Tips on how to book a show at the Blue Lagoon
In a world where e-mails go unanswered and phone calls never get returned, local bands can find a kindred spirit in Blue Lagoon booker Cory Atkinson. Coming up through the ranks with his own band, Atkinson is all too familiar with the trials of booking a tour and the heartbreak of playing an empty room. He works hard to respect bands, and let’s face it; you can’t say that about everyone.
Recently celebrating their thirtieth anniversary, the Blue Lagoon is a Santa Cruz institution. Booking live shows for the past five years, local bands can represent on Monday, Wednesday and Friday nights. A cavernous space, the entire bar can hold upwards of 400, but the band room is considered sold out at 250. On a typical Wednesday night, everybody is happy with 50 people in the room. Local bands can hone their craft midweek and work their way up to a weekend slot.
A practitioner of the ancient art of “show trading,” Atkinson often plays matchmaker, pairing a local Santa Cruz band with a decent following, with an up and coming San Francisco band. The idea is that the out of town band gets some local exposure, and if all goes well will return the favor by bringing the hometown band up to the city where they have the larger draw. When balanced correctly, this scenario encourages a win/win with the bands and the club.