Center succeeds in attracting popular artists • Current editions
Center for the Performing Arts President and CEO Jeffrey C. McDermott saw the need for more balanced programming at the Palladium, Carmel’s 1,600-seat concert hall.
“About five years ago, we felt we needed to step up the more commercial revenue-generating shows that we were booking here,” McDermott said. “We were bringing in all kinds of world-class shows that I would call mission, classic, jazz, songbook or international shows, great talent and great artists who weren’t necessarily well known but were part of our mission to bring great music and great artists to our venue.
“The challenge was that without some higher revenue-generating, commercially viable artists, it’s hard to sustain that mission.”
There have been big draws like Tony Bennett, Harry Connick Jr., Weird Al Yankovic, Diana Ross, Sheryl Crow and Steve Martin and Martin Short. McDermott said the 2021-22 season could have created the biggest buzz by bringing in John Legend, who performed Oct. 20, 2021, and Sting, whose concert is scheduled for May 8. Both concerts sold out quickly after public sales began.
McDermott said the Center wanted to book Sting for more than one night, but his schedule was already full. McDermott said Sting and Legend likely could have sold several nights.
McDermott said some of the more popular ticket acts are added after the season is announced.
“A lot of more commercial artists can book four or five months in advance,” McDermott said. “They need to be touring that area and we need to have the opening at the same time. It’s the combination of art, science and a bit of luck.
McDermott praised the contributions of Dan Kemer, who was named vice president of programming in June 2021. Kemer, a Carmel resident who served as vice president of Live Nation Entertainment in the Midwest, took over when Doug Tatum decided to withdraw from the position.
“Dan did a terrific job,” McDermott said. “Dan has a pop/rock/country/comedy background through his work with Live Nation, but also has a classical background. He actually played classical trumpet in college. He enjoys the mission side of what we do and the educational side of what we do.
“He also has over 20 years in the industry working with artists and managers of the world’s top artists in more commercial type deals. It made all the difference for us.