Knallhart Management Group and MRG Live Team Up To Expand Entertainment Offerings Across The Group’s Portfolio Including a Live Event Refreshed Approach to Holly Blue & The Angeles

There’s a new energy coming to Fort Lauderdale. Florida’s premiere hospitality collective, Knallhart Management Group is excited to announce a collaboration with MRG Live, a leading experience producer in North America, on a revamped, more diverse entertainment offering which integrates the properties for more memorable nights out.

Knallhart Management Group is thrilled to team up with MRG Live to give Fort Lauderdale an unparalleled, updated take on nights out. The collective goal is to extend the offerings of live entertainment and event programming at Knallhart Management Group’s venues.

MRG Live has produced and promoted live shows and events for over a decade and expanded into the US in 2021. Led by Managing Director, Jacob Smid, an entertainment executive with over 20 years of world-wide experience, global and local talent of all genres will be brought to Knallhart Management Group’s venues.

Jacob speaks to this enrichment of programming at the unquestionably unique venues, “The Angeles and Holly Blue bring an opportunity to Fort Lauderdale like nothing else. To join forces with the Knallhart Group to provide memorable nights out for people is the driving force behind both our companies. I also look forward to offering stages for artists to perform in a key market like Florida which is in the middle of an incredible evolution and partnering with Knallhart on other opportunities across the state.”

Come fall 2022, The Angeles will become Knallhart Management Group’s first live entertainment venue of the company’s portfolio.

In addition to the focus on the offering at Holly Blue and The Angeles, MRG Live will also work with Knallhart Management Group to expand and innovate the live experience across the whole portfolio including Rhythm + Vine and Roxanne’s.

About Knallhart Management  Group

Knallhart Management Group is a Florida-based hospitality and lifestyle company with a diversified portfolio of unique nightlife & restaurant venues. The company’s namesake is taken from the German term meaning ‘badass’, which has set the high-level standard for the group’s repertoire of diverse brands.

Our mission is to be the most interesting & guest-centric hospitality group where consumers can expect a special experience & staff feels fulfilled providing it. By doing what we love and loving what we do, we have resulted in crafting remarkable experiences.

The MRG Group Takes Next Steps In Growth Strategy With The Hiring Of Three Executives

Justin Hay, General Manager, Live and Experience

Ryan Kruger, Director, Head of Business Operations & Development

Marco Rodrigues, Director, Head of People & Culture


Toronto, ON (June 6, 2022) – The MRG Group is pleased to announce the hiring of three influential executives to the leadership team in the Live & Experience Division, Business Operations & Development and People & Culture. For MRG, this expansion comes alongside the well-awaited “return to live”. After the overwhelming response of people returning to shows, venues and hospitality properties, The MRG Group has thoughtfully added these individuals to the team as they demonstrate a vast knowledge of talent development and industry experience with MRG entering a new stage of growth in live events, ticketing, hospitality.

“I am excited to join forces with passionate people that have amazing subject-matter expertise and champion experience. Justin, Ryan & Marco have all participated in the development of amazing company cultures. I look forward to growing MRG together,” Matt Gibbons, President, comments on the new additions to the group.


Justin Hay, General Manager, Live & Experience

Justin Hay joins The MRG Group as General Manager, Live & Experience overseeing, large scale events, ticketing, MRG Live & BeatRoute Media. Justin will lead the ongoing growth and development of the division with a focus on people training and development, as well as integrating our experiences and products with new clients, venues and partners.

“I am thrilled to be joining The MRG Group as the General Manager of Live and Experience. I can truly say this organization is special.” Justin continues, “The ability to create Positive Shareable Experience across all divisions of the business from concerts and venues to hospitality and more is second to none. As an executive with experience at the MLB, along with stadium and arena live shows I hope to share my knowledge and learn every day from the group I’m working with. I can’t wait to help grow and enhance the business even more in Canada and the US.”

Justin has over 25 years of experience in the event industry. Prior to The MRG Group, he held the position of Vice President, Ticket Sales, Service and Operations for the Toronto Blue Jays. He was accountable for department management through people, culture, structure and technology. Justin was responsible for transforming the organization through new product launches of CRM, service initiatives, loyalty platforms and data reporting.


