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ILMC 29 CONFERENCE GUIDE
GEI panels include: The Environmental Impact of Fireworks With the increasing popularity of firework displays at events and festivals, what impact do these dazzling displays have on the environment?
ILMC has a new format this year, as the conference moves to a midweek schedule for the first time, in line with the wishes of its members. The event is constantly evolving to keep apace with developments in the live music industry and this year ILMC will feature two distinct programming threads - the Festival Summit and the Venues Summit - interspersed with all manner of other panels and workshops to make sure there is something for every delegate, no matter where they are from. As usual, the most important ingredient in all the debates at ILMC are the people in each room - you! So don’t be shy, make your voice heard and get involved in the discussions that could help shape the future of the business.
TUESDAY 7 MARCH 10:00 – 18:00 IPM (ILMC Production Meeting) Day Host: Lee Charteris The tenth IPM will accommodate over 200 of the world’s most renowned production managers; sound and lighting engineers; venue personnel; suppliers and promoters’ representatives. Due to popular demand, IPM 10 has returned to the Royal Garden Manor where it will inhabit a considerably larger conference space than in previous years. As well as the Production Notes (a series of short presentations that began last year) the following panel topics are scheduled: Terror, Safety & Security: The world today Which will look at the post-Bataclan effects on touring, festival and venue management. Welfare for Workers In which Penny Mellor looks at crew health, welfare, and the detrimental effects of fatigue. The Un-professionals: A business reality? Looks at the safety and competence of local suppliers and crew in the touring events industry. Weather: The long-range forecast In which the focus will once again be on the detrimental effects of bad weather and how planning can be improved. For full panel information, please visit 29.ilmc.com/ipm
The Green Events & Innovations conference (GEI) is presented by A Greener Festival in partnership with ILMC, and welcomes around 150 professionals working, or with an interest in, environmental and social initiatives in live events. The theme for GEI9 is ‘sustainable design.’ The art of creating every aspect of great events involves both creativity and impeccable production techniques. By instilling ecological, economic and social principles in to all aspects of event design in conception, communication, implementation and review, necessary changes can be achieved.
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Along with a full day of panels and workshops, the keynote speaker for GEI 9 is author and environmentalist Lucy Legan, cofounder of Ecocentro IPEC in Brazil, the largest reference centre of sustainability in Latin America. For full panel information, please visit 29.ilmc.com/gei
11:00 – 16:00 ILMC Association Summit For the second year, ILMC invites key live music associations from around the world to converge in London for an annual meeting. The meeting draws together the leading, active live music association from each market, as well as a small number of panEuropean sector associations, to meet, network and present bestcase ideas and initiatives. The summit is a closed meeting, with one representative from each association invited.
WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH 10:00 – 10:30 New Delegates’ Orientation Hosts: Lou Percival, ILMC (UK) | Gordon Masson, IQ Magazine (UK))
ILMC producer Lou Percival and IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson host a quick introduction to the world of ILMC for new delegates, or anyone who has been attending for so many years that they need a quick refresher.
11:00 – 11:15 The Detectives’ Guide to ILMC 29 Chair: Greg Parmley, ILMC (UK)
ILMC MD Greg Parmley welcomes all the master-minds and super sleuths to ILMC 29 as the conference kicks off proper. This 15-minute session covers a few ground rules, highlights the main features, and presents all the clues you’ll need to resolve this year’s investigation into the live music business.
11:15 – 12:45 The Open Forum: The big round up Chair: Phil Bowdery, Live Nation (UK)
10:00 – 18:00 Green Events & Innovations Conference
How to Reduce Energy Use: DGTL BCN Festival case study ZAP Concepts’ founder Paul Schurink will provide a wealth of insights and info into the increasingly important issue of energy efficient solutions at events.
ILMC’s big opening session kicks off the investigations with a review of the past 12 months in the business, and predictions for the year ahead. The panel welcomes a cast of renowned industry figures who will contribute to some no-doubt heated discussions regarding Brexit, developments in secondary ticketing, ongoing industry consolidation, and major global trends. Guest speakers include Emma Banks (CAA), Charles Attal (C3 Presents), Marty Diamond (Paradigm Talent Agency), Folkert Koopmans (FKP Scorpio) and Paul Craig (Nostromo Management). To ensure that the session is as productive as possible, delegates can submit questions in advance – anonymously or otherwise – to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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ILMC 29 CONFERENCE GUIDE
14:00 – 15:00 The Youtubers: Money in millennials Chair: Dan Steinberg, Emporium Presents (US)
10:00 – 11:00 Workshop: VIP and premium ticketing Hosts: Sarah Woodhead, VIP Nation (UK) | Jacqui Harris, AEG Live (UK)
Aside from ticket sales and sponsorship, VIP and premium tickets are now an established way for festival promoters to generate additional income from their event. But beyond glamping and regular upgrades, what are the best new options available? Combining case studies from progressive events and delving into the economics behind several new initiatives, this workshop presents the latest ideas that can add to the bottom line of a festival’s balance sheet.
14:00 – 15:00 Festival Forum: Franchises & new formats Chair: Natasha Bent, Coda Agency (UK)
From new mega-formats to indoor events, from cruise ships to flotillas, the format of the music festival is evolving fast. And with established brands rolling their footprint into new markets, existing events are facing stiffer competition than ever. To play the festival game these days, you need a large bankroll. So with more competition and a wider range of offerings, what will it take to succeed, or just survive, beyond 2017? As the scene returns to a headliner-driven model, franchise fever continues and new formats emerge, are there really enough fields to go around?
15:30 – 16:30 Streaming & artist engagement Chair: Jake Beaumont-Nesbitt, IMMF
Beyond the walls and fences of their physical event, festival organisers are increasingly building their brand online. And with generating hours of unique content, what promoter would not want to broadcast their efforts as far as possible? But the ongoing conflicts between rights holders and a summer calendar of festival appearances all wanting to broadcast similar content is a stumbling block that is only getting bigger. How much cooperation should festivals expect from artists booked to perform, and their labels? From streaming to media relationships, image and video rights, are festival organisers right to expect more from their bill?
17:00 – 18:00 Talent & tastemakers Chair: Greg Lowe, United Talent Agency (UK)
Do festivals build new bands or do new bands build festivals? With thousands of performance spaces across hundreds of markets, festivals offer a plethora of stages for emerging artists. But aside from a few notable exceptions, are they effective at breaking bands? In the annual race to present the hottest, coolest, brightest new talent, can promoters survive without both a festival and touring arm, and is the traditional club circuit still the best development route? A crossindustry panel of management, agents, promoters and label discuss the role of festivals as talent incubators and tastemakers.
Introducing today’s teenagers to the world of live entertainment can be a demanding task, but in recent years, the leisure activities of the next generation audience has delivered a new genre of shows – those involving YouTube and Vine stars. With the biggest online video personalities boasting millions of followers, many are now developing touring shows and selling out theatres and even arenas, internationally. Examining this relatively new phenomenon, Dan talks to some of the early adopters in the business who’re generating new income from this new entertainment genre.
14:15 – 15:15 Workshop: Mental health Hosts: Andy Franks & Matt Thomas, Music Support (UK)
The mental health and personal wellbeing of artists and their teams are rarely brought into the open. From addiction to depression and more, the lifestyle that surrounds live music can be damaging, but with the pressures to keep the show on the road, these negative effects are infrequently discussed. Within the last year, several new initiatives have launched to help professionals, including musicsupport.org in the UK. This workshop explains how widespread these issues are; how to recognise and deal with them; and what help is available.
15:30 – 16:45 New Technology: Digital discovery Host: Steve Machin, .Tickets (UK)
This annual session presents the best new gadgets, gizmos and innovations on the market. Hosted by ILMC’s resident tech guru, Steve Machin, each company has four minutes to pitch their product to the audience. A mix of demos, videos, and first-hand explanations, this year’s line-up covers virtual reality, blockchain, AI ticketing, and streaming, along with new kit for both venues and festivals. As technology continues to drive change across the live music business and beyond, this 75-minute investigation into the latest ideas and trends is a must-see.
15:30 – 16:30 Booking Workshop: Contracts Hosts: Nick Berry, Coda Agency (UK) | Mads Sørensen, Beatbox Entertainment (DK)
Contracts between agents and promoters were once a simple, onepage agreement stating the date and time of the gig and the agreed fee. But 40 years on, they’re now unwieldy tomes with multiple clauses and amendments – most of which are largely ignored and usually unsigned. So why are we bothering, and isn’t there a better way to do business and save weeks in the process? Nick Berry and Kim Bloem pick through the most time-wasting clauses and ask whether what was introduced by a handful of pioneers is still the best way to work.
17:00 – 18:15 The Fan: The social overload? Ben Martin, Marshall Arts (UK)
As the ultimate boss in the music industry, it’s the fan who keeps us all gainfully employed. But has the business gone too far in its efforts to cosy up to them? 21st century concepts such as crowdfunding and festival communities can empower fans, while policing blogs, manning social media accounts and being on call 24/7 has become the norm. So, is the time right for artists and their support teams to reintroduce a bit of mystique to their lives? And as marketeers develop ever more innovative ways to sell more tickets, what new methods are available to maintain a balanced relationship with the fan?
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE GUIDE
THURSDAY 9 MARCH 10:00 - 11:00 Workshop: Instagram for live music Hosts: Karim Fanous & Elisabeth Patuck, Music Ally (UK)
Instagram is the most popular social app among US concertgoers, according to a December 2016 Nielson study. With a global monthly user base of 500 million, and features specifically designed for user-generated content around live shows, it’s a popular pick in a promoter’s marketing toolbox. Music Ally presents a 60-minute workshop on getting the most from the photo-sharing phenomenon, and how best to integrate it into tour and festival campaigns in 2017.
Hosts: Michal Kaščák, Pohoda Festival (SK) | Serge Grimaux, Intellitix (CH) | Fruzsina Szép, Lollapalooza Berlin (DE)
Promoters in emerging markets still continue to surprise us with their resilience: often unable to raise ticket prices and sometimes coping with limited demand, they find ways to survive and often to grow. Taking a fresh approach to researching opportunities and developments in a spread of territories from Europe to Asia, a triumvirate of hosts will open up and encourage input from the floor on a wide range of topics vital to the development and understanding of these markets.
11:30 – 12:45 Ticketing: The survival plan Chair: Tim Chambers, TJ Chambers Consultancy (UK)
As the ticketing market struggles to keep pace with the secondary market, pre-sales and increasingly intuitive methods of selling, is there a bigger dilemma challenging the most consumer-facing sector of the business? As tickets increasingly move to where the audience is, 2017 looks to be a watershed year, especially with the entrance of new multinationals into this competitive space. Add in emerging tie-ups with streaming services and there are some seismic shifts at play. So what are traditional ticketing giants doing to remain relevant to artists, promoters, venues and fans? And what’s the plan for surviving the next 12 months intact?
14:00 – 15:15 Direct Licensing: Rates, rights & wrongs Chair: Jon Webster, MMF (UK)
The widespread system of promoter rebates given by some PROs (performance royalty organisations) came under scrutiny at ILMC last year. As a result, several artists are now choosing to license their songwriting performance royalties directly, a situation that left promoters facing unexpected licensing fees during the 2016 festival season. The upshot is a three-way conversation between performance royalty organisations, promoters, and artists, as existing relatively simple administrative models are reviewed, making the whole process more complicated for all. Add in various tariff updates, and performance royalties is an interesting area right now. Jon Webster invites specialists and guest speakers to help clarify the current situation and what the solutions might be.
Chair: Brian Kabatznick, AEG Facilities (UK)
The Venue Summit 2017 kicks off with a focus on broad developments in the arena and stadia market. Along with the European Arenas Association (EAA) and the National Arenas Association (NAA) the session presents a wide range of industry data this year, and digs into qualitative trends from a European arena survey. The session will also look at how sport operates in these vital venues, and how it creates sustainability in comparison to music, comedy and family entertainment. Underperforming venues and solutions that can help drive content are also tabled for discussion, alongside coping with periods of downtime by diversifying programming.
10:00 – 11:15 The Emerging Markets Place: Territorial investigations
10:00 – 11:15 The Venue’s Venue: Big rooms & big data
11:30 – 12:30 Workshop: Early stages Host: Auro Foxcroft, Village Underground
With several venue organisations having won victories in the fight to protect and sustain the grassroots and smallvenues network in various markets, Village Underground’s Auro Foxcroft presents the latest updates, and looks at how working with local government can pay dividends. From efforts to introduce legislation and then enforce it, to new initiatives to protect the industry’s breeding grounds, Auro is joined by London’s new Night Czar, Amy Lamé, as well as other key venue champions.
14:00 – 15:00 Industry relationships Chair: Lucy Noble, Royal Albert Hall (UK)
At the centre of the live music equation, venues need solid relationships with each stakeholder in a show. But the nature of those relationships is changing. The promoter and agent relationship is key both in buy and hire scenarios but as venues leverage their own consumer relationships to produce or programme their own shows, how will this change? Brand involvement, including naming rights, is a constantly evolving relationship, alongside links with technology suppliers, and education and outreach programmes. So where does the modern music venue sit in the wider music ecosystem, and how does that impact the promoters, agents and others that they service?
15:30 – 16:45 Safety & security Chair:John Sharkey, SMG Europe (UK)
The terrorist attack at Le Bataclan in November 2015 was the beginning of a new era in venue and festival security, as the reality of extreme views and terrorist activity landed firmly at the door of the live music industry. Sadly, Paris was not an isolated incident, so in the months since, what new measures have been put in place to protect artists, audience and crew from potential harm? Bringing together security experts, counterterrorism heads from local government, in addition to venue and festival operators, this panel will consider how the industry has reacted and what more can still be done.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE GUIDE
14:00 – 15:00 Workshop: Visas & immigration Hosts: Sophie Amable, Artist & Entertainer Visas Global (UK) | Oleg Gaidar, Artist & Entertainer Visas Global (UK) | Brande Lindsey, Global Access (US) | Tina Richard, T&S Immigration (UK)
International touring has always operated at the whim of visa and immigration laws, but the fast-changing political climate threatens to make this problematic area worse. Providing updates across all major touring markets, four visa and immigration experts pool their collective knowledge to provide. top dos and dont’s, bestpractice guidance, and the latest information and advice to make navigating any border as painless as possible.
15:30 – 16:30 Elastic Artists: A cautionary tale Host: Jon Slade, Elasticine (UK)
In an exclusive session, Jon Slade tells the story of Elastic Artists, the DJ agency he founded that went bust in late 2015, withholding payments to many of its international roster of over 150 clients. It was a high-profile fallout involving a mock kidnapping and receiving death threats. But the full series of mishaps that led to Elastic’s failure have not been discussed until now. Jon will explain how the difficult situation came about, how he went about putting things right, and where things stands at the moment.
15:30 – 16:30 The Think Tank with Herman Schueremans, Andrew Zweck & Bryan Grant Host: Gordon Masson, IQ (UK)
Following the success of the Dragon’s Den sessions in recent years, we are taking the concept to the next level by inviting not one, but three industry veterans to offer attendees the benefit of their collective experience, as they discuss a variety of topics chosen at random. Sensible Music’s Andrew Zweck will grace the stage alongside Rock Werchter founder Herman Schueremans and Britannia Row chief Bryan Grant, in what promises to be one of the most entertaining and insightful hours of ILMC 29.
17:00 – 18:00 Tales from the Front Line Chair: Paul Crockford, PC Management (UK)
This will be the third edition of the session that was originally called ‘It’ll Be Alright on the Night.’ However, this title for the no-holdsbarred telling of tales of life, laughter and sometimes disaster on the road was considered tame by the session’s attendants, who insisted that it be referred to as “Fuck-Ups” – definitely a more appropriate description. Artist manager and ex-promoter Paul Crockford will lead the proceedings this year as he and his guests provide more anecdotes of their best, worst and funniest moments, with contributions from the floor welcomed during this last session of the day.
17:00 – 18:00 Workshop: Getting to know Snapchat Hosts: Juan David Borrero & Glenne Christiaansen, Snapchat (US)
With millions of young users and billions of videos viewed daily, Snapchat presents unique opportunities for the music industry. Juan David Borrero and Glenne Christiaansen from the Los Angeles-based camera company‘s partnerships team host a dedicated ILMC workshop to show delegates how promoters, brands, labels and artists can leverage Snapchat for engagement and storytelling that will ultimately drive personal fan connections, awareness, and attendance.
FRIDAY 10 MARCH 10:30 – 12:00 The Breakfast Meeting with Paul McGuinness Host: Ed Bicknell, Damage Mgmt (US)
Every year, on the final day of ILMC, we invite a music business VIP to attend an intimate interview in which they reveal the trajectory of their rise in the industry and maybe uncover some of their innermost secrets. Previous industry nobility has included the likes of Marc Geiger, Arthur Fogel, Emma Banks, Nick Mason, John Giddings, Nick Mason and Michael Eavis. Opposite the hot seat will be raconteur Ed-xtraordinaire, the one and only Ed Bicknell. If there’s a better reason to get out of bed on a Friday morning, we can’t think of one…
12:30 – 14:00 The Agency Business 2017 Chairs: Xenia Grigat, Beatbox Booking (DK) | Olivier Toth, Rockhal (LU)
What was once the most consistent sector of the music business is now facing the most widespread change. The ongoing consolidation of booking agencies is seeing established mid-sized outfits tie up to offer services across music, film, TV and more, as an increasingly international playing field emerges. Meanwhile, the US and UK dominance is contending with increased activity from new regional and territorial agencies across mainland Europe. Replacing the longstanding Booking Ring meeting, The Agency Business 2017 invites leading international agents to discuss this changing sector, and the wider implications for the rest of the business.
12:30 – 13:30 Family Entertainment: The generation game Chair: Christoph Scholz, Semmel Concerts (DE)
What better way to spend the final few hours of ILMC than by getting up to speed with the hottest non-music shows on the market? Following last year’s successful quick-fire format of presentations, host Christoph Scholz will be inviting producers and creators to showcase their products to a room of potential buyers. There’s a focus this year on touring rock & roll exhibitions, while other entertainment types will include family and theatre shows; sport; and gaming. A one-stop shop for the best alternative touring products out there, it’s a session not to be missed.
15:30 – 16:15 The ILMC 29 Autopsy Chair: Greg Parmley, ILMC (UK)
Winding up the weekend, ILMC head Greg Parmley invites all delegates to first share their thoughts and then a glass of something as the conference wraps up. A chance to give feedback on any aspect of ILMC, participation is encouraged in this informal final session. From the conversation in the panels to the highest table football scores – anything and everything is up for discussion.
