AGM in Dallas
So the inaugural American Gospel Music Festival was held in Dallas recently. I haven’t seen any post-event press other than some photos here, but my track record in paying attention to recent news isn’t that great at the moment, so trust me on this at your own peril. Anyway, I hit up a couple of contacts I have who were at the event to get a sense of how things went. One of them wrote:
Dallas … hmmmmm … let’s see. An unbelievably incredible program. The Prestonwood Church Choir and orchestra were insanely awesome, as was Larnelle Harris, though half of the crowd didn’t know it.
However, “abysmal,” “catastrophic,” and “disaster” do not adequately describe the attendance. I am in need of another language to verbalize how bad it was.
Ballpark estimates from my contacts put the attendance around 400 on Thursday, 600 Friday, 500 Saturday, and 200 Sunday. I guess it takes the measure of my cynicism about AGM that I had expected the attendance numbers to actually be worse than this. But no matter, given that these estimates and reactions came from performers at the event, the main point seems to be that whatever it was, attendance fell far below what at least a few of the artists had been led to expect. I dunno. Maybe some promoters out there (and, of course, anyone who was there) can weigh in on this.
Anyway, looking forward to AGM’s New Yark Sitty daybyew in November, Carnegie Hall’s main auditorium seats roughly 2800 people. That’s a lot of seat fillers.
Update: a fan’s comprehensive (and refreshingingly blunt) review of the event is here (hat tip, Bob). There’s some especially insightful stuff about the idiosyncracies of the Dallas market for sg promotions and the compounding effects of (not so) Little Things, like expensive parking and inadequate options for meals and bad sound, on ticket sales.
Later update: Reader GC, who was at the Dallas event, offers another perspective:
Tough weekend but let me give some positives. The program was good..Friday night was incredible with Prestonwood and the lineup was nice. Larnelle was Larnelle–incredible singer! The sound was not great, Don’t know who was in charge but the screens,backdrop were awesome for the small room.
I really believe that Clarke has many great thoughts and sincerly wants to improve and grow this industry and has stepped out on a limb to accomplish that goal. Yes they have made some mistakes(Certification,location,price of event were just a few) but the line-up was excellent and the addition of the Choirs was a nice touch. It also bridges the gap with the Church that Southern Gospel has created over the years.
Listen carefully—For SG to become a major part of mainstream christian music, the churches have to sing and be a part of the music! I don’t know this but I assume that Clarke and the other gentlemen who stuck their pocketbooks out know that and are trying to fix that problem.
Many problems occured but I do believe it was a nice concept that just went south for many reasons. before you bash it, there are only a few people in this industry who put money behind their thoughts. This group of men did that and took it on the chin. I am usually one that would jump on the negative wagon, but in this instance I feel like it was a positive effort and sorry it did not work from a financial standpoint.