"A Musician Who Puts on a Gig": Local Promoter’s Multiple Roles and Hierarchies at a Small British Jazz Club


  • Elina T. Hytönen-Ng University of Eastern Finland




jazz, promoter, live music


The growing body of research on live music events and the industry around it has paid little attention to the lived experience of the local promoters, their work and the negotiations that take place within small venues. The aim of this article is to demonstrate the multiple roles and hierarchies that the local jazz club promoter deals within the organisation of events and the main “cooperative links” (Becker 2008) that the promoter works with. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in the southern UK conducted mainly around London, this article illustrates how external power structures emerge within a music club, which is also the terrain where the promoter negotiates with both the venue management and with musicians. The main focus here is on the physical place that a music venue provides and cooperative links that are involved in the production of live music events, with the aim to highlight the circumstances that make a music club a unique place. The case study is based on an anonymized small English jazz venue, which provides detailed insight into the negotiations between the promoter, the manager, the audience and the musicians within Britain. Finally, I argue that existing models of live music promotion do not work for all local, small-scale promoters, due to the promoter’s multiple and, at times, incompatible roles. As a marginal music culture, the jazz world intends to evade the commercial genres; I therefore offer an alternative model that involves full interaction between a small number of parties only.

Author Biography

Elina T. Hytönen-Ng, University of Eastern Finland

Dr. Elina Hytönen-Ng is a cultural researcher and an ethnomusicologist. She is currently holding a postdoctoral researchers post at the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) and a visiting research fellow's position at the Faculty of Music at the University of Oxford. Her PhD, received in June 2010, discussed jazz musicians' flow experiences. The Examiner for the thesis was Professor Steven Feld (Univ. of New Mexico, USA). The supervisor was Professor Helmi Järviluoma-Mäkelä (UEF). Her on-going research project (2011-2013) is concerned with performance venues used in jazz, and jazz musicians work environment in contemporary British society.


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