William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, a founding partner in Lollapalooza, is building its portfolio in the festival sector with investment in six new strategic alliances in the country music fest space, Billboard.biz has learned.
Much of WME’s activity will be with Premier Global Production under the well-established Country Thunder brand, with Country Thunder events in Florence, Ariz., Twin Lakes, Wis., along with Texas Thunder in Midland, Texas, and the Craven (Sask.) Country Jamboree. WME is also partnering in the Willamette Country Music Festival in Brownsville, Ore., and the Cape Blanco Country Music Festival in Sixes, Ore., both sponsored by Bi-Mart.
“WME is looking for great opportunities to expand into other businesses, and forming a strategic alliance with festivals is a good business practice we want to continue to do,” Rob Beckham, co-head of WME’s Nashville office, tells Billboard.biz. Beckham declined to discuss financial details, but it is believed that WME has invested financially in the PGP brands, and purchased the Oregon festivals outright.
Country is thriving on the touring front, and has joined pop, rock, and EDM as a force in the festival space. Live Nation Country Music president Brian O’Connell has launched two festivals in the past two years in Watershed at the Gorge in George, Wash., and Faster Horses in Brooklyn, Mich., and is believed to be considering others, including a festival in the New York City market.