M. Florentino Buenaventura: “Our plan is to mix it up and provide artists a revenue channel.”
“I’m a musician and entrepreneur who believes in the power of music,” says Curbside Vinyl bassist M. Florentino Buenaventura of the new ConcertsCafe website he helped launch from Miramar this month. “Our live streaming concert studio is bringing talent from all over the world into San Diego, parallel with local talent. We have shows with locals like Lele Rose and Kimba Light, plus the Myron McKinley Trio from L.A. We’ve brought down Steve Ferrone from Tom Petty and George Harrison’s band, and used San Diego musicians as his backup band. We’re bringing back Radio Bandiego and preparing it for local TV broadcast. We shot the pilot already.”
Upcoming livestream events on the website include the debut of a Virtual Happy Hour Jazz Night on Sunday, April 18, featuring Tom Browne, David P. Stevens, Will Donato, and Sharon Marie Cline, with host Jammin’ Jay Lamon inviting viewers at home to interact with the musicians between numbers. Reggae star Garth Dennis (formerly Black Uhuru) & Blaze Mob present a 420 Blaze Sesh live in the program studio on April 20, and the Myron McKinley Trio, featuring the music director and keyboardist for Earth Wind and Fire, will livestream a Tribute Concert for recently passed fusion jazz pianist Chick Corea on April 24 (a session taped at the Miramar ConcertsCafe studio over Easter weekend). A free all-day Jazz Fest on April 30 will include clips from previous show performances, running from noon until 9pm, in celebration of International Jazz Day.
“Our plan is to mix it up a bit and provide artists a revenue channel whether we are in Covid or not,” says show producer Buenaventura. “Part of this is creating merch opportunities with consumables like coffee to drive a regular product income.”
An example of those merchandise tie-ins can be found in the website listing for local jazz and R&B singer-saxophonist Darryl Fitzgerald Walker, a session and touring musician known for recording with Luis Miguel and composing commercial jingles for clients such as Pringles, Dole, Toyota, and Honey Nut Cheerios. In addition to a physical DVD of his concert performance Celebrating the Music of Al Jarreau, site visitors can also purchase Walker-branded organic coffee. There’s also Rebecca Jade Puerto Rico Organic Coffee, Paris Escovedo Mexican Organic Berillo SHG Coffee, Howard Johnson Dark Roast, Ellis Hall Rich Soul Coffee, and around a dozen other branded beans.
“We have the new EFNOTE 5 eDrum Set from Artesia Pro as part of our house backline, and we’re booking up May,” says Buenaventura, who feels the San Diego company is “making a difference in the music industry locally and beyond. We see ourselves as a modern day record label, partnering with music artists to distribute their music through video. We multitrack the performance, so they leave with a record. Tim Norton launched an EP from his concert with us. And they get a video to support and ticket sale revenue and consumable merch with the coffee. We really want to let musicians and fans there’s a great solution for high quality concerts and a tangible way to support the artists without having it to be donations only.”
The site also includes a replay “on demand” selection offering taped concert events going back to shows like the November 2020 album release party for Shuffle & Bang, a birthday livestream featuring local jazz star Joshua White, and San Diego saxophonist Charlie Arbelaez playing two set with different styles of jazz, accompanied by two different groups of musicians per show.
Buenaventura, a filmmaker who has shot music videos with locals Falling Doves and others, was formerly with The Changing Stage Radio Show at WSRadio Internet Talk. Back in 2015, he helped start up a new chapter of the National Music Industy MeetUp group called Balanced Breakfast. Livestreaming concert events took off last year when broadcasting full band concerts from the locked-down stage at Queen Bee’s, as well as organizing November’s Songs For Shelter benefit livestream concert with Rebecca Jade, Cedrice Ce & Lyrical Groove, and Jason Mraz collaborating with Renee Dominique.
The ConcertsCafe events are filmed at its Miramar studio, near the pyramid. "We do have room and chairs for guests and have allowed small audiences in from time to time during Covid. We don’t charge for those who have attended, as we're classified a TV studio and have had Covid broadcast clearance during the pandemic due to essential worker guidelines."
“It all evolved from doing interviews with EnterTalk Radio, we still have all our episodes on the website. With that, we ended up with a multi-camera live broadcasting solution that we use for concerts and clinics. We haven’t been involved with the local scene as much as we used to, [so ConcertsCafe] is the ideal way to expand.”