Valentino Opens AEG Florida Office

AEG Live and John Valentino have made official what was already known – the 30-year veteran talent buyer and VP of Fantasma Productions is leaving that company, which has been acquired by Live Nation, and joining AEG – along with much of his key staff.

He’s been appointed senior VP of AEG Live’s Florida office, where he will oversee his staff at the regional headquarters in West Palm Beach. Joining him will be former Fantasma colleagues George Perley, director of production; Kathy Bohan, office manager and regional comptroller; and Amanda Ances, marketing manager.

Fantasma founder Jon Stoll had kept his company fiercely independent during periods of rapid industry consolidation, beginning with SFX and Clear Channel Entertainment. However, after his death in January from complications of a stroke and brain cancer, it came as no surprise that his widow, Lori, would entertain offers for a majority stake in the company and make sure her family was taken care of.

But Live Nation may have acquired more than just a company with Fantasma: It most likely has created a competitor in south Florida with Valentino’s jumping ship to AEG Live and opening his own office.

No doubt Valentino will be an aggressive competitor and, with the resources and support of Live Nation’s chief rival, the concert scene in south Florida is likely to heat up in the coming months – which can only be good news for music fans.

Valentino comes to AEG with a hefty Rolodex and deep relationships that includes not just artists, agents and managers but festivals, municipalities, theme parks, casinos, racetracks, universities and other special event groups. He’s produced thousands of shows and worked with venues nationwide in his long career.

"I am thrilled to be part of the AEG Live team – they are the perfect fit for not only myself, but my talented staff of all-stars," Valentino said in a statement.

"We look forward to carrying on in the spirit of the way we did business with Fantasma founder Jon Stoll for more than a quarter century, and I’m proud to spearhead a new chapter in Florida’s live music scene with AEG Live," Valentino said.

"Having respected and admired the creativity, ingenuity, and fierce independence that Jon Stoll and John Valentino exhibited in building the original Fantasma, we consider JV’s decision to join AEG Live … a key component for the continued growth of AEG Live in the area’s live music landscape," president and CEO Randy Phillips added.

"Artists, agents and managers will again have a ‘real’ choice of who they want to work with in the Sunshine State and elsewhere. The AEG Live philosophy in building out this division has always been to invest in great people by giving them the financing and support to be successful entrepreneurs."