Category Archives: Headline Entertainment & Events News Blog

Headline Entertainment & Events News Blog articles


Hiring Headline Entertainment: The Offer and The Contract

Hiring Headline Entertainment: The Offer and the Contract

An Offer is a blueprint for the pending Contract.

If the artist accepts the offer, you are obligated to move forward toward a contract. If the artist declines the offer, neither party has a further obligation. If you still want to procure this entertainer, you can make an alternative offer, in writing. (Everything must be in writing to form a binding agreement.)

If the artist accepts your offer, an entertainment professional can provide invaluable assistance in drawing up the contract. Most contract arrangements have two parts:

• The actual contract. This spells out in detail the who, what, where, when and how.

• Rider(s) or addendum(s) to the contract. This can be in the form of one large rider or separate components, broken out into a sound rider, light rider, a food-and-beverage rider, etc. These riders are made part of and attached to the contract. The contract may be one to three pages, with the rider(s) adding another 50 pages. It is not uncommon for riders to specify limo service for the artist or speaker, specific brands of bottled water to have on hand or 300-threadcount Egyptian cotton bed sheets.

ChecklistMan2cWhy you need an entertainment management company

There’s a good reason to use corporate entertainment companies. First of all, you probably will never meet with an artist’s exclusive agent in person. After an initial conversation with an exclusive agent, future conversations will most likely be handled by one or more assistants. The agent is interested in completing the paperwork and collecting the money. Once that is done, his or her job is complete. The agent never goes to the job site to oversee the artist’s performance. In contrast, a good corporate entertainment company takes a full-service approach. In addition to handling the paperwork and financials, staff will control communication and one or more representatives will be present during your event. They can also act as the show’s producer and oversee the rider requirements if the planner or organizer transfers that responsibility to them. Note: The entire obligation to fulfill the rider requirements rests with the event organizer, as the purchaser.

Joshua Jones, director of sales at Painted Desert Gold Club, feels that “using a corporate entertainment company is beneficial.” That’s especially true if you are new to booking name entertainment and have not had the experience of negotiating a rider, he says. “An entertainment company can often negotiate more cost out of riders than the fee that they charge.”

And of course, an entertainment booking agency works with many celebrities and agents regularly, while a planner may only have an occasional need to book one. As a result, the celebrities’ agents have more riding on a deal with an entertainment company that may bring them two, three or 10 engagements a year. “That gives the entertainment booking agency more leverage, and agents will be more flexible in negotiations with them,” Jones says.

For a FREE Event Entertainment Offer Form Template, please click here or click on the man holding the clipboard!

Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. Headline Entertainment and Event Production +1-540-636-1640.


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Hiring Entertainment: 6 Steps That Guarantee You’ll Rock The House

Hiring Entertainment: 6 Steps That Guarantee You’ll Rock The House

Entertainment comes in all varieties, in all languages, and transcends all borders, so booking headline entertainment means making choices from among a vast number of options. For the uninitiated, it can be a crazy and tedious process.


Entertainment comes in all varieties, in all languages, and transcends all borders, so booking headline entertainment means making choices from among a vast number of options. For the uninitiated, it can be a crazy and tedious process.

You must first determine what fits your client’s needs and expectations, based on the event’s goals and objectives. That way you can provide an entertainment management company with an audience profile that helps them find the most appropriate speaker or headline entertainer. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the process.

JoseCid80webSix simple steps to booking
1. Research the needs of the audience and identify the appropriate resources to fill these needs. A keynote speaker should speak to issues that hit home with your target audience and “connect” with them. When it comes to entertainment, be it a soloist, band or stand-up comic, the audience demographic is critical. Typically, the age of the audience plays the largest role, since age tends to dictate music taste.  (See below chart of Genres to consider)

2. Select an artist. This works best if you or your client either select the top five headliners you would like to have appear at your meeting or event, or prepare an approximate budget and category of music/entertainment/speaker to narrow the list of options.

3. Have your agent or corporate entertainment company make a written offer to the artist. Remember, an agent can offer you only the artists on the agency’s roster. If the artists you choose are represented by more than one agency, you must contact more than one agent or just one corporate entertainment company. Key point: It is common to lose headliners when clients are not able to act quickly enough to secure the act. So be prepared and empower your corporate entertainment company to make a reasonably quick decision.

