The New Bosses 2020: Artur Kasper, Der Bomber Der Herzen
The New Bosses 2020 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 93 this month revealing the twelve promising promoters, bookers, agents, A&R and production experts 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 2020’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 first New Boss is Artur Kasper (28), a booking agent at Der Bomber Der Herzen in Germany. Despite wanting to be a journalist when he was younger, Kasper joined Melt! Booking as a booking assistant in 2016 and was responsible for looking after urban domestic and international acts, while his remit also saw him take on the role of booking assistant at the company’s splash! Festival.
Last year, Kasper’s hard work saw him promoted to booking agent at Der Bomber Der Herzen, where he mostly takes care of domestic urban talent.
What are you working on right now?
Mostly on postponing touring dates due to Covid, but also booking my acts onto festival line-ups for 2021. This summer I had a few seated, open-air gigs and live streams.
What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
During my time as a festival booker, seeing the result of my work at the festival was a highlight. Also selling out the first tour of a newcomer act, who I believe in, is always a highlight.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt working in live music?
You really need a passion for music because it becomes a big part of your life. You become emotionally involved and you may lose the separation between private and professional life. This can be very unhealthy sometimes, but I love my job.
Did you always want to be a promoter?
I wanted to be a music journalist and made the first steps in that career but I just didn’t know that I actually wanted to be a promoter the whole time.
“The first aim of the job should be to help talented newcomer acts to grow and to respect the culture, not just exploit it”
What impact has Covid-19 has on your job?
A big impact, as the live industry is suffering a lot and many dates have to be postponed. Under regular circumstances, this would have been a successful year for me. We can only hope that we will be able to go back to regular work soon.
Do you have a mentor in the industry?
My Der Bomber Der Herzen colleague, Ilke Ulusoy.
What does the live music industry do well, and what can we do better?
There are many great and talented people in this industry who are very passionate about their job. As we’re all profiting from the culture, I think as a promoter the first aim of the job should be to help talented newcomer acts to grow and to respect the culture, not just exploit it.
What advice would you give to someone who’s new to the business?
Trust yourself and think about the intentions you have to do this job.
What are the biggest challenges you’re facing currently?
Of course, it’s the lack of clarity due to Covid-19. We still don’t know when we can go back to regular work.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully still physically and mentally healthy and happy with my job.
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Festival bosses talk cash flow, artist fees
The second IQ Focus festival panel, Festival Forum: The Next Stage, saw festival leaders from around Europe discuss the thorny issues of refunds and insolvency, as well as the outlook for 2021, in what should have been the halfway point of the 2020 season.
Hosted by IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson, the panel welcomed Mad Cool’s CIndy Castillo, Isle of Wight Festival/Solo Agency’s John Giddings, ARTmania’s Codruta Vulcua and Goodlive’s Stefan Lehmkuhl, two months on from the initial virtual Festival Forum session.
The current situation, said Giddings, has made it “blatantly obvious” that the business has an issue with cash flow and that many promoters don’t have any kind of “war chest to go forwards”.
“I don’t understand how you bankrupt companies by refunding tickets,” he said. “You shouldn’t be spending the ticket money on costs – you need to be in the position to be able to refund all the money. We have a responsibility to the audience.”
Giddings noted that some promoters have got into the habit of “taking money from the future to pay the past”, and it has become clear that this doesn’t work.
“This may teach people a lesson on how to run a business,” he said.
The other panellists agreed to an extent, but noted that a lack of support and clarity from the authorities has complicated matters in a lot of cases.
“This may teach people a lesson on how to run a business”
“Our government hasn’t even declared force majeure yet for live events”, said Castillo, who promotes Madrid’s Mad Cool festival. “This has put us in a very tricky legal situation.”
The Mad Cool team only started its refund period last week, explained Castillo, but is allowing people to make the decision on whether to hold onto tickets for next year or refund them until after the full 2021 line-up is revealed.
