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LA to require masks at all outdoor events

The Los Angeles county department of public health has issued a new order stating that attendees of any major outdoor event will be required to wear a mask – regardless of Covid-19 vaccination status – due to a spike in Covid-19 cases.

From 23:59 on Thursday 19 August, the county’s order will apply to all events with more than 10,000 attendees, such as music or food festivals, car shows, large endurance events, marathons, parades, sporting events and concerts.

The order is to be enforced by the operators of any such event, both verbally and with visible signage at all entry points.

Masks are required to be worn by everyone at all times except when actively eating or drinking at these events, according to the order.

The county order comes after orders issued in July, which reinstated an indoor mask mandate for most public spaces

Head in the Clouds festival, which is set to take place at Brookside at the Rose Bowl 6–7 November is one of the few major music festivals scheduled to take place in LA for the remainder of 2021. But the order will also affect larger venues including the Hollywood Bowl, SoFi Stadium and the Banc of California Stadium, as well as sports venues.

The county order comes after orders issued in July, which reinstated an indoor mask mandate for most public spaces, applying to both major events (defined as those with 5,000 or more attendees) as well as smaller spaces such as restaurants, movie theatres and gyms.

The public health department said that the Delta variant of Covid-19, which is twice as contagious as earlier variants of the virus, is now predominant in LA county. On 16 August, the LA County Public Health reported 2,426 new cases of Covid-19, 1,653 current hospitalisations and five new deaths.

 


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YouTube, Live Nation open livestreaming-focused venue

YouTube Theatre, the new 6,000-seat live music and entertainment venue located at Hollywood Park in California, is now open.

The venue’s initial slate of events spans September, October and November and will culminate in a grand opening this winter when YouTube Theatre and Live Nation, the venue’s exclusive booking promoter, will announce the first artist residency.

Throughout autumn, the YouTube Theatre will host concerts with the likes of Pitbull, Iggy Azalea, TLC, Evanescence, Halestorm, Marina (and the Diamonds) and Louis Tomlinson, as well as awards shows, esports competitions, community gatherings and conferences.

The state-of-the-art indoor venue has a focus on digital technology, with capabilities to “seamlessly” stream live events to YouTube’s two billion global monthly users.

The three-story, 227,000-square-foot venue is part of Hollywood Park, a privately funded 300-acre sports and entertainment destination being developed by Kroenke.

“YouTube Theatre will share ​the event​ experience with our two billion global monthly users through live streams and VOD”

The YouTube Theatre is housed under the same roof canopy as the 70,000-capacity SoFi Stadium (home to American football teams, Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers) and the American Airlines Plaza.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be the exclusive promoters of this incredibly dynamic venue coming alive in Los Angeles,” says Rich Best, Live Nation’s regional head of talent for California. “Alongside Hollywood Park, we plan to make this a must-visit live entertainment venue and we can’t wait to unveil what is in store for this unique space.”

Angela Courtin, VP of brand marketing, YouTube, added: “YouTube Theatre will drive the uniqueness of YouTube by combining physical, ‘in real life’ events that bring creators and fans together, while simultaneously sharing ​that same event​ experience with our two billion global monthly users through live streams and VOD content.”

Jason Gannon, managing director, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, says: “When he set out to build YouTube Theatre, Stan Kroenke envisioned an intimate, world-class venue that exemplified three core aspects: technology, creativity, and entertainment. We cannot imagine a better partner to help us bring this vision to life than YouTube.”

 


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Hollywood Bowl to designate ‘majority’ of seats to the vaccinated

The Hollywood Bowl will reopen for live performances in July with a number of safety precautions that favour vaccinated concertgoers over non-vaccinated.

The LA amphitheatre will reopen at 65% of its 17,500 capacity and the ‘majority of all concert seats will be designated to fully vaccinated patrons’, according to the venue’s website.

Fully vaccinated attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination and photo ID upon entry. Inside the venue, these attendees will be permitted to sit in the ‘vaccinated seating sections’ which will not be socially distanced.

US citizens are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose of (Pfizer or Moderna) or two weeks after their first dose of (Johnson & Johnson).

