LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE An ILMC Publication. Jan 2011, Issue 33
Rounding off a year in live music
Production supremo Jake Berry profiled
Family entertainment shows buck the trend
TOUR OF THE WORLDS
Jeff Wayne’s arena-slaying production hits the road
The split fortunes of the Italian touring market
Neighbourhood Watch: Dr Johannes Ulbricht WHEN TO SAY ‘NO’: PAUL LATHAM Take Nothing in Live for Granted: Keith Harris A PERSONAL WORLD TOUR: PAUL SERGEANT
Issue 33, Jan 2011
In Brief The main headlines over the last two months
In Depth Key stories from around the live music world
Features 14 The Lost World of ILMC 23 Dare you journey to the centre of the live music world? 18 2010 Review Allan McGowan reviews the year that nearly was
28 The Gaffer Production supremo Jake Berry profiled 42 Stage Struck Family entertainment shows buck the trend 52 Tour of the Worlds Jeff Wayne’s arena-slaying production hits the road 56 Talking Italian The split fortunes of the Italian touring market
Comments and Columns
10 Neighbourhood Watch Dr Johannes Ulbricht on promoters’ neighbouring rights 11 When to Say ‘No’ Paul Latham closes 2010 with some frank observations 12 Take Nothing in Live for Granted Keith Harris rings a warning bell for the industry 13 A Personal World Tour Paul Sergeant shares some arena-sized lessons 58 Your Shout Here’s hoping for the perfect 2011...
On Second Thoughts… When artists turn touts, everyone stands to lose, argues Greg Parmley...
THE ILMC JOURNAL Live music intelligence Issue 33, January 2011 IQ Magazine 2-4 Prowse Place, London, NW1 9PH, UK firstname.lastname@example.org www.iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 7284 5867 Fax: +44 (0)20 7284 1870
Publisher ILMC and M4 Media Editor Greg Parmley Associate Editor Allan McGowan Marketing & Advertising Manager Terry McNally Sub Editor Michael Muldoon Production Assistant Adam Milton Editorial Assistant Constance Noring Contributors Lars Brandle, Keith Harris, Paul Latham, Paul Sergeant, Manfred Tari, Dr Johannes Ulbricht & Adam Woods. Editorial Contact Greg Parmley, email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 7284 5867 Advertising Contact Terry McNally, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 7284 5867 Design & Production Martin Hughes, Dan Moe email@example.com www.oysterstudios.com Cover photo © Walking With Dinosaurs
reed. Who decides how much someone should make, and when enough is simply enough? At what point does the magic of what you’re selling lose its lustre to reveal the emperor’s new clothes for what they truly are? I feel as though I’ve been writing about secondary ticketing since before I could hold a pen. In that time, while the argument has gone back and forth like tides on an industry sea, the reasoning has come full circle. In the UK, over recent months, there have been several articles and televised news pieces regarding secondary ticketing. Largely, they’ve focussed on tickets that are unavailable on Ticketmaster being readily available on its secondary sister site (say that with a mouthful), GetMeIn! But the public is starting to figure out that it’s the artists doing deals directly, not just Ticketmaster, which has always been a well paid flak jacket for their wrath over booking fees and service charges. The press don’t get why artists, promoters and agents are touting their own tickets to make a bigger profit; neither do politicians; and neither does the public. In an industry that’s still run tour by tour, and lived moment to moment, is anyone safeguarding its reputation and therefore its future ability to engage with fans and retain their trust? Within recent memory, the record industry suffered a catastrophic loss of faith by its consumer base from which it is still trying to recover. Secondary
ticketing is the live music industry’s downloading, and no matter how much you argue against leaving ‘money on the table’, or ensuring that the artist rather than touts get the additional revenue, artists forcing their fans to pay artificially inflated prices for tickets will not end well. “The secondary market needs to provide the consumer with a real value-added experience and not just serve as a greed-fest,” wrote AEG Live’s Randy Phillips recently. And he’s spot on. It’s one thing to upsell, but it’s another to downright ripoff. The greatest issue this industry currently faces – regardless of economic climate or consolidation – is that we risk losing the faith of the ticket buying public. And you can argue the reasons until you’re blue in the face… but a little less avarice and a bit more awareness will go a long way. It’s certainly something to bear in mind going into what looks to be a tough 2011 from the off. Live Nation’s Paul Latham makes a good deal of sense along these lines on page 11 – I urge you to read his eloquent piece. Elsewhere this issue, it’s the big launch of ILMC 23, we round up 2010, production supremo Jake Berry is profiled, and we head south to Italy’s divided live music market. And there’s loads more besides. Enough to keep you going long after the turkey leftovers have been gobbled, so peruse at will, enjoy, and most of all, here’s wishing you a very Happy Holiday…
To subscribe to IQ Magazine: +44 (0)20 7284 5867 firstname.lastname@example.org Annual subscription to IQ is £50 (€60) for 6 issues.
Below: Jarvis Cocker Below Right: Alan Ridgeway Top Right: The Ahoy Far Below Right: Peter Smidt
The annual scramble to launch deals, tours and festivals before the turkey season is keeping the newswires humming as 2010 draws to a close...
• Pollstar reports Q3 results for North America showing a 6% drop in club-level business and a 1% decline at theatres. • The Byron Bay Bluesfest snaps up Aussie Event of the Year at the Australian Event Awards in Sydney. • A judge in Ireland rules that the new ‘three strikes’ law is unenforceable. Finland later follows suit. • Front Line Management forms a JV with SME Entertainment Group, which provides talent and logistic services for corporate and private events. • PRS for Music extends the deadline for industry submissions regarding the proposed hike of performance royalty rates to 31 December. • In Australia, Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd launches Foxtix, a rival ticketing company to compete with market leaders Ticketek and Ticketmaster. • Glastonbury festival announces it will be fallow in 2012 due to the Olympic Games in London commandeering most of the UK’s spare police and portable toilets. • Aussie promoter Michael Chugg takes a controlling interest in the Great Southern Blues Festival in New South Wales. • Speed Promotion & Agency in Finland cease trading after poor attendance at its Helsinki Live! festival. • Scissor Sisters cancel nine European tour dates claiming that it has “become impossible to make the tour work financially”. • Gregory Isaacs, the Jamaican recording artist best known for the 1982 album and single Night Nurse, dies at the age of 59. • In Denmark, the new 14,000-cap MCH Multiarena opens in Herning, with promoter Flemming Schmidt calling it “possibly the best sounding
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arena in the world”. • 3A Entertainment buys into the 20,000-cap Cornbury Festival and announces it will move the site to Charlbury, Oxfordshire. • The Shanghai Expo closes with organisers claiming 73 million visitors over the six month period.
• Take That sells 1.35 million tickets for its 2011 stadium tour featuring Robbie Williams, with demand crashing ticket websites and phone lines. • Dick Alen retires as SVP of William Morris Entertainment after 39 years at the firm. • Chicago-based Jam Production files a lawsuit against Ticketmaster, claiming unpaid royalties on three venues. • Live Nation Q3 results report a 25.6% year-on-year drop for the period with net income falling to $51.4million (€38.8m). • Guy Hand’s Terra Firma Group loses its court battle against Citigroup in the ongoing fallout from beleaguered major label EMI. • The Spanish Government unveils a €2m fund to support 200 concerts
by 50 emerging artists in 100 venues before 2011. • Lady Gaga wins three MTV European Music Awards in Madrid: best song, pop act and female. • Live Nation buys France’s second largest ticketing company, Ticketnet, for an undisclosed sum. • Laneway Festival announces it will visit Singapore in January 2011, adding to its itinerary that already includes New Zealand and five Australian cities. • Live Nation sues former chairman Michael Cohl for $5.35m (€4.17m) in unpaid charges relating to his departure from the company in June 2008. • AEG Germany announces that its CEO Detlef Kornett will depart the company on 31 December. • Isle of Wight Festival announces Foo Fighters, Pulp, Kings of Leon and Kasabian as headliners for its 10th anniversary. • Media and communications business, Liberty Media, raises its stake in Live Nation to just over 18%. • Lowlands festival sells out in hours without announcing a line up, as Dutch fans clamour to beat the rise in VAT from 6% to 19% on 1 January. • North London venue the Luminaire announces that it will close its doors on 31 December (see page 9). • Borman Entertainment and Flatiron Management announce they will merge to become a New York-based operation with clients including Alison Krauss, Keith Urban and My Morning Jacket. • Publisher BMG buys UK rival Chrysalis Music for £107.4million (€122m), 46% above the company’s share price at the time of agreement. • The European Union orders Italy to repay €720,000 of development funds that were used to pay for an Elton John concert in Naples in October 2009.
Arthurs Voting Opens
Ahoy’s Double Celebration
Voting for the ILMC Arthur Awards – the most established awards in the live music industry calendar – has opened, and organisers have announced an additional category for the 2011 edition. The new annual award will focus on unsung heroes from different sectors of the business, with the first year recognising those powers behind the industry’s thrones, the personal assistants. It’s one of 12 gongs to be handed out during the ILMC Gala Dinner on 12 March at Jumeirah Carlton Tower in London. “From humble beginnings, our Gala Dinner and The Arthur Awards have become the real jewels in the crown
The longest-standing arena in Holland is gearing up for a month-long reopening party in January having finished a major refurbishment that includes a new roof, an entirely new bank of seating and acoustic treatment. The Ahoy in Rotterdam has undergone a year-long bout of modernisation that has seen the capacity increased from 10,500 to 15,000. Usher will kick off the
of the ILMC weekends,” says conference head Martin Hopewell. “The Arthurs were always intended as something of a side-swipe at industry award shows, but they really mean something to people now – in fact they’re probably the best-loved trophies in the business – so I’d urge everyone to get involved, vote and help put a smile on somebody’s face next year.” In addition to The People’s Assistant award, other categories include Promoters’ Promoter, Second Least Offensive Agent, Liggers’ Favourite Festival, Least Painful Tour and Tomorrow’s New Boss. Voting is now open online at www.ilmc.com.
French Growth Unfinished
With the purchase of the country’s second largest ticket seller, Live Nation Entertainment (LNE) caps a year of change for its French operation. Ticketnet, which sells 6.6 million tickets annually for over 40,000 events and employs 100 staff, was purchased in November for an undisclosed sum and a statement confirmed that company MD François Thominet will remain at the helm. The move comes after a reshuffle at the company’s French office in December
2009 which saw Angelo Goppe from Nous Productions; and Armel Campagna and Damien Chombard-Boudet from Gerard Drouot Productions replace outgoing MD Jackie Lombard. Jazz specialist Jonathan Miltat’s Deluxe Productions was also acquired, while in July, LNE’s Main Square Festival in Arras (twinned with Rock Werchter in Belgium) pulled 33,000 in its third year. “France has always been a key European market for us, so the purchase of Ticketnet is certainly part of our plan to expand the LNE business there,” says Alan Ridgeway, CEO of international music. “It is still early days... I would certainly expect to see future additions and growth in the business over the next couple of years.”
celebrations on 14 January, 40 years to the day when the Ahoy opened. Later that month, a string of Dutch stars will appear as part of the seven-date Friends of Amstel event. “We’re aiming for between 120 and 130 events next year,” says venue general manager Peter van der Veer. “It’s a difficult market at the moment, but we’re confident that our new world-class facilities will see us far beyond next year.”
Festival Payout at Eurosonic Organisers of the Eurosonic Noorderslag weekend are reporting record numbers of delegates registering for the 25th anniversary edition of the showcase and conference event. When it takes place from 12-15 January in Groningen, Holland, 3,000 music professionals are expected to be in attendance. “We’re accommodating 200 more people than last year,” says creative director Peter Smidt. “Some of our sponsors are having problems, but registrations are up and we sold out all 15,000 public tickets for the festival in 20
minutes, so the response has been phenomenal.” Marking its 25th anniversary, organisers are launching a zone for working media at the Oosterport where the conference element of the event takes place. Also new this year is a partnership via which festivals that go on to book showcasing artists through SonicBids’ website will be paid €500 for the first booking and €1,000 for the second. “SonicBids want more access to European festivals, so we developed this scheme,” Smidt says. “We think it’s an offer that festivals can’t refuse.” Around 260 European artists are expected to perform across 30 different venues around the city, while the professional element of the weekend includes a keynote by industry commentator Bob Lefsetz. Additional panel topics include the future of festivals, booking agencies, health & safety, and artist management.
Gersh TAGs The Agency It might be preparing to celebrate its 40th birthday next year, but The Agency Group (TAG) remains fleet-footed in keeping up with competition, having just announced a strategic partnership with specialist entertainment agency Gersh. The move will allow the agency to compete with the likes of CAA and William Morris Endeavour in developing comedy, theatre, film and television opportunities for its clients. “We’ve got exclusive first look deals with each other,” TAG CEO Neil Warnock tells IQ. “We’ve been talking with each other for several years because we both recognised that we were in different areas. The more we got to know each other, we realised that we have the same values and work the same way.” Through this new relationship, Gersh will represent former Kinks frontman Ray Davies in developing a Broadway show based on his extensive music catalogue while Gersh’s longtime client Bobcat Goldthwait will direct a movie based on The Kinks’ classic album, Schoolboys in Disgrace. In addition to theatre collaborations, the partnership will see TAG exploring markets for Gersh’s numerous comedians, but Warnock stresses that neither party is taking a one-size-fitsall approach. “We already have a very active literary and speakers department, we’ve done all sorts of ancillary work for our artists, but it’s important that we are, in the right circumstances and for the right reasons, able to offer these services to our clients,” he says.
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New Path for Laneway The launch of a Singapore leg of the Laneway Festival is a sign that a pan-Asian festival circuit is now a distinct reality, claims the event’s promoter. Laneway, which added a New Zealand date to its arsenal earlier this year, will commence in Singapore on 31 January before playing Auckland and five Australian cities. “The first year is about establishing the brand in the market, and hopefully we can grow steadily and consistently each year as we’ve done with our our other events,” says Danny Rogers, who co-founded the festival with Michael Chugg. “It would be amazing to be
hosting the festival in Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Hong Kong in five years time. Up until about two years ago it was unthinkable, but the whole region has changed so much that it’s now a definite possibility.” Artists including The Temper Trap, Foals, Yeasayer, !!! and Ladyhawke will perform to 7,500 fans in Fort Canning Park. “We’re touring nine bands who’ve never toured in South East Asia before, and most of them wouldn’t have got an opportunity otherwise,” Rogers says. While Laneway is the first indie event to visit Singapore, the small island
nation has become a popular destination for live music. SINGfest took place at the same location in August with Katie Perry and Tokio Hotel; in March, Bluesfest’s Peter Noble staged Singapore Rock & Roots, and according to Pollstar, WOMAD plans to return in 2012.
Festival Awards Boost Votes News that Festival Awards Europe has already received 200,000 votes and a 40% boost in the number of participating events comes just weeks after the UK Festival Awards saw a recordbreaking 1,500 industry professionals congregate for the prize-giving ceremony at Indigo2 in London. It’s a positive result for brand owners Festival
Awards Ltd and its new MD James Drury, who took up the position in the summer. The European event, presented by Yourope and Virtual Festivals Europe, takes place on 12 January at Groningen’s Stadsschouwburg in The Netherlands as part of the Eurosonic Noorderslag weekend. “We’ve already had twice
as many votes as in the whole of last year, and we’ve got festivals involved from almost every European country now, including Belarus and Andorra,” says Drury, who is already predicting the European event to rival its UK sibling in size by 2012. “It’s getting close in terms of the number of festivals taking part and the number of voters this year, so I’m confident we’ll get there – especially as European festival fans are just as enthusiastic as the Brits.” Awards at both ceremonies are decided by a mixture of industry jury and public vote. Winners at the UK Festivals Awards in November included Bestival (best major festival), Vintage at Goodwood (best new festival) and AC/DC at Download picked up best headline performance. DF Concert’s Geoff Ellis was presented with a lifetime achievement award.
