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OVG breaks ground on new Moody Center arena

Oak View Group has broken ground on the Moody Center, a new multi-purpose 15,000-seat arena at the University of Texas in Austin.

The US$338 million venue will replace the university’s existing arena, the 42-year-old Frank C. Erwin Jr Center. In addition to hosting local sporting fixtures and university events, Moody Center will provide a “world-class venue for top touring concerts and shows” in the self-proclaimed live music capital of the world.

The start of construction on Moody Center comes amid a building boom for Oak View Group (OVG), the venue development, advisory and investment company founded in 2015 by former AEG CEO Tim Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff. Other in-development projects include arenas in Seattle, Washington; Belmont, New York; Palm Springs, California; Milan, Italy; and Manchester, UK.

Live Nation Entertainment will work with its local subsidiary, C3 Presents, to bring top tours and live events to Moody Center. Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino says: “The Moody Center will be a must-play arena and we look forward to bringing our concerts and tours there as soon as the doors open in 2022.”

“The Moody Center will be a must-play arena”

“Being a fourth-generation Austinite, I grew up in the Frank Erwin Center and have hundreds of memories with my family and friends, adds Charles Attal, Partner, C3 Presents. “It is an honour to work on this new world-class event centre for the next generation to enjoy.”

Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey, a University of Texas (UT) professor, becomes ‘minister of culture’ of the Moody Center, and will provide input on suite designs, bar placement, colour schemes and more.

“As a proud alumnus and professor at UT, I’m honoured, now as minister of culture, to convey what a special place the university and the city of Austin are through the design and hospitality of the new Moody Center. It should be the first place the biggest bands in the world want to play, but the last place a visiting basketball team wants to play.”

 


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Live Nation’s C3 brings Piknic Électronik to Texas

Canadian-born electronic music festival Piknic Électronik will make its stateside debut next month in partnership with C3 Presents.

Described as a “unique two-day picnic in the park with electronic live music, local food and drink, family-friendly activities and immersive, social experiences”, the inaugural Piknic Électronik Austin will be held in Austin, Texas, park Auditorium Shores on 27–28 October.

Music will be an “eclectic mix of techno, house and disco, showcasing 12 national and local artists on two stages”, with a full line-up to be announced in the coming weeks. Day tickets are priced at US$15 from Front Gate Tickets.

“Austin is the perfect city for our first ever Piknic Électronik on American soil”

Originating in Montreal in 2003, Piknic Électronik events have also been held in Barcelona, Lisbon, Melbourne, Santiago (Chile) and Dubai. The flagship event is a summer-long series which last year ran from 21 May to 24 September, with Seth Troxler, the Black Madonna, Nicole Moudaber and Vincent Lemieux among the DJs performing.

“Austin is the perfect city for our first ever Piknic Électronik on American soil,” says CEO and founder Pascal Lefebvre. “With its world-renowned vibrant cultural scene and its reputation as a particularly festive and inviting city, it is a perfect fit for our brand and C3, a particularly great partner to build it with.”

Live Nation also organises the Austin City Limits festival in Austin, and recently acquired a majority stake Austin-based promoter ScoreMore shows, which owns and operates three festivals of its own.

 


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Austin’s Parish sells on eBay for $376,000

The Parish, the Austin, Texas, venue listed for sale on eBay, has sold to an undisclosed bidder for US$376,000.

The auction – which included the business, a 12-year lease on the venue, the chance to renew its alcohol licence and its current bookings, bar and sound equipment – ended on Sunday 10 December after 239 bids by 37 bidders. Doug Guller, founder of former Parish operator ATX Brands, decided earlier this year to sell his live music venues to concentrate on growing ‘breastaurant’ brands Bikini’s and Happy Chicks.

In July ATX sold outdoor music venue Scoot Inn to Austin-based promoter C3 Presents.

According to the Austin Chronicle, the 430-cap. Parish (pictured) garnered $250,000 in bids over the first three days, then stagnated for five days before taking before reaching the $375,000 mark on Friday. The reserve price for the listing appears to have been between $240,000 and $250,000.

 


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Venue to be sold on eBay

If you look hard enough you can find most things for sale on eBay, but this one’s a real novelty: Austin, Texas, venue The Parish is being sold off on the auction site.

The 435-capacity venue is in the heart of the city’s entertainment district, and will be listed from 1-10 December. But it’s not the building itself up for grabs, but the business, its current bookings, bar, sound equipment, 12-year lease and the chance to renew the alcohol licence.

Owner ATX Brands’ boss Doug Guller told Venues Today he’s putting the business on eBay because he wants to bypass the traditional music industry networks; and is hoping to bring in new blood to the self-proclaimed “live music capital of the world” (ahem).

“Hopefully it’ll be sold to someone in the industry that can take it to the next level.”

“I wanted to cast a wide net, and when things like properties come up for sale, the broker usually just sends the info out to their email list and that’s it,” he said. “Properties trade very well with brokers, but when it comes to selling an entire business, there’s not really a set formula or process for how to get it done.”

“Hopefully it’s someone in the industry that can afford a venue like The Parish and can take it to the next level.”

Bidding starts at $1, although Guller admits he’s set an undisclosed reserve price that must be reached for the deal to go through. He says he’s looking for someone

ATX Brands decided earlier this year to sell its live music venues to concentrate on growing his “breastaurant” brands Bikini’s and Happy Chicks. In July it sold outdoor music venue Scoot Inn to Austin-based promoter C3 Presents.

Although it’s rarely a stop for national tours, artists to have played small-scale appearances at The Parish include Slash, Perry Farrell, Leon Bridges and Pete Townsend.


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Live Nation invests in Austin start-up Everfest

Everfest, an online festival discovery platform based in Austin, Texas, has raised US$3.6 million in series-A funding from a group of investors that includes Live Nation.

The funding round, co-led by Live Nation and venture-capital firm ATX Seed Ventures, will allow Everfest to “rapidly [expand] our portfolio of partner festivals globally over the next several quarters”, says co-founder Paul Cross (pictured). The company has raised $6m since its founding in 2014.

Everfest’s platform is aimed at both music fans and promoters, sponsors, vendors and artists, with the former able to discover new events via its search engine and the latter group to engage fans with VIP access, discounts, giveaways, presales and more. It currently has listings for 15,000 festivals, many of which are managed by the festival organisers directly.

It is also the parent company of online festival magazine Fest300, acquired last year.

“This is a massive, growing industry, and Everfest is providing a technology layer that to date has been lacking”

“We love what Everfest is doing to give festivals a true online home,” says Chris Shonk, a partner at ATX Seed Ventures. “This is a massive, growing industry, and Everfest is providing a technology layer that to date has been lacking. We see enormous potential to build efficiencies in connecting the entire festival network, such that the whole industry is driven forward.”

Other new investors include Firefly Music Festival producer Red Frog Events, Airbnb’s head of global hospitality and strategy, Chip Conley, and Benchmark Capital’s Bob Kagle.

As part of the deal, Shonk and Charlie Walker – co-founder of C3 Presents, since 2014 owned by Live Nation – join Everfest’s board of directors.

“We’ll be rapidly expanding our portfolio of partner festivals globally over the next several quarters,” adds Cross.

 


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MVT goes int’l with Music Venues Alliance Austin

The UK’s Music Venue Trust (MVT) has announced the launch of Music Venues Alliance Austin, the first international chapter of its Music Venues Alliance association.

The new organisation, headed up by Rebecca Reynolds, aims to “quickly pick up the challenge of protecting, securing and improving” the Texas city’s grassroots venues.

Despite its oft-quoted status as the ‘live music capital of the world’, Austin lost more than 1,200 music-industry jobs and wiped off over US$100 million from value of its live music sector from 2010 to 2014.

Reynolds says: “Here in Austin, we have been following the work of Music Venue Trust and the Music Venues Alliance in the UK with huge interest. The problems they are describing resonated very clearly with us here.

“Although we have our own unique drivers for what threatens the future of Austin music venues, the core challenges are the same”

“Although we have our own unique drivers for what threatens the future of Austin music venues, the core challenges are the same: gentrification; rising rents; a lack of cultural acknowledgement and respect for the work they are doing; and a music industry that needs to start backing these spaces if they are to continue to develop new and emerging talent. We found the work of MVT inspiring, and the progress they have made in such a short time [is] amazing.”

Austin venues interested in joining the alliance are invited to contact Reynolds at rebecca@musicvenuetrust.com.

“We’d love to hear from more cities and countries around the world,” adds MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “Ultimately, we’d like to see the work of these venues respected globally by the music industry, government and the cultural sector. Joining together, we believe we can make that happen.”

 


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