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Inside the busiest stadium in Europe

Germany’s Deutsche Bank Park was the busiest stadium in Europe for concerts this summer – and is set for an even better 2023, according to management.

Home of Bundesliga football club Eintracht Frankfurt, the 51,500-cap venue (44,000 for concerts) drew combined crowds of 800,000 to its 18 gigs – more than any other stadium in Europe – including shows by Coldplay (two), Ed Sheeran (three), Iron Maiden, and Elton John.

It also hosted the inaugural edition of the continent’s largest K-pop festival Kpop.Flex in May, with organisers reporting that more than 70,000 tickets were sold in 84 countries.

“The summer 2022 of course benefited from postponed shows from 2020 and 2021, which finally happened this year,” Eintracht Frankfurt Stadion MD Patrik Meyer tells IQ. “But 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 K-pop Festival in a European stadium – something we worked on for years and that could finally happen in May 2022.”

Kpop.Flex will return to the Frankfurt venue for a second edition from 17-18 June next year. It also shows on sale by Depeche Mode (29 June & July 1), German singer Herman Gronemeyer (2 June) and “the biggest club in the world”, BigCityBeats World Club Dome, from 9-11 June.

“The bookings for 2023 are very good and we continue projects like Kpop.Flex, World Club Dome and Monster Jam”

“2023 looks even better than 2022,” says Meyer. “The bookings for 2023 are very good and we continue projects like Kpop.Flex, World Club Dome and Monster Jam. With those events, we already fill six days on a yearly or at least regular basis.

“We are looking forward to work with our promoters and partners next year after our record summer this year. In 2023, we will act as a promoter for three shows and as a major project we will be hosting a NFL game in November – a project we won through a tough tender process and that we are delighted about. It is important is, of course, that we provide a full heavy load pitch cover as well as many ‘promoter-friendly’ facilities in our stadium, making it ‘ready to go’ for shows of any kind.”

The stadium is featured as part of the Germany market report in the latest issue of IQ, out now, and Meyer suggests its ability to diversity has been central to its success.

“Since we started as an operator for the stadium in Frankfurt we were always driven to have as many events as possible,” he explains. “In that sense, we tried to be a good and reliable partner for promoters and agencies. We also did our own event development for things like the Handball World Record or the Orchestra World Record, which allows us to understand the needs and challenges maybe a bit more than other operators.

“Creating ideas for events and approaching partners with those concept is something we do all the time. Sometimes we are laughed at – sometimes we initiate something new – we keep going anyway.”

 


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2022: Can Büyükcinar, Wizard Promotions

The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) this month.

The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster. 

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with Alexandra Ampofo, promoter at Live Nation-owned Metropolis.

The series continues with Can Büyükcinar (he/him/his), head of operations at Wizard Promotions in Germany.

 


Tell us about a personal triumph in your career
Of course, I could mention the biggest shows and tours that I have contributed to so far, but actually it was the past two years that showed me that, even under the most adverse circumstances in our industry, I managed to make the best out of the given situation. We made it through this pandemic craziness by developing our company, employing new digital processes and even relocating our entire office to a new, stylish site in the heart of Frankfurt.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
From time to time, this business can be tough as hell and some of the old hands in the industry might think your opinion is not as valuable, particularly if they cling to prejudices. Don’t let them get you down, be calm, do your thing and prove them wrong! They might not say anything, but they will realise how wrong their assumptions were.

Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry.
I am afraid most of us queer people can relate to Kelly Clarkson’s What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger. But gladly, I was never subject to direct discrimination in my industry experience so far. Of course, the live industry was and sometimes is a place with very patriarchic-dominated structures and old boy beliefs, but my growing up in a low-income Muslim society in Berlin gave me the toolbox to overcome these biases.

“Growing up in a low-income Muslim society in Berlin gave me the toolbox to overcome these biases”

One thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place
I think it is vital that we (and privileged individuals, in particular) step in and speak up whenever we observe unacceptable and discriminatory behaviour such as misogynistic comments. Secondly, representation matters, and we should not underestimate the influence diverse bookings can have. It might require some courage, but it is not only the morally fair strategy – there’s obviously a business case to cater to more diverse audiences.

A cause you support
I feel deeply connected to Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, a Berlin-based charity that promotes educational equality. Eleven years ago, I received a scholarship through them and therefore experienced myself how impactful it can be to provide opportunities for young people.

