St. Patrick’s Day – Pittsburgh Style

St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in our home city. Pittsburgh hosts one of the largest St. Patrick day parades in the world, second only to New York city.

While our team will be celebrating Irish heritage at an event outside of the county this year, here is a peak at what’s going on. Oh, and it goes way beyond a day.


The schedule for events leading up to the parade is as follows:

March 6 – Allegheny County Council Proclamation of County’s Irish Heritage at the Allegheny County Courthouse at 5:00 p.m.

March 9 – Annual St. Patrick’s Parade Button Party at Mitchell’s Pub (304 Ross Street) from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

March 11 – AOH Division 9/Allegheny County Communion Br

eakfast a

t St. Paul’s Seminary (2900 Noblestown Road) with Mass celebrated by Bishop David Zubik at 10 a.m., followed by a breakfast banquet and official program.

March 13 – City Proclamation of “St. Patrick’s Week in Pittsburgh”10 a.m. – City-County Building (

Downtown) at City Council Meeting

March 16 – Crowning of 2018 Miss Smiling Irish Eyes by Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald at River’s Club, Oxford Center at 12 p.m.

The activities happening on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) are as follows:

  • Parade Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in the Strip District at 8 a.m.
  • 2018 St. Patrick’s Day Parade – 10 a.m. (same parade route as 2017)
  • Family-friendly Parade Fest in Market Square from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Mr. Bezos’ Neighborhood

I was talking with a few event industry folks and the subject of Amazon came up. Amazon is currently seeking a location for its second headquarters. The competition between cities to attract the billion dollar company and the jobs it would bring is pretty stiff. Pittsburgh sent a bid and has been touted as a contender.

While the economic impact would be incredible should Pittsburgh be chosen, it would also transform our city in both positive and negatives ways. You can imagine how costs, and traffic would rise, but so would home values, jobs and investment.

Mr Rodgers neighbor might have Mr. Bezos moving in and buying up the block. You can debate the pros and cons on your own, but let’s take a look at the prospect.

Some of Amazon’s top officials have ties to Pittsburgh. Their CFO Brian Olsavsky went to CMU’s Tepper School of Business and his wife is from Pittsburgh. Jeff Wilke, CEO grew up in Pittsburgh. These guys are in the position to have serious input on the decision and could be hero’s in this city if Pittsburgh is the choice.

Pittsburgh has plenty of land available for such a project, it’s highly affordable , we have already attracted some innovative companies like Google, and Uber. Pittsburgh can offer highly skilled employees through our higher education facilities and provide them and stunning beautiful and affordable place to live and raise a family.

Our biggest downside is we are not the transportation hub we used to be. However, even that is beginning to change with new direct flights being offered. We also have an award-winning airport that is not at capacity and could easily adapt to expanding needs.

One of the reasons we base our national events out of Pittsburgh is because it’s relatively easy to get to a number of major cities. Cleveland, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Buffalo, Detroit, even Chicago. We can produce an event in those cities without having to be physically based in a high cost location. With a company like Amazon coming to town, any transportation issues to or from Pittsburgh would be quickly addressed.

I can’t say for sure what will happen, but we see some very exciting things on the horizon for this city with or without Amazon.

10 and Counting


With the start of 2018, we entered our 10th year of operations at Pierce Events. It’s a bit hard to believe it’s been that long, but I spent 15 years doing events for others before we launched and that seems like a lifetime ago.

Instead of recapping the journey, I thought I’d write this post to those of you who have in the back of your mind the idea of maybe starting your own business.

First know it’s terrifying. You will spend countless unpaid hours working your tail off. You will face uncertainty that never goes away. 20 percent of new businesses don’t make it a year. Half only make it five years. Only one third will be around 10 years.

You will meet great people who will encourage you and you will meet some awful people who want to see you fail. Everyone has advice, many will treat you unfairly, and you will discover who you really are, not who your boss wants you to be.

Economic factors won’t make or break you if you learn how to adjust to them. If you don’t, they will destroy you. Listen to everything and everyone and only believe about 10 percent of it.

The people who are against you will be your biggest motivators. If someone gets under your skin, understand that is fuel to prove them wrong. If someone can crush your spirit with words, you have no chance of making it.

It’s not a path for everyone. If you can’t deal with sales, customer service, marketing, management, accounting, and development as all part of your daily job, it’s not for you. If you want a 9-5 paycheck every 2 weeks, this is not for you.

Honestly for years I was too sacred to do this. It was too much of a risk. Everyday is a risk, but it has allowed me to go places, do things and meet wonderful people around the world.

We owe our success to thousands of people. From everyone who trusted us enough to hire us to plan important events to the people who attend those events. We are forever grateful to our clients and partners.

Deciding to set off on your own takes soul-searching, planning, research and I suggest a lot of prayer. Failure is a great teacher and honesty is highly valued these days.

Whatever role you played in our success, even if it’s just reading this blog, thank you for 10 years of wonderful events.


Pittsburgh Wedding Transportation

Guest Blogger: Pittsburgh Limousine Bus

Pittsburgh weddings are beautiful events, and it takes some work to create a seamless event! There are many pieces of the puzzle, and everybody has their own strategy in putting them together. Each wedding is a completely unique ceremony, and this is why planning one takes much time and effort. When you find yourself at the beginning of the important task that is vendor research and hire, it seems like it’s hard to know who to trust! This is especially true when it comes to transportation.

24bus2[14298]There is a diverse array of charter, limousine, and party bus companies to choose from in Pittsburgh which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s pretty easy to pull up a listing of companies with great reviews across the internet, but it’s getting harder to know who to trust! There are a few points that you’ll specifically want to look out for when searching for Pennsylvania Transportation.

How does their website look?

If you’re perusing transportation companies and their website is outdated and unresponsive on mobile phones, you might want to look elsewhere. Technology is such an important part of business competency these days, and this especially goes for transportation. A great company will have a easy to use website with clear directions on how to get the information you’ll need! If a company lacks on their website, they will probably fall short of state of the art traffic tracking and customer service

Can you come view the vehicle?

22bus2[14297]Many couples overlook this step when choosing a vehicle for their Pittsburgh wedding, but visiting the office or garage to view the vehicle you’re looking to rent will certainly bring you closer to finding the best choice for your wedding. It give you the closest look into how they conduct business face to face before the big day, and it’s very helpful to see what you’re working with before it shows up.

Is the contract transparent?

The contract is the final step in securing your wedding day transportation, and arguable the most important! It’s not out of the norm for a company to sneak in some hidden charges at this stage under the guise of fuel or tip to the driver. However, this is the last thing you’re going to want to deal with right after getting married!

Pittsburgh Limousine Bus

232 Taylor Street #2

Pittsburgh, PA 15224

(412) 385-4412

The 4th Quarter

Somehow Summer flew by us once again and we find ourselves in the 4th quarter of another year. It’s been a awhile since we did a blog post, so let’s catch up.

20170923_095915We have a been all of the country and working with new people in new places since we kicked off the year with the Zac Brown Band in Mexico.

In 2018, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Pierce Events, we return to Riviera Maya for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration like no other. Sun, Sand, live music, great food and people from all over all at the Hard Rock Hotel. You can read about the 2017 trip here


In July we returned to NJ for the largest Hot Air Balloon Festival in the nation. With over 100 balloons launching at once it’s a sight to see. We rocked the stage with George Thorogood and Pat Benatar and saw over 175,000 people attend.

August took us to Washington state. We opened an exclusive theatre for guests 21 and over with full menu and bar in Seattle, created a presentation video for our client and then travel cross country down to Texas for the next event.

A stop in Memphis brought us to Sun Studios, Graceland and made a new friend named Memphis Jones who told use the history of Memphis and gave us 50 cents. (Don’t ask)

ileaWe have been growing our national production teams and connecting with partners from ILEA (International Live Events Association) across the country and around the world.

We teamed up with Pop Star Katy Perry on her world tour to present exclusive content and and an interactive display for fans attending the show. Fans created their very own album cover and could submit their photos from the show via social media to be included with tour photos.


Very soon we hope to announce another national tour that will take us to several cities and more exciting events happening right up till the end of the year.

We would love to talk to you about your next event. Big or small, give us a call.


Pay to Play – Facts on Music Licensing

bandI recently heard from a number of bands that were lamenting how many venues were now cancelling music performances. The reason behind it all, music licensing fees.

This comes as our home base city of Pittsburgh, PA is actively trying to encourage live music.