UK Venues in “Crisis” News that The Luminaire club in London will close its doors later this month is indicative of a nationwide “crisis for small venues” according to the Musicians Union (MU). The demise of the North London venue, a stalwart of the grass-roots scene, comes after the recent closure of The Flowerpot and Cross Kings – also in North London – and indie haunts Bardens Boudoir and The Stags Head in East London. And while The Astoria was knocked down at the start of the year, one of the capital’s
most famous venues, the 100 Club, is currently fighting for survival after steep hikes in its rent and rates. “The 100 Club is a good example,” says MU assistant general secretary Horace Trubridge. “The cost of rates in London is very high and people are spending less money. There’s a culture that it’s fine to spend £50 [€60] on a ticket for The O2, but people aren’t as inclined to spend £5 [€6] on a new band. It’s not just London either – there’s a crisis for small venues across
the country.” Feargal Sharkey, CEO of UK Music, warns that given the difficulties many small venues are facing, the country’s live scene is in danger of having its foundations eroded. “It’s easy to celebrate success at the top end of this industry, but the top of the pyramid has to be underpinned by investment and support at the base,” he says. “Whether it’s small pubs and clubs bound up by Licensing Act red tape, or by the range of challenges we’re seeing impact on
slightly larger venues, we’re in real danger of breaking the bottom rungs of the live music ladder. Clearly, this would seriously damage the careers of our artists and musicians, and therefore the entire industry.”
Promoter Tells Resellers to ‘Take That!’ In preventing the resale of tickets for Take That’s German tour dates, promoter MCT Agentur GmbH is going to unusual lengths. By employing a law firm to take action against resellers and online marketplaces, and personalising each ticket sold, the promoter hopes to keep all tickets in the primary market. It’s a bold move, and made even more unique by the fact that MCT has sidestepped both CTS Eventim and Ticketmaster –
that any exchange or resale must be made via Smart Ticket, with resale prices capped at 15% above face value. The ticket terms also warn of a “contractual penalty” of up to €7,500 for every unauthorised resale. But the measures have not stopped tickets from springing up on sites such as eBay, Viagogo and Seatwave, leading to MCT’s managing director Scumeck Sabottka appointing a major international law firm that specialises in antitrust and
Ticket there are no other authorised platforms.” Tickets for Take That’s 23 stadium dates in the UK are also proving popular on secondary sites. Asked whether the band supported Sabottka’s efforts to prevent resale, Robbie Williams’ comanager, Tim Clark at IE Music, says, “We absolutely do. Scumeck has worked with us for over a decade and we hope his solution will be picked up in other countries, including the UK. ”
“Scumeck has worked with us for over a decade and we hope his solution will be picked up in other countries” except for a small number of VIP packages – to sell tickets via Smart Tickets. Ticket buyers for the band’s shows at Imtech Arena in Hamburg, Esprit Arena in Dusseldorf and Munich’s Olympiastadion in July will need to bring both an ID card and their personalised ticket – on which terms and conditions have been tightened – to gain entry. MCT has stipulated
competition rights. “MCT and our assigned law firm CMS Hasche Sigle will go against every vendor that is offering unauthorised tickets. There are manifold legal options which we do not like to make public in detail,” he tells IQ, emphasising that Seatwave and other marketplaces are not authorised. “Besides Tickets.de and München
In acknowledging MCT’s measures, Seatwave has posted a disclaimer on its
website, while Viagogo is only informing buyers about the restrictions once they have completed their purchase. “Viagogo believes that T&Cs that prevent people from reselling their unwanted tickets are unfair on consumers,” says company spokesperson Peter Feldmeier. “Consumers would not accept such restrictions on any other item, why should they accept such restrictions on tickets?” MCT is not the first German promoter to attempt to tackle resale platforms through the courts. In 2008, Marek Lieberberg and Seatwave waged a public war of words, with Seatwave accusing the veteran promoter of behaving like a Mafioso. Lieberberg’s lawyer, Matthias Atrott of Frankfurt-based Atrott & Böttcher, applied for an injunction to stop Seatwave repeating the claims, but through these recent measures, Sabottka looks to be the first German promoter to take such direct action against resale in the market.
Top Left: Danny Rogers Far Left: Geoff Ellis receives his lifetime achievement gong at the UK Festival Awards Top: Horace Trubridge Above: Take That
Neighbourhood Watch Dr Johannes Ulbricht looks at the German ‘neighbouring right of the concert promoter’ – an overlooked risk and a possible source of revenue... It is fair to say that the neighbouring right of the phonogram producer is – and always has been – one of the legal cornerstones of the music industry. Like other neighbouring rights, this exclusive right grant is justified by the producer’s financial investment. Today, concert promoters often invest at least an equivalent financial amount, and acoustic and audiovisual live performance recordings have become an increasingly important source of revenue. In most jurisdictions, a neighbouring right does not protect the concert promoter’s investment and consequently they don’t participate in revenues from live recordings. However, a legal equivalent with almost the same scope of the phonogram producer’s neighbouring right exists in Germany to protect the concert promoter’s financial investment. Concert promoters from all over the world have a right to participate in the revenue made by commercial exploitation of recordings of their concerts in the German market, no matter where in the world the concert took place. This concept of granting the promoter a neighbouring right may encourage creativity and innovation: traditionally, the promoter’s financial motivation is limited – they only make their money by selling tickets. So there is less interest in promoting new talent that may not sell many tickets right now but might become famous in the future. However, as many live venues become increasingly important as hotbeds of innovation, encouraging promoters to invest more in new talent might be beneficial for all players in the music industry. The scope of the neighbouring right of the concert promoter is stipulated in Article 81 of the German Copyright Act (Urheberrechtsgesetz). The law grants the concert promoter a full property right comparable in scope to other neighbouring rights – he may prohibit any copying, public or online distribution of an audiovisual recording of a live concert he has organised. Furthermore, the neighbouring rights granted are even wider in some aspects than others: without the promoter’s consent, the audiovisual recording may not be broadcast or reproduced in public. The neighbouring right of the promoter remains a rather obscure law, but as legal director of the German Live Industry Association (BDV), I’m optimistic that very soon we will succeed in considerably increasing the economic importance of this promoters’ right. The
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minimal practical application of this right in the past means there has been very little relevant jurisdiction and few academic publications. So, many questions remain unclear; particularly, exactly who is the concert promoter, and thus bearer of the neighbouring right. The German counterpart of the British PPL is the GVL (Gesellschaft für Leistungsschutzrechte – Collection Society for Neighbouring Rights). Members are mainly performing artists and record companies, but concert promoters are also accepted as members. However, the scope of rights administered on their behalf is currently very limited. The GVL does not grant licences for copying, public distribution or making a live recording available (these rights have to be obtained directly from the promoter) but only collects and distributes the promoter’s share in the copyright levies collected on copying devices: printers, copying machines and, more importantly, CD Burners, computers, mobile phones and MP3 players etc. As most promoters have been unable to negotiate substantial licencing fees in the past, the promoter’s share on the total levies collected has been quite small. However, in the future, GVL plans to track individual rights uses, monitoring internet downloads; radio and television broadcasting; and more. So, it may be possible that the GVL will soon be able to capture individual uses of the promoters’ right. The GVL accepts international concert promoters as members. Membership costs are deducted from collected revenue; so, there is no financial risk in joining for a concert promoter otherwise not making use of his neighbouring right. Generally, joining such a society makes sense where individual usage monitoring would be impossible or too expensive. As those administrated by the GVL are limited to participation in copyright levies distribution, membership does not limit the promoter’s freedom to license his right individually. Obscure as it may seem, the German neighbouring right of the concert promoter may become of huge practical importance, and it is likely to increase in the near future as our association is currently entering into negotiations to ensure the promoter receives his legal entitlement. Dr Johannes Ulbricht is attorney at law and partner, Michow & Partner Lawyers, Hamburg.
When to Say ‘No’ Live Nation COO Paul Latham rounds off the year with some frank observations...
As we reach the end of an ‘interesting’ year, there are a few points worth making about specific topics that are holding back our business, and ways in which we can proceed: Bigger tours: promoters/venues/ticket agents are constantly under pressure to deliver more to the agents representing bigger artists to fund ever-bigger tours, and/ or, replace recording income shortfalls. I question the assumption that the top end of the scale is ‘where the big money is made’ for anyone other than those artists and their agents that are savvy with their production costs. Discounted concert tickets: such deep discounting is a US-centric malaise that reflects a different kind of softness in that market (some of it being in the grey cells of the promoters concerned…LN staff included!). It is something that should be avoided like the plague as it cheapens the market and undervalues the performer. Booking fees: in the UK these are not exorbitant, but check the US and German markets if you want to see first-class extraction. In every territory, fees are a reflection of how many snouts are in the trough. PRS: these bounty hunters are looking for a bigger slice of a pie that they already get more of, given theirs is a flat 3% of the box office income. In all the time ticket prices have been rocketing, those who genuinely deserve to be rewarded for their endeavours have benefitted while at the same time other participants in the equation have seen their margins compromised. Along with every other promoter, we at LN have a role to play: we have to learn to say ‘No’. ‘No’ to crazy percentage deals that mean no promoter can legitimately make money. ‘No’ to agents who accept excessive fees for their acts for exclusive shows before booking them onto every festival. ‘No’ to giving tickets away to pamper the performers ego when the house hasn’t sold because they pushed the ticket prices too high. ‘No’ to PRS and their money-grubbing PR. And we need to say ‘Yes’ to making our venues and festivals better places to visit. ‘Yes’ if that means not selling one’s soul by working with sponsors that complement the offer. ‘Yes’ to creating new talent through our local venues and myriad of websites. And ‘Yes’ to making music fans feel included not excluded. If ticket prices continue to soar, gig-going will become the preserve of the prawn-sandwich brigade that have pervaded premiership football, while the true fans sit at home as slaves to Murdoch!
Take Nothing in Live for Granted Keith Harris, MusicTank chairman, director of performer affairs at PPL, and manager of Stevie Wonder, rings a warning bell for the live industry… MusicTank recently organised an open discussion on the state of the live music sector and without being alarmist, the conversation unearthed some disturbing views. In the recent past, the recorded side of the industry experienced well-documented problems and it is still struggling to find business models that will guarantee its future as a thriving sector. The live music side, on the other hand, has gone from strength to strength, with more tours and increasing revenues. Things look set for the future, but are they really? Headlines in August this year announced a 9.7% drop in earnings for Live Nation, with ticket sales down 9%. Is this just a blip, or should the live music sector be concerned? Some feel that this is just a USbased phenomenon. However, there are some disturbing echoes of what happened in the recorded music area, which should be heeded if the live music sector does not want to risk following the same path. Firstly, there is little doubt that a large part of the prosperity of the live scene in recent times has stemmed from concert tours by heritage acts (Rolling Stones, The Eagles, Madonna etc). In fact, in 2010 Pollstar has Bon Jovi; Carole King & James Taylor; and Paul McCartney in the top five of its biggest selling tours. This is reminiscent of the 1980s and early 90s, when, after the introduction of the CD, the major record labels were able to thrive from sales of the catalogue acts, barely having to worry about investing in building the next generation of artists, because sales were healthy. When new acts did come along there was often a feeling that the consumer was being ripped off, because a CD would generally contain a couple of decent tracks, and the rest were fillers, but if you wanted the music, you had no choice – you had to like or leave it. This nevertheless fostered a sense of resentment with the music-buying public, similar to that which is growing in the world of live music towards ticket prices inflated by the secondary ticketing market, booking fees and postage fees. What the recorded music industry found was that the consumer can very quickly fall out of love with music.
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Of course, the end product – the live music experience – is something that is unlikely to be taken over by advances in technology in quite the same way as has happened in the record business, although some parts of it, particularly ticketing, are very susceptible. But the need for the shared entertainment experience can be replaced by comedy, sport, or some other craze as yet to hit the public consciousness. The festival scene in the summer has remained a firm favourite for the last few years, although many – particularly established festival promoters – would like to see a much needed reduction in the number of festivals on offer. There is also a worry about how people are consuming live music at festivals, with more interest in the overall experience than the music, i.e. they’re generally not coming for the music; at larger gigs and festivals there appears to be a general, noticeable detachment, with people talking, videoing and taking photos to the point that there’s a questionable rivalry between the ego of bands and that of the audience. In the US, artists are reportedly getting 110% of gross, leaving promoters dependent on selling popcorn, merchandise and car parking for their profits, happily, as yet, this situation is not prevalent in the UK. The point is that from the viewpoints of both audience and promoter if music isn’t necessarily the driver and not the main thing, live could be replaced with something else. There is no doubt that the live music sector must give thought on how to develop the next wave of stadium acts so as not to become over reliant on an ever-ageing pool of artists. While traditionally the record companies were the big investors in producing the concert stars, they can no longer afford to. But somebody has to develop tomorrow’s arena fillers. Secondly, it is certainly worth reviewing the pricing of what is on offer; believing that the public will continue to come because they have no choice could be a big mistake. Just because the industry is currently healthy, there is no room for complacency. There is a recession on and the live music sector needs to make sure that when looking for expenditure to cut, the concert going public does not come to the conclusion that it’s just not worth it.
A Personal World Tour Venue supremo Paul Sergeant OBE, has run arena and stadia on both sides of the planet. IQ asked him to share a few lessons learned.... There’s only one similarity between my hometown of Stoke in the UK and my adopted home of Sydney, Australia – they both begin with the same letter. It’s been a hell of a journey over the past 30 years and if I’d only known then what I know now... I couldn’t wait to leave school armed with two very useful O levels (metalwork and cooking). After a few false starts, my first real venue job came along when I joined Wembley as their junior assistant merchandising manager (aka programme seller). I progressed to takeover inhouse merchandising, then car parking, catering, and anything else that generated cash on the day of an event. Corporate hospitality, sponsorship, and marketing followed and I later became responsible for all operational elements for the stadium and arena. In 1999 I moved on, eventually taking charge of Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium. Rugby, like football, had no appreciation of the live industry, but perseverance brought a change of attitude and the impact was instant. Promoters gave us a chance and we built from there, eventually moving the business into profitability. After three and a half years at the helm it was time to move on, this time to manage the excellent Suncorp Stadium. Fast forward a few years and here I am back with AEG Ogden in Australia at Acer Arena, one of the finest indoor venues on the circuit. On the way around the world I’ve learnt a few things about venues. As a new decade looms I’m increasingly aware that the inventory on offer reflects the constantly changing popular culture of the period, and venues must change with the times. In Roman times it was gladiators in The Coliseum, in modern day arenas we have UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). Fifteen years ago, ILMC was all doom and gloom as we anticipated kids retreating to bedrooms to acquaint themselves with Playstations (amongst other things!). Collectively we had to reinvent the live experience otherwise we’d die. Well, we did. We changed with the times, building arenas fit for purpose and changing the management culture to meet the changing expectations of bands, promoters, and most importantly – the ticket buying public. As long as we stay in touch, the need for live events will continue as an insatiable part of our human condition. The prevailing popular culture will always need a venue. Arenas will always be part of that in some way, but the future will be determined by the industry’s ability to evolve
and to continue to reinvent itself. The challenge is to stay ahead of the curve, read current trends and secure the appropriate events for the arena. And with significant yearround costs, we have to look outside of music to consider an ever increasing line-up of product. In 2011, major nonconcert arena spectaculars tour Australia with Walking With Dinosaurs, Disney on Ice and Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco. Looking further ahead, shows recently or soon to be presented at the world’s most prolific arena, The O2, include Les Miserables, Apassionata and Batman and these are of considerable interest to us.
