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Feld Entertainment names Denis Sullivan VP, int’l tours

Feld Entertainment, a producer of live touring family entertainment experiences, has named Denis Sullivan as vice president of international tours.

In his new role, Florida-based Sullivan will work alongside a veteran team focusing on booking and developing tours around the globe.

Feld’s properties include Monster Jam, Monster Energy Supercross, Disney On Ice, Marvel Universe LIVE!, Sesame Street Live!, and Jurassic World Live Tour.

Sullivan joins the company with more than 20 years of experience in the live entertainment industry. Feld says his expertise in worldwide tour planning and operations, venue negotiations and strategic planning “will ensure the company’s continued international growth”.

He joins Feld from Herschend Live (formerly Harlem Globetrotters) where he was VP of global tour planning

Sullivan joins Feld from Herschend Live (formerly Harlem Globetrotters International) where he was VP of global tour planning.

His four-decade career in live entertainment has taken him from humble beginnings in production to working with Louis Walsh and Boyzone, repping artists at the Kurland Agency, heading up global touring at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and leading business development internationally for the world’s most famous exhibition basketball team, Harlem Globetrotters.


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Family entertainment in focus

While the live entertainment industry ponders when casual ticket buyers will regain the confidence to return to events, the family entertainment sector is confident the demand among its customers is stronger than ever. Gordon Masson reports.

Like other sectors in the live industry, the world of family entertainment has been hit hard over the past couple of years, removing a vital part of the overall jigsaw given that family shows often introduce children to their first taste of live events.

One major casualty of Covid-19 was Cirque du Soleil, which had been one of the world’s most successful live entertainment enterprises since it launched in 1984. But when the pandemic struck, the company had to suspend all 44 of its active shows around the world and temporarily lay off more than 4,600 staff. With debts of more than $1 billion (€0.9bn), it was forced to file for bankruptcy protection before a consortium including former MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren and Canadian investment group Catalyst Capital bought the business in November 2020.

Manu Braff of Belgium-based MB Presents has his own Cirque story. “When the first lockdown happened we were all set-up and ready for the opening night of Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo in Antwerp. The decision basically pulled the plug on everything from one day to another. Then, reality hit and the lockdown weeks turned into months… and years. However, slowly but surely we turned the business around. As museums were allowed to stay open, we promoted and produced six exhibitions over 18 months in Belgium and abroad.”

With markets gradually reopening, producers of family entertainment shows may have a slight advantage over their live music touring peers, as their ability to drop into markets for short periods, such as school holidays, allows them to take advantage of reopened venues, whereas the music side is still relying on multiple markets to lift restrictions to facilitate tour routings.

“During the pandemic, the family entertainment worked best of all – with seated family audiences this was the ‘safest’ way to enjoy entertainment even during these challenging times,” says Georg Leitner of Austria-based Georg Leitner Productions (GLP). “For instance, in December and February we had a sold-out three-week run with Cirque de Glace in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.”

“Family entertainment is partially exempt from corona measures because there are very good concepts”

It’s a benefit that GLP’s new head of show acts and family entertainment, Birger Gaetjens, is looking to fully exploit. “The family entertainment sector has a clear advantage and will continue to do so in the coming months because it is scalable and can comply with country-specific corona rules,” he notes.

Steven Armstrong, vice president EMEA for Feld Entertainment, agrees, “Our Disney On Ice shows have been out there in the US since probably October or November of 2020, so pretty much all through Covid,” he tells IQ. “We started internationally back in September of 2021 when we visited Abu Dhabi, and since we’ve gone through the UK and parts of Europe.”

Nonetheless, there are challenges. While children have been the demographic least at risk from coronavirus, their grandparents (who often pay for tickets and accompany them to live events) remain among the highest risk members of society for Covid, presenting just another obstacle among the myriad that producers, and the promoters who hire their shows, are currently facing.

GLP’s Gaetjens opines, “Although children and young adults are least affected, the infection rate is highest in [that demographic]. What we notice is that children’s shows work better in some countries because the corona policy works better. Family entertainment is partially exempt from corona measures because there are very good concepts. What organisers should know is that during the pandemic and beyond, our concepts are safe, scalable, have a corona concept, and are still profitable.”

Kenneth Svoldgaard, co-CEO of Denmark -based CSB Entertainment, tells IQ, “I’m not worried about the family business at all. I have three kids of my own – aged 5, 11 and 14 – and none of them have been very ill. So I don’t really think that we have need to worry.”

