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Bristol’s SWX gets £3.2m redo after arson attack

SWX Bristol, a 1,800-capacity venue in the southwest of England, is to reopen just over a year after an arson attack damaged the building.

Following the incident, Electric Group, which has owned and operated the venue since 2017, gave the Nelson Street venue a £3.2 million reconstruction.

The restored venue is due to reopen on 9 September with a show by metal band Gloryhammer, followed by club night Far Fetched.

Electric Group said the focus of the rebuild was on restoring the previous infrastructure with upgraded tech. The refit involved the fitting of an L-Acoustics Kara II PA, all new lighting, motors, and a Fiend Productions’ LED wall.

Among the most notable changes are the double-height foyer, a reinstated feature from the Top Rank Suite-era, and a wheelchair-friendly lift that opens up access to all three floors for people with a disability.

The venue closed 13 months ago when an arsonist, who was said to be obsessed with lockdown measures, set light to a petrol-soaked towel and posted it through the SWX letterbox.

“We are already ahead in Q4 and Q1 [2023] in terms of show counts from pre-pandemic”

Artists slated to play at SWX this year include Banks, Rema, Young T & Bugsey, Sugababes and Black Midi.

“The response has almost been overwhelming,” says Electric Group head of music Mike Weller. “We are already ahead in Q4 and Q1 [2023] in terms of show counts from pre-pandemic. On almost a daily basis for nearly a year I’ve been asked, ‘Is the diary open? When will you be back?'”

Electric Group CEO Dominic Madden said, “The fire, product of an arsonist’s obsessive concern with lockdown and Covid legislation, was started at 4 am and raged for 27 hours. Our original sprung dance floor lives to tell the tale but not much else.

“Among the reconstruction we have fitted electric shutters at all entrances to ensure nothing like this can happen again.

“While our priority was to retain the essence of the venue’s success, updating facilities to ensure that SWX would serve the requirements of artists and audiences for another 50 years, I was really pleased to take this opportunity to make the venue fully disability friendly.”

Alongside SWX, Electric Group also runs London’s 1,700-cap. Electric Brixton (formerly the Fridge), and owns O2 Academy Newcastle (operated by Academy Music Group) and the Leadmill in Sheffield.


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Ticketmaster enables event organisers to issue NFTs

Event organisers who sell live events tickets on Ticketmaster now have the ability to issue NFTs (non-fungible tokens) before, during and after live events.

According to the ticketing giant, the new digital feature provides fans with the opportunity to extend their live event experience through digital keepsakes that can be shared online or activated to access unique loyalty rewards, VIP engagement opportunities and more.

To mint these collectable NFTs, Ticketmaster has partnered with Flow, a blockchain operated by Dapper Labs which is known for enabling web3 experiences related to fantasy sports and gaming.

“Event organisers who choose to offer fans an NFT with their ticket have a real opportunity to make this new technology relevant and relatable at scale,” says Brendan Lynch, Ticketmaster EVP of enterprise & revenue. “This is why we are partnering with Flow, because their blockchain is custom-built for fan engagement and frictionless consumer experiences.”

“Flow’s blockchain is custom-built for fan engagement and frictionless consumer experiences”

“Our partnership with Ticketmaster will enable millions of live event fans to immortalise, share and enhance their IRL experiences through digital collectables,” says Mickey Maher, SVP partnerships of Dapper Labs. “Ticketmaster has quickly become a leader in this space, so we’re excited to support their work in empowering event organisers to deliver even greater value to fans through the benefits of blockchain.”

Ticketmaster previously utilised Flow to distribute more than 70,000 one-of-one virtual commemorative ticket NFTs at Super Bowl LVI with each attendee’s unique seat location on the NFT itself.

For the 2022 season, the NFL (National Football League, US) will offer NFTs minted on Flow to every attendee at more than 100 select games, including at least three home games from all 32 clubs.


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Swede Sensation: Sweden Market Report

When arena-dwelling Swedish metal band Sabaton attempted to get back out on the road again in early 2022, the challenges of late-pandemic international travel soon scuppered the plan. So it was replaced with another: a tour of just about everywhere in Sweden.

