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Lights, camera, action: UK suppliers on the reopening

Do you remember at which point the severity of the Covid-19 pandemic first hit home? For some, it was when they suspended all flights to mainland China. Or when the UK government admitted that we faced a “substantial period of disruption… due to the outbreak.”

For others it was the realisation that, after the announcement on 9 March of a strict nationwide quarantine in Italy, lockdowns were coming to us all. For those whose livelihoods were invested in the music industry, watching all of this unfold prompted an increasing feeling of dread.

For Yvonne Donnelly Smith, music lighting sales director of PRG – a global company operating audio, camera, lighting, and various other production services – that latter date was particularly significant.

“I got my first email from Bryan Adams’ team saying: ‘All shows cancelled due to Corona,” she says. “That was quickly followed by The Script, who cancelled because someone in the touring party had caught Covid. Then the domino effect really started to kick in.”

As she tells it, every day two or three more tours would cancel as the reality of the situation began to outweigh optimism that the whole thing would blow over quickly. And then the summer festivals started to fall – “which everyone was holding out hope for,” she says.

“We’d just loaded the trucks to head to site the next day when everything was cancelled”

It was a similar story with John Henry’s, a multi-disciplinary company in the live sector offering audio, backline, and staging services, who had just sent out audio and backline equipment for multiple US country artists touring Europe and heading towards the C2C Festival at London’s O2 Arena.

“We’d just loaded the trucks to head to site the next day when everything was cancelled,” says Johnny Henry, company director. “We then had to negotiate the return of equipment from all around the country to get it back before we had to close the doors and send staff home. It was a devastating moment for everyone.”

Christie Lites, a global stage lighting vendor covering live music, theatre, TV, corporate, and special events, and employing over 400 employees around the world, were ramping up into what business development executive Jessica Allan describes as “a very, very busy year.” It all came to a sudden, complete halt.

“The realisation that pretty much everything was coming back in kit-wise – including shows that had been out for five years or more – and the logistics of what that involved was definitely one of the ‘Oh shit!’ moments,” she adds.

Everyone IQ spoke to for this feature talks of the initial shock and disbelief, and how thoughts turned extremely quickly from dealing with the mammoth task of returning equipment and personnel, to the question of “what happens now?”

“We all thought it was only a temporary blip, not an 18-month hiatus”

Bryan Grant of Britannia Row, a company that has been supplying audio systems and crews since 1975 and is now part of the Clair Global Group, was initially optimistic.

“The enormity of it didn’t really sink in for some time,” he explains. “We all thought it was only a temporary blip, not an 18-month hiatus.”

As such, hard work continued behind the scenes at all these companies, to ready themselves for whenever a re-opening – and large-scale music events – could once again take place.

Grant notes how crucial it was to keep key people in place and remain open for business, while Donnelly Smith says that “remaining flexible and resilient” kept PRG busy through the on-slaught.

John Adam’s famous old adage, that “Every problem is an opportunity in disguise,” was severely tested as companies struggled to make sense of what they were dealing with, and what the long-term future of touring and live might look like.

John Henry’s began working with an AV company, PIXL, to convert their studios into a live-streaming and broadcast hub

Tentative suggestions that late summer 2020 could see some events return, were nixed by the looming threat of the second wave, and with further lockdowns throughout winter and the early part of 2021 – not to mention the Delta variant – the prognosis looked gloomy.

Nevertheless, the pause became a chance to take stock, to develop their offerings, and branch out into new tech or events.

Britannia Row, through the Clair Global Group, developed the Virtual Live Audio system, a high-quality, low-latency streaming platform that allows presenters and performers in the broadcast and corporate sectors to interact in real-time with their audiences, while PRG was also helping clients move into streaming, setting up studios and live spaces, and tailoring solutions to help events transition into the digital space.

They opened a rehearsal space, too, The Bridge, which allows clients to prepare for shows safely and securely.

John Henry’s began working with an AV company, PIXL, to convert their studios into a live-streaming and broadcast hub, and were actually able to service a number of recorded events that saw over a thousand people back through their doors.

“We took the opportunity to re-evaluate internal processes with our team behind the scenes”

For Christie Lites, planning and research never stopped, but they also – like the others – took a brief step back.

“We took the opportunity to re-evaluate internal processes with our team behind the scenes, making improvements in preparation for the return,” says Allan.

These ranged from technology tweaks through to broadening and building on sustainability programmes, as well as a number of ‘Crew Prep’ events to help crew and clients prepare for getting back to work.

With Britain having lifted restrictions on 19 July this year, many other countries following suit, and the continuing rise in the number of people double vaccinated, something approaching normality has begun to return.

Music’s live and touring sector has been scrabbling to respond, but with lead times normally measured in months, and many still wary of attending packed, sweaty arena shows and festivals, it’s been a stuttering reopening.

“Ramping up from essentially a standing start, combined with the uncertainty, was always going to be a challenge”

PRG just serviced Creamfields – as did Christie Lites – alongside Rewind, Wireless, and Isle of Wight, but really all eyes are on 2022, and a full-blown return.

“We’re optimistic,” says Britannia Row’s Bryan Grant. “We think there’s going to be huge demand,” adds PRG’s Yvonne Donnelly Smith.

Others are even more confident: 2022 is shaping up to be a “very mad year” says Christie Lites’ Allan, with two years’ worth of events squeezed into one system. But that pressure is already being keenly felt, and having some worrying knock-on effects.

“Ramping up from essentially a standing start, combined with the uncertainty still floating around, was always going to be a challenge,” says Allan.

“There is fear from vendors and freelancers that limits will be pushed both of budgets, timescale, and of people to meet demand. The other big issue is the lack of crew, as so many have had to get work elsewhere or have decided not to come back.”

“There is fear from vendors and freelancers that limits will be pushed both of budgets, timescale, and people to meet demand”

That’s a problem noted by Britannia Row director Bryan Grant as well; “that’s why we’ve kept up with our training programmes and have kept as many of our people employed as we possibly can,” he says.

Demand outstripping supply has had other consequences too. “Material shortages are already affecting manufacturers, so spares and some of the vital things that you need for touring and shows are in short supply already,” notes Johnny Henry. “There is no sign of that improving yet.”

There is also the issue of Covid bubbles being broken, and isolated infections bringing whole operations to yet another temporary halt.

“We’ve already recently seen shows and tours being pulled at the last minute because of positive Covid cases,” continues Henry.

“Everyone involved in productions is doing their best to avoid these situations, but it’s clearly very difficult no matter what precautions are being taken. I expect this to continue into 2022.”

“The fact that we can duplicate both equipment and people in many territories means less freight and air travel”

And that concern has led to yet another issue, particularly with regard to larger tours. “We’re starting to see some now pushed back into 2023 as artist management look at scheduling, and also the fact that so many artists and bands are potentially competing for venues and punters in 2022,” says Allan.

Making sure long-awaited live performances are delivered in the best possible way to fans is a key component for festival chiefs and touring acts when deciding on their 2022 and beyond plans. Innovation has seemingly blossomed during lockdown; so too gains in efficiency.

“We are constantly upgrading our systems to provide more efficient packages in terms of weight, size, and coverage,” says Grant. “For touring acts, the fact that we can duplicate both equipment and people in many territories means less freight and air travel, which saves money and the environment.”

That last part – sustainability – is becoming an ever more vital component of companies’ offerings, and something the music industry is keen to embrace. All of the companies IQ spoke to had placed it at the top of their agenda.

“There’s a high demand for LED products to take the lead on jobs, and PRG were doing this well before the pandemic,” says Donnelly Smith.

“Our warehouses use rainwater harvesting and solar panels where possible”

“Joining and working with TPG has been extremely influential for us in continuing this journey towards sustainability in our events – we’re taking an inside-out approach to solidify this culture change, offering sustainable kit to our customers and also making changes in-house, like switching energy suppliers and using sustainable materials.”

“We are constantly trying to learn about where we can improve on sustainability – it is something we are passionate about,” says Allan.

“We have a living sustainability programme, so our warehouses use rainwater harvesting and solar panels where possible, and we’re excited to be opening our most eco-friendly building to date in Nashville in September, which is built using a revolutionary decarbonised method of construction.

“On tour, our standardisation of flight cases helps reduce the truck pack and the fact that you can pull and drop a European leg from the UK and pick up again in North America without the need to fly or ship kit is a key reason why sustainability-conscious clients use us.”

