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ID&T joins forces with Superstruct Entertainment

Dutch promoter ID&T has signed a partnership agreement with leading live organisation Superstruct Entertainment.

According to today’s announcement, the deal has helped steer ID&T into “a safe haven” after a tough year and a half that saw the company take out a number of loans, slash its workforce, and cancel its festivals.

“By creating this financially sound situation, we have secured the employment of our 100+ employees and are able to move forward with our suppliers who are also struggling at this time,” says Ritty van Straalen, CEO of the ID&T Group.

Financial terms of the partnership have not been disclosed but it has been revealed that the founders and senior management of the ID&T Group have become shareholders in Superstruct.

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct produces a number of major festivals across Europe including Sziget, Elrow, Parookaville, Wacken Open Air, Boardmasters, Sonar and the Dutch festival Zwarte Cross – the company’s first acquisition since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

ID&T’s portfolio includes Mysteryland, Defqon.1, Awakenings, and Milkshake – all of which have been cancelled two years in a row due to restrictions.

It is also the parent company of organisations such as Q-dance, ID&T Events, B2S, Monumental (Awakenings), Art of Dance, Platinum Agency, and Headliner Entertainment.

“ID&T is a significant milestone for Superstruct and reflects our deep conviction in the value of experience-focused festivals”

James Barton, chairman of Superstruct Entertainment: “We are very excited to join forces with ID&T, a business that I have long admired. Our partnership with ID&T is a very significant milestone for Superstruct and reflects our deep conviction in the value of experience-focused live music festivals and our excitement about the significant joint growth opportunities that lie ahead as live events return.”

The companies say the deal will provide great opportunities in sharing knowledge and creating synergies between the companies to further improve the fan experience at their festivals.

Ritty van Straalen, CEO of the ID&T Group adds: “ID&T will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2022. This partnership is an important strategic step in the development of our company, which we already embarked upon in 2019, pre-covid, and was ultimately delayed by 1.5 years.

“The past 19 months have been very tough for us and the entire event industry, but we are excited to see that Superstruct has been able to look through the current environment, recognising the combined potential of these two world-class companies.

“The international live events industry is increasingly consolidating and Superstruct has developed itself into a high quality, market-leading powerhouse in our industry. We are happy to be part of such an experienced group and strongly believe we can reinforce each other in many ways.”

 


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The decade in live: 2017

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.

The memories of a turbulent 2016 were left far behind in 2017, as the concert business enjoyed a record-breaking twelve months, as the year’s gross revenue and number of tickets sold saw 2013 finally knocked off the top spot.

The success of the live business in 2017, however, was somewhat overshadowed by a number of devastating terror attacks, with the Manchester Arena bombing, the shootings at Route 91 Harvest and BPM Festival, the Reina nightclub shooting and other incidents targeting music fans.

In response to the tragedies, the live industry united and made a positive impact, in the form of the One Love Manchester and We are Manchester charity concerts and candlelit vigils and fundraising for victims of the Route 91 Harvest attack.

Elsewhere, the booking agency world continued to consolidate through 2017, with a number of acquisitions, mergers and partnerships while Live Nation welcomed several more promoters, festivals, ticketing agencies and venues to its fast-growing family.

 


2017 in numbers

The live music business reached new heights in 2017, with the top 100 tours worldwide generating a record US$5.65 billion, up almost 16% from the previous year.

The number of tickets sold throughout the year also saw a notable increase from the year before, climbing 10.4% to 66.8 million, at an average price of almost $4 more per ticket than in 2016, at $84.60.

Eleven tours surpassed the $100m mark in 2017, with U2 topping the year-end charts having generated $316m on their Joshua Tree tour. Guns N’ Roses narrowly missed out on $300m, grossing $292.5m on the Not in this Lifetime tour.

Coldplay came in next, as the band’s A Head Full of Dreams tour made $238m. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic tour was also successful, grossing just over $200m, whereas Metallica’s WorldWired tour generated $152.8m.

Depeche Mode, Paul McCartney, Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, Garth Brooks and Celine Dion were the other acts whose 2017 tour earnings exceeded $100m.

