XLIVE, an annual conference held in Las Vegas, NV this Dec 5-7, 2016 brings all things entertainment into the entertainment capital of the world. In between festivals, music, culinary, technology, film, and more, the conference boasts one of the most high-end curated programs and speakers in the world. 

XLIVE(formerly known as IMFCON and IFFS), will be home to over 250 programs including speakers, interactive sessions and exhibits. These programs are set to help attendees learn, understand, and grow with the ever-evolving industry. With industry leaders from different platforms coming together for the 13th annual conference, the event is sure to set place for a creative and collaborative space. EPIC was fortunate enough to be able to talk with Waco Hoover, the CEO and Co-Founder of XLIVE to see what makes this event so successful. Check it out below!

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What motivated you personally to produce XLIVE for attendees?

In February 2003 I was at the Berlin Film Festival listening to a panel discussion with several of the largest festivals from around the world talking about industry trends and festival operations. There was an overwhelming amount of confusion from festival attendees about the business of festivals and their inner-workings. At that point I had been producing events for a couple years in the entertainment and tech sectors and started to look if there was an annual meeting or industry event for professionals running and managing festivals - the answer was a resounding no. Later that year in December my business partner and I produced the first event that would become XLIVE in New York City.      

Every industry has at least one, if not several industry meetings and organizations that provide resources and information that helps industry professionals grow and sustain their organizations. That’s a big part of the XLIVE mission - to foster the growth of the festival and live event industry in addition to providing access to the latest tools and resources that will enable event producers to continually create extraordinary experiences.         

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What advice do you have for young individuals looking to break into the events industry? 

I’m a big proponent of education so a great place to start is working with events that might be taking place with your college/university and in the local community. Another avenue is to work and/or volunteer at festivals or events you see yourself working with. Networking events are another great place to find opportunities that can open doors to the events industry. Depending on your location there might be smaller industry meetings or larger events like XLIVE that afford opportunities for growth. For the first time this year XLIVE has a Young Festival Entrepreneur Program that will cultivate young talent and afford them an opportunity to learn, meet with and be exposed to industry executives with decades of experience. Applicants selected for the program will be recognized during a presentation in Las Vegas. 

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What is your favorite part about the XLIVE conference?

The energy and passion that attendees bring to the program. I’ve literally been to hundreds of conference over the past 15 years and hands down festival professionals and those producing live events love what they do. XLIVE addresses the intersection of the business of festivals, the art, culinary and how technology continues to play a more and more prominent role at live events. The collision of these topics coupled with the most accomplished festival and event producers from across North America lends itself to innovation and creativity that XLIVE attendees can take back and implement in their own organizations.     

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What sets XLIVE apart from other event conferences?

XLIVE is the only annual event for festivals and live event producers that offers such a comprehensive and deep dive into the most pressing issues. In December attendees will benefit from interacting and learning from 140+ of the most accomplished producers, 80+ exhibitors and suppliers that are committed to working with live events, innovation/start-up theatre, 4 tracks including music, event tech, food & beverage, eSports, a VR/AR Lab and three workshops on festival mergers & acquisitions, event data & analytics and live event IT. And that’s just the conference program - over the course of the three days we have countless networking opportunities spanning many of the most exciting venues in Las Vegas.   You won’t find another program anywhere that offers more value for three days immersing yourself with other passionate and committed industry professionals.       

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: A lot of our readers are millennials just starting out in the events and festival industry, can you discuss your Young Executives program with us more?   

One of the most important things leaders and seasoned professionals can do for an industry is to mentor and groom the next generation of young professionals. Anyone that has achieved some level of success was fortunate enough to have someone with more experience and insight help guide their professional development. We have a few goals for the program this year with plans to expand it significantly in 2017. First, we want to make it possible for young professionals to attend XLIVE that otherwise may not have the budget to do so given their roles and responsibilities. Second, recognizing up and coming professionals demonstrating a commitment to learning and live events is an important part of the program. Third, we’re providing opportunities to develop relationships with these young professionals and other industry professionals. Finally, participants will have access to the entire conference to develop their own knowledge of the industry and take key insights back to their own organizations.             

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: Who are some speakers you are looking forward to most at this years conference?

 We have such an amazing lineup of accomplished speakers is hard to narrow it to just a few, however. Since you asked i’ll give it a go…. Chip Conley with Airbnb and Everfest will share one of the more unique perspectives at the program delving into working with the local community and also creating amazing experiences at festivals. He‘s currently on the board of Burning Man which adds another layer of insight that attendees can look forward to. John Amato, who is at the helm of Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter, hosts a number of major industry events in addition to their new music festival launched last year in New York will address the rising cost of talent and how festivals can select the right artists for their events. On the culinary side, John Trumble with the Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival and Andrew Chason who leads CAA’s culinary group will talk about innovation at festivals, creating memorable experiences and how events need to continually push the envelope. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention at least one of the incredible tech speakers we have - Rikard Steiber who runs HTC virtual reality will give us an inside look at the latest applications and tools being developed around AR/VR at live events.          

EPIC PRODUCTIONS: What advice do you have for those attending the conference for their first time?

Go with a friend, colleague or group and do your research before getting to XLIVE. Any industry event can be a more powerful experience with colleagues, the more people you connect with the better the experience. XLIVE has countless options for networking, learning and meetings - take the time to map out an event strategy to get the most out of it. Perhaps most important, reach out to us. The XLIVE team is here to answer questions and provide guidance so you can get the most out of the program.    

Who/what are you most excited to see at XLIVE? Let us know in the comments! 

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