Undoubtedly, the last 18 months have been a seismic shock, and recovery will depend on the ticket-buying public – as Grant notes, “Covid isn’t going away, so we are just going to have to adapt to the circumstances that confront us.”

“This past year has shown what we can achieve if we pull together”

But live events have proved resilient before, and are doing so again. The future will just be a little different.

“This past year has shown what we can achieve if we pull together,” says Allan. “Yes, a very difficult road lies ahead, but we have confidence that collectively the industry will find a way through and come out the other side.”

“I think what we’ve learnt over the last 18 months is that you can’t stand still,” adds Johnny Henry. “You have to use any spare time to continue to refine your trade, improve where you can, be more efficient, and get more out of your resources than you think possible. Your staff are your greatest asset, and while you’ve got to put faith in the future, don’t forget the past.”

Ultimately, the message is one of collaboration, and working together for greater success – and the greater good. “It’s an opportunity for all of us in the touring community, from artists, agents, promoters, and managers, to supply companies and all of those who work within these organisations to realise that we’re all on the same side,” says Grant.

“We all need to earn a living, and all need to respect what we all contribute to making this wonderful, mad machine work; let’s keep going.”

 


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James Hanley joins IQ as News Editor

IQ’s daily live music business coverage has been bolstered by the addition of veteran music business journalist James Hanley as News Editor.

Hanley joins the IQ team to work alongside Deputy Editor Lisa Henderson and IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson. He replaces former news editor Jon Chapple.

Prior to joining IQ, Hanley worked as senior staff writer at Music Week from 2015 until going freelance earlier this year. He was previously news editor at former live music business titles Audience and Live UK.

I am excited to join IQ and look forward to building its news coverage

“James’s knowledge of the live sector is encyclopaedic, and the whole IQ team has been a fan of his writing for years,” says Masson. “It’s fantastic that he’s finally joined the team.”

“I am excited to join IQ and look forward to building its news coverage, continuing to get critical information out first, and launching new projects in the coming months,” adds Hanley. “I am delighted to be working with Greg and Lisa as we document the industry’s resurgence from the pandemic and build towards a brighter future.”

Hanley can be contacted at james@iq-mag.net, while Henderson can be contacted at lisa@iq-mag.net.

 


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Green Guardians: Resource management

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative boosting the profiles of those working at the forefront of sustainability, in the hope that it might also inspire others.

The 2021 list, which originally ran in IQ 103, includes 40 entries across eight categories, highlighting some of the organisations and individuals who are working so tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

This year’s winners have been chosen by a judging panel that includes experts from A Greener Festival, Greener Events, Julie’s Bicycle, the Sustainability in Production Alliance, the Sustainable Event Council and the Tour Production Group.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous instalment of the Green Guardians Guide which looks at food & drink.


Ball Aluminium Cup
With its infinitely recyclable aluminium cups, Ball Corporation has signed a number of deals to supply the product line to events, including the 2020 Superbowl in Miami and PGA’s Waste Management Phoenix Open, effectively replacing millions of single-use plastic cups.

Durable, cool to the touch and extremely eco-friendly, extensive research on both sides of the Atlantic claims that consumers believe a venue that serves beverages in aluminium cups cares about the environment and that the drinking experience at that venue would be higher quality/better than other unrecyclable formats currently on offer.

Ball Corporation says that aluminium can be recycled infinitely without ever losing quality. In fact, it cites research that suggests that nearly 75% of all aluminium ever made is still in use today.

The cups can easily be made (minimum order of 50,000 applies) with custom logos and graphics to correspond with venues, events, teams, brands and more. Additionally, Ball’s drinking vessels are sturdier and more durable than other options, reducing breakage incidents and increasing quality perceptions.

EAP launched Love Your Tent, a campaign designed to encourage people to reuse them instead of discarding them

Eco Action Partnership
Waste is a key issue that the festival community needs to tackle head-on, particularly the ongoing problem of discarded tents and camping equipment left behind at the end of most camping festivals, creating one of the biggest environmental issues facing organisers.

With this in mind, Eco Action Partnership (EAP) launched Love Your Tent, a campaign designed to bond people with their portable homes and encourage them to reuse them instead of discarding them.

