J. Cole Concert at the Charlottesville Pavilion

104On Friday, April 8, I attended a hip hop performance by J. Cole at the Charlottesville Pavilion. Though the concert was hosted by University Programs Council Springfest, student turnout was relatively poor on account of the dreary, rainy weather at the outdoor venue. However, there was still a sizable crowd underneath the venue’s massive awning. From my modest experience going to concerts in the past, I had learned that people only get mad about you pushing past them if you stop in front of them. With this knowledge in mind, I determinedly cut through the crowd until I was about 30 feet from the stage with a great view of the show that had already started.

J. Cole, born Jermaine Lamarr Cole, has been rapping for half his life, since the age of 13, and his experience showed. His presentation and style reminded me of that of T.I. when he performed here in Charlottesville a couple years ago, except Cole didn’t need hype men on stage with him to finish his lines. He was very energetic, refusing to stay in one place for very long, and his voice had enough power that I was convinced it would have carried across the crowd without a microphone. The distinct emphasis he placed on many of his lines made it sound as if he almost barked some of his lyrics. While barking lyrics might carry a negative connotation in some contexts, Cole pulled it off in a way that instead conveyed his passion to the audience.

Near the end of his show, J. Cole performed his debut single, Who Dat, an exhibition of bravado for everyone who doubted his rise to fame. The name of the song references a popular battle cry of New Orleans’ football team, “Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints,” alluding to Cole questioning what rapper is brave enough to challenge him in a contest of lyricism. After instructing the men in the crowd to menacingly chant “Who Dat” along with him during the chorus, Cole rapped the line “A couple of y’all ain’t took a field trip to the hood.” It reminded me of the “field trip” I took to the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans this past spring break to see the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. That thought soon became a wish that I hadn’t dropped my camera off a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street the night before Mardi Gras so I could take pictures of the show.

Overall, I thought J. Cole’s music was a refreshing departure from the either aloof or insipid rap that currently dominates hip hop culture. In my opinion, most hip hop artists on the radio today fall into one of two groups: rappers who have become so jaded by their fame and fortune that they cease to put true thought into their music because they know they will continue to make money regardless, and artists who force their way into the mainstream by capitalizing on current trends that cater to the lowest common denominator of the American public in terms of taste. J. Cole contributes to contemporary music by breaking both these molds, delivering music that is, for the most part, fresh, witty, and compelling.

Considering that Cole moved to New York and went to college on an academic scholarship while fighting for a record deal, it is no surprise that his music demonstrates both street smarts and intelligence that are impressive for his age. Cole’s gritty yet well-versed persona must have appealed to music mogul, Jay-Z, as the first artist signed to his record label, Roc Nation, allowing Cole to rise from the underground without sacrificing the content of his music. With encouraging prospects for his future, I believe J. Cole can make a very positive impact on contemporary hip hop if he continues unapologetically on this seldom-traveled path.

Concert Promotions – The Big Dream

103Concert promotion is an integral part of the music industry. Concert promoters are the people that get the artists scheduled to perform at a venue. Concert promotion is not to be taken lightly or entered into without sufficient backing in terms of finances and experience. Some people dream all their lives about putting on a great event featuring top talent. Concert promotion is a demanding career that requires serious attention to detail. In order to be an effective and successful concert promoter, a high level of organization is necessary.

Concert promotions are typically a 5% net margin business. Not exactly a sexy bottom line. Concert promotion is a risky and low-margin business. In Q2 07 — traditionally, the spring and summer are the strongest for the concert business — Live Nation squeaked out operating income of $36 million on sales of $1 billion. Concert promotion is a very ugly business. Everyone seems to jump on the promoter for everything.

The last people who catch the heat are the performers, although many times the problems surfacing at a scheduled concert can be laid at their feet. But the bottom line is there would be no concert without the performers. So what’s the chance that the performers are going to be held responsible. Now while it wasn’t a concert per se, the performance during the infamous super bowl half time show by Janet Jackson when there was the costume problem, the crap that flew because of that was laid at the feet of the artists. I personally think it did nothing but boost Miss Jackson’s appeal and give her career a little kick in the pants.

Whichever way you look at it, budding young concert promoter hopefuls are going to have a tough time breaking into the big time. But there is plenty of opportunity for a young aggressive business type to work on a regional level and hone his or her skill. It’s a fact that people love music. And music of all types. As proof of that I offer up the fact that in our local area, every year there is a big Accordion festival. Yes I said, Accordion. And it draws scores of fans. And I’m not talking about 40 fans sitting on a couple of benches. People come from all over the country to perform at the concert. And on top of that, music buffs from all over the country travel here to attend the festival. Go figure. Next time you see someone eating a bratwurst……who knows, they may be a big accordion fan.

Concert Promotions is a fascinating business and has a seemingly magical lure to a lot of people, but it is a very tough road to travel. There are many other jobs or careers that offer better chances of success, but the cachet connected with the music industry is just too strong for many to resist.

How to Fully Enjoy a Justin Bieber Concert

102Whenever Justin Bieber is in town, his concerts are always sold out the morning the ticketing booths open and if you have tickets to his concert, you’ve probably spent a bomb on it. So if you did, you would want to make the most out of this special event. Check out these tips of how you can do so.

Bring someone special with you. Special moments will spark special feelings with people whom you had those moments with. And how much more special can an occasion be other than a Justin Bieber concert? So bring that special person with you, hold his hand, sing along with him and when the moment and song is right, who knows, you might even get your first kiss.

