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Decade’s End: Phil Rodriguez’s 2020 predictions

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

Following Wednesday’s Q&A with UTA’s Neil Warnock and yesterday’s chat with AEG’s Jay Marciano, in the hot seat today is Phil Rodriguez, founder and CEO of Move Concerts, who talks festivals, data, industry consolidation and more…

 


IQ: Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?
PR: I believe there’s room for everyone in the food chain. Independents have to up their game and focus on whatever their particular strengths may be.

As with everything in life, one size does not fit all.

One of the great success stories of the last decade has been the growth of the festival market. In terms of format, scale and programming, how might the festival scene develop in the coming years?
Some will remain, others will fade away… and the great ones will evolve with with the times.

What, in your opinion, are the most significant developments (positive and/or negative) in the live music industry over the past ten years?
Data. The amount of data that is now available, and will certainly grow in the future, is fantastic.

Long gone are the days of calling the local record store to check on sales!

“The amount of data that is now available, and will grow in the future, is fantastic”

The growth of the live business has been impressive in the last decade and the current level of investment by financial institutions seems to indicate that they think that growth will continue. Where do you see those growth opportunities, and how do you predict this growth will compare to this decade?
International expansion and consolidation on all fronts: promotion, venues and ticketing.

To continue the growth curve the emerging international markets hold the most potential for growth.

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?
There are so many fronts – ticketing, international expansion, and worldwide stability, both politically and economically – but the most important challenge is to keep music important and relevant to the next generations. Everything else springs from that.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?
The creation and growth of Move Concerts in five years – plus my daughter going to graduate school for her master’s degree!

 


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Live Nation shares up 10% post DOJ settlement

Live Nation’s share price rose by US$6.79 to $70.60 yesterday (Thursday 19 December) following news that it had reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ) over antitrust allegations.

The DOJ had opened investigations into Live Nation last Friday over concerns that the company had violated the terms of a decree governing its 2010 merger with Ticketmaster.

Both Live Nation and Ticketmaster refuted all allegations of anti-competitive practice.

As part of the settlement, the DOJ is extending and modifying the decree that permits the merger, and which was set to expire next year, until 2025. The justice department calls the agreement the “most significant enforcement action of an antitrust decree in 20 years”.

Following the news, Live Nation’s stock, which had dropped to around $64 per share following news of the DOJ investigation, rebounded to the levels it had been trading at before, jumping almost 10% to just over $70. Shares remained up at $69.83 at the time of writing.

“We believe this is the best outcome for our business, clients and shareholders as we turn our focus to 2020 initiatives”

“We have reached an agreement in principle with the Department of Justice to extend and clarify the consent decree,” comments a Live Nation spokesperson. “We believe this is the best outcome for our business, clients and shareholders as we turn our focus to 2020 initiatives.”

Under the terms of the modified agreement, Live Nation is prohibited from pressuring venues to use Ticketmaster and from withholding shows from a venue if it chooses to go with another ticketer. An independent party will monitor Live Nation’s compliance with the decree, and a $1 million fine will be levied for any violation of the agreement.

“When Live Nation and Ticketmaster merged in 2010, the Department of Justice and the federal court imposed conditions on the company in order to preserve and promote ticketing competition,” says assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.

“Today’s enforcement action including the addition of language on retaliation and conditioning will ensure that American consumers get the benefit of the bargain that the United States and Live Nation agreed to in 2010. Merging parties will be held to their promises and the Department will not tolerate transgressions that hurt the American consumer.”

The full DOJ statement can be read here.

 


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Live Nation partners with Canadian promoter Evenko

Quebec-based promoter Evenko has entered into a strategic partnership with Live Nation, building on the existing business relationship between the two companies.

The partnership aims to drive and grow entertainment opportunities in Quebec and Atlantic Canada, combining Evenko’s knowledge of the local market with Live Nation’s global reach.

Evenko, which will still operate under the same brand, will continue to oversee all operations of its business, including the promotion of more than 1,500 musical, family and sporting events a year and of festivals including Montreal’s Osheaga Music and Arts Festival (45,000-cap.), EDM festival ÎleSoniq (45,000-cap.) and country music festival Lasso Montréal (65,000-cap.).

