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Phil Bowdery wins top honour at LIVE Awards 2023

Legendary promoter Phil Bowdery was honoured with the LIVEtime Achievement Award at last night’s (12 December) LIVE Awards in London, attended by 600 live music professionals from the UK business.

Tom Jones, Stevie Wonder, Dame Shirley Bassey and Michael Ball were among the superstars who paid tribute to the Live Nation stalwart during the ceremony at Troxy.

“I keep thinking it’s a bit early for me to receive a lifetime achievement award but then I remember that it was over 50 years ago since I went on the road,” said Bowdery during his acceptance speech. “It’s then that I realise it’s the memory that is going, nothing else.

“I’ve been really blessed throughout these years to work with incredible artists, without whom none of us would be here. [Plus] great managers, agents, tour managers, production managers, crew and everyone who makes the show happen every night. There have been some bad times but of course, they are far outweighed by some incredible highs and experiences.”

Bowdery went on to thank his team at Live Nation, as well as his colleagues at the Concert Promoter’s Association (CPA), which he chairs.

“I’ve been really blessed throughout these years to work with incredible artists, without whom none of us would be here”

“Looking back on those dark days of 2021/2022,” he said. “The CPA had long days and nights on endless zooms trying to make a difference. It was a lack of support from those in power that really focused us on trying to make some changes.

“We had lots of conversations with Greg Parmley [ILMC] and Stuart Galbraith [Kilimanjaro Live] and from those LIVE was conceived. Bringing together all the associated industry bodies in one forum was a dream. We spent many hours on the phone with the begging bowl and trying to get enough money together to get the ball rolling and so to be here tonight at the secondary LIVE awards, with so many people in attendance, gives me an incredible feeling of pride and satisfaction knowing that it is now recognised as our industry’s voice.”

Other award winners included The O2 for the LIVE Green Award, Live Nation for the National Promoter of the Year Award and The Boileroom in Guildford for the Grassroots Champion Award.

Char Goodfellow from The Boileroom accepted the award flanked by other small venue operators and Music Venue Trust team members who wore or held t-shirts commemorating Bath Moles, a 45-year-old venue that closed last week due to rising costs.

The silent demonstration was a bid to raise awareness about the increasing number of grassroots venues that are closing down.

“If this award is to represent anything, it is the value and imprint that grassroots venues stamp on every form of life”

“If this award is to represent anything, it is the value and imprint that grassroots venues stamp on every form of life,” Goodfellow said. “Every venue is deserving of this award considering all of our circumstances so we’re honoured to receive this. It’s a tough time out here for grassroots spaces.”

“The LIVE Awards has become an important moment in the industry calendar as the only chance everyone gets to take a step back and celebrate what’s been achieved each year,” said Jon Collins, CEO of LIVE.

“We know that this has been a tough time for many given the cost and complexity of touring, pressure on festival margins and grassroots venues taken to the brink. LIVE will continue to fight for positive change while taking this moment to celebrate the incredible achievements of so many in our sector.”

The full list of award winners are:

The LIVE Green Award: The O2
The LIVE Workforce Award: PRS Foundation x Keychange
Grassroots Champion: The Boileroom, Guildford
Ticketing Service 2023: Ticketmaster
Festival of the Year: Deer Shed Festival
Production Supplier 2023: Neg Earth Lights
Regional Promoter of the Year: JOY. Concerts
Booking Agency of the Year (<21 Team Members): Pure Represents
Major Festival of the Year: TRNSMT
Festival Brand Partnership 2023: Sky VIP lounges
Road Warrior of the Year: Trevor Williams
Venue of the Year: KOKO, London
National Promoter of the Year: Live Nation
Booking Agency of the Year (>21 Team Members): Wasserman Music
The LIVEtime Achievement Award: Phil Bowdery

 


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Live Nation Finland appoints agency head

Live Nation Finland has appointed Annika Oksanen to head the company’s booking agency for domestic artists, effective January 1 2024.

Oksanen has been working for Live Nation Finland as an agent and promoter since 2017.

Other milestones in a career that began at former Helsinki nightclub Nosturi include stints at various Finnish festivals; ticketing company Tiketti; and as Cat Power’s personal assistant.

She was named Agent of the Year by Music & Media in 2021 and was honoured with the Top 20 under 30 award in 2018, handed out by the Nordic network of music export agencies, Nomex.

