The 2014 Billboard Touring Conference sold out for the second consecutive year and was the most successful in the event's history, with more than 800 attendees. Content for last year's conference featured the most respected and visionary names in live music, including heads of booking agencies, the world’s most active and innovative promoters, and managers of the busiest touring artists in the world, along with such artists as keynote Q&A Chris Cornell, country breakout artist Brantley Gilbert, and a breakdown of 50 years of touring from Kool & the Gang, the latter also performing at the Billboard Touring Awards.
Taking part every year in the Billboard Touring Conference are the major influencers and decision makers in the industry, including top promoters, agents, managers, ticketing executives, festival producers, marketing and branding professionals, venue managers, and artists. The Billboard Touring Conference has become widely known for hosting attendees and speakers that are the elite industry players, including established concert industry executives, up-and-coming entrepreneurs, and influential tastemakers. The gathering is fertile ground for the growth and exchange of new ideas, with topics covering artists and events across all genres and positions on the career arc.
"Over the years the Billboard Touring Conference has built a reputation for programming the most compelling content of any major music industry conference, and the 2015 event will be no exception," says Ray Waddell, Billboard's executive director of content and programming for touring and live entertainment. "We provide what we feel is the premier platform for frank discussion of the most important ideas, issues, and trends that the live entertainment industry faces, both right now and in the coming years. The live business is in a very robust period and we feel strongly that the networking opportunities and candid analysis of the marketplace that will take place in New York in November will play a key role in keeping the industry on an upward trajectory in these dynamic times."
Programming of this conference is continually upgraded and customized to fit the needs of concert business stakeholders today. The 2015 event promises a high level of participation from meaningful artists, with case studies and keynotes that break down the most successful business development and touring stories of the year. The two days of informative keynote interviews, compelling sessions on hot button issues, networking cocktail parties and showcases concludes with the Billboard Touring Awards, which honors the industry's top artists, professionals and venues of the year. The Awards are based on the Billboard Boxscore chart, recognizing true box office success and industry achievement as opposed to popular vote.
Kool & The Gang Spirit of the Boogie Panel: Q&A Highlights From the Billboard Touring Conference 2014
In addition to honoring box office achievement, Billboard also presents its prestigious Legend of Live Award, Humanitarian Award, Concert Marketing & Promotion Award, and other achievement recognition beyond the box office. Past Legend of Live Awards recipients include last year’s honoree Lionel Richie, along with George Strait, Neil Diamond, Journey, Rush, Ozzy Osbourne, the Allman Brothers Band, and Sir Elton John, all of whom were on hand to accept the honor.
Humanitarian Award recipients have included the Dave Matthews Band, Music Rising, the Apollo Theater, Live Earth producer/CEO Kevin Wall, Jon Bon Jovi, Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman, Jack Johnson, Coran Capshaw, Marcie Allen, and 2014 recipient Bob Benjamin and the Light Of Day Foundation. Other notable speakers and honorees who have taken part in the Billboard Touring Conference & Awards include Roger Waters, Kenny Chesney, Gene Simmons, Perry Farrell, Sugarland, Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio, Jason Aldean, Mark Cuban, Warren Haynes, Skrillex, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino, former U2 manager Paul McGuinness, and many more.