Webster Hall Team Hits The Ground Running
Posted: January 15, 2015
NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Almost five months after the transition from Bowery Presents to an in-house booking team at Webster Hall, the venue reported a successful fall, with a significant uptick in attendance.
Since the changing of the guard, Webster Hall saw a productive quarter, with strong attendance figures. The 53 shows produced by The Webster’s in-house team saw hard-ticket attendance of 84%, with another ten shows booked by by Kenny Schachter, the ‘electronic’ buyer at Webster, most of which also sold to capacity.
As well, the Webster team landed some major ‘gets’ during that span and presented concerts such as the highly-sought Smashing Pumpkins show, which was standing room only, and three sold-out shows by indie rockers American Football.
CelebrityAccess took a moment to check in with Webster Hall’s Heath Miller about how things are proceeding at the venue.
What precipitated the shift from Bowery to taking booking in-house booking for the Webster?
Bowery’s contract period with Webster Hall was up in August 2014. We had been discussing from when I began at Webster Hall that booking the entire building was the eventual plan, pending a variety of factors.
So far we’re off to a good start, but it’s only the start. Getting the show confirmed is only part of the equation – we still need to market the show properly, and have the fans and the bands have a great experience. Bowery Presents did a great job and we need to try to do even better – which isn’t an easy task, and we’re focused on keeping it up and growing it as much as we can. We have a lot of flexibility here with the Marlin Room and The Studio with being able to bounce a show between rooms and grow artists internally. In addition, the way we can leverage all the rooms together and the amount of eyeballs that see the posters marketing studio shows when they’re waiting on line / coming in for the Grand Ballroom and nightclub events is a huge help.
New York City is one of the most competitive markets in the country. What approach do you take in marketing your shows?
We try to be hyper focused on the NYC (and surround markets) alone. We’re in a unique market that certain acts can do great business in NYC but not elsewhere, and we have such an incredibly diverse population year that is looking to go out more often than people in other markets, but at the same point, we have such a great amount of options on any given night – from sporting events to theatre to food events. We compete for people’s attention, not just against other music events.
How often do you work with outside event producers such as the Association of Performing Arts Presenters or SFXE?
Minimally, and it is typically as a co-promote situation. We’re open to working with others when it makes sense, and I try to keep a neutral, flexible approach in the marketplace.
How did the world music-oriented GlobalFest (A world music event hosted by Webster Hall) turn out? World music shows seem like they can be challenging ticket to sell in some cases.
GlobalFest sold out in advance this year, at a slightly higher capacity than last year. It’s an interesting event for us as it’s a bit out of our normal programming, but it really shows that we can host a diverse range of music successfully.
EDM is currently a very hot topic in the music world. Apart from the nightclub, how often do you book EDM acts and are there any special considerations, security, or otherwise, for producing those shows?
We do produce a good amount of electronic music in a more traditional concert format, and it really varies by subgenre. Some of the audiences, such as Thievery Corporation, have very little audience in common with someone like a Chet Faker, and the EDM acts tend to be very production intense for lighting elements and such.
Who is the one dream act that you’d love to have on stage at the Webster but have yet to land?
The Lonely Island, NOFX, Dr. Dre, and Taylor Swift. Ideally on one bill. Also would really love to book Blink-182.
Any plans/shows on the horizon for 2015?
For unannounced shows, we have a surefire 2 night sellout announcing soon, and few other very exciting ones about to confirm, and many that I hope to confirm. For things that are already confirmed, looking very forward to Gaslight Anthem, Milky Chance and… a band in May who’s first NYC show was in The Studio that will be returning to the Grand Ballroom at Webster Hall for their album release.
Any other thoughts you’d care to offer?
It’s an exciting time to be in music, and I’m honored that the Ballingers have entrusted me and given me the support to book the Grand Ballroom at Webster Hall.