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John Meglen: ‘Live is never going away’

The veteran Concerts West president and co-CEO reflects on the current difficulties for the business, but seeks to accentuate the positives

By James Hanley on 07 Oct 2022

John Meglen

Concerts West president and co-CEO John Meglen has discussed the state of play in the global touring industry in a new interview.

Speaking to IQ, the veteran promoter acknowledges the difficulties for the business since the post-Covid restart but seeks to accentuate the positives.

“I’m hoping we’re coming out of a difficult period that was created by the pandemic, which included the loss of vendors, [challenges] trying to find trucks and buses and rescheduling shows,” he says. “The business is good if you’re doing it right. But at the same time, I’ve seen people out there that just aren’t doing it right.

“There is tremendous amount of inventory this year and big numbers coming out of things like K-pop that we didn’t have not that long ago. I’m pleasantly surprised at how well a lot of things are selling.”

Los Angeles-based Meglen has worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Roger Waters, Justin Bieber and Katy Perry, and was instrumental in the creation of the modern Las Vegas residency model with Celine Dion’s A New Day show in 2003.

AEG/Concerts West recently presided over the Stones’ sold-out Sixty anniversary tour, which ran from 1 June to 3 August, generating US$121,326,763 from total ticket sales of 712,641. Meglen has also overseen Roger Waters’ North American tour, which comes to a close this weekend at the 20,000-cap American Airlines Center in Dallas.

“People still want to go out and see great shows and great artists, and our job is to make that environment and that situation comfortable”

“We’re in the process of finishing Roger Waters’ North America tour right now and they’ve had a very strict [Covid] protocol. They’ve stuck to it, but it’s not easy right now – you really have to be prepared,” he says.

And echoing comments by AEG Presents UK boss Steve Homer, Meglen highlights the need for restraint in the market.

“I think we’re all being a little cautious right now,” he says. “You’re coming out of the pandemic and then with what’s going on in the economy and politically in the world today, you’re trying to be as smart as you can.”

Concerts West appointed a new VP of touring earlier this week in Jesse Stoll, who is tasked with identifying touring opportunities and building touring relationships and partnerships. And Meglen finishes on an upbeat note for the future.

“People still want to go out and see great shows and great artists, and our job is to make that environment and that situation comfortable for both the public and the artists,” he concludes. “So as long as we can keep doing that, we’ll be okay. Live is live and it’s never going away. You can’t print more of it – you’re either there or you’re not there, so we work on the ‘you’re there’ part.”


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