Live at Saint Jack's: Bringing an American Rock Band to Singapore
1. General Introduction
The objective of this project is to bring an American independent rock band to Singapore for a concert. The venue has a maximum 800-person capacity, and the goal of the project is to sell out the event. The band, oxoxo, is a five-person group based in based in rural Millgate, Virginia, but first gained regional popularity playing in clubs in Washington, D.C, and Richmond, Virginia.
Founded in 2007, oxoxo recorded two albums that were privately produced and released as homemade CD-Rs as well as as mp3 downloads on iTunes, before gaining, through the internet, more widespread notoriety in 2010 and when they were signed to the U.S.-based Drag City Records label. Part of the band's popularity consists in the interactivity of live shows, which require audience participation and volunteer musicians. The band has various requirements that must be fulfilled (volunteers obtained through social networking, who play additional instruments).
The band has toured extensively in the United State and Europe, but has not yet performed in Asia. This concert will be part of the band's 2012 Asia-Australia tour, slated to run through Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand before arriving in Singapore, then moving through Australia and New Zealand.
The Singapore concert is for one night and it occurs during the middle of the band's tour. The band is not a major record label act, and has received no radio airplay in Singapore. The band does have, however, a substantial social networking following based in Singapore, with many fans on Facebook, Twitter, and My Space, and there has been such overwhelming support expressed through these media as well as on the band's Web site, that we have concluded that selling out 800 tickets for a one-time (and possibly once-in-a-lifetime) engagement is a virtual certainty. (Tickets for shows in Tokyo and Osaka, which were on a sale two weeks ago, sold out within days.)
2. Project Scope
a. Project Objectives
The main purpose of this project is to bring oxoxo to Singapore, specifically the rock club called Saint Jack, founded in 2003, that has been hosting similar international acts for nearly a decade. We seek to ensure that the band has a comfortable weekend in Singapore, and that the 800 guests enjoy themselves, and that the event transpires as smoothly as possible.
The deliverables on this project are limited in number and scope. The main deliverable is the band itself, the five members of oxoxo as well as their baggage and equipment. The next deliverable is the venue for the event, the Saint Jack in Singapore. Finally, and most importantly, is the sale of tickets, the task over which this project has the most direct control over.
Milestones by which the project will be measured over the course of the summer, will be determined by the sale of 800 tickets, which will go on sale May 15, and are expected to sell out quickly.
After this point, milestones will be measured by periodic communication with the band's label (Drag City Records), the travel agency being used by the band (Naraka Tours), and the band's manager, Frank C. Dobbs. Commitment has been secured with all of the above. The Saint Jack also regularly features its own local advertisement for gigs on a weekly basis.
d. Technical Requirements
The band oxoxo has many unusual requirements for their live concerts, and these conditions will have to be met before the concert begins. For example, the band requires the use of certain audio-visual equipment configured in a certain manner. The manager of Saint Jack has assured me that his venue has this equipment and it can be configured in the manner described. The sound engineer for the club has offered to show me the equipment and the modifications.
Also, part of the band's popularity consists in the use of local collaborators in their live shows. Research has shown that at one representative concert in Baltimore, Maryland, at a similar sized venue (capacity of 700 people), required two local guitarists, three drummers, and a sitar player, as well as all of their equipment (in some cases, specific equipment was called for). The musical parts played by these local collaborators are generally repetitive and quite simple, and the band members are not concerned necessarily regarding the musicianship of the musicians, but more in the equipment they can donate for use at the concert. Requests for musicians who own and play various instruments originating in Malaysia and Indonesia are likely be made, according to the Drag City Record label representative. The band uses social networking to identify the volunteers it wants to use in the performance.
e. Limits & Exclusions
The catering aspect of the event is entirely controlled by the venue. The Saint Jack provides basic bar food as well as beverages of various kinds. Responsibility for food and beverages is strictly in the hands of the club, and all profits from those sales go to the club. The Saint Jack is also responsible for preparation as well as clean-up of the venue.
The sound system and video projection equipment are also provided by the club. In addition there is a sound engineer on staff who will assist the band in setting up for the performance as well as control sound levels during the concert itself.
