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Oak View Group launches OVG Canada

Global sports and entertainment company Oak View Group has announced the launch of OVG Canada.

The new division will offer strategic services in venue development and management, booking and content development, sponsorship brand consulting and third-party partnership sales.

Led by president Tom Pistore, the leadership team also includes SVP of partnerships & brand consulting Josh Epstein and SVP of partnerships & revenue Zach Feldman.

“You cannot develop, operate, or sell Canadian facilities or assets from the US, and therefore it’s critical for us to be a part of Canada,” says Oak View Group chairman and CEO Tim Leiweke. “We want to create the best sports and facility sales organisation in Canada. Very few companies in our industry have the infrastructure that we have now in Canada and the US to serve our Canadian clients, giving OVG the competitive edge to deliver best in class results.”

“Oak View Group Canada will leverage our diverse experience, deep understanding of the Canadian marketplace and the strength of our global leadership team to provide industry-leading solutions and opportunities”

Pistore was most recently president of UBS Arena, while Epstein led Bank of Montreal’s North American sponsorship strategy and Feldman was previously SVP of partnerships & revenue at the Premier Lacrosse League.

“Oak View Group Canada will leverage our diverse experience, deep understanding of the Canadian marketplace and the strength of our global leadership team to provide industry-leading solutions and opportunities to the Canadian market,” adds Pistore. “After an exciting journey launching UBS Arena in New York, I could not be more excited to launch OVG Canada alongside a best-in-class leadership team that will deliver incredible results for our present and future partners.”

Oak View Group made its first foray into Canada last year via a partnership with Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG) on the redevelopment of the downtown arts and entertainment district in Hamilton, Ontario.

The link-up served as the launching point for the Canadian office and will include the renovation of the 19,000-cap FirstOntario Centre, which will be privately funded with more than CA$50 million. Construction is anticipated to begin in the autumn.

In addition to Leiweke, OVG Canada will be supported by an executive team, including OVG co-founder Irving Azoff, OVG360 co-chair Peter Luukko, OVG business development president Francesca Bodie and OVG360 and Arena Alliance president Chris Granger, who also oversees all venue and hospitality operations in Canada.

“We are committed to putting capital to work in Canadian live entertainment facilities as we’ve done elsewhere around the world and are thrilled for our project in Hamilton to come to life,” says Bodie. “We look forward to expanding and growing the OVG platform with additional owned-and-operated facilities across Canada.”

 


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Weekly round-up: Omicron live music restrictions

Welcome to IQ’s weekly round-up of the latest restrictions affecting major international touring markets.

Below you’ll find the latest information on certification schemes, social distancing requirements, mask mandates, capacity restrictions and lockdowns affecting key live music markets around the globe.

Australia
Australia has announced that it will reopen its borders to vaccinated tourists and other visa holders, from 21 February, for the first time in almost two years.

Australia has had some of the world’s strictest border controls throughout the pandemic – in March 2020, the government closed the borders and barred most foreigners from entering the country.

Belgium
Belgian ministers say the country is close to moving from red to orange on the barometer introduced a few weeks ago “but people still need to exercise caution”.

In orange, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) is required for both indoor and outdoor events (with the option of requiring an extra rapid antigen test at the entrance for nightclubs).

There would be no enforced closing time for businesses, but the Consultative Committee can decide to limit the number of people allowed to 60-90% of a venue’s maximum capacity, depending on whether the air quality requirements can be guaranteed.

Additionally, crowd management is mandatory for events, and organisers have the option to compartmentalise the public. Air quality requirements will be made stricter than in code yellow.

The Finnish government has recommended that capacity restrictions be lifted as of 14 February

Canada
The Ontario government has limited concert venues to 50% capacity until at least 14 March – despite other entertainment spaces such as cinemas, casinos and restaurants expecting to be given the go-ahead to host full houses from 21 February.

Artists including Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd and The Offspring have been forced to postpone tour dates due to provincial restrictions.

Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) boss Erin Benjamin told The Canadian Press the policy was “really hard to understand”, and would likely deter other top international acts from visiting the country this year.

The CLMA is appealing for the government to extend relief for live music businesses via the Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).

Finland
The Finnish government has announced plans to roll back its Covid-19 restrictions from this month.

The government has recommended that capacity restrictions within the cultural, sports and event sectors be lifted as of 14 February.

From that day, any businesses that primarily serve alcohol will be allowed to serve until 22:00, and remain open until 23:00.

All restrictions on food and beverage service businesses could be lifted completely as of 1 March.