However, he recognises that there are issues at the other end of the age range. “We are representing a couple of offers for the Christmas market where we have an older demographic, and that’s a little more problematic because they’re the most vulnerable in society,” he says.

And Svoldgaard has first-hand experience of dealing with the concerns of the older generations. “They’re the people who have asked the most questions, and that’s why we have had to have more staff at venues when the event is for an older demographic, to make sure people keep socially distanced, clean their hands, get to the seats, and all these kinds of things.”

“There’s definitely demand for product to come out”

Feld’s experience with the higher age groups of customers has been fascinating.

Looking at the grandparent segment of Feld’s patrons, he says, “Originally, they were a bit more cautious than the 20 year olds who wanted to go to a concert, but over time we’ve seen parents and grandparents come at the same rate, if not even more than they would have come pre-Covid. We were in Sheffield when it looked like the UK was going to shut down and the week of shows actually went really well, compared to pre-Covid times – it was almost the feeling of ‘this might be our last chance to do this for a while, so let’s go out and do it now.’

“But the silver lining is that there’s definitely demand for product to come out.”

That’s also been the experience of MB Presents. “We combined the extra time we suddenly had available with the creativity of our team and created new productions and exhibitions,” says Braff, naming Expo Dino World, the Middelkerke Sand Sculpture Festival, and Lanterna Magica among the company’s pandemic successes.

“We felt lucky that we could actually work and at the same time offer our clients a moment of distraction from all the negative stuff happening around them,” says Braff.

High demand

Despite the pandemic shutting down family shows around the world, the producer community has remained buoyant about the prospects of getting back to business because, like Armstrong, it can see that the demand is there.

Arnold Bernard, director of international booking for the Harlem Globetrotters, sums up the optimism. “One of the key indicators for us was the number of people who held on to their tickets from all the shows we had to postpone. We were one week into a four-month tour of Europe when we had to shut down in March of 2020. Two years later, we still have over 85% of those tickets out. This really is a testament to the strength of our brand.”

Corrado Canonici of World Touring Exhibitions tells IQ that demand remains high. “When Covid started, the few guys who decided to continue touring our exhibitions found a few difficulties because some people were worried and you had less audience. But then, when we brought our 3D exhibition to Germany in April or May last year, people were just assaulting the venue because they just couldn’t stay home anymore.”

But Canonici believes a new seasonal pattern has emerged during the pandemic years. “When we got to November last year, everything slowed down until February and then we will restart in March/April, so the general feeling is that we are all going towards a kind of a seasonal activity from March to October,” he says.

“We are all more open to understanding the promoters’ point of view. You can’t expect them to risk everything while you just behave like nothing has happened”

The Exhibitionist

Having made the decision to concentrate only on touring exhibitions a number of years ago, Canonici says that bold step paid dividends when the rest of the touring world ground to a halt in March 2020.

“Exhibitions started to work much earlier for obvious reasons,” he notes. “You can go to an exhibition with a mask; you can go to an exhibition while maintaining social distancing; you don’t need a 5,000-seater arena, you can do it in an exhibition space. So exhibitions never really completely stopped working during the pandemic.”

He adds, “The company has been concentrating on just exhibitions for a few years now be- cause we just found it more civilised, easier, nicer. Being independent in the exhibition world is still possible, so I like the idea that we can still have crazy ideas, pursue our ideas, finance our ideas, and all of this can be done. But with music, nobody would ever give me the new Adele. No way.”

And while the rest of the live entertainment business is scrambling to find venues for artists and shows, Canonici has none of that hassle. “Our venues are usually not really music venues. Arenas are just too busy anyway with concerts, so they would never ever give an exhibition two months of their time because they make far more money [with] 30 concerts in two months. So our venues are conference centres, exhibition centres, museums, malls. We know that there are many places you can go, which are usually not music places. So we don’t feel the pinch of that too much.”

“We used the downtime to really evaluate what we did, the why and the how”

Future Planning

Like many organisations crippled by the pandemic, the Harlem Globetrotters used the enforced pause to reinvigorate their strategy. “We used the downtime to really evaluate what we did, the why and the how,” says international booking director Bernard. “In the family entertainment world, we tour every month of every year. We don’t normally get to take some time out to reimagine our brand. To be able to get that time was refreshing and inspiring.”

Canonici also used the opportunity to expand the remit for World Touring Exhibitions. “When we saw that there were a few months of less work, we opened up to not just producing our own stuff but producing for people who want to have permanent exhibitions,” he reveals. “So now we also consult for the creation of, or directly produce, exhibitions for venues or institutions who want a permanent exhibition. So that’s been something positive coming from Covid, in the sense that we opened up to that which we wouldn’t have done otherwise.”