Ryan Kruger, Director, Head of Business Operations & Development

The MRG Group has welcomed Ryan Kruger, to The MRG Group as Director, Head of Business Operations & Development. Ryan will be responsible for improving day-today- operations along with supporting the group’s long-term growth strategy. Ryan comes to MRG from a private consulting firm where he served as Managing Director of Entertainment & Events for AREA15 in Las Vegas, created and launched the Vujaday Music Festival in Barbados, and oversaw the Further Future Music Festival Series in the Mojave Desert.

Prior to forming his agency, Ryan ran the dance music division of Live Nation Canada, Electronic Nation, and helped create the IleSoniq Music Festival in Montreal. Before joining Live Nation, Ryan founded Destiny Events in Toronto and served as president for the largest student-focused event travel company, Breakaway Tours.

“After moving back to Toronto from Las Vegas and creating experiences within Ontario’s covid restrictions guidelines the past year, I’m extremely excited to join The MRG Group and drive the business of Positive Shareable Experiences across North America. There is nothing that compares to in-person entertainment, and I can feel the energy in the team and the population at large for a return to getting out and having fun again. I look forward to helping build the businesses for many years to come!”

Jacob Smid, Managing Director of The MRG Group says, “It is fantastic that Justin and Ryan have joined the MRG team. They have proven over the years that they are great contributors and team leaders. I’m sure they will continue to do both as we evolve MRG as a leading independent experience company with deep roots in live events and venues. Justin’s track record with Ticketmaster and the Toronto Blue Jays will be a huge advantage as we develop our AdmitONE ticketing business and find opportunities across our Experience portfolio both in the development of our business and our people. I am also excited to see how Ryan Kruger’s recent work with Fisher Brothers at Area15 in Las Vegas and his 20+ years of work in the event business will turbo charge our business development opportunities.”


Marco Rodrigues, Director, Head of People & Culture

The MRG Group’s People & Culture services has a new leader with Marco Rodrigues. Previously working at Walmart Canada and the Ministry of the Attorney General, Marco entered the group with enthusiasm, “I am thrilled and honoured to lead the People & Culture department at The MRG Group. The energy and the culture at MRG are nothing like I have experienced before. Full of talented individuals striving daily to surpass their yesterday’s best. The open environment at the office allows for strong collaboration to ensure our customers get the best experience possible and that our employees have an energetic, open and inclusive work environment. Every day, I am humbled by our people and what they accomplish! I am excited for the next chapter of my career, and I couldn’t have made a better choice than The MRG Group.”

During his time at Walmart, Marco led some of the company’s largest transformation including Organizational redesign of 85,000 roles, standardization and process efficiencies. At both Walmart & the Attorney General’s office, he was responsible for the Talent strategy team with a focus on organizational effectiveness.

The MRG Group is poised to pursue its long-term growth goals while continuing its mission to create more Positive, Shareable Experiences for artists, fans, guests, agents, managers, venue-owners, partners and colleagues with the above people in key roles.


Effective today, MRG Live will grow its presence in the US by taking over the booking and calendar management for The Historic Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, California. Taylor Stevens, Head of West Coast at MRG Live, will be the point of contact for all show holds and bookings. The team is excited to bring new life to this 70 year old, 900 capacity venue and use its international relationships to bring a wide-range of cultural programming to SLO.

“The Central Coast of California has always had a robust live music scene and the team at MRG Live is positioned to build and nurture this all while supporting and engaging the community and fans,” Taylor Stevens comments. “Being the preeminent venue in San Luis Obispo County and a registered historical landmark, we are very excited to work with international and local artists to tell the story of the Theater and bring culture to the community. MRG Live and The Fremont Group will collaborate and expand in the market together as our passion for the music and experiences are aligned.”

Jacob Smid, Managing Director for The MRG Group, adds, “MRG believes that there is a huge opportunity for collaboration with local venues to support them in delivering Positive Shareable Experiences.  Under Taylor Stevens’ leadership, it is great to partner with the Fremont Theater as our first booking arrangement, with many more to follow.”

