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‘First socially distanced arena’ launches in UK

A new outdoor venue, billed as the UK’s first dedicated socially distanced music venue, will launch in Newcastle, in the north-east of England, this summer.

Unity Arena, sponsored by Virgin Money, will be located at Newcastle Racecourse in Gosforth Park, around four miles from Newcastle city centre, and open soon after its first line-up announcement on Tuesday 7 July.

The venue, the brainchild of regional promoter SSD Concerts, will be built in partnership with production company Engine No 4 (Parklife, Kendal Calling). SSD, the organiser of This is Tomorrow festival, promises a completely socially distanced “parking-to-platform experience” offering “full safety” for concertgoers.

Punters will stand on viewing platforms placed two metres apart, with food and drinks available for preorder. A one-way system, meanwhile, will allow for the “safe and full use” of toilet facilities.

Unity Arena will have a capacity of 2,500, a spokesperson tells IQ, with organisers promising a “festival experience” with “full production”.

“This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with it”

Steve Davis, managing director of SSD, says: “Since all of our scheduled concerts have been postponed to later in the year and all venues in the city closed, the staff at SSD had a willingness to continue.

“We can’t be without music during these times, so our only thought has been how can we bring music back to the British public safely and responsibly.

“We have been hosting loads of live sessions and DJ sets across our social media, supporting local artists and raising money for the NHS. Now, we’re taking it one step further as the UK slowly comes out of lockdown.

“Working with our brand new partner Virgin Money has been exciting, and we think, even in these hard times, the people of the north east will come out in their thousands to see the artists they love.”

Helen Page, group brand and marketing director of Virgin Money, adds: “This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans. We’re looking forward to partnering with the Unity Arena on this event near to our Virgin Money home in Gosforth.”


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Hackers target livestreamed IPO fundraiser

The disruption of an Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) virtual concert and fundraising gala last weekend was caused by a cyberattack, the orchestra has confirmed.

The attack – the first outage of a major livestreamed show since the format took off amid the coronavirus pandemic – crashed the websites of the IPO and its broadcast partner, Medici.tv, during the stream on Sunday 28 June.

More than 13,000 people had registered to view the hour-long event, hosted by Dame Helen Mirren, which aimed to help the orchestra overcome financial losses as a result of Covid-19.

No group has claimed responsibility for hacking the stream.

“Hackers were determined to silence our message and stamp out our voice, but they will not succeed”

“We were thrilled that so many had registered to join us for this event, giving us the opportunity to bring the healing power of music to people who need it at this difficult time,” comments Tali Gottlieb, executive director of the IPO Foundation.

“Our organisation had high hopes that this event would help us raise emergency funds to support the members of the Israel Philharmonic in the face of an unprecedented financial crisis.”

Danielle Ames Spivak, executive director of American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, which helped organise the event, adds: “Hackers were determined to silence our message and stamp out our voice, but they will not succeed. More than ever, we are determined to spread the Israel Philharmonic’s message of hope, peace, and beauty around the world.”


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TM Germany: 98% of fans ready to go back to shows

An overwhelming majority of German music fans want to attend live events again, despite the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, according to new research by Ticketmaster Germany.

Of some 80,000 people surveyed, 98% of Ticketmaster customers said they still want to go to shows, with 65% of those surveyed saying they miss live events “particularly badly”.

While 94% of people expect ticket prices to rise post-pandemic, live events are the activity respondents are most looking forward to returning to, with 82% saying live entertainment is their top priority, ahead of travelling (78%) and eating out (67%).

The survey also suggests that fans will continue to pay for live streams and other virtual concerts when venues have reopened, tallying with previous research by Bandsintown. According to Ticketmaster, fans “enjoy the convenience of streams they can enjoy from the comfort of their own home”, with two thirds saying they have paid, or would pay in future, for exclusive online content from artists.

Live events are the activity respondents are most looking forward to returning to

Industry groups have criticised Germany’s scattershot approach to ending lockdown restrictions on live music, with umbrella body BDKV saying earlier this week that the country’s federal structure – with different sets of regulations in all 16 states – makes touring “impossible” at present.

“Even if there were a promoter who would be willing to organise a tour at a loss, or financed by public subsidies, the 16 different, contradictory and contradicting regional directives do not allow for the consistent organisation of touring events,” says BDKV president Jens Michow.

