Meet Sean Agnew, Philly’s Live Music Mastermind

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Last week the notorious Sean Agnew (the main man behind R5 Productions, Union Transfer, Boot & Saddle, and Morgan’s Pier in Philadelphia) did an “Ask Me Anything” on Reddit for curious fans and admirers. Agnew makes traveling to North Korea with Dennis Rodman seem like a nonchalant skip overseas and being a hugely successful promoter look easy. Diplo follows him on Twitter. He was one of our first partners (he’s very hip, what can we say), and last we’ve heard, he’s off to Bali for a few weeks. The guy is basically the real life International Man of Mystery. Read more to pick his brain:

Question: Could you describe the work that went into getting R5 up and running? Did you find a room and then try to book bands to play? Was it the other way around? Or did you just want an excuse to meet sweaty punk bands? Thanks for doing this AMA and for helping keep the Philly music scene so strong and vibrant!

Agnew: R5 completely came up from the mid to late 90s punk scene in West Philadelphia. Heavily influenced if not completely ripped off from an older group of show organizers called “The Cabbage Collective.”

In short me and my friends wanted to see bands who weren’t playing Philadelphia. So we found any venue/room/building that would let us set up a show there. Warehouses, art galleries, community centers, church basements. Then we would contact the bands directly. I miss that.

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From the Oval Office to Rock & Roll

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Two of Obama’s closest confidants, Deputy Chief of Staff, Alyssa Mastromonaco and Chief of Staff, Pete Rouse (above, right), have retired from the White House and will be kicking off a new gig that merges both politics AND music. Mastromonaco and Rouse will join Ticketfly’s CEO Andrew Dreskin, among others, on the board at HeadCount, a non-profit that motivates people to register to vote at major music festivals and concerts.

Bob Weir, former front man of the Grateful Dead, also sits on the board, and personally asked Mastromonaco and Rouse to join HeadCount over a dinner at The Hamilton (a Ticketfly partner with killer cuisine), just blocks away from the White House.

“Alyssa and Pete have deep experience in mobilizing young voters. That’s our job here.” – Bob Weir

In their 10th year, HeadCount has registered over 300,000 people, regardless of party (or music preference). This summer, volunteers will trek out to Jay Z and Beyoncé’s joint ‘On The Run’ tour and additional concerts to register even more music fans.

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Coming Soon: The New & Improved Merriweather Post Pavilion

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Out with the old, and in with the new! One of our favorite venues of all time, Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland (home of the Sweetlife Festival and a long history of quality entertainment) is about to undergo an expansive $19 million remodel.

The overhaul starts this fall and will continue for about five years during the off-seasons. The updated and eco-friendly pavilion will have brand new seating, a raised roof around the main stage, and a new stage, concessions, restrooms, and artist dressing rooms.

The deal also includes a 10-year agreement with promoter I.M.P. Presents to manage the venue, according to I.M.P’s Seth Hurwitz:

“I hope it will go from being one of the greatest venues in the world to going on people’s lists as their favorite venue in the world.” 

M.P.P. is already a fave in our book, and we can’t wait to check out the space post-op. As always, they have some amazing shows on the calendar, from Beck to the Mad Decent Block Party, so go and enjoy the original venue one last time before construction starts after summer.

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Ticketfly Tours: Phox, Future, and Uh Huh Her

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Whether you like indie rock or gangster rap, we have tickets to a ton of shows across the nation (and in Canada!). Here are some of the hottest tours of the summer… Find a show near you!

PHOX

PHOX is a six-piece indie/psychedelia/soul/rock band of long-time friends from Baraboo, Wisconsin. Their performance at the iTunes Festival last year in London really put them on the map, and now they’re picking up serious steam in the underground indie scene. PHOX’s self-titled debut LP will be released on June 24, 2014.

