LETTER- Hooray for the venues!

Thanks for the October 25 "Entertainment overload" cover story. It's always neat to hear how many people actually go to shows vs. what might be expected. High ticket prices are keeping some folks from coming out, and it seems to be an industry-wide problem for big acts. 

However, as a Richmond resident, I have to say Charlottesvillians should come visit our Coliseum before they dismiss JPJ. We're a town of a million people and can't get regional cooperation to build a AAA baseball stadium, U of R football stadium, or a decision whether to refurbish or demolish and move the Coliseum.

I'm grateful for the venue boom in Charlottesville, but it's important to understand the substantial risk taken by the folks who put on these shows. There's tremendous uncertainty in predicting turnout, especially in a new venue. A good artist on a good night, in a nice venue, at a fair price can still lead to a financial disaster.  

I'd go out on a limb and suggest that many of the venues and events around town are put on by music fans for music fans, with nothing more than a hope to make a decent living (and to see great shows close up). As an aside, it seems that Capshaw-bashing is a full-time sport up there. An alternate perspective: music fans should remember that Capshaw booked many shows in Charlottesville and Richmond before he became hugely successful with DMB. 

At the time, it was suggested that Capshaw put on many shows that would be considered financially risky (a big blues act comes to mind) simply because he liked the artist. I can vouch, for certain, that Richmond's music scene, especially outdoor events, diminished greatly when Capshaw had to move his attention to DMB's success. However, soon after, a new generation of fans took up the rope and started putting on shows.  

That's the natural progression. Today, Richmond is seeing a boom in new venues and a crop of great new bands, native and just passing through. It's hard to get to all the concerts people are bringing to town!  

With the world of music distribution and radio changing so rapidly, I think we'll see artists of all sizes rely more heavily on touring income vs. record revenues to support their art. Thus it seems logical that free market investors, who happen to be music fans, will step up to the plate and host artists of all sizes with open arms.  

Sure, there might be a glut of venues, but here's hoping that both towns shake out with small, medium, and large venues that are well supported by both fans and touring artists. 

It's only rock n roll, but I like it. That's the true Mick effect.

J. Holdren