Booking artists for a benefit show like Stars With Guitars is a 9 month process. It’s not like booking an act for a full-band show, where you call the promoter make an offer and wait for their response (usually a counter-offer). Stars With Guitars is not a tour and not represented by any agency. Every booking is based on the relationship with the radio station (in this case Cat Country 98.1).
The is a difference between presenting and producing a show. Whenever you hear, “(Radio Station) presents (Aritist) at (Arena).” that means the promoter offered the radio station a “presents” package in exchange for extra advertising and on-site permission. The radio station has nothing to do with actually producing the show. You might see Cat Country presenting full shows at XFinity Center, the Dunk, The Ryan Center and more. Again, we had nothing to do with the artists or operation. We are a marketing partner. Any radio show you see during prime time (June – Mid-Sept) is usually a “presents.”
Cat Country produces Stars With Guitars, which means even though the 2017 show is announced and on the books: the Executive Producer is already building the relationships needed for the 2018 show … because that is what a local/benefit show is based on: relationships.
An act that appears at our show is agreeing to do a “one-off,” meaning it is not part of a tour or anything their management has set-up. They have to be sold on the event (cause), the date has to be available and they usually have a strong relationship with the radio station.
What defines a relationship? Using one of our 2017 acts – LoCash as an example: Cat Country 98.1 was one of the first radio stations in the country to play LoCash Cowboys (an amazing song called Best Seat In The House.) Cat Country has believed in LoCash from the beginning, and they use events like Stars With Guitars to show their appreciation for that support.
The biggest challenge in producing a show is picking the date. LoCash was available on March 16, so we booked them back in July. Now we had to find other acts that
- were available on that date
- were not “radiused” out on that date
Available is obvious. But our term of “radiused-out” means the act is set to appear in a set amount of time (sometimes 90 days!!) at a venue within 50 miles as the crow flies to ours. This means XFinity Center in Mansfield, Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in CT, and the arenas in Worcester, Boston and Foxboro. Tours get priority. One-offs are extras.
Once we’ve figured out who is not available due to radius issues, we look at bookings and see who we can call. Then we try to balance the ticket as much as we can with traditional and modern country, pop and singer/song writer. We can not always get the ticket as balanced as we’d like, but we sure put together a dynamic line-up year after year!
We are so grateful to the country music community for supporting Cat Country and our incredible cause, Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence.