In the first in a series of interviews with industry leaders, Chugg Entertainment's Michael Chugg talks about coping with the Covid-19/bushfire double whammy
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The Werchter founder and Live Nation Belgium CEO says it's clear fans want to get back to normal, with strong demand for onsales for rescheduled shows
By IQ on 24 Apr 2020
Tales from Covid, IQ’s new series of Q&As with locked-down industry leaders, sees leading lights of the concert business explain how they are weathering the coronavirus crisis and offer their predictions for the months ahead.
Following the third interview, with Kilimanjaro Live founder and CEO Stuart Galbraith, IQ catches up with Rock Werchter organiser and Live Nation Belgium CEO Herman Schueremans, who speaks on government response to the crisis, and why it’ll take more than coronavirus to kill demand for live music…
IQ: How are you preparing for the live music industry’s eventual recovery?
HS: I am no psychic and I don’t yet have a crystal ball. But we’ll all be charting where markets are reopening, as touring will follow.
This has been a challenging time, but we’ve been around for a while and we’ve successfully dealt with curveballs before.
Do you expect the public to respond when concerts/festivals go back on sale?
Fans want to be at shows enjoying live music. We’ve already seen demand for the onsales for shows being scheduled the other side of the ban. Coronavirus won’t alter the love of live music.
Have you learnt any positive lessons from the touring shutdown?
I’ve really enjoyed seeing the way artists have taken what the situation has thrown at them – and the time off the road it has forced on them – and used technology to connect with their fans across the world.
Live Nation created a ‘Live from Home’ platform to help our artists do exactly that. And we’ve also seen many artists rally around industry relief efforts like Crew Nation. There’s been incredible support all around.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing artists … use technology to connect with their fans across the world”
How do you rate the government response to the crisis, in comparison to the industry’s?
The Belgian parliament agreed to provide €1 billion to tackle the consequences of coronavirus, and we will work with them to ensure this money reaches those who need it most in our market.
I feel like I have been on a permanent conference call for weeks, with colleagues across Europe and in the US and with those in my market. It’s never been more clear that we are in a global business. We all know we have to work together.
Finally, what are your main takeaways from this crisis?
That we adapt fast. That we can deal with curveballs. That we are resilient.
And that artists and fans will always find a way to connect.
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