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Event Safety Management Association launches

The Event Safety Managers Association (ESMA) launched today (30 September) as a new entertainment trade body dedicated to event safety.

Co-founded by event safety specialists Steve Blake, founding director of Storm4Events, and Chris Hannam of health and safety consultancy StageSafe, ESMA aims to become the major independent voice of UK live event safety managers, consultants and advisors.

The association will cover all areas of health, safety and welfare at festivals and live events, including production and site management, crowd management, structures, emergency and contingency planning, fatigue, fire safety, security, medical and first aid, stewarding and counter-terrorism.

ESMA will also help to influence legislation around these areas and develop industry-wide working standards, as well as providing mentoring and training opportunities to those working in festivals and live events.

“The competence of event safety advisors and consultants operating within the industry has become a major issue,” states ESMA co-founder Blake, stating that the association will carry a list of members to indicate “their level of qualification, and the experience and responsibility signified by their level of membership.”

“The competence of event safety advisors and consultants operating within the industry has become a major issue”

“The formation of such an organisation is now long overdue and is needed as an industry voice to promote high standards of safety management in an area where live event organisers and promoters are often confused, misled or oblivious about selecting properly qualified and competent safety advisors for their events,” says fellow ESMA co-founder Hannam.

“While we fully respect the work of IOSH (Institution of Occupational Safety and Health), IIRSM (International Institute of Risk and Safety Management), NCRQ (National Compliance and Risk Qualifications), NEBOSH (National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health) and the British Safety Council and others, these organisations just do not fully cater for the needs of the live events industry safety managers,” continues Hannam, adding that ESMA will “involve and work with” the other associations “wherever possible”.

The committee has already been put in place for the first 12 months to oversee the formation of ESMA, which will operate as a non-profit organisation.

Membership is now open to individuals, companies, organisations’ and charities, with all encouraged to join and take part.

Live event safety will be discussed at the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) on 8 October in London. Walk-up delegate passes will be available on the day for £220.

 


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Last chance for GEI 2020 early-bird tickets

Early bird tickets for the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) 2020 will no longer be available after today, Monday 30 September.

The twelfth edition of GEI will return to the International Live Music Conference on Tuesday 3 March 2020, presented by A Greener Festival.

The final few early bird tickets are still available for GEI 2020 at a rate of £96, with standard prices coming into effect from tomorrow.

Each year, the event welcomes over 200 live music professionals to discuss sustainability at live events.

Topics discussed at last year’s GEI included ethical merchandise options, environmentally friendly food at festivals, the effect of Brexit on sustainability efforts and the environmental impact of touring.

GEI 2019 also saw the inaugural international edition of the AGF Awards and the launch of Coda (now Paradigm) Agency’s Green Artist Rider initiative.

Buy tickets here for GEI 2020 before 1 October to profit from early bird rates.

The 32nd edition of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) will take place in London from 3 to 6 March.

 


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Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart to play Saudi concert series

Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart and Enrique Iglesias are among acts to perform at Winter at Tantora Festival, an eleven-week celebration of culture in Al Ula, Saudi Arabia.

The concerts are taking place as part of Ula season, one of eleven region-specific cultural event series forming part of Saudi Arabia’s new Saudi Seasons initiative. Ula season will run from December 19 to March 7, with performances from Egyptian musician Omar Khairat and Greek pianist Yanni also scheduled.

The live music events will take place every weekend throughout the season at the new 500-capacity, 5,000-square metre Maraya concert hall. Arabic for ‘mirror’, Maraya was completed in January 2019 in the old town of Al Ula. The festival is expected to attract around 40,000 visitors.

Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart and Enrique Iglesias are among acts to perform at Winter at Tantora Festival

Luanched last year, Winter at Tantora 2018/2019 ran from 20 December to 9 February, with performances from Italian singer Andrea Bocelli and French violinist Renaud Capuçon.

The festival is one in a series of major live entertainment events cropping up in Saudi Arabia, including Roqu Media-promoted Jeddah World Fest and an upcoming show by K-pop sensations BTS, which will open Riyadh season on 11 October at the 70,000-capacity King Fahd stadium.

