Louis Messina, Marty Diamond, Foo Fighters, More Highlight 30th Annual Pollstar Awards

Julia Lofstrand
– Foo Fighters
Foo Fighters accept Best Rock Tour at the Pollstar Awards.

Louis Messina and Marty Diamond loomed large over the 30th annual Pollstar Awards (full winners list below), held Wednesday at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Between them, the powerhouse promoter and agent collected multiple awards — and appeared onstage to accept the final honor of the night, Major Tour of the Year, on behalf of mutual client Ed Sheeran.

The pop star himself — whose ÷ Tour grossed an eye-popping $432.4 globally in 2018 — appeared by video, but his representatives stole the show. “He is a rockstar through and through,” said Diamond, “with a work ethic that, if you could clone him, it’d be fucking scary. He is nonstop all the time.” Added Messina: “We are going to the fucking afterparty!”

The moment capped an epic night for the duo. Diamond won the Bobby Brooks Award for Agent of the Year and his Paradigm Talent Agency won Booking Agency of the Year. For his part, Messina accepted Best Pop Tour on behalf of his client Taylor Swift and the Bill Graham Award for Promoter of the Year. “I want more people up here than Paradigm had, because they had a shitload of people,” Messina said with a flourish of friendly competition when accepting the latter award. He capped his brief speech fittingly: “Like I always say, ‘Let’s fucking go get drunk.'”

That rockstar mentality dominated the night — in part because actual rockstars descended on the ceremony. Early in the evening, Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters bandmates Taylor Hawkins, Pat Smear and Nate Mendel accepted the award for Best Rock Tour in person.

“First of all, I had so much fucking fun yesterday that I haven’t left,” said Grohl, alluding to his keynote Pollstar Live! conversation with Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino on Tuesday. “I don’t care what anyone says. This shit is fun. This shit is great. And I’m going to tell all the other bands that haven’t shown up that from now on, this is like — fuck Clive’s [annual Grammys] party, this is the fucking party. Sorry Clive.”

Julia Lofstrand
– Louis Messina
Louis Messina takes the stage at the Pollstar Awards.

The Foos appeared again later to present their tour manager Gus Brandt with the Road Warrior award. “We’d like to call that the road worrier of the year,” joked Grohl, who recalled being with Brandt a previous time he won the same honor. “We said, ‘Nobody sent me a fucking ballot!’ And then he threatened to quit. But he can’t quit, because he’s been our tour manager for 25 fucking years.”

Grohl then relinquished the microphone to Brandt, who thanked the “family I never see” and explained that “I’ve been at more soundchecks than swim meets, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Several other musicians received accolades. Kacey Musgraves and Chris Stapleton, who received Best Support and Best Country Tour, respectively, both appeared via pre-recorded videos to accept their honors. In a glimpse of the future, WME’s Marc Geiger claimed Best New Headliner on behalf of his client Greta Van Fleet, calling them “great, great kids” and urging his industry peers to “not fuck ’em up, and let ’em develop.” When accepting Best Attraction, America’s Dewey Bunnell told the audience, “When we won the Best New Artist Grammy in 1972, we weren’t there for it, so at least I’m here tonight!

Other artists recognized included Elton John (Best Touring Musician), Beyoncé & JAY-Z (Best Hip-Hop/R&B Tour), Shakira (Best Latin Tour) and Bruce Springsteen (Best Residency). Brad Paisley won Best Brand Partnership/Live Campaign for his collaboration with Nationwide Insurance, and Michelle Obama received the honor for Best Non-Music Tour. And, in a sobering moment, Linkin Park’s Brad Delson accepted the Music Unites Award for his band’s charitable work through the organization Music For Relief.

On the venue side, Madison Square Garden Entertainment’s Laurie Jacoby won big, first accepting Arena of the Year for her company’s titular venue and soon returning to the stage to claim venue executive. Receiving the latter, Jacoby shouted out “all the women who are making waves … in a very much male-dominated industry.”

Another of those women, Goldenvoice’s Stacy Vee, received the Talent Buyer of the Year honor. “Thank you so much for this, thank you Nashville agents and managers for embracing our California country show Stagecoach with such open arms,” said Vee, who shouted out Artist Group International’s Marsha Vlasic “for helping pave the way for ladies like me.”

