Some time ago I wrote a blog post about what might be the future of the Custard Factory, claiming that its capacity as a music venue had somewhat reached its terminal velocity. Every big night is full but you can’t expand financially until you expand physically.
- Time for the Custard Factory to fulfil its potential
The answer to the conundrum may be answered by the forthcoming Bodies Revealed exhibition and similar events. Bodies Revealed is open all day, six days a week and is expected to bring 6,500 people through the doors of Custard Factory’s Space 2. That is a consistent number that doing big club nights simply can’t compete with. In addition to that, every visitor will no doubt drop into ‘Yumm’ for their lunch, The Old Crown for a pint and do some shopping in the flea market or COW. The knock on effects for the local economy could be profound.
It also provides invaluable PR for the Custard Factory. A new breed of customer will be taken into the creative beehive and see what everyone gets so excited about. It could inspire bigger exhibitions or events to use the Custard Factory, in turn perpetuating more business to the complex and its neighboring amenities.
The Gallery, Old Library, Theatre and Factory Club could all benefit from the extra exposure and visitor footfall. The potential of the Custard Factory has been the talk of creative Birmingham for some time, maybe now it is the chance to fulfil it.
All hail Leila Campbell, our newest recruit and latest blogger. The Big Cat Experience blog is now live and I demand all and sundry read it every day!
Leila will be streaming footage and images of Big Cat’s events from The Custard Factory and other external venues.
She will also be providing valuable insight into the events industry as well as comment features and general musings.
Events, dear boy, events!
Product launching is a common strand of event organisation and one that can be very difficult to master; here below are the thoughts of our senior event manager Nick Ruffles on the subject:
Launching a product is all about communicating the brand; the product is king. When choosing the right venue, you need to be sympathetic to the product and the aims of the brief, and be passionate and imaginative with the space to make the experience as visual as possible.
Choosing the right suppliers is key to running a good launch. Carefully considering your choice of provider can bring great rewards; attributes such as loyalty, reliability, competitive prices to maximise the budget, and a bespoke product manager who directly deals with your account can make all the difference.
Xbox: just one of the products that have been launched at The Custard Factory, Birmingham
When choosing your venue, look for somewhere with a relevant link to the product and somewhere in a good location for your prospective audience. For instance, at The Custard Factory there is a strong youth and technological culture, which made it perfect for hosting the launch of the Xbox. If you can’t find a venue that matches your exact requirements then a venue with versatility could be your best alternative. A versatile space allows you to be creative and gives you a blank canvas to work on. Suitable technological facilities, such as wireless broadband, are excellent extras that are worth looking out for – particularly if you intend to broadcast your launch over the web.
Using bloggers and online social media is without doubt playing a large part in the promotion of new products and many of our future events are very dependent on online capabilities. Online is having greater prominence in everything we do, as is safety, eco and green events. Companies that best adapt to these new trends and technologies will go a long way in 2009.
The future of the Custard Factory?
In the last month or so, The Custard Factory or more specifically Space 2 has hosted acts such as Sugarhill Gang, Public Enemy, Fleet Foxes, Pendulum and Amanda Palmer , bascially world reknowned performers. There only lies one problem, Fleet Foxes and Pendulum aside, all the major acts are either past their prime(Sugarhill Gang, Public Enemy) or in a different guise to where they made their name (Amanda Palmer). A 1800 capacity venue like Space 2, put simply, will never be able to attract the chart topping acts simply because the venue can’t house the amount of people needed to cover the cost required to aquire such a band.
Maybe that’s not such a bad thing.
Sure the Custard Factory could never compete with the NIA or Carling in terms of footfall and therefore artist size but on the other hand it opens a market for alternative acts that are gaining more credibility and popularity due to the new downloading phenomenon. Smaller alternative acts that previously only has a small hardcore group of followers now attract wider audiences due to the internet giving them greater exposure and accessabilty. The Custard Factory and other independent venues offer the perfect stage for such acts and hold the neccessary kudos to attract bands such as the Fleet Foxes and others.
So where from here for a venue that is reaching its terminal velocity in terms of ability to attract artists that consistently fill up the venue. Does it host developing bands at the risk of poor ticket sales or does it aim to in greater bands past their peak, cashing in on the onslaught of newly reformed legends (Stone Roses, Blur etc)? Can Space 2 open out into the North Yard, or open Gibb Street into an open air venue? Does it move away from music hosting? Basically how can the Custard Factory continue to grow despite its physical limitations.
Answers on a postcard to the Big Cat offices.