The queer act you’re itching to see live this year
I am quite impressed by Lil Nas X’s artistic music videos, so I’m excited to see him in Berlin later this year.

Your favourite queer space
My favourite queer spaces are not specific venues but the audiences of artists who are supportive of the queer community, such as Adele, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Harry Styles, Beyoncé or Cher. Listening to great pop live performances, surrounded by a queer audience – that is a real happy place for me.

 


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Europe’s first K-pop fest sold 70,000+ tickets

Europe’s first K-pop festival reportedly sold more than 70,000 tickets in 84 countries.

Staged by K-Pop Europa in partnership with PK Events and Korean broadcaster SBS Television Network, the 44,000-capacity Kpop.Flex festival took place at the Deutsche Bank Park in Frankfurt, Germany, over the weekend (14–15 May).

Due to the huge demand for the event, the organisers have already gone on sale with a second edition, set for 17–18 June 2023 at the Frankfurt arena.

K-Pop Europa is also planning to expand its brand with other new dates and locations over the coming year via a partnership between the UK’s Live Company Group and Germany’s Explorado Group.

A statement from the agencies says: “South Korea is now the seventh largest music market in the world, and audiences for K-Pop are growing at an explosive rate. The high demand for KPop.Flex tickets and the rising star profile in Western media show that the K-Pop wave is not going to ebb away.”

Kpop.Flex featured live performances from acts including EXO member Kai, AB6IX, (G)I-DLE, NCT Dream, Enhypen, Mamamoo, Monsta X and IVE.

The event also featured a Korea Festival, a fan fest arranged by the Korean Tourism Organisation with food stalls and special presentations of Korean music and cultural assets.

While the in-person event is over, the organisers are gearing up for a ticketed global live stream of the event on 29 May.

For €14.95, ticket buyers can enjoy a 90-minute ‘digital experience’ and participate in fan-exclusive group chats.

“South Korea is now the seventh largest music market in the world, and audiences for K-Pop are growing at an explosive rate”

K-Pop Europa isn’t the only promoter bringing K-pop to Europe. It was recently announced that TEG MJR is to promote the UK’s first-ever K-pop festival, taking place in London this summer.

HallyuPopFest, previously held in Singapore in 2018 and 2019, is scheduled for 9 and 10 July at OVO Arena Wembley (cap. 12,500).

According to a new report, more than 2.8 million fans are forecast to attend K-pop events outside of Korea in 2022.

South Korea-based financial investment company Hyundai Motor Securities (HMS) projects that acts represented by management firm HYBE, such as BTS, Tomorrow X Together and Enhypen, will draw 1.27m concertgoers outside their homeland on their own.

South Korea’s capital city, Seoul, is also gearing up for growing demand for the genre, with the development of two new arenas dedicated to K-pop.

K-pop, media giant CJ ENM and AEG have begun construction on an arena in the capital’s Goyang City, slated to open in 2024.

The venue, dubbed CJ LiveCity Arena, is reportedly designed to accommodate 20,000 indoor attendees, with the capacity to extend to another 40,000 outdoors.

Meanwhile, South Korean IT giant Kakao and the Seoul metropolitan government will start building a K-pop arena in Seoul’s northern Dobong district, this June.

Expected to be complete in October 2025, Seoul Arena will reportedly include a concert venue boasting state-of-the-art sound equipment, with a seating capacity of around 19,000 and a maximum capacity of 28,000 for standing events.

 


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Socially distanced Live im Park series concludes

Live im Park, an eight-day event series featuring a mix of music, talks and film, came to a close on Sunday (25 October), marking the first major open-air live entertainment held in Frankfurt this year.

Taking place over three weekends in October (9–10, 16–18 and and 24–25), Live im Park attracted thousands of visitors to the city’s Deutsche Bank Park (formerly the Commerzbank Arena), which normally has a capacity of 40,000.

Among the highlights were live music from the local band the Gypsys and tributes to Queen and the Bee Gees; ‘The All 90s Show’ with DJs Buffalo and Wallace; a talk featuring Formula 1 journalists Kai Ebel and Heiko Wasser sharing stories from 28 years in the sport; and a cinema evening showing 2019 documentary The Return of the Cup.

