The Second Coming of Lilith Fair
BY David Michael Conner
May 06 2010 6:05 PM ET
The Man With the Plan
Although one may get the sense McLachlan has more business savvy than she lets on, it is clear that one of her Lilith business partners is looking ahead at what Lilith Fair could be, not backward at what it was pre-Y2K.
Meet Terry McBride: CEO of Canadian record label Nettwerk Music Group, owner of the YYoga wellness center chain, 2003 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year, cofounding Lilith Fair partner, and personal manager to McLachlan.
Unlike McLachlan — who says she “doesn’t do demographics” — McBride thinks in terms of marketing, referring to the festival as “the Lilith brand,” England as “the U.K. marketplace,” and the band La Roux as “a La Roux,” the indefinite article revealing that each piece of the Lilith puzzle has a purpose. Although the first run of Lilith Fair lasted just three years, McBride says the four principal partners (McBride, McLachlan, Nettwerk president Dan Fraser, and Marty Diamond, a talent agent) are thinking ahead this time.
“We’re definitely thinking 2010-2011,” he says. “And then we’re expanding it outside of North America. We’re going to Australia in September and the first week of October. We’re going to the U.K. marketplace indoors in late October. Then over to Japan and Asia in March. Back into North America for the summer of 2011. And what we’re trying to do is expand the Lilith brand and concept because this concept can work anywhere. It just has to be the people with the will and the desire and the passion to make it happen.”
But international expansion isn’t the only big change in store for Lilith Fair.
“In 2012, Lilith will switch from being a traveling show to being a destination,” McBride says. “So maybe three North American shows — so maybe one on the West Coast, one on the East Coast, and one in Canada. By that time, maybe we’ll have developed about 20 international marketplaces. And what I love about that is that, you know, a show that you do in England, a show that you do in Finland, would be very culture-coded by the artists of that area, with a few international artists coming in. And what I love about that is that, over time, those international artists get a footprint and can come to North America. For a lot of people, this will probably the first time that they’ll see a Gossip or a La Roux or a Grace Potter or any of these artists. And that’s really, really cool. We can put on Kate Miller along with Missy Higgins knowing that they’re going to be key to a Lilith Fair in Australia.”
Of course, a lot has happened in the decade since the last Lilith summer stages were dismantled. The Twin Towers fell, followed by the traditional recording industry model and then the world economy. But McBride sees this as a time of renewal and a chance to open up Lilith Fair to a whole new fan base.