In Romania, said Vulcu, an immediate reimbursement “would have bankrupted many organisers”, as the government is implementing new restrictions every two weeks.
“There are companies with shows built up, everything ready and paid for, and then suddenly it had to be cancelled,” she said. A voucher scheme implemented by the government, allowing promoters to offer credit for shows or merchandise in place of cash refunds, has been a lifeline for many.
ARTmania did choose to offer refunds, but only received 43 requests. “Our decision to trust our audience really worked for us,” said Vulcu, adding that this tactic may “work for rock and metal audiences perhaps more than for others.”
“So far, we have been able to spend our own money,” he said,” but the next step would be to touch the ticket money, then to get low-interest credit from the government in case it takes longer.
“What happens if it takes longer than a year?” he asked. “Few companies will be able to survive for longer than a year.”
“Our decision to trust our audience really worked for us”
Mindful of cash flow, Goodlive has asked for deposits back from acts it booked for this year. “There is mutual understanding there,” said Lehmkuhl. “We are trying to rethink our festivals for next year, adjusting dates and concepts. We will start from scratch in some ways next year.”
As the promoter of Isle of Wight Festival, Giddings said he also asked for deposits to be returned. “We are doing contracts going forward for next year and will pay the deposit then.”
In terms of being an agent, Giddings said he is not going to take a fee reduction for artists. “I would rather they didn’t play than take a reduction on my act,” he said.
“As an agent I wouldn’t book an act for festival next year unless they’re going to pay me the same money,” he said, “and we’ve done the same thing as a festival.”
Ticket prices will also have to stay the same, as so many fans are rolling over their tickets to next year. “Anyone raising ticket prices is insane,” said Giddings. “We need to get an audience back first before charging more.”
Vulcu, who said she left the money with the agencies when rescheduling, agreed that she will not be paying artists less money, “but we will definitely not pay more”.
“Romanian audiences will have a lot less money and the priority will not be going to festivals,” she said.
“As an agent I wouldn’t book an act for festival next year unless they’re going to pay me the same money, and we’ve done the same thing as a festival”
Castillo said her experiences have been “positive” with every agent. “We are looking out for each other to prevent the industry collapsing,” she said.
The Mad Cool booker admitted that it will be “really hard” to get the same audiences next year, “so we need help with fees to make things happen”.
“We are running a big risk with the festival next year”.
The recovery of the music business in Spain “hasn’t event started yet”, said Castillo, as “you first have to understand our business model, identify problems and offer solutions – and we haven’t been offered any solutions yet.”
Giddings replied that, although the recent culture funding package announced by the UK government is sizeable, “we have no idea who it’s going to go to and how it will work”. He added that it was more likely to benefit venues than agents or promoters.
Sponsors are another issue for 2021. “Investing in events is risky now,” said Castillo, “and this is definitely affecting us.”
Vulcu said that, while ARTmania has secured its main sponsor for next year, “it is very difficult to get new sponsors”.
“Investing in events is risky now, and this is definitely affecting us”
Most Isle of Wight Festival sponsors have also “stuck with us” said Giddings, who believes that sponsors will start to come back in once it’s clear the event is going to happen, although they may be “different kinds of sponsors relating to our changing normal”.
Giddings added that he is “praying” for some direction on what will happen next year by Christmas, with clear information needed by March at the latest.
For Lehmkuhl, the key for the “new normal” is a high level of flexibility and an ability to keep running costs very low.
The Goodlive co-founder said that the idea of testing at festivals “is one of the few realistic plans [for getting event up and running] nowadays”, provided that the government is able to provide tests for free.
“It is hard for me to imagine that we will be able to do festivals as normal next year,” he admitted, “but one thing’s for sure, I will not be doing them with social distancing.”
IQ Focus returns with ‘Festival Forum: The Next Stage’
After a week’s break, IQ’s virtual panel series – IQ Focus – is back with Festival Forum: The Next Stage, which sees representatives from a handful of European festivals give an update on the state of the sector.
