LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
An ILMC Publication. Jan 2014
Eight-page Registration Special • Eight-page Registration Special • Eight-page Registration Special • Eight-page Registration Special •Eight-p
Roll up! Roll up! Step right this way, as the leading lights and greatest players from six continents prepare to be dazzled and amazed at the world’s most fearless, most marvelous and most spectacular… [drum roll] International Live Music Conference!
ILMC26 Registration Guide
Roll up! Roll up! THE CIRCUS IS COMING TO TOWN! remble with fear at the sinister clowns! Marvel at the human cannon ball! Gasp at the daredevil funambulists! Cirque d’ILMC is coming to town in March 2014; a roaring pantomime of exciting events, intriguing meetings and networking opportunities set to astound and thrill beyond your wildest dreams! We’ll be rolling up to the Big Top of the Royal Garden Hotel and welcoming 1,000 of the world’s leading live music professionals to the greatest conference on earth! This programme contains information on key events, booking information and a troupe of useful tips on getting the most from the Cirque d’ILMC weekend, although for a full preview head to 26.ilmc.com for the full high-wire experience. Cirque d’ILMC will gradually reveal further details of the incredible, five-ring, five-star line-up in regularly despatched eNews and online at ilmc.com, so even the busiest delegate will be kept up to speed as the excitement builds. And more information will be published in the next issue of IQ
Magazine, which hits desks in February 2014. Just as all the greatest touring shows would reinvent themselves, presenting ever-greater spectacles to their audiences, Cirque d’ILMC has a raft of new features this year. There are technology-focused workshops designed to tame even the wildest and most tech-resistant big cats. And following feedback from delegates, we’ll be making more efficient use of meeting space around the hotel with the addition of Robertson Taylor’s Carousel Suite (as well as Pollstar’s perennial High Wire Cafe) which will be in operation on both Saturday and Sunday during the day. Then there’s the masterful showcases and daring sideshows including a second country showcase with the hottest sounds from around the Alps, and plenty more surprises besides... So whether you’re a promoter, agent or venue; a contortionist or a fire-eater; all the freaks, tumblers, illusionists and sideshow purveyors are welcome to congregate in London at Cirque d’ILMC from 7-9 March 2014.
ILMC26 Registration Guide
THE Networking Scheme he ILMC Networking Scheme is one of the many ways that ILMC facilitates dialogue between its members, in addition to the raft of events taking place over the weekend. The scheme allows all registered delegates to access a secure area of ilmc.com to contact other delegates and arrange meetings in advance of the conference. To take part, please tick the relevant box when registering or contact email@example.com to receive your code to the password-protected area of the website. For first-time delegates, ILMC can be an overwhelming experience, so the New Delegatesâ€™ Orientation (Friday 7 March at 11:30) is a must. That same day, a scheduled meetup of all Networking Scheme members will take place in the bar in the lower ground floor lobby (just outside the main conference room) immediately after the last conference sessions finish at 18:00. This is an ideal place to kick off the weekend with some new contacts.
STEP RIGHT THIS WAY o register for ILMC, sign up online at 26.ilmc.com where youâ€™ll also find all up-to-date information about the conference, including event schedules, the networking scheme and details on how to get to the Royal Garden Hotel. Please note that if you have not attended before, ILMC is an invitation-only event. All new delegates must be nominated by two existing ILMC members, who have attended on more than one occasion. If you would like further information about attending, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
ThE Troupe Executive Producer Alia Dann Swift .............................. +44 (0) 7774 446446 .................................email@example.com Associate Producer Lou Percival .................................... +44 (0) 20 7117 6357 .......................................... firstname.lastname@example.org Marketing & Press Chris Prosser .................................... +44 (0) 20 3204 1190 ............................... email@example.com Agenda Greg Parmley ..................................................... +44 (0) 7740 868956 ......................................... firstname.lastname@example.org Agenda Allan McGowan ................................................. +44 (0) 7966 446226 ...........................email@example.com Agenda Gordon Masson .................................................. +44 (0) 203 204 1195 ...................................... firstname.lastname@example.org Agenda & Networking Tom Hopewell ............................. +44 (0) 7739 316518 ............................................ email@example.com Registration Manager Amanda Pope .............................. +44 (0) 20 7117 6357 ............................... firstname.lastname@example.org Travel Christine McKinnon ............................................ +44 (0) 141 353 8800 ............... email@example.com Ringmaster Martin Hopewell .......................................... +44 (0) 20 7117 6357 .......................................... firstname.lastname@example.org
ILMC26 Registration Guide
THE 'Big Top' Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards
n the live music industry calendar, there’s only one night of the year worth changing out of those muddy festival boots for… The Big Top Gala Dinner and Arthur Awards. This is one big star-studded evening bringing together the top figures in the business in truly five-star surroundings. After such overwhelmingly positive feedback in 2013, we’ll be returning to the The Savoy. London’s most famous hotel is no stranger to the circus,
reception, glorious top-class fodder, fine wines, and later that night, the highlight of the weekend: The Arthur Awards. During a spectacular ceremony we will hand out our Oscar equivalents to those most deserving, in categories such as the Promoters’ Promoter, Liggers’ Favourite Festival, Second Least Offensive Agent, First Venue to Come into Your Head, The People’s Assistant, and Tomorrow’s New Boss. In addition, we will recognise the industry’s finest suits in the Most Professional Professional category, The Golden Ticket will reward those intrepid ticket sellers amongst us, and we will give the nod to tour service companies in our Services Above and Beyond category. Finally, the pinnacle of proceedings is The Bottle Award, where we honour one special officer for their outstanding contribution to the live music industry. Any prior ILMC adventurer or IQ subscriber is eligible to vote for The Arthurs, with voting open at 26.ilmc.com until 18:00 GMT on Friday 21 February.
having played host to the world’s greatest clown, Charlie Chaplin. Cirque d’ILMC’s big top is set to wow and inspire guests while the great and good of the concert business mingle. Expect world-class circus entertainers and the usual menagerie of homespun entertainment, set in one of London’s most luxurious spaces. The event takes place on Saturday 8 March, and includes a champagne
The WILD AFRICAN SAFARI SUNDAY DINNER One of Cirque d’ILMC’s most popular sideshow attractions is the Sunday night dinner. And of all the far-flung destinations we’ve visited, ILMC 26 will be whisking the most fearless delegates to one of the most exciting and adventurous locations ever… into the heart of Africa itself. Brought to you by our sponsors ESP Afrika and Hilltop Live, only the most intrepid delegates will survive the African-themed BBar Restaurant, located just a spear’s throw from Buckingham Palace itself. Guests will savour sumptuous dishes from the wildest continent along with tongue-tingling cocktails and wine, following by the usual tomfoolery that make these nights
such a fitting end to the weekend. The Wild African Safari Sunday Dinner is likely is likely to be remembered for years and with places strictly limited, be sure to sign up in advance when you register at 26.ilmc.com.
ILMC26 Registration Guide
THE FIVE-RING CIRCUS ith its big cats, jugglers, tumblers and high-wire balancing acts, the live music industry is much like a circus. And the ILMC 26 meeting agenda already looks to have discussions spilling out from all of the meeting rooms over the conference weekend. The full conference agenda will be published in February in IQ Magazine, via eNews and online, but the level of input from general delegates and our 70-strong agenda committee has already surpassed all previous years. While the circus is certainly coming to town, it’s clearly facing a few obstacles along the way. Many markets have experienced a decline in the last year, some even recording double-digit losses. So is the ongoing march of consolidation – particularly in new areas such as EDM – now inevitable as the business becomes dominated by those with the biggest pockets? Technology – a watchword of recent ILMCs – is again at the forefront of many discussion topics, and we’ll be introducing shorter specialist workshops in 2014 to keep delegates up to speed on the key trends in this area. From social media, CRM and ‘big’ data to RFID and cashless – you’ll need to be there. With conflict an inevitable part of competition, there are plenty of questions in this area… Are labels working with the live music industry or fighting against it? Are festivals strangling the touring market? Are boutique festivals beating the big boys? Are artist fees killing everyone? And how much does loyalty really matter these days? Moving on, as well as the industry’s
legendary figures appearing in our Dragon’s Den sessions, topics will include funding for local and international artists; the re-emergence of the local superstar who has no need to tour beyond his borders; and the second major wave of innovation in the venue market. From performance and broadcast rights at events, to promoters’ rights everywhere else, and from ticketing to….well, ticketing, and…er…
ticketing….it’s all up for discussion. Despite our circus theme, when it comes to airing views, promoting dialogue and educating on key trends, ILMC does not clown around. The ILMC agenda is decided by the industry for the industry, so if there is a topic you strongly feel we should cover, please drop a line to email@example.com. It’s YOUR conference, and we rely on YOUR input.
ILMC26 Registration Guide
PERFORMANCES & SIDESHOWS Thursday 6 March 2014 ILMC Production Day (IPM)
The sixth annual IPM will see production professionals from across the globe converge for a day of panel sessions, discussion and networking. What began as an informal meeting now sees close to 200 delegates attend a day that includes a five-star buffet lunch, and closing drinks party. Sponsored by eps, Allgaier and Megaforce, registration is separate to the main conference but ILMC delegates benefit from a discounted rate. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or visit www.ilmc.com/ipm.
Access All Areas
As usual, the Access All Areas programme gives delegates a chance to catch some of London’s hottest shows. The listings of all available shows is published in the Globetrotters conference guide, and while some venues are quite literally across the street, for others you’ll need to get on the road. Entry requirements differ, so please check at the Help Desk before heading out. One thing’s for sure – ILMC has no shortage of the ‘LM’ in its title…
Green Events and Innovations Conference
The GEIC returns to the ILMC fold for the second year with a day of meetings and presentations on the sustainability tip. With the eco-world increasingly a force for change and an active voice in live events, this innovation-focussed event provides some of the clearest thinking on the subject. Expect case studies, compelling dialogue and tasty sandwiches to boot.
Friday 7 March 2014 The ‘Send in the Clowns’ Opening Drinks
With two hours of beer, wine and networking, this is the only way to begin your ILMC weekend. Don’t miss all the different troupes from across the world as they roll up in the lower ground floor lobby and bring each other up to speed on another year of touring adventures. It all takes place from 12:00-14:00, hosted by Montreux Jazz Festival.
the land of extremely tall men (and women). This mustsee sideshow takes place just a hop across the road from the Royal Garden Hotel, at Archangel. As ever, there’ll be some great performances, presentations, competitions and enough drink on tap and nibbles on plates to keep the thing swinging from 18:00 to 21:00. Tiniest Table Football ‘Coupe du Monde’ on Earth
The World-Famous Texas Hold’em Poker Tourney
There’s no room for clowning about when there are serious bar tab prizes on offer. A perennial favourite at ILMC, the tourney is a must for all the bluffers, blaggers and pokerfaced card sharks among our number. Taking place in the Fairground Room (York Suite) on the mezzanine floor, the showdown – hosted by Wembley Stadium – raises money for our chosen charity, which this year is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. It takes place from 22:30 until late and costs just £20 to enter – sign up when you register at 26.ilmc.com. The Death-Defying Dutch Impact Sideshow
What would Friday at ILMC be without the virtual hop across the channel to our Dutch friends at Dutch Performing Arts to witness the musical curiosities from
Fancy battling for international glory without even leaving the bar? Want to score a goal for your nation without actually moving your legs? Then Table Football ‘Coupe du Monde’ is for you. It takes place in AEG’s Wunder Bar from 00:00 to 03:00 although by midnight at least half of the contestants won’t be able to focus on the ball. If that doesn’t convince you, the world’s smallest cup – literally – is the prize, and IQ’s Terry ‘offside’ McNally referees. Hosted by Wembley Stadium. Access All Areas shows
The Access All Areas programme allows entry to some of the hottest gigs around the capital. For most shows, delegates can gain entry with their ILMC pass, but some may need arranging in advance. Check your conference guide or the Help Desk for listings.
ILMC26 Registration Guide
Saturday 8 March 2014 Match of the Year Football
Once again, a select and hearty band of delegates will be braving the March weather when they kick off the Match of the Year Football and either represent their country or play to beat the UK. This popular annual showdown sees the UK go head to head against the rest of the world. Hosted by Aiken Promotions, places are extremely limited, so contact Peter Aiken (email@example.com) to join up. The Spectacular Swiss Live Talents Sideshow
Featuring performances from the winners of the first Swiss Live Talents competition, our Alpine friends at SwissAmp present some of Switzerland’s finest new music. It takes place at Archangel, across from the hotel, from 18:00-22:00.
The ‘Big Top’ Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards
This big dinner for top people is always a star-studded highlight in the industry’s annual calendar. This luxury event will again take place at The Savoy Hotel, one of London’s grandest hotels as over 350 guests from across the live music world congregate for an evening of sumptuous five-star cuisine, champagne, fine wines, tip-top entertainment, and the annual Arthur Awards. The great and the good of the concert business mingle in style…see page 6 for more details. The Karaoke Freak Show
What’s that?! An elephant trumpeting in pain while Bozo the clown loses control of his limbs on the dance floor? Sounds more like the Saturday night Karaoke Freak Show to us. Roll up! Roll up! for some of the most unusual sights and sounds of the weekend as this late night outlet for frustrated starlets and singers guarantees to entertain. Hosted by The SSE Hydro, it takes place in the Fairground Room (York Suite) on the mezzanine floor of the hotel and kicks off at 22:30.
Sunday 9 March 2014 Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw
The ILMC raises a significant amount of money for charity every year, and in exchange for taking a donation from every registration we receive, delegates can also enter the Nikos Fund Prize Draw. Turn up for a 14:45 start as our chosen charity, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, benefits. The ‘Grand Finale’ Closing Drinks
While any delegate who survives a full three days of ILMC deserves a medal, at least our sponsors (TBC) are able to buy them a drink to soften the impact somewhat. Before the big top strikes and the circus leaves town, the Grand Finale gives tired delegates a moment to round off the weekend, pick up some last minute tips and review the weekend. It’s always the warm fuzzy moment of the weekend – recommended participation.
authentic African cuisine and the usual makeshift entertainment that makes these nights so popular. The last chance to meet, network, be merry and clown about... sign up online when you register or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Tear Down Bash
For anyone still resisting the urge to go home, and still wanting to join the circus, this late night menagerie is where you’ll find the last remaining stragglers. Croon until the early hours, stop in for just one last tipple, and another, or simply refuse to face up to Monday morning… Event hosts The SSE Hydro have a place for everyone.
The Wild African Safari Sunday Dinner
Of all the off-site sideshows up for grabs over the ILMC weekend, this Safari-inspired dinner will transport delegates the farthest – to the strange and amazing continent of deepest Africa. Our hosts ESP Afrika and Hilltop Live will be welcoming delegates to BBar, just a spear’s throw from Buckingham Palace for some
ILMC26 Registration Guide
PROGRAMME Thursday 6 March 2014 09:00 - 17:00 IPM Registration 10:00 - 18:00 Association Meetings (invitation only) 10:00 - 18:00 ILMC Production Meeting 10:00 - 18:00 Green Events & Innovations Conference 13:00 - 21:00 ILMC Early-Bird Registration 13:00 - 18:00 Travel Desk 18:00 - 20:00 ILMC Production Meeting Closing Drinks 18:00 onwards Park Terrace Table Reservations Various Access All Areas Friday 7 March 2014 Registration Desk & Help Desk Travel Desk Pollstar’s High Wire Cafe Association Meetings (invitation only) AEG’s Wunder Bar New Delegates’ Orientation ‘Send in the Clowns’ Opening Drinks Conference Sessions The Death-Defying Dutch Impact Sideshow AEG’s Wunder Bar Dinner in The Garden Access All Areas The World-Famous Texas Hold’Em Poker Tourney 00:00 - 03:00 The Tiniest Table Football ‘Coupe du Monde’ on Earth 09:00 - 20:00 09:00 - 18:00 10:00 onwards 10:00 - 16:00 11:00 - 12:00 11:30 - 12:00 12:00 - 14:00 14:00 - 18:00 18:00 - 21:00 18:00 - Late 18:30 Various 22:30 - 02:00
The Not-so Small Print A full list of terms and conditions can be found online, but please note: • ILMC conference sessions may not be videoed or recorded • Children are not allowed in the conference areas • Conference passes must be worn at all times • Lost passes will incur a replacement fee
Saturday 8 March 2014 07:00 - 11:00 Robertson Taylor’s Carousel Suite 07:00 - 13:00 Breakfast on the Mezzanine 09:00 - 18:00 Registration Desk & Travel Desk 09:00 - 19:30 Help Desk 09:30 - 10:30 Coffee Break & Bars 10:00 - 13:30 Conference Sessions 11:00 onwards AEG’s Wunder Bar 13:00 - 15:00 Lunch Buffet & Pay Bar 13:30 - 19:00 Robertson Taylor’s Carousel Suite 14:30 - 18:00 Conference Sessions 15:30 - 16:30 Feld’s Greatest Ice Cream Show on Earth 18:00 – 22:00 The Spectacular Swiss Live Talents Sideshow 19:30 - 21:30 Match of the Year Football 19:30 - 00:00 The ‘Big Top’ Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards Various Access All Areas 22:30 - 02:30 The Karaoke Freak Show Sunday 9 March 2014 Robertson Taylor’s Carousel Suite Breakfast on the Mezzanine Travel Desk Help Desk Coffee Break & Bars The Breakfast Meeting & Conference Sessions 11:00 onwards AEG’s Wunder Bar 13:30 - 15:30 Lunch Buffet & Pay Bar 13:30 - 17:00 Robertson Taylor’s Carousel Suite 14:45 - 15:15 Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw 15:30 - 17:30 Conference Session & ILMC Autopsy 17:00 - 18:00 The ‘Grand Finale’ Closing Drinks 19:30 - late Wild African Safari Sunday Dinner 23:00 - 03:00 The Tear Down Bash 07:00 - 11:30 07:00 - 13:00 09:00 - 16:00 09:00 - 18:00 10:00 - 11:00 10:30 - 14:00
“ Life is a great big, beautiful, three-ring circus. There are those on the floor making their lives among the heads of lions and hoops of fire, and those in the stands, complacent and wowed, their mouths stuffed with popcorn.” – Christopher Hawke, Unnatural Truth
Cover photo © Birgit Fischer www.lichtbildnerin.de
Contents IQ Magazine Issue 51
News 14 In Brief The main headlines over the last two months 15 In Depth Key stories from around the live music world
Features 3 Roll up! Roll up! The International Live Music Circus 24 2013 in Review Allan McGowan’s annual retrospective of the global live music business
32 Best in Show: Disney On Ice Feld Entertainment’s best-selling shows collect our annual prize for family entertainment 38 Market Report – The Nordics Adam Woods examines business in the lands of the midnight sun 48 Like Clockwork Gordon Masson talks to the people behind Queens of the Stone Age’s first international arena tour 58 The Gaffer 2013 Jesse Sandler’s rapid rise to becoming Bon Jovi’s production manager
Comments and Columns 20 What Do We Have to Show for it? Ville Leppanen questions what international showcase events have to offer 21 What Matters the Most? Nicholas Zinas reveals results from a survey of accident data at outdoor music events 22 Finding the Funding Remi Harris believes a renaissance in new music funding will ultimately benefit the live sector
23 The Greener the Better? Holger Jan Schmidt and the benefits of a green industry 70 Your Shout What would you rescue from your office in a fire?
