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Goldenvoice plans new festival, clarifies vaccine rules

Goldenvoice, one of the largest promoters in the world, is launching a new festival in southern California in 2022.

California Vibrations, or Cali Vibes, will take place at Marina Green Park in Long Beach from 4–6 February 2022 with performances from Wu-Tang Clan, Sean Paul, Shaggy, Koffee and more, across multiple stages.

The three-day event will also feature a special Bob Marley birthday performance from the Marley Brothers including Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, Ky-Mani and Julian Marley.

The celebration will mark what would have been their father’s 77th birthday with a catalogue of Bob Marley songs.

According to the AEG subsidiary, Cali Vibes is a celebration of Southern California music, beach culture and reggae “vibrations”. Three-day ticket prices start at $285 plus fees.

Coachella made headlines today after the promoter reversed its plan to require vaccinations for ticketholders

In the US, Goldenvoice produces several festivals, most notably Coachella, as well as operating 14 mid-sized venues and promoting over 1,800 shows per year.

Coachella made headlines today after the promoter reversed its plan to require vaccinations for ticketholders to its April 2022 events.

Instead will only require proof of a negative test taken within 72 hours of the event (although proof of full vaccination will work as well).

While the new policy is not in line with AEG’s full-vaccination requirement, also announced in August, the company told Variety that “the policy will be implemented as an open-ended one, with any changes or reversals informed by updates relating to infection rates, transmission data, variant developments, and local and federal regulations.”

 


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European promoters reveal plans for Covid policies

Live Nation, AEG Europe, CTS Eventim and DEAG/Kilimanjaro have outlined how they plan to approach Covid-19 entry requirements for live entertainment in European markets.

Earlier this week, Live Nation Entertainment announced that, from 4 October, it will require all artists, crew and fans to produce proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test to gain entry to its US venues and festivals.

Days later, Live Nation representatives confirmed that it plans to do the same in the UK – which is fully reopen – as well as Canada, which last week opened to fully vaccinated Americans and permanent residents.

As for other countries, IQ now understands that Live Nation will take a market-by-market approach based on local governments’ requirements –many of which already utilise Covid-status certification for entrance to public spaces.

IQ now understands that Live Nation will take a market-by-market approach based on local governments’ requirements

It was also announced last week that AEG Presents, AEG’s concert promotion division, will require all fans in the US to be vaccinated from 1 October.

Additionally, Anschutz Entertainment Group – including Goldenvoice/Coachella, ticket agency AXS and AEG’s owned sports teams – will mandate that all employees working at their US offices have had the vaccine, with “limited exceptions as required by law”.

However, AEG Europe “will be adopting an approach that is appropriate to the prevailing conditions and local health department and/or legislative requirements in each market,” COO, John Langford, reveals to IQ.

The live entertainment behemoth has already implemented a number of measures at its landmark venue, the O2 (cap. 21,000) in London.

In line with the advice and guidance from UK and local government, ticket holders are required to present an NHS Covid Pass on entry to the arena in order to gain access.

AEG Europe “will be adopting an approach that is appropriate to legislative requirements in each market”

This week saw the London arena back at full capacity for the first time since March 2020, welcoming 34,000 people to two shows by Gorillaz.

The show was promoted by UK promoter Kilimanjaro Live, which is backed by Berlin-based DEAG.

Peter Schwenkow, CEO of DEAG, says the UK is “by far the best country to promote shows at the moment,” but that the company has to handle different restrictions in all its territories, which includes Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

“It very much depends on local authorities: For example, Bavaria is different to Berlin and Zurich different to Geneva,” he explains.

“Denmark is partly open, the rest of Scandinavia is currently still very complicated. Ireland continues to be problematic but the UK is by far the best country to promote shows at the moment; Kilimanjaro Live did two sold-out shows at the O2 last week with the Gorillaz. Generally, we do prefer the 3G rule: vaccinated, recovered or tested. Anybody else will not be allowed to work, stay backstage or even enter the venue,” he says.

