For someone whose role is to create fun, I often feel like I am the one pushing the turn-off-the-fun button. I’m the reality check in a trailer full of dreamers and creative minds. My job is to make their crazy ideas — and my own, on occasion — come to life, but sometimes they are just too outside our budget for me to make it work.
Ideas in the marketing department at Iron Horse usually start like this:
“Let’s get Steel Panther to play the Dirtbag Carnival!” It’s set for August 12, 2017 in case you didn’t know.
I probably responded with something like, “That’s an idea. It’s probably out of our budget, but I can ask.”
Everyone in marketing gets stoked about Steel Panther playing our event before I’ve even find out if it’s possible.
I then proceed to drop a line to Steel Panther’s email address:
“Hello, Nicole from Iron Horse Brewery here. We are a brewery based in Ellensburg, Washington. We are writing to inquire about Steel Panther’s availability and booking costs for shows in 2017. We have our annual Iron Horse Dirtbag Carnival that we think you’d be perfect for. Several of our fans have suggested Steel Panther as well. Our next Dirtbag Carnival is set for August 12, 2017.
We’d love to know whether you’re taking gigs on & what that would look like.”
Their booking agent responds, asking what our budget is.
We respond with this creative and totally genuine offer letter:
“Here’s what we can offer:
4 tickets to the Rodeo pancake feed
A free bonfire on the Hanson property
A custom snapchat filter for the event
A ride in Rob’s van
Lunch with a governor (no promises)
A swim in our brewhouse
Cozy sweaters for the band’s Christmas photos next year
A box of sample-sized toothpaste and dental floss
Marissa’s foosball table
Infinite beer for the day
& 2 scratch tickets (we get 1/2 if you win)
P.s. Weed is legal in Washington state.
We imagine this is what Steel Panther would probably ask for. We try to accommodate.”
Agent: “Nicole, The band would need $60,000 – $70,000.”
I try to crunch the numbers – How many Dirtbag tickets would we have to sell to make this happen?
Last year we sold them for $10 each, so we only have to sell 7,000 of them. Probably not going to happen. Ok, well we are bringing in a pretty well-known act, so we could sell them for more since it’d be an exclusive concert. If we sold them at $50 a pop, we’d only have to sell 1,400 tickets to break even. That’s doable. Except that last year we only had about 100 people show up because everybody, including our own employees, decided to go mountain biking or float the Yakima River instead of attending Dirtbag.
[Enter me being a funsucker]
“Hey guys, sorry, we can’t bring Steel Panther out because it’s way out of our budget. Also their agent has no sense of humor.”
Because I don’t want to completely give up on their dreams, I start tweeting at Steel Panther and members of the band begging them to do the show but receive no reply.
So, Steel Panther, if you’d like to do a charity show for a fraction of your usual rate to help me not be a funsucker that’d be great.
Share this if you want Steel Panther to play at the Dirtbag Carnival. If this guy can get 18 million twitter shares he’ll get free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s for life. Maybe if we do the same we’ll get Steel Panther to come out.