The company will also continue to manage and programme venues such as the 21,288-seat Bell Centre, 2,300-capacity Mtelus, 10,000-seat Place Bell and the 753-capacity Corona Theatre.

“This is great news for Evenko and music fans throughout Quebec, who will now enjoy a broader range of concerts and shows”

“This is great news for Evenko and music fans throughout Quebec, who will now enjoy a broader range of concerts and shows, with Montreal becoming a must stop on major international artists’ world tours,” says Jacques Aubé, president and CEO of Evenko.

“This partnership will allow us to benefit from Live Nation’s global promotional strength to promote our festivals and events in Montreal and Quebec, as well as evenko Agency and Spectra Musique artists’ tours outside the province.”

Earlier this year, Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster announced an exclusive ticketing partnership with Evenko parent company Groupe CH, serving as the official primary and resale partner for Evenko venues and festivals.

 


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Music Works Int’l starts booking in North America

After five years of booking only internationally, Reading, Massachusetts, boutique agency Music Works International (MWI) has announced its expansion into the US and Canadian booking territories.

Heading up the new domestic division is Gunter Schroder, an 18-year industry veteran who most recently served as vice-president of international at the Kurland Agency.

MWI founder Katherine McVicker comments: “I started this agency five years ago with no idea that we would grow so quickly. Developing the North American market is the natural progression for us.

“Having Gunter join our group of focused and growth-oriented industry professionals makes us a better agency all around.”

“Developing the North American market is the natural progression for us”

“It is an honour to join forces with the MWI team,” adds South African-born Schroder, who has worked with artists including Pat Metheny, Chick Corea, Bobby McFerrin, Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman.

“I have admired Katherine’s career for a long time, and share her vision for developing a comprehensive global strategy to further develop the careers of our clients.

“We are poised to move into the new decade stronger and fiercer, and have some exciting plans in the works outside of simply being just a booking agency. More will be revealed soon.”

Music Works International’s jazz-focused North American roster includes House of Waters, Nigel Kennedy, Ambrose Akinmusire, Robin McKelle, Bob Reynolds, Hamilton de Holanda, Peter Cincotti and Sona Jobarteh.

 


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The decade in live: 2019

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

The final edition of IQ’s decade in live brings us right up to the present day. From the turbulent early post-financial crisis years, the live industry has emerged triumphant, repeatedly setting new records and reaching new heights in the latter part of the decade.

A number of artists have cropped up repeatedly during IQ’s decade analysis with both Bon Jovi and U2 topping the year-end tour chart twice.

Other acts to perform well throughout the decade include Bruce Springsteen, Taylor Swift and Pink – with three top-five appearances, including one top spot, each; Beyoncé, with four top-five tours; Metallica with three; and AC/DC, Roger Waters, Coldplay, Guns N’ Roses, Bruno Mars and the Rolling Stones, who all achieved double top-five appearances.

Major industry players were hard at play in 2019, as Live Nation completed 20 acquisitions over the year, as well as recording its highest-ever quarterly operating income in Q3; AEG Facilities and SMG finalised their mega-merger to create ASM Global; Superstruct continued its run of festival roll-ups; Oak View Group launched internationally; CTS Eventim expanded its rapidly-growing promoter network, and much more.

However, perhaps the biggest deal of the year came from one of the live industry’s most controversial members – Viagogo. The company’s US$4.05 billion all-cash acquisition of fellow secondary ticketer StubHub signals that the secondary ticketing debate will carry over well into the new decade.

 


2019 in numbers

The live concert business is seeing out the decade in style, with new records set in gross revenue by the top 100 tours worldwide.

The ten biggest touring artists of 2019 brought in a collective $1.6bn, falling short of the more than $2bn brought in the year before, with 2018’s charts skewed by Sheeran’s massive Divide tour ($432.4m) and Swift’s Reputation stadium tour ($345.1m).

Sheeran was the man of the moment in 2019, as his colossal Divide tour became the highest-grossing tour in history after knocking U2 off the top spot in August. The tour wrapped up having generated $768.5m and sold 8.8m tickets over three years. The singer came in at number three on 2019’s chart, grossing $211.7m.

