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¡España, por favor! How the good times returned to Spain

This summer’s Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona, subtitled ‘the New Normal’, made two important points: First, that it’s perfectly feasible for a mainstream festival to create a bill that’s at least 50% female; and second, that reggaeton, hip hop, R&B, pop and flamenco-flavoured urbano can all successfully coexist with traditional indie-rock festival favourites.

“This year felt different in general,” says Primavera booker Pau Cristòful, one of IQ’s New Bosses 2019. “Everyone felt represented somehow on stage; people felt really respectful and grateful. It was a special year – not only the gender balance but also in terms of getting new genres to play. It is better to have something challenging than something that is boring.”

Colombian star J Balvin was the festival’s first-ever Latin urban headliner, appearing on the Saturday night and prompting a distinct pre-event backlash from defenders of the old indie ways. “There’s a stigma against reggaeton in Spain still – people are always complaining about it,” says Cristòful. But the day became Primavera’s busiest ever, drawing a crowd of 63,000.

Primavera Sound 2019 was a game-changing success, and the positive mood is shared across the Spanish live business. Festivals are booming, the world-conquering urban music that passed Spain by for years is finally making an impression, and Spain even has its own global superstar in Catalonia’s Rosalía.

The market has posted five consecutive years of growth, culminating in a record-breaking 2018 in which the business saw an annual turnover of €334 million – a 24% increase on 2017 – powered by an incredible summer featuring stadium shows from Guns N’ Roses and Iron Maiden, and tours from Luis Miguel, Shakira and Alejandro Fernández.

There are those who say this year may yet prove to be better still. “We’ll have a better perspective at the end of the year, but for now we can say live is the fastest-growing sector within the music industry,” says Albert Salmeron of Producciones Animadas, who is also president of Spanish promoters’ association APM. “We’ve seen it in the last few years and it’s unstoppable.”

“live is the fastest-growing sector within the music industry”

Memories of the Great Spanish Depression of 2008–14 – and of a particularly disastrous 2012, when a relatively short-lived 21% cultural tax, on top of the 10% PRS charge, helped to wipe 27.5% off the value of the Spanish live industry at a stroke – ensure that Spanish promoters enjoy the good times all the more.

“Spain had its financial crisis, and now it is as strong as it has ever been,” says Barnaby Harrod, director of the Madrid-based, Live Nation-owned promoter Mercury Wheels.

There are several reasons for the ongoing upward shift, Salmeron suggests, including a broader transformation of the nation’s leisure habits. “People are now more focused on the search for unique experiences,” he says. “At the same time, we have extraordinary weather, which makes Spain an attractive country for artists and fans, especially in the festival environment.”

The cultural tax was cut back down to 10% in 2017, mending much of the damage it had caused. Festivals, particularly those with international appeal, have been identified as major wealth creators and receive substantial local government support.

It is a fact that Spain missed out on the formative years of the live business – it was still a dictatorship under General Franco until 1975 – but on current form it appears to have found its rhythm (providing we conveniently set aside the impassioned breakaway attempts by Catalonia, which rumble on).

Industrious indies abound, and in addition to Live Nation – which has numerous promoting irons in the fire, and whose Ticketmaster division is the leading ticketer in Spain – global players in the Spanish market include Eventim, which owns Entradas.com, and Ticketea owner Eventbrite.

“People are now more focused on the search for unique experiences”

Promoters
Spain has a broad selection of both hardworking indies and heavyweight corporates. The former camp includes Doctor Music, Concert Studio, Producciones Animadas, Primavera, Houston Party and the Project in Barcelona; RLM and Ground Control in Madrid; Valencia’s Serious Fan Music; Last Tour in Bilbao; and Murcia rock specialist Madness Live!.

In the latter camp is Live Nation, of course, which, since February, also holds a majority stake in leading Latin promoter Planet Events, which retains Spanish-language media group Prisa as a minority shareholder. As well as its joint venture with Mercury Wheels, Live Nation operates a strategic partnership with Andalusian promoter Riff Producciones aimed at growing Spanish acts in overseas markets. And with offices in Barcelona and Madrid, Live Nation has also done good promoting business of its own in 2019.

“The most satisfying projects and shows have been the biggest show in Spain ever for Metallica last May, at the Valdebebas site in Madrid,” says Live Nation Spain president Robert Grima. “Also our stadium shows with Muse and Bruno Mars; the consolidation of both the Mad Cool and Dcode festivals; plus our positioning in the market as promoters for top Spanish artists like Fito and Fitipaldis, Manuel Carrasco and Malu.”

