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Coachella NFTs inaccessible after FTX collapse

Purchasers of Coachella are currently unable to access their tokens in the wake of the collapse of global cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

FTX filed for bankruptcy last week, with “king of crypto” Sam Bankman-Fried also stepping down as CEO.

Coachella partnered with the platform earlier this year to auction off 10 lifetime passes as part of a non-fungible token (NFT) series that sold for a combined $1.5 million (€1.3m). The ‘Coachella Keys’ collection grants admission to the 125,000-cap festival in Indio, California every year, along with a unique experience.

According to Billboard, anyone who kept their NFT on FTX is currently unable to access them.

“We’re actively working on solutions and are confident we’ll be able to protect the interests of Coachella’s NFT holders”

“We’re actively working on solutions and are confident we’ll be able to protect the interests of Coachella’s NFT holders,” says Coachella innovation lead Sam Schoonover.

FTX – which also partnered with Belgium’s Tomorrowland – owes its 50 largest creditors almost $3.1 billion (€3bn), according to a court filing.

Decrypt reports that users in Coachella’s Discord server are unable to transfer their NFTs out from their FTX wallets, with others saying their NFTs held in their self-custody wallets aren’t displaying artwork.

The publication notes that, unlike many marketplaces, FTX NFTs was a custodial platform, meaning it held purchased NFTs for buyers unless they opted to transfer it to an external wallet.

“Our priority is getting Coachella NFTs off of FTX, which appears to be disabled at the moment”

Writing on the festival’s Discord server last Friday, a Coachella server administrator said: “Like many of you, we have been watching the news unfold online over the past few days and are shocked by the outcome.

“We do not currently have any lines of communication with the FTX team. We have assembled an internal team to come up with solutions based on the tools we have access to. Our priority is getting Coachella NFTs off of FTX, which appears to be disabled at the moment.”

 


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Coachella sues Ghana’s Afrochella over name

Goldenvoice and Coachella are suing Ghana’s Afrochella for copyright infringement.

Afrochella launched in 2017 and is due to return to El Wak Stadium, near Accra, from 28-29 December with headliners Burna Boy and Stonebwoy.

However, organisers are accused of “actively promoting music events in the United States and in Ghana using the confusingly similar mark ‘Afrochella’ and by fraudulently attempting to register plaintiffs’ actual trademarks as their own”.

According to a lawsuit filed in the US district court, the defendants “expanded their infringing conduct” into the US this year via the launch of “at least seven different” Afrochella events in the Los Angeles area and “have refused to curtail their infringing use of plaintiffs’ registered marks, necessitating the filing of this federal lawsuit”.

“Despite repeated requests from Plaintiffs, defendants have refused to adopt their own distinctive event name and marks, and as a result, instances of actual confusion have already appeared on social media,” it adds.

Referencing an August 2022 quote by Floatchella co-founder Edward Elohim, the defendants claim that Elohim essentially admitted the name was chosen “with specific intent to create a suggestion that it was a version of Coachella.

“Plaintiffs have been forced to file this action to protect their Chella and Coachella trademarks and service marks from infringement and unfair competition”

“Plaintiffs have been forced to file this action to protect their Chella and Coachella trademarks and service marks from infringement and unfair competition, as well as to protect the public from the likelihood of confusion,” adds the suit. “Defendants even went as far as to apply in Ghana to register Coachella and Chella as their own trademarks, using the exact same stylisation as plaintiffs’ registered Coachella mark.”

Goldenvoice and Coachella are requesting a trial by jury over allegations of trademark and service mark infringement, false designation of origin, cyber squatting and unfair competition.

None of the parties have commented on the case publicly .

Coachella Festival, whose 2023 edition is scheduled for Indio Park, California from 14-16 and 21-23 April next year, registered the “Coachella” trademark for musical events in 2006. It is far from the first time the festival has launched legal action against other events over the “Chella” name.

AEG and Live Nation settled their trademark dispute over a rival music event called ‘Coachella Day One 22’ earlier this year, while Connecticut’s Floatchella was renamed Floatfest, Music on the Mystic River following a complaint from Coachella promoter AEG Presents.

