Filling the Ark
As an example of a young band attracting a young audience she cites the Civil Wars, the singer-songwriter duo of Joy Williams and John Paul White. "They have a huge marketing team. They appeared here [at the club], and eight months later they sold 1,300 seats at the Michigan Theater. That's the way it is with a lot of young bands. With this level of technology, you've either got to get them right away or you'll never get them."
Just because an artist gets big doesn't necessarily mean they're lost to the club. The ideal, James explains in a later email, is "presenting artists through the whole arc of their career. We're usually still involved in presenting an artist who starts out at The Ark when they play a bigger venue in the area. Then, if they get to a point where they're playing clubs again, they're back at The Ark."
But that's only if they start early. "Getting big fast can have an impact on whether or not we can catch an artist at the outset--before they blow up," James continues. "If we haven't presented them before that, we're generally out of the loop. If we catch them at all, it will be much later in their career, when they're not drawing the big numbers anymore."
The managers don't expect any major changes in either the Main Street club or the Folk Festival, but James says that in the future "we may do some additional programming, possibly in partnership with the school system or with the city."