Las Vegas. It’s been called the “Desert Oasis”, “City of Lights”, and the “Entertainment Capital of the World,” and it has been the star focus of many movies, songs, TV shows, newspaper articles, and more. For decades, Las Vegas has used entertainers to attract tourists, and to keep them coming back for more. Live music has been one of the biggest tourist attractions and has been instrumental in the growth of the city, as well as the venues that call it home.
IAVM member, Pat Christenson, has almost four decades in developing special events in Las Vegas, and has seen the evolution of live music there from a standpoint that very few can claim. He has taken his history in the city, stories of your own venue industry peers and others, and turned it into a book so that all can now have a valuable insight into how Las Vegas became the “Live Music Capital of the World.”
Rock Vegas: Live Music Explodes in the Neon Desert, tells the history of live entertainment in Las Vegas, but the immediate focus follows the explosion of live music in the early 90’s. Christenson, then managing the Thomas & Mack Center and Las Vegas Silver Bowl, booked every event that toured the country, averaging 175 events per year in both venues. From the front lines, he not only witnessed the opening of the floodgates that evolved Las Vegas into one of the top five live music markets in the world, but was an active participant.
It wasn’t an overnight decision to write Rock Vegas for Christenson, now the president of Las Vegas Events (LVE). “I have been involved in live music for over 35 years, and for eighteen years, at Thomas and Mack Center and Sam Boyd Stadium, I did not enjoy the show,” he admitted. “My job was to ensure fans and the bands had a good experience. At LVE, it has been working with producers to move or develop new music festivals, but I have a lot more time to go to concerts. Going to a couple dozen concerts or festivals a year gave me a fine appreciation for live music. The more I thought about it, the more it occurred to me that no one knows how live music developed in Las Vegas. I did. However, until I got into it, I did not know how many great stories went with the evolution of live music in Las Vegas.”
“Rock Vegas gives personal and heartfelt insight of the people, politics, niche environments, and genres of music that have made Las Vegas unique and successful in the live entertainment industry,” said IAVM president, Brad Mayne. “Pat offers intriguing insights and stories of Music Icons disrupting an existing and successful business model to make way for Las Vegas to experience what other communities were already experiencing in North America.”
Rock Vegas is a book from which anyone in the venue management industry can gather many key takeaways. “I also go deeply into how crowd management, production, ticketing, social media and venues evolved,” noted Christenson. “Hopefully, they (venue managers) will get a couple of good laughs as well. A lot of their peers are in it.”
You can find and order/download Rock Vegas: Live Music Explodes in the Neon Desert online though Amazon or pick up a signed copy at VenueConnect at the MGM Resorts International at booth 156 on the Trade Show Floor!
Members who have reached the next milestone of their membership, 5, 10, 15, 20, etc. are receiving an updated lapel pin and wall certificate in the mail. The project is very large; it will take several weeks to complete. Right now, we are working on 2015-2017. The new brand is reflected in the letter and wall certificate. Recipients who reached this milestone in 2017 are listed on the website with the Member Tenure Recognition listing at http://iavm.org/membership-tenure-recognition. Each year, the list is updated as it reflects the year that the milestone is achieved. These members will be recognized at VenueConnect in Nashville. Thank you for your many years of membership and service! Contact Member Services at email@example.com if you have any questions.
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John Platillero, founder & CEO of EventBooking, gives a summary of his second week on the “Road to VenueConnect,” a series of workshops he and two other EventBooking staff members are hosting in 17 cities across the country. Complete with a company-branded RV, their tour of workshops will conclude at the IAVM VenueConnect conference in Nashville. There, they’ll present the insights they’ve gathered and stories from the road.
We just completed the second week of our Road To VenueConnect trip, and loving all the wonderful people we’ve met along the way. We have logged over 3,000 miles so far, and aside from a few hubcaps falling off here or there and a lack of hot showers, the RV is holding up well. What’s even better is the fact that my traveling companions, Charlie and Kalyn, have not tossed me off the bus (yet)!
One truth that solidifies with each stop is that it is SO good to meet people face-to-face; to shake hands, see their venue, or in the case of Golden 1 Center—smell their venue (they program distinct scents to be emitted in each of their luxury club rooms). It has been invaluable to meet personnel in various departments and hear how they interact with each other. It’s also fascinating to hear the discussion that unfolds between venues of different types and sizes, as they discover commonalities and concerns they all share.
