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Is the future of live real or virtual?

Twelve weeks ago we were gearing up to launch World Tour, the first in a series of multi-artist, live music events, with a calendar of iconic world cities and the likes of Miley Cyrus ready to headline. Today we are reimagining what the live experience looks like in a very different world.

The reality today is that no one really knows what the future holds. Renowned DJs won’t be playing to thousands in Ibiza’s clubs this summer and bands aren’t playing the main stage at a sold-out Glastonbury. Artist teams are wary about when they can start confirming talent appearances at events and promoters are in no-man’s land with uncertainty on how things can possibly play out. The path is untrodden.

The appetite for live music will never diminish. But what will events look like? From a production point of view, it’s going to be interesting to see how things adapt – not simply adjusting to new health and safety measures but adapting to the changes in what fans expect, what they value and what they actually want. As we’ve all been forced to remain in our homes for weeks on end,  livestreaming has become an integral part of our lives. It’s no longer strange to watch and enjoy a DJ set from someone’s living room. We’re even seeing games companies hosting live virtual concerts for fans.

For my generation, this is all a little bit new and unusual. However, for younger generations this is what they’ve grown up with and they don’t see anything unnatural in it at all.

The appetite for live music will never diminish. But what will events look like?

Is it a case of real life vs virtual? I don’t think they are mutually exclusive anymore. But what’s become glaringly obvious is that consumers want and need the brands they support to stand for something and be willing to stand above the parapet for the cause. Whether assembling virtually or physically, it needs to be purpose-driven and a platform for change. That’s why purpose lies at the heart of our World Tour proposition and why our first sponsor, a carbon-negative, renewable energy and fuels company, had to reflect that.

Whether sustainability, health or social and political causes, we know that brands need to be bridging that gap more between what they are saying and what they are actually doing – in the long term. It’s been fantastic to see the solidarity across the board for the Black Lives Matter movement, especially with the difficult backdrop of coronavirus. But I think what will become clear is that brands can’t simply put a black square on Instagram with inspirational messaging alone; they must be willing to stand by these issues and fight where necessary with the power and influence that they hold.

It’s obvious that younger generations particularly are getting much more involved in discussions around causes that are important to them, so it would be crazy for event organisers, brands and artists to not be more involved in those discussions and create platforms that positively engage.

We can’t deny that the developments and innovation with virtual experiences has answered a lot of questions

There will always be an appetite for being part of a crowd, enjoying and celebrating an artist and feeling part of a beautiful shared experience. But we can’t deny that the developments and innovation with virtual experiences has answered a lot of questions. It’s opened doors to new waves of creativity, which, from a fan’s perspective, is excellent.

It makes me wonder: are traditional live concerts as we know them a thing of the past? I think it’s fair to say we will see more virtual events become more sophisticated with interaction. No one seems to be interested in watching full live sets anymore – most people want to dip in and out and choose the content they want to watch, when they want to watch it.

The boundaries are also being pushed further still. At the end of April, Epic Games saw 12.3m players log on to Fortnite to watch Travis Scott’s Astronomical event, with an additional 27.7m viewing after. Despite the technological advancements, it had the hallmarks of a traditional gig – people ‘attended’ with their mates and could chat and dance as though actually next to them. That excitement level with an avatar is completely different to a simple live stream.

The opportunity to do something different has never presented itself more clearly. There’s no excuse for going back to old formats or attitudes – change is needed, and I know we’re excited at Apollo to be part of that.

 


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Miley Cyrus to headline World Tour Bushfire Relief

Miley Cyrus is headlining a bushfire benefit concert in Melbourne on Friday 13 March, as part of new global concert series World Tour.

Promoted by Apollo World Touring, TEG Dainty and Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Westbrook Inc., World Tour Bushfire Relief is a one-night only event taking place at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium, featuring performances from Lil Nas X, the Veronicas and DJ Seb Fontaine.

The concert is taking place the night before the previously announced Robbie Williams-headlined World Tour show at Lakeside Stadium and alongside the Australian Grand Prix.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, two Australian-based nonprofits working to rebuild communities affected by the country’s wildfires and restore forests and wildlife.

The benefit concert follows Fire Fight Australia, the Queen-headlined event organised by TEG, TEG Dainty and TEG Live that has so far raised almost AU$10 million (US$6.6m) for bushfire relief.

“The partnership that AgBioEn has developed with World Tour is all about inspiring music fans to become a part of the exciting transition to a net-zero, climate-friendly future”

World Tour recently announced a multi-year, multi-territory partnership with AgBioEn, an Australia-based renewable energy company. The partnership will see the concert series visit cities in Canada, Italy, Taiwan, the US, Germany, South Korea and Japan.

“As an Australian company, AgBioEn are devastated by the impacts of the recent bushfires, and we are proud to have been able to work with World Tour, TEG Dainty and The Australian Grand Prix Corporation to rapidly pull together this exciting event with Miley,” comments AgBioEn chairman Charles Hunting.

“The partnership that AgBioEn has developed with World Tour is all about inspiring music fans to become a part of the exciting transition to a net-zero, climate-friendly future.”

Tickets for World Tour Bushfire Relief go on sale on Tuesday 25 February at 2 p.m. AEDT here. Tickets for the Robbie Williams concert are available here from AU$99 ($65).

 


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Robbie Williams to headline inaugural World Tour show

Robbie Williams will inaugurate World Tour, a new global concert series set to debut on Saturday 14 March during the 2020 Australian grand prix.

In his only Australian performance of 2020, the British star will headline World Tour Melbourne, taking place at Lakeside Stadium in Albert Park.

Future World Tour events will visit other major cities in across the globe, according to Paul Morrison, co-founder and chairman of Apollo World Touring – one of the three companies bringing the concept to Australia, alongside promoter TEG Dainty and Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Westbrook Inc.

“We are so proud and excited to be launching World Tour with Robbie Williams in Melbourne,” comments Morrison. “To do this alongside the 25th Formula 1 race to be held in Melbourne makes the occasion ever more special.

“World Tour will feed global audiences hungry for great content, bringing the best in entertainment to provide a unique platform which will celebrate the best that Melbourne and all future cities have to offer.”

According to the new brand’s website, future shows will take place in cities including Berlin, Milan, Montreal, Seoul, Taipei, Osaka and Miami.

“This is the start of an annual addition to the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix weekend and we are excited to be bringing Robbie Williams to Melbourne with our partners Apollo World Touring and Australian Grand Prix Corporation for the 25th race,” says TEG Dainty CEO Paul Dainty.

“World Tour will feed global audiences hungry for great content”

Adds Craig Fletcher, GM for motorsports, entertainment and industry at the Australian Grand Prix Corporation: “The Australian Grand Prix Corporation is thrilled to partner with international powerhouse organisations Apollo World Touring, Westbrook Inc. and TEG Dainty to bring the global launch of World Tour to our wonderful city.

“The Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2020 is the ultimate fusion of the world’s best racing, food, glamour and music. This year will mark the 25th race held in Melbourne, which is the perfect occasion to host the inaugural World Tour and global superstar Robbie Williams.”

Williams’s most recent stadium tour, 2017–18’s Heavy Entertainment Show tour, saw him perform to more than 1.5 million people across the world, including at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Moscow. According to Pollstar, it grossed US$62 million from 31 shows in 2017, ending the year as the 25th-highest grossing globally.

Organisers have also confirmed they will be supporting fundraising efforts towards bushfire relief, with more details announced soon. TEG Dainty and its sister company, TEG Live, have sold more than 70,000 tickets for their own Live Aid-style benefit, Fire Fight Australia, on 16 February.

Tickets for the Melbourne gig are on sale from 10am AEDT on Monday 20 January via TEG’s Ticketek site, with a range of tickets from general admission to the Residence – an exclusive area “offering the best access and unrivalled experiences in close proximity to the action on stage” – available.

 


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