4. If the entertainer accepts the offer, sign a contract for entertainment services. Once the artist accepts your written offer, it is very difficult to turn back. Are you prepared to make a 50 percent deposit when and if a headline entertainer accepts your offer?

5. Secure production for the show or have your corporate entertainment company provide the product and services.

6. Monitor the production process and evaluate the outcomes.

nathanschulhofDuring the selection process, your entertainment company should provide you with not only a list of headliners, but also their picture, biography and possibly their routing information, availability and cost. Your entertainment company can supply the planner with the headliner’s tour history, including venues, and their typical audience size, if applicable, as well as ticket prices.

Genres to consider: The Mark Sonder Productions 20 music formats
• Adult contemporary
• Alternative
• Blues
• Children’s entertainment
• Christian
• Classical
• Comedy
• Country
• Dance
• Folk
• Holiday
• Jazz
• Latin
• Pop
• Reggae
• Rock
• Urban
• Variety
• World music
• ’20s, ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s, ’00s, ’10s

Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. Headline Entertainment and Event Production +1-540-636-1640

Top, José Cid in concert
Bottom, speaker Nathan Schulhof, inventor of the MP3 Player 

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Celebrity DJs: A DJ is a DJ is a DJ (NOT!)

Celebrity DJs A DJ is a DJ is a DJ (NOT!)

Disc Jockey’s are a universal entity available throughout the globe representing different countries, cultures, languages and diversity.  They can range in price from $500 on up to a 6 digit number!  But is there a real difference in performance, in interactivity with the attendees, in style and in energy?

The answer definitely appears to be a resounding YES!

AndreCarsonMarkWebCase Study: Two weeks ago Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. provided DJ music for a private party in honor of Congressman Andre Carson who is the Co-chair of the 2012 Congressional Black Caucus.  This event took place at The Newseum in Washington DC where Mark Sonder Productions is the preferred entertainment vendor.

Mark Sonder Productions made arrangements with Robert, the event planner, to bring in and setup all the DJ equipment, as well as the sound reinforcement earlier that afternoon.

In a reception lasting 3 hours we offered a “warm-up” DJ.  He was DJ Born.  Guests were arriving and were greeted by his smooth and comfortable music as they were getting acclimated to the vibe in the room while standing on line to receive their food and beverage.

Towards the end of the hour DJ Born, who read the crowd beautifully, continued with his music as the stage area was cleared for the arrival of the Celebrity DJ.  Then, one hour into this event, Mark Sonder took the microphone and introduced from the group Salt-N-Pepa, DJ Spinderella.  The lights went up at the DJ area, she appeared, and immediately ratcheted up the music both in amplitude of sound, on her microphone, and in shear energy while the vibe in the room changed immediately as the attendees started on their own snapping flash photos and shooting videos.  As Mark Sonder was not just the producer of music and entertainment for this event but a witness to the change from one fine DJ to the next, be assured that bringing in a Celebrity DJ, whether Spinderella or someone else will be a positive experience for your attendees, host, and sponsors.  From a spontaneous Meet & Greet to remembering where you were when, to dancing and singing to today’s music to respectful “scratching”, a Celebrity DJ will make all stakeholders be heroes/heroines.

SpinderellaAtWorkWebTo book DJ Spinderella please call:  +1-540-636-1640.

Contact Mark Sonder Productions, your booking agent for corporate, association and incentive events. Call our international management team for production, celebrity entertainment and speaker needs for your next meeting, convention, trade show, exposition or special event. Your Private & Corporate Entertainment Talent and Booking Agency.

For your FREE Event Entertainment Checklist, please click here!


Photos:  Top, Congressman Andre Carson greeting Mark Sonder.  Bottom, DJ Spinderella at work!

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Lighting and Staging 101 for Headline Entertainment

Lighting and Staging 101 for Headline Entertainment

Get It Right The First Time at your Meetings, Conventions, Trade Shows, Expositions, and Special Events.

