionaires Visual Staff with Mr B
  7. If membership is mostly post-college (and it WAS) scheduling isnt that big a problem. But DCA isnt 24-30 year old former junior members anymore. Membership is mostly younger students (admit it), so the DCA schedule has to accommodate return to school for HS and college age people. That is mid-August. There is no real discussion that can start without this as a base line. Unless DCA suddenly attracts kids that aged out of junior from 2013-15 (and there are fewer of them than ever, especially on the east coast) then making this a bona fide WEEKEND activity for LOCAL kids who can actually PARTICIPATE without pissing off their band program is the only way to go. Do you compete with DCI weekend? Of course not. That leaves the weekend after. A night show on Sunday is a tougher proposition without benefit of the holiday, but Kingston, Barnum, or PA still bring a crowd. It's 14 corps, for God's sake. Get em together, call it a Championship, and get the kids back to school. Here's the schedule: Friday Night Individuals start at 8, finish by 11. Everyone is in town anyway. If that isnt workable, nix individuals. We're fighting for the teams and circuit, anyway. Substitute could be an alumni party. Wear your colors. Cash bar. Saturday Prelims start at 10, finished by 3. Finals ticket gets you into prelims. Local band kids get in free (Mom and Dad can pony up, but $25 sounds reasonable). To make finals more interesting, no scores. Have a draw for appearance order on the 50 yard line with the top 5 being guaranteed a top 5 spot. If this idea sucks, and it kinda does, people will still be TALKING about it. Saturday Night Mini Corps and Alumni and a Corps Mingle with wristbands...over 21, under 21. Can start at 5 and go til whenever. Needs a name. Sunday finals start at 5. Corps that dont make finals get an exhibition run (because one and done SUCKS) so everyone attending is guaranteed two runs. Trust me, that has meaning...the 10th place corps was taking 10th anyway. This is NOT as big a deal as it's made out to be. Show done by 10. Buses roll at 11. Anyone that wants to hang til Monday? They can plan that ahead of time. Rates are cheaper anyway if its not a holiday weekend. Nobody misses band camp (that's usually during the week), fewer kids miss school or the start of school. There's PLENTY of time during the season to get some evaluations and do some show development. Win-win. My 02c to go with the other 04. 😛
  8. We do have to give credit where credit is due. The Alumni show and Mini-Corps show at the big venue were DCA inventions. The 2009 Champs in Rochester were a 40+ corps happening (when you include the field, Alumni and Mini-Corps) and the place was a zoo all weekend. There was a palpable "must see" for the Mini Corps, the alumni came in droves and the locale was accessible to the Canadian and Western NY spectators who could just about walk to the venue. DCA's idea for the Alumni Show, however, has grown long in the tooth, as a concept and with the aging of the members. While St Joe's was a full corps of yesteryear performers when they did the DCI Exhibition in 1995 and the DCA show 14 years later, those members and fans that may have been in their 50's (makes sense if their corps was strong in the late 1960's) are now ALL 75 or older. The same goes for the members of Scout House, Skyliners, BAC, and Bayonne. The audience that appreciated those moments "off the line" and "8 to 5" no longer exists. Witness the total lack of response for Madison this year when they marched "off the line". In 2005, that move garnered a standing ovation. This year, it was not even recognized. A comparable "throwback" of 25 or 30 years TODAY takes us back to drum corps in 1995....which simply doesnt have the same nostalgic appeal. It worked at the time. Time for something fresh. Mini-corps? Still a great idea (DCI even copied it). But, moving it outside was a miss. Making it a marching contest was a miss. Having it emphasize competing with Star as opposed to promoting it as a loose, party atmosphere was a miss. When it was a spectator-focused happening (with the bars at each corner and a chance for people to visit), it was awesome. And with each group having the screamers in the high register, without attention to the sheets and taking itself too seriously, that's when the atmosphere invited the most people. DCA has to be an invitation to enjoyment. If it's all about the corps on the field, there isnt enough history around the existing corps that allows enough people to care. After Bucs, Bush and Cabs, there isnt much to garner past enthusiasm for old rivalries, etc. The Hurcs and Sun people...there is little resemblance of a "senior" unit there. Sabers, Atlanta, Fusion