The organisation’s aim is to publicise the issue and create some solid solutions for change that will benefit the whole of the festival community.

Rick Storey, who helped initiate the campaign, explains, “We are determined to make festivals greener, more sustainable, and more enjoyable events for audiences and organisers, and one way of doing that is to cut down on the number of discarded tents. This can’t be done in solus, it needs to happen across the festival community and should involve tent retailers, festivalgoers and organisers.”

As part of its range of services, EAP also conducts carbon audits for events and businesses, helping to pinpoint where the main impacts are.

Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to event waste management

Greenbox Events
Based in Bristol, UK, waste and recycling specialist Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to event waste management. It pioneers the most sustainable strategies whilst keeping events clean, tidy and safe.

The Greenbox team builds on a wealth of experience that dates back to the mid-90s when recycling was first taking a foothold in the events industry. Its specially designed, distinctive and robust recycling stations are renowned for their ease of use and high recycling yield.

The company maintains that it’s what you don’t see that’s most important; through strategic deployment of its teams Greenbox tackles cleansing issues before they become a problem.

Greenbox operates throughout the UK, frequently in remote areas with limited or difficult access, as well as busy city centres, and at high-profile sporting events. It provides all the necessary vehicles, personnel, equipment and expertise to ensure events are cleaned efficiently, professionally and more sustainably.

Pitched for You is forming pacts to deliver mass accommodation smoothly in one package

Pitched for You
In 2021, Pitched for You has been delivering initial contracts, taking on crew and forming important relationships within the industry. As a supplier, the company took on every event it could, only to have half cancel and others pop up out of the blue with requests like isolation camps, glamp sites or a restaurant on a cliff.

As a B2B accommodation supplier, Pitched for You is forming pacts with ticket sellers, green travel companies, event assessors and production companies to deliver mass accommodation smoothly in one package.

Although determined to develop a real circular economy service, on the product side materials remain a great challenge, as there are simply no circular economy tent fabrics, yet. So the company is working with Nikwax to help develop these, finding that the correct fibres, coatings and maintenance techniques can make its material last “forever.”

On the service side, Pitched For You took advice from Aston Business School’s Advanced Services Group to ensure its business model is truly sustainable. While on the manufacturing side, Covid is presenting all sorts of international trade issues, so the company is considering moving manufacture entirely to the UK.

OVG is leading the development and operations of the Climate Pledge Arena, the first net-zero carbon arena

Oak View Group
With a mission to innovate and improve the live venue experience, Oak View Group (OVG) is leading the development and operations of the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, which it says will be the first net-zero carbon arena in the world.

OVG believes the new building will be the most sustainable arena venue in the world, serving as a long-lasting and regular reminder of the urgent need for climate action.

Among the multiple strategies the company is relying on to achieve its goals, it has committed to no fossil fuel consumption in the arena for daily use; it will use an extensive solar panel installation combined with off-site supplementary renewable energy for 100% renewable energy power; and it will offset any carbon emission activities it cannot eliminate – like transportation – by purchasing credible carbon offsets.

Other initiatives include a sustainable food and beverage strategy, ensuring that 75% of all produce is sourced within a 300-mile range. Additionally, the arena will have a zero single-use plastic policy, advanced water conservation measures, and by simplifying its supply chain OVG will target a zero-waste goal.

The new arena, which opens in October, will be used to inform future OVG developments including UBS Arena in New York; Moody Center in Austin, Texas; Co-op Live Arena in Manchester, UK; Coachella Valley Arena, California; and new projects in Savannah, Georgia and Milan, Italy.


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IQ 104 out now: IFF, GEI, Steve Strange

IQ 104, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The October 2021 edition reflects on two of the industry’s best-known events, the International Festival Forum and the Green Events & Innovations conference – both of which returned last month.

The issue also pays homage to renowned booking agent and X-ray co-founder Steve Strange, who recently passed away.

Elsewhere, Adam Woods talks to some of the innovators behind contactless payment systems, IQ gets to grips with audience insights tools and Derek Robertson learns about the rollercoaster ride that suppliers have experienced during the pandemic.

