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BBC exposé uncovers gig security concerns

Concerns have been raised over the safety of UK concert-goers after a BBC investigation found that some security guards have been fraudulently obtaining work licences after attending sham training courses.

An undercover reporter for the broadcaster’s File on 4 podcast discovered that some training companies are offering ‘fast-track’ courses which don’t comply with regulations. The reporter paid extra to finish a mandatory six-day course in a day and a half, thus missing crucial first-aid training.

The report also reveals how candidates are told to falsify time sheets and are given the answers to multiple-choice questions to ensure they pass and enable them to work in arenas, nightclubs and other venues across the UK.

The investigation was prompted by the inquiry into the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing, which identified a number of security failures.

“I strongly encourage the SIA to reconsider their current process for accrediting training providers”

Regulator the Security Industry Authority (SIA) told the broadcaster that the findings suggested criminality. It added that it was now working with the organisations which oversee these training companies to further investigate the BBC’s evidence, and would be referring the matter to the police.

Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) CEO Michael Kill expresses his “deep disappointment and concern” over the accounts shared by the BBC, and is urging the SIA to amend its current process.

“The door security sector has, for a considerable period, raised questions concerning security training, from the point of facilitation, accessibility and content. The necessary qualifications for obtaining an SIA License to work within the sector have been overshadowed by a small number of unscrupulous training operators.

“In light of the compelling evidence presented by the BBC today, I strongly encourage the SIA to reconsider their current process for accrediting training providers. This is a pivotal moment to revamp the system and restore public trust in the sector.”

 


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BBC reveals record Glastonbury viewing figures

The BBC has revealed its TV coverage of this year’s Glastonbury festival reached a record-breaking 23.1 million people.

The figures, which include the 30-day catch up period, were up 8% on 2022’s figure of 21.4m, with 8.6m people tuning in to Elton John’s Sunday night headline performance on BBC One over the same period.

Other high-performing sets at the 21-25 June event included Arctic Monkeys, Guns N’ Roses and Yusuf/Cat Stevens, as well as Blondie, Rick Astley, Fred Again.., Foo Fighters, Becky Hill and Lewis Capaldi. Glastonbury 2023 content on BBC iPlayer and BBC Sounds has also now been streamed 65 million times, up 54% on last year’s figure.

“This was an incredible year at Worthy Farm and I’m proud that we successfully matched the ambition and spirit of this iconic festival with our extensive coverage of it,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke.

The BBC, which recently inked a multi-year extension to continue to as Glastonbury’s exclusive multimedia broadcast partner, delivered over 40 hours of coverage across its TV channels in 2023, as well as 85 hours of live radio broadcasts, content on BBC Sounds, and an increase in scale and accessibility on BBC iPlayer.

“It’s wonderful that record audiences discovered and enjoyed our Glastonbury output on TV, radio and online”

For the first time, the corporation also streamed Pyramid Stage performances live in British Sign Language.

“It’s wonderful that record audiences discovered and enjoyed our Glastonbury output on TV, radio and online, as I know the teams across the BBC and BBC Studios worked around the clock to bring more performances and content than ever before to people at home,” adds Clarke. “A special thanks to Emily and Michael Eavis for allowing us to share the joy of Glastonbury with so many people across the UK.”

Glastonbury’s long-term future at Worthy Farm was secured earlier this year after it was granted permanent planning permission by the local council.

The festival will return to Worthy Farm, Somerset, from 26-30 June 2024.

 


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Coronation Concert advert ‘misleading’, says ASA

The UK’s advertising watchdog has ruled that communication on a ballot for tickets to May’s Coronation Concert was “misleading” following complaints from the public.

The 20,000-cap concert was held outside Windsor Castle on 7 May this year in celebration of the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla, and featured artists such as Lionel Richie, Take That, Katy Perry, Andrea Bocelli, Nicole Scherzinger and Olly Murs.

BBC Studios was responsible for organising the event and had contracted Ticketmaster UK to administer the public ballot for one of 5,000 pairs of tickets between 10-28 February 2023. Successful entries were drawn at random, with the winning entrants contacted and asked to accept the pair of tickets within 14 days.