Tickets for the 2019/2020 Winter at Tantora shows will become available early October. The full line-up of artists is yet to be confirmed. More information on tickets and concert dates can be found here.

 


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Europe’s second-largest arena planned for Frankfurt

The Katz Group of Companies, one of Canada’s largest private firms, is moving ahead with plans to build the largest indoor arena in Germany, and the second-largest in Europe, next to Frankfurt Airport.

The Dome will cost €300 million and have a capacity of 23,000, placing it ahead of SMG’s Manchester Arena (21,000-cap.) in the UK and just behind Live Nation’s Sportpaleis (23,001-cap.) in Antwerp, Belgium.

Katz Group was formerly owner of Rexall Health, one the largest chains of chemists in North America, and now operates chiefly in property and sports/entertainment. Through Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), the Edmonton-based company, founded in 1990 by Daryl Katz, owns ice-hockey teams Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Oil Kings and Bakersfield Condors.

It also manages the 20,734-capacity Rogers Place (home ground to the Oilers and Oil Kings), and surrounding ‘Ice District’, in Edmonton, and owns events agency Aquila Productions.

According to Dentons, which advised Katz Group on its joint venture with local investors, upon completion the Dome is likely to become the home venue of Frankfurt’s Löwen ice-hockey team and Skyliners basketball team.

“We have focused on the Frankfurt location for a variety of reasons,” Jürgen Schreiber, Katz Group’s German-born CEO, tells Stadionwelt (via Coliseum). “On the one hand, we want to build a special, unique arena that sets new standards.

“Frankfurt needs a venue of the size of the Dome in order to remain competitive”

“From the beginning, we have ruled out the possibility of designing the arena for a capacity of 10,000 to 13,000 seats – enough such arenas exist  in Germany. We deliberately decided to build a world-class arena.”

Currently, the largest indoor arena in Frankfurt, the fifth-largest city in Germany, is the turn-of-the-century Festhalle, which seats 8,500 and can hold up to 13,500 for concerts.

More modern alternatives include the 6,946-cap. Eissporthalle, primarily used for ice hockey, and the 5,002-seat Fraport Arena, which currently hosts the Skyliners.

“In our opinion, Frankfurt needs [a venue the size of the Dome] in order to remain competitive in the the events and, above all, sports industries,” Schreiber continues. “At the moment, most organisers are avoiding Frankfurt and prefer other cities instead.

“The Frankfurt airport location offers optimal conditions to implement such a project. The infrastructure is largely already there, which saves time and money. And the area is easily accessible by train, plane, car and bicycle.

“Half of the German population lives within a radius of 200 kilometres, which is why the potential of the location is enormous.”

 


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Silver Lake eyes up potential TEG buy

US private-equity firm Silver Lake Partners is in talks to buy Australian live entertainment powerhouse TEG, according to a report by the Australian Financial Review.

Reports suggest that the California-based buyout specialist is in “late-stage talks” with TEG’s owner Affinity Equity and senior management team, led by CEO Geoff Jones, in a deal expected to surpass AUS$1 billion (US$675 million).

Silver Lake has over $43 billion in combined assets across a portfolio of tech-related businesses such as Alibaba, AMC, Dell Technologie and Tesla. The firm also has stakes in various live entertainment-related enterprises, including in WME parent company Endeavor, the Madison Square Garden Company, UFC and Oak View Group (OVG).

The firm is the not the first potential buyer to register interest in TEG over the past few years. In 2016, CTS Eventim and Chinese conglomerates Fosun and Wanda Group made up a trio of potential buyers in the running to acquire TEG.

Silver Lake has stakes in various live entertainment-related enterprises

TEG, the parent company of one of Australia’s “big two” ticketing companies, Ticketek, made moves into the European market earlier this year, acquiring UK-based promoter the MJR Group.

The company also owns self-service ticketing platform Eventopia, promotion business TEG Live, concert promoter TEG Dainty – formerly Dainty Group –, data firm TEG Analytics and the AEG-Ogden-operated the Qudos Bank Arena (21,000-cap.) in Sydney.

