Friday, August 29, 2008

The Job that Everyone Wants!!!!

So much is going on around the Eastern States Exposition to get ready for The Big E which opens in 15 days. The Marketing department, where I am, has been busy promoting the Fair and the entertainment. But our department doesn’t deal directly with the entertainers, and we thought everyone might like to hear from the person who does.

The man who has the job everyone wants, John Juliano, books the talent that comes to The Big E, and that can be some BIG name performers that he gets to work with. His official title is Special Events Director which includes talent buyer. However, just because the talent is booked doesn’t mean his job goes on hold. Right now, just 15 days before the first show, JJ is promoting the concerts, monitoring ticket sales, and tracking down managers. The managers still need to give him information on what these stars need: the sound and lighting, transportation, accommodations such as food and hotel rooms. JJ deals with so many details that tend to be last minute and can be quite stressful, but he wouldn’t change a minute of it.

What kind of last minute details does he deal with you might ask? Well, just two years ago when Brad Paisley was coming to the Comcast Arena Stage, JJ ran into a small fiasco with the stage. At that time, Paisley was touring with a brand new $3 million video wall that was quite the display. About 2 weeks before the Fair, JJ found out that Paisley was bringing this new screen that, come to find out, was TOO heavy to hang from the roof of the Comcast Arena Stage, and Paisley would not perform without the screen. JJ and his team had to scramble to find a roof that would support the screen and could be installed within two weeks. They found a company in Georgia that built and installed a roof before the beginning of the Fair. The roof went up and Brad Paisley performed on the first Sunday of the 2006 Fair. One day and thousands of dollars later, the roof came down and the old one was put back up. All in a days work for Mr. Juliano.

But JJ’s job is not just damage control. He gets to meet some down to earth stars and their teams, where some great memories are born. A recent memory that he shared with me took place last year when Trace Atkins came to the fair. Before concert time, an incognito Trace Atkins, who wore a baseball cap and dark sunglasses, toured the fair taking time to see all of the little aspects of The Big E. JJ found it amazing that a big star like Atkins would take the time to see our Fair and that he was there all day but no one knew. (You never know, if you’re here on concert day, who you’ll run into.)

After September 28, when the fair is over, JJ will begin to look for next year’s talent. His job involves keeping up on every genre of music and looking for the next big hit. Last year The Big E hosted DAUGHTRY, Trace Adkins, and Montgomery Gentry to name a few. JJ said that his secret to continuing to provide great shows is to not book the same talent the following year. That’s why this year The Big E will host Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, Sugarland, Jordin Sparks, LeAnn Rimes, and Jason Aldean, to name a few. After these shows, he will continue to watch MTV, CMT and VH1; he will search online and talk to people of all age groups to see what music people are into. Next year he will bring a whole new flavor to the Fair. He’s been doing it for 25 years and loves every changing minute of it.

Keep checking back here and leave questions for JJ as stars arrive and the Fair unfolds.

Glamorous Pop-Stars Coming Soon to The Big E

As a Fergie and Natasha Bedingfield fan, I am very excited to be at The Big E this fall while they will both be here. At work I hear their music floating around the office as different pieces of media are being produced. Seeing it all come together increases my excitement for the concerts.

Concerts are so much fun to attend. Between the screaming fans and the rockin’ music, there’s not much that I enjoy more. With a show like Fergie, the music is so great that you can’t help but dance in front of your seat (I don’t think anyone really sits at a show like hers). But with Natasha you just want to belt out the lyrics!

The closer we get to the shows, the more ticket-selling details that have to be handled. It is pretty neat to see how the other end of ticket sales is handled. We open up the seating chart to see which seats are filled and which seats are still open. Right now we’re designating the radio contest tickets. We work with the radio stations in the greater Springfield and Connecticut area to put together contests to win free concert tickets.

An Evening with Fergie is on September 28 and Natasha Bedingfield performs on September 12, so time is tight with getting the contest details worked out. Deadlines make the job even more exciting.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sugarland is Sold Out!!!!

On September 27, 2008, country-hit-making duo, Sugarland, will perform to a sold out crowd at The Big E on the Comcast Arena Stage.
The dynamic Country duo, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush, have taken the music industry by storm producing hit after hit. Their Mercury Nashville debut, Twice the Speed of Life, was certified Double Platinum and in 2005, they received the Breakthrough Favorite New Artist award at the American Music Awards.
All of their hard work and award-winning songs have created popularity among country music fans of all ages.

