Eventim: Barracuda safe amid Austrian banking crisis
Germany’s CTS Eventim, the parent company of Austrian promoter Barracuda Music, has announced that Barracuda’s business is protected against the bankruptcy of Commerzialbank Mattersburg, despite the company holding deposits of some €34 million with the soon-to-be-liquidated bank.
After finding inconsistencies in its accounting, Austria’s Financial Market Authority prohibited Commerzialbank – headquartered in Mattersburg, near the Hungarian border – from trading effective 14 July, and the bank is now in the process of being wound up. It is reportedly over-leveraged to the tune of €528m, with creditors expected to receive up to €490m under Austria’s deposit protection scheme.
According to Eventim, which announced its acquisition of Barracuda in December 2019, adding it to its Eventim Live promoter network, it has put in place a “comprehensive financing plan” that ensures the “activities of the Barracuda Group are well protected, particularly its two flagship festivals, Nova Rock and Frequency.”
Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of the live entertainment giant, explains: “Even in times of coronavirus, we are pursuing a long-term corporate strategy and are fully aware of Barracuda’s enormous potential. We are therefore pleased that Barracuda, one of most creative concert promoters in Europe, has been a member of our corporate family since early 2020, which also means a significant investment in Austria, a market that is so important to us.
“We are delighted for hundreds of thousands of music fans from Austria and abroad that we are able to carry on our successful work”
“The team around Ewald Tatar, Barracuda’s managing director, can rely on us totally, even in these turbulent times.”
“We are immensely struck by the fast and uncomplicated way that CTS Eventim jumped to our side, and are really very glad to have such a strong and flexible company as our parent,” says Tatar.
“We are delighted for hundreds of thousands of music fans from Austria and abroad that we are able to carry on our successful work and that the future of Nova Rock, Frequency and hundreds of concerts a year is secure.”
Schulenberg adds that Eventim and Barracuda “will take any steps that are necessary to protect our rights in respect of the current situation at Commerzialbank Mattersburg.”
UK government delays venue reopening
Indoor venues in England will no longer be permitted to resume business tomorrow (1 August), as the UK government stalls the next phase of reopening.
Speaking in a press conference today, UK prime minister Boris Johnson announced that the further easing of coronavirus restrictions, which were set to see indoor performances return to venues in a socially distanced manner, will be postponed for at least two weeks.
Pilots, or trial, performances, such as that carried out at London’s Clapham Grand this week to inform guidance for venues on how to reopen, will also be put on hold.
Casinos and bowling alleys will also remain shut as a result of the measures.
The delay comes amid concerns over an increase in coronavirus cases and comes hours after the government imposed new restrictions on more than four million people across northern England.
“Music Venue Trust has consistently asserted that no grassroots music venue will be able to stage live music events before 1 October at the earliest”
“The prevalence of the virus in the community, in England, is likely to be rising for the first time since May,” says Johnson, adding that it is time to “squeeze the brake pedal”.
The UK’s Music Venue Trust has issued a statement in response to the government’s announcement, saying it is “saddened but not surprised” to hear that live music events planned from 1 August must now be cancelled.
“Since May 2020, Music Venue Trust has repeatedly informed the government that live music events in grassroots music venues would be extraordinarily difficult to stage, not economically viable, and at risk of being cancelled at short notice during the current pandemic,” reads the statement, adding that venues that have tried to host events in accordance with government guidance have incurred “substantial costs to make their venues safe”.
“Music Venue Trust has consistently asserted that no grassroots music venue will be able to stage live music events before 1 October at the earliest, yet the prime minister has stated that the new reopening date might be as earlier as 15 August,” continues the statement.
“Music Venue Trust would like to restate and emphasise the position of the sector, which is that a clear and decisive position on the part of government to provide support for grassroots music venues in the form of efficiently distributed crisis funding until such time as they can re-open safely and viably would provide the much needed clarity that venues, artists, audiences and the wider public need.”
