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Dansk Live chair Lars Månsson Sloth steps down

Dansk Live is on the lookout for a new chair following the resignation of longtime board member Lars Månsson Sloth.

Sloth, who has also stepped down from his position at music organisation Gimle, joined the board at the Danish trade body in 2012 and has served as chair since 2018.

“Lars has been of great importance to the association’s development in recent years, and his routine and his friendly and calm disposition will be missed,” it says a statement.

“Lars was a great support to the secretariat’s work”

Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at Dansk Live, credits Sloth for his crisis management work during the pandemic.

“The dialogue between the board and the secretariat of Dansk Live is very close, and my collaboration has been particularly close with Lars,” says Marcher. “Lars has helped to move Dansk Live as an association – both organisationally and politically.

“Lars was a great support to the secretariat’s work, not least during the corona crisis, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him many times for the cooperation”

Deputy chair Søren Eskildsen will take over temporarily until a permanent replacement is found.

 


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Danish festivals report strong resurgence

Ticket sales for many festivals in Denmark this summer are on a par with pre-Covid levels, according to promoters.

Events including Roskilde Festival, Smukfest and Copenhell are already sold out, with a number of others reporting near sell-outs.

Dansk Live adds that ticket sales are also booming at Northside and Tinderbox, with both on course to break their previous records.

“In terms of sales, both festivals are going great,” says Pernille Høll, head of marketing at Down the Drain, which runs the two festivals. “Northside gets its second or best year in history. Tinderbox gets its best.”

“It is extremely nice to see that the audience is once again looking for the community around live music”

Elsewhere, Jelling Music Festival is also on track for an impressive comeback.

“We can clearly see that people are really looking forward to getting on the grass again,” says co-founder and manager Lars Charlie Mortensen. “We see this clearly in ticket sales. People buy all kinds of tickets at the moment – both day tickets and for the whole festival, and we expect to get a full house.”

Dansk Live’s head of secretariat Esben Marcher is delighted with how the market is rebounding.

“We can only interpret the high sales figures as meaning that the audience still loves live music,” he says. “After some hard years for all live organisers, it is extremely nice to see that the audience is once again looking for the community around live music.”

“It is unfortunately no surprise that the younger target groups are not yet fully involved”

While Nibe Festival manager Peter Møller Madsen reports similarly strong sales, he observes that teenagers have been slower to buy tickets than in the pre-pandemic era – a trend he attributes to the two-year break.

“They have not inherited the tradition,” he says. “However, we believe that they will probably come, so we are very confident.”

Marcher adds: “Although overall ticket sales at the Danish festivals are doing well, it is unfortunately no surprise that the younger target groups are not yet fully involved. We have been without the great festival experiences for two years, and thus there are two new vintages who have not yet been to a festival, and thus may not be so eager to get tickets. However, that trend will hopefully improve over time.”

 


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Dansk Live survey highlights Covid talent drain

A new report by Dansk Live highlights the exodus of backstage talent from the concert industry as a result of the pandemic.

The Danish trade association surveyed the country’s concert and festival organisers during February and March 2022, with 17.2% reporting they have fewer employees today than in 2019.

Dansk Live says a large number of roles have not been re-occupied since the business returned from the coronavirus shutdown, emphasising there is still work to be done to return the domestic sector to full-strength.

The findings are in line with a trend seen across the international live music industry, with a UNESCO study showing that 10 million jobs had been lost across the international cultural industry during Covid-19.

“The consequences of the pandemic are long-lasting”

“Unfortunately, the survey confirms the trend we have also seen with our international colleagues, namely that there are fewer employees in the live industry now than before corona,” says Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at Dansk Live. “The consequences of the pandemic are long-lasting, and this decline is unfortunately a good example of this.”

Last month, Denmark became the first country in the EU to lift all coronavirus measures. But the organisation warned reopening was “not a silver bullet” as promoters still faced major challenges.

Marcher, who has also warned of low confidence among organisers and suppliers and says it will take time for the “natural caution” to disappear, is echoing UNESCO’s calls for political support to aid the industry’s restart.

