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More speakers confirmed for IFF 2022

The latest round of guest speakers and conference topics have been unveiled for the International Festival Forum (IFF) 2022, ILMC’s invitation-only event for music festivals and booking agents.

United Talent Agency’s UK office co-head Obi Asika is the first industry leader confirmed to join host James Drury (ILMC) for The Festival Season 2022, to discuss the key challenges organisers have faced as we look forward to a smoother 2023.

Wasserman Music’s Adele Slater (UK) and Chris Payne (WME, UK) will appear alongside IQ Magazine‘s Gordon Masson and Smash!Bang!Pow! CEO Nikolaj Thorenfeldt (DK) on Festivals & Agents: Happier than ever? to examine the main ingredients powering our multi-billion dollar business.

And Barbara Hexges (Superbloom!, DE) will speak at The New Kids on the Block, a quickfire presentation session of every key new festival and agency that’s emerged in the last 18 months, alongside Stephan Thanscheidt (Tempelhof Sounds, DE) and Jess Kinn & Sean Goulding from One Fiinix Live (UK).

The first 400 delegates from 26 countries are now signed up for IFF 2022

IFF 2022 will offer the usual plethora of networking, showcases, panels, and parties – all taking place between 27-29 September in London. Check out the first speaker announcement here.

The first 400 delegates from 26 countries are now signed up, with demand for IFF 2022 passes proving higher than ever.

IFF’s new delegate hub, the Holiday Inn in Camden, will be transformed into IFF Central for three days and host conference sessions, private parties and meetings, and speed dating for attendees.

Wasserman Music, WME, CAA, UTA, Primary Talent, ATC Live, X-Ray Touring, Solo Agency, Pure, One Finiix Live and Earth Agency are among the first to back the 2022 edition as agency partners, many of whom will present showcases featuring the hottest new talent.

Full information about this year’s event, including how to apply for a pass, is online at www.iff.rocks.

 


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Wasserman ups agents Blackgrove, Malak and Slater

Wasserman Music has elevated London-based agents Dave Blackgrove, Mike Malak and Adele Slater to partner.

The trio have bolstered the leadership team of the Wasserman’s UK office, while veteran agents Nick Cave and Chris Smyth have also joined the agency.

Electronic music specialist Blackgrove joined Coda Agency 14 years ago as an assistant and has developed a roster including Camelphat, Fisher, Sonny Fodera, Dom Dolla, Franky Wah, Ben Böhmer, and recent signing Syreeta.

“To move from assistant to a partner at the company says a lot about us as a company, but more about Dave as a person,” says Wasserman Music partner Tom Schroeder. “An unbelievably hard-working family man, he has put so much into the job, showing real tenacity and total commitment to his artists.

“He has established an incredible dance music roster in a sphere that rarely backs a newcomer. We are very proud of what he has achieved, and can already feel what an important impact he is going to make on our board.”

“He has extraordinary instincts for A&R and artist development”

Malak, who won the top agent prize at the Arthur Awards in April, is the European agent for Billie Eilish, who just became the youngest headliner in Glastonbury Festival history and sold out a six-show run at The O2 in London.

He also helped Eilish and her team organise climate change summit Overheated at The O2 and was an executive producer for the accompanying Overheated documentary. Additionally, he is the founder of record label and publishing company Coldpress.

Malak began his career working in various capacities with Black Eyed Peas, then at Warner Bros. Records in London and at Steve Aoki management company Seminal Music before joining Coda 11 years ago. His client roster also includes the likes of Girl in Red, Denzel Curry, Pusha T, BoyWithUke, Joji and 070 Shake.

“Mike has had a great year, with Billie’s European shows and helping her create the Overheated climate conference, as well as winning the Arthur Award,” says Wasserman Music partner Alex Hardee. “He has extraordinary instincts for A&R and artist development, and we’re proud to welcome him into the leadership of our agency.”