IQ Magazine January 2014
Issue 51 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE THE ILMC JOURNAL, Jan 2014
Send in the clowns Gordon Masson looks back over the past 12 months – and ahead to juggling duties at another ILMC…
Well there goes another year. And what a speed it flew by at! It’s scarcely believable that the ILMC team is deep in preparations for ILMC 26 already, and the intensive counselling sessions to help staff deal with coulrophobia (that’s a fear of clowns, to you and me) is having a serious effect on the supply of greasepaint in parts of London, Melbourne and billionaire enclaves in the South of France. And Watford. But as the plans and schemes to wow delegates at our annual gathering in the Royal Garden Hotel become ever more complex and contrived (lions on trapezes in the foyer? Are you sure…??), our little conference and programme of events is shaping up to be the most extravagant in ILMC’s history. More details will be revealed in the next issue of IQ, so I’ll not mention who we’ll be using as our human cannonball, just yet. All I’d encourage you to do is have a read through our registration guide and book your delegate pass early, because as the old circus saying goes, ‘The early bird avoids the elephant shit…’ Back in the present, we have another bumper-packed magazine for you in issue 51. Our comments pages cover everything from the perceived value of international showcase events to an analysis of accident data from outdoor events, and the increasing level of funding for music projects to the connection between events and green issues. There are some interesting viewpoints to ponder. Our comments section editor, Allan McGowan, has locked himself in a dark room for days while he casts an eye back over the past 12 months in the international live music industry, and his Review of 2013 (see page 24) highlights just what a seminal
IQ Magazine January 2014
year it was in the business. And for proof of the money that investors are making, have a glance at Manfred Tari’s examination of the publicly traded music stocks on page 18. Our New Year edition of the magazine also features a couple of our annual awards. Firstly, we have Feld Entertainment’s Disney On Ice, which blew away the other family entertainment brands this year to collect our Best In Show award. Chris Austin talks to the people who take the various productions around the world (p.32) and learns about the various cultural sensitivities that the Feld team has to consider when planning each show. Our other annual award is The Gaffer (p. 58), whose 2013 winner, Jesse Sandler, is one of the new breed of production managers. Despite only being in the business around 15 years, Sandler has been Bon Jovi’s PM on the last couple of tours, with the current Because We Can world tour being the highest grossing production of the year. A worthy winner indeed. This issue also sees our market specialist Adam Woods looking north to the five nations that make up the Nordic countries (p. 38) and reports that, while many people believe Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden have similar, robust live music scenes, nothing could be further from the truth. And finally, I meet up with the road warriors who are taking Queens of the Stone Age on their first international arena tour and find out about the daily challenges they are creating for themselves by insisting on an ever-evolving production to fine-tune the unorthodox band’s live performances. Now where are those fire-eating chimpanzee contortionists?
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ILMC and Suspicious Marketing
Associate Editor Allan McGowan
Marketing & Advertising Manager Terry McNally
Production Assistant Adam Milton
Christopher Austin, Remi Harris, Holger Jan Schmidt, Ville Leppanen, Manfred Tari, Adam Woods, Nicholas Zinas
Gordon Masson, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 3204 1195
Terry McNally, email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3204 1193
To subscribe to IQ Magazine: +44 (0)20 3204 1195 firstname.lastname@example.org Annual subscription to IQ is £50 (€60) for 6 issues.
Irish band Villagers matched British compatriots Palma Violets and Jake Bugg to finish with 11 festival slots each, courtesy of this year’s European Talent Exchange Programme. The annual scheme, which allows artists to showcase to bookers from 80 festivals, resulted in 103 acts sharing 324 shows between them. Lady Gaga and manager Troy Carter part company just days before the release of the singer’s new album, ARTPOP, with “creative differences” cited as the reason. Australia’s Canberra Stadium will become the GIO Stadium from 1 January after the insurance company agrees a four-year deal with the venue’s government owners. Ticketmaster subsidiary Billetnet wins the business of Denmark’s giant Roskilde Festival, with organisers claiming the deal will expand their geographical reach. Poland’s Heineken Open’er Festival ends it longstanding arrangement with the brewery sponsor, which will see ‘Heineken’ dropped from the title. Scooter Braun, manager of Justin Bieber, is pulling together a management conglomerate thanks to backing from
Waddell & Reed Financial. The New York Times says Braun is in talks with several potential partners including Drake and his management team, Shania Twain and Troy Carter (ex Lady Gaga manager). The Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand, will host a new metal and punk festival called Westfest, 19-20 February, run by booking and promotions operation ODR. Live Nation confirms it is negotiating terms to acquire the management companies of U2 and Madonna. The deal to buy Paul McGuinness’s Principle Management and Guy Oseary’s Maverick could cost about $30million (€22m) with Oseary taking over management of both operations. William Morris Endeavor’s music division chief, Marc Geiger, is confirmed as the keynote speaker at next year’s MIDEM, which runs 1-4 February in Cannes, France. Singer-songwriter Foy Vance is named the inaugural winner of the Northern Ireland Music Prize by a judging panel that includes Paul McCarthy from Aiken Promotions. Russian promoter, Evgueny Finkelstein, of Planeta Plus, is fined RUB20,000 (€445) for “failing to protect children from information that could harm their health and development”, after promoting a Lady Gaga concert where the artist supposedly imitated sexual intercourse between women and advocated the consumption of alcohol. A bill against ticket scalpers is introduced in Australia’s state of New South Wales by Minister of Fair Trading Anthony Roberts. The legislation says resales cannot exceed 10% more than the original ticket price and gives promoters the power to cancel tickets. CTS Eventim purchases 60% in Italian outfit CREA, which it says sells more than 80million cinema tickets each year. SFX Entertainment reports net losses of $28.6m (€21m) and revenues of $48.7m (€35.8m) for its first quarterly results as a public company.
Ian Watkins, the frontman of Welsh rock band Lostprophets pleads guilty to a series of sexual offences, including trying to rape a baby. The 36-year-old admits 11 offences and will be sentenced on 18 December. Two workers are killed when part of the stadium that will host the opening game of the 2014 FIFA World Cup collapses. The accident at the Itaquerao stadium in São Paulo, Brazil, was apparently caused by a construction crane crashing into the venue.
A court in Helsinki dismisses a case against Live Nation Finland promoter Scott Lavender for disobeying noise and curfew limits. The charges involved shows by Madonna and Bruce Springsteen at the city’s Olympic Stadium, but the court agreed that the delays were caused by the artists rather than Live Nation. SFX Entertainment pays $16.2m (€11.9m) for a 75% stake in Dutchbased ticketing operation Paylogic, which counts 2,000 clients across its offices in Groningen, Amsterdam, Berlin and Antwerp. Walter Eugene “Gene” Clair, who cofounded Clair Brothers Audio Systems with his sibling Roy, dies. He was 73. Frontier Touring’s Michael Gudinski is honoured with the inaugural Australian Recording Industry Association Industry Icon Award. The Rolling Stones confirm a sevendate tour of Australasia, with shows in Perth, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Hanging Rock, Brisbane and Auckland. The gigs, which are part of the band’s 14 On Fire tour, will be promoted by Frontier Touring and AEG Live. To subscribe to IQ Magazine: +44 (0)20 3204 1195 email@example.com Annual subscription to IQ is £50 (€60) for 6 issues.
January 2014 IQ Magazine
Eric Clapton at his Baloise Session gig
UK Festival Awards Download Festival took the gong for Best Major Festival at the UK Festival Awards ceremony in London’s Roundhouse on 2 December. Sheffield’s finest, Arctic Monkeys won this year’s Best Headline Performance for their set at Glastonbury, seeing off competition from heavyweights such as the Rolling Stones, Elton John and Foals. The title of Best New Festival was snapped up by electronic party We are FSTVL; while feeling the love from the voting public, Rudimental beat fellow Mercury Music Prize nominees, Disclosure, in the Breakthrough Act of the Year category. Elsewhere, French duo Daft Punk took the title of Anthem of the Summer for their catchy hit Get Lucky featuring Chic’s Nile Rogers who accepted the award via video message. After much deliberation from renowned UK music journalists, the winner of Best Line-up went to Latitude, a festival that continues to gather the finest acts in music and the arts. And the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement award went to Fiona Stewart of Green Man Festival for her contribution to the festival industry. Earlier in the day, the UK festivals conference featured a
IQ Magazine January 2014
variety of panels covering such subjects as globalisation, artists’ fees, new technology, and cashless payment systems, while IQ editor, Gordon Masson, interviewed legendary German promoter Marek Lieberberg for the event’s keynote. James Drury, managing director of UK Festival Awards comments, “In this, our tenth year, we had the most fiercely-fought competition for the awards. There were so many incredible festivals taking place this year that it’s not surprising that 575,000 votes were cast by fans from across the world.” The other award winners were: medium-sized festival, Kendal Calling; small festival, Bearded Theory; dance event, Creamfields; metropolitan festival, Dot To Dot; family festival, Camp Bestival; grassroots festival, 2000trees; best toilets, ArcTanGent; best overseas festival, Snowbombing (Austria); best agency, Coda; concession of the year, Strumpets with Crumpets; the Greener Festival Award, Shambala; best brand activation, Virgin Media; extra festival activity, Wilderness; promoter of the year, Paddy Glasgow (Glasgowbury); and best use of new technology, Barclaycard Presents British Summer Time with Intelligent Venue Solutions.
Auf Wiedersehen AVO; Bonjour Baloise Organisers of Switzerland’s Baloise Session are celebrating a smooth transition to a new venue, under a new name, with a series of sold-out shows. Eric Clapton, and The Blackberry Brandies drew the curtain down on this year’s 25 October-14 November edition, which used the new Event Hall of the Basel Fair and attracted 17,800 visitors during the 12-date festival. Among the acts that entertained the 17,800 were Zaz, Texas, Alex Hepburn, Birdy, Gloria Estefan, Chris Cornell, Patricia Kaas and Unheilig.
Previously known as the AVO Session, the festival now runs under the name of its new sponsor Baloise Insurance, whose CEO Michael Müller comments, “I would like to congratulate the team led by Beatrice Stirnimann and Matthias Müller for their great success. Today, I am already looking forward to the next edition. I am sure we will be rewarded with more unforgettable moments in music.” All of the concerts were recorded by Swiss radio and TV and will be broadcast to more than 140 countries.
Swiss Live Talents Enjoys Debut Success More than 200 music business professionals gathered in Berne last month to ensure that the inaugural Swiss Live Talents competition was a major success. The 9 November award show also attracted 500-plus people from all over Switzerland to the Bierhübeli venue, where ten finalists performed before a panel of judges and the voting public. The big winner on the night was Ursina, the singer from Grisons, who received two awards: the Public Award and the National Language Award. Of the seven remaining awards, four were won by acts from the country’s German-speaking region and three by acts from the French-speaking region. The judging panel, which featured music programmers from a number of Swiss and international music festivals, unanimously praised the quality of the finalists – three of whom – The Animen, Hathors and We Love Machines – have
been invited to perform at the International Live Music Conference in London in March. Other contestants will be given the opportunity to perform at the CMJ Marathon in New York in October 2014, and at Serbia’s EXIT Festival in July. “Swiss Live Talents was a great event,” says CMJ senior vice-president Matt McDonald. “The format provided insight into how much quality music (in a wide variety of genres) is currently being produced in Switzerland, and I expect to invite more than just Hathors to New York next year.” And the winners were: Public Award & National Language Award, Ursina; Fondation Suisa Award, We Love Machines; Metal Award, Camion; Electro Award, We Love Machines; Urban Award, Rootwords; Pop/Rock Award, Alvin Zealot; New Talent Award, The Animen; and Best Live Act, Hathors.
Movers and Shakers AEG Live has parted company with CEO Randy Phillips, ending his 13-year stint leading the company. Jay Marciano, COO of AEG’s parent company, will become chairman of AEG Live and reporting to him will be: Paul Tollett, who remains president of the group’s Goldenvoice division; president of global touring, John Meglen; and Shawn Trell, who is promoted to COO of AEG Live. Guy Dunstan, general manager of arenas for the NEC Group, has been appointed as the new chairman of the National Arenas Association. He takes over from Capital FM Arena Nottingham’s Geoff Huckstep. Scottish Exhibition Centre chief executive, John Sharkey, has decided to step down from his role at Easter next year. His decision, after 11 years with the business, follows the delivery of the SSE Hydro arena which opened in September. The company has initiated a recruitment process, considering both internal and external candidates to ensure a smooth transition. Nordic Music Export (NOMEX) has hired Francine Gorman to work as editor and project manager on its soon-to-belaunched Nordic Playlist platform. Gorman, who was previously Vevo’s content and programming manager (France), will be based in London, where she is already in charge of editorial for jajajamusic.com. The Ticket Factory has appointed three new senior e-commerce and ticketing experts to transform the direction of the company. Rob Williams (previously at Nottingham’s Capital FM Arena) joins as operations director, Gail Webb has been appointed consumer sales and marketing director, and Kelly Whitehead is the new client services director. Ticketmaster UK managing director Simon Presswell has boosted his team with the appointments of Nick Griffiths, sales operations director; Tommy Tyekiff, VP responsible for business transformation; and Nihal Pekbeken, VP of marketing. Griffiths joins from SkyIQ, whereas Tyekiff was previously at Ingenious Media and Pekbeken comes from NBC Universal Networks.
Frédéric Debruyne, President of the Insead Alumni Association of Belgium presents Herman Schueremans, CEO of Live Nation Belgium, with the prestigious Insead Innovator Prize “for transforming the live music business in Belgium and for putting Belgium on the international music map.” The
award was bestowed upon Schueremans at a gala dinner in Brussels on 28 November. “It’s a superb honour for me to receive this as Insead is world class and as I see it as recognition of 40 years of creative and innovative work with my team,” Schueremans says. “It’s a prize that I’ll accept on behalf of my fantastic team.”
Deutsche Entertainment AG has added former AEG Europe executive Detlef Kornett to its executive board, where he will be overseeing marketing and international business. Meanwhile, Moritz Schwenkow has been promoted to VP in charge of local business. Dubai-based regional promoter Done Events has appointed Patrick Loy as its head of live events. Loy was former senior project manager at London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Ticketmaster has named Troy Suda as its international VP of product, with responsibility for defining and implementing the company’s strategy and development across Europe, Turkey, Australia and New Zealand. Based in London, Suda previously held senior roles at Hotels.com and Lonely Planet.
January 2014 IQ Magazine
Arne Worsøe (1941-2013)
Danish live music impresario – Arne Worsøe – has died of cancer, at his home in Vedbæk, aged 72. Denmark’s live music industry has again been rocked by the passing of one of its founding fathers, just months after Flemming Schmidt’s
death in February. A great friend to ILMC, Arne was one of the continent’s most popular promoters. A statement from his family reveals that he died in his sleep on 27 October surrounded by friends and family, including his sons, Jan, Peter and Kim.
Arne enjoyed a 50-year career, founding and building ICO Concerts into one of the best-known businesses in Europe, where the roster of acts he worked with reads like a who’s who of the contemporary industry. One of the true pioneers of the live music business, Arne first began booking bands while he was still at high school in Silkeborg, on the Danish mainland. In the late 1960s he began running the Revolution club in Copenhagen, where among the acts he hosted was a young Pink Floyd. In addition to promoting international acts in his own country, Arne also arranged tours for many acts and he helped establish European careers for the likes of Liza Minnelli, Sammy Davis Jr, Ella Fitzgerald, and Harry Belafonte. He was also instrumental in bringing a host of opera stars to northern
Europe, arranging concerts for Angela Gheorgiu, Roberto Alagna, Barbara Hendricks and Plácido Domingo, among others. When it comes to contemporary artists, the list is too long to do Arne and ICO justice, but includes Rod Stewart, Diana Ross, Beyoncé, Dolly Parton, George Michael, Prince, Simon & Garfunkel, Elton John, and James Taylor. More recently, he was thrust into the limelight in his home nation last year when he orchestrated the reunion of Line 3 – one of Denmark’s most popular comedy acts. Diagnosed with cancer a few years ago, Arne underwent major surgery a number of times, but always maintained his optimistic attitude to life. However, due to his diminishing health, Arne handed over the day-to-day running of ICO to his son, Kim, in the last two years.
UK Independent Venue Week 2014 A group of UK live music clubs will next month participate in the country’s first ever Independent Venue Week, following in the footsteps of record shops’ Record Store Day and indie record companies’ Independent Label Market. On 28 January, 18 small venues around Britain will host a series of live gigs to celebrate the part they play in supporting artists. Over six days, there will be day-long shows at various participating venues, curated by artists, promoters, labels and bloggers. The event’s co-founder Sybil Bell explains, “The struggle to compete with large, sponsor-backed venues makes it a tough and challenging time for independents. Combine this with bands finding it harder to tour due to limited revenues and rising on-the-road costs and we can all see what a difficult climate [smaller] live venues find themselves in. There’s never
been a more important time to highlight the importance of these treasured places; getting people excited about discovering new music, up close and personal, and reigniting fans passion for gig-going.” Details of the gig and the stores’ curators are yet to be announced, but the venues involved in the inaugural scheme include: King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut (Glasgow), The Half Moon Putney (London), Norwich Arts Centre, The Cluny (Newcastle), Clwb Ifor Bach (Cardiff), Sugarmill (Stoke-onTrent), Zanzibar (Liverpool), The Louisiana (Bristol), Oh Yeah Music Centre (Belfast), The Library (Leeds), The Joiners (Southampton), Boileroom (Guildford), The Leadmill (Sheffield), The Jericho (Oxford), Tiki Bar (Plymouth), Soup Kitchen (Manchester), The Forum (Tunbridge Wells) and Fibbers (York).
All Roads Lead to… Groningen The Dutch city of Groningen is preparing for its annual invasion by the international music industry in January when the Eurosonic Noorderslag conference and showcase event returns for its 28th edition. Thousands of industry professionals will be joined by hundreds of acts from around Europe for the 15-18 January gathering. Among the 200-plus artists already confirmed are Birth of Joy (NL), Bear’s Den (UK), Envy (NO), Kate Boy (SE), Mighty Oaks (DE), Owlle (FR), Prāta Vētra (LV), Seward (ES), Sísý Ey (IS), The Strypes (IE), and Vismets (BE). The event will kick off with the European Border Breakers Awards and the European Festival Awards (which has attracted more than 600,000 votes) Meanwhile, the conference programme will feature keynote speeches by the likes of veteran artist manager Simon Napier Bell, Ticketmaster CEO Mark Yovich, FKP Scorpio’s Folkert Koopmans and ITB
True Value For Live Music Investors Investors in the publicly traded stocks of live music companies enjoyed a particularly fruitful 2013, with the corporate leaders delivering significant value growth and positive profit performance, writes Manfred Tari. Figures reveal that the shares of CTS Eventim, DEAG and Live Nation improved significantly in the last 12 months. In addition, the live music sector witnessed the arrival, or rather the comeback, of SFX Entertainment to the global marketplace. Live Nation appeared to enjoy the best share price gains. At the beginning of December 2012, the share price stood at $8.77 (€6.45); whereas at IQ’s print deadline, it was $18.34 (€13.49) – a growth of 109% and a market capitalisation (mar-
ket cap) of $3.65billion (€2.68bn). The share price peaked at $19.62 (€14.43) at the beginning of November 2013, shortly before the company reported its third-quarter results. Company revenue rose from $4.38bn (€3.22bn) to $4.86bn (€3.57bn), a record result for Live Nation. Meanwhile, CTS Eventim and DEAG also witnessed improved revenue and profit this year. CTS Eventim reported a turnover of €444million compared to €362.6m in the previous year, with profits following a similar pattern. In terms of share price, CTS Eventim performed about half as well as Live Nation, as the value of the self-declared European ticketing champ increased €25.59 to €37.15, up 49.6%.
