About 542 Entertainment – Meet Billie-Jo Aasen

Hi! I'm Billie

Hi all!

My name is Billie and I am the proud owner of 542 Entertainment! Now, I know it’s not the norm for a talent buying company to blog but I always run into people, who I’ve known for a while, and they still ask ‘What exactly do you do!?.’ Here it is. 542 Entertainment Inc. is a boutique Talent Buying & Turn-Key Festival Events company. For the same fee of using a talent agency to book talent for your festival, we dedicate you a hands on representative that can fully consult on all aspects of your event – we even come to the show and run your backstage. And should you need it, we can build your event from the ground up and you can feel 100% confident that you have an experienced team running your businessand helping to build your dream.

My background has a lot of moving parts that have lead me to open 542 Entertainment. I started my career out as a country singer for many years and my management team at the time owned a festival called Merritt Mountain Music Festival – I guess you can say that’s where my festival obsession began. Merritt booked acts such as Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Emerson Drive, The Road Hammers, Loretta Lynn, Martina McBride, Big & Rich, Brooks & Dunn , Reba, Johnny Reid and countless others. I performed at the festival worked with them all year round, learning all of the moving parts. Over this period I had an amazing time, a light level of success, and really got to dive into the politics of being an artist. From there, I had decided that being a performer was not really for me and to give the business side of the music a shot. In 2010 I started working with Rogers arena to gain a better understanding of buildings. During my stint at Rogers Arena, I was introduced to my first show site and decided to dive right in and build my own festival. It was countless hours of work but I wouldn’t change it for the world! The decision to start my first festival was the real tipping point to what 542 Entertainment has become today.

In 2012, about a month after our first festival year was completed, the NHL had a lockout which lessened everyone’s hours at the arena. This posed an issue to me – UTTER BOREDOM. I had worked my butt off building a festival, while maintaining 40-50 hours a week at the arena, and now everything painfully slowed down! So what next? Just as luck would have it, a friend and colleague of mine had a position at his agency, Invictus Entertainment, and offered me the job. I was all over it! This was a totally new world for me. At this point, I had been the artist, worked the building, built the festival – but now I got to be the one on the other line selling the talent. Day in and day out we sold our acts, managed their careers, and got to be creative. I learned so much while at Invictus and will always be so gracious to the Invictus family for the opportunity. Over the years, I started to see hole in the industry and a heavy need for a company like 542 Entertainment. Luckily I got tremendous support from my peers with in the industry to start my own company. So with a lot of planning, sickening amounts nerves, and the never ending question of ‘Am I crazy?’ bouncing through my head, 542 Entertainment was launched and we were off to the races!

Let’s go back to ‘A HOLE IN OUR INDUSTRY’

I couldn’t help but notice that there were as number of talent buyers out there, some new, some old, but none of them actually being hands on with the clients and the acts. All over I was hearing about festivals struggling to make ends meets (with a lot of the expenses being totally avoidable); I kept hearing horror stories of acts not even playing the show because people didn’t adhere to what was in the rider (again, completely avoidable but the producer just didn’t know). But the WORST OF THEM ALL – people over paying on entertainment to find out that the fee from the agency was way lower than what the ‘buyer’ had charged the client. Why was there no one out there creating a fully transparent, hands on, Talent Buying and Event Production Company. There are so many little mistakes, which add up to one big mistake, which are absolutely avoidable. Why, with the fees that talent agencies charge, was no one hands on and helping the client create a sustainable event? It’s not rocket science to me! “BOOM!” Enters 542 Entertainment. For the same fee of using a talent agency to book your festival, we dedicate you a hands on representative that can fully help you and consult on all aspects of your event, should you need it. We deal with all the agencies such as Feldman, The Agency Group, William Morris and CAA for you so you don’t have to juggle having 10 different people to deal with. We negotiate, create, and mark your contracts and riders to your desired specifications. Then we fly in and run the backstage for you (pssst that saves you even more money). It’s in the best interest of all festivals, fairs, artists, managers and agents that we help events with live entertainment succeed – that’s how we all make a living! If an event can’t survive because avoidable mistakes then we as the experts are letting everyone down.

So that’s it, that’s the barebones of the company. It says in our mission statement ‘our mission is your success’ and that pretty much sums it up! I love what I do, and am so proud of the team that we have built. We are so fortunate to have such a talented team, great clients, and unwavering relationships within the industry. We approach each show like it was our own, and treat our clients like they are family. Is it unconventional? Yes. But nothing ever changes if all you do is follow the pack.

I’ll end with a quote:

“Everybody has a dream, so reach for the stars and you just might land on the moon.”

Thanks all!

Think Big, Dream Bigger, Knock it out of the Park!

Xo Billie

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