Saturday, March 27, 2010

the concert saga continues...

For months we've been working on a BIG concert to raise money for a family still living in a FEMA trailer after Hurricane Katrina, so they can have their own home again. This has been a MAJOR undertaking one I have regretted often as it becomes frustrating or overwhelming.  This will likely be the biggest single event my church has ever put on. The original discussion started in April last year after we got back from Mississippi and 3 missioners shared their stories with the church.  My people were automatically on board and wanted to raise money to fund a house.  Several ideas were thrown out there and the concert seemed like the one that could give us the most bang for our buck.  So we got to work and started planning.  Over the summer there were some obstacles, and the original Fall date was postponed.  We did a silent auction instead and raised over $5000.  After we finished that, we got to work on the concert again.  We worked on booking bands and a venue.

I need to say that when you are a small church that has not done this kind of event before, no one in the industry seems to have any sense of faith.  I suppose with good reason.  They've been burned by small churches with no experience who promised money or a big event and couldn't make it happen.  But one after another we heard from the can't pull this off!  And then they would proceed to drag their feet in helping or working with us. Contracts and offers took forever.  Emails were returned after weeks of waiting. It was a bit ridiculous.  After all, by slowing the process, they were only stacking the deck against us.  Their doubts seemed to want to morph into a self-fulfilling prophesy. 

But our group remained determined.  They continued to call and persevere.  And finally we got the band contract and had a 90% go from a venue....but they wouldn't move without the band names (and the bands didn't want to move without a contract from the about a rock and a hard place).   So we met with venue #1 and they said there was a "conflict" with another group, and they would pursue a compromise.  So we waited.  And then "No."  We couldn't have the venue.  What?!  For months we had been working with them and planning on this, and now nothing.  Only 3 months from the concert day and nothing?  UGH!

So, we got to work.  And pursued other options. (All the while with the band company breathing down our neck and threatening to back out if we couldn't get a venue in a week--but actually ended up offering grace and more time and has been wonderful since we confirmed our venue!).  So, we got venue #2 lined up with only a few additional approvals needed.  Again, we were given the impression that we were about 80% confirmed.  And then, wham! Nothing.  Nope, we couldn't use them either.  (I could quote our major stumbling block but should probably keep those words out of this for now...), we scrambled yet again.  College campuses, high school football fields, other churches.  Calls, emails, visits.  A LOT of scrambling.  More options that got oh-so-close and then fell through. And then finally venue #3.  An area church.  (Whom we now love by the way...!!!) 

It took some more negotiating (apparently that's how this whole gig works) and we got the contract.  !!!!!!!!  Let me repeat...WE GOT THE CONTRACT!!!!  My mantra through all of this has been "Get it in writing!"  I'm sure R wants to smack me every time I say it, but with 2 failed venues and a lot of frustration, something in writing could have spared us. 

So now we are back to full boar planning.  We were able to add 2 more bands to the schedule and are working on concessions and publicity, and churches to sell tickets, and printing the actual tickets, etc, etc, etc.

We had our first committee meeting in months to go over the contract and the rider and all that is expected of us. We delegated some tasks and planned for our next meeting.  All was good.

Until...the production company decided charity was no longer important and priced themselves out of the game.  They wanted more than we are paying the bands.  A christian company that we've been working with for months who had offered to help, no longer helpful.  SUPER frustrating.  After R shared the news and headed to work yesterday, I screamed.  Literally. I screamed.  Seriously?!  Another obstacle...not just a little hiccup or bump on the road. No sound. No lighting. No stage. No media! You have GOT to be kidding me!

So, I did what I do best.  I cried.  I asked for prayers.  And I got to work.  After all, we ARE having this concert.  There's no way we are not.  (You hear me O Thrower of Evil Obstacles?!  We are having this concert because we follow Christ and believe in showing extravagant love and mercy and compassion to others!  We will make this work and God will be glorified O Ridiculous One Who Likes To Get In Our Way!) 

So Thursday I made calls, sent emails, sent faxes, made copies and tried to find a new production company.  (This is still in the works, but we have calls in and are praying...a lot...please pray for us...and for a charitable company that isn't so focused on money or ego that we can't work with them. And if you know a good company that works in the IE and would be reasonable and good to work with, PLEASE let me know. 

oh yeah, did I mention pray?!?! 

And/or, if you want tickets let me know.  Because we are putting on a concert with some amazing talent!

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