New appeal on first anniversary of Brixton tragedy
Detectives investigating the deadly crowd crush at O2 Academy Brixton have made a fresh appeal on the first anniversary of the tragedy.
The Academy Music Group (AMG)-operated London venue has remained closed since the 15 December 2022 incident during a concert by Afrobeats artists Asake in which two people lost their lives. Concertgoer Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and security contractor Gaby Hutchinson, 23, both suffered fatal injuries, while a 22-year-old woman remains in hospital in a “very serious” condition.
Over the last 12 months, the Metropolitan Police has examined hundreds of hours of CCTV, taken more than 500 witness statements and seized over 5,000 pieces of evidence, and the detective leading the investigation, DCI Nigel Penney, has now released images of 13 people he would like to speak to.
“We remain focused on establishing exactly what happened that tragic evening, how Rebecca and Gaby came to lose their lives and why a young woman remains in hospital in a very serious condition a year later,” says DCI Penney.
“We owe it to the families who have been left heartbroken and with many unanswered questions to establish the truth about what happened to their loved ones, and continue to follow the evidence where it takes us – without fear or favour. There were thousands of people at the venue that evening, and today I am releasing images of 13 I would like to speak to as I believe they have vital information. I urge them to get in touch as soon as possible.”
AMG says it will announce a timeline for the 5,000-cap venue’s reopening “in due course”
He continues: “I would again ask that if you were at the Asake concert at the 02 Academy Brixton on 15 December 2022, and you were filming – we know from CCTV that many people were – please come forward and share that footage with the investigation, please help the heartbroken families get the answers they need.”
The revised measures include stronger doors that cannot be forced open by a crowd, the replacement of the divisional manager and venue manager who were in position on the night, enhanced risk management, an Event Management Plan for each show, and closer liaison with police and the licensing authority.
Additional conditions include employment of a new security team provided by Showsec (replacing AP Security), a new medical personnel contractor, upgraded CCTV inside and outside the venue, a new phased queue outside the venue, enhanced radio systems for personnel and bodyworn cameras, more external lighting and an external emergency tannoy system.
AMG says it will announce a timeline for the 5,000-cap venue’s reopening “in due course”.
“Over the past year, we have been driven by determination to learn all appropriate lessons from that night to ensure it can never be repeated”
“AMG continues to be devastated by the events of 15 December 2022 and our heartfelt condolences remain with the family and friends of Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson,” an AMG spokesperson tells the BBC. “What happened was and is a tragedy
“Over the past year, we have been driven by determination to learn all appropriate lessons from that night to ensure it can never be repeated. We are pleased that the comprehensive plan for reopening the venue met with the approval of Lambeth licensing sub-committee.
“AMG is working hard to implement the new conditions before welcoming fans back to O2 Academy Brixton. There will be an announcement for the reopening timeline in due course.”
Meanwhile, the leadership of Lambeth Council has marked the first anniversary of the tragedy by laying flowers outside the venue and encouraging people to support the ongoing Metropolitan Police investigation.
“Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Rebecca Ikumelo and Gaby Hutchinson who lost their lives, as well as with the person who is still in hospital, and all those suffering the trauma of witnessing such distressing scenes at one of our borough’s live music venues,” says Cllr Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth’s cabinet member for safer communities.
“Lambeth Council has worked incredibly hard over the last year to play our role in finding out what went wrong that tragic night and ensuring that we never see a tragedy like this in our borough again.”
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Brixton Academy: Met wants new operator to run venue
In a stance at odds with both the local council and senior industry figures, London’s Metropolitan Police says it does not want O2 Academy Brixton to continue operating the O2 Academy Brixton, despite a consensus that the venue should reopen.
During a two-day licensing hearing this week, AMG told the committee it had developed new safety measures in an effort to have the venue’s licence restored, including stronger doors, a better queuing system and more secure ticketing.
However, the Met said it has lost confidence in the Live Nation-owned operator, which has run the Academy for 20 years and also operates 18 music venues across the UK.
“The police have brought a review of the licence because they think that the Academy Music Group shouldn’t be the licensee”
Gerald Gouriet KC, representing the Met, said: “The police do not wish to close the Academy. The police have brought a review of the licence because they think that the Academy Music Group shouldn’t be the licensee. I am not permitted to go further into the reasons of why the police say so, but I do wish that no one carries the idea from this room that the police are trying to shut down the Academy. They simply aren’t.”
Lambeth council, on the other hand, said that is was open “in principle” to the company resuming operations at the venue. The council’s barrister, Horatio Waller QC, said the new measures have been “independently audited” by consultants and commended as “comprehensive and robust… the tragedy likely would not have occurred if that system was in place.”
Industry figures appearing in support of the venue and its operators went further. Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, said that having reviewed the Academy’s proposals, it would be unlikely that any potential future operator would put forward a safer plan for re-opening.
“It is our view that the operation plan before you today for consideration, is an exemplar of best practice,” he said. “It has been specifically developed and tailored to take account of the layout of the building, the nature of the surrounding area, and significantly enhanced measures for event management, which address possible future usage.
“AMG is a professional, competent and compliant operator delivering several hundred shows safely every year”
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, called the Academy Music Group as “a professional, competent and compliant operator delivering several hundred shows safely every year.
“They are a trusted and safe partner for some of the biggest agents, promoters and show organisers across the world, and have an excellent reputation within the industry,” he said. “As an operator within Brixton, they have played a huge part in shaping communities, providing an outlet for youth and grassroots culture, as well as an accessible, inclusive and safe space for people who live, work and seek entertainment and leisure within the area.”
NTIA had previously launched a campaign alongside Save Our Scene and Brixton BID to keep the O2 Academy in Brixton open.
Lambeth council’s representative, Waller, said that it is “simply not adequate to assume that crowds of a significant size could never develop again outside this venue [if] it’s to re-open. To deny that possibility, however remote, is to fail to plan properly. Things can always go wrong, as the night of 15 December reminds us.”
“It is our view that the operation plan before you today for consideration, is an exemplar of best practice”
Gabrielle Hutchinson, aged 23, and 33-year-old Rebecca Ikumelo lost their lives as a result of the 15 December incident. A third person, a 21-year-old woman, remains in hospital in a critical condition.
Representatives of the council’s licensing authority said on Tuesday they believed the venue would be able to reopen, subject to conditions.
The committee will begin its deliberations on whether to grant a new licence for the venue today (13 September) and a decision on the future of the venue will be made “within five working days”.
A statement from Academy Music Group is expected once the licensing decision has been announced.
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Brixton Academy’s future to be determined next month
A licence hearing to determine the future of Brixton Academy has been confirmed for next month.
Since then, the Metropolitan Police claimed to have “lost confidence” in the safety of the venue and back in April made a push for the location to close its doors for good.
The Licensing Review Hearing will take place on 11 and 12 September at Lambeth Town Hall, and will decide the immediate future of the venue.
In a statement, the Night Time Industries Association & Save Our Scene said: “This is a critical moment for the venue as it will determine its future, and will require as much support as possible throughout this hearing.”
“This is a critical moment for the venue and will require as much support as possible throughout this hearing”
Earlier this year, numerous artists and industry professionals spoke out against the potential permanent closure of the O2 Academy Brixton. A fresh campaign to save the academy was then launched in May by NTIA.
Since the closure of the venue, AMG has reportedly submitted proposals to Lambeth Council to install a speaker system around the Grade-II listed building. The speaker system would let staff make safety announcements to customers outside of the venue to assist with crowd control, according to plans.
The venue operator has also submitted separate plans to Lambeth Council to replace eight basement fire doors below the stage in the venue.
It previously said that it has “co-operated fully” with both the police and the council since the tragedy took place.
“We have had regular meetings and discussions with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council at which we have presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to reopen safely,” it says. “AMG has been awaiting feedback on those proposals for several weeks and looks forward to hearing from the police as soon as possible in constructive terms.”
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More Brixton Academy shows cancelled
Inhaler is the latest act to cancel a scheduled show at London’s O2 Academy Brixton, as the historic venue remains closed.
The future of the 5,000-cap Academy Music Group (AMG) venue is under threat after police applied to Lambeth Council seeking the revocation of the venue’s licence, having “lost confidence in the premises licence holder” following the events of 15 December 2022, when two people died in a crush at a show by singer/songwriter Asake.
The Irish band had been set to perform at the south London venue on 4 November ahead of their biggest headline concert to date at the 3Arena in Dublin the following week.
Inhaler have now scrapped the show, replacing it with three London dates at O2 Forum Kentish Town (31 October), the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire (1 November) and Troxy (4 November).
It comes days after Suede cancelled their shows at the O2 Academy Brixton, scheduled for December, replacing them with three smaller gigs at the nearby Electric Brixton. American hardcore punk band Turnstile rescheduled their show at the venue back in April.
AMG has since submitted proposals to Lambeth Council to install a speaker system around the Grade-II listed building
Earlier this year, numerous artists and industry professionals spoke out against the potential permanent closure of the O2 Academy Brixton.
A fresh campaign to save the academy was then launched in May by the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA).
AMG has since submitted proposals to Lambeth Council to install a speaker system around the Grade-II listed building, according to MyLondon. The speaker system will let staff make safety announcements to customers outside of the venue to assist with crowd control, according to plans.
AMG has also submitted separate plans to Lambeth Council to replace eight basement fire doors below the stage in the venue.
Save Brixton Academy petition launched
A petition has been launched to save O2 Academy Brixton after the Met Police called for the venue’s licence to be revoked.
The 5,000-cap Academy Music Group (AMG) venue has been closed since two people died in a crush at a show by singer/songwriter Asake on 15 December 2022, amid reports that “a large number of people breached the entrance doors and gained entry to the venue”.
Concert attendee Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and security operative Gaby Hutchinson, 23, both suffered fatal injuries in the incident, while a third person was left in a critical condition.
Earlier this week, it was revealed that police have applied to Lambeth Council seeking the revocation of the venue’s licence, having “lost confidence in the premises licence holder”. AMG, meanwhile, said it had “presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to reopen safely” following discussions with the authorities, with the council set to consider both parties’ applications “in due course”.
“Brixton Academy is an iconic London music venue and should this cease to be so, another part of the musical landscape and history is lost forever”
More than 15,000 people have already signed the petition launched by concert-goer Stuart O’Brien, which is appealing for new security and crowd control measures to be implemented at the venue in the wake of the tragedy, rather than outright closure.
“Brixton Academy is an iconic London music venue and should this cease to be so, another part of the musical landscape and history is lost forever,” it says. “Let’s not turn this venue into soulless flats as would more than likely happen in the event of permanent closure.
“I personally have been to hundreds of gigs in my lifetime, many of them here and I have never once felt like safety was an issue. The loss of this venue would also have a devastating affect on the local economy. So please, let’s help keep music live and Save Brixton Academy.”
Lambeth Council has already initiated an independent health and safety review of the venue, led by former council chief Paul Martin.
Health and safety review for O2 Academy Brixton
Lambeth Council is to undertake a thorough health and safety review of O2 Academy Brixton following the deadly crowd crush at the venue last December.
The Academy Music Group venue had its premises licence suspended by the council following the show by Afrobeats singer/songwriter Asake, which was abandoned following reports that a large number of people were attempting to force entry. Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, and 23-year-old Gaby Hutchinson both suffered fatal injuries in the incident, while a third person was left in a critical condition.
The authority has appointed former council chief Paul Martin to independently lead its investigation, and is also reviewing licensable activities at the 4,921-cap venue. A separate criminal investigation is also being carried out by the Metropolitan police to examine the events of the night and surrounding issues.
“We are very mindful of the profound impact this incident has had on many people who were present at the O2 Academy on that night and on the family and loved ones of the two people who tragically lost their lives that evening, and the person that remains in a critical condition,” says Lambeth Council CEO Bayo Dosunmu.
“We are acutely aware of our fundamental health and safety responsibility, and that this consideration overrides all others”
“In order that Lambeth Council rigorously and independently investigates what happened on that evening, I have asked one of London’s most experienced former chief executives to lead on the health and safety investigation on behalf of the council, working closely with the Metropolitan police. My commitment is to ensure that this is investigated thoroughly.”
Following an initial 28-day temporary closure of the Academy in the wake of the 15 December 2022 tragedy, Lambeth Council suspended the venue’s licence for an additional three months until 16 April 2023, leading a number of shows to be moved to other London venues.
“I appreciate that the O2 Academy Brixton is an iconic and much loved venue, and the impact of the current closure will be felt keenly by many people in Brixton and further afield,” adds Dosunmu. “However, we are acutely aware of our fundamental health and safety responsibility, and that this consideration overrides all others.
“We will provide updates on the situation as this develops.”
The New Bosses 2021: Flo Noseda-Littler, Paradigm
The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.
To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.
Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview Age Versluis, promoter at Friendly Fire in the Netherlands here.
Born in London’s Waterloo area, Noseda-Littler was brought up around jazz and soul music by a family of entertainers – her mum is a singer, granddad a pianist, and grandmother a dancer.
At university, where she studied civil engineering, Noseda-Littler started booking musician friends into venues and festivals around the UK, and after graduating she started working under the wing of her cousin at Academy Music Group (AMG), which also provided her with a chance to work at Wireless Festival.
