Updating the Audio Infrastructure

Final update: WE DID IT! THANK YOU!

Nonprofits that ask for money all the time bug us too, so we don't ask for money all the time.

We like that about us.

The last time we made any kind of appeal was way pre-Covid.

You've already guessed, we're gonna pitch an ask down below. Nothing crazy, the entire goal is $3,000. So when we say that anything helps, there isn't a more true thing to be said. It's for audio infrastructure improvements. Good ones.

We've also asked some foundations for help. And our door is always open to underwriters.

But before making the pitch we're gonna polish the underlying magic apple. You already know what we do, but you may not know why we do it. It’s a lot of work, and we’re all volunteers. Only the performers get paid. We’re a nonprofit not just by law and in word, but in spirit and deed.

If you wanna skip the humble brag and just help out, here's an early exit to the donation portal:

Optionally, cash or checks can be dropped off at any event. Or if you want to surface-mail a check, drop us an email for the Admin mailing address (it's different from the Venue address, which doesn't get mail delivery).

Donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent. Stage 33 Live LTD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, EIN 82-2349941.

Stage 33 Live is built on a multi-prong mission, and each prong is equally important. The main ones are:

  • To help emerging local and regional musicians and language creatives find ears and eyes by documenting their original work in paid performance and presentation before a live audience,

    • and also welcome artists who are more established — their participation gives the project more visibility and perceived value.

  • To provide the local community affordable yet high quality live entertainment.

  • To contribute to Bellows Falls' and southeastern Vermont's reputation as a desirable destination.

And there's a fourth main prong, which by a wide margin has been the most successfully fulfilled prong:

  • Disseminate the produced documentation.

Getting the videos out in the world gives the performers extra visibility to a far wider audience, and not coincidentally raises awareness that Bellows Falls is a pretty cool place.

Our online view count is in excess of 80,000 at this writing (in October 2023), averaging about 2,500 a month and growing. To have 80,000 people churn through the room as live audience members, we'd have to do 2,000 sold-out shows. At the actual rate we do shows, that would take 100 years.

So we consider the fourth prong successful.

We also have plans to produce for radio and television from the archived material. If we can do it well enough (and we certainly intend to try), it might even get picked up by the regional public radio and/or television networks in addition to PEG and indie radio and TV stations. How sexy would that be?!

We think we're doing good work, particularly for an all-volunteer thing.

Occasional donations and small foundation grants have been enough to cover the costs to do what we do — yeah, there are costs even without having a payroll.

We don't have income from liquor and food sales because we don't have a bar or a kitchen.

We don't take a cut of the ticket money, it all goes to the performers. (A good percentage of the time the ticket money doesn't add up to a fair professional wage — big props to performers willing to gamble with their livelihoods to come play for you! That's awfully cool. Buy some merch. Tipping is allowed.)

Business-minded people say we're nuts for not dipping our fingers into the till. Good thing we're not trying to be a business. We also saw a nonprofit-advisor's opinion that any nonprofit that doesn't run itself like a business doesn't deserve to survive. It's possible that he didn't mean it like he said it, but it's pretty terrible at face value. We want no part of that kind of cynicism. We defy that kind of cynicism.

That said, it would be a lie not to admit that sometimes we get discouraged and start questioning why we keep volunteering to do all this work.

Then we remember that multi-prong mission and how awfully swell it is raising all the boats.

Here's the ask, finally.

We're raising $3,000 to make significant audio improvements — in the room, and the audio capture for the documentation.

We've made incremental investments as we've been able for things like better cameras, lights, microphones, and seating, but the audio recording has always been a pesky layer tacked on to sound reinforcement. That is nuts… the audio is one of the most important elements of what we're doing.

Half of the target goal is for a high-quality multitrack recording interface running in parallel to the PA system. Completely independent. How the professionals do it. Which is not how we've ever been able to do it, but how we should be.

Another third of the target goal is for a PA mixer that's far more flexible and functional than the one we have. (A hundred years ago, our first mixer went up in literal smoke an hour before a show. We'll hang onto the old one too, just in case.) In addition to better preamps, significantly more capable EQ, and other beneficial goodies, it would allow a fully discrete, tablet-controlled submix for live streaming — we could completely eliminate the snaked auxiliary mixer we currently use for that. Similarly, performers could tweak their monitor mixes themselves, right from the stage… or ditch wedges entirely and drive (performer-supplied) IEMs, enough for a full band.

If that's all Greek to you, that's OK. Bottom line is that they're significant and important improvements… and, as is our way, we're taking the most cost-efficient path possible to get there.

You may be wondering why we don't run a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter or GoFundMe or such. Reason is that the only time those seem to work around here is when a big fish in our small pond is behind it. We're not confident that we're big enough fish, at least not yet. Maybe we'll give it a try if we need to, but for now you're the crowd.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for coming to shows. Thank you for your support.

Here are some pancakes, with love.

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Stage 33 Live is run and done by volunteers, small donations, and little grants.
Extra hearty pats on the back lately to:

Run and done by volunteers stem to stern. Donations are what keep this thing going.
We squeeze every penny, and we'd be so happy to squeeze yours. Or @stage33live on paypal.me or venmo. Or drop off cash / checks at any event.
To send us anything by surface mail, contact us for the admin mailing address —
the venue does not receive postal service!

Tax deductible to the fullest extent. Stage 33 Live LTD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, EIN 82-2349941.
Donated equipment or services are welcome, and volunteers too!

Stage 33 Live
33 Bridge Street, Bellows Falls VT
voice/text (802) 289-0148
We don't have actual staff to answer.