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Mondo.NYC Speaker

Frank Riley

Founder, High Road Touring

Frank Riley started booking bands in the early 1980s in New York City where he launched Venture Bookings at a time when there was no such thing as an independent music agent. During the 1980s Frank played an integral part in the burgeoning alternative indie rock music scene building the touring careers of iconic indie artists such as Husker Du, The Replacements and Violent Femmes.

In the late '80s Frank moved to Los Angeles and worked at Triad Artist helping to develop their contemporary music department. In the early '90s Frank moved to Monterey Peninsula Artists. Along the way Frank developed a reputation as the artist's agent, building careers and audiences while pleasing both bands and promoters.

As Bob Mould put it in his autobiography: "Frank was great to work with and totally understood where we were coming from. When it was time to do a tour, Frank and I would get together on the phone, route it in less than an hour and say go. He booked the dates, getting us more money than ever before, with the routing exactly as we wanted it.”

In 2001 Frank unleashed High Road Touring, LLC. Over twenty years at High Road Frank has developed and expanded his business and company. Along the way Frank has helped legions of artists establish successful live-performance careers.

Pollstar, the leading trade publication for the concert industry, wrote: “Frank has had one of the most compelling careers in the agency business. For those who value independent music outside of the monochromatic mainstream and small businesses that don’t have to do the ROI corporate shuffle, Riley has established a thriving business that is something of a model for all.”

Currently High Road has offices in Sausalito, CA, Austin, TX and Brooklyn, NY and a roster of more than 250 bands that reveals the depth and breadth of Frank’s unending passion for music. Rock, Punk, Folk and Americana legends like Emmylou Harris, Indigo Girls, Robert Plant and Patti Smith, prominent contemporary bands such as Wilco, Alabama Shakes, Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats, St Paul and the Broken Bones as well as emerging artists like Mitski, Phoebe Bridgers, Tank and the Bangas and Soccer Mommy all share an equal place on this agency’s roll call.

And thirty-five years after starting Venture Bookings Frank still proudly represents the Violent Femmes and Bob Mould. As Frank told Pollstar last year, “When I started, I had this thing in my head, a beacon for working musicians. A beacon for working musicians. A beacon for working musicians. That’s what I wanted to be.”

Save Live Music: A NITO call to action

While the impact of COVID-19 on the live music ecosystem is well documented, the National Independent Touring Organization, an advocacy group of independent booking agents and managers, has banded together to address the threat to our livelihood. Hear from two of the founders of NITO as well as two managers who support as members.