GLP’s Gaetjens believes that one of the biggest challenges facing the sector is to identify and develop new show formats that promoters can rely on, even while the pandemic continues. “Most organisers and countries have opted for safe formats,” he says. “We go one step further and will not only present new formats and projects but also go ‘corona-conform’ because that is safe and a guaranteed source of income for our customers. We still have to wait until ‘Freedom Day’ in some countries, and if the omicron and delta variants go together, we are prepared.”

Bernard says that there are two principle challenges facing organisations like the Harlem Globetrotters when it comes to getting back to business. “First, there are US State Department warnings recommending not to travel overseas, which affects our ability to travel,” he reports. “The second, is capacity limitations or vaccine requirements to enter public venues. This is a real challenge for families with young kids.”

That’s an aspect that’s not lost on Armstrong. “Only 6-8 months ago, no kids were really getting Covid, they weren’t getting tested, and they weren’t getting vaccinated. But all of a sudden, if the requirements are that everyone has to be vaccinated to go to events, what happens?” he asks.

“Luckily, so far, it hasn’t been mandated that kids who are under a certain age need to be vaccinated, so we’ve managed to be able to have shows. But if that changes going forward, we could run into problems.”

MB Presents boss Braff believes confidence will be key in reinvigorating the market. “Re-building the trust of people in small and large in- door events [is a major challenge],” he says. “People are weary of new measures and postpone buying tickets to events to the last minute. This makes it extremely difficult for event producers and promoters to plan ahead.”

“Deals need to be more flexible than before. We are all more open to understanding the promoters’ point of view”

The Year Ahead

Gaetjens believes the future is rosy for the family entertainment sector, albeit with a few challenging months ahead. “In 2022, many organisers will still be cautious, which is nonsense,” he states. “From April, everything will loosen up, and we are already noticing that.”

Continuing with a pitch, Gaetjens says, “We will be launching with new formats for 2022 and 2023 globally, expanding our roster, and giving all existing and new partners the opportunity to get what they want and are looking for.”

Canonici comments, “When in November [2021] Covid started to appear again and people started to postpone, we thought the worst. But, all of a sudden, around January, emails and phone calls started again because everybody wants to do everything from March. I have the feeling it’s going to be a lot of work from March to probably November. It really feels like it’s going to be a bit more seasonal than it was before.”

With the pandemic fostering unprecedented cooperation through the live entertainment business globally, Canonici believes the rule book is being rewritten for agreements in the family sector, too.

“Deals need to be a bit more flexible than before,” he says. “We all are more open to understanding the promoters’ point of view. You can’t expect them to risk everything while you just behave like nothing has happened. So we all have to be more flexible.”

Svoldgaard highlights the main issue that is hindering the entire live touring economy. “Many of the things that we do depend on what’s happening in the rest of the world or at least Europe, with the touring business. In principle, in Denmark, it’s not been so bad. Our sales have been pretty good, but when we talk about the tour business where we are going outside of Denmark, then we’re getting into problems as lockdown and restrictions have been harder elsewhere, and selling tickets is a huge challenge. We already had some tours that were supposed to start in February get postponed – and most of them for a whole year. So with many projects, we’re already looking into spring 2023.”

“I don’t think people are afraid of getting infected; they’re just sick and tired of having bought a ticket and then things keep getting postponed”

He adds, “It’s difficult to find availability in the venues on a shorter scale and also booking the artists on a shorter scale. So it’s been necessary to move things by a whole year in a number of instances.”

Looking at Feld’s bookings, Armstrong says, “We’ve been doing Monster Jam in the US and we’ve started to look at that internationally, too. We’ve got Ringling Brothers relaunching in 2023 in the US. And we’ll probably get Marvel Universe Live up and running in 2023. So we’re starting to get everything back. We’re not quite at the same scale – we had nine ice shows travelling around the world prior to Covid; we’ve got four or five out, as of now, but going into next season, we’ll probably get back to six, seven or eight. So it’s looking good.”

Citing CSB’s Whitney Houston tribute show, The Greatest Love of All, Svoldgaard sums up some of the frustrations that could hold back growth in the months to come. “The tour starts at the end of March and we have nearly 50 shows in eight countries across Europe,” he explains. “We start in Copenhagen, and the sales in Denmark are actually quite good for the most part, but the other countries are lacking.”

