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Live Nation forms New York JV with Bowery co-owner

Following the end of his venues’ relationship with AEG in August, Bowery Ballroom/Mercury Lounge co-owner Michael Swier has joined forces with Live Nation for a new promotion and booking venture.

New York-based Mercury East Presents, described as a “nexus of current and future independently owned and operated venues within” the city’s five boroughs, unites the Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge (pictured), along with Live Nation’s Irving Plaza (1,025-cap.), Gramercy Theatre (499-cap.), Warsaw (1,000-cap.) and Ford Amphitheater at Coney Island Boardwalk (5,000-cap.), under one umbrella.

The newly formed company will also collaborate with festival promoter Founders Entertainment (Governors Ball, Meadows Music and Arts Festival), acquired by Live Nation in April 2016, and assist in bringing acts to Live Nation-aligned Madison Square Garden Company’s major New York venues, including Madison Square Garden, Barclay’s Center, the Beacon Theater and Radio City.

Mercury East will be based at Live Nation’s new east-coast headquarters, on 15th street in New York’s Meatpacking district.

“Mercury East is the ideal partnership, and will allow Live Nation to bring New York’s residents and visitors more music and events than ever before”

AEG Presents (then AEG Live) acquired a stake in Swier’s former company, the Bowery Presents, in January 2017, although the deal excluded Bowery Ballroom (575-cap.) and Mercury Lounge (250-cap.). AEG/Bowery Presents severed its ties with the venues six months later, with Live Nation rumoured to be among those interested in taking over the lease.

The partnership with Swier gives Live Nation a bigger presence in the New York market, which is hotly contested between the two companies: both Live Nation and AEG promote major festivals – Governors Ball and Panorama, respectively – on Randalls Island, while Madison Square Garden is central to the ongoing ‘booking war’ between AEG and Irving Azoff’s Azoff MSG Entertainment.

“Swier and his team are the total package, delivering industry expertise, relationships and landmark venues that complement the greater Live Nation portfolio,” says Michael Rapino, Live Nation president and CEO. “Mercury East is the ideal partnership, and will allow Live Nation to bring New York’s residents and visitors more music and events than ever before.”

“The foundation of Mercury East reaffirms our commitment to quality and streamlines production by officially uniting the venues we own and operate with our key partners,” says Swier. “The team behind Mercury East remains focused on cultivating bands throughout all stages of their success, as well ensuring audiences have a premium experience, from ticket purchase to show’s end.”

 


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Live Nation set to take on two AEG-booked clubs?

Live Nation (LN) could be set to take over two renowned New York clubs after promoter Bowery Presents parted company with the venues it’s named after – The Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge.

The decision by the AEG-owned promoter to quit the venues leaves the door open for LN to expand in the city. A source told Brooklyn Vegan that’s exactly what LN plans to do, although there’s been no official comment.

That would ramp up the battle between LN and AEG, which acquired Bowery Presents in January and quickly set about expanding its portfolio, buying the operating rights to Manhattan’s Webster Hall a few months later.

Bowery Ballroom and The Mercury are owned by Bowery Presents co-founder Michael Swier, who sold his stake in the promoter in 2010.

“After careful thought and consideration, The Bowery Presents is parting ways with The Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge,” Bowery Presents’ John Moore said in a statement.

“We are constantly exploring new opportunities for music-lovers in New York City”

“We have a long history with the venues as the exclusive booking and marketing arm and wish them well in the future. On the heels of our recently-opened Brooklyn Steel, the largest GA room in Brooklyn, and taking over booking duties for Webster Hall, we are constantly exploring new opportunities for music-lovers in New York City.”

LN is expanding in New York City, adding to Manhattan’s Irving Plaza by buying the rights to Brooklyn rock club Warsaw in June 2016 and The Amphitheater At Coney Island Boardwalk a few months before that.

Bowery Presents owns Terminal 5, Rough Trade, the Music Hall of Williamsburg and Brooklyn Steel, while parent company AEG owns Playstation Theater and Forest Hills Stadium.

 


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AEG Live completes The Bowery Presents deal

AEG Live has finalised its agreement to acquire an undisclosed stake in New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents.

The deal – believed to have been close to completion as far back as last April – gives AEG a significant presence in the American north-east, and marks the end of a second independent New York promoter following Live Nation’s April 2016 acquisition of Founders Entertainment.

Bowery partners Jim Glancy and John Moore will, alongside AEG Live’s senior vice-president of the north-east region, Mark Shulman, oversee The Bowery Presents’ operations, including its newest venue, the 1,800-cap. Brooklyn Steel in East Williamsburg. The company books, produces and promotes more than 2,500 events annually.

According to The New York Times, the famed Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge venues are not a part of the deal, as they are still owned by Michael Swier, who sold his stake in The Bowery Presents in 2010.

“We are confident that AEG Live will allow us to run The Bowery Presents autonomously and stay true to our entrepreneurial spirit”

“The Bowery Presents and AEG Live share a passion and commitment to delivering the best music experiences to fans,” comments AEG Live chairman and CEO Jay Marciano. “Jim and John have built an incredibly respected organisation with a proven track record of success and we are pleased that they chose to partner with us. We look forward to working closely with them to further grow The Bowery Presents brand.”

Glancy adds: “We are excited to join forces with the like-minded innovators that make up the AEG Live family. When we started looking at how AEG Live has partnered with other independent promoters, it gave us the confidence that AEG Live will allow us to not only run The Bowery Presents autonomously and stay true to our entrepreneurial spirit, but increase our reach within our existing markets and expand our horizons for future growth.

“Bands and audiences can continue to expect the same music-first experience we’re known for providing.”

 


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