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FKP Scorpio postpones Tempelhof Sounds to 2024

FKP Scorpio has postponed the second edition of Tempelhof Sounds to 2024, as the disused airport in which it takes place is “urgently needed” for refugee housing.

The Berlin-based festival launched last June in collaboration with German promoters Loft Concerts and Dreamhaus and was headlined by Muse, The Strokes and Florence and the Machine.

“Despite its successful premiere, Tempelhof Sounds will take a break in 2023 before taking place again in 2024,” says FKP Scorpio in a statement.

“Tempelhof Airport provided a great stage and impressive backdrop for us and our guests this year. Now, in the face of the ongoing inhumane war in Ukraine, it is once again providing much-needed shelter for refugees.

“In the face of the ongoing inhumane war in Ukraine, [Tempelhof] is once again providing much-needed shelter for refugees”

“The recent decision by the Berlin Senate to increase the number of emergency shelters means that, in addition to a change in the spatial layout for the placement and design of the festival grounds, there are also new requirements for noise protection, which of course applies to these people just as it does to all other residents. For us, this means that a successful approval process for our festival is unfortunately impossible under these new circumstances.

“Apart from that, we also consider it humanly imperative to show consideration in this exceptional situation to ensure that people who need refuge are not adversely affected under any circumstances. Instead, we wish that in 2024 we will come together under better circumstances to celebrate music and peace together. We look forward to starting planning for this very soon.”

In lieu of Tempelhof Sounds 2023, FKP Scorpio and Loft Concerts have organised a concert that will bring “the unique atmosphere” of the festival to Waldbühne (Woodland Stage), the 22,000-capacity open-air theatre at Olympiapark Berlin.

Bon Iver, Fever Ray and Holly Humberstone will perform at Tempelhof Sounds Presents on 2 June, with tickets starting from €75.

 


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2023 lineups: Øya, Flow, Hurricane & Southside

Øya (NO), Flow (FI), Hurricane & Southside (DE), Paaspop (NL) and Welcome To Rockville (US) are the latest festivals to beef-up their 2023 festival line-ups.

Norway’s Øya festival has detailed its gender-balanced line-up for 2023, which includes Sigrid, FKA Twigs, Caroline Polachek, Amyl and the Sniffers, Devo, Håkan Hellstrom, Shygirl and TV Girl.

The Superstruct-backed festival, which will return to Oslo’s Tøyenparken between 8–12 August, will once again put sustainability at the forefront of its operation.

The site operates free of fossil fuels, with 98% of its power being renewable and all construction machinery is run on biofuel.

That approach is also applied to everything from recycling (75% of all waste is recycled, having been sorted by hand) to travel (98% of attendees arrive by bike, foot or public transport).

The Øya site operates free of fossil fuels, with 98% of its power being renewable

Superstruct’s Flow Festival has also revealed the first acts for next year’s edition in Helsinki, Finland, between 11 and 13 August.

FKA Twigs, Caroline Polachek, Suede, Devo, Amyl & The Sniffers, Shygirl, Jockstrap, 070 Shake and more will perform at the culture, music, arts and debate festival in the post-industrial area of Suvilahti.

In Germany, the 2023 editions of FKP Scorpio’s flagship festivals, Hurricane and Southside, are beginning to take shape.

Billy Talent, Muse, Die Ärzte, Kraftklub, Placebo, Casper, Peter Fox and Queens Of The Stone Age will top the bill for the twin events, which this year sold-out and attracted 150,000 attendees.

Southside and Hurricane will return to Neuhausen ob Eck and the Eichenring motorcycle speedway in Scheessel, respectively, between 16 to 18 June 2023.

Danny Wimmer Presents unveiled the line-up for its longest-running annual festival

In neighbouring country, the Netherlands, The Event Warehouse is putting the final touches on Paaspop 2023.

Limp Bizkit today (15 December) joined next year’s line-up which already included 90 names including Antoon, Armin van Buuren, Calum Scott and Danny Vera.

Davina Michelle, De Staat, dEUS, DI-Rect, Flemming, George Ezra, Goldband, Reinier Zonneveld, Rondé, S10, Son Mieux and Triggerfinger are also lined up for the festival, scheduled for 7–9 April 2023 at De Molenheide in Schijndel.

Also today, Danny Wimmer Presents unveiled the line-up for its longest-running annual festival, Welcome To Rockville (US).

Tool, Slipknot, Avenged Sevenfold, Pantera, Deftones, Rob Zombie, Godsmack, Queens of the Stone Age, Evanescence and Incubus are the first name to be announced for the 12th edition.

The event will return to Daytona International Speedway In Daytona Beach, Florida, between 18–21 May 2023. This year’s edition brought together 150,000 fans.


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Ed Sheeran sold the most concert tickets in 2022

Ed Sheeran sold more concert tickets this year than any other act, according to Billboards end-of-year box office scores.

The English singer-songwriter, who is represented by One Fiinix Live boss Jon Ollier, sold more than three million tickets to 63 concerts on the European leg of his + – = ÷ x (Mathematics) stadium tour.

The outing was also the third highest-grossing tour of 2022, raking in US$246,287,916 (around £202m). Bad Bunny claimed the top spot, grossing $373,463,379 for 65 shows, while Elton John came in second with $334,385,023 for 84 concerts.

Of Sheeran’s 63 concerts, the five-date run at London’s Wembley Stadium in June/July charted highest on Billboard‘s Top Boxscores, coming second after Harry Styles’ 15-date run at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

The Wembley shows, promoted by FKP Scorpio and Kilimanjaro Live, grossed US$37,232,300 (around £30m) from ticket sales alone and drew 420,269 attendances.