PHOX – Slow Motion | Listen for free at bop.fm

6.25: The Riot Room – Kansas City, MO
6.28: Three Links – Dallas, TX
6.30: The Western – Scottsdale, AZ
7.1: The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
7.3: The Chapel – San Francisco, CA
7.5: Mississippi Studios – Portland, OR
7.6: The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
7.9: Hi-Dive – Denver, CO
7.18: Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC
7.19: The Hamilton – Washington, DC
7.21: The Boot & Saddle – Philadelphia, PA
8.7: High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI
8.8: High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI

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The Independent, Rickshaw Stop, and Lights Down Low Make SF Weekly’s 2014 Best Of List

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It feels like just last week we were congratulating our local partners selected as “the Best of San Francisco 2013” by SF Weekly, but the 2014 awards are out. Congratulations to all our partners and friends who made the cut this time around (including Another Planet Entertainment for the hat trick: the Independent, Outside Lands, and the Bill Graham Civic)! These venues and promoters deserve a serious round of applause for keeping the pulse of the Bay upbeat and winning the love of many.

The Independent  Best Live Music Venue
Rickshaw Stop Best Evolution of a Small Music Venue
Lights Down Low Best Party That’s Changed the Most 
Outside Lands Best Combination Music Festival and Excuse to Drink Bottles of Booze You Buried in the Ground Beforehand
The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium Best Big Music Venue
Honey Soundsystem Best Party That’s Been Around for a While
Amoeba Music Best Record Store
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Best Music Festival 

 

Photo Credit: fineartamerica.com

Amazon Executive Joins Ticketfly as COO to Help Scale Business

Steve Oliver Ticketfly COO

Ticketfly is on track to power ticketing and digital marketing for over 120,000 events in 2014, building off the great momentum outlined in our 2013 infographic, and covered by publications like the San Francisco Business Times and Fast Company.

As we continue to grow, we have been bringing on new partners like the Pitchfork Music FestivalBurning Man, and New York City’s Forest Hills Stadium. In order to help us continue to scale our business and apply the best practices in e-commerce and digital marketing, we are very excited to bring on Steve Oliver as Chief Operating Officer, as reported Monday in Billboard.biz and Reuters.

As COO, Steve is responsible for leading the day-to-day business operations at Ticketfly, as well as helping to drive the company’s long-term strategy. He spent 9 years at Amazon in a variety of functional leadership and GM roles, most recently as the Country Manager for Amazon Canada, where he led the Amazon.ca business across all product lines.

Steve is passionate about leading high-performing teams to deliver innovation on behalf of customers, and is excited to use his expertise in e-commerce strategy and operations to bring people together at live events. Steve received his MBA from Stanford and a BSBA from Ohio State. His most memorable live event experience was his first Dave Matthews concert, a three-hour set through a summer sunset.

Steve joins a roster of ticketing industry veterans and technologists at Ticketfly, led by CEO Andrew Dreskin, who co-founded TicketWeb and was part of the team to first sell event tickets online in 1995 at the same time Amazon was pioneering online shopping.

“Steve is joining Ticketfly at the perfect time to help an ever-expanding list of event promoters grow their businesses and improve the live event experience for fans.” – Andrew Dreskin, CEO, Ticketfly

Steve is the latest ecommerce and technology executive to join Ticketfly in the last year to drive innovation and scale operations. Kristina Wallender, VP of Marketing and another Amazon alum, has deep experience in data analytics and digital marketing. Spencer Greene, VP of Product and Engineering, has over 30 patents to his name, many of which he filed at Juniper Networks where he drove product development and strategy. Craig Taylor, VP of Technology, brings deep problem-solving skills honed most recently at Yahoo, some of which he also uses on weekends while volunteering for the Bay Area Mountain Rescue Unit.

Learn more about our team.

Help The UC Theatre Turn on the Lights After Over 10 Years of Silence

The UC Theatre is a historic gem located on University Avenue in Berkeley. Since closing its doors in 2001, Bay Area locals and Cal grads alike have wondered if the theatre would ever bounce back or continue to sit in silence. We’re delighted to announce that the UC Theatre is back as a nonprofit venue, but they need your help turning on the lights!

