88 An ILMC Publication MARCH 2020 | £25 | €25
AGENT OF THE DECADE
LIVE & PROUD
MUSIC’S METALLIC DARK SIDE SCOTLAND
SLIPKNOT: NOT YOUR KIND DEAR JOHN (GIDDINGS)…
ILMC32 LIVE MUSIC’S TOP GLOBAL GATHERING RETURNS
The biggest and most diverse agenda in ILMC history â€“ no contest! Magazine
CONFERENCE SCHEDULE TUESDAY 3 MARCH 10.00–18.00 ILMC PRODUCTION MEETING (IPM)
side from featuring the biggest and most diverse agenda in ILMC history, the 32nd International Live Music Conference will take competition to a whole new level as delegates come on down to London for our very own TV quiz show, The Game of Live. Featuring 1,200 of the major players from across the international live music industry, ILMC will see attendees spin their wheels of fortune as they go for gold across three days of sessions, events and networking. As well as returning to its traditional home at the Royal Garden Hotel, ILMC 32 will take on a second conference site, the Baglioni Hotel. With demand for places
(and meeting space) having increased substantially over the last few years, all meeting space at the Baglioni will be reserved exclusively for ILMC delegates, while also providing additional event space to the programme. ILMC 32 will also see the second edition of Futures Forum – the spin-off event in which the industry’s future leaders consider the evolution of the business – which takes place on Friday 6 March. With every serious contender in the business taking part, ILMC is one show that you can’t afford to miss. So join the greatest masterminds in the business in London from 3 to 6 March as The Game of Live plays out…
DAY HOST Meagan Walker, Rod Laver Arena (AU) IPM brings together more than 200 of the world’s most renowned production professionals – including production managers; health, safety and security specialists; crewing companies; production suppliers; transport and travel specialists; new technology suppliers; and promoters’ reps – to meet, network and discuss the most pressing issues in live music production. This year’s main panels are: The Challenges of Expanding Markets: Central & Eastern Europe, Middle East & Asia; If I Could Turn Back Time: The wider impact of current stage production, design & decor; Small Venues: Does size really matter?; and Don’t Stop Me Now!: The consequences of show cancellations. An IPM 13 delegate pass includes a fivestar buffet lunch, access to all conference sessions, tea & coffee breaks, an IPM conference guide with contact information for all attending delegates, and entry to the IPM Closing Drinks party.
10.00–18.00 GREEN EVENTS AND INNOVATIONS CONFERENCE
HOSTED BY A Greener Festival (UK) The leading conference for sustainability at live events returns for its 12th year, with over 200 industry leaders gathering to talk sustainable venues, touring & artists, festival campsites, brands & sponsors, travel & transport, water & sanitation, plastics pollution solutions, and more. The conference mixes practical case studies, discussion panels and presentations from around the world, alongside networking coffee breaks, a complimentary lunch, and a closing party that includes the International AGF Awards and drinks reception. Drawing on the work of A Greener Festival (AGF) and its industry partners, GEI 12 will once again demonstrate the latest solutions and technologies for practical, sustainable event management with panels covering sustainable sponsorship & brands, touring, and the food sector.
WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 10.00–10.30 NEW DELEGATES’ ORIENTATION
HOSTS Lou Percival, ILMC (UK) & Gordon Masson, IQ Magazine (UK) 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. Explaining how to get the most from the conference, Lou and Gordon give an informal welcome, as well as making sure everyone in the room has a chance to get acquainted.
10.00–11.00 WORKSHOP: TIKTOK
HOST Paul Hourican, TikTok (UK) There were two syllables on the lips of marketing managers across the music business last year: video-sharing social networking service TikTok. It’s the fastestgrowing social platform globally, with millions of active users worldwide and, according to Sensor Tower, the second most downloaded app in 2019. Its huge success offers enormous potential for artists, promoters and festivals alike. So how does it work exactly, how are brands already engaging, and how can promoters and agents make the most of this relatively new and growing space? Paul Hourican, TikTok’s head of music operations UK, lays out the options over 60 minutes…
11.00–11.15 THE CONTESTANTS’ GUIDE TO ILMC 32
HOST Greg Parmley, ILMC (UK) A 15-minute rundown that highlights the key features, outlines the rules of play, and covers all the tips and cheats you’ll need to make the most of the following days.
11.15–12.45 THE OPEN FORUM: UNIVERSALLY CHALLENGED
CHAIR Paul Latham, Global Guinness Guru (UK) ILMC’s main opening session is being reshaped as a live game show, featuring some of the industry’s leading lights as they consider the topics of the day. Under the moniker “Universally challenged,” expect audience participation and fingers on buzzers as the biggest issues in the business are discussed. Host with the most is none other than industry luminary Paul Latham, who’s agreed to take a break in his globetrotting to ready his quiz cards.
14.00–15.00 WORKSHOP: GREENER TOURING
HOSTS Claire O’Neill, AGF/GEI (UK) & Tanner Watt, Reverb (US) Following on from the Green Events and Innovations Conference the day before, this workshop summarises what tools and help are available; what methods and initiatives are already in place; and how artists, venues and production can do more to make touring more sustainable.
14.00–15.00 URBAN LEGENDS: HIP-HOP ON TOP
CHAIR Raye Cosbert, Metropolis Music (UK) With US-led hip-hop increasingly regarded as the ‘new pop’ – and a range of regional scenes, including European rap, UK grime and Aussie drill, producing their own stars – what lessons are there to be learnt from urban music’s global success? What growing pains has the genre experienced, and where does it go from here?
14.00–15.15 INDUSTRY INVESTMENT: HIGH STAKES
CHAIR Jessica Koravos, Oak View Group International (UK) The last 12 months have seen an upswing in investment and acquisitions, as access to finance appears easier than ever before. But will the ﬂood of finance tipping into the business filter down and raise the stakes for everyone in it? Or is this apparently easy money presenting opportunities for all? Either way, when venture capital calls, we should all take note…
15.30–16.30 THE INSTA-GENERATION: LIVE THROUGH A LENS
CHAIR Jackie Wilgar, Live Nation (UK) The rise in popularity of Instagram over the past few years, along with an ever-growing demand for that highly coveted “Instamoment”, has heavily impacted how live events are experienced, promoted, designed and accessed. So how are different industry sectors capitalising on the platform’s potential and catering to a generation fixated on the digital, portrait-shaped image?
15.30–16.30 WORKSHOP: CANCELLATION INSURANCE
HOSTS Tim Thornhill & Gary Brooks, Tysers (formerly Integro Entertainment & Sport) (UK) With artist fees and production costs rising across the board, cancellation insurance is a serious consideration in the budget of any
show, tour or festival. Tim and Gary outline recent updates around cancellation insurance, and with the help of invited guests, presents several case studies to highlight best- and worst-case scenarios and common pitfalls.
15.30–16.45 THE GLOBAL MARKETPLACE: GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS
CHAIR Michael Hosking, Midas Promotions (SG) As entrepreneurs and corporations alike search for new business, savvy operators are diligently working to develop live music scenes outside of the crowded European, Australasian and North American landscapes. Pioneering professionals discuss the challenges, opportunities and cultural idiosyncrasies involved in establishing live entertainment operations in their emerging markets.
THE (LATE) BREAKFAST MEETING WITH PETER RUDGE
HOST Ed Bicknell (UK) The Who, The Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Duran Duran, Madness, Ray Davies, Anastacia and The Dingoes… over a 40-year career, Peter Rudge’s roster reads like an encyclopaedia of popular music. The recipient of over 260 gold and platinum albums is this year’s Breakfast Meeting interviewee, as he takes the hot seat opposite raconteur and former Dire Straits’ manager Ed Bicknell. Peter helped launch the world’s first rock opera (The Who’s Tommy), created the concept of a ‘national tour’ with The Rolling Stones’ 1972 US outing, and took Lynyrd Skynyrd from club dates to headlining stadiums. More recently, his stable has included Imelda May, Il Divo and Ball & Boe, while he maintains a 30-year history with English rock band James. After 18 editions of The Breakfast Meeting, this year will, very sadly, be Ed Bicknell’s last edition. So before Ed hangs up his golden slippers, be sure to be in the room for his grand finale, as two titans of the management game discuss getting fired, getting paid and a lifetime in the game.
THURSDAY 5 MARCH 10.00–11.00 WORKSHOP: PRODUCTION CATCH-UP
HOSTS Carl A H Martin, Intellitix (UK) & Liz Madden, NoNonsense Group (UK) For anyone who missed this year’s edition,
Carl and Liz lead a 60-minute rundown on the key points, findings and debates. Allowing all ILMC delegates to benefit from the day, the workshop is for anyone that works with, or has an interest in, the sharp end of show production.
10.00–11.15 THE VENUE’S VENUE: NEW BUILDS, NEW BRANDS
CHAIR John Langford, EAA/AEG (UK) With a slew of new buildings announced and the corporate landscape continuing to change, the venue market is evolving faster than ever. The opening panel of the Venues Summit day takes a bird’s-eye view of the big venue market to discuss the recent wave of consolidation, and the expanding map of buildings, as competition and consolidation hits an all-time high.
11.30–12.30 WORKSHOP: 5G
Gareth Griffiths, The O2 (UK); David Jones, AEG Europe; Brendan O’Reilly, O2/ Telefónica UK & Chris Vaughan, Chris Vaughan Productions (UK) The rollout of 5G, the fifth generation of wireless technology, presents a mountain of new possibilities for live shows, be that fan engagement, marketing and promotion, or show production. Continuing its long association with live music, O2 provide an early glimpse of this new reality. HOSTS
11.30–12.30 MARKET FOCUS: ABU DHABI
CHAIR Jon Chapple, IQ Magazine (UK) With the Middle East focus at this year’s ILMC, our friends from Abu Dhabi will be presenting this special extra session on the wealth of opportunities in the region. The discussion will be followed by complimentary refreshments and a chance to meet the delegation first hand.
11.30–12.45 THE AGENCY BUSINESS 2020
CHAIRS Gordon Masson, IQ Magazine (UK) & Sophie Lobl, C3 Presents (US) Taking artist development as the overarching theme, this year’s Agency Business session will see an invited panel of top agents consider recent strategies for both emerging and established artists. With streaming booming, labels back at full strength, and the digital environment providing more but fragmented opportunities, how is artist development keeping pace?
11.45–13.00 VENUE SUMMIT: SAFETY AND SECURITY
CHAIRS Chris Kemp, MOM Consultancy (UK) & Coralie Berael Sportpaleis Group (BE) From cyber to knives, the security threats facing venues are numerous and constantly changing. Chris and Coralie quiz invited speakers and venue professionals on the most pressing questions facing venues’ security and safety operations.
14.00–15.00 BRAND PARTNERSHIPS: OWNING THE LABEL
CHAIR Jeremy Paterson, IF Media Consultancy (UK) As a growing number of artists develop brands outside of music – from tech to perfume, fashion and beyond – how are these extra-curricular activities coexisting with music? And how are more traditional brand partnerships impacted by these artist-controlled businesses? Bringing together representatives from agency, brands and artist management, we consider the evolution of the relationship between artists and brands.
14.00–15.00 TICKETING: THE PRICE IS RIGHT
CHAIR James Drury, ILMC (UK) The shift to mobile ticketing is reaching a tipping point, bringing a seismic shift in what a ticket is and what it can do. As the ticket evolves from being purely a token for entry into a method of communication around a mobile device, what does this mean for ticket companies, technology suppliers, promoters, and ultimately – the fans? How is ticketing set to change over the next five years, and how can promoters, agents, venues and ticketers stay ahead of the curve?
14.00–15.15 NEW TECHNOLOGY: PITCH IT TO WIN IT
HOST Steve Machin, FanDragon Technologies (US) With less than ten minutes to pitch their product, invention or idea, the new technology panel is always a popular slot in the ILMC conference schedule. Our resident tech adviser Steve Machin hosts the session, which previews some of the most innovative emerging solutions coming to market.
14.15–15.30 VENUE SUMMIT: CITIZEN VENUE
CHAIR Steve Sayer, The O2 (UK) As hosts of touring productions, venues
have a vital role in the global music ecosystem – but how can they also play a part in not only the world’s environmental system, but their local communities, too? This session will explore how to be a more sustainable venue, not just in terms of waste and resource management, but also how to actively play a positive role in the local area.
15.30–16.30 2020 VISION: THE TEN-YEAR VIEW
CHAIR Chris Carey, TicketSwap (NL) While the live experience won’t fundamentally change over the next ten years, the world around it will. So, taking the start of the new decade as an opportunity to gaze into our crystal balls, we invite a fearless line-up of future-focussed individuals to risk their reputations as they predict what happens next, and how we can capitalise on it.
15.30–16.30 FESTIVAL FORUM: BOOKING AND EXCLUSIVITIES
CHAIRS Rauha Kyyrö, Fullsteam (FI) & Alex Bruford, ATC Live (UK) Fierce competition in the global festival marketplace is forcing bookers to make earlier and earlier enquiries about artists, while an increasing number of agents are now starting to plan tours for their clients two years in advance. Meanwhile, the controversy around exclusivity deals continues to mount, with territory clauses extending into the year, radius clauses prohibiting performances in neighbouring countries, and corporate chains tying artists to deals that prevent them playing at rival-owned events. With the going getting tougher, what’s the impact on artists, touring, the independents and the big-name sites?
15.45–16.45 VENUE SUMMIT: ALTERNATIVE CONTENT
CHAIR Tom Lynch, ASM Global (UK) From drone racing and interactive experiences to massed children’s choirs, this panel will take a look at the unique, new or novel concepts that are gaining traction outside of traditional music and family entertainment – and what they might mean for venue facilities as a result.
17.00–18.00 TOURING ENTERTAINMENT: GAME FOR A SHOW
CHAIRS Lucy Levitt, Kilimanjaro Live (UK) & Christoph Scholz, Semmel Concerts (DE) With recent editions of this ILMC panel being standing room only, this year’s session takes place in a larger room to accommodate
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TE PAE CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND
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IMAGINE THE DIFFERENCE Magazine
17.00–18.00 PROMOTER AND AGENT BLIND DATE
HOST Gordon Masson, IQ Magazine (UK) Taking inspiration from the classic British game show Blind Date (known elsewhere as The Dating Game), a series of promoters and agents will look for their perfect match. Exploring the working relationships between them, each contestant will ask a series of hypothetical questions to three unseen hopefuls. As our industry players search for that perfect business match, expect a lateafternoon session to remember…
FRIDAY 6 MARCH 10.00–11.00 MEET THE NEW BOSSES: CLASS OF 2020
CHAIR Jo Young, Ticketmaster (UK) Meet the New Bosses sees a quartet of emerging execs kicking off the day with a discussion of their journey to the top, and the skills needed to succeed in the modern live industry. Is there still a future for the indies? How easy is it to move from one sector of the business to another? How will the industry evolve in the decade ahead, and how can you stay ahead of those changes? Read more about this session on page 32.
10.00–11.00 WORKSHOP: THE TICKET OF THE FUTURE
HOSTS Lou Champion, festival ticketing expert (UK) & Bonita McKinney, Ticketmaster (UK) From tout-busting mobile tickets to emerging technologies in touring and festival ticketing, there’s no part of the industry where the pace of change is as fast as in ticketing. Join experts Bonita McKinney, client development manager for Ticketmaster, and Lou Champion, head of ticketing for some of the UK’s biggest festivals, for an in-depth look at this fast moving and fascinating sector of the music business.
11.30–12.00 WORKSHOP: GETTING SMART ABOUT DIGITAL MARKETING
Karma Bertelsen, Kilimanjaro Live (UK) & Kelly Bennaton, DHP Family (UK) HOSTS
With consumers bombarded by commercials, how do you ensure your content reaches the right eyeballs (and wallets)? How important are streaming services for marketing a show, and how do the various social platforms stack up? Two of the UK’s leading independent promoters maximise exposure of their events online.
11.30–12.30 SOAPBOX SESSIONS I
Four 15-minute, TED-style talks by thought leaders, these micro-keynotes promise to once again spark conversation while providing practical inspiration for busy professionals.
12.00–12.30 WORKSHOP: ASSERTIVENESS AND EFFECTIVENESS AT WORK
HOST Prince Laryea, Shift Coaching (UK) The music industry attracts some pretty strong characters, and it can be hard to know when and how to best stand up for your idea, your act and even yourself. In this short workshop, Prince will cover the essentials for making your voice heard in the office, making the most of every opportunity, and spotting when someone is being assertive with you.
14.00–15.00 MENTAL HEALTH: NEXT STEPS FOR LIVE
CHAIR Stacey Pragnell, ATC Live (UK) Mental wellness is now a central topic of discussion within the business, as both institutions and individuals begin to put their mental health first. But how can the industry continue to build on this momentum? And as many agents, promoters, managers and crew continue to work around the clock to deliver, is the 24/7 working culture being properly addressed?
14.00–15.00 GLOBAL TOURING: STEPPING UP INTERNATIONALLY
CHAIR TBC Our international panel explores the process of going global: how to gauge when your fans are ready, how to check your band are ready, and then how to route, price and maximise the impact of a global tour. All of that while sticking to a budget and keeping artists safe and healthy across multiple time zones, languages and cultures…
14.00–15.00 WORKSHOP: LIFE AFTER YOUR STAR ACT HOST
It’s a moment that lodges forever in the memory of every booking agent, manager and artist representative: your most important artist – one around which you’ve built your career – announces they’re jumping ship. But what should you do when an act you’ve nurtured from the very beginning goes their own way? How do you move on – and is there a way to turn the situation into a positive? Leading agents and managers reﬂect on their own early career setbacks and discuss how they moved on to bigger-and-better things.
15.15–16.15 OK, BOOMER: CLOSING THE GENERATION GAP
CHAIR Jon Chapple, IQ Magazine (UK) This new-for-2020 session pairs up senior execs from leading concert businesses with their more junior counterparts to compare experiences and ways of working. With more young people than ever choosing to forge a career in live music, what can they learn from the industry’s leaders, and vice versa? Expect frank discussion and plenty of practical advice from either side of the generation gap with leading lights from the international touring and agency worlds.
15.15–16.15 SOAPBOX SESSIONS II
Four further 15-minute, TED-style talks by thought leaders, designed to offer practical inspiration for busy young professionals.
16.45–17.45 THE FUTURES FORUM KEYNOTE: TEAM MUMFORD
HOST John Kennedy, Radio X To conclude ILMC and Futures Forum, Mumford & Sons’ Ben Lovett, the band’s longtime manager, Adam Tudhope (Everybody’s) and booking agent Lucy Dickins (WME), reﬂect on the band’s journey from banjo-plucking west London folkies to global superstars, with DJ and friend of the band, John Kennedy (Radio X), providing the questions.
© ALISTAIR TAYLOR-YOUNG
demand. Joined by an all-star cast and crew, Christoph Scholz and Lucy Levitt explore the key developments and brightest new spectacles across touring exhibitions, pop culture and family shows.
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Available for Booking
BARCELONA · MADRID · ABU DHABI www.proactiv.es
Experience a journey through his life
EVENTS SCHEDULE TUESDAY 3 MARCH 18.00–21.00 THE ‘BIG INTRO’ ILMC OPENING PARTY
Welcoming all contestants to London for the start of ILMC, The Big Intro is where the conference kicks off proper. Reuniting friends and colleagues after 12 months of big bucks and blockbusters, and with ample opportunities to make new acquaintances, it’s three hours of music, complimentary drinks, nibbles and even the odd competition – the perfect opportunity for delegates to ease themselves into the conference, with a drink in their hand.
WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 18.00–19.00 WME HAPPY HOUR
HOST WME Kicking off Wednesday night at ILMC, the guys and girls at WME invite all delegates to join them for their ever-popular Happy Hour. A moment to wind down after the day’s discussions, the WME Happy Hour is 60 minutes of complimentary booze and snacks.
All are welcome to come and meet and mingle with the WME team and other guests, but be warned: it’s a popular pit stop, so early arrival is most definitely recommended.
18.45–21.30 THE ‘D-FACTOR’ IMPACT PARTY
HOST Dutch Music Export The Dutch Impact Party is an annual highlight of the ILMC schedule, and offers a winning combination of free food, booze and music, with three of the hottest new artists from the Low Country performing as they reach for the top. Forget The X Factor, this year’s showcasing artists have the ‘D-Factor.’ The event takes place in Clubino, The Baglioni Hotel’s nightclub, just a stone’s throw from the Royal Garden Hotel. Delegates will be welcomed with an open bar and delicious complimentary Italian food, served by The Baglioni’s wonderful chefs. This year’s featured artists are DeWolff, 45ACIDBABIES and Ten Times a Million.
21.00–23.00 IT’S A COPOUT: THE CHEAPEST GAME SHOW IN TOWN Who said alcohol and games involving physical skill don’t mix? With some serious prizes up for grabs – including your own
tab at the bar – we’re building our very own version of TV show The Cube. Contestants will complete a series of challenges to score points, competing to top the leader board for fame and world renown across the entire industry. With a production budget of precisely £0 (€0), we’re not quite sure what our makeshift game set will look like, but it’ll be carbon neutral and something to remember (or perhaps better to forget).
21.00–00.00 THE ‘CALL MY BLUFF’ TEXAS HOLD ’EM POKER TOURNEY HOST FanDragon Technologies This year’s annual poker showdown will see contestants pit their ‘whist’ against one another in this fierce competition to win spectacular bar tab prizes. Alongside several professionally manned poker tables, ILMC’s makeshift casino also features roulette and a few other reasons to be in the room. The tourney costs £30 to enter and all proceeds go towards the Nikos Fund, which this year is raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust. Get involved: firstname.lastname@example.org
00.00–03.00 THE ‘IT’S A KNOCKOUT!’ TABLE FOOTBALL CUP
HOST FanDragon Technologies A late-night game of quick reactions and occasionally even skill, this event will see players compete in pairs for international glory and the world’s tiniest trophy. The game is refereed by IQ’s Steve Woollett (our very own ‘Goal’ Edmunds) who’ll be making sure that every second counts. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have watching leading players of the music industry play with small plastic things on metal skewers. Sign up in pairs on the night, as 22 shooting stars kick it out on ILMC’s two tournamentcertified tables.
THURSDAY 5 MARCH 13.30–14.00 NIKOS FUND GRAND PRIZE DRAW
The ILMC raises a significant amount of money every year for a charity of its choice in honour of one of its founding members, Nikos Sachpasidis. Hand in your business cards to the ILMC girls and boys with collection tins and be in the Park Terrace at 13.30 for the chance to win some colossal prizes as our chosen charity Teenage Cancer Trust benefits.
16.00–17.00 FELD’S ROLL THE D’ICE CREAM BREAK
HOST Feld Entertainment Not content with conjuring up some of the world’s most magical family shows, Feld Entertainment will also be dishing out ice cream and mementos during their popular ice-cream intermission. Enjoy a quick commercial break whilst grabbing souvenirs to take back to the kids, before the afternoon sessions continue.