BookCoverFinal2Obviously, you need to make sure you have the right entertainer, and that he or she is well versed in the type of message you want to send attendees. But once you’ve met these two objectives, two of the most important aspects of incorporating a celebrity into your event are the lighting and staging.  If only there was a book one could read.  There is!  Event Entertainment and Production. Also the Facebook page for the book.

Luckily for all of us, most celebrity contracts include a lighting and staging related rider,  which is simply a mandatory clause or provision attached to the contracts. Typically, this rider includes a specific tabulation and description of required lighting and staging equipment as well as labor requirements to install and run this equipment. In some rare cases, the entertainer will provide most or all of the required items, but in most situations you will need to locate local labor and most of the equipment. Therefore, it helps to have at least a bare-bones understanding of some of the key terms involved in lighting and staging.

Here are brief explanations of some of the most common terms you’ll run across when dealing with headline entertainment.

Trusses, are structures that are internally braced so that they can span distances without bending, are almost always required to support light fixtures for each headliner appearance. However, they also can support drapery, backdrops, and scenery.  Trusses may be “flown,” i.e., hung from above, or floor supported by vertical columns. The following light fixtures are typically attached to trusses:

• Automated/Intelligent Lighting — Sophisticate computer-controlled lights can change color, gobos, and focus by remote control.
• Fresnels — A light that projects a soft-edged beam, which can be varied in size from narrow focus to wide flood.  Excellent for lighting general areas, dance floors, backdrops, foliage, and decorative vignettes.
• Gobos — Also known as templates or patterns, these are most often flat metal “stencils” that fit within a theatrical spotlight, or automated light, to project images such as clouds, corporate logos, geometric patterns, or any number of stock or custom images.  Recently, heat-resistant glass and the ability to color glass gobos have increased the designer’s options for creativity.  Many ready-made stock gobos are available.
• Lekos — The slang term for an ellipsoidal spotlight.  This theatrical fixture projects a hard-edged beam of light, which can be shaped by built-in shutters or an iris, as well as by using a gobo.  This fixture is useful for illuminating specific areas where control of the light beam is needed.  Excellent for lighting single performers and architectural, or décor details.
• Par Cans — A 150w to 1000w lighting instrument that acts like a floodlight, providing an event light over a specific area; frequently seen in a polished aluminum version, hanging in large groups from ground support or flying truss system.
• Pinspots — This fixture projects a very narrow beam of light and is ideal for lighting table centerpieces, specific décor elements and details, and food displays on buffets.
• Follow Spot — This fixture basically follows the celebrity on stage. However, it can provide a broad or narrow or round or square light beam, and you can incorporate basic multi-colored gels. This fixture would NOT be attached to any truss.

The rider should also contain a stage plot, and provide you with the width, depth, and height of the intended structure. Within this stage plot, you’ll typically find the following terms.

• Wings — Platforms placed on either end of the stage for placement of lighting trees and/or audio speakers.
• Downstage — The portion of the stage that is closest to the audience.
• Backline — Instruments and associated equipment required for a performance.
• Risers – Small platforms put on stage, generally for the drum kit and the keyboards.
• Stage left / Stage right – The left or right side of the stage from the performer’s perspective.

While all of these terms may sound a bit daunting, you just need a basic understanding of them, as their intended use and positioning will likely be spelled out in the headliner’s lighting plot included in the rider.

Call on Mark Sonder Productions, Inc. ( for all your production requirements as well as for acquiring your headline entertainment for meetings, conventions, trade shows, expositions, concerts, casinos, and special events.  Call today  +1-540-636-1640.

Lastly, for even more assistance don’t forget to download our FREE Event Entertainment Checklist.


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Speakers are Entertainers Too: Boosting Attendance and Excitement for Your Event

Speakers are Entertainers Too

Boosting Attendance and Excitement for Your Event

Meetings provide the networking and educational tools people need to be successful. The importance of finding the right speaker to facilitate the learning process can’t be overestimated, but promoting your speaker once you’ve found her/him is just as critical. Here are some tips from the National Speakers Association (NSA) on how to build excitement and registration numbers once you have found the perfect expert for your group.

