JACKSONVILLE, FL, November 05, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- The King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, auctioned and raffled two custom-finished guitars with artists' signatures at the 29th annual event, raising funds for the non-profit blues fest and creating an audience stir.
Northern Florida craftsman Michael Gauf, owner of the Painted Axe studio in Jacksonville, produced the after-market showpieces. In one, he modified an electric guitar to feature iconic King Biscuit imagery of a traditional bluesman -- seated on a cotton bale playing a blues harp -- surrounded by the signatures of the legendary Sonny Burgess, Delbert McClinton, Guitar Shorty, Billy Branch and other performers at this year's event.
The raffle raised more than $1000 for the festival, which is an important source of revitalization in the small Delta community off of U.S. Highway 61-- the world recognized Blues Highway-- and an important showcase of the blues tradition.
"We had a great time in the Buckle of the Blues Belt--me and several thousand other people," says Gauf, 55, who began to sell custom-painted guitars out of his garage a decade ago, and whose Painted Axe studio specializes in commission works, including popular fund-raising prizes for King Biscuit Blues, the Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival and the Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, among other clients.
"There is nothing like the buzz and immediate response of awarding a guitar covered with signatures in front of thousands of music fans," says Gauf.
With fierce competition for fundraising dollars, new ways to capture the public's interest and economic loyalty are sought by foundations, nonprofits, special-events coordinators and artists themselves. Painted Axe seeks to supply the difference with custom-branded guitars that frequently capture extraordinary returns on investment.
"In festival and tour venues, musicians are often happy to sign these custom guitars--thereby increasing the instruments' collectability and price--in the interests both of promoting the events, and their own careers," says Gauf. Pre-event and festival marketing and promotions also play integral roles in the ultimate response, he says.
Branded guitars are available for auctions, silent auctions, raffles and gift shops.
"Of course, a lot depends on the fundraiser's experience and enthusiasm. But customers are just as likely, if not more inclined, to place $1 in a raffle bucket as they are to bid hundreds of dollars at auction," Gauf says. "We found this to be true even when two fund raisers were held simultaneously, and promoted to two different crowds, including those holding general admission tickets and others relaxing in VIP tents."
The growing popularity of crowdsourcing, soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community, has motivated musicians and promoters to cultivate their audiences with unique, quality prizes.
"Fans are willing to pay a premium to support their favorite artists if they get something special in return," says Gauf. "The response grows exponentially if you combine the prize of a custom-painted autographed guitar, for example, with an invitation to a CD release party, and the opportunity to obtain a picture with the guitar and artist."
The King Biscuit Blues Festival, held each year in October, features a pilgrimage by thousands of fans from all around the world down Highway 61, and through blossoming, unharvested fields of cotton. It features more than 60 acts on three stages during the course of three days, starting in the morning and lasting well into each night.
This year, through sweltering heat and driving rain, blues fans kept the faith to enjoy the young and old, including Delbert McClinton, James Cotton, Sonny Burgess, International Blues Challenge winner Mr. Sipp and Marcus "Mookie" Cartwright.
The festival has been recognized with many national rewards, and ranked by Travelocity and Southern Living as among the top attractions in the United States.
Painted Axe specializes in custom painted guitars for artists and musicians to festivals and tours, including branding for fundraisers and special events.
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