AEG Europe names Kylie Taylor first VP of comms
The European arm of AEG has appointed former Getty senior comms figure Kylie Taylor to a new position overseeing comms across the continent.
Taylor takes the role of VP of communications at AEG Europe, which operates venues including The O2 and Eventim Apollo in London and festivals such as American Express BST Hyde Park and All Points East in London.
AEG Europe said that in her new role, Taylor becomes an advisor to the European operation’s senior leadership team and oversees all aspects of external and internal comms, providing strategic and creative communications leadership.
“From media relations to global partnerships, to working across the company’s sustainability agenda, which is at the forefront of the industry, the role has also been appointed to deliver the company’s inclusive culture programme in collaboration with the people team,” the company stated.
“It’s rare that you fall in love with both a role and a company – I’m pinching myself”
It’s the first time AEG Europe has had someone in place to lead comms for the overarching company, although some venues such as the O2 have their own comms teams.
Taylor says: “It’s rare that you fall in love with both a role and a company – I’m pinching myself and am beyond thrilled to be joining the team. The business already has such amazing initiatives and a great framework in place which jumped out at me as unique during the interview process; I’m really excited to help bring this to life.”
She joins AEG Europe from Getty Images, where she had worked for more than 11 years, most recently as senior director, global corporate communications.
AEG Europe’s other venues include the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, the Mercedes Benz Arena in Berlin and the Accor Arena in Paris.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
MAMA Group co-founders launch new Manchester venue
A “next generation” live music venue and cultural destination from the co-founders of MAMA Group is opening in Manchester’s Circle Square next month.
Launched by Canvas Venues Group (CVG), the team behind London’s The Pickle Factory and Oval Space, the 600-cap Canvas is aimed at the under 30s market and marks CVG’s first foray outside of the capital.
The company has invested £2 million into the development, which is backed by investment group Edition Capital and opens on 8 June. Set across free floors, it comprises a music venue, members bar and lounge and late night bar and restaurant. It will host a series of live gigs from both national and international acts, album launches, club nights and listening parties.
“Manchester was always where we were going first outside of London as a city of huge cultural significance, especially in the music scene,” says owner and co-founder Dean James. “We launched Canvas here because Manchester represents music, community, and entertainment in spades.”
“This generation needs a place to re-establish and rebuild the social connections that were taken from them over the past two years”
Initially operating in Manchester and London, CVG intends to roll out the concept to cities such as Glasgow and Bristol in the UK, and Melbourne and Austin internationally.
James previously co-founded MAMA Group, which owned and operated Lovebox, Wilderness and Great Escape festivals as well as Hammersmith Apollo, Jazz Café, Forum, Manchester Ritz and G-A-Y venues. MAMA was acquired by LN-Gaiety in 2015.
“We have aimed this venue specifically at the youth market because we believe, now more than ever, this generation needs a place to re-establish and rebuild the social connections that were taken from them over the past two years,” adds James. “We will aim our programming and our members’ events squarely at helping them to rebuild those connections and a way of life that involves connecting with people.
“Circle Square stood out to us as a destination due to its central location and close proximity to the universities. Canvas is a way we can champion the freshest talent in the industry, whilst developing the next generation and we look forward to seeing it become part of the community.”
“The appeal to open Canvas here comes from the breadth and diversity of Manchester’s live music and cultural scene”
The venue will operate a ‘plastic free’ policy in a bid to eliminate single use plastics. Canvas’ music policy will reflect a more commercial version of the current Oval and Pickle programming, and members will have access to two free gigs or club nights a month and specifically curated weekly members’ events.
“Manchester has a history of being creative and rebellious within the fabric of its music scene from the beginning,” adds head of programming Joe Splain. “The appeal to open Canvas here comes from the breadth and diversity of Manchester’s live music and cultural scene and the influence it has not just on British music culture, but also internationally.”
“By giving people a platform to share and collaborate, Canvas has a really unique way of bringing together artists and audiences from underrepresented backgrounds. We try hard to avoid being polarised – I think it’s this passion that keeps us ahead of the curve and relevant to what our communities actually want.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Imagine Dragons help pay off Utah venue’s mortgage
Imagine Dragons have stepped in to help secure the future of a live music venue in Utah which helped launch their career.
