Chief Operating Officer, Festivals
AEG Presents’ stock in the concert business only continues to rise, in large part thanks to its robust slate of festivals. Since joining the company in 2017 as chief operating officer of festivals, Melissa Ormond has played a critical role in what’s arguably the cornerstone of AEG’s business.
First, the obvious: After a two-year hiatus from the desert in Indio, Calif., industry-leading, two-weekend festival Coachella, produced by AEG subsidiary Goldenvoice, returned in April with headliners Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Swedish House Mafia and The Weeknd leading the bill for an event that for some signaled the live industry’s true return in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The following weekend, Goldenvoice’s country-centric Stagecoach also made its return to Indio.
Of course, the Southern California festivals are just two highlights from AEG’s ever-growing festival division, which has already staged BUKU and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in The Big Easy this year. AEG mainstays Hangout (Alabama), Firefly (Delaware) and Electric Forest (Michigan) will all return this summer, as will rap-oriented Day N Vegas (Las Vegas) and country-focused Born & Raised (Oklahoma), which debuted in 2019 and 2021, respectively.
AEG has also leaned into the hyper-specific, single-day festival events that have recently become trendy in the sector, unveiling Pasadena, Calif., events such as the ‘80s-channeling Cruel World, headlined by Morrissey and Bauhaus (and expanded to a second, identical day to meet demand) and the Kacey Musgraves-topped Palomino. Its single-day Just Like Heaven, which debuted in 2019 and honors ‘00s alt- and indie-rock, will also descend on Pasadena, topped by Interpol, Modest Mouse, The Shins and M.I.A.
Ormond’s track record as a skilled negotiator able to stage best-in-class events well predates her experience at AEG. From 2005 to 2014, she held multiple titles at MSG Entertainment, culminating with a three-year stint as the company’s president, and from 1994 to 2003, she handled talent acquisition for MCA Concerts.