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EEnlarge Europe launches with SOS campaign

A new, partially EU-funded association of grassroots music venues, EEnlarge Europe, has launched in eastern Europe with its first five members.

EEnlarge Europe, described as both a “community of venues” and an “educational project for the grassroots scene”, aims to bring together venues in the region to support each other and share knowledge and best practice.

At launch, the association comprises Channel Zero (270-cap.) in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Nappali (200-cap.) in Pécs, Hungary; Moszkva Kávézó (300-cap.) in Oradea, Romania; Kvaka 22 (250-cap.) in Belgrade, Serbia; and Zentropia in Senta, Serbia, with support from Budapest-based journalist and artist manager Eszter Décsy (Now Books & Music).

EEnlarge Europe’s first campaign, ‘SOS: Save Our Sources’, aims to raise awareness of the plight of grassroots music venues, which it says are in urgent need of more financial help and to be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.

we strongly hope that the decision-makers will finally realise they need to act now, before it is too late,”

Ana-Marija Cupin from the Serbian band Repetitor, one of several artists backing the campaign, says: “All the legendary gigs have happened in a small venue. A warm and relaxed atmosphere […] is something you do not experience in the arena.”

“I’m still crazy for club gigs – that’s where we started everything from,” says Hungary’s ‘Apey’ András Áron (Lazarvs, Apey, Trillion). “It’s really good to keep those gigs in mind. If these places disappear, I can’t even imagine how hard that would be for an emerging band to start – not that it was ever easy.

To spread the world about SOS, EEnlarge Europe has asked local musicians describe in their own words what small venues mean to them, both personally and professionally. Their responses can be found on EEnlarge Europe’s Facebook page.

“By this, we strongly hope that the decision-makers will finally realise they need to act now, before it is too late,” says the association.

 


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CEEntral Party goes digital with online conference

The CEEntral Party, a traditional fixture of Europe’s various music industry conferences, is moving into the digital world with a one-day online conference later this month.

On Saturday 28 November, CEEntral Party Digital will offer free workshops, panels and networking, as well as a special showcase from Rich Mix in London.

Workshops predominate in the CEEntral Party Digital programme. One of them will focus on Bandcamp, which is becoming a social network of its kind and, among other things, wants to produce vinyl records. Another workshop will focus on how to monetise digital distribution of your music. There will be also introduction to the music markets of selected Central and Eastern European countries.

Given the situation in 2020, one CEEntral Party Digital panel will focus on the future of the music world

Given the situation in 2020, one panel will focus on the future of the music world. “We called the panel David and Goliath, and we will ask whether mammoth companies will take over the smaller and local ones and how much this will after a balance of power in the field,” explains Márton Náray from SoundCzech, on behalf of the organisers.

Special stream: Katarína Máliková and others from London
The icing on the cake and the highlight of the conference will be a livestreamed concert from the London club Rich Mix. Unique audiovisual projects, which will be created directly for the purposes of CEEntral Party Digital, will feature four bands from four countries as ‘Electronica: Vision of Sound II’: namely Katarína Máliková (Slovakia), Brothers (Czech Republic), Hatti Vatti (Poland) and Óperentzia (Hungary).

The London streaming event is co-organised by the Czech Centre in London, the Hungarian Cultural Centre, the Polish Cultural Institute, the Slovak Embassy in London and Rich Mix.

Register for CEEntral Party Digital for free by clicking here.

 


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TicketPlan allies with STBU in Poland

Ticket insurance and protection leader TicketPlan has announced a strategic alliance with STBU, one of the largest insurance brokerages in Poland.

The alliance will allow both TicketPlan, a UK-based provider of ticket insurance cover to ticket agencies, venues and festivals, and STBU to launch new TicketPlan facilities in Poland and, potentially, throughout eastern Europe, says the company.

Graham Berg, CEO of the TicketPlan Group, explains: “Poland has a rapidly growing live event and ticketing market and an increasingly affluent customer base.

“We are all excited by the enormous potential of this opportunity”

“Cultural, regulatory and legal differences require a good, strong and reliable strategic partner and STBU were able to fulfil all of those requirements.

“TicketPlan has almost 20 years of experience within this sector and an internationally recognised brand, and STBU have provided local knowledge, expertise and experience. We are all excited by the enormous potential of this opportunity.”

Ticketplan launched in Italy in early 2017, adding to its client base in the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark.

 


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Jonah Nilsson, new agents join Music Works Int’l

Jazz-focused US boutique booking agency Music Works International (MWI) has made another round of hires, bring on board two new agents and an assistant to support its growing roster.

Italian agent and promoter Luigi Sidero, a veteran of the European jazz scene, will assume responsibility for MWI’s bookings in eastern Europe, while Katie Hattier, a recent music business management graduate from Berklee College of Music, has been appointed a junior agent, focusing on developing artists and cultivating relationships with international clients, primarily in the UK.

The newest addition to the team, meanwhile, is Madeline Miller, another Berklee graduate, who joins as assistant to the director.