and Cincinnati might be good corps, but there is limited history or following. The small corps get credit for "keeping the faith", but few people go to the show to see the small corps. DCI's Open division has full corps in the top 5 and still have trouble selling tickets. So it can't be "all about the corps" anymore. DCA has to assemble an event that appeals to people that have the wherewithal to spend both their money AND a holiday weekend. DCI provides a guarantee of that investment. It's a closed roof, 40 corps and a week's worth of choices. There are many ways to get your money's worth. The same fresh thinking that brought the Alumni and mini corps into the fold can guarantee the DCA attendee get the same. I say it starts with an appeal to those alumni lists and a reason to get together. Does it make sense to have that locally? Would Statesmen alumni be more likely to attend a reunion in Rochester than in Williamsport, PA? Perhaps. But they wouldnt get the CORPS and the CHAMPIONSHIPS as a backdrop...so that becomes the selling point. More mini corps. Replace the Alumni event. More of a party than just a contest. My 02c to go with my other 02c.
  9. DCA can certainly be around in 5 years if it sells its Championships as a convention or reunion that includes a competition, but where the contest is considered PART of the fun. The contest can certainly be the centerpiece, but the weekend as a bona fide convention event that includes alumni gatherings, corps reunions, dinner dances and additional entertainment options (think swing or cover band in a ballroom) can create an event atmosphere that invites past members to something that includes their participation as opposed to a simple spectator experience. A one-price ticket package that includes hotel, show admission and an invite to an alumni picnic (for example) might be the outside the box thinking that's required to reinvigorate the attendee experience. Every corps has alumni in the 100's and using those alumni lists to extend an invite to The DCA Convention might have more broad appeal than "that year's" championship. My 02c
  10. As directors, we've all used a little spit and glue from time to time to get the corps down the street. That means driving a truck if you're a little short to pay a driver. That means floating a few kids' fees on your own credit card because they promised to pay by Friday but showed up without the check. That means, sometimes, trying like hell to look at the big picture of 100 people and doing what you darn well hope is the right thing so you don't let people down and throwing up a Hail Mary that things will get sorted out on the fly. Is that always super-prudent? You know what? Probably not. And one's heart in the right place sometimes runs counter to what's available on the balance sheet. If you've run a group, you've been there. There is no doubt about it. "We can get caught up with Thursday-Saturday Bingo" is a familiar phrase. It is what it is. They got there. They did pretty well. They looked the part. They got past some real drama to get there (and the expectation of payments due that did not come in left them in a tough spot). We go on. It isnt the first time we've seen it. It won't be the last. Understanding it means to do something positive (like we did with Bushwackers), make it right with the Corporate people (I'm sure Allen is on top of it and the Williamsport people are pros and will go to bat for the event), and let the new people at Sun build on the momentum that it looks like they created in short order.
  11. Stunned that communication caption still exists. A set of criteria woven into ge language and giving two judges 60% of the outcome. Yet to see a result where the ge caption winner did not also take communication caption. 3 years of over weighted scores and A sheet that is removed far enough from every other band or corps sheet as to be irrelevant. Sad.
  12. Nobody wants to give their product away but there may have to be a larger macro view to 2016 that includes introducing new customers that can translate into a more successful 2017 event . If you offered a $25 all access wrist band good for general admission all weekend while still keeping your 40 to 40 premium seats at a premium rate is it possible that enough buzz and revenue and value would be created with new customers to have them come back again next year? if you ran this as a promo and kept a running count down of tickets sold on the Facebook page website or other portal it would create its own demand Imo
  13. great. how many butts does that put into the seats this past year or next year? Ads in Annapolis or Indiana dont solve the current problem. Doesnt seem like that big a deal at this point.