“We did 30 dates and sold 40,000 tickets,” says promoter David Maloney of All Things Live Sweden. “It was unique because no one has done a tour like that, ever, in Sweden. We played markets where we sold 2,000 tickets in a town where 4,000 people live.

“They are an arena band – they have a show next year at the [former] Globe in Stockholm, and they’ve sold 10,000 tickets for that. But rather than sitting at home complaining, they said, ‘Fuck this shit, we’ll go out on tour. If there’s a stage and a roof, we’ll play there.’ And we played places in Sweden I had never even been to.”

Maybe we’re not on the brink of a world in which every band has to rip up small Swedish towns like Mölnlycke, Ålmhult, or Ronneby to make a living, but Maloney still believes there is a lesson here.

“In one sense, that’s the way it has to be in future,” he says. “If you want to play for an audience maybe you have to change your whole way of thinking. Especially for local bands. There’s a limited amount of big stages, a limited amount of festivals, a limited number of people.”

With its sturdy and experienced promoters, its plentiful festivals, and its smallish population, it is true that Sweden is not an easy place in which to innovate, and it is hard to find pockets of demand that aren’t being catered for by someone.

“We are quite a mature and well-developed and well-exploited market,” says FKP Scorpio partner and promoter Niklas Lundell. “If you want to develop a new concept and you think you are going to be on your own,” he notes wryly, “maybe Scandinavia is not your priority market if you know what I mean.”

“We are quite a mature and well-developed and well-exploited market”

With the exception of some small clubs in Stockholm where rents have rendered the grassroots business model inadequate, Sweden has more or less everything it needs. World-class venues? Check. Well-heeled audiences? Definitely.

A spot on every serious European touring schedule. No problem. Big, loud festivals and cool boutique ones? No need to ask twice.

Sweden is a model of a compact, modern market, with three very viable touring cities in Stockholm, Malmö, and Gothenburg. And at the mass-market end of the scale, at least, the post-pandemic boom has been a thoroughly fulfilling experience.

“It’s doing very well,” says Thomas Johansson, father of the Swedish live business and Live Nation’s chairman of international music and Nordics.

“We have just finished a bunch of outdoor shows: Iron Maiden, Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga all sold out stadiums. Then, we had a lot of other shows that have done very well all over Scandinavia, so I would say the business is good.”

As with any prosperous market, Sweden in the first year after the pandemic gives every appearance of being in the form of its life, but as always, the glory of the packed-out arenas and stadiums does not necessarily reflect right across the business.

“The shows that are suffering most from poor ticket sales in the post-Covid period are the ones that would usually sell 700-2,000 tickets,” says Edward Janson of increasingly diversified rock and metal specialist TADC, formerly Triffid And Danger Concerts.

“The big shows are doing well but it’s rather difficult in the middle segment these days”

“The smaller club shows are doing okay, and the big shows are doing well. But it’s rather difficult in the middle segment these days,” he adds, noting that ticket sales are currently around 25 to 30% down.

Johansson notes a similar trend when it comes to artists a little further down the scale. “Generally, the big artists are doing very well, whether they are local or international,” he says. “The mid-range artists are a little softer, the smaller club acts, too. Basically, it’s because there are so many tickets on sale. A lot of people were sitting with tickets for 2020, and then all of a sudden they were sitting with tickets for 2021, and when 2022 came around they already had five or six tickets booked.”

Certainly, there are challenges, even for an affluent market like Sweden. “There is huge competition now, since almost all artists are touring at the same time,” says Janson. “And inflation is rising, and the Swedish krona is getting weaker compared to the dollar and the euro. With that said, during the upcoming winter, I’m sure that it will stabilise and that ticket sales will go back to where they were before the pandemic.”

Svensk Live, the local live music body that gathers together clubs, festivals, promoters, and agents, recently launched its Life is Live campaign with performing arts group Svensk Scenkonst, aimed at encouraging fans to return to live events at all levels. Operations manager Joppe Pihlgren says there is a strong sense of industry cohesion around such initiatives.

“We have 270 members in Svensk Live,” he says. “We have the big companies, but they also understand that if you don’t have the grassroots then ultimately everything else suffers. We had that kind of [indie vs corporate] struggle a little bit more in the past, but we have got all these people very much together now.

