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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Zoe Williamson, UTA

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Austin Sarich, tour director for North America at Live Nation here.

 


Zoe Williamson
she/her/hers
Agent, UTA
Brooklyn, New York, US
zoe.williamson@unitedtalent.com

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Working on and announcing Arlo Parks’ North America headline tour for this fall was a huge highlight. Seeing how much love there is in the US validated the incredible work that Arlo has poured into her music and into building an authentic and organic relationship with her fans.

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Ignore the people trying to tell you to act or behave a certain way to succeed. If we’re going to make a shift in the industry, I would encourage any young queer and/or trans professionals to help break the mould of the traditional perception of ‘leaders’. We are the new leaders, and so anything we do is what leadership looks like.

“I would encourage any young queer and/or trans pros to help break the mould of the traditional perception of ‘leaders'”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
I’m sometimes put in situations where I’m asked to work with someone for the sole reason that they’re in the LGBTQIA+ community. It’s disappointing because at times it can feel as though I’m being paired with someone because of my identity, not because of my hard work or skillset.

Industry professionals often misgender and misunderstand sexuality, and we have to take time and energy to educate, which can be exhausting and daunting. I’m all about patience, but it’s hard to work in an industry that has been saying for years it’s going to do the work, yet year after year that work falls on us to do.

“I want [the LGBTQIA+ community] calling the shots; not just having a seat at the table but having a say in the decision making”

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
During the pandemic, I am proud to have been a part of the launch of Justice Now, a task force within UTA’s music department that aims to reverse systemic racism in the industry through four pillars of education, mentorship, empowerment and fearless imagination.

I feel lucky to work at a company that celebrates and embraces the LGBTQIA+ community, but I want to see more of my community in the industry. I want us calling the shots; not just having a seat at the table but having a say in the decision making.

Causes you support.
For The Gworls, The Okra Project, Marsha P. Johnson Institute, The Center, Trevor Project.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
We need to create a space for industry professionals within the LGBTQIA+ community to not feel targeted, isolated, neglected, and unsafe. Accountability means nothing without consequences. Basically, if we don’t start telling people “You are not above consequences for your actions” and actually walking the walk on that, I don’t see this industry changing at the rate it needs to.

 


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Austin Sarich, Live Nation

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Raven Twigg, promoter assistant at Metropolis Music in the UK here.

 


Austin Sarich
he/him
Tour director – North America touring, Live Nation
Los Angeles, US
Linkedin.com/in/austin-sarich-193a2265

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
It was a true privilege to be a part of Oprah’s 2020 Vision Touring Team. It was meaningful to me to help successfully grow a project that aimed to inspire people through personal growth and self-discovery.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Your sexual orientation will always be a part of your identity, however, it doesn’t have to be what defines you. Let your work, passion, and drive be your great impact on the industry, regardless of your sexual orientation.

“Your sexual orientation will always be a part of your identity, however, it doesn’t have to be what defines you”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
Working in a male-dominated industry, I would often find myself internalising that my sexual orientation would put me at a disadvantage when I first began navigating the relationships I was making.

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
Leading through empathy – knowing everyone has their own personal and professional challenges, which could help unify us as a whole.

A cause you support.
Today, I’m Brave, which is an organisation that focuses on empowering underserved youth to be brave and unlock their best potential.

“Leading through empathy – knowing everyone has their own personal and professional challenges”

What does the near future of the industry look like?
An industry filled with gratitude and prosperity. After a year of uncertainty, I confidently believe we are all grateful to have live events back, with fans who have more of an appetite than ever to see their favourite acts live in concert.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
I would hope that post-pandemic we can all operate efficiently with patience, kindness, and appreciation for each other and the hard work we commit to.


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: Rach Millhauser, Wasserman Music

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Guy Howes, music partnerships executive at CAA in the UK here.

 


Rach Millhauser
They/them
Coordinator, Wasserman Music
New York, US
rmillhauser@teamwass.com

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
I spent many years leaving a lot of myself at the door when I walked into the office or a show. While far from easy, deciding to walk 100% of myself through the door has been a profound relief and quite rewarding – both professionally and personally. Now I feel a strong sense of responsibility to use my voice to push for more opportunities for trans and gender-nonconforming people, both onstage and backstage.

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Be yourself. No career opportunity is worth compromising your identity for. One of my favourite words of wisdom came from Lenore Kinder – “There’s going to be very few people that hold the door open for you in this business, so you just gotta swing the fucker open and walk through.”

“No career opportunity is worth compromising your identity for”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
Going to shows and meeting people face-to-face for the first time can be a wildcard scenario: sometimes I’m not quite what they imagined on the other end of that email address. While some moments have stung, I move right along and let my work speak for itself.

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
We still have a long way to go when it comes to truly including and uplifting marginalised communities. How many queer people of colour work at your company? The answer is usually not great.

