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Mark Gibbons joins Brisbane’s Fortitude as head booker

The Fortitude Music Hall is Brisbane’s newest and biggest entertainment precinct, set to open its doors later this year. The latest addition to the Fortitude team is Sydney-based booker Mark Gibbons, who joins as head of bookings. Gibbons will also oversee bookings at well-established Brisbane venue, the Triffid (800-cap.).

The Live Nation-backed, 3,300-capacity Fortitude Music Hall is the fruit of a project by former Powderfinger bassist John ‘JC’ Collins and co-founder of Australian promoter Secret Sounds, Paul Piticco. The team hopes the venue will attract top-quality acts to Australia’s third city, with the help of Gibbons as head booker.

Gibbons adds to the team’s already experienced line-up. The booker joins from Century Venues in Sydney where he gained six years’ experience booking some of the most iconic venues in the New South Wales capital (Enmore, Metro, Factory Theatre).

“I’m excited about working with Mark, his energy and enthusiasm are going to make him a great part of the team”

“With the rapid growth and changes that Brisbane is undergoing, there’s a clear need in the city for a 3,000-plus-capacity venue,” says Gibbons. “As soon as JC shared his vision with me I was excited to be part of it.”

Collins, who is the director of smaller Brisbane venue the Triffid, echoes the sentiment. “I’m excited about working with Mark, his expertise in booking multiple venues will be a massive asset for both the Triffid and the Fortitude Music Hall.”

“His energy and enthusiasm are going to make him a great part of the team.”

The Fortitude Music Hall will showcase state-of-the-art production, while paying homage to the iconic Brisbane venue Festival Hall, which occupied the same space in Fortitude Valley from 1959 to 2003.

 


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Venue Coalition announces booking team reshuffle

After adding ten new arenas to its now 70-strong portfolio, 2017 was a year of “significant growth” for Venue Coalition. Now in 2018, the US venue consultancy organisation has announced two new appointments to its bookings team to keep up with its successes.

A Venue Coalition team member since 2016, Jordan Racine has been promoted to booking/operations manager for the organisation. He brings with him an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of Venue Coalition as well as previous developed experience with talent booking and festival production.

On his new role, Racine says: “I am beyond happy to be growing as a part of the booking team.

“Each day, I come to work motivated and excited about booking shows for our venue members, and I look forward to serving our clients more in this new role.”

“With the announcement of these new faces, executives at Venue Coalition are excited about both the present and the future of the organisation.”

The second new appointment to the organisation’s booking team is booking manager Teresa Guy. With over a decade of experience in the live music industry working across promoting and booking agencies and radio stations, she brings a wealth of knowledge to the role.

“I’m excited to join the exemplary team at Venue Coalition,” says Guy on the subject of her new role.

“Having worked on the agency and promoter side, it’s great to expand my knowledge base as a venue advocate, working on large-scale events across North America.”

With the announcement of these new faces, executives at Venue Coalition are excited about both the present and the future of the organisation. Executive vice president Andrew Prince has welcomed Racine’s promotion, saying, “We are so proud to have Jordan on our team,” whilst president and founder Jeff Apregan says Teresa Guy’s appointment is a “tremendous asset” to the company.

 


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Fewer dates for music at Wembley Stadium

Wembley Stadium’s head of business development, Jim Frayling, will leave after 13 years at the end of this month as the London venue plans to limit the amount of dates available for music programming.

It’s understood that Frayling has exited during a restructure as a result of an increased focus on football at the stadium, with a Spurs residency currently taking place. Events director Lindsey Jackson left in December.

Frayling has played an intrinsic role in securing gigs with Oasis, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Ed Sheeran, Muse, Beyonce, Global’s Capital Summertime Ball, U2, Foo Fighters, The Stone Roses, Jeff Lynne’s ELO and Adele in recent years.

The latter three are set to play in June and July, and Adele is a European stadium exclusive with four dates on June 28/29 and July 1/2. Last year Wembley had six different headliners playing a total of ten shows; making it their best year for music since the new stadium opened in 2007. This year they’ve got three headliners playing a total of six shows. Frayling joined in 2004.

“It’s been brilliant but all good things come to an end. We’ve achieved everything we set out to achieve and the Adele shows are going to be a culmination of that.”

“It’s been brilliant but all good things come to an end,” Frayling tells IQ. “I have loved doing what I do, playing a very small part in putting on these huge events has given me a massive kick. We’ve achieved everything we set out to achieve and the Adele shows are going to be a culmination of that. It feels like I’m going out on a high with Adele, The Stone Roses and ELO.