Photo: Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
IQ Focus: Tech pros chart a way forward for concerts
The most recent edition of IQ Focus brought together representatives from some of live music’s leading technology, production and venue companies to shine a light on the various technological solutions helping to get concerts back on the road while Covid-19 is still a threat.
The Technology of a Pandemic, streamed live at 4pm yesterday (30 June), saw chair Steve Machin (LiveFrom.Events) invite Adam Goodyer of Realife Tech (formerly LiveStyled), Brigitte Fuss of Megaforce, Seats.io’s Joren De Wachter, ASM Global’s John Sharkey and Paul Twomey of Biosecurity Systems to discuss the technologies and systems that will allow venues to function at their peak until a coronavirus vaccine is found.
After a round of introductions, Sharkey showed a video demonstrating the concept behind ASM’s VenueShield hygiene system, as well as its successful trial at ASM’s VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, with an Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event on 9 May.
“For us, the key thing is, we need to understand that we do have a viable business to come back to,” he commented, “and that it has to work to generate confidence, not just the back of house and in front of house but with our staff and everybody coming through our buildings.”
That’s especially true, he added, “whenever we are going to be changing to suit the jurisdictions that we operate in, and also the changing state and cycle of where we are in dealing with the virus.”
Moving onto social distancing, Machin suggested that “in seated venues maybe it’s somewhat easier because you can run different seat maps” and other solutions to put space between guests, but “social distancing in [standing] venues is hard.”
“The real challenge, as I see it, is making sure that customers stick to the rules,” he added.
“Regulators all saw things differently after September 11. I think the same thing is true for biosecurity with Covid-19”
For any person involved in producing live events currently, the ability to be flexible is key, said De Wachter. “There are certain things we can’t control: We don’t know when a second wave will hit a particular place, we don’t know what authorities will do… so what you need to do from the technology perspective is have this flexibility that allows you to react quickly to changing situations.”
“Covid-19 is just one of five or six diseases we’ve had which have been epidemics, if not pandemics, over the last 15 to 20 years, and we can expect to see that happen again,” commented Twomey, emphasising that events must prepare for outbreaks of other diseases in future.
“I think that the challenges for events, organisers and facilities is to make the investment now – not just for this infection, but the future ones,” he continued, adding that the coronavirus pandemic is as much of a turning point for venue safety as the events of 11 September 2001.
“The comparison with September 11 is pretty clear: there was terrorism before, there was terrorism after, but the consumers and the governments and the regulators all saw things differently after September 11. I think the same thing is true for biosecurity with Covid-19. Everything is different now, so even after we get some improvement with vaccines, etc., in the next couple years, I think it’s still important people make the investment in the sorts of facilities, equipment and solutions that consumers are going to keep looking for.”
Fuss, who also represents disinfecting company ATDS Europe, revealed that ATDS has a solution to ensure that cases of equipment brought into venues or festivals are Covid-19 free.“We have a hygiene gate which can be placed directly at the truck’s loading dock, so when the cases go out they go directly through this disinfection shower,” she explained.
Fuss also spoke on the track-and-trace system already in operation in Germany, which could be adapted to allow venues to reopen without social distancing, as they already have in places like Korea. In Germany, “we already have small events, and if you go there or if you are on the guest list you have to write down your name, your address and your your phone number or email, so that in case of Covid-19 we can follow you up and see who had contact with you,” she said.
“People want to be able to enjoy events again. If they’re willing to share their data, it’s genuinely a good thing”
Coronavirus aside, said Goodyer, this level of data capture is something venues “should be striving for anyway”. “But the reason to do it has now changed,” he continued, “and people want to be able to enjoy events again. If they’re willing to do that [share their details] – and we’re doing it across all of our portfolio – it’s genuinely a good thing.
“And we’re seeing that fans are happy to do it when it’s clearly explained and that they know their data is being held securely and privately.”
“We have to rebuild trust with people who want to go to events, so that they know that they will be safe,” added De Wachter, “and the same is true for their data and for their whereabouts. I don’t think we can wait for a vaccine, because it’s going be too long: we need to get people back into events and to rebuild that relationship now.”