  14. Capacity: 4,032 front side Corps at Champs: 35 Corps members at Champs: 2,700 (using NE Brigand's number as the official-unofficial count and adding 100 for i&E participants not affiliated with a corps this year and 100 for the Hall of Fame Festivities and 6 staff members per corps) People accompanying a marching member or participant to Rochester: 1,800 (lets call it 0.67 per person. Some bring their spouse or friend, some bring mom or dad, some bring nobody, some bring 2 people (mom AND Dad)... statistically, lets call it 0.67 people accompanying our 2500 members. Thats 1800 people that come to DCA because they have a dog in the fight. Put another way, they were coming to Rochester anyway.) Marching at Finals : 15 corps, 1,100 (wrist bands for them) Non-Finalist Marching Members: 1,400 (wrist bands for them) People that go every year that don't need, want nor respond to advertising and basically wouldn't be kept away by wild horses: 1,000, most of whom are former marching members. That's a total of 5,300 people. Let's say half go to Finals and half stay at the hotel or go home. And of the 1,000 that "go every year", lets say half indeed ARE kept away by the wild horses. If the venue was described as 2/3 full at Finals (!), attendance estimates at 2,700. That's right at half of the people listed above: Marching members, people they brought, staff, Hall of Famers and guests and a few alumni. But, again, only about half. This really isnt an event so much as it is a get-together. How many non-affiliated drum corps or just plain music "fans" actually make it a point to go to the DCA Championships or attend as a result of a sales and marketing effort from DCA? The number might well be zero. PS DCI is an event. There isnt a home corps within 200 miles, so the draw isnt the local outfit. The Blue Devils win all the time and apparently #### everyone off, yet they keep showing up in greater numbers. Let's say every one of the 30 corps in Indy averages 100 kids, that's 3000 members. Each kid could bring 4 people (5x the number I used in my DCA methodology) to the show and that's only 12000 of the 24000 that went to FInals. That's double the travel and at twice the price. That's an event. Big difference. PSS If DCA has been in ROC for 5 years and not one email address, corps alumni list or bona fide facebook page has been created to capture that and create institutional memory and a sales channel for future events, that has to start as soon as possible. DCA will be in ROC in 2017 also, so it is not too late. Unless, of course, the new Media buys for the broadcast are filling the hole. At that point, an effort to improve/expand the live audience may be a reasoned cost-benefit decision.
  15. Congratulations. Not one solid idea. People make their Labor Day plans well before Labor Day. They are staying away from DCA in droves and no advertiesement the week of Finals is going to sway them to skip whatever plans they made. A banner or tv commercial is not going to create an a-ha moment where a family says "Let's skip that trip to the beach and go to DCA." You get em long before that, or you dont. Labor Day is a habit. 4th of July is a habit. Want proof? What did you do for 4th of July this year? About the same thing you did last year. Labor Day plans are made well in advance. Either DCA is one of the choices or its not. But even the locals werent aware it WAS a choice. Come on. Excuses (waaah, the Buccaneers are too good) and arguing over whether or not you saw an ad or banner doesnt mask the fact that this years attendance SUCKED and next years doesnt look any better. No new ideas show up and zero supportive comments for anything positive show up. No one has stepped up to the plate to say "I'll do THIS" or "I'll do THIS". Its more of the same. Blame and run? That's it? Nobody wants to even talk to a customer? You assume the customer just doesnt want to go (from California) because the Bucs are the perennial champion? And that's it. And you argue the point. Pretty succinct. What if the customer doesnt care who wins, but wants to have a good time and has no real expectations any more about what that means? Everyone trips over each other to show how smart they are but, and I re-read all this, came up with nothing but criticism for other people and places or other vague ideas that "dca" or dci should do...but no plan. Its not the venue. Its not the parking spaces or the fair at Allentown. DCI week on a Tuesday? REALLY? 4000 seats and not one person says "we have an awesome product! We can do this! 4000 is a joke! We've done double that before!" Instead its all this negative nancy crap and how dead DCA is. Guess what? You might be right. Very sad. :(
  16. All this over 4000 front side seats at Championships that we cant seem to fill. How has it been done before? Vince made sure to invite everyone and was RELENTLESS about making it so. He made it a PERSONAL invitation and people came in droves. Biggest crowd in 20 years. Had to flip the field to try to accomodate it. Say what you want....he made it a personal thing because he said he would do something and DELIVERED....he said "I'll give you the biggest crowd in 20 years". Vince staked his reputation on it. 9,500 people. Hadn't seen that in the 20 years before, Haven't had one that big in the 20 years since. When Tom and Donna made MiniCorps a "must see" event, people that used to blow it off or avoid it on purpose now came EARLY on purpose. Hype, enthusiasm and a personal invitation. Free wasn't the draw. (Trust me, money gets spent at MiniCorps.) If it was all about "free", it would have been packed every year prior. It wasnt. It became an event to see, be seen and not to miss....and it was more a social event (!!!) than a contest. Awesome. These are successes that can be (and really must be) duplicated. Who will stake their reputation on 4,032 people at DCA 2016? I'll do it.
