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Coldplay tour tops 6m sales, more US dates added

Ticket sales for Coldplay’s Music Of The Spheres World Tour have now surpassed six million, as the band reveal details of a further slate of stadium shows across the US and Canada for 2023.

The group will perform at Seattle’s Lumen Field (20 September), Vancouver’s BC Place (22 September), Snapdragon Stadium, San Diego (27 September) and the Rose Bowl in Los Angeles (30 September).

Support on all dates will come from H.E.R. and 070 Shake. Tickets go on sale this Friday (27 January).

Coldplay were originally due to play SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles last year before the shows were cancelled due to production issues. An exclusive first come, first served presale will be offered to past purchasers of their previously scheduled 2022 dates in LA. The presale will take place on Thursday 26 January.

To allow more fans access to the shows, the British band will be continuing their $20 Infinity Ticket Programme for the west coast shows. The programme offers a limited number of $20 tickets, which could be located “anywhere in the venue – on the floor, up in the gods or anywhere in between”. Tickets are restricted to a maximum of two per purchaser and must be bought in pairs.

In North America, Coldplay are represented by Marty Diamond of Wasserman Music. Diamond is confirmed as a panellist for the View From The Top panel at this year’s ILMC.

The Music Of The Spheres run restarts in Brazil in March before returning to Europe in May

The Music Of The Spheres run restarts in Brazil in March before returning to Europe in May for shows in Portugal, Spain, England, Wales, Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Earlier on the tour, Coldplay made history in Argentina by completing an unprecedented 10-night sellout run at the 65,000-cap Estadio River Plate in Buenos Aires. The national record previously belonged to Roger Waters, who played nine shows at the venue in March 2012 during his The Wall Live tour.

A special live broadcast of the group’s 28 October Buenos Aires concert was screened in cinemas in more than 80 countries – a record-breaking number of countries for a live cinema event – topping the box office charts in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Netherlands, and breaking the top 10 worldwide across the weekend covering 28-30 October, according to Comscore.

The tour has also been praised for its groundbreaking sustainability initiatives, which include the world’s first tourable battery system and the first ever stadium show powered by renewable energy.

As part of their commitment to cut tour emissions by 50%, the band have pledged to plant one tree for every ticket sold and have offered fans incentives to travel by low-emission transport.

Subscribers can revisit our in-depth look at the tour, first published in Issue 113 of IQ Magazine, here.

 


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Woman sues drinks firm after post-gig car crash

A concert-goer convicted of impaired driving after leaving a Marilyn Manson gig is suing the company that served her alcohol at the venue.

Daniella Leis, 26, was driving home from the show at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ontario, Canada in August 2019 when she crashed her car into a house and breaking a gas line, triggering an explosion 15 minutes later.

The blast, which injured seven people and destroyed four houses, caused US$15 million (€13.8m) of damage, with Leis jailed for three years in February 2021 after admitting four counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

Leis and her father, who owned the car she was driving, face six lawsuits from victims of the incident. However, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports that the pair have filed their own claim and accused Ovations Ontario Food Services of “negligence, breach of duty, breach of contract” under the Occupiers’ Liability Act or Liquor Licence Act.

The claim adds that if Leis and her father are required to pay damages, they are “entitled to contribution and indemnity” from the company.

They allege the food and beverage company had a responsibility to do more to ensure Leis’ safety that night and therefore share some of the liability. The suit reportedly claims Ovations served her alcohol “when they knew or ought to have known that she was intoxicated or would become intoxicated”, and failed to provide properly trained staff at the exits and monitor the state of intoxication for those departing.

In addition, the firm is accused of failing to check on Leis’ “intended mode of transportation… when they knew or ought to have known that she was or appealed to be intoxicated and/or impaired”, adding that staff ejected Leis from the venue while failing to take steps to ensure she would not drive home.

The claim adds that if Leis and her father are required to pay damages, they are “entitled to contribution and indemnity” from the company.

Ovations is yet to respond to the lawsuit.

