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Crew Nation raises $15m for out-of-work technicians

Crew Nation has so far raised US$15 million to help 15,000 out-of-work crew members, across 36 countries, who were impacted by the rescheduled or cancelled shows due to take place through June.

The global live music relief fund was launched with an initial $5m donation from Live Nation, which then matched the next $5 million in donations from artists, fans and employees for a total contribution of $10m from the company.

Artists including Justin Timberlake, Anderson .Paak and Kesha made contributions towards the fund, while partners and brands including Live From The Drive-In, Lollapalooza and Governors Ball came up with creative ways to encourage donations.

“Concerts wouldn’t be possible without the many crew members working behind the scenes every step of the way and we want to make sure that as independent workers, they get the support they need from both the industry and the government,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO of Live Nation.

“Live Nation is proud to be among the many artists, donors, partners and fans who are helping drive this mission forward and support those who make the magic of live possible.”

“Concerts wouldn’t be possible without the many crew members working behind the scenes every step of the way”

The fund is powered by charitable organisation Music Forward Foundation, which will select recipients of funding “based on an objective determination of need”. Live Nation employees are not eligible to receive funding.

“The support we have received has been overwhelming, but the number of people who still need assistance is staggering and our work is nowhere near done,” said Nurit Smith, executive director at Music Forward Foundation.

“The artist community has been so incredibly supportive and creative, utilising their resources and platforms to make personal donations and drum up contributions through the release of exclusive merch, new music, livestreamed performances and much more, and our hope is that it continues to keep rolling.”

Crew Nation is accepting applications from out-of-work crew members in phases, based on when shows were originally scheduled to play.

Currently, applications are open for those who have been financially impacted from concerts originally scheduled to take place in June 2020. The deadline to submit an application is 16 August.

The fund hopes to double its impact and raise at least $30m so that it can continue providing support for independent workers from the live music industry.

Anyone who wants to contribute can either donate money or buy limited-edition merch, and all proceeds will go directly to the fund.

 


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Bogus booking agents arrested in New York

Two women who allegedly scammed a charity out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by posing as booking agents for artists including Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, Drake and Ed Sheeran have been arrested by police in New York.

Under the name Canvas Media Group, Nancy Jean and Carissa Scott conspired to defraud investors in events including a benefit concert for the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation, set up by relatives of victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, according to prosecutors.

As alleged in the US district attorney for eastern New York’s complaint against the pair, Jean and Scott were contacted last September by the organiser of a concert at the 64,000-seat Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, in aid of the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation.

Prosecutors say Canvas Media “falsely represented that they could book top-tier musical acts to perform at the concert, and provided the investor with a contract for a total fee of [US]$500,000 that purported to commit Timberlake to perform”.

One investor in the benefit show then sent a $100,000 deposit to Jean and Scott, which they allegedly later used for personal expenses or withdrew as cash.

“Subsequently, when Timberlake’s social media account failed to mention or promote the event, the investor requested confirmation that Timberlake was booked,” the complaint continues. “In response, the investor received a telephone call from an unidentified individual who falsely claimed to be Timberlake’s manager. The unidentified individual stated that Timberlake would perform at the concert, but that the fee would have to be raised to between $800,000 and $1 million.”

“Simple stealing is bad enough, this is worse”

When the investor baulked at the increased ‘fee’, Canvas Media said Bruno Mars could perform instead of Timberlake for $600,000.

Scott also reportedly claimed she could book other top-tier artists for the concert, including Drake, Flo Rida and Ed Sheeran.

“As alleged, the defendants viewed a fundraiser for a charity formed to protect children from gun violence as an opportunity to commit fraud and line their own pockets,” comments Richard Donoghue, United States attorney for the eastern district of New York. “Simple stealing is bad enough, this is worse.”

According to the New York Post, Jean and Scott have been banned from working as agents or promoters while awaiting trial.

William Sweeney Jnr, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s New York field office, says: “Nancy Jean and Carissa Scott may have been able to realise a quick profit as a result of their alleged fraudulent booking scheme, but not long after their illegal activity took off they landed in New York to face federal criminal charges.

“It’s discouraging to think these defendants were willing to defraud an investor supporting a charity foundation. Fortunately, the FBI doesn’t entertain such activity.”

Justin Timberlake is no stranger to agency scams, having been one of a number of high-profile artists targeted by scammers pretending to be his representative, alongside artists such as Adele, Eminem and Mark Knopfler.

 


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World Cup: Live makes way for football fever

A host of live events in the UK, including major concerts and comedy shows, are being pushed back or altered to accomodate tonight’s Fifa World Cup semifinal, which sees England do battle with Croatia to determine France’s opponents in Sunday’s final.

The last time England were in the semis was 1990, and with the country in the throes of World Cup fever – the Lightning Seeds’ Euro 96 classic ‘Three Lions’ is on course for this week’s no1 single – concert promoters and venues are reluctant to go up against the once-in-a-generation fixture. (Emily Sandé discovered this the hard way when England played Colombia in the knock-out stages during her show on 3 July, and, “halfway through [the] piano ballad ‘Clown’, the most delicate song in her setlist, a raucous cheer broke out from the crowd” after Eric Dier’s penalty kick put England through to the quarter finals.)

