A rough order of priority for factors that make me decide whether or not to go to a gig
This is based on myself and myself alone, and although I’m not on the whole inclined to think of myself as any kind of special case (I haven’t been a teenager for a long time now, and thus have realised that I’m just as boring and predictable as everyone else) I’d probably say that I don’t have gigging habits that I’d describe as widely spread (in brief: used to go to loads; don’t go to loads anymore; in not going to loads still probably end up going to more than anybody who doesn’t specifically go to loads; I like both kinds of music, Country and Western). This may lead any individual to decide that this isn’t worth paying any attention to. I also don’t actually live in the town in which I end up most often attending gigs (Birm’nam). If you’re not interested in punters from beyond the moat, this may also lead you to decide that this isn’t worth paying any attention to.
An important thing to note: #1 is absolute (self-evidently). #2 isn’t absolute but is somewhere near. Everything else is just an order of weighting – failing on #381 wouldn’t mean that doing really well in #382 is completely unimportant, although it might.
1) I need to know about the gig, and I am not omniscient.
If I don’t know about it, I won’t be there. This seems obvious enough.
2) I have to be at least in some way interested
It’s a big one, this. I don’t need to already be an established fan of any of the bands in question by any means (actually, I probably more often go from live to recordings than vice versa with contemporary bands), but I need some reason to go to this one rather than the gig down the road or no gig at all. One or more bands I like, one or more bands that sound like they might be interesting, some interesting theme for the gig as a whole, a promise that someone is going to buy all my drinks for me, I like your face and your swarthy Latino charms, or whatever-else-have-you. “Supporting a friend’s endeavours” would be a good one if I had any friends, but I haven’t so it isn’t.
3) I need to be able to get there/get back from there
…And ultimately I suppose the “getting back from there” is the bigger thing. It’s not necessarily anything to do with proximity – Worcester might not be far from here, but I’ve never been to a gig there. If there’s one band in particular I want to see and they’re not likely to be on/finished by a time I’m going to be able to get back after, then I’m not likely to go. I’m not a motorist, I don’t have a spare £381 to spend on taxis for every gig, and only in the very rarest of occasions will I be willing to get a hotel room and make a holiday out of it (Iggy & The Stooges in May, yeeeah!). Similarly, “possible but awkward or really really looooong” transport necessaries won’t always prevent me from going, but will make me far less likely to.
4) Ideally I’d like to go beyond “…in some way interested…” and into the realms of “very interested”
Three bands I want to see is preferable to just one band I want to see (this doesn’t mean just add more on, I’m not keen on those gigs where they try to squash five/six bands into an evening), a band I really want to see will be preferable to a band I’d just quite like to see, two people showering me with surprise presents will be preferable to one etc.
4) The actual venue
If it’s at a venue I dislike then I’m less likely to go than if it’s at a venue I like. Another obvious one.
Or, perhaps, ‘relative price’ – fairly or unfairly, I reluctantly expect to pay £381,799 for a gig at the NEC, but think (say) £5 for local bands in Scruffies would be taking the Michael. A gig being too dear wouldn’t definitely put me off, but (again) it makes things less likely.
6) Don’t be a tit
Generally being a plonker and getting on my nerves makes me less likely to want to go to your gig (this probably explains why nobody came to the few gigs that I put on myself, back in the day). Again, it scales down – being a Seig Heil-ing Nazi will be a bigger factor than simply saying stupid and irritating things. The sad thing is that there’s rarely a shortage of gig promoters willing to say stupid and irritating things (see possible later post, if y’all continue to wind me up).
None of this is by any means a matter of precise mathematics, it’s just an attempt to systemise what my thought processes have been. I certainly don’t run through this as a checklist every time I consider a gig.