September 9, 2014: Cashless Wristbands Pay Off for Festivals, Meet New York’s Venue Visionary, What to Do With Failed Casino Space

By Beth Kormanik September 9, 2014, 8:18 AM EDT

1. CASHLESS WRISTBANDS PAY OFF FOR FESTIVALS: Moving to cashless payment systems for concessions and merchandise at music festivals is a trend that’s taking off, and early adopters are reporting that it’s been a success. Lollapalooza was the latest to try it this summer, and Austin City Limits is expected to announce its program this week. Billboard: “On a recent earnings call, SFX revealed that when its Mysteryland festival offered a cash-less experience this year with RFID bracelets connected to cash or credit accounts, attendees spent double on merch and concessions than attendees of comparable events. … The primary challenge is messaging and making consumers comfortable with new technology, but the adoption rate at both Counterpoint and Lolla was eye-popping, with 33% of all concessions revenue coming through the new cashless system.”

2. MEET NEW YORK’S VENUE VISIONARY: Finding raw or underused spaces that become the hottest venues for fashion shows, galas, product launches, and other events has become the specialty of Jennifer Blumin and her company, the Skylight Group. The New York Times: “As the chief executive of Skylight, her job involves taking raw spaces and renting them out to fashion brands, nonprofits and technology companies, who build movie-set-like environments inside for huge parties, charity galas or runway shows. Eventually, a space like 550 Washington may be transformed by developers into something like a tech giant’s next headquarters or the latest, greatest Whole Foods. But in the meantime, Ms. Blumin’s company can make upward of $50,000 a day using it as an event space for clients like 3.1 Phillip Lim or Target.”

3. WHAT TO DO WITH FAILED CASINO SPACE: With two recent high-profile casino closings in Atlantic City, leaders are facing the question of what to do with the behemoth buildings. And other areas looking to build new casinos, like Massachusetts, are asking potential operators what they would use the building for should the venture fail. Huffington Post: “Each applicant nonetheless described alternative uses as conference and convention space, or destination retail and dining. Mohegan Sun suggested its complex could become a satellite campus for a Boston university, housing dorm or athletic facilities.”


BOSTON:  Sherry, the fortified white wine from Spain, is gaining attention from local sommeliers. At Boston-area restaurants, the wine is getting mixed into cocktails and curated into lists. Boston Globe:

CHICAGO:  Chicago Fire stars Taylor Kinney and Jesse Spencer will serve as grand marshals at Redmoon's inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival on October 4. Beginning at 8 p.m., the downtown event will include 15 massive fire cauldrons dangling from bridges, “fire sculptures,” 400 performers and singers, and a fireworks display.

LAS VEGAS:  Delano Las Vegas is planning a September 18 grand-opening party dubbed “Stand Out in Style” with Jaime King and Charlotte Ronson as co-hosts.

LOS ANGELES:  Hilarity for Charity, a nonprofit benefiting Alzheimer’s disease from actor Seth Rogen and his wife, Lauren Miller, hosts its third annual variety show October 17 at the Hollywood Palladium. The event will have a '80s Prom Night theme.

The 2015 NAMM Show, held January 22-25 in Anaheim, will feature an interview between Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and the National Association of Music Merchants president and C.E.O. Joe Lamond.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The South Beach Wine & Food Festival announced its lineup of events for the 14th annual edition of the event, which runs February 19-22. New events will feature chefs José Andrés, Dominique Ansel, and Bobby Flay, while returning events include the popular Burger Bash hosted by Rachel Ray.

The Waldorf Astoria Naples has dropped its flag and is now the independently branded Naples Grande Beach Resort & Naples Grande Golf Course. The property is undergoing an $18 million renovation of its 474 guest rooms and suites, three restaurants, beach area, and common spaces and is expected to finish in January.

NEW YORK:  The 69th annual Tony awards are scheduled for June 7 and will broadcast live on CBS from Radio City Music Hall.

Local event listings from Masterplanner:

ORLANDO:  SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular will take place on weekends during October. The event includes trick-or-treating throughout the park, arts and crafts, and animal encounters. The park is also offering “Dine With Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch,” which requires reservations.

TORONTO:  The Toronto Flower Market is September 13 at Queen West. The event will feature styled bouquets from local florists; guests will also be able to arrange their own flowers.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The Circus Life Festival, from Impact Marketing & Events, is October 19 at the Winery at Bull Run in Centreville, Virginia.

YOUR NEWS: What are you doing? Tell us:

JOB BOARD: Post a job or find a job:

With contributions from Jenny Berg in Chicago, Alesandra Dubin in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Anna Sekula in New York.

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

Feed the Sheet:


Advertise with BizBash:


Your email inquiry will be sent to 3 venue