Historically, CTS Eventim’s share development is even more impressive than Live Nation. Eventim has already undertaken two share splits, the last being in July 2011, when it split its share capital 1:2, doubling its issued shares. The current market cap of CTS Eventim is €1.82bn. DEAG also prospered in 2013, as its share price went up from €2.87 to €4.20 – a gain of 49.37% in 12 months. Nevertheless, in terms of the DEAG market cap, the gap between it and CTS Eventim and Live Nation is significant as it is only €52.9m. And then there’s the comeback of SFX Entertainment (which was the original name of the forerunner to Live Nation). SFX undertook its
agent Lucy Dickins. Daytime debates include The Agents Panel, Pollstar Presents: The International Ticket Figures 2013, a session that looks at Yourope’s current projects, Booking a Tour Live On Stage, Breaking Your Act into the UK, and 25 Years of Dance. The event also includes an Austrian Market Presentation and 18 Austrian acts have been invited to perform. Franz Hergovich of Austrian Music Export comments, “Both the number and the diversity of the selected artists confirm how vibrant and significant the Austrian music scene is.” More than 30 venues will be used for Eurosonic’s showcase gigs, including a free open-air stage in the city’s main square, which helps promote new acts to a wider audience and can host crowds of more than 6,000 people, thereby allowing music fans who missed out on tickets for the sold-out festival programme to experience a selection of the music on offer. initial public offering (IPO) on 6 October, with stock floated at $13 (€10) per share on the NASDAQ exchange. With the company’s main assets being EDM live events, SFX Entertainment coined the phrase ‘electronic music culture’ and for its IPO, sold 20m shares for $260m while the total number of issued shares was 87.25m. However, since its introduction, the share price has fallen to $10 (€7), reducing the company’s market cap to $842.8m (€620.1m). Nevertheless, SFX Entertainment has been on an aggressive acquisition spree, amassing a portfolio that had been largely ignored by the other corporate giants. Among its assets are ID&T, i-Motion, Made Events, a 50% stake in Rock in Rio and, a 75% stake in ticketing provider Paylogic.
January 2014 IQ Magazine
IQ Magazine January 2014
What Do We Have to Show for it? Ville Leppanen and his brother Mat run The Animal Farm, a London-based service company that manages artists, runs a label, a booking agency and a publishing/sync division. Ville questions what international showcase events have to offer…
he one thing the world is not in short supply of is bands wanting to tour. We run our agency business in London as an in-house service for our management and label roster. Doing it all in-house, slowly, slowly, enables us to take a patient long-term view of our artists’ careers. As a manager of emerging bands, I can’t speak about the problems big artists have, but small bands have a tough time getting out there. As a regular Joe, I concede that in a world where I can access all the entertainment I want for free at the click of a mouse, it’s not at all enticing to pay £10 to go see a band I’ve hardly heard of, play a bunch of songs I’ve definitely never heard, through a duff PA dumped in the back of a room that stinks of piss and beer. Now, that’s not nice, is it? But, at
“It’s not at all enticing to pay £10 to go see a band I’ve hardly heard of, play a bunch of songs I’ve definitely never heard, through a duff PA dumped in the back of a room that stinks of piss and beer.” the other end of the spectrum, big shows by big bands have become way too corporate. One expects at least a tiny hint of stickiness on the floor, doesn’t one? I recently watched footage of Deep Purple playing Child In Time back in 1972. They were popular by then, I guess. Not a huge show, no laser beams and revolving stages, but man did those guys compensate by playing well. The playing is stupidly good. Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore’s interaction is just unreal; the invention in their music, the signature styles of all the musicians is awe-inspiring. For the avoidance of doubt, I started in music in 1992 as a young buck, so I’m not harking back to my youth by bigging-up Purple. I do it to make a point that connects a £20 bottle of beer in Cannes with sauerkraut and Brighton rock in a value chain, the purpose of which, is to assist in the discovery of new talent. Or that’s what the blurb says. Our daily business is about helping bands achieve 100 more views on YouTube, selling 10 more tickets to a show, getting one new ‘like’ on Facebook, seeing £0.10 coming
through from Spotify. Baby steps. Every once in a while it’s nice to step out of the daily grind to attend music conferences for a glimpse of the bigger picture. Our year kicked off with Midem, at which, ironically, for a music conference, there’s no music. You listen in wonder when veteran Midem attendees tell you about listening booths, music blaring out everywhere. The current offering is about yet another provider of a neat digital platform that takes up more of my time and makes another 0.001 pence for my bands. In this vibration-free zone, the veteran German publisher with a dazzling smile in the Martinez Hotel had a point: “I’m here every year, because the music business is an ideas business and when you meet interesting people you get interesting ideas.” That in itself was worth the trip. That, and the £56 bill for two whiskeys and a white wine at the Carlton. Brighton’s Great Escape, on the other hand, has lots of music. On the first night, I made a point of following my nose to see bands I’d never heard of. Realising there was a reason why I’d never heard of them, I decided to check out the tastemaker bands. You know you’re at that kind of show when everyone tries hard to look like what they should look like when looking at a buzz band no one else is looking at either. This being the premier showcase in the UK, the bands were always going to be hip and happening, but it would have been exciting to also witness amazing musicianship and a desire to invent something new. Something that would make you go: ‘What the hell! What is it? How do they do that and what is it they’re doing?’ It was a similar story at Reeperbahn Festival. Growing in popularity, the networking opportunities in Hamburg are plentiful and interesting. Again, there is lots of music on offer. I wonder, though, how many times one can get excited about discovering yet another version of another generic band of type ‘A’. If the music business is indeed an ideas business, there certainly aren’t too many new musical ideas floating around. There are lots of other kinds of ideas and it’s all great, but I went into music because hearing someone do what hasn’t been done before is so exciting. Conferences are enjoyable and you do develop new business at them, but, as an artistic point, I’m determined more than ever to encourage my artists to do whatever they feel like. As long as it makes me go: What the hell?! What is it? How do you do that and what is it you’re doing? That sounds like an idea worth taking to next year’s round of conferences.
Photo © Andrew Porter
January 2014 IQ Magazine
What Matters the Most? Tekmon Geomatics in Greece recently completed a survey of accident data across outdoor music events. Research director, Nicholas Zinas, reports on the results...
ccurate data on incident type, frequency and response are essential for post analyses on event safety and the development of efficient contingency plans. Without data, it’s impossible to assess safety performance against an event’s pre-established safety standards. While large crowds may imply a successful turnout, poor crowd management can lead to injury and even death. Accidents during popular events cause physical and often psychological suffering to the victims involved, while bad publicity for the event’s organisers can lead to a loss of revenue, compensation payments, high insurance costs and possible prosecution. But while the tragedies make it onto the stage of international media, these are extremely rare if you consider the number of spectators:death ratio. Non-fatal injuries are rarely mentioned and how often they occur is unknown. We recently polled 50 international stakeholders in the live events industry regarding accident data collection at live outdoor music events. 65% of the professionals surveyed had been in the industry for more than 16 years. We initially asked them to rate the quality of accident data collection at outdoor music events. Overall, 38% rated accident data collection as poor or nonexistent compared to 28% who rated it either good or excellent. Slightly less than half of the professionals with over 16 years’ of involvement in the events safety industry (43%) rated accident data collection as poor or non-existent. An Irish event manager with over 26 years’ of experience in the industry told us: ‘A national/international body is necessary to collect and report such data’. In Australia, a crowd manager noted that ‘there needs to be a more transparent incident register that is shared and communicated with all stakeholders’. A Canadian event promoter proposed ‘…a database… for different regions. That way, people could have access to it to do a better risk assessment before the events.’ An event manager in Belgium suggested that: ‘A central database with all the records and reports on every separate incident would come in handy’; whilst a US-based crowd manager requested, ‘A mandatory database for all outdoor music events’. We then asked: “Are accident data records made available to the wider industry?” From our sample, 72% stated that accident data records are not shared with the wider industry. ‘I believe that most promoters would rather deny accidents’, claims a UK and Irelandbased event management professional. A Chinese production manager with over 26 years’ of experience in the field
IQ Magazine January 2014
told us that, ‘In China, such accidents are not reported in the press or media’. A UK-based producer and event manager explained that, ‘Records are kept by medical and policing officials and the local licensing authority where the event took place. Data isn’t generally shared holistically’. Although some
“Data collection is only as good as the people collecting it, so it all depends on if people report accidents and the culture of reporting accidents.” companies may collect data, another UK-based event manager notes that: ‘…we, as a company, do keep information on hand to better understand how and what we should change with the different events’. Nonetheless, 28% of the surveyed industry professionals had a different opinion. They support the notion that data is indeed shared with the wider industry. Looking into their business locations, 57% of those who believe that data is in fact shared across the industry are based in northwest Europe, 14% in the US, 14% in Australia and 7% in Canada. In these countries, particularly, attention to safety is a priority and some basic legislation does exist. A UK-based event manager highlighted that ‘data collection is only as good as the people collecting it, so it all depends on if people report accidents and the culture of reporting accidents’. A Danish crowd management expert also stated that ‘The understanding of how to use accident data and the value of sharing knowledge needs to be improved’. A Belgium-based event producer noted that: ‘The legal implications of publication of all this are of minor importance when it comes to saving lives’. We agree, it is life, after all, that matters the most. It is clear that accidentrecording systems are necessary. First of all, an open culture and attitude towards data collection and accident disclosure is essential. Secondly, a database register that records systematically all event information must be introduced. Accident recording should be just as much of an industry concern as it is a state concern. Finally, the industry is already showing that it is in a position to take initiative and discuss potential solutions. That is, solutions to what matters the most. You can read the full survey findings at http://tekmon.gr/secure-concerts/. If you wish to comment on this article, please contact Nicholas at nzinas@ tekmon.gr.
Finding the Funding Remi Harris suggests a renaissance in new music funding will ultimately benefit the live sector. Remi runs consultancy, Start Projects, and recently published ‘Easy Money? The Definitive UK Guide to Funding Music Projects’...
question frequently posed in the pages of IQ Magazine is: where are the new major touring artists going to come from? Perhaps one answer lies in the new sources of funding right at the grassroots of music. Traditionally, in this industry, we have relied on our own internal funding systems, using advances to filter development money from larger companies to smaller ones and on down to new artists. However, the disruption of the business model and revenues of recorded music has altered this ecosystem and, many managers and artists report, left less cash flowing down to those starting out in their careers. Whilst record labels argue that they remain the largest funders of new music, they alone cannot be relied upon to fund development.
“The disruption of the business model and revenues of recorded music has altered this ecosystem and, many managers and artists report, left less cash flowing down to those starting out in their careers.” As former general manager of the Association of Independent Music, and sometime small live promoter, my view of this funding gap was from the perspective of small companies and artists. At the beginning of 2013, I started to ask myself the question: where is the money for us to develop new artists and how can we get hold of it? I began talking to funders and seeking out people who had successfully won funding, and this led to the creation of a guide to music funding in the UK, which was published by MusicTank in September 2013. I focused on what I found to be the six most important forms of music funding: friends and family, grants, sponsorship, crowd funding, debt, and investment. I was particularly interested in funding for songwriting, recording, touring and exposing audiences to new music. I also wanted to know how much money was available to the typical applicant, and what the odds of success were. I found a more positive picture than I had imagined. In grant funding, there has been a determined move to create funds that are tailored to developing new and emerging artists. This year in the UK, Arts Council England and PRS for Music Foundation launched
the £500,000 Momentum Music to fund artists at the tipping point of their careers; UK Trade and Investment announced a £3million fund for music export; and Arts Council Northern Ireland launched a new music strategy, which, for the first time, truly embraces popular music. Success rates for this type of funding seemed higher than I had anticipated as well, with 30% of first-time funders getting grants, and this included ineligible applicants – when you remove these, this figure can be much higher. There is new hope too in debt finance. The Creative Industry Finance scheme, which piloted loans to small creative businesses looks set to continue beyond 2014, and the expansion of the Start Up Loans scheme to help 18-30 year olds set-up in business. Although the mainstream bank lenders may still be an unlikely option, it’s great that alternatives to help young businesses are becoming available. Crowdfunding has been a game changer for many artists and small companies. My doubts about this were swept away by interviews with artists and composers who were able to raise between £5,000 and £100,000 to make recordings that they own the rights to. Although they talked about how much time and effort it had taken, they also all said that they had been surprised and cheered by the amount of support they received. This summer also saw a successful crowdfunding campaign run by the social enterprise and music festival LeeFest which raised £50,000 in 28 days in order to “fund the independent growth of the festival” to a capacity of 5,000 people without sponsors or corporate investors and creating a ‘campfire cabinet’ of backers who will shape the future of the event. In investment, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) is being explored by a number of music companies as a way of attracting money to fund artists. SEIS offers generous tax reliefs starting from 50% to investors who put seed funding into start up companies. This makes it particularly suitable for relatively risky ventures such as touring or recording. The Music Managers Forum this year launched Amplify Music, a jointventure with Amp Channel Music, which provides a vehicle to help investors find suitably managed artists in qualifying companies. These new schemes, many of them launched this year, show a serious response to the challenges faced by the industry in funding new music. We should now be doing everything we can to embrace these new forms of funding, understanding how they work and what we can do to encourage them – because the diversity that they promote will ultimately improve the health of the industry as a whole.
January 2014 IQ Magazine
The Greener the Better Holger Jan Schmidt of GreenEvents Europe, and Sounds For Nature Foundation in Germany, urges more understanding of the benefits and importance of a greener industry…
ast September, we ran a GO Group Workshop in Berlin on greener touring that showed the huge potential for more sustainability in the tour sector. Although there are offers from suppliers or venues already available, currently, everything seems to focus on the money. But greening doesn’t have to be more expensive; efficiency can make savings in all areas. However, I’d say that the festival industry still spearheads green events – something I realised again when we released the long list for the Green Operations Award, which revealed another bunch of great green initiatives, with some of these concepts being presented at our recent conference. When it comes to touring we still have old-school producers who think that touring with 30 trucks is better than touring with 10. I’ve seen band pick-ups with three nightliners this last summer. Management could make a big difference when deciding which companies to work with on production designs and presentations for artists. We also spoke about overall responsibility at this year’s GreenEvents Europe Conference and will do so at Eurosonic Noorderslag. Event and festival organisers still have to deal with the
throwaway culture that makes huge profits for the industries selling budget products, which punters then abandon at the end of festivals (such as camping gear, tents, food containers etc) – which is definitely another GreenEvents topic. The media picks up on this and publishes disgusting images of the mountains of discarded items, while ads for the very same products appear just a couple of pages away. This is going to be a major topic over the coming months and years, and is a problem that events must consider. We have been discussing an international initiative to address this problem with Yourope, GO Group and A Greener Festival. Getting financial support is difficult. We are grateful for funding received for our GreenEvents Europe Conference from the Foundation for Environment and Development North Rhine-Westphalia; although it took time to convince them of our aims. Many people in our business still don’t see the connection between events and green issues, but we are making progress. Although most regulations are still to be made compulsory, I note the national carbon emission limits set for 2020 or 2050 and wonder how soon the authorities will come up with an overall plan, which will include events.
Review of the Year It wasn’t the best of times, but then again, it wasn’t the worst of times, writes Allan McGowan. I’m sure Mr. Dickins (Charlie, not Barry) wouldn’t mind me paraphrasing him in order to describe a year that of course had its ups and downs, but was pretty much business as usual for the international live business, with the top-end doing well and the rest having just the sort of mixed fortunes you might expect from – what is still – an intrinsically risky business. “Without music, life would be a mistake.” Friedrich Nietzsche In last year’s review, there was mention of past golden eras and glory days, and a business that had lost much of its lustre, but perhaps this just reflected the fact that we’d become used to significant year-on-year growth, rather than the sort of steady consolidation and increase, which many industries would actually welcome. In the end, 2012 proved a good year in the US, though less encouraging in other markets, but with some economies improving and even the weather deciding to be kind to most festival organisers, 2013 seemed to have a bit of sparkle about it! “We feel the industry is healthy, and the shows seem to have a bright future for us going into next year as well. We are categorising 2012 as a strong year.” Mark Campana – Live Nation, North America Concerts, USA The main gripe seemed to be that there are too many tours, but with perhaps too few companies handling these. Still, it all depends on your point of view, and it still mystifies me, and
I’m sure others, that the biggest operators in the live industry fail to return regular profits – maybe I just don’t understand economics. Anyway we’ll look at that later… “There is still more room for further concerts and tours. But in terms of the number of shows, it is indeed massive. The number of tours and concerts just went up recently, but it also led to the business concentrating on a few bigger companies.” Folkert Koopmans – FKP Scorpio, Germany “What we all have to bear in mind is to avoid overfeeding the market, as there are so many artists wanting to play at the same time that you start cannibalising your own market with competing shows, given the fact that people have more and more bands and music to choose from, but not more time, let alone money.” Karsten Jahnke – Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion, Germany ILMC turned 25 in 2013 – a quarter of a century if you’re counting. The theme was time travel and looking through my overabundance of notes there seems to be even more of a mix of retrospection and forward looking than usual – we’ll look at that later – or perhaps earlier (that’s an in-joke for time travellers.)
January 2014 IQ Magazine
2013 Year in Review
“The time has come to reassess what we care for and how we want to implement the only real activity we should strive for, ie bringing an artist and audience together.” Marc Lambelet – Mainland Music, Switzerland On a more serious note, one truly unfortunate but obviously unavoidable indicator of the ageing of our industry is the sad demise of more of the founding characters of our business. Before our 2012 review went to press, Frank Barsalona died, and throughout 2013 we lost Claude Nobs, Henning Tögel, Flemming Schmidt, Fritz Rau, Edwin Shirley, Arne Worsøe and Mark Fisher. A huge loss. RIP. As ever, we have limited space to review the fortunes of an ever-growing business, so excuse us if certain sectors and markets are not referred to in detail. However, as I always say, peruse your IQ back issues for the bigger picture. I point you to articles such as last issue’s fine and extensive European Festival Report, and, of course, the European Arenas report in issue 46. “Rock music didn’t move into arenas until the early 70s, a development that prompted Graham (legendary US promoter Bill Graham) to close his clubs, announcing his decision via a letter to the ‘Village Voice’ that decried ‘the unreasonable and totally destructive inflation of the live concert scene’.” ‘Hollywood Reporter’ – February 2013
The Numbers Final figures for the year in question are usually only available a month or so into the following year, so we really only have the half-yearly figures to go on, so please take what you will from these 2012-2013 references. I often question the accuracy of the figures that we refer to and it seems I’m not alone in this. Pollstar and Billboard do a great job in providing tour data, but even they advise caution in relying on industry returns. In December 2012, a Billboard review stated, “Historically, when relying on anecdotal indicators, the relative health of this business often depends on whom you’re talking to. Similarly, although Billboard Boxscore numbers are effective in quantifying the success of certain tours, as a broad indicator of business, those statistics can be skewed dramatically by one or two tours.” However, we at IQ, and those of you that read the journal are also informed by our regular market and sector reports. So, we’re going to talk numbers anyway – after all, whether on the back of an envelope or in an email, they are the basis of every show. The final figures for 2012 looked good, with Billboard reporting that, “…we believe business is near the record levels of 2009, the year prior to ‘the great slump’ of 2010, a year marked by cancellations, postponements and industry finger-pointing.” By the end of 2012, Madonna had out-grossed everyone else (well, you know what I mean!), raking in $228.4million (€168m); Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters came in second and third; and despite being deceased, up there at number 4, along with Cirque du Soleil, was Michael Jackson with The
IQ Magazine January 2014
2013 In Brief... December Sources tell Wall Street Journal that there are a number of bidders in contention for Anschutz Entertainment Group, following the first round of bidding, despite a reported $10billion (€7.5bn) asking price. Ian Watkins, the 35-year-old lead singer of British rockers Lost Prophets, appears in court in his native Wales charged with sexual offences against children. Two women, aged 20 and 24 are charged with related offences. The New York Yankees drop StubHub as a ticketing partner, in favour of Ticketmaster, amid reports that the baseball team is unhappy at tickets changing hands below face value. Paul McCartney performs with Nirvana members Dave Grohl, Pat Smear and Krist Novoselic during a benefit gig at Madison Square Garden in order to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Czech authorities say they will put Lamb of God frontman Randy Blythe on trial for causing a fan’s death, after allegedly pushing him off stage at the Abaton nightclub in Prague during a 2010 gig. Irving Azoff unexpectedly resigns as chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and CEO of its Front Line Management Group, to concentrate on his own artist management company.
