terry charles | behind the stage | april 2017
The 2016-2017 season is turning out to be a pretty big year for us in terms of concerts. We've had an especially large number of concerts for our fiscal year and most have done extremely well or have sold out. We've had or will have successful country concerts at the Resch Center like the sold out shows for Miranda Lambert, Eric Church and Jason Aldean. We've also had some legendary country acts sell out the Meyer Theatre like Travis Tritt, Kris Kristofferson and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.
For those folks who say we only book country music or too much of it, we also scored Green Day, Journey with Asia, Def Leppard with Tesla and Poison, and the “I Love The 90s – The Party Continues Tour." Interesting part about the 90s show is we had a similar show last year that did crazy business with several hip hop type acts from the 90s. When you succeed, why not try again? So promoters put together another tour with a different bunch of acts. This tour includes TLC, Sugar Ray's Mark McGrath, All 4 One, Biz Markie, Snap! and C+C Music Factory.
Looking further back into the year we also had two sold-out Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts in December. The 90s show was recently announced for August 4 while Alan Jackson was announced for October 27. Both of those shows would seemingly be on track to do pretty good as well. Our company is not involved with the Billy Joel concert at Lambeau Field in June but that is also on track to do very well.
I feel the need to talk again about the concert booking process. I have read comments that PMI Entertainment Group is not in favor of booking rock acts. That makes me laugh. We are in favor of booking anything that has a chance to be successful. Of course, anyone who has a favorite band or genre always assures us it will sell out! The rock acts that we booked this year were all very successful. The reason they were booked in the first place is because the deal was right.
There are other times where we are presented with a concert where we think the artist guarantee is too high and thus ticket prices would be too high. In those cases we take a pass. We concluded the market wouldn't bear those ticket prices. If we booked it anyway and we were wrong, we would lose money. It's a simple equation. You have to be able to take risks and withstand some losses in this industry but you can't stay in business long if you lose money too often.
Yes, we book a lot of country acts because there are many out on tour. They sell well in this market and thus the ticket prices are pretty reasonable. It works. However, we pass on some country concerts, too, sometimes! I personally enjoy rock concerts more than country so I understand those who want more rock. I can assure everyone it is not for a lack of trying or because we have anything against rock music. You should also know that if a certain music genre doesn't work well here once for a promoter they get a little gun shy about trying it again – but in this case, I don't mean rock.
The other factor some fans forget about is in some cases the act or artist is so big or has such a large guarantee that the math won't work in the Resch Center. For most concerts the seating capacity could be anywhere from 7,500 to about 10,000 if we use all the seats, including those behind the stage. Sometimes that's not enough seats and the financial end of things just won't work. Perhaps the artists or tours simply don't consider Green Bay and instead stay in the large markets for multiple days and multiple shows. In the meantime we'll keep plugging along and offer as much variety as we can at the Meyer and at the Resch.
Terry Charles is public relations manager for Green Bay-based PMI Entertainment Group. He's all about media relations, publicity and social media for the Resch Center Complex, Meyer Theatre, Green Bay Gamblers Hockey and other events produced by PMI. When not at work, please don't hit him with your car as he runs and bikes around the Green Bay area. You can follow him on Twitter at @TCCharles.