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Lucca Summer Festival ticket sales up 53%

More than 200,000 tickets have been sold for this year’s Lucca Summer Festival (LSF) concert series in Italy.

Promoted by D’Alessandro e Galli (Di & Gi), the long-running Tuscany festival commenced its 2024 edition on Sunday (2 June) with a show by Eric Clapton. The event, which concludes in late July, will feature a record 19 events, with nine featuring exclusively domestic artists.

Staged in the Mura Storiche area, next to the Lucca City Walls, the 40,000-cap event also utilises a second, 8,000-cap venue. This year’s sales represent an increase of 53% on last year, according to Breaking Latest News, boosted by two gigs with Ed Sheeran on 8-9 June. Seven percent of tickets for Sheeran’s concerts have been bought by overseas fans.

Other performers lined up include Swedish House Mafia, Rod Stewart, the Smashing Pumpkins, Lenny Kravitz, Diana Krall, John Fogerty, Mika, Sam Smith, Duran Duran and Toto.

“What we are about to experience will be the best edition of LSF ever”

“After more than 25 years of activity it now seems impossible to improve and instead I think I can say that what we are about to experience will be the best edition of LSF ever,” said Mimmo D’Alessandro, artistic director of the festival and CEO of Di & Gi, ahead of the event. “It will be a joy for us to welcome music legends and big names from the new international scene to our stage. Each musical genre is represented with excellence and this will give a vast audience the opportunity to enjoy great evenings of music in Lucca.”

First held in 1998, LSF celebrated its 25th anniversary last year with acts such as Blur, Kiss, Robbie Williams, Bob Dylan, Norah Jones and Lil Nas X. Di & Gi extended its agreement with the municipal council to 2028 earlier this year.

Sister event La Prima Estate, meanwhile, returns to the Tuscan coast this month for its third edition. Taking place across the weekends of 14-16 & 21-23, it will star the likes of Peggy Gou, Paolo Nutini, Fontaines DC, Kasabian, Phoenix, Jane’s Addiction, Dinosaur Jr and Michael Kiwanuka.

 


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Di & Gi primed for historic festival summer

Italian promoter D’Alessandro e Galli (Di & Gi) is all set for a historic season as its flagship Lucca Summer Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary.

The month-long Tuscany concert series, which kicks off later this month, has welcomed the likes of the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Roger Waters, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, Roger Waters, Stevie Wonder and Ennio Morricone since launching in 1998.

Staged in the Mura Storiche area, next to the Lucca City Walls, the 40,000-cap event also utilises a second, 8,000-cap venue and has already sold out its opening two nights by KISS (29 June) and Simply Red (1 July). Other artists include Bob Dylan, Norah Jones, Lil Nas X, Blur and Robbie Williams, who headlines the closing night on 28 July.

“I think it’s one of the best line-ups we’ve ever had, we are all convinced about this,” Di & Gi’s Enrico D’Alessandro tells IQ. “We have legends of music like KISS – who have chosen Lucca for their very last show in Italy – Simply Red and Blur with their reunion tour.

“We also have Robbie Williams coming back, the Chemical Brothers and newer acts like One Republic or Lil Nas X, so we are very happy. It is selling very well – KISS and Simply Red are already sold out and other shows are close to selling out.”

“The major change is that we are no longer going to have six nights in a row, we are splitting the six nights over two weekends

He continues: “Lucca Summer Festival is very established. It took 25 years because the first edition was 25 years ago. But I think it is now established among the European festival field.”

Meanwhile, Di & Gi’s 10,000-cap La Prima Estate, which debuted in 2022, is returning for its second year with a slightly tweaked format. The festival will be held over two weekends from 16-25 June in Lido di Camaiore on the Tuscan coast, an hour from Florence.

Targeting a younger demographic to Lucca, weekend one will be headlined by Nas, Bon Iver and Bicep, with the second weekend topped by Alt-J, Jamiroquai and Metro Boomin.

“The major change this year is that we are no longer going to have six nights in a row in one week, we are splitting the six nights over two weekends,” explains D’Alessandro. “But the concept is still the same: to try to offer the audiences something more than a live concert because, that’s what people are demanding now. And right now, 75% of the tickets have been sold outside Tuscany, so people are coming to experience a vacation.”

