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Germany’s LEA recognises the best of 2019

Almost 15 months after after the cancellation of its original 2020 event, the PRG Live Entertainment Award (LEA) returned in a smaller, socially distanced format on Tuesday night (15 June) to belatedly recognise excellence in the German live entertainment sector in the pre-coronavirus era.

Taking place at the 1,200-capacity Gibson Club in Frankfurt instead of the usual Festhalle (13,500-cap.), the delayed 15th LEA saw the industry celebrate a “small, hybrid LEA”, said Jens Michow, executive president of industry association BDKV and head of the LEA committee, who welcomed guests to the club. “Although the incidence [of Covid-19] is in drastic decline” in Germany, Michow said, “unfortunately the industry still has little hope of a return to normal. So it’s all the more important that we are able to show a sign of life [today].”

Awards were given in 15 categories, with Wizard Promotions founder Ossy Hoppe recognised with the lifetime achievement award, which was presented by his son, Oliver. Hoppe, who celebrated his 70th birthday last year, received video messages of congratulations from Robert Plant, Sting, Scorpions, Kiss and Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan.

“Hopefully, after a ban on events for almost one and a half years, the LEA will kick off a certain hope in our industry again,” said Hoppe, “provided that politicians start to take notice of us and our [event] concepts.”

Dieter Semmelmann of Semmel Concerts received the award for arena tour of the year, for its 2019 tour with Sarah Connor, while Peter Rieger Konzertagentur earned organiser of the year. Global Concerts’ Andrea Blahetek-Hauzenberger and Christian Diekmann picked up the award for concert of the year (for their event with LaBrassBanda and Seiler und Speer on Königsplatz in Munich) and Lanxess Arena in Cologne won hall/arena venue of the year.

“It is good for the whole, long-suffering industry to be seen and honoured”

Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion won two awards – show of the year and cooperation of the year – while FKP Scorpio was honoured for Mucke bei die Fische, its Hamburg showcase festival.

Accepting Semmel’s award, Semmelmann said: “We are delighted, especially for Sarah Connor, her band and her crew, about this award. Nevertheless, we accept it with mixed feelings. For almost a year and a half, we have been postponing the additional concerts planned as part of this musically and visually outstanding concert tour and have to disappoint the fans.”

“We sincerely hope that we can hold the few concerts that are still planned for August and September 2021,” he added.

Frankfurt city councillor Markus Frank – who picked up a special ‘silver’ award, along with Messe Frankfurt, for the people in the city who make the awards possible – concluded: “We were very happy to help launch the ‘little LEA’. It is an important signal to the outside world that Frankfurt am Main is able to host events such as the Live Entertainment Award even in difficult times, and under extraordinary conditions to provide a worthy setting,

“We are very pleased that the LEA at the Gibson Club met with a great response. In particular, the people who who received the award in their respective category did an extraordinary job in times like these. It is good for the whole, long-suffering industry to be seen and honoured. We have also lit the fuse with the ‘little LEA’ for future big red-carpet events […] in the wonderful Frankfurt Festhalle.”

In German, a full list of winners is available from the PRG LEA website.


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European Festival Awards 2019: All the winners

Glastonbury Festival, Open’er, Electric Castle, No Sleep Festival and WME’s Lucy Dickins were among those to pick up prizes at the 2019 European Festival Awards, held this evening at Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Hosted by IQ’s Gordon Masson and A Greener Festival’s Claire O’Neill, the award ceremony saw festivals recognised across 15 categories, including best major, medium and small festivals and line-up of the year, as well as awards for green efforts, health and safety innovation and brand activations.

Open’er Festival, organised by independent Polish promoter Alter Art, was the evening’s biggest winner, taking home the prizes for best major festival and best brand activation for its collaboration with Netflix’s Stranger Things.

Representatives from Romania enjoyed a successful evening, with Romanian festivals Electric Castle and Jazz in the Park taking the best medium-sized festival and best small festival gongs respectively, and Codruta Vulcu, the founder of 2018’s best small festival, ARTmania, winning the award for excellence and passion.

