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Rob Hallett’s Robomagic leaves Live Nation

Robomagic, the live entertainment venture founded by veteran promoter Rob Hallett, is leaving Live Nation effective immediately after three years with the company.

The company comprises of Robomagic Live, a boutique touring division, and Robomagic 360, which describes itself as encompassing “touring, recording, publishing and artist/brand management”.

TLC, Sleaford Mods, Goldie and Boy Better Know are among the artists on Robomagic’s roster, as well as Duran Duran, who Hallett represented as an agent in the 80s.

The two companies jointly promoted shows including UK dates by HER, Why Don’t We, Lemz and Jammer of Boy Better Know.

“I feel very positive about the future and embracing the new normal. Enhanced by new technology, the industry will bounce back in a big way. I would like to thank everyone at Live Nation, for their support over the last three years, and look forward to the next instalment of Robomagic Live,” says Hallett.

“I feel positive about the future and embracing the new normal. Enhanced by new technology, the industry will bounce back”

The statement also says Hallett is determined to be ahead of the “ongoing curve” and is keen to develop a smaller, more flexible company, that is well-positioned to benefit from this new landscape.

Hallett established Robomagic in January 2015, following his exit from AEG – where he established AEG Live in the UK in February 2005.

Hallett was instrumental in growing the profile of the company (now AEG Presents) internationally.

Highlights of his AEG tenure include Prince’s landmark 21-night residency at the O2 in London in 2007; three Bon Jovi stadium treks; Cohen’s successful 2008–10 comeback tour; and the debut of BST in 2013 with two huge shows by the Rolling Stones.

He also oversaw global tours for the likes of Leonard Cohen, Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez and the launch of British Summer Time Hyde Park.

Prior to joining AEG, he was a director of Mean Fiddler Music Group (later MAMA & Company, now owned by Live Nation), after a decade as an agent and promoter at Barrie Marshall’s Marshall Arts.

 


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Sports Hub investigates alleged touting by staff

Singapore Sports Hub has said it has found no evidence for claims a member of staff bulk-purchased 220 Ed Sheeran tickets to sell on the secondary market.

The the sports/entertainment complex, which includes the 55,000-capacity National Stadium and 12,000-cap. Singapore Indoor Stadium, opened an investigation after Carousell trader ‘reseller_772’ claimed to have been passed “200+ tickets” for Ed Sheeran’s 11 and 12 November shows by a “friend [from] Sports Hub management”.

The tickets were being offered for S$1,100, compared to a face value of between $108 and $248. The reseller_772 account has since been deleted.

“While we treat such allegations seriously, we have every confidence in the integrity of our staff and systems”

The allegations mirror a similar incident at Madison Square Garden last January, when the New York venue fired its senior vice-president of ticket sales and several sales execs after they were caught reselling tickets for a profit.

A spokesperson for Sports Hub said that while no one is authorised to resell tickets for the Ed Sheeran shows, its investigation concluded that all tickets for the two dates were purchased within transaction limits.

“While we treat such allegations seriously, we have every confidence in the integrity of our staff and systems,” the venue tells Channel NewsAsia.

 


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Gorillaz, AEG ‘planning Demon Dayz Chicago’

Gorillaz have international aspirations for their new Demon Dayz Festival, according to frontman Damon Albarn.

Goldenvoice/AEG Presents has already announced the launch of a UK edition of Demon Dayz, set for 10 June at the new 15,000-cap. venue at Dreamland Margate in Kent, but the promoter is also planning a Chicago event, Albarn said in a recent interview with Q Magazine.

As spotted by KanyeToThe.com user Theef, Q reports Albarn is rehearsing for “Gorillaz’s forthcoming live dates, which include Demon Dayz, two one-day festivals in Margate and Chicago” (emphasis ours).

No location has yet been announced, although it’s probably safe to say Grant Park (the home of Live Nation’s Lollapalooza) is off limits.

Gorillaz, whose new album, Humanz, will be released on 28 April, are already confirmed for the UK Demon Dayz and San Francisco’s Outside Lands this summer.

 


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Dreamland continues live revival with new events

Independent punk and ska event Undercover Festival – it of pissing-off-the-NRA fame – is to relocate to Dreamland Margate for 2017, bringing the theme park’s slate of confirmed music festivals to four this year.

Undercover joins Margate Wonderland, a spin-off of east London hipster festival Hackney Wonderland; Hipsville Seaside-a-Go! Go!, which presents the “wildest rock’n’roll and soul sounds of the 1960s and beyond”; and Gorillaz’ Goldenvoice-promoted Demon Dayz Festival on Dreamland’s 2017 festival calendar, as the Victorian seaside resort bids to recapture former glories by positioning itself as major touring and festival destination for the east of England.

By the Sea, which took place at Dreamland in 2015 and 2016, has not yet announced any dates for 2017, although the festival is promoting a solo show by Slaves in July.

Dreamland, which dates from 1880, was once one of Britain’s best-loved amusement parks, but closed in 2003 after a long period of decline as seaside holidays fell out of favour. It was compulsorily purchased by Thanet District Council in 2013 and reopened two years later, bringing together “lovingly restored vintage rides set against a backdrop of art installations, adventurous street food, unique bars and an eclectic programme of live events”.

“We believe we’ve captured something truly special with this newly imagined incarnation of Dreamland”

Housing its live events offering are the original Hall by the Sea – a 2,000-capacity venue that played host to mod greats including The Who and The Rolling Stones – and a new 15,000-cap. venue, which will debut with Demon Dayz on 10 June and which Dreamland says “sees us put Margate back on the music venue map”.

Jennie Double, Dreamland Margate’s commercial director, says she “cannot wait to unveil the new park to locals and visitors alike. By combining contemporary food and culture with authentic vintage rides and the uniquely British heritage that only we can offer, we believe we’ve captured something truly special with this newly imagined incarnation of Dreamland.”

Undercover Festival 2017, which runs from 8 to 9 September, will feature performances by Tom Robinson, Geno Washington, Doctor and the Medics, Jilted John, UK, Ruts DC and Angelic Upstarts. Its promoter, Undercover Promotions’ Mick Moriarty, says the new venue will provide “an experience that defies all other conventions and festival templates. Not only do we have a cracking alternative line-up, but festivalgoers can experience many retro rides and amusements. Plus, it is once again held undercover –  ie not outdoors – so if it’s peeing down come September it’s not a problem and your beer won’t get diluted.”

Speaking about Demon Dayz, Mags Revell, vice-president of live music at Goldenvoice/AEG Presents, told Music Week in March: “We have been planning the all-new Demon Dayz Festival, which sold out in 10 minutes, for some time, and Dreamland Margate is the ultimate venue for Gorillaz to make their long awaited return to the stage.  The location and the backdrop of the amusement park will be the perfect playground for the full festival line-up.”

 


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AEG’s Bowery Presents takes on Webster Hall lease

The Bowery Presents, the New York-based promoter and venue operator acquired by AEG Live in January, has bought the operating rights to famed Manhattan venue Webster Hall.

In partnership with Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (BSE) – which operates Barclays Center (18,103-cap.) and NYCB Live/Nassau Coliseum (17,686-cap.) in New York – AEG Presents (né Live) will assume the long-term lease on the 131-year-old, 1,500-capacity East Village venue, which has hosted performances by U2, Eric Clapton, Sonic Youth, Guns N’ Roses and LCD Soundsystem.

It was formerly run by the Ballinger family, who took over the lease in 1989.

“We are excited to build on the iconic history of Webster Hall”

“Partnering with The Bowery Presents and Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment to programme and operate this iconic live facility will continue to enhance Webster Hall’s worldwide reputation as one of the industry’s most important venues,” comments Jay Marciano, chairman and CEO of AEG Presents.