Causes you support.
Trans Lifeline and The Okra Project. Personally, I’m committed to donating to trans people who need financial assistance with healthcare via crowdfunding websites and cash apps. The financial barriers the trans community faces when it comes to healthcare is astonishing.

“Promoter versus agent mentality has to go out the window…”

What does the near future of the industry look like?
Promoter versus agent mentality has to go out the window. Currently, in the US, the floodgates have opened but in a patchwork way, making it trickier to route a several-week tour months in advance. We’re responding to differing local regulations in real-time, putting shows on-sale with much shorter windows and facing avails that are few and far between. At the same time, live music has never felt more precious and meaningful.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
Sustainable touring and climate change need to be at the forefront. No one needs to be an expert to make an impact. Carbon offsetting has never been made easier and there are many exciting new ways to approach concessions, catering, merch, fuel and so much more. Shout out to Reverb for leading the charge on this!


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021: James Murphy, See Tickets

The LGBTIQ+ List 2021 – IQ’s first annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the inaugural Pride edition (issue 101) this month.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2021, as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee, have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, IQ asked each individual to share their challenges, triumphs, advice and more. Each day this month, we’ll publish a new interview with an individual on the LGBTIQ+ List 2021. Catch up on the previous interview with Maxie Gedge, Keychange project manager in the UK here.


James Murphy
He/him/his
Chief operating officer North America, See Tickets
Los Angeles, US
jim@seetickets.us

Tell us about a personal triumph in your career.
Convincing Clear Channel Radio, a very conservative, Texas-based media company, to engage with the LGBTQ community in the late 90s/early 00s. That engagement included supporting local event producers and community-based organisations, culminating in providing more than $2million (€1.7m) in direct support to the local community over a ten-year period.

What advice could you give for young queer professionals?
Always be your authentic self in all aspects of your life. Take measured professional risks in advocating for our community. Being true to yourself will allow you to openly enlist allies and advocates inside your company. Connecting how your business operates in the broader community directly improves lives, including the lives of the business’s employees.

“Being true to yourself will allow you to openly enlist allies and advocates inside your company”

Tell us about a professional challenge you often come across as a queer person.
Finding the right mix of inclusion and “business success” is oftentimes seen as unrelated objectives. My view is that success and a fair and inclusive work environment are connected, as that type of environment creates the best atmosphere for employees to thrive and deliver. Similarly, convincing partners that a diverse event production and ticketing team will lead to better cultural sensitivities and better service results are equally as connected.

What one thing could the industry do to be more inclusive?
Realising that diversity in your workforce and better service results are connected. When your customer base sees or hears a person “like them” at an event or on the phone they immediately feel heard. Alternatively, that diverse workforce is more empathetic and your customer will feel that empathy…

A cause you support.
I’ve been actively involved in two local LGBTQ organisations over the past 20 years – APLA Health and Wellness, and The Trevor Project. Both organisations are committed to the health and wellness of our community’s youth. As a past board chair and treasurer, respectively, I was able to influence substantive community change and direct much-needed local resources to both charities. Their amazing work continues.

“[The industry] needs to realise that diversity in the workforce and better service results are connected”

What does the near future of the industry look like?
Covid has provided the industry with an amazing opportunity to reopen safely and deploy technology in unique ways. Virtual experiences or events with a mixed virtual/live offering can provide producers and attendees with safe alternatives until vaccine rates are high enough for attendees and staff to feel safe. Requiring customer compliance with Covid safety protocols as well as offering rewards to vaccinated and/or recently tested customers with benefits should be part of every producer’s offering.

How could the industry build back better, post-pandemic?
Safety first, through the deployment of smart and effective technology. I’m hopeful that the industry will focus on local programming and artists as well as local partnerships – for instance, partnering with neighbourhood restaurants that may have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. In addition, the industry should act to reward those that have been vaccinated/tested with benefits that reward productive behaviour with early access to shows, etc.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Michael Rapino: ‘Live Nation’s US biz is fully reopen’

Live Nation Entertainment’s US concert business is now “fully open,” according to CEO Michael Rapino.

“We’re very excited about the American market. Seventy per cent of our business is going to be in the US and the UK. Those two markets seem on track,” he told CNBC on Thursday (8 July).

In the States, Live Nation has already hit a major post-restrictions milestone with its full-capacity show at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden (cap. 20,000), performed by the Foo Fighters, which was the venue’s first concert since March 2020.

Continuing on an upward trajectory, Live Nation will host 30 US-wide amphitheatre tours at full capacity beginning this week, according to the CEO.

Later in July, the live entertainment giant will host the Rolling Loud festival in Miami – expected to bring in around 200,000 people – and a further 10–15 more festivals this summer.

“We’re going to make sure that we don’t [put on] four shows in one week and you’ve got to pick one”

In the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call in May, it reported that US festivals including Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy and Rolling Loud festivals all sold out in record times at full capacity.

