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Bristol Ticket Shop closing after 30 years

Independent UK-based ticketing company Bristol Ticket Shop has announced it is closing down, citing overdue payments from a debtor.

Launched in 1987 as a concession in Virgin shops and then in record retailer Our Price, Bristol Ticket Shop later found its own home in the centre of the UK city of Bristol. With a focus on supporting the local music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop also sold tickets to events such as Glastonbury Festival and Download Festival.

“After more than 30 years being part of Bristol’s incredible music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop is sadly closing,” reads a post on the ticketer’s Facebook page.

“All the staff here are devastated. The list of incredible events we have supplied tickets for is overwhelming. There are so many regular customers, old and new, that we have really enjoyed talking to over the years and we will miss you all dearly.”

“After more than 30 years being part of Bristol’s incredible music scene, Bristol Ticket Shop is sadly closing”

The management team owes the closure to “news that a debtor owing a large amount of money was unlikely to be able pay in a timely manner”, as well as to the illness of the company’s owner, which has “had a large impact on the resilience of the business”.

The company states it is instructing a third party to negotiate with promoters in order to ensure that “there is as little impact to the customer as possible”. Although the ticketer aims “to honour tickets for future events”, it notes this may not always be possible, in which case refunds will be issued.

Bristol music fans have responded to the “sad news”, showing support for the ticketer, which formed a “huge part” of the local live scene.

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019, the primary ticketing business in the UK is “incredibly competitive”, with major international companies including Ticketmaster, See Tickets, AXS, Eventim and Eventim taking a large share of the market.

Many local independent outfits, such as Manchester’s Ticketline, Birmingham’s the Ticket Factory, Leeds’ Ticket Arena and Nottingham’s Gigantic – now majority owned by DEAG – also perform well.

 


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Exit 2.0: back to the future of the Balkans’ biggest festival

Exit Festival, a live music event spawned from the desire for peace and freedom in the Balkans, is turning twenty years old this year, with a brand new set of social aims appearing at the top of its agenda.

Founded by Dusan Kovačević, Ivan Milivojev, Bojan Boskovic and Milos Ignjatovic in 2000, the first edition of Exit Festival took place in University Park in the Serbian city of Novi Sad, with the objective of connecting like-minded Balkan people and encouraging political engagement among the youth.

“Exit was the first mass gathering of young people from former Yugoslavian countries after the Balkans War [which took place from 1991-1999],” Sagor Mešković, the festival’s chief communications officer, explains to IQ. “It started off as a youth activism movement for peace in Serbia and the Balkans.”

“After ten years of war and isolation in the region, the first edition of the festival was characterised by a feeling that normal life was back again,” adds Exit co-founder Kovačević. “Emotions were so high, that most of the artists said that they played the best concert of their tour , or even their whole career, at the event.”

Twenty years on, Exit Festival has just enjoyed its biggest year yet, welcoming 200,000 fans to its permanent site at Novi Sad’s Petrovaradin Fortress for four days of performances from the likes of the Cure, Carl Cox, Amelie Lens, the Chainsmokers and Greta van Fleet.

“After ten years of war and isolation in the region, the first edition of the festival was characterised by a feeling that normal life was back again”

Adding to its flagship event, the Exit team have now developed an extended festival network, providing “the biggest cultural bridge between the countries of the former Yugoslavia” in the form of No Sleep Festival in Serbia, Sea Star in Croatia, Revolution Festival in Romania and Sea Dance Festival in Montenegro.

This unique history and ethos is the driving force behind the desire for Exit to remain independent.

“Exit didn’t start for profit,” states Kovačević. “I respect the investment funds that are taking over festivals – they are still doing great shows and people are having fun – but we have decided to stay independent because we know the festival world needs something like this.”

With so much history behind them, the twentieth anniversary of Exit Festival is “important on so many levels, not just for us, but for the whole region,” says Kovačević.

Exit 2.0, as the anniversary event is dubbed, will look to the future as well as celebrating of the past, a fact reflected in the very programming of the festival. “We are going to bring back some of the acts that marked our history and mix them together with those who are making an impact in this day and age,” states Kovačević.

With over 20 stages and even more genres of music, Exit’s line-ups are broad and diverse, frequently seeing pop stars and leading electronic acts headlining alongside rock, and even metal, bands. A dedicated Latin stage has been present at Exit since day one, which now seems “almost prophetic”, given the global Latin music rise we see today.

“I respect the investment funds that are taking over festivals, but we have decided to stay independent because we know the festival world needs something like this”

Although line-ups are always eclectic, the billing never tends towards the generic due to the team’s habit of booking based on “gut feeling”, in addition to using data, metrics and ticket sales figures. “The irrational part of us is the one that makes a good line-up,” states Mešković. On a more personal level, the team also strive to work with the artists “who have a similar ethos to ours.”

For Exit, it is vital to “be one with the audience”, making sure every decision is guided by the wants and needs of the fan. To this end, the festival aims to keep tickets affordable, especially for the local audience. “We never want to lose our local fans,” says Kovačević, “because if we did, we would lose our soul.”

In addition to its core audience of locals, Exit’s fan base has become more and more international over the years. Fans travel to Serbia from elsewhere in Europe, as well as from Asia, America and Australia to attend the event.

“We are bringing a lot of tourism into the country,” says the Exit co-founder, explaining that the boost the festival has given to the country’s international reputation is often compared to that made by Serbian tennis champion Novak Djokovic.

