Amazon takes palm-recognition tech to venues
Amazon is bringing its palm-recognition technology to music venues, starting with the Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the US.
According to AP, the e-commerce giant has inked a deal with AEG to bring Amazon One to the Denver venue, which sells tickets on AEG’s ticketing site, AXS.
Starting from today (14 September), concertgoers at the 9,525-capacity venue can sign up to connect their palm to a ticketing account by hovering their hand over a device.
Concertgoers only need to sign up once and then can use their palm to get into other shows and events at the venue. An Amazon account is not needed to use it.
It’s the first time the Amazon One technology will be used outside some of Amazon’s stores, where shoppers can pay for groceries by swiping their palms.
Concertgoers only need to sign up once and then can use their palm to get into other shows and events at the venue
Bryan Perez, CEO of AXS, says other venues plan to add the technology in the coming months but he declined to say where or how many. AEG partners with more than 350 stadiums and theatres around the world.
“Concertgoers can get to their seats faster with their palm than holding up their phone to an attendant to scan a bar code. Those who want to scan their palms will have a separate lane to enter,” says Perez.
“You don’t have to fumble around with your phone. Your hand is always attached to your body.”
Addressing privacy concerns, Amazon said it keeps the palm images in a secure part of its cloud and doesn’t store the information on the Amazon One device.
Users can also ask for their information to be deleted at any time, the company added.
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Inaugural Grandoozy festival attracts 55,000
The inaugural edition of Colarado’s Grandoozy Festival “exceeded expectations” according to organisers Superfly, with the new late season event attracting 55,000 across the weekend to Overland Park in Denver.
Headlined by Stevie Wonder, Kendrick Lamar and Florence + the Machine, the 14-16 September event marked the first festival to take place in the city since the permanent hiatus of Mile High Music Festival in 2011. Alongside the line up, organisers say they celebrated the city itself, with local bands, food and drink all featuring prominently.
“It was a fantastic weekend, our ops, creative, production and booking teams all nailed it,” says Grandoozy’s executive producer David Ehrlich. He continues: “I was Rick Farman’s [Superfly co-founder] chauffeur for a few years. I got to know him really well and we looked at a ton of sites together [for the festival].”
“It was a fantastic weekend, our ops, creative, production and booking teams all nailed it”
According to Ehrlich, planning for the festival started four years ago, with local authorities initially opposed. “We were very reluctant at first,” explains Fred Weiss, director of finance for Denver’s Parks and Recreation department. In a bid to change minds, Weiss and a colleague were invited to Superfly’s Outside Lands in San Francisco. “Going to Outside Lands was incredibly useful,” Weiss adds. “We were able to relay our experience in seeing how professional Superfly are and how well they work with the city.”
Whilst the event largely received praise all-round, Superfly co-founder Jonathan Mayer was quick to admit some lessons would be learnt from the first edition. In particular, many festivalgoers found fault with the event’s transportation plans, with one local news outlet calling the unorganised ride sharing system implemented on Friday “a major buzz-killer”. Mayer reflects, “That’s the reality of our business – you do a lot of planning, you do a lot of coordination with different officials, and then you do [the event] and everyone learns how to do things better.”
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Live Nation branches out in Colorado
Live Nation has added five new concerts promoters to its Colorado ranks, tasked with growing the number of shows the company brings to the US state, and the city of Denver in particular.
The newly appointed team includes Wes Samuel, Brennan Bryarly, Rikki Aston, Geoff Brent and Lance Dunlap. The team will be working with venues such as the Fillmore Auditorium (3,000-cap.), Paramount Theatre (1,870) and Denver’s Pepsi Centre (20,000+).
“All five of our promoters have fostered incredible relationships in the business, earning the respect of artists, promoters, managers, and agents alike.”
“Over the past few months we’ve built out a powerhouse team of promoters with the goal of expanding the number of shows Live Nation books and promotes in Denver and beyond,” says Live Nation Colorado president, Eric Pirritt. “All five of our promoters have fostered incredible relationships in the business, earning the respect of artists, promoters, managers, and agents alike.
“The group also has deep knowledge of both the culture and the dynamics of the music industry here in Denver, which they will use to curate unique and memorable events for our Colorado fan base.”
Overall the promoters have a combined experience of 40 years in the field, doing everything from booking nightclubs (Dunlap), to being an agent managing a large roster of clients (Samuel).
Pepsi Center agrees to open captioning for concerts
Pepsi Center, the Denver arena sued last year over its lack of scoreboard captions for the hard of hearing, has agreed to demands to provide open captioning of all aural content at sports matches and concerts.
In a proposed consent decree submitted to the US district court for Colorado, arena owner/operator Kroenke Arena Company agreed to provide open – or always-on – captioning for all content spoken over the arena’s PA system, whether live or pre-recorded.
The class-action lawsuit’s lead plaintiff, deaf woman Kirstin Kurlander, claims the lack of captioning on the 18,000-cap. Pepsi Center’s scoreboards is not in compliance with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
“Arena operators can be reasonably certain that the settlement will prompt deaf fans at other venues to request more open captioning”
According to Ogletree Deakins disability lawyer David Raizman, the consent degree, which is still awaiting final approval, requires the arena to provide open captioning for “all aural (spoken or heard) content at games played and concerts held at the arena”.
Writing on the Ogletree website, Raizman says that while “the idea that aural content must be effectively communicated to arena fans is not new, “the novelty in this proposed consent decree is that it requires open captioning (in four locations in the corners of the arena) as a required means of providing such communication, and that it covers all aural content, including, for example, lyrics to prerecorded songs.”