“I think the way we communicate about all of this is going to be absolutely key,” he concluded. “We need to make sure that people know that they can trust event organisers that the right thing will be done. […] There’s going to be a need for a massive amount of increased transparency, in how ticket buyers are being treated before, after and during the event.
“It’s a human business, and in human businesses, in order to build trust, you need to communicate as much as possible.”
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
StubHub shutters offices in Asia, Latin America
Secondary ticketing giant StubHub is closing down its offices in parts of Asia and Latin America, further reducing its workforce worldwide, the Guardian has reported.
In an email seen by the newspaper, employees were told that the closures “mean that we have to bid farewell to our colleagues in Mexico, Brazil, Japan, Hong kong, Taiwan and Korea”.
“This decision has not been made lightly, nor easily,” reads the email.
It is understood that fewer than 100 of StubHub’s 650-strong workforce are facing redundancy as a result of the closures. However, the company is also believed to be making further cuts to its staff based in Madrid, with team members being furloughed or working reduced hours.
“This decision has not been made lightly, nor easily”
A StubHub spokesperson tells IQ that it will continue to serve customers in Asia Pacific and Latin Amerca with the support of “core operational teams in Europe”.
The measures constitute another round of staff reductions for the secondary ticketer, which was acquired by Viagogo last year. StubHub furloughed around a third of its workforce earlier this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic, and also saw the departure of its CEO, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy in May.
“While events will be among the last to return to normal following this pandemic, we’re confident in the industry’s ability to rebound,” says a StubHub spokesperson.
“For now, we continue to support our customers and partners and look forward to a time when we are able to return to the joy of live events and the special connections that come with them.”
Mediterranean signals hope for 2020 festival summer
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, festivalgoers will get their chance to dance in the Mediterranean sunshine this year, with a number of festivals taking place in Greece, Malta, Croatia and on the southern coast of France
The first festival to return, Xlalala Presents-promoted Long Beach Festival 2.0 welcomed 2,000 festivalgoers over two days of performances in the northern city of Pydna from 24 to 25 July.
Although mostly seated, audience members were able to stand and still remain distant from each other at the Terra Republic festival site, which usually welcomes up to 50,000 concertgoers.
Hygiene regulations and temperature checks were in place at the festival, which featured performances from Greek acts including Stelios Dionisiou, Pyx Lax, Villagers of Ioannina City and Planet of Zeus.
Long Beach Festival will return next year with an extended, four-day programme from 4 to 8 August.
Xlalala Presents’ Athens event, Urban Athens, is set to go ahead from 7 to 8 August at Terra Vibe Park with the same line-up.
Also taking place from 7 August is GEM Festival, a four-stage, three-day event on the Greek island of Zakynthos, or Zante, with acts including Andrea Ferlin, Anushka, Paul van Dyk and Romeo Blanco.
The festival has reduced capacity at its 110,000 square-metre site and will not allow camping. Guests will be temperature tested on entry, with those showing signs of a high temperature being tested for Covid-19. Everyone entering the festival’s VIP area will also be tested.
Tickets for the festival are priced at €30 for a one-day pass and €170 for a full ticket, with VIP passes costing €1,250.
Festivals are also making an appearance this summer in France, with the Panda Events- and Allover-promoted Les Croisières Électroniques (Electronic Cruises) taking place in Cannes Bay from 2 to 9 and 23 to 30 August.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, festivalgoers will get their chance to dance in the Mediterranean sunshine this year
The cataraman-based event will see up to 100 music fans a time board from Cannes Bay and Lerins Island for a day of music, dancing and water sports.
Tickets start from €70, with VIP options also available.
Family Piknik festival, postponed from July, is another event entertaining French music fans, bringing two days of live music to the grounds of Montpellier Airport, with sets from Charlotte de Witte, La Fleur, Rodriguez Jr, Tom Pooks and Mind Against.
With a limited capacity of 5,000, the event is taking place on 12 September. Tickets, €40 regular and €100 for a backstage pass, are available here.