“Generally, [DEAG] does prefer the 3G rule: vaccinated, recovered or tested”

European ticketing and promoting powerhouse CTS Eventim are taking a similar bespoke approach to Covid-19 safety measures. “In Germany, if concerts are allowed to take place, our promoters will develop individual concepts in close coordination with the local authorities in the various regions and the corresponding local regulations for the protection against Corona,” a representative tells IQ.

The ticketing services and live entertainment giant has interests in 21 countries including major markets such as Germany, Spain, Italy and the UK.

The Eventim Group includes concert, tour, and festival promoter companies for events like Rock am Ring, Rock im Park, Hurricane, Southside, and Lucca Summer.

And CTS Eventim’s venue portfolio includes the Lanxess Arena (cap. 18,000) in Cologne, the KB Hallen (4,500) in Copenhagen, the Waldbühne (22,290) in Berlin and the Eventim Apollo (2,500) in London.

 


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Both concert giants to make vaccines mandatory

Live Nation and AEG, the world’s biggest live entertainment companies, will both require all full-time employees in the US to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when they return to the office, the firms have announced.

Live Nation Entertainment, comprising the company’s concerts, ticketing (Ticketmaster) and sponsorship divisions, and Anschutz Entertainment Group, including Goldenvoice/Coachella, ticket agency AXS and AEG’s owned sports teams, will mandate that all employees working at their US offices have had the vaccine, with “limited exceptions as required by law”, the Los Angeles-based companies say in a rare joint statement.

The announcement makes official previous comments by Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino, who first mentioned a potential vaccine mandate during the company’s recent Q2 2021 earnings call and followed up with a memo sent to employees last week. “Our business and our industry are about uniting people,” he wrote, “and vaccines are one of the greatest tools for making sure that everyone can continue to enjoy live music together.”

Rapino also announced that artists would be given the choice as to whether they require all concertgoers and venue staff to be vaccinated for their US shows, and it is understood a similar model will likely be rolled out internationally.

AEG Presents, AEG’s concert promotion division, will additionally require all fans in the US to be vaccinated from 1 October. “We realise that some people might look at this as a dramatic step, but it’s the right one,” says AEG COO and AEG Presents CEO Jay Marcino.

“These organisations are setting a good example for other companies, and I applaud their efforts”

In addition to live entertainment firms such as AEG Presents, Goldenvoice and AXS, AEG’s vaccine mandate will apply to employees of the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Kings and LA Galaxy, all of which are at least partially owned by AEG or the company’s founder and chairman, Phil Anschutz.

Two other California-based clubs, ice-hockey team the Anaheim Ducks and American football squad the Los Angeles Chargers, have also said they will require their employees to be immunised against Covid-19.

Every organisation “has or will be implementing policies designed to expand on health department guidelines and ensure the best interests of employees,” according to the Californian Department of Public Health.

“We must work together and across sectors to ensure that we are increasing vaccination rates, especially now as we see an increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations and intensive care admissions due to the highly contagious delta variant,” says Dr Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary. “Vaccination against Covid-19 is the most effective means of preventing infection from Covid-19 virus and subsequent transmission and outbreaks.

“These organisations are setting a good example for other companies, and I applaud their efforts.”

 


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Richard Krezwick announces departure from ASM Global

ASM Global’s chief commercial officer Richard Krezwick has announced his departure from the company.

Krezwick, who has spent more than four decades in live events, announced on LinkedIn that he is to pursue new opportunities from September after concluding his notice period.

His previous roles include senior vice president facilities at AEG Europe from 2014 to 2018, in which he was responsible for all of the group’s venues in Europe including the O2 in London, Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin, AccorHotels Arena in Paris, the SSE Hydro in Glasgow and Friends Arena in Stockholm.

He relocated in 2018 to the US to head up AEG Facilities’ new office in Manhattan, New York.

