IEBA Highlights Safety, Showcases

Three-day, sold-out event honored Fox Theatre, Mohegan Sun, Bridgestone Arena, Ryman Auditorium, and others.

  • by Pamela Sherborne
  • Published: October 25, 2017

Kris Allen performed onstage at Madison House Showcase during IEBA 2017, held at the Omni Hotel, Nashville, Tenn. (Photo Credit: Jason Davis/Getty Images for IEBA)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - "Safety, always" were the two words that International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA) Executive Director Pam Matthews gave when asked about the hot topics at this year's IEBA annual conference held here Oct. 15-17 at the Omni Nashville and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Matthews said since she was unable to get the dates needed from the Omni, IEBA’s 48th Annual Conference will be held at a different location, JW Marriott Nashville, which is scheduled to open in the summer of 2018. The new hotel is to have 533 rooms, 50,000 sq. ft. of flexible meeting space and a variety of food and restaurant options.

Dates are set for Sept. 30-Oct. 2, 2018.

With terrorism and hate crimes coming into entertainment venues and events globally, safety has become even more paramount. Michael Downing, EVP, Prevent Advisors, addressed a full meeting space, where he gave attendees a checklist of five best practices to enhance safety, including:

• To have more than one plan.
• To help frontline staff identify threats by training them to make eye contact. “Those who intend to commit some type of disruptive or violent action don’t want to be noticed. By making eye contact, you can possibly deter these plans.”
• If you see something, say something.
• Show strength. “Security posture matters. The visible efforts made to protect the people and facility are important. Things like bag checks, vehicle-free zones and uniformed personnel make a difference.”
• Maintain vigilance.

Downing, who was in the police force in Los Angeles for 35 years, talked about the importance of having a relationship with local law enforcement agencies and fusion centers, which are centers composed of multiple law enforcement agencies, from city and state to federal agencies. He said there are 79 of these fusion centers across the country.

Aaron Bare, Exit, spoke about one of the new ticketing technologies that is able to collect data, such as email addresses for later marketing. “Using the new technology is a very valuable way to grow your business,” Bare said. “The software uses pixel placement. A pixel is a piece of code. By dropping this into your website, you are able to track what your user is viewing. You will be able to track what other sites they are looking at. For example, have you ever looked at a certain item and then find that that item shows up in ad placements on other sites you visit? That is tracking from a code.”

This year was the association's 47th conference. Along with the education portion, there were a plethora of live talent showcases throughout the three-day conference to provide attendees with diverse entertainment options. There were two Keynote Q&As. One was with Ice-T, musician, rapper, songwriter, actor, record executive, record producer, and author; and Marc Geiger, the head of William Morris Endeavor's (WME) music division, spoke on the final day.

Also on the agenda, was IEBA's very popular networking opportunity, Agents Alley, a two-part affair with a tailgate party and the traditional table-top set-up.

Agents Alley is IEBA's formal networking experience, but networking seemed to be taking place in hallways, lounges, and the Omni lobby between activities. Spirits seemed to be high at the sold-out event.

Also taking place were a variety of live performances throughout all three days.

The conference concluded on Tuesday evening with the annual awards ceremony, honoring those who work tirelessly behind the scenes. The ceremony featured the IEBA Hall of Fame induction of iconic artist Kenny Rogers and his tour manager Keith Bugos, storied booking agent Tony Conway, and historic venue Ryman Auditorium.

The 2017 industry award winners were: 

• Club of the Year – Joe’s Live, Rosemont, Ill.
• Casino of the Year – Mohegan Sun, Uncasville, Conn.
• Theater of the Year – Fox Theatre, Atlanta, Ga.
• Arena of the Year – Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tenn.
• Amphitheater of the Year – Red Rocks Amphitheater, Morrison, Colo.
• Fair of the Year – State Fair of Texas, Dallas
• Festival of the Year – Summerfest, Milwaukee
• Club Buyer of the Year – Adam Weiser, AEG Presents
• Casino Buyer of the Year - Andrew Blank, C3 Presents
• Corporate Buyer of the Year – Ron Pateras, Jam Entertainment & Creative Services
• International Buyer of the Year – Jim Cressman, Invictus Entertainment Group
• Fair Buyer of the Year – Renee Alexander, Minnesota State Fair
• Festival Buyer of the Year – Stacy Vee, Goldenvoice
• Venue Executive of the Year – Becky Colwell,  The Greek Theatre
• Young Professional of the Year – Austin Neal, WME
• Talent Agent of the Year – Adam Kornfeld, Artist Group International
• Promoter of the Year – Louis Messina, MTG

During the ceremony, IEBA presented industry linchpin Barbara Hubbard a Career Achievement Award in celebration of her 90th birthday and gifted a $10,000 donation to the Barbara Hubbard Scholarship at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, from the newly-established IEBA Educational Outreach Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Showcases included talent from Paradigm Talent Agency - Elle King, John Oates, JOHNNYSWIM, and Jo Jo; Creative Artist Agency - Ben Rector, Charles Esten, Frankie Ballard, and Runaway June; United Talent Agency - Don Felder, Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye (Roots & Boots Electric Throw Down), Neon Trees, and Jamtown; and Buddy Lee Attractions - DJ Cutt, Halfway to Hazard, Sponge, and Baha Men.

In addition, there was talent from Paradise Artists -  WAR, Journey Former Lead Vocalist Steve Augeri, and ASIA featuring John Payne; and from WME - Lindsay Ell, William Michael Morgan, Randy Houser and WME Custom Allstar Jam featuring Sixwire with special guests Trace Adkins and Scott McCreen.

APA presented live performances by Hannah Wickjlund & The Steppin' Stones, Here Come the Mummies, Sawyer Brown, and Casey James; and from Madison House, Kris Allen and the Verve Pipe; Variety Attractions presented during the Tailgate Party - All-4-One, Kid 'n Play, and Rob Base from the I Love the 90s Tour.

(Editor's Note: Further coverageof IEBA '17 will appear in the November issue of Venues Today and future VT Pulse enewsletters.)


  • by Pamela Sherborne
  • Published: October 25, 2017