Adam Ross – Operations Manager for Winter Circle Productions and AEG Presents Gulf Coast on Tour Managing, Show Settlements, and Producing Shows

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Adam Ross is the Operations Manager and Production Manager for AEG Presents Gulf Coast and Winter Circle Productions. His career in the music business started working at the legendary Tipitina’s in New Orleans, LA. Eventually Adam became the Tour Manager for Louisiana blues guitarist, Tab Benoit, with whom he was on the road for seven years touring at a pace of 200+ shows per year. After his run with Tab, his journey lead him to his current role at Winter Circle Productions, which started as an independent promoter and production company in New Orleans making it’s mark with Buku Music + Arts Project, before Winter Circle and their team being acquired by AEG Presents. Adam produces shows at legendary New Orleans venues such as The Joy Theater, Civic Theatre, Republic NOLA, The Orpheum, Gasa Gasa, Hi-Ho Lounge, and many more, as well as producing Buku Music + Arts Project and Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, AL.

In this episode, you’ll learn about Adam’s journey as a tour manager and producing shows for Winter Circle Productions in New Orleans, how to prep for life on the road, show settlements, how to become a tour manager, and qualities that make a good tour manager, and much more. This was a really fun conversation, and really nice to talk with someone on the show that does something very similar to what I currently do today for AEG Presents in Florida. Adam and I first crossed paths at The Plaza Live, when he was tour managing Tab Benoit. Tab was quite the regular at the Plaza performing at the venue once to twice a year. Lots of great memories with these shows, and it’s been fun to re-connect with Adam and to share his journey on the road and many lessons for aspiring tour managers and concert producers.

Quotes from Adam Ross
“Every tour manager position is different. It’s basically what does this band need?”
“Experience and business is key.”
“Accounting is math for everyday. Algebra and calculus is brain exercise.”
“We’re not making Rock N’ Roll, we’re making a business work with the people that you work with.”  
“First of all work. Just going to school is not enough.”
“In order to separate yourself from the pack, you need to add value to yourself. Experience is value.”
“Ask questions, don’t be afraid to do that, and listen to their answers.”
“You want them to be able to be a musician, and you be the business person.”
“You need to look at every settlement, and not just take the envelope.”
“These people [promoters] are paying your band, and you want them to bring you back. Don’t be an asshole. Just ask smart questions, sound like you know what you’re talking about.”
“I like to know my settlements inside and out and be able to answer any questions.”
“A good experience and a big fat check, you can’t beat that.”
“Everything is negotiable. So be prepared for a good reasonable conversation about the numbers.”
“When an artist’s goes into a bonus, just plan on every one of your expenses being questions now.”
“A well-advanced show really sets you up for success.”
“You can’t wait for someone to tell you what to do. You just have to know that it needs to be done, and you have to do it.”
“I heard Golf is good.”

Highlights from this Episode
[4:20] Adam Ross’ role as Operations Manager at AEG Presents Gulf Coast and Winter Circle Productions
[9:54] Backstory and how Adam Ross landed in New Orleans
[12:35] Tour Managing for Tab Benoit
[15:08] School background and recommended courses in college
[19:15] Path to becoming a Tour Manager
[24:45] Time Management for starting Tour Managers
[26:55] Show settlements
[31:45] Packing for life on the road
[33:35] Typical day touring with Tab Benoit
[37:50] Differences from touring with Tab to producing shows for AEG
[42:35] Challenging Settlements
[45:05] Advancing shows
[49:45] Union and Non-union stagehands
[54:50] About Winter Circle Productions
[59:30] Getting to know Adam Ross

Links to people, places, and things mentioned
Winter Circle Productions
AEG Presents
Buku Music + Art Project
The Joy Theater
Republic NOLA
Mardi Gras World
Gasa Gasa
Hi-Ho Lounge
Civic Theatre
Dante DiPasquale (Talent Buyer at AEG/Co-Founder of Winter Circle)
Tab Benoit
Voice of the Wetlands
George Porter Jr.
Ruben Williams (Artist Manager)
House of Blues New Orleans
Robert Plant
Jimmy Paige
Reeves Price (VP Operations at AEG/Co-Founder of Winter Circle)
Donald Link [New Orleans Chef and Restaurant Owner]

Adam Ross’ Definition of Making It:
“Being happy in your own skin and putting food on the table.”

Keep in touch:

Host: Chris Goyzueta (Chris G.)
Producer: Jason Trosclair
Executive Producer: ONElive Creative Agency  
Music: Emily Kopp