fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion promotes trio

German concert promoter Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion (KJK) has entered a new era following the retirement of long-time head of ticketing & sports Anja Schwencke.

The Hamburg-based company has appointed Jessica Hübner and Stefanie Gräßler as heads of ticketing, with the dual leadership to be responsible for ticketing for all KJK’s tours, as well as local concerts.

In addition, Sönke Schal will take over the main responsibility for the newly created people & culture department. Hübner and Gräßler started out in PR & marketing at the Hamburg-based company, switching to ticketing in 2016, while Schal was previously booker with the firm for acts such as Sticky Fingers, Hinds, Men I Trust, as well as heading up Way Back When Festival.

“The recent promotions… say more about the KJ company DNA than any glowing speech ever could”

“The recent promotions of Jessica Hübner and Stefanie Gräßler as head of ticketing dual leadership and Sönke Schal to the newly created position of head of people & culture say more about the KJ company DNA than any glowing speech ever could,” says KJK CEO Ben Mitha. “All three of them not only completed their training at our company, some of them have remained loyal to us for decades and have already worked in several departments within the company. In my eyes, there is no better fit for their current leadership positions and I look forward to working with the three of them to further develop and advance KJ’s fortunes.”

Schwencke, who celebrated her 20th anniversary with the promoter in 2020, has been associated with the company since her student days, starting out as an external box office clerk.

“Anja undisputedly had the greatest expertise in ticketing within the industry and continuously developed this area for our company over 20 years and adapted it to the current market conditions,” adds Mitha. “Along the way, she was extremely successful in helping to build up the sports events area in our portfolio. We are very reluctant to let her go, but are happy for her that her well-deserved retirement will now provide her with even more time for traveling, golfing and attending the odd handball match with her husband Karsten.”

“I thank Anja Schwencke from the bottom of my heart for her outstanding commitment to our company”

Schwencke retired last month, having joined KJK full-time in 2000, taking over the ticketing division from Margret Kosanke.

“I thank Anja Schwencke from the bottom of my heart for her outstanding commitment to our company,” adds KJK founder Karsten Jahnke. “Although she was ‘only’ employed with us for 22 years, she has been associated with our company for well over 40 years as the daughter of our long-time financial accountant and personnel manager Monika Diers, as well as her commitment to ticket service and as a box office employee.

“In February 2000, she took over our ticketing as successor to my sister Margret Kosanke and has not only continuously modernised it, but also made our ticket service the most popular ticket provider in Germany. Thanks to her outstanding expertise, Anja is highly respected within the industry and has constantly championed the interests of us independent concert promoters against the big ticket providers. As if this were not enough, she has also established the sports events division in our company.

“She has worked tirelessly for her team and has built up two extremely competent successors in Jessica and Steffi. I wish her all the best for her new phase of life and hope that she will be able to work successfully on her golf handicap together with her husband Karsten from now on and that they both will enjoy many beautiful travels”

Subscribers can read IQ‘s recent 60th anniversary feature on Karsten Jahnke Konzertdirektion here.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

BMG books out Berlin venue until 2024

Berlin-headquartered music company BMG has booked out the German capital’s 1,600-seat Theater des Westens (TdW) every night until the end of 2024 to provide a home to its growing live events business.

The renowned record label and music publisher entered the live business in 2020 with the acquisition of a majority stake in promoter/event production firm Undercover.

BMG’s shows at TdW will include a series of residencies by domestic and international recording artists, as well as BMG’s growing roster of stage musicals.

“The Theater des Westens is arguably the greatest theatre in the German capital,” says BMG CEO Hartwig Masuch. “As a Berlin-born company, and the only German-owned and managed global player in the music industry, we are proud to make this investment in the musical life of our hometown.”

“We see a particular opportunity for established artists who want to present a high-end show in a beautiful venue rather than embarking on a regular tour”

The TdW is operated by Netherlands-based live entertainment firm Stage Entertainment, while the building is owned by the city of Berlin.

“We are committed to making the Theater des Westens the premier venue for entertainment in Berlin,” says BMG chief content officer Dominique Casimir. “Taking such a long lease on a venue is a first for a music company. We are starting with two great shows – Ku’damm 56 and now Romeo & Julia – but there is a lot more to come.

