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Global Eclipse festival refuses to give full refunds

Global Eclipse is refusing to refund ticket holders for its Patagonia Gathering festival in December, even though authorities are currently refusing to let international tourists into Argentina due to Covid.

Organisers of the Argentine EDM festival are refusing to provide refunds on the grounds that the festival has not been cancelled, despite there being no way for the vast majority of ticket holders to attend on 14 December.

Instead of full refunds, the organisers have offered a “buyback” program, whereby customers are able to receive 50% of their ticket price, along with the cost of any accommodation and parking passes, in exchange for signing a legal document that will “release [the organisers] from liability in regards to [the] Patagonia Gathering”.

According to Guardian Australia, the organisers sent an email to ticket holders stating: “We’ve had requests to ‘refund the money’ but it’s not possible to retrieve sunk costs for labour, and niche physical assets are not easy to sell in the downtrodden Argentine economy.

“Humans are social beings. Isolation has taken a toll on all of us. We are meant to connect and we are meant to gather. We plan to do it safely in the best way possible.

“We are producers with decades of experience who are 2.5 years into a three-year project and we’ve learned to prepare for permutations of earth, wind, and fire but none of us had ‘global pandemic’ on our 2020 bingo card.”

“It’s not possible to retrieve sunk costs for labour, and niche physical assets are not easy to sell in the Argentine economy”

The company noted in another email that ticket sales were “final, no refund passes for a rain or shine event”.

The event has been in the works for three years, with many fans purchasing tickets before Covid-19, and is due to take place near the small town of Las Coloradas, which is four hours from the nearest major city.

Despite the fact the country is nearing one million Covid-19 cases, on 26 August, after months of silence from organisers, they announced that the Patagonian party would go ahead.

However, with only two months to go, the line-up for the festival is yet to be announced, raising concerns about organisers’ transparency.

Argentina has enforced one of the longest and strictest lockdowns in the world, with regular internal flights set to resume for the first time since March this week. Social gatherings have been periodically banned, and a huge number of major events cancelled in order to curb the virus’s spread.


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Move Concerts allies with hip-hop platform Damn!

Move Concerts, the largest independent promoter in Latin America, has partnered with influential urban show Damn! to grow its digital footprint while concerts are on hold.

Damn!, described as the most important hip-hop programme in the Spanish-speaking world, has a strong and growing fan base in Argentina, Mexico and Spain, with more than 430,000 subscribers on YouTube. The show is broadcast on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 6–8pm Argentina time.

The partnership will see Damn! film its show from a new studio complex created by Move Concerts Argentina and the programme’s co-producer, MAD, which provided technical support. The new studio is located at Move Concerts’ Argentinian HQ in Buenos Aires.

According to Move, the partnership is “the first step by Move Concerts and Move Management to show the strong commitment they have made to urban artists”.

The collaboration with Damn! is the latest Covid-era initiative for Move Concerts, which also has offices in Miami, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Costa Rica. The company last month hosted Latin America’s first drive-in concerts, and was a partner on La Morada, an online entertainment venue that raised money for Colombian production crew.


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Indie promoters talk challenges, post-corona recovery

The latest IQ Focus virtual panel, The State of Independence: Promoters, checked in with independent concert promoters in the UK, Europe, India and South America to discover how these entrepreneurs are preparing for the live industry’s return to normality.

Hosted by agent Emma Banks (CAA), yesterday’s session welcomed British promoters Anton Lockwood (DHP Family) and David Messer (DMP), Munbir Chawla from India’s The Wild City, Melanie Eselevsky from Argentina’s Move Concerts and Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion’s Roman Pitone to discuss the current difficulties unique to their sector, as well as the opportunities and challenges of a post-Covid-19 world .

Speaking about emerging concert formats such as drive-in shows, Pitone said Karsten Jahnke has done a number of drive-in events in Germany over the past few months. “Overall, they went well,” he said, but enthusiasm has declined over time as fans increasingly miss ‘real’ shows: “You could see when we started it that people were really eager to see shows [in some form] again, but it slowed down as time went on as people realised it’s just not the same.”

He added that the company is only breaking even on its drive-in and other socially distanced events. “With the income, we’re just paying for what we’re doing,” he explained. “This is just to keep doing something that is our passion and our livelihood, until we can do something [else]…”

In India, where live music is still invariably sponsored, brands have realised the coronavirus crisis isn’t going away and are spending less on live events, creating a headache for promoters, said Chawla. “The brands have realised they’re in it for the long haul, and cultural marketing spend is now being put back into marketing the products” directly, he commented.

“I want to remain independent. It’s not all and gloom”

“Unlike a lot of other scenes, the Indian scene is pretty reliant on brands. So, with the brands spending less money, that will also affect shows and the scale at which they can happen.”

Giving an overview of the situation in countries where Move Concerts operates, Eselevsky brought panellists up to date on the latest developments in Latin America, from the furlough scheme in Argentina to ticket vouchers in Brazil and drive-in concerts in Puerto Rico.

She also touched on the challenge of organising concerts in Argentina when the value of the local currency fluctuates so often: “Three years ago, the exchange rate was 18 pesos [to the US dollar],” she said. “Now it’s 75 pesos.”

Banks described her own experience of playing Argentina, relaying how one of her acts once oversold a show in Buenos Aires and still didn’t break even. “Try explaining that to the manager!” she said.

Turning to 2021, Messer said he’s “finding that because so many things have been moved into next year, things are fully booked” for late 2021 already. “So it’s very hard to know what you can book – the dates are going very quickly, but you can’t book the artists” because the situation around international touring is still so unclear.

“People are talking a lot more to each other … We’re all in the same place”

Lockwood said he can understood why many artists, especially American ones, could be reluctant to travel internationally well into next year, even if it’s a “depressing” thought. “Imagine the nightmare of being a US band,” he explained, “you get to the border of Spain and Portugal, and your bus driver gets a cough and you have to quarantine for 14 days. So, your whole tour’s just gone.

“Whereas, at least if you’re a US band and you tour the US, you won’t get caught in that.”

While the crisis has thrown into sharp relief the vulnerability of the independent sector, none of the panellists responded in the affirmative when Banks asked, tongue in cheek, if they wish they’d sold to Live Nation before coronavirus hit.

“It’s not all and gloom,” said Chawla, highlighting the quality of the music being released and the increasingly global nature of the industry as among the bright spots, while Messer praised how “people have come together” to mitigate the impact of the concert shutdown.

“People are talking a lot more to each other – people from different sides of the industry,” he said, in a sentiment echoed by Banks. “We’re all in the same place, and luckily everyone’s helping each other, which we have to do. We all need each other – we’re not going survive unless we can all exist.”

For more discussion and debate, including on ticket pricing, refunds and vouchers, ‘Swiss-cheese touring’ and much more, watch the session back on YouTube or Facebook now.


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Indie promoters in spotlight for next IQ Focus

Continuing the weekly series of IQ Focus virtual sessions, State of Independence: Promoters will see independent event organisers from across the globe come together to discuss the specific obstacles facing their business.

The tenth panel of the popular IQ Focus series, the session will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 16 July at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET.

Across the touring world, independent promoters are facing a similar challenge when looking ahead to a post Covid-19 business.

While this current period presents many unique challenges for this creative and entrepreneurial sector, it’s one of many pressures they face. So what’s the state of play in Europe, South America and India? And what alternative show formats, and business models are independent promoters adopting to stay ahead?

CAA’s Emma Banks hosts the session to ask, as the industry emerges from its current crisis, where the opportunities might lie?

Joining Banks are DHP Family’s Anton Lockwood, Karsten Janhke Konzertdirektion’s Ben Mitha, DMP UK’s David Messer, Melanie Eselevsky from Argentina’s Move Concerts and Munbir Chawla from the Wild City in India.

All previous IQ Focus sessions, which have looked at topics including the challenges facing festivals, diversity in live, management under lockdown, the agency business, large-scale venues and innovation in live music, can be watched back here.

To set a reminder about State of Independence: Promoters session on Thursday head to the IQ Magazine page on Facebook or YouTube.


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Uncertainty for promoters as Covid-19 spreads in Latam

Promoters in Latin America are facing much uncertainty as shows are shut down, curfews imposed and currency values decline due to the worsening spread of coronavirus

The first case of Covid-19 was reported in Latin America in late February, in the Brazilian city of São Paulo. The virus has now spread to many other countries in the region, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

In the region’s biggest touring markets, quarantines are in place in Argentina, Colombia and parts of Brazil. In Chile, the government has imposed a curfew between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m, with over one million residents of its capital, Santiago, put under lockdown today (26 March).

This week, the Mexican government placed a ban on all public and private gatherings of over 100 people for the next month, as the country moved into phase two of the epidemic.

“It is still way too early to gauge the full impact in the mid and long term,” says Phil Rodriguez, CEO of Move Concerts, which has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Puerto Rico, as well as its Miami headquarters. “The first impact is that shows and festivals have been cancelled or rescheduled.”

“For now, we are rescheduling shows from September onwards assuming that is a safe bet, but this could change.”

