fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

U2’s Bono and The Edge perform in Kyiv bomb shelter

U2 band members Bono and The Edge yesterday (8 May) delivered an acoustic concert in one of Kyiv’s subway stations that have been repurposed as a bomb shelter.

According to a post from the band’s official social media, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky invited the pair to play in his country, which has been fending off an invasion by Russia since 24 February.

According to the Irish Times, the musicians started the set with ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ as the sound of air-raid sirens went off in the distance.

Elsewhere in the setlist were ‘With Or Without You’, ‘Desire’ and ‘Angel Of Harlem’. Before the latter, Bono told the crowd that there was “nowhere in the whole world that we would rather be in today than in the great city of Kyiv”.

The pair also covered Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’, bringing up a Ukrainian soldier on stage to help them sing it, and changing the “me” in the lyrics to “Ukraine”. Musicians who have had to join the military in recent months also joined the band on stage throughout the set, including Taras Topolya, frontman of Ukrainian band Antytila.

During the performance, Bono also addressed the war that is ongoing in Ukraine and has taken the lives of 3,280 Ukrainian civilians as of Friday (6 May), according to the OHCHR. “The people in Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you are fighting for all of us who love freedom,” he said. “We pray that you will enjoy some of that peace soon.”

U2 aren’t the only musicians to perform in a bomb shelter as, in March, a string quintet performed to hundreds of residents taking shelter in an underground train station to mark what would have been the first day of Kharkiv Music Fest.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ukraine’s live industry steps up support efforts

The Ukrainian live music industry is stepping up to provide humanitarian, logistical and military support while Russia continues its all-out assault of the country.

The teams behind venues, festivals and promoters in Ukraine are playing an important role in settling refugees, providing meals for troops, preventing the spread of misinformation, collecting essentials and donating funds towards the military.

Faine Misto, a rock and metal festival that typically takes place in August in Ternopil, western Ukraine, is doing a little of everything.

According to Faine Misto’s Veronika Grass, one of the key things the organisers are doing is taking part in the “information war”.

“There’s a lot of fake news about the real situation in Ukraine, so we find false information, send reports and make sure that the world knows the truth,” she tells IQ.

“There’s a lot of fake news, so we find false information, send reports, make sure that the world knows the truth”

The organisers are also staying in contact with foreign bands that have previously performed at the festival, asking them to share truthful information and links to official funds.

In addition, the festival’s website has been completely reformatted to signpost links to funds, contacts of shelters, basic emergency numbers, locations of bomb shelters, medical care and more.

On a practical level, the festival has made a number of donations to the territorial defence including walkie-talkies, raincoats and backpacks.

At the beginning of this week, the festival’s concert agency arm and Ukrainian act Grandma’s Smuzi donated 326,000 hryvnias (€10,000) from ticket sales for the band’s upcoming tour.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the team behind Respublica, a free international art and music festival that typically takes place in Kamianets-Podilskyi, western Ukraine, are turning their efforts towards arming the country’s military.

“We weave nets for the territorial defence and look for ammunition for our guys in the Armed Forces and TRO”

“We weave nets for the territorial defence of the city and look for ammunition for our guys in the Armed Forces and TRO, provide humanitarian aid, and Molotov cocktails. We’re trying to create and accept any support that will help our fighters and migrants,” a spokesperson tells IQ.

The team is also engaged in the settlement of refugees from different cities, including Bakotí and Kamianets-Podílsʹkomu.

Settling refugees has become a major part of the live industry’s support during the war, as more and more Ukrainians migrate.

The UN estimates at least 160,000 people in Ukraine who have fled the war are displaced within their own country, while one million civilians have fled the country altogether.

Kyiv Contemporary Music Days (KCMD), an NGO educational and concert platform for classical contemporary music, has asked its network of artists around Europe if they will host those in need.

“I reached out to our network of artists and asked them if they would host a person in need of asylum”

“On the first day of the war, I reached out to our network of artists and asked them if they would host a person in need of asylum. Artists in Austria, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Turkey and Italy said yes,” Albert Saprykin from KCMD tells IQ.

