Top Talent Agency Calls Jeffersontown Home
Writer / Cameron Aubernon
It takes a lot to put a state fair like the Kentucky State Fair together. The midway and exhibits need to be set-up, stages must be erected and so on. And of course, you need the entertainment to keep guests at the fair happy.
Think it takes a talent agency in New York, Chicago or Los Angeles to bring the noise and excitement to the grand stage? Not necessarily. Tucked away near Jeffersontown City Hall is one of the oldest businesses in Jeffersontown, Triangle Talent. For nearly six decades, the talent agency has brought the big names to fairs around the nation, as well as local talent to weddings, corporate events and even marathons.
“Triangle Talent is one of the original businesses in Jeffersontown,” Snowden says. “It started in June of 1960 in Jeffersontown and has been in Jeffersontown ever since. We are the country’s largest producer of major state fairs, and we also book local entertainers to wedding receptions, company events and so forth and so on. We do fairs from all the way in Seattle, Washington to Tampa, Florida, and we do about $30M worth of entertainment a year.”
Before heading up Triangle Talent, Snowden got involved with the Jeffersontown Chamber of Commerce and was a city councilman for six years. Away from the agency, he’s active in many civic organizations around Kentucky and within Louisville, such as serving as the chairman of the board of Kentucky Employers Mutual Insurance for more than 20 years, where he helped lead the effort to fix worker’s compensation in Kentucky.
He says he’s proud of where the city has come, and has a “very strong love” for what the city is for the entirety of Jefferson County.
“I’ve seen Jeffersontown grow from being a small, little country town, to — I think now — the 10th largest city in the state of Kentucky,” he says. “It’s something people don’t really understand. We probably have one of the most decorated police departments in the state and possess a low crime rate. I was very proud to serve in the city council for six years. I think we did a lot in that time on proper annexation, upgrading the police department, web system and everything else. I really love what the city has and what the city does. I can’t say enough good things.”
His career in entertainment began back in Winchester, where he worked in radio before being hired by Triangle Talent to run the entire agency. He was also on the board of the Country Music Association for two terms. Snowden has worked with everyone from Dolly Parton and Johnny Cash, to Journey and Nickelback.
Since then, his portfolio includes the fairs in Seattle (Washington State Fair) and Tampa (Florida State Fair) — as well as the Kentucky State Fair, Bluegrass Festival and Kentucky Derby Festival — plus corporate affairs for Toyota, Texas Roadhouse and Papa John’s and international gatherings in Germany and Canada.
“We’re probably the oldest continually running entertainment agency in the country,” Snowden says. “One of 10 of the oldest, going back to 1960. It was founded by two people in Louisville: Hardy Martin and Ray Allen. Then I came in and started running it and subsequently purchased the business. We’re probably better known in Los Angeles, California and Nashville, Tennessee in the entertainment business than in Louisville.”
A part of the reason why Triangle Talent isn’t as well-known in the Louisville Metro area is, as Snowden explains, the company is “low-key” for an entertainment agency. He also says he’s proud of being “a part of the heartbeat of Jeffersontown,” citing the agency’s proximity to city hall.
While he’s seen his share of crazy stories over the years of booking and purchasing entertainment, Snowden prefers to focus more on the things he’s proud of since taking the helm of Triangle Talent.
“I think one of the things I’m most proud of is the fact that some of these clients that we have, some of these state fair clients, we’ve been working with for almost 40 years,” he says. “It is pretty amazing. Managers change, governors change, owners change, boards change, but we have been able to sustain and stay a part of these organizations.”
Snowden doesn’t travel as much as he once did, focusing his attention on the handful of fairs he handles while leaving the rest to his capable staff. And as one fair happens before him, he’s already working on next year’s fair. What of the future, though?
“I think Triangle Talent will grow,” Snowden says. “I am in the process of [laying out a plan where] Triangle will continue. I have worked out an arrangement with Clay Campbell, who is president of the company. He will continue to run it and will subsequently purchase the company from me, because I do want it to continue as a legacy-type thing.”
Triangle Talent may be a small business, but Snowden says it will continue to thrive if it embraces “fresh and new” talent, especially within the office. According to Snowden, a lot of his staff have been with him for nearly four decades. Not too long ago, however, the agency hired a 25-year-old and a 22-year-old to bring new energy to the business.
“We don’t want to get old, because we’re in a young, diversified business,” Snowden says. “We’re very quick to realize that. That’s why we will continue as a business, and we will continue to expand, because we’re picking up new business all the time. I’m very glad to have these young folks that look at things a little differently. They challenge us, and the reputation [of our agency] continues to be good.”
With the new additions, Triangle Talent will continue to be a major force in the entertainment industry as far as fair and festivals go.