The Las Vegas band’s lead singer Dan Reynolds presented Corey Fox, owner of the 300-cap Valour in Provo, with a “paid in full” mortgage note at a show marking its 16th anniversary.
KSL TV reports the group launched the “Free the Fox” campaign with Zions Bank last June after learning Fox was struggling to make payments during the pandemic.
“I don’t think we’d be a band were it not for Corey Fox and Velour,” says Reynolds. “Corey has always believed in young artists and provided a refuge for them to be around other artists. This is the least we could do to help him through a challenging time.”
“Velour has done so much to help build a vibrant downtown and put Provo on the music map”
Last summer, Imagine Dragons livestreamed a benefit concert with Provo’s Neon Trees, with Zions Bank promising to match up to $50,000 of the funds raised – enough to pay off Fox’s mortgage.
“Velour has done so much to help build a vibrant downtown and put Provo on the music map,” adds Zions Bank regional manager Nick Whiting. “Zions Bank is proud to support the generous efforts of Imagine Dragons, Neon Trees, and so many community members to preserve this local treasure.
“It’s important that as a community we continue to show up for Velour so it can keep delivering great music and launching great bands like Imagine Dragons.”
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
LGBTIQ+ List 2022: Submissions now open
Submissions are now open for the LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine‘s second annual celebration of queer pioneers in the international live music business.
Launched last year as part of IQ Magazine’s first-ever Pride edition, the list highlights and profiles lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer professionals contributing to, improving, or making an impact in the international live entertainment business.
Anyone who works in the global live music industry can put themselves forward, or be nominated by friends or colleagues.
Anyone who works in the global live music industry can put themselves forward, or be nominated by friends or colleagues
The final list will be decided from nominations, alongside an invited steering committee made up of individuals from key companies across the business and last year’s LGBTIQ+ List.
Finalists from last year will not be eligible for the LGBTIQ+ List 2022, in order to give others a chance to fly the flag. A full list of last year’s 20 outstanding queer professionals can be found here.
To submit yourself or someone you know for the LGBTIQ+ List 2022, email Pride editor Lisa Henderson with details of your nomination, and the reason why they should be on the list.
The deadline for submissions is Wednesday 8 June, giving you three full weeks to spread the word.
Harry Styles to kick off Apple Music Live series
Apple Music has announced the launch of a new recurring live music series, Apple Music Live.
Kicking off with Harry Styles: One Night Only in New York at UBS Arena in Long Island on 20 May, the livestream series promises to “give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform to flaunt how they connect with audiences and how their songs translate to live performance”.
The show will be streamed exclusively to Apple Music subscribers at no extra cost at 9pm EDT/6pm PDT and coincides with the release of Styles’ third album Harry’s House. There will also be encores on 22 May at 12pm EDT/9am PDT and 26 May at 4 pm BST.
“No matter how much time and effort an artist may spend crafting music in the studio, it’s on the stage where they really get to show their work”
“No matter how much time and effort an artist may spend crafting music in the studio, it’s on the stage where they really get to show their work,” says the tech company. “Apple Music Live is a new recurring series designed to do just that: give the biggest stars in music the biggest possible platform to flaunt how they connect with audiences and how their songs translate to live performance.”
Details of other acts set to take part in the series are yet to be revealed. Apple previously ran the iTunes Festival (later the Apple Music Festival) in London from 2007-16, which starred artists such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Oasis, Elton John, Britney Spears and Robbie Williams.
Execs talk investment opportunities in live music
A trio of leading live music executives have shared their views on the areas of the business most ripe for investment.
With the market bouncing back internationally following the Covid shutdown, Mumford & Sons musician and venue boss Ben Lovett, Oak View Group (OVG) International’s Jessica Koravos and Jarred Arfa, COO of Artist Group International, weighed in on the biggest opportunities for the industry.
Speaking during the Industry Investment: Field notes panel at the recent ILMC in London, US-based Arfa suggested the concept of Live Nation’s upcoming “emo nostalgia” festival When We Were Young in Las Vegas, which has expanded to three days due to demand, pointed a way forward for the industry.