For this edition’s columns and comments, IQ passes the mic to Music Venue Trust’s Mark Davyd, as well as Jürgen Schlensog and Sven Meyer from Jazzopen Stuttgart.

And, in this month’s Your Shout, we ask the industry how they would use an extra hour a day.

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 £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

IQ subscribers can log in and read the full magazine now.

 


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International Festival Forum 2021 marks a return to form

After 2020’s online-only version, the International Festival Forum (IFF) enjoyed a successful return to a physical event in late September, as more than 600 delegates registered for the event that focuses on booking agents and festivals.

Enthusiasm for IFF was evident at the opening party, hosted by UTA, where many delegates renewed acquaintances with colleagues they had not seen in the flesh since the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March 2020.

With agency partners reporting oversubscribed speed-meetings at their pop-up offices around Camden, the conference element included a number of pre-recorded sessions, covering such topics as Your Next Headliner – Climate Action; Festival Playground – the Future of Music Festivals; Festival Insurance in a Post-Pandemic World; and Counting the Cost of Brexit.

The keynote saw CAA’s Maria May interviewing Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn and FKP Scorpio founder Folkert Koopmans, who delivered an optimistic message about the future of the business.

“[Festival Republic] is starting new festivals in 2022… we’ve got to try and keep up with Folkert”

Both men noted that there had been no dialogue between the live music industry and the government prior to Covid, meaning much of the last 18 months had been spent educating politicians and persuading them to help support the business.

Quizzed by May about what could be done to help emerging talent, given that many festival line-ups have rolled over into 2022, Benn revealed that he would be launching new events next year. “I am starting new festivals in 2022,” he said.”I’ve always got to have at least one because I try to keep up with Folkert. So, we’ve got at least one or two next year, and that will give new talent the opportunity to start getting to play to a bigger audience.”

“When I hear that Melvin is doing two or three new festivals, we might do four,” quipped Koopmans. However, he admitted that staffing was a problem and along with spiralling costs it means there will be some tough choices to make, so establishing any new showcase festivals might have to wait.

But he predicted that not only will the 2022 season go ahead, but “It will be the biggest year ever. And I suppose the next years will just grow. I’m super optimistic.”

“There might not be a complete shutdown, but booking a European tour in February, at the height of flu season, will be a huge risk”

Benn concluded that the industry can also take a lead on sustainability. “Now it feels like everybody is on the same page – artists, managers, promoters, agents, suppliers and fans – and collectively there’s a lot we can do together and that needs to be one of the greatest collaborations that the music industry can continue with.”

Elsewhere, The Agency Business panel examined the recently announced CAA and ICM Partners acquisition, with panellists agreeing that the deal could provide opportunities for independent agencies, while former CAA staffer Jon Ollier admitted to being “fascinated” by the merger, noting that CAA will be determined to preserve the company’s culture.

And it was Ollier, now boss of One Fiinix Live, who shared his belief that one potential outcome of the Covid pandemic may be that the industry will lose its winter season. “There might not be a complete shutdown, but booking a European tour in February, at the height of flu season, will be a huge risk. So why not follow the sun around the globe to mitigate that risk?”

ATC Live head Alex Bruford noted that rebuilding consumer confidence would be a major challenge, while he predicted a more flexible approach to touring where acts may put on a series of arena dates at short notice as market conditions change.

“AEG’s Jim King called out the scandal of guest-list ticketing fall-off, which has been 40% on some shows”

The conference’s opener involved a Therapy Session where delegates shared stories from the past 18 months, alongside plans to rebuild and reopen their various markets for live events.

With Barnaby Harrod (Mercury Wheels) and Claire Courtney (Earth Agency) onstage to represent the different parts of the business, those in the room heard a number of tales, with arguably the most inspiring related by Georg Leitner of GLP, who revealed that Syrian refugees are being recruited by security firms in Germany to help that sector get back to full strength ahead of the 2022 season.

Paradigm’s Clementine Bunel, meanwhile, moderated The Roaring 20s? where she and her guests examined whether the rest of the decade could be a golden era for live music. And while the future could indeed be rosy, multiple challenges were identified, not the least of which will be sharp rises in ticket prices to cover spiralling costs – an issue that Lowlands Festival’s Eric van Eerdenburg warned could prevent young fans from attending.