Tantalizing Titles Get off to a strong start by assuring the session has a catchy title, advises Chris Clarke-Epstein, CSP. “Start with a short, spiffy and clever title followed by a subtitle that explains the benefit of the session.”  For example: Learn How to Increase Your Chances of Winning The Lottery.

Work Your Web Site and Create a Buzz with email familiarity breeds attendance, and your association’s Web site is a great tool to introduce your speaker to your potential audience. Jeff Blackman, JD, CSP, offers the following tips to help you make the most your association’s technologies.

RichardLustigWebPost a detailed description of the session and the speaker on your site. Photos of the speaker in action are a good addition. You can also ask your speaker to provide you with audio or video excerpts from a previous presentation to promote the program before the event. Be sure to provide your members with a link from your site to the speaker’s Web site. For example, “Members can learn more about the speaker or obtain additional content before and after the program.”

When your event is over, Blackman also suggests posting audio or video excerpts from the session to reinforce the program’s key points and educate members who were unable to attend.

If your organization or client has an online book or tape store, feature your speaker’s materials prior to the presentation. If you have a chat room or bulletin board, consider slating some time for your members to chat with your presenter. A speaker will use this opportunity to get to know your member’s concerns and questions and customize his or her speech accordingly. Your audience will appreciate the opportunity to learn and participate. For example Richard has both a book as well as an audio book on CD.

Word of Mouth Consider having the speaker address other groups within your organization. Often, a speaker will negotiate fees when you book her for a number of presentations. Company newsletter editors often need additional material for their newsletters, so look into submitting an article on or from your presenter.

The Write Stuff Chances are your presenter has written many articles or has videos of media interviews on the subject at hand. You can also ask the speaker to craft a customized article for your group or have a member of your staff conduct an interview. Not only do these articles make a great addition to your organization’s publication; they might also be a good fit for the publications of other industry-related associations you are building relationships with. Provide links to the articles on your Web site as well. This builds the speaker’s credibility and offers value-added information for your attendees.

If your speaker is published, use the speaker’s book to build excitement for the presentation. You can give attendees the book when they register. For added panache, have a book waiting to greet members in their hotel room along with a welcome letter from your president or CEO. “Books can even be personalized…depending on the size of the group,” says Blackman.

The Media: Get Ready Gather everything you need to promote your speaker to the media. Request that the speaker provide you with photos. They can be black and white or color, either head shots or action shots. Have the photo scanned and saved as a TIFF file. For Web publishing, 72 dots per inch (DPI) will be fine. For print, save the image at 300 DPI. For example, due to the recent PowerBall craze Richard has given MANY interviews to all the big networks on TV and on cable.

The speaker should also provide you with a short biography and a brief write-up on the program including keypoints, what the attendees will learn and why the he or she is qualified to speak on the topic.

Prior to the event, send a short news release to the calendar editors at local daily newspapers and industry-related publications. Invite key editors to attend the event and make sure they get a copy of the program and other promotional materials. Contact local print and broadcast media to arrange interviews for your speaker and your key leaders.

The Media: Get Set Find out when your speaker is going to arrive and when he or she is available for interviews. Keep a close eye on the news the week of your event. Is there a way to tie your speaker’s expertise into a current news peg? For instance, if your speaker’s area of expertise is the lottery, perhaps he can talk about the regulations in your state. If you want local media to cover the speech, you must determine the news angle and pitch it hard. Think about what events would generate good photos or visuals for television cameras. Make follow-up calls to make sure the journalists have the information you sent them. Find out if the speaker has a publicist or PR firm and if so, partner with them on generating publicity. You want to get exposure for your group as well as the event, so give your speaker some short key messages to prepare them.

The Media: Go! On the day of the event, messenger packages to key media. Write a media alert telling them who, what, when, where and, most importantly, why their audience needs to know about your event and your speaker. Add some goodies such as the speaker’s book, a video, a program and your client or organization’s press kit and stuff it all in an attractive portfolio, preferably one with your group’s logo.

Finally, be prepared for the media when they arrive on site. Have one of your staff or a trusted volunteer free to squire them around. Introduce them to the subjects they need for interviews. Have a good place in mind to conduct the interviews and take photos, ideally with your client or organization’s name or logo in the background.

The Party’s Over Professional speakers know that a program is not a one-time event but an ongoing process. They will often offer to send an e-mail to attendees with some value-added links to additional information. Your attendees should be able to benefit from the presentation long after it is over, and your organization should continue to gain exposure as well. Look for anecdotes from your attendees about how they were touched or motivated by the session. How do they plan to implement what they have learned? Select the best photos and combine them with after-the-event news releases for ongoing exposure.

NOTE: Richard is the first and only 7 Time Lottery Game Grand Prize Winner.  His 1 hour presentation is both entertaining as well as educational.  To engage him please call today +1-540-636-1640.

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On Tour Starting This Summer

On Tour Starting This Summer

“Music is the gel that combines business with entertainment.”

PatMethenySummertime is an opportunity to see and hear your favorite artists when they make their way to your town or country while on tour.  Nothing beats warm weather, cool music, sharing with good friends and meeting new ones all through and because of the vehicle of live music.

Whether it is the ensemble, “Standing In The Shadows: A Tribute to The Four Tops,” touring this July from New Jersey to Washington State in the USA, or two great international stars meeting in Europe as Pat Metheny (composer and guitarist) will be meeting with José Cid (composer, keyboard and vocalist) at the Cool Jazz Festival in Lisbon, Portugal on July 22nd.  Music is the driving force behind people coming together for celebration.

Corporations and associations have known this for a while and use music as a gel that combines business with entertainment, whether after the exposition floor closes or educational sessions are finished, it can be used for networking, dancing or a show.  How do you acquire these fine musicians/entertainers?  One step may be to get them while they are already out on the road. To know these names and possible availabilities is to know who you may acquire for your meetings and events.

Don’t have time to search through thousands upon thousands (and we do mean thousands, seriously) of headline entertainment?  Call today to inquire which artists will be in your area during the time of your upcoming meeting or event. +1-540-636-1640

JoseCidpianoBelow is a short list of artists commencing their tours at this time.

  • Attack Attack! Dates start 07/06/12
  • Ben Vereen Dates start 07/10/12
  • Bob Saget Dates start 07/07/12
  • Coldplay Dates start 07/06/12
  • Diana Krall Dates start 07/07/12
  • Dirty Projectors Dates start 07/10/12
  • Fishbone Dates start 07/08/12
  • Hot Chelle Rae Dates start 07/06/12
  • James Taylor Dates start 07/06/12
  • Neon Trees Dates start 07/09/12
  • NRBQ Dates start 07/11/12
  • Owl City Dates start 07/10/12
  • Roger Waters Dates start 07/06/12
  • Scissor Sisters Dates start 07/06/12
  • The Disco Biscuits Dates start 07/07/12

Photos:  Pat Metheny (top); José Cid (bottom)



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Elvis is In The House (at least as a hologram!)

Elvis Is In The House — at least in hologram form

The King will “live” again!

ElvisAs was reported in this Events News BLOG on 4/17/12 entitled, “Music Sets The Stage for Corporate, Association and Incentive Events: Getting Its Cues from The Live Music Industry Once Again!” where I gave a description of the Tupac Shakur hologram that debuted at the Coachella music festival, Elvis Presley will get a similar hologram virtual treatment by the same company that made the late rapper’s lifelike hologram.

Digital Domain Media Group has announced that it is creating an Elvis hologram for shows, film, TV and other projects and special events worldwide, including “personal” appearances, and they have permission to do such from the family.

Although Elvis passed in 1977, The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll remains one of the most popular figures in music and entertainment and continues to “represent” both Las Vegas and Memphis.

No word on when Elvis The Hologram will make its official debut. Digital Domain is working with Core Media Group, which handles various brands, personalities and properties.

Photo: the late great “real” Elvis NOT a hologram

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The Platters Founder Herb Reed Dies At 83

The Platters Founder Herb Reed Dies At 83

“The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”

TheLateHerbReedAs I am often asked about The Drifters, The Coasters, The Marvelettes, The Persuasions, or The Platters, “Are they the original?” I must report that Herb Reed, the last surviving original member of 1950s vocal group the Platters who sang on hits like “Only You” and “The Great Pretender,” has died. He was 83.

