Oswego Musicians Working To Establish Local Venue

OSWEGO, NY – There is a grassroots effort under way to Ignite Oswego! A group of music minded people around the Port City have launched an online fundraising campaign to spark an involved music community.

“The goal is to raise $15,000 in 46 days and put that money toward local concerts, studio time to record local artists, and eventually open a permanent all-ages concert venue,” Sam DeCross, one of the organizers, told Oswego County Today on Saturday. “The fundraising platform gives rewards for donations, ranging from a thank you card to a dinner date. All fundraising is being done through IndieGoGo.com, at www.indiegogo.com/oswegomusic

The short list of what this campaign aims to accomplish:

  • Start getting regular weekend shows going for every genre.
  • Get bands/artists music recorded so everybody can listen whenever they want.
  • With regular shows established, open permanent music venue.
  • Portion off a part of the venue for retail space – every day deals on local merchandise such as T-shirts, CDs, tickets, and more.

The public is being asked to help fund the movement, DeCross said.

Funding, he added, goes directly and specifically to:

  • Expenses Of Shows: For every show that is put on, a location must be rented. Electricity is used and must be paid for. An insurance policy is taken out. Security is put in place. Expensive sound and lights are assembled; crews are put in place to operate everything. And, people take time out of their lives because they love to bring live music together.

“While ticket sales often help relieve some of the financial stress, it’s very difficult to turn a profit or even cover all the costs,” he explained. “Just to get under way in putting on live shows, we need about $5,000.”

  • Merchandise And Recording Boost: For bands, one of the main reasons for playing shows is to introduce themselves to new listeners and potential fans. One of the best things about a show from a fans perspective is falling in love with a new artist and taking a CD home to get familiar with and spread the word. In order for there to be CDs and T-shirts at shows, someone needs to design and print them.

“Since we believe in quality, we prefer to put products in front of fans that people will be proud to show off. The process costs money. But, after the first few boosts this process should become self-sufficient,” DeCross said.

  • Marketing/Advertising: The third most costly aspect of the project will be spreading the word. To make this as successful as possible, the group plans on going all out in raising awareness. This means advertisements in the media as well as posters, fliers, pamphlets.

Other Ways People Can Help

“Times are tough right now and we know it,” DeCross said.

He suggested ways people can help in addition to or instead of donating:

Make a YouTube video about what a CNY/Oswego local music scene would mean to you.

“Share it with us. We want to know what you think! Spread the link to this page as much as you can. Tell people about the goals here and raise awareness. This can only happen with the support of many!” he said.

“We have 38 days left on the IndieGoGo campaign. But, the goal for opening the venue is this fall taking the summer to promote concerts, get the community involvement up, sign on a location and build the venue itself,” DeCross said. “It will be fast and furious.”

“Yes, the clock is ticking on the IndieGoGo. Most of the fundraising will be done through ticket sales at the acoustic/indie rock shows happening every weekend starting on April 20 at the Coffee Connection. Tickets are $5, all proceeds going to this project. We will be posting the running total of dollars raised every day so people can check in and see how we’re doing. The working title of the whole project is ‘Ignite Oswego,’” he said.

For more information, visit www.indiegogo.com/oswegomusic

DeCross is an entrepreneur who focuses on building businesses in the music industry.

“In 2007, I co-founded Love At First Listen Promotions, a company that utilized MySpace and street marketing to connect bands with fans. We worked with bands such as The Maine, Metro Station, Breathe Carolina, The Summer Set and dozens more,” he said. “I continued to launch Crossed Productions (recording/production) United Music Source (concert promotion) and EsDeck Entertainment (artist management.)”

Raising $15,000 in 46 days in Oswego with absolutely no prior advertising or promotion time is “absolutely NOT realistic,” he acquiesces.

“But, it is more than possible,” he added quickly. “Chasing realistic deadlines and outcomes is certainly safe, but it’s so routine. When I launch a project, I don’t want people to be interested in the project alone. I want people to be interested in how it’s being done.”

“If I tell you ‘Hey, I am trying raise $15,000 in 46 days for the music scene’ I might get a reaction like, ‘That’s cool man. Good luck,’” he continued. If I say, ‘When we woke up today, we wiped a slate clean. It is time to make a mark on that slate that we will never forget. Starting today, we need to come together and build a scene. The clock runs out in 46 days. Let’s get to it.’ People will respond to that.”

That connects the group to people and lets them see things the way organizers envision things, he pointed out.

The various parts of the project are structured in phases and stages.

According to DeCross they will:

  • Use $15,000 seed money to put together shows with high capacity and popular headliners.
  • Bring popular local/regional acts together to release sampler CD mixtapes.
  • Establish permanent venue/retail space/recording studio where large shows can be held, local and touring acts can put music and merchandise on retail shelves on a consignment basis, recording studio will be used commercially and for getting bands something they can give out to fans to gain a base. Even a three-song demo will help people get comfortable with your music.

There is virtually no music scene in existence in Oswego, he said.

There is a lack of venues and a definite lack in youthful people (besides college students) to support such a scene, he noted.

Last week, DeCross was talking to an old friend, Jake Behr, who really wanted to get involved with the project.

“He’s a musician and extremely dedicated. He told me he was thinking about getting some fundraiser shows together right now and keep them going throughout the length of the campaign but didn’t really know what to do,” DeCross said. “We communicated back and forth, sent lists and info all over the place, and in two days he had booked six shows and gotten almost all the details set.”

DeCross said he’d announce the event details soon.

After a couple of these shows, he said, they’d be able to gauge the current scene better.

But he doesn’t see instant involvement between promoter, venue, and bands like that very often.

“I left Oswego when the hardcore scene was huge. If the middle school, high school, college and working young adults are still in Oswego which I have been assured they are, then our biggest worry will be finding highest capacity space for lowest cost,” he said.

Raising money is for gaining resources. There can’t be shows without a venue, there can’t be CDs or mp3s without a place to record and there can’t be a scene if there are no shows or music, DeCross said.

All of the work (for recording facilities, equipment etc.) will be done in-house, he said, adding, “Less middlemen equals more efficiency. This whole project is already on thin ice; we don’t need massive confusion at the beginning.”

“It would be awesome if people saw opportunities that tie into the music scene and capitalize on them,” he continued. “If this all goes through, I wouldn’t be surprised if we started seeing print shops, rock fashion shops, concert promoters and more studios popping up around the region. As soon as that happens – we’ll know we succeeded.”


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