Jade Neilsen from Jade Presents has been booking entertainment in Fargo-Moorhead for over 20 years. Now the acts are becoming more popular than ever!
Finding national headlining entertainers to come to Fargo, North Dakota can be one heap of a task. This location presents obstacles like being off the track of most tours, weather situations making for nearly impossible attendance presumptions, and limited venues to hold events. When hearing all that, you almost want to say “forget that, there is no way!” Jade Nielsen, owner of Jade Presents in Fargo, has something else to say when it comes to providing the Fargo area with national headliners, and that is “bring it on!” Jade has been booking and promoting concerts in this area for 20 years and with the consistent growth and trending popularity of this area, the job has become easier. His challenge now…how big does he want to go? FM Spotlight sat down with Jade for an interview and photo session to find out what’s behind all this entertainment in Fargo-Moorhead.
Who have you worked with in the past?
We have worked with artists including: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, 30 Seconds to Mars, KoRn, A Perfect Circle, Godsmack, George Carlin, Jeff Foxworthy, Harry Connick Jr., “Weird Al” Yankovic, Steve Miller Band, Modest Mouse, Larry the Cable Guy, Meatloaf, Snoop Dogg, Disturbed, and many more.
What do you do?
Jade Presents handles the following:
We produce concerts, festivals and private events.
We purchase talent for clubs, casinos, schools, festivals and private events.
We promote concerts and regional tours with national artists.
We provide consultation to clubs, casinos, schools, festivals and private events.
Who have been some of your clients?
Our clients are both the artists we work with and local regional business, schools, and non-profit organizations that we’ve worked for and with from time to time, including; Microsoft Great Plains, Forum Communications, MSU Mankato & Moorhead, Concodria College, UND, Happy Harry’s Liquors, MeritCare Health, Fargo Downtown Community Partnership, and Cully’s Kids. We have exclusive booking relationships with The Venue at The Hub, Fargo Theatre, and Bluestem Center for the Arts.
How did you start?
About 20 years ago I helped organize a local benefit event and it went relatively well. After the event, I started getting some calls from touring acts and agents. From that point I did it as a hobby for a few years and in 2000 decided I should get serious about a career.
What does the Fargo-Moorhead community mean to you and your business?
I went to South High and NDSU, so Fargo is home. This community has really made some strides in the past 10 years, with it’s support of arts / entertainment, a healthy downtown, and comparably speaking, a strong economic stance.
When did business really start to take off?
I don’t believe we’ve hit our stride yet. That’s consistently a work in progress. Shortly after moving back to Fargo in 2004 I took on some staff and became more visible in the market. Our opportunities for events in Fargo-Moorhead depend on so many variables…who’s touring, what acts are willing to look at the market, do the locals support the event, the facilities available to us, and so on.
What challenges do you see in your line of work?
Geographically we are in a tough location. It’s a challenge to get tours to route this far north, unless the act is heading to or from Winnipeg. That…and getting acts to take Fargo seriously as a viable tour stop. We’ve made some headway with that over the years however. With each successful event, that stigma of being a small market in the Dakots goes away ever so slightly. We also take a tremendous risk with our ever changing and extreme weather conditions
What is your team and office like?
We purchased a building downtown a few years back and have occupied a few spaces within the building since…some not so comfortable. Ecce Art & Yoga lease most of the building, so we recently renovated the back loading dock and receiving area for our office. We kept much of the industrial feel with exposed brick, wood beams and what you would expect to find in a building over 100 years old. We’re now in a contemporary feeling space where we can stretch out and be creative. As far as our team, we have an office of 9 now (including a couple of interns).
How do you gain access to some of these national musicians?
I have built relationships with almost all of the talent agencies in the country over the years. It really helps to have years of experience and networking to be able to make a call and book an artist. Success breeds success as well, so when an act comes to town and does well, that word travels back to the agent, manager, and other acts. From there, more calls, more tours, and a better variety of entertainment for the area.
How busy are you?
We are busy. We’ll book and produce close to 200 events this year. There are days we have 3-4 events playing in different markets, so it’s a lot to manage. We have integrated some new technology and systems to help make everything more efficient as well. We have our own ticket brokerage called Tickets300 which helps speed up the attendance generating process and lets us control the ticketing experience for the consumer.
Explain Tickets 300.
Tickets300 is our ticketing arm, yet a separate company. It handles the actual sales of tickets for various events in the region. Rather than working with Ticketmaster, or any of the other national companies, we created our own company. This allows us to control the fees charged and give personalized service. The public can they purchase tickets more affordably and efficiently. Our ticket office is located at 300 Broadway in downtown Fargo, or you can go to tickets300.com to purchase tickets.
What’s next for Jade Presents?
We are excited about the renovations at the Hub. The revised Venue will be a tremendous asset to the Fargo-Moorhead community. They are expanding the facility to accommodate larger tours, which will give us a great opportunity to a greater variety of shows to the area. When the space is complete, it can quite possibly be considered one of the best performance and nightlife venues in the midwest. Other than that, we are just going to keep working hard at helping the area find fun and happiness. This community has changed so much in the last decade and I am fortunate enough to be a part of the change while doing something I love every day.