Reed was a Kansas City, Mo., native who founded the Platters in Los Angeles in 1953. Then a quartet, the group won amateur talent shows, and performed nights and weekends up and down the California coast while the members worked days at a car wash and at other odd jobs.

Reed came up with the group’s name, inspired by `50s disc jockeys who called their records platters.

The group underwent several lineup changes, even adding a woman singer to become a quintet, before signing their first major recording contract in 1955.

Reed sang bass on the group’s four No. 1 hits, including “The Great Pretender,” “My Prayer,” “Twilight Time” and “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.”

The Platters were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990 and the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1998. Their recordings are in the Grammy Hall of Fame.

The group’s popularity reached across racial lines and genres, “achieving success in a crooning, middle-of-the-road style that put a soulful coat of uptown polish on pop-oriented, harmony-rich material,” according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s website.

Today, started by Herb, The Platters music still lives on.



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Music Sets The Stage for Corporate, Association and Incentive Events

Music Sets The Stage for Corporate, Association and Incentive Events

Getting Its Cues from The Live Music Industry Once Again!

To keep their guests, registrants and attendees in the corporate, association and incentive event industries on the cutting edge these spcial events have gotten their “cues” from the live concert industry. 

If that continues to be the case then what happened this past weekend at the Coachella Festival will be arriving at your corporate, association or incentive special event in the near future–guest appearances via hologram (actually rear-projection on a semi-transparent screen).  What was of interest at the festival as the guest appearance was of a musician of the late rapper Tupac Shakur!

Shakur who was murdered in 1996 took to the stage greeting Coachella fans before launching into a solo performance of his hit song “Hail Mary.”  Then, the illusory rapper and Snoop Dogg teamed up for a duet of “Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Gangsta Party.”  Dr. Dre was also there–live!

This development is important to the private sector as you can now bring in your CEO or VIP’s in a hologram (dead or alive) to your meetings, conventions, trade shows, expositions or special events.  The technology behind the Shakur “performance” was provided by a British company called Musion, which has also provided holograms for Madonna, David Beckham, Prince Charles, Lewis Hamilton and even a live “hologram” of the CEO of the companyTelstra, who was beamed to six locations across Australia.  It’s coming your way soon!

This is a MUST SEE, especially the final few moments.  Please note, this YouTube is an explicit video of Tupac’s ‘performance’ at Coachella.  If you prefer not to listen to the “f” word or “n” would I would like to advise you not to watch/listen to this video as it may be offensive to you.

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“One Love, One Heart,” Let’s Get Together and Watch a Movie

“One Love, One Heart,” Let’s Get Together and Watch a Movie

New Distributional Channel for Event Marketing to be investigated for your meetings, special events and concerts.

OneLoveA few months ago I went to the island country of Jamaica for a business meeting, some R&R as well as to visit the first 2 boyhood homes in addition to the final resting place of musician Bob Marley.

On April 20 a Bob Marley documentary will be released.  It is simply entitled, “Marley.”  A check of how many Facebook fans Bob presently has would reveal almost 38 million.  Following him on Twitter you will find 192,000 people.  This is quite a feat as Bob has not been alive for more than 30 years!

Why is this motion picture important today and in what context?  It is important as this movie will be streamed on Facebook simultaneously during its opening.  In an obvious attempt to leverage the almost 38 million fans, it is apparent that social media is also playing a role as a new trend in music and entertainment specifically in event marketing.

We have seen this happen before with indie films using Facebook as a means of a distributional channel, however, this will be the first USA film to stream simultaneously on social media while opening in theatres.

A portion of the proceeds from Facebook sales will benefit Save the Children, the charity for needy children.

You may wish to consider this type of marketing for your upcoming meetings, conventions, trade shows, expositions, concerts and special events.

Others may just consider this reggae documentary “Marley” as a holiday of sorts for marijuana enthusiasts.

Long live Bob Marley!

“One Love.”

Photo:  Signs above the door to enter the mausoleum erected for Bob.  Inscription of “One Love” and sign below exclaiming “JAH-LOVE.

NOTE:  Mark Sonder instructs, “Event Marketing” at The George Washington University in Washington DC for the Event Management Certificate Program.

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