When Jeffrey Brown of King Camel Productions opened up shop last year, he used a tried and true formula for success. He was getting into booking shows around Dallas last year, and started hitting the streets of Deep Ellum to do a little research. What he found was an opportunity at Elm Street's Three Links to showcase the best and brightest local talent, give Fort Worth bands a chance to step onto a Dallas stage, and build his own personal brand in the process. His offer to management was simple, but effective. If they gave him their slowest nights on the calendar (various open Wednesdays and Sundays), he would book local bands to come in and try to help fill out the room. Just like that, the Local Education series was born.
"There's no one else [in King Camel Productions]. I book the bands, I make the posters, I hang the posters, I work with the venues," Brown says of his budding start-up. "I enjoy it."
Though he's running a one-man show, Brown doesn't seem to have any trouble putting together some of the DFW area's best local lineups for less than a $10 cover. Since the Local Education series began in January, Brown has been able to include bands such as The Phuss, Dead Mockingbirds, Fungi Girls, FOGG, Animal Spirit and more. Wednesday's lineup may have been his best yet, with Vulgar Fashion and Hex Cult supporting guitar-less drone metal favorites Terminator 2.
If you could pinpoint the key to Brown's success so far, you would probably arrive somewhere between persistence and love of the game. While these two traits are helpful in most lines of work, they're especially necessary in live music booking.
"I really just started bothering a lot of bands. They were like, 'Who is this guy?" says Brown of his humble beginnings, "I try to be a little philanthropic, and do something good for the city's music scene. But at the same time, it's kind of a selfish act, because I guarantee you I enjoy the shows themselves just as much as anyone else."
Like most successful talent buyers, Brown saw a void in the market, and sought to fill it the best that he could. Thanks to his efforts, Deep Ellum has seen six Local Education show since January, each line up seemingly getting better and better than the last.
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"I just felt like there wasn't one solid place that you could count on to catch new and interesting local talent around Dallas," Brown says.
After a short break to accommodate for some of Brown's South by Southwest runoff bookings, Local Education will return toward the end of March. The next lineup hasn't been confirmed yet, but it will no doubt continue to build upon King Camel's tried and true formula. It's gotten Jeff Brown this far, and it's been a fun journey to watch along the way. Keep an eye out, if you haven't caught one of these shows yet, you're running out of excuses.