Category Archives: General

Say Hello to ECE West Palm Beach!

Big news today! We are thrilled to announce the opening of our fifteenth office in West Palm Beach, FL! While we have been booking entertainment for corporate and private parties in South Florida for years, we are excited to finally call this region home.

Our new office is a result of a partnership with South Florida entertainment company, Powerhouse Group. Powerhouse Group books entertainment for a variety of events worldwide. Their signature band, Powerhouse Band, is one of the most popular dance bands in the country and has performed for many celebrities and dignitaries.

As part of the partnership, the Powerhouse Group will take on the ECE name and brand while Powerhouse Group executives, Alan James and Tiffany Guttenplan, have been appointed to leadership roles within ECE and charged with spearheading the West Palm Beach office. The Powerhouse Band will become an exclusive artist on the ECE roster.

“As we explored our expansion into Florida, it was really important to us to find a partner who would be a great fit both professionally and culturally. In Tiffany and Alan, we have two exceptional new friends who perfectly mirror the ECE philosophy of combining the best talent with amazing customer service and integrity. It is hard to express how excited I am to have them part of the ECE team,” says Doug Daniel, President and CEO of ECE.

“Alan and I have been industry colleagues with ECE for almost two decades and have worked together on many shows and events over the years. When we decided we wanted to expand our business we knew that partnering with ECE was the next obvious and natural step. We couldn’t be more thrilled to join this great team and are excited to provide our clients with a vast and impressive roster of new talent,” says Tiffany Guttenplan, Location Managing Director of ECE West Palm Beach.

ECE Agent Life: Behind the Scenes with InsideOut Band

As an ECE entertainment consultant, I spend my days wading through emails, making phone calls, and networking with other industry professionals. We guide our clients through the process of booking a band, help them as they prepare for their big event, and then as the date gets closer the bandleader takes the reins through completion of an unforgettable experience.

Occasionally I sneak into the back of a ballroom to see one of our artists perform but never before had I seen the amount of on-site work that goes into an “effortless” performance by one of our bands. I recently tagged along with InsideOut, an 11-piece party band out of Richmond, on a wedding that I booked and I’m still trying to catch up on sleep!

Here is what the day looked like (make sure to check out the Instagram Story footage at the end of the recap):

12:00 PM:  The band and I arrived at a Home Depot parking lot to meet the van. Many of the band members had taken half days or entire days off their regular day jobs in order to play this Friday wedding. They loaded up their instruments and stage attire and then we hit the road for a 3-hour drive to Purcellville VA.

The energy in the van on the drive up was subdued. Members either slept, joked with/on each other, or listened to the night’s song list on their phones quietly practicing notes or words. Brent, trombone player for the band, controlled the music with a well-curated and eclectic mix of jazz, show tunes, world music, and pop hits. Everything from Les Miserables to John Mayer!

3:00 PM:  We arrived at Shadow Creek Weddings and Events and slowly spilled out of the van into the sunlight. Barry, bandleader for InsideOut, and the production crew had been on-site for several hours already unloading and setting up the basic elements of the sound/light system. We carried in the instrument cases and the members began plugging into amps and tuning guitars/horns.

After a quick full band soundcheck, the members headed off to change clothes and rest before guests arrived. They could be found throughout the venue tying ties, donning heels, and loosening up.

4:00 PM: Outside the guests began to arrive by shuttle and were greeted by the gentle classical arrangements of String Poets and a surprise guest (it was a horse). Alexa and Peyton opted for a trio which consisted of violin, upright bass, and keys.

The bride entered to “A Thousand Years” and several classic hymns like “How Great Thou Art” were played between readings.

5:00 PM: After the vows were exchanged along with a romantic kiss, the bridal party headed into the barn and the guests moved to the patio for cocktail hour. String Poets continued their sweet serenade with pop classics ranging from the Beatles to Bon Jovi.

While guests enjoyed signature cocktails outside, the band began doing last minute mic checks, ran through the bridal party names with the planner, and discussed a change in plans for the first few songs. The timeline had been pushed back a bit due to a late shuttle arrival so instead of going straight into first dances, the band planned to kick in with some light jazz as guests wandered in and took their seats. Victoria, one of the lead female vocalists, is a trained jazz singer and it’s always a pleasure to see her in her element.

