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ARA publishes analysis of European test events

The Arena Resilience Alliance, the purpose-driven initiative created by the European Arenas Association (EAA), has published a report analysing findings from more than 20 test events hosted at 12 of its partner arenas across Europe.

ARA partner arenas that have hosted test events and experimental studies include AccorHotels Arena Paris, Ahoy Arena Rotterdam, Avia Solutions Group Arena Vilnius, Barclaycard Arena Hamburg, Mercedes-Benz Arena Berlin and Palau Sant Jordi Barcelona.

Quarterback Immobilien Arena Leipzig, Rockhal Luxembourg (2 venues), Saku Suurhall Tallinn, The O2 London, and Ziggo Dome Amsterdam are also affiliated with the ARA and have hosted experiments.

The new report aims to share the experience and insights gathered from those test events – which took place with between 100 and 5,000 participants – in order to provide a framework for the return to live events in Europe.

According to the ARA’s analysis, the total amount of visitors admitted at each event varied from under 5% of normal maximum capacity to over 30%.

The highest capacity events were held at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris which sold 5,000 tickets representing 33% of total capacity and the Palau San Jordi in Barcelona which also hosted 5,000 people which represented 28% of capacity.

“Building confidence amongst all our stakeholders that live events are a safe environment is so important”

The report also notes the varying approaches to safety and preventative measures:

In terms of infrastructure development, arena ventilation and air filtering were found to be the highest priority for all participating venues, with 92% actively monitoring ventilation performance and 8% operating specific air filtration systems.

When it came to customer experience delivery, 100% of venues provided detailed pre-event customer guidance communications and ensured all the onsite staff were given adequate training to be able to deliver the new protocols. Almost 60% of venues offered food and beverage services and 42% operated contactless payment processes.

The report emphasises that, at the time of publication, there are “no recorded clusters of infection from those who attended the test events and there is no published evidence that these events contributed to the spread of the virus”.

It concludes: “From the evidence available to date, it appears that with the correct implementation of safety measures, in particular pre-event Covid testing and the use of the EU Digital Certificate, it is possible to host safe indoor live events.”

“We were pleased to share these findings, with a view to building towards a model that can be scaled”

“Arenas sit at the hub of the live events ecosystem playing a vital role in bringing together all the major stakeholders and playing a crucial role in communities across Europe,” says John Langford, president of European Arenas Association. “Over the past year, ARA has been promoting important dialogue around why we need unified conditions that will allow music, culture and sports to return to arenas and enable arenas to reopen.”

Olivier Toth, CEO, Rockhal in Luxembourg, EAA board member and co-founder of ARA, added: “After almost a year and a half without live events, experiments like our Because Music Matters showcase and other test events that have been taking place across Europe, are an important and positive step forward in testing the safety measures we can employ to support our back to business strategies.

“Building confidence amongst all our stakeholders that live events are a safe environment is so important. We were pleased to share these findings, with a view to building towards a model that can be scaled as the industry continues to work towards the safe and sustainable return of live events.”

Robert Fitzpatrick, CEO, The Odyssey Trust, owners of The SSE Arena, Belfast, EAA Member and co-founder of ARA, commented: “As the advocacy platform for European arenas, the ARA has developed a manifesto, which will be an important tool as we prepare for a return to live events, whilst working to protect the health and wellbeing of our communities and the sustainability of our industry.

“This report publishing the findings of the recent test events provides a further tool to help industry and key EU decision-makers come together and discuss the regional and national frameworks that will help us get back to business.”

See an extensive list of the test events and experimental studies that aim to show a scientific path back to live here.

 


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Michael Rapino: ‘Live Nation’s US biz is fully reopen’

Live Nation Entertainment’s US concert business is now “fully open,” according to CEO Michael Rapino.

“We’re very excited about the American market. Seventy per cent of our business is going to be in the US and the UK. Those two markets seem on track,” he told CNBC on Thursday (8 July).

In the States, Live Nation has already hit a major post-restrictions milestone with its full-capacity show at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden (cap. 20,000), performed by the Foo Fighters, which was the venue’s first concert since March 2020.

Continuing on an upward trajectory, Live Nation will host 30 US-wide amphitheatre tours at full capacity beginning this week, according to the CEO.

Later in July, the live entertainment giant will host the Rolling Loud festival in Miami – expected to bring in around 200,000 people – and a further 10–15 more festivals this summer.

“We’re going to make sure that we don’t [put on] four shows in one week and you’ve got to pick one”

In the company’s Q1 2021 earnings call in May, it reported that US festivals including Bonnaroo, Electric Daisy and Rolling Loud festivals all sold out in record times at full capacity.

