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The New Bosses 2019: Karolina Hansen, DTD Concerts

Continuing a series of interviews with IQ's 2019 New Bosses, Karolina Hansen promotes acts including Khalid and Billie Eilish at Denmark's Down the Drain Concerts

By IQ on 25 Sep 2019

The New Bosses: Karolina Hansen

Karolina Hansen

The New Bosses 2019 – the biggest-ever edition of IQ‘s yearly roundup of future live industry leaders, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 85 last week revealing the twelve promising agents, promoters, bookers and execs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2019’s New Bosses, to discover their greatest inspirations and proudest achievements, pinpoint the reasons for their success and obtain advice for those hoping to be a future New Boss. Snippets of the interviews can be found in the latest IQ Magazine, with all interviews being reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.

The next New Boss is Karolina Hansen (29), a promoter at Down the Drain Concerts in Denmark. Born in Szczecin, Poland, Hansen has lived in Denmark since she was three years old. She began her career at Down the Drain Concerts (then known as Beatbox Entertainment) as a promoter assistant in 2015, after an early career that saw her working in the punk and hard-core scene in Copenhagen, and interning at UTA in London.

Hansen’s roster now includes the likes of Khalid, Billie Eilish, Little Simz, Steve Lacy, and hard-core band Refused. (Read the previous interview with Melt! Booking’s Florian Czok here.)


What are you busy with right now?
I’m busy finalising the last headline shows for the fall, booking spring 2020 shows and putting together the festivals [NorthSide, Tinderbox and Haven] with the rest of the festival team.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
I didn’t know you could do this for a living to be honest. I started out doing non-profit punk shows and didn’t think about the fact that you could do this full-time. Later my mum sent me a link to a music management course and I realised that my hobby could become my work. Happy days…

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
I am super proud of presenting artists that I believe are the sound of our generation right now, like Billie Eilish and Khalid – they are both amazing artists. In September I have my first arena show as a promoter with Khalid – that’s huge for me.

“I am super proud of presenting artists that I believe are the sound of our generation right now, like Billie Eilish and Khalid”

How has your role changed since you started out?
Dramatically and quickly. I started out at DTD Concerts as an intern after I finished school in spring 2014 and got the opportunity to start as an assistant. Two years later, I had booked my first show, and since summer 2018 I’ve been working independently as a promoter.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at DTD Concerts?
That it is okay to say “no” and believe in your gut. At first I agreed to promote everything sent my way because I thought I had to in order to keep everyone happy, but it is okay not to do that. However, if you really believe in something, push for it and do everything you can to make it happen.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
I would like for everyone to believe in and listen to each other a bit more. We’re all experts in our own markets, and Denmark being a really small one, it is super important that you work on long term plans together.

What do you do for fun?
Right now it’s summer time, so going swimming in the harbours of Copenhagen is a current favourite.

“There are so many different things you can do in this business – find out what you want to do and just start doing it”

Do you have an industry mentor?
For the past four to five years my mentor has been Xenia Grigat, who was a promoter at DTD Concerts, but has now decided to start a new chapter in her professional life. She will be greatly missed – she has taught me a lot about standing your ground in this business.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
There are so many different things you can do in this business – find out what you want to do and just start doing it. You almost can’t have too much experience in this industry, so until you find where you belong, just try different things out.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else other than being a promoter. Nothing beats finding and presenting an artist to an audience, standing in the corner and getting excited about everyone having a great time. I hope that feeling is still there in 10 years.


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