Major festivals in Latin America affected by the virus include the Lollapalooza festival franchise, which has been rescheduled for 23 to 26 November in Argentina, 27 to 29 November in Chile and 4 to 6 December in Brazil. Estéreo Picnic, due to take place in the Colombian capital of Bogotá in March, has now moved to the start of December.

“For now, we are rescheduling shows from September onwards assuming that is a safe bet, but this could change”

Rodriguez notes that promoters’ associations in all markets have been meeting and reaching out to governments for assistance in various forms, such as “ low interest credit lines, moratorium on taxes and extensions on the time period for reimbursements on cancelled shows.”

Asked what can be expected over the next few months, Rodriguez simply replies: “I wish I knew”.

“This is a continually changing scenario that can change at any minute and has so many parts involved that any speculation is sheer conjecture,” says the Move Concerts boss. “I think we all need a few more weeks to get a better handle on the longer term picture.”

Guillermo Parra, director of international events at Ocesa, the largest promoter in Latin America, agrees that the upcoming weeks “will be crucial”.

Live Nation announced its plan to acquire a controlling stake in Ocesa Entertainment, the world’s fifth-largest promoter and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico, in July last year. The promoter puts around 3,100 shows a year and operates 14 venues across Mexico.

“At the moment, all gatherings have been banned – from movie theaters to concerts – until 19 April,” says Parra, “but I honestly think this will go on for longer.”

“When we wake from the virus nightmare, the economic reality will begin”

In Chile, a market which has seen heavy disruption over the past few months due to wide-spread anti-government protests, promoters are rescheduling shows to June, subject to venue availability and touring schedules, says Carlos Geniso, president of DG Medios.

On 18 March, Chilean president Sebastian Piñera declared a “state of catastrophe” for 90 days in the whole country, including a ban on gatherings in public spaces and the establishing of a quarantine and curfew. After Brazil, the country is currently one of the worst affected in the region, with 1,142 confirmed cases.

“We are trying to move as much we can to the last quarter calendar of 2020,” says Geniso, adding that the income loss for thousands of people working in the country’s live industry “will be great for a long period of time”.

The economic impact of the virus is of great concern for all in Latin America. Rodriguez states that Brazil and Colombia have been hit particularly hard by the virus, not just in terms of numbers – Brazil has reported 2,201 cases and Colombia has 378 – but rather because “the exchange rate with the dollar has skyrocketed”.

One dollar is equivalent to 5.05 Brazilian reales, up from BRL4.45 at the end of February, whereas 4,066 Colombian pesos now equal $1, increasing from COP3,460 a month ago.

In Mexico, Parra states that, between the virus and declining oil prices, “the Mexican peso has been crushed”. The Mexican currency fell to a record low against the dollar earlier this week, with $1 selling for over 25 pesos on Monday.

“When we wake from the virus nightmare, the economic reality will begin,” says Parra.

Photo: Leonardo Samran/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)


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Argentinian law ups female representation in live

The Argentinian government has implemented a new law that dictates that women must make up at least 30% of the line-up for festivals and other live music events.

The so-called “female quota” (cupo femenino), which will be implemented early next year, is the result of a two-year campaign by over 700 Argentinian musicians to obtain more gender parity at live music events.

The law aims to “achieve effective inclusion of women in live music by means of positive discrimination” and is thought to be the first of its kind in the world.

Organisers failing to comply with the quota will face a fine of up to 6% of the overall takings of the event. The ruling applies to any live music event consisting of three acts or more.

“From now on, access to the stage for women working in music is going to be fairer”

Approved by the senate in May, the law was pushed through the Argentinian chamber of deputies in November, with 133 votes in favour, five against and six abstentions. Argentina’s National Music Institute (Inamu) is responsible for ensuring festivals comply with the quota.

According to Daniel Filmus, president of the Argentinian Chamber of Deputies’ Culture Commission, the law is “an enormous conquest” that “has helped the advancement towards furthering the rights of women in music”.

Senator Anabel Fernández Sagasti, one of the principal supporters of the law, commented that “from now on, access to the stage for women working in music is going to be fairer”, thanking “all the women that make up the music scene” for their “tireless fight”.


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AGF champions eco-friendly events in South America

Live industry sustainability specialist A Greener Festival (AGF) recently teamed up with members of the Latin America music business to discuss how to reduce waste at live events.

Along with South American electronic music promoter Buenas Noches Producciones (BNP), eco-friendly organisation Bye Bye Plastic, which is run by DJ Blond:ish, and local environmental movement Voluntad Verde, AGF led an open, public discussion on how the electronic music industry can help tackle climate change and reduce waste generation – particularly plastics.

The session, which took place on 21 November in the Argentinian city of Córdoba, opened with a statement from BNP detailing the commitment of the electronic music scene to help fight climate change, via its ‘Dance and Recycle’ and ‘Respect’ campaigns. BNP also underwent a complete AGF-conducted Sustainability Assessment.

The free-to-attend event was directed towards attendees of BNP events, as the promoter looks to increase sustainability in the future.

“We are committed to leading the change in our local scene and strongly believe that consistency and continuity will get us there”

“We have been working hard to bring respect to the core of all elements of our events for years, including respect for our environment, our health, our peers, for everything,” comments Ivan Aballay, CEO and founder of Buenas Noches Producciones.

“We are committed to leading the change in our local scene and strongly believe that consistency and continuity will get us there. This powerful initiative, which brought together artists, staff and the local community, is just beginning. We have a lot more hard work ahead.”

A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill adds that: “So often the discussion around sustainability is about limitation and lack. What we love about this inspiring collaboration is that it amplifies and enhances our combined energy to make a positive difference beyond the dancefloor.

“If the whole music industry took actions such as these surrounding gigs, the environmental benefits would be phenomenal.”

AGF is presenting the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) in partnership with the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) on 3 March in London. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.


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Buenos Aires Arena renamed to Movistar Arena

Telecommunications giant Movistar has signed a naming-rights deal with ASM Global-operated Buenos Aires Arena (15,000-cap.).

The arena is the third South American venue to take Movistar’s name, following similar partnerships with arenas in Santiago, Chile and Bogotá, Colombia.

Argentine singer Tini Stoessel marked the opening of the new arena on 1 November, which was free-to-enter for all Movistar customers that registered for tickets via Club Movistar.

Other acts to have performed at the arena include Spanish musicians Serrat and Sabina and Puerto Rican singer Chayanne, with upcoming shows by Abel Pintos, Keane, Ricardo Montaner, Andrés Calamaro, Shawn Mendes and J Balvin.

“This alliance is a milestone for our company”

Originally slated to be operated by AEG Facilities, the arena later came under ASM Global’s management, which was formed as the result of a merger between AEG Facilities and SMG. The venue is owned by Buenos Aires Arena SA, an entity controlled by La Nación, Argentina’s biggest media company.

“We are proud to be able to partner with this new concept of shows in Argentina,” comments Federico Rava, executive president of Movistar owner Telefónica Argentina. According to Rava, the new partnership “combines the best live entertainment with a unique experience for those present, exclusive benefits for Movistar clients and access to the latest technology and connectivity during the shows.”

“This alliance is a milestone for our company. We are very excited to welcome Movistar as our main sponsor, which will enhance the experience of spectators attending shows at Movistar Arena,” adds the arena’s president Natalia Mouhapé.


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The New Bosses 2019: Melanie Eselevsky, Move Concerts

The New Bosses 2019 – the biggest-ever edition of IQ‘s yearly roundup of future live industry leaders, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 85 last month revealing the twelve promising agents, promoters, bookers and execs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cream of the crop a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2019’s New Bosses, to discover their greatest inspirations and proudest achievements, pinpoint the reasons for their success and obtain advice for those hoping to be a future New Boss. Snippets of the interviews can be found in the latest IQ Magazine, with all interviews being reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.

New Boss number eight is Melanie Eselevsky, a talent booker at Argentina’s Move Concerts. The youngest New Boss of 2019, 24-year-old Eselevsky divides her time between studying law at the University of Buenos Aires and working for Move Concerts Argentina.

After starting out producing not-for-profit musical shows – in 2016 Eselevsky, with her friends, purchased the stage rights for Hereafter Musical, which they produced in a 500-capacity theatre for two seasons – she joined Move Concerts, initially as a production assistant, in early 2017. (Read the previous interview with Primary Talent’s Matt Pickering-Copley here.)


What are you busy with right now?
On the one hand, I am already working on 2020’s agenda. It’s a tough time because it is a presidential election year in Argentina and the exchange rate varies every minute because everything is unpredictable. On the other hand, Move Argentina has more than 20 shows for the third and fourth quarters of this year. I define myself as a “control freak” and I like to keep an eye on everything that is going on with each show. In our part of the world, we look after visas, hotels, production, ground transportation, etc. as well as everything else, therefore, there’s a lot on our plates.

Did you always want to work in the music business?
I’ve been attending concerts and other live events ever since I was a child and I had no idea that these kinds of jobs existed. I remember going to school with the daughters of a Sony Music executive, and thinking their life was so cool because they got to meet Shakira. I only found out later that there was the opportunity to really get involved through being in a concert promotion company.

What are some of the highlights of your career so far?
The past three years have been really interesting from a business point of view for me. I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great artists – Ed Sheeran, Shawn Mendes, Katy Perry, Green Day, Radiohead and Iron Maiden, to name a few.

That said, one of the show confirmations I enjoyed the most was Patti Smith a few months ago. I read she was playing São Paulo and I immediately asked if we could submit an offer because I believed in the show and such an iconic artist. The day of the on-sale all I could do was keep refreshing the sales report again and again. Now we are close to sell-out and I’m ecstatic that my gut feeling was right and I have gained a lot of confidence. I can’t wait until the show.

“I define myself as a “control freak” and I like to keep an eye on everything that is going on with each show”

How has your role changed since you started out?
I started at Move Concerts with a three-month probation period as a production assistant. I was supposed to handle administrative issues like organising vendor budgets and invoices. I remember one of my first work meetings where I was supposed to present all the budgets and just before I got in I had to google the word “forklift”!

During my first year, I was asked to help in a lot of different areas. This gave me a wider perspective of business, from visas, ticketing and merch to show settlements. I never thought I would end up in talent booking. Actually, when [Move Concerts Argentina MD] Sebastian Carlomagno first asked me to do this job at the beginning of 2017, I thought it was crazy. It took me almost a year to feel comfortable, but everyone has been truly supportive. [Move Concerts CEO] Phil Rodriguez and [lead promoter of Move LatAm] Fabiano de Queiroz were crucial in this process.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt while at Move?
To stop for a minute and think. This business is way too dynamic. We need to be ready to make tough decisions all the time. That’s why it is important to be able to put yourself on hold for just 60 seconds in order to see everything more clearly.

What, if anything, would you change about how the live industry is run today?
I consider myself really lucky because, above all, Move Concerts encourages trust and teamwork. Everyone has a lot of experience, but at the same time they are open to new ideas. The industry would be healthier if other companies worked on this same way.

What do you do for fun?
I would produce independent musical theatre shows with my friends. That’s what my background is in and I really love theatre.

“It is important to be able to put yourself on hold for just 60 seconds in order to see everything more clearly”

Do you have an industry mentor?
Everyone at Move Concerts has “mentored” me in certain way. I have developed the habit of discussing projects with the different departments – ticketing, marketing, logistics, administration – and offices across seven countries. These discussions enrich every single minute.

Betina Canalis has been a role model ever since I started working at Move. She taught me a lot about how to place an offer and how to “feel” the market. I call her every time I need advice.

What advice would you give to anyone who wants to get into, or is new to, the business?
When people ask me what my job is about, my answer is “getting what needs to be done, done”. So, be a “doer”. If you are really willing to do this, there are no ifs, buts or complaints. If you are not sure about it, it is probably not for you. Also, don’t be afraid to speak up. It may sound cliché, but if you don’t share your ideas, you don’t get anywhere. And finally – don’t forget to have fun. Working in entertainment is a privilege.

Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
Nowhere far from backstage. The adrenaline of live is something beyond description.


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The New Bosses: Meet the class of 2019

The latest edition of IQ’s New Bosses goes live today, celebrating the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2019 – the 12th outing for IQ’s annual list of  future live music industry leaders, as decided by their peers – is the biggest to date, with no fewer than a dozen promoters, bookers, agents and other young execs making the cut:

IQ’s 2019 New Bosses will be automatically shortlisted for the Tomorrow’s New Boss award at the Arthur Awards at ILMC in March 2020, voting for which opens in November. “It was an incredibly rewarding experience to have won the Tomorrow’s New Boss award this year,” says ICM Partners agent Kevin Jergenson, who picked up his award at ILMC 31.

Full interviews with all the New Bosses 2019 will appear online in the coming weeks

“As an award that is voted on solely by my peers within the industry, it means a great deal to know that the passion and time I have put into this job and industry has been noticed and well received. I truly am blessed to be working with so many amazing people and artists within such an incredible industry. Congrats and good luck to all of this year’s New Bosses!”

Short profiles of, and brief interviews with, all 2019 New Bosses are featured in the latest issue of IQ Magazine, which can be read in the digital issue embedded below. These individual profiles use heavily edited versions of the full interviews, which will appear online in the coming weeks.

These promising emerging execs will also play a key role in forthcoming editions of Futures Forum, the discussion and networking event for the next generation of industry leaders that debuted at ILMC 31 in March.

Read on, then, to learn more about this year’s roster of young, talented professionals who are shaping the future of our business…

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