 


2017 in brief

January
A lone gunman attacks New Year’s revellers at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul, resulting in the death of 39 people and injuries to a further 70. Two weeks later, four are killed and 12 injured during a shooting at the BPM Festival in the coastal resort of Playa del Carmen, Mexico.

AM Only and The Windish Agency rebrand as Paradigm Talent Agency, signalling the next phase of their joint ventures, launched in 2012 and 2015, respectively.

Global asset management firm Providence Equity Partners acquires a 70% stake in Sziget Festival and reveals plans to launch eight to ten branded festivals, with James Barton, former president of electronic music for Live Nation, leading the international expansion.

AEG Live finalises negotiations to acquire New York-based promoter/venue operator The Bowery Presents.

February
Ticketbis, the multinational resale operation acquired by eBay in May 2016, is rebranded as StubHub, bringing to an end the Ticketbis name across Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Live Nation enters the Middle East’s biggest touring market with the acquisition of a majority stake in Bluestone Entertainment, one of Israel’s leading promoters.

March
Iron Maiden’s decision to use paperless tickets on the UK leg of The Book of Souls arena tour helps reduce the number of tickets appearing on secondary sites by more than 95%, according to promoter Live Nation.

Live Nation acquires a controlling stake in the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.

The Australian leg of Adele’s Live 2017 tour makes concert history after playing to more than 600,000 people over eight stadium dates.

The decade in live: 2017

Sziget Festival 2017 © László Mudra/Rockstar Photographers

April
In the biggest primary deal so far for the world’s largest secondary ticketing site, StubHub is named the official ticket seller for Rock in Rio 2017.

Creative Artists Agency increases its investment in the Chinese market via a new alliance with private equity firm CMC Capital Partners.

May
Luxury Ja Rule-backed boutique event, Fyre Festival, descends into chaos on its first day, with visitors to the Bahamas site comparing conditions to a refugee camp.

22 people, including children, lose their lives after a suicide bombing at Manchester Arena, for which Islamic State terror claims responsibility. The attack targets people leaving the 21,000-cap. venue at the end of an Ariana Grande concert.

June
Pandora Media announces the sale of Ticketfly to Eventbrite. Despite purchasing the company for $450m less than two years ago, it sells for a package worth $200m.

AEG invests in Immortals, one of the world’s leading esports teams, with professional players in the North American League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Super Smash Bros, Overwatch and Vainglory leagues. The team will now play their Los Angeles tournaments and matches at AEG’s LA Live entertainment district.

The organisers of ILMC announce the launch of the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S), a one-day meeting focusing on security at live events.

The decade in live: 2017

The reality of Fyre Festival © Here_Comes_the_Kingz/Reddit

July
Helsinki-based Fullsteam Agency acquires Rähinä Live, whose roster includes some of Finland’s biggest hip-hop and pop artists.

Oak View Group, which counts Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke among its founders, completes its acquisition of Pollstar, adding the US-based concert business magazine to its portfolio of trade titles.

August
Madison Square Garden Company makes a significant move into the esports sector by acquiring a controlling stake in Counter Logic Gaming.

Paradigm Talent Agency acquires Chicago- and California-based agency Monterey International, including its 14 agents and 200 acts.

Live Nation launches in Brazil with former Time for Fun (T4F) chief entertainment officer Alexandre Faria Fernandes at the helm.

September
Three quarters of staff at Function(x), the online business founded by former SFX Entertainment CEO Robert Sillerman, are effectively laid off, with the company telling investors it lacks the funds to pay them.

A sovereign wealth fund controlled by the government of Saudi Arabia, says it is forming a new SR10 billion ($2.7bn) investment vehicle in a bid to kick-start the kingdom’s entertainment sector.

Music returns to Manchester Arena as a capacity crowd turn out for We are Manchester, a benefit concert that raises funds for a memorial to the victims of the 22nd of May bombing.