Indeed, because of the uncertainty that has been a significant Covid side effect, Svoldgaard confirms that consumers are leaving it till the 11th hour to buy tickets. “I don’t think people are afraid of getting infected; they’re just sick and tired of having bought a ticket and then things keep getting postponed.”

Nonetheless, he reports that longer term, confidence is building. “We have a lot of shows on sale for autumn this year, and sales have been incredible. So I think people expect that things will be back to normal for shows in September, October, November.”

In addition to tribute acts for the likes of Queen and Dire Straits, CSB has Lord of the Dance on sale for its 25th anniversary tour, among many other shows. “We are very optimistic looking forward,” says Svoldgaard. “I think people are, in general, excited about coming out to see shows again. The issue we have right now is shows that we have this  spring.”

Looking at his order book, Canonici reports, “We had Monsters of the Sea, which toured Ukraine for over a year. That’s now going to Russia for a year and probably more, fingers crossed. Our 3D exhibition is doing very well. Elsewhere, we have Dinosaurs in Belgium now; Science is going to go to Lithuania; and Lego always does very well.

He adds, “It’s all moving nicely, but it’s not the same. You can’t have the same sold-out shows you had before. It’s very difficult to get back to the 100,000 visitors in three months. But it’s still turning over decent numbers.”

“We have currently productions planned and presented in six new international markets”

New Productions?

While excitement among family ents producers and promoters is building, any expectations for new spectaculars might have to be put on the backburner for a year or so.

Canonici reveals, “At the time of Covid, we were supposed to go out with a new exhibition: The Art of Interactive Digital. We’d developed about 85% of this production when Covid arrived, so we just pulled back. Considering the ongoing situation, we think we’ll maybe delay another year going out with that one.”

Braff comments, “We still see a lot of tours being postponed to 2023. Luckily some tours are also restarting, like Corteo, which will finally happen in June 2022, two years after it was originally planned. We will continue to further develop our own productions and family entertainment brands, with eyes on the international markets. We have currently productions planned and presented in six new international markets, so we are positive.”

Armstrong surmises the situation well. “It’s very risky to launch a new product, especially one that doesn’t have a big brand behind it, because of the level of investment it takes to get them up and running,” he says.

“I would say it’s going to be the latter end of 2022 before we’re going to start seeing some of the bigger productions start touring again. But for newer brands, it’s a big risk. For us, the re-launch of Ringling Brothers is a calculated risk because it’s a brand that’s played for hundreds of years in the US. Whereas if you’re bringing out something that, perhaps, has been on TV for a couple of years but not really toured, I think that they’re going to hold off until 2023, at least.”

Ongoing challenges

The success of the family entertainment business getting back to work before other industry sectors has been an impressive achievement. But there is a bag full of spanners waiting to be thrown into the engine…

Svoldgaard, for example, says CSB is experiencing availability issues. “A lot of promoters are holding dates but not necessarily confirming venues. But it’s tricky to say ‘Okay, we are now ready to sign a contract and maybe even pay a deposit,’ especially when you have multiple artists and shows that have been moved four or five times.”

And underlining one massive dilemma that is becoming apparent throughout the touring world, he says the pandemic’s impact on crew and other essential personnel has been devastating.

“It’s a very big worry,” says Svoldgaard. “We have a tribute to Tina Turner coming in May, and I was hoping and expecting we could bring everything from the UK because I prefer to have the original production of it. But the UK producer cannot find a [crew] who can commit to being away for a couple of weeks. So we’re looking to source it locally, but it’s not easy – I’ve already had two production companies turn it down because it’s at the time of the year when the summer festivals start, so they don’t have enough equipment or manpower. I have found another production company in Denmark who can do it, but I’m a little bit worried about the pricing.”

“Even if the country itself is open, it doesn’t mean that infrastructure and the supply chain is ready”

“Challenges?” says Armstrong, citing a list. “There are weeks where you can’t make it work due to local legislation or state legislation or countries just shutting down before you can get there. And then there are the challenges of travelling people around with Covid tests, PCR, immigration, Brexit, transportation, and all that stuff.

“Even if the country itself is open, it doesn’t mean that infrastructure and the supply chain is ready. Take Australia, which hasn’t had events for a long time. Although you can get into Australia now, and you can potentially do the event and book the venue, are all your suppliers going to be ready? A lot of those suppliers have let people go, and they’re not rehiring people until events restart. If you’re one of those first events, you’re going to struggle. We know that casual staff at venues is an issue – we’ve ordered 30 vendors for our merchandise but only 12 would show up. But it’s all just part of slowly getting that big machine rolling again.”

