Lieberberg Makes Up With Awards

“Thunderstorms always have a cleaning effect,” said CTS Eventim chief Klaus Peter Schulenberg, after acting as peacemaker in what’s been a high-profile war of words between top German promoter Marek Lieberberg and the country’s Live Entertainment Awards.

Frankfurt-based Lieberberg and Jens Michow, who runs the LEAs and heads national promoters association BDV, have released a joint statement to the effect that they’ve kissed and made up.

Lieberberg has always been critical of the awards and referred to them as the “golden pineapples” after storming out of the inaugural LEAs at Hamburg Fliegende Bauten in 2007, apparently because his Rock Am Ring didn’t win best festival.

On April 5 he didn’t bother collecting the two LEAs he won at this year’s gathering at Frankfurt Festival Hall, only a couple of miles from his office, having already told the organisers he didn’t want them.

He said his winning the lifetime achievement award, which he could have picked up alongside the special LEA “Jury Prize,” was “merely a deflection, trying to cover up for the fact that MLK was not even nominated in other categories.”

“We want our achievements to be taken seriously and not ridiculed by this dubious conglomerate,” Lieberberg told Pollstar the morning after the awards bash. “That is why we said no, not only to these awards but to LEAs for years to come.”

He said the awards are “randomly created” and “absolutely obsolete,” as is this “so-called award show with obscure categories and c-grade prominence.”

The newly issued statement says “this criticism came across as harsh to some extent,” and that Lieberberg regrets that the LEA jury and association members may have felt personally attacked by his pointed remarks.

“I hope that future polarisations can be avoided by a constructive dialogue,” Lieberberg explained. “A critical and fair questioning is, however, essential both for show business and for the LEAs.

“But I will be adopting a more relaxed approach and exercise voluntary self-control in the future. In this sense, we will be delighted to accompany the further development of the LEAs without prejudice.”

It appears Schulenberg, who has a majority shareholding in Lieberberg’s company through Eventim’s Medusa Group of promoters, all of which are regular LEA winners, has somehow managed to bridge what appeared to be an ever-widening gap between Lieberberg and the annual prize-giving.

“Ultimately, it is crucial that the sector continues to pull in the same direction,” he said.