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Oslo racetrack upgrade planned to attract top acts

Oslo’s new city council has revealed it plans to invest millions to upgrade an outdoor concert venue in a bid to entice leading international touring artists to Norway.

The Norwegian capital’s Bjerke Travbane racetrack welcomed a 60,000-cap show by Rammstein in July 2022, and the authority is setting aside NOK 5.3 million (€449,400) in next month’s revised budget for improvements to the site, with a target completion date of summer 2025.

VG reports that politicians were compelled to act after Stockholm’s Friends Arena in neighbouring Sweden was selected to host the three Scandinavian dates on Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour, and decided that enhancing an existing venue would provide a fast and cost-effective option.

“For us, it has been important to get this in place, and quickly, because the city needs it,” says Hallstein Bjerck, city councillor for finance. “We will not stand by and watch Taylor Swift go to Stockholm, and not to Oslo.”

Bjerke Travbane general manager Hilde Apneseth says it would also be possible to stage concerts on a smaller scale at the outdoor venue, perhaps of around 30,000-capacity.

“We hope that there will be concerts several times during the year, especially in the period from mid-June to mid-August,” she adds.

“It will still be a big challenge to get Coldplay, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and so on to say ‘yes’ even though we have Bjerke”

The move has been backed by All Things Live Norway‘s Peer Osmundsvaag, who says: “This will avoid many one-off costs, so you can lower the threshold. There are several Norwegian bands that can sell 20,000 tickets here. If you manage to do this, you can perhaps get between six and 10 concerts during a season.”

However, Live Nation Norway general manager Martin Nielsen sounds a note of caution, warning that many of the biggest acts will still prefer to play stadiums, both for financial and production reasons.

“It will still be a big challenge to get Coldplay, Beyoncé, Taylor Swift and so on to say ‘yes’ even though we have Bjerke,” he tells VG. “In a stadium, you can operate with several price ranges, preferably seven or eight different ones, and then sell the best seats at a higher price.

“In a flat area like Bjerke, you can at best have one slightly more expensive ‘golden circle’ near the stage, while the other tens of thousands become standing room with the same price for everyone. If you only have two ticket price levels, it will obviously be much more difficult to maximise income.”

Despite bringing Bruce Springsteen to Oslo for two nights last summer to 50,000-cap greenfield site Voldslokka, Nielsen warned in IQ‘s 2023 Global Promoters Report that a dearth of suitable venues for the largest productions was a major obstacle.

“A key issue is that we don’t have a big stadium in Norway,” he said. “A lot of the tours are built for stadiums, and they don’t want to play [in Norway] unless it’s a stadium.”

 


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All Things Live promotes Norway’s biggest-ever gig

All Things Live has smashed the attendance record for a concert on Norwegian soil, hosting 60,000 fans at a Rammstein show.

The event took place on Sunday 24 June at Bjerke Travbane in Oslo and was the first-ever concert held at the horse racing track.

The previous attendance record was set by All Things Live subsidiary Atomic Soul with Eminem’s 2018 performance at Oslo Sommertid festival.

The rapper drew around 55,000 fans to the capital’s Voldsløkka sports stadium after tickets sold out in just six minutes.

Commenting on the Rammstein show, All Things Live Norway promoter Mark Vaughan says: “Bjerke Travbane was a fantastic venue to present this massive show. It doesn’t come any bigger than Rammstein and both band and crew were extremely happy after the show.”

All Things Live Norway has secured an exclusive agreement with Bjerke Travbane going forward, which will be the largest capacity arena in Norway.

“We have worked and invested a lot to make this venue compatible for the biggest artists in the world, now we have proved it works and we are looking forward to bringing stadium artists to Norway going forwards!” says Peer Osmundsvaag, All Things Live Norway.

“We are looking forward to bringing stadium artists to Norway going forwards”

News of the record-breaking concert comes as All Things Live announces yet another acquisition.

The private-equity-backed live entertainment group has sealed the deal with Stageway, a leading Norwegian live entertainment group that deals in artist management, booking and promoting.

The Bergen-based group’s activities are conducted via three companies: Stageway Talent, Komon Stageway and Stageway Teater.

Stageway Talent provides booking and promotion services across genres for a roster of more than 30 artists; Komon-Stageway delivers turnkey event solutions for large corporate customers and Stageway Teater produces comedy shows and acts as a management service provider for renowned Norwegian comedy duo Ylvis, among others.

Arne Svare, co-founder and CEO of Stageway, says: “We are so pleased to announce that we are joining forces with All Things Live to accelerate our joint business in Norway, the Nordics and beyond in the coming years. We have been part of the bustling live entertainment industry for four decades and known and respected the team behind All Things Live for years. Together, we will strengthen our offering to artists and customers while delivering even greater experiences for the audience.”

Knut Meiner, chairman and senior consultant of Komon-Stageway, adds: “Everyone in our companies have worked hard to build a strong reputation in the Norwegian market. We are absolutely thrilled to become part of a partnership, which is well-respected and shares our aspiration to grow the business based on deep understanding of the local market and a clear focus on bringing great live entertainment and fantastic corporate events to more people.”

“Stageway is a great business with fantastic talent, strong growth prospects and a perfect fit with our existing operations”

The management team and organisation of Stageway will remain unchanged, and existing contracts and customer relationships will not be affected by All Things Live’s acquisition of Stageway Talent, Komon-Stageway and Stageway Teater. In connection with the transaction, the current owners of the three companies become partners and co-owners of All Things Live.

“Stageway is a great business with fantastic talent, strong growth prospects and a perfect fit with our existing operations in All Things Live Norway. We are very pleased to welcome the great people behind Stageway who will contribute greatly to the development of our partnership in Norway and internationally,” says Kim Worsøe, member of the executive board of All Things Live Group.

Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approval by the Norwegian Competition Authority. The parties have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

All Things Live has been on an acquisition spree in the past fortnight, this week enhancing its presence in Belgium with the addition of management company Musickness.

Last week, All Things Live signalled its expansion into the Italian market with the acquisition of promoter and agency Radar Concerti and also recently announced the signing of international management firm Then We Take The World.

All Things Live was established in 2018 as “the new independent market leader in Nordic live entertainment” following Waterland Private Equity’s acquisition of six leading Scandinavian promoters and agencies.

 


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