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UK set for biggest live music weekend ever

The UK is preparing to host what is believed to be its biggest weekend of live music ever, with more than one million people expected to attend concerts.

Leading the way is Glastonbury, headlined by Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar, and BST Hyde Park, starring Elton John, the Rolling Stones and the Eagles, are set to host a combined 400,000 fans across three days.

Away from the festival circuit, Ed Sheeran has two dates lined up at the 90,000-cap Wembley Stadium, while the 80,000-cap London Stadium welcomes Green Day, Fall Out Boy & Weezer’s Hella Mega Tour tonight, followed by two nights with the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Hella Mega Tour also stops at the 40,000-cap John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield tomorrow.

“For the industry to bounce back from a crippling couple of years with this level of quality and support from the fanbase shows the strength of what we do”

Fresh from two sold-out nights at Knebworth Park (80,000) earlier this month, Liam Gallagher will visit Scotland’s 50,000-cap Hampden Park in Glasgow on Sunday, the same day as Rammstein top the bill at Coventry Building Society Arena (40,000). Gallagher also headlines Northern Ireland’s Belsonic (15,000) this evening in Ormeau Park, Belfast.

Elsewhere, at The O2 (21,000), Diana Ross performs tonight as a precursor to her Glastonbury Sunday legends’ slot, while Eilish will follow up becoming the festival’s youngest headliner by completing the final two dates of her six-night residency at the London arena tomorrow and Sunday. Elton John is similarly busy, meanwhile, appearing at Bristol’s Ashton Gate (34,000) on Sunday.

“For the industry to bounce back from, let’s be blunt, a crippling couple of years with this level of quality and support from the fanbase shows the strength of what we do,” says BST organiser Jim King, speaking to IQ.

“The scale of what Ticketmaster delivers this weekend will be astonishing”

This weekend will also be a record setter for Ticketmaster, whose team will scan in around half a million fans across the UK, beating the company’s previous biggest weekend of events which took place in June 2019. According to the firm, the number of fans getting out to events in the UK so far this month is running 50% higher on average than the same period in 2019.

“The scale of what Ticketmaster delivers this weekend will be astonishing,” Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons tells IQ. “Summer has arrived, and the fans in full force alongside it. We’re so happy to be back, bigger and better than ever.”

Other indoor gigs of note include Twenty One Pilots at OVO Arena Wembley, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons at Resorts World Arena Birmingham, Kings of Leon at SSE Arena Belfast, the Beach Boys and George Benson at the Royal Albert Hall, Alanis Morissette at AO Arena Manchester, and Morissette, Barry Manilow and Gladys Knight at First Direct Arena Leeds.

“This will be one of the biggest weekends of live music in our history”

“This will be one of the biggest weekends of live music in our history, with Glastonbury taking place for the first time in three years, thousands of revellers attending BST and a wealth of gigs, concerts and festivals taking place across the UK,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins.

“Fans will be back doing what they love most – listening to fantastic music. This is great news for both the live music industry, which has significant cultural and societal importance, and for UK plc, with money spent at these events boosting towns and cities from Somerset to Stranraer.”

Earlier this month, Live Nation UK revealed it was on track for its biggest outdoor season ever, saying it will host nearly six million fans at live shows this summer. The promoter says four million people will attend one of its festivals or outdoor events, while close to two million will attend an indoor show.

“Significant cost pressures and the cost-of-living squeeze mean trading remains challenging”

However, Collins points out that despite the unprecedented few days ahead, the well-documented wider challenges facing the industry have not simply gone away.

“While the celebrations this weekend will be a world class showcase of our exceptional £4.5 billion industry, venues, festivals, live events, artists and suppliers are not back trading at pre-pandemic levels,” he says. “Significant cost pressures and the cost-of-living squeeze mean trading remains challenging.