Posts on the BBC and Ticketmaster websites stated that tickets were “not being allocated on a first-come first-served basis”.

However, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) launched an investigation after receiving 98 complaints from people who were unable to claim tickets, despite receiving an email saying: “Congratulations, you have been successful in the ballot for a pair of standing tickets to The Coronation Concert.”

It transpired that entrants who received the email had not in fact been successful in securing tickets, but had instead been selected to enter a supplementary round with an additional chance to get tickets.

Additionally, 56 complainants challenged whether claims the tickets would not be allocated on a “first-come first-served basis” were misleading.

“Although there was never any intention to mislead, we accept the ASA’s ruling”

The BBC said that since some tickets remained unallocated following two ballots, it decided to offer the remaining tickets to a third group on a first-come first-served basis due to “time constraints”.

Ticketmaster emailed further entrants on 25 April to claim the remaining tickets, with wording provided by BBC Studios. BBC Studios accepted the email was “not well-worded”, but said that the first two stages of the balloting process were followed, since it congratulated the recipient twice, before explaining that tickets in this supplementary round were being offered on a first-come first-served basis.

The ASA upheld both complaints and told BBC Studios and Ticketmaster UK to ensure future marketing communications “did not misleadingly imply that consumers had been allocated tickets if that was not the case”.

“We also told them to ensure that future marketing communications did not omit relevant material information that tickets would be allocated on a first-come first-served basis,” it added.

A BBC Studios spokesperson says: “Although there was never any intention to mislead, we accept the ASA’s ruling. Following two fully compliant ballots, a small number of unclaimed tickets were offered on a first come first served basis to unsuccessful ballot entrants.

“We also reiterate our apology for a poorly worded email, which implied applicants had already won tickets for The Coronation Concert. We have taken steps to ensure neither situation is repeated and can confirm that no successful ballot entrant from the first two rounds was denied the opportunity to attend the event.”

 


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BBC documentary sheds new light on Pollen collapse

A new documentary has attempted to shed new light on the spectacular collapse of UK-based music, travel and experiences start-up Pollen.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, Pollen organised artist-curated weekenders such as a Bring Me The Horizon festival in Malta, the Unruly Culture Splash Weekender in Croatia with Popcaan, Diplo’s Higher Ground festival in Mexico and Justin Bieber & Friends in Las Vegas. But the firm went bust last summer – just three months after being valued at US$800 million and raising $150m in new funding.

According to a  Companies House filing, Pollen’s parent company Streetteam Software Limited owed £75 million (£59.4m unsecured) to creditors when it fell into administration. The group recorded pre-tax losses of £52.4m, £42.7m and £57.4m in 2019, 2020 and 2021, respectively.

“The legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the growth model of the group,” said Matt Ingram of London-based administrator Kroll after the firm was appointed to oversee the sale of the London-based firm’s remaining assets.

Now, a new BBC Three documentary, Crashed: $800m Festival Fail, details luxury retreats and parties for staff – one of which reportedly cost $500,000 – which Pollen says were about building a “strong culture and collaboration”.

The documentary says the company began to show signs of trouble in late 2021 when “vendors and hotels were not getting their payments on time”.

It goes on to allege that an estimated 15,000 customers who signed up to a monthly payment plan were double and in some cases triple-charged for their instalment in unauthorised transactions worth $3.2m. Internal documents, seen by BBC Three, suggested the computer code responsible was written by a senior employee at Pollen, tested the day beforehand and then executed manually.

“Tens of millions of dollars has been recovered for creditors and impacted customers through the administration process”

In a statement to the BBC, Pollen confirmed an overcharge happened, but said it was unintentional and due to human error, adding that all affected customers were refunded within two weeks, or accepted a voucher. “No person or company benefited from the mistake,” said the firm.

Nevertheless, of the 259 claimants who responded to the documentary team, all but 10 said they were still waiting for refunds.

A spokesperson for Pollen has since hit back, telling CMU the BBC is “mistaken” in some of its claims.

“The company accepts there was an overcharge, which was an error, admitted to at the time by the employee responsible,” they say. “All customers were refunded or got a voucher; at their discretion. The refunds being referred to in the BBC Three documentary were not related to the overcharge, but due to the company entering administration.