The ninth panel of the popular IQ Focus series, the session will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 9 July at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET, building on a previous Festival Forum panel almost two months on.
Midway through what would have been this year’s festival season, it’s a summer like no other. But are we midway through the crisis, or is there still further to go before the festival sector can confidently progress into 2021?
How confident are promoters feeling about next year, and are artists and audiences ready to return?
With a number of government support packages in place, and much of this year’s line-ups transplanted to next year, how confident are promoters feeling about next year, and are artists and audiences ready to return?
IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson hosts this IQ Focus discussion with panellists Cindy Castillo of Spain’s Mad Cool festival; John Giddings of the Isle of Wight Festival and Solo Agency; Stefan Lehmkuhl who promotes Splash, Melt, Superbloom and With Full Force festivals at Germany’s Goodlive; and Codruta Vulcu of Romania’s ARTmania Festival.
All previous IQ Focus sessions, which have looked at topics including diversity in live, management under lockdown, the agency business, large-scale and grassroots music venues and innovation in live music, can be watched back here.
Superbloom festival to debut in Munich
Miley Cyrus and David Guetta are among the headliners for the inaugural Superbloom festival, which is taking place on 5 and 6 September in the German city of Munich.
Promoted by Goodlive, Superbloom will see performances from acts including the Pussycat Dolls, DJ Snake, AnnenMayKantereit, Apache 207, Bishop Briggs, Liam Payne and Parcels.
Located in the grounds of Munich’s Olympiapark and Olympiastadion (75,000-cap.), the festival will also feature a firework display from RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World, as well as comedy from Kaya Yanar and live podcasts.
Advance ticket sales are now open, with weekend passes priced at €155 (£130).
Goodlive is also behind German electronic music festival Melt!, hip-hop and rap festival Splash!, metal festival Full Force and touring yoga festival Wanderlust.
Festival Fever: more line-up announcements for 2020
Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ rounds up line-ups from US festivals Coachella and Bonnaroo, and European events Wacken Open Air, Pinkpop, Melt! and Pohoda.
(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)
Wacken Open Air
When: 30 July to 1 August
Where: Wacken, Germany
How many: 75,000
Leading metal event Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) sold all 75,000 tickets for its 2020 edition in under 24 hours. Slipknot, Amon Amarth, Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate are among those playing the 2020 event.
Speaking to IQ for a special 30th anniversary feature last year, W:O:A co-founder Thomas Jensen said the event was “kind of a home for a dedicated group of people”. Jensen and fellow Wacken co-founder Holger Hübner are to receive the lifetime acheivement gong at this year’s European Festival Awards.
Jensen and Hübner’s International Concert Service (ICS), which includes a roster of other hard rock festivals, a touring division, a booking agency (Seaside Touring), ticketing platform Metaltix and the nonprofit Wacken Foundation, received investment from James Barton-led Superstruct Entertainment last year.
Fans can sign up to the waiting list for Wacken 2020 tickets here.
W:O:A sold all 75,000 tickets for its 2020 edition in under 24 hours
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
When: 10 to 12, 17 to 19 April
Where: Empire Polo Club, California, USA
How many: 125,000
AEG/Goldenvoice-promoted mega festival Coachella is returning to the Californian desert for two consecutive weekends in April, marking the start to the international festival season.
Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean are headlining the event, alongside performers including Calvin Harris, Thom Yorke, Lana Del Rey and Flume.
Tickets for both Coachella weekends are now sold out. Fans can join the waiting list for tickets here.
Rage Against the Machine, Travis Scott and Frank Ocean are headlining the 2020 event
When: 19 to 21 June
Where: Megaland, Landgraaf, the Netherlands
How many: 60,000
Pinkpop, promoted by Buro Pinkpop in partnership with Mojo Concerts, last year celebrated its 50th anniversary, with founder Jan Smeets receiving a special commemorative coin to mark his achievements.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone and Guns N’ Roses are headlining Pinkpop for its 51st edition, which also features performances from Twenty One Pilots, Rag’n’Bone Man, Anderson Paak, Nothing But Thieves and Keane.
