Friday, November 15, 2013

Billboard Touring Awards 2013: The Hardest-Won Award

On November 14, 2013 at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York, live music industry behind-the-scenesers gathered for the Billboard Touring Awards, as part of the 10th Annual Billboard Touring Conference.

Most of the awards were based on Billboard’s Boxscore numbers, with awards in a few categories determined with input from touring industry personnel. As its name implied, the Eventful Fan Choice Award was determined by fan votes on the Eventful event locator website. Country artist George Strait was awarded the 2013 Billboard Legend of Live statue. P!nk was named Billboard Woman of the Year, in addition to winning the Top Boxscore award, which is awarded for the year's top-grossing engagement at a particular venue.

Bon Jovi won four out of five of the awards they were nominated for. In addition to the Eventful Fan Choice Award, they won Top Tour (awarded to the top grossing tour), Top Draw (awarded to the top ticket seller), and Top Manager.  

Given that 2013 was Bon Jovi’s 30th year in the business, and considering all they’ve been through during this touring cycle--guitarist RichieSambora’s no-show status for the second and subsequent legs of the tour, plus drummer Tico Torres’s two emergency surgeries during the South American leg and Tico's subsequent triumphant return--I was especially happy to hear the band won.

There will, no doubt, be some blowhard who writes a nasty remark or two about the “touring industry elite engaging in a self-congratulatory exercise.” (They’re so predictable, I have them memorized.)

I say, you’re Goddamn right they are. They should congratulate themselves.

Touring can be, and often is, physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. On the performers’ part, to carry off a successful tour takes an incredible amount of focus and discipline. From behind-the-scenes, the planning and execution of a tour might be best described to someone outside of the industry as a lot like planning a huge wedding every night, as it's the only "real life" event most people can even begin to relate to in terms of scale and stress level. The difference is, on tour the “wedding” takes place in a different town every night, and you have to keep getting everyone and all the components of the reception to the church on time. Then you pack ‘em all up and do it all over again. And again. And again.

That’s why I’ve always considered the Billboard Touring Awards (and their sister awards the Pollstar Awards) harder-won, and maybe a little more special than some of the other music awards. During my career I’ve worked for and with some Billboard Touring Award and Pollstar Award winning promoters and agents, so that’s admittedly part of, but not all of it.

The thing that makes a touring award special is—and this is no disrespect to the Grammys or AMA’s, or anyone who’s won or been nominated for them—a Grammy-award winning song or album is made once, by perhaps a hundred or so people. An award-winning tour is made every night, by thousands.

Congratulations to all my colleagues and friends in the touring industry who were nominated, won awards, or even just came really, really close. You earned it.

A complete list of winners is here .

You can see who was nominated here .

©2013 Randi Reed and . All rights reserved.