Following the recommendations of the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) and the Ministry of Justice, Finland will no longer use Covid passes, at least for the time being. Event organisers and certain establishments were allowed to ignore Covid restrictions if they demanded customers present their Covid passes.

Germany will allow up to 10,000 spectators at major outdoor events

Germany
Germany will allow up to 10,000 spectators at major outdoor events, the 16 federal states agreed last Wednesday (2 February).

The decision, which also allows up to 4,000 participants in indoor spaces, aims to harmonise currently varying rules for stadium attendance at a state-by-state level. The new rules take effect as soon as the federal states update their regulation.

Masks must be worn, and proof of vaccination or recovery, as well as a booster shot or negative test status, depending on the state, will also be required.

Events that do not qualify as national major events with over 2,000 spectators still fall under state-specific rules.

Italy
Italy is about to enter a “new phase” of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to government ministers.

“In the coming weeks we will continue on this path of reopening,” says Prime Minister Mario Draghi. “Based on the scientific evidence, and continuing to follow the trend of the epidemiological curve, we will announce a calendar for overcoming the current restrictions”.

The next update on the country’s Covid restrictions is due by 10 February, when the outdoor mask mandate and the closure of nightclubs and dance venues are up for review again after both rules were recently extended.

The Italian green pass system itself is not expected to be scaled back anytime soon, with some experts including Walter Ricciardi, an advisor to the health minister, maintaining that it must stay in place over summer “at least”.

These rules can only remain in force however under the nationwide state of emergency, which creates the conditions for the government to pass new laws urgently by decree.

Italy’s state of emergency is currently set to expire on 31 March 2022. It is not yet known whether the government plans to extend it.

Sweden has become the latest European nation to announce it is lifting coronavirus restriction

Sweden
Sweden has become the latest European nation to announce it is lifting coronavirus restrictions.

On 9 February, capacity limits and vaccine certificates for live events will be discontinued, while the government also intends to lift entry restrictions for the Nordic countries.

Live events in the country have been subject to a capacity limit of 500 people (or 500 per section if the organiser divides the room so that people from different sections do not come into contact with each other).

The Swedish public health agency will also follow Denmark’s lead in submitting a request that Covid-19 should no longer be classified as a socially dangerous disease.

“It’s time to open up Sweden,” said prime minister Magdalena Andersson. “The pandemic isn’t over, but it is moving into a new phase.”

 


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Canadian live biz hits out over latest Covid rules

Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA) boss Erin Benjamin has warned of further cancellations after Billie Eilish became the latest superstar act to postpone tour dates due to provincial restrictions.

Eilish’s planned 15-16 February shows in Montreal and Toronto are being rescheduled as a result of “local guidelines and an abundance of caution”.

The singer follows the likes of Dua Lipa, The Weeknd and The Offspring in shifting concerts in Canada in light of the latest Covid-19 restrictions issued by the Ontario government, which limit concert venues to 50% capacity until at least 14 March – despite other entertainment spaces such as cinemas, casinos and restaurants expecting to be given the go-ahead to host full houses from 21 February.

Benjamin told The Canadian Press the policy was “really hard to understand”, and would likely deter other top international acts from visiting the country this year.

“We’re hearing things like outright cancellations and conversations being paused until 2023”

“I think the growing sentiment is that Ontario is closed for business,” she said. “The idea of doing business in Ontario is so uncertain that folks are just not interested in constantly trying to navigate the rules. We’re hearing things like outright cancellations and conversations [regarding future tour dates] being paused until 2023.”

The CLMA is also appealing for the government to extend relief for live music businesses via the Emergency Business Account (CEBA) and the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).

“We thank the government of Canada for its support of small business recovery through the recent extension of the interest-free repayment period for CEBA and RRRF loans from their previous end date of December 31, 2022 to December 31, 2023,” says Benjamin in a letter to the ministers of finance and international trade. “However, since the start of the pandemic, many live music businesses have taken on debt that will take at least two years to resolve; our members continue to report a bleak outlook for the future. As such, while this extension will provide some relief, it will not be enough.

“In support of other associations, such as the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO), and on behalf of the CLMA, I urge you to consider increasing both CEBA’s and the RRRF’s maximum loan forgiveness amount by up to $10,000 if the balance of the loan is repaid by the end of the 0% interest free grace period; and extending the interest-free repayment period for CEBA loans and RRRF loans to December 31, 2024. These changes will help reduce the financial burden many businesses and organisations are currently facing.”