In addition to Germany, demand for live music remains strong in the UK, the Netherlands and Italy, according to recent surveys in those markets.


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Highlights from #LetTheMusicPlay campaign

The UK music industry’s #LetTheMusicPlay campaign kicked off in force today, with the hashtag becoming the top trending in the UK – and worldwide – during the day and almost 80,000 people posting under the tag on Instagram.

With the backing of over 1,500 of live’s best talent – including Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Dua Lipa, Sir Paul McCartney and Iron Maiden – the effort aimed to highlight the urgent need for government support to sustain the valuable industry through the coronavirus crisis.

Famous venues and buildings including the O2 Arena, the SSE Hydro, the Roundhouse, the Royal Albert Hall and Electric Brixton were illuminated last night (1 July) with the slogan #LetTheMusicPlay, ahead of the main push which saw artists, fans, industry figures and politicians take to social media in droves to post photos of their last live show and show support for the business.

In addition to the social media campaign, a letter was delivered to UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, signed by artists and industry professionals, laying out the necessary support measures.

IQ collated some of the best quotes, photos, videos and reactions live throughout the day…


MP Kevin Brennan says he raised #LetTheMusicPlay at business questions “with a hint of Jackson Browne ‘A roadmap will get you nowhere when you’re running on empty’”.

Brennan challenges the culture secretaru to do more and urges “substantial, not just minor support” from the chancellor next week.

Spice Girls recall their latest tour Spice World 2019, saying “it wouldn’t have been possible without our amazing band, dancers and incredible touring team.”


South African DJ Black Coffee simply posts “Itching to get back to my happy place”. The DJ is among those performing at Exit Festival this summer – perhaps the only major European festival to take place this year.

View this post on Instagram

Itching to get back to my happy place…❤️#LetTheMusicPlay

A post shared by Black Coffee (@realblackcoffee) on

Electronic artist Four Tet posts a video of performing at Manchester’s Warehouse Project last year.

“UK live music scene is in deep trouble right now and urgently needs support from the government,” writes Four Tet, real name Kieran Hebden. “We will lose so many venues and the crew and production teams etc that make everything possible need support.”

The Chemical Brothers share a photo from their last show at the O2 Arena in November, saying they stand with artists, promoters, agents and venues “in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry”.

Manchester’s night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord shares his support for the campaign, along with Parklife Festival and the Warehouse Project. 

UK venues including Alexandra Palace, the Roundhouse,the Royal Albert Hall, the O2 Arena, P&J Live, the SSE Hydro, O2 Academy Brixton, Manchester Arena, Motor Point Arena Cardiff, Sneaky Pete’s and many, many more share their support throughout the day.


Joy Crookes warns that 90% of grassroots venues face closure and 50% of live industry professionals risk unemployment without support.

Bombay Bicycle Club share a photo of one of their last shows at London’s Alexandra Palace in February.

“The past few months have been a hugely difficult time for all, including everyone involved in the live music industry,” writes the band. “It’s critical the industry gets financial support from the government until shows can happen again.”

Academy Music Group shows its support, sharing photos of illuminated O2 Academy venues and saying “today the UK music industry stands together to urge UK Government to protect live music, our venues, touring artists and the huge workforce behind the scenes in the entertainment sector.”

Presenter and singer Hrvy took to Instagram to call for government support. “Festivals and live shows bring so much happiness to so many people including myself, we need save the jobs of these incredibly hardworking people behind the scenes.”

View this post on Instagram

I’m so lucky to have this as my job, none of this would be possible without you guys and the incredible people behind the scenes that make it all possible. Live gigs and shows are at huge risk and without them these amazing teams are left without jobs. Today we call on the British government to offer their support. Festivals and live shows bring so much happiness to so many people including myself, we need save the jobs of these incredibly hardworking people behind the scenes #letthemusicplay

A post shared by @ hrvy on

The Rattlesnakes say: “Touring is a huge part of what we do, no feeling like it. The government must step up and protect venues, festivals and the workforce.”


Jon Hopkins calls for urgent government action “to save grassroots venues and the future of live music”.

