Festival Stats 2019

October 17th, 2019
contra, gigstats
Each year in the fall, since 2014, I've been sharing counts of how many weekend and festival gigs different bands and callers have been doing. Over the course of the year I collect bookings in a big spreadsheet, trying to check each dance weekend's website about a month before the event when they're likely to have a their performers listed.

I got into this as kind of a "market research" thing for the Free Raisins: how many weekends are there? What are the bands that are getting booked a lot, so I can go see what they sound like? Since then I've played a lot more of these events, and have a better handle on it, but I've kept the list because having a big pile of data means I have what I need for posts where I look at the gender distribution of musicians or callers, make heatmaps, or track when in the year these events tend to be (which is, not in December, and hence this post coming out in October and not November).

It's also fun to see who's playing a lot each year, and the waves of bands ramping up and down. One thing you can't get from this data, though, is whether this is driven primarily by band interest (reaching out to weekends to get booked, cutting back to focus on other things) or organizer interest (booking bands who seem new and hot, avoiding bands that aren't novel). Here's what this looks like for the ten most-booked bands 2014-2019:

It's not that clear, but if you know what you're looking for you can see some of what's going on:

  • Great Bear deciding to retire in 2018 while still very popular.
  • Buddy System ramping up, first playing techno-contra slots and growing from there into an excellent acoustic duo.
  • Wild Asparagus, by far the longest-running band in this group, maintaining a very steady run.
  • The Free Raisins playing fewer gigs after I had kids, and then more fewer gigs because we're not touring anymore.
  • Elixir first cutting back, and then playing more again with subs

I'm sure there are more stories that this chart could accompany, but I don't know what's going on with the other bands well enough to tell them. (And I'm not sure I have the above ones entirely right either.)

Anyway, here's the raw data for this year:


Buddy System 12
Toss the Possum 10
Pete's Posse 9
Gaslight Tinkers 7
Nova 7
Rushfest 7
Wake up Robin 7
Elixir 6
Cloud Ten 5
Dam Beavers 5
Drive Train 5
Organic Family Band 5
Stringrays 5
Wild Asparagus 5
Eloise and Company 4
Free Raisins 4
Maivish 4
Mean Lids 4
Polaris 4
Ripples 4
Riptide 4
Syncopaths 4
Turnip the Beet 4
Chimney Swift 3
Genticorum 3
Sassafras Stomp 3
Stomp Rocket 3
Campaign for Reel Time 2
Center Street 2
Faux Paws 2
Figments 2
Hotpoint 2
Joy Compass 2
Joyride 2
Latter Day Lizards 2
Meadowhawk 2
Moving Violations 2
Playing with Fyre 2
Steam 2
Supertrad 2
Tempest 2
Tidal Wave 2


Will Mentor 12
Bob Isaacs 11
Seth Tepfer 11
Lindsey Dono 10
Cis Hinkle 9
Gaye Fifer 9
Alex Deis-Lauby 8
Beth Molaro 8
Emily Rush 8
George Marshall 7
Dana Parkinson 6
Lisa Greenleaf 6
Nils Fredland 6
Sarah Van Norstrand 6
Dugan Murphy 5
Frannie Marr 5
Steve Zakon-Anderson 5
Diane Silver 4
Susan Kevra 4
Terry Doyle 4
Carol Ormand 3
Chet Gray 3
Jacqui Grennan 3
Luke Donforth 3
Michael Karcher 3
Andy Shore 2
Angela DeCarlis 2
Bradley Smith 2
David Kaynor 2
Dela Murphy 2
Dereck Kalish 2
Janine Smith 2
Jesse Edgarton 2
JoLaine Jones-Pokorney 2
Maia McCormick 2
Quena Crain 2
Susan Petrick 2
Ted Hodapp 2
Wendy Graham 2
Yoyo Zhou 2

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