6:45 PM: After a few light jazz tunes, with the bridal party lined up outside, the band kicked into “You Make My Dreams Come True” as the hilarious cast of characters made their grand entrance with dance moves and big smiles.

The bride and the groom were the last through the door and after a big round of applause they started their first dance to “Die a Happy Man” followed by the father/daughter and mother/son dances. InsideOut learned three new songs for the special dances in addition to another four new songs for later in the evening. Seven new songs on a weekend they were booked Friday, Saturday, and Sunday! That is the true definition of musicianship.

7:15 PM: The band flipped over to an iPod playlist and headed outside for a quick dinner break. Typically bands eat vendor meals with a sandwich, chips, apple, and a soda but tonight they dined like kings! The buffet consisted of BBQ, mac n cheese, jalapeno cornbread, green beans, cole slaw, and more. They found some empty seats on the patio, ate quickly, and rested up for what was ahead. A two hour+ non-stop dance set!

8:00 PM: Now it’s time for the party to truly begin… InsideOut took the stage in their gold tuxes/elegant gowns, struck the first chord, and immediately the dance floor filled.

The band typically starts with some older classics like “Superstition” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and as the night goes on the songs become more modern. They specialize in the latest club hits so in addition to “24k Magic” and “Can’t Stop the Feeling” they also busted out “Despacito” (a huge hit for the Spanish-speaking bride’s family) and “Strip That Down”.

They ended the night with a special request specifically learned for the bride – “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys (likely now stuck in your head)! Not a single guest was seated and after the song was over they begged for one song. InsideOut ended up playing two encores!

10:15 PM: Alexa and Peyton exited the barn to a shower of sparks and the band immediately began breaking down their gear. Set up usually takes several hours, but teardown happens in a matter of minutes. Despite having just finished a high-energy dance set, the band all pitched in to help the crew pack up the gear and load the truck. Sweaty clothes were swapped out for casual attire and the band loaded into the van after final goodbyes to the venue staff, planner, and parents of the bride/groom.

11:30 PM – 2:00 AM: Very little talking was done on the way home. For the first few minutes of the ride the band exchanged funny moments from the night and re-hydrated, but within 30 minutes of leaving the venue, every single member was asleep (including myself). We pulled into the parking lot at 2:00 AM, sleepily stumbled to our vehicles and headed home to bed. I planned to sleep in as long as my 16-month old would allow me, but the band had to be back in this exact location less than 10 hours from now to repeat the entire process!

I have an immense respect for the musicianship and talent of our artists, but see them in a new light after observing the amount of sweat equity that goes into making these events happen every week. While most people are home resting from a long week of work these guys and girls were bringing their A-game to create a once in a lifetime experience for the bride, groom, and guests of this wedding.

Working as an entertainment consultant there is no “off the clock”, but I’m thankful for Friday nights at home and Saturday chores. Thank you to the artists like InsideOut who make it look easy and provide unforgettable experiences to thousands of clients each year.

 

Brad Strouse
ECE Richmond agent, Brad Strouse, began his music industry career touring the country with seven smelly metalheads. He left the road and spent time working on the record label side of the business before transitioning to his current booking agent role. Brad is an avid vinyl collector, music listener, endurance athlete and Auburn Fan.

From the Desk of Doug Daniel: How ECE’s CEO Looks at the World

Once a quarter, ECE’s CEO, Doug Daniel, shares a more personal post full of musings and/or insight. Today he is giving the world a glimpse of how his perspective has been shaped through travel. Buckle up for this fun ride. 
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We did it! Blog post number one is in the books. Done. Our blogapalooza journey is well underway. The world tour is coming to a town near you. Hide the kids! I loved hearing from so many of you back in April. You all had really cool things to share and no one said that I put them to sleep… at least not to my face. In particular, I enjoyed hearing your take on the fourteen life lessons we talked about. A few of you had great stories, and I appreciate you sharing them with me.