Pink, the highest-grossing artist of the year, generated $215.2 million on her Beautiful Trauma trek, which sold 1.8m tickets in 2019, adding to 2018’s 1.3m, and earning her Ticketmaster’s global ticket of the year accolade.

Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour came in at second, grossing $212m, with Metallica’s WorldWired tour at four with $179m and the Rolling Stones’ No Filter tour at five with $177.8m.

Twelve artists grossed more than $100m in 2019, one more than the year before, with BTS, Bon Jovi, Ariana Grande, Michael Bublé, Fleetwood Mac, Paul McCartney and Backstreet Boys, in addition to the top five, clearing the nine-figure mark.

 


2019 in brief

January
DEAG acquires the remaining 24.9% of shares in MyTicket from German publishing house Axel Springer SE.

Scandinavian promoter Beatbox Entertainment rebrands as Down the Drain Concerts, after its parent company Down the Drain Group.

February
More than ten million people “attend” EDM star Marshmello’s virtual concert in the popular free-to-play video game Fortnite.

Live Nation acquires or takes a majority shareholding in promoters Planet Events and Embrace Presents; marketing company Neste; festivals Blockfest and Tons of Rock; and ticketer Moshtix (through Ticketmaster).

Providence Equity Partners, the parent company of festival operator Superstruct, buys into industry leading staging specialist Tait.

March
Oak View Group (OVG), the US-based venue development, advisory and investment company co-founded by former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, launches its new international business at ILMC.

CTS Eventim announces plans to combine 26 of its majority-owned promoters into a new London-based, pan-European live entertainment network, called Eventim Live.

Australian promoters Michael Gudinski and Michael Chugg announce a new joint venture between their respective companies, Frontier Touring and Chugg Entertainment.

The decade in live: 2019

Marshmello performs in-game in Fortnite to over ten million people © Keneth Cruz

April
AEG Presents joins forces with Frontier Touring, Australia’s last major independent promoter, in a strategic joint venture that sees the companies merge operations in Australia and New Zealand.

Competition regulators examine the proposed mega-merger of venue behemoths AEG Facilities and SMG, as the companies look to roll up an international portfolio that includes more than 300 venues.

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct Entertainment takes corporate control of Global’s festival arm, amid rumours Broadwick Live is undertaking a management buyback of its events.

May
Superstruct Entertainment invests in Down the Drain Group, forming a partnership with the largest independent concert and festival promoter in Denmark.

BookMyShow, India’s largest online ticketing company, expands into the Middle East after signing a five-year deal with AEG Ogden’s Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai.

DEAG becomes the latest major live music player to invest in the fast-growing esports sector, acquiring a minority stake in ally4ever Entertainment, a specialist gaming events agency.

June
BTS-mania hits London for a second time, with the Korean pop superstars making history by playing to 120,000 people over two nights at Wembley Stadium – and another 140,000 fans across the world via a £21-a-head livestream.

Oak View Group (OVG) partners with Live Nation to build and run a new entertainment and sports arena in Santa Giulia in Milan.

DEAG acquires a majority stake in three promoters: Stuttgart-based C2 Concerts; I-Motion, the German division of electronic music behemoth, LiveStyle; and Swiss concert promoters Live Music Production and Live Music Entertainment.

The decade in live: 2019

Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena © AEG Ogden

July
Live Nation makes moves in Latin America, confirming it will acquire a majority stake in South America’s biggest festival, Rock in Rio, and in Latin America’s largest promoter, Ocesa Entertainment.

Google suspends secondary ticketing site Viagogo as an advertiser indefinitely, following pressure from industry organisations, anti-touting groups and politicians.

After five years as partners, London’s Coda Agency formally merges into its Los Angeles-based parent company, Paradigm Talent Agency, becoming Paradigm London.

August
Ed Sheeran’s ÷ tour becomes the highest- grossing concert tour of all time, breaking the current record of $735.4m set by U2’s 360° stadium tour in July 2011.

Superstruct Entertainment invests in Germany’s ICS, adding leading metal event Wacken Open Air to its stable of European festivals, which also includes recently acquired hip-hop event Parookaville.

Australasian live entertainment powerhouse TEG, the parent company of Ticketek and TEG Dainty, acquires the UK’s MJR Group.

September
Through its Swedish division, FKP Scorpio Sverige, FKP Scorpio acquires Stockholm-based promoter Woah Dad! Live.