“Annika is a top performer who is respected inside and outside the house”

Oksanen will be working alongside fellow agents Elsa De Campos, Valter Filosof, Matti Kaunisvesi, Miska Nipuli, and Jukka Varmo at Live Nation Finland’s booking agency, which represents Anna Puu, Samu Haber, Anssi Kela, Pate Mustajärvi, Olavi Uusivirta and international names regularly touring abroad, such as ALMA, Insomnium, Poets of the Fall.

“It felt like the right moment to take on this new challenge and role,” says Annika Oksanen. “I have a vision for how we will take Live Nation’s domestic representation and expertise forward in partnership with artists and their teams. We want to build long-term artist careers, and I believe that this is best achieved through smooth collaboration between labels, management and live.”

Tomi Saarinen, CEO of Live Nation Finland, adds: “Annika is a top performer who is respected inside and outside the house. She conveys a caring attitude. She gets things done with a good swing. This is a great opportunity for her and all our partners.”

 


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Fullsteam Agency announces new head promoter

Finland’s Fullsteam Agency has upped longtime employee Aino-Maria Paasivirta to head promoter, effective 1 January 2024.

Founder and previous head promoter Rauha Kyyrö will continue working at Fullsteam and parent company FKP Scorpio with both local and international artists. Kyyrö will also continue in her role as the chair of Fullsteam Agency.

Paasivirta started at the company in 2015 and has for the past six years worked as a promoter on shows including Ed Sheeran, Sigur Rós and Nick Cave.

She has also been a key member of the Provinssi booking team since 2016, and this year took responsibility for the festival’s programming and booking.

“I’m thrilled about the opportunity to get to further develop Fullsteam’s promoter business,” says Paasivirta. “We have an amazing team filled with knowledge, experience and enthusiasm. I couldn’t imagine a better team to work with!”

“I couldn’t imagine a better team to work with”

Fullsteam Agency has also announced the appointment of Emma Rühr, who joins the company this week from AEG Presents in London.

Rühr has worked as a tour coordinator for many years and has most recently worked on the tours of Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran and Blackpink.

“Live music is very close to my heart and working on international tours taught me and gave me a lot,” says Rühr.

“I wanted to return to Finland and I feel that Fullsteam is exactly the place where I can grow and face new challenges as part of a wonderful and skilled team. I am excited to bring the lessons of both my international and Finnish career to my new role.”

Fullsteam Agency represents around a hundred domestic acts such as JVG, KUUMAA, Joalin and Stam1na, and organises festivals including Provinssi, Sideways and Knotfest Finland. Since 2015, Fullsteam has been part of FKP Scorpio.

 


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Legendary Japanese promoter Seijiro Udo passes

Tributes have been paid to pioneering Japanese concert promoter Seijiro Udo, aka ‘Mr Udo’, who has died at the age of 92 following a long illness.

Udo, whose death was announced by current Udo Artists president Keisuke Endo, was born in Kumamoto, Japan and started out in the music business while in his early 20s.

Launching Udo Artists, Inc. in 1967, Udo staged in excess of 10,000 concerts in the country in a career spanning more than five decades. He brought hundreds of major international acts to Japan, including Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, KISS, Aerosmith, Santana, Jeff Beck, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, George Harrison, The Who, Van Halen, TOTO and Bryan Adams, among others.

“He was affectionately called ‘Mister Udo’ and was beloved by everyone,” reads a statement by the company, which has retained a strong line in western legends, recently hosting shows by the likes of Deep Purple, Kiss, Jackson Browne and Cheap Trick.

Former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell, a longtime friend, tells IQ he has been inundated with memories of Udo from industry colleagues.

“He was always a true gentleman in every sense of the word – honest, honourable and devoted to every artist he promoted”

“Everyone says the same: ‘Honourable’, ‘gentleman’, ‘suits’, ‘mink coat’,” says Bicknell.  “He was incredibly kind to me on a personal level and was definitely ‘The Man’ out there, though I never saw settlement sheet, ever got a percentage or even a sniff at show costs, but I wouldn’t have understood them anyway so settled for wagyu, sake and strange uniquely Japanese experiences. I have a great story involving Barry Manilow but that’s for my book.

