Known as one of the foremost concert promoters and festival producers in the United States, AC Entertainment celebrates the arts by bringing first-class live entertainment experiences to music lovers from around the world. Founded in 1991, AC Entertainment now produces over 700 concerts, events and festivals annually and has become a household name in the music and arts industries. The company also manages the historic Tennessee and Bijou Theaters in its headquarters of Knoxville; a second office is located in Nashville. As AC Entertainment has become a key player in these communities, supporting the arts—even beyond producing concerts and festivals—has become intertwined with the company’s core objectives.
AC Entertainment’s biggest annual festivals include Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Forecastle Music & Arts Festival and Big Ears. Each of these festivals has a meaningful philanthropic component, and attracts tens of thousands of patrons, exposing them to hundreds of musical performances and arts displays in unique settings throughout the US—redefining what an arts experience can be.
AC Entertainment’s most acclaimed event, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, which the company co-founded, co-owns and co-produces with Superfly Presents, is known as the largest camping music event in North America and was listed in Rolling Stone’s “50 Moments that Changed the History of Rock & Roll.” The Bonnaroo Works Fund (BWF), the charitable division of the festival, supports organizations with a mission of making communities healthy in the areas of arts, education, and environmental sustainability, with the goal of local reinvestment and asset building. Since the inception of the festival, the BWF has given back upwards of $5 million to support the efforts of approximately 100 charitable causes. $2 from each ticket sold is dedicated to charitable giving. In 2013, the BWF allocated more than $360,000 to 20+ deserving organizations, with approximately one-third of the total designated to programs advancing the arts. AC Entertainment also donates dozens of tickets from each event to a variety of groups and causes.
AC Entertainment often constructs outdoor venues and creative situations to showcase art associated with its festivals and special events. The company has supported a series of skylight visual art displays at the Nashville International Airport as part of Arts at the Airport, a program designed to turn the terminal and surrounding facilities into a space for rotating public art exhibits and permanent acquisitions.
The arts are the fabric of AC Entertainment’s operations and company culture, and play a large role in recruitment and retention of employees. CEO Ashley Capps sits on the Board of Directors of the Americana Music Association, the David Lynch Foundation and Visit Knoxville, and the Board of Advisors for Eventbrite. In order to keep improving the AC Entertainment experiences, Capps and several key employees continue to develop strong relationships with both business and government leaders in the towns, cities and states that the company serves in order to promote the value of the arts.
Photo: Forecastle Music & Arts Festival