It’s the responsibility of any venue that plays any form of copyrighted music (live or recorded) to obtain and pay for the proper licences. The problem is many venue owners are either uneducated or simply think they can ignore the rules. Either can be very costly when a group that collects these fees comes calling and these days they are cracking down on everyone from small bars to restaurants.

Performing rights organizations (“PROs”), such as BMI, ASCAP and SESAC, act as intermediaries between restaurants and songwriters to protect intellectual property. Venues pay a fee to the PROs for a blanket license that grants permission to use all of the music each organization represents. This applies to everything from live music to background music. Each PRO represent certain songwriters and songs. Many venues decide to only pay fees to one of the three PRO. That can be dangerous. If you play music licensed by a PRO you do not have a license from, you can be held liable for copyright infringement. I have seen legal action taken over one single song the repeatedly played.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in places that are streaming music. Pandora’s “terms of use” specifically prohibit businesses from streaming music without setting up and complying with the terms of a paid DMX/Pandora business account. If a bar or restaurant has a business account with Pandora or SiriusXM and the music is used only for background, the establishment does not allow dancing to the music, or charge a cover fee to enter, then the provider of the music such as Pandora or SiriusXM, should be paying the public performance fees to BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. Should the business have any additional music, live bands, DJs, or Karaoke, they need to license with the PROs directly for those uses.

How bad is it if you get caught? Federal penalties for using music without permission can be high, with each musical composition used without authorization entitling copyright owners to damages between $750 to $30,000, or more. That’s for every song!

Rumor has it PRO’s are now turning to monitoring advertisements in local cities for cover bands, karaoke nights and DJ’s. Why the sudden tough enforcement? The PRO’s aren’t bringing in the money they used to with music being constantly copied, streamed, downloaded and outright stolen.

Many people think because they purchased a song on CD or through iTunes they own it and can use it as they wish. Wrong. What you actually purchase is not the song but a license to use that copy of the song for your own personal use. It can not be used for public purposes.

Everyone should be compensated for their work. Venue owners should be knowledgeable and play by the rules, however the rules need to be fair and applied in a way that promotes music and not scares people away from the music.

For more information:








Castaway Take Aways

After a successful 2016, we kicked of this year in Rivera Maya, Mexico at Castaway with Southern Ground. It’s nice to soak up some sun and talk about business plans for the year ahead. This year though we gained more from that trip than we have from a number of professional conferences we have attended.

While we certainly did our share of relaxing, we also learned about lighting, staging, marketing, production, customer service, live music production, recording, DJ work, catering, photography, logistics and a whole lot more.

You see this was no ordinary sun & sand get away. We had the opportunity to learn from a number of very talented people in entertainment and event production including the Grammy Award winning group the Zac Brown Band. Along with Zac was Jamaica reggae group Toots & The Maytals who invented the word “reggae” and genre in 1968. Best New Artist Grammy nominee Maren Morris, Margo Price who recorded her first album at Sun Studios, JJ Grey & Mofro, Drake White & The Big Fire that are launching their first headlining tour, Rodrigo and Gabriela, Muddy Magnolias, Corey Harper, Brian Collins and all the incredible musicians in the groups were there. We spent time with Zac Brown’s personal Chef Rusty Hamiln learning about food and drinks with people from all over.

The event took place at the Hard Rock Hotel. Normally I would have avoided such a place as I would have thought it was too touristy. Boy was I wrong. From the moment we arrived we were greeted and offered a drink. Quickly we were given our credentials and escorted to our room. From that moment on every need we could possible have was catered to. 24 room service, buffets set up for each concert, tray served drinks everywhere, even for the live shows and the most incredible staff I’ve ever encountered.

The main stage could have hosted just about any band in the world. Lighting, sound, and video projection were top notch and with variety of styles of music and the needs of each artist, it is a challenge to say the least.

The event staff for this production was amazing. Despite long hours everything from charity auctions to safety and security was taken care of flawlessly. Event professionals understand what it takes to meet everyone’s expectations for just one event. This was 12 plus events in just a few days!

When food were ordered was just a few minutes late, we received an apology from the food and beverage manager that was not needed or expected. The ultimate in customer service.

Normally I can walk away from an event having seen even minor flaws. Maybe something that did not quite go as planned, or something I would have done differently. I’m hard pressed to come up with one thing to list. It was that good.

