This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to the International Entertainment Buyers Association meeting in Nashville. Basically, it is a convention, where almost all of the agents for musical acts get together with folks that buy entertainment. Dozens of America’s largest agents meet up with hundreds of talent buyers from across the world. In the buyers world, that can include talent buyers from fairs & festivals, like Riverbend or Nightfall, corporate buyers that may want Toby Keith or ZZ Top to play at the company Christmas party, or arenas and theaters, like Track 29, the Tivoli, or the Memorial Auditorium.
It was my first trip of this nature and I had a blast. It is an interesting world – the music business. If you take an act like Kenny Chesney or The Rolling Stones for example, they have a manager or management team that assists them with the day-to-day operations of a band. There are road managers, business managers, tour managers, production managers, and so on. They also have a management company to assist them with booking their gigs. It was the gig booking companies that we went to see.
There are many big booking agencies, like William Morris Endeavors, Creative Arts Agency, and Paradigm Agency, and then there are some that are smaller and handle just a few clients or maybe only a couple. The big guys may handle hundreds of acts. One of the things they do at this show is to showcase up and coming talent. A booking agency may pick 4 or 5 acts and have them play 3 songs each for all the buyers.
Dixie Fuller, Riverbend’s talent guru found Florida-Georgia Line there last year. He immediately recognized something about them that indicated they would likely hit it big, so he signed them to play the Bud Stage for the 2013 Riverbend. Well, ol’ Dixie was right about them. After signing them in October last year, they went on to have 3 songs make it into the top ten by the time Riverbend rolled around. Shortly before Riverbend, Dixie even tried to move them to the Coke Stage, but they were booked for the remaining available nights. As it turns out, FL-GA Line had the biggest show in Bud Stage history on opening night in 2013.
It’s too early to say if Riverbend can repeat that success again this year, but it won’t be for the lack of trying. We listened to several new acts, and may try to book a couple that really stood out. It wasn’t all new bands, either. In an unannounced surprise, the Charlie Daniels Band made an appearance in the showcase. He just signed with a new agent and that agent wanted to showcase their great “new” addition. As always, he was great.
Being a bit of a Country music purist, I was a bit disappointed by much of the “new” country. I prefer Merle Haggard or Johnny Cash. But, it isn’t about what I like – it is about what you like. If you are a musician and would like to speak with me about my experience at IEBA, feel free to pick my tiny brain.
While I was in Nashville, I saw 138 women wearing boots with dresses, 182 wearing boots with jeans, and 7 wearing cowboy hats. 5 wore their boots with their Daisy Dukes. When walking down Broadway, Nashville’s “strip”, I heard live music coming from almost every place there. It was fun. Maybe Chattanooga can get there soon.
We have some cool shows coming up in the next few days in the Scenic City. Steve Earle will be at Track 29 tonight. The Eli Young Band will be there Friday night, with the Communicators doing their show there on Saturday night. Just go to www.track29.co and check it out.
Bud’s Sportsbar has a great band this weekend. My friends at Austin Nickels Band play and you won’t hear a better male vocalist or lead guitar player anywhere. Check it out at www.budssportsbar.com.
The Hillbilly Sins, featuring their new mystery singer, will rock the house at Rhythm & Brews Friday Night, right after the great local band Ragdoll opens. Saturday night at R&B, Davey Smith brings some of the Country music that I like. On Sunday afternoon, a benefit for Taylor Caldwell features some great musicians at Rhythm & Brews. Jimmy Dormire, the Drew Sterchi Band, The Beaters, Musical Moose, and Mr. Belding from Saved By The Bell are just some of the acts scheduled to appear. Go to http://www.ticketbiscuit.com/rhythm-brews/eventspotlight.aspx for more info.
Two years ago this Saturday, Travis and Heather Kilgore met and they are celebrating that day by playing a gig Saturday Night at the Office. It is located at 901 Carter Street next to the City Café. Happy anniversary!
Feel like going to Dalton on Saturday? Well, try out Playerz Sportsbar and Black Cat Moon Band, with perennial female singer of the year Janella Hayes.
For more local music info, try www.chattanoogaentertainers.com or www.chattanooganightscope.com. They both have great local music info and schedules. For local info on Country music, try Jim Boles’ site www.chattacountry.ning.com.
Email Bob Payne at email@example.com or catch him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/davrik2000.