An internship at Brixton Academy followed, before, in 2015, she found herself a job as general agency assistant at Paradigm, where for the last three years she has been on several committees and task forces to bridge the gap between support staff and agency management.
You come from a musical family. What’s the first gig you can remember going to – and when did you decide you should pursue a career in the business?
My first memory was at 8 when we went to Party in the Park, Hyde Park. It was a magical experience seeing live music, and going to a festival for the first time with thousands of people.
What set you on your path in the industry?
At university, I fell into booking my boyfriend’s band. I started a database of contacts and soon managed to get gigs at cool UK venues and festivals. Something ignited in me and I knew I had to do this full-time!
Do you think working on the venues side of the business has helped you in your career on the agency side?
Working at Brixton and AMG gave me the building blocks to understand live shows, from promotion and ticketing to backstage issues and settlements. I got to shadow lots of different staff, which showed me the practicalities of how much it takes to execute a show onsite. It was so useful to draw on those experiences when learning the agency world and routing shows together.
“It’s been vital for both agent and promoter to be transparent and flexible in order to protect the longevity of the industry”
We’ve heard a lot about the closer collaboration between agents and promoters during the past year. What’s your experience of that been, and how do you see it benefitting Paradigm’s clients as the business reopens?
Promoters are usually the first to take big financial risks on a tour, which has never been more to their detriment than in the past 17 months. During these ever-changing times, it’s been vital for both agent and promoter to be transparent and flexible in order to protect the longevity of the live industry. In demanding less from our promoters in the short term, it supports the recovery and prospects of our clients’ live careers. We are all in this together and just want to see the business thriving again!
You’ve become one of the go-to people for younger staff at Paradigm. What advice would you give to other young people who are trying to break into the live music business?
Festivals offer a range of volunteering roles so it’s worth checking them out to gain experience and meet people if there’s nothing music related on your CV. Internships often involve being thrown into the deep end, but you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions. What really gets noticed is an eagerness to learn and integrity of work.
“A bigger effort is needed across the industry to reduce waste, lower emissions, and protect the future of our planet”
Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Booking tours in an industry that has fully recovered and is booming once more!
The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you can take out of the last 17 months?
During furlough, I discovered a love of running and went on to complete my first half marathon. This new hobby has been a freeing and stress-busting tool for me, that I hadn’t been able to try in my old routine.
Mental health has been a hot topic during the pandemic worldwide which has filtered across the workplace. These unprecedented times have allowed us to make our well-being a higher priority and feel more comfortable in vocalising how we feel. I’m hopeful mental health will remain high on the agenda when touring returns to a normal pace. It’ll result in a healthier and happier industry!
As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
One of the most urgent issues is energy consumption. There are some great initiatives, like The Green Rider, but a bigger effort is needed across the industry to reduce waste, lower emissions, and protect the future of our planet.
TM goes fully mobile for £5 Four Tet shows
Marking the first major UK deployment of its new mobile platform, Ticketmaster has partnered with Four Tet and promoter Eat Your Own Ears to power ticketing for the acclaimed British DJ’s return to Brixton Academy this autumn.
Four Tet – real name Kieran Hebden – announced yesterday that his traditional autumn all-nighters, preceded by two live shows, would return to the 4,921-capacity O2 Academy Brixton from 10 to 13 October. With tickets for all four nights priced at just £5, Ticketmaster is combining 100% digital ticketing with its Verified Fan technology – which uses “algorithms and unique data analysis” to weed out bad actors, such as ticket touts and bots, from the presale – to ensure all tickets get into the hands of “genuine fans” at the price intended.
The Four Tet shows, says Ticketmaster UK MD Andrew Parsons, are intended to be “a celebration, a party, with the artist giving back to the audience – and the pricing fits with that ethos. So for us, it was about how best to be able to deliver that.”
“Kieran, aka Four Tet, was inspired by a Fugazi show he went to in 1995 at Brixton Academy and paid £5,” says Eat Your Own Ears’ Tom Baker, commenting on the inspiration for the event. “They played with all the house lights on and Kieran wanted to replicate this. I said, perhaps at 4.33am people won’t want to be staring each other in the face with bright lights glaring into their faces, so why don’t we do the £5 ticket at Brixton Academy club shows in the dark…”
“We’ve worked with Tom for as long as I can remember, and this string of shows at Brixton Academy is just another example of their innovative approach,” adds Parsons. “We’ve both got the same goal here – to get fans in the door at £5 – and I’m pleased to say Ticketmaster has the technology to do just that. ”
“The future is definitely digital”
Contrary to much of the non-industry media’s coverage of Verified Fan – most notably around the onsale for Taylor Swift’s Reputation stadium tour last summer, which allowed fans to boost their chance of a ticket by buying albums or merch – the system is, “at its essence, the invitation [to buy tickets], the presale and the weeding out of bad actors,” Parsons tells IQ. While Swift-style boosts may be built into the platform, they aren’t a requirement, he says: “It’s about making sure we go on sale on sale with a clean list and ensure we are selling directly to fans.”
It’s still “comparatively early” days for Verified Fan in the UK, Parsons continues, though TM has already seen success with the platform for several high-profile club shows, including Harry Styles and Jack White at the Eventim Apollo in London.
The second, and arguably more important, aspect for the Four Tet dates is the mobile one: All tickets are digital and – similarly to platforms such as Dice – are tied to the mobile device from which they’re purchased, making resale for profit impossible. (They can, however, be transferred to a friend using the buyer’s Ticketmaster account.)
“It’s something we’ve been building up to for a while,” continues Parsons, who says the new mobile ticketing functionality is part of a “whole host of changes” the company has been making to its core product over the past 18 months, including a more editorially focused homepage, a new responsive check-out process and – most significantly – folding all ticket resale into Ticketmaster proper, following the shutdown of Get Me In! and Seatwave.
“There’s a huge opportunity in tying tickets to mobiles and taking away those little pieces of paper,” he adds. “Fans are ready for it, artists and promoters are fully on board… It’s really going to be ramping up in the coming months.”
“There’s a huge opportunity in tying tickets to mobiles and taking away those little pieces of paper”
As for the multi-step process of becoming a ‘verified fan’, is Ticketmaster worried it’s becoming too difficult to simply log on and buy a ticket for a show? “Everything we do is about balance,” suggests Parsons. “All the work we’ve done with Verified Fan so far shows we can do it in a very slick way – with artist engagement, we can spread the net as wide as possible – and if you speak to fans about whether or not it’s a good thing, they’re very supportive of it.
“The fans really appreciate the artist going the extra mile.”
“I think the future is definitely digital,” adds Baker. “Everyone uses their phones now for almost everything they do, and that will just get more and more easy as venues and promoters and ticket agents all embrace this technology. I think it makes it so much smoother for all involved, and cuts out touts, with the money going to the artists – and fans aren’t unfairly paying over-inflated prices.
“It’s a win win for everyone and I’ll certainly be looking to use both Verified Fan and digital ticketing for more and more Eat Your Own Ears shows.”
He’s only Human: The rise and rise of Rag’n’Bone Man
Last year, Rag’n’Bone Man became the first new British act to truly break through a market that had been stagnant for the best part of a year.
After charting at no1 across Europe with lead single ‘Human’, his debut album hit the top of the UK charts in February and he’s just played three sold-out shows at the 5,000-capacity Brixton Academy in London as part of a 19-date European tour. For those who weren’t behind the scenes, the Sony-signed artist was an overnight success. However, it was a robust live strategy devised three years prior and led by agent Alex Hardee at Coda that built a strong foundation for what was to come.
From the start, Hardee’s strategy has been to underplay capacity in order to keep building demand. He explains: “We knew at an early stage that Rag’n’Bone Man was going to have a successful live career as we could see the reaction among fans, and he was selling tickets even before things took off on radio. We always believed in his live talent; even when we had no headline media we knew it was just a matter of time before radio caught up.” When radio did catch up, it was with ‘Human’ in Germany, where the track ended 11 weeks at no1 on the singles chart in November 2016. It also peaked at no2 in the UK and France, and charted at no1 in Austria, Belgium and Switzerland.
Rag’n’Bone Man’s first headline tour took place in four club venues across the UK in 2014, followed by six more shows in March 2015. In November 2016, he played four shows on Tom Odell’s tour and then sold-out the majority of an 18-date European headline run ranging from small clubs to 2,000-cap. venues. He returned to play 21 more dates in bigger venues in early 2017, including two at the 2,000-cap. Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. His latest headline tour, the Overproof tour, took in two shows at Glasgow Academy (2,500) and Manchester’s O2 Apollo (3,500), alongside the three at Brixton and ten across the rest of Europe in October and November. A further European run will take place from February to May 2018 under the name of the Grande Reserve tour, and he’ll visit Australia and New Zealand in between.