“The success of the + – = ÷ x Tour is simply unprecedented”

A further eight entries for the Mathematics tour can be found in the Top 50 Boxscores, including runs at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium, Munich’s Olympiastadion and Cardiff’s Principality Stadium.

“Superlatives are the order of the day with Ed Sheeran, but the success of this tour is and remains simply incredible,” FKP Scorpio CEO Folkert Koopmans previously told IQ. “The success of the + – = ÷ x Tour is simply unprecedented.”

While Smash!bang!pow, which promoted Sheeran’s record-breaking shows in Denmark, said the ticket sales are “beyond comparison” in Danish music history.

The Mathematics is the follow-up to Sheeran’s 255-show ÷ (Divide) run from 2017-19 which surpassed U2’s 360° as the highest-grossing tour ever, with a gross of $776.2m. It also set a new record for total attendance, at 8,796,567.

Sheeran will continue the Mathematics tour in 2023 with a trip to Australia in February and March and his first North American stadium tour in five years, next summer.

IQ will be publishing an in depth report on Sheeran’s tour in its bumper year-end issue – out shortly.

 


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Federal reserve: Germany market report

As the biggest live music market in Europe, Germany suffered more than most when it came to two years without international tours. But while the return to business has been welcomed, the post-Covid ‘new normal’ is delivering a new set of challenges, making an already cautious market even more wary. Adam Woods reports.

Every year for more than three decades, German insurance company R+V Versicherung has been asking Germans about their worries. And this year’s survey, published in October, revealed that they have a lot of them, from the rising cost of living to unaffordable housing to the fear of rising taxes and the worsening economic situation.

“Overall,” said study leader Grischa Brower-Rabinowitsch, “people are significantly more worried than they were a year ago.”

None of this will surprise German promoters, who, even in this jam-packed catch-up year, have been well aware that something was up.

Scarred by Covid, hammered by inflation, and gloomy about the imminent future, Germans are increasingly inclined to stay at home and keep their money in their pockets – maybe coming out for a big show or a festival but otherwise seemingly directing their leisure budgets towards Netflix and heating bills.

The business is therefore feeling discomfort on several fronts. Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV), recently called for more government aid to cover increased energy costs, as venues reported huge increases in their own bills.

“We don’t just live on cake, we live on bread. And all the bread is gone”

Saddled with galloping costs, supply shortages, perilously variable demand and the persistent spectre of fresh winter Covid restrictions, many promoters are beginning to wonder whether the business is sustainable at this level for long.

“It’s shit,” says MCT Agentur’s Scumeck Sabottka. “I mean, in the pandemic, we couldn’t work, and of course there was no business. But speaking for myself, we would never have thought the market would be so disastrous when we returned. And that goes equally for small clubs that should sell out but don’t, to venues that ought to sell 4,000 and end up selling 1,200. My guesstimate is that we are running at lower than 50%.

“The really big and hot things still sell,” adds the Rammstein and Robbie Williams promoter, “but the middle bit is really struggling. And that is the important bit because we don’t just live on cake, we live on bread. And all the bread is gone.”

The pattern is one familiar to many markets: big shows guzzle consumer spending, giving a very tangible impression of a market in rude health, but the greater mass of shows – those that form the fabric of the business, not to mention the pipeline of future stars – are often troublingly hard to make a success of.

“It’s weird because, on the one hand, if you only look at all the sold-out shows, it feels like everything is okay”

“All the stadiums in Germany are super-busy in all the available windows. Everything is booked up,” says Ben Mitha, managing director at veteran Hamburg-based indie Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion. “It’s weird because, on the one hand, if you only look at all the sold-out shows, it feels like everything is okay. But then, for every big sell-out, you might have ten or 20 smaller shows that are not doing very well.”

But, though all is not entirely well, Germany remains the largest live music market in Europe and the third biggest in the world. In addition to heavy gig-going cities such as Berlin, Cologne, Munich, Hamburg, and Frankfurt, it has a further 35 cities with populations of around 200,000-plus and plenty of shows and local events in most of them.

To some extent, the post-pandemic months have been a success. The bigger domestic and international shows have broadly performed well, and most of the larger festivals have made a fairly safe landing in the new era. Groups such as CTS Eventim and DEAG, meanwhile, have reported H1 2022 revenues higher than those of the same period in 2019. But in the short- to medium-term, the overall pot seems likely to shrink even as the cost of staging shows increases and profitability declines.

Under such challenging circumstances, says Sina Hall, Semmel Concerts senior project manager, entertainment, it is critical that the international industry adopts a policy of honesty and understanding when deals are being done.

“We all need each other in the future, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the industry to understand the position everyone else is in”

“I think it is about being transparent and aligning our expectations with everyone involved,” says Hall. “It can’t be that domestic promoters are taking on the increased costs of touring on top of everything. And I feel like a lot of conversations with agents have changed in that way. We all need each other in the future, and it is the responsibility of everyone in the industry to understand the position everyone else is in.”

Already, the shape of next year’s calendar appears to be shifting. “It used to be you did a regular indoor tour in the spring, then a strong festival summer and then maybe a second tour in the autumn,” says Mitha. “Now a lot of artists are skipping the indoor touring and just trying to squeeze as much as they can into the summer because it’s the safest period in terms of infections.”

There is no doubt that aspects of the German industry will still draw a crowd in 2023. The question is what proportion of shows will struggle and whether there will be much of a profit to be made in even the successful ones.

“Will it be a fantastic year?” ponders FKP Scorpio CEO Stephan Thanscheidt. “I have my doubts. It surely won’t kill us, but it won’t be the best year. And then again, maybe the war ends, everything normalises and the people’s pur- chasing power rises again. It’s all just completely out of our control.”

