Mike Owens is now a Canadian. Well, not really. The former Director of Booking at BOK Center Arena in Oklahoma just moved to Vancouver to become the Director of Live Entertainment at Rogers Arena.
“The transition so far has been great,” he told Amplify. “There are obvious challenges present with moving to an arena in a different country, but the tools of the trade don’t really change.”
A native Missourian, Mike got his start in the industry as an intern at Live Nation in St. Louis in 2009. He describes Justin Kujawa as a mentor, who was a booker there at the time and is now with Nederlander.
“[He] kind of took me under his wing and let me follow him around during shows, settlements, etc,” said Mike. “I got to witness a fierce argument over local crew meals at a Better Than Ezra settlement, and I was hooked. I knew instantly that I had to to be in this business.”
Mike went on to run the Gillioz Theatre in his hometown of Springfield and then moved to Tulsa in 2012 to be part of the Bok Center team as Director of Booking. Over the years, that the relationships he’s built are the best part of the job.
“I find it rewarding to not just put in the calls and go through the motions to confirm dates, but to actually connect with and build relationships with the people on the other end of the phone,” Mike said. “Buildings and positions will change throughout a career, but the people and the relationships you have with them will stay with you forever.”
Now that he’s at Rogers Arena, he’s ready to keep on doing what he does.
“It’s such an amazing city, and the market really supports live music,” he said. “A lot of artists do multiples here. We have two nights of Adele in July and two nights of Drake in September.”
Along with the exciting shows that are going on soon, he’s really excited to be part of the small team at Rogers.
“The staff at this building is a reflection of that success as well. They’re passionate, dedicated and deliver an exceptional experience for both artists and fans,” he said.
While we’re looking forward to what Mike is doing at Rogers, keep on reading to learn about his five favorite shows.
Mumford & Sons at BOK Center, April 6, 2016
It’s hard to single out any one show we had at BOK Center, because each one was a result of the hard work we put into building our relationships. This show was a perfect example of hard work and persistence paying off. It was a culmination of nearly three years of work to make it happen. Not to mention I’m a huge fan, and they put on an AMAZING show. The building was absolutely electric that night.
Sir Paul McCartney at Rogers Arena, April 19 & 20, 2016
This was my first show in my new role, and, wow, what a way to jump in. Two sold out nights of Sir Paul in Vancouver. I can’t take credit for making the shows happen, but the staff here did an amazing job pulling it off. Jimmy Fallon surprised everyone when he joined Paul on stage the second night for “I Saw Her Standing There.” That was an unforgettable moment.
Rush at BOK Center, May 8, 2015
Because I’m Canadian now! But really, the band rehearsed and opened their R40 Live tour in Tulsa and it was an incredible two weeks. A big group of industry VIP’s (and huge Rush fans) came in for the show and we got the chance to host them and give them a great experience in the building.
Twenty One Pilots at Brady Theatre, September 29, 2015
They have become my favorite band to break in the last several years. These two guys put more energy into their live shows than anything I’ve seen lately and it has been awesome to watch them grow from clubs to theatres to arena headliners. Its refreshing to see the impact they have on their fans too. They are some of the most passionate fans I think in music today.
Beale Street Music Festival in Memphis, 2002 – 2013
Maybe this is cheating, but there are too many great memories from this festival to name just one. A big group of friends and I would go every year. For me, it was the perfect festival. Not too big and not too small. Just enough rain and mud, and always a hotel room to go to at night (except the year we slept in my car). From seeing one of James Brown’s last shows ever, to the countless other amazing performances from bands like Wolfmother, Cake, G. Love, Nickel Creek, Mumford & Sons and so many more. I’ll always have a lot of great memories from those trips.