Live Nation Entertainment chairman and Billboard's top 2012 Power Player Irving Azoff has been announced as a keynote Q&A for the 9th Annual Billboard Touring Conference & Awards, Nov. 7-8 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. Additionally, the team that produces the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., will sit for a rare public discussion at the conference.
The first Billboard Power 100 list last year spurred much spirited industry discussion, but it's difficult to challenge Irving Azoff's position as Number 1. Azoff, Chairman of Live Nation Entertainment and chairman/CEO of Front Line Management Group, is a titan in the worlds of film, TV and record labels; has 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 world of ticketing, and Front Line carries the same status in the management world. 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 Billboard's Ray Waddell for "The Keynote Q&A: A Conversation with Irving Azoff," expect candor, humor, plenty of fireworks, and opinions and observations that matter.
The 2012 Billboard Touring Conference will also feature "The Grass, The Palms, The Music: Inside Coachella." Since its premiere in 2000, the Coachella Music & Arts Festival in Indio, Calif., has risen to become one of the elite music festivals in the world. Producers and founders Goldenvoice jarred the live-music business last year when they 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. The company made another breakthrough this week by announcing the first Coachella cruises to take place in December.
In a rare public discourse, the Goldenvoice/Coachella trio of Skip Paige, Bill Fold and Paul Tollett 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 guys will pull back the curtain on this Great American Music Festival.
"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 Ray Waddell, Billboard's executive director of Touring & Live Entertainment, 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."