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IQ 99 out now: NFT ticketing tech & more

IQ 99, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

In May’s edition, IQ examines the hype around nonfungible tokens and the exciting possibilities they can bring to ticketing, while news editor Jon Chapple discovers some of the ways that live entertainment can embrace sustainability in its return to action.

In comments and columns, the Australian Festivals Association’s Julia Robinson discusses how a lack of government-backed insurance could impact business confidence and Laura Davidson explains the driving force behind her new female-led live services consultancy, Amigas.

Following the inaugural edition of IPM Production Notes in IQ 98, tour manager Rebecca Travis reflects on 20 years on the road and one year off, while Mike Malak updates readers on the new technology impacting the music industry in Pulse.

Plus, enjoy the regular content you’ve come to expect from your monthly IQ Magazine, including news and new agency signings – the majority of which will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

Whet your appetite with the preview below, but if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe now and receive IQ 99 in its entirety. Subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.


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ESNS announces Spain focus for 2022

Spain will be the focus country for Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) 2022, the Dutch conference and showcase event has announced.

Eurosonic typically puts the spotlight on a single European nation each year (Switzerland was the focus country in 2020) but opted instead to focus on Europe as a whole for this year’s virtual edition, which took place in January. In partnership with Live Nation Madrid and export initiative the Spanish Wave, ESNS 2022 will highlight the diversity of musical talent in Spain.

César Andión of the Spanish Wave/Live Nation says: “We are thrilled to bring to ESNS 2022 a great roster of panels and artists that will showcase the strength, quality and diversity of the Spanish music industry and future stars. For years Spain has had artists performing in Groningen, and professionals attending the conference, so it was about time that we became the focus country to show how professional, large and diverse Spain is for touring, releasing music and trade.

“We look forward to getting started on bringing an eclectic selection of new music to Groningen”

“The Spanish focus will join forces and work together with labels, promoters, media, festivals, artists and private and public agencies to make this special spotlight a success in business, networking and talent. The Spanish Wave showcase will bring a wide palette of young, emerging and talented acts from all over Spain to show what fresh, alive and exportable artists we have in our country. Thanks to ESNS for giving us the support and opportunity to do so.”

“The Spanish music scene has a lot to offer for the international market,” comments Robert Meijerink. “While there is a growing interest in music in the Spanish language in Europe and beyond, we’d like to focus on all its different regions and lively scenes, from emerging electronic acts to the new wave of indie bands hailing from the big cities, the islands and everything in between. Together with the Spanish Wave and Live Nation Madrid and their partners, we look forward to getting started on bringing an eclectic selection of new music to Groningen.”

Eurosonic Noorderslag 2022 takes place in Groningen, Netherlands, from 19 to 22 January. Artist applications open on 1 May; registration for delegates will open later this year. To pre-register, sign up here.


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Primavera Sound expected to expand for 2022 edition

Barcelona’s Primavera Sound is set to dramatically expand for its 20th-anniversary celebration in 2022, according to Reuters.

Reportedly, the festival will take place between 2–5 June and 9–12 June next year – double its usual length – and will host around 400 shows across two line-ups.

No decision has been made yet on whether to keep the new two-weekend format beyond 2022, according to Reuters sources.

Primavera organisers told IQ that they ‘could neither confirm nor deny’ the information.

In March, the flagship festival was cancelled for a second consecutive year due to the pandemic, shortly after the cancellation of sister festival NOS Primavera Sound, in Oporto, Portugal.

Primavera organisers told IQ that they ‘could neither confirm nor deny’ the information

As in 2020, all tickets remain valid for the delayed Primavera Sound 20 in June 2022. Ticketholders who would prefer a refund will be able to make a request from 2 June, when the 2022 line-up will be revealed.

Headliners for Primavera Sound 2021, which sold out in record time, were Gorillaz, the Strokes and Tame Impala, with FKA Twigs, Tyler the Creator, Iggy Pop and Disclosure also set to perform from 2 to 6 June.

Ahead of the 2022 event, Primavera Pro, the music industry conference, will take place in a ‘hybrid’ format (part physical, part online) from 2 to 4 June 2021.

Primavera Sound’s Primavera Weekender will also return, welcoming some 30 artists and around 1,000 attendees for the second edition of the resort festival in Benidorm, this November.


