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Behind the scenes of P!nk’s Summer Carnival

The team behind P!nk’s Summer Carnival Tour gave a unique glimpse behind the scenes of the global trek at the recent ILMC Production Meeting (IPM).

Marshall Arts’ Barrie Marshall, Craig Stanley and Anna De Neiderhausen were joined by Gaffer Award-winning production manager Malcolm Weldon for the special session, moderated by Okan Tombulka of eps at the Royal Garden Hotel in London.

The speakers discussed the planning and execution of the tour, which now stretches until late 2024 and has already broken multiple records. Just last weekend, P!nk – real name Alecia Moore – became the first female headline artist to grace Auckland’s Eden park in New Zealand in the venue’s 120-year history, hosting more than 100,000 fans over two nights.

Weldon, who joined the panel remotely from the ANZ leg of the jaunt, started off by explaining how the singer’s live vision (and renowned acrobatics) comes to life.

“They come up with the ideas and the concept, and I try to pull it off”

“It all starts with [P!nk], [show director] Baz Halpin and [manager] Roger Davies,” he said. “They come up with the ideas and the concept, and I try to pull it off. It’s their dreams and so my job is to make sure that I can get it from point A to point B to point C, to try to make sure that I can give her the same show every night.”

He continued: “The biggest challenge that we have is because of the acrobatics, everything that’s above us has to correlate precisely on the ground. It’s not like a rock and roll show, where it’s just some guy standing there playing guitars or beating on drums, it’s a theatrical pop show. So you’re trying to get all of those elements to align every show, they have to be where they have to be.

“The majority of everything she asked for is there. The only time that we can’t give it to her is when we’ve done some festival dates – because the show is an intricate show and certain things wouldn’t work – but that hasn’t caused too much of a problem. With Alecia, once you can explain to her why she can’t have something on a certain date, she understands. She may not like it, but she understands.”

Below is a selection of other takeaways from the in-depth chat…

Picking the right cities…
Barrie Marshall:
“A lot of it’s done by Roger Davies, because he knows exactly what he wants to do and where he wants to play. In the case of Alecia, she’s so successful… there’s no problem where you’ve got some countries that are weaker than others. It’s quite useful if we can start here [in the UK] sometimes, because a lot of the equipment comes from here… so that means access is easier. Although things have become so sophisticated now, it seems to me that you can get most equipment you need in most territories, so it’s not critical.”

Venue availability…
BM: “I find it difficult because the pandemic changed many, many things. There were no shows, everything stopped. Everybody was at the bus stop and the bus never came, so there was no way to accommodate people’s needs. We all stayed at home and waited, tried to do things, but waited until it was clear enough for us to go back to work. That meant then there were for two and a half years, maybe three years, a backlog of artists who definitely wanted to get out and tour, so you tried to put three years of touring into a year. It’s beginning to ease up a bit, but it’s still very difficult, so venues are in great demand.”

“It is complicated because now there’s so much legislation and each country is different”

Licensing issues…
Craig Stanley: “A few years ago… we would leave it until fairly late to be able to pass all the information to the licensing authorities, recognising that the artist is also making up her mind – quite rightly – of the show she wants to present. Now, you start your licence applications six, seven, eight months ahead, and then through Europe it’s exactly the same story. But it is complicated because now there’s so much legislation and each country is different. Even within Germany, Munich is just a different universe in requiring certain paperwork. Here in the UK, Scotland is completely different to England. You think you’ve got everything down, and then the licensing officer changes and you have to go back to square one.”

Anna De Neiderhausen: “We have to appease the local authorities, so we are ultimately the middleman. Sometimes local authorities are a little bit unrealistic and maybe don’t really have the experience, [whereas] some of them really are all over it. So it’s just finding that balance trying to not make Malcolm’s life hard, but at the same time, making sure the show goes ahead.”

CS: “Part of my role is to go around Europe, and the advance trip is absolutely crucial. Malcolm and his team are brilliant at actually going there, meeting with the local people and explaining what he needs, understanding their problems, and we find some middle ground.”

Malcolm Weldon: “In 2023, I felt like I was a step behind because we didn’t know what the show really was until we got to Bolton and built the whole show, so you’re kind of learning as you go. And then as you get more shows under your belt, you go, ‘Okay, this is what this is.’ And then you leave Europe and go to North America, and now you’re on a different stage and you’re playing baseball stadiums, which no show of this size should be playing. But they bought tickets, they’re showing up and so we make it happen.”

“You can’t change the ticket price once you’ve charged for the ticket. You have to somehow try and make those budgets work”

Maximising capacity…
BM: “
One of the great advantages with Alecia is her performances are phenomenal, she’s never in one place for very long, so therefore the sightlines in the stadium are such that you see her a great deal of the time. That’s a big advantage to having an artist who’s performing in a certain position all the time, more or less. She moves around a lot and she’s very aware of her audience. She has a great sense of humour and also has a particularly unique way of talking to her audiences, it’s very personal. And the screens we’ve got now are superb so the quality of the video content is phenomenal.”

Budget concerns…
BM:
“You can’t change the ticket price once you’ve charged for the ticket. You have to somehow try and make those budgets work. Artists put a lot of money in to production and give the very best they can, and they don’t want to fall short. And Malcolm, in his position, can’t and won’t let the standard down.”

MW: “I [was once working with a very famous artist] and I was trying to stay within budget. They went outside the budget, so I said, ‘That’s going to be more expensive if we do it this way.’ And that artist told me, ‘Don’t worry about how I spend my money, Malcolm.'”

“It’s very easy to think you’re just selling the show, you’re actually supporting the artist’s career”

The importance of the collective…
MW: “It’s a total group effort. If you have somebody on the crew whose job is just doing towels and water, the most important person to the artist at the point when they got sweat in their eyes, or they’re thirsty, is the person that puts out the towels and water. It’s all a group effort.”

BM: “We all work for the audience and the artist at the end of the day, so we all contribute to that and we all have respect for that. We just all have to look after each other in the best way we can and we’ll get the best results.”

CS: “It’s also about… working with our colleagues and understanding how the marketing is done. The marketing is to sell tickets absolutely, but it’s also about respecting the artist and working with the record company. It’s very easy to think you’re just selling the show, you’re actually supporting the artist’s career. One reason why Marshall Arts has incredibly long relationships with the artists – we’ve worked with P!nk for 22 years – is understanding what the manager, as well as the artist, needs to actually help build the career. And now we’re at the stadium level, we don’t take anything for granted.”