“He was a great, great man – a total gentleman and class act, and was so kind to me on the two occasions I went there. I will always remember having the best meal I ever had anywhere with him – and he had the best suits!”

CAA UK co-ahead Mike Greek describes Udo as “always a gent to deal with”, while Wasserman Music agent Phil Banfield says he is “extremely saddened to hear the news of Mr Udo’s passing”.

“I first met him about 45 years ago, when he came to London, which was a rarity,” adds Banfield. “I had no idea who he was at the time, but I took to him straight away. We talked about Japan, the artists he was promoting and how I had got into the business. By the end of our meeting I felt honoured to be in his company.

“Since that first meeting, where we agreed to look at the possibility of Wishbone Ash going to Japan, I have worked with him on touring many artists including Ian Gillan, Jeff Beck, Sting, Deep Purple and many others. He was always a true gentleman in every sense of the word – honest, honourable and devoted to every artist he promoted. The word legend doesn’t do him justice as he was much more than that.”

 


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Robert van Ommen: 1955-2023

Former Mojo Concerts head promoter Robert van Ommen has died at the age of 68. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2013.

In a statement, the Dutch company said: “It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Robert van Ommen has passed away last week.

“Robert has been one of Mojo’s head promoters for many years and had built up a big international roster working with many international agents and agencies. He also worked with many domestic acts on their domestic tours, such as Marco Borsato and Anouk.

“After a period of two years of uncertainty and many tests, in 2013 Robert got diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It was unimaginable that someone in the prime of his career had to leave Mojo and the business due to this terrible disease at such a young age.

“Robert was loyal, a very hard working promoter, and a mentor to many of us. We sympathise with his family and loved ones. We also reflect on life, how fleeting it can be, and that we will miss Robert forever. Love from all at Mojo to Robert.”

“Robert was a rock, always approachable for advice and he always gave his honest opinion”

Van Ommen’s funeral will be held in Leeuwenbergh, Utrecht, on Wednesday 18 October at 3pm. His family requests that attendees bring a single flower with them, while in lieu of flowers, they ask for donations to Alzheimer Nederland.

Paying tribute to his former colleague, Mojo co-founder Leon Ramakers says, “When business was expanding in the 90s, Mojo was looking for an experienced booker. We knew that Boomtown, Robert’s small agency, was making waves – he was dealing with this upcoming act called Radiohead…

“Happily, Robert turned out to be proud to join Mojo, where he developed into one of the best bookers of the company. Because of his illness, we’ve been missing Robert for years already. May he rest in peace!”

Mojo managing director John Mulder comments, “For me personally, Robert was a rock, always approachable for advice and he always gave his honest opinion. His advice always mattered to me.

“Robert and I have built many careers of Dutch artists together. Working with Robert was always constructive and result-oriented with an eye for details for both the artist and their fans.”

Former colleague Gideon Karting says, “Robert served as my mentor and taught me almost everything. Especially when to say yes to an agent, which was nearly always!”

“Robert taught me all the tricks of the trade in becoming a promoter”

Kim Bloem, Mojo head promoter, adds, “Robert taught me all the tricks of the trade in becoming a promoter. He introduced me to everybody in his network and very much supported me building a career along the way. He was a very gentle person, who always had an eye for personal lives.”

Live Nation executive president touring international music, Phil Bowdery tells IQ, “Robert was a really good friend. We had lots of similarities in our lives that we discussed often, and always made time to catch up, whenever in each other’s country.

“I’m so sad at his passing, even though he was not in a good place. I have and will miss him greatly. Sincere condolences to his family.”

CAA chief Emma Banks says, “Robert was a very special human. I considered him a friend and he was my ‘go-to’ person in Holland for a very long time. It was a very sad day when he retired from the business, I still miss him.

“I was so happy to see him a few years ago when I went to Amsterdam for his party. His warmth and humanity made Robert the wonderful person that I will always remember. The fact he was really good at his job was clearly a positive but it’s his outstanding attributes as a human being that are first and foremost in my mind.  Robert van Ommen, rest in peace knowing that you will always be in my heart.”

ILMC founder, Martin Hopewell, says, “I have very happy memories of working with Robert – not only because he was a lovely guy to chat to, but also because all of the shows we did together worked out really well and nothing horrible ever went wrong! As a promoter he was professional and precise –  and he also knew how to say “no”, which is a quality I secretly admire in a promoter.