 


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The New Bosses 2022: Seny Kassaye, FORT Agency

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Resi Scheuermann, promoter and organiser at Konzertbüro Schoneberg in Germany. The series continues with Seny Kassaye, agent at Fort Agency in US and Canada.

After hosting bi-monthly radio shows at university, Seny Kassaye joined FORT Agency (a female-driven and Brown-owned boutique talent agency) during the pandemic. Starting off as an intern, just months later she stepped into a coordination role and brought exponential success through her marketing prowess leading to two sold-out tours in Europe/UK and North America for FORT clients.

Recognising her keen A&R ears and her marketing adroitness, FORT made Kassaye an agent after just a year and a half. She now represents UK group Children of Zeus for North America. Additionally, she has contributed on projects with clients such as bbymutha, Fly Anakin, Lex Records, SXSW, Adult Swim, DICE, NTS, and more. She continues to be committed to developing the future generations of innovative artists.

Meanwhile, Kassaye has taken on a second role in digital marketing at WAVO, where she has already worked on global marketing campaigns for Central Cee’s single Doja; Megan Thee Stallion’s album Traumazine; Tyler, the Creator’s album Flower Boy 5th Anniversary, and 22Gz’s single Sniper Gang Freestyle Part 2, to name a few.

 


Lots of people are trying to find a job in the music industry. What advice would you give to anyone trying to get a foot in the door?
My advice would be to get involved in everything music as early as you can. For instance, in my case, I joined my university’s radio club and got to host my own radio show. I’ve also been curating and sharing playlists on social media purely out of passion for years now. By doing so, it opened the doors for me to work on some small-scale projects, connect with other creatives locally and even internationally. Little did I know, I was developing my experience and acquiring skills that are in high demand for entry-level jobs. It’s those passion projects and hobbies that may eventually set you apart from others and help you land that coveted job!

You were recently promoted to an agent role. What is your process in trying to find promising acts who need representation?
I usually approach artists that I am a genuine fan of and who I believe bring something different to the table. Working at an agency like FORT is great because we truly value creative ingenuity and diversity in our roster, and so it has allowed for better flexibility and control on who I decide to sign. On the other hand, within that pool of artists, I do have to consider their streaming numbers; whether they’re signed to a label; social media presence/engagement; live show experience and ticket history; and whether or not their overall branding as an artist is strong and cohesive. Although I choose those that I know I can develop for the live stage in the long run, at the end of the day, it’s still a business and I need some type of foundation to make them as palatable to promoters and buyers as possible.

“It’s those passion projects and hobbies that may eventually set you apart from others and help you land that coveted job”

Do you have any mentors you can turn to for advice?
Absolutely. Mira Silvers, the founder of FORT, has been my go-to person from the moment I started, and I know I’ll still turn to her for advice even ten years from now. We have very similar backgrounds and upbringings and coming from marginalised communities, working in an industry that historically has pushed women like us to the side, it’s been refreshing and amazing to learn the ropes of the business from someone as knowledgeable and dedicated to the craft as Mira is.

You have a second role in digital marketing. Is there any crossover between your two jobs, or can your agency work benefit from the skills you are learning at WAVO?
My knowledge as an agent has undoubtedly better informed and influenced my decisions when strategising and creating marketing campaigns for artists and major labels. On the other hand, working at WAVO for just a few months now, I’ve learned to create and set up proper ad campaigns for clients’ projects and releases. When sending artists on tour, successful and effective promotional campaigns can have a real impact on turnout at shows, ticket sales, and overall revenue for my clients and even promoters, and it’s definitely a skill that has made a somewhat arduous process so much smoother for me.