“Adele is agent to some of the most exciting acts around

Slater joined Coda six years ago, and signed Liam Gallagher with Alex Hardee. Gallagher headlined two nights at Knebworth last month, bookending Slater’s career, which began as a receptionist and assistant to Stuart Galbraith at concert promoter MCP, who staged Oasis’s legendary shows at Knebworth in 1996.

She later worked as an assistant to Neil Warnock at The Agency Group before returning as a promoter at Live Nation. Slater returned to The Agency Group to work with agent Russell Warby, then moved with Warby to WME, where she was an agent for nine years before joining Coda. Her roster also includes Courtney Barnett, Perfume Genius, The Horrors, Gruff Rhys, Lynks, Asgeir and Wet Leg.

“Adele is agent to some of the most exciting acts around,” says Wasserman Music partner James Whitting. “Liam Gallagher, Wet Leg and Courtney Barnett, to name a select few, are all having fantastic years. Wet Leg’s set at Glastonbury was a particular highlight, and officially the busiest that stage has ever been.

“Not only is Adele a great agent, she has an invaluable knowledge of the live industry that can only be gained by years of experience as both an agent and a promoter, and we welcome her input into the future management of Wasserman Music.”

“Having him join our team is a fantastic win for TeamWass”

Meanwhile, Nick Cave spent 13 years at WME, growing an electronic music roster that includes Charlotte de Witte, Anfisa Letyago, John Summit, 2manydjs/Soulwax, Enrico Sangiuliano, Mind Against and Trentemøller.

“Nick is an unwavering force in this electronic scene. Having him join our team is a fantastic win for TeamWass,” says Blackgrove. “He’s also good for a midday lunch which is great for me.”

Chris Smyth ran his own digital PR company early in his career, before joining Primary Talent International as an agent in 2015. He joined Paradigm’s UK music team in January 2022, shortly before its acquisition by Wasserman Music in April.

His primarily pop-focused roster includes BI, IC3PEAK, Melanie C, MØ, The Rose, The Walters and Tommy Cash.

“Chris brings fantastic taste and instincts to our team of agents, and we look forward to working with him on this next stage of his career,” adds Whitting.

 


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Wasserman Music duo on Liam Gallagher at Knebworth

James Hanley speaks with Wasserman Music’s Adele Slater and Alex Hardee about Liam Gallagher’s mammoth Knebworth shows this weekend and the state of rock music…

As the old saying goes, the best ideas are often the simplest. So when a 25th anniversary documentary on Oasis’ legendary 125,000-cap Knebworth concerts debuted on the big screen in September, there was no better time to announce frontman Liam Gallagher’s return to the site of his biggest triumph.

Upon a wave of nostalgia and renewed excitement, the rock’n’roll star sold out two nights at the fabled Hertfordshire venue from 3-4 June, promoted by Festival Republic, Live Nation and SJM Concerts. Kasabian head a strong support bill also featuring Paolo Nutini, Michael Kiwanuka, Amyl and the Sniffers, Fat White Family, Pastel and Goat Girl.

Days later, the singer, whose third solo album C’mon You Know was released last week, confirmed his maiden solo UK stadium tour, which stopped at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium on Wednesday (1 June) and heads to Hampden Park in Glasgow later this month, and also takes in Belsonic in Belfast’s Ormeau Park. European dates include festival slots at Rock in Rio Lisbon, Syd For Solen in Denmark, France’s Beauregard Festival and Lucca Summer Festival in Italy.

An Australia/New Zealand leg is lined up for late July, with a headline show at Alexandra Head at Cardiff Bay set for 15 September and a string of South American concerts planned for November.

Last summer, Gallagher played a free show for NHS workers at The O2 in London and completed a run of UK headline appearances at festivals including Reading & Leeds, TRNSMT and Isle of Wight.

“I think the idea might have been Denis Desmond’s, but we’re going to claim it as ours!”

