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Lame or worth pursuing?

  • Lame

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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Either the dumbest idea ever or the coolest. You tell me.

Problem:
There's nowhere to go to just play and hang and see other bands. Concert venues are temporary and you go home after the show - to your shit bedroom. The next time you get together with your mates it's at some theater playing Pitbull the next night.

The need:
A semi-permanent metal festival facility where metal bands, fans and babes can come and go, or stay and chill. A space just outside your metro area open 24/7. Think Burning Man or Rennaissance Faire for metal - but open all the time. A spot for your band to play when you want, and big-name metal acts to draw concert crowds.

Setting:
You know of old properties in your area, out in the sticks. Abandoned, crumbling, too expensive to revamp and redevelop. Old mills, factories, refineries, quarries and the like. They sit forever because there's nothing else you could do with them.

Not only are they cheap, but well outside of metro area zoning and noise restrictions. My assumption is that the cost to buy or lease the property is very low, and the restrictions the county would put on it would be minimal. And they look cool.

Design:
Set design, costumes, lighting. Build your part of a real metal world. To bring up the Burning Man analogy again, you could suggest or build the coolest scenery you can imagine. Personally I want a scrapped 737 for one of the stages.

Question for you:
An idea worth continuing or doomed to fail? What would you like to see/do with such a place?

Here are different stylistic approaches, trying to figure out what looks metal thematically, just as a starting point, then posting more below:



We all want to artistically contribute, and this place would let you do that.



It's just a hypothesis now, based on the success of other festivals - but adding the dimension of not closing.



Basically: 1. Find an abandoned property like one of these...



2. Get the money together (crowdsource) to lease or buy it..



3. Safety-related upgrades and insurance...



4. Consider additional facilities that would let you stay for awhile...



5. Like a hostel, RV site, whatever's needed to keep everybody fed.



With continuously available stage space, anyone can get up and play



Big bands would be booked to drive in crowds.



You can stay all night and all weekend. If your favorite band is there you don't all have to leave.



The rest of the ideas are up to you.



I'm doing more homework and research on the viability of the idea,



Much of it based on feedback from you guys who are the real deal.



Thanks for taking your time on this...













Whatcha think?
 

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Like Disney World for metal. I'd love to visit a place like that, and have long wanted to combine the immersive entertainment/environment of a theme park with a concert experience. Having it as a 24-hour hang out spot is likely impossible. Staffing it, alone, would be insane, as would insurance, and keeping the law happy. Also, you'd never have enough bands interested and available to keep shows happening as often as you want to, without making huge sacrifices in quality. If the ratio of good shows to bad shows drops too far, the place gets a reputation of having shitty bands playing there, and people stop coming except for big events. It takes a lot to keep people coming on a regular basis, especially with such a novelty destination.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Like Disney World for metal. I'd love to visit a place like that, and have long wanted to combine the immersive entertainment/environment of a theme park with a concert experience. Having it as a 24-hour hang out spot is likely impossible. Staffing it, alone, would be insane, as would insurance, and keeping the law happy. Also, you'd never have enough bands interested and available to keep shows happening as often as you want to, without making huge sacrifices in quality. If the ratio of good shows to bad shows drops too far, the place gets a reputation of having shitty bands playing there, and people stop coming except for big events. It takes a lot to keep people coming on a regular basis, especially with such a novelty destination.
Thanks so much for that 1159 - you're hired. What was that show in your avatar again? It was the funniest thing ever. You bring up good concerns, sounds like it should grow very slowly and gradually as these issues pop up. Say, one stage to start. To pay the bills, bring out food trucks, some kind of shopping etc. like a Renn fair model....

Having it as a 24-hour hang out spot is likely impossible. Staffing it, alone, would be insane, as would insurance, and keeping the law happy.
Yeah, have to model this out financially. Perhaps you could close the park portion - say between 12am and 7am - and keep people in a camping/RV/hostel situation...?

Also, you'd never have enough bands interested and available to keep shows happening as often as you want to, without making huge sacrifices in quality. If the ratio of good shows to bad shows drops too far, the place gets a reputation of having shitty bands playing there, and people stop coming except for big events.
Correct me here but I'm assuming such a venue, maybe an hour's drive out of town, would draw a percentage of regular local bands and fans as well as the tour bands. Guys who are playing in your typical downtown piss-soaked basement club that is going bankrupt and can't pay their rent. It sounds like you're saying keep the place open only on weekends then.