“Bringing high-end artist residencies to Berlin is a first for Germany. We see a particular opportunity for established artists who want to present a high-end show in a beautiful venue rather than embarking on a regular tour.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Viagogo banned from reselling Rammstein tickets

German heavy rock band Rammstein and European promoter MCT Agentur have obtained an injunction against secondary ticketing platform Viagogo.

The restraining order, issued by the district court of Hamburg, means that Viagogo is banned from reselling tickets for the band’s 2023 European stadium tour.

It is the second time the Hamburg Regional Court has legally prohibited the Switzerland-headquartered company from reselling Rammstein tickets, following an identical injunction in 2019.

“Buyers often do not realise that they are not buying their tickets from the organiser but on the secondary ticket market”

The most recent court order is based on the consumer protection regulations that were newly defined in May 2022.

“Buyers often do not realise that they are not buying their tickets from the organiser but on the secondary ticket market,” says Attorney Sebastian Ott. “The legislature has recognised this deficiency and acted. We are pleased that the district court of Hamburg shares our opinion and consistently prohibits violations of the new law.”

As a result of the injunction, Eventim is the only platform authorised to sell tickets. In addition, only the person whose full name is noted on the ticket will be admitted – this will be checked against an ID card.

Furthermore, it is forbidden to pass on the tickets. If a buyer is unable to appear, resale is only possible via the fanSALE website distributed by Eventim – and only from 1 December, 2022.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

European trade bodies rally governments for energy aid

European live music trade bodies are lobbying for government-backed support packages to mitigate rocketing energy bills and prevent the sector from collapsing.

Last month, IQ heard from a number of European arenas who say that skyrocketing energy costs are emerging as the sector’s biggest challenge since the Covid-19 pandemic. ASM Global’s Marie Lindqvist said the prices for electricity and gas at the company’s venues have quadrupled since the beginning of the year, with the UK being hit the hardest.

UK live music trade bodies today (21 September) welcomed the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses but have called for further clarification of the details.

The scheme, revealed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industry, will see energy bills for UK businesses cut by around half of their expected level this winter.

The news comes after it was revealed that some UK live music venues are seeing their energy bills increase by an average of 300% –in some cases as much as 740% – adding tens of thousands of pounds to their running costs.

Under the new scheme, wholesale prices are expected to be fixed for all non-domestic energy customers at £211 per MWh for electricity and £75 per MWh for gas for six months between 1 October and 31 March 2023.

The support is equivalent to the Energy Price Guarantee put in place for households and applies to fixed contracts agreed on or after 1 April 2022, as well as to deemed, variable and flexible tariffs and contracts.

UK live music trade bodies today welcomed the government’s Energy Bill Relief Scheme for businesses

This scheme will apply to England, Scotland, and Wales, with a parallel scheme will be established in Northern Ireland, and will be reviewed after three months with an option to extend support for “vulnerable businesses”. However, it is not yet clear whether the live music sector falls into this category.

LIVE CEO Jon Collins welcomes the support but says the government must sustain it past the next six months. “Spiralling energy prices have already forced music venues up and down the country to close or curtail their programming and this will begin again as soon as this support is removed – it is plainly obvious that live music must be on the list of sectors considered ‘vulnerable’ by government.

“With our industry still hurting from the aftereffects of Covid and rising costs across the supply chain, we continue to make the case that our sector needs action on VAT and business rates if we are to keep all concert halls, arenas, festivals, and grassroots music venues open, bringing joy to millions and showcasing the best UK and international talent.”

Music Venue Trust (MVT) CEO and founder Mark Davyd has also warmly welcomed the package, saying the scheme “appears at face value to comprehensively tackle the immediate short-term energy crisis for grassroots music venues”.

“We await full details of the scheme and the method of implementation by the energy retailers and suppliers, but the base unit rate of 21.1p per kW/h laid out by these plans is sufficient to avert the collapse of the sector if it is fully delivered,” says Davyd.

“We understand that the government plans to bring forward controls to ensure that this target price is delivered and we look forward to reading their plans to implement this rate as a maximum for all music venues in the UK.”

