Branching Out: Paducah, KY
When we announced that we were looking at Paducah, KY as our next stop for a large CD release concert, we were asked on several occasions, “Why Paducah?” to which our immediate response was almost universally, “Why not?”
Paducah, KY is definitely an exception to the typical stereotype of “backwards-thinking hillbillies from the sticks” that Kentuckians sometimes get. Actually, Paducah is quite the cultured town: at least they’re trying harder than some larger cities I know of. The downtown area has become quite a tourist trap, and boasts all manner of music, art, crafts, film, food, and nightlife. Building-sized hand-painted murals are a frequent site, and brick streets lined with lamp posts are a feature as well. The riverfront, with a broad view of where the Tennessee and Ohio rivers converge, is also a great place for a weekend concert, or just kicking back and watching the boats go by, and feeling the watery breeze hit your face.
The first challenge that we ran into was finding a suitable venue for our concert. The Market House Theater, the Carson Center, and the Robert Cherry Civic Center all emerged on the top of our list as strong possibilities. Eventually we opted for Robert Cherry because of the cost/benefit ratio and flexibility.
The next struggle we had was the fact that we’d never played in this town before in our lives, and basically had no following at all. We only had 3 weekends in which to promote this show, so we knew we really had to work hard in order to get the kind of exposure it would take to bring any large number of people to the show. We planned appearances at the local FYE, various cafes and coffee shops, a carwash, a drive-in, the gazebo in the square, area restaurants and stores, different churches, and the public and private school systems in the area.
We contacted the local media outlets like the Paducah Sun, eXtra Entertainment Guide, Coffee News, radio stations, etc., and got the word out that we would be in town on May 24th. Micah referred to it as a “media bomb”, where we basically showed up in town one day, totally unknown, and residents suddenly started seeing us everywhere they looked — the front page of the city paper, out on the street corner, at school, at church, etc.
Each weekend we consistently set records for ourselves for the number of shows we’d ever done in a weekend, topping out at a whopping 13 shows performed Wednesday May 16th through Sunday May 20th. Robert Cherry was to mark our 212th Redding Brothers concert ever.
This concert was meant to be a money-making venture to support our band, and also serve as the next step in the continual release of our latest CD The Physics of Immortality, but more importantly it was an introduction to a completely new audience that we plan on growing over time. We wanted to set a premise for how we will approach new markets that we venture into in the coming months. We wanted to see how a “total saturation” approach to marketing worked in promoting an unfamiliar act to a completely new audience.
Next month we’ll see how it went and what we learned as a band from the experience. See you then.
The Redding Brothers are an acoustically-driven rock & roll act from Charleston, WV, now based in Nashville, TN. You can find out more about the band, purchase concert tickets, and hear samples from their sophomore album release titled The Physics of Immortality, all by visiting their website at ReddingBrothers.com.