Oak View Group launches the International Venue Alliance, a network of independent venues modelled on its US Arena and Stadium Alliance, with Silverstone Circuit as founding member.

AEG takes full control of its ticketing business, AXS, from co-owners TPG Capital and RockBridge Growth Equity.

The decade in live: 2019

Ed Sheeran’s ÷  tour became the highest-grossing of all time in 2019, generating a total of $768.5m © Ed Sheeran/Instagram

October
CTS Eventim expands into Russia, acquiring 51% of concert promoter Talent Concert International.

AEG Facilities and SMG complete their merger to create a single worldwide venue management company: ASM Global.

Private equity firm Silver Lake Partners acquires Australia’s TEG, adding to a live portfolio that also includes Oak View Group, MSG and Endeavor.

November
Upcoming shows by Spanish star Enrique Iglesias in Croatia, Belarus and Latvia are cancelled, as Iglesias’s agency, CAA, declares a lack of compliance on behalf of promoter Art BG.

In a landmark deal that brings together the world’s two largest secondary ticket sellers, Viagogo announces its acquisition of StubHub for $4.05bn in cash.

Just four months after its indefinite suspension from Google Ads, Viagogo advertisements once again appear at the top of Google’s search results as the ban is lifted.

December
CTS Eventim makes official its acquisition of a majority stake in Barracuda Music, formerly the largest independent promoter in Austria.

Live Nation makes its 20th acquisition or equivalent deal of the year, taking a controlling stake in the live entertainment division of Malaysian promoter PR Worldwide.

 


The decade in live: 2019

Keith Flint (1969–2019) © The Prodigy

Who we lost

Croatian concert promoter Jordan Rodić; the Prodigy frontman Keith Flint; singer-songwriter Scott Walker; Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading of UK band Her’s and tour manager Trevor Engelbrektson; VMS Live founder and managing director Steve Forster; Matt Ward, Manchester Arena’s head of event marketing and PR; ATC Live agent and LeeFest/Neverworld festival director Chris Meredith; SFX Entertainment founder Robert FX Sillerman.


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Decade’s End: Jay Marciano on 10 years at the sharp end

As we enter the new decade, IQ caught up with leaders from the global live music business to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s.

Following yesterday’s Q&A with UTA’s Neil Warnock, in the hot seat today is Jay Marciano, COO of AEG and chairman/CEO of AEG Presents. IQ quizzes him on the biggest changes of the 2010s and his personal highlights, as well as the venue of the future…

 


IQ: This decade is ending with a long list of new buildings slated for development internationally. What does the venue of the next decade look like?
JM: Form follows function.

From the artist’s perspective: Robust production capabilities, flexible, artist-friendly features.

From the fan’s perspective: Emphasis on a warm environment that has great audio fidelity, superior service, multiple food and drink options, features for every price point.

Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players?
The major companies need to provide excellent administrative functions, build out and maintain ticketing and digital marketing capabilities, and provide growth capital in an environment that allows our promoters to provide artists and audiences with the excellent personalised and creative service that independents are known for.

What, in your opinion, are the most significant developments (positive and/or negative) in the live music industry over the past ten years?
Unlocking what was, for four decades, a static box-office gross. Dynamic price points which allows artists to fully capture the true gross at all levels.

Streaming has helped artists create global fan bases in ways we never dreamed of

Digital marketing, data capture and mobile ticketing. We are on the precipice of a truly personalised marketing and ticketing experience that will benefit the concertgoer while creating new revenue opportunities and increasing consumption.

Streaming. This has already helped create more new artists than any other time in the history of pop music. Streaming has helped artists create global fan bases in ways we never dreamed of just ten years ago.

What are your own personal highlights from the last decade?
The sheer amount of new talent. It has been exhilarating just trying to keep up!

Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s?
Any downturn in the global economy.

 


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Comedy promoter Stand Up Norge joins All Things Live

Pan-Nordic live music group All Things Live has acquired Stand Up Norge, Norway’s biggest comedy promoter.

Founded in 1997 by Elina Krantz, Stand Up Norge is a full-service entertainment company which represents 67 comedians (17 permanent and 50 affiliated) and organises nearly 2,000 stand-up shows a year, for an expected 2019 turnover of 200 million krone (€20m).