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE GUIDE
EVENTS The ‘Opening Scene’ Launch Party
Taking place early, to allow delegates time for a quick inspection of the bar before heading out for the evening, this event includes bubbles, nibbles and prizes – making it the perfect starting point for ILMC 29. Hosted by those handsome characters at .Tickets (the top-level ticketing web domain provider), the party reunites ILMC members after 12 months of global sleuthing. 18:00 - 20:00
Testing 1 to 3: The Swiss Session
Presented by Act Entertainment & ABC Productions, in association with Deepdive Music, and Swiss Live Talents, the second lunchtime showcase sees four incredible Swiss acts take the stage. The session is timed so that delegates can enjoy the ILMC lunch before catching the showcases next door, whilst enjoying a complimentary glass or two, and traditional Swiss fondue. 13:00 - 15:10
Feld’s ‘Sherlock Cones’ Ice Cream Break
Testing 1 to 3: The Bureau Export Session
Anyone hunting for a refreshing mid-afternoon sugar rush need look no further than Feld Entertainment’s legendary frozen treats intermission. A welcome break from a busy afternoon’s mysterysolving and conferencing, be sure to investigate what this year’s cups – a perfect take home gift for the kids – look like, while enjoying a bloodcurdling I-scream. 16:00 - 17:00
United Talent Happy Hour
Even the most tireless investigators need a breather, and the WME Happy Hour offers 60-minutes of complimentary drinks and nibbles in the company of the entire UK team from William Morris Endeavor Entertainment. A stepping-stone between ILMC’s daytime schedule and the array of evening events, this promises to be a popular pit stop so early arrival is recommended. 17:30 - 18:30
ILMC 29 launches a new series of lunchtime showcases, with the first hosted by the French music export office and featuring four of the hottest new French artists and many key figures from the French live business in attendance. Bureau Export will also be providing some of the best wines and cheeses available on the other side of the English Channel, so don’t forget to leave room for that, or you’ll brie sorry. 13:00 - 15:10 United Talent Agency have once again stepped up to lay-on their very own Happy Hour. And if last year’s event – which saw queues to get in – is anything to go by, you won’t need Sherlock Holmes’ powers of deduction to conclude that early arrival is recommended. The whole UTA team will be on hand to discuss any last-minute festival offers, whilst plying you with complimentary beverages and tasty snacks – it’s the ideal wind-down session after a busy day of conferencing, and it’s all complimentary, my dear Watson. 17:30 - 18:30
The Deadly Dutch Impact Party
With excellent music, booze and snacks... the annual Dutch party and showcase is a conference favourite, and where any clued up delegate should head if they want to hear four dangerously strong new Dutch bands. The party takes place right next door to the Royal Garden manor. So with less than 39 Steps to find it, getting there will be no mystery. 18:00 - 21:30
The Dead Man’s Hand Poker Showdown
Hosted by Emporium Presents, the annual poker tournament is a popular event for villainous queens and criminally minded kings. With bluff, bravado and high stakes the order of the day, it’s a great way to make new friends before you raise the stakes and wipe them out. Entry cost to the tournament is £20, so sign-up when you register, or contact email@example.com to secure your place at a table. 21:00 - 00:00
The ‘Foul Play’ Table Football Coupe du Monde
Nowhere at ILMC sees more skulduggery than the Table Football Coupe du Monde. A late-night battle of quick reactions, tension, accusations and sometimes criminal moves, players sign-up in pairs on the night to fight a series of rounds, competing for the smallest World Cup known to mankind... 00:00 - 03:00
WME Happy Hour
The ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards With demand for reservations outstripping supply, ILMC’s gala dinner this year moves to a bigger ballroom venue, allowing 350 of the live music industry’s masterminds and top investigators to climb aboard for an evening of mystery, mayhem and award giving. Like everything else in the business, the ILMC Gala Dinner doesn’t stand still for too long. This year, passengers will be transported to ever-more luxurious surroundings and one of London’s grandest Victorian interiors. Following a multimillion-pound refurbishment, the Grade-II listed 8Northumberland hotel features immaculately restored period details, including the magnificent Ballroom where the Gala Dinner takes place. A champagne reception will help quench passengers’ thirsts on arrival, followed by an outstanding five-star, four-course feast with a selection of fine wines to match. Along the journey, there’ll be stops for the annual ILMC pop quiz and some utterly unforgettable entertainment, courtesy of superstar magician Nigel Mead, before the final destination of the evening: The Arthur Awards 2017. With CAA’s Emma Banks once again at the helm, The Arthurs nominees have been busily rounding up votes from their friends and colleagues to make this one of the most fiercely fought awards in ILMC history – The Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards is this year supported by a quartet of wonderful Swiss companies: Opus One, Mainland Music, Baloise Session and Montreux Jazz Festival. Visit 29.ilmc.com/ gala-dinner for more details. 19:30 - 00:00
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE GUIDE
Match of the Year Football
After players are whisked to a nearby pitch, the annual Match of the Year showdown sees the UK team take on the Rest of the World. This popular annual fixture separates the men from the boys and the victors from the victims, as teams of grown men hack each other to pieces in the ultimate quest for glory. Contact peter@ aikenpromotions.com to get involved. 19:30 - 21:30
Criminal Records Karaoke
It’ll be murder on the dance floor at the Criminal Records Karaoke – the scene of a multitude of crimes, all against music. Expect general mayhem, and some truly mysterious performances as the night stretches until the early hours of Friday morning. 22:30 - The end
FRIDAY Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw
The ILMC raises a significant amount of money every year in honour of the Nikos Fund. Hand in your business cards to the ILMC girls and boys with collection tins and remain in the room for the chance to win some colossal prizes as our chosen charities, Youth Music and Unicef, benefit. 14:45 - 15:15
The ‘Twist in the Tale’ Closing Drinks
Immediately after the ILMC Autopsy, anyone left standing is invited for a final collusion in order to review the clues, examine the evidence and solve the remaining mysteries of the ILMC – Who is the Scarlet Pimpernel? Where are my socks? How did that get there? With complimentary glasses of bubbles on offer, it’s a final chance to network, get a little ‘twisted’ and extract one or two last confessions from suspicious looking colleagues… 16:15 - 18:00
The Big Friday Night Feast
A final opportunity to break bread (and dip it in melted cheese) with fellow delegates, as we head to Bodo’s Schloss for an Austrian-themed dinner. A hotspot for royals and rock stars alike, this unique Alpine ski lodge-style restaurant offers everything from schnitzels and fondue to après-ILMC cocktails. With a discounted £34 set menu, and networking and socialising galore thanks to some seriously long banqueting tables, it’s the perfect setting for an off-piste adventure, before going off-piste. Email registration@ ilmc.com for details. 18:00 - 20:00
ILMC 29 CONFERENCE GUIDE
“It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within - not without.” - Hercule Poirot
THE TIMELINE TUESDAY 7 MARCH
WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH 07:00 - 10:00 Breakfast available 09:00 - 20:00 Registration Desk & Help Desk 09:00 - 18:00 Travel Desk 09:00 onwards Bertie’s Bar & Conservatory open 09:30 - 11:00 Professor Moria-tea & Coffee Break 10:00 - 10:30 New Delegates’ Orientation 10:00 - 18:00 Association Meetings (invitation only) 10:00 - 18:15 Conference Sessions 12:30 - 14:30 The ‘Red Herring’ Lunch Break 13:00 - 15:10 Testing 1 to 3: The Bureau Export Session 17:30 - 18:30 The UTA Happy Hour 18:00 - 21:30 The Deadly Dutch Impact Party 18:30 Dinner in The Garden Various Access All Areas Shows 21:00 - 00:00 The ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ Poker Showdown 00:00 - 03:00 The ‘Foul Play’ Table Football Coupe du Monde
07:00 - 10:00 Breakfast Available 09:00 - 18:00 Registration Desk & Travel Desk 09:00 - 19:30 Help Desk 09:00 onwards Bertie’s Bar & Conservatory open 09:30 - 10:30 The Crime and Brutali-tea & Coffee Break 10:00 - 12:45 Conference Sessions 12:30 - 14:30 Proof of the Pudding Lunch 13:00 - 15:00 Testing 1 to 3: The Swiss Session 14:00 - 18:00 Conference Sessions 17:30 - 18:30 The WME Entertainment Happy Hour 16:00 - 17:00 Feld’s ‘Sherlock Cones’ Ice-Cream 19:30 - 21:30 Match of the Year Football 19:30 - 00:00 The ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards Various Access All Areas Shows 22:30 - 02:30 Criminal Records Karaoke
FRIDAY 10 MARCH 07:00 - 10:00 Breakfast available 09:00 - 18:00 Bertie’s Bar 10:00 - 11:00 The 100% Guil-tea & Coffee Break 10:00 - 12:00 Registration Desk 10:00 - 16:00 Travel & Help Desk 10:30 - 14:00 The Breakfast Meeting & Conference Sessions 13:30 - 15:30 Scooby Snack Lunch 14:45 - 15:15 Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw 15:30 - 16:15 The ILMC 29 Autopsy 16:15 - 18:00 The ‘Twist in the Tale’ Closing Drinks 18:00-20:00 The Big Friday Night Feast
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
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AT ww w.ilmc .c
• Conference passes must be worn at all times • Lost passes will incur a replacement fee
AT ww w.ilmc
IPM Registration IPM (ILMC Production Meeting) GEI (Green Events & Innovations Conference) Association Summit (invitation only) ILMC Early-Bird Registration Travel Desk Association Meetings (invitation only) IPM & GEI Closing Drinks Party The ‘Opening Scene’ Launch Party Access All Areas Shows
09:00 - 17:00 10:00 - 18:00 10:00 - 18:00 11:00 - 16:00 13:00 - 21:00 13:00 - 18:00 14:30 - 18:30 18:00 - 20:00 18:00 - 20:00 Various
THURSDAY 9 MARCH
Contents IQ Magazine Issue 70
Cover photo: Juliette Lewis & the Licks at Download Festival 2016 © Adam Elmakias
News and Developments
22 In Tweets The main headlines over the last two months 24 In Depth Key stories from around the live music world 30 Busy Bodies IQ’s page for industry associations to share business concerns and news 31 New Signings A round-up of the latest acts that have been added to the rosters of international agents
38 Techno Files Revealing the hottest new technology in live entertainment
3 ILMC Agenda Guide The topics up for investigation at ILMC 29 40 Venue Vidi, Vici Eamonn Forde profiles ten of the world’s most spectacular new live music venues 46 A Hardee Act to Follow Coda Agency partner Alex Hardee celebrates 25 years in the music business 68 Small Screen: Big Stars Richard Smirke talks to the people who are taking YouTube stars on the road around the world
74 The Middle East Adam Woods discovers that business might be fractious, but investment in live music throughout the Middle East has never been greater 82 Feld Entertainment: 50 Years in the Spotlight As Feld chalks up its golden anniversary, the family-run, family entertainment empire is looking toward a rosy future
Comments and Columns
32 A Promoter’s Nightmare Martin Holmes reminds us that we must remain vigilant and never cut costs on security 33 Keep an Eye on the Road Ahead Jo Dipple acknowledges the good times, but warns against complacency in various areas of the music business 34 Re-imagining Collaboration Between European Events Georgia Taglietti and Ralph Christoph encourage co-operation and cultural exchange throughout the European festival scene 35 The Power of Music Beckie Sugden reminds us of the importance of music in enhancing the quality of people’s lives 36 Encouraging Music Tourism Olaf Furniss champions the opportunities that can arise from tourism and music enterprises working together 96 Members’ Noticeboard Keeping you posted on what ILMC members are up to 98 Your Shout “What is the best touring tale you’ve ever heard, or the funniest thing you’ve witnessed working in the live music business?”
IQ Magazine March 2017
Issue 70 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
The time has come to galvanise Gordon Masson urges organisations around the world to follow the example of Yourope and Take a Stand. Scholars, a great deal wiser than I, are monitoring the current state of world politics and drawing comparisons to the 1930s. It’s a chilling observation, but the rise of right-wing politicians and extremist parties around the world is all too real, while the general population’s insatiable hunger to buy into their lies has made a mockery of pollsters, most notably in the UK’s Brexit vote and, of course, the US presidential race. The campaign vitriol of Donald Trump was excused away by political pundits who claimed the rhetoric of the world’s greatest (self-proclaimed) businessman was just a smokescreen and that he would moderate if he became the Republican candidate. They repeated those ill-conceived beliefs during his xenophobic crusade to “Make America Great Again.” Yet just days after Barack Obama handed over the keys to the White House, and the nuclear codes, Trump surprised the world by imposing a travel ban on nationals from seven Islamic countries and signed a range of executive orders that make a mockery of the Statue of Liberty’s oath: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempesttossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door! Trump maintains he is not a politician and on that I think we can all agree, after all, politicians rarely deliver on their campaign promises. Credit Trump for that insidious achievement, at least.
IQ Magazine March 2017
But what, I hear you ask, has all this got to do with the business of live music? Well, I just wanted to use a few column inches to rapturously applaud the efforts of Yourope, whose discussions at Eurosonic in January gave birth to the ‘Take a Stand’ initiative, which is aimed at encouraging festival promoters to foster values of “social togetherness, understanding and tolerance for all cultures, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, colours and origins.” Bravo. It may be a small step, but festival organisers have an amazing platform to communicate with the youth of the world, as do concert promoters and, of course, the artists themselves. So I would encourage anyone reading my rambling train of thought to take a look at Yourope’s Take a Stand agenda and promote it in the workplace, on company websites and in the marketing material for events, to spread the word that solidarity can and does make a difference. If you’re in any doubt about that, take a look at the people of Romania who, at press time, were still turning up in their hundreds of thousands to peacefully protest against a corrupt regime. Music unites. And in troubled times the importance of bringing people together is intensified. So be brave, devote a few minutes to reading Yourope’s Take a Stand manifesto (see page 30) and identify what you can do, no matter how small, to encourage others to make their voices heard. Now is not the time to be part of a silent minority.
THE ILMC JOURNAL, March 2017
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In Tweets... JANUARY A lone gunman attacks New Year’s revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, resulting in the death of 39 people and injuries to a further 70. A third unlicensed venue in the United States is closed in the wake of the Oakland, California, fire that killed 36 people in an illegal converted warehouse in December. Drxvms in Athens, Ohio, had been hosting shows since spring 2016 but is shuttered because of safety concerns. US collection and licensing society SESAC is acquired by investment firm The Blackstone Group for an undisclosed sum. Hawaiian promoter Turk Cazimero, who conned 18 people into investing $900,000 (€840,000) into fake concerts, pleads guilty and could face up to 20 years in jail. Ticketing platform StubHub reveals plans to become a one-stop shop for booking transport, accommodation and dining, as well as selling merchandise. RFID access control and cashless payments specialist Intellitix acquires a controlling stake in Netherlands-based LOC Pay Systems, which supplied 200 festivals and venues across Europe in 2016 with its token-based payment system. The 800-capacity Brooklyn Bowl music venue, located within The O2 Entertainment District in London, closes after three years in operation. Vivendi unveils plans to open four entertainment venues in Africa in early 2017. The move will expand the company’s CanalOlympia network into Conakry (Guinea), Douala (Cameroon), Niamey (Niger) and Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso). AM Only and The Windish Agency rebrand as Paradigm Talent Agency, signalling the next phase of their joint ventures, launched in 2012 and 2015, respectively. A total of 21 UK acts share £250,000 (€394,000) to help with touring and marketing costs overseas, courtesy of the BPI’s Music Export Growth Scheme. Rumoured to be the most expensive and advanced concert hall ever built, the 2,100-capacity Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall in Hamburg opens after a ten-year development period, at a cost of €789million (see page 42).
Designs for a new 7,300-capacity £110m (€129m) arts venue in Manchester, England, are given the go-ahead, as a staple of the city’s club scene, Sankeys, closes its doors for good. Face-value ticket exchange website Twickets ends its crowdfunding campaign with £1.2m (€1.4m) of investment – more than 70% above the original £700,000 (€822,000) it was aiming for. Live Nation partners with US-based streaming TV brand Hulu for a multipart, virtual reality documentary series, On Stage. The 146-year-old Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus will close forever in May after battling with a decline in attendance and high operating costs, say operators Feld Entertainment (see page 82). Four people are killed and 12 others injured during a shooting at the BPM Festival in the coastal resort of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners acquires a 70% stake in Sziget Festival and reveals plans to launch eight to ten branded festivals, with James Barton, former president of electronic music for Live Nation, leading the international expansion (see page 26). Jim Frayling, head of business development at Wembley Stadium, ends his 13-year career at the venue. The stadium is limiting the amount of dates available for music programming because of a deal to host Tottenham Hotspur’s home games during the 2017-18 football season. Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis tells Glastonbury FM that his new event in 2019, located in the Midlands, will go under the name of The Variety Bazaar. Evago AG, the parent company of German event infrastructure supplier Bümo, acquires Mojo Barriers for an undisclosed sum, taking over Mojo’s offices in the Netherlands, Britain, the US and Australia. CTS Eventim names former Live Nation chief, Simon Lewis, head of its newly created sponsorship division (see page 24). Republic of Ireland politician Noel Rock introduces the Prohibition of Above-Cost Ticket Touting Bill 2016
@iq_mag to Parliament in a bid to outlaw profitmaking, resale transactions. Live Nation affiliate, Insomniac Events, indefinitely postpones the UK version of its Electric Daisy Carnival. Mike Baird, who as premier of New South Wales was responsible for the introduction of Sydney’s disastrous lockout laws, announces his retirement. A new 950-capacity venue, Orangeriet, is being constructed at Copenhagen theme park Tivoli Gardens. The club will open its doors on 6 April. Live Nation acquires CT Touring to become the exclusive promoter for venues including Idaho’s CenturyLink Arena (17,000-cap) and Eagle River Pavilion (4,000). Live Nation agrees a joint venture with Bob Angus’s Metropolis Music, with the British promoter becoming “part of the Live Nation family” with immediate effect. The threat of terror and lingering economic woes failed to dent music festival attendance in France during 2016, with the 30 most popular events recording their highest attendance in at least five years, according to SocialBand, which says 3.47 million people visited those 30 events. The European Arenas Association welcomes its 37th member – the Žalgirio Arena in Kaunas, Lithuania. Bucharest nightclub Bamboo burns down, injuring more than 40 people. The venue did not have an operating licence, according to local sources. Live Nation announces the acquisition of a controlling stake in Cuffe & Taylor based in the UK city of Preston. The company has exclusive rights to the Scarborough Open Air Theatre (6,500-cap) and organises Greenwich Music Time, in London, and the local Lytham Festival. Alibaba Pictures reportedly opens negotiations to acquire TicketNew, which sells tickets to cinemas and sports and entertainment venues across India. Live Nation’s president of international touring, Phil Bowdery, and CAA agent Emma Banks once again make the Debrett’s 500 – a list of what the publication states are Britain’s 500 most influential people. Scottish promoter DF Concerts reveals details for its new festival, Trnsmt,
IQ Magazine March 2017
News Biffy Clyro brought their 2016 UK tour to an end at The O2 in London
which will take place on Glasgow Green 7-9 July – traditionally the weekend reserved for T in the Park, which is on hiatus for 2017. Spanish DIY ticketing platform Ticketea announces record results, with 5.2 million tickets issued worldwide during 2016 – 50% more than in the previous 12 months. Nederlander Concerts signs an exclusive agreement to promote, produce and programme events at the 12,000-capacity Bonney Field in Sacramento, California, which last year hosted shows by Weezer, Lindsey Stirling and Panic! at the Disco. StubHub reports record results for the fourth quarter of 2016, growing revenue to $279m or €262m (representing year on year growth of 20%) and gross merchandise volume to $1.2billion (€1.1bn, up 5%). German promoter KBK Konzert- und Künstleragentur acquires booking agency Magnificent Music. Belgian event Daydream Festival takes advantage of a railway line running through the site in Lommel to construct a temporary railway station for the Daydream Express. Coda Agency forms a joint venture with London-based Independent Talent Group, one of Europe’s leading film and literary agencies (see page 26). Eventbrite bolsters its presence in live music with the acquisition of Amsterdam-based Ticketscript. Financial details are not disclosed. Belgian promoter and booking agency Jazztronaut Entertainment is declared bankrupt. The Brussels-based company promotes the Hello Jazz, VW Spring Sessions, VW Campus Tour and Brus-
sels Jazz Marathon festivals. Peter Rieger, the founder of Cologne-based promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur, passes away, aged 63 (see page 28). AEG Live finalises negotiations to acquire New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents. Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro are confirmed as headliners for the first edition of DF Concerts’ new Glasgow festival, Trnsmt.
FEBRUARY Ticketbis, the multinational resale operation acquired by eBay in May 2016, is rebranded as StubHub, bringing to an end the Ticketbis name across Europe, Asia and Latin America. The Madison Square Garden Company acquires a majority stake in Las Vegasbased restaurant and nightclub owner Tao Group. Yourope launches its ‘Take a Stand’ initiative, aimed at encouraging festival promoters to foster values of understanding and tolerance (see page 30). ILMC confirms former U2 manager Paul McGuinness as its guest of honour for The Breakfast Meeting, hosted by Ed Bicknell on 10 March (see page 10). Criminal proceedings are initiated against 13 people, including security staff, the promoter and its parent company, in connection with the deaths of five fans at last year’s Closeup Forever Summer festival in Manila. Reports in the Philippines suggest the deaths were drug-related.
Sudanese police blame Islamist militants for a tear gas attack at a concert by popular singer Nada Galaa in the town of New Halfa. The government of Queensland abandons plans for a 1am lockout in the Australian state, opting instead for mandatory ID scanners to deter alcoholfuelled violence. Toronto Mayor John Tory responds to the closure of several venues by affirming the city council’s commitment to “affordable, accessible spaces” for live music. Live Nation president/CEO Michael Rapino circulates a memo to state that the company is “fundamentally opposed to [President Trump’s] immigration policy that divides us along religious lines or borders.” British primary ticket agency Gigantic pledges support for the Roy Stone Foundation, a charity set-up to support music industry professionals with mental health issues. Heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath finish off a 49-year career with a final, hometown show at Genting Arena in Birmingham, UK. Live Nation enters the Middle East’s biggest touring market with the acquisition of a majority stake in Bluestone Entertainment, one of Israel’s leading promoters (see page 74). Munich festival Rockavaria will not have a 2017 edition, with owners Deutsche Entertainment AG admitting that they failed to attract a line-up of a calibre that “meets our high expectations.” Mobile white-label ticketing platform Tixserve uses Autonomy Music’s 10th birthday showcase to officially launch its services. Germany’s Consumer Federation demands that secondary ticketing site Viagogo ceases “deceiving” buyers by posing as an official seller. French music export office Bureau Export announces a series of new London-based club nights, Oui Love, to promote French artists in the UK.
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IQ Magazine March 2017
Movers and Shakers Former Warner Music Group exec Lawrence Peryer has been hired by Amazon to lead its ticketing operation in Seattle. Peryer was EVP of Warner’s global consumer sales and marketing group until he left in May 2016. Nigel Elderton, managing director and European president of peermusic, has succeeded Guy Fletcher as chairman of Performing Right Society Limited. Martin Ingham, deputy CEO of Motorpoint Arena Nottingham and National Ice Centre has been promoted to chief executive of the venue and its indoor ice rink. Ingham, who is current chairman of the National Arenas Association, takes over from Geoff Huckstep who retired last year. Ascap has promoted Simon Greenaway to vice-president of membership for the UK and continental Europe. A songwriter and producer, Greenaway has been instrumental in affiliating several high-profile writer-performers to the performance rights organisation. UK Music chief, Jo Dipple, has announced she will stand down in June 2017 after eight years at the organisation. Simon Lewis, formerly president of Live Nation in Europe, is to head-up a newly created sponsorship division at CTS Eventim. He has been tasked with building partnerships around “Eventim’s substantial network of major European festivals, concerts, venues and traffic-rich ticketing websites and related digital assets.” Jay Sietsema has joined pan-Scandinavian ticketing operation Venuepoint as country manager for Sweden. He most recently served as senior business development manager at AEG Facilities’ Stockholm Globe Arena.
