Blues on the Green

A Concert Series is Born to Build to Solve a Marketing Problem

W.C. Clark

W.C. Clark

When I was marketing director for The Arboretum Shops in Austin, Texas a question was asked?  What can we do to increase traffic and sales on Thursday evenings?  Why Thursday evenings?  The Arboretum was an upscale open-air shopping center that closed at 6:00pm every evening except Thursdays.

Research showed us that shoppers didn’t know that the center was open late Thursdays and retailers were frustrated that there was no traffic and they weren’t making money on their late night.

Luckily we were in Austin and even then, talented musicians were plentiful and there was much support for the musical community.  Looking at our budget,we decided to set up a series of free, Thursday evening concerts.  Because the concerts started early and ended by 9:00 PM we could get hire the musicians for a reasonable cost.  It was a great deal for the bands too because they could still play a club or other venue after performing at The Arboretum.  So with a tiny stage, an orange extension cord and duct tape we scheduled concerts.

KGSR radio was new to Austin and liking their format, we approached them as being a joint sponsor of the event.  Because of the sponsorship and because they were new, we were able to buy spots cheap – about $40 a minute.  We were also able to book some wonderful talent.  W.C. Clark (The Godfather of Austin Blues) was our very first performer.  Toby Anderson worked for Trammell Crow, the owner of the shopping center, and helped book all the bands.  He was our second performer.

The night of the first concert was a larger success than we even hoped.  We probably had 3,000 people attend, the cookie shop sold every last chocolate chip, stores were busy, money was made and a community tradition was born.

KGSR still sponsors Blues on the Green. The crowds long ago outgrew The Arboretum and the concert series has moved to Zilker Park, but the tradition continues.