ILMC speaker spotlight: John Langford, EAA/AEG
The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) is now just over a week away and, as more and more chairs and panellists are announced, IQ catches up with some key speakers to hear what they hope to get out of this year’s conference.
Following on from the previous Speaker Spotlight, IQ talks to John Langford, president of the European Arenas Association (EAA) and AEG Europe COO.
Langford is chairing the Venue’s Venue: New builds, new brands panel to discuss what further competition and consolidation we can expect to see in the fast-evolving venue market.
He will be joined by panellists Jolanda Jansen (Rotterdam Ahoy), Brian Kabatznick (Oak View Group), Tom Lynch (ASM Global), Thomas Ovesen (Diriyah Gate Development Authority) and Harry Samuel (LiveStyled).
IQ: What do you expect to be the main talking points at your panel?
JL: I expect there will be lots of talk of new buildings and new markets. New arenas are not cheap, and returns can be limited in competitive markets or marginal locations, so what’s driving expansion and development plans? And what’s the reality of a ‘new arena model’?
Outside of Europe there are some exciting developments and new opportunities. We will look at what’s hot in Asia, the Middle East and Africa and ask whether building venues in those markets will create more demand for touring.
New arenas are not cheap, and returns can be limited, so what’s driving expansion and development plans?
With competition and consolidation in the venue market at an all-time high, has that had an affect on your day-to-day jobs?
Yes, absolutely. I am sure that each of the panel members can talk more to their experiences over the last eighteen months. From mergers to new players in the market, there’s a lot to talk about.
Would it be fair to say the large venue sector is among the most interesting parts of the music business right now?
Personally I believe that the entire live industry is in huge transformation. Specifically on the venue side, what we’re seeing in the large venue sector is mild compared to the storms facing grassroots venues. Business rates, gentrification, Brexit, skills shortages – it’s a minefield out there!
Is there anything else you’re particularly looking forward to at ILMC?
A cold Fightback lager at the end of a long day. All proceeds go to the Music Venues Trust! Beer with a conscience.
The Venue’s Venue panel is taking place at 10 a.m. on Thursday 5 March at ILMC.
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