The scheme “appears at face value to comprehensively tackle the immediate short-term energy crisis for GMVs”

However, MVT is also urging the government to clarify which sectors fall into the “vulnerable businesses” category: “The government has indicated that ‘pubs’ will attract support for longer than the six-month initial period based on the special circumstances of the energy crisis in relation to the operation of their business.

“We have asked for urgent clarification that the broad term ‘pub’ includes music venues and other licensed premises essential to the grassroots music ecosystem, and anticipate that this will be the case.”

The trade bodies have pointed out that further support is needed, in addition to the scheme, in order to stabilise the sector after the Covid-19 pandemic. The sector is calling on the Chancellor to reduce VAT on ticket sales to 5% and reform business rates in the mini-budget expected this Friday (23 September).

Elsewhere in Europe, markets including the Netherlands and Germany are still lobbying for critical support to curb “disastrous” energy costs for live music businesses.

In the Netherlands, the Association of Theatre and Concert Hall Directors (VSCD) says a large proportion of its 151 members are in danger of getting into financial trouble due to rising energy costs and inflation.

“For many venues, the rise in energy costs is disastrous. The expectation for next year is that we will be seven times more expensive. Even if we sell out every performance, this cost increase is impossible to absorb,” says Mirjam Radstake, director of Theater Hanzehof and Buitensociëteit in Zutphen.

VSCD is calling on the Dutch government to help local authorities subsidise venues’ energy bills

With only 7% of its members receiving some form of compensation to cover the costs, VSCD is calling on the Dutch government to make an extra contribution to the municipal fund so that local authorities can subsidise venues’ energy bills.

The association argues that, currently, subsidies do not reflect venues’ rising costs, which also include a 9.7% rise in rent and a 10% increase in the minimum wage, and that passing these costs onto the public is not an option.

“If we increase the ticket price, the public will drop out,” says Charles Droste, director of Cultuurbedrijf Amphion in Doetinchem.

“At the moment, 25% fewer tickets have been sold with us in September than in September 2019. The public seems to be waiting for rising energy costs and inflation.”

Earlier this week, the Taskforce Creative Culture and Media also sent a letter to the cabinet, containing a general plea to protect the sector against the current inflation and increased energy costs.

Meanwhile, Germany’s live association, the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV), is calling on the federal government to design a special relief programme for the events industry to put forward to the EU Commission.

Germany’s live association is calling on the federal government to design a special relief programme for the events industry

Earlier this year, the EU Commission adopted a Temporary Crisis Framework which enabled member states to be more flexible with State aid rules in order to support the economy during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Under the framework, member states could grant a limited amount of aid to companies affected by the crisis, or by the subsequent sanctions and countersanctions, up to the increased amount of €62,000 and €75,000 in the agriculture and fisheries and aquaculture sectors respectively, and up to €500,000 in all other sectors.

However, in the plan, the EU Commission does not count the events industry among the “systemically important” sectors eligible for aid. BDKV is now asking for a revision to the framework, to allow businesses in the events industry to receive up to €500,000.

“Without state support, there is a risk of the industry collapsing with bankruptcies, operational closures and further migration of skilled workers and the self-employed,” reads a statement from BDKV. “This special programme is needed now and not in the near future when such help is already too late.”

Timo Feuerbach, MD of the European Association of Event Centers (EVVC), says: “The events industry has not yet recovered from the corona-related restrictions of the past few years. The consequences of the war in Ukraine, high inflation and impending bottlenecks in the energy supply are also hitting us hard. Together with the disastrous communication from the federal government on the subject of Corona, which is unsettling customers and is already costing orders, our industry is in danger of being left behind in international competition.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Dice expands partnership with Germany’s Goodlive

Ticketing and discovery platform Dice has expanded its partnership with Germany’s Goodlive Artists.

Dice formally launched in the German market in May, teaming with Goodlive Artists to deliver sold-out shows with the likes of Fred Again, Marc Rebillet and PinkPantheress.

Now, it is extending its link-up with Goodlive to cover all of the German promoter’s festivals. The new agreement makes Dice the official and exclusive ticketing and sales platform for Melt, Splash!, Full Force and Heroes Festival, as well as the main ticket provider for Superbloom Festival.