He also spent four years as president of Devils Arena Entertainment, New Jersey, from 2009 to 2013, as well as two years as regional vice-president of AEG Facilities from 2007 to 2009.

“I’m looking forward to doing all I can for ASM in the coming weeks, then start brewing some entrepreneurial ideas”

“I realised my entire career has been like driving the Autobahn… full throttle… every day, pedal to the metal,” he wrote. “From the old Spectrum in Philly, around the world and back to ASM in Philly where it all began. It’s time to exit the highway once in a while and take the road less travelled.”

“I’m looking forward to doing all I can for ASM in the coming weeks, then start brewing some entrepreneurial ideas, doing a few deals and staying close to the business that’s been so good to me and my family, for so many years. Stay tuned…” he concluded.

Uwe Frommhold, AEG chief operating officer, wrote: “Thanks for everything Rich! Has been a great pleasure to join you for a couple of ‘fast rides’ on the German Autobahn. Hope to see you again over here soon – there are lots of nice roads still to be taken at a slower pace!”

Marie Lindqvist, senior vice-president Europe at ASM Global, wrote: “You challenged me, believed in my capabilities and taught me so much about our amazing industry. For that, I will always be grateful. I wish you the best of luck in your next phase and look forward to meeting soon. Hopefully in a sold-out arena!”

John Langford, AEG Europe chief operating officer, wrote: “Good luck boss. It’s been a pleasure sitting shotgun on parts of the journey.”

 


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AEG to build 18,000-cap. arena in Osaka

A consortium including AEG has been chosen to deliver a new 18,000-capacity indoor arena near Osaka in south-western Japan.

A joint venture comprising AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group), Mitsubishi Corporation Urban Development (MCUD) and Kanden Realty and Development will construct the venue at Expo ’70 Commemorative Park, a 264-hectare (650ac) park in Suita, after beating a rival bid by Live Nation and Oak View Group.

The new arena, provisionally simply called Osaka Arena, has a provisional opening date of autumn Reiwa 9 (2027), according to Sankei Shimbun.

When complete, Osaka Arena will host around 65 events every year

With a capacity of 18,000, the arena will be the biggest in western Japan, and second-biggest in the country behind the mammoth Saitama Super Arena (36,500-cap.) in Tokyo. According to Osaka Prefecture, when complete the venue will host some 165 events annually, including entertainment and sports events such as NBA basketball matches.

Hirofumi Yoshimura, the governor of Osaka Prefecture, said at a press conference he is looking forward to seeing the consortium, a “global business entity, exerting its strength to bring sports and concerts the likes of which we have not seen in Osaka.”

 


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Live Nation, AEG, OVG and more form US coalition

Behemoths of the live music industry, including Live Nation, AEG Presents and Oak View Group, have formed a coalition to petition the US government for relief for live events workers and musicians who have been financially impacted by the shutdown of the live events industry in March.

The Save Live Events Now coalition, which also includes major agencies such as CAA, UTA, and WME, is calling on the US government to expand the Save Our Stages act – a US$10 billion grant programme designed to provide financial support for live venue operators, promoters, producers and talent representatives in the US – to include live event workers.

The bipartisan Save Our Stages act passed through the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives on 1 October as part of the wider, revised $2.2 trillion Heroes Act coronavirus stimulus package, but has now stalled after president Donald Trump announced he is walking away from further talks until after 3 November’s presidential election.

“Live entertainment and in-person experiences play vital roles in stimulating our culture, communities, and local economies and venues are the centres that host and make that possible,” says Brad Mayne, CEO at International Association of Venue Managers.

“We need to extend the same [support] to the millions of workers who are just as critical as venues to the future of events”

“Many venues are publicly owned because our society has recognised the important role they play, and now we need to extend that same acknowledgement to the millions of workers who are just as critical to the future of events.”