“We have a youth organisation where [Live Nation] bring in volunteers to work for Lollapalooza. And we have a climate project as part of Way Out West – though we also do things with FKP Scorpio.”

“There is huge competition now, since almost all artists are touring at the same time”

And while Sweden may be a highly mature market, with plenty of corporate interest, it is also a major global pop and rock producer with plenty of self-esteem, and one in which local identity remains strong. Pihlgren, himself a home-grown rock star as the frontman of veteran Swedish band Docenterna, is heartened by the rise of local acts to arena and even stadium level.

“Before, it was just Springsteen and the big international artists who could fill up a stadium, but now you have [Gothenburg-born star] Håkan Hellström selling out [four nights in August at Gothenburg’s] Ullevi stadium. Laleh also sold it out in the summer, and we have a lot of smaller acts coming through.”

Historically one of Live Nation’s safest markets, Sweden hasn’t got a great deal more perilous for the business’s biggest player lately. As well as taking the lion’s share of the stadium and arena touring business, the corporate owns leading indie and Way Out West founder Luger and holds majority shares in the Summerburst and Sweden Rock festivals, as well as being the local custodian of Lollapalooza since 2019.

As thrill-starved punters all rush to the biggest concerts they can find, the current conditions were made for Live Nation. “This year has been a fantastic vintage,” says Johansson. “And 2023 is shaping up to be yet again an enormous year. We put Bruce Springsteen on sale a month ago – two Copenhagens, two Oslos, and three Gothenburgs – and we sold 400,000 tickets in a day.”

FKP, very much the challenger to Live Nation in the Nordic markets and elsewhere, helped to spearhead the increasingly ubiquitous tendency among Nordic promoters to operate across the region and has had a full set of Scandinavian offices for around five years.

“We are super, super close,” says Lundell. “It has been good to unite our forces and see what we can do jointly, and whoever is best placed to take a lead can basically do it for all four territories.”

“For your own health it’s hard, because ticket sales have picked up really late”

Among its Swedish exploits this year are ten Ullevi stadiums for Ed Sheeran and three for Rammstein; one and four, respectively, for Swedish stars Laleh and Håkan Hellström; shows for Gorillaz; and a new festival, the Rosendal Garden Party, and an older one, Where’s The Music in Norrköping.

“I think there is definitely potential to develop [in the Nordics], but it is also one market, or several markets, that have been dominated by one player,” says Lundell. “So it is about just slowly growing and showing that there’s an alternative and that we can do a good job with both big and small shows and be creative and fast. Showing that there is not a monopoly situation here, that there’s other promoters to speak to.”

The Waterland-backed All Things Live was born in 2018 as a pan-Scandinavian operator built from Denmark’s ICO; Norway’s Friction and Atomic Soul; and Sweden’s Blixten & Co and Maloney Concerts, and had scarcely formed when Covid struck.

“It was an exciting time because we actually had a chance to work together as a group,” says Maloney. “And then it was a bit of an odd feeling, that we were ready to go and then nothing. But now it’s all great.”

Coming out of the pandemic, all promoters have had to learn the new language of the market, including highly unpredictable, occasionally heart-stopping sales patterns.

“I have to say that the big shows we are doing, at least, have sold really, really well – although for your own health it’s hard, because ticket sales have picked up really late,” says Maloney. “We did one show with Green Day in June [at Stockholm’s Tele2 Arena], and in the last two weeks sales just exploded. We came to the level we wanted to be, but a month before the show we were thinking, ‘What’s going on?’ It’s a new chapter, you don’t have anything to go on.”

As the Sabaton example shows, Maloney remains passionate about the idea of creative thinking be- tween promoters and artists. “The thing that we want to remain is independent,” says Maloney.

“This year, we had time to try new products such as climate-friendly fuel”

“We want to have artists come first, and that is our whole point. On some occasions, we will make a deal for all four Nordic countries. Sometimes we just do it in Norway or Sweden or Finland or Denmark. But we want to have the flexibility to work with the artist rather than telling them, ‘This is what we need to do, or nothing.’”

TADC, meanwhile, has diversified while maintaining its roots in rock and metal. Upcoming shows include Manowar, Helloween, Uriah Heep, and WASP, but this year it has sold 10,000 tickets for 50 Cent and also staged Simply Red, Don McLean, and The Beach Boys.