Since the Covid-19 vaccine distribution began in the US on 14 December, more than 124 million people or 37.5% of the total population have been fully vaccinated, according to NPR’s Covid-19 vaccine tracker.

The Hollywood Bowl has stipulated that concertgoers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to show a negative Covid-19 test result (which cannot be more than 72 hours old) and a photo ID upon entry.

Attendees who are not fully vaccinated will be required to sit in a socially distanced seating area away from the other sections

These patrons will be required to sit in one of two seating sections, which are socially distanced and separate from vaccination-required sections.

US officials have dismissed the idea of a “vaccine passport” to prove a person’s jab history – saying it represents a violation of privacy – but some venues, concerts and other large gatherings have asked attendees for proof.

Vaccine passports have already taken off in Israel, where anyone who wants to attend a concert must be doubly vaccinated.

Concerts, gyms, swimming pools, theatres and hotels are only available to residents who hold a Green Pass – a certificate issued by the ministry of health showing they had received both doses of the vaccine more than a week prior to the event or that they had recovered from Covid-19 and were presumed immune.

The ethical implications of implementing vaccine passports have been hotly debated around the world. Last week, in IQ‘s first-ever Recovery Sessions, a number of experts hailing from Tel Aviv to London debated the topics of test certificates and vaccine passports.

IQ subscribers can watch the Recovery Sessions on-demand here.

 


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ICM Partners promotes four concert bookers to agent

ICM Partners has promoted four coordinators from its concert departments in both Los Angeles and New York to agent.

Sam Bartlett, Branden Berger, Ferguson Hiett and Sara Shapiro have been promoted to agent, as well as ten others from across ICM’s branded entertainment, digital, literature, production, publications, talent and theatre divisions.

“Today we celebrate the right of passage from coordinator to agent for 14 hardworking ambitious, and intellectually curious women and men, who have earned their promotions,” said Kevin Crotty and Sloan Harris, co-presidents of ICM Partners. “We have so many homegrown success stories at ICM Partners, and we are confident that among this new group of agents, many will follow in those successful footsteps.”

Ferguson Hiett was promoted to agent in February 2020. He books the west coast and the south for the department’s roster of musicians and has been instrumental in building ICM’s College Music Booking Department. Hiett joined ICM Partners in 2013 as an assistant to head of worldwide music, Rob Prinz, and was promoted to coordinator in 2018, helping launch tours for Jerry Seinfeld, Celine Dion, Bob Seger, Alice In Chains, Kamasi Washington and many others.

“We have so many homegrown success stories and we are confident that this group of agents will follow in those footsteps”

Sara Shapiro was also promoted to agent in February 2020. She books the midwest for the adult contemporary and comedy touring departments and her clients include the podcasts We Met At Acme, It’s Happening with Snooki & Joey, LadyGang, and Here to Make Friends. She was named coordinator in 2018 after joining the concerts department in 2014.

Sam Bartlett was promoted to agent in February 2020 and handles live concert bookings for ICM’s adult contemporary and comedy rosters in clubs, theatres, and amphitheatres. He was promoted to coordinator in 2018 after being selected for ICM’s agent trainee program in 2016. Bartlett joined the New York office in 2014.

Branden Berger was promoted to agent in October 2020. As an agent in the comedy touring department, Berger books some of the agency’s top touring comedians in clubs, colleges, and theatres nationwide. In addition, he recently has been booking clients for virtual shows and drive-ins. Berger had been coordinator in the concerts department since 2018.

 


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Former Paradigm agents join UTA

UTA has announced Jeffrey Hasson and Matt Meyer, both formerly of Paradigm Talent Agency, as its latest hires.

Hasson will be part of the leadership team in the Nashville office, while Meyer will be based in UTA’s Los Angeles headquarters.

Hasson has worked with artists including Young the Giant, Tori Kelly, Surfaces, Jamey Johnson, Dashboard Confessional, Dayglow, Blues Traveler, Coin and Ruston Kelly, among others. He joins UTA from Paradigm, after starting his career at Monterey Peninsular Artists (later acquired by Paradigm) in 2005.

