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The decade in live: 2012

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

As in the previous 12 months, 2012 saw the live music industry still grappling with the effects of the global economic crisis, with many countries just beginning to clamber out of recession and others heading for dreaded ‘double dips’.

This continuing economic uncertainty naturally bit into the leisure spend of discriminating ticket buyers with a variety of entertainment options – though the world did not, as predicted by some long-dead Mexicans, come to an end.

Elsewhere, the weather gods interfered with yet more festivals, while Hurricane Sandy had a devastating effect on the industry in the New York area. In the UK, meanwhile, the Olympics scored on many levels, but provided far too much competition for many.


2012 in numbers

The top 50 worldwide tours grossed a combined US$3 billion in 2012, according to Pollstar, down around 2% from $3.07bn in 2011.

Madonna’s MDNA tour was the clear No1, grossing $296.1 million, ahead of second-placed Bruce Springsteen, whose E Street Band earned $210.2m. Both acts played to more than 2m fans worldwide 2012.

Roger Waters’ The Wall generated $186.4m to come in at No3, and was also the highest-ranking hold-over from the 2011 chart, where he placed No5 with a gross of $103.6 million.

Reflecting the lingering impact of the financial crisis, the total tickets sold by the top 50 tours was 34.9m, which continued the decline from 35.5m the previous year (and well off the pace from 2009, when the top 50 sold 45.3 million, says Pollstar).


2012 in brief

FKP Scorpio buys a stake in Utrecht-based booking agency and artist management company Friendly Fire.

Touring festival Big Day Out calls time on its New Zealand leg after promoter Ken West admits that falling audience numbers have made the Auckland show unviable.


Madonna sparks controversy when she tells Newsweek  magazine fans should “work all year, scrape the money together” for a $300 ticket to her MDNA tour.

Private-equity firm CVC Asia Pacific puts its Australian ticketing company, Ticketek, and Sydney’s Allphones Arena up for a sale in a bid to reduce a A$2.7bn (€2.1bn) debt run-up by Nine Entertainment, which owns the assets.

Stuart Galbraith buys out AEG’s 50% stake in Kilimanjaro Live for an undisclosed sum. Both parties say they will continue to work together on events in future. (Kili later cancels the 2012 edition of Sonisphere at Knebworth, which was to have featured Kiss, Faith No More and Marilyn Manson.)

Ebay-owned secondary ticketing service, StubHub, launches operations in the UK and admits it is looking at further expansion across Europe.

Roger Waters's The Wall tour was the third most lucrative of 2012

Roger Waters’s The Wall tour was the third most lucrative of 2012 (© Brennan Schnell/ Commons (CC BY 2.0))

Serbian authorities arrest the venue owner and other individuals following a fire at the Contrast nightclub in Novi Sad that leaves six people dead.

Tupac Shakur, who died 15 years previous, is the main talking point at Coachella, as a multimillion-dollar hologram of the rapper appears on stage alongside Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg.

Viagogo raises eyebrows by shifting its operational base from the UK to Switzerland, amid speculation it wants to resell tickets for the Olympic Games without falling foul of British law.

Investment firm Silver Lake Partners completes a transaction to acquire a 31% stake in William Morris Endeavor.

Former AEG Germany CEO Detlef Kornett forms a venue consultancy, Verescon, with DEAG with Peter Schwenkow.

Swedish telecom operator Tele2 pays an undisclosed sum to secure naming rights for Stockholm’s new 40,000-capacity stadium, operated by AEG.

Paul McCartney, Mike Oldfield and Dizzee Rascal performed at the London 2012 opening ceremony
Paul McCartney, Mike Oldfield and Dizzee Rascal performed at the London 2012 opening ceremony (© Matt Deegan/Flickr (CC BY 2.0))

Live Nation appoints former CAA exec David Zedeck to the role of executive VP and president of global talent and artist development.

Artists including Paul McCartney, Mike Oldfield, Dizzee Rascal and Emeli Sandé are each paid £1 for their performances at the Olympics opening ceremony. The show attracts 26.9m viewers in the UK alone, and billions more worldwide.