 


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Best of 2023: Elton John’s farewell tour

Ahead of the return of our daily IQ Index newsletter on Tuesday 2 January, we are revisiting some of our most popular interviews from the last 12 months. Here, IQ talks to the power players behind Sir Elton John’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour…

Having set a new world record for the highest-grossing tour in history, Elton John brought the final curtain down on an extraordinary 50-plus years of touring when he took to the stage at Stockholm’s Tele2 Arena on 8 July. Gordon Masson talks to some of the people who made the extraordinary Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour a reality…

In January 2018, when Elton John announced that Farewell Yellow Brick Road would be his last tour, little did anyone know that his final bow would be more than five years later, after the coronavirus pandemic forcibly delayed his touring retirement.

With the legendary star turning 76 earlier this year, he has spoken about his desire to spend more time with his family – artist manager husband David Furnish and children Zachary (12) and Elijah (10) – and therefore started plotting his final tour when he was on the road with the Wonderful Crazy Night Tour.

“We started having this conversation [about the farewell tour] in 2016/17,” says Rocket Music Entertainment Group’s Keith Bradley, who has been working with Elton John for more than 40 years and is the artist’s de facto agent outside of North America, as well as tour director on Farewell Yellow Brick Road.

Taking up the tale, Furnish, tells IQ, “It’s been well documented – when we looked at our boys’ school schedule, we saw that it was incompatible with the way our life was. So, we needed to get him off the road and do a big farewell tour.”

“I gave them an idea of what we were thinking in terms of the number of shows and the amount of money. And everyone thought I’d lost my mind”

Bradley reveals that Rocket’s management spoke to both Live Nation and AEG Presents about proposals for Elton’s final bow and chose the latter, who he describes as “just brilliant partners”.

“David and I flew to LA to meet with Jay Marciano at AEG, and I gave them an idea of what we were thinking in terms of the number of shows and the amount of money. And everyone thought I’d lost my mind,” Bradley states, noting that his prediction of 300 dates for the tour may have raised an eyebrow or two, but in reality, he expected a great deal more. “In my head, it was going to be closer to 400 shows.”

Heartache All Over The World
Bradley confirms that the original schedule would have seen the Dodger Stadium shows in Los Angeles last November being the final dates of the farewell tour, albeit two years earlier, in 2021. “This year’s European leg should have been in the pandemic time period, as should have been Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. But sadly, that had to be truncated… There’s a lot of stuff that fell off the tour, which was disappointing for sure.”

Furnish agrees, naming Brazil as a huge market for Elton, while “China has opened up more and also Japan.” He observes, “In retrospect, Elton wishes he’d toured Japan more as he didn’t quite put as much of a footprint down there. So, we were excited at the possibility of going back in a big way with [the farewell] tour. But alas, looking at those markets post-lockdown, with inflation, increased fuel costs, air freight, shipping… that, unfortunately, just took them off the table.”

But he notes that the record-breaking Disney livestream of the Dodgers Stadium concert “gave those fans at least an opportunity to see the concert if they couldn’t get there in person”.

“I’m always looking for ways to make Elton discoverable and relevant to a young audience”

As CEO of Rocket Entertainment, Furnish has been managing his husband’s career for the past eight years, during which he masterminded a strategy to expand Elton’s fanbase by exposing him and his music to younger generations – a campaign from which promoters around the world have reaped the rewards.

“The younger demographic stuff was something that I felt passionate about because nobody in our organisation, when I took over, even uttered the word ‘digital,’” reveals Furnish. “So, I spent a lot of time looking at places where young people were discovering music and where I thought Elton could have a really authentic presence.”

For example, a meeting between Furnish and Jimmy Iovine, who at the time was setting up Beats Radio (now Apple Music), provided a perfect platform for music-obsessive Elton to exercise his A&R skills. “It gave Elton a really natural home on a digital music streaming platform,” Furnish notes. “I’m always looking for ways to make Elton discoverable and relevant to a young audience. Most recently, he did the first concert on the Roblox platform at the same time as the Dodger Stadium concerts happened – we put elements of the Roblox show in the stadium show and a cut-down version of the concert on the platform itself.”

The biographical movie, Rocketman, also helped introduce the star and his music to a new audience.

“We worked for a long time to bring out Elton’s story in a way that they would find entertaining rather than just the usual biopic, which is why we did it as a musical fantasy film,” explains Furnish. “I think young people connect with him there because of the story of addiction, loving yourself, rejection and acceptance from family, sexuality – all things that young people talk about and relate to today. Elton has lived that life and continues to do so.”

“When Jay Marciano went to the first meeting to discuss the tour, he led with a strong marketing proposal and a vision to make Farewell Yellow Brick Road the greatest tour of all time”

Rocket’s COO, Luke Lloyd-Davies, says that prior to Furnish taking over management duties, “there were lots of points of entry to Elton in terms of strategic vision. When David came on board, he appointed me as chief operating officer to put in place Elton and David’s vision for the future.”

Noting that Elton has historically played on average around 100 shows a year, Lloyd-Davies believes the skills of tour director Bradley and agent Howard Rose played a significant role in generating interest. “In America, they would operate and navigate in territories outside of the major markets in the build-up to this big farewell tour. So, when we hit the major territories and big cities, demand was through the roof.”

Sartorial Eloquence
Enjoying a successful history with Elton’s live career, AEG Presents tasked Debra Rathwell, executive vice president global touring and talent, with overseeing the epic Farewell Yellow Brick Road project.

“Elton and David knew that they wanted this to be a worldwide tour; they wanted to play to as many of Elton’s fans as possible, and they understood that it would take multiple years to accomplish that goal,” says Rathwell. “When Jay Marciano went to the first meeting to discuss the tour, he led with a strong marketing proposal and a vision to make Farewell Yellow Brick Road the greatest tour of all time, and Elton and David were thinking along the same lines. It’s safe to say that they were pretty much in agreement about the vision for the tour.”

Loyalty played a major role in that vision.

“The right thing to do was to respect the international promoters who had promoted Elton John shows for most of his career”

“Jay agreed with Elton and David that the right thing to do was to respect the international promoters who had promoted Elton John shows for most of his career,” says Rathwell. “It was fortuitous that one of those promoters was our co-promoting partner, Barrie Marshall, who became the promoter of all of the UK shows and the co-promoter of all of the European shows.” In Australia, meanwhile, long-time promoter Michael Chugg took the reins, alongside AEG-affiliated partners Frontier Touring.

