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FKP Scorpio Ent announces major expansion plans

FKP Scorpio is expanding its exhibition, family entertainment, comedy, spoken word and special projects business under the newly upgraded FKP Scorpio Entertainment (FKPE) umbrella.

The company structure includes a rebranding of its German FKP Scorpio Show Creations company, which will become part of the new wider FKPE business model moving forward. It has also announced the acquisition of Sweden’s Nordic Exhibitions.

Headquartered in London, the international operation will be led by president James Cassidy and senior promoter Barry Campbell, who launched FKP Scorpio UK in 2018 with the BBC Studios Blue Planet II Live in Concert arena tour.

“Under James and Barry’s fantastic leadership, our FKP Entertainment company has had an amazing start in this exciting new growth sector,” says FKP owner and CEO Folkert Koopmans. “We are not only acquiring great partners and content but are delivering results which we aim to emulate in all our key European markets. We will be investing heavily into this space and have also just acquired experienced events promoter Nordic Exhibitions & Events AB to add to our growing portfolio”

Formed in 2022, FKPE’s first project, in partnership with the Luna Entertainment Group, was the 2023 Jurassic World: The Exhibition at London ExCeL Centre, which sold 314,000 tickets in just over four months. Working in partnership with the ExCeL team, FKPE have secured an exclusive tenancy deal to 2027.

“We hope that FKPE will become the first call for any global IP or event producers”

FKPE is currently promoting Semmel Exhibition Disney 100: The Exhibition, which has shifted more than 240,000 tickets to dates and will run until 23 June. It will follow D100 with both London and multi-territory European presentations of Formula 1: The Exhibition, as well as investing in and promoting a new experiential exhibition with a major global gaming IP, with details to be announced later this year.

“Barry and I love what we do, if it’s a quality exhibition, family event or special project, then we are prepared to put our necks on the line to deliver results,” says Cassidy. “We hope that FKPE will become the first call for any global IP or event producers. Our FKP European teams have a wonderful network of offices and talented staff, so we hold no fear in presenting FKPE as the ultimate one stop UK and European solution for quality projects”

Also joining the FKPE London team are Nathan Birch as head of ticketing, Daisy Parry as special events co-ordinator, Suzy Bryant as marketing consultant and promoter Ollie Catchpole. Other hires will be announced soon.

Norrköping-based Nordic Exhibitions, founded by promoter and CEO Stefan Papangelis in 2016, will now be part of the FKP Scorpio Group and renamed FKP Scorpio Entertainment Nordic. The company has sold approximately 700,000 exhibition tickets in the Scandinavian markets.

Under the new operation, Papangelis and his team will work closely with Bozo Rasic, MD of FKP Scorpio Sweden, as well as reporting directly into FKPE London and responsible for developing the growth of exhibitions and special events in all Nordic markets.

“We really look forward to combining forces to make great successes in the Nordic markets and beyond”

“It’s truly fantastic to be part of the FKPE family, a perfect fit for us and we really look forward to combining forces to make great successes in the Nordic markets and beyond,” says Papangelis.

The development of the non-music economy has also been fuelled in Germany by FKP’s recent successes in the German comedy market. Headed by promoter Thilo Elsner, FKP has staged over 365 comedy shows in the last two years with more than 250,000 tickets sold.

In addition, FKPE is on schedule to complete the renovation and build of its own 8,000 square metre exhibition venue in Oberhausen, Germany.

Earlier this year, live music promoters FKP Scorpio UK and Communion Presents merged to form Communion ONE.

Koopmans, Cassidy and Campbell share more details on FKPE’s expansion plans in the 2024 Touring Entertainment Report (TER), which comes out next week.

“As you can probably tell from our activities, we’re extremely confident about the future,” they tell TER. “There are now so many more exhibitions and special project events for people to go to these days, and FKPE can’t wait to be at the heart of it.”

 


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FKP Scorpio secures Swedish castle agreement

International promoting giant FKP Scorpio has invested in a Swedish castle with a view to utilising it as a concert venue.

The company plans to host live music events at Drottningskär’s castle, which is part of the World Heritage Site of the naval city of Karlskrona, from this summer, with the opening lineup soon to be announced.

“This is a first step for us to develop the music and cultural offer in Karlskrona,” says Niklas Lundell of FKP Scorpio. “We see great potential in the city’s arenas combined with aggressive municipal destination work. This creates good conditions for us to invest.”

Work is currently underway to develop Drottningskär’s castle as a visitor destination over the long term with new content following the signing of an agreement between the municipality and the Statens Fastighetsverk (national property board) last spring.

“FKP Scorpio’s presence in the future will mean a lot for the city’s attractiveness”

“We are working on developing different parts of Drottningskär’s castle and quality concerts during the summer are an important step,” explains Pär Israelsson, Karlskrona director of tourism.

“Of course, we are incredibly proud that FKP Scorpio chooses Karlskrona and this unique concert arena. Karlskrona needs more cultural and musical events spread throughout the year. FKP Scorpio’s presence in the future will mean a lot for the city’s attractiveness.”

Other highlights for FKP Scorpio Sverige, which is part of the Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio group, include a warm-up gig by Massive Attack at Filmstudio in Gothenburg on 5 June and NE-YO’s first Swedish concert since 2010 at Hovet in Stockholm on June 29.

The firm is also organising Chris Isaak’s first performance in Sweden in 12 years at the Waterfront in Stockholm on 17 August and the only Swedish date on Girl in Red’s upcoming tour at Annexet, Stockholm, on 2 October.

