For Performers

What do things look like post-COVID? No idea. And no idea when post-COVID will be. We’ve been canceling shows from this end both by performer request and government mandate. And the tenants and owners of 33 Bridge Street have final say.

It appears that predictions of performance spaces like Stage 33 Live not being able to reopen until sometime deep in 2021 — at the earliest — are likely.

In the meantime, we’ll book any available open date with the understanding that it might not be able to happen.
 

 
There’s lots of words here. They’re all important. We’d love for you to come play or present, but we also don’t want you to participate in something that turns out to be other than you expected. Being transparent and thorough protects both you and us. We have rough edges, restrictions, and pitfalls, but we like to think that they complement the glory and guts of the project. Not everyone agrees, and that’s cool.
 

What dates do you have available?

The list of open dates follows below. Each date has availabilities for Performers or Presenters and Artists; you can be both if you wish. Long-scheduled gigs continue to fall to Covid-19’s ongoing menace, and the dominoes are likely to continue toppling until vaccine deployment is widespread.

Update: The only open performance date left in our regular 2021 schedule is Halloween. All artist slots are currently open because we just started doing that and nobody knows about it yet.

Stage 33 Live is entirely run and done by volunteers. Our regular schedule is one show every three Sundays — one on, two off — from the last Sunday in August through the last Sunday in May. Occasionally we’ll deviate. We’re painfully aware that this just won’t work for some who would like to get on our stage, and who we’d love to have on our stage. But we live in a world that also occasionally offers up unexpected surprises, so do give us a shout anyway.

The following open dates are first-come first-served, and available for local, regional, or national performers or presenters. We’re usually pretty good about keeping the list current as things fill and churn.

2021

  • sun feb 14 ’21 (every 3rd sunday; also Valentine’s Day) POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
    · PERFORMER: Owen Nied
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun mar 07 ’21 (every 3rd sunday) POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
    · PERFORMER: Dan Weber and The Milkhouse Heaters
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun mar 28 ’21 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: Ben Carr
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun apr 18 ’21 (every 3rd sunday) POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
    · PERFORMER: Dan & Faith
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun may 09 ’21 (every 3rd sunday; also Mother’s Day)
    · PERFORMER: Decatur Creek
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun may 30 ’21 (every 3rd sunday; also the day before memorial day) EVENING SHOW ONLY
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • xxx jun ’21 (none)
  • xxx jul ’21 (none)
  • xxx aug xx ’21 (none until the last sunday of august)
     
  • sun aug 29 ’21 (last sunday of august) POSTPONED DUE TO COVID-19
    · PERFORMER: Savannah King
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun aug 29 ’21 (last sunday of august)
    · PERFORMER: Jenna Rice + Friends
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun sep 19 ’21 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: Linda Sussman with Pat Daddona + Friends
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun sep 26 ’21 (off-schedule make-up date)
    · PERFORMER: Hiroya Tsukamoto
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun oct 10 ’21 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: David Rogers with Joshua Hall
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun oct 31 ’21 (every 3rd sunday; also halloween)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun nov 21 ’21 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: Jenna Rice
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun dec 12 ’21 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: Rupert Wates is penciled in (to confirm mid-May)
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     

2022

  • sun jan 02 ’22 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun jan 23 ’22 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun feb 13 ’22 (every 3rd sunday; also the day before Valentine’s Day)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun mar 06 ’22 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: Dan Weber with The Milkhouse Heaters
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun mar 27 ’22 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: Dan and Faith
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun apr 17 ’22 (every 3rd sunday; THIS IS EASTER)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun may 08 ’22 (every 3rd sunday; also Mother’s Day)
    · PERFORMER: Fred Gillen, Jr
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun may 29 ’22 (every 3rd sunday; also the day before memorial day) EVENING SHOW ONLY
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN
     
  • xxx jun ’22 (none)
  • xxx jul ’22 (none)
  • xxx aug xx ’22 (none until the last sunday of august)
     
  • sun aug 28 ’22 (last sunday of august)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun sep 18 ’22 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun oct 09 ’22 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun oct 30 ’22 (every 3rd sunday; also the day before halloween)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun nov 20 ’22 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • sun dec 11 ’22 (every 3rd sunday)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     

2023

  • sun jan 01 ’23 (every 3rd sunday; also new year’s day)
    · PERFORMER: OPEN
    · ARTIST: OPEN

     
  • to be continued

If you need to cancel, 30 days is preferred though we recognize that’s not always possible, and we’ll do the same for you. In the case of horrible weather, with your input we’ll try to call it one way or the other at least 24 hours in advance. We’ll never cancel due to low presales… but we’re also never going to force anybody to play a show that they don’t think is worth playing. And nobody is liable for things beyond their control. Performers are independent contractors. We don’t demand any exclusivity or lockouts.

