Bill Reid Exits AEG Four Years After Selling the NorVa and National

Bill Reid
Courtesy of Bill Reid

Bill Reid

The longtime Virginia Beach promoter and venue developer says he's ready for his next challenge.

Longtime concert professional Bill Reid, who helped build the Virginia Beach Amphitheater for Cellar Door Concerts and restore and reopen historical venues like the NorVa and the National Theatre, has left AEG about four years after selling his company Rising Tide in 2014.

"When I sold the NorVa and the National, I had a contract and my decision to leave is the logical conclusion of that contract," Reid tells Billboard, describing the split as amicable saying he is leaving on good terms and grateful for the opportunities afforded to him working at AEG. That includes extensive design work for an arena project promoted by several local business leaders to bring concerts to the region, but eventually voted down by the Virginia Beach City Council over finance issues. 

While at AEG, Reid also helped reopen the Classic Amphitheater near the Richmond Raceway (now called the Virginia Credit Union Live) and was part of the team at AEG to oversee the purchase of Ram's Head Live in Baltimore in 2015. 

"There are a lot of things that I’ve been fortunate to accomplish during my time at AEG and I am really grateful for the opportunity they gave me," he tells Billboard, adding additional thanks to AEG Facilities president Bob Newman, noting "AEG is extremely fortunate to have him at the helm."

Reid says now that his contract is up, he's looking for his next challenge in the venue space and says he sees plenty of opportunities in the Hampton Roads area and greater Mid-Atlantic region. Reid is consulting on the reopening of Hammerjacks in Baltimore, a $16.5 million, 60,000-square-foot entertainment complex that was once a famed hair metal venue.

"That’s where my passion lies and I love to compete, competing is fun," says Reid, who launched his company Rising Tide in 1997 after a falling out with Jack Boyle at Cellar Door over a profit-sharing plan for the Virginia Beach amphitheater that Reid had helped develop as the president of Cellar Door.

When SFX bought Cellar Door in 1999 for more than $100 million, a deal that included the amphitheater, Reid says he recognized the best investment one could make in the concert business was real estate and set out to buy and restore the NorVa from a vaudeville theater built in 1917 to a popular 1,500-cap venue that reopened in 2000. Eight years later he reopened the National Theatre in Richmond, Virginia -- both the NorVa and the National are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Reid also helped develop some of Virginias' most famous haunts including the famed Boathouse rock venue in Norfolk, the raucous Abyss nightclub in Virginia Beach and the Union Bank & Trust Pavilion in Portsmouth. Reid tells Billboard his passion remains with building venues.

"I know this market really well and I think there is lots of opportunity still left," he says, adding he's been taking meetings and catching up with old colleagues since he left AEG in recent days. "I still have a lot of ideas left and I'm excited about what's next."