“ If the concerts are not there, then we may well have to become mainstream producers of events.” Modern arenas are also now built to accommodate stand-alone corporate functions for a growing market of organisers looking for something different, which we are keen to increase. Today’s arena manager has to be proactive, create opportunities and entice clients. An arena that is as flexible and accommodating as possible with a management attitude to match is imperative to attract an array of events to fill our diary. If the concerts are not there, then we may well have to become mainstream producers of events but in the short term we work with the industry, supporting any model that will develop talent and events. Currently we supply showcase opportunities for new talent at pre- and post-show functions at our events. Constant awareness is also essential. No one can have an accident nowadays, anywhere in the world – it’s always someone’s fault. Arenas invest a huge amount of time, resource and capital to deal with the single, most important component of managing the building – people’s safety. We have to blend our legal responsibilities with the commercial demands of numerous stakeholders whilst playing our part in providing the customer’s entertainment ‘fix’. Very experienced people dedicate massive amounts of time to thorough planning and risk assessment and if we comply with legislation and follow industry guidelines we’re in a good position. So, Stoke to Sydney, a hell of a journey, never dull, and always a delight!
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ast year, ILMC evoked the golden age of steamships and cruise liners when 1,000 passengers and crew embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime, luxury aroundthe-world ocean voyage. But our destination in 2011 is altogether more amazing. ILMC 23 takes place in a land of suspense and terror; a lost world; a place out of time and mind that will thrill, petrify and astonish in equal measure. Recalling the classic adventure movies, we’ll be journeying deep into the heart of darkness, to a prehistoric world ruled by unimaginable monsters and horrifying creatures. Willing adventurers and members of the Institute of Lost Mythical Continents will converge on the Royal Garden Hotel from 11-13 March for three days of expeditions and discovery. A jam-packed schedule of dinners, drinks, social events and activities will keep even the toughest hero occupied, while the conference sessions themselves promise breathtaking tales of new horizons and primal foes. ILMC 23 will be the weekend the earth stands still; three days when the 21st century meets the primeval world face-to-face. Dare you make the journey to the centre of the live music world?
X Marks the Spot
From the days of the Argonauts to Victorian-era adventurers, all expeditions start somewhere, and ILMC is no different. And while there’s some information here, and in the shiny registration brochure you’ll find tucked within these pages, the real destination for any wouldbe explorer is ilmc.com where you can register, research and plan your entire trip. Everything you could possibly want to know is online, so plot a course straight there. Expedition costs have again been kept as low as possible, and you’ll be able to afford plenty of extra lamp oil by registering early and saving money.
The primary aim of the ILMC has always been to bring people together, and throughout the weekend there are more networking opportunities than teeth in a T-Rex. The perennial Networking Scheme allows delegates to sign up to a secure area of ilmc.com and arrange meetings before the conference weekend, while a host of events and socials allow delegates to team up with other strange companions in our lost, fog-shrouded lands. For new delegates, ILMC can feel like entering an age of
The Lost World of ILMC 23
A fantastic, incredible land of savage mystery... dare you make the journey to the centre of the live music world?
unknown terrors, so the New Delegates’ Orientation (Friday 11 March at 12:30) is a must, after which Avo Session Basel’s ‘Dawn of Time’ Opening Drinks welcome all adventurers, fresh-faced or wizened, as the expedition begins proper.
The Lost Supper and Arthur Awards
The heart of every ILMC and the centre of our lost world is prehistoric time’s most awesome spectacle. An evening of consummate luxury, the ILMC Lost Supper and Arthur Awards is the one night of the year that the great and the good of the live music world never fail to miss. Rising from the gnarled jungle floor, the Ballroom at the Jumeirah Carlton Tower will become a mystical temple where – as beastly savages pray to the arcane, terrifying god Ar-Tur – guests are treated to a champagne reception followed by a four-course feast with fine wines. It takes place on Saturday 12 March, and later that night, the highlight of the weekend – and the climax of the year for a lucky few – is The Arthur Awards, when we hand out our Oscar equivalents to those most deserving. Categories up for grabs are the Promoters’ Promoter, Liggers’ Favourite Festival, Second Least Offensive Agent, First Venue to Come into Your Head and Tomorrow’s New Boss. The Most Professional Professional recognises the industry’s finest suits, Best in Show rewards the family and theatre show element, and Services Above and Beyond is the category for tour service companies. Meanwhile, The People’s Assistant is the first in a series of new awards for unsung heroes in the business. This year it is being awarded to the assistants behind the scenes, without whom most expeditions wouldn’t even be mounted. And the pinnacle of proceedings is The Bottle Award, where we honour one intepid explorer for their outstanding contribution to the live music industry. Any prior ILMC adventurer or IQ subscriber is eligible to vote for The Arthurs, with voting open at ilmc.com until 8 March.
St Patrick’s Early Hooley Over the years at ILMC, the theme of the Sunday Night Dinner has touched on the cuisine and culture of many countries around the world, but for authentic pub food and outright fun, this year promises to be a blinder as we cross the Irish Sea to the Emerald Isle. We’ll be celebrating St Paddy’s Day early, starting on Sunday evening at 19:30 when Berryhurst whisk delegates to nearby Mulligans of Mayfair, London’s pre-eminent Irish bar and restaurant. Survivers of the ILMC expedition will be greeted by
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hosts MCD, Oxegen and INEC, and treated to a fantastic selection of fine wines, directly imported Guinness and traditional Irish cuisine, while the session is sure to carry on late into the night with pub games and shenanigans. It’s a fitting way to wind down from the ILMC weekend, although places are limited, so go on and book your place at a table now. Go on... go on, go on, go on...
The Industry That Time Forgot? ILMC might be the fantastic story of a journey to a world out of the dawn of time, but there is also a serious element to it. The engine room of the conference, and indeed its raison d’être, are the meetings, which provide an open forum to discuss those issues affecting the business. With the eruption of change witnessed over the last few years, there’s always plenty to talk about, and 2011 is no exception. In fact, setting this year’s conference in a lost world populated by dinosaurs and unknown terrors was no small coincidence. As the old ways of doing business face extinction, battle lines are being drawn as prehistoric monsters face off against a tidal wave of new intruders. And as an industry, have we been operating as an island where time stands still? There are many parallels to draw, and even more topics to discuss, whether it’s the gold rush into ticketing, or asking whether anyone’s saying ‘no’ to fee demands from artists and agents. As the grassroots scene struggles, we’ll be questioning how you break an act when there’s no entry level left, but with the ongoing rise of pop and singles-centric culture, who’s touring anymore anyway? The list continues. From exclusivity clashes and sponsors’ changing expectations, to rights societies hiking rates and the fallout from the global recession. And while individual topics are dealt with during specific sessions, a strong theme runs throughout the ILMC agenda, from the questions posed in Carl Leighton-Pope’s Talking Shop on Friday, to the answers we aim to present by Sunday afternoon: it’s a journey not to be undertaken lightly. The full ILMC agenda will be published in the next issue of IQ and also online at ilmc.com but if there is a topic you strongly feel we should cover, please get in touch at email@example.com – it’s YOUR conference, and we rely on YOUR input. Taking place at the Royal Garden Hotel (2-24 Kensington High Street, London) from 11-13 March 2011, ILMC is the land that time forgot. And so long as you don’t spend the entire time in the Delegates’ Bar, it’s an adventure you’ll never forget...!
Route Through the Lost World Friday
i.Avo Session Basel’s ‘Dawn of Time’ Opening Drinks The expedition kicks off at Avo Session Basel’s ‘Dawn of Time’ Opening Drinks. A must for new adventurers and dinosaurs alike. 13:00 sharp, lower ground floor of the hotel.
ii.The Lost World Texas Hold’em Poker Tourney
Dare you run the gauntlet of card sharps, black clubs and dastardly players to win those amazing bar tab prizes? Hosted by American Talent Agency. Sign up via firstname.lastname@example.org.
iii.‘The Dutch Mission’ Meet & Greet
Giant local inhabitants and the captivating sounds of strange new foreign artists await at MusicXport.nl’s annual Dutch Meet & Greet. Dutch Embassy from 18:00 to 20:00.
iv.Table Football ‘Coupe du Monde’
A savage battleground for thirsty players, the ‘Coupe du Monde’ takes place in the hotel bar from 22:00 01:00. The only opportunity to play for your country with a drink in one hand. Sign up on the night.
v.Access All Areas shows
Dare you leave the comparative safety of our base camp to venture into the wilds of London’s live music scene? AAA brings you the best shows happening across the capital. Check conference guide or the Help Desk for listings.
vi.Match of the Year Football
Titans commence battle as the UK takes on the rest of all worlds at 19:30. Sponsored by Aiken Promotions, contact Peter Aiken (email@example.com) to get on side.
vii.The Lost Supper and Arthur Awards
The ILMC Gala Dinner and Arthur Awards (see page 16) with hosts Robertson Taylor Insurance Brokers. Quite simply, it’s the most fantastic journey that has ever challenged imagination...
The most thrilling adventure of a lifetime at our first Camp Cabaret. Unique sounds and foreign treasures astound. From 22.30 onwards with hosts ITAW and Rockit cargo.
ix Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw
Prizes like nothing your eyes have seen before, but you must be in it to win it. Rock up for a 14:45 start as our chosen charity, Rainforest Foundation UK, benefits.
x.Rock-It Cargo’s Champagne Escape
No strangers to moving mountains, Rock-it Cargo will be helping explorers round off the adventure in style. It’s one last chance to explore that new pathway or just bag a dinosaur. 17:30 onwards.
xi.St Patrick’s Early Hooley (see page 16)
St Patrick’s Day comes early with Guinness direct from the Emerald Isle at London’s top Irish bar and restaurant, Mulligans of Mayfair. 19:30 ‘til late.
xii.Delegates’ Jam Campfire Singsong
Combine the piercing shrills of a pterodactyl with mysterious jungle warbling and you’ll get the idea. A must for frustrated starlets and essential viewing for those who don’t want to go home. 23:00 until...
Bringing the first noughty decade to a close, Allan McGowan summarises the year that nearly was in live music... Right, here we go with a review of the international live music industry’s adventures and misadventures in the last year of the first decade of the 21st century... The ongoing rocky worldwide financial situation demanded caution, the nautical theme of a sold-out ILMC 22 saw the industry keeping its eyes open for the metaphoric icebergs, but the lookouts were unprepared for volcanic ash from Iceland closing airspace in Europe and blotting out many tour plans and promotional campaigns. Increasingly, the live business has been regarded by other beleaguered sectors of the music industry as ‘the golden goose’. As artists’ dependence on touring revenues continue to grow and fee demands rise, so inevitably, have ticket prices and booking fees, at a time when the fans’ options continue to be restricted by lack of spare cash. The pressures are taking their toll, causing concerns in some markets for the ongoing health of the fabled bird. 2010 has seen tours, concerts and festivals failing to meet targets or even being cancelled, particularly in the US.
In Brief... December
• The UK’s Competition Commission takes an about turn on a preliminary ruling, clearing the proposed merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster. • German ticketing company CTS Eventim signs a deal with Zurich-based media company Ringier to establish a joint venture in Switzerland. • World Awards Media, the Austrian events company tasked with organising Jermaine Jackson’s failed tribute to his brother Michael in Vienna, is placed into liquidation. • HMV and Mama Group announce a new annual city festival, Next Big Thing, that will run across Mama’s venues in London in February, featuring 50 up-and-coming acts. • Promoters of travelling hard rock festival Sonisphere announce new 2010 events in Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Poland, Romania and Turkey.
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Billboard declared the summer touring season the worst since the mid 90s, with cancellations by acts like The Eagles, Rihanna and Kings of Leon. But as we will see, not all was doom and gloom…
Research by PRS for Music put a figure of £1.54billion (€1.8bn) on the worth of the UK live industry in 2009, 9.4% up on 2008. Economist Will Page was at pains to make clear that defining ancillary live music revenues channeled back into the music industry was a challenge. “Put bluntly, the value of live music is much broader than the face value of a ticket” he said. Page’s report pegged primary ticket revenues up 5.8% to £957million (€1,117m); secondary up 15% to £172m (€201m); and on-the-night spend up by 16% to £408m (€476m). While the gap between the superstar acts and everyone else widens alarmingly, all of this was achieved during the deepest economic downturn in a generation. Which is, to say the least, encouraging. In the US, meanwhile, (according to Pollstar) the top 100 tours in the first half of 2010 grossed a combined $965.5m, 17% ($196.8m) down from the same period last year, the lowest since 2005. Total tickets were 15.9 million, down nearly 12% on last year, and the lowest since the 14.5 million recorded in 2005. The US economic situation being blamed for a 15% drop and the downturn is said to have affected markets of all sizes, though larger shows in particular. And with Canada holding up better than North America, our US colleagues were left even
• A freak electrical storm on New Year’s Eve forces the last day of Australia’s Pyramid Rock Festival to be cancelled. • UK retailer HMV acquires a 66% majority shareholding in promoter and venue firm Mama Group, building on a previous JV with its venues arm in which HMV invested £18.2million (€21m). • Ministers in France are said to be seriously considering taxing ISPs’ advertising revenues and using the income to develop legal online outlets for music, books and films. • Austrian promoters Harry Jenner, Richard Hoermann and Ewald Tatar form Nu Coast, a JV to share back-office resources and seek possible synergies. • While music trade fair Popkomm announces it will return in 2010, Hamburg’s Reeperbahn (23-25 Sept.) steps up the competition by announcing a collaboration on content with C/O Pop (22-28 June) in Munich.
• Dutch promoter Willem Venema sets up new firm Double Vee after his previous company, The Alternative, is wound up when his major shareholder collapses with debts of €26m. • German ticketer CTS Eventim challenges the UK Competition Commission’s ruling to allow the Live Nation/ Ticketmaster merger, saying it was not allowed a fair hearing. • A trend that probably won’t catch on in the West, two Chinese singers are caught lip synching at a concert in Sichuan and both fined CNY80,000 (€8,500). • Australian Arts Minister Pete Garrett outlines plans for a law to force international artists performing in venues over 4,000-capacity to include domestic acts on the bill. • The US Justice Department clears the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, forming the world’s largest live entertainment company.
• Venue operator SMG wins a 12-year contract to operate the Wroclaw Stadium (cap. 44,000) in Poland, set to open in time for the 2012 European Soccer Championships. • Chicago-based The Windish Agency opens a New York office, with staff including Mike Mori, who was formerly at The Agency Group. • Paul Bolton and Adam Saunders are the latest agents to depart UK firm Helter Skelter, joining X-Ray Touring. Their move follows agent Paul Franklin’s departure to CAA in October. • Beyoncé Knowles wins six Grammys at the annual US music awards show, more than any woman on a single night in the 52-year history of the awards. • Universal Music-owned merchandising company Bravado inks new deals with Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston for their forthcoming campaigns.