Celine Dion posts a selection of photos with the #LetTheMusicPlay hashtag, saying “we had so much fun on London last July! What an incredible experience.”


James Arthur posts a photo of his last show before lockdown. “Performing is what I love the most about being a musician,” says Arthur, “so let’s make sure we support the live industry at this challenging time.”

View this post on Instagram

Last show before lockdown, what a night. Performing is what I love the most about being a musician, so let’s make sure we support the live industry at this challenging time #letthemusicplay Credit: Joe Okpako

A post shared by James Arthur (@jamesarthur23) on

“When you go to see your favourite band, you might not realise how many people are working hard behind the scenes to make the show happen,” write Bastille. “The future of live music is at risk as a result of Covid-19.

“This uncertainty is felt by the entire industry, and affects everyone from the venue staff, to the sound technicians, to the people who go out on the road with artists. The government must step up to help.”

Former One Direction singer Louis Tomlinson shares a photo from his last show in Madrid, just before the coronavirus shutdown in March and the rest of the tour was cancelled.

“We came home early, which was devastating,” writes Tomlinson. “The live music industry is such an important part of being an artist and today is about coming together to ask the UK government to protect and support all of the hard working and talented people who come together to create these shows, and give a clear plan of how the live music industry will restart.

“I couldn’t do what I do without the support of my amazing tour team and everyone that works behind the scenes to bring shows to life.”


“Imagine the music industry in the UK being wiped out,” writes Foals frontman Yannis Philippakis. “No shows, no festivals, no venues. Call on the government for urgent action.”

Blossoms say they “join together with fellow artists, managers, promoters, agents, venues and everyone that works in music to call for action to help protect the live music industry.”

Electronic duo Disclosure ask the government to “protect venues, festivals and the workforce now.”

“Playing shows is a huge part of what we do. Live music has played a huge part in shaping us both individually & as Disclosure.”

Courteeners frontman Liam Fray simply posts: “This year has been devastating”.

“We need support and action. We need to save venues, and to save people’s livelihoods,” writes Fray.

“…And to give you some good nights out again.”

Amen to that.

Blaine Harrison of Mystery Jets puts the current situation into stark reality writing: “This is our first summer without festivals in 15 years.”

“Live music makes us all feel less alone and allows us to forget our problems. It’s our soul food,”says Harrison. “But without urgent government support there will be no industry for us to come back to.

“We cannot allow it.”

#LetTheMusicPlay becomes the highest trending hashtag on Twitter worldwide (vying for first place with #GhislaineMaxwell). The hashtag has dominated trends in the UK throughout the day.

“Usually about now the bands would begin loading in their equipment to the venue,” writes the Association of Independent Promoters. “For bigger shows this happens early in the morning but for many shows the mid-afternoon is when the venue comes to life.”

Radio presenter Bob Harris OBE calls on the UK government to “offer support to our amazing libe music scene and all promoters, venues, agents and artists.”

“We need live music,” posts Harris. “It simply won’t be there anymore if we don’t act.”

“It’s a big day for the British music industry,” write Mumford & Sons, and we’d love to stand with our fellow artists, fans, and the incredible people behind the scenes who make live music come alive.

“Together we call on the government to offer the industry support in these difficult times.”

“Music brings so much to us all,” says music industry charity Help Musicians. “This secotr needs more support now.”

Depeche Mode join in the call, posting a photo from a show at Berlin’s Waldbühne in July 2018.

“From the biggest arenas to the smallest independent festival or venue, the live music business supports 210k jobs – but is in serious crisis!” writes the National Arenas Association (NAA).

“We need urgent government support to survive.”

Franz Ferdinand says it is “a long road out of this” but urges everyone to “help jumpstart the conversation and secure the government’s support”.

“To the cries of “multi-millionaire ‘stars’ should put their hands in their own pockets” – what we are asking is that government recognises that live music is as important to British people as sport,” writes KT Tunstall.

“The numbers say that it is.”

Dua Lipa expresses gratitude for the opportunities she has had. “Now it’s time to pay back to the incredible people who make up the UK music industry including all the crew who work so hard behind the scenes.

“The possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path [I did] is in danger and the livelihoods of those who work behind the scenes are at risk.

“The industry urgently needs Govt support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals & promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.”