“It was years ago when I was getting my hair cut that Chris Evans told Jeff Lynne he should play Wembley and my phone went mental so to get that done is huge. In the end it took a week from definite enquiry to announced, contracted and on sale, which fulfilled an ambition. Wembley can genuinely claim to be a world-class stadium now.”

Wembley Stadium will continue to host gigs, but within a more limited window of time, and partnership development manager Danielle Russell is now taking charge of bookings. “I’m leaving things in really good hands with Danielle. She is brilliant,” Frayling adds.

“She took Ed Sheeran from start to finish with me in the background during his run of three shows in 2015 and she is more than ready to do more. Along with Danielle and the events team, I know people will be in good hands.”

Frayling has yet to decide what he’ll do next and is open to opportunities in sport and/or music. “If I could do both I’d be delighted but either one would be fantastic,” he says. “Whatever I do next I will remain a huge fan of live music and the industry itself.”

 


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The O2 debuts online booking for disabled fans

The O2 has for the first time made accessible viewing platforms available to purchase online.

Responding to “demands from fans”, the London venue now allows disabled-access tickets to be bought from ticketing partner AXS in the same way as general-access passes. Previously, booking by telephone was the only option for disabled concertgoers.

There are two disabled viewing platforms in the 21,000-capacity O2 Arena, which is recognised as a ‘Gold Charter’ venue by accessibility charity Attitude is Everything.

“More and more of our fans book online and through their mobile devices, and we wanted to extend this facility for those with access needs”

Adam Wilson, The O2’s head of customer relations, says: “This new service, along with the BSL [British sign language] video interpreting service provided by SignVideo, demonstrates The O2’s commitment to making ticket purchases at the venue fully accessible. More and more of our fans book online and through their mobile devices, and we wanted to extend this facility for those with access needs.

“It is a great step forward in creating equal access to events at The O2.”

The number of disabled and deaf fans attending concerts and festivals in the UK rose 26% in 2015.

 


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Sony Music invests in booking platform Gigmit

Sony Music Entertainment, one of the ‘big three’ record labels, has expanded its presence in the live industry with a six-figure investment in online talent booking platform Gigmit.

The Berlin-based start-up – effectively a digital booking agency with more than 40,000 artists available monthly to venues and promoters – has since its founding in 2012 processed close to €5 million in offers and supplied acts to Melt! Booking and the Sziget and Deichbrand festivals, among others..

Marcus Rüssel, Gigmit’s CEO, says: “I’m really happy as strong a partner as Sony Music by our side. This is our biggest deal to date.

“The Gigmit business model and our expertise in developing new talent sustainably are a perfect match”

“Through the effective use of synergies, Gigmit will be able to refine its content, which in turn will allow us to strengthen our position and increase our influence in the German-speaking market.”

Philip Ginthör, CEO of Sony Music GSA (Germany, Switzerland and Austria), adds: “The Gigmit business model and our expertise in developing new talent sustainably are a perfect match. Through this partnership we will generate both artistic success and economic growth. We are really looking forward to working with Marcus and his team.”

 


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Live Nation sued over booking fees

A New York man is suing Live Nation over its practice of charging booking fees on tickets, accusing the promoter and its ticketing concerns of violating the Truth in Lending Act by “advertising one price for a ticket and then charging a higher price when people arrive at the box office”.

David Himber, of West Hempstead, took umbrage at paying US$55.50 for a $49.50 ticket to Rascal Flatts’ show at the Jones Beach Theater (15,000-cap.) on 1 September. “The advertised price is available to nobody,” Himber’s lawyer, Abraham Kleinman, tells the New York Daily News.

In Himber v. Live Nation Worldwide, Inc. et al, Himber is seeking to have Live Nation to refund the fees (including his $6) and pay statutory damages of $50 per ticket and $500 per purchase to all Live Nation box-office customers from the last three years.

“The advertised price is available to nobody”

Himber has filed three previous lawsuits in the Long Island federal court, although Kleinman says his client isn’t a prolific litigant. “Mr Himber successfully prosecuted his case against the Automobile Club of New York which displayed too much of his credit card information on his receipt, he did not prevail in his case against Intuit Inc., which assessed insurance fees for check stock, and settled his claim against Wal-Mart stores,” he tells the Daily News.

Live Nation does not comment on ongoing litigation.

A German court last month ruled it is illegal to charge fees on print-at-home tickets.

 


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