Above: Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour was one of the year’s highlights
glummer in November by the findings of an Edison Research survey of 12-24-year-olds that stated that this target group (which averaged just over two gigs each per year ten years ago), now attends less than one annually. And it’s not just the youngsters, as a report by the newly renamed German promoters’ association Bundesverband der Veranstaltungswirtschaft (BDV) has revealed. “ We’ve found out that people over 40 are attending less concerts. The point is that ticket prices in some instances are high. If you go to a Tina Turner concert and the ticket costs €120 for two people with food and a taxi, you’re spending €350 – who can pay that? It’s a problem.” – Jens Michow, BDV • Live Nation partners with Wal-Mart to sell tickets in 500 of its North American stores. • Universal Music Group parent Vivendi promotes Lucian Grainge to CEO, as Doug Morris moves to become chairman of the company. • Nordea Bank agrees to back Denmark’s cash-strapped national stadium, Parken, so it can recover from a DKR254m (€34m) annual loss. • With the closure of promoter and ticket seller Emma Entertainment, Ticketmaster quietly pulls out of China. • Ticketmaster agrees to refund fans who purchased tickets to 14 Bruce Springsteen shows in 2009 via its TicketsNow secondary platform. • AC/DC smashes attendance records by selling 630,000 tickets for the band’s first Australian and New Zealand tour in nine years, grossing AUD82m (€56m). • All Good Entertainment files a $300m suit against Michael Jackson’s estate, AEG Live
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BDV’s 2009 market report published with trade magazine Musikmarkt, outlined a 12% drop across the board. The live entertainment business generated €3.17bn compared to €3.61bn in 2008. Music events generated a turnover of €2.27bn on 66.6 million tickets, down on €2.57bn and 74.5 million tickets in 2008. But BDV chairman Jens Michow predicted a more positive result for 2010 with the passing of the global financial crisis in Germany. Pollstar’s figures also showed favourable numbers internationally, with fans in Europe, South America and Australia still buying tickets. Worldwide arena, theatre, and club ticket sales were slightly down, but on average, close to those of a year ago. AC/DC dominated its half year results, shifting 1.8 million tickets for 40 shows in 32 cities by June,
and others, claiming it had a contract with him and his family for a reunion concert. • Promoter Marcel Avram sues the mayor of Bucharest for €340,000 after the official allegedly failed to contribute that sum towards a Bryan Adams show in September 2008. • German promoter Prime Time Entertainment files for insolvency, leaving the tent that housed the loss-making show India standing in the centre of Hamburg. • Whitney Houston’s dates in Australia are plagued by poor performance reports, with many fans demanding refunds. She later cancels several European shows due to illness. • Irish promoter Denis Desmond is awarded $3m (€2.2m) damages against Prince after the artist cancelled a June 2009 show in Dublin without reasonable grounds. • During an earnings call, Live Nation head Michael Rapino says the company is returning to Ticketmaster in North America, being unsatisfied with CTS Eventim’s ticketing system.
• Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse commits suicide on 6 March in Knoxville, Texas. • Venue operator SMG wins the contract to manage the new Ora Arena and Convention Centre in Istanbul, Turkey, due to open in November. • Mojo Concerts cancels 1,000 concert tickets for shows by Editors and Mika after identifying 12 Dutch resale sites bulk buying tickets. • Fans of Lady Gaga complain when prices to see her live double in the space of three months. • According to China Music Radar, AEG has its relationship with the Wukesong Arena in Beijing “restructured” after failing to find sufficient talent or sponsorship for the arena. • Live Nation France head Jackie Lombard returns to independence after her three-year deal with the entertainment giant expires. • Michael Jackson’s estate signs a record-
following the 1.7 million sold last year. Bon Jovi was second, with the first real ‘newcomer’, Lady Gaga, coming in sixth by selling 6 million tickets over 45 shows in 35 cities. In March, however, fans complained bitterly that prices for her tickets had doubled in three months.
Tying and Untying the Knots
The year began with the much-commented merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment being cleared by all remaining monopoly commissions. While the UK’s Competition Commission dithered for two months, on 25 January the US Justice Department gave its blessing to the (then) happy couple to create a behemoth owning 140 venues worldwide, promoting 22,000 concerts, selling 140 million tickets annually and managing the careers of over 200 artists. “ We believe our combined platform will create a more diversified and stronger enterprise, with the resources to develop new products, expand access and improve transparency and choice in the ticketing process, while generating incremental free cash flow and increased returns to shareholders.” – Irving Azoff, Ticketmaster Entertainment “ We should be like Amazon.com. Our belief from day one was that in music, to survive we couldn’t just be a ticket company or promoter, we had to be an e-retail, frontdoor marketing company.” – Michael Rapino, Live Nation Entertainment breaking $200m (€148m) deal with Sony Music Entertainment for ten projects over seven years. • Helter Skelter agent Nigel Hassler departs to CAA, leaving just New York-based agent Pete Nash left at the once leading London agency. • Romania’s Bestfest takes a break in 2010 citing a lack of suitable headliners and the economic downturn as the reasons. • Following the approval of the Ticketmaster merger, Live Nation begins a round of redundancies that could be up to 20% of its workforce, according to Pollstar. • Live Nation, FKP Scorpio and Exit festival all announce that they are testing cashless payment systems at festivals in the summer. • Capital and Counties, the new owners of London’s Earls Court confirm that the venue and exhibition centre will be bulldozed after the 2012 Olympics.
Many feared that the combined operation would be a dominant and monopolistic force in many markets worldwide with the capacity to shut off independent operators from many parts of the supply chain. German ticketer and erstwhile LN suitor CTS Eventim challenged the ruling of the UK’s Competition Commission, signalling a new low for relations between the two parties. In February, Michael Rapino announced that Live Nation would be returning to Ticketmaster for its ticketing systems in North America, having being unsatisfied with Eventim’s. International executives followed suit, publicly denouncing the German system, and mediation was later called for. Eventim, which incorporates many of Germany’s leading promoters, as well as ticketing operations throughout Europe, had its own merger probe later in the year when Germany’s Federal Cartel Office launched a retrospective look at its €145million purchase of See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group. And if relations between CTS and Live Nation weren’t bad enough, the news that Live Nation was opening an office in the former’s backyard must have added insult to injury. Headed by national promoter Johannes Wessels, Live Nation Germany opened in March, with former Ticket Online MD Klaus Zemke appointed to run Ticketmaster. But by September, Wessels had returned to independence, leaving the fate of the operation uncertain. “Germany is the fourth largest music market in the world and represents huge untapped potential for Live Nation.” – Alan Ridgeway, Live Nation Entertainment
• Iceland Music Export Office takes over the running of the annual Airwaves festival in Reykjavik after the collapse of the country’s banks effectively halted the event. • Bob Dylan cancels tour dates in Beijing, Shanghai and three others, claiming Chinese officials had refused to grant him a visa. Officials deny a visa was ever applied for. • CTS Eventim issues a €19.9m dividend to shareholders – it’s largest ever – after record-breaking 2009 revenues of €447m and an EBIT profit of €71.3m. • Former Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, 64, dies in New York after a brief battle with cancer. • Agent Keith Naisbitt leaves The Agency Group to join Agency for the Performing Arts in LA. • Live Nation announces the launch of an Australian office in Melbourne, just weeks after it sets up in Germany with promoter Johannes Vessels as MD.
• Telefónica O2 wins the naming rights to the Color Line Arena in Hamburg, which is retitled O2 Hamburg • Ash from an Icelandic volcano closes airspace in Europe destroying many tour plans and promotional campaigns. • Organisers of the World Cup Kick-Off Concert bow to government pressure to include more international acts on the bill. • Finnish ticketing company Lippupiste Oy moves into the Baltic ticketing market, following Ticketpro’s entry into the region last year. • German entertainment group DEAG post a €4.8m profit for the last financial year, its EBITDA increasing 73% on 2008. • The 2010 Shanghai World Expo – which expects over 70 million visitors – opens in China with a concert by Lang Lang and Andrea Bocelli.
Above Left: Rock am Ring 2010 boasted a record sell-out © Bella Leiberberg
The last few years might have seen the German market contract, but there are still sizeable riches to be made. Eventim issued a €19.9m dividend to shareholders based on its 2009 result, and its Q3 figures for this year report group revenues growing 13% to €372.4m, with EBITDA of €60m. Number two in the market – Deutsche Entertainment AG – also posted growth in its mid-year figures, the news coming after a €4.8m profit in 2009. Back on a more international tip and mirroring the malaise in the US market, Live Nation’s first quarter results showed losses of $112m (€91m), with concert audiences falling to 6.8 million from 7.1 million for the same period in 2009. A round of redundancies followed in March. Something had to be done and referring back to last year’s ‘No Service Charge Wednesdays’, Live Nation again dropped its service fees, but this time for the whole of June, applying the deal to nearly 8 million tickets available through its website for more than 700 shows and 110 artists. It also offered discounts and two-for-one offers on a number of shows. Jason Garner, then CEO of Live Nation’s concert division told Billboard.biz, “You start from the premise that 80% of shows don’t sell out and 40% of all tickets go unsold. Michael has been challenging us, and we’ve been challenging ourselves, on how do we sell more tickets?” But, with the widespread discounting of tickets came signs that consumers were beginning to wait for tickets to be reduced rather than pay the full price up front. In October, Garner departed the Company. The uncertain financial climate didn’t stop the global
• Five people are trampled to death at a concert in Guadalupe, Mexico, when gunshots cause a crowd to rush for the exit. • Live Nation Entertainment announces first quarter losses of $112m (€91m), with concert audiences falling to 6.8 million from 7.1 million for the same period in 2009. • CTS Eventim announces first quarter earnings up 25.3% on 2009, with group revenues up 7.5% to €127.8m. • Guy Hands persuades investors to stump up £105m (€126m) to meet bank covenants on the beleaguered UK major label EMI. • Manchester Evening News Arena is bought by Development Securities for £62m (€75m), and venue manager SMG Europe announces a 25-year deal with the new owner. • A group of independent American promoters file objections to the Live Nation/Ticketmaster merger with the District Court in Washington, DC.
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entertainment giant from going shopping, and after Andrea Pieroni and his Florence-based company Live in Italy were brought into the fold, came the November acquisition of Ticketnet, the second largest ticket retailer in France. Live Nation also opened up in Australia in August, swiftly announcing a string of U2 dates as its first co-promotion. But with Q3 results outlining a 26% drop in net income from $69m in 2009 to $51m this year, executives are cautious about the coming year. “2011 will be less about growing market share and more about profitability,” Rapino told an audience of investors, adding that the number
• World renowned heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio dies, aged 67, having lost his battle with stomach cancer. • In the UK, PRS for Music reveals that festival fans spent £275m (€332m) on UK events in 2009, £50m (€60m) more than in 2008. • Axl Rose and his former manager Irving Azoff file lawsuits against each other; Frontline Mgmt claiming unpaid commission, and Rose claiming negligence. • Brendan Hines is announced as the new GM of Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. • Matter, the 2,600-capacity club within London’s The O2 goes into administration with debts of £3m (€3.6m), taking down parent company Fabric with it. • CTS Eventim purchases the remaining 49.8% of shares it didn’t already own in Italian ticket company TicketOne for €20.6m. • Glade Festival in Winchester, UK, is cancelled after policing charges rise sixfold from £29,000 (€35,000) to £175,000 (€211,000).
• Greek promoters DiDi Music open a new 3,500-capacity outdoor theatre at the Rockwave Festival site near Athens. • The Pixies cancel a 9 June appearance in Israel, a month after Elvis Costello calls off two shows due to the fractious political climate. • Stuart Cable, the former drummer of the Stereophonics dies aged 40 at his home in Wales. • Veteran agent Barbara Skydel of William Morris Entertainment dies after a long battle with cancer. • Partners at CAA acknowledge that the agency is in discussions with a private equity firm to buy a share of the company worth up to $250m (€204m). • Industry body Live Performance Australia publishes a report pegging the value of the country’s live industry at $1.63billion (€1.19bn) in 2008. • Sony Music purchases a majority share in
Above: Bon Jovi performed a 12-date residency at The O2 in London
“ There needs to be an adjustment in how much we charge and how well we treat and interact with the consumer. The road cannot completely fill the economic hole left by the transitioning recorded music business. The guarantees have to come down to allow more realistic scaling of our tours; the secondary market needs to provide the consumer with a real value-added experience and not just serve as a greedfest; artists cannot play markets over-and-over in the same touring cycle; and my competitors need to be less disingenuous and more responsible and transparent.” – Randy Phillips, AEG Live (in response to Bob Lefsetz)
one topic is how prices can be lowered in order “to fill the house”. One main strategy outlined to achieve this would be to pay artists less money. In this regard – and it’s certainly a rare occurrence – Rapino and AEG Live president and rival Randy Phillips see eye-to-eye. AEG Live, which has continued to become a serious contender to Live Nation over the last few years was not immune to the downturn itself, with redundancies reported in the UK office and elsewhere, and offices closed in Sweden and the Middle East. Phillips is equally sober about the dangers to the business. Hungarian promoter ShowTime Budapest. • Live Nation names veteran executive Mike Evans as the newly created role of president of arenas for North America. • The Nederlander Organization files suit against Michael Jackson’s estate over a contract that gave the theatre producer rights to a Broadway show on the musician’s life. • Las Vegas businessman Bob Cayne is appointed to run the new Live Nation office in the city. • Stevie Wonder wraps up Glastonbury Festival with a rendition of Happy Birthday as the 177,000-capacity event celebrates its 40th anniversary with blazing sunshine and a sell-out crowd. • Troubled Swedish festival Hultsfred is cancelled in advance of its 7-9 July dates, and organisers Rockparty file for bankruptcy.
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While its promoter cousin produced 46 of the top 100 tours in the first half of 2010, (according to Pollstar) there was no slowdown for AEG Facilities. Down under, AEG Ogden was confirmed to run the 15,000-capacity Perth Arena from April 2012. AEG’s 18,000-seat Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai sold out its first nine concerts with a five-date run by Faye Wong in November. The group also teamed up with the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre to provide resources for the new 12,000-capacity Scottish National Arena in Glasgow, and it is consulting on a major renovation of the Palais Omnisports de Paris Bercy in France. In fact, if arenas are anything to go by, the industry is in a passable state of health. IQ’s 2010 European Arena Report announced a welcome 0.6% rise in attendance at music shows reversing an 8% decline the previous year. Naming rights deals continued apace, with Sheffield Motorpoint
• Women’s US touring festival Lilith Fair cancels ten dates due to soft ticket sales. Cancelled shows include Austin, Dallas and Montreal. • The 15th Graspop Metal Meeting in Belgium attracts 130,000 hard rock fans over three days to see Aerosmith, Kiss and Motörhead among others. • Venue manager AEG Ogden is confirmed to run the 15,000-capacity Perth Arena when it opens in April 2012. • Ticket giant CTS Eventim buys See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group for €145m and secures exclusive ticketing rights to all Stage Entertainment Germany shows. • Italian promoter Claudio Trotta is cleared of charges of disturbing the peace after Bruce Springsteen overran a curfew at Milan’s San Siro stadium last year. • AEG closes its Middle East branch and announces that its office in Stockholm will also close, while it looks to retain
local strategic partnerships instead. • Mid-year business figures by Pollstar report a 17% drop in the value of the top 100 tours over the same period last year. • Live Nation stock drops 16% in real time during an investors’ presentation that announces a 12% drop in ticket sales for the first half of the year. • French promoter Salamon Hazot sells his Paris-based company Nous Productions to Warner France. • Bono’s back injury, which caused many of the U2 tour dates to be rescheduled, cost $17m (€13m), according to Insurance Insider magazine. • The European Talent Exchange Programme confirms it has generated 156 bookings at festivals over the summer, slightly down on the 200 shows in 2009. • 21 die and over 500 are injured at the Love Parade festival in Duisberg, Germany, when panic breaks out in an entrance/exit tunnel to the event.
