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Driift “mortified” about Glasto technical issues

Livestreaming business Driift has “apologised unreservedly” for the technical issues that prevented thousands of ticketholders from accessing Glastonbury’s global live stream event on Saturday (22 May).

Fans in the UK who bought ‘Live at Worthy Farm’ tickets (priced at £20) were unable to watch performances from the likes of Coldplay, Jorja Smith and George Ezra after their unique codes were flagged as invalid.

Two hours after the event started (7 pm local time), Driift were forced to release a free link to the stream and offer refunds.

The company, which has hosted livestreams for Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue, has now issued an apology and a statement explaining that a third-party provider was partially responsible for the fault.

“Driift is not a tech business or a media platform, and we rely on a third party company for certain aspects of protecting the stream. This provider has now identified the cause of last night’s problems, and, although we are awaiting a full technical report, there were no subsequent issues for ticket buyers accessing later streams for North America or Australia.”

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis shared a statement on Twitter saying she was “gutted” about the technical issues experienced by some viewers but that despite the problems, “the Glastonbury community has showed us such solidarity and love and we are overwhelmed by your generosity, patience, kindness and appreciation of the incredible film, which was so wonderfully put together by [Grammy award-nominated director] Paul Dugdale”

“We made no financial gain from this livestream event, and we hoped it would generate much needed revenue for the festival”

Driift added that the company “made no financial gain from this livestream event, and we hoped it would generate much needed revenue for the festival”.

“In that spirit, we sincerely hope that those who encountered problems will take the opportunity to watch and enjoy the event today, and that many more will buy tickets to support the festival and its three associated charities.”

Live at Worthy Farm was set up to support Glastonbury’s three main charitable partners, Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid, as well as helping to secure next year’s edition of the flagship festival.

Stagehand, the live production hardship fund that has been providing financial support to crew members throughout the pandemic, will receive the proceeds from a limited edition line-up poster for the event.

The five-hour production also saw performances from Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice and DJ Honey Dijon across the site’s landmarks.

Three other streams set up to suit other timezones were unaffected by the malfunction.

 


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Glasto’s Live at Worthy Farm gets cinema release

Glastonbury’s Festival’s upcoming Live at Worthy Farm live stream will also be broadcast at cinemas around the UK, organisers have announced.

Through a partnership with Trafalgar Releasing – the company behind record-breaking concert film releases by the likes of BTS and Coldplay, the latter of whom will play Live at Worthy Farm – the virtual festival, broadcast from Glastonbury’s Worthy Home site on Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 May, will screen in tandem at cinemas across the UK on Saturday.

Tickets for the cinema screenings, which go on sale today (12 May), are priced from £19.99.

Glastonbury Festival also today announced set times and new guests for the five-hour event, with a “unique spoken-word narrative” featuring PJ Harvey, Jarvis Cocker, Kae Tempest, George the Poet, Kurupt FM, Little Amal and festival founder Michael Eavis adding to previously announced sets from artists including Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles and Jorja Smith.

Live at Worthy Farm will be broadcast across four separate time zones (for EMEA; central, south and the east coast of North America; the west coast of North America; and Asia Pacific) on Saturday, with two global “encore” screenings on Sunday 23rd, at 2pm and 7pm BST. Tickets are priced at priced at £20, €23, US$27.50 & A$35.

 


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Two-day Glasto concert could welcome up to 50k

Glastonbury could welcome up to 50,000 fans this summer for a two-day concert at Worthy Farm.

Organiser Emily Eavis revealed in March that the festival had applied for a license to stage live music and sell alcohol between 2 pm and 11 pm at a ‘single event’ across a Friday and Saturday in September.

New details submitted to Mendip District Council reveal the potential concert would utilise only the main Pyramid Stage field at Worthy Farm and the event would have a maximum capacity of 49,999 people, with four separate car parks close to the main concert arena, according to Somerset Live.

The proposed event would be substantially smaller than a typical Glastonbury Festival, which welcomes more than 200,000 people to Pilton, and would also not feature any overnight camping facilities for attendees.

The potential concert would utilise only the main Pyramid Stage field at Worthy Farm

Mendip Council is set to meet this week (May 12) to discuss the application. IQ has asked Glastonbury to comment.

Since the coronavirus pandemic forced the festival’s cancellation for a second consecutive year, the organisers have revealed a number of alternative plans including a family-friendly campsite dubbed Worthy Pastures and a global ticketed live stream, Live at Worthy Farm.

Live at Worthy Farm will see Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice, DJ Honey Dijon and more perform across the site’s landmarks on 22 May 2021.

