Category Archives: Promotion

How to Throw a Jam Master Post

Part 1: Vibe – Deciding what exactly your event is going to be and what purpose it will serve in the scene; why are you throwing a jam?
Part 2: Budget – How much will your event cost total and where does the money go?
Part 3: Date & Venue – When and where should you throw your event?
Part 4: Personnel – Who should you hire and what exactly is their job?
Part 4.5: A Breaking Promoter’s Guide to Dealing with the DJ – Pretty self explanatory from the title but the info is useful for all members of your team
Part 5: Promotion – Getting the word out

Part 6: Final Hours – What’s the day of the event going to look like and what should you keep in mind?

How to Throw a Jam pt. 6: Final Hours

Bashville EmptyThis will be the last in the How to Throw a Jam series.  At the bottom, you’ll find links to all the previous installments in the series. In the future I might compile everything into a single PDF or other ebook format. If anybody’s interested in that, just let me know.
In this installment, I’ll be going over the final days of the event and how that can go, what speed bumps to avoid and what to do once everything’s settled. I’ll start off in the week leading up which mostly consists of…

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How to Throw a Jam pt. 4: Personnel

Venue and date are confirmed and it’s time to start hiring the talent that’s going to bring your event to life. Many general details such as payment, housing, travel expenses, contracts, etc. are already covered in A B-boy Promoter’s Guide to Dealing with the DJ so I’ll be skipping over a lot of those things here. Much of that is consistent with anyone you hire so I’d recommend reading that article after you get through this one.

In this installment, I’ll mostly cover what exactly you should look for in the specific people you hire so you can make sure you’re getting the best person for your particular event…
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How to Throw a Jam Pt. 2: Budget

You’ve decided on a vibe, so let’s figure out cost…how much is this going to run?

More than you have. Go into promotion expecting or at least prepared to lose money. There’s no way around it. I’ve never spoken to a single promoter that made a profit on their first (or sometimes, any) of their events. It’s just a fact of this style of promotion. Throwing a dance event is a gamble.

You’re not selling bottle service and a VIP section, you’re selling an opportunity to dance with a bunch of people who probably already see each other every weekend. It’s extremely easy for b-boys to talk themselves out of attending an event since there are so many these days. If you did the work we talked about in the article about vibe, then hopefully you’ve already got a concept that sets your event apart enough to make it worth going.

Now that it’s worth going to in your head, you have to put a dollar sign on all the things that make it that way…
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How to Throw a Jam Pt. 1: Vibe

Full disclosure: I’ve never thrown a jam. Why? It’s hard. That’s the first thing most new promoters get wrong. They think its easy. The common assumption seems to be that all you need to do is get a venue and people will flock from all corners of the globe. Sorry to break it to you but this isn’t Field of Dreams. It’s gonna take a lot more than a local rec center gym, a can-do attitude and James Earl Jones for people to show up just because you built it.

(correction: James Earl Jones might help)

They don’t think about costs of paying judges, DJs, hosts, hotel rooms, travel expenses, staff, graphic designers, printers, equipment rental, prizes or security. Sometimes they don’t even think of the fact that they need some of those things. You’d be surprised how often I’m contacted by promoters that have locked down a venue, hired judges, made flyers, sent out 1000 Facebook invites and don’t even have a sound system a week before the jam.

So what gives me the authority to write about this? I’ve been behind the scenes at a lot of events as the DJ or just a friend of the promoter  and I’ve seen just about every mistake a promoter can make. I don’t claim to be an authority on this, I’m just giving you the absolute basic things you need to do or at least think about. If you’ve never thrown a jam before, reading this is at least better than going in blind. If you want more info, look to your local scene. If you know promoters in the area or DJs who have been active in this for a while, talk to them. This isn’t the end-all, be-all in the subject and I certainly don’t know what it takes to recreate the success of Cros1, Mex or Tyrone of IBE, I’m just trying to help you not ruin your future as a promoter before you even get started.

Theres a lot to talk about when it comes to throwing a jam so this will be broken up into a few parts so I can be as in depth as possible.

Let’s start with a few things you can do without dragging any one else into this: Finding your vibe, budgeting and setting a date.

For today’s article, we’ll start with…
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A B-boy Promoter’s Guide to Dealing with the DJ

I’ve spent a majority of my DJ career spinning b-boy and dance events and in that time, I’ve unfortunately seen and heard about a lot of shadiness and unprofessionalism. This is a real problem and I hear complaints from another DJs on a regular basis. If you’re a promoter, this article is basically so you get an idea of where a DJ is coming from, what they need from you, and what you should and shouldn’t expect from them. I’m hoping to establish some best practices to prevent problems in the future for DJs or promoters.

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Why You’re Not Getting Booked (Link inside)

If you haven’t checked it out yet, DJ Tech Tools posts a lot of great articles. Recently, Nick Minieri of the Beantown Boogie Down blog posted this article: Bedroom DJ Woes: Why You’re Not Getting Booked (and What to do About It)

It does an excellent job of covering a major complaint of every DJ at some point in their career which is not getting work. There’s some great advice in there that applies just as much to breaks DJs as club DJs.

The Present and Future of “All Styles” Battles

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on Facebook, forums, at jams, at house parties after the jam, and in car rides that revolve around “All Styles” battles (I’ll explain why I’m using quotes later). There’s a lot of controversy as to what they are, what they should be and how (or even if) they should be integrated in to the b-boy community. These discussions always seem to occur with a lot of b-boys and b-boy promoters chiming in but the thing that’s absent is input from the all styles competitors, judges, and DJ’s themselves. In the rush to figure out how it fits in the b-boy community, they seem to have been left largely out of the equation.

In the past three years I’ve ended up DJ’ing a lot of All Styles battles at Bashville Stampede, the Battle Ground Zero series in Indiana, and the Sickest of the South series in Baton Rouge along with several in Atlanta. Over time, I’ve grown to really enjoy these battles and the vibe the competitors bring to it and I respect what I think is a new scene in it’s own right. In this post, I wanted to talk about my thoughts on the “All Styles” scene; what I think lead to it, where it is, and where I think it will or should go from here. Continue reading