“It is of vital importance therefore, that the government takes steps to support those across the live music ecosystem. In particular, introducing a cultural rate of VAT on ticket sales which would secure the sector’s recovery, boost the UK economy and deliver many more weekends like the one that lies ahead.”

 


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Semmel Concerts claims double win at Germany’s LEA

Semmel Concerts took home two honours from the first full-scale Live Entertainment Award (LEA) ceremony since the pandemic began.

More than 1,000 guests attended the event, which recognises excellence in the German live sector, at Frankfurt Festhalle this past Wednesday (22 June).

Semmel CEO Dieter Semmelmann was named Promoter of the Year and also received the award for Concert Hall/Arena Tour of the Year for Roland Kaiser’s Alles oder Dich tour, which was produced by the Bayreuth-based company. Staged in the autumn of 2021, Alles oder Dich was the first major arena tour to be undertaken under pandemic conditions, and attracted 150,000 people over 27 shows.

“My whole team has fought with courage, passion and vision for every event”

“Like many in this industry, my whole team has fought with courage, passion and vision for every event, and even accepted the challenges of resuming major tours under difficult conditions during the past year,” said Semmelmann. “So I dedicate this award to all my colleagues, on stage and behind the scenes, because mammoth undertakings like this have only been, and will only ever be possible with boundless loyalty, a lot of determination and countless helping hands.”

A jury of 24 experts, made up of media representatives and industry specialists from Germany, Austria and Switzerland, decided on the winners of the LEA, awarded for outstanding achievement in 2020 and 2021.

Elsewhere, Cologne promoter Roland “Balou” Temme was posthumously honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Temme, who died last August aged 67, organised tours by the acts such as Peter Maffay, Udo Lindenberg and David Garrett with his companies Think Big and RTK.

Other winners included Austria’s Nova Music Entertainment for Nova Rock Encore (Festival of the Year), Nils Bodenstedt and Uli Mücke (Artist Manager/Agent of the Year), and Telekom Deutschland and Live Nation Brand Partnership & Media for the creation of digital live experiences on the Magenta Musik 360 portal (Cooperation of the Year).

Two new categories were also created this year due to the special circumstances in the assessment period: Industry Alliance of the Year went to the Music Industry Forum, Events Industry Forum, Swiss Music Promoters Association and Austrian Events Industry Interest Group, while the award for the artist alliance of the year went to booker Maria Paz Caraccioli Gutierrez and photographer Martin Diesch.

In addition, the inaugural honorary LEA was awarded to longtime BDKV (Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry) president Jens Michow.

 


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Spotify launches Live Events Feed

Streaming giant Spotify has launched the Live Events Feed, an in-app destination that allows users to discover concerts in their local area via personalised listings.

The innovation replaces the previous Concert Hub feature, and introduces a number of updates to help fans find shows by their favourite artists.

Listings are sourced from the platform’s ticketing partners including Ticketmaster, AXS, Dice, Eventbrite and See Tickets.

“We’d love to be a part of helping the live music industry recover”

“With shows coming back, and listeners excited to see their favourite artists perform live again, we think this is the perfect time to explore new ways that Spotify can further support the industry,” says René Volker, Spotify’s senior director of live events.

“Thanks to partnerships with leading ticketers like Ticketmaster, AXS, Dice, Eventbrite, See Tickets, and others, Spotify now has most of the world’s concerts listed on-platform in our major markets. Users can now check out those listings on the Live Events Feed. They’ll be excited to see personalised recommendations for upcoming shows based upon their unique taste profile.

“Ultimately, our goal is to ensure that fans are aware of all of the upcoming events by the creators they love and creators they may come to love. We believe if we get that right, then we can get more fans to more shows and help artists and venues have better-filled rooms. We’d love to be a part of helping the live music industry recover and, even more importantly to us, helping to grow it in the years to come.”

“We spent about two years studying the industry, its products and its users”

Sam Sheridan, Spotify’s product manager for live events discovery, explains the Live Events Feed was two years in the making.

