Charmenko’s Charm Offensive

Nick Hobbs from Istanbul-based Charmenko is looking to strengthen his company’s position in the old Eastern Bloc region with a new joint venture with Borek Jirik’s Berlin-based Transmusic.

"We’ve worked as an agent in the Czech Republic but our clients were all club-level promoters and it was frustrating not to be able to move up, particularly when we had had an arena-level tour in the region," Hobbs explained.

The new company, a 50/50 venture called Charm Music, has already lined up shows with Senor Coconut & His Orchestra at the 1,200-capacity Prague Roxy (May 28) and the 500-capacity Brno Fleda (May 29). The first arena show – Joe Satriani at a 6,000-capacity Prague HC Sparta Arena – will come June 3.

Jirik, who began promoting in Prague while still at university, moved to Berlin in 2003 and set up Transmusic.

"After a year I took a break from university to go on tour, and I never went back," he told Pollstar.

Now living in Berlin with his wife and child, Jirik will continue to work through Transmusic for his German shows, but all his Czech business will be channeled through Charm Music.

Charm’s summer shows include Bob Dylan at the 12,000-capacity CEZ Arena in Ostrava, John Mayall at the 1,250-capacity Prague Retro Music Hall, The Mars Volta at the 5,000-capacity Prague Incheba Arena and British Sea Power at the Prague Roxy.

A Sigur Ros show in a 6,000-capacity configuration of the Prague HC Sparta Arena demonstrates the benefits of Charmenko’s new partnership, as the company has a run of seven arena-sized shows with the Icelanders. The band will also play Warsaw, Riga, Tallinn, Helsinki, St. Petersburg and Moscow.

The Charm deal is one of two partnerships Hobbs has set up since the start of 2008.

The other sees Charmenko buying a one-third share in Grinding Halt, the Rome-based promoter that has recently done shows for acts including Morrissey, Kraftwerk and Babyshambles.

Hobbs has known company owners Emiliano Tortora and Eva Falomi since he first started promoting more than 20 years ago. The new arrangement isn’t expected to alter the day-to-day running of the business.