One technological pain-point we’re hearing in every conversation is the fact that everyone is buried in email. It’s interesting to note that in the evolution of communication, email is what initially saved us from multiple faxes and unnecessary phone calls. In 2017, however, it’s the primary mode of business communication and can be overwhelming with multiple threads for small details. Especially in this industry, people create dozens of folders within Outlook and become experts (by necessity) at word searches to try and find what they are looking for (cue the U2 song).
Our gears are turning as a result of each discussion and we are excited to eventually return home to brainstorm ideas for how we can make everyone’s day a little better and more simple.
In the meantime, we’re making our way to Phoenix, Albuquerque, Oklahoma City, Fayetteville, Memphis and Nashville!
To join us at one of our stops, please visit here.
Mark Haley, president of Smart City Networks, knows that a busy trade show floor does not have to be a chaotic one when it comes to the use of mobile devices that often create a bad experience for those who spend precious dollars to be part of a major trade show.
“As technology takes on new formats and new challenges, it also challenges some of our business models that we have in place,” said Haley, who will present a session at VenueConnect called “Venue Chat: Working with the FCC: Common Sense Rules for Wi-Fi in Public Venues,” on Tuesday, August 8. “Wireless in particular has been kind of the wild west out there on the trade show floor.”
To counter the situation, IAVM has successfully worked with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to establish, and approve as an industry best practice, Common Sense Rules for Wi-Fi usage in public assembly venues.
The work was done as part of the Communication Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council (CSRIC). The CSRIC is a Federal Advisory Committee that provides recommendations to the Commission regarding best practices and actions the Commission can take to ensure optimal security, reliability, and interoperability of commercial and public safety communications systems.
The CSRIC’s Working Group 9 was tasked with developing, for CSRIC’s consideration, recommended best practices for promoting enhanced security for networks and devices utilizing Wi-Fi spectrum bands. Members of the Working Group included representatives from various industries, including telecommunications providers, higher education, wireless equipment manufacturers and the events industry.
In addition to IAVM President/CEO Brad Mayne, CFE, others from IAVM’s Wi-Fi Coalition who participated in the Working Group included Scott Craighead, Vice President of Exhibitions and Events for the International Association of Exhibitions and Events, Mark Sims, Chief Information Officer at the Javits Center, and Haley.
“The Enforcement Bureau within the FCC interpreted the rules regarding radio jamming to include the access points of a wireless network,” Haley said. “They broadcast a signal just like a radio or radio station. Smart City and others in the industry (hotels and other convention centers) were cited by the FCC for utilizing the ‘deauthentication’ containment features that are standard network management features built into FCC approved wireless equipment. They claimed that we were ‘jamming’ other rogue devices to force them to buy our services. Obviously, we disputed that).
“This is the first initiative within the industry to try to put some basic rules around it. Some of it was forced by the FCC’s activities, but some of it was just needed to help manage the trade show floor with all these tens of thousands of devices that are coming onto the show floor.”
It is an initiative that Haley said impacts the convention center world the most.
“Convention center exhibit halls are the largest example of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and the Enforcement Bureau’s ruling only told us what we couldn’t do in terms of network management,” he said. “The route we (IAVM) took was to work through the policy making side of the FCC to get blessing on what we could do to manage the wireless environment of the convention space.”
Haley said that that “just like there are rules on the floor about no helium balloons and popcorns and different rules,” that the group wanted to establish some rules that made sense and would offer an opportunity so most people could connect as easily as possible while at the same time understanding that there have been disruptions and fellow exhibitors were disrupted.
“I think it’s just the start of trying to establish some basic rules and how to handle technology moving forward in these very congested and very dense spaces at convention centers,” Haley said.
Haley cited as a primary disruption example when an exhibitor might bring a wireless device to broadcast from his booth.
“They will broadcast not knowing the situation,” he said. “They have this wireless, rogue device broadcasting at its highest power. It will interfere with other exhibitors around them. That’s really the biggest challenge that we have in trying to fight back and make sure that others aren’t being disrupted become someone either doesn’t want to follow the rules or because they don’t understand how technology works and they don’t know that they’re doing that. That’s the biggest challenge we have is to put some organization and rules out there that people can understand when things like this happen. It’s really interference.”
The best way to create understanding, of course, is education, which is why Haley is happy to be presenting.
“In terms of rules, it’s really just about education and knowing what devices you’re bringing on to the trade show floor and also educating the show manager because these are exhibitor rules they must understand in going over with exhibitors,” he said. “We as a company are not going in to a trade show to try to police the show floor. It’s not our space. That’s why we wanted to have these accepted throughout the industry.”
