Coldplay to open OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena
Coldplay will be the first act to play Oak View Group’s (OVG) Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle – the world’s first carbon-neutral certified arena.
The band’s frontman, Chris Martin, previously told BBC News that Coldplay would put touring plans on hold as they investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable.
“Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that environmentally,” said Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin.
“We would be disappointed if it’s not carbon neutral. The hardest thing is the flying side of things. But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar-powered. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”
The band will fulfil their dream by performing at the 18,100-seat Climate Pledge Arena, which will be powered exclusively by renewable energy sources.
The arena will also be a functionally zero-waste building from day one and will eliminate all single-use plastics by 2024.
“We’re so excited to have Coldplay who wholeheartedly believes in and supports sustainability efforts, be the first to play”
Coldplay, along with support act We Are King, will perform at the former KeyArena on 2 October, marking the official reopening.
Tickets go on sale on 15 September at 10:00 PST through Ticketmaster. Amazon Music will also be streaming the show live on Prime Video for all customers – with or without a Prime membership – as well as Twitch, and on the Amazon Music app.
Oak View Group CEO, Tim Leiweke, says: “We’ve embarked on what some may say was an impossible journey to turn this historic landmark into a world-class net-zero carbon certified arena that’s first of its kind. This is why we’re so excited to have Coldplay who wholeheartedly believes in and supports sustainability efforts, be the first to play in the building for what will be a night to remember.”
The concert will be the first public show at Climate Pledge Arena as a part of a weeklong opening celebration across the Seattle Center Campus.
Other opening week festivities include the VenuesNow Conference (hosted by OVG), a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Seattle Kraken’s inaugural home opener marking its first season.
Today’s news follows Leiweke’s call to arms for the live entertainment industry to take action on climate change. Read the full IQ interview here.
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Glastonbury goes global with ticketed livestream
Glastonbury will host an exclusive global livestream from its Worthy Farm festival site on 22 May, in lieu of the flagship event which was called off for a second consecutive year.
Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice and DJ Honey Dijon will perform across the site’s landmarks – including the Pyramid Field and the Stone Circle – for the event, dubbed Live at Worthy Farm. There will also be a number of unannounced surprise performances.
The uninterrupted five-hour production will be shot by acclaimed Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale and co-promoted and produced by Driift, the pioneering UK livestream business which has hosted livestreams for Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue.
“For one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through [Worthy Farm] together”
The performances will be interspersed by a spoken word narrative, written and delivered by special guests.
“After two Glastonbury cancellations, it brings us great pleasure to announce our first online livestream, which will present live music performances filmed across Worthy Farm at landmarks including the Pyramid and, for the first time ever, the Stone Circle,” says Glastonbury organiser, Emily Eavis.
“It will feature a rolling cast of artists and performers who have all given us enormous support by agreeing to take part in this event, showing the farm as you have never seen it. There will also be some very special guest appearances and collaborations. We are hoping this will bring a bit of Glastonbury to your homes and that for one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through the farm together!”
Live at Worthy Farm will support Glastonbury’s three main charitable partners, Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid, as well as helping to secure next year’s edition.
Stagehand, the live production hardship fund that has been providing financial support to crew members throughout the pandemic, will receive the proceeds from a limited edition line-up poster for the event.
The online event will be broadcast in full across four separate time zones, with staggered livestreams. Tickets are on sale now at worthyfarm.live for £20/€23/US$27.50/A$35.
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India: State of Hindipendents
If there were an award for the greatest potential touring market, India would be on that stage, brandishing the trophy, year in, year out. With a population nudging 1.4 billion and projected to surpass that of China by 2022, India is about as vast as countries get. Nonetheless, when a big band comes to town, the comparative rarity of the event still makes global headlines.
U2’s show in December at Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium, the very last stop on the fifth leg of The Joshua Tree Tour, wasn’t the first superstar show to come to India – far from it: The Stones played Mumbai and Bangalore in 2003, while Beyoncé and Shakira came in 2007, Metallica in 2011, Coldplay in 2016, and Ed Sheeran in 2015 and 2017, with other significant visitors in between.
