By Deborah Speer
Originally Published in Pollstar on May 3, 2018
Photo: Keith Griner ; Riviera Theatre- in Chicago
React Presents, a company of LiveStyle, is partnering with independent promoter Jam Productions of Chicago to bring events and electronic, hip hop and R&B artists into venues booked by Jam including the Riviera Theatre, The Vic, and Park West.
Jam Productions, headed up by longtime promoters Jerry Mickelson and Arny Granat, has been a force in the Midwest for more than 40 years, exclusively books the three clubs as well as the Palace Theater in St. Paul, Minn., and the California Mid-State Fair in California.
In addition to bringing events to Jam’s Chicago-area venues, React will continue to develop artists with other new venue partners including Sound-Bar, Studio Paris, Bottom Lounge, Chop Shop and Sleeping Village.
What the partnership means, according to a source with knowledge of the deal, is that React and Jam will co-promote dance, hip hop and R&B shows in the venues long promoted by Jam, bringing new events into the established venues that are among the premier rooms of their size in the region. Jam will continue to promote the shows it always has.
The clubs are an integral part of Jam’s portfolio and Chicago’s live music scene. The Vic, with a 1,300 capacity, averages 1,271 tickets per event and $34,936 gross sales. Recent shows have included They Might Be Giants, OMD, and “Celebrating David Bowie.” Its upcoming calendar includes Breeders, Flatbush Zombies, Andrew W.K., and Broken Social Scene.
Park West, with 1,000 capacity, averages 688 tickets and $17,403 gross per show, including recent events with Rag N’ Bone Man, the Posies, and the Melvins. Upcoming shows feature JGB featuring Melvin Seals, Ani DiFranco and an Infamous Stringdusters/Leftover Salmon co-bill.
The jewel in the crown is The Rivera, which holds more than 2,500, averages 2,431 tickets per show and a gross of $72,284. Its calendar includes upcoming concerts with Jimmy Eat World, Alice In Chains and My Bloody Valentine, and recently dates include with Glen Hansard, Miguel and Robert Plant & The Sensational Shapeshifters.
React was founded in 2008, and grew to become one of the largest promoters in the Midwest, particularly in the festival space with events including Spring Awakening and Mamby On The Beach, among others. All told, React promotes about 600 concerts annually in the Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit markets.
After LiveStyle CEO Randy Phillips brought in Hard Events founder Gary Richards as president of the company, the company elevated React Presents’ talent buyer Matt Rucins and marketing director Patrick Grumley as co-managers of React. They, in turn, work with React operations director Amy Butterer and LiveStyle venue operations director Ned Collett to “prepare the company for creative and strategic growth in the years ahead,” according to a statement.
Jam Productions owner Jerry Mickelson wasn’t immediately available for comment.