This Episode was brought to you by
Brian Gamel, Managing Director of Woodstock Arts
Brian grew up in the Woodstock area and has loved this town ever since. After going off to get his undergraduate degree in Theatre from Florida State University he came back home and became a part of the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village’s team, now known as Woodstock Arts.
Connect with Brian on LinkedIn.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX studios in Woodstock, Georgia. It’s time for Cherokee Business Radio. Now, here’s your host.
Stone Payton: [00:00:23] Welcome to this very special edition of Cherokee Business Radio. It is time for our Woodstock Arts segment, one of my favorite times of the month. Really enjoy visiting with the folks over at Woodstock Arts. We have so much going on in this community and Woodstock Arts is such a big part of it. Please join me in welcoming to the broadcast once again, no stranger to the Business RadioX microphone, Mr. Brian Gamel. Good morning.
Brian Gamel: [00:00:50] Sir. Good morning, sir. I’m glad to be here.
Stone Payton: [00:00:51] Well, it’s a delight to have you. Before we went on air, I was just thanking you for giving me the heads up on this. The Croce show. You said the stone. If you and Holly want to go this thing, you better get you some tickets, because this is going fast.
Brian Gamel: [00:01:05] Yeah, we. We are pretty dadgum close to selling out considering we went on sale less than less than 12 days ago. So, wow, we we officially went live with our new ticketing system. So it’s a lot simpler and easier to use for our patrons. And, and we also went on sale for everything next year. So through from August one through July 31st of next year, everything that we’re doing is on the website, on sale, all of those lovely things.
Stone Payton: [00:01:30] And there’s like a season option or two as well. You don’t have to just go in there and buy individual stuff and there’s probably some sort of incentive or some packages, right?
Brian Gamel: [00:01:39] For sure. So it’s super exciting because the old ticketing system, you used to have to go into subscriptions to get a subscription. This one as you’re going through, if you buy if you’re buying your table for lantern series and say, hey, if you want a discount, just get three more tables, there’s a pick for option. Just give, just get three more and we’ll give you this percentage off. Or if you buy all of them, you’ll get this percentage off. So it’s a really, really cool and advantageous system to allow customers to come in, buy a table and go, Oh, wait, you know what, I do want to go to a couple more of these and I can get them discounted instead of sitting here and, you know, every single time. Yeah. Trying to go and find a subscription. Right.
Stone Payton: [00:02:16] So and in these tables, this is not like you don’t have to mortgage your house to get these tables. They’re like a couple hundred bucks or something like 300 bucks.
Brian Gamel: [00:02:24] It’s it’s kind of insane, you know, it’s it’s sticker shock at first when you’re thinking about it, right? Because you’re buying the whole table, which is 6 to 8 seats.
Stone Payton: [00:02:30] Yeah.
Brian Gamel: [00:02:31] If you have four other friends or if you’re with a partner and you have four other friends or two other couples, that’s really all it takes. And you can fill that table up. Then you’re talking other than Croce, because that’s our headline and it’s going to cost a little bit more. You’re normally talking for a reserve table, 20 bucks a person somewhere in that ballpark, and the seats that you buy for just two of you end up being about 18 bucks a person. So, you know, you pay two extra dollars, you can get to sit significantly closer. And if you come and decorate your table, you get a chance to win a table to the next concert. So it’s it’s one of those things that the deal is just outrageous and people have a lot of fun with it. It makes it easier to just bring a meal, eat, have a good time. We have the we have waitstaff service for the tables as well. So you don’t have to get up and get your own drink and miss anything. We will come to you and ask if you need anything. Get you another get you another reformation, get you another land, hard cider, maybe some wine, you know.
Stone Payton: [00:03:22] Well, and a little plug for Christopher, because the first couple of times that Holly and I went out, she likes the Sauvignon Blanc and you didn’t have it. And Holly pestered Christopher to the point where you got plenty of Sauvignon Blanc now and every other thing, probably, yeah.
Brian Gamel: [00:03:37] When we when we first started the Lantern series, we just had the theater space, right? The Reeves house wasn’t built yet, so all the inventory was over there and it just turned into, well, you know, we’ll just use we’ll have a couple of more options over at Lantern Series. And now we basically bring up most of the Reeves house inventory of wine, too, which is a wine bar. So, you know, you have you have premium, you have house for most of everything. I think the Savion BLOCK is one of those more mid-tier where we don’t have a house wine. We have like the nice sauvignon blanc for you.
Stone Payton: [00:04:04] Sweet well know our M.O. and we’ll do it for for Croce but we’ll do it for the for the season. We’ll, we’ll smoke something on the grill during the day or the day before, or we’ll bring some shrimp out and we get kind of schmancy with it. My newest project, because I had it at a nice restaurant up in Chattanooga over the weekend. I’m an old country boy. I eat fried okra all the time. But this chef cut the the okra the long way. And then he he baked it or fried it in very shallow, a little bit olive oil. So we’re going to show it with like this stone special okra probably I got to experiment with. But yeah, we’ll we’ll steam some shrimp or smoke some, you know, smoke some ribs or some pork butt. And then you invite a couple other couples to come to the table and you say, tell someone you handle kind of order stuff, we’ll handle the main thing and then you do the dessert. It’s just, it’s, it’s it’s a party, man.
Brian Gamel: [00:04:58] It’s so much fun. And you got to try fry and pickled okra. I did that once. All right.
Stone Payton: [00:05:02] Now, did was it already pickled or did you pickle it?
Brian Gamel: [00:05:05] My mom pickled it. It was something from the family. So we we bought it and or we brought it over and went, why don’t we fry this like fried pickles and do it? Yeah. Yeah. It is amazing with a little bit of ranch and.
Stone Payton: [00:05:15] And so you bread it with like cornmeal or whatever the normal breading is and then you like deep fry it like the old school. Okay, I haven’t. I bet that does. It’s flavor.
Brian Gamel: [00:05:23] Yeah, it’s a nice little like a little bit like a fried pickle, you.
Stone Payton: [00:05:25] Know, man, I love to cook, I love to eat. I’ve been trying to eat a little bit less and a little less often, but I find that I enjoy food as much, if not more, than I did when I just gorged myself. So, yeah, I love it. And these are great opportunities, right? Take your cooler in. Don’t worry about the drinks. They’ll handle the drinks and just, you know, get you on a little roll in coolers. And we got us one of those. One of those little wagons. Yeah. Like the young couples have with the kids. Yep. Instead of having kids in ours, you know, we got food.
Brian Gamel: [00:05:54] Listen, my wife and I been talking about getting the same thing. We don’t have kids yet, at least. And, you know, those little wagons just moving them around wherever you need to go there, especially for events like the Lantern series or the Jazz Nights that we have at the Reeves house that are completely free to the public. Just go ahead and bring whatever you need on the wagon back there.
Stone Payton: [00:06:12] So I know I love Jazz Nights, too. I mean, this is. So you got jazz nights. You got the you’ve got the Lantern series, you’ve got the theater. And we’re kind of early in a new, relatively new installation over to Reeves House right now, right?
Brian Gamel: [00:06:27] Yeah. There’s the exhibit. It’s called Homegrown. So it’s all artists from Georgia and it’s a juried showcase, which means that they submitted and they had to be selected by a panel of judges and the judges that are going to determine a winner of it and they’re going to get a prize. So we’re planning on doing a similar thing next year, but expanding it to the entire southeast. So not just the state of Georgia, but this is all homegrown Peach State kind of tying in with our production of James and the Giant Peach, which opens when we’re recording this tomorrow, Wednesday morning, the 13th. So if you have any of the kids at home to that, yeah, you’re like, man, I need, I need to do something with these kids. It’s been a month of summer vacation. I need to do something with them in the mornings on a Wednesday well, 10 a.m. Wednesday mornings and also Saturday and Sunday afternoons. We have James and the Giant Peach for the next month for you and you.
Stone Payton: [00:07:14] That is such a cool story.
Brian Gamel: [00:07:16] Yeah, it’s a lot of fun. And the scenic team did a great job of building this giant peach on stage, and the cast is a lot of fun. We have a kid playing James and then we have adults playing some of the other roles. So it’s really that theater for young audiences, right? It’s not just kids in the show, but it’s it’s adults and kids, but it’s for kids, you know, and they do a lot of great work. The music’s a lot of fun. It’s by the same guys who wrote The Greatest Showman and Dear Evan Hansen. And a lot of those, the music is just so much fun. And the cast, you can tell, is having fun with it, too.
Stone Payton: [00:07:46] And there are seasonal options for the theater, their season options for the Lannan Series, or there’s all kinds of different packages, but just go to the website and run through it and find what’s right for you.
