[Callers] Scheduling/programmer Question

Eric Black eric at mirador.com
Thu Sep 12 20:03:32 PDT 2013

Well, BACDS books some dances on short lead time, and some with
long lead time, but most kind-of quarterly.  There are good reasons
that apply in different situations.

I can amplify a bit on what Kalia and Jim have said about the San
Francisco BACDS dances (I booked and essentially ran the Saturday Palo
Alto contra from 1983 to 2009, and started the Wednesday Berkeley
contra in 1983).  And since 2010 I've been Manager of the BACDS
American Dance & Music Week ("AmWeek").

Here's more information than you probably want, but maybe everything
in here is useful to someone even if not all to everyone.

BACDS has 25-30 dances a month, counting both contra and English.  At
one time the "Bay Area" in the name BACDS ranged from Sonoma in the
north to Monterey in the south.  That was just plain ridiculous.  Now
there are 3 different CDSS affiliates covering that 3-hour-driving-time
region.  I say this to point out that BACDS, its dance events, and the
programmer/bookers have situations, problems, and blessings that can
be quite different from those experienced by a group that puts on one
contra dance series with dances once a week, or every 2 weeks, or
even once a month.  As is often said, YMMV.

Because our printed calendar is printed on a quarterly basis, the
deadline for having all the blanks filled in comes every 3 months.
That means that for some dances (beginning of the quarter) there is
much less lead time than for others (at the end of the quarter).  So,
for example, the first dance in October is first publicized at the
beginning of September.  The drop-dead deadline for printing is the
week before, and there are still some appearances of that ubiquitous
band "TBA".  (they sure do get around...)

We like to feature the performing staff at camps and weekends also at
our regular series dances, for many reasons:
   - to increase their exposure (and enhance the profitability, or at
     least increase the liklihood that their trip is at least more
     heavily subsidized);
   - to help spread the travel expense we are covering over more events;
   - to give event participants another taste to help ameliorate their
     "post-camp depression";
   - to give dancers who couldn't attend the camp or weekend a chance to
     hear & dance to the bands and callers

Those "satellite" dances need to be booked at the same time as the
dance camp or weekend.  Some of those are booked a year or more in
advance, so some regular series dance evenings might well be filled in
far in advance of the normal quarterly schedule.

We also like to support traveling/itinerant bands and callers.  Just
because it takes more advance planning to put together a tour that
makes sense, some of those dates also might get filled in ahead of
normal schedule. And if someone contacts us after a date is booked,
we may talk to the band/caller already booked and see if they are
willing to move to another date.  Sometimes a slight shuffle makes
room for more.

But most of all, we know that we need to support our local bands and
callers because that's where tomorrow's Hot Dance Band and Hot Caller
come from.  So we like to keep the scheduling as late as possible for
as many regular dances as possible, with the requirement that we list
actual bands (with musicians' names!) and callers on the printed
publicity which comes out quarterly.

There!  Much more information than you ever wanted :-)  But maybe some
of the reasoning behind it will be useful.


Eric Black  eric at eric-black.com
New CD:    http://AmWeek.org/WBB2/
BACDS American Dance & Music Week:  http://AmWeek.org

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