Marc Oßwald, until recently the sole remaining director of troubled German promoter Koko & DTK Entertainment, has jumped ship for CTS Eventim, where he will head-up new subsidiary Vaddi Concerts. Former eps America managing director Neel Vasavada has become director of business development, while Knute Brye – previously involved with eps during the German company’s initial expansion to the US – has rejoined as MD. Arena operator SMG Europe has appointed new general managers for two of its venues in northern England. Jen Mitchell becomes GM of the 13,500-capacity First Direct Arena in Leeds, after eight years at the helm of London entertainment complex Kings Place, while Ailsa Oliver – formerly deputy GM of the First Direct Arena – takes the top job at the Metro Radio Arena (11,000-cap) in Newcastle. South American promoter Time for Fun (T4F) has appointed Alexandre Wesley, formerly its manager of international concerts, as show director for Argentina. Twickets, the face-value ticket exchange, has made its first international hire as it prepares to launch in Australia. Danny Hannaford, formerly head of ticketing at Global Live, will lead the new operation. Gary Hutchinson, formerly commercial director at English football club Sunderland AFC, has joined Wembley Stadium in London as head of venue sales and commercial partnerships. Hutchinson’s position is similar to that of ex-head of business development Jim Frayling, who departed the 90,000-capacity venue in January. United Talent Agency has hired branding expert Toni Wallace as head of music brand partnerships. She was most recently senior director of strategic marketing at Columbia Records.
Takeover Season Starts with a Bang We might only be a few short weeks into 2017, but lawyers, senior company executives and financial directors around the world have been working overtime on their mergers and acquisitions programmes. Numerous takeovers have been announced since the beginning of January, as consolidation in the live music business gathers pace. Unsurprisingly, the world’s biggest live entertainment business, Live Nation, has been busiest, with a slew of deals that should elevate revenues in the months to come. Among the promoters that Live Nation has acquired are CT Touring in America’s north west and Cuffe & Taylor in the UK. The company has also bought its way into a joint venture with Israeli promoter Bluestone to create Live
Nation Israel (see page 74), which also opens the doors for Ticketmaster in that market. And back in the UK, it has agreed a JV with Metropolis Music that sees Bob Angus’s company become “part of the Live Nation family.” Major rival AEG Live, meanwhile, has finalised its takeover of New York-based promoter and venue operator The Bowery Presents, giving it a significant east coast presence. Not to be outdone, The Madison Square Garden Company has bought a majority stake in Las Vegas-based restaurant and nightclub owner Tao Group. And underlining the fact that Wall Street financiers are identifying the music sector as an area for growth, US collection and licensing society SESAC is being purchased by investment firm The Blackstone Group,
while Providence Equity Partners has acquired a majority stake in the Sziget festivals portfolio (see page 26). In Europe, RFID access control and cashless payments specialist Intellitix has acquired a controlling stake in Netherlands-based LOC Pay Systems, whose token-based payment system is used by hundreds of festivals and events. Also targeting a Dutch operation, Eventbrite has bolstered its presence in live music with the acquisition of Amsterdam-based Ticketscript. In Germany, promoter KBK Konzert- und Künstleragentur added another string to its bow by taking over booking agency Magnificent Music. And in the production supply sector, Evago AG, the parent company of German event infrastructure
supplier Bümo, has acquired Mojo Barriers and its operations in the Netherlands, Britain, the US and Australia. But all those transactions could amount to loose change compared to the hyper aggressive growth strategy of Alibaba Group. The Chinese megacorporation began 2016 with a war chest of about $38billion (€36bn), which it made a decent stab at working through with a programme of takeovers, notably in the cinema and film studios business. The head of its entertainment division, Yu Yongfu, recently revealed he has $7.2bn (€6.8bn) to invest over the next three years, and with the company reportedly in talks to acquire Indian ticketing business, TicketNew, it’s surely only a matter of time before Alibaba turns its attention to Europe and, possibly, the live music industry.
IQ Magazine March 2017
BDV Celebrates Neighbouring Rights Success Promoters and agents association, BDV, has won its decade-long battle to convince German regulators to accept that live entertainment organisers deserve their own collection society to process royalties from live concert recordings made at their events. The Deutsches Patent- und Markenant (German patent and trademark office) has ratified Gesellschaft zur Wahrnehmung von Veranstalterrechten (GWVR), which BDV set-up three years ago to establish tariffs, administer the rights procedures and distribute royalties from the exploitation of live entertainment sound and audio visual
recordings. As a result, the rights of promoters, festival organisers and some venues are now part of German copyright law, meaning that record labels and broadcasters will have to pay the event organiser a share of any revenues they receive from live concert recordings. The law will also benefit international promoters operating in Germany or co-promoting with local partners. The patent office has agreed to make the right to royalties retrospective for 25 years, meaning that record labels, broadcasters and artists – who made their own recordings for commercial use – are
CODA FORMS STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP WITH ITG London-based Coda Agency has agreed a strategic partnership with leading film and literary agency Independent Talent Group (ITG), which brings with it access to a multimillion-euro investment fund. The deal, which Coda partner agent Alex Hardee tells IQ has been two years in the making, will “enable broad crossplatform access across their respective rosters and [incorporate] capabilities in brand partnerships and licensing, digital and corporate events,” according to a joint statement from the agencies. Also based in London, ITG’s client base encompasses actors, directors, writers, producers, models, presenters, comedians and casting directors, while the company incorporates entertainment and fashion marketing firm ITB Worldwide, corporate entertainment arm ITG Corporate and voiceover
agency Advoice. The deal effectively makes Coda Europe’s biggest talent agency. Its live roster includes the likes of Take That, The xx, Disclosure, London Grammar, Tiësto, The Prodigy, Sia, and BRIT Awards Critics’ Choice winner 2017, Rag’n’Bone Man. The joint venture with ITG gives Coda the opportunity to offer non-music services to its roster of clients, in a similar vein to US-based agency giants CAA, UTA and WME Entertainment. Hardee says the investment fund will allow further expansion and says Coda’s hierarchy is already looking at a variety of businesses as potential targets (see page 46). Meanwhile, Beverly Hillsbased Paradigm Talent Agency, which in 2014 acquired a 50% stake in Coda, has announced that its American partners The Windish Agency and AM Only have rebranded under the Paradigm name.
liable to make royalty payments to promoters. “It’s a revolution in the live entertainment business,” states BDV president Prof. Jens Michow. “Every promoter who has such rights will also be entitled to revenue from radio and television broadcasts of the recordings, as well as from platforms such as YouTube and Facebook.” GWVR has set an initial 7% tariff for albums and recorded products where the live content is more than 50% of the whole, dropping to 4.55% if the live content is between 25-50%. For anything below 25% of the content, GWVR will charge a rate of 3.5%.
But German record companies association BVMI and indie labels body VUT argue that those rates are too high and have made a counter offer flat rate of 2.5%. Negotiations have been ongoing for more than a year, but GWVR CEO Dr. Johannes Ulbricht, believes an agreement could be on the horizon that could set the rate at somewhere close to 5.5%. In order to receive royalties from recordings made at live entertainment events, promoters need to be GWVR members and should be able to prove that they were involved in arrangements to make the recording. GWVR membership costs €300.
Sziget Goes Global The Sziget Festival brand is set to roll out around the world following the sale of a 70% stake to global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners. Financial details were not disclosed but the investment specialists want to leverage the name to launch between eight to ten new Sziget events. James Barton, former president of electronic music for Live Nation and the founder of Creamfields Festival, has joined the company, alongside Paul Bedford, who was Cream Group’s financial director. Also in the management team are Sziget’s current hierarchy – Sziget founder Károly Gerendai, CEO Tamás Kádár, international operations head Gábor Takács, and Zoltán Fülöp and Norbert Lobenwein who helm sister events, Telekom VOLT Festival and Balaton Sound – who jointly retain a 30% equity stake. With $47billion (€44bn) in assets under manage-
ment, US-based Providence has deep pockets and Kádár believes that financial muscle will allow the company to acquire existing events, as well as launch new festivals, with the ideal targets ranging in daily capacity from 35,000 to 95,000. As well as its flagship Budapest event, the existing Sziget portfolio already includes the Balaton and VOLT brands, Gourmet Festival and Gyerek Sziget. Founder Gerendai reveals, “We received a series of inquiries from both financial and trade investors in the last couple of years, but we were attracted to Providence’s proposal because it opens new dimensions for us. “Providence’s network and financial resources will complement our existing management team’s expertise and will put us in an even stronger position to unlock significant new growth opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to us.”
IQ Magazine March 2017
No Secondary Ticketing Conference The controversial and emotive topic of secondary ticketing has featured on the agendas of international conferences for many years now, but following moves to ban resale in Italy, an entire event dedicated to the issue took place in Milan in January. Organised by Claudio Trotta of Barley Arts, the 26 January gathering – No Secondary Ticketing – signaled its clear intentions and mission, with Trotta explaining that he created the conference following Italian TV show Le Iene’s revelations last year that Live Nation sold upfront ticket inventory for Coldplay directly to the resale platform Viagogo.
“We are not fighting Live Nation, because there are more companies acting in this way, but we want to fight those who are speculating and exploiting this system,” said Trotta in his opening speech at the event, which saw 400 attendees and an online audience of countless more from around the world via a live video stream. From an industry perspective, Stefano Lionetti, MD of primary ticketing platform TicketOne, reported that the sales process for U2 in Italy had to be monitored by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), who found that 84% of secondary ticket sales appeared during the first hour of the official on-sale.
Adam Webb, from the Fan Fair Alliance in the UK, highlighted the “romantic” self-image portrayed by resale operators that they are part of the “shared economy,” in line with the likes of Uber, Airbnb and eBay, even though the secondary sites are “completely built on anonymity,” and admit that they cannot police their platforms. Webb estimated that the value of the secondary ticketing market in the UK alone is around £1billion (€1.2bn). ATC Live agent Alex Bruford cited shows by Lumineers in London where he and the band’s management required the promoter to sell
personalised tickets, which lead to only a handful of tickets being listed on resale platforms. Bruford said that retaining control over how and where tickets are sold is not difficult, and he concluded that agents are able to prevent secondary ticketing “before confirming the show.” Energised by the support the anti-touting movement is gathering in Italy, Trotta has pledged to monitor secondary ticketing, as well as creating an awareness campaign, with a toll-free hotline, to educate consumers about the business practices and disadvantages associated with the secondary ticketing sector.
PETER RIEGER: 1953-2017 away!” He adds, “When I was an agent, he delighted in calling me ‘Robbery Hallett’ – I can hear him laughing at his own joke now…” Danny Gillen, the long-serving road manager for Phil Collins, says Rieger “wasn’t just a promoter: he was my friend, as he was to all touring bands and crew. He was a man who loved his job and loved his life. Peter was funny, generous and a real credit to the music business – but most of all he was a loyal man. Loyalty is a thing you can’t buy – you’ve either got it or you haven’t – Peter had it in spades.”
Peter Rieger, the founder of Cologne-based promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK), has passed away, aged 63. The news was announced by PRK’s majority stakeholder, CTS Eventim, which paid tribute to a man who has provided “thousands of people wonderful memories” and “given numerous artists their breakthrough.” “We were deeply moved by the death of our long-time business partner and colleague, Peter Rieger,” said Eventim in a statement. “We are mourning for a giant of the live entertainment industry. The death of Peter Rieger does not just mean a big loss for the industry, but also a farewell to a long-time companion. Our sincere condolences to his family and relatives.” Born on 12 April 1953, Rieger promoted some of Germany’s most memorable shows, including high-profile dates by David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Genesis, U2, George Michael, Eagles, Whitney Houston, and Roger Waters’ The Wall – Live in Berlin. Prior to founding PRK, Rieger worked for Lippmann + Rau before moving to Mama Concerts, where he promoted his first show by an international act: Level 42. He was named Promoters’ Promoter at the Arthur Awards at ILMC 16 in 2004. PRK, founded in 1983, has been led by
managing director Klaus-Peter Matziol since 2015, when Rieger retired. A joint statement from the company’s staff and management described the late promoter as a “passionate and visionary leader” who “guided our company over many decades, creating unforgettable moments in music performance.” Solo Agency managing director John Giddings says that despite stepping down from his MD role at PRK, Rieger was “still very much hands-on” with the business – and that he and Rieger had been working together to co-promote Phil Collins’ shows in Germany later this year. Giddings, who knew Rieger since the late 1980s, says his friend died “far too young.” “I’m in shock,” he tells IQ. “He was good for a laugh and generous beyond belief, and helped me out a lot when I was starting out.” Rob Hallett of Robomagic comments, “Peter was a great character who will be dearly missed throughout the industry. We worked a lot together in the 80s – my fondest memory probably involves him having the first car-phone that I had ever seen. We were in Berlin with Kajagoogoo, and while driving past the Brandenburg Gate I telephoned my mum from the car. She was blown
ILMC founder Martin Hopewell describes Rieger as “a significant figure in the development of the European live music scene, one of the all-time great German promoters and a highly valued founder member of the ILMC. He was also an elegant, intelligent man who I’m very grateful to have known. Losing people of Peter’s experience and quality diminishes the live industry in a way that can never really be compensated for.” Marillion drummer Ian Mosley, for whom Reiger promoted several tours in the early 1980s, says he has “very, very fond memories of Peter.” Fish, the band’s former frontman, adds: “I was so sorry to hear the news of Peter’s passing. He was a great friend and advisor to me in the 80s and instrumental in breaking Marillion in Germany. His contribution to the music business over the years on so many levels has been immense. A fantastic character with a sense of humour that could light up any venue.” Mike + The Mechanics singer Tim Howar calls Rieger “a brilliant man and legend.” On behalf of the band, he adds: “We will miss you.” Artist manager and former agent Ed Bicknell comments, “I did many shows with Peter back in the day when I was an agent, and he worked with Dire Straits and other acts of mine many times. He was a total professional, a pleasure to deal with and funny – definitely funny. Which is what every promoter needs: a sense of humour. This year has got off to a gloomy start already.”
IQ Magazine March 2017
BUSY BODIES News fr om live music associations ar ound the world
Standing Up Against Discrimination
European festivals organisation Yourope has launched its Take a Stand initiative aimed at encouraging festival promoters to foster values of “social togetherness, understanding and tolerance for all cultures, genders, races, religions, sexual orientations, colours and origins.” After trying to convince the European Commission of the importance of festivals as cultural meeting points for years, Yourope decided to take matters into its own hands by formulating a plan at its January members’ meeting during Eurosonic. The result is the rapid launch of the campaign, explains Lollapalooza Berlin festival director Fruzsina Szép. “We are aiming to motivate people to be politically and socially more active, speak up for a peaceful dialogue, humanism, tolerance and understanding for each other,” she says. Take A Stand urges people to: • Vote: Get engaged, become part of a political party and/or vote on a local and national level.
• Be active: Don’t be silent, join NGOs, support initiatives, sign petitions, raise your voice and spread the message on your social media platforms, stay open-minded. • Tolerate: Tolerate and respect all cultures and their values, support pro-active integration and an open dialogue where it’s needed. • Show solidarity: Show solidarity with minorities and help those who need help, take on voluntary work and take part in charity projects. Solidarity makes us stronger. • Learn: Discover the world, get in contact with other cultures through music, films and books, taste the food of the world and try to understand alternative values and views to yours.
Stop the Drop
mation and training aids for use by all stakeholders involved in events, from design to implementation. It includes advice about equipment considerations during the design process, posters and logos for use at venues and, for organisers, during communications with contractors and exhibitors. In addition, there are training guides and equipment risk checkers that can be used
Leading event industry associations, the Association of Event Venues (AEV), the Association of Event Organisers (AEO) and the Event Supplier and Services Association (ESSA) have joined forces to launch Stop the Drop, a health and safety scheme that aims to prevent falls when working at height. The project includes infor-
Festivals and organisations interested in supporting Take a Stand should contact Yourope’s general secretary, Christof Huber, via email@example.com.
London’s Venue Rescue Plan Makes Progress The Music Venue Trust (MVT) has confirmed encouraging developments in response to its Rescue Plan for London’s Grassroots Music Venues report. Published in mid-2015, the report made six recommendations to stem the tide of closures and help new venues open, and MVT says progress has been made on all fronts, thus: 1. Planning: Mayor Sadiq Khan has pledged to introduce the Agent of Change principle in the next London Plan, which MVT is involved in developing. In April 2016, the Government introduced the Agent of Change principle into Permitted Development Rights – a major step that confirms the value of live music venues, across the country. 2. Development: MVT has brought developers, councils and the music industry together to look at how to reverse the loss of venues. There is a clear commitment to tackle this issue and several potential venues are in development. 3. Business Rates: Research shows grassroots music venues bring £92million to London’s
economy every year, supporting 2,260 jobs. MVT is examining the benefits of a business rates discount for those venues. 4. Licensing, Environmental Health and Policing: The Mayor is encouraging stronger partnerships between businesses, councils and police licensing teams to help identify problems earlier. 5. Promotion: Amy Lamé to has been appointed Night Czar of London. 6. Tourism: Research shows that tourists are looking for authentic experiences and venues off the beaten track. London & Partners and the London Music Board are exploring new music tourism schemes to address this issue. “Once you substantiate anecdotal knowledge with evidence you can start to tackle the challenges,” says MVT strategic director Beverley Whitrick. “Having a clear plan has enabled the GLA [Greater London Authority] to lead the fight to champion and protect grassroots music venues in London, making impressive progress in a short time.”
during load-in and breakdown periods. Gavin Bull, HM inspector of health and safety, says, “Falls from height are one of the most common causes of fatal injury in the UK. HSE supports the work of AEO, AEV and ESSA and the commitment they have made to improving safety for workers in the exhibition industry who frequently work at height. This is an excellent example
of how an industry is working together to improve the safety of its workforce.”
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IQ Magazine March 2017
The latest trades and handshakes from the agency world FHB
300,000 YouTube views. Her upcoming EP is, therefore, eagerly awaited and the artist has ambitious desires to Hailing from Southern Cali- expand the FHB brand into a fornia, FHB recalls asking retail empire. family members to film her singing and performing covers from an early age and often put together mini-concerts for neighbours. In middle school she joined the concert choir where she received the outstanding vocalist award. Her choir teacher told her she had something special and encouraged her to pursue music. After landing a deal with Dreams World/Sony Entertainment, she released debut single Regular featuring JR, which received airplay across the US and heavy support from club DJs, with over five millions plays on SoundCloud and more than
OSCAR & THE WOLF
Agar Agar (FR) All Cows Eat Grass (US) Avante Black (SE) Bad Pop (CA) Bontan (UK) Boombox Cartel (MX) Charlie Straw (UK) Childhood (UK) Cory Henry (US) Crooked Colours (AU) Danny Worsnop (UK) Decade (UK) Echobelly (UK) Elisa (IT) ELLA (NL) Eyedress (PH) FOURS (UK) G.R.L. (US) Georgie Keller (UK) GG Magree (AU) Hannah Peel (UK) Harrison Brome (CA) Hollow Hand (UK) HVMM (UK) Jade Jackson (US) Jay Daniel (US) Jeff Rosenstock (US) Joey Purp (US) JUDAS (UK) Just Us (UK) Kan Wakan (US) Lauren Faith (UK) Leif Vollebekk (CA) Lita Ford (US) Lucianblomkamp (AU)
M.I.L.K. (DK) Mad Caddies (US) Moonbase (AU) Naduve (IL) Noname (US) North Downs (UK) Old Crow Medicine Show (US) Orbital (UK) Overcoats (US) Papa Roach (US) Paradisia (UK) Pat Dam Smyth (UK) Pixey (UK) R3HAB (NL) Rezz (CA) R.I.O (US) Rory Butler (UK) Sad13 (US) Sam Divine (UK) Shaed (US) Shlohmo (US) Sinéad O’Connor (IE) Slowcoaches (UK) Slowlights (UK) Tangerine Dream (DE) Tender Central (UK) The Bay Rays (UK) The Veils (UK) True Moon (SE) Vagabon (CM) Wild Front (UK) Ziggy Marley (JM)
Agent: Richard Spiers, OTM Touring
Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent Rich Spears, OTM Touring Olly Hodgson, Coda Agency Matt Bates, Primary Talent Kane Dansie, Coda Agency Paul McQueen, Primary Talent Oliver Ward, UTA William Church, ATC Live Noah Simon, UTA Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Steve Zapp, ITB Chris Smyth, Primary Talent Steve Zapp, ITB Lucia Wade, ITB Chris Meredith, ATC Live Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Martin Mackay, Primary Talent Sol Parker, Coda Agency Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Cris Hearn, Coda Agency Chris Meredith, ATC Live Kane Dansie, Coda Agency Steve Backman, Primary Talent Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Paul Buck, Coda Agency Naomi Palmer, Earth Agency Ed Sellers, Primary Talent Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Matt Bates, Primary Talent Nick Matthews, Coda Agency Steve Backman, Primary Talent Sol Parker, Coda Agency Colin Keenan, ATC Live Phyllis Belezos, ITB Jack Cox, X-ray Touring
Agents: Jason Edwards and Alex Hardee, Coda Not a great many acts can boast the kind of success Oscar & the Wolf has already seen in only three years. While the album went multi-platinum in frontman Max Colombie’s native Belgium, the band’s live résumé grew ever quicker into soldout arena shows at Sportpaleis (Antwerp, Belgium) and AFAS Live (Amsterdam, Netherlands). This, after an impressive run of festivals including Rock Werchter, Pukkelpop (which they also headlined in 2016), Lowlands, Pinkpop, Arras Main Square, Montreux Jazz, Eurockéenes, Southside, Zürich Openair, Sziget, Babylon Soundgarden and
Hurricane Festival. It’s not too surprising then, that they also took home the European Border Breaker Award in 2016. 2017 brings a summer full of festivals, a sophomore album on Play It Again Sam (UK/EU) and Neon Gold (US) in the fall, followed by an extensive tour in support of the new material.