Open’er Festival, organised by independent Polish promoter Alter Art, was the evening’s biggest winner

German events also put in a good showing, with Hamburg’s Reeperbahn Festival winning best indoor event and Das Fest, which takes place in the German city of Karlsruhe, receiving the Take a Stand award for its commitment to social activism.

Other major prizes went to the UK’s Glastonbury Festival, last year headlined by Stormzy, the Killers and the Cure, for line-up of the year, No Sleep Festival in Serbia for best new festival and to WME’s Lucy Dickins for agent of the year.

As previously announced, Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen, the co-founders of Wacken Open Air – the winner of best major festival at the 2018 awards – received the lifetime achievement gong at this year’s ceremony.

A full list of European Festival Awards 2019 winners can be found below:

Best major festival
Open’er Festival (Poland)

Best medium-sized festival
Electric Castle (Romania)

Best small festival
Jazz in the Park (Romania)

Best indoor festival
Reeperbahn Festival (Germany)

Best new festival
No Sleep Festival (Serbia)

Line-up of the year
Glastonbury (United Kingdom)

Newcomer of the year
Billie Eilish (US)

The lifetime achievement award
Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen (Wacken Open Air)

The green operations award
OpenAir St Gallen (Switzerland)

The health and safety innovation award
Balaton Sound (Hungary)

The brand activation award
Open’er Festival (Poland) & Netflix’s Stranger Things

The Take a Stand award
Das Fest (Germany)

The award for excellence and passion
Codruta Vulcu

Promoter of the year
Wepromote (Switzerland)

Agent of the year
Lucy Dickins (WME)


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UK Festival Awards announces 2019 winners

The UK Festival Awards 2019, the 16th edition of the annual awards ceremony, took place on Thursday 5 December at the Troxy in London.

The awards presented accolades across 21 categories, honouring teams and individuals in all areas of the British festival industry.

The winners were:

The Innovation Award
Hubbub Wireless at 2000trees

Concession of the Year
Happy Maki

The Women In Festivals Award
Jenny Hamada (AEG Presents)

Marketing Campaign of the Year
NASS Festival

Best Festival Production
All Points East

Agency of the Year
Midnight Mango

The Brand Activation Award
United Utilities at Bluedot and Kendal Calling

Line-Up of the Year

Best Non-Music Festival
Cleethorpes Festival of the Sky

Best Festival for Emerging Talent

Promoter of the Year
Black Deer Festival

Best Family Festival
Camp Bestival

The UK Greener Festival Award
Green Gathering

The Grassroots Festival Award
Mad Hatters’ Affair

Best Overseas Festival
Sziget Festival

Best New Festival
Cleethorpes Festival of the Sky

Best Metropolitan Festival
Tramlines Festival

Best Small Festival
Woo Fest

Best Medium-Sized Festival
Bluedot Festival

Best Major Festival
Download Festival

The Outstanding Contribution to Festivals Award
Fiona Measham

The UK Festival Awards will return in 2020.


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UK Festival Awards 2019 reveals shortlists

The UK Festival Awards 2019 shortlists have been revealed, ahead of the event’s return to Troxy in east London for a third consecutive year this December.

The UK Festival Awards 2019, the 16th edition of the annual awards ceremony, will present accolades across 22 categories that honour teams and individuals in all areas of the British festival industry.

Michael Baker, awards manager for the UK Festival Awards (UKFA), comments: “With over 450 submissions made and 55,000 votes cast, this has been an especially competitive year that stands as a testament to the incredible efforts of the UK festival industry in 2019.

Thank you to all of those who participated, and congratulations to our finalists. We look forward to celebrating all of your achievements with you at the UK Festival Awards on 5 December.” 

“With over 450 submissions made and 55,000 votes cast, this has been an especially competitive year”

The shortlists can be viewed here. Categories include best major, medium-sized and small festival; the innovation award, line-up of the year, the brand activation award, the new women in festivals award and best festival for emerging talent.