Located in the heart of downtown San Luis Obispo, CA, The Historic Fremont Theater was built in 1941 and opened on Memorial day in 1942. Throughout its early years it served both as a moving picture theater and a live entertainment venue. Designed to mimic the concert halls and opera houses of Europe, it is full of rich art deco charm in which Heinsbergen Decorating Company of LA is responsible for the 100 feet of decorative murals of flowers, charging steeds, and women in gowns. The theater has hosted a variety of events from war bond shows in the early days to Yes’ reunion in 1996. Most recently hosting over 100 ticketed shows per year, MRG Live’s goal is to increase the bookings with diverse cultural content for the community.

For more information on The Historic Fremont Theater please visit and follow @fremontslo.


On 8 March 2021, Kevin Smith will continue to expand his successful fast food pop-up empire by bringing Mooby’s to Vancouver, presented by MRG Events. Following sold out runs in Los Angeles, New Jersey and Chicago and Toronto, Mooby’s Vancouver will start taking pre-orders on 18 February 2021 here, and will be available for delivery through SkipTheDishes starting on 15 March 2021.

Located at 670 Smithe St, just steps away from theatre row on Granville, golden calf fans will immerse themselves in the View Askewniverse when Mooby’s Vancouver launches as a socially distanced, pick-up only experience replicating the restaurant fans have seen in Dogma, Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back and Clerks II. SkipTheDishes will bring the entire Mooby’s experience to life at home, delivering Moo Mains and more right to the door of loyal fans in Vancouver.

Kevin Smith looks to Vancouver as a “second home”; he was a student at Vancouver Film School, where in 2020 he was named Creative Ambassador and honoured with the Kevin Smith Acting for Television and Film scholarship.

Kevin speaks on the new Mooby’s location, “It’s wonderfully trippy to bring Mooby’s to Vancouver – the city that acted as the gateway to my future in film, way back in 1992! Five days a week, I walked across the Cambie Street Bridge to my Vancouver Film School Classes in Yaletown. On the weekends, I bought my comics and saw movies on Granville. I learned my craft on the mean, clean streets of this British Columbian paradise, returning time and again to either pretend I’m a director on episodes of FLASH and SUPERGIRL, or to help save The Rio. And after eating tons of Canadian cuisine over all those years, I’m delighted to moooove Mooby’s authentic fake fast food across the border to the True North! Pickup at the Dublin Calling location (on Granville!) or Skip The Dishers delivery options will allow you to devour a CockSmoker on Dundas, pop some Hater Totz in Stanley Park, or eat a CowTipper with the Canucks on TV!”

Via Tock, loyal fans and burger lovers alike can pre-order their Moo Mains, Salt Lick Sides, Mooby’s Secret Stash Merch for pickup including exclusive items available only in Vancouver such as Hater Tot Poutine, Rib’um Method Sandwich and limited edition Mooby’s Vancouver posters. The Mooby’s menu will include fan favourites from the franchise, including the Cow Tipper and Hater Totz. Our vegan friends can also take part with the option of the Vegan (jackfruit) Rib’um Method Sandwich and Beyond Cow Tipper.

“Breakfast? Breakfast, shmreakfast. Look at the score, for Christ’s sake. It’s only the second period and I’m up 12 to 2. Breakfasts come and go, Rene, but Hartford, “the Whale,” they only beat Vancouver once, maybe twice in a lifetime.” – Brodie, Mallrats

About Mooby’s Vancouver

Mooby’s will operate on a staggered pick-up only reservation system via Tock and exclusive delivery from SkipTheDishes. Fans can pre-order their meal pack and merch by choosing a date and time here (add direct link) and join us at Mooby’s Vancouver or order at home via the SkipTheDishes app or website.

Each ticket includes a Mooby’s Meal with your selections of a Moo Main + Salt Lick Side (vegan & non vegan options available), Mooby’s Soda, limited edition Mooby’s Vancity Lager.Those with pick-up tickets will be allowed in at their slated pick up time only. Merch and add on items will be available for onsite purchase with selected items available here.



