2003 Just Plain Folks Roadtrip Dates have been set!

We plan to visit a lot of cities/states we've never been to before and we're really looking forward to making new friends and meeting folks in person for the first time! The idea of these Roadtrips are to bring area Just Plain Folks members together for friendly networking meetings and performances. We generally have 3 types of events/showcases/gatherings:

1. Member Showcase:

These are the most common Roadtrip events. We have anywhere from 10 to 60 artists all perform 1 to 3 songs depending on the numbers and time frame. Most common is 1 song for solo-duo type artists and 2 songs for bands. Usually everyone gets the same time, though we do offer award winners and nominees extra time as part of the benefit to being a winner/nominee. Performing at one of these shows serves many purposes. It qualifies you to be considered for Live Artist of the Year and a featured slot in Hollywood at the next music awards, it allows us to see you perform and get photos and video for the JPF site and archives, it helps us identify hot artists/performers for opportunities that we come across for our members, it also shows all the other area artists what you're all about performance wise so you can network with them and share gigs, co-write, form bands, open for each other, tour together and so on. And most of all, it brings the local community together, in all genres of music, and everyone leaves with more friends, more business contacts and hopefully a healthy local chapter moving forward.

2. Workshop/Chapter Meeting:

If we have a local chapter (or are starting one) we often meet for a chapter meeting where we'll have a speaker, answer questions about JPF, network and often include a song circle or critique of some type at the end. If it is a new chapter, we can also discuss plans on how the chapter will work, how to recruit members, put on events and so on.

3. Networking Meeting:

If we have a very small number of members interesting/available in a particular city, we still try to get together for a dinner or a living room gathering at someone's house to hang out and chat and network. After all, our goal on these trips is to meet members. Just because it's a smaller number doesn't make it any less important. So, we really want to meet with folks when and where it's possible!

Note: I often get asked if I (Brian) will be there. If we call it a Just Plain Folks Roadtrip, that means I will be there personally, which includes all the dates/locations below.

Below, we list the dates we are working to set up a showcase/meeting, which days I am traveling from one spot to the next, and which days I will be playing tourist, which is part of my own reward for doing all this! If a date says Travel, that means I might be available to meet somewhere in between two stops, or might be in town early enough to have an evening event, but it's dependent on travel times and conditions.

What we need from all of you:

1. Help setting up venues in these towns.

We don't charge covers for our showcases. We bring people out to support the venue and let them spend their money on food and drinks. We generally needs venues that hold 40-100 people, though in some larger cities we might have enough interest for bigger shows. I'd rather over fill a small venue than half fill a large one. Email jpfolks@aol.com and place the city in the subject field you want to help out in.

2. Friendly Hosts.

In most cities, since I have never visited before I need places to stay while in town. I've already had offers in Nashville, Lexington, Chicago, Boise and Sioux Falls. In all other cases right now, I need a place to stay. I am traveling alone for all dates through Seattle. I just need a safe place to park, a place to sleep and a phone line or Ethernet connection to check emails. If you can offer a place to stay, please let me know. Remember, the group is free, so we don't have an expense account, it's all out of pocket. Email jpfolks@aol.com and place the city you are able to host us in in the subject field.

How do you sign up to perform/attend an event?

We need to know who wants to perform or meet with us. If you want to be added to the list of interested members for a given city/area, email us at jpfolks@aol.com. Place the City and Date in the subject field which you want to get involved. Inside the email, give us the following information:

Name, Band/Artist Name (if different), complete contact info including address, email, website and phone number, type of music you play (genre) and if you are a band, the number of performers and their instrumentation. This is important so we know if we need a band venue or a singer/songwriter venue. Also, tell us if you can play acoustic (i.e., acoustic guitar/keyboard) if needed instead of full band. We need a minimum of 15 performers to consider having a showcase, otherwise we'll set up a meeting or dinner. If we have 25 or more artists interested, and we're in town for more than 1 day, we'll consider adding a second or third show.

