New But Familiar: A Look At ILMC 35

ILMC Alpine Spa Wood Sign
ILMC 35 will be a place for this industry to talk shop, but also take a breath, hang out, and reflect.

ILMC 35, taking place Feb. 28-March 3 in London, England, comes with two major developments. The first is a change of venue after more than 20 years of calling the Royal Garden Hotel home. The new hotel, the Royal Lancaster, is located not far away on the opposite end of Hyde Park, and offers a few advantages: more space to accommodate what is likely to be the biggest delegate number in ILMC history as the old space started to get a bit cramped with 1,200 live pros on site; the conference rooms are no longer located in the basement, but will instead be flooded with natural light flooding through large windows. Also, as ILMC head Greg Parmley told Pollstar, “after 20 years in one place, it’s probably time to try something else, see what life is like outside of your traditional home.” He wouldn’t be surprised to see some of the Royal Garden Hotel’s staff, most of whom have become good friends over the years, show up at the new place.

See: ILMC 35 Expands, Moves To New Venue

The Royal Lancaster is also located much closer to London’s Soho district, site of the second major development of ILMC: a live showcase event dubbed London Calling. 16 artists, curated and presented in partnership with Kilimanjaro Live, Forum Presents, Mad Cool Festival, the Music Venue Trust’s Revive Live campaign, ILMC’s latin partners united under the Latin Live banner, and more, performing at four Soho venues: the Spice of Life, 21 Soho, Phoenix Bar and the brand new Lower Third at Outernet. The artists performing, while considered up-and-coming, will already have taken some significant career steps. They represent the next rung up from what you’d expect to see and hear at a showcase event for brand-new talent to reflect the caliber of delegates that attend ILMC, Parmley explained.

See: ILMC Introduces Live Showcases

Aside from these two major changes to ILMC 35, there’ll be a lot that people will find familiar, not least the buzz in and around the conference rooms, where the chairs will be set up in an arc formation just like the have been since the very first ILMC in 1989. And the buzz is likely to exceed that of previous editions, just because there’s so much to talk about, from large-scale ticketing to the agency business to sustainability, and all things pertaining to production. This year’s list of speakers feature TikTok’s UK head of music David Mogendorff, Metropolis Music’s Raye Cosbert, Wasserman Music’s Marty Diamond, Emporium Presents’ Dan Steinberg, Live Nation Belgium’s Herman Schueremans, as well as multiple Pollstar/VenuesNow Impact International honorees, including Debbie McWilliams (Scottish Event Campus), Maria May (CAA), and Obi Asika (UTA).

Greg Parmley, head of the International Live Music Conference ILMC.

“There’s loads to talk about,” said Parmley, adding that one major topic was mental health. “Our charity partner this year is Music Minds Matter, which is a Help Musicians charity [focused on] mental health. We’re also working with Tamsin Embleton, who’s got a book out, [Touring and Mental Health: The Music Industry Manual]. We’re running three specific workshops on mental health during the whole of ILMC.”

What is more, “There’s a whole strand of events and programming called Latin Live, reflecting on the amazing activity that’s happening in that market and everything that’s coming out of it at the moment,” he continued.

ILMC 35 will also host a series of roundtable working lunches, each dedicated to a different topic with ten delegates per session. Hosted by subject matter experts and with everyone at the table encouraged to be part of the conversation, it’s 50 minutes of learning, making new acquaintances, and contributing to the conversation – all over a five-star, sit-down buffet lunch.

See: Pollstar Impact International Honoree Greg Parmley

The past years have led to an exodus of personnel into other industries. When it comes to tackling the staffing issues in particular, ILMC isn’t just a place to talk, but act: The Alia Dann Swift bursary scheme, supported by ASM Global, returns, underwriting the costs for 30 ILMC passes, which young individuals seeking a role in this biz can apply for. The last day of ILMC is dubbed the Futures Forum, and aside from the regular conference sessions, it features mentoring and networking sessions designed to grow the future talent of this industry. Winners of the passes, as well as those signing up for the Friday, will have the opportunity to speak to and learn from some of the world’s most successful individuals in live. “The Futures Forum is very much part of ILMC, and we expect all ILMC delegates to attend the day,” Parmley said, “it is about the exchange between the established professionals and the younger generation coming into the business.”

What the professionals and artists in this industry have been pulling off over the past three years, at times, has been nothing short of miraculous. Events were produced, tickets sold under the most adverse circumstances imaginable. No wonder people need a break, which is why the theme of ILMC 35 is “Spa & Last Resort.” Said Parmley, “The ILMC themes are always slightly tongue-in-cheek, but they tend to reflect aspects of the business. And this year, it’s absolutely the case. The idea is for people to come together for three days, take a breath, hang out, and reflect on the amazing recovery that we’ve seen in the last 12 months, coming out of COVID – and talk about what’s next.”

Subscribe to Pollstar HERE