The MRG Group has named Jacob Smid, Managing Director of The MRG Group. In this role, Jacob will oversee MRG Live and lead the company’s expansion into global markets including the United States.

“Jacob and I connected more than a decade ago over a belief that when you turn activities into experiences they are more valuable than things. As an industry leader, Jacob has a proven track record of developing global markets from clubs to stadiums,” The MRG Group President Matthew Gibbons remarks. “We are excited to welcome Jacob to the MRG family and expand MRG Live into new markets and create positive shareable experiences around the globe.”

Jacob Smid is an entertainment executive with over 20 years of global experience in event production and promotion. The hiring of Jacob and the establishment of a US office is part of MRG’s commitment to continue to deliver positive shareable experiences as concert promoters, event producers and venue operators. The company will work to identify acquisitions, partnerships and organic growth opportunities across these verticals.

Jacob notes on the opportunity “One of the pleasures of my career is to work with like-minded entrepreneurs and passionate people in the experience industry who are interested in growing businesses. It is an exciting opportunity to join the team at MRG which is led by Matt Gibbons who has built an amazing business, team and culture at The MRG Group. In addition to our growth plans in the USA and beyond, I look forward to the expansion of MRG Live in Canada and working with Justin Kwan.”

At the age of 19, Jacob founded Emerge Entertainment. Emerge quickly became the leading Canadian independent promoter working with artists including Adele, The Killers, Daft Punk, and producing the first three Virgin Festivals in Toronto. In 2008, Live Nation acquired Emerge and Jacob was named Vice President of Talent & Marketing in Canada. In 2013, Jacob relocated to New York as Managing Director of SFX, leading US festival expansion of Tomorrowland, Mysteryland and Electric Zoo. Most recently Jacob led IMG Events Global Music & Festivals division.  Jacob is also a founding partner in Fource, a leading independent promoter in the Czech Republic and Poland. The company, run by Anthony Jouet, will now have a strategic relationship with MRG Live.

Effective immediately Jacob will join The MRG Group, based out of New York and can be reached at


The MRG Group is excited to announce the launch of ELEVATE Music Project, a new initiative to help developing local musicians forward their careers, at the same time creating more buzz around Vancouver’s music scene.

ELEVATE Music Project will kick off on November 22, 2019 at the Biltmore Cabaret with round one of the competition. ELEVATE will be hosted by a prominent Vancouver personality (TBA), and the competition will be held at three of Vancouver’s premier music venues the Biltmore Cabaret, The Imperial and Vogue Theatre. A four person panel of local music industry pros will act as judges, six bands will be selected from the preliminary round and play in the semi-final in early 2020, from there the top three acts to perform for a grand prize at the Vogue Theatre in February.

All three bands selected to play at the finals will win a custom prize package designed to not only contribute some much needed funding but also help further develop their careers through strategic partnerships and experienced industry professionals. Prizes total over $50,000 with the winning act of ELEVATE Music Project receiving a spot in the Westward Music Festival 2020 lineup, an article in BeatRoute Magazine with online media support, a cash prize of $2500, a $2500 gift certificate for Long & McQuade, press photos taken by a professional photographer, with more prizes to be announced!

Current partners include Budweiser, MRG Concerts, BeatRoute Media, The Biltmore Cabaret, do604, The Imperial, CJSF, Smirnoff, Red Bull and Vogue Theatre. ELEVATE is excited to announce that MusiCounts has signed on as our official charity partner. MusiCounts, Canada’s music education charity associated with CARAS and the JUNO Awards, is keeping music alive across Canada by putting musical instruments into the hands of children that need them most.

Twitter: @elevatemusicvan
Instagram: @elevate_music_project


Victoria, BC’s longest running independent concert promotion and production company, Atomique Productions Ltd., has joined national entertainment company, The MRG Group. This marks The MRG Group and MRG Concerts’ entry into Vancouver Island’s concert and event business, which will include the return of Rifflandia Festival in 2020.

“My colleagues and I have a lot of respect for Nick, Dimitri and their team. We are excited to use our national presence to bring more experiences to Vancouver Island and build on the history and commitment to concerts and events that Atomique has cultivated on Vancouver Island,” shares Matt Gibbons, President of The MRG Group.

