Uerlings Fronts Backroom Crew

Two days before he collected ILMC’s Arthur award for production, Chrissy Uerlings led an eve of conference discussion among 70 people involved in putting a show together.

They came from more than a dozen countries ranging from the U.K. and the U.S. to Romania and Abu Dhabi, with some coming to ILMC a day early and others flying in specially for the Pollstar-sponsored session.

The aim was to make sure the production business creates a platform from which it can make its voice heard. But Uerlings, who spent 20 years with German promoter Peter Rieger before setting up his own business with offices in Berlin and Wroclaw, hesitates at the idea of forming an association.

“I think many of those present were in favour of forming a body but there are various production associations in various countries and I think people might question why they need to pay to join another one,” Uerlings said. “I think what we need to do is make sure the existing associations act on our behalf when it comes to governments forming legislation and make sure all countries are talking to each other.”

Uerlings, who will spend much of this summer as site coordinator on the Depeche Mode tour, said one of the main aims of the meeting was to compare how things are done in all the countries represented and analyze the different practices.

“There are things that you must do in some countries that are illegal in others,” Uerlings said, emphasizing the need for the industry to have a voice when any new legislation is on the horizon.

He said he was particularly pleased by the number of central European and Balkan countries represented, as they’re relatively new to the world of rock ’n’ roll touring and tend to look to the longer-established western European companies for guidance.

The guests at the London Royal Garden Hotel, where ILMC took place March 13-15, included reps from Croatia, Romania, Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Turkey.

Although some of the issues addressed at the meeting have already been taken up by the Production Services Association (PSA) – including the reduction of air space for devices like wireless microphones and ear monitors and the number of hours a driver can work without rest – Uerlings said the London gathering put these matters up for broader discussion by including people from outside the production business, such as promoters’ reps and venues.

His next task is to produce a report of the discussion, which he hopes to publish next month. Although the matter of forming an association is still up for further discussion, Uerlings hopes the meeting will at least lead to an ongoing forum on the Internet.

The other Arthur Award winners at ILMC 2009 were Simon Moran of the U.K.’s SJM Concerts (promoter), London’s Royal Albert Hall (venue) Isle of Wight Festival, U.K. (festival) Mike Greek from Creative Artist Agency’s London office (agent), U.K. catering company Eat Your Hearts Out (service provider), Leonard Cohen (best tour), and Kim Bloem from Mojo Concerts in The Netherlands (rising star).

The ILMC Bottle Award, which many consider the most prestigious Arthur, went to Thomas Johansson of Live Nation Sweden (formerly EMA Telstar).

The citation included his production of all ABBA’s world tours, masterminding Roxette’s success to the tune of 45 million albums and having been instrumental in building the live music industry in Scandinavia.

The awards were presented in front of 350 guests at the ILMC’s 21st Anniversary Gala Dinner at London’s Jumeirah Carlton Tower Hotel March 14.