La Prima Estate has been designed to combine the festival and holiday experiences, with the beach and stage just a few minutes walk away from each other, yoga and mindfulness courses on offer in the morning, as well as sailing and windsurfing lessons, and cycling trips with professional cyclists up into the Versilia hills.

“The Italian audience has a different conception of a festival. They prefer a more comfortable situation”

“We announced it [last year] while the country was still in a state of emergency because of Covid, so we had only three months to promote such a new festival with such a different format, but we had a good result in the end,” notes D’Alessandro. “We did something like 20,000 people and we ended up being the most mentioned festival in the Italian media. The idea of a festival that could be associated with a vacation was something that caught their attention.”

The event will also feature domestic talent including Dardust, Nation of Language, Elasi, Ele A and BigMama, as well as international acts like Japanese Breakfast, Chet Faker and Kings Of Convenience.

“I think that the Italian audience has a different conception of a festival,” suggests D’Alessandro. “It wouldn’t work to have a multi stage festival with music starting at noon, because they prefer a more comfortable situation, so we’ve kind of created a hybrid with more artists, but only one stage and starting at sunset. We saw some [Italian] festivals trying a format more similar to the European kind in the past, but it didn’t really work.”

D’Alessandro adds that ticket prices for both Di & Gi festivals have been kept as low as possible.

“I think our ticket prices are lower than the average for concerts in Italy right now,” he says. “We think it’s the right thing to do, even if costs are increasing. The post Covid situation is very difficult; it’s difficult to find personnel and it’s difficult to find all the material you need to build the venue. Because of that, we had a different strategy this year: we actually started to set up the stage on 8 May – 40 days before kickoff – because we were worried about the risk of not being ready in time.”

 


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Musical maestros: 35 years of D’Alessandro e Galli

It’s 35 years since Adolfo Galli and Mimmo D’Alessandro first collaborated on a show, changing Italy’s live music scene forever. James Hanley learns that Di & Gi’s founders are the epitome of ‘opposites attract’…

At 35 years and counting, Mimmo D’Alessandro and Adolfo Galli’s promoting union has outlasted most marriages. But then, they do live largely separate lives.

“Adolfo is in Brescia, and I stay in Tuscany, in Viareggio,” explains D’Alessandro of their two-office set-up. “I met Adolfo in 1987 in Tuscany. We had spoken on the phone about Miles Davis, who he was working with, but the first time we met face-to-face was at a David Bowie show I promoted in Florence for the Glass Spider Tour. Adolfo is a very different character to me. I support Napoli [FC], he supports Inter…”

“It’s definitely a unique combination in our business, that’s for sure,” responds Galli with a chuckle. “Mimmo is more involved production-wise, and I’ve always looked at more of the commercial side. Mimmo is from the south, I’m from the north. He likes horses, and I like guitars. But our differences are our biggest strength.

“Even though sometimes we don’t agree, he puts something of what he thinks in and I put something of what I think in; we always listen to each other, and it is that combination that has allowed us to do what we’ve done so far.”

From that fateful first meeting emerged D’Alessandro e Galli (or Di and Gi to its friends) who would go on to bring a who’s who of international music to the Italian market, along with a hitherto seen level of professionalism.

“In the early days, Italy was an extremely difficult place to work, like the Wild West”

“In the early days, Italy was an extremely difficult place to work, like the Wild West,” Sensible Events’ Andrew Zweck tells IQ. “But both Adolfo and Mimmo have played a big part in raising standards and making working there smooth, professional, and enjoyable. A show with them is always a special event.

“I started with them in the late 80s with Paul Simon. Our first big stadium tour was a double bill of Elton John and Eric Clapton in ‘92. Over the years, we’ve created a lot of successful tours for the artists I work with, such as Mark Knopfler, Roger Waters, and the Rolling Stones.”

Basing themselves away from the traditional industry melting pots of Rome and Milan, the company’s longevity has been born out of passion rather than profit.

“For me, this is not business; we love music,” says D’Alessandro. “I mean, imagine life with no music.”

Robomagic’s Rob Hallett can vouch for that. “They both have a genuine love for music, from jazz to country to rock,” he says. “Mimmo has even been known to rap in the karaoke bars of Forti dei Marmi!”