According to the coalition, 90% of the 12 million industry workers employed by venues and businesses don’t qualify for support under Save Our Stages and it’s estimated that 77% of live event workers have lost 100% of their income.

The coalition is calling for a number of measures including $600 a week in compensation for affected employees for the duration of the shutdown; employer retention tax credits; healthcare subsidies, including an expansion of COBRA to ensure that live events workers do not lose medical coverage; and changes to unemployment insurance to make life easier for live event workers.

More than 20 companies have joined the coalition, to date, including Music Artists Coalition (MAC), Feld Entertainment, Rhino, TAIT, Endeavor, Paradigm, SAG-AFTRA, Bandit Lites, Fullstop Management, Universal Music Group and more.

 


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Coachella “radius clause” lawsuit: ruling reversed

A lawsuit regarding Coachella’s restrictive “radius clause” is moving forward after an Oregon judge reversed his 2019 ruling to dismiss the case, according to Billboard.

On Wednesday (19 August) Oregon District Court Judge Michael Mosman ruled that the lawsuit filed by Soul’d Out Music Festival founders Nicholas Harris and Haytham Abdulhadi could now proceed, bringing the dispute closer to a possible trial.

The founders of Soul’d Out Music Festival (1,480-cap.) first filed the lawsuit in April 2018, claiming that the contractual restriction preventing acts on the Coachella bill from playing at any other festival in North America from 15 December to 1 May, amounts to anti-competitive behaviour on the part of organisers.

Harris and Abdulhadi said that the radius clause has damaged their event, Soul’d Out Music Festival.

Mosman granted an AEG motion to dismiss the antitrust claims and partially dismissed the lawsuit in October 2018. The plaintiffs were allowed to re-file their complaint, granted they revised their definition of “relevant markets”. However, the re-filed lawsuit was rejected.

In March 2019, federal judge Mosman dismissed the lawsuit with prejudice (11 March), preventing the Soul’d Out Productions’ founders from re-filing their suit against Coachella Music Festival (125,000-cap.), and organisers AEG and Goldenvoice.

“We expect that, after complete discovery, a jury will find that Coachella’s radius clause is unreasonable”

That decision was overturned 14 months later when a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found that Soul’d Out Music Festival had been harmed by the radius clause and had a right to challenge the contract’s validity.

Now, the case will now move into the discovery phase with lawyers for Soul’d Out expected to subpoena artist contracts for the festival and internal communications.

“We are pleased that the court has agreed that Soul’d Out’s complaint was sufficient and that the case can go forward,” Harris and Abdulhadi’s lawyer, Nika Aldrichsaid. “We expect that, after complete discovery, a jury will find that Coachella’s radius clause is unreasonable, and that AEG’s use and abuse of that clause to hurt local music festivals was unlawful.”

The Oregon promoters were the first to bring attention to Coachella’s radius clause requirements, publishing previously-unreleased provisions of the agreement.

Coachella attorneys defended the policy, explaining in a court filing accessed by Amplify that “the entire purpose of the radius clause is to protect AEG from competitors unfairly free-riding on its creative choices in selecting its artist lineup.”

The lawyers stated that “maintaining a unique festival lineup is crucial for Coachella to remain competitive.” AEG’s lawyers also protested against the release of the radius clause letter, that was provided “for settlement purposes only”.

 


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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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Paul Cheetham leaves Verti Music Hall

Verti Music Hall booking director Paul Cheetham is leaving his role at the Berlin venue, effective 14 August.

Cheetham has served as the booking director at Verti Music Hall since its inception in 2018, joining the AEG team the year before. Cheetham was among those to attend the opening of the 4,350-capacity venue, which is adjacent to AEG’s Mercedes-Benz Arena (17,000-cap.) in Berlin’s city centre.

“The Anschutz Entertainment Group would like to thank Paul Cheetham for his great commitment and his successful work in recent years as the person responsible for booking the Verti Music Hall,” comments Uwe Frommhold, vice president and COO of AEG Germany.