19.30–21.30 MATCH OF THE YEAR FOOTBALL
HOST Aiken Promotions If it’s a question of sport, this annual match will see the UK pit itself against the rest of the world (which might be a fairly accurate analogy of current events), in a 90-minute display of fancy footwork and ball control. Buses will transport players from the Royal Garden Hotel to the grounds and back again, allowing every opportunity for bragging rights afterwards, or time to nurse the odd bruise or three. Get involved: email@example.com
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19.30–00.00 THE ILMC ARTHUR AWARDS WINNERS’ DINNER
HOST EFM Logistics | JVS Group The highlight of the ILMC Arthur Awards Winners’ Dinner is seeing the stars of the industry collect one of the cherished statuettes for outstanding performance in their sector. And as if seeing the top promoter, agent, venue, festival, assistant and more receive their gongs was not enough, we’re thrilled to reveal that the whole affair will be compèred by none other than the gameshow hostess with the game-show mostess, Miss Emm-aaa Baaanks, back due to unprecedented demand! The awards return to the glamorous surroundings of the Sheraton Grand Park Lane. With its grade II-listed ballroom and Silver Gallery adorned with palladium leaf walls and Grecian muses, the Sheraton Grand is one of London’s most spectacular Art Deco spaces and the perfect location for a gaudy 70s-game-show-inspired extravaganza. Coaches will transport eager contestants directly from the Royal Garden Hotel to the venue, where, following a champagne reception, they will be treated to a five-
star, four-course feast prepared by award-winning chefs to the very highest, delectable standards. And of course, a selection of fine wines to match. Get involved at 32.ilmc.com/register.
22.30–LATE THE ‘NAME THAT TUNE’ KARAOKE & ARTHUR AWARDS AFTER-SHOW PARTY
HOST Paris La Défense Arena Your ears might find themselves in jeopardy on the Thursday night of ILMC, as a whole host of delegates unite for the ‘Name That Tune’ Karaoke, which this year incorporates the Arthur Awards After-Show Party. This event is always the scene of a multitude of aural sins, all of them against music. Expect some truly “challenging” performances of songs like Living on a Player by legends such as Games Brown, Quiz Isaacs and the Buzzercocks, as the event stretches into the early hours of Friday morning. With props and costumes on hand for inspiration, this late-night scene of debauchery and silliness is not the kind of event you want to miss, (nor attend if you’re sober). “It’s good… but it’s not right.”
ILMC SCHEDULE TUESDAY 3 MARCH 10:00–18:00 10:00–18:00 11:00–16:00 13:00–21:00 14:00–17:00 18:00–20:00 18:00–20:00 18:00–21:00 Various
ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) Association Summit (invitation only) ILMC Early-Bird Registration Private Association Meeting: Yourope IPM Closing Drinks Party GEI Closing Drinks & International AGF Awards The ‘Big Intro’ ILMC Opening Party Access All Areas Gigs
WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 09:30–11:00 10:00–10:30 10:00–11:00 11:00–11:15 11:15–12.45 12:30–14:30 12:30–14:30 14:00–15:00 14:00–15:00 14:00–15:15 15:30–16:30 15:30–16:30 15:30–16:45 16:00–18:00 16:45–18:15 18:00–19:00 Various 18:45–21:30 21:00–23:00 21:00–00:00 00:00–03:00
Tea & Coffee Commercial Break New Delegates’ Orientation Workshop: TikTok The Contestants’ Guide to ILMC 32 The Open Forum: Universally challenged Private Association Meeting: AIF The ‘Who Wants to be a Meal-ionnaire’ Lunch Workshop: Greener touring Urban Legends: Hip-hop on top Industry Investment: High stakes The Insta-Generation: Live through a lens Workshop: Cancellation insurance The Global Marketplace: Games without frontiers Private Association Meeting: EAA The (Late) Breakfast Meeting with Peter Rudge The WME Happy Hour Access All Areas Gigs The ‘D Factor’ Impact Party It’s a Cop Out!: The Cheapest Game Show in Town The ‘Call My Bluff ’ Texas Poker Tourney The ‘It’s a Knockout’ Table Football Cup
“We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing” Benjamin Franklin
THURSDAY 5 MARCH 07:00–10:00 09:30–11:00 10:00–11:00 10:00–11:15 11:30–12:30 11:30–12:30 11:30–12:45 11:45–13:00 12:30–14:30 13:30–14:00 14:00–15:00 14:00–15:00 14:00–15:15 14:15–15:30 14:30–18:00 15:30–16:30 15:30–16:30 15:45–16:45 16:00–17:00 17:00–18:00 17:00–18:00 Various 19:30–21:30 19:30–00:00 22:30–late
Breakfast Available Tea & Coffee Commercial Break Workshop: Production catch up Venue’s Venue: New builds, new brands Market Focus: Abu Dhabi Workshop: 5G The Agency Business 2020 Venue Summit: Safety & Security The ‘Come on Dine’ Lunch Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw Brand Partnerships: Owning the label Ticketing: The price is right New Technology: Pitch it to win it Venue Summit: Citizen venue Private Association Meeting: CPA 2020 Vision: The ten-year view Festival Forum: Booking & exclusivities Venue Summit: Alternative content Feld’s Roll the D’ice Cream Break Touring Entertainment: Game for a show Promoter & Agent Blind Date Access All Areas Gigs Match of the Year Football The Arthur Awards Winners’ Dinner The ‘Name That Tune’ Karaoke & Arthur Awards After-show Party
FRIDAY 6 MARCH 07:00–10:00 09:00–10:00 10:00–11:00 10:00–11:00 11:30–12:00 11:30–12:30 12:00–12:30 12:30–14:00 14:00–15:00 14:00–15:00 14:00–15:00 15:15–16:15 15:15–16:15 16:45–17:45 17:45–20:00 Various
Breakfast Available Tea & Coffee Commercial Break Meet the New Bosses: Class of 2020 Workshop: The ticket of the future Workshop: Getting smart about digital marketing Soapbox Sessions I Workshop: Assertiveness & effectiveness at work The ‘Meal of Fortune’ Lunch Mental Health: Next steps for live Global Touring: Stepping up internationally Workshop: Life after your star act OK, Boomer: Closing the generation gap Soapbox Sessions II Futures Forum Keynote: Team Mumford The ‘Final Round’ Closing Drinks Access All Areas Gigs
THE NOT SO SMALL PRINT A full list of terms and conditions can be found online, but please note: ILMC conference sessions may not be videoed or recorded Children are not allowed in the conference areas
Conference passes must be worn at all times Lost passes will incur a replacement fee
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74 COMMENT AND COLUMNS 42 NEWS
20 22 28
Index In Brief The main headlines over the last two months Analysis Key stories and news analysis from around the live music world New Signings & Rising Stars A roundup of the latest acts that have been added to the rosters of international agents Unsung Hero Backstage superstar Paula Poštolková talks about her career to date
Paving the Way Mark Alexander suggests secondary ticketing platforms have a place if they embrace face-value resale No Rhythm in the Algorithm Claudio Trotta warns of the consequences of the ‘algorithmisation’ of the music industry The Growth of African Music Festivals Chin Okeke observes the growth of Nigeria’s Gidi Culture Fest and flags wider opportunities in the African live market The Future Looks Bright Jo Young previews the second edition of Futures Forum What Our Night Sector Needs Sacha Lord discusses what’s required to kickstart the nightlife sector in the UK and further afield Readers’ Lives Exploring the past-times and passions of live music’s leaders Members’ Noticeboard ILMC members’ photos Dear John… Guest agony uncle, John Giddings, addresses your queries and concerns
98 100 102
The Game of Live Your comprehensive agenda guide to ILMC 32 Live & Pride Anna Grace talks to LGBTQ+ campaigners about their efforts to make live events safe and welcoming for everyone Agent of the Decade: Rod MacSween IQ celebrates the ITB founder’s remarkable career and achievements Black Gold James MacKinnon looks at the everexpanding influence of music’s metallic dark side Sons of Anarchy IQ unmasks the road warriors helping deliver metal superstars Slipknot to their ‘maggots’ on the ongoing We Are Not Your Kind world tour Wee Will Rock You Adam Woods travels to God’s own country to find out the secret of Scotland’s success in live entertainment terms
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elcome to a new decade and a new look IQ Magazine, which we’ve made marginally smaller, physically, than the old version, so that we can save a tree or three wherever possible. Indeed, our new paper stock for the magazine is 100% recycled and the mailing wrapper is now biodegradable. With ILMC 32 just around the corner, in this issue we have a full agenda guide (page 3) to help registered delegates plan their 3-6 March diaries, and with a more packed conference schedule than ever before, we hope it proves useful to everyone making their way to the Royal Garden Hotel for The Game of Live. One of the hot topics that will no doubt be discussed at ILMC will be the ongoing coronavirus pandemic (see page 24), which, having already prompted the cancellation of a number of international conferences and events, could pose a serious threat to concerts and festivals globally if governments decide to ban largescale public gatherings. Movie theatres and casinos in the Far East are already suffering the effects of such measures, so it will be interesting to hear first hand from ILMC’s Asian delegates about the impact this has had on their activities. Our main feature in this issue celebrates the achievements of ITB founder Rod MacSween, whom we have crowned Agent of the Decade (page 42) for selling more tickets internationally in the last ten years, than any other agent on the planet. With a roster that reads like the best festival lineup ever, Rod has a reputation as a hard negotiator, but take a look at some of the testimonials from colleagues, promoters, artist managers and fellow agents, and the genuine love and respect for the cricket-loving, library enthusiast shines through. Kerrang! writer James MacKinnon gives our IQ relaunch edition a distinctly metallic feel with a tour report on Slipknot’s hugely successful We Are Not Your Kind tour (page 84), as well as an overview of the ever expanding global metal business (page 74). Whilst Anna Grace looks at the industry’s efforts to create events for LGBTQ+ communities (page 38), and how existing festivals, venues and events in general can evolve to become all-inclusive and, therefore, expand their audience demographics. Adam Woods, meanwhile, has the best task of all, as he gets to travel to Scotland (page 90) to find out just why the country is a must-visit destination for international touring acts at all levels. And your new-look IQ also has some new elements to delight and entertain: Paula Poštolková talks about her stage managing career (page 36); Melvin Benn, Rob Challice and Herman Schueremans saddle up for our Readers’ Lives insight (page 98); and our guest agony uncle (page 102) is none other than John Giddings, winner of Agent of the Decade a startling ten years ago. As we enter the new decade with a new-look publication, I feel I must doff my cap to IQ’s founding editor, Allan McGowan, who recently stepped back from his associate editor duties for us. The magazine and much of what we do at ILMC, IFF and the numerous conferences and events we attend during each year, would not be possible without Allan having laid the foundations, and for that, squire, we humbly thank you.
ISSUE 88 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE IQ Magazine Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH email@example.com www.iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0300 Twitter: @iq_mag Publisher ILMC and Suspicious Marketing Editor Gordon Masson News Editor Jon Chapple Staff Writer Anna Grace Advertising & Sales Manager Steve Woollett Design Philip Millard Sub Editor Michael Muldoon Editorial Assistants Imogen Battersby and Ben Delger Contributors Mark Alexander, John Giddings, Sacha Lord, James MacKinnon, Chin Okeke, Manfred Tari, Claudio Trotta, Adam Woods, Joanna Young Editorial Contact Gordon Masson firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303 Advertising Contact Steve Woollett email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304 ISSN 2633-0636 Magazine
IN BRIEF INDEX The concert business digest
JANUARY Vivendi and a consortium led by Tencent, the Chinese tech and entertainment giant, finalise the consortium’s acquisition of a 10% stake in Universal Music Group, concluding talks that began last summer.
SUBSCRIBE TO IQ MAGAZINE firstname.lastname@example.org An annual subscription to IQ is £90 (print) or £75 (electronic).
Massive Attack announce they will travel by train when touring Europe in future, in the group’s latest attempt to tackle the live industry’s carbon footprint. Beijing’s municipal government unveils plans to position the city as an “international music capital,” aiming for revenue from the Chinese capital’s music and related industries to reach ¥120billion [€99bn] by 2025. Promoters TEG Live and TEG Dainty announce a benefit concert to raise funds to provide relief from the bushfires burning across Australia.
Sofar Sounds agree a settlement with New York state’s Department of Labor that will see it distribute $460,000 [€422,000] among people who worked its concerts for free between 2016 and 2019. FKP Scorpio opens its first office in Belgium, marking the German promoter’s expansion into its tenth European market. Abu Dhabi’s upcoming Yas Bay Arena becomes Etihad Arena after signing a naming-rights agreement with Etihad Airways. See Tickets acquires Starticket, a major player in Switzerland, bolstering the UK-based ticket seller’s presence on the continent and expanding its footprint to a ninth European market. Insurance broker Integro’s entertainment and sports division rebrands as Tysers, after the company it acquired in June 2018. Folkert Koopmans, founder of FKP Scorpio, opens All Artists Agency in Berlin, with former Four Artists deputy MD Markus Große leading the management team.
Germany’s FKP Scorpio acquires a majority stake in Nordic Live, formerly Norway’s largest independent booking agency. The 20th anniversary of Primavera Sound experiences “the most significant surge in sales in the history” of the Barcelona festival, with more than 10,000 tickets sold in 24 hours. Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival partners with Fairmont Hotels and Resort Group to launch the 2020 Fairmont World Tour, a concert series taking place across the group’s 13 hotels. Hockenheimring, the motor racing circuit formerly home to German grand prix, could become a permanent live entertainment venue, according to track bosses and local authorities. Concert promoters in Zimbabwe are left counting their losses after a fake ticket scam hits Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city, over the festive period.
Swiss ticketing solution provider SecuTix announces the acquisition of Belgian white-label ticketing company Oxynade. CTS Eventim acquires a majority stake in newly founded Swiss powerhouse Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG, which unites André Béchir’s abc Production with the wepromote consortium of companies. The UK live industry celebrates a 50% cut in business rates for smalland mid-sized grass-roots music venues – a “much-needed” boost for the country’s music venues. More than 1,200 fans were denied entry to the 16,000-capacity WiZink Center in 2019, the Madrid venue says, having purchased false or duplicated tickets from unofficial platforms. The Competition and Markets Authority demands that StubHub makes changes to its website or faces court action, after identifying several problems it believes are in breach of UK consumer law.
A number of live shows in China, Hong Kong and Singapore are called off or postponed over fears related to the spread of the coronavirus.
Festival streaming platform LiveXLive acquires React Presents, a Chicago-based promoter of electronic dance music events, for $2m [€1.8m].
Cashless payment specialist Intellitix Technologies acquires a majority stake in CrowdBlink, a mobile-first event management platform.
Paradigm buys a stake in Londonbased sync and sound branding agency Pitch & Sync, further expanding the scope of its artist representation in the UK.
MTV’s SnowGlobe Music Festival settles with an environmental nonprofit that brought legal action over the amount of benzene – a toxic hydrocarbon – produced by the event.
Sam Gores, CEO of Paradigm Talent Agency, reiterates that the company is not for sale, following US media reports that link the agency with a takeover by CAA. German event infrastructure giant eps expands its international operations with the launch of a new division in Canada. The 1975’s Matty Healy states he will only agree to play at festivals that commit to featuring 50% female and non-binary performers (see page 25).
Modern Sky, China’s biggest festival promoter, streams past editions of its Strawberry Music Festival to fans forced to stay indoors by the coronavirus outbreak. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority tells ticket resellers StubHub and Viagogo to halt any integration of the two businesses until it has finished investigating the proposed merger.
Want to share your views on breaking industry news? Then get involved in the discussion on Twitter: @iq_mag
Swedish promoter Luger announces its expansion into Norway, opening an office in Oslo to strengthen its presence in the Scandinavian market. Coachella promoter Goldenvoice announces Cruel World, a new one-day LA festival that will feature Blondie, Morrissey and Devo.
IQ’s digest of executive promotions and new hires
Alicia Karlin and Jenny Heifetz Henault have been named as vice-presidents of AEG Presents’ Global Touring and Talent division. Heifetz Henault has been in the company’s New York office for ten years, most recently as senior director of Global Touring, while Karlin joined AEG as vicepresident of talent and senior event producer in 2014. Global ticketing and event technology platform Eventbrite has appointed Tom Freeman as the new head of business development for its operations in New Zealand. He joined the company in 2018 as the senior business development manager for festivals, securing partnerships with Vivid Sydney, the Alex Theatre & Madman Anime Festival, Marlborough Wine & Food Festival, NZ Home & Lifestyle Show and Classic Fighters Omaka. CTS Eventim has appointed John Gibson as managing director of its London-based British subsidiary, Eventim UK. He previously held senior roles at Groupon UK, SeatGeek, Vivaticket, Ticketmaster UK and See Tickets. Germany’s eps has expanded its international operations with the launch of a new division based in Toronto, Canada, which will be led by managing director Joe Novak, who previously worked for the Rogers Centre/Toronto Blue Jays.
AEG Presents has promoted Fredrick ‘Cody’ Lauzier to senior vice president of its global touring and talent division. He was vice president and general manager of AEG’s global touring arm. Margravine Management, a joint venture with IMG, has appointed Lauren Dickinson to the newly created position of head of talent. In 2017, Dickinson set up BOSH Talent Group, focusing on management across the broadcasting industry. Global lifestyle party brand, Candypants, has appointed Gatecrasher co-founder Simon Oates as director of group strategy. The Leeds, UK-based company organised more than 400 shows in 2019 across Europe, North America and the Middle East. Sebastian Kahlich, former director of brand partnerships for Starwatch Entertainment, has moved to Ticketmaster Germany to take on the role of director of music and entertainment. Former MAMA marketing director Clare Lusher has joined AEG’s European festivals division as its first marketing and brand director. Her CV also includes stints at the Walt Disney Company and Sony Music. Aaron Randall and Bill Ashton have been appointed joint managing directors of concert discovery platform Songkick. Randall was formerly Songkick’s chief technology officer, while Ashton moves into the role from parent company Warner Music Group, where he was senior vice-president of artist services.
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WIDESPREAD DISRUPTION OVER CORONAVIRUS
s IQ went to press, the novel coronavirus – newly christened SARSCoV-2 – continued to cause disruption to live events in Asia, with the Formula 1 Chinese grand prix (scheduled for 17-19 April) the latest to be postponed, at the request of promoter Juss Sports Group. At the time of writing, some 1,400 people had died in mainland China from the disease caused by the virus (COVID-19), which emerged in the city of Wuhan in December. Fears over the virus have led to the cancellation of a number of concerts in China and east/south-east Asia, with other public events also affected. Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in 28 countries, with Japan (255 cases), Singapore (67), Hong Kong (56), Thailand (33), South Korea (28), Malaysia (19) and Taiwan (18) the worst affected outside China. Zhang Ran, director of international business at leading festival promoter Modern Sky, tells IQ they were forced to cancel a number of shows in February “to avoid both artists and audiences getting affected by this virus,” adding that all fans received full refunds. “We have updated artists that are coming for tours in March with the virus situation,” he continues. “We will see how it goes for the next few weeks and see if we still can do these shows. “From the artists’ side, most totally understand the situation – some of them agree to postpone the tour and for those who find it difficult to postpone, they are willing to refund the show fee.” In February, Modern Sky streamed past editions of its Strawberry Music Festival to fans forced
to stay indoors by the coronavirus outbreak. The video streams, which kicked off on Tuesday 4 February, featured past performances from Strawberry Festivals in Beijing, Shanghai, Wuhan and Changchun. The streams began at 4pm local time and ran until 10pm, broadcast on Bilibili, one of China’s most-visited anime, comics and games (ACG) sites. In addition to the replay of the festivals, the Bilibili streams included famous artists live-streaming from their homes. Ryan Zhang, general manager of international business at Modern Sky and founder/producer of Sound of the Xity, explains: “This is a difficult time for many and so we’re streaming content from previous Strawberry Music Festivals, and some of our artists are broadcasting from their own homes with the message of, ‘Hi, I am at home, too.’” Shows by US rock band X Ambassadors, in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Chengdu, as well as concerts by Japanese rock group Suchmos, are among those to have fallen foul to the virus, while Hong Kong superstar Andy Lau was forced to pull the whole Chinese leg of his My Love tour, which included a stop in Wuhan.
Other artists who have postponed or cancelled shows include JJ Lin, Jay Chou, Jolin Tsai, Fish Leong, Rainie Yang and Karen Mok. According to Singapore’s Straits Times, the coronavirus outbreak has also affected filming in China, after several popular filming locations in the country were closed as a result. Several prominent Chinese TV serials have been affected by these closures, including Like A Flowing River 2, Legend of Fei, Legacy, and Thank You, Doctor. Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen was also hit, after filming for his new movie, Polar Rescue – which includes several snow scenes filmed in north-eastern China – was postponed until November 2020. Although the virus was discovered at an early stage and could be “fully under control very soon,” Zhang said in late January that it could take “at least six months to get the whole industry back on track,” adding that some artists that have shows scheduled for as far ahead as April are looking to postpone the whole Asian leg of their tour. “This is a fight between humans and a virus,” he says, “and I don’t think we have any other option.”
