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Live Nation GSA announces Download Festival Germany

Live Nation GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) is launching a German edition of Download Festival, the UK’s premiere rock event.

Download Germany will take place on 24 June 2022 at the Hockenheimring, a motor racing circuit situated in the Rhine valley near the town of Hockenheim, which Live Nation GSA head Marek Lieberberg has prior experience with.

Lieberberg’s former company Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK) previously held Rock’n’Heim at the same location, in cooperation with Live Nation.

The festival took place annually from 2013 to 2015, welcoming around 40,000 fans across three days for the first two years. In 2015, the event was reduced to a one-day event.

MLK also housed both Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, started by Lieberberg in 1985 and 1993 respectively, the twin festivals that from 2022, will be programmed by eventimpresents and CTS Eventim-owned DreamHaus.

At the time of writing, Download Germany has not announced any artists or released tickets for the 2022 event

At the time of writing, Download Germany has not announced any artists or released tickets for the 2022 event.

Download Germany will be the UK brand’s fourth sister event. Other sites are Download Australia, which would have debuted in 2020, Download Madrid and Download France in Paris (both of which last took place in 2019).

The UK event, promoted by Festival Republic, this year took place over the 18–20 June weekend as part of the second phase of the UK government’s scientific Events Research Programme (ERP).

Download Pilot welcomed 10,000 metal fans to the hallowed grounds of rock in Donington Park, Leicestershire, to enjoy a fully-fledged festival experience with no social distancing, no masks and moshing allowed. The event was the UK’s first major camping festival of its kind since lockdown.

The flagship event is set to return to the UK between 10-12 June 2022 with a line-up that includes Deftones, Korn and Megadeath.


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Australian fans clamour for return of int’l artists

More than four fifths of Australians say they consider international artists to be a significant factor in their decision to attend live events in future, according to a major new survey commissioned by Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF).

LEIF, a pan-industry body whose members include Live Nation, TEG, AEG Presents, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and WME, commissioned Ersnt & Young (EY) to survey 35,000 Australian consumers to identify their attitudes towards live shows and expectations for a safe return to live performances.

Among EY’s findings are that over 80% of those surveyed considered overseas artists a “significant” or “very significant” factor in whether they would attend a concert, and that fans want live events with larger crowd numbers to return this year, with more than 80% also keen to see live events return with greater crowd numbers by November 2021.

Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG and co-chair of LEIF, saysthe results underline the need for the Australian federal and state governments to align with leading promoters to ensure vaccinated international acts and their crews can enter the country and move around easily in Covid-safe travel bubbles for shows and festivals throughout the coming summer.

“We already know that international superstars love to tour Australia and that we offer them the best fans, the best weather and the best food in the world,” comments Jones. “We also know that shows by international artists generate 80% of concert ticket sales by value. They also generate the greatest economic benefit for our country through tourism, travel, hospitality and other industries, and to our own industry, which has been ravaged by the pandemic.

“EY’s findings show that Aussie fans are hungry for the world’s biggest performers to return to our shores and tour our beautiful country.”

“Aussie fans are hungry for the world’s biggest performers to return to our shores and tour our beautiful country”

Roger Field, president of Live Nation Asia Pacific and co-chair of LEIF, agrees: “Other international markets are beginning to reopen and offer alternative touring options for artists, so it is absolutely critical that we reach rapid alignment with the federal and state and territory governments at national cabinet level to ensure Australia does not miss out on this vital opportunity for the live entertainment industry to recover from the worst year in its long and storied history.”

Amid fresh lockdown measures to quash the current outbreaks of Covid-19, EY’s survey also spotlights the positive impact that live entertainment has on the nation’s mental health, showing that three-quarters of Australians saying they consider live events an important part of their work, social and family life.

Julia Robinson, general manager of the Australian Festivals Association, says: “EY’s study shows how vital live experiences are to social cohesion and wellbeing. Events bring us together. They can inspire and move us. Live entertainment is the antidote to last year’s disconnection, and we know audiences around Australia continue to miss their festivals, concerts and events.”

Live Performance Australia CEO Evelyn Richardson says the best call to action for fans to help the live entertainment industry is to go and get vaccinated: “If we want keep our theatre and venue doors open, and we want to see our favourite performers on stage, the most important thing we can do right now is to get vaccinated. Not only will it keep our communities, families, friends and colleagues safe, it will ensure the future of our industry. Don’t wait. Do it now so we can welcome the world’s greatest acts back to the country that they love visiting and performing in.”