 


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Euro festival bosses preview ‘challenging’ 2024 season

European festival bosses have reflected on mixed fortunes for the 2024 festival season.

While some events have reported bumper sales and speedy sellouts, others have been forced to take a break or call it quits altogether.

Regardless of boom or bust, the challenges of staging a festival in the current climate are being felt across the board.

In 2024, organisers are grappling with a laundry list of problems, from extreme weather to spiralling costs and a lack of headliners to unpredictable ticket sales.

“Sales are okay but not outstanding compared to 2022 or 2023,” says Christof Huber, director of festivals at Gadget in Switzerland and chair of European festival association Yourope.

“There are a little less stadium shows compared to 2023 which helps”

“There are a little less stadium shows compared to 2023 which helps, but it’s also needed for this festival season.”

Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO of FKP Scorpio, adds “The overall conditions of the festival market remain very challenging. Frankly, it has become very challenging to promote festivals in a way that keeps pushing things forward and is economically viable.”

Skyrocketing costs have been a primary concern for festival organisers and, according to Thanscheidt, that’s not set to change.

“Tight margins are by far our biggest challenge,” he tells IQ. “The costs in virtually every area of festival production have risen considerably since the pandemic with no signs of slacking off.

“Exploding costs in all areas paired with cautious purchasing behaviour are keeping all promoters on their toes. Of course, we do not want to simply pass these costs on to our guests. Music and culture must stay as affordable as possible, and I consider it our duty to find ways to mitigate this troubling development, both by cross-financing as well as using synergies across our group.”

“People rewarded our booking efforts with a high demand”

Whilst acknowledging spiralling costs, Jim King, CEO of European Festivals for AEG Presents, urged festival organisers to “concentrate more on value than they do on cost”.

“The first natural reaction when costs go up is to have fewer stages and smaller production,” he told delegates during February’s ILMC 36.

“But if you reduce the value, you reduce the experience and then you’re on a downward spiral. If you look at the most successful festivals, they’re actually adding more value to the ticket. We worry too much about ticket price and not enough about the value of the ticket.”

Indeed, festivals that have adopted the “go big or go home” attitude with booking lineups and enhancing experiences have prospered in the challenging climate.

“It’s great to see that strong festival brands like Paléo Festival Nyon or Lowlands, which have created great lineups and also are famous for their unique experiences, have sold out right after going on sale,” says Huber.

“The demand is there, it’s supply that’s an issue”

FKP Scorpio’s Southside and Hurricane festivals are also set to sell out, thanks to blockbuster lineups led by Ed Sheeran, K.I.Z, Bring Me The Horizon, Avril Lavigne and Deichkind.

“People rewarded our booking efforts with a high demand,” he says. “Especially in these challenging times, I’m very grateful for the continued trust of our festivalgoers. We consider ourselves very lucky that our festival brands continue to be successful.”

Other festivals that have been rewarded for first-class lineups include Reading & Leeds, which has reported a sell-out Saturday headlined by Lana Del Rey and Fred Again.., as well as the 20th anniversary of Tomorrowland Belgium, the return of Germany’s Wacken Open Air, the Netherlands’ Down The Rabbit Hole and (of course) the UK’s Glastonbury Festival.

While these major festivals have delivered impressive lineups against all odds, securing headliners has been no mean feat.

“The challenge across all my UK business has been the availability of headline talent,” King said at ILMC. “When they’re prepared to confirm, how we can get that show announced and then the sales window that we’re dealing with. The shows we’re putting up are selling very strongly. The demand is there, it’s supply that’s an issue.”

“The challenge across all my UK business has been the availability of headline talent”

Download Festival boss Andy Copping has echoed those challenges, telling Planet Rock that the 2024 edition was the “hardest year” to secure a line-up, having approached 21 bands to find headliners.

Huber says the drought of headliners could be a symptom of increased domestic touring during the pandemic. “A lot of domestic artists took breaks after touring intensively after Corona,” he explains. “Therefore, the competition for international artists was quite intense.”

Another challenge that has become more prominent in recent years is the impact of extreme weather on festivals, which in turn has driven up insurance premiums.

In the last 12 months, a raft of major events have been hindered due to extreme weather including Primavera Sound Madrid, Awakenings in the Netherlands, Bluedot in the UK, Slovenia’s MetalDays, the UK’s Kaleidoscope, shows by Louis Tomlinson show and Ed Sheeran in the US, Burning Man, Taylor Swift in Brazil, Elton John in New Zealand, Wacken Open Air in Germany, Sol Blume in the US.

In the US, adverse weather coverage has “increased significantly” in the last five years, according to Jeff Torda from Higginbotham. Backing this point, a recent Billboard article claimed premiums in North America had tripled in recent years.

“There will be more shows that fail because the barrier to entry, financially, is so high and the risk point is so high”

While in the UK market, Martin Goebells at Miller Insurance says, “Today additional premiums for adverse weather are 50% higher than eight years ago.”

Another major source of cancellations has been the challenging economic climate, in the UK and Australia in particular.

In the UK, PennFest, 110 Above Festival, NASS Festival and Barn On The Farm have been called off due to financial challenges, while Connect Music Festival, Leopollooza, Long Division and Splendour were called off for varying reasons. A further 100 festivals are at permanent risk without action, according to trade body the Association of Independent Festivals.

Meanwhile, Australia’s festival sector is “in crisis” after cancellations from Splendour in the Grass, Groovin The Moo, Coastal Jam, Summerground, Vintage Vibes, Tent Pole: A Musical Jamboree and ValleyWays. A first-of-its-kind report found that only half of the country’s festivals are profitable.

