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Live Aid stalwart Pete Smith passes aged 69

Pete Smith, the talent coordinator for the historic Live Aid concerts in 1985, has died aged 69.

A much admired and respected figure in the music industry, he started out as a social secretary at Leeds University – a position he passed on to now renowned artist manager Paul Loasby in 1974.

Among the acts that Pete promoted at the Leeds Uni Union were The Who, Bill Haley and the Comets, The Kinks and many others.

When he left university, Pete worked as an agent at MAM, alongside the likes of Barry Dickins, John Giddings and Ian Wright.

Through his Leeds connections, Pete went on to work with The Kinks on several different occasions. He also worked with Al Stewart, The Chieftains and Vitamin Z in the late 70s.

Overseeing the career of South African guitarist Trevor Rabin, Pete took him to Los Angeles and introduced him to Yes, with whom he helped to write Owner of A Lonely Heart.

In spring 1985, he was asked to an early morning meeting with Harvey Goldsmith and offered the role of talent coordinator for Live Aid. Harvey famously told Pete if Live Aid was a success, his name would never be mentioned; but if it was not a success it would all be down to Pete.

Among the acts that Pete promoted at the Leeds Uni Union were The Who, Bill Haley and the Comets and the The Kinks

Pete also travelled to New York and Philadelphia to liaise on the US Live Aid bill liaise with Bill Graham, who apparently refused to work with half of the suggested artists. Pete asked what about the other half, to which Graham replied that they refused to work with him.

Years after Live Aid, Pete was also involved with Live 8, working in Philadelphia on that occasion. Pete would later write Just The Ticket: A Live Aid Memoire, proceeds of which went to The Band Aid Trust.

In 1990, Pete worked with Roger Waters on the massively scaled Wall concert in Berlin to mark the end of the Berlin Wall and later went on to work with the Alan Parsons Live Project and the British Rock Symphony.

Latterly, Pete embarked on a change of career path and produced several symphonic rock albums. His last music business foray was publishing fine art prints of album cover artwork, including Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Pink Floyd’s Animals, among many others.

Married for the last 38 years to Concert Promoters Association secretary Carole Burness-Smith, the couple saw their son, Oliver – a lieutenant commander in the Royal Navy – marry wife Anna earlier this year.

Pete had suffered from heart trouble over the years and had undergone surgery twice this year. However, a few weeks ago he was diagnosed with untreatable liver cancer. He died with Carole and Oli by his side.

 


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Veteran promoter Colleen Ironside passes

The international touring business is mourning the death of veteran promoter Colleen Ironside.

An ILMC regular, Ironside was MD of Hong Kong-based pan-Asian touring and event promotion company Live Limited, which she founded in the late 1990s and revived in 2010 following a five-year stint with Live Nation.

News of her passing at the age of 69 last Friday was announced on social media. In a Facebook post, Jasper Donat, co-founder and CEO of Asian live and digital media company Branded, described Ironside as a “magnificent human” and “one of the longest serving, most respected (and feared) promoters in Asia”.

“There is and was only one Colleen”

“Beyond sad, gutted and shocked to hear that the absolute legend Colleen Ironside has passed away at home,” he said. “She worked with everyone. She got Mick Jagger to play Angie for her at Harbourfest. She put Bob Dylan in Vietnam. She was Elton John’s promoter whenever he was here. And the list goes on forever.

“She was indestructible. She gave Chuggi [Chugg Entertainment’s Michael Chugg] a run for the Swear Jar. She will be smoking Marlboro Lites in Heaven. There is and was only one Colleen.”

Ironside started out as an agent for Australia’s Harbour Premier Agency and went on to set up APA Booking Agency, where she worked with acts including INXS, before heading to Frontier Asia to tour artists such as REM, Pearl Jam and Tom Jones across the region.

“Colleen Ironside was an inspiration and a joy to know”

Launching Live Limited in 1999, she staged tours by the Rolling Stones, Elton John, David Bowie, Coldplay, No Doubt, Sting, Pet Shop Boys and Deep Purple, among others. Joining Live Nation as SVP of booking, pan-Asia, in 2005, she managed LN’s joint-ventures in Beijing and Shanghai in addition to booking tours for the likes of Coldplay, Elton John, Gwen Stefani and Christina Aguilera.