Tickets are still available for Natasha Bedingfield and Fergie who are also performing on the Comcast Arena Stage. Natasha Bedingfield will open the Fair on September 12, while Fergie will close the fair with a show on Sept 28. Tickets are available at

Countdown: 17 days to The Big E

And all the little details are coming together.

As part of the Marketing team, I have been able to be a part of planning this year’s marketing campaign. I never realized how much planning went into advertising and promotion. So much forethought took place before everything was put together, but all the planning is worth it in the end. Approvals have been made, our billboards are up, our brochures are out and ads have been placed. It’s exciting watching it all unfold as days creep closer and closer to the fair.

Start thinking Mardi Gras in Massachusetts
One of my favorite things to do at the Fair is stand alongside the parade route and watch it float by. Between the music, costumes and extravagant floats it more like a show than a parade. It’s always astonishing to me to witness adults turning into children again as they dive for Mardi Gras beads.

Special Days
This year’s state and special days have been finalized.
Friday, Sept. 12 – Military Appreciation Day - Free admission for active duty military, Coast Guard and Reserve personnel and dependents, with military IDs. Free admission for veterans with ID (Copy of DD-214 or proof of membership to any veterans' organization)
Saturday, Sept. 13 – 4-H & FFA Day
Sunday, Sept. 14 – Salute to Storrowton Day/Cultura 2008 – Celebrating Hispanic Heritage at The Big E
Monday, Sept. 15 – West Springfield Day, sponsored by NewAlliance Bank
Tuesday, Sept. 16 – Rhode Island Day
Wednesday, Sept. 17 – Connecticut Day, sponsored by NewAlliance Bank
Thursday, Sept. 18 – Massachusetts Day
Friday, Sept. 19 – New Hampshire Day
Saturday, Sept. 20 – Vermont Day & Trustees’ Day
Sunday, Sept. 21 – Grange Day
Monday, Sept. 22 – Springfield Day
Tuesday, Sept. 23 – Chicopee Day, sponsored by Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation
Wednesday, Sept. 24 – Agawam Day – sponsored by Taylor Rental/Taylor Rental Party Plus of Agawam
Thursday, Sept. 25 – Westfield Day – sponsored by PeoplesBank
Friday, Sept. 26– New England Specialty Food Day
Saturday, Sept. 27– Maine Day
Sunday, Sept. 28 – Classic Car Day

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Rainy Day at the Big E office

Today is a rainy day at The Big E office. The sound of rain steadily beats against the window and everyone here is glad to be inside. The office is pretty quiet since the fair is quickly approaching and everyone is getting work done. So many little details still need to be finished. Between concert details, finishing the guidebook and everything else, we will be busy right up until the Fair which is quickly approaching. Tickets for the fair are already on sale and the concert tickets are selling….Sugarland is almost sold out!

Besides concerts and guidebooks, our Harvest New England Kitchen Theater details are also being worked out. This year the kitchen theater is focusing on local talent. Rich Camerota, host of Cooking With Carando; Debi Llorens, a graduate of the Connecticut Culinary Institute; Kim Bensen, weight loss expert turned TV-show host; a chef from the Hofbrauhaus, as well as Carmelina's just to name of few of those who will appear in the kitchen. It ought to be a spectacular seventeen days of scrumptious food.

We are also finalizing the food that will be at the fair this year. Think deep fried…..Deep fried Oreos and pickles, as well as, cheesecake on a stick and a deep fried baloney sandwich. Your mother always told you to eat your vegetables, so, why not have them deep fried too: green beans, zucchini…. you can even have an awesome onion. Taste buds not tickled by deep fried? Try a bag of warm mini donuts, cheese on a stick, seafood, a Pot Roast Sundae, gorgonzola fries, or apple fritter nuggets. But save room because The Big E has brought Herbert’s Cajun Kitchen to New England Avenue. They will be cooking up some delicious delights. Try Shrimp Etouffee, Jambalaya, Gumbo, Sausage or Chicken Po-Boys, Bear’s Stuffed Sausage breads, Brick of Fries (plain, garlic buttered, or Cajun), Blackened Chicken or Shrimp on a stick, Pull Pork Po-boys, Sticky Chicken, Red beans and rice, Bread pudding, a Hurricane drink served in lighted L.E.D. glasses, Louisiana coffee, or Hot chocolate: all served with Mardi Gras beads. And finish off with dessert in the form of a Big E Cream Puff or Big Éclair or, back by popular demand, a Belgian Waffle Sundae.

Keep checking here for more updates on what’s going on up to the fair and during the fair!