“I owe my business to Peppino di Capri”

Hallett has known the pair for over 30 years, collaborating on productions from Herbie Hancock and Youssou N’Dour to Backstreet Boys to Beyoncé, Justin Timberlake, and Leonard Cohen. “We feel privileged to have had the possibility of working with artists like Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Paul McCartney, Elton John, Whitney Houston, George Michael, Tina Turner, Sade, Joe Cocker, and more,” reflects Galli. “When we look at what we’ve done, sometimes we cannot believe it.”

The duo made names for themselves separately before deciding two heads were better than one. D’Alessandro started out in Naples in the early 70s, working with Italian singer Peppino di Capri (“I owe my business to Peppi”), before heading north to manage Viareggio’s storied La Bussola. He went on to run the then new 7,000- cap Bussoladomani, where he supervised a live TV show every week and also dipped into management and record production.

A James Brown performance in 1984 remains a personal highlight, even if proceedings didn’t go entirely to plan.

“We had a contract to film the event for television, but when he arrived in Viareggio he said he didn’t want any cameras and was asking for more and more money,” recounts D’Alessandro. “He says, ‘I want to talk with the Pope!’

“Eventually, I gave him $50,000 more, and then ten minutes before he went on stage, he said, ‘I don’t like the audience.’ But, finally, he went on the stage and played for three hours. It was unbelievable – the best show I have seen in my life.”

“I feel quite proud of the fact that I suggested they got together – and their collective talents have proved to be extremely successful”

Elsewhere, Galli took over the management of a local theatre in his hometown of Brescia and began booking jazz artists via a connection with George Wein, founder of the Newport Jazz Festival. Despite Di and Gi’s contrasting personalities, legendary agent Barrie Marshall saw their potential as a pairing.

“We go way back to when Adolfo was actually in the army,” remembers the Marshall Arts founder. “He was booking gigs even then and would call me from phone boxes. For some months I thought his first name was Galli – as the cry would go around the office ‘Galli is on the phone but doesn’t have much time!’ Of course, he very soon became Adolfo – and a friend. I think the earliest shows we did were José Feliciano and then Joe Cocker.

“Just a little later, I met Mimmo D’Alessandro, another fine businessman full of charm and grace. I got to know him quite well, and I felt that the contrasting styles of these two men would create really great chemistry.

“I feel quite proud of the fact that I suggested they got together – and their collective talents have proved to be extremely successful.”

Marshall has collaborated with D’Alessandro e Galli on blockbuster concerts by the likes of Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, Elton John, and George Michael.

“We sold over 200,000 tickets in one month in August, which normally is unheard of in this country, and we are still working with Mark Knopfler 30 years later”

“I’ve known Barrie Marshall since I was about 25, and he is like family to me,” offers Galli. “That is a relationship that is really strong and goes beyond the business.

“Barrie put his [neck on the line] for us with Dire Straits in 1992. The manager did not want to hear about Italy at all, but Barrie said, ‘Look, I’ve worked with these guys in 1989 with Paul McCartney and Tina Turner in 1990. I’ve done Sade, I’ve done this, I’ve done that. You have to work with Mimmo and Adolfo.

“The negotiation with Ed Bicknell went on for two years and everything was on sale and sold out, with the exception of Italy. We ended up making the deal at the end of July 1992, with shows starting in September in Milan. We sold over 200,000 tickets in one month in August, which normally is unheard of in this country, and we are still working with Mark Knopfler 30 years later.”

D’Alessandro, who describes Marshall as “like a brother,” showed his gratitude in his own inimitable way.

“Mimmo had several horses at one time,” discloses Marshall. “One was called Joe Cocker, and I believe one was Paco de Lucía. I then found out he named one Barrie Marshall.

“He and Adolfo sent me a commentary, obviously in very fast Italian, which sounded so weird as every few seconds in English I could hear ‘Barrie Marshall.’ Apparently, I rode to victory with Frankie Dettori on my back.”

“We’ve always looked at creating events that are not customary”

Thinking outside of the box is a key ingredient in the Di and Gi special sauce, as characterised by its unorthodox choice of venues.