“When TADC started in 2015, our focus was mainly on rock and metal,” says Janson. “Still the majority of our shows are within rock and metal, but we have broadened our focus a lot. During 2023 we will do even more shows in other types of music.”

TADC expanded into Norway and Denmark in 2021 and maintains offices in Stockholm, Gothenburg, Oslo, and Copenhagen. “Sweden, Norway, and Denmark are definitely still different markets with different cultures, but we’re in a good position when we can make offers for all three countries,” says Janson.

Everyone knows just how much pain festivals, in particular, suffered in 2020 and 2021, as their annual glorious moment was, in most cases, snuffed out not just once but twice. So 2022 has been a major relief for Sweden’s big names, including 30-year-old rock and metal festival Sweden Rock, which returned in June to Norje in southern Sweden for the first time since 2019, with Volbeat, In Flames, and Guns N’ Roses at the top of the bill.

“It was great to be back. Even better than I hoped,” says man-ageing director Jon Bergsjö. “Our visitors, artists, and staff were very positive and enjoyed the festival.” One silver lining of the three-year lay-off was the time to plan, says Bergsjö, with particular emphasis on experience – waiting times, F&B choice, clean toilets – and sustainability.

“We make changes every year to become more sustainable,” he says. “This year, we had time to try new products such as climate-friendly fuel, and we got a lot further in getting all our food stands to make better choices about cutlery, plates, and other single-use products. We even started serving the draft beer and drinks in specialised paper cups.”

“We ended up selling 50,000 tickets in a market like Malmö that has never had this kind of event before”

Luger’s Way Out West was the first Swedish festival to shout about sustainability, and it is now meat-free, milk-free, and climate-trans- parent. It returned in August with Robyn, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Burna Boy, and First Aid Kit.

Elsewhere, in no order of size, Swedish collective Ladieslovehiphop (LLHH) partnered with Live Nation Sweden and Luger on the 2022 Ladieslovehiphop Festival. The boutique festival, which debuted at Trädgården in Stockholm in 2019, returned on 19-20 August at Fållan & Slakthusområdet in Stockholm with an eclectic female-led line-up starring Stefflon Don, Ayra Starr, Ivorian Doll, Baby Tate, Shaybo, and Dreya Mac.

Of the other Live Nation-related festivals, the two-day electronic Summerburst Festival returned to Ullevi in Gothenburg in June, and Lollapalooza Stockholm – the first Lolla in the Nordics – finally got its second edition in July by the water in Gärdet, with Imagine Dragons, The Killers, Pearl Jam, Lorde, and Post Malone on board.

The big event of the year for All Things Live in Sweden is the acquisition of Malmö’s Big Slap Festival. Founded in 2013, the previously one-day event was one of Sweden’s largest electronic dance music festivals, with a daily capacity of around 15,000 attendees. This year, All Things Live bumped Big Slap up to two days, relocated it from Tallriken park to Nyhamnen on the city’s waterfront, got Justin Bieber on board and was vindicated in doing so.

“We ended up selling 50,000 tickets in a market like Malmö that has never had this kind of event before. People talk about Malmö being Sweden’s Miami, and we could see that at Big Slap.”

TADC has two festivals in Gefle Metal Festival and Atlas Rock, both in Gävle on Sweden’s Baltic Sea coast. “Gefle Metal Festival has grown into an event that fans of extreme metal see as an event that you need to go to,” says Janson. “This is the place where you meet all the other fans of the music and see the bands that don’t play at any of the other festivals.

“This year, we also did the first edition of our new festival Atlas Rock, with acts like Scorpions, Alice Cooper, and Black Label Society. We believe that this also will be an established festival very soon with an audience that keeps returning.”

“The market in Sweden has recovered great from the closedown during the pandemic”

The promoter is also exploring ways of keeping its flagship Gefle Fest active year-round, with a smaller indoor edition in the winter and a Gefle Metal Cruise in the spring. FKP Scorpio’s four-day Rosendal Garden Party launched this year as part of a trio of new festivals also including Loaded in Norway and Syd for Solen in Denmark. It took place on the Djurgården island in central Stockholm, with headliners The Strokes, Florence + The Machine, The National, and Tyler, The Creator, and drew 10-15,000 a day.