Armstrong continues, “If you look back, there was a lot of hope this time last year. Now, it feels like there’s more than just hope: things are being put in place to enable us to move forward. So I think ‘22 will be better than ‘21. But I don’t think it’ll be fully back until mid-2023.”

“Slowly, the world will return to normal,” concurs Harlem Globetrotters’ exec Bernard. “We’re seeing it now, but it won’t be a full reopening overnight. There will be setbacks along the way but the setbacks will be shorter and less severe each time. We will get there.”


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Live entertainment giants call for US federal aid

A coalition of some the country’s leading promoters, show producers and venue managers have written to the US federal government to request an aid package specifically for the live entertainment business.

According to Billboard in the US, which has seen a copy of the letter, the 19 signatories – which include the likes of Live Nation, AEG, Feld Entertainment and arena operator VenuWorks – are asking for the Paycheck Protection Program [sic] to be extended to entertainment companies with 500 or fewer employees, as well loans for medium-sized businesses under existing programmes including the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Main Street Lending scheme.

“Our businesses were the first to close and will be the last to reopen,” reads the letter, dated April 2020, which is also signed by the Broadway League, Spectra Venue Management and the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).

“Without immediate financial assistance, the future of the public entertainment and event industry is in question. Accordingly, Congress must act now to address the severe impact that governmental closures orders have had on this industry.”

“Congress must act now to address the severe impact that governmental closures orders have had on this industry”

The situation is particularly urgent given that many business are struggling to obtain pay-outs from insurance claims for loss of earnings – a phenomenon also being experienced by their colleagues in France and the UK. “Many insurance carriers have pre-emptively asserted that property damage and event cancellation policies will not provide coverage related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter states.

Insurers and brokers, in partnership with Congress, must therefore establish ‘business recovery fund’ for the entertainment industry, it continues, “modelled on the 9-11 victims fund, to aid the businesses and their employees that were forced to shut down due to Covid-19, and will continue to struggle even after the economy restarts”.

The signatories are also requesting that authorities such as the Centers for Disease Control and the Federal Emergency Management Association establish a working group with members of the entertainment industry “to put forth voluntary guidelines that can be implemented by venues”. Companies that comply with these guidelines “should receive protection from Covid-19-related lawsuits,” they add.

The group is the second live entertainment association to lobby the US Congress for financial assistance, following the newly formed National Independent Venue Association earlier this month.


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Kid Rock renames tour following Feld lawsuit

Kid Rock has rebranded his upcoming Greatest Show on Earth tour under legal pressure from Feld Entertainment.

Feld, which owns the trademark ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’, sued Kid Rock (real name Robert James Richie) and the tour’s promoter, Live Nation, just before Christmas, alleging the name of the tour dilutes and infringes on its “famous trademark”.

As first spotted by Amplify, the tour, which kicks off on 19 January, has since been quietly renamed – one of Feld’s demands – to the American Rock ’n Roll tour, although the question of damages and legal fees has yet to be resolved. Both ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ and ‘American Rock ’n Roll’ are songs from Richie’s latest album, Sweet Southern Sugar.

“While I firmly believe that I am entitled under the First Amendment to name my tour after my song, I have changed the tour name because I do not want this lawsuit to distract me or my fans from focusing on what is important in my upcoming tour – my music,” Richie (pictured) wrote in a declaration to the US district court for middle Florida.

Despite the name change, a spokesperson for Feld – which also demanded Richie/Live Nation turn over any revenue from merchandise featuring the disputed slogan, as well as additional unspecified damages – says the company is still planning to pursue the lawsuit, whose initial hearing is set for 9.30am on 16 January.


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Feld sues over Kid Rock’s ‘Greatest Show on Earth’

Feld Entertainment, the owner of circus company Ringling Bros, is suing Kid Rock and promoter Live Nation for trademark infringement over the name of the upcoming Greatest Show on Earth tour.

Feld claims the tour, announced in October and due to kick off at Bridgestone Arena (20,000-cap.) in Nashville on 19 January, dilutes and infringes on its “famous trademark”, ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.

Its lawsuit, Feld Entertainment, Inc. et al v. Ritchie et al, was filed in the US district court for middle Florida before Christmas, and seeks to force Kid Rock – real name Robert James Richie – and Live Nation to change the name of the tour and turn over any revenue from merchandise featuring the disputed slogan, as well as additional unspecified damages.

