Tips on how to book a show at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall
Don Quixote’s booker Tom Miller has been booking shows in Santa Cruz for more than 30 years, so when he tells you how to jump, you say how high?
When asked how a local band should go about booking a show at Don Quixote’s, Miller’s advice is amazingly simple: 1. Play good music, and 2. Have a game plan to get people in the door.
For emerging artists who may not have the immediate name recognition yet, Miller emphasizes that bands need to come to him with the equivalent of a business plan outlining how they will sell the show. Think of it this way, you have fans (customers) who buy your tickets/music/merch (products) and in order to be successful Miller wants to make sure you know how to move some product. One of the top 10 reasons new businesses fail is lack of planning. Don’t be that business.
Your plan should include a gig history, any local radio support (KKUP, KUSP, KZSC, KPIG), mailing list numbers, social media stats and anything else you will be doing to help get butts in seats. Like many local venues, Miller also appreciates when bands come to him with a package deal—two or three bands that can carry a night and already work well together.
Living up to their “International Music Hall” status, the Don Quixote’s calendar features fingerpicking to African fusion and everything in between. Their local representation is no less diverse, playing host to everyone from Who’s Holdin’ (rock) to Sherry Austin (folk) to Funkranomicon (funk).
Running shows most nights of the week, Don Quixote’s is a rare venue where you can still have an old-fashioned dinner and show. This versatility allows a band to plan for a sit-down crowd, or to clear the floor for the audience to get down. On a weeknight, pulling in 80 to 100 people is a good start for a sit down show, and drawing a 125 to 150 people is a good start for a weekend slot.
The venue also recently installed a new art gallery that further adds to the artistic flavor of the eclectic space. Curator Jim Cox is open to submission for upcoming installations.
With music from around the world, and right here in town, Don Quixote’s manages to have something for everyone. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?
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