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Endeavor closes first day on Nasdaq up 5%

Endeavor Group Holdings, the parent company of international booking agency WME, is finally a listed company after shares began trading on New York’s Nasdaq stock market yesterday (29 April).

Endeavor’s or stock market launch, or ‘initial public offering’ (IPO), sees nearly 25 million shares of the company’s class-A stock offered to the market at US$24 per share, and is expected to close on Monday 3 May.

At the close of market yesterday, Endeavor (EDR) shares were priced at $25.20 – up $1.20 on the IPO price, but down from a daily high of $28.47 – with a trade volume of nearly 16m shares for the day.

Endeavor expects to raise around $1.8bn from the share sale, which also includes a private placement of 74.5m shares being sold to an investment group that includes the likes of Silver Lake Partners, Tencent, Dragoneer Investment Group, MSD Capital and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Company.

Endeavor plans to use $835.7m of the proceeds to buy the remainder of UFC

Silver Lake, which also owns shares in Oak View Group and MSG Entertainment and a majority stake in TEG, is an existing Endeavor investor, while Tencent has partnered with WME on joint ventures in China. Dragoneer, meanwhile, recently bought into one-to-watch videogaming platform Roblox.

Endeavor says it plans to use $835.7m to buy the remainder of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), in which it acquired a majority stake in 2016, with other new funding put towards future joint ventures, investments and acquisitions.

The Nasdaq listing is Endeavor’s second attempt to take the company public, following an aborted flotation in 2019 amid unfavourable market conditions. Yesterday’s successful IPO came despite a 24% drop in revenues, to $3.5bn, in 2020 owing to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition to WME and UFC, Endeavor’s portfolio includes sports agency IMG, comedy agency Dixon Talent and the Miss Universe pageant.


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Swiss gov reveals plan for restart of large events

The Swiss federal government has set out the conditions under which the cantons can approve major events from summer 2021.

Large events with over 1,000 people have been banned in Switzerland since the end of February 2020 but that looks set to change next month.

From the end of May, the Swiss cantons should be able to approve large-scale events with up to 3,000 visitors (subject to restrictions), provided they are held after 1 July 2021 – in line with the country’s ‘protective umbrella’ insurance scheme.

From September 1, the upper capacity limit will be increased to 10,000 people.

The government stresses that the data and capacity limits are subject to the country’s epidemiological situation and the cantons must revoke permits or issue additional restrictions if necessary – in which case, the protective umbrella will take effect.

From September 1, the upper capacity limit will be increased to 10,000 people

As IQ reported in March, organisers will only be covered by the protective umbrella if their event has ‘cross-cantonal importance’ and takes place between 1 June 2021 and 30 April 2022. If an event meets those provisions, the canton in which it takes place can offer the organiser a permit.

It has now been revealed that, should an event be cancelled or postponed due to government-enforced Coronavirus restrictions, the organiser will bear a deductible of CHF 30,000 (€27,000) from the uncovered costs and a deductible of 20% of the remaining amount.

If the cantons assume half of the uncovered costs, the federal government pays the other half. The cost-sharing by the federal government and the cantons amounts to a maximum of CHF 5 million (€4.5 m) per event.

The Swiss government has said that in order to minimise the risk of contamination, only people who have been vaccinated, recovered from Covid-19, or have a negative test result will be allowed to attend large-scale events.

A uniform Swiss Covid certificate should also be available by summer, “which will make it much easier to check the evidence at the entrance,” according to the Federal council.

During the month of June, cantons should be able to approve the implementation of three pilot events between 300 and 600 cap

The council is proposing to trial the implementation of certain Covid restrictions during a ‘pilot phase’ in early summer with 300 to 600 people.

During the month of June, cantons should be able to approve the implementation of three pilot events with a minimum of 300 and a maximum of 600 people, according to the council.

Cantons and industry associations concerned will be able to express their opinion on the council’s proposals during a consultation on 10 May.

The proposals come too late for a number of Swiss festivals that have already called it quits on their 2021 summer events for the second consecutive year.

OpenAir St.Gallen, Gurtenfestival, Zermatt Unplugged, Caribana Festival and Thunerseespiele, Paléo Festival Nyon, Greenfield Festival, Rock the Ring and Baloise Session are among the festivals which will not take place in 2021.


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Banner festivals postpone in America

Burning Man, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas and Lollapalooza Brasil have become the latest high-profile festivals to cut their losses and cancel or postpone their respective 2021 editions.