Elsewhere, Los Angeles festival Hoodchella was rechristened Noise in the Hood after coming to an “amicable agreement” with AEG/Goldenvoice following legal action in 2016, and a California court ruled in Coachella’s favour in its dispute with film festival Filmchella in 2017.

 


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AEG and LN settle Coachella trademark dispute

AEG and Live Nation have settled their trademark dispute over a rival music event called ‘Coachella Day One 22’.

AEG’s Goldenvoice subsidiary accused Live Nation of “contributory infringement” due to Ticketmaster selling tickets for the New Year’s Eve event.

‘Coachella Day One’ was organised by Native American Tribe Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians at a Southern California venue it named ‘Coachella Crossroads’. Twenty-Nine Palms was not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit after claiming sovereign immunity.

Coachella was granted a temporary restraining order against Live Nation last December, preventing the sale or advertisement of tickets while the case was further contested, and a judge declined LN’s bid to have the lawsuit thrown out earlier this year. However, Bloomberg Law reports the case has now been settled out of court.

Coachella Festival registered the “Coachella” trademark for musical events in 2006

Terms of the settlement have not been disclosed, but according to Law360, AEG and Live Nation entered into mediation on 9 August and drew up a binding agreement to end the litigation. A notice of dismissal will be filed “no later than 19 August 2022”.

The Goldenvoice-promoted Coachella Festival registered the “Coachella” trademark for musical events in 2006. Its most recent edition was held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California in April. It will return from 14-16 and 21-23 April next year.

 


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Mark Girton appointed to Empire Polo Club role

Los Angeles-based Goldenvoice has named Mark Girton as VP, special events of Empire Polo Club — home to Coachella and Stagecoach festivals.

Girton was most recently SVP of special events at Goldenvoice owner AEG Presents. His new role follows the recently signed long-term agreement with the Empire Polo Club giving Goldenvoice year-round operational control of both the venue and special-events property the Grand Oasis.

The new agreement, combined with Goldenvoice’s existing operation of the Eldorado Polo Club, will give Girton oversight of special events at the nearly 900 acres now controlled by the company.

“I’m going from one dream job to another”

“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to grow and develop new events at both the Empire Polo Club and the Grand Oasis,” says Girton. “Working across our properties nationally on special events these past 13 years has been a remarkable experience; I’m going from one dream job to another.

“Collaborating with Goldenvoice on developing new business activity is the apex of my years in the live entertainment business and I look forward to the challenge.”

The former general manager of Blossom Music Center in Ohio (under House of Blues Concerts/Live Nation), Girton joined AEG in 2008 as the original general manager for The Novo, located at LA Live in downtown Los Angeles.

Stacy Benaderet, previously VP of sales and marketing for AEG’s special events venues, will assume Girton’s prior responsibilities at AEG Presents, and will be responsible for all special events across the US.

“Mark brings a wealth of experience within our company and the industry to this new position; he’s the perfect candidate to ensure we continue to develop and expand our business in the desert,” says Shawn Trell, EVP and COO, AEG Presents. “Stacy was the obvious choice to step into Mark’s role. She has the vision, skills, and drive to bring real opportunities to this area of our business. I couldn’t be more proud to see Mark and Stacy in these critical roles at each company.”

In her former role Benaderet, oversaw national sales at all AEG Presents’ venues across the country, including sites like Webster Hall in New York City and the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.

“I am honoured and humbled to be heading AEG Presents’ special events efforts nationwide,” she adds. “Mark has set a very high standard and built an incredible foundation for our department, and I’m thrilled to represent our ever-growing portfolio of venues and our upcoming venue showcase events this year and beyond.”

“In celebration of our first summer back at full capacity, we wanted to do something for our community to ensure live music would be enjoyed as often as possible”

AEG Presents has also launched its first traveling mobile box office in Denver, operating out of Mile High Pretzel Co’s food truck. The truck will sell fee-free tickets to upcoming concerts at the Bluebird Theater, Gothic Theatre, Ogden Theatre, Mission Ballroom, and Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, as well as give away free concert tickets, prizes, and Philly-style pretzels over the summer.