Promoters
International operators including CTS Eventim, FKP Scorpio, and DEAG all call Germany home. And at the top of the market, concern for the immediate future mixes with bullishness, as big players make the most of the demand unleashed by the unrestricted reopening of the market in May while acknowledging that treacherous times lie ahead.

“I think Germany might be one of the weaker European markets because the energy crisis is particularly severe here,” says DEAG COO/CDO Christian Diekmann. “But we are in a good mood because we are in the middle of a very strong year. In the first half of 2022, we increased our revenues by 110%, from €63.9m to €133.4m. And that’s not compared to ’21 or ’20 but compared to the last regular year of 2019.”

After Germany’s May restart, DEAG sold more than 3m tickets between June and August 2022, while Diekmann attributes a successful Christmas last year to DEAG’s Christmas Garden series of events, which sold 1.9m tickets as 2021 drew to an end.

“That was a very good start to ’22,” he says. “Like all of our competitors, we have the problem of the lack of material, the lack of staff, the increasing costs. But the strength of our group structure means all of our subsidiaries can combine purchases in every segment, and we have been in a position to get everything we need for every concert and every open-air this year.”

“What we are seeing is that artists are already going on sale as early as they can”

DEAG, which includes promoters including Frankfurt’s Wizard Promotions and the UK’s Kilimanjaro Live among its stable, isn’t pretending to be immune from market turbulence.

“For 2023, we are very, very careful,” says Diekmann. “Of course, we have exploding expenditure in every field of the business. We have the energy crisis, we have the inflation, and the majority of economic forecasters expect a very strong economic dip. That is the situation. What we are seeing is that artists are already going on sale as early as they can.”

CTS Eventim experienced a group-wide bounce of its own, with revenues of €734.4m from January to June 2022 – up from €696.6m in the first half of 2019. Those are international numbers, but Eventim’s strength in the German market is profound, with stakes in FKP Scorpio, Semmel Concerts, new Matt Schwarz-helmed, Berlin-based promoter DreamHaus, Peter Rieger Konzertagentur and a number of regional promoters, as well as venues such as Cologne’s Lanxess Arena and the Waldbühne Berlin.

DreamHaus has made an auspicious start, launching in early 2021 and assuming responsibility for Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, as well as building its own touring and festival business.

“2022 has been difficult, challenging and felt long, when I was hoping for it to be a transition year”

“The beauty of being a startup during Covid times is that we didn’t have to deal with any aftermath of cancelled or multiple-postponed events,” says Schwarz. “We could focus on Rock am Ring and Rock im Park and had enough lead time to set these up.

“We also have multiple domestic and international arena and stadium tours cooking right now,” he adds, listing Muse, Måneskin, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi, Yungblud, and domestic arena star Apache 207, among others.

“2022 has been difficult, challenging and felt long, when I was hoping for it to be a transition year,” says Schwarz. “But I am proud of what we’ve achieved.”

Live Nation GSA is also powerful, having built on the acquisition of local giant MLK since 2015. As well as a heavy schedule of international tours, in September the corporate brought Berlin-based festivals, booking, and services agency Goodlive into the fold.

Across the wider market, while there is little doubt that many shows that once would have delivered guaranteed returns are now falling well short of expectations, there are those who point to encouraging signs at grassroots level and suggest that the market simply needs refreshing.

“If all you’re doing is putting up posters for shows the market has seen many times before, things aren’t going to sell”

“Young, exciting talent is absolutely selling tickets and selling out,” says Max Wentzler at Berlin-based national promoter Z|ART Agency, citing recent German shows by Jockstrap, Pip Millett, Lola Young, and Jordan Rakei. “We had Remi Wolf over and people were hyped. Rachel Sermanni, too – she has never been to Germany, she has had a couple of releases, and she deserves that attention.”

Market pressures aside, Wentzler has a mischievous but serious theory that many established promoters and artists have been caught napping by the changing expectations of the market.

“I think established artists need to bring something new to their show, and not just rely on their ‘established-ness,’ for want of a better word,” he says. “Also, the traditional mechanism of how to get fans to buy tickets has completely shifted.

“Don’t get me wrong, we are all having to work hard. But it is about being present and engaged with your audience and bringing more value to a show. We are experiencing a shift in the live industry. If all you’re doing is putting up posters for shows the market has seen many times before, things aren’t going to sell.”

“People are possibly going to spend less money next year, and we as an industry influence what they spend their money on”

If there is a recurrent characterisation of the German market, however, it is an aversion to risk and an attraction to proven formulas.

“It is a very slow-moving market in the way that things progress,” says Jack Summers of London-based promoter The Culture Collective, which promotes UK dance acts in Germany. “That is true of the music industry as a whole, but the German attitude, where live music is concerned, is if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”

Whether something is truly broken or not, it is clear the market needs support if today’s developing and mid-level artists are to survive the current crisis and become viable in the longer term – and some promoters recognise the urgency.

“People are possibly going to spend less money next year, and we as an industry influence what they spend their money on,” says Hall. “So I think it is really important that we don’t just focus on the big shows but that we keep supporting new artists, who have already had it tough during the pandemic.”

Local promoters
From a geographical and promoting point of view, Germany is clearly a huge market and a federated one, in which the 16 states have significant local differences. Traditionally, national promoters have partnered with local promoters for shows in specific cities, though these days the boundaries are often less defined.

National promoters often run their own shows in cities where they have a presence, and some cultivate local specialists in-house. For instance, DEAG’s Wizard Promotions and sister company, handwerker promotion, formed a Frankfurt-based joint venture in 2018 called Rhein Main Concerts to produce events in the south-west region of the country.

Some local promoters have expanded well beyond their original regions: Semmel Concerts, these days a major national player, initially focused on Bavaria and Eastern Germany, before broadening its network across the country and into Austria.

Nonetheless, the old system remains broadly in place, with powerful local promoters including Eventim’s Dirk Becker Entertainment, which operates in the Rhine- Ruhr region of western Germany encompassing Cologne; DEAG’s Munich-based Global Concerts; Hannover Concerts in the northern German city of the same name; and Undercover, based in Braunschweig and operating in northern Germany and beyond.

German recording giant BMG has lately taken decisive steps into the market through this channel, acquiring Undercover in 2020 in order to lay the foundations for a new live music and events unit. In September, BMG announced that it had booked Berlin’s 1,600-seat Theater des Westens until the end of 2024 for a series of residencies by domestic and international recording artists, as well as stage musical productions.

Festivals
Germany boasts a giant festival scene that encompasses rock monoliths such as Wacken Open Air, Rock am Ring, and Rock im Park; electronic institutions such as Time Warp, Mayday, Love Family Park, and Nature One; and indie all-rounders including the Berlin Lollapalooza and twin FKP festivals Hurricane and Southside; not to mention vigorous newcomers such as Berlin’s Tempelhof Sounds and Munich’s Superbloom.

When Live Nation snapped up seasoned indie Goodlive in September, it took ownership of Superbloom, as well as festivals including Melt! and Splash! in Ferropolis; metal and punk festival Full Force in Löbnitz; and hip-hop event Heroes in Geiselwind.

The two-day Superbloom launched in Munich’s Olympic Park on 3–4 September after two Covid-related postponements in 2020 and 2021, with Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Megan Thee Stallion, Rita Ora, Skepta, and David Guetta among the acts that performed, alongside 12 ‘experience areas’ focusing on themes from fashion to science to sustainability.

“This is my craziness, that I want to do things like this, because I’m a strong believer that festivals can give young people examples that can change their views and their lives for good,” says Superbloom managing director Fruzsina Szép, who has previously worked on Lollapalooza Berlin and Sziget.

“There were so many festivals, even very well-established ones, that were not sold out”

It drew 50,000 visitors and ultimately sold out, for which Szép is grateful, if not entirely surprised. “There were so many festivals, even very well-established ones, that were not sold out,” she adds. “But I had this good feeling that we were doing it right, and we worked so hard to create this brand and this concept.”

She echoes the prevailing view that the biggest challenge in German festivals this year was human resources and suggests the weakening of vital functions such as security could yet be the most serious consequence of Covid.

“Everybody is keen to have a great line-up and booking and programming, but security is so essential, and we have such a responsibility to the fans and artists to get it right.”

FKP Scorpio toughed out a busy summer, reintroducing its Hurricane and Southside festivals, which brought 80,000 and 70,000 a day over three days, as well as drawing 25,000 to M’era Luna in Hildesheim and 40,000 to Highfield in Großpösna, while launching a new Berlin festival, Tempelhof Sounds, with local Berlin promoter Loft Concerts and Eventim stable-mate DreamHaus.

“All our festivals in Germany, besides Deichbrand, were sold out this summer, and this was not the case for a lot of other festivals in this market”

“It was a challenge this year, but in the end we had fantastic festivals, with no Covid-related cancellations on the artist side,” says Thanscheidt. “And we had Ed Sheeran and Rolling Stones stadium shows and our Tempelhof Sounds, which we announced four weeks before Omicron kicked in, but still we had 40,000 a day, so we can’t complain.

“That doesn’t mean we made a lot of money on festivals, because the margins were not really there with ticket prices from 2019 and exploding costs. But all our festivals in Germany, besides Deichbrand, were sold out this summer, and this was not the case for a lot of other festivals in this market.”

Elsewhere, eventimpresents/DreamHaus’s Rock am Ring sold a record 90,000 weekend tickets for its 2022 edition, which took place at the Nürburgring racetrack in June. The concurrent Rock im Park, at Zeppelin Field in Nüremberg, like-wise put in a strong year.

“Rock am Ring and Rock im Park underlined their position as Germany’s leading festivals,” says Schwarz.

“We had record-breaking attendance as well as streaming numbers, with the full festival being broadcast live in its entirety for the first time, so that felt great. We are currently finalising the programming for next year’s edition of the Rocks where we just announced approximately 50 acts.”

“We have been able to improve our sponsorship income by about 20%, which is remarkable because sponsorship is not getting easier these days”

Karsten Jahnke’s successes this year include shows by The Cure and 170,000 tickets sold for 49 shows in its Stadtpark Open Air series, in Hamburg’s park of the same name. “That was a really good season for us,” says Mitha. “Lots of legends – Deep Purple, Sting, Joe Jackson – and some really interesting up-and-coming artists like Michael Kiwanuka and Olivia Rodrigo.”

In October, DEAG acquired a majority stake in the renowned Psytrance/Goa Festival Indian Spirit, which has been held in Eldena, near Ludwigslust in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, since 1999.

Among its portfolio of more than 30 European multiday and one-day festivals, the group already owns German electronic events Nature One, Mayday, Ruhr-in-Love and Airbeat One. The last of these – the largest electronic music festival in Northern Germany, with 60,000 visitors – DEAG acquired in July.

In a different corner of the market, Opus’s Stuttgart Jazzopen, which fits 58 shows into 11 days in July, sold 44,000 tickets this year for acts including Sting, Van Morrison, and John Legend – some of whom had been booked for the cancelled 2020 event.
Next year, says festival head Jürgen Schlensog, the aim is 50,000, and there is reason to be optimistic on the commercial front.