The decade in live: 2017

The We are Manchester charity concert drew a full-capacity crowd at the 21,000-cap. arena © Showsec

October
A gunman kills 58 people and injures a further 546 at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in Las Vegas. Local resident Stephen Paddock targeted the concertgoers from the 32nd floor of the nearby Mandalay Bay hotel.

WME-IMG rebrands as Endeavor, with company assets that include martial- arts promoter, UFC; ad agency, Droga5; Professional Bull Riders; the Miss Universe Organization; Frieze Art Fair; management companies, Dixon Talent and The Wall Group; and joint ventures such as Euroleague Basketball and esports championship ELEAGUE.

November
Ticketmaster confirms its long-rumoured expansion into Italy. The launch of Ticketmaster Italia, headquartered in Milan, follows the end of the exclusive long-term online partnership in Italy between Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne.

After 11 years in East London’s Victoria Park – now exclusive to AEG – Eat Your Own Ears’ Field Day Festival will head to Brockwell Park in South London. Live Nation’s Lovebox and Citadel are also rumoured to be moving to Brockwell Park.

Secondary ticketing websites will, from January 2018, be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords, as the search-engine giant cracks down on ticket resellers’ controversial use of its online advertising platform.

December
Leading self-service ticketer Eventbrite announces a series of new partnerships, rolling out integrations with events guide The List, festival package provider Festicket, word-of-mouth ticket sales platform Verve, and brand ambassador software Ticketrunner.

Michael Rapino, CEO of Live Nation Entertainment since 2010, will remain in his role until at least 2022 after signing a new five-year contract worth up to $9m per annum. Also re-upping are leading execs Kathy Willard, Michael Rowles and Joe Berchtold.


The decade in live: 2017

Primary Talent’s Dave Chumbley (1960-2017) picks up his Platinum Endurance Arthur Award at ILMC 25 © ILMC

 

Who we lost

Peter Rieger, founder of German promoter Peter Rieger Konzertagentur (PRK); Joseph Rascoff, business manager to the Stones, David Bowie, U2, Sting and more; ILMC’s long-time producer Alia Dann Swift; ShowSec International Ltd founder Mick Upton; Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent International director; Mary Cleary, former booker and tour manager; American singer-songwriter Tom Petty; pioneering concert promoter Shmuel Zemach, founder of Zemach Promotions; Australian country music promoter, agent and artist, Rob Potts; Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington; Reading festival founder Harold Pendelton; Washington, DC, promoter Jack Boyle; Live Nation Belgium booker Marianne Dekimpe; rock and roll pioneer Chuck Berry.

 


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Boardmasters axed amid weather worries

Vision Nine’s Boardmasters festival (50,000-cap.) has been cancelled twelve hours before gates were due to open, as severe weather warnings hit the UK.

The organisers of the live music and surfing festival announced the “potential risk” to attendees’, performers’ and crew safety was “too severe” for the event to go ahead.

Campers were supposed to arrive at the festival site in Newquay, Cornwall today (7 August), with music beginning on Friday.

Wu-Tang Clan, Florence and the Machine, Foals, Jorja Smith and Dizzee Rascal were all billed to play the festival.

“Due to forecasted severe weather conditions, specifically high winds, Boardmasters 2019 has been cancelled,” organisers posted on social media at 11 p.m. last night.

Organisers say they “sincerely regret the disappointment to fans” and apologise for disruption to local businesses.

Information regarding refunds will appear on the event’s social media pages in due course. Tickets were priced from £69 for one day to £205 for a five-day camping pass. VIP camping options cost £280.

“Due to forecasted severe weather conditions, specifically high winds, Boardmasters 2019 has been cancelled”

James Barton’s Superstruct Entertainment acquired Boardmasters from Global Festivals in April, along with the UK’s South West Four, Kendal Calling and Tramlines, as well as Croatian dance festival Hideout.

Prior to forming part of the Global portfolio, Boardmasters was owned by Impresario Festivals.

Severe weather conditions caused the cancellation of Rewind North in Cheshire, UK, earlier this month and was cited as the reason for the axing of Roxodus festival in Canada. Flood risks also forced the last-minute venue move which resulted in the cancellation of Neo Sala’s Doctor Music Festival in Spain.

