Denny Stoecklein, General Manager provides insight to U.S. Cellular Grandstand entertainment


We are sometimes asked “how do you go about booking the grandstand entertainment?” Well, it’s a quite lengthy process that begins right after (and even sometimes before) the prior year’s Fair.
The Fair employs an agency, Romeo Entertainment Group (REG), for talent-buying and backstage production support.
As we work to determine who to feature at the State Fair, we welcome and solicit feedback from fairgoers to share with REG; REG has relationships with all of the major talent agencies so they are constantly in touch with various agents to find out what acts may be available
When we decide to submit an offer to an act, there are several criteria we must take into consideration. Some of the more critical ones are:
• Cost of the act – performers are paid a guarantee, so once a contract is agreed to, the Fair is on the hook for the guarantee amount regardless of how many tickets are sold to the concert. Thus, it’s very important there be some level of confidence that a particular act can sell enough tickets to at least cover the guarantee.
• Routing – performers want to be efficient as they criss-cross the country on tours so they try to plan shows within a reasonable distance of each other. For instance, some performers who come to the Kansas State Fair might also perform just prior to or after the show here at the Clay County Fair in Spencer, Iowa. If a performer is going to be on either coast or out of the country during the time of our Fair, it’s likely we won’t be able to secure their services.
• Whether the act is playing the market – with increasing competition, we must ensure an act isn’t performing within a certain distance radius and within a time period prior to or following the Fair. If an act has been in the market, it could diminish our chances to sell tickets to their show at the Fair.
Once we’ve taken these factors into account, we move forward with an offer and wait for a response from the act. Often times it can be several weeks or even a few months before we get an answer. If a wait becomes too long, we may have to withdraw the offer and move on to another option.
It’s our goal to have a line-up finalized in the spring so we can go on sale with tickets in May. Then as the Fair approaches we start the process over again in preparation for the following year.


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