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New partners, pop-ups, plans for IFF 2019

Organisers of the International Festival Forum (IFF), ILMC’s invitation-only event for festivals and bookers, have revealed the provisional schedule and roster of partner agencies ahead of its return this September, as well as several new-for-2019 initiatives.

Last year’s IFF welcomed 450 festivals from over 30 countries, alongside 250 agents representing almost every headliner in the business. Attending festival delegates represent events with a daily capacity of 10,000 or more, while agency delegates are all established in their field.

“IFF is perfectly timed with the right crowd in an intimate environment. It’s the most important festival business event,” says Coda agent and partner James Whitting.

This year, IFF features additional agency partners, with 13 Artists, Solo Agency and Toutpartout joining longstanding partners CAA, Coda, WME, X-ray Touring, ITB, Primary Talent, opening party hosts UTA, ATC Live and Pitch and Smith. To make meetings between festivals and agents more efficient, IFF 2019 will debut a series of pop-up agency offices around the event. The temporary spaces will allow festivals to meet with most agencies without needing to travel between their ‘real’ offices.

Also new for 2019 is second outdoor networking area at Dingwalls, IFF’s longtime north London home, that will double the footprint of the event – and also allow a small additional number of festival delegates to attend – and two sets of dedicated meetings for all delegates.

“It’s the most important festival business event”

The Knowledge Hub will invite leading innovators and solutions experts into IFF for a series of private 30-minute meetings on topics ranging from the latest festival tech to next generation ticketing and VIP opportunities, while the similar Green Hub welcomes leading practitioners to offer advice and expertise on environmental efforts by festivals, artists or companies.

Since 2015 IFF has gained a reputation for showcasing the most talented emerging artists at early stages in their careers, including Idles, Slaves, Loyle Carner, Public Service Broadcasting, Lewis Capaldi and Shame. For its fifth edition, IFF is increasing the number of showcases: in addition to daytime agency shows at Dingwalls, Toutpartout, Dutch Export and Pop Farm will present shows at various venues around Camden on the evening of Wednesday 25 September.

Elsewhere, IFF has announced its first two conference sessions, tackling the biggest issues in the festival business today. In addition to the traditional The Festival Season opening session, The Big Billing Debate, chaired by Melt! Booking’s Julia Gudzent, sees panellists debate the always-controversial issue of the ordering of festival bills, while Niche Work (If You Can Get It), moderated by IQ’s Jon Chapple, examines the proliferation of new genre-specific events outside the rock/pop bubble.

IFF 2019 takes place from Tuesday 24 to Thursday 26 September in Camden, London.

Click here to view the provisional schedule in full, or visit iff.rocks/register to request an invitation.

 


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Ticketmaster to pay $4m to settle Canada lawsuit

Ticketmaster has agreed to pay a C$4 million (US$3.1m) fine to settle an investigation by the Canadian Competition Bureau into alleged deceptive pricing online.

Three Ticketmaster companies, Ticketmaster LLC, TNow Entertainment Group Inc. and Ticketmaster Canada LP, will additionally pay $500,000 (US$382,200) to settle costs incurred by the bureau during its investigation, according to the competition regulator.

The Competition Bureau brought legal action against Ticketmaster Canada in January 2018, after an investigation found Ticketmaster’s advertised prices are deceptive because consumers must pay additional fees added later in the purchasing process. “This practice, which is known as ‘drip pricing’, results in consumers paying much higher prices than advertised,” said the bureau. “Ticketmaster’s mandatory fees often inflate the advertised price by more than 20% and, in some cases, by over 65%.”

“The bureau expects all ticket vendors to take note and review their marketing practice”

As part of a consent agreement registered with Canada’s Competition Tribunal, the Ticketmaster companies will also establish a “compliance programme” to ensure their advertising complies with Canadian law. The consent agreement has the force of a court order and will be binding for ten years.

The settlement concludes the regulator’s legal action against Ticketmaster. A private class-action lawsuit, led by Merchant Law Group, remains unresolved.

“Canadians should be able to trust that the prices advertised are the ones they will pay when purchasing tickets online,” says Canadian competition commissioner Matthew Boswell, commenting on the resolution of the case. “The bureau will remain vigilant and will not tolerate misleading representations.

“The bureau expects all ticket vendors to take note and review their marketing practices, knowing that the bureau continues to examine similar issues in the marketplace and will take action as necessary.”

