Czech live industry joins forces for United Live Radio
Live music industry professionals from across the Czech Republic have teamed up to launch United Live Radio, a non-commercial radio station broadcasting live music, talk shows and podcasts.
Since going live on 10 April, the online radio station, which can be accessed here, has broadcast archived live concerts from Talking Heads, the Rolling Stones and Sting, as well as featuring talk shows by venue owner Jakub Horak and music selections from Michael Kyselka of radio Vltava and artists including Michal Kořán and Michal Prokop,
Upcoming radio hosts include Metronome Festival’s Barbora Šubrtová, veteran promoter and Fórum Karlín CEO Serge Grimaux and singer Moimir Papalescu.
“The impact of restrictions on live culture is enormous and this project, which is being developed in collaboration with festivals, concert promoters, venues and artists, aims to help everyone going through these difficult times,” says David Gaydečka, founder of Prague’s 20,000-capacity Metronome Festival, which has been postponed to September this year.
“The impact of restrictions on live culture is enormous and this project aims to help everyone going through these difficult times”
“Our common goal is to stay in touch with the musicians and the fans by offering them unique musical experiences, while also having a look inside festivals, concerts and venues.”
In addition to Metronome, festivals currently taking part in the United Live Radio initiative include dance music festival Beats for Love, Benátská noc, BluesAlive, metal festival Brutal Assault, JazzFestBrno, drum and bass events Festival Svojšice and Let It Roll, Folk Holidays, Open Air MusicFest Prestige, Prague Spring Festival, Respect Festival, Strings of Autumn Festival, Štěrkovna Open Music, United Islands of Prague and sports event Slovácké léto.
Venues including Forum Karlín, Joe’s Garage are also taking part, as well as promoters Fource Entertainment, Live Nation, Obscure Promotion and agency 10:15 Entertainment.
Listen to United Live Radio here.
Grimaux and Fórum Karlín team buy into Metronome Prague
Ahead of its fifth edition next summer, Serge Grimaux and Karlín Group’s Serge Borenstein and Jan Ludvík have acquired a stake in Prague’s Metronome Festival.
The trio, which recently took over and refurbished the 4,000-cap. Fórum Karlín in Prague, aim to turn the festival – to be renamed Metronome Prague – into “the largest city festival in the Czech Republic”, Grimaux tells IQ, adding that the new investors will “provide the existing team with the resources and the guidance they need” to achieve that goal.
Metronome founders David Gaydečka, Martin Voňka and Libor Winkler, as well as the rest of the festival team, will continue their involvement with the event.
“Joining forces with these people will help us materialising the vision Martin and I had when we created Metronome Festival,” says Gaydečka. “In fact, it is so much the beginning of a new era that, to underline the importance of this, we will soon rename the event Metronome Prague. The event will definitively be much more than just a festival.”
Liam Gallagher and Kraftwerk headlined Metronome 2019, which was attended by 18,000 people, following Massive Attack, the Chemical Brothers and David Byrne in 2018 and Sting and Kasabian the year previous.
“Metronome Prague will soon reach … the level of top events of the same type presented in many capital cities around the world”
“Early in my career I was lucky enough to be part of the group of people that created the Montreal International Jazz Festival, which later became, and to this day remains, the largest jazz festival in the world,” says Grimaux.
“Organised in the heart of the city, I can see a lot of similarities between that event, which started in 1979, and Metronome Prague. With such a great event site; the magic of the city of Prague; the perfect time of the year; and the amazing potential offered by what Martin, David and their team, the programme director Barbora Šubrtová, executive producer Martin Mára and new marketing director Jakub Horák, have created so far, there is no doubt in my mind that Metronome Prague will soon reach, if not exceed, the level of top events of the same type presented in many capital cities around the world.”
Metronome Prague 2020 will take place on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 June, returning to the open-air Výstaviště exhibition grounds in central Prague.
“The new partners will help us present top international artists to the audience,” says Voňka, “as well as an even more comfortable environment for attendees, as we are aiming to increase the event area in the Výstaviště, hence accelerating and strengthening the development of our common vision.”
Serge Grimaux takes over redeveloped Fórum Karlín
The new-look Fórum Karlín in Prague is open for business, with a 4,000-plus capacity, cashless-only payments and impeccable green credentials among the key features of Karlín Group’s ‘smart’ venue.
The multi-functional Fórum Karlín originally opened in 2014, and was acquired from former owner Zdeněk Bakala by Karlín Group’s Serge Borenstein and Jan Ludvík late last year. The venue is now jointly owned by Borenstein, Ludvík and Serge Grimaux, the veteran promoter and founder of Ticketpro and Intellitix, who becomes the venue’s CEO.
The Fórum has hosted more than 750 events since opening, and the new owners hope to build on that success by transforming it into a ‘SmArt Venue’ (emphasis theirs) that provides both audiences and event organisers with the best experience possible.
According to Karlín Group, in practical terms this means:
- A rental structure going from being ‘static’, renting square metres, to becoming ‘dynamic’, having a very low guaranteed rent amount to start with, adjusted with ticket sales income
- Having sound and light permanently installed in the venue and only paid for if used, substantially decreasing rental costs avoiding transportation, set-up and dismantling charges
- Creating a marketing and promotion department which will promote events presented in the venue via digital media, helping organisers sell more tickets
- Making sure the venue is a warm and welcoming place as soon as visitors step through the door
- Becoming net carbon zero – for example by eliminating all forms of non-reusable plastic, such as plastic cups, and replacing them with reusable cups
- Enabling payments for F&B and other products, including the cloakroom, only via contactless transactions using credit or debit debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay or any other electronic payments platforms
“This is […] one of the most, if not the most, exciting projects I have [worked on] these past years”
Grimaux, who originally consulted on the venue when it was being built seven years ago, tells IQ that Fórum Karlín is an “extremely versatile” space. “The entire ceiling is a rigging grid with equally great capacity,” he explains. “It can be configured in many different ways.”
One of those configurations is Fórum Karlín Club, a 1,500-person setup with the stage build closer to the main floor bar area and two levels of balcony “Never before in the Czech Republic have fans and musicians experienced such an immersive, comfortable and exciting experience.”
“My aim is for having the venue as ‘promoter-friendly’ as possible, offering new types of events such as sporting events, culinary events, etc., and also adapting its capacity so it can provide Prague with its first 1,500-capacity venue,” continues Grimaux, something which was missing in this marketplace – hence increasing the amount of live music entertainment events hosted in it.”
“Teaming with the Karlín Group, I could not imagine a better scenario to once again become fully active in the live events industry in the Czech Republic,” he adds in a statement.
“After having been part of creating the current dominant force in concert promotion – and having launched the first, and to this day the most efficient, ticketing company in the country – to now oversee the evolution of the greatest live venue in the Czech Republic, taking this entire spectrum of activities to where the world will be tomorrow is one of the most, if not the most, exciting projects I have come to embrace in the past years.
“For event organisers, we do not just rent you a venue – we care. And for fans, we do not just let you in our venue, we take care of you.”