From: michael wheeler [boxsmwrc_at_btinternet_dot_com]
Sent: 01 February 2009 10:37
Subject: Fw: Would you be in favour of a "Music Box" at gigs in pubs ?
----- Original Message -----
From: michael wheeler
Sent: Sunday, February 01, 2009 10:36 AM
Subject: Re: Would you be in favour of a "Music Box" at gigs in pubs ?

Shelagh, sadly life seems to have arrived at a point where everything is measured in financial terms. The most important thing from as I see it, is to keep pubs open. How that happens needs in the first place for them to be viable buisnesses. The foundation stone of this, is that brewerys (and sadly pub companies) select suitable landlords. Secondly there needs to be people in each community that are prepared to help the landlord bring groups of people to the pub, who in simple terms buy drinks and provide the funds to run the buisness and make a profit. I do not believe that music alone can provide enough incentive to provide sufficent attraction that will generate the sort of money to run a pub, and pay musicians.
If I believed that I would run one myself.
I think the future for many pubs is grim. If you take the Bear, it has a number of benifits attributed to the Landlord that are not found frequently elsewhere.
Dave at the bear has a number of benifits, in the first place he is a single man and does not have a family to fund. Where this is not a benifit to most people he does not have the direct or arms length costs that arise from a family.  The Bear is in the town centre and gets lots of passing trade. He also gets of his backside and personally cooks basic pub lunch, not boiled in a bag "Brake Brothers" product. The price of his freshly cooked food is very OK. Dave is also very sociable and does not get drunk and force his opinions on others. At the bear you can book a bar for a private function and there are three sizes to choose from.
So if you take the bear as an example, you might agree that for a successful town centre pub it is likely to suceed as long as there is a suitable landlord. If you consider the "Three Tuns" Dave built a good customer base there that has dropped away since he left. I believe there were at least six groups some who have stopped going there. Sports groups, gardening, darts, our gang etc. The "Elephant" at Faversham is also thriving since Jim took it over as it was on its knees.
If you consider the "Swan" in Favesham Market place, which is currently boarded up, this pub is in one of the prime locations in Faversham and is not working. The Swan is close to the main car park also not affected by residential parking which means that you can park in the Market at night, so why is it not as popular as say the Anchor in Abbey street where its difficult to park and has similiar inside space.
In my view untill there are more suitable people recruited to run pubs there will be the continued decline that you now see. The only way that will happen is if the income for the landlord is enough to attract the right calibure of people.
With musicans looking for paid gigs in pubs, sadly they have to remember that thier fee has to come out of the profit on the bar for the period that they are playing. Therefore unless they and the landlord get the marketing right the decline of Music in pubs will continue. Where I think the idea of a voluntary collection box is a good idea, I am more of a realist and know that it will result in people putting loose change in the box most of which would be copper and not folding. If you want an example, the carol service in the Bear raised about 30.00 for the xmas lights.  If we had made a collection on the Burns night where most people had the opportunity to have a free small plate of hot food I doubt if it would have raised any more, this from a pub that had probably more people in it, than if there had been a paid band. The other alternative is of course if entry is by entrance fee, and this would really test the merit of any individual band. I doubt if many bands would have the bottle or self esteem to try that.
So its the old chicken and egg syndrome again. First we need to help save the pubs and then you might find music if the costs are right.
Best Wishes Mike
----- Original Message -----
From: Shelagh
Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2009 5:40 PM
Subject: Fw: Would you be in favour of a "Music Box" at gigs in pubs ?

This seems in accord with your last email Mike?
----- Original Message -----
From: Dr. Beau Webber
Sent: Saturday, January 24, 2009 9:58 AM
Subject: Would you be in favour of a "Music Box" at gigs in pubs ?

Further thoughts ......
Would you be in favour of a "Music Box" at gigs in pubs ?
My graph shows how live music is dying in Kent and East Sussex :
I and others are floating the idea that there should be a donation box in support of the live music in the pub.
No obligation to put anything in, but if you are there for the music, ask yourself what you would be spending on entrance fee and drinks at a folk club.
Don't put less in if you don't like the music - put MORE in and a note saying what music you would like ! Use a sealed envelope if you prefer.
The licensing laws may change to exempt small venues, and that may rescue live music in the long-run, but it wont happen in time if my graph is to be believed - we have to do everything we can to help preserve the music and those publicans brave (crazy ?) enough to put on live music.
A donation box where the money goes to fund more live-music gigs in the pub may be the answer, see the discussion page on KentFolk News :
Keeping Live Music Alive
Your opinions (say if private or for publication) to :
Dr. Beau Webber