“When a company is unable to pay its debts, it enters administration. However, tens of millions of dollars has been recovered for creditors and impacted customers through the administration process, and more money is still coming in through the sale of company assets.

“95% of customers whose events were due to go ahead post administration have either been refunded or the event has taken place.”

Pollen, which had 316 employees prior to its collapse, raised US$150m in a Series C round in April 2022, only to let over 150 members of staff go in the UK and US a month later. Earlier, it raised over $100m in venture capital funding, while the UK government’s Future Fund also previously invested in the firm.

 


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BBC unveils expanded Glastonbury coverage

The BBC has unveiled full details of its Glastonbury 2023 coverage, revealing it will present more of the festival than ever before – both live and on-demand.

This year’s Glastonbury runs from 21-25 June, headlined by Elton John, Guns N’ Roses and Arctic Monkeys. Other acts on the line-up include Lana Del Rey, Lizzo, The War On Drugs, Chvrches, Lil Nas X, Christine And The Queens, Manic Street Preachers. and Yusuf/Cat Stevens, who has been booked for the coveted Legends Slot.

Queens of the Stone Age, Rick Astley, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Tom Grennan were among the latest additions to the bill announced this week.

The BBC, which will continue to be Glastonbury’s exclusive, multimedia broadcast partner, following a recent multi-year extension, will present more than 40 hours of programming across its television channels as well as over 85 hours of live broadcasts on the BBC’s pop radio networks. It will launch its 2023 coverage with Lauren Laverne’s 6 Music breakfast show live from the Glastonbury gates from 7.30am to 10.30am on Wednesday 21 June.

“Glastonbury 2023 will have even more live coverage from site, including a record number of hours on BBC One,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke. “There will be more programming in the lead up, including an updated version of Glastonbury: 50 Years and Counting and more content to discover on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer. As always, scale and discovery is at the heart of our BBC Glastonbury coverage.

“We’ve worked in partnership with the BBC since 1997, and they’ve become an incredibly valuable part of what we do at Glastonbury”

“This year we’re proud to deliver over 40 hours of coverage across our TV channels to our audiences, as well as over 85 hours of live radio broadcasts, in addition to content on BBC Sounds. We’ll also be increasing the scale and accessibility of our BBC iPlayer offer, with even more themed and live streams.

“For the first time, we will be streaming Pyramid Stage performances live in British Sign Language, making our coverage more accessible than ever before. Our thanks once again go to Emily and Michael Eavis, for allowing us to bring their treasured festival to so many music fans throughout the weekend and beyond.”

New podcasts, collections and playlists will be available on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer will present an expanded, 12-day celebration of the festival, featuring over 40 hours of coverage on BBC iPlayer’s Glastonbury Channel, in addition to  streams and classic Glastonbury performances.

“We’ve worked in partnership with the BBC since 1997, and they’ve become an incredibly valuable part of what we do at Glastonbury,” adds festival co-organiser Emily Eavis. “I think we’ve created something really special together and we’re delighted that they’re continuing to evolve their coverage with additions such as streaming Pyramid Stage performances live in British Sign Language. We’re looking forward to welcoming them to the farm in June and here’s to many more Glastonburys together.”

Glastonbury’s long-term future at Worthy Farm was secured earlier this year after it was granted permanent planning permission by the local council.

 


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BBC reveals most-viewed Glastonbury sets

Sets by Paul McCartney and Diana Ross drew the biggest UK TV audiences at this year’s Glastonbury festival, the BBC has revealed.

McCartney’s Saturday night Pyramid Stage headline performance saw him joined by surprise guests Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl, in addition to performing a virtual duet with John Lennon.

The former Beatle’s near three-hour set averaged 2.7 million viewers on BBC One and peaked at 3.9m, while Ross’ 75-minute Sunday legend slot had an average audience of 3.1m, peaking at 3.8m.

According to Broadcast, the broadcaster’s coverage of the festival’s Friday night, which saw 20-year-old Billie Eilish becoming Glastonbury’s youngest ever headliner, attracted 1.2m. Its Sunday evening coverage averaged 1.4m prior to Kendrick Lamar’s headline appearance, which garnered 570,000 viewers.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival”

The BBC has also confirmed record breaking figures across its digital platforms for its coverage of the 2022 festival.

