Paradigm’s Lee Anderson Talks Chicago’s Big Weekend; VIP Contest, Umphrey’s McGee Meet & Greet Announced

The Big Weekend in Chicago, a city takeover with jam bands hitting five Chicago venues Oct. 4-6, has announced that voter registration organization Headcount is offering a flyaway contest along with its presence to get out the vote, along with a meet & greet with jamband Umphrey’s McGee.
HeadCount and Propeller will send one lucky winner and a friend to experience The Big Weekend in VIP style — with exclusive viewing areas and expedited entry into each venue. 
They’ll also meet Umphrey’s McGee, with roundtrip travel and hotel accommodations included. To enter, complete one action in support of HeadCount, then continue completing actions to get more points and redeem them for entries to increase your chances of winning. Contest runs until midnight on Sept 19 and winner will be chosen on Sept. 20. 
The Big Weekend, co-promoted by Chicago promoters Silver Wrapper Presents and Jam Productions along with Live Nation, will feature 11 artists represented by Paradigm, with Umphrey’s McGee, Lettuce, Leftover Salmon, Emancipator Ensemble, Papadosio, The Revolution, Spafford, The Motet, and Sunsquabi making early and late appearances at Concord Music Hall, Riviera Theatre, Park West, House of Blues and Aragon Ballroom.
Paradigm agent and East Coast senior VP Lee Anderson told Pollstar The Big Weekend is in fact big but the idea is pretty simple. 
 “When you look at the jam band world, it’s like a ‘Field of Dreams’ situation — If you build it they will come,” said Anderson, who added he was just about to attend his 88th and 89th Phish concerts as a fan. “So often we sort of put our heads down and book our bands and rock and roll and focus on them, but we don’t always look at how we can create something that’s significant culturally for the scene and also create a platform or situation that better benefits our clients, putting them in front of more people or having more of a national presence for a show rather than just their Chicago date on their tour.”
Anderson added that creating a branded event with multiple artists and venues also allows for beefier marketing opportunities, and led to official involvement from Relix and Headcount, with midterm elections just around the corner. 
“We also realized internally we have a lot of different weapons and lanes we could get into,” Anderson said. “We could involve our tour marketing department across these shows and build it out. We have a branded entertainment department that allows us to bring sponsors in and add those dollars to the pot, which isn’t always going to happen on other shows — whether that’s for marketing or even money in the artists back pocket at the end of the day.”
Silver Wrapper’s Michael Harrison Berg praised the concept.
“Lee is a longtime friend and business affiliate of ours. We loved the idea and just kind of ran with it,” Berg told Pollstar, adding that Paradigm’s Jason Kupperman and Joshua Knight were also heavily involved. “It’s not a festival per se, there’s not an all-venue pass. It’s more of a festival with the concept and branding and as a full city takeover. We’ve operated similar model in Chicago before with the Chicago Bluegrass and Blues series, so we knew it could work. The music of the extended jam scene is at the heart of the Silver Wrapper concert community, so we’re especially excited to see this one come to life and start a new fall music tradition in Chicago.”
The lineup is the latest example of collaborations between what might nominally be considered jam bands and dance music purveyors. And Chicago has long had a love affair with both, as evidenced by Berg’s effort to mash up genres with North Coast Music Festival.
Chicago’s own Umphrey’s McGee in the last three years averages 3,232 tickets sold for an average gross of $108,314. Lettuce pulled in 1,115 tickets for $30,043 during the same period while the Emancipator Ensemble clocked in at 1,157 tickets and $52,606.
“We figured this would be a great way for clients to have fun and play together, create some special moments with guests coming out at different shows or bands collaborating across different venues, and that sort of thing, get the industry out and have a fun time for all of us to go to,” Anderson said.  
“We’re launching in Chicago but the idea is far bigger than this one weekend. We’re hoping this is a brand and concept that can live on many different cities for many years to come.”
Tickets are on sale now.

The Big Weekend 
Oct 4 – Lettuce @ Concord Music Hall
Oct 5 – Emancipator Ensemble + Papadosio @ Riviera Theatre (Early)
Oct 5 – The Revolution @ Park West (Early)
Oct 5 – Spafford @ House of Blues (Early)
Oct 5 – The Motet + Special Guests @ Concord Music Hall (Late) – Presented by Relix
Oct 6 – Umphrey’s McGee @ Aragon Ballroom (Early)
Oct 6 – Leftover Salmon + Amy Helm @ Park West (Early)
Oct 6 – Spafford @ House of Blues (Late) – Presented by Relix
Oct 6 – Sunsquabi +The Russ Liquid Test @ Concord Music Hall (Late) – Presented by Relix