“We have been able to improve our sponsorship income by about 20%, which is remarkable because sponsorship is not getting easier these days,” he says.

The Jazzopen, which is both cashless and carbon-neutral, ploughs its own furrow in the German market. “In Germany, we are quite lonely because the format we run is quite unique – we run an 11- day festival, which is obviously very different from weekend festivals.”

Venues
The upside of Germany’s top-heavy market is that bigger venues played out of their skin this summer. The Waldstadion, currently known as the Deutsche Bank Park, home of German football club Eintracht Frankfurt, had its best summer ever with 18 concerts – more than any other stadium in Europe, and including shows by Coldplay (two), Ed Sheeran (three), Iron Maiden, and Elton John – drawing combined crowds of 800,000.

“Summer 2022 benefited from postponed shows from 2020 and 2021, which finally happened this year,” explains Eintracht Frankfurt Stadion managing director Patrik Meyer. “We were able to add quite a lot of new shows as well, and we are very proud that we were part of the development of the first KPOP.FLEX Festival in a European stadium.”

Looking ahead, Meyer adds, “2023 looks even better than 2022. The bookings for next year are very good, and we will continue projects like KPOP, World Club Dome and Monster Jam. In 2023, we will also act as promoter for three shows, and we will be hosting an NFL game in November – a project we won through a tough tender process and are very delighted about.”

Germany’s busiest arenas include Munich’s Olympiahalle, the Lanxess Arena in Cologne, Hamburg’s Barclays Arena, Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Leipzig, and Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin.

“There’s a lot of really interesting concepts and new open-air venues that came out of the pandemic”

Bavaria-based developer SWMunich Real Estate continues to plan the 20,000-cap, €300m MUCcc Arena in Munich – optionally Germany’s first climate-neutral arena – which is expected to open within the next five years.

“In the Munich region, there is neither an arena specially designed for concerts and live shows, nor an indoor location with a capacity of up to 20,000 guests,” SWMunich managing director Lorenz Schmid told IQ in the summer. “We are closing this gap… at a time of increasing demand.”

There is movement elsewhere in the market, too. Berlin’s 4,350-cap Verti Music Hall, which launched in AEG’s mixed-use entertainment district Mercedes Platz barely a year before the pandemic kicked in, is once again up and running, with shows this summer from Jack White, Deftones, Lukas Graham, Franz Ferdinand, and Bastille.

Meanwhile, another modest silver lining of the pandemic has been the emergence of a new generation of outdoor venues, some of which live on in (more or less) post-pandemic times.

“There’s a lot of really interesting concepts and new open-air venues that came out of the pandemic,” says Hall. “I like the Seebühne in Bremen. It’s a lovely setting right by the harbour, and when you look at the stage, you have the sunset and the water in the background.”

 


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Arcadia Live launches new open-air concert series

Austria’s Arcadia Live is launching a new open-air concert series in 2023, featuring artists including Florence + the Machine.

Lido Sounds will take place in Linz, Austria’s third-largest city, on the left bank of the Danube river (Urfahrmarkt).

The 30,000-capacity event, presented in conjunction with LIVA & radio FM4, will see more than 30 artists perform across two stages between 16 and 18 June 2023.

Alongside Florence + the Machine, headliners include German punk rock band Die Toten Hosen and German singer Peter Fox.

The 30,000-capacity event will see more than 30 artists perform across two stages

“The area of ​​the Urfahranermarkt offers the perfect setting for balanced music days: in the middle of the city, and yet with enough space for two stages and around 30,000 visitors,” reads a statement from Arcadia Live.

“Oases of peace and a balanced culinary offer included. Because here, too, we value and focus on the highest quality and – in contrast to the top-class international line-up – on regionality and cooperation with local restaurants.”

Vienna-based Arcadia Live is a German-Austrian joint venture between FKP Group, Four Artists Booking Agency, Chimperator Live and KKT.

The agency supervises numerous national and international acts such as alt-J, Frank Turner, George Ezra, James Bay, James Blunt, Marteria, Mac Demarco, Nothing But Thieves, Revolverheld, Two Door Cinema Club, The 1975, The Wombats and more.

 


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IFF ’22: The new kids take centre stage

The teams behind the multitude of new companies and events to launch post-Covid took the spotlight on the final day of this year’s International Festival Forum (IFF) in London.

Moderated by IQ‘s Lisa Henderson, the New Kids on the Block quickfire presentation session heard from the key new festival and agencies to have emerged in the last 18 months.

The panel featured FKP Scorpio MD Stephan Thanscheidt, Mother Artists co-founder Natasha Gregory, Barbara Hexges of Goodlive’s Superbloom, Runway Artists founder Matt Hanner and Jess Kinn and Emma Davis from booking agency One Fiinix Live.

Thanscheidt discussed the success of the debut edition of FKP’s new open-air festival Tempelhof Sounds, launched with DreamHaus and Loft Concerts on the grounds of Berlin’s Tempelhof Airport in June. The event was headlined by Florence + The Machine, Muse and The Strokes.

“We had strong media partners and huge media reach, so the brand got established really quickly”

“We announced it last October, and four weeks later Omicron kicked in,” sighed Thanscheidt. “But we had a fantastic premiere. We had 40,000 people per day, which made us really happy because we were pretty much restricted because of Corona in Germany until this April. So the first edition went  really well and we had strong media partners and huge media reach, so the brand got established really quickly. The city of Berlin also welcomed us with open arms, which was fantastic for us.

