Jordan Harding’s father made it a regular occurrence to take his son with him to concerts and theater productions at a young age. Despite his mother’s chagrin, Harding’s father would take him to The Cotillion in Wichita, Kansas and in 1999 he took Jordan to his first festival. The notorious Woodstock ’99 saw performances from Sheryl Crow, George Clinton, DMX and James Brown, but would be remembered for its crazy crowd antics.
“That was the year they were charging extraordinary amounts for water. People revolted and started setting fires. Luckily we left before all of that went down. I think we were just trying to beat the traffic,” Harding told Amplify.
Regardless, Harding was sold on the music industry and majored in music and business the moment he hit University of Kansas. He moved on to get a Masters in Music Business from New York University and began working at a ticketing booth in Times Square.
“I began my career selling tickets in the box office of the PlayStation Theater in Times Square, learning the ins and outs of ticketing and box office management,” Harding said, adding that it was a tough place to work surrounded by tourists and crazed Elmos. “I think I got more questions about how to get to The Lion King than people buying tickets.”
Harding moved up the ranks at AEG who owned and operated the PlayStation Theater. He began settling shows and working in the main office in Times Square.
“I started reading every show file I could to see how the deals got cut, who the players were, and all of that,” Harding said.
Shortly after, Harding was tapped to join Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment’s grand opening for the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“I started working with BSE before there was even a shovel in the ground. I got to see the whole development of it from the ground up,” Harding said. “I started in a finance and strategy role and moved over into booking and finance and strategy.”
Along with coworkers and friends Tyler Bates and Sean Saadeh, Harding was tasked with booking the first shows for Barclays Center. Brooklyn hometown hero, Jay-Z, christened the arena with eight sold-out shows in 2012 and helped launch BSE into the sprawling international company it is today.
In 2015, Harding moved to the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey and had the supreme pleasure of working to open the first and only East Coast Grammy Museum at the facility.
“It is actually a really good fit for New Jersey because there is Whitney Houston’s home town, there is some much history with Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, and going back to Sarah Vaughn. It is a culturally rich place for music,” Harding said of the Grammy Museum which was completed in October of 2017.
“I started a sports and entertainment consulting company called JCH Sports & Entertainment, where I had the opportunity to dive into the world of esports, leading event and ticketing strategy for Blizzard Entertainment’s first-ever Overwatch League Grand Finals at Barclays Center,” Harding said of his move following the Prudential Center.
Opening a consulting firm had been a dream of Hardings until he received an offer he felt he couldn’t turn down.
“I was really happy doing my sports and entertainment consulting business, but when (Nederlander Concerts CEO) Alex Hodges reached out to me it was something I couldn’t pass up,” Harding said of being offered the position of General Manager of City National Grove of Anaheim. “Knowing Alex Hodges who has such a reputation and is an icon in the industry. Getting to work with him is an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”
Amplify caught up with one of the Nederlander Concerts’ newest employees to find out about five of his favorite shows.
Jay-Z at Barclays Center in Brooklyn
Sept. 28, 2012
Years of blood, sweat and tears went into this show, which served as the grand opening of Barclays Center. It was the first of eight sold out shows to open the building, and we were all running around nervous that everything would go smoothly and celebrating our success all at the same time. The electricity and anticipation in the air was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I hadn’t slept in months. We only had one chance to get it right and could not afford to fail. Luckily everything went off without a hitch and Barclays Center instantly became an iconic global venue.
Barbra Streisand at Barclays Center in Brooklyn
Oct. 11, 2012
Barbra Streisand grew up in Brooklyn, but she had never performed there in her entire career until this show. We pulled out all the stops to welcome her and she named her entire tour Back to Brooklyn. It was filmed for DVD and broadcast on PBS. This has been well reported, but Arianna Kane on our team had the incredible idea to buy back her mother’s rocking chair from an individual who bought it in an auction and had it ready for her in her dressing room. Her reaction was priceless, she took the chair with her on the rest of her tour and I believe it’s in her current home. We also put this show on sale before we had hired our box office staff, so I spent several sleepless nights building the Barclays Center manifest from scratch and working with Ticketmaster and the amazing Marty Erlichman to execute the onsale. The show itself was magical and I spent the night in awe of her talent.
Paul McCartney at Barclays Center in Brooklyn
June 10, 2013
I mean, he’s a Beatle…what else do I need to say? Actually, it was such a great experience because everyone involved with that show was the A-team. I got to meet and have a drink with two Paul’s backstage that night, McCartney and Simon.
Sensation at Barclays Center in Brooklyn
Oct. 27, 2012
The Sensation global brand had been around for about 10 years at the time, but this was its much anticipated North American debut – it was an important moment for EDM. It was a massive dance party in the round where fans were dressed in all white and aerialists circled above. I’m not sure how to describe it other than a decidedly upscale and sophisticated Cirque du Soleil-esque dance party with killer DJs and a 21+ crowd. The production itself was massive and unlike anything I’d ever seen – ID&T created a truly immersive and unique experience unable to be replicated.
Bruce Springsteen at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey
Jan. 31, 2016
For many, The Boss is synonymous with New Jersey. Playing in front of a home crowd, Bruce was firmly in his element and it was a historic moment. We maximized every part of the evening, from a pre-show fan fest on the plaza outside the building with a killer cover band, to a customized food & beverage program, to skytrackers and VIP programs…the venue was buzzing and the show set a building attendance record which still holds. The River album is about time and realizing that you have a limited amount of it to do something good. This show impacted me on many levels. It’s not about the experiences you have in this business, it’s about the experiences you’re able to provide to others and bringing people together through music.