Friday, our day began with the Tom Joyner Morning Show Live Broadcast in Tiger Lane. It wasn’t even day light yet but there were hundreds of people gathered. The entire TJMS crew was there: Tom Joyner, Sybil Shepard, Jay Anthony Brown and Stormy. The DJ was played a great mix of music, and it truly was an early morning party. I arrived at 5 a.m. and Fred arrived around 6 a.m. All the major television networks were there reporting and Comcast was recording the event. After he arrived, Fred did an interview with each station to tell people more about the Classic and why they should support it. He also went into the crowd to speak to some of the people who attended. A lot of people see Fred as kind of a celebrity because of what he has been able to accomplish with the Classic. It’s not uncommon for people to want to shake his hand, tell him how proud they are of him, ask to take a picture with him and of course there are those who want to talk business. Fred is kind to everyone and enjoys interacting with the people whose support has enabled the Classic to exist 26 years.
During the TJMS Broadcast, several local acts performed and national recording artist Avery Sunshine came by to say hello. Other special treats included WMCTV’s Jerica Phillips taking the stage in an attempt to show Stormy how to “Hit the Quan”. For those who aren’t familiar, that is a new line dance. It also might be safe to say that the Grizzlies Grannies and Grandpa’s stole the show with their dance routine! Everyone seemed to be having a good time. The live broadcast ended at 10 a.m.
At noon, it was time for the Classic Coach’s Luncheon sponsored by Nike. It was held at the Peabody Hotel. This annual luncheon gives the Classic an opportunity to shine a light on TSU and JSU’s coaches and the teams. Each coach has the opportunity to speak and tell the audience what they can expect during the game and recognize the men and women who assist them. Pastor Keith Norman of First Baptist Church, Broad served as the emcee and did a wonderful job. Everyone who attended received a pair of sunglasses as a parting gift from Nike.
Then, Fred and I went back to the office to work on a few details for the game. At about 4 p.m. we headed to the Landers Center to get ready for the Classic Music Festival. This is where things got interesting. First, a reporter came to interview Fred who knew nothing about the Classic. As a journalist, it gets under my skin when a reporter doesn’t do his/her research. With the invention of Google there is no excuse for that. I wasn’t please and a little insulted but it happens all the time.
Now on to the concert…..Timing and professionalism are important when putting on a concert. The night got off to a rocky start when one of the acts took two hours to do a sound check. Typically, each artist is allotted an hour for sound check. This allows the band and the sound technicians to figure out which settings, equipment, etc. should be used the produce the best sound for each artist. When an artist is late for sound check or takes too much time during sound check it often decreases the amount of time that the other artists have to do theirs. Both of these occurred Friday night. One of the artists didn’t even get to do sound check and felt that their show was not as good as it could have been because of it. I guess I can share that it was Avery Sunshine. During her performance, she discovered that the pedal on her piano wasn’t working properly but she still did an AMAZING set. She was the epitome of a professional and was very nice about not getting her sound check and the equipment issues. Although, she did voice her concerns. Fred Jones went to her dressing room and personally apologized even though technically it wasn’t his fault. He told me that he takes full responsibility for anything that happens during his shows.
- It throws the timing of the entire concert off. Promoters rent arenas and their staff for a certain amount of time and it is important to stay within the time allotted so that everyone can get in and out on time.
- The more additional time an artist takes the less time the artists that come behind them have to perform because typically the promoter wants to honor the time negotiated with the venue. Artists DO NOT appreciate having to come off stage early. They want to have time to treat their fans to a good show just like everyone else in the lineup.
- When the show goes over, the time negotiated with the venue the PROMOTER must pay everyone’s overtime. This includes their staff, the venue staff and the hired audio technicians. As you can imagine, this can be quite expensive.
Oftentimes, the audience thinks they are getting an amazing concert that was worth the money, but they don’t realize how that extended time can actually hurt the execution of the overall show.
The concert began around 8:00 p.m. which wasn’t far behind the 7:30 start time listed on the tickets but, Fred does not like starting shows late. He has developed a reputation for being the only promoter in town who starts his shows on time. However, there were lengthy delays in between each performance because of sound issues which made it impossible to make up that 30 minutes.
Despite the time delays, the show appeared to be going well. Each artist put on an amazing performance. As the evening progressed so did my exhaustion. I had been up since 3:30 a.m. Fred must have seen it in my eyes because he sent me home around 11:30 p.m. The next day, I got a major surprise when Fred called and told me that at 2 a.m. Anthony Hamilton was still on stage! I can only imagine how tired Fred and the other members of the crew were. They had to be up bright and early Saturday morning for either the golf tournament or the tailgate.
Fred Jones Quote of the Day
“The buck stops here!”
About the Blogger: Jae Henderson is a native Memphian. She works as a freelance marketing and PR professional, journalist, blogger, book author and just became the newest addition to the Southern Heritage Classic team. She’ll be giving the inside scoop and sharing all Fred’s business until the big game. Go Tigers!