Since his 2017 comeback, the Britpop icon has been represented on the live scene by Paradigm’s Alex Hardee and Adele Slater. Here, the agents reveal all to IQ about the genesis of the Knebworth plan, Gallagher’s international ambitions and share their hopes and fears on rock music and the resurgence of the touring sector. As you were…

IQ: When was the idea for next year’s Knebworth shows first formulated?
AH: I think that the idea might have been [Live Nation UK & Ireland chair] Denis Desmond’s, but we’re going to claim it as ours! Whoever’s it was, it’s not going to go up there with Einstein’s theory of relativity, because it’s not the most complicated thing to think, ‘Let’s do Knebworth shows 25 years after they actually happened, with a documentary coming.’ It’s a good idea, but an obvious one. But our jobs are quite simple compared to doctors and nurses.

AS: With the timing of the anniversary of the film, it kind of just made sense.

AH: I tell you what, the idea was simple and we knew it would capture the imagination and be a hot event, but it took us by surprise that we could do two [nights]. We always knew we’d do one, and we had a second day on hold. At the outset, we thought that the second show was an outside chance. But definitely by the announcement date – and the reaction online – we got ready, very quickly, to go for the second show.

What capacity are the Knebworth gigs?
AH: They’re 80,000 but we’re hoping that people think they’re 125,000 like the original gigs.

Did you have the option of scaling all the way up to 125k?
AH: Well, I wasn’t at the original gig, but lots of people involved were.

AS: I was.

AH: And even though, in hindsight, people say it was the greatest gig they’ve ever been to, there were massive queues for toilets and it’s a hard site to get into.

AS: The structure didn’t take it very well, it was absolute chaos. The road network around Knebworth is literally tiny little country roads, so to get another 45,000 people in would be a nightmare.

AH: Also, we’re very mindful now that 25 years ago, you didn’t have social media. If you don’t get things right nowadays, it’s everywhere straightaway. So we’re mindful that we want to give a good customer experience. Twenty-five years ago, different things were acceptable.

“To do the same as what he did in Oasis… was a massive statement”

What persuaded you decide to announce the Knebworth shows prior to the other stadium dates?
AH: We discussed it back and forth, but we just thought that Knebworth was the important thing to blow out and we just wanted to concentrate on that. We didn’t want to dilute the announcement of Knebworth, we wanted to blow that out and then launch the other stadiums off the back of that. The other stadiums are going to sell out, but we wanted the statement of selling out two Knebworths [first]. To do the same as what he did in Oasis, albeit with not as many tickets because of the infrastructure problems we talked through previously, was a massive statement and it resonated throughout the industry. We did a mechanism afterwards so that people in Manchester and Glasgow could change their tickets around if they wanted to and there was a bit of uptake on that. Not much, though, because I think most people wanted to go to Knebworth.

How do you reflect on his special show for NHS workers at The O2 in 2021?
AS: It was just a moment in time that kind of captured everyone coming back to the live world. It was one of the first shows back into the arena as well, so it was quite weird, but it was really good for everyone to get together.

What was the wider strategy behind Liam’s UK festival headline run last summer?
AH: They were booked two years ago, so they were flipped [from 2020 to 2021]. The Knebworth announcement was initially going to be off off the back of playing Reading & Leeds and TRNSMT. We wanted to keep it as close to those gigs and the documentary and as possible because that’s when we knew the maximum heat would be. But the record label wanted to wait until [Gallagher’s forthcoming third solo LP] was ready, so we came to a compromise and got a pre-order mechanism in place without the finished artwork, which was the right decision and we sold a lot of album pre-orders. Selling these gigs is all about the timing, as you could see in the summer, when the roadmap for coming out of Covid was announced. If you announced at that point, you were selling 30-40% [more tickets], it was a frenzy. And we knew that the right time to announce these shows was before everyone else went up with their shows and also after the documentary had just landed. That got everyone excited and then we announced Knebworth – that was the skill in getting that show sold out.

“We don’t actually know what he can do bigger than two Knebworths”

And what’s the audience demographic?
AH: It’s from 16 to 60, isn’t it?

AS: If you look at the Reading & Leeds crowd, that was all kids.

Last question on Liam, what do his prospects look like outside of the UK?
AS: We’ve flipped a load of stuff from other summers that are happening June time [next year].