Captioning a video of a festival performance, Lipa simply says “I miss this so much!”

London night czar Amy Lamé shows her support with a photo of post-punk band Warmduscher performing at Camden’s Electric Ballroom.


“Live music unites us and lifts our spirits,” post Mystery Jets. “But without immediate action there will be no venues or festivals to come back to.”

Fatboy Slim lends his support, highlighting that 50% of the live music industry workforce is facding unemployment without government support.

Singer KT Tunstall does an interview with Sky News outlining the unrealistic nature of social distancing rules for the vast majority of smaller venues.

More UK festivals, including Creamfields, Boomtown Fair, End of the Road FestivalBritish Summer Time Hyde Park and All Points East add their voices to the call for action.

Dido asks fans to join in and ask the government to support the live industry by posting a photo or video of pre-lockdown shows. The singer shares a video of her performance at the Hammersmith Apollo in December.

“Today, we stand with the UK music industry, highlighting to the Government importance of grassroots venues, and the workforce that goes towards keeping the live music alive at all levels,” write the Script.

Muse say the government “must step up and show the industry the support it deserves”.

“We’re so grateful for the experience that live music gives us all.”

Hot Chip write that “the entire sector is under threat” and ask the government to “act now to help save it”.

David Gilmour and the rest of Pink Floyd share photos from a 2016 show at London’s Royal Albert Hall to show their support for the live music industry.

View this post on Instagram

#repost @davidgilmour I'm joining with musicians & music lovers to ask our government to provide support to the live music industry at this time of crisis. Please join me by sharing photos of the last pre-lockdown gig you went to, using #LetTheMusicPlay (Pics: Royal Albert Hall, 30 September 2016)

A post shared by Pink Floyd (@pinkfloyd) on

Take That thank the support they have received from tour management, crew, promoters, festivals, vneues and others over the years.

“After years of supporting us, it’s our turn to help support them!” says the band.

Simone Marie Butler of Primal Scream, who is speaking to radio stations including BBC News, BBC 5 Live and RadioX about the campaign today, says: “Music is part of our cultural heritage. It’s part of human connection. Let’s also remember the music industry is one of our biggest income revenues and exports.

“With that being said, we simply cannot afford to let the live industry go under.”

The Primal Scream bassist has previously stressed the need for “urgent help” if the live music industry is “to survive and thrive” in the coming year, as well as the unviability of reopening the sector with capacity reduction measures in place.

With the #LetTheMusicPlay hashtag trending top on Twitter, Butler encourages all to keep the momentum going.

Frank Turner highlights the importance of touring to the UK music scene. “With the landscape for gigs post-pandemic looking uncertain, we must urge the government to protect venues, festivals & the live industry’s incredible workforce,” writes Turner.

Noel Gallagher writes that “live music must be protected!” The Manchester singer shares a photo from a shpow at the DC Arena in Bangkok on 30 November and issues the plea: “Let’s make sure the message is heard by the UK Government.”


Lionel Richie says he is joining artists and fans in the UK to “bring attention to the hardships the live music industry is facing there, and around the world”.

“The UK is home to some of the most vibrant music festivals and venues in the world,” says Richie, urging people to raise awareness by positing a photo or video.


Alongside the 1,500 artists, thousands of crew, industry professionals and venues have signed the letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden. Sign up here.

UK festivals including Reading and Leeds festivals, TramlinesY Not Festival, Latitude, DownloadTrnsmt, Green Man Festival, Truck FestivalKendal Calling, Bluedot,  Wireless,  Isle of Wight, The Great Escape, Camp Bestival, Glastonbury Festival and many, many more show their support for the campaign.

Former One Direction star Niall Horan writes a detailed post in gratitude of the “incredible hardworking teams behind the scenes” that make live gigs and festivals happen.

“Last year the UK’s live music industry added £4.5bn to the economy and supported 200k jobs across the country,” writes Horan. “Until we can get back to doing what we love, it’s important we speak up and demand government support for all of the various venues, festivals and promoters.

“We must stick together through this. Share a photo from your last show and let’s get their attention.”

Blur shows solidarity with “fellow artists, road crew, promoters, venues, agents and all other talented people who keep the live music industry alive”.


Ticketmaster UK says it stands with the rest of the live industry “in a collective call for action” and encourages fans to share photos and videos of their last live show.

