HARD founder Gary Richards Joins Randy Phillips at LiveStyle

By Lars Brandle

Originally Published in Billboard on September 5, 2017

It’s official: HARD founder Gary Richards has joined LiveStyle, where he takes duties as president of the EDM promoter’s North America activities.

Richards, who DJs under the moniker Destructo, founded HARD Events in 2007 and has spent the past decade creating and curating the company’s lineup of parties, which include the festivals HARD Summer, HARD Day of the Dead, and the Holy Ship cruise.

In 2012, Live Nation acquired HARD Events and Richards stayed on until August of this year, when he confirmed that his relationship with the live entertainment giant had ended. His jump to LiveStyle was the source of some conjecture at the time.

Randy Phillips, president/CEO of LiveStyle, said Richards was the perfect fit for the company, which emerged out of the troubled electronic music powerhouse SFX Entertainment.

“When Chuck Ciongoli and I took over the former SFX… we rebranded it LiveStyle to signal that a new vibrant business was emerging debt-free with some of the greatest assets in the live entertainment industry,” comments Phillips, the former AEG Live chief who helped lead SFX out of bankruptcy. “To complete our executive suite,” he adds, “we wanted to bring some real authenticity to the management of LiveStyle, and no single candidate to be the president of North America fulfills this role better than Gary Richards.”

Securing the talents of Richards was a ”delayed goal” for Phillips who admits he tried to cut a deal with him 10 years ago when he was running AEG Live. “Not only is he an accomplished working DJ, he is a very astute businessman with an affinity to his fellow artists.  With Gary on board, LiveStyle is prepared for creative and strategic growth in the years ahead.”

Richards intends to create new festival concepts and cruises with his new employers. “We will continue on the path that I created with the HARD and Holy Ship brands,” he enthuses in a statement.

Hard Events Founder Gary Richards Named President, North America of LiveStyle, Formerly SFX

By Jem Aswad

Originally Published in Variety on September 4, 2017

Gary Richards

Hard Events and Holy Ship! founder Gary Richards, who recently parted ways with Live Nation after five years, has been named North America president of LiveStyle, the company formed from post-bankruptcy SFXLiveStyle president/CEO Randy Phillips announced today. In the newly created position, Richards will be responsible for working with all of LiveStyle’s current U.S. festival operations, developing and launching new brands and activities on the West Coast.

Phillips commented, “When Chuck Ciongoli and I took over the former SFX, the global leader in electronic music festivals and the parent company of Beatport, we rebranded it LiveStyle to signal that a new vibrant business was emerging debt-free with some of the greatest assets in the live entertainment industry.  To complete our executive suite, we wanted to bring some real authenticity to the management of LiveStyle, and no single candidate to be the President of North America fulfills this role better than Gary Richards, of Hard and Holy Ship fame.  In fact, this is a delayed goal for me since I tried to make a deal with Gary 10 years ago while I was running AEG Live.  Not only is he an accomplished working DJ (DJ Destructo), he is a very astute businessman with an affinity to his fellow artists.”

Richards said, “Randy Phillips has been a trailblazer in the music and entertainment industry for as long as I can remember. Having known Randy personally for many years, I’m excited that the stars have aligned and I’m able to build a new platform for live music with him.  I look forward to coming on board as President of LiveStyle and have a much larger role to play in the music community. Their portfolio of brands such as React, Made Event/Electric Zoo, DDP and Beatport to name a few is an incredible place to start from and build. In addition, I plan to create new festival concepts and cruises at LiveStyle.”

Richards broadly hinted in an interview with Variety earlier this year that he’d be leaving Live Nation, and he made the announcement days before this year’s Hard Summer festival, which featured Snoop Dogg, Justice, Migos, Dog Blood (aka Skrillex and Boyz Noise), Bassnectar and many others. The festival had been marred by deaths in its two preceding years, but this summer’s installment — which underwent a last-minute venue change, moving from the Fontana Auto Club Speedway to the Live Nation’s Glen Helen Amphitheater — went comparatively smoothly, despite 19 hospitalizations and 107 arrests (actually those numbers are down from previous years). However, the festival drew just 77,500 people over two days, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department — a dramatic drop from 2016’s tally of around 146,000. However the festival received many positive reviews from media and attendees and Richards, who is a widely respected DJ operating under the name Destructo, played a well-attended valedictory set during the festival, which may be his last (owing to the terms of his deal with Live Nation).

Richards’ influence on the contemporary dance-music scene has been vast — Hard is of one of the genre’s biggest promotion companies and he’s a veteran of several record labels, as well as his frequent work as a DJ. After launching the original Electric Daisy Carnival in 1991, he handed off the brand to fellow dance maven and (sometimes) friendly rival Pasquale Rotella to take a job as Rick Rubin’s dance-music A&R at Def American Records. (Rotella has since developed Electric Daisy into North America’s biggest dance-music festival.) After several years at labels and a period of working with his brother Steven (who managed Slipknot and died of a brain tumor in 2004), Richards launched the first Hard show on New Year’s Eve, 2007. Over the ensuing years, the company’s rocket-like growth matched that of dance music, and it was purchased by Live Nation in 2012 for an undisclosed price; Rotella’s Insomniac Events came under the same roof the following year.Yet for all the success, Richards’ stint at Live Nation was rocky. Two concertgoers died of drug overdoses at 2015’s Hard Summer and three died last year; MDMA (aka ecstasy) toxicity, the main culprit, was exacerbated by heat of the Southern California summer sun. And his situation at Live Nation was complicated enormously by his ferocious rivalry with Rotella, which has flared into the open many times over the years.

Chuck Ciongoli, Randy Phillips​, Gary Richards & Made Event's Michael Julian ​ at "Electric Zoo: the 6th Boro" at Randall's Island Park in NYC.

From left: Chuck Ciongoli, Randy Phillips​, Gary Richards & LiveStyle/Made Event’s Michael Julian ​ at “Electric Zoo: the 6th Boro” at Randall’s Island Park in NYC. (Photo by aLIVE Coverage on behalf of ElectricZooFestival.com​)

Hard Events founder Gary Richards finds a new home with LiveStyle

By August Brown

Originally Published in Los Angeles Times on September 4, 2017

When Gary Richards walked off the stage after his DJ set at Hard Summer last month, he knew it would be his last performance at the festival he founded 10 years ago.