“There are obviously so many festivals out there, but we’re seeing a lot of success where they’re focusing on specific niches,” he said. “People want to be part of that moment in time and relive that, as opposed to, ‘Let’s give everyone a little flavour of everything.’ Those that are focusing on specific genres, or overfeeding one time period, are seeing some success and a point of distinction.”
“The pandemic has made people really appreciate those coming together moments that maybe they took for granted before”
Koravos, who is also president of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group, which oversees some of the world’s biggest theatrical titles, said Covid-19 has prompted a change of mindset in the public when it comes to live shows.
“One thing that pandemic has absolutely done is made people really appreciate those coming together moments that maybe they took for granted before,” she said. “Flipping hats and talking about the West End and theatre for a second, what’s very interesting to me is that what’s very successful in the West End right now is the shows that have been there the longest.
“I see it with Phantom of the Opera, which has flipped its age demographic down by 10 years over the course of the pandemic, and I think it’s because of exactly that – you take for granted that something that’s always been there will keep being there. But I don’t think that’s the assumption anymore.
“People want to go see Billy Joel at [Madison Square] Garden. They want to go see Phantom of the Opera. They want to make sure they are appreciating the things that might not always be there.”
“There are just not enough good venues. It’s really that simple”
TVG Hospitality co-founder Lovett urged would-be investors to put their faith (and finances) in the independent sector.
“I would back indie promoters,” he said. “Everything’s getting so algorithmic, we could end up with pretty watered down creative inputs into our lives unless those indie promoters go and stick their neck out. So I would say, invest money into those indie promoters… If we can get some great promoters coming through, it’s going to be good for everyone.”
Earlier this year, TVG Hospitality announced the closing of $50 million in new funding to expand its team and venue portfolio in the UK and US, backed by a heavyweight list of investors including OVG, founded by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff.
TVG is bidding to create the next generation of music venues alongside elevated hospitality offerings in order to enhance the artist and fan experience and create gathering spaces as community assets. The company’s current portfolio includes London music venues, Omeara, Lafayette and the Social, and broader hospitality offerings at Flat Iron Square and Goods Way.
“This is going to be the most exciting few years”
“Across the board, I think what Tim and Irving saw – and the same issue that we were trying to solve – is there are just not enough good venues. It’s really that simple,” said Lovett, whose latest project – the 8,000-cap Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, Alabama – opened earlier this month.
“For the last couple of decades there just hasn’t been enough investment into truly inspiring places,” continued Lovett. “There are people buying incredible bars and restaurants and hotels, and there’s lots of other things that are being constantly being reimagined and the envelope is being pushed. But when it comes to music venues it’s just stagnated. And this is going to be the most exciting few years where all of these new venues are going to [launch].”
OVG has already opened the Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle, Moody Center in Austin and the UBS Arena in Long Island, New York, with schemes also on their way in Manchester, Baltimore, Coachella Valley and Cardiff.
“Venues are very expensive,” added Koravos. “The 2,000 seaters are expensive, the 20,000 seaters are super-expensive, so investment is a crucial part of getting those off the ground. But the whole point of Oak View Group is really just looking around at the fact that, around the world, the big music venues are actually all buildings that were built 20 years ago or more, for the most part.
“They were built for sports for the most part, not by anybody who knew anything about the content about what needed to go in them and what the fan needed to experience. So at Oak View, our whole reason for being is to build the best experience in the best markets.”
Wembley launches rooms for neuro-divergent guests
Wembley Stadium has become the UK’s first music venue to launch two multi-purpose sensory rooms to better accommodate neuro-divergent guests and their families.
The new technology used includes traditional sensory equipment, alongside a stadium-first immersive solution to enable the stadium to accommodate the widest range of access requirements and achieve the huighest level of inclusivity.
The sensory rooms, designed and installed in partnership with multisensory equipment specialist Experia and in consultation with music therapy charity Nordoff Robbins, will provide guests who would ordinarily find the stadium experience challenging a safe and comfortable space to enjoy events.