AH: In some markets now, he’s bigger than Oasis were. He’s gone from club level to arena level now in most markets, and from headliner at secondary festivals to second on the bill at major festivals. And it’s growing – Knebworth’s had an effect. We don’t actually know what we can do bigger than two Knebworths next, apart from reforming Oasis. That’s the brain-teaser, but we can build his international career. Yes, he sings Oasis songs but he’s producing new music that’s relevant and he’s charting and reacting well for a rock act.

Where does rock music currently stand in the grand scheme of things?
AH: What do they say? Rock music is not dead, it just smells funny. It’’s not going to dominate the charts anymore, but it can still dominate live. Heavy metal’s never dominated the charts but Iron Maiden are consistently selling live tickets. People want to see it, it’s just there’s not enough people listening to it on streaming to make it in the charts. Someone’s got to work out how to make the charts relevant again, because four-year-olds are influencing them by shouting at their Alexas at the moment.

AS: There is always going to be an appetite for rock music and guitar bands, that’s never going to go away I don’t think, it’s just swings and roundabouts to see these trends.

A version of this article first appeared in IQ 106

 


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IQ 106 out now: Navigating the new industry landscape

IQ 106, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The December 2021 edition is spearheaded by an exclusive preview of next year’s highly anticipated International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

Elsewhere, IQ news editor James Hanley speaks to Paradigm Agency’s Alex Hardee and Adele Slater about Liam Gallagher’s sold-out Knebworth shows.

This issue also sees IQ editor Gordon Masson quiz venue management from around the world about their plans for arenas to reopen and stay open.

For this edition’s columns and comments, Suzanne Hunt details how Squeeze became one of the first UK acts to resume touring in the United States, lawyer Gregor Pryor notes the challenges that the metaverse could pose for the music industry, and Debbie Taylor shares her experience of Guns N’ Roses’ Covid-compliant US tour.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, live industry executives pick their three ideal guests for a dinner party.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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Paradigm on Liam Gallagher’s Knebworth return

Paradigm agents Alex Hardee and Adele Slater have given IQ the lowdown on Liam Gallagher’s momentous return to the UK’s Knebworth Park.

The former Oasis frontman will play two sold-out nights at the Stevenage site from 3-4 June next year, promoted by Festival Republic, Live Nation and SJM Concerts.

The concerts, which feature a support bill headed by Kasabian, were announced on the back of a new documentary marking 25 years since Oasis’ era-defining gigs at the legendary rock venue.

“I think that the idea might have been [Live Nation UK & Ireland chair] Denis Desmond’s, but we’re going to claim it as ours,” laughs Hardee. “It’s a good idea, but an obvious one.”

“With the timing of the anniversary of the film, it kind of just made sense,” adds Slater, who attended the original 1996 event.

However, Hardee reveals that demand for tickets for the 2022 sequel exceeded even his own lofty expectations.

At the outset, we thought the second show was an outside chance

“We knew it would capture the imagination and it would be a hot event, but it took us by surprise that we could do two [nights],” he tells IQ. “We always knew we’d do one, and we had a second day on hold. At the outset, we thought that the second show was an outside chance. But definitely by the announcement date – and the reaction online – we got ready, very quickly, to go for the second show.

“Selling these gigs is all about the timing, and we knew that the right time to announce these shows was before everyone else went up with their shows and also after the documentary had just landed. That got everyone excited and then we announced Knebworth – that was the skill in getting that show sold out.”

While Oasis famously sold 250,000 tickets across their two 1996 shows, each of Gallagher’s solo dates will be capped at 80,000 for logistical reasons.

“The road network around Knebworth is literally tiny little country roads, so to get another 45,000 people in would be a nightmare,” advises Slater. 

“Even though, in hindsight, people say [the original] was the greatest gig they’ve ever been to, there were massive queues for toilets and it’s a hard site to get into,” explains Hardee. “Also, we’re very mindful now that 25 years ago, you didn’t have social media. If you don’t get things right nowadays, it’s everywhere straightaway. So we’re mindful that we want to give a good customer experience. Twenty-five years ago, different things were acceptable.”