Grima reinforces the message of good times in the Spanish market. “It is for us,” he says. “There is a strong growth projection with both local and international talent, and people seem more eager than ever to see live shows.”

Storied independent Doctor Music had a thumping disappointment this year in its thwarted attempt to resurrect its highly influential festival of the same name (of which more in a minute) but otherwise, founder and CEO Neo Sala is philosophical.

“2018 was the best year for the live industry in Spain, and I hope 2019 will be even better”

“2019 has generally been a good year, with major sell-out shows by Rammstein, Alejandro Sanz and Mark Knopfler,” says Sala. “I think the live market in Spain is better than ever, with plenty of shows and festivals doing really well.”

Another veteran, Serious Fan’s Julio Martí, reckons these are some of the best times he has had in 40 years. “To me, from 2011 to when it started to come back in 2015 – those years were the worst ever. ’17, ’18, ’19: excellent,” he says.

A jazz, blues and rock promoter who has brought Miles Davis, BB King and Prince to Spain, Martí attributes his successes to his strong principles. “I have always done things that I love. I am a passionate guy. I don’t like anything bigger than a sport palace or a bullring. Every show I see in a stadium, I wonder why I came, so I quit doing those in 1989.

“2018 was the best year for the live industry in Spain, and I hope 2019 will be even better,” he adds. “The best thing is if nobody gets over-excited and everyone keeps professional and keeps on doing work that can be sustained over time.”

As in many other countries, the globalisation of the business has turned the screws on independents, and rock promoter Juan Antonio Muñoz of Madness Live!, which has promoted acts including Iron Maiden, Alter Bridge and Steven Wilson, attests to the challenge. “It is very difficult when [Live Nation] are involved in everything in the business, from ticketing to venues to worldwide tours,” he says. “We should probably be getting worried, but we are working hard and doing well, and that is the only way to survive.”

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 86, or subscribe to the magazine here.


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Massive Attack tackle touring’s carbon footprint

Bristol band Massive Attack are the latest UK act to tackle the live industry’s environmental impact, teaming up with researchers to map the carbon footprint of typical tour cycles.

In an article published in the Guardian, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja (3D) announced that the band are commissioning Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to look at “three key areas” where Co2 is emitted in the music industry: band travel and production; audience transport; and venues.

The resulting “roadmap to decarbonisation” will be shared with other touring acts, promoters, festival organisers and venue owners to encourage and facilitate a reduction in carbon emissions across the industry.

“Every industry has varying degrees of carbon impact to address and we need partnerships like this one to look at reducing carbon emissions across the board,” comments Dr Chris Jones, a research fellow at Tyndall.

“It’s more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances. It will likely mean a major shift in how things are done now, involving not just the band but the rest of the business and the audience.”

“It’s more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances”

Last week, Coldplay announced their decision to put a pause on touring, due to environmental concerns. The 1975 and Billie Eilish are among other high-profile artists to work to reduce the carbon footprint of upcoming tours.

While Del Naja notes that stopping touring altogether is “an important option that deserves consideration”, an unrealistic number of high number acts would have to do so in order to “achieve the required impact”.

Carbon offsetting initiatives, such as planting tress, banning single-use plastic and encouraging the use of public transport, says Del Naja, are also unlikely to deliver any meaningful impact.

“Given the current polarised social atmosphere, uplifting and unifying cultural events are arguably more important now than ever, and no one would want to see them postponed or even cancelled,” says Del Naja.

“The challenge therefore is to avoid more pledges, promises and greenwashing headlines and instead embrace seismic change.”

To help reduce the environmental impact of artists’ riders, Coda Agency and A Greener Festival (AGF) launched the Green Artist Rider at the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) in March. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.


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Campaigners urge CMA to investigate StubHub takeover

Anti-ticket touting campaign group FanFair Alliance has written to UK regulators to urge an investigation into the takeover of StubHub by Viagogo, warning that the US$4bn acquisition could “leave a single market-dominant platform” with no competition in the secondary ticketing sector.

In a letter to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), FanFair campaign manager Adam Webb writes that the deal “would concentrate market power in ‘for-profit’ secondary ticketing in the hands of a single operator (a combined Viagogo/StubHub would control closer to 100% of the UK market, far above the CMA’s 40% benchmark) and potentially result in anti-competitive behaviour with significant and damaging implications throughout the UK’s live music sector.”

One of the CMA’s criteria for if a company might have a dominant position in the market if is if it has more than a 40% market share in its given sector.

Following the shutdown of Ticketmaster’s Get Me In! and Seatwave sites this time last year, Viagogo and StubHub are the last of the ‘big four’ ticket resale sites operating in the UK.

“A merger of the two would potentially leave a single market-dominant platform”

Differentiating between B2C (business-to-consumer, describing tickets sold by professionalised touts and for-profit ticket resale businesses) and C2C (consumer-to-consumer ticket exchange, such as Ticketmaster Exchange, See Tickets’ Fan-to-Fan and CTS Eventim’s FanSALE) platforms, Webb notes that the combined Viagogo and StubHub would be the only remaining major B2C resale site, effectively eliminating all competition in that market.

“Under a single dominant B2C platform, we would be concerned that such practices would become increasingly prevalent in the UK,” Webb adds, “pushing the market away from consumer-friendly ticket resale and towards the kind of anti-consumer practices currently being investigated in North America.”

Other organisations urging the CMA to look at the merger include the Consumers’ Association (Which?), which said earlier this week that “the regulator should closely examine this deal and the impact it could have on competition in the sector to ensure consumers do not lose out”.

 


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Silver Lake invests in OVG Manchester arena partner

Silver Lake, a private equity firm with stakes in a number of major live entertainment companies, has acquired a US$500 million stake in Manchester City Football Club owner City Football Group (CFG), the partner on Oak View Group’s (OVG) new arena project.

The buy-in, which sees the investor take control of more than 10% of CFG, complements the $100m investment Silver Lake made in venue development group OVG last year.

OVG is currently working in partnership with CFG on building a major new concert venue in the Eastlands area of Manchester, home to the football club’s Etihad Stadium. The arena project entered into its second round of consultation meetings yesterday (Thursday 28 November), the day after Silver Lake announced its CFG investment.

“We and Silver Lake share the strong belief in the opportunities being presented by the convergence of entertainment, sports and technology”

“We and Silver Lake share the strong belief in the opportunities being presented by the convergence of entertainment, sports and technology,” comments CFG chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak.

Silver Lake has invested heavily in the entertainment industry in recent years and currently owns 100% of Asia-Pacific live entertainment giant TEG, 51% of WME/UFC parent company Endeavor and 8.4% of Madison Square Garden Company.

The investor’s most recent deal places CFG at a valuation of $4.8 billion – a record for a sports group. According to the Financial Times, the $500m cash injection will help fund CFG’s acquisition of more football clubs globally, as well as the planned construction of a new stadium in New York.

 


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Study: Capaldi, EIlish among hardest-working artists

The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance (ICMP) has named Lewis Capaldi the “hardest-working musician” of the past two years, after research revealed the Scottish singer played close to 200 shows from January 2018 to August 2019.

Billie Eilish, Pink, Ed Sheeran and Elton John complete the ICMP’s top five most conscientious artists.

Taking Billboard’s top 100 artists from 2018 and 2019, ICMP analysed the total number of domestic and international shows played and countries visited by each act to calculate a final tally.

Scottish crooner Capaldi, who earlier today cancelled a UK gig due to voice issues, came out on top with 195 shows in total – the most of any artist on the list. Among those, Capaldi clocked up 127 international dates, second only to Elton John at 147, and closely followed by Dua Lipa and Ed Sheeran at 124.

Billie Eilish, Pink, Ed Sheeran and Elton John complete the ICMP’s top five most conscientious artists of last year

In terms of domestic shows, the singer lagged behind in 27th place with 68 home-country concerts, although he was the only non-US artist among the top thirty in this category.

Teen sensation Billie Eilish topped the domestic shows chart, playing 92 US dates, as well as 92 international dates, putting her in second place overall. A capella group Pentatonix, fast-rising star Lizzo, country music band Old Dominion and Pink also played a high number of shows in their native United States.

Both Eilish and Capaldi have visited 23 different countries since the start of last year, fewer than Portugal the Man (24), Sam Smith (25), Post Malone (26), J Balvin (27) and the Chainsmokers (31). Thanks to his mammoth Divide tour, Sheeran had the highest country tally at 32 and fourth highest number of shows overall at 156.