Stand Up also owns Latter in Oslo, Norway’s biggest comedy club.

With the acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, All Things Live says it aims to export successful Norwegian comedians to the other Nordic countries.

“We have achieved a lot in Norway, and we now turn to the Nordics to delight our neighbours as well,” says Krantz (pictured), who joins All Things Live as a partner and co-owner.

“We have achieved a lot in Norway, and we now turn to the Nordics to delight our neighbours as well”

“We look forward to working with our colleagues in All Things Live aiming to attract even more international stand up stars to Norway.”

All Things Live, backed by private-equity firm Waterland, was formed in December 2018, and includes ICO Concerts and ICO Management and Touring (Denmark), Friction and Atomic Soul Booking (Norway), Blixten & Co and Maloney Concerts (Sweden), and Weekend Festival (Finland).

The combined company has 85 employees, represents over 150 artists and produces more than 3,000 events annually.

“Stand Up Norge is a well-run company with many talented comedians and great prospects in Norway and beyond,” says Kim Worsøe, CEO of All Things Live. “We look forward to strengthening our position in Norway and introducing talents, texts and experiences from Norway in the other Nordic countries.”

 


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20 before 2020: Live Nation buys into Malaysia’s PR Worldwide

Live Nation has acquired a controlling interest in the live entertainment division of PR Worldwide, one of Malaysia’s leading live events promoters, in its second acquisition announced this week and the 20th of the year.

Established in 1999, PR Worldwide is one of the most prominent promoters in the Asia-Pacific region, having previously worked with Live Nation on tours including Bruno Mars, Lewis Capaldi, Why Don’t We, Jim Jeffries and Charlie Puth. It has also promoted shows by the likes of Ed Sheeran, Mariah Carey, Imagine Dragons, Russell Peters, Shawn Mendes and Disney on Ice in its own right.

The pre-Christmas buy-in to PR follows the acquisition earlier this week of Chile’s DG Medios. IQ calculates that Live Nation has taken a majority shareholding in 20 promoters, festivals and other live music-related businesses so far this year across Asia (One Production, PR Worldwide), Australia (Moshtix), North America (Embrace PresentsNeste Event MarketingLevitateSpaceland PresentsBonnaroo, Groot Hospitality), Europe (Planet EventsBlockfestTons of RockAntwerps SportpaleisPDH MusicGo AheadRewind FestivalHög Agency) and Latin America (Rock in RioOcesa Entertainment, DG Medios).

“We are extremely proud to be taking our long-standing relationship with Live Nation to the next level,” comments Para Rajagopal, founder and CEO of PR Worldwide. “It gives us a unique opportunity to continue PR Worldwide’s 20-year commitment to the development of the Malaysian live entertainment industry. Together, we can strengthen Malaysia as one of the major live entertainment destinations while giving both artists and fans the very best live experiences.”

“We are excited to add yet another market to our Asia-Pacific network, which enables us to become the leading international concert promoter in Malaysia”

“Asia continues to be an extremely important region for growth and opportunity for Live Nation. By joining forces with PR Worldwide we are excited to add yet another market to our Asia-Pacific network, which enables us to become the leading international concert promoter in Malaysia,” says Paul Antonio, president of Live Nation Asia and Middle East.

“It is our pleasure to welcome Para Rajagopal and his team to the family and we look forward to working with them to service artists and offer unforgettable live experiences to fans across the region,”

Live Nation has Asia-Pacific offices in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Bangkok, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Auckland. Earlier this year, the company announced its expansion to Singapore by acquiring leading promoter One Production and made senior appointments to its growing business in China.

It also recently launched Live Nation Connects, a creative marketing agency based in Hong Kong.

 


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Festival Fever: more 2020 line-ups under the microscope

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ reveals what’s in store for the debut of Pitchfork Music Festival Berlin and the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim’s first year under a new promoter, as well as what’s on offer at old favourites Byron Bay Bluesfest, Exit Festival, Lovebox and more.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Byron Bay Bluesfest

When: 9 to 13 April
Where: Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, New South Wales, Australia
How many: 25,000

Byron Bay Bluesfest celebrated its 30th outing last year, with performances from Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Mavis Staples and Kasey Chambers, among others.