The company also reported an increasingly busy 2022, after the number of major tours for next year increased by double-digits from pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Addressing concerns about whether the backlog of concerts caused by the pandemic will result in an oversaturated market, Rapino told CNBC that artists will not perform “unless they have the weekends, and the right cities and the right markets”.

“We’re going to make sure that we don’t [put on] four shows in one week and you’ve got to pick one,” the CEO said. “We’ll spread those over a couple of years and a couple of markets. So we look at the pent-up demand as lots of availability, but we’re also going to make sure the consumer has time to buy it.”

While the US surges ahead, Rapino expects Live Nation’s European market to reopen by the autumn, and the Asian market to return in 2022 due to a delay in Covid vaccinations. “It’ll be a record 2022 and 2023,” he said.

 


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TEG MJR and Snoop Dogg sign exclusive touring deal

TEG MJR, the UK-based promotion division of Asia-Pacific live powerhouse TEG, has secured an exclusive five-year deal with hip-hop heavyweight, Snoop Dogg.

Under the multi-million-dollar deal, TEG MJR will promote all of Snoop Dogg’s tours globally outside of North America, beginning with dates for Snoop’s 2022 world tour.

The European leg of the tour kicks off on 20 February 2022 and includes rescheduled sold-out shows at London’s 02 Arena (cap. 21,000), Dublin’s 3 Arena (cap. 13,000) and Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome Arena (cap. 17,000).

TEG MJR CEO Richard Buck penned the agreement with Snoop’s international agents Julian O’Brien and MPI’s Minneapolis-based partner Nabil Ghebre, who have been working closely together with Bobby D (Aaka Robert Dreislen), who is at the helm of Snoop Dogg’s operations in Los Angeles.

Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG, says: “Snoop Dogg is a hip hop pioneer and one of its greatest live performers. He has won an astonishing number of awards and nominations and we are thrilled to be able to bring the man and his music live to fans the world over for the next five years.”

“We are really excited in helping him bring both his new music and back catalogue to life with this touring partnership”

Richard Buck, CEO of TEG MJR, says: “Snoop is one of the most respected and prolific hip hop artists on the planet. We are really excited in helping him bring both his new music and back catalogue to life with this touring partnership.”

Bobby D, Snoop Dogg’s manager and co-owner of Uncle Snoop’s Army, says: “We are excited about this five-year international partnership with TEG and to continuously come overseas to connect with our fans around the world.”

Uncle Snoop’s Army is a multi-million-dollar LA-based music and entertainment company representing hip-hop artists.

The first dates on Snoop Dogg’s world tour (including rescheduled dates for the UK, Ireland and Amsterdam) are:

20 Feb 2022 – Telenor Arena, Oslo, NO
21 Feb 2022 – Bella Center Kongreshal, Copenhagen, DK
23 Feb 2022 – Koepi Arena , Oberhausen, DE
24 Feb 2022 – Sportpaleis Arena , Antwerp, NL
25 Feb 2022 – Max Schmeling Halle , Berlin, DE
27 Feb 2022 – Accor Arena, Paris, FR
28 Feb 2022 – Ziggo Dome Arena, Amsterdam NL
02 Mar 2022 – SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow UK
03 Mar 2022 – Resorts World Arena, Birmingham UK
05 Mar 2022 – AO Arena, Manchester UK
07 Mar 2022 – First Direct Arena, Leeds UK
08 Mar 2022 – 02 Arena, London UK
09 Mar 2022 – 3 Arena, Dublin IE
11 Mar 2022 – INEC Arena, Kerry IE
12 Mar 2022 – SSE Arena, Belfast UK

 


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Pearle* launches 2021 map showing reopening of live

European live industry body Pearle* has published a new edition of its Map of Europe, which presents updates on the resumption of venues and live events across Europe.

Using a colour-coded system, the map illustrates differing circumstances from country to country, with some allowing performances for a smaller audience, others allowing rehearsals, and many remaining closed until further notice.

As it stands, Luxembourg will be the only country open for live music when venues open on 15 February.  Up to 100 masked attendees will be permitted at shows, provided that they are assigned a seat and observe the two-metre social distancing measure if they do not belong to the same household.

The live sectors in Iceland, Spain, Italy, Bulgaria, Poland, Estonia and Sweden are either open under conditions or open with exceptions.

While, in countries such as France, Belgium and Greece, public concerts are banned but exceptions such as rehearsals and livestream events are permitted.

“Providing citizens with a perspective of when they will be able to see a live concert again is a vital sign of hope to society”

Fourteen countries are currently closed for business including the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Switzerland.

No concrete, live performance-related information is available for Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Norway.

“Over the past year, the live performance sector has proven its capacity to manage the risks for rehearsals and performances,” reads a statement from Pearle*.

