Promoter & Agent Blind Date
Chair: Gordon Masson, IQ Magazine / ILMC (UK)
Round 1 Contestants
Dan Steinberg, Emporium Presents (US)
Alex Hardee, Paradigm (UK)
Wayne Forte, Entourage Talent (US)
Keith Naisbitt, APA Agency (US)
Round 2 Contestants
Summer Marshall, CAA (UK)
Shane Dunn, MCD Productions (IE)
Natalie Ryan-Williams, Luger (SE)
Dmitry Zaretsky, Pop Farm (RU)
With the Promoter and Agent Blind Date coming at the end of the afternoon it was inevitable that the contestant with the most entertaining ripostes would be the winner with the audience. And so Alex Hardee, Paradigm Talent’s answer to comedian Lee Evans, stole the show. Sitting alongside Wayne Forte and Keith Naisbitt, he introduced himself by declaring his Whitney Houston hologram had been infected by a virus and that he was currently trying to route a tour by a band called the Coronas, before ruminating on the subject of COVID-19. Waking up to find a headless shark in the bath in his Miami hotel room, ranked as his strangest work-related experience, while he alone admitted to being sacked by not just one, but two acts.
“They fired me because I pissed myself in front of them, they didn’t do it at the time, but I knew that was the reason,” he confessed, recalling the encounter with his erstwhile charges, Ozomatli. “I was a bit smashed and I accidentally bumped into them. I had to shake all their hands and I would have made it [to a toilet] if they had been a normal four-piece, but when I got to the fourth bongo player I couldn’t hold it in any longer.” His other firing came about after a grime artist summoned him to listen to a new track in his car and asked for his feedback.
“I said ‘I don’t really like it, but don’t worry about it, I’m 48 I listen to Neil Young. I’m not really your target audience,” he recalled. “He didn’t take my honesty very well.” Contestant Dan Steinberg (Emporium Presents) finally picked Naisbitt because he was the only one he hadn't been able to identify, but the final conclusion was that if Hardee ever tires of being an agent, he could do a lot worse than taking to the stage himself.
The second half of the Blind Date session saw CAA’s Summer Marshall posing the questions to a trio of promoters: MCD’s Shane Dunn, Pop Farm’s Dmitry Zaretsky and Luger’s Natalie Ryan-Williams.
Theming her series of tour-related dilemmas around a fictitious client’s needs and wants, Marshall sought answers on such situations as her artist being unhappy about their placing on a festival poster; where the promoter would take the artist to impress them on a day off; gender balancing a festival bill; and how the promoters would deal with the artist being delayed at immigration, which revealed various degrees of relationships with officialdom, and one solution of bribery.
Marshall quickly twigged the identities of friend Ryan-Williams and the nationality of Dunn, but despite the fact she has frequent phone calls with Zaretsky, his identity remained a mystery until the end of the session, when Ryan-Williams was chosen as her blind date.