“We’ve always looked at creating events that are not customary,” says Galli. “A great rock and roll band meeting a great archaeological site is one of those things that people will remember, whereas anybody can play a sports hall. Whether you are in New York, London, or Milan, they are all the same, and our view has always been to look for different locations, which is a big challenge.

“We have promoted shows in St. Mark’s Square in Venice; the first Colosseum shows in Rome were produced by us; we’ve done shows with Leonard Cohen and George Michael in the square in the centre of Florence, and James Taylor at the Piazza del Popolo in Rome.”

Most challenging of all was David Gilmour’s 2016 concert at the Amphitheatre of Pompeii, where the guitarist had performed as part of Pink Floyd 45 years earlier.

“I spent one year of my life on this show,” notes D’Alessandro. “Every day was a meeting, and it was so tough. It was very, very complicated.”

“It was a big achievement because we could only work during the day,” adds Galli. “Specialists had to show us the way to load in our material because you couldn’t put a certain weight on the site. And when we started the production, we were inside the venue every day for more than one month, trying to put it together for 3,000 people. David Gilmour was the first artist to perform in that venue after Pink Floyd – the Live at Pompeii DVD came from that show.”

“Lucca is a medieval world within a world”

Di and Gi would later stage gigs by Elton John, James Taylor, and King Crimson at Pompeii, while an annual staple of the firm is the Lucca Summer Festival, which launched in Tuscany in 1998. The 40,000-cap extravaganza has hosted heavyweights such as the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Tom Jones, Van Morrison, the Eagles, Stevie Wonder, Ennio Morricone, and Michael Bublé.

Its most recent edition, held in the Mura Storiche area next to the Lucca City Wall in June/July, welcomed Justin Bieber, Liam Gallagher, and John Legend, among others.

“It’s like my baby,” gushes D’Alessandro. “A politician friend of mine said, ‘Lucca is such a beautiful place. I had never been to Lucca before and when I saw it, I was shocked. It’s an incredible experience.’”

“Lucca is a medieval world within a world,” offers Galli.

“It is magic,” enthuses D’Alessandro. “You need to come!”

“We have seen others follow the same path as us, so maybe we did influence some people, but we have never looked in anybody else’s houses, as we say in this country”

Di and Gi also debuted another unique proposition, the 10,000-cap Tuscany festival La Prima Estate in 2022. Situated just 50m from the sea in Lido di Camaiore, Versilia, headline acts included The National, Duran Duran, Bonobo, Courtney Barnett, Jungle, and Mura Masa.

“We have never looked at what other companies do to promote their events,” stresses Galli. “We have seen others follow the same path as us, so maybe we did influence some people, but we have never looked in anybody else’s houses, as we say in this country.“

Although CTS Eventim took a 60% stake in the firm in 2018, consolidating its “leading position in the Italian live entertainment market,” D’Alessandro and Galli have continued to manage the company on a day-to-day basis.

“We were approached by CTS because they were expanding in our country,” says Galli. “Our company already had a contract with them for ticketing and they gave us this opportunity.

“Now, unluckily, this happened in 2019, and we ended up in between the two years with Covid, so a lot of the things that we were starting to develop or discussing with them had to be stopped. Now, we have started again, and we are looking at some ideas that we can mutually develop together, but mainly it was done by us in order to be able to develop some new strategies for the future.

“The world is changing, and we need to be part of a major company because it’s more and more difficult for an individual independent company to work nowadays. But even though we are partnered with CTS Eventim, we still tend to work with the same people and the same spirit of a family-run business.”

“After two years of being closed down because of Covid, right at the start of the season, we have to cancel for Covid”

Italy became the epicentre of Covid-19 in the devastating first few weeks of the pandemic, shutting down the country’s touring industry weeks before its European counterparts. For D’Alessandro, the memories are too painful to talk about even now.

“It was a really tough time,” he sighs. “I don’t want to remember it.”

“After two years, we finally started working again in April/May 2022,” interjects Galli. “Our first tour, which has been moved twice, was by Eric Clapton. So, in May, we were ready with our Eric Clapton shows in Milan and Bologna.

