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Barracuda Music partners with lake festival

Austria’s Barracuda Music has inked a three-year partnership with the long-running Mörbisch Lake Festival to bring international acts to the open-air stage.

The town of Mörbisch, Burgenland, has hosted the 6,100-seater festival since 1957, showcasing opera and musical productions each July/August, with pop and folk shows also held at the site in collaboration with promoters Showfactory and Stargarage.

CTS Eventim-backed Barracuda, organiser of events such as Nova Rock, Frequency Festival, Clam Rock or Lovely Days, has now been drafted in help establish the lake stage as a location for rock artists.

“The Mörbisch lake stage with its 6,100 seats requires very careful planning for events with which we can fill the stands and which can also be financed on this scale,” says Barracuda CEO Ewald Tatar. “I already have a few names in mind that fit Mörbisch well, but we first have to place the new location on the market.”

The first concert confirmed under the link-up is by Italian singer-songwriter Zucchero on 15 July.

“This premiere marks the beginning of a three-year partnership through which Mörbisch Lake Festival will also be established as a pop and rock location”

“With the ambience of the lake stage, which in itself is an argument for a visit, we will definitely succeed,” adds Tatar. “This is also proven by the advance sales for the concert with Zucchero. Half of the tickets were gone within a few days.”

Tickets are available in various categories, priced between €59.99 and €199.99.

“This premiere marks the beginning of a three-year partnership through which Mörbisch Lake Festival will also be established as a pop and rock location with Barracuda Music as a partner,” adds Burgenland state governor Hans Peter Doskozil. “With Ewald Tatar, we have the most experienced and successful representative in this industry on board, who will initially hold two to three concerts per year in Mörbisch. If this plan is successfully implemented, there could be more in the future.”

Vienna-based Barracuda also has early 2024 shows across Austria with the likes of Jason Derulo, Simple Plan, Nothing But Thieves, James Arthur, Crystal Fighters, New Model Army and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.

 


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Nova Rock adds fourth day for 2024 edition

Austria’s Nova Rock festival has added a fourth day for the 2024 edition, after originally announcing the event would run for three days.

All tickets already purchased are automatically valid for the additional day without any surcharge. The current ticket price, which ranges from €219.99–339.99 for three days, will remain unchanged until 3 November when the first wave of acts are revealed.

The 55,000-capacity festival will take place between 13 and 16 June 2024 at its longstanding home of Pannonia Fields in Nickelsdorf, Burgenland.

The current ticket price for three days will remain unchanged until 3 November

Launched in 2005, the festival – promoted by Nova Music Entertainment, a part of CTS Eventim’s Barracuda Music – has varied between three and four days long.

The 2023 edition took place across four days and was headlined by Slipknot, The Prodigy, Tenacious D, Bidlerbuch and Die Ärzte. Ahead of last year’s event, organisers invested hundreds of thousands of euros in site improvements after the 2022 offering was marred by adverse weather.

Around €300,000 was spent on renewed lawns and drainage, a new network of paths for arrival and departure and a new shuttle service.

In other news, Barracuda Music was recently sued by the Austrian government over several clauses in its general terms and conditions, primarily regarding the cancellation of events.

 


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Barracuda Music sued by Austrian gov over T&Cs

Promoter Barracuda Music has been sued by the Austrian government over several clauses in its general terms and conditions, primarily regarding the cancellation of events.

The CTS Eventim-backed firm was taken to court by the Ministry of Social Affairs for six clauses which “violate legal prohibitions, are also not sufficiently transparent and are sometimes grossly disadvantageous”.

Barracuda Music intended to issue vouchers instead of refunds in cases of event cancellation for force majeure such as bad weather, in addition to the accepted use of vouchers brought in for the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the Supreme Court (OGH) declared this illegal.

“The legislature created the KuKuSpoSiG for the historically unique exceptional case of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said The Association for Consumer Information (VKI), which represented the ministry in court.

“This regulation massively interfered with general contract law and the interests of consumers, also because it placed consumers at risk of insolvency with regard to claims for compensation converted into vouchers. There is no justification whatsoever for contractually extending this regulation to all other cases of force majeure, such as bad weather.”

KuKuSpoSiG (the Art, Culture and Sports Security Act) was a law introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic, which stipulated that organisers of art, cultural or sporting events that were cancelled due to the crisis could give a voucher for the amount to be reimbursed instead of the fee to be repaid.

The clauses “violate legal prohibitions, are also not sufficiently transparent and are sometimes grossly disadvantageous”

It was extended until mid-way through 2022, during which time Barracuda’s Nova Rock festival experienced “the rain of the century”. This led to the promoter investing €300,000 on renewed lawns and drainage, plus a new network of paths for arrival and departure.

Also in its T&Cs, Barracuda stated that date changes due to the Covid-19 pandemic or other cases of force majeure would be minor and reasonable if the new event date is no longer than 18 months after the original date.

“However, this change in service is neither minor nor reasonable for consumers because it gives Barracuda Music the opportunity to set any new date for the cancelled event,” according to OGH. “Those affected cannot be expected to remain interested and available for the event at a specific date within the next 18 months.”

Another clause deemed inadmissible by the OGH read: “In the event of a refund, any fees cannot be refunded because the relevant services have already been provided as part of the contract processing. The amount of the fees can vary, but is usually around 10%”. Again, OGH disagreed.

The promoter had initially appealed the judgment of the Vienna Commercial Court.

Barracuda has previously promoted concerts with Bob Dylan, David Gilmour, Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Ed Sheeran and Robbie Williams. Its festival portfolio includes Nova Rock, FM4 Frequency Festival, Butterfly Dance, Clam Rock, Beat the Fish and Lovely Days.

 


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Robbie Williams concert cancelled due to storms

Storms in the Carinthia region of Austria have led to the cancellation of Robbie Williams’ concert at Hochosterwitz Castle tomorrow (22 July).

Promoter Barracuda Music says severe storms have “taken a toll on the park and event areas”, with further intense rainfall and thunderstorms forecast for the day of the event.

“Necessary inspections by the operations centre have shown that under these circumstances, the traffic volume and the event can no longer be handled safely to a sufficient degree,” a spokesperson tells Puls 24.

Austria has been hit by storms of up to 161km an hour in recent days, reports The Local, causing damage to buildings, railway lines and power outages.

Barracuda says the decision to cancel followed lengthy talks with the local authority and emergency services.

“We are very sorry to announce that the event with Robbie Williams scheduled for Saturday cannot take place”

“We are very sorry to announce that the event with Robbie Williams scheduled for Saturday cannot take place,” says the company in a statement posted on social media.

“After hours of discussions with all participants and the authority, it was established that safe adherence and implementation in accordance with the knowledge is not feasible. The safety of our visitors is a top priority for us, as organisers and location operators.”

Williams, who is represented on the live scene by Ian Huffam of X-ray Touring, is approaching the conclusion of his XXV 25th anniversary solo tour, which continues with headlines slot at Lucca Summer Festival in Italy (28 July), Summer in the City in Bucharest, Romania (19 August) and Zurich Open Air in Switzerland (22 August).

The 49-year-old will then perform in Malta at the Granaries in Floriana on 24 August, presented by Greatt and NNG Promotions, followed by two dates at Norfolk’s Sandringham Estate in his native UK from 26-27 August as part of the Heritage Live Concert Series.

He will also play the Singapore F1 Grand Prix (17 September) and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena (18 October), prior to touring New Zealand and Australia in November/December.

 


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Barracuda unveils Vienna’s first major hip-hop festival

Austria’s capital city is set to gain its first major hip-hop festival, courtesy of promoters Barracuda Music and Beat the Fish.

Not Afraid Festival will take place on 27 June 2023 at The Donauinsel, an artificial island parallel to the Danube river and in central Vienna.

US superstar Machine Gun Kelly will headline the open-air festival, performing alongside Viennese rap icon Yung Hurn, German rap legend Sido and Berlin’s Kontra K.

Makko and Eli Preiss, two burgeoning talents on the German-speaking music scene, also appear on the bill. Early bird tickets for Not Afraid start from €79.99 (£68.82).

“Vienna finally has its first big, star-studded hip-hop festival”

“Vienna finally has its first big, star-studded hip-hop festival,” says Barracuda Music CEO Ewald Tartar. “No Afraid ’23 sees itself as a modern, musical exclamation mark as well as a message and statement! Thanks to everyone who helped make this day and the festival possible!”

Vienna-based Barracuda Music has a festival portfolio which includes Nova Rock, FM4 Frequency Festival, Butterfly Dance, Clam Rock and Lovely Days.

The CTS Eventim-backed company will promote concerts with P!nk, Michael Buble, Lionel Richie, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi and Simply Red in Austria, next year.

Beat the Fish, meanwhile, specialises in bringing hip-hop acts to Austria, and has been enlisted by Barracuda to curate a part of the bill for FM4 Frequency Festival next year.

 


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Ewald Tatar on “unforeseen challenges” at Nova Rock

Barracuda Music CEO Ewald Tatar has spoken to IQ about the “unforeseen and unpredictable” challenges at this year’s Nova Rock festival in Austria.

The annual hard rock event returned to Nickelsdorf last weekend (9–12 June) and featured acts including Muse, Placebo, Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch.

The sold-out festival saw a total of 225,000 visitors flock to Pannonia Fields, which marked a new attendance record for Nova Rock.

According to Tatar, the festival’s biggest challenge was recovering from “the rain of the century,” which hit the country mere days before the festival was due to open its gates.

“During the 3-4 final days leading up to Nova Rock 2022 it rained more in the region than during the period between November 2021 and the beginning of June 2022 in total,” explains Tatar.

“This was very challenging for the final construction work on the festival site, as the ground, which is a field used for farming the other 11 months of the year, was completely soft and our vehicles got stuck. This was also the case for the festival visitors’ cars and caravans, which slowed down the arrival process and made it very tricky. As soon as it dried up and everyone had arrived, we had perfect festival weather: sunshine and heat!”

Despite the washout, Tatar says everything worked smoothly behind the scenes and both artists and crew were happy to be back on the fields after two years.

“Festivals and big events are what everyone in our team loves and loves being a part of and you could feel this euphoria and great energy during Nova Rock,” he says.

“Most artists mentioned on stage how happy they were to be back performing for huge audiences and you could tell, that the audience shared that feeling too! The atmosphere was incredibly energetic and positive as the area in front of the stage was packed with people dancing and singing along to their favourite bands, who loved playing a big festival again.”

Nova Rock, which is promoted by Nova Music Entertainment (part of CTS Eventim’s Barracuda Music), will return between 7 and 10 June in 2023.

 


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Austria’s Barracuda helps raise €2m+ for Ukraine

Austria’s Barracuda Music has raised at least €2 million from a concert to benefit people affected by the war in Ukraine.

We Stand with Ukraine was held at Ernst Happel Stadion in Vienna on 19 March, with performances from artists including Eazy, Bibiza x Eli Preiss, Mavi Phoenix, Josh., Ina Regen and Turbobier.

Yung Hurn, Mathea, Bilderbuch, Seiler und Speeer, Pizzera, Jaus and Wanda also performed at the concert, which drew around 40,000 people.

CTS Eventim-backed Barracuda, which promotes festivals such as FM4 Frequency Festival and Nova Rock, raised €1 million during the concert, which was subsequently doubled by the Austrian government.

Austrian federal president Alexander van der Bellen appeared at the event to make a speech: “Our solidarity, our compassion, our common will, to live in freedom and peace, are stronger than any aggression. And every tone that rings today makes it clear: we stand with Ukraine.”

“Our solidarity, our compassion, our common will, to live in freedom and peace, are stronger than any aggression”

The government will continue to double donations made to the charity Neighbour in Need until Easter Monday (18th April).

Commenting on the event, Barracuda said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank all partners and artists who supported us in the realisation of this important and special event.”

We Stand with Ukraine is one of many benefit concerts that have raised millions of euros for victims of the war.

Sound of Peace in Germany raised more than €12m, Together with Ukraine in Poland raised €1.7m and Alda’s fundraisers, Dance for Ukraine in Poland and We are One in Romania, together raised €1 million.

Upcoming fundraisers include the UK’s Concert for Ukraine, which yesterday (23 March) confirmed performances from Ed Sheeran, Camila Cabello, Emeli Sandé, Snow Patrol and Gregory Porter.

 


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Nova Rock Encore reports one Covid-19 case

Austrian promoter Barracuda says that only one Covid-19 case could be linked to Nova Rock Encore, a one-day pilot event that was organised to demonstrate that live events can safely take place in Austria.

The one-off festival was organised in response to the cancellation of Barracuda’s FM4 Frequency Festival by order of the district administration.

Nova Rock Encore was based on Barracuda’s flagship festival, Nova Rock, which was also cancelled in March this year.

The pilot event took place on 11 September at the Wiener Neustadt stadium (cap. 10,000) and saw 15,000 attendees enjoy performances from Seiler & Speer, Parov Stelar, Bullet For My Valentine, Måneskin and more.

Of the 15,000 attendees, contract tracing attributed just one Covid-19 infection to the festival, according to the organisers.

Two ticketholders reported a positive PCR result in advance of the event and, therefore, did not attend.

“For months we have been working to create perfect prevention concepts and to organise a festival trusted by all sides”

According to data from the festival, the vast majority (86%) of Nova Rock Encore attendees had been vaccinated and 14% were tested in advance. One hundred and eighty visitors opted to get vaccinated at the vaccination bus on the day of the event.

Ewald Tatar, managing director of CTS Eventim-backed Barracuda, said the results were what he expected.

“For months we have been working at full speed, not only to create perfect prevention concepts but also to organise a festival that has been trusted by all sides and which has also become a great success and a guide to the cultural future of our country,” says Tatar.

“Thanks to everyone who collaborated, to the artists, to the experts, the city of Wiener Neustadt with its esteemed mayor, to all the crews and many more. With the Nova Rock Encore, something great was achieved in a very short time and with maximum commitment. One can and must be proud of that,” he concludes.

Nova Rock will return to Pannonia Fields in Nickelsdorf between 9–12 June 2022 with headliners Muse, Foo Fights, Volbeat and Five Finger Death Punch.

 


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Barracuda plans new event, Frequency fest cancelled

Baracuda Music is organising a ‘scientifically supported’ one-day festival to demonstrate how live events can take place in Austria, following the cancellation of its FM4 Frequency Festival.

According to the CTS Eventim-owned promoter, the Nova Rock Encore event will “significantly exceed the legal requirements,” by only admitting attendees who are vaccinated or can show a negative PCR test (otherwise known as the 2G rule).

The voluntary implementation of the 2G rule comes after FM4 Frequency Festival was cancelled by order of the district administration, despite compliance with all the requirements issued by the Austrian federal government.

According to a statement on the festival’s website, the city of St. Pölten – where the festival would’ve taken place – decided that outdoor events with more than 1,500 attendees that last longer than one calendar day will be prohibited from 28 July.

The sold-out event, scheduled for 19-21 August, was due to welcome 50,000 per day for an international-heavy bill which included Marshmello, Die Antwoord, Mabel, Sum 41, Martin Garrix, Chase & Status and many more.