 

What sort of acts do you book?

The room has mostly defined itself as an acoustic folk/Americana singer-songwriter place, but we run jazz, pop, rock, and more. Informative and/or entertaining original spoken word is absolutely and enthusiastically on the table — humanities and science topics are always super-welcome along with artful words. We can accommodate panels of up to seven people on the stage.

Only original, copyright-owned material is allowed, whether music or words. Public Domain and Fair Use is also OK (proof and onus is on the performer). Two reasons for this: 1. to celebrate original creativity; and 2. we can’t afford licensing from the performing rights organizations… and we definitely can’t afford the hefty fines for violations — just one of those would shut us down forever. So no covers.

Additionally, all activity in the building has to be relatively family-friendly, sort of a soft R rating, per the tenants and stakeholders of 33 Bridge Street. They also have right of refusal of all performers and dates. Here are the House Rules we need to abide by, FYI. Since we record and film everything for eventual broadcast, having it all stay as FCC-safe as possible works out well anyway.

Our main intention is to help local and regional musicians and spoken word people find ears and eyes, but we also open our door to established and touring performers.

Everything we host is because somebody reached out to us. We don’t use a booking service, and we don’t solicit performers… don’t wait for an invitation, it’ll never come.

The people on the stage and the people in the audience are both there because they chose to be there for each other. It’s a beautiful symbiosis.

 

What’s the pay?

We’ll work with headliners to set entry pricing to meet reasonable expectations (whether face-value tickets or suggested donation). We can’t guarantee how many people will come to any given show, but there’s seating for 40 and total entry is cut off at 60 — which hasn’t happened yet. We were starting to see the results of cultivating a built-in audience, but COVID-19 is undoubtedly setting us back and all bets are off.

Our best turnouts have broken 50. That’s rare. Average for touring acts is a couple dozen, half that for locals.

In the case of solo touring headliners at least, more times than not — but not always — we meet or exceed the recommended Fair Trade minimum wage determined by the American Federation of Musicians and endorsed by the North American Traveling Musicians Union.

Ticket prices (or donation-at-the-door if preferred) tend to range from a low of what-you-wish to $20 for a touring co-bill. For artists who don’t have to travel far to get here, $5 isn’t uncommon. Touring artists are usually $12/$15ish advance, $15/$20ish door. In our experience, if a value isn’t put on a show, people don’t value it — so we do recommend putting some price on it, even if it’s a suggested minimum donation.

We’re fine with flat price, age-tiered, or pretty much any other structure. If you want us to state that nobody will be turned away for lack of funds, we happily will. We’ve never tried a pay-as-you-exit scheme, but are open to the idea.

When it seems appropriate or is requested by the headliner we set up online advance ticket sales, generally with premium seating and extra-donation-for-the-artist options. Otherwise it’s pay-at-the-door festival seating.

Headliners play for 100% of presale + door, less the 11th ticket sold which we put toward promotion costs. Local openers work without pay, which is a hard pill for us to swallow — not discounting that the documentation we produce does have value. We welcome local openers to pass the hat, put out a tip jar, and/or sell merch; headliners are welcome to tip them but it’s not required. If a headliner brings on their own opener or co-bill, any financial arrangement is between them — we pay out full cash on the night to the booking party only.

We don’t snub artists who aren’t a guaranteed big draw.

For open mics and short sets, there’s no pay. But we do record and film those sets too, and the performer is welcome to use the material we produce in any way they see fit.

All merch sales are yours; we can provide a well lit table near the stage but usually no staff.

