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Printworks London set for reprieve from closure

Printworks London is set be given a reprieve from closure after developer British Land said it would work “to explore retaining a cultural venue” as part of its Canada Water scheme.

Operated by event production firm Vibration Group and programmed by Broadwick Live, the acclaimed nightclub and events venue opened in January 2017, leased from British Land.

The 6,000-cap venue looked set to close after Southwark Council gave the go-ahead for it to be converted into offices earlier this year, despite close to 700 objections and a petition signed by more than 11,000 people protesting Printworks’ closure.

However, an agreement is now being finalised for the venue continue to operate in the SE16 scheme, even after the redevelopment is completed.

“We’re pleased to confirm that I partnership with British Land we’re in detailed talks about our return to our much-loved venue”

A statement from the Printworks team reads: “We’re pleased to confirm that in partnership with British Land we’re in detailed talks about our return to our much-loved venue.

“While there is still a detailed planning process that needs to take place before we can 100% confirm the future of Printworks, we’re positive about our future.”

It continues: “At this point, we can confirm that the venue will close in the new year for a number of years during a period of modernisation as planned.

“As a team, we’re committed to preserving the essence of the iconic Press Halls and retaining the spirit that we’ve all come to love, so we are working hard in partnership with British Land on designs that only seek to elevate the space.”

“I’m delighted that Broadwick Live and British Land are working together to develop the next chapter for Printworks”

“I’m delighted that Broadwick Live and British Land are working together to develop the next chapter for Printworks,” says London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé. “This fantastic temporary venue has become a major destination that attracts some of the biggest names in electronic music and visitors from all over the world. I will keep working with them and offer all the support we can to secure an exciting future for the venue.”

Printworks London comprises multiple performance spaces in a 16-acre former newspaper printworks in London’s Docklands, and has hosted acts such as Skepta, Gorillaz and Seth Troxler, as well as events including the BBC Proms,  but its use as a cultural space was previously intended to be temporary.

“It is noted that a significant number of objections have been received in respect of the loss of the club/music venue currently operating on the site,” said a council report in July. “It is acknowledged that this use has been very successful. However, the events use was initiated as a short term interim use in 2016 pending development of the building within the masterplan. It was never intended to be a permanent use of the site.”

 


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Broadwick Live and LWE unveil latest London venue

Broadwick Live and LWE have reunited to launch the inaugural music programme at London’s newest venue, The Beams.

Housed in a warehouse, the 5,000-cap venue is set across 55,000 sq feet of indoor and outdoor spaces and will feature three rooms.

The companies, who previously worked together on electronic music events at Printworks London and Tobacco Dock, are set to co-promote 12 shows over 12 consecutive Saturdays from October 1 to 17 December. The programme will be announced on 5 July.

“We’re excited to finally announce our inaugural music programme at The Beams, in collaboration with LWE,” says Ajay Jayaram, Broadwick Live Group’s director of music. “The partnership of two of London’s foremost promoters and musical curators, feels truly significant as it is a reunion of the ambitious team who launched Printworks London.

“Musically, we will lean into the partnership, programming an eclectic series of day to night events over 12 consecutive Saturdays – October to December. We’ll be featuring top tier names and emerging talent, across various sounds, styles and genres within the broad sphere of house, techno, disco and everything that lies in between. We look forward to introducing our audiences to this exceptional new industrial setting, full of character, situated in an untouched part of London.”

“It feels natural to partner at this brand new venue that will be unlike anything else the capital has to offer”

Billed as a “raw and industrial destination that will be drenched in natural light during the day and filled with plenty of production elements once the sun goes down”, The Beams is located in East London, in the Royal Docks, and on the River Thames.

“It’s exciting to be teaming up with the team at Broadwick Live once again for the launch of The Beams’ music programme, and expand on our journey at Printworks London,” add LWE co-founders Paul Jack and Will Harold. “We both have a strong history in dance events so it feels natural to partner at this brand new venue that will be unlike anything else the capital has to offer.

“LWE originated from one-off warehouse events so we are well aware of how to use the raw warehouse aesthetic and build a programme of events that complement their surroundings. We are creating something distinct and can’t wait to show you what we have in store.”

As with other venues in the Broadwick Live portfolio, The Beams will operate under a hybrid multi-use model, providing space for set builds, film and art production, photo shoots, brand events, exhibitions and fashion shows during the week, with weekends set aside for music and cultural events.