 


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New promoter F7 Entertainment launches in Canada

A new full-service national music promoter has launched in Canada.

Founded by Sarath Samarasekera, Emmanuel Patterson, Nhaelan McMillan, Timur Inceoglu and Ryan Penner, F7 Entertainment Group plans to promote music across all genres, with a view to becoming “a leader in universal content and media”, according to Pollstar.

“At our core we are an organic group of music lovers and professionals who have seen a gap in how music is being promoted in Canada and in particular, how emerging music markets across the country are being underserved,” says Samarasekra. “We aim to bring a more holistic, enjoyable and affordable experience to Canadians while exposing them to new and exciting forms of music.”

“With the landscape changing in live entertainment, I am elated by the opportunity to bring together and partner with an incredible team of talented people,” says McMillan. “F7 for me is the idea and vision of a uniquely creative and highly competitive company now coming to life.”

“Our goal is to innovate at both a cultural and technical level”

Upcoming events include shows by artists such as Rise Against, Death From Above 1979, Daniel Romano and Pup.

“The opportunity to build a new voice and fresh perspective on how live music is promoted in Canada and internationally is thrilling, and I couldn’t be more excited with the team we have assembled for this journey,” notes Patterson, president of talent and touring.

“Our goal is to innovate at both a cultural and technical level,” adds co-founder and senior talent buyer Timur Inceoglu. “It’s really exciting to build a fantastic guest experience, a direct human approach to event production with the goal of quickly developing into the biggest independent producer of content/events in Canada.”

 


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Sound Diplomacy appoints Rob Hain as global CEO

Music market development agency Sound Diplomacy has appointed experienced executive and board member Rob Hain as global chief executive.

Hain, who is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, brings strong connections to clients across the country, including the government of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Tourism and cities and regions including Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary and Edmonton.

The move sees Sound Diplomacy founder Shain Shapiro switch to the role of chairman.

“As a board member and chairman, he knows what makes us tick”

“Rob was an early client of Sound Diplomacy and has been a trusted adviser since Jordi Puy, now CEO of Unison Rights, and I created the company in 2013,” says Shapiro. “As a board member and chairman he knows what makes us tick and by moving to the role of global CEO, Rob frees Jordi to continue growing Unison Rights, in which Sound Diplomacy has a substantial investment, and allows me to spend more time with the recently established non-profit think tank, The Center for Music Ecosystems.”

Starting out as a night-time economy specialist, Sound Diplomacy is known for pioneering the idea of the ‘music city’ and has grown into an increasingly influential voice on cultural economics. It works with a range of clients including cities, global agencies, hospitality and leisure venues, investment managers and property developers to help them identify, quantify, and amplify opportunities to drive resilient and sustainable development, while also realising the economic value of their assets.

The company’s current clients include Society of London Theatre (SOLT), The Organization of American States (OAS), The Earls Court Development Company, Decide DeKalb in Metro Atlanta, Arena del Rio in Barranquilla, Colombia, UMusic Hotels and National Music Centre in Canada.

Shapiro looks at the role of music cities in 2022 here.

 


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Omicron live music restrictions: World update

As the new Omicron variant of coronavirus takes hold, IQ has updated the latest restrictions affecting major international touring markets. This update complements our European list which can be read here

Below you’ll find the latest information on certification schemes, social distancing requirements, mask mandates, capacity restrictions and lockdowns affecting key live music markets around the globe.

Please note that we will aim to keep this article as up-to-date as possible but all information is subject to change. 

To submit an update to this, please get in touch. This article was last updated on Thursday 16 December.

To read about the Omicron restrictions affecting European markets, please click here


Abu Dhabi
As of 27 November, the operating capacity of indoor events has increased to 80%. Entry to indoor events requires attendees to show their green pass and a negative PCR test result received within 96 hours.

Attendees at indoor events must also undertake an EDE scan at public entry points and wear a mask.

Argentina
As of 16 November, mass events in outdoor spaces can take place at 100% capacity. Attendees over 18 years of age must provide proof of at least one dose of the vaccine, and wear a face mask during the event.

Australia
In New South Wales, face masks, proof of vaccination and Covid-19 Safe Check-in are not required. Retail and businesses are no longer required to have a Safety Plan.

In Victoria (and from 17 December, Queensland too) many leisure and entertainment facilities, such as live music venues, can only open for attendees and staff who are fully vaccinated or exempted. Capacity limits and social distancing will not apply.

