Rosemont Theatre Is it a viable venue for the future?
Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:24 PM
As you all know, we had been toying with the idea of using the Rosemont Theatre for a couple years prior to bringing Kalafina to perform there this year. And while the venue itself is amazing, and the Kalafina concert was simply incredible, I need to ask some pretty simple questions of everyone.
First, and this was my original concern back when I started looking into this option, is how would ACen attendees react to spending additional money to attend a concert. I'll be very straightforward on this point - ticket sales were dismal. I set ticket prices to be able to offset venue costs with 2/3 of the theatre being sold. We sold less than 1/3.
So, here is my first question. Did I choose the wrong band to perform at the theatre? I know that there was a lot of excitement when Kalafina was announced, but maybe their style doesn't appeal to enough of our attendee base? I was shooting for 10% of our attendees to see the concert; we ended up with about 4%. Kalafina is a huge name to many of us who follow anime closely, but how many of our attendees do that? I fear I may have overestimated the draw Kalafina would have in our area. I would like to think it was some other factor.
Perhaps the ticket prices? No one wants to spend extra money for a concert at con. Yes, it is a better venue with better sound and lighting, but perhaps spending an extra $20-$35 is too much? I thought it was a very low ticket price, but it may be just a little too much for ACen's primary demographic. If ticket prices are the issue, then we simply cannot move forward with the theatre as it would be impossible to recover the additional costs. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Is Friday night worse than Saturday night for a concert? We definitely have more attendees on site on Saturday. Not to mention anyone who works on Friday may have issues getting to Rosemont in time for a Friday night concert. How much of a factor do you think that is? I understand that Masquerade is always Saturday evening, and we like to avoid putting any other large events against it, but as we approach 30,000 attendees, is that really much of a factor anymore? The Grand Ballroom can seat 2500-3000 people; the theatre can seat 4000+ people. Those two venues combined is still less than 1/4 of all the attendees. What do you think?
Lastly, and I really feel we may have dropped the ball on this one especially this year, is marketing and promotion. I feel like we only reach out to our known attendees or those who already follow us on social media. If you came to ACen to see Kalafina, and you do not normally attend ACen, how did you learn of the concert? Or for those attendees who always come to ACen, but weren't familiar with Kalafina, why did you attend the concert? How can we improve the promotion of a concert like this? How can we make more people want to attend?
In short, I really love the idea of doing concerts at the Rosemont Theatre. I just need to know that we can do it year to year in a fiscally responsible manner. So, please, shoot me your feedback and ideas about this. I am looking forward to hear what everyone has to say.
Posted 23 May 2013 - 12:30 PM
So, our thoughts with regard to bringing concert ticket sales in house (online on our website) was to avoid the middleman and associated fees. However, by doing so, we had to create the entire process from scratch, and as you are all aware, there were some issues.
Going forward, I think it would be best to allow the theatre to handle the sales of any events we put on at that location. Yes, we would incur additional fees, but the process is well tested and would allow us to immediately open any sales whenever we are ready. In essence, it would make those events/concerts public, and the listed ticket prices would be higher than what you saw this year. In turn, we would provide a one time use discount code for each Anime Central membership purchased for that convention year to be redeemed against the ticket price. In the end, the ticket price should come out to a price similar to what you saw this year.
In addition to the proven ordering system, we would also gain the marketing of the ticketing system the theatre uses (TicketMaster). I think that would also help address one of the points I made above regarding outreach to people not necessarily familiar with Anime Central or people outside the Chicago area.
Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:51 PM
Okay, so here's some feedback:
I think the Rosemont Theatre is an amazing idea. I know personally that me and my group did not mind paying extra to get great seats to see Kalafina. This band was a once-in-a-lifetime band that we would get to meet here, and we did not mind one bit paying extra to see them, and especially in an authentic theatre that we didn't have to stand up for the entire concert like we did in the Ballroom in the Hotel. This also reduced the massive number of people and the anger and headaches of trying to get "first" in line for those concerts. Having assigned seats was beautiful.
Here's a suggestion though for next year - the band was great, but having some tickets available for those outside the con might help offset the costs. I know bands like Dir en Grey have had people wait for hours on end just to get in to see them. If we have some tickets available to the public after a pre-sale of tickets to ACen attendees that might help with the costs.
Friday is the best day for the concert, really, but Saturday would be plausible as well. The problem with Saturday though is the Masquerade and Soap Bubble. Both events get a lot of people's interest; so having to chose the band would mean getting a band that has the support of a lot of convention attendees. I personally thought that Kalafina would have been one of those bands, but the numbers don't lie. I personally think that it might have been additional cost that turned people away from the concert. I didn't mind, but others might have. Getting some feedback from some others might help figure this situation out. Perhaps getting a band with more of a rock feel, or a band that has been in more known series or in the Jrock scene? (How do you get more known than Madoka though? o.o?)
