Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Center Cannot Hold

The Denver Goth scene has what the Divatologist has often called an "embarrassment of riches".

That was back in the not-so-long-ago day when there were only 4 (count them 1-2-3-4!!!) nights a week plus a special monthly engagement the community could attend to get their full regalia Goth scene on.

In the last few months, all of a sudden, we've seen the introduction of new nights that literally give the Goth scene a place to dance, drink, and be not-so-merry 7 days a week...some nights 2 to 3 places.


Guess what, folks?

That's no longer an embarrassment of riches. That's over-saturating a niche market with finite resources - time and money. That ain't good for anybody.

There's a reason why nights lose Steam and Disintegrate into thin air.

Let's look at it like this: say we live in a small town...and by small, I mean, on the outside, 500 wage earning people. And in this small town there are 2 grocery stores each open 2 days a week on different days. Each grocery store must have, say, 100 customers minimum for each day they are open with an average grocery bill of $30 to pay employees, pay the electric bill, pay the mortgage, and keep the shelves stocked - just to break even.

And in a town of 500 people, that's totally sustainable. The storekeeps break even and sometimes even pull in a bit of a know, the reason to own a business in the first place, right?

OK! So then, let's just say that, for whatever reason, 5 MORE grocery stores - each may have a little different inventory but still just groceries - open up in that same town of 500 people and now those 500 people have the option of purchasing groceries on every day of the week.

Those 500 people may like having the option of going grocery shopping any day of their choosing. However, they still only have a limited grocery budget and, if they go grocery shopping on Wednesday, they aren't likely to go again Friday especially if their grocery budget's been spent for the week.

So now, instead of having 2 sustainable grocery stores, there are 7 unsustainable businesses whose days are numbered because payroll can't be consistently met, bills can't be paid, and storekeeps can't keep the shelves stocked with goods.

The Denver goth scene (I'm estimating here after consulting my local "expert" *laughing*) has a core group of highly active participants - out at one of the clubs an average of 1-2 times per week - of roughly 200 people. Additionally, there are perhaps another 100 people who come out on a semi-regular basis - 1 time per month. Then, there are possibly 200 others who have, in the past, participated in the scene but who are rarely seen more than 1 or 2 times per year (if that) and typically only for a very special event.

These numbers, of course, do not include tourists or one-offs who come once or twice and never appear again. This is the solid niche market base being catered to on a weekly basis.

Now, I can't speak for everyone in this group, but I can speak comfortably about myself and most of the people I know who participate in this particular scene. We have budgets...some of us very limited budgets. We also have varied interests that don't (necessarily) include loud music and booze. And most of us? Have full time jobs that lend themselves to requiring a good night's sleep on work nights.

7 nights a week is too much.

You may think you're a kickass DJ or a great promoter or have a fab venue. And you just may be!

But most of us will likely never know it because we don't want or need to go somewhere different.

If you want people to get out of their comfort zones, you're going to have to challenge them to do so. And, unless you've got something really unique and interesting and different? Just stop it. You're going to have to do a whole lot more than post a flier on Facebook and tell me I should go to your night just cuz you say when I personally like my DJs, my cocktails, and my smoking patios just where they are.