And noting increased drop-off rates at recent live events throughout Europe, AEG’s Jim King called out the scandal of guest-list ticketing fall-off, which has been 40% on some shows, compared to 10-12% normally. “It’s outrageous,” he blasted.

The afternoon and evening programmes at IFF once again featured some of the hottest emerging talent on the rosters of ITB, Earth Agency, Paradigm, Primary Talent & ICM Partners, Marshall Live, X-ray Touring, and ATC Live, while Music Venue Trust used the occasion to bring down the curtain on their nationwide Revive Live Tour, as well as sponsoring the closing IFF party.


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Livestream platform Mandolin acquires rival NoonChorus

The livestreaming market has consolidated further with the acquisition of NoonChorus by US-based startup Mandolin.

Launched by brothers Andrew and Alex Jensen, NoonChorus has hosted more than 600 virtual shows by artists including Angel Olsen, Future Islands, Fleet Foxes, Bright Eyes and Parquet Courts, grossing a reported $4 million in ticket sales.

Both companies were founded amid the live shutdown of spring 2020.

“Like Mandolin, NoonChorus was born out of the pandemic,” said Mandolin CEO and co-founder Mary Kay-Huse in a blog post.

“They’re young and fast-moving, but knowledgeable and respectful of tradition – their team carrying years of industry experience and connections to help guide the industry toward a more prosperous future. They hold themselves, their shows, and partners to a high standard to deliver best-in-class services.

“All of this has allowed their company to generate not just an impressive, highly engaged fan base, but a network of artists and partners to supply those fans with the experiences they crave. The company is also just full of great people who we want on our team.”

“We’ve set our goals high – building a platform for clients to not just put on great shows, but to execute data-driven strategies”

Kay-Huse said the firm’s ‘playbook’ for hybrid concerts were more valuable than ever for artists and event creators coming out of Covid-19.

“We’ve set our goals high – building a platform for clients to not just put on great shows, but to execute data-driven business strategies enabled with critical fan and business insights,” she said.

“With each show, artist teams, venues, festivals and brands everywhere will access event-level data and fan insights to propel their business forward.

In the summer, Mandolin launched Live+, its platform of new products and enhancements built specifically for the “hybrid event future” of concerts and festivals”.

“Live+ – the digital amplification of in-person concerts – will become ubiquitous,” added Kay-Huse. “And this acquisition is just the beginning.”

The deal marks the latest move in the rapidly developing livestream market. Live Nation acquired a majority stake in Veeps, the ticketed livestreaming platform developed by Good Charlotte’s Joel and Benji Madden, in early 2021.

 


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GEI Summer Edition saw industry “come of age”

The 14th edition of the Green Events and Innovations (GEI) conference saw the industry “come of age” on the subject of sustainability, according to the organisers.

Thursday’s (16 September) conference, presented by A Greener Festival (AGF) and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), was the first-ever Summer Edition of GEI, with the virtual event supported by a raft of sponsors including Ecotricity, Live Nation, Res, Ticketmaster, Solcell and The Virtual Venue.

The event followed a hybrid model, with some speakers coming together at PYTCH’s Virtual Venue in Bristol, powered by 100% renewable energy. Others joined from their homes and were broadcast live to delegates from around the world.

“We had such a great time delivering the first hybrid GEI Summer Edition. Live speakers connected with powerful and inspiring individuals and organisations from all around the world, and a truly international interactive audience,” says AGF co-founder Claire O’Neill.

“Considering the crucial topics that GEI addresses, this global collaboration is heartwarming and hopeful, to say the least. With 14 years of GEI under our belts, it feels like the industry is coming of age on the subject of sustainability and the next step is to use our unparalleled power of communication connect these messages with the masses.”

“The next step is to use our unparalleled power of communication connect these messages with the masses”

The speaker line-up was packed with industry titans including Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Dale Vince (Ecotricity/Forest Green Rovers), Dave Ojay (NAAM Festival), Amber Etre (Christie Lites), Fay Milton (Savages/Music Declares Emergency) and Celia Palau Lodge (Cooking Vinyl Records).

Samm Farai Monro (Magamba Network), Meegan Jones (Sustainable Event Alliance/Great Ocean Race), Stuart McPherson (KB Event) and Jamal Chalabi (Backlash Productions) also topped the bill.

