Liverpool’s Eurovision legacy
As the final sequins are swept up and the outfits packed away, we’re reflecting on a whirlwind week for our venue and city.
It was an honour to be chosen to host Eurovision ’23 on behalf of Ukraine, and in the same year as we celebrate our 15th anniversary. From the moment Liverpool was announced as the host city, we knew this would be an event like no other and would require a massive effort from our teams, in a very short timescale. But delivering fantastic events is what we do best and we were ready to rise to the challenge.
It was a huge collaboration between our teams and service partners, working closely with the BBC; EBU; Culture Liverpool; Combined Authority; DCMS and Merseyside Police.
The event utilised the whole campus, with the live shows taking place in the arena, the convention centre hosting the delegation bubble and dressing rooms, and crew catering, media centre and hospitality in the exhibition centre. The event build was extensive, with the BBC taking tenancy from 27 March and technical rehearsals starting in April.
There were 12 shows in total, nine of which were open to the public. The staging for the live shows involved more than 600 rigging points, 140 tons of steel ground support structure, and 1KM of additional steel truss work. It featured eight miles of cabling for lighting, sound, video and SFX, over 2,000 specialist lighting fixtures, 200 custom staging decks, 950sqm of staging for the main stage, and 500sqm of staging for the green room.
The grand final smashed viewing figures, with a record breaking 180 million tuning in
Outside of the campus, an additional 500,000 visitors flocked to the city during the two-week period to soak up wider events including a Eurovision Village, art commissions at a Eurofestival, glittering open ceremony and numerous community and school engagement programmes.
The grand final smashed viewing figures, with a record breaking 180 million tuning in, making it the most viewed final in Eurovision history. Both audience and client feedback has been outstanding, with the European Broadcasting Union hailing this year’s event as ‘the best production and host city we have ever seen’.
The impact of Eurovision 2023 will become clear in coming months. There are already some key legacy projects emerging, including the development of a Eurovision music legacy fund driven by the Liverpool City Region Music Board, which will support local grassroots artists. We are also engaging with TikTok, who was the official entertainment partner of the contest, to platform the local music scene.
As a UNESCO City of Music, we want to fully embrace the slogan United by Music. Eurovision has been a living, breathing example of the power of live events. For us, it is the culmination of the challenging journey that we, like so many others in our industry, have been on since 2020. From lobbying the government to support the events industry and acknowledge the power of live experiences, to welcoming one of the biggest events in the world to the UK, our industry has achieved so much. It has been a privilege to be at the heart of this phenomenal global event and we are excited for the next chapter of our incredible journey.
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Liverpool ready to host Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision 2023 host city Liverpool has geared up for tomorrow night’s song contest by holding a week-long series of events in the city.
Featuring free one-off shows, live performances, DJ sets and special guest appearances, dedicated fan zone The Eurovision Village opened at Pier Head last Friday 5 May and is running every day until the 13 May Grand Final.
Tomorrow night’s Grand Final Party at the Pier Head, for which tickets cost £15, is already sold out. Acts will include Steps’ Claire Richards, Vengaboys, Katrina of the UK’s last Eurovision winners Katrina and the Waves and Jedward’s Epic Eurovision Singalong, along with a screening of the contest itself. The final will also be screened live in UK cinemas for the first time in the event’s history.
The competition is taking place on UK soil for the first time since 1998 following Kalush Orchestra’s victory for Ukraine in Turin, Italy last May, after it was concluded that it could not be held in the winning country for safety and security reasons. The UK’s Sam Ryder finished second in last year’s contest at PalaOlimpico in Turin, Italy.
Liverpool’s M&S Bank Arena (cap. 11,000) was given the nod ahead of Glasgow’s OVO Hydro to stage the final and semi-finals after the seven-strong UK shortlist was cut to two. Liverpool was chosen following a bid process that examined facilities at the venue, the ability to accommodate thousands of visiting delegations, crew, fans and journalists, infrastructure, and the cultural offer of the host city in reflecting Ukraine’s win in 2022, amongst other criteria.
“We need to look at a lot of requirements for hosting an event of this size”
“We need to look at a lot of requirements for hosting an event of this size,” Eurovision directing supervisor Martin Österdahl tells the Liverpool Echo. “It’s quite massive [when it comes to logistics] but the soft factors include a city that’s really engaged, enthusiastic, engaged, has the experience and expertise but also the passion to make the most of it and I think Liverpool has that.”
The initial batch of 6,000 tickets for the 2023 event sold out in 36 minutes in March, with around 64,000 tickets for rehearsals and semi-finals also snapped up within an hour. A final batch of tickets released sold out last month.
The UK is hosting the Eurovision Song Contest for a record ninth time having previously stepped in to host the event for other broadcasters in London in 1960 and 1963, in Edinburgh in 1972 and Brighton in 1974. The BBC also staged the Contest following four of their five wins: in London in 1968 and 1977, Harrogate in 1982 and Birmingham in 1998.
“I think Liverpool and the BBC have done a phenomenal job with it,” adds Österdahl. “This is a special edition, it’s completely unique and we’ve never seen a contest like this before and I don’t think anyone is going to miss the message. Walking around Liverpool you see tributes to Ukraine everywhere.
“You have to remember the Eurovision Song Contest has not been in the UK for 25 years and it has changed a lot in that time. When we first moved around and spoke to a lot of different cities, they still didn’t understand but after Liverpool, they will know.
“I think there’s a special shift in the UK. What I’ve seen in the past couple of years, the contest is growing phenomenally, the fan base is growing, the viewers are increasing, and we’re getting more partnerships. Across the board, Eurovision is expanding in the big markets.”
“Through this partnership we’ll be bringing Liverpool’s rich musical heritage and personality, to our global community”
The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest live music event, with over 180 million people tuning in across linear and digital channels in 2022. The contest has launched the global careers of artists including Måneskin, Celine Dion, ABBA and Julio Iglesias.