January Seatwave founder and chief exec Joe Cohen exits the UKbased company, claiming that the secondary ticketing business is in great shape. Kylie Minogue and her manager of 25 years, Terry Blamey, split, as the artist announces her intention to concentrate on her acting career. Minogue is now represented by JayZ’s management company Roc Nation, who also look after Rihanna, MIA and The Ting Tings. Entertainment retailer HMV goes into administration with debts of about £200m (€233m), placing about 4,000 UK jobs in jeopardy across its 239 stores. Mathieu Jaton is named the new chief executive of Montreux Jazz Festival following the death of founder Claude Nobs (see page 26). Jaton has been general secretary of the festival since 2001. The UK’s Office of Fair Trading investigates AEG’s deal to operate the iconic Wembley Arena, after Live Nation’s deal expires. The watchdog is apparently concerned that the deal could lessen competition. Ebay begins phasing out its ticket resale service in the UK in a bid to push users over to the British version of StubHub, the eBay-owned secondary ticketing service that launched in the UK last March.
2013 Year in Review
February Apple reveals that more than 25 billion songs have now been purchased and downloaded, making it the world’s most popular online music store. The service sells an average of 15,000 songs per minute, it says. Universal sells EMI’s Parlophone label group to Warner Music for an estimated £480m (€559m). The deal effectively means that three record companies now dominate the global market – Universal, Sony and Warner. Cecil Womack dies, aged 65. He was one of five brothers who sang as The Valentinos in the 1960s, before enjoying massive success with his wife Linda as Womack & Womack with hits such as Teardrops and Love Wars. A falling metal door at new UK venue G Live, in Guildford, kills Fisherman’s Friends’ vocalist Trevor Grills and tour manager Paul McMullen. The duo were reportedly unloading gear when the accident happened on 9 February.
March AEG Live announces an 18-date tour with the Rolling Stones, effectively ending the band’s deal with Virgin Live (the Paul Dainty and Richard Branson JV). SFX Entertainment receives an undisclosed financial boost from advertising giant WPP, which counts agencies such as JWT; Grey; and Young & Rubicam in its portfolio. The deal gives SFX a powerful ally as it looks to ramp up its EDM empire. Secondary ticketing giant StubHub wins the naming rights deal for the AEG-operated Home Depot Center in California. The deal comes into effect 1 June at the 27,000-capacity stadium, home to Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy. West Ham United Football Club is controversially handed custody of London’s Olympic Stadium, paying just £15million (€17.5m) toward the estimated £150m (€175m) cost of converting the building into a soccer stadium. AEG’s deal to take over the management of Wembley Arena is referred to the Competition Commission in the UK after an investigation by the Office of Fair Trading, which is concerned that AEG has too big an influence over live entertainment in the capital.
April Colorado venue, the Aggie Theatre, introduces the use of breathalysers for fans aged below 21 in an effort to combat underage drunkenness. Administrator Deloitte sells HMV UK to Hilco, the restructuring company that already owns HMV Canada. Hilco will take over 140 HMV stores, saving 2,600 jobs. Princess Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, becomes arguably the most renowned ticket tout in the world, when he resells tickets for his debenture box at the Royal Albert Hall. Jay-Z enters the sports management sector when he signs New York Yankees baseball star Robinson Cano to his Roc Nation Sports division, which reportedly involves a jointventure partnership with Creative Artists Agency.
Immortal world tour, which according to Billboard Boxscore became the No. 9 top-grossing tour of all time, earning $325.1m (€239.1m) from 407 shows that drew 2,985,324 ticket-buyers. And with more shows still to come in 2014 – who knows where this extravaganza will finally rank? “There are a handful of huge superstar acts like U2, Bon Jovi, and the Rolling Stones, and when they tour, it disproportionately skews the whole year. When you look at stats on touring and you’re trying to get a handle on it, you really have to discount the fact that there are these occasional mega-tours that dominate a year, but that doesn’t make it a healthy year.” Randy Phillips – [then] AEG Live, USA Mid-2013, another act that’s been around a bit went to No. 1 on Pollstar’s Top 100 Worldwide Tours: Bon Jovi grossed $142.1m (€104.5m). With an average ticket price of $95.60 (€70.32), the band played 60 shows in 58 cities; sold a total 1,486,726 tickets with an average gross of $2.4m (€1.8m) per show. It’s worth mentioning though that the good-hearted Mr Bon Jovi, not wanting to let his Spanish fans down, performed in Madrid on 27 June for no fee, after realising many fans in crisis-hit Spain could not afford to attend. The unusually cheap tickets sold for between €18 and €39, the following week the average ticket cost for a concert in Manchester, UK, was €76. “We need fresh acts to appeal to new generations. The Rolling Stones was an epic tour, but it’s not a long-term business. The beauty of this industry is there are always new acts to win our hearts.” Michael Rapino – Live Nation, US The second highest grossing band, Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band, (Jon’s New Jersey neighbour - there must be something in the water.), sold 969,504 tickets for 31 shows in 21 cities, with an average ticket price of $107.19 (€78.84). The average show gross was $4.9m (€3,6m) for a total gross of $103.9m (€76.4m). Then, guess who came third? Did I mention they were out again? The Stones grossed a total of $87.7m (€64.5m), which also put them at No.1 in the Top 100 North American tours. 253,296 tickets at an average price of (gulp!) $346.09 (€254.52) sold for 18 shows in 11 cities, grossing an average of $8m (€5.9m) per show, and absolutely ensuring no worries at all in the care home department… Also, Fleetwood Mac was back, coming in third on Pollstar’s mid-year North American tours chart. From January to June 2013, the top 50 worldwide tours returned a 23% rise from the same period one year ago, shifting nearly $1.85billion (€1.36bn) in tickets. The number of tickets sold rose to 21 million with the average ticket price increasing by $9.09, an 11.5% rise to $88.03 (€64.73).
January 2014 IQ Magazine
2013 Year in Review
What’s New? It’s pretty obvious that the heritage acts still rule the roost, although omnipresent worries that the music industry is failing to develop new talent to grace our larger stages and satisfy the continual demand for something new, may not be justified. There are new acts pushing through into the top tour charts, and they’re young, but not necessarily well behaved, at least in the cases of Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber, and, of course, Lady Gaga, but One Direction seem to be setting a very good example for the youth of today! The latter three have all made it to the top-end of the tour charts. However, will they still be around in their 60s and 70s? Oh, and did you hear? The Stones are out in Australia and Asia next year…. “Today you’re talking about one group of bands, but what is contemporary and what is heritage just keeps changing as time goes marching on. If you took a snapshot of today, yeah, there’ll be some older artists who won’t be touring in a couple of years, but then there’ll be new, older artists because younger artists are getting older.” Chip Hooper – Paradigm Talent Agency, USA In July, The Guardian newspaper in the UK featured an article referring to a ten-year-old study based on Pollstar figures. Between 1982 and 2003, the share of concert revenue that went to the top 1% of touring acts more than doubled, from 26% to 56%. This remains the same today, as the mid-year figures referred to above show that the top 1% are still picking up 56.3% of live revenue. The majority of top earners have also, largely, remained the same.
The Markets In May, figures released by PRS for Music showed 2012 UK live music royalties falling by 14.2% to £19.3m (€23.2m). Record online revenues of £51m (€61m) exceeded those collected from the live industry in 2011. It appears that although music fans are happy to listen to a broad range of artists online, they prefer to pay out for a few big concerts a year rather than spend on a higher number of mid-range gigs. “Live is a fluctuating market. Huge stadium tours like that of Take That in 2011 skew the figures somewhat but the underlying story is that the live sector remains buoyant. The decline in 2012 is largely down to the lack of Glastonbury and the Take That tour, but overall we have seen live revenues almost double in a decade.” Robert Ashcroft – PRS for Music, UK In October, a report from UK Music and VisitBritain was encouraging for the UK live industry. According to the Wish You Were Here report, 6.5 million music-loving tourists attended festivals or gigs in the UK last year, spending £2.2bn (€2.6bn) in the process. Apparently, music tourists attending concerts spent on average £602 (€723) with those attending music festivals spending £910 (€1,093), meaning that they spend more while in the country than the average tourist spend of £600. At least this indicates that music tourism goes two
IQ Magazine January 2014
New York-based agency Paradigm launches a record label, Big Picnic Records, which boss Marty Diamond intends to use to “support the development of new artists.”
May Ticketmaster files a lawsuit against a New York man who they allege uses bots to buy as many as 200,000 tickets a day, before the general public can. Aerosmith cancel their 11 May concert in Jakarta, Indonesia, citing “security concerns” despite promoter Ismaya saying it had worked hard to alleviate such worries. Australia’s Big Day Out festival agrees a five-year deal to use Metricon Stadium and Carrara Parklands as its Gold Coast venue starting in 2014. The event lost its traditional home at Gold Coast Parklands when it was chosen as the site for the athletes’ village for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The European Commission approves the sale of EMI’s Parlophone Group to Warner Music Group, completing the conditions for Universal’s $1.9billion (€1.5bn) acquisition of EMI. AEG joins the Consórcio Maracanã conglomerate to operate the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for 35 years. The 63-year-old stadium recently reopened after a $500m (€385m) renovation. Pink smashes her record of 17 shows at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena by booking an 18th date on her The Truth About Love tour. The Australian leg includes 46 shows and is expected to sell more than 500,000 tickets.
June The O2 arena in London inks a deal with StubHub, superceding AEG’s existing agreement with eBay. Live Nation Canada and Optex Staging and Services are charged in relation to a fatal stage collapse, which claimed the life of Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson in Toronto’s Downsview Park last year. Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe is cleared of causing the death of 19-year-old Daniel Nosek in the Czech Republic. The teenager died of head injuries sustained at the act’s show in Prague in 2010; but an appeals court upholds Blythe’s acquittal. AEG and MGM Resorts International agree on a joint venture to build and run a new $350m (€270m) arena in Las Vegas. The venue is scheduled to open in 2016. Live Nation and Insomniac Events confirm rumours of a creative partnership, although the latter’s chief, Pasquale Rotella states Insomniac will remain independent. Civil unrest in Turkey starts to take its toll with events such as the One Love Festival shelved. Promoters Pozitif Productions also cancel shows by Snoop Dogg, 30 Seconds to Mars and Sigur Rós, as other companies do likewise in the troubled market.
2013 Year in Review
ways, with UK Festival fans still heading abroad for cheaper tickets, sunshine and cheaper beer!
July Vince Power sells a major shareholding in Benicàssim Festival to SJM Concerts and Denis Desmond in a deal designed to assure the future of the popular Spanish event. Power will remain MD of the event which this year featured Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, Beady Eye, and The Killers. Leeds City Council accepts that putting parking tickets on Bruce Springsteen’s tour trucks ahead of a landmark gig to open the British city’s new £60million (€70m) First Direct Arena was “a little embarrassing”. Vivendi rejects an $8.5bn (€6.4bn) offer for Universal Music Group from Japanese telecoms giant SoftBank. It’s thought the increasing importance of music services in the mobile market prompted the unsolicited offer. Reports circulate questioning the future of Madison Square Garden amid claims that New York City wants to remodel Penn Station beneath the iconic venue, the lease for which runs out in ten years. Brands such as Coca-Cola, O2, Blackberry and Volkswagen spent a record £105m (€123m) on music in the UK during 2012, according to research by PRS for Music and Frukt – an increase of 6% on 2011. Live Nation Entertainment completes a complex refinancing deal that it says will shave $12m (€9m) off annual costs and increase cash flow.
August Lady Gaga and Madonna face prosecution in Russia for allegedly performing without proper visas. Both artists are accused of breaking Russia’s new gay propaganda laws, which make it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors. Agency IMG Worldwide is put up for sale by private equity firm, Forstmann Little & Co, with analysts expecting a price tag of about $2bn (€1.5bn). Finland’s biggest indoor venue, the 15,000-capacity Hartwall Areena, is sold to a group of Russian businessmen for an undisclosed sum. Ice hockey fans Gennadi Timtshenko and brothers Arkady and Boris Rotenberg have also acquired a stake in Hartwall’s team, Jokerit. Live Nation Australasia forms a joint venture with brand entertainment agency Mixitup Enterprises to create music and entertainment brand partnerships across Australia and New Zealand. Mixitup clients include AirAsia.com, Bacardi, ANZ, Jägermeister, Budweiser and Southern Comfort, among others. American pressure group, the Parents Television Council, complains that the sexual content on the MTV Video Music Awards telecast was “unacceptable” after performances by the likes of Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus. Devastating fires near Yosemite National Park force organisers of California’s Strawberry Music Festival to shelve the
“Music is without question an essential element of Britain’s tourism appeal, and it is this ability of the UK’s music industry to attract tourists from near and far to our shores, that is celebrated in this [Wish You Were Here] report.” Ed Vaizey – Culture Minister, UK “Wish You Were Here can hopefully persuade the powers that be that music is already a powerful tourism tool that is generating more than £2bn in spending and boosting local economies all over this country [UK]. Imagine what could be achieved with a little more backing and support from our friends in Westminster.” Paul Latham – Live Nation International Music, UK The German Promoter Association and the trade paper Musikmarkt presented the newest consumer study on the performance of the German live entertainment market at the Reeperbahn Festival Campus in October. The survey itself is based on the results of questionnaires completed by 3,000 consumers in April 2013. The figures reveal a 16% decline in turnover, from €3.9bn in 2011 to €3.3bn in 2012. Tickets sold dropped from 121.1 million tickets to 110 million, with the average price per ticket dropping 7% from €32.30 to €30.20. Stefan Zarges, editor in chief of Musikmarkt targeted the Euro 2012 football tournament as one of the explanations for the general drop off. “The public is shunning concerts with very high prices; this explains the decline in sales. In 2012, there were fewer tours with expensive top international productions compared to 2011. But the German live entertainment market is still the No. 1 in Europe, and internationally, No. 4.” Professor Jens Michow – German Live Entertainment Industry Association, Germany Some German concert promoters disagreed with the association’s pessimistic assessment. Peter Schwenkow, CEO of DEAG in Berlin, which sells some three million tickets per year for tours and as a local promoter, told Billboard, “2012 was a fantastic year for us, with growth of around 25%”. He also predicted further growth of around 25% in 2013. Also, in Q3, CTS Eventim reported that ticketing revenues went up by 20.4%, from €140.1m to €168.6m. Further north, the year has been challenging for the festivals and promoters in Finland, and autumn shows have
January 2014 IQ Magazine
2013 Year in Review
scheduled 29 August to 2 September event.
Michael Gudinski’s Frontier Touring agrees a strategic partnership with dance promoter Future Music Festival to present the touring event, which visits five Australian cities and Malaysia next March. Hard Rock International says it will not stage its Hard Rock Calling festival in London next year. The decision comes eight years after the event launched in Hyde Park, before moving to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this year. Ticketing platform Eventbrite acquires London-based event data company Lanyrd, and Argentine ticket specialist Eventioz, in a bid to accelerate growth. Irving Azoff partners with The Madison Square Garden Company to create Azoff MSG Entertainment. In return for a $125m (€92m) investment, MSG will own a 50% stake in a company, which will include artist management, TV production, live event branding and digital marketing divisions. Cher declines the opportunity to perform at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi, because of host nation Russia’s gay propaganda laws that make it illegal to ‘promote’ homosexuality to minors. Dave Stewart uses his Reeperbahn keynote speech Where is the Money? to launch plans for a new bank, First Artist Bank, offering services designed to ensure fellow musicians “don’t sign stupid deals”. SFX confirms plans to raise up to $200m (€148m) by selling off a slice of the company via the NASDAQ stock exchange – valuing the company at $1.1bn (€0.8bn).
October In the US, music streaming service Turntable.fm reveals plans to launch a new platform to broadcast live concerts to listeners. Turntable Live will require users to buy tickets for live shows. The jury in the $1.5bn (€1.11bn) case brought by Michael Jackson’s family against AEG finds that although AEG did employ Dr Conrad Murray, the company was not liable for his negligence. The Harlem Globetrotters are sold to Herschend Family Entertainment Corp by Shamrock Capital Advisors. Financial details are not disclosed but Herschend owns and operates 26 theme parks, aquariums and other attractions across North America. Glastonbury Festival sells its 120,000 ticket allocation in just 87 minutes, as more than one million people clamour to get passes for the 2014 festival. The sell-out generates more than £25m (€30m) before a single act has been announced. Belgium’s Sportpaleis Group takes over the management of the 8,000-capacity Forest National arena in Brussels on behalf of building owners, Music Hall. Austin City Limits organisers are forced to cancel the final day of the US music festival when heavy rain and thunderstorms cause flooding.
been selling slowly. However, as everywhere it seems, some companies buck the trend. Fullsteam, for instance, has done extremely well, almost doubling its business from the previous average of 650 shows per year to approx 1,100 shows in 2013. “I have been surprised about this myself, to be honest. I did expect a good year, but now 2013 will actually be better than I could have ever expected and the best year we have ever had.” Juha Kyyrö – Fullsteam, Finland On the other side of the world, Live Performance Australia’s annual Ticket Attendance & Revenue Survey revealed that attendance had slipped across the wider live entertainment market in 2012. Gross revenue from contemporary music declined by 10.6% to AUD$482.2m (€323.9m), while total attendance decreased by 7.7%. The average ticket price for a concert dropped by 3.1% to AUD$100.27 (€67.37) in 2012. Across the live entertainment sector, ticket sales were down 8% to AUD$1.2bn (€806m), the lowest annual figure since 2009. The LPA attributed this in part to an uncertain economy, but said that the data was no cause for alarm, and that “the industry is stable.”
All Change? “The promoters’ role has become more like the old record company role. We do a lot of groundwork with the bands from the beginning: we work a band, do the press, TV, radio, set-ups; that is a big change.” Thomas Johannsen – Live Nation, Sweden In our 2012 review, we referred little to the corporate giants, leaving them to continue to change the landscape of the business through a seemingly constant round of purchase and expansion. Many of the still-active independent promoters bemoan these changes and are not happy with the direction that the industry is taking, or perhaps following. Early in the year, IQ’s ‘Promoters at 25’ looked at the role of the concert promoter and how this has changed – dramatically. Pete Wilson of 3A agreed that consolidation has been a major factor in the changes, saying, “Now you have a number of promoters with many hats (promoter, manager, agent, ticket company, venue operator) and I can’t help thinking that someone loses out. I also think that the soul has gone from much of the industry. Where every deal was on a handshake, now it’s reams of contracts, much of which is generic and never specific to the project in hand.” “It is harder than ever to be a promoter because of the dominance of major corporations. Most of the remaining independent promoters are creative and dynamic people that know how to survive, but they should talk to each other more and make pan-international deals that appeal to major international artists and can compete with the big international corporations.” Claudio Trotta – Barley Arts, Italy
January 2014 IQ Magazine
2013 Year in Review
“The arrival of the internet has made the biggest change to the way that everybody promotes. It has made a huge difference to the way we market acts and has become an amazing way of finding new talent.” Michael Chugg – Michael Chugg Entertainment, Australia But will a new generation of promoters, agents, ‘new bosses’ etc bring change for the better? At ILMC 25, IQ editor Gordon Masson noted that he’d heard one of our elder statesmen observing that, “…for the first time in history, we are living in an age when the younger generations have something to teach their seniors.” Certainly, there are signs in Europe that not only is the longstanding, Anglo-American stranglehold loosening, or should I say being loosened. European companies are growing with the help of homegrown talent, both on and offstage, and with an increase in acts crossing borders. The 2013 edition of The European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) broke records, resulting in 324 shows by 103 artists from 23 countries playing at 81 festivals in 26 countries. At October’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Stephan Thanscheidt, MD of FKP Scorpio, informed us that audience demand had led to 21 German acts appearing on the bill of Hurricane Festival, as opposed to nine just two years ago. The long-established German band, Die Toten Hosen, sold 770,000 tickets for 36 concerts grossing €35.6m on their 2013 tour of Germany, selling a million tickets when the results for Austria and Switzerland were added. In October, Folkert Koopmans announced, “FKP Scorpio has developed very well over the past decade, and particularly in the last two or three years there has been an additional positive boost. With our offices in Amsterdam, Stockholm and Vienna, the number of employees in Europe now exceeds 100 people. We organise 18 festivals in five countries, serving more than 300 tours, and as many local concerts per year. The FKP Group expect to reach a record revenue of more than €100m in 2013.”