“Three days before the first date, we got a phone call saying Eric Clapton’s got Covid, and we had to move the dates to October. We are all looking forward to seeing him because we have three sold-out shows, and we know the audience is ready to see him after so long, but it was an unfortunate situation that after two years of being closed down because of Covid, right at the start of the season, we have to cancel for Covid. It’s unbelievable! There’s nothing more we can say. I think people have already said too much about Covid.”

On a more positive note, Galli reports the Italian public’s appetite for concerts has not waned in the interim.

“People are buying tickets,” he says. “Lucca Summer Festival this year, which was the first one we’ve managed to do since Covid, did incredibly well. We sold almost 140,000 tickets and most of the shows were sold out. We have sold a lot of tickets for all of our shows this year, including Clapton in October, our Elton John and Rolling Stones shows at San Siro Stadium in Milan in June.”

“You used to be able to speak directly with artists, now you speak with lawyers”

While still intensely passionate about their work, the pair admit to frustrations over aspects of the modern industry.

“It would be impossible for me if I started out today,” declares D’Alessandro. “When I started in this business, it was the best in the world, and I loved it. Every morning when I woke up, I would think, ‘Oh my god, I’m a very lucky man.’ Now it’s changed completely. You used to be able to speak directly with artists, now you speak with lawyers.”

“There was more possibility for music lovers like us to discuss ideas with the artists,” agrees Galli. “We have found that when you speak with an artist and explain the idea, there is the money side but there is also an artistic side. But the music business is unfortunately more about the numbers now. This doesn’t mean they couldn’t make money in those days, but they wouldn’t just look at the money.”

Today, a new generation of D’Alessandro e Galli is waiting in the wings ready to take the company forward.

“The future for Di and Gi, as far as I’m concerned, is my son Andrea and Mimmo’s son Enrico,” suggests Galli. “They are the ones that will have to keep the brand going, because music changes; it’s the circle of life. I mean, 35 years ago, you would have never expected K-pop music to work in Europe, but now you have bands coming from Asia and breaking the market. I still have my ideas on how to promote events. I try to keep up-to-date, as does Mimmo, but when you’re younger, you’re much quicker at picking up new tendencies and influences.”

“The music is what keeps us going, and as long as there’s good music, there will be D’Alessandro e Galli”

“We couldn’t have better teachers,” says Enrico. “What’s so good about them is that they always go for the unconventional choice, and most of the time it’s brilliant, so we try to follow that example.”

“It’s been a good ride so far, and we hope to be here for a few more years,” concludes Galli. “We look forward to new artists and new experiences because we are always learning, so we want to be ready for whatever comes next.

“We are thinking positively about the future, even though nowadays, if you look at the news, it is depressing. At the end of the day, this is what we do. The music is what keeps us going, and as long as there’s good music, there will be D’Alessandro e Galli.”

 


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IQ 114 out now: Di and Gi, Green Guardians, Stadiums

IQ 114, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online now.

The October edition sees writer Derek Robertson take the temperature of the global stadium circuit post-Covid for Pitch Perfect: Stadium Report 2022.

This issue also reveals the New Bosses 2022, as well as the Green Guardians Guide – a review of the latest and greatest innovations helping to green the industry.

IQ readers can also enjoy a double whammy of Italy-related content, with writer Adam Woods examining the state of the country’s live music industry for a market report on p56, and IQ news editor James Hanley ringing in Di & Gi’s 35th anniversary on p28.

Elsewhere, IQ reviews the eighth edition of the International Festival Forum (IFF), which saw a record 800 delegates from 40 countries flock to London last month.

For this edition’s columns and comments, Ticketmaster’s Sarah Slater talks about the record-breaking summer of events and outgoing AIF CEO Paul Reed on the past, present, and future of the festival sector.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ from just £6.25 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

 


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Di & Gi’s Adolfo Galli surveys the Italian biz

Italian promoter Adolfo Galli has told IQ the country’s live music market is showing signs of recovery despite another challenging year.

Galli and his D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi) co-founder Mimmo D’Alessandro are profiled in the upcoming issue of IQ, out later this week, which looks back at their illustrious 35-year business union with the help of a number of their longtime industry sparring partners.

Di and Gi’s month-long Lucca Summer Festival (cap. 40.000) made a successful return this summer with headliners such as Justin Bieber, Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets, Liam Gallagher + Kasabian, John Legend and Robert Plant + Alison Krauss. The firm also debuted new 10,000-cap Tuscany festival La Prima Estate in June with headline acts including Duran Duran, The National and Bonobo, and Galli suggests the public’s appetite for live shows has not waned since the pandemic-enforced break.

“We have sold a lot of tickets for all of our shows this year”

“People are buying tickets,” Galli tells IQ. “Lucca Summer Festival this year, which was the first one we’ve managed to do since Covid, did incredibly well. We sold almost 140,000 tickets and most of the shows were sold out.

“We have sold a lot of tickets for all of our shows this year, including Eric Clapton in October, our Elton John show at San Siro Stadium, which sold out – 50,000 tickets – and the Rolling Stones show also in Milan – 57,000 tickets.”

Brescia-based Galli and Viareggio-based D’Alessandro have carved out a niche over the years by staging concerts at unique venues such as David Gilmour, Elton John and King Crimson at Pompeii; Leonard Cohen and George Michael in Piazza Santa Croce, Florence; and James Taylor at the Piazza del Popolo, Rome.

“We’ve always looked at creating events that are not customary,” says Galli. “A great rock and roll band meeting a great archaeological site is one of those things that people will remember, whereas anybody can play a sports hall. Whether you are in New York, London or Milan, they are all the same and our view has always been to look for different locations, which is a big challenge.”

“I think people have already said too much about Covid”

Italy’s music industry was allocated €50 million by the government earlier this year following ‘The Last Concert?’ (L’ultimo Concerto?) campaign, promoted by KeepOn LiveArci and Assomusica in collaboration with Live DMA. Fifteen million euros were dedicated to live clubs and other operators in the live music sector, €10m to concert organisers to compensate losses due to cancelled or missed dates, and €25m to authors, performers and performers for missed collections.

Di and Gi has a busy few months in store with upcoming concerts with the likes of Little Simz at Fabrique (cap. 3,100) and Kasabian at Alcatraz (3,000), both in Milan, rescheduled arena dates with Eric Clapton in Milan and Bologna, and tours with Bryan Adams, James Taylor, Roger Waters and Michael Bublé, among others, as it bids to make up for lost time.

“After two years, we finally started working again in April/May 2022,”says Galli. “Our first tour, which has been moved twice, was by Eric Clapton. So in May, we were ready with our Eric Clapton shows in Milan and Bologna. [But[ three days before the first date, we got a phone call saying Eric Clapton’s got Covid and we had to move the dates to October. It’s unbelievable! There’s nothing more we can say – I think people have already said too much about Covid.”

“The world is changing and we need to be part of a major company”

While CTS Eventim took a 60% stake in Di and Gi in 2018, D’Alessandro and Galli have continued to run the company on a day-to-day basis.

“A lot of the things that we were starting to develop or discussing with them had to be stopped [because of the pandemic],” notes Galli. “Now, we have started again, we are looking at some ideas that we can mutually develop together. The world is changing and we need to be part of a major company because it’s more and more difficult for an individual independent company to work nowadays.”

The full feature celebrating D’Alessandro e Galli’s 35th anniversary will be published in IQ 114.

 


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Inside Di and Gi’s new La Prima Estate festival

Italy’s D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi) is targeting a younger demographic with its new 10,000-cap Tuscany festival La Prima Estate, according to organisers.

The six-day festival will debut in Bussola Domani Park in Lido Di Camaiore, Versilia from 21-26 June, with headline acts including Duran Duran, The National and Bonobo.

Di and Gi, which also runs the region’s established, month-long Lucca Summer Festival, is billing La Prima Estate – which translates to “the first summer” – as “the ultimate festival holiday destination”, combining live shows with a series of unique experiences drawing on the beauty and culture of the local area. Activities will include art, wine and culinary experiences, as well as mindfulness and sports.

“We have an unbelievably beautiful venue, a brand new park, just 50 metres from the beach. It’s the perfect place for a festival,” promoter Enrico D’Alessandro tells IQ. “We’re going to have six consecutive nights, with four artists on stage every night. But we’re also going to sell packages that include not only a hotel, but also a beach cabana, and we’re going to plan activities all day for the audience. This place is a natural paradise, so you can do cooking events with major chefs on the beach, cycle events with professionals, meet and greets and yoga at dawn.

