2023 Women Of Live: Kate Des Enfants McMahon

Executive Vice President | Messina Touring Group


For Messina Touring Group’s Kate Des Enfants McMahon, 2022 will long be etched into her mind for the live industry’s great return. This was especially so for an artist whose tour the promoter originally put up for sale one thousand days earlier, in 2019, with the vast majority of fans holding onto their tickets throughout the long duration to the tour’s return.

“It was just magic because it was so electric,” McMahon says of Kenny Chesney’s “Here & Now Tour,” which was 2022’s fifth highest-grossing North American tour and finally kicked off last April at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. “The fans came back in such force, the excitement was bananas.”
McMahon also cites a major venue opening in her hometown as another highlight: “The opening of the Moody Center in Austin, which George [Strait] opened, was really special for me. Because we’ve done eleventy billion shows at the old arena, the Frank Erwin Center, so it was like, ‘Oh, my gosh, I’ve really come full circle. This is George
at the new arena in my town with Willie Nelson,’ that was really cool.”

The charismatic and sharp senior exec, who hails from Champaign, Illinois (where at 13 she rode her bike to see Journey) says her sister is “fairly amazing’ and one of her biggest inspirations. “One time someone described her as being bossy,” McMahon recalls, “and her response was, ‘Well, some people need bossing.’ And I was like, ‘F**ckin’ A, you’re awesome!’”

For McMahon, the industry’s come a long way in terms of gender parity from how it was when she started. “The first job I got as a promoter was in 1989 and it was a completely different landscape,” she says. “I was the only woman in the concert division. I never felt like I had a seat at the table. I was hearing about things at the last minute and never felt like I was going to move up or get a promotion. Now, versus the Messina Touring Group, our executive team is mostly women, it’s a 180-degree change and nothing makes me happier.”