“We pride ourselves on being an inclusive stadium, and this further reinforces that commitment”
“To be able to open these spaces at the most iconic multi-purpose venue in the world is a moment of great excitement,” says Matthew Owen, Wembley Stadium’s customer engagement manager & lead on disability access planning and provision. “We pride ourselves on being an inclusive stadium, and this further reinforces that commitment.”
The launch also aims to create a pathway to enable guests with disabilities to progress and go on to be able to enjoy an event in general admission.
“We are proud to be involved in this exciting launch of two multi-purpose rooms, which will give people who wish to attend events the opportunity to do so in a safe and enjoyable way,” says Sandy Trappitt, head of partnerships at Nordoff Robbins.
“As an organisation it is our privilege to connect, collaborate and co-create music with our clients.We aim to advocate for their continued access to the therapeutic benefits of music. Wembley Stadium is host to some of the biggest sporting events and music performances, and all guests will now be able to enjoy everything the venue has to offer.”
The rooms will be used for the first time at this weekend’s Emirates FA Cup and Vitality Women’s FA Cup finals.
The 90,000-cap national stadium’s 2022 live music programme kicks off with Capital’s Summertime Ball on 12 June, followed by shows with Harry Styles (18-19 June), Ed Sheeran (24-25, 29-30 June, 1 July), Westlife (6 August) and Coldplay (12-13, 16-17, 19-20 August).
The venue’s senior commercial manager James Taylor tells IQ about the venue’s plans here.
New Bosses name one thing industry must change
Alumni from IQ Magazine‘s most recent class of New Bosses have identified areas of improvement for the international live music business.
A handful of the next-gen leaders shared their thoughts during Meet the New Bosses: The Class of 2021, at last month’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC).
Theo Quiblier, head of concerts at Two Gentlemen in Switzerland, believes the one thing the industry needs to get better at is normalising failure.
“We are in a fantastic industry where everyone is signing the new top artist or selling out venues or sealing huge deals with festivals but that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he says. “I feel that we’re all a bit afraid of saying, ‘I went on sale with my favourite band and it didn’t go well’ – as simple as that.
“I feel that we’re all a bit afraid of saying, ‘I went on sale with my favourite band and it didn’t go well'”
“As a promoter, I could say, ‘Oh, I work with this top band,’ and people think, ‘That’s amazing, he must be rich,’ and, in reality, it’s your biggest loss of the year. We need little reality checks, and to say ‘I’m doing my best but I’m not the best’. Sharing insecurities is great because failure happens to everybody.”
Flo Noseda-Littler, agency assistant at Wasserman Music (formerly Paradigm UK), called for better pay for junior staff so more people can viably start their careers in the industry.
“Fair salaries for junior staff and internships so that it enables people in those positions to live in the cities in which they work,” comments Noseda-Littler. “By providing a free internship or a low paid job, you’re cutting off so many people who don’t have the ability to still live with their parents or be subsidised by their parents. And then you’re just reducing the number of people you can recruit and missing out on potentially really ambitious and amazing people.”
Anna Parry, partnerships manager at the O2 in London, echoed Noseda-Littler’s thoughts, adding that companies also need to improve their recruitment strategies in order to reach a more diverse pool of talent.
“This is a job that costs you a lot of time at your desk and a lot of time in your head”
“Companies really need to put more effort into understanding why people aren’t applying for these jobs, and then they need to create a lower barrier of entry for those types of people,” says Parry. “It’s not just saying, ‘Oh okay, well we posted the job on a different forum than we usually would’. It’s going to take a lot more of that to actually make a difference. We need to focus on that because it’s important our industry is representative of the artists we represent.”
Age Versluis (promoter at Friendly Fire in the Netherlands) on the other hand, is petitioning for a four-day workweek: “This is a job that costs you a lot of time at your desk and a lot of time in your head. Since Covid, we’re seeing a lot of people burning out and having trouble getting to that fourth or fifth gear.
“We forget that moving shows for two years to the same months is quite stressful. I think we could use some extra ‘me’ time.”
Tessie Lammle, agent at UTA in the US, echoed her peers’ points, adding: “I was going to say diversity or work-life balance but Theo’s point is huge. I think the younger generation is getting much better at [sharing insecurities].”
