Because of my anticipation to seeing the extra credit speakers at the Industry Networking Club, and by now you probably have read many papers on the ILL theater departments, will write about the Bottom Lounge for my volunteer report as opposed to the ILL theater, drama, and contemporary dance apartment. The Bottom Lounge is a relatively new music venue, which was reopened in 2008. The original Bottom Lounge had closed down in 2005 by the Chicago Transit Authority (CAT) in order to make room for the new platform extension for the Red Line Belmont train stop.
The new location of the Bottom Lounge had originally been a car mechanic and repair shop located near the intersection of Lake Street and Ogden Avenue but was completely refurnished to be the music venue that it is today. This is actually a great location because it has a lot trotter parking surrounding the venue so everyone who drives can mind a free place to park, The Bottom Lounge was created to bring the people of Chicago a premier music venue for punk music.
While the Bottom Lounge does have a wide variety in concert genres, the heavily dominating genre no doubt is punk The mission of the Bottom Lounge is to bring live music fans and followers to a great music venue in downtown Chicago for a fun filled evening, and also provide easy and free transportation for the people attending the bar area activities to the United Center for Blackjacks games which is located just a few blocks away. The structure of the Bottom Lounge is fairly common among sic venues.
The ‘executive personnel’, in this case would be the owners of the music venue. While they do not come to the venue on a day-etc:-day basis by any means, they approve all Of the big decisions before they get finalized. However there are several different managers at the Bottom Lounge, there is a manager over promotion, to make sure that concerts get booked at the venue, there is also a manager over the restaurant and bar area, there is a manager of security, a manager over sound, and then there is a production manager.
All of these managers monitor the necessities in their individualized areas and make sections on how to carry out the tasks and ultimately get things done on time. The bylaws that pertain to this music venue is that the managers make their own decisions but the owner’s look over what is going on in big picture decisions for the venue and will frequently come to see what kind of decisions and activities are being done and either make sure they stop or proceed. The programs that happen at the Bottom Lounge have a huge variety although heavily in favor of punk music as mentioned.
But the concerts can range anymore trot singer- songwriters like Daniel Johnston, to hip-hop artists like Danny Brown, or punk teal bands like In Flames. However, since the Bottom Lounge is onto non-for- profit their primary objective at the end of the day is to make some money _ A few times a month a wedding party or some sort of organization will rent out one of the venues for the night and host their own event. What is unique about the Bottom Lounge and its budget is that it very heavily relies on that particular year.
One year the music venue may be able to book many more big-named sellout shows than other years. The bigger the name of the artist, the more it typically Will cost them to book the show. But since the artist is better known, tickets sell for higher prices. Concert touring schedules also depend heavily on the year, many artists won’t tour certain years to work on albums or Other matters, and with a slower year, turns lower profits for the venue. Because of the unpredictable yearly income, the venue runs heavily off of unpaid internships to volunteer and help them with the workload.
If you are an intern for long enough and a job opens up they will probably end up hiring you. Just 2 of the 5 people that were on the payroll in the music venue area had been interns but now work there. The Bottom Lounger’s yearly activities revolve around its bar which is open to am most nights for the local bar scene, the restaurant also helps turn a profit tort the venue, but what is truly unique about the Bottom Lounge is the fact that there are two in house venue spaces. The first venue located on the main floor is the main space where the bigger name artists go.
That area holds 700 people, and has an additional bar located on the inside, The upstairs venue is both smaller in size, which only holds a maximum of 350 people but the acts that appear there are typically less well known. Additionally, upstairs has an outdoor patio that overlooks a portion of the Chicago skyline, a bar, and is much cheaper for 3rd parties to rent if the space is not booked for a concert already compared to the largeness space. Because a place like the Bottom Lounger’s schedule is always differing, there are no members, but the participants are the people that buy tickets to the shows, buy drinks, and eat at the restaurant.
Since had had an internship at the Bottom Lounge previously, it made getting into the swing of things easy once again when I asked if I could volunteer again for this project. Basically What did was help them run the venue for an evening. Every time someone goes to a concert. They see the concert room all set up. See the employees at their posts, the stage all prepared and ready to go. What people don’t tend to realize is the immense amount of work that goes into getting the shows up and running.
My long night that volunteered for this project involved me getting there around pm to help make sure all the posters were hung up where they are supposed to be. People often will go through the poster area and just tear ones down that they want to keep, which is good self promotion for us, UT it requires someone on a nightly basis to make sure that all of the posters are hung before the shows for the evening, Then had to go help set up the upstairs stage, by bringing over all of the pieces tooth stage and sound equipment.
Later went on to also run the box office by selling more tickets to the show that night and by giving people wristbands for admittance and re-entry. Later also did the light show for the band because often bands don’t bring their own lights or a person to work them and need someone to run the lights to the rhythm of their sic for there Once the show was over I had to help take down the stage, clear out the greenrooms, and help the bands load out.
That could take much longer than anyone might think because the concerts sometimes will have S or 6 different acts and each band sometimes will bring their own equipment which makes the backroom a horrible mess of different kick drums, snares, guitars, bases, preamp and pretty much every piece of musical equipment you can think Of. Once all Of the equipment got broken down into parts, loaded up into the moving containers, put on wheels, and loaded up in the tour vans, it was bout 2:AMA. What I found very interesting is that it felt like a lot Of the work done during the show (if not most of it) is done by the unpaid interns.
What also found interesting when going back after have been in this class I really noticed how difficult yet necessary it is to appeal to your direct surroundings. For example, the Bottom Lounge utilizes its location in relation to the United Center in order to get people to the bar before the game, and to come back after the game as well. Thought having the inside look in the music venue once again after having had this class was very interesting. I learned that for the venue most of the money is not made from the tickets for the concert but in fact it is made off of alcohol sales.
It is a little disappointing to me that more money cannot be made trot the music directly, but I suppose that where there are concerts people are going to buy alcohol so it is always a safe fall back for a venue to still produce some revenue when ticket sales are low. I also tint the whole idea of how many different kinds of contracts are made with bands interesting. Some contracts are paid out as a flat rate of say $500 but other contracts are things like 250 down payment and of the ticket sales. Also find the whole science of how determining which contract is most beneficial to the venue based on the projected turnout and ticket sales count. At the box office there Vass a clicker we counted for every person that entered the venue which also found interesting because the Venue would keep track Of those numbers and if turnouts were low they would have some security leave early to save money or if we signed another contract With the same band later in the future we would negotiate based on the past turnout numbers.
Another thing that learned from working at the music venue that they told me many times is how crucial interns are to a music venue because its free labor for them and they don’t have to hire any other people. When my internship ended at the end of the summer they had already had backup interns waiting. To no surprise was the extra help a good thing when went back in to earn my volunteer hours for this project. This project was a great way of taking what we learned in class and reflect it on real world organizations that we have interests in.