Just weeks later, however, Richards is ready to announce his new gig.

The promoter behind one of L.A.’s largest — and sometimes controversial — electronic dance music festivals will be joining the EDM firm LiveStyle as president of LiveStyle North America.

The new firm, led by former AEG executive Randy Phillips, is a resuscitated version of the bankrupt promoter SFX Entertainment, which produced a large coterie of EDM festivals and concerts around the world.

“It’s been a crazy 10 years, I don’t know if I’ve really processed it all yet,” Richards said. “I’m definitely looking forward to the future and taking on new tasks.”

Under Richards’ stewardship, Hard Events hosted popular festivals such as Hard Summer and also grew to encompass an in-demand dance cruise, Holy Ship. Hard Summer, despite some ups and downs, solidified itself as the definitive dance festival in L.A. It helped launch the careers of superstars such as Skrillex, Diplo and Deadmau5.

“I should be doing more than one show and one cruise,” Richards said. “Working with these guys, they have thousands of shows around the globe. I wanted to be involved with more fests and projects, and it seems like a natural progression.”

The move is a thorough reset for Richards after parting ways last month with Live Nation, the concert promotion behemoth that bought Hard Events in 2012.

In his new role, Richards will be tasked with creating and producing festivals in North America (concentrating on the West Coast) and consulting with LiveStyle’s global properties, which include major European, Asian and South American dance music festivals such as Electric Zoo, Life in Color, Defqon.1 and Mysteryland.

Richards’ move to LiveStyle arrived at an opportune time for each. LiveStyle — which also owns the music-download portal Beatport — emerged from the ashes of SFX Entertainment, the firm formed by embattled promoter Robert F.X. Sillerman that declared bankruptcy last year after a highly leveraged buying spree of regional dance music promoters.

Previously, Phillips was CEO of the music firm Global Entertainment after 13 years as president and CEO of AEG. He led the transition to LiveStyle after SFX’s bankruptcy, admitting that SFX’s old gold-rush mentality was “basically a stock play” more than an attempt to build a viable network of rave promoters.

“I don’t want to sugarcoat it,” Phillips said. “That was the original intent of [SFX]. What we’ve done [with LiveStyle] is create a corporate culture where there was none. The idiosyncrasy of [Richards] was what attracted me to bringing him in.”

Richards’ move to LiveStyle brings a proven, popular festival promoter into Phillips’ fold, where he hopes to create a viable third major concert promotion firm on the dance-music festival circuit in North America.

In an earlier interview with The Times this year, Richards admitted that he had already been reassessing his relationship with Live Nation, which also owns a large share of Insomniac, the Electric Daisy Carnival promoter founded by Richards’ longtime rival Pasquale Rotella.

“I just want to grow and be able to have more influence in the industry,” Richards said. “This company [LiveStyle] has multiple divisions like Hard instead of having one little division. Now I have a lot more babies to tend to.”

As a performing DJ as well, he feels he has unique insight on all sides of what makes a successful show. “With the right guidance, these things can all do really well, because I’ve been there,” he added.

Hard Summer’s rapid growth from a one-off New Year’s Eve party in 2007 to a defining SoCal event proved that Richards’ vision for a mix of EDM, hip-hop and underground club music could drive a devoted audience. His popular rave cruise Holy Ship was also a scene favorite.

At LiveStyle, Phillips said, Richards will bring that credibility and loyal crowd to the revamped firm, while getting a chance to start anew outside the Live Nation mantle.

Hard Summer (and its sister festival Hard Day of the Dead) had faced criticism from L.A. county officials after two fans died in 2015 after attending the event at the Pomona Fairplex. The fest then moved to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, where three fans died in 2016, prompting another move to the Glen Helen Amphitheater in San Bernardino just weeks before the 2017 edition (this year’s festival saw no reported deaths).

“There have been issues with EDM events in general, there have been deaths and we don’t shy away from that,” Phillips said. “But the way EDC was pushed out of L.A. into Las Vegas, I’m not sure that was good for L.A. The [economic] impact on Las Vegas is very substantial, and it was L.A. County’s loss that they couldn’t find a way to make that work.”

Could this mean a Richards return to L.A.?

“In Gary’s case, it did push him out to communities that want these events,” Phillips said. “But Gary is such a straight shooter and actually has a good relationship with the county supervisors, I believe he will get back into L.A. and do events here.”

Live Nation will maintain control of the Hard Events brands after Richards’ departure. Hard Summer fans waiting for Richards’ next projects can likely expect a new summer festival from him in the near future.

“I’m definitely thinking about it, that’s part of the reason for the change,” Richards said. “After 10 years I’ve been doing Hard, it’s time for something new. It’s nice to be able to hit reset and start something new that’s not cemented in people’s heads. I can take all that experience and make it better.”

It may take time to get back to the scale of Hard Summer, and LiveStyle isn’t yet in a position to rival Live Nation or AEG (the latter of which is the parent company of Goldenvoice, which produces the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival).

But in the dance music sphere, where LiveStyle is already well-established in Europe and elsewhere, it could quickly be a major player in the U.S. with West Coast complements to fests like Electric Zoo in New York and Spring Awakening in Chicago.

Both Richards and Phillips said that the fresh start should mean a return of Richards’ festival vision to Los Angeles, and a clean slate for each promoter.

“I’ll give it to you in three words: smaller, better and then bigger,” Phillips said.

ELECTRIC ZOO: THE 6TH BORO – NYC’S BIGGEST LABOR DAY WEEKEND PARTY – CONCLUDES BIGGER & BETTER THAN EVER

ELECTRIC ZOO: THE 6TH BORO
–NYC’S BIGGEST LABOR DAY WEEKEND PARTY AT RANDALL’S ISLAND–
CONCLUDES BIGGER & BETTER THAN EVER
FESTIVAL SET TO RETURN IN 2018
FOR ITS 10TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION
Event photos available here.