TikTok has been named by the European Broadcasting Union as the Official Entertainment Partner for Eurovision 2023, and will be supporting key busking sites around Liverpool at Holy Corner, Liverpool One, Sugar House Steps and Liverpool Lime Street. The app will be working alongside tourism body VisitLiverpool to provide workshops and support to small businesses, local attractions and emerging artists.
“Through this partnership we’ll be bringing Liverpool’s rich musical heritage and personality, to our global community,” says James Stafford, TikTok’s general manager, marketing & operations UKI & Nordics. “TikTok is where stars get started and that’s true whether you’re an artist, a small business or a TikTok creator.
“We’ll be providing workshops to businesses, museums and local landmarks, working with local creatives and supporting busking spots across the city; so whether you are a visiting for the first time or discovering the Scouse sense of humour in app, let TikTok be your guide to Liverpool!”
“We are delighted to be partnering with The National Lottery again to extend the celebrations to the rest of the UK”
Elsewhere, the Music Venue Trust (MVT) teamed up with The National Lottery to stage the United By Music Tour of Liverpool, which has seen more than 20 gigs at 20 venues during Eurovision week to showcase the city and support grassroots music venues. On Wednesday (10 May), the partnership hosted a stage at The Eurovision Village, featuring artists including Miles Kane and Lightning Seeds, as well as Eurovision 2023 entrants from Italy, Finland, Norway and Azerbaijan.
The National Lottery and the MVT will also be staging live music events in all 17 UK towns and cities that bid to host Eurovision. In total, more than 20 acts will embark on national tours as part of the initiative. Tickets go on sale on Monday 15 May.
“Following the success of the Liverpool Tour, which saw us host a week-long series of music gigs across the city, we are delighted to be partnering with The National Lottery again to extend the celebrations to the rest of the UK,” says MVT CEO Mark Davyd. “Supporting grassroots music venues has never been more important and we’re delighted to be using venues across the country to highlight new and established artists the world will come to know and love.”
Upcoming concerts at M&S Bank Arena, meanwhile, include Pet Shop Boys, Olly Murs, S Club 7, Madness and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
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Loud Kids: Charting Måneskin’s unstoppable rise
When Måneskin were voted runners-up in the 2017 season of X Factor Italy, sceptics may have believed that would be the last the world would hear of them. But local promoters Vivo Concerti were already convinced they were on to something special.
“When I saw them performing on X Factor I knew that they had something more, I knew that they were one of a kind,” says Vivo Concerti managing director Clemente Zard. Vivo’s general manager Andrea Ritrovato explains.” At that time, three of them were under the age of 18, so we knew we would be starting a journey with them because although they had experience of TV stages, they knew nothing about live stages, which [are] a completely different place.”
Acknowledging that finding fame on such a high-profile TV show could have opened the doors for Måneskin to immediately sell out arenas in Italy, Zard says that Vivo’s vision for the act was for a long-term career, internationally, rather than simply cashing in.
“We started to do a lot of small clubs, then medium-sized clubs, because our strategy was to keep people out and build demand. So, the first tour was over 30 dates, when they were still under 18, with us acting like their tutors on the road.
“After that, we started to do bigger venues and some summer shows in Italy before we embarked on their first European club tour in 2018, and we did some festivals – I remember them playing Hurricane Festival at about 12 noon, in a tent.”
But Vivo’s belief in the band has been unshakable. In 2021, the band won the San Remo song competition, allowing them to enter Eurovision. And the rest is history.
“We started to do a lot of small clubs, then medium-sized clubs, because our strategy was to keep people out and build demand”
Many of those involved internationally have been working with the band since before Eurovision exposed them to fans globally.
“Vivo Concerti asked me to get involved pretty early on, although they had already booked a number of dates directly on the first European run,” agent Lucia Wade at ITB tells IQ. “I remember that first tour vividly because I was literally only able to put aside two hours to see the show in London because I had to get home to feed my baby who was only eight weeks old,” laughs Wade.
“It was February 2019, and we’d sold out two shows at Oslo – around 700 tickets in total – and I distinctly remember Clemente Zard telling me, ‘We’re gonna do stadiums with this band.’ He is a force of nature, and he had a very clear vision for Måneskin. And, of course, now they are going on sale with stadium shows this summer.”
Prior to that run of five stadium shows in Italy this summer, there’s the small matter of the current Loud Kids tour to complete. The tour’s original European dates went on sale in 2021 for a spring 2022 tour. However, when it became apparent that a number of countries were still dealing with pandemic restrictions, the difficult decision was made to postpone that leg of the tour and reschedule for this year instead.
But while some fans may have been disappointed, the enforced delay has been one of the happier stories related to the pandemic, as demand for Måneskin tickets has soared over the past 18 months, allowing the architects behind the tour to upgrade in almost every city on the schedule – much to the delight of all the promoters involved.
“Demand is extremely high – we’ve sold more than 13,000 tickets, and it’s still underplayed”
Are You Ready?
Måneskin’s promoter partners report that demand vastly outstrips supply everywhere. “The show was a great success here,” says Friendly Fire’s Rense van Kessel of the performance at Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam. “We sold out after the upgrade very quickly – we had nearly 16,000 people at the show. The fanbase is very dedicated, and there was a big queue in the morning already – some of whom had actually spent the night in front of the venue.”
The band’s Swiss promoter, Gadget abc Entertainment’s Stefan Wyss, has similar sales success to share for the forthcoming 26 April gig in Zurich’s biggest indoor venue. “The [original] show was scheduled for 2022 in a 3,500-cap room and was sold out within a few minutes,” discloses Wyss. “When the tour was postponed, we decided to go to Hallenstadion, and this show also sold out several months ago. Demand is extremely high – we’ve sold more than 13,000 tickets, and it’s still underplayed.”