Show your support. Join the community resurrecting this classic theatre to its original glory. Please donate now (anything helps)! A generous and anonymous donor will match up to $250k in donations.

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The space will undergo renovations this summer to prepare for the grand reopening in 2015. First concerts will be announced in late 2014 with a diverse and vibrant range of genres and performances.

Don’t miss out on upcoming announcements and shows! Follow The UC Theatre on Twitter and like them on Facebook.

Today is a Good Day to Change (All) Your Passwords

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As you may have heard by now, one of the technologies that’s supposed to keep private information secure across the Internet has had unreported problems for a while. During that time it’s possible that attackers may have had access to information we all thought was being transmitted securely – like passwords.

The good news is that none of our consumer or partner-facing systems use the version of OpenSSL that has been affected by the Heartbleed bug, and over the last 24 hours we’ve verified that all our systems are secure against this threat.

However, as your mom always says, you can never be too careful. We strongly recommend that you change your Ticketfly password. It only takes 15 seconds, which is less time than it’s taken you to read this post. (If you log in through Facebook then you don’t have to do anything special on the Ticketfly side; but you should probably change your Facebook password, just to be safe.)

Some of the other sites you use may still be vulnerable. For those sites you will want to change your password after they report having implemented a fix. And remember, when you do change all the rest of your passwords, it’s a REALLY GOOD idea to use different passwords for different sites. We know it’s a pain, but it’s worth it.

Photo Credit: Forbes

Words from our CEO: Remembering Music Industry Legend Mo Morrison

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The music industry lost a close friend on Monday night, and it is with great sadness we grieve the passing of Mo Morrison. We wish the best for his family and all the lives he touched. Here are some words from our CEO Andrew, a great friend of Mo:

Mo was an amazing event producer: calm under pressure, loyal, protective, whip smart and a sheer pleasure to have around.

My good friend Mo Morrison passed away a few nights ago and I feel compelled to say something about him. He was immensely special to me.

I remember the day I first met Mo like it was yesterday. It was 2002 or so. Brian Cooper, my CFO on Field Day, and I met Mo at some Italian joint in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. Steve Lemon, my production manager on Field Day, had to go tend to some family business and could no longer work on the festival. This made me very nervous as we liked Steve and felt like we were in good hands. Steve told us that his partner Mo Morrison would fill in in his stead.

I remember thinking Mo Morrison…like, the Mo Morrison is going to take over production management duties on my festival? Mo’s reputation preceded him. I knew that he spent many years on the road with the Grateful Dead and had worked with artists including Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones and Prince, among others.

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Ticketfly Tours: The War on Drugs, Chromeo, and YelaWolf

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Spring is in full-bloom, and festival season is officially upon us. The best concerts are popping up all over the country, so it was tough to pick only three artists for this month’s Ticketfly Tours. We honed it down the The War on Drugs, Chromeo, and Yelawolf. Whether you’re into indie-rock, funk, or hip hop, we’ve got a show near you:

THE WAR ON DRUGS

Philadelphia indie-rock band, The War on Drugs, is making major waves with their most recent release Lost in the Dream (released March 2014 on Secretly Canadian) and two hour live sets this tour. With Don Henley-esque vocals and hints of Dylan, Petty, and Springsteen, The War on Drugs’ new, energetic sound earned them an 8.8 Pitchfork review, and they’ve already hit the #26 spot on the Billboard 200 charts.

4.7: Crescent Ballroom – Phoenix, AZ
4.8: Club Congress – Tucson, AZ
4.10: Mojo’s – Columbia, MO
4.13: Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY
4.14: The Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ON
4.15: Lee’s Palace – Toronto, ON
4.14: The Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ON
4.18: 9:30 Club – Washington, DC

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