BSE CEO Brett Yormark adds: “We are excited to build on the iconic history of Webster Hall. Webster Hall provides us with an extraordinary opportunity to connect with artists early in their careers and expands BSE’s venue footprint into Manhattan.

“We appreciate all that the Ballinger family has done to make Webster Hall an industry leading venue, and we are looking forward to working with them, The Bowery Presents and AEG Presents to make it an even greater destination for live music.”

 


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AEG Live completes The Bowery Presents deal

AEG Live has finalised its agreement to acquire an undisclosed stake in New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents.

The deal – believed to have been close to completion as far back as last April – gives AEG a significant presence in the American north-east, and marks the end of a second independent New York promoter following Live Nation’s April 2016 acquisition of Founders Entertainment.

Bowery partners Jim Glancy and John Moore will, alongside AEG Live’s senior vice-president of the north-east region, Mark Shulman, oversee The Bowery Presents’ operations, including its newest venue, the 1,800-cap. Brooklyn Steel in East Williamsburg. The company books, produces and promotes more than 2,500 events annually.

According to The New York Times, the famed Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge venues are not a part of the deal, as they are still owned by Michael Swier, who sold his stake in The Bowery Presents in 2010.

“We are confident that AEG Live will allow us to run The Bowery Presents autonomously and stay true to our entrepreneurial spirit”

“The Bowery Presents and AEG Live share a passion and commitment to delivering the best music experiences to fans,” comments AEG Live chairman and CEO Jay Marciano. “Jim and John have built an incredibly respected organisation with a proven track record of success and we are pleased that they chose to partner with us. We look forward to working closely with them to further grow The Bowery Presents brand.”

Glancy adds: “We are excited to join forces with the like-minded innovators that make up the AEG Live family. When we started looking at how AEG Live has partnered with other independent promoters, it gave us the confidence that AEG Live will allow us to not only run The Bowery Presents autonomously and stay true to our entrepreneurial spirit, but increase our reach within our existing markets and expand our horizons for future growth.

“Bands and audiences can continue to expect the same music-first experience we’re known for providing.”

 


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SFX reorganisation plan finally approved

US bankruptcy judge Mary F. Walrath today approved SFX Entertainment’s fifth and final reorganisation plan, bringing to an end nine months of bankruptcy.

Under the plan, SFX’s debts will be slashed by close to US$400 million.

Walrath rejected claims by two shareholders the business was undervalued. Denis Brisson and Valery Burlak argued in the Delaware bankruptcy court yesterday that the EDM conglomerate, which went into administration in February, is worth more than SFX’s self-valuation of $115m–$160m.

SFX’s lawyers, Greenberg Taurig, countered that claims of bad faith were “baseless” – and Walrath was in agreement, ruling that “there is no evidence before me that the debtors who presented the plan, or the lenders or the unsecured creditors who negotiated and participated in the plan, acted in anything but good faith”.

“There is no evidence before me that the debtors who presented the plan … acted in anything but good faith”

Court documents reveal Walrath estimates unsecured creditors – or those with no assets as collateral – will receive “perhaps 10¢ on the dollar” from the deal.

In a separate ruling, SFX was also given approval to terminate its lease on its 902 Broadway headquarters in New York, effective 31 October.

Claims against SFX’s chairman and former CEO, Robert FX Sillerman, for alleged breaches of corporate responsibility over his failed attempts to take the company private remain unresolved.

Former AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips was confirmed as SFX’s new CEO earlier this week.

 


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Randy Phillips confirmed for SFX 2.0

After months of speculation, it has been has confirmed that former AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips will take over the running of SFX Entertainment when it emerges from bankruptcy in early 2017.

Buried in a mammoth 241-page court document, filed on Friday, is the news that Phillips (pictured) – listed under his real name, Brandon Phillips – will become SFX’s new CEO and president, with Global Entertainment alumni Charles Ciongoli named executive vice-president and chief financial officer, Alan Walter – presumably rival Insomniac’s current senior vice-president of finance, who also previously served at Global – becoming senior vice-president and Jason Barr remaining as senior vice-president, general counsel and corporate secretary.