  17. When have you seen a DCI ad locally? Ever. Or a DCI ad on a bus? Ever. You saw one when you got to the event. Great. You were already there. There is a media savvy that the younger gen "gets" and they are hyped and enthusiastic or they generate the hype and enthusiasm. They know how to create get-togethers. 24,000 went to DCI. That's a get together. 1,200 watched a Cavaliers practice...that's a big crowd that kept growing as the kids kept texting each other..."yo, come to the high school, dude....the Cavaliers are here." How many people ever went to DCA because of an ad in the times? Three? People go because of word of mouth....(MOUTH! Trust me, we have PLENTY of those!).....and a direct invitation...and buzz. It's not about radio and tv. Its about making it a good enough prospect that your people tell my people. The band kids trade videos and hype items all summer long. They know dci is coming to town because they HEARD it, then went to DCI.org and FOUND OUT THE DETAILS....easy. I rooted for the Sunrisers to make finals this year. Why? Because Dave Hobart made sure I did. He was non-stop with the updates and enthusiasm and pretty soon, I felt like part of the team. I didnt make it to DCA but sure as hell knew about the fundraiser contest between Bush and Sun. Just ike I knew about the SAVE THE BUSHWACKERS campaign a few years ago. Word of mouth started it, word of mouth kept it going....goals were met and people are now on the list as PART OF THE TEAM. Do they get me for a donation now every year? OF COURSE!!! They reach out with a thank you and an "oh by the way" which is WELCOMED...and I get invited to steak dinners and people's houses and and and...all because I sent out an envelope and a few emails. Organic is the way. Freakin strangers see an ad on the side of a bus and go, "what's drum corps?". Our family is bigger than 4000 people! Our family needs to know they are invited! CALL SOMEONE!!!! POST SOMETHING! BE POSITIVE AND ENTHUSIASTIC! "DCA" isnt the solution. Some vague comments about advertising isnt the solution. A pseudo professional, armchair balance sheet analysis isnt the solution. WE ARE THE SOLUTION!
  18. Mike.....what does that have to do with getting them to Rochester for DCA Championships? At some point, there has to be a point. Or else, there is no point.
  19. Not sure the group gets it. It isnt about the bid city or the hotel rooms when the event can be held in Rochester, NY and the people in Rochester, NY are unaware that it is being held. Substitute the name of the city and the same problem exists. Does anyone outside the ever shrinking niche of an audience know (or care) that the event is being held? There is no excuse for the lack of contact with the Statesmen, Crusaders, St Joes, Brigadier, Patriots, Greece, Upstate, etc etc organizations especially when DCA leadership in some cases hails from these organizations. The people within a 50 mile radius of the show are the ones MOST likely to buy a ticket. Are they contacted? If they were taken for granted, they did not deliver. Entertainment is a contact sport. An organizational phone or email list is not that hard to come by. Getting the word out is the first and most major step. Once that happens, people in our drum corps community are smart enough to figure out what to do (if you arent sure that's true, just ask the Bushwackers who saved their corps by getting the word out). PS I suggest that DCA will remain a largely older audience. Summers are for kids...you take em to the DCI show. Labor Days are for famlies...to go boating, grilling and watch football. DCA might be best for corps alumni and parents who have sent their kids off to college and are looking for something to do with people like them. I am absolutely sure there are 4,032 of them within 100 miles of that stadium. There are now 357 days left to find them.
