Billboard Touring Conference To Feature Azoff Q&A, Coachella FoundersMega-manager Irving Azoff will be the keynote Q&A at the ninth annual Billboard Touring Conference & Awards, set for Nov. 7-8 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. Additionally, the team that produces the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., will sit for a rare public discussion at the conference.
Billboard's inaugural Power 100 list (Feb. 4) spurred much spirited industry discussion, but no one questioned Azoff's position at No. 1. Azoff, chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and chairman/CEO of Front Line Management Group, has moved mountains in the worlds of film, TV and record labels; transformed mere artistry into superstardom; sustained and resurrected careers; and is a force of nature in the world of philanthropy. Live Nation is by far the largest promoter in the world, its Ticketmaster division dominates the ticketing space, and Front Line carries the same status in the field of management.
Laser-focused on servicing artists and giving fans what they want, Azoff's credo is content is king and live is the thing, and when he sits down with Ray Waddell, Billboard's executive director of content and programming for touring and live entertainment, for "The Keynote Q&A: A Conversation With Irving Azoff," expect candor, humor, plenty of fireworks and opinions and observations that matter.
The Billboard Touring Conference will also feature "The Grass, the Palms, the Music: Inside Coachella." After a rocky start that would have felled lesser events, the Coachella festival in Indio, Calif., has risen to become one of the elite music events in the world. Producer/founder Goldenvoice set the live music business abuzz last year when it announced that the 2012 event would be staged with identical lineups on consecutive weekends. But the instincts of Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett and his team were once again on target, as Coachella notched the highest box office for a festival ever reported to Billboard Boxscore, and scores of "wow" moments in the desert.
In a rare public discourse, the Goldenvoice/Coachella trio of Tollett, Skip Paige and Bill Fold will discuss the strategic booking, industry relationships and focus on taking care of fans and bands that make Coachella a one-of-a-kind experience. In a can't-miss session, these touring professionals will pull back the curtain on this great American music festival (Billboard, April 14), where the grass is green and the music moves mountains.
"Irving Azoff is one of the most challenging and entertaining interview subjects I've ever had, and I know he will deliver the goods in this keynote Q&A," says Billboard's Waddell, who will moderate both sessions. "And the Coachella team are as good as it gets in the festival business: smart, intuitive and, ultimately, music fans. This is going to be fun."