LEIF’s executive committee includes the heads of TEG, Live Nation, Chugg Entertainment, AEG Presents, Frontier Touring, WME, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Sydney Cricket Ground, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Olympic Parks, Adelaide Oval, Venues West, Venues Live, ASM Global, Michael Cassel Group, Stadiums Queensland, Live Performance Australia, Australian Festivals Association, and Venue Management Association.


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Events company Humm rebrands after acquisition

As it prepares to open two new venues in Australia, Cedar Mill Group has acquired one of the country’s leading event management companies.

Since it was founded by Iain Morrison in 2001, Humm has been behind a number of major festivals around the country including Beyond the Valley, Good Things Festival, NRL Nation and the Fire Fight Australia benefit concert. Its clients include Live Nation, TEG, Regional Touring, Untitled Group, and the New South Wales government. The firm will be rebranded Humm Events.

“It’s been an amazing ride for the team and the business to date but for Tara and myself it was an opportunity too good to let go,” said Morrison, who will remain at the company with business partner Tara Whitfield. They are joined by Cedar Mill Group’s Kyle McKendry as General Manager. McKendry joined Cedar Mill Group in 2019 after almost two decades at Roche Group.

Morrison added: “We now have the capacity to resource the business how and when we need to. Our ambition is to grow our team and presence further in the Australian/New Zealand markets, continuing a consistent level of industry benchmark outcomes for all of our clients.”

“Our ambition is to grow our team and presence further in the Australian/New Zealand markets”

Cedar Mill Group is building the 30,000-capacity Cedar Mill Lake Macquarie and 22,000 Cedar Mill Hunter Valley, which will both have “multi-million-dollar entertainment and cultural precincts”, according to the company.

Owned by property developers Winarch Capital, Cedar Mills Group says it has “aggressive growth plans”, with an ambition “to become a key player in the events sector,” according to Winarch CEO Paul Lambess.

Humm Events’ services cover event, site and production management; creative concept development; COVID-19, crowd and risk planning; and strategic consulting for event owners. It says feasibility planning is a big growth area.


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Damage control: Peter Noble talks difficult start to year

Earlier this year, the governor of the Australian state of New South Wales pulled the plug on Byron Bay Bluesfest the day before the much-loved festival was due to go ahead. Despite agreeing to operate at 50% capacity under a state-approved plan, Bluesfest was given no option to comply, leaving the festival owing artists, suppliers and contracts with no income to pay them.

Here, festival organiser Peter Noble talks about the impact of the last-minute cancellation and looks ahead to the ‘new’ Bluesfest 2021, which takes place from 1 to 4 October…


IQ: Tell us about the moment you learned Bluesfest would not be able to go ahead.
PN: The public health order came through at about 3.30pm on 30 March, the day before the festival was due to open. We were literally set up and ready to go. Every single thing had been done; the stallholders had the food and the liquor was in the fridges, the signage was up – it was as close as you could get to opening your doors. That positive Covid case was the first one we’ve had in our area since July the previous year. It was a shock. We were traumatised.

Did the New South Wales government consult you before they pulled the plug?
I’d been given a heads up a few hours earlier that the government was going to do it, but we weren’t given any opportunities to do anything but comply. Even though I was very much a part of a process of developing the first Covid safety plan for live music, once it got down to the government decision, the festival was not part of it.

A lot of people felt the government’s decision was very heavy handed – that we are a five-day event, and they could have cancelled our first day and see if there was going to be any further positive cases in the community and, in fact, it turned out that there wasn’t.

I don’t think that the health minister would make such a decision so quickly without looking at all the options again. We all learned something from it and it’s no use crying over spilt milk.

What were the financial ramifications of the last-minute cancellation?
Well, the treasurer of New South Wales called on Easter Saturday, when I was still in shock, and said that I would be the first recipient of the business interruption fund – which I had been advocating for, for a bloody long time. The festival received an interim payment from the government that allowed us to pay all of our workers, make a good start on paying our suppliers, and pay the musicians money. We paid half the fee to anybody that was earning under A$15,000 [€9,500] and 25% to anybody that was earning over.

“Ticket sales for the rescheduled event have been astonishing. I love being in this industry”

Our next payment will be to stallholders who had perishable goods or craft beer. We had to do all those things to be able to come back. I can’t say how much we were given because I signed a non-disclosure agreement, but after the government’s final payment to us, we will hopefully end up in the same financial position we were in when we started working on that first event in May 2020, which was cancelled. Without the business interruption payments, we would have gone into liquidation for sure.