“We have updated artists that are coming for tours in March with the virus situation. We will see how it goes for the next few weeks and see if we still can do these shows” Zhang Ran, director of international business at Modern Sky
POST-BREXIT UNCERTAINTY BECOMES INDUSTRY’S BIGGEST BUGBEAR
he end of January saw the UK finally leave the European Union, and although some hailed the ushering in of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal as a return to stabler and more certain times, little reassurance has been given to those who rely on touring in Europe for their livelihood. For now, the number’s out on the exact effect that Brexit will have on the UK live music industry, but some are already having a taste of what the exit may mean with reports citing frequent and thorough border checks, delays to travel, and
convoluted bureaucratic procedures. At the moment, however, it seems that the long-term monetary expense, rather than the logistical inconvenience, is what most worries those in business, with Musicians’ Union general secretary Horace Trubridge stating quite emphatically that “we will see the contribution that the UK industry makes to the economy reduce, there’s no doubt about it.” Pre-Brexit, much talk was given to how a loss of EU membership would bring in the need for costly visas, carnets, driving licences, and health and travel insurance, but now the deed is done and it is becoming clear that nothing is indeed any clearer, the long-term financial threats are beginning to come to light. The number of European acts choosing to perform in the UK, as well as the quantity of UK artists taking the risk of touring around the continent, is bound to take a hit as Brexit-related uncertainty looks set to carry on far past deadline day. According to Trubridge, concert promoters and festival organisers are already holding off until more information is made available, but it is not just this loss of touring revenue that threatens to harm the industry. With smaller UK acts potentially unable to tour in EU countries, the opportunity to hone talent on an international stage is lost, the chance to establish wider and more varied fan
SPEAKING UP? ARTISTS LEVERAGE PLATFORM FOR SOCIAL CHANGE
nly a few weeks in, and 2020 looks like a year when a growing number of high-profile artists use their voices to address issues of political, social and environmental importance. Countering the general reluctance to speak out that peppered much of the previous decade, artists including Taylor Swift, The 1975, Billie Eilish, Coldplay and Massive Attack have all recently taken a stand for causes such as animal welfare, the environment, gender equality, LGBTQ+ rights and politics. Swift, who graces the cover of this issue of IQ, is perhaps the epitomic example of this wave of artist activism. With a jam-packed summer of festival headline dates at Glastonbury, Roskilde, Mad Cool, British Summer Time Hyde Park and others, the star is upping female representation
on a male-dominated headline circuit. The ten Grammy-award-winning artist has spoken out against “toxic male privilege” and come forward about sexual assault in the industry, as well as urging fans to support the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ+ rights in her music video for You Need To Calm Down. After speaking up as an ardent Democrat in the 2018 midterm elections, Swift has recently elaborated further on her decision to use her platform for political good in Netflix documentary, Miss Americana. More recently, Matt Healy, lead singer of Manchester band The 1975, suggested he would only perform at festivals with an equal number of male and female performers, stating that “this is how male artists can be true allies” and
bases is limited, and the ability to break into new territories is weakened. Positive noises have been made in UK Parliament recently, with culture minister Nigel Adams declaring it “essential” for musicians to maintain freedom of movement, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) in general displaying recognition of the significance of the UK live music industry. However, little has been heard from the Home Office, whose support is fundamental if any changes are to be implemented. It is down to those within the live music industry, then, to put pressure on politicians, keep the community informed and try to make sense of the post-Brexit confusion. A number of initiatives have sprung up to alleviate the current situation, such as Ian Smith’s new online information resource UK Europe Arts Work; the Musicians’ Union lobbying for a special touring passport to allow artists, their crews and equipment to move freely around the EU; and updated advice and guidance from bodies including UK Music and the Incorporated Society of Musicians (ISM). Only time will tell what exactly 2021 and the end of the transition period may bring, but without industry solidarity and tireless efforts to effect change, the “anxiety” felt by the MU and others looks set to continue.
urging others “to act and not chat.” Healy made headlines last August when he defied the United Arab Emirates’ strict anti-homosexuality laws, kissing a male audience member during a show in Dubai, later condemning the “stigma” that is still attached to the LGBTQ+ community “even in London.” The band are among those pushing the agenda for a more eco-friendly music industry, recording a song with climate change activist Greta Thunberg; launching a sustainable, reprinted merchandise range; planting a tree for every ticket sold to their shows; and, together with UK promoter Festival Republic, putting on a sustainably powered show in London this summer. With other artists also lending their voices to efforts for social change, such as Billie Eilish’s affiliation with Global Citizen and animal welfare causes, Massive Attack’s work on sustainable touring, and the support that artists including Little Mix, Lizzo, Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande show for the LGBTQ+ community, is the dawn of a more politically and socially engaged pop star upon us?
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Ed Sheeran and his team led by manager Stuart Camp have put stringent policies in place to prevent tickets being resold by Viagogo
VIAGOGO / STUBHUB DRAW SCRUTINY AS MERGER LOOMS
he impact of Viagogo’s impending acquisition of rival secondary ticketing powerhouse StubHub continued to be felt into the new year, with UK regulators continuing to hound both companies for alleged breaches of consumer and competition law – while a “landmark case” saw the successful prosecution of two major commercial resellers, which comprise the bulk of the platforms’ clients. In January, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) demanded StubHub make changes to its site or face court action, after identifying several problems it believes could be in breach of UK consumer law. As part of its “regular monitoring,” the British competition regulator said it has identified issues with the information provided about some tickets for sale via StubHub’s UK website – including adequate warnings that tickets may not get them into an event, using “misleading messages about ticket availability” and targeting UK consumers with tickets for events listed on overseas versions of their website – and is concerned the secondary ticketer is not complying with commitments it made following a previous CMA investigation. The chief executive of the CMA, Dr Andrea Coscelli, said the watchdog has “demanded swift action to resolve these problems.” However, Wayne Grierson, NEMEA regional manager for StubHub UK, countered that the CMA’s demands are “additional asks” beyond its
2018 obligations. “StubHub UK has complied with everything that the CMA requested following their investigation into the online secondary ticketing sector in 2018,” he said. “Our compliance with our undertakings was confirmed through a compliance audit in 2019. We have always collaborated closely with regulators in the interests of our fans, and will continue to do so. “The CMA has now made additional asks. We remain in open dialogue with the CMA to address both these new asks and any remaining valid concerns about disclosure of information on our site. We are working closely to resolve these as quickly as possible, and in the best interest of our customers, the fans.” Then, in February, the CMA hit pause on StubHub and Viagogo's integration after claiming it had “reasonable grounds for suspecting that it is or may be the case that arrangements are in progress or in contemplation which, if carried into effect, will result in [the two companies] ceasing to be distinct.” The CMA’s initial enforcement order (IEO)
precludes actions including management changes, sharing of customer lists, merging of brand identities, integration of IT systems, and negotiating on each other’s behalf. The penalty of breaching the enforcement order is fines of up to 5% of the total turnover of both enterprises, or imprisonment for up to two years, or both. A spokesperson for StubHub tells IQ the companies had not jumped the gun on the $4billion [€3.7bn] all-cash mega-acquisition (see IQ87) – rather, that the serving of an IEO is a standard part of the merger/acquisition process, while Viagogo issued a statement along the same lines. As IQ went to press, online ticket touts Peter Hunter and David Smith, who reportedly made almost £11million [€13m] from reselling tickets through secondary sites, were found guilty by a UK court of fraud, “shin[ing] further light on the murky world of secondary ticketing, and the dependency of websites such as Viagogo and StubHub upon large-scale commercial ticket resellers,” said Adam Webb, campaign manager for FanFair Alliance. The pair – who traded as BZZ and Ticket Wizz – are believed to have spent over £4m [€4.8m] between 2015 and 2017, buying tickets from primary sellers with automated buying software, including 750 Ed Sheeran tickets in 2017 alone. They then sold the tickets on secondary platforms including Viagogo and Ticketmaster’s now-shuttered Get Me In! and Seatwave, for substantial profit. According to National Trading Standards, Hunter and Smith used almost 100 different names, 88 postal addresses, and more than 290 email addresses to evade detection. The touts also engaged in ‘speculative selling,’ listing tickets for sale that they did not own. Ed Sheeran’s manager, Stuart Camp, was among those to testify at the trial, taking action against the resellers after spotting £75 [€90] tickets for a Teenage Cancer Trust gig being sold on for almost a 1,000% markup. “This is a landmark case for National Trading Standards and should reassure consumers that the fraudulent practices of secondary ticket sellers will no longer be tolerated,” said Lord Harris, chair of National Trading Standards. “I hope this prosecution leads to a stepchange in the secondary ticketing market, making it easier and safer for consumers buying tickets in the future.”
“This is a landmark case for National Trading Standards and should reassure consumers that the fraudulent practices of secondary ticket sellers will no longer be tolerated” Lord Harris | chair of National Trading Standards
STAR-STUDDED KEYNOTES COMPLETE ILMC 32 PROGRAMME
he announcement in February of two keynote interviews – with legendary artist manager Peter Rudge, and the team behind Mumford & Sons – by ILMC organisers completes the agenda for the International Music Conference, which returns to London for its 32nd edition from 3–6 March 2020. The (Late) Breakfast Meeting on Wednesday 4 March features two titans of the artist management game, as former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell sits down to interview Peter Rudge, whose roster has included The Who, The Stones, Roger Waters, Duran Duran, Madness, Ray Davies, Anastacia, James, Imelda May, and Ball & Boe.
The recipient of over 260 gold and platinum albums, Rudge helped launch the world’s first rock opera (The Who’s Tommy), created the concept of a ‘national tour’ with The Rolling Stones’ 1972 US outing, and took Lynyrd Skynyrd from club dates to headlining stadiums. More recently, his stable has included Imelda May, Il Divo and Ball & Boe, while he maintains a 30-year history with English rock band James. The Futures Forum Keynote, meanwhile – taking place on the final, youth-focused day of the conference on 6 March – will see team Mumford & Sons interviewed by Radio X DJ John Kennedy. From humble beginnings, as teenagers honing their craft on the UK’s grass-roots venues circuit, London-born Mumford & Sons have, over the past 13 years, risen to become one of the world’s most in-demand live acts. The band’s recent fourth concert tour, in support of 2018’s electronica-influenced Delta, reflected that album’s evolution in its 360°, inthe-round format – and became their biggest and most successful tour to date, with the nearly 100 arena and festival shows on four continents drawing critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. At Futures Forum, founding band member and venue owner Ben Lovett will be joined by manager Adam Tudhope (Everybody’s) and booking agent Lucy Dickins (WME) to reflect on
the Mumford journey from banjo-plucking west London folkies to global superstars. Elsewhere across the ILMC conference schedule, guest speakers include CAA co-head Emma Banks; UTA’s head of global music, David Zedeck; Live Nation’s executive president of international touring, Phil Bowdery, and SVP marketing, Jackie Wilgar; Book My Show CEO Ashish Hemrajani; AEG Europe president and CEO Alex Hill; Oak View Group International co-chair Jessica Koravos; and O2’s head of sponsorship, Gareth Griffiths. ILMC takes place at the Royal Garden Hotel and The Baglioni Hotel in Kensington, west London. The invitation-only event sells out annually, with 1,200 delegates from over 60 markets attending the main conference, and a total of around 2,000 professionals expected at ILMC events, including Futures Forum, the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) and the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI), across the week.
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SPARKLING A (DE)
AGENT Felipe Mina Calvo
concentrated blend of hypnotic drums, multifaceted pop songwriting, and guitars. Sparkling bring us electrified post-punk, breathless and elegant, somewhere between Cologne and London. In the universal language of pop, the music transcends its featured languages of German, English and French. If you are after sweaty euphoria, this is your promised land. Sparkling released their long-awaited debut album I Want to See Everything (IWTSE) in August 2019 and it has been making huge waves since. As one of the first German bands to play a Maida Vale Session for BBC Radio 1, Sparkling made it onto BBC 6 Music’s heavy rotation list and are fre-
quently played by Annie Mac, Matt Wilkinson, Jack Saunders, Steve Lamacq and many more. IWTSE has been featured in countless blogs and magazines across Europe
AGENT Rob Challice PARADIGM
inners of the Rising Sound of Young Scotland award at the Scottish Music Awards, Tide Lines new single Shadow To The Light is set for release on 6 March, ahead of the band’s eagerly awaited second album, which will
be released in the spring. Written by singer/frontman Robert Robertson, the new track is a rabble-rousing anthem that the band recently debuted at their sellout Barrowlands Ballroom show. “I tend to write better at night-
including Musikexpress, Rolling Stone and Magic Magazine, and has created a buzz around one of the most exciting bands Germany has produced in years.
time when my train of thought is uninterrupted,” says Robertson. “But sitting alone with my guitar trying to finish a song before the morning, can be a pretty solitary experience. The idea of the ‘place I see in the all too distant light’ came to me on one such night. It is the place I was brought up (in the Highlands), which is something my mind can hold onto as a form of escapism and hope.” The band have been selected by Scottish Rugby to provide the prematch entertainment at the Six Nations match between Scotland and France at Murrayfield on 8 March, performing four songs to the sell-out crowd of 60,000 and countless millions watching on television. In May they’ll embark on a seven-date tour of Scotland.
ARTIST LISTINGS Aldo (BR) Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live Allusinlove (UK) Adele Slater, Paradigm Ant Saunders (US) Mike Malak & Alex Hardee, Paradigm Ayanna Witter-Johnson (UK) Beth Morton, UTA Bamily (UK) James Osgood & Sarah Casey, UTA Bec Sandridge (AU) Stuart Kennedy & Stephen Taylor, ATC Live Becky and the Birds (SE) Michael Harvey-Bray, Paradigm Bel Cobain (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Beth Rowley (UK) Beth Morton, UTA Beyries (CA) Stephen Taylor, ATC Live Billy Strings (US) Stuart Kennedy, ATC Live Boy Scouts (US) William Church, ATC Live BOYO (US) Joren Heuvels, The Lullabye Factory Brigid Mae Power (IE) Rob Gibbs, Progressive Artists Brooke Annibale (US) Beth Morton, UTA Busy Signal (JA) Obi Asika & Ishsha Bourguet, Echo Location Cameron Hayes (UK) Andy Clayton, Paradigm Candi Carpenter (US) Neil Warnock & Beth Morton, UTA Candy (US) Matt Pickering-Copley, Primary Talent corto.alto (UK) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Deep Tan (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Disco Halal (IL) Tom Manley, ATC Live Disq (US) William Church, ATC Live Don Toliver (US) Mike Malak, Paradigm DREGG (AU) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Drug Store Romeos (UK) William Church, ATC Live Elizabeth (AU) Joren Heuvels, The Lullabye Factory Faangs (US) Michael Harvey-Bray & James Whitting, Paradigm Fekky (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Fito Páez (AR) Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live
HOTTEST NEW ACTS THIS MONTH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
LAST MONTH 5 211 / 4 / 55 / 31 22 / / 62 / 18 196
PREDICTIONS FOR NEXT MONTH
ARTIST Kaash Paige (US) The Kid LAROI (AU) Lil Mayo (US) King Combs (US) LoveLeo (US) Sam Tompkins (UK) Lil Poppa (US) Yung Mal (US) Hooligan Hefs (AU) Poundz (UK) DJ Scheme (US) Ren (UK) Rema (NG) Greentea Peng (UK) Renni Rucci (US) Darkoo (UK), Disq (US), Kenny Mason (US), 21 InnerWest Yungins (AU), Porridge Radio (UK)
Artists moving through the database the quickest
Fastest growing artists in terms of music consumption, aggregated across a number of online sources.
Flyying Colours (AU) Joren Heuvels, The Lullabye Factory Girlpool (US) William Church & Sarah Joy, ATC Live Gravedgr (US) Paul McQueen, Primary Talent H2O Hadd (US) Mike Malak, Paradigm Hala (US) Joren Heuvels, The Lullabye Factory Helena Deland (CA) Nikita Lavrinenko, Pitch & Smith Honey Mooncie (UK) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Huxlxy (UK) Michael Harvey-Bray, Paradigm Inglorious (UK) Steve Zapp, ITB ishi vu (SE) Andy Duggan, Primary Talent J Fado (UK) Craig D'Souza, Primary Talent Jennifer Gentle (IT) Lucia Wade, ITB Jeremie Albino (CA) Stuart Kennedy, ATC Live Joe & The Shitboys (FO) Stephen Taylor, ATC Live Jonathan Jackson + Enation (US) Phyllis Belezos, ITB Kansas Smitty’s (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Keywest (IE) Filippo Mei, ITB Lancey Foux (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Larkins (UK) Matt Bates, Primary Talent Lars Fredericksen (US) Ed Sellers, Primary Talent Laura-Mary Carter (UK) Jo Biddiscombe, X-ray Lord Apex (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Maz O’Connor (UK) Beth Morton, UTA Megan O’Neill (IE) Phyllis Belezos, ITB Mid City (AU) Stuart Kennedy, ATC Live Mikey Mike (US) Alex Hardee, Paradigm Military Wives Choirs (UK) Emily Robbins & Heulwen Keyte, UTA Moscoman (IS) Tom Manley & Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live Musical Dots (UK) Emily Robbins & Beth Morton, UTA Native Harrow (US) Beth Morton, UTA Natty Wylah (UK) Jack Clark, Echo Location Nayana IZ (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Pet Shimmers (UK) Sarah Joy & Matt Hanner, ATC Live Pinty (UK) Felipe Mina Calvo & Marlon Burton, ATC Live Randy Feltface (AU) Georgie Donnelly, UTA Redrago (IL/IT) Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent Rei Ami (US) Mike Malak & Alex Hardee, Paradigm Riopy (FR) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent RIP Eternal (US) Martin Mackay, Primary Talent Rod Wav (US) Myles Jessop & Kingsley Williams, Echo Location Ryan Vail (UK) Rob Gibbs, Progressive Artists SHURA (UK) Oliver Ward, UTA Shygirl (UK) Andy Duggan, Primary Talent Sparkling (DE) Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live SPINN (UK) David Sullivan-Kaplan & Nikos Kazoleas, UTA Stalley (US) Serena Parsons, Primary Talent Strawberry Guy (UK) Liam Keightley, ITB Tatum (ZA) Steve Backman, Primary Talent Team Picture (UK) Natasha Bent, Paradigm Teddy Swims (US) Noah Simon, UTA The Adelaides (UK) Neil Warnock & Beth Morton, UTA The Bronx (US) Anna Bewers & Geoff Meall, Paradigm The Guilty Feminist (UK) Georgie Donnelly, UTA The Pussycat Dolls (US) Matt Bates, Primary Talent The Saxophones (US) Joren Heuvels, The Lullabye Factory The Scratch (IE) Chris Smyth, Primary Talent The UMA (UK) Gemma Milroy & Martin Horne, X-ray Twin Atlantic (UK) Neil Warnock & Ross Warnock, UTA Two Weeks in Nashville (UK) Phyllis Belezos, ITB Wilsen (US) Matt Hanner, ATC Live Wookie (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Yakul (UK) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Magazine
Paving the way Mark Alexander of Twickets discusses the evolution of secondary ticketing in Europe, and explains why the platform still has a place when face-value resale is the new norm
n 2015, when the concept for Twickets was born, the ticketing industry was broken. The emergence of four major players in the uncapped resale space allowed a new breed of ticket tout/scalper to thrive. Artist and organiser reputations suffered, as did the fans and their bank balances. Horror stories of extortionate prices, fraudulent tickets and consumer unrest were rife. A worrying pattern was also emerging – with fans spending more on tickets, they were able to attend less shows and had less to shell out on merch and F&B. With the industry coming to terms with these changes to the ticketing market, we saw an opportunity to offer an ethical alternative. Twickets has been at the forefront of the fight back in the UK ever since. Five years on, and two of the major players have now ceased trading, with parent company Ticketmaster instead following our model of a ‘face-value’ cap in Europe. The remaining two, StubHub and Viagogo, however, are on the brink of becoming one all-powerful secondary ticketing beast. Recent changes to ticketing laws have gradually forced these sites to display more detailed information, ultimately making the listings more traceable. This was a much-needed change and was rightly applauded, but it’s also had the undesired effect of forcing touts underground, onto less regulated platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Gumtree and new sites such as Gigsberg, where the consumer is now faced with the added threat of fake tickets. Over the past year or so, some primary ticketing sites in the UK have joined Ticketmaster in launching their own face-value resale platforms, dealing exclusively in their own inventory. And there’s the rub. A tour will nearly always be ticketed by a wide variety of primary agents, particularly in the UK. Many ticket holders looking to sell will have paid little attention to exactly who they bought the inventory from, whilst buyers hunting for resale tickets are unaware of who the official outlets were in the first instance, and don’t know where to look. This is where Twickets comes in. We are the trustworthy, independent and unbiased aggregator that both sides need. Twickets remains the only face-value resale service that can facilitate the sale of any ticket for any event, no matter where it was purchased. It’s also a solution that works. The average
time from listing to sale has reduced every year since Twickets formed, as users build trust in the service, and now stands at just over a day. It’s this success that brings fans back and helps to create loyal customers. For the fan-conscious artist, it is paramount that the guidance is clear. They don’t want to be giving conflicting instructions for every date on a tour. What’s more, in some cases, even though the primary outlet has a face-value resale arm in this country, their global offerings are vastly different. If an artist is embarking on a world tour, what started out as a fan-friendly statement targeted at UK consumers could result in their audience being unwittingly cast into the hands of touts or scalpers elsewhere. We are the one-stop shop that simplifies the process for fans, and makes life easier for the artists. Think of us as the Switzerland of ticketing! Starting as a business outside of the mainstream bubble, Twickets has now been embraced by over 300 artists, promoters, venues, sports teams and theatre producers in the UK and we are also the first dedicated resale service to be invited to join STAR, the UK’s leading ticketing body. Going forward, our primary focus must be to carry on building awareness, both in the UK and internationally. To achieve this, we need to collaborate with yet more like-minded partners in a multitude of sectors, particularly where customer experience is the shared goal. Our work with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Adele, Arctic Monkeys, Catfish & The Bottlemen, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, The 1975 and hundreds of others prove that when the manager, booking agent, promoter, ticketing agents and venues all come together with a common goal, the touts really can be marginalised. After the success that Twickets has had to date, we’ve started to extend our service so we have the capability to operate in other European territories, Australasia and North America. Secondary ticketing is far from just a UK concern, and our research has shown that there is significant interest in Twickets elsewhere from industry and fans alike. We are now taking our first steps towards answering those calls and satisfying demand.
No rhythm in the algorithm Italian promoter Claudio Trotta, CEO of Barley Arts, sounds the alarm about Viagogo’s takeover of StubHub, and the wider consequences of the ‘algorithmisation’ of the music industry
s I said at the time, when I received word of Viagogo’s plans to acquire StubHub, it was one of the worst pieces of news I had received in my more than 40 years in the business. First of all, the fact that Viagogo can spend $4billion [€3.6bn] in cash is very worrying. Secondly, that Viagogo has bought a competitor that operates in most countries means we are still really far from winning the battle against this cancer – and I do truly believe it is a cancer – which has been eating away at the live music industry for far too long now. I am sure Viagogo has made this deal because they absolutely know it means they can carry on doing secondary ticketing in the majority of countries in the world and circumvent the laws in place. This is very bad for the future of the industry; for music, for punters, and for overall quality. Music is in danger of becoming only for rich people and hardcore fans – the only people capable of or prepared to pay inflated secondary prices. We need to do something to combat this, otherwise live music as we know it, will die. Hugely inflated prices would mean no new acts either, which means no future for the business. I truly believe the audience and the industry needs waking up from a long sleep. The music business has clearly been “drugged” by this system, which has inflicted damaged on the audience, who are, ultimately, our main shareholders. What’s at stake, in fact, is not just the chance for punters to buy tickets at a decent and sustainable price, or attend several different shows, or even for newcomers to the live music industry to freely decide whether they want to be an inde-
pendent entrepreneur or an employee of one of a few major companies… What’s at stake now is the future of our kids and, ultimately, their relation to culture and live music and the role it plays in their lives. With the dawn of dynamic pricing, which uses software to price tickets automatically based on popularity, we have taken yet another step towards the algorithmisation of the live music industry. Are audiences of the future going to be able to grow their identities and personal tastes organically, rather than artificially following algorithms that decide – what they listen to, what they see, what they buy and so on – for them? The music business has to walk to the beat of its own drum, the way it has always has. This means making your own choices based on whether you believe in an artist and like their material, not because an algorithm tells you that a particular song is what ‘X’ amount of people will love or that this is how much a ticket should cost. It means challenging convention and creating our own future based on our own feelings. What really scares me is that if we don’t act now, in the very near future people will no longer trust their own feelings and make their own decisions. The future should not be dictated by a computer. The future should depend on our own talent, courage, respect, work ethics and professionalism. The huge personalities that have influenced the industry, like Bill Graham, certainly didn’t use algorithms, and we are all in the industry because of their talent and charisma. Maybe it’s time we remembered that.
“The future should not be dictated by a computer. The future should depend on our own talent, courage, respect, work ethics and professionalism” Magazine
The growth of African music festivals Eclipse Live co-founder Chin Okeke on the growth of Nigeria’s Gidi Culture Fest and wider opportunities in the African live market
s we kick off our 7th run towards Gidi Culture Fest in 2020 I’ve been thinking more and more about Africa as a whole, and have noticed a lot of gradual change in the live sector recently, Pan Africanism. What started as something for the youth of Lagos to enjoy with a simple focus on being accessible for all, has developed into something bigger. We didn’t envisage how the concept of ‘access’ would extend beyond a cheap ticket and safe space for the kids here in the city, to now opening up borders and minds. We built Gidi Fest with a global outlook but with the intention of changing the way we see ourselves, which in turn has started to change the perception the world has of Africa. This access ranges from pan-African connections with multiple new festivals, international artist touring across the continent and a movement for the diaspora to rediscover their roots, whilst other travellers from around the world decide to explore the birthplace of the culture surrounding African pop music. We’re also encouraging discussion and collaboration by working with Lagos Music Week to establish an industry conference, and we’ll be producing a series of Pan African events as part of our Gidi Fest Presents agenda, in association with the likes of Chale Wote in Ghana, Cotton Fest in South Africa, Blankets and Wine in Kenya and Nyege Nyege in Uganda. As I look back at the progress over the last few years, it’s been a cultural shift, and looking forward, there’s a need for considerable internal investment in live infrastructure. There is a handful of examples being made by both the public and private sector, but there needs to be more. The infrastructure investments will transform this vast territory into a vibrant marketplace, enabling accessible and affordable entertain-
ment for the growing demand, outside of the current target audience which usually comprises the top 5% of earners. Investments include government funded arenas in Dakar and Kigali, and private sector venue commitments in Lagos and Cape Town, with NBA Africa acting as a catalyst and a slew of outdoor venues developed by Universal/Vivendi. Demand has been helped by outside interests and influence from big shows coming to the continent. For example, Afropunk, Global Citizen Festival and Afro Nation, which not only raise the profile for African festivals, but also garner interest from international acts to perform on the continent. Whilst our own artists are smashing the charts in the US and UK we’ve also been working the majors and agents to book more and more international acts to perform on the continent for a run of more than one show and collaborate while they’re here. We’ve been doing the same on the flipside to ensure we see more African artists on international stages. After inviting BBC 1Xtra to Gidi Fest in 2019 and striking a collaboration with the British Council, we’re expanding our programming from one day to three days of music, giving us space to integrate the sports, food, art and everything else. It’s been a rewarding seven-year journey and everything just keeps growing year on year. To now be considered the biggest and longest-standing festival in the region is an incredible achievement. With 2020 headliners including Naira Marley, Flavour and Rema, we can’t wait to welcome more new people to Lagos than ever before, showcase the best creative artists in Africa, and show our thriving hometown of Lagos to the world this 9-11 April.
“Infrastructure investments will transform this vast territory into a vibrant marketplace” 32
The future looks bright Ahead of ILMC 32, Ticketmaster’s Jo Young – Tomorrow’s New Boss 2016 and chair of the Meet the New Bosses: Class of 2020 panel – previews the main talking points of the session, as well as the second edition of Futures Forum
Other talking points will include whether there is still a future for the indies; how easy it is to move from one sector of the business to another; the ways in which the industry will evolve in the decade ahead, and how young professionals can stay ahead of those changes. Using Slido, there will also be the chance for audience members to submit questions anonymously, so who knows where that could lead us! Last year’s inaugural event was such a breath of fresh air – it inspired a lot of optimism seeing such diversity in the speakers. Hearing other people’s high points, hopes and frustrations was particularly valuable. I, for one, am most looking forward to seeing OK, Boomer: Closing the generation gap – a new panel that pairs up senior execs from leading concert businesses with their more junior counterparts. It’s an inspired idea to get the senior execs and younger execs to share experiences – particularly when those people are Live Nation’s Phil Bowdery and Anna-Sophie Mertens! For the full Futures Forum schedule, see page 10.
Bilder © Bildagentur Zolles KG
eet the New Bosses 2019 – with Aino-Maria Paasivirta (Fullsteam Agency), Karma Bertelsen (Kilimanjaro Live), Mike Jones (MJR Group), Mike Malak (Coda Agency) and chair Olly Ward (UTA) – was my favourite panel at the first Futures Forum last year, so the pressure is on to ensure this year’s session is just as informative and entertaining. I’ll be asking the panellists how they ended up in their current roles; there’s no one path into this industry, so it’s always fascinating to hear other people share how they ended up working in live. This year, I’d like to focus on any recent positive changes they’ve seen in their time so far in the industry, and what they see as necessary areas for us all to improve for the next generation of new bosses. I’d also like to build on a theme that emerged last year around staying healthy and mindful, and ask the panel how they look after themselves in the more chaotic moments. (FYI: A dedicated wellness session, Mental Health: Next steps for live, chaired by ATC Live’s Stacey Pragnell, will take place later in the day.)
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What our night sector needs Sacha Lord, co-founder of Parklife festival and The Warehouse Project club nights, and night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, discusses what is needed to kickstart the nightlife sector in the UK and further afield
hen I started the midweek Hacienda nights in 1994, everything was different. As organisers and as ravers, we partied without a care. For 12 hours, we absorbed the music, the atmosphere, and the culture we were creating. Little did we know it would be marked down as one of the greatest music periods in history. Today, it’s all changed. Nightlife is in flux and under pressure. The economic environment is unstable, venue competition is rife, indies are struggling, and the customer? They’re thinking about what’s next, not what’s now. While it’s true that the value of Britain’s live music sector hit a record £1.1billion [€1.3bn] last year and festival attendance was up 23% year-on-year, these jackpot events are few and far between. It’s the smaller independent and grass-roots venues that are most under threat. In the last year alone, we’ve seen London’s West End hotspot, The Social, resort to a public £95,000 [€113,000] crowdfund to stop the leaseholder selling. Further north, in Wigan, non-profit arts group The Old Courts, is trying to raise £1.2million [€1.4m] to save the Royal Court Theatre – an 1886 institution where a teenage Charlie Chaplin once trod the boards. While just this month, London’s iconic 100 Club was saved and granted special status, but only after a number of the world’s top artists, including Mick Jagger, intervened. It’s a trend that’s happening across most Western nations. Increased rent prices, lack of available venue space, regulatory hurdles, shifting government priorities, and the ongoing pressure from commercial or residential neighbours has caused a huge fall in live venues across the continent including the closure of U60311 in Frankfurt, and Stattbad Wedding and Neue Heimat in Berlin. So what can be done to kickstart this once revered sector? The business rate cuts announced last month by the UK Government are a positive but long overdue move that will go someway to helping. The Music Venue Trust, which receives a request for emergency assistance every day, estimates that the relief will save each site an average of £7,500 [€8,900] a year, and release more than £1.7m [€2.1m] back into the grassroots live music sector. But these rate cuts won’t solve the problem alone. To real-
ly keep the UK night-time economy afloat, business owners need more than just tax cuts and special funding. Improvements to late licensing restrictions, and wider enforcement of the Agent of Change Bill, which makes developers responsible for dealing with noise issues when they build new homes near music venues, are huge to ensuring the sector regains its strength. Better accessibility is also a step that must be addressed. For example, investment in night-time transport links so venues can continue to trade well after peak hours, and staff, especially in suburbs and rural communities, can easily get to and from work. A greater awareness of the changing social attitudes of today’s customer also must be recognised. Gone are the days of excessive drinking and competition based on alcohol offers. Today’s Instagram audience not only want a good night, they want jealousy provoking experiences they can share for likes and follows. The introduction of my role as night-time economy adviser, and Amy Lame’s position as night tsar under mayor Sadiq Khan in London, are steps our individual authorities have taken to help keep the sector at the forefront of government budget planning, having recognised its importance. But we, and Nicola Johnston in Aberdeen, are the only night tsars in the UK, and as a nation… we’re behind. Amsterdam has had a ‘night mayor’ since 2002, to lobby on behalf of night-time club and entertainment venue owners, with the likes of Paris, Sydney, Tel Aviv, Budapest and Zürich joining suit shortly after. New York brought in their own nightlife mayor in March 2018, a role that has helped the city’s sector maintain pace, keeping music-related jobs and wages growing at an annual rate of 4 and 7%, respectively (outpacing the broader New York City economy, where overall jobs and wages are growing annually at 3 and 5%, respectively). Our bars, nightclubs and music venues play a vital role in the economic impact, cultural influence and development, not only of major cities but small towns up and down our country. Our creative industries are central to our post-Brexit future, and to ignore them would be a devastating blow to our cultural reputation.
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PAULA POŠTOLKOVÁ You never planned to be in this job – didn’t you study for a career in the movies? Yes, I went to the Slovak National Film Academy and did my final year at Aalto University in Helsinki. I graduated with a Master of the Arts in film producing. So how did you end up in music? During a student film festival, I organised parties with DJs and bands in local clubs. Then I got a call from my cousin’s boyfriend, who was looking for a stage-managing partner. I didn’t have a clue what the job was, but I said ‘yes’ and two weeks later I was working on the second stage at Pohoda. It was 2011 and I was 21. Peter Hrabě, who gave me the chance, taught me all about riders, risers and stages, and I looked after Lamb and Imogen Heap, who had a huge set up the night before her performance, which meant I missed the Portishead show on the main stage. Peter must be an excellent teacher, because you were instantly promoted, right? My colleagues from the main stage moved to higher positions in the festival structure and [festival boss] Michal [Kaščák] told us the news – it was pretty stressful to be honest. So what was the learning curve like that first year on the main stage? It wasn’t easy because there were lightning
storms and we had to evacuate the audience. But there were unforgettable moments: the storm meant we had to jump on stage to stop Aloe Blacc the very second he started singing I need a dollar; Emilíana Torrini played table football for hours, until the storm passed; and I had the honour of meeting Lou Reed. Wow! What other acts have impressed during your eight years in charge of the main stage? Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Björk, Róisín Murphy, PJ Harvey, Atoms for Peace, Charlotte Gainsbourg… And from a production point of view, the highlight was definitely The Chemical Brothers’ show last year. Atoms for Peace was also a big challenge. They had a special green rider, focused on the ecological impact of their production. In 2013, we were just starting with eco-policies at Pohoda, but Atoms for Peace insisted nothing backstage could be made from plastic. They even brought their own kitchen and this lady was cooking for them and doing laundry in the dressing rooms. What do you do for work before the rest of the year? I’m head of programming at cultural venue, Nová Cvernovka, and I work for some other events and festivals as stage manager or production manager.
Is there anything visiting acts or crews do that annoys you? Most crews and artists I meet are very professional and we have a good collaboration. But sometimes I meet with prejudice and low expectations, because it’s ‘Eastern Europe’ and I feel a lack of trust. However, when people spend a few minutes onsite, they quickly learn Pohoda is one of the best-organised events, with a super friendly atmosphere. Who are you looking forward to working with this year at Pohoda? FKA Twigs. I was planning to go see her on her tour, so when she was confirmed for Pohoda, I was so happy! I’m also looking forward to seeing Thom Yorke again. I’m curious what the productions will be like. Pohoda’s main stage operates around the clock. How do you cope with the workload? It’s all down to teamwork, starting with people from HQ who prepare and advance everything properly, and ending with my crew on the main stage – stagehands, security staff, crowd assistance, sound techs, catering – we are like a family. You also need to survive long working hours, because the main stage runs almost 24 hours a day due to the big overnight and morning set-ups for headliners, and because of Pohoda’s traditional ‘Welcoming of the Sun’ gig at 5:00am each morning. Luckily, we now work as a team of three stage managers instead of two, so at least one can get some sleep while the others take over. How do you relax? Since I started working in live music, I really haven’t had much time to relax, and when I do, I travel to other festivals around Europe. But this year, I made a change to save myself from burnout and went to Cuba, where I spent nearly three weeks without Internet or phone reception. I’m already planning a repeat trip next year.
PHOTO © MARTINA MLČÚCHOVÁ
IQ editor, Gordon Masson, meets with Paula Poštolková, manager of Pohoda Festival’s main stage, to talk about her path to the top in the Slovak production business.
Grace Jones performed at last year’s LoveBN1Fest © CHRIS JEPSON
ive music has long served as a platform for those of non-normative sexual identities to make their voices heard, spread values of love and tolerance, and express themselves to the full. Many music festivals now come with clear messages of respect, inclusivity and love for all, club nights specifically serve the LGBTQ+ community, and Pride events host some of the biggest names in live music today. However, as heteronormative songs, artists and practices continue to dominate the live scene, IQ asks how many live music events are all-inclusive, all-welcoming, safe spaces for members of the LGBTQ+ community, and questions what the industry is doing as a whole to ensure everyone within it feels as comfortable as possible.
A legacy fit for a Queen
“The live music world wouldn’t exist without the LGBTQ+ community,” states Maz Weston, a programmer at Dutch nightclub Paradiso and part of the team organising Amsterdam’s Milkshake festival. Weston cites Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, David Bowie’s “androgynous glory,” Elton
As more LGBTQ+ festivals pop up around the world and live music becomes a staple of Pride celebrations, IQ talks to those running events, safe spaces and initiatives dedicated to the LGBTQ+ community and asks what more can be done to achieve greater equality in live. Anna Grace reports. John, Freddie Mercury and Divine as having paved the way for later acts such as Marc Almond, Boy George, and later still Scissor Sisters – the queer icons consituting the cream of live entertainment’s crop. Despite this great musical legacy and improvements to equality and representation across the industry, it remains vitally important to have spaces dedicated to LGBTQ+ people within live, says Weston. “The community needs spaces where people can meet, socialise, explore their own identity and feel safe enough to express themselves.” In order for live events themselves to provide safe and dedicated spaces for the LGBTQ+ com-
munity, it is becoming apparent that an inclusive environment must first be fostered within the industry itself. Cross-industry body Pride In Music aims to provide such a space, creating a community of LGBTQ+ people and giving them a voice within the music business. Groups dedicated to LGBTQ+ issues have also formed within some of the industry’s leading companies. Sean Hill, a member of the Proud Leadership Team at UTA, speaks of the importance of having such teams within institutions to “provide a support network, breakdown stereotypes, offer mentoring and raise issues affecting those who identify as LGBTQIA+.” For those unaware of Magazine
Over the past eight years, Milkshake Festival has cemented itself into Amsterdam’s cultural landscape
the acronym, LGBTQIA+ is an abbreviation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Genderqueer, Queer, Intersexed, Agender, Asexual, and Ally community. UTA’s Proud Leadership Team organises events “from networking opportunities to informative talks and charity fundraisers” to drive openness and promote a culture of inclusivity, also working with the agency’s offices in New York, Los Angeles and Nashville. A recent industry event in London saw some of UTA’s LGBTQ+ clients performing in front of record label executives, promoters, managers and agency representatives. “We all try and support one another’s events when we can,” says Hill.
Pride of place
The role that live music can play in providing a safe, joyful and inclusive space is a common thread throughout the conversations IQ has with event organisers and promoters. Bringing people together is the main aim of Ireland’s Outing Festival. An LGBTQ+ music and matchmaking festival, the Outing hopes it can help people together form lasting friendships, as well as initiating romantic unions. Festival founder Eddie McGuinness tells IQ that the event aims to unite different kinds of people and fuse different genres of music and art forms. “There’s a lot of heteronormative music out there,” says McGuinness. “Here, people can express themselves properly and freely.” Jamie Tagg, the co-founder of East Creative,
“Everyone is welcome and, for us, that is how you change society for the better… Unless you’re a dick, then you’re not invited”
which puts on the 25,000-capacity Mighty Hoopla pop festival in London, and runs the LGBTQ+ collective Sink The Pink, explains that “inclusivity, creativity and positivity” are the driving forces Jamie Tagg | East Creative behind his events. The same core ethos goes for one of the most famous gatherings for the LGBTQ+ community – Pride. enough about the good these events do.” When Britney Spears played Brighton Pride Taking place in multiple cities and countries around the world each year, Pride has evolved in 2018, for example, the organisers raised and grown over the years to host some of the big- £250,000 (€295k) – “a life-changing amount of money.” Brown also references the controversy gest names in live music today. Criticism has been levelled at some event or- surrounding Ariana Grande’s performance at ganisers for losing sight of Pride’s essence, espe- Manchester Pride this year, and a perceived hike cially when non-LGBTQ+ artists top the bill for in ticket prices for the headline show. “That one weekend funds everything else,” the community’s largest celebrations. However, as Paul Kemp, director of Brighton says Brown. “The Manchester team are putting Pride, points out, popular music has been a fea- on free, locally focused events through the year ture of Pride since the 90s, with acts including – and I don’t think people realise that.” The same Pet Shop Boys, Kylie Minogue, Madonna and goes for Birmingham, with free-to-enter venues in the gay village depending on the income from Jake Shears performing at events over the years. The important thing, says Kemp, is that “in Pride and the support of its organisers. “It’s a massive transition phase for Pride amongst the music and dancing we always make sure the campaign messages are front and centre.” right now,” explains Brown. “The events are beDan Brown of Birmingham Pride admits coming more like music festivals in a way – but “there is a danger” of live music detracting from they’re still so much more than that.” Pride’s main message, but affirms that the evolution of the event indicates “progression.” Pride & joy “People don’t like change,” says Brown, who LGBTQ+ artists have enjoyed a greater representais speaking at the upcoming Futures Forum tion in recent years. The 1975’s Matt Healy and in March. “The problem is, people don’t shout Years & Years’ Olly Alexander are just two exam-
PHOTO © EVA WERTHEIMER
LGBTQ+_Feature ples of mainstream, high-profile artists using their platform to talk openly about their sexuality. “I think that the community is well represented at the moment, even in the mainstream pop/ festival world,” says Paradise booker Weston. “Any attempts to increase the LGBTQ+ presence in the industry would appear to be purely cashing in on the commercial viability of the scene.” As a promoter, Weston says it is very easy to ensure a strong representation of LGBTQ+ artists in event lineups, although he adds that the situation is “much different” in other countries that may have a lower level of tolerance and equality than the Netherlands. “Most of my events feature a very high percentage of females on the lineup,” says Weston. “Nothing new, even though that subject has been getting a lot of attention recently. I just think that it's important to give girls an equal chance in an industry that's traditionally very male-orientated.” Birmingham Pride’s Brown agrees that there is a greater representation of LGBTQ+ acts nowadays. “It’s not difficult to programme local queer artists, and we really take the lead in that area,” says Brown. “It is more difficult to get the biggest LGBTQ+ artists in the world to play at your event, so sometimes you need to get someone else in to draw the crowds and give a platform to the artists that are supporting.” Pride Live, a series of live music events taking place throughout June, forms part of the celebrations in Dublin, as well as Dublin Pride’s Got Talent, which sees a number of successful contestants eventually perform on the Pride main stage. Both initiatives give local LGBTQ+ acts the chance to play on small stages and hone their skills, before potentially performing in front of a large crowd, providing a platform to artists in the community and nurturing the local talent pipeline. UTA’s Hill provides another example of artist development within the LGBTQ+ live music network, in the form of Pride In Music’s “in-
dustry-wide search to provide talent for Mighty Hoopla” last year. Mighty Hoopla, which this year features acts including Cheryl, Atomic Kitten, Alphabeat and Becky Hill, as well as a host of emerging artists, was started partly to give a more visible, mainstream platform to LGBTQ+ artists. “Many artists that identify as LGBTQ+ are producing incredible music, but they may not be as commercially viable to the industry, so they can often get shunned,” says Tagg. “So having events that specifically promote them is really important to help get their work out there and get them into mainstream events and festivals.”
The show must go on
Although the situation “is certainly improving” for LGBTQ+ artists, fans, and music industry professionals, “we are a long way off where we need to be”, says Hill. UTA’s director of tour marketing stresses the need for “education, dialogue and openness,” within organisations. An active effort on behalf of employers to engage with their employees on LGBTQ-related issues through talks, events, and company policy will also lead to increased tolerance and support, says Hill. “As a young child, I looked up to anyone that I could relate to, so I want to ensure that young people in today’s society can have role models they can come to for knowledge and support,” Hill tells IQ. “Successful individuals from any under-represented minority group are incredibly inspiring and give people the encouragement needed to achieve their ambitions.” For Brown, changes need to be made to the kinds of event that serve the community. A lot of music-related queer spaces tend to be “very nightlife- and alcohol-focused,” says Brown, who suggests that live music events – typically more dynamic than small group meet-ups – need to cater more to the younger members of the community.
Brown also notes that more needs to be done to safeguard LGBTQ+ people at live events. Promoters need to be aware of an artist’s following and ensure the event will be a safe space when a queer artist, or one that attracts a lot of queer fans, is performing. “There are enough events out there,” says Brown, “but the question is whether they are done correctly.” Hill at UTA agrees that there are enough events – in certain places. London, for example, is well served, he says, while those in many regional parts of the UK have little or no access to LGBTQ+ societies, social venues and music festivals. Although “technology, social platforms and transportation” have helped bring such events, closer to more remote areas of the country, “there is still a huge void,” says Hill. The focus now, then, must be on the underserved regions – all over the world – and the often overlooked areas, to ensure that “no one is left behind in our strive for equality.” This theme of leaving nobody behind, of being “stronger together” – as is the ethos of 2020 Birmingham Pride – and of promoting values of diversity, acceptance, openness and inclusivity is at the core of the work being carried out by all. As Tagg of East Creative summarises: “Everyone is welcome and, for us, that is how you change society for the better… Unless you're a dick, then you're not invited.”
Eddie McGuinness, Gay Matchmaker at The Outing Festival
DAN BROWN | BIRMINGHAM PRIDE SEAN HILL | UTA PAUL KEMP | BRIGHTON PRIDE EDDIE MCGUINNESS | OUTING FESTIVAL JAMIE TAGG | EAST CREATIVE/SINK THE PINK MAZ WESTON | PARADISO/MILKSHAKE Magazine
ROD MACSWEEN AGENT OF THE DECADE
A roster that reads like a Whoâ€™s Who of rock royalty easily helped Rod MacSween earn IQâ€™s title of Agent of the Decade, as his artists accounted for more ticket sales internationally, than that of any other agent. But trying to get to the root of the man who has helped his acts entertain countless millions of fans over the past ten years is a tricky task, as Gordon Masson discovers. Magazine
sk any of his friends, colleagues and clients about Rod MacSween and you soon learn the true meaning of the term enigma. 2019 marked his 50th anniversary in live music, but aside from receiving an honourary doctorate from his alma mater, the University of Exeter, the year passed without too much fanfare for MacSween, who simply got on with the business of booking tours and festival slots for his astounding roster of headlining clients. “He’s married to ITB Ltd – that’s his real passion,” states Colin Newman of accountants and business advisors SRLV, whose relationship with MacSween dates back the entirety of those 50 years. “His dedication to his clients is incredible and I think that’s what still drives him.” ITB partner, Barry Dickins, agrees. “Rod lives to work, while I work to live. You could not find two people more unalike than Rod and I, but it works, and he has helped to make me a rich man. He’s one of the best agents of all time and if I was a manager, I’d definitely want Rod to be my agent.”
