Mad Booking Shutters

Atlanta’s Mad Booking & Events has officially closed its doors, according to a March 15th statement from president Laura Valente. Mad booked Nashville’s annual Dancin’ In The District summer concert series, which has now been canceled.

The financial investors and owners decided to terminate operations immediately, the statement said. Sources told Pollstar that some Dancin’ contracts have been signed.

“This decision comes on the heels of one of Mad’s best years ever with a great season at Dancin’ in the District last summer and a variety of other projects that included numerous college and corporate events,” Valente said. “I am disappointed in the decision but have decided to make the best of a difficult situation.”

The company was founded by Marcie Allen Cardwell, and MAD stood for “Marcie Allen Does” Booking. Ironically, Cardwell has not been involved with Mad for two years after a disagreement with its investors led her to resign. She currently operates MAC Presents from her home in Nashville.

Mad, which had more than a dozen employees, continued to book Cardwell’s flagship events, Dancin’ In The District and Atlanta’s On The Bricks. The latter concert series drew a lot of attention in 2002 when it had to go face-to-face with a Clear Channel Entertainment-promoted series called Downtown Rocks that was literally across the street. Cardwell’s event wound up with better attendance.

Valente has started her own company with Mad’s existing consulting projects, she said, and “with the full support of the investors behind Mad Booking & Events.” New clients are on the way, she added. Valente referred Pollstar to a spokeswoman.

Cardwell started Mad Booking with a $300 loan from her father. Beginning with a phone, a computer and a fax machine, the former Cellar Door employee started cold calling universities, offering to be a consultant for college entertainment. When she left Mad, it had 15 employees and was one of the most successful promoters of free outdoor events in the country, organizing Atlanta’s Aquafina On The Bricks, Washington, D.C.’s McDonald’s Sessions @ Merriweather and Nashville’s Bridgestone Dancin’ In The District, among others.

The question after Valente’s e-mailed announcement was obvious: would Cardwell take on any of the events again?

“No,” she told Pollstar. “I will be happy to be the first to go on the record that I absolutely, positively, 100 percent will not be doing a Dancin’ In The District or On The Bricks.”

Cardwell’s company is currently promoting all of the CDs that Cracker Barrel is releasing and last year worked with Chrysler Financial on several concerts, and she has returned to booking shows for universities.

She said she was sad when she was forwarded Valente’s e-mail.

“There was a big lump in my stomach. This was my baby that I started in May of ’99 in my dining room.

“I don’t have anything against the investors or Mad Booking & Events. I created my new company in August 2004 and really turned in a completely different direction. I’ve had so many successes that, to be honest with you, I’ve never looked back.”

Joe Reinartz