Alive Art Center (AAC), in Uzhgorod in western Ukraine, is also pitching in to help the displaced.

“We have joined in helping refugees from other regions of Ukraine, since our region is calm compared to those in which hostilities are taking place,” says AAC’s Max Fidosh.

Western Ukraine has become somewhat of a refuge for displaced Ukrainians that are fleeing Kyiv, Kharkiv and beyond. Lviv, which has a train line to Poland and is far from the conflict, has become somewhat of a ‘sanctuary’ for migrants.

A number of music venues in the city have opened their doors to refugees and utilised their resources to help the military.

“Now we are not only doing volunteer work to resettle people in places that are available to us”

The Les Kurbas Theatre, one of Ukraine’s most critically acclaimed theatres, has been transformed into a refugee centre featuring camp beds and a bomb shelter in the basement.

Natalia Rybka-Parhomenko, who normally acts and sings at the venue, now volunteers there, helping to organise, manage and settle.

“We thought about how we could be useful in such an alarming time and decided to make a refugee shelter, because we understood that there would be a great need for people to leave, especially from the east, because it is especially difficult there,” she told Sky News.

“There is a demand, the theatre works as a hostel now. We joke that this is a five-star hotel, because we have a bomb shelter here and people don’t have to go outside the theatre – just go down. We dress people and they have a place to rest and eat.”

Some six miles away, Arena Lviv, a 34,000-capacity stadium in western Ukraine, has opened a coordination centre helping migrants and refugees with resettlement and border crossing.

“The entire staff of Arena Lviv is working tirelessly to provide the highest degree of comfort to all re-settlers and refugees”

“Every hour more and more people come to us from all over the country where the occupiers are destroying their homes,” Olga Manko, head of Arena Lviv, tells IQ.

Alongside the centre, the venue has also tasked its catering team with cooking food for the country’s troops and has already prepared and delivered more than 5,000 dinners to the frontline in five days.

“The entire staff and management of Arena Lviv is working tirelessly, doing everything possible and impossible to provide the highest degree of comfort to all re-settlers and refugees, and as a result became volunteers themselves,” continues Manko.

“We continue to help our citizens and believe in a victory of our country.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ukraine biz: “No concerts until 2023, at best”

Executives from the Ukrainian live music business say that concerts – both international and domestic – will not take place until 2023 at the earliest.

International artists including Bring Me The Horizon, Imagine Dragons, Louis Tomlinson and Jethro Tull have already cancelled shows in Ukraine, in light of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its eastern European neighbour.

At the time of writing, major acts such as Iron Maiden, Billy Talent, Black Veil Brides, Pixies, Disclosure, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Roisin Murphy, King Krule, Elderbrook, The Neighbourhood and Pete Doherty still have Ukraine concerts planned, though local promoters are doubtful whether they’ll take place.

Ihor Samosud, COO at promoter Virus Music – which owns Ukraine’s largest ticket seller Concert.UA and Kyiv concert venue Bel Etage Music Hall (cap. 1,000) – says there were “hundreds” of international shows scheduled in the next two years but “everything is now cancelled or postponed until 2023 at best”.

“We were looking forward to Iron Maiden’s first visit to Ukraine (promoted by Virus Music) and the second visit of Imagine Dragons (for which Concert.UA is the exclusive ticket seller), who are a favourite in Ukraine,” Samosud tells IQ.

According to Samosud, the company is currently helping clients and promoters communicate with ticket buyers until money can be refunded for cancelled shows.

Continuing a trend that started in the pandemic, the firm is also enabling clients and promoters to offer ticket vouchers as an alternative to cash refunds.

Samosud says he hopes this will help soften the financial blow for promoters, who were already out of pocket due to the pandemic.

“All Ukrainian promoters already have large financial losses associated with cancellations,” he says. “And this process will continue for a long time. Even after the end of the war, we will need a lot of time to restore our industry.”

