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Backstage Stars – Angie Becker

Backstage Stars
8 May 2018
Joining promoter Kennedy Street Enterprises straight out of college, tour manager Angie Becker is now approaching 40 years with the company. Along the way she has filled various roles and worked with acts including ABBA, David Bowie, Michael Jackson, the Rolling Stones and Queen.

 

What are your first live music memories?

“I have always loved music but to be honest I spent more time

in the Manchester clubs rather than going to live concerts. The artistes getting played in my day included Donna Summer, ABBA, Earth Wind & Fire, Dr. Hook and Gloria Estefan – all of whom I came to work with when I joined Kennedy Street. I loved the disco era, although that may not sound too cool.

“I do remember seeing The Osmonds at the Free Trade Hall which I think would have been in the early 70s. My friend’s mum queued for hours to get tickets for us.”

 

How did you get into the music industry?

“The only job I’ve had in my whole life has been at Kennedy Street. They had a vacancy for an assistant to the financial director and contacted the college I attended. I didn’t go out to necessarily get a job in the music industry. I guess you could say Kennedy Street found me – not the other way round.

“As I started working for our FD, Anthony Addis, I learnt about tour accounts/ artiste contracts. At the same time I also did work for the Tour Management department which was run by Tony Fletcher and I moved over to work with him. I would say Tony really had an impact on me. He was known as the best in the business. He was extremely professional, knew the music industry inside out, was caring, fun and genuine.

“In the late 70s/early 80s Kennedy Street managed artistes such as 10cc and Sad Cafe – we loved to see what car Eric Stewart would arrive in – usually a red Ferrari.

“We also promoted artistes such as Barry White, Rush, Barry Manilow, George Benson, Demis Roussos, Gloria Estefan, Boney M and Shakin Stevens.

“One of the very first shows I worked on was ABBA at Bingley Hall, Stafford in 1979. The major problem was getting rid of the smell of the cattle market that was held the day before we loaded in.”

 

How has your career developed?

“In 1981 I became MD Danny Betesh’s PA. I remember every Monday and Thursday I would work with the phone attached to my ear getting all the latest sales figures and at the same time preparing tour budgets, routing tours and more. There were no computers, internet, not even a fax machine. The only bit of technology was a telex.

“In the early ‘80s there were no arenas so each tour would play around 20 dates around the UK. The admin was huge and everything was organised by letter or phone. I would regularly pick up Danny’s private line to find Stevie Wonder or Van Morrison on the other end of the line.

“After my first daughter was born I moved back to tour management which gave me flexibility. Kennedy Street was now promoting many outdoor shows, mainly football stadiums. In the late ‘80s/90s I would usually spend my summers between Maine Road in Manchester, Roundhay Park in Leeds and Wembley Stadium working with artistes such as Queen, the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie and Rod Stewart. In those days it could take 2-3 weeks to set up an outdoor show.

 

What have been your greatest highs and lows?

“I do get disillusioned by the secondary ticketing market and even more so when people try to justify its existence. I hate the idea of people being made to pay hugely inflated prices to see their favourite artiste, especially those who don’t have the money to do that.

“I have been fortunate enough to work multiple times with some of the major names in the business and you build relationships and get to know what they like/dislike.

“It’s also a high when you have a tour that’s been a slow seller but after pushing and pushing you end up with a success and as with most things it’s a team effort working alongside some great venue managements/staff, the best UK crews and of course the artistes and their managements and agents.”

 

Any observations about the industry?

“Obviously over the last few years the industry has become a lot more ‘corporate’. Kennedy Street is independent and I love working in this environment, giving personal attention to everything from the conception of a tour, how it sells, how we market it and then how we look after our artistes.

“We never compromise. We want to sell tickets and make sure our artistes are happy and get what they need.”

 

How do you wind down?

“I have been married for 34 years and have two gorgeous girls, but I keep reminding Danny [Betesh] I’ve been with him a lot longer than my husband. It will be 40 years this July.

“My job is a way of life and bringing up two children didn’t really allow for the luxury of ‘hobbies’. I love to go away and to sit by the pool and do absolutely nothing, but my phone will always ring and my emails will always come in. My girls say they are having lunch with mum and her phone!”

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