SoCal’s Chain Reaction Latest In Live Nation Dealmaking Spree

Chain Reaction
Courtesy Chain Reaction
– Chain Reaction

Live Nation concluded a week of deals and acquisitions on Thursday with the announcement of a strategic partnership with Orange County club Chain Reaction.

“We are extremely excited to work with Live Nation on growing Chain Reaction’s presence in Southern California,” said Andy Serrao, owner of the all-ages Anaheim club, in a statement. Serrao helped to produce and promote the inaugural edition of Dance Gavin Dance’s Swanfest in March, which drew 7,500 fans, and a Live Nation press release suggested one objective of the new partnership will be to “expand Chain Reaction’s festival presence in the region.” 

Swan Fest
Steve Thrasher
– Swan Fest
at City National Grove of Anaheim, Calif.
The deal follows a series of other  Live Nation announcements. The concert behemoth announced an exclusive booking deal with San Diego venue Soma earlier in the week, which itself followed similar arrangements made in December with Ventura County’s Majestic Ventura Theater and the Observatory clubs in Santa Ana and San Diego. (In April, Live Nation went a step further with the Observatory venues, acquiring both outright.)
“We are working together across all of our Orange County and San Diego venue portfolios to increase the great shows coming through our rooms, and now Chain Reaction is part of that as well,” said Ben Weeden, COO of Live Nation’s clubs and theaters division, in a statement.
The club moves also extended beyond Southern California. Live Nation announced Wednesday that it had partnered with Greensboro Coliseum Complex’s new, 2,300-capacity, multipurpose venue Piedmont Hall, which is situated in a onetime Canada Dry bottling plant in Greensboro, N.C., and opens Sept. 6.
Meanwhile, Live Nation has also continued to expand its festival and personnel portfolios. Minneapolis-based talent buyer and festival promoter Zack Chazin, who has co-promoted Snowta Fest and shows at Twin Cities venues Myth and First Avenue, joined the company as talent buyer in March. “I’m excited to step outside of my comfort zone, delve into other spaces of music and continue to push the envelope,” Chazin wrote in a Facebook post announcing the news.
In late April, Live Nation acquired a stake in New England’s eclectic Levitate Music & Arts Festival, adding the Marshfield, Mass., event to a robust festival portfolio that already features Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits and many more.
In a statement, Don Law, President of Live Nation New England, lauded the efforts of co-founders Daniel and Jessica Hassett since the event’s 2013 debut. “Dan, Jess and their community have poured their hearts and souls into creating Levitate Music Festival,” Law said. “They have exceptional instincts in crafting a remarkable event for their audience and we look forward to connecting even more fans and artists through this boutique festival experience.”
Despite Live Nation’s undisputed perch atop the live music industry, the company shows little sign of slowing down: During a February call that reviewed Live Nation’s 2018 earnings, Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino said plenty of room for growth remains in the North American concert space.
“We still believe that the U.S.-Canadian market, let’s put those two together, still have growth ahead,” Rapino said. “We are still under-serviced in markets, as we’ve talked before about. We still have opportunities to build more of our businesses in a lot of the ‘A’ markets. We have low-market share in a lot of big markets.”