“We aren’t asking for venues to reopen or for festivals to go ahead while it isn’t safe, but we are asking for immediate support from the government and a clear, conditional timeline for reopening venues,” post Idles, urging all those who “love live music” to share a photo.

Snow Patrol urge fans to share videos and photos of their favourite or last gig, saying the the UK music industry is “struggling massively”, with 50% of the workforce facing unemployment. The band share a photo from their last show, at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall.

Status Quo share a video from their BBC Radio 2 show at London’s Hyde Park last year.

Joining a number of politicians to show support for the campaign, Kevin Brennan, MP for Cardiff West, urges chancellor Rishi Sunak and culture minister Oliver Dowden to take actions saying “the government can’t continue to sit idle.”

A parliamentary briefing will be happening at midday for MPs, alongside a series of other planned political engagements throughout the day.

The Music Venue Trust share a campaign video, showcasing the many grassroots venues around the UK and highlighting their struggle in the face of Covid-19.

Litte Mix warn that the live industry is “on the verge of collapse”, with festivals and venues at risk of closure and many jobs hanging in the balance. “It’s time for the government ro step up and save the industry,” write the girl group, posting aphot from one of their last shows from LM5: The Tour. 

Iron Maiden highlight the importance of grassroots venues for developing top artists.

“Every band has to start somewhere (in time), & Iron Maiden were no exception,” reads a post on the band’s Twitter page. “90% of the UK’s grassroots music venues are under threat of closure due to Covid-19.

“Please show your support for live music & share a photo/video from the last gig you went to, tagging #LetTheMusicPlay.”

Paul McCartney’s Twitter reads: “Today Paul joins artists, promotors, agents, venues and more in asking the UK government to protect the live music industry. Share photos and videos of the last show you went to using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay to show your support!”

Editors highlight the size of the problem facing the live industry in numbers.

The Rolling Stones share a photo of the setlist from their last show, which took place in Miami in 2019.

New Order express their “proud” support for the campaign and stress the need to protect the workforce and infrastructure making up the music industry.

Coldplay share photos and videos from their last pre-lockdown shows at the National History Museum in London last year.

In an emoji-packed Tweet, Cher urged everyone to remember their first concert experience and reflect on what it meant to them. The singer also expressed gratitude to the UK industry in particular on behalf of her and Sonny, saying England “got us” before anyone else did.


Glastonbury’s Emily Eavis joined the call for government support saying the UK live industry “is frankly on its knees and faces being wiped out”.


Politicans have also taken note of the campaign. A parliamentary briefing will be happening at midday for MPs, alongside a series of other planned political engagements throughout the day.

UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden, who will later receive a letter laying out the long-term damage, economic loss and job cuts that can be expected if urgent measures are not taken, along with the specific support that need to be given, addressed concerns on Twitter last night.

Just as the campaigm breaks late last night, Dowden posted saying: “I understand the deep anxiety of those working in music & the desire to see fixed dates for reopening.

“I am pushing hard for these dates & to give you a clear roadmap back.

“These involve v difficult decisions about the future of social distancing, which we know has saved lives.”

Tom Watson, chair of umbrella body UK Music shares photos from a Nadine Shah show at London’s Moth Club and stresses the dangers facing summer festivals, which support around 85,000 jobs.

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Italian promoters unite for charity music event

Live Nation Italy, Vivo Concerti and Friends and Partners have teamed up to organise a week of music events at the 15,000-capacity Verona Arena in support of the country’s live music industry.

From Verona We Turn On the Music (Da Verona accendiamo la musica), launched by Italian social enterprise Music Innovation Hub and produced in collaboration with Verona Arena, Gianmarco Mazzi, R&P Legal, Librerie Feltrinelli, Vertigo and Magellano, will involve the work of over 70 artist and 350 musicians and technicians.

Kicking off on 2 September with the Music Awards, the event will wrap up on 6 September with Heroes – The Future Begins Now (Il futuro inizia adesso), a five-hour concert that will be streamed live from the open-air arena.

During the week, Italian music business professionals will lead workshops and talks from the arena.