It takes a lot to keep people coming on a regular basis, especially with such a novelty destination.
Yeah, and somebody pretty smart would have to understand how to maintain that quality reputation. My big fear is that it would look too corporate, not counterculture enough - Disney as you say. Agreed, that is the biggest challenge.
 

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Correct me here but I'm assuming such a venue, maybe an hour's drive out of town, would draw a percentage of regular local bands and fans as well as the tour bands. Guys who are playing in your typical downtown piss-soaked basement club that is going bankrupt and can't pay their rent. It sounds like you're saying keep the place open only on weekends then.
No one is driving an hour out of town during the week unless they're seeing a major touring act. And high school kids even less so. Local bands will not draw people to a park an hour out of town. I know for a fact. I played a festival last summer run by a friend of mine, that consisted of almost every local band here, and some big name headliners, and attendance was really not great at all. And those who did show up, mostly got drunk in the campground all day until the headliners went on. The reason the shitty local venues are shitty, and the local bands aren't getting anywhere, is because the majority of them aren't good enough to get people's attention. It's why people don't just go check out local bands they've never heard of before anymore: they've sat through too many mediocre to terrible bands, and the odds of them stumbling across their new favourite band are very slim.

Yeah, and somebody pretty smart would have to understand how to maintain that quality reputation. My big fear is that it would look too corporate, not counterculture enough - Disney as you say. Agreed, that is the biggest challenge.
That corporate stuff is what's required to keep you open. The trick is finding ways of hiding it. Or just not caring.

Think of something like Warped Tour. It's flooded with sponsors, and trendy bands that will draw enough crowd to pay the bills for the emerging artists that Kevin Lyman wants to give exposure to. Everyone knows it's commercial and corporate, but kids show up anyways, because all the bands they want to see are there.

I love your idea if we're talking about a festival, even an absurdly long festival (like, a week), but it doesn't work as a 24 hour, 365 days a year thing. It won't become a constant hangout spot, because your target demographic can't afford to be there often. It's a destination, an event.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
The reason the shitty local venues are shitty, and the local bands aren't getting anywhere, is because the majority of them aren't good enough to get people's attention. It's why people don't just go check out local bands they've never heard of before anymore: they've sat through too many mediocre to terrible bands, and the odds of them stumbling across their new favourite band are very slim.
Yeah, to distribute risk I think you'd develop the other revenue channels quickly to avoid just what you're saying; dependency on shit bands nobody will come out to see. Take Renn Fair for example, they've branched out into dozens of activities during the event. Individual vendors, people selling jewelry etc. I don't know to what extent Warped or Coachella bring that into their revenue model but then they're already making money as you know.

The Valhalla concept as you can tell is trying to create a destination, like Black Rock. If you agree it'd be smart to locate it as close as possible to a big city, LA comes to mind of course. There's even a big abandoned oil refinery an hour north on a main highway in Ventura.

That corporate stuff is what's required to keep you open. The trick is finding ways of hiding it. Or just not caring.

Think of something like Warped Tour. It's flooded with sponsors, and trendy bands that will draw enough crowd to pay the bills for the emerging artists that Kevin Lyman wants to give exposure to. Everyone knows it's commercial and corporate, but kids show up anyways, because all the bands they want to see are there.

I love your idea if we're talking about a festival, even an absurdly long festival (like, a week), but it doesn't work as a 24 hour, 365 days a year thing. It won't become a constant hangout spot, because your target demographic can't afford to be there often. It's a destination, an event.
Oh believe me it would be very corporate and you're right the secret is hiding it well.

The longterm vision would be to bring in not only top metal acts, but local guys who need a chance and would be able to get on a stage there. Then there's the non-music participation - the thousands of others who want to run around in a Gwar costume or make a Viking longboat. None of the venues or festivals we know give you a place to be an artist unless you're a rock star. Burning Man proved that it's possible to pull that part off and it only adds to the experience.



If you want to see some bands and also build a dragon then have at it.

Thanks Aaron again for your great points.
 

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What's your revenue model? You're going to need pretty strong and regular influx of cash to keep the place clean, safe, and the lights on. Not to mention things like land lease/mortgage, property taxes, water and sanitation, etc.

If it's an hour away from anything, out in exurbia, you're going to need lots of parking. Or some kind of regular transit infrastructure to get people safely out there and back.

