Joey Gallagher has more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry. He began Gallagher Staging in 2011, and credits the success of the company to its foundational values of safety, quality and reliability. Gallagher Staging has provided custom staging, fabrication and rental services to some of the largest events in the industry, including the main stage at Coachella, Billie Eilish’s “When We Fall Asleep” Tour, the 2020 Star Wars Premiere and more. He currently serves as co-founder for Entertainment Industry Response (EIR) and Ready For Doors, and serves as the newest member of the Parnelli Board of Advisors. Several months ago, Joey and a group of industry partners launched Social Sanctuary, a Covid-safe venue for live entertainment. Featured in Fortune Magazine and NBC LA, Social Sanctuary is developing protocols that will inform how the entertainment industry can return to work while reducing risk to talent, staff and audiences. The venue has hosted renowned musicians, entertainers and sports teams like the Rams, along with the official premiere of the Metaform Stage at this year's Burning Man. Social Sanctuary is also the official site for Forbes' new online business classes. With a mind for growing brands and unmatched experience to guide him, Joey, a proven industry titan, co-founded Wavemakers Media Group to offer clients a new way of connecting and sharing their stories with the world.
What makes Wavemakers Media Group different from other full-service marketing agencies?
Our company is led not only by digital marketing experts but also by seasoned professionals in brand activations, live events, TV and film, staging and set design. We can build incredible physical structures, re-imagine your event with the most cutting-edge virtual reality and powerfully write about it in a way no other company can.
You've had a very busy few months. What's going on at Wavemakers Media Group right now?
We are expanding our services and turning challenges into opportunities by bringing on team members who were recently displaced or laid off but have incredible skills and creativity, which we can harness for the betterment of the brands we work with.
We’ve pivoted in a new direction to allow brands to get in front of their audiences in a new way.
Where did the inspiration for the name come from and relatedly, how would you define a Wavemaker?
The name came from how I define a wavemaker. A wavemaker is someone who sees the path in front of them and instead of going straight down it, carves their own path, disrupting the marketplace with a totally new direction.
Tell us about a career highlight and why it stands out as a proud moment for you.
Coachella. It’s one thing to work with one great client but at that one event I was working with 27 different mainstream artists while also helping production and still managed to maintain the highest level of quality.
How do you think event marketing and/or live event production has changed during the COVID-19 crisis and are these changes temporary or here to stay?
We’ve found a new way to put on live events and produce superior TV and film. This requires us to put procedures in place to ensure the health and safety of our crew, our clients and our guests. I believe some new protocols will stay in place post-Covid but we will certainly go back to a closer to normal environment.
People talk a lot about the need to "pivot" right now. For anyone reading this seeking some advice on transforming their own brand or company to find a new kind of success, what would you say?
I’d say don’t hesitate to allow for change; we’ve already worked with hundreds of clients and helped them alter their normal way of doing business to adjust to the current challenges we’re facing today. It’s also as much a tactical game as it a mental one; you really have to alter your entire mindset toward positivity in order to overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges. No industry has been hit harder than the live event but we’re still finding ways to push on.
In one word, how would you describe the future of Wavemakers Media Group?