Actually, it is extremely hard to ask an unbiased question… but we took 20 surveys at the pre Christmas bash, and came up with the startlingly boring conclusion that
(a) Session Times: Almost all of us prefer the Sunday arvo time slot to any other
(b) Festivals: More than half the respondents had attended a Jazz Festival in 2018
(c) Likes: Quite a few people nominated the social aspects of the Jam Sessions as an important factor in deciding to attend (we are, apparently, a friendly lot.). Several respondents said they liked the variety of music.
(d) Dislikes: About half the respondents said the music was too loud at times. Several mentioned “dithering about between songs.”
(e) Featured Singers etc. Almost everyone wanted another Featured Singer series, most wanted a featured soloist series, and fewer thought a featured band series would work. One suggested a “featured rhythm section” – we tried something like this in October and it ran well – with up to 12 musos playing or singing at once.
Festivals: On average, we attended 25.3 sessions per year – the 0.3 explains why some people leave early? There were 48 sessions in 2018
Newbies: One person suggested we introduce first timers by name so regulars know who they are. Again a friendly lot, and we might try this. We have been putting names and photos in the Newsletter from time to time – this started when one person asked “who the hell is Captain Chaos?” At least five of us pointed at the (former) Duracell Kid.
Variety: several respondents said they liked the variety of music, one hacked into the Rhythm Section when they don’t know the charts. That is a bit harsh, as the saxophonists and singers almost always call the tune, and do not, as a rule, have the chutzpah to fake it like the lads at the back.
Sound and light: A couple of people raised the issue of sound (the 15 year old PA/Speakers had already done around 150 gigs before we started using them for the Jam, and the microphones are all well hammered). Lighting could be better, but it took a lot of persuasion to get Dodgy Dave to install a spot on the soloist/singer. We’ll try again.
The Newsletter and publicity: We published 48 newsletters in 2018. These received 13,185 hits, slightly less than the previous year. Peak readership last year was June 2018 (1,942 hits). We have a comprehensive database for the newsletter (400 -550 names at any one time) but do not release these details. If anyone asks for a contact, we will always check first with that person that it is ok to pass on their details.The majority of newcomers find us via Google. Facebook is undergoing a tidy up.