In the London Palladium – Austrian organizes music mega event

Born in Burgenland, Alexandra Beil has been involved in the organization and PR of major international music productions for many years. Now, on June 4th, she is organizing a benefit show in London all about Elvis guitarist James Burton, which is peppered with stars from Brian May to Rolling Stone’s Ronnie Wood to Van Morrison.

He played with international greats like Johnny Cash, John Denver, Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello and the Everly Brothers. He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2001 and honored with a speech by his admirer and friend Keith Richards, guitarist for the Rolling Stones. Among the “100 Greatest Guitarists” of the renowned music magazine “Rolling Stone” he is in 19th place and has immortalized himself with his diverse guitar playing on well over 1000 albums – but above all James Burton was the leader of Elvis Presley’s legendary TCB band and was in charge for the success in the late phase of the “King”. And then there’s the James Burton Rock ‘n’ Roll Foundation, a non-profit organization whose proceeds go toward instrument or music lessons for children who lack the financial means to do so. The focus is on schools, hospitals and social services. Big star line-up Burton and his longtime friend Brian May, guitarist of Queen, invite you to a musical evening of the extra class on June 4th at the London Palladium. Under the banner “James Burton And Friends UK”, the 83-year-old, who lives in Nashville, will be in one of his last appearances in Europe with star guests such as May, Ronnie Wood, John Oates, Van Morrison, Albert Lee and Jeff “Skunk” Baxter in play two sets of 75 minutes each. Other big names were planned and under negotiation, but not easy to implement due to the lack of time. The stars of the evening will musically go back well over 60 years and all proceeds will go directly to the Burton Foundation. “In 2005 we first had the idea of ​​putting on an evening with all my friends and musical companions,” Burton himself is quoted as saying, “I want to bring music back to schools.” A similar fundraiser project by Burton took place in Nashville in 2019 . Back then: Sammy Hagar, Vince Neil and Joe Walsh from the Eagles, among others. Brian May was so enthusiastic about the event that he now wanted to implement it in England. After a forced pandemic break, he brought the Burtons, a long-time companion from Burgenland, on board for the organization. Alexandra Beil was initially responsible for all PR activities relating to Burton, the James Burton Foundation and UK appearances and was involved in the entire organization and production during the preparatory weeks. In recent years she has been increasingly active in an advisory capacity on royalties, licensing and copyright issues and is committed to fair remuneration for Austrian artists. Thanks to her good network with decision-makers within the cultural sector, it would be “advisable, above all for music organizations, to move closer together in the interests of artists at European and international level”. When Burton and May asked for help, the music lover was on board immediately. A lot of work in a short time Beil came into contact with the music business early on. “I owe a lot to my uncle. He took me to concerts like the Rolling Stones, Joan Baez or Bob Dylan as a kid and taught me the true value of authentic music very early on.” She came into contact with Aerosmith at 16 and later moved to New York to experience her first experiences to do in tour management. So she was able to get to know the music business from the ground up and then study in the USA. For a few months she worked on the HORDE Festival team, with artists like Neil Young, Deep Purple and Lenny Kravitz. The package toured 26 American states and was performed around 40 times. Back in Vienna, further stations were the organisation/PR and media support for state visits by the Dalai Lama and Stephen Hawking. In addition, she has been volunteering in the cultural sector for years. “I kept coming back to the music industry, it never completely let go of me. Now we are organizing this ambitious project in a very short time and it is not always easy. James Burton is Brian May’s greatest hero. Because of him he became a guitarist and it is therefore important to him that the event runs smoothly. To be a part of this historic fundraiser show and to know the trust and loyalty of Mr. Burton and Sir May, true greats who have remained incredibly down to earth, is arguably the greatest honor of my professional career and validates why I have long been committed to raising awareness and for ‘building bridges’ within the music industry and the people in it.” The organization is not only a Herculean task because of the extremely tight schedule. Due to the many top stars, their managements and the communication between Great Britain and the USA, there is an awful lot to do and the different time zones have to be taken into account. “There was an alarmed production and PR mode because of the time pressure, but I put my heart and soul into it because my admiration for James Burton knows no bounds.” There are also no third-party companies at this event who enrich themselves with the income. Every cent that flows in through the concert goes directly to the James Burton Foundation to enable as many children as possible to receive a musical education,” affirms Beil. In the future, she could also imagine the star-studded charity event in a great cultural capital like Vienna. “Vienna is a wonderful cultural city, a city of music, some of the best artists come from Austria. That would definitely be a good fit.”
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