The “Denver Concert Truck” offers fans the opportunity to purchase tickets without fees, but with face-to-face interaction. It will operate out of two windows, with Mile High Pretzel Co. serving pretzels on one side, and AEG Presents facilitating ticket purchases and offering giveaways on the other.

“In celebration of our first summer back at full capacity, we wanted to do something for our community to ensure live music would be enjoyed as often as possible,” says Kellie Owens of AEG Presents, “Our hope is that the truck brings that human connection back to purchasing tickets, while also saving fans a few bucks.”

Shows available for purchase include Jack Johnson, The Flaming Lips, Boyz II Men with the Colorado Symphony, James Taylor and his All-Star Band, Bright Eyes, Mandy Moore, Alice in Chains and Switchfoot.

Denver Concert Truck will move around several locations in the area such as Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre, Civic Center Park, Santa Fe Arts District and Empower Field at Mile High.

 


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YouTube to sell custom merch during Coachella sets

YouTube is to sell exclusive Coachella and artist merchandise for the first time during livestreams of this year’s festival.

Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd and Swedish House Mafia are to headline the Goldenvoice-promoted festival’s first in-person event since 2019, which returns this Friday and runs over two weekends (15–17 and 22–24 April) at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.

YouTube Shopping will offer virtual viewers a chance to purchase exclusive merchandise without leaving the livestream. Custom merch from Eilish and fellow Coachella performers Brockhampton and Flume will be available for purchase on Saturday 16 April for the entire day, directly on the livestream watchpage.

The collection will also be available for purchase the following Saturday during the second weekend of the event. Coachella will also drop its own merch collection, which can be bought on the watchpage throughout both festival weekends.

“The whole idea of exclusive merch drops is just so fans and artists could have more intersections together”

“We’re always trying to deepen the roots [with] fans and artists and one of the best ways that you could do it is through merchandise,” Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music tells the LA Times. “The whole idea of exclusive merch drops is just so fans and artists could have more intersections together.”

Fans will be able to choose between three livestream feeds of the festival, with different performances airing simultaneously. The YouTube livestream will also feature exclusive artist interviews, YouTube Shorts behind-the-scenes content and sweepstakes, and premium pre-parties, among other benefits.

In addition, six creators – Benoftheweek, Kaiti Yoo, Kirsten Titus, Larray, Lauren Giraldo and Quenlin Blackwell – will “live” at the YouTube Shorts Compound and capture their festival experience on their respective YouTube channels, with dozens more creators also set to document their adventures on Shorts.

A pair of lifetime Coachella passes in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT) are also being offered as part of the YouTube Coachella Sweepstakes. The festival previously auctioned 10 lifetime passes to the event earlier this year as part of a series of NFTs.

 


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Coachella hits ‘Floatchella’ with cease-and-desist

A small town US music festival has changed its name after being served with a cease-and-desist letter by organisers of Coachella.

Held in Mystic, Connecticut, Floatchella is run by the Mystic Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Mystic Merchants Association and features local bands and a pop-up paddle-craft rally. Its first two editions drew “over 300 paddle craft in the water and scores of people watching on land”.

However, the festival has now been renamed Floatfest, Music on the Mystic River following a complaint from Coachella promoter AEG Presents. It must also dispose of any merchandise bearing the Floatchella logo.

“The Chamber was surprised that our non-profit in the southeast corner of Connecticut garnered the attention of AEG Worldwide”

“The Chamber was surprised that our non-profit in the southeast corner of Connecticut garnered the attention of AEG Worldwide for a Coachella naming situation,” Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce president Bruce Flax tells CelebrityAccess. “The event was never mistaken as having any association to Coachella for the 1,500 people who attended the last two years. We will lose some money form the merchandise we need to dispose of, but we will weather the storm and the event will live on as Floatfest, Music on the Mystic River.”

AEG has not commented on the case.

It is not second time in recent months that Coachella has moved to protect its trademark. Last year, Goldenvoice sued Live Nation over a music event called ‘Coachella Day One 22’, organised by Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, which was advertised on Ticketmaster.