Arena in the UK just one of several to have rebranded in multi-year deals, and a welcome addition to the European arena network, the 14,000-capacity MCH Multiarena in Herning, Denmark, opened its doors in August. At the upper end of the capacity scale, Live Nation and AEG look set to battle it out for the management contract on London’s Olympic Stadium after the 2012 games, while venue operator SMG won a 12-year contract to operate the Wroclaw Stadium (cap. 44,000) in Poland, set to open in time for the 2012 European Soccer Championships.
While venue operators strode into new territories, others were keen to look beyond boundaries during the year. In June, AEG Live confirmed that it had held preliminary talks with Warners and “very exploratory” discussions with other major labels that showed an
• A 26-year-old male collapses and dies at the Kansas City leg of the Warped Tour in temperatures topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit, sparking a debate about water availability at the site. • Elissa Murtaza retires as head of Live Nation Middle East in Dubai, and is replaced by Canadian operations officer Tyler Mervyn. • Veteran agent Brett Murrihy of Premier Harbour Agency launches a new company, Artist Voice, with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group. • Singer Wyclef Jean confirms that he will run for president of Haiti. • Deutsche Entertainment AG forms Gold Entertainment after purchasing two thirds of promoter Manfred Hertlein Veranstaltungs, to focus on the “grey gold” market. • Andrea Pieroni and his Florence-based company Live in Italy join Live Nation.
interest in establishing a presence in the touring business. That same month, Warners also purchased Paris-based promoter Nous Productions (headed by Salamon Hazot), while Sony bagged a majority shareholding in Hungarian promoter ShowTime Budapest. And as music companies continued to find their footing in the post Napster society, it was not just labels leaning into neighbours’ gardens. In January, UK music retailer HMV built on its existing JV with the venues arm of the Mama Group by acquiring a 66% majority shareholding. The move into live is part of a strategy to offset the long-term decline in sales of CDs and DVDs. In July, HMV Group’s chief executive Simon Fox said that while the strategy was at an early stage, it was “progressing on track”. For the year to 24 April, the group registered a 17.7% jump in pre-tax profits, to £74.2m (€86.8m), ahead of City forecasts.
• A freak storm that descends on the Finnish Sonisphere site, wrecks equipment, injures 40 people and claims the life of a 50-year-old man. • Sheffield Arena in the UK is renamed Sheffield Motorpoint Arena in a five-year, seven figure naming-rights deal with manager Live Nation. • Both Live Nation and AEG express interest in managing London’s Olympic Stadium after the 2012 games, in partnership with London football clubs – Live Nation with West Ham United, and AEG with Tottenham Hostspur. • The lead singer of Ou Est Le Swimming Pool, Charles Haddon (22), commits suicide behind the main stage at Pukkelpop festival in Belgium after injuring a fan stagediving. • Live Nation Australia announces its first major tour – four December dates with U2 – copromoted with Michael Coppel Presents. • Live Nation UK promoter Jon Dunn
moves to Festival Republic, the company to which he was previously seconded for booking Latitude and Big Chill festivals. • UK newspaper The Observer claims that UK-based ES Group is part of a consortium charging hugely inflated prices (including £61k [€71k] for soap dispensers) for the Commonwealth Games in India. • Organisers of Australia’s Homebake Festival announce that the 14th edition of the December event is being postponed due to a lack of suitable headliners. • Five protestors supporting Amnesty International are detained at a U2 show in Moscow, with officials also closing the information stalls of both Greenpeace and an AIDS charity. • Organisers of the UK’s Reading Festival pull the plug on Guns N’ Roses when the band is late for its headline slot. Days later, the band is bottled off stage in Ireland by angry fans.
Far Left: Muse at T in the Park 2010 Above: Mercedes Benz Arena opened in Shanghai in November
“ The most significant development in HMV’s evolution as an entertainment brand over the past 12 months has been our entry into the fast-growing live music market, which in the UK is forecast to become one-third greater than the value of recorded music by 2012.” – Simon Fox, HMV Group
However, later in the year, following a “disappointing” £1m (€1.2m) loss from its first foray into the festival business (High Voltage Festival featuring headliners ZZ Top and Foreigner in London’s Victoria Park in July), Fox admits that, “Our expectations for a brand new, year-one festival were just too high”. “ The live music wing may be a high growth story but it lacks the scale to overcome the very immediate structural pressures the core retail business has from online.” – Kate Calvert, analyst at stockbroker Seymour Pierce
The remarkable growth of the music festival market continues: the PRS for Music report revealed that festival fans spent £275m (€332m) on UK events in 2009, £50m (€60m) more than in 2008. According to a report in The Guardian in the UK in August, “some two million people have hoisted rucksacks on their backs (or climbed into Range Rovers) and headed to a music festival in 2010.” The newspaper reported that there are currently more than 670 events in Britain with the top 200 contributing £450m (€526m) to the economy in ticket sales, travel, accommodation and food.
• Germany’s Federal Cartel Office launches a retrospective probe into CTS Eventim’s €145m purchase of See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group. • Booking agent Gary Howard leaves Marshall Arts to join the London office of The Agency Group. • EMI Group owner Terra Group is given the go ahead to sue Citigroup – which it claims misled it in the purchase of the beleaguered major label – for “billions of dollars”. • Police close down Berlin Music Week early, cancelling performances by Fatboy Slim and 2 Many DJs, after crowd concerns in the wake of the Love Parade tragedy in Duisberg. • See Tickets chairman Nick Blackburn leaves the UK-based company he has headed up for ten years, having allegedly become disillusioned with the operation. • Dave Kirby, founder of The Kirby Organization, dies at home after a long
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IQ’s European Festival Report quoted CEO of international music Alan Ridgeway saying something very unusual for a Live Nation executive in 2010: “We had a better year than last year.” To a large extent this was also true for the majority of the European festival industry this summer – the report indicated 10% more sell outs than in 2009. Average attendance rose by 6.2%, and capacity rose by 15.4% with festivals adding new stages and in some cases entire days. Highlights included Glastonbury wrapping up its 40th anniversary in blazing sunshine with Stevie Wonder leading a 177,000-strong sing-along of Happy Birthday, and
battle with prostate cancer. • A survey of 414 ticketing sites by regulators across Europe finds that 247 are breaking consumer laws and will be investigated further by authorities. • AEG’s 18,000-seat Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai sells out its first nine concerts in advance of opening with a five-date run by Faye Wong on 19 November. • Live Nation Germany MD Johannes Wessels leaves the company just six months after being appointed. • Over 900 delegates attend the Reeperbahn Festival and Campus in Hamburg, Germany, cementing its position as the leading German music industry event. • Live Nation president Michael Rapino tells an audience of investors that his company plans to pay artists less in 2011. • Pete Nash, the last remaining booking agent at once-powerful London agency Helter Skelter, leaves to form his own company, Sound & Vision Agency.
• Creative Artists Agency (CAA) announces a strategic partnership with investment firm TPG Capital, which takes a 35% non-controlling stake in the agency. • The annual report by German promoter’s group BDV, carried out by GFK, reveals that the live entertainment industry shrank by 12% in 2009 to €3.17bn. • Soul singer Solomon Burke dies of natural causes at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport at the age of 70. • Lady Gaga opens the new 14,000-capacity MCH Multiarena in Herning, Denmark’s first multipurpose concert arena. • Ticketmaster US informs its affiliates that it will no longer pay commissions on sales coming from affiliate sites. For late October and November, please see page 6.
multi-date travelling hard rock festival Sonisphere selling its millionth ticket in just two years. But there is still no room for complacency; the festival industry had its fair (or even unfair) share of casualties, both in terms of events and people. The economic situation, bad weather and just plain misfortune still took their toll. “You either did really well, or you had a big financial problem.” – Christof Huber, Open Air St. Gallen /Yourope “I’ve been doing festivals for a long time and the weather is getting more extreme. We now budget for bad weather, which I’ve never had to do before.” – Stuart Galbraith, Kilimanjaro Live
The worst tragedy of the year took place in July, in Duisberg Germany, when 21 died and over 500 were injured at the Love Parade festival, after panic broke out in an entrance/exit tunnel to the event. The disaster has had ongoing repercussions for the festival industry in Germany; the following month Berlin Music Week closed down two stages early at the orders of police who cited crowd concerns. Fears of an over saturated market do not seem to worry everyone. Live Nation, for instance, plans to start up at least one new event in 2011. “ There’s room in certain countries for new festivals, particularly the developing markets like Central and Eastern Europe.” – Alan Ridgeway, Live Nation
The situation is markedly different in the US, however, where after the boom two years ago, the festival market has failed to develop in line with its European counterpart. Coachella was a top-grossing event but others struggled: women’s touring festival Lilith Fair cancelled ten dates due
to poor ticket sales; Kevin Lyman cancelled four dates on his new Country Throwdown Tour and struggled to sell tickets on some of the dates for the 16-year-old travelling punk festival, Warped Tour. “ Two years ago we were talking about the heyday of touring, a touring industry that’s been around 60 years now, and in two years we screwed it up. I’ve been saying it for a year now: we are going to train the public to wait for the discount. Go out for a fair price at the beginning and people will grow into it. But now we’ve got a lot of damage to fix in this business.” – Kevin Lyman, Warped, Mayhem and Country Throwdown Touring Festivals
On With The Show
As usual with print restrictions, many sectors and topics remain uncovered here. However, your back issues of IQ will fill in the gaps, with wide ranging reports on most subjects across the business. And matters outstanding will surely be discussed in the conference rooms, and/or the bars and the corridors at ILMC 23. Amongst these will be numerous reviews by collection societies to hike the rates for performance royalties. (See Paul Latham’s comment piece on page 11 in this issue for a forthright view in line with much of the UK live industry.) Also unmentioned here is ticketing, which, of all the various disciplines that make up the live music industry, probably remains the most contentious. With the likes of Eventim and Live Nation continuing to hoover up independent operations, it’s an industry facing increasing consolidation, but the problem is still a question of resale. With some of the larger online marketplaces continuing to raise funding, TV advertise and employ industry consultants to do deals directly with artists, the merging of primary and secondary ticketing still sits uneasily with many. While some balk at why artists would leave “money on the table”, others are questioning just how greedy artists and their managers can appear before fans begin to turn their backs. Live music has always operated differently to the recorded sector, but ignoring the PR disaster that was downloading will surely be to our detriment. As we come out of 2010, it seems that those who are currently prospering have listened to the fans, remembered that the core product is music, and provided good value for money in hard times. Surely, this approach will maintain the health of the business. People still want live music; it’s not that there won’t be a market in the future, it’s perhaps more about deciding the scale and structure of it. There will be business in 2011, and with both difficult times and inspiring opportunities ahead, there’s always plenty to discuss. See you in London in March.
Far Left: Mumford & Sons at Latitude Above: AC/DC helped give Download festival in the UK a record year
Earlier this month, IQ presented Jake Berry with its inaugural Gaffer Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the world of live music production. Greg Parmley spoke to him about a 35-year career, moving small lakes with helicopters, and purple dinosaurs… At the upper echelon of high-end touring are a handful of mortals capable of moving small towns overnight while coping with relentless deadlines and unforgiving budgets. The weight of responsibility on the production manager/director is enough to give the average roadie night terrors, yet occasionally individuals emerge who actually thrive on incessant stress and sleep deprivation. At the forefront of the boom in touring shows over the last three decades, Jake Berry has led the field and filled it with a who’s who of artists that includes the Rolling Stones, U2, AC/DC, Metallica, Janet Jackson, Tina Turner, Cher, Madonna and the one act no PM can do without, Bob the Builder. “His experience and expertise are unmatched, and yet, what I admire most is his attitude and approach to his craft,” says Arthur Fogel, Live Nation’s head of global touring. “Jake leads by example and if there is anyway possible to deliver, he will do it.” Award-
winning lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe is in agreement. “This is an extraordinary man,” he says. “Very bright, very able, with huge energy, accumulated knowledge and profound technical skills, but also with a highly developed imagination and true vision.” “Give him a stadium and a mobile phone and he’ll make a gig happen,” adds agent John Giddings at Solo. “I’ve no idea how he does it but he’s brilliant; my hero.” Steven ‘Jake’ Berry was born in Devon, UK, in 1953. An early stint in a rock group with his twin brother was enough to convince him of a path outside the limelight, and by the time he’d reached 21, while his brother worked as a thatcher, Berry was delivering animal feed. “My brother got a call to thatch a cottage belonging to [Yes keyboard player] Rick Wakeman,” recalls Berry, “One day I took something over for him, and ended up going to the pub with Rick and getting absolutely
plastered.” The brothers got to know Rick over the course of several summers, and when he performed the three Myths and Legends of King Arthur shows at Wembley in 1975, they were asked to help out. “There wasn’t really a job for us, I think he just liked us. Afterwards, he knew I was single and didn’t really have a future, and he said ‘do you want to go to America with me?’, and of course I said ‘No’. That’s how it all started – I was the drum and percussion tech.” Berry grafted hard, learning anything and everything about touring that he could, and when Wakeman rejoined Yes on the group’s Going for the One tour in 1977, Berry was his assistant keyboard tech. It was during this period that he met Ian Jeffrey who by 1979 was working as tour manager for an upcoming Australian band named AC/ DC. “We all used to hang out in a pub in Maida Vale [in London] called The Warrington,” Berry says. “Highway to Hell had just come out and Ian said, ‘We need a production manager, and I’ve told them you were the stage manager for Yes. What do you think?’ Rick wasn’t doing much and my career was going nowhere so we talked our way into it and I got the job.” The band’s manager, Peter Mensch, recalls being nervous when he found out that he’d appointed a young keyboard tech to such a principal role. “I hired Joe Baptista – who had done Aerosmith for years – to go and make sure Jake could do the job. He called me after two days and said, ‘I’m going home, the guy’s great’.”