For his part, Marshall comments, “It is a source of great pride that Elton has trusted us to present so many shows and we are sincerely grateful for the opportunities. We never forget that he had many other choices of people to work with, so this is extremely special to every- one in the company, and we have tried always to honour his belief in us.”

Rathwell reveals that the first FYBR planning meeting in 2017 involved tour director Bradley; agent Howard Rose; Marciano; Marshall and Doris Dixon from Marshall Arts; and Donna DiBenedetto, VP of touring for AEG Presents. “The first order of business was to make it as manageable as possible, so we divided the entire tour into two: Round One and Round Two.”

Round Two would be a complex affair.

The last date of Round One was at Bankwest Stadium in Paramatta, Sydney on 7 March 2020. Four days later, the World Health Organisation declared Covid-19 a global pandemic. Elton had completed 179 shows but was only halfway through the tour.

“A lot of the UK shows recently – and the London ones specifically – saw people holding their ticket for something like 1,300 days from the moment they bought it”

After a 22-month hiatus and multiple reschedules, Elton John played his first post-Covid gig at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans on 19 January 2022. “Though we had very stringent protocols in place, Elton John had to announce that he had Covid on 25 January, and two shows in Dallas had to be postponed,” says Rathwell.

But while there have been postponements aplenty, the only shows that had to actually be cancelled due to Covid restrictions were four Canadian arena dates – and that’s because Canadian authorities were only allowing venues to operate at 50% capacity at the time.

The spiralling post-pandemic costs brought obvious dilemmas for a tour whose tickets had gone on sale in early 2018.

“Thankfully, when we released new dates, we saw a huge surge in interest, and that made the economics much better and more manageable,” says operations chief Lloyd-Davies. He adds that the patience of the fans has been unprecedented. “A lot of the UK shows recently – and the London ones specifically – saw people holding their ticket for something like 1,300 days from the moment they bought it back in January 2018.”

Barrie Marshall notes that for re rescheduled European shows, team Elton “[tried] as much as possible to keep the same ‘days of the week’ to make it easier for the public to change their plans. We are all so impressed to see the loyalty of his fans who waited so patiently – but they have all been rewarded with mega shows.”

“The ‘ask’ from Emily Eavis was the most serendipitous timing in the world”

Covid posed other unique issues. Citing the concertina effect on dates, Bradley believes that only Elton John could achieve the run of shows that he did. “In New York, we played eight arena shows in Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, Nassau Coliseum in New ark, and then three months later we played two stadium shows at MetLife. The gap between should have been at least a year,” opines Bradley. “I’m incredibly proud that we manoeuvred through everything that was thrown at us.”

Indeed, while the plan to use the Dodger Stadium shows as the final goodbye may have become another pandemic anomaly, the flip side was the prolonged tour schedule opened a door for Elton John to make his Glastonbury Festival debut.

“The ‘ask’ from Emily Eavis was the most serendipitous timing in the world,” says Furnish. “[Glastonbury, on 25 June] wrapped beautifully around the Paris tour dates [on 21, 27, and 28 June]. It would have been physically impossible to drop a massive gig like Glastonbury, with the backup support and crew and everything that we need, if we had been touring in another part of the world. So, I’m convinced this was meant to happen.”

Passengers
With more than 330 shows across North America, Australasia, and Europe, the tour has relied on the local knowledge of dozens of promoters, all of whom have been determined to make the farewell experience as memorable as possible for El- ton and his band, as well as the ticket-buying fans.

“I have known Elton since the early ‘70s, while my touring relationship with him started in the late ‘90s and involves lots of standout moments playing all sorts of places in Australia: Elton has a thirst to play to audiences who may never get the chance otherwise to see him,” says Michael Chugg of Chugg Entertainment.

“The fact that he’s worked with Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa and those sorts of combinations have added to a younger crowd wanting to see this absolute legend”

Heralding Elton’s ability to shine a spotlight on other artists, Chugg tells IQ, “We played outdoors in Darwin, and I was backstage with him when Gurrumul, the blind, indigenous iconic musician was playing. Elton loved it so much that he asked the manager to drive 60 miles to get him 25 CDs. Two weeks later, all these heavyweight UK industry people started to reach out to Gurrumul. That’s Elton.”

Despite the disappointment in many territories where the farewell tour could not visit, there were beneficiaries as well – Chugg being one of them. “We finished the original 40 down under shows just over a week before the lockdowns, but we lost two shows in Auckland, which Elton promised to make up,” reports Chugg. “In January this year, he brought the whole monster show back, allowing us to programme additional stadium shows in Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney, Christchurch, and Newcastle.”

Kim Bloem, at Mojo Concerts, is another promoter to benefit from the pandemic interruption, as the rescheduled dates allowed her to put an extra stadium date on sale in the Netherlands. Bloem took over Dutch promoting duties for Elton John in 2016, when Mojo founder Leon Ramakers took a step back.

“On this tour, we did two shows in June 2019 at the Ziggo Dome, which were phenomenal. At that time, we did not think he would be coming back. But after Covid, we were able to add a show at GelreDome in Arnhem,” reports Bloem. “His audience just seems to get bigger all the time – there were a lot of kids in the GelreDome. The fact that he’s worked with Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa and those sorts of combinations have added to a younger crowd wanting to see this absolute legend.

“At the GelreDome, you could sense that he felt it was the last show in front of those Dutch fans as he made such a great connection with the audience. I was a bit sad because I realised that it might be the final time I see Elton perform. His songs resonate with me and my family so much, so it gave me goosebumps and it gave me tears but also laughter. It was a joyous show.”

“The production was very ticket-selling friendly with the aim of giving as many people as possible the chance to see the show”

In Italy, D’Alessandro and Galli have been promoting Elton for 35 years. “There are so many memories, from the arena in Verona to Piazza del Plebiscito in Naples and the unforgettable last show in Milan,” says company co-founder Mimmo D’Alessandro.

“We managed to host the farewell shows in two iconic locations – the city walls in Lucca and San Siro Stadium in Milan, which allowed close to 80,000 people to see Elton live for the last time. We are incredibly proud. These shows will stay forever in the memories of thousands of fans.”

