Thursday, October 20, 2005

Being Bobby Ferguson

I wrote this story for Columbus Alive, but it wasn't picked up...anyway, here it is! Let me know what you think!

Bobby Ferguson wears so many hats, you might think he was LL Cool J. Not only is he CEO of Ferguson Entertainment, a self-started concert, film, production and investment company, but also he is president of Barefeet Entertainment, fronted by soul singer Middle Child. He continues to juggle those ventures and run Cove Lounge, one of Columbus’ newest hip-hop, house and happy hour spots. Each summer for three years, the All Stars of Hip Hop brings pioneers like Slick Rick, MC Lyte, Naughty By Nature and Digital Underground to the city under Ferguson’s helm. And he says that 2006 is just another calendar of events that is already rapidly being filled.

On Saturday, October 22, Ferguson will be presenting the All Stars of Comedy Tour featuring Anthony Anderson (King’s Ransom, Hustle & Flow), Sommore (Soul Plane, The Queens of Comedy), Lavelle Crawford and T.P. Hearns at 8p.m. at Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium. He is planning a second comedy show in April 2006.

Basically, Ferguson wants to be to Columbus’ urban nightlife scene what Donald Trump is to New York real estate. Ferguson has big plans for Columbus before he turns 30, and divulges via his 2way.

You're not from Columbus, right? Why did you choose this city to start your ventures?

I was originally born in Manhattan, New York, moved to Columbus as a youth and graduated from Linden-McKinley High School in 1996. I had the opportunity to move to New York when I graduated and to start my promotion company there, but I realized the power and leverage I already had in Columbus, and I figured it would be more cost effective to start in Columbus then branch out.

What was the first project you worked on in Columbus?

My first show was the All Stars of Comedy with comedians Adele Givens (Beauty Shop), AJ Johnson (The Players Club, Friday), Chocolate (BET’s ComicView, Def Comedy Jam) and Mark Simmons (Roll Bounce, Barbershop) when I was 19.

When you talk to people outside of the city, are they surprised that Columbus can pull off annual hip-hop and black comedy shows?

I don't think that it is surprising to other people. Columbus has a lot of potential and before it’s all over I want to do so many great things in Columbus, as well as outside the state. I want to control all of the urban entertainment that goes on in Columbus, as well as become an entertainment pioneer.

Controlling all of Columbus urban entertainment is a lofty goal, how do you plan on going about that?

Media partnerships and advance bookings on all the events. If I can get a calendar of events lined up and promote them I will win. I may not be able to control everything, but I will have the biggest stake in it. That's the thing with Columbus no one has control so just anything can happen.

So how do you juggle putting on two annual shows, managing Middle Child and the Cove?

Managing all of the ventures I have now is a very hard thing. I just try to do things that can help one another. If I find myself opening a venture that cannot be related to the things I am involved with, I need to regroup. It’s hard, but I think the key to being successful is team effort. You must have a team of people and know how to delegate roles to keep things moving. I'm learning the hard way that you can't do it all your self but at the same time the catch 22 to the situation is that good help is hard to find.

Do you ever wish you were a regular 20-something, working at a call center and kickin' it on the weekends?

No, the only time I think that is when the pressure gets to me. Then I stop and thing and say to myself that the average person couldn't put up with the stress and only so many people are made to do what I do. I'm not a routine person. I have to be versatile and not an in the box type person. The 9 to 5 is cool but not for me. People who work 9 to 5 sometimes are in a pickle because they may have family commitments and I don't have a family. But, I say those people cannot get comfortable and not try to reach their goals.

The All Stars of Comedy Tour will be at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, October 22. Tickets are on sale at Ticketmaster.com, Hip Hop Culture (614) 261-9453, Talibs (614) 252-0654, Big Daddy's (614) 268-6356, Money Mikes (614) 257-1551, Stilettos (614) 224-2889 and Stepin' Style, (614) 225-0322.

9 Comments:

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its great columbus has some1 like bobby ferguson that is interested n bringin columbus urban nite life! i cant wait 2 check out 1 of your events bobby

 
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