July 7, 2011. Posted by Becca Pulliam.
Montreal Int'l Jazz Festival Director of Programming Caroline told me the story of how Prince's June 24-25, 2011, shows at the Metropolis came to be. She's CJ, I'm BP. -- Becca Pulliam
CJ: It’s kind of amazing because he came in 2001 and he really loved his experience. I know he loved Montreal and the vibe and the Festival. We’ve been trying to get him since then to come back. We never heard back. And three weeks ago, I was out of the office and my assistant called and she said, “Prince’s agent called and says Prince wants to come to Montreal." What? So then my colleague Johanne Bougie, who had booked him in 2001, took over and she just arranged everything. He was supposed to come and play three nights, but he decided to go to Europe earlier [than expected, leaving him two nights in Montreal]. It was kind of a festival within the Festival because to get Prince in town, it’s, he’s a genius but it’s something difficult.
BP: How many people come when you book Prince?
CJ: You mean come with him, or festival goers? Oh, both. Well it sold out in 45 minutes.
BP: How many shows?
CJ: Two shows in a 2,000 capacity venue, so 4,000 tickets in 45 minutes.
BP: How did you announce that he was coming in the first place?
CJ: Press release. We just announced it with a press release, radio, the national radio got in with us and other radios, just announced it like that and Facebook and things like that. It goes very fast.
Emphasis is mine! I learned a lot from Caroline (kah roh LEEN), and if you'd like to read the entire conversation, the transcript follows the "jump."
© 2011 WBGO