September 15, 2017: Obama Foundation to Host New Leadership Summit, Inside a Rhode Island Classical Music Fest That Ended in Disaster, How Marriott Rescued 620 Stranded Hotel Guests in St. Thomas

By Ian Zelaya September 15, 2017, 8:30 AM EDT

1. OBAMA FOUNDATION TO HOST NEW LEADERSHIP SUMMIT: Former President Barack Obama has announced that the Obama Foundation will host its inaugural leadership summit in Chicago. The summit will take place October 31-November 1. Chicago Tribune: “In a video, former President Barack Obama said the programming, along with the creation of a fellowship program and the incorporation of his My Brother's Keeper Alliance into the foundation, is his way of grooming the next generation to 'change the world.' 'We're bringing together hundreds of leaders from all around the world for a hands-on exchange of ideas in my hometown,' Obama says in the video, which was posted to the foundation's website and emailed to followers Wednesday morning. 'The summit will be a place to gather and learn from one another, and then go back to your communities to lead others in the hard work of change. And it will also help guide our foundation as we continue to design programs that will connect and support the next generation of young leaders here in the United States and around the globe.' ... In some ways, the foundation's new programming builds upon Chicago's long history of civic engagement and carries that local framework, shaped by people like Saul Alinsky, to a national audience, said Dick Simpson, a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a former alderman."

2. INSIDE A RHODE ISLAND CLASSICAL MUSIC FEST THAT ENDED IN DISASTER: A Rhode Island music festival hosted by the Newport Contemporary Music Series has joined the ranks of Fyre Festival and the New York Pizza Festival for being an event that promised a sensational experience—only to provide guests with the exact opposite. Boston Globe: “The festival hired more than 100 professional musicians to form the Newport Contemporary Arts Orchestra, which over six weeks starting in July was to perform challenging works by some of the titans of contemporary music, including a Previn piece commissioned specially for the occasion. The man behind it all: Paul Van Anglen, a 25-year-old impresario who managed to present just three concerts before his grand dream cratered amid charges of broken promises, rank amateurism, and an estimated $120,000 in unpaid orchestra musicians fees, plus tens of thousands more for unpaid soloists and other costs. Van Anglen, a Portsmouth native who now lives at his mother’s Rhode Island home and offers his services online as a composer for hire, said the festival imploded after key donors failed to deliver. ... At the festival’s inaugural concert, Van Anglen was slated to conduct a program including the world premiere of Previn’s “Almost an Overture” and Aaron Copland’s 'Appalachian Spring.' 'He chose really challenging pieces,' said Melody Giron, a New York cellist, whose first inkling that something was off came when she didn’t receive sheet music before rehearsals. But the real shock came when they arrived for rehearsal to find the stage in disarray, missing chairs and music stands. Musicians, some of whom had traveled from as far as Florida, said Van Anglen didn’t even take time to introduce himself to the orchestra."

3. HOW MARRIOTT RESCUED 620 STRANDED HOTEL GUESTS IN ST. THOMAS: When Hurricane Irma stranded more than 600 Marriott International hotel guests in St. Thomas last week, the hotel company chartered a ship from the Dominican Republic that rescued guests on September 8. Tim Sheldon, president of the Caribbean and Latin America for Marriott International, led the operation and recently discussed the logistics of coordinating the rescue. Forbes: “Sheldon: Operations and security teams evaluated any reasonable idea we could find for evacuating guests – including military planes, helicopters and boats. The solution we came up with, on September 7, was to commission a ferry [the MV Kydon, a 30,000-ton passenger/cargo ship 177 meters in length] to depart from the Dominican Republic, go on to Puerto Rico, and then depart from there on Friday, September 8, to collect our guests. ... We had to operate within very strict parameters to have the best chance of making them comfortable with this operation.  Because of the governmental entities with power over exits and documentation on the island, part of what we had to do was to submit detailed guest information for the ferry manifest. (The authorities required legal names, ages, dates of birth and medical information for every passenger they were going to allow to come on board).  We got permission from our guests to release this [information] and we gave [the local authorities] a detailed manifest in response to this requirement."


CHICAGO:  The 26th annual Apple Festival will take place September 22-24 in downtown Long Grove. The event will have live music on three stages, apple pie-eating contests, games for kids and adults, and a variety of apple-inspired eats. 

LOS ANGELES:  Now through October 31, Santa Anita Park is offering early-bird incentives to corporate groups who book holiday parties at the track. Perks include champagne toasts, access to the Jumbo Tron, satellite bars, and more. The park, located in Arcadia, offers 200,000 square feet of event space, including the Chandelier Room, which holds 500; 13 private suites that hold 10 to 40 guests each; and the grassy outdoor Infield space, which holds as many as 10,000 people. 

The third annual Off the Hook Seafood Festival will take place October 14 at Santa Monica Pier. The event benefits the Westside Food Bank. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

NEW YORK:  The Global Citizen Festival, taking place September 23 in Central Park, has announced its lineup of hosts, which include Hugh Jackman, Demi Lovato, Priyanka Chopra, and Connie Britton. 

Ridgewood bar Nowadays will host its annual Oktoberfest celebration Nowafest September 16-October 3. The venue will offer German-style sausages and special beers during the 18-day celebration. 

To celebrate Oktoberfest, Clinton Hall will give away a free trip to Germany on October 5. People can enter the raffle by visiting any of Clinton Hall’s three locations from September 16-October 3 and purchasing a Bitburger Premium Pils or Erdinger Weissbrau. 

Gemma at the Bowery Hotel has appointed Carlo Bigi executive chef. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  Days after Hurricane Irma hit Florida, most hotels and tourist attractions have reopened with little damage. The New York Times:

SAN FRANCISCO:  TechAspect, a global digital technology marketing agency specializing in digital experience, commerce, and marketing, has named Brendan Raybuck senior director of sales, Western U.S. 

TORONTO:  Toronto Beer Week runs today through September 23 at more than 60 different venues. The nine-day event will have more than 100 beer-centric events. 

YOUR NEWS: What are you doing? Tell us:

JOB BOARD: Post a job or find a job:

With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, Rayna Katz, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from

Feed the Sheet:


Advertise with BizBash:


Sign up for the BizBash Daily - stay current with the event industry.
Your email inquiry will be sent to 3 venue