Klaus-Peter Matziol at Peter Rieger Konzertagentur had 20 dates on the tour: seven in 2019, two stadium shows in 2022, and 11 arena performances this year. “Since 1999, we have done over 100 shows with Elton John in Germany, selling over 1m tickets,” he says. “Farewell Yellow Brick Road was the perfect highlight, staging an extraordinary, emotional farewell show.

“The production was very ticket-selling friendly with the aim of giving as many people as possible the chance to see the show. We supported this with last-minute campaigns, social media tour-book reporting from the road, and having a waiting list for tickets.”

Further north, Tor Nielsen at Live Nation Sweden estimates he’s been involved in around a dozen Elton John tours. “We’ve done shows in Lithuania, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark, and tons of shows in Norway. Sometimes we play B markets and sometimes A markets: it’s been a lot of fun.”

“The great thing about this show is there is no such thing as a bad seat: the sightlines are magnificent”

Nielsen, too, tips his hat to Furnish and the Rocket team for their work on expanding the audience demographics. “When we released tickets on the show day in 2022 – sideview seats, for instance – a lot of the people who bought those tickets were under 20 years of age.

The Big Picture
The farewell tour production itself is spectacular, with a sweeping, curved stage that in the arena configuration dips so low that those in the front row almost appear to be on stage themselves.

In terms of the vision for the show, the core team consisted of creative directors Furnish, Tony King and Sam Pattinson, lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe, Ray Winkler from set design experts Stufish, and tour director Bradley.

Noting the unique design of the stage, Bradley says, “Very early on, Tony King, myself, and Ray from Stufish were moving round apples and biscuits on a table, working out where everything was going to go. We presented the concept to Elton and David, where we had the conversation about if it was going to work for everybody in terms of the musicians, the crew who had to put it together and, of course, the audience.

“The great thing about this show is there is no such thing as a bad seat: the sightlines are magnificent. You can be at the side of the stage and there’s no impingement whatsoever. In reality, the side views are some of the best seats in the house.”

“You don’t want to use all your tricks in the first half of the show – there should be something in every song to keep the audience engaged”

Having such a rich and successful tour history, Elton and his Rocket Music Entertainment Group have a trusted pool of contractors and suppliers that they rely upon to realise their live performance vision. In the case of the farewell tour, PRG provided lighting; Clair Global supplied sound equipment; TAIT constructed the stage and proscenium (in collaboration with Stageco for the outdoor shows); Solotech took care of video; trucking services were the realm of Transam; and Phoenix buses carried personnel from city to city while Rock-it Global handled freight.

As one of the core creative minds tasked with developing the production set and aesthetics, lighting designer Woodroffe tells IQ he has been working on Elton John tours since 1994: “This is my 30th year with him,” he says, revealing that the creative team spent an intense three weeks on a sound stage in Lititz, Pennsylvania, honing the production’s content and “figuring out how we could stitch it all together”.

“You don’t want to use all your tricks in the first half of the show – there should be something in every song to keep the audience engaged,” says Woodroffe, citing the content for Have Mercy on the Criminal as just one moment that surprises the audience with something they were not expecting.

“You never want to overpower the raw performance of the artist and musicians with lighting and video,” says Woodroffe. “You can make each song more poignant and touching, or fun, with the way you light it, and that’s ultimately my task.
“Elton is very prescriptive about his setlist – he basically delivered it to us nine months in advance and then let us get on with things without interference: it’s an incredibly generous and trusting thing for an artist to do.”

And highlighting the leadership role of Furnish in steering the creative team, Woodroffe also applauds Sam Pattinson’s role in commissioning various artists to create original video content for each of the songs on the setlist: “The videos just set the production apart,” he states.

“When I first went to concerts, you’d get turfed out if you took a photo or even went in with a camera. Now everybody takes pictures or films the show”

Furnish, who came up with the Farewell Yellow Brick Road concept, generously praises his creative colleagues for the look of the set. “It was really the genius of the team at Stufish and Tony King who came up with the idea of the gold frame [around the stage] being made up of key moments from Elton’s life,” he says.

Explaining the thinking behind the impressive feat of having Elton and his grand piano traverse the stage, Furnish says, “When I first went to concerts, you’d get turfed out if you took a photo or even went in with a camera. Now everybody takes pictures or films the show. With Elton stationary behind the piano on one side of the stage, the travelator gave an opportunity for everybody in the venue to at least feel that he was closer to them at key moments.”

Some of the standout elements of the show are the videos that accompany each song on the setlist. Furnish tells IQ, “We spent a lot of time thinking about what the songs meant to Elton and how, in some instances, they had been represented in the past but how that might not necessarily work today.

“So, there’s a David LaChapelle film for Candle in the Wind where he recreated the last photoshoot of Marilyn Monroe. It’s a masterpiece – a brilliant piece of filmmaking. It touches Elton on a couple of levels. Obviously, the song is about Marilyn Monroe. But it was also Bert Stern’s last photograph session with her, and Elton is a big collector – we own some photographs from that shoot. It’s deeply personal in that regard.”

The Power
It’s not just the promoters who boast long-standing relationships with Sir Elton, as he has also remained steadfastly loyal to suppliers and crew.

“You come away from the shows thinking, ‘Why are they stopping?’ Elton has never been more popular; he’s still at the top of his game!”

That loyalty has been crucial, however, with Bradley noting, “We’ve been on the road for five and a half years, which is longer than the run for most Broadway plays.”

In addition to lighting, PRG supplies the tour’s rigging. “We first became involved in the planning for the tour back in 2017, while the first actual dates were in August 2018 in the United States,” says PRG’s Jon Cadbury, who pays tribute to colleague Curry Grant and his team, who put the first US outing together in 2018 at TAIT’s facility in Lititz, Pennsylvania and have looked after FYBR everywhere outside Europe.

“The show involves very careful prep, and Elton brought a lot of crew from the United States over to Europe with him – in the core crew, there are five regular US guys and three regulars from the UK, all of whom have been with him for
many years. So, although jumping from indoors to outdoors – arenas to stadiums – is a challenge, these things are always surmountable when you have an experienced crew. The great thing about this production is that the core team has been together for a very long time, and it all feels like a big family, so it has been a privilege to spend time with them.”

Cadbury continues, “What comes across strongly is that Elton loves performing and enjoys being on stage with his band. And that feeling continues backstage – it’s just a very well managed and well put together production. In fact, you come away from the shows thinking, ‘Why are they stopping?’ Elton has never been more popular; he’s still at the top of his game!”

The stunning set, featuring that downstage piano platform that traverses and pirouettes across the stage, was constructed by TAIT. The complex production houses two video screens – a main backdrop and a video ramp – as well as a platform for the band. The stage itself sweeps low in a curve so that fans feel like they are with- in touching distance of the star. The design’s golden proscenium surrounds the massive video wall, bedecked with iconic imagery from Elton’s colourful career.
TAIT’s Shannon Nickerson has been working on the farewell tour project since early 2017.

“For the rotating piano, we worked with the different radiuses to make sure the piano could fit in both corners”

“I know at that point Rocket and Stufish had already been working on it for about a year, so when they came to us, they had a concept, and then we jumped in from that point,” she says.

“For the rotating piano, we worked with the different radiuses to make sure the piano could fit in both corners. The stage holds an arc that they had set for sightlines, but we also removed a large section so that they could fill as many seats as possible.”

That eye-catching design has also been seen by millions of fans at the outdoor shows, thanks to a clever collaboration with Stageco. “The stadium show had huge tusks built by Stageco. But they constructed a sub deck, allowing the arena set to be also used in the stadiums,” says Nickerson.

Another feature of the set is the artwork around the arch. “It’s one of my favourite things about the production,” states Nickerson. “We worked with Jacqui Pyle who built maquettes that were a 6-to-1 scale. And then we took those, scanned them, and moved them up to the full- scale needed before sculpting and painting them.”

Keeping the surprises rolling until the very end, the stage is also fitted with a platform that allows the artist to make a slow ascent toward the video screen as he bids farewell to the fans before exiting through a portal in the video wall.

“Elton has a global appeal like no one else, and to be able to sell out arenas and stadiums on your farewell tour is very special”

Nickerson tells IQ, “It’s a complicated setup, as we had to figure in the pitch of the LED and the video wall and make sure it all works seamlessly. But you don’t know that there’s a door there for the whole show, and then suddenly it appears for his exit before the video wall closes behind him.”

Bradley acknowledges that in addition to all the gimmicks, bells and whistles, the audio itself is world-class. “We’re a very sound-oriented organisation and always have been,” he notes. “It’s always been about playing live and trying to create the best you can for the guy in the audience. We’ve been very fortunate over the decades, and the guy we’ve got right now, Matt Herr from Clair Global, is super. Same with our monitor guy, Alan Richardson, who goes back to Frank Sinatra. We’ve got very good people.”

Clair Global’s general manager Scott Appleton says, “Elton has a global appeal like no one else, and to be able to sell out arenas and stadiums on your farewell tour is very special. But he’s been to places nobody else would go to over the decades – he’s played Anchorage Alaska; he played the university in Newark, Delaware one time – and that’s amassed a huge audience for him.”

Appleton says Clair owes Elton John a world of gratitude. “The company was started by Roy and Gene Clair in 1966, and the relationship with Elton began in 1971. Roy said Elton was pivotal in handing them a successful business. The Elton John name to the company and Clair family is just massive, and we cannot thank the man enough for what he’s done for this company.”

Can I Put You On
Farewell Yellow Brick Road has now sold more than 6 million tickets, delighting the promoters who have also been afforded the chance to say goodbye to Sir Elton John.

“The fact that it had to be re-scheduled more than once seemed somehow to give it even more momentum”

“Elton’s shows have always been superb, but this production has enhanced and surpassed everything that has gone before,” says Marshall at Marshall Arts, who has been working with Elton for 27 years. “The content in some of the videos show a lot of history – reminding people of special moments. His musicians are amazing and the telepathy between Elton and the band is a joy to watch.”

“The fact that it had to be re-scheduled more than once seemed somehow to give it even more momentum. Elton and David were kind enough to invite the crew and touring party to their home as a final get together, and Jay Marciano announced so many records that had been broken – it was quite a staggering list. Jay has really been the driving force for this tour – he’s a remarkable man with remarkable talent and his care for Elton, David and everyone involved has been wonderful to see,” adds Marshall.

“It’s a great honour to be part of Elton John’s very successful farewell tour,” says Stefan Wyss at Gadget abc Entertainment in Switzerland, which promoted a stadium show last year in Berne, as well as two sold-out arena shows in early July in Zürich’s Hallenstadion.

“The arena shows were originally announced for 2020 and had to be postponed several times due to Covid,” continues Wyss. “Those shows were sold out long before the stadium show was announced, but we had to postpone them until a year after the stadium. Luckily, there were almost no refunds – no one wants to miss this show.”

The tour is a personal highlight for Ben Martin at Marshall Arts, which in addition to being the promoter in Elton’s native UK, has coordinated all the European dates. “In terms of duration and number of cities, I’ve never worked on anything bigger,” he says. “We’ve had three tour legs through Europe, but there have been very few repeats – we only tended to go to market in each city once, so we never overplayed things, while we were able to pick off all the key cities.

“Elton has always had a multigenerational audience, but the work done by David Furnish and Rachael Paley to broaden that fanbase worked perfectly”

“There was such a demand everywhere, so that even when we had to reschedule shows because of Elton’s hip operation, people still did not ask for refunds – it really was the golden ticket they wanted to hang on to.”

Martin discloses that Marshall Arts were also unexpected beneficiaries of extra shows. “The ten shows at The O2 were a result of the rescheduling and re-routing, and because we’ve been promoting Elton since 1997, from a marketing perspective, I knew exactly which channels to run to reach his fans.”

He adds, “Elton has always had a multigenerational audience, but the work done by David Furnish and Rachael Paley to broaden that fanbase worked perfectly, from his Snickers advert, John Lewis advert, tie-ups with Britney Spears and Dua Lipa, to the book and the film – it’s been brilliantly executed.”

Just Like Belgium
Not all of the tour’s promoters were veterans of Elton John’s touring past. First-timer Pascal Van De Velde at Greenhouse Talent in Ghent was determined to be involved in the historic farewell outing. “Elton’s music is bigger than life, and when I saw that there was a book coming out and the movie of his life, I totally believed the tour would be special – and Barrie and Doris at Marshall Arts were gracious enough to allow me to promote the Belgian shows,” he says.

“Elton John has reinvented himself many times during his career, and his appeal just spans the generations. There were 16-year-old girls crying with emotion at the end of the shows – it was a beautiful mix of audience, aged eight to 88.”

