Waco Hoover

XLIVE is bringing its annual year-end conference back to Las Vegas next week from Dec. 10-13. The live event conference geared towards music, sports, culinary, and esports entertainment is returning for its second year as XLIVE at the Mandalay Bay hotel and continuing to stress the importance of diversity as the brand evolves.

“The XLIVE brand reflects the community that we have had all along, but also the community that we are building with so many extraordinary live events. It more accurately reflects the community at large,” said XLIVE co-founder Waco Hoover.


This year’s conference will be their largest in terms of content with an increase from four to five tracks, their first-ever awards ceremony, and a varied list of keynote speakers.

“Arguably, I think it is our strongest year in terms of diversity of our keynotes,” Hoover told Amplify. “We have Jennifer Justice from Superfly and Stacy Smith” who runs University of Southern California Annenburg Inclusion Initiative “talking about why diversity matters in live entertainment.

Waco added “One of our keynotes this year, the SVP of Experiences from Viacom (Steve Raizes) will be talking about why they launched the Comedy Central Clusterfest in San Fransisco earlier this year. While XLIVE grew up out of the festival space, you now have all these large-scale media properties, corporate brands, who want to create festival-like events and experiences to connect directly with their customers.”

The conference will feature speakers from various brands that have built activations or created their own events such as Anheuser Busch, Refinery 29, Complex, and Cotopaxi. Other keynote speakers include Paradigm’s Brandon Frankel, art installation group Meow Wolf’s Vince Kadlubek, Two Bit Circus’ Eric Gradman, and two fireside keynote chats.

The FestX Awards will be in partnership with Everfest and feature 13 categories ranging from best production design to best new festival. The winner in each category will be determined by a panel of roughly 15 judges, except for the fan favorite award which was decided by over 5,000 fans.

“In North America there is not a dedicated festival award program. There are different groups that are festivals, but there is nothing for festivals by festivals,” Hoover said. “The judges are some of the most esteemed executives from the festival community and from agencies like CAA. It is an incredibly diverse group.”

Over 100 submissions were received for the awards and will be hosted at the conference by Airbnb’s Chip Conley. All 57 finalists in the 13 categories can be found on XLIVE’s website.

In addition to several panels and workshops dedicated to diversity and inclusion, XLIVE plans to shine a spotlight on the major issue of safety at live events.

“Being an event in Las Vegas after what happened in October at the Route 91 Harvest Festival at the Mandalay Bay which is our home for the conference, we’ve had a tremendous amount of outreach from industry stakeholders that put together really amazing resources and content around security,” Hoover said.

On Wednesday (Dec. 13), XLIVE will have a Safety and Security Workshop dedicated to informing event teams about safety precautions as well as emergencies procedures.

“We have the former chief security officer from the NFL (Jeff Miller). We have a whole host of executives who have run security deployment for events as large as the Olympics or the Super Bowl,” Hoover said. “We have an amazing group that is going to be sharing the latest best practices for security and crisis response.”

For more information on themes, schedules, speakers, and tickets head to XLIVEcon.com.