TEG launched a new live family entertainment division, TEG Experiences, earlier this month.

IQ has contacted TEG for comment.

 


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UK stadium success for the Hella Mega tour

The Hella Mega tour, the upcoming world tour jointly headlined by Fall Out Boy, Green Day and Weezer, has sold out multiple stadiums in the UK, shifting 150,000 tickets for its three SJM-promoted British shows next June.

The tour sees the three ’90s/2000s rock icons (all of whom are represented by Jonathan Daniel and Bob McLynn’s Crush Music) heading out on the road together for the first time.

The trio will touch down in Europe on 13 June 2020, playing their first show at Paris’s 40,000-capacity La Défense Arena; the UK dates are at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow, London Stadium and John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield, on 24, 26 and 27 June, respectively.

North American dates follow in July and August.

For a full Hella Mega tour itinerary, visit hellamegatour.com.

 


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Endeavor public offering plans stall

Endeavor Group Holdings, Inc., the parent company of powerhouse booking agency WME Entertainment, has postponed its initial public offering (IPO), which was due to take place later this year.

IQ understands from a well-placed source that the IPO struggled to attract sufficient investor attention.

The company was due to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange as early as today, under the symbol EDR. Endeavor had originally planned to go public in May, before pushing it back to after the summer.

“Endeavor will continue to evaluate the timing for the proposed offering as market conditions develop,” reads a statement released by the company.

In a regulatory filing posted on Thursday morning with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the company proposed the sale of 17 million shares at a maximum share offering of $27, totalling a proposed maximum offering price of almost $466m.

“Endeavor will continue to evaluate the timing for the proposed offering as market conditions develop”

The valuation constitutes a significant decrease from that posted a week earlier. According to last week’s filing, the agency giant believed it could have raised as much as $712 million with its flotation, selling just over 22m shares at $27 a pop.

The IPO would have made Endeavor the first major Hollywood agency to trade publicly, with Creative Artists Agency (CAA), United Talent Agency (UTA) and International Creative Management (ICM Partners) and Paradigm all operating as private businesses.

The company would have joined stock market-listed live entertainment companies including Live Nation, CTS Eventim, Deutsche Entertainment AG, Madison Square Garden Company, Eventbrite and T4T Entertainment, as well as eBay’s StubHub and Vivendi’s live businesses.

In addition to WME, whose music roster includes Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, Solange, Vince Staples and Macklemore, IMG and UFC, Endeavor’s business comprises production arm Endeavor Content, the Miss Universe pageant, comedy management company Dixon Talent and ad agency Droga5, among others.

IQ has contacted WME for comment.

 


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NSW music festival regulations rejected

The New South Wales (NSW) Legislative Council has rejected regulations put forward by the NSW Government that imposed stricter licensing laws on music festivals.

The rejection means that festivals formerly placed in the government’s ‘higher risk’ category, and were most affected by the regulations, can revert back to their previous licensing laws.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian implemented the regulations, which placed more responsibility on festival organisers to ensure the safety of patrons and incurred many additional licensing and security costs, following a string of drug-related deaths at music festivals in the region.

The regulations were criticised by industry bodies including the Australian Music Festivals Association, Live Performance Australia, Apra Amcos and Music NSW, as well as leading industry figures such as Byron Bluesfest founder Peter Noble and Live Nation Australia chairman Michael Coppel.

“The government can now sit down with the industry for some constructive consultation on ways to improve patron safety at music festivals, including steps to reduce drug-related harm,” comments Evelyn Richardson, chief executive of Live Performance Australia.

“From the outset, we have repeatedly expressed our strong desire to work collaboratively with government on our shared commitment to safer festivals.

“Genuine collaboration with industry representatives who have decades of experience in running safe and successful festivals is the best way to promote the safety of festival patrons, while also ensuring NSW continues to enjoy the economic and cultural benefits from a dynamic and diverse music festival industry.”

“The government can now sit down with the industry for some constructive consultation on ways to improve patron safety at music festivals”

The government now has two months to propose a new set of regulations. Representatives from the Australian Labor party stated that they would support a regime that did not publish an ‘extreme risk’ list of festivals, that followed existing NSW Health guidelines for festival organisers and that ensured all medical providers at festivals are registered.

