September 14th, 2020
Top Tips From A Production manager
Today's read...9 minutes
Government funding supports the industry while drive-in show sales steady and virtual events find success. We dive into collaborations from NIVA x YouTube to XR Events x Ovolo Hotels. And we sit down with Production Manager Margaret Callanan to learn about her impressive career, her favorite tips, and how she’s passing the
Since we last reported on the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, the event has officially become a super-spreader event. Reports claim 250,000+ cases stemmed from the packed and mostly mask-less event. Get the rundown on how this number was calculated here.
Disco Biscuits sold out two shows in an hour, proving that nothing can quell a fan’s itch to get back to shows.
Ever wonder about the complex nature of insurance coverage and what to do if you have to postpone an event more than twice? Check out this great rundown on how insurance works for tours and events in the recent MUSIC x CORONA issue.
Epic Games hopes to make its Fortnite virtual stage a must-play tour stop for musicians. Supported by a state-of-the-art studio space in LA, the idea is to help artists reach new audiences and bridge the gap between the live and virtual spaces in a more fun and efficient way.
Amsterdam Dance Event will go virtual for 2020, featuring James Blake who will discuss "the underlying links between the processes driving creativity and mental conditions such as depression, as well as managing the challenges of a life dominated by artistic creativity."
Last week Italy’s RCF Arena opened with an audience-less show by local superstar Luciano Ligabue. The massive, sustainable structure can host 100,000 fans, making it Europe’s largest outdoor music venue. For now shows will remain without audiences, though some shows will be livestreamed.
The U.K.’s “Operation Moonshot” plans to test 500,000 people per day, provide exceptionally fast results, and (theoretically) help venues reopen by creating a “virus passport” linked to a negative test result. The one hitch is that right now it's only an ambitious plan, without funding or technology. That’s not to say it’s all bad - Melvin Benn agrees that adequate, mass testing could facilitate a return to live events.
This record store came up with an innovative way to market to an entirely new swath of customers. It’s the ultimate Italian experience - a restaurant, a barbershop, its own pharmacy, endless wine, decadent cheeses and of course, your favorite records. So who are these lucky new customers? Find out here.
YouTube Music and the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) are joining forces to help independent music venues, advocate for a safe return to events, and raise awareness for the NIVA Emergency Relief Fund. This effort is poised to work alongside other federal and local programs in strong support of the Save Our Stages act. Check out NIVA’s YouTube channel to stay up to date on the latest programming.
New Initiatives: Coming In Hot
Summer may be coming to a close, but that's not stopping event professionals from coming up with hot ideas to save our industry. Here are some of our favorites:
Variations of hotel concerts have been popping up around the globe and Australia is the latest country to hop on board. Remix Hotel, presented by XR Events and Ovolo Hotels, is a unique lifestyle event streamed right to fans’ hotel rooms. With VIP designed spaces, a six person room limit during sets, and safety supervisors on site, it's a luxurious, fun, and safe way to get back to live music.
For fans missing the physical connection of in-person events, merch can help fill the void with a tangible memory. And it’s good for the organizer’s financials too - shipping add-ons boost virtual event sales without the travel overhead. See how Britteny Floyd-Mayo, aka Trap Yoga Bae, capitalizes on merch here.
Jacob Collier is investing in a risk-free ticketing solution for his upcoming tour. While dates are on stand-by, fans will be able to reserve tickets through a third party ticketing system and not be charged until dates are released and personal schedules are checked for conflict. Reservation numbers will not be capped; promoters will be able to determine fan demand and use data to safely announce tour dates and show capacities.
This week we’re giving you a deep dive into the career of Margaret Callanan, the Production Manager at The Midland (Kansas City, MO), who we had the pleasure of talking to in our first BOH Q&A.
Morning Margaret! Thanks so much for taking the time to catch up with BOH. Let’s jump right into it - tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Mount Clemens, Michigan (about 30 minutes northeast of Detroit) and attended college in Kalamazoo, Michigan where I was a radio DJ. While I was a radio DJ, I also volunteered during our fundraiser weeks as a stagehand, security, and at the merch table for the bands that were featured. That experience, along with attending a lot of concerts, sparked my interest in this industry. After college I started interning for a woman in Detroit as a Promoter Rep, and now I’m based in Lawrence, Kansas after a couple year stint in Chicago. My first concert was The Cranberries at Pine Knob.
Flashback - what was your first job and what did you want to be when you grew up?
My first "off the books" job was as a filer at a law firm my mom worked for when I was younger. My first "on the books" job was at a music store (vinyl, tapes, CD's style, not backline) when I was in high school. At that point in my life, I wanted to either manage businesses (I was still working out the specifics on what kind of business) or work as a journalist.
What was your first role in the live events industry and what are you doing now? Are there any defining moments that got you to where you are?
My first paid position in the industry was as a merch seller while I interned at the Empty Bottle. That internship led to being a stagehand at Congress Theater (both venues are in Chicago). I’m currently furloughed, but I’m normally the Production Manager for The Midland in Kansas City, which is an AEG venue. Each step in my career has been defining. A lot of the steps can be attributed to being at the right place at the right time, and some steps were achieved by being a hard worker and not burning bridges. Giving advice in this industry is tricky, since so many departments are different and require different skill sets, but I always suggest to anyone in any position, that they try being a stagehand for at least a summer festival season. I strongly believe it's the best way to learn the "basics" of this industry. And always assume that you're going to get less sleep than you anticipated and always have backup snacks like granola bars and dried fruit in your bag, just in case catering sucks.
What is your biggest failure or really tough moment you experienced? What happened?
Weather was always a big part in any gig I've done that didn't go as planned. I did an event in Times Square years ago and even though there was a lot of planning in advance, the weather beat down on us and made it a pretty miserable experience.
And as they say, the show must go on. Was there anything about that event that made it notably different from others?
It was a weird gig. I was asked to handle the production specifically, which was only a 12' x 12' deck stage with like four ground stacked boxes a side. I was also only supposed to have two acts (a magician and a well known a cappella group), but a few weeks before the event the clients added a few speakers and a video presentation, which is normally fine, but our schedule was already incredibly tight because everything had to be run through about 15 different government agencies to approve any amendments (because it was in Times Square). The art department on the event was not able to pre-build the set pieces they were hoping to, so when we (the production team) arrived around 3 am to load-in at 4 am, they were about five hours behind. Then it started raining.
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September 15: The Orchard presents a 3-day virtual series on global music distribution and artist and label services.
September 15: Connections That Matter reimagines the future of the music, sports, gaming & online entertainment industries in their full-week program.
September 16: Thriving Roots brings the Americana music community together for three full days of engaging insights focused on education and networking.
September 16: Women in Music presents a fireside chat with Heather Reid to discuss her music, upcoming projects, and life as an out artist.
September 17: The International Festivals & Events Association dives into how COVID-19 has changed the world of insurance for events.