Annual countercultural arts event Burning Man has been cancelled for a second consecutive year, though organisers say it will return in 2022.

The organisers of the festival, which typically draws tens of thousands of people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert each year, had been considering making Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for the event in August 2021 but have ultimately decided to forego this year’s event.

In a statement, they said: “Although here in the United States we may be feeling the weight lifting and the light at the end of the tunnel brightening, we are still in the pandemic, and the uncertainties that need to be resolved are impossible to resolve in the time we have.”

Elsewhere in the US, the organisers of EDC Las Vegas have been forced to postpone the 25th edition from May to October due to local restrictions on large-scale events.

“We are still in the pandemic, and the uncertainties that need to be resolved are impossible to resolve in the time we have”

According a statement by EDC founder Pasquale Rotella, Nevada state officials announced they would lift social distancing requirements as of 1 May, permitting the festival to go ahead as planned at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The statement goes on to say that on 21 April, the Clark County passed a reopening plan that requires 60% of their residents to be vaccinated before restrictions over large scale gatherings can be lifted, casting uncertainty over the viability of the event.

“We currently have over 40 trucks en route to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway from all over the country,” wrote Rotella. “The lineup is fully booked and was going to be announced tomorrow [22 April] at 12 pm PT. The team and I are heartbroken, as I know many of you are as well. For those who have stayed with us on this journey, I thank you. Your trust & loyalty is what gives us strength to keep moving forward.”

EDC Vegas has now been rescheduled to 22-24 October.

Meanwhile, Lollapalooza, which has planted its flag in seven countries, has pulled its Brazil edition due to the pandemic.

“It became increasingly clear that it will not be possible to have the spectacular weekend you love in 2021”

“Our mission has always been and will always create amazing days and nights for you, passionate about music,” says a statement on the festival’s website. “Moments that shiver, that inspire, that fall in love, and that never leave the memory. We really wanted to make another unforgettable edition this year, but with the public health emergency of international importance due to the pandemic, it became increasingly clear that it will not be possible to have the spectacular weekend you love in 2021.”

The festival, organised by South America’s largest live entertainment company Time For Fun, would have taken place in September 2021 but fortunately fans won’t have to wait an entire year for its return.

The 9th edition will take place between 25 and 27 March 2022 at Interlagos Circuit, in São Paulo.

At the time of writing, Lollapalooza is still set to go ahead in Chile and Argentina in November 2021, while dates are yet to be announced for Berlin and Chicago, which typically take place late summer/early autumn. The Paris and Stockholm 2021 editions have already been cancelled.


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Mayday! The IQ new music playlist is now live

The latest edition of IQ’s new music playlist, featuring a selection of tracks curated by major international booking agencies, is now live, showcasing some of the most exciting talent for May 2021.

Launched last summer, 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 May playlist features contributions from CAA, ICM Partners, ITB, Paradigm, UTA, ATC Live, WME, Mother Artists and Primary Talent, each of which have picked up to five tracks apiece showcasing some of their hottest touring artists.

Listen to the latest selection using the Spotify playlist below, or click here to catch up on the April playlist first.

Separated by agency office, the full track list for the May playlist is:

CAAStefflon DonCan't Let You Go
CAAJoe PFighting in the Car
CAAMod SunFlames
CAAJonah KagenBroken
ICM PartnersImanbekDancing on Dangerous
ICM PartnersTygapawRun 2 U
ICM PartnersGaidaaLet Me
ICM PartnersTanerelleMama Saturn's Galactica
ICM PartnersCharmaineDouble Dutch
ITBBartleby DelicatePlastic Flowers
ITBCherymKisses on my Cards
ITBHaunt The WoodsElephant
ITBLYRWinter Solstice
ITBThe Slow Readers ClubEverything I Own
ParadigmDom DollaPump the Brakes
ParadigmFred AgainDermot (See Yourself in my Eyes)
ParadigmHenjilaPaper Boy
ParadigmThe ClauseTime Of Our Lives
ParadigmTirzahSend Me
UTAMarthaGunnGiving in
UTAWalk Off the EarthAnthem
UTADirty HoneyGypsy
UTAAyron JonesSpinning Circles
UTAPendulumCome Alive
ATC LiveJuan WautersMonsoon
ATC LivePintyFound it
ATC LiveWu-LuTimes
ATC LiveCrumbBalloon
ATC LiveCassandra JenkinsCrosshairs
WMEOlivia RodrigoDéjà Vu
WMEJ Balvin, KhalidOtra Noche Sin Ti
WMEEric ChurchHeart
WMEKygoGone are the Days
WMEThomas RhettCountry Again
Mother ArtistsCMATI Don't Really Care For You
Mother ArtistsGrandma's HouseSmall Talk
PrimaryIndigo De SouzaTake Off Ur Pants
PrimaryCookiee KawaiiVibe (If I Back it Up)
PrimaryImanbekRoses (Remix)
PrimaryEnglish TeacherR&B
PrimaryEthan TaschHow are you

