Cristina Baxter sounds ready for the 2022 glut as she reflects on the sheer number of shows played successfully in 2021, and the expansion of business and brand partnerships that sprang up.
“There is no doubt that it feels a little bit like drinking from a fire hose,” Baxter tells Pollstar. “We had clients who were able to tour North America and developed and launched new properties, and play shows from club dates to big stadium events.”
But with the live industry on the brink of a major comeback, there’s still plenty of work – and challenges – ahead.
“The most critical piece of working through the number of clients that will be touring both on my own roster (as well as company wide and industry-wide) is communication,” Baxter says. “There are many issues to consider – obviously avails and traffic is a primary consideration – but also announce and on-sale traffic as well as festival traffic.”
But there’s nothing as satisfying as when all those efforts come together on the stage in front of huge, appreciative audiences.
“Every show I’ve attended over the last 10 months has been memorable,” Baxter says. “It’s inspiring to see all that our clients created off the road come to life in front of an audience. It’s also been incredibly special to witness the joy and connection the audience experiences.”
An example, for Baxter, is her first show back after the shutdown: Kygo at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in June.
“It was the first full-capacity, sold-out show in the venue since the beginning of the pandemic,” she explains. “He and his team put on an unforgettable event, and watching friends and loved ones come together…was impactful.”
Baxter also says that WME’s efforts in the areas of diversity, equality and inclusion continue to be a source of great pride: “We launched the ‘Excellence Program’ with our client Sean Combs, which is a program for aspiring industry executives from underrepresented backgrounds looking to break into entertainment, music, sports, and fashion. And specific to music and the live industry, we’re proud of our partnership with our client Noelle Scaggs of Fitz & The Tantrums on Diversify the Stage. Still, there is certainly more work to do to.”