Krakatoa hosts live music events during peak trading times, from 8pm to 11pm on Fridays & Saturdays, when most city centre bars are at their busiest. We estimate that £100K of annual drink sales are sacrificed through operating as a grassroots music venue.
Furthermore, each gig has a base cost of £250, which is incurred by paying the booker, promoter, cashier, bouncer, and engineer. Also factored into that is the cost of promotional materials, wear & tear on equipment, increased power consumption, and the obligatory PRS fee. Other than some additional advertising and rider, similar costs are involved in hosting a local showcase, as a ‘name’ touring act, making grassroots gigs proportionally less cost effective.
Aberdeen has around 100 bands, plying their trade in a handful of venues, concentrated within a small geographic area, with the next nearest city an hour’s drive away. By way of comparison, Glasgow and Edinburgh have a catchment area ten times the size, with venues spread much further apart, and benefit from better access to the touring circuit.
A short moratorium within a 2 mile radius of the venue, helps maximse attendance, facilitating higher payments to performer(s). Sadly, it’s not unheard of for bookers to engage in sharp practice, such as deliberately booking a popular act, a week before it were due to appear at a competing venue. Moratoriums afford the most straightforward means of avoiding that.
Ultimately the choice rests with the artist, who can always opt to cancel their booking. Where the moratorium is breached at short notice, we may have little option other than to proceed with the slot. Whether this impacts on our relationship with the act in question, depends on the resultant attendance. If local showcases begin to incur unsustainable losses, then we’d be forced to cut back on them, a scenario which would be detrimental to everyone concerned.
Black Cat is incorporated as a non-profit organisation, operating to enhance the local grassroots music scene. Four of our members are unpaid volunteers, and the rest donate a significant proportion of their free time. Any surplus the business generates, whether on the door or over the bar, is entirely allocated to that purpose.