Just two cents.
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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:51 PM
For me, an extra 20 bucks wasn't a big deal. But I know that deterred a lot of others from going. Another issue was that if you bought tickets ahead of time, and a friend decided last minute to go, you couldn't be seated together (well you probably could if you gave up your good seats).
I personally enjoyed the show and loved the venue, even though I didn't know any of Kalafina's music beforehand. But most people don't want to go to a band they don't know of. The anime Kalafina seemed most popular for, Madoka, Black Butler, and Fate/Zero, are all fairly recent animes that many people haven't gotten into yet, myself included. As far as I can tell, Madoka and Black Butler also seem to have a younger fan base that doesn't have money to shell out for a ticket. I think a more well established band with more popular series might have been a better choice (I don't really follow Japanese bands and pretty much only know of the ones associated with FullMetal Alchemist and Inuyasha...) I think another issue is Kalafina was marketed as Kalafina not as "They did the Madoka Magica theme songs!" Concerts/Bands in general isn't playing to your audience's interests, putting more of an emphasis on popular anime is.
On the note of when to have it, I think Friday is a MUCH better option. If people aren't going to the masq Saturday, they're already in line for the rave. And if they aren't doing either of those, they're probably just wanting to chill out somewhere. If it's during the masq, those people aren't leaving, and I doubt the rave people would rather see a concert than have a good spot in line for their rave.
I think you should consider selling tickets at a higher price for those who do not also have ACen badges. Make it so they can't buy tickets ahead of time, but if they come the day of and are willing to pay...say 20 bucks extra, they can get in the crappier seats if any are left.
That's all I can think of for now...if I come up with anything else I'll add it. Overall I enjoyed myself, I think the main issue was lack of advertisement and warning. (even at the con I don't remember seeing a single advertisement saying like "Hey, not doing anything Friday night? Come see Kalafina!")
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Posted 23 May 2013 - 01:55 PM
Me: Advertisement and popluarity. Honestly I didn't know who Kalafina was until I googled them. Have a booth for the concert tickets only? I know I wouldn't want to wait in a long line just for concert tickets. How about pushing the time to a later hour so more people can attend, selling tickets only for the Concert (slightly higher prices) for non attendees, or two small concerts for 2 different days. Out of the 6 years I wanted to attend ACen, I only wanted to see 2 bands. It all depends on who the musical act is and how popular they are for people to go to ACen.
This post has been edited by MsLovelyCookie: 23 May 2013 - 02:00 PM
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Posted 23 May 2013 - 02:02 PM
I'm not fond of the idea of letting the general public buy tickets right off the bat. I think ACen attendees should get first priority. All pre-orders should be badge holders only, then general public can buy...maybe up to like a week beforehand. And at an increased price. It wouldn't be right if non-badgeholders filled up the majority of the theater before some badgeholders even got a chance to get a ticket. This process could help ACen sell more badges too.
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Posted 23 May 2013 - 02:43 PM
Duly noted, and I agree. I'm sure those arrangements can be made.
Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:35 PM
For me it was actually a relief to hear this concert would be held in the Rosemont Theater. I loved the larger venue and assigned seating (no need to fight lines, just show your ticket and walk right in). The Hyatt would have been a poor venue for this act. Also, I liked the Friday concert date.
The biggest reason I heard people say they didn't go was the cost per ticket on top of the badge cost. Personally, the cost didn't matter to me because the quality of the band was worth it, but a lot of people simply didn't have the extra money (hence making it a tough sell if the congoer didn't know who Kalafina was).
I didn't really see much promotion of the concert going on Friday at-con before the concert. If we use the Theater again, would it be possible to have a booth in the Exhibit Hall kind of hamming it up? I'm not sure what was in the agreement with Kalafina, but maybe if there was some of their music playing with some of their videos on a loop? Then at least the congoers who don't know them would have something to look at/listen to to better gauge if the $20 is worth it to them. Plus in the Exhibit Hall, people are browsing for things to buy anyways. (In Reg it seems like people just want to get in and out as fast as possible). Just an idea.
I don't think I'd mind who handled the ticket ordering if we used the Theater again, as long as the ticket price wasn't much more than the price this year.
Posted 23 May 2013 - 03:57 PM
It's too bad there's no smaller club venue like Anime Expo has with Club Nokia & Otakon with Rams Head Live.
