Pink Martini is great. Christmas music needs an update or three. Here's another song that pushes the envelope, a semi-atheist lament that pleads for the mythical Jesus to get real, get off his cloud and come down here to take care of business: https://soundcloud.com/biff-thuringer/please-jesus
They need to move Ms. Sandra OUT who was given this job in the first place. There are lots of very good people right here in the state who could bring in better acts and make money there at Dorton, even if it's old and has poor sound. Nothing against Sandra Brannen, the sister of Department of Agriculture marketing specialist Myrtle Earley (Hmmmmmmmmmm), but she lacks the skill and past record to continue in that spot. They might pay more for a REAL talent in the slot, but with the RIGHT people in there they could offer MORE and BETTER show, and even consider doing it during other times of the year for even MORE PROFIT.
Dorton Arena is kind of a crummy place to see anything, and as the article says, the acoustics are terrible. This is a poor place to have any concerts but they are now traditional and part of the state fair so there you go.
So why not think outside the box here. Dorton Arena needs to be knocked down and replaced by....what?
Here's a way musicians can make a million dollars instead of lose a million:
First, you start with $2 million...
There are so many other opportunities to see great music in much better venues, mostly free. (IBMA, and all the summer concert series). I think the fair is in kind of a double bind, because great bands don't want to play in that barn, and the bands they can get are usually not worth the aggravation that going to the fair entails.
Lorraine, that's a reasonable question, and I do hope the piece presented another way of looking at it. To summarize, the fair itself is very profitable, but this particular aspect loses a large amount of money due to a rather inexplicable hire. For that concert, you spent $15 each ticket, I believe. The concert still lost a decent amount of money, but your $15 helped offset Joan Jett's cost. Otherwise, you contributed $12.20 to the state if you bought your ticket in advance ($14.20 at the gate)—$7 at the door, $5.20 paid to the DoA by the carnival presenter on your behalf. That money subsidizes these losses and then helps build the fair's overall profit. The problem, though, is that these shows were designed to lose much less, and many people agree that they could lose much less now, with some adjustments to structure of contracts and management. And as for the money you spent on rides or concessions, no, none of that goes to offset the entertainment costs. Vendors pay a square-footage fee for their total imprint, and it is not beholden to sales, at least according to records I acquired and my interviews with state officials. Thanks for asking the question, and I hope that is helpful.
As a music coordinator, I am happy to see someone else taking notice of the entertainment scheduled at the state fair. I saw the lineup this year and just shook my head.
The NC State Fair already focuses on NC Products and NC Agriculture. It should also focus on and support Triangle (local ) and NC Regional Bands. Two well booked National Acts to open and to close the fair would be enough.
NC has exceptional world class musicians and bands. Supporting and featuring them at the State Fair would provide cultural exposure, and display NC Pride in our Arts. It would also offer a huge savings to the Dept. Of Agriculture.
Triangle Entertainment Agency
On the last night of the fair, we saw Joan Jett and the Blackhearts -- not exactly has-beens. It was not a sellout but it was a big house and a very good concert. I wondered why the tickets were only $15. But on the other hand, we had to pay to get into the fair, and ended up dropping probably another $100 on rides, etc., something we would not have done otherwise, if not for the draw of the concert. So is there maybe another way of looking at this?
It seems to me that the only reason that ticket sales were started at all was to combat traffic at the fair. If some other way were used and the concerts were still free, and, obviously, losing even more money, would this article still have been written? You didn't seem to have expressed any financial concerns about the free concerts.
There are two ways to read the chart: the booker is unconcerned about revenue because she doesn't know what she's doing, or she's unconcerned about revenue because revenue isn't a concern. It's hard to believe that she's so bad at simple multiplication, and there doesn't seem to be concern elsewhere for the concerts' profits, so I'm inclined to say that lack of concern is the reason.
Of course, the beginning part of the article is intended to show that revenue is a concern in general, but I'm not sure that it does. It shows that attendance is a concern. Later it describes how the fair pays for itself. Maybe it's just a matter of pride.
All that said, it would be nice if the bookings had a greater variety. There seem to be only three categories: country acts, Christian acts, and has-beens.
I've long been frustrated at the lack of interesting concert picks at the State Fair, and wondered about their financial success (or failure). It's interesting to gain an understanding of the process that results in these line-ups. The money side of the equation is concerning, but a bigger issue may be the fact that these shows have such tepid appeal, and little focus on N.C.'s home grown talent.
With better management, there seems to be an opportunity here for 3-way win. Stronger line-up choices could lead to bigger, happier audiences, more money for the Ag Dept, and serve as a really great showcase for N.C. talent. The Department's leadership should be strongly considering the changes that could bring this about. Contracting with an outside talent buyer would seem to be an idea whose time has come.
The writer is right in highlighting fair concerts as "loss leaders." Everyone knows that the NC State Fair is a successful, profitable and attractive operation, the largest state-supported and hosted "show" by far every year (this does not include the annual comedy act known as the NC General Assembly session, of course).
I am a taxpayer and, as such, my money supports the NC Ag Dept, and most likely positions and ops there that help organize/run the Fair. Knowing how things are going financially at the Fair is my right---the broader public would NEVER hear about this situation from the state government itself. And I'm pleased to learn how they might be improved. That the Fair hasn't moved over to percentage/versus deals is puzzling.
Here's an idea Baby Boomers concerts. My wife and I saw the Association with limited seating maybe 250 seats, tix were 25.00 with fees. We were in the second row center. Put on festival nights with several boomer groups. Cheap tix, fair makes a profit and everyone has a great night !
This article has a very unfair tone to it. State fairs and casinos are known to be cash cows for agents and artist management because the goal is foot traffic and promotion rather than box office glory. Singling out this line item from what continues to be a profitable attraction just seems ill-spirited. I mean, the bathrooms haven't turned a profit in years, but they are still a vital part of the event's success?
Kaine Riggan - www.StageCoop.org
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