Flemming Schmidt (1949-2013)

One of Europe’s best known promoters, Flemming Schmidt, CEO of Live Nation Denmark, has died. He was 63, and had been suffering from cancer. 
Described in the Danish press as “One of the invisible giants of the music industry in Denmark,” Flemming was also a great friend and supporter of the ILMC and as recently as ILMC 23 was a guest speaker on the popular ‘Solutions Session’ which addressed how the industry was planning for the future.
 
As chief of Live Nation’s Denmark operations, Flemming was a major supplier of artists to the country’s Parken Stadium, Jyske Bank Boxen and, of course, the Roskilde Festival. He also played a major role in Live Nation winning the contract to operate the new 15,000-capacity Copenhagen Arena, which is set to open in 2015.
 
Having inherited a common sense mindset from his father, a farmer in Aagaard, Flemming was quick to grasp the importance of balancing business and music. Having left the family farm, Flemming moved to Copenhagen during what was known as the youth rebellion in the 1960s. He found a job as a beer delivery man for Tuborg during the morning, allowing him to help out at a concert agency later in the day.
 
Flemming got a break in 1969, when a Danish band called Hair hired him to book their gigs and on the back of that, in 1970, he formed the agency, DKB, with business partner Steen Mariboe, providing an alternative to the then major concert promoters Knud Thorbjørnsen and Arne Worsøe.Following early success with the likes of Supertramp, DKB grew in stature and over the decades blossomed to the extent that Schmidt and Mariboe finally sold the business to EMA Telstar (now Live Nation) at the turn of the millennium. Mariboe later left the company, leaving Flemming to run operations.
 
Reporting his death, Denmark’s biggest selling newspaper, Politiken, said, “Althoughhe was on familiar terms with Bruce Springsteen, Sting and Madonna… he preferred pulling the strings and – naturally – collecting the money along the way.” Noting Flemming’s prolonged reign at the helm of Live Nation Denmark, the publication added, “No one could fill the role like him. It was as if he was dressed in an imaginary T-shirt with the words ‘Can’t Be Friends With Everyone’.”
 
ILMC’s Martin Hopewell says,“Flemming was one of the ILMC’s original members and a fantastic supporter of the event throughout the years. He was a great promoter and a major figure in the international scene – one of a handful of people who created the modern live music industry. He was an energetic, robust and enthusiastic character who was always brimming with ideas and ways to improve the business. It’s almost inconceivable that he’s not still with us.”
Flemming is survived by his wife, Mette, and three children.