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Former Dire Straits Manager Ed Bicknell Returns To Canadian Music Week to Lead Keynote Interviews with Super Lawyer Donald Passman and Legendary Promoter Bill Silva

Former Dire Straits Manager Ed Bicknell Returns To Canadian Music Week to Lead Keynote Interviews with Super Lawyer Donald Passman and Legendary Promoter Bill Silva



Leading North American music industry conference Canadian Music Week (CMW), now in its 42nd year, has lured engaging interviewer and former Dire Straits manager Ed Bicknell back to Toronto this June for two keynote interviews. He has not been to Canada since the 1990s.

Bicknell will sit down with legendary concert promoter Bill Silva on the June 4 and entertainment lawyer and author Donald Passman on 5th.

“First of all, I have never considered them interviews. I always think of them as conversations. That’s because I don’t have an editorial button in my brain. I love it to be spontaneous,” Bicknell says.

Over the past three-plus decades, Bicknell has “interviewed” about 70 guests, many over the past 23 years for London’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC). He was enticed back to CMW by sheer flattery.

“As you may recall, your contributions to Canadian Music Week in the nineties were nothing short of remarkable,” CMW president Neill Dixon wrote to him in an email.

“Your annual industry celebrity interviews with luminaries such as entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman, Miles Copeland, Peter Grant, Jerry Wexler, Wolfman Jack left an indelible mark on our conference’s history. Your insightful discussions and your ability to delve into the minds of these music industry icons made those moments and laughs unforgettable for our attendees.”

Bicknell says he’s interviewed “everybody imaginable,” label presidents, artists, agents. His favourite was Sir George Martin, but this year he thought he was done.

“I had 23 years doing these interview conversation things with the ILMC and I’d got to the point where, to be quite honest, we were running out of characters. It’s very difficult to interview what I call corporate types because they don’t say anything because, ‘It’s going to be on YouTube in 10 minutes. I can’t do this.’ So, it’s quite difficult to find people.”

Dixon, who saw Bicknell’s interview last month at ILMC with AEG Presents chairman and CEO Jay Marciano, prompted the invitation.

“Your more recent involvement at the ILMC, where you have charmed audiences with your trademark humorous interview style alongside numerous top celebrity guests, further demonstrates your continued relevance and appeal within the live music industry,” Dixon wrote.

No more ego stroking was needed. Bicknell said yes.

“Don and Bill, I’ve known for many years,” he says. “They’re both great speakers and the ideal guests. My main objective is to make it entertaining, as well as informative.”

In the lead up to CMW, Bicknell will not do any preparation, just pack his bag and touch down in Toronto, as promised. “I know the first thing that I’m going to ask, and, after that, it either takes off or it doesn’t,” he says.

The Yorkshire native, who promoted shows in the late 60s by the likes of The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Who, Pink Floyd and The Kinks, moved to London, where he played drums in several bands. He became an agent at NEMS, representing a range of acts from Jose Feliciano to Black Sabbath to the Ramones. In the late 70s, he started managing newly signed act Dire Straits, which went on to sell over 156 million albums worldwide.

When the band dissolved in 1993, he continued representing frontman Mark Knopfler, as well as Gerry Rafferty, Bryan Ferry, and others. In late 2000, he amicably stopped managing Knopfler and closed his office. A few years later, LA’s William Morris Agency hired him to set up and run a London office. He left in 2010.

About Donald Passman:

Donald S. Passman is the author of “All You Need To Know About The Music Business” (now in its tenth edition), and a graduate of the University of Texas and Harvard Law School. He practices law with the Los Angeles firm of Gang, Tyre, Ramer Brown & Passman, and has specialized in the music business for over forty years.

Don has lectured extensively on the music industry, including Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, USC Law School, UCLA Law School, and the Los Angeles Copyright Society.

He has been listed in the Best Lawyers in America for over thirty years, as well as Billboard’s Power 100 in the Music Business, Hollywood Reporter’s Top 100 Entertainment Attorneys, the Top 100 Lawyers in California, and the Top 500 Attorneys in America.

About Bill Silva:

Established in 1979, Bill Silva Presents has grown from a concert promotion firm into a multifaceted entity, now known as Bill Silva Entertainment. Based in Los Angeles, California, our flagship company encompasses artist management, music publishing, venture investment, fashion consulting, and executive coaching.

With over 10,000 shows worldwide, our concert promotion division, Bill Silva Presents, has a rich history of producing events ranging from intimate club gigs to stadium spectacles. We’ve had exclusive arrangements to produce shows at the iconic Hollywood Bowl since 1991, featuring renowned artists such as The Rolling Stones, Santana, Pearl Jam, and many more. Notable tours include the “Up In Smoke Tour” with Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Eminem, as well as tours for Kylie Minogue and Margaret Cho.

Silva Music Publishing supports royalty revenue collection for management clients and emerging songwriters, boasting global hits like “I’m Yours” by Jason Mraz and “Neon Lights” by Demi Lovato.

Bill Silva Ventures, our latest venture, focuses on angel investments across various industries, from consumer brands like Vuori and wellness companies like Genexa to AI infrastructure foundations like Fathom.

Bill Silva is deeply involved in charitable initiatives, having served as the former chair and board member of MusiCares, a Grammy-affiliated organization providing financial support to music industry professionals. Additionally, he’s a founding member and former board chair of the North American Concert Promoters Association.

CMW’s conference runs June 3-5 at The Westin Harbour Castle. The festival, Canada’s largest for new music, is June 1-8.

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