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Booking Bands On The Run
Charlotte Business Journal  (March 18, 2005)

Daniel Entertainment Group was just a few months old when the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prompted clients of his entertainment-booking business to cancel 14 jobs within a week.

"It probably was not the smartest time to start," says founder and President Doug Daniel.

But the fledgling firm had an ace in the hole: Daniel still was able to handle the booking of entertainment for Carolina Panthers games, providing the business with a stable flow of revenue during those early months.

Also, the following May, Daniel began arranging for bands to perform during the annual Food Lion Speed Street, a three-day local event leading up to NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600.

Business snowballed from there, thanks in large part to a Web site Daniel launched in fall 2003 at www.getband.com. It's linked to Daniel Entertainment's Web site and includes band bios, photos, references, audio and video samples.

Daniel, who runs the business with the aid of only one assistant, says the www.getband.com site has shortened his sales cycle to hours. That's down from the weeks it took initially, when he had to mail videocassettes to clients.

Daniel Entertainment's bookings, which also include weddings and corporate events, grew 45% last year to more than $1.2 million, doubling the company's 2002 traffic. Other notable events the company is involved in include Friday lunchtime performances at Founders Hall and the Fourth of July fireworks show uptown.

Last fall, the company started booking entertainment for Charlotte Bobcats home games. It also has begun providing entertainment for corporate sponsors of the Wachovia Championship golf tournament at Quail Hollow Club.

Daniel's role is far more involved than merely scheduling the entertainers for such events. He typically arrives hours before a performance to help a band unload and set up. On Panthers game days, that means starting as early as 7 a.m. for an afternoon kickoff.

"You do whatever it takes," he says. "If that band doesn't start on time and it's not good, that's how we're evaluated."

Daniel's goal is to offer clients a stress-free event. During Speed Street, he often peddles his bike up and down Tryon Street, making sure everything is running smoothly on all four stages between Stonewall and Seventh streets.

"Doug is pretty quick to jump in, regardless of the task," says Jay Howard, president of JHE Production Group Inc., which produces the festival. "He understands what we do. The better someone in this business understands their client, the better job they're going to do and the less questions we have to answer."