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.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.