Promoter Profile: Jeremiah Lynch, The Bamboo Room at King Wah’s
Bookers and promoters are the unsung heroes of any music scene, so this issue the Rogue Valley Messenger decided to shoot the breeze with Jeremiah Lynch booker and promoter at the Bamboo Room in Medford, which in only a few months of hosting live music has already started pulling in some of the most interesting touring acts passing through the valley.
Rogue Valley Messenger: How does one get into promotion/booking as a career?
Jeremiah Lynch: I used to help organize/promote protests in San Francisco so before moving to Medford I was already equipped with people skills and getting the word out, sheesh even before Facebook became such a useful tool. I do love artists and have been in a few bands in my life promoting my own shows, etc. I do a lot of the booking and promoting for the band I am in called The Sleazetones. I did most of my work booking/promoting for Johnny B’s voluntarily. I would get paid in booze, but I knew the skills I was learning and the connections I was making would be beneficial to me. I did hope to continue there but long story short I had to move on. Within a couple months I was given the opportunity to help build a venue space at King Wahs. It was fun starting from scratch and putting in the extra work to reconnect with the artists whom I had been booking for years at Johnny B’s and give them an opportunity to play a different venue with better hospitality and potential for larger audiences.
RVM: What is the state of the Southern Oregon Music scene? While we do have venues it’s clear to see we lack the facilities that can be provided by cities such as Eugene or Portland. Does this limit our ability to draw certain bands, and how do you work around this?
JL: The music scene fluctuates, but I have been as a booker finding it harder and harder to find openers or new local bands to throw into the mix. King Wahs is 21+ and am noticing more bands with persons under the drinking age; that is neat, but I can’t offer them a place to play. This is a complicated question. Also, to be specific to the Rogue Valley, people don’t want to pay for music. It does limit a small venues ability to book some bands especially on weekdays and that is the usual days bigger touring bands offer venues because they are traveling to San Francisco, Sacramento, Eugene, Portland for the weekends for their better paying gigs, more merch sale potential and touristy things to do bigger cities offer. As a booker, I try to offer them the best deal we can without putting a venue under but we lose them sometimes. I also think free shows and get people drinking is where the venue does best.
RVM: You have any suggestions for someone wanting to be a booker?
JL: Write everything down! You can’t remember everything especially a couple months out and a dozen bands have come through. Sometimes it becomes a blur.
RVM: How do you think the Southern Oregon music scene could be improve?
JL: I wish we had a good venue in Medford but sounds like Ashland needs one also. I do hope my adventure with King Wahs can step up for the valley and become that. We need a venue that caters to both the indy road warrior bands under the radar of mainstream, the upcoming big acts and some bigger acts a place to rock and give exposure to both local and touring bands in this valley. We also need a venue that is capable of handling under 21 shows also. It is hard to say how to make things better in a paragraph. We either want something better or we don’t. Just do it. Love the Rogue Valley Messenger and Jefferson State Vibes for putting together good local media. Things will come around, this city is still growing!