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French test concerts will admit positive Covid cases

France’s upcoming test concerts will admit participants who tested positive for Covid-19 before the event, according to the French minister for culture, Roselyne Bachelot.

Bachelot yesterday evening (15 January) appeared on French news channel LCI to discuss the upcoming experiments, which are spearheaded by a new working group, and revealed that positive cases “will not be filtered because you have to put yourself in a situation where there will be a mixing”.

A number of similar experiments have taken place across Europe, including Germany’s Restart-19 and Spain’s Primacov, but the tests in France would be the first to allow entry for Covid-positive participants.

According to the culture minister, two tests will take place at The Dome (cap. 8,500), Marseille, in the second half of March with 1,000 spectators who will be “seated with the possibility of getting up”.

“I am very optimistic about festivals and seated shows. For standing shows, it’s more complicated”

Participants will be tested beforehand and will be required to wear masks and use antibacterial gel.

The Marseille concerts will be organised by Béatrice Desgranges of the city’s flagship festival, Marsatac, who is also a member of France’s live music trade body, SMA (Syndicat des musiques contemporaries).

The protocols for the tests have been validated by Inserm (National Institute of Health and Medical Research) and the Scientific Council of Professor Delfraissy.

The Paris experiment will take place at the AccorHotels Arena (cap. 20, 300) in April with 5,000 participants, under the guidance of the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris, says Bachelot.

“I am very optimistic about festivals and seated shows. For standing shows, it’s more complicated,” the culture minister told LCI.

The minister also revealed that the experiments would be reviewed during an international conference in Marseille on 8 April.

 


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French band play to empty AccorHotels Arena

Having been forced by a ban on mass gatherings to call off their planned 25th-anniversary concert at AccorHotels Arena, French ska band Tryo went ahead and played the show anyway – sans fans.

Tryo, whose politically charged French-language reggae has won them fans across France and Francophone Canada, were due to celebrate a quarter of a century since their formation at the Paris arena on Friday night (13 March). However, earlier that day prime minister Édouard Philippe outlawed events of more than 100 people in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

While the concert as originally planned is rescheduled for Saturday 23 May, the group decided on Friday to film themselves playing in the empty arena – which has a capacity of over 20,000 for concerts – and stream it on their Facebook page.

“We wanted to show everyone that in spite of everything, the artists are there”

“We thought that keeping our birthday party going would be a small gift for our disappointed fans, who had spent the money to be there,” singer-guitarist Christophe Mali tells the Parisien.

“We also said to ourselves that it would be a positive message to send to the whole [Tryo] family and the cultural sector, which is going through difficult times. All these concerts and festivals cancelled, it’s really hard. We wanted to show everyone that despite everything, the artists are there.”

Watch Tryo’s performance at AccorHotels Arena, as filmed by a drone, above.

 


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Hundreds of French venues hit by coronavirus event ban

The French Ministry of Health has imposed a ban on all gatherings of over 5,000 people in “confined” spaces, following similar measures affecting the live music market in Italy and Switzerland.

Health minister Olivier Véran announced the ban on Saturday (29 February), which also forbids any events in the northern region of l’Oise and Haute Savoie in the southeast of the country, with “the aim of limiting the spread of covid-19”. 130 cases of the virus have currently been reported in France.

According to French live music industry association Prodiss, the ban will affect “hundreds of venues” in the country and “thousands of cultural events”. Prodiss has called a crisis meeting with the ministries of health and culture to talk over the decision.

The 20,300-capacity Accorhotels Arena in the French capital of Paris cancelled yesterday’s Juste Debout hip-hop dance competition.

However, directors of the Zenith Paris – La Villette (6,293) have announced that “no concerts will be cancelled in the next 15 days”, subject to possible changes in government regulations. This means concerts by Caravan Palace (7 March), Debout Citoyennes (8 March), Papa Roach and Hollywood Undead (13 March) and Claudio Capéo (14 March) will take place as planned.

The French Ministry of Health has imposed a ban on all gatherings of over 5,000 people in “confined” spaces

Shows at Zénith Toulouse Métropole (11,000-cap.) are also going ahead as scheduled.

At the Zénith De Strasbourg Europe (12,079-cap.), a number of concerts which “do not fall under the cancellation conditions” are still going ahead. The fate of an upcoming show by French singer M Pokora (7 March) will be confirmed “this evening or tomorrow”, while a Top Music Live show has been postponed.

A James Blunt concert taking place tonight at the Halle Tony-Garnier in Lyon (17,000-cap.) is going ahead as planned.

It has yet to be confirmed whether upcoming events including La Nuit de la Bretagne (7 March) will take place at the Paris la Défense Arena, as directors wait for local government to make a decision.

Elsewhere, Green Day became the latest act to cancel upcoming shows in Asia due to coronavirus-related concerns. The decision follows the cancellation of concerts by K-pop stars BTS in South Korea last week.

 


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Lana Del Rey cancels upcoming European tour

Lana Del Rey has called off upcoming arena dates in the UK, France, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, in the latest in a series of high-profile acts to see tours hampered by illness.

The Primary Talent-repped singer was set to perform a run of dates starting tomorrow (21 February) at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome, and visiting the Accorhotels Arena in Paris, London’s O2 Arena, Manchester Arena, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow, Birmingham Resorts World Arena, Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, before finishing at the Lanxess Arena in Cologne on 3 March. A ninth arena date is set for Italy’s Arena Di Verona in June, which is still going ahead.