The rock band oxoxo is responsible for providing the instruments and other musical equipment, and it is also responsible for providing at least two hours of musical entertainment. The local musical collaborators are also, to a lesser degree, responsible for the entertainment, but they are selected by the members of oxoxo and their management and they are also expected to work under the direction of the band as unpaid volunteers (these collaborators, who might number up to a dozen, will also be allowed free admission to the concert).
The concert is scheduled to take place on Saturday, August 14 from 9 to 11 p.m., and doors open to the Saint Jack open at 7:30.
3. Project Priorities
The main priority of the project is in making sure that the concert is performed as scheduled and as planned, selling the maximum number of tickets.
Achieving these priorities entails that the band itself arrives in Singapore on time for the event and is ready to play a two-hour performance. This will require constant contact with the Naraka Tours, the travel agency that is in charge of the plans travel arrangements throughout its 2012 Asia-Australia tour.
a. Scope, Time, Cost & Quality
The scope of the project is determined by the event itself, as well as by the time spent by the rock band members in Singapore. The project will essentially begin as soon as the band members arrive in Singapore (arrival at noon on August 14, following a morning flight from Bangkok).
The main costs are in transportation of five band members, as well as two nights of accommodations in Singapore before the band flies to Indonesia, where they plan to spend four nights touring various sites before flying to Perth, Australia to continue their tour the following weekend.
4. Work Breakdown Structure
ecure Saint Jack as site of concert.
Ensure that venue meets band's technical requirements.
Stay in regular contact with band manager, record label.
Ensure that band arrives on time, or make alternate arrangements.
Check on progress of band's tour through Asia.
Make sure that band's equipment arrives on time and in good condition.
Make emergency arrangements with St. Jack for possible delay with equipment.
Ensure that band members have adequate transportation while in Singapore.
Check that Naraka Travel has arranged proper accommodations.
Arrange for ticket sale to begin on May 15.
Sell tickets through Saint Jack Ticket booth as well as through Web site.
Allow for local musical collaborator have free passes to concert.
Check that Saint Jack includes band in list of weekly advertisements.
Talk to local music journalists about band's upcoming performance.
Arrange interviews with band members between media and band manager.
5. Estimation of Project Costs
The main costs are of transporting the five band members from Singapore (US $1,000), paying for accommodations for two nights (US $1,500), as well as meal costs, transportation, and incidental band member expenses while in Singapore (an additional US $500). The band itself requires $5,000 for the engagement, bringing total costs are $8,000, or a quarter of ticket sales if all 800 tickets are sold, with tickets costing US $40 per ticket.
Advertising will not be a factor, since the Saint Jack already posts its musical acts in weekly advertisements in Singaporean newspapers. Also, various Web site and social media sites will promote the event. Again, this is essentially an event that promotes itself, since far more potential customers will want tickets than will be able to purchase them.
6. Project Network Diagram
Securing Venue (Saint Jack)
Checking that venue meets band's technical requirements
Talk and meet with local media regarding band's tour and stop in Singapore
Ticket Sales start on May 15
Keep tabs on band's tour progression
Maintain contact with Naraka Tours
Band Arrives in Singapore on August 14 at noon
Door open at 7:30 p.m August 14
Concert begins at 9 p.m. August 14
7. Project Gantt Chart
Insert chart here.
8. Project Risk Management
Likelihood - Impact - Risk Value
Tour canceled - 1 - 5 - 5
Missed flights from Bangkok 2 3 6
Loss of musical equipment 3 2 6
Band unable to play 2 5 10
Venue closed 1 5 5
Obscenity objections by government 1 5 5
Venue equipment malfunction 1 3 3
Failure to sell tickets 1 5 5
The greatest possible risks involved in this enterprise involve the show not taking place at all. There are several reasons this could happen, especially with a touring rock band. The first is the cancellation of the tour. This is unlikely with this band, since they have been touring extensively since their inception, as are in fact well-known for playing a high number of live shows per year, average one every three days. They have an excellent professional track record in this respect. I have no evidence of any of their past engagements having been broken for any reason, and never for illness or transportation problems.
