Freeze Management's John Oakes Joins 117Live

John Oakes
Leah Steiger

John Oakes

Music manager to serve as CEO of Dubai-based concert promoter.

Music industry veteran John Oakes is taking on the position of CEO for Dubai-based 117 Live, splitting his time between Dubai and LA as he also operates his own company Freeze Management.

117 Live produces concerts and events in the Middle East Asia and the Americas. 117 Lives operates the open-air Autism Rocks Arena in Dubai, a 35,000-capacity venue opened at the end of 2017 with concerts from Jennifer Lopez, Ed Sheeran and Elton John. Prior to the opening of the outdoor arena, they utilized a temporary venue site for concerts.

He describes Autism Rocks Arena as "a large amphitheater with a massive VIP level," and says, "we're also currently building an indoor event space that can do smaller shows indoors."

117 Live is owned by the Al Ahi Holding Group, a UAE-based conglomerate with a portfolio that includes the Dubai Outlet Mart, a number of Middle East Golds Gym locations, a large plastics manufacturer and a license-holder that publishes Marvel, Warner Bros., DC Comics and Sanrio comics in the Middle East. Al Ahi operates Universal Events, which produces comic and pop-culture events and conventions. The company is planning a Fox-branded theme park and resort in Dubai and has 9,000 employees across 20 countries globally. 117 Live maintains offices in Los Angeles, Dubai and Hong Kong.

"My focus in on growing our global business," he tells Billboard. "That means expanding operations in the United States and Dubai, as well as produce events throughout the Middle East, Asia and Africa in 2018."

Oakes has experience producing a number of events including Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival, Lost Highway, MuscleKingz Music Festival and Car Show, MOJO Craft Beer and Music Festival. In 2005, Oakes teamed up with Vans Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, Creative Artists Agency agent Darryl Eaton and music industry entrepreneur John Reese, securing Rockstar Energy Drink as the title sponsor of the Taste of Chaos Festival, which was held annually from 2005 through 2010, touring both in the United States and more than 20 countries around the world. In 2007, the team founded the Mayhem Festival, an annual touring heavy metal music festival in America that toured through 2015. He's also developed a number of motorcycle and auto lifestyle events including Southern California's Lost Highway fest.

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