Founded in 1999, Atomique Productions, who’s portfolio includes Rifflandia Festival, Phillips Backyard Weekender, Rock The Shores and more, just celebrated 20 years in business, producing over 150 concerts per year on Vancouver Island.

“We are excited to work with The MRG Group to continue to bring world class concerts and events to Victoria and Vancouver Island,” said Atomique’s co-founder, Nick Blasko.

Also announced today, The MRG Group, has purchased The Capital Ballroom in Victoria, BC. The 575 capacity concert hall will be their first owned venue on Vancouver Island, joining a suite of premiere live venues across the country which includes Vogue Theatre (Vancouver, BC), The Garrick (Winnipeg, MB) Adelaide Hall (Toronto, ON).

“We are proud of the work we’ve done over the past three years to create Victoria’s best live music venue, and we look forward to seeing The MRG Group continue this legacy as our city grows” said Dylan Willows, President and Director of The Capital Ballroom.

For upcoming events at Capital Ballroom click here.


MRG Concerts’ announced today that Kelowna natives and Vancouver based indie rockers Yukon Blonde, along with Mor Mor and Jon Bryant, will join the slate of headliners set to perform at Westward Music Festival – Vancouver’s premier multi-genre, multi-venue music festival located in the heart of downtown from September 12-15. Additionally, a curated list of support acts including; Dirty Nice, Vancouver duo Sunset Kids and BC locals Yung Heazy and Emily Brimlow join the 2019 lineup of established and emerging artists.

Pre-sale tickets are available beginning at 12 p.m. PST today through General on-sale begins at 12 p.m. PST on Friday June 28th through and and locally at Red Cat Records.

Now in its third year, Westward Music Fest is Vancouver’s largest four-day music festival spread across multiple venues featuring some of today’s most influential music acts from around the world in addition to a litany of acclaimed local artists and homegrown talent.

Now in its third year, Westward Music Fest is Vancouver’s largest four-day music festival spread across multiple venues featuring some of today’s most influential music acts from around the world in addition to a litany of acclaimed local artists and homegrown talent.

Acts previously announced include; Black Mountain, Deep Dark Woods, Emotional Oranges, Busty And The Bass, Mt. Joy, Junglepussy, The Wonder Years, Joseph, Owen Pallett, Le1f, Ziggy Alberts, Titus Andronicus, Elder Island, Why?, Zack Villere, Travis Thompson, Honors, as well as a selection of local Vancouver artists including BLUE J, Jakub Evolved, Kapok, Majeure, Dem Rose Boys, Barrie, The Faceplants, Dead Quiet,Harlequin Gold, Bombargo, Little Sprout, Needles//Pins, Casinos, Chase Your Words, Chief State, Kim Gray, Club Sofa, and Douse.

For more information about Westward Music Festival visit


Whether to watch a game or to play one, Dublin Calling Pub & Kitchen (900 Granville St.) is Vancouver’s newest go-to destination for Pub grub, Pool, Ping Pong, Skee ball and Darts. With 35 big screen TVs, fans can enjoy every match on the field, ice, court, pitch or ring every day of the week. With long communal tables, pitchers and platters, Dublin Calling is the perfect spot to host large groups, office and holiday parties.

“We are really excited to open Dublin Calling in the heart of Vancouver,” says Matt Gibbons, Founder and President, MRG Group “Whether it’s pre-show, post-game or if we are lucky enough to spend a whole night with you, DC is your spot to share the experience of unpretentious fun.”

Owned by the MRG Group (Biltmore Cabaret, The Yale Saloon and Vogue Theatre), the Vancouver location of Dublin Calling is their latest west coast hospitality venture. Taking over the southeast corner of Smithe and Granville, Dublin Calling boasts 5000 square feet with seating for 220. The menu, served 11a.m. until late, features pub classics with a modern twist, such as Irish Nachos and Shepherd’s Pie Bites, along with Traditional Style Dublin Fish and Chips.

For more information on Dublin Calling Vancouver please visit


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