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Plotting the path back: Live music tests its mettle

Historically, the live music business has relied on an army of creative minds to deliver once-in a-lifetime experiences for fans, but as the industry slowly starts to emerge from an enforced shutdown, professionals are turning to the scientific community to help kick-start live events.

Statisticians and epidemiologists have been key players in government policy to put a lid on the spread of Covid-19, and with international studies proving that various vaccines are even more effective than originally thought, the events industry is hoping scientists can help map out the best way to reintroduce live entertainment to society.

In the UK, such high-profile occasions as the Brit Awards on 11 May and the FA Cup Final on 15 May are being run as test events to showcase various Covid-safe systems, procedures and products that will help pave the way to arenas and stadia reopening – and that’s in addition to dedicated pilot shows such as this weekend’s 5,000-cap. Blossoms show in Liverpool, organised by Festival Republic. Across the North Sea in the Netherlands, meanwhile, a series of test events are being run by Fieldlab Events, a government-backed initiative that has represented the events sector during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Elsewhere, test events have been held recently in Barcelona and Berlin; programmes are being discussed in the likes of Denmark and Greece (where a collaboration of rap acts are working on a solution); and in Germany, a group of scientists, health experts and doctors have created a set of guidelines to enable the gradual return of audiences to cultural and sporting events.

Reigniting confidence
Biosecurity Systems uses robotic cleaners and other integrated technology and services to diminish the risk of Covid-19 and other epidemic infections in tourism destinations, public buildings (such as airports) and sporting events.

Company CEO Dr Paul Twomey says the test events that the industry is relying on to plot its return to action need to deliver results that convince scientists and politicians, but crucially the proof will also be vital to restore confidence among consumers. “One of the bosses of a major arena operation told me that they were not in the business of trying to convince the kids; they are in the business of trying to convince the parents of those kids that it will be safe when their children come back home to see grandma after a show,” he notes.

Indeed, the Biosecurity Systems founder notes that being able to list a series of precautionary measures could also be crucial in persuading artists to return to live work – especially those from North America. “The Americans are a lot more risk conscious and litigious, so acts based in the states are going to be cautious not only for themselves but because they live in a different liability environment, they’re going to want to know that people have taken all the steps that they can to minimise any prospect of negligence claims,” notes Twomey. “Due diligence is going to be important.”

“Arenas are in the business of trying to convince the parents of kids that it will be safe when their children come back home to see grandma after a show”

Test event programmes
When the coronavirus first started shutting down events last March, most people in the industry (if they are honest) thought the ‘pause’ would last a matter of weeks. When it became apparent that was not the case, promoters and venue operators in a number of nations were granted permission to run test events to prove that live entertainment could still continue, despite the virus.

As successful as those initial tests were, the fact that strict social distancing had to be implemented meant that venue capacities were slashed, making shows financially unviable. However, thanks to the thousands of scientists around the world who have been studying the virus, the test events that are being held in 2021 are benefitting from a whole host of new technology and protocol that is geared toward showing that the live entertainment industry can reopen its doors with minimal risk of Covid-19 transmission.

Individual companies have been formulating their own plans to mitigate Covid transmission – for example, ASM Global’s VenueShield is being rolled out across the group’s 325 venues worldwide in an effort to provide “the highest levels of safety, security and consumer confidence, in alignment with approvals from local government officials and health care experts.”

In Israel, where the majority of the population has now had both Covid-19 vaccinations, a new passport or ‘green pass’ has been introduced by the ministry of health that has to be shown before fans are admitted to concerts and other gatherings, although such events are still subject to capacity limits. The certificate, which can also be presented virtually on a mobile device, confirms the holder has received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been preferred by the Israeli government.

