The New Bosses: Virág Csiszár, Sziget Cultural Management
The New Bosses 2020 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 93 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, and A&R and production experts that make up this year’s list.
To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2020’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success. Catch up on the previous New Bosses interview with Madie Cavilla, a senior account manager at Paradigm Talent in the UK here.
The next New Boss in the spotlight is Virág Csiszár (30), international booking manager at Sziget Cultural Management (SCM) in Hungary. Having finished her university studies, Csiszár joined SCM, which organises Hungary’s leading music festivals such as Sziget, VOLT, Balaton Sound, Strand Festival and many other events. She is involved in more than 150 shows every year, primarily through the festivals and headline gigs at Akvárium Klub in Budapest. In 2019, she received the highest state award for young talent in tourism from the Hungarian government.
What are you working on right now?
Booking the artists for the 2021 editions of our festivals
What are some of the highlights of your career to date?
I will always be proud that I worked on the first Hungarian festival appearances of Foo Fighters and Depeche Mode, and the first-ever Hungarian shows of Linkin Park, Lana Del Rey, Ed Sheeran, Dua Lipa and Shawn Mendes. Bringing artists to our country and introducing them to the Hungarian audience is an important mission for me.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt working in live music?
Accepting the fact that we can’t prepare for unforeseen incidents – neither in the booking process nor at the festival site. No matter how prepared we are, there will be things we can’t control and we have to find solutions that hurt the least.
“Bringing artists to our country and introducing them to the Hungarian audience is an important mission for me”
Did you always want to work in festivals?
I grew up in a family of artists. I remember when I was about five years old, my parents took me to see the stadium shows of Michael Jackson and Rolling Stones in Budapest. I’m lucky to be able to work in an industry that I’ve loved from a very young age.
What’s it like working in the Hungarian market?
Although we are a small market, Sziget is one of the biggest and most famous festivals in Europe with thousands of visitors coming from all around the world. I was born and raised in Budapest, showing my beautiful capital to so many great people through the festival is an incredible experience.
What impact has Covid-19 has on your job?
We needed to cancel all our events in 2020 which is something that never happened before in the history of our festivals. It was extremely sad to let go of all the shows we’ve been working on tirelessly for months but at the same time, we started to work on our line ups for the summer of 2021, hoping that we are going to be over the virus situation by then.
“No matter how prepared we are, there will be things we can’t control and we have to find solutions”
Do you have a mentor in the industry?
A few years ago, I lost an amazing mentor, colleague and friend, Dan Panaitescu, who was the international booking manager of our company. I never felt ready to take over such an important and responsible role, but I feel privileged having the support of all these amazing people around me every day.
What advice would you give to someone who’s new to the business?
Let yourself enough rest to be able to stay creative and curious about new things.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a festival booker?
Coping with constantly growing artist fees; finding a solution for a billing on our poster that all our headliners are happy with; and, on the human side, finding the right balance between private life and work.
Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I’m a “live in the moment” type of person, so I can’t even plan that far ahead.
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The New Bosses: Introducing the class of 2020
The New Bosses 2020 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the business – launches today, celebrating the 12 most promising 30-and-unders in live music, as voted by their colleagues around the world.
This year’s list, the 13th, follows the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to nominate their New Boss picks.
Our distinguished dozen this year comprises promoters, bookers, agents, A&Rs and production experts, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.
In no particular order, the New Bosses 2020 are:
- Filippo Palermo, founder, Untitled Group (AU)
- Madie Cavilla, senior account manager, Paradigm Talent Agency (UK)
- Virág Csiszár, international booking manager, Sziget (HU)
- Alexandra Ampofo, promoter, Metropolis Music (UK)
- Bilge Morden, agent, CAA (UK)
- Kedist Bezabih, promoter, FKP Scorpio (NO)
- Jolien Augustyns, junior promoter, Live Nation (BE)
- Camila Salinas, booker, Primavera Sound (ES)
- Artur Kasper, agent, Der Bomber Der Herzen (DE)
- Sally Dunstone, agent, X-ray Touring (UK)
- Bertie Gibbon, A&R, ATC Live (UK)
- Joe Skarzynski, production coordinator (US)
“The class of 2020 is undoubtedly enduring the strangest, most challenging time of their careers,” writes IQ editor Gordon Masson, “but the hard work that they are putting in to ensure that the business globally is ready to resume at the earliest possible opportunity is generating a lot of enthusiasm among their peers, who have recognised them as future industry leaders.”
As in previous years, full interviews with each of the 2020 New Bosses will appear online in the coming weeks. However, short individual profiles of each New Boss can be read now in issue 93 of IQ Magazine, embedded below: