Local live music promoter Zero Mile Presents, which books and operates the Variety Playhouse and Terminal West, has partnered with mega-promoter AEG Presents.
The new deal will expand AEG’s presence throughout the Southeast, while boosting the booking possibilities for the Atlanta venues, as well as the Georgia Theatre in Athens.
“We’re super excited to put a little more leverage behind what we’ve been doing independently for so long and cement more longevity to what we’ve built to this point,” said Alan Sher, vice president of operations for Zero Mile Presents. “The independent promoter model has been shifting the past few years and we’ve seen that pressure at eye level. We’re excited to get a little more firepower behind us and see what we can do.”
In addition to the partnership between AEG and Zero Mile, Atlanta’s Bowery South, which books shows at numerous venues, including Aisle 5, The Earl and The Masquerade, will consolidate to become part of the Zero Mile team.
Scott Orvold, president of Zero Mile, said he thinks the new arrangement will result in an increase in the number and level of artists at their venues.
“The hope is that we’ll add more shows,” he said. “But if we’re doing our jobs, no one will notice anything different as far as the experience of going to a show.”
Orvold noted that many artists sign a “tour deal” with a larger promoter, a package deal for a slew of dates around the country. In the past, that would have thwarted Zero Mile’s booking efforts. But with AEG, the possibilities have widened.
“The hope is to a) get bigger shows through that system and b) hold on to the ones we already have,” Orvold said.
Zero Mile and AEG engaged in talks for about two years before coming to terms on an open-ended partnership that allows the Atlanta promoter to retain control of its programming.
“We’ve been fiercely independent for a long time, and when we started even considering this, everyone in the room was like, ‘Nope. No way.’ But spending time with (AEG North American president) Rick Mueller and other mentors in the industry…we heard from them that (AEG) believed in us, and that was the main thing for us,” said Sher.
Added Orvold, “We were extremely careful to make sure that this is a partnership deal; we’re not losing the ability to run our company the way we want to. I’m sure that there will be people who feel that it’s another indie (promoter) down the drain, but if we didn’t believe what they were saying was true, we wouldn’t do it.”
The Zero Mile portfolio will continue to expand with the addition of The Eastern, the 2,200-capacity venue that is expected to open by the fall of 2020. AEG and Zero Mile will break ground on the venue – located in the Reynoldstown neighborhood and expected to be the anchor of the Atlanta Dairies project – in the next couple of months.
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