Life of the Party

Encore Live in Fort Worth is a formidable force in the entertainment and event industry. We caught up with Walter Kinzie, CEO of Encore Live, to see what services they provide.

| by Lexi Johnson | Q: In some cases, Encore provides more than just talent and artists, such as complete party planning authority. What are the services offered when planning an entire party? A: We call ourselves "a concept to clean up" company. From the time the client has an idea, we take it from there. Food and beverage, valet parking, transportation (air, private air, ground), production, security, invitations, decor, theme, floral, you name it...we can provide it. I would also not think of us as just a place to have the standard event. We have clients that need us to think outside the box. We really can do it all.


Q: A lot of your event locations are very remote and private; what are the challenges to planning a party in a remote location? A: Every one of them creates a unique opportunity. We don't consider them challenges as much as a way for us to flex our creative muscle.

Q: Can clients request specific talent for their parties, or does Encore work with a variety of artists and book talent according to the schedule of the event? A: Clients can literally request any living artist, and there is an excellent chance we can get them. I have pulled people out of retirement, hired bands that have never worked private events before.

Q: Encore is known for booking huge celebrity talent; what is so special about these events for attendees? A: You are getting the chance to see someone that would normally never play the venue and would normally be playing for tens of thousands of people...most of these parties are for crowds of 300 to 600 people...with a band that likely played the night before for 20,000-plus people. There is also something special about attending an event that a heck of a lot of folks would love to go to, but the invite list can only go so deep.

Q: What type of experience does Encore work to provide for all of the clientele from non-profit organizations and corporate conferences to private parties? A: We call it the “wow” experience. What gets us excited is taking care of the customer from start to finish. There is a lot of planning and logistics that go into pulling off these events. It can be a very daunting task. We pride ourselves in making the entire experience enjoyable.

Q: What types of events are typically held at the Cotton Bowl? A: We just wrapped up the Mattress Firm Music Fest, which was a huge success. Over 8,000 people came out to the show during the closing weekend of the State Fair of Texas. I would plan now to attend next year. It is going to be a very special event.

Q: Does Encore have connections with talent in all music genres? A: You name them; if they are alive, we could likely book them.

Q: Encore also plans weddings. Is there an advantage when planning a wedding through Encore versus a traditional wedding planner? A: We are the entire package. There are a lot of great wedding planners out there…what our customers have enjoyed is having everything under one roof.  When they come to meet with us, they get an entire team in every meeting. It makes the process far more efficient and enjoyable...Our wedding team is incredible too. They do a fantastic job!

Q: What is the largest event that has been held in 2014? A: Our largest event was a company convention in Washington D.C. Our first challenge was finding a destination that fit the size of the group with flexibility to accommodate the entire program schedule. We booked transportation for all guests to/from the conference. The client expected us to provide a quality of program that piques attendees’ interest while maintaining reasonable event length. As we do at Encore Live, we got creative, custom designing outfits for two executives to become superheroes. These men were then harnessed and lifted onto a stage during the annual awards gala, in a Cirque du Soleil-like performance. All week long, through invigorating guest speakers, celebrity guests, a house band, and incredible meals and events aimed at keeping employees energized, the conference became more than just a conference … it became a fun retreat for all involved. This was a major event with a large staff and a budget of $4 million.