Brian Gamel: [00:07:56] Yeah, I know. It’ll be super easy. I will say for the theater where we’re introducing select your own seats. Not not for James, because it’s still part of this current season that doesn’t until July, but everything from August on, you actually can select your seats in the theater. So it’s not the general admission buy ticket, then hopefully show up 45 minutes early to get a front row seat. It’s sweet. You can go ahead and pick it out. And I’ll also say our subscribers, you get an insane deal if you if you subscribe to the season. Yeah it’s cheaper for the front row than anywhere else. If, if you subscribe. Wow. If you get the full season it’s, it’s something insane. I don’t remember the exact price. I want to say it’s close to like 12 bucks a ticket or something because it’s, you.
Stone Payton: [00:08:36] Know, and that’s great. That makes it accessible to everybody.
Brian Gamel: [00:08:40] Well, yeah. And that’s our goal, too, as an art center, obviously, with the way the world is working right now, you know, but trying to keep it as accessible as possible because we are a volunteer run organization, because there’s also being at the beginning of the new season, a ton of volunteer opportunities. If you’re if you’re crafty and thrifty and you really want to get make props, you know, we have those opportunities throughout the season. Same thing for costumes and for lighting and sound and all those fun things with the theater.
Stone Payton: [00:09:09] And like me, I have no discernible skills, but I have a truck and I have time.
Brian Gamel: [00:09:13] Yeah, that that is so important.
Stone Payton: [00:09:17] Those are stuff in a truck. Run it over to the to the green or whatever or you know, just I can do like the, you know, and it’s good to get out and do a little something physical or whatever. So, I mean, I can be ice guy, so, you know, go get us some ice.
Brian Gamel: [00:09:32] Yeah. And we have a couple volunteers who come every lantern series Saturday morning and roll some tables and put them out. You know, it’s, it’s there’s always something, you know, even if you’re not skilled and all you have is a truck, you can you can probably move at least a table in a couple of chairs. Right. But it’s you know, we we love our volunteers. It is so much fun to work with them. And, you know, we’re we have Camille, who’s doing a great job with it. And we’ve been counting ours because, you know, as an organization, we want to show the work you’ve put in and how that equates to financial or whatever that may be. So the system that we have tracks all of that, but also if you’re within a certain top ten or top 12 for that month or whatever it may be, you might be invited to extra special events.
Stone Payton: [00:10:16] Like.
Brian Gamel: [00:10:16] A preview night for a theater show or whatever that may be.
Stone Payton: [00:10:19] So you’ve got all these new ticketing. Season kind of packages and options. And part of it has been brought brought to bear because you have a new software system that’s more user friendly and all that stuff. Probably a lot easier to manage. Yes. And I think last time we talked, you were just about to install some kind of digital screen TV thingy. Tell us about that.
Brian Gamel: [00:10:42] So that the LED screen is completely installed. So have you been at Ben at Reformation, looked across the street, you can see a giant black wall because it’s not turned on that that we have beautiful picture. We’ve been working with the city on some events that they’ve been doing. So we’ve had, I believe, two movie nights up to this point. There’s another one coming up this month, Harry Potter. So Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on the third Thursday of the month. And we’re super excited to have that. But also we’re going to start having some more events out there like with that. So they’re not technically on the website or anything yet. So there’s still kind of early phases, but we’re talking about having movie nights or selves kind of throughout whenever we can. We’re going to have a couple over December for the holiday movies. Those will not be at night, just a heads up. Those might be more of during the day for the families, but so we’re planning on having a lot more free events out there that, you know, because Lantern Series is a paid ticketed event, because we are a nonprofit that are paying for these artists to come in. But we definitely want to be able to make a lot more accessible and free programing for our community. And what better place than the event?
Stone Payton: [00:11:50] Green So where are you? I forget because we’ve been doing this segment for a while and I can I can remember there’s there’s a period of the year where you go out and source these marvelous acts. Is that is that in the fall when when do you do that?
Brian Gamel: [00:12:05] That’s normally fall winter area. That way we can get everything planned and then we announce next year it’ll be in April. Hold on. Let me do some math. I believe it’s going to be April 15th, if I’m not mistaken, that we’re going to announce all of what’s happening the following August, through the following July. So not 20, 2023, August through July, 2024.