It's a neat dream, but I'm a realist, and I can't see this being at all sustainable. Burning Man is a cultural anomaly. It's an event. Imagine if Burning Man started happening twice a year. Then quarterly. Then monthly. Then weekly.… in the same venue, with the same local acts and an occasional touring band coming through. At some point, it loses what makes it such a powerful experience, and people get bored and lose interest.
 

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What's your revenue model? You're going to need pretty strong and regular influx of cash to keep the place clean, safe, and the lights on. Not to mention things like land lease/mortgage, property taxes, water and sanitation, etc.

If it's an hour away from anything, out in exurbia, you're going to need lots of parking. Or some kind of regular transit infrastructure to get people safely out there and back.

It's a neat dream, but I'm a realist, and I can't see this being at all sustainable. Burning Man is a cultural anomaly. It's an event. Imagine if Burning Man started happening twice a year. Then quarterly. Then monthly. Then weekly.… in the same venue, with the same local acts and an occasional touring band coming through. At some point, it loses what makes it such a powerful experience, and people get bored and lose interest.
Exactly this.

I'd love to see an over-the-top, metal themed amusement park. Like Brutal Legend meets Disney World. Would be pretty incredible. But I'm not sure the target demographic is big enough to sustain it year round, or even seasonal.
 

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Doomed. To. Fail.

The best thing about dreams is that fleeting moment, when you are between asleep and awake, when you don't know the difference between reality and fantasy, when for just that one moment you feel with your entire soul that the dream is reality, and it really happened.
 

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What's your revenue model? You're going to need pretty strong and regular influx of cash to keep the place clean, safe, and the lights on. Not to mention things like land lease/mortgage, property taxes, water and sanitation, etc.

If it's an hour away from anything, out in exurbia, you're going to need lots of parking. Or some kind of regular transit infrastructure to get people safely out there and back.

It's a neat dream, but I'm a realist, and I can't see this being at all sustainable. Burning Man is a cultural anomaly. It's an event. Imagine if Burning Man started happening twice a year. Then quarterly. Then monthly. Then weekly.… in the same venue, with the same local acts and an occasional touring band coming through. At some point, it loses what makes it such a powerful experience, and people get bored and lose interest.
Yeah, not much to add to it than this. I hate to be all dull and pragmatic and adult about this, but you pretty much need a reliable stream of revenue to make anything that costs money (which this does - food, law enforcement, access to running water and sanitation, medical staff, insurance, sound permits, etc, to say nothing of the bands, and there are too many places as it is that expect bands to play for "exposure," so fuck that) work. Right now, I'm not seeing that. "Just going to hang out" doesn't exactly make money unless you're charging admission, which seems counter to your vision, and would be tough to manage in a 24/7 model.

The above-mentioned concerns about transportation are valid, too - you either need to do it essentially right on top of a major metropolitan area and within walking distance of public transport, or you need to figure out a way to get a LOT of people, many of whom will not have cars, to and from a location, at pretty much their own schecules. That's probably going to cost a lot of money. Food trucks are an interesting idea, but you need to convince them it makes business sense to drive an hour out into the sticks, as you put it, to a location with a bunch of people just "hanging out" where there may or may not be enough demand t make it worth their time to get there. If you're going to go down that road, you're pretty much going to have to bar people from bringing their own food to ensure food trucks will have a reason to come out, which means heavy security checkpoints and a closed perimeter, as well as a lot of liability if a food truck just decides to bail (as you now have people with no access to food, an hour away from anywhere they can buy it).

Pipe dreams are awesome - I still have mine of a threesome with Keira Knightley and Natalie Portman - but that works because I don't try to make it a reality. If I were to show up in one of their dressing rooms in a tiger-print bathrobe and nothing else, carrying two bottles of champagne and a carton of strawberries, that would get ugly quickly.

Still, if you're serious on this... You're looking big picture - ideas, dreams, aspirations, "wouldn't this be cool." Stop that. Choose an arbitrary location near the city you live in, for now don't worry if it's the "right" location, and start tackling the logistical issues that come with this. Find out how much it would cost to buy or rent the location. Are there any public transportation routes? If not, is there a large enough parking lot? Is there access to running water? Electricity? If not, is there a water main close enough that you could have it extended to the site? Ditto with electricity? Sewage lines? Do you have a sound system? If not, how much would one cost? Do you have a stage? Where would you place one (like, go out to the location and choose a spot). How much would it cost to build? Can you run electricity to the stage? Is there a site to set up tents? How about a hotel or hostel? If food trucks don't work, is there an area you could build a space for food vendors? What are the legal regulations surrounding preparing and selling food in this jurisdiction? How often do you have to have food inspections? At what cost? Do you have reasonable access to a hospital or emergency care in an emergency? Are there any zoning regulations or city ordinances you need to be aware of? What was the site used for previously - is there any environmental remediation that has to occur first? Are there local laws around handicapped access (hint: there almost certainly are)?

