Today marks the 20th anniversary of the first show I booked. A local show with friends at Modified Arts downtown, long before I heard the words “Roosevelt Row.” This first flyer didn’t say Psyko Steve Presents on it (that would come a few shows later), but that joke I put on a flyer in high school has now lasted 20 years.
I have worked with more bands than I can count, including some of my favorite artists, and more importantly many that I now call friends. I often say the most rewarding part of what I do is watching artists go from their first shows to becoming real stars. I worked with many of the best acts from AZ over the last 20 years before they released music or started the projects they’re known for. At this year’s Grammys, we’re rooting for two AZ artists that I first booked before they could drive.
Over 20 years I’ve worked with almost every AZ venue, opened my own venue The Rebel Lounge, and produced festivals like 8123 Fest. What started as a hobby grew into a resilient small business with a great staff. Last year our team produced over 600 concerts. I could have never done that on my own, that required a strong team.
Early this year, we brainstormed how to commemorate 20 years of concerts. Soon it was clear none of those ideas would come to fruition this year. In 2020 we put on just 75 shows, the smallest number I’ve produced in a decade.
As I write this, I’m watching a Senate subcommittee hearing on the impact of COVID-19 on live entertainment and #SaveOurStages Act. I’ve spent 2020 dedicated to building NIVA; it’s an honor to work with so many great business owners and professionals from around the US working together to save each other. I just watched Kyrsten Sinema mention the plight of The Rebel Lounge and express her support for saving this industry. Not how I pictured commemorating today.
I’m still optimistic federal aid is coming, and next year can be great for live music. I look forward to getting back to what our team loves and does best – producing some of the best events in AZ.