Jon Petrunak is the keeper of the calendar. As Live Nation’s VP of Arenas, Petrunak works with dozens of Live Nation arenas — buildings like the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida, the Spectrum Center in Charlotte and the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento — to help book shows, market existing events and share best practices.
Working with Mike Evans and an executive assistant in Live Nation’s Philadelphia office, Petrunak is in constant communication with agents, producers of shows like Cirque du Soleil and promoters to keep abreast of what events are being developed. He’s constantly touching base with the company’s venues to ensure they are aware of what’s hitting the road and are making offers when appropriate.
“It’s a lot like air traffic control,” he tells Amplify. “I make sure the right people are talking to each other and aware of who’s going on tour. We don’t ever want their building to miss a show because they didn’t know about it.”
Petrunak got his start working in the box office at the Sovereign Center (now Santander Arena) in Reading, Pennsylvania. After a few years in the box office, Bob Cavalieri gave him his first opportunity to book the arena and theater in Reading.
“Mike Evans then took me under his wing and moved me up to the SMG corporate office in 2008, where I started working on programming for all of the SMG venues,” he said. Petrunak left to work at Live Nation in 2014.
Petrunak’s role at Live Nation has brought him to hundreds of concerts in his career. Below he tells Amplify his top five most important shows.
Steve Miller Band at Bryce Jordan Center, Penn State
April 17, 1996
I was a junior in high school and my friend asked me to tag along to the show. It was my first concert experience and the first time I realized that there was another business in music outside of CDs and MTV (and Friday Night Videos).
Bryan Adams at Santander Performing Arts Center, Reading, Pa.
Nov. 23, 2007
Another first for me. This was the first show that I actively took part in the booking process. I remember standing at the back of the theater during the show, looking at the crowd really enjoying the night and thinking, ‘this is what it’s all about.’
Taylor Swift at Santander Performing Arts Center
April 6, 2007
Taylor Swift grew up in Reading and was just starting her career. The local minor league baseball team had a relationship with her because she had been singing the national anthem there since she was a little girl. They wanted to do a welcome home show since she had recently moved to Nashville, but didn’t know the business so I was able to help them navigate through it. It was an awesome night and she signed autographs until 3 a.m.
Pearl Jam at Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore
Oct. 27, 2013
I have seen Pearl Jam a bunch and they are always amazing. They are my wife’s favorite band and we were able to find a way to have a night without our two-year-old twins for what was probably the first time since we had them. It was just a great night for her to enjoy great music and be a fan.
Jay Z & Eminem at Yankee Stadium in New York
Sept 13, 2010
I was able to be at this show with a couple of other arena guys, Matt Bell and Sid Greenfeig. Just an awesome show. Jay Z, Eminem, newly-opened Yankee Stadium and guest appearances from Kanye and Dr. Dre, among many others. It was just an incredible show with a ton of star power.