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Roxodus promoter MF Live files for bankruptcy

MF Live, the company behind cancelled Canadian rock festival Roxodus, has filed for bankruptcy.

The company, whose “sole purpose was to organise the Roxodus Music Fest”, owes over CA$18 million (US$13.8m) to around 200 creditors, including $5m ($3.8m) to ticketing provider Eventbrite and $11.1m ($8.5m) to contractors Taurus Site Services. MF Live’s assets equate to $154,000 ($118,000) in cash.

According to liquidator Grant Thornton Limited, “the event did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent.”

“We also understand that earlier wet weather posed certain challenges in preparing the site for the event and prevented MF Live Inc. from being able to host a safe event,” reads the document.

“The event did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live insolvent”

A statement on the festival’s website blames “rainy weather” for the cancellation of the festival, which was to feature performances from Nickelback, Blondie, Aerosmith and Kid Rock.

Last week, Eventbrite announced it would provide all ticketholders with a refund, while continuing “to aggressively pursue the return of funds from the festival’s creators.”

At the same time, MF Live co-founder Mike Dunphy denied all responsibility for issuing refunds. Dunphy also refuted rumours that he had “stolen monies”.

Dunphy and fellow MF Live founder Fab Loranger parted ways ten days before the festival’s cancellation and are no longer on speaking terms, according to an interview with CTV News.

The first meeting of the creditors is scheduled to take place at 10 a.m. on 30 July at the Grant Thornton offices in Toronto.

 


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Eventbrite pledges refunds amid Roxodus controversy

Eventbrite, the ticketing partner for Canadian rock festival Roxodus, is refunding all those who bought tickets to the event following its cancellation last week.

Roxodus organisers MF Live cancelled the festival, which was scheduled to take place from 11 to 14 July at Edenvale Airport in Ontario, due to “tremendous rainy weather” which “impacted our ability to produce the festival”.

Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickelback, Billy Idol and Blondie were among the acts featuring on the Roxodus bill.

“After multiple attempts to communicate and secure funds back from the abruptly-cancelled Roxodus Music Fest in Ontario, Canada, the organisers have provided no indication that they will refund ticket holders,” reads a statement issued by Eventbrite on Sunday (7 July).

“We believe attendees deserve to get their money back now, so we have set up an Eventbrite-funded Fan Relief Program [sic] to make all Roxodus ticket holders whole while we continue to aggressively pursue the return of funds from the festival’s creators.”

Eventbrite’s statement follows an announcement from MF Live co-founder Mike Dunphy, in which the Roxodus organiser denied all responsibility for refunds.

“My role at MF Live was that of talent buyer/operations. I did not sign contracts, issue cheques or control funds received from ticket sales,” wrote Dunphy.

“After multiple attempts to communicate and secure funds back from the abruptly-cancelled Roxodus Music Fest, the organisers have provided no indication that they will refund ticket holders”

“Eventbrite is the ticketing partner with whom Roxodus sold tickets. They alone have all purchaser information. Since I am not in control of financial items regarding Roxodus, I cannot communicate plans for refunds.”

Dunphy, who stated he had no involvement in decisions relating to the cancellation of the festival, also denied that he had “stolen monies as widely rumoured on social media.”

Reports state that local police had been investigating a former employee of MF Live prior to Roxodus’ cancellation. It is unclear whether the investigation has any relation to the festival.

Fellow MF Live co-founder, Fab Loranger, told reporters at Global News: “Our specific role in the entire project was to provide the funding. We invested millions of dollars. We relied on Mr Dunphy, his representations and his advice, to ensure everything was properly taken care of. It obviously wasn’t. We lost it all.”

Dunphy rejected Loranger’s statement, which he termed “incorrect”.

Ticketholders will receive refunds from Eventbrite within seven business days from 7 July. Tickets for Roxodus started at CA$129 (US$99), with camping packages costing between $219 (US$168) and $1,600 (US$1,225).