Corporate Musical Chairs As ever, it was an interesting year for the corporates: Phillip Anschutz put AEG Live up for sale, then took it down again; bought up ticketing service AXS.com; and decided to go headto-head with Live Nation, particularly in London where the Competition Commission concluded that AEG’s takeover of Wembley Arena (run by Live Nation until autumn 2012), “will not result in substantial lessening of competition” in the city, even though the company also controlled The O2, Hammersmith Apollo and took over the contract for concerts in Hyde Park, promising to be quieter. Oh, and they were judged to be not responsible for the terrible situation regarding the death of Michael Jackson. And, as I write this, I see that Randy Phillips has parted company with AEG… “They want to start the New Year with the re-org, and it gives them time amongst the holidays [to put the new team in place]. Part of it is, I was a larger-than-life presence there, and the face of the company. What’s the best time to get rid of a king? Right
IQ Magazine January 2014
before the holidays. By the time Monday starts, it’s all new.” Randy Phillips – ex-AEG Live, US (as told to Billboard) Earlier in the year, Live Nation, which now operates in 43 countries, also said goodbye to a larger-than-life presence when Irving Azoff took himself and his rather substantial stable of acts off to join up with The Madison Square Garden Company. The buying continued with the latest purchase involving a reported $30m (€22m) deal for U2 manager Paul McGuinness’s Principle Management, and Madonna manager Guy Oseary’s Maverick Management. Will they make a profit now? I wonder… But talking of major figures, a familiar face re-appeared and has been shopping in the outlets that our giants had mainly walked past. Bob Sillerman, (the original shopper who corporatised the concert industry with a string of acquisitions in the 1990s), revived SFX last year to capitalise on the rise of EDM. You only have to look at the remarkable success of the Amsterdam Dance Event, and to note the increasing addition of dance stages and acts to major festivals, to realise that the original investor has not lost the knack. Throughout 2013, his portfolio has grown through purchases in the US, Europe and South East Asia, with the latest (as I write) addition being a 50% share in Rock in Rio – not strictly EDM, but he’s made his point I think.
Winding Up So in conclusion (I know, I know! So much to cover – so much left out. I could write a bloody book, but Gordon [IQ’s editor] would kill me! We’ve not talked about all those exotic markets still to be exploited – sorry, I mean explored)… “South East Asia has come up big since its economy recovered. Some of the strongest markets in the world are Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Seoul. We’re playing all those markets regularly; Eastern Europe, Istanbul, we’re doing a lot more now.” Rob Hallett – AEG Live, UK “Never overbook, never overprice, and let your agents build relationships with the artists.” Neil Warnock – The Agency Group, UK Nor have we touched on the fate of the agencies (we’ll do that next time, I promise); or politics; or the oh-so-important grass roots (see Remi Harris’s comment on page 22); or venues big and small. But as I say, all of these topics have been referred to in depth throughout the last year in IQ. And of course, we have ILMC 26 to look forward to, so if you’ve got any questions or comments, bring them up there – or I invite you to contribute to our comment pages! See you all next March, and here’s a final word from Don Elford… “…reflect on the past but don’t live in it…live in the moment, the right now, and absolutely enjoy it. Always plan ahead, that is important, but not too far, because someone will come along and throw a spanner in the works for sure!” Don Elford – AEG Ogden, Australia
January 2014 IQ Magazine
Best in Show
Disney On Ice Having outsold all its family show rivals, Feld Entertainment’s Disney On Ice productions have entertained hundreds of thousands of families this year, making it the runaway winner of our 2013 Best In Show award. Christopher Austin finds out what makes the ice format so cool…
hether it is the breathtaking aerial activity of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider in Dare To Dream or cars careering onto the ice during Worlds Of Fantasy, Disney On Ice shows captivate audiences from Sheffield to Sydney. One of the most successful touring live entertainment franchises in the world, Disney On Ice first took to the road in 1981 after Feld Entertainment CEO, Kenneth Feld, approached Disney with the idea of bringing the studio’s characters to life on ice. More than three decades and 33 productions later, generations of fans have grown up with Disney On Ice, and its touring productions are being staged at venues of all shapes and sizes in far-flung corners of the globe. Just as Disney has established itself as a stalwart operator with a cutting-edge approach to content development, Feld, which was founded in 1967 by Kenneth’s father Irvin, has continued to enhance and revitalise Disney On Ice productions. At any one time, Feld has eight different touring Disney On Ice productions traversing the globe and each year a new creation is brought to life. The latest is Rockin’ Ever After, which incorporates characters from across Disney’s long history – ranging from the 1940’s film Pinocchio to last year’s Brave. In the late 1980s, Feld started taking Disney On Ice beyond North America. Over the years it has become adept at finetuning the productions to suit local markets. Disney’s global presence means the vast majority of Disney On Ice’s clientele are familiar with the numerous film and TV productions reflected in the shows, but in emerging markets Feld has played a lead role in helping to enhance consumers’ relationships with the brand. “Most people say Disney productions tug on the heart strings and they come to shows to relive memories from their childhood, but Disney informed us that most Chinese people think of a plush toy when they think of Disney because few of them have seen the films,” says Feld’s senior vice-president of international business, Robert McHugh. “So when we created a show for China it was a great opportunity for us to start telling the classic Disney stories to a new audience.”
Putting Europe on Ice
eld started touring Disney On Ice in Europe in the late 1980s and its shows have played venues throughout the continent every year since (with the exception of 1991 when the Gulf War raged). McHugh, who ran the European operation from 1991 to 1998, says that initially the team had a steep learning curve to scale. “I quickly found out that the way we market the show in London needed to be totally different to Paris, which in turn was completely different to Stockholm. We had to find local partners and promoters in each country that understood the culture, because Disney is perceived differently in different countries and different countries have different favourite characters,” he says. For Sweden, that meant bringing Donald Duck to the fore in the advertising creative and re-cutting TV spots. Elsewhere on the continent research led to there being a focus on the The Jungle Book. Greek promoter Vanessa Adam of ADaM Productions worked with Feld to bring Disney On Ice to Athens and says that the collaboration was pleasingly successful. “The economic situation is not great here, but Disney On Ice proved that audiences remain receptive to well produced, quality shows,” she says. Adam was particularly impressed by the way Feld proved open to supporting her needs. “In Greece, live TV appearances are what drive ticket sales. We need face-to-face appearances on talk shows and live links via satellite trucks to the venue while a number is run. That is crucial to a show’s success and Feld worked hard to help us make that happen,” Adam reports. On a yearly basis, Feld stages nine weeks of Disney On Ice in France. Michel Lumbroso of K-WET/Pomme Production is the local promoter there and has worked with Feld since 2000. He reports that the company’s efforts to take the 18-truck production to two cities per week in France has helped gain vitally important national TV coverage from local channels
Opposite page: Rapunzel and Flynn in ‘Dare To Dream’
IQ Magazine January 2014
The ‘Toy Story’ gang arrives at Sunnyside Daycare in ‘Worlds of Fantasy’
Best in Show
“We had to find local partners and promoters in each country that understood the culture, because Disney is perceived differently in different countries and different countries have different favourite characters.” Robert McHugh, Feld Entertainment
such as M6 and TF1. “Feld, despite the size, remains a family company and the partnership evolves every year. They let us develop our ideas with a lot of flexibility even if we all know that Disney guidelines are very strong,” Lumbroso explains. In the UK, Feld stages 10 weeks of Disney On Ice in the autumn and eight weeks in spring. One of its longest standing relationships in the region is with the NEC Group in Birmingham, which first staged Disney On Ice in 1988. NEC Group general manager, Guy Dunstan, says that because Disney On Ice has been a local fixture in Birmingham for 25 years it has become something of a local institution. “It is a regular fixture on the calendar and people come time and time again,” he says. As well as a long-standing autumn run at the National Indoor Arena, Disney On Ice plays in spring at the NEC’s sister venue, the LG Arena. In 2013, Dunstan reports that 100,000 people attended Disney On Ice shows at the NEC venues. McHugh acknowledges that the economic crises have led to a rocky period in some parts of Europe for Disney On Ice and that there remains an uphill struggle before it can truly break the German market. But, Dunstan believes the format’s enduring appeal will see it continue to win through in Birmingham. “One of the challenges for Feld is competition for family entertainment and the market was over saturated for a period,” Dunstan says. “But, because the Disney On Ice brand is so strong it can withstand that competition, it is much tougher for the new entrants in the market.”
n Japan and the Middle East, Feld’s sensitivity to the local market conditions and culture has seen it not only tailor the marketing, but also the stage production. Feld’s director of international ice and stage show operations, Mitch Matsunaga,
says that costumes had to be adjusted to make them less revealing for Disney On Ice’s debut in Doha, Qatar over the summer. “We had to make minor adjustments to choreography and alter outfits to make sure we were sensitive to their culture,” he says. In Japan, meanwhile, alterations had to be made to ensure the show rings true to Japanese eyes and ears. “Japanese gesturing and sentence structure is the opposite of Western language and mannerisms, the gesture comes first and then the subject. We bring in Japanese performance and language coaches to help performers. We have to take those things into account so the characters are truly believable and authentic for the region,” Matsunaga says. Aside from tailoring the show and supporting marketing activity to make sure it is as successful as possible in each territory, there is the small matter of transporting the show around the world and assembling it in each venue. Matsunaga explains that the shows can generally be adapted to suit venues ranging in capacity from 3,000 to around 20,000. “We build the production with flexibility in the system and with the smallest, most challenging, venue in mind,” he says. “It means we are able to bring the show to those small towns that may not have a state-of-the-art arena. Our goal is to expose as many people as possible to Disney On Ice.” The height of the production can be tailored to each venue and those without an ice rink in situ are far from excluded. Feld packs equipment for a portable ice floor into two standard shipping containers, which upon arrival at a venue takes between 36 and 48 hours to set-up. The process involves the laying of cooling panels before the floor is flooded with water and cooled over several hours. The show itself, including costumes, equipment, and props is generally shipped within 16-20 containers. Once an ice floor is in place the load-in takes around 14-16 hours for a full setup. Up to 40 stagehands are hired locally to set-up the show, with support from around 15 Feld crew members. The core staff of five includes a stage manager, tour coordinator, business manager and performance director. The latter watches every single show to ensure quality is maintained throughout the tour. Feld can also ground support the entire set and light structures if the building is unable to support the weight of the rig – a process that adds around four hours to the usual setup time. The production is usually broken down in four to six hours, but the inclusion of ground support will add a few hours to the process and removal of ice floor, an additional eight. “Disney On Ice is one of the most professionally built
January 2014 IQ Magazine
Rapunzel, Flynn and the pub thugs in ‘Dare to Dream’
Best in Show “In Greece… we need face-to-face appearances on talk shows and live links via satellite trucks to the venue while a number is run. Feld worked hard to help us make that happen.” Vanessa Adam, ADaM Productions
Tinker Bell and her fairy friends in ‘Worlds of Fantasy’
shows that we are proud to present in Denmark,” says Carsten Svoldgaard CEO of Danish promoter CSB Island Entertainment. Svoldgaard says that local conditions mean that rigging in some of the Danish arenas has proved the biggest challenge. “It is a very large set-up and we have to take into account snow on the roof in addition to the weight of the equipment, which has meant we spend an awful lot of money on the rigging, but we resolve it to everyone’s satisfaction,” he adds.
eld’s focus on bringing the show to as many venues as possible around the world has seen Disney On Ice enjoy increasing success in emerging markets, including South America. “We are expanding in Brazil and the southern cone. We have made a commitment as a company to start taking a show down on a yearly basis that will tour for one year in the region,” McHugh reveals. Gustavo Yankelevich of Argentina-based promoters RGB Entertainment says he has enjoyed a great run with Disney On Ice. “The challenge now is to get it to a new town every year, as we’re currently doing with Cordoba and Buenos Aires,” he tells IQ. According to McHugh, Feld has taken Disney shows to 35 cities in China, which he believes is a record for a non-Chinese entertainment company. “We have brought the Disney brand to a lot of countries where it is not prominent. As Disney starts looking at Africa and the Middle East, we will have a lot more promoters knocking on our door,” he states. Nevertheless, McHugh acknowledges that concerns about security and business practices in Africa need to be overcome before Feld seriously considers touring Disney On Ice around the continent. In Australia, Disney On Ice is rather more established. Local tour facilitator Andrew Skinner recalls his involvement with the rebranding of the show. “Our two biggest achievements have been our recommendation to change the name of the tour from Walt Disney’s World on Ice to Disney On Ice,” Skinner notes. “The Australian team recommended this change in the late 1990s and it was adopted company-wide. The second initiative was to develop and nurture a customer loyalty programme, which enables us to keep in touch with customers who want “One of the challenges for Feld is competition for family entertainment and the market was over saturated for a period. But, because the Disney On Ice brand is so strong it can withstand that competition.” Guy Dunstan, NEC Group
the opportunity to book tickets in advance of general public on sale, and to receive priority information about upcoming tours. This database has proved invaluable to Feld.” In November 2012, Disney On Ice was the opening show at the 15,500-capacity Perth Arena, operated by AEG. It sold-out a week-long run that saw 70,000 tickets sold. “It was fantastic,” McHugh recalls. “Perth had been starving for entertainment for some years because historically most tours didn’t make the trip.” With much of the world already enchanted by Disney On Ice, Feld’s next step in collaboration with Disney will see the launch of Marvel Universe Live. Its world premiere at Madison Square Garden on 8 August 2014, will precede a North American tour across 85 cities during its first two years. McHugh says, “It is going to be a huge show and there will be some venues around the world that we will not be able to fit it in. We are focusing on major markets and will be bringing the show to Europe in 2016.” For the moment, though, the focus is on Disney On Ice. Asked why he believes the franchise has become such a stalwart success, Matsunaga says that it is not only about the strength of the Disney brand. “I have been with Feld for 20 years and throughout that time I have seen our ice shows implement new technology – whether that is animatronics, incorporating all moving lights in the lighting rig or using video imagery, not only on screens but also on the ice floor while skaters are performing. We are continually looking at ways to keep it fresh and that is what keeps people wanting to come back – they know they will see a fantastic story, told with artistry,” he concludes.
January 2014 IQ Magazine
January 2014 IQ Magazine
While Iceland continues to slowly recover from its economic turmoil, fellow Nordic markets – Denmark, Norway and Sweden – remain buoyant, while Finland stutters. Adam Woods explores the lands of the midnight sun… We look to the Nordic region for many things: stylish television drama, precision-engineered pop-songwriting, minimal yet homely interiors, very occasionally a sudden and terrible economic collapse (hello Iceland!) and a whole smörgåsbord besides. But we don’t look to the Nordics for turbulence in the live music industries, and we don’t tend to get it. “I feel that Norway is pretty steady”, says Live Nation Norway’s head promoter Martin Nielsen. “The region has been a very stable and good region”, says his regional boss Thomas Johansson. “In general, the whole region is doing very well,” agrees Peer Osmundsvaag of Norwegian indie, Atomic Soul. And that more or less sums up the wide-angle picture of a chilly, largely exceedingly-well-managed region that encompasses 3.5million square kilometres and a scattered population of 25 million. All the same, read on, because the close-up reveals distinct individual markets that are a little bit more complicated – albeit still pretty prosperous on the whole. Sorry Iceland. In Sweden – the sort of country where they recently closed four prisons, due to insufficient crime – a thriving market is also a fairly choosy one. Live Nation has sold around a million tickets there this year, including nine stadium shows. But there have been well-telegraphed problems with storied Swedish festivals Peace & Love, Hultsfred and Siesta, alongside tales of fresh success from events across the region including Aarhus’s NorthSide, Gothenburg’s Way Out West, and others. Outside promoters – Folkert Koopmans being one – might argue that Live Nation could stand a bit more big-league competition right across the Nordic countries, but in most parts of the region, demand has been healthy enough that independents are seldom found to grumble. Exportable Nordic talent, meanwhile, is so plentiful as to be almost impossible to summarise. Take your pick from Swedish electronic pop (Robyn, Icona Pop), organic, anthemic Icelandic produce (Of Monsters And Men, Ásgeir, Sigur Rós, and the evergreen Björk), Finnish rock (HIM, Nightwish, Apocalyptica), assorted atmospheric Danish bands (Mew, Iceage, Agnes Obel) and a bit of everything from Norway (Röyksöpp, Kings of Convenience). In November, the Nordic Music Export Office brought some of the best upcoming names to London for its Ja Ja Ja Festival, and Finland is the partner for 2014’s Great Escape in Brighton, UK. Consequently, while international acts find plentiful demand in the Nordic countries, the charts of all those nations are dominated by music they’ve made themselves. They dominate plenty of other markets too, thanks to songwriters such as Max Martin, Andreas Carlsson and Stargate.
“I think it’s really a creative time,” says Live Nation Sweden head promoter Anna Sjölund. “It’s a vibrant music community. When you have a couple of good music exports, it boosts the newcomers and creates a greater interest in Scandinavian music.”
Promoters Always with an eye to international expansion, Thomas Johansson argues (employing careful cultural and historical reasoning) that any proper definition of the Nordic region should include the Baltic States. Johansson’s ‘Nordics’, as defined by his role as Live Nation’s regional chief executive and head of international, certainly do stretch that far to the east. His approving survey of the territory strays into Lithuanian venues and Estonian acquisitions, and draws on decades of perspective. “It’s 45 years since I started EMA Telstar,” he points out. “We have been Live Nation for the past five years up here. It’s been stabilised and it is growing a little bit. Across the region, around 70% [of the business] would be international popular music, which is fine. And then we are growing locally.” Even as he pays tribute to his late Danish lieutenant Flemming Schmidt, and to ICO’s Arne Worsøe, another recently departed pioneer of the Scandinavian live scene, Johansson takes pride in the youth of the team he fields, from head promoters Anna Sjölund in Sweden and Martin Nielsen in Norway, to Scott Lavender in Finland and Jesper Christensen in Denmark. “That’s been a goal I had,” he says. “For a company like Live Nation, it is essential that we build young teams, because that is absolutely the future – to let them move forward and feel they are a part of the big machine.” Needless to say, it pains ambitious live business multinationals to see an international rival enjoying quite so much of the action as Live Nation does across the region, but if these were easy markets to crack, someone else would certainly have done it. AEG Live made a foray into Sweden a few years ago, but has since dropped back. Now the key challenger to the status quo could well prove to be FKP Scorpio. The industrious German group organises three Swedish festivals (Hultsfred, Getaway Rock and Bråvalla) and another in Denmark (NorthSide, which is co-owned with Brian Nielsen and Flemming Myllerup of Skandinavian). It has also established a Stockholm concerts operation, which has sold-out shows for Justin Bieber (three Ericsson Globe Arenas), Lana Del Rey and Bastille, and is currently under the personal management of managing director Folkert Koopmans.
