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Jazz in the Park hosts second show in Cluj landfill

On Tuesday 26 June, Romanian music festival Jazz in the Park hosted, for the second year running, a mini-festival aimed at raising awareness of the plight of people forced to live in a landfill site.

The landfill for the city of Cluj-Napoca, nicknamed ‘Pata Rât’, is home to hundreds of displaced people, most of them gypsies (Roma) who were evicted from a residential area of Cluj in 2010.

Concerts at the Landfill, which featured performances by local acts Taraful lui Siminic, JazzyBit and Marius Mihalache Band, was attended by around 1,000 people, half of them residents of Pata Rât. Many others came from the city centre, on 11 free buses put on by promoter Alin Vaida.

The festival took place on day six of Jazz in the Park proper, which runs until 1 July.

“It was heartwarming to see so many people happy and dancing together”

Vaida says: “This was the second time we went down to do an event at Pata Rât. But this time it was different: The people living there were waiting for us – they knew what to expect. The vibe was incredibly positive.

“There were already a few hundred people gathered when the first concert started and by the time the headliner came on stage, we were over 1,000. At the beginning of the headline act, rain started pouring down which made the experience all the more special. Nobody wanted to leave.

“It was heartwarming to see so many people happy and dancing together. For one hour, the world was perfect in my eyes.”

Jazz in the Park, now in its sixth year, comprises free and ticketed events across Cluj, in Transylvania. This year’s headliners are Nouvelle Vague, Juan de Marcos of Buena Vista Social Club, Nik Bartsch’s Ronin and Richard Bona Group.

 


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Superstruct backer acquires majority stake in Sónar

Providence Equity Partners – the US investment firm which has, through Superstruct Entertainment, recently invested in Sziget and Elrow – has acquired a majority stake in Advanced Music SL, the Barcelona-based company behind the Sónar festivals.

IQ understands Providence/Superstruct completed its majority acquisition of Advanced Music in early May, just over a month before Sónar Barcelona celebrated its best year to date, welcoming 126,000 people to the city for its 25th anniversary event.

Sónar was founded in 1994 by Ricard Robles, Enric Palau and Sergi Caballero as the Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art, and has since grown to become one of Europe’s largest electronic music and tech events, and a Barcelona institution. In addition to the core festival, Sónar has also hosted events outside Spain, with recent Sónar-branded festivals including São Paulo (2015) Santiago, Chile (2015), Buenos Aires (2015), Reykjavik (2015), Bogota (2016), Hong Kong (2017) and Istanbul (2017).

Superstruct is led by CEO James Barton, the founder of Creamfields and former president of electronic music at Live Nation; CFO Paul Bedford, formerly financial director of Impresario Festivals (Boardmasters, Field Day, SW4) and currently non-executive chairman of Edition Capital; and chairman Michael Bolingbroke, formerly SVP of shows at Cirque du Soleil, COO of Manchester United and CEO of Inter Milan.

“This partnership will allow our combined platform to benefit from unparallelled synergies”

The then-unnamed company made headlines in January with its surprise acquisition of a majority stake in Hungarian festival mainstay Sziget, which was followed in February by an investment agreement with Spanish party promoter Elrow.

Providence describes itself as a “global private-equity and credit investment firm with $57bn in capital under management”. Other portfolio companies include Warner Music Group, Ambassador Theatre Group, exhibition organiser Clarion Events and college-sports marketing agency Learfield.

Both Advanced Music and Providence initially declined to comment on the investment, which was originally agreed in March. However, on 6 July – following the publication of this story – the companies confirmed the news in a press release.

“Advanced Music has a coveted track record in the live entertainment industry,” says Barton. “We have long admired their events, especially Sónar and Sónar+D, and are confident this partnership will allow our combined platform to benefit from unparallelled synergies and stronger market positioning. We look forward to working with Advanced Music’s deep bench of founding partners and directors to realise the full potential of a combined unit.”

 


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Kili buys Scotland’s Belladrum Festival

Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has, through its UK subsidiary Kilimanjaro Live, acquired Belladrum Festival in Scotland.

Belladrum, in full the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, has taken place at the Belladrum Estate near Inverness since 2004. It has since grown into a major camping event, with its 15th edition – headlined by Paloma Faith, Primal Scream and Amy MacDonald, and running from 2 to 4 August 2018 – expected to its tenth sell-out since 2009.

Kilimanjaro has exclusively booked Bella for the past eight years, during which time the festival has featured several Kili-promoted touring acts, including Ed Sheeran, Bastille and Catfish and the Bottlemen. Some 17,000 people attended Belladrum 2017.