But each major concert fires up the expectation that India’s biggest cities could soon become routine destinations for the world’s biggest artists. And U2’s show before a crowd of 42,590, staged by local ticketing giant BookMyShow in partnership with Live Nation, got the country dreaming once more.
“There were a lot of reservations from everybody coming into India,” says BookMyShow CEO and founder Ashish Hemrajani, who freely concedes that India has failed to meet international expectations for live shows in the past. “It was the first outing for U2 here; it was the first show of this scale and magnitude; it was the last show of the tour. There was a lot riding on it and everyone was on tenterhooks.”
BookMyShow has been scaling up its promoting exploits in recent years, bringing Cirque du Soleil, NBA pre-season games, an adapted Hindi Aladdin and the Coldplay-headlined Mumbai edition of the Global Citizen festival, but Hemrajani says U2 represented a new level and a new set of pressures.
“There were a lot of reservations from everybody coming into India”
“We have got a great team in India, but nothing prepares you for dealing with Arthur Fogel, with Jake Berry and the whole team,” he says. “But if you talk to the folks that we dealt with, they were very pleasantly surprised by the level of professionalism they found.”
More than anyone else in the Indian business, Hemrajani has both a vision and a platform to bring about a revolution in the nation’s live entertainment offering. BookMyShow sells between 35% and 50% of all cinema tickets in a cinema-mad nation (“we are a hot, dusty country, which is an assault on all your senses, and cinema is the cheapest, most comfortable form of indoor entertainment,” he explains), and played a part in the massive success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) of cricket. If Hemrajani judges that India is ripe for some concert-going, the chances are he knows what he is talking about.
The same feeling has recently been in the air across the country. The preceding month, also at DY Patil Stadium, Katy Perry and Dua Lipa inaugurated the OnePlus Music Festival, along with local acts Amit Trivedi, Ritviz, as we keep searching and The Local Train. Both of the top-billers were new to the market, and again, the show was an unconventional labour of love, this time organised by the local operation of Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus, which rivals Samsung and Apple in India.
As OnePlus India general manager Vikas Agarwal told India’s The Telegraph newspaper: “[We were] not looking to organise everything by ourselves, but the country [was] not yet ready to organise such a large-scale event. [So] starting from the artist selection to the whole conceptualisation of the event, logistics – everything was done for the first time by the brand. I hope more such events will be organised in India.”
And then, of course, came Covid-19, to which we will inevitably return in a minute.
“The folks that we dealt with were very pleasantly surprised by the level of professionalism they found”
Still a mostly rural nation of numerous languages and cultures, heavily regionalised laws and huge inequality, India has always had more pressing priorities than slotting conveniently into a Western live music model. All the same, its entertainment market is highly evolved. The homegrown cinema industry enjoys a sophisticated, mostly mobile ticketing infrastructure, spearheaded by BookMyShow, with strong competition lately from Alibaba-backed Paytm. Both have diverse businesses and are busy across many sectors, including cricket, theatre, food and mobile payments.
Online ticketing was reckoned to be worth $330 million in 2017, according to Indian management consultant RedSeer, whose prediction of $580m in revenues this year has sadly been scuppered by recent events. In the past, the lion’s share of online ticket sales (55%), was for movies, with sport on 25% and events taking the remaining 20%, though both the latter categories are growing.
EDM, in particular, has found a booming home in India, where there is a large network of clubs and established festivals, from OML’s multi-city Bacardi NH7 Weekender to the monster Sunburn in Pune.
“The electronic music scene in the country has developed into its own industry and it’s spread to wider parts of the country,” says Dev Bhatia of dance music management and booking agency UnMute. “Having said that, I still feel we’re barely scratching the surface. Considering India will [soon] have five to six hundred million people under the age of 35 with cell phones and accessibility, the potential is endless.”
