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.
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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.”
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German festival to be powered by green hydrogen
Germany’s Futur 2 Festival will become the first festival in the world that is powered by green hydrogen, according to organisers.
The Hamburg-based festival (cap. 5,000) has so far obtained its energy from solar energy and muscle power but the third annual edition will be run on hydrogen obtained from wind energy in North Friesland.
This supplies the festival with green energy without any harmful CO2 emissions and the only residual products are water and pure oxygen, which are added to the atmosphere to better air quality in the city.
“We want to show what is possible,” says Björn Hansen, organiser of the Futur 2 Festival. “Green hydrogen is now the next logical step for us. With this energy source, we have reached a new level and can provide completely different amounts of energy than before.
“As a result, there will soon be no excuse for large festivals to work with generators that use heating oil or burn diesel. Because in addition to the small hydrogen cell used at our festival with an output of five kilowatts per hour, we are already scaling this concept up to 500 kVA if required. This also makes large open-air shows possible.”
“There will soon be no excuse for large festivals to work with generators that use heating oil or burn diesel”
This year, the hydrogen cell together with the solar system feeds the existing battery storage, which supplies a stage and the entire festival area with electricity. The bicycle stage remains self-sufficient.
The backup generator, which is ethanol-based, will be completely dispensed with this year. For additional energy requirements, the festival will continue to rely on solar energy and muscle power.
Jens Kerstan, senator at the Hamburg Environmental Authority, which funds the event, says: “Especially in the current crisis situation, it is becoming even clearer how important renewable energies are. This applies to all areas of our society. The Futur 2 Festival is a pilot project in the event industry that shows how large events can become independent of fossil energy sources. I am pleased that the festival can now take place again after a two-year pandemic break. And with many new ideas and innovations.”
Using their experiences with the festival, Hamburg Environmental Authority and Futur 2 Festival have developed a blueprint for sustainable events, which will be launched at the third edition and published on the city’s climate education platform.
Futur 2 Festival, promoted by Morgenwelt and Hejmo, takes place tomorrow (27 August) with artists including Kat Frankie, Sofia Portanet, I See Rivers, Beatfoot and Queenwho.
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FKP Scorpio and Ed Sheeran triumph over Viagogo again
FKP Scorpio has won an injunction preventing Viagogo from offering ‘worthless’ tickets for Ed Sheeran concerts.
The Hamburg-based concert and festival promoter, which is co-organising Sheeran’s upcoming Mathematics Tour, is using specially developed mobile ticketing technology for all concerts on the tour that makes unauthorised resale impossible.
Tickets can only be purchased through the official provider, Eventim, or its resale platform Fansale. And, since all tickets are personalised and digital-only, it is not possible for them to be resold outside of the Fansale platform.
Subsequently, the district court of Hamburg has banned Switzerland-based Viagogo from offering Ed Sheeran tickets or allowing them to be sold without making it clear that buyers will not be granted entry to the concerts. FKP Scorpio and Ed Sheeran won a similar case against Viagogo in 2019.
“We are pleased about this success in court, which puts further obstacles in the way of unfair business models at the expense of consumers,” says Inga Esseling, promoter at FKP Scorpio.
“[This ruling] puts further obstacles in the way of unfair business models at the expense of consumers”
“In addition to containing such offers, legal steps are also necessary to draw public attention to the issue. This is the only way we can reach and protect fans early enough. FKP Scorpio will continue to be supported by the law firm Schütz Rechtsanwälte from Karlsruhe, which has already successfully taken action against Viagogo several times.”
Attorney Dr Markus Schütz comments: “The transfer within the framework of the applicable rules of the game and at fair prices is not the problem. It becomes problematic when tickets are bought with the intention of making money from the start. One can only advise the fans not to run the risk of buying invalid or counterfeit tickets at exorbitant prices on the black market and especially at Viagogo. We will continue to systematically fight resales at inflated prices.”
Sheeran’s agent Jon Ollier of One Fiinix Live recently said he believes digital-only ticketing is the future. “There is no reason why in a world full of technology, that we can’t lean on technology a little bit more,” he told IQ.
“We hope that this time [the battle against unauthorised resale sites] is going to feel a lot more like it’s all happening in the background. Last time around, it had to play out in the media because no one was listening. But people are listening now, people are aware and at the table, trying to change laws, trying to move things forward,” he said. Read the full interview with Ollier here.
Hamburg venues allowed to ban unvaccinated fans
Promoters and venues in Hamburg can soon ban unvaccinated people from attending events, in order to do away with social distancing and increase capacity limits.