Three members of Russian punk band Pussy Riot are jailed for two years each, after staging an anti-Vladimir Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.

AEG drops its claim against Lloyd’s of London on a multimillion-dollar insurance policy, following the death of Michael Jackson.

C3 Presents’ Lollapalooza debuted in Brazil in AprilC3 Presents’ Lollapalooza debuted in Brazil in April (© Henrique Oli/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0))

Glastonbury Festival takes just 100 minutes to sell out all 135,000 tickets for next summer’s event, despite not naming a single act on the 2013 bill.

C3 Presents extends an arrangement with Globo Organization’s GEO for more events in Brazil, following a successful Lollapalooza.

AEG is awarded the contract to take over shows at London’s prestigious Hyde Park, ending Live Nation’s decade-long relationship with the 80,000-capacity space.

Frank Barsalona, founder of Premier Talent, dies aged 74. Premier was the first agency to work exclusively with rock artists, with clients including the Yardbirds, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, U2 and Van Halen.

The Wall Street Journal reports that a number of bidders are in contention to acquire AEG, despite a reported $10bn asking price.

Irving Azoff unexpectedly resigns as chairman of Live Nation and CEO of its Front Line Management Group, to concentrate on his own artist management company.


Whitney Houston

Who we lost

Notable industry deaths in 2012 included South by Southwest creative director Brent Grulke, Lasse Ollsen of Swedish promoter Viva Art Music, Jon Lord of Deep Purple, Armin Rahn, founder of Munich-based Armin Rahn Agency and Management, Radiohead drum tech Scott Johnson, Perth Arena general manager David Humphreys, R&B legend Etta James, pop powerhouse Whitney Houston, the Bee Gees’ Robin Gibb, disco diva Donna Summer, the Monkees’ Davy Jones and legendary agents Armin Rahm and Frank Barsalona.


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Celine Dion to headline first day of BST Hyde Park

AEG Presents has announced that Celine Dion will headline the opening night of British Summer Time (BST) in London’s Hyde Park on Friday 5 July.

The Canadian singer joins previously-announced headliners Florence and the Machine and Robbie Williams, who will play the event on Saturday 13 July and Sunday 14 July respectively.

It is the first time that Dion will perform on Hyde Park’s Great Oak Stage and the show is believed to be her only European appearance of the year. The five-time Grammy award winner will be the best-selling artist ever to perform at BST, having sold more than 240 million record worldwide.

“I’m so excited. I love London, and it’s a great honour for me to be part of the Barclaycard presents BST Hyde Park concerts. I can’t wait… summertime in London, here we come,” says the singer.

“Celine’s record-breaking career has seen her perform her many iconic songs on the globe’s most iconic stages, yet never before in Hyde Park,” comments senior vice president of AEG Presents, James King.

“I love London, and it’s a great honour for me to be part of the Barclaycard presents BST Hyde Park concerts”

Daniel Mathieson, head of experiential marketing and partnerships for event’s sponsor Barclaycard says it is a “privilege” to welcome the singer along with “a fantastic set of headliners”.

Launched in 2013, BST Hyde Park is back this year for its seventh edition. Past highlights include the Rolling Stones’ return to Hyde Park, and comeback shows by the likes of the Strokes and Libertines.

Rock legends Bob Dylan and Neil Young were originally set to co-headline this year’s event on 12 July, but following Young’s objection to the involvement of headline sponsor Barclaycard, the pair will now play a standalone concert. On the same date, and in the same venue.

Tickets for Celine Dion’s performance go on sale on 29 January at 9am, with presale tickets available from 23 January. The remaining headliners and full line-up are expected to be announced shortly.


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BST Hyde Park announces first headliners for 2019

AEG Presents’ British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park has announced Bob Dylan and Neil Young as its first headliners for 2019.

The music legends, who between them have sold more than 100 million records, will jointly headline on Friday 12 July, backed by their respective bands.

BST has gone from strength to strength since it launched in 2013, with highlights over the past six years including the Rolling Stones’ return to Hyde Park, Carole King performing Tapestry in full and comeback shows by the likes of the Strokes and Libertines. This year’s performers included Roger Waters, Bruno Mars, Michael Bublé, the Cure, Eric Clapton and Paul Simon.