Opposite page: Avenged Sevenfold at Oslo Spektrum
IQ Magazine January 2014
“For a company like Live Nation, it is essential that we build young teams, because that is absolutely the future – to let them move forward and feel they are a part of the big machine.” Thomas Johansson, Live Nation “There’s certainly a gap in the Swedish market, because there hasn’t been any real competition in all these years,” Koopmans says. “It’s kind of the same story in Norway, Finland and Denmark. Right now, we are in Sweden and Denmark. Surely, we will be looking at Norway and Finland. I am not sure when we will go there, but that is the plan.” Across the region, while there may be no rabidly competitive markets, there is certainly a meaningful collection of successful promoters, including Denmark’s ICO Concerts, Beatbox and Skandinavian; Sweden’s Luger (acquired by Live Nation last year) and veteran family entertainment specialist Julius Production; Norway’s Atomic Soul and Bergen Live; and Finland’s Fullsteam and Loud n’ Live Promotions. It is an illustration of the unsung diversity of the Nordic markets that only ICO among the long-standing independents stages works right across Scandinavia and sometimes into other parts of Europe. As well as 10,000-ticket sell-outs for Bruno Mars, Beyoncé and Michael Bublé at Copenhagen’s Forum, ICO’s Kim Worsøe (son of Arne) promoted another clutch of European dates for Prince, including Montreux and Denmark’s Smukfest, and found the market to be reasonably accommodating. “Ticket prices seem to have found a more reasonable level in Scandinavia and shows are selling fairly well,” Worsøe says. Superstar names remain fairly well insulated in the recessionresistant Nordics, though promoters in all nations talk of the increasingly stiff challenge of selling tickets to smaller shows. In Denmark, Mads Sørensen of Beatbox Booking & Concerts estimates that, while 1,500 to 5,000 remains a very prosperous window, 80% of sub-500-capacity shows fail to sell-out. “It might not be a considerable loss per individual show, but when you add it up, it is,” he points out. Finland, meanwhile, is in the grip of its toughest autumn in years, according to Fullsteam boss Juha Kyyrö. “Ticket sales have slowed down dramatically,” he says. The experience is a general one, felt by all Finnish promoters, though Fullsteam is coming off an unprecedented patch of success, having achieved 70% growth both in turnover and number of shows in 2013. Kyyrö’s highlights from a remarkable 1,100 shows this year include Bieber, System of a Down, The National, Sigur Rós, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, My Bloody Valentine and Pet Shop Boys, though besides the current downswing, he identifies other challenges. “Right now, the most spoken about topic among promoters is the challenge of exclusive deals between venues and box offices,” he says. “Promoters and agents are pretty much all furious about the fact that Ticketmaster and Lippupiste have been very active and aggressive in confirming exclusive deals with venues, allowing no allocations to other box offices or promoter sales, which can be a serious issue when trying to sell tickets to shows in specific genres especially.”
Nordics in Numbers The four key Nordic markets post good numbers. Danish collection society Koda logged 23,600 free and paid music events in Denmark in 2012, generating €168m in ticket revenue and a further €305m in associated food, drink and music tourism revenues. Finland’s live sector turned over €413.8m, of which €216.3m went into private hands [source: Music Finland]. Across Finland, there were 56,000 gigs of all kinds last year, though they were well spread, with 6,458 in Helsinki, 2,433 in Tampere and 1,906 in Turku [source: Teosto] and the rest in smaller cities and towns. In Norway, Live Nation estimates that combined live entertainment sales (including sport and amusement parks) stand at about 10m tickets. Around half of those can be attributed to shows, and collection society Tono calculates there were 23,000 concerts of all kinds in 2011. Sweden is likewise still crunching its 2012 figures, but in 2011, concert revenues came to €332m, up from €311m the year before [source: Musiksverige].
Festivals If there’s a trouble spot in the Nordics – besides Iceland, whose current economic circumstances aren’t conducive to expensive imported live entertainment, even if its talent pool remains full – it is in the Swedish festival market, which suffered a distinctly mixed summer. The Peace & Love festival, founded in 1999 in Borlänge and latterly supported (though not owned) by Live Nation, was forced to fold this year, along with Siesta, a smaller but still significant festival near Hässleholm in the far south of Sweden. Another great Swedish name, the long-struggling Hultsfred, once again lost a good deal of money, in spite of the intervention in 2011 by FKP Scorpio. Koopmans freely acknowledges that the challenge of Hultsfred was bigger than his company initially appreciated. “Hultsfred was the first thing we took over in Sweden, and we have been struggling with that one,” he concedes. “I estimated that the brand was much stronger than it actually was. In
Merchandise at the Pustervik venue during Stay Out West. © Nils Linde
January 2014 IQ Magazine
Kaizers Orchestra at NorthSide Festival 2013
“There’s certainly a gap in the Swedish market, because there hasn’t been any real competition in all these years. Right now, we are in Sweden and Denmark. Surely, we will be looking at Norway and Finland. I am not sure when we will go there, but that is the plan.” Folkert Koopmans, FKP Scorpio Germany, with a festival like this, that would have been the case, but I think Swedish people tend to move on to new things much quicker than German people, who are maybe a bit more conservative and like to stick with what they have got.” In spite of some high-profile suffering, the Swedish festival market, and the Scandinavian festival sector in general, remains a broadly very healthy ecosystem that has done very well from a warm summer. Not only are there a remarkable number of events per capita of population, but, as you might expect, those include some particularly progressive operations. “Obviously there are ups and downs,” says John Fogde, booker at NorthSide. “Last year was pretty bad for a lot of people, and this year the weather was good, so a lot of festivals went really well. Obviously, it’s all about the weather, and it’s all about the line-up.” Denmark’s esteemed Roskilde is one old Scandinavian festival that isn’t showing its age. 2013 saw the introduction
of the new Apollo electronic stage, as well as a social camping experiment called Dream City. Meanwhile, 75% of the acts who played at this year’s festival were Roskilde newcomers. “The festival market in Denmark is great for international artists, because you no longer just have one choice,” Sørensen says. “And the good thing is that an artist is not necessarily good for both Roskilde and Skanderborg, and one that will do great at Nibe will not in particular do well at NorthSide. It’s a small country and it seems strange that it can be so different from festival to festival, but it is, so it’s important which one you choose.” In Denmark, NorthSide is the fancy new kid in town, having brought an unprecedented dose of live music to the second city of Aarhus. From 2010’s one-day event, with a single stage and five Danish acts, NorthSide in 2013 was a sold-out, three-day event involving three stages, 25,000 guests, and headliners including Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Portishead, Phoenix, Biffy Clyro and The Flaming Lips. “The fact that there has never been an outdoor festival meant there was a huge demand – much bigger than we ever could have imagined,” says, Fogde. “The fact that we have done it, and done it with fairly major acts, has just blown people’s minds here, because in general, most acts just play Copenhagen and then move on.” As they do everywhere, festivals in the Nordics have the opportunity to drag watchable talent off its accustomed paths. Bergen Live’s Bergenfest, for which the local promoter
“Promoters and agents are pretty much all furious about the fact that Ticketmaster and Lippupiste have been very active and aggressive in confirming exclusive deals with venues, allowing no allocations to other box offices or promoter sales.” Juha Kyyrö, Fullsteam partners with Live Nation, swamped the relatively small city with international and domestic artists in June for the second year as an open-air festival. “In Bergen, we have gone from having nearly nothing happening during the summer to a very, very active load of shows and festivals,” says Bergen Live director Frank Nes, whose partnership with Live Nation has also brought stadium shows for Bon Jovi, Rihanna and Muse to the modestly sized Norwegian second city this year. “It is a challenging time for us, but it is interesting. People are buying tickets still, and the market is really responding to everything that is happening.” The 30,000-capacity Way Out West festival in Gothenburg, operated by Live Nation via Luger (the independent promoter it acquired last year) makes the most of its city location by running Stay Out West, a late-night overspill event across the Swedish second city’s conventional and non-traditional venues. “Maybe half of the audience carries on each night, and that is roughly the capacity we have for it,” says Ola Broquist, head promoter for Way Out West and Stockholm Music & Arts. “It requires a bit of planning, but it’s nice.”
Remarkably effective, too, has been Way Out West’s shift, dating from last year, to entirely vegetarian onsite catering. “It really caused a big media fuss in 2012, but it has made a major impact on our environmental footprint, which is a big deal for us, and we get so many positive reactions.” Founded in November 2009, eps Scandinavia is one of the region’s most recognised infrastructure and service suppliers for festivals, concerts and events. Company spokesperson Yvonne Kloefkorn tells IQ that they have storage facilities and offices near Roskilde, Denmark plus storage in Sweden. “The biggest market for eps Scandinavia is Sweden and Norway, followed by Denmark and finally Finland,” she adds. “As huge distances, costs for ferries and tolls for bridges make transport costs quite high in Scandinavia, one of the biggest challenges for the coming years is to build a strong network of warehouse facilities to save costs for our clients. This is also important as promoters are facing more and more cost pressure from all sides. The sad stories about dying festivals (Peace & Love, Siesta, Kollenfest, Ratt & Rade Festival Stavanger) are clear signs for this pressure.” Throughout the Nordic region, fees, content and routing are, of course, the issues that keep festival promoters on their toes, combined with the ever-present dangers of market saturation. Norway, Sweden and Denmark, with their strong currencies, are renowned as good payers which, among foreign agents, creates high expectations. In Norway, Martin Nielsen tots up a total of 43 festivals between early June and late August, for a native population of 5 million people. “I think that is more than most countries in Europe,” he says. “Most of those events have been smart and
kept their capacities at a reasonable level, instead of increasing at the first sign of success. “But content becomes a problem,” Nielsen adds, “because there’s a limited number of domestic acts that can headline. The alternative is international acts, but it’s a bigger puzzle to fit the exact date with their routing, plus they usually require both more money and bigger productions.” While much is made of the unfavourable exchange rate for travelling festival fans embarking on a Scandinavian adventure, Øya Festival head of booking, Claes Olsen, produces figures which demonstrate that Øya, with its four-day duration, costs less to attend (€70 per day) than Reading in the UK (€79). “If you compare the ticket prices with average salaries in the country, the Norwegian festivals prices will also be much cheaper for the local audience,” he notes. “It might be that a festival in Poland is more expensive for a 22-year-old local than a Norwegian festival is for a Norwegian 22 year old.” Olsen produces figures from the Norwegian Festival Organisation that further illustrate his point. Norway had 770,000 festival-goers in 2013, and 78.8% of events reported increased visitor numbers compared to 2012, with 60% reporting better revenues. Other key Nordic festivals are too numerous to list in full, but include western Denmark’s Skive Festival and Copenhagen’s thriving metal event Copenhell; Norway’s biggest rock festival Hove and the picturesque Slottsfjell in Tønsberg; in Sweden, 30-year-old city festival Storsjöyran in Östersund and the Sweden Rock Festival in Sölvesborg; and in Finland, the international rock festival Provinssirock, the 43-year-old Ruisrock and Tuska Open Air Metal Festival. Iceland, of course, has Iceland Airwaves, while next year’s Nordic Sónar trip goes to both Reykjavík and Stockholm in June. And bolstering the Icelandic scene, following a successful festival launch headlined by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in June 2013, UK-based All Tomorrow’s Parties returns to Keflavík next July with a three-day event at Ásbrú, a former NATO base.
Venues These are the days of concerted building in major Nordic cities. Stockholm alone has two new stadiums in AEG’s 40,000-capacity Tele2 Arena and the 65,000-capacity Friends Arena, to add to the 16,000-capacity Ericsson Globe. Copenhagen awaits Live Nation’s Copenhagen Arena, due for completion in 2015, to add to the still relatively new Malmö Arena, just across the Øresund Bridge. The remarkable thing about all this building, says Atomic Soul promoter Peer Osmundsvaag, is the limited impact it appears to be having on the prosperity of existing buildings – in Oslo, at least. “This year, there has been so many shows,”
IQ Magazine January 2014
he says. “Obviously, the [23,000-capacity] Telenor Arena has come up [in 2010] and Live Nation has done God-knows-howmany shows there. But at the same time, Spektrum, which was previously the only arena, had a record year as well.” At the medium-sized level, too, Osmundsvaag calculates that, between the Rockefeller, Sentrum Scene and John Dee venues, there were 83 shows in November. “In little Oslo – seven days off between three venues,” he marvels, also noting the ongoing health of the smaller Parkteatret and Blå clubs. In Oslo, in fact, the major headache, if you can call it that, is the frequency with which shows by fast-breaking artists are being moved up to bigger venues; Ellie Goulding (Spektrum), Bastille (Sentrum Scene) and Disclosure (Sentrum Scene) all sold-out after bursting the box office at smaller places. “You have really got to listen to the music now, and put your A&R hat on,” Osmundsvaag observes. “Some artists, you just look at their history and you know how they’ll do, but that is getting harder and harder to do. Now you have got to sit down and listen, and have a good network of people who are doing the same.” Denizens of Copenhagen are more likely to gripe about the venues on offer, which, at the small-to-medium end, are limited to the 1,500-capacity Vega Musikkens Hus and the 6,000-cap Tap 1 in Vesterbro. Sørensen bemoaned the situation in IQ’s last Nordic focus, and he reports that nothing has improved. “Not at all, it is still a nightmare,” he says. In Helsinki, the 45-50,000-capacity Olympic Stadium, the busy Hartwall Areena (13,000), the 8,200-capacity Ice Hall, the 1,500-capacity Circus, and 900-cap Nosturi are among the key spots in a thriving live town, though there are also significant spots in Tampere (Pakkahuone, Klubi) and Turku (another Klubi, and the Linnateatteri, where Tom Waits makes a rare appearance in February). Stockholm has Annexet, the smaller hall at the Ericsson Globe, and the Münchenbryggeriet hall, as well as clubs such as Debaser and Fryshuset. Malmö has a Debaser too, while Gothenburg’s clubs include Trädgårn and Sticky Fingers. Malmö’s venture into high-spec indoor music and sport facilities, Malmö Arena, is looking at its best year since opening in 2008, according to chief executive Karin Mårtensson, having hosted the Eurovision Song Contest, The Killers and Mark Knopfler, with Depeche Mode due in December. “We can feel a light decline in international music acts, but we are filling that gap with other kinds of entertainment and shows, sports events and corporate events,” Mårtensson says. How the competition from the Copenhagen Arena will change things, Mårtensson can’t quite predict, but it needn’t entirely be a negative. “Of course we are mentally preparing ourselves,” she says. “But there could as well be new possibilities for bigger sports events to be held in both Malmö and Copenhagen, which is good for this region.” In Tampere, third city of Finland, former Music Export Finland chief Paulina Ahokas is two years into her role in charge of Tampere Hall Congress and Concert Centre, the largest congress and concert centre in the Nordic countries, and echoes Kyyrö’s account of the autumn slowdown. “Something that sells pretty well in terms of records doesn’t necessarily sell concert tickets,” she says, noting successes with local heroes such as Ismo Alanko and Juha Tapio. “People want narratives. You can’t just have great music, it has to have some kind of depth.”
Like Clockwork Widely recognised as one of the greatest rock acts on the planet, it seems strange that Queens of the Stone Age are only now stepping-up to arena-level. However, with only a short preproduction window and a desire to keep the show credible, Gordon Masson discovers that this tour is evolving on a gig-by-gig basis… As anyone connected with their latest tour will tell you, Queens of the Stone Age are not your run-of-the-mill act. On the back of their latest studio album – Like Clockwork – topping the charts in territories around the world, the band are on their first international arena tour and, as such, are finding their feet, having stepped-up a level in terms of headline shows. While many acts contemplating their first arena tour might spend months planning such an outing, production manager Bill Rahmy reveals he and his crew had slightly less time to prepare for their European leg. “We went into pre-production at The Wiltern Theatre [in Los Angeles] eight days before the first date,” Rahmy says. “The mixing on the record ran longer than anyone expected, so we didn’t have long, but with a band like Queens, I think that sometimes works in your favour.” Rahmy has been working with QOTSA since 2009 and is incredibly protective when it comes to the band and their production values. But he tells IQ that the level of interaction between the artists and crew is helping improve the show and is a far cry from some of his past clients. “I worked with the Chili Peppers for nine years and those guys didn’t give a shit about production – and you can quote me on that,” states Rahmy. “We’d put on a huge show, but there was no input from them. Honestly, in those nine years they collectively probably said about 4,000 words to me. They’d just turn up and play and didn’t care about the production elements at all.” That’s the polar opposite of the current tour employing Rahmy, who discloses that despite visiting some of the largest indoor venues in Europe, there has been a concerted effort to retain the feel of an intimate rock show, thus ignoring the temptation to up the ante production-wise. Steve Strange of X-ray Touring has been QOTSA’s agent for 15 years and says retaining their raw approach to live has been crucial. “They’re a band that let their music do the talking,” he says. “But they’ve definitely stepped the shows up a notch. Bill is one of the most experienced production managers in the business – he’s a big player and has brought a lot of greatness to this organisation.” Recalling his introduction to the band, Strange says, “I’ve booked them as early as their fourth show, which was their first with Nick Oliveri. I was a fan of Kyuss and I knew Queens’ manager through another client, so I met Josh [Homme], we sat down for a conversation and the rest is history.” Applauding the stripped-back feel to this latest tour, Strange observes, Photo ©Tony Wooliscroft
January 2014 IQ Magazine
QOTSA ©Tony Wooliscroft
“It’s a very effective and clever way of producing the show – there’s a really well-thought-out light show and the way that they’ve built the video wall is very impressive – it’s a straightforward rock production, but it’s done in a very intelligent way.” And Rahmy is keen to give kudos to the band’s participation. “Josh is instrumental in what he wants on the production-side, so for this tour he wanted lights, lots of sound and the backline, but also something new on the visual side. Historically, Queens have been minimal on the visuals, but I think there was a realisation that for arena shows something bigger was required, so that’s why they have the video wall.”
Learning Curve The Like Clockwork tour began in Milan, Italy, in early November and with a move into arenas the production was scaled-up to cater for larger rooms and bigger audiences. That has involved a degree of experimentation, as well as a lot of trust in their crew, from the band’s point of view. Motoring through Europe, the tour travelled from Italy to Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands and France before skipping across the English Channel to the UK for a number of dates. Unusually, the tour then returned to mainland Europe, taking in dates in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany again, Denmark and, finally, Norway. “The schedule was down to the fact we had to change the routing three or four times,” Strange explains. “Their earlier routes were probably better where we ended up in the UK and didn’t have to go back into Europe. But the band’s commitments meant we had to revise those plans because their US tour was finishing later than we originally thought and the band also needed some time off between runs.” Strange is not the only one having to contend with lastminute changes, as the crew is having to get to grips with new equipment, while the artists themselves are working hard to make sure that the reputation they have gained through their performances in clubs and theatres is not diluted in the bigger venues. Lighting director Fraser Elisha comments, “It’s been a bit of a learning curve, as we’re using some Elidy panels of LED lights that are fairly new. They’re just white LEDs but we’re running video through them as well, which Andy Babin, our video boffin, helped us to do.”
Seeing the Light With the band including a visit to Amsterdam for the Europe Music Awards, agent Strange received a special request to arrange an additional filler date at the Tivoli in nearby Utrecht.
IQ Magazine January 2014
“The club was one of the first decentsized shows in the band’s early career and Josh had good memories of it,” Strange reports. “Also Tivoli is moving buildings, so he was determined the band should play there one last time.” Dutch promoter Jeps Salfischberger at Mojo Concerts says QOTSA was one of the first bands he ever worked with. “My career has grown alongside that of the band, so it’s always great to see them again – the show at the Ziggo Dome [26 November] will be my 23rd show with Queens in the Netherlands. I remember the first one was at Paradiso Upstairs [cap. 250] in the summer of 2000, and we didn’t sell-out.” Confirming Homme’s wish to play the club show, Salfischberger says, “Josh asked if they could play at the Tivoli the night before the MTV Awards, because he’d played there 12 years ago.” In keeping with the band’s ethos, all 1,000 tickets for the intimate 9 November show were only available to fans that had already booked tickets for the Ziggo Dome show. “It was an amazing show,” Salfischberger says. “They left all their FOH tables and monitors and stuff in the trucks and just used the backline on stage. But that’s the great thing about Queens of the Stone Age; they can do little shows as well as arena shows and festivals.” While the tour is being hauled around the continent in five Fly By Nite trucks, the Utrecht venue barely needed one vehicle for the band to take to the stage. But rather than losing an edge on the production, the travelling party realised that their arena shows were being compromised. Rahmy notes, “Tivoli was a great show because it changed the tour. Fraser only had the house lighting desk to use, but everyone said it was great and that prompted us to make some major tweaks. The Tivoli show had no video wall and because of that we realised that the screen was creating so much light that it had been drowning out our other lights.” Lighting director Elisha comments, “The band has never used a video screen before, so there was content programmed for practically everything they did at the start of the tour, but we’ve slowly cut back on the use of the screen as the tour has progressed. Visually it breaks things up, but it is a very big backlight, so using it a bit more sparingly is working well.” Rahmy states, “Before Tivoli, about 75% of the show had the video running. Now we’re down to about 40%, but it’s much more impactive.” Audio chief Phil Reynolds says it was the same with the club show’s sound system. “We didn’t bring anything in – it was all Tivoli’s in-house PA. We just wanted to leave the club show analogue and give it that punk-rock feel.” In addition to discovering the detrimental effect the screen was having on lighting, the crew found out just how talented their new LD was. “The fact that Fraser had to go freeform at Tivoli showed us just how good he is doing the lights off the cuff and everyone really loved that, so it’s been incorporated into the show.” And admitting that the look and feel of the Like Clockwork
gigs will no doubt change again, the veteran production guru says, “I felt the show was getting a bit stale and stagnant, but the changes after Tivoli have shaken things up. With Queens, you don’t require a lot of distractions for people to appreciate the show.” Hinting at further amendments, he adds, “I’m still not sure the video [wall] is the right fit for the band. Personally, I think that unless you put a lot of time into it, so that you can really plan it and integrate it into the show, then it’s questionable. I’m not convinced that it is value for money yet.”
