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Chiltern Hundreds Area

    Forthcoming Attractions -

    At any time of year things are difficult for Jazz, so even if you didn’t make it to each event yourself we really do appreciate it if you had encouraged friends and colleagues to come along. Did you ever download a Poster to put out in your work place and did you direct people to this very extensive web site.  Remember that we have worked only for the Jazz Musicians to give them a platform for their talents.  We are a not for profit organisation. 
    As a mere enthusiast one man cannot bear the burden of organisation.

    Approximately 120 hours of planning goes into each concert -

    We need a new Management Structure if Concert Jazz is to continue - what part will you play?

    We need the following active components survive -

  • Corporate or Individual Sponsorship - for Bands, Posters or Venue

  • Paid Membership per season or Club Status with expenses underwritten by collective membership  guarantee.

  • More active members to take specific roles

  • Publicity Manager,

  • Ticket Sales and Box Office Manager

  • Secretary - with a view to setting up Charity status

  • Club Set-up on the day and Breakdown post Concert

  • Artistic Director

  • Sound Engineer

  • Webmaster for updating this Website

  • Its no good patting Jazz Eddie on the back and saying keep up the good work - he has done enough over 30 months and he wants his life back.  His appeals for committed assistance are conveniently ignored.

    KEEP FLEECE JAZZ GOING - another (successful) club in jeopardy.





    come along yourself,
    bring (or send) your friends
    forward emails to anyone you think might be interested.


    It would be tragic, having just won the 2009 award for best Jazz Club at the Parliamentary Jazz Awards, if we were unable to continue because of insufficient support. 

    We know the recession makes things tough for everyone and we have made strenuous efforts to reduce our costs, but Fleece Jazz receives no outside funding or subsidies.  We are non- profit-making and none of the committee receives payment. 

    All revenues are used to book the best musicians we can afford, maintain the best sound system we can manage and advertise our events.


    The venue is excellent.  The sound is better than we had dared hope and much better than at Kersey.  Bar and food prices are comparable, the quality is consistently extremely good and there is a choice of bars and food options.  There is ample parking on hard standing and there are plenty of toilets. 

    The staff  are very attentive, seating is comfortable and we ALWAYS play with the audience round the band as we used to at the original Fleece.   


    Your Suggestions

    Firstly, I would like to express our gratitude for your efforts. We have only come along to 2 shows since we move to Thame in 2006 but they were both excellent. It seems to me that we’re very lucky to be able to see such musicians here and with you having done all the ground-work and built up a regular clientele, it would be a tragedy to let it all slip away. So…
    I am in the position of having more spare money to spare than time! I work long hours and have two young kids. So I don’t feel able to take on any of the organisation. I suspect from the look of the audience that there are others in the opposite position!

    I would happily pay an annual subscription of say 12x£6 = £72 with the expectation that I would be able to attend every event (about 12 I guess??) but if I missed any, I wouldn’t get any money back. If you went this way, I guess you’d have to decide if subscription were to become compulsory or if you would allow some people to still come ad hoc for £12 a throw.
    ·         I would also happily sponsor a single show to make up the deficit. I wouldn’t want to get anything out of it at all. I guess the main thing is that one would need to find a way of encouraging others to do the same, so maybe there should be some acknowledgement of sponsors so that non-sponsors sit uncomfortably in their seats! I would happily give £100 for an upcoming show. Perhaps there could be more than one sponsor per show.
    ·         I would also pay £10 per show but I’m sure you’ve considered how this might hit attendance.
    Overall, my offers above are modest and I would give more, so I wouldn’t be offended if you came back saying the numbers needed to be higher. I guess I’d like to know that others are also coming forward before going further. I’m sure there are plenty of people who could help but as ever in these cases, most people are happy to rely on the committed few to do all the work. So if you wanted to refer to my ideas above and ask others to match the money, I’d be fine with that. I guess if you could get 30 people offering £100 sponsorship per year (plus some organisational help), that would make a difference?? Or would it? I’m not really sure what the economics are of running the whole shebang.
    Anyway, I hope you’re getting lots of replies. I look forward to hearing how it’s going ….. and to the next gig!  Thanks again Eddie.

    Good stuff Francis - if only everyone would just commit we wouldn't need to introduce such measures but they are a real inducement to getting your money's worth and ensuring an audience for the artists performance on the night.  Band Sponsorship is another ploy and matching ticket value for your friends to see your choice of band - or joint/recommended choice if you are uncertain about which musos.

