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UK faces “devastating loss” over cancellations, no-shows

The UK live industry is contending with up to 50% audience no shows and widespread cancellations due to Omicron, a snap industry survey has shown.

The survey, conducted by LIVE, found that 70% of organisers were forced to cancel shows due to take place last week. Jessie Ware, Steps, Paul Weller, Coldplay and Lil Nas X are among the artists forced to cancel due to the virus.

Among the major artists that have this week cancelled remaining shows for 2021 are also The Charlatans (five dates), Supergrass (three), Stereophonics (two), Deacon Blue (two), Del Amitri (three), The Libertines (two) and Amy Macdonald (one).

Cancellations also extend into next year, with 50% of venues having already cancelled shows for January and February– some as many as 10 each – and more expected to follow, according to LIVE’s survey.

Cancellations also extend into next year, with 50% of venues having already cancelled shows for January and February

MØ and Brockhampton are among the artists that have already cancelled or postponed UK/EU tours scheduled for 2022 as a result of concerns around Omicron.

The trade association says that the widespread cancellations, alongside a high rate of audience dropouts, are leading to a “devastating” rise in lost income for the live music industry.

These losses are compounded by drastic falls in tickets sales, with expected ticket sales for 2022 live music falling by over a third in the last few weeks, the association adds.

Lucy Noble, National Arenas Association chair and artistic director at Royal Albert Hall, says ticket sales for the London venue have “fallen off a cliff in the past fortnight due to the climate of uncertainty”.

“Ticket sales have fallen off a cliff in the past fortnight due to the climate of uncertainty”

“We have already had a £20m loan from the government but we don’t want to accumulate any more debt,” she tells IQ.

Mark Davyd, CEO of The Music Venue Trust, warns that the position of the industry is taking “a dramatic turn for the worst”.

“Without swift action from the government the entire sector risks collapse within weeks not months,” he tells IQ. “We are currently organising the sector to make applications for all available funding, but more than 50% of grassroots music venues across the UK do not meet the criteria to qualify for the funding currently available.

“The government needs to act on VAT, business rates, retail, hospitality & leisure grants and additional restrictions grants without delay. None of this is new; the government did an excellent job of preventing music venue closures in the last 23 months. We simply need that support reopened to deal with the latest phase of the pandemic.”

“Without swift action from the government the entire sector risks collapse within weeks not months”

Commenting on the snap survey, a spokesperson from LIVE said: “These statistics paint a bleak picture for the sector which is why it’s absolutely vital that the government provides additional support immediately. We need urgent assistance to avoid the live music industry running into the ground, forcing venues to shut up shop and a Christmas of Misery with job losses, and freelancers and artists without work.

“We also face a double-whammy as next year’s sales take a nosedive, meaning organisers do not have the cash needed to cover soaring costs as they struggle to stay afloat while operating at a loss.”

LIVE, on behalf of more than 3,100 businesses in the sector, is now calling for urgent financial support from government, including:

 


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Ed Sheeran plays Finland’s biggest-ever concert

Ed Sheeran has broken more records, with two shows promoted by Fullsteam Agency in Finland attracting more visitors than any other live music event in the country’s history.

The Helsinki shows combined constitute the biggest concert event to take place in the country, surpassing the record of 104,000 attendees set by two U2 concerts at Helsinki Olympic Stadium in 2010.

The two Ed Sheeran shows were also attended by more people than Finland’s three-day Ruisrock festival, which brings in around 105,000 visitors each year, according to Fullsteam.

Sheeran previously beat ticket sales records in South Africa, selling 230,000 tickets across four dates as part of his multi-record breaking ÷ tour, which ended 2018 as the highest-grossing tour of the last 30 years.

Originally intended as a one-date show, all 60,000 tickets for the concert were snapped up in 20 minutes, with a second date later added to meet demand.

“The event was extraordinarily well planned and executed”

The concerts, which took place on 23 and 24 July, were the first-ever large-scale entertainment events to take place at Helsinki’s Malmi Airport.

“The event was extraordinarily well planned and executed and, from the City of Helsinki’s point of view, the collaboration was seamless,” comments the city’s deputy mayor for urban environment, Anni Sinnemäki.

“We warmly welcome other productions to Malmi Airport in the future.”

Fullsteam, part of the FKP Scorpio group, reported a record-breaking summer last year, with a combined attendance of more than 100,000 for the promoter’s festivals, Provinssi and Sideways. Provinssi saw a slight drop in attendance this year, down to 73,000 visitors from the previous year’s 76,000.

German metal band Rammstein are set to play two Fullsteam-promoted shows at the 32,000-capacity Ratina Stadium in Tampere, Finland, on 9 and 10 August. Tickets for the earlier date are still available, priced at €99.

 


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Australia’s QBA reports record attendance for 2018

The Qudos Bank Arena (QBA) reported a record number of visitors in 2018, with over one million fans attending shows in Australasia’s largest indoor live entertainment venue (21,000-cap.).

The TEG-owned and AEG-operated QBA hosted over 1,066,607 ticketed patrons last year, the largest ticketed crowd to attend the arena for live entertainment since it opened its doors in 2000.

The attendance figures do not include guests who visited the arena for business events such as functions, conferences, seminars and exhibitions.

To celebrate the landmark achievement, a ‘QBA Golden Ticket’ was awarded to the one millionth guest through the arena’s turnstiles. The recipient will receive two tickets for every ticketed event of the 2019 QBA calendar.

“Qudos Bank Arena hosted over 110 ticketed shows throughout 2018, and with that level of event activity likely to continue in 2019, we couldn’t be happier for Kayla [Golden Ticket recipient] who will get to enjoy even more great events over the next 12 months,” comments Steve Hevern, QBA general manager.

“2018 was a special year, and the huge accomplishment is credit to the entire team that work so hard every day”

“2018 was a special year, and the huge accomplishment is credit to the entire team that work so hard every day to provide our clients, patrons and guests with outstanding customer service that keeps them coming back.”

The arena reported other record-breaking events in 2018. P!NK played nine shows as part of her Beautiful Trauma World Tour, breaking the arena record for the longest run of shows played by a solo artist, as well as the record for total ticket sales for any artist.

Bruno Mars accumulated the highest ticket sales for a male solo artist at the arena, playing five shows as part of his 24k Magic World Tour.

Others acts to play in the arena last year include Katy Perry, Sam Smith, Celine Dion, The Killers and 21 Pilots.

QBA, previously known as the Acer Arena and as Sydney Superbowl, was originally built for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. It is one of the top ten grossing arenas in the world, hosting hosts a range of live entertainment events across music, comedy and sport, as well as corporate events and conferences.

 


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Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams sets attendance records

Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams tour has departed Latin America after having set two attendance records in Mexico.

The British four-piece’s sold-out show at the Foro Sol stadium in Mexico City on Sunday (17 April) was seen by a record 67,451 people, beating a previous record held by Pearl Jam and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs. Coldplay’s previous appearances at the venue, on Friday and Saturday (15 and 16 April), also set attendance records for consecutive nights.

Other than in the UK, where SJM Concerts will handle promotion duties, the tour is produced worldwide by Live Nation, with Bruce Moran in charge of the Latin American dates and Phil Bowdery overseeing Europe and Australia.

The A Head Full of Dreams tour will kick off its European leg on 24 April in Nice and continue to the US on 16 July, with the first of many stadium and arena dates at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on 16 July.