Subject: Chicago, Aug 12

Band/Artist Name:
Phone Number:
Music Genre:
Band Size:
Can Play Acoustic:

Note: Everyone is welcome to sign up for any show on this tour except July 18th, 19th which aren't our shows. July 21st at the Bluebird is a first come, random draw type of open mic and you must follow their guidelines and take your chance to perform, (See them at www.bluebirdcafe.com) You don't have to live in the town where the show is located to participate. You can also play in as many shows as you want. It's not uncommon for artists to play at our shows during their own tours through several cities. Just remember that you'll be playing 1 or 2 songs at most of these shows. It's a great way to fill open tour nights and meet local artists for future tours and shows.

Other Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I perform to a backing track?

It depends on whether the venue/pa has a CD Player and can do it. We have no problem with it. If you plan to perform to a CD track, it is 100% your responsibility to make sure the venue can accommodate you in their sound system. It is also always a good idea to have your own CD player and cables which can be plugged into a mixing board (usually with 1/4 inch plugs). The CD player is your instrument, just as a guitarist needs to have their own guitar if they want to be assured of one to use.

2. We do hard rock, rap, metal, industrial, classical, jazz, Christian, children's etc.. (insert any other genre) music. Will we fit in?

Yes. We've had everything from drag queens singing show tunes to German death metal to children's songs to classical cellists. The only limitations would be if the club is acoustic or has a tiny stage and you have a 12 piece band. But we can discuss and work to accommodate just about anything. We encourage diversity and hope that our members are just as enthusiastic about embracing diverse music styles as well are. It makes the shows a lot more fun to have a lot of different styles.

3. Can I invite other bands and artists I know in the area to participate?

Yes. Just have them sign up as members. It's free, so there's no reason not to. If someone doesn't have email, just let us know and we'll still welcome them. But everyone MUST sign up to get a guaranteed slot. Walk ins might get to play, but they'll be scheduled last in a lineup and might not have time.

4. Can we invite another local organization or group to get involved?

Yes. We love to hook up with other local org. and groups and welcome them. Remember, our goal is to bring people together, and if there are other groups, the more the merrier. Just have them contact us so we are aware of who they are and so we can plan for the right number of people.

5. Do we do interviews and media stuff?

Yes, if someone approaches us to do an article or interview, we are happy to do it. However, we don't generally pursue the press ourselves. Our events are free, so there's no tickets to sell and thus nothing to "promote." I am happy to do Radio shows, TV shows or newspaper interviews if they are interested in the group and our story, but on these long trips, there isn't time for us to set those things up ourselves. If someone locally wants to set it up, just be sure to check to see if we have a time frame available to do it and we'll be happy to give it a go.

6. Are these shows open to non artists/audiences?

Yes. Just be sure to let folks know that we don't screen for talent. At any given show there will be entry level folks as well as seasoned pros. We give everyone a chance to participate, so audience members need to understand this isn't a featured show of just our top performers. It's a friendly community networking event usually with plenty of great music and fun. In 5 years we've avoided cover charges at nearly every show. There's always a chance that we'll have to have one now and then because of the venue, but we'll let people know that in advance and we try to avoid it if at all possible.

7. Will you be videotaping and photographing the shows?

Yes. We take pictures of everyone (just TRY and avoid us! hahaha), and we videotape the shows for our growing archives. We can't make copies of the videos for people though. We do about 100 events/shows a year and there just isn't time to make individual copies. We keep the video as part of a large archive with thousands of artists performing over the past 5 years. Maybe some day it will be in the Smithsonian! We DO post the pictures from the shows on the website and can make them available to you for your own sites etc.. Just ask us. You can see previous Roadtrip photos on our site in the Roadtrip section.

8. How do you fund these trips since you're a free organization?

Glad you asked. We sell hats and T-Shirts and hopefully for the NW trip we might have a Compilation CD of award winners for sale to help raise money. These trips cost a lot of money just in travel expense and blank video tapes etc.. so we need to get voluntary contributions or sell shirts and hat etc.. to fund them. Please plan on voluntarily supporting the group so we can keep doing all the things we do throughout the year for free. This Northwest trip is a major leap of faith on our part since we've never visited these areas before. We are trusting that our members will give a little back to make it happen.

If you have a question that wasn't answered here, please post it here or you can email me directly at jpfolks@aol.com and place QUESTION in the subject field.

See you all on the road!


Here's the dates for the Summer Roadtrips:

2003 Southeast Roadtrip Dates:

July 14: Louisville, KY (Show/Meeting Date)
July 15: Nashville, TN (Show/Meeting Date)
July 16: Nashville, TN (Show/Meeting Date)
July 17: Nashville, TN (Show/Meeting Date)
July 18: NAMM Show Nashville (Muriel Anderson's All Star Guitar Night)
July 19: NAMM Show Nashville (Singer Magazine Showcase TBA)
July 20: NAMM Show Nashville
July 21: Nashville, TN (Bluebird Cafe Open Mic (must sign up at the Bluebird)
July 22: Birmingham, AL (Show/Meeting Date)
July 23: Birmingham, AL (Travel)
July 24: Atlanta, GA (Show/Meeting Date)
July 25: Atlanta, GA (Show/Meeting Date)
July 26: Greenville, SC (Show/Meeting Date)
July 27: Asheville, NC (Show/Meeting Date)
July 28: Lexington, KY (Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour)
July 29: Lexington, KY (Show/Meeting Date)

2003 Midwest/Northwest Roadtrip Dates:

Aug 10: Central Illinois (Show Meeting Date)
Aug 11: Chicago (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 12: Chicago (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 13: Chicago (Travel)
Aug 14: Des Moines (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 15: Omaha (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 16: Kansas City (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 17: Topeka/Lawrence (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 18: Denver (Travel)
Aug 19: Denver (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 20: Denver (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 21: Cheyenne (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 22: Salt Lake City (Travel)
Aug 23: Salt Lake City (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 24: Boise (Travel)
Aug 25: Boise (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 26: Portland (Travel)
Aug 27: Portland (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 28: Seattle (Travel)
Aug 29: Vancouver (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 30: Seattle (Show/Meeting Date)
Aug 31: Seattle (Tourist Day)
Sep 1: Spokane or Coeur d'Alene (Travel)
Sep 2: Spokane or Coeur d'Alene (Show/Meeting Date)
Sep 3: Missoula or Bozeman (Show/Meeting Date)
Sep 4: Yellowstone (Tourist Day)
Sep 5: Yellowstone (Show/Meeting Date)
Sep 6: Grand Teton (Tourist Day)
Sep 7: Little Bighorn (Tourist Day)
Sep 8: Devils Tower (Tourist Day)
Sep 9: Rapid City (Show/Meeting Date)
Sep 10: Rapid City (Travel)
Sep 11: Sioux Falls (Show/Meeting Date)
Sep 12: Minneapolis (Show/Meeting Date)
Sep 13: Minneapolis (Show/Meeting Date)

All of these dates are subject to change until we fill in the venues and events. But before we can do that, we need to know from all of you who is interested so we can find appropriate types of venues for shows (i.e., large/small bands/solo etc.). We need to hear from you to move forward. So please take a moment and check the FAQ page and get involved!

See you on the road!

Brian Austin Whitney
Just Plain Folks
Skype: Brian Austin Whitney
Facebook: www.facebook.com/justplainfolks

"Don't sit around and wait for success to come to you... it doesn't know the way." -Brian Austin Whitney

"It's easier to be the bigger man when you actually are..." -Brian Austin Whitney

"Sometimes all you have to do to inspire humans to greatness is to give them a reason and opportunity to do something great." -Brian Austin Whitney