The complete list of results can be found here.

The ICMP is an independent music school in London, UK.

 


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Alex Richter leaves Four Artists after 22 years

Alex Richter, the former managing director of Berlin-based booking agency and promoter Four Artists is ending his involvement with the company after 22 years.

Richter, who is said to be leaving the agency “at his own request”, helped found Four Artists in the German city of Stuttgart in 1997. Now headquartered in Berlin, the company organises an average of 2,000 concerts per year.

Florian Hauss will succeed Richter as managing director, while Markus Grosse will stay on as deputy managing director.

Hauss has been a member of the Four Artists team for 15 years, beginning his career as the tour manager for German group Die Fantastischen Vier. He later established an electronic music department at the agency, working with DJs including David Guetta, Fritz Kalkbrenner and Boys Noize.

The new managing director will also take over booking for Die Fantastischen Vier.

Four Artists represents artists including Seeed, Marteria, Scooter, the Lumineers, the Black Eyed Peas and Jimmy Eat World.

Pictured (l to r): Smudo, Die Fantastischen Vier; Andreas “Bär” Läsker, manager of Die Fantastischen Vier; And.Ypsilon, Die Fantastischen Vier; Florian Hauss; Markus Grosse; Michi Beck, Die Fantastischen Vier; and Thomas D., Die Fantastischen Vier.

 


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MDL Beast festival to debut in Saudi Arabia

David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki are among acts confirmed for electronic dance music (EDM) festival MDL Beast, the latest addition to Saudi Arabia’s flourishing festival scene.

The inaugural MDL Beast festival is taking place from 19 to 21 December 2019 in Riyadh, home to the 70,000-capacity King Fahd Stadium which recently hosted k-pop stars BTS.

The multi-stage festival will feature 18 international headliners and 28 global dance acts including Afrojack, Camelphat, J Balvin and Tiësto, as well as 24 local and regional performers, such as EDM DJ Cosmicat and local DJ duo Dish Dash.

Steve Aoki, who this summer performed at Roqu Media’s Jeddah World Fest – the first, major, ticketed music festival in the country – comments: “When I got the offer to play at the three-day MDL Beast festival, I was thrilled to become part of it and be back in the region again. It’s go[ing to] be an incredible event with tons of acts and lots of new names.”

“We’re confident MDL Beast will be like nothing seen before and we cannot wait to experience this transformative musical milestone”

Ahmad Alammary, DJ and member of the festival team, adds: “More than just a music festival, MDL Beast is also a platform with multiple [projects] including ongoing seasonal local and global events, online and radio channels, recording studios, and a non-profit foundation promoting music education and therapy.

“We’re confident MDL Beast will be like nothing seen before and we cannot wait to experience this transformative musical milestone.”

“I’m so proud of the fact that we’re hosting this festival in Saudi; it’s a great reflection of the Saudi audience being able to experience the music they love,” comments Cosmicat. “As one of the first female EDM DJs here, I’m excited to be flying the flag and representing women on the scene.”

As Saudi Arabia continues to boost its live entertainment offering and cement its place on the international touring map, criticism is still levelled at artists who opt to play in the kingdom. Nicki Minaj pulled out of Jeddah World Fest following pressure from human rights organisations and BTS’ appearance in the country sparked a mixed reaction from fans.

Fans can register for tickets to the MDL Beast here.

 


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Festival Fever: how summer 2020 is shaping up

The 2020 festival season, and the long nights, sunny days and happy times that come with it, may seem an age away as winter proper sets in for many across Europe. However, as the festival booking window moves ever earlier and line-up announcements come in thick and fast, there’s no better time to take a look at the top talent gracing the stages of major festivals next year.

Positivity characterised the reports from festival chiefs IQ spoke to at the end of the 2019 season, despite some having expressed concerns around the lack of talent on tour.

Full 2019 festival analysis will appear in the the European Festival Report in the end-of-year issue of IQ Magazine, providing an in-depth look at capacity and attendance, ticketing and pricing, VIP sales, challenges and concerns, new technology and much more.

Right now, however, we turn our focus to the 2020 season. Over the coming weeks, IQ will post regular updates of the line-ups that have already been revealed.