King says that unfortunately festivals failing is part and parcel of the business: “The attrition rate is always going to be high. There will be more shows that fail because the barrier to entry, financially, is so high and the risk point is so high. I think it’s devastating. But that’s the direction of travel. I think it’s very difficult to change.”

The coming months may prove challenging for some but with the consistently high demand for live music experiences, many festivals are looking forward to their biggest and best editions yet.

 


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Mid-level touring: Cruising or crisis?

While the A-list tours break box office and attendance records, there’s a fear that those high-end, high-priced tickets are causing a vacuum for the career touring mid-tier acts. James Hanley looks back on some of the concerns raised during ILMC 36.

In many an argument, the truth often lies in the middle. And that is exactly what the global touring biz is grappling with, as it faces up to a potential mid-tier crisis. Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right…

On the surface at least, business is red hot – the embodiment of the smartphone fire emoji, if you will. Records are being smashed left, right, and centre on a monthly (sometimes even weekly) basis. The worldwide top 100 tours earned $9.2bn in 2023 – up 46% on the previous year – according to Pollstar’s year-end charts. Attendance was up 18.4% in total tickets sold to 70.1m. Gross from the top 100 stadiums and arenas rose 35% and 29%, respectively.

It doesn’t end there: Taylor Swift’s Eras Tour became the first in history to surpass $1bn in revenue and is projected to gross another $1bn this year. Swift led a touring boom in 2023, with more tours than ever grossing above $300m (three), $200m (seven) and $100m (17).

But while the numbers don’t lie, they don’t tell the whole story either. Delve beyond the spectacular headline figures and a more complex picture emerges – a puzzle that was the talk of the town at ILMC 36 in London last month. It’s widely known that production costs have rocketed post Covid, and with margins on mid-level shows far tighter than arena and beyond, some promoters are saying that the economics of some tours now just don’t add up.

“At the top end of the business, it’s clearly in rude health,” says CAA’s Maria May, chair of Open Forum: The all-stars, the conference’s traditional state-of-the-nation opening address. “But there’s a flip side here, with grassroots festivals and venues reporting closures and challenges. “We’re also fully aware that in the middle and lower range, it is tough – really tough. And at the 1,000-3,000-cap level, there are reports of artists who are deciding not to tour at all. The budgets simply don’t add up, and artists are just not going on the road.”

“Unless the industry stimulates solutions to the mid-level of the market, we have a massive time bomb”

The UK’s Music Venue Trust declared that 2023 was the worst year for UK venue closures since its launch a decade ago, while UK trade body the Association of Independent Festivals reports that more than 21 UK festivals have now announced a postponement, cancellation, or complete closure in 2024.

So, as A-list tours reach new heights, is live music’s bread-and-butter business stuck in the starting blocks? For Eleven Management co-founder Niamh Byrne, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

“From a mid-level point of view, it’s really, really tough, and I feel like we have a big conundrum,” says Byrne, whose roster includes Bastille, Blur, and Catfish and the Bottlemen. “There is no live business without artists and audiences, and we shouldn’t be hammering fans to make that make sense. There needs to be something done in order to be able to invest and drive culture because, ultimately, that’s what it’s all about.”

As mid-level acts rely on touring for their income, one potential safeguard being touted is for collection societies to consider providing breaks for mid-sized shows. “We’re losing tours, events, and festivals because of the spiralling costs of everything, which in turn means the royalty societies will suffer exponentially. To protect themselves, as well as their members, they should consider some kind of discounted rate,” states one European festival executive.

“Everyone talks about grassroots touring being difficult, or the 1% at the top making too much, but the middle is where the crisis really is. And it’s the ancillary value of those bands not touring, or touring less, that’s the biggest problem. Unless the industry stimulates solutions to the mid-level of the market, we have a massive time bomb.”

“It’s becoming harder and harder for artists to reach a point where they actually make a profit on touring”

Given the widening gap between the superstars and the rest, One Fiinix Live founder Jon Ollier questions whether “boom and bust” would be a more apt description of the modern circuit.

“It feels to me like it’s becoming harder and harder for artists to reach a point where they actually make a profit on touring,” he offers. “It’s either massive and it makes money, or it’s small and it’s not.

“You’re not seeing those artists get up to 3,000-cap level, stay there, and churn that over as their career. You’re seeing them blow through that barrier into arenas and make money, or struggle underneath that.”

Finland-based Fullsteam founder Rauha Kyyrö agrees it is becoming increasingly difficult to make money on shows below arena level.

“If we have enough touring on a club- and medium-size-level, we can probably cover our overheads and make it work somehow, but we will need the stadium [concerts], or very successful festivals, to make money,” she says. “Touring, for me, is more [for] artist development actually.

“That [200-300-cap club] level has always been about developing, but now it feels like you’re also just investing at the 1,500 [capacity level], instead of at least getting your costs covered.”

“The biggest [touring acts] make more money than ever – but I don’t see the ones that are still in the investing phase making a living out of it”

She adds: “I also own a management company, and not many of the artists make a lot of money on basic touring. Some do – the biggest ones make more money than ever – but I don’t see the ones that are still in the investing phase making a living out of it. That’s where you need to find someone to pay for it, I guess.”

Be that as it may, legendary agent and Independent Artist Group vice-chair Marsha Vlasic maintains the predicament does not represent uncharted waters for the sector.

