2023 Impact 50: Louis Messina

CEO & Founder
Messina Touring Group


Louis Messina celebrated his 50th anniversary in the business in 2022. His first show – Nov. 3, 1972, at New Orleans’ Loyola Field House – was Curtis Mayfield and B.B. King. It sold out. But, well,  B.B. King and Mayfield’s band got stuck in Atlanta. 

“I literally had a riot on my hands,” Messina told Pollstar.

Things, needless to say, have improved for Messina since then. 

After establishing his bona fides in New Orleans and Texas, he later conceived Ozzfest with Sharon Osborne, Fleetwood Mac’s reunion and George Strait’s Country Festival tours, where he first saw a young Taylor Swift.

Swift’s ongoing “Eras” tour could well end up being the highest-grossing tour in history, by the way. 

Messina, alongside the late Allen Becker, founded PACE Concerts, opening sheds around the country that became the foundation of what is now the Live Nation empire.

When Messina left Clear Channel Entertainment, he was allowed to keep five artists. He chose Strait, Dixie Chicks, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill.

“Because of George, I met Tim and Faith and I met Chesney. I met the Chicks through George and of course I met Taylor,” he told Pollstar. “Because of Taylor, I met Ed Sheeran, I met Shawn Mendes, I met Vance Joy. Because of Kenny, I met Eric (Church). Because of George, I met Blake (Shelton).” 

In addition to that formidable roster, he promotes The Lumineers. Messina is known for taking artists into stadiums and he put The Lumineers into Wrigley Field and Coors Field last year. He says the band will be in more stadiums soon.

With universal respect — his Pollstar anniversary issue was one of the largest in this publication’s history, filled with tributes — and five decades of stories, Messina shows no sign of slowing down. It’s been a helluva run for “a street kid from New Orleans” who started with a disaster.