Venue Spotlight: The Willard InterContinental | Washington, DC

We are thrilled to spotlight one of our favorite DC venues – The Willard InterContinental. There a few hotels as iconic as The Willard. Steeped in history, this prestigious hotel has hosted presidents, foreign dignitaries, and celebrities since opening its doors in 1818. Present day guests experience the finest in modern luxuries including sophisticated guest rooms, refined dining options and even an innovative children’s concierge service. All this just steps away from DC’s remarkable monuments, world-renowned museums and opulent shops.

The Willard shines as a premier venue for DC social and corporate events. The hotel boasts over 22,000 sq. feet of event space with 19 meeting rooms and three stunning ballrooms. Brides Magazine deemed the venue one of “The Best DC Hotels for a Bachelorette Party (2017),” “Top 50 Hotels for Weddings (2016),” and “The Best Venues in America: The South (2016).” The accolades do not stop there. Condé Nast Traveler named The Willard as one of “The 10 Best Hotels in Washington, DC (2017).”

“The majesty of the Willard InterContinental Hotel cannot be overstated.   There is so much history here where many former US Presidents, heads of state and world leaders have stayed.  You can almost feel the history when you walk through the halls and are surrounded by elegance and beauty.  I think that the character of this place is what makes it such an ideal place for weddings.  Particularly for those who want their big day to have a fairytale-like quality, there’s no better place than the Willard.  Our bands  have played many events here over the years – Big Ray & The Kool Kats being the most recent.”  – Rob Cross, ECE DC Entertainment Consultant.

Photo Credit: Sarah Bradshaw Photography

Behind the Scenes with Rockin’ Road to Dublin

Inspired by epic spectacles like Riverdance, Rockin’ Road to Dublin has revived classic Irish music and dance to create a new show with a contemporary feel and broader appeal. Based in Williamsburg, VA, the company features performers from all over the world and recently wrapped a 72-city tour garnering rave reviews.

We sat down with co-creators Scott Doherty and Chris Smith to get an inside look at the show and their experience of being on tour.

How did the show get its start?
Scott: Chris and I met while working at Busch Gardens in Virginia. We instantly became friends and eventually roommates. One day we were working out at the gym and we started talking about shows that we’d love to create. We quickly realized we had a lot of the same ideas! One conversation led to another and before we knew it, we had the whole show planned out in our heads. We looked at each other one day and realized: “We have to do this, don’t we?” So we called up all our friends, who all happen to be the best at what they do whether it’s music, dance, or even on the technical side of things, and we called in every favor we could. We debuted the show in Newport News in 2014 and it was an instant hit! We knew we had to keep this going.

Who makes up the show?
Chris Smith – Co-Creator/Drummer
Scott Doherty – Co-Creator/Choreographer/Lead Male Dancer
Ashley Smith – Lead Female Dancer
Megan Lynn Browning – Female Vocalist
Brett Benowitz – Male Vocalist
Joseph Schermann – Musical Director/Keyboard
Corey Walden – Violin
Lauren Wright – Violin
Marc Malsegna – Lead Guitar
Kelly Mills – Rhythm Guitar
Mike Moore – Auxiliary Percussion
John Baldwin – Bass
Irish Dancers – Bernadette Devereaux (Dance Captain), Mairead Stillson (Lead Understudy), Ciara Stillson, Emily MacConnell, Erika Nielsen, Moira Ragen, Declan Crowley, Patrick Holland, Tyler Schwartz (Lead Understudy), Colin Barkell,Billy Kanaly, Mark Chichester

Rockin’ Road to Dublin just came off of a 72-city tour. What was that like?
Scott: There were a lot of great moments on this tour. To bring RR2D to 72 cities and find out that people love the show in every corner of the country was a dream come true. My most memorable show was in Lowell, Massachusetts and it was actually the last show of the tour. I’m from MA so it was a homecoming show for me. My mom actually bought over 500 tickets and sold them exclusively to family and friends, then gave every person a glow stick. They cracked them during the last number of the show to reveal the colors of the Irish flag. It was an absolutely breathtaking sight from the stage.

What is the best thing about being on tour? The most challenging?
Scott: The best thing about being on tour for me is getting to the see the country. Our tour took us through snow, to beaches, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon. Our job is literally to travel, it’s amazing! The most challenging aspect of tour is probably the tight quarters of the buses. Our cast and crew travel on 3 sleeper buses with the lounges and bunks. We’re one big family but after a while even families get on each others nerves. Haha.

What sort of training/rehearsal did you do prior to heading out on tour?
Scott: We had 3 1/2 weeks of rehearsal before starting the tour in September. We brought on an awesome new Broadway director, and lighting designer, so we had lots of amazing upgrades to add to the show this time around. After the Christmas break we all got together for another quick four day rehearsal and hit the road running!

How do you keep each show fresh night after night?
Scott: With a group like ours it’s easy to keep it fresh every night! This cast is the most talented, and most fun group we’ve ever performed with. Every night fans come up to us and say, “It looks like you’re having so much fun up there!” And they love to hear us say, “That’s because we really are!”

Tell us about the show. What can audiences expect?
Scott: The two things we love to hear night after night at our lobby meet and greet after the show is, “I didn’t know what to expect, but I loved it!” and “I’ve never seen anything like that!” Rockin’ Road to Dublin is just pure energy from start to finish. Everyone loves Irish music and dance, and everyone loves rock n’ roll, so we’ve combined the best of both. We’ve hit that sweet spot that makes the show perfect for the whole family. Every night we have kids dancing in the aisle and grandparents tapping their feet and clapping along. One of my favorite compliments was “We didn’t even get a chance to look down at the program because there were no dead spots in the show for us to get bored.”

