- by Kevin M. Mitchell
LAS VEGAS — Terry Lowe, executive producer of the Parnelli Awards and publisher of FOH and PLSN magazines, announced that Chris Weathers and Mary Conde have joined the Parnelli Awards Board of Advisors. Weathers, based in Chicago, is a regional director of productions for Live Nation. Conde is director of productions for Another Planet Entertainment (APE), and she also serves as venue manager for the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.
“Both Chris and Mary are respected, have deep roots in the live event community, and are very much involved in our biggest tours and festivals,” Lowe said. “Their viewpoints and advice will be welcomed, and that both had worked with Parnelli Awards co-founder Patrick Stansfield and in fact were ‘schooled’ by him a little, means a lot.”
Chris Weathers / Live Nation
Weathers got a foothold in the business when he became a runner for Chicago-based Jam Productions in 1988, eventually becoming a production manager. “It’s funny because when I started in the business, I was 33 years old!” he laughs. “In high school I used to produce shows and wanted to be a promoter, but family and ‘reality’ set in and I took a job at FedEx.” But the desire to be involved with concerts never left, and it was his “day job” at the delivery company that led him to through the Jam door. He credits Jam’s Ron Stern and Buddy Sokolick as mentors.
In 1998, Weathers was recruited to go to work for SFX, which became Clear Channel, and was eventually spun off into Live Nation Entertainment. Today he is Regional Director of Productions and, from his office in Chicago, he overseas concerts in 11 states. “Every show Live Nation produces in the Midwest crosses my desk at some point,” he explains. (Jake Berry refers to him as the most prolific promoter in the country.)
“The world of technical live events — sound, video, rigging, busses, [etc.] — that’s the world I live in,” Weathers says. “Jake [Berry] once said that the show is actually from load in to load out with a three-hour intermission where they music plays, and I could not agree more! The amount of staff and smarts needed to make a three-hour concert happen is vast, and the people behind it don’t get the recognition they deserve. That’s why the Parnelli Awards are so important — it is a prestigious event that honors what we do. That’s why I’m humbled and honored to be asked to join the board.”
Mary Conde / Another Planet
Long time production manager for Gregg Perloff/Sherry Wasserman’s Another Planet Entertainment, Conde was a nursing student when she volunteered with the nonprofit Rock Med to work a Bill Graham Presents outdoor concert in San Francisco. This exposed her to the behind-the-scenes live event world. “I looked around and thought, ‘wow this is where I want to be!” she laughs. She managed to get work with Bill Graham Presents starting at the very bottom: ushering, working security, working the box office, etc. She would become a Production/Coordinator working with many touring bands in many Bay Area venues, including the then brand new Shoreline. One who frequented the area a lot was Phish, and in 1992 they asked her to be a dedicated promoter rep for them. “They came to our market a dozen times a year, and spent a lot of time on the West Coast in general doing festivals and concerts, and they needed someone full time, and they asked me!”
Bill Graham Presents was sold to SFX, who later sold it to Clear Channel. In 2003, Gregg Perloff formed Another Planet Entertainment (APE) which included fellow Bill Graham Presents associates Sherry Wasserman, Steve Welkom, and Conde. “We wanted to be a very independent, locally owned and operated organization — you know, as we had deep roots in Berkeley!” she laughs. “The first show we did was a sold-out Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band show at Pacific Bell Park [now AT&T Park]. We did it in five weeks, and it was a whirlwind experience.”
Today APE works with the Greek Theatre, Bill Graham Civic, Fox Theater, Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys, and The Independent. Their festival work includes Outside Lands, Treasure Island Music Festival, and Life is Beautiful. “I have my dream job now — I have been given a lot of flexibility and latitude. I’m Director of Productions for the company but also venue manager for Bill Graham Civic — a perfect mix of work, as it still includes those boots-on-the-ground days that start at 7 a.m. and end at 2 a.m. Then I’m working with local government officials and the community, and I really like being part of the civic aspect of the work.” She adds that her work doesn’t just include concert work — they produced the Star Wars tour (which Stansfield also worked on), and a recent exhibit of the Titanic artifacts.
As to being asked to join the Parnelli Board of Advisors, “I’m thrilled. The people who put together tours and live entertainment are unsung heroes. The complexity and technical skills needed to get a big show off the ground is tremendous, and I’m happy and honored to be part of something that honors those professionals in our industry.”