“Dice meets our ideas of modern ticketing, and we have been missing such a platform on the German market so far”

“Dice has been successful in international ticketing for many years and is already popular with fans,” says Goodlive MD Marko Hegner. “We were pleased to be the official partner for the launch of Dice in Germany this year – after Goodlive Artists, and now also with our festivals. Dice convinces us on the one hand with its mobile-first concept, which also prevents resale on the secondary market, and on the other hand with its fair and transparent pricing. Dice meets our ideas of modern ticketing, and we have been missing such a platform on the German market so far.”

The official pre-sale for the festivals splash!, Full Force and Melt 2023 is already underway via Dice. If the festivals sell out, tickets can be returned via the Waiting List within the secure framework of the app and resold at fair prices.

“We’re delighted with how fans and the live industry are reacting to our roll out in Germany,” adds Andrew Foggin, global head of music at Dice. “We’ve already had some great success stories with Goodlive Artists and to expand the partnership with the festivals was a natural next step. Their festival portfolio is exceptional, from globally recognised brands like Splash! and Melt through to more recent properties like Superbloom, fans of all genres are catered for.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Stuart Galbraith, Oliver Hoppe join DEAG board

Germany’s Deutsche Entertainment (DEAG) has appointed Kilimanjaro Live’s Stuart Galbraith and Wizard Promotions’ Oliver Hoppe as divisional board members.

Galbraith becomes executive vice president of international touring, and is tasked with the development of the rock/pop/contemporary business within the DEAG Group and in DEAG’s national markets (Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark).

Hoppe, meanwhile, is named executive vice president of product and innovation, and is responsible for the further development of the overarching product acquisition and utilisation.

DEAG says the pair’s tasks will also include the further expansion of the live entertainment business and a stronger interlinking of the DEAG Group companies.

This includes the development of new channels for the evaluation of content as well as the further harmonisation of various distribution channels.

Hoppe and Galbraith will assist DEAG’s executive board with the implementation of M&A projects

In addition, Hoppe and Galbraith will assist DEAG’s executive board with the implementation of M&A projects and create further synergy effects in ticketing and artist acquisition.

Hoppe is managing director of the DEAG subsidiary Wizard Promotions, the main tour and concert promoter within the DEAG Group in Germany. In recent years, the company has organised concerts by Iron Maiden, Bryan Ferry, Zucchero, Papa Roach, KISS, Böhse Onkelz and den Scorpions, among other artists.

Wizard’s portfolio also includes artists like 50 Cent, Limp Bizkit and Jamie Cullum.

Galbraith is CEO of the British promoter Kilimanjaro Live. The DEAG subsidiary has significantly expanded its event portfolio in recent years to include areas such as the spoken word, comedy and sports, and is now one of the largest live entertainment promoters in the UK. Both Galbraith and Hoppe will remain active in these roles.

The executive board is completed by Jacqueline Zich (executive vice president classics & jazz and COO DEAG Classics AG) and Benedikt Alder (executive vice president legal affairs & business development).

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Fruzsina Szép reflects on Superbloom’s sold-out debut

Seasoned festival pro Fruzsina Szép has spoken to IQ about the debut edition of Goodlive’s newest festival, Superbloom.

The two-day event finally launched in Munich’s historic Olympic Park last weekend (3–4 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”.

“I wanted to create a 360-degree festival experience and I think we’ve done that well,” says Szép. “It was important to me that the visitors immersed themselves in a charming world and experienced many moments of happiness that they can now take with them into their everyday lives.”

The inaugural edition drew 50,000 visitors and ultimately sold out, which Szép says was “a dream come true” after a “mentally challenging” few years for the Superbloom team.

“It’s a new festival, a new brand, a new site and there are new colleagues, so there’s a learning curve”

And while the event was a success, Szép says that there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“It’s a new festival, a new brand, a new site and there are new colleagues, so there’s a learning curve…we have to be patient,” says the director, who has previously worked on Lollapalooza Berlin and Sziget.

“Sometimes our audience expects us to be 100% but we are not perfect and I don’t want to be perfect,” she continues. “I always wanted to have the possibility to make mistakes but to learn from them and to correct them and make them better in the next year. I’m not afraid to receive criticism – I grow from it.”

The biggest learning curve for the festival, she says, was navigating the unique site, which utilised the 70,000-capacity Olympic Stadium as the main stage.

