Belgium Does It Again and Again

Herman Schueremans picked up the ILMC’s Arthur Award for "Liggers’ Favourite Festival" as Rock Werchter won for the second year running. It was only a day after he and his colleagues saw figures showing their Live Nation Belgium as the best performer of all the company’s European outlets.

LN international music chief Alan Ridgeway said the data is an in-house measure of performance and not all of it’s for public and competitor consumption. But he did confirm that the results shown at a March 7 promoters meeting matched those shown at an investors meeting at New York in November.

The U.K. is the biggest market in terms of generating income before depreciation, amortization and any extraordinary gains or charges (OIBDAN), which is how LN evaluates the performance of its operating segments, but Live Nation Belgium is the tightest ship when it comes to profit margins.

The company’s U.K. ops bring in 55 percent of LN’s European money and runs on an 11 percent profit margin. Schueremans and his 32-member staff – working in a territory one-sixth the size of the U.K. – bring in nearly a quarter as much money on a profit margin of 16 percent.

The Netherlands brings in as much money but only on a 7 percent margin, while Spain – one of the last countries to join LN’s European team – works on the same 16 percent margin as Belgium but currently brings in two-thirds as much.

Apart from Rock Werchter keeping the festival prize it won last year, the others to get on the Arthurs’ roll of honour included London’s O2 Arena, adding to the long list of venue awards it has already collected.

Before the March 8 awards dinner at London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower, Schueremans said he hadn’t expected to win this year’s festival prize or the "Promoters’ Promoter Award," which he also won last year, and he was right in the latter case as the 2008 vote went to Andre Bechir from Good News in Switzerland.

"Second Least Offensive Agent," the title of the agents’ prize, could hardly have gone to anyone other than Emma Banks from CAA’s London office, given she’s already been named woman of the year at the annual music industry bash put on by Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and the BRIT Trust.

Banks said she’s encouraged to see more and younger females making their way in the business and showing up at ILMC. She mentioned Lucy Dickins from ITB, who took the Arthur for "Tomorrow’s New Boss," and Henrietta Lem, daughter of Live Nation Norway promoter Rune Lem.

Chris Wright of Rock-It Cargo took the gong for "Services Above And Beyond," The Police won "Least Painful Tour," Andy Franks was "Plumber of the Year" and Aussie promoter Michael Chugg took "The ILMC Bottle Award," which is similar to a lifetime achievement gong.