 


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World-beating Waldbühne breaks attendance record

Performers at CTS Eventim’s Waldbühne amphitheatre played to more than 350,000 people during the 2017 concert season, recording the open-air Berlin venue’s highest yearly attendance to date.

A total of 22 events, eight of them sold-out, also pushed the Waldbühne (‘Woodland Stage’) to the top of Pollstar’s 200 leading amphitheatres by ticket sales in Q3 2017, up from fifth place in Q3 2016.

Summer 2017 highlights included sold-out shows by Robbie Williams, Pink and Udo Lindenberg, along with performances by Aerosmith, Kings of Leon and Andreas Gabalier and classical concerts by Ludovico Einaudi, Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov (newly exclusive to DEAG) and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. The successful Peace x Peace charity festival, meanwhile, raised nearly €414,000 for children living in war zones.

“It’s great how the Waldbühne Berlin has developed over the past nine years”

The season closed with Rumpelstil’s now-traditional Taschenlampenkonzert (‘torch concert’), which for the 19th time saw attendees “dance, sing and celebrate in an ocean of light”, says CTS, which has operated the 22,000-cap. venue (pictured), built for the infamous 1936 Olympic Games, since 2009.

“It’s great how the Waldbühne Berlin has developed over the past [nine] years,” says CTS Eventim executive vice-president Rainer Appel. “By now it is not just the leading European open-air location, but also a frontrunner worldwide. Once again, we’d like to thank the artists, promoters and visitors who together with us made 2017 another record year for the Waldbühne.”

 


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Sunny 15th Download Festival “a huge success”

Festival Republic (FR) has hailed the “huge success” of the 2017 edition of Download, which returned to Donington Park in Leicester, UK, for the 15th time last weekend.

After flash flooding at the 2016 festival, the company installed 3,000+ metres of new drainage for 2017, more than quadrupling the site’s run-off capacity in preparation for a similar downpour this year. (According to Download, more than 70 million gallons of water fell on Donington in 2016 – equivalent to 106 Olympic-sized swimming pools.)

As it happened, the weather gods saw fit to smile on Download 2017, leaving the festival largely rain-free and the improved site “greener than ever”, says FR. More than 80,000 people turned out to see headliners Aerosmith (in their final UK show), System of a Down and Biffy Clyro, with other performers including Prophets of Rage, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Machine Gun Kelly, AFI, Simple Plan.

Other highlights included a full-size wrestling arena courtesy of WWE NXT, the return of the Wall of Death with vintage motorcycles, a silent disco, a cinema and a mobile tattoo studio.

In addition to the new drainage, FR introduced additional security measures, including armed police on site, and a new traffic plan to ease congestion following the closure of the M1 motorway.

“It’s been another really good year, with a great atmosphere and low levels”

The extra police presence was well received, with officers encouraging fans to pose for selfies using the hashtag #copaselfie. Supt Martin Ball of Leicestershire police says the festival was also a success from a policing perspective: “It’s been another really good year with a great atmosphere and low levels of crime reported to us. The success of our operation lies in our great working relationship with the organisers, Festival Republic. Although it is too soon to give definite crime figures, early indications are that reported crime is very low. Officers worked hard day and night patrolling car parks and campsites and they talked to hundreds of rock fans, swapping hats, giving high fives and having their picture taken.

“We had visibly armed officers patrolling for the first time this year following the tragic events of Manchester and London and they were all overwhelmed by the positive response from festivalgoers, who thanked them for keeping them safe. They were happy to have their picture taken many times, which was a new experience for the usually camera-shy firearms officers.”

Festival promoter Andy Copping, Live Nation’s president of UK touring, says the vibe at the festival remains unchanged, despite the security challenges posed by the Manchester Arena bombing. “This is the home of rock, and has been since 1980, and I love reading people’s social media when they get here when they say, ‘We’re home’,” he tells the Derby Telegraph. “There is something about the spirit of the place – you can feel the vibe.”