Content was streamed 34.1m times on BBC iPlayer, including 23m streams live – the highest on record for a BBC programme brand – and was played 2.3m times on BBC Sounds.

Streams rocketed 116% on BBC iPlayer and 205% on BBC Sounds from the most recent festival in 2019, up from 15.8m and 765,000 respectively.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival this weekend with a dedicated Glastonbury channel on BBC iPlayer, 6 Music’s All Day Glastonbury coverage, performances from the biggest artists on demand on BBC Sounds and over 35 hours of coverage across our TV channels,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke.

There were secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra

Other acts at the 210,000-cap 22-26 June extravaganza included Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. There were also secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis paid tribute to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness, in this year’s official programme.

“I’ll miss him so much,” wrote Eavis. “He should have worked for years and years but he was sadly taken before his time. I am very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The past weekend is believed to have been the UK’s biggest ever for live music, with more than one million people attending concerts.

 


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BBC details ‘most extensive’ Glasto coverage yet

The BBC will present its most extensive coverage of Glastonbury to date when the festival returns after a three-year absence from 22-26 June.

Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar will headline the Pyramid Stage at this year’s event at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset. Eilish and Lamar are both represented by Wasserman Music, while McCartney works with Marshall Arts.

Other acts will include Diana Ross, Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Set times were released this week and can be viewed here.

BBC Music will present the festival across TV, radio, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and online, with Glastonbury 2022 marking the first time the BBC has broadcast any music event in Ultra High Definition. Sets from the Pyramid Stage will be shown live in UHD on BBC iPlayer on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with key performances and a special programme featuring highlights from the Pyramid Stage available on demand in UHD after the event.

“I’m looking forward to Worthy Farm being filled with thousands of people once again”

“It’s a joy to have the BBC and its brilliant team back and broadcasting live from Glastonbury for the first time since 2019 – continuing a special partnership that’s been evolving since 1997,” says festival co-organiser Emily Eavis. “I’m looking forward to Worthy Farm being filled with thousands of people once again and for millions more around the country being able to enjoy performances from our stellar line-up, courtesy of the BBC, wherever they are.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The BBC’s celebration of Glastonbury 2022 will begin earlier than in previous years, including the broadcast of new documentary Glastonbury: 50 Years & Counting in the days leading up to the festival. BBC iPlayer’s dedicated Glastonbury channel launches on Thursday 23 June.

“Our coverage this year will be our most extensive to date”

“I’m very proud of the BBC’s long history of broadcasting from Glastonbury, the highlight of our summer of live music,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke. “Our coverage this year will be our most extensive to date, with over 35 hours of programming across BBC One, Two, Three and Four, and over 40 hours on BBC iPlayer – in addition to digital live streams from the five biggest festival stages.

“We’ll also have wall-to-wall coverage on the BBC’s pop radio networks and BBC Sounds – with over 60 hours of broadcasts from the festival itself.”

In January, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis led tributes to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness.

 


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Roundhouse announces BBC’s Lorna Clarke as trustee

London’s Roundhouse has announced BBC pop controller Lorna Clarke as a new trustee.

The 3,000-cap Camden venue and charity works with thousands of young creatives each year through music, performance, broadcast and digital projects in its in-house Roundhouse Studios.

Clarke is the BBC’s controller of pop music, with responsibility for national music networks BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, Radio 1Xtra, Asian Network) as well as live events, music television commissioning and the visualisation team.

“I’m thrilled that I am now a trustee of the Roundhouse, one of London’s leading creative hubs and iconic performance venues,” she says. “I look forward to playing my role in the future of the charity.”

“I have no doubt that Lorna’s wealth of experience will help us thrive in the coming months and years”

Bringing more than 30 years of broadcasting experience, Clarke previously worked with the venue when she was director of Electric Proms, which were hosted at the Roundhouse between 2006-2010, with performances from artists including Dame Shirley Bassey, James Brown, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Dizzee Rascal and Paul McCartney.