“I’m glad that the ILMC was able to say goodbye to him when we made a video for a party thrown in his honour. We made it look as though I was recording a message from an empty conference room, but then turned the camera to reveal a room stuffed with about 500 ILMC delegates, jumping up and down, cheering their heads off and generally going nutty. That was a powerful moment and something I’ll never forget.”

13 Artists founder Charlie Myatt adds, “A great father.  A great promoter. A true gentleman and a great friend.  My heart goes out to his wonderful family.”

Robert van Ommen is survived by his wife, Delphine, and children Tim and Lauri.

 


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Alibaba acquires Damai to expand live events biz

Alibaba Group’s movie division is paying US$167m to take a majority stake in Pony Media Holdings, the parent company of promoter Damai, which produces concerts, festivals, theatrical events, exhibitions, and sporting events across mainland China.

The South China Morning Post reports that Alibaba Pictures filed details of the deal with Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX). The news outlet is also owned by Alibaba.

The filing states that the acquisition will allow the expansion of the “upstream presence of the Damai brand in the live entertainment industry value chain, such as events production and promotion, venue operation and artist management.”

Damai has more than 100 million registered customers, paving the way for Alibaba Pictures to “further build brand awareness for its offline entertainment business.”

For the quarter ending June 2023, Pony Media sales totalled CNY4 billion (US$547m), surpassing the CNY3 billion (US$410m) achieved for the previous full financial year

The filing adds, “The target group is considered a strategically valuable asset to the company, diversifying [our] revenue structure into live entertainment and expanding IP monetisation channels.

“The acquisition will also strengthen the company’s competitive position by consolidating customer resources and industry expertise from the target company.”

Despite Pony Media reporting net losses over the last three financial years, Alibaba believes that the company has turned a corner post-pandemic, noting that “it has recently witnessed a material recovery in the business.”

Indeed, for the quarter ending June 2023, Pony Media sales totalled CNY4 billion (US$547m), surpassing the CNY3 billion (US$410m) achieved for the previous full financial year, which ended in March 2023.

Alibaba Pictures president, Jie Li, comments, “We believe this transaction heralds a new chapter for the new Alibaba Pictures. Before today’s announcement, we had already established a deep connection with Damai through our exclusive service agreement, and accumulated over 20 million Taomai VIP members to date.

“Following the transaction, we will strive to integrate our resources, expand a presence along the industry value chain, drive development through technology innovation, and ultimately create value to our customers and shareholders.”

In 2017, Alibaba acquired a stake in Damai.cn, thought to be China’s market-leading ticketing agency.

 


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All Things Live Sweden strengthens promoting team

Nordic live entertainment giant All Things Live (ATL) Sweden has reinforced its team with the hiring of Rickard Nilsson as senior agent and promoter.

Previously head of artist relations at concert streaming service Staccs, Nilsson brings years of experience as a promoter and agent, and has also been involved in several club and festival concepts.

Nilsson was co-founder, DJ and promoter of the mobile club Svenska Musikklubben before becoming a promoter at FKP Scorpio Sweden, where he worked with a variety of international artists and festivals over a decade-long stint. He has also been involved in launching events such as Bråvalla festival and Rosendal Garden Party, and continued as a local agent on a freelance basis in his most recent role.

“I hope that my experience can add something new to this highly experienced group at ATL”

“I’m incredibly excited to join All Things Live and their team,” says Nilsson. “I hope that my experience can bring something new to this highly experienced group at ATL.”

ATL Sweden represents around 150 of Sweden’s most prominent artists, actors, comedians, profiles and produces concerts, festivals, shows, musicals, stand up comedy, theatre and dance performances all over Scandinavia. Nilsson’s main focus at the firm will be as an agent for Swedish artists, building a larger roster, and developing festival and club concepts. He will also work with foreign artists as a promoter.

ATL was established in December 2018 following Waterland Private Equity’s acquisition of leading Nordic live entertainment companies in Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The partnership has since expanded into Finland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and the Middle East.

Last month, it expanded its interests in the Netherlands by securing a majority stake in festival promoter Loveland Events.

 


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The New Bosses 2023: Dylan Cherry, Endeavour Live

The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous interview with Daniel Turner, an agent at Earth Agency (UK) here. The series continues with Dylan Cherry, senior promoter at Endeavour Live (NZ).