Wyss adds, “They are definitely in a position to headline the major festivals in Switzerland now, and hopefully there will be time to play one or two Swiss festivals in 2024.” Acknowledging that the rescheduled tour using bigger venues was one of the better stories to come out of the pandemic, agent Wade nevertheless notes, “Everybody would have loved to see them at Brixton Academy or in a small venue somewhere. But upgrading the venues was the right move, and I definitely praise Vivo and artist management for being so bold. The promoters were also amazing and were really on board, because they knew that they absolutely could sell arenas.”
Citing one such example of promoter faith, Wade adds, “We wanted the band to add a date at Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona to the rescheduled tour. That’s 17,000 people, so for our promoter to actually say yes was fantastic.” That Spanish promoter is Robert De Niento at Doctor Music. “In 2019, we had Måneskin at a 500-cap club in Barcelona and a 400-cap club in Madrid, but for routing reasons we were not on the original tour for last year,” explains De Niento. “When the chance arose to get them back here, we thought about doing a capped arena in Barcelona, but 2,000 tickets sold in the first day, so we put the full 17,000 on sale, and it sold out very quickly – it’s amazing. Next time, we hope we can have Måneskin for a series of shows in multiple arenas or even stadia in the big cities.”
“Management and the band really sat on the fact that they didn’t want to disappoint because they know that the postponement would hit fans hard”
Highlighting the band’s loyalty toward their fans, Wade reveals, “Management and the band really sat on the fact that they didn’t want to disappoint because they know that the postponement would hit fans hard. But in some places, it wasn’t possible to upgrade venues. For example, to upgrade in Belgium we would have had to go somewhere other than Brussels. However, we wanted the fans to be able to go to the show in the same city. So, we added a second date in Brussels. In the likes of Poland and Luxembourg, that was not possible. But the decision was made that it wouldn’t be fair to ask the fans to travel somewhere else, so we kept the shows at those smaller venues.”
Belgian promoter Sam Perl of Gracia Live states, “The shows in Brussels were really special because Forest National is a small arena, and the fans got to see the band up close. So, the production was the same as the Ziggo Dome or the O2 Arena, but the shows were just for 8,400 fans each night – it was very special.
“Even back in 2019, we could feel that if we could give them a platform for more people to see them, they would explode. We had them in La Madeleine just after they had been on X Factor Italy and easily sold out the 600 tickets – and it wasn’t just the Italian population that were at the gig. And last year, the band played Rock Werchter in July, so that’s grown their fanbase even more. As a result, I hope they come back again quickly be- cause the demand to see Måneskin is off the scale.”
But Perl won’t need to wait too long before experiencing the Måneskin electricity again. “We’re also promoting the show in Luxembourg, even though keeping that show at Rockhal did not make much sense anymore,” Perl tells IQ. “But they are loyal to their fans, so we are very grateful the date was not dropped.” Another beneficiary of the bigger rescheduled tour is DreamHaus chief Matt Schwarz, who says, “Our first ever concert with Måneskin would have taken place at Berlin Verti Music Hall in February 2022, [but] we had to cancel due to Covid-19.”
“Both sold-out shows were a huge hit, leaving ecstatic audiences and increasing the demand”
Schwarz says the band then wowed the crowds at Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in summer 2022, helping to pull in record-breaking attendances. That made upgrading the Berlin show to the Mercedes-Benz Arena and adding a date at Lanxess Arena in Cologne a simple decision. “Both sold-out shows were a huge hit, leaving ecstatic audiences and increasing the demand. Hence, we have just now put an even larger summer 25,000-cap, open-air show on sale in Hanover, which is en route to sell out,” reveals Schwarz.
“It’s been pure pleasure to work with Måneskin, Vivo, Exit [Music Management], and ITB on the band’s success story, and we are very grateful to write history with them in Germany.”
Close to the Top
Production director and show designer Giorgio Ioan has been working with Måneskin since the beginning of their career and is one of their big- gest fans. “The first shows were in small clubs, with just a neon sign with their name,” he recalls. “The next production involved some video and some lighting in bigger clubs – 2,000, 3,000 capacity. And then, after the explosion of the Eurovision Song Contest, it got much, much bigger.”
When the original Loud Kids tour was planned for 2022, Ioan had designed a show that could happily tour 3,000-capacity venues. However, when it became obvious that the band’s fanbase had multiplied, he was able to use the enforced delay to scale up everything. One of the key elements of the current Måne skin show is an ingenious system of trusses carrying multiple motors so that every song in the set can benefit from a bespoke lighting design.
“When I designed it, I was originally looking at a trussing square, but then moving my eyes to the side of the computer I thought, ‘hey, what about if I turn it 45 degrees?’ It just gives you so many possibilities. So I sent drawings to Jordan Babev, the lighting designer, and we could see that there were tens of thousands of positions we could have. So, we finalised the best ones and concentrated on those for the programming.”
Måneskin’s travelling circus for Loud Kids involves 45 crew aboard three buses
Ioan explains that the build for such a complex setup usually begins in each venue at 7am and, factoring in a proper Italian lunchbreak, by the time the trusses are in place, with the lighting already connected, and the stage is rolled in, it’s usually 3-4pm, just in time for soundcheck.
“It’s really well-engineered,” says Ioan, adding that loading out at Ziggo Dome took three hours, while at the likes of Accor Arena in Paris, where only three trucks at a time could gain access, it was closer to four.
The design also incorporates a B stage at front of house where singer Damiano David and guitarist Thomas Raggi play an acoustic set of two or three songs during the show before re-joining bassist Victoria De Angelis and drummer Ethan Torchio back on the main stage for the remainder of the show. Ioan has also made use of new state-of-the-art equipment for pyro that uses fine fuel nozzles to allow David to stand just 30 centimetres behind a bar of flames.
