Good Question: How Do Musical Acts Decide Where To Perform?

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — U2 announced Tuesday they will play at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sept. 8.

The band joins Justin Bieber, Guns N’ Roses and Coldplay as the big acts performing at Minnesota’s newest stadium this summer.

The Twin Cities have several great venues to offer; from First Avenue, to Roy Wilkins, to The Fine Line, to the Dakota Jazz Club.

“You want to put them in a cool vibe, something that’s going to be exciting for them, something that’s going to be exciting for the fans,” said Tamsen Preston, a talent buyer with Minneapolis-based promotor Sue McLean & Associates. “It’s really a mesh of trying to get the right fit.”

Preston just booked Shawn Colvin for the Fitzgerald Theater in October.

gq music acts pkg 10p 0606t180235 mov Good Question: How Do Musical Acts Decide Where To Perform?

(credit: CBS)

“After working with artists for a long time, you understand the audience, you really just kind of have a feeling and a gauge of what’s the best fit for them,” she said.

There are a number of parties involved in the process of booking a venue. The musical act and their agents and management communicate with the promoters who, in turn, then make a deal with the venue.

Preston says her responsibility as a promoter is to put the band in the right venue and sell the show.

When determining venue, size is important. For example, U2 is only playing in stadiums this summer.

“They’re the biggest band and they want to play at the biggest, new cool stadium,” said Adam Sprenger, program director for 104.1 JACK FM.

Availability is another big consideration. Often musical acts come to cities in a limited time frame built around the rest of their tour. Some of the biggest tours, including Justin Bieber or Coldplay, take up to a week for set-up, concert and tear-down.

Preston says she considers intimacy and acoustics. Sprenger says the acts will also look for a venue that offers the best deal. An artist will sometimes request to play at a specific spot again.

“A lot of times when they play venues, they walk out of there happy,” Preston said. ‘You know that and you hear it from the band.”

It’s competitive business between all aspects — venues and promoters. Most involved say it is built on building and fostering strong relationships.

“We’ll get aggressive in going after these acts,” said Jerry Johnson, assistant general manager at U.S. Bank Stadium.

He attends music industry conferences and works with promoters, agents and managers to book acts at U.S. Bank.

“You also rely on your relationships with the venues and your experience in the market and knowing what’s going to be the right fit,” Preston said.

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