You’ve found a role at a Brown-owned business, which hopefully gives you a support mechanism. But are you finding yourself having to take on any frustrating battles simply because of your gender and ethnicity?
Unfortunately, yes. I think I’ve faced more challenges when dealing with individuals outside of North America, and I mainly believe it’s because of the small differences in culture that, sometimes, brings about some pushback or some sort of misunderstanding from the other end. However – and this is something that I think a lot of working professionals of colour across industries can relate to – most times, when facing those microaggressions, all we can do is “charge it to the game” and find a way to not let it affect us. It’s mainly out of fear that it may not only reflect badly and disadvantage us, personally, but other individuals in the industry or those who will enter it in the future who are part of a visible minority. It’s probably the most frustrating thing out of all this because I’ve never shied away from speaking my truth in my everyday life.

“Just like we have A&Rs to scout and develop emerging talent, I believe it could be greatly beneficial in having the same for live”

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
Just like we have A&Rs to scout and develop emerging talent, I believe it could be greatly beneficial in having individuals do the same for the live scene, and I would want a more diverse group of agents and promoters entering this industry for that. This means we need more accessibility generally, through outreach and education and sharing of knowledge, and that is something I would champion over the course of my career as I feel most people don’t necessarily think of being an agent/promoter when trying to break into the industry, even less so for people of colour, in my opinion. I think the trickle-down effect from opening up this tightknit community (because the live industry is actually smaller than one might think) can help break down the monopolisation of emerging artists solely for profit and refocus resources to independent agencies who value the process of developing talent in the long run.

Being a young agent in the tough North American market must have its challenges, but have you found any events or industry forums that are helping you to network and find new allies/partners for you and your clients?
As a young professional who just started in the music industry not too long ago, I’ve sometimes felt out of place and out of touch with the veterans that have held it down for so long. Attending SXSW for the first time has been quite beneficial (and fun!) in all aspects, especially for networking. I was able to meet some powerhouses in the business but also a lot of young professionals like myself who share and understand my vision of music in its current state and musical taste. It’s been easier to have that breakthrough and forge those long-lasting and important relationships that have served me and clients well.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Honestly, this is a hard question for me to answer. Only because there’s so much I want to do in this industry, and the way that time keeps passing by, five years feels like five months! But definitely, within the next five years, I could see myself as a promoter and producing live shows and showcases, as I’ve already dabbled in it. I think it’ll be another creative way for me to highlight new talent, and I would love to do so in Europe and the UK (many of my favourite discoveries – including my first signee – are from there, so I definitely got a soft spot for the continent). On the other hand, working at a major label like RCA, in the marketing department, is one of my ultimate goals. We’ll see which one I’ll get to accomplish first!

See the full list of 2022 New Bosses in IQ 114, which is available now. To subscribe, and get access to our latest issue and all of our content, click here.

 


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Ed Sheeran details first N.America tour in five years

Ed Sheeran has announced details for the North American leg of his + – = ÷ x (Mathematics) tour, visiting stadiums across the continent for the first time in five years.

The 21-date tour will kick off on 6 May at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, before wrapping up on 23 September at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California.

Support comes from Khalid, Dylan, Rosa Linn, Cat Burns, Maisie Peters and Russ on differing dates (see below).

The tour marks Sheeran’s first return to North America since his 2018 Divide outing, which became the highest-grossing concert tour of all time.

The British singer-songwriter recently wrapped up the European leg of the Mathematics tour, in support of his album of the same name.

The 31-year-old is represented by Marty Diamond and Ash Lewis at Wasserman for US and Canada, and Jon Ollier at One Finiix Live for the rest of the world.

See Sheeran’s Mathematics North American tour dates below.

MAY
06 – AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas, US *
13 – NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, US *
20 – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, US *
27 – Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia, US *

JUNE
03 – Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US *
10 – MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey, US *
17 – Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada ^
24 – FedExField, Landover, Maryland, US ^

JULY
01 – Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts, US ^
08 – Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, US ^
15 – Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan, US ^
22 – Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee, US @
29 – Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois, US @

AUGUST
05 – GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri, US @
12 – U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota, US @
19 – Empower Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado, US @
26 – Lumen Field, Seattle, Washington, US #

SEPTEMBER
02 – BC Place, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada #
09 – Allegiant Stadium Russ, Las Vegas, Nevada, US +
16 – Levi’s® Stadium, Santa Clara, California, US +
23 – SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California, US +

* = w/ Khalid and Dylan
^ = w/ Khalid and Rosa Linn
@ = w/ Khalid and Cat Burns
# = Khalid and Maisie Peters
+ = w/ Russ and Maisie Peters


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Riot erupts after Lil Baby cancels headline set

A riot erupted at a hip-hop festival in Canada after rapper Lil Baby abruptly cancelled his headline performance due to illness.

