Dan Cooper (Left), Ed Sousa (Right) – Photo by Andrew M Clowater
Ed Sousa is in the enviable position of knowing that virtually the moment he puts his Rock N Roll Bowl Session Intimate And Interactive Charity Concert Series on sale, they sell out. Expanded to six events with an additional `surprise show’, this series of shows put members of popular bands in a room at Mississauga Ontario’s Classic Bowl venue, performing before a select audience of just 100 patrons who also participate in a question and answer session with the musicians.
With revenues from each concert being donated to the charity of each band’s choice, it’s hardly surprising that the entire series is snapped up immediately by a fan base which has grown rapidly during the four years this itinerary of events has been scheduled.
Add to this, the McBowl Concert for Ronald McDonald House which in 2020 will be expanded to two nights as it goes into the fifth year of operation, and you have a unique set of events that raises much-needed funds while providing patrons with a set of unique concert experiences.
“It’s not just about organizing concerts, anyone can do that,” explained Sousa. “What I aim to do is provide patrons with a unique experience so there is a direct connection with them donating funds but also getting something special back in return.”
Sousa notes that people have enjoyed the two series of events so much, they have become his strongest sales tool. “The people that attended the first McBowl event five years enjoyed that one-night show so much that they came back and invited their friends. It’s no coincidence that every year, the tickets sell quicker and quicker.”
Tickets for the two-night McBowl events, scheduled for Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23 go on sale February 1 when Sousa will release the names of the artists who will participate in the Friday Classic Rock Bowl and Saturday 80’s Rock Bowl.
As for the interactive series, which has virtually sold out, Sousa has lined up the following groups;
November 3, 2019, A Flock Of Seagulls,
November 24, 2019, Images In Vogue,
January 26, 2020, China Crisis,
February 23, 2020, Bill Henderson (Chilliwack),
March 29, 2020, Strange Advance,
April 26, 2020, Grapes Of Wrath
with a Bonus Show, May 03, 2020,
featuring two surprise bands whose identities
will not be revealed until they actually step onto the stage.
“People know exactly what to expect, they are buying tickets before the artists are even announced,” Sousa mused. “They don’t necessarily know who is playing, but they don’t care, they just enjoy the experience.”
Sousa, the public relations and board of director member at Classic Bowl, feels the McBowl concerts work because having a full-scale stage set-up in a bowling alley is a unique experience. “It’s kind of like Spinal Tap, neither bands nor spectators expect to see such a set-up but there’s an intimacy here that just works.”
Sousa has personally become so popular with his trademark trilby hat that he’s even marketing his own line of merchandise (t-shirts, mug, toques, guitar picks), proceeds, of course, going to charity. He is also active working with other charity organizers having just applied his marketing skills to help raise $10,000 for Dan Cooper’s Royal LePage Shelter Foundation by staging a special sold-out 80’s themed concert Sept.22 at Oakville Ontario’s Performing Arts Theatre featuring The Spoons, The Box and Images In Vogue.
Having raised over $200,000 for Ronald McDonald House during the past five years (the most funds raised by any source outside of McDonald’s restaurants) Sousa is planning to expand future concerts into larger venues to meet an ever-growing demand for tickets. Details to be announced at a later date.
Canadian bands like Honeymoon Suite, The Box, Images In Vogue and The Spoons have been strong supporters of Sousa’s program and his network has now expanded internationally with Mike Score and his A Flock Of Seagulls appearing at McBowl in March and China Crisis set to make an interactive appearance in January.
“A big benefit for me is the personal relationships I have been able to build with the bands,” enthused Sousa. “The bands just love the intimacy of the events and the fan reception they receive. I just pick up the phone and in virtually every case, the bands want to come and play. They love the idea they are giving something back to charity just by performing at a popular event.”
Ticket information for the 2020 McBowl events can be obtained by contacting Ed at firstname.lastname@example.org.