“The cancellation of the FM4 Frequency Festival was a big mistake,” wrote the organisers. “Promises made by the minister of health, Wolfgang Mückstein, to the youth were not kept. This in no way has a positive effect on willingness to be vaccinated.”

“Events such as festivals and concerts have a positive effect on the vaccination readiness of the young population”

Currently, in Austria, only 50% of the vaccinable population are fully immunised. “Although there is a sufficient amount of vaccines available, the influx of vaccination centres has been decreasing since the beginning of summer. The number of vaccine sceptics is particularly high among younger people, according to a survey by the Integral Institute,” the organisers continues.

“Events such as festivals and concerts have a positive effect on the vaccination readiness of the young population.”

Christoph Klingler, CEO of CTS Eventim Austria, has now called for “clear and binding rules” to enable organisers to plan accordingly.

“This is the only way to plan live events and at the same time have a positive effect on the vaccination rate of the young population. Safe events for young people are an essential part of the solution and not the problem.”

Nova Rock Encore will take place on 11 September at the Wiener Neustadt stadium (cap. 10,000) with a line-up including Seiler & Speer, Parov Stelar, Bullet For My Valentine, Måneskin, Millencolin, Clawfinger, Jinjer, Russkaja and Fleks.

The festival’s planning team includes public health expert Hans-Peter Hutter and simulation researcher Niki Popper, and has received support from the city of Wiener Neustadt.

Barracuda’s flagship festival Nova Rock (55,000-cap.) was cancelled for a second consecutive year in March.

 


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Austria’s live sector unites for ‘Back to Live’ campaign

Behemoths from across Austria’s live entertainment industry are banding together for a campaign aimed at boosting the sector’s post-lockdown recovery.

The ‘Back to Live’ campaign kicked off today (8 July) with the launch of a portal that gives an overview of upcoming cultural and sporting events, alongside exclusive discounts and offers to entice fans.

The initiative, launched by the Austrian Event Industry Association (IGÖV) and CTS Eventim Austria’s oeticket, comes shortly after the country reopened at the beginning of July.

According to the organisers, the joint initiative is intended to benefit all industries connected to live entertainment including sport, culture, tourism, hospitality, events and music, and accelerate the return to “normal economic conditions”.

The alliance has already attracted more than 120 players including Arcadia Live, Arena Wien, Barracuda Music, Hoanzl Agentur, Leutgeb Entertainment, Live Nation, Masters of Dirt, Musikverein Graz, Posthof Linz, Scheibmaier & Schilling, Show Factory and Szene Wien, from the live music sector.

“With ‘Back to Live’ we convey confidence and joie de vivre after 15 months of almost no events. A flourishing event industry helps many industries, such as the badly suffering city hotel business, to make their comeback and support the artists,” says Ewald Tatar, president of IGÖV and MD at Barracuda Music.

“The campaign will invite everyone to take part so that we can actually make the comeback with our combined strengths”

Georg Hoanzl, IGÖV board member and founder of Hoanzl agency, adds: “The ‘Back to live’ campaign will invite everyone to take part so that we can actually make the comeback with our combined strengths. It is a joint effort that I am happy to support in order to offer the live acts a stage and a platform for the entire culture and event industry.”

Christoph Klingler, CEO at CTS Eventim Austria, says: “Today’s presentation of ‘Back to Live’ is the impetus for a major joint project aimed at the entire industry. We get a ball rolling so that we can get started together and support each other.

“After months of intensive negotiations with politicians to make the comeback possible, we are back with ‘good news’. The concert halls and sports stadiums are being filled again.”

The live sector has returned to business faster than expected after the Austrian government brought forward its date for mass gatherings to restart.

Since 1 July, all events have been permitted to go ahead at full capacity, including standing events, both indoor and outdoor.

Social distancing and masks are not be required, but event attendees still have to meet one of three rules to gain admission: they must be vaccinated; they must be able to provide a negative Covid test; or they must be able to prove that they have recovered from a Covid infection.


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