Boston-based MWI has additionally announced the signing of Jonah Nilsson, frontman and keyboardist in Swedish jazz-funk trio Dirty Loops, who recently signed for management duties with Quincy Jones’s Quincy Jones Productions.

“Our dedication to building audiences on a global scale is having an impact”

“Signing a unique talent like Jonah Nilsson is exciting,” comments Katherine McVicker, who founded Music Works International in 2014. “We are intent on curating a roster of world-class talent, expanding into new genres and developing artists. Our dedication to building audiences on a global scale is having an impact.”

She adds: “It is a privilege to work closely with Quincy’s management team.”

MWI last summer made three hires after adding new acts including Bokanté, the new world-music outfit led by Snarky Puppy’s Michael League, and jazz pianists Monty Alexander and Aaron Diehl to its roster.

 


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Czech Republic, Slovakia joint ESNS 2019 focus countries

The Czech Republic and Slovakia will be Eurosonic Noorderlag (ESNS)’s first-ever joint focus countries in 2019.

In cooperation with Michal Kaščák, CEO of Slovakia’s Pohoda Festival, and Márton Náray, director of new Czech export office SoundCzech, the Dutch conference/showcase festival will next year shine a spotlight on the two central European neighbours, which, says booker Robert Meijerink, although “two of the youngest countries in Europe”, both have “diverse and growing music scenes, a great history and lots of amazing music to be discovered”.

Previous recent focus countries include Denmark (2018), Portugal (2017) and the central and eastern European (CEE) nations (2016).

“I am confident that this will be a remarkable focus, especially with CR/Radio Wave and Radio_FM, SoundCzech/Czech Music Office and the ETEP festivals Colours of Ostrava, Metronome Festival, Rock for People, United Islands of Prague [Czech Republic] and Pohoda [Slovakia] on board,” says ESNS conference coordinator Ruud Berends.

“We are excited about the opportunity to show European professionals how much we have to offer”

Náray says the music scene in the Czech Republic has grown tremendously over the past five to ten years, with more than 500 summer festivals, a booming club scene and a host of promising emerging talent. “We are excited about the opportunity to show European professionals how much we have to offer,” he comments. “I think it is the perfect moment to do that.”

“It is great to be a music fan in Slovakia,” adds Kaščák (pictured). “The whole world knows Metallica, PJ Harvey and the Sex Pistols – and we are lucky enough to know Čad, Jana Kirschner and the Wilderness. But don’t worry: thanks to the Czech–Slovakian focus at ESNS 2019, we will be sharing our hidden treasures with music lovers around the world.”

ESNS returns to Groningen in the Netherlands from 16 to 19 January 2019. More than 4,000 industry delegates attended Eurosonic Noorderslag 2018, which saw performances from 300 European acts, including 22 from focus country Denmark.

 

 


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EAY 2017: CEE arenas shrug off post-crash gloom

A majority of central and eastern European (CEE) arenas reported strong growth in 2016, boosted by growing demand and increased consumer confidence, IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2017 reveals.

Almost all the arenas surveyed in eight CEE countries – Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Serbia – recorded positive results last year, with some even recording their most successful year to date, as they shrugged off the last remnants of the global financial crisis, which hit central and eastern Europe particularly hard.

While GDP is still not as high as in western Europe, demand is strong, consumer confidence has returned to the market and average audience figures are higher than some of the more affluent nations: the arenas surveyed sold 4,368,253 tickets to 882 events, generating €130.5 million.

Sport dominates the calendars at arenas across the region, accounting for 56% of programmes. Music makes up 26%, while family shows and miscellaneous events make-up 9% and 6%, respectively. Only 11 comedy shows took place in these arenas last year, an average of one per arena.

The largest attraction for people is clearly music events, which draw the highest average attendance: 7,761 (survey average attendance: 4,953).

“They used to regard it as very important to be seen as having significant and cool cultural festivals, but that’s changing”

‘Miscellaneous events’ are the next biggest draw, pulling an average crowd of 6,946 to corporate events and exhibitions.
Family and sports events attract average audiences of 4,300 (survey average: 5,157) and 3,610 (4,662) each.

Promoter Nick Hobbs, who books acts at all levels across central and eastern Europe, the Balkans and Turkey, says there’s starting to be a trend of people moving away from festivals and towards arena shows. “The festival market doesn’t seem to be doing as well as it was, but arenas are doing better,” he says. “That’s because sponsorship – which is essential for festivals, but not usually part of the P&L [profit and loss] of an arena show – is struggling, as companies shift their focus away from music.

“In some countries, such as Poland, municipalities are shifting their marketing spend away from cultural events due to the political climate. They used to regard it as very important to be seen as having significant and cool cultural festivals, but that’s changing due to a much more culturally conservative government.”

With the economic situation in many countries improving, arenas are seeing steady growth.

 


Read the full feature in the digital edition of the European Arena Yearbook 2017: