KEEP MUSIC LIVE AT THE COUTH, by Stewart Hendrickson

The Pacific Northwest Folklore Society has produced a distinctive series of live music concerts at Couth Buzzard Books since May, 2010. The last concert on Sunday, June 9, with Claudia Schmidt is an example of what we do best: a renown performer in a small intimate space – fifty-two people that Sunday – at the same level allowing maximum interaction between the performer and audience, pure acoustic sound with no obtrusive electronics, and all for a very affordable donation. With the generosity of Theo Dezielak, owner of the Couth, we get a free venue along with refreshments and some friendly baristas to serve us. But we need to talk about the real cost of live music at the Couth and how best to sustain it.

All of the concert donations go to the performers; we take no cut for the Society or the Couth. It is important that the performers get full monetary support from their audience, they deserve it. Without it they cannot survive as musicians. The same is true for the Bookstore.

For our concerts we request a $10 or sometimes $15 donation as we pass the tip jar around during the concert or at the door. The Couth relies on food and drink purchases to pay the servers, the yearly ASCAP fee, and other related costs to provide us the venue. But this does not always cover the costs. To insure that these costs are covered and we continue to have live music, we will now request a donation of $3 or more for each concert in a separate tip jar for the Couth – this will be on the table, we won’t pass two tip jars around. We also encourage you to buy books (after all this is a bookstore!) and come for food and drinks at the Couth. We need to support this place and all the things they do for the community.

Finally, a note on the video of Claudia Schmidt’s concert posted above. Seattle videographer, Mark Jaroslaw, does videos for Seattle Folklore Society concerts, and has volunteered to do some videos at our concerts. His equipment is very unobtrusive and doesn’t interfere with the intimacy of the concert. It isn’t meant to be a substitute for the concert, but just to give readers of the NW HOOT some idea of what our concerts are like. We thank him for this opportunity.

One thought on “KEEP MUSIC LIVE AT THE COUTH, by Stewart Hendrickson”

  1. Given that most other concerts in the city cost a minimum of $20, plus whatever ticketing fees are added, what is requested at these shows is a genuine bargain. The tip request combined with the tip for the Couth is very modest and should raise NO issues among attendees. Audiences already know the qualities of the artists and their programs. When you come, bring four $5s to split 3 to 1 between the act and the house. It’s not much to ask. Plus the treats and drinks are all good.
    Stew makes excellent points. Think of how few venues exist in the area that regularly feature live acoustic folk music. Theo and the Couth are practically alone in town. This place feels more like a living room than a performance space. And Theo and Stew keep it folksy. Their commitments to this music are laudable.
    Live music is the best music. Acoustic is up close and personal, intimate, relaxed and friendly. It’s why artists like Claudia Schmidt return repeatedly. It’s why our support is so important.

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