The NW Booking Conference at the Hilton

The Mud River Jugglers
The Mud River Jugglers

Eugene Hilton:  We HAVE Talent

– Nancy Glass, EDN

The 31st annual Northwest Booking Conference began this week on Monday at the Hilton in Eugene, Oregon and continues through Thursday, October 20th, 2011.   This conference is designed specifically for the performing artist “to see, hear and meet agents and management in a friendly yet professional setting.”
This conference seems to have a little bit of everything this year. The talent line up alone consists of the well seasoned and well-known to the cutting edge and “about to be known.”
These artists and performers, scheduled to perform, are looking to get booked into venues across the region as well as the United States, which is the primarily reason for this event.
Organized by the Washington-based  Arts Northwest Organization, which started this event back in the early 80’s, when at that time, all of the participants were strictly Oregonians this event has grown into a three state effort.
NW Bookers Conference
NW Bookers Conference photo courtesy Basil Bach

It wasn’t until 1985 when Washington and Idaho began to rally around the idea and made efforts toward a tri-state based conference.  Surprisingly, it was the Idaho Commission on the Arts chair woman, Marilyn Sabella, who initiated and chaired the task force exploring the viability of the three states sharing the fiscal responsibilities through the state arts agencies.  The booking conference, as it is known today, came to fruition through the efforts of the Arts Commissions for Oregon, Washington and Idaho.  In light of such support, the conference began rotating between the three states to a variety of cities.

The Arts Organization, purpose is to “maintain a communications network among presenters of performing arts events throughout the Northwest region of the United States and Canada.”  The organization exists “to promote booking opportunities for performing artists and ensembles to tour and perform within and outside the Northwestern US region.”

Attendees to this event will enjoy a wide variety of performance showcases, including late night showcases till midnight, keynote speakers, development seminars, workshops and a packed exhibit hall during the mornings and afternoons.

The Sugar Beets
The Sugar Beets photo courtesy SB FB page

I ran across local promoter, Sean McGowan of McG Entertainment while at the conference.  One of his acts, The Sugar Beets performed Tuesday night to a good-sized crowd.  When asked about how the conference was going he tells me “It’s going really well! Many great people. [This is a]  terrific community. The other agents are very giving of their time.  I’ve encountered a few egos. The people running it are committed and passionate and organized.”

Despite the conference ending Thursday, there are still a couple of noteworthy speakers on the line up.  Wednesday at 7:15pm has Robert Newhart, the CEO for the Innovation Center®, which “guides leaders to discover and launch the future of their organizations through creativity and innovation” speaks at the Keynote Dinner.

The Mud Bay Jugglers
The Mud Bay photo courtesy Basil Bach

This CEO has founded or co-founded at least two retail operations, a marketing and management consulting firm, and several non-profit corporations. His address is designed to help one utilize the tools of innovation toward one’s future success honing one’s ability to rethink and reinvent.

Thursday’s speaker is Leigh Anne Jasheway, M.P.H. (master of public health/mistress of public humor) who begins her address at 11am, entitled Amuse Your Muse:  Lightening Up Your Heart and Your Art with Laughter.  Not only is Jasheway an author of seventeen books (How’d All These Ping Pong Balls Get In My Bag!? The Stressed-Out Woman’s Guide to Letting Go with Laughter, Don’t Get Mad, Get Funny, Not Guilty by Reason of Menopause, and  Bedtime Stories for Dogs) she was also the 2003 Erma Bombeck Humor Writing Award for her real life rendering of how her first mammogram caught on fire.  As a stress management and humor expert, as well as stand up comedian and comedy show organizer, her address is quickly filling up but still has space available.  Check out the website for conference day rates.

There is still some very good talent lined up Wednesday and Thursday, as well, that would you can check out too.

Overall the past several days has seen some very impressive talent from washboard players to synchronized juggling and everything in between.  In a town very rich with talent, of all kinds, it was very good to see crowds of folks, from all over, during this conference.

Nancy grew up in Eugene, graduating from Churchill before heading off to the big city of Portland, and later on to Los Angeles, CA where she pursued her interests in event coordination. After 5 years she returned to Portland where she began her career as a music journalist. After writing for local and national publications Nancy started her own music magazine, Only Local Music, highlighting and promoting local musicians.
In 2008 she was the master mind behind the online music magazine, Oregon Music News, Oregon's Only Online Music Magazine. Cultivating several alliances with organizations such as Music Millennium, The Portland Jazz Festival, the Waterfront Blues Association, The Mississippi Street Fair, and like groups, Nancy quickly grew the fresh start up from a mere idea to fruition within the scope of two years.
Concurrently she sought out and pursued business management consulting and continued her own business, Navigation Consulting. With over 20 years experience managing every kind of business imaginable Nancy has been fortunate enough to further engage her purpose of helping others to helping business owners actually grow their business.
Returning to her other passion, promoting music as well as musicians, Nancy continues to write about music and band across the state.

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