The consequences of extreme weather has been a subject of discussion at the ILMC Production Meeting for many years, with production experts urging more long-term monitoring of weather conditions.

Great Western Railway is allowing all those with return tickets from Newquay to use their returns from today. Bus company Megabus is making extra seats available on it service from Newquay to London.

 


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Scott Barton to lead LN UK’s Electronic Nation

Live Nation has launched Electronic Nation, a new electronic music-focused division, in the UK.

Led by Scott Barton, managing director of Live Nation’s Cream brand, Electronic Nation will be based in London and will be responsible all electronic music activities at Live Nation UK, including the Creamfields festival, touring, shows and clubs.

Creamfields (70,000-cap.), launched in 1998, is one of the biggest electronic music events in the world, and has spawned spin-offs Chile, Abu Dhabi, Ibiza, Malta, Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Australia and Hong Kong. Taking place in Cheshire over the last weekend in August, 2019 performers include Swedish House Mafia, Calvin Harris, Tiesto, Skrillex, the Chemical Brothers and the Chainsmokers.

The Creamfields also birthed Steel Yard, a 15,000-capacity arena structure which hosts shows by the biggest names in dance music in London and Liverpool.

“This new division is a major advance for Live Nation and for artists and acts in this genre”

“With Scott’s outstanding record managing global brands Cream and Creamfields, this new division is a major advance for Live Nation and for artists and acts in this genre,” comments Denis Desmond, chairman of Live Nation UK and Ireland.

Barton – whose older brother James, co-founder of Cream, now leads fast-expanding European festival operator Superstruct – says he hopes to drive Live Nation’s  “continued expansion into the electronic arena, with the aim of connecting big-name dance acts to more fans across the UK through tours and festivals”.

“Electronic music has always been at the heart of what we do,” he says. “We have a dedicated team who work hard to connect fans to electronic music events across the UK. As the scene continues to grow, the knowledge and experience we have is key to our success.”

Live Nation formed a similar division in east Asia, Live Nation Electronic Asia, in August 2017.

 


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Superstruct invests in Norway’s Øyafestivalen

Øyafestivalen, one of the biggest festivals in Norway, has entered into an investment agreement with Superstruct Entertainment, adding a fourth festival brand to Superstruct’s expanding roster of European events.

The deal is the latest development in what has been a busy year for Superstruct – led by CEO James Barton, the founder of Creamfields and former president of electronic music at Live Nation – following May’s acquisition of Sónar festival in Barcelona, February’s investment in Spanish promoter Elrow and the acquisition in January of a majority stake in Sziget.

The company is backed by private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners, and describes its mission as “building a group of leading music festivals in Europe and other parts of the world with the same level of quality and unique position in their home market” as Øyafestivalen, Sónar and others.

Øyafestivalen (60,000-daily cap.), founded in 1999, is held annually in Tøyen Park in Oslo. This year’s edition, which is taking place now (from 7 to 11 August), sold out in advance, with a line-up featuring acts including Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Arcade Fire, Lykki Li, Fever Ray, Patti Smith and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

“This partnership is about the festival becoming part of a larger group with common interests”

As part of the deal with Providence, the festival’s senior leadership will join Superstruct’s management team.

“We are happy to have been given the opportunity to become investors in Superstruct and join forces with them at this stage of their expansion, and are confident that our new position will allow us to promote Norwegian music through channels we would otherwise not have had access to while also boosting Oslo as a festival city,” says Claes Olsen, Øyafestivalen’s booking manager.

“This partnership is about the festival becoming part of a larger group with common interests. However, our festival will continue to be run by the same management, it will maintain the profile that our audience knows and loves and Øyafestivalen AS will remain a Norwegian company based in Oslo. Additionally, as part of this agreement, our award-winning environmental work will become international.”

Barton adds: “We are delighted to be partnering with Øyafestivalen, one of Europe’s leading urban festivals and the leading festival in Norway. We look forward to welcoming their senior leaders to our management team and continuing to promote outstanding live music events.”