The online event will be broadcast in full across four separate time zones, with staggered livestreams. Tickets are on sale now at worthyfarm.live for £20/€23/US$27.50/A$35.

 


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UK festivals benefit from substantial CRF grants

Glastonbury, Boomtown Fair and Cheltenham Jazz Festival have been awarded substantial grants in round two of the UK government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund (CRF2).

The 2,700 recipients of the CRF2 were announced last Friday by culture secretary Oliver Dowden, who said Glastonbury’s £900,000 grant would help the festival stage two smaller events this year, including the recently announced Live at Worthy Farm, and would help sustain it until 2022.

Boomtown was awarded £991,000, which the organisers say will secure the future of the festival, and Cheltenham Jazz Festival was awarded £290,000.

Other festivals to benefit in the latest round of the CRF are Sea Change Festival (£126,000), Standon Calling (£418,465), Y Not Festival (£120,000), Towersey Festival £104,000), Bestival and Camp Bestival founder Rob da Banks’ Sunday Best Recordings Ltd (£92,000), Noisily Festival (£78,000), Strawberries and Creem (£75,000) and Nozstock (£32,000).

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), confirmed that 70% of the members who applied for a grant in CRF2 have been offered funding, which amounts to over £5.5m with an average grant of almost £126,000.

“We thank the Treasury, DCMS and Arts Council England for this lifeline, and for investing in some of this summer’s independent festivals, enabling them to survive and continue planning in the short term,” says Paul Reed, CEO at AIF.

Thanks to the funding we’ve received from the government’s #CultureRecoveryFund we’re all set to build on our digital…

Posted by Cheltenham Festivals on Friday, April 2, 2021

 

“AIF worked tirelessly to ensure that festivals were eligible for the fund in the first place, and to support and service members at every step – sharing information, engaging funding specialists, organising online sessions and working around the clock to support applications.

“This latest government support is invaluable. However, as with the first round, it is important to note that this money did not reach the entire sector, that it will only support some festivals until the end of June and that hurdles remain before festivals are able to plan with confidence – not least the absence of a government intervention on insurance. It is also critically important that the Events Research Programme explores challenges and mitigations around all types of events including festivals.”

Among the grassroots venues to receive grants from the CRF2 are Hull’s The New Adelphi Club (£30,000), The Louisiana in Bristol (£63,000), Cambridge Junction (£248,083), Brudenell Social Club (£213,853) in Leeds and London’s Troubadour (£272,828).

https://twitter.com/BoomtownFair/status/1377886248363249671

Music Venue Trust (MVT) strategic director, Beverley Whitrick, says: “MVT has worked hard to support eligible grassroots music venues in their applications to this fund and we are delighted that members of the Music Venues Alliance (MVA) have now been awarded almost £16million in support.

“This represents an 80% success rate for MVA members, many of whom had never applied for public funding prior to this pandemic. This money is aimed at securing venues until the end of June 2021.”

Music Venue Trust represents over 900 venues across the UK.

Other successful applicants of the CRF2 include event industry suppliers and service providers such as A&J Big Tops Limited (£545,000), AB Lighting (£79,000) and Symphotech (£60,000).

The CRF was increased by £300m earlier this year as part of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s March budget.

For the full list of recipients, visit the Arts Council England website.

 


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Glastonbury goes global with ticketed livestream

Glastonbury will host an exclusive global livestream from its Worthy Farm festival site on 22 May, in lieu of the flagship event which was called off for a second consecutive year.

Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice and DJ Honey Dijon will perform across the site’s landmarks – including the Pyramid Field and the Stone Circle – for the event, dubbed Live at Worthy Farm. There will also be a number of unannounced surprise performances.

The uninterrupted five-hour production will be shot by acclaimed Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale and co-promoted and produced by Driift, the pioneering UK livestream business which has hosted livestreams for Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue.

“For one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through [Worthy Farm] together”

The performances will be interspersed by a spoken word narrative, written and delivered by special guests.

“After two Glastonbury cancellations, it brings us great pleasure to announce our first online livestream, which will present live music performances filmed across Worthy Farm at landmarks including the Pyramid and, for the first time ever, the Stone Circle,” says Glastonbury organiser, Emily Eavis.

“It will feature a rolling cast of artists and performers who have all given us enormous support by agreeing to take part in this event, showing the farm as you have never seen it. There will also be some very special guest appearances and collaborations. We are hoping this will bring a bit of Glastonbury to your homes and that for one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through the farm together!”

Live at Worthy Farm will support Glastonbury’s three main charitable partners, Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid, as well as helping to secure next year’s edition.