Together with the tennis player, Exit Festival has now set up a foundation to help build nursery schools in Serbia, one example of the festival’s continuation of its social activist roots.

“We know that through a good party and the love of music, you really can engage people in a meaningful way and make a difference”

Another example is Life Stream, the environmental campaign launched by Exit at Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) in October. “The Life Stream project aims to put the festival industry at the forefront of the fight for life on the planet,” explains Kovačević.

The idea is to inject imagery, text and data relating to environmental issues into live streams from music festivals, to harness the “visibility and influence” they have for the good of the planet.

“We don’t want to show despair only,” says Mešković, “we also want to show there is some hope and to mobilise people to take action – because there is still time.”

The upcoming edition of Exit will serve as a major platform for the project, with both Kovačević and Mešković hoping other festivals will follow suit.

“We know that through a good party and the love of music, you really can engage people in a meaningful way and make a difference.”

Exit 2.0 takes place from 9 to 12 July 2020 in Novi Sad, Serbia.

 


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See Tickets signs 50th UK indie venue

See Tickets has been selected as the primary ticketing agent for new Manchester venue and club Yes, which becomes the 50th independent venue in the ticketer’s portfolio.

Yes, the new venture from Manchester-based promoter Now Wave, joins existing See Tickets partners Albert Hall Manchester (2,200-cap.), Lincoln Engine Shed (1,500-cap.), Brighton’s the Haunt (375-cap.), the Leadmill in Sheffield (1,150-cap.) and London venues Alexandra Palace (10,400-cap.), the Village Underground (1,000-cap.), Earth (1,750-cap.) and Electric Ballroom (1,500-cap.).

Based in a former auctioneers house and printers press, Yes consists of a 60-capacity basement club, 250-capacity gig venue the Pink Room, a main bar and restaurant area, as well as an attic bar and roof terrace.

“We have always championed independent venues and so we’re incredibly proud to have reached the milestone of having 50 venue partners,” says See Tickets chief commercial officer Martin Fitzgerald.

“We have always championed independent venues and so we’re incredibly proud to have reached the milestone of having 50 venue partners”

“We put our success down to being completely bespoke in the services we offer, whether its white label ticketing, marketing, access control or web development. Our clients are fiercely committed to the venues they run and we see it as our job to get to know their challenges and do whatever we can to support them,” adds Fitzgerald.

Dan Monsell, head of programming at multi-arts space Earth (Evolutionary Arts Hackney) comments: “The range and difference of events in the venue space is crucial to what the space is about. It’s such a relief See is able to work so well to facilitate the high-performance service needed for all of these.”

Lincoln Engine Shed’s head of events and marketing, Michael Redpath, says that working with See Tickets “has made a tangible difference” to the venue’s day-to-day operations.

See Tickets’ clients across the wider music industry include Glastonbury Festival, SJM Concerts, Universal Music Group, Kilimanjaro Live and Crosstown Concerts.

 


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Tramlines adds value with free films, Suede Q&A

Independent UK festival Tramlines has partnered with a local cinema to offer attendees a programme of music films and a chance to meet iconic Britpop band Suede.

The Showroom Workstation in Sheffield will show Suede film Night Thoughts, which will be followed by a Q&A with the band, as well as NG83: When We Were B Boys, Where You’re Meant to Be (followed by a Q&A with Aiden Moffat of Arab Strap), Lee Scratch Perry’s Vision of ParadiseSongs from Lahore and Prince’s Purple Rain.

All film screenings will be open to all holders of Tramlines wristbands and passes.

“We’re delighted to be partnering with the people behind such a cutting-edge and innovative film programme, as well as offering Tramlines-goers the opportunity to enjoy something beyond the music,” says festival director Sarah Nulty.

Tramlines 2016, organised by a collective of venue owners, promoters and volunteers, will take place at various venues in Sheffield city centre from 22 to 24 July. Performers confirmed so far include Catfish and the Bottlemen, Dizzee Rascal, Kelis, Jurassic 5, Hinds and Little Simz.

AEG Live to acquire The Bowery Presents

AEG Live is reportedly close to completing a deal to acquire a majority stake in independent New York promoter and venue operator The Bowery Presents.

The news, reported by Billboard, comes shortly after the purchase by Live Nation Entertainment of rival concert and festival promoter Founders Entertainment, further turning the New York/east coast region into a battleground between the two promotion conglomerates and depriving the US of two more independent operations in the space of less than a month.

AEG Live and Live Nation have long dominated the festival and, especially, touring markets, both in most of America and around the world, but have until recently had limited influence in New York.

This summer will be the first time both companies have staged major music festivals in the city: Live Nation’s Founders is the longtime promoter of Governors Ball, which will take place for the sixth time this year on Randalls Island in Manhattan with a line-up featuring The Strokes, Kanye West, The Killers, Beck, M83 and Haim, while AEG Live will host its own new festival, Panorama, also on Randalls Island – a move Founders Entertainment’s Tom Russell called “short-sighted and disappointing”.

The Bowery Presents, founded in 1993, owns or operates venues in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Atlanta and Maine and promotes shows in both American’s north and south, with a dedicated division, The Bowery South, covering the latter. Its concerts range from small and mid-size affairs to stadium-level shows: it will organise dates by Brand New and Modest Mouse, Ellie Goulding (pictured) and Adele at Madison Square Garden later in the year.