Born in Southampton, England, Rod grew up with his siblings in the New Forest on England’s south coast. His surname (and Scottish roots) hail from the remote Isle of Lewis, where, in days gone by, he would regularly visit the family croft – a farm smallholding. “His parents were both academics, so I think they were ecstatic when he decided to study chemistry and statistics at Exeter University,” says Diana Pereira, MacSween’s long-time assistant at ITB. “I don’t know if that’s where it comes from, but nobody knows numbers like Rod does. He remembers the tiniest details from deals decades ago and he even remembers the dates and capacities of the rooms.” Dickins adds, “He’s very private – we’ve been in business together for 42 years, but we’ve probably had dinner outside of a working relationship about three times. But I’ve learned a few things about him over the years.” Talking to IQ for ITB’s 40th anniversary celebrations in issue 76, MacSween acknowledged the chalk-and-cheese nature between him and Dickins. “We don’t see an awful lot of each other, but we each have much respect for what the other
does,” he said. “We have always remained friends and been there for each other, as partners should be.” Backtrack to 1969 and MacSween’s passion for music was evident. No sooner had he enrolled in university than his fellow students elected him social secretary of the Students’ Guild. He held that post for three years, bringing the likes of The Who, Pink Floyd and Robert Plant’s first group, Band of Joy, to play on campus, where 1,800 students would regularly pay £1 each to pack into the venue to benefit from MacSween’s latest booking coup. Recalling those early days when picking up his honourary doctorate, MacSween said, “I brought The Who to Exeter on May 1st 1970 and they performed the whole of Tommy plus some hits. After the gig, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townsend went back to London, but Keith Moon and John Entwistle stayed, so I took them out to a nightclub and with my meagre funds I bought two bottles of champagne. Keith Moon was so overwhelmed that a student had bought him champagne that he went out and ordered a crate. Many years later, in 1992, I told that story to Eddie Vedder as a new client and the singer of Pearl Jam, and Eddie [later] told me, ‘Rod, that was the day I trusted you.’” Agent Mike Dewdney, who has been at ITB for 31 years, observes, “That’s the thing about Rod, he’s a great storyteller, and he has hundreds of amazing stories to tell. He’s a fascinating man – like a cross between Peter Stringfellow and Inspector Morse.”
While his sister, Catriona, followed their parents’ path into academia, Rod turned his back on chemistry and statistics to start working life as a booking agent. “The first time I came across Rod, he was working for Johnny Jones in a room where Johnny would sit on a riser, like a teacher, and Rod was sitting in the lecture room, along with another agent and an assistant,” recalls Live Nation chairman of international music, Thomas Johansson. Meanwhile, Dickins’ early career saw him at the Malcolm Rose agency, then moving to work with powerful agent/promoter Harold Davidson, who later sold to MAM. “In 1975, I was in the rock department at MAM with John Giddings and Ian Wright; Rod, at that time, was at the Bron Agency with Steve Barnett, and I was hearing some good things about
“Rod is a close friend, and when I lived in London in the early days of Live Nation, he was instrumental in teaching me the global landscape of promoters” Michael Rapino | Live Nation
Congratulations to our incredible friend and one of the all-time greatest agents, Rod MacSween. You never cease to amaze us with your passion. The fantastic relationships you have with the artists and teams you work with is testament to your dedication to the music industry. We look forward to working with you for many years to come!
Keep rockinâ€™ Rod! From Michael & Sue Gudinski, Michael Chugg, Gerard Schlaghecke and all of your friends at Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and Illusive Presents
Slipknot_Feature In Brief
German rockers Scorpions have been Rod’s clients for the majority of their 55-year history
“Rod’s the best agent in the world. And in terms of financial relevance, he’s been the best in the world for many, many years” Colin Newman | SRLV
him – he was a hustler and a really good agent,” says Dickins. “I was a director at MAM, so I had a meeting with him and offered him a job, but Rod wanted more money than I was on, so that was the end of that.” Having attracted a number of such offers, MacSween eventually agreed a deal to work with Don Arden’s Jet group of companies. That role introduced him to Arden’s daughter, Sharon, who a few short years later married another longtime confidant and MacSween client, Ozzy Osbourne. “[Sharon] was working with her father at the time,” MacSween recalls. “We, and then Ozzy, became great friends. With all their help, ITB was set-up in 1976. Barry came and joined as a partner in 1978.” Business manager Colin Newman says, “I was working with Don Arden as a junior accountant and that’s how I first met Rod and Sharon. I remember that Rod was the agent for the Electric Light Orchestra, who were Jet Records’ biggest act.” Dickins brought the likes of Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young, The Kinks and Joni Mitchell to the fledgling ITB set-up, while
MacSween’s other acts included Steve Hillage, Kiki Dee, Roy Wood’s Wizzard, and Whitesnake. “When I took over management for Whitesnake, for some reason Rod and I were not speaking,” says Wizard Promotions founder Ossy Hoppe. “I asked the band’s lawyer, Tony Russell, to invite Rod to his office so he could meet the new manager and when Rod turned up and saw me, he said, ‘I may as well go home now.’ But I told him he was keeping the band, because he was a great agent, and we’ve never fallen out again. In fact, he’s my son, Oliver’s, godfather.” Setting a trend for the company’s managing partners, ITB’s office set-up started out uniquely. “We’ve never had offices next to each other, but when we first started working together, the gulf was even bigger – Rod was in Tilney Street and I was at the other end of Mayfair in Hanover Square,” says Dickins. “It was a few months before me moved into the same building together when I found a whole floor in Hammer House in Wardour Street. So Rod set-up at one end and I took the other end. It’s been like that in every office since.” Although Arden was involved, he rarely visited the ITB premises, allowing Dickins and MacSween to get on with the job of building the business. “Don was a silent partner, but I was tasked with keeping an eye on the finances for him,” explains Newman, who subsequently arranged the management buyout of the company on behalf of Dickins and MacSween in the 1980s, and remains the financial advisor for ITB, the Osbournes, and numerous other music clients to this day. That puts him in a great
Testimonials position to rank MacSween’s achievements. “Rod’s the best agent in the world,” he states. “And in terms of financial relevance, he’s been the best in the world for many, many years.”
Creating an empire
Until the management buyout of ITB, ownership of the company was a three-way profit split between Arden, Dickins and MacSween. But in 1985, with Newman’s help, Dickins and MacSween bought back Arden’s share of the company. “It was the best deal we ever made, so everyone was happy,” says Dickins. As rock enjoyed a mainstream resurgence in the 80s, MacSween’s roster continued to swell and ITB earned itself a reputation as one of the best independent agencies in the world. Under the tutelage of its owners, agents such as Charlie Myatt, Russell Warby, Scott Thomas, David Levy, Maria May and, of course, Lucy Dickins, learned their trade at ITB before moving on to pastures new, while remaining agents such as Steve Zapp, Mike Dewdney, Phyllis Belezos, Liam Keightley and Olivia Sime have rosters that promise great things for the company’s future.
I remember being at Rod’s office, making my regular rounds for booking Pentaport festival in Korea, and as we finalised our negotiations on Scorpions, Rod had Diana draw up the contracts and bring it to our table to sign together. I didn’t need our legal department to review the contracts, because Rod is a man of his word. Rod is a good guy, a great businessman, and a wonderful friend. He is a true legend in this game! Tommy Jinho Yoon, International Creative Agency Working closely with Rod over the last decade has been a highlight of my career. He is an absolute gentleman, highly intelligent with a big heart, and loves what he does. He is tenacious and never stops until he gets what he needs for his bands, but in the end he is always fair. If I was ever in a band I would want Rod as my agent! Shane Bourbonnais, Live Nation I have worked with Rod since I joined Mojo in 1991. We deal by phone or WhatsApp, so I always have to remind myself to share the deal with my assistants. Rod is one of the most reliable agents. Rob Trommelen, Mojo Concerts
Testimonials I’ll always remember the first time I visited Rod in his office. Coming to London from a remote little village in Switzerland, I was overwhelmed at the sight of all the gifts and souvenirs from his clients, who are our musical heroes. For me, Rod’s office is the real rock & roll hall of fame! Rod always believed in Paléo, he helped bring the big names to the festival and the shows were always brilliant. I learned so much about deal making from our collaboration with Rod. I still find myself asking: “How would Rod reply?” Dany Hassenstein, Paléo Festival Nyon It is very difficult to describe the thousand years all wrapped up in one man who has consistently lifted the spirits of so many souls throughout the world. Rod is a real English gentleman, a wise teacher, a visionary, a trouble-shooter, always on top of every situation. All your artists are privileged to have you represent them; the fact that you go back so many years with so many of them is witness to your great qualities as an agent. As a promoter, it’s been fascinating to have been your eyes and ears in Spain for so many years. But most important of all, it’s a great honour to be your friend. Love and respect to a true legend of rock & roll. Pino Sagliocco, Live Nation Spain
The man behind the myth
While the reality of losing in-house talent has, in the past, taken its toll on Dickins, MacSween’s ‘dark side’ of the ITB operation trundles on, with the exception of Ian Sales, who, in 2018, became the first person to retire from the company. Now, MacSween relies on Diana Pereira and fellow assistants Karen Fossey and Sue Reinhardt to help run his operations. “Rod has an old-school view of his role,” observes Diana, a 13-year veteran of team MacSween. “He’s not bigger than his acts, who remain his pride and joy, and he still works with a pencil and paper with a map next to him when he’s routing tours.” However, what distinguishes MacSween from most of his peers is the close friendships he cultivates with artists, managers and even promoters. Newman notes, “Rod gives 100% to people and that applies to all of his business relationships, especially artist managers and band members. He’s massively knowledgeable about up-and-coming acts and he’s the best when it comes to picking the best young support acts to suit his artists and the circumstances, which is a real art. Not many people know about the help he gives promoters when it comes to festival bills.”
Dear Rod, Congratulations on being named Agent of the Decade. What a well-deserved tribute. Thank you for being a loyal, fair and trusted partner to our company. We’re looking forward to work with you for many more years to come!
Klaus Bönisch, Kathleen & the KBK Team –––––THE WHO Live In Concert –––––
10.09.16 OBERHAUSEN - König-Pilsener-ARENA 12.09.16 STUTTGART - Hanns-Martin-Schleyer-Halle
Explaining that his career is built around reputation and relationships, MacSween, in ITB’s 40th anniversary feature in IQ, said, “I think I’ve managed to maintain these relationships through spending a lot of time with my artists. I’m fiercely protective and loyal to them. I fight hard for them and they know that. “There’s the old expression: ‘out of sight, out of mind,’ which is very true in our business, and I’ve always tried to keep well in sight of my clients. Most of them have become my friends as well. I travel a lot to spend time on the road with them, all over the world. I’ve become part of their family in many ways, and part of their team.” He added, “They can depend on me; my word is good, I’m honest, I work very hard, and we have a great company with a fantastic reputation. The best way to keep your job is to do it better than anyone else.” That strategy has obviously paid off, as MacSween’s roster is the envy of every agency on the planet. Phyllis Belezos, who has been at ITB since 2003, comments, “Everybody likes to pigeon hole and a lot of people think Rod is just rock, but his roster goes from Sabbath to Shakira and Aerosmith to Aguilera, so he’s no one-trick pony.” Underlining Rod’s range, 18-year ITB veteran, Steve Zapp,
Pearl Jam frontman, Eddie Vedder, is one of Rod’s closest friends, as well as one of the top artists on his roster
PERFORMING SONGS FROM THESE PEOPLE, HIS SOLO ALBUMS AND THE VERVE
ROBERT PLANT & the SENSATIONAL SPACE SHIFTERS
PLUS SPECIAL GUESTS
with special guest
Seth L akeman
UK TOUR 2018
UK TOUR 2017
WITH SPECIAL GUESTS
london | marCH 2020
20 YEARS OF
PLACEBO PLUS GUESTS
UK TOUR 2016
★ UK TOUR
tells IQ, “In my early days, Rod drove me from our Floral Street office to a show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, and when he turned on his car stereo, classical music was playing. It really surprised me, but it helped open my mind to the diversity of music.” Dewdney says, “Rod’s door is always open and he’s a great person to bounce ideas off. He is a picture of calm in a tempestuous sea and he taught me early on that if you come across a problem, relay it straight away, because if you sit on it, it will come back to bite you. But it’s also good to have some good news to balance the bad.” He adds, “Rod still has that same enthusiasm he had the first day I walked into ITB, and despite his success he’s very down to Earth – not arrogant like some people can become. Ultimately, Rod is one of the principle reasons I’m still at ITB after 31 years,
because I can see that the grass isn’t greener elsewhere.” Zapp continues, “Rod is very measured: lots of agents just try to cram in as many shows as possible, but it’s refreshing to see Rod at work as he really takes things like driving distances, mental health and resting the artists’ voices seriously. So he gets the money but without overstretching the artist. “It’s really hard to get to work with Rod if you are a promoter. But once you get an opportunity to work with him, then as long as you look after his artists and you pay on time, Rod will be loyal to you as a promoter. I don’t know any other agent who promoters and managers will refer to as their friend, and there are also a lot of artists he does not work with who call him a friend.” Dewdney interjects, “And it’s not just rock artists: Rod kept Gary Barlow in business after Take That split up, and he worked on his solo projects.” Belezos adds, “Rod really is the quintessential agent. The number of decades he has been doing it – and still his heart is totally in the job – speaks volumes. What you see is what you get: Rod is cutting and tough as shit, but I prefer that to the fluff. Unlike management or a record label, the agent
We work with Rod for the Nordic market more or less on a daily basis, and have done so for decades. He delivers constantly and although he has a mega-roster, his sense for details and history is sometimes scary. For the artist, he’s just the best. Regardless of size, Rod will leave no stone unturned in obtaining the best conditions possible for his artists. For the promoters, he keeps you busy, for sure! Tor Nielsen, Live Nation Sweden Rod, the relationship you have with your artists is unique and I don’t know how you make them all tour. What’s your secret recipe? How come you still look so young despite dealing with us promoters? Maybe it is the Caribbean sun? Thank you for your loyalty and especially for your friendship during the last many decades. Keep going, Rod! André Béchir, abc Production Rod has definitely earned his Agent of the Decade status, I might even say agent of the century! We’ve promoted most of Rod’s acts in Israel over the last decade, and it’s always been an amazing ride, with the utmost care for the acts. Looking forward to promoting many more with him in the years to come. Shuki Weiss & Oren Arnon, Shuki Weiss Promotion I’ve had the privilege of working with Rod over the past 21 years and it’s no surprise he is Agent of the Decade, due to his hard work, dedication and vision. He pays a lot of attention to detail and always goes the extra mile in making his clients and promoter happy. It’s been an absolute pleasure to work with Rod. Here’s to the next ten years and more! Attie Van Wyk, Big Concerts International
Aerosmith and Steven Tyler’s relationship with Rod is almost as long as the combined length of their hair
Testimonials Being the first agent that held our hands 15 years ago when it all started, Rod has not only been one of our favourite partners but also part of our family. He has always been here with us and words cannot describe how grateful and lucky we are to have him by our side. Truly one of a kind and a dear friend. We love you, Rod! Zeynep & Zümrüt, BKM Rod is an extraordinary agent. In all my years, I have not met many who have such relationships and friendships with their acts, many the biggest in the world. Congratulations Rod, and here is to many more years kicking arse. Michael Chugg, Chugg Entertainment Rodney, my boy! You are and always have been one of the greatest agents of our time. The amazing relationships you have and always will have with your artists is a testament to you, mate. Congratulations… and keep rockin’! Michael & Sue Gudinski & the Frontier Touring team The godfather of music, the legendary Dr. Rod MacSween, has always been a teacher and mentor for my company and myself. We honour him today with this great recognition from IQ Magazine as the #1 agent in the world, by far! Christopher Ruvalcaba, Basic Music
doesn’t have a contract, and I think that keeps both sides on their toes. We all know that artists can be quick to do musical chairs, but both Rod and Barry have kept their artists for decades, and that shows just what great agents they are.”
Bookworm & the demon bowler
According to those who know him best, MacSween has a trio of passions: music, reading and cricket. “He always has a book in his pocket,” reveals assistant, Diana. “He’s an avid reader and loves Russian literature.” “He actually switched me on to reading,” admits Dickins. “I have a pretty short attention span, but he encouraged me to read The Bourne Identity and I couldn’t put it down, so that’s what got me started.” “He’s a really intelligent man – he has a love for Russian literature and his knowledge, not just of the music business, is impressive,” states Live Nation’s Thomas Johansson. “He’s built more careers in rock than any other agent, he’s 100% loyal to his acts but also 100% loyal to me as a promoter, which ultimately helps to build those true superstar acts.” In a past interview with IQ, MacSween said, “For me, literature is a great release from my work… I like going into these
Testimonials “From a promoter’s point of view, Rod drives a hard deal, but he is fiercely loyal and he’ll work with you for life” Andy Copping | Live Nation UK
incredible worlds.” At the time of that 2018 article, he was reading Graham Greene, but cited D. H. Lawrence, Russian authors, Zola, Henry James and Joseph Conrad. “I love the imagination and the beauty of their words,” he said. Away from the office, MacSween’s other passion is cricket: he is an avid supporter of Hampshire County Cricket Club. Probably not coincidentally, he lives near to the home of the sport, Lord’s, while these days he spends a significant part of the year based in cricket-mad Barbados and boasts many of the game’s legendary figures as friends, including Sir Gary Sobers, Brian Lara and Australian all-rounder Shane Warne, who counts MacSween as his London landlord.
Rod and I have been working together since the early 90s and I am proud of the results we accomplished for his artists in South and Central America. Without his support and trust it would not have been possible to open some of the markets in the region that were not on anybody’s radar at the time. Rod is a tough businessman and fights really hard for his clients. José Muñiz, Mercury Concerts Rod is a passionate booker and caretaker for his artists and their interests. He bothers about their long-term careers and will work with promoters who want to build careers via the mix of the right spots at the right time at festivals and indoor. That is why our teams work so well together. In politics, the world is missing a Winston Churchill-type statesman with a long-term vision. In live music, we still have those statesmen, and Rod is a successful, passionate and dedicated example. Herman Schueremans, Live Nation Belgium Rod is a legend in our business. Even though we are on opposite sides – he is trying to sell the most expensive; I am trying to buy the cheapest I can – everything I learned in this business, I learnt from him: think fast and act even faster. Boban Miloseski, Avalon Production
Like all of Rod’s artists, KISS bass wizard Gene Simmons knows he can always lean on his agent
Indeed, when he’s not travelling to see his clients perform, MacSween can be found buried in a book on a flight to watch England play test matches. But his love of the game extends to even the grassroots, as Ossy Hoppe can attest. “Many years ago, we were driving to the north of England to see a David Coverdale show, when in the middle of nowhere, Rod spotted a cricket match,” recalls Hoppe. “He insisted we stop, and it was half time, so we had tea and sat on the grass. He was enthusiastic, but when I told him I didn’t get it, he told me to respect the game and that he had been a good player and had even represented his county. ‘Do you know what my nickname was?’ he asked me. ‘The Demon Bowler!’” That sporting prowess extends beyond cricket. If you’ve ever wondered how he keeps in such good shape, MacSween still goes running several times a week, and Dickins reveals that athletic streak dates back decades. “I learned to my cost how able a sportsman he is,” admits Dickins. “We stayed with Don Arden in Los Angeles once (he’d bought Howard Hughes’ former house) and Rod annihilated me at tennis. Afterwards, he told me he was once the Hampshire junior champion… I think he’s quietly competitive in everything he does – he was a great backgammon player, for instance.”
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Working extensively from Barbados allows Rod to hop on flights to both North and South America, but his annual air miles tally remains bewildering. “He travels a lot, especially during the summer, and he still gets excited about it,” reports Diana. “He’s good friends with a lot of artists and their management, and he makes sure he shows up on every tour.” Donning his accountancy hat, Newman comments, “Rod travels non-stop to shows – you can always spot him at Download or Rock In Rio or a stadium gig in Chile. What you have to remember is that travel is not rechargeable, so Rod covers his own costs because he wants to make sure he’s on hand to solve problems for his artists.” Despite her boss often being absent, Diana says working for MacSween is straightforward. “He sends a batch of emails first thing and he can make himself available for European promoters, as well as American clients, pretty much constantly. Technology means he can work from anywhere, so he frequently does.” Newman adds, “He’s worked that way for many years now, and funnily enough, the world has moved to Rod’s position where you don’t have to be tied to an office.”
I met Rod in 1982, when I was a roadie for Heart and we were doing a string of shows with Queen in the UK. I loved the fact he would spend time with a lowly roadie when there were so many bigger personalities all around us. Cut to ten years later, I am managing Pearl Jam. The band was still fairly unknown and we were the new young act on Lollapalooza. Rod showed up at the second show and convinced me that this would be a huge international act. We signed with him that day and he has been our agent for 28 years. He’s represented and stuck to the band’s ethos in every situation, including some very uncomfortable ones. He is one of the good guys. Kelly Curtis, manager – Pearl Jam Rod has been a truly loyal and honest partner over the years. He not only puts his focus on the big picture, but on the small details at the same time. It’s exactly this combination that makes me proud to be able to work with Rod. Ewald Tatar, Nova Music Whilst Done’s working relationship with Rod only stretches the past six months or so, it is clear he is a legend in the business and, to date, has been quite fair with our requests! Rod is certainly someone I look up to and hope to learn a lot from. Peter Green, Done Events
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Richie Sambora, Joe Elliott, Rod, David Coverdale and Jimmy Page meet backstage to discuss hair guitar news
Dickins is also a fan of his partner’s routine. “You cannot argue with someone who’s never there,” he states, before recounting an epic bust-up. “I can’t remember what it was about, but he sent this enormous bouquet of flowers to my house afterwards. My wife was so impressed that she suggested I should fall out with him more often. “If I were to have my time over again, I’d come back as Rod’s florist!”
MacSween’s recipe for success may be simple, but it stands the test of time, and both artist managers and promoters around the world talk-up his loyalty, albeit in different ways. “Rod is the perfect chameleon,” notes Live Nation UK promoter Andy Copping. “He can be in a gentlemen’s club with Korn, talking literature with Maynard from Tool, or sitting on a beach and going surfing with Eddie Vedder, and be equally as comfortable. From a promoter’s point of view, Rod drives a hard deal, but he is fiercely loyal and he’ll work with you for life. He’s a tough negotiator, but he listens to concerns, as well as being blunt about why he needs offers to be at a certain level for a certain act. If you reach an impasse in negotiations, I’ve seen him copy the act in to an email. How the fuck do you say ‘no’ after that?!