Each of the panellists appeared as part of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses 2021, an annual list celebrating the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business. See the full list of the distinguished dozen here.
UK arena bosses discuss green goals
UK arena executives have given an insight into the strides being made to turn the sector into a greener business.
Representatives of London’s The O2 and OVO Arena Wembley, Scottish Event Campus and Manchester’s Co-op Live spoke of the direction of travel at the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), the leading gathering for sustainability at live events.
“I think it does prove that people are a) passionate and b) and also doing lots about but also see there’s still a lot to be done all together with the entire industry’s help,” said panel chair Lucy Noble of the Royal Albert Hall (RAH). “So let’s keep going and hopefully if we reconvene next year we’ll have lots more exciting news and be able to talk about new developments.”
Arenas have taken huge strides to strategically reduce their carbon emissions, eliminate waste, green up their food and beverage offerings. Noble recently detailed the RAH’s sustainability focus in an interview with IQ, while the SEC hosted last year’s COP26 climate summit prior to its OVO Hydro in Glasgow becoming the first arena in the world to achieve A Greener Arena (AGA) certification for its commitment to sustainability.
Oak View Group’s new east Manchester development Co-op Live, meanwhile, will become the UK’s first all-electric arena when it opens next year.
Here is a sample of what the GEI: ‘Stepping Into A Greener Arena’ panellists had to say about their green efforts to date…
“We’ve gone red meat free in the arena”
John Drury, OVO Arena Wembley
“We’re part of ASM Global, so we’ve got our own plan in place there, and we obviously work closely now with OVO Energy. Within ASM, we’ve got what’s ASM Global Acts, we’ve got these three main pillars that we work towards that encompass environmental sustainability, community, and diversity and inclusion. So we work with those headings across what we do. One big thing that we did a few years ago as a venue is we replaced all of the house lighting with LED. It was a big investment, nearly quarter of a million pounds, but the payback on that was three years. We only purchase renewable energy. We don’t sell any waste to landfill. We have recycling bins on the concourse, we do all the usual things that you would expect most venues will do. We’ve gone red meat free in the arena, so you can’t get a burger at the venue. You can get chicken burger. It’s bad news for chickens, but it’s been good for the venue and nobody buys a ticket for a show because they want a burger. If they’re hungry, they’ll get veg, chilli, loaded fries or they’ll get something else. It’s a really good initiative and clearly makes sense.”
“We’ve been trialling wind turbines on site for a year or so now to see if that can play a part in our roadmap to net zero”
Steve Sayer, The O2
“AEG has been focused on sustainability for 10-plus years. We have a global framework strategy called 1Earth, which is very much focused on water conservation, waste reduction and reducing carbon emissions. We’ve been harvesting rainwater for the last 10 years, focused on reducing water in all of our bathrooms and washrooms. We’ve been purchasing green energy from a verifiable source for about eight years. All of our energy is tracked and metered throughout the building and we’ve been doing that for a long time. We segregate all of our waste, a minute proportion – less than 1% – goes to landfill, the rest of it is dealt within a sustainable source. We’ve been trialling wind turbines on site for a year or so now to see if that can play a part in our roadmap to net zero. We set a green team up. I always say I was learning about climate change 30 years ago when I was in school, it’s not a new phenomenon. But I think in the last five years it’s just in everybody’s consciousness and Blue Planet 2, definitely in the UK was a real catalyst, particularly at The O2. That then led to us setting up or creating a CSR programme. We have four pillars: sustainability, charity, accessibility and community, and it’s called Good Vibes All Round. It was our first foray into more of a socially purpose driven venue. It’s very much a journey, and it’s a journey that is going to continue for a number of years.”