On 5 March, local star Ivri Lider performed to an audience of 500 fans at the 30,000-capacity Bloomfield Stadium in a concert that was organised by the Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, which governs the city. Although those fans were not socially distanced, they were all seated and were required to wear face masks.

Thanks to the success of that pilot, up to 1,000 people were soon allowed into indoor events in the country, and 1,500 for open-air shows, provided all attendees have a green pass. However, those capacity limits came with caveats as they only applied to venues that normally can seat more than 10,000 people. For smaller venues, a capacity of 500 still exists for indoors, while smaller outdoor spaces are limited to 750 fans.

The green pass programme has quickly been adopted nationwide, with Israeli restaurants, hotels, cafés, gyms and shops allowed to reopen without social distancing restrictions provided patrons can prove they have had both doses of the vaccine, and seated venues are now able to welcome up to 4,000 people for indoor shows.

The green pass programme has quickly been adopted nationwide, with Israeli restaurants, hotels, cafés, gyms and shops allowed to reopen without social distancing

In the UK, all hoped are currently pinned to the results of the forthcoming Events Research Programme (ERP), which will examine scientific findings from a dozen pilot events over the coming weeks in order to gauge the viability of large-scale events without having to impose social distancing on audiences.

Depending on the results of the ERP, the UK may see a return to full-capacity concerts, shows, sports, festivals and other events as early as June, with the UK prime minister’s roadmap to recovery naming 21 June as the date when all restrictions on indoor gatherings are set to be lifted. Before that (from 17 May), outdoor gatherings will be permitted with audiences of up to 10,000 people, under that roadmap strategy.

“These test events will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely without social distancing,” stated Dowden. “We will be guided by the science and medical experts, but will work flat out to make that happen. We want to get the people back to enjoying what they love and ensure some of our most important growth industries get back on their feet.”

Experts in the Netherlands have been running a testing regime called Back to Live for a number of weeks. Dutch tests have used Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome (17,000-cap.) , where 1,300 participants were given access to a dance event featuring a number of DJs, and a similar number enjoyed a concert by André Hazes. Those events, organised by Mojo and ID&T, ran from 3pm till 7pm in order to comply with the nationwide curfew (9pm to 4.30am), which had been in place since January.

The promoters of the Ziggo Dome shows report that 100,000 people applied for tickets, providing further evidence of public support for the industry’s revival. Those who were successful were required to produce proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of doors opening. Those applicants who received a positive test, which amounted to 12 people, were not admitted. Those who did attend were asked to take another test five days after the shows, while the Back to Live guidelines ensured that the movements of event participants were tracked and traced.

The Dutch testing scheme has been heralded as one of the most comprehensive yet. Attendees for the Ziggo Dome shows were divided into five ‘bubbles’ of 250 people, plus one of 50, each of which had to comply with different rules to test different spectator scenarios.

Additionally, one group was reportedly given a fluorescent drink and encouraged to sing along to the music, so that scientists could monitor the levels of saliva being spread.

“These test events will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely”

Speaking to media, Tim Boersma, of Fieldlab, said, “We hope this can lead to a tailor-made reopening of venues. Measures are now generic, allowing for instance a maximum of 100 guests at any event if coronavirus infections drop to a certain level. We hope for more specific measures, such as allowing the Ziggo Dome to open at half its capacity.”

The Back to Live series has also included a simulated conference environment with 500 people and two music festivals on the site usually used by Lowlands Festival in Biddinghuizen, with future events including the Eurovision Song Contest in May. The behavioural data gathered at the pilot events will inform governmental decisions on the easing of restrictions in the Netherlands as the country plots its way out of lockdown, which has seen a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people for more than a year.

In Spain, a concert by chart-toppers Love of Lesbian on 27 March at the Palau Sant Jordi arena has been hailed as a success, with the non-socially distanced format presenting no increased risk to the 5,000 fans present, according to doctors.

Audience members were given three locations in Barcelona where they could take a rapid antigen test on the morning of the show. Test results were communicated in a matter of minutes via an app on their phones and only a handful of people tested positive, with those fans banned from the concert but refunded. The ticket price covered the cost of the Covid test, while attendees were also provided with a mask as part of the package.