Politicians also urged the ‘immediate establishment’ of a regulatory roundtable, at which live music industry associations could consult with local councils.

“The opposition does not move to disallow these regulations lightly, but we simply believe that these regulations do not do the job as required to regulate music festivals and to keep kids safe across NSW,” stated shadow minister for roads, music and the night-time economy John Graham, speaking at the debate.

The minister also commented that no politicians met with the festivals at the time of implementing the regulations and that “no consultative body existed, or exists today”, adding that there is “no other industry that government would work with in that way.”

According to Labor minister Penny Sharpe, the “impact on venues and festivals” was not “accounted for” in the regulations. The minster urged the government to learn from its mistakes, referencing the recently scrapped Sydney lock-out laws.

As well as Byron Bay Bluesfest, other NSW festivals include Defqon.1, Days Like This, Transmission, Electric Gardens and Rolling Loud.

 


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Final day of IFF underway

Following a packed opening two days of panel discussions, networking events, speed meetings, parties and showcases in Camden, north London, the final day of the International Festival Forum 2019 is finally upon us.

Kicking off proceedings was the ‘Niche Work (if you can get it)’ panel, moderated by award-winning IQ news editor Jon Chapple and featuring Pohoda festival boss Michal Kaščák, Mojo Concerts promoter Maarten van Vugt, CAA electronic music agent Maria May, Montreux Jazz Festival’s head of programming Michaela Maiterth and Seaside Touring’s Thomas Kreidner.

The panel of experts in non-rock events, with representatives from the jazz, electronic music, heavy metal and hip-hop scenes, explored the merits of genre-specific festivals.

Topics discussed included the rise of urban music and the electronic music explosion, jazz’s longevity and the success of some large heavy metal events, such as Wacken Open Air. Pohoda boss Kaščák mentioned the importance of opening up the space up for everyone, stressing that “quality is always key, whatever the niche”.

Fan demographics also came into play, with panellists discussing the difficulties of handling younger, more inexperienced fans and the various security issues this can throw up. Hip-hop shows and certain, more mainstream, electronic acts draw a younger crowd. “Cancellations still cause a lot of headaches for us in the urban music business, which leads to a lot of disappointment among fans,” said van Vugt. “The more mature our crowd gets, the more they’ll understand this.”

The oft-talked about penchant for comfort among festivalgoers was also discussed, as the panel attempted to pinpoint the type of fan that is most likely to be unfazed by getting down and dirty. Ravers definitely don’t mind the mud, confirmed May, as long as the sound system is “amazing”. Metal fans are also not fussy, added Kreidner, whereas Pohoda fans value clean toilets above all else, joked the Pohoda boss.

“Cancellations still cause a lot of headaches for us in the urban music business, which leads to a lot of disappointment among fans”

Elsewhere on the final day of IFF 2019, delegates reflected on the previous day’s showcases, which included an entertaining performance by multi-platinum-selling band the Darkness. The band’s frontman Justin Hawkins joked that the show brought him back to the good old days, performing in intimate London grassroots venue the Garage.

Other showcases came from Sports Team (Matt Bates, Primary Talent), Pengshui (Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring) and Whispering Sons (Franky Roels, Toutpartout), as well as a country-focused showcase by Dutch artists including Jarreau Vandal (Michael Harvey-Bray, Paradigm).

Plenty more music has also been scheduled for the final day of IFF, with showcase sessions presented by ITB, Paradigm and ATC Live, with acts including Charlotte (Alex Hardee, Paradigm), London-based six-piece Black Country, New Road (Clemence Renaut, ATC Live) and guitar trailblazers Life (Steve Zapp, ITB).

Wrapping up IFF’s fifth anniversary event in style, a joint birthday party will be held with European metal festival behemoth Wacken Open Air (30 this year) and Japan’s Summer Sonic’s (20 this year) later on in the evening.

The International Festival Forum takes place in Camden from 24–26 September, with festival and agency delegates from 40 markets represented.