Let’s Get It Sorted
In addition to the band, Måneskin’s travelling circus for Loud Kids involves 45 crew aboard three buses, while equipment, stages, and sets are transported on nine trucks. “But those trucks are fully packed,” states Ioan.
Vivo Concerti boss Zard tells IQ that given Måneskin’s career has been built on carefully constructed home-grown foundations, the vast majority of those joining them on the road have been involved from the beginning. Indeed, apart from using the expertise of Dutch consultants Frontline Rigging for the motion control, Måneskin’s production crew and suppliers are entirely Italian, ensuring that the core of the touring party has remained intact from day one.
“You never know what the future holds, but once you have a good team, there is no reason to change it”
“You never know what the future holds, but once you have a good team, there is no reason to change it,” comments Zard. “This project with Måneskin has now been three years, non-stop, so it’s important to have the best people because they become a family on tour. If you have good people, it reflects in the performance on stage for the artists.”
And of course, the beating heart of any Italian tour is the catering. “If you eat shit food, everybody is disappointed, and that will reflect the sensibility of each person from the artists to the front-of-house engineer. That’s why we have our trusted Italian catering team, Giromangiando, to make sure everyone is kept happy,” says Ritrovato.
“We try to always offer a different kind of meal, with veggie options,” explains Giromangiando’s Lorenzo Falasca. “Our staff on the road includes three people – the chef, our [maître d’], and a buyer – while we request three local catering helpers in every venue,” he adds, noting that Giromangiando serves around 60-70 meals at lunch and around 100-120 meals at dinnertime.
And while Giromangiando are delighted to be involved on Måneskin’s most successful tour to date, Falasca observes that feeding such discerning diners is not as hazardous as it might have been in the past. “Finding the Italian ingredients is not so difficult because globalisation has made it easier to source Italian products.” But he contends that the nourishment side of things is only one part of Giromangiando’s remit. “A good tour catering company also has to create a good atmosphere… catering has to be like a happy island in the middle of the rough sea so that we can make the band and crew feel at home.”
Rather than cramming in as many shows as possible every week, Ritrovato says Vivo Concerti are committed to helping everyone on the road cope with the rigours of touring to help preserve that ‘happy family’ environment.
“We want to work with Måneskin for a long time, so we need to preserve their physique and their mental health and, more importantly, we need to do the same for the crew because without them there is no show,” he says. “Our team is the best in the world and needs to be able to load-in and load-out in one day without any pre-rigging day, so we’re very careful that we don’t overload anyone.”
“At the O2 Arena show in London, we were determined to keep the ticket price the same as it was going to be for Brixton”
That caring attitude does not go unnoticed by the crew. Suppliers Agorà are a key contributor to the success of the Loud Kids tour, having worked with the band since their emergence from X Factor Italy. “We provide all the audio and lighting equipment and the relative crews,” explains sound engineer Remo Scafati. “Agorà is a [leading] entertainment rental company in Italy and supplies the greatest Italian artists. We are really proud to serve the guys in their path to success.”
While the tour poses some tricky challenges across its various arenas, Scafati is unfazed. “We have already worked in most of the venues with other artists and we know the issues of each one – the gear we have on the road with us is proportionate to achieve the best result everywhere.”
Confirming that Agorà will be involved on the stadium dates in July, Scafati says solutions for the next leg of the tour, across the Atlantic, are already in place. “In North America, we have a joint venture with Unreal System, a rental company based in Miami with which we did the last winter tour. But in South America, we will use local rental companies because I believe we will not be able to bring all the gear with us.”
Somebody Told Me
Despite Måneskin’s “good news” post-pandemic story, rescheduling the dates was not without its issues – ticket pricing being a particular problem. “For example, at the O2 Arena show in London, we were determined to keep the ticket price the same as it was going to be for Brixton [Academy] because we didn’t want the fans to be upset,” explains Wade. “The solution is that the pit of the O2 is basically going to be the Brixton tickets, meaning it should be less grief for the fans, while also making sure they have a decent ticket price.”
Working in conjunction with the band’s manager, Fabrizio Ferraguzzo at Exit Music Management, Vivo Concerti have overseen a schedule that has put Måneskin on stage at some of the world’s premiere festivals in the past year, propelling momentum for their growing fanbase. “We will conclude in June with Glastonbury and Primavera Sound, to add to all the others we’ve done – Coachella, Lollapalooza Chicago, Rock Werchter, Rock in Rio, Summersonic – there have been some great moments,” says Ritrovato.
“We ripped up the plans so that Giorgio [Ioan] could create this incredible production”
“We renewed our contract with Måneskin last year, so we practically hold 100% rights to promote, produce, and represent the band worldwide. No Italian band has done this level of business before, internationally, so that has helped Vivo Concerti to break into some new territories and to increase brand awareness about the company”
Indeed, the success of Måneskin has underlined Vivo Concerti’s credentials as a destination for emerging talent in Italy. But with more than 70 acts on the company’s roster, including much international talent and a swathe of comedians and family entertainment productions, the company (which is less than ten years old) was named by Pollstar as being the seventh biggest agency in Europe last year, and 12th in the world.
Looking back on the strategy for Måneskin, Zard says, “We always knew that in Europe we could play arenas at some point but the surprise was just how quickly we have achieved that. Tick- et sales have been superfast, so when we were forced to postpone the original tour, we talked with the band’s management, Exit, and we decided to go into arenas.
“We also took the opportunity to add some new markets that hadn’t been there on the club tour. And, of course, we ripped up the plans so that Giorgio [Ioan] could create this incredible production – I think lots of people expected it to be more like a pop production. But it’s a big, ground-breaking rock show.”
He adds, “This is something that’s never happened to an Italian band before, but they are now 100% an international rock band. It’s massively exciting to be part of their journey.”
