Music Circuit Presentations
2008 - Booking Agencies/Agents
Steve White opened a record store at 3213 Forest Ave., Des Moines in December of 1971. The store was located near Drake University. At the other end of the block was a famous Iowa rock club-Jolly's. In and of itself this opening was not particularly noteworthy; but it was the starting point for an amazing career in record retailing, concert promotion, and concert presentation.
It was during a trip to the West Coast in the late 60's (college visits) where Steve first noticed the indie record stores. Rather than go to college immediately, he decided to see if Des Moines was ready for this sort of record retailing. He needed some financial input to get started. This was provided by friend, Bill Haakinson (IRRHOF 1999).The store was a success for over 20 years. Bill became the store operations manager.
Sometime in the summer of 1972, Steve and friends Jim Henneberry and John Hoak discussed the concert promotion business. It was felt that since the store was a natural ticket outlet, and they had become acquainted with quite a few people in the music industry they ought to have a go at it. Another factor was Steve's belief, after attending the Wadena Rock Festival, they ought to be able to do at least that well in producing and promoting a show! Unfortunately, due to some last minute cancellations they had to cancel their first offering at Vets Auditorium which would have featured Savoy Brown, and Rory Gallagher. Undaunted, they booked a show for the Surf Ballroom featuring REO Speedwagon, and Enoch Smoky (IRRHOF 2008). It was an unqualified success. Music Circuit Presentations really got momentum after bringing the Grateful Dead to town in 1973.This success went to another level when White, Henneberry, and Hoak conceived the Iowa Jam format. From 1974 to 1989 this Memorial Day weekend show was a must-see event for Midwest music fans.
The roster of bands that performed at this venue is outstanding-ZZ Top, J. Geils, Eagles, Santana, Fleetwood Mac, Bob Seger, Ted Nugent; to name a few. Music Circuit Presentations did not limit their output to just one event a year. They have done over 1200 shows all over the Midwest in most of the great venues. One very exciting aspect of this work was the opportunity to co-produce shows with such legends as Barry Fey, John Scher, The Belkin family, and most prominently-Bill Graham. In conjunction with the concert promotion, Music Circuit ticketing network (pre-Ticketmaster) was implemented in 1972. This network serviced all Music Circuit- produced shows by establishing 76 ticket outlets in 8 states. It was subsequently expanded to include ticket sales for notable concerts in Kansas City, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Los Angeles and Denver
The 1974 Iowa Jam was front-page news in the Des Moines Register; unfortunately for the wrong reasons. A deluge of rain had forced cancellation of the show, and a few fans became irate. As a result of this incident White, Henneberry and Hoak came up with what became the industry standard for portable roof structures. Music Circuit Productions was formed to do complete outdoor staging that incorporated this revolutionary portable structure. By 1975 they had three stages, three roofs and three crews. The list of shows they did is very long, including such stars as the Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Eric Clapton, and just about everybody. Their travels encompassed 18 states.
Starting in the mid-90's Steve began to streamline the operation somewhat by focusing mainly on producing shows-which he still does today. Between 1972 and the present, the Music Circuit brand, through hard work and attention to detail, has been associated with everything that has made the musical experiences of rock fans better. Imagine the last 36 years without them. It wouldn't be the same.