“He’s a great agent – I can be honest with him about what the band wants and I know he will fight for us to get the best possible deals” Jayne Andrews | manager, Judas Priest
“And from a personal point of view, he’s very caring: I had a health scare a while back and not only did he recommend specialists for me to see, he also nagged me to do it and followed up to make sure I was okay and going back for regular check-ups. He’s a legend and just an amazing friend.” Artist manager extraordinaire, Doc McGhee, first met Rod in the late 1970s, but didn’t start working with him until 1983. “He’s one of a dying breed – Barbara Skydel, Frank Barsalona, Neil Warnock, John Jackson – one of the originals who grew up in the soul and rock era when we were kids and who knows the business inside out,” states McGhee. “Rod has always known where to play, when to play, and how to play it – and he was there before the zeros started appearing on deals, so he Magazine
Testimonials knows how to leave something on the table for the promoters, rather than just gouging people for what he can get. “He’s always accessible and always with the band on the road. He’s tough but fair – I’ve seen him turn down more money from promoters that should not be working with certain acts. Fundamentally, he fights for the artists and they know that. He gets back to you within seconds, usually, he has great relationships with people at TV and radio, and he’s just someone we can utterly count on.” Judas Priest manager, Jayne Andrews agrees. “I’ve been with the band for 34 years and Rod pre-dates me. He’s a great agent – I can be honest with him about what the band wants and I know he will fight for us to get the best possible deals. I push Rod and he pushes for us. “He always makes an appearance when we’re on the road and that’s really appreciated by the band, because they can see that he cares about them – and if someone gets ill, or has any kind of problems, Rod always checks in to make sure they are getting the help they need.”
State of independence
Rod is a force of nature and has consistently been at the top of his game for years. He’s very bright and hardworking and he’s notoriously tough, but also fair – he’s been a good friend to me for the past 20 years. He’ll do anything for his clients and goes the extra mile every time for his artists. Rod is really cultured, too. He once told me that he read an article about the 100 best books ever written and he made it a point to read every one of them, which is quite a feat. Simon Moran, SJM Concerts
I’ve known Rod for 36 years – I met him when I was 16, and since then I’ve been the promoter for all of his rock acts in Switzerland. Rod is an absolute gentleman. I can reach him at any time, he always calls back, he’s loyal, and he listens to you and cannot do enough to help out. He’s one of the nicest guys in this business. Stefan Matthey, Good News Productions As many people know, Rod is a big fan of cricket, and it is a team game, where you must feel and understand your partners well. This is a thing he has always been good at, and it has always been a pleasure to work with him. We believe our most interesting and challenging games are yet to come. Nadia Solovieva, SAV Entertainment
Between them, Dickins and MacSween have enjoyed enor-
! d o R !!
TO ROD MACSWEEN
AGENT OF THE DECADE! A GREAT MILESTONE IN YOUR IMPRESSIVE CAREER!
From your friends at Paléo Festival Nyon - Switzerland. You deserve it every bit and the new decade started very well, you will beat your own record!
FROM DIETER AND HIS TEAM AT
He’s not ‘Lightning Rod’, not ‘Fishing Rod’, not ‘Rod the Mod’, but he’s ‘Our Rod’, the best agent in the world! ~ Bill Curbishley
With very best wishes from Bill and Robert and everyone at Trinifold Management
TRINIFOLD MANAGEMENT LTD., 12 OVAL ROAD, LONDON NW1 7DH
RETAINED IN PERPETUITY!
Testimonials We want to congratulate you on getting Agent of the Decade. You’ve been our agent for more than a decade and you’ve been the best agent that I’ve ever had. You know why? You’re the only one. I remember you before you were an agent, in your little pushchair. I can’t think of anybody else on the face of the Earth that deserves this award more. Rod MacSween, God bless you man. Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne has been a client, friend and confidant of Rod for more than 40 years
Roddybod we love you very much. Do you remember when you had your first office in London and I was helping you carry the furniture up the stairs, and decorating the office?! We go way, way back, and I love you. Sharon Osbourne
ROD MACSWEEN’S ROSTER
It’s thoroughly enjoyable to work on an act with Rod as he genuinely believes in his artists and has an abundance of enthusiasm for them and the show. He’s been instrumental to the success of Download in Australia, regardless of our dominating cricket team. A true gentleman. Nigel Melder, Live Nation Australasia
Aerosmith Black Sabbath Chris Isaak Christina Aguilera Colin Macleod Counting Crows Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Dave Matthews Band Def Leppard Duff Mckagan Eddie Vedder Extreme Five Finger Death Punch Gene Simmons Guns N’ Roses
Jane’s Addiction John Mayall Judas Priest Kiss Korn Kovacs The Last Internationale Lenny Kravitz Limp Bizkit Maroon 5 Megadeth Morrissey Onerepublic Ozzy Osbourne Pearl Jam Placebo Prophets Of Rage
Rage Against The Machine Richard Ashcroft Richie Sambora Robert Plant Roger Daltrey Saving Grace Scorpions Steven Tyler & The Loving Mary Band Tom Morello Tool Vintage Trouble Weezer Whitesnake The Who
Rod has built more careers in rock than any other agent. He is 100% loyal to his clients, but he’s also been 100% loyal to me as a promoter, which has helped build some of his clients into superstar acts. He has a little notebook that he carries everywhere with him that he can write things in and he plans well ahead of time and discusses everything with the promoters – he actually reminds me of Viktor Tikhonov who coached Russia’s big red machine ice hockey team. I know he likes Russian literature, so maybe Rod is a bit Russian… Thomas Johansson, Live Nation I went to Barbados with my girlfriend and Rod took time out to give us a tour of the island and take us for lunch. It’s not often that you get to spend time with someone like that in their home environment, but Rod is just a really nice person. He’s not the screaming type, but at the same time he will squeeze you for €50 for a smaller act and it has nothing to do with the money, he just wants do the best for his client. He’s very honourable and work is his life. I don’t know anyone else who could keep that fire burning. Martin Nielsen, Live Nation
mous success with ITB, having created what was, arguably, the biggest independent agency in the world. At the turn of the century, that prompted Live Nation predecessor SFX to make the dynamic duo an offer they could not refuse. That relationship lasted 14 years, and while the divorce from Live Nation in 2014 was amicable, Newman believes the process cemented MacSween as the number-one agent in the world for many of the corporation’s senior hierarchy. “Rod gives 100% to people and that applies in his business relation-
Rod, my dear friend. The man that is known to many and loved by most. The smile that brightens anyone’s day, if you know Rod and you know the smile, then the Rod you know is the Rod I love. What he has done for the touring world, words can’t describe, I am truly lucky to have Rod as one of my dearest friends. A friend I can enjoy a pint with at whichever part of the world he’s got us playing in. A brother I can rely on when the tough gets tougher. A human that makes the world a better place. Fernando Lebeis, manager – Guns N’ Roses
There’s no need for wallpaper when you have a client roster like Rod MacSween...
Testimonials I met Rod in the 80s, at Rock in Rio, and I’ve worked with loads of his acts since. He has a 24/7 passion for his work – he’s always scratching for whatever he can get for his artists until the ink dries. In these days of consolidation, ITB rode the wave, in and out, and emerged a strong and important agency. Being an indie myself, I have the utmost respect for both Rod and Barry. Phil Rodriguez, Move Concerts Rod and I have been good friends for years and often have our clients playing on the same bill. We share a similar mindset and that’s allowed us to put things together like Alice In Chains and Judas Priest, for instance, and currently, Foreigner and Whitesnake, which is selling really well across arenas in the UK. I don’t know how Rod is able to have so many acts out touring in one year – he’s certainly never had a quiet summer! His insight into the live world and his music collection is phenomenal. I remember him telling me about listening to a band from Portugal and inviting them to his house for drinks. The next day, on a Saturday morning, he made some phone calls and booked them 25 festival slots. He truly is an inspiration. Steve Strange, X-ray Touring
ships as well,” says Newman. “He cultivated some solid friendships with people like Michael Rapino at Live Nation, and, if anything, those bonds have become even stronger since ITB became independent again.” Indeed, Rapino himself has nothing but praise for MacSween and divulges that the ITB founder helped him formulate Live Nation’s aggressive expansion plans. “Rod is a close friend, and when I lived in London in the early days of Live Nation, he was instrumental in teaching me the global landscape of promoters – which created the blueprint for our growth,” Rapino tells IQ. Now located in offices in London’s Aldwych, ITB is firmly independent again, with MacSween plotting the next phase of his clients’ live careers from either the photo-laden walls of his office, or his Caribbean home. During the doctorate ceremony, long-time friend Robert Plant said, ”It’s been a real hoot these past God knows how many years, but it’s been great sharing my adventures with you, Rod. Congratulations, old friend.” But the last word on our agent of the decade goes to Dickins. “Rod doesn’t like change – he still uses a Blackberry, for instance. But that’s been great for me and ITB because he’s the best agent in the world and that has not changed. He still loves the art of the chase and building his acts’ careers. He’s definitely one of those characters who will never retire: he’s the Mick Jagger of the agency world.”
Crusty denim jackets and bullet belts? Forget everything you thought you knew about metal: it’s an evolving genre that’s been doing big business while the mainstream was otherwise occupied. Kerrang! writer James MacKinnon speaks to metal’s champions within the industry and looks toward brave new frontiers… 74
ast year, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson was bestowed with two very unique honours. In April, he was made an honorary citizen of Sarajevo in recognition of a concert his solo band Skunkworks played there in 1994, during a prolonged siege of the Bosnia and Herzegovina capital. Presenting the award, Mayor Abdulah Skaka said, “The arrival of Mr. Dickinson in Sarajevo, in 1994, was one of those moments that made us realise that we will survive.” The other accolade was bestowed upon Dickinson by Dr. Cristina Rheims, a Brazilian biologist and metal fan who gave a newly discovered species of spider the title Extraordinarius brucedickonsoni. If these honours anecdotally demonstrate metal’s soft power, its global reach, and the deep devotion of its fans, then the fact that Amon Amarth, a melodic death metal band whose principal lyrical inspiration is Viking folklore, will shake the fields of Wacken Open Air festival with 75,000 roaring fans this summer, should be considered testament to metal’s undaunted commercial clout. “It feels like there’s a cultural movement happening where, if you’re in the metal game and you’re good at what you do, you have a specific
brand and you put on a great live show, things are moving,” enthuses Justin Arcangel, president of 5B Artist Management and Touring, who represent Amon Amarth, Babymetal, Slipknot and more. “All our data-streaming numbers, ticket numbers, merch sales, whatever – are all bigger in 2020 than in 2010. The funny thing is when you speak to some people that don’t work in this genre, they have no idea. Metal is, to this day, outsider music, but let me tell you, it’s a major cultural thing, especially in Europe.”
“Some of our hardcore audience think maybe metal is too mainstream now, because in Germany there’s a lot in the charts,” chuckles Thomas Jensen, CEO of International Concert Services and Wacken co-founder, pondering the sea change since he first staged the festival in the German village’s gravel pit in 1990. Now in its third decade, with all 75,000 tickets for 2020’s edition snapped up in an astonishing 21 hours, Wacken is a major force, with good company in France’s Hellfest (55,000-capacity), Belgium’s Graspop (50,000-cap), plus the UK’s Bloodstock Open Air (20,000-cap) and Download, which attracts 110,000 fans over the weekend) – a “heavy music summer,” as Jensen calls it. Which is not even to dig into the boom in boutique festivals offering bespoke experiences such as Italy’s Rock The Castle or the Netherlands’ Roadburn, whose reputation as a tastemaker event means 75% of
Slayer visited Ecuadorian capital Quito as part of their final tour, promoted by Christian Krämer at CKConcerts © JIMMY ANDOCILLA
its 4,000 attendees travel from abroad. “What we’ve witnessed across Wacken events is that metal is really a community, this outlaw feeling that unites us,” says Jensen. “Our music is a live experience and the whole festival circuit allows bands to survive. For international acts, it’s easier to put a festival run together than it was in the 90s, and you see bands working their way up the bill each year.” “I’ve only ever seen the metal market over the years grow,” agrees Vicky Hungerford, co-director at Bloodstock, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with headline spots from Polish black metallers Behemoth, and the UK’s Judas Priest. As well as fostering new talent with their popular Metal To The Masses series of regional shows, where unsigned bands compete to play the festival, Bloodstock strongly believes in paving the way for tomorrow’s monsters of rock. “We brought Sabaton up to headliner last year, but when we first had them, Sabaton were an opener on the main stage,” she points
“What we’ve witnessed across our events is metal is really a community, this outlaw feeling that unites us” Thomas Jensen | International Concert Services / Wacken Open Air
out, adding that while Aussie metallers Parkway Drive were considered an unconventional choice by some to headline in 2019, Bloodstock sold more tickets for that day than ever. “Live Nation have told me that from their point of view, once a band has headlined Bloodstock it elevates them to arenas in the UK. It helps them sell on bigger tours and bigger events.” Another emerging force is Loud Noise, based in Eindhoven, which handles about 200 shows each year, of which half are in The Netherlands, the rest European touring. Loud Force’s Tjerk Maas explains that in addition to touring activity and representing acts such as Metal Church, Don Airey, Monolord and Flotsam & Jetsam, the company organises a number of festivals.
“Prognosis is a prog (metal) festival held on March 20-21 at The Effenaar in Eindhoven, with a capacity of 1,700, which we do together with Andy Farrow of Northern Music,” says Maas. “Dynamo Metalfest started in 2015 and is held at the 10,000-cap IJssportcentrum in Eindhoven. We’ve been sold out twice and have had good numbers on the others. Last year, we started with a second day and had a total of 12,000 visitors. This year, we expect at least 15,00016,000 in total, thanks to a line up that includes Exodus, Heaven Shall Burn, Sepultura, Jinjer, Obituary and a very special headline show celebrating Bay Area thrash from the 80s, curated by Craig Locicero from Forbidden.” The company also runs Into The Grave
Metal_Feature (6,500-cap) in the city centre of Leeuwarden; and Das Oktober Metalfest (whose large beer mugs are reusable plastic and in the shape of a skull) which caters for a maximum of 4,000 people in Eindhoven’s Klokgebouw venue.
Caught in a mosh
Despite a lack of mainstream media support, momentum is undeniably gathering around metal’s rising generation. Following their Bloodstock headline slot, Parkway Drive will embark on an 11-date tour of European arenas, aptly titled Viva The Underdogs, including a grandstand at London’s Wembley Arena. Meanwhile, Sabaton have just concluded their first extensive arena tour, and an ambitious 17-date trek through Russian territory beckons. “If you group all these acts together and you talk to someone in this industry that understands metal, it makes sense,” says Arcangel. “These bands all write great songs, they put on great shows, they invest in production, and they give good value for money. The exciting thing we’re
seeing with our clients and peripheral acts, is that the graph seems to be going up – it’s not stopping.” This trajectory is certainly borne out by the growth of ticket sales for established acts, too. 5B’s own Slipknot has already sold 302,000 tickets and rising for their European tour (see feature on page 90). Elsewhere, Rammstein broke CTS Eventim records with 800,000 tickets sold in a single on-sale for their first stadium tour last year and have just announced ten stadium engagements in North America. Metallica’s globetrotting WorldWired tour has garnered an estimated total gross of $430million (€390m) and 4.1 million tickets since 2016 according to Pollstar, and looks set to continue with ten exclusive appearances at North American festivals by festival mega-promoter Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP). The band will play two unique sets over the opening and closing nights of Epicenter (80,000-attendance, North Carolina), Aftershock (90,000-attendance, California), Welcome To Rockville (100,000-attendance, Florida), Sonic Temple Art+Music (120,000-attend-
“The funny thing is when you speak to some people that don’t work in this genre, they have no idea” Justin Arcangel | 5B Artist Management & Touring
ance, Ohio) and Kentucky’s Louder Than Life, which welcomed 128,000 attendees over three days in 2019, officially becoming America’s largest rock festival. “We wanted to push the envelope, and when we proposed the concept to the Metallica camp, it was exactly what they were looking for in 2020, to do something different,” says DWP talent buyer and VP Gary Spivack. “Heavy rock and metal has a dedicated and passionate fan-base, but you have to have a dependable brand. You can’t just plop a show on a slab of concrete. You have to serve them with the right venue, the right ticket price – don’t overcharge them – and the right kind of rock & roll. Do that and to this day they will come in droves.”
Have metal, will travel
In IQ’s previous metal report, many promoters and agents spoke enthusiastically about Latin America as fertile ground for metal’s global expansion, as streaming continues to break down borders between artists and potential audiences. Talking today to Günther Beer at Austria’s Cobra Agency, which represents Slipknot, Arch Enemy and Sepultura, among others and has a firm foothold in Latin America, the future certainly looks bright. “There’s a big appetite for metal in Latin America, particularly for some of the older,
Sabaton were one of the big crowd-pullers at Bloodstock last year © KATJA OGRIN
Rising stars Parkway Drive included Resurrection Festival in Viveiro, Spain, as part of their 2019 touring schedule © PARKWAYDRIVEOFFICIAL
FINNTROLL ENSIFERUM DARK FUNERAL NEAERA
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Sabaton were one of the big crowd-pullers at Bloodstock last year © KATJA OGRIN
legendary acts who maybe haven’t toured there much,” he affirms. “The upcoming Judas Priest tour is going to smash it. But there are also artists like Helloween who don’t sell well in the States, yet can play to 15,000 people in some cities.” Colombia-based Christian Krämer at CKConcerts agrees, adding that metal audiences tend to be young and “you can reach probably 80% of the audience via social media and Internet advertising. Mass media and billboards are of much less importance compared to pop.” However, as an experienced promoter of acts such as Slayer, Nightwish and Mötorhead throughout the region, he cautions that Brazil is currently the only country where artists can reasonably play multiple dates: “You can sometimes play a second city in Argentina, Chile or Colombia, but for other countries it is basically only the capital. Also, for many shows, big or small, all the equipment needs to be brought in, which makes touring expensive.” Nevertheless, audiences are hungry for metal, and Beer believes that the expansion of established festivals like Lollapalooza (now staged in Argentina, Chile and Brazil) and Knotfest in Mexico and Colombia will stimulate touring infrastructure. “It will help the scene grow and also set production standards, giving people the chance to see better-produced shows,” he says. Not all growth has been equal, though. Many
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Feature_Metal agents also cite India as a promising market, but for promoters on the ground the reality of turning metal streaming numbers into ticket sales is an uphill struggle. “We attract around 2,500 people to the festival every year, which isn’t huge considering the population of the country,” says Salman Syed, who founded Bangalore Open Air (BOA) in 2012, after being inspired by his travels to Wacken. “Unfortunately, we are a Bollywood and EDM-driven industry. Metal is still a small niche and it is hard to explain to agents that charging the same money as they would in the USA or Europe isn’t feasible.” BOA is now officially affiliated with Wacken, and Syed proudly runs Wacken Metal Battle in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and India, hosting contests to find a band that will represent the Indian subcontinent at Wacken Open Air. However, he says a lack of government support and finding substantial sponsorship are perennial challenges for metal promoters. “Programming metal in this country has always been passion driven and still is,” adds Himanshu Vaswani, co-founder and director of 4/4 Experiences. During his former post as marketing and events manager at India’s largest instrument retailer, Bajaoo, he organised gigs in multiple genres, including Mumbai’s short-lived
ACHIM OSTERTAG | SUMMER BREEZE CHRISTIAN KRÄMER | CKCONCERTS CRAIG JENNINGS | RAW POWER MANAGEMENT GARY SPIVACK | DANNY WIMMER PRESENTS GÜNTHER BEER | COBRA AGENCY HIMANSHU VASWANI | 4/4 EXPERIENCES JUSTIN ARCANGEL | 5B ARTIST MANAGEMENT & TOURING VICKY HUNGERFORD | BLOODSTOCK OPEN AIR THOMAS JENSEN | INTERNATIONAL CONCERT SERVICES / WACKEN OPEN AIR
“These bands all write great songs, they put on great shows, they invest in production, and they give good value for money” Justin Arcangel Arcangel | 5B Artist Management & Touring
metal festival Big69. “The problem starts with a lack of venues promoting metal. Young bands don’t have venues to polish their skills and move on further. There is still a very loyal audience but those numbers have not grown either.” Iron Maiden may have put India on the metal map in 2007, by playing to 40,000 metalheads at Bangalore Palace, but investment in touring infrastructure and venues will be needed before India truly opens up. “If numbers were to trump sentiments here, I am not extremely hopeful,” admits Vaswani. “I strongly believe that any scene is only as strong as its grass roots. Until we get credible performance venues to support younger metal bands, the market will continue to plateau.”
Irons in the fire
As metal titans Slayer officially bade farewell last year, following the retirement of the genre’s godfathers Black Sabbath in 2017, conversation among bookers has naturally turned once more to who will replace the old guard. However, the
subject is regarded today as an opportunity rather than cause for dread and, as Summer Breeze festival founder and CEO Achim Ostertag attests, fans are hungry for fresh blood atop festival bills. “Architects have always been frequently requested by our audience and they’ve proved themselves to be a big crowd pleaser with a great turnout in previous years,” Ostertag explains of the choice to promote the rising British metallers to pole position at this year’s 40,000-strong metal jamboree in Bavaria, alongside Summer Breeze alumni Within Temptation and Amon Amarth. “It’s hard to predict which band has the potential to stick around as long as Maiden, Metallica and Priest, but bands like Amon Amarth, Slipknot or Powerwolf are really stepping up their efforts to create memorable live shows for their fans. We always try to focus on a well-curated lineup and it’s important to give rising bands the chance to prove their potential – they might be the next headliners.” Reflecting on the success of Bring Me The Horizon’s ascension to headliner status at AEG’s All Points East festival last year – drawing in approximately 25,000 people to a notably young and heavy bill handpicked by the band – Raw Power Management CEO and rock lifer Craig Jennings says, “We need the new breed to come through. Hopefully, what we did with Horizon will be a breakthrough so the big promoters – AEG, Live
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Opeth at Wacken Open Air 2019
Iron Maiden’s mammoth Legacy of the Beast World Tour resumes in May 2020 in Perth, Australia
Nation, SJM, Kilimanjaro – can keep being supportive of this genre.” As for young headbangers down the front, 5B’s Justin Arcangel concludes that the future of metal is in safe hands: “There are always going to be those kids out there that are turned off by whatever the mainstream is selling and this music is for them. It’s real, it’s fun, and it’s powerful – that will never change.”