Posted 23 May 2013 - 04:30 PM
A. They were available to non attendees at an increased price. I had friends that would have been willing to pay 30-50 bucks just to go to the concert who either didn't want to wait in line to get a friday badge or did not want to spend even more money to purchase a badge for a con they don't like/ aren't interested in/ do not have time for.
B. Cheap seats being sold at low prices. Like the last 1-5 rows of the balcony and main floor would have probably sold if they were marketed as dirt cheap (5-15)
C. Friday was probably not the best day for the concert. My husband did not take off work friday so he was worried he wouldn't get off in time , and I know some people that only attend ACen on saturday.
I remember being kinda weirded out buying tickets friday afternoon and getting decent seats. Then getting to the concert and wondering when anyone was coming. Then staff started moving people from the balcony to the main floor.
I really hope we get another major act and host an event at the Rosemont again. It was so much nicer than the usual set up and worth every penny.
Posted 23 May 2013 - 05:46 PM
1. Kalafina is cool, but personally for me I didn't feel like spending an extra 20-30 dollars to see someone I didn't REALLY care about. I'm not super into them. Now if it was Home Made Kazoku, Yoko Kanno, or UVERworld, I would have and would not have minded the extra price for seeing them.
2. I think I would prefer the concert to be Friday, or have the concert be before or after the masquerade on Satruday--because for those who are in or want to go to the masquerade, it might be harder for those people to attend. I know that all 4 ACens I have attended, I have gone to masq each time, and loved it and would be very sad if I would have to give it up. I would want to see the concert and the masquerade />. It would be hard to schedule, unless one was before or after the other. Or, do something what Otakon does and have a musical guest for each day? I know that would be hard, but it could be done?
3. I didn't like the ticket buying (and a huge reason why I did not go) was because I was not guaranteed to be seated with my friends unless we all bought as a group. And in my group of friends, it would have been over 120 dollars on someone's credit card. To some it's not much, but to some of us, it is a lot at one time. And besides, if a person bought a last minute seat--they probably would not be sitting by you. I think general admission would be nice so everyone could sit together, first come, first serve. But again, I did not attend so I do not know how it went.
4. And even though I did not go, there really was not much advertising unless you were on the forums, little article website or facebook page. Many people see none of these. I think maybe more awareness with flyers around the con, and making a bigger deal of it on the website, and really emphasizing it would help a lot.
However, I do think the Rosemont theater with bigger musical guests is a super cool idea and I think we should stick with it. /> It would bring the opportunity for bigger guests which will rock!
This post has been edited by GITS SAC Motoko: 23 May 2013 - 05:47 PM
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Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:18 PM
The first thing that comes to my mind though is what were the past attendees numbers for concerts at ACen? If the concerts of past were not maxed out in attendance there was going to be no way of achieving your goal by doing what has been done in the past. (4000 * 2/3 =~ 2700 which is around max of main programming.)
However, to compound things the concert cost money this year, that for sure deterred some people from going. Three friends and I usually go to the concerts at ACen. However, the extra cost deterred two of my friends from going. If you take my example and extrapolate, that is a 50% drop in attendance.
As many people have already mentioned, advertising and letting people know will have to be key in getting the kind of attendance you are desiring. Unless some one frequents the forums they are not going to know all the details and the exciting things that are going on/going to happen. So the website and social media outlets need to be updated concurrently with the forums.
(Side Note: As for Kalafina, I did not know who they were, but I knew who Flow, High and Mighty Color, and The Pillows where when they came.)
Also, due to the masquerade and soap bubble, Friday is for sure the best day.
Thanks Ken for putting on a great show this year.
This post has been edited by PootKi: 23 May 2013 - 06:20 PM
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Posted 23 May 2013 - 06:33 PM
I think opening ticket sales to outside people and some better advertising would have been better. The cost of the ticket didn't effect me as much, and I would have easily payed more to see them.
I feel that Kalafina appeals more to hardcore anime fans since they haven't had any connection to some of the mega popular mainstream Shounen anime out there like Bleach, One Piece or Naruto.
I think there should have been a heavy presence in the Exhibit Hall for them, a big display when entering, and maybe cheap last minute ticket sales.
If you really wanted to make the place explode, try getting one of those Holographic Hatsune Miku showings.
Posted 23 May 2013 - 07:32 PM
Question 1: No you did not choose the wrong band, but I believe that Kalafina isn't as well known as some more well established bands that have had other shows under their belt. While Madoka and Black Butler are known shows, the band wasn't advertised. I didn't see any ads for it on the showcase board that showed what was going to be playing. I think letting people know the shows they sang for would have helped too. A lot of people like the theme songs and thats what draw them to the shows.