“Way before the pandemic, even way before any economic problems, bands came and did 20- to 30-city tours in a van and put the time and effort into it,” she recalls. “They stopped at every radio station and record store and promoted their music. They didn’t make money then.”

Indeed, those principles still form the backbone of the promoting trade, nods Mercury Wheels/Live Nation Spain’s Barnaby Harrod.

“[With] bands coming through, it’s always been about investing in them,” he says. “People [being] prepared to break even or to make small amounts of money to invest in the band so that they will come back and do the 2,000/3,000 [capacity shows] and then into the arenas and stadiums if we’re lucky.”

“As long as we have a market outside the market – where certain organisations can ask for twice the price that is on the ticket – then tickets are not expensive enough”

Germany-based DEAG founder and CEO Peter Schwenkow supports Live Nation chief Michael Rapino’s recent assertion that ticket prices “are still not high enough,” referencing the secondary ticketing market.

“As long as we have a market outside the market – where certain organisations can ask for twice the price that is on the ticket – then tickets are not expensive enough,” he argues.

Nevertheless, even in the face of rising costs, Kyyrö floats the idea of reducing ticket prices and treating club shows as loss leaders in a bid to entice more people through the doors and elevate acts at a faster rate.

“In order for any of that to make any financial sense, the ticket prices will have to be at a level where it’s actually not an introduction to the market anymore,” she says. “You actually need to have fans. So is it then better that we just make the ticket price €10 and take that hit? Because we’re gonna take the hit anyway, and then at least it helps us grow the artists to the next level faster. I think it’s an interesting conversation.”

However, lowering prices is simply not a realistic option, contends Jan Digneffe of FKP Scorpio Belgium.

“We have to keep [bringing these bands over and putting] them in front of an audience at a cost. Because if we [don’t] keep doing that as promoters, then we’re ambushing our own industry”

“I think that’s difficult,” he says. “Ticket prices are not high enough, but I think we can all agree that they shouldn’t be any higher – they should be as low as possible for everybody – so we’re kind of stuck in that situation. […] We have to keep [bringing these bands over and putting] them in front of an audience at a cost. Because if we [don’t] keep doing that as promoters, then we’re ambushing our own industry, and we will get in trouble.”

Digneffe points to ingrained issues, disclosing that the promoter’s fee for a sold-out show at a prominent Belgian club remains the same as it did more than 20 years ago.

“Everything is getting more expensive,” he says. “Somebody is getting the extra money – ticket prices are actually going up. But on that level, where it is important to help build artists, it’s clearly not going in that direction, and I think that is a problem.”

And the challenges are not limited to certain markets, adds Digneffe – similar hurdles are popping up across the board.

“We are all seeing the same things,” he notes. “If it’s a very big show, you can earn money. From the moment you take it down a level, it’s getting a lot harder. There is still a little bit of money to be made, but we all know with the smaller clubs, it’s the last 50 or 100 tickets that will make the difference between making some money or losing some money. And you need a whole lot of them to get somewhere to be able to cover your costs. So, indeed, if your bigger arena tours are not there or your stadiums are not there, I see an alarm light flashing.”

“There’s a whole generation that doesn’t leave their rooms, and they know an act by one song. They don’t even have the desire to go for the live experience”

Kyyrö, who was recently promoted to president of touring & artist development at FKP Scorpio, suggests the sector is also battling competition from other forms of media, such as the burgeoning video game market.

“I think we’re losing out on a lot of young people going to the shows to get that experience because, first of all, the ticket prices are high, and also the market has changed in other ways, too,” says Kyyrö.

“It actually might be a better 90-minute experience to play Fortnite than to go and see a little show,” she muses. “If you look at what’s happened with gaming, just as an example, it’s developed so much faster than our live experience has. But the price of the live experience is going up all the time.”

US-based Vlasic, who collected the prestigious Bottle Award during ILMC 36’s Arthur Awards, acknowledges that the shift in habits among younger people was a contributing factor to the status quo.

“There’s a whole generation that doesn’t leave their rooms, and they know an act by one song,” she says. “They don’t even have the desire to go for the live experience. They’re very content with their group chats and TikTok and just discovering new songs, not artists. That’s the worrisome generation, because they don’t even think about going to a live show.”

“It’s all about the streaming, and if I hear more streaming numbers, I’ll go crazy. It’s just maddening – and streaming numbers don’t sell tickets”

Furthermore, Vlasic laments the obsession with streaming numbers, which she blames for distorting an artist’s worth on the live scene. “You still go out, and you’re still looking, you still hope, but you don’t get the calls from the record companies,” she sighs. “It’s all about the streaming, and if I hear more streaming numbers, I’ll go crazy. It’s just maddening – and streaming numbers don’t sell tickets. I’ve always prided myself in working with career artists. How do we develop groups? It’s a really frightening thought.”

Veteran promoter and Live Nation Spain chair Pino Sagliocco bemoans the lack of support for up-and-coming talent, which he believes cuts to the heart of the matter.

“I think the problem is that we don’t do enough to build a bridge to help younger talents who are asked to try and make a living every day,” he says. “That’s why I’m so proud to help develop burgeoning Spanish musicians while convincing local politicians that we need a sponsorship break. We have the funds to support these artists through the banks, and I feel that is really important.”

Moreover, Digneffe suggests the time and attention given to huge global tours by established top-tier acts is to the detriment of those both in the mid-tier and at the start of their careers.

