It finally happened.
Was it the stormy weather, the drop in temperature?
Was it the cumulative effect of another brutal work week?
Whatever the case, I did not attend when I very much planned to attend a particular band’s show.
What should one do in that situation?
First, here are three things not to do, from the perspective of many years of conversations with show bookers/ show performers. No, I will not name names.
It is an innocuous enough phrase, posted often on social media event pages. The intent is to show support. The problem is that your spirit is not going to pay to attend the show. Your spirit is not going to buy drinks/food at the bar. Spectral evidence went out with the Salem Witch Trials. This is a binary: did attend/ did not attend. Those who attend make the event make financial sense, make it closer to successful. Those who do not, do not. If you got the spirit but lose the feeling, why is that important to broadcast? DM them.
If someone is asking you this and then they do not attend, perhaps they were trying to be sly. It is as if the folks involve will remember those queries and think you were making an effort. This does not matter. You did not attend. There is no try. This may seem brutal, but the rough math of who is going/not going is very important to the venue and the performers. It is not the most idealistic part of all this show business, but it is the reality.
This column will be published the day after a surprise benefit show at the Ottobar vaporized all available tickets in a nanosecond. A very sincere shout-out to the bands and the venue for pulling this together, as a benefit is put on for a cause. If you get in for free, you are not supporting the cause. If you are on the guest list for the benefit show and do not go (yes, this has happened), you are keeping people who wanted to pay to go from going. Venues have capacities. You not only did not support the cause, you also negatively impacted the funds raised.
The above three are from a universe of ways to not do this.
Here is what I do when I plan to go and then do not go. I don’t know if it is any better, but it is where I have landed.
The next time I see the person/performers, if it is within a week or so, I ask them how it went. This does two things: it acknowledges that I did not go and expresses my sincere curiosity about the success or “failure” of the event. I used to apologize for not making it out, but there is too much going on these days in Baltimore, a wonderful problem to have. I just own it. This isn’t an “excuse note” situation. My reasons are my reasons, and we all have a right not to attend and we all have the right to keep those reasons private.
In short, just talk to the person as if they were real to you. It should get sorted out fairly quickly.
Then, we can all move on to the complicated calculus of the next event.
See you there, actually and physically.