Across the Mediterranean, the island state of Malta is also preparing to welcome back festivalgoers, with BPM Festival Malta (Fatboy Slim, Amelie Lens, Maceo Plex), Escape 2 the Island festival (AJ Tracey, Fredo, Aitch), Rhythm and Waves festival (Chase and Status, Shy FX, Wilkinson) and Mi Casa festival (Gorgon City, Hannah Wants, Sonny Fodera) all open to international revellers at the end of August and throughout September.
A fifth Maltese festival, Back.In the Future, has been called off due to “lower than expected ticket sales”. The event, due to take place at open-air venues Gianpula Village and Uno Malta from 29 to 30 August, was to feature acts including Chase and Status, DJ EZ and Wiley.
Ticketholders will receive an automatic refund and will also be offered complimentary guestlist entry to Escape 2 the Island and/or Rhythm and Waves festivals, as well as a €50 drinks credit.
Croatia, normally a hotspot of summer festival activity, is far quieter this year as authorities introduce stringent social distancing restrictions. Mainstays including Dimensions, Ultra Europe, Outlook, Sonus and Hideout are among those forced to cancel this year’s edition.
Some are still forging ahead, however. BSH Island festival, set to take place at the Noa Beach Club from 7 to 12 July, was forced to scrap its original format just a week prior to the event, downsizing from 5,000 capacity to 900 for an alternative, socially distanced festival.
Trance and progressive festival Awake is also going ahead in a socially distanced manner. With a reduced capacity of 1,000, Awake will host acts including Cosmic Gate, Paul Thomas and Paul van Dyk from 20 to 23 August on Zcre beach.
Tickets for Awake, including hotel, villa and apartment packages, are available here. Day tickets start from €40 and four-day passes priced at €152.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Breezy listening: Celebrate summer with IQ’s New Signings
The August edition of IQ’s New Signings playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by major international booking agencies, launches today, serving up a welcome dose of fresh new music as live continues its long summer hiatus.
Launched in May for the June issue, the playlist complements IQ Magazine’s popular New Signings page, which keeps the live industry updated about which new, emerging and re-emerging artists are being signed by agents.
The August edition features contributions from CAA, ICM Partners, ITB, Paradigm, UTA, X-ray Touring, Primary Talent, 13 Artists and ATC Live, each of which have picked five tracks apiece featuring some of their most exciting new talent.
Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below – or click here to catch up on the July edition first.
Separated by agency, the full track list for August’s New Signings playlist is:
|CAA||Purple Disco Machine||Hypnotized|
|CAA||Rachel Chinouriri||Beautiful Disaster|
|ICM||Alex Porat||Happy For You|
|ICM||Sarah Barrios||I Didn’t Mean to|
|ICM||Marco||Only Want You|
|ITB||Hot Milk||California’s Burning|
|ITB||Bananagun||People Talk Too Much|
|ITB||Red Rum Club||Eleanor|
|ITB||Bright Light Bright Light||I Used To Be Cool|
|Paradigm||Camelphat||Hypercolour (featuring Yannis from Foals)|
|Paradigm||Lynkks Afrikka||How To Be Successful|
|Paradigm||Robert Grace||Fake Fine|
|Paradigm||Trevor Daniel||Past Life (featuring Selena Gomez)|
|UTA||Che Lingo (UK)||My Blok|
|UTA||Frankie Beetlestone (UK)||HMU Again|
|UTA||Evann McIntosh (US)||What Dreams Are Made Of|
|UTA||Silly Boy Blue (FR)||The Fight|
|X-ray||Luke La Volpe||Dead Man's Blues|
|X-ray||Tiagz||My Heart Went oops|
|X-ray||Phoebe Bridgers||Garden Song|
|Primary Talent||Kate Bollinger||A Couple Things|
|Primary Talent||Youth Sector||No Fanfare|
|Primary Talent||Bad Gyal||Bom Bom|
|Primary Talent||Izzy Camina||Wrapped In Gold|
|Primary Talent||Mitski||Strawberry Blond|
|13 Artists||The Lathums||All my Life|
|13 Artists||The Academic||Acting My Age|
|13 Artists||Holly Humberstone||Overkill|
|13 Artists||Nito NB||Starburst|
|13 Artists||Another Sky||Fell in Love with the City|
|ATC||Emma-Jean Thackray||Open- Remix|
|ATC||Jade Imagine||Coastal Pines|
|ATC||Reuben James||Run Away|
UK production pros launch Covid-19 working group
Professionals from across the UK concert touring sector have joined forces to launch the PSA Tour Production Group (PSA TPG), a new association that aims to provide a unified industry response to the impact of Covid-19 on live music events.
