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Billboard Touring Conference Nears

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Having named Clear Channel Entertainment Chairman/CEO Brian Becker as keynote speaker, Billboard is putting the finishing touches on the trade publication’s upcoming touring conference, Billboard Backstage Pass, Nov. 8-9 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City.

Becker’s participation caps what has become a premier list of touring industry movers and shakers signed on to take part on the conference. “We’ve confirmed participation by some of the top touring pros in the business,” says Ray Waddell, senior writer, touring, for Billboard, who is overseeing much of the programming for Billboard Backstage Pass. Information on panels and those participating is at

“Topics are geared toward thoughtfully and aggressively addressing issues that contributed to 2004’s ‘summer of discontent’ in the touring world,” Waddell says. The international pool of panelists includes not only corporate and boutique promoters, agents and managers, but also representatives from the worlds of broadcast, record labels, production, venue management, ticketing, insurance, e-media, travel, marketing and sponsorships, consumer goods and other sectors that affect the touring business.

“We at Billboard are very pleased with how this conference is coming together, particularly on the content side,” says Waddell. “We are tapping our own resources and contacts to gain valuable input from those whose relationship with the concert business is symbiotic, if slightly removed. That would include label executives, attorneys, international travel consultants, accountants and radio execs.”

Conference producers are particularly enthused about the conference closing panel, called “The Kids Are Alright.” This session will feature an open dialogue between actual concert-goers and a panel of concert business professionals. Moderated by Seth Hurwitz of I.M.P./9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., the session should be a lively and informative finale.

The Billboard Backstage Pass Awards will honor the top performers of the year, based on box office data gathered from Billboard Boxscore. Along with such categories as top tours, venues, promoters and events, Billboard will acknowledge the managers, agents and breakthrough artists who achieved top marks in this tough summer. Other honors include the Legend of Live, which will be presented to iconic figures in the industry, and a humanitarian award.

Additionally, all attendees to the conference will receive a copy of the Billboard White Paper on touring, which features touring-specific research and analysis from research professionals.
Though this is the first Backstage Pass conference, this is not Billboard’s introduction to the touring conference space. Seasoned veterans of the industry may remember that Billboard hosted the first-ever touring conferences in New York back in the early 1970s.

“We believe the Backstage Pass conference can play a valuable role at this turning point in the touring industry,” says Waddell.

For further information or to register, call 646-654-4660 or –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers