If you can’t beat ’em…


… join ’em.

So let’s say I don’t have my dream job of being a concert tour manager or promoter… so instead I just spend all of my spare change on concert tickets – do you think that applies to the title of the post?  Have I grown comfortable with always being in the audience instead of behind the scenes?

I hope not.

And yes, I am in the venue industry (some of you are asking).  But no, that doesn’t mean I get to hang around back stage at concerts, rubbing elbows with world class musicians every night.  It kind of meant that at my last gig but really, I would be scrambling to get the lobby set up for an event while all of the elbow rubbing was going on.

Okay, that isn’t 100% accurate.  I actually got my start after college working artist hospitality at a performing arts center.  I adored working with show management to book hotels, transportation, arrange catering, set up their green rooms, arrange their dressing rooms and remove those green M&Ms from the bowl.  I didn’t adore when I was yelled at for something a hotel fell short on, but the high I got when I was able to turn a completely upside down situation into a perfect overnight stay for one of our artists was something I haven’t been able to replicate since.

In that roll I was able to trail behind my boss and boss’ boss at conferences, carrying piles of calendars and notebooks, Googling flight information on the fly, working with booking agents to bring our shows in, even getting to do some of the negotiations for our smaller events and later managing the booking for some of our festival series events.

Unfortunately, the sweet, sweet taste of that work was eventually over shadowed by my desire to move on to a larger venue, take on bigger events and get the heck out of Arkansas (no offense to those loyal Arkansans that read my blog).

Fast forward to today.  I have an amazing job, see amazing things day in and day out, have an incredible team working around me and am on the path towards the industry leadership I only dreamed about 10 years ago – however, there’s a hole that live music events used to fill.

If you’re asking, yes, I’ve tried to fill it.  I’ve interviewed for a couple of jobs that would have helped with that – neither panning out (we don’t always get what we want, right?).  I’ve toyed around with the idea of producing a music festival with a few coworkers and since we’re all exhausted from work, none of us have the gumption to quite get that moving forward.  There’s also rumblings around Live Nation buying an old Nordstroms just down the street to turn into a live music venue (surely not a House of Blues in Portland) – but that’s a few years away.  So here I am, longing for the concert nightlife, but living something else.

Enter my empty bank account and calendar full of concerts.

I haven’t settled on a life filled with sitting in the audience rather than back stage but it fills the need for now.  I’m constantly checking the boards for concerts blowing through town that I’d be sad to miss out on.  Hitting up all of the major venues in Portland is a back burner goal of mine – I did a pretty good job this past year of adding two of the McMenamin’s stages to the list and I’m looking at 4 concerts this spring summer that aren’t Dave Matthews Band (OKAY – stop with the constant disbelief that I see bands OTHER than DMB, it’s getting old).

In fact, and my sweet husband tries to remind my of my loyalties when I say it (because it isn’t DMB) but the very best concert I’ve ever attended was last November at Mission Theater.  Steven Page was in town as a trio with another guitar and cello and it blew me away.  I’m crossing my fingers he returns to Portland sooner rather than later.

In case you’re wondering what’s filling out my list so far… then wait no longer… Cactus Blossoms at Doug Fir, David Gray at the Keller, Pink Martini at Edgefield, Dave Matthews Band for three nights at The Gorge, Dave Matthews Band at Sunlight Supply Amphitheater and Death Cab for Cutie at the Oregon Zoo.  Trombone Shorty will be at the Waterfront Blues Fest in July, but I think we’re going to pass even though we REALLY want to see him.  I’m sure it will be miserably hot that weekend and fighting the Portland crowd in the heat is one of my least favorite activities.  Are we making a terrible mistake by passing on that one?

I guess I’ll find out the night after when I’m kicking myself for not going.


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