Pollstar Live: A Primer

Details for the upcoming Pollstar Live! conference, at the JW Marriott at LA LIVE Feb. 1-3, are rapidly coming together.

This year, event producer Steve Macfadyen has emphasized the “young guns” with several panels moderated by, or including, the new guard.

Dan Steinberg, who promotes under the banner of Square Peg Concerts, stirred things up this year with his well-attended panel, and he’s back with “Profits? Someone’s Got To Be Making Money.”

Steinberg will take no prisoners in getting to the bottom of it, but there are no shrinking violets on the panel, from Roadrunner Records’ Harlan Frey to New Frontier Touring’s Paul Lohr. We don’t know what’s going to happen and we also don’t know who will be buying the drinks later.

Also injecting some new blood into the conference is Brian Swanson of Monterey International, who’ll be moderating the Performing Arts Centers panel, which includes several PAC venue representatives and ICM’s Rick Farrell.

Expect to see, throughout the conference, plenty of the so-called young independents with the ability to speak their minds.

Even though we anticipate everyone will want to check out “The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” keynote – a discussion with Oakland Athletics GM Billy Beane and bestselling “Moneyball” author Michael Lewis, hosted by Bob Lefsetz (and now with a book signing component) – it’s hardly the only must-see event at the conference.

The second day of Pollstar Live! will include an unfortunately all-too-timely “The 10 Commandments of Live Event Safety,” moderated by Brown United’s John Brown. Included on the panel will be Cheap Trick manager Dave Frey, who still carries with him a bolt from the stage that nearly killed him and his clients.

It’s been one of the worst years on record for event safety, with the fatal Indiana State Fair stage collapse, prior to a Sugarland concert, as the standard bearer of bad decisions. Many of the panelists are working with PLASA and ESTA on a best practices paper to present to agencies and promoters. Much needs to be changed, including that many artists have clauses in their contracts giving them the last say on whether the show can go on – a clause that Sugarland had in its rider and something the panel will certainly address.

The panel will include PLASA’s Karl Ruling, promoters, tell-it-like-it-is insurance expert James Chippendale and attorney Steve Adelman.

Earlier that day, Outback Technologies CEO Fred Rosen will host a panel that’s long overdue: “Policing Holds & Date Conflicts.” Everybody is putting dates on hold – from promoters to agents to facility managers like SMG and ArenaNetwork.

So when there are first and second holds on a date, what is the criteria for getting the pole versus second position? And who moderates the conflicts? Rosen, the man who built Ticketmaster, may be outspoken but in this case is the kind of neutral party that can work this out. Panelists include venue GMs Michael Marion and Scott Mullen, and country music agent Rob Beckham.

There’s plenty more: the IAVM-sponsored panel Feb. 1 called “Evolve or Die: From Four Walls to Partner to Promoter.”

“Serious Funny Business,” moderated by CAA’s Nick Nuciforo. The always thought-provoking Maria Brunner will explore “How To Survive & Shape Your Incoming Communications Tsunami” along with Live Nation’s Dave Clark and SMG’s Jim McCue.

That’s not all: there will be panels focusing on new agents, alternative ticketing, South American touring, casinos and Elliott Lefko is back with his tales of adventure – and we’re hearing plenty of rumors of some rock ‘n’ roll cameos.

Registrations are running well ahead of last year and the on-site hotel is nearing capacity. All the details are at PollstarPro.com/Live2012.