By Tim Leeds
Havreite's missed opportunity to see a favorite band three years ago has led to some interesting opportunities for her - and for the area.
June Erickson turned that missed opportunity into a job as an agent finding concerts for rock 'n' roll bands. She has brought three shows to Havre, is looking into booking another Havre show this fall, and provided the Havre Jaycees with a chance to make some money selling tickets for a rock festival in Three Forks.
"But you get to know how snaky the business is," said Erickson, the owner of Pardi Gras in Havre. The business can be tricky, but she is learning what - and what not - to do.
The story begins when Erickson and her husband, Ken, who is co-owner of E-1 Towing in Havre, were in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. She saw that the Headpins, a Canadian rock band that went gold with its first album in 1982, were playing in a local club. So she decided to go see them.
"I just loved the Headpins when I was younger, but I kind of forgot about them," Erickson said.
But the Ericksons missed the show. The club owner told her, however, that the band would be playing at a club in Lethbridge a few weeks later. When she called that club, she found out the Headpins weren't going to be there. But that club's owner gave her a number to call to talk to the band herself.
Soon Erickson was setting up a show for the Headpins in Havre on New Year's Eve, 2000.
Headpins drummer Bernie Aubin, who is a tour booking agent as well as a musician, helped her do it.
"I'd never put on a show in my entire life. Bernie told me how," she said.
Then she booked a tour for the Headpins, including another stop in Havre and a show at the three-day Rockin' the Rivers festival in Three Forks. Her resum includes another tour for the Headpins last summer, with another performance at Rockin' the Rivers; four shows she booked for Dr. Hook; and a single Havre show for a new Canadian band, Jack Union, which has since broken up, and a tour for that band including another Havre stop.
Aubin, who has been booking bands for about 14 years, said Erickson is good at setting tours.
"The second tour I didn't have to tell her anything," he said.
Her business experience gives her an edge, he added.
"She's good. She knows what she's doing," he said. "She learned from the best, which is me."
Erickson joined the Havre Jaycees about a month ago. Her connections with Rockin' the Rivers has spilled over to benefit that organization.
The promoter for the rock festival told Erickson the Jaycees could sell the $100 tickets for the three-day outdoor event and keep $10 a ticket for promoting the show in the Havre area.
"We're hoping to make money," said Havre Jaycee Chamene Plum, who is also Montana Jaycees District One director. "It's a great opportunity."
Her husband, Cliff Plum, who is president of the Havre Jaycees, said that opportunity is welcome. The Jaycees have lost about $14,000 over the past three years putting on the annual Independence Day fireworks show at the fairgrounds, he said.
The Jaycees sell small fireworks at a stand to pay for the fireworks show, he said. But lower sales, because of the drought, economic slump and competition, have caused them to come up short, he said.
That means the Jaycees have to tap their other funds to pay for the show, which cuts into their main annual goal - raising money to pay for Christmas shopping sprees for needy children.
The Jaycees have cut back on the fireworks show. The service organization hopes to recover its cumulative loss and build up to a $10,000 to $15,000 show within five years, he added.
Chamene Plum said the Rockin' the Rivers tickets could help them close in on that goal. The concert, slated for Aug. 8-10, includes such performers as Alice Cooper, Loverboy, Starship, The Marshall Tucker Band, former Three Dog Night member Chuck Negron, Led Zeppelin tribute band No Quarter, Pink Floyd tribute band Crazy Diamond, and the all-woman AC/DC tribute band Hells Belles. A variety of more local talent also will perform at the outdoor concert.
Plum said she hopes the Jaycees can help Erickson organize and run some more concerts in the Havre area.
"She does an awesome job getting things taken care of," Plum added.
She said she saw the Headpins perform, and loved it.
"I hope Havre can get more," she said. "It gives everybody in Havre the chance to attend concerts without having to drive four hours to get there."
Erickson is looking into that. She said she has contacted the management of the Havre Ice Dome about booking a concert there, possibly during Festival Days the weekend of Sept. 19-21, or the weekend before. The artists she is contacting about it are Great White, LA Guns and XYZ.
Great White, a concert headliner in the late 1980s, broke into the news with a tragedy this year. A fire started by the band's pyrotechnics display Feb. 20 in a nightclub in Rhode Island killed more than 90 people, including Great White guitarist Ty Longley, and injured more than 180 others.
Erickson said the band is donating money from the tour she hopes to book in Havre to the families of the victims of the fire.
While she has been busy with activities like the possible Havre show in September and getting the Jaycees tickets to sell, Erickson hasn't been booking shows lately. She's been concentrating on her other business - Pardi Gras - which she is expanding. And selling.
She put the business, which she started in 1994, on the market several months ago. But she isn't closing it, she's adding to it - new lines that whoever buys it will buy too. Erickson is adding young women's clothing to go along with her formal wear and balloons, and is dropping her floral line.
She said that will give her more time to spend with her family, including Jessica, 9, Brandy, 7, and Megan, 5.
"It's a lot of work, doing all that I do," Erickson said. "Then I could just stay home and book bands."