Artists including Fleetwood Mac, Mumford and Sons and the Cure played the festival’s anniversary event last year.
Tickets for Pinkpop 2020 are available here, priced at €230 (£195) for a three-day pass.
Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone and Guns N’ Roses are headlining Pinkpop for its 51st edition
When: 9 to 11 July
Where: Trenčín Airport, Slovakia
How many: 30,000
Pohoda, Slovakia’s biggest music festival, will this year welcome acts including Stormzy, the Libertines, Metronomy, Thom Yorke, Wolf Alice and Floating Points.
The festival, which has sold out for the past two years, won the Take a Stand Award at last year’s European Festival Awards for its commitment to peace and tolerance, with festival director Michal Kaščák winning the prize for excellence and passion.
Pohoda, which means ‘peace’ in English, is nominated for the best medium festival award, line-up of the year and the health and safety innovation award at the upcoming European Festival Awards 2019, taking place on 15 January at Eurosonic Noorderslag in Groningen, the Netherlands.
Tickets for Pohoda 2020 are available here, with a three-day festival ticket priced at €109 (£93).
Pohoda, Slovakia’s biggest music festival, will this year welcome acts including Stormzy, the Libertines and Metronomy
Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival
When: 11 to 14 June
Where: Great Stage Park, Tennessee, USA
How many: 20,000
Tool, Lizzo and Tame Impala are headlining Bonnaroo, in the festival’s first year under full Live Nation ownership.
Other announced acts include Miley Cyrus, Lana Del Rey, Vampire Weekend, the 1975, Flume and Bassnectar.
Live Nation, which had a controlling interest in the festival since 2015, acquired the remaining stake from the event’s co-founder Superfly last year. Fellow co-founder AC Entertainment continues to promote the event alongside Live Nation and C3 Presents.
Tickets for Bonnaroo 2020 are available here, with prices ranging from US$329 (£251) for general admission to $3,275 (£2,502) for a platinum pass.
Tool, Lizzo and Tame Impala are headlining Bonnaroo, in the festival’s first year under full Live Nation ownership
When: 17 to 19 July
Where: Ferropolis, Gräfenhainichen, Germany
How many: 20,000
Melt! Festival, one of the biggest open-air electronic music events in Germany, this year features sets from Bicep, Floating Points, DJ Stingray, Marcel Dettman, Nina Kraviz and Helena Hauff, as well as performances from Burna Boy, Little Simz and Woodkid.
Taking place at Ferropolis –‘the city of iron’ –, a former open-cast mine complete with enormous, decommissioned industrial machines, Melt! Last year featured acts including Bon Iver, Skepta, Jorja Smith, Asap Rocky, Four Tet and Solomun.
Melt! Festival creative director Florian Czok, who also works as an agent at Berlin’s Melt! Booking, was named as one of IQ’s 2019 New Bosses.
Tickets for Melt! 2020 are available here, priced at €124.95 (£106).
The New Bosses 2019: Florian Czok, Melt!
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 week, 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.
New Boss number three is Florian Czok (30), an agent at Berlin’s Melt! Booking. Czok got his start booking DJs and throwing parties in Hamburg. At Melt!, his roster includes electronic artists such as Manuel Fischer, TRP, Myss Keta and RIP Swirl.
Czok is also the artistic director for the annual Melt! Festival, which this year featured performances from Bon Iver, Stormzy, Four Tet and Jorja Smith. (Read the previous interview with Solo’s Charly Beedell-Tuck here.)
What are you busy with right now?
Starting to book and collect ideas for Melt! 2020 already; working on some hosted club nights in Germany for artists like the Black Madonna, Denis Sulta or DJ Seinfeld to name a few; and also working on tours and hard-ticket shows for Q1 for the artists from my Melt! Booking roster. It does not get boring!
Did you always want to work in the music business?
