WWL>Topics>>8-7-14 2:10pm Angela: on NOLA as a concert destination

8-7-14 2:10pm Angela: on NOLA as a concert destination

Aug 7, 2014|

Angela talks with Offbeat magazine publisher Jan Ramsey, SMG general manager Alan Freeman, and New Orleans Tourism & Marketing President Mark Romig about the city's recent run of big concerts.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

For a city loved for a -- great music weathered jazz and rhythm and blues rock rap gospel or opera. It's incredible that in just a few short years. We've become a city that named did that big named national talent wants to come to perform. It wasn't always like that. That we could have beyoncé and Jay-Z performing in the superdome. The same night The Doobie Brothers and Peter Frampton were playing at champions square said volumes. So for the next hour we're gonna talk to the people in the know. Alan Freeman general manager of SN OG the management company of the Mercedes super -- champions square and the smoothie king arena. -- Ramsey publisher and editor of offbeat magazine. And Mark Roman president and CEO of the New Orleans tourism and marketing corporation. I just think this has been an incredible week and a sense. This week as you know we were named the best place the best climate to do business. In in the country and I've lived long enough you're says it didn't used to be like that change has happened. And so we were all standing around saying look at the concerts the weekend. Is phenomenal concerts. That's relatively new and that changes happened so I'm here to ask you well what. Is going on -- asked Jane and first well I I think you hit the nail on the head. Which you relate. Entertainment options to the economy. Because for along time. The economy in New Orleans was not all that grade and then we had Katrina. That made it made things even -- and now the economy is not only on an upswing. But we're attracting. A lot of younger people to the city. Which frankly in my lifetime has never really happened before I mean I'm I'm kinda in the same situation as you unseen change and I've never seen. In my entire life and used it used to be. He lived in New Orleans forever you never laughed people didn't really move here and it's not that way anymore I mean it's it's becoming almost another. And I don't compares to Atlanta means that a that a that a city that you know a city that welcomes and attracts. Younger people new businesses and you know hasn't always been that way and I think entertainment's ties into that line the quality of entertainment accounts that are. This is goodness so -- your thoughts on what's happening. Well when you start talking about that type of acts that typically play Arenas and to a lesser degree stadiums. Our business is cyclical to some degree that acts are -- can't get from come out the other. Recording studios -- their vacation homes or whatever come to -- for you. But more specifically. Our ability to kid shows is market driven. If the markets -- these shows the acts are gonna play now. It's become more and more important over the last ten or fifteen years you know ticket prices starting getting ridiculous there you know hundred dollars or more. When they used to be fifteen dollar price first cut to -- this is Dell's high ticket -- and these acts can make a lot of money by playing lesser shows sold mostly tourists that are coming through new worlds planes for the consumer. Now are only doing 3035 shows on tour. They used to do 130 optional tour. So it's more important than ever for -- market to support these shows and not only new -- is really done great job of supporting shields and that's helped us look more time missile Leo happy with the -- and we are. Confidence gonna continue and we'll do. Continuing our -- get these shows and here. Nelson of the venues that we didn't have before. Truth -- him a lot more venues and we had. It's McCain senators now fifteen years old. More than target. The the dome itself is 39 years old but you you can't look at either one of those buildings and gates the -- by the way the pure -- -- always been invested in. Both of them especially at the dome since Katrina. But. You know the with the -- that are currently is undergoing fifty million dollars of revelations pursuant to a new contract with with the pelicans and though. We closed. This past Monday following. The Justin Timberlake shall we had a media center this past Sunday night we will reopen in October. With a couple really big shields Kenny Perry Ian and Paul McCartney and that fifty million dollars being spent people -- seek help them -- -- they're going to be impressed by it. The changes that your making I don't -- too much. But are because one needed it or two as well you are getting more concert therefore you want to accommodate those. Most of the renovations that are taking place right now or driven to accommodate the basketball -- okay to be honest. Eighties is all down to economics it's it's gonna provide a way for the eighteen to generate more money to help them sustain their operations