Dylan and Young both played AEG’s one-off Desert Trip mega-festival in 2016, along with the Stones, Waters, the Who and Sir Paul McCartney.

“I’m blown away by the calibre of music royalty coming to BST 2019″

AEG Presents senior vice-president Jim King comments: “Barclaycard presents British Summer Time has always tried to deliver the greatest possible one-off live experiences for music fans in London, and being able to bring together two of the biggest cultural icons together for this historic day of music counts as possibly the biggest event we have ever delivered in Hyde Park.”

“I’m blown away by the calibre of music royalty coming to Barclaycard presents British Summer Time Hyde Park 2019,” adds Daniel Mathieson, head of experiential marketing and partnerships for Barclaycard. “With these legendary artists already confirmed, and many more still to be announced, you won’t want to miss it.”

Barclaycard presale tickets went on sale at 9am this morning, with general sale opening at 9am this Friday (30 November), with GA tickets priced at £75.


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450,000 attend best BST Hyde Park yet

The fifth edition of British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park, which wrapped up on Sunday 9 June, once again delivered double-digit growth for promoter AEG Presents, with a footfall of 450,000 across 10 days for its flagship UK festival.

A total of 350,000 people attended the six concert events – headlined by Phil Collins on Friday 30 June, Green Day on Saturday 1 July, Justin Bieber on Sunday 2 July, Kings of Leon on Thursday 6 July, The Killers on Saturday 8 July and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers on Sunday 9 July – with a further 100,000 attending free ‘Open House’ events in the park on days with no music.

That’s a 17% increase on last year’s total of 385,000 – 325,000 for ticketed events and 60,000 for Open House – when five of six concerts sold out; in 2017, for the first time, it was all six.

Double-digit growth for BST Hyde Park 2016

For the fifth year, BST was produced on behalf of AEG Presents by Loudsound, a London-based event production company whose other festival clients include Bestival, Camp Bestival and Field Day. IQ caught up with the Loudsound team – operations directors Dave Grindle and Dan Craig and senior event and project manager Steve Reynolds (pictured, L–R, below) – on the final day of the festival to discuss how they implemented their brief from AEG: “To a create a magical experience for everyone.”

Content-wise, Craig said, “the AEG Presents bookers have done an incredible job across the board. We’ve sold out across all six shows, so hats off to them – that’s been really, really good.

“The audiences have been very different as well, which reflects the great variety in the programming: The Green Day show was brilliant and the Killers last night were on another level.”

While AEG handled the programming, Loudsound, in partnership with G4S, was responsible for security, which – in common with other events this summer – was beefed up compared to previous years. “There’s lots going on, as you might expect, both inside and outside the event footprint,” explained Grindle, who said Loudsound had for the first time introduced archway metal detectors across the board. “That was quite a big step up from previous years, where we only had a few of them of each entrance. This year everybody has been put through them.”

“It’s been rammed every night … The numbers have just been insane”

Craig continued: “Outside the venue we’ve put in place some extra road closures in and around Hyde Park. That was part of a broader review in response to vehicle attacks on events elsewhere in Europe, and we had the opportunity to shut some privately owned roads, which was a simple decision to make.”

While the music was still clearly the headline draw, Craig says the real success story from 2017 was Open House, which encouraged thousands of local residents to visit the park and experience BST in the daytime.

Activities, he said, included a kids’ theatre; a free-to-access headphone cinema, with two sittings each day for up to 2,000 people; free-to-access live music and entertainment on the main, Barclaycard stage; and two ‘statement’ sporting events.

“The first one, which we were particularly proud of, was bringing in Major League Baseball for their first footsteps onto British soil, which was amazing,” he explained. “That took place on Tuesday 4 July and was visited by 15,000 people. We held a real-world baseball exhibition match – a ‘home run derby’ – on the stage, and baseball stars and celebrities were hitting baseballs out into the crowd.

