Printed from the Charlotte Observer -
Posted: Friday, Jul. 27, 2012

DNC host committee lines up sponsor for media bash

By Tim Funk and Celeste Smith
Published in: Democratic Convention
  • Companies hired to put on DNC media party

    Democratic National Convention organizers on Thursday named Time Warner Cable as the premier sponsor of the media welcome event at the N.C. Music Factory. The Sept. 1 welcome event is for media covering the convention, which runs Sept. 4-6. Other firms awarded contracts include:

    •  JHE Production Group, based in Harrisburg, as logistics manager.

    •  Blumenthal Performing Arts and Charlotte-based businesses Imagine Music Group and Key Signature, as entertainment team.

    •  Something Classic, based in Charlotte, as the catering company.

    •  Total Event Production, Advanced Media Network and Rutherford Media, all in Charlotte, and Shelby-based Cecil & Company, as the audio visual team.

    •  Party Reflections, based in the Carolinas, as the rental company. Celeste Smith

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    Here’s the challenge: You’ve got thousands of journalists from all over the world coming to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention. And you want them to feel s-o-o-o welcome that they’ll go on to write wonderful things about your city.

    The plan?

    If you’re the Charlotte in 2012 host committee, you’re going to throw them a big honkin’ party at the 37-acre, 14-venue N.C. Music Factory on the edge of uptown.

    You’re going to feed them mountains of food, including fried chicken from Price’s Chicken Coop, banana pudding from Mert’s Heart and Soul, shrimp and grits, boiled peanuts and something called “moonshine foie gras truffle.”

    You’re going to entertain them by filling every stage with comedy, dance and live music – bluegrass, rap, hip-hop, rock, country.

    And, this being journalists, you’re going to pour oceans of wine, beer, cocktails – you name it.

    On Thursday, the Charlotte host committee gathered representatives from the 12 companies, most of them Charlotte-based, that will help pull off what will be the first official event of DNC week – open to all media with credentials for the Democratic National Convention.

    “It takes a village to plan a media party,” cracked Mary Tribble, who coordinates hospitality events sponsored by the Charlotte in 2012 committee.

    Set for Sept. 1, from 6-10 p.m., this night of courting the press will cost “a couple of million” dollars, said Dan Murrey, the host committee’s executive director.

    Helping to fund the event will be Time Warner Cable, which was named the event’s “premier sponsor” at Thursday’s news conference.

    “We want to help showcase Charlotte . . . to the rest of the world and (make) the very best first impression to more than 10,000 (journalists),” said Carol Hevey, executive vice president of operations for Time Warner Cable East.

    Announcements about who will perform at the event will come later, Murrey said.

    “We definitely want Carolina and regional (acts),” he said, “but also a few national acts as well.”

    Tribble said one of the committee’s media party partners – Blumenthal Performing Arts, which showcases national performers at its uptown venues – will provide “their many, many contacts” as the team tries to fill the stages.

    Having the event at the N.C. Music Factory – a one-time textile mill, when Charlotte was a center for that industry – also will help the host committee tell the story of how this New South city reinvented itself over time.

    Once an “icon of North Carolina’s past,” Murrey said, the N.C. Music Factory is now a “new vibrant venue” that employs more than 1,000 people.

    Its 14 venues include an amphitheater, the Comedy Zone, the Fillmore Concert Hall, Osso Restaurant and Lounge, The Saloon, and Wet Willie’s.

    Speaking at Thursday’s news conference, Noah Lazes – president of the ARK Group and the N.C. Music Factory – promised “the biggest media party on planet Earth. When (journalists) leave, they’ll say that Charlotte has a lot more to offer than banking and … energy.”

    Funk: 704-358-5703

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