Making Up And Being Friends

Marek Lieberberg’s long feud with the German Live Entertainment Awards appears to have well and truly ended March 20, when he helped make the event its biggest success.

More than 1,300 packed into Frankfurt Festhalle as the country’s live music business also paid tribute to impresario Michael Brenner, who last May was killed in a road accident.

Brenner, who promoted such acts as Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay and Sting but was best known for running musicals such as “Grease,” “Saturday Night Fever,” “West Side Story” and “Chicago,” was posthumously given the lifetime achievement award.

Apart from delivering Brenner’s eulogy, which he did at the family’s request, Lieberberg also picked up the prize for best promoter.

The promoters’ prize may have most to do with German tours Lieberberg did with Rihanna, Mark Knopfler & Bob Dylan, Coldplay and Herbert Grönemeyer, among others, but it was presented by The Boss Hoss. They’re a Berlin-based country act he’s also been working with. They presented him with a golden Stetson.

The eulogy to Brenner and the acceptance speech created such a positive reaction that Lieberberg reportedly wound up by telling the audience: “Thank you. I love you as much as you love me.”

It was a far cry from when he’d stormed out of the inaugural LEAs at Hamburg Fliegende Bauten in 2007, apparently because his Rock Am Ring didn’t win best festival.

Lieberberg subsequently referred to the awards as “golden pineapples” and last year failed to collect two of them, telling organisers he didn’t want them.

“Thunderstorms always have a cleaning effect,” said CTS Eventim chief Klaus Peter Schulenberg, who also heads the Medusa Group of promoters to which Lieberberg belongs, after acting as peacemaker.

Lieberberg and LEA head Jens Michow released a joint statement to the effect that they’d made up.

Other highlights of this year’s show included star violinist David Garrett, who flew in from New York because his Rock Symphonies Tour 2011 – promoted by DEAG chief Peter Schwenkow – was voted best tour of the year.

Germany’s Eurovision Song Contest entrant Roman Lob tried out his competition song “Standing Still” one more time before he appears at this year’s final in May in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Last year’s final at the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf won the LEA for show of the year.

Top jazz and rock guitarist John McLaughlin also did a turn. He was in the city to pick up the Frankfurt Music Prize, which was presented as part of the LEA ceremony.

The other major prizes included arena of the year, which went to O2 World Hamburg, festival of the year (Taubertal Festival), and club of the year, which went to the local Frankfurt Batschkapp.

Apart from the LEA, the Batschkapp also gets a euro 20,000 endowment from Initiative Musik, a federal government institution for the promotion of the music industry and artistic projects.

Further cash injections of euro 5,000 went to the runners-up, Hamburg club Knust and the Luna Club in Kiel.
The other LEA winners included Hamburg’s Uwe Kanthak (manager / agent of the year), Stage Entertainment, Hamburg (en suite event of the year for “Sister Act”), Landstreicher Booking & Konzertagentur, Berlin (club tour of the year for Casper), and Semmel Concerts and Follow Me Entertainment (best co-operation for “Shadowland”).

Local promoter of the year, which is voted for by 21 German tour promoters, went to Prime Entertainment from Cologne.

Best young talent promotion went to Guerilla Entertainment Berlin, Cologne-based promoter Peter Rieger, Freibank Musikverlag Hamburg, and Sony Music in Munich for their work with Berlin-based singer-songwriter Tim Bendzko.

The LEA Awards, which are sponsored by Production Resource Group, kicked off what’s a big musical week for Frankfurt.

They’re followed by event technology exhibition “Prolight + Sound,” which is in the Messehalle until March 24.