Credit: aLIVE Coverage on behalf of ElectricZooFestival.com

 

Social media handle and hashtag to share are:
@ElectricZooNY
#EZoo2017
One of LiveStyle‘s flagship festivals, ELECTRIC ZOO, completed its ninth annual turn as Electric Zoo: The 6th Boro on Randall’s Island in NYC over this past Labor Day Weekend. Over three days (September 1-3), 90,000+ fans attended New York’s largest and longest-running electronic music festival which was headlined by DJ Snake, Above & Beyond, deadmau5 & Eric Prydz, ZEDD, Galantis and Armin van Buuren.
NYC’s biggest Labor Day Weekend party took place in the 6th Boro, where fans danced to some of the world’s biggest artists across five never-before-seen stunning stages reflecting zoo and NYC themes (an elephant, aquarium and 6th Boro subway stop) with breathtaking light shows and spectacular pyrotechnics, interactive installations and art, 30+ New York’s best food vendors and much more. New friends and magical memories were created in this utopian dance-tropolis under the lights of the New York City skyline.
Attendees were also treated to curated stages by European nightlife brands Awakenings and the ‘Bollywood’ themed elrow (for their only North American festival appearance) as well as artists Jauz and Dada Life, who used ELECTRIC ZOO to catapult their respective brands, Off The Deep End and Dada Life Compound, into the festival space. In all, almost 100 DJs performed over the weekend.
ELECTRIC ZOO: THE 6th BORO-an homage to NYC, the Greatest City In The World-proved to be the most successful Electric Zoo since 2014 when LiveStyle (previously SFX) added the festival and its parent company Made Event to its portfolio. The brand has enjoyed two years of sustained growth and is proof that electronic music is alive and well in the Greater New York Metropolitan area.
Look for ELECTRIC ZOO to return in 2018 to celebrate its 10-year anniversary.
Check out ELECTRIC ZOO: THE 6th BORO reactions from the press and performers:
“…Electric Zoo 2017 brought sunny skies, comfortable dancing temperatures and plenty of memorable moments from the heavy bass drops of Sub Focus to the 138-bpm, ’90s-style trance of Armin van Buuren. Even with a massive crowd and some mud from the previous day’s rain, the last day of the 6th Boro-as this year was themed-turned upside down, inside out and grooved to the endless beats. “
 – Zoe Levy, Time Out New York (9/4/17)
“Day 3 brought Elrow to the Hilltop Stage, a three-hour Dixon set, deadmau5and Eric Prydz going back-to-back to close out the mainstage and leaving all mainstream music behind, Jauz  hosting his own Off The Deep End stage and much more…
you will be hard pressed to find someone frowning at the end of that.”
– Ryan Middleton, Billboard (9/4/17)
“There are five stages at EZoo 2017, and on Friday 28 different acts–including Snails, DJ Snake, Dada Life, and Sasha & John Digweed–made the big crowds shuffle, bounce, head-bang, mosh, or bliss out, depending. The main stage comes complete with a massive elephant head, and the two other smaller outdoor venues feature an aquatic theme (the “Riverside” stage) and a “gritty graffiti” vibe at 6 Pointz…EZoo has the whole festival thing down pat, and the day was a total blast.”
 – Scott Lynch, Gothamist (9/2/17)
“Electric Zoo: The 6th Boro absolutely exploded with talent over the weekend as DJ Snake, Galantis, Dada Life, Sasha & John Digweed, Above & Beyond, ZEDD, Excision, Seven Lions, Armin van Buuren, Jauz, deadmau5 b2b Eric Prydz and so many more hit the stage! That’s really just scratching the surface on the amazing mix of music and artists the festival experienced with its 9th installment.”
– Katie Powell, Your EDM (9/4/17)
“You’re beautiful @electriczoony”
Armin van Buuren, via Twitter (9/2/17)
“Was fun being back in NYC with @sashaofficial for @electriczoony tonight.”
John Digweed, via Twitter (9/1/17)
About Electric Zoo
Established in 2009 by Made Event, the internationally renowned Electric Zoo Festival is one of New York City’s largest music festivals and features the top names in electronic music, bringing a wide variety of acts from around the world and across the spectrum of electronic music’s various sub-genres. International editions of Electric Zoo have taken place in Mexico City, Tokyo, Shanghai and São Paulo, with further expansion underway.
About Made Event
Made Event, a LiveStyle, Inc. company, is a premier producer of electronic music events and the creator of the Electric Zoo Festival. Having produced hundreds of memorable events in New York City, Miami and elsewhere around the globe, Made Event continues to set the bar for quality electronic music events. For more info, please visit www.MadeEvent.com.
About LiveStyle
LiveStyle, Inc. is the largest global producer of live events and digital entertainment content focused on electronic music culture. LiveStyle’s mission is to provide electronic music fans with the best possible live experiences, music discovery, media and digital connectivity. LiveStyle produces and promotes a growing portfolio of world-class festivals and live events that includes leading brands such as Mysteryland, Sensation, Electric Zoo, Disco Donnie Presents, Life in Color, Rock in Rio, Nature One, Mayday, Decibel, Q-Dance, Awakenings, and React Presents, as well as the innovative ticketing service Paylogic. In 2013, LiveStyle launched TomorrowWorld, the first international version of the Tomorrowland festival, and we continue to work with our partners to bring Tomorrowland to new territories outside of Europe and to return to the USA and Brazil. LiveStyle also owns and operates Beatport, the trusted global home of electronic music where fans, DJs, and creators connect, discover and participate in the evolution of dance music culture.
For information on Electric Zoo, please visitwww.electriczoofestival.com.
Official images for ELECTRIC ZOO available here.
Credit: aLIVE Coverage on behalf of www.electriczoofestival.com
Press Releases & More Information Here
For more information on ELECTRIC ZOO, contact:
MSO PR 818-380-0400
Alexandra Greenberg agreenberg@msopr.com

SPRING AWAKENING ANNOUNCES 2017 OFFICIAL AFTER PARTIES

SPRING AWAKENING ANNOUNCES 2017 OFFICIAL AFTER PARTIES

Tickets On Sale Wednesday 5/24 at 10am CST!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 22, 2017  –  Spring Awakening Music Festival (SAMF) is thrilled to announce this year’s official after parties! Tickets to all afters will go on sale this Wednesday, May 24th at 10am CST. From Chicago’s most popular and intimate nightclubs including the MID, Prysm, Smart Bar and Sound-Bar, to concert venues like the legendary House Of Blues and Concord Music Hall, there are a plethora of shows throughout the weekend to keep the party going after the festival ends. 3-Day SAMF passes are almost sold out so grab your tickets now if you haven’t already.