“It was a really good first year, and the experience was fantastic,” says Lundell, who also senses a return to old ways of independent creative thinking in the festival market. “Ten to 15 years ago, all the festivals went from being run by a bunch of patient souls out in the nowhere lands to becoming part of a bigger strategy and a new framework,” he says.

“That is maybe going back on itself a little bit. I think people will move away from concentrating on the urban markets, and I think a lot of fantastic new ones will be popping up around the country.”

ASM Global’s Stockholm Live has the capital’s venue market pretty well cornered. Since 2008, the company (as AEG Facilities) has operated the 6,000-14,500-capacity Avicii Arena (formerly the Ericsson Globe), the 8,100-cap Hovet, and the 3,400-cap Annexet. In 2013, it added the new Tele2 Arena in south Stockholm, with configurations for between 18,000 and 37,000, and in 2017 took over the 30,000-57,000-cap Friends Arena in Solna in Stockholm County, north of the city centre.

Last year, ASM Global signed a long-term lease to manage the Södra Teatern, a theatre venue with a capacity of up to 600, and Mosebacketerrassen, a rooftop terrace that can accommodate around 2,000 people.

“The market in Sweden has recovered great from the closedown during the pandemic, and after being up and running for a couple of months, we do see an increasing demand for live acts again,” Stockholm Live event sales director Jenny Blomqvist told IQ’s Global Arenas Guide.

“The challenge for the industry in Sweden is to get back to its previous strength again, focusing on all the staff rehires we need, at the same time as educating and developing our organisation for the coming months of events – all this while delivering the acts in our arenas today.”

“Today we face a completely new challenge in trying to foresee even the next six months”

And as for everyone, the future is suddenly harder to read, in all kinds of ways. “Today we face a completely new challenge in trying to foresee even the next six months, as the market is not acting as it did before the pandemic,” says Blomqvist. “International shows are released with shorter sales periods than previously – two to five months – so whereas in previous years we would have known by now how the summer of 2023 would be, today we are still releasing shows for 2022. So we have to be even more flexible in our calendars and have tighter deadlines in all we do.”

The change to the name of the venue known as The Globe, or Globen in Swedish, came as a tribute to local DJ and producer Avicii. The iconic building is now also a hub for initiatives focused on young people’s mental health, in cooperation with sponsors [home improvement store] Bauhaus and [insurance company] Trygg-Hansa.

Also new, in a very different vein, is the introduction of AXS’s new AXS Mobile ID ticket across the Stockholm Live venues. The ticket is non-transferable, except through AXS, and is intended as an antidote to the illicit secondary market.

“What we see with Rammstein, Ed Sheeran, and these other big artists is they want personalised tickets; they don’t want their tickets to end up on the secondary market at ten times the price, and this is a way to guarantee that,” says Jay Sietsema, AXS general manager, Sweden.

Other key venues in Sweden include the Malmö Arena, which has a capacity of 13,000 for sports (predominantly ice hockey) and 15,500 for concerts, and, of course, the Ullevi Stadium. The stadium’s all-time crowd remains the 70,144 pulled by local boy Håkan Hellström on 5 June 2016 – beating the old record of 70,091 set the previous night, and comfortably exceeding the 69,349 that came through the turnstiles two days later.


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WME promotes four to agent in music and touring division

WME has promoted four team members to agent in its Contemporary Music and Touring division: Justin Edwards, Mary Hannon, Phoebe Holley and Matt Smith.

“We are thrilled and beyond proud to announce these much-deserved promotions,” says Lucy Dickins, global head and Kirk Sommer, global co-head of WME’s Contemporary Music and Touring.

“Justin, Mary, Phoebe and Matt have all excelled in what they do and have brought tremendous passion, energy, and creativity to their work for our artists and internally to the WME team. It’s so exciting to see their growth, and we are honoured to have them be part of the future of WME.”

