ILMC High Score: 28

The Royal Garden Hotel in London hosted more than 1,000 delegates for the sold-out 28th installment of ILMC March 3-6. While much of the program was familiar to regulars, ILMC head Greg Parmley introduced a couple of subtle changes that played out quite well. 
picks up the Bottle Award at ILMC 28

This year’s ILMC was retro video game-themed. Playable arcade cabinets of Pac Man, Space Invaders and a couple of other classics were all there – bringing back childhood memories for many – and the main panel rooms were all designed accordingly. When Parmley opened the main sessions on March 4, he actually shot down a Space Invader alien for real. An entire conference room of professionals can attest to that.

However, the main reason the room was so packed wasn’t because people wanted to witness Parmley defend humanity against hostile extraterrestrials, but because Live Nation President and CEO Michael Rapino was there for a (approved) Q&A. Other high level execs were placed in the hot seat as well, as the so-called Dragon’s Den sessions introduced last year returned.

The 2016 editions featured impresarios Michael Gudinski from Australia, and Ossy Hoppe from the opposite end of the world, Germany. Both veterans shared interesting and highly entertaining tales from their eventful lives. On the last conference day, a particularly outspoken Marc Geiger (WME) answered questions by Ed Bicknell, host of ILMC’s breakfast meeting, which has become a beloved event for every delegate who manages to get out of bed on the Sunday after the Arthur Awards.

Bicknell concluded that his former colleague had become much more laid-back and philosophical than when he had first met him 20 years ago. The panels in general were highly engaging, with the one on show safety standing out. In it, Salomon Hazot and Arnaud Meersseman – both from Nous Productions, which promoted the Eagles Of Death Metal concert in the Bataclan on Nov. 13 – recounted the attacks that killed dozens.

You could hear a pin drop while Meersseman relived the moment the terrorists opened fire.

Steve Strange, whose X-Ray Touring has signed EODM, was in Birmingham when the attacks took place. He said that while at first he felt helpless and even started blaming himself, he soon realized that nobody could have predicted any of it.

“It could have been any city. Any venue. Any band,” he said and thanked U2’s Bono in particular, who helped the band get their heads straight again. Saturday night saw the bestowal of this year’s Arthur Awards, where 350 professionals joined the gala to witness winners in 10 categories.

Emma Banks, who just won Pollstar’s UK Agent of the Year award, hosted the night. The winners were The O2, London (first venue to come into your head), Steve Tilly, Kilimanjaro Live (the promoters’ promoter), Rock am Ring (liggers’ favourite festival), Steve Strange, X-ray Touring (second least offensive agent), Beat the Street (services above and beyond), Ben Challis, Glastonbury (most professional professional), Amber McKenzie, ITB (the people’s assistant), Ticketmaster (the golden ticket), Joanna Young, Live Nation UK (tomorrow’s new boss) and Jules Frutos (the Bottle Award).

“We received thousands of votes worldwide this year, so what began as a tongue-in-cheek affair is clearly now taken far more seriously,” said ILMC head Greg Parmley. “This year’s Arthurs were a warm and poignant night and The Savoy proved a fantastic setting.”