Presented by rapper, comedian and actor Doc Brown, the UKFA ceremony will be book-ended by an extended drinks reception and in-house afterparty with music from DJ duo Scratch Perverts.

Tickets for the UK Festival Awards are priced at £125 (plus VAT) and can be purchased here. Tickets include a seat at the ceremony, access to the networking reception and afterparty, street-food catering and some complimentary drinks.

See all the winners from last year’s UK Festival Awards here.

Broadwick, Coda, APE win at UK Festival Awards 2018

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Neo Sala presented with lifetime achievement award

Neo Sala, founder and CEO of promoter Doctor Music, has been presented with an award by the Spanish music industry to recognise his four-decade career in the live business.

Sala, who founded Doctor Music in 1982, was given by the award by Albert Salmerón, president of the Association of Music Promoters (APM), at the sixth Premios Fest awards in Bilbao yesterday (30 October).

Nearly 40 years after its founding, Doctor Music, still led by Sala, remains one of Europe’s leading independent promoters, working with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Adele, Katy Perry, REM, Camila Cabello, Shawn Mendes and Greta Van Fleet. It also launched Spain’s first-ever major music festival, Doctor Music Festival, in the mid-1990s.

“Neo has played a fundamental role in the formation of the national music scene”

Last May, the company sold a majority stake to Germany’s CTS Eventim, becoming Eventim’s first controlled promoter in the Spanish market.

According to APM, Sala is “the greatest exponent of the music industry in our country”. “Neo has played a fundamental role in the formation of the national musical and cultural scene, helping Spain to become a must-stop destination for any world-class tour,” says the association.

The Premios Fest (‘Fest Awards’) take place annually ahead of the BIME Live conference. Other 2019 winners included Bilbao BBK Live, which picked up best large festival, and Cruïlla Festival, which won the innovation award.


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A&MAs: Debbie Gwyther named manager of the year

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) have announced final details of the 2019 Artist & Manager Awards (A&MAs), with Debbie Gwyther (FEAR) named manager of the year and Lewis Capaldi to receive artist of the year.

Hosted by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens, the A&MAs 2019 take place at London’s Bloomsbury Big Top on Thursday 14 November.

Alongside UROK’s Sam and Roy Eldridge, who will present her award, Gwyther has masterminded the return of Liam Gallagher to centre stage, having delivered two No 1 albums, with Why Me? Why Not following As You Were to the UK’s top spot in September 2019.

Gwyther and the Eldridges have also guided Gallagher to live success, reinvigorating Oasis classics alongside his newer material for a run of celebratory sold-out performances in Europe, the Americas and Australasia. The award for Manager of the Year is sponsored by YouTube Music.

Annabella Coldrick, CEO of the MMF, comments: “Selecting a manager of the year is always a massive challenge, but Debbie’s impact over the past 12 months has been undeniable.

“Debbie’s impact over the past 12 months has been undeniable”

“We all know that Liam Gallagher is one of the UK’s greatest, most enduring and recognisable rock stars, but behind the scenes is a story of incredible team work and collaboration – all with the goal of putting Liam back where he belongs.

“MMF are delighted to recognise Debbie’s success and thrilled that Sam and Roy have agreed to present the award. Why her? Why not!”

The rise of Lewis Capaldi, meanwhile, has been “the irrefutable story of 2019”, say A&MAs organisers. In just 12 months, the singer-songwriter has graduated from theatres to sold-out arenas shows, and released a number-one album, Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent.

As previously announced, other confirmed winners at the 2019 Artist & Manager Awards are Nile Rodgers (artists’ artist award), Rebecca Boulton and Andy Robinson (managers’ manager award), Neneh Cherry (pioneer award), Sam Fender and Owain Davies (FanFair Alliance outstanding contribution to live music), Andy Varley (entrepreneur award) and Sandy Dworniak (writer/producer manager).


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Allen Kovac celebrated at AIM Independent Music awards

Rock impresario Allen Kovac was presented with the prestigious innovator award at the AIM Awards at the Roundhouse in Camden, London, tonight (3 September).