According to Feld’s general counsel, Lisa Joiner, the company took the decision to go to the courts after “repeatedly contact[ing] defendants to obtain their cooperation to stop the infringement and [being] ignored”.

“We have authorised licensees for Ringling Bros and The Greatest Show On Earth, but Kid Rock is not one of them”

“We have authorised licensees for Ringling Bros and The Greatest Show On Earth, but Kid Rock is not one of them,” she adds.

“This historic trademark has been an important part of Ringling Bros for the past century, and it is recognised as a trusted and iconic brand of family-friendly entertainment,” says Kenneth Feld, Feld Entertainment’s chairman and CEO. “The Greatest Show on Earth continues to live on and will do so well into the future. We have no intention of surrendering the trademark or allowing it to be tarnished.”

An initial hearing is set for 9.30am on 16 January – three days before the start of the tour – with judge Mary S. Scriven presiding.

IQ celebrated Feld’s 50 years in the family entertainment spotlight with an anniversary feature in issue 70.


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Feld Entertainment: 50 years in the spotlight

The canonic view of 1967 is that it represented the high water mark of counterculture, starting with the Human Be-In in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park in January and reaching its peak in June as The Beatles’ freshly minted Sgt Pepper soundtracked the Summer of Love.

Amid this cultural tumult, Feld Entertainment was born, with a focus not on the generation gap but rather on the enduring power and appeal of family entertainment. In November that year, Irvin Feld acquired circus companies Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey to set up his new entertainment company. Feld had cut his teeth in the live music business in the 1950s and managed Paul Anka for the first decade of his career, as well as touring with Bill Haley & His Comets, Chuck Berry and others. He, however, saw a different wind of opportunity blowing through America – and the world – in the 1960s.

“He had started so early in the music business and he saw that there was a big shift around 1963/1964 with the ‘British invasion’ – The Beatles, The Stones, Herman’s Hermits – and he ended up promoting all of them, but the business model had changed dramatically and the promoters [were squeezed] so the margins were less and less,” explains son Kenneth, who joined the company in 1970 and took over the running of it when his father passed away in 1984.

“He thought if he got into the family entertainment business, that children were born every year and were going to want to see these styles of entertainment”

“He thought if he got into the family entertainment business, that children were born every year and were going to want to see these styles of entertainment. So he moved out of the music business and into the circus business.”

Irvin had started promoting Ringling Bros in 1957 and ran this concurrently with his promotion of pop music – but, when the opportunity to buy Ringling a decade later appeared, he went full-time into family-centric events. “At that time, I was a student at Boston University and my summer jobs were touring, primarily in Europe in 1968 and 1969, looking for circus talent,” says Kenneth of how he joined the family firm. “When I graduated in 1970, I went to work with my father full-time.”

While many might idly joke about running away with the circus, that is what Kenneth literally did – but it was the fact that it was working for his father that was the main draw. “If he was selling shoes or something else, I would be in that business today instead of this one as I just wanted to work with him,” he says. “We had a wonderful relationship and he was a fabulous teacher. He was very patient and liked to listen to some young kid’s crazy ideas. He thought that [family entertainment] was the way to go and I think he was right.”


Read the rest of this feature in issue 70 of IQ Magazine

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Calling all sleuths: ILMC 29 is a go

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) will for the first time move to a midweek format when it returns for the 29th year next March.

The invitation-only conference, which, following last year’s classic videogame theme, will next year be a murder mystery-styled event, will take place from Tuesday 7 to Friday 10 March at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London.

The change of dates comes after a poll of ILMC members earlier this year showed overwhelming support for moving to a midweek format. “We’ve used the opportunity to expand the number of panels and workshops we can run, add more events and revamp the networking areas in the hotel to allow for more private meeting space,” says conference head Greg Parmley.

“We’ve used the opportunity to expand the number of panels and workshops we can run, add more events and revamp the networking areas in the hotel to allow for more private meeting space”

Other events to orbit the main conference include the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) and Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), both of which take place on Tuesday 7 March, and the Arthur Awards – the live music industry’s equivalent of the Oscars – which will be presented during a Gala Dinner at new venue 8Northumberland on Thursday 8 March.

ILMC 29 event partners include Live Nation, Ticketmaster, CTS Eventim, Amazon Tickets, Intellitix, Malaysia Major Events, Feld Entertainment, Showsec, .tickets and Buma Cultuur.

The new ILMC 29 website is live now.


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