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Will Fusion Shows outgrow its Michigan roots?

Lansing booking company hits the 10-year mark

In his high school days, Nate Dorough, president and co-founder of Fusion Shows, never thought he could combine his passion for music with the necessity of work.

Ten years and almost 2,500 concerts later, Dorough has turned his teenage daydreams into a successful career.

To celebrate the milestone, Twin Peaks, PUP and notable locals Michigander, Greet Death and Stefanie Haapala, performed a commemorative concert last week at the Crofoot in Pontiac. Well attended and highly energetic, the night was a capstone for Fusion Shows’ growing influence.

Fusion Shows officially began in 2008, after Dorough met and connected with Irving Ronk. Once the two began co-promoting shows together, Dorough knew he had found the place and person to be involved with.

After three years of putting together small gym hall shows in Livingston, which consisted of punk rockers on tiny P.A. systems, Dorough wanted to expand his horizons.

“We had very complementary skill sets,” Dorough said. “So we sat down at the beginning of 2008, and we fused our two companies together, deciding to take a run at something a little more legitimate.”

With the help of local venues and their professional P.A. systems, Dorough and Ronk started having success in booking much larger, national acts. In their first year, the company organized shows with headliners like MewithoutYou and Manchester Orchestra.

Fusion Shows’ 2015 merger with Crofoot Presents saw Dorough’s company booking higher caliber concerts. Since then, Dorough said he’s been lucky enough to promote shows with Twenty One Pilots, AWOLNATION and Danny Brown.

“The folks that run the Crofoot have been in the Detroit concert business for 40 years, so they have their hands involved in a lot of things going on there,” Dorough said. “Through them, I’m trying to become more involved in that space too.”

Although Dorough hopes to expand beyond Lansing, he still holds the city, and the foundation he’s created, extremely close to home.

He wants to continue building up what Fusion Shows has established with local venues, such as Mac’s Bar and the Loft, and look for opportunities to collaborate with MSU. Dorough even hopes to bring a music festival to Lansing.

“We’d like to do some sort of cool festival event that we’re 100 percent in charge of here in Lansing,” he said.

“That’s something we’re actively pushing for in the next six to 12 months.”

Erica Marra, the assistant talent buyer for Fusion Shows, said she looks forward to the festivals Fusion Shows already works on, like BLED FEST and Mo Pop. But more important for Marra, is Fusion Show’s ability to develop and push itself to create what she calls “comfortable and welcoming environments to enjoy entertainment.”

Dorough plans to keep the company focused on its primary market in Michigan, but believes there’s still room for improvement and growth within the confines of the state.

“The community we’ve built in Lansing is really exciting. I think moving into REO Town has kind of been a catalyst for excitement for our team.” Dorough said. “There’s a lot of really cool, young entrepreneurs doing cool stuff. We’re just hoping to piggyback off that, and we’re excited to see where the next 10 days, let alone 10 years takes us as a company.”


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