Stagehand, the live production hardship fund that has been providing financial support to crew members throughout the pandemic, will receive the proceeds from a limited edition line-up poster for the event.

The online event will be broadcast in full across four separate time zones, with staggered livestreams.  Tickets are on sale now at worthyfarm.live for £20/€23/US$27.50/A$35.

Live at Worthy Farm

 


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Glastonbury won’t go bankrupt after 2021 cancellation

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis says that the cancellation of this year’s event and a second fallow year won’t bankrupt the festival.

Last week, Emily and her father Michael, who founded Glastonbury, announced that the festival would not take place this year, “in spite of our efforts to move heaven and earth”.

In an interview with The Guardian, Emily dismissed concerns that Glastonbury could go bankrupt after a second fallow year and also denied reports that the cancellation was due to insurance issues.

Emily said that the 2021 cancellation was due to a number of factors, from restrictions on public transport to the availability of medical staff and “the simple fact that mass gatherings are currently still legally prohibited and it’s not at all clear when that will be reversed”.

“Next year is going to give us all such an enormous high… when we can all reunite on this scale it will feel even more uplifting”

In 2020 the festival lost £5 million after cancelling in March with much of the planning and work underway. Cancelling now meant this year’s losses would not compare, she said.

“We would have been in trouble if we’d hedged our bets and pushed on regardless to March and then had to cancel. We’d have spent a lot of money by then, money which we wouldn’t get back.”

Following her earlier appeal for a government-backed event cancellation fund – similar to schemes that have launched in Germany and Austria – Eavis said: “It’s not even about insurance. It’s about the government offering direct financial support where events have to cancel because of circumstances they have no control over. If other countries can do that, I would hope we would be able to.”

Looking to the future, Eavis says that the 2022 event will be an “enormous high” and in the meantime, is working on Glastonbury-related projects for this year, including livestreamed events, and possibly a version of the annual Pilton Party usually held in September.

Planning for the 2022 festival would traditionally commence in September but could be pushed back “if we’re extremely confident we’ll be able to go ahead”, Eavis told The Guardian. “I think next year is going to give us all such an enormous high, because when we can all reunite on this scale it will feel even more uplifting than ever. One thing this last year has taught us is that fundamentally we all need human connection.”

 


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Glastonbury Festival 2021 is cancelled

The 2021 edition of Glastonbury Festival is cancelled, according to a statement from organisers Michael and Emily Eavis.

“With great regret, we must announce that this year’s Glastonbury Festival will not take place, and that this will be another enforced fallow year for us,” reads the statement on the Worthy Farm event’s website.

“In spite of our efforts to move heaven and earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down.

“It has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the festival happen this year. We are so sorry to let you all down”

“As with last year, we would like to offer all those who secured a ticket in October 2019 the opportunity to roll their £50 deposit over to next year, and guarantee the chance to buy a ticket for Glastonbury 2022. We are very appreciative of the faith and trust placed in us by those of you with deposits, and we are very confident we can deliver something really special for us all in 2022!

“We thank you for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead.”

Phil Bowdery, chair, Concert Promoter’s Association and LIVE co-founder: “It is devastating that Glastonbury, one of the crown jewels of the UK’s live music and festival scene, has been forced to cancel for another year.

“We need time to prepare and we desperately need a government-backed insurance scheme to unlock our future”

“With some light at the end of the tunnel, with the vaccine roll-out underway, we need time to prepare and we desperately need a government-backed insurance scheme to unlock our future. Now more than ever we need this to be put in place or our globally successful festival industry could be damaged for years to come.”

DCMS Committee chair and MP, Julian Knight, says: “The news that the UK has lost the Glastonbury Festival for a second year running is devastating. We have repeatedly called for ministers to act to protect our world-renowned festivals like this one with a government-backed insurance scheme. Our plea fell on deaf ears and now the chickens have come home to roost.

“The jewel in the crown will be absent but surely the government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector.”

“The government cannot ignore the message any longer – it must act now to save this vibrant and vital festivals sector”

Dave Webster, Musicians Union, says: “We are bitterly disappointed to hear that Glastonbury has announced its had to cancel this year’s festival. Another devastating blow to the music industry caused by this insidious virus. Ongoing uncertainty around insurance is leaving other festivals and events in a precarious position for 2021.”

In December last year, Emily Eavis joined many across the UK’s live industry in appealing for a government-backed event cancellation fund – similar to schemes that have launched in Germany and Austria – to enable operators to plan for this summer’s festival season without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Eavis said the festival had struggled to get cancellation insurance from commercial underwriters to help cover losses if the 2021 edition were to be postponed or cancelled.