That growing fan base is very important to the promoters later on in the Loud Kids tour. In Austria, Ewald Tatar is looking forward to the band arriving at the Wiener Stadthalle on 28 April. “We’re very happy [that] we were able to [upgrade] the venue – it’s been sold out since 19 October 2022, with a 14,000-capacity,” says Tatar, adding that the band’s Eurovision performance
had convinced him about their potential.
“At this point, it looks like the sky is the limit for them”
That confidence saw Tatar book the act for the stadium-based Nova Rock Encore 2021, as well as Nova Rock Festival 2022. “Måneskin have proven that they have continued to increase their fan- base step by step in our country. But that’s hardly surprising to me because anyone who has already played with the Rolling Stones is truly destined for great things internationally,” he adds.
In Poland, Alter Art chief Mikołaj Ziółkowski comments, “We’ve already worked with the band twice – at Open’er Park in 2021 and at Open’er Festival in 2022 – and each time their live performance has been remarkable and pulsating with raw energy – one not to be missed.
“At this point, it looks like the sky is the limit for them, and we are very proud to accompany them in their growth. The Torwar [arena] show has been a long time coming, as it was supposed to happen last year, but it sold out way in advance, and it’s going to be an amazing night!”
Another promoter who is really looking forward to welcoming Måneskin is David Nguyen at Rock For People Concerts who is preparing for their 14 May appearance at Prague’s O2 Arena. “It’s the first time I will have a headline show at the O2 Arena, and it is already sold out,” he beams. “We had them at the Covid-free version of Rock For People Festival in August 2021, so not long after they won Eurovision, and they co-headlined one of our days.
“After the festival, we also had a 4,000-capacity show, and it sold out in one hour, so when we had to reschedule, we were confident about moving to the arena, with nearly 14,000 tickets.
“We can see the band’s progress: a couple years ago, half the songs they were playing were covers, but now they have a second album and they are everywhere – on magazine covers, at award shows – they have grown and developed a lot.”
Nguyen also admits to being surprised by the Czech fanbase for Måneskin. “When we did the festival show I was expecting a younger audience, but it was actually a nice surprise to see different generations. I also thought it would be a more rock crowd, but it was very mainstream and truly diverse. In fact, we had a lot of local celebrities there interested to see the band, which was very different for our festival.”
“The date in Riga will be the biggest date on Måneskin’s European tour, with a capacity that can go up to 19,000”
Elsewhere, one challenging date on the Loud Kids tour is in Latvia, where the original Arē- na Rīga show had to be moved outdoors to Mežaparks because of the arena’s ice hockey duties. But even that has been turned into a positive.
“The show in Riga is open air basically because the arena is booked for the Ice Hockey World Championships,” says Sara Gigante at Charmenko, which is co-promoting Måneskin in Budapest with Live Nation, while in Latvia and Estonia, L Tips agency is the co-promoter.
“The date in Riga will be the biggest date on Måneskin’s European tour, with a capacity that can go up to 19,000, which is really big for their first show in the country. It is selling well, while Tallinn is sold out and Budapest is very close selling out.
She continues, “We had Måneskin in Istanbul last year in an open-air venue – Maçka Küçükçiftlik Park – and it was very well attended, especially as it was quite early after things had reopened in Turkey,” continues Gigante. And like Nguyen, she observes that the band’s fanbase is extensive. “In the Baltics, people aged between 25 and 34 make up almost 30% of ticket buyers, so that’s the core fanbase, whereas I think many people believe it is teenagers. In fact, when I went to see the show in Amsterdam, I did not feel alone, and I am almost 42 – I was not surrounded by teenagers; it’s a show for people of all ages.”
Such positivity is music to the ears of production director Ioan, who is relishing the idea of going outdoors in Riga for the penultimate date of the Loud Kids tour. “I’m looking at it as a test because this summer we will have other big shows outdoors, so we can use it as a rehearsal for that,” says Ioan.
“The production is amazing, the sound is incredible, and the band just smashes it”
With more than 500,000 tickets sold on the Loud Kids tour, Måneskin’s star power just keeps rising, prompting Exit Management, Vivo Concerti, and the agents at ITB to announce a further tour for the summer and autumn months that will take the band across oceans.
Ahead of that, the band will play stadiums in their home country in July, with more than 220,000 tickets already sold for the performances in Trieste, Rome, and Milan. And with shows at Milan’s Stadio San Siro and Rome’s Stadio Olimpico already sold out, second dates have already gone on sale for those cities.
The band’s new album, Rush!, has been streamed more than 800 million times. It peaked at No.1 in 15 countries, has charted top five in 20 countries, and also claimed No.1 on Billboard’s alternative albums chart.
The Rush! World Tour will see them perform outdoors in Germany and France in early September, before hopping the Atlantic for a date at Madison Square Garden and a further ten dates across America and Canada. The band then heads south to Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Argentina, and Brazil, then skips across the Pacific for four dates in Australia, one night in Singapore, and three dates in Japan, before rounding out the year with shows in Dublin’s 3 Arena and the AO Arena in Manchester.
Vivo Concerti boss Zard says, “I’ve had the privilege to work with these talented and humble performers since day one, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”
Plans for 2024 are secret, at present, but with countless fans missing out on the current Loud Kids tour, promoters everywhere are already eagerly awaiting Måneskin’s return.
“The production is amazing, the sound is incredible, and the band just smashes it,” says Dutch promoter Rense van Kessel. “It is a big achievement for the whole team that they have put this on the road and made it such a big success. And it was a great pleasure to work alongside them. I would think Måneskin’s future is very bright – these loud kids are here to stay!”
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Ticketmaster secures partnership with Eurovision
Ticketmaster has unveiled a partnership with the 67th Eurovision Song Contest, set to take place in Liverpool on behalf of Ukraine.
