It’s His Party (And Yours Too)

Never heard of Seth Hurwitz?  Maybe not, but if you are a concertgoer, you are already feeling his influence.

And odds are pretty good that you are going to hear much more from the Maryland-based concert promoter whose companies, It’s My Party (I.M.P) and It’s My Amphitheatre (I.M.A.), have been directly involved recently in some of the most compelling stories to hit the live concert business in many years.

The short version of the story is that Hurwitz really, really does not like Live Nation and is currently in legal proceedings to fight their “death grip” (his words) on the live amphitheater market.

He also stepped up in opposition to the possibility of a Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger, currently under review by the Department of Justice, and provided testimony this past February at a US Senate hearing to that effect.

And now Hurwitz has grabbed headlines by working with his ticketing partner, Ticketmaster, and corporate sponsor, Virgin Mobile, to present the Virgin Mobile FreeFest this August 30th at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md.


Yes, that word “free” in the title is legitimate – all 35,000 tickets for the show will be given away.  And this is a solid bill, with headliners Weezer and Blink-182, along with support acts Franz Ferdinand, Public Enemy, Jet, The National, and others.

Perhaps the most interesting twist is the option for customers to have tickets delivered by Ticketmaster for a fee (as opposed to picking up the free tickets at the box office).  Hurwitz believes this will be a very interesting test that will resonate far beyond his event.

“I’m pretty excited about seeing how many people really prefer to pay Ticketmaster to deliver their ticket,” he says. “Convenience charges originated with people having the option to pay to have tickets brought to them, instead of them having to go to the ticket. So we wanted to get back to basics on that.”

These are incredibly interesting times in the world of live music.  Hurwitz is not the only one challenging norms, but he certainly will prove to be among the key folks to pay special attention to in the fallout of the decision on the Live Nation-Ticketmaster merger.

In the meantime, if he can help develop a model that brings more events like Virgin Mobile FreeFest to fruition, then more power to him.  Not to mention the thankful concertgoers.

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~ by acm213 on June 23, 2009.

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