Two South Bay music promoters invite local music industry professionals to weekly morning focus group.
It’s 10am on a Saturday morning inside the recently opened RockBar Theater. While the mood is light, it’s clear that this crowd is not composed of morning people. As Barbara Wahli, better known as promoter and manager Barb Rocks, admits at the start of the meeting, she’s running on only five hours of sleep after a long night in San Francisco. However, she assures her attendees that the coffee is on its way. This is the second meeting for the brand-new San Jose chapter of Balanced Breakfast, a group that looks to connect and empower music industry professionals to create a more vibrant music scene.
Wahli, who’s been involved in promo and band management for eight years co-hosts the meeting every Saturday with Robert Austin of Nemesis Media. The second meeting has attracted roughly 30 attendees—same as the first—and the room is full.
San Francisco blogger Stefan Aronsen and engineer Andy Freeman founded Balanced Breakfast with the aim of “boosting the Bay Area music industry … one breakfast at a time.” The concept has proven highly successful, with chapters sprouting in Oakland, Portland and Boston.
Roughly three years ago, she created a monthly music industry networking event with the Pounders, who she manages. After a successful first meeting, they folded after four months. More recently, she attended meetings for Make a Scene San Jose, a venture helmed by promoter Eric Fanali to activate the local all-ages scene. Those efforts stalled as well.
“It just didn’t really connect the right way with people,” Wahli says of both ventures. She was drawn to the the structure of Balanced Breakfast, which she feels is more organized than those previous endeavors.
Wahli is encouraged with the start thus far, adding that the feedback she’s received has been “overwhelmingly positive.” At this meeting, the group discussed topics for future meetings, which included social media, graphics and front-of-house sound.
Asked about her hopes for the group, Wahli mentions building a touring network with other Balanced Breakfast chapters. With added venue support locally, she believes these efforts can work to build a community spirit that will breed a better live music culture along the lines of a Seattle, Austin or Chicago.
“Why can’t it happen here?” she asks. “I think if we all work together to build that, in a few years it’ll happen. But it takes effort, so a group like this is a catalyst to make that happen.”
Balanced Breakfast is held every Saturday from 10am-noon at RockBar Theater.