Gallagher, who played a “life-affirming” show for NHS workers at The O2 in London in August, performed a run of UK headline dates over the summer at festivals including Reading & Leeds, TRNSMT and Isle of Wight.

It was a massive statement and it resonated throughout the industry

Boosted by the Knebworth sellouts, the singer went on to announce his inaugural stadium solo headline shows at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium (1 June) and Hampden Park in Glasgow (26 June). He will also perform at Belsonic in Belfast’s Ormeau Park on 24 June.

“We didn’t want to dilute the announcement of Knebworth, we wanted to blow that out and then launch the other stadiums off the back of that,” says Hardee. “The other stadiums are going to sell out, but we wanted the statement of selling out two Knebworths [first]. It was a massive statement and it resonated throughout the industry. 

“We did a mechanism afterwards so that people in Manchester and Glasgow could change their tickets around if they wanted to and there was a bit of uptake on that. Not much, though, because I think most people wanted to go to Knebworth.”

Hardee and Slater have represented Gallagher on the live scene since his 2017 comeback, which was capped by headline outdoor concerts at London’s Finsbury Park (cap. 40,000) and Emirates Old Trafford (50,000) the following year. The frontman has appearances confirmed for Rock in Rio Lisbon, Syd For Solen in Denmark and France’s Beauregard Festival next summer and is making waves internationally.

“In some markets now, he’s bigger than Oasis were,” suggests Hardee. “He’s gone from club level to arena level now in most markets, and from headliner at secondary festivals to second on the bill at major festivals. And it’s growing – Knebworth’s had an effect.

“We don’t actually know what we can do bigger than two Knebworths next, apart from reforming Oasis. That’s the brain-teaser, but we can build his international career.”

A full interview with Alex Hardee and Adele Slater will appear in the next edition of IQ magazine at the end of this month. Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month.

 


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New signings and rising stars: August 2021

UK duo Wet Leg, a new signing for Paradigm’s Adele Slater, and Brooke Combe, repped by Lola Mitchell at 13 Artists, are among the latest acts to have been added to the rosters of international agents.

Find out more, and check out the full artist listings for August, in the digital edition of IQ 102 below. Plus, if you haven’t already, make sure to listen to the latest IQ New Music playlist, which complements the page in the magazine and features even more up-and-coming talent…

 


Wet Leg (UK)

Agent: Adele Slater, Paradigm

Amid a night of hazy scenes in their native Isle of Wight, Rhian Teasdale and Hester Chambers found themselves at the summit of a ferris wheel. They decided to start a band. The band is called Wet Leg.

Arming themselves with guitars, a penchant for French disco, effervescent imaginations, and a shared love of the Ronettes and Jane Birkin through to Ty Segall and Björk, they set about making some recordings of their own.

Enter their debut single, ‘Chaise Longue’, and a deal with legendary indie label Domino, while forthcoming live appearances include support slots with Jungle and Inhaler.

 


Brooke Combe

Brooke Combe (UK)

Agent: Lola Mitchell, 13 Artists

Edinburgh-born vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Brooke Combe recently released her new single ‘A-Game’. Already familiar to legions of fans on social media through viral covers of the likes of Marvin Gaye, her acclaimed debut single ‘Are You With Me?’ arrived in May to a rapturous response, while her latest track provides another tantalising window into the world of a singularly talented young artist.

Combe played her first Glasgow headline show at the legendary King Tut’s on 5 August, and tickets sold out in a matter of hours, highlighting the buzz surrounding the soulful newcomer.

Combe discovered a love for music aged just five, after getting her first toy drum kit. Now aged 21, she has added saxophone, trombone, guitar, bass and piano to her repertoire, and taken influences from the 90s R&B played in her parents’ house, as well as the Motown her grandparents would play for her in order to help develop her songwriting skills.

 


Full artist listings, including new signings for Paradigm, ITB, UTA, Earth, Fmly, 13 Artists, ATC Live, Playbook, Primary and Progressive Artists, are available in issue 102 of IQ Magazine:


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