I always wanted to work in the entertainment sector, because I knew that this would be the right thing for me. When I was younger, I thought I might play football as a professional. Football and sport in general is also a form of entertainment in my opinion, but I gave that up when I discovered going to club nights and enjoying alcohol at the age of 16.
When I started DJing myself after graduating school, I began to throw parties and booked some other artists – it was a logical step, I guess, to get to where I am right now.
What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
That is a tricky one, because I have worked in so many different fields within the music business over the last few years. I think it’s a highlight every time I do something for the first time and it works out: like doing the first live show with an artist and it selling out; throwing a new event series and seeing it grow; or curating stages at events or festivals to now programming a whole festival like Melt!, which is definitely one of my highlights so far.
“I think it’s a highlight every time I do something for the first time and it works out”
How has your role changed since you started out?
I started booking DJs myself when I was 20, throwing parties with friends, as well as selling merch (that we printed ourselves). That was ten years ago in Hamburg, since then I have worked in a couple of booking agencies where I learned the basics of being a booker and promoter, leading to Melt! booking where I started three and a half years ago.
Since then, I have been booking and promoting around 200 shows per year – from hard-ticket or festival shows to club nights – and also acting as artistic director for Melt! festival.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Melt!?
Be as accurate as possible when it comes to making offers and don’t get dazzled by Facebook, Instagram or Spotify numbers.
What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
Sometimes the whole live music industry is a bit too much of a business for me nowadays. Don’t get me wrong, it’s how I pay my rent as well – but I have the feeling sometimes that it’s just about numbers and money, which is going to a level where the passion for the music gets lost.
“We have excellent people in our company who have a lot of experience in the industry and are always willing to help when needed”
This passion is why I started to work in the music business in the first place, and when I hear that some people are looking at statistics nowadays and sometimes don’t know how an artist is playing, it makes me sad.
What do you do for fun?
I always loved that I was able to combine my work with my hobby – so going out with friends a lot, whether it be to concerts, club nights or to (new) festivals is still – most of the time – a lot of fun for me.
Besides that stuff, things that most people my age like: Netflix and chill with the girlfriend, travelling, doing fun things. I went to an arcade game hall recently and really enjoyed it, if you know of some good places in London, let me know!
Do you have an industry mentor?
There are a few people in my close working environment that I have a really high opinion of. Whenever I am not sure if I’m doing the right thing, I know I can ask them for their opinions, because they are experts in their field.
“Don’t get into this business if you are scared to talk to other people, or don’t like going out…”
We have excellent people in our company who have a lot of experience in the industry and are always willing to help when needed. These people have also given me a lot of space and freedom over the years, which has been perfect for my personal development as well.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
Don’t lose your passion for music and get out as much as possible to get a feeling of what the people want. A Spotify Premium account is helpful as well.
Don’t get into this business if you are scared to talk to other people, or don’t like going out, or are not willing to work more then 40 hours a week, or if you want to have your weekends off… You should also be up for getting on planes and travelling around the globe from time to time.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Hopefully I’ll still be in the music business, loving what I do and working on a lot of different and great projects. I have always been the kind of person who is interested in creating new and exciting stuff, so let’s see what we have to talk about in ten years’ time.
Foos, Mumfords head to Hoppegarten for Lolla 2017
Foo Fighters and Mumford & Sons have been announced as headliners for the 2017 edition of Lollapalooza Berlin, which will be held at the new venue of the Hoppegarten Racecourse – its third in as many years.
The festival, co-promoted by Melt! Booking and Live Nation (C3 Presents/Festival Republic), was forced to evacuate its original home, the disused Tempelhof Airport, when the site was converted into temporary housing for refugees. A move to Treptower Park followed in 2016, which was opposed by many local residents and even ten states of the former USSR (the park houses a Soviet war memorial).
Hoppegarten Racecourse (Rennbahn) is located around 12 miles to the east of Berlin.
Other newly confirmed acts include The XX, Two Door Cinema Club, Rudimental, EDM star Hardwell and local favourites Beatsteaks, Marteria and Cro: