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Festival leaders look to domestic artists for 2021

Gathering speakers from Australia, South Korea, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, Festival Forum: Reboot & reset delved into the states of those local markets and their various timelines for reopening.

Moderator Beatrice Stirnimann, of boutique event Baloise Session, explained that when her event was cancelled early on in 2020, it allowed the organisation to spend time concentrating on a series of livestreaming shows, leading her to quiz her fellow speakers about how they have spent the last 12 months.

Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO of FKP Scorpio, disclosed that the company had to get creative during last year’s first lockdown by developing digital versions of festivals to prepare audiences for the rescheduled 2020 festivals, although he admitted that this year’s diary is now looking precarious as well.

Thanscheidt said tickets are currently on sale for events, but nobody is buying at the moment. “I don’t see festivals happening in June or July in continental Europe,” he stated, adding that he believes a lot more events will cancel their 2021 events in the coming weeks. “We have to think about strategies to keep people on board to have the best possible outcome for 2022.”

“I don’t see festivals happening in June or July in continental Europe”

Jim King reported that AEG Presents took a view to pause and review what the situation was during the past year, while the company tried to be a voice to support the various organisations that have been lobbying on the industry’s behalf. “With the success of the vaccination programme in the UK, it’s giving us a foundation to build off,” he said. “What is important for us [in the UK] is that we now have these ‘not before’ dates which brings all the stakeholders together in the industry so everyone can align. That means that the planning side now becomes easier, although it’s still not easy.”

Jessica Ducrou of Secret Sounds explained that the company has recently rescheduled its 2021 edition of the Splendour in the Grass festival from July to November. “We’ve been offering refunds to people, but the retention is high at 90% despite rescheduling three times. So that shows that people are really looking forward to events reopening,” she said.

Tommy Jinho Yoon of International Creative Agency revealed that there are shows currently happening in Korea, but a travel ban means there are no international acts performing at the moment. “I’ve been doing the same as everyone else at the moment – basically putting out fires,” he said.

Explaining that his events generally twin with festivals in Japan to share acts, Yoon observed that optimism appears to be is higher in that country than Korea, which informed his decision not to plan any festivals in 2021. However, he revealed that the shows he is booking for Q1 and Q2 of 2022 are in conjunction with artists who are also confirming Australian dates, hinting that international touring could be on the way back sooner than some people imagine. “When our shows go back on, it’s going to be intense,” said Yoon. “Machines are not going to replace that.”

Exploiting domestic talent makes sense for the UK while there is a high degree of hesitancy for international acts to travel

For her part, Ducrou told her peers that Australia is gradually getting back to business. “Domestically, artists are touring not at full capacity, but the shows are getting bigger,” she said, noting that the government recently gave approval for a festival at Easter with a 50% capacity and other restrictions.

“Using domestic talent is where Australia is at the moment. Shows are getting bigger and density is getting higher, so I’m optimistic,” added Ducrou. But in terms of international acts, she stressed that the mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone entering the country remains the biggest challenge.

On a similar note, King said exploiting domestic talent made sense for the UK while there is a high degree of hesitancy for international acts to travel. Therefore any AEG events this summer would likely be dominated by UK artists.

However, Thanscheidt said that having only domestic artists would not work for some of Scorpio’s festival brands, where restrictions such as social distancing or zero alcohol policies wouldn’t be a good fit either.

But Thanscheidt also ended on a positive vibe, by repeating a theme that has run throughout the discussions at ILMC, thanks to regular calls that the FKP Scorpio team have had with the likes of AEG Presents, Eventim Live, Goodlive, Live Nation and Superstruct as part of Yourope’s Solutions for Festivals Initiative. “The teaming up by different companies in solidarity is, for me, a very astonishing and very good outcome,” he declared.

 


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ILMC reveals provisional agenda for 2021 edition

The International Live Music Conference (ILMC) has unveiled the provisional agenda for the 33rd edition, which will go Virtually Live between 3–5 March.

This year’s agenda boasts three days’ worth of sessions with the industry’s top players, focusing on touring, agency, livestreaming, diversity, greener touring, mental health, ticketing, gender equality, Brexit, Covid and more.

ILMC’s Winter Rate ends before 6 pm GMT on 29 January, after which the price of registration increases. See the provisional agenda below.

Wednesday 3 March
Day one at ILMC 33 sees The Open Forum: The big build back and an all-star panel of guests answering the big questions, and Klaus-Peter Schulenberg: The five-year plan, in which the CTS Eventim founder and CEO lays out his five-year vision for live entertainment in Europe.

Insurance: The big update looks at what impact the last few years have had on insurance and changes in the market; guest speakers from across the industry take a look at the revolving world of A&R in The Talent Pipeline: bringing new artists online; and in Agency Business: Enter the new players a collection of new kids on the agency block present their different approaches to the business.

