The Questionnaire: Three music-venue managers on the power of live entertainment

The Questionnaire: Three music-venue managers on the power of live entertainment

“Seeing the music come to life in front of you is magic”

Three music venue managers on the power of live entertainment

Michael Booth

Executive director, Hugh’s Room

Dream job as a kid: “I always wanted to read the news on the radio.”
Celebrity doppelgänger: “When I was younger and better looking, I used to get Christian Slater.”
First song you learned to sing: “Probably ‘Getting Better’ by the Beatles.”
Artist—living or dead—you wish you could see in concert: “Cab Calloway. I had a chance to see him play his final Jazz Fest gig in Toronto, but I didn’t go.”
Roy Thomson Hall or Danforth Music Hall: “Tough, but Danforth Music Hall. I performed there back in the day when I was doing theatre. It has that intimate Vaudeville feel.”
Favourite place to sit or stand at a show: “I’m a stand-at-the-back-with-my-arms-crossed kind of guy. I want to see people having a good time.”
Keeping the talent happy requires… “Patience. Artists need to be comfortable to perform, and the crew has to provide that comfort.”
Tips for drawing a crowd: “Be consistent in your messaging. You need to convince people to spend their hard-earned money.”
Biggest hurdle facing venues today: “Staying afloat despite increasing costs. We’re finding ways to use the space during the day for classes, recording sessions and community events.”


Three music-venue managers on the power of live entertainment

Shawn Creamer

General manager, The Concert Hall

Dream job as a kid: “I was obsessed with rock stars. I used to attach a mic to a pool cue and sing in my closet when no one was home.”
Celebrity doppelgänger: “My kids say Sean Astin. I don’t find that flattering.”
First song you learned to sing: “ ‘Puppy Love’ by Donny Osmond. I had it on a 45. My parents took me to see Donny in London, where I’m from. When he came onstage and sang it, my mom cried.”
Artist—living or dead—you wish you could see in concert: “Right now, I’m obsessed with Lola Young and the English punk-rap duo Bob Vylan.”
Roy Thomson Hall or Danforth Music Hall: “I really dig Roy Thomson Hall for orchestral music. But, for rock and roll, it’s Danforth Music Hall. I love the artists they book and the sound.”
Favourite place to sit or stand at a show: “I like to wade into the audience and get as close as possible to the stage. I’ll spend five or six songs getting there without disturbing anybody.”
Tips for drawing a crowd: “Promoters, artists and agents have to work together. All guns must fire at the same time to get the word out.”
Your venue’s greatest strength: “Live music has lived here since 1918.”


Three music-venue managers on the power of live entertainment

Gavin Whiteley

Chief marketing officer, Great Canadian Casino Resort

More Questionnaires

Dream job as a kid: “To be a performing pianist. But, as I got older, I realized that I was never going to be as good as people around me, so I moved backstage.”
Celebrity doppelgänger: “Ed Harris.”
First song you learned to sing: “ ‘In the Air Tonight’ by Phil Collins. It’s tough, though, since Phil has a much higher vocal range than me.”
Artist—living or dead—you wish you could see in concert: “I never got to see the Beatles, but I have met Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as George Harrison’s family.”
Roy Thomson Hall or Danforth Music Hall: “Oh, boy. I have fond memories of both, but I think it’s Danforth Music Hall. I love that easy-going vibe.”
Favourite place to sit or stand at a show: “My wife doesn’t enjoy this, but I love watching people watching shows, so I like to be at the front looking back.”
Tips for drawing a crowd: “It starts with having a great venue that artists want to play—then they draw the crowd. We’re starting from scratch in Toronto, so we need to build our reputation.”
Your venue’s greatest strength: “Flexibility. The same room can be set up for boxing or banquets.”
Live music is better than Spotify because… “Because it is better, no question. Seeing the music come to life in front of you is magic.”