The International Entertainment Buyers Association returns to Nashville on Sunday for its 49th annual conference. The three-day event welcomes some of live entertainment’s biggest names for a selection of highly-curated panels, awards ceremonies and artist showcases throughout Music City.
Closing out the conference on Tuesday, Oct. 29, rock icon Joan Jett will be inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame alongside her longtime manager and producer Kenny Laguna at IEBA’s Honors & Awards Ceremony (“Joan Jett and Kenny Laguna. How cool is that?” says IEBA chairman Bob Babish of Summerfest.)
Also receiving Hall of Fame induction honors this year are CAA’s Rod Essig, legendary promoter Larry Vallon, late Paradigm Director of Fairs Steve Dahl and Vans Warped Tour’s Kevin Lyman.
“It’s a great cross section of people who’ve done a lot of great things for our industry,” says Babisch, who adds that the organization of roughly 1,600 members has also begun to induct iconic events into Hall of Fame in the past few years.
“It is the 100th anniversary of the Delaware State Fair,” says Babisch of 2019’s final inductee. “State fairs have been synonymous with country music for a lot of years.”
The conference debuted in 1970 and was originally centered around country music, but since then it has grown to incorporate all genres of music for agencies to show off new and returning talent to the biggest talent buyers in the nation.
Next week top agencies such as APA, CAA, UTA, WME and Paradigm will bring artists into Nashville for a series of showcases. Artists appearing at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom will include Blood, Sweat and Tears, Dashboard Confessional, Chris Daughtry, Plain White T’s, Eli Young Band, Hardy, 98 Degrees and more.
“A lot of bands through the years have come in here and done showcases and then done very well in their careers,” says Babisch. “It’s for the buyers get a chance to see bands they haven’t seen before and to get new artists out there. Even old artists go out there and get seen by talent buyers. It is a lot of talent buyers in one room. You can’t go wrong with that.”
From an educational standpoint, IEBA offers a wealth of panels from some of the industry’s biggest names. Launching the sold-out conference on Sunday is the Award Winners Power Panel that features Becky Colwell from Amphitheater of the Year Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, Promoter of the Year Live Nation’s Ali Harnell, Festival Buyer of the Year Madison Entertainment’s Roger LeBlanc and Club Buyer of the Year House of Blues’ Jim Mallonee.
The Award Winners Power Panel “is made up of people who have won in different categories in the past,” says Babisch. “It is a great panel and they will be talking about some of the trends happening and the topics people are watching out for this year. It is a good introduction to the convention.”
From there, the conference will include a live taping of industry podcast Promoter 101 hosted by Emporium Presents’ Dan Steinberg with special guest Debra Rathwell of AEG.
Other panels throughout IEBA include Festival Trend Report 2019, Beyond the Rider: 7 Questions Every Buyer Wants to Ask, Special Session for Fair Buyers, National Touring Power Panel, Big Time Opportunities in Small Cap Rooms and more stacked with IEBA members and its board of directors filled with industry heavyweights.
“There are a lot of panels on rock and we’ve got a hip-hop panel. We’ve got festival panels and we include sessions about insurance. We do a little bit of everything,” says Babisch. “It’s very important that a lot of the power players that are out there on panels are members. The board of directors have driven this event further than you can possibly imagine.”
IEBA returns Oct. 27-29 at the JW Marriot in Nashville. Head here for the full conference schedule and more information on the organization.