“We spent about two years studying the industry, its products and its users,” he says. “One of the key behaviours we see is that fans engage with artists on-platform, but then they leave to search for listings online or to even follow artists on social media for the sole purpose of staying on top of their events. We think the Live Events Feed is an opportunity to help close this loop. This helps ease the burden on fans, reduces the competition artists need to contend with to stand out, and creates new efficiencies around marketing.

“Another core learning was how sticky the discovery pathways are that lead with the artist, which you can see manifest in the design that leans into rich artist imagery, helping fans feel more connected and better informed about their favourite artists. We also included a new way to represent and celebrate the full body of the artist’s touring offering.”

He continues: “In addition, we built a new messaging tool to provide fans with personalised recommendations for upcoming live events based on their listening habits. And we’re putting fans in control of how they want to be communicated with by giving them tools to set their notification preferences, and offering them more information about our different ticketing partners. This, in turn, is helping these partners to find audiences.”

 


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Milan Rokic named SVP of AEG Presents Asia

Live entertainment veteran Milan Rokic has been appointed SVP of AEG Presents Asia.

A longtime industry leader in the region’s live entertainment sector, Rokic will be responsible for leading the AEG Presents Asia team in acquiring and implementing a robust touring business.

As the former VP of marketing for Cirque du Soleil’s Asia-Pacific headquarters, Rokic played an important role in developing Australia and New Zealand into one of the company’s leading territories and in expanding Cirque du Soleil to the Middle East and regions throughout Asia. He also oversaw the launch of Cirque du Soleil’s first permanent shows in Macau and Tokyo.

“I am thrilled to join the AEG team in Asia at this exciting time,” says Rokic. “We are expanding our team, actively pursuing new tours, and building a business that will rapidly grow across the territory.”

“Milan is a great addition to our team and brings years of experience in the unique entertainment markets throughout Asia”

Adam Wilkes, president and CEO of AEG Presents Asia, says: “Milan is a great addition to our team and brings years of experience in the unique entertainment markets throughout Asia. He joins AEG with an established regional network, well credentialed background and natural leadership skills that will be crucial as we continue to grow AEG Presents throughout the region.”

After leaving Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group in early 2010, Rokic was recruited by BASE Entertainment to establish its business in Singapore.

Prior to joining AEG Presents in early 2022, Rokic had founded his own live entertainment company, Sliding Doors Entertainment, and reunited with Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group as the local presenter for their productions throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

 


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LN Urban and Mass Appeal team for Hip-Hop 50 Live

Live Nation Urban is joining forces with Nas’ entertainment company Mass Appeal to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop.

Mass Appeal is led by the American rapper along with creative director Sacha Jenkins and CEO Peter Bittenbender. Its “multi-year” partnership with Live Nation will see the companies collaborate on a series of hip-hop-centric live programming.

Events will range from park jams to festivals, reports Billboard.

“We are thrilled to partner with the world’s leading live entertainment company to bring fans one-of-a-kind experiences in celebration of hip-hop’s 50th birthday,” says Bittenbender. “We are planning to celebrate all facets of the culture and globe via this dynamic partnership.”

“Live Nation Urban was founded to redefine culture”

Kicking off this summer at US parks nationwide, other activities will include live DJ sessions, interactive experiences, pop-up merchandise and educational activations. Park Jams in November will be followed by programmes honouring Hip-Hop History Month.

“Live Nation Urban was founded to redefine culture,” adds Brandon Pankey, VP of business development and operations at Live Nation Urban. “To celebrate 50 years of hip-hop with Nas, Peter and the Mass Appeal team is absolutely the type of partnership that our company is excited to form to continue to tell the stories about our culture globally.”

Mass Appeal and Live Nation Urban will also bring fans original content, product collaborations and Web3 launches to mark hip-hop’s semi-centennial. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to various charities including the Universal Hip Hop Museum, which is set to open in 2024.

