Concorde Grounded

London’s Concorde International Artistes will shut its doors and cease trading as a booking agency at the end of September.

The 30-year-old company suffered when the U.S.-based William Morris Agency opened a London office at the beginning of the year, losing Solomon Parker – the son of Concorde founder Louis Parker – and other key staff including Sheraz "Shaz" Qureshi to the American giant.

Louis Parker, who started the business in the late ’70s, died of cancer in 2000.

The closure of the agency and its Shepherds Bush Road offices won’t mean the end for Concorde completely, as Louise Parker, Louis Parker’s second wife and the company head, will continue to run the tour support and accounting services side of the business from her north Wales office.

She wasn’t available for comment at press time but previously told Pollstar that despite losing staff and acts including Prodigy, Jamelia, Simon Webbe, Take That, Girls Aloud, Shayne Ward and All Saints to WMA, she felt it only fair to give the remaining staff the chance to see if they could keep the agency business going, at least until the lease on the office building expired.

After nine months and with the lease up for renewal October 2nd, she’s found the returns don’t justify the overhead of the company’s four-story west London HQ and has reluctantly decided to close shop.

Concorde, along with the Leighton-Pope Organisation, was the last of what could be termed London’s "family business" agencies, and former bookers were quick to mourn its passing.

"It always had a great reputation and will be fondly remembered by the staff, promoters and artists who worked with us. The sheer number of great agents to start their careers at CIA is a testament to the great work ethic and leadership of Louis Parker," said Paul Fitzgerald, who left to join The Creative Entertainment Group in 2006. But with arena tours coming up from X Factor and Paul Potts, among others, Fitzgerald remains one of the company’s tour accounting service’s major clients.

"CIA was all about Louis Parker. It was his legacy. I am very proud that I was a part of it," he added.

"It’s sad but understandable," said Paul Bolton of Helter Skelter, who worked at Concorde throughout the ’80s. "Without the breaks that Louis and Concorde gave us, none of us would be where we are today,"

Other former Concorde agents include David Levy and Russ Warby – who both left more than 15 years ago and are now also with WMA – and Mission Control chief Albert Samuels and Pollstar’s John Gammon.

As for the current staff, only office manager Debra Downes has revealed her future plans. She’s starting her own agency, Dawson Breed Music Ltd., which will open for business October 1st.