The new board of directors for what the court calls the “Reorganized [sic] SFXE” is named as Phillips, Ciongoli (appointed by Phillips) and three money men: Axar Capital Management’s Andrew Axelrod, Allianz Global Investors’ Douglas Forsyth and Carlyle Group’s Nils Larsen.

A hearing to approve the new board and reorganisation plan will take place this Wednesday

Adam Richman, festival director of Electric Zoo, will take a senior role in SFX’s festival divisions as senior vice-president of EZ Festivals and Made Event, while Florida nightclub promoter David Grutman will continue as CEO of SFX Nightlife.

A hearing to consider the new board and reorganisation plan will take place this Wednesday (9 November) at 10am eastern time (15.00 GMT).

Also of note is that Viagogo – which is seeking US$1.6 million from SFX for alleged breach of contract – will be given a vote on the plan of reorganisation. While both parties are clear neither accepts the other’s grievances, Viagogo will nevertheless be eligible to cast a ballot: $1 worth.

 


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Vertex future unclear with new 85dB noise cap

Vertex, Madison House/AEG Live’s new festival in Colorado, has been given a one-year permit extension for 2017 – albeit with a new noise limit of 85dB that will make festivalgoers “feel like [they’re] in a living room, as opposed to a concert experience”, says festival director Michael Sampliner.

The first Vertex took place in August, and drew 8,000 attendees to a ranch near Buena Vista with a bill that included electronic duo Odesza, Grammy-winning alt-rockers Alabama Shakes and Phish’s Trey Anastasio.

Promoter Madison House had sought a three-year permit extension, and Sampliner told commissioners (councillors) for local authority Chaffee County last week the stringent new noise regulations – and an earlier curfew – could kill the festival before it reaches its second birthday.

“If we had to play at 85dBs, you’re taking out the concert experience,” Sampliner said. “It’s a level at which you would feel like you were in a living room, as opposed to a concert experience. It’s really untenable in any kind of way to put on a show at an 85dB limit.

“We are weighing all of the conditions the county placed to see if we can make it work. We are working through those scenarios now.”

“It’s really untenable in any kind of way to put on a show at an 85dB limit”

Local paper The Chaffee County Times reports those in opposition to to Vertex “stated several notorious issues, mostly related to drug use on the festival grounds and multiple drug busts related to the festival, noise and light disturbances and the 1.30am curfew Friday and Saturday night” at a council meeting last Tuesday.

One Buena Vista resident, Morgan Mahala, said the tense exchange brought “the tension and animosity between the old and the new to surface.”

“The relentless arguing and name calling is not Buena Vista,” Mahala said. “To move forward we have to push selfishness aside, we all have to give a little something up and get to know each other better. We need to use this time as an opportunity to come together and honour the values and integrity of a community that’s truly [city slogan] BV Strong.”

A decision by Madison House is expected this week.

 


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The O2 debuts online booking for disabled fans

The O2 has for the first time made accessible viewing platforms available to purchase online.

Responding to “demands from fans”, the London venue now allows disabled-access tickets to be bought from ticketing partner AXS in the same way as general-access passes. Previously, booking by telephone was the only option for disabled concertgoers.

There are two disabled viewing platforms in the 21,000-capacity O2 Arena, which is recognised as a ‘Gold Charter’ venue by accessibility charity Attitude is Everything.

“More and more of our fans book online and through their mobile devices, and we wanted to extend this facility for those with access needs”

Adam Wilson, The O2’s head of customer relations, says: “This new service, along with the BSL [British sign language] video interpreting service provided by SignVideo, demonstrates The O2’s commitment to making ticket purchases at the venue fully accessible. More and more of our fans book online and through their mobile devices, and we wanted to extend this facility for those with access needs.

“It is a great step forward in creating equal access to events at The O2.”

The number of disabled and deaf fans attending concerts and festivals in the UK rose 26% in 2015.

 


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