THURSDAY 6/8:

  • SAMF Official Pre-Party: Datsik – The MID – Tickets available HERE

FRIDAY 6/9:

  • Keys N Krates (DJ Set) – Concord Music Hall – Tickets available HERE
  • Afrojack – Prysm – Tickets available HERE
  • Bingo Players – Sound-Bar – Tickets available HERE
  • Marshmello – The MID – Tickets available HERE

SATURDAY 6/10:

  • Axwell ^ Ingrosso – Prysm – Tickets available HERE
  • Diplo – The MID – Tickets available HERE
  • Excision – House Of Blues – Tickets available HERE
  • GRiZ – Concord Music Hall – Tickets available HERE
  • Moon Boots – Smart Bar – Tickets available HERE

SUNDAY 6/11:

  • Headhunterz – Sound-Bar – Tickets available HERE
  • Jauz – The MID – Tickets available HERE
  • Martin Garrix – Prysm – Tickets available HERE
  • Mr.Carmack & What So Not – Concord Music Hall – Tickets available HERE

MONDAY 6/12:

  • SAMF Official Closing Party: Barely Alive + Porn and Chicken – The MID – Tickets available HERE

Stay tuned for set times, a map of the expanded festival grounds including brand-new stage designs, and Saturday’s special surprise guest at the Trance Arena stage! Don’t miss a beat and follow Spring Awakening on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news and announcements.

 

###

If you’re interested in covering the festival, please fill out the press application here.

Festival Assets:
After Party Calendar: http://bit.ly/SAMF17_Afters
Ticketing Link: www.springawakeningfestival.com
2017 Full Flyer: http://bit.ly/SAMF17_FullLineup
2017 Daily Flyer: http://bit.ly/SAMF17_SingleDays
2017 Lineup PR: http://eepurl.com/cGYsrz
2016 Recap Video: https://youtu.be/OsH7cIulm8A
2016 Pictures: http://bit.ly/SAMF_Pics

Spring Awakening Music Festival
June 9 – 11, 2017
Addams/Medill Park
1301 W. 14th Street
Chicago, IL 60608
18+  |  1PM Doors
www.springawakeningfestival.com
www.reactpresents.com

EXCLUSIVE: RANDY PHILLIPS IS BACK WITH (LIVE)STYLE

EXCLUSIVE: RANDY PHILLIPS IS BACK WITH (LIVE)STYLE
The outspoken executive pulls no punches in candid Q&A

by Ray Waddell
Originally published in Venues Today on May 3, 2017

LiveStyle’s President & CEO Randy Phillips

 

News broke last fall that Randy Phillips would helm beleaguered electronic music juggernaut  SFX Entertainment, and ever since the industry has been waiting to see how and if Phillips, as President/CEO, could turn around the lifestyle/live entertainment company, which operates about 100 events worldwide along with digital lifestyle platform Beatport and ticketing firm Paylogic. In early December, SFX re-emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy (restructuring a reported $400 million in debt) as LiveStyle, and the firm remains the largest producer of electronic music festivals in the world. Since then, the typically outspoken Phillips has, for the most part, remained uncharacteristically silent.

Until now. In an exclusive in-depth interview with Venues Today, Phillips talked about how LiveStyle (producer of such major festival brands as Electric Zoo, Mysteryland, Tomorrowland, and many others) would move forward with its substantial, far-flung assets and resources.

SFX Entertainment was already a familiar name to the entertainment industry long before it became associated with electronic music. Entrepreneur Robert F.X. Sillerman first employed his capital-raising and consolidation skills in the radio business in the 1980s before focusing on the concert promotion industry in the ‘90s, rolling up regional promoters in rapid succession in building the nucleus of what is now Live Nation, the world’s largest promoter. Beginning in 2012, SFX began buying up electronic music fest producers and promoters—once again paying high multiples of annual earnings—and went public with a valuation of more than $1 billion before a much publicized collapse that sent SFX into bankruptcy and Sillerman into a quagmire of legal entanglements.

Phillips, too, is a well-known entity. He was a successful manager and label exec before spending 13 years helming AEG Live, the live entertainment division of sports and entertainment firm Anshutz Entertainment Group. Phillips’ eye for executive talent, aggressive nature, and appetite for risk helped power AEG Live to quickly become the No. 2 promoter in the world, a position it still holds under the AEG Presents banner. An early believer in the festival opportunity in North America, Coachella became the world’s most successful music festival due in no small part to Phillips’ faith and willingness to commit resources to its founder Paul Tollett (president of AEG Live subsidiary Goldenvoice).

In LiveStyle, Phillips is out of the gate with a much more powerful portfolio than he enjoyed at AEG Live in the early going, so the executive’s challenges are different, if no less daunting. In the beginning, Phillips’ first hurdles at LiveStyle were financial. “We’ve put our heads down and just plowed straight ahead to clean up the company,” he said, “which we’ve done, and now we start building it. We came out of the Chapter 11 proceeding with no debt and the assets intact.”

In building his team and a corporate structure, Phillips’ named former UMG exec Charles Ciongoli as chief financial officer. He then turned his attention to the perception challenge, both within and outside the company. He began referring to LiveStyle’s core genre as “EM”—electronic music—as opposed to the more traditional term “EDM,” or electronic dance music. He solidified his relationship with LiveStyle’s board and two principle owners, Doug Forsyth, who oversees a private equity fund owned by insurance conglomerate Allianz; and managing partner Andrew Axelrod, head of investor relations at Axar Capital.

We’ll let Phillips tell the rest. In this excerpt from the VT interview, the executive candidly weighs in on his priorities at LiveStyle, the state of its businesses, the future of the company, and what’s next. (The entire Q&A will appear in the next issue of Venues Today).

VT: So what was appealing to you about this job?

RP: The same thing that appealed to me when I took the AEG gig originally. People look at AEG Live now as this No. 2 juggernaut with Live Nation, but when I went in there, it was struggling, almost a failure, in terms of how it started. I like a challenge, and I love the idea of building something up. At some point in your life it’s not just about the money. There’s a “life’s too short” file, to do things you really don’t want to do, or deal with people you don’t want to deal with. In this case, I loved the challenge and I loved the two owners. I’m very close to the board, they’re really cooperative, and we have a very transparent, open relationship. And because there are no politics in this company, it gives me the opportunity to really build on what we have.

