IQ's prestigious list of ten future industry leaders returns for 2019, with nominations welcomed before Friday 26 July
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Continuing a series of interviews with IQ's 2019 New Bosses, Natalia Zabkar is a booker for Live Nation Belgium and promoter for Rock Werchter and Werchter Boutique
By IQ on 15 Oct 2019
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 month 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 Natalia Zabkar, a booker at Live Nation Belgium. Hailing from the Flemish city of Genk, Zabkar studied music management at PXL-Music in Hasselt and started her live music career as an assistant promoter at HeartBreakTunes.
She joined Live Nation Belgium as an assistant booker in 2015, and was promoted to booker the following year. She is also a promoter rep/artist liaison for Live Nation festivals Rock Werchter, TW Classic and Werchter Boutique. (Read the previous interview with Move Concerts’ Melanie Eselevsky here.)
What are you busy with right now?
The usual mix – evaluating Rock Werchter 2019, going through paperwork for the remaining festivals of this summer and upcoming shows, and hounding promoters for 2020 slots and offers.
Did you always want to work in the music business?
Actually no, I’d always seen myself going into law or journalism. I was already into music journalism, writing reviews for a few online publications, when I came across an ad for a new music business school that would start the next year. I didn’t think twice about it. Although I never finished my degree, I met many interesting people, which gave me a start into my career.
What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
Rock Werchter was the very first festival I ever went to when I was 15 years old, it still blows my mind to think I now have a part in it.
How has your role changed since you started out?
What was probably a key decision for me was bartending at a local venue called Muziekodroom (600-cap.). There I met my first actual employer in the industry, who hired me as assistant promoter. I did everything from PR to accounting and advancing for over 150 shows per year in the Belgian hardcore and metal scene. A chance encounter got me to Live Nation where I started out as an assistant booker, quickly growing into booking shows myself and then being thrown into the Rock Werchter family. I’m now constantly switching between those three roles, so far so good.
“Never be intimidated by a person, situation or, even, artist – no one is above or beneath you, we’re all working towards the same goal”
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Live Nation?
To never be intimidated by a person, situation or, even, artist. No one is above or beneath you, we’re all working towards the same goal.
What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
Firstly, there’s no room for ego – it’s not about you. Secondly, include more women! I’ve seen a lot of improvement on this over the years but I feel like the industry is still very much run by our male friends.
What do you do for fun?
Go to shows, of course! I try to travel as often as I can and I love eating my way through cities with my friends.
Do you have an industry mentor?
I’ve always been lucky to be surrounded by talented and experienced people who are patient with me and eager to teach.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Always lead with kindness and confidence. Don’t let any opportunity pass you by and don’t be afraid to be impulsive.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I don’t plan or think ahead much. I go wherever opportunity takes me. I’m happy where I’m at now, so who knows.
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