Jackie Lombard

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Jackie Lombard

Promoter & Producer, Inter Concerts

Surviving & Thriving

Jackie Lombard has seen and done it all. Since the 1970s, she is credited with promoting some of the biggest names in music history on their visits to France: Neil Diamond, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, Michael Jackson, Tom Jones, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Barbra Streisand, Prince, Beyoncé – the list is endless.

Migrating to France from Israel at age 14, she is a self-made entrepreneur. When asked to recall the moment she fell in love with live music, she laughs. “Watching Tom Jones at l’Olympia in Paris, in 1972, I think. Tom was huge with his song ‘She’s A Lady’ during that time. That night I said to myself, ‘One day I will do this job and I will promote this artist,’ and as it turns out, Tom was one of my first concerts followed by many other great acts.”

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Michael Jackson performing at the Hippodrome de Paris-Vincennes, Sept. 13, 1992. The concert was promoted by Jackie Lombard. (Photo by Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

One of them was Michael Jackson, whom Lombard promoted in 1992 at the Vincennes Hippodrome de Paris in front of 80,000 standing fans on his “Dangerous” world tour. “It was crazy. I was scared to death, hoping everyone would stay safe and the show would end. I used the same venue for Freddie Mercury and Queen shortly after. The Hippodrome is a racetrack, and I was the first promoter to do such shows. I had no choice, because Paris did not have a stadium large enough to support these major acts at that time.”

A true pioneer, Lombard not only survived in a male-dominated industry, but she thrived. To this day, she considers this her single biggest accomplishment in her career. That doesn’t mean she didn’t also work with men in a highly successful manner, including with some of the most legendary promoters and agents from the U.S. and UK. She’ll forever remain grateful to manager Jerry Weintraub, who trusted her with his superstars back when she was still a nobody in the industry. And promoter Barrie Marshall, who introduced her to George Michael, Tina Turner and Whitney Houston, among others, and whom she describes as her mentor. “When it comes to his entrepreneurship, he’s an artist,” she says. “I have lots of love and gratitude for the entire Marshall Arts family.”

Her company, Inter Concerts, is an independent business and the prolonged ban on mass gatherings left its mark. When the industry was finally allowed to get to work again, Lombard found that most buildings and a lot of crews were unavailable. Hence, she focused on rescheduling shows for 2023, which, according to Lombard, “might just be another crazy year.” At any rate, she says, “the past two years are non-recoupable, period!”

Lombard may have been a core part of the French live entertainment scene for roughly half a century, yet nothing she experienced in all those years came close to what ensued in March of 2020. “I have never seen this sort of disruption ever in my industry,” she says. “The pandemic did not only change our business, but it has also changed the world.” She adds that on a personal level, the pandemic also changed her. “Having worked very hard my entire life, I suddenly found myself in lockdown, which was in essence a forced vacation. The second year was more difficult both mentally and physically, as I started to feel lazy as a result of doing nothing but talking on the phone, writing, and responding to hundreds of emails, canceling, postponing and rescheduling concerts. Unfortunately, the costs and prices for shows have only increased, while venues and talent have not decreased their fees, and the valuation of the Euro against the U.S. dollar is just crazy.”

Lombard admits that she may “look calm on the outside in order to make people around me calm, but inside I’ve dealt with tons of pressure and stress. Mentally, physically, and spiritually we’re all affected. All I can say to less experienced promoters is to stay positive and believe that all will work out the way it is destined to work out. Fight when you must fight, know that nothing comes easy, but keep the dream alive. I am a believer, and I believed in my lucky star, which always seemed to follow me.”