That potential is currently on pause. At the time of writing, India was attempting to relax its notably strict lockdown conditions even as it faced a record spike in Covid-19 infections. In a country where many millions of informal workers live on a daily wage, the economy can’t stand idle for long.
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Live Nation SVP International steps down
Jason Miller, senior vice president of international and emerging markets at Live Nation, has announced that he is leaving the live entertainment giant after over seven years.
Miller held his most recent role at Live Nation since 2016, after previously serving as senior vice president of the company’s operations in Asia.
Prior to joining Live Nation, he operated a concert consultancy and spent more than a decade as an agent at CAA.
“I am humbled by the record-breaking tours this team executed”
In a social media post, replicated by Celebrity Access, the live industry veteran wrote that he had “officially moved on” from his role at Live Nation.
“I am incredibly proud of the team I built at Live Nation. I am humbled by the record-breaking tours this team executed (U2, Coldplay, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Guns & Roses, etc, etc),” reads the post.
“I am grateful for all the career changing experiences I’ve had at Live Nation over the last 7+ years.”
Miller adds that he is unsure “where my next adventure will lead, but I am excited for what the future holds.”
Global Citizen prepares for One World follow-up event
International advocacy platform Global Citizen has announced the full line-up for the upcoming Global Goal: Unite for our Future charity event, a follow-up from its record-breaking One World: Together at Home concert.
Together with the European Commission, Global Citizen states it is organising the virtual summit and concert to highlight “the disproportionate impact” that Covid-19 has on marginalised communities, including people of color, those living in extreme poverty and other discriminated communities.
The concert, which airs on 27 June on television and digital channels, will feature performances from Miley Cyrus, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, Christine and the Queens, Usher, J Balvin, Shakira and Jennifer Hudson, among others.
The event is the second organised by Global Citizen to raise funds to help those affected by Covid-19. One World: Together at Home, put on in conjunction with Lady Gaga, set a new record for the most money raised by a remote music festival, generating almost US$128 million for the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 solidarity response fund.
“If we are to end Covid-19 for all, we need our world leaders to commit the billions of dollars needed to equitably deliver testing, treatments, and vaccines”
“Global Citizens around the world are calling for systemic change, change that brings about justice for everyone, everywhere, regardless of where they were born or the colour of their skin,” comments Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen.
“If we are to end Covid-19 for all, we need our world leaders to commit the billions of dollars needed to equitably deliver testing, treatments, and vaccines.”
Evans adds that Global Goal aims to “bring the centuries-old concept of music as a motivator for change and unity, together with science and data, to honour the problem solvers who are racing to not only create the cure for Covid-19, but also to ensure that it’s available for everyone who needs it.”
The concert will be available to watch in over 30 countries around the world, broadcast on channels including ARD, Canal+ Group and RTVE in Europe; Bell Media, CBC, Citytv, and Global TV in Canada; NBC and iHeartMedia in the US; Grupo Globo in Brazil; MultiChoice Group and SABC in Africa; Fuji TV and Star India in Asia; and Channel Nine in Australia.
It will also be streamed on global platforms including Apple, Brut, Roku, Insight TV, TIDAL, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo!, and YouTube. Additional broadcasters include BARÇA TV, Bloomberg Television, Fundación Azteca, Mediacorp, MSNBC, MTV International, SiriusXM, Sony Channel Latin America, and Turner Latin America. Viewers are advised to check local listings for start times.
Norwegian DJ embarks on carbon neutral tour
Norwegian DJ and producer Matoma, real name Tom Stræte Lagergren, is preparing for a climate-neutral concert tour.
Prior to the upcoming US leg of Matoma’s One in a Million tour, the DJ has partnered with climate advocates Chooose to measure the carbon footprint expected from the tour and plan to neutralise emissions.
According to the DJ, the tour will be the first to actively remove unavoidable emissions, using carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects in Finland. The aim is to reduce tour emissions by twice the initial footprint, removing 20 tonnes of CO2 from the air.