So, without further ado, let’s have a look at what our first round of festival bookers have in store for us over the summer to come…

 


British Summer Time Hyde Park

When: 3 to 12 July
Where: Hyde Park, London, UK
How many: 70,000

AEG’s British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park has announced Little Mix as the first of six headline acts. The girl group will play on the opening Saturday (4 July) of the 2020 concert series. Taking place across two weekends, BST last year saw performances from Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Robbie Williams and Barbra Streisand.

BST, this year sponsored by American Express, was founded in 2013, after AEG signed a contract with the Royal Parks, the body that manages Hyde Park.

Elsewhere in London, AEG’s three-year-old All Points East has made its first line-up reveal in the form of Australian psych-pop titans Tame Impala.

Tickets for Little Mix at BST Hyde Park go on sale on Thursday 28 November at 9 a.m. (GMT). Tickets for Tame Impala at All Points East are available here, for £65.

AEG’s BST Hyde Park has announced Little Mix as the first of six headline acts

Download

When: 12 to 14 June
Where: Donington Park, Leicestershire, England
How many: 110,000

Festival Republic’s Download festival is embarking on its 18th year in 2020, with headline acts Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down playing alongside Deftones, Gojira, Korn, the Offspring and Baby Metal.

Download’s popularity in the UK has led to an extension of the brand, with sister events spawning over the years in Australia, Japan, France and Spain. The rock festival has also been praised for its efforts around accessibility, sustainability and inclusivity.

Tickets for Download 2020 are available here. Weekend camping costs £250, with the non-camping option priced at £216.

Download embarks on its 18th year in 2020, with headline acts Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down

Hurricane/Southside

When: 19 to 21 June
Where: Eichenring in Scheeßel/Gewerbepark in Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany
How many: 68,000/60,000

FKP Scorpio’s twin festivals, Hurricane and Southside, contributed to the German promoter’s best-ever weekend last year. The 2020 editions of the festivals see recently announced acts the Killers and Rise Against join a bill also featuring Martin Garrix, the Lumineers, Twenty One Pilots, the 1975, Kings of Leon, Seeed and Bring Me the Horizon.

Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO and head of festival booking at FKP Scorpio, recently lauded the diversity of the Scorpio festival portfolio, which includes “intimate indoor festivals” as well as multi-day open air affairs like Hurricane and Southside.

Tickets for Hurricane/Southside 2020 are available here, priced at €189 (£161) for three days. The price will go up to €199 (£170) at 12 p.m. (CET) on 2 December, when a limited number of €99 (£85) day tickets will be released.

The 2020 editions of the festivals see recently announced acts the Killers and Rise Against

Mad Cool

When: 8 to 11 July
Where: Espacio Mad Cool, Madrid, Spain
How many: 60,000

Changes are afoot as Live Nation’s Mad Cool festival enters its fifth year, with a 25% reduction in capacity and extra day of programming. Already confirmed acts for the extended 2020 event include Taylor Swift, the Killers, Kings of Leon, Faith No More, Billie Eilish, Twenty One Pilots, Foals and Anderson Paak.

“Our promise to the music world and the audience is this,” state organisers, “that Mad Cool 2020 will be better quality, more exciting, more spectacular, more memorable, safe, comfortable and sustainable than ever before.”

Tickets for Mad Cool 2020 will be available on 1 December at 12 p.m. (CET). A one-day festival ticket costs €65 (£56), with a four-day pass priced at €159 (£136).

Already confirmed acts for the extended 2020 event include Taylor Swift, the Killers, Kings of Leon and Billie Eilish

Provinssi

When: 25 to 27 June
Where: Törnävänsaari, Seinäjoki, Finland
How many: 32,000

Founded in 1979, Fullsteam Agency’s Provinssi festival counts System of a Down, the Chemical Brothers, Hassisen Kone, Korn, Gojira, Deftones, Charli XCX and Hatari among its 2020 acts.

Provinssi recorded its second-highest attendance in history (76,000) at it 40th anniversary event in 2018, contributing to a record-breaking summer for Fullsteam in 2018, which forms part of the FKP Scorpio group.

Earl bird tickets are now available, with one-day passes costing €89 (£76) and a three-day ticket priced at €149 (£127).

Fullsteam Agency’s Provinssi festival counts System of a Down, the Chemical Brothers and Korn among its 2020 acts

Roskilde Festival

When: 27 June to 4 July
Where: Roskilde, Denmark
How many: 85,000

Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, non-profit Roskilde festival has announced a handful of acts so far including Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Pusha T, Mura Masa and Whitney.

