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Massive Attack plan gig powered by 100% renewables

British band Massive Attack has announced their first concert in five years, which will be powered by 100% renewable energy.

The outdoor show, which will take place on Clifton Downs in their home city of Bristol, will have the lowest carbon footprint of any concert of its size, according to the band.

The concert, production and catering will be powered entirely by battery and solar power. In addition, food vendors will be vetted to ensure they use locally sourced produce and a “climate-resilient woodland plantation in the south-west region” will be created after the show.

The Act 1.5 concert, scheduled for 25 August 2024, will primarily target audience travel – “the single largest contributor to an outdoor event’s carbon footprint”.

Mark Donne, a filmmaker and climate activist who has worked with Massive Attack on several projects, said 65% to 85% of emissions for large-scale shows comes from audience travel. “This will be the first show that meaningfully deals with that,” he said.

“In terms of climate change action, there are no excuses left”

Massive Attack will give local fans priority when it comes to tickets, train travel will be encouraged, and the organisers are putting on free electric buses to ferry crowds back to Bristol Temple Meads station if they’ve come from farther afield.

The band said all vehicles used for the concert will either be electric or fuelled by certified waste product HVO (hydrotreated vegetable oil) fuel.

“We’re chuffed to play our home city again and to be able do it in the right way,” reads a statement from the band. “In terms of climate change action, there are no excuses left. Offsetting, endless seminars and diluted declarations have all been found out – so live music must drastically reduce all primary emissions and take account of fan travel.

“Working with pioneering partners on this project means we can seriously move the dial for major live music events and help create precedents.”

The concert is the band’s latest attempt to tackle the live industry’s carbon footprint. In 2021 Massive Attack created a guide for the music industry on how to combat climate change, in conjunction with the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. And in 2019 the band decided to tour by train rather than flying between European concerts.


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FKP Scorpio UK bids to host 15k-cap outdoor series

FKP Scorpio UK has applied to Bristol City Council for a premise licence to stage a series of outdoor concerts in the city.

The company is bidding to host an unspecified number of 15,000-cap live music events in Bristol’s Queen Square.

Bristol 24/7 reports that the application is for a licence up to the end of 2028, with shows to run until 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 10.45pm on Sundays.

The concerts would be the biggest to take place at the venue, which hosts the main stage of Bristol Harbour Festival, since Glastonbury’s Arcadia brought its fire-breathing spider to the square in 2015. Massive Attack also performed at the site in 2003.

FKP Scorpio UK has upcoming shows with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Noah Kahan, Mitski, Anne-Marie, Hauser, Slowdive, and The Reytons

However, as Queen Square is situated near a growing residential area, the Bristol Post notes the plan could prove controversial, with the application expected to go before the licensing committee, who will make the final decision on whether to approve it.

CTS Eventim-owned FKP hired concert promoters Daniel Ealam and Scott O’Neill from DHP Family in 2020 to head up and grow its then nascent UK touring business, which originally soft-launched in 2018.

The UK office worked on Ed Sheeran’s 2022 stadium tour and has upcoming shows with the likes of Anne-Marie, Beans On Toast, The Rifles, Nick Mulvey, DMA’s, Calum Scott, Buzzcocks, Slowdive, Noah Kahan and Sundara Karma, as well as Disney100: The Exhibition.

Meanwhile, it was revealed earlier this year that Bristol’s long-delayed 19,000-cap YTL Arena will not open until late 2025 or early 2026.


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Ticketmaster renews with Electric Group

Ticketmaster has renewed its partnership with UK-based independent music venue operator Electric Group.

Formed in 2013, the Group runs Electric Brixton (cap. 1,700) in London, SWX (1,800) in Bristol, and NX (2,100) in Newcastle.

The collaboration with Ticketmaster comes as NX (the former O2 Academy Newcastle) hosts its first concert since undergoing a £2.7 million redevelopment.

SWX has also been given a redo, costing £3.2m, after an arson attack damaged the building. The restored venue reopened in early September, just over a year after the incident.

“I’m delighted to renew our long-term ticketing partnership with our friends at Ticketmaster,” says Dominic Madden, Electric Group CEO.

“It’s a great and easy fit and I know that we will receive the focus that is required to support our existing venue estate and the mighty new NX Newcastle.”

“Spaces like these are the heartbeat of the live industry, a breeding ground for talent”

Today’s announcement coincides with the appointment of Sam Isles as senior vice president of Ticketmaster Clubs International, heading up the division across Europe.

Already a veteran of club venue ticketing with a stint at Brixton Academy, Sam joined Ticketmaster to lead TicketWeb UK, and then launched the international arm of Ticketmaster’s Artist Services division, leading its market expansion.

In her new role, Isles will drive Ticketmaster’s ongoing investments in creating industry-leading technology and DIY solutions to serve the unique ticketing needs of clubs and independent venues with innovative tools and solutions to grow their business.

“Having worked with the team at Electric Brixton for more than ten years and now SWX Bristol, we know they’re going to bring a one-of-a-kind vision to NX Newcastle,” says Sam Isles, SVP Clubs International.

“Spaces like these are the heartbeat of the live industry, a breeding ground for talent and where fans discover the artists they’ll love for decades to come. They are vital, and our mission at Ticketmaster is to provide the world-class tools and support that can empower these iconic rooms.”

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Bristol’s SWX gets £3.2m redo after arson attack

SWX Bristol, a 1,800-capacity venue in the southwest of England, is to reopen just over a year after an arson attack damaged the building.

Following the incident, Electric Group, which has owned and operated the venue since 2017, gave the Nelson Street venue a £3.2 million reconstruction.

The restored venue is due to reopen on 9 September with a show by metal band Gloryhammer, followed by club night Far Fetched.

Electric Group said the focus of the rebuild was on restoring the previous infrastructure with upgraded tech. The refit involved the fitting of an L-Acoustics Kara II PA, all new lighting, motors, and a Fiend Productions’ LED wall.

Among the most notable changes are the double-height foyer, a reinstated feature from the Top Rank Suite-era, and a wheelchair-friendly lift that opens up access to all three floors for people with a disability.

The venue closed 13 months ago when an arsonist, who was said to be obsessed with lockdown measures, set light to a petrol-soaked towel and posted it through the SWX letterbox.

“We are already ahead in Q4 and Q1 [2023] in terms of show counts from pre-pandemic”

Artists slated to play at SWX this year include Banks, Rema, Young T & Bugsey, Sugababes and Black Midi.

“The response has almost been overwhelming,” says Electric Group head of music Mike Weller. “We are already ahead in Q4 and Q1 [2023] in terms of show counts from pre-pandemic. On almost a daily basis for nearly a year I’ve been asked, ‘Is the diary open? When will you be back?'”

Electric Group CEO Dominic Madden said, “The fire, product of an arsonist’s obsessive concern with lockdown and Covid legislation, was started at 4 am and raged for 27 hours. Our original sprung dance floor lives to tell the tale but not much else.

“Among the reconstruction we have fitted electric shutters at all entrances to ensure nothing like this can happen again.

“While our priority was to retain the essence of the venue’s success, updating facilities to ensure that SWX would serve the requirements of artists and audiences for another 50 years, I was really pleased to take this opportunity to make the venue fully disability friendly.”

Alongside SWX, Electric Group also runs London’s 1,700-cap. Electric Brixton (formerly the Fridge), and owns O2 Academy Newcastle (operated by Academy Music Group) and the Leadmill in Sheffield.


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TEG announces formation of TEG Europe

Australasian live entertainment powerhouse TEG has announced the formation of TEG Europe, consolidating the company’s UK-based operations into a single entity.

Based out of London and Bristol, TEG Europe comprises five different divisions: TEG Live Europe, TEG Venues, Propaganda, Ticketek and Ovation.

TEG Live Europe includes the former TEG MJR touring business, which has worked with artists including Snoop Dogg, Sia, Hans Zimmer, 50 Cent, Tom Jones, and Culture Club.

TEG Venues includes 10 owned, operated, co-promoted, and programmed venues throughout the UK, including Tramshed (cap. 1,000) in Cardiff, XOYO (800) in London and The Mill (1,000) in Birmingham.

Propaganda, the UK’s leading indie rock & roll nightclub brand, includes fifteen weekly events across the country, as well as promoted events in the US, Australia, Brazil and Ibiza.

Ticketek, which has 40+ years’ experience ticketing major international events and partnering with some of the world’s best venues, was introduced into the UK in 2020 and already works with some of the country’s premier venues.

“Today’s news represents a crucial milestone in the expansion of TEG and positions us for further growth across Europe”

And Ovation, TEG’s data science and analytics business, provides sports organisations, venues, promoters, content creators, media and tech partners with analytics, data science, research, personalisation, and advanced digital marketing.

TEG already has a significant presence in the UK and Europe, having acquired Bristol-based promoter and venue operator MJR Group in 2019. According to TEG, the company already promotes more than 2,000 shows annually in the country and on the continent.

TEG CEO Geoff Jones says: “Today’s news represents a crucial milestone in the expansion of TEG’s successful integrated live entertainment model into the vibrant UK market and positions us for further growth across Europe.

“By combining these businesses into a single customer-focused operation, we are well positioned to work with new and existing industry partners in the UK and Europe to help grow their businesses while continuing our own growth in the region.”

Concert promotion, ticketing and technology firm TEG operates out of seven countries worldwide with offices in Australia, New Zealand, south-east Asia and the UK.

The group includes TEG Live, TEG Sport, TEG Experiences, TEG Dainty, SXSW Sydney, TEG MJR, TEG Van Egmond, Laneway Festival, TEG Rockefeller, Handsome Tours, Qudos Bank Arena, Ticketek, Softix, TicketCharge, TicketWorld, Ticketek Singapore and Ovation.


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AEG links with Team Love for Bristol festival

AEG Presents has teamed with events company Team Love to launch new 30,000-cap metropolitan festival Forwards in Bristol, UK.

Taking place in Clifton Downs from 3-4 September, Forwards will be headlined by Jamie xx and The Chemical Brothers, with other acts to include Little Simz, Roisin Murphy, Khruangbin, Fred Again, Kojey Radical, Caribou, Self Esteem, Kae Tempest and Shygirl.

The two-day festival aims to create positive change through social initiatives and a space for discussion and debate.

In addition to two main music stages, it will feature The Information – a space “driven by activism, examination, debate and understanding on today’s current affairs and cultural issues, plus challenging the role of music festivals”, including a programme of experts, disruptors, artists, writers and thinkers from “across the social and political spectrum”.

Working with associated partner Big Team CIC, Forwards will offer work experience, shadowing and paid job placements across the festival for people who have “historically been excluded from and are under-represented in the festival and events industry”, supported through partnerships with local youth organisations.

“Now, more than ever, it’s important that our events invite debate and challenge the audience to do more to make the world a better place”

“We’re proud to be unveiling a new festival for a new era of festivals, in the best city in the world, our hometown of Bristol,” says Team Love co-founder Tom Paine. “Now, more than ever, it’s important that our events invite debate and challenge the audience to do more to make the world a better place, as well as being a place to come together, dance, and make memories.

“Alongside one of the most exciting lineups we have ever brought to Bristol, we’re creating an area called The Information, to provide a space for urgent conversations from some of our favourite activist and political voices. We’re partnering with CICs to nurture new talent, provide community catering at the heart of the festival and give back to our communities through the festival ecosystem.”

As part of its sustainability focus, the festival team will collect data and create a three-year strategy on how to monitor and reduce their GHG emissions, develop a circular, responsible production and consumption ethos while promoting social cohesion.

Jim King, CEO, European Festivals, AEG Presents, says the event marks the next chapter in the growth of AEG’s festival division.

“We are really delighted that this next journey starts in Bristol, a historic city with an important culture and music heritage and spirit,” he says. “Forwards begins a new relationship with our partners Team Love, who we have respected from afar for many years and who epitomise all that this great city stands for in live music and culture. Their vision anchors Forwards to the heartbeat of this great city and all it has to offer.”

Weekend tickets go on sale on Friday (25 February), priced from £75 (€90).


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YTL Bristol Arena announces two senior hires

YTL Arena Bristol, a new 17,000-capacity arena in the southwest of England, has announced two senior appointments.

Une Marija Jurkstaite joins the YTL team as head of experience, tasked with growing the arena’s fan database and ensuring each event sells to its targeted full capacity. She will drive the digital user experience across ticketing, food and drink ordering, travel and loyalty programmes.

Jurkstaite joins YTL from her previous role as chief business officer for Žalgiris Arena (cap. 20,000) in Lithuania where she developed a track record for driving fan growth and creating a ‘sell-out’ culture at the venue.

“I am very happy to be joining this world-class new venue,” says Jurkstaite. “I look forward to bringing my passion for customer experiences to ensure every touchpoint across the YTL Arena Bristol customer journey is exceptional.”

Matt Blackhouse will bring his 16+ years of experience in the live events industry to his role as senior events project manager at YTL Arena Bristol.

“We are thrilled to be expanding our operational team, welcoming two talented hires from the industry”

Blackhouse will look after the back of house facilities for all touring artists, promoters and event organisers as YTL Arena Bristol starts its countdown to construction and opening.

His previous roles include events coordinator St David’s Hall and senior events manager at Motorpoint Arena Cardiff.

Blackhouse has managed shows for artists including Elton John, Mariah Carey, Kylie Minogue, The 1975 and many more.

“I am really excited to be joining the team that will deliver the South West’s first-ever purpose-built arena,” says Blackhouse. “I grew up in the region and know how much demand there will be from huge events wanting to come to Bristol, and I can’t wait to get started in helping make this a must-play venue for acts.”

Andrew Billingham, CEO of YTL Arena Bristol, added: “We are thrilled to be expanding our operational team, welcoming two talented hires from the industry. Une and Matt bring a wealth of experience in delivering thousands of live events and will help us enormously. Whilst finalising design and construction elements, we are also looking ahead to doors opening and building our operating team to deliver one of the best arena fan and artist experiences in the UK and across Europe.”

A rival arena, operated by Live Nation and Oak View Group (OVG), is set to open in Cardiff, Wales, in 2025.


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GEI Summer Edition saw industry “come of age”

The 14th edition of the Green Events and Innovations (GEI) conference saw the industry “come of age” on the subject of sustainability, according to the organisers.

Thursday’s (16 September) conference, presented by A Greener Festival (AGF) and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), was the first-ever Summer Edition of GEI, with the virtual event supported by a raft of sponsors including Ecotricity, Live Nation, Res, Ticketmaster, Solcell and The Virtual Venue.

The event followed a hybrid model, with some speakers coming together at PYTCH’s Virtual Venue in Bristol, powered by 100% renewable energy. Others joined from their homes and were broadcast live to delegates from around the world.

“We had such a great time delivering the first hybrid GEI Summer Edition. Live speakers connected with powerful and inspiring individuals and organisations from all around the world, and a truly international interactive audience,” says AGF co-founder Claire O’Neill.

“Considering the crucial topics that GEI addresses, this global collaboration is heartwarming and hopeful, to say the least. With 14 years of GEI under our belts, it feels like the industry is coming of age on the subject of sustainability and the next step is to use our unparalleled power of communication connect these messages with the masses.”

“The next step is to use our unparalleled power of communication connect these messages with the masses”

The speaker line-up was packed with industry titans including Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Dale Vince (Ecotricity/Forest Green Rovers), Dave Ojay (NAAM Festival), Amber Etre (Christie Lites), Fay Milton (Savages/Music Declares Emergency) and Celia Palau Lodge (Cooking Vinyl Records).

Samm Farai Monro (Magamba Network), Meegan Jones (Sustainable Event Alliance/Great Ocean Race), Stuart McPherson (KB Event) and Jamal Chalabi (Backlash Productions) also topped the bill.

Highlights from the Summer Edition included an exclusive first look at LIVE Green’s declaration and voluntary charter and a follow-up discussion between John Langford (Live Green/ AEG Europe), Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live), Clementine Bunel (Paradigm), artist Sam Lee and Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle).

Also featured at the conference was a presentation of a new roadmap for greener events, following the recent publication of research conducted by scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research under commission by Massive Attack.

The wider programme included panels on greener arenas and vendors as well as ‘ask the expert’ sessions, a quick-fire innovation round and deep dives on carbon removals and value chain planning for events.

AGF is now looking towards returning to live events with the next GEI Conference set to take place in March 2022. Find out more about the work of AGF at agreenerfestival.com.

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Organisers of AJ Tracey Manchester gig fined £10,000

The organisers of a surprise AJ Tracey gig have been fined £10,000 after huge crowds gathered in a park in Manchester to see the rapper perform.

In a video posted on Twitter afterwards, the British rapper said that he hadn’t expected so many people to turn up to Platt Fields in south Manchester yesterday (18 April) afternoon.

Photos and video footage show hundreds of people standing around basketball courts inside the park, with police appearing to monitor the situation.

Greater Manchester police have now confirmed a £10,000 fixed penalty notice has been issued to the organiser for breaching coronavirus legislation, the Manchester Evening News reported.

AJ Tracey in the building – showing love to Manchester! 🙌🏾🙌🏾🙌🏾

Big up ✅✅ 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

Posted by Kemoy Walker on Sunday, April 18, 2021


The British rapper was reportedly in Birmingham beforehand and had planned to visit Bristol afterwards but has now cancelled the mini tour.

“Big love Manny [Manchester] and Brum [Birmingham], thank you for coming out. […] It’s not going to be safe for me to come to Bristol. I didn’t expect that many people to turn up in Manny and genuinely, yeah man, this is not okay for me to go ahead. I’m gonna head home to London,” AJ Tracey said in the video.

It is not known whether AJ Tracey performed in Birmingham, but he was spotted signing CDs of his new album Flu Game at record shop HMV.


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UK venue consultancy Ghostwriter adds Motion Bristol

Richard Maides and Carl Bathgate’s Ghostwriter Consultancy & Events has added Motion in Bristol to its UK venue portfolio, announcing a five-year agreement to oversee and operate all live music events at the venue.

The 1,350-capacity warehouse venue, recently named the second-best club in the UK by DJ Mag, is the latest venue partnership for Ghostwriter, which also recently announced long-term partnerships with Eventim Olympia Liverpool (1,930-cap.) and Arena Racing Company, which runs a number of the UK’s best-known racecourses.

Ghostwriter was founded by former Academy Music Group and VMS Live directors Maides and Bathgate in 2019 and offers services including venue management, concert promotion/production, venue marketing, ticketing, health and safety compliance and event management.

Upcoming Ghostwriter-promoted or programmed events include Kaiser Chiefs at Ffos Las Racecourse in south Wales, Bath Racecourse and Doncaster Racecourse in May and June 2021, Jess Glynne at Newcastle, Lingfield Park, Doncaster and Windsor Racecourses in July and August, and Peter Hook and the Light at O2 Academy Leeds (2,300-cap.) in early 2022.

“We firmly believe [Motion] will present a strong, viable option for touring artists when visiting Bristol”

“I’m delighted to be able to share some much needed positive news for 2020,” says Motion director Martin Page. “Having worked closely over the summer on funding projects we are proud to announce our new partnership with Ghostwriter. Together we are excited to embark upon a fresh new chapter of live music at Motion and [1,600-cap. sister venue] Marble Factory.

“We will be working closely with the Ghostwriter team across a number of exciting projects both in the venues and across Bristol. This is fantastic news for team Motion, Ghostwriter and the city of Bristol.”

“Motion is an award-winning independent venue renowned for electronic music. We are very much looking forward to working with Martin and his team to better position the venue to attract a wider variety of events,” adds Bathgate. “We will be focusing on improving the technical offering for live events and redeveloping the backstage area in order to enhance the experience of touring artists.

“Motion and Marble Factory are already great spaces to watch a gig from a customer’s perspective, and with the newly improved facilities we firmly believe they will present a strong, viable option for touring artists when visiting Bristol.”


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