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Latvia paves the way for float-in music festivals

Latvia is the latest country to come up with a creative format for socially distanced concerts after pioneering float-in music festival, Laiva.

The one-day festival took place on Lake Jugla and saw 1,500 people in boats watch Laima Jansone, Tautumeitas and Dagamba perform on the shores, at the Latvian Ethnographic Open-Air Museum.

Guests were invited to either rent a boat or bring their own, provided it fell into the category of a rowing boat, SUP board, or a motorboat with a lift motor.

The festival, which took place on 8 August, was streamed live on TV channel LMT Straume and organisers dubbed it “a phenomenal evening”.

From deck chair concerts in Germany to tuk-tuk drive-ins in Thailand and bike-in concerts in Italy, Lativa’s float-in music festival is the latest in a series of innovative socially distanced shows taking place worldwide.

Latvia’s government has reported 1,290 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 32 related deaths. In May, The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania opened their borders to one another, creating Europe’s first coronavirus “travel bubble” since nations began shutting their borders earlier this year.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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On yer bike: First bike-in arena launches in Italy

The first dedicated bike-in arena is ready to open in Mantua, in the Lombardy region of Italy, as fans get pumped to don their lycra and experience live music, film screenings and theatrical performances from the comfort of their saddles.

The Bike-In event concept is the brainchild of Fulvio De Rosa, the head of Milan-based promoter Shining Production, who conceived of the idea as a healthier, more eco-friendly and engaging option for those wanting to take a brake from drive-in concerts.

De Rosa developed the concept along with the team at Milanese venue Live Club and promoter Fresh Agency, later partnering with Mantova Capitale Europea dello Spettacolo Foundation and the City Council of Mantua to create the dedicated arena.

All spots have their own bike rack, with seating and standing options available

The arena will open on Friday 10 July and operate until mid-September, with tickets still available for an opening performance from Italian jazz musician Mauro Ottolini and a second show, by Italian singer-songwriter Niccolò Fabi on 12 July, already selling out.

Fans will be able to pick their own spot in the Bike-In venue, which is located in Campo Canoa, a green area with a view on a lake, with options for a one-person, one-bicycle space; a bigger space for a family or couples; or a premium spot with a raised platform on which guests can have a pre-show drink or dinner.

All spots have their own bike rack, with seating and standing options available.

Performances from Mantua’s Bike-In Arena will also be streamed live, with those watching from home able to order food and drink from the Bike-In delivery service.

More information about the Bike-In Arena and upcoming events can be found here.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

‘First socially distanced arena’ launches in UK

A new outdoor venue, billed as the UK’s first dedicated socially distanced music venue, will launch in Newcastle, in the north-east of England, this summer.

Unity Arena, sponsored by Virgin Money, will be located at Newcastle Racecourse in Gosforth Park, around four miles from Newcastle city centre, and open soon after its first line-up announcement on Tuesday 7 July.

The venue, the brainchild of regional promoter SSD Concerts, will be built in partnership with production company Engine No 4 (Parklife, Kendal Calling). SSD, the organiser of This is Tomorrow festival, promises a completely socially distanced “parking-to-platform experience” offering “full safety” for concertgoers.

Punters will stand on viewing platforms placed two metres apart, with food and drinks available for preorder. A one-way system, meanwhile, will allow for the “safe and full use” of toilet facilities.

Unity Arena will have a capacity of 2,500, a spokesperson tells IQ, with organisers promising a “festival experience” with “full production”.

“This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with it”

Steve Davis, managing director of SSD, says: “Since all of our scheduled concerts have been postponed to later in the year and all venues in the city closed, the staff at SSD had a willingness to continue.

“We can’t be without music during these times, so our only thought has been how can we bring music back to the British public safely and responsibly.

“We have been hosting loads of live sessions and DJ sets across our social media, supporting local artists and raising money for the NHS. Now, we’re taking it one step further as the UK slowly comes out of lockdown.

“Working with our brand new partner Virgin Money has been exciting, and we think, even in these hard times, the people of the north east will come out in their thousands to see the artists they love.”

Helen Page, group brand and marketing director of Virgin Money, adds: “This feels like a unique opportunity to celebrate music and all the wonderful emotions that come with experiencing it live alongside other music fans. We’re looking forward to partnering with the Unity Arena on this event near to our Virgin Money home in Gosforth.”

 


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Bike-In concerts: The next wheely good idea?

In the space of just a few weeks, drive-in concerts have – along with the likes of live streams, virtual experiences and socially distanced shows – become an important part of live music’s ‘new normal’, with fans in Germany, the US, Lithuania, the Netherlands and elsewhere watching shows through their car windscreens and Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino identifying drive-ins as being key to getting the business restarted.

However, drive-in concerts aren’t without their detractors, with critics having pointed to the environmental impact of hundreds of cars sitting stationary with their engines running, as well as the perceived lack of immersion compared to a ‘real’ live show.

Now, Fulvio De Rosa, head manager of Milan-based promoter Shining Production, believes he has the answer:  Bike-In, a new event concept that would instead see concertgoers bring their bicycles to a live show, allowing fans to experience a traditional open-air concert from the comfort of their saddles.

De Rosa, who is in the process of raising funding for the idea, highlights Bike-In’s advantages compared to a drive-in show: “There’s been a lot of talk in these last few days about the return of ‘drive-in’ movies, but we prefer thinking of something that, above all, should be eco-friendly and sharable. This is how Bike-In was born.”

Whereas drive-in concerts see fans, many of whom have been in “lockdown for a long time”, once again isolated in their vehicles, and need a large paved area such as a car park, Bike-In allows fans to enjoy the music “while breathing fresh air”, and is adaptable to any space, including parks and other green spaces, he continues.

The Bike-In concept is designed to be “eco-friendly and sharable”

According to a presentation document, events using Bike-In would allow fans to choose their own spot in the ‘venue’, from three options: a single spot for one person and one bicycle, a family or couples spot, for multiple people and bikes, and a ‘premium spot’ on a raised platform that includes services such as food and beverage. Each spot has its own bike rack, and is located at a safe distance from others to ensure social distancing.

The document also suggests Bike-In could be used for livestreamed shows, with those who purchase the format benefitting from a F&B delivery service to fans watching from home.

Speaking to Italian media, Laura Ciraudo, communications manager for Shining Production and sister businesses Live Music Club and Fresh Agency, says Bike-In has already received concrete interest from venues in Lombardy and Turin, as well as more general enquiries from all over Italy.

The Italian government announced on Monday that concerts, sans F&B and with strict capacity limits and social-distancing measures, may once again be held from 15 June.

 


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