South Australia is currently operating under Level 1 restrictions which means venues are limited to 75% capacity for seated events and 50% for standing events. Covid Management Plans required for events of more than 1,000 people. Masks are required for shared indoor public spaces.

Though Western Australia remains in a ‘state of emergency’, events and concerts are permitted to go ahead at full capacity. However, businesses must provide a Covid Safety Plan and maintain a contact register. Events with more than 500 patrons are required to complete a Covid Event Checklist or Plan.

For information on restrictions in Northern Territory click here, Tasmania here and Australia Capital Territory here.

Brazil
In November, the Brazilian government increased the capacity limit for music venues from 70% to 100% with proof of vaccination.

Canada
In Ontario, Canada’s capital city and its biggest live music market, new restrictions came into effect on Sunday 19 December.

Under the new rules, music venues and many other indoor public settings will be limited to 50% capacity. Event spaces are required to close by 23:00.

Canada’s live music restrictions vary from province to province.

See the latest guidelines for each of the regions here: AlbertaBritish Columbia, Manitoba, New BrunswickNewfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova ScotiaNunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon.

Chile
Restrictions vary across the country but the majority of regions are on step 3 (preparation) or step 4 (initial opening) of the national five-step reopening plan.

During step 3, seated concerts in closed spaces (such as music venues) can take place at 50% capacity if all attendees show a Mobility Pass verifying full vaccination. If there is food consumption, it is reduced to 30% capacity.

Seated concerts in open spaces (such as open-air venues) can take place at 60% capacity with a Mobility Pass. If there is food consumption, it is reduced to 40% capacity.

In non-seated closed spaces, events can take place with up to 100 people (sans Mobility Pass) or 500 people (with Mobility Pass). In non-seated open spaces, events can take place with up to 200 (sans Mobility Pass) or 1,000 (with Mobility Pass).

Attendees at all non-seated venues must be able to maintain social distancing (1m without food consumption, 1.5m with).

Masks are required in all public spaces.

China

Life is largely back to normal but regional lockdowns have been imposed every time there are new outbreaks of the virus.

Dubai
Mask-wearing is compulsory, as is keeping a two-meter social distance, except in restaurants, cafes, offices, workplaces, gyms, shopping centres, beaches and public and entertainment parks, where a one-meter rule applies.

Outside, you must wear a mask unless exercising, eating or drinking, at a barbershop or salon, in a car with people from the same household, or if you’re alone.

Live entertainment and activities are permitted in restaurants, cafés and shopping malls. Events with free movement – such as standing concerts – are now allowed again, with a maximum of 5,000 people. Vaccination is required for these events.

Japan
At the beginning of November, the Japanese government eased its 10,000-capacity limit on mass gatherings such as concerts following a steady decline in coronavirus cases.

Events across the country can now admit 5,000 people, or 50% of capacity – whichever is larger – while large-scale spaces are permitted to welcome more than 10,000 spectators in Tokyo and other regions previously under a state or quasi-state of emergency. However, events that will involve fans shouting and cheering will be capped at 50% of capacity.

See more information on event restrictions here.

Mexico
Mexico is currently following a colour-coded system (red, orange, yellow, green) which is updated every two weeks.

Currently, all states are coded yellow (resuming limited activities but with precaution) or green (resuming normal activities but with precaution).

Concerts can only take place in green-coded states. See the colour codes for states here.

New Zealand
Since the beginning of this month, New Zealand has been operating with a traffic light system, under which each region has been assigned a colour (green, orange or red) based on vaccination rates and the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

A region’s colour determines the set of restrictions by which it has to abide.

In regions assigned ‘red’, venues using vaccine certificates are limited to 100 people with one-metre social distancing. In ‘orange’ regions, these venues face no limits on gatherings at events, retail, hospitality. Venues that don’t use vaccine certificates are not permitted indoor or outdoor events under red or orange.

Every region aside from Northland will move to orange at 23:59 NZST on 30 December.  These settings will stay in place until 17 January when the cabinet will review. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she expected many areas would move to green at that point.

South Africa
As of 1 October 2021, South Africa is operating under an adjusted Alert Level 1 which indicates a “low Covid-19 spread with a high health system readiness”.

Under Alert Level 1, leisure and entertainment facilities, whether indoors or outdoors, must close at 23:00. Nightclubs are closed to the public.

Face masks are mandatory for every person when in a public place and 1.5 metres social distancing must be maintained.

Entertainment facilities are limited to a maximum capacity of 750 people for indoor venues and 2,000 people or less for outdoor venues – with social distancing. Smaller venues are limited to 50% capacity.