On Saturday night, organisers were forced to halt entry to the stadium, where headliner Calvin Harris was playing his only German concert this year, due to a crowd flow issue.

“The problem was, on the floor of the stadium there is a maximum capacity of 20,000 and that was already full,” explains Szép.

“Sometimes our audience expects us to be 100% but we are not perfect and I don’t want to be perfect”

“There would have been space for 30–40,000 more people in the seats but people were stopping and sitting down at the beginning of the seats, rather than moving to the far end.

“Many people were queueing outside and some people were trying to go to another stage so it became the kind of situation which could have been very difficult. And Calvin Harris was already playing so it was impossible for the security and volunteers to ask people to get up and move along. That’s why we had to decide very quickly to stop letting people into the stadium.

“We were planning the crowd flow for months but we weren’t prepared for people to sit down at the beginning of the stands.”

The next day, the Superbloom team communicated the crowd flow to fans and the main stage programme went off without a hitch.

Extreme weather also proved to be an issue on the Saturday, with strong winds, heavy rain, lightning and thunder causing the programme to grind to a halt for an hour and a half.

As a result, Years & Years were forced to forego their set on the main stage and Megan Thee Stallion’s slot was reduced to 30 minutes.

Superbloom was praised by the German government for making the festival inclusive and accessible for disabled music fans

“The safety and security of our audience, our artists and our team is the first priority when we are on-site – no question,” says Szép. “Severe weather is an issue for every open-air event – we have to deal with force majeure measures all the time. These are normal procedures.”

Challenges aside, the festival was hailed as one of the most diverse events in the European festival market, with a range of ages, genders, races, nationalities and sexualities represented on the lineup. This was ultimately reflected in the audience – 60% of which were female.

In addition, Superbloom was praised by the German government for making the festival inclusive and accessible for disabled music fans.

“We worked closely with a group of experts who live with disabilities to help us deliver the maximum festival experience for others [with handicaps],” says Szép.

“Yesterday I was in a panel with the government’s representative for disabled people living in Germany, who is blind himself, and he said he has never before seen a German festival of that size so well organised for disabled people. That gave me such a great feeling.”

Having grown up with a blind father, accessibility is a matter close to Szép’s heart and has informed many aspects of the festival.

Having grown up with a blind father, accessibility is a matter close to Szép’s heart

“I grew up in Munich. And, for many years, on many weekends, my father and I would walk around this Olympic Park. He told me to experience the world not just with my eyes but with all my senses so I had this in my head while creating the concept for the festival.

“Being an adult now and having the possibility to organise Superbloom here was so emotional and I could feel my father’s energy,” says Szép.

Alongside the main stages, the Superbloom programme included an area hosting 30 NGOs including Greenpeace and Music Declares Emergency, assembled by Yourope general manager Holger Schmidt.

Other dedicated areas focussed on art, fashion, and theatre, with roaming performances ranging from robot dogs and giraffes, to ballerinas twirling atop mobile pianos and marching bands.

Superbloom returns to the Olympic Park in Munich from 2-3 September 2023.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ole Hertel upped to MD of AEG Operations

Ole Hertel has been promoted to vice president and managing director of AEG Operations, operator of the Mercedes-Benz Arena (cap. 17,000) in Berlin, Germany.

Per the role, the former general manager will also formally assume overall operational responsibility alongside Uwe Frommhold, VP and COO of AEG, who was previously registered solely as MD of Berlin’s largest arena.

Commenting on Hertel’s appointment, Frommhold says: “Ole Hertel is one of the most proven and competent managers in the German event industry. He helped open the Mercedes Benz Arena and played a decisive role in its continued success. Therefore, I am personally very pleased to be able to hand over responsibility to him now.”

“Ole Hertel is one of the most proven and competent managers in the German event industry”

Hertel adds: “Both the recent past and the immediate future represent probably the greatest challenges that not only the Mercedes-Benz Arena, but the entire industry has had to and will have to face. I would like to express my gratitude for the trust placed in me by AEG, but above all, I value it as recognition of all the employees of the Mercedes Benz Arena.”

Hertel has been working for AEG in Berlin since 2008 and was initially responsible for the events division of the Mercedes-Benz Arena before taking over the position of general manager in 2020.

Before joining AEG, he headed event management at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin from 2004 to 2008.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.