The Booking Ring: Live music crime-fighting

Sunday 8 March 2015
12:30 – 14:00
Room 2
Chairs: Julia Frank, Wizard (DE) & Marc Lambelet, Mainland Music (CH)

Tackling the issues affecting the booking process, this year’s edition of the Booking Ring considers what the future holds for booking agents given the growth of promoter operations in some markets. And with some tours now being booked up to 24 months in advance and venue availability limited, is spontaneity being sucked out of the business? Julia Frank and Marc Lambelet also ask how sustainable overpaying for artists is, and in the scramble to sign the next big thing, whether agency commissions should or will continue to be discounted? Expect 90 minutes of frank (no pun intended) conversation as the two sides square up once more…

Guest speakers include:
Dan Steinberg, Square Peg Concerts (US)
Keith Naisbitt, APA (US)
Josh Javor, X-ray Touring (UK)
Steve Zapp, ITB (UK)

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About Julia Frank:
Julia has been in the business since 1997. She started off as a freelancer with the musical Rent for MLK. She then joined MLK as junior tour booker and was able to gain experience with the festivals Rock am Ring/Rock im Park as a festival booker.

In 2003, Julia joined Ossy Hoppe´s team and since then has been a senior executive booker for touring and festivals.

She also has handled the production side for many tours and productions such as Jack-of-all-trains. 

About Marc Lambelet:
Marc Lambelet was “hit” by music like any other kid picking up his parents’ LPs and cassettes unattended on the sitting room table. Having got passed the first stage of discovering new sounds and the emotions music can awaken, he felt he needed to find out what it was like to play himself. Bass looked cool and had less strings to worry about but that’s more or less where it ended as he quickly realised that his real talents lay more in the putting all the gear in the back of a small car than headbanging on stage.

While chartering coaches to bring his entire class to the Zürich Hallenstadion, Marc was jumping into local bands’ vans, in the driving seat most of the time, as soon as the school bell rang. Even though he managed to stretch his studies in International Politics until the age of 27, the ill-fated day when he had to get a proper job eventually arrived.

After a brief and unpleasant period of waking up at 6am and wear a suit and tie, Marc was offered a job in a booking agency that he thought would only be a summer hobby. To his parents’ despair, he immediately knew that that was what he wanted to do.

The first years were as much of an enchantment as a rude awakening. Among other interesting lessons, Marc soon discovered that there was always a higher degree of being shouted at, every time you thought you had reached the maximum. After two years of spending other people’s money, he was kindly advised that if he wanted to carry on, it would have to be on his own and he therefore founded Black Lamb Productions. 25 years and 4,000 shows later, to his daily happy astonishment, he is still here.

In 2013, Marc and his old-time partner Derrick Thomson embarked on a new adventure and formed Mainland Music with other people that they liked.

They’ve booked and promoted over 1,000 shows so far from 100 cap. clubs to arenas. And their first stadium show is next June. We are great believers in the good care of both artists and audience and we are not afraid to work our asses off, so long as we have fun doing it.

About Steve Zapp:
In a business so susceptible to short-lived trends, few have the courage to trust their instincts. But from his earliest days as a gig-goer, Steve Zapp realised that his gut feeling was pretty reliable when it came to music.

That strength of conviction and resistance to fashion has served him well over 11 years at ITB. He trusts his own belief in an artist, and many of the acts that are doing well for him, such as Biffy Clyro, Editors and The Courteeners – were unsigned but had something Steve believed in. He could instantly see the bigger picture with them and build their career from the live side of things.”

After booking tours on and off for several bands while working in management in the late 90s, and helping launch The Fly magazine for the Barfly group of venues, Steve’s aptitude for building careers around playing live was attracting more work his way. He was eventually taken on by Radiohead’s agency 13 Artists in 2001, before joining ITB a year later. Since then he has built up a highly impressive roster and gained a reputation as one of the shrewdest and hardest working agents in the business.