“I’m so excited to join the UTA team, and a music department with such great momentum,” he comments. “The company’s perseverance and navigation through these trying times has been very admirable. I can’t wait to share all of UTA’s incredible cross-department resources with my clients to help elevate their business.”

Meyer has represented artists including Halsey, Machine Gun Kelly, Lil Dicky, Don Toliver, Tinashe, Yungblud, Cash Cash, Eden and the Knocks. With Halsey, he played an instrumental role in fostering the singer’s development from an opening act to a festival and arena headliner.

“Jeffrey and Matt have impeccable track records of identifying and developing emerging artists”

He started his career an agent at electronic dance music agency AM Only, also later acquired by Paradigm.

“I am grateful to be joining the team at UTA during a time when they have showcased real innovation and done amazing work on behalf of their clients.

“Everyone has been extremely supportive of this next chapter in my career and I am looking forward to collaborating with my new colleagues to both expand my clients’ passions outside of music and creating a great touring business.”

“Jeffrey and Matt have impeccable track records of identifying and developing emerging artists and creating unique opportunities for their clients,” comments David Zedeck, co-head of UTA’s Music department. “Jeffrey is well-respected within the Nashville music community, and Matt has his finger firmly on the pulse for the next generation of hitmakers. We are thrilled to welcome both of them to our team.”

Hasson and Meyer’s additions follow the recent hiring of new co-head of music Samantha Kirby Yoh, as well as a round of lay-offs as the agency continues to weather the impact of Covid-19.

 


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Final line-up for VR Wireless Connect revealed

Festival Republic and MelodyVR have announced the full line-up for Wireless Connect, a three-day virtual reality music festival taking place from 3 to 5 July.

The event will see exclusive performances – filmed in MelodyVR’s LA studio and custom-made studio in Alexandra Palace, London – from acts including Stefflon Don, Mist, Steel Banglez, Jay1, as well as additional footage from Wireless 2019 featuring Skepta, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd and more. 

Other performances will come from Yungen, Unknown T, Big Narstie and Deno in the UK and from Saweetie, iann dior and 24kGoldn in the US. The full line-up and schedule can be found here.

Wireless Connect will be available in 360​° immersive virtual ​reality on smartphones and VR headsets via the MelodyVR app. It will also stream on the Wireless Facebook Live and YouTube channels.

Free to watch, Wireless Connect fans are encouraged to make a donation to the Black Lives Matter movement

Free to watch, Wireless Connect fans are encouraged to make a donation to the Black Lives Matter movement via a Crowdfunder, which launches at 5 p.m. BST today (29 June).

Radio station Capital Xtra will air artist interviews and provide the soundtrack to those bringing the festival experience to their home.

A celebration of rap, grime, hip hop and RnB, Wireless Festival was forced to cancel its fifteenth anniversary edition this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Acts billed to play the event in London’s Finsbury Park included ASAP Rocky, D-Block Europe and Lil Uzi Thug.

Ben Samuels, North America president of MelodyVR, was one of a number of music industry innovators to take part in the IQ Focus Innovation Session last month. All previous IQ Focus sessions can be watched back here.

 


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Madison Square Garden Company to sell LA Forum

The Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has reached a deal to sell the Forum, the 18,000-capacity arena in Inglewood, Los Angeles, to Steve Ballmer, the billionaire owner of basketball team the LA Clippers, for US$400 million in cash.

MSG – which also operates the famous Madison Square Garden in New York, and is developing cutting-edge ‘Sphere’ arenas in Las Vegas and London – has long been opposed to Ballmer’s plans to build a new arena for the Clippers in the vicinity of the Forum (pictured), and formerly accused Inglewood mayor James Butts of colluding with the Clippers to secretly acquire a plot of land from MSG for the venue.

The purchase, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2020, resolves all litigation between MSG and Ballmer/the Clippers, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“This is the best resolution for all parties involved”

Ballmer, formerly CEO of Microsoft, reportedly plans to build a new, privately financed 18,000-seat arena for the Clippers, while continuing to operate the Forum as a concert venue.

“This is the best resolution for all parties involved and we wish the new owners every success,” MSG says in a statement.