Kilimanjaro has been without a camping festival since the last edition of Sonisphere, at Knebworth, in 2014.

“Our shareholding in Scotland’s well-established Belladrum Festival further improves our basis for profitable growth”

DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow, who has consistently spoken of the company’s goal of growing its UK operation, says the 100% buy-out is “in line” with those plans. “Our strategy is to focus particularly on the growing UK market in addition to Germany,” he comments.

“Our shareholding in Scotland’s well-established Belladrum Festival, through our subsidiary Kilimanjaro Live Limited, further improves our basis for profitable growth in this market. Belladrum has generated consistently positive operating results in recent years – a critical criterion for us. We also expect this acquisition to offer a positive boost for our ticket platform myticket.co.uk.”

It follows last August’s acquisition of Flying Music Group, also through Kili.

 


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5 iconic London music venues that have been saved from closing

The Independent suggests that about 40% of London’s music venues closed in the years between 2004 to 2014. London activists say that the reasons for the closures include disproportionately tough licensing scrutiny, soaring rent prices and property owners who aggressively develop urban space with zero regard for the cultural institutions they’re trampling on. In other words, gentrification is doing a number on London’s safe, cultural spaces.

Londoners are still up in arms about this issue, because apart from giving musicians opportunities, these venues also provide spaces for local communities to interact. They’re not just crucial to London’s grassroots music scene, but also to its formation of public opinion.

Thankfully, not all of London’s public musical and cultural hubs have had to face permanent closure. Despite the challenges that have rattled them over the last couple years, many of these venues have survived the closures and continue to give musicians and communities safe spaces for collaboration.

The Roundhouse, Dagenham
Founded in 1969 as the Village Blues Club, this house of blues-rock regularly featured bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Velvet Underground until it closed in 1975. Then, in 2007, a documentary about the club’s heyday rekindled people’s collective nostalgia, prompting former club regulars to hold several reunion concerts at the location. In 2015, the Roundhouse Dagenham was reopened as Barking and Dagenham Council saved the venue from demolition by granting it an asset of community value, or ACV. Since then, Londonist reports that the venue has become home to the many tribute acts that pay homage to the deep influence of blues and rock’n’roll on the city of London.

The Garage
Back in the 90s, the Garage was where up-and-coming acts played right before they went on to sell out large theatre and stadium gigs. It’s a space that caters to various genres, with acts like Talib Kweli, Wiley and Rotimo performing on the main stage. As the gentrifying crisis of closing London music venues loomed around 2007, the Garage went through different owners who failed to maintain its relevance. It looked like the once famous music venue would be forced to close. But in 2016, famed venue managers DHP Family took over the venue and gave it an overhaul. They even converted the street level bar into a retro cafe that serves craft beer and cocktails. So far, the Garage’s new cafe-by-day, club-by-night strategy seems to be holding up.

Fabric
Since 1999, Fabric has been a known hub of EDM not just in London, but also across the globe. Financial difficulties forced it to go into administration in 2010, and in 2017 police took away its licence after illegal activities were reported. But after a strong public campaign by fans of the venue and some of the biggest names in EDM, the ‘Save Fabric’ campaign raised enough money to prompt Islington council to allow the club to reopen its doors. Supporters of the campaign also said the closure of Fabric was just an excuse to develop other city developments. Today, Fabric remains one of the most important EDM venues in London.

Royal Vauxhall Tavern
What used to be part of Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens way back in the mid-1800s opened in 1975 as the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. Since then, it’s provided a stage for London’s burgeoning drag and cabaret scene. In fact, RVT is known as the oldest surviving LGBTQ venue in the city. In 2014, it was sold off to property developers, prompting London’s public to defend the continued use of the venue as a hub of LGBTQ culture. Finally in 2015, the RVT was given grade-II status as the UK’s first building to be recognised as a National Heritage Site for its contribution to the country’s LGBTQ community.

Passing Clouds
Passing Clouds is a historic community-run venue that was closed by property developers, to which East London’s live music community responded with vigils and other protest actions. In 2016 30 London clubs temporarily shut their doors in support of their fellow music venues, including Passing Clouds, which were under threat of permanently closing. Today, its future is still very much contested by the council, who wants to reopen the location as a “hub for music activities”, and Passing Cloud’s fanbase, who want the venue to keep functioning as a non-commercial cultural space for the community. East London is one of the capital’s most culturally diverse areas, and there are lots of things to do in London’s East End aside from music. The area is home to many other public congregation venues like the world-famous Brick Lane market and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. This is part of the reason why east London residents have a strong sense of community and are willing to defend its public spaces.