 


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Two Coachella lifetime pass NFTs fetch $250k each

Ten Coachella lifetime passes auctioned off as part of a non-fungible token (NFT) series have sold for a combined $1.5 million (€1.3m).

The ‘Coachella Keys’ collection grants admission to the 125,000-cap festival in Indio, California every year, along with a unique experience, and fetched a total of $1,474,000.

Two of the packages were sold more than $250,000 each. The Infinity Key NFT, which guarantees front-of-house views for one act, culinary experiences and private transportation, went for $270,000 and the Key to the Safari, which includes a luxury air-conditioned tent, raised $256,000. Elsewhere, the Key to the Dinner in the Garden, which also offers a professionally cooked meal in the Rose Garden, was snapped up for $140,000.

The NFTs, which can be bought, sold and traded, were issued on Solana’s blockchain. Resale prices for individual packages on Coachella’s marketplace have now reached up to $500,000.

Two other NFT collections: Sights and Sounds, comprising 10 digital collectibles “made up of iconic festival photos and never heard before soundscapes from the Polo fields”, and Desert Reflections, offering one of 10 digital renditions of an iconic Coachella poster, were limited to 10,000 and 1,000, respectively. Both sold out within hours, reports The Press-Enterprise.

“One year ago, NFTs were just starting to take off. Can you imagine where we might find ourselves two years from now?”

“One year ago, NFTs were just starting to take off,” Sam Schoonover, innovation lead for Coachella, told the publication. “Can you imagine where we might find ourselves two years from now?”

Coachella, which partnered with the cryptocurrency exchange FTX on the venture, says a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Give Directly, Lideres Campesinas, & Find Food Bank, while a royalty will support the creators involved.

Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Ye (aka Kanye West) are to headline the Goldenvoice-promoted festival’s first in-person event since 2019, which will run across two weekends (15–17 and 22–24 April) at the Empire Polo Club. General sale tickets cost $449-$549, with VIP passes priced between $929 and $1,119.

Goldenvoice has announced vaccine passes and facemasks will no longer be required for this year’s Coachella and Stagecoach festivals.

A tweet from Stagecoach’s Twitter account reads: “As we prepare to spend an incredible weekend in the desert together we are announcing that there will be no vaccination, testing or masking requirements at Stagecoach 2022, in accordance with local guidelines.”

 


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Coachella to auction lifetime pass NFTs

Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival is to auction 10 lifetime passes to the event as part of a series of non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

The ‘Coachella Keys’ collection grants admission to the 125,000-capacity festival in Indio, California every April. Each of the 10 passes will also offer a unique experience, such as the best views of the Coachella Stage, lifetime Safari camping, or a dinner prepared by a professional chef in the Rose Garden.

The auction begins on Friday, 4 February at 10am Pacific time (7pm CET) and will last for one week.

The launch includes two other NFT collections: Sights and Sounds and Desert Reflections. Sights and Sounds comprises 10 digital collectibles “made up of iconic festival photos and never heard before soundscapes from the Polo fields”. Priced $60 each, the run is limited to 10,000. Desert Reflections, meanwhile, offers one of 10 digital renditions of an iconic Coachella poster, with 1,000 available at $180.

Coachella, which has partnered with the cryptocurrency exchange FTX on the venture, says a portion of the proceeds will be donated to Give Directly, Lideres Campesinas, & Find Food Bank, while a royalty will support the creators involved. The NFTs, which can be bought, sold and traded, will be issued on Solana’s blockchain.

“Blockchain technology can give us the unique ability to offer tradable lifetime passes to Coachella”

“We’ve all seen how NFTs enable true ownership of art and media on the internet,” says Sam Schoonover, innovation lead for Coachella. “We wanted to take it one step further and use NFTs to enable ownership of experiences in the real world, too.

“Only blockchain technology can give us the unique ability to offer tradable lifetime passes to Coachella for the first time ever. We’re excited about building new utility and community for our fans with NFTs, and in FTX we found the partner that we trust to provide us with infrastructure and support to help us usher in this new frontier.”

Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Ye (aka Kanye West) are to headline the Goldenvoice-promoted festival’s first in-person event since 2019, which will run across two weekends (15–17 and 22–24 April) at the Empire Polo Club. General sale tickets cost $449-$549, with VIP passes priced between $929 and $1,119.

