Pollstar Live! Closing Remarks Demonstrate Big Bets On Live Business With Leiweke, Wasserman, Corbin

Tim Leiweke
– Tim Leiweke
Pollstar Live! 2021

Pollstar Live!’s closing remarks, titled “Reviving Live!” featured a panel that could be considered a case study in taking big bets (and by all accounts succeeding) during the pandemic. 

C3 Presents’ Amy Corbin shared the blowout success from the recent Austin City Limits Music Festival onsale, which moved 450,000 tickets over two weekends in three hours. While many in the industry have noted strong demand with newly announced events, Corbin still “had no idea it would be three hours. The appetite was insatiable for everything we had and that is very promising for our industry.” Meanwhile, Lollapalooza will be the first of the major multi-genre festivals to take place since the pandemic, kicking off July 29 in Chicago.
On the agency side, Casey Wasserman took a bet on live music with the acquisition of Paradigm, which he said was not about timing but about believing in live music, “and we do for the next 20 years.”  He also noted that the UK/European component of Paradigm “wasn’t far behind,” but more complicated to finalize. 

Casey Wasserman
– Casey Wasserman
Pollstar Live! 2021
Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke talked of his own commitments to the live business, with OVG the parent company to Pollstar and Pollstar Live! taking place literally on the day of the reopening of California, but more tangibly with OVG’s seven soon-to-open arena projects, with Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena opening in October as the first carbon-neutral arena.  This will be followed by projects including UBS Arena in New York as well as venues in Savannah, Austin and the Coachella Valley along with Manchester, and Cardiff in the U.K. and “others soon to be announced,” accoding to Leiweke.
Noting the impact COVID has taken on the live music business, Leiweke says the challenge of our lifetimes, sustainability, needs to be addressed now. “What we have to realize is we have about a 10-year window where if we don’t solve our problems with our planet and what we’re doing to ourselves, the whole Earth as we know it is going to disappear,” he said, adding that the new UBS Arena in New York will be carbon neutral.  “We cannot lose that battle.”  He invited the audience to attend the VenuesNow conference in October in Seattle, which he said would have some major figures in the space and lead the way in sustainability. 
In closing, Leiweke said not to forget the impact of live music and sports on people’s lives and, despite uncertainty or new crises, to not be afraid to bet big. 
“I’m grateful we’re poised for maybe the best run ever,” he said.