The events at M&S Bank Arena (cap. 11,000) in May will benefit from Ticketmaster’s SafeTix, encrypted mobile tickets built with powerful fraud and counterfeit protection.
Ticketmaster’s SmartQueue technology will also be in place in the UK to provide an ‘enhanced booking experience’ for fans and ensure fair and secure access to tickets.
“Signing such an array of wonderful music events across the continent is a great way to kick off 2023”
In addition to the partnership with Eurovision, the ticketing behemoth has also inked deals with the concert to mark the Coronation of Their Majesties The King and the Queen Consort at Windsor Palace, the BBC 6 Music Festival, Portugal’s North Music Festival and NL Eventservice in the Netherlands.
Ticketmaster Spain will run Portugal’s boutique North Music Festival, with Ticketmaster Netherlands to lead Dutch promoter NL Eventservice’s various festivals including Live on the Beach and Biggest Summer Party.
“Signing such an array of wonderful music events across the continent is a great way to kick off 2023,” says Chris Edmonds, chairman of Ticketmaster International. “Ticketmaster’s technology is well-placed to not only handle the huge demand that prestigious events like Eurovision or the Coronation concert will bring, but also provide a seamless experience for the smaller, and equally important, events as well.”
Glasgow or Liverpool to host Eurovision 2023
Glasgow or Liverpool will host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest after the seven-strong UK shortlist was cut to two.
The competition will be held at either the former’s 14,300-cap OVO Hydro or the latter’s 11,000-cap M&S Bank Arena next May, with a final decision to be announced “within weeks”.
Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Sheffield and Manchester were also in the running after 20 UK cities expressed an interest when organisers decided 2022 winners Ukraine could not stage the event due to the war. The UK’s Sam Ryder finished second in this year’s contest.
“The EBU (European Broadcasting Union) would like to warmly thank all the seven British cities that put so much effort and enthusiasm into their bids to host next year’s Eurovision Song Contest on behalf of Ukraine,” says Martin Österdahl, executive supervisor for the Eurovision Song Contest. “We very much appreciate their cooperation and the quality and creativity of all the bids received.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is the most complex TV production in the world with very specific logistical requirements to accommodate around 40 delegations and thousands of crew, volunteers, press and fans.
“We’re confident our final two cities are the best placed to meet this challenge and look forward to continuing our discussions to choose the one which will stage the world’s largest music event next May.”
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a very complex event and Liverpool and Glasgow have the strongest overall offer”
The final decision on the host city will be decided by the BBC in conjunction with the European Broadcasting Union.
“Thanks to all seven cities across the UK who have demonstrated the enthusiasm and passion for Eurovision that exists right across the UK,” adds Phil Harrold, the chair of the BBC’s host city selection committee. “We were incredibly impressed by the quality and creativity of all the city bids, in what was a highly competitive field. The Eurovision Song Contest is a very complex event and Liverpool and Glasgow have the strongest overall offer; we will continue our discussions with them to determine the eventual host city.
“We are determined to make the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest one that both reflects the winning position of Ukraine and is also an event that all of the UK can participate in.”
The Eurovision Song Contest is the world’s largest live music event, with over 180 million people tuning in across linear and digital channels in 2022. The contest has launched the global careers of artists including Måneskin, Celine Dion, ABBA and Julio Iglesias.
Organisers are also planning to launch the event in Canada and Latin America, as the global expansion of the brand continues.
Thousands attend Eurovision Song Contest 2021
Organisers have hailed as a success the grand final of the Eurovision Song Contest, which, with 3,500 Covid-negative live music fans in attendance, was the biggest indoor pilot event held in the Netherlands to date.
The 2021 contest, the first since 2019, concluded at the 16,500-capacity Ahoy arena in Rotterdam on Saturday (22 May), with Italian band Måneskin crowned the winner for their song ‘Zitti e buoni’. In total, 26 countries made it to the final, with all but one (Iceland’s Daði og Gagnamagnið, one of whom tested positive for Covid-19) performing live from the arena on the night.
This year’s competition took the form of a pilot show, welcoming an in-person audience as part of the government-approved Back to Live series, coordinated by pan-industry body Fieldlab Events. To gain entry to the arena, everyone involved – including performers, fans, country delegations, press, staff and crew – had to register a negative Covid-19 test in the previous 48 hours, and then get tested again once on site at the dedicated Eurovision test pavilion (pictured).
In addition, social distancing was enforced throughout the venue, while masks had to be worn whenever people moved around the arena (even performers on their way to the stage).
As a Fieldlab event, no persons deemed to be at risk, such as the elderly, were eligible to apply for tickets – which caused some controversy in the run-up to the show, with former Eurovision winner Getty Kaspers (of Teach-In) among those to criticise the ‘no over-70s’ rule.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a turning point for me”
Among the fans who were successful in getting tickets, the atmosphere at the Ahoy was celebratory. “Everyone is decked out in flags and costumes with a lot of glitter,” one attendee, Deuss, tells public broadcaster NOS. “The atmosphere is cheerful and exuberant. People here feel that they are the lucky ones.”
Jolanda Jansen, director of Rotterdam Ahoy and a spokesperson for Fieldlab member Alliance of Event Builders, says seeing the arena full of staff and fans was her highlight of Eurovision week.
“The moment that moved me the most was seeing all our colleagues happy at work again,” she tells Tubantia. “We’ve come a long way; 2020 was a terrible year. We had to let 40% of the workforce go.
“The Eurovision Song Contest is a turning point for me. From now on it will only get better.”
According to Dutch economic minister, the provisional results from the second phase of Fieldlab/Back to Live events are positive. The full results, which follow the similarly positive findings from the first test events in February, will be announced in the near future.