Justin Edwards’ career at WME began in 2017, and he has worked alongside six agents in six unique departments of WME. He currently handles The Revivalists and The Main Squeeze, alongside their WME agent teams, and oversees bookings for over 75 festivals for the agency, including Bonnaroo, Summer Camp, Wonderstruck, Wonderbus, Capitol Hill Block Party, SunFest, Rifflandia, Mempho, and Desert Daze. Edwards specialises in booking WME’s alternative/rock/indie clients on festivals across North America and his focus is to grow WME’s contemporary music presence in Nashville.

“Justin, Mary, Phoebe and Matt have brought tremendous passion, energy, and creativity to their work”

Mary Hannon started her career at WME in 2016 in the mailroom after graduating from Ohio State University. She worked in country music in WME’s Nashville office, and in 2020, transferred to the Beverly Hills office to work in hip-hop, initially in the festival department and most recently working for the co-head of hip-hop and R&B, Caroline Yim. Hannon’s focus is on booking WME’s Music roster and will work closely on client teams including Anderson .Paak, DOMi & JD Beck, Earl Sweatshirt, Jhené Aiko, Kehlani, Rico Nasty, Steve Lacy, Syd, Willow, and many others.

Phoebe Holley originally joined WME in 2019 and began working with Lucy Dickins at the beginning of 2021 with clients Knucks, Abra Cadabra, Ruti, Chrissi, Bonnie Kemplay, and Sam Akpro. A graduate of UHI, Holley grew up in Spain and returned to her native UK to pursue a career in music, booking a club night at King Tuts and showcasing the likes of Lewis Capaldi, The Snuts and Vistas. She is currently based in the Beverly Hills office.

Matt Smith joined WME’s London office in 2018. He served as the assistant to Steve Hogan, Ella Street, Andy Nees, Jenna Dooling and Brendan Long, and in 2021 was promoted to agent trainee working with Steve Hogan on tours for clients such as Peggy Gou, Eric Prydz, Groove Armada, ARTBAT, Madeon, Porter Robinson, and many more. With his promotion to agent, Smith will continue to be based in the London office, working in the electronic music department and booking shows across various European territories.

WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, Lucy Dickins, is profiled in the latest issue of IQ, available to read here.


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Theo Quiblier moves to Swiss-French promoter Takk

Swiss-French concert promoter and artist booking company Takk has announced that Theo Quiblier will be joining the team from the beginning of September.

Quiblier joins the Grimisuat-based company from Two Gentleman, where he has spent the last five years – most recently as the company’s head of concerts and touring.

He will bring with him a roster that includes The National, Faber, The War on Drugs, Mitski, Fontaines D.C., Polo & Pan, Wet Leg, Shygirl, Caroline Polachek, Self Esteem, Gabriels and Black Country New Road.

Founded in 2009, Takk has worked with the likes of Muse, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave, Florence and the Machine, IDLES, Queens of the Stone Age, The Lumineers, Sam Smith, Sigur Ros, Amy Macdonald and Paolo Nutini.

The company, which was recently profiled in IQ‘s Swiss Market Report, says it will continue to work with Two Gentleman on specific projects and artists.

“Our team will certainly benefit from Theo’s passion and dedication”

“We are convinced that Theo shares the same values, and we have always looked at his achievements with respectful consideration,” says Takk founder Sebastien Vuignier. “We are thrilled that our team can now grow in the best manner, and will certainly benefit from Theo’s passion and dedication.

“As a new team member, Theo will bring his own style and energy, and we are determined to offer him an opportunity to grow with his own acts, being under the same roof as the many exciting acts I’ve been working with for years now.”

Quiblier adds: “I am so thrilled to join a vibrant team like Takk. Everyone across the industry knows how much I always admired Seb’s work ethic, passion and indie spirit. Everything he has accomplished ever since establishing Takk in 2009 has always been nothing but inspirational to me and he has been instrumental in my early career success.

“Getting the chance to team up with a leading player in live like Takk and strengthen our activities together that will benefit all our partners across the board is an opportunity I could not miss. I am so much looking forward to embracing this new challenge and to everything that’s ahead.”

Quiblier has previously held roles at music venue La Parenthèse, as well as festivals Montreux Jazz and Antigel. Last year, he was nominated for The New Bosses 2021, IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today.

As well as appearing on last year’s ILMC panel, Meet the New Bosses, Quiblier penned a comment piece about embracing failure for IQ, which can be read here.


