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‘Live’ is back at Hollywood’s Hard Rock Live

HOLLYWOOD — It wasn’t even five months after the new Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood and its massive Guitar Hotel debuted Oct. 24, 2019, that the Covid-19 pandemic would bring activity to a halt. The hospitality and entertainment industry was stopped dead in its tracks. Adding to the pain was the closing of the brand new $100 million Hard Rock Live venue – something concert goers had been anticipating for years. The 7,000-seat, state-of-the-art theater-style environment features three levels of seats, VIP sections and wide concourses.

The new venue was poised to host 200 events a year, double the number of the previous Hard Rock Live that had been demolished. But while the venue was able to host some shows – including musical act Maroon 5, its first – the pandemic brought the momentum and excitement to an end.

“Because of the pandemic the Hard Rock Live didn’t get an opportunity to enjoy the full honeymoon period most new venues get to enjoy,” Keith Sheldon, president of entertainment for Seminole Gaming and Hard Rock International, said.

The situation has begun to noticeably change this year. Sheldon began in his position in June 2020 and his goal was to be prepared and ready to go when the world spun back on its axis.

“It’s one of the most spectacular live entertainment venues in the world,” Sheldon said. “The entertainment industry didn’t get to fully understand how special the room is.”

Sheldon and his team have been in contact with top promoters, managers and artists, aggressively marketing the message that Hard Rock Live is open for business.

“We wanted the [show] calendar to be as robust as possible when it became safe to fully reopen,” he said.

One of the early successes was booking the Miss Universe competition in May, which pulled in an international viewing audience.

“That was certainly our calling card to the world that we were open to business, but still following safety protocols,” Sheldon said. “Miss Universe ended up being what I believe was the number one most watched program that evening. It sent the message.”

The lineup for August has comedy fans salivating. It includes three nights of comedian Dave Chappelle, three nights of comedian Sebastian Maniscalco and two shows with comedian Bill Burr.

“That’s three of the most coveted comedians in the business. The comedy box is firmly checked,” Sheldon said.

The lineup starting this fall will begin to firmly check the live music box, too. Sam Hunt, Eric Clapton, two Guns N’ Roses shows, Dan + Shay, Metallica and ZZ Top are all in the queue. That’s just a taste, and Sheldon also teased that a “big announcement” was soon to come.

“This is the trend that everybody can expect to see moving forward,” he said.

Sheldon is used to booking big artists. He was previously the executive vice president of programming and development at BSE Global, where he led the development of special events at Barclays Center, home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets. He has helped secure musical acts like Bruce Springsteen, Barbra Streisand, Jay-Z, Ed Sheeran, Madonna and Justin Bieber.

More is at hardrocklive.com.

Comedian and actor Bill Burr will perform shows
at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood on Aug. 28 and 29. (Image via Hard Rock)
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Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at damonscott@semtribe.com.
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