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Journey to Another Planet

A look at the local music promoter’s universe—may it live long and prosper.

Another Planet Entertainment's Outside Land's Music Festival

Another Planet Entertainment's Outside Land's Music Festival

Ten years ago, Gregg Perloff and Sherry Wasserman committed what some considered to be music industry treason: They quit their high-ranking exec jobs at mammoth promoter Clear Channel and struck out on their own to form a Bay Area–centric concert company, Another Planet Entertainment.

Fast-forward a decade, and that leap of faith now looks like a stroke of genius.

One of the biggest names on the West Coast music circuit, APE has mastered every form of party-throwing, from intimate, 500-person shows at the Independent to a collaboration with Lucasfilm for the international tour of Star Wars: In Concert. The organization’s sibling festivals, Treasure Island and Outside Lands, attract hundreds of thousands of fans to see acts as big as Empire of the Sun and Paul McCartney. But despite their success, Perloff and Wasserman, like their onetime mentor Bill Graham, haven’t turned their backs on local talent—they still carve out festival sets for fledgling Bay Area bands like Giraffage and Social Studies. “They’re good at developing local bands in their club system,” says a senior booking agent at a prestigious L.A. agency, “and eventually putting them in their larger venues and festivals.”

The company’s dominance of the local scene culminated this year with a record crowd of 195,000 at August’s Outside Lands and the inaugural edition of a festival in downtown Las Vegas, aptly named Life Is Beautiful. It also cracked a ceiling once thought impervious to a company its size: over one million tickets sold.

By the numbers:

Outside Lands
2—years in advance that headliners are sometimes booked
$65 million—amount that the festival generates annually in the San Francisco economy
19%—percentage of festival acts from the Bay Area
4,480,333—space occupied by Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park
$16,217,500—estimated minimum ticket revenues in 2013 (in reality, the festival likely grossed north of $20 million; APE could not confirm numbers)
$1,170,000—amount that festival goers spent on shuttle service from Civic Center to Golden Gate Park this year
10,000—bikes parked at the free bike valet
15—days required to set up and take down the festival

Treasure Island Music Festival
80—buses used to shuttle 15,000 concert goers from Civic Center to Treasure Island and back
7.5—average number of hours spent by guests inside festival grounds
5—number of days before the festival that the final act was booked

The Venues (capacity & number of tickets sold in 2013):

The Independent: 500 guests, 125,000 tickets
Fox Theater: 2,800 guests, 200,000 tickets
Bill Graham Civic Auditorium: 8,500 guests, 150,000 tickets
Greek Theatre: 8,500 guests, 150,000 tickets
Harvey's Outdoor Arena (Lake Tahoe): 8,500 guests, 60,000 tickets
Other Venues: 120,000 tickets 
$75 million
—cost of renovating the Fox Theater, which reopened in 2009 and is now the company's flagship 
100+
local bands that APE works with each year

 

Originally published in the December 2013 issue of San Francisco

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