All events took place on an open-air stage, with the audience spaced out on lounger seats placed at a minimum distance of 1.5m across the stadium’s pitch.

“We are pleased that we were able to set a small example”

Traceable tickets, meanwhile, allowed organisers to contact attendees in the unlikely event of a virus outbreak.

The conclusion of Live im Park comes as chancellor Angela Merkel is reportedly set to announce a new four-week ‘lockdown-lite’, banning public events, in Germany.

Live im Park organiser Patrik Meyer, managing director of Eintracht Frankfurt Stadion, comments: “Despite the external circumstances, we can draw an all-round satisfactory conclusion. The event design [and] the always exemplary and considerate behaviour of all spectators enabled a safe and successful implementation of the event, which was always corona-compliant.

“This is also proven not least by the many positive responses we received from performers and the event visitors. We are pleased that we were able to set a small example for culture.”

 


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DJs go shopping for World Club Dome Escalator Edition

Yet another innovative socially distanced concert solution made its debut over the weekend, courtesy of German EDM promoter and nightlife brand BigCityBeats.

The company – whose flagship World Club Dome event, like nearly all European festivals, is not going ahead this year – on Saturday 4 July staged World Club Dome Escalator Edition, which saw DJs playing on the roof of, and later on escalators in, the MyZeil shopping centre in Frankfurt.

The event was livestreamed on YouTube, and featured performers including Vize and Le Shuuk, who played seats from mobile DJ booths situated on the MyZeil’s 42m (138’) escalators. Fans who arrived together were situated across five storeys of the shopping precinct, at a safe distance from the other groups.

World Club Dome Escalator Edition brought to a close BigCityBeats’ ‘Roof Sessions’, which have been held on the roof of the company’s Frankfurt headquarters since the coronavirus lockdown began.

Watch Le Shuuk’s escalator set below:


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Europe’s second-largest arena planned for Frankfurt

The Katz Group of Companies, one of Canada’s largest private firms, is moving ahead with plans to build the largest indoor arena in Germany, and the second-largest in Europe, next to Frankfurt Airport.

The Dome will cost €300 million and have a capacity of 23,000, placing it ahead of SMG’s Manchester Arena (21,000-cap.) in the UK and just behind Live Nation’s Sportpaleis (23,001-cap.) in Antwerp, Belgium.

Katz Group was formerly owner of Rexall Health, one the largest chains of chemists in North America, and now operates chiefly in property and sports/entertainment. Through Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), the Edmonton-based company, founded in 1990 by Daryl Katz, owns ice-hockey teams Edmonton Oilers, Edmonton Oil Kings and Bakersfield Condors.

It also manages the 20,734-capacity Rogers Place (home ground to the Oilers and Oil Kings), and surrounding ‘Ice District’, in Edmonton, and owns events agency Aquila Productions.

According to Dentons, which advised Katz Group on its joint venture with local investors, upon completion the Dome is likely to become the home venue of Frankfurt’s Löwen ice-hockey team and Skyliners basketball team.

“We have focused on the Frankfurt location for a variety of reasons,” Jürgen Schreiber, Katz Group’s German-born CEO, tells Stadionwelt (via Coliseum). “On the one hand, we want to build a special, unique arena that sets new standards.

“Frankfurt needs a venue of the size of the Dome in order to remain competitive”

“From the beginning, we have ruled out the possibility of designing the arena for a capacity of 10,000 to 13,000 seats – enough such arenas exist  in Germany. We deliberately decided to build a world-class arena.”

Currently, the largest indoor arena in Frankfurt, the fifth-largest city in Germany, is the turn-of-the-century Festhalle, which seats 8,500 and can hold up to 13,500 for concerts.

More modern alternatives include the 6,946-cap. Eissporthalle, primarily used for ice hockey, and the 5,002-seat Fraport Arena, which currently hosts the Skyliners.

“In our opinion, Frankfurt needs [a venue the size of the Dome] in order to remain competitive in the the events and, above all, sports industries,” Schreiber continues. “At the moment, most organisers are avoiding Frankfurt and prefer other cities instead.

“The Frankfurt airport location offers optimal conditions to implement such a project. The infrastructure is largely already there, which saves time and money. And the area is easily accessible by train, plane, car and bicycle.

“Half of the German population lives within a radius of 200 kilometres, which is why the potential of the location is enormous.”