“What is frustrating everybody about these world tours is this cherry picking that’s going on all the time,” he continues. “I don’t want to be like a preacher in a church or anything, but cherry picking also comes with a responsibility to look after the next generation. No one is doing that at the moment, and I think that’s a real problem. The promoters that find solutions for that will help keep our business healthy.”

“As bigger acts are getting off the festivals and going into stadiums, the only way to do it is to piggyback and share the cost of the production”

Indeed, there appears to be an audience malaise for some of the bread-and-butter acts – those artists and musicians that rely principally on live for the majority of their income and therefore regularly tour every 12-24 months are, anecdotally, not seeing the same ticket sales anymore. Fans that know those artists will come around again soon, seem less willing to buy a ticket, whereas the high value stadium shows that do not come around every year are more unique and doing better than ever.

With increasing frequency, co-headline and packaged tours are coming to the fore as a means of sharing the load. Proponents include Mötley Crüe & Def Leppard, Suede & Manic Street Preachers, The Charlatans & Johnny Marr, Stone Temple Pilots & +LIVE+, Pixies & Modest Mouse, I Prevail & Halestorm, and Green Day, Fall Out Boy & Weezer.

While such combinations have proved particularly popular among the rock fraternity, Vlasic suggests the acts do not necessarily have to be a perfect fit.

“As bigger acts are getting off the festivals and going into stadiums, the only way to do it is to piggyback and share the cost of the production,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be completely compatible; it’s just entertainment. When you think of packaging an act… it’s [about], how does this package look in terms of bringing in additional people and different audiences?

“[But] so many of them want to headline on their own, and the market is saturated. I don’t know how the summer’s going to do this year – and everybody’s gone on sale so much sooner.”

“Some people need to step down from their throne in order to be able to play better venues, and that will make the costs go down”

Though Digneffe applauds the idea, he advises that persuading all parties of its merits can be easier said than done.

“I think it’s an interesting idea, but you have trouble getting everybody on board,” he says. “If you look at the metal and the hard rock scene, there is a lot more going on, and there is a lot more understanding between bands as well.

“We all know it’s an ego business. But I think that some people need to step down from their throne in order to be able to play better venues, and that will make the costs go down. It’s a more fun night for the punter anyway, so I see nothing but advantages. But to get it done, you need everybody on board. You need the agents to be on board. You need the management to be on board.”

Vlasic also implores artists to embrace VIP ticketing, admitting that the reluctance of some acts to do so – notably those outside the United States – is a growing source of frustration.

“VIP is huge,” she says. “We had a package two summers ago that broke every record. But I have artists that just won’t do it. And it’s so frustrating because, again, they don’t understand the value of it. It’s actually mostly non-American artists that don’t allow it. But it’s such a big source of additional income.”

“Sometimes, going through hardships and recessions can be a really good thing”

Putting a more positive slant on the current state of play, Eleven’s Byrne shares her conviction that difficult periods can spur innovation.

“Sometimes, going through hardships and recessions can be a really good thing,” she says. “It’ll force us to become more innovative with our ideas, and I’m looking forward to exploring new ways of doing things, as well as opening up lots of international markets.”

Wrapping up, DEAG’s Schwenkow attempts to finish on a similarly optimistic note.

“I think this is my fourth real recession,” he concludes. “And I love recessions because people don’t buy new houses, apartments, cars, washing machines; they’re spending their money on live entertainment. We had a terrific ’22, we had a very, very good ’23, and ’24 looks great as well.”

 


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Ed Sheeran to headline Euro 2024 fan festival

Ed Sheeran is to headline a 90,000-cap fan festival two days before the start of the UEFA European Football Championship in Germany.

Co-promoted by FKP Scorpio and agency Pro Events, FAN FEST EURO 2024 be staged at Theresienwiese in Munich on Wednesday 12 June. Tickets will cost €95 for the show, which will also star Nelly Furtado, Mark Forster and Dylan. The general sale starts tomorrow (28 March).

The performances will also be screened live by sponsor Deutsche Telekom on its MagentaMusik and MagentaTV platforms. The company is offering priority tickets for the event to customers as part of its loyalty programme.

“Football and music bring people together,” says tournament director Philipp Lahm. “Thanks to strong partners like Deutsche Telekom, the concert organiser FKP Scorpio, the event agency Pro Events and my hometown of Munich, we can offer people another highlight at fair admission prices.”

FAN FEST EURO 2024 will mark the first time that Munich’s Theresienwiese has been as a location for a major cultural event

Former Germany international Lahm and EURO ambassador Celia Šašić will appear as guests on stage during the programme, with further appearances by football personalities also planned.

FAN FEST EURO 2024 will mark the first time that Munich’s Theresienwiese has been as a location for a major cultural event. In addition to the concerts, other entertainment will be provided on stage and in the grounds, along with a range of culinary options.

It has not the first time Sheeran has linked up with the international football tournament. During Euro 2020, he set a new record for the most-watched live music performance on TikTok as part of the video app’s partnership with UEFA.

The record-breaking livestream took place at Portman Road, the home of Sheeran’s hometown football club Ipswich Town.

 


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FKP Scorpio UK to merge with Communion Events

UK promoters FKP Scorpio UK and Communion Presents have announced they are merging with immediate effect to form Communion ONE.

Communion ONE’s team has promoted artists such as Ed Sheeran, Noah Kahan, Sam Fender, Lewis Capaldi, Phoebe Bridgers, Mitski, TEMS, The War on Drugs and Laufey.

