Some Pollstar Live Coverage

One of the good-slash-bad-slash-good-again things about attending Pollstar Live!, especially in Nashville, is the stuff that happens during the event.  Here are a few snapshots of the day it began.

About a week ago, the big boss suggested we snap a few more candid photos of the event. We usually get photos of people lined up in a row, but not as many that capture some of the atmosphere, so I gave it a shot and took some point-and-shoots of the day of the opening reception.

Let’s first say that many people had a difficult time getting here, if they made it at all. The sudden storm knocked out many schedules, especially those that were coming from the east of the country.  

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Heck, we didn’t even have our conference program ready for the event because UPS trucks were stuck in ice. There were calls coming in from locals who said they couldn’t back out of their driveways.  All of that being duly noted, here are some photos.

One of the least glamorous jobs at the conference is the registration room. People come into it, get their laminates, eat a few M&M’s, get their photos taken and leave.  Many of those in the registration room are volunteers from colleges who want to get into the business.  Likewise, it’s the place where Pollstar employees take up the unlovely task of spending 10 hours making sure everyone gets in, and that all is handled.  I’ve always thought it interesting because Pollstar is a small company so people pull double-duties.  In the “real world,” those at the registration room are a big deal. Folks like Route Book editor Wendy Snyder, or Bridgette, Deanna and Tami, Box Office manager Brad Rogers and Chad “C-Money” Ivie snapping yearbook photos. Your future in the music business could depend on these people, and here they are giving you M&Ms and acting like they’re no big deal.

And who knows you could find in the registration room.  People like Barbara “Mother” Hubbard, who is about to get a great honor at Pollstar Live. The honor is her being awesome. She pretty much mentored every tour manager, tour accountant or venue manager in the business. We’re stretching the facts here, but not by much.

And walking outside the registration booth, you’ll be greeted by Gary Smith, one of the founders of the company, its public face, and an all-around great fellow who somehow finds time to meet with practically everyone who arrives.

We’ll add a photo of him at the TJ Martell event here very soon.  (Just did)

It should also be noted that the event is populated by photographers like Rick Diamond, Barry Brecheisen and Jason Squires, but also John Davisson who decided he just wanted to hang out and snap some photos.  They’re great people and absolutely perfect professionals.  Except for John. Just kidding. John will actually drop into the Pollstar office in Fresno and hang out for a day. He’s kind of extended family. Then again, so are Jason and Barry, and of course you all know Rick.

The Opening Reception included the Live Nation Lounge. Not sure if it has to do with the recent involvement with Insomniac, but the lounge had an EDM vibe to it.

The photos come from earlier in the evening so it looks sparse, but it got packed. I accomplished one trade shot from it (read the caption).  The most amazing part of the reception, to me, was that Michael Cohl was just walking around, without anyone even knowing he was there. For all the power shmoozing, he quietly walked through it all, checking out the vendors booths. I had a chance to speak to him and he said, “I just spoke to someone from Pollstar” and showed me Deborah Speer’s business card. Well, of course. Deborah will be covering his keynote address.

Some of the folks invovled in the first show of the upcoming Tim McGraw tour – including Alltel Arena's Michael Marion and Billy Currington videographer Jeff Johnson. Also pictured is road warrior Jimmy Johnson (Jeff's dad) and some guy in the back.

There were were a few things going on about town. One was the WME showcase at the Mercy Lounge where you could see (name-drop ahead) people like Coran Capshaw.  I went there to see a band called The Shadowboxers, which was amazing.  It’s a good sign when the person who introduced them said she couldn’t get into their last show at the Mercy Lounge.

Next up was the Ryman Auditorium, which wanted to show off its new construction.

The event, where you could stand on the stage of the Ryman -yeah, that’s right – included being able to sign two beams that were to be added to the venue, which meant you could be part of the history of the church. Leave it to Cassie Zebisch from AEG, who took caligraphy classes, to smoke everyone.

The other photo is of Dave Brooks of Amplify Magazine hanging out with a tour guide.

Dave Brooks of Amplify Magazine and one of Ryman's great tour guides

Finally, there was Dumpstaphunk at a Madison House showcase at the Exit/In.  They were amazing.  Like, amazing.  Am tired now, but must report on the first panel of the day. Wish you were here.