BY JULIA CIRIGNANO
Katie Botelho Bielatowicz is the co-founder of JKB Management and Booking where she works hand and hand with her business partner to book local artists (bands, comedians and even psychics) at local venues throughout New England. Bielatowicz also co-owns Limelight Magazine where she works together with her business partner to promote and support local bands, films, and various entertainment related companies through their online and sometimes print articles.
To coincide with the sixth anniversary of JKB, Bielatowicz recently sat down with staff writer Julia Cirignano to talk about her business. She talked about the pros and cons that come with booking a concert. She also talked about some of her favorite moments so far and her goals for the company’s future.
Bielatowicz, who moved to Dartmouth, Mass., when she was in elementary school, attended college at UMass Dartmouth to pursue a degree in marketing. She uses many of the marketing skills she gained at school in her current position as co-owner of JKB.
“I went to school for marketing, so it definitely fits in with what I’m doing now,” she said. “The whole business is pretty much marketing and promotions.”
Bielatowicz discussed the different stages of booking a concert.
“Usually a booking agent will contact us or we’ll contact them if there’s an artist we’re interested in,” she said. “We will then put an offer together and find a venue to rent that’s suitable for that artist. If the agent accepts our offer, then it’s our responsibility from there on out. It’s basically our show and we provide everything that the artist will need for that show.”
Contrary to what one might think, Bielatowicz and her business partner seldom ever get to see the acts they book because they are too busy making things run smoothly at the venue.
“I think there’s a misconception of what goes on when booking a show,” said Bielatowicz. “We don’t just show up when doors open and call it a night. It’s an all day event that includes load in, setting up hospitality, running errands for the artist, selling merchandise if it’s needed and load out. Most of the time it’s a 12 hour day of running around, but luckily we work with some great venues that make it easier for us.”
When booking a show, Bielatowicz and her business partner split up the work to highlight each of their strengths. They are sure to keep up good communication so they can split up the responsibilities fairly.
“We split things up accordingly,” she said. “At our weekly meetings, we’ll decide who’s going to do what for the week and for a particular show.”
Bielatowicz has been faced with many challenges while booking shows such as picky artists and tricky personalities. She talked about the number one biggest challenge that she is faced with when booking a show.
“The biggest challenge is trying to figure out what show to book,” she said. “It’s hard picking something that will appeal to a vast majority of people. Also, getting shows period can be a challenge since we don’t have our own venue [and there is a lot of competition in the marketplace.”
Bielatowicz has learned a lot and grown as a business woman since booking her first show with Uriah Heep in 2011 at Tupelo Music Hall in Londonderry, N.H. Since then, Bielatowicz has booked, planned, and hosted many shows within different musical genres and even some comedians. One of Bielatowicz’s favorite shows that she has ever hosted wasn’t even a musician, she was a translator of the spirit world — a so-called psychic medium.
“My favorite show so far has been Kim Russo,” she said. “I know it has nothing to do with music but it was something different and I liked that about it.”
Bielatowicz talked about the joys of being self-employed and having so much freedom within her job.
“My favorite part will have to be that it’s not a typical 9 to 5 job,” she said. “We make our own hours as we go and don’t have to worry about answering to higher management. It makes working less stressful and life more enjoyable.”
Bielatowicz truly believes in the mission behind JKB and hopes to see the business grow in the future.
“I’m hoping that JKB will continue to grow and we’ll be able to book bigger shows that will really get our name out there,” she said.
JKB has been very successful so far and hopefully the attention it has gained will grow. JKB will continue to expand their geographical and genre based limitations. In the future, Bielatowicz said, “I would really like to book an illusionist, no one in particular, I just think it would make for a great show!”
Upcoming shows by JKB include Candlebox Acoustic on March 25, Vanilla Fudge with Paul Bielatowicz on April 5, Y&T on May 2, Stryper’s Michael Sweet with Louis St. August & Gene D’Itria (of MASS) on June 2, and Black ‘N Blue with Sinners Inc. on July 20. All shows are at the Narrows Center for the Arts, located at 16 Anawan Street in Fall River, Mass.