Prior to that, her father Michael, with whom she organises the festival, warned back in June that they would “seriously go bankrupt” if they were not able to hold the festival again.

Last year’s 50th-anniversary event was meant to be headlined by Sir Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, but it was cancelled during the initial national lockdown in March 2020.

At the beginning of January, key stakeholders in the UK’s festival industry gave evidence at the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Select Committee’s inquiry into safeguarding the future of the sector.

Witnesses including Parklife’s Sacha Lord, AIF’s Paul Reed and UK Music chief Jamie Njoku-Goodwin relayed the key demands of the sector, which include an indicative date for a full return to live; a government-backed coronavirus cancellation schemea three-year extension of the VAT reduction and an extension for business rates relief.

Following the inquiry, the DCMS Committee wrote to the chancellor of the exchequer to ask for a government-backed insurance scheme for concerts and festivals, or risk “a summer without festivals”.

Glastonbury is the second major European festival to cancel its 2021 edition after Switzerland’s Baloise Session this morning called off this year’s in-person event scheduled for the autumn. Beatrice Stirnimann, CEO of the Baloise Session, said “it’s impossible to plan with any certainty”.

This story is being regularly updated.

 


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Pressure mounts on UK gov to back Covid insurance

Glastonbury organiser Emily Eavis has joined many across the UK’s live industry in appealing for a government-backed event cancellation fund to enable operators to plan for next year without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Eavis said the festival had struggled to get cancellation insurance from commercial underwriters to help cover losses if next summer’s event once again needs to be postponed or cancelled.

The appeal comes after her father Michael, with whom she organises the festival, warned back in June that they would “seriously go bankrupt” if they were not able to hold the festival again next year.

In the Times interview, Emily called for the government to launch an insurance fund of its own – similar to schemes that have launched in Germany and Austria – to provide a safety net so that organisers can still make plans in the hopes that it will be safe to hold festivals next summer.

“If the gov can share the risk by offering direct financial support, it gives everyone the opportunity to move forward”

“If the government can share the risk by offering direct financial support, then it gives everyone the opportunity to move forward with the planning in the hope that things will be safe to run in the summer, and in the knowledge that backing is available if we’re simply not in a position to go ahead,” she added.

Eavis is the latest in a long line of operators, MPs, insurers and lobbyists that are appealing to the government for event cancellation cover.

LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), the umbrella group representing the UK live music industry, has been in conversations with DCMS officials for several months regarding a reinsurance scheme and has submitted its own industry-wide proposal for a scheme.

The body has also backed a proposal from a new campaign group Let Live Thrive (LLT) which comprises MPs, Peers, major events organisers and insurers.

The lobbying group last week penned an open letter to culture secretary Oliver Dowden warning that major live events across the UK will not go ahead in 2021 unless a government-backed insurance scheme is swiftly introduced.

It reads, “The planning, insurance buying and decision making is happening now. Though we can’t predict the social distancing requirements for 2021 at this stage, this won’t matter if contingency insurance remains unavailable; live events will simply not take place.”

LLT’s proposal is a solution similar to Pool Re, a government-backed reinsurance fund for terrorism insurance. Steven Howell from Media Insurance Brokers (MIB) told IQ recently that he believes this solution could work if premiums are raised in line with VAT.

“Most people are used to paying 20% VAT. On insurance, you pay 12% so even if you increase it to 15 and siphoned off that 3%, it would create a pot of money through insurance that is available to bail out in case of cancellation,” he said.

The calls from the UK industry come after the German government last week announced a €2.5 billion cancellation fund to allow event organisers to plan for the second half of 2021 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

Finance minister Olaf Scholz said the federal government would like to reimburse all costs “which were made in optimistic expectation and cannot be realised due to corona restrictions” for events in the second half of 2021.

“Otherwise the pandemic will be over at some point, but there will be no concerts. And so the whole machinery with the many self-employed soloists and musicians gets back on its feet,” he added.

Scholz says he is also working on a funding program to support cultural events that are financially impacted by capacity restrictions enforced due to coronavirus, as well as hybrid shows.

In October, the Austrian federal government announced a similar scheme to remove the risk for event organisers and allow them to carry on business as usual.

 


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Green Guardians: Staffing and Personnel

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly iniative highlighting some of the work being done around the world to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

The inaugural list features 60 entries across ten categories, selected by the Green Guardians committes, which includes representatives from some of the sector’s most respected bodies, such as A Greener Festival, Go Group, Green Music Initiative, Julie’s Bicycle and Vision:2025.

Following on from last week’s feature on artists and activists doing their bit to make the world a cleaner and better place, this edition of Green Guardians looks at those pioneering ethical and sustainable staffing and personnel practices.