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Eurovision Song Contest becomes Back to Live pilot
This year’s Eurovision Song Contest in the Netherlands will take place as a government-backed pilot event with a small in-person audience, a Dutch minister has announced.
Arie Slob, a minister for media under culture secretary Ingrid van Engelshoven, tells De Telegraaf that it will be possible to admit thousands of fans to Eurovision, which returns this spring after cancelling in 2020, by bringing the contest under Fieldlab Evenementen’s Back to Live, a series of pilot concerts, festivals and other live events which has been running since February. The most recent Back to Live events, two test festivals held at the Lowlands site in Biddinghuizen, took place on 20 and 21 March.
Currently, it is hoped a maximum of 3,500 people a day will be admitted to the 16,426-capacity Rotterdam Ahoy arena from 18 to 22 May, though plans are subject to change should the coronavirus situation deteriorate.
As with previous Back to Live trial events, fans will only be permitted to enter the Ahoy after testing negative for Covid-19.
“We welcome this decision by the Dutch government and the possibility that we can invite fans to join us”
In total, there will be nine shows, including rehearsals, for Eurovision 2021, the 65th edition of the pan-European song contest.
“We welcome this decision by the Dutch government and the possibility that we can invite fans to join us as we bring the Eurovision Song Contest back in May,” says Martin Österdahl, Eurovision’s executive supervisor.
“We will consider the options now available and announce more details in the coming weeks on how we can safely admit audiences to the Ahoy venue in Rotterdam should the situation allow. The health and safety of all those attending the event remains our top priority.”
“The fact that we now have the opportunity to plan for a Eurovision Song Contest with an audience again is something we could only dream of [previously],” the contest’s executive producer Sietse Bakker tells public broadcaster NOS. “We are grateful to the cabinet and to Fieldlab Evenementen for this perspective and the confidence they have placed in us.”
Organisers call off 2020 Eurovision Song Contest
The 65th Eurovision Song Contest has become the latest high-profile event to be called off in the face of the continuing spread of coronavirus.
The news comes just hours after organisers announced the cancellation of the 2020 Glastonbury Festival.
The European Broadcasting Union announced today (18 March) that the annual competition, which was set to take place on 16 May at the 16,000-capacity Rotterdam Ahoy Arena, has been delayed until 2021.
“It is with deep regret that we have to announce the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020,” reads a statement from organisers.
“The Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever”
“We have explored many alternative option to allow the contest to go ahead. However, the uncertainty created by the spread of Covid-19 throughout Europe means it is impossible to continue with the live event as planned.”
The event’s executive supervisor, Jon Ola Sand, adds: “We are very proud of the Eurovision Song Contest, that for 64 years has united people all around Europe. We regret this situation very much, but I can promise you: the Eurovision Song Contest will come back stronger than ever.”
Participating broadcasters are in discussions with the Eurovision Song Contest Reference Group to decide whether the selected artists will be able to perform their songs next year.
Dutch singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence won last year’s Eurovision Song Contest.
All the world’s a stage: Ericsson Globe at 30
What began life 30 years ago as one of the most controversial buildings in Stockholm has now become woven into the fabric of the Swedish capital and a celebrated part of the city’s skyline.
The Ericsson Globe – known locally simply as “Globen” – took over two years to build. It opened its doors on 19 February 1989 and remains the largest hemispherical building in the world. Over the past three decades it has changed the live entertainment and sports environment not just in Stockholm but across Scandinavia. In that time, the venue has hosted over 3,300 events and seen 35 million customers through its doors.
Its construction at the time was desperately needed as there was no purpose-built multifunctional arena in the region until its arrival, with concerts and other family entertainment events having to make do in ice hockey arenas that dated back to the 1960s.
“There was an architectural competition to build the new arena and to make it a landmark of the city,” says Marie Lindqvist, the venue’s vice president and general manager. “It is a spherical building, and it was very controversial at the beginning but it has become a well-known and well-loved landmark in the city of Stockholm. The building was completely new and very modern. It was very different to what had been in the market before.”
Its impact was instant, putting Stockholm on the international touring plans for major acts and events, as it meant they could now play to audiences of up to 16,000 in a purpose-built arena.
“The Globe has been a major contributor to Stockholm growing on the international music and entertainment market”
“The Globe has been a major contributor to Stockholm growing on the international music and entertainment market,” says Lindqvist. “It has been an enabler for Stockholm to get big shows but also to host international championships in ice hockey, handball, figure skating, and many more sports. It has definitely been a driver in positioning Stockholm as an events city.”
What was state-of-the-art in 1989, however, can start to look and feel archaic in 2019. As such, the venue has been keenly aware of the need to constantly evolve, to ensure it doesn’t become as anachronistic as the hockey arenas it superseded.
Scandinavia has long been a leader in the adoption of online and mobile technologies, and it is only to be expected that this has impacted on live entertainment in the region before most other places in the world. The Globe has adapted to keep itself at the forefront of these developments.
Jenny Blomqvist, head of event sales at the venue, says that while laptop/PC sales of tickets are still 50% of the market there, mobile is where the focus is now. “We do see a big shift towards mobile payments,” she says, “[and] all development within ticketing is now focused on mobile.”
With this rise of online and mobile comes a concurrent growth in the importance of data, and this feeds into how the venue runs and helps it anticipate customer behaviour.
“Today, consumers expect great connectivity in any arena; it is one of the basic components of the live experience”
“Data lets us know more about the fans and, thereby, creates a better customer journey [in terms of] what they want and how to communicate with them,” says Blomqvist. “It’s also more important with today’s technology and data to explain more about your exact position in the venue, the view from your seat, and also about possible upgrades or add-ons.”
Data, ultimately, should be used to enhance the customer experience. “With more information about visitors and sales, together with the promoter we can create a better event when it comes to getting the perfect seating plan for each show,” she says.
Alongside the customer-facing benefits of this rich data there are also business-facing upsides. “Promoters expect fast feedback on booking availabilities, so the organisation needs to quickly process information in order to find out what can be accommodated, both from a calendar and an operational perspective,” explains Blomqvist. “I would say that the organisation has sharpened its working processes and our know-how to better face up to the ever-increasing demand for arena availability.”
Given that Ericsson has been the venue’s naming partner for the past decade, mobile technologies have long been front and centre here. “Today, consumers expect great connectivity in any arena; it is one of the basic components of the live experience,” says Gil Murphy, the Globe’s head of event technology. “Most of the new ways of operating a venue depend on the connectivity in the arena with the POS systems, ticket scanning, wayfinding, and so on. Also, from an operating perspective, great connectivity is essential.”
Staying on top of the rapidly evolving digital world is a priority for the venue. “When Ericsson Globe hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, the Wi-Fi in the arena was upgraded to a newer standard, delivered by Ericsson, and is today a network that can handle most challenges,” adds Murphy.
“Technological developments have equated to greater demand from artists as well as [raise] expectations from visitors. The arena has had to gradually evolve to meet expectations”
The next technological leap will be 5G mobile connectivity, and venues will have to move in lockstep with these telco developments. “One thing I believe is, for sure, connectivity will continue to increase, as well as new ways to interact digitally with arena visitors,” says Murphy.
Tied into this is the development of the venue’s own smartphone app, which will launch later this year for the Globe and the company’s other four arenas in the city (Friends Arena, Tele2 Arena, Annexet and Hovet).
“The goal with the new app is to smooth the consumer journey and simplify your own interaction with the event you are going to,” explains Daniel Stålbo, director of comms at the Globe. “[The app] is where you will receive your ticket to your event [and it] is also where you will get all the information about your upcoming event; tips about how to best get to the arena; where to stay; how to order and pay for your food and drinks; how to get upgrades, and so on. It also provides a new foundation for interaction with live events in ways that promoters and partners define – such as voting, quizzes, seeing playlists, and more.”
New technologies are also shaping the creative potential of the venue, allowing the touring acts and productions to do things that were inconceivable even a decade ago.
“Technological developments have equated to greater demand from artists to incorporate [new] show techniques as well as [raise] expectations from visitors for a multimedia experience that can be shared online,” is how Blomqvist puts it. “The arena has had to gradually evolve to meet expectations. For instance, we are constantly working on how to improve rig capacity, as well as creating solutions for data capacity in line with visitors’ expectations.”
Politics overshadows successful 64th Eurovision
The 64th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest wrapped up on Saturday at Expo Tel Aviv’s Pavilion 2 (10,000-cap.), Israel, in a contest that has seen the music industry divided on political, rather than musical, issues.
The Netherlands won Eurovision 2019 with singer-songwriter Duncan Laurence’s performance of piano ballad ‘Arcade’. The Dutch artist received 492 points, followed by Italy’s Mahmood with 465 and Russia’s Sergey Lazarev with 369. The UK’s Michael Rice placed last, with a total of 16 points, for his rendition of ‘Bigger Than Us’.
“I have been so delighted with this year’s competition and we have all been very impressed with the wonderful talented artists who have taken part this year,” says Jon Ola Sand, the European Boradcating Union’s (EBU) head of live events and the executive supervisor of the Eurovision Song Contest.
“I would like to thank them for the hard work and dedication they have given us. Each artist has brought something unique to the contest and embodied what this contest is about,” adds Sand.
However, music was not the main topic of conversation surrounding Eurovision 2019. Following the win of Israeli act Netta Barzilai last year, the 2019 competition took place in Tel Aviv, sparking controversy due to the long-running Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Despite calls to boycott the event, Madonna performed at the grand final on Saturday night. The singer opened her performance with a call for unity, declaring: “Let’s never underestimate the power of music to bring people together.”
Madonna’s rendition of her new single ‘Future’ featured two dancers who displayed Israeli and Palestinian flags on their backs, walking arm-in-arm.
“Each artist has brought something unique to the contest and embodied what this contest is about”
Icelandic act Hatari, who finished in tenth place, also displayed Palestinian flags during the contest.
The EBU states that both sets of artists violate its rules, which designate Eurovision as a “non-political event”.
The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel denounced what it called the “fig-leaf gestures of solidarity from international artists”.
Ticket sales for this year’s Eurovision were lower than expected. According to Israeli paper Globes, between 5,000 and 7,000 foreign guests visited the country for Eurovision, including the participating artists’ delegations and journalists. Previous predictions expected the competition to attract between 20,000 and 30,000 tourists.
Local media puts the low numbers down to high hotel rates and steep ticket prices. Tickets to Saturday’s final set fans back £373 for prime seats and £252 for standard seats. Tickets for last year’s final, held at the Altice Arena in Lisbon, Portugal, cost between £31 and £262.
Calls for a boycott may have also have affected ticket sales.
“Let’s never underestimate the power of music to bring people together”
The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, an initiative working to “pressure Israel to comply with international law”, initiated the call for a boycott of Eurovision 2019. BDS claims that more than 150,000 people responded to its call, including artists and music-related organisations.
Musicians including Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Wolf Alice and Brian Eno urged a boycott of the event, due to Israel’s “grave, decades-old violations of Palestinian human rights”.
The Musicians’ Union of Ireland similarly supported the boycott, calling on its members to attend protests in support of sidelining the contest.
Entertainment industry non-profit organisation, the Creative Community For Peace (CCFP), established a movement to oppose the boycott, stating that music “transcends boundaries and brings people together”.
The CCFP initiative has more than 35,000 signatories, including Sharon Osbourne, Gene Simmons and Justin Bieber manager Scooter Braun, as well as individuals from the Madison Square Garden Company, the Recording Academy/ Grammys and AEG Presents.