For now, Haley said that in addition to broadcasting the level of the broadcast is also a problem.
“Too high a level is bad,” he said. “It is as if you had a boom box in the middle of the show floor and turned it up to the highest level that you wouldn’t be able to hear for 20 booths around you.”
The objective of the FCC CSRIC Working Group 9 on “WiFi Security” can be found on page 5 of the final report at the link below. The approved Common Sense Rules can be found on pages 20-22 of the final CSRIC Report at this link.
While spending part of his career as director of business development for Nationwide Medical/Surgical, Peter Secord had an up-close look at the world of group purchasing, a process that can be described as buying facility essentials in bulk at discounted prices.
“I basically recognized that in the world of professional sports and within venues that these events take place that there was not a group purchasing program,” said Secord, who took a leap by starting his own company, RedZone Group Purchasing, in January 2012. “Now, I have a third of the NFL signed up. I started focusing on stadiums, arenas, performing arts centers, and convention centers. Because IAVM has such a presence in that world, I came to Dallas a couple of months ago and sat down to discuss how this could benefit even IAVM. We talked about how my company could fit in to the IAVM community.
“I spent most of my career in sales, and although I don’t have anything I’m selling, I’m selling a free program.”
It is a program that continues expanding as more venues become members of RedZone Group and take advantage of cost savings from 25 percent to 60 percent in purchasing buys. In short, the program reduces expenditures for great financial performance at no cost.
RedZone Group Purchasing offers directors and managers of arenas, stadiums and convention centers access to a nationwide group purchasing program. The purchasing program brings buying power to all members though procurement agreements focused on sports medicine, food and beverage, facility maintenance, office supplies and equipment rentals.
Brian Liivak, director of operations at the SMG-managed Tucson Convention Center, said that he was able to identify multiple projects that could be completed in a more cost-effective manner through RedZone.
“One was an AED purchase for the Dominion Arts Theater,” he said. “If we used our current provider it would have cost over $8,500 to purchase four new AEDs, but by leveraging the purchasing power of the GPO we were able to get a reduced price directly from the equipment provider, Phillips. We had a cost savings of over $4,000. Another project we looked at was the LED bulb replacement of all the marquee lights at the same building. Unfortunately, this project was completed prior to us establishing the relationship with RedZone but had we used their pricing advantage we would have saved over $3,000 on this project.”
Secord likes to point out other examples, including the purchase of Herman Miller Chairs for executives at the Spectrum Center, home to the NBA Charlotte Hornets.
“They called and said they wanted to buy some chairs for their executives,” Secord said. “I told them that we had a contract with Herman Miller Chairs and to just let me know what kind of chair they wanted to buy. They gave me a description and name and we put them in touch with a local furniture dealer in Charlotte. They bought the chairs and saved 58 percent.”
Secord said that purchasing often gets overlooked at public assembly venues.
“The fact is that purchasing is a really big deal,” he said. “There is an assumption that you do your best, negotiate with your vendors as best you can. You do that and there’s no reason to mention purchasing. I say timeout here! Purchasing is a big deal. It is something that can be improved upon. When we can save the SAP Center arena in San Jose 28 percent and they are using the same user name, password and vendor, to me that screams opportunity. The folks in Charlotte saved 58 percent on Herman Miller Chairs, and they don’t pay anything to be a member.
“I have been in sales so I don’t ever like to use the term no-brainer or if it sounds too good to be true it usually is. That is true. RedZone gets paid by the manufacturers, who pay a fee to the group purchasing organization.”
Secord noted that some of the name companies that are part of RedZone include Cintas, Grainger, Best Buy, Orkin, Tennant, SupplyWorks, Office Depot, Staples, US Foods, Johnson Controls, SimplexGrinnell, Sears, Tyco, and more. In other words, businesses that provide products that those in the public assembly venue world use.
Liivak cited an example with Grainger that was obviously received favorably by his bosses in Tucson.
“We were able to get discounts with Grainger and initiate a relationship with our local rep,” he said. “After working in Richmond for over two years, we had never met our Grainger rep, but as soon as I associated our local account with the RedZone account he set up a meeting with us to discuss our options moving forward.
“The rep gave us an across-the-board discount, additional categorized discounts for items we frequently purchased as well as informed us of all the safety and service audits they could provide or coordinate for us as a valued customer. It was an amazing turnaround for a company that we only used in worst-case scenarios due to their high pricing.”