Elisha is also enjoying the process. “The whole premise of the show is organic and it’s not heavily pre-programmed, so I really enjoy the freeform aspect – it gives things a more spontaneous feel.” He continues, “The set list changes daily and they’ll sometimes just go straight from one song into another without me realising what’s going on until they do it. This is the first time I’ve worked with Queens, but I’ve worked with [lighting designer] Paul Normandale on the likes of Coldplay and that’s how I got involved in this tour.” As for the process, which involves the crew experimenting with ways to improve the live experience, Reynolds reveals, “We usually have a discussion the day after a show, where people will say ‘I want to try this…’ etc. The band obviously comes up with some stuff, but that’s mostly stage stuff – when they are on stage they have no idea how things sound front of house, so mostly Hutch is tailoring new ideas as we go along. And if they don’t work, we throw them out and try again.” The tour’s rigger, Yose Lawson, is another newbie to the QOTSA crew. “But I’ve worked with Bill before on the Chilis, R.E.M. and Jack White,” he says. “This production is stripped right back to the basics – it’s small, tidy and they’re a great band. There’s no overkill, but there’s an element of lights and video to lift things. But being so stripped back makes things easier for the planning.” The constant environment of change is not without its problems though. “Because it’s the Queens’ first arena tour, there was always going to be an element of evolution as they mould it into what it needs to be,” Lawson says. “The band hasn’t done this before so they’ve reached out to the crew for a
It’s not just the visuals that have been subject to change. While QOTSA’s crew members have years’ of experience working on arena tours, and bigger, their task in dealing with this latest production has involved continuous challenges. Rahmy says, “I’ve never understood why some shows are micromanaged so that when they go out of the door from rehearsals, they remain the same for every date. So the decision on the screen being used sparingly, for example, is just part of the evolution on this tour.” Universal audio chief Reynolds agrees with that philosophy. “We’re trying out a few new things through various plug-ins to the desk. It’s also the first time the band have used in-ear monitors and it’s been a slow process converting them to that, but we’ve worked to keep the stage volume down to help the band, and Hutch [FOH engineer Patrick ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson] is now moving more into the vocal effects – it’s pretty interesting.”
CREW PERSONNEL Kevin Carter, tour manager Bill Rahmy, production manager Claire van Herck, production coordinator Patrick ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, FOH engineer Shaun Sebastian, monitor engineer Fraser Elisha, lighting director Amery Smith, backline tech Matt Zivich, backline tech Eric Baecht, backline tech Philip Reynolds, universal audio chief Tony Smith, Skan PA crew chief
Onno Ooms, audio tech Richie Gough, audio tech David George, universal lighting chief Kristan Lundberg, lighting tech Philip Sharp, lighting tech Damian Courage, lighting tech Doug Hallman, video tech Adam Finer, video tech Yose Lawson, rigger Bertrand Castagnet, merch Gio Gasparetti, venue security director
Management: Silva Artist Management Booking Agency: X-ray Touring Video: Chaos Visual Productions Audio: Skan PA Hire Lighting: Lite Alternative Merchandising: Lo-Fi Merchandise Radios: Road Radios Travel Agent: Music By Appointment Staging: Litestructures Live Visual Design: Lite Alternative Bussing: Beat The Street Trucking: Fly By Nite Freight: Rock-it Cargo
January 2014 IQ Magazine
QOTSA at Tivoli, Utrecht © BenHoudijk.com
QOTSA ©Tony Wooliscroft
Rigger, Lawson, comments, “It’s a good crew and the band are great – they’re real people who come and talk to us. I’ve worked with plenty of artists who live in their ivory towers and want nothing to do with the crew. Or rather, the people around them isolate them in an ivory tower and they don’t have a clue what’s going on with their crew, or even who their crew are.”
Sold-out Shows bit of guidance, so every day we’re trying something different. It can be annoying, as usually these kinds of experiments are confined to the first week, but it’s good to be involved in something organic.” Pinpointing specific issues, Lawson says, “In Europe, venues are quite strict about knowing in advance what to expect: you can’t just rock up to a venue without letting them know what you’re up to.” Rahmy’s overview is simple. “The last thing that you want on the road is for the band to do the same show night after night,” he says. “It’s good to be spontaneous. And it’s not a disaster to have a bit of a shitty show because that makes you rethink things and work harder to make it better next time out.”
Slimline Tour Party Although the band is touring arenas, the stripped-back production means Beat The Street’s coaches are transporting a relatively small, multitasking crew. “We have a universal crew of eight or nine people and for this tour we’ve just added some vendors like sound, lights and video,” explains Rahmy, who is also stage manager and carpenter. “We’re educating each other, and mainly the band, about touring arenas. Artists have to learn that when you get to this level you’re going to need more staff. But it’s much more enjoyable when you have control over who you hire. Everyone is wearing two or three hats, but everyone is enjoying themselves.” When it comes to suppliers, the Like Clockwork tour relies on the promoters and venues to provide staging, barricades and catering etc, while others, such as screen suppliers Chaos Visual Productions, have been chosen through past experience or after seeing other acts’ shows. “We’ve gone with Paul Normandale’s company for lighting,” Rahmy reveals. “The band liked what he did for the likes of Björk, so Josh was keen to get him involved.” As for PA hire experts Skan, he notes, “It’s the first time I’ve used them on a multi-date tour, but we did a great show with them at Glastonbury in 2011, so it wasn’t a tough decision.” He adds, “Our security guy, Gio, was hired at the last minute because we’ve never toured with security before. But we recognised that the band is getting bigger and the tour is bigger, so having someone professional to look after security is just something else that we don’t have to worry about now.”
Certainly, those promoting Like Clockwork appear happy with the outcome of the production tinkering, but agent Strange believes an understanding between the promoters and the band has been key to the development of their career. “We’ve been working with the same stable of promoters for a long time now,” he says. “Joe Rambock has taken Queens from German Tours to FKP Scorpio and now MLK, for instance. Luger has been involved from the beginning and the same can be said for Jeps in Holland, Herman [Schueremans] in Belgium, Salomon [Hazot] in France, Sebastien [Vuignier] in Switzerland, Corrado [Rizzotto] in Italy, and Mads [Sørensen] in Denmark. There’s never been any need to change any of our promoters, because they all understand where the band is coming from.” Vuignier at Takk Productions first worked with QOTSA back in June 2000 at the 500-capacity Abart club in Zürich. “This time we had them at the St. Jakobshalle Basel with 5,000 people and I have to say this was their best show yet,” he reports. “They are maybe the best rock act alive now and they’ve put together a great production designed for arenas, but still with that Queens-of-the-Stone-Age feeling – it’s a rock band and a rock show. The great thing about this band is they have always delivered, but now they’ve added another dimension suitable for arenas and festivals and I’m sure the story will go higher and higher.” Rambock at Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur has been working with QOTSA since day one and remembers well the first time he met them. “They were supporting Monster Magnet back in the late 90s,” he says. “I started working them up through the clubs and that finally culminated in June this year with a sold-out, 10,000-capacity, outdoor show at the Citadel in Berlin. Queens are now regarded as the number one contemporary rock band.” Rambock’s dates on this tour included Stuttgart’s Schleyer Halle (cap. 11,000), Zenith (5,850) in Munich, Düsseldorf’s Mitsubishi Electric Hall (7,000) and O2 World (13,400) in Hamburg. “Our shows pretty much covered Germany, especially when you realise that they played Berlin in June and they also performed at the Hurricane and Southside festivals this year,” Rambock states. “But it’s been five years since Queens had a headline tour here, so the timing to come back was perfect.”
Magic Moments While QOTSA fans around Europe have been enjoying the band’s inaugural arena outing, the touring party have been working their nuts off to deliver the goods and report that two shows in particular made their efforts worthwhile. “The Dublin show was just spectacular – the crowd were
January 2014 IQ Magazine
QOTSA QOTSA on stage at Birmingham’s NIA, ©Tony Wooliscroft
mad for it and there was just an incredible dynamic between them and the band,” says promoter Leslie McDonogh at MCD. “We had 11,000 people in The O2, which is by far the biggest show we’ve done indoors with the band in Ireland, but it still had a really intimate feel to it. Queens of the Stone Age do not need a lot of bells and whistles, so they’ve thankfully kept their arena show very basic. To be honest, I don’t think a big production would suit them; it’s just not their style.” Rahmy says, “Dublin was just one of those special moments for the band where there was a real connection with the audience. That doesn’t happen too often.” In saying that, Rahmy says a similar thing happened in Scotland. “The show at The Hydro worked well and again the crowd went crazy and there was a great connection. That was Duncan Gray’s first show at The Hydro as well, so I was really pleased for him.”
Triple G Music’s relationship with Queens goes back to the late 90s when they played the Cathouse (cap. 350) in Glasgow. “I’ve personally promoted them a few times, including the Corn Exchange (cap. 2,800) in Edinburgh, in 2008, which was their previous biggest show here,” Gray says. “When we originally went on sale for this tour, we were thinking we might sell about 5,000 tickets so we were initially looking to book Hall 3 in The SECC, but they wouldn’t give us the availability because they were pushing for dates in The Hydro.” Admitting to some anxiety about filling the huge new venue, Gray says that the QOTSA fans, like their heroes, stepped up to the mark, and ticket sales surpassed the 9,200 mark for The Hydro date. “Although they have stepped up, the gig very much had a Queens’ feel to it – they haven’t just added gimmicks like lots of other bands do when they get to arena-level. For instance, there are no follow spots, which for an arena show is almost unheard of,” Gray says. Rahmy explains, “Queens have never used follow spots – I don’t think they like the feeling of it in their eyes, apart from anything else. That may evolve in time, but then again, it might not.” When it comes to the crew’s favourite date, there was no contest. “Everyone loved Dublin,” Reynolds says. “There were mosh pits and people throwing each other about – it had a bit of a festival feel to it.” Elisha interjects, “It’s great working with Queens when you get a really appreciative crowd because you can see the band feeding off of that too.” And Strange agrees: “Dublin was off the hook!”
QOTSA ©Tony Wooliscroft
MCD’s McDonogh concludes, “Josh came off stage buzzing – he said to me ‘Tonight was so special – the interaction with the crowd, the venue staff, everything... it just clicked.’ When you question why you do this, it’s nights like Dublin that just make it all worthwhile. The atmosphere was electric.”
Growth Dilemma Now on the North American tour, the band will be in their homeland through to February and a month later cross the Pacific for an Australasian leg where they share the bill with one of Homme’s closest friends, Trent Reznor – a contributor on the Like Clockwork album. “They’re co-headlining with Nine Inch Nails in Australia – they close four shows and Queens close four shows,” Strange explains. “It’s all entertainment centres in Australia, continuing the arena theme, while we’re doing multiples in Melbourne and Sydney.” But when it comes to what’s next for Queens of the Stone Age, there’s a bit of a debate. Certainly, their agent is in no doubt that Queens have what
it takes to become that rarity of live acts – a stadium band. “They have all the hallmarks of a band that’s going to go the whole way,” Strange says. “We’re looking at a series of festivals and headline shows for next May, June, July and August. Because festivals mean you can’t carry as much gear, it’s going to be interesting, but I know that Bill Rahmy has had discussions with the band about what they’ll do outdoors.” However, the production manager himself is non-committal and having steered the band’s first arena tour successfully through Europe, Rahmy is in two minds about whether anything other than festival performances for the Queens should ever be contemplated outdoors. “It’s nice that the band can make a lot more money, but I’m biased because Queens and the crew are like family to me,” Rahmy says. “It’s maybe a transient family, but I kind of like it when it’s kept smaller because you have more of a chance to get to know each other better.” He adds, “We’re probably just going to do festival shows next year, plus a few fillers. A band like Queens are meant to play indoors, so I’m not sure about the stadium thing. But never say never.”
January 2013 2014 IQ Magazine November
The Gaffer Having a father who is one of the most respected tour managers in the business, a career in live music was always on the cards for Jesse Sandler. As production manager for Bon Jovi, he is currently piloting Because We Can – the highest grossing tour of 2013 – which makes him a very worthy recipient of The Gaffer award. Gordon Masson learns of his rapid rise through the ranks…
ike so many of the best production gurus, the live music business found Jesse Sandler, rather than him planning a career in the industry. However, with father, Harry Sandler, established as one of the best tour managers in North America, it’s maybe not too surprising that Jesse took to the same path. But his meteoric rise to the top of the game owes more to his work ethic than any family connections and everyone IQ spoke to, for this celebration of his achievements, highlighted his drive and untiring approach to learning about the tasks each crew member has to perform. The industry’s gain has been sport’s loss, as Sandler himself admits to having been a jock at school before music started to play a bigger part in his life. But even some summertime jaunts on tour with dad Harry didn’t initially win Jesse over to the live music business and he recalls being a bit aimless in his younger days as he tried to figure out what he wanted to do for a living. But dad provided the introductions necessary to set him on his way. “From a parent’s point of view I just wanted him to go down some route,” says Harry, who confesses he is glad Jesse has found his niche in live music. “It’s a good business,” he continues. “It has its pluses and minuses and I’ve loved it for 45 years, so it’s good that he chose this path.” Jesse Sandler was born in Queens, New York, where his father was originally a photographer for magazines. “Dad started going to shows and taking pictures of bands and artists and was a regular backstage. From there, he started hanging out with bands and eventually became a tour manager – from as early as I can remember he has been in the touring business.” Pondering his own first brush with touring, Sandler states, “The first act I was aware of dad working with was Bruce Springsteen.” Sandler senior recalls, “In 1981, Jesse came to Europe on the River tour – he was only six or seven years old. I remember him asking me on the plane if the TV would be in English.” That wasn’t the most embarrassing incident, however. “When we were flying into Barcelona it was a particularly rough landing and Jesse threw up over Jon Landau. That was a moment. But to be fair, Jon took it well,” Harry laughs. And he reports that young Jesse also learned early on about some of the benefits of being on the road. “Bruce was doing multiple arena dates in Los Angeles and Jesse flew to
California for that – that’s where he learned about room service at the pool...”
andler attended Brooklyn Technical High School, where his primary interest was sport. “I was a typical New York kid who loved to play basketball and baseball.” However, once he entered college, his interests shifted from sports to music. So when, in 1998, Harry was preparing a New York promo trip with John Mellencamp, Jesse was given his introduction to the business. “They were playing at The Bowery Ballroom and dad called to say they were looking for a runner. I didn’t know what a runner was, but I wasn’t doing anything else, so I did that for two or three days. “I didn’t think much of it,” he says. “I just thought working in the live music business was something dad did.” In April the following year, a full Mellencamp tour provided another opportunity. “They were looking for a production assistant and dad asked if was I interested. John Mellencamp was very popular at the time, so although it wasn’t major in terms of production, it was a big arena tour all the same. I was just thrown into it and, at the end of the tour, it was the first time I thought that it was definitely something I could do for a career. But at the time I knew nothing – I’d literally show up and ask what they wanted me to do.” Thankfully, some experienced road warriors could see the rookie’s potential. “I was working with Rocky Holman, who was Mellencamp’s monitor engineer and production manager at the time,” Sandler continues. “In the beginning, there wasn’t a lot for me to do because I didn’t know what to do. Basically, I was a glorified runner who travelled with the band.” But Sandler’s eagerness to learn served him well, as Holman, who was also monitor engineer for Bon Jovi, asked him if he was free for the band’s European tour in 2000. “Rocky and I had a great relationship, but Bon Jovi already had a production assistant so Rocky suggested I get a job with Clair Brothers. Even though I had no idea about touring audio, he obviously had a lot of pull, so he vouched for me and it opened the door.”
Photo © David Bergman
IQ Magazine January 2014
L Bon Jovi in Gdansk, Poland © Allison Harvey
Like father, like son. You don’t have to ask Jesse to get it done; it already is done. From New York to South Africa, Bulgaria to Australia, whether it was our stadium stage or our arena stage or a local stage in an exotic locale, I never had to worry it wouldn’t be sturdy or on time. Congrats Jesse! You deserve the atta boy...”
Jon Bon Jovi
orking a few one-off shows as a PA tech for Clair Brothers in New York during the following summer, Sandler again picked up skills by simply watching more experienced roadies. But in August 2000, a place on Bon Jovi’s European stadium tour became free. “I was basically the last guy in the audio crew,” Sandler says. “I didn’t want to screw up or embarrass Rocky, but at the same time I had no idea what a European tour meant, so I just turned up and followed everyone else. But that started a real relationship with Clair Brothers and I turned out to be a pretty good audio tech.” Still plugged into the Bon Jovi grapevine, Sandler learned that the production assistant from their previous tour had not returned and he decided to take the bull by the horns. “My initial though was to call up Bugzee [Hougdahl], even though I didn’t know him well. So instead I called their head rigger Mike Farese to say I was interested in the gig. Bugzee agreed to try me out, so I called Clair and told them that I quit, because I realised that if I didn’t grasp the opportunity, it might never come back. So in 2002, I went out with Bon Jovi as production assistant.” Sandler admits it was a steep learning curve. “I’d done a few Mellencamp tours, but Bon Jovi didn’t compare to a Mellencamp tour at all – it was a major step up to the next level and I quickly realised there were a ton of things I didn’t know. But my attitude was just to get in there and do it and I soon found out there was no better place to learn.”
uckily, working with Bugzee turned out to be a fantastic move. “We hit it off straight away and Bugzee has ended up being like a second father to me,” Sandler says. “We share the same birthday (8 January) which maybe explains why we get on so well. I think the next tour we were on together was Prince’s Musicology in 2004. Certainly, persuading Bugzee to take me on was the single greatest thing that I did to get me to where I am now.” That relationship with Bugzee extends as far as his mentor getting himself ordained so that he could tie the knot for Jesse at his wedding in April 2012. “I performed the ceremony when Jesse and Courtney were married,” Bugzee tells IQ. “It was a real honour to be asked.” And looking back on his protégé’s progression in the business, Bugzee remarks, “There might be a genetic edge built into him for his job, as I’m sure his dad will concur that you need a very tough skin to succeed as a production manager on a rock tour, and Harry Sandler’s hide is legendary!” Indeed, Sandler senior believes his son could not have chosen anyone better to work with. “Rocky was great in guiding Jesse along – he was really patient with him,” Harry says. “And then Bugzee took him under his wing. He could not have asked for two better people to learn the business from.” Asked why he thinks his offspring took the PM rather than TM route in the business, Harry admits, “I had Jesse working for me on a Don Henley tour which had a 12-piece gospel choir and he was the choir’s road manager. That might have been what made him move to production...” For his part, Jesse contends that his father works in the more testing side of the business. “The production side of things is a little easier because you’re dealing with the crew and gear for the most part on a daily basis. There is still artist interaction that occurs, but for the most part the production manager’s dealings with the artists are pretty straight forward in my experience.”