“We’re thrilled to be actually removing the remaining carbon with our partners in Finland, and continuing to find new ways and technologies to solve this global problem,” says Lagergren.
“We’re thrilled to be actually removing the remaining carbon and continuing to find new ways and technologies to solve this global problem”
The DJ and his team will also reduce emissions on a local scale, using public transport, eating vegetarian meals, staying in sustainable hotels and making an effort to limit electricity consumption.
The tour kicks off on 16 January in Austin and wraps up on 18 April at Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California.
The approach is the latest attempt to tackle touring’s carbon footprint, adding to Massive Attack’s academic study into the industry’s carbon emissions and plans to tour by train, Coldplay’s touring hiatus and A Greener Festival’s Green Artist Rider initiative.
Experts will gather to discuss the environmental impact of touring and how to mitigate it at the next Green Events and Innovation (GEI) conference in March.
The decade in live: 2017
The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.
The memories of a turbulent 2016 were left far behind in 2017, as the concert business enjoyed a record-breaking twelve months, as the year’s gross revenue and number of tickets sold saw 2013 finally knocked off the top spot.
The success of the live business in 2017, however, was somewhat overshadowed by a number of devastating terror attacks, with the Manchester Arena bombing, the shootings at Route 91 Harvest and BPM Festival, the Reina nightclub shooting and other incidents targeting music fans.
In response to the tragedies, the live industry united and made a positive impact, in the form of the One Love Manchester and We are Manchester charity concerts and candlelit vigils and fundraising for victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack.
Elsewhere, the booking agency world continued to consolidate through 2017, with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships while Live Nation welcomed several more promoters, festivals, ticketing agencies and venues to its fast-growing family.
2017 in numbers
The live music business reached new heights in 2017, with the top 100 tours worldwide generating a record US$5.65 billion, up almost 16% from the previous year.
The number of tickets sold throughout the year also saw a notable increase from the year before, climbing 10.4% to 66.8 million, at an average price of almost $4 more per ticket than in 2016, at $84.60.
Eleven tours surpassed the $100m mark in 2017, with U2 topping the year-end charts having generated $316m on their Joshua Tree tour. Guns N’ Roses narrowly missed out on $300m, grossing $292.5m on the Not in this Lifetime tour.
Coldplay came in next, as the band’s A Head Full of Dreams tour made $238m. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic tour was also successful, grossing just over $200m, whereas Metallica’s WorldWired tour generated $152.8m.
Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and Celine Dion were the other acts whose 2017 tour earnings exceeded $100m.
2017 in brief
A lone gunman attacks New Year’s revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, resulting in the death of 39 people and injuries to a further 70. Two weeks later, four are killed and 12 injured during a shooting at the BPM Festival in the coastal resort of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
AM Only and The Windish Agency rebrand as Paradigm Talent Agency, signalling the next phase of their joint ventures, launched in 2012 and 2015, respectively.
Global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners acquires a 70% stake in Sziget Festival and reveals plans to launch eight to ten branded festivals, with James Barton, former president of electronic music for Live Nation, leading the international expansion.
AEG Live finalises negotiations to acquire New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents.
Ticketbis, the multinational resale operation acquired by eBay in May 2016, is rebranded as StubHub, bringing to an end the Ticketbis name across Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Live Nation enters the Middle East’s biggest touring market with the acquisition of a majority stake in Bluestone Entertainment, one of Israel’s leading promoters.
Iron Maiden’s decision to use paperless tickets on the UK leg of The Book of Souls arena tour helps reduce the number of tickets appearing on secondary sites by more than 95%, according to promoter Live Nation.
Live Nation acquires a controlling stake in the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.
The Australian leg of Adele’s Live 2017 tour makes concert history after playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates.
Sziget Festival 2017 © László Mudra/Rockstar Photographers
In the biggest primary deal so far for the world’s largest secondary ticketing site, StubHub is named the official ticket seller for Rock in Rio 2017.
Creative Artists Agency increases its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private equity firm CMC Capital Partners.
Luxury Ja Rule-backed boutique event, Fyre Festival, descends into chaos on its first day, with visitors to the Bahamas site comparing conditions to a refugee camp.
22 people, including children, lose their lives after a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, for which Islamic State terror claims responsibility. The attack targets people leaving the 21,000-cap. venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.
Pandora Media announces the sale of Ticketfly to Eventbrite. Despite purchasing the company for $450m less than two years ago, it sells for a package worth $200m.
AEG invests in Immortals, one of the world’s leading esports teams, with professional players in the North American League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch and Vainglory leagues. The team will now play their Los Angeles tournaments and matches at AEG’s LA Live entertainment district.
The organisers of ILMC announce the launch of the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S), a one-day meeting focusing on security at live events.
The reality of Fyre Festival © Here_Comes_the_Kingz/Reddit
Helsinki-based Fullsteam Agency acquires Rähinä Live, whose roster includes some of Finland’s biggest hip-hop and pop artists.
Oak View Group, which counts Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke among its founders, completes its acquisition of Pollstar, adding the US-based concert business magazine to its portfolio of trade titles.
Madison Square Garden Company makes a significant move into the esports sector by acquiring a controlling stake in Counter Logic Gaming.
Paradigm Talent Agency acquires Chicago- and California-based agency Monterey International, including its 14 agents and 200 acts.
Live Nation launches in Brazil with former Time for Fun (T4F) chief entertainment officer Alexandre Faria Fernandes at the helm.
Three quarters of staff at Function(x), the online business founded by former SFX Entertainment CEO Robert Sillerman, are effectively laid off, with the company telling investors it lacks the funds to pay them.
A sovereign wealth fund controlled by the government of Saudi Arabia, says it is forming a new SR10 billion ($2.7bn) investment vehicle in a bid to kick-start the kingdom’s entertainment sector.
Music returns to Manchester Arena as a capacity crowd turn out for We are Manchester, a benefit concert that raises funds for a memorial to the victims of the 22nd of May bombing.
The We are Manchester charity concert drew a full-capacity crowd at the 21,000-cap. arena © Showsec
A gunman kills 58 people and injures a further 546 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas. Local resident Stephen Paddock targeted the concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.
WME-IMG rebrands as Endeavor, with company assets that include martial- arts promoter, UFC; ad agency, Droga5; Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; Frieze Art Fair; management companies, Dixon Talent and The Wall Group; and joint ventures such as Euroleague Basketball and esports championship ELEAGUE.
Ticketmaster confirms its long-rumoured expansion into Italy. The launch of Ticketmaster Italia, headquartered in Milan, follows the end of the exclusive long-term online partnership in Italy between Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne.
After 11 years in East London’s Victoria Park – now exclusive to AEG – Eat Your Own Ears’ Field Day Festival will head to Brockwell Park in South London. Live Nation’s Lovebox and Citadel are also rumoured to be moving to Brockwell Park.
Secondary ticketing websites will, from January 2018, be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords, as the search-engine giant cracks down on ticket resellers’ controversial use of its online advertising platform.
Leading self-service ticketer Eventbrite announces a series of new partnerships, rolling out integrations with events guide The List, festival package provider Festicket, word-of-mouth ticket sales platform Verve, and brand ambassador software Ticketrunner.
Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment since 2010, will remain in his role until at least 2022 after signing a new five-year contract worth up to $9m per annum. Also re-upping are leading execs Kathy Willard, Michael Rowles and Joe Berchtold.