Kovac, the founder and CEO of Eleven Seven Music Group (Mötley Crüe, Papa Roach, Five Finger Death Punch), has also worked with artists including Duran Duran, Meat Loaf, the Bee Gees, En Vogue, Luther Vandross, Nelly Furtado, the Cranberries and Blondie over five decades in the business.

He was presented with the award by Helen Smith, executive chair of the Independent Music Companies Association (Impala), while Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson sent a personal message.

“I’ve known Allen since the early 90s,” said Branson. “Allen was managing Meat Loaf, whom Virgin Records had signed and Allen was pushing myself and the Virgin team to allow Meat Loaf to upload one of the first songs to the fledgling internet. As innovators, we would do anything for music, and of course, we did just that.

“From humble beginnings as a promoter, Allen went on to be a manager of the Bee Gees, Blondie, Mötley Crüe, Duran Duran and the Cranberries, and then started Eleven Seven Music which is now, 12 years later, one of the top rock labels in the world.”

“This could not be more well deserved”

Kovac (pictured) “has been an entrepreneur, pioneer and innovator in music all his life”, says AIM, working first as a promoter, then a manager and finally establishing a record label, publishing company, management company and strategic music marketing/research company.

Hs other achievements include pushing for Meat Loaf’s ‘I’d Do Anything For Love’ to be one of the first songs on the internet; hosting, with Duran Duran, what is believed to be the first music press conference online; supporting Spotify and music streaming in its early days, and encouraging the business away from one-time album sales; and producing The Dirt, the Netflix movie based on the Mötley Crüe book.

“Allen has innovated and tested the limits of marketing, social media, ticketing, streaming and sales reporting, which must make him feel as old as I am,” continued Branson. “He has worked towards benefitting the independent community and levelling the playing field between independents and the majors, as well as encouraging the fair valuation of music by tech giants. Whether it was Steve Jobs with the iPod and iTunes, Daniel Ek with Spotify or Amazon with smart speakers and in-car technology with Alexa, Allen has been ahead of the curve, collaborating, consulting and promoting new tech to the industry…”

“His next major project, with Nikki Sixx, is the Heroin Diaries musical,” Branson’s message concluded. “I hope that the Heroin Diaries will destigmatise addiction and do for the opioid crisis what Rent did for HIV and aids. I would like you all to join with me in congratulating Allen Kovac for his AIM innovator award. This could not be more well deserved.”

Kovac joins previous innovator award winners including artist Sophie and grime label/collective Boy Better Know. The AIM Independent Music Awards were established by the Association of Independent Music (AIM), a trade body for independent record labels, in 2011.


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Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee to receive MITs 2019

Veteran artist managers Richard Griffiths and Harry Magee, co-founders of Modest! Management (the Spice Girls, Little Mix, One Direction), are to be jointly awarded the prestigious Music Industry Trusts (MITs) Award 2019, organisers announced today.

The 28th MITs Award ceremony – held on 4 November, once again in aid of Nordoff Robbins and the Brits Trust – will see Magee and Griffiths join the ranks of previous MITs honourees including Sony Music CEO Rob Stringer, Universal Music CEO Sir Lucian Grange, Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, Syco’s Simon Cowell, Glastonbury Festival founder Michael Eavis and, most recently, CAA agent Emma Banks.

Griffiths, whose career spans live music, publishing, recording and artist management, has worked with talent including AC/DC, Ultravox, Jane’s Addiction, Oasis, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, Westlife, Enrique Iglesias and Linkin Park over 40-plus years.

In 1974 he founded Headline Artists, becoming the first international agent for AC/DC. Three years later, as A&R for Island Records, he signed Buggles, whose hit ‘Video Killed The Radio Star’ was the first no1 in the label’s history.

In the ’80s he managed Ultravox and later founded the US division of Virgin Music. After a spell leading New York-based Epic Records as president, he returned to the UK, holding executive posts at BMG Entertainment and, alongside Simon Cowell, signing Westlife to RCA.