Stone Payton: [00:12:29] So do you go to places where there are your peers from other communities and the acts come to you or do you go to? The acts are a little bit of both.
Brian Gamel: [00:12:38] It’s mostly been conferences from that side of things if we’re going nowhere. I also so we just recently had some radio, phenomenal group. They were a lot of fun, but I found them through an artist we had already had, you know, we had had Sammy Ray in The Friends October of 2020 and follow them on social media, because it’s the best way to kind of figure out who knows who in that industry because everybody knows everybody. Yeah. And then she just said, Man, I love these guys. And I went, Great, we can love them too. So I found their agent, talked to him a little bit, but like Croce and when we had Crystal Bowersox from American Idol, when we had her here, it was it was we were at a conference, Croce, I believe, actually showcase. We got to see him perform. Crystal did not and some of the other ones haven’t. But they we get to see some artist showcase, we get to talk to their agents, but also we get to just talk to whatever agents are there and figure out. It’s just what we normally say is we love the unexpected and high energy. Yeah, because that’s just what we found. Our audience likes and kind of the goal and mission of the Lantern series is to bring different cultures and conversations together. So being able to say, Yeah, I want people to go, I’m not so sure about that chamber soul and then come and have such a phenomenal time. You know, you come to one or two Lantern Series concerts and you’re going to realize you can trust us because, you know, the talent will always be there. And for me, it’s also when if you go, you know what? They were very talented. It’s not my cup of tea, but they were very talented and I’m happy I came.
Stone Payton: [00:14:03] Right. And we still had the shrimp and the wine.
Brian Gamel: [00:14:06] Yeah, exactly. You’re going to have a great time no matter what. But and in all honesty, very rarely recently have we had a lot of the you know, it wasn’t my cup of tea, but, you know, they were very talented. And we’ve had a lot more, I think, open mindedness because we have a lot of returners of like, you know, I’m going to go into this thing and I don’t know what I’m going to get and I’m going to have a great time because I know I will.
Stone Payton: [00:14:26] Well, I got to say, personal experience that has personally happened to me, I’ve opened my mind because, you know, in the old days I was like, yeah, man, I listen to both kinds, country and western. And now, you know, I don’t you if you if you get the email from Libby, which I do want and you want to make sure you get on that email list and get the information from which because they’ll send you an email and check out their website. But I mean, you might see like we’re going to have bluegrass and reggae, you know, I mean, it’s just there is no combination that’s out of bounds.
Brian Gamel: [00:14:54] Oh, yeah, no, for sure. And kind of like you said, I was like, yeah, I’m open to music, I like musicals and I like country. And that’s what I like, that I’m very open to all kinds of music. But you know, by doing this job and by doing it, I used to not like bluegrass at all. I really love it now. Obviously love it now. Yeah. And I specifically love Irish bluegrass too, because there’s a couple of groups that do it and they do it really well, and it’s a genre that’s kind of weird, but it could work. It works really well. So we had a big jam earlier. If it was this calendar year. It’s been a roller coaster of a year. Sure. I think it was in March. We finally had them after the pandemic, forcing them to get pushed back like two or three years. But yeah, it was great having these guys from Tullamore Ireland come in and play some bluegrass.
Stone Payton: [00:15:37] Yeah, yeah. All right. So to plugging in as a volunteer, a website’s a good place to poke around. And there’s probably some some people to contact or reach out or or, you know, what, swing battery’s house and can get you one of those waffles and then ask about it. There’s lots of different ways to plug in, but the website is just a wealth of information. That’s a great place to start it.
Brian Gamel: [00:15:57] Yes, for sure. And the website can give you direct access to our volunteer portal where you can sign up and log in. And Camille does Camille does what we call Visionary 101, because that’s what we call our volunteers, visionaries. They share in the vision of the organization.
Stone Payton: [00:16:09] Absolutely.
Brian Gamel: [00:16:10] But where she’ll give you a tour and talk to you about what’s going on in the organization, show you the entire property, because we have that four and a half, four and a half acre lot that we’re constantly developing. We helped design the playground that’s on the lot, all of those lovely things. But she’ll talk you through all of that and the easiest way to do it is just go on the website and sign up for one of those visionary 100 ones and figure out how you want to get involved.
Stone Payton: [00:16:35] And you can just straight up write a check, too. If you if you have the means and you resonate with the mission and you believe in this, I mean, there may not be an opportunity to buy a brick and a sidewalk anymore. I don’t know about that. But but if you just you can just straight up do that.