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For two decades, Slipknot have been hell-bent on enticing people into their twisted world – one sold-out show at a time. As they embark on their largest tour to date, rock scribe James MacKinnon speaks to some of the key players in the band’s team to discover how The ’Knot reached the top on entirely their own terms…
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ver the course of two decades, the metal juggernaut known as Slipknot has continually grown in stature, thanks to the band’s long-term vision and sheer, bloody-minded determination. Over six albums, the heavy metallers from Des Moines, Iowa (where many of the nine masked members still call home), have garnered no fewer than 14 platinum albums and 39 gold discs, alongside a Grammy win for Best Metal Performance. Couple that with a fervent fan-base that extends across the world, and even the mainstream is unable to ignore the band’s idiosyncratic presence. As their tour manager Mike Amato aptly puts it, “I work with a band that wear masks for a living. How come everyone recognises them when we’re at airports? That’s how big this has become.” Even by the band’s own considerable career standards, 2019 proved to be a bumper year, with the release of their sixth album We Are Not Your Kind beating Taylor Swift’s Lover, and topping the album charts in ten countries in the first week of its release. The band’s 29-date proprietary Knotfest Roadshow, meanwhile, sold 525,000 tickets in the States last year, with a 2020 sequel due to commence in May. Beyond North America, standalone Knotfests have expanded as far afield as France and Colombia – and are still spreading. But more on that in good time for Slipknot are currently nearing the end of the biggest European tour of their career, traversing 15 countries over 28 arena dates. They sold out 25 of those shows well in advance, backed by their loyal team of talented creatives and promoters, who take us inside the planning and concept of the tour below. Tour promoters Live Nation are delighted. “Slipknot only continue to grow and push the boundaries,” says Shane Bourbonnais, Live Nation’s president of talent for international music. “The band and their team are professionals to the bone and the success of the We Are Not Your Kind campaign, both live and recorded, is testament to the incredible work they put in. Over half a million fans have seen the band in the last year and we’re not done yet. We look forward to everything they throw at us in the future” At the time of writing, Slipknot have sold 302,000 tickets on the current leg of the tour. For longtime manager and friend, Cory Brennan, founder/CEO of 5B Artist Management, these numbers not only signify the band’s enduring commercial muscle, but also their position as one of metal’s leading players. Magazine
Feature_Slipknot “To me, it represents respect,” he says. “Whether it’s streams, album sales, tickets, merchandise, Slipknot is ticking all of those boxes and coming out on top. As someone who has worked with these guys for 20 years and seen all the blood, sweat and tears that they have been through – the birth of children, the death of band members, every situation you could see – and to have the respect level to be that high at this point, is beyond exciting.”
Somewhat appropriately, the longstanding relationship between Slipknot and Brennan began with a live video in 1998. Then a product manager at Roadrunner Records, Brennan was handed the VHS tape by A&R head Monte Conner, who told him he would be able to meet with the band later that day. Brennan initially intended to prioritise an already busy workload, but that quickly changed upon hitting play. “It was pure carnage. There were nine members on this tiny stage and it seemed like there were more people onstage than there were in the audience, but there was this unbridled energy coming across,” he recalls. He was rushed into a meeting with founding percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan, the band’s creative engine and artistic director, and was told in no uncertain terms that Slipknot would become the biggest artist Roadrunner ever signed, and that they would never compromise their confrontational music and aesthetic. “Clown had a vision like no other for where Slipknot could go,” says Brennan. “And what I left feeling most excited about was that he had a clear vision of where he wanted this band to be today and where he wants to be in 20 years. In his mind, there was no glass ceiling to what they could achieve, and I think that’s how we have always operated.” Clown’s predictions have proven utterly prophetic. Emerging at a time when metal’s biggest hitters – Metallica, Slayer, Pantera, to name a few – were experiencing crises of confidence, Slipknot’s eponymous 1999 debut provided a brand-new voice in aggressive music that resonated with legions of young people. Their image – nine men wearing masks and boiler suits, like Michael Myers’ family portrait – may have worried conservative parents, but it made Slipknot’s brand of outsider culture instantly identifiable. Their fanbase of maggots, as they are affectionately known, has gone from strength to strength with each album, and it is common, to this day, to see maggots arrive at gigs sporting homemade masks and jumpsuits. Although on paper the band initially formed in 1995, they consider 1999 their ‘year zero.’ Their self-titled album featured what many regard as the original ‘nine’ including Clown and longstanding vocalist Corey Taylor; guitarists Mick
The band’s use of pyro and flame throwers perfectly complements the spectacle of their live performances
“I work with a band that wear masks for a living. How come everyone recognises them when we’re at airports?” Mike Amato | tour manager
Thomson and Jim Root; sampler Craig Jones; and turntablist Sid Wilson. Following membership shifts and the death of founding bassist Paul Gray in 2011, the line-up is completed today by Jay Weinberg (drums), Alex Venturella (bass) and an anonymous percussionist known simply as “New Guy.” Last year, Slipknot marked their 20th anniversary with sixth album, We Are Not Your Kind, their first album to top the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic in 18 years. They also headlined Download festival – the biggest event in the UK metal calendar – for the fourth time. “I think at first no one in the industry really understood what Slipknot could be,” says Brennan, who has been with the band every step of the way. “Everyone in 98 got a sense that there was this powerful live band that had made a debut record that really struck a chord with people across the world, but I don’t think anyone saw the longevity they could have. The music has never taken a backseat, and they’ve always progressed.”
Clown once likened the beginning of a Slipknot show to jumping out of an aeroplane and not knowing if the parachute is going to open. As production manager Rob Highcroft explains, the construction of the We Are Not Your Kind touring production was a similar feat of derring-do. With preparations beginning in March 2019 ahead of a 16-date, European-festival-headlining circuit commencing in June, the stage show’s delivery from conception to fabrication and assembly was achieved in a mere 12 weeks. “We did two identical rigs for the festivals, and ideally you build one, play around with it for a couple of days, and then you say, ‘Build the second one.’ But because of time constraints, we said, ‘Right, the design is approved. Start cutting steel.’” says Highcroft. The set was fabricated by Gallagher Staging in Nashville and Los Angeles, before being shipped to the UK for assembly during crew rehearsals at Fly By Nite Studios. “Gallagher Staging just pulled out all the stops. They absolutely smashed it,” says Highcroft. The impressive two-level set sits on top of a rolling stage supplied by Matthew Hales at Tait Towers. Four members perform on the floor, backed by walls of video boxes, provided by PRG’s Stefaan Michels, and covered in grating that features Slipknot’s nine-pointed star logo. As the band’s aesthetic mind, Clown person-
Slipknot in all their glory at Dublin’s 3Arena on the first night of the current European tour
ally involves himself in the creation of each set, with the current iteration conveying a factory in Hell vibe. Where previous stage sets focused on pyrotechnics and moving elements – most notably a drum riser that would vertically rotate the kit 360 degrees – set designer Jordan Coopersmith explains that this set focuses more on simplicity without sacrificing impact. “Clown and I had multiple FaceTime calls and one of his guidelines was he didn’t want any hydraulic lifts,” says Coopersmith, who had worked with the band as production manager on previous tour cycles. “There’s a lot of showmanship, so without the set-pieces moving I needed the band to be able to move around easily. The video boxes on either side of the stairs have a conveyor belt built into the decking, leading to Clown’s side or New Guy’s side. It’s a fun little element, and, of course, in true Slipknot fashion, they play with the speeds and directions, now. We also fashioned monkey bars that attach to each percussion riser because, historically, Sid would hang on to them, so a lot of the design was incorporating some of their old tricks into a static set.” While Slipknot’s penchant for fire still remains, with a line of pyro heads from FFP Effects, the desire for maximum visual firepower has led to the band embracing video technology like never before. “Clown is a big film guy, so I had the idea of finding a flexible LED product to wrap his drum shells in,” explains Coopersmith. The INFiLED SF series panels were rented from AVMS in Berlin and mounted to the drums then data synced with the PRG video boxes and an-
“They’ve created this niche and they live it because it’s who they are. What these guys go through to put on their show is insane” Jordan Coopersmith | set designer
gled video panels above. “The timing of every song can fluctuate from night to night depending on the energy, so we programmed the lights and video in blocks that are easily adaptable,” adds lighting designer Trevor Ahlstrand, who programmed the video elements with content designer Andy Reuter. “Some of the photography Clown shot himself and we incorporate it, which really works with the theme and flow of the show.” With 18 Fly By Nite trucks transporting the one system rig, plus eight buses supplied by Jörg Philipp at Beat The Street, this tour is the biggest of Slipknot’s career by a country mile. “We are 55 touring crew, plus drivers, band members and their party,” counts Highcroft. “It’s a lot of people to have in a building and, taking into account the opening act and some locals, we’re feeding about 140 people a day,” with catering provided by Eat To The Beat. Although a lot came together in a short space of time, including a largely new crew – or ‘The Stew’ as they are known – everyone agrees that the team couldn’t be stronger. Even front of house engineer Bob Strakele, a man with the unenviable task of ensuring that nine musicians playing in unison sound clear and punchy every night, agrees. “Honestly, this is the best crew I’ve been a part of,” he beams. “Everyone here is a pro and very helpful, and it comes from the band and pro-
duction management.” Tour manager Amato bullishly echoes that sentiment: “The Stew is delicious and people are coming back for seconds!” Promotion for the tour has been seamless, according to agent Günther Beer of Cobra Agency who handles Slipknot’s worldwide promotion outside of North America. Providing insight into the band’s long-term strategy, which involved teasing their loyal following with cryptic clues, Beer tells IQ, “Even though the tour went on sale last September, we started triggering announcements in May. We did a lot of new marketing things like a teaser poster campaign without tour dates, and hidden secret messages on the band’s website. We spent a lot of time triggering that tour to make sure that there was a big boom once we announced the dates. You could see people getting excited about it on social media, and it really paid off because quite a few of the 28 shows on this tour sold out in just a few hours. The whole tour is performing extremely well and we expect it to sell out.” After this leg, Slipknot will continue their international trajectory with three Asia Pacific dates in March, headlining Singapore Rockfest and Indonesia’s Hammersonic festival before a standalone date at Manila’s 15,000-capacity Amoranto Stadium. This will be followed by headline slots at Ohio’s Sonic Temple Festival, and Monterrey, Mexico’s Machaca Festival, be-
CONTRIBUTORS Fans from around Europe travelled to Luxembourg’s Rockhal arena for Slipknot’s show in February
fore returning to Europe to headline Spain’s Metal Paradise Fest and Germany’s Wacken, plus victory lap dates at Berlin’s 22,000-capacity Waldbühne and Cologne’s 46,000-capacity RheinEnergieStadion. And yet, this impressive itinerary doesn’t even account for the most important dates in the Slipknot calendar.
Anarchy in the UK (and beyond)
Alongside the evolution of the band’s live presence in the last decade, has been the growth of their very own festival: Knotfest. Debuted in 2012 with two dates in Wisconsin (US) and the band’s home state of Iowa, the inaugural Knotfest sold 40,000 tickets and boasted a strong metal lineup over two stages. “The reason Knotfest started is because all of the festivals that Slipknot were playing in the US at the time had no concern for the overall experience,” explains Brennan. By comparison, Knotfest’s grounds offered an immersion into Slipknot’s worldview curated by the band, extending from approved vendors and rides to wandering fire breathers and a carnival aesthetic. “We have always had this view that Knotfest can be a global festival, but it wasn’t until we launched the first one that we saw the power of that. I think we’ve really shown what differentiates Knotfest from other festivals. And people responded to it.” Since 2014, Knotfest has expanded into new locations each year at a rate of, well… knots. A Californian edition partnering with Ozzfest attracted 150,000 metallers across two years. Outside of North America, Knotfest has been held twice in Japan, and has extended into Latin America with four festivals in Mexico and two in Colombia. Last year, the festival made its first foray into Europe with Knotfest Meets Hellfest, taking place the night before French metal festival, Hellfest, which attracts 55,000 people daily. “The whole concept works really well, and we can bring it to other markets and match the local music scene to it,” says Beer. “In Japan we have a lot of local bands playing that might seem strange in other markets, but because Slipknot are still very much focused on the underground,
they like to bring them in. Knotfest is a great platform to do that and I think it is part of the success of the festival.” The first date of March’s Knotfest Japan has already sold out, while the recently announced return of the Knotfest Roadshow will criss-cross the US over 17 dates, including New York’s iconic Madison Square Gardens. Furthermore, in August the festival will literally take to the high seas. Departing from Barcelona, Knotfest At Sea will embark on a five-day cruise with onboard band performances, instrument workshops and tastings of the band’s branded No.9 Whiskey. Yet, undoubtedly the most significant venture will be Knotfest’s UK debut in August, something British fans have been petitioning for years. Billed as “A mind-altering collision of music, art and culture,” the festival will take over the 65,000-capacity National Bowl in Milton Keynes. One attraction guaranteed to appear is the Slipknot Museum. According to Amato, Slipknot’s journey is one their audience has shared and is a significant part of their popularity. “You’ll see two, three generations of family out here and it’s been pretty amazing to watch the fan-base grow with the band,” he observes. “I’ve been doing this for 33 years and you see bands that take off like meteors, but then their fans don’t keep up with them. These guys have a strong fan-base, but they just keep gaining young fans, and I don’t think you can receive a better compliment as a band.”
Just as Slipknot have repeatedly managed to smash any obstacle that one might expect would hamstring a metal band in the 21st century, Brennan believes that the band’s success will only continue. “There is no reason that they shouldn’t be playing stadiums in future,” says the manager, who is currently in talks to further Knotfest’s reach into South America, and hints that we may even see iterations in Russia or South Africa in the future. “I think Knotfest can go anywhere, it’s just picking the best partners in that market at the right time. We’re being slow
TREVOR AHLSTRAND | LIGHTING DESIGNER MIKE AMATO | TOUR MANAGER GÜNTHER BEER | COBRA AGENCY CORY BRENNAN | 5B ARTIST MANAGEMENT JORDAN COOPERSMITH | SET DESIGNER ROB HIGHCROFT | PRODUCTION MANAGER BOB STRAKELE | FOH ENGINEER
and strategic in doing that in some parts of the world, but you can definitely expect a lot from Knotfest in 2021 and 2022.” As for what the key is to Slipknot’s enduring appeal, answers across the board point to the band’s dedication. “It’s extremely important for them that their art is right. A lot of bands focus on the money and the distance, but with Slipknot and the whole Knotfest team, it’s about the atmosphere, creativity and the art,” says Beer. “They’ve created this niche and they live it because it’s who they are,” adds Coopersmith. “What these guys go through to put on their shows is insane. It’s physical and dynamic and the crowd gets it.” What everyone IQ spoke to agrees is that Slipknot is a band like no other; an artistic and commercial powerhouse that has always operated on its own terms and, according to Brennan, always will. “I listen to new and developing bands all the time, but I think Slipknot is unique to itself,” he says. “Just like there will never be another Rage Against The Machine or another Black Sabbath, there will never be another Slipknot. It’s not just music, it’s not just live – it’s a culture.” Magazine
WEE WILL ROCK YOU Despite ranking in the lower half of European countries in terms of population, Scotland hits way above its weight when it comes to live music success, with a number of venues making Pollstar’s annual listings. Adam Woods reports on the country’s growing live music scene.
et’s talk about Scottish independence. We’re referring, obviously, to Gerry Cinnamon, the staunchly indie, Glaswegian guitar-basher who has packed a career’s worth of touring milestones into the past two or three years. There was the pair of sold-out shows at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom in 2017 – the first unsigned artist to manage such a feat. Then Cinnamon really went up in the world, with two Christmas 2019 gigs at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro and one at Aberdeen’s 15,000cap P&J Arena – the biggest indoor show ever in Scotland. And, surely capping it all off, next summer’s show at Hampden Park: 50,000 tickets… all long gone. “He grew up literally a stone’s throw away from Hampden, in Castlemilk,” says Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts. “We sold it out in a day.” The fact that Cinnamon has also quickly converted local-hero status into arena-filling UK and Ireland success underscores Scotland’s status as a rigorous proving ground for its own artists, of whom he and Lewis Capaldi, are just the latest to break in a big way. “If you go down well here, you are not going to be too shabby when you go out in the rest of the world,” theorises Hold Fast Entertainment’s Donald MacLeod, who operates Glasgow venues the Cathouse and the Garage.
MAP KEY Aberdeen ● Beach Ballroom ● Cafe Drummonds ● Lemon Tree ● Music Hall ● P&J Live ● The Tunnels Dundee ● Beat Generator Live! ● Caird Hall ● Clarks On Lindsay Street ● Fat Sam’s ● The Hunter S Thompson Edinburgh ● Edinburgh Music Lovers ● Electronic Edinburgh ● Fly Events ● Nothing Ever Happens Here ● Regular Music ● Underbelly ● Assembly Rooms ● Bannerman’s ● Cowgate ● Edinburgh Castle Esplanade ● Henry’s ● La Belle Angèle ● Leith Depot ● Leith Theatre ● Mash House ● Princes Street Gardens ● Ross Bandstand ● Royal Highland Centre ● Sneaky Pete’s ● Summerhall ● The Caves ● The Liquid Room ● The Queen’s Hall
● Venues ● Promoters ● Festivals ● Agents ● Usher Hall ● Voodoo Rooms ● Electronic Edinburgh ● FLY Open Air ● Summer Sessions ● Terminal V ● Wide Days Falkirk ● Falkirk Stadium Forres ● The Loft Glasgow ● Active Events ● Antidote Booking ● ATC-Live ● 432 Presents ● DF Concerts ● Hold Fast Entertainment ● PCL Presents ● Synergy ● The Fallen Angels Club ● Triple G ● Barrowland Ballroom ● Broadcast ● Cathouse ● CCA ● Garage ● Hampden Park ● Kelvingrove bandstand ● King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut ● Mono ● Nice N Sleazy ● O2 ABC (closed) ● 02 Academy ● Oran Mor ● Saint Luke’s ● SSE Hydro ● Stereo
● SWG3 ● The Hug and Pint ● Celtic Connections ● Summer Sessions ● The Great Western ● TRNSMT Inverness ● Beyond Events ● Caledonian Stadium ● Eden Court Theatre ● Hootananny ● The Ironworks ● Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival ● RockNess (cancelled) Kilmarnock ● Grand Hall ● Palace Theatre Knockengorroch ● Knockengorroch Largs ● Kelburn Garden Party Perth ● Inchyra Arts Club Stirling ● Doune The Rabbit Hole Stornaway ● An Lanntair ● HebCelt Strathpeffer ● Strathpeffer Pavilion Ullapool ● Beyond Events ● Loopallu (cancelled)
Profile_Scotland Scotland in 2020 isn’t necessarily an easy place to get ahead, but it is bursting with local talent, busy promoters and full venues. The nation’s live industry added £431million (€508m) to the broader economy last year and sustained 4,300 full-time jobs, as well as drawing 1.1m music tourists – a jump of 38% from 2017 [source: UK Music]. There are all sorts of storylines in the wider drama of Scotland’s live music business. Edinburgh is on the up, with the tantalising prospect of an arena on the horizon at last. Glasgow, traditionally a supercharged music city with a perpetual tendency to steal the thunder of the more genteel capital, a 45-minute journey away, still does the business, but it isn’t having its best moUsher Hall proves ment after losing the pivotal O2 ABC to a devasthat there is still big tating fire last year. demand for clubbing Meanwhile, the festival scene evolves – out events with its Colours with T in the Park, in with TRNSMT and othClassical gatherings ers. The Highlands, islands and notable towns and cities work hard to make the case that there is life outside the Central Belt. And Scotland’s thriving trad scene makes the case that there is more to life we are frenemies. We will all, at “If you go down than pop. times, work with each other.” well here, you are But still the talent keeps Glasgow-based DF, part of not going to be too coming. “We are not short of LN-Gaiety Investments since shabby when you talent and bands coming up. We 2008, is Scotland’s largest progo out in the rest punch well above our weight,” moter, proprietor of the threeof the world.” says MacLeod. year-old TRNSMT at Glasgow Donald MacLeod, Biff y Clyro, Franz Ferdinand, Green, and the Summer SesHold Fast Entertainment Calvin Harris, Young Fathers, sions series in Edinburgh and Chvrches, Paolo Nutini, Amy Glasgow each August, as well as Macdonald and Tom Walker have all attested to shows from club- to stadium-level, and the celethat in recent years, and Scottish venue calendars brated King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut on St Vincent are reliably stuffed with local favourites: Capaldi, Street in Glasgow. Simple Minds, Texas and Deacon Blue at the SSE “2019 was a great year for us as a business,” Hydro this year; Jesus & Mary Chain and The says Ellis. “I think it was great for the market Twilight Sad at Barrowlands; Edwyn Collins and generally in Scotland. But it’s not easy – you Susan Boyle at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall. have to get the pricing right, and you have to reAnd new artists, too: “Walt Disco, Slow Read- ally work it. Scotland is only 5 million people. ers Club, Tamzene, The Snuts, The Dunts – are If you are doing a show at the Hydro, you are all selling out venues above 1,000-cap,” says Ellis. selling to all of Scotland.” “We have got a really good, healthy scene at club There are numerous independents, including level and that gets people engaged a bit more in PCL, Triple G, Synergy, 432 Presents, EDM speterms of live music.” cialists Fly Events and Electronic Edinburgh, and Highlands and islands specialist Beyond Presents. But the largest is Edinburgh’s Regular Music, Promoters You might imagine Scottish promoters were which continues to do large-scale business. Its a tough, rivalrous bunch, but a photo tweeted properties including the annual concerts at Edby Donald MacLeod in December was a picture inburgh Castle’s Esplanade and Summer Nights of harmony: the key figures from DF Concerts, at Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow. Eleven of Regular Music, PCL Presents and Triple G, smil- the latter’s twelve 8,500-cap nights sold out in ing on the fairway at Loch Lomond Golf Club at 2019, with stars including Teenage Fanclub and Hue & Cry, plus Suede, Patti Smith, Burt Bachaan away-day put on by SSE Hydro. “Aye, that was a good laugh,” says MacLeod, rach and The National. “We only promote in Scotland, and that’s who in addition to his Glasgow clubs is a director of promoter Triple G, chair of Nordoff-Robbins our identity,” says Regular’s John Stout. “We are Scotland and a columnist for The Sunday Post. always conscious that Live Nation and AEG can “It’s a lot of promoters for the size of the market. offer Europe-wide and kind of exclude us. But we But we all get on well. We are not bitter rivals, have got good relationships with a lot of bands
that come back to us year after year. Stereophonics come back to us every time; we are working with Bon Iver and Lana Del Rey, so it’s not all going to the big guys.” Another Regular regular are local boys The Proclaimers, who are in a career purple patch. “In Scotland alone, between September 2018 and September 2019, we did just over 70,000 tickets,” says Stout. “That includes two sold-out Edinburgh Castle shows, a sold-out Hydro, and a theatre tour. They will tour any town that has a 500-cap venue. They have built that audience through hard work and quality.” Beyond Events, which operates from Ullapool on the north-west coast, 45 miles from Inverness, has operated for 20 years across the great open spaces outside the two largest cities, from festivals down to tiny rooms, and latterly sometimes in Glasgow and Edinburgh, too. “We did 182 shows in 2019, and that ranges from 50-capacity rooms up to the Barrowlands,” says founder Robert Hicks, who has the answers for bands looking to go where the air is clean and the crowds grateful. “I work with a lot of acts that I don’t promote in the cities, but who want to come out and do something unusual – try out new material, try out new members.” Biff y Clyro have gone off the beaten track with Beyond, and so have Franz Ferdinand. For Hicks, such relationships are often forged in a band’s formative years. Beyond promoted Mumford & Sons’ Stopover Festival for 22,000 people in Aviemore in 2015, having staged memorable small shows with the band in their early days. “They are the ones we have stayed closest to over the years,” says Hicks. “But we did tiny shows with Tom Walker and we have got him coming back in February to do some shows in
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If Scotland’s hot spell owes itself to any one thing, it might just be the emergence of a particularly strong and interesting generation of venues, and it’s a collection that continues to grow. In Edinburgh, particularly, times are good on the venue front, from the bottom – Sneaky Pete’s, the 100-cap Cowgate venue and nightclub named the UK’s best grass-roots venue at the Music Week Awards last year – to the top: theoretically a new £40m (€48m), 8,000-cap arena recently proposed by the NEC Group and Lothian Leisure Development. “Sneaky Pete’s is absolutely vital – the starter venue that everybody comes through in their early days,” says Byers. Owner Nick Stewart earned himself local kudos when, with Music Venue Trust, he successfully fought to revise the
City of Edinburgh Council’s notorious ‘inaudibility’ clause, which insisted that all amplified music and vocals be inaudible in neighbouring residential premises. ‘Sneaks’ staged 300 shows last year, working with most Scottish promoters – PCL is a shareholder in the club – and promoting around 70 of its own. The club is a small, successful one, so major growth is hard to find. “A good year is where you get as much as you normally do,” says Stewart. Meanwhile, at the volume end, the Edinburgh arena development has received wholehearted approval from the Scottish industry, in principle, even if many aren’t sure the site (in Straiton, just outside the city bypass) is quite the right one. “It might take some of the pressure off the Hydro if there was another arena in the Central Belt,” says Stout, who says general venue availability is increasingly a problem for promoters. “It would have to integrate with the city’s transport infrastructure to be really useful.” Edinburgh’s historic Usher Hall has undergone a renaissance in recent years and is widely held to be the city’s flagship venue, with an almost improbable concentration of shows, from classical to family entertainment to mainstream and indie rock and pop. “The venue has a really great history and everyone has played here, from Elton John to Chuck Berry to Led Zeppelin to Johnny Cash,”
Another independent, Jim Byers’ recently launched Edinburgh Music Lovers (EML), specialises in hand-picked events: The Howl & The Hum at the revived Leith Theatre at Christmas; Erland Cooper at Queen’s Hall last May; Kojey Radical at The Caves in November just gone. “I’m just doing one-offs on eclectic artists, and focusing a little bit on bringing artists to Edinburgh who have never been here, which is quite a common theme,” says Byers. “We get absolutely loads of great gigs, but we could get more.”