“It has also fully proven its expertise on how to manage audiences. In the meantime, various scientific studies provide evidence of the fact that it is absolutely possible to reopen venues and hold open-air events in safe conditions for workers and audience.

“It’s time for governments to give the sector an outlook. Live events matter to people. Providing citizens with a perspective of when they will be able to see a live concert or performance again is an important sign of hope to society.”

The resource, which was first published in May 2020, will be continuously updated as more information becomes available from Pearle* members. The map with the evolution during 2020 can be accessed here. See the 2021 edition below.

 


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ARA set to reveal manifesto for Europe’s return to live

The Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA), the purpose-driven initiative created by the European Arenas Association (EAA), is set to launch a manifesto detailing the essential next steps for a safe return to live music and sport across Europe.

The action plan will be revealed during the industry body’s second conference, ‘A Game of Two Halves: The Return Leg‘ in association with IQ, which will be streamed live on Thursday 18 February at 1 pm GMT on the EAA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The free virtual event will feature contributions from a range of speakers including John Langford (AEG Europe COO and EAA president), Sam Tanson (minister of culture for Luxembourg) and Alex Jäger, (sport director at Champions Hockey League).

The free virtual event will feature contributions from speakers including John Langford, Sam Tanson and Alex Jäger

A Game of Two Halves: The Return Leg will also feature a keynote speech and presentation by Sam Tanson, minister of culture for Luxembourg, featuring behind the scenes footage and in-depth analysis from a series of test concerts taking place in Luxembourg at Rockhal arena’s club venue.

Alongside the Rockhal test events presentation and ARA manifesto launch, the event will also feature two panel discussions titled ‘Ready to Rock and Play’ and ‘Working out Way Back To You’ which will explore what support the live events sector needs from policymakers on both a national and EU level to enable long-term resilience and future growth.

Opening addresses will be delivered by Rita Brasil de Brito (chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee, Portuguese presidency of the council of the EU and Viviane Hoffmann (deputy director general at the European Commission Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture).

ARA’s first virtual conference, A Game of Two Halves, which streamed in December 2020 is available to watch online here.

 


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Major markets set out plans for Covid-19 passports

Australia and Iceland have joined a number of other markets across the globe in announcing plans for digital health passports which will show citizens’ Covid-19 vaccination and test status.

Iceland recently became the first European country to issue and recognise Covid-19 vaccination certificates to enable international travel for those inoculated against Covid-19.

Since early in the pandemic, the country has required a minimum five-day quarantine for international arrivals and now those with documentation showing they have received a full course of Covid-19 vaccines will be able to skip quarantine.

“You Check’s identity first [digital health passport] has a lot of potential to help venues and promoters manage risk”

In Australia, ahead of the nationwide rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, the government has announced that all vaccinations will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register, and certificates would then be available digitally via the Express Plus Medicare app or in hard copy through the vaccination provider or Services Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told ABC National Radio it is “highly likely” that such documentation will be needed for international travel into the country.

Meanwhile, UK music venues are set to trial a health passport pioneered by London-based start-up You Check to accelerate the nation’s return to live.

The trials – which have been set-up in conjunction with Music Venue Trust (MVT) – are scheduled to take place at London’s 100 Club (cap. 350) and Bristol’s Exchange (cap. 250) in March.

The digital health passport will allow venue door staff and ingress operations to verify an attendee’s name, age, ticket and test result in one place and “facilitate communication between promoters and their full audiences, beyond the primary ticket buyer”.

[This] digital health passport will allow venue door staff and ingress operations to verify an attendee’s name, age, ticket and test result

“You Check’s identity first solution has a lot of potential to help venues and promoters manage risk,” says MVT CEO, Mark Davyd.

“It has a fast and thorough authentication process which enables health information to be stored against portable digital identity and MVT is pleased to be working with You Check to explore how this technology might form part of a comprehensive process which enables us to reopen every venue safely and revive live.”

Other nations that have revealed plans to launch a digital coronavirus passport include Sweden (by the summer) and Denmark (in three to four months), while Poland has already started issuing the digital pass to its citizens.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain’s foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez has said “vaccine certification is something we are going towards inevitably”; Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has called upon the European Commission to introduce a standardized coronavirus vaccination certificate to facilitate travel within the European Union bloc, and Portugal’s interior minister Eduardo Cabrita has said that a vaccine certification would be easier to manage than the current Covid-19 requirements.

 


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European leaders join forces for Solutions for Festivals

Yourope, the European festival association, is working with the continent’s leading festival operators on a new initiative that aims to ensure outdoor events are able to return as soon as it is safe to do so.

At Yourope’s invitation, AEG Presents, Eventim Live/FKP Scorpio, Goodlive, Live Nation and Superstruct Entertainment have partnered for Solutions for Festivals, working to bring back “full-capacity outdoor live events at the earliest opportunity”.

