Advice re acoustic sets - Length & attracting punters.

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jimkehoejimkehoe Frets: 117
A bit of advice please.
Since retiring a couple of years ago I have been able to play more and subsequently have started playing acoustic pub sets with a female singer. We do a mix of material that hopefully covers most bases and from feedback thus far is of an acceptable standard.
I should add that the singer is the landlady of the pub where we perform and at this time I do not receive payment nor seek it although I do have free pints and the odd meal which is much appreciated. I am happy with this situation and enjoy it.
My questions to the more experienced and wise amongst you:
What is a reasonable set length assuming a 10 - 15 minute break midway, either in terms of number of songs and/or length of time.
And secondly how do you attract more punters ?  - I should add that the pub is in a fairly remote village/rural location in Surrey where probably most of the time a lot of pubs are struggling to survive regardless. 
Thanks in anticipation. Jim.
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  • sev112sev112 Frets: 384
    One thing it depends on is whether you are playing originals or covers. From personal experience I’ve found that people have much less tolerance for originals than they do for songs they’ve heard before, and hence the pub generally wants the latter as that gets the customers in and staying.

    Another thing to consider is having an early set during the week.  There are not that many people who want to listen to music on Tuesday and Wednesday nights between 930 and 11 if they have families and work the day after.  Nor do they all want to drink coke til late if they have to drive to get there.  So consider a “tea time” set which might get people coming in straight from work and who might stay for dinner.  Which might lead to more customers than the few who will stay late and still not drink much.

    good luck.  

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  • jimkehoejimkehoe Frets: 117
    sev112 said:
    One thing it depends on is whether you are playing originals or covers. From personal experience I’ve found that people have much less tolerance for originals than they do for songs they’ve heard before, and hence the pub generally wants the latter as that gets the customers in and staying.

    Another thing to consider is having an early set during the week.  There are not that many people who want to listen to music on Tuesday and Wednesday nights between 930 and 11 if they have families and work the day after.  Nor do they all want to drink coke til late if they have to drive to get there.  So consider a “tea time” set which might get people coming in straight from work and who might stay for dinner.  Which might lead to more customers than the few who will stay late and still not drink much.

    good luck.  

    Thanks for that. We do play covers that hopefully cover the generations. Our last time out was about 7.30-9.30 with about a 20 minute break on a Thursday evening. The pub does do meals and the theory was to play at a volume that people can still chat but also enjoy the music. We probably had less than 20 turn up 5 or 6 were regulars anyhow. Thoroughly enjoyed it & by all accounts the performance was enjoyed and appreciated. Just frustrating we didn't manage to persuade more people through the doors.
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  • StuckfastStuckfast Frets: 352
    I'd suggest getting a couple of guest acts in for each performance, if you know anyone local. That'd help to build a sense of community about the events, make them a bit more varied and hopefully attract their followers as well as yours. As the house band you could open and close the evening.
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  • jimkehoejimkehoe Frets: 117
    Stuckfast said:
    I'd suggest getting a couple of guest acts in for each performance, if you know anyone local. That'd help to build a sense of community about the events, make them a bit more varied and hopefully attract their followers as well as yours. As the house band you could open and close the evening.
    Good idea. Unfortunately most local musicians I know would want/expect payment and would probably be peed off with a crowd of a dozen people or thereabouts.
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  • jimkehoejimkehoe Frets: 117
    I have contemplated turning it into an open mic night but that is a whole different can of worms!
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  • maltingsaudiomaltingsaudio Frets: 947
    The open mic thing shouldn’t be discounted. And more importantly go out to open mics and network.
    As to set times we usually do 45 plus 1hour from 9 till 11 and it’s all covers, getting punters in is a difficult one word of mouth is the best but also do the Facebook page thing with a couple of phone vids.
    www.maltingsaudio.co.uk
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  • jimkehoejimkehoe Frets: 117
    The open mic thing shouldn’t be discounted. And more importantly go out to open mics and network.
    As to set times we usually do 45 plus 1hour from 9 till 11 and it’s all covers, getting punters in is a difficult one word of mouth is the best but also do the Facebook page thing with a couple of phone vids.
    Thanks for that. Good advice. Appreciated.
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  • ESBlondeESBlonde Frets: 2433
    Set lengths of 45-50 mins so about 13 numbers. Two sets and two or three extras/encoures.
    To raise interests in what you do you might need to visit other local pubs to perform and drum up interest/gain followers. The suggestion of having guest artists (who bring rent a crowd) is a good one. Or hold an open mic evening where you play a set then open up to the masses (which you control), before finishing a short 4 number set at the end of the evening.
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  • jimkehoejimkehoe Frets: 117
    ESBlonde said:
    Set lengths of 45-50 mins so about 13 numbers. Two sets and two or three extras/encoures.
    To raise interests in what you do you might need to visit other local pubs to perform and drum up interest/gain followers. The suggestion of having guest artists (who bring rent a crowd) is a good one. Or hold an open mic evening where you play a set then open up to the masses (which you control), before finishing a short 4 number set at the end of the evening.
    Like this - Great advice. Thanks. I think main issue is the pub is in the sticks and out of the way so difficult to gain a reputation from anew as a music pub, albeit a fairly chilled acoustic one. Also my concern with open mic is unfortunately there are several locals who would probably look to turn it into a shambolic karaoke type thing which I want to avoid at all costs. But we'll keep on plugging away.
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  • pmbombpmbomb Frets: 453
    @jimkehoe the Star in Dorking does open mic every Thursday. It's varied (in standard and content!) but good natured if you wanted to try it.

    Yes you'd want to be strict on rules if you ran your own, or we'd turn up with amplifiers and wake up Abinger a bit. ;-)

    PM me the pub if you don't want to say it here (though I can only think of 2, didn't know either did music!), I'll come over if ever free on a Thursday!
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  • HAL9000HAL9000 Frets: 4044
    ^ I'm in Crawley so could come over on a free Thursday to offer my support.
    It might look like I'm listening to you, but in my head I'm playing my guitar.
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  • jimkehoejimkehoe Frets: 117
    HAL9000 said:
    ^ I'm in Crawley so could come over on a free Thursday to offer my support.
    Very kind. Thanks.
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