 


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Bruce Moran: ‘Latin America is on fire right now’

Live Nation Latin America president Bruce Moran says the territory has been “on fire” since returning from the pandemic, with fans buying tickets at an unprecedented pace.

Moran recently spoke to IQ about Coldplay’s record-shattering Music Of The Spheres World Tour, which has 37 dates confirmed in the region so far, but says he is witnessing strong results across the board.

“We’re having just a remarkable year,” he says. “We started the year with 11 Coldplay shows, six sold-out Metallica stadium shows and five great shows with Maroon 5. And then we have 12 sellout shows with Harry Styles and seven with Dua Lipa coming up, as well as 11 with Rosalia.

“We can be a bit of a backwater, I suppose, but in my opinion we have some of the greatest fans in the world. Certainly, the bands love the reaction they get and we want every band to experience some of the wonderful fans in Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and more.”

New York-based Moran admits to eagerly awaiting Backstreet Boys’ concert at Sao Paulo’s Allianz Parque in January 2023, since the gig was originally planned for March 2020.

“Latin America is on fire right now and we need the music industry to take note”

“The very last show that we cancelled as the pandemic hit was the Backstreet Boys,” he tells IQ. “We were sold out at the football stadium in Sao Paulo and I was on the phone with the manager the night they played Rio [Jeunesse Arena, two days earlier]. Everything was getting shut down around us and I said, ‘I don’t think this is a good idea.’ But I said, ‘Let’s postpone and not cancel.’

“Well, we finally did set the date, happily, this year and they’re coming back next year. So the fans will have bought tickets in 2019 and they’ll finally see the Backstreet Boys in a sold out stadium in 2023.  Of course, we’ve added yet another stadium show in Sao Paulo to go with it and it’s doing great, along with two other dates in Brazil, so it’s a nice closure. It brings the pandemic full circle.”

The company is also working with Primavera Sound on the Barcelona festival’s inaugural Brazil edition in Sao Paulo in November, topped by Arctic Monkeys, Bjork, Travis Scott and Lorde. And Moran suggests that, unlike some of their European counterparts, Latin American music fans have shown little or no hesitance in getting back in the swing of things.

“We opened up in March of this year and the reaction of the fans has just been heartwarming,” he reports. “They have embraced the reopening of live entertainment and voted with their feet. They’re in line buying tickets for shows at a rate that we’ve never seen before and we hope to maintain that and try to capitalise on this momentum for years to come.

“The success has been great and has enabled us, certainly in the case of Coldplay, to add additional shows. We’re selling tickets at a pace we’ve never seen before. Latin America is on fire right now and we need the music industry to take note.”

IQ’s full market report on Latin America will be published in the next edition of IQ Magazine.

 


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$10m boost for South Australia’s live music scene

A new AU$10 million government scheme has been launched to support the recovery of South Australia’s music scene.

The See it Live Music Package includes a range of grants, a voucher scheme, mental health support programmes, financing for venue upgrades, a live music advisory council and an events cancellation fund to help the industry bounce back from the Covid crisis.

The Live Music and Event Cancellation Fund, which will be available from July, provides financial assistance of between $10,000 and $250,000 if an event or live music performance is cancelled or rescheduled due to the introduction of Covid-19 restrictions.

“We’re determined to see this industry recover, rebuild and get our musicians back to doing what they do best”

“We’re determined to see this industry recover, rebuild and get our musicians back to doing what they do best,” says South Australian premier Peter Malinauskas. “This industry is a huge supporter of jobs and small business right across our State, to get the scene back and booming will provide more work and a greater injection into our economy.”

Applications have opened for event grants of between $5,000 and $50,000 for SA-based promoters, organisations and businesses to help meet costs, along with venue improvement grants of $5,000 and e-vouchers worth $400 each for venues to host live music.

Meanwhile, $250,000 will be provided to the Support Act music industry charity, which offers a free, confidential phone counselling service staffed by psychologists. The funding will also ensure South Australian music workers have access to a range of industry specific prevention, education and training programmes.

