Every year, Trans-Siberian Orchestra brings their spectacular show to thousands of fans throughout the country. Stone City Attractions helps bring the illuminating lights and electrifying music to Austin every year, including this Thursday, Dec. 26 when Trans-Siberian Orchestra “The Lost Christmas Eve” comes to the Frank Erwin Center. Based in San Antonio, Texas, Stone City Attractions helps promote TSO by working with the media and also with venues in advertising, publicity, sales and operations. Recently, we had the chance to interview Stone City Attractions’ founder Jack Orbin! Read below to learn more about his story, Stone City Attractions and TSO.
Tell me about how you got started in this industry.
I was living communally in the mountains of Colorado selling hand-dipped candles and other handmade ornaments. My cabin was accidentally burned down… [so] with nowhere to live and a few hundred dollars to my name, I returned to San Antonio and Austin and began doing anti-war benefits with local bands. Krackerjack was the first.
Tell me about the process of creating Stone City Attractions. What inspired you to become a promoter?
While attending [The University of Texas at Austin as] a freshman, I was social chairman and booked a band for the fraternity I was in (short lived, for sure). The band played songs like “Purple Haze” and “Sunshine of Your Love” and the fraternity wanted more mainstream pop. It didn’t work out but I knew I loved the music and when I returned to San Antonio, two old friends and I, Greg Wilson and Carl Schwartz, decided to put on local bands in benefits for non-profits. Stone City was born after I attended numerous pop festivals and saw the joy live music brought to people…and was hooked.
Tell me about how/why you became involved with Trans-Siberian Orchestra. How long has Stone City Attractions worked with TSO?
An agent and friend from New York City with whom I had booked many national acts with told me there was a band, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, that I should do. That was in 2001. I have promoted TSO now for 13 consecutive years.
How is working with TSO different than any other show?
The music industry today is in a state of flux. In the music business, it is apparent that these days the major players are more interested in business and not so much in the music. Bands are treated as a commodity. TSO is old school in that they care not only about their product but also the community and all those associated with the industry. They have donated millions of dollars to local charities in each city they play and, against the grain, keep ticket prices as low as possible while giving the concert goers the biggest and best production on tour. Stone City and TSO are friends as well as business associates. That bond, unfortunately, has mostly [fallen] by the wayside in recent decades for most in the industry.
Tell me about Stone City Attractions’ involvement with non-profit organizations. Which organization will receive a portion of the proceeds from the Austin TSO show?
Stone City Attractions prides itself in giving to the community. While fighting censorship, etc. in the past, SCA has had very successful campaigns that benefit the community such as the successful Guns for Tickets campaign run in San Antonio, record donations to various Food Banks and recently to numerous new music therapy schools. [At these] music therapy schools, music is used to benefit special needs children such as those with autism, Down syndrome, etc. We have found small non-profits in various cities that now use music therapy and contribute to them whenever we can. This year in Austin there will be multiple beneficiaries of the donation, including the Rise School (who use music therapy), the Waldorf School music program, etc.
Please describe what a typical day is like for you in the office.
A typical day in our office includes hundreds of emails, hundreds of phone calls, plenty of marketing research, answers to media on upcoming events and a dedication to our philosophy that “ the music and the fans come first,” meaning in all we do, we have the fans and the integrity of the music foremost in our minds and hearts.
Visit the Frank Erwin Center website to see who's coming, and subscribe to Be the First to Know to get a jump on upcoming pre-sales and ticket giveaways.