Pollstar Live! 2023 Sets Attendance Record: Conference Hub 

Attendees celebrate the best in the live business during the Pollstar Awards Feb. 22 at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles.

Pollstar Live! prides itself on being the world’s largest gathering of live entertainment professionals and the 2023 edition once again broke its previous attendance record with the Feb. 21-23 event bringing together nearly 2,000 executives.

The 34th annual conference featured three days of compelling panel discussions and Q&A sessions with industry leaders and artists including Garth Brooks, Symba, DJ Quik, Big Daddy Kane, Doug E. Fresh, Los Tigres del Norte and Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons, along with plenty of networking opportunities and the Pollstar Awards, celebrating the best in the live business.

“This will be the largest conference in the history of Pollstar, but more importantly, the largest conference in the music business,” Tim Leiweke, president and CEO of Pollstar’s parent company Oak View Group, told the audience during his opening remarks.

“This is what we dreamed of, having a place and a time that our industry can come together and talk about not only what’s working but what are our issues, what are our problems and how we can solve them.”

Pollstar magazine’s flagship event took place at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles, kicking off with the one-day Production Live! dedicated to production and transportation in live events.

Panel topics included “Building Crews With Culture, Competence & Opportunity For All,” “Fuel price, Labor And Gear: 2023 Outlook,” “Staying Sane & Sober In An Insane World,” “Festival Production 101,” “<Bang, + <Bucks: This Is The Latest/Greatest For Live Music Production” and “Partners In Crime: Tour Manager, Tour Accountant, And Production Manager Roundtable.”

As Ray Waddell, president of the Media & Conferences Division for Oak View Group, said when welcoming attendees Feb. 21, Production Live! puts the spotlight on the people behind the scenes who “deliver the dreams, load them on the truck and take [live shows] to the next town.”

Attendees were also treated to a Keynote Q&A titled “The Camp Counselor & the Supermensch,” featuring wild stories from Shep “Supermensch” Gordon, best known as the manager of Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Alice Cooper. The discussion was led by David Fishof, creator of the successful Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp and producer of the legendary Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band tours.

Highlights from Pollstar Live’s programming included the hot-topic keynote “Ticketing Real Talk: Reforms, Resolutions and Risks.” Moderated by The Azoff Company Chairman/CEO Irving Azoff, the frank discussion featured country superstar Garth Brooks alongside Madison Square Garden executive chairman James Dolan and former attorney general for the United States Department of Justice’s antitrust division Makan Delrahim.

And then there was “Throw Your Hands In The Air: 50 Years of Live Hip-Hop,” which boasted key figures who played critical roles in the genre’s development with hip-hop legends Doug E. Fresh, DJ Quik, Big Daddy Kane, joined by lauded promoters Lionel Bea of the Black Promoters Collective, Darryl Brooks of C D Enterprises Inc. and agent/promoter Norby Walters. The discussion was moderated by Geoff Walker, the founder of Kickstand World LLC, a marketing and branding consultant for Warner Music Group and the guest editor of Pollstar’s special hip-hop issue.

Pollstar Live’s Rainmaker sessions offered candid Q&As with visionaries and thought leaders of the live entertainment industry including a conversation between Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons / tvg hospitality and club owner Brian Teasley, a discussion with Symba and Live Nation Urban’s Brandon Pankey, a talk with Los Tigres Del Norte and LENUSA’s Euler Torres, and a convo between Vic Mensa and Billboard executive director of R&B/Hip-Hop Gail Mitchell.

Other speakers over the three days included CAA’s Jenna Adler and Marlene Tsuchii, Wasserman’s Sam Hunt, Live Nation’s Omar Al-joulani and Geni Lincoln, UTA’s David Zedeck, among many others.

Comedian/actress/author Anjelah Reyes-Johnson hosted the 34th Annual Pollstar Awards, which honored the most successful artists, executives, venues, events and companies in the live business. Eagles received the Pollstar Milestone Award in recognition of more than 50 years as a band with Don Henley accepting the award on behalf of the group.

Dave Chappelle also delighted the crowd by stopping by the awards ceremony to pick up his trophy for Comedy Tour of the Year and share a few jokes while on stage. One of the most touching moments of the evening was when Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl surprised John Silva of Silva Artist Manager, his manager of more than 30 years, with a speech celebrating his win for Personal Manager of the Year.

For more on Pollstar Live!, check out the links below:

Harry Styles, Bad Bunny Among 2023 Pollstar Award Winners; Chappelle, Grohl & Henley Make Surprise Cameos

Ray Waddell’s Production Live! Opening Remarks: New, Young Faces in Live Biz Was ‘A Long Time Coming’

Building Crews With Culture, Competence & Opportunity For All (Production Live! Panel Recap)

Staying Sane & Sober in an Insane World (Production Live! Panel Recap)

Bigger Bang & Bigger Bucks: The Latest & Greatest In Live Production (Production Live! Panel Recap)

Production Live! Recap: Fuel Prices, Labor & Gear: 2023 Outlook

Festival Production 101 (Productive Live! Panel Recap)

The Supermensch and the Camp Counselor (Production Live! Recap)

Tim Leiweke’s Pollstar Live! Opening Remarks: ‘Music is the Future of Our Company, of This Industry’

Garth Brooks, Irving Azoff, James Dolan And Makan Delrahim Discuss Ticketing At Pollstar Live! (Video)

Ben Lovett Of Mumford & Sons And Tvg Hospitality In Conversation With Saturn’s Brian Teasley: Rainmaker Session (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap

We’re Baaaack! Aren’t We? (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap)

Live Nation Urban’s Brandon Pankey & Symba Rainmaker Session (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap)

Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Quik, Darryll Brooks, Lionel Bea, Norby Walters Show Love & Appreciation For 50 Yrs Of Hip-Hop

The Return of the Global Touring Model (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap)

Mainstream Mexican Music, The Future is Now Featuring Los Tigres Del Norte: Rainmaker Session (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap)

Is It A Residency, A Sitdown, A Multiple Or A Stand? Whatever, It’s A Trend (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap)

Vic Mensa’s Pollstar Live! Rainmakers Session: ‘My Superpower Is Vulnerability’

Big In Peoria: The Boutique Boom & The Power Of Secondary Market Festivals (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap)

Hello, I Love You — Fostering Community Around Artists & Events (Pollstar Live! Panel Recap)