Sarah Casey, LPO Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent Cris Hearn, Coda Agency Lucinda Runham, Primary Talent Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Chris Payne, ITB Colin Keenan, ATC Live Dan Silver, Value Added Talent Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Steve Zapp, ITB Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo Steve Zapp, ITB Phyllis Belezos, ITB Cris Hearn, Coda Agency Cris Hearn, Coda Agency Rich Spears, OTM Touring Oliver Ward, UTA Chris Meredith, ATC Live Dave Blackgrove, Coda Agency Olly Hodgson, Coda Agency Kane Dansie, Coda Agency Rob Challice, Coda Agency Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Mark Bennett and Skully Kaplan, UTA Georg Leitner, GLP Oliver Ward, UTA Matt Bates, Primary Talent Chris Meredith, ATC Live Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Charly Beedell-Tuck, Solo Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent
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IQ Magazine March 2017
A Promoter’s Nightmare Martin Holmes of Bergen Live in Norway reminds us, and emphasises, that our shows and events are as ever open to risk from fire and other dangers, and that we must remain vigilant and never cut costs on security.
ver the last few years, there have been several tragic club fires with extremely high casualty rates, and even though the Ghost Ship in Oakland has been branded as an artist collective, it bears too many similarities to previous club fires for us to avoid discussing dangerous venues and sites. As I write, the death toll in Oakland has risen to 36 and the search for bodies has still not finished. No official cause has been determined, but illegal residents, illegal parties, and too few and inadequate egress routes all contributed. These types of incidents are massive tragedies with no easy answers, and they are nightmarish scenarios for promoters, authorities and patrons alike. In the UK, guidance specifically related to the important issue of fire prevention, was published after two serious incidents: the Summerland disaster in 1973, in which approximately 50 people died; and the Stardust in Dublin, where there were 48 fatalities, in 1981.
“If you can’t get people out in time, don’t bother trying to get them in.” Unfortunately, not all other countries have followed suit. It is just over a year since the tragic fire at the Colectiv Club in Bucharest, Romania, where the illegal use of pyrotechnics led to the loss of 26 lives on-site and 38 others who later died in hospitals, making the total death toll 64. The incident sparked political demonstrations aptly named the Colectiv Revolution that eventually led to the resignation of the sitting government at the time. The greatest risk for indoor venues is still that of fire and toxic smoke, and historically, the illegal or wrongful use of pyrotechnics. Locked exits or insufficient egress capacities and overcrowding are other common denominators for several of these high casualty incidents. Fireworks started some of the deadliest nightclub fires in the world: in the US, The Station nightclub fire in Long Island (2003), killed 100 of the 462 people attending the show. Pyrotechnics set off by the band ignited sound insulation in the walls and ceiling around the stage, quickly engulfing the entire venue. At the República Cromañón in Buenos Aires, Argentina, 194 people died in 2004, following the use of a flare; and in Brazil, 242 people died of similar reasons in 2014. All of the above mentioned cases also had too many guests inside the venue at the time of the incidents.
(The worst example being in Argentina where they sold 3,500 tickets prior to the event, at a venue that was licensed for 1,041 people. It was estimated that an additional 1,000 people entered the premises before the incident occurred.) Looking at this from a pan-European perspective, we have even greater challenges, with different judiciary systems, different licensing laws, and in some countries, even a lack of licensing laws in terms of events. The kneejerk reaction of authorities in the wake of such events is to pass more, and often stricter regulations on venues and event organisers. Another problem is that said rules and regulations are very often made without any input from the industry or the industry practitioners, with the end result often being rules that are irrelevant or impossible to uphold. So what can we as event organisers do? Get involved Interact with authorities and give them input on rules and legislations.You are the industry experts, but if you do not speak up, no one will listen. Voice your opinions at official hearings, and engage in dialogue with the licensing authorities. Don’t cut costs on safety In this day and age, there is a lot of pressure when promoting and producing shows. There is a demand for profit and the events we put on are scrutinised and measured from an economical perspective. But, cutting costs on health and safety leaves us vulnerable to serious incidents, and at the end of the day, the industry will lose more in terms of both reputation and revenue when struck by tragedies. Make sure your venues are fit for purpose As one of my old lecturers said: “If you can’t get people out in time, don’t bother trying to get them in.” Can the room hold the intended capacity? Does the venue look safe? Is the venue’s personnel well trained? Use your experience and trust your instincts As readers of this publication you have probably been putting on events for a long time. That gives you invaluable experience and knowledge of the live event industry. If something seems ‘off’ to you, act on it. Your gut feeling is very often your experience subconsciously reacting to an anomaly or an incorrect procedure. When in doubt, ask someone, or bring in a qualified person to answer your questions. In my experience, you are most likely to be right in your assessment that something is wrong. Trust your instincts, you owe it to yourself, your colleagues, your employees, your patrons, and the artists they pay to see.
IQ Magazine March 2017
Keep an Eye on the Road Ahead Chief executive of UK Music, Jo Dipple, reports on a good year for music, with live doing particularly well – but she warns against complacency in various areas in the coming year, if the UK is to sustain its success rate.
ndulge me for a moment while I share a few statistics. In 2016, UK Music reported that our industry contributed £4.1billion (€4.8bn) to the UK economy in the previous year and supported 119,000 jobs. During those same 12 months, five of the world’s top-selling artists were British (Adele, Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, One Direction and Sam Smith) and our music generated £2.2bn (€2.6bn) in export revenues. The total audience for live music in the UK was 27.7m with 24m attending concerts and 3.7m going to music festivals. The UK’s music attractions – including festivals, concert venues and musical heritage sites – generated £3.7bn (€4.3bn) of direct and indirect spend. And over three quarters of a million (767,000) overseas music tourists came to the UK primarily for live music during the year. The UK market is the world’s biggest consumer of music relative to population size and tops the global table for album purchases per head. Digital accounts for more and more income for the recorded music sector and revenue from streaming services rose by 49% from 2014-2015. The live sector outperformed both recorded music and publishing, generating £904million (€1.1bn) in terms of GVA (gross value added), compared to £610m (€703m) for recorded and £412m (€482m) for publishing.
“At present, music is on a run of green lights, but there are a few speed bumps on the road ahead” These are remarkable figures and the success story of music in the UK explains why, for example, the Foreign Office came to us to sell the United Kingdom abroad. Our industry reflects the nature of our people, unwilling to be told what to do and happiest when singing to the rest of the world. At present, music is on a run of green lights, but there are a few speed bumps on the road ahead and we are approaching a few ambers and reds. For a start, the route map from amateur music-making to a sustainable career is not always easy to follow. Access to music education is easier in private schools than in state schools. Access to enough cash to sustain an emerging music career through to profitability, in whichever part of the industry, is extremely hard. Cuts to local government services; the onerous pressure put on those claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance; little or no careers advice about routes into the industry or the available possibilities;
IQ Magazine March 2017
a marked division between the opportunities for young people in the south compared to the rest of the UK – these are obstacles. Where we can intervene, we do. UK Music is visiting schools and colleges all over the UK to explain more about ways into the business, and we have introduced an apprenticeship scheme, which has created 70 new jobs for young people from diverse backgrounds. Government must do its bit: a strong domestic copyright framework is a minimum requirement and the Digital Economy Bill, which is passing through Parliament, needs to reflect a commitment to tackling dysfunctional markets. A further worry is the decline in the grassroots music venue sector. London has seen a 35-40% decrease in smaller music venues over the past decade. It is happening elsewhere. Our annual state-of-the-industry report Measuring Music showed a 2% decline in the live industry’s contribution to the economy year-on-year, due to this dwindling number of grassroots venues. Losing these places – and their rich heritage – is irreversible, and has an impact that is economic, cultural and removes a breeding ground for upcoming talent. It is vital the network of city mayors gets on top of a policy for small venues and the night-time economy as a whole. We hear continually that the spirit of the law and decisions made by Parliament do not filter down to local licensing authorities. Even if they do, some simply choose to ignore them if they don’t like the type of music under consideration. There are some triumphs. In Edinburgh, the council licensing board recently agreed to revise a clause that had stifled music making in the city for years. Instead of insisting amplified music must be “inaudible” to neighbours, now it should not be an “audible nuisance” – but who decides what is a nuisance is anyone’s guess at this stage. We need the clout of some music-loving mayors to raise the heat on venues, licensing and the cultural night-time economy. The Mayor of Toronto said at Canada Music Week that creating a “music city” took personal leadership. The appointment of Amy Lamé as London’s Night Czar is brilliant and shows how Sadiq Khan is taking the lead in this country. We need our new breed of city mayors – the likes of Andy Burnham, Steve Rotherham and Siôn Simon – to follow suit by agreeing a cultural pledge for music cities in the UK. We will support them in every way, as will our membership and those politicians who love music. And hopefully, we will change some of those red lights to amber – and the amber ones to green.
Re-imagining Collaboration Between European Events Georgia Taglietti and Ralph Christoph from European Festival events Sónar and c/o pop Festival, respectively, look at plans to encourage co-operation and cultural exchange throughout the European festival scene under the heading of We Are Europe.
ne thing all Europeans can agree on is how much we love a music festival. From mammoth, week-long sites of pilgrimage, to smaller boutique events in second cities from Graz to Ghent, the European festival scene is in rude health, with new events being added each year. Of course, while we might be united in our passion for live music, the very nature of competition in a common market means that co-operation between organisers and promoters, can be at best limited. Aiming to tackle this issue head on is We Are Europe, a three-year initiative that brings together eight festivals from around the continent in the spirit of cultural exchange.
“Closer ties between the festivals has allowed us to draw on local knowledge, to identify and reach out to those acts in each territory who best fit the profile of our festival.” Between us, the selected festivals run the gamut from highprofile events with a large international following (Sónar and Nuits sonores, in Spain and France, respectively) to cooperative non-profits at the foot of the Arctic Circle (Insomnia in Tromsø, Norway), and span the length and breadth of the continent, from Thessaloniki’s Reworks in Greece to The Hague’s’ TodaysArt in the Netherlands, along with Austria’s Elevate, Germany’s c/o pop and Serbia’s Resonate. We’re now one year into the project, and starting to see the advantages of the collaboration in a clearer light. The first, and
perhaps most obvious benefit has been in terms of booking. Closer ties between the festivals has allowed us to draw on local knowledge, to identify and reach out to those acts in each territory who best fit the profile of our festival. Of course, this network has advantages for artists as well as promoters, giving them an opportunity to play to like-minded crowds further afield. And this is by no means limited to live music. In fact, one of the characteristics all of the events in the programme share is a willingness to explore the wider ecosystem around music and creativity in all its forms through conferences, installations or networking activities. While the cultural exchange element forms the core of the project, the development of We Are Europe as a brand and platform in its own right, also gives the participating festivals an online presence throughout the year, as well as generating supplementary content for use across all channels. At a time when content is king in the marketplace, this is an invaluable resource for everyone involved. Most importantly, and thanks to the diversity of the festivals involved, the project has allowed us to build a clearer picture of the wider challenges to the festival community in Europe, likewise enabling us to better adapt by entering into these challenges together; whether this is through a greater focus on multidisciplinary or supplementary activities (workshops, conferences, installations), or how to respond to innovations in communication, inclusion in a wider network gives us all access to a larger toolbox. As the realities facing all of us within Europe continue to evolve, our hope is that by working ever-closer together, we can all work to create cultural events of an increasingly high quality: a goal we can all be proud of sharing. We’re only in the early stages of the project, but already after a year we’re starting to see the real benefits to be had from closer collaboration. As we move into the second year, we can only see things getting better, with greater understanding of the concrete benefits to be had from collaborative thinking, and the space for introspection this provides.
IQ Magazine March 2017
The Power of Music Beckie Sugden is an agent at X-Ray Touring, London. Here, lest we sometimes forget, she reminds us all of the vital importance of the product that we work with and the good that it can bring into peoples’ lives.
orking in the music industry is a demanding job and only the luckiest of us can say they don’t occasionally have a day when they wonder why on earth they do it to themselves! But we should never make light of what we do, as every one of us is adding to the human experience on an immeasurable scale. Whilst we obviously couldn’t do what we do without the music, facilitating people’s interaction with music is helping in more ways than we realise. The building of my music memory began in the womb, when my dad used to play me a variety of music, from Prince to Frank Zappa to Metallica. Music connected us throughout our lives together and even up to his last weeks on Earth we catalogued and listened to new music from an unknown band he’d discovered in America. He is sadly no longer with us, but not only have I been left with an extensive collection of CDs and vinyl to treasure, but also the emotions, memories and experiences we shared, all of which come flooding back to me when I listen to the music that we shared together. We’ve all experienced that: hearing a favourite old song that brings up good and sometimes bad memories of people, times, places, and even sensations. You can probably
remember vividly your first concert or buying your first record or CD and how that made you feel. It’s been shown repeatedly that there is an inseparable connection between music, emotion and memory. Not only can music help preserve memories, it can play a part in the construction of us as people, determining what we wear, who our friends are and where we spend our time. And it can also aid in our physical wellbeing. Look at the incredible work that charities such as Nordoff Robbins do in rehabilitating people through music therapy, as a shining example of the power of music. Even towards the end of life the positive effects can be seen in Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers. This was demonstrated most recently by 80-year-old Teddy Mac ‘The Songaminute Man,’ whose car-pool videos posted by his son went viral. As an Alzheimer’s sufferer, Teddy was unable to remember almost anything except the lyrics to the songs that he delivers so beautifully, word perfect. So when we have those days of doubt, remember that whilst we may only be small cogs in the bigger wheel, and we may sometimes doubt the significance of what we do, we truly are making a difference to humankind.
© Jannica Honey
Encouraging Music Tourism As founder and managing director of Music Tourist, a consultancy and events company, Olaf Furniss champions the opportunities that can arise from tourism and music enterprises working together.
n November 2016, I hosted the world’s first Music Tourist Summit in Glasgow (the UK’s first UNESCO City of Music) aimed at fostering closer ties between the music and tourism industries and laying the foundations to develop a global network and consultancy. The event began with a day of TED-style talks and workshops hosted in a brewery, followed by evening networking activities and a music tour the next morning involving visits to several key venues. Speakers included representatives from Icelandair, ICS Festival Service’s Full Metal Cruise, an Oslo hotel with its own recording studio, a tour operator offering packages to an electronic music festival in Cuba, and an AC/DC tribute festival in the small Scottish town where Bon Scott lived before his family emigrated to Australia. Moreover, delegates also heard from industry organisation UK Music whose most recent Wish You Were Here report estimates that live music tourism is worth £3.7billion [€4.3bn] to the British economy. By the end of the first day of the summit, 53% of survey respondents stated that they were ‘very likely’ (with a further 29% responding ‘likely’) to do business with the other sector, and that was before the whisky tasting got underway.
“In far too many places throughout the world, the music and tourism industries still appear to operate in parallel universes.” Given that these figures are based on delegates who had met only hours earlier, they indicate the huge potential of what could be achieved if music and tourism businesses work together in a concerted manner. Nevertheless, in far too many places throughout the world, the music and tourism industries still appear to operate in parallel universes. Many festival promoters appear resigned to the lack of engagement from destination marketing organisations (DMOs) and governments (local, regional and national), which often appear to feel more comfortable targeting segments such as food/drink, city breaks, walking/nature, golf, or MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions). As a result, music tourists are not being encouraged to extend their stays, thereby depriving visitor attractions, restaurants, bars and accommodation providers of business. And in an age where travel decisions are increasingly made on the basis of recommendations, this means destinations are missing out on valuable word-of-mouth promotion.
Prior to launching Music Tourist, I spent several years highlighting the benefits of co-operation and have recently noticed encouraging signs that previously disinterested DMOs, governments, hoteliers and public bodies are slowly beginning to take notice. In part this is due to a growing awareness of initiatives in cities such as Austin, Nashville and Hamburg, but it also reflects the emergence of a new generation of individuals in both industries who are keen to seek out new opportunities. Since 2011, the Wish You Were Here report (to which I contributed preliminary research) has served as an additional tool to get the attention of decision makers both in the UK and internationally. However, as it focuses only on people traveling for the purpose of attending a music event (as do most economic impact studies conducted by festivals) it fails to reveal the full potential. Visitors taking part in music retreats, residential workshops and music-based tours are currently excluded from the study, as are tourists travelling for other reasons but who may be keen to experience the local musical offerings. For venues, promoters, musicians and even record shops, the latter should be of most interest, as it is where many opportunities lie. Tourism research indicates a trend where people want to feel local (rather than like a tourist) and going to a gig is the perfect way to engage with the indigenous community. Grassroots venues, in particular, can benefit from focusing marketing activity where it reaches visitors (eg accommodation providers, tourism information offices and travel websites). Moreover, the MICE market offers great potential as corporate clients seek out more original locations and experiences, which can involve hiring clubs for events and programming music activity. Conversely, when hoteliers, as well as visitor attractions such as museums, galleries, castles and churches, are interested in working with music, they are often unsure of how to go about engaging with promoters, artists, agents and managers. Music Tourist is a forum where they can all connect, and by working with partners to host summits around the world, it will seek to prioritise local requirements while simultaneously creating ties on an international level. Since the inaugural event in November, Glasgow City Marketing Bureau has announced that music will form a key element of its promotional strategy. Scotland’s visitor attractions are set to benefit from an influx of thousands of metal cruisers, and Cuban musicians will be hired to perform for German visitors. These early outcomes are encouraging and are the first steps in building a community around music tourism, where everyone can feel local.
IQ Magazine March 2017
Gig Gadgetry from the Frontline...
The Sync Project
Lady Gaga Drones Using one of the most watched sports events on the planet, Intel Corporation showcased its latest drone technology, thanks to the co-operation of Lady Gaga. The artist provided the half-time entertainment during 5 February’s Super Bowl at the NRG Stadium in Houston, which more than 100 million people in the United States alone tuned in to watch. And what they saw was spectacular – Intel Shooting Star drones flying across the Texan night-time sky in a choreographed display that the technology giant claims marked the first-ever drone integration during a live televised event. As Gaga’s performance began, 300 drones created a backdrop of colourful
Noise management consultancy Vanguardia is reporting widespread success for its MeTrao monitoring system, which was deployed at a number of UK festivals last summer. Offering an entirely new way of measuring sound and vibration, MeTrao allows event organisers to meet noise control regulations while maximising the quality of audio output at the highest possible levels.
formations, starting with what looked like twinkling stars, before transforming into red and blue lights that flew in formation to create a giant American stars-and-stripes flag for the finale that brought Lady Gaga to centre stage on the field. Additionally, the Intel drones finished out the halftime performance by forming the Pepsi logo – the game’s main sponsor – in the sky. Josh Walden, general manager of Intel’s New Technology Group, states, “The potential for these light-show drones is endless and we hope this experience inspires other creatives, artists and innovators to really think about how they can incorporate drone technology in new ways that have yet to even be thought of.”
The former head of Nokia’s design team, Marko Ahtisaari, is now leading a fascinating organisation called The Sync Project, which describes itself as “a global collaboration harnessing the power of music for health.” The company has brought together scientists, medical practitioners and musicians in an effort to understand, for example, how music improves cognition after dementia or a stroke. The project also cites music’s role in helping people with autism to break through verbally or socially, or how it can aid patients with Parkinson’s disease.. “People have always responded to music. Not just emotionally, but biologically. Yet, we are only now discovering that music may be capable of much more,” says Ahtisaari. “Research has shown that music has a profound effect on the brain, triggering neural networks related to movement, cognition, learning, memory and emotion. We know it can help with things like pain, fatigue, anxiety and sleeplessness. What [we] want to understand is how does music do that? And how much more can music do?” The organisation has developed an app to help with its research, while it is looking for additional scientists, music lovers, engineers, musicians, patients and patient advocacy groups to participate in the project. More details can be found at www.syncproject.co.
Packaged in an easy-to-use unit, MeTrao not only measures all soundrelated data, but also provides solutions to any arising issues. Uniquely, it can pinpoint which sound system, at a multistage event, is causing the dominant noise off-site so that potential breaches of regulation can be detected in advance and avoided. In addition to detecting rogue stages, MeTrao also establishes the frequency of the sound, enabling engineers to
implement adjustments to the overall sound system. This permits the maximum level to be achieved at all other stages whilst meeting critical off-site limits. Explaining that MeTrao subscribers can read data on the web browsers of a PC, tablet or mobile phone, Vanguardia head of live business Roly Oliver adds, “MeTrao can also eliminate environmental noise such as traffic, trains or even cows to give a true reading of the music noise levels from a festival.”
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IQ Magazine March 2017
IQ Magazine March 2017
VENUE Architects around the world are letting their imaginations run riot when it comes to designing live entertainment centres. But with expectations among the ticket-buying public now higher than ever, itâ€™s perhaps not surprising that the venues that host concerts and events now have to be as eye-catching as the shows themselves. Eamonn Forde highlights ten of the most innovative building designs.
