During tough times, make time for more fun.

I'm sick of articles that contain the phrase, "during these tough times." (Sick of writing them. Sick of reading them.)

Many of my contacts in the booking business have freaked out about receipts this year. When jobs are on the line and gas prices rise above $2 per gallons, live entertainment is one of the first things that gets slashed from the budget. If you've been sweating it out this summer, watching venues fold up as fast as your fans' wallets, think about how you can stand in service to your audience.

Can you host your own concert at a park or a community center? How about a private house concert for a handful of your most consistent supporters?

Remember to avoid "free" concerts -- your core audience won't value them as much as they will if you promote the gig as a "recession-buster" or an "entertainment stimulus package."

Here's where you enjoy the biggest opportunity right now... If your perfect audience member doesn't want to spend $50 to see their favorite area act, can you redirect them to see YOU play live for $10? They'll get a great live experience that they'll value even more -- because you turned it into a transcendent experience for them. And then, when times get good again, they'll still be on board to support you through your own bigger gigs.