“It was cool to book our new festival because most of the festivals we do were booked the second half of ’19 and then got postponed and postponed and postponed. So we had to wait until this year and there were a lot of bands who couldn’t get the slots at other festivals, so we had a fantastic line-up that was fresh and was really well received by the audience.

“We had a very good audience that was also interested in all of the topics that are part of the philosophy of this festival, like diversity, gender equality and all these kinds of things. We had a huge sustainability programme, and we set ourselves clear goals from the very start.”

Gregory, meanwhile, spoke about the progress of artist management and live agency called Mother Artists, which she launched in 2020 with her brother, music manager Mark Bent. The agency represents the likes of Idles, First Aid Kit, Amy Macdonald, Bombay Bicycle Club and Foster the People.

“It’s just about being honest with each other and realising that you’re dealing with humans”

Detailing the firm’s patented  “no-bullshit” policy, Gregory said: “It’s just about being honest with each other and realising that you’re dealing with humans. When we’re talking about festivals and budgets, we’re having an honest conversation [with promoters] and we come to the same number – there isn’t this working against each other.

“The pride I have in teams like Idles is that I don’t feel like I’m going to lose my job every day and I hope that the promoters feel the same way. We are all the same team, you leave your egos on the side. We’re all in it for the same reason, and there is zero tolerance for bullying. If someone writes a shitty email to someone in my team, we don’t accept it, I support them… That sounds like a great place to work.”

Hexges reported on the two-day Superbloom, which finally launched in Munich’s historic Olympic Park in September after two postponements due to Covid-related restrictions. Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Megan Thee Stallion, Rita Ora, Skepta and David Guetta were among the acts that performed across 11 stages during the event.

Alongside live music, the festival delivered a multi-faceted programme of art, culture, diversity, lifestyle, society, research and development, sustainability and science, with the aim of “redefining the music festival concept”.

“We had 50,000 visitors per day on a huge, historic location in the heart of Munich”

“We had 50,000 visitors per day on a huge, historic location in the heart of Munich,” said Hexges. “It was our first edition and we sold out. It had eight stages, including three main stages – one indoor – and the concept includes 50% music and 50% experience. We had 11 experience areas and it was a tough ride to be honest, but it worked and I was surprised at how well it went.”

Former ATC Live agent Hanner recalled taking a leap of faith and setting up Runway in spring 2020, having been made redundant shortly after the onset of Covid-19. The company made Steve Backman, formerly of Primary Talent International, its first agent appointment last year and expanded its team with four new hires in early 2022.

“The pandemic forced my hand,” he said. “I had a choice to make at that stage. And having spoken to a few artists and knowing that they’d come with me to be part of a fledgling roster, I was made redundant on the Friday and I think Runway began to exist in some form the following Monday. So it was a pretty swift turnaround.”

“We try to get involved building careers, for artists in meaningful ways, not just for the ones who are going to make us a bit of money next week”

He continued: “We are very independent, and we work with a lot of independent managers, a lot of independent artists and that is broadly what ties a lot of our roster together, even more so than stylistically. It also means that we’re pretty involved with our artists and our teams. We like to think of ourselves as boots on the ground, part of a core artist team.

“We try to get involved building careers, for artists in meaningful ways, not just for the ones who are going to make us a bit of money next week, but hopefully the ones that are going to make us some money maybe in eight years’ time. It also means that we’re growing our team organically. We’re not able to throw money at things.”

Booking agency One Fiinix Live was launched by Ed Sheeran agent Jon Ollier following his departure from CAA in late 2020. Davis – who served as Ollier’s assistant at CAA – joined the company from its inception, with ex-Paradigm agent Kinn coming on board in February 2021. The duo debated the benefits of working for a growing independent company.

“One of the most important is that we kind of make the rules,” suggested Davis. “The job is the same and you’re working with the same people but we have the power to go the way we want to, which is exciting.”

“It is also making sure we’re not just putting an artist out there for the sake of it and really sticking to the strategy of only touring at the right time, especially now,” adds Kinn. “Being able to pick and choose helps.”

 


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Festival heads talk costs: “There is trouble ahead”

European festival heads discussed the impact of spiralling costs on the 2022 and 2023 festival seasons at last week’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany.

Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio, DE), Catharine Krämer (DreamHaus, DE), and Codruța Vulcu (ARTmania, RO) were among the pros discussing higher expenses during the Festival Season 22/23 panel.

Thanscheidt told the panel that while Hamburg-headquartered FKP Scorpio sold out 27 of its 28 festivals, the margins were “complete shit” due to higher expenses.

“Production costs are up 25–30%,” he said. “It depends on the department because some [costs] are up just 10% but others were like 120%. This year we were put into a corner where we could either say yes [to the increase] or just not do the festival.”

The company’s festival portfolio includes Hurricane (DE), Southside (DE), Provinssi (FI), Sideways (FI), Greenfield (CH), Best Kept Secret (NL) and new festival Tempelhof Sounds (DE) – some of which were €30 to €50 more expensive to attend this year.

While FKP Scorpio sold out 27 of its 28 festivals, the margins were “complete shit” due to higher expenses

“We’re trying to [increase ticket prices] in a very smooth way,” said Thanscheidt. “If we get to €400–500 for normal festival tickets, we’ll have a problem. We’re trying to be very sensible in setting the prices. So we’re very happy that the audience was fine with that and we sold all the tickets without getting a shitstorm on socials or something.”

In Romania, rising costs are only exacerbated by the country’s close proximity to the war in Ukraine.

“The inflation rate is 15.5% which is extremely high so everything from production to personnel was completely out of proportion,” said Vulcu, CEO of ARTmania, Romania’s longest-running rock festival.