IQ Magazine March 2017
NATIONAL CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS, BEIJING
It took six years and ¥2.7bn (€365m) to build this 5,452-capacity venue (split across three rooms, the biggest of which holds 2,416 people) and it opened for business in December 2007. Unsurprisingly, it is known locally as ‘The Giant Egg,’ as if an enormous robot chicken marched across China and laid it there. It is constructed from titanium-accented glass and is surrounded by an artificial lake (the reflection from the water giving the building – which really looks like a computer mouse – its ovum shape). Given its nickname, it’s the perfect place for rock bands to play their new albumen (sorry).
VIDI VICI Sitting on the very lip of Europe and staring across the desperately cold waters of the North Atlantic, Harpa opened for business in 2011 and cost €164m to build – which is probably about the same price as a round of drinks in the Icelandic capital today. As it was nearing completion, the Icelandic financial crisis was unspooling in the background, so it’s incredible that it was actually completed. It holds up to 1,800 people in the main hall as well as being a focal point of Iceland Airwaves. In stark contrast to the genteel and low-rise feel of most of central Reykjavik, it looks like Escher let loose with glass Lego.
HARPA CONCERT HALL, REYKJAVIK
IQ Magazine March 2017
IQ Magazine March 2017 41
Paris has long done chic with seemingly effortless aplomb, and the Philharmonie is no exception – a 2,400-capacity venue that opened its doors in January 2015. It cost an estimated €386m to build and its poignant opening performance, coming just a week after the Charlie Hebdo shootings in the French capital, was Fauré’s Requiem by the Orchestre de Paris. Inside, it looks like a deleted scene from Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey while from the outside, it looks like a Picasso sketch of a rooster’s head crowing to greet the morning.
Opened in 2002, after six years of construction and at a cost of $600m (€396m), the venue has a capacity of 3,600 and sits by the mouth of the Singapore River. Two architectural firms, DP Architects of Singapore and Michael Wilford & Partners of London, were involved in the design, with the latter leaving the project before construction began – which may go some way to explaining its somewhat busy and disjointed visual aesthetic. Its main focus is two standalone domes that aim for the neo-futurist when viewed from street level but from the air look like two cheese graters hammered into the shape of clown shoes.
The largest of the new venues and the most box-fresh – it holds up to 16,000 people for music events and only opened on 3 February this year. Construction started in June 2013 and cost a very round DKK1bn (€134m). Metallica was the first act to play the venue, giving its foundations a proper test before others like The Weeknd, Rod Stewart, Drake and Celine Dion tread its as-yet-unscuffed boards in the following months. Given from the outside it looks like a giant headband, it can’t be long before Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits is booked to play.
PHILHARMONIE DE PARIS
ESPLANADE THEATRES ON THE BAY, SINGAPORE
ROYAL ARENA, COPENHAGEN
It’s a far cry from the filthy Kaiserkeller where the nascent Beatles were furiously urged to “mach schau!” (put on a show) by Bruno Koschmider in the early sixties. The smell of fresh paint probably still envelops the Elbphilharmonie as it opened in January this year with a capacity of 2,100. The €789m construction is the tallest inhabited building in the city and has already earned itself the sobriquet of ‘The Elphi.’ It’s a striking construction that, given its location in one of the world’s busiest ports, visually alludes to the city’s seafaring past, present and future as it looks from a certain angle like someone was creating a shed wearing a glass crown in Minecraft but dropped their Internet connection halfway through.
IQ Magazine March 2017
After six years of construction and with a capacity of 1,600 in the largest of its three main halls, this venue finally opened in 2003 at a reported cost of €27m. Its geometrically discombobulating style is rightly hailed as a triumph of expressionism and it has even appeared on a series of stamps celebrating Spanish architecture. Designer Santiago Calatrava said that it is, in effect, made up of wings, a nut and a sail to reflect its position gazing across the sea. Its curvature might initially remind you of another architectural icon but its more dynamic design makes it come across like the Sydney Opera House shaking a duvet into its cover.
It has a long history dating back to 1987 when Lillian Disney put forward $50m (€46m) for the construction of a new entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles. Work eventually began in 1999 and the $130m (€121m) venue opened its doors in 2003 (although work on the underground parking area, costing another $110m (€102m), started in 1992). Given that it was designed by Frank Gehry, parallels with the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain will be inevitable, with its different parts lurching and twisting in bewildering directions, that look like iron shavings multiplying, perhaps as a subconscious nod to the broomstick scene in Fantasia.
AUDITORIO DE TENERIFE
THE WALT DISNEY CONCERT HALL, LOS ANGELES
A new opera house in China was always going to be a statement piece and the incredibly named MAD Architects did not go in half-cocked. It can hold up to 1,600 people and views from the stage might make performers think they are hurtling into the mouth of a whale. The design is, apparently, an allusion to the area’s cold climate by drawing on the movement of wind and the texture of water. Without that background knowledge, however, you would be forgiven for seeing this from the sky and thinking a giant robot has stumbled into the area and fancied a bit of a lie down.
HARBIN OPERA HOUSE
When it comes to geometrically confrontational buildings, Sydney has long played a strong hand. Architecture on this scale is not cheap and the building cost AU$1.5billion (€1.1bn) to complete in 2016, but probably did so without the builders incurring any late fees as from the first spade digging into the ground to the last lick of paint being applied, it took them a mere two years. It stands by the delightfully named Darling Harbour, near the city’s financial district. Its sharp edges and looming points suggest it could have a bit part as a battle cruiser in the new Star Wars films. Either that or, if you squint, a glimpse of what Morrissey’s head would look like if cast in concrete.
IQ Magazine March 2017
IQ Magazine March 2017
A Hardee act to follow As one of the biggest characters in the agency business, Alex Hardee has enjoyed a fantastic career and built an enviable roster during his 25 years in the business. But, he tells Gordon Masson, it’s all led to his latest deal, which adds TV, film and literary services to Coda’s already impressive armoury.
otching up a quarter of a century in any profession is quite a landmark, but when you’ve also helped elevate your company to the A-list among the agency elite, then that achievement is all the more impressive. On top of that, boasting an artist roster that includes a raft of established talent, as well as some of the most talked about breakthrough acts in A&R circles, like Rag’n’Bone Man and Blaise Moore, and you’ll realise why Alex Hardee has the respect of his peers around the world. But the man himself is in bizarre denial about clocking up 25 years as an agent. “I think it’s actually 27½ years, but I can’t remember 2½ of those,” he confesses. Born in Lewisham, south London, Alex grew up with an older brother, Malcolm, who was a success on the comedy circuit and ran the Tunnel Club. “Do you remember the act where the guys were naked but danced with the balloons covering them up? That was Malcolm,” he says. “He wrote a book called I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake – you can still buy it. He’d been booked to perform at his birthday party but a load of paparazzi turned up and Freddie’s manager decided they couldn’t have a bunch of guys dancing naked as the entertainment, as Freddie hadn’t come out yet. But Freddie was at his party wearing a dress – and his band was called Queen!”
Unsure about what he wanted to do when he left school, Alex adopted a maverick strategy to choose his path in life. “I was really into Luke Rhinehart’s The Dice Man, so I put my faith in the dice to decide which university and which course I would do.” As a result, teenage Alex found himself in Manchester studying aeronautical engineering.” At the same time, he followed in the footsteps of his brother and started booking comedians to make some money, establishing his own agency, Hardee Arts, to brand his endeavours. “In our second year at university, the people running the course started talking about careers and said that if we graduated we could expect to get a job as an engineer for about £16k a year. At that point I was already earning £25k part-time through the agency, so I decided university was a waste of time and I left.” Shortly afterwards, Alex had to “leave Manchester quickly” and sold his comedy agency to a business partner, forcing him to remain on gardening leave from the comedy circuit for a year. “I decided I wanted to be an agent in the music business, and I managed to persuade Concorde to give me an interview,” recalls Alex. “I went to their offices and while I was waiting to see Louis Parker I went to their toilet, where I saw a picture of Malcolm on the wall. When I asked Louis why he had a photo of my brother naked in the toilet, he replied ‘You’re Malcolm’s brother? You’ve got the job.’”
Photo © Jonathan Lappin
IQ Magazine March 2017
Alex Hardee Partying Hardee at Secret Garden Party
Indeed, he admits that the Concorde boss had a big influence on him. “I didn’t really have any mentors because nobody wanted to take me on. But I did learn an important lesson from Louis Parker: get the deposit in early.” Working at Concorde paired Alex with Louis’ son, Solomon Parker, who joined Coda as an agent in 2015, as well as Cris Hearn who also became part of Coda in the same year. “It was a bit of a strange set-up, but we shared rosters at Concorde,” says Alex. “I did lots of rave stuff like SL2 and loads of others that I can’t even remember. But that was the start of the whole dance culture.” But the regime at Concorde didn’t suit him. “We’d get one third of our commission. It was terrible and at one point I had to survive for three months living on £500, so it couldn’t go on and I left to go to MPI.”
n his new surroundings, Alex started enjoying some meaningful success, notably when Roni Size received the 1997 Mercury Music Prize. As his reputation grew, Alex started working with more and more successful acts. “I got Scissor Sisters three sold-out shows at The O2 before they sacked me,” he laughs. “But through that I started working with Mika, who is still a huge star – he sold 32,000 tickets in Paris alone last year.” Alex remembers an early Paris show with Mika. “He was playing the Stade de France but he’d managed to spend more on the production than what he was getting as a fee. I was backstage
with his manager when a Chinese dragon walked by us on its way to the stage and his manager turned to me and said, ‘There goes my commission…’” Since then, Hardee’s roster has become the envy of the business, including artists such as Bastille, Everything Everything, Example, Grace Jones, Halsey, Hurts, Kelis, Liam Gallagher, London Grammar, Mika, Jake Bugg, Sean Paul, Sia, Tiësto and Tom Odell, to name but a few. Having established a solid reputation at MPI, Alex was eager to take his career to the next stage and soon found himself in talks to launch a new agency. He’d already persuaded MPI boss Phil Banfield to buy back company shares owned by Miles Copeland, and looking to take the next step up, it was the departure of one of his peers that acted as the catalyst. “What happened was, Cris Hearn left MPI to go to Primary, so I said I wouldn’t stay unless the company did something,” says Alex. “I suggested we talk to Clive Underhill-Smith and Rob Challice at Concert Clinic and that’s how the merger came about to start up Coda.” But while Alex was looking forward to being one of Coda’s founders, tragedy struck the Hardee family. Older brother Malcolm, heralded as one of the pioneers of the British alternative comedy scene, drowned in an accident while making his way home to his houseboat from his floating pub, the Wibbly Wobbly. “I took three weeks off to arrange the funeral,” says Alex. “It wasn’t a surprise. Malcolm lived on a boat and he’d get pissed before going home – when they found his body in the water, he was still clutching a bottle of beer in his hand.”
“When I asked Louis why he had a photo of Malcolm naked in the toilet, he replied ‘You’re Malcolm’s brother? You’ve got the job.”
IQ Magazine March 2017
Alex Hardee Kiss me, Hardee: an image taken from one of Alex’s 40th birthday cards
Malcolm’s funeral was such a legendary affair that it was given significant column inches in the UK’s broadsheet and tabloid newspapers. What isn’t widely known is that the mourners nearly lost London the 2012 Olympic Games. “The wreaths on Malcolm’s coffin were of some of his catchphrases and favourite words – ‘oy oy,’ ‘knob out,’ ‘fuck it,’ ‘bollocks,’ – all spelled out beautifully in flowers,” Alex explains. “After the funeral, we threw the wreathes into the Thames. But it just so happened that it was the day that the International Olympic Committee were in London and apparently they weren’t best pleased when their cruise on the river drifted past Malcolm’s flowers.”
s many new ventures find, critics elsewhere in the business were quick to stick the boot in to the company and its staff. “People were saying that Coda stood for Cocaine On Demand Agency,” recalls Alex. “But the thing is, the environment among the artist community at the time probably saw that as an incentive to join us, so Coda quickly grew,” he laughs. As a shareholder at MPI, Alex became one of Coda’s founding partners – a position he retains alongside fellow senior agents Tom Schroeder and James Whitting, as well as financial director Dave Hallybone. “X-ray tried to poach James so we made him
Alex Hardee Alex has helped Bastille build their career to arena level © Drew de F Fawkes
a partner. Same with Tom – he was thinking of leaving so we made him a partner too.” Coda’s merger with American agency group Paradigm in 2014 took the company to new heights. “Marty Diamond approached me with the idea originally and it took a year and a half to work out the details, but it’s been a great deal for everyone involved. Marty is a great partner and the Paradigm deal has allowed us to sign things on a global level, while personally I work with the likes of Paul Morris on Tiësto and Matt Galle on Halsey.” With 75 staff in Coda’s current Clerkenwell premises, the company has outgrown its headquarters and Alex has been at the centre of the acquisition of larger, purpose-built premises in London’s Wenlock Road, where the company will relocate in March. But he reveals that much of his attention during 2016 was on a bigger deal that should establish Coda as part of the biggest agency business in Europe, through a merger with one of the world’s premier talent and literary agencies.
n January, Coda revealed it had inked an agreement with joint venture partners Paradigm that effectively sees it merge with Independent Talent Group (ITG) – a film and TV talent agency that counts the likes of Hollywood megastars Patrick Stewart, Maggie Smith, Ian McKellen, Daniel Craig,
Alex Hardee Dutch superstar DJ Tiësto has been a longtime client of Alex Hardee
“The thing affecting live music most is Tinder.” Gillian Anderson, Orlando Bloom, Rachel Weisz and Thandie Newtown, alongside award-winning movie directors Jonathan Glazer and Sam Mendes. Alex, who counts ITG chief Duncan Heath among his friends, tells IQ the deal has been two years in the making. “When Coda joined Paradigm, Paradigm bought 50% of the company,” explains Alex. “We now have a deal whereby ITG bought part of the Paradigm stake in Coda. It brings together the likes of Sia, Disclosure and my hero, Alan Partridge, all under one roof, and the new company will be bigger than anyone else in Europe.” The new operation is a 360-degree agency, offering Coda’s music services as well as the digital branding, literary and film agency services of ITG. “It’s truly 360-degrees for me too as I used to book Alan Partridge back in the 90s, so it’s come full circle from where I started,” says Alex. Another element of the deal that is exciting Alex and his Coda partners is a multi-million pound investment fund that they have access to for the acquisition of other businesses. “We’ve lots of ideas for acquisitions lined up, but the general rule is that we’ll buy things that won’t cause conflict with our existing business, but that we think we can also add value to – we’re talking everything from venues to theatre companies to other agencies.”
hile his reputation as a practical joker and party animal may be legendary, the flipside to Alex is his status as a shrewd businessman and investor. In addition to his shareholding in Coda, he has a number of personal investments in music related companies. “I’ve got a stake in the Columbo Group that owns the Jazz Café, XOYO, The Camden Assembly and all those venues; and I’ve got various stakes in a number of festivals,” he says. “It was my wife Eloise and I who came up with the idea for Festival No.6 and I’ve retained a bit of interest in Broadwick Live, but I’ve also got various personal stakes in the likes of Sunrise Festival, Wild Life, Standon Calling and Sunfall.” However, it’s his work building artists’ careers that Alex is best known for in the music business. Among some of the new acts to his roster that he’s tipping for big things are LANY and Blaise Moore, while Rag’n’Bone Man has rapidly become one of the hottest young acts in the UK. Asked how he finds new talent for his roster, Alex replies, “I look into ‘the matrix’… It’s a different pitch these days because there are no clubs putting on unknown talent anymore. And when people start gravitating toward something, then it’s already too late.” Explaining just what Coda’s matrix is, Alex believes the company has a weapon that puts it on a separate playing field to
IQ Magazine March 2017
Alex Hardee Alex’s clients London Grammar are looking forward to a number of summer festival appearances this year
its rivals. “It’s very rare that something is out there that we don’t know about – I personally speak every week to every label MD and the heads of A&R to talk about what’s happening. But our intranet system gives us a tool that nobody else has in the whole world,” he tells IQ. That intranet enables everyone in the Coda and Paradigm businesses – more than 200 agents around the world – to openly share information with their colleagues about which acts they are talking to, or are interested in. It also allows those colleagues internationally to comment, or suggest contacts for the act or their management, for instance. “It’s one of the reasons Coda is doing so well,” states Alex. “Our intranet is a massive A&R source and means that everyone in the organisation can share their opinions and views in real time. And because James, me and Tom are partners, it means we can make decisions instantly, rather than having to wait for someone to approve it at a higher level.”
f course, surviving 25 years in what can be a cut-throat business is not all plain sailing and Alex has lost his fair share of clients over the decades – sometimes because of his candid honesty rather than anything else. “I got sacked by a successful young grime artist because when he
IQ Magazine March 2017
“It’s more healthy and helpful to talk about what might have gone wrong, rather than trying to hide it.” played me his new album in his car – it was very gangsta – I had to tell him that I didn’t like the music. But I also told him that I’m 45 and therefore not his target audience, so he probably should be thankful,” he says. Indeed, while the natural reaction when an agent loses an act might be to hide, the rules at Coda are very different. “We share information so that’s how we all learn here – it’s an internal process rather than an external thing,” explains Alex. “One of the bigger acts I’ve lost was Calvin Harris. But you learn something every time you lose an act, and rather than try to deny it, I told everyone in the company why I lost the act and the reasons behind it. That way, everybody can benefit from the experience. So we have something called the Shame Up trophy at Coda for anyone who loses an act. It’s more healthy and helpful to talk about what might have gone wrong, rather than trying to hide it. Ego kills everything, but thankfully I’m not an egotist.” Another act lost by Alex was the Scissor Sisters. “They sacked me and went to Steve Strange, but I was too off my nut to realise what was going on,” he admits. “I used to go out on it all the time, but then you grow up and settle down a bit. But I have no regrets whatsoever.” The stories from his days of debauchery are as numerous as they are hilarious, but Alex confesses he’s forgotten more antics than the incidents he can remember. “I went to Glastonbury for years without ever managing to see a band, so when Jay Z was headlining [in 2008], I stood with my back to the stage so I wouldn’t break with tradition.” Alex has booked an extensive European tour for Rag’n’Bone Man in early 2017
IQ Magazine March 2017
Alex Hardee Alex finds himself the perfect supervillain look to match his reputation
“It’s very rare that something is out there that we don’t know about.” Another memory of the Worthy Farm weekender was his appearance in the pages of an international music magazine. “I was at Glastonbury, dressed in military uniform wearing a helmet with ‘born to lose’ written on it and I’d been diving in the cess pits as a bet. A paparazzi photographer caught me, covered in shit walking up a country lane and took my photo. He said he was from MixMag and when he asked if he could put my name on the photo, I told him I was David Levy from ITB.” But while Alex has enjoyed injecting a bit of craziness into rock & roll, when it comes to his artist roster, his mantra is simple. “I’m more of a strategic agent than anything else,” he states. “I’m not one of those agents who cares about ticket sales – I’m more about building meaningful careers.” Indeed, unlike some of his more combative peers, Alex embraces the partnership that agents need to build with promoters to benefit their artists. “We have a symbiotic relationship with promoters,” he says. “We don’t like shouting and screaming at Coda – we know that everyone in the chain deserves to be paid and we like to work together with everyone to make sure that’s the case.”
Alex with eldest son Atticus
IQ Magazine March 2017
Testimonials I always love working with Alex. He has a real vision for developing artists and his commitment to everyone he works with is second to none. He is always in touch with everything that is going on and has a great ability to look at the bigger picture. Alex is always someone I call when I’m not sure about something and I know I will get an honest and direct opinion, from someone I really respect.
Joe Munns, MANAGER Putting on concerts is a serious matter but that doesn’t mean we need to go round in a state of straight-laced blandness; and when it comes to irreverence, Alex is top dog. He manages to be shrewd and sharp while splashing around in a cauldron of ironies – the Spike Milligan of agents… And when we hit rock bottom in 2010 thanks to my lousy choice of partners, Alex was one of the agents who helped us stay in business. In short, he’s a pleasure to work with.
Nick Hobbs, CHARMENKO We have been working with Alex for five years, during which time he’s been instrumental in shaping and building the live careers of first Bastille and now Rag’n’Bone Man. In a business where sometimes you just need someone to give you a straight opinion, Alex never fails to deliver!
Josh Smith, BLACK FOX MANAGEMENT Alex is a great and talented agent, his business skills and his ability to discover and develop new talents are only equal to the difficulty I have in understanding him on the phone, although I’m finally almost able, (after so many years!) to interpret his messages. For example, I will always remember when, whilst dealing with Mika, he wrote to me “We also want to do the ruins in Sicily in the summer.” It took a bit of time for me to understand he was referring to the Teatro Antico in Taormina :-). In the end we successfully promoted the show... Happy 25th Alex, may you remain forever the lovely and loyal person you are!
Marco Ercolani, BARLEY ARTS Alex is indeed a very special agent. Working with him doesn’t feel like real work as it is always fun. Alex has helped in repositioning Grace Jones in the more credible areas of the live industry. He puts his money where his mouth is….
Brendan Coyle, BCM Alex is a tireless worker. He’s usually my first incoming call of the day when I’m getting my kids’ breakfast at 7:30am. There will be several more after that; always calls my cell, never the office line. He surprised us by showing up at the Sia set at V Festival last summer. We didn’t expect him as his wife was due to give birth that day.