Coachella is far from the first music institution to embrace the NFT boom. New York’s Governor’s Ball festival offered NFTs through a partnership with Coinbase for its 10th anniversary edition in 2021, while Live Nation announced a collaboration with artists to launch digital collectable NFT ticket stubs mirroring the unique section, row, and seat of each ticket purchased for select shows.

Last year, Dutch DJ Don Diablo sold what is thought to be the first-ever full-length concert NFT for cryptocurrency to the value of $1.2 million. The hour-long show, Destination Hexagonia, was created exclusively for the auction and sold within four minutes for 600 Ethereum (the second-largest cryptocurrency on the blockchain) on the SuperRare marketplace.

In addition, Kings of Leon generated more than $2m from a collection of non-fungible tokens the band put up for sale through blockchain technology company YellowHeart. The NFT Yourself sale included the band’s 2021 When You See Yourself album as an NFT, as well as an auction of six different ‘Golden Tickets’, which gave each successful bidder four front-row seats to one show of every Kings of Leon headlining tour for life.

The US rockers also teamed up with the Elon Musk-founded SpaceX to become the first act to send an NFT into space.

And on a related note, AEG’s Staples Center in Los Angeles was renamed the Crypto.com Arena as part of a new 20-year naming rights deal with the Singapore-based cryptocurrency platform, reportedly worth $700m.

 


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Harry Styles, Billie Eilish, Ye to headline Coachella ’22

Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival organisers have announced the full line-up for the upcoming 2022 edition.

Harry Styles, Billie Eilish and Ye (aka Kanye West) are to headline the festival’s first in-person event since 2019, which will run across two weekends (15–17 and 22–24 April) at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.

Styles’ headline set will mark his debut Coachella performance, while Eilish’s will qualify her as the youngest-ever headliner at Coachella, following a seminal performance at the festival back in 2019.

Travis Scott was reportedly set to top the bill but was allegedly removed following the crowd crush tragedy at his Astroworld event last year.

Other artists billed for the Goldenvoice-promoted festival are Swedish House Mafia, Flume, Megan Thee Stallion, Disclosure, 21 Savage, Phoebe Bridgers, Doja Cat, Joji, Jamie xx and Run the Jewels.

Danny Elfman, Carly Rae Jepsen, Big Sean, Idles, Spiritualized, Stromae, Brockhampton, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Caribou, Caroline Polachek, Vince Staples, Ari Lennox and Kim Petras are also slated to perform.

Travis Scott was reportedly set to top the bill but was allegedly removed following the tragedy at his Astroworld event

According to today’s announcement, the 2022 edition will also include a collaboration with 88rising, a US-based artist management company, record label and media brand focused on east Asian artists.

The poster references the label’s annual LA-based music festival, Head in the Clouds. No further details have been revealed yet.

Coachella had its 2020 festival postponed twice due to the pandemic. It was rescheduled to April 2021, but postponed once again in January of that year, when the public health officer in charge of Riverside County, where the festival is held, signed a public health order cancelling Coachella and its sister festival, the country music event Stagecoach.

News emerged last October that Goldenvoice had signed a long-term agreement with the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, which will enable the promoter to stage additional festivals on the site.

Goldenvoice is one of the world’s biggest promoters; the company produces several festivals, including recently announced California Vibrations, operates 14 mid-sized venues and promotes over 1,800 shows per year.

 


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Friday round-up: World news in brief 7/1/22

Welcome to IQ‘s weekly round-up of news from around the world. Here, in bite-sized chunks, we present a selection of international stories you may have missed from the last seven days…

MEXICO:

Dead & Company and promoter CID Presents have cancelled their Playing in the Sand destination festival less than 24 hours before it was due to take place. The annual event had been set for Riviera Cancun over two weekends from 7-10 and 13-16 January, but has been axed due to a spike in Covid cases. “Dead & Company and CID Presents tried everything possible to bring normalcy and to deliver a great experience and amazing music, but with each day it became increasingly clear that cancelling is the correct thing to do for the fans and for our crew,” says a statement on the band’s Instagram page.  Dead & Company frontman John Mayer had earlier pulled out of the festival after testing positive for coronavirus.

