May 17, 1998 has gone down in history in the eyes of many Richmond, VA. residents as the last day the Foo Fighters played their town. A new Crowdhoster campaign aims to change that.
Andrew Goldin, a freelance creative director and copyrighter, first had the idea when he discovered Kickstarter a few years ago. "You can bring a band to town?" he remembers thinking. Fast-forward to late last year when he and some friends discovered "group-funding" platform Crowdhoster, which seemed like the perfect way to crowd-source a campaign to bring the Foo Fighters back to Dave Grohl's home state (the former Nirvana drummer is from Springfield, Va.).
"We threw around a couple of different bands," he admits, "but it had to be a band we were all excited about, and that we really loved. We’re definitely all big Foo Fighters fans."
Goldin and and fellow organizers John McAdorey, Brig White and Lucas Krost chose Crowdhoster for this very important mission because, unlike Kickstarter or Indiegogo, the self-proclaimed "Kickstarter for groups of friends" is built with parent company Crowdtilt's public API, giving users control over the design and execution of their own campaign pages.
Founded in 2012, Crowdtilt (which received $31.7 million in funding, according to Crunchbase) launched Crowdhoster in August of 2013. Since then, the company has hosted a variety of successful initiatives, from enabling nutritional supplement Soylent -- one of the site's biggest campaigns to date, raising $2.1 million in pre-orders -- to bringing the Jamaican bobsled team to the Sochi Olympics.
At the time of publication, "Bring the Foo Fighters to RVA" had raised $10,850 from 96 backers, with the ultimate goal of $70,000. Goldin said he and his friends arrived at that number with simple math: they charged $50 a ticket for a local venue (which has not yet been determined) that seats 1,400 -- but he's open to going bigger.
"Let's say [the band] loves the idea and says, 'Holy shit, this is a great idea,' but rather than the 1,400 tickets, let's open it up to [outdoor venue] Brown's Island and sell 20,000 tickets," he says. "Nothing like this has ever been done before. We've sold $10,000 for a concert that doesn't exist yet."
If the campaign doesn't reach its fundraising goal or the Foo Fighters don't perform, Crowdhoster, like other crowdfunding platforms, will refund all the backers the full amount they paid for the tickets.
Goldin suspects the Foos are already aware of his intentions. Besides noticing that the band is following the Crowdhoster's official Twitter account, he has the enthusiastic support of local Clear Channel radio station XL 102. Once program director Dustin Matthews found out about the initiative and watched the home video that accompanied it, he was "all about it."
"The funny thing is that it was 15 years ago and people still talk about it," he says. "It's kind of sad, in a way. We got Queens of the Stone Age here for Christmas last year, but people still talk about the Foo Fighters."
After reaching out to Goldin, Matthews sent the website, video, and press links to Jeff Gillis, senior director of rock music at RCA. Though nothing has been confirmed yet (a rep for the Foo Fighters did not respond to Billboard's request for comment), the response Matthews got was, in his words: "Crazier shit has happened." Considering the Foo Fighters played fans' garages on their 2011 "Wasting Light" tour, it's not too far of a stretch to imagine them picking up on this idea.
XL102 wants to start promoting the initiative more than their usual M.O. of playing the band "about every 45 minutes." Besides contacting RCA, the station has been retweeting "Bring the Foo Fighters to RVA" and plans to get the disc jockeys talking about it on-air. Matthews even hopes they can make their own video, including fun facts like the "hilarious" number of times XL102 has played the Foos and segments of his own past interviews with Grohl.
"Oviously they’re at the top of our list," he says. "Any band we would put on a billboard would be them."