The Peter Noble-led event is back in 2020, with acts including Dave Matthews Band, Crowded House, Patti Smith, George Benson, Lenny Kravitz, Brandi Carlile, Frank Turner and Xavier Rudd appearing on the bill.

A report undertaken earlier this year revealed that the festival contributed over AU$83 million (£43.5m) to the local economy in 2019.

Tickets for Byron Bay Bluesfest are available here, with five-day tickets costing AU$639 (£335), three-day passes priced at $440 (£230) and a single-day ticket available for $195 (£102).

The festival contributed over £43.5 million to the local economy in 2019

Down the Rabbit Hole

When: 17 to 19 July
Where: Groene Heuvels Park, the Netherlands
How many: 35,000

The Netherlands’ Down the Rabbit Hole last year saw performance from the Editors, Janelle Monae, Underworld and Thom Yorke.

The event, promoted by Mojo Concerts which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary, has announced a handful of acts for the 2020 edition, including Tyler the Creator, Disclosure, Beck, Kacey Musgraves, Haim, Bombay Bicycle Club, FKA Twigs, Charli XCX and Loyle Carner.

Elsewhere, acts for Mojo’s hip-hop festival Woo Hah! Include Kendrick Lamar, Asap Ferg, Aitch and DaBaby.

Tickets for Down the Rabbit Hole are available here, with a full festival ticket priced at €177.50 (£151). Weekend camping passes for Woo Hah! are available for £159, with day tickets from £50.

The Netherlands’ Down the Rabbit Hole last year saw performance from the Editors, Janelle Monae, and Thom Yorke

Exit Festival

When: 9 to 12 July
Where: Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia
How many: 55,000

Serbia’s Exit Festival is gearing up for its 20th anniversary in 2020, with organisers promising that the event’s special birthday will be celebrated in style. Acts announced for the 2020 edition so far include David Guetta, Tyga, Fatboy Slim, James Arthur and Meduza.

Last year’s festival, which saw record crowds of 200,000 over four days, saw performances from the Cure, Greta van Fleet, the Chainsmokers and Amelie Lens.

Founded as a social activism project in 2000, Exit has grown over the years while maintaining its roots. 2020 will see the launch of the festival’s Life Stream initiative, which aims to engage festivalgoers in the fight against climate change.

Tickets for Exit Festival 2020 are available here, with tickets costing £89 plus £27 for camping.

Organisers promise that the event’s special birthday will be celebrated in style

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB)

When: 16 to 19 July
Where: Costa del Azahar, Spain
How many: 50,000

The first outing for the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB) under new leadership will take place in July, following its acquisition by Spanish promoter the Music Republic earlier this year.

The 2020 event will see performances from acts including Liam Gallagher, the Libertines, Foals, Vampire Weekend, Khalid, Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki.

The Music Republic added FIB to its portfolio of Spanish festivals, which includes Arenal Sound, Viña Rock, Granada Sound and Madrid Salvaje, after buying it from Maraworld, a Madrid-based promoter majority owned by MCD Productions and SJM Concerts.

David and Toño Sánchez, owners of the Music Republic, state they aim to “maintain [FIB’s] essence and position it once more as a leader on the global scene.”

Tickets for FIB 2020 are available here for €65 (£55) for a full pass.

The first outing for the FIB under new leadership will take place in July

Firenze Rocks

When: 11 to 13 June
Where: Ippodromo delle Cascine, Florence, Italy
How many: 11,000

Italian rock festival Firenze Rocks is returning for its fourth year in 2020 with Guns N’ Roses, Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers heading up the event.

The Guns N’ Roses appearance is part of a wider European tour that will see the veteran rockers play in Portugal, Spain, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

The Live Nation-promoted festival last year saw performances from Ed Sheeran, the Cure, Tool and Eddie Vedder, with Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne among those to have played the event in recent years.

Tickets for Firenze Rocks 2020 are available here for €271.40 for four days (£230).