Make a scrapbook with your other friends who are Beliebers. Justin Bieber has millions of fans around the world. To stand out, you’ll have to do something special other than screaming his name. So, make a detailed, beautifully-adorned scrapbook with plenty of photos of you and your friends. Don’t forget to include your contact number or email too. Who knows? Your scrapbook might be so good that it compels Justin to want to go out with you. To make sure Justin gets your scrapbook, you could hand it over to your local Justin Bieber fanclub, who most probably has contacts in JB’s management team.

In addition to that, the concert might only be for a night, but you can make it last by the use of a camera. DSLR owners, don’t forget to bring your zoom lens (at least 150mm zoom, depending on how far you are from the stage) to get close up photos of Justin. Photos that you should take include you and your friends with the stage in the background, awesome fan signs that the other concert attendees have written, something crazy and memorable which you did at the concert and lastly, if you have the chance, a photo with Beebs too. Don’t forget to upload these photos on your Facebook profile, Tweet it or blog about it to make your friends squirm in envy.

Lastly, you wouldn’t want anything horrible to ruin the fun for the night. Thus, remember to travel in groups or have your parents send you as close as possible to the concert venue, don’t accept anything from strangers and I know that you might be curious, but if you’re under the legal drinking age, do not consume any spirits or you’ll be in trouble with the law.

Rock N Roll in the Entertainment Capital of the World

101Known as the Entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas has everything to make your trip a remarkable experience. Also famous with the name ‘Sin City,’ the largest city in the U.S. State of Nevada and famous for royal casinos and around the clock party environment. Find cheap air fare deals now itself and have fun with romantic, mysterious, exotic and adventurous destinations of the Sin City. Apart from enjoying the gambling and glamor in casinos, there are many other things to do in the city including attending music concerts, a helicopter tour, shopping at world-class shopping malls and so on. Visitors can also find amazing deals in shopping centers and games they play in casinos. Find cheap fare flights to enjoy the grandness of the Entertainment capital of the world. Below is the list of some of the top things to do:

Las Vegas Casinos: When we think of this city, the first thing that comes in our mind is Las Vegas Casinos. Casinos are the heartbeat of Las Vegas and make the city famous all over the globe. Book your air tickets and enjoy the sounds, lights and energy of casinos in the city. Also, win the jackpots and experience the unending gambling games with thrills, excitement and high energy. Some of the top Casinos in Las Vegas are The Bellagio, Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, The MGM Grand, Caesars Palace, The Luxor Hotel & Casino and much more.

The Adventuredome: One of the main attractions of the Las Vegas, The Adventuredome is one of the world’s largest air-condition theme parks. It is one of the perfect to have fun with your family and friends. Book your flight tickets and enjoy the fun-filled activities including double-loop, double-corkscrew roller coaster and much more. The Adventuredome also features a rock-climbing wall, 18-hole gold course, playgrounds and various exotic activities. Get cheap fare deals now to enjoy a great outing to Adventuredome with your whole family.

There are also plenty of other activities to do and places to visit in Las Vegas, including Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat, Gondola Rides at the Venetian, Mirage Volcano, Circus Acts, the Stratosphere Tower and much more. Before booking your air tickets, it is mandatory for visitors to know the best time to visit that place. Most of the travelers visit the city from March to May and from September to November, but the pleasant weather of the city makes it worthy deal for tourists to visit any time of year.

Why You Need a Concert Promoter

100When you perform at any musical event, you are going to want to guarantee that the venue has been marketed properly.

Many managers try to handle the promotions themselves, but unless they are experienced marketers they are doing a disservice to their clients. This is why they usually need the services of an experienced concert promoter.

Concert promoters handle the responsibility of marketing and organizing the event. There are a variety of ways in which a concert promoter will help an event:

  • Making sure a venue is a good fit for an event
  • Generating interest after the event is confirmed through ads and direct marketing
  • Coordinating public relations campaigns
  • Taking advantage of industry contacts to help generate interest
  • Often they will help with handling security, ticket sales decorations, setups and special effects

Concert promoters are essential to promoting your event and can save you a lot of time. However, before you can get anything out of them, you must go about the process of setting up an agreement properly.

First and foremost, you need to find a good regional promoter to work with you. If you are planning on going for a 360 contract with a major concert promoter, then you are going to be spinning your wheels for a while. Big-time promoters are only interested in working with big-time artists. Until you have made a name for yourself, you are not going to get their interest. Regional promoters have local connections that will be very important to you anyways.

There a variety of ways to find a promoter to cover your concert or event. The best place to start is with your own connections. Networking and personal references are essential in the music industry and they should be leveraged when looking for a promoter. You can also check publications such as Pollstar, which also sells directories listing information for similar services you may want to take advantage of.

After you’ve found a prospective promoter, you need to contact them and see if you are a good fit for each other. You will begin by forwarding information about your band, genre, background and all performing experience you have.

If the promoter agrees to take your band on, you need to put together a contract that details the specifics. An AFM Perfomance Agreement covers flat fees, how profits are split, dates and locations. Additional information may go in the rider if necessary. It is also very important to come up with a schedule that will work for everyone. A promoter will help you be realistic about travel time and how many days off it reasonable to take.

Finding a good concert promoter is almost as important as having a good manager. This is a decision that needs to be made carefully. The bottom line is that you need to know your goals and find a promoter who is in sync with them.