terry charles | behind the stage | may 2019
Perhaps you've heard of the old saying “the gift of giving." When it comes to arena concerts, the Resch Center and other arenas think about the giving of the gift. You see it's become somewhat of a tradition that when an artist comes to your building, you present them with a gift. It's sort of a way of saying thank you for coming.
For many years and perhaps still true to this day, arenas that have professional sports franchises gave the artists a hockey jersey or a basketball jersey with the artist's name on the back of it. For instance, if an artist played in the arena where the Detroit Red Wings played, the building might give the artist a custom Red Wings jersey.
I can only imagine how many hockey or basketball jerseys certain singers have received over the years. I have always thought they must be sick of them and they probably end up in a rummage sale somewhere. We have given our share of Green Bay Gamblers hockey jerseys to artists we know that like hockey. The last time Carrie Underwood was here, we made custom Gamblers jerseys for her young children. She seemed thrilled with them! When Bon Jovi was coming to the Resch Center we got wind he wanted a Packers jersey, so we got him a custom jersey with his name on the back.
I often wonder how much the artists care about a gift at all. You figure they make a lot of money and can buy themselves whatever they want. At industry conferences that I've attended ,we have talked about what buildings do and how the gifts are changing. Some larger arenas in major cities can really go all out and get a very expensive gift that is tailored to that artist.
In the past we have researched the artist to see what their interests are and target the gift in that direction. We have seen some artists who are very dedicated to a certain charity, so we have made a financial contribution to that charity and showed the artist a large copy of the check we sent. Other times we check with artist management for any possible ideas on what to get the person.
More recently our trend has been to give artists a gift package made up of local or Wisconsin products. And for the most part, it has been a hit. We usually give them a mix of cheese, candy, beer or soda, and other treats. Taking it a step further, we try to personalize the cheese by using song titles from the artist and put the labels on the cheese.
This is an example of something we didn't do, but it will give you the idea. If we had given Bon Jovi a gift package of cheese, we might have labeled one of the cheeses “Bad Medicine Monterey Jack." The artists have actually gotten a kick out of it and many are just happy that we give them something good to eat! They'll joke they're going to save it all for themselves and not share with the rest of the band.
At the end of the day we want the artist to feel welcome in Green Bay and at the Resch Center. I guess we'll never know for sure if they really like any of the gifts because they get so many. But instead of giving them the same old jersey, we're giving them the “Resch Roquefort," the “Concert Colby" and the “Green Bay Gouda"!
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.