As the band worked its way up the Chicago bar circuit, Calzaretta lost a coin flip and his phone number became the one used on the bottom of their demo CD. He became “The Booking Guy” from that moment forward. Soon Calzaretta was booking gigs not just for Maggie Speaks but for several nightclubs, and then National Acts for festivals.
Midwest Meetings: What was your first experience with the meeting/event industry?
Dave Calzaretta: My first experience with the meeting and event industry was as a performer in the band Maggie Speaks. We were just starting out, headlining places like the Cubby Bear, in Wrigleyville Chicago, for only $500. Someone from Eli Lilly saw us perform and approached me about doing a big corporate event they were having in Chicago. They asked how much we would charge. I quoted $2,500 thinking it would be good to make five times more than we were making at the bars. Needless to say, they could not sign the contract fast enough. On our first conference call, they said the band needed to come with a lot of energy because the last two years the band fell flat for their crowd. I asked who they had perform, they told me Chicago and Huey Lewis and the News. My mouth dropped and I thought about the $2,500 I had quoted. I knew in that moment Maggie Speaks had taken its last $500 gig. The show went extremely well. It was my first introduction to corporate events both on the performance side and as a future producer. It was truly a great lesson in doing your homework and researching the market before diving in. So much of what we learn in this industry is by watching, observing, and doing.
Read more about Dave Calzaretta and what he has learned in the events industry in the Winter 2018 Digital Edition.