I started DJing when I was 16 in high school on a fake ID. I didn’t charge the club until I was 18 as I was terrified they would find out I had my 19th birthday there three years in a row. They worked it out eventually. I started a weekly live band night when I was 18 called REKKIT which was hosted in a bar in central Auckland that showcased local acts. I eventually started programming club shows for bigger bands like Badbadnotgood, Slow Magic, Hayden James, King Tuff, Mini Mansions, Kaytranada, Unknown Mortal Orchestra etc.

I then joined the Red Bull team and worked on the New Zealand leg of Sound Select for two years as well as somehow found myself hosting the day show on Kiwi FM and DJing at festivals with some friends such as Hollywood DJs. I was booked to perform at Rhythm and Vines which led me to get to know Hamish Pinkham, the founder and programme director. He brought me on board to work on the festival as well as their other company Endeavour Live.

I’ve programmed five Rhythm and Vines with Hamish, including a kiwi-only pandemic edition and we have also created the festival brands Spring City, Gardens, BreakOut (soon to launch in London) and the Golden Run series. We’ve toured Fatboy Slim, Groove Armada, Angus and Julia Stone, Netsky, Wilkinson, Crooked Colours, Set Mo, Basement Jaxx and many more including some of the biggest electronic shows in the world during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Your DJing exploits sound fascinating. What advice would you give to anyone who is trying to find a job in live music?
Start your own club night! There’s lots of amazing talent everywhere, find it and grow together.

Where is your favourite venue for discovering new talent?
The Tuning Fork in Auckland. I’ve seen everyone from IDLES to Billie Eilish during their early touring years and have loved using it to showcase local talent like Harper Finn and NO COMPLY.

What events, tours or festivals are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
I’m really looking forward to a festival we do in Auckland called Spring City. It’s in the Auckland Domain and when the sun sets with the Auckland Museum in the background it’s all time. It’s a really beautiful historic piece of land and last year we successfully debuted Spring City with Groove Armada, Channel Tres and Kiwi legends Ladyhawke and Zane Lowe.

“Our audiences are passionate, engaged and at some points extremely rowdy”

Being in such a remote country must prove challenging when it comes to booking international acts. Are there any particular events you collaborate with to try to entice talent to NZ?
We are fortunate that New Zealand is an incredibly beautiful place to visit and most people relish the opportunity to tour here. Not to mention it’s an important part of building your audience across the Australasian and Asia Pacific regions. Our audiences are passionate, engaged and at some points extremely rowdy. Plus, throw in a visit to Hobbiton and you’re good. We are blessed to have some great friends and partners in Australia that throw amazing festivals so it’s not too difficult to get a good and appealing run together across the region.

You are a big champion of homegrown talent. Are there any young Kiwi acts you work with that you think people overseas should be keeping an eye on?
I am constantly impressed with drum and bass duo LEE MVTTHEW’s. We did a six-hour show at Spark Arena where they DJ’d the whole time and it’s something I’ll always be proud of. I love what SACHI is currently doing bringing back free club shows, I think EMWA is going to be the next Skrillex, Elliot and Vincent are one of the best bands in the world and I love what Beccie B is doing both with DJing and with her Sugar and Spice collective. She’s a bonafide legend.

“We are blessed with some incredible superstars in our backyard including BENEE, L.A.B, Montell2099 and The Beths”

The pandemic gave Kiwi acts a unique opportunity to grow their fanbases. Has that process continued post-Covid, or are international artists still dominating ticket sales?
It’s nice to have the ability to showcase international acts again after a long stretch of Covid isolation but we will always heavily feature local talent. We were lucky to still be able to hold large events including our festival Rhythm and Vines in New Zealand to bring that much-needed escape. Plus, we are blessed with some incredible superstars in our backyard including BENEE, L.A.B, Montell2099 and The Beths to name a few and honoured to have them on our lineups.

As a New Boss, what one thing would you do to make the live music industry a better place?
Magically cheapen international freight.

 


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The New Bosses 2023: Dani Lopez, Live Nation

The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous interview with Chloe Pean, promoter at AEG Presents in the UK. The series continues with Dani Lopez, promoter at Live Nation.

Madrid-born, Dani Lopez started working in Live Nation Spain after finishing an MA in live entertainment business at Universidad Europea de Madrid. Starting off as a promoter assistant in 2018, Dani was quickly upped to promoter in 2019 and joined the MC Festival booking team in 2021 after finishing his MBA.

