An authentic experience is just one of the reasons New Orleans is selected as a destination. In addition to great food, music makes up the DNA in New Orleans. After all, our great city is the “Birthplace of Jazz.” At PRA New Orleans, you gain insight from personal experiences like those from our Regional Sales Manager, Katie Poche. Going to concerts is one of Katie’s favorite things to do in her leisure time. The more she listens to bands and experiences for herself, the more knowledge she can share with our client partners to create the experience they want for their event.
When working with Katie to select the right music experience for your event, she always wants to understand the demographics of the guests and the type of experience they typically enjoy. Do they dance? Do they want to sit and be entertained? Will favorite music from their formative years be a hit? Understanding the type of entertainment used in the past is an important fact-finding question along with whether or not the guests want to interact with a band or if they are more of a “entertain me” type of group.
“It truly depends on the type of evening guests are looking to experience when it comes to working with an audience that spreads across all demographics,” says Katie. If there’s a cocktail reception before a seated dinner, Katie suggests a soloist or a trio. If it’s a seated awards dinner, then typically a Jazz Trio playing during dinner works well. Once dinner ends, the options are wide open for what type of entertainment we can provide. Gaining an understanding of the group through Katie’s fact finding with our client is the key to success here. After all, it is the last part of the evening and therefore the part will be remembered the most by the participants. Hitting that part correctly is key to creating memories.
When asked about misconceptions that clients have with respect to New Orleans music, the one thing Katie notes is the wide variety of Jazz music that is available. People know they want “New Orleans Jazz”, but it means different things to different people. Some want an elegant Jazz Trio for background music, while others want the horn heavy sound of a band like Bonerama or the Rebirth Brass Band. But yet, the RFP always says “Jazz band”. So we have to dig deeper with the client to be sure we understand their expectation before simply booking a traditional jazz performance. With her deep knowledge of local music, Katie is able to guide our clients to what will work best for each event.
If you ask Katie what her favorite and most successful music experience she’s worked with her clients on, she will tell you that the New Orleans music scene has some up and coming bands that are on the verge of the becoming national acts that you can still get at local prices. “We booked Trombone Shorty back when he cost $10,000. A current example is the popular local act Flow Tribe, which is starting to get a lot of national radio play but still comes with a local discount here. They are always a hit! They know how to get the crowd moving and produce a high energy atmosphere.” This valuable insight can only come from local people immersed in the local scene, and sharing it with the groups that come to experience New Orleans is one of the many joys of our business.
For more information on how to create a memorable New Orleans music event, connect with Katie at Katie.Poche@pra.com . Maybe she will take you out to one of her favorite music clubs next time you are in town!