 


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Rockstar Games invests in Broadwick

Rockstar Games has invested in UK-based promoter and venue operator Broadwick Live.

The American gaming giant is behind video game franchises such as Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead, Midnight Club, Max Payne and Manhunt.

According to Music Week, the investment “will enable Broadwick to further expand its portfolio of entertainment brands and venues”.

“We’re extremely happy to have Rockstar Games support us in our belief in the power of live and our objective to continually inspire, connect and create massive impact through music, culture and space,” says Broadwick Group CEO Simon Tracey. “We have big plans for the future and are excited about what this investment will help us to achieve going forward.”

“We believe the greatest impact comes from challenging the boundaries of traditional collaboration”

Broadwick Group MD Bradley Thompson adds: “We believe the greatest impact comes from challenging the boundaries of traditional collaboration; we do this through radical partnership across our business. The investment from Rockstar is yet another example of this and we could not be more pleased to have the backing of one of the most well-respected global entertainment brands as we move into our next stage of growth.”

Broadwick Live’s portfolio includes London venues Printworks (cap. 6,000) and Magazine (3,000), as well as Manchester’s Depot at Mayfield.

Earlier this year, Broadwick Live announced plans to open a new open-air events space in London located within Silvertown Quays, on the bank of the River Thames

 


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Broadwick Live to open new open-air venue in London

UK promoter and venue operator Broadwick Live is to open a new open-air events space in London.

Located within Silvertown Quays, on the bank of the River Thames and opposite ExCel, the 4000,000-square foot Dockyards will open later this year.

According to Broadwick, the venue will be open year-round for music events, film production, cultural events, brand experiences and more.

Bradley Thompson, group managing director of Broadwick Live, says: “We’re really excited to open Dockyards, creating a new centre of cultural gravity for London in the heart of The Royal Docks.

“Dockyards will shape the area through cultural and commercial innovation”

“Dockyards will shape the area through cultural and commercial innovation by bringing a year-round programme of events and activities in partnership with the world’s best. As a Broadwick Live venue, visitors and artists are assured of a world-class experience, while we also deliver meaningful impact for the area and local communities.”

The first event to take place at Dockyards will be Defected London from 3-4 September, followed by Above & Beyond Group Therapy Weekender on 10 and 11 September.

Broadwick Live’s portfolio includes London venues, Printworks (cap. 6,000) and The Drumsheds (10,000), as well as Manchester’s Depot at Mayfield.

The Drumsheds opened its doors in 2019 for that year’s Field Day festival and closed permanently at the beginning of this year.

 


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Boost for Manchester nightlife as new venue opens

A brand-new, socially distanced outdoor events space is preparing to open in Manchester city centre this weekend, as news comes that two of the city’s music venues – Gorilla and Deaf Institute – have been saved from closure.

Escape to Freight Island, the brainchild of veteran Manchester DJs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford (The Unabombers), together with Gareth Cooper of Festival No.6/Broadwick Live, Jon Drape of Engine No.4 and venue operator Dan Morris, is a large, socially distanced food and entertainment complex launching at Broadwick’s 10,000-capacity Depot Mayfield site this weekend.

The space can hold up to 600 people while complying with social distancing rules, with plans to bring the capacity up to 2,500 once measures relax. Platform 15 is the first part of the complex to open, with the full launch to follow.

DJ Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy will perform at Platform 15 on its opening night on Friday (24 July), with Mr Scruff, Mikey D.O.N. and Jamie Groovement playing the following evening. Norman Jay MBE and Mass will close out Escape to Freight Island’s inaugural weekend on Sunday.

Other acts scheduled to play at Platform 15 include Gilles Peterson, Erol Alkan and Greg Wilson, with events organised in conjunction with Manchester Pride, Festival No.6 and We Out Here Festival, and venue Band on the Wall, among others.

The space is all seated, with all food and drink ordered via an app and QR system. Fans must book in advance, with groups of up to 12 permitted. A staggered arrival system, managed queuing and toilet areas and extra hygiene precautions all form part of the complex’s social and safe manifesto.

“Platform 15 will give a flavour of what is to come when we launch the full Escape to Freight Island experience, so let’s all meet at Platform 15 to begin our escape to freedom,” comments Cowdrey.

“Let’s all meet at Platform 15 to begin our escape to freedom”

The opening of the new venue comes as many around the UK, and the world, struggle under the financial pressures of Covid-19.