Dani’s expertise spans various musical genres, from K-pop to Latin music. He has worked closely with notable Spanish artists such as Rels B, Beret, and Hombres G, striking arena deals with them.


You studied live entertainment business at university – was this one of the Live Nation courses? And if so, how did it help prepare you for starting work in the business?
Yes, it was the first version of the Live Nation MA. I think the most important part of the program is the 360º approach. They show how the music business works from different angles, which helped me understand the business and gave me an overall vision of how this industry works. As a promoter, understanding the job and responsibilities of all the roles involved in a tour is crucial. When you are 20 years old and have almost no background in the music industry, programmes like the LN MA give you an extraordinary advantage to pursue your music business career.

Is anyone else in your family involved in the entertainment business? If not, why did you choose this career path, and how did you find out about jobs like promoters and agents?
No, my parents came from entirely different industries. Music has always been around my entire life. I studied for many years in the conservatory, then played in bands with my friends and touring a few years as a sound engineer in my early 20s. But, the main reason for pursuing a promoting career was not being able to see the bands I loved when I was a teenager in my city. It all started with the romantic dream of booking all the bands I listened to and wanted to see in my hometown.

“Live shows are the best way to determine if you believe in an artist or not”

How do you discover new talent? Are there any venues/radio stations/streaming sites or other platforms you use to find new acts?
I spend a lot of time listening to new acts and scrolling around playlists. Streaming radio has also been an incredible tool for discovering new talent. But live shows are the best way to determine if you believe in an artist or not. I get input from seeing the support bands on our tours and attending conferences and festivals like The Great Escape.

And what about meeting new contacts in the business – are there any conferences, festivals or other events that you have attended that have been useful for networking?
As a young promoter, conferences were crucial to making connections and meeting in person all the agents you mail non-stop during the year. IFF, ILMC and The Great Escape are a must for me.

Are there any particular events or tours you are looking forward to this year or next?
Gracie Abrams. She is my most streamed artist of the year—something special about that album.

Do you have a mentor or people you can trust to bounce ideas off?
Nacho Cordoba. He is one of the best promoters in the business, and working with a boss who trusts you, listens to and respects you the way he does is something I am grateful for.

What’s your favourite venue to see new artists in?
It depends on the music genre. But, overall, I would pick Razzmatazz in Barcelona. They have three rooms, and you can see shows from 200 to 2,100 capacity.

And what about your favourite venue for established acts?
Club level, it would be La Riviera. It’s a very special venue for me. I have countless memories from my childhood of seeing shows there, and now I am lucky enough to promote shows there constantly. Arena level, Wizink Center, one of the best arenas in Europe.

“Burnouts and breakdowns from the workload and stress have become more frequent…we need to set up boundaries”

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
Work-life balance. This is a high-demand ecosystem with intense schedules and burnouts and breakdowns from the workload and stress have become more frequent. We need to set up boundaries and take care of each other. We are hyperconnected, and we should do better in prioritizing. Most of the time, problems are not that urgent or important. Also, the live entertainment industry must be an inclusive, representative, and equitable space for all its participants, and we all should work together to accomplish that.

What would you like to see yourself doing in five years time?
I feel comfortable with changes and challenges and hope to develop new projects and create new business models around entertainment. I think it is an exciting time to be in this business. Also, I am fascinated by how local culture reflects on our business and how that makes every market so unique and different. It would be great to be able to understand as many markets as possible and work alongside different promoters in the world.

 


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The New Bosses 2023: Chloe Pean, AEG Presents

The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous interview with Caroline Simionescu-Marin, strategy agent at WME in the UK here. The series continues with Chloe Pean, promoter at AEG Presents in the UK.

Chloe Pean moved to London for a music management course at UEL and throughout this time undertook work experience with Warner Music, MAMA Festivals, SJM and an internship with UTA. Following a year with Locomotion Entertainment on Yungblud’s team, in 2019 she finally found the world of promoting at AEG Presents.

Beginning as a tours assistant, Pean worked with the full AEG promoter roster, pivoting to a focus on international touring during Covid and eventually becoming a promoter in her own right in September 2021.

