Nick Spampanato Takes Over Forum

A powerful music booker is out at the Forum in Los Angeles, leaving many LA music pros scratching their heads about the sudden disappearance of Dana DuFine.

Photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP, file

Her replacement? The building’s GM Nick Spampanato, who has taken over DuFine’s responsibilities – and her title. Earlier today, Pollstar received an email update that Spampanato is now serving in two roles: GM and senior VP of West Coast. Several attempts to contact Spampanato were unsuccessful.

In fact, no one from the Forum would speak to The Real for this article – DuFine’s exit from the building wasn’t confirmed until three weeks after it happened.

What happened to the tough-talking music executive? Who is in charge at the Forum? And why are so many people afraid to say anything?

“Every person in that position is heading for a car wreck,” said one major LA insider. “The expectations are impossibly high.”

The Forum is locked in a battle with Staples Center in LA over arena talent and DuFine was known as a street fighter. The former VP of West Coast Music was abrasive, tough and unwavering in her loyalty to music mogul Irving Azoff, working for the superstar manager since 2004 with the band Velvet Revolver and personal manager to Velvet Revolver/Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland.

DuFine was hired to take over bookings at the Forum shortly after it opened in 2014, watching over the $100 million project for Irving and Shelli Azoff and Madison Square Garden. The building is a hit in Los Angeles, and DuFine even told Pollstar in January 2015 they were thinking of expanding.

“You always want to see a show at the Forum,” she said. “Bringing that to other cities, I think, is a gift.”

DuFine is the fourth person to leave the booking desk at Madison Square Garden Entertainment. In June, Bob Shea stepped down after seven years as the executive VP of bookings. Now with DuFine out of the job, it’s unclear who will fulfill that role for the Forum and MSG.

The building has a deal with Live Nation to steer its arena tours to Inglewood, but the competition in Los Angeles is so fierce that it’s hard to see how the Forum could thrive without someone aggressively fighting for the building.  Of course, with four people now having tried their hand at the building and failed, it  is unclear who would want the position given the incredibly high demands of the job.