Park City songwriters team up to book bands
Hareza and Runyon provide networking opportunities
July 14, 2017
One of the challenges of being a professional or semi-professional musician is finding time to write new material.
That's why an additional source of income is a luxury.
Two Park City singers and songwriters Elizabeth Hareza and Shannon Runyon have been able to make a little extra money and free up some writing time through a new endeavor: booking bands at local clubs and eateries.
The two have been working mainly with The Boneyard and Cognition Winery and Bistro, but also book other places in town as well as in Salt Lake City.
The whole thing came about by accident, they said during a joint interview with The Park Record.
"I started booking a few small venues as favors for the venue owners and to help my musician friends and myself to play shows," Hareza said. "Then Shannon, who I book and play gigs with, heard about some other venues that have [live-music] budgets and were looking for someone to take over the booking and scheduling."
Runyon said the venue owners and managers contacted her because they had built a relationship from the different gigs she performed for them.
"So, I asked if I could bring Elizabeth in on the venture because she tours so much and knows a lot of people," Runyon said. "I had been thinking of bringing in some national touring artists to these stages."
The two started working with the venues and artists. Soon they realized how much they enjoyed putting the pieces together.
"The venues were happy, and the artists we booked were happy," Runyon said. "And Elizabeth and I were having a good time, because we were also performing and getting all of these amazing musicians from around the world on stage here."
Hareza, who is a touring musician, wanted to offer traveling artists a string of Park City shows over two to three days.
"I think it's invaluable for all of these touring musicians to book multiple gigs in one place over a weekend," she said. "I know how hard it is to drive 10 hours to play for two hours for only one night and then drive another six hours to the next show the next day.
"So, I think it's great for these artists to come to Park City and play a night and then be able to enjoy the town or take a hike the next day. It's special for us to provide these kinds of opportunities."
Hareza and Runyon started booking shows in earnest last year, and the experience has come with a learning curve.
"We have learned, in many ways, why some venues don't want to hire some musicians," Hareza said with a laugh. "There are some musicians that are hard to work with. What Shannon and I have known as musicians ourselves that it's not about being an artist when you make the business contact. It becomes about being an artist only when you get up on stage to play."
Hareza said she and Runyon aren't trying to step on the toes of other local organizations that book live music.
"That's important to us because we see how hard these other organizations work," Hareza said. "So, it's an honor that Mountain Town Music is listing our bookings on its website (Parkcitylivemusic.com)."
Runyon said she and Hareza have also made new connections through venues such as The Cabin.
"We also work with Junior Richard at The Cabin, which hosts open mic nights every Monday," Runyon said. "We started meeting more musicians, including many who drive up from Salt Lake to play."
Runyon and Hareza also started a Facebook page, PC Musicians (www.facebook.com/groups/1606708539632836/) which allows anyone who comes to Park City to play to connect with others.
"We're working hard not to only get people on stage, but to get musicians to support each other," Runyon said. "There is no competition. If people are playing a show and they want more people to jam with them, all they need to do is post on the page.
The next step for Hareza and Runyon is to name their endeavor.
"We have some different ideas, but people can also visit our personal websites and give us suggestions," Hareza said.
Hareza's website address is http://www.elizabethlive.com, and Runyon's website can be found by visiting shannonrunyon.com.
The two women also have plans for expansion.
"We're thinking of putting together listening rooms, which are similar to a house concert," Hareza said. "You come enjoy a meal and then listen to two 40-minute sets."
"Many people want to come to these listening rooms because they don't want to be in a bar with all the noise," Runyon said. "They want to sit and listen and focus on the stories.
"We can do that in so many ways: art galleries, someone's home or a catering kitchen, any place that has room for a listening audience to enjoy music," Hareza said.