 


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Pollstar co-founder Gary Smith retires

After 38 years at Pollstar, co-founder Gary Smith has announced his retirement, effective Sunday (30 June).

Smith, who established the US concert business magazine in 1981 alongside Gary Bongiovanni, has led Pollstar – initially a service providing printed pages for subscribers to assemble in their own binders – throughout its history, overseeing the launch of weekly print magazine, the Concert Industry Consortium (now the Pollstar Live! conference and awards) and the magazine’s online presence.

Bongiovanni, Pollstar’s former editor in chief, retired last July, almost a year after the company was acquired by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff’s Oak View Group (OVG).

In addition to his work with Pollstar, Smith is a long-time supporter of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), and an ILMC platinum delegate.

Smith’s career will be celebrated with a special tribute in the 5 August issue of the print magazine, according to Pollstar.

 


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AEG to manage new Las Vegas stadium

AEG Facilities has been selected to operate 65,000-seat stadium under construction in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Set to open in August 2020, the US$2 billion domed stadium will serve as the new home ground of American football team the Oakland Raiders (who will become the Las Vegas Raiders when they relocate from Oakland, California), as well as hosting concerts, festivals, family shows and other sporting events.

AEG Facilities – the arena/stadia management division of AEG – will be responsible for all stadium operations, including hiring staff and planning the schedule of events for its 2020 opening.

“The addition of the stadium … will provide immediate opportunities to bring new high-profile events to Las Vegas”

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to partner with one of sports’ most recognisable, successful and iconic international brands,” says Bob Newman, president of AEG Facilities, “and with a city known as the ‘sports and entertainment capital of the world’ in a stadium destined to set new standards for the fan experience that will be created.

“The addition of the Las Vegas stadium into our global stadia network will provide immediate opportunities to bring new high-profile events to Las Vegas to take advantage of the incredible new stadium and a city that knows how to deliver best-in-class experiences and events.”

AEG Facilities already operates the 20,000-cap. T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which opened in 2016. Other venues under construction in the city include the Sphere arena, owned by rival operator MSG.

 


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Hurricane/Southside 2020 break presale record

After a record-setting weekend of live music for FKP Scorpio, the German promoter is celebrating another record: its best-ever presale, for the 2020 editions of its Hurricane and Southside festivals.

The twin festivals recorded total footfall of 380,000 last weekend, which – when combined with two sold-out Ed Sheeran shows – saw FKP shows attended nearly 600,000 times, for a gross of €50 million.

Hurricane and Southside 2020 went on sale on Monday (24 June) and sold 40,000 tickets in the space of two days (at one point even bringing down FKP’s online ticketing portal).

Next year’s line-up will be announced “shortly”, says FKP, with “big names” joining previously announced hip-hop act Seeed.

Hurricane and Southside return on 19–21 June 2020.

 


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Call for support for Music At Work Week

Author and academic Dr Julia Jones has issued a call to businesses around the world to back the Music At Work Week campaign, which aims to encourage employees to listen to music in the workplace to improve health.

Music At Work Week hopes to enhance wellbeing and mental health among workers, after studies proved a daily diet of music can assist the brain and body, improving productivity.

Dr Jones, known as ‘Doctor Rock’, came up with the campaign concept while writing her new book, The Music Diet, which identifies music as a key factor in mental and physical health.

Found In Music director Dr Jones, who has worked with Olympic teams, the NHS, governmental bodies and major brands, has been prescribing music for personal and business health for over 20 years. She explains: “The science shows that purposeful use of music playlists and headphones can help people focus to get more work done in less time.

“Purposeful use of music playlists and headphones can help people focus to get more work done in less time”

“The science also shows that music in non-focus workplaces such as reception areas and kitchen areas can produce a more relaxing environment to ease stress.

“We have drawn up a charter for employers to adopt and in November we want as many businesses as possible to support Music At Work Week internationally. This is a serious issue and costs employers and the economy billions of pounds a year.

“Technology has had massive effects on the working environment and health. We want to spark a workplace transformation revolution.”

Music At Work Week will take place between 25 November and 1 December 2019.

 


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OVG announces new arena in southern California

Oak View Group and the Agua Caliente Band of the Cahuilla, a tribe of Indians native to the Coachella Valley, have announced plans for a new entertainment and sports arena in Palm Springs, California.