 


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Theatre producer Mehr-BB wins big at PRG LEA 2019

The 14th edition of the German Live Entertainment Awards (LEA) took place at the Frankfurt Festhalle last night (1 April), with theatrical producer Mehr-BB picking two awards for best show and best concert hall or arena.

Awards were presented across 15 categories to concert and show organisers, managers, agents and venue operators from German-speaking countries.

“The LEA is a red carpet event in our city,” says Frankfurt city councillor Markus Frank. “It is an honour for us to celebrate the top-class LEA gala in our traditional festival hall.”

The ceremony was presented for the eighth time by broadcast journalist Ingo Nommsen, with performances from Kiefer Sutherland, Stefanie Heinzmann, Mike Singer and electronic swing jazz band DelDap.

The ensemble of hit musical Starlight Express also performed on the night. Mehr-BB Entertainment received the award for show of the year for the musical, which has run for 30 consecutive years in the Starlight Express Theatre in Bochum.

Neue Deutsche Welle singer Nena closed the ceremony, who won Wizard Promotions the concert hall tour of the year award with her Nothing Missed tour.

“Live entertainment is now the leading entertainment market [in Germany] and the most highly consumed cultural product”

“In Germany, around five billion euros are spent each year on attending music events and other live entertainment,” reports Professor Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concerts and Events Industry (BDKV) and producer of the awards ceremony.

“With those figures, live entertainment is now the leading entertainment market and the most highly consumed cultural product [in the country],” adds Michow.

Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio picked up the biggest touring category award, winning the prize for the best stadium tour of the year for Ed Sheeran’s ÷ tour and Semmel concerts earned the arena tour of the year award for the Kelly Family We Got Love tour.

Wacken Open Air founders Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner won the lifetime achievement award for their work developing the largest heavy-metal festival in the world, receiving the award from German rock band Scorpions and comedian Matze Knop.

Jazzopen organiser Opus, along with MCT Agency and the European Astronaut Centre, won the award for concert of the year. The trio had collaborated on a special Kraftwerk concert in Stuttgart which saw astronaut Alexander Gerst broadcast live from space.

Live Nation won promoter of the year, whereas the homegrown promoter prize went to Vaddi Concerts.

A full list of winners can be found below and a round-up of nominees is available here.

Stadium tour of the year
Ed Sheeran ÷ tour (FKP Scorpio)

Arena tour of the year
The Kelly Family, We Got Love tour (Semmel Concerts)

Concert hall tour of the year
Nena, Nothing Missed tour (Wizard Promotions)

Club tour of the year
Bosse, Everything is now tour (Undercover)

Festival of the year
Nature One, Pydna

Concert of the year
Kraftwerk + Special Guest Dr Alexander Gerst, Stuttgart (Opus Festival, MCT Agentur GmbH and EAC Köln)

Show of the year
30 Years Starlight Express, Bochum (Mehr-BB Entertainment)

Promoter of the year
Live Nation

Local promoter of the year
Vaddi Concerts

Concert hall/ arena of the year
Mehr Theater, Hamburg (Mehr-BB Entertainment)

Artist development of the year
Timo Birth

Manager/ agent of the year
Johannes Jakob Hofmann, Jay Music and Selective Artists

Jury prize
Jamel rockt den Förster (Grünes Forum Selbstverwaltung Förderverein)

Lifetime achievement award
Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen

Collaboration of the year
Aida-Schiffstaufe with David Guetta (Hannover Concerts, KG Betriebsgesellschaft, Aida Cruises, Four Artists Booking and Meyer Werft)

 


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Nominees announced for Germany’s PRG LEA 2019

The 14th PRG Live Entertainment Awards (LEA) take place on 1 April in Frankfurt, recognising the best in the German live music industry across 15 categories.

The annual awards celebrate concert and show organisers, managers, agents and theatre operators in German-speaking countries.

Around 1,400 guests are expected to attend the awards ceremony in Frankfurt’s Festhalle. Performances on the night will come from pop and soul singer Stefanie Heinzmann, Neue Deutsche Welle (German new wave) singer Nena, actor Kiefer Sutherland and singer-songwriter Mike Singer.

“It is a huge honour for me to be able to perform and present a prize at such an important awards show,” says Singer. “The LEA is something very close to my heart because it honours some very fundamental areas of our everyday musical lives.”