“It is such an honour to be receiving this amazing award”

Leaving BMG in 2001, Griffiths set up the UK arm of US management powerhouse the Firm, where he and Magee worked with Enrique Iglesias and Linkin Park, among others.

Magee, meanwhile, has worked with a succession of British and American stars, including Berlin, Lisa Stansfield, Whitney Houston, Yazz, Sting, Sheryl Crow, Westlife, Eurythmics and Foo Fighters.

After founding the indie Wire Records, Magee’s major-label experience began in 1989 as BMG’s Arista’s head of marketing, where he helped break Lisa Stansfield and delivered British success for Arista’s American stars, including Houston.

He returned to BMG in 1998, after having led Big Life Records and then A&M Records as managing director, being appointed MD of RCA Records. At BMG he helped broker the relationship with Cowell and acts including Westlife and Five, and steered the label’s accomplishments with Natalie Imbruglia, Foo Fighters and Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart as they reformed Eurythmics.

He co-founded the Firm in UK with Griffiths, before the pair established Modest! in 2003.

“Honouring two artist managers is a first for the MITS and we’re proud for them both to join the illustrious recipients list”

Modest! Management’s current roster includes the likes of Niall Horan, Little Mix, Olly Murs, Alison Moyet and the Spice Girls. It represented Horan’s former band, One Direction, from 2010, guiding the group towards 75 million in album sales and worldwide sell-out stadium tours before their split in 2016.

David Munns OBE, chairman of the MITs 2019 Award committee, comments: “Richard and Harry have been at the forefront of the British music industry for over forty years. Individually, and as the founders of Modest!, they have continually set the benchmark in management and have led countless artists to huge success.

“Honouring two artist managers is a first for the MITs and we’re proud for them both to join the illustrious recipients list. We look forward to a fantastic awards night on 4th November.”

“It is indeed a great honour for Richard and I to be given the MITs Award and to have the opportunity to highlight two exceptional charities in the Brit Trust and Nordoff Robbins,” comments Magee. “We proudly look forward to November 4 for some fun and fundraising.”

Griffiths adds: “It is such an honour to be receiving this amazing award together with my great friend and partner Harry Magee. To help raise money for these two wonderful charities is an honour and a privilege.”


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Theatre producer Mehr-BB wins big at PRG LEA 2019

The 14th edition of the German Live Entertainment Awards (LEA) took place at the Frankfurt Festhalle last night (1 April), with theatrical producer Mehr-BB picking two awards for best show and best concert hall or arena.

Awards were presented across 15 categories to concert and show organisers, managers, agents and venue operators from German-speaking countries.

“The LEA is a red carpet event in our city,” says Frankfurt city councillor Markus Frank. “It is an honour for us to celebrate the top-class LEA gala in our traditional festival hall.”

The ceremony was presented for the eighth time by broadcast journalist Ingo Nommsen, with performances from Kiefer Sutherland, Stefanie Heinzmann, Mike Singer and electronic swing jazz band DelDap.

The ensemble of hit musical Starlight Express also performed on the night. Mehr-BB Entertainment received the award for show of the year for the musical, which has run for 30 consecutive years in the Starlight Express Theatre in Bochum.

Neue Deutsche Welle singer Nena closed the ceremony, who won Wizard Promotions the concert hall tour of the year award with her Nothing Missed tour.

“Live entertainment is now the leading entertainment market [in Germany] and the most highly consumed cultural product”

“In Germany, around five billion euros are spent each year on attending music events and other live entertainment,” reports Professor Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concerts and Events Industry (BDKV) and producer of the awards ceremony.

“With those figures, live entertainment is now the leading entertainment market and the most highly consumed cultural product [in the country],” adds Michow.

Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio picked up the biggest touring category award, winning the prize for the best stadium tour of the year for Ed Sheeran’s ÷ tour and Semmel concerts earned the arena tour of the year award for the Kelly Family We Got Love tour.

Wacken Open Air founders Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner won the lifetime achievement award for their work developing the largest heavy-metal festival in the world, receiving the award from German rock band Scorpions and comedian Matze Knop.