What does that say about the need for government-backed insurance?
The fact that there is no avenue for that kind of support, unless I go to the tourism minister with cap in hand and say, “Please save my event,” is farcical. But I think it’s probably because we haven’t really lobbied the government in the way we needed to, to be recognised for our contributions.

There are only ever a small number of major event producers. You’re not going to see many events in Australia calling out in the way that I am because most are backed by multinationals and have the ability to be funded. The government needs to be stepping in and saying: “We value events. We’re going to invest in them. Or at the very least, we’re going to launch a government-backed guarantee.” If they don’t do that, I fear we’re going to see a loss of events.

How did you make the decision to reschedule Bluesfest for October?
I said to our artists, “If we did reschedule, would you want to come?”, and all but two headliners said yes. So then it just came down to whether or not the team had the fortitude. I couldn’t put it on my team to do the event if they just couldn’t do it on a mental-health level. We were traumatised. But we decided to go ahead and all of a sudden, the vibe came back into the office.

Tickets to the rescheduled event were released on 20 May and the sales have been astonishing. We had about a million dollars in ticket sales within 24 hours. To see such a big show of faith from fans through buying a ticket has really made me think, “God, I love being in this industry.”


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TEG joins forces with Laneway Festival

Laneway Festival, the much-loved Australasian touring festival, has joined the TEG family.

Laneway, in full St Jerome’s Laneway Festival, was founded in 2005 as a Melbourne street party and has grown into a respected festival of domestic and international music, with events in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore (currently Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Fremantle and Auckland). Past performers include Billie Eilish, Lorde, Haim, Denzel Curry, Run the Jewels, Tame Impala and Flume.

In total, Laneway events deliver more than 85 hours of contemporary live music to over 100,000 fans annually. The company also has a touring arm, Laneway Presents, which has co-promoted the festival, as well as a number of tours, with Michael Chugg’s Chugg Entertainment.

It is believed Sydney-based TEG has acquired a majority in stake in Laneway Festival, with founders Jerome Borazio and Danny Rogers staying on as co-managing directors and “substantial owners”.

“We have enormous respect for Laneway, which has grown from a Melbourne street party into a world-class festival and with a strong touring arm, consistently breaking new local and international artists to the youth market in the region,” says TEG CEO Geoff Jones.

“The festival started in a tiny alley in Melbourne in 2005 and has grown to become an institution in Australia, NZ and Singapore”

“Laneway will continue to operate as it always has, with founders Jerome and Danny and their team working closely with TEG Live managing director Tim McGregor as they continue to innovate and plan for the 2022 Laneway Festival. Watch this space.”

The acquisition is TEG’s second of 2021, following February’s takeover of Australian promoter Handsome Tours.

In a joint statement, Borazio and Rogers say: “Firstly, we would like to thank everyone who has helped to make Laneway what it is today. The festival started in a tiny alley in Melbourne in 2005 and has grown to become an institution in Australia, NZ and Singapore, thanks to the hard work and passion of some of the most genuine and talented music lovers in the country. We are endlessly thankful for and humbled by their contribution.

“To the fans and artists: we are super determined to get Laneway Festival back on the circuit ASAP, delivering you the amazing line-ups and experiences that you’ve grown accustomed to. And, of course, we want to thank Michael Chugg and his incredible teams, past and present. The festival would not exist today without his, and their vision, passion and support.

“Finally, to the current team working on the festival: thank you for your ongoing patience throughout this challenging period for our industry. With our new partnership with TEG we’ll be able to navigate these next few years knowing we have a team who shares the festival’s long-term vision.”


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Promoters buy into Oz ticket marketplace Tixel

Australian ticket marketplace Tixel has raised A$1.5m ($1.2m) in a funding round that includes a number of leading concert businesses and music investors.

Promoters Unified Music Group and I Oh You, labels Rose Avenue and Future Classic and investment firms Alberts and Galileo Ventures are among those who participated in the round, with Alberts CEO David Albert also set to join Tixel’s board of directors.

The funding will be put towards growing the Tixel platform and expand its product suite for event organisers, the Melbourne-based company says.

Launched in 2018, Tixel offers a ‘fair-price’ marketplace (capped at 10% above face value) for fans to buy and sell tickets to events. Most of the company’s inventory is currently in Australia and New Zealand, though it expects growth in the UK and US as in-person events return outside Australasia.

“The entire music and live entertainment industry has suffered beyond measure this last year, and our team is incredibly grateful to have been able to weather the storm,” says Zac Leigh, co-founder and CEO of Tixel. “We’re feeling optimistic about the steep uptick in demand we’re seeing on Tixel from fans wanting to see their favourite musicians, artists, comedians and sports stars.

