Pollstar Awards Winners: Tom Petty, Cara Lewis, Gregg Perloff, Bruno Mars

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers was the big winner at the Pollstar Awards Feb. 8 at the Wiltern in Los Angeles, where manager Tony Dimitriades delivered an emotional speech, and Bill Graham Award winner Gregg Perloff talked about saving The Wiltern in the ’80s and how much it meant to win the award in this particular venue.

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
Gideon Gottfried
– Tom Petty
Manager Tony Dimitriades and Heartbreakers Benmont Tench and Steve Ferrone

The awards, hosted by “America’s Got Talent” winner, illusionist Mat Franco, ended the Pollstar Live! conference that already had heaps of star power with the likes of Garth Brooks, Jon Bon Jovi and Mark Cuban speaking and providing insight during the three-day annual event.

See: Pollstar Live! Awards Part 1 

Petty passed away unexpectedly Oct. 2, just days after wrapping up a major tour that grossed $64.7 million Worldwide according to Pollstar’s 2017 Year-End Top Tours chart.

The concert industry professionals who vote on the award winners also honored Petty with the award for Rock Tour Of The Year and recognized his longtime manager, Dimitriades, who had nothing but gratitude for everyone involved.

He said working with Petty was a matter of “right place, right time” and “who would have thought that 40 years later, he’d have the most successful tour and the best reviewed tour they had.”

Steve Ferrone, who joined the Heartbreakers 25 years ago, said onstage, “We all miss Tom. He was a great leader and a great friend. And boy could be rock, what a great rock ‘n’ roll band.”

Fellow Heartbreaker Benmont Tench onstage thanked everyone from the crew, to longtime tour manager Richard Fernandez, who got a rousing cheer from the crowd.

See: Pollstar Live! Conference Hub Page: 

It was another huge year for touring, with 2017 a record crushing year for the concert business.

The Top 100 Worldwide Tours generated a record $5.65 billion in revenues, a 15.8 percent increase over the previous year.

Total tickets sold by those tours was also at a record, with more than 66 million, up 10.4% over 2016.

Best comedy tour was Dave Chappelle, whose star-studded residency at Radio City Music Hall in New York reported 93,715 tickets sold and $11.5 million grossed.

The run at the iconic NYC venue consisted of 16 gigs in the month of August, with each night featuring special guest co-headliners.

Rick Greenstein of Gersh, accepting the award and booking agent for Chappelle, heralded the 90,000 tickets and called it a piece of history.

Greenstein mentioned other shows including at Red Rocks, The Palladium, said “the venues go on and on,” thanking for everyone’s help. 

Booking Agency of the Year went to Paradigm, with 30-plus agents onstage including Tom Windish, Marty Diamond, Rob Zifarelli, and Sam Gores accepting.

Manager Rich Holtzman, accepting for Best New Touring Artist for Portugal. The Man, had an important message after mentioning the band has been at it for 12 years and thanking promoters including Brian Smith at Live Nation, Another Planet Entertainment and others:

“The band would be pissed off if I didn’t say, ‘Go Trailblazers and hail Satan.’” 

Goldenvoice’s Stacy Vee, named Talent Buyer of the Year, who works on Stagecoach among other festivals, wanted to thank AEG, Goldenvoice, their partners at WME, CAA’s Rod Essig, the whole team at Paradigm, Marsha Vlasic, her husband Brian, all of whom she said “have been my champions, and especially Paul Tollett for the opportunity and kindness shown to me for a lot ot years..”

Bruno Mars, fresh off a heaping helping of Grammy Award wins, also won big at the Pollstar Awards, with best Urban/R&B Tour of the Year and Pop Tour of the Year, further demonstrating his wide appeal.

This year Bruno was No. 4 Worldwide on Pollstar’s Year End Top Tours chart, grossing more than $200 million.

Winning the coveted Bobby Brooks Award for Booking Agent of the Year, Cara Lewis becomes the first woman to win the honor.

With major current clients like Chance The Rapper, Khalid, Travis Scott, Eminem and a long history of representing the hottest urban artists, the recognition is surely overdue.

