We still have a long way to go, but I’m excited that we’ve now announced eight shows for the 2018 TD Toronto Jazz Festival. Add to the mix the four TD Discovery Series Special Projects previously announced and we’ve got what I think is an interesting variety of offerings on…um…offer over the next five months.
So how do these shows come together? The short answer is: we call the agent and say “Hey – does this artist want to play at the Festival?” And they say “Sure – here’s what we need.” And we say “Okay great – let’s do it!” And then we sign the contract and off we go. Of course, the process is much more nuanced – and, depending on the artist, protracted – than that.
The headliner lineup each year is built using several approaches. We have our various wish lists (which often include input from you!), and we’ll reach out to those artists (or their representatives) directly. We’ll also hear from some artists directly about their intentions to tour. And then we’ll get pitches from agents – depending on the agency that could be one or two artists or a wide selection of their roster. From there we’ll crunch some numbers to see which artists fit the sweet spot of outstanding artistry and feasible financials (spoiler – that can be tricky, and is not always fun); throughout the process we’ll seek input from other presenters based in Toronto and across the country – what has been their experience presenting artist x or y? Who else is interested in presenting artist x or y? Can we build a well-routed tour (another spoiler – Canada is a big country – Ottawa/Toronto/Vancouver is not what we call “good routing”), which helps to reduce the overall costs of the tour?
The negotiation process itself can be straightforward or whatever is the polar opposite of straightforward. For example – negotiations with some of the artists recently announced ranged from a matter of days to several months. Sometimes everything seems to be going smoothly when the deal suddenly goes south; other times the deal seems like a lost cause (the two camps are too far apart, or one camp has gone silent) when suddenly it gets done. (And that’s why, as a previous post suggested, the words “We’re confirmed” can at times feel especially sweet…)
Okay – enough about the behind-the-scenes stuff. There’s some great music coming…and we’ll be announcing more shows soon (see paragraphs three and four, above…). Concert and ticket information is on our website; please also read more about the upcoming Special Projects. The first is March 1; I’ll be doing separate posts about the projects about one week prior to each show.
And we can talk about the fun that is artist riders – red M&Ms and all – another time.