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Below: In Rio, December 1975, with Rick Wakeman (top left)
“Jake Berry is the only man for the job. Any man who takes his rest days flying from Europe to South Africa to look at a stadium gets my vote. He’s been a fantastic addition to U2 on the road – I can’t imagine anyone else being responsible for moving this amount of equipment around the globe, let alone managing the numbers of crew required on a production such as U2 360.” – Paul McGuinness, Principle Management “On one of the Stones tours, when one of my kids was a teenager, I wanted him to learn about some of the disciplines and harsh realities of life, so I sent him on the road with Jake. He went out a kid and came back a man!” – Michael Cohl, S2BN
Below: Out on the road with Metallica
In the right pub at the right time, Berry took the opportunity and ran with it, staying with AC/DC for years and far beyond the band’s 7x platinum album that catapulted them to stardom. “In those days, you had five guys unload the sound, five guys unload the lights, you set up the backline and you were done,” he says. But as heavy metal took hold during the 80s, the size of the productions swelled in line with the hairstyles. “We went from a two-truck tour on Highway to Hell to 12 trucks in the 80s. It was insane,” he says. Aside from the friendly rivalry between crews about who had the bigger sound or lighting rig, Berry is nostalgic about the period for other reasons. “Back in those days, you worked for a T-shirt, booze and whatever drugs you could find. Lunch break was meeting in the pub around the corner for a pint and a pie, then you’d go back to work. If we did that now, health & safety would have kittens,” he laughs. From AC/DC, Berry began to freelance, jumping to Mötley Crüe then Metallica, all bands whose shows were pushing the production envelope. But while he became known as the go-to guy in heavy metal, he wasn’t exclusive to any genre, a position that’s figured throughout his career. In 1987, Berry was on the road with English pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood, and by the early 90s, having already worked with Disney, Steve Howard (the production head for Canadian concert promoter
“I was 16-years-old when I left school, and I got a job with a T-shirt company on an AC/DC tour. It was the first thing I ever did and Jake was the production manager. Even to me at 16, Jake was a legend. He was the first person I ever looked up to in this industry and I’m lucky to count him as a friend now. Out on the road, where everyone becomes a family, he’s the glue that holds it all together.” – Mickey Curbishley, PRG “Jake knows this business inside out. That knowledge is one of his biggest gifts. I don’t know anyone else who would have been brave enough to put U2’s 360 tour on and get it out.” – Hedwig de Meyer, Stageco
“Jake is one of the best observers I ever met. At one of the U2 load outs, he said we should reduce the amount of stage hands and add one more forklift truck. We saved money and 30 minutes per show. He sees these things because he’s not just sitting in his office, he’s everywhere.” – Okan Tombulca, EPS “We supplied one of the crew buses on the Cher tour, and when Cher didn’t like her own bus, Jake asked if she could have one like ours, but with a star room on the top deck. It took ten carpenters four days and nights to convert a star bus, including taking out both windows so we could forklift in her customised mattress. Jake was blown away and we’ve done all his work since. It was a real milestone in our company development and shows that if you can prove you know what you’re doing and do a great job, he’ll back you all the way.” – Jörg Philipp, Beat the Street
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Michael Cohl) introduced him to the organisation behind Barney & Friends. Berry developed a touring show that could load in and out on the same day and the contract led to a sideline in family entertainment shows that has included Walking With Dinosaurs, Wiggles, Bob the Builder, and the forthcoming Batman Live show. “It was a different learning curve – a different way of approaching things and you learn from other people,” he says. Just as a call from Howard brought new opportunities in one area, it was an earlier call from him that had set the course of Berry’s career on entirely larger tracks. In 1991, Berry had embarked on Metallica’s mammoth Nowhere Else to Roam tour, a three-year campaign to support The Black Album. Part way through, Howard called to say the Rolling Stones were looking for a new production head. “I needed to have my own team in there to structure things a little better and more efficiently,” says Cohl, who was promoting the tour worldwide. “Jake came to mind as the right guy.” Job interviews with each band member followed, and three days later, he was inducted into the team. Unlike with AC/DC, this time Berry hadn’t had to invent a job title to get the job. “As a career move I was out there. It’s a bit like going from the Champions League to being top of the Premiership,” he says. “It’s also when you really start to learn about the business end of touring; budgets and how to make things work. But the best part was that my mother could go around Devon saying that her son worked for the Rolling Stones!”
Above: Rolling Stones Bridges to Babylon set, 1997. © Stufish.com Left: U2 crew at Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, November 2009
“Wherever I go in the world, and whichever rock ‘n’ roll promoter I’m working with, you mention Jake’s name, and everybody knows him. If you put Jake Berry on your show like we have with Batman Live, people know it’s going to be a quality show.” – Nick Grace, Nick Grace Management Berry’s first tour with the Stones, 1994’s Voodoo Lounge, opened doors to some of the industry’s leading lights, including set designer Mark Fisher and lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe. “Getting to meet those people and getting involved with the way that they think and having input – they’re fantastic partnerships,” says Berry. Woodroffe, however, discovered a completely new way of working. “As the tour got under way it was full-on guerrilla production management seemingly based on sheer force of will and no sleep – quite terrifying,” he says. In addition to three 747 jumbo jets to shift the entire production (sound and lights included), Voodoo Lounge boasted 28 trucks, an unprecedented number at the time. But even with ample crew, Berry was never far from the coal face. “I always had this motto that I wouldn’t tell anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. I think that wins respect,” he says. “You can’t run a tour from a cocoon in a production office – you have to be out there talking to people.” And this hands-on aspect of Berry’s work ethic is something many admire. “Typical Jake is that you’d fly in to have a meeting with him, and he’d be talking while pushing boxes at the same time because otherwise they wouldn’t get done,” says Cohl. “He’s so hands on it’s unbelievable.” Hedwig de Meyer at Stageco has worked with Berry since AC/DC, and he tells a similar tale. “On one of the Stones dates at the Stadt de France, the crew was travelling by bus and Jake arrived earlier by plane. Some of the trucks had already arrived, and by the time we got there he was unloading the trucks on his own.” And all that time spent around trucks soon paid dividends too. “Jake was the first to realise that adding one or two extra trucks rather than filling every truck to the roof could be more economical,” says Michael Tait at Tait Towers. “Rather than spending ages jigsawing the gear into specific trucks, he just rolled it in and got out in two or three hours. He was brilliant.” Berry and Mark Fisher set the Voodoo Lounge stage at 68-metres wide – the width of a football field, meaning that it was guaranteed to fit in any stadium. It’s a formula still used today in all of their productions, and Berry’s eye for efficiency has led to many other innovations. He was the first to employ a trucking coordinator, shaving vital time off load outs, and according to Tait, he “has the ability to look at a drawing of a show and know how many seats will be killed, how to load it in, rig it etc
Left: U2 360 © Ralph Larmann
– he has an innate ability to understand exactly what was going to go on and how he could do it.” With the Stones as a calling card, Berry began working for manager Roger Davies – who he calls ‘the king of divas’ – on tours including Tina Turner and Cher. But he cites the Stone’s Forty Licks tour in 2002 as his greatest logistical achievement. “We played stadiums, arenas and clubs, and I don’t know of another band that could have done it,” he says. “We coloured all of our flight cases green, blue and white. If they were green they went to the stadium, if it was blue it went to arenas and white to the clubs. If you had all three colours on your case it went everywhere. We fucked up with the odd case here and there, but we got away with it!” It’s hardly the first example of his resourcefulness though: there’s the legend of the AC/DC gig in Phoenix where torrential rains had left a small lake in front of the stage. Berry strapped down the equipment on stage, and flew a helicopter over the water, letting the wind push away the flood. “I think there were a lot of drugs involved in that,” he laughs. “We started blowing over the PA because we stacked it in those days.” So from one stadium band signed to a global touring deal to another, and as the Millennium drew to a close, Berry had been approached by manager Paul McGuinness who was looking to replicate the Stones’ model with U2. “How can you say no to U2?” asks Berry, although his appointment displaced the band’s longstanding PM Steve
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“Jake has always encouraged and supported people that have worked under him when they have had opportunities to advance, even if it meant leaving a tour that he was in charge of.” – Greg Regan, Upstaging Iredale. “In retrospect, I think they were looking for a change, and some fresh air in their organisation,” Berry says. “Steve and I did it together and we worked great together. We never sat down and split up different parts of the job, it just happened in a cool way. Elevation was a mega success, the album was great, and U2 sold every ticket. It was a fantastic tour.” The Elevation tour also paired Berry with renowned video director and set designer Willie Williams for the first time. “Jake’s reputation preceded him, so I was bracing myself for having to deal with this old-school, raging-bull, road-warrior, production office tzar, who’d prioritise the load-out above anything else,” says Williams. “This, of course, was exactly how he turned out to be but what did surprise me was his respect and humility in fitting into an existing (and very longstanding) touring group.” Colleagues relate that it is his loyalty to his touring parties, coupled with a no-nonsense and formidable work ethic, that inspires such loyalty in return. “He leads from the front,” says Fisher. “I don’t believe he has ever asked any member of his crew to work harder than he does.
Top: U2 360 © Ralph Larmann
Although as a true production professional he always asks them to work for less money.” Mark Guterres is head of Transam Trucking and has worked with Berry since 1979. “He’s a brilliant bloke but you have to work hard,” he says. “There’s not a 0.1% margin for error – everything has to be precise. Thirty years ago I was ten minutes late for a load in and he’ll still mention it!” After Elevation followed 2005’s Vertigo tour – the third highest grossing tour of all time ($389million [€294m]) – but of all the tours that litter his career, Berry’s exacting standards have been most tested since 2009 on U2 360. To describe managing the three largest stages in the world (each precisely 68 metres wide) as they leapfrog continents, hundreds of trucks, five cranes, 250 sea containers and 300 personnel as a ‘daunting challenge’ would be an understatement. “We didn’t realise the magnitude of it until we were getting pictures from Stageco of guys doing the welding, and the welder was standing inside the truss!” says Berry. “I called it the Star Trek tour because we’d all gone where no tour had ever been before. Everybody had a formula up until then – three-day steel build, one production day and one day out. Budgets and plans were based on it, but we had to write a new formula. We’re 54 production trucks in Europe. If it takes three minutes to get a truck in, that’s three hours – we had to fine tune everywhere.” That the initial sketches of ‘the claw’ by Willie Williams and Mark Fisher became a reality is one thing, but that it continues to tour the world is quite another. And with the structure reportedly running out of room in some stadia, can anything top it for size and scale? “If you’d have asked me a year ago I’d have said you were
“On tour with Metallica in 1993, Jake asked me if we could play a show in Istanbul on a Friday, Vienna on a Saturday and Athens on a Sunday. It was a logistics and production challenge to say the least, and everyone was walking dead by Sunday, but we made it work. What typifies Jake to me is his attitude and approach to everything he does – he always has the will to find a way.” – Duane Wood, Sound Moves out of your mind,” Berry says. Now though, he remains silent. Perhaps it’s a case of never saying never, as at 57, he has witnessed previously unimaginable advances in live music production. “People say, ‘oh, you production guys just drink a lot, do loads of drugs and work,’ which is so, so wrong. That might have been right in the 80s, but this is a profession – we’re as professional as bankers and lawyers,” he says. “You can’t study for this job though – you can do all the courses you like but you won’t get it unless you do it. It’s always been and always will be hands-on learning but if you work hard and listen it’s a fantastic opportunity.” And looking ahead, Berry is no less inspired about what the future holds. “I want to achieve Batman, I want to finish up what I started with U2 as a great achievement with 360, and Walking With Dinosaurs has been a new chapter too,” he says. “Touring will never go out of me, but it’s time to be more selective and look at using what I’ve learned to set things up and put people in place to run them. But would I go and tour with the Stones again if they asked me? You can’t say no, can you?!”
Top: Jake with his generator farm at U2 360 rehearsals, Barcelona June 2009
Stage Struck The market for family entertainment and theatre shows might have dipped alongside the global economy, but as Adam Woods finds, a good show will always draw a crowd…
killed the dinosaurs first time around, we can now be fairly sure it wasn’t an international credit crisis. Since they set about touring the arenas of the earth in 2007, eight years on from their reincarnation at the hands of the BBC, the magnificent creatures of Walking With Dinosaurs have defied all economic threats to their primacy and established themselves as the greatest family entertainment show on earth. In 2009, Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular was the fourth biggest-grossing tour in the world, its hot breath on the necks of fellow monsters U2, AC/DC and Bruce Springsteen. This year it is said to be tracking third having played to more than 6.5 million people in the past three years and returned over $350million (€257m) at the box office. Which illustrates the value in taking a show out of the market for a while, even if 65 million years is a bit extreme. Walking With Dinosaurs may not be a fair point of comparison for the average touring family entertainment
show, but it does embody many of the qualities and achievements that all peripatetic global shows aim for: the pan-generational appeal, the thrill of the new, the rapturous advance word and, above all, the night out that justifies the dent in an already hard-pressed wallet.
prehistoric spectacles, ice shows and wrestling events, to contemporary dance, circus arts and South African opera, no producer or promoter of family touring product would claim to have sailed entirely smoothly across the stormy economic waters of the past two years. But the shows must go on, and go on they mostly have. There have been those, such as Germany’s Art Concerts – whose gargantuan Ben Hur Live show dragged the entire company under in February after a ruinous run through Europe – that might wish they had steered clear of big investments in this market during these times. More often, one has to give credit to the resilience and enterprise of those who keep on doing the
Left: Baroques from Cirque du Soleil’s Saltimbanco. © Olivier Samson Arcand
business, and in some cases, marvel at just how outrageously well they might have done had there been no recessionary hurdles to overcome. “I do sometimes wonder if we might have done better again under different circumstances,” says Walking With Dinosaurs producer Carmen Pavlovic, CEO of Global Creatures, the Sydney-based animatronic design and production company that built the show. “I’m sure we took a hit like everybody, but certainly in the US, relative to other family shows, we certainly managed to weather it well.” The dinosaurs finally wrapped up three years of US and Canadian touring in September, while the second full-scale production has weaved through Europe and on to Taiwan and Japan. Thailand, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Australia are still to come, and there are no plans to stop any time soon, with mooted dates in the Middle East on the distant horizon. “Every five years we know there’s another generation of kids that are going to be interested in dinosaurs,” says Pavlovic. Not content with the success it has enjoyed with its dinosaurs, Global Creatures has a full drawing board at the moment, and it’s not hard to picture its forthcoming shows making a sizeable splash of their own. It recently acquired the rights to Baz Luhrmann’s Strictly Ballroom, which the Australian auteur will himself adapt for the Broadway stage over the course of a couple of years. And already two years into pre-production is a version of King Kong for theatres, focusing on the love story at the heart of the tale. A collaboration with DreamWorks on an arena adaptation of this year’s How To Train Your Dragon film is also in the works. Pavlovic is in a good position to define the qualities that make a hit show, but she concedes no one had any inkling that even Dinosaurs would be as big as it is. “Who knows what the final mix is?” she muses. “In our case, I think it’s somewhere in the combination of a topic that people are fascinated by, a fantastic brand in the BBC TV series, a great show, something novel and something the whole family can genuinely enjoy going to.” It remains to be seen whether, say, the forthcoming Batman Live has the same appeal in all those categories, but it certainly has many of the same ingredients. Produced by
Above: Walking With Dinosaurs
Mamma Mia! veteran and Walking With Dinosaurs general manager Nick Grace with the backing of Warner Bros and DC Comics, Batman Live is a 20-truck arena extravaganza, marrying live action and circus-style spectacle with comicbook visuals by Batman artist Jim Lee. The show opens in Manchester on 20 July next year and visits Newcastle, Glasgow, Sheffield, Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Dublin and Belfast, followed by Europe and North America. Of a proposed five-year tour, the first two-and-a-half years are already booked. Grace says they are treating Batman Live as a rock ‘n’ roll show, with Batman as the star and the broad appeal of a show like Dinosaurs as the model. “I think Dinosaurs really identified that there is a gap in the market for good-quality family arena shows where the adults can feel they are going to be entertained too, rather than just going along to Power Rangers because the kids like it,” Grace says. The Dark Knight was Warner Bros’s biggest-grossing film of 2008,
never be like it was from 1995 to 2000 when “It’ll Riverdance was setting the world on fire, but it’s certainly at a respectable level again.” – Kieran Cavanagh, KCP Productions
giving him great confidence in the prospects of the arena spin-off. “I think you have to have confidence in Batman, which has almost 100% brand awareness around the world,” he says. “The only thing we can really fall down on is whether we do a good show or not, but Batman has never been presented as a live show before, so obviously there are great expectations. We are trying to do something unpredictable.”