The project, which counts Live Nation as a strategic partner for events, will see the construction of an up-to-10,000-seat arena on 300,000sqft (27,870sqm) on Agua Caliente land in Palm Springs city centre. The new venue will be located to the north of the Agua Caliente Casino, also operated by the tribe.

“This is a unique partnership that will forever change the face of sports and entertainment in Palm Springs and the Coachella Valley,” says Jeff Grubbe, tribal chairman of the Agua Caliente Band. “We are creating a healthy community gathering place for Coachella Valley families and visitors from around the world to celebrate, play and experience diverse entertainment opportunities in a state-of-the-art arena.”

The privately funded Palm Springs arena comes amid a building boom for Tim Leiweke-led OVG, which is developing venues in Seattle, New York, Texas and, most recently, Milan, in its first international project.

In a tweet, OVG described its recent moves as representing “the most aggressive number of arena developments in the history of the industry”:

The Coachella Valley arena is expected to break ground in February 2020 and be open by autumn 2021. OVG and NHL (National Hockey League) Seattle have also jointly submitted an application for a 32nd American Hockey League (AHL) team, which would play in the new arena.

Other entertainment arenas in southern California include MSG’s 18,000-seat LA Forum, formerly co-owned by OVG’s Irving Azoff, and Staples Center (19,000-cap.) in Los Angeles, owned and operated by MSG/OVG arch-rival AEG.

“Oak View Group has consistently continued to raise the industry standard, and the arena in Palm Springs will be no exception”

Nearby Indio, meanwhile, is the site of AEG’s famed Coachella and Stagecoach festival.

“With each venue, we’ve had the privilege of building and managing, Oak View Group has consistently continued to raise the industry standard, and the arena in Palm Springs will be no exception,” says OVG CEO Leiweke. “We look forward to working with Agua Caliente to build what we consider to be one of the most premiere music and professional sports arenas in the world.”

Oak View Group, a venue development, advisory and investment company founded by former AEG CEO Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Azoff, launched in 2015. In addition to its under-development arena projects, it runs the Arena and Stadium Alliance of 28 US venues.

It also has a venue-management outfit, OVG Facilities, launched in 2017 following the acquisition of Pinnacle Venue Services, and a security arm, Prevent Advisors, and owns industry trade titles Venues Today and Pollstar, the latter which it bought the same year.

“We’re pleased to be able to partner with Oak View Group and Agua Caliente for this new state-of-the-art arena,” comments Bob Roux, president of US concerts at Live Nation, “and look forward to bringing in top touring artists and live events to the Valley for years to come.”

 


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FKP Scorpio celebrates record-breaking weekend

With twin festivals Hurricane and Southside and two open-air Ed Sheeran headline shows, last weekend was the most successful ever for German concert/festival promoter FKP Scorpio.

Scorpio, majority owned by CTS Eventim, turned over nearly €50 million from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 June – a period in which its shows recorded a total of 580,000 visits, according to the company’s, CEO Folkert Koopmans.

From Friday to Sunday, Hurricane (at the Eichenring in Scheeßel, Lower Saxony, north-west Germany) and Southside (at the Gewerbepark in Neuhausen ob Eck, in Baden-Wuerttemberg, south-west Germany) recorded footfall of 380,000 over three festival days. Around 68,000 people per day attended Hurricane, and some 60,000 Southside, the twin festivals whose headliners included Foo Fighters, the Cure, Die Toten Hosen, Mumford & Sons, Macklemore and Tame Impala.

Elsewhere, on Saturday and Sunday ‘Edmania’ came to Germany, with Sheeran playing the first two of four open-air shows to 100,000 people a day at the Hockenheimring. They were the biggest solo shows of his career to date, following last summer’s show in Hamburg, also promoted by FKP, which was attended by 80,000 people.

“We faced this tremendous challenge as a team and mastered it with flying colours”

That monster €50m figure, Koopmans tells IQ, comprises ticketing revenues plus sponsorship and F&B for the festivals, combined with ticket revenues only for for Ed Sheeran.

“Last weekend was unique to all of us in many ways,” comments Koopmans, who spoke to IQ earlier this month about how festivals are facing intense competition for audience share from one-day headline shows.

“The logistical and personnel effort that comes with three parallel events of this size and a total of more than 580,000 guests not only triples – it increases exponentially. In total, more than 10,000 workers from all over Germany were directly or indirectly involved.

“With a total turnover close to 50 million euros, this weekend had undoubtedly the highest turnover in the history of FKP Scorpio. Even more important to me is the fact that we have faced this tremendous challenge as a team and mastered it with flying colours.”