In the stadium tour of the year category, Wizard Promotions are up for Iron Maiden’s Legacy of the Beast tour, whereas Ed Sheeran’s ÷ concert tour has earned last year’s promoter of the year winner FKP Scorpio a nomination. Kikis Kleiner Tourneeservice (KKT) agency is the final nominee, for the Laune der Natour tour by Düsseldorf punk-rock group Die Toten Hosen.

Concert tours by German acts dominate the field of nominees in the arena tour of the year category. Four Artists Booking, Roland Temme, DEAG Concerts and Dirk Becker Entertainment in collaboration with Abenteuerland Music Management are included in the jury’s selection.

“The LEA is something very close to my heart because it honours some very fundamental areas of our everyday musical lives”

Semmel Concerts, winner of both concert hall tour and the jury prize in 2017, is also nominated for bringing the Kelly Family’s We Got Love Tour back to big venues.

Among the concert of the year nominees is FKP Scorpio for Burt Bacharach’s first-ever German concert. Opus, MCT and the European Astronaut Centre are nominated collectively for the Kraftwerk concert at Jazzopen in Stuttgart, which featured a broadcast from astronaut Alexander Gerst in outer space.

FKP Scorpio, DEAG Concerts and Wizard Promotions are also among the nominees for indoor tour of the year. Elsewhere, Airbeat One, Parookaville and Nature one are all up for festival of the year award, with a thematic focus on EDM.

No nominations are made for the organiser of the year, artist/newcomer of the year or artist manager/ agent of the year categories, or for the jury and lifetime achievement awards.

The main partners of the LEA are event technology supplier Production Resource Group (PRG), Prolight and Sound, Musikmesse Frankfurt, ticket distributor CTS Eventim and the city of Frankfurt am Main.

 


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Wireless to return to Germany in 2019

After taking a hiatus in 2018, Live Nation will stage its Wireless festival in Germany for the second time next summer.

American rapper Travis Scott will headline Wireless Germany 2019, which takes place on 5 and 6 July at the new greenfield venue of Alter Rebstockpark (40,000-daily cap.) in Frankfurt. (The inaugural Wireless Germany, in 2017, took place at Commerzbank Arena in the same city.)

Other performers include James Blake, Rae Sremmurd, J Balvin, Rita Ora and Migos, as well as local hip-hop acts Marteria & Casper and Bonez MC & RAF Camora.

Two-day GA tickets are priced from €139, which also includes tickets for public transport to and from Rebstock Park, described as a “green oasis in the middle of the metropolis” of Frankfurt.

The festival will additionally feature “breakdance performances, street art, fashion, chill-out areas, open-air shisha bars” and more, according to the launch announcement.

Scott has also been announced as a headliner of the inaugural Lollapalooza Stockholm, announced by Live Nation in May, alongside Foo Fighters, Lana Del Rey and Swedish artist Laleh.

 


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WizPro, Handwerker launch Frankfurt joint venture

German promoters Wizard Promotions and Handwerker Promotion have announced the opening of a new joint office in Frankfurt.

Through a new company, Rhein-Main Concerts, Frankfurt-based Wizard and Unna-based Handwerker – both majority owned by Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) – will jointly organise concerts and other live events in the Frankfurt Rhine-Main region, in the south-west of Germany.

Rhein-Main Concerts will be led by senior project manager Jutta Sebastian, with the new office officially open on 1 November, reports Musik Woche. Rhein-Main Concerts shows already on sale include Bryan Ferry (pictured), Joan Baez, Till Brönner and Heartbeat of Home.

DEAG COO Christian Diekmann says: “With [Rhein-Main Concerts’] integrated experience and know-how, we will have the opportunity in future to market our portfolio in Rhine-Main with a high-calibre team.”

“It is a great honour to be more active here in [Frankfurt] and to enrich the cultural life of the region”

Handwerker boss Fred Handwerker describes Frankfurt as “one of the most vital regions” for touring in Germany, saying it was the logical next step “to be present in this promising market with our own local promoter, so we can act faster, and be more agile and precise, to offer the audience diverse concert and event experiences.”

Oliver Hoppe, of Wizard Promotions, says it is “a great honour to be more active here in the local market and to enrich the cultural life of the region”.

In addition to Frankfurt, DEAG also has offices in Hamburg, Berlin, Munich, Zurich and London.

 


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