The merged firm will be led by a board including managing directors Daniel Ealam, Mazin Tappuni and Scott O’Neill. The non-executive leadership team is formed by Communion Music’s MD Jamie Emsell, Communion co-founders Kevin Jones and Ben Lovett, FKP Scorpio CEO and founder Folkert Koopmans, and promoter Carlo Scarampi as a partner.

In addition, the Communion ONE team will include Carly Rocket as head of operations, and Julie Morgan, Olly Goddard, Rich Cheetham, Mike Werbowy and Jack Dedman as heads of marketing, ticketing, production, finance and venue programming, respectively.

“We believe that Communion ONE is creating an even more compelling proposition for our existing and future clients”

“Bringing our two brilliant teams together and combining our shared experience, resources and perspectives, is the most natural thing in the world,” says a joint statement by Ealam, Tappuni and O’Neill. “In doing so, we believe that Communion ONE is creating an even more compelling proposition for our existing and future clients. We’ve all had amazing success so far, but in many ways, we’re only just getting started.”

Sam Laurence’s promoter imprint, Dollop, also joins the newly unified company, with Eve Thomas and Hayley Moss completing the promoter team.

Other acts to have worked with the two companies or Dollop include Michael Kiwanuka, Self Esteem, Maggie Rogers, Holly Humberstone, Ben Howard, Olivia Dean, Dermot Kennedy, Jamie xx, The Lumineers, Bastille, Maisie Peters, George Ezra, Gabriels, Hauser, Greentea Peng, Jungle, The Reytons, Kelela and Calum Scott.

Hamburg-headquartered FKP Scorpio, which sold four million tickets across Europe in 2023, hired concert promoters Ealam and O’Neill from DHP Family in 2020 to head up and grow its then nascent UK touring business.

Communion ONE will also produce a new three-night night event series at Bristol’s 15,000-cap Queen Square

Communion ONE will plug into FKP Scorpio’s European touring network, with offices in 11 European countries, and will also produce a new three-night night event series at Bristol’s 15,000-cap Queen Square from 2025.

It will also continue to book TVG Hospitality’s UK portfolio and affiliates Lafayette, Omeara, The Social, along with its new partnerships with Village Underground and EartH. The firm also plans to expand its outdoor portfolio over the coming year.

Exhibitions specialist FKP Scorpio Entertainment, led by James Cassidy and Barry Campbell, and Communion Presents’ sister companies, Communion Records and Communion Publishing, will continue to operate independently of Communion ONE.

PHOTO (L-R): Daniel Ealam, Mazin Tappuni, Scott O’Neill & Carlo Scarampi

 


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Is a mid-level touring crisis emerging?

The litany of challenges facing the live industry – from breaking acts to gaming – came under the microscope in ILMC’s Touring: The Bread & Butter Business session.

Chaired by One Fiinix Live founder Jon Ollier, the panel featured Jan Digneffe of FKP Scorpio Belgium, Mercury Wheels/Live Nation Spain’s Barnaby Harrod, Finland-based Fullsteam founder Rauha Kyyro of FKP and agent Marsha Vlasic, president of Independent Artist Group in the US.

While the top end of the business is booming with record earnings for A-list tours, the discussion focused its attention on the potential crisis emerging in the mid-level.

Kyyro suggested the sector was struggling not only with high ticket prices, but from competition from other forms of media – such as video games.

“I think we’re losing out on a lot of young people going to the shows to get that experience because, well, first of all, the ticket prices are high. And also the market has changed in other ways, too,” she said. “But it actually might be a better 90 minute experience to play Fortnite than to go and see to a little show. If you look at what’s happened with gaming, just as an example, it’s developed so much faster than our live experience has. But the price of the live experience is going up all the time.”

“There’s a whole generation that don’t leave their rooms… They don’t even think about going to a live show”

Vlasic agreed the shift in habits among younger people was an issue.

“There’s a whole generation that don’t leave their rooms, and they know an act by one song,” she said. “They don’t even have the desire to go for the live experience. They’re very content on their group chats and TikTok and just discovering new songs, not artists. And that’s the worrisome generation, because they don’t even think about going to a live show.”

Vlasic added that the reluctance of some artists – particularly those outside the United States – to embrace VIP ticketing was a growing source of frustration.

“VIP is huge,” she said. “We had a package two summers ago that broke every record. But I have artists that just won’t do it. And it’s so frustrating because again, they don’t understand the value of it. It’s actually mostly non American artists that don’t allow it. But it’s such a big source of additional income.”

The subject switched to the topic of festival headliners, as Kyyro warned against an over-reliance on big name talent.

“We gave up on trying to get a seven-figure acts and we just focused on whatever we actually have access to and that the audience actually likes”

“If you’re really dependent on getting those few big names, then that’s going to kill your budget,” she said. “You’re probably not even going to even make any money unless you sell out.

“The key is to build a brand that is not so much dependent on having the number one artist every year. Provinssi, which is a Finnish festival we work with, has been around for over 40 years and it has had its ups and downs. I think the reason it’s now doing so well is that we gave up on trying to get a seven-figure acts and we just focused on whatever we actually have access to and that the audience actually likes. Then it doesn’t need to sell out, but we can still keep it going.”

The rise of joint headline and packaged tours was also touched upon, with Vlasic suggesting the acts do not necessarily have to be a perfect fit.

“As bigger acts are getting off the festivals and going into stadiums, the only way to do it is to piggyback and share the cost of the production,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be completely compatible, it’s just entertainment. When you think of packaging an act… it’s [about], how does this package look in terms of bringing in additional people and different audiences?