South Korea
It was announced on 16 December that South Korea will reimpose curfews on businesses for an initial two weeks from Saturday 18 December.

Public places such as concert halls and cinemas will be permitted to operate until 22:00, while restaurants, cafes and other nightlife venues will have to close at 21:00.

The measures, announced on Thursday (16 December), come a month and a half after the government initiated a phased reopening plan. Amid record highs of Covid-19 infections, the cabinet has gradually rolled back the policy.

United States
Restrictions may vary from state to state – check the US government website for the latest guidance.

New York City
On 13 December, governor Kathy Hochul announced that masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement. This measure is effective until 15 January 2022, after which the state will re-evaluate based on current conditions.

California
California is fully open for business with no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements.

For indoor events with 1,000 or more or outdoor events with 10,000 or more, attendees age 3 and older must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or have received a negative Covid-19 test.

Unvaccinated persons are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings. It is recommended that fully vaccinated people also wear masks in these settings.

 


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Live Nation Canada and Drake to open Toronto venue

Toronto’s newest venue History will officially open its doors this weekend after restrictions around general admission capacity were lifted.

A collaboration between Live Nation Canada and Drake, the 2,500-capacity venue plans to host 200 events annually.

Located in Toronto’s Beaches neighbourhood, the building includes a convertible general admission area and reserved seating configurations.

We are thrilled to bring History to life in Toronto with live entertainment

“We are thrilled to bring History to life in Toronto with live entertainment that we know will elevate the city’s concert-going experience,” said Riley O’Connor, chairman, Live Nation Canada. “We can’t wait for both fans and artists alike to experience our newest destination music venue.”

History opens on Sunday (7 November) with a show by Bleachers. Other upcoming concerts include Deadbeats, Chvrches, Duke Dumont and WizKid.

The province of Ontario lifted capacity limits on 25 October in the majority of settings where proof of vaccination is required, with plans to lift mask-wearing requirements in indoor public spaces, as well as remove proof-of-vaccine requirements for all remaining settings, by the end of March 2022.

History will also launch a community arts programme aimed at supporting local youth’s artistic aspirations through both exposure and financial support. Art students in the area will have the opportunity to submit a portfolio to be considered for a commissioned opportunity to create band artwork for an upcoming show.

Multiple recipients will be chosen annually and awarded with a bursary, in addition to having their creations promoted at the venue, online and in-print.

 


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Oak View Group plants first flag in Canada

Oak View Group (OVG) is making its first foray into Canada with a brand new partnership, which will serve as the launching point for a Canadian office.

The global sports and entertainment company is partnering with Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group (HUPEG) on the redevelopment of the downtown arts and entertainment district in Hamilton, Ontario.

This will include the renovation of the FirstOntario Centre (cap. 19,000), which will be privately funded with more than CA$50 million.

Construction at the arena is anticipated to begin in the autumn of 2022 and take place over two years in two phases.

Internationally renowned arena architect BBB, who managed the renovation of Madison Square Garden in New York City, will lead the arena renovation design.

“We believe Hamilton is the perfect market to plant our first OVG Canada flag”

OVG, which has offices in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Philadelphia, says the deal will kickstart the company’s Canadian operations.

Tim Leiweke, CEO of OVG, and former past president of Canada’s Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment commented, “I have been very fortunate in my career to be part of the Toronto community and call Canada home. I saw first-hand the continued growth in the Toronto Metro area, and we believe Hamilton in particular, needs a venue that reflects the growth, great fans, and community thus requiring that new facilities are developed and new opportunities are created.

“We believe Hamilton is the perfect market to plant our first OVG Canada flag and will be a venue that compliments Toronto and the Scotia Bank Arena [cap. 19,800]. We think there is a need, an opportunity to transform the current arena and we are extremely excited to be partners with the City of Hamilton and HUPEG on their vision.”

OVG is also leading the redevelopment and operations of Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center as well as leading arena development projects for UBS Arena in Belmont Park, New York; Moody Center in Austin, Texas; New Arena in Coachella Valley, CA; and Co-op Live in Manchester, UK.

 


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The New Bosses 2021: Anna Parry, The O2

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.

The first 2021 New Bosses interview is with Anna Parry, programming manager at the O2, London.

Born in Calgary, Canada, Parry travelled to Spain to study global entertainment and music business at Berklee College of Music in Valencia. With an independent promoter as a father, she grew up in backstage corridors and tour buses and quickly learned the ropes of the live business as a production runner, tour manager, logistics coordinator, and promoter rep.