“Our investment partners … know that a safe and honest place for fans to buy and to resell tickets is a critical need”

“Our investment partners share this optimism and know that a safe and honest place for fans to buy and to resell tickets is a critical need both today, as our plan-making remains fluid, and into the future.”

“At the heart of every investment we make is the goal to back pioneers who share our vision for a better tomorrow,” comments Albert. “A core pillar of our impact thesis is contributing to a vibrant culture. Tixel is a great example of this and sits within our arts, music and entertainment theme. It helps to bring fairness to a market that can attract exorbitant pricing, and safety to transactions that have the potential to be fraudulent.

“Having an independent ethical ticket resale marketplace in Australia can mean more fans at shows, more bar and merch sales for our venues and, importantly, an all-round better experience for everyone involved.”

Other capped-price ticket resale services active in Australia include UK-based Twickets, which launched there in 2017, and Ticketek Marketplace, which allows Ticketek customers to resell unwanted tickets.


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Merch company Playbill expands in New York

Platypus Productions, part of Australia-based global merchandising group Playbill, has announced the appointment of Steven Downing as chief merchandise officer, live entertainment, based in New York.

Downing brings to more than 25 years’ industry experience, including from the Walt Disney Company and Warner Bros’ merchandising departments, to Platypus, where he will oversee creative, operations and strategic planning for the company’s theatre and live events merchandise division, reporting to Playbill managing director Michael Nebenzahl.

“Steven’s international reputation and successful history in the live entertainment merchandise field is a tremendous asset for us,” says Nebenzahl. “His creativity, dedication and hands-on collaborative approach in support of the world’s most beloved stage productions has earned him a reputation as a global leader.

“Steven has a wealth of knowledge, experience and a unique creative talent, which will support our continued growth in live entertainment merchandising around the world. We’re delighted to welcome Steven to our growing global team.”

The Playbill Group of Companies operates in ten countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, South Africa, Germany, the UK and the USA. Merchandise clients include Les Misérables, Leo Sayer, Tina Arena, The Lion King, the New South Wales Waratahs, Mary Poppins, the Sydney Roosters, André Rieu, Diana Krall and The Phantom of the Opera.

“With live theatre reopening worldwide, I’m excited to work with Platypus during such an important time,” says Downing. “This opportunity allows me to develop new and innovative ways of partnering with producers, supporting each production and brand while elevating the theatre experience. I feel there are no limits to our potential accomplishments in this new era of live entertainment.”


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Natural Resources to help you go greener

Whether you’re looking for environmental consultation to make your event greener or accreditation to show off your sustainability, below are a slate of organisations around the world dedicated to improving and verifying the sustainability of the events sector.

These organisations provide knowledge, resources, and best practice for event organisers, artists, suppliers and vendors – meaning that the first step towards a more sustainable sector doesn’t have to be the hardest.


Sustainable Event Alliance
Based in New South Wales but with partners all over the globe, the Sustainable Event Alliance (SEA) unites live events professionals who are focused on improving the sustainability of the sector. In addition to its online knowledge bank, the SEA’s activities include accrediting sustainability professionals, helping events become greener, and providing spaces for networking and discussion.

GO Group
Green Operations Europe, known as GO Group, is a pan-European think tank that aims to inspire industry professionals to make their operations greener, smarter, and more sustainable. Initiated at the first International Green Events Conference in Bonn in November 2010, as a joint initiative of Yourope (the European Festival Association), Bucks New University in the UK, and Jacob Bilabel and Holger Jan Schmidt’s Green Music Initiative, the organisation connects festivals with scientists and environmental initiatives; delivers workshops and contributes to panel discussions; organises festival field trips; and helps certify Yourope’s member festivals as Clean’n’Green, among other activities.

The Netherlands
Green Events International
Formed in 2014, Green Events works with Dutch and international partners to share knowledge, resources, and best practice for event organisers, artists, suppliers, vendors and more. Its areas of focus include water, energy, transport, and waste, with past projects having included the Plastic Promise, which saw leading festivals commit to eliminating single-use plastics, and ADE Green, a ‘green deal’ for European festivals launched at Amsterdam Dance Event 2019.

Greener Events
Greener Events, in full the Greener Events Foundation, was established in 2009 by international snowboarding ace Terje Håkonsen, and businessman and philanthropist Jan Christian Sundt. Offering environmental consultation and expertise in making events sustainable, Greener Events has worked with events including Tons of Rock, Øya Festival, Hove Festival, and Way Out West in Sweden, and consulted for Yourope and the European Festival Association.

