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Event of the Week: Rugby Club Concert

By Lance Trebesch May 15, 2013

Gravesend RFC Hosts Ska Concert Night

A community rugby union club in Kent got a financial boost last month when they hosted a musical event featuring The Skatonics and ska and Northern soul DJ Paul Pettitt.

Gravesend RFC member and concert organiser Robert Bardell says that the event was also open to non-club members, and they were simply hoping to “generally allow everyone to have a great social event and make some money for the rugby club.”

They met their fundraising goal by taking in around £400 on door and getting over £3000 on the bar that night.

An eight piece band, The Skatonics have been playing all over England since 2007. They specialise in covers of the classic Jamaican Trojan Ska of the ‘60s and the second wave Two Tone ska sound of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

Each individual member has years of experience playing corporate and private gigs. Together they’ve worked for an impressive array of clients, including Royal Bank of Scotland, Addington Palace, Imperial College London, British Motorcycle Federation and Bexley Help 4A Hero. They’ve also played with or supported many well-known ska bands, including The Beat, Bad Manners, The Selecter and members of Madness.

A typical two hour set from The Skatonics can feature over 30 rollicking ska favourites. The band keeps their sound authentic by using keyboards and brass instruments, as well as drums, bass and guitar, in their shows. Band members even dress the part of early ska rockers to complete the audience experience.

“This is the fourth time we have had this band at the club, and all [the shows] have more than made money [for us],” Bardell states. “Everybody has a great time and can’t wait for the next [concert]. We usually get between 200 and 300 in attendance, which [makes these events] our best attended function by far. For most social events, we just aim to break even and make [a profit] on the bar, so it shows how popular these nights are.”

Bardell publicised the performance through word of mouth and posters put up at their club. He also posted details for the engagement on club and band websites, and used Facebook to get the word out.

Bardell admits it was “hard graft for four weeks, sending texts, emails [and other notices about the event]!” And, he has some good advice for those planning similar celebrations.

“[You should] start to plan three months out, with Facebook, posters and tickets,” Bardell offers. “Decide where you want to sell tickets, [like the] clubhouse, pubs [or at] other similar events; have more than one place [set up for people] to get tickets. [Also], make an effort to sell or have orders for 50 to 70 percent of tickets completed before concert night [to ensure a return on your investment in the show].”