The US artist had been due to close the two-day Breakout Festival at Vancouver’s 7,000-cap PNE Amphitheatre on 18 August, but pulled his set at the 11th hour, with organisers tweeting he was “too sick to perform”.

According to police, the announcement sparked fights among concert-goers inside and outside the venue, with seven people arrested for breach of the peace and “likely thousands of dollars” caused in property damage.

“Vancouver Police officers were already inside the venue and providing extra security when several hundred people began fighting and destroying property in the Amphitheatre, on the PNE grounds, and in the surrounding neighbourhood,” says constable Tania Visintin. “Dozens of extra officers were redeployed from other areas of the city to restore order, with some officers having bottles and other objects thrown at them.”

A criminal investigation into the disorder has now been launched.

“We will pursue criminal charges against people who participated in this violence and destruction”

“We will conduct a full and thorough investigation into the actions of anyone who destroyed property, put concert-goers in danger, or committed other criminal acts,” adds Visintin. “Though this investigation will take time, we will pursue criminal charges against people who participated in this violence and destruction.”

Artists including Polo G, Quavo & Takeoff and Saturday night headliner Trippie Red had performed at the event over the weekend. Breakout Festival had previously taken place in 2018 and 2019.

“Last night’s end to the 2022 Breakout Festival resulted in the worst case scenario of disappointment due to Sunday’s final performer cancelling and we want to apologise to everyone who peacefully left the venue, as well as the venue staff and the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood for the way Breakout 2022 ended,” says a statement from organisers.

“We do not condone violence or destruction of property and are utterly disappointed with the way some of our patrons acted at this year’s event. Safety of our guests and venue staff is our number one concern. We did everything to make Breakout a unique and enjoyable experience for Vancouver’s rap fans.

“We want our audience to know we did everything in our power to make every festival a success and we want to thank every loyal fan and all of the staff who attended the events over the years. Stay tuned for information and details regarding partial refunds for two-day and Sunday Breakout 2022 ticket-holders.”

 


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Placebo postpone North American tour

Placebo have postponed their entire North American tour just two days before it was due to begin, citing “visa and logistical issues”.

The British rock band were due to launch the tour in Canada at the 990-cap Vancouver’s Commodore Ballroom on Sunday (4 September) before switching to the US.

The 10-date run – the group’s first US tour in eight years – was scheduled to conclude with a two-night stand at Brooklyn Steel (cap. 1,800) in New York from 18-19 September.

“We are devastated to announce the postponement of our North American tour… This is due to unprecedented visa and logistical issues beyond our control,” says a statement published on the band’s social media channels.

“We are doing everything we can to reschedule the tour as soon as possible”

“We are so disappointed and frustrated and so very sorry to let our US fans down after waiting so patiently for us to come and play for you. We are doing everything we can to reschedule the tour as soon as possible and we will announce the rescheduled dates soon. Please hang onto your tickets which will remain valid for the rescheduled dates. Refunds will be available at point of purchase.”

The Brian Molko-fronted band are due to return to action in Europe next month, kicking off at Frankfurt’s Festhalle on 1 October.

 


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Live Nation grows Latin division with new hires

Live Nation has boosted its Latin touring operation in North America with the triple hire of Ricardo Taco, Claudia Valencia and Maritsa Restrepo.

A veteran independent promoter, Taco has partnered with LN and other promoters over the past 15 years in Ontario, Canada, working with acts including Wisin Y Yandel, Ozuna, Maluma, J Balvin, Farruko, Arcangel, Jerry Rivera and Rosalia.