We assess the long-term effects of Covid-19 on the venue sector in The Venue’s Venue: Rooms to manoeuvre and grassroots music venue operators discuss the challenges facing their rooms in Grassroots Venues: Route to recovery; in Sustainability: The best of GEI, the team behind the Green Events & Innovations Conference presents the key takeaways from their event; and in Collaboration: The multiplayer experience, a panel considers whether the industry needs a representative body.

Wednesday also features the previously announced Pulse@ILMC, a new industry platform to sit at the intersection of technology and live events.

Wednesday also features Pulse@ILMC, a new industry platform to sit at the intersection of technology and live events

Thursday 4 March
Day two of ILMC starts with Brexit: The endgame, in which a panel of experts assesses the new normal in European touring; while Covid-19: The strategy game discusses the measures and strategies the industry can utilise to get back up and running. Ticketing: Moving beyond 2020 looks at how the relationship between ticketers, venues, promoters and fans has changed; whilst Artists: The view from the stage provides creators with an opportunity to discuss what’s new and what’s changed from their point of view.

The Engine Room: The IPM review will see a panel of production experts present the key takeaways from the ILMC Production Meeting, which took place the day ILMC kicked off; The Agency Business 2021 asks company heads and leading lights from the agency world to discuss the future of the agency; Race Matters in Live: Levelling up looks at strategies to repair the race deficit; whilst the challenges and opportunities of domestic touring are discussed in Touring in 2021 & Beyond: The long game.

Thursday’s line-up also includes Mobile Ticket and Covid Testing & Mitigation workshops, and an entire day dedicated to the exhibition and experience economy – TEEM.

Thursday winds up with The (late) Breakfast Meeting in which veteran artist manager and ILMC host-with-the-most Ed Bicknell chats with industry legend Irving Azoff.

Thursday winds up with The (late) Breakfast Meeting in which Ed Bicknell chats with industry legend Irving Azoff

Friday 5 March
The final day’s topics include Mental Health: Talking heads, which takes an annual look at the mental health of the live music industry; Sponsorship: Reinventing the deal contemplates what branding will look like in 2021; and Festival Forum: Reboot & reset looks at the lessons festivals have learned since the industry closed down in March 2020.

We ask who is taking care of out-of-work professionals during the pandemic in The Workforce: Protecting our ecosystemFestival Futures: Core priorities sees festival operators consider what their events mean to them and their audiences; and Gender Equality: The next level takes a keen look at diversity in the workplace.

Working Culture: Getting a live examines home-working and the evolving concept of the office; and in Live-streaming Rights: Wrongs & rates we analyse the confusing topic of rights around live-streaming.

Rounding up ILMC 33, Futures Forum: Meet the new bosses sees a group of junior execs discuss how the pandemic has changed the business for them; Rock: The mother of invention examines this unique and dynamic genre; and finally, the ever-changing topic of health, safety and security are discussed in E3S: Safety & security 2.0.

Click here to see the full ILMC agenda.

 


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IQ Focus: The Top 10 sessions so far

Since launching IQ Focus, a weekly series of livestreamed panels that debuted in May, we’ve been inviting heavyweights from the international live music business to discuss issues ranging from the trials and tribulations of a pandemic to the systemic racism brought to light by Blackout Tuesday, and everything in between.

But it hasn’t all been doom and gloom. The Innovation Session, for example, heard panellists discuss the flurry of innovation, fledgeling business models, and new ideas that have come out of the coronavirus crisis. Staying Safe & Sane During Covid presented expert opinions on how to protect the mental health and wellbeing of music professionals and artists. What all these sessions have had in common is a sense of optimism, opportunity and determination, as our industry forges ahead into the unknown.

This week we’re taking some time off from IQ Focus, but in the meantime, please enjoy our top ten sessions from the past couple of months and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to receive notifications about future IQ Focus sessions.

 


1. Festival Forum: Here Comes ’21

Hosted by ILMC head Greg Parmley, a panel comprising Europe’s festival elite discuss the collapse of this year’s festival season, as well as predictions for the next. Jim King (AEG Presents), Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio), Rachael Greenfield (Bloodstock Open Air), Anders Wahren (Roskilde Festival) and Mathieu Jaton (Montreux Jazz Festival) update us on how they’re coping in unprecedented circumstances; what lessons have been learned, which challenges have been faced and crucially, what the road to recovery looks like.

 


2. The Agency Business: 3.0

The Covid-19 crisis has presented significant challenges for both multinational agencies and boutique outfits. From juggling investors to dealing with a hiatus from touring, agencies are being forced to reflect on how their companies are structured and seek new opportunities and creative solutions. ILMC head and session chair Greg Parmley asks an all-star panel, what comes next? Guest speakers include Angus Baskerville, (13 Artists) Jules de Lattre (United Talent Agency), Maria May (Creative Artists Agency) and Tom Schroeder (Paradigm Talent Agency).