Neil Thompson, CEO of Thailand-based Live Nation Tero and DMD of Tero Entertainment, is compiling a book full of Ironside anecdotes in celebration of her life.

“This will be compiled and given away to those attending the funeral or sent to those who could not attend,” he wrote on Facebook. “So would kindly ask everyone who want to participate by sending me your best Anecdote and pics of Colleen to my email address before the 1st of August , this will allow us time to compile and produce. My email address is [email protected] Please share this post so we can inform as many of her friends as possible.”

“Colleen was one of a kind and we all have great stories and experiences with her”

He added: “Colleen was a one of a kind and we all have great stories and experiences with her, so looking forward to receiving yours. We are aiming for the funeral to take place in Bangkok on 12-14 August, we will confirm arrangements this week. So those who are traveling from overseas can work on your travel arrangements, please let us know if you are attending.”

Tributes have continued to pour in from across the music business on social media.

“I was so shocked to learn of the passing of my dear friend Colleen Ironside,” said UTA global head of touring Neil Warnock. “She was an absolute legend when the word legend has been so abused! Working in markets rarely explored from India to Thailand, China and throughout Asia where few if any had ventured.

“You never messed with Colleen, her surname said it all!”

“Our adventures with Michael Cohl on the Rolling Stones Steel Wheels tour through Asia were always to be reminisced over whenever we met. Early days with Uriah Heep and Deep Purple was proper frontier land shows. Yet she never flustered just dealt with every problem as ‘you know it’s fine’. Equally, you never messed with Colleen, her surname said it all.

“How I will miss her. Her legendary cough will be heard throughout the realms of wherever she is!”

Midas Promotions owner Michael Hosking said: “RIP to one of the sadly diminishing group of promoter legends. There won’t be another like you. RIP – see you on the flip side.”

CAA agent Emma Banks said she was “devastated” by Ironside’s passing. “Colleen Ironside was an inspiration and a joy to know. Can’t really believe the news,” she wrote.

Live Nation promoter Phil Bowdery posted: “A true legend and will be sadly missed,” while Concord Music’s Kim Frankiewicz said: “I am so, so sad… Just devastating.”

David Loiterton of Primary Wave Asia Pacific said: “I’ve known Colleen since the late 80s when we worked together on her own agency in Australia, APA. Then again and again in Asia when she set up Live and then joined Live Nation then went indie again. She was the same then as the last time I saw her before Covid, she never changed and I thought she was indestructible. Rest well Colleen.”

“Beyond the tough exterior, she was the most wonderful person”

“Another larger than life character gone,” wrote Riverman Group MD Dave Mclean. “She was a definite ‘one off’, met her a few times in Bangkok and Singapore, did lots of amazing artists in difficult places.”

SWAT Enterprises founder Stuart Watson said: “Shocked and saddened by this news. During SWAT’s early years in the 90s Colleen’s assistance in identifying suitable venues to showcase the acts we represented, played a vital role in their establishment Asia-wide.”

Universal Music Group South East Asia CEO Calvin Wong said: “Beyond the tough exterior, she is the most wonderful person. I enjoyed everything she taught me in the two years as our live consultant. She was definitely the master of the class.”

Donat added that plans were afoot to remember Ironside at the upcoming Music Matters event in Singapore in September.

 


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Tributes flood in for ex-CAA agent Paul Fitzgerald

Leading live music figures have paid tribute to music agent Paul Fitzgerald, who has died aged 54 following a long illness.

The ex-CAA agent enjoyed a distinguished 25-plus-year career in showbusiness after starting out at Louis Parker’s Concorde International Artistes in the early ’90s.

Fitzgerald, who is survived by wife Ellie and daughter Lulu, was the longtime agent for The X Factor Live tour and worked with artists such as Leona Lewis, Steps, JLS, One Direction, Olly Murs, Nicole Scherzinger, Diversity, Ella Henderson, Beverley Knight and Craig David.

