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The Carletonian

Sylvie Graubard: Behind the bookings for the Cave

<u were at the Cave last Friday for the Car Seat Headrest and Hoops show, you probably saw a large crowd dancing to lively music. But who is responsible for bringing us this music and entertainment? Although the entire Cave staff make the campus concerts run smoothly, it is Sylvie Graubard, the Cave’s booking manager, who is in charge of bringing artists to Carleton’s Cave.

As booking manager, Graubard is in charge of reaching out to artists and booking agents, negotiating contracts, and keeping performers satisfied on show night. While the other Cave managers, Sanders McMillian and Nate Grein, are involved in the brainstorming process as well as show preparations, as Graubard explains, she is ultimately “in charge of deciding who I want to book, and making that happen.”

“Generally, I will reach out to an artist or booking agent via email, with a specific date and price. If they’re interested, they’ll respond, and we’ll negotiate. Ana Sontag, from SAO, is in charge of contracts, so once we’ve come to an agreement I’ll put her in touch with the artist or their booking agent to get that figured out,” Graubard said.

After receiving word from Graubard about the details of the artist the Cave would like to book, Ana Sontag reaches out to the artist or booking agent with an official offer.

“The official offer outlines all the details of the show including date, performance time, payment, etc,” Sontang said. “The band can accept, reject, or counter-offer this offer. Usually at this point, the booking manager has already talked with the artist, so the offer is rarely rejected. After the offer is accepted and agreed upon, I will create a contract for the performance and work with the artist to get it signed and finalized. That contract is needed to then process a check for payment.”

Once the featured artist is booked, Graubard goes on to choose an opener. “I like to book Carleton students as openers, because it can be a really cool experience for a student band to get to play on a bill with a more famous act,” Graubard said. “I’ll let Madeline Garcia, who is in charge of promotions, know about the line-up so she can make posters and hang them up. We’ll make a Facebook event together. Then, a week before the show I’ll reach out to artists about any last minute details, and they’ll send us their riders.” Hospitality riders are foods that artists request, and tech riders include their preferred sound setup. As the show approaches, Graubard collaborates with her co-workers to make sure everything is ready for the event.

The Cave receives its funding from the Carleton Student Association, an amount that is proposed by the Cave and then decided by the Budget Committee each spring. This year, Graubard said that the Cave has a budget of $29,000, which is divided into 10 shows each for fall and winter terms and 9 in the spring. Although the performance costs vary from show to show, an average show would cost approximately $3,500.

The Cave’s most successful event in recent memory was the Car Seat Headrest and Hoops show last Friday, which drew a larger crowd than usual. Car Seat Headrest, an indie rock band currently based in Seattle, is one of the more famous acts that have played at the Cave, and has been featured in publications including Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, as well as having performed in NPR’s “Tiny Desk” series.
“Car Seat Headrest is pretty famous, so a ton of people showed up,” said Graubard. “I really like both of those bands, and was super excited to make that show happen and get to meet them.”

“My personal favorite show, though, was probably PWR BTTM last spring,” Graubard recalled. “PWR BTTM is one of my favorite bands and it was really amazing to hang out with them and see them in such an intimate setting.”

In addition to balancing different genres and fame levels, Graubard has been working to bring more diverse artists to the cave. “It’s important to bring diverse artists to the Cave because it should be a space that reflects all types of people and experiences, not just cis white men.”
Check out the Cave this Saturday night, October 8th, at 11 p.m., for a performance by ZuluZuluu, booked and presented by the Carleton College Black Student Alliance. Also, look out for the Cave concert next Friday, October 14th, featuring three student bands, The Karate Squids, Side Project, and Hot Cousin.

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