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Pinkpop founder Jan Smeets retires

Jan Smeets, founder and festival director of iconic Dutch festival Pinkpop, is stepping down after 50+ years at the helm.

Smeets, 75, who was last year honoured with a commemorative coin in celebration of Pinkpop’s 50th year, is stepping back from his role as festival director with immediate effect, he announced late on Friday (18 September).

Then aged 25, Smeets – known in the Netherlands as ‘Mr Pinkpop’ – organised the first edition of Pinkpop in 1970, and the 60,000-capacity Limburg event is now the longest-running open-air festival in the world.

The unprecedented events of summer 2020 marked the first time Pinkpop – which was this year to have been headlined by Red Hot Chili Peppers, Post Malone and Guns N’ Roses – had not gone ahead since.

Highly regarded both in the Netherlands and internationally, Smeets is also an officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau

Smeets’s team will continue to organise Pinkpop, in collaboration with Live Nation’s Mojo Concerts, according to Entertainment Business.

While taking a step back for health reasons, he will stay on in an advisory capacity: “I may have officially retired as festival director, but you certainly haven’t got rid of me!” he told staff and colleagues.

Highly regarded both in the Netherlands and internationally, Smeets is also an officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau, a longstanding ILMC member, a founder of Yourope (the European Festival Association) and a winner of festival association VNPF’s lifetime achievement award.

 


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Pollstar co-founder Gary Smith retires

After 38 years at Pollstar, co-founder Gary Smith has announced his retirement, effective Sunday (30 June).

Smith, who established the US concert business magazine in 1981 alongside Gary Bongiovanni, has led Pollstar – initially a service providing printed pages for subscribers to assemble in their own binders – throughout its history, overseeing the launch of weekly print magazine, the Concert Industry Consortium (now the Pollstar Live! conference and awards) and the magazine’s online presence.

Bongiovanni, Pollstar’s former editor in chief, retired last July, almost a year after the company was acquired by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff’s Oak View Group (OVG).

In addition to his work with Pollstar, Smith is a long-time supporter of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), and an ILMC platinum delegate.

Smith’s career will be celebrated with a special tribute in the 5 August issue of the print magazine, according to Pollstar.

 


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Live Nation UK president Paul Latham to step down

Paul Latham, the longtime president of Live Nation UK and the company’s COO, international, has announced his retirement.

Latham’s live music industry career began in September 1984, when he joined Apollo Leisure Group – then a “six-venue, small-time operator” – as assistant manager of the Apollo Theatre Oxford (1,800-cap.)  on his 24th birthday.

By the time Apollo Leisure was sold to Live Nation forerunner SFX Entertainment in 1999 – at which time Latham became VP of operations – the company was one of the UK’s leading venue operators, with some 80 properties in its portfolio.

SFX was later sold to Clear Channel, and in 2005 spun off to form Live Nation, with Latham (pictured) as its UK president. He became chief operating officer of Live Nation’s international operations in 2009.

“Paul’s many achievements over the years speak for themselves”

Latham is also the chairman of the industry association UK Live Music Group, which represents the interests of Britain’s live music business, and of youth charity Creative and Cultural Skills.

“It has been my pleasure to know and work with my good friend Paul Latham for 28 years,” Denis Desmond, Live Nation’s UK and Ireland chairman, tells Music Week, whose latest print edition includes a double-page Live Nation advert thanking Latham for “an incredible 34 years”.

“Paul’s many achievements over the years speak for themselves, not only in the commercial world but also the charities he has tirelessly helped. Wishing Paul every happiness on his retirement.”

 


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X-ray Touring co-founder retires

Booking agent Jeff Craft, one of the co-founders of London-based X-ray Touring, has retired.

Craft – who launched X-ray with fellow Helter Skelter agents Steve Strange and Ian Huffman, and ITB’s Martin Horne and Scott Thomas, in 2005 – started out as a booker for both Cowbell and Derek Block from 1979–84, before joining Fair Warning, which became Helter Skelter, as an agent in ’84.

His roster includes Pixies, PJ Harvey, Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker and Elbow.

Craft tells IQ he has already retired but “will maintain an involvement with X-ray until next spring.

“Until then I will be overseeing the handover of my roster as and when the acts need to appoint a new agent.”

X-ray in April became the latest booking agency to enter into a strategic partnership with Paradigm Talent Agency, joining fellow UK outfit Coda as the second British partner of the US full-service powerhouse.

 


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Avicii plays “final gig ever” at Ushuaïa [video]

Avicii, the 26-year-old EDM superstar who earlier this year announced his retirement from touring, played his final show on Sunday, bringing to a close an impressive live career that has seen him break attendance records at clubs and festivals across the globe and contributed to an estimated fortune of US$85 million.

The Swedish DJ’s swansong performance was at the Ushuaïa Beach Hotel in Ibiza (5,000-cap.) – voted the eighth-best club in the world earlier this year – on Sunday 28 August, with support from KSHMR, Seeb, Albin Myers and Mambo Brothers. Footage from the historic show can be seen in the user-shot videos below:

https://twitter.com/Bellathorne_73/status/770225092743667712

Following the announcement of his intention to retire from live performance, IQ wrote in March that Avicii – real name Tim Bergling – has been a “key figure in the transformation of plain ol’ dance music to the global, arena-filling mainstream phenomenon that is ‘EDM’ [electronic dance music] and his retirement will surely be keenly felt by dance promoters and venue and festival owners across the world”. Highlights from Bergling’s live career include breaking a number of attendance records (including at XS in Las Vegas and Mawazine Festival in Rabat) and shifting the most-ever tickets for a tour by a solo DJ, on his debut headline tour of Australia.

In an open letter announcing his retirement, the DJ said he will “never let go of music”, opening the door for a continued recording career, but has made it clear the Ushuaïa show was his “final gig ever”.

 


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