Feature Article Vol. III, No. 3

Feld Entertainment Moves On Once More

Feld Ent. Overhead

The Feld  family assumed control of the Greatest Show on Earth in 1967, and ever since the family has been expanding its entertainment empire with a string of sure fire entities.  In 1981 it signed a lease with Disney to stage and tour productions of Disney on Ice.  That started out with just one unit and now has eight.  Just recently it signed an agreement with Disney to extend their license of the Disney characters for another ten years, which will allow them to  produce live Disney productions both on stage and on ice.

In 2008 Feld Entertainment experienced one of its biggest expansions by acquiring Motor Sports properties, which includes Arenacross, Monster Jam, and Monster Energy Supercross, to which the company quickly added the freestyle motocross show Nuclear Cowboyz. The company is presently in the process of readying a new arena attraction Marvel Universe Live, which will feature the action heroes of Marvel comics ( a subsidiary of Disney)  in an original  live-action production that will tour arenas in the United States before going global, as Disney on Ice has done before it.  Deemed the most complex production the company has ever mounted, it is scheduled to be launched this summer in Tampa, and is booked through May 2016.  A Disney on Ice version of the hit movie Frozen will also go out later this year.

In between there have been productions of various touring  stage shows, geared to all age groups and the Siegfried and Roy stage show in Las Vegas.

But perhaps the most all-encompassing move has to be to centralize all its production and administrative activities in a single location, along the southwest coast of Florida, in Ellenton.   With this new facility at its disposal, Feld Entertainment cannot only centralize all its production activity involved in building several new arena productions a year, including those for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, Disney on Ice, the Marvel Universe Live, but also refurbish its trains, and the monster cars that are all but demolished every week during their performances.   Feld Entertainment owns all the technical equipment used in its shows, so it will be sent here for refurbishment.

The 46 acre campus also has  facilities to build and refurbish the lighting equipment, scenic pieces, props, and special effects used in each show.  There is also a vast costume bank here comprised of the wardrobe from all its past shows.  This wonderland not only contains a dazzling collection of past costumes, but also elephant blankets and horse trappings as well.

Because the facility is so huge (over 600,000  sq. feet)  with rehearsal room for more than one show at a time, the  space is also being made available for use by other production companies who can take advantage of the same kind of consolidation of resources as those enjoyed by Feld productions.  The rehearsal space also has access to Feld Entertainment’s on-site expertise in design and fabrication of sets, costumes audio and lighting equipment, as well as merchandise design.  Also available to productions that use the rehearsal space is in-house assistance with promotion, venue booking, and transportation management in and out of over 500 cities in 75 countries where Feld has a wealth of experience.  Administration support services include human resources staffing, tour management and finance and accounting.  Definitely a one stop venue for getting almost any kind of show that will take to the road ready to tour.

The rehearsal space itself is 290’ x 90’ or 26,100 sq. ft.  Additional production space directly adjacent features a 240’ x 90’ rigging grid with unobstructed access; 55’ trim height with 500,000 lb. UDL weight capacity. It is designed to accommodate various production configurations depending upon the placement of the stage, at one end, in center or full floor.  The space also provides multiple power sources located conveniently throughout the rehearsal hall.  With this kind of space at its disposal, the company can build its sets to the exact height it will use in the venues it plays, a great advantage to getting them ready to tour.

Both rehearsal spaces are illuminated by an LED system which is fully dimmable and programmable.  The principle hall is  also equipped with a state-of-the-art climate control system, and a private entrance for authorized personnel.  There is a special parking area next to the rehearsal hall that can accommodate cars, tour buses and semi/show trailers.

Feld Ent. Stage

The Feld Entertainment extended family now numbers 3,000 technical and administrative experts as well as performers who present 5,000 performances a year; of this number 350 are employed at the Ellenton facility.

The one department not housed in Ellenton is a newly  custom-built warehouse in Jessup, Maryland,  which houses and distributes the company’s merchandise, produced in China, to the concession stands at each of the venues its various productions play.

Kenneth Feld, as his father before him, and his three daughters today, understands that if a business is to remain viable it must grow, adapt, and change, as this brief review of its history most emphatically affirms.