The star is also due to make appearances at We Love Green Festival in Paris, Primavera Sound Barcelona and its Portuguese sister event, Nos Primavera Sound Porto in June. Last week, Glastonbury Festival director Emily Eavis announced that Lana Del Rey would also perform on the festival’s Pyramid stage this summer.

“It’s with regret that Lana Del Rey has announced that she has been forced to cancel her entire upcoming EU/UK tour due to illness”

The O2 Arena broke the news earlier this morning (20 February), stating: “It’s with regret that Lana Del Rey has announced that she has been forced to cancel her entire upcoming EU/UK tour due to illness.”

The singer released her own statement, apologising for the cancellation, saying, “Sorry to let everyone down so last minute but this illness has taken me by surprise and have totally lost my singing voice. Dr has advised 4 weeks off for the moment. I hate to let everyone down but I need to get well.”

Fans are advised to contact their original point of purchase for refund enquiries.

Photo: Beatriz Alvani/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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AEG expands Accor partnership with global assets deal

Global hospitality group Accor and live entertainment behemoth AEG have extended their partnership to a global deal, incorporating a number of AEG and AEG-affiliated venues, festivals and events.

Accor will gain access to AEG assets including: venue partnerships with Qudos Bank Arena Sydney (21,000-cap.) and Barclaycard Arena Hamburg (16,000-cap.); ticketing rights with AEG Presents UK and AEG Presents Asia; and a festival partnership with American Express Presents BST Hyde Park, which this summer features headliners Taylor Swift, Pearl Jam and Little Mix.

The new partnership was brokered by AEG Europe Global Partnerships – AEG’s in-house division responsible for worldwide sales and activation of naming rights and strategic brand partnerships. It follows a ten-year naming rights deal with AccorHotels Arena in Paris (20,300-cap.), agreed in 2015.

The partnership will give Accor customers access to premium tickets, exclusive experiences and the opportunity to redeem loyalty points through the company’s ALL, Accor Live Limitless scheme.

“This extended AEG partnership reflects our elevated ambition to provide more opportunities for live entertainment for our 57 million loyal members”

“This extended AEG partnership reflects our elevated ambition to provide more opportunities for live entertainment in key locations in the world for our 57 million loyal members who will use their ALL points for more than just hotel stays,” comments Mehdi Hemici, SVP of business development and partnerships at Accor.

“The radical transformation of Accor’s lifestyle loyalty program, embodied by ALL – Accor Live Limitless, will continuously provide more value for customers at home or away through music, sport or entertainment partnerships,” adds Hemici.

Paul Samuels, EVP of AEG global partnerships says the company is “delighted” to extend an “already successful relationship with Accor”.

“Together we’ve delivered incredible experiences for thousands of Accor customers through our naming rights partnership in Paris, and now we look forward to enhancing their global customer benefits programme through our expanded relationship.”

 


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EAY 2017: France, Benelux sales rebound after difficult start

Venues in France and the Benelux countries are turning a corner after a difficult start to 2016, when the terrorist attacks in Paris and Belgium hurt the usually booming arenas business.

That’s according to IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2017, which reveals that the industry is now bouncing back from a challenging start to the year – when ticket and hospitality sales both suffered amid considerable consumer nervousness – with results for the latter half of 2016 and the first half of 2017 expected to largely exceed previous years.

The arenas surveyed, which include the leading venues in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, hosted 425 events in 2016, selling just under 3.7m tickets.

Unlike in central and eastern Europe, where sport is strongest, music dominates the programmes of French and Benelux arenas, responsible for 2.1m tickets in 2016 – 56% of total sales and making up 47% of total events hosted.

“The current season is seeing a real revival in ticket sales. We believe it could be a reaction to the effects of the attacks”

There was an average of 71 performances per venue.

Come the end of the current season (to August 2017), director-general Julien Collette says AccorHotels Arena (20,000-cap.) in Paris will have increased its ticket sales to 1.5m, up from 1.1m in 2015–16 – while the outlook is similarly positive in Belgium, where the Sportpaleis Group, which operates Sportpaleis (23,000-cap.), Lotto Arena (8,050-cap.), Forest National (8,000-cap.) and Ethias Arena (18,000-cap.), similarly reporting strong growth.

“Last season, we suffered as a result of the terrorist attacks,” says Sportpaleis’s Jan Van Esbroeck. “However, the current season is seeing a real revival in ticket sales. We believe it could be some kind of reaction to the effects of the attacks. We are set to have a better-than-average season by the end of the year.”

In Luxembourg, meanwhile, Rockhal (6,500-cap.) had its best year to date, says CEO Olivier Toth.

 


Read the full feature in the digital edition of the European Arena Yearbook 2017:

Metallica smash more attendance records with WorldWired tour

Not content with breaking Muse’s attendance record at The O2, Metallica have smashed box-office records across the continent with the first half of the European leg of their WorldWired tour.

The tour kicked off with two record-smashing shows at the Ziggo Dome (17,000-cap.) arena in Amsterdam in September, attracting 16,853 and 16,856 fans on 4 and 6 September, respectively, before continuing to break attendance records at Paris’s AccorHotels Arena (18,896), Cologne’s Lanxess Arena (18,446 and 18,483), London’s The O2 (22,211), Glasgow’s SSE Hydro (13,111), Manchester Arena (20,048), Birmingham’s Genting Arena (15,604) and Antwerp’s Sportpaleis (22,616 and 22,626).

A total of 262,690 people have attended so far.

The Live Nation-promoted European leg of the WorldWired tour – its 11th and last – continues until May 2018, resuming at Lisbon’s MEO Arena (20,000-cap.) on 1 February.

 


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