Zum Geburtstag Lieber Marek

Maybe not all the international live music industry was joining in with a rousing rendition of “Zum Geburtstag viel Glueck” – or “Happy Birthday To You” – in celebration of Marek Lieberberg‘s 60th, but the May issue of Musikmarkt LIVE! certainly pushed out the boat for the Germany’s best-known and most outspoken promoter.

It used 30 of its 34 pages on a feature that included interviews with CTS Eventim chief Klaus Peter Schulenberg and Marek’s oldest son, Daniel Lieberberg. Daniel worked for his father’s business from 1998 to 2002 and then left to become a marketing director for Universal Music.

When asked the most common complaint that he hears about his father, he told Musikmarkt, “He’s arrogant. But, in my eyes, it’s more a kind of healthy self-confidence. This can be a very useful strategy to protect yourself from silly babble.”

Schulenberg, who owns about half of Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur through the ticketing giant’s Medusa Group of promoters, said, “Without any exaggeration, Marek is by far the best promoter in Europe. He’s managed like no other to combine art and commerce.

“This was one of the premises he used to develop Germany into one of the biggest live entertainment markets of Europe. Marek’s highly intelligent, concentrated and motivated.”

Lieberberg declined all media requests for special birthday interviews.

Not even the 30-page Musikmarkt feature had one – except for the one from his local regional Frankfurter Rundschau, a paper he regularly reads and very much admires.

Lieberberg spent the May 7th birthday in Vienna, mainly with family and friends, although he was joined by top performers including Herbert Gronemeyer, Xavier Nadoo, comedian Otto and Ray Garvey from Reamonn.

Among the piles of messages he received were greetings from Michael Stipe and Mike Mills of R.E.M., Celine Dion, Sting, Depeche Mode, Michael Bublé and Bryan Adams.

Adams and his manager Bruce Allen gave him a broken computer mounted under a glass case, alluding to the legendary anecdote about Lieberberg once losing his temper so much that he threw his own computer at a wall.

Is it true? And who was he arguing with? Lieberberg says it is true, it only happened once and he’s keeping quiet about who he was arguing with.

“So many people have said they were there and I was arguing with them when I did it. I couldn’t possibly ruin all their stories for them,” he explained.

When asked if hitting 60 means he may be thinking of retirement, he told Pollstar, “The retirement age here is being elevated to 67 and so it’s not possible yet.

“Apart from that, us Jews are said to live to a biblical age of 120 and so I’m only a little over halfway there now.

“So, a lot of people have much longer to wait before they will have their wishes come true.”

– John Gammon