Building his Reputation
n-between working for Bon Jovi, Sandler filled in as production coordinator for the Eagles in 2005, on which Harry was also tour manager and tour director. “I toured with Stevie Nicks and Don Henley in the same year and that led to me becoming Don’s production manager for the next few years. But I always go back to Bon Jovi when they hit the road,” he states. Addressing his other production manager duties, he says, “Working with Nickelback is also great. They called and said they liked what I was doing on Bon Jovi. It was a great feeling because it validated all my hard work – it was a great compliment for a young production manager coming up in the business.” But there was one biggie that tragically got away from him. “I was doing the Michael Jackson This Is It tour,” he laments. “Bugzee was hired by AEG as production manager. At the time I was in New York enjoying life, but Bugzee called because he needed help in Los Angeles to straighten things out. So I was lucky enough to be in rehearsals for a few weeks. But there were two Bon Jovi shows scheduled for July, so I went out for those and was supposed to go back to Jackson when they were done, but tragically Michael passed away.”
Bugzee and Jesse Munich 2008
IQ Magazine January 2014
While he has worked for other artists, Sandler has cemented his reputation in the business through two key clients. “Bon Jovi and Nickelback have provided my consistent work for the last few years, but it was only 2009 when I started as PM for Bon Jovi. It was a steady progression up the ranks and the great thing about working with Bon Jovi is that you often double up on roles, so I’d been production assistant in 2002, but I’d also spent some time doing things like production accountant and even ticketing on one tour.”
Adding to his Repertoire
lthough he contends that being schooled by the likes of Bugzee and Rocky has played a major part in his success, Sandler’s appetite to learn the ropes has undoubtedly been a huge factor. But he believes being part of the Bon Jovi touring family has also allowed him to expand his skills set. “Working with Bon Jovi gives you the flexibility to do that, while still being involved in the production side of things. I still try to take in as much as I can because there are a lot of guys who have a lot more experience than I do and in this business the more you know, the more you can do.” Explaining that philosophy, he says, “If you can connect the dots – the production part, the money part, the logistics, ticketing – it means you can think everything through. Having that understanding is vital – realising that if you do A, it affects B, C and D, is really important.” Sandler explains, “I was on a Nickelback tour which had heavy amounts of motion in it, so I decided to take a motion class to understand how it all worked. If you understand how all departments work and what people on the crew have to deal with, then it makes life easier for everyone.” He adds, “There’s always a better way of doing something, or at least a different way that should be considered. So you pick some things up and throw some things out as you go along – it all depends on the tour: every tour has different goals and different strategies to achieve those goals. Some tours are concerned with how much
There’s so much that goes on behind-the-scenes before, during and after the show, and our production manager, Jesse Sandler, is always calm and collected. He is one hard-working man and I am grateful that he is getting the recognition he deserves. Behind every band on stage... it takes a village backstage. Thank you, Jesse.”
David Bryan – Bon Jovi
Bon Jovi set, Copenhagen © David Bergman
money is being spent, for instance, while others go very heavy on production and don’t care so much about the budgets.”
hen Hougdahl suffered ill health a few years ago, Sandler stepped up to the position of Bon Jovi’s production manager. “Bugzee had a heart attack, so has eased back a little,” Sandler says. “He does the Shania Twain show in Las Vegas, so he’s not retired, but avoiding going on the road is definitely a good move for his health. But I’ve no doubt we will work together again on something. Certainly, I’d never pass up the opportunity to work with Bugzee – there’s still a ton of stuff he could teach me.” Taking over the Bon Jovi reins on the 2010 Circle tour, he admits that filling Bugzee’s shoes was daunting, but he had something of a safety net. “When I took over on the last tour, there was a little less pressure on me because Bugzee was still in the background,” he tells IQ. “It allowed me to work my way into position gradually while having a confident shoulder to lean on when I needed it.” Because We Can may have smashed it at the box office, but as Sandler hints, its groundbreaking production and tight deadlines meant the tour and its planning tested his experience and confidence to the max. “There are always challenges, but we’ve really pushed the envelope: a tour of this magnitude means the pressure was huge,” he reports. “We were under the gun for the production build and it was a frantic race to get it done. We all promised Jon [Bon Jovi] this amazing show that had never been done before and it really prompted me to ask myself if I was good enough and if I knew what I was doing.” Fulfilling such a promise was easier said than done and even the weather gods conspired to test Sandler’s resolve. “The first show had to be cancelled,” he sighs. “It was at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville and [ironically] there was a huge snow storm. The governor shut the roads so that people could not get to the show. Typically, for Jon, though, he decided to put on a scaled-down show for the people who had made it to the casino because he didn’t want to let anyone down.” A gruelling 400-mile overnight drive to Washington DC did little to calm the nerves and, with the production still untested, it was a tense start to the tour. “Jon called me into the dressing room in DC and said, ‘You still work for me today, right?! If this thing doesn’t work, that’s it!’ I kinda knew it was tongue in cheek. But if the production didn’t work, I also thought I might be fired.” While the complex motion-controlled projection screens on the arena tour were a massive hit with fans and critics alike, the tour’s stadium leg also looked to showcase the spectacular. Recalling preparation for the arena leg, Sandler notes, “We crammed two months’ work into one month. Control Freak, (a content integration company) have made mapping content
Jesse with lead driver Roger Thomas of Edwin Shirley Trucking
January 2014 IQ Magazine
their forte: Stuart White is a genius and he was responsible for writing the software that ran the tour. It involved a number of hexagonal pieces that would start on the ground and rise up and down, constantly changing shape. There were 42 individual parts that all came together to form a wall and lots of other shapes, while at the same time allowing forward and reverse projection. It was incredible!” But it wasn’t without teething problems. “Tait couldn’t build the stuff fast enough,” continues Sandler. “But by the third show in Montreal – which was technically the second show – it all came together. It all came down to the integration of Control Freak, Tait and Nocturne – and me relying on them fulfilling the promise I had made to Jon. But it was an amazing feat, not just because of what it was, but also because of the timeframe it was achieved in.” To say that the production’s success was a relief is an understatement. “The production manager usually takes the blame: you enjoy the good times, but you also have to take the blame when things go wrong,” Sandler observes. “When things are going good it’s not just you – everyone shares the glory. But when things don’t go well, one man takes the blame and that’s the PM. So it takes a certain personality to be that guy.”
ot content with delivering one of the most spectacularly complex arena productions ever seen on the tour circuit, Bon Jovi ripped up the format for a completely different set-up under the summer skies of Europe, using a giant inflatable to transform the stage into a classic car. “The stadium show is just amazing looking,” Sandler says. “There are no gags or gimmicks or moving parts. But the concept of the car looks great and ties in very well. Visually, it’s a complete show and the video screen above the car fills in the missing pieces.” The concept involved moving away from the large-scale
Through the years working with Jesse, he has made every effort to accommodate the performers in every way! His no-stress professional approach of excellence is admired and respected by all. Congratulations Jesse, and a BIG thank you!!”
Tico Torres – Bon Jovi
On stage in Vancouver © David Bergman
video screens that have become the mainstay of so many stadium tours, to create something more compelling and memorable for the audience. However, with 250,000 tonnes of equipment to support, the challenges were just as substantial as the indoor format. “The biggest challenge was getting the Stageco structure to support the balloon, gutter and all the pieces that hung underneath the structure,” Sandler recalls. “It’s one of the best outdoor shows Bon Jovi has ever done. Jon was so pleased with it that he even asked if we could do the same show indoors with a smaller car. We did go as far as actually having an indoor inflatable built to hang from the roof in indoor stadiums, but the massive scale would not have worked in the intimate arena setting as it does in the larger outdoor venues. Doug ‘Spike’ Brant, the tour lighting and production designer, did a fantastic job in making the car concept work. The inflatable on the stadium tour travelled with the advance team and is already blown up when we arrive on show day to load in the universal gear.” “We’ve done a lot of tours with Bon Jovi, but this was one of the most challenging,” says Stageco founder Hedwig de Meyer. “Firstly, we had to find a design solution to work with the production. But we’d faced a sort of similar problem on some Rolling Stones shows where we had to support some scenery and a structure above it, and we always learn from previous experience, so we were able to handle it. “The second challenge was the tour schedule, which meant we needed five stages. Again we’d done that on a tour with the Police a few years ago, but that was because of container schedules – this Bon Jovi tour was all about the actual routing. But it worked out well.” Sandler concurs, “The schedule in Europe was quite tight, so we had two advance teams who also took in the inflatable, power and rigging ahead of the main production load-in. That advance work was also stepped up to include light trusses and fixtures. Part of my job is to work out, with my team, how much we can do on show day and how much we have to do before, and then tailor things accordingly for each date.” Investing in such a large-scale production obviously needs deep pockets and a lot of faith, but with Because We Can selling more than two million tickets in the first nine months of the year – and grossing more than $140m (€104m) in just the first six months of 2013 – that investment has more than paid off. And that’s music to the ears of the various promoters involved on the tour. “We first met Jesse years ago with Bon Jovi and [later] having him as the production manager, he was a pleasure to work with,” says Ewald Tatar of Austrian promoter Nova Music Entertainment. “[He provides] simple and clear information, which makes it easy for the local promoter to have the show set-up. And whenever there was the need for a
Jesse with his wife, Courtney
January 2014 IQ Magazine
Jesse and daughter, Sofia
solution, Jesse was the one to help us in a very simple way. It’s always a pleasure to work with someone [who understands] the needs of the local production. We hope to see him again as soon as possible.” Those sentiments are echoed by Isle of Wight Festival promoter, John Giddings. “He was a pleasure to deal with: no big-time bullying, just got on with the job in hand and made it happen,” Giddings says, adding, “He did Slane Castle then the Isle of Wight Festival overnight. Good man!”
till in his 30s, the no-fuss way in which Sandler has guided Because We Can makes him one of the hottest properties in the global production world – and a very worthy recipient of The Gaffer accolade. And despite the long hours and months of meticulous planning, the man himself believes he has the best job on the planet. “Just being here is a highlight – working for Bon Jovi is amazing,” he says. “I’d never have
Testimonials Clemens Behle – Coach Service GmbH All I can say about Jesse is that he is a very hard-working man, very reliable and intelligent. He is the kind of person who makes tour life easy, someone who always knows how to solve a problem. He is a great person to deal with. Hedwig de Meyer, Stageco I know Jesse through Bon Jovi from when he was Bugzee’s assistant. When Bugzee stepped back, the transfer went really smoothly and I think that’s because Jesse surrounds himself with some really good people, like Mike Farese. The best compliment I can give Jesse is that I’ve never seen him nervous and that’s a huge achievement in this business. Anthony Piedmonte – Bon Jovi Management Jesse’s work ethic and focus is unmatched. He possesses the rare ability to be willing and able to do everything (big or small), meanwhile, forgoing all basic needs (food, sleep, etc.) and still producing nothing but grade A work. Jesse is the modern-day renaissance man and the world is his oyster. Given his experience, intelligence, and integrity, it is no wonder why, at the age of 39, he is production manager for the biggest act on the planet. Bon Jovi is fortunate to have attracted such a man and personally, it is an honour to consider him a colleague and brother.
IQ Magazine January 2014
imagined, back in 2000, that I’d become a production manager, let alone for Bon Jovi. Becoming their PM was the biggest thing I’ve ever done. Getting invited back is even better. “Receiving The Gaffer award is fantastic. It’s nice to be recognised for the time and effort that you put in – and being mentioned in the same context as Chris Kansy, Jake Berry and Jason Danter is a huge honour. Those guys have been doing this for 25-30 years, so I’m a long way off knowing as much as they do.” As for other career bright spots, it’s a simple answer. “Even though working on the Jackson stuff was short-lived, being associated with that was a really big deal,” he says. “To work with Michael Jackson, or even being in the same room, was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” Summing up his offspring’s reputation on the touring circuit, Harry notes, “Jesse grew up in the business: so many people know him from when he was six or seven. But he’s made it – he’s no longer my son; I’m his father.” He adds, “Jesse has done it on his own. But I’m really pleased Bon Jovi gave him a chance, because that doesn’t usually happen.” Looking to the future, Jesse’s plans are understandably vague at the moment, but mostly involve the town of Interlochen, Michigan, where he moved with his family last year. “I’ve pretty much been touring for five or six years straight and I have a daughter, Sofia, who is nearly two, and who hasn’t seen me much. So, at present, I’ve got nothing planned for 2014 – when this tour is done it’ll be time to decompress for a few months. I’m looking at the final date in Brisbane in December like it’s the end of the rainbow.”
Paul Korzilius – Bon Jovi Management Certainly, there are many areas that one must excel in to be the production manager on a tour of this size. First and foremost is communication – up and down and everywhere Jesse knows how to get everyone on the same page and pointed in the right direction. The second skill he excels at is leadership – he is always where he needs to be when he needs to be there, and does not shy away from doing the hard things first and taking care of not only business but his crew and his band. Lastly, it is a big team effort out here and he makes sure that everyone gets what they need to do their job and supports the crew so that they can accomplish what needs to be done in order to have the show work. Jeni Clark – Upstaging Inc We’ve worked with Jesse for many years on multiple shows, and he is truly great at what he does – thorough, smart, fair, and efficient. For these reasons, and so many others, he is a sincere pleasure to work with. There’s no doubt that he’s going to be around for a long time. No matter how a situation starts, it always ends up the same way – “No problem!” Love your work, Jesse, congratulations! Allen Cook – TOURtech Jesse Sandler is tough but fair and he’s on his way to joining the ranks of legendary production managers. His high expectations drive his crews toward perfection, but he understands that we work in an imperfect business. That combination drives the entire production toward perfection.
Testimonials continued... Ron Chamberlain – Live Nation I had the pleasure of working with Jesse ‘That’s What She Said’ Sandler on the Nickelback 2012 tour. His attention to the advance details was amazing and made the day of show run as smooth as can be. He put together a great team of touring crew and vendors, and with his leadership, he added to the great success the tour had in the UK, Europe, Australia and Japan. Scott Casey, tour manager – Bon Jovi I have worked with Jesse for many years and several tours now. You could not ask for a more level-headed, no-nonsense guy. He is continually the voice of reason; never making any challenge too big of a deal and always finding the solution. He is without fail prepared, which enables him to be calm and collected in what can be a hectic and dynamic environment. As great as he is professionally, pales in comparison to the friend and brother that he has become. Congratulations Jess! This is extremely deserved. Mike Farese, rigger Jesse and I have been touring together for quite a few years now. Probably pretty close to 14 in total. In turn he has become one of my best friends and during that time it has been my pleasure to have been (and still am) a part of watching a young man who was the fourth man on a three-man sound crew develop into one of the best production managers in the business today. One of the big reasons he is where he is today is because he is always asking questions. Always taking notes. Why something is the way it is? Can it be better? Always listening. And surrounding himself with good people. For me, he creates a great work environment and I am happy to be a part of it and hope to be for many years to come. John ‘Bugzee’ Hougdahl, production manager I suspect Jesse is being profiled (and honoured) here by paying attention very closely during the time that he worked with me.... learning what NOT to do! Granted, the rarefied air of touring an A-list band playing stadiums and the largest indoor arenas can magnify the ego of many folks, but Jesse has managed to keep his feet on the ground and maintain a sense of humour and realism. Though the daily grind has been known to catch up with him, and ended up causing a nickname like ‘Babyhead’ for head bobbing in the office, Jesse always keeps a steady hand on the rudder and I expect he will keep the title ‘production manager’ a respected and envied job description. Congratulations, Jesse! Wishing you nothing but the best in the future... Randy Hoffman – Hoffman Entertainment What can I say about Jesse? 1) Every time I worked with him I never had to think about the production of the show, as I knew it was more than taken care of. 2) Jesse did his job not only as the professional he is, but he did it with style and class.
Del Roll & Ollie Kite, EST We have had the pleasure of working with Jesse for nearly 15 years. He has always been kind, courteous, supportive and friendly. Dealing with him has always been a pleasure and there is always a long queue of drivers requesting to be on any tour that he’s involved with. For a man with so much responsibility, his attention to detail and thinking out of the box is legendary. Chris Littleton, tour manager It has been my pleasure to work with Jesse on Don Henley and the Eagles. His attitude and work ethic is so fantastic and every time we get a chance to hang, it reminds me we don’t get to spend near enough time together. Hopefully, that will change in the next several years although I am getting to the end of my run down the highways and airports of the world. Congratulations, Jesse, on a well-deserved honour – they certainly picked the right guy for this one. Take it slow and I will see you down the road. Bob Brigham, PRG Nocturne At PRG Nocturne we’ve had the pleasure of working with Jesse for many years on tours that have pushed the envelope with technology, especially with Bon Jovi. Jon’s tours have always been cutting edge, over the top productions with innovations on steroids. Jesse’s attention to detail is amazing – what he does is not for the weak of heart. Our crews love working with him and he’s always managed to inspire us to go the “extra mile” without ever asking or demanding it. Kevin ‘Chief’ Zaruk, Nickelback tour manager Jesse is the ultimate professional, he is a straight shooter and simply put, “Gets The Job Done!”. When Jesse is running your tour you have nothing to worry about, and you just know if a problem comes up he will deal with it and fix it. He is also just a great guy to deal with on a daily level and I am proud to call him a good friend. However, do not piss him off or cross Jesse, he has the largest calves known to mankind, and if he was a wrestler, his finishing move would be called the Decalfinator... where it cuts your head off by doing a leg drop on you!!!. True story, next time you see Jesse, check them out. Knute Brye, Bon Jovi’s head of security Jesse’s obvious professional attributes are only a part of the overall man. From the outside he looks like a man in constant motion and focused only on tasks and deadlines – which he is very good at. The part of Jesse not readily apparent is the larger Jesse and, quite frankly, the most impressive. He has an inherent fairness and discernment. He constantly is looking for family balance. He can engage in depth about human nature and philosophical matters. He really cares and has a refreshing honesty. This is all relevant because the first time I met the man in 2005, the best I could get from him was an annoyed stare… for about a year. He has turned out to be a great leader and person in general. He works very hard to make things look easy.
January 2014 IQ Magazine
“If there was a fire in your workplace, what’s the one thing you would save?” Martin Mills because we’d be fucked without him!
TOP SHOUT Since Hilde Spille and I are partners in life as well as in crime, I’d definitely try to save her first if there was a fire in our office. Rob Berends, Paperclip Agency
The one thing I’d save is my ass – by doing my job and getting everyone the hell out of there! Tim Roberts, The Event Safety Shop Ltd
I would save Claire, my PA, because she is absolutely priceless!
Ruth Barlow, Beggars Group
Charlie Shun, Outlaw Live Ltd
I would have to save my first presentation disc, which was from Snow Patrol for Final Straw. That was special to me then and it still has pride of place now.
My PC (yes remember that kind)!! Without it I’ll be out of business. Martin Nielsen, Live Nation Norway/Sweden
Chris Panayi, C.C.Panayi & Co LLP
This one is too practical...only one possible answer – laptop – duh.
I would have time to take two. Number one would be my very special black Burmese cat, Pudding, who loves to be in the office and is absolutely fascinated by the computer screen; and two, my platinum disc for a million sales of The Police album Outlandos D’Amour, presented to me by A&M Records in appreciation for the part that I played in the success of the band.
Rense van Kessel, Friendly Fire
Gerry Stevens, Talent Care International
Andrzej Marzec, Andrzej Marzec Concerts AMC
I would attempt to try and save a leather armchair given to me by the late Ken Woollard, founder of the Cambridge Folk Festival back in 1990. Ken was an inspirational guy who certainly helped steer my career path, plus it’s real comfortable. David Barrow, DB Event Services
Steve Strange, X-ray Touring
The fire extinguisher! Martin Goebbels, Robertson Taylor
The unsold Westlife merch items still lying around the office – there must be someone somewhere wanting to buy it!? Thomas Ovesen, Done Events
Probably the client, especially if there are invoices outstanding! Andy Cotton, TAO Productions
You get two answers as there are two of us. Not in any particular order: A signed Brian Wilson poster; and a framed photo of Carl Leighton-Pope buying Edwin Shirley and myself dinner. Del Roll and Ollie Kite, EST
My Ass? Borek Jirik, Punx Not Dead
If you would like to send feedback, comments or suggestions for future Your Shout topics, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
January 2014 IQ Magazine
IQ Magazine, issue 51, January 2014