As competition among venues for booking live shows continues to increase, with more options for live performance to choose from than ever, the upcoming Billboard Touring Conference will feature a panel that drills down into how venue decisions are made, featuring those who make those decisions.
The options agents and managers have to choose from are many, from festivals to support to headlining, from theaters to amphitheaters to arenas to stadiums. This means the competition to book the desired acts has never been higher, with top-shelf venues existing in virtually every viable market on the continent and, increasingly, on a global level.
The situation is not completely new, as rooms with a roof have competed with each other for decades, and with amphitheaters since the shed boom of the '90s. But today, an ever-growing array of festivals are booking hundreds of artists, often with protection clauses that do not allow club-to-arena plays for large periods of times in a wide geographic area. Additionally, more and more artists are making the leap to stadiums and other non-typical performance venues.
So the question becomes: How do venues avoid dark days? Some consolidate and make competing offers. Some find radius clauses carved in stone; others, not so much. The most aggressive bookers often get the nod, but they, too, must add value to the equation.
The "How Do I Get This Tour?" panel on Nov. 20 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York will directly address this market dynamic. Panelists are in the trenches every day, including Ryan McElrath, senior VP, North American Touring, Live Nation; Ashley Capps, president, AC Entertainment (Bonnaroo, Forecastle); Jeff Apregan, president, Apregan Entertainment/Venue Coalition; Jonathan Levine, agent, Paradigm Talent; and artist manager Allen Kovac, CEO of 10th Street Entertainment.
"There has been a sea change in the choices that artists and their representatives are making about the venues they want to play," says Ed Rubinstein, CEO of Arena Network and moderator of the panel. "The historic scenario of playing clubs, then theaters, then arenas and amphitheaters has changed. Now festivals and stadia have been added to the list of options for some artists."
The panel will seek to "find out what drives the decision to embrace the new options, and how the other venues are staying competitive," Rubinstein says. "We have assembled a panel representing all of the players, including talent, the venues, and the people who take the risk with the choices they make. At the end of our hour or so together, I want to walk away with some new and viable information for myself. My goal is to make sure the audience does as well."
Billed as "Where Live Music Lives," the Billboard Touring Conference & Awards, now in its 11th year, is the premier gathering of the live entertainment industry. The event is coming off a record sellout year in 2013.
Register today for the 2014 Billboard Touring Conference & Awards. Use promo code BIZ14 for $50 off current rates.