VT: LiveStyle is a different scenario in that you do have significant assets and brands already in place, whereas at AEG Live you were, in many ways, starting from scratch. It does seem that much of your challenge now is a perception issue.

RP: That’s why I had to change the name. Every time I said “SFX” to anyone I got the sign of the cross, like with a vampire. I’m surprised people didn’t wear garlic around their necks when they met with me. Remember, in November we were in negotiations, and didn’t know when we would actually emerge from Chapter 11, so I had to be ready with a name, because you only get one grand opening. I had to make sure it was clearable worldwide, the whole thing, and that was a daunting task.

VT: You’re taking a different approach now than at AEG Live, where you did a lot of talking, especially in the early going, promoting the brand. Now it seems you’re under the radar a bit.

RP: Yes, that was a decision I had to make. At AEG, at the beginning, there was a lot of negativity about whether Phil Anschutz was committed to the business, would he stay in the business, and I had to counter that by creating the impression that we were larger than we were. In this case, I had to do the opposite, because Bob Sillerman did too much press. The problem was SFX and its origins, and all the press, the cover of Billboard, that article, was too much smoke and mirrors. So, for me to make this company work in this reincarnation, I had to break the mirrors and get rid of the smoke.

VT: Talk to me about that process.

RP: Let me give it to you exactly straight. When I got into the company, I brought Chuck Ciongoli with me, because this is a huge job, more than one person could do, so while I’m strategizing he had to create processes that didn’t even exist here. Process counts. You’ve got to believe in your numbers, or you can’t even make decisions.

The first thing I did was [LiveStyle’s] biggest division is in Europe, and that’s the ID&T company in Holland (leading international dance music event producer operating in 19 countries on four continents), where we are the dominant player in the festival space, and Holland is the biggest festival market in the world. I went to the Netherlands and sat down with all the founders of all the different festivals, Wouter Tavecchi, Rocco Veeboer, and Jan Lok. They’d been through hell with the bankruptcy, and they were also quite we
althy from the buyouts from Sillerman. I needed to figure out how to get them re-engaged, to believe in the future that I was going to create for this company, and for them.

Instead of  them coming to me, I went to them. That was important. Chuck and I, as a management team, we manage by walking the factory floor, we don’t sit on thrones. While I was over there, I also met with Michiel Beers, one of the founders of Tomorrowland, arguably the biggest festival in the world. They were very alienated from SFX, so I had to sit down with them and break the ice, with Michiel, and their COO, Bruno Vanwelsenaers. It started off very cold, and warmed up over time.

Then I met with our i-Motion company in Germany, which has a massive festival called Nature One, very successful, but no one really paid attention to them. So I had to forge a relationship with CEO Oliver Vordemvenne; these were people I did not know at all going in. So it was a lot of breaking the ice in the beginning, which was really important for us to be successful. There was no corporate culture at SFX, I had to create one from scratch.

VT: How would you describe the culture when you came in?

RP: A lot of scared people wondering if they were going to have their jobs the next day. A lot of people living paycheck to paycheck, wondering if the company was going to survive. And a lot of entrepreneurs wondering if they were going to be able to buy their companies back on the cheap after taking a lot of money out of the company.

VT: At AEG Live your approach was to let talented people do what they do, as opposed to micromanaging. Is that the approach at LiveStyle? You’re not going to be able to step in and run Freaky Deaky, right?

RP: No, I can’t. First of all, Europe is 8,000 miles away. You make your decision when you hire somebody, and if you have to babysit a senior executive, then you made a bad decision when you hired them. In our business, the people who really excel are entrepreneurs at heart, so you’ve got to incentivize them, encourage them, and then you’ve got to clear a runway for them to succeed. It’s not rocket science.

VT: Assess your business today.

RP: Tomorrowland [Brussels, Belgium] is up, introduced a second weekend, and has sold both of them out; that brand is stronger than ever. The Dutch, ID&T, are on fire; their events, Mysteryland, Sensation, Q-Dance, Awakenings, Back2School, all have come back strong, because the founders are focused on their events again, and growing them. The same thing in Germany, so Europe is really strong overall. Paylogic, the ticketing company, which does Tomorrowland and all the ID&T events, is doing incredibly well, the technology is very advanced. Paylogic is outperforming its projections, and that’s because the events are doing so well.

Beatport, the ultimate online destination for EM, had a major turnaround, and I’d like to take credit for it, but I didn’t really do it. The folks at Beatport that are running it turned it around, and it’s making really good money again, and engagement and subscribers have grown dramatically over the last year.

In North America, we didn’t have as many powerful assets as we have in Europe. Issues had to be dealt with, and there’s good news and bad news. With React in Chicago, Freaky Deaky  [Toyota Park] and the New Year’s Eve show [Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont] underperformed, but Spring Awakening [Soldier Field] is exploding this year, and way ahead of the last two years in terms of  how it’s performing. That festival is going to grow and grow, it has a path now to be the second most important music event in Chicago next to Lollapalooza, you can feel it happening.

In New York, we had a hiccup and a huge success. Electric Zoo on Randall’s Island, Labor Day, is coming back really strong. When you look at EM festivals in America, you have Electric Daisy in Las Vegas, Ultra in Miami, and Electric Zoo in New York; those will be the three pillars of massive electronic music festivals in America. The Electric Zoo brand is coming back bigger than ever. The hiccup in New York was an event that got approved while we were still in bankruptcy and I wasn’t in the company, or else I probably would not have approved it, and that was Mysteryland in Bethel Woods, N.Y. It was poorly booked, the lineup didn’t make a whole lot of sense, it kind of alienated the core fan, and the venue does not work. As beautiful as the site is, there are not enough hotels in the area, so it becomes strictly a camping festival, and that didn’t fit Mysteryland. The brand and the site were off, it didn’t make sense, so I pulled the plug on that about two weeks ago.

VT: Why does this genre intrigue you as a live entertainment producer?

RP: Someone said, “you’re the king of EDM now.” No, I’m not the king of EDM. I’m an executive running a company whose core is electronic music festivals. You have to adapt.

VT: Is there a danger in associating so strongly with one specific genre?

RP: Yes. Even when I was sitting at the desk as CEO of AEG Live, I remember reading Billboard with Sillerman on the cover and thinking, “this cannot work, you cannot be in one genre of music, especially if you’re in the live business.” You can do it at a label, but you can’t in live; you have to be broader than that. Now that we’ve cleaned this company up, and its functioning well, and I have a lot of capital to reinvest to build this because the owners believe in what we’re doing; the next thing is I’ve got to reinvent it. That’s the strategy and the path we’re looking at now.

VT: Can you give me a hint about how you will reinvent LiveStyle?

RP: No one respects you more than I do, but no, I cannot give you the family secrets.

VT: So you have specific ideas about what you want to do?

RP: Yes. We are out there aggressively in that area, making some moves now. Even though I’ve been a very big supporter of [AEG Live Chairman] Jay Marciano his whole career, and all my former colleagues at AEG are still some of my best friends; and, believe it or not, [Live Nation CEO] Michael Rapino and I have become great friends since we’re not competing any more, and I have nothing but awe for what he’s done at Live Nation. This is still a very competitive business, and I do not want them to know what I’m thinking.

VT: Do you see LiveStyle entering the tour promotion game?

RP: The festival business is like the venue business: the deals with the artists are flats, there’s generally no back-end participation, you have the food and beverage and parking, a lot of the ancillary revenue streams; there’s real residual value. Touring is a lease, it’s like renting a car. Once you’re done, you turn it in, there’s no real residual value other than the cash flow. It’s a very risky business and the margins are very thin. I will always be a tour producer at heart because I love it, and if an artist really wants me to do their tour because they believe in my vision and marketing skills, I may entertain it. We certainly have the capital to do that, and the board would support me. But that’s not our core business, nor do I plan on competing on a wholesale touring perspective with Live Nation or AEG Presents, that’s not the plan going forward. But, just like the title of the Justin Bieber film that I co-produced: Never Say Never.

VT: What did Bob Sillerman do right in building SFX?

RP: He was a master at raising money. He had so much success with SFX 1 and 2, one being radio and the other being the concert business. Now when he did [SFX 3], sure he was able to raise a lot of money. I think some of the problems were; one, he had all these disparate asse
ts and he was never able to put it all together and create that corporate culture where they all worked in unison. Basically, as hard as he tried—and you have to give him an A for effort—the actual concept of being just one thing—electronic music festival producer — probably doesn’t work in the long term. You have to be more diversified than that.

VT: Do you envision a spin-off of LiveStyle at some point?

RP: I don’t have a crystal ball as to when my owners may want to sell it, or not. They’re private equity players, and eventually they may want to sell it to a more strategic player. But, for sure, we’re going to be building this company for the next three to five years.

VT: What do people in the industry need to know about LiveStyle today with you at the helm?

RP: I want the managers and agents and artists and, obviously, the consumers to support us, because I think it’s important, as I did when I started AEG Live. And that there be more than one buyer, more than two buyers, more than three buyers, in the business. It’s healthy for everybody, healthy for growth. Competition breeds champions, and I want the industry to support us as we build this company.

VT: Are they so far?

RP: Yes.

REBRANDED SFX HIRES EX-UNIVERSAL EXEC CHRIS MONACO AS CRO

Originally published in Music Business Worldwide on May 9, 2017

LiveStyle—the rebranded version of SFX—has hired ex-Universal exec Chris Monaco as Chief Revenue Officer, Brand Partnerships and Sponsorships.

Monaco spent four years at Universal, joining as Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing and Brand Development in 2012 before being promoted to Senior Vice President/Head of New Business.

He was part of a newly formed brand partnerships division and responsible for leading a business development team across brand, agency, and media platforms.

Prior to Universal, Monaco worked at sports and entertainment agency Octagon and French beverage company Pernod Ricard.

In his new position based in Beverly Hills, Monaco will be responsible for heading the global partnerships team, as well as developing and executing brand strategy across the company’s event, content and digital platforms.

SFX rebranded when emerging from bankruptcy in 2016, hiring former AEG Live exec Randy Phillips as President and CEO.

The company produces and promotes single and multi-day electronic music festivals across North America, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia.

Phillips said: “Chris and I first worked together when he was at Octagon and I was the CEO of AEG Live, so I know his capabilities very well.

“His industry experience makes him a great addition as LiveStyle CRO, as we continue to create new and innovative opportunities for our festivals, brands, and fans.

“The modern day CRO assumes the responsibilities of a revenue-minded CMO with a deep understanding of multiple industries, marketing principles, and consumer engagement.”

Monaco added: “I’m thrilled to join Randy and the entire management team at LiveStyle.

“This is an exciting time in live music, and even more of an exciting time to be a part of LiveStyle’s global family of brands, events, and digital platforms.

“Everything we do will enrich the fan experience and how we interact with audiences — I’m looking forward to working with all of these like-minded communities worldwide.”

LiveStyle’s North American key operating entities include MADE Events, React Presents, Disco Donnie Presents, Life in Color and MMG.

Festivals and brands include Electric Zoo, Spring Awakening, Mysteryland, TomorrowWorld, Sensation and Life in Color.

In Europe, the company has Monumental, B2S, ID&T, i-Motion and Q-Dance.

Festivals and brands in that part of the world are Decibel, Tomorrowland, Mysteryland, Awakenings, Back-To-School, Air, Qlimax, Nature One, Sensation, as well as ticketing service Paylogic.

In Brazil, LiveStyle owns PlusNetwork which produces the Tomorrowland Brasil festival and tours by international DJs and artists.

The company has a 40% participation in Rock in Rio, held biannually in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with spinoffs in Lisbon and Portugal.

It also owns and operates electronic music platform Beatport.

SUMMER SET MUSIC & CAMPING FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2017 ARTIST LINEUP

SUMMER SET MUSIC & CAMPING FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES 2017 ARTIST LINEUP

All-In-One Ticket Options On Sale Now!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

April 13, 2017 — Summer Set Music & Camping Festival (SSMF) is thrilled to announce the 2017 artist lineup for its sixth annual installment! The festival will return to the Somerset Amphitheater on Friday, August 11 through Sunday, August 13, where attendees are invited to experience a truly unforgettable weekend of camping and fun under the sun in the picturesque fields of Somerset, Wisconsin.

