Friday, April 28, 2006

The Mission's significance

From what I understand, all-ages venues are important because local music scenes are driven by teenagers. New bands tend to be made up of teenagers, and their audiences are likewise dominated by teenagers. Teenagers don't have a lot of money to spend on tickets, so prices need to be low (around $6). But for the venue, it's hard to make a profit on $6 ticket prices--afterall the band, the booking company and everybody else will want to get paid. If the venue can't sell alcohol to some people in the audience--in other words if it were all teens, they probably couldn't make a profit. This is how I understand it. Tell me if I'm wrong.

The Mission, from what I understand, doesn't book rock bands--it has DJs, but similar economics are at work. And nightlife entrepreneurs would be looking at the Mission as a bellwether of sorts, since it mixes teens and adults. Can you open and operate an all-ages venue in Elgin? Can a place like Dundee's Clearwater Theater, which mixes teens and adults, operate in Elgin without unwarranted interference from city authorities? Right now the signs are not good.

Entrepreneurs will assume that if the Mission can't operate without city harassment, then a place like Clearwater can't either. Yet a place like Clearwater, where local bands can play to an appreciative hometown audience, is exactly what Elgin needs in order to effect the revival of its legendary music scene.


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