“We are looking forward to putting the legal issues behind us,” add the Clippers. “This will allow us to focus on delivering world-class experiences for music fans and building a new arena that will provide a unique environment and a true home-court advantage for Clippers fans.”

 


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North American arenas compensate part-time employees

Amid widespread cancellations of live entertainment and sporting events, several arenas in North America are taking steps to ensure the livelihoods of their part-time staff.

Large venues including Staples Center (20,000-cap.) in Los Angeles, Smoothie King Center (17,791-seat) in New Orleans and Scotiabank Saddledome (19,289-seat) in Calgary have created employee funds for non-salaried workers who have been affected by coronavirus-induced closures.

In LA, the AEG-operated Staples Center – along with its sports-team tenants, the LA Lakers, LA Clippers and LA Kings – have established a compensation scheme for wages lost by part-time employees.

Payments from the fund, according to NHL.com, will be distributed among more than 2,800 hourly event employees, including box-office staff, ushers, security, stagehands, operations staff, car park attendants and F&B sellers.

Meanwhile, Gayle Benson, owner of the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans, has announced plans to establish an ‘Arena Assistance Fund’ for those left out of pocket by the cancellation of upcoming NBA basketball games.

“We want to do our part to assist those that have been impacted in our community”

Benson, whose teams play at ASM Global’s Smoothie King Center, has also made a personal donation of US$1 million to create the Gayle Benson Community Fund to remunerate Pelicans employees, as well as local ‘gig economy’ workers in New Orleans.

“We have been meeting and planning a response since the NBA’s announcement to suspend games. Our meaningful discussions have led to what we believe is the most impactful way to best serve the needs of our community as a whole,” she says. “We want to do our part to assist those that have been impacted in our community.”

North of the Canadian border, Calgary Sports and Entertainment Corporation (CSEC), which owns the Calgary Flames ice-hockey team and operates the Saddledome, has similarly announced it will pay part-time and hourly employees while the Flames’ season is on hold.

San Francisco’s Chase Center has also established a $1m ‘disaster relief fund’, to be funded by the owners, players and coaches of NBA squad Golden State Warriors, to pay employees while the 19,500-capacity venue is empty.

Yesterday, US president Donald Trump recommended Americans refrain from gathering in groups of more than ten until the end of the month, as well as the closure of bars, restaurants, clubs and schools.

 


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Primary Talent joins forces with ICM Partners

Primary Talent International, one of London’s last major independent booking agencies, has allied with Los Angeles’ ICM Partners, in an arrangement the new partners say “greatly enhances ICM’s footprint and presence in the international music touring business while offering Primary’s clients all the benefits of a major agency”.

Primary Talent is home to more than 900 music clients, including the likes of Stormzy, the 1975, alt-J, Noel Gallagher, Patti Smith, the Cure, Pussycat Dolls, Two Door Cinema Club, Dave, Lana Del Rey and Catfish and the Bottlemen.

The partnership with Primary bolsters ICM’s international touring business, which includes artists such as Khalid, J. Cole, Migos, Good Charlotte, Charlie Wilson, Limp Bizkit, Sinead O’Connor, Suicideboys and Boyz II Men.

Other ICM clients include actors Samuel L. Jackson, Sir Patrick Stewart, John Travolta and Christoph Waltz, comedians Ellen DeGeneres, Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld, filmmaker Spike Lee and wrestler-actor John Cena. In addition to LA, the agency – formerly International Creative Management – also has offices in London, New York and Washington DC.

Primary Talent International will continue to operate under the Primary banner out of its existing offices in Holborn, London, with no planned changes of management or agents. The existing Primary board (Primary’s directors are Peter Elliot, Matt Bates, Ben Winchester, Andy Woolliscroft and Peter Maloney) will continue to run the agency, working closely with Rob Prinz, ICM Partners’ co-head of worldwide concerts, and the wider ICM music team.

“This deal greatly enhances our ability to serve our clients on a global scale”

It’s a similar arrangement to that between the UK’s X-ray Touring and US-based Paradigm Talent Agency, with the former aligning with Paradigm in 2017 while keeping its name and operating independently (in contrast to the agency formerly known as Coda, which is now Paradigm London).