“Fitz was one of a kind. Entrepreneurial from his core and with a great love of his clients”

“Fitz was one of a kind,” CAA co-head Emma Banks tells IQ. “Entrepreneurial from his core and with a great love of his clients, he was a trailblazer in his work with X Factor amongst other projects. He was always open to pursue new projects and avenues with his trademark enthusiasm.

“Paul had a ‘can do’ attitude that went from work into his life generally. He was much loved at CAA, agents across the company in every department globally knew Paul through their interactions at our company retreats or other times that Paul would visit them.

“Paul has left us all far too early and our hearts break for Ellie and Lulu. Gone but never forgotten.”

“Paul was a true legend in every sense of the world”

Fitzgerald, who launched entertainment industry consultancy MYBX in 2018, is credited as a mentor by his former CAA assistant Chris Ibbs, who was elevated to music agent at the company last year.

“Paul was a true legend in every sense of the word,” says Ibbs. “A fabulous agent and great friend. His infectious humour was only matched by his huge kindness. It was an honour to work for him and without his guidance I simply wouldn’t be where I am today. Thank you, sir. Rest easy.”

SJM Concerts promoters Simon Moran and Matt Woolliscroft spoke similarly highly of Fitzgerald, both personally and professionally.

“I always got on really well with Paul,” Moran tells IQ. “We did a lot of business with him over the years. He was very hard working and tenacious. As they used to say on The X Factor, he had the likeability factor – he was a really great fella.”

“He once joked to me, ‘I have never been cool in my entire life’ – he was probably right, but he was a good man with a good heart”

“I worked with Paul across many of his biggest artists including the early touring of One Direction, JLS’s incredible run after their appearance on the X Factor, the X Factor tour itself, Beverley Knight and many others,” adds Woolliscroft. “He was a sensible and easy going person to do business with. Loyal to his contacts and hard working for his clients.

“We’d stayed in periodic contact after his illness had meant he’d had to step back from his work and I was in awe of his positivity. I have missed our more regular contact since he ‘retired’. He once joked to me, ‘I have never been cool in my entire life’ – he was probably right, but he was a good man with a good heart and I will miss him.”

Elsewhere, Triple A Entertainment’s Pete Wilson recalls first meeting Fitzgerald during his early days at Concorde.

“Paul came to a Smash Hits Poll Winners awards show at London Arena to meet with Boyzone,” he remembers. “He was not a booker but a true agent – all of his acts enjoyed the Fitzgerald stamp. He would create a live environment from which the acts could grow and thrive. No act was too small, he gave his time to them all.

“He also had the rare qualities of honesty, loyalty and integrity. To have one of those is a challenge, to have all three is remarkable. He was a true friend and is a massive loss.”

“The achievement he was most proud of was to take a very unfancied Steps to sell one million tickets in UK arenas in one calendar year”

Fellow Triple A director Dennis Arnold adds: “Many people will testify to Paul’s hard work and dedication and his outstanding success as an agent. I would like to pay tribute to him as a loyal, sincere and much loved friend.”

Wilson singles out Fitzgerald’s work on X Factor Live as a particular highlight – but even that played second fiddle in his career accomplishments overall.

“It ran for a number of years and numerous artists that evolved from the show are still worldwide superstars,” he says. “However, the achievement he was most proud of was to take a very unfancied Steps to sell one million tickets in UK arenas in one calendar year.”

In a statement to IQ, Steps – Claire Richards, Faye Tozer, Ian “H” Watkins, Lee Latchford-Evans and Lisa Scott-Lee – share their sadness at the news.

“We were so very saddened to hear of Paul’s passing,” say the British pop group. “He was instrumental in the success of Steps and our touring career. We have many fond memories of spending time with him and send our love to Ellie, Lulu his family, friends and colleagues.”

 


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Renowned consultant Ed Grossman passes, aged 73

Ed Grossman, a renowned tax consultant to international touring artists, has passed away at the age of 73.

The London-born veteran was due to start chemotherapy for lung cancer this week but passed away suddenly yesterday morning (30 May).

Grossman’s employer at Brackman Chopra chartered accountants, Sunil Chopra, told IQ that he is “devastated and in shock”.

