When Little Giants take to the stage for the inaugural concert at Akron Casino Ohio, the venue can bet that everyone will have a great night. The concert is the first in the casino site’s winter program of events called ‘Light in Winter’ that brings together local and international acts, giving visitors free entry not just to casino games, but to the concerts that will be staged in the middle of the complex, past casino games, beer carts and restaurants.
Musicians at casino sites
For the casino, the event program is strategic. General Manager Thomas Hart said “We’re opening to a younger market and need to create a range of reasons for people to visit.” For the young British musicians, it’s just another gig. Since arriving in the US for their winter tour, almost half their gigs have been in casinos. Singer-guitarist with Little Giants, Sam said “The venues are good and it’s great to have a built-in audience. Seating is close to the stage and two large screens are mounted where everyone in the place, even the balcony, is able to maintain a good view. There’s space for us to get people dancing and we enjoy it, though we sort of know we are there to keep people entertained whilst they gamble. This time next year we want to have built up a larger fan base, playing bigger shows and continue to work hard at what we love doing.”
Akron Casino’s ‘Light in Winter’ program will play host to live performances from other musicians in it’s 800 capacity lounge, all of which are available free to patrons. Half the bookings include bands and singers from the 1980s and 1990s including Everclear, the Ohio Players and Eddie Money among others. But Akron Casino’s ‘Light in Winter’ calendar is also introducing new and up-and-coming musicians where the reception is expected to be strong across all ages.
In recent years there has been a clear shift in opinion to playing casino sites. Previously, regional casino acts were mostly limited unknown crooners and impersonators. Today, the stigma of playing casino and bingo sites is gone. Casino sites provide musicians such as Little Giants with important booking stops whilst they grow their fan base. There are several well-established musicians who have found casino site gigs to be lucrative.
Las Vegas is perhaps the most most famous destination for live music at casino sites that hold ticketed shows in auditoriums large enough to host artists for extended casino site residencies, under multimillion-dollar deals that have secured superstars including Celine Dion and Elton John. Today there are other casino sites outside major cities that have auditoriums large enough to host ticketed shows by other big name acts including Rihanna and Bob Dylan. Little Giants are not yet in that league, though their first single ‘Lately – Love, Love, Love’ in 2015 proved to be a big Summer hit, being played in Ibiza during peak party season. The track, which is signed to Sony Epic, has amassed more than 10 million plays across all their online sites.
Winter events, such as ‘Light in Winter’, offered at Akron Casino Ohio, involve less risk for promoters compared with concerts staged in a traditional theatres as casino sites do not have such a heavy reliance on per-seat sales. The free concerts will be subsidised by mini baccarat tables, and whilst this may not be a sure bet, Little Giants will be playing multiple dates among Akron Casino’s properties, saving them some money. The band have been together for three years and have now adopted an indie dance/house genre, influenced by Mura Masa, the Chainsmokers with a songwriter touch of Ed Sheeran.
The Light in Winter events program is bringing entertainment to the community through casino games and live music options are considered a bonus by the majority. Restaurants at the casino site will also be selling delicious winter fare including hot chocolate pudding, pretzels and plenty of other tasty treats. Spend a night at this wonderful venue, make sure you get there early, to allow time for parking and the commute through the casino to enjoy a variety of concerts, good company and fun.