Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 21

Georgians AT WORK By H.M. Cauley
A
fter graduating from the University of Georgia in
Athens in the 1970s, Peter Conlon saw politics
as the way to make a positive impact. He led former
President Jimmy Carter's fundraising efforts and was
part of Carter's presidential inaugural committee and
then White House liaison to the Small Business Administration.
But it's Conlon's music-promotion career that
has had the greatest impact by bringing headliners to
venues around the globe.
The 69-year-old Atlanta native leads a team of
about 130 for Live Nation Atlanta, the local branch
of the global live-music-marketing company that stages
annual events at Atlanta's Piedmont Park, Cellairis
Amphitheatre at Lakewood, State Farm Arena and
Truist Park. The organization is a major player in the
world of music, but it got off to a somewhat rocky start.
" After four years in Washington, I came back here
and hooked up with Alex Cooley, who was on concert
committees with me in college, " Conlon says. " What we
started [in 1981] was more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-yourpants
operation. "
But the fledgling Southern Promotions soon was
Meet music promoter
Peter Conlon
arranging concerts for performers as diverse as Frank
Sinatra, Willie Nelson and pianist Van Cliburn. Over
the years, the business evolved, changed names, was
sold and then spun off into what became Live Nation in
2005, Conlon says.
Conlon credits his personal relationships with the
musicians for building the business-an approach that
has changed in recent years, he says.
" It was much more fun and less structured and
much more personal than it is now, " he recalls. " I had
relationships with musicians who are still friends, but a
lot of those people are passing. Gregg Allman, [David]
Bowie, George Michael, Johnny Cash-these guys are
not immortal, as we'd like to think. "
Today's touring acts are thinking globally, not just
locally.
" Almost all tours are done now on a national or
global level, with big artists working for those world
tours, " Conlon says. " They're making much more
money, and it's more and more a business. "
In more than 40 years of music promotion,
Conlon has gone through a variety of genres as
audiences dictate what they want to hear.
" We're not rock-oriented like we were in the past, "
he says. " Back in the '80s, it was guitar-driven. Now, a
lot of music is hip-hop, urban or pop. "
That's why young headliners such as Travis Scott,
Cardi B and Billie Eilish have appeared in recent years
at Music Midtown, a popular, multi-stage, outdoor
concert event in Atlanta that's produced by Live Nation.
It keeps the job interesting, Conlon says.
" You never know what [trend] is coming next. "
H.M. Cauley is a freelance writer from Atlanta.
www.georgiamagazine.org
21
PERRY JULIEN
http://www.georgiamagazine.org

Georgia Magazine - April 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Georgia Magazine - April 2022

Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Intro
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Cover1
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Cover2
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Contents
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 4
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 5
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 6
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 7
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - 8
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Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Cover3
Georgia Magazine - April 2022 - Cover4
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