Vulcu told the panel that many of the festival’s partners backed out of supporting the 2022 event but the main sponsor, German hypermarket chain Kaufland, offered to make up the slack.

“They said ‘Okay, let’s give you some more money to survive. Can we take extra costs from you that we can put on our budgets?’ So it was a positive and totally unexpected turn but apparently, they were they are wanting to be the saviours of festivals,” she said.

“The inflation rate [in Romania] is 15.5% so everything from production to personnel was completely out of proportion”

Looking towards next year’s ARTmania, which is already on sale, Vulcu says it’s hard to see how the festival can spread skyrocketing costs.

“We book mainly internationally and the prices that I’m getting from some artists are not low but we can’t put the ticket prices so high that the young people can’t come,” she explained.

DreamHaus’ Krämer says the Berlin-based agency is facing a similar stalemate situation for next year’s festival season after their production costs increased 25–30%.

“No supplier will ever say ‘We’re going back to the prices that we had in 2019’,” she said. “So we could lower the cost of the whole festival experience but this would have a significant impact on the whole quality of it.”

CTS Eventim-backed DreamHaus is jointly responsible for organising and programming the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, which have a combined attendance of 150,000, among other events.

“We could lower the cost of the whole festival experience but this would have a significant impact on the quality”

Referencing Thanscheidt’s earlier point, Krämer added: “There are not that many suppliers that can supply festivals of our size so we’re also in a corner, where we can take it or leave it.”

Thanscheidt says the crisis will only get worse ahead of next year’s season, though he’s bullish about the industry’s ability to come up with solutions.

“Costs will not go down next year,” said Thanscheidt. “Gas and electricity prices are doubled now and they will be tripled in a few weeks. Inflation might go up again.

“There are some months of trouble coming up and the result is yet to be seen. But of course, we will all stay very positive because that’s what we always do in an industry in which most of us have a DIY background. So let’s see how we solve this but it will not be easy.”

 


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FKP Scorpio sells 2.2m tickets for Ed Sheeran tour

FKP Scorpio has revealed it sold just shy of 2.2 million tickets for Ed Sheeran’s + – = ÷ x European tour, which wrapped up last night at Frankfurt’s Deutsche Bank Park stadium.

The company promoted 36 of the singer-songwriter’s 52 concerts in Europe this year in cooperation with the European offices of the Hamburg concert agency and partners,

A total of 2,167,034 digital tickets were sold across the 36-show run, which began at Dublin’s Croke Park on 23 April, with 560,000 of them for German stadium dates in Gelsenkirchen, Munich and Frankfurt.

“The success of the + – = ÷ x Tour is simply unprecedented”

“Superlatives are the order of the day with Ed Sheeran, but the success of this tour is and remains simply incredible,” says FKP Scorpio CEO Folkert Koopmans. “We already achieved a clear seven-figure ticket result on the previous tour with 1.4 million tickets sold but that was over a period of three years. The success of the + – = ÷ x Tour is simply unprecedented.

“Due to the size and number of concerts, this tour was of course an immense effort for all involved and I would like to very much thank our partners Kilimanjaro in UK and All Blues in Switzerland for the great cooperation – as well as the teams of our subsidiaries FKP UK, FKP Sverige, FKP Poland, FKP Belgium, Smash!Bang!Pow! in Denmark and Fullsteam in Finland. Ed Sheeran creates a unique live experience with his concerts for millions of people, with countless thrilling moments and we are all proud to be a part of it.”

Sheeran, whose agent is Jon Ollier of One Fiinix Live, recently set a new record for ticket sales in Denmark, shifting 160,000 tickets to four shows in the capital city.

“My personal goosebump moment on this tour was the duet with Taras from the Ukrainian band Antytila, with whom Ed performed his song 2step live in Warsaw’s PGE Narodowy stadium and then called the whole band onto the stage bathed in blue and yellow light,” adds Koopmans. “The solidarity of the Polish audience with these young men and their war-torn compatriots was simply overwhelming!”

To mark the last stop of the Lego House singer’s European tour, Koopmans had the stage of recreated from thousands of the popular bricks including hundreds of LEGO figures, and presented it to Sheeran as a gift. The + – = ÷ x Tour resumes for its scheduled final leg in Australia and New Zealand next February.

“Own Our Venues is an initiative I’m really passionate about getting behind”

Sheeran’s previous 255 show ÷ (Divide) run from 2017-19 surpassed U2’s 360° as the highest-grossing tour ever, with a gross of US$776.2 million. It also set a new record for total attendance, at 8,796,567.

The 31-year-old superstar has also thrown his weight behind the UK Music Venue Trust’s (MVT) Own Our Venues campaign to take control of the freeholds of grassroots music venue premises and bring them under a protected status of benevolent ownership.

“Own Our Venues is an initiative I’m really passionate about getting behind,” says Sheeran. “Small, independent venues are so, so important to the music community, and I’ve played some of my favourite gigs of my career in these rooms. We’ve got to do all we can to protect these beautiful venues that we’ve all come to love for years to come.”

MVT CEO Mark Davyd adds: “With the Own Our Venues project gathering steam, we are incredibly pleased to get Ed’s support for this initiative – he knows this sector incredibly well and understands how important it is.”

 


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Ed Sheeran smashes ticket sales record in Denmark

Ed Sheeran has set a new record for ticket sales in Demark, shifting 160,000 tickets to four shows in the capital city.

The European leg of Sheeran’s + – = ÷ x (‘mathematics’) stadium tour went on sale in September 2021, with 100,000 tickets to the Copenhagen shows selling in approximately 100 minutes. The rest was purchased within just 48 hours.