This year’s headliners include the infamous bass music duo ZEDS DEAD (Friday), coming hot off the heels of their highly acclaimed 2016 debut LP Northern Lights, the chart-topping pioneer of dance-pop ZEDD (Saturday), heading to Summer Set fresh off his ACLU benefit concert, and the undisputed master of funk GRiZ (Sunday), still reeling from the success of his 2016-released studio album Good Will Prevail.

A wide spectrum of heavyweight acts include hybrid hip hop pair RUN THE JEWELS, deadly South African beat scientists DIE ANTWOORD, grandfather of trap music RL GRIME, Canadian dubstep powerhouse DATSIK, fiery up-and-coming hip hop star POST MALONE, champion of melodic dance music SEVEN LIONS, and energetic UK bass producer ZOMBOY.

Additional notable acts include soft-serve extraordinaire and rising dance music hero SLUSHII, vomitstep pioneer SNAILS, live electronic trio KEYS N KRATES, mysterious masked house wizard MALAA, acclaimed genre-bending beat maker responsible for the hit single “Thief” OOKAY, twisted scientist of dark and thrilling creations WOLFGANG GARTNER, ghoulish experimenter of bass music’s many forms GHASTLYand founder of the West Coast’s HARD series DESTRUCTO. Alongside them fans will experience performances by soulful live beat crafter BIG WILD, coming off his celebrated 2017 EP Invincible, Brooklyn’s own explorer of futuristic feels and fire beats SPACE JESUS, the superman of off-the-wall bass music bliss BLEEP BLOOP, groove-blasting trumpet maestro RUSS LIQUID and many more!

Known for showcasing an eclectic mix of hip hop, indie, and jam-style artists alongside some of electronic dance music’s most sought after producers and DJs, Summer Set continues to deliver a legendary and diverse lineup year after year. In 2016, Summer Set provided all-in-one ticketing options for the first time ever, and this year, festival-goers will have another chance to lock in their festival tickets and camping accommodations with one swift payment.

Festival Camping and VIP tickets are now on sale! Head over to summersetfestival.com to secure your tickets at the lowest available price.

In the coming weeks, fans can expect official after party announcements and the release of single day tickets. For the most updated information regarding Summer Set 2017, visit summersetfestival.com and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Snapchat.

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“Summer Set is shaping up to be the next big festival in the US.” — Magnetic Magazine

“Summer Set is a secluded utopia that’s become a retreat for fans looking
for absolute immersion.”
 — City Pages Minneapolis

“Summer Set has undoubtedly planted themselves in an entirely different league compared
to other festivals in the country.”
 — This Song Is Sick

“Summer Set joins the ranks of top notch Midwest festival lineups touting
an impressive multi-genre lineup.”
— Dancing Astronaut

“With acts ranging from local jam bands to old-school hip-hop acts to Top 40 hitmakers, Summer Set is becoming one of the area’s biggest annual music festivals.” — The Current, Minnesota Public Radio

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If you’re interested in covering the festival, please fill out the press application here.

Festival Assets:
2017 Full Flyer: http://bit.ly/SSMF17_Lineup
2016 Recap Video: https://youtu.be/Q2daAvk8IqY
Ticketing Link: https://summerset.frontgatetickets.com/
Official Video Recaps: http://bit.ly/SSMF_Vids
2016 Pictures: http://bit.ly/SSMF_Pics

Summer Set 2017 Lineup (In Alphabetical Order)
Audien
Bakermat
Big Wild
Bleep Bloop
Blu J
Datsik
Destructo
Die Antwoord
Ghastly
GRiZ
Herobust
Kasbo
Keys N Krates
Malaa
Ookay
Petit Biscuit
Playboi Carti
Porn and Chicken
Post Malone
RL Grime
Run The Jewels
Russ Liquid
Seven Lions
Slushii
Snails
Space Jesus
Ugly God
Vanic
Whethan
Wolfgang Gartner
Zedd
Zeds Dead
Zomboy

Summer Set Music & Camping Festival
August 11 – 13, 2017
Somerset Amphitheater
715 Spring Street
Somerset, Wisconsin 54025
18+ | 1 PM
www.summersetfestival.com

Electric Zoo Sells Out Pre-Sale for 2017 Edition – The 6th Boro

The 3-day event will take place September 1st – 3rd at Randall’s Island Park in New York.

All tiers of Early Bird tickets have sold out, General On-Sale to begin February 1st

Electric-Zoo-2017

New York, January 27, 2017 – MADE EVENT, the premier New York-based producer of electronic music events, the creator of the Electric Zoo Festival and a LiveStyle, Inc. company, today announced that its Early Bird Pre-Sale for the flagship New York edition has sold out. The Electric Zoo Festival returns to Randall’s Island on Labor Day Weekend 2017. This marks the third sold-out ticket sale for the 2017 New York festival. Each tier of tickets released so far—Loyalty Sale, Cyber Monday, and Early Bird Pre-Sale—has sold out faster than any Electric Zoo ever before. The announcement follows the recent success of ELECTRIC ZOO: WILD ISLAND, followed by the sold-out ELECTRIC ZOO: COUNTDOWN SHANGHAI and the upcoming expansion to South America with ELECTRIC ZOO: SÃO PAULO, set to take place on April 21, 2017.

This year’s New York edition, named ELECTRIC ZOO: THE 6TH BORO, will take place on September 1st through 3rd, 2017, the theme being an homage to the festival’s hometown that will sparkle with the surreal, dazzle with imagination, and envision New York City in a way never thought possible. Festival-goers can expect an even bigger star-studded lineup, all-new stage designs, interactive performers, unique installations, and more! Tickets will become available to the general public on February 1, 2017.

“Based on the success of Electric Zoo 2016 and the 2017 pre-sale, we are giving fair warning to all our festival friends to not wait long to buy their tickets as we fully expect this event to sell-out,” said Michael Julian, Marketing Chief of MADE EVENT. “We are working to deliver an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else. Electric Zoo: The 6th Boro will be the most epic EZoo of all time with a star-studded line-up, all-new stage designs, legendary curators and unforgettable production.”

Electric Zoo recently completed its 8th annual festival in New York City and is bigger and stronger than it has ever been. The three-day music festival, which took place at Randall’s Island Park in New York City, was led by a unique “Wild Island” theme and included over a hundred of the world’s biggest artists on multiple stages. “Wild Island” featured headline performances from Tiesto, Hardwell, current #1 Billboard artists The Chainsmokers, Bassnectar, Porter Robinson and Steve Aoki. The weekend also served as the stateside debut of legendary party experience brands ANTS and Elrow, along with an electric main stage lineup.