The pair started working together 33 years ago when they launched the music tax department at MGR chartered accountants in 1989.

Chopra left MGR to start his current company and Grossman joined him in 2015, clocking in seven years as a consult before his death.

“He is my adopted father,” Chopra tells IQ. “I am what I am in the music industry because of him. He taught me everything. He was the kind of guy you could go to with any problems – business or personal. He was the most genuine person I have ever known.

“I am what I am in the music industry because of him”

“Even if you have an argument, that doesn’t mean he’s thinking ill of you.He’s just having an argument because he wants to put a point across because he believes that he’s helping. He always wanted to help the clients. He brought life to the office – it is very quiet now.”

Martin Hopewell, founder of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), also paid tribute to Grossman: “The ILMC just lost one of it’s longest-standing and best-loved members: the conference’s #1 food critic, poser of the most challenging, left-field questions and lover of a quick nap during the annual ‘autopsy’ session. He will be massively missed – the place just won’t be the same without him.”

Lionel Martin, a former business partner of Grossman, added: “[Grossman] was difficult to live with and difficult to live without but life will definitely involve less laughter without him in it.”

Martin says he first met Grossman in 1971, when he joined an accountancy firm in Oxford Circus called Goodman Myers Smith.

“The firm acted for the Rolling Stones and many other artists in the music industry,” Martin tells IQ. “At that time the newly moneyed industry was struggling to ‘work out the rules’. There were few better than Eddie to sort out the financial mess bands were making for themselves and I guess he went some way to teaching me and others how to do that.”

The pair left the firm by the mid-’70s and started our own firm called Grant Martin Grossman. “We were quite anti-establishment and had a firm logo which was a picture of a bowler hat, umbrella and galoshes (what were we thinking of),” Martin tells IQ. “After a few years, we disbanded the firm and Eddie went to work for a firm called Mercers Bryant.”

“There were few better than Eddie to sort out the financial mess bands were making for themselves”

In 1980, Martin started his own firm, MGR (previously Martin Greene), and three years later invited Grossman to join the company.

“He immediately became an important partner, looking after bands like Madness, Thompson Twins etc,” Martin continues. “We delivered some excellent work to our artist clients for many years and Eddie was at the helm in many of those cases. In around 2003/2004 Eddie switched over to handing international touring work representing big US bands touring Europe.

“He was eccentric to say the least, his passion for and insistence upon perfect work often resulted in friction in relationships but people who had the patience and intelligence to ‘stay with him’ know they benefited in many ways from their relationship with him and will miss him greatly. There have been several professional advisers substantially involved in regularising a fast expanding and financially chaotic music industry and I would definitely include Eddie in that list.”

Elsewhere, Claudio Trotta of Barley Arts in Italy wrote on Facebook: “We had so many great times together. You were a great professional resource of live entertainment and such a funny, lovely and nice man. A great and unique character.”

Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts in Scotland added that the news of Grossman’s passing is “very sad”.

Ed Grossman is survived by his wife Penny Grossman and their daughter Beth.

 


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ICM Partners founder Marvin Josephson passes

Marvin Josephson, founder of ICM Partners, passed away on Tuesday (17 May) in New York, at the age of 95.

An official cause of death has not been announced.

“We mourn the loss of Marvin Josephson, one of the founders of ICM, who was universally respected as an agent, a leader and a man,” ICM Partners said in a statement. “We send our heartfelt condolences to his family.”

Born on March 6, 1927 in Atlantic City, New Jersey, US, Josephson was raised by immigrant parents. After serving in the US Navy during the twilight of World War II, he returned to the US to attend Cornell University and then night law school at New York University School of Law. Upon receiving his degree in 1962, Josephson started a job in the CBS legal department.

In 1955, Josephson began his own personal management company, drawing clients such as “Captain Kangaroo” producer and star Bob Keeshan. Josephson later converted the company into a talent agency upon entering the world of television personalities, representing figures such as Chet Huntley, Peter Jennings, Frank McGee, Don Hewitt and Reuven Frank. Later in his career, Josephson would represent Barbara Walters.

Josephson’s agency grew, eventually merging with the LA-based Rosenberg Coryell, which had Bing Crosby and James Garner among its client list. After buying out his California partners, Josephson’s company was renamed Marvin Josephson Associates (MJA).

“[Josephson] was universally respected as an agent, a leader and a man”

After acquiring Ashley Famous Agency in 1968, the combined agency was renamed International Famous Agency (IFA), though the parent company that owned IFA continued to be called MJA. MJA then acquired Creative Management Associates (CMA), a more film-focused agency as opposed to IFA’s emphasis on television and publishing.

Josephson served as chairman and CEO of the combined talent agency, which was renamed International Creative Management (ICM) and grew to become a huge operation in entertainment, representing clients such as Yo Yo Ma, Henry Kissinger, Steve McQueen, Margaret Thatcher and Colin Powell during Josephson’s tenure.

In 1992, Josephson passed control of ICM onto Jeff Berg, Sam Cohn and Jim Wiatt, though Josephson maintained a leadership role and continued to represent personal clients. In 2005, the company was sold to a private investor, Suhail Rizvi.

Josephson is survived by his wife, Tina Chen; his children, Celia Josephson, Claire Josephson, Nancy Josephson, YiLing Chen-Josephson and YiPei Chen-Josephson; his 16 grandchildren; his two great-grandchildren and his brother, Jack Josephson. He was predeceased by his son, Joe Josephson.

The family has asked that donations be sent to The Jewish Federations of North America to support families in Ukraine in memory of Josephson.

 


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Big Day Out festival founder Ken West dies at 64

Big Day Out festival founder and creator Ken West has died in his sleep at the age of 64.

With his business partner Viv Lees, West produced the renowned touring festival, which debuted in Sydney in 1992 and went on to expand to Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth in Australia, as well as Auckland in New Zealand.

Most recently staged in 2014, the festival welcomed artists such as Nirvana, Kanye West, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Muse, Metallica, Hole, the Ramones, Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine.

“Ken was big and noisy in life”

“We bring unfortunate news that Ken West; a father, husband, mentor and most of all a legend, has passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of 7 April 2022,” says a statement from his family. “Our family would appreciate respect and privacy during this difficult time. Ken was big and noisy in life, but passed quietly and peacefully.”

West released an excerpt from his upcoming book in January this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the inaugural Big Day Out. Chapters of the book were released on his Kenfest website.

“I treat art as a living thing that constantly changes, he wrote on the site. “The people are the art as much as the artists are the people. I believe that the fact it is temporary makes it all the more important, not less.”

Veteran promoter Colleen Ironside described Ken as “A trailblazer and inspiration to so many people and the person who gave so many people and acts a chance… Another gone way too soon and a force in the industry whose vibe humor and talent will be greatly missed.”

West is survived by his wife Cathy and son Oliver.

 


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Live music business remembers Taylor Hawkins

Foo Fighters star Taylor Hawkins has been remembered by the international live music world following his death aged 50.

The Texan drummer died on Friday (25 March) at a hotel in Bogota, Colombia, where the band had been due to headline Festival Estereo Picnic. His cause of death has not yet been established.

The band, whose remaining South American tour date at Lollapalooza Brazil in Sao Paulo was also cancelled, released a statement speaking of their devastation. “His musical spirit and infectious laughter will live on with all of us forever,” they said.

Chris York, director of Foo Fighters’ longtime UK promoter SJM Concerts, is among the many touring execs to pay tribute.

“I share with my colleagues at SJM Concerts the deepest sadness at the tragic death of Taylor,” he tells IQ. “Over the last 25 years we have helped share the Foo Fighters’ global success. Taylor’s extraordinary musicianship, tremendous character and huge warmth was writ large. He was a force of nature.

“Our thoughts are with his family, friends and bandmates at this time of unimaginable loss.”

Live Nation mourned the loss of “one of rock music’s greatest drummers”. “Our hearts go out to his family, the band, and fans around the world as we all mourn this heartbreaking loss,” the company tweeted.

“We are grateful for all the unforgettable concert moments he gave us”

Hawkins, who also performed and recorded with his Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders side project, was a touring drummer for artists such as Alanis Morissette prior to joining the Foos in 1997.

Australia’s Frontier Touring writes: “Vale Taylor Hawkins. Our hearts are breaking for his family and friends,” while FKP Scorpio, whose relationship with the band dates back quarter of a century, says it is “shocked and saddened”.

“We are grateful for all the unforgettable concert moments he gave us: his drum solos and singing instruments, his humour and his laughter,” it says on Facebook. “Thank you for the music, Taylor! Now you can play the beat in the big band of Freddie Mercury, John Bonham and all the other genius musicians who have already gone ahead. The memory remains for us. Our thoughts are with Taylor’s family, his friends, companions and of course the band and crew.”

In a lengthy tribute, concert series Austin City Limits, which has hosted the Foo Fighters on two previous occasions, says Hawkins “radiated enthusiasm and pure rock & roll energy”.

“We were looking forward to seeing him again when the band returned for their next taping,” it says. “But mostly we’re sending our thoughts and love out to his family and his bandmates, and we’re mourning our friend. May he rest in peace.”

Swiss promoter Good News Production posts: “We’re still a little blown away by the news from last Saturday’s tragic and far too early death of Taylor Hawkins. Over the years, we were allowed to accompany the Foo Fighters on several occasions, not least in summer 2018 at their show at the Stade de Suisse in Bern.

“Taylor’s open, vivid and cheerful style was not only on stage incredibly contagious and we will always remember him as the wonderful person and outstanding musician he was.”

The firm acknowledged the “uncertainty” over the group’s remaining 2022 concerts and says it will update fans in “due time”.

Foo Fighters have North American dates scheduled for April/May, with European festival and stadium shows lined up for the summer. The tour is then slated to return to the US before heading to Australia and concluding in New Zealand in December.

 


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Glastonbury’s Robert Richards dies at 65

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis has led tributes to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who has died aged 65 following a short illness.

Richards, who was the producer of Julien Temple’s 2006 Glastonbury film, passed away at Guy’s Hospital in London yesterday (12 January).

His first job at the event saw him set up the information and CND campaigning stalls. In more recent years, Richards was responsible for partnerships, large commercial deals and sponsorship, and helped secure the licence for the festival to continue in 2014.

Paying tribute, Eavis praised Richards as a “remarkable man”.

“I am personally very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man who I will find difficult to replace”

“Robert helped me personally with projects in Pilton village, particularly the big social housing project and the village shop,” he said. “He was also chairman of the Glastonbury Town Fund Board, which raised £24 million for the town in 2021.

“I am personally very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man who I will find difficult to replace. Now that the fever of life and his days are over, may God give his soul the rest it deserves.”

PRS for Music chair Nigel Elderton tweeted: “Terribly sorry to hear the sad news of Robert Richards passing. Always happy to help even when working under pressure and a great music fan. My condolences to his family, Michael, Emily and all the Glastonbury team! We will miss you Robert!”

In 2015, Richards opened up about the nature of his role at the UK’s biggest festival in an interview with Glastonbury’s ticketing partner See Tickets.

“I work on all the sponsorship/partnership relationships, the BBC partnership and the land deals involving the festival site,” he said. “I have an overview on ticketing, markets, and bars. The best thing about the job is that every day is different.”

Richards also discussed the evolution of the festival during his tenure.

“I can still see whole areas that are still very similar to my early days at the festival,” he said. “The main changes are in the professionalisation of the production, and support teams.

“We have world class people working at the event, but what makes it so special is the commitment the area organisers and their teams bring to each of their parts of the festival. It’s the best party in the world.”

 


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French promoting great Gérard Drouot dies aged 69

Highly-respected French independent concert promoter Gérard Drouot has died at the age of 69.

Drouot, who had been battling with leukaemia, began his music career in the 1970s, organising shows including the Nico and Tangerine Dream concert at the Reims Cathedral in 1974, and was hired by producer Harry Lapp as artistic manager and production director.

A longstanding ILMC member, he launched Gérard Drouot Productions in Strasbourg in 1986 and went on to promote hundreds of concerts a year, working with legends such as U2, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, AC/DC the Rolling Stones, Kylie Minogue, Luciano Pavarotti, Ray Charles and David Gilmour.

Drouot also promoted events such as the celebrations of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights at Bercy, co-organised with Amnesty International, in 1988 and 1998 in Paris.

He had managed Gérard Drouot Productions (GDP) with his son, Matthieu Drouot, since 2013.

“He had dedicated his life to his profession,” Matthieu tells Le Parisien. “At the rate of 200 to 500 concerts per year, he has organised at least 10,000 concerts in mainland France, the West Indies and Belgium!”

“Gerard Druout has had an immeasurable impact on our profession”

Speaking on behalf of members of Prodiss, the live music association’s president Olivier Darbois hails “one of the last independent producers”.

“Gerard Drouot has had an immeasurable impact on our profession,” he says. “We will miss him very much, as he will be sadly missed by all the artists whom he was able to accompany brilliantly during his career.”

Drouot is also credited with helping to launch the cine-concert concept in France and had been a passionate spokesperson for the performing arts sector in the media since the onset of the Covid crisis last year.

UTA’s Neil Warnock also paid tribute to his friend of 30-plus years.

“He was one of the most consummate professionals I have ever worked with, not only in France but worldwide,” says Warnock. “What made him unique in the music business in France was that he wasn’t Parisian and indeed, because of that, he worked his artists right the way across France to help develop their careers. Among the many artists that Gerard and I worked on together include, Pink Floyd and David Gilmour, George Benson, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, King Crimson and Alice Cooper.

“It was a complete pleasure to work with him as a friend. He was an absolute delight, always, to have lunch or dinner with. His knowledge of wine and food was incredible and a joy to behold.

“I’m both shocked and saddened at the huge loss to the whole of the French music industry and I feel so sad at this time for his son, Matthieu and the whole family. One thing I do know is that Matthieu will continue the great legacy started by his father and will take GDP to even greater levels than before.”

 


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Woodstock promoter Michael Lang passes, aged 77

Michael Lang, the promoter behind the iconic 1969 Woodstock music festival, has passed away.

The 77-year-old had non-Hodgkin lymphoma cancer and died on Saturday (8 January) in New York City, according to a spokesperson for Lang’s family.

Brooklyn-born Lang launched his career as a promoter in the 1960s following a move to Miami. In 1968, Lang (along with Marshall Brevetz) produced the Miami Pop Festival which featured Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, John Lee Hooker, Arthur Brown, and Blue Cheer.

The following year, 24-year-old Lang, alongside businessmen John Roberts and Joel Rosenman and music industry promoter Artie Kornfeld, created Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

The festival drew more than 400,000 attendees to Max Yasgur’s farm in Bethel, New York, for performances from Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Grateful Dead, The Who, Sly and the Family Stone, Joe Cocker and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.

Billed as “three days of peace and music,” Woodstock arrived at a time of great social upheaval in the United States, which was still engulfed in an unpopular war in Vietnam. The festival is said to have been a ‘haven’ for the hippie movement.

“[Woodstock ’69] was probably the most peaceful event of its kind in history”

“Woodstock offered an environment for people to express their better selves, if you will,” Lang told Pollstar in 2019. “It was probably the most peaceful event of its kind in history. That was because of expectations and what people wanted to create there.”

Lang also produced Woodstock ’94 (which featured the likes of Nine Inch Nails, Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Woodstock ’99 (with Limp Bizkit, Metallica and Rage Against The Machine). In contrast to the previous Woodstock festivals Lang organised, Woodstock ’99 proved to be chaotic and violent.

Lang was also involved in the planning of Woodstock 50, which was set to take place in August 2019 and feature performances from the likes of Jay-Z, Miley Cyrus, The Killers and Halsey.

However, after losing its primary financiertwo production partnerstwo venues and its entire line-up, the organisers pulled the plug on the troubled anniversary festival before a single ticket went on sale.

During his music industry career, Lang also managed artists like Rickie Lee Jones and Joe Cocker, created Just Sunshine Records and in 2015, opened a music school for college-aged students in the town of Woodstock.

Lang is survived by his wife Tamara, two sons, Harry, and Laszlo and three daughters, Shala, Molly and LariAnn.

 


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