2024 Women of Live: Fallon Nell

Senior Booking Manager | Outback Presents

For Fallon Nell, 2023 will be remembered as the year she came back to Outback Presents. She was the Nashville-based promoter’s first-ever intern in 2003 — “I won the lottery of mentors in Mike and Kathy Smardak,” she says — and 20 years later, she’s managing Outback’s booking operation. 

Her 2023 highlight was putting together the first 312 Comedy Festival in Chicago and doing so with a team of women at the comedy-heavy independent promoter that checked in at No. 8 on Pollstar’s 2023 promoters’ rankings.

“The festival was largely booked, ticketed and marketed by a team of women at Outback. We anchored the festival with six sold-out Nate Bargatze shows at The Chicago Theatre. It was a full circle moment for me working with our friends at Jam Productions in a city I learned the ropes covering shows in during my early days. My face hurt from laughing watching my personal favorite of the festival, Nicole Byer, from the balcony of the Riviera Theatre,” she says.

Leading a team of women marked quite a change from those early days 20 years ago when there were few women in top spots in live entertainment in Nashville.

“When I was getting started I was in many ways unaware of how being a woman could prevent opportunities from coming my way because I was developing my skills under the wings and respect of Mike Smardak, who has always been a champion for women. But, it didn’t take long to be awakened to the mountain we were climbing to be taken seriously in a predominately male-run industry in Nashville in the early 2000s,” she says. Now she hopes with more women in top spots, a respect for balance will be the outcome.

“As a working mom to my sweet boy, Jack, I want to continue to see growing confidence in working moms,” she says. “I have working mom friends who feel pulled between home and work. Over half of my colleagues at Outback Presents are women. I work in an environment where my talent and ability to be fully engaged in my work while balancing time with my family is prioritized and valued. Women have proven that we can win at work and at home.”