Normally we do everything on a handshake, but if you need us to sign something we will if it doesn’t seem skeezy. That said, we’ve been trying to distill everything on our end into a Performance Agreement; it’s still just a draft and might always be, but you can look at for reference if you’d like. It suffers from our usual neutron-like density.

We’re not able to offer a guarantee, deposit, meals, etc. We’re a shoestring DIY nonprofit run by volunteers. Other than the 11th ticket to help cover promo costs for your show, we take no cuts of door or merch; we rely on donations to cover our expenses. We keep trying, with little success, to land foundation grants — we’re too new, too hard to explain, too small. We firmly believe that all workers deserve to get paid for their work, and we hope to get paid for ours one day; in the meantime, we do our best to make sure you get paid for yours. If you have a good show and wish to make a freewill donation to help keep the project going, we won’t refuse it. But we won’t expect it either.

 

How long do we play, when do we go on, when is load-in?

Headliners usually do one set clocking about 70 to 90 minutes. We don’t have super-plush theater seating, and audiences tend to start getting fidgety by 90 minutes. We’ve had seasoned pros who play these kinds of rooms a lot direct a short stand-and-stretch from the stage for like a minute at about an hour in, it’s really effective (and, with the right patter so you don’t accidentally lose them, fun).

Co-bills backing each other and alternating songs usually do one set of about 90 minutes, or sometimes two 45ish-minute sets. Something to note: Every time one act does two sets, there’s audience loss at the break no matter how amazing the performance is. Never happens when individual acts do a set each, just when one act does two sets. So weird.

Co-bills doing individual sets tend to do about 45-55 minutes apiece, with a 10-minute break.

Headliners and co-bills are encouraged to read the room and, if so moved, go longer or shorter by feel; when magic is happening we don’t want arbitrary rules getting in the way of it. Conversely, shows where things just ain’t clickin’ are rare in our experience.

Single openers that we bring on do about 20/25 minutes. We’ll always seek headliner approval of single openers. We don’t require having an opener, but it’s nice to get local players in on things… being as how that’s our mission and all. Sometimes a local musical match just doesn’t churn up, and in that case we might run three or four open-mic-style short sets (usually 10 minutes each max with quick turnover) that can be wildly diverse. Often they’re people we’ve never seen or heard before. It’s fun.

Headliners who bring on their own opener can make whatever time-share agreement they want.

Let us know right away if you’d rather not have an opener (which is fine) — when there’s no opener, we like to note that in the outreach to encourage people to be sure to get there on time.

Most shows are 7:00 PM starts. If you’re into doing a matinee, that’s also on the table; usually matinees are 2:00 or 3:00 starts, sometimes 4:00. It’s something we work out together. Note that the room is daylit when the sun is out.

As far as attendance goes, it doesn’t seem to matter whether it’s evening or matinee.

The first act usually starts a few minutes after the advertised start time, and headliners start after the opener plus a ~10 minute break. Door usually opens 30 minutes before start.

Load-in is when you feel comfortable getting there. Our aim is to be ready for soundcheck at least 90 minutes before door, but we usually start setting up hours before that. The room dials in quickly (setting monitors, if you need them, takes longer than FOH), but more soundcheck is better than less.

There’s a loading dock and a cart if you’ve got a lot of stuff to schlep or it’s raining, or you just like loading docks as much as we do.

 

What’s the room like?

It’s a makeshift space in an old factory turned creative economy incubator in a building on the National Historic Register that also has the studios of fine artists, craftspeople, and artisans. It’s a sort of souped-up house concert in a light-industrial setting. There are 40 folding chairs plus standing room. Total entry is cut off at 60, which has never happened yet.

Stage 33 Live doesn’t piggyback on a coffeehouse, or a bar, or a restaurant, and BYOB isn’t allowed. Given that the whole point of this thing is to honor the stage, we consider the lack of distractions a boon. Not everyone agrees and that’s OK. We do have coffee, soda, water, and snacks available (by donation for the audience, free for the talent).

Until it finds a tenant, there’s a room behind the stage that we use as a green room… sprawling, spartan, conditioned, not secure, no private bathroom. The building doesn’t normally have wifi, but we try to check out a data box from the library on show nights.

 

What are the technical particulars?