Sergii Maletskyi, general manager and talent buyer at Kyiv-based promoter H2D, also believes that shows in Ukraine will be cancelled or postponed until 2023 and that many announcements are yet to come.

“I’ve said to all management not to make cancellations public at this stage because it will cause panic and we don’t need it at the moment,” he told IQ yesterday. “I’ve asked them to give us a week or two to focus on our safety. After that, we will be ready to manage cancellations, postponements and everything else.”

The conflict will not just impact shows in venues, with a summer schedule of outdoor events on sale across the country. Atlas Weekend, the largest festival in Eastern Europe, is due to take place in July at Kyiv’s Expocenter with headliners Twenty One Pilots, Placebo and Alt-J.

While Upark, scheduled for June and July at Sky Family Park in Kyiv, had previously confirmed a raft of western acts including Pendulum, Sum 41, My Chemical Romance, Gorillaz, Deftones, Iggy Pop, Slipknot and Frank Carter.

Venues, however, have been quick to post messages on social media, announcing closure until further notice, as well as information for ticket holders.

Caribbean Club, in Kyiv, posted on Facebook: “Due to the military invasion in Ukraine, we temporarily suspend work. We hope to return to normal life as soon as possible and our warm meetings at the Caribbean Club.”

Bel Etage Music Hall, also in the capital, posted on Facebook: “War. All concerts and events are postponed until victory. The tickets are valid. Glory to Ukraine!”

Though stages in Ukraine have fallen quiet, a number of venues are devoting time and resources to the military.

Arena Lviv, a 34,000-capacity stadium in western Ukraine, has tasked its catering team with cooking food for the country’s troops and have already prepared and delivered more than 2,000 dinners.

The stadium has also opened a centre for migrants who have fled their homes and need assistance finding a temporary residence.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ukrainian promoters: “Right now, it’s a matter of survival”

In what has been described as the biggest conflict in Europe since World War II, promoters and agents in Ukraine have been forced to flee their homes or seek shelter underground. And as local artists seek to halt the spread of misinformation online, any thoughts of future business have been replaced by the basic need to survive.

Speaking to IQ today (28 February), on the fifth day of conflict, executives spoke of their current circumstances, early efforts by those in the live music industry, and future relations between Russia and Ukraine.

Sergii Maletskyi, general manager and talent buyer at Kyiv-based promoter H2D, fled the capital city the day Russia launched its full-scale invasion to head west. He joined the migration which, according to the United Nations (UN), has seen more than half a million people flee their homes to escape the war.

“A lot of people were travelling from east to west so there was bad traffic,” he tells IQ. “It took 14 hours to travel 350 kilometres (217 miles).” But while Maletskyi says the region is “pretty stable” in comparison to others, the threat of danger is still very real.

“Yesterday, we had to hide in the basement three times because an air attack was expected,” he says. “It didn’t happen, luckily, but this is the new reality for Ukraine.”

Since the invasion began on Thursday 24 February, the UN has recorded 102 civilian deaths, including seven children – and more than 300 injured. However, UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, said: “The real figures are, I fear, considerably higher”.

“”We are not focused on the business at this moment – we’re focused on saving lives”

Maletskyi says that the majority of staff at H2D also sought refuge in the east, though one employee is still in Kyiv, barricading in a tube station. “We’re in communication with employees and we’ve paid everyone’s salary for February,” he says. “We’re trying to support them as much as we can.”

Dartsya Tarkovska, co-founder of Music Export Ukraine, also fled the capital – the centre of the conflict – to the western city of Lviv.

“I was born and raised in Kyiv – that’s where my whole life is,” she tells IQ. “We were worried that a war was about to begin so we moved to Lviv a few days before the conflict began. So we were lucky we were able to move safely.”

Of the ten people working for Music Export Ukraine, four of them remain in Kyiv. “They spend most of their time in shelters. It’s a matter of keeping alive and safe,” she says.