At the Palau Sant Jordi, the show was delayed due to the strict health controls at the entrance, but with the audience all wearing masks, the event was heralded as a great success.

The planning for that show reportedly persuaded organisers of Barcelona festival Cruïlla to proceed with plans for its 8–10 July 2021 festival, despite fellow Parc del Fòrum festival Primavera Sound cancelling its 1012 June activities. The proposed Cruïlla is a step forward from last year when the festival pivoted to host a series of socially distanced concerts, Cruïlla XXS, in place of its usual 25,000-capacity gathering.

While shows in Israel have required proof of full vaccination, Cruïlla promoter Barcelona Events Musicals will allow vaccination proof as well as depending on a rapid testing programme to create a “sanitary bubble” of healthy festival- goers. The company is confident that that will deliver a full-capacity festival, with no social distancing restrictions for attendees who have bought tickets to see the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, Editors, Morcheeba, Of Monsters and Men, and local acts Kase.O, and Natos y Waor.

In nearby Canet del Mar, the annual Canet Rock extravaganza on 3 July is planning wide-ranging measures including rapid tests, mandatory masks, a trace-and-track app, and a scheme to enlarge the festival site to provide extra space for its 50,000 visitors.

“We hope this can lead to a tailor-made reopening of venues”

Despite calling time for the second year in a row, Primavera Sound Festival has been at the forefront of activities to try to reopen the events sector in Spain. In addition to a series of 70 small gigs last summer, Primavera partnered with Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol and the Fight AIDS Foundation to conduct a test event in Barcelona’s Apolo venue last October. The show saw 1,000 fans trial a situation that coupled temperature testing with a rapid testing scheme, before watching the concert wearing face masks.

That pilot show was considered a success as the venue introduced additional ventilation and the study concluded that people should be able to begin attending live events again, as long as similar measures were followed. For 2021, the Primavera team is organising a second round of shows in late April, where over the course of a week the likes of Swedish singer-songwriter José González, Seville collective Califato ¾ and Derby Motoreta’s Burrito Kachimba will entertain fans at Barcelona’s Coliseum Theatre.

In Denmark, the live music industry’s ‘restart team’ has submitted a catalogue of recommendations on the reopening of the cultural and sports sectors to the ministry of culture for government approval. The ten-person team – which includes Esben Marcher (Dansk Live), Signe Lopdrup (Roskilde Festival Group) and Sara Indrio (Danish Artist Association) from the music sector – has met with more than 80 key stakeholders across the two sectors to determine how the government should allocate its DKK 50million (€7m) fund.

Among its recommendations are:

The team has also made a number of recommendations that require a longer-term effort and/or funding that is outside the allocated DKK 50m. As a result, various schemes, such as compensation funding and a government-backed insurance guarantee, were tabled, as was the suggestion of ongoing compensation for those who have to wait longer to open.

Dansk Live’s Marcher says: “We have gone for broad, embracing proposals that can benefit all actors, which, of course, means that recommendations are not necessarily directly aimed at live organisers. However, I think it is positive that the SAFE project on quick tests is included in recommendations, just as it is positive that there is a focus on pushing for innovation in culture and sports.”

Roskilde’s Lopdrup, who is deputy chairman of the restart team, says: “Our recommendations certainly do not solve all the challenges, but I hope they can help inspire and open up new opportunities for the players and thus pave the way for the reopening of cultural and sports life, so we can meet about the community-creating experiences again.”

Earlier this week, the group said it now looks unlikely there will be major music festivals in Denmark this summer, as the “work [was] started too late”, although it is hoped there will still be at least one test event sometime this year.

“If you say to consumers that there’s going to be a bit more expense as we try to sort things out, I think consumers will live with that”

Next steps
All who rely on the live entertainment business for their livelihoods will be anxiously awaiting the results of those test show schemes to gauge when they might conceivably get back to work. For its part, and despite zero revenue streams, the industry at large has been investing significant time and money into creating protocols that will allow doors to reopen, to meet the huge demand for entertainment that has been underlined by the frenzy for festival tickets apparent in the UK.

And those protocols could be a vital part of the business into 2022 and beyond, according to Twomey of Biosecurity Systems. “The population might slowly be beginning to understand that the vaccine does not solve Covid,” he says. “It certainly diminishes it, and the death rates and hospitalisation numbers will ease, but the disease problem is not going to go away and the variety of issues around that are going to continue to exist. “The real question for the industry, particularly in Europe, is can they get to a position where they can show sufficiently diminished risk to the extent that public health authorities – and agents and artists – are willing to adopt that risk. If that’s the pertinent question, then I can see a tiered pathway forward.”

