Before I became full-time musician, I often wondered why the free concerts at conservatories were not well-attended. They were of excellent quality in acoustically perfect concert halls. The instruments were perfectly tuned. The concerts were listed in advance on web sites. The locations were central and easy to get to. In other words, there were no barriers to entry.
As I got busier in my studies at conservatory, I discovered that there was not much time left to go to concerts. Even if they were free, I could not afford to go. I was still curious, and I still felt the necessity to explore new repertoire and be exposed to new sounds. But it became a tough choice as the opportunity cost grew too high.
It’s hard to get other performers to come to concerts because they are busy rehearsing or giving concerts themselves. I daresay that to take time away from my own practice (if I am not already giving a concert), it would be for reasons such as
a) it’s free or nearly free
c) to support another artist I know i.e. simply to show up and witness a performance
d) a personal invitation that is hard to refuse
e) to meet the others that will be there, i.e. networking
f) to educate myself
g) to see a work or composer I absolutely love or miss
h) a social occasion, i.e. to go with others and make an outing of it
I’m sure there are more reasons I’m not even aware of.
I don’t count on musicians attending the concerts I invite them to unless they have the time and the inclination as I’ve listed above.
The last reason (h) is why I’m taking time off tonight. I’m going to see a free concert performance of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro” at the Amsterdam Conservatory. I invited three others to see this three hour opera. A fourth one tried to book it online, but it was already full. Even FREE performances can be “sold out.”