Russian president Vladimir Putin’s justifications for the war in Ukraine have been widely dismissed as false by western nations, but with social media platforms and free press now all but outlawed in Russia, the conflict is as much about propaganda as it is boots on the ground. And both Maletskyi and Tarkovska have praised Ukrainian artists for the role they have played on both fronts.

Battling the spread of misinformation, popular Ukrainian acts are attempting to change their cover art on streaming platforms to educate Russian citizens and other countries on the situation in Ukraine.

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by H2D (@h2d.concerts)

And it’s not just online efforts that musicians and creative professionals are signing up to. A number of Ukrainian artists, including Andriy Khlyvnyuk from the popular band Boombox, have volunteers for the territorial defence to protect regions against Russian troops.

Meanwhile, this weekend saw hundreds of thousands of protestors take to streets of London, Berlin, Madrid, South Korea and other countries. And according to Maletskyi, colleagues from the international live music business have also been pitching in and doing “everything they can to help”.

However, Maletskyi warns that stakeholders in the domestic live music business will need to remain patient while Ukrainians prioritise their safety.

“I’ve said to all management not to make cancellations public at this stage because it will cause panic and we don’t need it at the moment,” he said. “I’ve asked them to give us a week or two to focus on our safety. After that, we will be ready to manage cancellations, postponements and everything else. Some of them agreed, some of them didn’t.

“We’re doing our best to communicate with all of our partners and everyone is being really understanding that the situation is like nothing we’ve experienced before, so we’re thankful to them.

“We are not focused on the business at this moment – we’re focused on saving lives. All problems with postponements and cancellations will be solved later.”

“The majority of connections with Russia’s industry will be over”

As for future relations with Russia, Maletskyi says he thinks the “bridges have been burned”.

“The percentage of our Russian shows, annually, was about 10-or-15% and all those artists opposed the current government of Russia. I’m not sure about the future shows… I’m not sure I’ll be working with Russian promoters.”

Tarkovska echoes his sentiment, adding: “The majority of connections with Russia’s industry will be over. It started to happen after 2014, when the initial conflict began but there will be more consequences now.”

However, there are some ties to Russia that have proved hard to sever, says Tarkovska. “For the majority of streaming services and distributors, the communication has been happening via Moscow. We have been trying to change that for quite a while.

“We’re saying, if these organisations are not ready to create independent offices in Ukraine, we’re fine going through Poland but we don’t want to go through the Russian offices of these companies.”

For now, however, the Ukrainian live music is focused on more pressing issues: “Right now, it’s a matter of survival and no one cares about the music industry,” says Tarkovska.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Former Soviet sanatorium transformed into venue

Khvylia, a former Soviet sanatorium on the outskirts of Kyiv, has been converted into a live music venue by the team behind the world-renowned Georgian club, Bassiani.

The Bassiani team christened the Ukrainian physiatric hospital by welcoming several thousand attendees last weekend (23–25 July) to a new techno-heavy festival called Ickpa (‘spark’ in Ukrainian).

The festival stages were arranged inside Khyvlia’s main building and across the forest surrounding the sanatorium.

Festivalgoers had the opportunity to camp in the forest or stay in the sanatorium for two nights for UAH 2,700 (€84) – all rooms sold out.

“Ickpa chose to be located in Kyiv because of its connecting location between western Europe and post-Socialist space”

The organisers established the two-day event in the hope that it would become an annual platform for dialogue between the west and the emerging electronic scenes in post-Soviet countries such as Georgia and Ukraine.

“Ickpa chose to be located in Kyiv because of its connecting location between western Europe and post-Socialist space,” say the organisers.

“We believe that the connecting point is not only geographical but, first and foremost, cultural. This proximity involves the potential for the city to become a melting pot, where social and cultural experience accumulated throughout the year is communicated through dance,” said the organisers.

The event brought together more than 40 DJs including Jeff Mills, Nastia and Salome, as well as a charity Futsal tournament and panel discussions “empowering cultural dialogue and communication between post-Socialist dance cultures”.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.