“It has been a long, exciting road, and it was very hard to say farewell”

Van De Velde also flags the loyalty of the fans. “Tickets were sold in the fall of 2019, but 95% of the fans held onto them until the concerts. And on the show days, the no-shows were just 1%, which is less than for a normal show, and way, way better than the 25% no-shows we saw for a lot of the Covid-postponed gigs.

“I have to applaud everyone involved: Jay Marciano’s team at AEG were super, while Ben Martin and all at Marshall Arts are a pleasure to work with. For such a big production, it’s like clockwork, and if one small cog isn’t working, it
can all fall apart. But Farewell Yellow Brick Road was flawless, and I can understand why it has set new records.”

Matziol at Peter Rieger Konzertagentur says, “It was – and always has been – a huge honour to be the touring partner for an exceptional artist like Elton John. We would like to take the opportunity to thank Keith Bradley, [TM] DC Parmet, Barrie Marshall, Doris Dixon, and many, many others for this outstanding relationship. It has been a long, exciting road, and it was very hard to say farewell.”

In Australia, Chugg says being involved in the farewell tour is a highlight of his 60-year career, and he has booked tickets to fly to Sweden for the charismatic star’s final show. “We played 50 shows to 1m people in Australia and New Zealand. I will always be grateful to AEG, Elton, and his team for allowing me to be part of it,” says Chugg.

That concert in Stockholm on 8 July was the 331st gig on the tour. Despite being in charge of the superstar’s final tour date, Live Nation’s Tor Nielsen was not feeling under pressure. “All the shows are farewell shows – it’s farewell Bergen, farewell Gothenburg, farewell Stockholm…” he says.

“Having the opportunity to be a part of the Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Tour has been the honour of a lifetime”

“The production, the band, and Elton himself are incredible, and I’m not surprised that Farewell Yellow Brick Road has broken records everywhere… Artists like Elton John are not made any more. He is one of a kind.”

“Having the opportunity to be a part of the Elton John Farewell Yellow Brick Tour has been the honour of a lifetime,” says AEG’s Rathwell. “I cannot imagine the last six years of my life without Elton John and all of the members of our close-knit team. Jay Marciano and I often chat about what an extraordinary experience it has been to be involved with Elton John, his team, and this tour. We have never worked with such a strong team of professionals who work co- operatively and collaboratively.”

Barrie Marshall states, “Nobody who has seen this show across the world will ever forget it – truly a memory for all time… One thing is for sure, his creative genius and dedication to all music, is never going to go away – and we can all be very thankful for that.”

The Last Song
Nobody is more thrilled than Furnish. “The tour has outperformed all of our expectations. We knew we would do well, but we didn’t set out to be the highest-grossing tour in history,” he says.

“It’s just been a total team effort. Everybody rose to the occasion because I think they felt that they were part of something very special. Elton sets a very high bar; he goes on stage and thinks every show has to be as good as or better than the last one. He’s really focused and dedicated, and I think everybody feels inspired by that.”

“I don’t think Elton’s ever going to stop performing – it would be telling an artist never to paint again”

COO Lloyd-Davies observes. “I don’t think Elton’s ever going to stop performing – it would be telling an artist never to paint again. But his days of touring are definitely over – he would personally find it quite disingenuous if he went back out on the road.”

But with rumours of Broadway and West End projects and a touring exhibition circulating, Lloyd-Davies discloses, “We’re not putting on our slippers and watching boxsets. I can’t ever imagine Elton being that guy. He wants to write more. He wants to record more, collaborate more. There’s been talk about an Elton John musical at some point. The whole immersive space is fascinating to us, but we don’t want to rush into that.”

Furnish confirms new projects are definitely in the mix. “I’ve been with Elton for 30 years, and he’s been on the road for 28 of them. Performing live is such a vital part of who he is, so I hope we can find a non-travelling, limited-run way for him to keep his fingers nimble and his voice flexed and continue to do what he does. It’s part of what keeps him alive, and he has a way of bringing people together that in a divided world is increasingly hard to find.

He concludes, “Elton is like a shark: he has to keep moving forward to stay alive. He has the most extraordinary drive. Believe me, it’s not like you’re never going to see or hear from him again.”

 

 


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Steve Strange wins posthumous honour at Pollstar Awards

The late Steve Strange was honoured at last night’s annual Pollstar Awards, held at the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom in Los Angeles.

The legendary booking agent and X-ray Touring co-founder, who passed away in September 2021, posthumously won International Booking Agent of the Year.

In what Pollstar dubbed the most emotional moment of the night, manager Andy Gould paid tribute to the late agent, bringing a cardboard cutout of Strange onstage with him.

“This guy wasn’t just my friend, he was all of our friends; he wasn’t my agent, he was kind of all of our agent,” Gould said. “I miss him so fucking much, I really do. And I think I speak for everyone in the room: We need more Steve Stranges.”

A number of other international execs and venues also scooped awards at the 33rd annual ceremony, including Barrie Marshall (Marshall Arts) who took home International Promoter of the Year – not for the first time.

“I think I speak for everyone in the room: We need more Steve Stranges”

London’s Royal Albert Hall, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2021, was honoured not once but twice with the Milestone Award and International Venue of the Year.

Elsewhere, Harry Styles was presented with the Major Tour of the Year award for his ‘Love on Tour’ arena run. Styles’ manager Jeffrey Azoff of Full Stop Management also received recognition in the Personal Manager of the Year category.

Other award-winning executives include Amy Corbin of C3 Presents (Talent Buyer of the Year), Bob Roux of Live Nation (Bill Graham Award/Promoter of the Year) and Dave Rowan of High Road Touring (Bobby Brooks Award/Agent of the Year).

CAA, meanwhile, won Booking Agency of the Year.

A full list of Pollstar Awards 2022 winners is below:

Major Tour of the Year: Harry Styles, Love on Tour

Best Rock Tour: Foo Fighters

Best Hip-Hop Tour: J. Cole, The Off-Season Tour

Best R&B Tour: Earth, Wind & Fire, Miraculous Supernatural Tour

Best Pop Tour: Maroon 5

Best Country Tour: Chris Stapleton, Chris Stapleton’s All-American Road Show Tour

Best Latin Tour: Enrique Iglesias / Ricky Martin, Live in Concert

Comedy Tour of the Year: Sebastian Maniscalco, Nobody Does This Tour

Best Support/Special Guest Act and Tour: Garbage (Alanis Morissette)

Best Residency: Lady Gaga, Jazz & Piano, The Las Vegas Residency, Park Theatre, Las Vegas

Best Family, Event or Non-Music Tour of the Year: Disney on Ice

Best New Headliner/Artist Development Story: Billy Strings

Music Festival of The Year (Global; over 30K attendance): Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin, Texas

Music Festival of The Year (Global; under 30K attendance): Ohana Festival, Dana Point, Calif.

Nightclub of the Year: Troubadour, West Hollywood, Calif.

Theatre of the Year: Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, Tenn.

Arena of the Year: The Forum, Inglewood, Calif.

Red Rocks Award – Outdoor Concert Venue of the Year: Ascend Amphitheater, Nashville, Tenn.

Best New Concert Venue – Small Venue: Brooklyn Bowl, Nashville, Tenn.

Best New Concert Venue – Arena: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, Wa.

Best New Concert Venue – Outdoors: Sofi Stadium, Los Angeles, Calif.

International Venue of the Year: Royal Albert Hall, United Kingdom

Venue Executive of the Year: David Kells, Bridgestone Arena

Talent Buyer of the Year: Amy Corbin, C3 Presents

Small Venue Talent Buyer of the Year (Under 10,000 Capacity): Donna Busch, Goldenvoice

Bill Graham Award/Promoter of the Year: Bob Roux, Live Nation

International Promoter of the Year: Barrie Marshall, Marshall Arts

Bobby Brooks Award – Agent of the Year: Dave Rowan, High Road Touring

International Booking Agent of the Year: Steve Strange, X-ray Touring

Booking Agency of the Year: CAA

Independent Booking Agency of the Year (Global): High Road Touring

Rising Star Award: Molly Warren, Live Nation

Personal Manager of the Year: Jeffrey Azoff, Full Stop Management

Road Warrior of the Year: Ken Helie (Dead & Company)

Transportation Company of the Year: Rock-it Cargo

Best Concert Visuals: Bandit Lites

Best Concert Sound: Clair Global

Marketing/PR Executive of the Year: Allison McGregor, CAA

Best Brand Partnership/Live Campaign: Amazon/Climate Pledge Arena Naming Rights

Best Hang: Austin City Limits Music Festival, Austin, Texas

Best Person to Score a Dinner With: Irving Azoff, The Azoff Company (TIE), Michael Rapino, Live Nation (TIE)

Life of the Party: Ron Delsener, Live Nation

Damn The Torpedoes: 2021 Touring Artist, Dave Chappelle

Milestone Award: Royal Albert Hall, United Kingdom

Music Unites Award: D-Nice

 


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UK stars weigh in on ‘final countdown’ for insurance

UK superstars have joined the chorus of industry experts and trade associations calling on the UK government to commit to underwriting cancellation costs of events such as music festivals and tours, to enable the restart of the live entertainment sector from this summer.

Jools Holland, Depeche Mode, Johnny Marr, Sir Cliff Richard, Robert Plant, Roger Daltrey, Amy McDonald, The Chemical Brothers, Frank Turner and Judas Priest are among those who have weighed in on the ongoing petition for a government-backed insurance scheme, similar to those launched in Norwaythe NetherlandsGermanyAustria and Belgium.

The industry’s call-to-action comes days before chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to unveil the Budget. Alongside a government-backed insurance pot, the industry is also urging the chancellor to grant extensions on the 5% VAT rate on ticket sales; employment support; and business rates relief for shuttered venues.

The industry deems event cancellation insurance the ‘last remaining barrier’ to planning events this summer after British prime minister Boris Johnson announced a ‘cautious’ reopening roadmap that could allow festivals to take place after 21 June, but says the window of opportunity for this summer ‘will slam shut very shortly’.

“With the cut-off point for many organisers at the end of the month, this really is the final countdown for many businesses”

Paul Reed, AIF CEO, says: “The prime minister has set out a roadmap and a ‘no earlier than’ date for festivals, and audiences have responded, demonstrating a huge appetite to be back in the fields this summer. But we need government interventions on insurance and VAT before the end of this month when festivals will need to decide whether they can commit to serious amounts of upfront capital.

“Now that we have a ‘no earlier than’ date, insurance is the last remaining barrier to planning. We know that government is aware of the insurance issue and AIF has provided evidence and data to support the case. Having injected huge consumer confidence, government should intervene at this stage and ensure that our culture-defining independent festivals can mobilise and plan for this summer. With the cut-off point for many organisers at the end of the month, this really is the final countdown for many businesses.”

AIF, whose members include Boomtown Fair, Shambala, Boardmasters, End of the Road and Bluedot, recently conducted a member survey in which 92.5% of respondents confirmed they cannot stage events without insurance and described insurance measures as ‘vital’ not optional.

“The window of opportunity for this summer will slam shut very shortly. The government needs to act now”

Tim Thornhill, director of Tysers Entertainment and Sport Division, is working closely with the live entertainment insurance industry and live music industry umbrella organisation Live, to urge the government to work with industry to find a solution.

Thornhill comments: “The government has successfully created a scheme that has enabled the film and television industries to get back to work. Now they need to do the same for the live events industry. But the window of opportunity for this summer will slam shut very shortly. The government needs to act now.

“The live events industry is a massive employer and a significant generator of economic activity. Music alone employs over 200,000 people, with music tourism contributing £4.7bn to the UK economy*. The new YouGov survey shows that demand is there – they will buy tickets and spend on accommodation, food and drink. The government can unlock this boost to the economy at no cost to themselves, just a commitment to help underwrite the cost of cancellations should they occur.”

“This cover will allow our business to function as soon as it is safe for us to do so”

Jools Holland comments: “The solution to this problem could be simple – and what’s more, it doesn’t involve the government paying out money now. Maybe not even in the future, unless Covid strikes again. All we need from the government is the commitment to help if necessary.”

Roger Daltrey CBE comments: “The music business and arts have been enormously affected by the Covid-19 virus, with the ongoing health issues plus the problems thrown up by the government’s essential decision to close our places of work. The government however needs to understand how our industry functions. Promoters, especially those with festivals, bands and any touring acts have enormous outlays before commencing a tour, so insurance for these costs is paramount.

“Insurance companies will no longer cover these costs for Covid-19, which will render much of our business unviable as no promoter can risk setting up an event or tour without this cover. All we ask of our government is to put in place an insurance policy that, in the event of this situation happening again, will cover these costs. As it may be 100 years to the next pandemic it is extremely unlikely that this will involve the government paying out any money, but this cover will allow our business to function as soon as it is safe for us to do so.”

