Industry Weekly

Emerge is the latest sign of Vegas’ musical coolness

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Live Nation Las Vegas President Kurt Melien is one of the music industry figures helping with Emerge.
Photo: Anthony Mair

In this weekly series, we spotlight the performers and other participants who will combine for the Emerge Music + Impact Conference on the Las Vegas Strip November 16-18. Tickets are available now at emergelv.com.

The Emerge Music + Impact Conference isn’t just about breaking fresh new music and providing exposure to upcoming artists. Paralleling the lineup of acts set to perform in Las Vegas in November is an equally intriguing list of music industry figures who will team up to provide the backbone of the first-year event.

“I think the team at Emerge has been very thoughtful in the way they’ve included local experts in live entertainment and music,” says Live Nation Las Vegas President Kurt Melien, one of Emerge’s curators. “They did a great job of getting out there with a wide net and really giving this thing some local flavor.”

Live Nation is the biggest booker of large-scale shows in Las Vegas, regularly filling up T-Mobile Arena, MGM Grand Garden, Mandalay Bay Events Center and the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center. Melien, who came to Las Vegas while working with Caesars Entertainment, says there are several factors that have helped Vegas blossom into the perfect environment for a unique, festival-like event like Emerge.

“First, Vegas has had some incredible, global superstars come out of this market, in terms of rock bands,” he says. “There’s a much more diverse demographic in Vegas than you’ll see [in other cities], and there’s a more youthful culture developing Downtown. I think the Fremont Street scene has helped get a lot of people excited about local music.”

Melien believes Emerge will draw serious industry players from across the country, many of whom might be surprised by how the entertainment landscape looks here today.

“We have recognized the shifts in our live entertainment space but some folks are just turning on to it,” he says. “I have these conversations often. Vegas is cool now as it relates to music, and you’ll hear veteran types saying that. Gone are the days when this was the place for retired musicians. This is a cool place for artists to play.”

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Brock Radke has been writing about Las Vegas for more than 15 years. He currently covers entertainment, music, nightlife, food ...

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