Getting To Know Your Pollstar Live! Panelists
Adam Bauer, Partner and Agent At Madison House
The public remains enamored of the music festival experience worldwide, and the festival boom continues from massive destination festivals to regional and boutique events. But the festival equation has changed, and festival producers must consider a paradigm shift not only in terms of how festivals are booked, but how they impact the environment and, in the wake of the Astroworld strategy, an increased focus on crowd management. The stakes are higher than ever in the festival business as producers find the balance between profitability, safety, and sustainability. Leaders in the festival world will discuss this challenging next era here.
Bauer serves as a board member of the International Entertainment Buyers Association (IEBA). He is also a member of the Association of Performing Artist Professionals (APAP), National Independent Talent Association (NITO), Folk Alliance International, and Americana Music Association.
Bauer launched the Ann Arbor, Mich., office of Madison House in 2016 and added his adult contemporary groups to the company’s primarily EDM roster. Some of Bauer’s most notable clients include Colin Hay, Men at Work, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Choir!Choir!Choir!, Mike and the Mechanics, The Verve Pipe, and Steve Poltz. As a Partner at Madison House, Bauer produces micro festivals, oversees company acquisitions, manages the operations of the agency, and serves as a mentor for young agents in the company.
Before transitioning to Madison House, Bauer was the President of Fleming Artists Inc., where he helped modernize the company. Bauer started off as an entry-level agent at Fleming Artists in 1999, and drove revenue up every year for the 17 years that he worked there. While he was president, Fleming Artists was nominated as Boutique Booking Agency of the year for two years in a row by Pollstar.
For a couple of years prior to starting his career at Fleming Artists, Bauer worked at Good Music Agency, Talent Buyers Network, Pacific Rim Talent, and Comedy West. It was at those small agencies that Bauer honed his interpersonal professional skills and learned how to create lasting connections with clients.
Bauer received his bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Washington State University. Using the communication and relationship networking skills he learned in his courses, Bauer landed in the music industry, helping small artists use their growing platforms. While at Washington State University, Bauer
produced multiple live events for students, and is currently the President of the Michigan chapter of the Washington State University Alumni Association.
What tent poles are you most proud of in your career?
Adam Bauer: I am a four-pole tent. 1. Getting my start in the music business straight out of college. I worked with Kell Houston and had the chance to develop my career as a 22-year-old, and I have always maintained my independence.
2. Joining Fleming Artists in 1999 and working with a fantastic agent, Jim Fleming, for close to 20 years. I stepped completely out of my comfort zone and started working with predominantly folk artists – then expanding into other areas of music from americana to rock and everything in between. I eventually ran the agency until I departed in 2016. I still represent several clients today that I started representing in 1999.
3. Joining Madison House in 2016, a fiercely independent boutique booking agency, and becoming a key part of the leadership team with Nadia Prescher and Jesse Aratow. I worked hard to navigate a successful integration between my team who largely came with me from my time at Fleming and expanding Madison House into other areas of music outside their comfort zone, from performing art centers to listening rooms and another subset of independent promoters.
4. Losing Jesse Aratow in our lives this last October has dramatically changed the agency. We will never be able to replace that spirit in our lives and we miss him dearly every day. Dealing with the loss of such an important spirit at such a young age is something I hope nobody has to deal with ever, but our team has come together and rallied behind each other and behind Nadia. This final tent pole as it is still being built and who really knows where it will go, but I know it will go someplace exciting and new, with the best boutique team on the planet.
Why must everyone go to this panel?
This panel will be the bomb. It will offer a lot of insights from great panelists with larger entities, but also allow individuals like me to represent and talk about a lot of the boutique festivals that exist and have existed for decades and often get overlooked in the industry. I will do my part to make it as much about the indies as it will be about the big 5-10.
What story will you tell during the panel?
Will have to see what strikes me that early Wednesday morning. The sky is the limit!
What’s the story you won’t tell?
I won’t talk about how I pivoted in May of 2020 and started a side gig called Speakeasy Meats. It is a prohibition-style smokehouse, and I work with my wife and two daughters to ship meat across North America. We’re still going today, and it’s a business that will continue to grow!
What may cause tempers to flare?
What won’t cause tempers to flare?
What was the best part of your 2021?
The best part of my 2021 is thanks to the hard work of people like Nadia Prescher, Frank Riley and the board at NITO, as well as all of the great people on the board of NIVA, the industry persevered through another year of uncertainty.
The best part of my 2021 was seeing people with an independent mindset come together collectively to do good for all. This industry was able to, for once, get a lifeline from the federal government that hopefully saved thousands of venues, agencies and jobs that otherwise would be gone today. Does anything else really matter?
Can you give us a prediction for a highlight of 2022?
I predict that COVID 19 will possibly end, maybe? Regardless, there will be less cancellations and more shows playing, and more artists doing what we are all in this for… live performance. Best of all, as Jesse would say, we will “Keep the Dream Alive.”