"If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun." - Katharine Hepburn
Question #92505 posted on 08/20/2019 5:12 p.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,

I just saw Hootie and the Blowfish perform the other night. Great show! While sitting in my seat before the concert, I came up with two questions and thought I'd ask the all-knowing 100-Hour Board.

1 - who was the first paid performer? By this I mean, who was the first to charge people to come see them perform? I'm not talking actors necessarily, but musical acts.

2 - Who decides what the pre-concert music will be? You know, the music that's played while you're walking around searching for your seat. Is it the artist who makes that mix tape, or is it a venue thing?

Thank you.


- Concert Craig


Dear Concert Craig, 

1) As far as I can find, the first person to charge an admissions fee for a concert - not just like a private performance for a small group of people - was John Bannister, an English Violinist. According to that article, he charged one shilling for admission to his public concerts at his home in 1672. Later, Thomas Britton held weekly concerts and people could purchase a year subscription for 10 shillings and attend as many concerts as they wanted. 

2) It depends. From what I found, it seems that sometimes, the audio people running the venue will decide. Generally, the music will stay within the same genre of the band that is playing, so it is likely to be music that the attendees are familiar with and will enjoy... though sometimes the soundbooth people do whatever they want because they believe in anarchy. Other times, according to an audio-worker on the Internet, the band or producer will supply a list of songs to be played as walk-in music. Additionally, big popular bands (you know, like Coldplay) bring their own concert staff on tour - including the people that run the soundboard, so they would have more input into what is going to be played. Basically, unless someone from the band or venue provides something themselves, it's up to the sound people to make the call. See here & here