here in New Orleans. And you know everything's. That we do a sort of intertwined. I feel like him for the basketball team is successful. It speaks volumes of the market. We're gonna get more concert bicoastal basketball team successful they're exposed -- is -- in every night people are thinking about New Orleans market -- Mort that. But. You know I think that the success builds on success. Mark would you speak. More to that you know I think the fact that New Orleans is seen as. One of the most authentic destinations in in the nation and now ranked. By many world polls as one of the best cities to visit. Has done a lot to look to put norms in a position of being the place to before. Great music and the fact that we're the home of the income of America's original art form jazz certainly. That has a bit of beacon called two people to come to the city to participate. The great work that Allen's. Team has been doing at those two beautiful facilities plus the University of New Orleans Lakefront we -- which gets regular. Concert in other. Programs. And the fact that up with a drive market that's. Very very rich and interest in the city of New Orleans easy to get to New Orleans is a quick drive for a short flight away. It's it's becomes the place to be for the weekends all of us have been downtown for the weekends -- when this concert there. Mercedes-Benz superdome for the -- a smoothie king senator. There are the champions square which that the -- fear. Concert series is done so well and you just picking up but it's gonna be doing even more coming up. New laws is just now seen as the place to date and with the influx of of young people. The environment that we're we have -- opportunity for young people to not only experienced great excitement but it -- make a living. We've got people go to school here from out of town who tend to stay here because they like the atmosphere than like film but polite seen. And these these visitors are very important to us. On average someone coming to the city of -- war on staying overnight. Four six you know extended period of time for a couple months to three nights -- so they'll be spending close to 900 dollars on their visit and that's per trip or per day basis they're spending about a 182 dollars. That's great for the economy that is great for the economy and wanna keep that to keep that up and social media has done a great job force in that respect. It's just exciting and and yet I'm still sort of mystified I guess because I wasn't paying attention and I got the list of all the concerts we've had just since last fall. And it's like. That's up some -- That's right you know it's just not the concert series. We have over hundred festivals in the city of New Orleans alone and most of us festivals have not all the features some form of -- music. Which adds to the excitement and so you know the atmosphere is. Is rich in that way and and that attracts that the visitor and the the local citizen. You know we enjoy these as well we got a concert we go to the festivals and and then we are telling all our friends around the country come on come visit with us. And they're coming more. But that's one of the questions that we're gonna take a break John I want you to stay on the line we're definitely gonna get to you. But is there anyway to know some of these big concerts. Let's say the beyoncé concert. What percentage of them were from out of town who came in stay with this financial and under the W well. Well we're talking about a New Orleans becoming -- place for concerts. And that's evidenced by the -- enormous talent that is. Played in our community in the last year as shortly before that the the last year it just remarkable. At -- all of these venues both on our Mercedes super dome then being a smoothie king arena. And as as Jim was saying lesser ones and -- champions square. For instance. The I'm sorry the Lakefront arena Lakefront arena. And I'm sorry that they weren't able to be here is they want to they -- information this was their number one financial year. In their thirty year existence one now isn't that incredible that they got in. They had a Steely Dan in July 1 republic next week Frankie Beverly and Patti LaBelle at the end of August these are big. Big names and that's for an 8700. Square a receipt. The venue so we're doing something right we -- Jim Ramsey Allen Freeman Mark Roman here. Discussing it but before we do that I'd like to go to John you had a comment. -- -- I'd just they'll act and it -- a lot of naysayers. About all the tax breaks that will get into the movie and Sri. And we've been want to stop that still. But when our backs are kind of think that that has contributed a great deal. Who what's happening now it's are in the Asia. You know what kind of -- achieved yet when you give people tax breaks when you give companies tax breaks. And I'm wondering whether and actually yes adds anything to say it really that. What he was saying we were struggling with -- with our -- to -- but. Thought about tax breaks. Well breaks that had been given to