The agreement could potential set a precedent for other US arenas who do not provide open captioning, writes Raizman. “[A]rena operators can be reasonably certain that the settlement will prompt deaf fans at other venues to request more open captioning, and perhaps even a few legal claims for the failure to provide such open captioning,” he says.
Another Denver venue hit with accessibility suit
Pepsi Center, a ~20,000-capacity arena in Denver, Colorado, has become the latest Denver venue to face legal action for the alleged violation of equality legislation.
The arena (pictured), a popular concert venue and also home to NBA team Denver Nuggets, NHL team Colorado Avalanche and lacrosse squad Colorado Mammoth, is being sued by Kirstin Kurlander, a deaf woman who claims the lack of captioning on scoreboards is not in compliance with the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
She told TV station KDVR at the time: “I don’t hear the announcements that are happening, I don’t hear the entertainment portion, I don’t hear the score… You’re missing a lot of information.”
The class-action lawsuit was originally filed in November, prior to a group of disabled people suing the city of Denver for the alleged lack of accessible seating at the city-owned Red Rocks Amphitheatre (9,525-cap.).
Lawyer Susan Klopman, representing Pepsi Center’s owner and operator, Kroenke Arena Company (KAC), responded to Kurland’s allegations on Thursday (20 April), telling the US district court for Colorado that “no court opinion or governmental regulation has stated a requirement for any place of public accommodation, much less sporting stadiums or multi-use arenas, to provide open captioning”.
“No court opinion has stated a requirement for any place of public accommodation … to provide open captioning”
Klopman countered that, under the ADA, KAC has an obligation to provide “appropriate auxiliary aids and services where necessary to ensure effective communication with its deaf and hard of hearing patrons” – something Pepsi Center already does via “sign language interpreters, closed captioning on handheld devices or iPads and on the television monitors in the suites for all sporting events”.
While conceding that “plaintiff [Kurlander] is profoundly deaf and, thus, unable to hear any aural content announced at the Pepsi Center”, Klopman, one half of Denver’s HK Law, also disputes that it is incorrect for Kurlander to say she “requires captioning to know what is announced and what music is playing” when the same information can be conveyed by an interpreter. “Plaintiff has requested a sign language interpreter for more than one event at the Pepsi Center, and KAC has provided one or offered to do so each time,” she noted.
She concluded that the “plaintiff’s alleged sole reliance upon open captioning” – as opposed to closed captioning, interpreters, etc. – “is not typical of the class [disabled people] she purports to typify and represent” and should be dismissed.
The case continues.
Venue shuttered in post-Oakland safety push
A ‘DIY’ venue and cultural space in Denver, Colorado, has been closed for “numerous serious fire code violations” following the deadly blaze at California venue Ghost Ship on 2 December.
According to the Denver Fire Department, an investigation – reportedly in response to complaints from residents – revealed a “hazardous environment including extension cords used for permanent wiring, wrapping paper on the walls and plastic on the ceiling” at Rhinoceropolis, widely recognised as the focal point of Denver’s underground music scene.
Additionally, the venue is, like Ghost Ship, “not zoned for residential use and therefore does not have the required smoke detection devises [sic] and fire suppression systems (ie sprinkler systems)”, says the fire brigade.
In addition to serving as a music and exhibition venue, Rhinoceropolis was used as a live/work space for artists. Its management says it anticipates being able to reopen as a venue.
“Shutting things down is not a solution”
In a statement released to Denver7, local cultural association RiNo Arts District says the venue’s closing is “likely a knee-jerk response to the tragedy at Ghost Ship” and that it is working towards “reopen[ing] Rhinoceropolis as a music venue as soon as possible”.
It continues: “With urgency, we will be continuing our conversation with the city about the importance of artist-run spaces and what we all can do to help ensure they continue to exist in a safe, but affordable, way, so that our artists can live and create in our urban core.
“Shutting things down is not a solution. Working together, creatively, to address safety issues while allowing creative uses is.”
Disabled activists sue over Red Rocks seating
A coalition of Coloradan disability-rights activists are suing the city of Denver for alleged discrimination, claiming they are being denied “meaningful access” to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
The lawsuit, filed in the US district court of Colorado, says the ticketing and seating policies of the 9,525-capacity venue, owned and operated by the city, “make it very difficult for such patrons [disabled people] to purchase tickets in the approximately one-half of the accessible seats located at the front of the amphitheater [sic].”
Red Rocks (pictured) currently only makes rows one and 70 accessible for those with disabilities due to “ticketing procedures”.
“”I know a lot of people are coming in fraudulently, buying the front row seats”
One of the plaintiffs, Frank Mango, says he dislikes sitting in 70, the final row, and that the first row is almost always sold out at face value. He tells Colorado’s 9News: “I know that’s a lot of people coming in fraudulently, buying the front row seats. That’s one of the biggest concerns: […] when I get to Red Rocks, they’re not going to question me whether or not I need those seats or not for disability.”
The suit, brought by Disability Law Colorado, the Civil Rights Education and Enforcement Center and the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition, asks the city to clearly mark the disabled-accessible rows, similar to parking spaces. The plaintiffs also seek to restrict use of the venue’s shuttle for those with disabilities to genuinely disabled customers.
Brian Kitts, a spokesman for Red Rocks, tells 9News, “if it helps”, the venue would be “happy to do that [mark accessible seats”, but adds: “In my gut, I’m not sure that marking those as handicapped seats does anything except change the semantics.”