    Just to say thanks for another fabulous night, we all thoroughly enjoyed it.  I have been thinking if there is any practical way that I can help support you in any future gigs you might be persuaded to put on, although I can understand it if you want to call it a day.
    Would it be of any help if I was to offer to underwrite say 20 tickets per gig for the next 3 events i.e. guarantee to get 20 bodies from Wingrave area to Thame or alternatively pay £200 less any bodies paid for?
    This would probably involve circularising some of our client base and also leaning on people much more heavily than I have done before!  Let me know if this would be any help.  I suggested to Steve Kershaw that the blues number should be called "Eddie's Blues" in recognition of all the effort you had put into bringing world class jazz to Thame and the pathetic lack of response.  Yours aye,

    Jules - a stalwart and distant recruiter already and often represents 20% of the audience at times - if only the core listeners worked as hard as Jules to ensure a car full for a regular musically entertaining reward.   We are only 15 to 20 bodies short for each event to be a financial success as well as a musical triumph.  Why come alone - bring a car full of like minded people.

    Andy -   Re your plea for help I’m afraid I can’t offer time but can offer some views and commitments.  I think creating a membership based club is a sound idea.  I have only been to two events but would be happy to subscribe up front to a membership scheme if that helps to keep it going.  You could potentially create two different tiers for regular and infrequent members.  This might catch you some money up front from people who will attend the odd event but don’t plan to be there every year – they may also get more hooked in and end up paying on the door for additional nights.  I’m not a jazz aficionado but do think you’ve got some great quality musicians based on the nights I have attended and feel it would be a shame if it was all to stop.  I’m happy to put subscriptions in up front and would persuade others to do the same but I do agree that you need time commitment from others to make it a reality.  Sorry I can’t support this bit personally.  I look forward to hearing what others have said!

    Nice of Andy to show his concern having only attended two events and with Jazz not his real groove.  He concurs with Francis and is prepared to commit precious resources up front but the 2 tier level for low attendance members may prove difficult to police at the box Office.  Perhaps a round robin stating that we are now members only will decide the whole issue and if there are not sufficient willing to commit to that or additional organisational help -  then we are dead in the water.   How sad to lose our 2-1/2 years of status and clientel.

Bob Nicholls and Ian Beach went out of their way to add marketing expertise to our predicament and wish to be active in salvaging what there can be from our circumstances and their notes and suggestions also make interesting reading -

Informal Discussion on Concert Jazz -  31/1/08
Ian Beach and Bob Nicholls met with Eddie Fowler to learn more about Concert Jazz and to explore how it might be sustained. Eddie explained he had had a life long interest in music and especially Jazz and had founded Concert Jazz some two and a half years ago to bring live Jazz of a good standard to the Thame area. He was keen to promote less well known but talented musicians by giving them the opportunity to perform. In addition to putting on concerts, Eddie acted as a promoter/agent for some musicians (including some from overseas) and had developed an extensive and informative jazz web site which was receiving world wide hits. He indicated that while unable to sustain these activities at a financial loss he was not in it to make money but to put something back into the music he loved.  Eddie outlined his main problems in keeping Concert Jazz going and certain solutions were discussed as follows:

1.         Audience numbers
From the original peaks of over 100 for some concerts audience numbers have gradually declined to under 50 when the "break even" position is around 75Without an adequate audience the jazz promotions are not financially viable and cannot continue. Hence the top priority for action is to reverse the decline in attendance.  Blanket advertising, even if achievable, is potentially wasteful of effort and expense.  Better, is to find ways to target those with a known interest in jazz who are more likely to respond positively.  The most direct and potentially effective way to do so is through Email linked to web advertising.  Mail shots are also possible, but require more effort and expense. 
Eddie has already done a very great deal to amass a database which is used to communicate with fans, so much of the essential groundwork has already been completed.  The challenge now is to ensure that the messages that are conveyed are in a form that results in the desired increase in attendance.  Emails about jazz functions have to compete with Email marketing messages from numerous other sources.  Email marketing is now a sophisticated process and to compete successfully against others requires an equally well developed approach. Ensuring Email impact and response is thus a priority for action.
As Eddie has explained, getting people to help is itself difficult.  But ideally an expert in email/web marketing might be identified to advise on a voluntary basis. (More thought needs to be given on the way to achieve this.)  The expertise required is specifically in Email and web marketing not in information technology, though this is a related expertise.  Pending this, Ian undertook to identify some web sites which offer useful ideas on internet marketing which he would send on to Eddie.  Subject to his availability he may also be able to offer other direct advice.

2.         Reducing the workload
Eddie works alone in finding and hiring artists and venues, in marketing and in making all the arrangements on the night, which takes at least 120 hours per event.  This has to be reduced if the concerts are to continue.  There are at least two ways to achieve this. 

  • Prioritise the existing tasks

Until more ‘hands on’ assistance can be found, Eddie could possibly leave aside some of the activities he currently undertakes and concentrate on the core challenge of raising audience numbers.  No deep discussion of the practicality of this took place, but an example would be to put aside web site development in favour of Email marketing for events.  Satisfying the curiosity of overseas website readers is low priority against increasing local attendance at concerts. 

Only Eddie is able to assess the practicality and value of this idea, but it is worth consideration as a short term measure. 

  • Clarify what can be delegated to others and renew the search for assistance.

There is need for Eddie to identify specific tasks which could be undertaken
by others to ease the burden on himself (and to get more people involved in
and committed to the enterprise).  

