The 41st Annual iteration of the International Entertainment Buyer’s Association (IEBA) conference concluded last night (10/4), following three days of record-breaking attendance, musical showcases, networking and educational sessions for the live entertainment industry.
On Sunday (10/2) evening following a welcome reception, talent agency APA showcased some of its talented artists including Lyndsey Highlander, Aaron Parker, Jim Messina and Ray Scott. But septuagenarian Queen of Rockabilly Wanda Jackson stole the show from all of them. Clad in a glittery pink jacket, Jackson sang spunky versions of her classics “Riot In Cell Block #9,” “I Gotta Know,” and “Let’s Have A Party” as well as “Shakin’ All Over” from her Jack White-produced 2011 album The Party Ain’t Over. Youngsters take note: the lady’s still got it.
Later, attendees flocked over to War Memorial Auditorium for dinner and another round of showcases from Paradigm Agency. Comedian Reno Collier entertained between set changes, and performers included Canadian songbird Marlee Scott; newcomers Dean Alexander and JT Hodges; Texas hitmaker Jack Ingram; and the scary-talented costumed troupe Here Come The Mummies.
Educational panel options were numerous on Monday, including an interview of legendary Kiss manager Doc McGhee by Billboard’s Ray Waddell. The two covered McGhee’s experience managing one of the biggest touring acts in history, as well as the future of the live entertainment business. Creative Artists Agency showcased in the early afternoon with its new faces Kip Moore, Edens Edge, Brett Eldredge, Craig Campbell, Sonia Leigh, and Love and Theft.
That evening, Buddy Lee Attractions showcased Bush Hawg, Sarah Darling, Josh Gracin, Mark Chesnutt, Corey Smith, and LoCash Cowboys. Darling showed promise and poise onstage, delivering recent single “Something To Do With Your Hands” and a cover of U2’s “With Or Without You” in fine voice. Corey Smith also displayed his knack for relatable story songs, followed by the big tent rock ‘n’ roll antics of LoCash.
Over at War Memorial, William Morris Entertainment created a stellar lineup that got underway with a fiery full-band set from Wynonna. Neal McCoy engaged the crowd between performers, also debuting his new Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton produced single “A-Ok.” EMI Nashville’s Eric Paslay performed acoustically, followed by a tandem acoustic set full of hits from buddies Lee Brice and Jerrod Niemann. Brice and Niemann brought out new face Tyler Farr, who showcased his remarkable vocal talents. The Band Perry closed out the evening with a full band extravaganza of fancy lighting and tricked-out LED screens, though some sound mixing issues in the beginning put a damper on the spectacle. TBP will be playing its first headlining show in Nashville at the Ryman February 20, but getting tickets to that sold-out affair will probably take some pretty slick bargaining.
Yesterday (10/4), showcases included Cold River Records’ Katie Armiger, DJ Miller and the roster of Paradise Artists that included Glen Templeton, Blackhawk, Paul Revere and the Raiders and more. Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard delivered a much-anticipated speech on the importance of keeping music fans invested in live shows.
The conference closed out in style with the annual Hall of Fame Induction and Dinner, which was hosted by Laura Bell Bundy and featured performances by Roy Clark and Don Schlitz with live art created by Michael Israel. HoF inductees included Bobby Baker, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Jimmy Jay, Paul Moore, Tandy Rice, Lou Robin, Mike Smardak and Leroy Van Dyke.
“The evening exceeded all expectations. It was a once in a lifetime experience with the great Roy Clark and the many legends of our industry all in the room together. Laura Bell Bundy entertained and charmed everyone. It could not have been more perfect,” said IEBA Executive Director Tiffany Davis.
The following individuals were also honored by IEBA this year.
Venue Executive of the Year
John Bolton – BOK Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Talent Agent of the Year
Stan Barnett – Creative Artists Agency
Club Buyer of the Year
Ed Warm – Joe’s Bar Chicago
College Buyer of the Year – Tie
Rick Stowe – East Coast Entertainment, Inc.
Adam Tobey – Concert Ideas
Corporate Entertainment Buyer of the Year
Paul Creighton – T Skorman Productions, Inc.
Casino Buyer of the Year
Robyn Smith – Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Fair Buyer of the Year
Renee Pearson – Minnesota State Fair
Festival Buyer of the Year
Bonnaroo – Ashley Capps – AC Entertainment
International Buyer of the Year
Rob Waloschuk – Dauphin’s Countryfest, Manitoba, Canada