Bob McLynn, CRUSH MUSIC
IQ Magazine March 2017
Coda is one of the first agencies Pop Farm concert agency worked with actively. Our first contract was on LMFAO and Alex was the agent. Later there was Hurts, Sia, Kiesza, John Newman, Everything Everything, Tom Odell, BØRNS and many more – and for the record, all those shows were incredible. Russia is not the easiest country in terms of concert business, and support from agents is very important and highly valued by promoters here. Alex is one of those people who believed in us and entrusted his artists to us – both very young artists and big stars – which we appreciated a lot, and in return we didn’t fail him. Alex is very easy and interesting to work with. And, of course, among other things we love him for his great sense of humour. Sometimes when we meet he asks us to tell him funny anecdotes about President Putin, threatening that otherwise he won’t work with us. I haven’t told him the best anecdote about Putin yet, but we are still working with him and we are sure that Coda and Pop Farm’s partnership has a very long and promising future. Happy 25th anniversary, Alex!
Andrey Samorukov and Dmitry Zaretsky, POP FARM Alex is a pleasure to work with, very much on the front foot creatively, and one of the pioneers in the modern live business. From a personality perspective his entertaining demeanour stands out a mile from the pack. This industry once thrived on maverick creative characters and in 2017 we need more of them. Working with Alex on Bastille in recent years has been both successful and enjoyable – and I’m sure we have much work together on the path ahead.
James Sandom, RED LIGHT MANAGEMENT
Testimonials Alex is a character but behind the humour and the craic is a very solid, loyal, smart person who you can always trust and who always keeps his word. He’s had us in tears at some planning meetings but his ideas are incisive and I rely on his input and judgement. When we were looking to appoint an agent for Jake Bugg we had a beauty parade of meetings lined up with representatives from all the agencies. Alex was our first meeting and after an hour with him we cancelled all the other meetings and went to the pub.
Keith Armstrong, SOUL KITCHEN MUSIC & MANAGEMENT For years we have promoted a lot of Alex’s artists such as Rag’n’Bone Man, Bastille, London Grammar, Hurts, Tom Odell, Jess Glynne, Clean Bandit and John Newman – a lot of his acts play our festivals. We work with most of them from small-club level up to bigger venues and on festivals all over Switzerland. We know Alex as an extremely loyal and straightforward person. He has a fascinating memory and knows all the figures and deal details. Besides this, he always has a very clear plan of how he wants to build-up new artists. He is certainly one of the key reasons that Coda could establish itself as one of the best and biggest agencies in Europe.
Stefan Wyss, WEPROMOTE Alex Hardee was (together with Cris Hearn) the first agent I started to work with back in the day: Alex Reece, the Wall of Sound posse was one of my first bookings. Alex is definitely one of my favourite agents and after all these years it’s still a pleasure to work with him. His sense of humour is legendary. And he has built an impressive roster over the years by working hard, and making the right strategic choices; developing a strategic vision; believing in careers in the long term; and because he has a great nose for new talent. So big congratulations to him!
Roel Vergauwen, LIVE NATION BELGIUM
For a young promoter it’s super hard to get into this business. We were under 25 and struggling to get acts and I really wanted to promote LMFAO whose representation Alex had taken over from their previous agent. This should have been for sure an LN deal but after sending him a few emails he gave me a shot. We got the show and it sold out. At that point it was mind-blowing getting a number-one act from an older agent. I’m still extremely grateful to him for giving us the chance to promote his artist. I’ve worked on several of Alex’s artists in Finland and the Baltics. Building up Example in our market has been the greatest pleasure.
Hardi Loog, RL CONCERTS In our formative early days, Alex came to the rescue when we had a very late-stage artist drop out with illness for one of our very first festivals. Fast forward fifteen years, and he was there again when we had a larger profile replacement hole to fill in Clockenflap. Whatever the level of artist, through all my dealings with Alex, his directness, speed, good humour and inclusion every now and then of a word I need to look up in the dictionary, makes the booking process with him highly enjoyable.
Justin Sweeting, CLOCKENFLAP FESTIVAL Alex’s reputation precedes him… and it’s all true! From watching him purchase sanitary towels to stick to his chaffed inner thighs at Glastonbury, to running into a cesspit in front of a Mixmag photographer with his ‘born to lose’ hat on. From sending sharks back to the office from Miami Winter Music Conference, to continually wetting himself, usually at Glastonbury (bit of a theme here). There is never a dull moment around Alex. He is an inspirational colleague who has an amazing vision for the business. CODA would simply not exist without him and I owe him so much. His loyalty and friendship are priceless. I love him. Knob out!
James Whitting, CODA
Alex’s custom-made currency for Glastonbury Festival
IQ Magazine March 2017
Alex Hardee Alex’s stag party involved some bespoke T-shirts
s a partner at Coda and an individual who prides himself on staying ahead of the curve, Alex has some interesting theories on elements that influence the live music business. “The thing affecting live music most is Tinder – it’s just killing the small clubs because people don’t need to go there to meet the opposite sex any more. So it’s taken a chunk of that audience away,” he observes. And he believes a fundamental change is happening in recorded music too, as a result of the way that children now listen to music. “I went to a dinner party recently and the host played a Bruno Mars album. His kids, aged eight and ten, came into the room and asked their daddy why he was obsessed with Bruno Mars, because he’d played 12 of his songs in a row? I think that shows where we’re going. I’m not saying albums will disappear, after all Hornby railway sets still exist. But kids don’t care about albums.”
Testimonials I have worked with Alex for 17 years now I think, and in every way he has been my mentor. Am not sure I would have picked him for career guidance from his reputation – he walked out of my interview after 40 seconds because he “had too many emails” – and you couldn’t meet two more different people than Alex and I. But we have an understanding and a mutual respect, and have grown to really complement each other. It is easy to see his comic side – it is ingrained in his family and upbringing, and his reputation precedes him. But there is another side to him. Despite in the past being written off by many as a joker, he has proved across the industry an ability to see things differently, to be ahead of the game, and to almost always get things right! His roster speaks for itself now – and although he will always be seen by some as a bit of a maverick, he is without doubt at the top of the agent game. However, his roster is only one part of his professional contribution. Under his guidance, Coda has moved from a bit player to a market leader. Fiercely loyal, incredibly generous, and totally ambitious – he has an ability to see through the chaos and back a long-term vision that in my mind is still very different from other agencies. Everyone at Coda owes him an enormous debt – and me the most as his now longest-standing side-kick. He hates compliments and will hate me writing this, but he has had to learn that sometimes I am right, and in this case I am right to celebrate his achievements and thank him for everything he does for everyone at Coda.
Tom Schroeder, CODA It’s always great working with Alex, as he’s always ahead of the game – always communicating with the promoter, for next step, next release, and which artist will sell in the future. And he’s always usually right on the mark!
Dave McGeachan, DF CONCERTS Alex Hardee is brilliant and irritating in equal measure. He is a brilliant agent, who works tirelessly for his clients, always pushing the live agenda of a project. One of the rare skills he possesses is creativity, which is normally sadly lacking in a live agent. Great strategy and great ideas rather than just booking gigs make him an asset to any team. However, his bedside manner and social skills are sometimes lacking. Perhaps best illustrated when he decided to come backstage after a show of one his and my clients dressed as a pirate – who had not been to bed for two days – and then started shouting “I AM YOUR AGENT” over and over again in their face. To be fair it was effective as that was ten years ago and he is still their agent.
Iain Watt, MACHINE MANAGEMENT
“I’m not one of those agents who cares about ticket sales – I’m more about building meaningful careers.”
After my parents, Alex has been the one person that has influenced and changed the course of my life the most. I often reflect on the first time I met him – I remember it vividly – and I think to myself, I wish I’d not gone out that night. Why are you asking me to write something about him? Is he dead then?
Gareth Cooper, BROADWICK LIVE
IQ Magazine March 2017
“I turned drugs into interior design... I’m really into mid-century furniture and art.” Away from Coda, Alex’s life centres around wife Eloise and children, two-year-old Atticus Leonard Danger Markwall Hardee – “His middle name is Danger,” smiles Alex – and baby Huxley Frank Wilder Markwall Hardee. Outside of music, Alex’s hobbies are surprising. “I turned drugs into interior design,” he laughs, “so I’m really into mid-century furniture and art.” He also enjoys fishing and is looking forward to integrating that passion into a couple of ambitions in 2017. “I’ve bought a house on the coast in Kent which I’m finishing off and once that’s done I’m going to buy a fishing boat,” he reveals. “I had to wait until my mum died to do that, because after Malcolm drowned, I promised her I wouldn’t buy a boat when she was alive.” Another weekly hobby is football. “Loaded’s editor James Brown has written a book about our team, called Above Head Height. It came out of the death of one of our team mates, James who worked at Creation, and basically stemmed from the idea that a bunch of lads who would get together every week for years on end actually knew nothing about each others’ lives, families, etc. I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve supposedly got the last line in the book.” As for the future, Alex admits to being very optimistic about Coda’s merger with ITG, while he’s also aiming for further growth to fill the company’s new premises. “I’d like to get a grime agent into Coda and some more female agents, simply because they are just very good at being agents,” he says. “But the ITG merger is the highlight of my career and I don’t think it’ll be too long before we can announce some new acquisitions that we’ll make through the investment fund.”
Testimonials It’s probably more than 20 years ago now that we first met and started working together. I can’t remember what the first artist was we booked, probably an act from the Wall of Sound label or a drum n bass DJ. Alex’s first sort of breakthrough was with Roni Size and his Full Cycle crew. We did a lot of shows with them in Holland, including legendary gigs at Lowlands and also the Solaris Beach Club parties – they absolutely destroyed the place! It’s always good fun to work with him – there’s never a bad deal, there’s really straightforward communication and a very open approach. He doesn’t take the business too seriously, and he’s always sharp and on the case, really quick in making a deal and with an excellent ear and eye for what’s happening.
Ron Euser, MOJO CONCERTS In the late 90s, Alex and I went to the CMJ in New York. Alex was staying in a hotel in Manhattan while myself and a friend where staying with family in Queens. One night, we went to see the Jungle Brothers and Black Eyed Peas in a venue called Wetlands and instead of going to back to Queens we ended up crashing in Alex’s hotel room. We were all pretty drunk and when we woke up there was a lady also sleeping on the floor. It turns out she was homeless and had ended up in Alex’s room as we had forgotten to lock the door. Now, most people would have thrown the homeless lady out of the room, but Alex let her use his bathroom and also went outside and brought her back breakfast. He is a great guy and a good friend. As an agent he has always shown huge loyalty, not a trait you find with a lot of agents these days.
Gary McGuigan, MCGUIGAN PROMOTIONS Alex Hardee is not only a true, self-styled “special agent”, but also a real Mensch and partner. We work on a great number of projects together, which almost always reach their targets and beyond. In the age of ever-growing complexity he keeps things simple where they need to be and still manages to be precise and reliable at all times. He stands up for what he feels is right and voices his opinion without any hidden agendas or political correctness. He has backed us in critical times, which is something we will never forget. Definitely looking forward to the next 25 years alongside the mad hatter!
André Lieberberg, LIVE NATION It’s impossible for me to put into words how I feel about Alex he is a one off unique brilliant and totally dedicated to his artistes. I cannot believe it’s 25 years and the bulk of that 25 years he has been a colleague of mine and remains so today.
Phil Banfield, CODA Alex and Eloise on their wedding day in 2015
IQ Magazine March 2017
Small Screeners See The Big Picture
â€˜Miranda Singsâ€™ star, Colleen Ballinger, has exploited her online popularity with live performances since 2009
IQ Magazine March 2017
Small Screen: BIG Stars!
The popularity of YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms is creating a new breed of stars who are starting to develop live elements to their careers. Richard Smirke talks to some of those at the sharp end of this evolving new sector. Around five years ago, Dan Steinberg received a call from his trusted friend TJ Markwalter at The Gersh Agency asking him to put on some shows by the then little-known (at least in the adult offline world) YouTube star Miranda Sings. “He said: ‘Don’t ask what it is. Don’t even look at the video. Just put it on sale and trust me,’” recalls Steinberg, who runs US-based promoters Emporium Presents. “In the midst of confirming the shows, my marketing director sent me a link to her YouTube channel. I immediately called TJ and I was like: ‘Seriously? Is this a joke?’ He said: ‘I told you not to look at it. Just watch the ticket sales.’” Sure enough, the show sold out instantly, prompting Steinberg to travel to Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival to watch Miranda Sings perform a matinee concert in front of 2,000 screaming pre-teen girls in person. “It was the loudest show I’ve ever been at,” he remembers. “I quickly decided two things: ‘One, I never need to be front of house for one of these shows again. And two, we really need to get into this space.’” Half a decade later, tours by comedy YouTube stars and new media artists now make up between 15-18% of Emporium’s revenue, with the company’s expansion into the non-traditional entertainment sector mirroring one of the fastest growing areas of the touring business as more and more vloggers, musicians and social media personalities break out of the online realm and into the live arena. “We’re still living in rock & roll and country tours, but YouTube and multimedia sensations are definitely becoming a larger part of our business and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon,” says Steinberg, pointing to the global reach of Miranda Sings, whose one-woman show – a satirical mix of off-key singing, comedy, lecturing and lame magic, performed by classically trained singer and actress Colleen Ballinger – continues to pack out venues around the world.
IQ Magazine March 2017
Other Internet celebrities who have successfully transitioned into the live market include American pop rap duo Jack & Jack, The Dolan Twins, Canadian vlogger Lilly Singh, humourist Tyler Oakley, comedian Grace Helbig, LA’s Cameron Dallas and pranksters Yousef Saleh Erakat and Roman Atwood, to name just a few. Outside of North America, where the majority of the world’s biggest social media stars originate, there’s also a vibrant, rapidly expanding scene, with South African-born Australian Troye Sivan (now signed to Universal Music), Holland’s Enzo Knol, and British stars Ben Phillips, Joe & Caspar, rapper KSI, and video game vloggers Dan & Phil among the hottest names on the circuit. “The market is developing rapidly,” says Wouter de Wilde of Netherlands-based promoter and talent agency Greenhouse Talent, which works with Miranda Sings and The Dolan Twins. “You’re really starting to see agencies, promoters and venues focusing on this market to attract
“It’s been great to watch the market mature from fanbased meet-and-greets in function centres and suburban halls into a hard ticket juggernaut.” Brad Drummond, NICE Events
Contributors Alex Bewley (William Morris Endeavor), Brad Drummond (NICE Events), Dan Steinberg (Emporium Presents), Mark Walker (Free Focus)
“The beauty of digital stars is that you can get detailed analytics from their YouTube channels and Facebook stats and build a tour around where you know there are already fans.” Mark Walker, Free Focus
IQ Magazine March 2017
South Africa-born Troye Sivan is enjoying an international touring career thanks to the power of YouTube
these new young audiences. It’s not only YouTube, but also Instagram, Vine, Musical.ly and Snapchat delivering ‘digital’ acts with a huge international fan base.” The convention market is equally booming, with over 25,000 fans, creators and industry leaders attending last year’s VidCon – a three-day event dedicated exclusively to online content creators – held at the Anaheim Convention Center in California. In 2017, VidCon events will also take in Amsterdam (7-9 April) and Melbourne (9-10 September) for the first time, while in London, the 10,000-capacity Summer in the City is approaching its ninth year, having originally begun as an informal meet-up in a park. In the past three years, professionally organised YouTube gatherings have also become a regular fixture in cities throughout Europe. “It’s been great to watch the market mature from fanbased meet-and-greets in function centres and suburban halls into a hard ticket juggernaut,” says Brad Drummond of Melbourne-based touring company NICE Events, which works with some of the biggest new media talent in the Australian youth market and promotes shows by the Internet’s biggest global stars. NICE also has its own event brand, Amplify LIVE, which brings together a collection of social-media personalities for a touring production, and this year rolls out its own digital festival, Cool For Summer. He likens the current boom in social-media acts with the explosion of punk rock in the 1970s. “Both started as outsider movements, both have strong DIY traditions and both represent a rebellion – albeit sanitised – that is often misunderstood by parents. It isn’t a coincidence that many of the agents, managers and promoters of YouTubers have come from punk – myself included,” says Drummond.
“What I find really exciting about this space is that the live music industry and many of its unwritten rules was largely built in the 70s and 80s. Whereas with the YouTube and digital stuff it feels like I’m in there at a grassroots level and helping to shape how that looks,” notes Mark Walker, a promoter with London-based Kilimanjaro Live who, like Drummond, started out in the business putting on rock shows. Walker’s first exposure to the world of YouTube personalities came in 2013 when he was brought in to help organise Summer in the City, which had rapidly grown beyond expectations. “We went in a little bit blind, not knowing what we were getting into. It was a baptism of fire,” recalls Walker of the then 7,000-capacity, sold-out event at London’s Alexandra Palace. Summer in the City has since been acquired by the MCN Expo Group and upgraded to the 10,000-capacity ExCeL London, while in 2015, Walker teamed up with Kilimanjaro founder Stuart Galbraith, Tom Burns and Dave Bullas of Vlogger Events (founders of Summer in the City) and Andy Hipkiss and James Hancock from Triple A Media to launch Free Focus, a London-based digital and music talent company specialising in forging careers for online artists. Its management roster includes musicians/vloggers Luke Cutforth, Bethan Leadley, Noodlerella and singer Emma Blackery, who recently sold out her first UK tour playing 500-800-capacity venues. Walker additionally works with New Jersey-based Mills Entertainment to promote shows by some of America’s biggest social media acts, including last year’s Roman Vs. Fousey UK tour, which sold out a run of 3,000-plus capacity theatres, including London’s Hammersmith Apollo.
“The beauty of digital stars is that you can get detailed analytics from their YouTube channels and Facebook stats and build a tour around where you know there are already fans. You’re skipping that first step in a lot of cases because fans are already actively engaged and you don’t have to work as hard from a promoter point of view to reach them,” says Walker, noting that tours will often sell out with zero marketing spend because acts will promote them direct to their fans on social media. YouTube personalities can also generate higher-thanusual returns in upscale meet-and-greet tickets, typically priced between 100% and, for the biggest stars, 500% higher than general admission. “YouTubers are not seen as untouchable like film stars or musicians. Because they do a lot of personal videos their fans feel like they are friends with them so the whole appeal for fans in going to a live show is to actually get to meet them,” explains Walker. He notes that in the past, shows have struggled to sell once the VIP allocation has sold out. In response, a ballot system, only open to ticket holders, is now typically used to help ensure a full house. The live shows themselves, which typically contain a mix of comedy sketches, onstage pranks, music, and audience interaction, have developed as the sector has evolved. “Increased production values have made a huge difference in driving market growth,” says Drummond, who
“The market is definitely getting bigger and there’s no reason at all why this can’t be an arena-level headline business in the next three to five years.” Alex Bewley, William Morris Endeavor says the main difference from a promoter’s perspective between traditional music acts and YouTube-reared nonmusical personalities, is that for the latter “touring is rarely a priority as creators often have so many other projects, commitments and revenue streams that take precedence.” The positive flipside is that when YouTube artists do hit the road, box office sales soar. “The market is definitely getting bigger and there’s no reason at all why this can’t be an arena-level headline business in the next three to five years,” predicts Alex Bewley, London-based digital agent at William Morris Endeavor (WME), which represents Lilly Singh, Ben Phillips and Cameron Dallas, along with his highly popular touring property MAGCON. “Rather than just clicking a ‘like’ button on Facebook or subscribing to a YouTube channel, fans are increasingly buying tickets to see a show by their favourite creators,” says Bewley, citing the expansion of VIDCON into new markets as evidence of “how much this is building internationally.” He says that at present the headline market is largely restricted to major cities in established markets with capacities generally capped at around 2,000, but is confident that will grow as artists build up their live profile through consistent touring. “It’s not just about seeing these people as a one-off. We want to be bringing talent out yearon-year so fans get a chance to see their favourite creators on an annual basis. The great thing about this world is not just the fact that fans get to meet these creators that have huge online followings, it’s also the innovative, weird and wonderful shows that they create,” adds Bewley. Walker does, however, strike a note of caution for the future. “We’ve been offered a lot of tours where they have wanted a really high VIP ticket price straight away and the stage show maybe hasn’t lived up to what you would expect for the ticket price. When you’re relying on parents to buy tickets for their kids, you want to make sure that they feel they’re getting value for money. If not, parents aren’t going to stand for it.” “If people don’t leave happy they’re not coming back and a career is not built on selling a ticket once,” agrees Steinberg. “You either have a show and showmanship or you don’t, and in a lot of cases some people are just meant to be recorded and edited down. But if you can figure out how to build a profile online and set yourself up to monetise it on the road, we can make a fortune with you.”
The 2015 documentary ‘Joe and Caspar Hit the Road’ has allowed its stars to build an enthusiastic live fanbase
IQ Magazine March 2017
MIDDLE EAST As one of the most troubled regions on the planet, the fact that a live music business exists in the Middle East speaks volumes for the entrepreneurs who work there. With Live Nation’s recent launch in Israel, Adam Woods learns that optimism for the future is driving investment both in the Mediterranean and the Gulf states. Live music disappears quickly in times of war and turmoil, and even at the best of times it finds no outlet in parts of the Middle East. But between the music-hungry city of Tel Aviv, the expat-driven markets of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar and the dedicated promoters of Lebanon, there are oases of touring opportunity in this complex region. In the past decade, Dubai and Israel have been the most actively entrepreneurial markets in the Middle East, though both have had their challenges in attempting to balance the limited spending power of a relatively small gig-going population with the cost of bringing in the talent and staging the show. Promoters in Tel Aviv can be heard to complain that their city is too small a market for the artist fees they face, and as in so many cities, the lack of a sufficiently large indoor arena keeps much of the major touring traffic to the summer months. In Dubai, similarly high fees, traditionally combined with the cost of setting up an outdoor venue from scratch on a patch of ground in the venue-poor emirate, have seen a succession of promoters fizzle out, unable to make the numbers work. But both Dubai and Tel Aviv find themselves the object of ambitious investment, as the former braces for a clutch of new venues and the latter is identified as a growth prospect by an incoming Live Nation and Ticketmaster operation. Whether these markets are the goldmine those developments might suggest remains to be seen, but improved infrastructure is a good place to start, and both harbour expat wealth and a great, though not inexhaustible enthusiasm for live music. “Listen, if you are living in the Middle East, concerts and culture are necessary,” says Guy Beser, co-CEO of the newly inaugurated Live Nation Israel, launched in February as a
50:50 deal between the live giant and Beser and Shay Mor Yosef’s Bluestone. Necessary they may be, but they are not always simple. As you would expect, relative to recorded music, live music contributes a greater share of music industry revenues in the Middle East and North Africa than elsewhere in the world: 90%, compared to around 65% worldwide (source: mideastmedia.org). And whereas worldwide nearly a quarter of live music revenues come from event sponsorships, this figure is estimated to be below 10% in the Middle East, leaving promoters heavily reliant on ticket sales, or, as in markets like Abu Dhabi, on occasional state patronage. The live music market in Israel was worth US$33million (€31m) in 2015, and is projected by PwC to grow to $37m (€35m) by 2020, but promoters there work under the constant threat of a western cultural boycott. High-profile supporters of the Palestinian BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement against Israel include Roger Waters, Elvis Costello, Brian Eno, and the Manic Street Preachers – although plenty of artists continue to come. Meanwhile, among the smallest of the many tragedies of Syria is that, just a few years ago, it was beginning to emerge as a destination for discerning western acts, with Gorillaz playing against the walls of the thousand-year-old citadel in Damascus. Still alive, however, is the Lebanese business, with centrepieces such as Baalbek and Beiteddine festivals and, most significantly, Buzz Productions’ 15-year-old Byblos International Festival, which last year featured Sia and Grace Jones, as well as local stars Carole Samaha and Mashrou’ Leila.
IQ Magazine March 2017
Jerusalem Bimot 10 Zappa Club Kfar Yona Gad Oron Productions LTD Katzrin
Map Key Promoter Agent Agent/Promoter Venue Festival
Jacob’s Ladder Festival
Cairo Event House Nader Sadek
Cairo Festival City Cairo Opera House Misr University Theatre The Marquee Cairo Festival City
Sea of Galilee Doof Festival
Be-er Sheva 010 Yazamut - Forum Faktor Masada Arena Caesarea Maritima Ivru Lider Herzliya Bluestone Maverick Zappa Club
Tel Aviv 3A Productions Galim Productions Hadran More Productions BP Plug Productions Generator Shuki Weiss Promotion & Production Talent Productions Tandi Productions The Zappa Group Zev Eizik Corp Anova Music 2b Vibes Music
Lidor Entertainment SabresPro Group Shmuel Zemach Productions Tune in Tel Aviv & 3A Productions Voca People Z-Productions Zappa Club Barby Club Hanger 11 Live Park Rishon Menora Mivtachim Arena Yarkon Park Bitan Tune in Tel Aviv
Beirut Buzz Productions EventBox JK58 Production 8 RK & A Inc Solicet WE Group Beirut Waterfront Outdoor Biel Forum De Beyrouth
Music Hall Byblos
Byblos International Festival
Baalbeck International Festival
Jounieh Platea Maameltein Casino du Liban
Doha Alive Entertainment Aspire Logistics Liveworks Aspire Dome Jazz at Lincoln Center Qatar International Exhibition
Abu Dhabi Flash Entertainment Vibe Events du Forum Zayed Sports City
Dubai 117 Live Events AEG Live Middle East Broadway Entertainment Group Chillout Productions Done Events Dubai Opera EarthBeat Events Live Nation Middle East Madinat Jumeirah Midas Promotions Mirage Promotions Sport & Entertainment Solutions Madinat Jumeirah Dubai Opera House Dubai World Trade Centre The Autism Rocks Arena The Palladium Dubai
Emirates Airline Dubai Jazz Festival
Sharjah Sharjah Media Centre
Muscat Alive Entertainment Royal Opera House
4.QATAR 5.UAE 6.OMAN
IQ Magazine March 2017
Mediterranean promoters As the beating heart of the Israeli concert business, Tel Aviv is also home to the majority of its promoters, who grow in number by the year and arguably over-serve a market that is famous for the warm welcome of its crowds. Among the big-hitters are long-standing independents Shuki Weiss, Gad Oron, 3A Productions, 2b Vibes and the club-owning Zappa Group, and comparative newcomers such as Tandi Productions and Bluestone Group, the latter of which recently morphed into Live Nation Israel. Veteran’s veteran Marcel Avram also knows his way around Tel Aviv – his Justin Bieber show at Hayarkon Park in May is looking like one of the summer’s big hits. While operating as Bluestone, the company is actually registered as Bluestone-Maverick Entertainment, a name that hints at the quiet involvement of Maverick Music’s Jersualem-born CEO Guy Oseary, manager of U2 and Madonna. Given that Maverick has operated as a partnership with Live Nation since 2014, the move doesn’t come out of the blue. “Guy Oseary was like a mentor for us,” says Beser. “He took care of a lot at the beginning of the business.” Bluestone’s international shows have included Rihanna, Backstreet Boys, Bon Jovi, Enrique Iglesias, Major Lazer and One Republic, with Guns N’ Roses and Aerosmith incoming. Just as significant is the arrival of Ticketmaster in a market that previously has been dominated by CTS Eventim. “It’s a new thing for them, and for us,” says Beser. “They have very big ideas for this market, for Ticketmaster and also for Live Nation. It’s an evolving market here, just starting to wake up in the past few years.” Promoters such as Shuki Weiss, who has been active in Israel for four decades, handling concerts by the Rolling Stones and Paul McCartney at the top end of the scale, might dispute that, but Weiss’s senior promoter Oren Arnon certainly isn’t shying away from a fresh wave of competition. “There were more shows than ever last year, without a doubt,” says Arnon of a year that brought Sia, Queen, Ricky Martin, Jason Derulo, Die Antwoord, Morrissey, Sean Paul and others through Israel. “I don’t think everything was hugely successful,” he notes. “You know, there’s a lot going on in the market, and a lot of good, healthy competition. It is definitely looking like that pattern is going to continue this year, even though, as always with the Middle East, there’s a lot depending on world politics. The interesting thing to see this year is how the audience reacts to the amount of shows and the ticket prices that keep going up. I have a strong feeling that ticket prices is going to be the name of the game.” Tel Aviv-based Gad Oron confirms Oren’s impression that many promoters lost money on big shows in Tel Aviv last year. This year’s schedule, while largely still under wraps, is expected to be busier still, and there are differing views as to whether that is a good thing. “2017 is going to be very, very busy – I would say a bit over the capacity that Israel can afford – and I wonder who will end this season with empty pockets,” says Oron. “I hope no one, but it looks like we are over-capacity this season.”
Even for those artists who are unswayed by the controversy around playing in Israel, the market isn’t the most easily routed – a fly-in/fly-out destination that requires a measure of extra effort. Nonetheless, the artists do certainly continue to come. Hillel Wachs, who operates Jerusalem’s 2b Vibes with partner Carmi Wurtman, selling more than 200,000 tickets last year, favours an optimistic outlook. “Things are good, as long as we don’t have any security surprises,” he says. “Some might say Donald Trump is a loose cannon and we don’t know what we are in for, but last year was unbelievably fantastic for us, and this year is looking great too.”
Mediterranean venues As any Israeli promoter will tell you, the venues available in the country have a way of being either bigger than you need, or not quite big enough. The biggest arena – in Jerusalem, not the music capital Tel Aviv – seats just 10,000, and while crowds of up to 70,000 can be accommodated at Hayarkon Park, demand for outdoor shows tends to top out at around 50,000. As in many sunny spots, there is a lack of good indoor facilities in Israel, particularly at scale. “There’s no arena in Israel that has [a capacity of] more than 10,000,” says Wachs. “So all these people who would like to come to Israel during the winter months can only come in summer for an outdoor show.” High ticket prices in Israel, meanwhile, reflect the fact that international artist fees aren’t necessarily easily recouped from ticket demand. The Times of Israel recently estimated that fees for performances in the larger outdoor venues range from $50,000 (€46,800) to $450,000 (€421,000) for an artist performing in Rishon Le Zion’s Live Park, up to $4m (€3.8m) for superstar shows in Tel Aviv’s much larger Hayarkon Park. “The potential in Israel for open-air music events, it’s very limited, and promoters pay too much compared to a medium city
“Listen, if you are living in the Middle East, concerts and culture are necessary.” Guy Beser, Live Nation Israel
The historic Caesarea venue on Israel’s Mediterranean coast
IQ Magazine March 2017
Tune In Tel Aviv
The Middle East’s credentials as a credible live music market are underscored by the number of industry conferences that are now being established in the region. In April, PMX (Palestine Music Expo) will make its debut across three cities – Ramallah, Haifa and Jerusalem, while the eight-day Israel Music Showcase Festival held its seventh edition in 2016. But the most popular event in the region is Tune In Tel Aviv, which has been running since 2009 as a platform to showcase emerging talent to an international audience. “Last year we attracted more than 6,000 people to our showcase gigs, while the conference itself saw about 50 music industry people coming from overseas to Tel Aviv,” says Jeremy Hulsh of organisers Oleh Records. “Those individuals have since started working with a number of the homegrown artists that showcased and, as things stand, more than a dozen acts are now looking forward to some international appearances in the months ahead.”
in Europe, or wherever,” says Gad Oron, whose CV includes Leonard Cohen, Elton John, Metallica and Jerry Seinfeld. “Sometimes, we are asked to pay guarantees that are higher than London promoters offer, not to mention local costs which are getting higher all the time: sound, lights, stage security. Every line in the budget has gone up by 20, 25% in the last few years.” In Tel Aviv, the venue options include an amphitheatre for up to 11,000 at Rishon Le Zion, 8km from Tel Aviv. The Menora Mivtachim Arena in Tel Aviv holds up to 8,000. There is also a venue at Tel Aviv’s Exhibition Grounds, while clubs such as the Barby Club and Hangar 11 round out the picture. In Lebanon, Beirut’s two main indoor venues are Biel and the Forum De Beyrouth, both multi-purpose with capacities of up to 6,000 seats or up to 10,000 standing, with Platea, 20 km north, accommodating another 6,000. Local promoter Nagi Baz inaugurated both of Beirut’s key large venues – Biel with Roger Waters in 2004, the Forum with Scorpions in 1998 – and still holds the laurels for the biggest international show in Lebanon: Red Hot Chili Peppers at Byblos in 2012. “We Lebanese are gifted to have 250 days of sun every year so a lot of shows happen outdoor during festival season in July and August, by far the busiest season here,” says Baz, adding that Byblos, 37km north of Beirut along the Mediterranean shore, is known to be the oldest inhabited city in the world.
“There’s a lot going on in the market, and a lot of good, healthy competition. It is definitely looking like that pattern is going to continue this year, even though, as always with the Middle East, there’s a lot depending on world politics.” Oren Arnon, Shuki Weiss “In Dubai, if you can’t invest in real estate, build a venue, invest in catering and other auxiliary revenue streams, you are basically doing live events for the sake of doing live events,“ says Ovesen. “In the flat market the Middle East was in 2015, and certainly became in 2016, it just didn’t make sense.” 117 Live, backed by the media division of UAE-based conglomerate Al Ahli Holding Group (AAHG), has a number of projects on the go, having established a temporary 20,000-capacity venue at Dubai Outlet Mall, with a permanent amphiteatre to follow. In terms of shows, 117 Live has Bryan Adams, Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber and Elton John lined up for 2017, as well as a spate of shows elsewhere in the world, including two Ricky Martin concerts in London in May. “The point is that the margins of the business are tight, so we have to look at spreading the business, so that if your market tanks, you have an upside somewhere else,” says Ovesen. Done Events was responsible for many of the notable concerts in Dubai in recent years, from the Eagles to One Direction, but the departure in December 2015 of Ovesen, accompanied, with the blessing of Done’s owners, by his team, has changed the company’s outlook. Done Events continues to promote comedy shows, as well as the RedFestDXB festival at Dubai Media City, which took place in early February in partnership with Live Nation, featuring Demi Lovato, Tove Lo and Mike Posner on the bill. In spite of Ovesen’s comment, Live Nation is modestly active in its own right, often on the family entertainment side, but occasionally in concerts. Its regional CV includes Jason Derulo,
Gulf promoters From Thomas Ovesen’s perspective, in spite of successes over the years, the market in Dubai effectively needs building from the ground up. “There’s no real business, and ticket prices are three times higher than anywhere else,” says the former Done Events COO. “I would love to take credit for the fact that Live Nation plays such a small role in our market, but it’s a testament to the fact that the market is crap. The margins are so small that they are sitting on the fence, and we don’t even have an AEG Live presence.” Ovesen’s year-old initiative, 117 Live, aims to promote events well beyond the borders of the UAE, and also to address some of the structural problems of promoting in Dubai. Flash Entertainment brought Coldplay to Abu Dhabi for a spectacular New Year show.
IQ Magazine March 2017
Nagi Baz (Buzz Productions), Gad Oron (Gad Oron Productions), Guy Beser (Live Nation Israel), Hillel Wachs (2b Vibes Music), Jeremy Hulsh (Tune In Tel Aviv), John Lickrish, (Flash Entertainment), Oren Arnon (Shuki Weiss Promotion), Thomas Ovesen (117 Live)
Ellie Goulding and Thirty Seconds to Mars; and Dora the Explorer’s Pirate Adventure, BLAZE, and Madagascar! Live. Another key promoter in Dubai is DGT Events, which cut its teeth on hotel-backed shows and mini-festivals and continues to specialise in one-off dates such as its DXBeach show at the Zero Gravity Beach Club in October with Fatboy Slim and Benny Benassi, and Party in the Park at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre with Kaiser Chiefs and Travis in November. The Artist Network’s Groove On The Grass at Emirates Golf Club, meanwhile, is a regular, dance-focused event. In Abu Dhabi, the state-owned promoter Flash Entertainment continues to deliver the big names its backers expect, with Coldplay ringing in the new year at the du Arena, Rod Stewart jetting in in February and Olly Murs also on the schedule. Flash divides its time between sport, cultural projects and live music.“It’s a balance,” says CEO John Lickrish. “We try to make sure we cater to the entire population of Abu Dhabi and the entire GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council). We can’t just do concerts every month – it would be saturation. We are very competitive with Dubai, and the UAE is a single-show territory.” Flash sells its tickets through Ticketmaster, and its data analysis reveals that 60% are sold to residents of Abu Dhabi and 40% to incoming travellers. In Dubai, Lickrish suggests, the split might be closer to 75-25. The growing number of live music tourists is the factor that will ultimately grow the market in Abu Dhabi, he believes. “We are a small population and there’s an even smaller segment that will attend an event like a Coldplay show,” he says. “But our infrastructure is very good and we are getting more awareness of the events we are doing here. People come in for the shows, but there are many other opportunities in very close proximity, so we find they are staying for three or four days.” The Coldplay show on New Year’s Eve was a last-minute win, and is one that Lickrish feels particularly proud of. “It was a hard-fought thing, and it was a huge coup for us,” he says. “A few sponsors were really, really keen for us to do something. I was talking to Coldplay’s manager before the show and he said, ‘I can’t believe you pulled this off.’ The band were on holiday, but the agent put it to Chris [Martin] and he said: ‘let’s go for it’.”
Gulf venues 117 Live’s temporary greenfield venue, simply called The Venue and inaugurated last March by Nicki Minaj, will give way to a permanent 25,000-capacity indoor amphitheatre to follow this year, also within the AAHG-owned mall. This is to add to the 20,000-capacity Dubai Arena, promised for late 2018 by developer Meraas as part of its City Walk complex in Jumeirah.
“Sometimes, we are asked to pay guarantees that are higher than London promoters offer, not to mention local costs which are getting higher all the time.” Gad Oron, Gad Oron Productions “Because there’s an arena project already announced in Dubai, we are clearly not going to build a replica, because the market can’t sustain that,” says Ovesen. “But we have a very unique design of an indoor venue that we will take to market in the next couple of months, and it will offer a lot of complementary opportunities to an arena in Dubai, as well as some competitive elements. The type of events that can’t play in an arena will be able to play in our venue.” Previously, the only indoor venue in the country big enough to present a full-sized concert was the Dubai World Trade Centre. This being Dubai, there are other major building projects in the planning, too. A new football ground, the 60,000-capacity Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Stadium, is also due for construction in Al Aweer. Abu Dhabi’s key assets are the du Arena on Yas Island, which can hold up to 40,000 people, and its sister venue, the 8,000-capacity du Forum. Only the latter is indoor, though the arena has air-conditioning for hot nights. “We lack a roof, I think,” says Lickrish of Abu Dhabi’s arena offering, though he adds that the flexibility of the two (Flash-managed) venues is a boon. “We have two venues that are very flexible in their structures and allow us to be flexible in our set-up and the artists we are going after,” he says. “We can do 6,000 at the Arena or at the Forum, but we can also go all the way down to 500 at the Forum and up to 40,000 at the Arena. We had 35,000 people here for Coldplay on New Year’s Eve, and then with Bon Jovi we were planning on 15,000 and we moved up to 20,000, 25,000, based on our ticket sales.” Other venues are popping up all over the Middle East, with conferences, sport and music in mind. In September, Qatar’s Ministry of Culture and Sports awarded the operation of two relatively new arenas in Doha – Lusail Multipurpose Arena in Lusail and Ali Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah Multipurpose Arena in Al Sadd – to ELAN Live Nation, a joint venture between local media and entertainment group ELAN and Live Nation Middle East. Much of Qatar’s live music content focuses on hotels and sports bars, though international stars, including Ed Sheeran in 2015, have performed at the Qatar National Convention Centre. Pharrell Williams and Gwen Stefani played postmatch concerts at Lusail for the Men’s Handball World Championships the same year.
IQ Magazine March 2017
Feld at 50
IQ Magazine March 2017
Feld at 50
50 Years in the Spotlight It’s 50 years since Irvin Feld invested his company’s future in the family entertainment sector. Now, with his son and grandchildren still at the helm, the winner of this year’s Best in Show award has plenty of reasons to be optimistic for decades to come, Eamonn Forde learns.
he canonic view of 1967 is that it represented the high water mark of counterculture, starting with the Human Be-In in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in January and reaching its peak in June as The Beatles’ freshly minted Sgt Pepper… soundtracked the Summer of Love. Amid this cultural tumult, Feld Entertainment was born, with a focus not on the generation gap but rather on the enduring power and appeal of family entertainment. In November that year, Irvin Feld acquired circus companies Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey to set-up his new entertainment company. Feld had cut his teeth in the live music business in the 1950s and managed Paul Anka for the first decade of his career as well as touring with Bill Haley & His Comets, Chuck Berry and others. He, however, saw a different wind of opportunity blowing through America – and the world – in the 1960s. “He had started so early in the music business and he saw that there was a big shift around 1963/1964 with the ‘British invasion’ – The Beatles, The Stones, Herman’s Hermits – and he ended up promoting all of them; but the business model had changed dramatically and the promoters [were squeezed] so the margins were less and less,” explains son Kenneth, who joined the company in 1970 and took over the running of it when his father passed away in 1984. “He
thought if he got into the family entertainment business, that children were born every year and were going to want to see these styles of entertainment. So he moved out of the music business and into the circus business.” Irvin had started promoting Ringling Bros in 1957 and ran this concurrently with his promotion of pop music – but, when the opportunity to buy Ringling a decade later appeared, he went full-time into family-centric events. “At that time, I was a student at Boston University and my summer jobs were touring, primarily in Europe in 1968 and 1969, looking for circus talent,” says Kenneth of how he joined the family firm. “When I graduated in 1970, I went to work with my father full-time.” While many might idly joke about running away with the circus, that is what Kenneth literally did – but it was the fact that it was working for his father that was the main draw. “If he was selling shoes or something else, I would be in that business today instead of this one as I just wanted to work with him,” he says. “We had a wonderful relationship and he was a fabulous teacher. He was very patient and liked to listen to some young kid’s crazy ideas. He thought that [family entertainment] was the way to go and I think he was right.”