Question 2: Pricing I thought was fair, but it might work better to slap on a choice for those that are buying badges early to have that price tacked on to the badge so that they get a ticket with a value deal?
As others have said, you have to advertise to outside people, get the word out more away from the main forums. Ads on buses, ANN, Crunchy, etc, may have helped. Also maybe an ad on the TV or radio? Or as weird as this is going to sound maybe an intereview on WGN? Or let them know that a well known and highly important Japanese band will be playing the Rosemont Theater? That could help a huge amount.
I'm sure others have additional ideas.
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Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:04 PM
2. I think the ticket prices were VERY fair. I get that a lot of people are struggling to have enough money just to attend the con so a paid concert is out for them, and that may have hurt the sales. $30 for a front section seat to see a group like Kalafina is an amazing bargain, though.
3. Friday is probably better than Saturday, unless the concert was held earlier in the day. Otherwise it would run into too many huge events that some people would probably take over a paid concert, esp. events that you have to get in line super early for.
4. See my comments in #1.
Maybe in the future you could also give extra perks for buying a ticket. Nothing that would ruin the attempt at offsetting cost. For instance autographs were guaranteed for ticket holders, but maybe attendees could receive a special edition ACen and band-themed keychain or poster that is specific to the con. Many people who might be on the fence about going might choose to do so for something cool like that.
I noticed a few others mentioned offering tickets to non-con goers which might help, too. I'm sure there are plenty of people who would have gone to the concert but couldn't afford a badge and ticket (like mentioned above) or can't attend the whole con because of prior obligations like work. Perhaps opening it up to non-badge holders would pull in more of an audience. You could open up priority sales to badge holders and then after like a month open them to the public.
Posted 23 May 2013 - 08:42 PM
Also, someone mentioned that a lot of people on the facebook groups don't seem to realize the forums are a thing. That's probably also a factor. More heavy cross-linking of important information to all of your social media outlets would be a good idea.
Unfortunately, the cost is probably a factor on some level, too. ACen attendees are used to free concerts only, so even with Yukino also having the ACen standard free concert, it ruffled some feathers to see something they're used to getting for free suddenly cost money. That can't really be helped, though. There's just also the matter that a lot of congoers just plain don't have a whole lot of money to spare and want to spend as much of it in the dealer room as possible. I know one of my friends did that, but sorely regretted it from waiting in the lobby for the part of our group that did go to get out of the concert so she could get my room key off me. Maybe if it'd be possible to drop the cheapest tickets down to $10, that'd help, since we're all used to hearing about $10 Crystal Ball tickets, even if we don't attend that event ourselves. But idk, there's definitely going to be some portion of the attendeebase that isn't willing to pay for a concert.
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Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:00 AM
This post has been edited by JDM: 24 May 2013 - 04:01 AM
Posted 24 May 2013 - 07:30 AM
I'd hate to suggest this, but many look at how AX handles their concerts. It may be a good start.
I think this venue is more appropriate for bands and singers, as the acoustics are MUCH better than the ballrooms or other large spaces at the Hyatt. I would think it also gives them more freedom with respect for lighting and concert choreography. Playing to a crowd in an concert venue setting is much better to talk about when going back to Japan then talking about playing some "ballroom".
I can tell you I would much rather be up in the balcony, and be able to view the artists then smashed into a ballroom where I can see nothing. Yes, the Hotel ballrooms may be a more "intimate" experiece with the band, but I prefer better sound/performance over the up close and personal.
With that being said, I think this venue was perfect for Kalafina - and their band. It was more professional or respectful, I think is what I want to say here.
I have a question though. Was the theater and Kalafina's staff responsible for the sound/video calibration?
This post has been edited by jenchan: 24 May 2013 - 07:34 AM
Posted 24 May 2013 - 11:51 AM
But I can say, yes, marketing was an issue. But that's something Acen probably could work on overall (we're improving, little by little). Definitely opening ticket sales at a higher price for non-congoers would help - if the word can be spread far & wide! Also, nowadays much marketing is done through viral word of mouth - people hearing on Facebook and telling their friends on twitter etc. The sooner a band is announced, even if ticket sales are not opened until a month before con, the more buzz will happen. Share videos or audio clips through Facebook! I know when Kalafina was announced I didn't know who they were (I know almost no Japanese bands so it's my lack of knowledge to be honest), but I know I saw a lot of excited reactions on Facebook so I knew they had to be good But if our Acen pages had posted a video, I might have been more interested. Not that I could have gone. Stupid radio leash.
Another thing to think about, if using the theatre again, especially if opening sales to the general public is see if the theatre will advertise it on their sign. I pass that sign EVERY SINGLE DAY, twice a day, and so do many other people. That will certainly get the word out!!