UNITED STATES:

A woman has filed a lawsuit against California’s The Forum, promoter Live Nation and ticketing platforms Ticketmaster and StubHub, alleging she was injured in a crowd crush at a Harry Styles concert at the venue in December 2019. According to court documents obtained by TMZ, the plaintiff claims the venue, promoters and ticketing services “failed to provide sufficient seating, lighting, security, supervision and crowd control”.

UNITED STATES:

A US judge rejected Goldenvoice’s bid to extend a restraining order against Live Nation in its trademark infringement lawsuit over a rival music event called ‘Coachella Day One 22’. The event’s promoter, Native American Tribe Twenty-Nine Palms, was not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit after claiming sovereign immunity, but Live Nation was accused of “contributory infringement” due to tickets for the New Year’s Eve event being sold on Ticketmaster. The event listing had already been changed to ‘Day One 22’ on Ticketmaster, which was permitted to continue selling tickets for the festival after the judge concluded it was no longer directly infringing the Coachella trademark. Tribal chairman Darrell Mike praised the ruling as “a win for the tribe, the community and our ticketing partners at Live Nation”.

UNITED KINGDOM:

Bengi Ünsal, head of contemporary music at London’s Southbank Centre, is switching to The Institute of Contemporary Arts in March as its new director. Ünsal was artistic and managing director of Istanbul’s Salon IKSV venue prior to joining the Southbank Centre in 2016, where she has overseen the annual Meltdown festival with guest curators MIA, Robert Smith and Nile Rodgers. This year’s Grace Jones-helmed edition is set for June.

UNITED KINGDOM:

Well-being organisation Music & You has teamed up with beauty cosmetics firm Lush, entrepreneur Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, and mental health campaign #IAmWhole to create a fund providing free therapeutic support to people who are working, or used to work, in the live music sector pre-pandemic. To apply, individuals should complete this application form by no later than midnight on Thursday, 20 January. Applicants will be notified of a decision by 22 January.

UNITED STATES:

TodayTix Group has acquired live events ticketing platform Goldstar. The deal marks the latest move for TodayTix, which has been on an acquisition spree since 2020,  purchasing four companies including theatre specialist Show-Score; London-based Encore and Broadway Roulette.“We are focused on unlocking as much potential as we can so when the industry returns we can be a big part of its recovery,” the company’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Fenty, tells Variety. “We are live events purists through and through. We really do believe that despite the toll of the pandemic, there’s going to be a Roaring ’20s. We believe that people are desperate for arts and culture and are eager to get back into theatres.”

UNITED KINGDOM:

Britvic has been named as The O2’s new Official Soft Drinks partner in a five-year deal, brokered by AEG Global Partnerships, with Pepsi Max served and seen across the London venue. The partnership will mean pouring and supply rights across all bars at Indigo at The O2 and concourse bars, suites and premium bars including The Deck, AMEX Lounge, O2 Blueroom and Sky Backstage bars at The O2 arena. The deal will also welcome a takeover of the level 1 bar which is to be rebranded as The London Essence Company bar. In addition, Britvic will have activation opportunities at the venue and access to tickets for Up at The O2 ­ for promotional use. Meanwhile, Birmingham-based NEC Group has announced a multi-year deal with Molson Coors Beverage Company, which is responsible for a portfolio that includes Pravha, Staropramen, Rekorderlig and Coors. The deal will see Pravha being named as the official beer of Utilita Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena with bars across both venues carrying the Pravha branding.

UNITED STATES:

Dice has ramped up its North American expansion by becoming the ticketing partner of the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival. The partnership will see the events, which will be held in Rhode Island in July, offer digital ticketing for the first time. “Every year of the event, we work with our partners to innovate beyond traditional ticketing,” says Newport Folk executive producer Jay Sweet. “In a year where fans deserve to get out and go see the music they love, we know Dice is the right partner to make things as easy as possible, fair, transparent and intuitive for our Newport Family. We want these tickets in the hands of our fans and not on the secondary market.”

 


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