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IQ 113 out now: Coldplay, Lucy Dickins and more

IQ 113, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The August edition sees IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson go behind the scenes of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres global tour and explore the band’s record-breaking success.

Elsewhere, he profiles WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, Lucy Dickins, charting her extraordinary rise through the corporate ranks.

Meanwhile, our metal expert James MacKinnon tracks the genre’s impressive post-pandemic recovery, and Adam Woods learns about the mixed fortunes confronting touring artists and productions in an otherwise buoyant Swedish live music market.

For this edition’s columns and comments, Professor Chris Kemp examines the changing landscape of crowd behaviour in the post-Covid environment, and Music Support‘s Lynne Maltman provides a sobering reminder of the collective promises we made for our mental health.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

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DEAG’s H1 revenue soars past pre-pandemic levels

Deutsche Entertainment’s (DEAG) revenue has soared past pre-pandemic levels, according to the company’s financial results for the first half of 2022.

The Berlin-based live entertainment group saw its revenue increase by a whopping 109% from €63.9 million to €133.4m compared to the first half of 2019.

EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) also increased from €3.1m to €10.1m (+226%), exceeding projections.

The news comes after DEAG reported the most successful summer in its 44-year history, with more than three million tickets sold in the company’s national markets – Germany, UK, Ireland, Switzerland and Denmark.

Highlights of 2022 so far have included concerts by Ed Sheeran in the UK and performances by Kiss and Zucchero in Germany. In Switzerland, concerts were held with Die Ärzte, Die Toten Hosen and Iron Maiden, among others.

Sold-out open-air events such as Nature One, Belladrum and Sion sous les étoiles were also deemed successful.

DEAG says its recent run of acquisitions, which includes Fane Productions,, C² Concerts and Airbeat One,  has also contributed to the increase in key financial figures.

“We sold over three million tickets between June and August 2022 alone”

The company plans to continue playing an active role in the consolidation of the live entertainment industry in the future and to drive its growth through M&A, with a particular focus on complementary ticketing acquisitions.

With a financial base of over €100m and a strong first half of the year, DEAG expects its revenue to increase to over €300m for the full year 2022, with a further improvement in EBITDA.

“Live is back! We are very pleased with our operational development in the first half of the year,” says Prof. Peter L.H. Schwenkow, CEO of DEAG.

“Our teams have done a great job and held all of the events planned, despite material shortages and a lack of skilled workers in all markets. Our thanks also go to the many fans and guests at our events. After more than two years of the corona pandemic, people are eager to attend concerts and enjoy good entertainment.

“In some cases, visitors have kept tickets for up to three years in order to be able to be part of the restart of the event industry. With great joy and enthusiasm, we have set off the event fireworks we announced and will continue to delight visitors with top-class events in the coming months.

“We sold over three million tickets between June and August 2022 alone and expect one of the strongest third quarters in the company’s history. Especially in the current environment, we want more than ever to bring “a little happiness” to people. And we will do so many thousands of times in the months ahead.”


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UK businesses face closure over energy crisis

Grassroots music venues are among the small and medium-sized businesses in the UK that are facing closure without immediate action to curb rocketing fuel bills.

With businesses excluded from the energy cap, some venues are seeing their energy bills increase by an average of 300% –in some cases as much as 740% – adding tens of thousands of pounds to their running costs.

Based on a survey of its 941 venue members, Music Venue Trust (MVT) revealed that venues face an average 316% rise in fuel bills, taking the average cost to £5,179 per month per venue, up from the current average of £1,245.

One venue has been quoted £42,000 a year for fuel – more than treble its previous bill of £13,200 – with the supplier saying they will only accept full payment in advance.

MVT is now warning that the surge in energy bills means that around 30% of the entire network of venues face the threat of permanent closure.

Around 30% of MVT’s entire network of venues face the threat of permanent closure

Pubs are also seeing energy costs soar by as much as 300%, with brewery bosses telling the BBC that the crisis would cause “real and serious irreversible” damage to the industry without support.

Both the hospitality and entertainment sectors are now urging the government to introduce a cap on the price of energy for businesses. The live music sector is also calling for VAT to be decreased from the current 20% to 12.5% and for business rates relief to be extended.