are a new addition in the annals of family entertainment, where new ideas are gold but are similarly hard to find. Old ideas can be gold too – or at least, old brands can, as Cirque du Soleil, Harlem Globetrotters and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) continually demonstrate. Alongside them run other favourites such as Feld Entertainment’s Disney On Ice, Disney Live and Ringling Bros. Circus, and Stage Entertainment’s Holiday On Ice, which launched a new ice show, Tropicana, in Hamburg at the beginning of November, destined to follow its predecessor Energia out on a three- to fouryear world tour in due course. The Amsterdam-based company also had a family show, The Nutcracker on Ice, debuting in Moscow at almost exactly the same time. Meanwhile, other stalwarts keep forging forward. Jeff Munn, executive vice-president and COO of Harlem Globetrotters International reports a bumper year of endorsement deals and brand extensions. The team’s 2010 North American tour grossed the highest tour revenue in its history, setting 73 local box office records and drawing more than two million fans for the third straight year. Able to field two or three full teams at any given time, the Globetrotters has visited 120 different territories and draw around 25% of its revenue from merchandising. Munn says neither the global exploration nor the healthy merch business show signs of flagging. “We continue to explore more every year,” he says. “Fortunately, we have the capability of being flexible with regard to our venue. We can play our typical arenas or play outdoors, and we’ve even played in more nontraditional locations such as bullrings, on dirt, on a beach – even on the decks of active aircraft carriers.” World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) could have used an aircraft carrier when two productions very nearly fell foul of the Icelandic ash cloud that grounded Europe in May, but otherwise the perennial favourite has continued to grow. New territories in 2010 included Costa Rica, where the show played to 20,000 unexpectedly rabid fans in a soccer stadium, and Beijing, where they featured as part of the Shanghai Expo. “The odd thing about going into China is you are going in blind, because you don’t really know what you are going into,” says Denis Sullivan, VP live event booking. “But we were
blown away by the response, absolutely blown away.” The Shanghai Expo’s policy of selling tickets only to walk-up customers on the very day of the show added a further frisson to the occasion, he recalls. “I was at the box office when they started the ticket distribution, and when 10 o’clock came and they opened the gates, we were just descended on by a sea of people coming for the show,” says Sullivan. “It sold out – 8,000 tickets – in an hour.”
when you know the market, family entertainment makes audiences move in a significantly different way to rock ‘n’ roll shows. “It is a different crowd, so you have to use different marketing tools and promotional ideas,” says Marton Brady, managing director of Hungarian promoter ShowTime, whose recent family events include Abba The Show. Brady points to ShowTime’s chart of its most popular familytargeted shows, which reveals recent years have seen fairly healthy returns, though it also bears out the general sense that record-breaking blockbusters aren’t quite as easy to come by as they were a few years ago. There are also those keen to point out that the slump of recent years has weeded out the copycats and many weaker competitors, and nowhere is this more prevalent than in the world of Irish step dance. Rhythm of the Dance celebrates its 12th birthday in March and sells 300,000400,000 tickets a year. The show’s executive producer, Kieran Cavanagh at KCP Productions, says: “At one stage I counted 21 professional shows touring around the world. That’s saturation. Now it’s settled down to about six or seven. It’ll never be like it was from 1995 to 2000 when Riverdance was setting the world on fire, but it’s certainly at a respectable level again.” “The quality shows have retained a position in the marketplace and continued,” adds Michael Durkin, executive producer of Gaelforce Dance and new addition Dancemaster: The Best of Irish Dance. “Every time someone says it’s on the way out, another promoter picks it up and it gets stronger than ever.” Eli Casanova of Barcelona-based booking agency
Nova Touring likewise offers a barometer of a tough market. She currently has Soweto Gospel Choir, Tango Fire and a South African interpretation of Mozart’s Magic Flute out on the road across Europe, as well as Stomp in Spain and Bollywood: The Show in Italy. But these are times to stay afloat rather than speed ahead, she confides. “We are all chugging along and making it happen as best we can, but you feel it,” says Casanova. “I’d say this year has been almost the same as last year – perhaps a little worse.” In Spain and Italy, she adds, there is no shortage of gutsy productions toughing out these hard times, but genuine hits are few and far between. Promoters who might ordinarily be in the market for new shows, meanwhile, are aiming to take their bigger risks in 2012, rather than 2011. In France, high taxes on international touring shows have kept many productions at bay, simply because they add to an already high burden of risk (although Australian production Rock The Ballet, sold out two weeks at the Casino de Paris in October in the midst of mass national strikes against pension reform).
has never been presented as a live show “Batman before, so obviously there are great expectations.” – Nick Grace, Nick Grace Management
certain hard-touring brands that might have been expected to lose their zip in a downturn have also performed well, Casanova relates, where many newer productions have faltered. “Things like Stomp are still working, and that show has been on the market for a long time,” she says. “I presented that in Madrid in August, which is one of our hardest months, and it was one of the most successful shows of the summer.” Montreal’s Cirque du Soleil enjoys an unusually close relationship with the Spanish market, to the extent that this is the one country in which Cirque has allowed its brand to be translated – to Circo del Sol. “There’s been some sort of love affair that started 15 years ago, and it is an intriguing thing,” says Cirque du Soleil senior marketing vice-president Mario D’Amico. “When you think you understand the dynamics of this business, you
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get these anomalies, like Spain, which is having a difficult time economically, yet people will spend the equivalent of $70 or $80 to see the show.” A new Cirque production, Totem, debuts at the Royal Albert Hall in London – another of the group’s evergreen markets, and the only one in the world in which they are guaranteed to play every single year. “There are a few reasons for that,” says D’Amico. “Number one, we have got the luxury of performing in this beautiful venue in the first week in January, right after the holidays. Also, we have a really solid fanbase in the UK. Normally our shows go to North America first, but this one is starting in Europe, where [Totem director and theatrical legend] Robert Lepage has a certain awareness.” German producer and promoter BB Promotion likewise operates worldwide, drawing on a network of partners to license and produce high-quality touring shows. These currently include Cats in Germany and Luxembourg, and Evita in the three GAS countries. Founder Michael Brenner is proud of BB’s partnerships, which range from the Really Useful Group and Phil McIntyre Productions in London to New York’s Sundance Productions. “There are certain things which, when you are partnering, you all have to agree upon, and it’s the kind of quality you do or don’t produce and the audience you want to attract,” says Brenner. “We produce a higherpriced musical or theatre or dance performance than some other shows – we charge €100, say, where others are charging €60 – but this is high-class entertainment where you have to raise a certain price to provide a firstclass performance.” BB’s most recent challenge is its Scandinavian version of We Will Rock You, produced in partnership with Queen and Phil McIntyre. Currently running in Stockholm, the show will move to Oslo in January, changing languages as it goes. “It’s a challenge,” says Brenner. “We are not coming in with a blockbuster arena show and then the next day going somewhere else. We are doing maybe 100 shows in cities where they only usually get replica shows, not official ones, so we need to learn much more about the market to do it right. But learning is what this business is all about.”
Above: We Will Rock You.©Thommy
The Limelight Awards IQ introduces a new series of annual awards to recognise the best in family show and theatre entertainment... The Impresario Award: Derek Nicol, Flying Music Veteran Scot Derek Nicol and the Flying Music company he runs with Paul Walden have been rattling out highly successful theatrical productions for many years, but Thriller Live is increasingly looking like the one they have always been building towards. This year has seen trips to China and South Africa, and next will bring on the first US tour, with Europe and Australasia already long since conquered. It’s a worthy success for Nicol, whose Dancing In The Streets and The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas tours are among those that have taken his brand beyond the high-calibre artist shows with which he made his name from the 1960s onwards. A former manager of Nazareth and The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Nicol is a genuine impresario of more than four decades’ standing and is enjoying some of his best times to date.
Of Musical Note: ABBA THE SHOW, The Ultimate Tribute Show to ABBA
Of the small legion of ABBA tributes, Danish promoter CSE’s ABBA THE SHOW, The Ultimate Tribute to ABBA is quite clearly the most authentic – it uses former ABBA musicians Ulf Andersson & Mats Ronander (among others) – and perhaps the most successful, having performed to more than 2 million in 34 different countries in arena-size instalments: over three times as many shows as the original foursome. First visits in the past couple of years to Brazil, Morocco, even the Faroe Islands, demonstrate that the demand is global and the appeal is endless.
The Innovation Award: Saltimbanco Saltimbanco’s move from big tops to arenas in 2007 constituted exactly the kind of death-defying audacity we have come to expect from Montreal circus group Cirque du Soleil. Backed by Live Nation, the arena-size Saltimbanco spectacular stays true to the original production – Cirque’s oldest – making all the necessary adjustments in the technical areas behind the scenes. The show continues to do the rounds of European cities it
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was previously unable to visit. Ironically, it takes far less time to put the production before an arena full of boggling eyes than it does for an equivalent big top – eight hours, compared to an eight-day big top build. Clever stuff, as always.
One for The Kids: Disney Live! Running five productions at any given time, Feld Entertainment’s official Disney stage show has been pleasing the children of the world for nearly seven years, having launched in the summer of 2004. The show is a testament to the value of a redoubtable brand in tough times, but that doesn’t mean Mickey can afford to tread water, which is why the production has constantly reinvented itself. Mickey’s Music Festival and Mickey’s Magic Show are the latest evolutions of the franchise, which has taken Disney to every corner of the world.
Best Dance Spectacular: Gaelforce Dance The heyday of Irish dance might be long gone, but certain step shows are still doing consistent business around the world, and Gaelforce Dance is one of them. The troupe has just finished a run of Russia and Ukraine, and also a sixdate stint at the Rae Theatre in Amsterdam where it sold 15,000 tickets. With over a million fans entertained worldwide, the tale of two brothers’ love for the same woman looks set to continue connecting with audiences from Belgium to Beijing and beyond.
Best Sports Production: TNA Wrestling Maximum Impact Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) has been working hard to present a genuine challenge to WWE since it launched eight years ago, and these past two years have seen the competition hot up, both on TV and in the live realm. WWE remains very much the one to beat, but TNA has become an international brand since it launched its first UK tour in 2008, and many fans believe it surpasses its rival for energy and excitement. TNA returns to Europe in the New Year for the third time, sweeping through France, Germany, the UK and Ireland.
Tour of The Worlds
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Tour of The Worlds
Tour of TheWorlds Not unlike its Martian invaders, the stage adaptation of Jeff Wayne’s seminal 1970s album is laying waste to arenas in Europe. Greg Parmley profiles the recession-defying production…
n paper, a stage adaptation of a 1970s musical interpretation of a late 19th century novel about a Martian invasion is an unlikely formula for success. But currently in its fourth season selling-out arenas in the UK and beyond, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds – Alive on Stage! (TWOTW) is a remarkable anomaly that’s fast developing a history almost as long as its name. Since the mid-60s, Jeff Wayne had made a name for himself as a talented composer of film and advertising music. He was also the producer behind English heart-throb David Essex who hung on the walls of teenage girls’ bedrooms across the country from the early 70s onwards. But the idea of recording a musical interpretation of HG Well’s classic 1898 sci-fi novel launched Wayne’s career in an entirely new direction. With an initial recording budget of £34,500 from CBS (a standard recording budget on a David Essex release), he set about bringing the book to life, soon realising that the epic tale needed a similarly blockbuster effort. The 96-minute, double album project that emerged – complete with a cast of characters, orchestral scores and commissioned
“It’s largely unrecognisable to the production we started with in 2006.” – Jeff Wayne
artwork – came to £240,000 (two-thirds of which was Wayne’s life savings) and had swallowed three years of Wayne’s life. Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of The Worlds was released in the UK on 9 June 1978 and went on to spend 290 weeks in the UK album charts. It charted top 10 in 22 countries and reached No 1 in 11. The gamble had paid off, and Wayne became a household name. In the years since, the album has spawned two computer games and been sampled and remixed extensively, but the obvious progression to the stage was always missing. “Jeff and his father – his partner in the work – always felt the live environment was a natural progression for the album,
Above: Wayne conducts his orchestra under the Martian’s gaze
Tour of The Worlds
even if in the 70s they were thinking more West End theatres than arenas,” says Damian Collier, the show’s other producer. “For a number of reasons, it never happened at the time: [the show’s narrator] Richard Burton passed away in 1984 just as Jeff was looking at having his head modelled for a live show, and then Jeff’s father passed away in the late 90s. So it sat dormant from a live perspective until 2005 when Sony released a remastered and remixed version of the original album.” The biggest-selling catalogue album of that year, the re-release sold 600,000 copies, proving that the chilling tale of Martian invasion, with its eerie mixture of symphonic and synthesised sounds, still connected with listeners. Barry Clayman is senior VP of UK music at Live Nation. “We were approached by Jeff Wayne and his people when Sony re-released the album,” he says. “We took a meeting and saw the vision of how they saw it. A lot of people would have scratched their heads initially, because it was something completely different based on a concept album. We had a go with one show at the Royal Albert Hall and realised that it was a phenomenon.” Such was the demand that a 14-date UK and Ireland arena tour followed in 2006, and the growth since then has been nothing short of remarkable. The 2007 tour included eight dates in Australia and New Zealand; 2009 took in Holland and Germany for the first time; and having just hit the road for a 20-date European tour throughout November and December, Belgium is also falling under the Martian’s bug-like gaze. “We’re pushing 100,000 tickets on this tour – and in a recession,” marvels Clayman of the 46-musician-strong production that Wayne conducts himself. “I’ve been around a long time and this is something different to anything I’ve been involved in. This is essentially the same music every year and it just keeps coming.”
“We’re pushing 100,000 tickets on this tour – and in a recession…this is something different to anything I’ve been involved in.” – Barry Clayman, Live Nation
he backdrop to TWOTW, and what dictates the action on stage is a cutting-edge CGI film, projected onto a 30-metres-wide by 8-metres-high screen. “Compared to regular touring it’s a complicated set-up,” says Paul Wood at XL Video. “To get the wide screen sufficiently bright we use four sets of HD projectors in pairs that project a quarter of the image each.” And the film itself was reworked for the 2010 tour. “We’ve gone back to the animation and
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pretty much started again,” says Wayne, who originally storyboarded the entire show, sequence by sequence. “It was just time – things move on, and the power of computer technology has allowed animators to do what we couldn’t do five years ago.” Steve Nolan is production director, and the man originally tasked with bringing Wayne and Collier’s ideas to life. “Because TWOTW is run on time code, you’ve got 48 tracks running continuously and the lighting and video are all triggered by it,” he says. “From that first frame, it’s a runaway train and you can’t stop it. That’s the biggest challenge of the show.” In fact, if anything, the three-decade gap between the original album and the arena production was a necessary wait while technology caught up to Wayne’s vision for the show. Richard Burton’s head appears as a floating 3D hologram courtesy of some complicated CGI and motion capture wizardry, and the production is dominated by a 3-tonne, 11-metre-high Martian Fighting Machine. The machine fires a heat ray at the audience throughout the show, and even appears to incinerate a NASA controller during the show’s finale. The new effect is a liquid flame system adapted from Take That’s tour last year. “It was a big challenge,” says Shaun Barnett at Quantum Special Effects. “Squirting flaming liquid towards a stage has huge health and safety implications!” “It’s never a case of just taking the show out of the box and putting it on stage,” says Collier. “We always like to
Tour of The Worlds
keep challenging ourselves and add a bit more value each year for audiences.” Indeed, Wayne describes the 2010 tour as having had “a major overhaul. We have an entirely new lighting design and lighting rigs; pyros and effects; and we even have a brand new [5.1 surround] sound system. It’s largely unrecognisable to the production we started with in 2006.”
t is perhaps testament to the enduring popularity of Wayne’s album that several of the original cast members and musicians are currently on tour with TWOTW. Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues) reprised his original role as The Sung Thoughts of The Journalist and Chris Thompson returned as The Voice of Humanity. Other guest artists to have played lead roles include Russell Watson and Jennifer Ellison, while this tour features Jason Donovan, X-Factor’s Rhydian and Liz McClarnon from Atomic Kitten. “The promoters tell us that TWOTW and the fact that Jeff is conducting his own work is what sells the tickets,” says Collier. “Casting celebrities helps from a PR perspective, but it’s not essential, as we understand it.” The principal marketing of the shows follows tried and tested methods and Clayman says that he also uses “TV adverts nearer the time, and we also go into certain specialist magazines that we wouldn’t for a rock ‘n’ roll show. It’s a different audience.” “We’re getting a mix of loyal fans of the album, some of whom come to every show, but at the same time we’re amazed to see kids as young as four or five with their parents,” says Collier. “It was surprising to us that it was such a true family show.” The fan factor certainly helps the merchandise spend, which Collier pegs at between £5 and £7 per head, and the show also offers a range of ticket upgrades including a platinum package, which gives exclusive access to a rehearsal in advance of the tour’s start. While the majority of the show’s income is made through ticket sales, the extra revenue is a comfort, given that TWOTW is a ten-truck beast with little expense spared on production and effects. Although he’s currently inviting
promoters from around the world to see the show, given the size of the operation, Collier is cautious about expanding too quickly. “We’re aware of other large-scale arena shows that have booked 100 dates and not filled them,” he says. “We see ‘two-for-one’ ticket deals being offered, and hear about people struggling and we’d rather not get to that stage. We want to continue to sell-out everywhere we go and grow it organically.” The postponement of the German leg of the tour until late 2011 (due to audiences wanting a German language version, according to promoter Hermjo Klein of ACE Entertainment) was one obstacle that the TWOTW crew would have happily done without, but Collier is confident that not only is the brand stronger than ever, but that a forthcoming project with Sony could well take them up a gear. “I can’t mention specifics but it could take the whole thing onto a major next level,” he says. “We’re hopeful that after that we’ll be touring with several identical productions in different parts of the world.”