 


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Superstruct backer acquires majority stake in Sónar

Providence Equity Partners – the US investment firm which has, through Superstruct Entertainment, recently invested in Sziget and Elrow – has acquired a majority stake in Advanced Music SL, the Barcelona-based company behind the Sónar festivals.

IQ understands Providence/Superstruct completed its majority acquisition of Advanced Music in early May, just over a month before Sónar Barcelona celebrated its best year to date, welcoming 126,000 people to the city for its 25th anniversary event.

Sónar was founded in 1994 by Ricard Robles, Enric Palau and Sergi Caballero as the Festival of Advanced Music and Multimedia Art, and has since grown to become one of Europe’s largest electronic music and tech events, and a Barcelona institution. In addition to the core festival, Sónar has also hosted events outside Spain, with recent Sónar-branded festivals including São Paulo (2015) Santiago, Chile (2015), Buenos Aires (2015), Reykjavik (2015), Bogota (2016), Hong Kong (2017) and Istanbul (2017).

Superstruct is led by CEO James Barton, the founder of Creamfields and former president of electronic music at Live Nation; CFO Paul Bedford, formerly financial director of Impresario Festivals (Boardmasters, Field Day, SW4) and currently non-executive chairman of Edition Capital; and chairman Michael Bolingbroke, formerly SVP of shows at Cirque du Soleil, COO of Manchester United and CEO of Inter Milan.

“This partnership will allow our combined platform to benefit from unparallelled synergies”

The then-unnamed company made headlines in January with its surprise acquisition of a majority stake in Hungarian festival mainstay Sziget, which was followed in February by an investment agreement with Spanish party promoter Elrow.

Providence describes itself as a “global private-equity and credit investment firm with $57bn in capital under management”. Other portfolio companies include Warner Music Group, Ambassador Theatre Group, exhibition organiser Clarion Events and college-sports marketing agency Learfield.

Both Advanced Music and Providence initially declined to comment on the investment, which was originally agreed in March. However, on 6 July – following the publication of this story – the companies confirmed the news in a press release.

“Advanced Music has a coveted track record in the live entertainment industry,” says Barton. “We have long admired their events, especially Sónar and Sónar+D, and are confident this partnership will allow our combined platform to benefit from unparallelled synergies and stronger market positioning. We look forward to working with Advanced Music’s deep bench of founding partners and directors to realise the full potential of a combined unit.”

 


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Superstruct’s Elrow announces first festival

Spanish promoter Elrow – along with Sziget Festival, part of the fast-expanding Superstruct group – has revealed plans for its first fully fledged music festival.

Elrow Friends & Family will take place on 15–16 July at a beachfront location in Salou, running for 16 hours from 10am to 2am. Billed as Elrow’s “biggest and craziest party to date”, the festival will expand the promoter’s flagship ‘playground’ concept to three stages of music featuring “world-class electronic music headliners”.

Barcelona-based Elrow – known for its playful parties at a number of major clubs and festivals, including Snowbombing, Mysteryland USA, Parklife, Hideout and Electric Zoo – was partially acquired by Superstruct Entertainment in February.

Superstruct, led by Creamfields founder and former Live Nation president of electronic music James Barton, is also a 70% owner of Hungary’s Sziget, and in January announced plans to launch up to ten new festivals in the next few years.

“Get ready to experience something you’ve never ever seen before”

“After seven years offering shows all over the world, at last we’ve found the perfect spot to put on the most creative show ever done by the Arnau family in all their long history,” says company founder and CEO Juanito Arnau.

“For the first time we’re joining forces with some of the most crazily, imaginative people we’ve met around the world, from countries such as Brazil, Portugal, the United States, South Africa, the Netherlands and the UK. Get ready to experience something you’ve never ever seen before.”

The Arnau family previously ran the Monegros Desert Festival in Aragon, which ended in 2014.

Tickets for Elrow Friends & Family go on sale next Thursday (6 April), with the line-up due to be announced in the coming weeks.