There were multiple teams that made it happen. Staff from the Hard Rock to the production staff and that makes it all the more challenging when you are dealing different groups with language and cultural barriers. My hat is off to the production teams on this one.

We came back to Pittsburgh recharged and with some great new inspiration for events ahead. All too often we find ourselves locked in our own little bubbles and blind to the world around us. It’s easy to do. This trip has changed that at least for awhile.

A Look Forward (and back)


It’s hard to believe next year Pierce Events will celebrate our 10th year in business. The hopes and dreams we had when we launched the company have come to life.

We hoped that someday we would be able to do national events. Most said that would be impossible to do for a little startup company in Pittsburgh to do. That quest has taken us to places from coast to coast. We have been so fortunate to work on incredible events from Los Angeles to Dallas, New York to Chicago.

Along the way we have met and worked with some very talented people, discover exciting places, made great friends and have built a reputation as always going above and beyond for our clients.

It hasn’t been without challenges. We’ve had to compete in the event industry and sometimes you don’t always win. There have been times we have poured hours of hard work into a project only to see it not happen, or be given to someone else. Once you realize that failure teaches much more than success, those moments can be motivating and you move on. 

We have from day one sought out and surrounded ourselves with great people. From our staff to our production partners. Planning and producing an event is like conducting an orchestra. Each person has to play their part correctly or the whole thing is off. Over the years we have found people that love what they do and we have parted ways with those who don’t. 

There have been moments in events that have amazed me and times I thought “There’s no way we can make this happen” and then it does.

We been up early and worked late. We have been in the stinging cold and blistering heat. We have driven thousands of miles, been in and out of airports and hotels, have eaten at fast food joints from coast to coast and all to get to that that moment at the end of an event when we ask the client, “Were you happy with everything?”

To play a role in creating moments that people will always remember is an honor. Be it a wedding celebration or the culmination of an entire company’s hard word. We get a front row seat to milestones in life. 

We could not be more grateful for the opportunities we have had, the friends we have made and the experiences along the way. There are so many exciting things ahead and we look forward to sharing them.

Wishing all of you many blessings in 2017.

Making Your Event Rock!

Music DoodleThe crowd is up dancing, clapping, singing along. For that one moment they are one group, sharing an experience. It’s happens at every concert and people pay top dollar for the experience. Can you have the same experience at your gathering. YES!

Music is powerful and should be used as part of any production plan. Walking though the mall the other day a I saw 3 DJ’s playing in stores. Lights and music draw much more attention than any old “Sale” sign. Retailers are getting the idea and so should you.

Event planners are really in show business and it’s our job to create effective shows that do more than just entertain. The goal is to appeal to people in ways that help convey an essential message that it is distinctive and memorable.

Staging and lighting are tools, but the real show is the emotion. Think of every great show you’ve attended.  You got involved, excited, it stirred something in you. That’s what made it work.

In most cases music should effectively be used from the moment guests arrive. It sets the tone for what people are about to experience. Upbeat music get people energized but it can also be used to build suspense, drama or direct audience attention.

Music is an important part of your content beyond just entertainment. Music beds in videos, bringing people on and off stage, sound effects, building reveals, pre-show music and more.

Music is often the first impression an audience has. Have you ever heard something in the distance as started seeking the source? Often before a person sees something, they can hear it. Your eyes look ahead but your ears go far beyond. That subconscious experience begins.

When planning an event we always consider not only what guest will see and learn, but what will they smell, feel, taste and how they will react? How can we capture their emotions and lead them on a journey that creates a wonderful lasting memory?


We all have personal connections to certain music and songs. Different era’s have their own defining sound. Big Band recalls a wartime era, disco and your are instantly in the 70’s. A song can bring back a memory or a feeling and that is a powerful tool that is often overlooked.

Like any event element, there are trends and styles when it comes to music for events, but classics always return. You have to know and understand your audience to make the right choices. We often help clients do just that.

If you are inspired to start considering the use of music in a broader sense that’s great. It also comes with a word of caution. Make sure you have legal use of the music. You can’t use just any song in a video or on a website and you should always make sure the use of music in any setting has a proper license. Your event planner can assist you.

Contact us if we can help build the soundtrack for your next event.