Manchester venues Gorilla (600-cap.) and Deaf Institute (260-cap.) last week announced they were closing their doors permanently due to the pandemic. However, it emerged yesterday (22 June) that the venues have now been acquired by venue group Tokyo Industries (TI).

TI founder Aaron Mellor says the group has been working together with promoter SSD Concerts – which is launching the UK’s first socially distanced arena next month – and the Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, to come up with ways “to help save both venues and their existing operating style in a post-Covid world.”

“So, looks like the story is out Deaf Institute and Gorilla have been saved and will be kept as live music venues as we know and love them,” writes Burgess in a Twitter post.

“I’ve been talking with the new owners over the weekend and we’ll be doing all we can to help with the next chapter.”

Manchester night-time economy advisor and Parklife founder Sacha Lord thanked mayor Andy Burnham for “helping to raise the profile” of the two venues’ plight.

“Great news…all done within four working days. Jobs saved and two of the city centres best live music venues kept alive,” tweeted Lord.

Bookings for Escape to Freight Island can be made here.

 


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Virtual Snowbombing 2020 reaches 6.3m people

Planet Snowbombing, a virtual festival taking the place of the cancelled Snowbombing 2020, reached more than 6.3 million people with over 30 live streams, organisers have announced.

The event, which took place from 13 to 18 April 2020, replaced Snowbombing, which was one of the first European festivals to be cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Broadwick Live-promoted Snowbombing – which was to have returned to the Mayrhofen ski resort in the Austrian Alps on the same dates – would have featured headline performances from Liam Gallagher and Chase and Status for its 21st edition, now moved to 2021.

Planet Snowbombing, held in aid of the UK’s National Emergencies Trust, featured DJ sets, live acoustic performances, stand-up comedy, yoga, daily work-outs, quizzes, Q&As, bingo and more, with participating performers including Rudimental, We Are Scientists, the Shapeshifters, Reverend and the Makers, Solardo, the Cuban Brothers and Mr Motivator.

“The virtual festival received over 1.5 million unique views and was a really successful and genuine way of engaging with our audience”

“Given the cancellation of the festival, we felt we should give something back to our disappointed fans, so they could at least experience a bit of the festival from isolation,” says Snowbombing event manager Sam Turvill. “We decided to curate a weeklong programme of content that ran over the actual festival dates, and included the kind of eclectic content that we like to think sets Snowbombing apart – from life drawing with the Cuban Brothers to a bedroom DJ set from Rudimental, a Bongo’s Bingo livestream and mountain-top rave complete with smoke bombs and a stunning sunset backdrop.

“The virtual festival received over 1.5 million unique views and was a really successful and genuine way of engaging with our audience to increase customer loyalty and push the brand forward in an innovative and exciting way. It also provided an opportunity to work with our key partners in a completely new way and build on those relationships. The project provided a really exciting challenge for our team and, while delivered at relatively low cost, the final outcome far exceeded our initial expectations.”

Snowbombing will return from 4 to 10 April 2021. All festivals in Austria are off until at least mid-July, with a further ban on large-scale events likely to be extended beyond the summer.

 


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Field Day to return for one day in 2020

Acclaimed production duo Bicep will headline Field Day with an exclusive live set in 2020, with the London festival returning in stripped-back form on Saturday 11 July.

For its 14th year – and its second year at the Drumsheds, promoter Broadwick Live’s venue on the site of a former gasworks in north London – Field Day will become a one-day event with a focus on electronic music.

“The evolution of Field Day continues through to 2020, settling into its second year in its new home at the Drumsheds,” comments Broadwick, “expanding their offering of electronic music, which perfectly complimented its new warehouse venue at Field Day 2019.

“Next year’s programme will celebrate the full spectrum, with both live and DJ performances across three stages of music, running louder and later with indoor stages, including the main stage, continuing until 3 am –  a unique and unrivalled prospect for London festivals.”

“We’re over the moon to be back headlining the 2020 edition of the festival at the Drumsheds”

Bicep’s headline live show at Field Day 2020 will be their only London festival performance next summer.

“Having debuted our live show back at Field Day 2016, we’re over the moon to be back headlining the 2020 edition of the festival at the Drumsheds next July,” say the pair in a statement.

More performers, expected to be similar DJs and electronic music acts, will be announced in the near future.

Tickets are priced from £35 for a full-day pass. Presale starts on Monday 9 December, and general sale on Tuesday 10th, from fielddayfestivals.com.

 


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Broadwick’s new London venue open for business

Exhibition London, the third new venue this year from the team behind the venue Printworks, has opened its doors at Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, west London.

