“It’s vital that the European live music community comes together and presents a united front to address the many issues facing it,” veteran artist manager Peter Jenner said after being elected chairman of the recently formed European Live Music Forum (ELMF).
Jenner – whose management history includes looking after the careers of Pink Floyd, The Clash, Ian Dury, and T.Rex – is joined on the executive board by Christof Huber of Switzerland’s Open Air St. Gallen Festival and Hans Hjorth from Sweden’s Re:Orient world music festival.
Huber, who had the original idea to form the new pan-European organization and set up the initial meeting in Holland at January’s Eurosonic-Noorderslag weekend, said the next step is to allocate tasks to board members and set up the ELMF’s administrative structure. He expects that will be put in place by the time the board meets again at the end of April in the European Music Office’s Brussels headquarters.
The other board members are Finnish agent and manager Tapio Korjus, Bob James from the U.K.’s Agents Association, Peter Smidt of Dutch music organization Conamus, French promoter and agent Bernard Batzen, German lawyer Jens Michow and Belgian promoter Herman Schueremans.
The board was set up at a meeting at London’s Royal Gardens Hotel March 10 (the day before ILMC moved into the venue), but not announced until Schueremans – who was elected in his absence – had formally agreed to join.
Based in Brussels and already a member of Belgium’s Flemish parliament, Schueremans was at Clear Channel meetings that clashed with the ELMF vote. He was chosen because of his nearness to the European Union headquarters and his wide experience as both a promoter and a politician.
Hjorth is also on the board of the 44-member European Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals (EFWMF), Korjus is on the board of Network Europe, and Smidt is marketing director of Eurosonic-Noorderslag as part of his work with Conamus. James’ work with the U.K. Agents Association included battling the government over its new agency licensing regs. Batzen is a member of the European Music Managers Forum (EMMF), the European Festivals organization (Yourope) and the French concert promoters association. Michow is also president of Germany’s IDKV concert promoters’ association.
The ELMF was founded to unite the European live music communities, provide them with a common profile within the EU and to build a continuous dialogue with EU decision makers.
The major music organizations backing it include Conamus, Yourope, the U.K.’s Concert Promoters Association, the EFWMF, International Festivals & Events Europe, Festivaldanmark.dk, International Music Managers Forum, Music Managers Forum France, Music Managers Forum Germany, the U.K.’s National Arenas Association, Network Europe, Swiss Music Export, the U.K.’s Agents Association and both of Germany’s promoters associations (IDKV and VDKD).
The ELMF is keen to point out that it has an open door policy to any other organizations or associations that may wish to become members.
Its first goals are to encourage the development of a single market within Europe for the live music industries through lobbying in Brussels and in all member states, to provide a bigger more efficient and more competitive market for European touring performers and to become recognized by the EU commission as a “speaking partner” for the live music community.
It’s hoped the latter can be achieved by showing the industry is a strong economic force in terms of output and contribution to employment, as well as being a vehicle for expressing the richness and diversity of the various European cultures.