“We want to give the full package to the audience. The event itself is no longer enough, we have to provide a full vacation experience and this festival will be all about that.”

“For audiences today, just attending a conference is no longer enough”

With other artists on the bill including Courtney Barnett, Easy Life, Jungle, Mura Masa and Beabadoobee, with more to be announced this month, D’Alessandro says the musical direction is along similar lines to Primavera Sound and Sonar.

“We’re looking for a younger audience, although not so young,” he says. “The park is huge, but it is going to be split between a concert area and a big food and beverage and leisure area because we want to create a very relaxed atmosphere,” he says. “We want people to enjoy the full experience – that’s what we think the future of live music will be and that’s what we think the offering of live events should include.”

The festival will take over the whole town of Lido Di Camaiore and will be topped off by aftershow parties at nightclubs, hosted by the Apollo Club from Milan, each night.

“Our impression as promoters of live music is that for audiences today, just attending a concert is no longer enough,” adds Di and Gi CEO Mimmo D’Alessandro. “La Prima Estate wants to build on this desire, accelerated by the post-pandemic euphoria to fully enjoy free time, and combine an evening of live music with a series of experiences related to sport, the sea, food and other incredible activities during the rest of the festival goers’ stay. A new concept of a festival for which we consider Versilia and Tuscany to be the ideal place.”

 


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Major moves: consolidation sweeps the ticketing sector

The past 12 months have seen big-money deals by global firms who have been expanding their reach through buying up existing companies.

Eventim’s major expansion into the €800 million French live music market will see it establish a joint venture with the retailer by the end of 2019. Under the proposed new structure, Eventim would acquire 48% of France Billet, with an option to increase its holding to a majority stake over the next four years. It is folding its Eventim French business into the partnership, and the established brands – which in addition to Francebillet.com include Fnacspectacles.com and Billetreduc.com – will remain in operation.

This move will be a blow for Paris-headquartered multimedia conglomeration Vivendi, which owns the local company Digitick and was the third-largest competitor behind France Billet and Ticketmaster.

Leapfrogging its rivals, Eventim has secured the top position in the ticketing space. However, it currently does not have a promoter presence in France, unlike Live Nation or Vivendi, the latter of which owns the venues L’Olympia (1,996-cap.) and Theâtre de L’Œuvre (326-cap.) in Paris, as well as Olympia Production, the operator of a number of French festivals including Les Déferlantes (12,000-cap.) and Garorock (45,000-cap.).

In 2017-18, Eventim bought three significant promoters in Italy – Vertigo, Friends and Partners, and D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi) – solidifying its brand TicketOne as the dominant ticketer in the country after Ticketmaster opened operations there in 2017.

On the other side of the world, Live Nation Entertainment’s (LNE) $480m decision to buy a 51% stake in Ocesa Entertainment, the largest promoter in Latin America, and owner of Ticketmaster Mexico, is noteworthy.

Promoting about 3,100 shows a year, Ocesa reportedly sold 3.8m tickets in 2018. Ticketmaster Mexico is comfortably the country’s biggest ticket seller, with around 37m tickets sold each year.

While LNE and Ocesa have had a long partnership, this move significantly enhances the global entertainment company’s footprint

While LNE and Ocesa have had a long partnership through touring, festivals and the Ticketmaster brand, this move significantly enhances the global entertainment company’s footprint.

It demonstrates LNE’s growing confidence in the Latin American market and will likely lead to an increasing number of tours by international talent to the continent, and potentially further acquisitions of promoters, ticketing companies or venues.

What impact it will have on Ticketmaster in the US, where the second language is Spanish, remains to be seen. The Spanish- language market in the US is arguably currently underserved, and this could be seen as an internal growth opportunity for the global behemoth.

But more importantly, this could be part of a wider move by LNE into Latin America, where the firm historically has no major presence. Last year it acquired one of Argentina’s top promoters, DF Entertainment, while earlier in 2018, it took a stake in one of the largest music festivals in the world, Rock in Rio (100,000-cap), recently increasing its holding to 60%, which could be a sign that Ticketmaster is preparing to make a move into Brazil. Does this indicate a strategy of expansion across the region? We’ll have to wait and see.