 


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‘They sustain the live industry’: Schueremans on the importance of festivals

The conference programme of the International Festival Forum (IFF)  drew to a close today (26 September) with the IFF Keynote, which saw Herman Schueremans, Rock Werchter founder and one of Europe’s most influential festival pioneers, joining ILMC founder Martin Hopewell in conversation.

Topics covered by the promoter and agency veterans, respectively, included Schueremans’ early days in the business, live music as cultural heritage and the changing festival scene – which the Live Nation Belgium CEO said is under threat from samey line-ups and festival operators seeing events as “brands” rather than cultural institutions.

Central to the conversation was a rising concern about the festivals Schueremans views as “cultural institutions” that play a key role in a society.

“Festivals sustain the live industry just as the Amazon rainforest sustains the world’s climate,” he said. “They’re the lungs of live music business, and we have to take care to protect them.”

In particular, said the Live Nation Belgium Head, the threat is primarily from newer events organised “for the wrong reasons… The only thing these kinds of festivals are doing is driving up prices,” he stated, “and the passion is starting to disappear.”

Talking about Rock Werchter, the event he founded 40 years ago, Schueremans credited teamwork and the creation of a community spirit as the key to his success. “The general perception is that people should feel welcome at Werchter, at home. It should be a place they want to go to.”

Reflecting on his early days as a student club promoter, Schueremans initially embarked on studies to become a historian, but soon decided that a career in the live business was where he was headed and dropped out of university. “When you really want something, you just go for it,” he explains.

Examples of festivals with poor organisation, such as Woodstock and the early years of the Jazz Bilzen festival, spurred Schueremans on to do his own, as “we knew we could do it better,” he said.

“Nowadays you make one mistake and you’re burned”

When Werchter started, it was a “handicap” to have a festival in such a small country, said Schueremans, as it was difficult to persuade agents to book their acts in Belgium for only one date. To solve this, Schueremans created twin festivals Rock Torhout, to offer a double date to agents. This format spawned copycats across Europe, says Schueremans, referencing the UK’s Reading and Leeds festivals and Germany’s Rock am Ring/Rock im Park.

Hopewell cast his mind back to when Schueremans first entered his office at Chrysalis Agency in London, as a “young whippersnapper”. Sending acts to play shows abroad seemed “exotic”, said Hopewell, and there was definitely “a sense of adventure in the air”.

The pair mused on the fact that when they were starting out there was no “laid-out track” or “map” to follow. “It was all invention,” said Hopewell, adding that he has a “huge amount of respect for promoters”, who are the ones that “make it all happen”.

When asked what the tipping point was for Werchter, Schueremans puts it down to the type of bands they had playing. Dire Straits, U2 and the Talking Heads were among those to cut their teeth at Werchter in the early days. “We were the guys with the young acts,” said Schueremans. “We were just there at the right time and in the right place – simply because we loved that music and we fought for it.”

Hopewell agrees that Schueremans began when there was a definite “changing of the guard” between the older and younger generations, so the timing was spot-on.

“In those days, you could make mistakes and as long as you excused yourself, you could win sympathy back,” stated Schueremans, “but nowadays you make one mistake and you’re burned.”

Talk turned to the changing festival scene and the growing expectations of comfort and cleanliness among audiences. “We’ve spoiled them, maybe,” joked Schueremans, adding that the challenge to do better every year is good motivation. “If you’re not trying to do that, then you better stop,” says the Werchter boss.

“Festivals sustain the live industry just as the Amazon sustains the world’s climate”

Over the years, live music became more of a business, too, “with all the advantages and disadvantages that brings.” A plus side, said Schueremans, is that festivals no longer experience too many cancellations (with a notable exception in “one particular genre”, he added).

“The last thing I want in this business is that we create bureaucracy – we should not make the same mistakes as the record companies did,” he says. “We need to be organised as an army but able to act as a guerrilla, quickly and efficiently.”

Hopewell closed by suggesting that the industry could start doing deals based on some idea of budget and system of transparency. The pair also expressed their dislike for exclusivity clauses, which Hopewell noted have “crept in like viruses” over the years.


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