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Coronavirus hits French event giant Comexposium

One of the world’s largest events organisers has filed for bankruptcy protection after being unable to secure government-backed financing.

Paris-based Comexposium, which organises trade shows and exhibitions globally, has placed three of its holding companies in financial protection in France, citing restrictions on mass gatherings both in France and internationally.

The company – which Conference & Meetings World notes was sold to Credit Agricole for over US$700 million last year – is France’s biggest event organiser and the third-largest in the world, with a portfolio of more than 130 B2B and B2C events. In normal times, it welcomes more than 3.5 million visitors to its shows, which include events for the food, agriculture, fashion, security, transport and construction industries.

In a statement, the group says coronavirus restrictions have “prevented Comexposium from being able to play its role, organising events, for over six months. For many months the events sector has seen very little activity, and, as of now, there is uncertainty around when events will fully restart in France and abroad. Therefore, it has become necessary for Comexposium to adapt its financing.”

“I strongly believe in the importance of face-to-face events, and I am confident events will come back”

According to Les Echos, the company has now filed for bankruptcy protection with the commercial court in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris.

The paper notes that the bankruptcy process, valid for six months (and renewable twice), gives the three businesses freedom from creditors and freezes their debts while Comexposium restructures its business. Comexposium, it adds, had applied for a state-guaranteed loan earlier in the year, but its application was rejected.

Despite the extraordinary measures, Comexposium chairman Renaud Hamaide is confident in the company’s future. “Meeting in person is the quickest and strongest way to build relationships. I strongly believe in the importance of face-to-face events, and I am confident events will come back,” he comments.

“Further, it is clear that digital and multi-channelled approaches to creating connection are necessary, and we will continue to develop in this area. The future is being written now, and when this crisis is over, we want to be at the forefront of our industry in bringing people together.”

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Wide Days announces mini-summit on EU relations

Scotland’s music convention, Wide Days, is hosting a mini-summit of industry figures from across the European Union to strengthen and maintain ties with Europe and develop international opportunities.

The summit forms part of the tenth-anniversary edition of the convention, which takes place in Edinburgh from 11 to 13 April, and will be attended by representatives from showcase events, festivals and export offices from nine different countries.

Topics on the agenda include the potential for European events to guest-curate stages at future conventions as part of Wide Days’ new Festival Takeover initiative, which this year sees Scottish summer festivals Tenement Trail, Electric Fields and Kelburn Garden Party each programme a stage.

The Festival Takeover also sees the launch of artist exchanges with Focus Wales and Sound of Belfast, featuring performances by Welsh band Kidsmoke and Derry-based “grumpy electro-pop” artist Roe, who recently supported Snow Patrol on their UK arena tour. Wide Days organisers hope to establish closer ties with European events through the initiative in the coming years.

“Since its launch in 2010, Wide Days has built strong ties across Europe and we want to make sure these are maintained and developed further,” says Wide Days founder, Olaf Furniss. “At the summit we will be discussing the possibility of us hosting international festivals in the future.”

“Wide Days has built strong ties across Europe and we want to make sure these are maintained and developed further”

Delegates from Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Norway will attend the summit. Representatives from the Dutch, German, Irish and Austrian music export offices and the French festival association Prodiss will be present, as well as a range of promoters.

Alan Morrison, head of programming at Creative Scotland, welcomes the addition of the summit. “International showcasing is a two-way street. Scottish bands need to be out there breaking new markets and building up audiences abroad, but it’s equally important that the key players from foreign territories come here and witness our talent first-hand,” says Morrison.

“The delegate presence in 2019 proves that Wide Days is a first point of destination for international agents and bookers who want to check out our dynamic and diverse music scene,” adds Morrison.

“Creative Scotland is proud to support an event that’s ultimately all about building bridges across borders and bringing musicians, fans and the industry together on an international scale.”

The panel line-up for Wide Days 2019 includes Stevie Wonder’s manager Keith Harris, Radio 1 DJs Phil Taggart and Abbie McCarthy, Radio Scotland’s Vic Galloway and representatives from Bandcamp, Soundcloud, EmuBands PPL and charity partner Help Musicians Scotland.


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TGE Convention reveals 2017 themes

UK showcase festival The Great Escape has announced the first details of its convention programme for 2017.

Taking place over two venues in Brighton over two days, the convention – held in association with CMU Insights – will be divided into four themes, as follows:

The Media Conference – The crisis in music journalism
Is it still possible to make money out of music media in the digital age? Will music journalism be the preserve of brands in the future? And is music radio ready for its impending collision with the streaming platforms?

The Drugs Conference – Let’s actually save some lives
Can artists embrace the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle without damaging their career and their health? And, following the battle for Fabric, what can and what should clubs, promoters, law enforcement and licensing officials be doing to prevent drugs deaths at live music events?

The Export Conference – Breaking out beyond Brexit
A guide to taking new artists global in 2017 featuring tips on going global, acts who have benefited from the Music Export Growth Scheme. Plus, how will Brexit impact music in Europe? Presented in partnership with BPI.

The Royalties Conference – Where’s my fucking money?
Tracking the money from sale, sync and stream to artist and songwriter. How does collective licensing work worldwide? Why are some artists licensing direct? And where is all of that Spotify money going?

The Great Escape 2017 runs from 18 to 20 May. The first fifty acts for its music programme were announced in September.


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Liverpool Sound City attracts Chinese backers

Liverpool Sound City today announced a new partnership with Modern Sky Entertainment, after the Chinese indie music firm acquired Ingenious Media’s equity stake in the festival.

However, it appears the partnership was brokered more than four months ago, with news outlet China Music Radar reporting the investment as far back as 22 December, 2015. The fact that both Liverpool Sound City and Modern Sky’s Sound Of The Xity in Beijing happen within a matter of weeks might be the reason behind the latest press release.

As China’s largest independent record label, Modern Sky also runs the Strawberry Music Festival, which took place in more than 12 cities around China during 2015. With divisions in nearly every part of the music business chain, Modern Sky also opened the first of its own venues last year, Modernsky Lab in Beijing.

“The city of Liverpool is the birthplace of the music that influenced our growing years.”

Shen Li Hui, founder, Modern Sky Entertainment

Modern Sky founder Shen Li Hui says: “The city of Liverpool is the birthplace of the music that influenced our growing years. Liverpool Sound City is a hugely interesting and very diverse music festival. Coming in partnership with Sound City is a great first step for Modern Sky venturing overseas.”

He adds, “The founder of Sound City, David Pichilingi, has a great deal of experience and we can learn a lot from him and his team. We also believe that Sound City will be a new platform to open the European market up for Chinese music talents.”

For his part, Pichilingi states, “This partnership is an exciting new step for Sound City. Shen Li Hui is a truly inspirational individual. He has built Modern Sky into a huge and credible name. More importantly he has done this by working with artists in an ethical and moral way that recognises the ownership and commercial importance of their intellectual property.”