Dave Grindle, Dan Craig, Steve Reynolds, Loudsound, BST Hyde Park 2017

“It was a great production, and is a really key relationship for us as a business. It really showed the diversity of the venue and the team delivering the venue: to be able to do a 180-degree pivot from an 65,000-capacity concert to a free baseball exhibition with just an overnight changeover. We’ve had some great public feedback on that already.”

“We also did the world’s biggest high-intensity interval training class, which Joe Wicks, the Body Coach, came in for,” continued Grindle. “Even though it was really hot that day [5 July], around 4,000 people turned up for that. It broke the Guinness World Record, so he was very pleased. In general the midweek events have been really well attended.”

“Overall we feel like British Summer Time has been a success, but Open House is where we feel the event has really come into its own,” added Craig. “It’s part of the promise of what British Summer Time is all about. You’ve got these six concert events and then the giveback to the community who use this park and amenity space, so we’ve laid on some great content that people can come in and enjoy for free.

“It’s been rammed every night, with there regularly being over 10,000 people on the site through the day. The numbers have just been insane.”


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Double-digit growth for BST Hyde Park 2016

AEG Live is celebrating its most successful British Summer Time to date, with over 385,000 people attending its flagship Hyde Park event from 1 to 10 July.

Colin Chapple, AEG Live Europe’s chief operating officer, tells IQ British Summer Time (BST) 2016 experienced “double-digit growth” compared to the 2015 festival, “across both the shows and the mid-week programme”.

In addition to much-publicised headline shows on two consecutive weekends by Massive Attack (Friday 1 July), Florence + the Machine and Kendrick Lamar (2 July), Carole King (3 July), Mumford & Sons (Friday 8 July), Take That (9 July) and Stevie Wonder (10 July) – for which AEG sold 325,000 tickets, with five of the six sold out – the festival site also attracted a “decent-sized audience” during the week, says Chapple, with visitors “coming on site free of charge to watch Wimbledon and enjoy the cinema, badminton, food and bars”.

This year’s line-up was notably heritage-heavy – The Who were the only headliner the wrong side of 50 last year – and Massive Attack, King (playing Tapestry in full for the first time) and Wonder’s performances probably racked up the most column inches (The Huffington Post’s Charles Donovan called King’s performance “balm to a wounded city”). Was that a conscious decision, especially in the wake of the response to Desert Trip, which has earned AEG subsidiary Goldenvoice close to $US150 million?

No, says festival director Jim King: “We have always looked to have a balanced line-up across all genres and demographics, and I think this year was no different to many other years,” he tells IQ. “Although the response to both Carole King and Stevie Wonder was phenomenal. They were one-off, amazing events that captured the imagination, and were both incredibly successful.”

“AEG has always been about creating the best, and if that means investing a lot of money to deliver great facilities that’s what we will do”

Of his festival highlights, King says there are “too many to mention, but seeing Stevie Wonder give his opening speech, which was later reported around the world, was very emotional. To hear him say how sad he was that Songs in the Key of Life was still relevant today some 40 years later was very emotional, and at the same time his inspirational speech about choosing love over hate was very uplifting.”

With AEG in Hyde Park until at least 2019, King highlights the promoter’s investment in artists and facilities as being key to BST’s continued growth and enabling it to succeed. “We deliver events that we want to be proud of,” he says.

“AEG has always been about creating the best, and if that means investing a lot of money to deliver great facilities to give fans and artists the best possible experience then that’s what we will do. Hyde Park is, for me, the best outdoor venue in the world and deserves to be treated as such.”


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New chairman for Hyde Park

The Royal Parks, the body that manages British Summer Time (BST) venue Hyde Park and London’s seven other Royal Parks, has appointed a new chairman.

Food critic, TV personality, musician and conservationist Loyd Grossman CBE, who is also chairman of the Heritage Alliance and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, takes over for a four-year term today, replacing Apurv Bagri.

The Royal Parks in January granted promoter AEG Live an extension for BST to stay in Hyde Park until 2019. The park also formerly hosted Live Nation’s Hyde Park Calling (later Hard Rock Calling) festival.

Other parks administered by The Royal Parks are St James’s Park, Regent’s Park, Richmond Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens, Greenwich Park and Bushy Park.


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