them -- in British three year. Outlook backing it seems to me. That -- contributed a great deal of what we're talking about right now. I agree with everything that that everybody's. About the unique is so in the war on and -- action and so what has always been. -- traction in the Wall -- Europeans. Are -- -- I think I think the tax breaks that had been the movie industry. Have really contributed to what's going on. What you just think about. Not I would definitely agree with that because the fact that we have so many movies being made here. And a lot of the backed up so the movies are in New Orleans are not necessarily you know sent in another place -- renewal and and has given the city a lot more exposure than it ever had before. Not only. In it to the public sees the movies. But to the film industry if you can come here do their job and go if they're not living here and go back and they can talk about it to somebody else. And it's also word of mouth you know that New Orleans and and anybody comes here. Generally feels like that it wouldn't. -- that you'll want to stay here in and they usually come back so I think that tax credits have done you know it's been a peripheral. I think benefit as managed but it's also -- in. Some ways helped to create the venues to mainly to saying if for example in an axis that I. That's -- bad yep and that recurrence yeah it's sort of stuff. By but I think I think that was a tremendous investment -- Yet that the economic development. Model that the state of Louisiana has provided for live performance for starting a national tour here or. Some form of my production. That tax credits can be 1020%. I don't have that they have the figure but that helps the business model and makes more sense than for them to bring me. Production here and with that production comes people staying overnight -- they're spending money with local vendors so. You can start seeing how it it morphs into not just Obama -- time ticket -- but it yes exact. Which isn't it's really what Jan and understanding that it is. It adds an excitement level. And people who are either hearing -- from friends who have been here or seeing the movies it reminds them of new -- -- that. Mark Roman doesn't do a brilliant job of marketing because he does. But it just adds that element of perhaps this is -- happening place so these big concert want to be here certainly they're sharing their friends and and the population they have to have the ability. Of the population to pay those high ticket prices. Well I don't think the other thing I think it should each it's the fact that. And you talk about people convenience and and it is here and so forth and so on this -- It's more. From the taxes that they. All in all those purchases and follows hotel rooms and distribute -- Yes it does. That's another whole show. And it we're gonna do one day because that keeps rearing its head I can't thank you enough John for calling him you -- a wonderful point that it regarded much. Back to what you all were saying Alan would you repeat which he said about this publication -- that's huge. All Star Magazine is a national industries. Publication the weekly. They publish -- quarterly report of ticket sales for. In the theaters nightclubs stadiums and and in our case where most inched and it's Arenas of course. Smoothie king center for the first six months of 2014. World wide. Ranked number 78. And for the thing is just in the United States we were number 35 now. That tells you a couple things 35 in itself it's not a super super number but it certainly is larger than the new -- market is. And the of the number of those type of things that are below us you know Boston and then Chicago land. Detroit do that we outpaced I think is is noteworthy but what really is noteworthy is that we were able to achieve that ranking at the same time that. Jazz Fest was taken place in the first quarter of the year sentence -- the year. The the big by U countries fest in Baton Rouge was taken place those. To advance probably take away from us and we're not disparaging them anyway they play cost us five or six arena shows every year. That is very very it'll be very interesting to see in another year what those figures are. Well these months of these publications come out to ever three months now. The third quarter reports not -- so great for us because we're -- close for a couple months but we've got some good shows lined up these last quarter of the year so I think we're going into the year very very good. You know wanting any to add to the fact that our city becomes a very workable city you come down to New Orleans to attend a concert at the center. The smoking sent our champions square or even at the Mercedes-Benz superdome. And you check into your hotel one of the 20000 plus hotel rooms within the downtown area in French Quarter. And literally you're walking everywhere you can walk to the concert you -- to the pre concert dinner or post concert dinner. Nightclub and I enjoy the activities and so new loans is seen as a very. Accessible and -- visitor friendly concerts city know very very good point. I want to Alaska Alan -- have to break for news but I'm looking at some of the names who have been here Kanye West Rihanna. John Mayer the Eagles -- Miley Cyrus Elton John. I wonder now how they got here. Is it that you are asking them or that they're calling to stay with -- we'll take a break for news we'll be right back. Just listen to some of these names Michael bootleg I gotta say I did go to the Michael bootleg concert. I love that man Michael -- -- Drake Rihanna Kanye West John Mayer. The Eagles Elton John Elton John Bruno Mars Justin Timberlake Katie -- They're all here or Katy Perry will be here. And many many others. They're doing concerts here we're talking with Jim Ramsey. Alan Freeman who. Sort of runs all the facilities the dome in the arena and champions square and Mark -- who always tells the story to the nation. How do we get them do they call you Allen and say you've got to space. Or use illicit. It's it's an interesting dynamic in the concert business there's really three primary players involved you have the act of course. And then you have the facility. The have a middleman the concert promoter and the the middleman actually pleased that the really important role in our world the -- He has the person who is in contact with the act once he secures the act he gets in contact with the game. So. Typically what happens it is represented for the actual contact their chosen promoters say this we're going down to a we will play and you -- can you check them. What dates are available at the various venues there's so we get a call from the promoter. They still can put these dates on hold -- -- the tour of farms and will issue contract to the promoter for the the show. So that's that's basically how it works now. Why do those -- want to come to RC well it's that the and you it's the market. It's our ability to sell tickets. What we do to help make. That decision easier for them. Is we showed them how weaknesses still selling tickets to social media email blast placing some free advertising for them. Treating them well when they get in the town make him feel welcome that the and you sell that's the role that we play only can he shows happen. And then your reputation they've had a good experience so bill if that promoters handling someone council saying let's go to. -- -- -- Well it isn't industrywide gossip line if you will you know one agent out Los Angeles may represent. Ten different acts that might -- wanna play are being used so. You're constantly willing to make sure that it agent feels good about the -- Youkilis one bad experience will mean you may lose ten shows. So we go we are always -- -- to make sure that the purpose for. I wanted to talk about champions square only four years old and has just. More than met expectations -- -- unbelievable. That the events have been. It started out. As sort of an idea that this would be a great place to have pregame entertainment. That's a little stage was built as part of the initial construction. Knowing full well that we wouldn't be able to get fool you touring actually states but it served the purpose for. Local bands who entertained fans part to saints games charitable and do multiple. Others as we did. We all sold views that event for the Super Bowl offer from the men's final four so it's come in very very handy. But we knew it was going evolved over the years so. Last year we have been some block and Russell to song from Lucas entertainment. And this MG sort of collaborated on this idea of creating a concert series out there knowing full well that it was gonna require. Significant upgraded facilities. -- invested the money imprint stage up out there. The this statement exposition district funded the necessary money to build out the dressing rooms of the back -- facilities. And Russell is tasked with getting the bands to play out there and where we're off to a start it's it's it's doing well we we think that there's a lot of blue sky ahead of us and we're looking forward to that does that and you. Becoming more and more now player in the concert business over time. Now if it it's incredible and I think it's what -- said we're talking about the three big ones but. There's also the Sanger in the -- and -- -- Jackson and how thrilled we -- that they -- going to be reopening the one that will be the new home for symphony. I mean. We're just becoming the place of of entertainment not that we didn't always have a great local lax because we do that this is just. Pushing us a step forward will have always been a place for entertainment mainly in the first opera house in the states. So. I think that we are re gaining our reputation for being a place to go. For Natalie local music which is Bruno for that to -- -- big name entertainment an and it's not only music I think you're talking about it. Theatre Broadway you know we have the Broadway now -- -- -- which is very welcome you know they're helping elect musical line and so I really enjoy going to see him. But other acts that come