United Kingdom
A Greener Festival
A Greener Festival (AGF) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to improving the sustainability of the events sector. In addition to its annual Green Events and Innovations Conference – which returns for a special summer edition on 16 September – AGF provides certification, training, CO2 analysis, and consultation for organisers, venues, tours, artists, festivals, sports, suppliers, and local authorities for all event types internationally, and also presents the annual International AGF Awards.

LIVE Green
Chaired by John Langford, COO of AEG Europe, LIVE Green is one of four newly formed specialist subcommittees for Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment (LIVE), the umbrella organisation representing 13 UK live music industry associations. Bringing together the leading sustainability practitioners across the sector to produce a single environmental vision for live music, it sits alongside LIVE Touring, LIVE Venues, and an as-yet unnamed group focusing on diversity and inclusion.

Sustainability in Production Alliance (SiPA) is a global association of individuals and organisations across the production sector, including stage managers, manufacturers, tour & production managers, venues, producers, engineers, and technicians, who are working towards creating a sustainable future for the industry and a ‘triple bottom line’ of people, planet, and profit. It offers a range of resources free of charge to industry professionals, including ‘ten easy wins’ that can be implemented as a starting point today.


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Bluesfest announces rescheduled 2021 dates

Byron Bay Bluesfest is now slated to take place in October with a four-day format, after the original 2021 event was cancelled at the eleventh hour.

The festival had been set to take place between 31 March to 5 April 2021 but less than 24 hours before it was set to open, the New South Wales government called it off due to a new Covid case in Byron Bay.

The rescheduled event will take place at Byron Events Farm across four days instead of five (1–4 October 2021), though the organisers have said that current five-day ticket holders will receive some ‘special’ news alongside the lineup announcement.

This Wednesday (19 April), the festival will announce the full line-up which organisers say ‘will be worth the wait’.

“Trust us when we say the wait will have all been worth it…,” reads a post on Byron Bay Bluesfest’s Facebook. “We’ve been adding more of Australia’s absolute best talent – a way of saying thank you to all of you who have supported us during this time.”

“Trust us when we say the wait will have all been worth it”

The April 2021 lineup included the likes of Jimmy Barnes, Tash Sultana and The Teskey Brothers. It’s unclear whether any of the acts from the original lineup will appear at the October event.

Season tickets will go on sale after the line-up is revealed, followed by three-day and one-day tickets.

The cancellation of the April Bluesfest event was touted as a “watershed moment” by the Australian music industry, which had been lobbying for a business interruption fund that would help live events redeem their costs in the event of an eleventh-hour cancellation.

The Australian Festivals Association’s Julia Robinson told IQ that such a fund is essential to boost business confidence. Read her comment here.


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Gudinski’s ‘Music From The Home Front’ returns

Frontier Touring has announced the second edition of Music from the Home Front, a special Anzac Day concert spearheaded by the late Australian industry icon, Michael Gudinski.

The second instalment will take place at Sidney Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne on Saturday 24 April, the eve of the national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand.

The Kid Laroi, Jimmy Barnes, Dean Lewis, Amy Shark, Tina Arena, Vance Joy, Lime Cordiale, Tash Sultana and You Am I are slated to perform.

Music from the Home Front was conceived by Gudinski, the late Barnes and Frontier Touring/Mushroom Group founder, to pay tribute to both the service people who were involved in the Gallipoli campaign (1915–16) of the First World War, as well as those who were “fighting on the Covid-19 front line”.

The inaugural Music from the Home Front was watched by over 1.4 million viewers on Anzac Day 2020.

“Music From The Home Front is a project [Michael Gudinski] was immensely proud of in 2020”

Matt Gudinski, the son of Michael and the newly elected CEO of Mushroom Group, told Billboard: “It’s incredibly fitting that Music From The Home Front, a project he was immensely proud of in 2020, was one of the events he was working on right up until his last day.

“That we can bring to life a broadcast concert version from his hometown of Melbourne, supporting the industry he loved, in a city he long promoted as the leading music capital of Australia, resonates deeply with all of us at Mushroom.”

Michael Gudinski passed away suddenly on 2 March 2021 at the age of 68.

Similar to last year, the concert will be broadcast live on television on Nine/9Now and on YouTube at 7:30 pm AEST. This year’s event is presented in partnership with the Victorian government.

Tickets for the Melbourne concert go on sale this Friday (16 April). For more information visit musicfromthehomefront.com.au and frontiertouring.com/homefront.


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