More than 6 million people attended Feld’s Disney On Ice productions last year
IQ Magazine March 2017
Feld at 50 Always the showman, Irvin Feld used the Coliseum in Rome to announce his 1967 acquisition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
s the 1980s approached, the company was looking for ways to move to the next level in North America and expand globally. That growth potential was unlocked when Feld partnered in 1981 with arguably the biggest, and certainly the most potent, family entertainment brand in the world – Disney. It was not a straightforward or easy deal to negotiate (see boxout page 91), but when it was finally agreed, it helped setup Feld for the international stage and saw it move into Japan in 1986 and then tick off more countries as the years passed, to the extent that Feld is now in over 70 countries around the world. “We are on every continent except for Antarctica,” is how Kenneth puts it. The next wave of expansion was, however, not all plain sailing. Rob McHugh joined the company in 1988 and has been SVP of international sales and business operations since 1998. Between 1991 and 1998 he was running the company’s European office and explains how competition from Holiday On Ice made it difficult to get an initial foothold. “They did not want us in the region,” he says, bluntly. “They had deals with venues to try and keep us out.” McHugh felt the companies were each operating very different shows and there was space for both of them. Disney On Ice was more family-centric while Holiday On Ice skewed to an older audience. “If we separated ourselves a few months apart, both shows could play the same venues,” he says. “They didn’t believe that and the venues didn’t believe it. Slowly but surely some of the venues took a risk with us.” He says that at the end of the 80s, Wembley Arena in London offered the company dates in August, but he says this was the wrong time of the year for the show. Wembley
subsequently took a risk and offered them dates in October, which coincided with the mid-term school holidays and this was an immediate success. “That is when the other venues in the UK started opening up and letting us in,” he says. “The rest of Europe started doing the same.” Success in both the UK and the Nordics was what further expansion was based on. “That allowed us to start taking risks in other countries where we probably wouldn’t normally have taken risks,” says McHugh. This international expansion utterly changed the company and how it conducts its business today. “It’s now over 30 years since we went international and it’s become a huge proportion of our business and has allowed us to now take Marvel Universe Live outside of the US, and also Monster Jam, which is now in 21 countries,” says Kenneth. “It was a great opportunity for the business and, I think, opened our eyes to what the global economy really means.”
his burgeoning international success at the start of the 1980s was dampened, however, when Irvin passed away in 1984, and Kenneth – by his own admission – was not ready for what taking charge of a globally expanding entertainment business would entail. “I was 35 when he passed away and I was totally unprepared to take over the business and it took me a while to settle in and to understand [how it worked],” he admits. “All of his teachings paid off and we continued to grow the business and expand it in many ways.” He says the fact that he had not worked anywhere else before joining his father’s company meant he had a lot of learning and catching up to do. While all three of his daughters have now joined the company – Nicole in 2001, Alana in 2003 and Juliette in 2010 – he was keen to have
IQ Magazine March 2017
Feld at 50
“We are on every continent except for Antarctica.” Kenneth Feld, Chairman & CEO them work elsewhere first to be able to bring a new and fresh perspective to the Feld business dynasty. “My background is that I never had a job,” he says of his own route into the family company. “I thought it was important for them [his daughters] to have a job someplace outside of the family business. Each of them individually worked other places and in other fields and they decided, one by one, that they wanted to come back into the company. I was greatly surprised and obviously pleased. They all bring a feminine point of view and they all have little kids so they have a little test market when they get home.” Kenneth says his father was open to hearing his ideas, but is he as equally open to his daughters’ ideas for the future of the company? “I encourage them most of all to be open,” he says. “It is really for everybody to ask questions that will expand the way that everyone thinks. That’s what I try to do with them and what I try to do with all the other senior people in the company. You want to know what you don’t know. We all know what we know, but it is what we don’t know that makes the difference.”
Juliette says, growing up, the company was always in the foreground, recalling family holidays spent watching Disney On Ice rehearsals or travelling to shows around the country with her two sisters. “It was amazing,” she says of her peripatetic upbringing. “One of the things that is amazing and very fortunate about my position now is getting to work with my family. My dad is the most experienced and successful person in this field of live entertainment. So having access to him [is great]. Not only is he a wonderful father but he’s also an incredible mentor to me in the business.” Juliette worked in advertising sales and PR after college and then went to business school before joining her father and siblings seven years ago after graduating. What did she learn from working outside of the family company? “It’s a lot more fun working here!” she says. “One of the things that is best about working at this company is that we are in a position where we get to see our customers and the audience consume our product. We get to see the audience laugh, smile, clap, cheer, hug their kids – whatever it is that they are doing that We feel honoured and privileged to have been able to work with Feld Entertainment for 30 years in Belgium. We would like to congratulate Mr. Feld and the entire Feld Entertainment family. Happy Birthday, and wishing you at least 50 more successful years! Michel & Sam Perl, Gracia Live
Feld at 50 Feld executives Nicole, Alana and Juliette Feld have been involved in the family business since childhood
makes them emotionally connected to the experience. There aren’t a lot of places you can work where you actually get to see those rewards.” In 2008, the company acquired Monster Jam, Supercross and Arenacross, combining them under the umbrella of Feld Motor Sports to mark a new chapter in its history. “When I joined here in 2010, we were just starting to get to know it and understand more of that business,” says Juliette of their assimilation into the company. “The biggest change in my tenure here has been the integration of that business. We have bought and grown Supercross and Monster Jam in that time, and we have also launched Marvel Universe Live.”
T “Stadiums are slowly opening up as they realise they need more entertainment than just football, cricket or rugby.” Rob McHugh, SVP of international sales & business operations
he Marvel deal, in 2014, marked a change in how family entertainment is developed and presented to the public. “Marvel Universe Live is pretty groundbreaking as it is the first of its kind in terms of the integration of stunt technology and story,” says Juliette. “What is intrinsic to the Marvel brand is the storyline. These heroes don’t just do things for the sake of being heroes; they have a purpose. We created a story and all of the incredible stunts, including a person doing a full body burn – so fully on fire – to someone falling the equivalent of three storeys without any kind of harness, to a car that we built that actually rolls over and bursts into flames, ten times a week. All of these things have been built to move the story along. It is a very immersive experience.” As the company was embracing technology and adapting to a changing audience, it had to close down other parts of the operation that no longer felt right for the times. At the start of this year, Feld announced that it was closing its circuses after 146 years in operation. This was not a decision that was taken lightly – especially because of what it symbolises for the company and its origins. “The immediate cause was we had a declining business and then we took the decision last May to take the elephants off tour,” says Kenneth. “The business fell a lot more than we anticipated it would. It’s a 100-year-old business model that has great difficulty working in today’s climate. We had huge operational costs and very low ticket prices. The average ticket price was maybe $22 or $23. The entire show travels on a mile-long railway train. It is not a sustainable business model in today’s world. We thought it would be best to close it down and take if off tour.”
PR Worldwide has been with Feld Entertainment since 2002 in Malaysia and together we have built a solid foundation in the family entertainment in the region, creating experiences of a lifetime for our audiences of Disney on Ice and Disney Live. On behalf of PR Worldwide I would like congratulate Feld Entertainment on their anniversary – its “never been a dull moment working together.” Para Rajagopal, PR Worldwide Kenneth and his father and mentor Irvin at a circus performance in the 1970s
IQ Magazine March 2017
Feld at 50
s winner of IQ’s Best in Show award for 2016, Disney On Ice was by far the most popular family entertainment show internationally last year, selling more than 6 million tickets internationally (not including USA and Canada), with 2,600 shows in 40 countries. There are nine different Disney On Ice productions travelling the world, each with between 85-95 artists and crew. “Everyone with Feld Entertainment is honoured that Disney On Ice has been chosen as Best in Show award winner for 2016,” says Rob McHugh, SVP of international sales and business operations at Feld. “The success of our recent engagements shows that the timeless Disney stories when matched with spectacular skating makes Disney On Ice a memorable show for audiences around the world.” With more than 30 years of success, thanks to its partnership with Disney, the brand is one of the jewels in Feld’s crown and to date the shows have been seen in 66 countries. But the agreement with Disney that enabled Feld to go global almost never happened. The origins of the deal come from Feld acquiring the ice show business Holiday On Ice but quickly realising that it wasn’t working. “That was when I went to the Disney Company [in 1980] and suggested what has become Disney On Ice,” says Kenneth Feld. “It started when I went with an idea to create a segment of our ice show with the Disney characters. They actually weren’t interested. I had always tried to have a Plan B – which turned out to be Plan A. I thought we could convert one of our ice shows to all-Disney characters and stories – putting Walt Disney’s world on ice. That intrigued them because they didn’t want to be part of something else.” With Disney now the sole focus of the show, things moved quickly. “In the summer of 1981, we came out with the first Walt Disney’s World On Ice and it was a big success, and then the next year we created another one and the next year another one,” he says. “Then there was a big change at Disney. We had been going on a year-by-year contract with them so we were able to get a longer-term contract, with the focus on us going international. By virtue of that, we decided to [go for it] and we became a global company. Otherwise, I think, we would still just be operating in the US. That enabled us to really grow and to look at everything a little differently.” This production marked an important shift in the public’s perception of ice shows, according to Kenneth. Before that, ice shows were seen as general entertainment product. “I think Disney On Ice really specialised it into families,” he says, which is, of course, what Feld had been built on since 1967. As it quickly established itself, it allowed the company to expand globally – initially taking the show to Japan in its fifth year. “That was the first – outside of North America – international engagement for the company,” explains Kenneth. “It went on from there and we went into Europe. We learned from it that there were times we worked with promoters who maybe weren’t the best and then we decided that we could do this ourselves by getting good local partners and building a business for the long-term.” He adds, “The great thing about our business being global is that family entrainment is something that is almost non-
lingual. Everybody knows the Disney characters. Even in China, when we play there they know the stories and the characters.” Michel Perl, co-founder of Gracia Live in Belgium has been working with Feld for 29 years, putting on the Disney shows as one of the company’s first European partners. “It’s the only production that is left, so there is no competition,” he says. He adds that it took a while to establish the name in Belgium, but the fact that the shows come back in a refreshed format most years helped this enormously. “We first had to establish the brand, but the good thing about Disney On Ice is that every year it’s a different show,” he says. “Every year it’s another show and another story. Sometimes, after five or six years, we have the same show coming back. But this is not a problem as the children are getting older and it’s a new generation of children and families coming along.” Konrad Kozioł, the marketing & sales manager at the Tauron Arena Kraków in Poland, says their venue only opened in 2014 but has already hosted Disney On Ice three times. “Usually, when they come to our arena, they take Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” he says. “One show on Friday, three shows on Saturday and three shows on Sunday.” He feels the shows have tapped into a very particular demographic that is underserved elsewhere. “Family entertainment brings a different audience,” he says. “I have my own kids so I know how it is when they play. My daughter has already been three times in a row to Disney On Ice and she wants to go again.” In Poland, the situation is somewhat unique as the show is produced by Feld in conjunction with a local promoter. “It is a team of great professionals so it is even less work for us because those two teams [Feld and the local Polish company] are working together,” says Kozioł. “Usually, when a foreign production comes to Poland, we have to help them to organise everything. But they know our venue and they know the rules. But with the co-operation of the Polish team and the Feld team, it works great.” With Disney On Ice bookings confirmed throughout 2017, it wouldn’t be too surprising if the format tops Feld’s ticket sales chart again in a year’s time with its 100 Years Of Magic production.
Feld’s ‘Disney On Ice’ shows sell more tickets than any other tour on the planet.
IQ Magazine March 2017
Feld at 50
Kenneth Feld, Juliette Feld and Rob McHugh
Research and Dev-Elephant
hile the elephants have been retired from live performance, the company has long had a focus on the conservation of the species. Back in 1995, its Center For Elephant Conservation was opened to protect the endangered Asian elephant, as well as operate as a research centre. “Years ago I knew that if someone didn’t protect the Asian elephant that they would be extinct,” says Kenneth. “We have been very successful in having over 26 births in a relatively short period of time, as for elephants it’s a 22-month gestation period.” The research side of things is also an important part of what the company stands for. “Lately, one of the greatest things that has come out of that is that we realised that elephants have a very low rate of cancer,” he says. “The oncologists and researchers thought if they could study the elephants’ blood and DNA then maybe humans could learn something about cancer prevention from elephants, because it flies in the face of logic that they have millions more cells than we do and have long lifespans but don’t get cancer. Why is that? Millions of years ago, elephants figured out how to fight off cancer through their evolution.”
He continues, “We mapped the genome of the Asian elephant and what we found out is that elephants have 20 times the amount of the cancer-fighting gene than humans have. It’s called P53 and in elephants it’s called E-P53. They are now at a point in research of trying to find out how they can get that to work for humans as a treatment and, ultimately, as a prevention.” In 2013, the company opened the Feld Entertainment Studios for show rehearsals and also as a way of consolidating the diverse parts of the company while encouraging crosslearning between its different arms. “We take everyone’s knowledge and put it to use for every project that we do,” explains Kenneth. “So what happens is we are able to turn out a better entertainment product, the staff are stimulated, and we have found a level of brilliance that we didn’t know existed before. That’s the great thing about it.”
“I think the most important lesson is to really try and be open to everything – and always be willing to change and embrace change.” Kenneth Feld, Chairman & CEO
With DEAG being Feld’s partner in GSA since 2014, we are looking forward to many successful years to come! With an audience of more than 400,000 so far, we jointly managed to reposition and innovate the Disney On Ice brand in the Germanspeaking territories. It is a great pleasure to collaborate with a company that is – after 50 years in the business – still led by the founder’s family and keeps this spirit very much alive through its representatives. Congratulations Steven, Tony and Maria! – let’s not forget to celebrate! Jacqueline Zich, DEAG Concerts
IQ Magazine March 2017
Feld at 50 Feld’s ‘Marvel Universe Live’ show has been a massive hit for the company
New Markets, New Products
he company, while proudly celebrating its halfcentury, is careful not to rest on its laurels and has just announced a partnership with another iconic American children’s brand as its newest venture later in the year. “We have taken over the touring rights for Sesame Street and will be launching our first productions this autumn,” reveals Juliette. It is eyeing up new markets for its different entertainment products as well. “We are going to Vietnam for the first time this year and we continue to go to a lot of new countries – along with the continued international growth of Monster Jam,” she says. “When we acquired the Monster Jam business, it was at around ten international dates and last year we grew to 17 and are continuing to grow that. We continue to go into new countries, including our first event in Japan last year.” The company is also finding new ways to integrate technology into its existing properties. “One of the things we are testing on Monster Jam is interactive fan voting. In the freestyle events, the winner is going to be determined in part by fans judging. We are currently testing ways that fans in the crowd can use their phones to vote on what they think the score should be for each of the trucks.” McHugh says that stadiums are the next frontier for the company’s expansion, especially with Monster Jam.
“Stadiums are slowly opening up as they realise they need more entertainment than just football, cricket or rugby,” he says. “They need other events to get clientele in there. The great thing about Monster Jam is that it brings a whole new audience; it brings families that probably aren’t going to the stadiums.” He is also excited about India as a huge market with enormous potential and this is where he is focusing a lot of his efforts in the coming years. “I would say India is [definitely] on our radar as it has one of the largest middleclass populations in the world,” says McHugh. With international expansion happening at an exhilarating rate and with five decades in the business under the company’s belt, what does Kenneth feel he has learned? “I think the most important lesson is to really try and be open to everything – and always be willing to change and embrace change,” he says. “That’s not only in business but also in life. The only people we can change are ourselves. If you try and change other people, that never works. That’s a great thing – to keep your mind open to change. I embrace it and I look forward to it all the time. I try to instill that in everyone who works in our company.” Finally, what does he think the next half-century holds for the company? “I won’t make the 50th year of the next 50 because I am pretty sure I won’t be around!” he jokes. “It is in good hands with my three daughters and with the people we have in the company now. There are a lot of great, young minds and people that are coming up through the ranks that I feel very confident in for the future.”
We wish Feld Entertainment a happy 50-year anniversary. CSB has been co-operating with Feld for around 10 years. We have had huge success with Disney On Ice. This year, we have record ticket sales for the second year in a row. More than 50,000 tickets have been sold in little Denmark where we have only 5m inhabitants. We think we owe this fact to the PROMOTION conference held by Feld in Spain a few years ago. The topic at the conference was education and brainstorming in terms of marketing. A fantastic conference, held at a luxury hotel in the middle of a golf resort. It was an absolutely splendid initiative – with a combination of learning about marketing and promotion as well as improving one’s golf handicap. The brainstorming sessions in the evening were beyond description. Rarely do you find conferences this relevant. Maybe the ILMC could take place at a golf resort too?! Warmest congratulations Feld on your golden anniversary. We look forward to lots more co-operation in the future. Carsten Svoldgaard, CSB Island Entertainment
IQ Magazine March 2017
Herman Schueremans, CEO of Live Nation Belgium, was presented with a prestigious Sector Lifetime Achievement Award at the Music Industry Awards in Brussels by Simon Moran lookalike Sven Gatz, Flemish minister for Culture, Youth, Media and Brussels.
Proud father M ichael Hosk ing of Midas witnessed with his Promotions children Isabella, Francis and Andre become medallists a at the Regents Sen ior Games in Pattay Thailand - the girls a, winning silver in bas ketball and football, while Francis took home a gold for foo tball.
The Genting Arena presented Black Sabbath with a special award to mark their final, sell-out gig in their home city of Birmingham, Englan d. Pictured with the band are the arena’s Ellie Coombes, Ian Congdon, Becky Humph ries and Guy Dunstan.
e Cornu, Ivan Milivojev, Greg The Children of the Revolution, featuring Philipp Holger Jan Schmidt, Michal Vulcu, a Codruţ Huber, f Christo Szép, a Parmley, Fruzsin European Festival Awards the at ce audien the ined enterta Kaščák and Steve Jenner, in Groningen.
SSE Audio founders John and Heather Penn were presented with a WEM Audiomaster – the company’s first mixer in 1976 – during a 21 January party to celebrate SSE’s 40th anniversary. Pictured at the party are sales director Alex Penn, John Penn, Wigwam MD Spencer Beard, SSE’s Helen Eden and Heather Penn.
Pohoda Festival organiser Mich al Kaščák received the Order of Ľudovít Štúr from Slovak President Andrej Kiska on 9 January - the country’s highest civilian honour - for defending democracy and its development; for defending hum an rights and freedoms, and for development of culture.
If you or any of your ILMC colleagues have any notices or updates to include on the noticeboard, please contact the club secretary, Gordon Masson, via email@example.com
IQ Magazine March 2017
“What is the best touring tale you’ve ever heard, or the funniest thing you’ve witnessed working in the live music business?” October 2002. We (Russian and German crew) were on a Scorpions tour around Russia between Ekaterinburg and Perm overnight. In the middle of the night we see a truck broken down and decided to leave one of the Russian crew to help repair it, so that the truck would make it to the show on time. He did help him and the truck was able to start after some time. Our crew guy jumped into the truck and after an hour’s drive figured out that it was a different truck that looked exactly like ours that was carrying chicken meat and going in a totally different direction. He jumped out, but as he was in the middle of nowhere he had to walk for about 25km at 3am to the nearest road police station, who then gave him a lift to the city. He made it to the show just in time for doors. Dmitry Zaretsky, Pop Farm
Most of my tales are tales of woe… but one not-very-funny-at-the-time story was with Modern Talking in an Atlantic City casino theatre full of rich ethnic Russians (MT were big in Russia). I’d booked the show for the Russian promoter (luckily, a decent chap even though he had a 20 grand mobile phone). It was a full band show, about seven on stage. The show started, all was going well, when suddenly there was a noise like a helicopter slamming into a power station, and the proceedings ground to a halt with the band looking very embarrassed. Unbeknown to us they were miming to a CD, and the CD player had broken down. We were left with a theatre full of Russians who rightly felt cheated. Luckily, they were too well-off to riot... Nick Hobbs, Charmenko
Alex Hardee. He’s been keeping the industry entertained for 25 years! Rob Challice, Coda Agency
I was in Japan touring with a female artist who shall remain nameless (and occasionally may be accused of lip synching). She had to have humidifiers on the entire time she was in her suite at the Four Seasons Hotel so that by the time we checked out, the wallpaper had been steamed off and we were charged to repaper the bedroom. It also happened to be my birthday the night prior to checkout and she wanted to take me to dinner – she had a craving for sushi. The hotel found us a sushi restaurant that had huge aquariums full of fish along the walls. She declared that she couldn’t look at LIVE fish as she ate DEAD fish so the restaurant scooped all of the fish out and placed them in numerous buckets in the kitchen. We ate dinner and the fish went back into the aquariums after we left. Akiko Rogers, WME Entertainment
The funniest tale I heard was about Lemmy a few years back. He was doing a charity show in Covent Garden and the press got hold of his rider. Two items he insisted on being delivered to his dressing room were a case of Jack Daniels and Charlotte Church. I think in that order. I read of no complaints so I assume the promoter complied!
Ed Grossman, Brackman Chopra LLP
At Pavarotti in the Park I was stationed at the VVIP entrance where members of the royal family and the great and the good would enter. This involved passing through a metal detecting archway. The majority of people passed through without incident, until Lord Grade’s car arrived. He stepped out of his beautiful old Bentley with his initials in gold on the door and nodded to me as he puffed away on an enormous cigar. As he walked through the archway the buzzer sounded and the panel lit up like a Christmas tree. Our instructions were to use a degree of discretion and not stop too many VVIPs who were not suspected of being any threat to the monarchy or the state. Lord Grade, however, insisted on turning out his pockets. He produced a solid-gold Dunhill lighter, a solid-gold cigar trimmer and a solid-gold Cross pen, all of which he placed on the table. This was followed by a money clip in the form of a gold dollar sign, which was straining under the weight of many notes. He walked through again, and once more the machine lit up. I quickly reassured his lordship that he was not a threat and that he could continue to his seat if he wished. He was, however, insistent that he should go through ‘clear.’ He removed a pair of solid-gold cufflinks and a diamond-studded gold tiepin followed by an enormous gold watch. Again, the lights lit up and I was now feeling embarrassed on behalf of the production that he was so held up from getting to his seat, although he did not seem to mind. I finally persuaded him that he should enter the venue and as he spoke I saw the glint of gold in some of his teeth. “I won’t be removing them,” he smiled as he passed through into the auditorium. Jon (J.C.) Corbishley, ILMC
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IQ Magazine March 2017