The group is a new arm of the Production Services Association (PSA), the trade body for the live event production industry, and includes tour managers, production managers, safety professionals, venue and festival managers, travel and logistics specialists, promoters and suppliers. Past and present clients of the PSA TPG team include artists such as Adele, Madonna, Pink, U2, Ed Sheeran and Spice Girls and events including Isle of Wight Festival, Lollapalooza and British Summer Time Hyde Park (pictured).
The formation of the group centres on getting touring professionals back to work safely, and supporting the sector’s survival, “in a pre-vaccine Covid-19 era”, according to the PSA, when tour-specific safety guidelines working around local threat levels will become the norm.
To that end, PSA TPG today (30 July) released a Working Procedures Guidance document which outlines how touring productions – defined as one-off shows, festivals and live events of any size that require moving personnel and equipment to a new destination – can better align with suppliers, venues and promoters to assist risk management relating to transmission of the coronavirus.
“Based around a hierarchy of control (including elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administration and PPE) and a responsive threat scale, the guidance details different levels of design, schedule and control measures appropriate to conditions,” explains the group. “These measures include social distancing, health declarations and monitoring, hygiene and cleaning, and mitigation.”
there’s no better group of people to find the solution than those that deliver shows for a living
The document is designed to add to existing guidance “by outlining practical measures that will inform tour-specific risk assessments and method statements”, the association adds. Production industry professionals are encouraged to provide feedback on the guidance via the PSA website.
Take That production manager Chris Vaughan says: “We have brought together the leading experts in live music concert touring to agree on how tours should be run whilst the threat of Covid-19 remains with us.
“Production and tour managers are responsible for the operational, logistical, financial, creative and technical delivery of concerts around the world and, as such, we are proposing a series of guidelines that can be practically and realistically implemented.”
Sam Smith’s production manager, Wob Roberts, adds: “Covid-19 is an unwelcome addition to the rider, yet there’s no better group of people to find the solution than those that deliver shows for a living. More than a document, this is intended to be a responsive set of protocols that efficiently move with a changing environment.”
“From an industry whose timeless motto is ‘the show must go on’, the pandemic has been a devastating blow, both economically and for the mental wellbeing of the huge number of people who work behind the scenes,” comments Mark Ward, production director of BST Hyde Park. “These new documents offer many of the answers those people are searching for.”
Icelandic music business calls for more support
A new report put together by the Icelandic music industry has highlighted the measures needed to be taken by the government to help the business through the current crisis.
The ‘Impact of Covid-19 on the Icelandic music industry report’ has been compiled by the Icelandic Musicians Union (FIH), Icelandic National Group for IFPI (FHF), Collecting society for performers and phonogram producers (SFH), the Performing Rights Association of Iceland (STEF), Reykjavík Music City and Iceland Music (ÚTÓN).
The report states that, although a number of measures have been taken to address the loss of income of musicians, many schemes such as the partial compensation scheme for cancelled events and closure subsidies for companies forced to halt their operations for public health reasons, “have benefitted members of the music industry in a very limited way”.
“Clearly, despite the good will and the prompt response from the government, we need to find more effective ways to respond to the impact that Covid-19 has had on the music industry in Iceland,” reads the report.