Twomey believes venues should be able to show that the risk profile of the people they are inviting into an event is well known and “less than the average risk elsewhere in the environment”. Using Israel’s green pass scheme as an example, he comments, “I can see the same thing happening in Europe built around showing similar types of passes or passports that show that the holder has been inoculated or has recently had a PCR test. The mix between those two is going to vary country by country.

“At ILMC, one of the things I was taken with was some of the festival people saying they would not consider vaccine passports because it was against their beliefs. Obviously, I’m not close to their business or the people that attend their events, but my immediate thought is that those events won’t be returning to business as quickly as those who do implement such guidelines. Put simply, if you’re not willing to make the effort to shift and know your risk, then that’s not going to solve any problems.”

Citing such measures as air purification, disinfection of surfaces, obligatory mask usage, and audience testing, screening and contact tracing, Twomey draws parallels with the anti-terrorism precautions introduced by airports in the aftermath of 9/11, where, ultimately, travellers bore the cost. “The difference between this and terrorism is that everybody now has changed their behaviour, whereas there was only a small percentage of the population who went through airports regularly,” he observes. “With Covid, everyone has been through it and everyone understands it. Therefore, if you say to consumers that there’s going to be a bit more expense as we try to sort things out, personally I think consumers will live with that.”

Twomey concludes, “It’s going to cost a bit more money but probably not as much as people think. But people are going to have to do something. If your model is I’m going to sit and wait, that’s fine, but plan for the second quarter of 2022… maybe.”


This feature has been edited since first appearing in the digital edition of IQ 97. Read the original piece below:

This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ IndexIQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.</em

Road to recovery: A timeline of pilot projects

In August 2020, Germany paved the way for live music pilot projects with Restart-19, an experiment which saw thousands of volunteers to take part in a concert at the Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Leipzig with singer Tim Bendzko.

Since then, similar experiments have popped up across the globe. From Spain to Singapore, test events with as few as 50 participants and as many as 5,000 have taken place to prove to authorities (and the world) that when it comes to safety and security, the live music industry knows what it’s doing.

Below is a timeline of the pilot projects that have taken place since late summer 2020 – all of which have proved, in one way or another, that the live entertainment sector can reopen safely under certain measures – as well as the tests that are on the horizon in 2021.

August 2020

When: 22 August 2020
Where: Quarterback Immobilien Arena, Leipzig, Germany
Who: University Medical Center of Halle
What they said: “[T]he contacts that do occur at an event do not involve all participants. Therefore, events could take place under specific conditions during a pandemic.”
Participants: 1,500

November 2020

Konzerthaus Dortmund (study)
When: 2–3, 20 November 2020
Where: Konzerthaus Dortmund, Germany
Who: Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute Goslar, ParteQ
What they said: “Concert halls and theatres are not places of infection. […] With our study, we want to ensure that concert halls and theatres may again admit sufficient audiences when they reopen.”

December 2020

When: 12 December 2020
Where: Apolo, Barcelona, Spain
Who: Primavera Sound, Germans Trias Hospital, the Fight Aids and Infectious Diseases Foundation
What they said: “A live music concert, staged with a series of security measures that included a negative antigen test for Sars- CoV-2 done on the same day, was not associated with an increase in Covid-19 infections.”
Participants: 1,047

Philharmonie de Paris (study)
When: 16 December 2020
Where: Philharmonie de Paris, France
Who: Dassault Systèmes
What they said: “The combination of face masks with a fresh-air supply built into every seat gives the indoor Philharmonie a similar profile to that of an outdoor space, with a very limited risk of spread from one side [of the venue] to the other.”