Primary Talent’s Dave Chumbley (1960-2017) picks up his Platinum Endurance Arthur Award at ILMC 25 © ILMC
Who we lost
Peter Rieger, founder of German promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK); Joseph Rascoff, business manager to the Stones, David Bowie, U2, Sting and more; ILMC’s long-time producer Alia Dann Swift; ShowSec International Ltd founder Mick Upton; Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent International director; Mary Cleary, former booker and tour manager; American singer-songwriter Tom Petty; pioneering concert promoter Shmuel Zemach, founder of Zemach Promotions; Australian country music promoter, agent and artist, Rob Potts; Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington; Reading festival founder Harold Pendelton; Washington, DC, promoter Jack Boyle; Live Nation Belgium booker Marianne Dekimpe; rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry.
Massive Attack tackle touring’s carbon footprint
Bristol band Massive Attack are the latest UK act to tackle the live industry’s environmental impact, teaming up with researchers to map the carbon footprint of typical tour cycles.
In an article published in the Guardian, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja (3D) announced that the band are commissioning Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to look at “three key areas” where Co2 is emitted in the music industry: band travel and production; audience transport; and venues.
The resulting “roadmap to decarbonisation” will be shared with other touring acts, promoters, festival organisers and venue owners to encourage and facilitate a reduction in carbon emissions across the industry.
“Every industry has varying degrees of carbon impact to address and we need partnerships like this one to look at reducing carbon emissions across the board,” comments Dr Chris Jones, a research fellow at Tyndall.
“It’s more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances. It will likely mean a major shift in how things are done now, involving not just the band but the rest of the business and the audience.”
“It’s more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances”
Last week, Coldplay announced their decision to put a pause on touring, due to environmental concerns. The 1975 and Billie Eilish are among other high-profile artists to work to reduce the carbon footprint of upcoming tours.
While Del Naja notes that stopping touring altogether is “an important option that deserves consideration”, an unrealistic number of high number acts would have to do so in order to “achieve the required impact”.
Carbon offsetting initiatives, such as planting tress, banning single-use plastic and encouraging the use of public transport, says Del Naja, are also unlikely to deliver any meaningful impact.
“Given the current polarised social atmosphere, uplifting and unifying cultural events are arguably more important now than ever, and no one would want to see them postponed or even cancelled,” says Del Naja.
“The challenge therefore is to avoid more pledges, promises and greenwashing headlines and instead embrace seismic change.”
To help reduce the environmental impact of artists’ riders, Coda Agency and A Greener Festival (AGF) launched the Green Artist Rider at the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) in March. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.
Coldplay go on touring hiatus over eco-concerns
Coldplay have put a temporary hold on their touring career, and will not tour their next album at all, due to concerns over live music’s environmental impact, frontman Chris Martin has said.
Speaking to BBC News, Martin says: “We’re not touring this album. We’re taking time over the next year or two, to work out how our tour can not only be sustainable, [but] how can it be actively beneficial.”
The double album Everyday Life, the band’s eighth studio effort, will be released on Parlophone tomorrow (22 November).
“All of us have to work out the best way of doing our job,” Martin continues, telling the BBC Coldplay want their future tours to “have a positive impact”.
The UK act are currently in Amman, the capital of Jordan, preparing to play two shows that will be streamed live on YouTube. The two concerts, to be staged tomorrow at sunrise and sunset, respectively, will mirror the two halves of Everyday Life.
Coldplay’s last world tour was the A Head Full of Dreams trek, which encompassed 122 shows across four continents in 2016–2017.
“All of us have to work out the best way of doing our job”
“Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that [A Head Full of Dreams], environmentally,” adds Martin. “We would be disappointed if it’s not carbon neutral.
“The hardest thing is the flying side of things. But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, [and[ to have it largely solar powered.
“We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”
To ensure their next UK and Ireland dates carbon neutral, the 1975 recently pledged to plant a tree for every ticket sold for the home leg of the People tour.
The environmental impact of touring and how to mitigate it will be among the topics discussed as the next Green Events and Innovation (GEI) conference next March.
Minding our own business: why mental health needs more attention
Traditionally an industry that attracts passionate and creative individuals who are willing to go the extra mile, the highly competitive live music business appears to be rife with fatigue, anxiety, stress, and drink – and drug-related problems.