Germany on Monday (23 August) moved to a uniform Covid health pass system which allows entry to many public spaces only to people who’ve been vaccinated (geimpft), have recovered from Covid (gensesen) or have been tested against Covid (getestet) – otherwise known as the 3G model.
But on Tuesday (24 August), the Hamburg senate announced that, from Saturday 28 August, it will introduce a ‘2G-option model’ for event organisers and business owners in the federal state.
This means they can allow entry exclusively to people who are fully vaccinated or have recovered from Covid within the last six months. The employees of the cultural institutions also have to be vaccinated at 2G events.
Organisers who implement the 2G model will be allowed to increase the number of attendees to 1,300 for indoor events and 2,000 for outdoor.
In addition, organisers and attendees of 2G events will not need to adhere to certain Covid regulations such as social distancing. However, masks will remain compulsory in all indoor settings.
Organisers who implement the 2G model will be allowed to increase the number of attendees to 1,300 indoorand 2,000 outdoor
The senate says operators will face fines of up to €20,000 if they do not check for proof of vaccination or recovery (or a negative test if it’s a 3G event), in conjunction with photo ID.
Organisers can also opt for the 3G model but if they do, they will have to follow previous Covid restrictions, such as capacity restrictions.
The 2G or 3G option is aimed at music venues, theatres, cinemas, trade fair operators, restaurants, hotels, swimming pools and fitness studios, among other businesses.
Organisers of sporting events with visitors, public festivals or educational courses should also be able to exclude unvaccinated people if they want to, says the Hamburg senate.
The only exceptions to the 2G rule will apply to children and young people. All under-18s will be allowed to attend 2G events without full vaccination for a grace period.
“Restrictions must be proportionate and may only apply for as long as they are necessary to combat the pandemic”
For 12 to 18-year-olds, who have been urged to get vaccinated, the transitional period will expire in six weeks. For children under 12, for whom no vaccine has been approved, it will continue to apply.
A spokesperson for the Hamburg senate says there are no exceptions for people who cannot be vaccinated due to medical reasons because they “are generally at high risk of infection and should avoid crowds”.
Hamburg’s first mayor, Peter Tschentscher, says: “Restrictions must be proportionate and may only apply for as long as they are necessary to combat the pandemic.”
However, the Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry (BDKV) argues that the 2G model alone is not a “viable solution” as the industry cannot afford to “do without almost half of its clientele”.
The association has proposed a variation of the model – ‘2G+PCR’ – which would also allow entry to those who show a negative PCR test – a more reliable, but expensive and time-consuming, option than rapid testing.
BDKV is now urging the government to implement its suggested model in order to do away with capacity restrictions nationwide.
Barclaycard Arena invites thousands for test events
Barclaycard Arena Hamburg is welcoming spectators for the first time in over a year, for a series of tests that aim to find out if and how major events can take place safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tests have been approved by the Hamburg Ministry of the Interior and Sport and will take place in conjunction with Handball Sport Verein Hamburg (HSVH), the Handball Bundesliga (HBL), the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute and the Barclaycard Arena.
For the first test on 28 May, the arena welcomed 1,000 spectators from Hamburg for the home game of handball team Handball Sport Verein Hamburg, which was against ThSV Eisenach.
Provided the first event is deemed successful, it is expected that 2,000 spectators will be allowed into the arena for the REWE Final4 and the last HSVH home game of the season against ASV Hamm-Westfalen on 22 June. Visitors from outside of Hamburg will be welcome at this event.
Both events are seated and socially distanced. Attendees are required to present a negative coronavirus test to gain entry, wear mask a throughout the event, and take another test 7–10 days after the event.
Modified mannequins that emit marked particles will be placed next to the real spectators during the game
Under the direction of Prof. Dr Wolfgang Schade, the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute will examine the aerosol distribution in the arena, which is equipped with a ‘state-of-the-art ventilation system,’ as well as the risk of infection.
For this purpose, modified mannequins that emit marked particles will be placed next to the real spectators during the game.
“The data from the pilot project collected here will provide important information on the spread of aerosols at major events, which can then also be transferred to other event venues with comparable ventilation systems. In this way, fact-based risk assessments can then be carried out in the future for holding such events,” says Prof. Dr Wolfgang.
Steve Schwenkglenks, managing director of the Barclaycard Arena, adds: “The Barclaycard Arena is the ideal location for these scientific test events and we hope that it will provide the entire industry with important knowledge that will enable us to take further steps towards normality in the near future.”
