Let Memphis' Resource Entertainment Group Entertain You
Need to book talent for a special event? How about lining up Harry Connick Jr., Al Green, Elton John or Earth, Wind & Fire? Since 2003, when Paul Chandler, Howard Stovall and Rollin Riggs founded Resource Entertainment Group (REG), REG has been supplying big names such as these, as well as local acts, for events ranging from weddings to national concerts. (Mike Brocato is also a partner in the firm.)
The largest entertainment agency in Memphis, REG's services include selecting venues and handling staging, sound, lighting and other event details. The company also represents several Memphis bands, such as The Dempseys, a rockabilly group that performed for President George W. Bush and Japan's Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi when they were in Memphis in 2006.
REG came to fruition when Chandler and Stovall merged their National Talent, an entertainment agency with a focus on national headlining acts, with Riggs' regional entertainment agency, Mustang Productions. Profitable since day one, REG experienced record growth in 2008, despite the fact that Stovall says the corporate travel and entertainment industries have been decimated due to the current economic climate and what he calls a "hurricane force of bad press."
Though he believes parties, which have the ability to "excite a crowd to action" and "motivate a customer base or workforce," can benefit companies during these trying times, companies, he says, have not wanted to be seen throwing such events (even for Christmas). So, why didn't the decline in corporate bookings slow REG's growth?
Stovall attributes it to smart client management and diversification. The company doesn't just focus on corporate entertainment -- it also books and produces social and casino events. For example, REG has been producing and booking the Peabody Hotel's Thursday Night Rooftop Concert Series for the past five years, and they recently produced a two-day blues festival for Pearl River Resort, a casino, golf and spa property, booking two full days of headline entertainment for a crowd of 5,000.
The entertainment agency also books and produces private events, including a performance by Lyle Lovett in a blues club for a private birthday party and a performance by Earth, Wind and Fire (in a jet hangar) for the 40th birthday of a Memphis businessman's wife.
With 2008 gross booking and production revenue yielding a 50% increase in gross profits, REG's future looks promising. The company even has an eye toward expansion, with acquisitions representing a primary means to that end. It recently acquired Mouth of tha South Artist Booking and Event Productions, an entertainment agency focused on the southern hip-hop scene. (Stovall believes that hip-hop is a "growing side of entertainment" that will help REG obtain more business.)
REG is also working on finalizing another acquisition, as well as the grand opening of Canadian National's intermodal yard, which, according to Stovall, may include shooting pyrotechnics off a locomotive. Now that's entertainment.