A recent survey of more than 500 promoters, event organisers and venue owners, by ticket agency Skiddle indicates the extent of the welfare challenge facing the music industry. Some 82% of respondents said they had suffered with stress, 67% said they had anxiety, and 40% said they had struggled with depression.
Skiddle found 65% of promoters admitted to frequently feeling an “intense and unmanageable level of pressure.”
Someone who knows first hand what it feels like to suffer mental health issues as a result of intense pressure at work is production manager Andy Franks. After being sacked from a tour as a result of excessive drinking, Franks says he didn’t know where to turn to for help.
After meeting artist manager Matt Thomas, and collectively realising that drink – and drug-related mental health problems were widespread in the recorded and live music sectors, the duo founded the charity Music Support.
Franks says the aim of Music Support’s tagline – ‘You Are Not Alone’ – is to emphasise that the charity is there to ensure there is always someone on hand to help.
As well as offering a 24-hour helpline manned by volunteers with experience in the music industry, Music Support provides Safe Tents backstage at UK festivals, and services including crisis support and trauma therapy.
“We get feedback from people who we have helped and it is awe inspiring, we know we have saved people’s lives”
“We get feedback from people who we have helped and it is awe inspiring, we know we have saved people’s lives,” says Franks. As well as crew, promoters and venue staff, artists are also affected by the enormous pressures involved in delivering live music. One of the patrons of Music Support is Robbie Williams, while acts including Depeche Mode and Coldplay are among those to have helped fund the charity.
Despite the high-level backing, Franks says the future of Music Support is far from secure unless further funding can be found.
“These problems are in everyone’s business and we are providing a valuable service, but the only way we can sustain that is with regular funding. We are in desperate need of sustained funding,” says Franks.
Lina Ugrinovska is another live music industry executive who, having struggled with issues including stress, became determined to help others overcome their problems.
Ugrinovska handles international booking at Password Production in Macedonia. Earlier this year she launched the ‘Mental Health Care in the Music Industry’ initiative with the aim of raising the profile of mental health issues, and helping people to tackle their problems via mentoring sessions and panel discussions.
She says, “I feel a responsibility to open the box and show that people should feel comfortable talking about their issues, instead of treating them as a sign of weakness.
“The idea behind the initiative is to raise awareness and help develop a healthier industry, through sharing stories, diagnosing, prevention and problem solving. It is something that everyone involved in this industry should take responsibility for.”
“I feel a responsibility to open the box and show that people should feel comfortable talking about their issues, instead of treating them as a sign of weakness”
An organisation that clearly has its employees’ best interests at heart is UK performance rights organisation PRS for Music. It used World Mental Health Day to announce the launch of an initiative that will see 16 of its staff trained as ‘mental health first-aiders.’
The initiative, in partnership with Mental Health First Aid England, is the next step in a series of wellbeing programmes carried out by the organisation in recent years.
Steve Powell, PRS for Music chief financial officer, says, “We have undertaken wellbeing programmes covering issues including nutrition, physical, financial, digital detox, and mental health. This latest initiative enables people to have conversations more regularly and outside of a structured programme.
“The area of stress and mental resilience is something that more and more people are having to cope with. This initiative is designed to enable people to talk about mental health and break down the stigma surrounding it in an informal and confidential way.”
Another organisation providing a 24-hours-a-day, seven- days-a-week help line for people suffering with mental health issues is Britain’s Help Musicians. Its Music Minds Matter service was launched in December in response to the findings of its Can Music Make You Sick? study released the previous year.
Nearly three quarters of survey respondents stated they had experienced anxiety and depression, while more than half said there wasn’t sufficient support available. Aside from the helpline, Music Support provides a network of international counsellors to help those in need while out on tour.
Formerly known as the Musicians Benevolent Fund, which was set up in 1921, Help Musicians not only helps people with mental health issues, but other problems including isolation and financial turmoil.
Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 80, or subscribe to the magazine here