LNE-owned Ticketmaster also bought Australia and New Zealand’s most significant independent ticketing company, Moshtix, in February, further expanding its presence in a market where it competes fiercely with TEG’s Ticketek.

Although it’s not likely to shift the balance of power, Ticketmaster’s move will add another indie brand to its suite of ticketing platforms.

Meanwhile, TEG grew its Asian reach by buying the Philippines-based ticketing company TicketWorld. This adds to its existing interests in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Macau. As well as major international tours by the likes of Guns N’ Roses and Katy Perry, TicketWorld has a strong presence in the local theatre market, and provides ticket services to Philippines’ venues including Solaire Resort and Casino, Resorts World Manila, BGC Arts Center and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

What we can say is that the last 12 months have seen no sign of the trend for consolidation slowing down – and it may just be hotting up even further

“We see great opportunities in many Asian markets and our strategy puts us on course to becoming a truly pan-Asian promoter,” said TEG CEO Geoff Jones at the time.

While not strictly new acquisitions, DEAG continued its policy of wholly owning companies by completing the purchase of the MyTicket platform, which going forward will be powered by the Secutix SaaS solution, while Eventim completed its takeover of German online movie ticketing platform Kinoheld and Scandinavian ticketing solution Venuepoint.

So what’s next? In the fast-moving world of ticketing, it’s hard to say.

India’s BookMyShow sells some 20m tickets a month, mainly in the cinema sector, but is looking to grow further into live entertainment. In 2018, COO of non-films at BookMyShow Albert Almeida told the Economic Times the firm wants to increase its revenues from non-cinema events from 30% to 50% by 2020.

It is one of the ticketing partners at the newly opened Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai and is addressing a lack of infrastructure in its home country by building its touring venues and producing its own shows. At a recent fundraising round, the company was valued at $1 billion, and there is still huge potential in the country of 1.3bn people. But maybe it will look to acquire in new markets, or further consolidate its position in the Middle East.

Another interesting area is the growing trend of Chinese companies taking an interest in Western music companies (for example, Tencent acquired a 10% stake in Universal Music, with an option to take another 10% in a year). Could we see a Chinese firm take an interest in a ticketing company outside of its homeland?

What we can say is that the last 12 months have seen no sign of the trend for consolidation slowing down – and it may just be hotting up even further.

For more insight into the state of the global ticketing industry, read IQ’s International Ticketing Yearbook 2019.


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CTS Eventim acquires Italian promoter D’Alessandro e Galli

CTS Eventim has bought a 60% stake in Italian concert and festival promoter D’Alessandro e Galli (Di and Gi), in its third acquisition in Italy in the last five months.

The deal follows the acquisition in September of Vertigo and November’s buy-out of Friends and Partners, and “consolidates [CTS’s] leading position in the Italian live entertainment market”, says the company.

“With TicketOne, we have been the leading ticketing provider in Italy for more than ten years,” comments Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim. “Now we have progressed, within a very short period, to become the market leader in the live entertainment segment as well. This is a milestone in our internationalisation strategy.

“The Italian market is one of the most diversified and attractive in Europe, and there can hardly be a promoter that symbolises its creativity and vitality as much as D’Alessandro e Galli.”

“There can hardly be a promoter that symbolises the creativity and vitality of the Italian market as much as D’Alessandro e Galli”

Di and Gi, which turned 30 last year, has over the past four decades organised shows by Adele, Justin Bieber, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Mark Knopfler, Jennifer Lopez, Ennio Morricone and Paul Simon. It also promotes the Lucca Summer Festival, whose 20th edition in 2017 was featured performances by the Rolling Stones, Green Day, Robbie Williams and Kasabian.

The company will continue to be managed on a day-to-day basis by co-founders Mimmo D’Alessandro and Adolfo Galli. In a joint statement, they comment: “We are delighted to be part of CTS Eventim from this day on. This provides us with access to the resources of a global player that not only has the most sophisticated ticketing platform in the world, but is also able to organise Europe-wide concert tours. We also have an opportunity to continue our company’s special culture: the interests of artists will remain the centre of focus for everything we do at D’Alessandro e Galli.”

 


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