LEAs Versus Lieberberg

It may take time for the dust to settle on Marek Lieberberg’s decision to turn down two of the three German Live Entertainment Awards his firm won.

He’s now come in for scathing criticism from Jens Michow, who organises the annual prize-giving and thinks Lieberberg doesn’t “understand” the LEAs.

Michow, who’s managing director of the LEA Committee, executive producer of the awards and head of the country’s major promoters’ association, says the 1,100 industry members attending this year’s awards bash in Frankfurt April 5 have made up their own minds about Lieberberg’s absence from the ceremony and the statements he made about it.

“We want our achievements to be taken seriously and not ridiculed by this dubious conglomerate,” Lieberberg told Pollstar on the morning after the awards bash at the city’s Festival Hall.

Michow is also unhappy that various German newspapers have subsequently quoted Lieberberg as saying the LEAs are “a tired provincial burlesque” and “a superfluous canker without any international importance.”

Michow claims that at the end of January the LEA Committee told Lieberberg about the awards he was going to receive.

“His staff and even his son cooperated with us on the staging of the lifetime achievement award,” Michow explained.

He said Lieberberg’s office even confirmed a prominent act to make the award presentation. And the LEAs set aside 12 tables in the Festhalle for MLK and its staff and guests and had been asked to provide them with free tickets.

“What astonished us most is the fact Matthias Schwarz, MLK’s vice president of festivals and touring, turned up to a Frankfurt press conference March 10 to accept the first of the three awards that MLK had won,” Michow told Pollstar.

Lieberberg’s 30 Seconds To Mars tour won the public vote for “new style event of the year.”

“Later on the same day, Lieberberg told the LEA Committee that MLK considers its decision-making on the prizes is ‘a provocation,’ considering the company had just had ‘its most successful year in festivals and touring,’” Michow explained.

He said Lieberberg told him that MLK wasn’t prepared to be “put off with absurd courtesy prizes.”

A LEA jury insider told Pollstar that the problem is the same as at the first awards in 2007, when Lieberberg led his staff out of the ceremony because the company hadn’t won the best festival award.

MLK was later announced as the winner of the best promoter award but there was no longer anyone there to collect it.

He said some of the jury feel it’s not enough for Lieberberg to win prizes because he actually wants to pick which ones he wins.

Michow said the LEA won’t “mutate into a musical request programme.”

What’s left is the LEAs’ intention to continue to award prizes to MLK, although Lieberberg’s made it clear that it won’t be accepting them.

“There is no reason that the LEA Jury will make exceptions for anybody. If it thinks an award should be given to someone, then it will go to that person – with or without the winner,” Michow said.