Joker Productions Closes

Pittsburgh-area concert promotion company Joker Productions closed June 26 after 22 years in business.

Owner Jon Rinaldo said his decision to end the company he started in 1989 is a sign of the times.

“The reason I decided to shut everything down is the over-saturation of promoters in the market but also the massive amount of concerts and live events in the city on a permanent basis,” Rinaldo told Pollstar. “It’s overwhelming for patrons. The population base here isn’t large enough to support all the events.

“I had very few investors involved with this company. It was always my own money, so that alone is an accomplishment.”

Rinaldo said booking the former Club Laga from 1997 to 2004, where breaking acts including The Roots, Dashboard Confessional and Death Cab For Cutie routed to the then-unknown club, plus a sold-out Morrissey show at Carnegie Library Music Hall in 2009 are among the highlights that come to mind.

Despite the circumstances, Rinaldo said the experience has been positive overall.

“I didn’t think I’d be in the live music business for this long. I started [Joker Productions] more for fun in the beginning and it became a business as time went on,” he said. “I’ve learned so much about live events and marketing angles, and I’ve learned a lot about people. It’s helped me become a more well-rounded person.”

And as for what’s next, Rinaldo has one definite plan in mind – spending time with his wife and their two-month-old twin boys.

“I’ll be going back to the world of ‘day jobs,’ which I haven’t done in close to 20 years. That alone is going to be an experience,” Rinaldo told Pollstar. “[But] whatever I decide to do, the focus is on them. That will definitely change things in a good way.”

Competing promoters in the Pittsburgh market include Drusky Entertainment, Elko Concerts, Live Nation, PromoWest Live and Grey Area Productions.