He will lead Live Nation Canada’s Latin music strategy nationally, working closely with LN chair Riley O’Connor to further grow Latin artists’ touring presence in the market. He will also act as the liaison between Live Nation’s SVP of global touring Hans Schafer, and the company’s Latin booking team across the globe.

In addition, he will help develop Latin touring shows for Canadian venues of all sizes, and will soon expand into the country’s festivals and outdoor properties.

“Canada is a strong Latin music market and our new key touring hires will help set the strategy to continue building on our expansion”

Elsewhere, Valencia has joined the firm as tour director based out of Guadalajara, Mexico. She will be tasked with building and executing business strategies for LN’s Latin tours for artists such as Pepe Aguilar, Sebastián Yatra, Wisin Y Yandel, and Los Ángeles Azules.

Valencia worked closely with best-selling Latin artist Maná for over a decade, before working as tour rep for Live Nation and independent talent manager at Vibras Lab.

Restrepo, meanwhile, comes on board as a ticketing coordinator, based out of Los Angeles, California. Having previously worked at various box offices, such as at The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia, she will assist with tour set-ups, facilitate promotions, and aid in the communication between artist teams and venues, while also helping roll out various day-to-day projects.

“We have steadily grown our Latin division at Live Nation with experts who understand the music and represent Latin fans, allowing us to better service our artists,” says Schafer. “Canada is a strong Latin music market, and our new key touring hires will help set the strategy to continue building on our expansion to reach new audiences throughout North America.”

 


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Canada: $16m fund launched for live music workers

A multi-million-dollar fund has been launched to help freelance live music professionals in Canada bounce back after the pandemic.

The Live Music Workers Fund (LMWF) was announced last week by The Unison Fund, the charity providing counselling and emergency relief services to Canada’s music community.

Backed by an allocation of more than CA$16 million from the government of Canada through the Canada Performing Arts Workers Resilience Fund (CPAWRF), the LMWF will aim to help freelancers weather the continuing challenges and difficulties created by the pandemic.

Qualified independent and self-employed workers in the live music sector can apply for a one-time lump-sum payment of $2,500.

To be eligible, workers should work in one of the following music industry fields, including: artist, artist manager or management company, booking agent, composer, concert photographer, concert recording engineer, consultant, DJ, event production/festival, marketing/communications.

Merchandiser, musician, production company, promoter, publisher, publicist/public relations, retailer (instruments and supplies), songwriter, stagehand/roadie, talent Buyer, technician, tour management/operator, venue staff, and videographer are also eligible fields.

“This funding will help live music professionals jumpstart their careers during the third year of the pandemic”

Unison says eligible applicants must have earned a minimum of 55% of their income from music-related activity for at least two consecutive years (prior to the pandemic).

“We sincerely thank the government of Canada and the honorable Pablo Rodriguez, minister of Canadian heritage, for their support and recognition,” says Unison Fund executive director Amanda Power.

“Our organisation is grateful to be named as a recipient of this funding which will be used to help support Canadian live music professionals sustain their career amid the continuing challenges and difficulties created by the pandemic.

“Over the next year this investment will go towards the future of live music workers and the re-establishment and empowerment of the live music scene in Canada. We look forward to working in line with many other music industry organisations across the country, to disburse this crucial funding.”

Erin Benjamin, chair, board of directors, The Unison Fund, adds: “The Canadian live music industry has been decimated by Covid-19 and this funding will help live music professionals jumpstart their careers during the third year of the pandemic.

“It may take many years for the live music industry to rebound to pre-pandemic levels, but Unison will continue to be there to provide financial and mental health assistance with the challenges so many face.”

Applicants in need who do not qualify for funding under the CPAWRF guidelines of being a live music worker will continue to be supported through the existing Unison Industry Assistance Fund, aided by fundraising initiatives and direct donations to Unison.

 


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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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