“Live music and performance venues are an important part of South Australia’s economy”

In addition, a $500,000 grant will see live music return to the Royal Adelaide Show’s programme for the first time in 20 years and will feature South Australian and Indigenous artists. The plan also includes the establishment of the Premier’s Live Music Advisory Council, which will bid to leverage the participants’ collective industry connections and expertise.

“South Australia is rebounding, and we want to do everything we can to come back better than before,” adds Adelaide-based MP Andrea Michaels. “Live music and performance venues are an important part of South Australia’s economy and integral to the development and employment of our talented local artists.

“Through these grants we hope to see a whole new calendar of live gigs and festivals during 2022 and 2023, offering audiences a great opportunity to get along to a music performance. Music events in venues, laneways, and public spaces will enrich our state and attract visitors boosting local businesses.”

 


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Execs accused of links to sanctioned promoter

Two California-based music industry executives have been arrested by the FBI over alleged links to a concert promoter with ties to Mexican drug cartels.

Del Records owner Ángel del Villar, 41, and Del Entertainment CFO Luca Scalisi, 56, appeared at the US District Court in Los Angeles last week, charged with conspiring to violate the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

A third defendant named in the complaint is 37-year-old music promoter Jesus Perez Alvear, of Morelos, Mexico, who controls Gallistica Diamante/Ticket Premier. His current whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be living in Mexico.

Perez, who promoted concerts in Mexico for Del Entertainment until March 2019, is listed as a Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker under the Kingpin Act, which bans people in the US from doing business with him. The promoter – known as Chucho Pérez – was designated in 2018, having allegedly laundered money through concerts for the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG) and Los Cuinis Drug Trafficking Organization.

If convicted, Del Villar and Scalisi would face up to 30 years in federal prison, while Perez would face a maximum of 10 years

The complaint alleges that on 19 April 2018, FBI agents approached a well-known musician – referred to in the complaint as Individual A – and told him about Perez’s designation and how that prohibited him from performing concerts that Perez promoted.

However, according to the complaint, Individual A went on to perform at five concerts in Mexico – all promoted by Perez – acting at the direction or with the knowledge of Del Villar, Scalisi and Perez.

If convicted of violating the Kingpin Act, Del Villar and Scalisi would face up to 30 years in federal prison, while Perez would face a maximum of 10 years.

 


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German biz calls for clarity on Covid winter plan

Germany’s events business is calling for clarity on the government’s Covid containment plans for the autumn and winter period.

The Event Management Forum (EMF), which includes the BDKV (Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry) and venue association LiveKomm (LiveMusikKommission), has welcomed recommendations drawn up in preparation for potential developments with the pandemic.

According to Die Welt, plans reportedly under discussion include considerations for masks to be made compulsory in all indoor public spaces during the winter months.

However, the EMF expresses frustration at the authorities’ continued reluctance to engage directly with the industry, and the lack of aid measures planned for the sector should a worse-case scenario emerge in the coming months, leading to the re-introduction of social distancing measures and capacity restrictions at concerts.

“Organisers don’t plan tours overnight and must therefore be able to anticipate the feasibility of their events in order to avoid damage,” says Axel Ballreich, chair of LiveKomm.

“Ticket sales for cultural events are already going extremely poorly because the audience first wants to wait and see whether events”

Having previously reported weak advance sales for shows planned for autumn 2022 and spring 2023 due to low consumer confidence, BDKV president Jens Michow reiterates the market is still plagued by uncertainty.

“Ticket sales for cultural events are already going extremely poorly because the audience first wants to wait and see whether events are taking place reliably,” says Michow. “Added to that, many fear the risk of infection or have changed their leisure behaviour due to the crisis.

“Also, the price increases that have taken place in all areas and the uncertainty as to what effects the war in Ukraine in the coming months will have is causing German people to limit their spending on leisure time.”