The three-day event marked the highest overall attendance since 2013 with over 83,000 attendees. Photos of the event can be found online at www.electriczoofestival.com, on Instragram at www.instagram.com/electriczoony and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ElectricZooNY.

Additional information regarding Electric Zoo: The 6th Boro can be found online at electriczoofestival.com.

About Electric Zoo
Established in 2009 by Made Event, the internationally renowned Electric Zoo Festival is one of New York City’s largest music festivals and features the top names in electronic music, bringing a wide variety of acts from around the world and across the spectrum of electronic music’s various sub-genres. International editions of Electric Zoo have taken place in Mexico City, Tokyo and Shanghai, with further expansion underway. This year’s 9th annual New York edition will take place on September 1-3 at Randall’s Island Park.

About Made Event
Made Event, a LiveStyle, Inc. company, is a premier producer of electronic music events and the creator of the Electric Zoo Festival. Having produced hundreds of memorable events in New York City, Miami and elsewhere around the globe, Made Event continues to set the bar for quality electronic music events. For more info, please go to www.MadeEvent.com.

About LiveStyle
LiveStyle, Inc. is the largest global producer of live events and digital entertainment content focused on electronic music culture. LiveStyle’s mission is to provide electronic music fans with the best possible live experiences, music discovery, media and digital connectivity. LiveStyle produces and promotes a growing portfolio of world-class festivals and live events that includes leading brands such as Tomorrowland, TomorrowWorld, Mysteryland, Sensation, Electric Zoo, Disco Donnie Presents, Life in Color, Rock in Rio, Nature One, Mayday, Decibel, Q-Dance, Awakenings, and React Presents, as well as the innovative ticketing service Paylogic. LiveStyle also owns and operates Beatport, the trusted global home of electronic music where fans, DJs, and creators connect, discover and participate in the evolution of dance music culture.

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For more information on Electric Zoo Festival, contact:

Michael Julian mailto:mjulian@livestyle.com

SFX Entertainment Rebrands as LiveStyle: The World’s Largest Electronic Music Event Producer

Randy Phillips Named President and CEO of LiveStyle, Inc.

LOS ANGELES – December 7, 2016 – It has been announced today that SFX Entertainment will be rebranded as LiveStyle, Inc., and helmed by President and CEO Randy Phillips. The reorganized SFX Entertainment emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 2, 2016 and boasts a wide variety of leading live electronic music properties and related lifestyle assets. LiveStyle is positioned to be the world’s largest electronic music event producer. Phillips will lead LiveStyle’s operations from Los Angeles, where the company will establish its worldwide headquarters.

Phillips said, “LiveStyle has the same potential that AEG Live had when I assumed the reins of that company as CEO. In fact, it has many more assets to build upon, has an impressive management team, especially at the event level, including most of the original founders of these world-renowned festival brands. Armed with no debt, a re-capitalized financial structure, and an incredibly supportive board, we will build LiveStyle into an essential company in the live entertainment sector. Having done this once before, my team and I are very excited to get started.”

LiveStyle’s leadership, in addition to Phillips, includes Charles Ciongoli, who will serve as executive vice president and chief financial officer; senior vice president, Alan Walter; and Jason Barr who will serve as the company’s senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. LiveStyle’s board includes Phillips, Ciongoli, and representatives from the company’s various equity owners including Chairman of the Board Andrew Axelrod of Axar Capital Management, Douglas Forsyth of Allianz Global Investors and Nils Larsen, former President and CEO of Tribune Broadcasting.

“We are very supportive of the company and the many original founders and entrepreneurs that remained through the restructuring process, sharing in the vision of its tremendous potential. It is a very unique media platform that meets the ever increasing demand by consumers for exclusive, immersive experiences. With new leadership, including CEO Randy Phillips, and through focused investment and disciplined growth, we believe that LiveStyle will evolve into

one of the world’s leading live entertainment platforms,” said Andrew Axelrod, Managing Partner, Axar Capital Management LP.

Worldwide, LiveStyle will produce and promote single and multiday electronic music festivals across North America, Europe, South America, Australia and Asia. North American key operating entities including MADE Events, React, Disco Donnie Presents, Life in Color, and MMG, along with festivals and brands such as Electric Zoo, Spring Awakening, Mysteryland, Tomorrowland, TomorrowWorld, Sensation, Corona Sunsets, and Life in Color. In Europe, the company has an established track record with highly popular brands that average an operating history of 10-plus

years with key operating entities such as Monumental, B2S, ID&T, i-Motion, and Q-Dance, and festivals and brands including Q-Dance, Decibel, Tomorrowland, Mysteryland, Awakenings, Back- To-School, Air, Qlimax, and Sensation to name a few. LiveStyle also owns PlusNetwork in Brazil which produced the enormously successful Tomorrowland Brasil and produces tours by internationally acclaimed DJs and artists. The Tomorrowland brand is one of the largest and most popular EDM festival brands in the world, voted Best Music Event globally at the International Dance Music Awards every year since 2012 and selling out nearly instantaneously annually. Further, LiveStyle has a 40% participation in Rock in Rio, the wildly successful music and entertainment festival held biannually in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with spinoffs in Lisbon, Portugal, and Las Vegas.

Also owned by LiveStyle and reporting to the company’s board, while operating independently, are Paylogic and Beatport. Paylogic is a comprehensive ticketing services and solutions platform specializing in large peak sales events and technical and data integration with several online platforms. Since its foundation in 2005, Paylogic has sold 30 million tickets to fans from more than 200 countries for events in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas including concerts, festivals, sporting events, exhibitions, trade fairs, theaters and musicals. Beatport is the world’s leading electronic music-oriented online store and premier destination for professional and amateur DJs. Beatport’s all-inclusive EDM brand, across multiple genres, regions and formats, boasts more than 50 million unique users and the most important international chart in worldwide electronic music.

For more information on LiveStyle, please visit www.livestyle.com.

Billboard Magazine

Pictured: Randy Phillips (for a high-resolution photo, click here).

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PRESS CONTACTS:
Scoop Marketing for LiveStyle
Larry Solters: solters@solters.com
Erik Stein: estein@solters.com
818-761-6100