Rams Head Group has landed the gig of managing the Truman Waterfront Amphitheater. Anyone in the April 2 city commission meeting knows it was hard-won: Nadine Grossman Orr, the force behind Fantasty Fest, and her “We’ve Got the Keys” group garnered local support, while Rams Head, headed up by CEO and founder Bill Muehlhauser, ultimately won the faith — and the vote — of the commission. Pending contract negotiations, the city will hire Rams Head to manage its premier outdoor venue.
The reputation of Rams Head precedes the people behind the company: they’ve brought big-name national acts to venues around town for years. Just last weekend, the Rams Head team delivered The Beach Boys at Sunset Green Event Lawn and The Revivalists at Truman Waterfront Amphitheater.
While Rams Head has brought national acts to the city, they’ve hired locally. Kelly Norman, who has been a full time Key West resident for 10 years, serves as production manager for Rams Head Key West and executive director of Key West Theater.
“We are very fortunate to be in this position,” said Norman. “We have a great team with loads of experience, and I have such faith in this company to grow this venue into not only a space locals get to enjoy, but a highly sought-after music venue.”
Muehlhauser, who also has been a full-time Key Wester for 10 years, said, “We are excited to take our years of experience in developing the Key West Amphitheater into a nationally recognized facility for entertainment and civic functions. We will accomplish this by hiring a local workforce to work alongside our existing Rams Head team.”
At Key West Theater, the group has used local musical talent as opening acts for national bands and employed security, box-office staff, ushers and bartenders from our local labor pool.
“I’ve worked nationally and locally,” said Norman, who has booked music for Blue Macaw and Little Room Jazz Club in addition to her work with Rams Head.
“My husband Nick is a local musician that created the Sunday Ramble, and we have valuable relationships with local musicians.” In her role at the Key West theater, Norman has worked with Ralph DePalma on community events and Kyla Piscopink on community dance classes.
While Rams Head has already showcased its potential to book big acts at the Truman Waterfront Amphitheater, it will not have an exclusive booking contract with the venue. As the managing agency, Rams Head will work with other organizations to provide a variety of events to the community. The RFQ they presented to the city commission showed 10 major shows on the docket, in line with previous visiting bands like Blue Oyster Cult, Styx and Avett Brothers, which will share the stage with local shows and civic activities.
Norman cites their master calendar, a booking and management tool that creates space for a variety of different events, organizations and talents. Their system puts a “hold” on dates, allowing multiple proposals to be deliberated before confirming an event. The proposal also outlines new hires: Rams Head will be seeking a venue manager and marketing manager, starting with Key West talent.
Said Norman: “We are very excited, to say the least, but know there’s a lot of hard work ahead — not to mention a contract to still sign!”