We know some of you guys like hearing what goes on behind the scenes in the Fan Club from time to time. It was like Grand Central Station here one day when we had to straighten out Pat and Spyder erroneously showing up on Rick Springfield’s tour schedule. That got us thinking some of you might like to know how this all works.
Pat and Spyder’s appearances are booked through the William Morris agency. There’s a whole process for putting a tour itinerary together. We’ve posted a web page for that here.
As all that is going on, William Morris puts the booking information into a spreadsheet called a “Grid”. Along with some other people, Maria Hannam and I get a copy of this every time something is updated. It includes the dates of the shows, city, venue, when they’re going to be announced, dates for the various types of sales (Fan Club presale, venue sales, VIP, etc.), type of show (duo, full band, co-headlining, etc.), link to the ticketing site, and contact information for the promoter, marketer and ticketing outlet. We get these quite a bit ahead of time – well in advance of the tour. For example, we started getting the summer tour dates on February 8 this year. At first, this list of dates isn’t very complete. Festivals are typically booked way ahead of the regular shows. Venues with membership sales are next. Then the rest of the dates start filling in.
Maria puts the information into a database on Pat and Spyder’s web site, where it’s invisible to the public until it’s activated. That’s right…we do the tour posting for Pat and Neil now. We send information to Harold Bottomley and Donna Griffith, who put together the posts for our Fan Club Facebook page and Twitter feed, respectively. Some of the arrangements change right up to the last minute before announcing. It can get pretty dynamic at times, as you’ve seen today. We’ve even had to put a special calendar together to remind us when to activate each date for their web page.
Then we have to sit on all this information until those announcement dates roll around. If there’s something unique about a show you may need to plan ahead for, we try to put out a hint or two to help people make arrangements. Otherwise, we can’t talk about anything specific until the right time arrives.
After that, the fun begins. Venues announce early, don’t post at all, and/or post the wrong information. Some venues post a show before the booking has even been confirmed. Announcement dates change. The co-headlining artist lets things slip before they’re ready. In most of these cases, the Fan Club notices the issues before management ever would. With all the artists they represent, they’ve got other things to do. There are over 8000 of you out there. That’s a lot of eyes to do good research in noticing when things aren’t right.
This Fan Club involvement is really appreciated by Pat’s management. It’s gotten us some benefits from time to time. Quite a few of you have gotten to attend the concerts they’ve performed for DVDs. There have been some Fan Club presales put together ahead of regular sales. We may get early insight into the play they’re contributing to. Etc.
For our part, the few of us who deal with this are having a lot of fun. Pat and Spyder get a lot better representation than they otherwise would. We couldn’t ask for better support and access than we get from them and their staff.