20:45 Clusterf**k

20:45 Clusterf**k

Postby jedmarshall » 02 Sep 2015, 14:06

Apologies in advance for any typos/grammar/spelling, typing on a phone.


Absolutely cracking, big stage and a seated capacity of around 80/90ish. With enough room for an extra 60-70 standing. They have an upstairs balcony with views of the stage, we had to have this opened up once and it allows an extra 20-30 people to see the stage. Big love to Ed from Jollyboat for bringing some stage lights to make it that little bit more professional. From what I gather, capacity was smaller than last year due to changing of the furniture layout, so for future years this is worth noting (especially for the more popular shows).


Absolutely wonderful. Very helpful and we got a great drinks deal on the last night to host a Clusterf**k party for all the acts that performed for us. Packed away all the tech equipment every night.

The only criticism would have been for them to put on more staff on the weekends, Comedian's Against Humanity was the show before and had even more impressive audience numbers. The lower amount of bar staff and not being allowed upstairs without a staff member up there kept the show transitions long and clunky and the start of the show fairly rowdy (the bar is in the same space as the show).


Mon-Thu we had 1/2 people flyering for 2 hours prior to the show, its location on Cowgate coupled with a great line up of acts kept our audiences high. Lowest was probably around 30-40 people on a Wednesday.

Fri-Sat, I was lucky enough to have 8 flyerers. 2 on the mile, 2 on grassmarket, 4 scattered along cowgate. Largest audience was 160ish on the middle Saturday. Most Fri/Sat 100 people was normal.

We get a lot of audience from the name alone in the Wee Blue Book and from the act. It is also an 'easy' sell (being an alternative variety night) so flyerers make all the difference.

We had 2 A3s on the front of the venue and a joint venue banner organised by our captain. I would recommend some of the smaller venues to do this, it makes the club look like a venue.


Mid week low was typically 40 on a Wednesday, weekend high was typically 150. The venue is wonderful in that anything over 30 feels like a large crowd as the centre seats fill quickly.


We grossed around £1000 across the whole fringe (approx £45 per bucket), our show production costs were around £800 and the remainder went into a bar tab for all the acts that performed with us. Being a variety night it is harder to get donations at the end and next year we will re-evaluate the production costs (we bought a lot of badges and fringe affiliated late) so we can buy more drinks.

We really failed to get our heads around a decent bucket speech at the start and I cannot STRESS the importance of a decent bucket speech, opening night we had approx 100 people in and only made £30 on the bucket. The speech was a rambling mess of "give if you want" "you don't have to" and "free".

In the last week our bucket speech consisted of reminding the audience of how the Free fringe works before the last act "We get the venue for free, but typically that is only half the production cost for a show. It cost us a lot of money for you guys to even find out this show exists ...etc..." then something more jokey "£5,10 thousand pounds" before the last act is brought on.

After the last act we remind them of this by saying the classic "A paid show would cost you £10, this show is worth £5, so fold your donations" which seems about the right pitch level for a variety night. This more direct approach, and giving a starting value for what the show is worth helped our buckets immensely. The last Wednesday we had our smallest audience, but one of our highest buckets (35ish people and a bucket of £100), this is a result of a) Having a cracking line-up that day and b) Nailing the bucket speech.

Many people suggest giving outs for everyone "If you can't afford it thank the acts", but I find a much simpler "Thank the acts by seeing their shows", just a slight variation that still provides an option for those that cannot afford it, but without mentioning that they cannot. Whenever you mention money, keep it high when joking and honest when giving the final speech (most solo/non-variety should value themselves higher than £5, I feel cheeky doing this as a variety night however).


Classic PBH setup, an Amp, 2 speakers, 2 microphones, 2 stands. The stage lights were brought along by Jollyboat, one can was enough to illuminate the stage.


Everyone was easy to contact and pleasant to talk to.


The venue will offer a corner of the cellar or the cloak room for larger items.
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