            Though Eddie has often appealed for assistance it could help to recruit volunteers if he could identify more precisely those tasks that he would like to delegate to others.  These should include some on-going roles and tasks, some jobs in the lead up to specific events and some on the night. Eddie could then concentrate on his core purpose (e.g. finding and engaging the musicians).  

            When a list of tasks is available, volunteers can be sought by advertising on the web/emails, but especially by approaching people at events and by other personal contact.  Eddie is a very persuasive enthusiast and it seems likely that he would attract most assistance through face to face discussion rather than by more impersonal appeals by Email. Also, personally delivered  invitations to be part of a success are likely to succeed better than impersonal appeals to avert disaster. This search for support also links to section 3. below. 

3.         Financial support from local and national organisations
Eddie has done a lot to generate local interest and support, but still more is needed as this is a never ending process. Continuing personal contact with local groups and individuals (e.g U3A groups, the Players Theatre organisation, music teachers at local schools, golf clubs, pub and restaurant owners/managers etc) will all help promote interest in Concert Jazz and market particular events.  Eddie as enthusiast and communicator is key to this process, which underpins the marketing efforts referred to at 1 above.  It could also assist with finding the much needed helpers.
Some indicated they would be willing to help with this and to try to bring a group to a future event.  Given time, it may be possible to develop what might be called a ‘Band Leader’ scheme, meaning a few individuals who take it on themselves to bring a small ‘band’ (of listeners) to each concert.

4.         Other issues
4.1       Membership scheme
Eddie has previously considered the introduction of a membership scheme but has not progressed the idea.  Further consideration could be given to this as an adjunct of an updated website and Email marketing campaign.  It might have the advantage of providing a small income and also be a source of support and a supply of helpers to spread the load.
4.2       Market research
Eddie is very familiar with and knowledgeable about the jazz ‘scene’ in and around Oxfordshire.  However, there could be value in undertaking a more formal market research exercise to establish with greater clarity the extent of demand for concerts against the level of current provision.  The timing of any survey seems heavily dependent on the availability of an expert volunteer, a sponsor or grant funding, but it remains a potentially useful tool in the medium to longer term.
Shorter term, a simpler approach is merely to talk to audience members and listen carefully to their suggestions.  Alternatively, a simple questionnaire might be given to audiences to enquire about their preferences on music, venue or other telling issues.

5.         The future
Given the effort to establish reputable jazz concerts, you need to consider whether or not continue efforts to keep Concert Jazz going in the future.  If we are prepared to do so, then in addition to the points above, the following which also emerged in discussion, appear important: 

  • Continuity with the past program of events needs to be maintained or the core of local interest will evaporate rapidly.
  • A target for the next concert would leave some time available to revise and rack up the impact of the Email marketing program.
  • Ideally, a program of future concerts should be published (say four) to help the sense of continuity and the marketing approach.
  • A regular venue should be retained, again to generate a sense of continuity and certainty. (It is also very satisfactory.)
  • Eddie needs to clarify his control over the events to eliminate ‘unprofessional’ interventions by inexperienced helpers. (e.g. photographers/announcers - we might be able to assist with the latter.)

Send us your opinions please!


They Are Highly Social Jazz Events
we do bring exciting performances of Instrumental Jazz as rendered by the finest of young Internationally renowned Musicians.

They do have a major impact on the established World Jazz Scene and also support major Performers in the music business.

It is no mean feat to secure these hard working, inventive and prolific performers.  Where is your support to improve the Artistic Quality of Music in Oxfordshire

Did You Network for Live Concert Jazz!

Can you increase the Gig frequency
- can you raise our attendance numbers
- do you tell all your music loving friends.

"It's my kind of place. I can look round at the audience, and see this group of people I wouldn't have come across at any other venue. Open-minded, ethnically mixed, age-mixed, great sense of humour - a quintessentially eccentric English audience."

Support your local Jazz Venue, wherever it is. Concert Jazz was a thriving example - despite having been pretty firmly sidestepped by the public funding bodies throughout its life - but there are many more, all over the UK. They're where some of the most exotic blooms of new music are grown, surrounded by those who tend them, understand them, and cheer for them. This is where you hear tomorrow's music news today!


NB - CD's autographed by the Artists
Your lasting Memento of these Great Occasions.

Often Better,

Cheaper  and

Safer Than a Trip to

London's Jazz Venues

Corporate Sponsors Required
To improve the quality of Performances at our monthly gigs, or to maintain ongoing International Jazz Performers participation, we would welcome all degrees of Sponsorship from any Local or National Company that feels that Contemporary Jazz of this quality would assist in the promotion of their Corporate image in the Oxfordshire Area and beyond.  In return you invest in something pleasurable of your choice and enjoy Corporation Tax Relief for supporting the Performing Arts

Send mail to jazzmaster@jazzeddie.f2s.com with questions or comments about the design only of this web site.
Last modified: 18/02/2012