Tag Archives: events

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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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