Highlights from the Summer Edition included an exclusive first look at LIVE Green’s declaration and voluntary charter and a follow-up discussion between John Langford (Live Green/ AEG Europe), Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live), Clementine Bunel (Paradigm), artist Sam Lee and Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle).

Also featured at the conference was a presentation of a new roadmap for greener events, following the recent publication of research conducted by scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research under commission by Massive Attack.

The wider programme included panels on greener arenas and vendors as well as ‘ask the expert’ sessions, a quick-fire innovation round and deep dives on carbon removals and value chain planning for events.

AGF is now looking towards returning to live events with the next GEI Conference set to take place in March 2022. Find out more about the work of AGF at agreenerfestival.com.


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Green Guardians: Event Infrastructure

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative boosting the profiles of those working at the forefront of sustainability, in the hope that it might also inspire others.

The 2021 list, which originally ran in IQ 103, includes 40 entries across eight categories, highlighting some of the organisations and individuals who are working so tirelessly to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

This year’s winners have been chosen by a judging panel that includes experts from A Greener Festival, Greener Events, Julie’s Bicycle, the Sustainability in Production Alliance, the Sustainable Event Council and the Tour Production Group.

IQ will publish entries across all categories over the coming weeks. Catch up on the previous instalment of the Green Guardians Guide which looks at artists and activists.


Continest
Continest container units are a market-leading, award-winning and eco-friendly portable accommodation solution, utilising innovative foldable container technology. The flat-packed containers are specially constructed to enable quick and easy transportation, installation and relocation, and their groundbreaking design has won plaudits around the world.

A great solution for events, venues and brands looking to increase their facility and temporary accommodation capacity in an environmentally conscious way, Continest provides solutions to help meet sustainability targets. Due to their patented design, multiple units can be transported on a single truck, enabling huge savings on road.

In 2020, d&b launched its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programme offering customers reconditioned loudspeaker systems

d&b audiotechnik
Aware of the impact that the live entertainment industry has on the environment, d&b makes a conscious effort to ensure that sustainability is a permanent part of its mission with the company developing effective programmes to support this undertaking.

d&b is EMAS certified, meaning it observes a set of guiding principles, including upholding human rights and well-being, resource protection, energy and emission reduction, product responsibility, sustainable innovation, and much more.

In 2020, d&b launched its Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) programme offering customers reconditioned loudspeaker systems. Purchasers benefit from a rider-friendly sound reinforcement system while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of raw materials.

This programme makes d&b one of the first sound companies to adopt an organised approach to sustainability and reliability in the pro audio industry. The first-ever CPO J-Series system was recently installed at Westville Music Bowl in Connecticut, USA.

d&b is committed to ensuring its new products are environmentally responsible as well. The recently launched D40 amplifier combines advanced voltage management to drive systems that demand less input power. The D40 includes enhanced energy-saving features, power efficiency and automatic wake-up for environmentally responsible and sustainable green building requirements.

Alongside recycling and responsible disposal of end-of-life equipment, PRG regularly rebalances equipment to reduce freight

PRG
Sustainable practices have been at the heart of PRG’s ongoing development throughout the pandemic. The company now boasts a huge global network, having set up a group of 22 digital studios around the world in one year, including xR Virtual Production Studios in Los Angeles, Hamburg and Paris.

This ensures that the company’s EMEA customer base has access to PRG’s state-of-the-art facilities and expertise wherever they are in the world.

This global reach is aided by The PRG Alliance, a series of 15 partner companies worldwide that support clients locally with an exceptional quality of innovative event production solutions.

The company’s commitment to providing consistent service locally is mobilised largely thanks to the PRG Crew Platform, which allows warehouses and events to be staffed with local talent, reducing the global carbon footprint involved in transporting employees.

PRG is also committed to sustainable practices in its technology and is a member of various industry accredited programmes, including Albert.

Alongside its recycling and responsible disposal of end-of-life equipment, PRG regularly rebalances equipment to reduce freight.

Its products adhere to this sustainable mission. The PRG SpaceframeTM, for example, is an ultra-lightweight, collapsible and fully wind-braced, carbon-fibre touring frame with integrated LED panels. This product dramatically reduces pre-tour engineering time, shipping footprint/weight, carbon emissions, load-in and load-out times, as well as labour required on tour and locally.