Two years prior, London’s the Agency Group (TAG) – then the world’s largest independent booking agency – was acquired and rebranded by United Talent Agency, with TAG founder Neil Warnock becoming UTA’s global head of touring.

Commenting on the partnership, Chris Silbermann, CEO of ICM Partners, says: “We have great respect for Primary’s extraordinary artists, management team and agents, and we enthusiastically welcome them all into our ICM Partners family. This deal greatly enhances our ability to serve our clients on a global scale through added resources, support and even greater opportunities, which is our top priority.

“Primary is well known for being fiercely independent, which we love about them. We are honoured that they believed we were the right partners to help take their clients and their agency to the next levels of success while retaining their brand and management identity and philosophy.”

“Primary has long been one of the premier independent music agencies in London, if not the world, that I’ve always admired,” adds Prinz. “After years of trying to find ways to work together, I’m very excited to now have that opportunity. We think this is a great fit for all parties and look forward to begin exploring ways to expand our business together on behalf of our clients.”

“We now [have] additional opportunity to offer our clients the scope and resources of a major agency if they choose to take advantage of it”

Recent accolades for Primary Talent-repped artists include back-to-back album of the year awards at the Brits (Dave in 2020 and the 1975 in 2019) and Stormzy winning best British male this year, while Wolf Alice and Dave are the two most recent recipients of the Mercury Music Prize.

Primary’s Peter Elliott comments: “Primary Talent is a creative and forward-looking company with an unrivalled reputation for working closely with our artists to maximise their full potential. We’re very proud of what Primary has achieved over the years and excited by what the partnership with the dynamic and progressive team at ICM will enable us all to do moving forward.”

“We love the incredible artists we represent and the agency we have built with our client’s needs foremost in all we do,” adds Matt Bates. “It is in that spirit that we have joined forces with ICM Partners.

“We have a shared client-first philosophy that passionately represents fresh new voices we enthusiastically develop all the way to arena and stadium acts. We will continue to see Primary prosper and grow, with now additional opportunity to offer our clients the scope and resources of a major agency if they choose to take advantage of it.”

 


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New LA Stadium hires four, including AEG’s Castillo Butcher

LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park (LASED), a new venue and entertainment complex in Los Angeles, has made four new high-profile hires as it gears up for opening in 2020.

The 298-acre Hollywood Park will comprise a 70,240-seat stadium and 6,000-seat performance venue, along with 1.5m square feet of office and retail space, a hotel and more than 20 acres of parkland.

It is currently being built in Inglewood, California – also home to Madison Square Garden Company’s the Forum, as well as an in-the-works new basketball arena – by Kroenke Sports & Entertainment (KSE) owner Stan Kroenke.

New to LASED are Christy Castillo Butcher, Kameron Durham, Skarpi Hedinsson and Joe Sesin, who join as senior vice-president of programming, VP of guest experience, CTO and VP of finance and accounting, respectively.

Castillo Butcher most recently served as senior VP of booking and events for AEG’s Staples Center (21,000-cap.) and Microsoft Theatre in central LA. She spent 19 years at Staples Center and played a key role in booking some of the venue’s most successful events, including the 2000 Democratic National Convention, multiple Grammy Awards ceremonies and X Games competitions, and more than 250 sold-out concerts.

“We are assembling a dedicated organisation of talented individuals”

All four will report to LASED managing director Jason Gannon.

“As part of Mr Kroenke’s vision for this global sports and entertainment destination, we are assembling a dedicated organisation of talented individuals,” says Gannon. “To that end, we are thrilled to welcome Christy, Kameron, Skarpi and Joe to our team.

“Each brings a unique expertise that will help us deliver an unparallelled experience for all who visit Hollywood Park.”

Hollywood Park is projected to open in 2020, with American football clubs Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers expected to move in around August. When the two teams move to LA Stadium, where they will play their home games, it will mark the return of major professional sports to Inglewood for the first time since the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings (a basketball and ice-hockey team, respectively) left The Forum for Staples Center in 1999.

 


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