I can say that, once people managed to get their tickets & get over to the concert, I have really heard few complaints about the venue. I kind of expected that - it's a gorgeous venue, and it's so close to our con space it's a shame we haven't used it before. So I fully support using it again! Let's look for some awesome bands to fill it, maybe even a double bill?
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Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:36 PM
I was interested in going, but ended up not doing so because none of my friends wanted to, and I didn't really fancy going alone. My friends don't use the forums or look at the ACen website for information, so the only reason they knew about the concert prior to the con was word of mouth. When I brought it up, the reaction was, "Who?... yeah, I'm not dropping $20 on it." We've watched shows that use Kalafina's music and liked it, but we're not super-familiar with their work (I would say, we're Black Butler fans or Madoka fans, rather than Kalafina fans.)
We've attended concerts at other cons where we didn't know the band (and we've discovered some great music that way!) but here that unfamiliarity combined with the extra cost made it a no-go. For demographic information, we're all recent college grads, so cash is a bit tight, and I think my friends figured they'd rather save money for the dealers' room. However, I can't say if a band they were more familiar with would have enticed them to spend the money or not.
As a concept, I really love the idea of having concerts at the Rosemont Theatre - while I didn't experience it this year, I think it probably offers a lot better experience in terms of sound quality, etc.
Posted 24 May 2013 - 12:50 PM
The Sony sound engineers from Japan set the sound levels for the concert. Live video feeds were captured by local cameramen. The main screen over the stage was manned by Kalafina's VJ. I don't know who did video switching during the concert, but we had discussed that the VJ may do it.
Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:16 PM
Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:22 PM
Maybe you can give them feedback. At times, the whole thing was just too damn loud, and honestly the instruments were drowning out the lovely Kalafina ladies vocals. Now, I know concerts are supposed to be loud, but this was too much, and I could barely hear anyone after the show. I usually bring earplugs to concerts, but I didn't feel that they should have been needed, considering how vocally concentrated the music is.
That would be my only complaint.
Posted 24 May 2013 - 03:32 PM
That would be my only complaint.
Don't want to be mean but maybe that was just you ? I've been going to concerts for years and that was probably the only one I've left without any hearing issues.
Posted 24 May 2013 - 04:27 PM
Maybe so. I have been to many concerts where it wasn't so loud. Maybe i'm just getting too old for concerts in my 30's? who knows.
Posted 25 May 2013 - 11:33 AM
Posted 25 May 2013 - 12:59 PM
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Posted 25 May 2013 - 08:53 PM
I do think that advertising the concert could have and should have been done better. I also agree that there should have been a booth in the dealers room setup to handle ticket purchases for those who did not get tickets online. There was one Kalafina booth out there on the floor, but it was hidden and easy to miss if you did not know it was there or did not look around the floor. This booth probably should have been in a more prominent spot, and not only have sold their music, posters and video disks, but that would have been also a great place to sell tickets for the concert and promote it more.
I talked to several people out on the dealers floor and all of them had no idea that the Kalafina booth was even there, and that they had such great prices on the music. I talked to one person in particular who had purchased cd's from another booth, the one in the far back corner I forget their name, but they ended up paying more than double for the cd they purchased compared to what the Kalafina booth was selling them for. They paid $62.40 before tax where the Kalafina booth was selling the exact same cd for $30.00.
Anyway, absolutely for some the price of the tickets will be an issue. Others will not mind paying extra to see a concert put on in a much better location than the ballrooms. Even with the issues that the concert had I felt very satisfied with it, and would gladly pay for another concert held at the Rosemont.
Personally I would like to say that it is too early to give up on selling the tickets on the website. This was after all only the first time that this was attempted, its bound to get better. Realistically however, it may be best to split the ticket sales. Start off with sales going through ACen's website, where those who have a badge can get the tickets at a cheaper price. Then a week or two before the con hand off sales of tickets over to the theater at another price so the public can purchase them, and then finally any tickets left over being available to purchase at con. This will I'm sure come with its own set of difficulties, but would also be a fair way of getting the tickets to badge holders at a cheaper price, and getting the advertisement from ticketmaster.
I would really love to see more concerts in the Rosemont with the assigned seating over a very crowded ballroom. In fact this was the first concert I went to at ACen for just that reason.
Posted 25 May 2013 - 09:57 PM
I am pro Friday for events like this. There's so much less going on at the same time.
Posted 25 May 2013 - 10:35 PM
I'd also agree with adding public ticket sales a certain period before the con, a good deal of time after con-goers have been given the opportunity to score tickets first.
Kalafina was a great band for ACen.
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