By RODNEY HO/ firstname.lastname@example.org, originally filed Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Part-time Atlantan Steve Harvey, after two years hosting his all-weekend Neighborhood Awards party in downtown Atlanta, is going back to Las Vegas this year.
Harvey held his event for nine years in Vegas but came to downtown Atlanta in 2014 because he felt it would be more accessible and less pricey for his fan base. Indeed, more than 80,000 attendees came last year for multiple parties, comedy shows and a massive expo, which included a live “Family Feud” event and appearances by the likes of Robin Thicke, Ne-Yo and Usher.
But he and his staff had a change of heart.
“It was nothing negative,” explained Harvey’s manager Rushion McDonald. “It was an amazing two-year run. The expo was off the chain with attendance. But a lot of people do like Vegas. We have to figure out the right balance for the event.”
Among the events at Mandalay Bay July 22 to 24: a singing competition Friday hosted by Sheryl Underwood; concerts that night featuring Doug E Fresh, Charlie Wilson and Keith Sweat; the actual awards show with Maxwell, The O’Jays, and Erykah Badu; and a beach party Sunday with Jill Scott. There will be no expo or comedy shows. Ticket prices for various events are higher than they were in Atlanta last year.
“Vegas is a different world,” McDonald said. “We can’t do the beach party in Atlanta. That’s a major component we missed.” (Wait? Isn’t Vegas land locked like Atlanta?)
Harvey came up with the whole concept 15 years ago as a way to celebrate local businesses, schools and charity groups in cities where Harvey’s radio show could be heard. It was originally called the Hoodies but a few years ago, he changed it to the Neighborhood Awards to sound more palatable to mainstream advertisers. (State Farm is the title sponsor.)
This move doesn’t preclude Harvey from coming back to Atlanta next year. McDonald said they will make a decision by July.
In late spring and early summer, Harvey still shoots the syndicated version of “Family Feud” in Atlanta, recently moving from the Atlanta Civic Center (soon to be torn down) to the Georgia World Congress Center.