SARATOGA SPRINGS – Let’s get to the end first. John Griffith is my Superhero!
He should be yours too.
In the great tradition of classic Superheroes, John is a mild mannered reporter who you might not notice if you fell on him… not that I am recommending this, though the odds are certainly increased on this day… Erin Go Bragh, y’all! But I digress…
I have a unique perspective that affords me the opportunity to appreciate the work John does – on several levels.
Years ago, in a former life, I was a music promoter and booking agent for several clubs and festivals in town. These included Bailey’s, Gaffney’s, Hats Off and Victorian Streetwalk. During that period (AKA mental illness) I struggled (and oft threatened to strangle) the low people on the totem pole at publications like Metroland and The Saratogian’s What’s Happening section (deservedly nicknamed ‘What’s NOT Happening’ – an honor they retain to this very day) who were bestowed the thankless task of accurately placing my listings. Indeed if they were placed at all, they were often riddled with improper spelling, out of date information, etc. A disaster, pure and simple.
In 2009, having come to my senses, I left the booking world, and became the Arts + Entertainment Editor for a weekly local newspaper that you might have heard of. The first thing I did – the VERY FIRST thing – was to declare that my paper’s listings would be as thorough, accurate and complete as possible. This is a live music town, with many musicians and venues… and surprise – customers!
I recognized that the mass media was the lifeline between the venue, performer and the fan. This was not a pain in the butt – it was an important public service. I took it as a mission that NOBODY’s listings would be as complete in MY market as mine. And it worked.
To assure it would be so, I put in the time. Web research. Outreach to venues. Some, sadly, did not see the value of a free listing and did not respond, oh well – but they ALL got my business card. I even went so far as to send the venues I enjoyed going to (Hi Amy at the Saratoga Winery!) reminders that they needed to update their webpage or send me an email, etc. Yeah, it was work – but instead of griping about what a pain in the a– it was, I dug in and got it done. I even taught my interns how to do it right – and they did, but I always checked their work.
Because it’s important! To you and to me. For we are Bar People. We are music fans, musicians and venue owners. An economy that is substantial in 12866. Visit a few places today, tonight – or any night, and tell me it isn’t so.
It is unfortunate that, having left that paper to go indie here at Planet Arthur, it appears that the same commitment to complete and accurate listings has gone by the wayside. But I do not pass judgment, for I know that priorities change, and it is the right of every editor to determine what is important. But into the breach, we have our Superhero to the rescue!
We have Bar People! A daily (sometimes more than once a day) summary of who is playing and where; a group on Facebook which anyone can join (see below). As of today’s post, it sports 552 members. I’d like them to get many more. So Join!
I should point out at this juncture – not to be PC, but because it is the truth- that the listings here on mother ship Saratoga.com are excellent, primarily because they have info (such as phone number / website / address, etc.) that Bar People could not contain. Saratoga.com’s listings also are segment-able – by both geography and subject. In addition to music, you can, for instance isolate family-friendly events, happy hour and restaurant specials, etc.) Both Saratoga.com and Bar People have separate missions, and they work well together in the live music area. Further, Saratoga.com allows venues / performers to add listings, so they are accurate and comprehensive unless a bar owner doesn’t know his/her phone number… it’s extremely user friendly too – try it yourself at https://www.saratoga.com/events/add/ … and try their listings, they can find you all kinds of things to do all over the region. You wont be sorry. I wish this was around when I was cursing at ‘What’s Not Happening’s’ knucklehead of the month.
Having emerged from Mannix probation, I want you to do four things:
1) go to Bar People’s Facebook page – HERE – and become a member.
2) Use John’s daily summary (musicians sometimes also add their gigs if John misses them, but not often) to determine who you might like to see and where you might like to go.
3) Use Saratoga.com’s listings (see: https://www.saratoga.com/events/ ) to get additional important info as needed.
4) Go out! And if you see, or stumble upon my Superhero John Griffith – shake his hand and buy him a drink. Toast him as follows:
“All Hail Bar People!”
Class dismissed. Happy St. Pats Day to all, and be safe!
March 17, 2017