“[But] so many of them want to headline on their own and the market is saturated. I don’t know how to the summer’s going to do this year – and everybody’s gone on sale so much sooner.”

Some people need to step down from their throne in order to be able to play better venues

While Digneffe applauded the concept, he cautioned that persuading all parties of its merit was easier said than done.

“I think it’s an it’s an interesting idea, but you have trouble getting everybody on board,” he said. “If you look at the metal and the hard rock scene, there is a lot more going on and there is a lot more understanding between bands as well.

“We all know it’s an ego business. But I think that some people need to step down from their throne in order to be able to play better venues, and that will make the costs go down. It’s a more fun night for the punter anyway, so I see nothing but advantages. But to get it done, you need everybody on board. You need the agents to be on board. You need the management to be on board.”

“The metal thing is true,” added Harrod. “I went to see four metal bands in a 300-cap club in Barcelona. The kids had a great time.”

There was concern, however, about the lay of the land for breaking acts, and the apparent dearth of viable new headliners. Digneffe believed the focus on global tours was hurting those lower down the food chain.

“If I hear more streaming numbers I’ll go crazy. It’s just maddening – and streaming numbers don’t sell tickets”

“What is frustrating everybody about these world tours is this cherry picking that’s going on all the time,” said Digneffe. “I don’t want to be like a preacher in a church or anything, but the cherry picking also comes with a responsibility to look after the next generation. No one is doing that at the moment and I think that’s a real problem. The promoters that find solutions for that will help keep our business healthy.”

Vlasic lamented the obsession with streaming numbers, arguing they can give a false impression of an artist’s worth on the live scene.

“It’s all about the streaming and if I hear more streaming numbers I’ll go crazy,” she said. “It’s just maddening – and streaming numbers don’t sell tickets. I’ve always prided myself in working with career artists. How do we develop groups? It’s a really frightening thought.”

Harrod, meanwhile, remained hopeful that the tried and tested approach to building rising stars would still bear fruit going forward.

“We have to be proactive,” he said. “We have to get out, we have to support the new acts. Push them, get them out, and that’s it. It’s always been that. Nothing is easy. It’s [about] supporting bands, keeping doing those 200 and 300-cap shows and enjoying them.”

 


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FKP Scorpio promotes duo to international board

FKP Scorpio has bolstered its international operations with the appointments of Rauha Kyyrö and Rense van Kessel as presidents touring & artist development.

Founders of Finland’s Fullsteam and the Netherlands’ Friendly Fire, respectively, Kyyrö and Van Kessel have worked with more than 3,000 artists combined since entering the business in the early 2000s.

The duo have been appointed to FKP’s international board and will be in charge of developing the group’s artist booking and promoter activities across Europe.

“Rauha and Rense’s work has been a vital part of our success for several years now”, says FKP boss Folkert Koopmans and CEO Stephan Thanscheidt. “Their new roles as presidents touring & artist development are the next step in strengthening our natural growth and diverse portfolio, with the aim of being the best partner for artists and music fans alike.”

In addition, the firm has recently appointed new directors in Finland (Aino-Maria Paasivirta, head promoter, Fullsteam Agency), Netherlands (Lauri van Ommen, head of promoted shows and Age Versluis, head of touring, Friendly Fire) and Germany (Inga Esseling and Ben Rodenberg, directors touring, FKP Scorpio).

Founded by Koopmans in 1990, Germany-headquartered FKP is part of the global CTS Eventim Group and works with acts such as Ed Sheeran, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, Noah Kahan, Foo Fighters, Sam Fender, Kraftwerk, Phoebe Bridgers, James Blunt, George Ezra and Mumford & Sons.

FKP is also expanding its collaboration with DreamHaus to co-promote the Rock am Ring/Rock im Park and Hurricane/Southside festivals

Its domestic festival portfolio includes festivals such as Hurricane, Southside, Highfield, M’era Luna, Elbjazz and Deichbrand Festival, while international brands include Greenfield (CH), Syd For Solen (DK) , Best Kept Secret (NL), Lido Sounds (AT), Rosendal Garden Party (SE), Live Is Live (BE), Provinssi and Sideways (FI).

In other news, FKP will expand its collaboration with CTS stablemate DreamHaus by forming a strategic partnership to co-promote the Rock am Ring/Rock im Park and Hurricane/Southside festivals together in the future. Previously, DreamHaus and FKP Scorpio had already jointly organised the Tempelhof Sounds Festival in Berlin in 2022.

“We have always valued FKP Scorpio as a partner and are very much looking forward to further expanding our trusting cooperation,” says DreamHaus CEO Matt Schwarz.

The operational planning and implementation of the respective twin festivals will remain unchanged. FKP Scorpio will continue to act as head promoter and main contact at Hurricane/Southside and DreamHaus in cooperation with eventimpresents and Argo Konzerte at Rock am Ring/Rock im Park.

“We have worked closely with DreamHaus as equals from the very beginning,” adds Koopmans. “We face similar challenges at the festivals, and it is only logical that we use synergies to position ourselves even better on the market.”

 


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Friendly Fire promotes Lauri van Ommen and Age Versluis

Dutch promoter Friendly Fire has promoted Lauri van Ommen to head of promoted shows and Age Versluis to head of touring, effective 1 March.

van Ommen started at Friendly Fire in 2016, assisting managing director Rense van Kessel. Soon after, she was made a promoter and is now going to head that same department.