If you are in London, show these venues, and others, your support. This will ensure that the city’s amazing music scene doesn’t die out due to corporate greed.

 


Alex Smith is music journalist who covers London and the surrounding area. He believes that music journalism is vital to the support of upcoming bands, and hopes that his articles will encourage more people to visit music venues and experience live music.

Stage lighting: “Strong indications” of no European ban

Sources close to the European Commission (EC) have indicated #SaveStageLighting campaigners will be successful in their goal of securing an exemption for stage lighting from new environmental regulations.

Venues and industry associations in May warned that some of the continent’s best-loved music venues and theatres face a blackout post-2020, under European Union plans to regulate stage lighting under the same environmental rules that govern those sold for domestic and office use.

Members of the European Parliament voted 330–246 earlier this month in favour of an amendment, introduced by British MEP Ashley Fox, that would maintain the current exemption for the entertainment sector in the new ‘Ecodesign’ directive. Fox said keeping the exemption is “vital for small theatres across Europe”.

Now, according to Pearle* (Performing Arts Employers Associations League Europe), industry stakeholders in negotiations with the EC have given the European live entertainment body “strong indications that the main arguments of the case have been accepted”, paving the way for a continued exemption for stage, studio, film and live events applications.

“The situation now is far more positive than many had feared”

“There will be a list of exempted lamp base types that will include many of the specialised tungsten and discharge lamps that are used in the sector,” reads a Pearle* statement. While the organisation expects the list of exempted lamps to be “comprehensive”, it cautions it will not include lighting also in use for other, non-entertainment purposes.

There will also be an exemption for colour-tunable light sources, although details have not yet been disclosed.

“Although much still remains to be known, the situation now is far more positive than many had feared and greatly improved since a meeting between representatives of the live performance sector and the [European] Commission took place earlier this year,” says a Pearle* spokesperson.

The full text of the final regulations will be published this November, and is expected to be written into law in September 2020.

Pearle* represents more than 7,000 live music and performing arts organisations across Europe.

 


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Generation DIY: Birmingham

The latest instalment of Eventbrite’s Generation DIY travels to Birmingham to uncover the inner workings of some of the city’s most successful events. The video is the fourth in the series, following in depth looks into the nightlife of London, Bristol and Glasgow.

In it, we see a cross section of the work of seven young promoters are doing in the city – from comedy and poetry, to club nights. Those involved are working to promote the interests of people from all walks of life: Aliyah Hasinah’s events bring underrepresented artists to the forefront whilst Dan Brown’s club nights are a driving force behind the Birmingham LGBT scene.

The video premiered last night at the Hare and Hounds in Birmingham. Next week’s video will take a look at the work going on in Manchester and will be shown at The Deaf Institute.

 


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Rinse FM and Smirnoff team up for all-female Wireless stage

London based radio station Rinse FM and Smirnoff have teamed up to tackle gender inequality in the music industry at this year’s sold-out Wireless festival. This marks the latest move for Smirnoff’s Equalising Music campaign, which is seeking to redress the gender imbalance on club and festival lineups by 2020.

The news of an all-female lineup is particularly welcome after a rocky start to the year for Wireless. In January, the festival, promoted by Live Nation, faced backlash after only three women appeared on the lineup. Smirnoff and Rinse FM’s all-female lineup is a direct response to this. Sam Salameh, head of Smirnoff, comments: “This is about giving under-represented talent a platform, inspiring the next generation of women headliners and influencing the industry to enable genuine, long-lasting change.”

This new lineup will see a variety of female talent from across a number of urban music genres. It sees local talent from DJs like Barely Legal, Jyoty and Eliza Rose perform alongside talent from around the UK. Taking on hosting duties will be Rinse FM’s own presenters Julie Adenuga and Emerald.

“This is about giving under-represented talent a platform, inspiring the next generation of women headliners and influencing the industry to enable genuine, long-lasting change.”

The promotion of female talent is not a new endeavour for the radio station. Sarah Lockhart of Rinse FM has spoken about Rinse’s commitment: “Since its pirate beginnings, Rinse has been nurturing talent and pushing boundaries.

“It’s fitting to be teaming up with Smirnoff Equalising Music and Wireless to celebrate a wealth of diverse female talent and promote a shift in urban culture.”

The issue of a distinct lack of women in festival lineups is not exclusive to Wireless, nor is it a new concern. FACTS, a bi-annual study of festival lineups across the UK and Europe conducted by Female:Pressure has recorded dismally low percentages of female performers for a number of years. At its lowest in 2013, only 5.6% of artists in festival lineups were women.