“OVO Hydro is the first arena in the world to get the Greener Arena award”
Jennifer Ennis, Scottish Event Campus
“We launched our sustainability strategy at the start of this year. The key headlines around our strategy include a net zero 2030 commitment. We did a carbon footprint assessment last year to establish what our baseline is and we’re working towards reducing that. Another key goal for us is our people goals, so that’s about how we engage with our own team to be more sustainable. We’ve got a sustainability committee now, so that has representation from all the different departments of our business. Another key one is resource so that’s all about reducing our waste and increasing recycling. We’ve got a few targets around that which align to zero waste Scotland’s targets, like reducing waste volume by 10% and increasing recycling to 70%. OVO Hydro is the first arena in the world to get the Greener Arena award, so that was a fantastic project to work towards. It is an incredibly comprehensive assessment. But equally, it gives you really good areas to focus on where you could be making improvements.”
“All of our venues are going to be driving the carbon neutral positioning as fast as we can possibly achieve it”
Sarah Tomkins, Co-op Live
“I’ll start by talking about a venue which is open, which is [OVG’s] Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle. It’s the first arena to actually achieve zero carbon certification, which is amazing, so we can learn from that. How do they create their own energy? They’re using solar power. How are they reducing gas? They’re 100% electric. They’ve got aluminium cups and are reducing all of their compostable waste. They’re also looking at how their fans travel to the building. At Co-op Live, we’re doing a very similar thing. We’ve got a football pitch and a half of solar on our roof. We’re collecting the lovely Manchester rainwater and we’re going to use that to flush our toilets and to irrigate all of our plants. We are also going to look at heat source. And then we’re also looking at all the different elements of technology from the lighting to the bin systems that will drive the most efficient building possible. And then the operational side is the bit we’re really starting to get our teeth stuck into now. We’ve got to work together to achieve the ambitions but at Oak View Group, we’re really proud to say that this is a top priority for us and all of our venues are going to be driving the carbon neutral positioning as fast as we possibly can achieve it.”
LN Middle East launches sustainable touring scheme
Live Nation Middle East and Emirates Nature-WWF have launched a new initiative to enhance the sustainability of concert tours.
Based on Live Nation’s Green Touring Programme, the scheme will look at all aspects of event production, including flights, ground transportation, hotel accommodations, merchandise and venue operations to develop guidance and best practices.
The scheme will kick-off with Maroon 5’s show at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on 6 May. Once the baseline data is collected from the study, a science-based guideline will be created to inform upcoming concerts and influence sustainable touring practices moving forward.
“Climate change is at the centre of the industry’s narrative and host cities must be ready”
“We are very excited to be launching a first of its kind project locally which will help transform the live entertainment industry for the betterment of people and planet,” says Laila Mostafa Abdullatif, director general, Emirates Nature. “With the UAE being the host for the forthcoming COP 28, Emirates Nature-WWF will aim to create a standard for wider market transformation of the event industry, encouraging the adoption of more sustainable measures.
“This initiative aims to create a path to enable market transformation of the live entertainment sector and beyond, and this is a significant partnership on the journey to delivering sustainable live events in the future.
“Climate change is at the centre of the industry’s narrative and host cities must be ready. A new era of sustainability is rising. Consumers around the world are increasingly determined to be more environmentally conscious and are using their power and voice through the products they buy and the events they attend.”
A key element of the program will be providing concert-goers with more sustainable options while attending shows.
“This is an exciting opportunity to put sustainable live entertainment centre stage ahead of COP28, furthering the environmental work we are doing in the region and across the globe,” says Patricia Yagüe, head of sustainability for EMEA Live Nation. “We are excited to partner with our global team to bring the Green Nation touring programme to our region, which is focused on measuring and reducing emissions through a science-based approach and investing in scalable, sustainable solutions.”
In line with the UAE’s target to reduce carbon footprint by 23% by 2030, the collaboration between Live Nation
Middle East and Emirates Nature-WWF will focus on the next 18 months in the lead up to COP28.
“This initiative will give us the data we need in order to provide artists and fans with more sustainable options for touring going forwards”
“This initiative will give us the data we need in order to provide artists and fans with more sustainable options for touring going forwards and will build on the global commitments Live Nation has made,” Live Nation Middle East president James Craven.
“We are very excited to be making this announcement with Emirates Nature-WWF and couldn’t be happier that Maroon 5 will be the first show in our study. With concerns around climate change never more at the forefront of our minds, it is crucial that we all look at where we can make impact.”