The new venue and event space, first announced in February this year, held its official opening last night (Wednesday 20 November). Spanning an area of 1,271 square metres over two floors, Exhibition London has a standing capacity of 2,396 and can accommodate 1,365 in “theatre-style” seating.

A collaborative project with shopping centre operator Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, the venue forms part of the £8 billion regeneration of the White City district of London and is housed in a grade-II listed building that formerly served as a power station for the London Underground.

“I am excited to be bringing this amazing new venue to market as I feel London lacks spaces of this size”

Exhibition London is the latest UK venue in the fast-growing portfolio of promoter and venue operator Broadwick Live and full-service agency Venue Lab, which includes Printworks and the Drumsheds. The team opened its first purpose-built destination, Magazine London (7,000-cap.), earlier this year.

Venue Lab will be responsible for all corporate event management at the venue, currently taking bookings from January 2020 onwards.

“I am excited to be bringing this amazing new venue to market as I feel London lacks spaces of this size,” comments Broadwick Live director and Venue Lab CEO, Simon Tracey.

“We have carefully designed [Exhibition London] to be a tailor-made event space with luxury features to enhance its original heritage characteristics. I hope it will play a key role in the White City regeneration project, helping to further identify the area as a mixed-use development, a place to live, work and play.”

 


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Ground Control’s Jon Drape launches Engine No. 4

Event production veteran Jon Drape has launched Engine No.4, a new production company headquartered in Manchester, UK, as he retires the Ground Control brand.

The new company counts Parklife, Snowbombing Austria, Bluedot, Kendal Calling, Lost Village, Depot at Mayfield and the Warehouse Project among its clients.

Drape, former MD of Ground Control Productions, director at Broadwick Live and founder of Festival Safe, forms part of a core team of equal partners with Tommy Sheals-Barrett (Back On Your Heads Ltd), Jim Gee (N4 Productions) and Will McHugh (CC Events).

The decision to create Engine No.4 follows the withdrawal of Broadwick Live and Ground Control parent company, Global, from the festival space earlier this year.

“It was the ideal time for a rethink – it’s not just a rebadged version of Ground Control,” comments Drape. “We came to realise that a more streamlined business was the only sustainable option.

“With a desire to focus on quality events and festivals, I thought the best move forwards would be to form a new partnership of four equal shareholders and directors together, covering all elements of the industry and able to deliver more bespoke and considered solutions.”

“It was the ideal time for a rethink – it’s not just a rebadged version of Ground Control”

With over 30 years’ experience in the live industry, Drape managed production at legendary Manchester venue the Hacienda, later founding Ground Control in 2013. Drape is a patron for music charity Attitude is Everything and drug safety testing group the Loop.

Sheals-Barrett takes on the role of head of technical production, with 25 years’ experience managing production for Festival No. 6, Bluedot and Parklife.

Kendal Calling and Parklife operations director McHugh will handle the sponsorship side of the business, building on existing relationships with clients such as EE, Lynx, Nintendo and Carling.

Gee, whose recent projects include reopening Manchester’s 10,000-capacity Depot at Mayfield, will serve as the director and head of site management.

“We’re immensely proud of what we have achieved so far at the Depot,” says Gee. “Our remit was to transition the Warehouse Project from Store Street without losing the spirit and the vibe in a much larger venue. Somewhat of a challenge but something we have delivered.”

Operating from September 2019, Engine No.4 has new projects lined up to add to its existing client base.

International event production professionals will be gathering at the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) on Tuesday 3 March at the Royal Garden Hotel in London.

 


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Experience economy fuels resort festival rise

For decades, grassy and often muddy fields have been the setting for music festivals worldwide, but as the overall festival experience has crept ever higher on fans’ priority lists, different kinds of sites have begun to catch the eye of festival organisers.

From snowy slopes to golden sands, resorts offer the unique selling point and quality infrastructure desired by organisers, as well as appealing to the experiential tendencies of the millennial festivalgoer.

“People’s tastes have changed,” Gareth Cooper, CEO of Broadwick Live and director of Snowbombing festival tells IQ, adding that people in general “have more disposable income” and often view a festival as a “second holiday” nowadays.

Starting 21 years ago as an après-ski party, Snowbombing has evolved into a week-long live music event. The line-up for Snowbombing 2020, taking place from 13 to 18 April, includes Liam Gallagher, the Streets, Foals and Big Narstie.