  20. I bet this is the part where the 5 people left on DCP start to pee on the point I'm trying to make. The Kingston show is an example of good community relationship building, but...alas....there was no Kingstion show this year so that generally dismisses any part of the conversation that came before. Your sandbox, guys. My mistake. Been down this road one too many times before :) All the best.
  21. Mike from Erie - I would venture that the perception of DCA is rooted in an expectation of quality than quantity. People pay good money to see shows with 5 corps. This show had 15 in 2 classes with Star in exhibition. That's a good show, with or without Westshoremen. If the perception is that Fusion, Kidsgrove, Sabers and Cadets2 and Atlanta are not good substitutes for Empire, Brigadiers, Renegades, Crusaders and Westshore...that's DCA's problem to solve. There is one drum corps within 200 miles of Atlanta, but 18,000 people show up there to watch drum corps. That isnt all alums or moms and dads. That's fans. On the flip side of "major" events, the ability to sell tickets year after year even with fewer or different or "lesser" corps (ie the Rome, NY show) means there is a relationship cultivated with the event and its fans (most of whom couldnt name three of the drum corps they saw within 20 minutes of the end of the contest). Not sure DCA, the entity, has that. DCA Rochester used to have that....at Holleder Stadium everybody remembers drum corps as a big deal. Some of the corps have it, eg Hawthorne in Kingston. That's a tough ticket regardless of the lineup. People just plain go to that show. They make plans to go every year. They are made to feel welcome and special somehow. That's a big deal. Relationships mean the show isnt prediicated only on the whiz bang..., with 35 corps, there is plenty of whiz bang. The "spectacle" is there. 4032 people need enough reason to go check it out
  22. The stadium experience, from a production standpoint, offers many opportunities to freshen and surprise. There's plenty of fan feedback available that is often free (of charge) and available (on social media). For example: the Exhibitions are almost universally panned, not for their production value, but for their placement in the programming. StarU and Carolina Gold performing productions that are incongruous to the past three hours of competition makes for an odd fit. Putting them at the beginning is reasonable as a warm up act (11th place) and for recognition (mini-corps winner) while giving the late arriving fan a chance to get acclimated to the FInals environment before the first competitor. Pre-show atmosphere can be enhanced by any of the mini-corps or mixed ensembles in the stadium concourse. Those folks are wrist banded for the most part, anyway and i cant think of too many groups that would balk at the chance to play together again on Sunday if asked. Speaking of wrist bands, how about a Prelims-Alumni-Finals GA ticket package that gives the traveling fan all-access and a program book. The three 2015 shows at regular GA ran $20, $18, $40 = $78. For 2015, the reserved seats at the Prelims and FInals plus a ticket to the Alumni came to $108. This might take a little research to pinpoint, but a suggested "GA wrist band" price for the weekend might be $60 while leaving the red seats as premium/reserved. That number is attractive enough to generate buzz and presales, which generates scarcity and a "hot ticket", which generates more sales. Even a Prelims-Alumni combined ticket (buy one, get both) might get a few more fans to town on Saturday and introduce more fans to the alumni show that otherwise have skipped it year after year. Speaking of the alumni show, Kelly's Apple Farm should be on hand to hand out free fresh cider and fried cakes to anyone showing up to that event. Yes, the Sahlen's and Canteen people would have a coronary at the suggestion. But "Breakfast with the Corps" sounds a whole lot more social and fun than "The Alumni Spectacular" which, as a brand, needs a freshening and, truly, more fans.