“We have seen the impact on the many people who help make the live shows happen”

The Chemical Brothers comments: “Like many other people we have had to put a lot of work on hold in the last year, and we have seen the impact on the many people who help make the live shows happen. Thousands of jobs have already been lost across the UK live music industry, with many more at risk. The UK government has already provided a financially backed scheme for the film industry, which has allowed production to resume. All we ask is that the same approach be taken to help those in the live events industry, which needs the support too and provides so much to the UK economically as well as culturally.”

Sir Cliff Richard comments: “The live events industry has suffered hugely as a result of the pandemic and has been shut down for nearly a year. Venues, performers and crew have all been badly affected. People’s jobs and income have vanished almost overnight. OUR BUSINESS BRINGS INSPIRATION AND HAPPINESS INTO PEOPLE’S LIVES. WE CAN MAKE THEM SMILE WHEN THEY ARE SAD AND WE CAN HELP THEM SING WHEN THEY HAVE NOTHING TO SING ABOUT! We need the government to help us plan for when it is safe to resume OUR business.”

“The industry is facing near catastrophe without adequate government support”

Amy MacDonald comments: “When people attend a gig they buy a ticket, turn up and enjoy the show. What they don’t always understand is the months of preparation that went on behind the scenes to get to that particular point. Thousands of emails and phone calls, meetings, site visits and not to mention huge amounts of money spent to just get to a point where the tickets are on sale. Another important aspect of preparing for a show is the need to ensure the event but it’s now impossible to get any insurance to cover these shows.

“As we have seen from the recent cancellation of Glastonbury, the live industry cannot even plan to start up again because it is too much of a risk without any insurance. The live industry has been put on hold for nearly a year and with no date for a return and no chance to even plan a return, the industry is facing near catastrophe without adequate government support. Nobody wants to live in a world without live music.”

“Can the PM tell us why he won’t help an industry that contributes billions to the UK economy each year?”

Robert Plant comments: “We all desperately want the UK live industry back on its feet again, so we can enjoy our favourite bands or sports event. Yet without insurance to cover these events, these things can’t happen. So please, can the PM tell us why he won’t help an industry that contributes billions to the UK economy each year?

“We’re not asking for any money, just a commitment to help if Covid ever strikes again. We don’t want a hand-out, we just need a hand up.. to help us get back on the stage. I’ve spent 55 years performing in halls, clubs, theatres and concerts halls across the UK. Now we’re in unchartered waters, soon there will be nowhere left to play. So I’m lending my voice to this campaign in the hope that the government will see sense and lend support before many of our beloved music venues disappear forever.”

Harvey Goldsmith CBE, promoter, comments: “As promoters and producers of live concerts we cannot produce tours without insurance against Covid. We are the risk takers and often have to pay considerable sums upfront to be able to create the tour. If the government at any time decide it is unsafe to continue, or commence a tour, we must be able to take insurance to protect us, as any normal business would expect. If no insurance is available our business will collapse.”

“The single most powerful measure the government could take is to underwrite any losses from Covid-19 cancellations”

Philip McIntyre, promoter, comments: “I would like to support your campaign to have the government underwrite any losses suffered from Covid 19 cancellations whilst the pandemic is still prevalent. My company is in the top five of all live entertainment groups in the UK we are obviously keen to start operating again but we worry about uninsured risk. Now we have a plan to come out of lockdown the single most powerful measure the government could take is to underwrite any losses from Covid-19 cancellations after June this year.

“This would give the risk takers so much confidence they the live arts would return to normal by December this year. If there are claims they would more than likely be on a regional basis and not onerous and the business generated in town and city centres would more than cover them in my estimation the government would be in profit 12 months ahead of a no action situation.”

Frank Turner comments: “It cannot be exaggerated, the devastation caused in my industry by the pandemic. We’re doing what we can to hang on and plan for a better future. An insurance plan will help us survive and come back quicker, and it doesn’t involve the government paying out any extra money now (or possibly ever). It would make an enormous difference.”

“Every effort is made to reduce the costs of a cancelled concert including trying to reschedule a date”

Johnny Marr comments: “The solution to getting music back up safely is easy and it doesn’t involve the government committing money now. All we need from the government is the commitment to help if necessary with an insurance scheme backed by them, and that will get our crews and suppliers back working. The government would only have to pay out in the worst case.”

Barrie Marshall MBE, promoter, comments: “The tremendous work of the NHS and the vaccination programme means that live events can start soon, this gives us hope that we can begin to share those magical moments and wonderful concerts once again. However, we need the government to help us by providing financial backing in the form of an insurance fund. This is needed to cover the costs of an event if it must be cancelled as a result of a Covid outbreak. Every effort is made to reduce the costs of a cancelled concert including trying to reschedule a date in the future but there are some circumstances where this is not possible.”

“We help to get our industry back on track and to help restart live events in a safe, effective way once it’s possible to do so”

John Giddings, promoter, comments: “Our industry has been hit immeasurably over the past year and we need to get it back up and running again. The government has got to help!”

Judas Priest comments: “The world has been more or less brought to its knees because of Covid-19 in this past year. It has affected so many people and businesses in all walks of life in so many ways. Our industry, the entertainment industry (which is a multi-billion dollar business), is suffering massively. It isn’t just affecting us – a band who want to get back out on the road, performing to our fans around the world – but it is affecting mainly our crew (and all the other crews), the venues and their staff, cleaners, security, caterers, local crew, bus drivers, truck drivers, lighting and video personnel, stage set designers and stage set builders. The list is endless.

“We need help, for the venues to be able to put on shows and the artists to be able to perform we all need to get tour insurance that will cover Covid-19 so shows can go ahead. Now we have the vaccine things should be on the way up but we need your help urgently, please!”

Depeche Mode comments: “With the live music industry in the UK shut down for over a year, our crew, our fans, venues, and everyone else who makes shows possible has been badly affected. Jobs and income have vanished almost overnight, and fans and artists alike have been left wondering when live shows will be possible again. We need the government to help us get our industry back on track and to help restart live events in a safe, effective way once it’s possible to do so.”

Government-backed insurance funds will be explored at ILMC during Insurance: The Big Update, while lessons that can be learned from 2020’s lost festival summer will be discussed during Festival Forum: Reboot & Reset.

 


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