through -- that we were just not able to go -- -- -- -- and slept in Houston Tennessee somebody and I'd like to have been my own hometown. And people would much rather I think come to New Orleans to see something's been a few days here. And active member at a time when and act would not come to new Bolton would go to the Mississippi Gulf Coast coliseum. And I -- What is going on here why would somebody go to Biloxi. You know some big name act and skip over new buyers at the right to Eldorado -- play. Lake Charles go directly to Biloxi school rye grass and they wouldn't stop -- New -- it was a polling it was terrible that we don't look at it more which is great. Why were they skipping this. Well that you can competently to -- that at one time I think there was a problem here with. The amusement tax and that was a big problem and ultimately that amusement tax has done away with. And so. I I think that helped a little bit that that happened I think in the probably the mentally and Chinese -- -- -- when -- -- remember hearing about -- -- -- -- -- yeah -- -- -- it was -- 18%. I -- that would definitely have a problem however. Some of the bigger venues denied they were exempted from pay that tax sell that but I think it's still had an impact on whether or not people would passing new loans because. A lot of times they wouldn't think about new rules because they go on a tour and they connected points. In which you wanna do if you're not on that. On the radar per say if you -- from Lake Charles to Biloxi. And you know that midpoint -- Is is new Rollins and obviously you know you want people to stop annuals and now new Walters is a main point and not a mid point and say. Which is fantastic. Because they are gonna get -- aspect of point that these these tours are playing -- -- right now in the New Orleans has emerged as one of the places you have to play here. And of the nine million people so that visit new loans every year. Found 4950%. Of them. -- some form of music so it really has become. -- huge drop cigarettes at this junction figure to me. You know and it could be as small as this a little club on -- street or as large as visiting. The senator for college you know beyoncé. But it's it's huge and it helps us particularly as we develop the riverfront. Our member of the world's fair we have that wonderful and the theater wonderful -- Harris almost every night and as the upriver of the convention center becomes. And developed area for people to enjoy the river as well as crescent park mean you've gotten bold and Burke park you've got so many other venues that. Or just ready for this sort of excitement against the roof run. But if we could ever have another amphitheater and I think we could I think you can look at. Up river development of the convention center and see something like that have no idea I just think Jose slant that master. Lay -- I think that would certainly be a consideration. Stay with us everyone we're gonna continue talking about. The good news of music in New Orleans I'm Angela under the WL. Well we've been talking really for the last year about the many changes were seeing -- Wallace the positive changes. It's like everything is coming to fruition. And among them -- yes our new young people coming in in the entrepreneur or isn't. Being a better business environment but also this incredible. -- a revelation but it's just remarkable. That we have. Great music and great talent coming to the city where before they were not and so listening to Jim Ramsey to Alan Freeman mark roaming. Look at the reasons why it ended in it is it is many reasons it is our economy is better it is that we have population that will spend that kind of money on tickets. It is that we do it right frankly in all more venues but that shouldn't be forgotten and it is thank you mark roaming the marketing of this community. As Jim was saying also the movies that are made here are now promoting this city. But Alan you're gonna tell us I'm fascinated by this I think that listeners will be to get this for instance the beyoncé. How much was made on that what that means. I think that. Before we start talking about the beyoncé Jay-Z show which was July twins need to go back a couple weeks to the essence music -- yes this is their twentieth anniversary this year. That's that's been one year in Houston right after Katrina but. Prince was the -- this year they went to four nights. That event. Grossed. Over. Thirteen million dollars this year. Sold 135000. Tickets are in due course meaning medium more visit via the -- to take place at the convention center. Don't have any specific numbers but my guess is probably fifty to 60% of the people attending the concerts. At the dome. About town hotels were virtually sold them that we can't -- happen -- war. Now we were. Approached about the cheesy beyoncé show. Obviously well actress and take on cell. And initially. We were concerned about whether or not. These two shows might cannibalize each -- for a ticket sales. And though we made the folks from essence the winner will