The stage is 8′ deep and 16′ wide and about 8″ high, and has thick padding and plush carpet on it because the whole thing acts like a giant stomp box unless we damp it. We hope to do something about that from underneath at some point. The stage backdrop is black.

We have a marginally OKish mic locker and everything normally needed for sound reinforcement. You can bring your own mics if you wish (condensers need to have really crackerjack rear rejection), your own DIs if you want, whatever smalls help you feel comfortable. 16 channels of send. We have three wedges but if you don’t need them we’re happy to not set them up because it helps keep bleed down on the recording. We don’t have a personal monitor mix system but sure wish we could afford to; monitor mixes are sent from the board. Sound person supplied, though you’re welcome to bring your own. If you have weird needs, let us know — we’ll try to make it happen. We don’t have any backline or house instruments. We have LED small PARs for stage lighting, nothing fancy. The room is daylit during daylight hours, something to keep in mind.

We love stage plots and input lists.

If you want to do a true acoustic show with no amplification whatsoever (including nixing the PA), we’re game.

 

Do you promote?

You bet. We can do it even better if you supply an EPK with good bio and press boilerplate, high-res photos, and anything else that seems useful.

We land decent column-inches in the regional papers regularly. We list in appropriate online and print calendars. We push hard on social media even though social media seems to be increasingly irrelevant. We have an opt-in email newsletter. We poster.

We make posters in-house, but are happy to put up supplied material. If you’d like us to use yours, a couple dozen smalls — letter or littler — is good. 11x17s tend to get quickly covered up or pulled down from most public bulletin boards around here, though there are four or five good high-traffic safe locations for those. Our venue address doesn’t receive snail mail; the admin address for surface mail is “Stage 33 Live (admin), 8A Atkinson St, Bellows Falls VT 05101”.

Much effort and time is given to enthusiastically selling the sizzle, but sometimes turnout is disheartening even for those with comparatively wide renown. There’s no apparent rhyme or reason to what clicks and what doesn’t. For many pros and touring folks, working for door in a small room is deal-breaker territory, and appropriately so. On the other hand, we feel no shame in being a tour-hole-filler.

Our best turnouts have broken 50. That’s rare. Average for touring acts is a couple dozen, half that for locals. The worst have been two shows with local artists, tied, with three… brutal. (Got good video though.)

There’s almost always a positive difference in attendance when a local or regional artist also promotes as aggressively as we do.

Even though the real legs of the project is the documentation of you doing your thing, we’d much rather have more people in the room than fewer. In terms of that though, there are about as many advantages to having almost nobody in the room as vice versa, honestly. Make a flub? Heck, just start over. If you want us to go lean on the outreach with the specific intent of having a very small audience, or want to impose a tight limit on tickets, we’ll do that. If you want to have a closed set on purpose, we’ll try to accommodate it on an off-schedule day. Performers booked elsewhere in the area may be contractually restricted from additional public performances, though may want to pop in on the down-low for whatever reasons they might have. Or if you’re a bigwig wanting to play secret show under a pseudonym, we’re down with shenanigans and can keep a secret.

But back to reality. We say this without negativity or judgment, and frankly these facts are a big part of why we’re doing this: The immediate community is a one-square-mile rural village of 3,000 with a poverty rate of over 25%. The wealth, education, and leisure gaps are wide. Going out to listening rooms, especially ones without a bar, just ain’t part of the lifestyle for most around here — but the local audience is growing, so we’re doing something right. A strong percentage of the audience comes in from nearby communities and farther-flung places; at one memorable show, five states were represented.

 

You record and film everything?

We do. The performances, not literally everything. Everyone who performs or presents is recorded and filmed. We have an intimidating release form — but have no intention of screwing over anybody, ever. The release is meant to cover everyone’s butts, including yours, by spelling out everything as completely as possible — even stuff that’s almost certainly never going to happen in a million years. You’ll need to sign one before you take the stage.

We’re not a professional service, however. We believe that a decent record of a great performance is better than pristine documentation of a decent performance. And we know that the media will never replace being in the room… but showing people what they’re missing is probably the best way to inspire them to start going to live shows. Also, non-cellphone performance videos can help land other, bigger, better bookings. Our intention is that the two things should support each other.