Promoter smash!bang!pow! and its minority stakeholder, FKP Scorpio, say the ticket sales are “beyond comparison” in Danish music history.

The shows took place between Wednesday and Saturday last week (3–6 August) at Øresundsparken, a new 40,000-capacity outdoor area in Tårnby built by the Copenhagen-based promoter and booking agency.

Xenia Grigat, senior promoter at smash!bang!pow!, says: “I’ve worked with Jon Ollier [agent at One Finiix Live] and Ed Sheeran’s team in Denmark since the first album cycle, from club shows to arenas – first green fields (86,000 tickets in 2019) and now these unbelievable and impressive numbers from Copenhagen.

“smash!bang!pow! executed the shows beyond everyone’s expectations”

“Seeing an artist grow and leave a mark with old and new fans, as Ed Sheeran did over the four shows, is truly extraordinary. A production of this scale has been in preparation for over a year and there’s a big team behind going above and beyond to make this happen, both locally and in the artist team.”

FKP Scorpio CEO Folkert Koopmans congratulates his Danish division on the successful production: “Back in 2018, when we partnered with smash!bang!pow!, we both knew that we wanted to expand the size of the company and the size of their productions.

“We’re only four years in, and that is including a long period with Covid-19. Nonetheless, smash!bang!pow! have more than doubled their office, and they’ve broken the Danish ticket record by far. In addition to that, they executed the shows beyond everyone’s expectations, getting great feedback from audience and press. The whole team should be very proud.”

The European leg of Sheeran’s + – = ÷ x tour continues tomorrow (10 August) in Sweden before visiting Finland, Poland, Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

The last leg kicks off in early 2023 and will see Sheeran return to Australia and New Zealand for the first time in five years.

 


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FKP Scorpio MD: ‘We’re proud about our comeback’

FKP Scorpio MD Stephan Thanscheidt has given his verdict on this year’s festival season following the sell-out success of Germany’s Southside and Hurricane events.

Held from 17-19 June, the twin events were topped by Kings of Leon, Rise Against, Seeed, Martin Garrix, The Killers, Deichkind, Twenty One Pilots and KIZ.

The events return to Neuhausen ob Eck (Southside) and the Eichenring motorcycle speedway in Scheessel (Hurricane) from 16-18 June 2023.

In addition, FKP joined forces with DreamHaus and Loft Concerts to launch brand new open-air festival Tempelhof Sounds in Berlin earlier this month on the grounds of Tempelhof Airport – where the Berlin Festival once took place, and the German Lollapalooza Festival launched in 2015. Tempelhof Sounds was headlined by Florence + The Machine, Muse and The Strokes.

As FKP’s head of festival booking, Hamburg-based Thanscheidt is responsible for a programme of over 25 festivals across Europe. The company’s festival repertoire also includes Highfield, M’era Luna, Rolling Stone Beach, Metal Hammer Paradise, A Summer’s Tale, Plage Noire and Deichbrand.

On the international side, FKP Scorpio hosts Provinssi (FI), Sideways (FI), Greenfield (CH), Gården (SWE), Indian Summer (NL), Best Kept Secret (NL), Tuckerville (NL) and Aairport (DK), among others.

Here, in a quickfire Q&A with IQ, he reflects on the 2022 season so far and shares his hopes and fears for the wider market…

“We are facing the same challenges as everyone else, most notably a shortage of qualified personnel and a significant increase of expenses”

How pleased were you with the response to this year’s Southside and Hurricane festivals?

“We’re more than pleased with this year’s instalments of our flagship festivals. Both were sold out and all 150,000 attendees had a great time. That’s not taken for granted given the difficult circumstances our industry still finds itself in. The presale for both events has already started and is shaping up to be very dynamic. It’s also worth noting that we were very successful with a festival premiere this year: Tempelhof Sounds took place in Berlin the weekend before Hurricane and Southside and sold well over 40,000 tickets, surpassing even our expectations.”

What were the biggest challenges in the run-up to the events?

“We were facing the same challenges as everyone else, most notably a shortage of qualified personnel and a significant increase of expenses. A lot of people, for example in lighting, sound, planning or other areas, aren’t working in the sector anymore – with corona naturally being the main cause for this. The high inflation caused by the pandemic and the horrible war in Ukraine are additionally contributing to the issues we’re facing in production of live events today. It really shows in the light of recent developments that our big network of skilled labour in the value chain is a tremendous asset to have.”

How is the rest of your year shaping up?

“We’re proud about our comeback from the pandemic. In addition to the aforementioned, our European festivals, Deichbrand, M’era Luna and Highfield are just around the corner. Apart from the festival sector we’re promoting shows of the likes of The Rolling Stones and Ed Sheeran or new concepts like The Masked Singer. It’s not a given to not only get back into business after two years of break, but also bringing new ideas to the market.”

“Although we’re managing quite well, the live sector does not yet stand firmly on its own feet like it used to”

How is this year’s festival’s season going in Germany overall?

“The before-mentioned problems have caused some festivals to cancel – luckily not for us. One festival had to be stopped on its second day recently due to a lack of security personnel. Additionally, a lot of festivals had to cancel because the ticket sales did not go so well. Combined with the rising costs of producing live events, the risk of failure is bigger than ever.”

What are your biggest hopes and expectations for the market now moving forward?

“I would simply hope for more stability for the whole industry. Although we’re managing quite well, the live sector does not yet stand firmly on its own feet like it used to. At the same time, I’m positive that this will gradually change once the bulk of postponed events finally took place and the economic situation is more stable. What we’re still sure about is this: People love to experience live music, maybe more than ever – no amount of uncertainty will ever change this.”

 


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