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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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Live to play key role in Covid-19 vaccinations

Venues and festivals across Europe have offered their services as vaccination centres as the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine nears roll-out.

The vaccine is now approved in the UK, with the first vaccinations starting next week, and the EU and US are expected follow suit in the coming weeks. According to its makers, the vaccine is more than 90% effective against Covid-19.

In Germany, Dusseldorf venue company D.Live is establishing a vaccination centre in sports and entertainment venue Merkur Spiel-Arena, the 66,500-capacity stadium which serves as the ground of football team Fortuna Düsseldorf.

The centre, which will serve Dusseldorf, the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia, will stretch over 8,000m² across two storeys and have the capacity for up to 2,400 immunisations a day, with the potential to expand if necessary.

Patients arriving at the stadium will first visit one of 12 check-in counters, before making their way through a one-way system to a waiting area, and then on to one of the ten boxes which are being converted into vaccination rooms.

Local guidelines dictate that the vaccine be made available gradually to the entire population on a voluntary basis, starting with vulnerable groups, including hospital staff and patients and carers in care homes.

Covid-19 vaccinations could start in the 27 EU nations before the end of December

Authorities in the UK are similarly requisitioning stadia and other event venues, with the 27,000-seat Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol, the Etihad Stadium campus in Manchester, Epsom Downs Racecourse in Surrey and among the sites identified for mass vaccinations in England.

The Bristol facility reportedly has the capacity to deliver up to 110,000 vaccinations a week to residents of the city and the surrounding areas, starting next week and continuing until April 2021.

In Belgium, meanwhile, newly formed Wallonian festival association FFMWB (Fédération des Festivals de Musique Wallonie-Bruxelles) is offering up its members’ sites and services to help the Belgian government achieve its goal of eight million vaccinations (around 70% of the country) when the vaccine is approved there.

“Our sector has been at a standstill for many months, and our many staff are eager to bring their creativity and dedication to the fight against coronavirus,” says Dour Festival’s Damien Dufrasne, president of the FFMWB.

FFMWB’s 11 members include Les Francofolies de Spa, Les Nuits Botanique and Brussels Summer Festival.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said last week that said Covid-19 vaccinations could start in the 27 EU nations before the end of December. The EC has agreements with six suppliers that would allow it to purchase more than 1.2 billion doses of the vaccine.

 


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Drive Nation: LN UK unveils 2,100-cap. drive-in shows

Live Nation has announced a series of live drive-in concerts across 12 venues in the UK this summer, featuring acts including Dizzee Rascal, Gary Numan, Beverley Knight, the Streets, Sigala, Lightning Seeds, the Snuts and Kaiser Chiefs.

Drive-in concerts have proved to be a popular feature of lockdown life, with concertgoers getting their live music fix from the safety of their cars in countries including Germany, Denmark, the US, Lithuania and the Netherlands.

Now, the format is allowing the UK live industry to step back into the driving seat. Live Nation’s Utilita Live from the Drive-in series, which kicks off in mid-July, is more live music-focused than previously announced UK drive-in events, hosted by the likes of Mainstage Festivals and Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster.

The 300-carpacity (© 2020 IQ) concerts will be able to accommodate up to 2,100 people, with tickets available for two to seven people per car. Standard or premium tickets, which include guaranteed location in the front three rows and priority exit at end of show, will be available, with prices reportedly ranging from £25 to £100 per car.

Differing from many other drive-in shows and in a similar vein to Italy’s proposed bike-in concerts, concertgoers will be able to enjoy the performance through the full sound system – rather than car radio – in a dedicated area next to their vehicle. Fans are encouraged to bring folding chairs if they wish to sit during the gigs.

“The drive-in format is a thoughtful and fun way to safely bring one million Brits out of ‘entertainment lockdown’”

The shows will take place across 12 sites, including in the grounds of venues such as Birmingham Resorts World Arena and the National Bowl in Milton Keynes; at sports complexes including the University of Bolton football stadium and Cheltenhem and Newmarket racecourses; at airports in Bristol (Filton Airfield), Leeds (Leeds East Airport) and Teesside (Teesside International Airport); and various other outdoor event locations including the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, Lincolnshire Showground and Central Docks Liverpool Waters.

Live Nation also plans to announce the London venues, as well as more artists and dates in due course.

“We are excited to bring Utilita Live From The Drive-In to fans across the UK,” comments Live Nation’s Peter Taylor. “This outdoor concert series was created as a way to reimagine the live music experience during a time of social distancing by allowing fans to enjoy concerts in the safest way possible.

“Each event will comply with all official government guidelines in order to protect fans, artists, crews and staff. We look forward to announcing some of the biggest names across UK music and bringing these fantastic artists to a city near you.”

“As we find new ways to navigate today’s world of social distancing,” adds Utilita CMO Jem Maidment, “we believe the drive-in format is a thoughtful and fun way to safely bring one million Brits out of ‘entertainment lockdown’ this summer 2020.”

Tickets for Utilita Live from the Drive-in go on sale at 10 a.m. on 22 June here. Further information on performers, entry prices, on-sale dates and restrictions can be found here.

 


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Bristol Ticket Shop closing after 30 years

Independent UK-based ticketing company Bristol Ticket Shop has announced it is closing down, citing overdue payments from a debtor.

Launched in 1987 as a concession in Virgin shops and then in record retailer Our Price, Bristol Ticket Shop later found its own home in the centre of the UK city of Bristol. With a focus on supporting the local music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop also sold tickets to events such as Glastonbury Festival and Download Festival.

“After more than 30 years being part of Bristol’s incredible music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop is sadly closing,” reads a post on the ticketer’s Facebook page.

“All the staff here are devastated. The list of incredible events we have supplied tickets for is overwhelming. There are so many regular customers, old and new, that we have really enjoyed talking to over the years and we will miss you all dearly.”

“After more than 30 years being part of Bristol’s incredible music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop is sadly closing”

The management team owes the closure to “news that a debtor owing a large amount of money was unlikely to be able pay in a timely manner”, as well as to the illness of the company’s owner, which has “had a large impact on the resilience of the business”.

The company states it is instructing a third party to negotiate with promoters in order to ensure that “there is as little impact to the customer as possible”. Although the ticketer aims “to honour tickets for future events”, it notes this may not always be possible, in which case refunds will be issued.

Bristol music fans have responded to the “sad news”, showing support for the ticketer, which formed a “huge part” of the local live scene.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, the primary ticketing business in the UK is “incredibly competitive”, with major international companies including Ticketmaster, See Tickets, AXS, Eventim and Eventim taking a large share of the market.

Many local independent outfits, such as Manchester’s Ticketline, Birmingham’s the Ticket Factory, Leeds’ Ticket Arena and Nottingham’s Gigantic – now majority owned by DEAG – also perform well.

 


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Boomtown team launch 3,500-cap. venue

The organisers of the UK’s Boomtown festival are launching Area 404 Complex, a new 3,500-capacity events space in the city of Bristol.

The venue is opening on the weekend of 1 and 2 November, in time for Halloween celebrations, for “a nighttime festival experience beyond this world.

The venue features five rooms, with a main room showcasing music similar to that found on the festival’s main stage. Smaller rooms will host a mixture of reggae, techno, house, drum and bass and disco.

“We are so pleased to be able to finally announce this venue, it feels like a proper homecoming for us. We’re unbelievably excited to be able to showcase everything we’ve grown into since we started putting on gigs in Bristol over a decade ago,” comment Boomtown organisers.

“We are so pleased to be able to finally announce this venue, it feels like a proper homecoming for us”

“To be able to bring our unique mix of interactive and immersive theatre, beautifully hand crafted intricate set designs and a huge amount of music genres all under one roof, is going to be something incredibly special!”

Founded in 2009, Boomtown attracts 66,000 fans each year to its site in Winchester, England. The 11th edition of the festival took place from 7 to 11 August, despite high-speed winds and heavy rain causing the cancellation of other UK events. Headliners included Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage and the Streets.

Tickets for the Area 404 Complex Halloween events sold out in under 30 minutes. Tickets are available to attend the venue on Friday 8 November here, priced at £36.30.

 


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Bristol’s Thekla to receive £1m dry dock overhaul

DHP Family-owned Thekla (400-cap.), the award-winning live music boat venue based in Bristol, UK, is to be taken into dry dock on Monday 3 June for a £1 million overhaul to secure the boat’s next 50 years as a venue and club.

Ahead of the overhaul, Thekla will celebrate its 35th anniversary weekend from Thursday 2 to Saturday 5 May, with acts including BBC Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, drum and bass artist Roni Size, rock group October Drift and Hessle Audio co-founder Pangaea.

Built in 1958, a new steel offset hull will be welded to the whole of the boat’s existing hull. A recent detailed survey showed that the current hull is near the end of its life, despite regular, routine inspections and repairs.

“There’s a lot of love for Thekla in Bristol, around the country and worldwide. Both music fans and bands like Florence and the Machine, White Denim, Mumford and Sons, Ellie Goulding and many others who have played there over the years have taken part in some great nights,” says George Akins of DHP Family.

“We’re committed to preserving that heritage and that’s why we’re getting the new hull fitted – we need to make sure that Thekla continues to be a great night out for the next 50 years,” adds Akins.

“There’s a lot of love for Thekla in Bristol, around the country and worldwide […] we need to make sure that Thekla continues to be a great night out for the next 50 years”

At over 50 metres in length, Thekla is one of the longest ships in Bristol’s floating harbour. Repairs will be undertaken in the grade two listed Albion dry dock, which reopened in 2018 to allow maintenance and repair to be carried out on large ships in the city.

“We are very pleased to be undertaking works on Thekla and so secure her long term future in Bristol,” comments Martin Childs, co-owner of the Albion Dock Company. “Equally, her visit to the Albion Dockyard helps our venture in bringing this historic facility back to full time use as a working dry dock.”

Thekla will return to its usual position in Bristol’s floating harbour and reopen to the public in early September 2019. The Thekla team will announce the exact date of its reopening through its website and social media channels.

In 2017, DHP called on supporters to back its #savethekla campaign amid fears that noise complaints would cause the venue to close following the approval of a new housing development adjacent to the venue.

More information about the Thekla 35th anniversary celebrations can be found here.

 


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Fightback Lager seeking to partner with more venues

Fightback Lager – of which every pint sold goes towards protecting the UK’s grassroots venues – has announced it is looking to secure more venue and other industry partners.

Fightback Lager launched at December’s Fightback Manchester festival with a mission to support, protect and improve UK grassroots music venues. Music Venue Trust receives a donation from every pint sold of the lager, which is brewed in Manchester’s ShinDigger brewery.

The beer is now looking for more partner venues.

Fightback Lager is an official pouring partner of next month’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC), taking place from 5 to 8 March. Fightback Lager is also served in five venues participating in Fightback Bristol, a two-week festival celebrating Bristol’s vital grassroots music venues taking place until 18 February.

Fightback Bristol will see more than 100 events take place at over 14 local grassroots music venues, promoting Bristol’s emerging and existing musical talent and encouraging audiences to visit the city’s grassroots venues.

“These venues are the backbone of the live music scene in Bristol, providing spaces where artists can take their first steps, develop and grow,” says Gary Prosser, director of Fightback Brewing Company.

“Fightback Bristol provides an opportunity to showcase the fantastic range of artists and venues that Bristol enjoys, celebrating the history of our music scene and supporting its future.”

Venues can register their interest in Fightback Lager here.

 


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New Kin festival axed due to funding issues

Kin, the new festival planned for later this month by the team behind Shambala, has been cancelled, producer Kambe Events has announced.

Announced in September, Kin was to be “a playful and immersive gathering of music, chatter and making” held at the Arnolfini arts complex in Bristol, UK, from 8 to 11 November.

According to Kambe – which also oversees the Swingamajig and Reggae City festivals in Birmingham and a family holiday experience, Starry Skies, in the Brecon Beacons – the company was unable to secure the financial support needed to put on an event of Kin’s size and scope.

“Kin was designed on an ambitious scale: a multi-space event over four days, because we felt the challenges we face in our societies are considerable, and the event needed to represent that scale,” reads a statement from organisers. “This also meant the cost of the production was a high one, and needed a certain amount of ticket sales and revenue to realise these costs. Sadly this target has not been met and with the news that we did not secure grant funding, nor get additional financial support from partner businesses, has meant that the cost of funding the event was left solely to ourselves to meet. This quite simply is untenable for a small business like ours.+

“Even with cancelling the event we are shouldering a significant loss of costs”

“This decision to cancel Kin has been an extremely difficult one for us to make; the whole team has worked around the clock to put together an inspirational and unique programme. All the event crew, partners, artists and content contributors have given their all to Kin in terms of support, energy and belief in what we were trying to achieve. Even with cancelling the event we are shouldering a significant loss of costs that that have been incurred to date. Carrying on with the event would have meant doubling this amount. […]

“This is not the final word on Kin, and whilst we can hold our hands up and say that this particular model did not work, our intentions remain: to bring together our various communities and networks to navigate these very difficult times on our planet. Kin is a very much-needed event of our times. Maybe not on this planned ambitious scale, or in this specific format, but we know that collectively we need to present to the world a much more beautiful and kinder alternative than the one that is being presented to us today.”

Ticketholders can receive a refund by emailing ticket agency the Ticket Sellers (refunds@theticketsellers.co.uk) with their order number.

 


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Team behind Shambala launch Kin festival

The team behind the UK’s Shambala Festival have this week announced the creation of Kin, a weekend-long event dedicated to “those yearning for a kinder world”. Taking over The Arnolfini arts centre complex and gallery on Bristol’s harbour, organisers have billed the new festival as “a playful and immersive gathering of music, chatter and making”.

The event, taking place from 8 to 11 November, aims to provide a space for people feeling disenfranchised by today’s world. “While nations flounder, the media gets weirder and big business gets bigger, Kin is a gathering for those yearning for a kinder world,” a statement from organisers reads.

“While nations flounder, the media gets weirder and big business gets bigger, Kin is a gathering for those yearning for a kinder world”

“Over a long weekend in November, musicians, artists, thinkers and doers will be moving into the Arnolfini for four days, to take over the running of the world from ‘our leaders’.”

Global activist collective, The Rules, will be running a “culture hack” over the course of the four-day event. On the agenda will be a number of workshops, using data analysis and storytelling to “highlight myths that are shaping the world.” Part-festival, part-learning experience, the Kin team hope festivalgoers will leave the event with “newfound skills and actions to taking into [their] community.”

Details surrounding the lineup and tickets will be released in the near future. Fans can sign up to be the first to hear more information.

 


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