Martini: Backstage pass for Summer JamWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Upon entering the Huntington Center at around 7:30 p.m. July 8, I noticed that the show started on time and the turnout was unfortunate. I checked for radio station presences while looking for my own station The Juice FM 107.3. DJ OneTyme and Swole MC were set up onstage while Tisha Lee helped host and run backstage. Once I received my pink wristband, I set off concerned about how everyone involved felt about the low attendance.
The artists had been more than willing to promote, having recorded radio and YouTube spots directed toward Toledo so the fans knew they were coming. None of this proved sufficient for fans who needed more than three weeks to prepare for a high-priced ticket. Travis Porter had been here recently as had a few of the other artists performing and this was considered to be a factor in low ticket sales.
The urban community is known to wait until the last minute to purchase tickets as a way to guard itself against show scams. This can be a problem for promoters using the number of tickets sold in the first few weeks of announcing a show to gauge whether they need to buy more advertisements and/or if they need to cancel the show because they may not be able to pay the artists. Shows get canceled because of the hesitation and procrastination of ticket buyers.
Promoters Global Event Marketing and Yung Fly Entertainment are the exception. They came to put on a show for Toledo and that’s what they meant to do, win or lose. Even though it was obvious money was lost, the promoters were adamant about the show starting on time. Local acts were begrudgingly forced to perform in front of a few hundred people sprinkled about the entire Huntington Center.
Even though they may have performed too early for the fans who arrived late, these artists were not charged a fee to perform and still shared the stage with heavy hitters like Young Jeezy, Plies, Lloyd, Gorilla Zoe and Porter.
I was impressed with the professionalism of all the artists deciding to give an audience of 1,000 of the luckiest fans in the city a great show. Gorilla Zoe performed his hits “Hood Figga,” “Twisted” and “Losing it” and after Zoe’s performance, he walked around freely amongst the fans talking and taking pictures.
Lloyd lived up to his reputation of being a complete gentleman backstage despite the fact that he ordered his DJ and drummer to leave in the middle of his intro waiting until his payment was confirmed.
I was pleasantly surprised by his flawless vocal performance and his connection with the audience that sung every word to a medley of his hits.
Plies had been to the city several times to do radio promotion, but never to perform. His fans were a major part of the audience and when he pulled female fans on the stage to dance, he promptly asked his security detail to check their IDs to see that the ladies were of age.
Tisha Lee called for fans in seats further back to come forward. I heard a rumor backstage that headliner Young Jeezy has been known not to perform for small crowds and I hoped that wasn’t true.
After his DJ cautioned against DJ One Tyme playing Young Jeezy’s rival, Gucci Mane, during the warmup before Jeezy came out, the crowd roared as he hit the stage ready to go.
I saw no signs of disappointment as he talked to the audience throughout his set of hits, which included “And Then What,” “Go Crazy,” “Trap Star,” “Put On” and “Lose My Mind.” Most of the city missed a great show.
The promoter was surprisingly as cool as a cucumber and his response to the poor turnout was, “Next time they will know I’m for real.”
Those key words, “next time,” were all I needed and wanted to hear, because that means most parties involved will receive a second chance.
Most importantly, we will have another chance at proving we have an urban music fan base large enough to represent a major market for Hip-Hop and R&B tours.
As we continue on …