Since 2016 a sister festival has taken place in France, as Live Nation seeks to replicate the success of the UK event on the continent. Linkin Park, System of a Down and Green Day headlined Download Paris, which also took place last weekend, with the first Download Madrid set for 22–24 June.

 


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Switzerland’s abc introduces “rigorous” bag ban

Zurich-based abc Production has become the latest promoter to ban backpacks in the aftermath of 22 May’s Manchester Arena bombing.

Under the new rules, those attending future abc shows – which include Justin Bieber at the Stade de Suisse (32,000-cap.) on 15 June, Aerosmith at Hallenstadion (13,000-cap.) on 5 July and The Rolling Stones at the Letzigrund stadium (30,930-cap.) on 20 September – will be limited to bum bags/money belts and bags no larger than an A5 sheet of paper (14.8 x 21 cm).

In a statement, the promoter says it is “aware of its great responsibility in security matters”. “As a consequence of the tragic events at Manchester Arena, as well as the constantly changing demands of tour safety and artist management, abc Production has decided to implement a rigorous backpack and bag ban on all shows,” it reads.

“As a consequence of the tragic events at Manchester Arena, abc Production has decided to implement a rigorous backpack and bag ban”

By banning rucksacks, abc follows German festivals Rock am Ring/Rock im Park, which last week announced no backpacks would be permitted in the festival arena. (Despite the increased security, the first day of the festival was called after receiving a “concrete warning” of an imminent terrorist attack.)

abc says a backpack ban will speed up entry, with “shorter waiting times” as a result of security staff not needed to search patrons’ bags.

 


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Festival Focus: Snowbombing, FIB, Download

Broadwick Live’s music ‘n’ ski event Snowbombing today announced an avalanche (geddit?) of new acts for the 2017 festival.

Blossoms, Slaves, De La Soul, Grandmaster Flash, Giggs, Dixon, Shy FX and more will join previously announced headliners Chase & Status for six days of “luxurious spas, igloo raves, rooftop hot tubs, forest parties [and] snow-yoga” at the Mayrhofen ski resort in Austria from 3 to 8 April.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’ll also be “special guest appearances” from everyone’s favourite spandex-clad ’90s early-morning TV fitness instructor, Derrick Evans (aka Mr Motivator), and loveably inept British ski jumper Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards, whose life story was the subject of a recent film starring Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman.

Fingers crossed for a Grandmaster Flash/Mr Motivator duet.

Red Hot Chili Peppers, Nova Rock 2016, M. Krobath/ANSPress Society News

In today’s other major festival news, Red Hot Chili Peppers will be headlining Festival Internacional de Benicassim (FIB) next July.

The American four-piece, who wheadlined Reading and Leeds, Lollapalooza Chicago, T in the Park, Fuji Rock and more this year, are also confirmed for Super Rock Super Bock in Lisbon the same weekend (13–16 July) and Rock in Rio in September 2017.

FIB, which takes place in the Spanish coastal town of Benicàssim, is promoted by Maraworld, part-owned by Denis Desmond’s MCD Concerts. (Anthony Kiedis/Red Hot Chili Peppers photo by M. Krobath/ANSPress Society News.)

System Of a Down, Santiago Gets Louder 2015, Macarena Viza

The second edition of Live Nation France’s Download Paris has announced its three headliners for 2017.

System of a Down – revealed last month as the first act confirmed for the new Download Spain, the second international spin-off from the long-running UK metal festival – will join Linkin Park and Blink-182 at a disused airbase in Le Plessis-Pâté, in Île-de-France, from 9 to 11 June.  (System of a Down photo by Macarena Viza.)

Also playing will be Rage Against the Machine/Public Enemy/Cypress Hill supergroup Prophets of Rage.

The first line-up announcement for the UK Download is expected this week.

Update (4/11/16): It’s System of a Down, Biffy Clyro and Aerosmith.

Linkin Park, Montreal, 2014, Kristina Servant

Other notable developments since the last instalment of Festival Focus:

 


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