 


3. The Venue’s Venue: Building Back

For IQ‘s third focus session, John Langford, COO of AEG Europe, invites leading venue professionals to discuss strategies for weathering the storm, what the key learnings have been so far, and what emerging from life under lockdown might look like. Guest speakers include Lucy Noble (Royal Albert Hall / National Arena Association – UK), Olivier Toth (Rockhal / European Arena Association – Luxembourg), Oliver Hoppe (Wizard Promotions – Germany), Tom Lynch (ASM Global – UK), Lotta Nibell (GOT Event – Sweden).

 


4. The Innovation Session

While the catastrophic impact of Covid-19 continues to resonate throughout live music, the halt in normal business is seeing a flurry of innovation, fledgeling business models, and new ideas. From an explosion in livestreaming to virtual performances and meet & greets, 3D venues, gaming and tipping, what green shoots are rising from this current situation? Mike Malak, senior agent at Paradigm Talent Agency chairs our fourth IQ Focus session and invites a line-up of free-thinkers and ground-breakers.

 


5. The State of Independence: Promoters

Across the touring world, independent promoters face similar challenges when looking ahead to business post-Covid-19. While this current period presents many unique challenges for this creative and entrepreneurial sector, it’s one of many pressures they face. So what’s the state of play in Europe, South America and India? And what alternative show formats, and business models are independent promoters adopting to stay ahead? CAA’s Emma Banks hosts the session to ask, as the industry emerges from its current crisis, where the opportunities might lie?

 


6. Festival Forum: The Next Stage

We’re midway through what would have been this year’s festival season, and it’s a summer like no other. But are we midway through the crisis, or is there still further to go before the festival sector can confidently progress into 2021? With a number of Government support packages in place, and much of this year’s line ups transplanted to next year, how confident are promoters feeling about next year, and are artists and audiences ready to return? IQ editor Gordon Masson hosts this discussion with guest speakers including Cindy Castillo (Mad Cool Festival – ES), John Giddings (Isle of Wight Festival / Solo Agency – UK), Stefan Lehmkuhl (Goodlive – DE), Codruta Vulcu (ARTmania Festival – RO).

 


7. Grassroots Music Venues in Crisis

One of the hardest-hit areas of the business, grassroots music venues may well also be the first to emerge from the current crisis over the coming weeks and months. Across Europe, the fate of these vital stages on which talent is born and grown, is mixed, with some facing closure. How are our small venues being protected by the organisations and industry around them, and what still needs to be done? And once their doors are open again, how different will gig going be?

 


8. Beyond Rhetoric: Race in Live Music

Blackout Tuesday brought the industry to a standstill and thrust the topic of diversity in the music business back into view. So just what challenges do black promoters, agents and managers face, and what’s needed to counter systemic racism both within the business, in performance spaces and touring markets? Our next IQ Focus session will ask how changes can be made, and the current momentum can be maintained over the months and years ahead.

 


9. IQ Focus & The MMF Present: Managing The Crisis

With the bulk of artists dependent on live music revenue and audience connection, the Covid-19 crisis has decimated livelihoods. But what does it mean for their managers – the individuals thrown into salvaging campaigns, rescheduling tours, interpreting contractual changes and navigating the most uncertain of futures? How are their own businesses faring? And what do they see as the challenges – and hopefully opportunities – ahead for the live sector, in what we are all optimistically calling the “new normal”.

 


10. Staying Safe & Sane During Covid

Staying Safe & Sane During Covid considered how to best protect the mental health and wellbeing of music professionals and artists alike who are juggling disruption to working conditions, employment & financial concerns, a difficult global outlook and more. Chaired by Stacey Pragnell at ATC Live, the conversation featured Lollapalooza Berlin promoter Stefan Lehmkuhl (Goodlive), MITC founder Tamsin Embleton, tour manager Andy Franks (Music Support) and the CEO of mental health and wellbeing festival Getahead, Jenni Cochrane.

 


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Festival heavyweights join forces for second IQ Focus panel

Following on from last week’s inaugural session, the second IQ Focus virtual panel will feature representatives from some of Europe’s biggest festivals to discuss the huge challenges facing the 2020 season and look ahead to what recovery may entail.

IQ’s next fully interactive session – Festival Forum: Here Comes 21 – will feature Jim King (AEG Presents), Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio), Rachael Greenfield (Bloodstock Open Air), Anders Wahren (Roskilde Festival) and Mathieu Jaton (Montreux Jazz Festival) in conversation with ILMC MD Greg Parmley.

With much of the 2020 festival season already cancelled and the rest awaiting their fate, the European festival heads will share how they are coping with the shutdown, as well as reflecting on lessons learned from this unprecedented crisis.

Looking to the future, the panellists will also explore what recovery may look like for the vital summer sector in this not-to-be-missed virtual discussion.

The session is taking place on Thursday 14 at 4 p.m. BST/ 5 p.m. CET. Get an automatic reminder when the live stream starts via Facebook Live or YouTube Live. Or, search for the IQ Magazine page on each platform on the day.

 


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