In London, a sold-out show at the 10,000-cap. Alexandra Palace will take place in March 2018. Hardee’s booker Matt Hanner, who took over from Andy Clayton a year ago, says: “We’ve slowly stepped up his profile in London where we’ve always sold out, and we continued to try and do that to make sure there was demand for that next jump. That meant we felt comfortable doing three Brixtons, and instead of pushing on to doing arenas, we’ve sold out Ally Pally and left demand in the market for the next campaign.”
“Instead of pushing on to doing arenas, we’ve sold out Ally Pally and left demand in the market for the next campaign
Kilimanjaro Live promoter Carlo Scarampi has been working London and Rag’n’Bone Man’s hometown of Brighton, where he sold out the 4,500-cap Brighton Centre in November. “It all started to come together at the beginning of summer 2016 when people were getting to know ‘Human’,” Scarampi remembers. “When Shepherd’s Bush went on sale at the end of 2016, the tickets just flew, and the three Brixtons sold out in a morning, as did Brighton Centre.” The Brixton shows were the last to be promoted by Kilimanjaro, with Live Nation set to take over from Alexandra Palace onwards.
The London story mirrors that of Germany, where the first show Live Nation GSA promoter Ioannis Panagopoulos got involved with was at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in 2015. “We’ve gone from playing 200-cap. club shows to 1,500-cap. venues, and now we are between 3,500- and 5,000-capacity all in one year,” he says. There was a standalone show at Hamburg Stadtpark in the summer, followed by dates at the Columbiahalle in Berlin and Samsung Hall in Zürich. Further dates in Germany and Austria will take place next year.
Mojo’s Kim Bloem joined the team after being blown away by Rag’n’Bone Man at Eurosonic in 2016. She got him on five festival bills in the Dutch market that summer, including Lowlands and North Sea Jazz Festival. A sold-out, 700-cap. club show in Amsterdam in November last year was swiftly followed by a sold-out date at the Melkweg (1,500) in April. Capacity doubled again for a sold-out October show at 013 in Tilburg, and Bloem is confident about shifting 6,000 tickets before the end of the year for a show at AFAS Live in April 2018.
So what are the factors behind Rag’n’Bone Man’s live success story?
Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 75:
O2 renews Academy naming agreement with AMG
O2 has agreed a new ten-year deal with Academy Music Group (AMG) and Live Nation, with the British telco retaining naming rights for AMG’s network of O2 Academy venues.
The agreement secures O2 – a subsidiary of Spanish multinational Telefónica – as the naming partner for AMG’s 19 venues in 13 UK cities, and follows a similar extension of its naming-rights deal with AEG’s The O2 in February.
The renewed alliance will see O2 double the number of 48-hour priority tickets made available to its customers for O2 Academy shows and Live Nation-promoted non-festival events across the UK, as well as offering fast-tracked entry, free cloakrooms, drinks offers and complimentary wifi.
The company also plans – as at The O2 – to install new technology to track crowd movements in all O2 Academy venues, generating data on crowd noise, calories burnt and the most popular songs and offering it as a free ‘digital momento’ after the show.
O2 CMO Nina Bibby comments: “We know our customers love live experiences, and O2 Academy venues are a huge part of the UK’s live music scene, which is why we’re extremely pleased to be continuing our longstanding relationship with both Live Nation and Academy Music Group.
“Continuing this deal with O2 ensures that these venues remain a vibrant part of their local communities and an integral part of Britain’s healthy live music market”
“Just under ten years ago we pioneered the pre-sale model with [O2] Priority Tickets, giving our customers exclusive early access to tickets for the best shows around. This new, long-term deal takes that even further, with double the number of tickets available for O2 customers to not just every show at 19 O2 Academy venues, but also all Live Nation shows across the UK.”
“We are incredibly proud of our partnership with O2, which has revolutionised the way brands work within the live sector,” adds Paul Latham, COO of Live Nation in the UK and Republic of Ireland. “This is more than just a naming rights deal. Over the last nine years, we have worked tirelessly together to build the O2 Academy brand, investing in these iconic buildings and giving O2 customers access to millions of Priority tickets.
“Close to four million live music fans come through O2 Academy doors each year to see the artists they love across the UK. Continuing this deal with O2 ensures that these venues remain a vibrant part of their local communities and an integral part of Britain’s healthy live music market.”
The O2–AMG/Live Nation partnership dates from late 2008, with all former Carling Academy venues rebranded on 1 January 2009. Three former Mama venues acquired by Live Nation in August 2015 were renamed as O2 Academies in October that year.