Do any of the group members have pre-show/post-show rituals they would like to share?
Scott: One of my favorites that I see before every show is right before it starts, Joe (Keyboard), Mike (Aux Percussion), and Lauren (Violin) all do push-ups together and each night one of them sings a new song while doing the push-ups… usually a Broadway show tune! After every show though most of the Irish dancers all jump into waist-high trashcans filled with ice water. It’s awful, but it takes care of our legs! Haha.

When you returned home, what was the first thing you did?
Scott: Haha… after tour I think I slept for a week! The show is so exciting and fun to dance in, but after 72 cities I don’t think I realized just how tired I was until it was over.

What’s next for RR2D?
Scott: We set out on this 72-city tour to spread the word about RR2D all over the country and we did just that! As we like to say, the snowball has started! So we’re already booking and planning an even bigger tour for the Spring/Summer of 2018. We’re also teaming up with a major Broadway production company. We can’t disclose all the details just yet, but this new partnership is going to make this next tour bigger and better than ever!

Chris: We have also recorded a cd with all the music of the show which will be available shortly, as well as we have recorded a PBS special of the show! So be sure to follow us on social media and our website to keep up to date with all these exciting things to come!

Connect with RR2D!
Facebook: Facebook.com/RockinRoadtoDublin
Instagram: @RocknRd2Dub
Twitter: @RocknRd2Dub

 

Deep South Entertainment & ECE Create Strategic Partnership To Become A One-Stop Shop For All Your Entertainment Needs

Raleigh, NC (May 11, 2017): The two largest entertainment companies in the greater Raleigh area, Deep South Entertainment and ECE (formerly EastCoast Entertainment) have joined forces to create a strategic partnership to handle the areas band booking, event management, and audio and lighting. This will create a singular one-stop shop for all things live music in the Triangle and beyond. Whether it’s wedding bands or audio and lights, this partnership will give the community the best of the best.

Whereas Deep South’s strength has always been event management, audio and lighting, ECE is known as the largest regional talent agency in the country and is the leading provider of wedding, corporate, and variety bands.  Now, with one contact, you can get everything you need for your wedding or corporate event.

L to R: Dave Rose and Barry Herndon

“When I was starting Deep South, I played in a cover band and ECE was my booking agency.  I’ve always had the utmost respect for the company, but particularly Raleigh’s leader, Barry Herndon.  He is truly one of the most honest and hardworking guys in the music business.  We’ve always been dear friends so it’s exciting to finally be in business together,”  said Dave Rose, President of Deep South Entertainment.

“It’s been a dream of mine to be able to work with Dave Rose. Having known each other since the early 90’s – I’ve always thought of him as one of the most hard working and honest people in our business. Our company is honored to align ourselves with a person of Dave’s character and reputation. He and his team have made Deep South Entertainment one of the most reputable entertainment agencies in the country and I couldn’t be more excited to join forces with them,” said Barry Herndon, Senior Managing Partner with ECE.

Deep South Entertainment produces some of the largest events in the region, including the North Carolina State Fair, Durham’s Art of Cool, Fayetteville’s Dogwood Festival, and Raleigh’s Y’all at Dix Park.  ECE is the area’s largest booking agency representing over 125 exclusive bands and approximately 3,000 additional acts ranging from jazz to reggae, from pop to funk and everything in between.  Their roster includes such Triangle favorites as Punch, Liquid Pleasure, Bantum Rooster, and many more.

About Deep South Entertainment
Deep South Entertainment is an artist and business management firm, concert production company, talent agency and live music venue with offices in Raleigh, NC and Nashville, TN. Founded in 1995 by college friends Dave Rose, Andy Martin, and Amy Cox, the company began as a record label, Deep South Records, with releases that included Five For Fighting, Butch Walker, Sister Hazel, SR-71, Far Too Jones, Athenaeum, and Marcy Playground with their #1 hit “Sex and Candy.”  As an artist and business management firm Deep South has worked with Grammy-winning and Billboard-charting artists such as Bruce Hornsby, Little Feat, Parmalee, Vienna Teng, Stryper, Jason Michael Carroll, Marcy Playground, SR-71, Tres Chicas, LANco, Allison Moorer, The Warren Brothers, and more.

The company’s concert production division, based in Raleigh, is recognized for having produced or bought talent for some of North Carolina’s most notable events, including the NC State Fair, Oak City 7, Pickin’ in the Plaza, Raleigh Wide Open, The NC Governor’s Inaugural Ball, Out! Raleigh, Farm Fest, Downtown Live, Cuegrass, The Got To Be NC Ag Jam, Fayetteville After 5, Chapel Hill’s Live & Local, The Capital City Bike Fest, and many more.  Deep South also owns and operates Deep South The Bar, a live music bar located in downtown Raleigh.

Deep South Entertainment
1115 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC 27603
(919) 844-1515

About ECE
Forty years ago, two guys in Richmond, VA took a chance and started a company that promised to bring the very best entertainment to every client event. Specializing in college, club and private party bookings, Dennis Huber and Steve Thomas used their musical backgrounds to ensure that every client was matched with a band that would leave their guests raving.

Fast-forward forty years. ECE has grown into the largest, full-service entertainment agency in the country. Booking entertainment and producing custom events from not only coast-to-coast but around the globe, our company has flourished as a go-to source for creative entertainment.

We love what we do. Our passion for entertainment drives us to be the best in the industry. We can’t wait to share this passion with you.

ECE
8364 Six Forks Rd, suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27615
(919) 875-1800