Jazzopen organiser Opus, along with MCT Agency and the European Astronaut Centre, won the award for concert of the year. The trio had collaborated on a special Kraftwerk concert in Stuttgart which saw astronaut Alexander Gerst broadcast live from space.

Live Nation won promoter of the year, whereas the homegrown promoter prize went to Vaddi Concerts.

A full list of winners can be found below and a round-up of nominees is available here.

Stadium tour of the year
Ed Sheeran ÷ tour (FKP Scorpio)

Arena tour of the year
The Kelly Family, We Got Love tour (Semmel Concerts)

Concert hall tour of the year
Nena, Nothing Missed tour (Wizard Promotions)

Club tour of the year
Bosse, Everything is now tour (Undercover)

Festival of the year
Nature One, Pydna

Concert of the year
Kraftwerk + Special Guest Dr Alexander Gerst, Stuttgart (Opus Festival, MCT Agentur GmbH and EAC Köln)

Show of the year
30 Years Starlight Express, Bochum (Mehr-BB Entertainment)

Promoter of the year
Live Nation

Local promoter of the year
Vaddi Concerts

Concert hall/ arena of the year
Mehr Theater, Hamburg (Mehr-BB Entertainment)

Artist development of the year
Timo Birth

Manager/ agent of the year
Johannes Jakob Hofmann, Jay Music and Selective Artists

Jury prize
Jamel rockt den Förster (Grünes Forum Selbstverwaltung Förderverein)

Lifetime achievement award
Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen

Collaboration of the year
Aida-Schiffstaufe with David Guetta (Hannover Concerts, KG Betriebsgesellschaft, Aida Cruises, Four Artists Booking and Meyer Werft)


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IMRO celebrates Ireland’s best live music venues

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) held its 11th Live Music Venue of the Year Awards in Dublin this week.

The Irish performing rights society held the ceremony at its headquarters in the country’s capital, celebrating the nation’s best venues, festivals and tech crews. Over 12,500 IMRO members voted for the awards. The ceremony was hosted by Paddy McKenna, the editor of Ireland’s male-targeted news website, Joe.ie.

The Irish public voted to crown Dublin’s multi-purpose arts venue, the Sugar Club (350-cap.), as the national venue of the year.

In the regional categories, Dundalk pub the Spirit Store (230-cap.) won the prize for best venue in Leinster outside of Dublin, Monroe’s (180-cap.) in Galway was the best of Connacht and the An Grianán Theatre (383-cap.) won Ulster’s best venue. Live at St Luke’s in Cork, a live music venue in a former church, won the prize for Munster.

Other awards went to the nation’s best music festival (All Together Now, 15,000-cap.), best small music festival (Wexford Spiegeltent festival, 1,200-cap.) and best tech crew (Olympia Theatre, Dublin).

“We’re privileged in Ireland to have such a vibrant and eclectic live music scene, which is the backbone of the music industry as a whole”

Joe Clarke, the co-founder of CWD, a music-focused production, management and promotion company based in Dublin won the outstanding contribution to live music accolade. CWD currently manages Dublin rock band Bitch Falcon, Cork singer songwriter Jack O’Rourke and Irish producer and DJ Mark McCabe.

“We’re privileged in Ireland to have such a vibrant and eclectic live music scene, which is the backbone of the music industry as a whole,” says IMRO chief executive Victor Finn. “We feel it is vital to acknowledge the venues and festivals who support live music from a musician’s first performance right through to internationally known headline artists on main stages.”

Irish music and politics magazine, Hot Press, named Mike the Pies (100-cap.) in Listowel as its live venue of the year. The publication’s editor, Niall Stokes, also gave special commendations to Live at St Luke’s and the Chasin’ Bull in Bundoran.

Stokes says it is a “hugely optimistic moment for Irish music”, with “an extraordinary talent pool” represented at the awards.

“It is a deep love of music – as well as an entrepreneurial spirit and a sense of fun – which inspires a great venue,” says Stokes.


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