2022 Impact 50: Kate Des Enfants McMahon

Executive Vice President
Messina Touring Group


Kate Des Enfants McMahon, Messina Touring Group’s executive vice president, watched superstar client Kenny Chesney open his first show in almost exactly three years – April 23 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla. – and could have cried.

Chesney’s stadium tour is a highly anticipated event in any year it takes place and 2022’s “Here And Now” outing is even more so after two years of delays and a name change from “Chillaxification Tour” – not just for Chesney’s No Shoes Nation, but for the family of staff, crew and the MTG team.

“It was just so exciting!” McMahon tells Pollstar. “We were on sale with that first show for a full 933 days. Everyone, from Kenny to the crew, everyone backstage, to the fans, grinning from ear to ear with happiness is something I’ll never forget.”

The company also produces tours for artists including Blake Shelton, Shawn Mendes, Little Big Town, The Lumineers, Taylor Swift, Eric Church, and Ed Sheeran.

MTG partners with AEG Presents, and that company has established Climate Positive Touring, an internal group that is tasked with making tours – of which MTG’s are often among the biggest – greener and more sustainable in a world increasingly impacted by the effects of climate change.

“I was asked to join Climate Positive Touring when the pandemic started,” McMahon explains. “It’s a group within AEG, led by Amy Morrison and Nicole Neal, and we’ve been doing some amazing things – we put together our own speaker series so we could connect with other like-minded folks in our industry. We put together a building survey to discover what venues are already doing and how tours can support those actions. We also developed a Green Promoter Guide to share some best practices.”

Another initiative that could have potential to change the way the industry does business concerns swag – the gifts that venues traditionally bestow upon artists for appearing. Instead of giving, say, Kenny Chesney another football jersey with his name on the back, he’s asking that donations be made to causes he holds dear – including a partnership created between Reef Ball Foundation and No Shoes Reefs to protect and build critical marine and aquatic habitat.

“We know that gifting is done out of love and gratitude,” McMahon emphasizes. “But we’ve found that the venues and their staffs are more than happy to make a donation. The donation makes a lasting impact – not only is a reef a living thing, but so important to the health of the planet.”

McMahon is also deeply invested in diversity, equality and inclusion efforts and had something of a catharsis while supporting one of her friends.

“In 2020, I went to a Pollstar Live panel on inclusivity, mostly to support my awesome friend Christy Castillo Butcher,” McMahon says. “I’ve always congratulated myself on hiring women and changing what the promoter playing field looks like, but there was a gentleman on the panel who said, ‘We’ve got to stop hiring people that are just like us’ – and my jaw dropped. I was totally guilty of just that.”

Another event that stuck with McMahon was a recent WrestleMania event in Dallas – and she’s already coming up with ideas for taking over entire cities when artists come to town, the way WWE does.

“The marketing is over the top!” she says excitedly. “I took mental notes the whole time. How can we always improve the experience? How can we build upon what we have and have more fun?

“In our line of work, we tend to spend a lot of time duking it out, but we must remember – this is supposed to be all about fun – Live is fun.”