We’ll eventually be using the material in a broadcast variety performance program that we’re hoping will ultimately get picked up by the regional public TV and radio. In the meantime, we’re posting clips on YouTube, where aggregate views as of this writing are approaching 14K. Not viral, no, but meaningful.

A significant camera upgrade is in the works for our post-Covid return.

We document without much interference — but we want everyone to shine, so we may stage-mom just a little. No stress. Come prepared, but have fun. Do the hell out of the thing. It’s supposed to be enjoyable and rewarding and fulfilling.

We make production decisions with the documentation that are intended to enhance, and sometimes to compensate. Sometimes a performance won’t get used for a variety of reasons.

We’re really far behind on mixing and cutting, but working hard to catch up.

Performers can use the audio and video we produce in any way they see fit, including monetizing it.

 

Be cool, honey bunny!

There are reasons for this next bit. By our reckoning, it only applies to about five out of every hundred performers, so chances are excellent you’re not one of them.

Ever work a free gig for a cause or as a favor, but then somebody kinda sucks the air out of it? They’re probably not a jerk, they’re just invested in wanting the thing to be the best thing they think the thing can be — and unthinkingly crap on your generosity by, perhaps, changing their mind about which side of the room you should be in after you’ve already set everything up, or telling you after you get there that you have to play something other than your planned repertoire, or surprising you with the news that you’re the accompanist for their tone-deaf cousin for the evening, or expecting you to also bartend, bus tables, and sweep up.

The good news is that we’re never gonna do any of that kind of stuff to you.

But here’s the thing: We’re the ones working the free gig, and you’re the cause we’re supporting.

Our intention is to contribute — to the best of our ability and judgment, and within our equipment’s limitations and our own, and within the bounds of reason, sanity, and self-preservation — to the ascendancy of your arc.

After many lead-up hours promoting your appearance, and many hours setting up, show-running, and tearing down on the day, most of our work is still ahead. A 12-song set can take a couple weeks of dedicated work to mix and cut, once we can get at it — and we’re doing it with no pay, at no cost to you, for your benefit. Down the road, we’re looking at producing full-length TV and radio programming to get you in front of tons more eyeballs and in tons more earholes… and that’ll add a lot more work to what we’re already doing.

All we ask of you is understanding and respect and kindness.

Business-minded people scold us for not charging you. There’s no denying that it’s a lousy business decision on our part, but the mission is eminently worthy. We do have limits though.

It never leaves the top of our heads that we’re being honored with your trust. If we think a performance doesn’t reflect well on you, we won’t spend time on it and nobody will ever see or hear it. If you think a performance doesn’t reflect well on you and you ask us to strike it, we’ll almost certainly honor that. (Something to chew on: Many artists are their own worst critic. That can be a good thing, but it can also get to the point where that internal critic becomes their own worst enemy. A flawed performance can be far more endearing and affecting than something impeccable but less human.)

We’ll always give weight to your concerns and thoughts, always. If something is really bugging you, we definitely want to know. But if you want a perfect and pristine pro CD, or an amazing pro video, you need to book time in a professional recording studio or with a professional video service. Those places will almost never have our heart and soul, but they’ll have way better gear than we can afford. Which you’ll pay for, along with their labor and expertise, as is right and proper.

We make everyone sound and look as good as we can, aiming for a balance that works on everything from wee cellphones to TVs with kickass sound, and for audiences ranging from just-the-facts festival bookers to the far larger pool of casual viewers who will hopefully buy your music or go see you play live if we can keep them watching and listening long enough. It’s tricky, and elusive, and a lot to juggle.

So here we all are on the road to hell together, you and us, paving our way as humans trying to do what’s good and affirming despite all our attendant frailties and shortcomings.

 

 

If all the preceding sounds OK and we have an open date that looks tasty, drop an email to stage33@stage33live.com — the more info the better, including links. And we’re happy to answer any questions.

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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 drop off cash / checks at any event.
You can surface-mail checks to:
Stage 33 Live (admin)
8-A Atkinson St
Bellows Falls VT 05101

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



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www.stage33live.com
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VENUE:
33 Bridge Street
Bellows Falls VT


ADMIN MAILING:
8A Atkinson St
Bellows Falls VT 05101