More than 850 delegates turned up to London’s Royal Gardens Hotel for this year’s ILMC, the biggest crowd the conference has attracted in its 19-year history.
The three-day mix of panels and entertainment March 9-11 drew music industry execs from all over the globe, but the Belgians may well have gone home happiest after winning three of the much-coveted Arthur Awards.
Herman Schuermans of Live Nation Belgium won "The Promoters’ Promoter" and "Liggers Favourite Festival" for Rock Werchter, while Hedwig De Meyer’s Stageco was honoured for "Services Above and Beyond."
Schueremans and De Meyer were founders and partners in Werchter until SFX bought the festival in 2001 while Stageco, which they also co-founded and co-owned, passed into De Meyer’s full ownership as part of the same deal.
Since it was started in ’88, it has expanded to having offices in Belgium, Germany, France, Holland and the U.S.
It’s sufficiently equipped and structured to provide stages and production for the biggest international acts on their worldwide tours, including The Rolling Stones, U2, Bon Jovi, and Pink Floyd.
The most poignant moment of the Saturday evening dinner at Claridges was when an apparently very humbled Barrie Marshall won the "Bottle Award" and immediately dedicated it to the memory of the recently deceased and legendary Irish promoter Jim Aiken.
Of all the Arthurs, which might have become as desired as the Hollywood Oscars that they were set up to mock, the "Bottle Award" is arguably the most prestigious. It’s in recognition of consistent long-standing achievement – and usually a bit of a nod to someone who has shown the resilience to battle their way through the business.
"Second Least Offensive Agent" went to Emma Banks from Creative Artists Agency’s new London office, Toby Leighton-Pope from Live Nation U.K. was voted most likely to be "Tomorrow’s New Boss," Jake Berry took the "Plumber of the Year" production prize to add to what must be a very full mantelpiece.
The most amusing winners were Robbie Williams getting "Least Painful Tour," which is fair enough as he seems to be the only member of the entourage to end up in rehab, and Wembley Arena winning "First Venue to Come Into Your Head."
Wembley was shut for refurbishment for most of the year but the voters must have felt the temporary pavilion that hosted the shows in its absence was deserving of the award.
It has since moved on to Malta and become the island’s flagship (only) arena, but no doubt the Wembley staff will have forwarded the trophy.