Leaning towards pop, indie, R&B and jazz acts, Pean works with some incredible artists including Ezra Collective, Confidence Man, Will Young, Paris Paloma, Thomas Headon, Mae Stephens, Cate and Nell Mescal. She also hosts a monthly event, Melodaze, giving a platform to female and LGBTQIA+ acts as a focus which plays out at Paper Dress Vintage in Hackney.


Your work experience and internships introduced you to a variety of music industry disciplines. What persuaded you that promoting was the ideal career for you?
I always knew it was going to be live music for me as it’s what made me realise how magic and alive music can make you feel. I think that trying out all the different disciplines just reinforced that, and I feel very lucky to be able to reach that conclusion through experience. When it came to working with promoters, I loved being a part of the wider production team and it felt very tangible to me being on site. What I wasn’t as sure about was the lifestyle of being on the road, so I kept trying new things. I remember by the time the job at AEG came up I was convinced being a promoter was what I wanted and declared that in my second interview. Here I am a few years later working with a bunch of artists I really adore and still learning all the time from all our teams.

You’ve always wanted to be involved in the music industry. Now that you’ve been in it for a while, what’s the most surprising thing (either positive or negative) you’ve learned about it?
At the risk of sounding silly, I am constantly surprised that there are real people on the other side of the email addresses and usually they are not as intimidating as you build up in your head! I also find it surprising how easy it is to forget the magic in what we do and what it means to people – something I’m making an active effort to remember more in the moment.

“It was very clear to me that at AEG we had a gap for soft play events”

Melodaze sounds like a great idea. How did it come about, and can you tell us a little more about it?
When I got promoted in 2021 it was very clear to me that at AEG we had a gap for soft play events when I was reaching out to up-and-coming artists. I got approval to put a pitch together for a new showcase event and this is what Melodaze turned into. The ethos for me was always going to be young artists that aren’t always prioritised for these types of events and communities I feel strongly about giving a platform to – so most nights you will notice we have nearly all-female bills. I am also conscious of making sure that we are as diverse and queer as possible, but self-aware enough to know that there is always room for improvement in this area. I did a lot of research into the style of the logo and artwork, we went back a few times with our designers to get it to a place that I loved, and from there started the booking process quickly!

Can you see Melodaze expanding – either to other cities, or maybe in the form of a festival?
Yes, I hope so. I’ve started looking into what might be possible but nothing is in the works this immediate moment. The ethos of Melodaze is what I want to carry through and I think it’s important to think out of the box in terms of how the event can work and grow without compromising the integrity of it!

Where is your favourite venue?
The Caves in Edinburgh is a very underused but amazing space, Liverpool Philharmonic is simply beautiful, Brixton Academy is an iconic space I have seen so many incredible shows at and hope to see more again as soon as possible. And a very honourable mention to Roundhouse, another very special room where I’ve seen Radiohead, Fred again.., Confidence Man, RY X, and so so many more. You didn’t ask but if I had to pick a venue I want to get a show into I’d go with The Coliseum in London.

“I also think it’s important for women to keep supporting women, rather than feeling like you must be the only one at the table”

As a new boss, what would you like to change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
Having more women and people of different gender identities feel empowered to be in positions of power. This is a topic discussed at length and that I feel very strongly about. I also think it’s important for women to keep supporting women, rather than feeling like you must be the only one at the table. The table will be better with more people who aren’t the status quo and who have different points of view and life experience.

Do you have a mentor, or anyone you rely on to bounce ideas off?
Steve Homer has been my mentor as long as I’ve been a promoter and I’m very grateful to him for always making time whilst we’ve had such a shift within AEG. He is also the biggest live music fan I’ve ever met. I could go on but to put it simply, he is bloody brilliant.

What events, tours or festivals are you most looking forward to in the year ahead?
Many! I have shows coming up with corook, Paris Paloma, Cate, Nell Mescal, Yazmin Lacey all of whom are at different stages in their careers and all excellent. I can’t wait to keep seeing them grow throughout 2024 and beyond. Lots of other exciting things for next year in the books but too early to disclose those just yet!

What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
Ezra Collective at Eventim Apollo in February was extremely special – their show is full of joy and the feeling that band give their fans is exactly why I do this job – it was also my first Apollo show. Honourable mention to Rebecca Black at BST Hyde Park this year where I could hardly contain my excitement running up to her set.

 


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