Live Nation Italy, Vivo Concerti and Friends&Partners have teamed up to organise a week of music events at the 15,000-capacity Verona Arena in support of the country’s live music industry

Tickets for the concert cost €9.90 with all proceeds from the week going to the Music Innovation Hub’s Let’s Support Music fund to support those working in Italy’s live industry. Frontline health workers will be invited to stream the event free of charge.

There is currently a capacity limit in place in Italy of 1,000 people for outdoor events and 200 for indoor shows.

Italian promoter Barley Arts has produced a set of guidelines, detailing the ways in which outdoor events may reopen for larger audiences and laying out a series of different scenarios for event organisers to utilise spaces including car parks, courtyards and public squares.

The 65-page document includes advice on ticketing, which is to be done digitally and in advance; venue entry, where sanitisation and health checks will take place; seating plans, with alternate rows and seats used where possible; audience movement, which is to be regulated by the creation of specific routes to and from seats and other facilities; artists, who should be tested 48 hours before a show and remain six metres away from the audience; and crew, who should work in pre-defined ‘bubbles’ and wear suitable protective equipment.

Photo: Claconvr/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)


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#LetTheMusicPlay: UK biz mobilises to call for aid

The leading lights of Britain’s live music industry – including some of its biggest touring talent – have today (2 July) issued an urgent plea for government aid to the sector, warning that a lack of support and continued uncertainty around reopening is having a “devastating” impact in one of the world’s biggest live music markets.

The appeal is centred on a letter to the UK’s culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, signed by 1,500 artists and bands, including Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Dua Lipa, Sir Paul McCartney, Skepta, Rita Ora, Coldplay, Eric Clapton, Annie Lennox, Sir Rod Stewart, Liam Gallagher, Florence and the Machine, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Lewis Capaldi and Little Mix.

In the joint letter, the artists say: “UK live music has been one of the UK’s biggest social, cultural, and economic successes of the past decade. But, with no end to social distancing in sight or financial support from government yet agreed, the future for concerts and festivals and the hundreds of thousands of people who work in them looks bleak.

“Until these businesses can operate again, which is likely to be 2021 at the earliest, government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry.”

New research shows the live music sector added £4.5 billion to Britain’s economy in 2019, and supports 210,000 jobs. While the UK is the fourth-largest music market in the world by value of ticket sales – and the second-biggest per capita – the appeal notes that state support for live music lags behind other countries, with other European governments such as France and Germany using public money to kickstart their concert industries post-Covid-19.

“Government support will be crucial to prevent mass insolvencies and the end of this world-leading industry”

To coincide with the letter, hundreds of artists will today begin posting films and photos of their last live show using the hashtag #LetTheMusicPlay. Fans will also be encouraged to post about the last gig they went to, in a mass show of support for the UK’s on-pause live business.

“It’s incredibly important for artists like myself to speak up and support the live music industry in the UK,” says Dua Lipa. “From the very start, playing live concerts up and down the country has been a cornerstone for my own career. I am proud to have had the chance to play through all the levels: small clubs, then theatres and ballrooms, and into arenas, and, of course, festivals in between each touring cycle.

“But the possibility for other emerging British artists to take the same path is in danger if the industry doesn’t receive much-needed government support in the interim period before all the various venues, festivals and promoters are ready and able to operate independently again.”

The UK live music industry is asking for:

The business and employment support package should include, they say, a government-backed insurance scheme to allow shows to go ahead; an extension of the furlough scheme and help for the self-employed to prevent mass redundancies; rent breaks for venues to allow them to reopen; an extension of business-rate relief to the entire live music supply chain; rolling over fees for single-premises event licences for festivals; and financial support for lost box-office income.

“Every day, literally, I hear of another friend in music losing their job, shutting up shop or switching careers. This pandemic has affected everyone; it has taken many lives and forever changed many more,” says Ben Lovett of Mumford & Sons and Venue Group. “Live entertainment has not been the headline, nor do I believe it should’ve been – at least until now.

“We really have to pay some attention to what our cultural landscape is going to look like on the other side of this, and we’re hoping that #LetTheMusicPlay will pull some of this into focus for a minute.”

“If the government doesn’t step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever”

Other artists to have signed the letter to Dowden include Take That, the Stone Roses, Foals, James Bay, Genesis, the Chemical Brothers, Johnny Marr, Slade, Biffy Clyro, Bastille, Muse, Sir Tom Jones and Manic Street Preachers.