Dreams are awesome. I'm glad you have one. But, start tackling the logistics, because a dream is great and all but the logistics are how it's actually going to happen. And, based on your dream, I'd say you're "doomed to fail."

How old are you, by the way? I don't know about you, but I rather like going back to my place after a metal show, playing guitar for a little while before bed with a final drink of the night, and then curling up in my not-at-all shitty bedroom. Just me, though.
 

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What you're describing is more of a table-top gamer's theme park. We're not your market, they are.
 

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Much of it based on feedback from you guys who are the real deal.



Thanks for taking your time on this...
Two further questions -

1) Why does this seem to be a picture of someone being executed?

2) Who is Dunning Marketing, and why are all of your pictures linked from their site?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
What's your revenue model? You're going to need pretty strong and regular influx of cash to keep the place clean, safe, and the lights on. Not to mention things like land lease/mortgage, property taxes, water and sanitation, etc.

If it's an hour away from anything, out in exurbia, you're going to need lots of parking. Or some kind of regular transit infrastructure to get people safely out there and back.

It's a neat dream, but I'm a realist, and I can't see this being at all sustainable. Burning Man is a cultural anomaly. It's an event. Imagine if Burning Man started happening twice a year. Then quarterly. Then monthly. Then weekly.… in the same venue, with the same local acts and an occasional touring band coming through. At some point, it loses what makes it such a powerful experience, and people get bored and lose interest.
Darren before you posted here, last night I was marveling at your wood pickups. How I wish you guys were around when all we had was Warmoth.

Terrific concerns that I'm adding to the list. You can tell it is too early to understand the revenue model, as a startup guy I listen to the customer and to industry people, connect the dots and it gradually takes shape; you know the deal.

Parking etc can be solved but your concern about dilution of the quality of the brand is the big one. The project would need industry advisors to deal with that one of course, not me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, not much to add to it than this. I hate to be all dull and pragmatic and adult about this, but you pretty much need a reliable stream of revenue to make anything that costs money (which this does - food, law enforcement, access to running water and sanitation, medical staff, insurance, sound permits, etc, to say nothing of the bands, and there are too many places as it is that expect bands to play for "exposure," so fuck that) work. Right now, I'm not seeing that. "Just going to hang out" doesn't exactly make money unless you're charging admission, which seems counter to your vision, and would be tough to manage in a 24/7 model.
Drew thanks - you're not being dull and pragmatic, it's that the level of discourse here is much higher than I anticipated. Basically you and these other guys are already way ahead of me. I was only expecting replies at the "is this a good idea" level, so am thrilled to hear about the nuts and bolts. At this stage I am listing these concerns and then would attach anticipated costs at each one. Security for example.

And yeah, charging for admission... good question. In SoCal are some successful hipster mall concepts with boutique shopping, these are obviously self-sustaining without music or food channels. That's an example of being able to pay all the bills, plus exorbitant rent, just on the strength of selling hipster crap to hipsters. You could make a case there that charging admission is the wrong move. There are also a couple hang-out cafes.

You asked about me, 52 year-old tech startup dude. Schecter(garbage) and Warmoths. Tired of tech and want to do something real. The image links are because I hosted the photos at my site, happy to change them if you like.

Find out how much it would cost to buy or rent the location. Are there any public transportation routes? If not, is there a large enough parking lot? Is there access to running water? Electricity? If not, is there a water main close enough that you could have it extended to the site? Ditto with electricity? Sewage lines? Do you have a sound system? If not, how much would one cost? Do you have a stage? Where would you place one (like, go out to the location and choose a spot). How much would it cost to build? Can you run electricity to the stage? Is there a site to set up tents? How about a hotel or hostel? If food trucks don't work, is there an area you could build a space for food vendors? What are the legal regulations surrounding preparing and selling food in this jurisdiction? How often do you have to have food inspections? At what cost? Do you have reasonable access to a hospital or emergency care in an emergency? Are there any zoning regulations or city ordinances you need to be aware of? What was the site used for previously - is there any environmental remediation that has to occur first? Are there local laws around handicapped access (hint: there almost certainly are)?
I should be paying you for each paragraph - you really put some thought into this. Totally agree that these logistical concerns are next, but only after validation that the concept isn't stupid in the first place. Normally yes, the issues above will be solved in the operating plan. I like how you raise the geographic proximity to hospitals - hadn't thought of that.

