Touring Execs At Canadian Music Week Look South

The conference sessions of Canadian Music Week taking place in Toronto May 9-12 include expansive discussions of the concert business during a two-day Live Touring Summit, with a focus on opportunities in Mexico. During 2017, concerts in Mexico grossed over £178 million, according to Billboard Boxscore. Sergio Arbelaez Ospina, co-founder and organizer of Mexico's FIMPro Conference for the Latin American music industry, will moderate an export business-development session involving 15 Mexican music and touring executives on May 10. "Towards a Connected Industry: The Future of North and South American Latin Music" is on the agenda for May 11, hosted by Felix Contreras of NPR's Alt.Latino.

Neil Dixon, founder of Canadian Music Week, acknowledges the growing importance of programming devoted to the touring business. "Live is definitely where the money is," he says. "There are a lot more festivals now, and that has been in the last five years. Venues are multiplying as well." Dixon notes another key topic on the agenda: concert security.

Among those booked to speak on the safety challenge are Russ Simons, managing partner of Nashville-based Venue Solutions Group; Robert Smith, president/CEO of San Diego-based Nightclub Security Consultants; Adam Vizza, founder of Ontario's AVNK Security; and Michael O'Neill, CEO of MSA Security and a former commanding officer of the New York City Police Department's counterterrorism squad. For the third year, CMW's Live Touring Summit will conclude with the Live Music Industry Awards on May 11, hosted (again) by Canada native Paul Shaffer. The Ontario rock band and arena headliner Billy Talent will receive the Legend of Live Award at the event.

The group -- Ben Kowalewicz, Ian D'Sa, Jonathan Gallant, Aaron Solowoniuk and Jordan Hastings -- is marking its 25th anniversary and will play a brief set at the awards ceremony.

In a statement, the band expressed gratitude to APA agents Ralph James and Lorraine Webb, "who have been with us since the beginning" as the act rose to arena-headlining status in Canada.

This article originally appeared in the May 5 issue of Billboard.

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