 


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Promoter Giles Cooper talks Heritage Live series

Promoter Giles Cooper has spoken to IQ about his company’s Heritage Live UK outdoor concert series, which kicked off its latest run last weekend.

Giles Cooper Entertainment (GCE) has partnered with English Heritage on the shows since 2017, bringing outdoor concerts back to London’s Kenwood House the following summer after an absence of five years. The Hampstead Heath venue hosted gigs almost continuously since 1951, but in 2014 previous promoter Rouge Events pulled out of a deal after suffering poor ticket sales the year before.

Launching its 2022 line-up a week ago with 15,000-cap headline shows by James, Rag’n’Bone Man and David Rodigan’s Outlook Orchestra, Heritage Live continues tonight with a Culture Club, Bananarama and Lulu triple bill, followed by Nile Rodgers + Chic, Billy Ocean and Norman Jay MBE (18 June) and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Jake Bugg and Confidence Man (19 June).

“Heritage Live is a brand we created in 2017, so we’ve been running the series every year since then, obviously bar the pandemic,” says Cooper. “Our USP, if you like, is that we specialise in staging concerts in unique locations. It noticeably attracts people that don’t normally go to concerts – there is a distinctly local demographic mixed in with the hardcore fans.”

Other 2022 headliners include Tom Jones, Simple Minds Russell Watson, Elbow and The Bootleg Beatles

Originally taking place across two weekends in June, this year’s programme comprises more than 15 events up to mid-August and also includes shows at Ardingly Showground (cap. 20,000) in West Sussex, Englefield House (10,000) in Pangbourne, Berkshire and Audley End in Saffron Walden, Essex (12,000).

The opening night, topped by James and The Charlatans, got off to a slightly sticky start when logistical issues caused a delay to proceedings, meaning the first support band did not have time to perform. But things have since returned to a more even keel.

“That was a great shame, but health and safety is paramount,” said Cooper. “But the rest of the show happened and it was fantastic – James and The Charlatans were absolutely superb. And then the Saturday and Sunday were absolutely brilliant. I haven’t got the final figures yet, but it looked pretty full to me and it was a beautiful sunny day with an absolutely brilliant vibe.”

Other headline acts in the coming weeks include Russell Watson with the Royal Philharmonic & the NHS Choir, Simple Minds, Elbow, The Bootleg Beatles and Tom Jones, who wraps up the series at Audley End on 14 August. Some of the shows are new promotions, while others were originally scheduled for 2020/21, pre-pandemic.

“A lot of promoters will be glad to have delivered shows that we’ve had on sale for two to three years”

“I think a lot of promoters, definitely me included, will be glad to have delivered shows that we’ve had on sale for two to three years,” concedes Cooper. “With the rescheduled shows, it’s very difficult to get the enthusiasm going amongst the public to buy tickets because, when you put a show on sale, it’s all about the hype of that week before – the marketing gives the impression that you better buy your ticket quickly or they’ll sell out.

“The problem with rescheduled shows if that you can’t regenerate that hype again, so we’ve all found it difficult to sell any decent numbers on them. And in fact, in some cases, are lower than we had before they rescheduled because, of course, the public are entitled to a refund if they can’t make the new date. So they have been a bit of a chain around our neck a bit, I have to admit, but they’re balanced with the new shows, which are doing very well.

“Tom Jones has done over 10,000 tickets in a couple of weeks and Elbow’s doing very well, so the shows we’ve announced since January/February onwards have done great. It’s a very peculiar market we’re in at the moment: some things are doing not very well at all. But others, if you’ve got it right, are doing really well.”

As part of Heritage Live, GCE is also promoting Flackstock – a fundraiser for mental health charities – at Englefield House on 25 July, staged in honour of the late British television presenter Caroline Flack. Featuring live music, dance and comedy, artists set to appear include Professor Green, Fleur East, Pixie Lott, Louise Redknapp and Natalie Imbruglia.

 


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