As head of promoted shows, she will be responsible for all Friendly Fire shows in arenas and stadiums, including Ziggo Dome, AFAS Live, Johan Cruijff Arena and Ahóy.

van Ommen has worked on shows with a.o. Snoop Dogg, Noah Kahan, Hans Zimmer, Mäneskin and many others.

Versluis celebrated 10 years at Friendly Fire last November, starting as an intern for the company’s first edition of Best Kept Secret festival, assisting at the touring department and creating a personal roster of touring artists including Cigarettes After Sex, Mitski, Fontaines D.C., Khruangbin, Black Pumas and Lizzy McAlpine.

“We are very proud that coworkers who have been loyal to our organisation can rise up to these key positions”

He is the programme lead for the successful open-air theatre concert series, Live At Amsterdamse Bos. Age was nominated at the Arthur Awards for Tomorrow’s New Boss in 2022.

As head of touring, Versluis will be responsible for the international touring roster of Friendly Fire and the bookers that work internationally, whilst maintaining his own roster of artists.

“We are very proud that coworkers who have been loyal to our organisation can rise up to these key positions within the company,” says managing director Rense van Kessel.

“Friendly Fire has been growing steadily the last few years and we are very happy to add Lauri and Age to our leadership team, to help manage that growth.”

Friendly Fire, which celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, represents both domestic and international talent, alongside organising festivals, managing artists and booking theatres.

The Dutch office of FKP Scorpio reported more than 2,000 bookings in theatres, venues, clubs, arenas and festivals in 2023.

 


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ESNS 2024: Touring heads unpick ‘new normal’

Leading European live executives have advised that ticket pricing is “more important than ever” as the business navigates its current challenges.

The subject was pored over during today’s Touring In ’24: Are There Bumps In The Road? session at the Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) conference in Groningen, the Netherlands.

Moderated by IQ MD Greg Parmley, the panel featured agents Beckie Sugden of CAA and UTA’s Carlos Abreu, as well as Mojo Concerts head promoter Kim Bloem and FKP Scorpio CEO Stephan Thanscheidt.

Netherlands-based Bloem reported the market appeared in rude health at all levels from her viewpoint.

“Tickets are flying out,” said Bloem. “It’s not just the blockbuster shows, it’s the club shows too. We’re not struggling.”

Thanscheidt, who is based out of Germany and is also FKP’s head of festival booking, painted an overall positive if more mixed picture.

“We have so many artists touring. But there are also shows that are not doing so well. It depends on demographics, genre and level of act”

“As a company, we don’t have a problem,” he said. “We have so many artists touring. But there are also shows that are not doing so well. It depends on demographics, genre and level of act.”

Sugden, whose roster includes artists such as Anderson .Paak & The Free Nationals, GloRilla, Noname, Chronixx, implied it was a constant work in progress.

“It’s a supply and demand market,” she said. “As agents, we have to make sure artists aren’t touring too much. And they’re going to other regions. It’s a constantly changing and dynamic market.”

Thanscheidt argued that show calculations were “more challenging and complicated than before”, triggering a debate around the impact of rising costs on ticket prices.

“Getting ticket prices right is more important than ever,” stressed Abreu, who works with the likes of Rosalía, Bad Bunny, Anitta, Morad, Tokischa and Ayra Starr. “There are also creative ways to structure deals with artists who are looking to do meet and greets or VIP packages, etc. You have to understand the demographic you’re selling to.”

Sugden said it was necessary to analyse the market “with forensic detail and check that your ticket prices are competitive”.

“It’s the perfect storm. Everyone’s prices are increasing”

“VIP doesn’t work in every market, so you have to know what works for each market,” she added. “It’s the perfect storm. Everyone’s prices are increasing. But actually with K-pop fans, they’re willing to stick their hands in their pockets. In times of crisis, people want to be entertained.”

Bloem felt the business has been “timid” regarding raising ticket prices in the past and felt the present level of demand indicated there was room for an increase.

“Given how fast tickets are selling, I think we can increase,” she said. “We added €30 to festival tickets this year, but festival tickets can’t be pushed too quickly.”

“This is a real problem,” advised Thanscheidt. “We had sold out festivals but the margins were complete shit. It’s getting better now but you still see festivals struggling.

“Ticket prices are at the limit. Some festivals overpriced and had only 70/80% of their usual audience, which German promoters know is terrible.”

The conversation then turned to dynamic pricing, with Abreu noting it had become “the norm” in the US. “It’s the way the world is going.” he added.

“We have to think differently about how we approach first steps for artists”

Thanscheidt appeared open-minded about the prospect, but pointed out that the European industry was still some way behind its US counterpart in terms of adoption. “I think it will take time but all sauces that can add to the pot,” he said.

In closing, the panellists shared their thoughts on keeping tickets affordable for fans. Thanscheidt brought up the concept of ‘social tickets’, where a small portion of tickets are available to unwaged citizens for a lower price.

“I had a show recently where the artist did a collection after the concert and the artist ended up tripling the guarantee,” responded Sugden. “We’re getting more creative. We’ve got to keep creative with the club scene. We have to think differently about how we approach first steps for artists.”

Abreu added that some artists could afford to do underplays to “give back” to their fans, but accepted it wasn’t always possible.

“We need to think in career terms for artists,” he concluded. “Not just ‘what do we want to make on this next tour’. It’s about where are we going to be in five years.”

ESNS, which recently appointed Anna van Nunen as its new general manager, wraps up its 2024 edition tomorrow. The event also featured the 2023 European Festival Awards. Check out the winners here.

 


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