 


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James Barton’s Superstruct buys again

Superstruct Entertainment – the hitherto unnamed live entertainment platform formed earlier this year by Creamfields founder James Barton – has entered into an investment agreement with Elrow, a Barcelona-based promoter of electronic music parties at clubs and festivals throughout Europe.

Providence Equity Partners-backed Superstruct made headlines last month when it made a surprise acquisition of a majority stake in Hungarian festival mainstay Sziget. It is led by Barton, formerly president of electronic music at Live Nation, and Paul Bedford, the former financial director of Impresario Festivals (Boardmasters, Field Day, SW4).

Elrow, a trading name of Entretenimiento Musical, says an injection of private-equity cash “will help the company expand its concept globally”. Barton and Providence’s Roderik Schlösser join the company’s board.

“The Elrow team has created a unique experience that is loved by fans. We are excited to partner with and support such an impressive team”

Elrow CEO Juan Arnau Jnr comments: “We are excited to partner with James Barton and Superstruct and are looking forward to growing the company together. James’s global network in music festivals, and Providence’s global expertise and resources, will strengthen our position and enable us to explore opportunities in key markets.

Barton adds: “The Elrow team has created a unique experience that is loved by fans. We are excited to partner with and support such an impressive team and look forward to unlocking new growth opportunities for their business.”

Elrow, founded in 2010, hosted 88 events in 14 countries in 2016.

 


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Sziget Festival to launch globally 

Sziget Festival is to roll out globally following the sale of a 70% stake in Sziget Cultural Management to Providence Equity Partners. The global asset management firm plans to launch between eight and 10 new festivals over the next few years.

James Barton, former president of Electronic Music for Live Nation and Creamfields Festival founder, and Paul Bedford, former financial director of Cream Group, have joined the firm to lead international expansion of the Hungarian festival brand.

Sziget’s current management retain a 30% equity stake in the company and will continue to lead management and operations of all festivals in the portfolio. Alongside Barton, Bedford and Sziget’s founder Karoly Gerendai, the team includes CEO Tamás Kádár, international operations head Gábor Takács, and Zoltán Fülöp and Norbert Lobenwein who helm Telekom VOLT Festival and Balaton Sound. 

Kádár tells IQ the firm is looking to both acquire and launch new festivals. Events will range from a daily capacity of 35k – 95k, he says, with new festivals taking on the Sziget brand and acquisitions joining its portfolio. As well as the flagship Budapest event, that portfolio includes Balaton Sound, Telekom VOLT Festival, Gourmet Festival and Gyerek Sziget (Children’s Sziget).

Gerendai says: “Sziget is excited to partner with Providence as we enter our next phase of growth and development. We received a series of inquiries from both financial and trade investors in the last couple of years, but we were attracted to Providence’s proposal because it opens new dimensions for us.

“With the help of our new partners we will be able to make a giant leap forward and embark on the ambitious projects that have been in our pipeline for some time.”

“With the help of our new partners we will be able to make a giant leap forward and embark on the ambitious projects that have been in our pipeline for some time. Providence’s network and financial resources will complement our existing management team’s expertise and will put us in an even stronger position to unlock significant new growth opportunities that otherwise would not have been available to us.

“We needed a financial partner to execute on several ambitious projects that we have in our pipeline. We are excited and looking forward to building the company utilising Providence’s sector experience and financial resources.”

“The Sziget team has done an incredible job in creating some of the world’s most exciting festivals and we look forward to partnering with Karoly and team in the company’s next phase of growth to accelerate Sziget’s domestic and international growth plans.”

Barton added: “The Sziget team has done an incredible job in creating some of the world’s most exciting festivals and we look forward to partnering with Karoly and team in the company’s next phase of growth to accelerate Sziget’s domestic and international growth plans.”

Sziget was honoured twice at the European Festival Awards at Eurosonic last week, taking home the Artist’s Favourite Festival award while late Sziget booker Dan Panaitescu, who passed away after a car accident last year, was posthumously presented with the lifetime achievement accolade.

Providence is a global asset management firm with $47 billion in assets under management across complementary private equity and credit businesses. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 150 companies in the media, communications, education and information industries. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Delhi.

 


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