Session in distress
We in LA have a bit of a problem. One of our sessions is too good. At this point you think I’m crazy, but hear me out. This session has been going for a couple of years now and is in a restaurant/pub in Santa Monica. It’s in an ideal place, they give us free drinks, the manager is a great guy, the people who work there were always on our side. Then word spread about this great session and things got out of hand.
We only have a small area for the musicians. Only 8 to 12 people (depending on their instruments) can fit in the given space without blocking the walkway for the waiters. Recently we have had up to twenty musicians showing up wanting to play. They are usually people who have come before once or twice, and were, ofcourse, perfectly welcome then. Now they set up where they think they can (in the aisle, blocking the waiters) and play. Because the session gets so big we have trouble hearing across the session (It’s a loud pub). And, ofcourse, they order drinks. Now the restaurant owner doesn’t like us very much. The way they see it, we block the aisles, cost too much in drinks and take too many chairs away from paying customers. The manager wants to keep us, but he has to please the owner too, so he told the session leaders to cut down the number of musicians.
Here is the problem.
How do you tell people not to come to a great session anymore when there isn’t another one as good within decent driving distance? Who decides who can stay and who can’t? If you go with the "first come first serve and if it’s full, no more" method, what do you tell to the good musician who just spent the last hour on the 405 parking lot (*ahem* I mean freeway), when he arives 13th because traffic was so bad? (Yes, most people do drive a ways to get there) If you do the "swap out" method, where do you put the people waiting to be swapped in? Do the people waiting on the outside get free drinks? Do we limit the number of drinks each person gets? Do we split the session? There is room in the back corner for musicians, but the accoustics are terrible, it’s away from the windows and quite stuffy. If so, who decides who gets to play in the front corner and who has to go to the back?
Unfortunately the session leaders have already taken action. It was not tactful and it offended many people. Now they are looking for a better solution. Any good suggestions would be helpful and I will pass them on to the session leaders.
I was lucky enough to not be present when all the drama took place, and I probably won’t go back down there until things are resolved (I definitely don’t want to add to the problem). I am good friends with almost all the musicians involved and, on a whole, they’re a decent, resonable group. I really want to salvage this session. Until about a month ago, it was the best thing for ITM in LA. Any help would be most welcome.