Happy host, happier guest

The way into a venue manager’s heart

Illustration by Scott A. Ford

Live music shows should be a thrilling experience for everyone involved, from the artists to the audience. And while bands should want to leave those in the crowd pleased, there’s another audience to be considered: venue managers.

They hold many titles, but usually their jobs include booking bands for live shows and overseeing the execution of the night’s events. They have their fair share of the fun and fuzz that precedes and backdrops a live performance.

“Since we opened, we have had over 20 bands perform here and I’m talking only in the month of December,” Jamil Chaudhry, The Knndy pub’s director of operations, says. “We work hard on our end to give the band a good experience.”

As a venue manager, Chaudhry feels excited to be able to look over performing bands, especially those that aren’t well-known. 

“The experience is overwhelming for me, looking over the talents Winnipeg has. It motivates me. These people need more exposure to show what Winnipeg can do,” Chaudhry says.

For bands that aren’t in the limelight, Chaudhry emphasizes the need for them to properly introduce themselves to the crowd and keep the audience engaged during the performance. 

“Giving a little bit about you doesn’t hurt,” Chaudhry says. “One day you won’t need to say anything, people would already know you. But until then, think of it as going to pitch a business to someone.” 

Gina Gerbasi, the manager of Joe Black Coffee, says the most important thing is that the audience is engaged.

“We’ve had a few that haven’t really brought anyone in,” Gerbasi says. “Some are young and don’t have a following.”

She doesn’t hold that against them though and says they have all been good performers.

Andy Arthur, the manager at Sam’s Place, has had his fair share of good and bad experiences working with bands. 

At the bottom of his list are bands that didn’t consider how important their show is to the venue. The bands showed up late and did not do much to promote the show.

“We have had some bands that did not spend a lot of time promoting their show and ended up with small audiences, which could be discouraging” Arthur says.

For band members to have a good time at a venue and a positive relationship with the venue managers, whose job includes looking out for the business, it is important to leave the audience entertained and satisfied. 

“It is important for the band to keep the show interesting throughout the evening and maintain a positive atmosphere,” Arthur says.

Arthur says bands that promote the show, arrive on time for soundcheck and interact with the crowd to keep the show interesting and create a positive atmosphere are his favourite to work with. 

He also appreciates when bands promote the venue’s food and drink.

The way to a venue manager’s heart is through his customers, so aspiring bands should work to appease their audience and, as a result, the managers. 

And for those bands who are hoping to be booked at a venue again, putting effort into promoting and preparing for a show could help in making the best impression possible.

Published in Volume 70, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 14, 2016)

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