Q’s With A Pollstar Live! Panelist: Seaside Touring’s Jan Quiel On Wacken & The Best Keynote Ever

Jan Quiel will speak at Pollstar Live! 2019
– Jan Quiel will speak at Pollstar Live! 2019
The Wacken Open Air booker is “excited to meet the other panelists and listen to their stories and exchange experiences and ideas” at Pollstar Live!
Jan Quiel is a promoter and booker at Seaside Touring, a worldwide operating touring agency for national and international artists. As part of the ICS Network, SST is the main booking contact for ICS events like Wacken Open Air, the Full Metal Cruises and Hamburg Metal Dayz, just to name a few. 
Quiel will be speaking on the Pollstar Live! panel “International Festivals: Juicing Up a Mature Marketplace” at the upcoming Feb. 11-13 conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. Moderated by ILMC managing director Greg Parmley, the Feb. 12 panel (3:30 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.) also features John Boyle, president of Live Nation Japan; Thomas Dürr, CEO of ACT Entertainment; Stuart Galbraith, founder of Kilimanjaro Live!; Leca Guimarães, international director of C3 Presents; and Beatrice Stirnimann, CEO of Baloise Session.
Quiel has been to the conference several times to meet his international partners and friends. He shared one of his favourite Pollstar Live! memories in our latest edition of Q’s With A Pollstar Live! Panelist.
What are you most looking forward to about your panel, “International Festivals: Juicing Up a Mature Marketplace”?
I’m excited to meet the other panelists and listen to their stories and exchange experiences and ideas. I know Thomas Dürr from Act Entertainment and went to his festival Greenfield in 2017. I also met Leca from C3 at MIDEM in Cannes last year and went to Lollapalooza Berlin after.
It’s always good to exchange knowledge; it does not matter if you promote a metal or a pop festival. I hope there will be festival promoters from the U.S. in the audience. I’m sure there is a lot we can learn from each other!
Which industry development has impacted your business the most in recent times? Lack of headliners? Artist fees? Consolidation? Or has business never been better, which is the impression you get when speaking to European promoters these days. 
At Wacken Open Air we are in a very good position to compensate the “lack of headliners.” My bosses had to be creative a couple of years ago, when there weren’t any big bands available. We’ve had the slogan “The Festival is the Headliner” for a long time now and people get it.
Wacken Open Air is not about going to a festival only to see a huge headliner and some other bands. It’s about the whole vibe. A big heavy metal family gathering with people from all over the world. It’s pretty unique, I would say. Of course, we are always trying to get the big names. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.
Artist fees have definitely changed and it’s always a topic, but we have yet to fail in finding a good deal that both sides can live with.
What aspect are you most looking forward to at this year’s Pollstar Live! Conference and why? 
As a festival booker and a tour promoter I’m always looking forward to meeting the agents we are working with. And you always meet lots of new, interesting people at Pollstar Live!. Many of our business partners are based in Los Angeles so it’s good to be in town once a year. 
I like the panels and keynote interviews at Pollstar Live!. Shep Gordon together with Alice Cooper in 2017 was probably the best keynote I’ve ever seen. Their story is just incredible and very inspiring. I also look forward to Agents Live!.
What recent accomplishment are you most proud of?
Right now we are booking the bands for our Full Metal Holiday and I’m happy with the first confirmations. Full Metal Holiday is a one-week heavy metal gathering that takes place in Mallorca, Spain, in October. It’s great fun, as you can imagine.
We launched Full Metal Holiday last year, and we’re proud of our new baby. Besides that, our Full Metal Cruise will set out soon and our 30th anniversary of Wacken Open Air is already sold out. So there’s nothing to complain about at the moment, but we always need to stay focused. We really appreciate the fact that our current events are pretty successful but we don’t take it for granted, that’s for sure.  
What was the live show or shows that most changed your life and why?
Bizarre Festival in Cologne, Germany in 1994 was definitely a life changer. I was 15 years old and this was my first festival. I loved the vibe of it. I remember Biohazard and Bad Religion playing amazing shows there.
Another important show was U2 with their Zoo TV show in 1993. It just blew me away. There were also a lot of small punk and metal shows I went to almost every week back then. Slipknot in 1999 in a small club in Cologne was another one I will always remember as something special. My first show of Life Of Agony was also a so-called life changer.
Another one: Guns N’ Roses in Hannover in 2017. My parents didn’t allow me to go see the show in 1992. Since then I had suffered from the idea of never seeing the band live, so I was more than happy to see them on their last tour. And they were simply amazing. It’s great they’re back!
There were so many more: Eric Clapton at the Royal Albert Hall in London, AC/DC in Berlin, Mantar at Wacken 2015…