“The UK’s venues, festivals, performers and crew bring so much to this country’s culture and economy, but they are now facing desperate financial challenges,” says Emily Eavis, organiser of Glastonbury Festival. “If the government doesn’t step up and support the British arts, we really could lose vital aspects of our culture forever.”

“July would normally see the UK embarking on a world-famous summer of live music, but this year the lights are switched off and the microphones unplugged,” adds Phil Bowdery, chairman of the Concert Promoters’ Association. “Live music has sought to play its role in helping tackle coronavirus, with many artists providing entertainment for people from their homes. But our shutdown is likely to go on for much longer than most, with many concerts and festivals unable to operate until 2021 at the earliest.

“Without rapid government support, the long-term impact will be devastating, with the loss of hundreds of thousands of highly-skilled jobs and billions of pounds from the UK economy.”


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Ziggo puts on 2,400-cap. shows as Dutch regulations ease

From today (1 July), Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome will open up for concerts with up to 2,400 spectators, as the Netherlands further eases restrictions on live events.

The Dutch government has now removed maximum capacity limits from seated indoor and outdoor events, theoretically allowing shows of any size to take place. However, all guests must continue to adhere to the one-and-a-half metre distancing rule, reserve seats in advance and undertake a pre-show health check.

For events where organisers cannot implement reservation systems or health checks, a capacity of 100 applies for indoor shows and 250 for outdoor performances.

Nielson will be the first act to perform at the 17,000-capacity arena on 9 July, followed by artists including De Jeugd van Tegenwoordig, Maan, Frenna Deluxe, Rolf Sanchez and Typhoon over the coming weeks.

All shows will also be streamed live via Mojo’s Larger than Live platform, which the promoter launched last week together with telecommunications giant Vodafone. Streaming tickets cost €11, with tickets to attend the shows in person range from €22.40 to €39.20. An overview of all shows and tickets can be found here.

“The damage can only be made up in the coming years, with the old normal”

“There’s going to be life again,” Ziggo Dome commercial director Danny Damman told Dutch daily NRC. “It is nice that the audio and sound engineers, production crew, security and catering staff can return to work.”

However, according to Damman, concerts at the Dome are only profitable “at about two thirds of the capacity”, or with over 11,000 tickets sold.

“What would be our best year ever is already our worst year ever. The damage can only be made up in the coming years, with the old normal.”

Damman says the Ziggo Dome team are currently in talks with smaller venues, such as the 2,000-capacity Royal Theatre Carré in Amsterdam, to move concerts from smaller halls to the arena, as “all shows now have to play a size up”.

Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw is also preparing to reopen its 1,974-cap. Main Hall for up to 350 people, with upcoming concerts from soul and jazz musicians Alain Clark and Cor Bakker, Dutch piano duo Arthur and Lucas Jussen, electric violin band Fuse and singer Sjors van der Panne.

Also reopening its door are Tilburg’s 3,000-capacity Poppodium 013, which will host acts including Guus Meeuwis, Charly Lownoise & Mental Theo and Jeangu Macrooy and Wies for at least 100 fans; Rotterdam’s 2,100-capacity De Doelen, which will open for up to 500 visitors; and Amsterdam’s 1,500-capacity Melkweg, which will open for with intimate shows by Raw Poets, Gaidaa and Dave Budha.


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Events are ready to reopen, says SA industry

South Africa’s Event Safety Council (ESC) has released a set of guidelines it says will allow the safe reopening of the live events sector in the country.

The document, produced in partnership with the ESC’s partners in a new industry umbrella organisation, the similarly named SA Events Council, aims to assist South Africa’s hard-hit live business in resuming activity as soon and as safely as possible, in accordance with local regulations.

Production of the guidelines saw the ESC collaborate with other international organisations, including the Event Safety Alliance in the US, ensuring global best practice is “embedded throughout” the report, according to the organisation.

As of 18 June, South Africa is allowing small gatherings of under 50 people, under alert level three of its lockdown regulations.