Both Justin Timberlake, who is playing the O2, and Niles Rogers and Chic, who are performing at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, will screen the 7pm match before their shows, with Chic promoter Cuffe & Taylor electing to bump Sister Sledge off the bill in favour of the Three Lions.

https://twitter.com/jtimberlake/status/1016641874772275200

“We fully understand that when it comes to England reaching the semifinals of the World Cup, people feel torn if they have other plans,” says Cuffe & Taylor director Peter Taylor. “Therefore, we’ve decided it is only right to show the big game on our stage screens so everyone who is attending the Nile Rodgers and Chic show can still see England perform, too.”

Girl group All Saints, who are playing Electric Brixton (1,500-cap.) in London, will now take to the stage at the later time of 9.30pm. “The people have spoken and we have listened,” reads a statement from the venue. “We’ll now be showing [the] World Cup semifinal match on a huge screen before our All Saints Show.”

Comedians Jason Manford and Chris Ramsey, meanwhile, have axed stand-up gigs in Stevenage and Ulverston, respectively, with Manford tweeting that he’s “bow[ing] under the weight of an expectant and hopeful nation”. Both shows will be rescheduled for a later date.

One event that won’t be showing the football is DEAG/Kilimanjaro Live’s Kew the Music, which continues in Kew Gardens, west London, tonight. A Kew Gardens spokesperson says while it won’t be showing the football ahead of this evening’s Gipsy Kings show, which kicks off at 8.45pm, it will be displaying the scores around the concert site.

AEG’s British Summer Time – halfway through its free-to-access midweek programme, ahead of another weekend of music from Paul Simon, Michael Bublé and Bruno Mars – will screen the game in Hyde Park tonight, after handing out 30,000 free tickets in a ballot yesterday afternoon.

As for the songs that will be played at Luzhniki Stadium for the match itself, Queen’s sporting anthem ‘We Will Rock You’ joins Imagine Dragons’ ‘Thunder’ and two K-pop hits, BTS’s ‘Fake Love’ and EXO’s ‘Power’, as the soundtrack for the evening. The songs emerged as the top four choice in a poll organised by Fifa, which saw around five million people vote on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Looking ahead to the weekend, and Sunday 15 July’s France vs England/Croatia final, several live music events have similarly confirmed their intention to screen the game. According to the NME, Latitude, Citdel and Lovebox in the UK will be showing the final (with Paul Simon-headlined BST expected to follow), as well as Dour Festival in Belgium.

In France, meanwhile – the one nation confirmed to be in Sunday’s match – even hip-hop royalty are making way for the World Cup. Beyoncé and Jay-Z will play to a jubilant/despondent crowd at the Stade de France on Sunday night, following a screening of the game prior to the show.

“Twenty years after the French team’s first World Cup win, Beyoncé and Jay-Z invite those who have a ticket for their concert to present themselves at the Stade de France at 4pm in order to be able to enjoy, on the stadium’s big screens, […] the Blues’ final victory,” reads a statement from Live Nation France.

 


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Giddings warns of fake Justin Timberlake offers

Agent John Giddings has warned promoters to beware of a scam going round offering non-existent dates for a US tour by Justin Timberlake.

According to Music Week, an email purporting to come from Giddings, who represents Timberlake for the UK on behalf of Live Nation, invites recipients to contact the sender for more information.

“Every promoter in the world is emailing me saying, ‘Is this true?'” Giddings told the publication. “They keep trying to close down the website or the email address, but they keep changing it. Somebody, somewhere is going to get conned in to giving some money. It’s incredible the amount of emails I’ve had about it, it’s unbearable.”

In September, several promoters received an email claiming to be from ITB agent Lucy Dickins, offering fake European dates for shows with Adele.

A similar scam involving Mark Knopfler surfaced last year, with promoters, mainly in South America, being offered Dire Straits shows by fake agents. A spokesman for Knopfler said at the time there are “no plans whatsoever” for any shows by Dire Straits, who disbanded in 1996 and have not played together since a charity gig in 2002.

 


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Amerovision? ESC targets US fans with Timberlake

Justin Timberlake will perform at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, organiser the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has revealed.

It is the first time an artist of Timberlake’s stature has performed at the annual contest in a non-competing capacity, and can be seen as a concerted effort by the EBU to appeal to new American viewers as it prepares the show for broadcast in the US for the first time.

Timberlake will perform his new single, ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’, at the final in Stockholm this Saturday (14 May).

“This is a fantastic opportunity,” says Eurovision show producer Sven Stojanovic. “We are very happy and excited that Justin Timberlake will perform his new song together with his band in our show. It makes it extra special that the Swedish songwriters Max Martin and Shellback have co-written and co-produced the song together with Justin Timberlake.”

IQ previously reported that voting will be totally overhauled for Eurovision 2016 in the biggest change to its format for 40 years. For the final, viewers’ votes will be recorded separately to judges’ for the first time (in previous years they were combined, each accounting for 50 per cent of the final score), effectively offering every act the chance for double points.

Måns Zelmerlöw of Sweden won Eurovision 2015.