One Reel, which presents Seattle’s annual arts festival, Bumbershoot, announced Friday that it has entered into a partnership with Showbox Presents/AEG Live, promoters of music at the Showbox, KeyArena and other venues around the country.
The new partnership will offer nonprofit One Reel sorely needed financial support, as the organization has suffered severe losses the past few years.
As part of the deal, Heather Smith will become interim executive director. Smith worked with One Reel from 1995-2007 and served as director of One Reel’s festival division from 2003-2007.
Former executive director Jon Stone will step down, but continue to work as part of One Reel’s staff.
“Bumbershoot has been growing and growing and growing,” said Smith, “but the bigger it gets, the harder it can fall. And it doesn’t take much. This type of a partnership allows for One Reel to really focus in on the arts and culture programming that make it unique.”
As part of the deal, AEG Live will book the music at Bumbershoot and also assume the financial risk.
“[AEG] is an incredible resource for booking,” said Smith, “because they have huge resources, huge pockets, huge connections and leverage.”
AEG Live had the second largest concert gross in the nation this year, bringing in $913,763,358, according to Billboard magazine.
Smith said the city of Seattle played a big role in facilitating the deal and has also stepped forward with financial help of its own, in the form of forgoing, at least for 2015, the share of ticket revenue it usually takes from the festival.
Smith said at this point it is not clear what role the current talent booker, Chris Porter, will be taking.
When the job opens for a new executive director, Smith said, she’s not sure whether she would apply for it.
“Bumbershoot is very near and dear to my heart,” she said. “I grew up at Bumbershoot. I’ve spent more time there than I did in my K-12 education. Now I’m going to come back and get my doctorate.”