The arena had prepared to open its doors in early May for a concert series organised by Hamburg Concerts but Hamburg authorities called off the events due to the rising Covid-19 infections at the time.
Barclaycard Arena set to open for first time in a year
Hamburg’s Barclaycard Arena is preparing to open its doors for the first time in a year to host the Restart concert series, organised by Hamburg Concerts.
The concerts, organised as part of the government’s Restart Culture funding programme, are due to take place between 2 and 7 May with artists including Thees Uhlmann, Versengold, Selig and Madsen, and will mark the promoter’s 10th anniversary.
The 16,000-capacity arena will be reconfigured into a compact theatre setting designed for a maximum of 650 guests and taking into account the current hygiene regulations.
The venue and promoter have revealed an extensive hygiene plan which would require guests to wear a masks in the hall, maintain social distancing between two-person seating groups, follow a one-way system in the venue and present a negative coronavirus test upon entry.
According to a statement from Barclaycard Arena, attendees will be able to take a rapid test or a supervised self-test on site, but have been strongly advised to take advantage of the free citizen tests at their place of residence or work to avoid waiting times at the venue.
Hamburg Concerts has submitted the 100-page hygiene plan to the relevant authorities to carry out the event as a model test to test alternative protective measures and concepts in accordance with the current Hamburg Corona Protection Ordinance.
“We are firmly convinced that we can safely organise the events for all participants,” says Diak Haring, MD of Hamburg Concerts.
“We are firmly convinced that we can safely organise the events for all participants”
“The applications for implementation have been sent to all relevant offices in the City of Hamburg and we are ready to talk. We expect feedback from the authorities by mid-April and are in good spirits that we can now open the concert season in Hamburg with the restart series.”
Germany was given further proof that events can be organised safely during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic after the artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic shared preliminary findings from the orchestra’s recent pilot concert which show zero infections among the 1,000 people who attended.
Steve Schwenkglenks, VP and MD of the Barclaycard Arena, adds: “Berlin has shown the way – events with a well thought-out hygiene concept are feasible. The more than 100-page hygiene concept, which we developed together with well-known experts, gives us the security of being able to hold events responsibly.
“This fact, coupled with the rapid test concepts and the vaccinations, which will hopefully start sooner, allow me to look very positively into the future. We are well prepared and look forward to welcoming spectators to the arena for the first time in over a year.”
Tickets start from €45.95 and seats can be booked for one or two people.
The Restart concert series was originally planned for March this year but due to the continuing number of infections, it was postponed until May.
Another postponement could be likely if parliament passes new legislation which would allow chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition to impose a nightly curfew in areas where the seven-day incidence rate of infections surpasses 100 cases per 100,000 people for three days in a row.
CTS Eventim’s DreamHaus and Kingstar form alliance
CTS Eventim’s new Berlin-based promoter DreamHaus is forming a strategic alliance with Kingstar, a promoter and booking agency based in Hamburg.
The two companies will cooperate on Kingstar’s Vainstream Rockfest, as well as Eventim Presents/DreamHaus’s Rock am Ring (cap. 95,000) and Rock im Park (cap. 75,000), which were recently called off for a second year running.
The alliance will also see the German promoters collaborate on touring projects and the establishment of new events.
“With this alliance, we want to bring our creative visions to life,” says Matt Schwarz, CEO and managing partner, DreamHaus.
“Kingstar contributes equally valuable festival expertise, musical knowledge and their successful artist development to this cooperation. Through an intensive exchange of experience between our two companies, we will create trusting synergies and thus provide the artists with the best service and skills for the future.”
“We will create trusting synergies and thus provide the artists with the best service and skills for the future”
Timo Birth, managing director, Kingstar, says: “Since the structures in the industry are changing at high speed, Kingstar and DreamHaus are laying a very good foundation for the future with this cooperation. We are not only optimally equipped for the future of our industry, we will also actively shape it together.”
Marc Seemann, director of strategy and business development, DreamHaus says: “A close friendship has developed from years of trusting cooperation with Timo, which is why this strategic alliance between DreamHaus and Kingstar is a logical consequence and an important pillar in the development of DreamHaus.”
Alongside Vainstream Rockfest, the 15th edition of which is scheduled for this June in Münster, Kingstar’s festival portfolio includes Restless Summer, Close to the Water, Impericon Festivals and Picknick Konzerte.
The company’s booking arm represents artists including Broilers, Bonez MC and RAF Camora.
DreamHaus was recently acquired by CTS Eventim and Schwarz was named as CEO and managing partner, following his departure from Live Nation GSA (Germany, Switzerland, Austria) as COO and MD in February 2020.