The company also reported an increasingly busy 2022, after the number of major tours for next year increased by double-digits from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Addressing concerns about whether the backlog of concerts caused by the pandemic will result in an oversaturated market, Rapino told CNBC that artists will not perform “unless they have the weekends, and the right cities and the right markets”.

“We’re going to make sure that we don’t [put on] four shows in one week and you’ve got to pick one,” the CEO said. “We’ll spread those over a couple of years and a couple of markets. So we look at the pent-up demand as lots of availability, but we’re also going to make sure the consumer has time to buy it.”

While the US surges ahead, Rapino expects Live Nation’s European market to reopen by the autumn, and the Asian market to return in 2022 due to a delay in Covid vaccinations. “It’ll be a record 2022 and 2023,” he said.

 


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Wasserman Music appoints veteran agent Brent Smith

Wasserman Music, the new booking agency formed following Wasserman group’s acquisition of Paradigm’s North American live music business, has appointed veteran agent Brent Smith as executive vice-president and managing executive.

Smith started his career at Ian Copeland’s Frontier Booking International (FBI), a prominent New York-based talent agency that represented seminal rock acts such as the The Police, R.E.M., XTC, The B-52’s, The Go-Go’s, The English Beat, The Bangles, and Nine Inch Nails.

Following the agency’s closure, Smith went to William Morris Agency (later William Morris Endeavour) where he spent more than two decades and eventually became a partner. His roster at WME included Kendrick Lamar, Adam Levine, Mark Knopfler, Frank Ocean, and Tyler, The Creator.

In a statement published on Variety in October 2020, WME said that Smith and the agency had “mutually decided to part ways, following an investigation based on complaints of bullying behaviour by the agent”.

“We have come to know Brent as a smart, genuine, professional team player who always puts clients first”

The news came a month after Smith’s suspension for “behavioural issues,” first reported by Deadline.

“As many of you know, the senior leadership team and I have been spending time with Brent Smith, and today I am pleased to share that he is joining Wasserman Music as EVP and managing executive,” founder and CEO Casey Wasserman wrote in a note to staff.

“We have come to know Brent as a smart, genuine, professional team player who always puts clients first and is ready to embrace the Wasserman value system and culture.

“I am really proud of our team and the discipline and insight they brought into this process. We are committed to quality, clients and teamwork and this is just one more win for Wasserman Music as we grow together,” he concluded.

 


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Hollywood Bowl to designate ‘majority’ of seats to the vaccinated

The Hollywood Bowl will reopen for live performances in July with a number of safety precautions that favour vaccinated concertgoers over non-vaccinated.

The LA amphitheatre will reopen at 65% of its 17,500 capacity and the ‘majority of all concert seats will be designated to fully vaccinated patrons’, according to the venue’s website.

Fully vaccinated attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination and photo ID upon entry. Inside the venue, these attendees will be permitted to sit in the ‘vaccinated seating sections’ which will not be socially distanced.

US citizens are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of (Pfizer or Moderna) or two weeks after their first dose of (Johnson & Johnson).

Since the Covid-19 vaccine distribution began in the US on 14 December, more than 124 million people or 37.5% of the total population have been fully vaccinated, according to NPR’s Covid-19 vaccine tracker.

The Hollywood Bowl has stipulated that concertgoers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to show a negative Covid-19 test result (which cannot be more than 72 hours old) and a photo ID upon entry.

Attendees who are not fully vaccinated will be required to sit in a socially distanced seating area away from the other sections

These patrons will be required to sit in one of two seating sections, which are socially distanced and separate from vaccination-required sections.

US officials have dismissed the idea of a “vaccine passport” to prove a person’s jab history – saying it represents a violation of privacy – but some venues, concerts and other large gatherings have asked attendees for proof.

Vaccine passports have already taken off in Israel, where anyone who wants to attend a concert must be doubly vaccinated.

Concerts, gyms, swimming pools, theatres and hotels are only available to residents who hold a Green Pass – a certificate issued by the ministry of health showing they had received both doses of the vaccine more than a week prior to the event or that they had recovered from Covid-19 and were presumed immune.

The ethical implications of implementing vaccine passports have been hotly debated around the world. Last week, in IQ‘s first-ever Recovery Sessions, a number of experts hailing from Tel Aviv to London debated the topics of test certificates and vaccine passports.

IQ subscribers can watch the Recovery Sessions on-demand here.

 


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MJR’s Nathan Stone launches Gallos Talent

Nathan Stone, the former creative director of the TEG MJR and the creator of DragWorld, has launched Gallos Talent, a new UK-based LGBTQ+ talent management company.