“I’m delighted to welcome Lorna to the board of trustees at the Roundhouse,” adds Roundhouse chair Simon Turner. ” We’re entering an incredibly exciting period as we emerge from the pandemic and expand our creative offer for young people. I have no doubt that Lorna’s wealth of experience will help us thrive in the coming months and years.”

Upcoming concerts at the venue include Sons of Kemet, Pale Waves, The Cribs, Sparks, Celeste, Ride and Girl in Red.

 


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10m+ stream BBC Glastonbury 2020 coverage

The BBC’s Glastonbury Experience was a break-out streaming hit, with more than ten million views on the corporation’s on-demand platform, BBC iPlayer, as of Tuesday 30 June.

Running from 10am local time on Thursday 25 June until late on Monday 29 June – commemorating the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury Festival that never was – the Glastonbury Experience aimed to bring the spirit of the legendary festival to viewers at home by broadcasting past performances on iPlayer, television, radio and the BBC Sounds audio streaming service.

In addition to broadcasting sets on TV (BBC Two and BBC Four), including Adele (2016), Beyoncé (2011), Coldplay (2016), Jay-Z (2008) and David Bowie (2000) – the first time Bowie’s performance has ever been broadcast in full – the BBC created a ‘pop-up’ Glastonbury Experience channel on iPlayer. That channel additionally featured shows by the likes of the Killers (2004), Radiohead (1997), Christine and the Queens (2016) and Billie Eilish (2019).

At press time, a BBC Music spokesperson tells IQ, there have been 10.2 million requests for Glastonbury content on iPlayer so far – and with content available for another 30 days, the corporation says it expects that number to grow.

Adele’s set was the most-watched programme on BBC Two, with an audience of 2.1m

Overnight figures for television content, meanwhile, show that Adele’s set was the most-watched programme on BBC Two, with an audience of 2.1m (the biggest for a BBC Two Glastonbury programme since 2017).

Sunday evening’s edition of Glastonbury Backstage Acoustics, with an audience of 261,000, was the BBC Four programme with the highest audience, followed closely by Nile Rodgers and Chic (2017), which had an audience of 258,000. For your background information these initial figures are not consolidated so are only an early indication of the performances of Glastonbury related programming on BBC TV and BBC iPlayer this weekend.

Glastonbury Festival will return on 23–27 June 2021.

 


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FR launches International Women’s Day event

Festival Republic has announced ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day, a networking event for women across the live music industry, as part of the promoter’s gender equality programme, ReBalance.

The event is taking place at the 900-capacity Union Chapel in Islington, London, on Sunday 8 March, the day dedicated to recognising the movement for women’s rights worldwide.

Last year’s International Women’s Day saw pop star Dua Lipa speak at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London, who illustrated the struggle faced by young female artists trying to break into the industry.

Festival Republic is looking to combat this, with a daytime programme aimed at introducing those who want a career in the industry to women working within it. Professionals from Festival Republic, Live Nation, PRS Foundation, Academy Music Group, Sony Music, MAMA, Melody VR, Metropolis Music, the BBC, National Merchandise and Safe Gigs for Women will be in present to offer advice and deliver educational talks.

An evening performance from singer Nilüfer Yanya will follow the networking event, as well as appearances from Martha Hill and Tamzene, two artists to have come through Festival Republic’s ReBalance programme.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further”

Launched in 2017, ReBalance is a six-year programme combatting the gender imbalance within the music industry. It offers five day’s studio time to one core female-identified band and artist each month, as well as a slot of a Festival Republic or Live Nation festival.

So far, 300 nominations have been made across six rounds, with 19 finalists performing live at The Great Escape, Wireless, Latitude and Reading and Leeds Festivals.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further by hosting an event on International Women’s Day for those who want to meet women in the industry,” says the ReBalance team.

“Aimed at newcomers or if you’re just curious, this event is the chance to learn from the brightest stars and pick up some tips. Lack of female representation in music is an industry-wide issue, and we want to level it.”

Day tickets for ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day can be purchased for a £2 charity donation to Safe Gigs for Women, with evening tickets priced at £17.50. All tickets are available here.

Photo: Paul Hudson/Flickr (cropped) (CC BY 2.0)

 


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