Donahower & Perkins Return To Promoting

Promoters Sepp Donahower and Gary Perkins have decided to return to the concert business and re-launch their old promotions company, Pacific Presentations.

Before closing shop in the early ’80s, the two made a name for themselves as major concert promoters in Southern California. Pacific helped established such venues as the Santa Barbara County Bowl and Hollywood Palladium. It spearheaded one of the largest grossing festivals of the time, California Jam, in the mid-’70s.

The two high school buddies promoted shows throughout North America with artists including The Rolling Stones, Grateful Dead, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bruce Springsteen, Eagles and many more.

Following their departure from Pacific (which promoted more than 3,000 shows in its decade-long existence), the two split. Perkins opened Avalon Attractions, which he later sold. Donahower left the concert business to found the successful surf and skate clothing company JimmyZ.

So why the sudden urge to jump back into the game after so many years?

“Basically, Gary and I decided, ‘Hey, let’s go try it again on a little more low-key level,'” Donahower told Pollstar. “We both enjoy good music and we’re starting to hear good music again, and people seem to be looking for change and new ideas. We figured maybe it was a good time to go and try again.”

Perkins, who will initially be working part-time in the company, agrees with his reunited partner, adding that attending disappointing concerts was another motivating factor.

“What got my interest going again is that I went to a few big concerts around the Los Angeles area and they just didn’t seem like much fun,” Perkins told Pollstar. “The security was uptight and the ticket prices were astronomical and it just didn’t seem like it had to be that way.”

This time around, Donahower and Perkins will enter the business with a humble approach. Their goal isn’t to be the biggest company, but one that can bring new ideas and concepts to the table.

“To be relevant to the business, you have to bring something to it,” Donahower said. “You can’t just be trying to do the same thing that someone else is doing because there’s enough people doing that.

“So you have to find and discover new venues or bring old venues back to life. … We want to put some venues into play that we can work with on a regular basis. And those will probably be in the smaller variety, both theatre environments and possibly dance environments.”

The two are also hoping to work with a select group of agents, managers and artists but nothing has been set in stone.

“We’re going to start making phone calls and see who wants to work with us,” Donahower said. “We had a lot of good relationships and good friends in that business, and still have them.”

He added that he and Perkins may look into some festival situations that skew more toward country, folk, bluegrass and maybe rock. He also expressed a personal interest in new alternative country acts as well as jam bands.

The pair doesn’t seem too concerned about today’s large promotion machines. Donahower is confident that being a successful independent promoter in North America is possible.

“You have to figure out a way to be doing something that they’re not necessarily doing or isn’t that important to them, which is difficult to find because they want it all,” he said.

“Those outfits are strong and they’re difficult to compete against but I think it’s in the interest of artists in the music industry to have as many independent people in the business as possible; it keeps the creativity level high.”

The company can be reached at Island View Ranch, 3 West Pomegranate Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275. Phone is 310-377-2818, fax is 310-377-3262 and e-mail is [email protected].