Brian Gamel: [00:16:49] And we are a50103. So all that is, I believe, still tax deductible. You can write all of that off even from a business side, from sponsorship standpoint to what we’re right now in sign up in renewal season because the next season starts in August. So yeah, if you’re a business really looking to throw your name on something in downtown Woodstock, we I believe, you know, Chris Van Zandt, he’s signed on to be our presenting partner for the theater suite. So we still have a presenting partnership available for the Reeves house. But then we have other other things you can find out as well. The best person to contact for that one would be Beth. She’s our development manager. So and the easiest way to contact any of us is our name at Woodstock Arts dot org.
Stone Payton: [00:17:30] Well, that’s.
Brian Gamel: [00:17:30] Easy. That’s our agreement.
Stone Payton: [00:17:31] So I love what you guys did. Is it accurate to call it like a rebranding from upstate to to Woodstock Arts? I mean, I think part of the team you had helped you do that is like these are people that did this stuff for like Coca Cola, like big companies and stuff, right?
Brian Gamel: [00:17:47] Yeah. Yeah. We did work with Tom Cox and a little bit with the city as well because he did their rebranding for the Visit Woodstock’s section of the city branding. But yeah, they did great work and Libby’s been able to use that well and to also take the overarching brand and create things in our theater season and to create things with the Lantern series. So everything feels cohesive and smooth. And you know what? Instead of someone getting on the radio and butchering Elm Street Cultural Arts Village, if I had a nickel every time, so that was a mouthful, we’d have a brand new $10 Million Theater. But yeah, now we just have Woodstock Arts because we’re in Woodstock and we do the arts and keep it simple.
Stone Payton: [00:18:29] No, I love it. And of course, now we have a Woodstock arts hat.
Brian Gamel: [00:18:32] Yeah, we are selling merch. You can find out the Reaves House or Lantern Series or.
Stone Payton: [00:18:35] Not in the studio right now because it’s in my personal collection, because I love that hat. I wear it everywhere.
Brian Gamel: [00:18:40] You got one right there.
Stone Payton: [00:18:41] I do. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I give you two. Yeah. Oh yeah. I do have one right by the on air light sweet. You did give me too because. Yes.
Brian Gamel: [00:18:50] Yeah. No, it’s it’s a nice it’s a nice hat too.
Stone Payton: [00:18:53] It is.
Brian Gamel: [00:18:53] It’s a mickey about my hat. So that’s a nice hat.
Stone Payton: [00:18:56] Very cool. All right, before we wrap, let’s let’s leave our listeners this month with some with some key URLs and some key dates just to give them a little quick reminder.
Brian Gamel: [00:19:07] Yeah, for sure. Homegrown is still happening throughout the summer. That’s the exhibit over at the Reeves house. So go in and check that out at any point. All those pieces are for sale. They have actually been going pretty quick. So if you like something, you might want to go ahead and yeah, go ahead and sign up and pay for it. But you would get those at the end of that exhibit. Obviously, we have a concert this weekend. Shoshana Armstrong, she is phenomenal. She’s a Georgia native, does great work. But then we also are kicking off next season with Croce plays Croce, which you might have seen on PBS. And he’s done some great work with that as well. And in the theater we have James and the Giant Peach, and then we’ll kick off next season with a play called Cry It Out. That’s about women who have just given birth and just kind of all of them are in different phases of motherhood. And it’s a it’s a beautiful story. And then we have auditions coming up for Rocky Horror Picture Show or no Rocky Horror Show. It’s not the picture show. There’s there’s a difference. So the live version, stage version of the show.
Stone Payton: [00:20:01] Oh, very cool.
Brian Gamel: [00:20:02] Yeah. So that’s just a few of the things coming up.
Stone Payton: [00:20:04] So check out the site is.
Brian Gamel: [00:20:06] Woodstock Arts dot org. Yeah, not dot org, but yeah.
Stone Payton: [00:20:11] All right. Well, thanks again for coming in and keeping us up to date, man. And I’ll. I’ll see you on the green.
Brian Gamel: [00:20:16] Yeah, see you then.
Stone Payton: [00:20:17] Okey doke. This is Stone Payton for our guest today, Brian Gammel with Woodstock. Arts and everyone here at the Business RadioX family saying, we’ll see you next time on Cherokee Business Radio.