The information below includes FAQs for a normal Tonic Ball event. 2021’s concert will look different. Stay tuned for more details.
Tonic Ball wouldn’t exist without the support of local musicians who’ve decided to generously donate their time to the event. If you’re an artist or performer involved with Tonic Ball, know that we couldn’t do it without you—and we sincerely thank you for helping us in our mission to fight hunger.
If you have any questions about performing at Tonic Ball, check out our FAQ below:
I’ve never played or been to Tonic Ball. What’s it all about?
Basically, a bunch of generous musicians bring their talents to Fountain Square to celebrate iconic artists with cover songs. Each band plays two covers associated with the act that the venue they play feature. So, if a band is at Radio Radio this year, they should play two Pearl Jam songs. If they’re at The Hi-Fi, they should perform two Elton John tunes. Etc. Ticket buyers come, they enjoy the show. And, between ticket sales and sponsors, we net a ton of money that supports Second Helpings.
What is Tonic Ball like for bands?
The Tonic Ball is a pretty unique night of live music. Each year, 60-70 bands volunteer their time to put on a great show to raise money for Second Helpings. We assign a famous artist from music history to each of the five participating venues, then we pack those venues full of local musicians for a really, really big show.
How do I submit my band?
Band submissions for the 2018 Tonic Ball are now open. Click here. Please fill out the form in its entirety. We get a lot of submissions, and this is the best way to make your case.
Who is our point of contact?
Each venue has a production manager and a stage manager. We will assign these fine folks as we near the event. Check back here for info.
Do we get free tickets to the event?
We will provide one ticket for each playing member of your band. We can’t do plus-ones. Your tickets will be at will call under the name of your band’s primary contact.
Please keep in mind that musician wristbands will be a different color than our regular patrons and that all bands must have a wristband to enter the venue. Please get your wristbands BEFORE you load in. If you need to make other arrangements instead of picking up tickets at Will Call, please contact your Production Manager.
What do we do when we arrive at the venue?
Your first order of business should be getting your tickets from will call at the Fountain Square Theatre. Then, check your gear at the coat check inside the front lobby. This area will be staffed with volunteers and security who will store and look after your gear while you enjoy the event. We can’t guarantee the security of your gear if you leave it in the backstage area of a venue.
Where do we park?
Parking in Fountain Square is free almost everywhere. Street parking along Virginia and Prospect is the closest. Please be respectful of reserved spaces behind the venues.
When it’s time to move our gear to the stage, what do we do?
Each venue has a back door for load in. Try to use that before going through the front with your gear. The Fountain Square Theatre, Radio Radio, and The Hi-Fi can be accessed from the rear from E. Morris St. off of Shelby St. The White Rabbit can be accessed off of Shelby as well. We’re still working on details for Pioneer load in, because they’re brand spanking new this year!
Please keep in mind that we plan to close Prospect Street from Shelby to Olive Street for the event. Front access by vehicle will be shut off at 6pm on the night of the show.
What will you provide us with?
Each stage has a supplied PA and a back line consisting of a full drum set, three electric guitar amps, a bass cabinet, and direct input boxes for keyboards, acoustic instruments, etc.
The production manager will be able to tell you specifically what amps we have as we get closer to the date of the show. It is frowned upon to bring your own amps, but if you have to have it, please let us know well in advance so we can make fun of you while we watch you load it in and try to figure out how to get it working while hundreds of people are waiting for your band to get started. No pressure.
Each room will have a house sound tech and stage tech. Both will help you get set up and make sure you’re sounding good. The faster you get ready, the better they can dial you in.
What should we bring?
Bring your own instruments, pedals, and cables. That includes electric pianos, kazoos, etc. Drummers–bring sticks and any other percussive instruments. You are welcome to bring your own snare and cymbals to change out.
We will do our best to supply beer for the green room, kindly donated by Sun King Brewing, but it always goes quickly. After that, you’re on your own.
And be sure to bring your good-time, party attitude. This is very busy event run by a staff of volunteers. So please be patient and help us by being on time and ready to play.
Can we promote the show?
Yes! Please post as much as you can on your Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram queue, and websites. Our bands commonly post rehearsal photos, links to favorite performances by the bands we’re covering, and their favorite Tonic moments. And please always tag our Twitter and Facebook pages and use this event hashtag to make it all more link-able: #tonicball.