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Super Bowl party organisers slammed for unsafe gigs

Rapper 50 Cent and DJ Steve Aoki both performed at Super Bowl parties during the weekend where there were no masks or social distancing.

The ‘In Da Club’ rapper celebrated the annual championship game of the NFL (National Football League) with a performance in an airport hangar in St Petersburg, Florida, with a crowd of maskless fans who had paid between $85 and $7,000, according to TMZ.

The concert was slammed by St Petersburg mayor, Rick Kriseman, who tweeted: “This isn’t how we should be celebrating the Super Bowl. It’s not safe or smart. It’s stupid. We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent.”

Aoki, meanwhile, played a gig at WTR Tampa Pool inside the Godfrey Waterfront Hotel, at which he shared a bottle of champagne with a few fans in the huge, maskless crowd.

The Tampa Police Department said: “Scenes from WTR last night and a few other clubs were incredibly disappointing. The city spent the better part of a year educating residents on precautions due to the pandemic and have recently put a mask order in place for both the entertainment and event zones to ensure the safety of our residents and visitors to our great city.

“We’re going to take a very close look at this, and it may end up costing someone a lot more than 50 cent”

“When the governor lifted the capacity restrictions and opened bars, we turned to the tight-knit hospitality community to reopen safe and sound but there’s a level of personal responsibility that must be followed or risk getting shut down.”

The event organiser, Michael Piper, says the concert was in a 40,000 square-foot outdoor space with sanitation stations throughout and Covid-symptom detectors at the entrance – adding, “It’s the best we can do”.

“I’m not sure what else [we could do],” said Piper. “We expanded the area. We encourage masks. We clean. We put up the machines that can help identify someone who maybe didn’t know they had it.”

Dr Anthony Fauci, the chief medical advisor to US president Joe Biden, had urged Americans to watch the Super Bowl within their immediate households due to the coronavirus pandemic, saying large events could become “mini super spreader” events.

Around 25,000 people were in attendance at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Kansas City Chiefs for the Super Bowl 2021.

 


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Saudi Arabia festival “turning point” for youth culture

Jeddah World Fest, the largest music festival to take place in Saudi Arabia, has been dubbed as “overwhelmingly successful” by organisers Roqu Media International.

The sold-out festival, which took place on 18 July, saw performances by 50 Cent, Janet Jackson, Chris Brown and Steve Aoki. Nicki Minaj, originally billed as a headliner for the event, pulled out a week before following pressure from human rights organisations.

The Ireland-based Roqu Media now has a contract to deliver the festival for the next three years. The media production company is also preparing similar events to take place in Russia, Georgia and South Africa.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Roqu president Robert Quirke says the Saudi festival was “overwhelmingly successful [but] extremely challenging given the local circumstances.”

“[Jeddah World Fest is] a turning point for all youth culturally”

According to Quirke, Jeddah World Fest is helping to change perceptions of the country, serving as a “turning point for all youth culturally”. The event, like all those produced by Roqu, was broadcast live on television in countries across the world.

The international live entertainment market in Saudi Arabia is still in relatively early days. Many acts have faced criticism for adding the country to their touring schedule due to human rights’ concerns.

The kingdom hosted its first-ever mixed gender music festival in December last year. Korean pop stars BTS will become the first international group to play a solo stadium concert in the country in October.

Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority has said it plans to spend US$64 billion on the sector over the next decade.

 


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Saudi’s Jeddah Fest secures 50 Cent, Janet Jackson

Saudi Arabia’s largest-ever music festival, Jeddah World Fest, is taking place today (18 July), with the last-minute additions of Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Chris Brown and Future.

The artists will perform alongside Liam Payne, Steve Aoki and Tyga at the 63,241-capacity King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah.

The newly added acts replace rapper Nicki Minaj, who cancelled her appearance at the sold-out music festival last week, following pressure from human rights organisations.

The president of the Human Rights Foundation – the principle organisation urging acts to boycott shows in Saudi Arabia – says it is “profoundly distressing that they [the artists] have chosen money over morals.”

“These individuals constantly make public statements of support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached”

“These individuals constantly make public statements of support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached,” Halvorssen told the Associated Press.

Jeddah World Fest is part of the Saudi government’s campaign to open up the live entertainment market, following a US$2.7 billion investment in the sector in 2017.

K-pop stars BTS were the latest act to add the country to their touring schedule, announcing an October show in Riyadh. Mariah Carey, Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas and Tiesto are among international acts to have recently played in the country.

 


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Eventbrite partners with the MJR Group

Eventbrite has signed a multi-year ticketing partnership with independent UK promoter and venue operator the MJR Group.

The agreement with the MJR Group – which follows the ticketing/event technology giant’s recent tie-up with Spain’s Elrow – commenced with MJR’s recent shows in Australia with 50 Cent (pictured), where Eventbrite’s platform was used to sell more than 25,000 tickets for two dates.

Eventbrite will now power the MJR Group’s portfolio of future touring events and productions, as well as its portfolio of UK venues.

Richard Buck, founder and owner of the MJR Group, comments: “With lots of innovative projects planned over the next years, a ticketing partnership with Eventbrite felt the right move to support our growth. They completely understand our independent ethos and can provide us with a constantly evolving tech platform that suits our needs and helps deliver our expansion as a leading global entertainment company.”

“This partnership with Richard and MJR Group is a direct result of Eventbrite’s continued dedication to the independent live music space”

Paul Everett, head of music at Eventbrite UK, adds: “This partnership with Richard and MJR Group is a direct result of Eventbrite’s continued dedication to the independent live music space. MJR are a highly ambitious company and we are aligned on how we view the future of the live music space around the world.

“We’ve talked to a lot of independent promoters and venue operators all over the globe to find out what they need, and have created solutions for that. It is rewarding that this dedication is now paying off, having earned the trust of one of the UK’s largest independent music promoters.”

MJR recently hired booker Baris Basaran to head up its growth in central and eastern Europe, following a period of expansion first into Australia and New Zealand, and then the Middle East, Asia and South Africa.

San Francisco-headquartered Eventbrite, which has processed £7 billion in gross ticket sales its inception in 2006, is active in 180 countries and territories.

 


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