Julia Lofstrand

The microphone on stage at the Pollstar Awards.

And in one of the evening’s more colorful moments — an accomplishment in and of itself — Irving Azoff presented Red Light Management’s Coran Capshaw with the Personal Manager of the Year Award. “Now is this Coran’s worst fucking nightmare, I’m giving him the fucking award?” Azoff joked, before reflecting that “everything good about the work ethic of a manager, this man started.”

Capshaw responded with snark: “First of all, I want to thank both Azoffs for enabling me, by some vote-splitting, to wander up here tonight.”

Other prominent industry figures to receive awards included Marshall Arts Ltd’s Barrie Marshall (International Promoter of the Year), CAA’s Emma Banks (International Booking Agent of the Year), CAA’s Allison McGregor (Marketing/PR Executive of the Year) and Live Nation’s Lesley Olenik (Rising Star).

Several venues and events also received awards, including Washington, D.C.’s 9:30 Club (Nightclub of the Year), Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre (Best Outdoor Concert Venue), New York’s The Rooftop at Pier 17 (Best New Concert Venue), Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium and Newport Folk and Coachella Festivals, for Music Festival of the Year Under 30K Attendance and Over 30K Attendance, respectively.  (Music Festival of the Year Under 30K Attendance), Coachella (Music Festival of the Year Over 30K Attendance).

The 30th annual Pollstar Awards winners:
Major Tour of the Year: Ed Sheeran | ÷ Tour
Best Rock Tour: Foo Fighters | Concrete and Gold Tour 2018
Best Hip-Hop/R&B: Beyoncé & Jay-Z | On The Run II Tour
Best Pop Tour: Taylor Swift | Reputation Stadium Tour
Best Country Tour: Chris Stapleton | Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show Tour
Best Latin Tour: Shakira | El Dorado World Tour
Best Comedy Tour: Kevin Hart | The Kevin Hart Irresponsible Tour
Best Support/Special Guest: Kacey Musgraves | Harry Styles – Harry Styles: Live
Best Residency: Bruce Springsteen | Walter Kerr Theatre
Best Attraction: America

Best Non-Music Tour of the Year: Becoming: An Intimate Conversation With Michelle Obama
Best New Headliner: Greta Van Fleet
Music Festival Over 30K Capacity: Coachella | Indio, CA
Music Festival Under 30K Capacity: Newport Folk Festival | Newport, RI
Nightclub of the Year: 9:30 Club | Washington, D.C.
Theatre of the Year: Ryman Auditorium | Nashville, TN
Arena of the Year: Madison Square Garden Arena | New York, NY
Best Outdoor Concert Venue: Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO
Best New Concert Venue: The Rooftop at Pier 17 | New York, NY
Venue Executive of the Year: Laurie Jacoby, Madison Square Garden
Talent Buyer of the Year: Stacy Vee, Goldenvoice
Bill Graham Award-Promoter of the Year: Louis Messina, Messina Touring Group
International Promoter of the Year: Barrie Marshall, Marshal Arts Ltd
Bobby Brooks Award – Agent of the Year: Marty Diamond, Paradigm Talent Agency
International Booking Agent of the Year: Emma Banks, Creative Artists Agency
Booking Agency of the Year: Paradigm Talent Agency
Rising Star: Lesley Olenik, Live Nation
Personal Manager of the Year: Coran Capshaw, Red Light Management
Road Warrior: Gus Brandt | Foo Fighters, Pharrell Williams/NERD, Conan O’Brien
Best Production/Transportation Company: Upstaging, Inc.
Best Brand Partnership/Live Campaign: Nationwide Insurance w/ Brad Paisley
Best Touring Musician: Elton John
Marketing/PR Exec: Allison McGregor, Creative Artists Agency
Best Hang: Austin City Limits Music Festival

The Lifer: Frank Riley, High Road Touring
The Unavailable Award: Bob Roux, Live Nation
Most Frequently Name-Dropped: Michael Rapino, Live Nation
The Back In My Day: Ron Delsener, Live Nation
Most Dreaded Phone Call: Irving Azoff, Full Stop Management
Most Terrifying Agent: Marsha Vlasic, Artist Group International