“We are pleased to see the industry coming together to embrace safety protocols that protect employers, employees and freelancers”

With the release of the guidelines, the SA Event Council is working towards reopening the sector further. Among its recommendations are enhanced protocols related to sanitisation, cleaning, hygiene, attendee management, venue requirements and more.

“The event industry already carries out comprehensive risk assessment, safety checks and logistical planning for every event, so including a Covid-19 mitigation plan as an extension of existing event planning mechanisms is easily achievable,” says Mike Lord, the ESC’s interim chairman.

Kevan Jones, executive director of SACIA, the ESC’s parent organisation, adds: “During these difficult times we are pleased to see organised industry coming together to embrace safety protocols that protect employers, employees and freelancers working in the events industry.

“We look forward to fruitful and positive outcomes from these engagements. As representatives of the events sector, we remain engaged in looking for solutions to rebuild the economy of this much-needed sector.”


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

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India’s BookMyShow launches livestreaming platform

BookMyShow, India’s largest online ticketing company, today (1 July) launched a pay-per-view streaming platform for live events.

BookMyShow Online will showcase performances across music, comedy and the performing arts and will be accessible via the BookMyShow app and website. A subscription-based model will also be rolled out in the next few months.

One of the first events to appear on the platform will make its debut is Sunburn Home Festival, the virtual edition of Goan EDM festival Sunburn, which is taking place on 11 and 12 July with sets from Bassjackers, Vini Vici, Mattn and Ummet Ozcan.

Tickets cost Rs99 (€1.20) for one day or Rs199 (€2.40) for both days.

Other upcoming events include shows by Bang Bang Romeo and Electric Enemy, and theatre workshops with veterans like Puneet Issar, Rohini Hattangadi, Rakesh Bedi, and Anant Mahadevan.

During lockdown, BookMyShow has facilitated the discovery of online entertainment on its platform, with currently almost half a million viewers accessing virtual events via its service per week.

With BookMyShow Online, the company intends to put all events behind a paywall, with prices varying per shows and platinum options, including post-performance Q&As, available for a greater price.

“Our latest video streaming platform BookMyShow Online was born out of this need to make virtual live entertainment a frictionless and hassle-free viewing experience”

“Sensing the shift in our users’ appetite for entertainment during this lockdown, we were agile enough to change tack by introducing virtual in-home entertainment offerings in India and other global markets,” says Parikshit Dar, co-founder and director of BookMyShow.

“Our latest video streaming platform BookMyShow Online was born out of this need to make virtual live entertainment a frictionless and hassle-free viewing experience.”

The streaming platform will initially be able to host over 50,000 concurrent viewers per minute, with the company reportedly testing a feature to take this up to 100,000.

“The platform is built for scale,” says Dar. “This tech allows us the ability to spin multiple live events with our livestreaming capability, enhance the user experience, and provide a lightning-fast video player for streaming content.”

The company has partnered with global video technology platform Brightcove to power BookMyShow Online.

In May, BookMyShow announced cost-cutting measures including the lay-off or furloughing of 270 employees and company-wide salary reductions.

Read the Indian market report in the latest edition of IQ Magazine here.

Photo: Preeti Photography/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)

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Austria to allow up to 10,000 fans in stadiums

The Austrian government is to permit up to 10,000 fans in stadiums from September, culture and sports minister, Werner Kogler, has announced.

According to reports, the 10,000-person capacity limit will apply to all outdoor events from 1 September, with indoors shows of up to 5,000 also allowed.

Seat allocations, social distancing regulations and the enforcement of a track and trace system are a prerequisite for events going ahead.

“This is a freedom that we have all developed together,” says Kogler, who serves as Austrian vice chancellor, as well as the minister for arts, culture, the civil service and sport. “We should handle it carefully.”

“This is a freedom that we have all developed together. We should handle it carefully”

It is believed that, after an initial phase with an audience limit, there will be individual solutions decided on a case-by-case basis.

“I imagine that we can try to measure it per stadium – it may be that 12,000 people is less of a problem in one stadium, than 6,000 in another stadium,” says Kogler.

As of today (1 July), a maximum of 250 fans are allowed to attend indoor performances, with a capacity of 500 permitted for outdoor shows.

Capacity limits are increasing to 1,000 for indoor events and 1,250 for outdoor shows from 1 August.

Photo: Die Grüne Partei Österreichs/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)


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