Dan Smalls Presents, Inc. is...
a talent buyer, concert promotion, and event production company based in Ithaca, NY. We specialize in developing talent from small clubs to theatres and arenas. We buy talent for regional theatres, colleges, and various other venues. We also produce events for musical acts, corporations, not-for-profits, etc. in and around the Finger Lakes region of New York State.
The company was founded in 2008, though the principal, Dan Smalls, has a wide ranging background in business and the entertainment field. His biography can be found below.
Feel free to call us anytime at 607.280.2900
Dan Smalls Biography
Dan Smalls has a diverse and wide-ranging background in the entertainment business. The business of entertainment took hold while Dan was a sophomore at Cornell University here in Ithaca and produced his first concert, a combination of Blues Traveler and The Spin Doctors at Bailey Hall, before each rose to stardom. After that sell-out and several others, Dan joined local impresario John Peterson at the Haunt on Green Street and quickly became the manager. It was the heyday of the famous red, gold and green painted façade that played host to the likes of such diverse acts as Stevie Ray Vaughan and Pearl Jam as well as nearly every major blues and reggae act including Buddy Guy, Albert Collins and The Wailers. Their Two Just Men and Topspot Promotions presented many shows at the State Theatre back in the early nineties and at various other regional theatres. Dan stayed on for several years after graduating in 1992 and eventually moved on to expand his musical future in a bigger pond.
This path led him through various positions in Boston that began as a booking agent for local and national acts and led to working for Great Northeast Productions. While there, the company produced over seventy live events per year with acts like Bob Dylan, Lyle Lovett, Chris Isaak, Joan Baez, among many others. Every year culminated in producing the annual end of summer tour camping festivals for Phish (Clifford Ball, The Great Went, Lemonwheel) that took place in several locations and hosted over 80,000 fans. Dan also worked closely with musical act Squirrel Nut Zippers, assisting in their growth and eventual platinum selling success that catapulted out of the Boston market. He also started the successful Swing Night at the Roxy in Boston that hosted dozens of acts and consistently drew over 1200 patrons to a Friday night event that featured national acts on stage, dance lessons, period clothing sales and more, a concept that the company shared with similar venues around the US.
In 1999, Dan took the opportunity to work for the Gerry Foundation, started by cable TV pioneer Alan Gerry, and assist in production of a summer concert series on the original Woodstock concert site for a break from the big city and a chance to be closer to his family. The series went off well and became the impetus for the recently completed Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts which opened in 2007.
Family situations led Dan to stay in the Catskills and take the helm of his family’s 40-year entrenched mechanical contracting business. Although this was not his ideal career choice, he enjoyed the challenge and the ability to further cultivate his business skills. While there, he nearly doubled sales and shifted the focus from a local service based business to a regional construction based powerhouse.
A visit to Cornell early in 2005 though changed his direction once again. On that trip, Dan met Emily Russell who has since become his wife. She and her mom own The Frame Shop on Buffalo Street. His enduring love of Ithaca made the decision to move here and sell the business quite easy. So, Dan brokered a deal with a longtime foreman to sell the family contracting business which included staying on for a year as a consultant to ensure the success of the company.
For the past seven seasons, Dan has served as exclusive talent buyer for the State Theatre in Ithaca. His booking, promotion and marketing have resuscitated this nearly 80 year old hall to its former glory and made it the venue of choice in Central NY. He has also taken on new venues like the summer concert series at Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, the prestigious Event Gallery in the Woodstock Museum at the Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts, and clubs like The Haunt in Ithaca and Harro East Ballroom in Rochester.
Dan and Emily welcomed their first child, a son named Wylie Russell, in 2008. They live in Ithaca near the West shore of Cayuga Lake with their trusty dog Miles and cats Luna and Barnese.
DSP has long been a dream and its reality is incredibly exciting. Thanks for being a part of it.