On the eve of The King’s birthday I am reminiscing about my first of two concert promoting forays.
It was August of 2007 and a great opportunity. It was the perfect show to cut my promoting teeth on. Heck, I was partnering with the act that I happened to also represent. The response from buyers all over the country for this show had been superb. It would be produced at a fantastic venue, the beautiful, newly renovated Gillioz Theatre. The capacity seemed manageable, about 1100 seats after we hand out comps. and a stack to the radio station for promotions. My goodness gracious, the show is a tribute to the Elvis Presley, the king of rock & roll.
Strategically scheduled during the week of the 30th anniversary and celebration of said king’s passing. I mean, what’s cooler as a tie-in than that the artist we are saluting sat in one of the very seats some 45 years ago that an attendee may sit in. He was watching a movie which he often did, in small town USA as he toured. Ok, you guessed it, Elvis Presley is the voice, the moves, the memory that Matt Lewis, live from Las Vegas came to replicate.
As the presenter of the event, I sweated it out as promoters often do. There is so many details. So much can go wrong even amongst all that goes right. Part of it was first time jitters. Even as a risk taker, dare say “gambler”, as all promoters are by nature, to some degree . That is is the life of a concert and event promoter.
The experience was worth every penny, and I would do it all over again, and it taught me a bit more about who these people are on the other side of the negotiating table to know their perspective of the deal. In hindsight, I might have read a Bill Graham biography first, Bill Graham Presents or Rage & Roll. But like anything else, there ain’t nothing like experience.
So talent, here’s the punchline: When you get booked for a gig, don’t assume that the promoter is cheap (or worse) because he has negotiated a “better” deal for himself. Just because you received less than your asking price doesn’t mean the guy is raking you. Understand the level of work, time, resources, effort, costs that go into promoting a successful event and instead of having attitude, or treating them like a necessary evil, look at the promoter as a partner. Together you will help bring entertainment to the audience. Together… because one could hardly do it without the other.
This is what my experience taught me and I am better for it, even though we probably broke even on the show. Heck, it didn’t deter me from soon after promoting a dance/concert with the “Auld Lang Syne” players themselves, Guy Lombardo’s Royal Canadians. And there will be other shows.
I love you, promoters and talent buyers. I love working with you. And I consider what I do with you to be a true partnership. I am here for you, so call if you need help finding or booking a good act. If anyone wants to celebrate the King’s birthday on January 8 by promoting a concert in his honor, check out the killer lineup of Elvis Impersonators on Gig Salad.