Before jumping into those operating issues I was hoping to hear what kind of concept would appeal to people. You know that's it possible to have your ducks in a row in the operating department, yet have a boring concept that nobody comes out to. I haven't heard back from enough people to know what that is yet. At this point, the only safe answer is to start it very small and learn and tackle problems one at a time, since there is no precedent for this.
 

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Ok, then if you're a 52 year old tech startup guy... maybe a better question is, how old do you think WE are? :lol: The median age here is probably north of 30, we have rather a lot o guys in the IT field ourselves, and myself I work for an asset management firm here in town. A metal amusement park I could go hang out at whenever I want has very little appeal to me over a decent festival, because frankly I don't have that kind of time. And, I'm one of the lucky ones without kids. :lol:

I'd also look at it like this, maybe - I think it matters much less whether or not the concept is "stupid" or "not stupid" in isolation, judged in and of itself, before you start getting into logistics. Rather, I'd say that the reason the concept is "stupid" - forgive the word choice, they're your words and not mine - is precisely because at a glance I'm not seeing a way to make this logistically work. Go back to my metaphor of myself and Ms. Knightley and Portman - awesome idea in theory, isn't it? Just good luck finding a logistical plan that doesn't end up with me in jail. :lol:
 

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I feel bad being less wordy, but maybe start by finding one of those really cool spots you have shown us that you wouldn't have to sink a bunch of money into at first, preferably near a city that could provided enough travel amenities like hotels, airports etc. Start by doing a festival in one of those cool spots not a field, and perhaps if that seemed to appeal to festival fans (the idea of the location adding to the experience) that would then bolster the overall goal of finding a permanent place to do this?

In short, I think you would start as an event and try to evolve it.
 

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Oh c'mon Drew, I'm sure those with kids would say they are lucky too :lol:

To the OP, what downscaling to something that has more real-world application to a broader scope: opening a venue?
 

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I'm still thinking about this, and I really don't see how this could be anything but a huge money pit and a giant legal and possibly criminal liability. I mean, malls stay in business not because of all the kids who go there to hang out, but in spite of them. :lol:

I kind of like the idea of the setting, but if you want to go down that route, I'd look at building the world's coolest concert venue, out in the desert somewhere, and get affiliated with Ticketmaster or some other major booking/ticketing operation, and focus on providing an awesome venue to see touring bands, and just leave it closed when no one's playing. I think a 24/7 spot to hang out, though, will never generate enough revenue to not fail.

EDIT - sniped by not one but TWO guys with the same idea. :lol: Definitely look at an awesome metal-friendly open air venue before going for a full time thing. That, or rent the shittiest, grungiest abandoned building in the middle of the city somewhere, let people crash upstairs, and accept the fact that you're probably going to have periodic drug and prostitution stings to contend with. :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I feel bad being less wordy, but maybe start by finding one of those really cool spots you have shown us that you wouldn't have to sink a bunch of money into at first, preferably near a city that could provided enough travel amenities like hotels, airports etc. Start by doing a festival in one of those cool spots not a field, and perhaps if that seemed to appeal to festival fans (the idea of the location adding to the experience) that would then bolster the overall goal of finding a permanent place to do this?

In short, I think you would start as an event and try to evolve it.
David that is exactly the conclusion I came to in the shower (sorry for the visual) after the prev comments from the guys above.

If you presented the Burning Man concept today, who in their right mind would support it?

Bigdave as you say, BM started on a beach in SF with several people, then evolved over a long time. What you describe sounds like it would meet the concerns of:

1. Optimal geographic location; proximity to visitors, hospitals etc.
2. Optimal content mix; bands/food/shopping
3. Facility logistics including (All of Drew's points above).
4. Longterm visitor engagement; fresh/raw content that meets fan requirements.

All of these would just have to be learned over time instead of assumed - if you agree.
 
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