“Alongside the simply unaffordable increases to costs, the government must urgently address the fact that the market for energy supply has collapsed,” says Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd.

“We have multiple examples where venues do not have any option other than to accept whatever price increases and tariffs are proposed by the sole supplier prepared to offer them power at all. The situation has rapidly deteriorated into a monopoly.”

“The new prime minister must ensure that music businesses are included in the support measures”

UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin adds: “Spiralling energy costs have created an existential threat for venues and music studios. It’s urgent that government takes action to support businesses with the costs they are facing.

“We all saw just how miserable life was without live music during the pandemic, when venues were closed for months – the high cost of energy bills could now close them forever.

“The new prime minister must ensure that music businesses are included in the support measures that are brought forward to deal with soaring energy costs.

“The government should look at cutting VAT and extending business rate support to help music businesses that are fighting for their survival.”

Last week, IQ heard from a number of European arenas who also say that skyrocketing energy costs are emerging as the sector’s biggest challenge since the Covid-19 pandemic.

ASM Global’s Marie Lindqvist said the prices for electricity and gas at the company’s venues have quadrupled since the beginning of the year, with the UK being hit the hardest. Read the full story here.


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Mad Cool Sunset scrapped over RATM cancellation

Mad Cool Sunset has been called off after organisers were unable to find a “suitable” replacement for Rage Against The Machine, who recently cancelled all forthcoming dates in the UK and Europe.

Organised by the same team behind the Live Nation-backed Mad Cool festival in Spain, the one-day sister event was set to debut in Madrid on 10 September with acts including Biffy Clyro, Glass Animals, Stereophonics and Run The Jewels.

Rage Against The Machine were to be the main headliner of the inaugural event but the band recently cancelled their upcoming UK and European tour dates and festival appearances after frontman Zack de la Rocha injuring his leg on stage.

On 11 August the band shared that due to “medical guidance” de la Rocha had been advised not to proceed with performing. The tour cancellation also impacted their plans to headline Reading & Leeds last weekend, where they were replaced by The 1975.

Rage Against the Machine’s performance at Mad Cool Sunset would’ve been their first in Spain after over a decade, and one of two exclusive concerts the band were due to play in the country.


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“We understand that the cancellation of Mad Cool’s Sunset main headliner has meant disappointment and a change of plans for many of the attendees, since being part of RATM’s return, was in many cases, the reason why many of you purchased tickets,” reads a post on the festival’s Instagram page.

Ticketholders have the option to either get a refund or to trade their Sunset ticket for a three-day pass to Andalucia Big Festival in Málaga – Mad Cool’s other new sister festival.

The new 30,000-capacity festival is also scheduled for September, with acts including Muse, Jamiroquai, Years & Years, Biffy Clyro, Nova Twins, Michael Kiwanuka, Paolo Nutini, Stereophonics and Run the Jewels.

Flagship festival Mad Cool took place in Madrid between 6 and 10 July, with more than 160 acts including headliners Metallica, Florence and the Machine and Stormzy.

Director Javier Arnáiz recently spoke to IQ about how the team behind the marquee event has continued to improve its customer experience.


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Wiz Khalifa show cut short after rumours of gunfire

Rumours of gunfire cut short a Wiz Khalifa concert in Indianapolis on Friday night, causing fans to flee the venue by climbing over seats and fences.

According to a statement from the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office, the incident took place at approximately 10:28 pm at the Ruoff Music Center in Noblesville when “a disturbance” was reported from the outdoor venue’s lawn seating area.

“Security staff responded quickly, and all the subjects nearby began exiting the area on foot. The emergency action plan was initiated and followed, and all gates including non-public exits were opened,” the statement said.

Three people were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries, though the cause of them remains unknown

“Police staff deployed multiple quick response teams and swept the area. No weapons were found.”

Authorities added that three people were transported to local hospitals with minor injuries, though the cause of them remains unknown.

The incident at Ruoff Music Center is the third of its kind to happen at a music event in the US this summer, with the most recent taking place in Pennsylvania earlier this month.

Reported gunfire sent festivalgoers into a stampede at the state’s Musikfest on 13 August, prompting police to temporarily shut down the area.


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