“It emphasises that there is still a need for the political side to focus on restarting the music and culture sector, so that, among other things, the live industry can get back on its feet after the corona,” he says.

 


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Denmark: ‘Reopening is not a silver bullet’

Denmark’s live association Dansk Live says that the live industry continues to be challenged despite reopening.

On 5 February, Denmark became the first country in the EU to lift all coronavirus measures but Dansk Live warns that concert organisers are still facing major challenges.

“Although the majority of the country’s organisers have survived the crisis, the challenges are clear in many places,” says head of secretariat Esben Marcher.

“Not only has the audience not yet fully returned to the concerts. Many places are challenged on the crucial voluntary commitment, and also the prices of things like materials which are sky-high.”

“These organisers are now in a situation where there is no room for manoeuvre to make the necessary investments”

He continues: “The crisis has been both deep and long and despite compensation schemes and various pools, many have had to dig deep into savings, take out loans, etc. These organisers are now in a situation where there is no room for manoeuvre to make the necessary investments in organisation and facilities. At worst, it could hit them hard in the time to come.”

Marcher also warns of low confidence among organisers and suppliers and says it will take time for the “natural caution” to disappear.

“Internally in the industry, the crisis has left deep traces,” he says. “The dialogue between organisers and suppliers of all kinds takes place in many places in clear memory of the time we have been through. Confidence that the planned will be implemented must be rebuilt, and there is a natural caution that will probably only disappear when we have completed festivals and more concerts again.”

The head of secretariat is now proposing that the government create a new recovery pool for organisers who have been hit particularly hard by the crisis.

 


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Denmark reopening ‘a day to celebrate’

Denmark’s live music business has cheered “a day to celebrate” after it became the first country in the EU to announce it is ending all coronavirus measures.

The country will no longer categorise Covid-19 as a “socially critical” illness from 5 February, with PM Mette Frederiksen telling citizens they will be able to look forward to “concerts and festivals again” this summer.

The authorities will remove restrictions from 1 February due to Denmark’s high (81%) vaccination rate and the Omicron variant appearing to be milder than previous variants. Despite a recent surge in infections, Covid-related hospitalisations remain low.

“Our focus now is to secure a financial support package for festivals and venues, so they get the support they need to rebuild”

Welcoming the news, trade body Dansk Live tells IQ its immediate goal is to secure government assistance to help rebuild the domestic sector.

“This is truly a day to celebrate,” says head of secretariat Esben Marcher. “The live industry has been through so much within the last two years, and it’s hard to believe that we have probably seen the end of this pandemic. Our focus now is to secure a financial support package for festivals and venues, so they get the support they need to rebuild after a long and hard pandemic and make live music thrive again.”

The association warns that “things won’t just go back to normal” due to restrictions being lifted.

“Audiences still hesitate going to concerts for several reasons – i.e. uncertainty about the show happening at all, worries about getting infected – and it has been difficult to find volunteers for shows and festivals,” it adds. “So our work is cut out for us.”

 


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Denmark to lift all restrictions on 1 February

Denmark has announced plans to lift all remaining coronavirus limits on 1 February.

The country will no longer categorise Covid-19 as a “socially critical” illness, despite a recent surge in infections, wrote health minister Magnus Heunicke in a letter to the Danish parliament’s epidemiology committee.

The move, which will allow concerts and other events to go ahead without capacity restrictions, has been hailed as “unbelievably positive” by trade association Dansk Live.

“It’s unbelievably positive,” head of secretariat Esben Marcher tells Ekstra Bladet. “This means that the venues can once again do standing concerts. So now it is approaching that you can do things as you usually do. And we are of course happy about that.”

“There will be a focus on how we can revive volunteering after almost three years with corona”

However, Marcher stresses the sector will require financial assistance to help its get back on its feet and help fund courses for volunteers, with many venues and festivals dependent on volunteering to survive. The issue was raised during the

Speaking ahead of last weekend’s members forum, Kamilla Roed, head of volunteers and operations at Copenhell heavy metal festival, said: “There will of course be a focus on how we can revive volunteering after almost three years with corona. Whether it is a venue or a festival, there have been shutdowns and major changes. We need to share good experiences and ideas with each other so we all get back to our full potential.”

The news comes a day after several European markets eased restrictions. The Dutch government announced the conditional reopening of the cultural sector and the Norwegian government also rolled back restrictions and increased capacity limits for events, while Northern Ireland also announced a relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions

 


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Danish promoters call for clarity on restrictions

Concert organisers in Denmark are calling for clarity over Covid measures, with current restrictions due to expire on 16 January.

In a bid to combat the spike in omicron cases, music venues and other indoor cultural institutions were ordered to close their doors on 19 December.

Despite the Danish parliament quickly reopening compensation schemes for event organisers, smaller venues and artists, the sector is growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of guidance from the authorities about what happens next.

Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at national live music association Dansk Live, says clarification is crucial for venues and promoters going forward.

In many places, the drop in ticket sales has been quite marked

“Unfortunately, organisers have been in a similar situation in the past, and we know that preparation is crucial in the dialogue with guests, suppliers and performing artists,” he says.

“We hope and believe that we will return to normal after the current restrictions, but everyone should have the opportunity to prepare for what happens if the infection situation does not allow a phasing out of the restrictions.”

Marcher suggests the continued uncertainty was having a detrimental effect on ticket sales.

“Several venues have found that the public is reluctant to buy tickets for concerts that are set to take place on the other side of the restrictions,” he notes. “The picture is very different across the country, but in many places the drop in ticket sales has been quite marked. And it only gets worse with the current situation.

“Overall, this calls for the need for a recovery effort to be taken very seriously from a political point of view.”

Denmark’s music industry lost over 3 billion krone (€403m) in revenue in 2020 according to a new report commissioned by Dansk Live and the Danish Chamber of Commerce, among others.

 


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Danish music industry reports 3bn loss in 2020

Denmark’s music industry lost over 3 billion krone (€403m) in revenue in 2020.

That’s according to a new report commissioned by live music association Dansk Live and the Danish Chamber of Commerce along with others.

The Danish Music Sales report uncovers that in 2020, the entire industry – including live and recorded – experienced a decline in revenue of up to 35% due to Covid-19 restrictions.

This makes music one of the hardest-hit industries in Denmark.

The concert sector has been particularly hard hit with a 52% drop in revenue compared to 2019.

For concert and festival organisers, closures and restrictions have had a devastating effect on ticket sales – which fell by 65% in 2020 compared with 2019.

At Danish venues, ticket sales fell by 51% compared with the previous year, while festivals lost as much as 97% of their ticket sales.

“The low ticket turnover clearly shows that 2020 was in many ways a year of horror for Danish music. Of course, it greatly affects the organisers, but it has spread rings to the rest of the music scene – including artists, songwriters and producers,” says Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at Dansk Live.

“The low ticket turnover clearly shows that 2020 was in many ways a year of horror for Danish music”

Mikkel Xavier, booker and head of development for Smukfest, says: “These are disappointing numbers, but of course not surprising. At the same time, we look forward to the end of 2021, where we, especially as festival organisers, do not expect better numbers. Unresolved help package applications, pressured suppliers and declining interest in working with the technical part of the festival industry, challenge broadly.”

The report warns that closures and restrictions have had major consequences for local venues and festivals, and it will take time and support to get them back to pre-pandemic levels of operation.

The Danish Chamber of Commerce is subsequently calling for help for the industry from the government’s so-called ‘war fund’.

“The Danish music industry is characterised by being a cohesive ecosystem, where fluctuations in one part of the industry are also felt in other parts of the industry,” says Brian Mikkelsen, CEO of Dansk Erhverv, the Danish Chamber of Commerce.

“We do not yet know the full extent of the consequences for the music industry, but it is quite clear that especially festivals and the entire live part, including not least the music export, have suffered tremendously during closures and restrictions.

“Therefore, there is a need to focus on a good restart, and here some of the funds in the government’s so-called ‘war fund’ should be prioritised for the music industry. This has consequences for both exports in the area and for the entire food chain, and it is important that the damage does not become greater than it needs to be.”

The report, also in collaboration IFPI, Koda, MXD, Gramex, Musikforlæggerne and Rambøll, can be viewed here.

 


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Denmark drops all Covid-19 restrictions for live music

Denmark’s live industry is on the road to recovery after the government yesterday (1 September) dropped all remaining Covid-19 restrictions.

The requirements that have now lapsed include Corona pass requirements for indoor cultural and sporting events with more than 500 standing spectators, and for outdoor cultural and sporting events with more than 2,000 seated spectators. Social distancing has also been scrapped.

Corona passes will be required to gain entry to nightclubs until 10 September, after which point the government will no longer categorise Covid-19 as a “socially critical disease” or legally impose any Covid-19 restrictions.

“It is gratifying that restrictions are a thing of the past for the country’s concert organisers,” says Esben Marcher of Dansk Live – Denmark’s live music association.

“Now that corona is no longer considered a socially critical disease, we are facing a time of great reconstruction work. The organisers must find a foothold after almost two years of complete or partial closure and this is where our focus will be in the coming time.”

“The organisers must find a foothold after almost two years of complete or partial closure”

Minister for culture, Ane Halsboe Jørgensen, adds: “I am simply so happy that the cultural and sports life today can more or less say goodbye to the corona. For a long time, great demands have been made on culture to keep track of the pandemic.

“It has been necessary, but I am very pleased that we can now seriously begin a new chapter with a hopefully really good autumn for our cultural life.”

Denmark is the EU’s third-most vaccinated country, according to Our World in Data, with 71% of the population having received two shots.

The country was one of Europe’s first to impose a partial lockdown in March 2020 and one of the earliest to begin reopening, launching its Corona pass on 21 April this year.

Since that date, Dnanish restaurants, bars, cinemas, gyms, sports stadiums and hairdressing salons have been open for anyone who can prove that they are fully vaccinated, have a negative test result less than 72 hours old or contracted Covid within the past two to 12 weeks.

 


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Live Nation, Roskilde and more plan test project

A number of major players in Denmark’s live music industry are organising a test project to gather knowledge and evidence on how major events can take place safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The partners behind the project include Live Nation Denmark, Dansk Live (Denmark’s live music association) and major Danish festivals such as Roskilde, NorthSide, Tinderbox and Smukfest, as well as organisations outside of the sector.

The project, dubbed Safe 2.0, will take place in late summer and autumn with an aim to find out:

Safe 2.0, funded by the ‘Restart’ team for culture and sport, will use a similar model to the one used during a test series of football matches earlier this year.

All attendees were required to show proof of a negative antigen test in order to gain entry to the 3F Superliga competitions, organised by the Divisional Association.

“The hope was initially that we could secure knowledge that could ensure a faster reopening for the benefit of festivals”

Organisers say Safe 2.0 will implement Denmark’s vaccine passport (Coronapas) as soon as it becomes available in autumn.

“Safe was originally developed together with the Divisional Association in the autumn of 2020, but we are now at version 2.0 of the project, where the focus is on cultural activities,” says Dansk Live’s Esben Marcher.

“The hope was initially that we could secure knowledge that could ensure a faster reopening for the benefit of festivals and venues. Even if it did not succeed, we are happy to be able to start the project now and secure knowledge that can prove crucial in the future.”

Safe 2.0 comes too late for the raft of festivals that were called off in May due to government restrictions.

Roskilde (26 June to 3 July), Smukfest (4–8 August), Northside (3–5 June), Tinderbox (24–26 June), Beautiful Party (4–8 August), Jelling Festival (20–23 May), Copenhell (16–19 June) and Heartland (27–29 May) were cancelled this year.

Vig Festival (8–10 July), Thy Rock (25–26 June), Nibe Festival (30 June to 3 July), Ringsted Festival (5–7 August), Langelandsfestival (18–25 July), Radio ABC Beach Party (17 July) and Kløften Festival (24–26 June) were also called off.

 


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