Italian rock festival Firenze Rocks is returning for its fourth year in 2020 with Guns N’ Roses, Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers

Lollapalooza Paris

When: 18 to 19 July
Where: Hippodrome de Longchamp, Paris, France
How many: 55,000

The fourth annual Lollapalooza Paris will feature headliners Pearl Jam and Billie Eilish, along with Vampire Weekend, Khalid, Burna Boy, Haim, Rita Ora, Illenium, the Struts and more, as over 40 acts will play at the four-stage event over two days.

Launched in 2017 as a further string to the Lollapalooza franchise bow, the Live Nation-promoted Lollapalooza Paris last year saw performances from the Strokes, Twenty one Pilots, martin Garrix, the 1975 and Bad Bunny.

The Paris event is one of three European editions of Lollapalooza, together with Lollapalooza Stockholm and Berlin.

Tickets for Lollapalooza Paris are available here, priced at €79 (£67) for a one-day pass and €139 (£118) for a weekend ticket.

The fourth annual Lollapalooza Paris will feature headliners Pearl Jam and Billie Eilish

Lovebox

When: 12 to 14 June
Where: Gunnersbury Park, London, UK
How many: 40,000

Mama Festivals’ Lovebox festival is returning for its third year at the Gunnersbury Park site in west London. The three-day event, which was founded in 2002, will be headed up by Khalid, Disclosure and Tyler the Creator in 2020.

Other acts appearing at the festival include Hot Chip, Jorja Smith, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, FKA Twigs, Charli XCX, Peggy Gou, Mabel and Little Simz.

Gunnersbury Park has also been home to Mama’s Citadel festival for the past two years, with year’s line-up featuring Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bastille, Friendly Fires and Bear’s Den.

Sister company Festival Republic launched a new festival at the site in September this year. The inaugural Gunnersville saw performances from Doves, the Specials and You Me at Six.

Tickets for Lovebox 2020 are available here, with a three-day tickets costing £149.50 and one-day passes costing £72.50.

Mama Festivals’ Lovebox festival is returning for its third year at the Gunnersbury Park site in west London

Pitchfork Music Festival Berlin

When: 8 to 9 May
Where: Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
How many: 3,500

The team behind US-based magazine Pitchfork revealed plans for the inaugural Pitchfork Music festival Berlin at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, adding to events in Chicago and Paris.

The festival, promoted by Scumeck Sabottka’s MCT Agentur, will see headline performances from Lianna La Havas and Modeselektor, with Nike Hakim, Celeste, Tim Hecker and John Talabot also appearing on the bill.

Launched in 2006, the Chicago edition of Pitchfork Music Festival this year saw performances from Haim, the Isley Brothers, Robyn and Pusha T. The more recent Pitchfork Paris has taken place since 2011 and last year featured Skepta, the 1975, Chromatics and Charli XCX.

Tickets for Pitchfork Music Festival Berlin 2020 are available here, with two-day tickets costing €99 (£84) and one-day passes priced at €58 (£49).

 


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LN-Gaiety’s purchase of MCD cleared by CMA

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has cleared the acquisition of Ireland’s MCD Productions by the UK-based Live Nation-Gaiety joint venture, after finding last month the merger does not raise competition concerns in Britain.

The UK competition watchdog referred the merger for an in-depth, ‘phase-2’ investigation, after finding the coming together of Live Nation and MCD could lessen competition in Northern Ireland.

However, the findings of the phase-2 inquiry said the opposite: that the merger is “not likely to raise competition concerns, as Live Nation would not be expected to have the incentive to harm rival music promoters by making it harder for them to sell tickets through Ticketmaster”.

“Having consulted on this provisional finding”, the CMA today (19 December) confirms the merger has been cleared.

“Having consulted on” its provisional findings, the CMA has formally cleared the merger

LN-Gaiety Holdings – a joint venture between Live Nation UK and Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments – announced last August it planned to acquire Desmond’s company MCD Productions. Cork-born Desmond succeeded John Probyn as Live Nation’s chairman in the UK and Ireland in 2015, although MCD – founded by Desmond and Eamonn McCann in 1980, and now co-owned by Desmond and his wife, Caroline Downey – remained independent of Live Nation/Gaiety.

The company is one of the big two promoters and venue operators in the Irish republic, alongside Peter Aiken’s Aiken Promotions.

The LN-MCD merger has already been cleared by the CCPC, the CMA’s counterpart in the Republic of Ireland.

 


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