out-of-the-way places. We did the same with Sam Fender, Lewis Capaldi, Paolo Nutini – there’s lots of household names we worked with when no one knew them. So you just don’t know who is going to phone.” Back in Glasgow, 432 Presents broke away from Synergy about a year ago. Both remain active – Synergy is promoting the Jesus & Mary Chain and Explosions in the Sky in early 2020, Jon Hopkins and Ladytron in Edinburgh – and 432’s Brian Reynolds says he is happy with his own year’s work. “From 639 shows in 2019, we have sold 75,000 tickets, 60,000 meals, 60,000 pints of beer,” he says. “Those aren’t revolutionary numbers, but we are pretty satisfied with how things have been going.” 432’s events have included Big Thief at their own venue The Hug and Pint in Glasgow, a swathe of concerts at Celtic Connections 2020, numerous gigs at Edinburgh’s Summerhall arts venue, all the booking for Stirling’s Doune The Rabbit Hole, and an inaugural Glasgow multi-venue festival, The Great Western. “That was a surprising success,” says Reynolds. “I wasn’t feeling very buoyed by it, looking at the sales in advance, but when it came to the event it just ramped up and the feeling of community and satisfaction was just tremendous. Total attendees was something like 1,700, across ten venues in the West End.”
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WE HAVE SCOTLAND’S OUTDOORS COVERED
Scotland_Profile Lewis Capaldi enjoyed a huge homecoming gig at DF Concerts’ TRNSMT Festival in 2019 © RYAN JOHNSTON
nes Obel incoming, along with says programme development “Scotland is only classical, folk and comedy shows. manager James Bruce. “What we 5 million people. Down in Leith, meanwhile, have tried to do is consolidate on If you are doing a live music is attempting to that and make ourselves as easy show at the Hydro, thrive in Edinburgh’s hippest and flexible to work with, and you are selling to enclave. The 88-year-old Leith get as many shows in as we can.” all of Scotland.” Theatre, which staged AC/DC, The Summerhall arts comGeoff Ellis, DF Concerts Thin Lizzy, Dr Feelgood and plex is a key venue during the Kraftwerk in the 1970s but Edinburgh Fringe, but started embracing music in 2015, with Nothing Ever closed in 1983, is gradually coming back to life Happens Here as the ironic brand under which thanks to a community restoration project. Popular pub venue Leith Depot, meanwhile, which it promotes its live music programme. Q1 2020 shows include Lankum, Blanck has been fighting closure for years in its gentrifyMass and Black Midi – put on by the venue, and ing Leith Walk neighbourhood, won a key battle with outside promoters, notably 432 Presents just before Christmas when the Scottish Govern– but music programmer Jamie Sutherland, ment ruled its building could not be demolished also frontman of Edinburgh favourites Broken by developers. The 60-cap venue has now been Records, is keen to expand the venue beyond granted a rolling extension of its lease. “We have been going month to month for its faithful audience. He is gratified that shows by Declan McKenna and Australia’s The Chats a long time,” says co-owner Paddy Kavanagh. brought in “a completely new demographic – I “Now we are hopeful [developers Drum Property] will pass it on to someone else to manage the didn’t recognise anyone.” Other useful Edinburgh venues include building, invest in it, get the shops back again.” Even while Edinburgh is modestly booming, the 200-cap Voodoo Rooms, the 250-cap Mash House, and the 550-cap La Belle Angèle. The Liq- Glasgow still takes some beating. “Out of Polluid Room on Victoria Street can absorb 650 to star’s Top 100 club venues worldwide for 2019, 700 and welcomes Julian Cope, Black Midi and only four are in the UK and three of those are in The Shires in the coming months, and the 900- Glasgow,” says Geoff Ellis, listing the O2 Acadecap Queen’s Hall has Fish, Ward Thomas and Ag- my (at 14), SWG3 (68) and his own King Tut’s (70).
Two more Glasgow spots, meanwhile – Saint Luke’s in the East End and Oran Mor in the West End – figured in the Top 200, alongside Edinburgh’s Liquid Room. “And then you’ve got the fact that the Hydro was the second-busiest arena venue in the world,” adds Ellis. “It’s pretty phenomenal.” After a busy Hydro Christmas featuring the aforementioned Gerry Cinnamon, Pete Tong’s Ibiza Classics and others, Scottish Event Campus head of live entertainment programming, James Graham, says the secret to the Hydro’s success is strong promoter relationships on all fronts. “Comedy is consistently strong; sporting events are always popular, especially when it comes to boxing, wrestling and one-off special events,” he says. “Local talent is always strong, and this year we are welcoming back Simple Minds and Deacon Blue.” Elsewhere, times have been more troubled. The O2 ABC on Sauchiehall Street was disastrously damaged on 15 June 2018, by the second fire to gut the Mackintosh Building of the Glasgow School of Art in just a few years. The ABC – shareholders of which include PCL and Regular Music, in addition to the Academy Music Group – is likely to be demolished, though there are hopes for a new venue on the site. “The fire was cataclysmic,” says a rueful Magazine
Profile_Scotland the Grand Hall and the Palace Theatre; and In- But I don’t like to bullshit people and say I’m governess has The Ironworks, where you could see ing to deliver [a 50/50 gender split] when I can’t. Primal Scream, Idlewild, Airbourne, Gun, and Out of the audience surveys that we do, in terms Feeder in November and December. of the top 50 artists, only 15% of those are womGeoff Ellis, meanwhile, is a convert to Falkirk. en. You can’t force a female artist to play a gig “We have never done a stadium show in Falkirk just because you need more representation.” before, but this summer we have The Killers, Ellis reels off female former T in the Park Westlife and Little Mix [at Falkirk Stadium],” says and TRNSMT headliners and acknowledges that Ellis. “We are also doing Westlife in Inverness [at Primavera have clearly found their own 50/50 Caledonian Stadium], and we formula. “But if you put that have another stadium show in lineup on in Scotland, it’s not “A good year is Inverness still to announce.” going to sell a lot of tickets,” he where you get Inevitably, Robert Hicks notes. “It would be great if we as much as you is a particular connoisseur of had a 50/50 gender split, and if normally do.” Scotland’s regional gems. Tom we got that one day at TRNSMT, Nick Stewart, Sneaky Pete’s Walker’s February shows for I would be delighted. It’s defiinstance, take in Strathpeffer nitely not for want of trying.” Pavilion and The Loft in Forres on the Moray The urban, non-camping TRNSMT has now coast. Hicks also recommends Inchyra Arts Club officially replaced DF’s rural T in the Park, which near Perth, and adds that, “almost anything fell prey to issues with traffic, and osprey nests we take to Stornoway sells out” – usually at the that couldn’t be disturbed, before closing for 200-seater An Lanntair arts centre overlooking good in 2016. With a 50,000 capacity at Glasgow the harbour. Green over three days, TRNSMT now stands as Scotland’s key mainstream festival and a sign of the times. Festivals Beyond Events launched RockNess in 2006, A chastened Ellis admits he wandered into a minefield in November with comments he made as well as the Loopallu and Belladrum Tartan to BBC Newsbeat about the difficulties of 50/50 Heart festivals – only the last of which remains, gender representation at festivals, putting the the others having hung it up in 2013 and 2019, respectively – and Hicks agrees that what worked problem down to a lack of female artists. “I don’t think I could have said it in a more once doesn’t necessarily work now. “It’s an ever-evolving landscape, not just in clumsy fashion,” he concedes. “My point is, it would be good to have more women musicians. the Highlands and in Scotland, but elsewhere,” says Hicks. “There’s a move towards more city-centre festivals. With the things that we have created, the time and the idea just felt right. But at the moment, I don’t know where it goes. I think people want different experiences.” Certainly, the success stories are more urban and/or niche – Summer Sessions, Celtic diaspora festival Knockengorroch, and the escapist forest festival Kelburn Garden Party in Largs. “Scotland punches above its weight in terms of music tourism, which grew by 38% in terms of visitor numbers [from 2017-2018] largely thanks to large-scale events such as Fly Open Air and the Summer Sessions,” says Olaf Furniss of Wide Events, organiser of Edinburgh industry conference Wide Days. “It is even more impressive when you consider that there have also been some festivals that were cancelled over the past couple of years.” Still standing proud is Gaelic and traditional festival HebCelt in Stornoway, celebrating its 25th year in 2020 on the island of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. Festival director Caroline McLennan is the sole employee, aided JAMES BRUCE | USHER HALL; JIM BYERS | EDINBURGH MUSIC LOVERS; GEOFF ELLIS | DF CONCERTS; by nine veteran volunteers on the board and 180 OLAF FURNISS | WIDE EVENTS; JAMES GRAHAM | SCOTTISH EVENT CAMPUS; ROBERT HICKS | BEYOND EVENTS; more when the festival comes around. “A lot of PADDY KAVANAGH | LEITH DEPOT; DONALD MACLEOD | HOLD FAST ENTERTAINMENT; CAROLINE MCLENNAN | HEBCELT; folk come home at that time to help the festival,” BRIAN REYNOLDS | 432 PRESENTS; NICK STEWART | SNEAKY PETE’S; JOHN STOUT | REGULAR MUSIC; says McLennan. JAMIE SUTHERLAND | SUMMERHALL/BROKEN RECORDS; SAMANTHA TODD | P&J LIVE Texas and Gaelic singer Julie Fowlis will play
MacLeod, though he admits there has been a knock-on effect. “From my own venue perspective, in terms of the Garage and the Cathouse, I think we are up about 50% on bookings and doing well right across the spectrum. And rather than just picking up the gigs, we have also invested a lot in new sound and lights at the Garage and the Cathouse.” While there is plenty to talk about in the major cities, Scotland’s other cities and towns are far from a footnote. Third city Aberdeen last year took delivery of Scotland’s biggest indoor venue, the £333m (€393m) P&J Live. Cinnamon, Bublé, Liam Gallagher, and BBC Sports Personality of the Year all came before Christmas, with Strictly, Capaldi, Stereophonics and others in early 2020. “The north-east of Scotland is a great place for people to start their tours and work their way down the UK,” says P&J Live senior marketing executive Samantha Todd. Aberdeen also has the popular Beach Ballroom, while the city’s Music Hall reopened in late-2018 after a three-year, £9m (€11m) renovation. “We had a whole raft of shows go there recently, and most did really well,” says Stout. “Aberdeen is finding its own level again after the boom years, but we manage to successfully put quite a lot of shows on there.” Most of Scotland’s seven cities and its larger towns have a thriving venue, or several: Dundee offers the Caird Hall and the busy Fat Sam’s and Beat Generator Live! clubs; Kilmarnock has
Scotland_Profile In Edinburgh, the effect of the city’s huge non-musical events on music is a complex one. DF’s Summer Sessions runs during Edinburgh Fringe in Princes Street Gardens – nine shows in 2019, 6,000 people each time – but otherwise, music doesn’t get much of a look-in, even with millions of extra people in town. “There’s kind of a crazy situation that the one time of year you are going to struggle to see local acts or small gigs is during the Fringe, when most of the world comes to the city,” says Furniss, though he acknowledges that booking comedy in August helps keep small venues afloat the rest of the year. Even Sneaky Pete’s these days joins them rather than trying to beat them, staging comedy for the duration of the festival. “You have got to be putting on bigger acts to get the audience [during the Fringe], really,” says Nick Stewart. Edinburgh’s Hogmanay finds space for music, with sets from Mark Ronson, Idlewild, Rudimental, and Marc Almond. Though again, the 2019/20 celebrations, run by event firm Underbelly, met with controversy among HebCelt festival in remote residents of the Old Stornoway last year Town over access durshowcased such emerging ing the ticketed celetalent as Jake Morrell brations. ““There’s a
HebCelt this year; Van Morrison, The Levellers and KT Tunstall have all headlined in the past. And even with the expensive effort of bringing a 5,000-cap, three-day festival’s worth of supplies and equipment across The Minch (the strait between the island and the mainland), HebCelt-generated music tourism remains an important asset to the island. “Every year, the economic impact is between £1.5m (€1.8m) and £2m (€2.4m), which is good for a place like here that is really struggling,” says McLennan. Edinburgh’s Fly Events has made a name for itself in recent years with the twice-yearly Fly Open Air electronic festival – at Hopetoun House in South Queensferry in May and at the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens in September. Along with Electronic Edinburgh’s 15,000-cap Terminal V at Edinburgh’s Royal Highland Centre, such events have restated the pull of electronic music for Scotland’s young ticket-buyers.
vocal minority in this city that are really against music and nightlife in the city centre and they have always existed,” says Furniss, who adds that the Airbnb boom, the flood of stag and hen parties and the lack of housing are more serious concerns where the “touristification” of Edinburgh is concerned. His own Wide Days event, launched in 2010 out of the Born To Be Wide networking socials, has given Scotland its own music business conference, and has grown from 110 delegates to 380 in a decade, with the gradually emerging aim of becoming the music strand of Edinburgh’s ‘festival city’ offering. “It was initially just about launching a conference that didn’t have all the usual suspects and all the same speakers as everywhere else,” says Furniss, a sometime IQ writer, who adds that the showcase side is intentionally kept compact, rather than the impractical sprawl of some events. “My whole model was just setting up an event I would like to attend myself.” In 2019 the convention added an extra night of music billed as the Festival Takeover, where three events were each invited to guest programme a stage and theme the venue with the long-term goal of making Edinburgh a destination for people who would like to get a flavour of a diverse range of festivals in one small area.
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I’ve been cycling all my life and regularly cycle to work. I started organising long cycle trips for holidays or fundraising as far back as the early 80s and, before my kids were born, I mostly had my holidays on long cycle trips. Among my greatest cycling achievements are the rides we do for Child.org. I have personally taken on all four Ride Africa rides for Child.org, riding more than 2,000 kilometres through Nairobi, Kenya and Ghana. The Festival Republic team join me each time and together we’ve raised over £1million just from those rides. The fundraising by our Ride Africa riders has a real impact on the communities Child.org works with, removing the barriers that children face to good health, education and protection. I’m really looking forward to this year’s brand-new Ride Africa route from Amboseli through three national parks to Mombasa on Kenya’s coast. So for those of you who know me: expect a fundraising request to be extended. It’s for a bloody good cause.
A bunch of us formed High Barnet Velo a few years back and we have a regular Sunday ride. For some of us, cycling has become an expensive obsession: we started a bike shop/ spinning studio three years ago; which unfortunately folded. At least I got a spin bike out of it, or what my wife calls my “£40k bike.” In the next few months, I am looking to ride Alpe D’Huez, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, Bealach-Na- Bà, RideLondon100, and take part in the inaugural Global Bike Festival in Saalbach, Austria. Show me a hill and I have to climb it!
Cycling helps me to clear my head. And at the end of most trips, in the area where I live, we stop at a local pub and enjoy a Trappist beer on draft. In 1985, Rock Werchter had a team in the Tour de France with co-sponsors Tönissteiner, a top German mineral water, Italian bicycle makers Colnago, and French cycle parts supplier Mavic. Budgets in those days were low, as it wasn’t the international sport that it is today. On the day of Rock Werchter Festival, one of our team riders, Ludwig Wynants, won a Tour de France stage. It was magic! Suddenly, Rock Werchter’s name became known by millions of cycling fans. And Ludwig became a friend for life.
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MEMBERS’ NOTICEBOARD ost dynasties, from one of the music indus try’s forem Greg Parmley learned about family life han and Lucy Dickins at Eurosonic Noorderslag. when he inter viewed Barry, Jonat
Olaf Furniss and his Wide Days colleagues treated delegat tasting session during Eurosonic – a clever lure for professes to a whisky ionals of attending this year’s April 23-25 conference in Edinburgh.thinking
Snow Patrol frontm night at the Northernan Gary Lightbody and agent Steve Strang Yeah Legend Award, Ireland Music Prize ceremony. The ba e enjoyed a great nd col in rec Strange was given theognition of their outstanding 25 -year lec ted the Oh career Outstanding Contr ibu tion to Music award , while .
Paradigm Talent agent Clementine Bunel and partner Jorge Pereira welcomed baby Esmée Bunel-Pereira to the world on 20 January .
in Florida’s Super Bowl 54 proved a classic for those lucky enough to be , sons Hard Rock Stadium. ILMC 32’s Open Forum chair Paul Lathamed an epic Liam and Rick (of 305 Live) and friend Matt Whitwell witness49ers, 31-20. comeback as Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco
AEG Presents SVP of global touring, Michael Harrison, Black Eyed Peas’ manager, Seth Friedman, and former Sydney Swans player and anti-racism activist, Adam Goodes, also enjoyed supporting the Chiefs, before partying on J.Lo’s boat...
The SSE Arena, Wembley presented commemorative plaques to mark Tedeschi Trucks Band’s first headline show at the venue. Pictured (left to right) are Steve Guest, Guesty PR; agent Wayne Forte; Derek Trucks, guitar; venue general manager, John Drury; Susan Tedeschi, guitar & vocals; artist manager, Blake Budney;and promoter Scott O’Neill of DHP Family.
IQ’s guest agony uncle – Dear (as in ‘not cheap’) John Giddings – gives the benefit of his wisdom to fellow industry colleagues who are struggling personally and professionally with some troubling dilemmas…
Dear John I have too many ex-wives, which means I cannot retire, but I just don’t get the music that the new wave of acts are making, or the fees they are demanding. What would you do? Aging Rocker, UK Uncle John says: Kill the wives.
Dear John My 21-year-old son has just graduated from an Ivy League university and announced that he wants to become a promoter. I mean, a promoter, for fuck sake?! Having wasted several hundred thousand dollars on his education, how do you think I should help persuade him to find another path? Disappointed Dad, New York Uncle John says: You can lose more than that on one show… Tell him to join Live Nation or AEG and lose their money.
Dear John I’m attending ILMC for the first time this year. I heard it gets a bit lively at times. Any good tips on how to survive and make the most of it? ILMC Virgin, Italy Uncle John says: You can’t do both. Just drink and pretend you know what you’re talking about. Hang out with Steve Strange or Rob Hallett – they’ll help you.
Dear John A wise man once told me that running a profitable festival was more about selling F&B than
booking acts. Any tips on how I can encourage my audience to be the hungriest and thirstiest ever, so I can pay off my re-mortgage? Financially Strapped, Germany Uncle John says: Lock them in a field for four days and get the sun to shine. Preferably go to the Isle of Wight.
Dear John You often say that if you want loyalty, you should get a dog. Is there a particular breed of dog you would recommend me? WhereWoof, Transylvania Uncle John says: Preferably one that an artist doesn’t bring round to your house to poo on your carpet… (i.e. not a pug).
Dear John As a veteran agent and sometime festival promoter, can you share the secrets of trying to balance the work/life ratio? My husband, who earns double what I do and works a basic 9-5, Monday to Friday routine, just cannot fathom the amount of time my career takes up… Stay at Work Mom, Australia Uncle John says: Leave him and marry a musician – he will be at home less than you.
Dear John I’m promoting a tour with a well-known UK band. Last time they toured here they sold out but trashed nearly every hotel and dressing room they visited and hit me in the pocket, hard. This time ticket sales are slower but the rid-
er demands are bigger. How would you handle such a situation? Scared Shitless, Spain Uncle John says: Why are you paying for their damage? Don’t pay them until the end and deduct it. Or join in and enjoy the fun.
Dear John Whenever a certain European promoter calls me, I get a strange rash below my waistline. I’ve been to a doctor but he says it’s a psychological matter. Can you give me any advice? Itchy, Ireland Uncle John says: Change your number.
Dear John Cannabis vaping is decimating the F&B sales (well, mostly the B) at my venue. What should I do? Troubled, Toronto Uncle John says: Sell it. The cannabis, not the venue.
Dear John I had a massive night at ILMC with someone I was desperate to do business with, but in my enthusiasm I agreed a crazily expensive deal. What can I do to extract myself without ruining my reputation? Dehydrated and Baffled, Berlin Uncle John says: A deal is a deal, I’m afraid. Your word is your bond. All you have is your reputation… Or renege and change the name of your company.
Congratulations to everyone within the slipknot family for an extraordinary headline run through the uk and Europe!