Germany’s Funke Media and Neuland Concerts merge
Hamburg-based promoters and former competitors Funke Media and Neuland Concerts are joining forces, with immediate effect.
The companies will now merge under the name of Neuland Concerts, which makes the new entity ‘one of the largest owner-managed concert agencies in Germany’.
Neuland Concerts was founded by Christian Gerlach in 2008 as a division of Warner Music, and has organised tours by the likes of Bruno Mars, Jason Derulo, Twenty One Pilots, Robin Schulz, Kaleo and Russ throughout their careers.
Gerlach and his team separated from the Warner Music Group in 2017, around the time Neuland began strengthening its relationship with Funke Media.
“Funke Media has been a competitor for us, and we have had to respectfully acknowledge the high quality on a regular basis”
Funke Media, founded in 1959 by Hans-Werner Funke, has attracted a range of international artists including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Rolling Stones and the Bee Gees.
Gerlach and Funke’s son Pascale will now jointly lead the business and the team of Neuland Concerts as equal partners.
The new Neuland Concerts team is complemented by Günther Maienschein, who previously worked as an authorised signatory and technical manager at Funke Media.
Gerlach says: “So far, Funke Media has been a competitor for us, and we have had to respectfully acknowledge the high quality on a regular basis. Despite the competitive relationship, there was always great appreciation and, for a few years now, a growing relationship of trust.
“The establishment of a new agency and the subsequent leap into independence from Warner Music impressed me”
“It is remarkable how Pascal Funke has continued to develop the family business founded by his father Hans-Werner Funke since joining in 1997. As Neuland Concerts, we can expand our business especially in the area of local events in and around Hamburg through the merger and offer even more, but above all more diverse events right here on our doorstep.”
Funke adds: “In the last few years I got to know Christian Gerlach as a reliable and at the same time very passionate organiser who always looked outside the box. He knows the needs of his artists across all genre boundaries.
“The establishment of a new agency and the subsequent leap into independence from Warner Music impressed me, since this step there have always been points of contact. We used 2020 and looked around for new alliances. Our aim was to bundle opportunities and competencies while remaining true to our own values. The two companies succeeded through the merger.”
Reeperbahn Festival gears up for 14th edition
European conference and showcase festival Reeperbahn kicks off on Wednesday (18 September), with more than 300 panels, networking events and showcases taking place over four days in Hamburg, Germany.
Sessions in the conference’s live strand include ‘30 Years of Wacken’, an interview between the metal festival’s founders Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen, moderated by IQ’s Jon Chapple and German journalist Birgit Reuther. The panel will celebrate the event’s 30th year and explore what the future holds for the popular metal gathering.
The festival season 2019 /2020 sees Stefan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio), Roel Coppen (Friendly Fire) and James Wright (UTA) among those asking whether 2019’s slow festival season was a one-off, or the beginning of a worrying trend. And Live Nation GSA managing director and chief operating officer Matt Schwarz discusses the company’s goals in the region and worldwide, as well as the wider music ecosystem in a keynote interview led by ILMC MD Greg Parmley.
In more festival-related content, former MTV news editor Steve Blame will interview Woodstock festival co-creator Joel Rosenman about the event’s inception and legacy, with new documentary Creating Woodstock aired later in the day.
‘Agents Agenda: The New Food Chain’ will see Jake Leighton-Pope of 10 Thousand Steps Management, Paradigm Agency’s Lily Oram, Toutpartout managing director Steven Thomassen and more discuss the effect of external investment on the industry, in a panel moderated by IQ’s Gordon Masson.
The festival season 2019 /2020 will see panellists asking whether 2019’s slow festival season was a one-off, or the beginning of a worrying trend
A secondary ticketing panel, also led by Masson, will examine the EU’s new legislation against ticket bots, asking how to grant consumers greater protection.
Talk will also turn to Brexit as tax advisor Kevin Offer discusses the potential impact of post-Brexit taxation, permits and customs clearance on the European live music industry.
EU funding will be the topic of conversation in ‘Europe Calling’, a panel featuring Olaf Furniss of Wide Days and Exit Festival managing director Ivan Milivojev, among others.
Members of German promoters’ association BDKV will gather for the yearly Live Entertainment Summit to present their report on the situation of the national and international live entertainment market.
Other topics of conversation include festival sponsorship, music export, country music, food at live events, the Caucasus music market, electronic music and digital media.
Foals, the Subways, Alfie Templeman, Hatari, Inhaler, Sorcha Richardson, Sports Team and Squid are among acts playing at Reeperbahn 2019.