From the states to Alaska’s stage

With the isolation of Alaska from the rest of the country, it can be hard to get anything instantly for most that reside here. Packages take a few extra days in the mail, plane rides are always a day long venture and that can leave most Alaskans feeling like the rest of the country is a little too far away and a little too inconvenient. This is easily applied to concerts as well.

Most Alaskans feel that they don’t truly get the experience that most get when it comes to attending shows, for multiple reasons. Whether it be the smaller venue or the less popular artist, many feel forgotten about up here when their favorite artist releases a tour list and Alaska isn’t on the list again.

“I’ve never really gotten why Alaska gets so overlooked by artists. I think that our concerts have gotten better over the past couple years but I would still really enjoy seeing some bigger musicians paying a visit,” Hunter Meyer, a frequent concert goer in Anchorage, said.

Since the opening of their business in summer of 2013, Showdown Productions has proven to be one of the primary event companies that brings new artists to Alaskan cities like Anchorage and Fairbanks. Helen Payares, one of the owners of Showdown Productions, manages events and marketing for the company. Payares and the rest of the agents at Showdown Productions work hard to bring up as many artists as they can and have many things they must take into consideration when deciding who to host next.

“We have an entire budget sheet that outlines general costs and break even points among different venues. We take the artist’s fee plus overall production budget and then look at ticket costs. For us, ticket cost to our audience is huge. We’re not here to be millionaires and we don’t want to take advantage of Alaska. However, we also have to break even and generate some income to keep us going, so it’s a healthy compromise of taking all the costs and figuring out the ticket prices in each venue. Wherever it makes sense and makes sense to the consumer is what we go with,” Payares said.

Once Showdown Productions figures out what artists they want to reach out to, it becomes a matter of figuring out which of those artists are most willing to make time for Alaska. Since the state is so out of the way, artists have to be willing to carve a little extra time out of their schedule to make their appearance here.

“Because Alaska is not a regular tour stop for tours, most of the shows that we produce in Alaska are considered ‘One-Offs.’ The process we use is to reach out to management and agencies and try and route the band [or] act when they are going to start or finish a West Coast tour,” Payares said.

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Once an artist has made the decision to come to Alaska is when the production companies’ real work begins. Venues such as Williwaw, the Alaska Airlines Center, and the Sullivan Arena are a few of Anchorage’s top spots for bigger artists, and tickets go on sale for those venues as soon as the artist books a date for a show. From there, advertising comes into play, and anyone who is involved in the show gets word out about the artist’s upcoming visit. Anchorage has been known to have some of the greatest and loudest audiences, but those audiences wouldn’t be there if they had no way of finding out about the concert.

In order to keep concerts happening in Alaska, all of these aspects must work hard together to make the show a success. While there are factors that make it difficult to bring artists to our state, they are not impossible, as companies such as Showdown Productions have made apparent. Concerts in Alaska will only get bigger and better so long as the cities have an audience that wants the artists here.