There’s a lot to talk about in this business in the middle of 2021. Moving an industry that’s still caught between hopeful optimism and ongoing certainty is no small feat, and neither is trying to tell the whole story of doing so. Therefore, along with the following pages honoring each individual Impact International honoree, we’ve compiled a supplemental survey of sorts to bring broader topics into focus.
ON NEGOTIATING THE REOPENING
Director, Festival Republic
The negotiations were tough. But there’s layers of government, certainly here in the UK. We have the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, and they know what we do. Using a cricketing term, they go in to bat for us. But, of course, then you start talking to Treasury about insurance, and we are a tiny speck in the COVID spend and they’re not that engaged with us. You talk to the Department of Health and Social Care, and we’re an insignificant speck in terms of what they’ve been dealing with. We did have to push hard, possibly unnecessarily hard, to get music events [recognized] as part of the [Events Research] program. I’m pleased to say that my pushing was successful, because I’m not sure we’d be where we are without it.
Managing Director, ILMC & CEO, LIVE
Pre-COVID I was pessimistic about the democratic process and felt that it was impossible to influence Government. The last year has taught me that with the right help you can change policy or direction of travel.
Founder & CEO, EXIT Festival
Many governments in the world have shown very inconsistent patterns when making rules. It’s not logical! It is necessary for the industry to unite and lobby stronger. And yes, fight as well. If we are as united as possible, we can do wonders and get things back to normal sooner than anyone thinks. If the industry continues to be relatively silent, I am afraid that the situation will go from bad to worse.
ON NOT TAKING LIFE FOR GRANTED
Live your life to the fullest. We have lost close friends through this pandemic – CAA London lost our dear colleague Ben Kouijzer last year and at a time when we could not all be with him to support due to lockdown restrictions. I think that maybe we all need to take a step back and consider our work/life balance a bit more than maybe we have done, because COVID has made me realize just how fragile this life is and that we shouldn’t put off to tomorrow what we can do today.
Owner & CEO, Barcelona Events Musicals SL & Director, Cruïlla Festival
In my view, we have been taking things for granted, the little things we are surrounded with in our daily lives. For example, spending time with our families, especially our elders, our friends, hugging each other, gathering up for dinner or lunch, very simple things that truly are the most important ones.
Director & CEO Of #Merky & Hashtag Merky Management
Life is often taken for granted, but you’re here, you’re alive, you’re breathing, you woke up. Those are things that I feel are often dismissed as serious blessings.
ON THEIR BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY
Chairman, Live Nation UK & Ireland
Give it your best and don’t be afraid of failure.
Managing Director, AERO Productions /Jarre Management
Booking Agent, Mother Artists Live
Don’t be a dick.
Eric van Eerdenburg
Director, Lowlands Festival, Mojo Concerts
If the content is right the rest will follow.
CEO, A Entertainment Inc.
Do the job in the best possible way; fulfill all the wishes of the artists; go all the way, no matter how hard it is; fulfill the commitments you have made. If you fall, always get up as quickly as possible.
President, Live Nation EMEA
Be straight with people.
CEO, CTS Eventim
Never give up. Beckie Sugden, Agent, ICM Partners: Always bring the solution not the problem.
As you sow, so shall you reap. Business is only a tool for positive social change. reg Parmley: Work hard, do what you say you’re going to do, and don’t be a dick.
Keep it clean. Keep it honest.
CEO, One Fiinix Live
Always try to stay friendly and respectful, everything comes back around one day.
You can grow and compete by respecting your personal and professional environments, your community and your planet.
Live Nation Ent. Int’l Group Counsel
Lawyers should never be seen as blockers by the business. Everything should be achievable.
Chief Executive, Music Managers Forum
Change what you can, but don’t sweat the small stuff. Build a great team and trust them.
Be the person that says YES, not the person that says NO.
We need “everyone in the room” and if that’s not happening, we need to call it out and work to change it.
The whole music business, recorded and live has had a long overdue awakening that it needs to change. I think because everyone loves music it was assumed we are automatically inclusive, yet a look around the Board members of most of the companies and organizations making up the live business shows this isn’t the case in terms of gender or ethnicity.
As much as the next year or so will be focused on ramping up and getting back to business, there is a huge focus on inclusivity and sustainability as two areas that the industry must make progress on. Over the last year a lot of time was given to thinking about the correct way to build back, and how to build back better, and I hope we see the results over the coming years.
The Back Lounge & Tour Production Group
I think there’s massive potential now to see a more colorful and diverse world backstage. That’s the best scenario for everyone, at worst it’s a box ticking exercise. What I mean is it should always be about the best person being hired for the job, but that it’s a level playing field whatever your color, gender, recovery, or mental health journey. It’s apparent that whilst there is starting to be more variety in those new coming into the industry, we need to enable and support them and help them to move up quickly.
I’ve been measuring my own festival carbon footprints since 2008. I was a founder board member of Julie’s Bicycle, which is entirely dedicated to carbon reduction. I’ve probably been the only promoter since 2008 to have a permanent, full time sustainability manager on the payroll in Vickie Chapman. We developed a policy in Europe in May 2019 and changed it ever so slightly to include the United States. Michael Rapino adopted that as official policy and appointed me as a member of the Green Nation board. [Sustainability is] very close to my heart, and we are pushing on it on every single front.
This is a tricky one when it comes to touring, because I think the issue is different to other prominent causes. There is the emotional side of it, the winning of hearts and minds, the carrying of the message and that is something that the artists have a great deal of power with. In my personal, and not always popular, view though, the issue of the practicalities of carbon neutrality in touring is more complicated because it requires everyone involved to take part, the artist, the venue, the suppliers and crucially the audience to truly achieve the result we need. It is a red herring to expect any given artist to one day present you with a carbon neutral tour because the only way that can be achieved is with off-setting third parties’ carbon footprint, over which they have no control, and it is debatable if this is a solution. I believe we will get there, but we will need legislation which requires each party, the artist, the suppliers, the venues, and the audience to keep their side of the street clean, then when they mesh, we will have a green tour. Until then the idea will be to do our absolute best to be better and to keep improving and making progress in the areas which we can control.
Clearly the enforced full stop we’ve been through has given a lot of organizations time to reassess priorities, and coming out of COVID, it feels as though sustainability is going to be a key focus moving forwards. The LIVE Green work feels fresh in that it’s brought together the whole UK industry under a voluntary commitment, which will sit alongside some of the longstanding initiatives already in place like Green Nation, Vision 2025, or Music Declares Emergency. There’s a lot of energy and momentum in this space currently which is exciting to see.
ON THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE
It’s not one thing, it’s the friends, family, and animals in my life that I love most. Chocolate and a good bed come a close second.
My Husband Alex, met at 19 and now married 20 years, together 24 years. Does he count as a ‘thing’?
Eric van Eerdenburg
My family, quickly followed by my job of course! Suzi Green: Food! And community.Ok, that’s two things, but somehow the two go together so well. Touring is such an amazing way to see the world and those elusive nights off with time to go and eat locally with a bunch of great people are some of my best memories aside from the shows.
What I love the most is my wife, without her love and support nothing would be possible, But I have to mention also the kids, my parents, the dogs and the cat: the family.
Three things: Family, Tantra, Kitesurfing.