 


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Thousands enjoy Heritage Concert series at Kenwood House

Once home to members of the English aristocracy, for the last two weekends Kenwood House has played host to thousands of concertgoers and a host of performing talent. The concerts mark the first musical performances at the former stately home since 2013.

Ending this five year absence were performances from acts including Haçienda Classical, Alfie Boe and Katherine Jenkins. In a break from previous years, 2018’s 10,000-capacity arena was positioned so that the historic building overlooked guests, making for an impressive setting. As well as music, crowds were treated to a number of artisan street food stalls as well as a selection of hampers and wines.

Kenwood House has a well-established history of live music events, pre-dating festivals like Glastonbury by some 20 years, but after poor ticket sales in 2013, former promoter Rouge Events pulled out of further concerts. In November last year, Giles Cooper Entertainment (GCE) announced it would be seeing in the return of music to the venue after the five year absence.

“Kenwood is not the easiest of sites to stage concerts, particularly in this era of heightened security”

2013 presented different challenges for concerts at Kenwood House and organisers noted that approaches had to be changed to fit into the live music landscape of 2018. Promoter Giles Cooper of GCE comments on this: “Kenwood is not the easiest of sites to stage concerts, particularly in this era of heightened security.

“Our decision to not allow food or drink to be brought into the arena was not the most popular, but was a decision taken as a direct result of the threat level in the UK still being rated as ‘severe’, and unfortunately a necessity in this uncertain and sometimes dangerous world that we live in today.”

Since last year, GCE has also worked to bring music to two other English Heritage sites: Wrest Park in Bedfordshire and Audley End in Essex, and are already planning for 2019 at Kenwood House.

 


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Assomusica present award to MEP Silvia Costa

Assomusica, the Italian association of concert producers and organisers, has presented Silvia Costa, member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Culture, with an award to commemorate her “commitment, passion and dedication to music”. The award, a microphone encased in a glass bottle, represents the organisation’s will to voice the demands of the music industry.

Costa is a backer of the Creative Europe Programme. Last month, the programme published its new Agenda for Culture for 2021-2027, a look at what the creative industries will look like in a post-Brexit EU. Whilst largely in support of this, Assomusica hope that by commemorating Costa’s continued championing of the music industry within the EU, it will encourage her to take their proposed improvements on the agenda to parliament.

“We need a European music programme, with a budget proportionate to the economic, social and cultural contribution that this social and cultural form of art offers to the community.”

Assomusica chairman, Vincenzo Spera, who presented Costa with the award, has highlighted the improvements that need to be made to the European music sector and the parliament’s support of it. They include the improvement of scouting activities and an establishment of an observatory for gathering music sector-related data and the necessity for the sector to have access to financial resources to promote and produce the internationalisation of music.

He says: “The whole industry is calling on all EU institutions to support and strengthen the idea of dedicating specific programming to the music sector.

“We need a European music programme, with a budget proportionate to the economic, social and cultural contribution that this social and cultural form of art offers to the community. Only through strong support from the European Community, we will be able to promote creativity and innovation, safeguard and expand the diversity of European music.”

 


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British festivalgoer stabbed to death at Hideout

A British festivalgoer has died and two others have been injured in a brawl at Hideout music festival in Croatia. The victim, who has yet to be named, was found on Zrce beach early on Wednesday morning. Local media reports the incident was drug-related.

The death is thought to have been the result of a fight between two groups of British tourists. British news website the Sun Online reported the attacker, thought to also be British, was being hunted by police after being caught on camera.

Today, local news has reported that police have arrested a British citizen at Split Airport, who fits the description of the suspect. Pictures from the crime scene show forensic teams working behind police tape on the now deserted beach.

Since the incident, festivalgoers have spoken to media to describe what they witnessed. Speaking to the Sun Online, one guest spoke of seeing a “trail of blood” and the victim “with his back covered in blood”. He continued, saying that the DJ stopped playing mid-set and told everyone to leave because there had been a “very serious incident”.

One guest spoke of seeing a “trail of blood” and the victim “with his back covered in blood”

In a statement on their Facebook page, Hideout Festival, which is owned by the UK’s second largest festival operator Global Entertainment, has expressed sadness at the turn of events. It says: “Following an incident involving a group of young men at Zrće Beach early this morning, one man tragically lost his life.

“We are giving every assistance to the investigation and our thoughts and condolences are with the family and friends of the people affected. As always, we are working closely with the local authorities with the safety and security of everyone on site as our top priority.”

The Foreign Office has said it is already working with the victims of yesterdays events. A spokesperson comments: “Staff from the British embassy in Zagreb are supporting the family of a British man who died following an incident in Novalja, and are in contact with the Croatian police and the state attorney.”

 


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