Steve Bailey, Exec Director of The Grand, might be considered the Martin Luther of the entertainment industry.

Steve Bailey, Exec Director of The Grand, might be considered the Martin Luther of the entertainment industry. He is a heretic.  Bailey singularly scorned that smarmy line 'whatever happens in Vegas stays in Vegas' and commandeered an entire conference here to Wilmington after 3 years in Sin City.

The Association of Entertainment Professionals Worldwide (AEP), a select group of major entertainment buyers, agents and vendors elected to bring their annual convocation to The Grand last month.

AEP – whose membership is by invitation only – includes entertainment buyers from cruise lines and theme parks, corporate event planners, and performing arts centers across the United States. The high-powered group of 75-100 industry leaders decided to begin holding their annual gathering in participating venues. Bailey is a founding member of the group and he reverently nailed his dictum to the door!

“Scheduling the conference here,” said Bailey, “is a testament to the respect that The Grand commands both as a distinguished performing arts center and as an economic driver for its community. We were pleased for this rare opportunity to show off our beautiful theater and a revitalized downtown Wilmington to our arts and entertainment colleagues.”  

While he defers praise to The Grand, the "real" testament is the respect and influence Bailey himself has on his colleagues both nationally and regionally. His predecessor at Delaware's Center for the Arts on Market Street had the fathomless pockets of MBNA's Charlie Cawley as his Sugar Dada. The two left in concert and Steve Bailey steps into the miasma with no bountiful benefactor and the performing arts community in the depths of a recession not seen in decades.

Bailey's  leadership and acumen in both business and personnel matters over this long stretch of time is simply remarkable. I have had many conversations with him over the state of the arts. Each time I go away with more appreciation of his sincerity, his analytical approach to an issue and his passion for the job. Frankly, he would make a great mayor. But wait! He must live in the city! That's the law!

Bailey reports that the multi-day event included juried showcases by artists, workshops on industry trends and a resource room featuring representatives from leading talent agencies went well. He was on a panel that included a rep from the prestigious William Morris Agency. Breakout sessions included reps from Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines, to name a few.

Take a look what's upcoming at The Grand. How cool is Willie Nelson and Emmy Lou Harris, for example.