 


Staffing and personnel

My Cause UK

My Cause has provided more than 6,000 proactive front-line volunteers to the UK’s biggest events such as Boomtown, Boardmasters, Bestival,  Download Festival, Noisily, NASS, Love Saves The Day, Lovebox and many more.

My Cause offers event organisers an ethical and sustainable alternative to existing staffing providers by channelling its fees to the charities its volunteers nominate. That provides My Cause with a switched on, engaged and reliable team to represent client events in the best possible way. So far, it has donated almost £150,000 to more than 1,000 charities chosen by its volunteers.

My Cause director Rob Wilkinson notes, “When you are looking to book crew, volunteers, or staff from any supplier don’t just look at your bottom line but ask about what they do to care for and support their team. Well briefed, motivated and well cared for staff on your front line will bring your green credentials to life better than any sign or page in a programme ever could.”

“Well briefed staff on your front line will bring your green credentials to life better than any sign or page in a programme ever could”

Roskilde Festival
Roskilde Festival is a volunteer-run, non-profit organisation whose aim is to make a difference and have a positive effect on its surroundings; to support initiatives benefitting children and young people; and to support humanitarian and cultural work.

Festival volunteers participate year round in the decision-making, planning and troubleshooting processes, and in the recruitment and management of other volunteers.

The volunteer community is motivated by teamwork and a sense of all being in it together, and due to actively participating in the development of the festival. This has an impact on volunteers signing up and participating for the first time.

Roskilde’s core management team supports the organisation by providing leadership training (also developed and run by volunteers) and by providing tools for supporting feedback processes, allowing volunteers’ voices to be heard regarding the many ideas they have on how to improve processes and co-operation.

Roskilde Festival is a volunteer-run, non-profit organisation whose aim is to make a difference and have a positive effect on its surroundings

Greenpeace
Greenpeace was actually founded with a concert in Canada, in 1970, when James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and the late Phil Ochs performed a benefit gig to pay for the fuel that allowed a Greenpeace ship to sail into a nuclear testing zone.

Glastonbury was the first major festival that Greenpeace attended, in 1992. Many concerts and festivals have followed and continue to play a major part in helping the organisation to raise awareness of its international work.

The majority of its event volunteers come from the network of local Greenpeace groups, but it also advertises on its social media platforms where potential volunteers complete a questionnaire and Greenpeace asks for another person to vouch for them.

In terms of sustainability, Greenpeace endeavours to lead by example, calling out areas where improvements can be made. Festivals give Greenpeace access to an audience that it can inform and entertain, allowing it to communicate vital messages such as: “Don’t count the cost; DO IT! As otherwise it’s costing the Earth.”

 


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10m+ stream BBC Glastonbury 2020 coverage

The BBC’s Glastonbury Experience was a break-out streaming hit, with more than ten million views on the corporation’s on-demand platform, BBC iPlayer, as of Tuesday 30 June.

Running from 10am local time on Thursday 25 June until late on Monday 29 June – commemorating the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury Festival that never was – the Glastonbury Experience aimed to bring the spirit of the legendary festival to viewers at home by broadcasting past performances on iPlayer, television, radio and the BBC Sounds audio streaming service.

In addition to broadcasting sets on TV (BBC Two and BBC Four), including Adele (2016), Beyoncé (2011), Coldplay (2016), Jay-Z (2008) and David Bowie (2000) – the first time Bowie’s performance has ever been broadcast in full – the BBC created a ‘pop-up’ Glastonbury Experience channel on iPlayer. That channel additionally featured shows by the likes of the Killers (2004), Radiohead (1997), Christine and the Queens (2016) and Billie Eilish (2019).

At press time, a BBC Music spokesperson tells IQ, there have been 10.2 million requests for Glastonbury content on iPlayer so far – and with content available for another 30 days, the corporation says it expects that number to grow.

Adele’s set was the most-watched programme on BBC Two, with an audience of 2.1m

Overnight figures for television content, meanwhile, show that Adele’s set was the most-watched programme on BBC Two, with an audience of 2.1m (the biggest for a BBC Two Glastonbury programme since 2017).

Sunday evening’s edition of Glastonbury Backstage Acoustics, with an audience of 261,000, was the BBC Four programme with the highest audience, followed closely by Nile Rodgers and Chic (2017), which had an audience of 258,000. For your background information these initial figures are not consolidated so are only an early indication of the performances of Glastonbury related programming on BBC TV and BBC iPlayer this weekend.

Glastonbury Festival will return on 23–27 June 2021.

 


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