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Debra Rathwell

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Debra Rathwell is the Executive Vice President of Global Touring and Talent at AEG Presents, one of the world’s largest producers and promoters of live tours and music events. Debra is one of the most respected and admired professionals in the music industry, as well as being one of the highest-ranking female executives working on the live side of the business today.

After attending Carleton University in Ottawa, Debra began her career in that city as Executive Assistant to Canadian music legend Harvey Glatt at his full-service music companies, Treble Clef and Bass Clef. She also counts Harold Levin and the late Howard Lapides as mentors during her time there; the support and guidance the two provided helped her to rise to Concert Manager at the company.

In 1982, Debra moved to Montreal to join Donald K Donald Productions, that city’s leading concert promoter, as the company’s first Vice President. She was soon promoted to Senior Vice President, managing a staff of 20. During her tenure DKD promoted shows by Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, David Bowie, Madonna, Rush and Celine Dion, among many others. Under Debra’s direction, DKD produced three musicals that have been brought to Broadway including “Tango Argentino”, “Flamenco Puro” and the Tony Award winning “Black and Blue”, in addition to countless events, and presenting approximately 300 concerts each year.  Other signature projects under her auspices were “The Moscow Circus”, “Torvill and Dean”, and “The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber”.

1994 brought yet another move, this time to the States, where Debra accepted the position of Senior Vice President at New York’s Metropolitan Entertainment. Under her guidance, the company’s concert division presented the biggest names in rock and pop music – including the Woodstock anniversary concerts of 1994 and 1999 – while the touring division presented successful outings from artists including Whitney Houston and Sarah Brightman, and created concept tours such as “Down From the Mountain”, “Family Values” and “Up in Smoke”.

She joined AEG’s concert division to open its New York office in January 2003 – heading up a small team of eight to focus on both one-off shows and tours – overseeing a territory running from the Carolinas to Eastern Canada. She lent her leadership and vision to the launch of the American Idol tour franchise, and followed that with a string of successes in the “television meets live event” sphere: Dancing With the Stars, America’s Got Talent, and So You Think You Can Dance, to name a few. The company’s success brought growth and change: the staff grew to 45 and focused its strength on its touring business.

The newly-christened AEG Presents became the exclusive touring company for artists such as Carrie Underwood, Justin Bieber, The Who, John Mellencamp, Miley Cyrus, JoJo Siwa, Shania Twain and many others. More growth and expansion soon followed in New York as AEG Presents formed a partnership with promoters Bowery Presents, further broadening the concert division’s presence. Simultaneously, AEG Presents’ entire touring division was renamed Global Touring and became a standalone entity existing side-by-side with concert promotion, with a group of talented Senior Vice Presidents – Debra among them – in charge of the touring agenda. Her eventual promotion to Executive Vice President gave her an expanded role across artist development and global tour strategy. It is a roster that includes not only the aforementioned artists, but also Journey, Heart and Ben Platt.

In 2023, Elton John’s FIVE YEAR LONG Farewell Yellow Brick Road worldwide tour wrapped up. The first show was September 8th,  2018 In Allentown, PA and the final concert was in Stockholm, Sweden on July 9th, 2023. AT THE TIME OF IT’S COMPLETION, THE FYBR Tour was the highest grossing tour OF ALL TIME at $939 Million, 330 shows and 6 million tickets sold.  It was an endeavor of love and honor: “Having the opportunity to be part of the Elton John FYBR Tour has been the honor of a lifetime. I can’t imagine the last six years of my life without Elton John and all of the members of our close-knit team. I’m not sure that there will ever be another artist like Elton John or a tour like the Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour”.

Today our team is currently working on tours for Def Leppard/Journey, Heart, Ben Platt, Sabrina Carpenter, Jhene Aiko, Luke Combs, Zach Bryan, Kacey Musgraves, Childish Gamino, Kane Brown, ATEEZ , Suicide Boys and Carin Leon.



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