Her move to London initially involved an internship at UTA, while also running the events programme for she.grows, the mentorship programme for shesaid.so. Parry joined the programming team at the O2 in 2018 and now works with some of the biggest artists in the world.


What’s been the highlight of your career so far?
There are two: seeing Paul McCartney at the O2. My dad [Jeff Parry of Jeff Parry Productions] became a promoter because of his love for the Beatles and seeing him perform in my place of work was a full-circle moment for me; and I’m currently working on a project with Prince’s estate to honour his 21-night legacy at The O2. It’s a surreal feeling to be working with one of the most influential teams in the business.

You spent part of the lockdown back in Canada, what challenges did that present in your working day?
Well, the obvious one would be the time difference, but luckily I was in Canada during the months of January and February which was a quiet time for the O2. My team are also extremely supportive and allowed for somewhat flexible working hours. Generally, I think that January and February were a hard time for everyone and it was difficult being so far from my team but I was very fortunate to be able to spend the time with my family.

“What is really going to make a difference [to the live music industry] is diversity in the top positions”

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
A more diverse recruitment process. We need to see diversity in every level of organisations, ensuring equal opportunities for people to get their foot in the door and a framework for them to progress. What is really going to make a difference is diversity in the top positions.

Tell us a bit about your work with she.grows/she said.so.
I came across shesaid.so when I was a promoter rep in my hometown of Calgary, and I was working with the only female promoter in the area who told me about the incredible community. She then said her biggest regret was not moving internationally and that’s when I started thinking about the opportunity the industry provided in a global context. It then all came full circle for me when I was able to act as the events manager for the she.grows mentorship programme in London, and was introduced to a plethora of inspiring women.

You’ve travelled thousands of miles to study and find work, what advice would you give to anyone trying to break into the business?
Never give up, and never take no for an answer. The door is never fully closed, you just need to find a new way to open it.

“It is a very exciting time as we get to reinvent a lot of processes”

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I am fortunate to work for a global company in AEG with a stream of creative people where opportunities feel limitless so it is hard to say, but I am very happy at the O2 and feel like we have a lot of catching up to do after the past 18 months!

What’s the biggest challenge for you and the O2 team now that the business is emerging from lockdown restrictions?
Re-engaging the workforce. As a company we have gone through a lot of changes and have a lot of new processes in place. Re-entrance anxiety is a real issue, and as it stands, 2022 is projected to be our busiest year ever at the O2 and we need to ensure that, after over 500 days of no events, people will be well equipped and feel comfortable getting back at it.

With that said it is also a very exciting time as we get to reinvent a lot of processes and I think we have all learned a lot during lockdown and have an even further appreciation for what we do and why we do it.

 


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Live Nation set to get Canada ‘back on touring map’

Canada is welcoming US artists to perform on the country’s stages for the first time in 18 months.

Vaccinated Americans and permanent residents are now able to cross the Canadian border for the first time since closing on 18 March 2020.

“This step opens possibilities to get Canada back on the touring map for sure. Some artists already have shows planned with more conversations picking up,” says Arthur Fogel, chairman of global touring for Live Nation.

Live Nation Canada’s first concert with major US acts will be on 2 September with Maroon 5 and Blackbear at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. This will make the artists the first major US acts to play in the country since reopening.

This week, Live Nation Canada announced plans to require all artists and fans to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test to attend shows at the company’s stable of owned and operated Canadian venues.

The mandate is set to come into effect from no later than 4 October at Live Nation Canada’s outdoor venues and festivals, including Budweiser Stage (Toronto), History (Toronto), The Danforth Music Hall (Toronto), Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver), Midway (Edmonton), and The Velvet Underground (Toronto).

“Some artists already have shows planned [in Canada] with more conversations picking up”

The live entertainment behemoth is also sharing best practices for artists to request these policies at third-party venues where Live Nation promotes shows but does not control protocols.

“Live Nation and the live music industry are about uniting people, and vaccines are one of the greatest tools for making sure that everyone can continue to enjoy live music together,” said Wayne Zronik, president business operations, Live Nation Canada.

“We’re confident this is the right move for everyone coming out to shows, including artists, fans, crew, and our staff.”

Live Nation has announced similar entry requirements for markets including the UK and the US. IQ also understands that the promoter will take a market-by-market approach based on local governments’ requirements –many of which already utilise Covid-status certification for entrance to public spaces.

 


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