It looks like Charlie Levy and Stateside Presents are getting a major assist with their new spot, The Van Buren.
And it’s from a pretty high-profile company in the live music world.
Earlier this week, Levy and Stateside announced a partnership with billion-dollar concert powerhouse Live Nation on the eagerly anticipated downtown Phoenix music venue, which opens in August.
According to Levy, who also owns Crescent Ballroom and Valley Bar, he’s partnering with Live Nation in order to help make The Van Buren one of the best concert venues in Arizona.
“We're going to work together on the Van Buren,” Levy says. “And obviously our goal is to be the best venue possible. That's always a goal: What can we do to get better and better? And Live Nation is going to help with that.”
Here’s how the partnership will help make that happen.
Levy says that under the deal, Stateside and Van Buren staff will handle day-to-day operations at the 1,900-person venue. They’ll also work with Live Nation on production, management, and promotion.
“We're going to do more of the day-to-day things while literally working hand-in-hand with them on every aspect to gain the knowledge they have and their experience opening and running other venues. Any time [our staff] have any questions, we’ll have an amazing resource,” Levy says. “And they're going to learn from what we do at the same time and make it the best of both worlds.”
Both Stateside and Live Nation will book shows at the Van Buren. Tickets for concerts at the venue are available through TicketWeb, which is owned by Live Nation subsidiary Ticketmaster.
“We'll be bringing in [concerts] together,” Levy says. “They obviously have a lot of connections, to put it mildly, in the booking world.”
Meanwhile, the Van Buren will become one of the numerous venues overseen by Live Nation’s subsidiary company, House of Blues Entertainment, which owns and operates such legendary spots as Irving Plaza and the Gramercy Theatre in New York City, the Hollywood Paladium, and the Tabernacle in Atlanta.
Here in the Valley, Live Nation runs Comerica Theatre in downtown Phoenix and outdoor venue Ak-Chin Pavilion.
“Live Nation owns a hundred venues across the country, like The Fillmore [in San Francisco], the Ace of Spades [in Sacramento] ... the list goes on and on,” Levy says. “So they're an amazing resource that we'll get to work with on a day-to-day basis. We're excited to have that opportunity.”
Levy says that Live Nation will also have an ownership stake in the Van Buren, but wouldn’t get into specifics of the deal.
“I think, at the end of the day, it's not about ego or who owns what,” Levy says. “It's about what can we do to put the best team together and the best operations together to have a great venue for this town.”
It’s not the first time that Levy and Stateside have partnered with others on their venues. They enlisted the help of local restaurateur Tucker Woodbury and chef Chris Bianco when launching Crescent Ballroom in 2011.
“When we started Crescent, we brought in Tucker and Chris to help with every step of the way,” Levy says. “It's better to be a team than an original. So now we have the Live Nation/Stateside team, which is pretty exciting.”
Ultimately, Levy says that the partnership will allow a greater number of bands and artists to be booked at the Van Buren.
“Hopefully, we'll bring all types of shows and a diverse lineup to the venue,” Levy says. “They have all these different people working with rock bands and Latin bands and all these other bands. And that's one of the reasons we're doing this is that we can bring our strengths to the venue and Live Nation is bringing their strengths. Bottom line ... it increases the amount of shows and bands performing at the venue.”
Levy says the partnership will also allow him to reunite with some old friends, more specifically, Live Nation employees like marketing guru Danielle Engel, executive assistant Mary Passarella, and Terry Burke, the president of the company’s Southwest Music division.
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Back in the early ‘90s, all four were employed by now-defunct local promoter Evening Star Presents, which was started by Valley concert guru Danny Zelisko and was purchased in 2001 by entertainment company SFX. It later became part of Live Nation’s empire.
“It’s cool that were going to get to work with Terry and Danielle and everyone over at the Live Nation offices in Phoenix, [who] I've known since I was interning with Evening Star,” Levy says. “[Mary] was who I used to pick flyers up from and I would pass them out in Tempe."
Overall, Levy is pleased with the deal and hopes local music fans will be as well.
“I'm more than happy,” Levy says. “I mean, it's a great opportunity for our team and a great opportunity for the venue. I'm super excited.”