“We’re aware of other large-scale arena shows that have booked 100 dates and not filled them… We want to sell out everywhere we go and grow it organically.” – Damian Collier Wayne too hints at the Sony release, but he also has his sights set on Las Vegas. “As a live show it has a natural domain in places like Las Vegas where you can sit down and create a production that doesn’t have to move,” he says. “A permanent venue gives so many different creative options. It is certainly one of our targets.” And with Wayne and Collier taking meetings with everyone from Broadway producers to theme park owners, just as the show surmises a future for mankind, so the existence of TWOTW seems assured for the foreseeable future.
Left: The invaders prove too much for Jason Donovan Above: Richard Burton’s holographic head (left)
While still a must-stop touring destination, fortunes in Italy are currently as split as the divide between North and South. Adam Woods reports...
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These are dramatic views, and needless to say, not As Any ItAlIAn promoter wIll tell you, the relatively poor south of the country does things differently from the every promoter shares them to such a degree. Particularly affluent north. They buy fewer tickets and they support when, like any major European nation, Italy has proved fewer shows, but they still like their music, as the recent itself more than capable of selling out the big shows. “I tale of Elton John and the southern region of Campania don’t think that politics is much involved,” laughs illustrates. Angry news stories have it that the region, Roberto de Luca, MD of Milan-based Live Nation Italy. (Italy’s second most populous and one whose economy “In some parts of the world, there are left-orientated depends largely on small-scale agriculture) used governments; in other parts there are right-orientated somewhere between €600,000 and €750,000 of EU governments. I don’t think it’s all Berlusconi’s fault.” In fact, Italy’s live industry significantly outperformed development funds to pay for a public concert by the its recorded music industry in 2009, growing by 3% to singer in Naples in September 2009. “I don’t understand the problem,” Dario Scalabrini, €781million while physical music sales fell by 25%, a former head of the region’s tourism office, was quoted according to a report by the country’s IULM (University as saying. “This money was given for the marketing of of Languages and Communication), carried out with the city, and that is what we did. Just consider the collection societies SIAE and SCF and publishing trade number of people who stayed in Naples because of the body FEM. It is a market with fairly ample venue concert.” Scalabrini’s great regret, it was further reported, infrastructure, plenty of disposable income in good times was that plans for another concert, by Paul McCartney, – and for the right shows, in bad – and only a handful of had to be abandoned when the centre-left governor was curious quirks, that include a heavy skew to the north and some rather rough charges. voted out of office. But clearly, all is not quite right. By general consent, So who says Italy doesn’t give public support to the arts? Well, veteran promoter Claudio Trotta, for one. The head of for every act that has sold in the past year, another one Milan-based Barley Arts has weathered more than 30 years has stiffed. Clearly, the global economy is at the root of in the Italian live business, but he believes these are the the problem, but that doesn’t make the effects any less worst times he has ever seen, and not necessarily in the most obvious sense. The problem, it transpires, has a “The biggest issue we face as promoters name: Silvio. “The biggest issue we face as promoters in Italy is the same one as a large in Italy is the same one as a large amount of other amount of other people in this country: people in this country: we need to get rid of we need to get rid of Berlusconi.” Berlusconi,” fumes Trotta. “As soon as we get rid of – Claudio Trotta, Barley Arts him, there is a chance the country will start again. Right now, the country is blocked because of him.” Italy, of course, shares with the rest of Europe and much of the developed world a set of hard economic unpredictable. “In the last two months, there has seemed challenges. As of late October, 8.3% of all workers and to be a problem with established acts, which is pretty 26.4% of young people were unemployed, and the weird,” says Emiliano Tortora of promoter and agent country’s debt, already one of the highest in the world, Grinding Halt Concerti. “Of the shows that didn’t sell enough and made a loss, many were the ones we were hit record levels earlier this year. sure would do well.” Tortora’s experience seems to bear There are Those who believe the controversial prime out two anecdotal trends. One is the relatively robust minister can’t be held responsible for the entirety of the purchasing power of younger crowds; the other is the nation’s problems, least of all those specifically faced by increasing power of the web in influencing international the live industry, but Trotta maintains he can, and he demand for touring bands of a certain kind. If the economic fear has struck anyone particularly doesn’t see an easy fix. “He is making very, very bad problems in every field: culturally, politically and hard, it is the older generation, leading to the economically,” he says. “Culturally, everything is disproportionate pulling power of the more youthpositioned towards quantity, not quality. There is no oriented acts. “18- or 19-year-olds just want to go out, quality in TV or radio and no investment in music, no matter what,” says Tortora. Among Grinding Halt’s theatre, dance, universities, research. There is a lack of most popular acts of recent months are Canada’s Caribou vision for the future and the new generation doesn’t have and Black Mountain; America’s Toro Y Moi; and Iceland’s any inspiration or aspiration. It’s very simple,” he Ólöf Arnalds, all of whom are popular in the blogosphere, concludes. “It’s all a circle. If ideas don’t go around, and some of whom have no material officially available in Italy. “I have seen a lot of interest from younger money doesn’t go around.”
“It is looking like an interesting year, and I cross my fingers…But the world will not be out of the crisis completely next year.”
– Roberto de Luca, Live Nation Italy
people in new acts, maybe much more than there used to be,” says Tortora. This feature of the modern market has fed into an ongoing increase in the popularity of electronic and urban artists. There is even a strong local hip hop scene, much of it performed in regional dialects. “The market is very strong for electronic music – electro, house and techno,” says Massimo Loffredo of booking and management agency Pentagram, which represents acts including Coldcut, Tricky and Talvin Singh. “Hip hop
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has been growing fast and in the last few years many different local newcomers have arrived,” he adds. Italy has always had a strong rock base, but its underground tastes are increasingly catholic, with a small ‘c’. Local act Immanuel Casto – “a very gay, poppy, quite dancey thing”, according to Tortora – has come from nowhere to a sell-out club tour of all major cities in three to four months, on the strength of only a few videos online. “He doesn’t even have tracks to download online,” says Tortora. “The only place where people could find songs is on YouTube. And meanwhile, we have Joe Cocker on Sunday [mid-November] and he is not selling. “It is a pretty random market now,” Tortura concludes, a sentiment that Trotta agrees with. In fact, the veteran figure believes many promoters are disinclined to reveal the extent of the losses incurred in the strange weather of the past year. “I have had a lot of artists that did not even approach 50% of expectations,” he says. “I don’t want to name names, but I know that every single promoter in this country has suffered this year on all kinds of acts, from the very small to the huge stadium acts. All of us have had very bad times but also very good times.” Stadium-fillers such as U2 and Bruce Springsteen have helped to put a gloss on a slightly wounded live market over the past year. Also among the good times at the upper level have been AC/DC, who recently sold more than 40,000 tickets for Barley Arts at Udine’s Stadio Friuli, while the company also looks forward to Bon Jovi there in July. Last month, Live Nation went on sale with a July Take That show at Milan’s Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, commonly known as the San Siro, which is doing “particularly well”, according to de Luca. Live Nation also has stadium dates booked with local hero Vasco Rossi next year, in addition to 54 arena shows during the first five months of the year and the Heineken Jammin’ Festival, which brings 100,000 people to the Parco San Giuliano in Venice, in July. “It is looking like an interesting year, and I cross my fingers,” says de Luca. “But the world will not be out of the crisis completely next year. We see some signs here and there, but it will not end in 2011; it will continue until at least six months into 2012. You see the dollar and the pound going up and down and people buying gold, which means they are afraid of the future.” Aside from the wider economic picture, uncertainty also surrounds ticket prices and audience complaints about them are not lost on promoters, some of whom have been trying to do something about it. Florence-
Above: Gods of Metal 2010
“The south in Italy is always a very strange thing. There are no good venues, no good arenas and the economy is very, very different from the north.”
– Andrea Pieroni, Live in Italy
based rock promoter Live In Italy, acquired just this summer by Live Nation, has experimented with a dynamic pricing model for its festivals, selling the first tickets for significantly less than later ones, much as airlines do. “We tried it with Gods of Metal in March last year, and we were really impressed by the success of it,” says Live In Italy managing director Andrea Pieroni. “It would be hard to do for regular shows, so it’s something we’re trying for festivals.” Another policy Live In Italy has recently pursued is charging a lower ticket price in advance than on the door. It has increased the number of advance sell-outs as a result. “In the past, we always had people complaining about high ticket prices, so for those people, it makes a difference if we can lower the advance price,” says Pieroni. “It doesn’t go really low, but it means people can save €5 or €6, and they can see the promoter is also thinking about them, not just about profit.” As with much else in Italy, live music tends to float to the top, for largely socio-demographic reasons. Centres of the affluent North – Bologna, Milan, Florence and Turin are entertainment hungry, while below Rome, the cities and the crowds thin out, with Napoli, the south’s biggest musical destination, a frequent bogey city for touring acts. every TerriTory has iTs parTicular crosses To bear, and another uniform complaint is the country’s uncommonly
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high PRS charges, which stand at 10% plus VAT. Meaning that the combined tax load for a promoter can easily hit 20% of the ticket price. “It is a big amount,” says Tortora. “I have had a few discussions with agents about this in the past, but they didn’t believe it was possible. Luckily, the SIAE’s site has an English section, so I just send them a link.” Those who work in the small to medium end of the market are prone to wince at the scale of the costs involved, which most are in no doubt will ultimately affect the number of tickets sold. “It’s a big subject to discuss, but in my opinion the cost of the music – venue rentals and PRS taxes – is still too high,” says Loffredo. “In a period of economic difficulty, underground music stays low, and people spend money only on mainstream shows.” But while Italy is a heavily regionalised market, it’s at least consistent in terms of the costs to promoters. “Sometimes you might have a local tax, where the city council wants more firemen as a proportion of people at the show, but they are just very small differences,” says Tortora. “Otherwise, it basically costs the same to do a show in Rome, Turin or Naples.” FesTivals proliFeraTe across iTaly and are notably diverse. Sonisphere will come for the first time next June under the control of Live In Italy, which will stage the event in Imola. Other highlights include the Italia Wave Love Festival for breaking local rock bands, currently resident in Livorno; and the 37-year-old Umbria Jazz, which takes place in Perugia in the summer and (in its winter incarnation) in Orvieto over New Year. Umbria Jazz draws 30% of its visitors from overseas, mainly the USA, UK, Germany, Holland and Scandinavia. The festival has showcased Count Basie, Dizzy Gillespie, Gil Evans, Bill Evans and Charles Mingus over the years and still draws world-class lineups. However, jazz doesn’t single-handedly pull the crowds like it once did, so stars such as Burt Bacharach and Mark Knopfler have led the line-up in recent years. “We need to sell tickets, since local money and sponsors are suffering from the economic crisis, but jazz does not sell out anymore, if it’s not Keith Jarrett or Stefano Bollani. So we also look for big names in the pop/rock world,” says Annika Larsson, who organises the festival with founder Carlo Pagnotta. The winter festival, which begins on 29 December, last year brought 65,000 people to Orvieto, even though its biggest venue, Teatro Mancinelli, has just 600 seats. Which just goes to show that in a country that was once a seat of modern civilisation, a cultural slump is still a relative thing.
Top: Ben Harper and Eddie Vedder at Heineken Jammin’ Festival 2010
“Where would you like to be in 12 months time?” If you would like to send feedback, comments or suggestions for future Your Shout topics, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Flemming Schmidt – Live Nation Denmark
Sane, if possible.
At my age, I’d like to be at my home in the South of France aka ‘Chez Gorille’. Even though the South of France is huge, our little village, Autignac, is small. So, in 12 months time, I’ll be by the fireplace at Christmas with a glass of wine from the d’oc and the most important person in my life – my wife.
Andy Lenthall – PSA
Herman Schueremans – Live Nation Belgium
Back in 2010, as time is running fast in our fantastic business. Carl Leighton-Pope - LPO
Exactly where I am today. I am having the best time of my life! Martin Goebbels – Apex Insurance Services
One year older! And flicking through my 2011 diary gazing at my limited edition half pint glass (both of which you generously offered as a prize for these suggestions) wondering whether the glass is half full or half empty... and either way, how I can top it up again in 2012? Andy Cotton – TAO Productions
Doing a gig in Hamburg, getting the best from the pictorial guide after having a half pint!
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Dennis Armstead – Yellow Go-Rilla Productions
Sebastien Vuignier – TAKK
Twelve months time? When is that? Are we talking about the regular calendar, or about the music industry calendar? I started promoting shows in 1995, and last week, for the very first time in 15 years, an agent from a very well established international agency said: “The time frame has moved around a bit. Can we get the 30th of February in Zurich, Swiss?” (name of agent withheld) Mark Harding – Showsec International
1. In a major German city, drinking beer with the IQ team, and arranging my next appointments. Please send all three prizes and do I win €5? 2. Anywhere but in a Staffordshire hospital, mining abroad, fighting futile wars, at a Wagner concert or on holiday in the West Bank or North/ South Korean border. Do I win €5?
John Webster – MMF
I want to live in a world where [UK train line] First Capital Connect can run a train service; where new digital services can get a licence easily; and where the record music industry satisfies consumer demand by releasing music for digital use when it is released to media. A world where paperless ticketing at large venues is solved by them all combining to implement one system and sharing it. And where “55,000 tickets sold in 3.5 minutes” means 55,000 tickets sold in 3.5 minutes and not the final 10,000 on sale for weeks to come at discount prices. Laszlo Hegedus – Multimedia Concerts
I’ll be enjoying my well deserved holiday in Barbados after having an extremely successful
stadium show season in the summer with the Rolling Stones, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Coldplay... :) Georg Leitner – Georg Leitner Productions
In one year from now, I see myself enjoying life with my bands/promoters, friends and hanging loose – ever living, everlasting… Thomas Ovesen – Done Events
In profit! And ideally backstage in the hospitality tent celebrating!
Christopher Brosch – Brosch Tours
I recently launched a new enterprise together with an old friend. We have both grown older and lost some feathers here and there. Twelve months is just about right to find ourselves a spot in the yard without being condemned to end as a broiler. In other words, we like it sunny without getting burned. Adrian Whitmarsh – Premier Aviation
Silly question – on the beach with a beer in my hand! Juha Mattila – Live Nation Finland
At home, not on the road, with my baby. Anonymous
Getting singing lessons from Justin Bieber.
Left: IQ’s super average ‘star’ prizes of the issue!