Speaking to IQ following a “fantastic” 2019 edition, Roskilde chief executive Signe Lopdrup stressed the importance of having a future-facing attitude as the anniversary event draws near, stating that, “one of our goals is to show fans something they haven’t seen before.”

Tickets for the full eight-day festival experience plus camping are available here for DDK2250 (£257).

Roskilde festival has announced a handful of acts so far including Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke and Pusha T

Transmt

When: 10 to 12 July
Where: Glasgow Green, Glasgow, Scotland
How many: 50,000

The fourth edition of DF Concerts’ city-centre festival Trnsmt will see headline performances from Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and Lewis Capaldi.

Ian Brown, Sam Fender, Foals, Keane, Snow Patrol and Rita Ora are also on the bill for the 2020 festival, following a sell-out third year in which the event became “an established part of Glasgow’s cultural calendar”, according to festival director Geoff Ellis.

“The response that we’ve had to Trnsmt since we launched in 2017 is amazing to see,” comments Ellis.

“The fact that it has become such a pillar of the UK festival scene every year is testament to the incredible music fans that we have here in this country.”

Tickets for Trnsmt 2020 go on sale on Friday 30 November at 9 a.m.

 


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MCD brings back Sunstroke festival for 2020

Faith No More and Deftones will headline Sunstroke when the ’90s alternative-rock festival returns to Ireland next summer.

Sunstroke, promoted by Denis Desmond’s MCD Productions, debuted in 1993 in Dublin’s Dalymount Park, when it was also headlined by Faith No More, according to RTE. The final Sunstroke took place at the Royal Dublin Society’s RDS Simmonscourt venue in 1995.

For its return in 2020, it will take place at Punchestown Racecourse near Naas – formerly also home to MCD’s Oxegen festival – on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 June.

Other performers over three stages include the Jesus and Mary Chain, Gojira, Black Veil Brides and Killing Joke, as well as Bowling for Soup, While She Sleeps, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes and Mongol-metal band the Hu.

Sunstroke 2020 line-up

Earlybird weekend tickets, priced at €129.50 (inc. booking fee) or €159.50 with camping, go on sale at 10am on 3 December.

MCD’s other festivals include the annual Longitude event, also in Dublin, as well as Love Sensation, Summer in the City and the Irish leg of Country to Country (C2C).

 


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2020 and Beyond: How ticketing will revolutionise the entertainment experience

You are looking to buy a ticket to an interesting event for the upcoming weekend. Instead of navigating to your browser, you ask Siri or Alexa, “What’s happening this weekend in town? What are my friends and family doing?”

Within milliseconds, your AI assistant searches the internet for the events that seem most appealing to your interests and that appear in your family and friend’s social media feeds. Your AI assistant responds asking you follow-up questions on your desired experience and budget.

Once you have found the perfect event, you give your AI assistant the go-ahead to buy the tickets. Almost immediately, your tickets are purchased, verified and readily available in your mobile wallet. This transaction was likely processed through a mobile payments solution and automatically added to your calendar. Your AI assistant asks if you would like to invite friends, because if they also attend the event, the brand offers you an incentive.

The day of the event is here. When you get within a geofenced area of the event location, you receive a notification asking if you would like an augmented-reality tour guide to assist you to your gate of entry and seats. As you approach entry to the event, your face is scanned to verify your identity and your radio-frequency identification (RFID) or mobile phone ticket is checked-in in a near frictionless entry point.

A ticket is not just a piece of paper, but the direct connection between a person and an experience

Once you enter, your phone becomes a second-screen experience, providing your choice of merchandise, food ordering, artist or athlete information, game statistics and live betting experiences. When you arrive at your seat your food and drink order is waiting for you and you settle in for a great time.

This glimpse into the near-future is closer than it might seem. All of the referenced technology already exists. The next step is bridging the gap between the intersection of the experience, technology and human behaviour.

A ticket is not just a piece of paper, but the direct connection between a person and an experience. It is also the core mechanism for how organisations will gather data to better engage with you and provide offers you will find interesting.

The smartest organisations invest not only in technology, but also commit to securing the treasure trove of data on their users. Piecing these together will be the key to continually providing users with great experiences in a world of increasing entertainment options.

 


Mark Miller is the co-founder and chief executive of TicketSocket, a white-label ticketing and registration service for venues and events.