Onstage, Lewis mentioned being nominated for the same award in 1996. “22 years later,. thank you to my friends, my family and promoters for consistently supporting me.”  She also credited X-ray Touring’s Steve Strange for booking artists internationally, and Marcie Allen of MAC Presents.

“What could I do without Marcie Allen? She even dresses me now. It’s incredible. Thank you for the validation. It’s amazing. Thanks.”

Winning Road Warrior Of The Year once again is Dale “Opie” Skjerseth.

He’s won this award quite a few times and often is clear across the world during the awards ceremony.

Apparently you don’t gain the reputation as a Road Warrior by attending awards shows.

The Rolling Stones No Filter stage setup entailed four monolithic LED video screens (22 meters high and 11 meters wide), spread more than 60-metres wide behind a 28 meters-long T-shaped catwalk and B-stage, and a bespoke, cantilevered, transparent roof hovering over the band.

Of course, when he wasn’t busy with that he had Guns N’ Roses to keep him busy as the “Not In This LIfetime Tour” continues seemingly indefinitely. 

But maybe the most emotional moment came from Another Planet Entertainment’s Gregg Perloff, who between the longstanding relationship with Tom Petty and his history at the Wiltern, was clearly moved.

Gregg Perloff
– Gregg Perloff
winning the Bill Graham Award for Promoter of the Year

“I am so emotional tonight. If you could look up at the ceiling of this theatre, half the ceiling was about to be destroyed by a wrecking ball in the mid 1980s,”

Perloff said onstage. But, thanks to Rena Wasserman, Bill Graham and Perloff, and his parents who have a plaque in the Art Deco venue, it was saved.

“To win an award in this theatre means so much.” He went on to thank everyone at Another Planet, including Allen Scott, Rae Livingston who books comedy “and all the others who make me look good.”

He wanted to add one more thing, that “It was a privilege all these years to work for Tom Petty.”

The full list of Awards winners follows, with the first set of winners announced Feb. 6.

Major Tour of the Year: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Comedy Tour of the Year: Dave Chappelle

Country Tour of the Year: Chris Stapleton

Rock Tour of the Year: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Urban / R&B Tour of the Year: Bruno Mars

Latin Tour of the Year: Enrique Iglesias

Pop Tour of the Year: Bruno Mars

Best New Headliner: Portugal. The Man

Music Festival of the Year: Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival | Indio, CA

International Music Festival of the Year: Glastonbury Festival | Pilton, UK

Nightclub of the Year: 9:30 Club | Washington, DC

Theatre of the Year: Ryman Auditorium | Nashville, TN

Arena of the Year: Bridgestone Arena | Nashville, TN

Red Rocks Award / Best Small Outdoor Venue: Greek Theatre | Los Angeles, CA

Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue: Hollywood Bowl | Los Angeles, CA

Best New Concert Venue: Brooklyn Steel | Brooklyn, NY

International Venue of the Year: The O2 | London, UK

Venue Executive of the Year: David Kells | Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN

Nightclub Talent Buyer of the Year: Melanie Cantwell | 9:30 Club, The Anthem, Lincoln Theatre, Washington, DC

Talent Buyer of the Year: Stacy Vee | Goldenvoice

Bill Graham Award / Promoter of the Year: Gregg Perloff | Another Planet Entertainment

International Promoter of the Year: Barrie Marshall | Marshall Arts

Bobby Brooks Award / Agent of the Year: Cara Lewis | CLG – Cara Lewis Group

Third Coast Booking Agent of the Year: Joe Atamian | Paradigm Talent Agency

UK Booking Agent of the Year: Emma Banks | Creative Artists Agency UK

Independent Booking Agency of the Year: High Road Touring

Booking Agency of the Year: Paradigm Talent Agency

Rising Star: Lenore Kinder, AEG Presents

Personal Manager of the Year: Tony Dimitriades | Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

Road Warrior of the Year: Dale “Opie” Skjerseth | The Rolling Stones, Guns N’ Roses

Lighting Company of the Year: Upstaging

Sound Company of the Year: Clair Global

Most Creative Stage Production: Roger Waters

Staging / Equipment: Company of the Year: Stageco

Transportation Company of the Year: Rock-It Cargo

Video Company of the Year: Moo TV

Tech Enhancement of the Year: 3D Live, Flying Lotus