In his six years at TEG MJR (formerly the MJR Group), Stone promoted shows including Hans Zimmer, Bianca Del Rio, Harry Potter in Concert, Final Fantasy’s Distant Worlds, Courtney Act and Sasha Velour, as well as leading on the company’s licensed exhibitions, such as Marvel’s Avengers Station and Lego expo Brickman. He also helped create MJR’s popular drag convention, DragWorld.

Gallos Talent is working with acts including drag queens Juno Birch and Joe Black (as seen on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK), and also offering its services as a partner to events such as Trans Festival London and Cornwall Pride.

“In a period which has been so brutal to our industry, I, like many, have had to realign, regroup and reenter the workplace,” says Stone.

“We are excited to welcome Nathan to the company and begin managing our expansion in to Europe”

“I am very excited to be furthering my specialisation in the LGBTQ+ events industry with both Five Senses Reeling and the launch of Gallos Talent.”

The official launch of Gallos Talent comes as Stone is appointed head of touring for Seattle-based promoter Five Senses Reeling, whose expansion into Europe he will lead.

Specialising in the LGBTQ+ market, Five Senses Reeling has promoted North American shows by drag icons including Bianca Del Rio, Katya Zamolodchikova, Miz Cracker, Bob the Drag Queen and Fortune Feimster.

“We are excited to welcome Nathan to the company and begin managing our expansion in to Europe,” says the company’s owner, Jason Brotman, “as well as working with the existing team on the North American touring.”

 


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Travis Scott’s Astroworld Festival to expand for 2021

Grammy award-nominated rapper Travis Scott has announced that his Astroworld Festival will return this year with an expanded format due to ‘overwhelming demand’.

The third edition of Astroworld Festival will take place on 5 and 6 November at NRG Park in Scott’s hometown, Houston, Texas, with a line-up curated by the artist himself.

Scott has revealed that he will be headlining Astroworld Festival 2021, which will adopt the theme ‘Open Your Eyes To A Whole New Universe’, while the full line-up will be announced closer to the time.

The previous two events have sold out before line-ups were revealed.

In 2019 the festival became the largest single-day artist-curated music festival in the country

According to Live Nation, in November 2019, the festival became the largest single-day artist-curated music festival in the country, as well as the largest music festival in Houston as the sold-out event played host to over 50,000 fans.

The festival, which celebrates hip-hop, pop music, has hosted the likes of Post Malone, Rosalia, Pharrell Williams, Da Baby, Lil Wayne, Young Thug, Playboi Carti and Megan Thee Stallion.

Two-day GA passes will be available for purchase beginning next 5 May at 10 am CT on AstroworldFest.com.

A portion of proceeds from Astroworld Festival 2021 will be donated to the festival’s official charity partner, Cactus Jack Foundation, founded by Scott.

The expansion of the festival follows Astronomical, Scott’s record-breaking in-game concert event which took place in Fortnite in April 2020 and attracted more than 12 million players.

 


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LN and Veeps add turnkey livestreaming to US venues

Live Nation and Veeps, the ticketed livestreaming platform developed by Joel and Benji Madden, are equipping more than 60 venues around the US with a permanent livestreaming setup.

The Fillmore in San Francisco and Philadelphia, House of Blues in Chicago and New Orleans, The Wiltern in Los Angeles, and a raft of amphitheatres including Shoreline Amphitheater in California and The Gorge in Washington will be the first to go live with the turnkey livestreaming.

The Wiltern has already announced a livestream series, From the Wiltern, which will kick off on 7 May.

Artists who perform at one of the 60+ venues that are being kitted out will have the opportunity to add the element of livestreaming to their concert and ‘double down on revenue’, says Live Nation.

“Amongst artists, it’s often said that the one side of our careers that truly belongs to us is touring,” says Joel Madden, cofounder, Veeps.

“Now, with the flip of a switch, every artist playing in these venues can make their show a global event”

“To help an entirely new touring vertical become readily available to artists is such a huge win for our community and we couldn’t be happier. It’s the exact type of thing that shows what our partnership with Live Nation can really mean for artists.”

“Now, with the flip of a switch, every artist playing in these venues can make their show a global event. We’ve already seen how livestream shows drive engagement across every other area of an artist’s business and the added ticket revenue will allow them to re-invest in their art and make what they’re offering their fans even better. It’s a real dream come true for us at Veeps and our mission to help empower artists in their careers.”

Michael Rapino, president and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment says: “Artists and fans are eager to get back to shows, and livestreams will continue to unlock opportunities for them to connect more than ever before.

“Veeps is the best at what they do, with Benji and Joel tapping into their own experience as artists to help other artists thrive, and we look forward to bringing this innovative idea to life in these iconic venues.”

Earlier this year, Live Nation acquired a majority stake in Veeps, which in 2020 alone hosted around 1,000 paid livestreamed shows by artists including Liam Payne, Pete Yorn, Brandi Carlile, Louis Tomlinson, Architects and Rufus Wainwright.

 


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