Back to Live (SG)
When: 18–19 December 2020 Where: Sands Theatre, Marina Bay, Singapore
Who: AEG Presents, Collective Minds
What they said: “[T]he outcome of such pilots will be critical to our ongoing efforts to allow events of a larger scale to resume in a safe and sustainable manner.”
Participants: 500

February 2021

Because Music Matters
When: 10–14 February
Where: Rockhal, Luxembourg
Who: Rockhal
What they said: “Building confidence among all our stakeholders that live events are a safe environment is so important.”
Participants: 100 per night

Back to Live (NL)
When: 15, 20, 21, 28 February & 6, 7, 20, 21 March 2021
Where: The Netherlands
Who: Fieldlab Evenementen
What they said: “We can now show that we can organise events in a very safe way. […] We hope this can lead to a tailor- made reopening of venues.”
Participants: Varies between events

March 2021

Love of Lesbian
When: 27 March 2021
Where: Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona
Who: Festivals per la Cultura Segura
What they said: The event had no impact on Covid-19 transmission among attendees, despite the lack of social distancing observed.
Participants: 5,000

The Berlin Philharmonic
When: 20 March 2021
Where: Chamber Music Hall, Berlin
Who: Pilotprojekt, Berlin department of culture
What they said: ‘Zero infections among the 1,000 people who attended the show is further proof that events can be organised safely during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.’
Participants: 680

April 2021

Jonathan theatre performance
When: 26 April–9 May 2021
Where: Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg (KVS), Belgium
Who: KVS and Belgium’s Ministry of Culture
What they said: “An important observation is that the CO2 value and the relative humidity have barely increased. We saw the figure increase from 500 ppm to 600 ppm, while the maximum permitted value is 1200 ppm. This is of course only a first indication.”
Participants: 50–250

May 2021

Events Research Programme
When: April/May 2021
Where: Sefton Park and Bramley-Moore Dock in Liverpool, Brit Awards in London, The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield and more
Who: Festival Republic, Circus, BPI, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and more
What they said: “These test events will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely without social distancing. We will be guided by the science and medical experts but will work flat out to make that happen.”
Participants: 300–21,000

TBC 2021

Denmark Trials
When: TBC 2021
Where: Denmark
Who: Dansk Live, Divisionsforeningen
What they said: “This should very much lead to a much-needed festival summer and many great concert experiences across the country in 2021.”

Paris test
When: TBC 2021
Where: Accor Arena, Paris
Who: Ministry of Health, Ministry of Culture, St Louis Hospital, Prodiss
Participants: 5,000

Marseille test
When: TBC 2021
Where: Dôme, Marseille
Who: The city of Marseille, Inserm, Béatrice Desgranges (Marsatac, SMA)
Participants: 1,000


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Exit Festival adds 20 new acts to 2021 line-up

July’s Exit Festival, which is on course to be the first major international festival of 2021, has announced 20 new additions to its line-up.

Joining the Serbian festival’s 20th-anniversary event are acts including Sabaton, Meduza, Asaf Avidan, Artbat and Hot Since 82, who joined previously announced performers such as David Guetta, DJ Snake, Tyga, Eric Prydz, Four Tet, Solomun, Boris Brejcha, Paul Kalkbrenner, Nina Kraviz, Honey Dijon, Metronomy and Sheck Wes. View the full 2021 line-up here.

Exit returns to Petrovaradin Fortress, on the Danube in Novi Sad, from 8 to 11 July.

The new additions come as the mayor of Novi Sad confirms that Exit will be allowed to go ahead with no social distancing restrictions, providing guests can provide proof of vaccination against Covid-19 or a negative rapid antigen test. Tourists can already travel to Serbia with a negative PCR test, and it is expected that testing to enter the country will no longer be a requirement by June.

Made possible due to the high vaccination rate in the Balkan country, “his year’s Exit will be a symbol of Serbia’s victory over the pandemic,” says mayor Miloš Vučević.

“We are very excited about … the opportunity to finally celebrate life together”

Dušan Kovačević, Exit Festival CEO, adds: “We are very excited about this news and the opportunity to finally celebrate life together with our audience from the whole world. Considering all the difficulties we have been facing for over a year, we already feel that the big bang of positive energy will create new dimension of the festival experience and make this year’s Exit unique in the history of the festival.

“However, we must remain responsible in the coming months and we’re calling for all of our visitors who have the opportunity to get vaccinated before the festival – as, no matter what, the health and safety of all visitors, artists and the crew is our top priority.”

Today (29 April) sees Exit launch its buy four, get five offer for groups of friends, in which the fifth ticket is given free of charge with four purchased tickets (€435).

Read IQ’s recent interview with Kovačević here.

Dušan Kovačević: “Exit 2021 will go down in history”

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