obviously talk to the promoter for the beyoncé JC show. They've. Knew all about it essence of -- latest Sudan for. The decision was made to move forward and that. Beyoncé JC shall -- which is only two weeks following essence sold 45000. Tickets and grossed over five million dollars in ticket sales. So. Both the deaths were. Not just home runs ever -- Grand Slam sports. Yes and you have another one coming up. That is gonna talk about Virginia recession you don't want to schlep to Houston where there are going to be people shall open to New Orleans for the the one direction. We know what direction coming in in September. That -- Bill -- for a little while now and we got over 46000 pay we've got about 2000 open seats which will move pusher. There were just opened up a few weeks ago. And again. My my youngsters are grown up now so I don't know all that much about boy -- but do we trade publications and this is the biggest act going out there right now so we're just thrilled to have a chance to played here. Is going to be the first time we've actually done they showed during football season's eleven to bring in a turf covers we don't destroy the terror sites have a game the following weekend. But we're we're excited about it dork side with the challenge we're excited with the way tickets have been sold in the religious can't wait for -- here. You know -- let me ask you the the incredible local talent that we have. Bringing in this major talent like this does it reflect good on our local talent and that it shines a light on all talent. That may be some people staying go to the local venues I know that they do they do well absolutely they do and it's really interesting because the mile office is on Frenchman street which has grown. Tremendously in the past ten years. We see a lot of people who are performing. In the cities of the big name people streamed down from Richmond street so they come and hang on Frenchman street. To cities in the local musicians and and actually stated with them in -- and jam with them and stuff like that it's very very interesting to say. Because New Orleans has a reputation of being such it's such a music city. I think we have much more reputation of being the music city outside. Louisiana and we do both locally I think most people locally don't really understand the unity the appeal of New Orleans worldwide. As a music that -- so interest. You're exactly trying to think locals can't take it for granted tentative. Is and to sort of piggyback on the story you're just telling. I -- the age where you live examples of big big band was growing up and and Robert Plant did solo show here in town not long ago. And this is not the first time he's done and understand that he he goes to some local Michael please assists inning and plays with some little for a. A French instinct in him incredible. And this only helps you writing you know it's about two to interject that worldwide reputation -- new loans has gained over the six centuries cuts are coming on 300 years old when he eighteen. But the work that the -- convention and visitors bureau does as the markets the city. Internationally they team up with the state office of tourism in the offices around the world. And they hear this all the time you know the New Orleans. Music the brand of music that we own that we gave to the world jazz is a joke a leader in getting a message across so. We were there went in the thoughts of of people who appreciate good music whether it be popular music or. Untraditional and it helps us. Represent the city in a very authentic way and so the CB does a great job that Steve impairing his team. And then of course domestically New Orleans is known as a city that has. A good deal for anybody yup you know we have. Price point it for everybody at restaurants you know either casual dining or white tablecloth. We've got great hotel. Inventory. Ease of travel here interstate ten or go north and a we have Amtrak serving our city and we have you know at an airport that's really working hard to insure that we have as many flights as possible so. It's happening it's happening and I. And I hear your optimism all three of -- I cannot thank you an option granting. Alan Freeman with us and Jay and mark roaming. This is the news we need to hear. Stay with -- everyone will be right back. Jan Ramsey publisher and editor offbeat magazine and Alec Freeman some final thoughts. Well I think one thing that would cement higher. A reputation. As a music city even to local people would be the establishment of a music museum here you heard it here. They'll be a great idea we can help -- out with some materials yes indeed and not exciting things happening next year. We've got got some acts that can't disclose right now tentatively scheduled command next year and if they'll firm up people are going to be very very happy. And Mark Roman we thank you always for doing everything that you do complexity and thank you I thank you -- And stay with us everyone we're gonna shift gears we're going to be talking about the you know PD next.