To that end, the Solutions for Festivals work group is consulting with senior figures in production, the supply chain, and festival health and safety, as well as medical experts.

According to the association, the group’s focus is on “reviewing and coordinating efforts to implement best practices for the health and safety of fans as festivals return”.

More information about the work of Solutions for Festivals will be revealed soon.

 


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Sweden to impose one of the lowest capacity limits in Europe

The Swedish government is planning to drastically reduce the capacity limit at cultural events from 300 seated and socially distanced patrons to just eight.

The reduction, which comes after a rapid increase in Covid-19 infections, is likely to be applied from 24 November for at least four weeks with the possibility of extending over Christmas and New Year.

At the beginning of this month, the government issued an exemption for cultural events, allowing 300 seated and socially distanced patrons at cultural events, while other public gatherings were limited to 50 people.

Now, however, all public gatherings and events with more than eight participants will be banned.

“The situation requires great sacrifices from each of us, and from society as a whole”

“Today’s announcement, about proposals for a significantly reduced participation limit for public gatherings and public events and that the exemption for restaurants is removed, is a clear signal to the whole community about what should apply in the future,” says interior minister, Mikael Damberg.

“It will be a trial period. The situation requires great sacrifices from each of us, and from society as a whole. But if we make joint sacrifices, we will save lives.”

Aside from countries in lockdown which are banning live events altogether – including the UK, France and Germany – Sweden’s new capacity limit may be the strictest in Europe, followed by the Netherlands which is only permitting 30 seated patrons indoors.

Sweden has so far recorded 177,355 cases of coronavirus, and 6,164 deaths. The country of 10.2 million’s death rate per capita is several times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours but still well below some larger European countries such as Spain and the UK, according to The Guardian.

 


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Local Legends aims to raise millions for European venues

Ethical resale website TicketSwap has teamed up with Cosimo and GoFund me to launch a new crowdfunding campaign aiming to raise millions for music venues across Europe that are struggling under the financial strain of Covid-19.

The campaign will launch on Wednesday 18 November on crowdfunding platform GoFundMe and will aim to raise €2.5 million for over 250 venues before Christmas.

Venues in the UK, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and Austria can sign up now and will receive fundraising guides, practical tips and customisable visual assets. Venues can more information here.

“Government support across Europe varies dramatically, and many venues – especially clubs – have fallen through the cracks,” says Chris Carey, head of international marketing at TicketSwap and author of UK Live Music: At a Cliff Edge report.

“It’s never easy to ask for help, but there is a local audience who would help if they knew how. This campaign exists to focus public attention on venues, and engage with fans so they can help in a practical way.”

“This campaign exists to focus public attention on venues, and engage with fans so they can help in a practical way”

Merlijn Poolman, night mayor of Groningen and founder of Cosimo, added: “These venues are key for artist development, but they are also key institutions in their local communities. As well as creating a local scene, they create jobs and stimulate demand for restaurants, bars and hotels nearby. More than that, they create an identity in a city that the city will fight to save.”

John Coventry, international director at GoFundMe says: “The live music sector has been hit incredibly hard already and – as future lockdowns take effect – we want to do all we can to help venues weather the storm. Importantly venues don’t have to hit a fixed target before they can withdraw funds, giving them maximum flexibility.”

The campaign has received backing from numerous associations across Europe including Association For Electronic Music, Live DMA, Night Time Industry Association and Music Venue Trust.

Live DMA, a European live music network comprising 16 member countries, published a report in September which estimates a €1.2 billion loss in audience income for the 2,600 music venues it represents.

 


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Swiss yodelling fest linked to ‘explosion’ in Covid cases

A Swiss yodelling concert attended by 600 people is believed to have made the rural Schwyz canton a virus hot spot.

The event, which took place in September, required patrons to maintain social distancing but did not require them to wear a mask.

Nine days after the performances, the event organisers found out that several visitors were infected. Subsequently, the pandemic has spread through the region, with 1,238 cases compared with just 500 in mid-September.

“The explosion in the number of cases in Schwyz is one of the worst in all of Europe”

“We can’t do anything about what happened with this yodelling group. We found out nine days after the performances that several people from the group were infected,” event organiser Beat Hegner told RTS public television.

The cantonal hospital chief Franziska Foellmi said: “There’s an extremely high rate of positive tests. We’ve gone from 30% to 50%.”

“It’s time we reacted. The explosion in the number of cases in Schwyz is one of the worst in all of Europe,” chief doctor Reto Nueesch posted online.

Authorities in the canton have stepped up infection control measures, making mask-wearing compulsory at all public and private events with more than 50 people and in situations where distancing can’t be maintained.

 


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