Sonia Grover is a name you might only know if you're really deep in the Twin Cities music scene.
But if you've seen a show at First Avenue, 7th Street Entry, Turf Club, or any of the other spots where First Ave books, you should probably thank her for getting that artist to town.
She is really, really great at it -- worldwide acclaim-level great.
"It was cool," she told GoMN of the honor via phone. "Definitely a surprise. There are so many awesome people nominated."
She said it was her third time being nominated, and the outcome is determined by a jury of her peers who work in the music industry around the country.
Grover started at First Ave in '98 as a booking assistant and eventually advanced to booking manager.
What's a talent buyer? They're the ones who book artists for a venue, Sonicbids explains. They take inquiries from touring acts and communicate with booking agents (which represent the musicians and bands). "I get the call, and we work together to find the best room and the best way to market it," she said.
Grover was going up against four others in her category:
- Ed Warm, who works for multiple venues in the Chicago area, and one in Milwaukee.
- Josh Moore, of Music Hall Of Williamsburg and Terminal 5 in New York.
- Michael Jaworek, who books for The Birchmere in Alexandria, Virginia.
- And Stacie George, of Warsaw, Irving Plaza, and Roots Festival Picnic – all in New York.
And yeah, before they celebrated the win, she gave a speech.
"I was very flustered when I got up there," she said. "I thanked [general manager Nate Kranz] and [owner Dayna Frank] and the team at First Ave. I said 'I can't believe I get paid to do this.'"
More on the awards
Every year Pollstar puts on the Concert Industry Awards, giving out accolades for a wide range of accomplishments.
That includes things most people would notice, like Major Tour of the Year (Adele won this year), Most Creative Stage Production (Beyonce), or Music Festival Of The Year (which went to Life Is Beautiful in Las Vegas).
But it also includes those behind-the-scenes awards for the people who make all of those visible things happen. A few examples: Lighting Company Of The Year went to Upstaging, Booking Agency Of The Year was Creative Artists Agency, and Personal Manager Of The Year was won by Chris Woltman with Twenty One Pilots.
International Venue of the Year went to Le Bataclan in Paris, France – the site of a terror attack on Nov. 13, 2015, that left 90 people dead and dozens more injured.
This year's awards show was the 28th, and was held in Los Angeles.