Every now and then, I like to lift the curtain on my industry. Like most people assume, radio is a very fun job. I like to say it’s better than a real job. The joke, of course, is that radio is a real job. Sure, it comes with some pretty cool perks, and there’s the fact that I get paid to talk. But it also comes with its own set of daily complications and frustrations. On today’s episode, we take a look into organizing a radio promotional event.
Last year, HD983 teamed up with the city of Augusta to put on some family-friendly concerts in the Augusta Common for First Friday. I was excited for the opportunity but also nervous. I had never put together a show before. However, I had heard once that if you want to be a concert organizer/promoter, you must be willing to throw down $20,000 on a concert, have it blow up in your face and be willing to throw down another $20K the following night. Yikes.
However, this gave me the opportunity to do something I’ve wanted to do since I started with HD983 12 years ago: Put on a free, end of the school year/kickoff the summer show. This year, June’s First Friday was timed perfectly to do just that.
There was a lot of hard work, setbacks, frustrations and costs behind the scenes to make this show happen. But it was all worth it. We had Loote, Livvia and We The Kings scheduled to take the stage for our “Cap & Gown Throwdown.” As the show date arrived, we had a great response from fans planning to attend. The weather was beautiful all day, and everything was falling into place. As Livvia was rehearsing, I drove to the store to get water for the bands. When I got back, an uninvited guest had showed up: Mother Nature.
A storm surge swept through just long enough to blow every vendor’s tent across the Common, wreck the stage and soak all the equipment. People were running around frantically. There was no fighting it as there was no other option: the show was cancelled. Months of preparation and all that money invested, gone. To say I was disappointed would be an enormous understatement. Life didn’t just give me lemons; it launched them at my face at high velocity.
But then, I had a new problem. I had three bands that came to Augusta to play a show. I wanted them to be able to play, and I wanted to find some way for our fans to be able to see them play. However, finding an open stage on a Friday, particularly First Friday, is unheard of. Luckily, my friends at Metro Coffeehouse & Pub had their entertainment for the night cancel their show. It wasn’t ideal, as I wanted fans young and old to be able to see them, but it’s what we could do on short notice on Augusta’s busiest night of the month.
Loote and then Travis (of We The Kings) took the stage and completely rocked Metro’s little corner spot. Travis even serenaded some younger fans (who were too young to enter) through the window with their current single, “Sad Song.” I was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted that evening. But as I watched most of Metro sing along to “Check Yes Juliet,” I thought to myself: These are the moments that make what I do so awesome. Travis even did a small encore on the street corner outside after the show. Consider those lemons lemonade.