What does it take to stage a concert?
There's one thing you definitely need, or it's not going to be much of a concert -- music. And unless you're handy with a guitar or a turntable, in order to make music happen, you need one other thing, and a lot of it -- money.
A fascinating post making its way around the Internet apparently lists the appearance fees commanded by a number of bands and artists. And there are some bargains to be had.
Now, there's some details to keep in mind before we get to the cost of rockin'. As noted in the above link, these figures, which apparently come from the Degy Entertainment booking agency, are asking prices -- so they could be higher or lower, depending on what the artist negotiates. And they don't include expenses, like who's going to host your music festival and who's going to clean up this mess when it's over.
With those details in mind, let's get to the big question: How much? You might think hiring a rock band is like buying waterfront real estate -- if you have to ask, you can't afford it. And in some cases, that's true. But prepare to be surprised.
The biggest shocker? For between $300,000 and $500,000, you can apparently hire Pearl Jam to play some of the greatest rock music recorded over the past 20-plus years. To our ears that's a relative bargain -- half a million dollars (or less!) to hear "Even Flow" performed at glorious full throttle, just for you and thousands of your new best friends. It makes us wonder: is this list accurate, or does the band price its appearances so their tickets remain affordable?
Alternatively, you could hire Justin Bieber for $1 million. Throw in another $150,000 to $250,000 and you can add Robin Thicke to the bill.
Some of the information in the list hardly comes as a surprise. You want top talent? Get your checkbook ready. It will take at least $1 million to get Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen or Madonna to come and play at your place. (You'll also need: An NFL stadium, cops, hundreds of employees, all the beer, soda and bottled water you can sell at three-to-four times the retail price, and a lot of portable toilets. Oh, and someone to clean and take away the portable toilets. You don't want to do that yourself.)
According to the prices on the list, it will cost you the same amount of money -- $500,000 -- to book the Foo Fighters or Britney Spears. But it will cost a lot less -- $250,000, tops -- to bring in The Lumineers, the Avett Brothers or Lorde. Pharrell Williams can make your audience happy, happy, happy for between $125,000 and $175,000, while you can get back at the neighbors who dumped snow in your driveway all winter by bringing in Nickelback for between $350,000 and $500,000. ("Never Again," indeed.)
Let's say your wife and her friends were there on Aug. 20, 1982, when Rick Springfield and special guests the Greg Kihn Band rocked Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. For a mere $40,000, you could recreate an memorable night in her and her friends' lives by hiring the Working Class Dog to play "Jessie's Girl" and the other hits that made him a heartthrob in the early 1980s.
Then again, $500,000 to have Katy Perry play the back yard could make your daughter awfully popular ...