 


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UK’s Y Not back under original management

Derbyshire’s Y Not Festival, the ex-Global event notably not acquired by either Superstruct or Broadwick when they divvied up that company’s festivals in April, is back in the control of previous owner Count of Ten.

“There’s been a bit of chat lately about the future of Y Not and we wanted to share some exciting news with you,” reads a statement from the festival, released yesterday (25 June). “As of last month, Y Not Festival is once again, independent and under the ownership of Count of Ten following a previous purchase by Global Festivals in 2016.”

Radio giant Global acquired Y Not and Oxford’s Truck Festival from Count of Ten in 2016, along with South West Four, Field Day, Boardmasters and Rewind from Impresario. Following its sale by Global, former stablemate Truck is now part Superstruct Entertainment.

Heading up the newly independent Count of Ten is operations manager Jason Oakley, who has been involved with Y Not since its inception, helping to grow the festival from a small grassroots event to one with over 25,000 attendees.

“We’re looking forward to what we believe will be an amazing future”

“We are incredibly excited for this new era for Y Not and we’re looking forward to what we believe will be an amazing future, working on the festival that’s meant so much to us all,” he says. “All our energy and focus is now on giving the Y Notters the best possible festivals that we can. We’re already excited to open the gates for 2019, which we are certain will be the best yet.”

Companies House records show Oakley became a director of Y Not Festivals UK Ltd and Count of Ten Ltd on 11 June. Oakley is also listed as a director of Brownstock UK Ltd, the holding company behind Chelmsford’s Brownstock festival, and his own firm, JO Worldwide Ltd.

Count of Ten founders Alex Dixon and Ralph Broadbent ceased to be directors of the firm in 2016, ahead of the Global acquisition.

Artists playing Y Not 2019 include Foals, Elbow, Two Door Cinema Club, Franz Ferdinand, You Me at Six and Wolf Alice. For 2020, the new owners are asking ‘Y Notters’ to fill in a survey about which artists and other content they want to see at next year’s event.

 


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What to expect from Glastonbury Festival 2019

Glastonbury Festival returns tomorrow (Wednesday 26 June) following a year’s hiatus. As hundreds of thousands of fans prepare to descend on Worthy Farm, here’s what to look out for this year.

In a slow year elsewhere for UK festivals, enthusiasm for this Glastonbury remains high. Standard tickets for the 2019 event sold out in 36 minutes, compared to 50 minutes in pre-fallow year 2017.

Stormzy will become the first UK grime act to head up the Glastonbury Pyramid Stage on the Friday night, followed by the Killers and the Cure on the following evenings. Kylie Minogue will play the Sunday afternoon Legends Slot.

Festival organisers recently revealed dancehall star Sean Paul as a late addition to head up the John Peel stage on Saturday.

Elsewhere, European Talent Exchange Programme (Etep) leaders and May’s Radar Station runnersup, Fontaines D.C., will show why they’re one of Europe’s fastest emerging acts on the William’s Green stage.

Other popular Etep acts performing at the festival include Black Midi, Flohio, Pip Blom and Octavian.

Performing arts collective Arcadia will bring a brand-new installation to this year’s festival, in the form of Pangea. The new arena, Arcadia’s “most ambitious yet”, will see performances from the likes of the Black Madonna, Four Tet and Carl Cox.

Standard tickets for the 2019 event sold out in 36 minutes, compared to 50 minutes in pre-fallow year 2017

The weather, a major talking point of any UK festival, is looking to turn around in time for Glastonbury. Some forecasters are predicting the hottest Glastonbury Festival on record, with London’s Met Office indicating temperatures could hit 35°C.

According to Met Office forecaster Grahame Madge, “it will start out overcast and there could be the potential for some showers but going forward it’s going to be much dryer than in recent days.

“There may be some heavy showers in the south west of England, though these are likely to be further west than Glastonbury.”

The Greenpeace-partnered festival is striving to up its eco-friendly policies this year, banning single-use plastic bottles and encouraging attendees to leave no waste behind. National food retailer the Co-op will sell sandwiches in 100% compostable packaging at its pop-up shop at the festival.

A proposed Glastonbury spin-off festival, the Variety Bazaar, appears to be on hold. Organisers had previously claimed that the event would take place instead of Glastonbury Festival in 2021, on a different site.

 


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