Booking agents visit Newhouse to discuss music programming and talent buying

by Jo Allen

February 7, 2019

Talent buyers Lucas Sacks ’12 and Rachael Pazdan chat with students about live shows and the art of booking.

Lucas Sacks '12 and Rachael Pazdan
Lucas Sacks '12 listens as Rachael Pazdan talks to a room of Bandier Program students Feb. 4 Photo by Saniya More

Two talent buyers from Brooklyn were guests of the Bandier Program’s David M. Rezak Music Business Lecture Series this week, chatting with students about the art of scheduling concerts and festivals and booking performers. Bandier alumnus Lucas Sacks ‘12 is a senior talent buyer at Brooklyn Bowl, a bowling alley, restaurant, bar concert venue. Rachael Pazdan, a talent buyer and creative producer, is music programming director at City Farm Presents.

As always, the Rezak lectures are off-the-record, but we were given permission to share a couple of insights.

Sacks on audience and venue sales: “We definitely rely on the artists to tell us who their audience is, and how to work with them. You have to be willing to work together with the artists, because they all have different audiences.”

Pazdan on success in booking: “If the show isn’t a success, if the bar doesn’t make money, if the bar isn’t busy—the venue loses money. The best part of our job is being at a show you booked. The room is packed, people are stoked and the band is killing it. And you’re just in the back like, ‘I booked this.’ It’s such a fulfilling feeling.”

Sacks on tips for working in the industry: “Keep in touch with people. Just check in with that person you interned with, and don’t make the first time when you’re looking for a job.”

Pazdan on keeping the aesthetic: “Instant venue death is trying to do too many things. Book stuff that has a strong identity.”  

Jo Allen is a graduate student in the magazine, newspaper and online journalism program at the Newhouse School.