But that mess was pretty heavy. Lots of somber, sober, stone-faced deep-meaning life stuff that deserves a minute to think about. So, as promised last time we met, let’s not be serious at all this time. As you’re reading, know I’m having a lot of fun typing this. Fun because I’m going to give you a little insight as to what gets pinballed around in my head most days when not hammering away at important ECE business. A sort of glimpse of how Doug looks at the world.

First, we need to lay a little foundation. I like to travel. You got that from the last blog post. When my paycheck comes, I save a little bit, pay my bills, blow a little bit on other Daniels… and most of whatever is left gets spent on going places. That being said, there are a couple places that I keep going back to for a variety of reasons such as family, close friends and because they are just damn cool places. I’m looking at you, NYC and Los Angeles. I have probably spent more time in those two places over the years than all the other places added up. Much of what you see in me has been shaped in some way by the experiences I have had travelling — specifically, spending time in those two places.

Let’s keep moving. The reason I share this is because, as I mentioned above, it’s a lot of what has shaped my tastes and my views on the world. Aaaaaaand, on one pretty normal day, walking the NYC Highline in Chelsea, I look up and spot a billboard. In big letters, I read: “NYC. Tolerant of your beliefs. Critical of your shoes.” And I stopped. It hit me. That IS me. I am open to just about any idea and belief and person. I just have two rules: 1. Don’t tell me how to think or believe, and 2. Your belief doesn’t screw your kids up. That’s it. Just those two rules. As long as you’re good on those, I am totally open to whatever weird, quirky, insane way you see life.

Now that we’ve addressed the first part of that phrase, let’s talk the second part. The fun part. The part where I say that I will ALWAYS have an opinion about the “shoes” you wear. It’s who I am. I want to know what kind of music you like. I want to know what you were thinking when you bought those jeans. I’m trying to figure out why you don’t have an iPhone. What kind of guitar do you play? Endless.

Not my proudest quality, but I’m sharing stuff and that’s what we’re all here to do together, right?! Check this out… I feel like if I can dish out the critique, then I should be able to man up and take it, too. Right?!

Ok, so here goes. I’m listening to the new Tennis record and the new Ryan Adams record. I wear them both out and can’t stop. Baseball is the best sport ever invented for a thousand reasons and the best team in baseball has always been the Dodgers. I just turned 50, but have invested way too many years of wearing skinny jeans to quit now. I have a record player and listen to it a lot, but have no illusions that records are going to revive the record business. It’s stamp collecting with cooler “stamps.” I put wax in my hair, but I always prefer to be wearing a hat. My wife is the coolest, prettiest and most fascinating person I have ever met. I’m obsessed with everything about her. I Google “new iPhone release date” way too much. Chris Robinson from the Black Crows was in my 3rd grade class, and I still think they and the Stones are the best rock bands to exist. I miss my mom everyday. The two last best shows I saw were Phantogram and Spoon. I don’t think pointy guitars are cool. Rock music was always intended to be played on a Les Paul, through a Marshall. I go to therapy and it works. In fact, it wakes me up to all the really unhealthy people walking around me… and, yes, I’m critical of them too! I hardly watch any network TV. Can you imagine if Bob Dylan had to pass through three judges on a network talent show to have made it? Being a dad is the best and most important job I do. I’m always 100% totally down for just about any music documentary. Some people think that education is the biggest crises facing us. I think it’s Driver’s Ed. Why doesn’t everybody have Spotify premium and Satellite radio? I love to read, but far too many days run out of time without an opportunity. I’m getting ready to start Trouble Boys and the best one I have read in the past few years was the Jerry Weintraub biography. It’s called, “When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead.” And, that is the perfect place to stop.

Have a great rest of your summer. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this ramble. Like last blog, reach out to me, but please be gentle when you criticize my “shoes.”

Doug Daniel
As President & CEO, Doug is an expert on all things ECE --- as he should be since he's worked here twice! His daily duties include: fire fighting, juggling, peacemaking and dreaming up ways to make ECE the best company it can be.