NNNN has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90% compared to other brands

NNNN
NNNN was created to target the audio market with a disruptive solution and mindset, combining acoustic quality with sustainability.

The company’s patents enable it to do with sound what LED did with light, and it has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90% compared to other brands.

As yet another UN climate report has made abundantly clear, developing more sustainable solutions is a no-brainer. Yet, NNNN says it still experiences challenges with businesses that choose traditional solutions over greener alternatives. Therefore, it has been key for the company to both initiate and join conversations, both nationally and internationally, with regard to sustainable development in the live entertainment industry.

In spite of Covid, a lot has been happening at NNNN in the past year:
▶ The company has been developing new products, making better and more sustainable audio solutions available for green buildings, houses of culture, and consumers.
▶ In November 2020, NNNN won the Green Founder award – an initiative established by Drammen Rotary to accelerate green and sustainable development in the region.
▶ NNNN has been Eco-Lighthouse certified, which is the most widely used environmental certification scheme in Norway, verified to hold the quality and standard matching international eco-labeling schemes (EMAS and ISO 14001).
▶ The company also became an associate member of A Greener Festival.

Tait is continuing to build dedicated resources to empower clients and design teams to call on its vast library

Tait
During 2020 and into 2021, Tait focused on updating its library of assets, making all assets available for use globally and throughout the business.

This builds on practices that the company has developed over many years and optimises sustainable use and reuse of equipment.

Crucially, this also reduces reliance on virgin materials. In addition, Tait is continuing to build dedicated resources to empower clients and design teams to call on this vast library of existing components.

This year, Tait’s UK offices are beginning the transition to renewable energy, and its waste and recycling streams are being monitored to ensure it maximises recycling potential.

The company’s UK facilities in Neasden and Haverhill are now both ISO14001 accredited, and it has installed infrastructure to collate carbon emissions for Scope 1 & Scope 2 and key elements from Scope 3 globally. This will form the basis for Tait’s carbon reduction strategy.

The group has partnered with organisations such as the Sustainability in Production Alliance (SiPA), Theatre Green Book, and Live Green to help drive industry-wide change, educate teams, and further sustainability efforts.

In order to give back to the communities and institutions that helped build the success of the organisation, Tait’s principal sustainability advocate, Carol Scott, guest lectures at colleges and universities on incorporating sustainable practices into the ecosystem of live events.

 


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Nordic music biz reveals Top 20 under 30 list for 2021

The fourth annual Nordic Music Biz Top 20 under 30 list has been revealed, honouring the ‘young forces driving the Nordic music industry forward’.

According to organsiers Nomex (Nordic Music Export), the winners were chosen by a panel of 15 judges from the Nordic music industry, based on “company growth, career path, recognition in the industry, influence in the industry in 2020, artistic development, innovation, concert revenues, sales, streaming, campaigns, radio and television publicity”.

This year’s Nordic Music Biz Top 20 under 30 list comprises:

Nina Finnerud, head of UK at Music Norway, commented on the list: “With the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen that the recruitment of young people into the music industry is more important than ever.

“It’s crucial to show the new generation of managers, labels, agents, festivals etc that it is a safe and rewarding industry to work in and choose as a career. It is also vital to make sure the artists have talented people to work with them and look out for their best interest in the future.”

This year’s Nordic Music Biz Top 20 under 30 will be honoured with a ceremony during by:Larm festival in Olso, Norway, on the 30 September.

Nomex was set up to facilitate growth and development in the Nordic music sector, and is a collaborative organisation set up by Export Music Sweden, Music Export Denmark, Music Finland, Iceland Music Export and Music Norway.

 


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The New Bosses: Class of 2021 revealed

The latest edition of IQ‘s New Bosses goes live today, celebrating the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2021 honours no fewer than a dozen young executives, as voted by their colleagues around the world.

The 14th edition of the annual list inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations.

Our distinguished dozen this year comprises promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs and more, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.

In alphabetical order, the New Bosses 2021 are:

As in previous years, full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses will appear online in the coming days and weeks. However, subscribers can read short individual profiles of each New Boss now in issue 103 of IQ Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

 


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