Mainstage Festivals-promoted Snowboxx (6,000-cap.) also takes its inspiration from the traditional partying aspect of ski holidays.

“We all know that après is the real reason why people go skiing,” says Mainstage marketing manager Juan Lopez. “Sipping a cold one after a day on the slopes is the perfect way to unwind, but there is not much to do on the mountain after that.”

“People’s tastes have changed and they have more disposable income”

To counter that, Snowboxx has brought artists such as Basement Jaxx, Wilkinson and Craig David’s TS5 to Avoriaz in France for the past seven years, alongside a “jam-packed schedule of off-piste activities”. Acts confirmed for the 2020 edition, taking place from 21 to 18 March, include Andy C, Annie Mac, the Sugarhill Gang and Denis Sulta.

Anthony Diaz, CEO of cruise festival specialist Sixthman, agrees that the idea of a combined holiday and music festival is really “resonating” with fans.

In addition to its many “floating festivals”, Sixthman has recently experimented with seaside resort festivals, launching Kid Rock’s Flying High Island Jam and All the Best presented by John Prine at boutique resorts in the Dominican Republic, with further plans to replicate the model in European resorts.

“People are choosing to invest more and more in experiences, rather than in material things, including in immersive music experiences and in vacations,” Diaz tells IQ. “The combination of being on vacation with your musical heroes and with others that share that same passion, it’s unbeatable.”

Fans have also shown an eagerness to travel to new places for festivals in recent years, a fact that the Mainstage Festivals team is well aware of. The idea behind the promoter’s Kala festival, which takes place in Dhërmi, a beach resort on the Albanian Riviera, is to introduce festivalgoers to a holiday location they are unlikely to have visited before.

“The Kala crowd is looking for new experiences and new adventures, so somewhere as beautiful and off the beaten path as Albania ticks all the boxes for them,” says Lopez, who refers to Albania as “Europe’s best kept secret”.

“The combination of being on vacation with your musical heroes and with others that share that same passion, it’s unbeatable”

Since Kala started in 2017, there has been a 27% increase in foreign tourists to Albania and, although the event organisers cannot take “full credit” for that, Kala is now the “flagship event” for Albania. “It’s the country’s first and biggest overseas festival and we look forward to growing along with the broader tourism industry over there,” says Mainstage CEO Rob Tominey.

For the Mainstage boss, cooperation with tourist boards is an integral aspect to overseas festivals, “not only to promote the festivals, but also to showcase the local culture.”

Broadwick’s Snowbombing, which has taken place every April at Austria’s Mayrhofen ski resort since 2006, also collaborates closely with local tourism boards and tour operators, as well as the resort’s management.

“We turn what would traditionally be the quietest week of the season into one of the busiest,” explains Cooper. “It’s an end-of-season boost for the local economy and brings very good clientele to the resort – the kind who come to socialise and make use of bars and restaurants.”

However, a festival in a resort, by its very nature, costs more for the fan. Accommodation for five nights at Snowbombing is priced between £269 and £1,500, in addition to equipment hire, ski pass and transport to and from the festival.

“We could go cheaper and use a resort in France,” admits Cooper, but “that’s not the quality we’re looking for.”

It seems that cheap and cheerful is not what Snowbombing attendees are after either, with four-star hotels, complete with swimming pools and spas, proving the most popular accommodation choice.

“When you have the right destination, people just want to go”

Quality is key for Sixthman’s event too. Guests can choose between different suites at the resort, with all concerts, meals, alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks included in the price, as well as unlimited use of the resort’s swimming pools and beaches.

Despite high-end prices, Sixthman does not attempt to tier pricing or up-sell fans with VIP packages or events. “All our guests are VIP,” says Diaz, which helps foment a “positive”, community-like feeling among fans.

Yet, for Mainstage, cheaper prices are one of the draws of its destination-based events.

“There are a number of benefits to attending a festival abroad vs in the UK,” says Tominey. “The costs can often be more favourable with cheaper ticket prices as well as cheaper costs while there.

Even at Snowboxx, the Mainstage team tries to keep the price low, “steering clear of all-inclusive deals” and negotiating with hotels.

“We’ve seen in the past how accommodation and transfer prices have spiked around destination festivals, after a few years of them being in the location,” says Tominey. The Snowboxx team offers seven-day accommodation and festival wristband packages for between £254 (three star) and £442 (five star).

The most important aspect of this new kind of festival, however, remains the same for all. As Cooper puts it: “When you have the right destination, people just want to go.”

 


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