Transportation problems to Singapore, of the band and its equipment, do present a risk factor, but flights from Bangkok are regular and there are three more flights scheduled on August 14, should any of the band members (or their equipment) missed their schedules flight. Other factors, including government censorship, are unlikely, given that this is primarily an instrumental band and there are no lyrics for anyone to be concerned about. However, there have been reports of nudity at past concerts, mainly by audience members, but also occasionally by band members. Also, it is suspected that some of the musicians are at least casual drug users, and this presents the greatest risk to the concert, especially if any of the band members are caught with narcotics during their tour. I have been assured, however, that the band's manager and record label have made clear to band members the dangers inherent in such behavior in many Asian countries, and especially in Singapore. This is one of the greatest dangers this or any musical venue faces when trying to book rock musicians, and I have no direct control over any of this. However, given the sterling track record of the band on its American and European tours, I think the likelihood of some kind of problem with police in Singapore or elsewhere in Asia is unlikely. The possibility, however, cannot be ruled out.
Again, the chances of not selling enough tickets is slim, and of demand has led questions about the small size of the venue, as well as the possibility for a second or even a third night of performances in Singapore. Right now, this is not part of the project plan, but this may change in the future.
Regarding equipment loss or failure, the Saint Jack has the ability to secure other instruments locally, and then also have backup sound equipment if their own equipment happens to malfunction the night of the performance. The manager of the Saint Jack has also assured me that even if there are multiple failures of equipment, that he has other businesses to turn to for additional equipment. The manager, a musician himself and having worked as a musician or club manager for thirty years in Singapore, is well connected with local music stores and musicians. He absolutely guarantees that in the event that band loses all of their own equipment, replacements of nearly comparable quality will be located. The band members themselves might not like this, but the equipment will be perfectly functional and adaptable to the type of music played.
The greatest risk involves the band members being unable to play, for whatever reason—whether illness or incarceration. This would cause cancellation of the entire event. This, however, is simply part of the music business. A certain degree of trust is required that the band members are professionals who will be able to do the job they are being paid to do.
9. Project Performance Measurement & Evaluation
This project will be monitored from beginning to conclusion, partly in order to determine the effectiveness of the organizational approach, and to learn what effective techniques can be applied to future international concerts.
The success of this event will in part be determined as tickets are sold, and if the band agrees to two or three future engagements, if the first night sells out, which it again seems certain to do. So tickets sales and the possibility of extended engagements are major basis for judging the overall success of this project.
Also, the successful transportation and housing of the band members is yet another criterion to use for measurement. Reports from the band members as well as their manager will be taken into account.
Impact of advertising will also be considered, as well as the role of social media in spreading word about the band. Since the band largely came to be moderately famous through the use of social networking, it is to be expected that this will be the main mode of advertising. It will be difficult to determine scientifically the nature of this kind of success, but it can be done informally by noting the number and contents of postings on the band's various sites regarding the engagement in Singapore.
But main measure of success will be meeting the goal of selling 800 tickets, and secondarily convincing the band's label and manager to agree to multiple engagements. (The Saint Jack management, incidentally, has local acts lined up for Sunday and Monday nights, and has already informally agreed to bump them to future dates if necessary, primarily because of the money expected to be generated by two or three engagements.)
10. Project Closure
The project will reach completion when the band arrives, performs, and leaves. If this becomes a multiple night engagement, that will be the ultimate success. Three nights, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday, of oxoxo performances in Singapore would be the ideal situation, but at this time it seems unlikely given the apparent reluctance of the band to agree to this. (The manager claims that the lead guitar wants to spend at least two days at Borobudur and another two in Bali.)
Wrapping up after the concert will require payment of all outstanding bills. This would entail the payment of my own staff, that of Naraka Tours for providing travel arrangements, a twenty-percent venue fee to the Saint Jack, as well as payments for any unforeseen events, such as the loss of equipment, requiring rental arrangements through Saint Jack or possible through other businesses suggested by the Saint Jack manager.