“Clearly, despite the good will and the prompt response from the government, we need to find more effective ways to respond to the impact that Covid-19 has had on the music industry in Iceland”
Existing measures include a ISK 244 million (€1.5m) artists’ salary fund; a ISK 86m (€540,870) fund for new music-related activities; the ISK 30m (€188,680) City of Reykjavík Culture Fund (Menningarpottur Reykjavíkurborgar); and the Summer City 2020 project, which promotes culture and creates job opportunites for musicians and venues in Reykjavík.
The music industry representatives present various counter measures, drawing from action taken in the countries of Denmark, Germany and Finland, to support the industry.
Suggestions include establishing “extensive support packages” for venues, promoters, festivals and agents; a reduction of real estate tax for venues; compensation for the operating costs and other fixed costs of businesses that have not closed down over the period; the creation of a small businesses fund; and government-led promotional campaigns for the music industry.
The report also makes some recommendations for actions to be taken by those in the industry itself, including the establishment of a “formal alliance” of Icelandic concert promoters and increased cooperation between music organisations, with the aim of creating an association to represent the industry as a whole.
The document cites measures taken in Denmark to support self-employed individuals and in Finland, where €700m has been put aside to assist small- and medium-sized businesses. The report also recommends the Icelandic government consider Germany, where €150m has been dedicated to supporting the live music industry.
An executive summary of the report can be found here.
Korean tech giant invests in K-pop’s SM Entertainment
South Korean technology firm Naver is investing in K-pop management company SM Entertainment, in a deal believed to be worth over €70 million.
SM Entertainment, one of the largest entertainment companies in Korea, is home to K-pop acts including EXO, Red Velvet, Super Junior, BoA, NCT and Girls’ Generation.
Naver Corporation, which operates Korean search engine Naver, mobile messaging service Line and live broadcasting app VLive, is not the first tech giant to show interest in SM, in which Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba took a 4% stake in 2016.
South Korean technology firm Naver is investing in K-pop management company SM Entertainment, in a deal believed to be worth over €70 million
Naver is believed to be acquiring shares worth approximately ₩100 billion (€71.2m), or just over 12% of the company, making it the second largest shareholder after SM Entertainment founder, Lee Soo-man.
According to AllKpop, Naver plans to use the intellectual property owned by SM Entertainment, which is home to acts including, to bolster content across its own platforms.
The deal follows a similar investment by Naver in fellow K-pop giant YG Entertainment, home to acts such as Blackpink, Big Bang and iKon, in 2017.
Founded in 1995, SM Entertainment is one of the big three Korean entertainment firms, along with YG Entertainment and BTS home Big Hit.
Last year, SM became the first K-pop company to join forces with a US talent agency, signing with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) for company-wide representation.
French festival halted over suspected Covid-19 case
French classical music festival Nuits musicales du Rouergue was put on hold after its opening night after a stage manager reported a suspected case of Covid-19.
The festival, which was this year celebrating its 18th edition, is the initiative of pianist Philippe Alègre and takes place each year in historical sites around the district of Villefranche-de-Rouergue. Programming had this year been reduced to three evenings of music, rather than seven, in view of the pandemic.
However, just one of the planned performances was able to take place before the event was scrapped, as one of the festival’s stage managers took to Facebook on Tuesday night to inform the public of a “probable presence of the virus onsite”.
French classical music festival Nuits musicales du Rouergue was put on hold after its opening night after a stage manager reported a suspected case of Covid-19
Following the post, festival organisers and local authorities decided to cancel the remaining performances, which had been due to take place on 28 and 30 July respectively.
According to France3, tests of those suspected to be carrying the virus later came back negative.
Festival organiser Alègre has confirmed that the two concerts will be rescheduled for next summer, and has criticised the “serious professional misconduct” on the part of the stage manager.
The French live industry recently mobilised to ask the government for clear timetables surrounding the reopening of standing, full capacity events, stating the business is committed to restarting 100% capacity shows from 1 September.
Events over 5,000 capacity are currently banned in France with social distancing measures still in place for all shows.