Revel, Atlantic City's newest addition, is a game changer. For a long time the vast majority of patrons visiting Atlantic City came for the gaming and the Boardwalk of Monopoly yore. An occasional prize fight or concert at the Convention Center expanded the crowds beyond the 100 mile radius. Philadelphia, South Jersey, DC and such fed the gaming which ranked right up there with Las Vegas. However, Atlantic City was thought of as an octogenarian slot mecca. Borgata changed that; a Vegas style casino hotel geared to offering New Yorkers and other travelers an alternative. Tropicana also upped its ante but nothing has hit as hard as REVEL.
Faisel Durrani co-CEO, Ovation Entertainment Inc for Revel is responsible for booking acts at Ovation Hall inside Revel. Nightclub Confidential caught up with him to see what it’s all about.
Nightclub Confidential (NCC): The Eagles are performing at Ovation Hall come September. Beyoncé did Memorial Day. What other topnotch acts are lined up?
Faisel Durrani: The Eagles will be performing in Ovation Hall over Labor Day weekend, on September 1 and 2. This weekend, July 20, Ovation Hall will welcome Seal. Additional acts throughout the summer include:
· July 27 - Summerland Tour, Sugar Ray, Gin Blossoms, Everclear, Marcy Playground
· August 3 – Gypsy Kings
· August 11 – Journey
· August 18 – Reba McEntire
· August 24- The Stone Temple Pilots
· August 25 – Duran Duran
· September 8 – Barry Manilow
We will be releasing some more great artists soon, but you’ll have to stay tuned for those announcements.
Beyoncé performing at Ovation Hall on Memorial Day.
NCC: Las Vegas draws from everywhere. Historically, Atlantic City’s visitors have arrived mostly by cars and busses. Is Revel and Ovation Hall going push Atlantic City towards becoming a national destination?
Durrani: Of the approximately 20,000 people that attended Beyoncé shows over Memorial Day weekend at Revel, our zip reports [Ticketmaster analytics on location of purchase by zip code] showed that not only did concert goers originate from all over the country, but people were traveling from as far as Brazil and Japan to come to Revel and the shows.
Revel has brought a true beachfront entertainment destination to the northeast that many U.S. consumers would have had to travel much farther to experience in the past. In addition to concerts, guests at Revel will find world-class dining, nightlife and daylife programming and wellness offerings they would have never expected to find so close to home.
NCC: Talk to me about the business of booking huge acts. How did Beyonce’s performances support the resort, casino, restaurants, rooms, retail, spas, etc.? And how will Revel continue to keep consumers interested and coming back?
Durrani: Beyoncé’s booking at Ovation Hall was an excellent opportunity to establish the new Revel brand on a national scale. A true global icon and artist of her stature sparks immediate and far reaching consumer attention. The timing of her shows during the Premiere of the resort tied perfectly back to Beyoncé’s ‘premiere,’ getting back to business after becoming a Mom, and put both Beyoncé’s comeback and Revel in the worldwide spotlight. Media coverage surrounding the shows and resort opening reached an overall audience of upwards of 2 billion; helping to spread news of Revel’s many entertainment, lifestyle and culinary attractions far and wide, piquing the interest of many consumers.
NCC: It’s summertime and the living is easy. What will Revel live off once the beach chairs are folded up?
Durrani: Entertainment will certainly be a driver for the destination and the resort, but Revel has a lot to offer consumers. The resort’s lifestyle, retail and culinary features will continue to attract leisure travelers looking for a quick getaway or business travelers looking for a new, enjoyable destination to hold their next meeting or event.
NCC: Are acts routed through Revel before or after Vegas?
Durrani: There is no right or wrong here, it all depends on how a tour is booked. Many artists will start in the west and work east, others east to west, southeast to northwest, etc. It’s all based on preference. Revel is not necessarily positioning itself to be in direct competition or comparison with Las Vegas properties, but rather offering a world-class resort and world-class entertainment venue unlike anything else in the northeast.
The fact that Ovation Hall in its first two months of operation attracted such award-winning talent as Beyoncé, Kanye West, The Black Keys, Maroon 5 and Nickelback, among others, is a true testament to its design and structure as an attractive and flexible venue.
NCC: What differentiates Ovation Hall from other venues in Atlantic City or even in the U.S.?
Durrani: Ovation Hall is a completely unique theatre that is very different from most of the venues in Atlantic City, and even North America, because of its flexibility. Designed by Cirque du Soleil veterans Scèno Plus, Ovation Hall’s stage and seating set can transform to accommodate an audience capacity anywhere from 2,600 to 5,500 with every seat offering an unobstructed view of the performer. A state-of-the-art sound system puts the audience in the center of the action, no matter where they are seated.
NCC: How often is Ovation Hall booked and how is it promoted other than the billboards on the drive in?
Durrani: Billboard placement is just one component of the promotion behind shows at Revel. Ovation Hall will be booked for approximately 60-80 shows a year and is promoted through an integrated mix of advertising, marketing and PR initiatives.