“Paul was an important part of the team at the opening of the Verti Music Hall in October 2018 and the establishment of the new venue in the Berlin event market”

“Paul was an important part of the team at the opening of the Verti Music Hall in October 2018 and the establishment of the new venue in the Berlin event market. We wish him all the best for his future career.”

Before joining AEG, Cheetham – who has over 20 years experience in the live industry – was managing director for Heartburst Management, where he was involved in staging industry events Popkomm, Berlin Music Week and Reeperbahn Festival.

Previously, he worked for Mean Fiddler (now Festival Republic) and Live Nation Scandinavia in Finland.

According to Stadionwelt, AEG event manger Markus Jentsch will temporarily take over booking for the Verti Music Hall.

 


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Australian industry welcomes $250m rescue package

The Australian government has dedicated AU$250 million (€153.3m) to help rebuild the country’s entertainment and arts sector over the next year, as it commits to presenting a clear timetable for reopening.

The country’s creative industries joins those in Germany (€1 billion) and New Zealand ($175m/€100m) to receive significant funding to boost recovery.

The package includes $75m (€46m) for a competitive grants programme – with individual grants of up to $2m (€1.2m) – to provide capital for new festivals, concerts, tours and events, and $90m (€55.2m) in concessional show starter loans – backed with a 100% state guarantee – to assist businesses to fund new productions and events that stimulate job creation and economic activity.

A further $35m (€21.5m) will be used to provide direct support to Commonwealth-funded arts and culture organisations facing threats to financial viability, including those in theatre, dance, music and circus.

The final $50m (€30.7m) is dedicated to supporting film and television producers.

“We welcome the government’s support for both the live entertainment and live sport sectors as we push ahead with these plans”

The government has also committed to establishing a creative economy taskforce to implement a JobMaker plan for the creative economy, as well as working to give the entertainment industry greater certainty about the timetable for restarting business.

Although the funding is over $105m (€64.4m) short of the relief package previously drawn up by Live Performance Australia (LPA), industry organisations have widely welcomed the government’s support, with the LPA calling it a “significant outcome” for the industry.

The recently formed Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), which comprises Australia’s leading promoters Live Nation, TEG, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and AEG, as well as WME agency, major venues and operators, and a number of industry organisations, thanks the prime minister “for recognising the serious business of entertainment that employs hundreds of thousands of jobs and makes a significant contribution to the Australian way of life.”

LEIF chair James Sutherland adds the forum is working with health authorities to develop “nationally approved high-level principles for a safe return to live entertainment and sport at large venues”.

“Through this unprecedented collaboration across live entertainment and sport we are committed to delivering COVIDSafe live events and sport. We welcome the government’s support for both the live entertainment and live sport sectors as we push ahead with these plans.”

“I know there’s a strong desire among all Australians to see the return of gigs, performances and events”

LPA CEO Evelyn Richardson says the measures “reflect our industry’s unique characteristics and the challenges it faces”, as well as recognising “the significant economic contribution that our commercial sector makes to Australia’s economic and cultural well-being.”

According to Australian prime minister Scott Morrison, the package is designed to support “a broad range of jobs from performers, artists and roadies, to front of house staff and many who work behind the scenes, while assisting related parts of the broader economy, such as tourism and hospitality.”

“Many in the sector will find a new way to operate while the current social distancing measures remain in place,” says Morrisson, “and while that won’t be easy I know there’s a strong desire among all Australians to see the return of gigs, performances and events.”

In step three of Australia’s recovery roadmap, which individuals states can choose to activate from the start of next month, seated and ticketed outdoor venues of up to 40,000 people can hold up to 25% capacity, with larger venues limited to 10,000 people.

Indoor venues will no longer have a capacity limit, but must ensure there is enough space for four square metres per person.

Night clubs and “high-risk outdoor events”, such as unseated music festivals, are to remain closed.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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