LAS VEGAS — Liberty Fairs and Agenda are shaking up the status quo in Las Vegas.
In February, the two shows will leave their longtime home at the Sands Convention Center and relocate downtown to an undisclosed location “adjacent to the up-and-coming Arts District.” Although the show operators said they have secured a site, they are “not ready to announce the location yet. But it will not be a traditional convention hall,” said Sharifa Murdock, co-owner of Liberty.
“Our brands are really looking forward to the freedom and flexibility” of a new location, she added, saying that the new space will allow for “standout events, unique activations, and an overall elevated experience.”
Murdock said the change was necessitated by a shift in the next show dates by Project, which will hold its fall edition Feb. 5-7, 2019. As a result, the Sands could not accommodate both Liberty and Agenda within its convention space and they were forced to move. “We wanted to stay with Agenda,” she said, “so we decided to move both shows,” Murdock said.
She said it is possible that the shows could return to the Sands in August, although that has not been determined. “It’s definitely an option,” she said.
But for February, Liberty’s special sections — Quest, Indigo, Pillars Lounge, and The General Store — as well as Assembly, its co-branded series of conferences with Agenda, will have a new home.
In addition, Murdock said, Agenda’s streetwear, surf and skate sensibility, will be augmented in February by the addition of a footwear section that will include men’s, women’s and “lifestyle” shoes.
Depending upon the location, getting to downtown, especially from the Mandalay Bay where Project is housed, can take well over 30 minutes. Murdock said there will be complimentary express car service from both Mandalay and the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the women’s and footwear shows are based.
That may ultimately become an issue, however, since Project views Liberty and Agenda as competition and could reportedly bar their cars from accessing the sites where their shows are housed.
Liberty is also touting that the hotels downtown are “more affordable,” and there will be “gourmet food trucks that cater to a range of food preferences.” Traditional restaurants and high-end hotels are not as plentiful downtown.
“With downtown Las Vegas shaping up as the ultimate gathering spot, we’re excited to host Agenda and Liberty in such a vibrant, creative location — giving our brands a new creative platform to share their brand story,” said Tony Shellman, Agenda Vegas event director. “We’re committed to not only continuing, but improving the high-touch customer service that both Agenda and Liberty are known for.”
Tom Nastos, president of ready-to-wear for Informa, parent of Project and MAGIC, said of Liberty and Agenda’s planned move: “We’re glad they’re staying in Las Vegas. This just reconfirms the strength of the marketplace.”
At the same time, rumors were rampant that Liberty was on the verge of being sold to Clarion, one of the world’s leading event firms with 15 offices around the world. It operates more than 200 events in over 50 countries including the Premium show in Berlin as well as the Womenswear in Nevada trade show in Las Vegas. Clarion was founded in 1947.
Murdock said: “We’re not selling the show anytime soon. We always have interest in our shows, but there’s no sale right now.”