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Cirque du Soleil announces return to the stage

Cirque do Soleil Entertainment Group has announced the reopening of four of its most popular shows, which have been closed for more than a year due to restrictions imposed in response to the pandemic.

Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil, the world’s largest producer of circus and other touring entertainment events, was one of the first casualties of the coronavirus, filing for bankruptcy last June after having already laid off thousands of staff. It emerged from bankruptcy protection in November after striking an agreement with creditors.

Two resident shows, O at the Bellagio and Mystère at Treasure Island, will reopen in Las Vegas this summer (1 July and 28 June, respectively), with the affiliated Blue Man Group show also returning to the Luxor Hotel from 24 June. Tickets for all Las Vegas shows are on sale now.

“I just can’t wait to see the lights go back on”

Two Cirque-produced touring events will also reopen: Kooza will return to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic from November, with Luzia opening at the Royal Albert Hall in London in January 2022.

Daniel Lamarre, president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, says: “This is the moment we have all been waiting for. Almost 400 days have passed since we had to take a temporary hiatus, and we have been anxiously awaiting our return to the stage.

“I am so proud of the resilience of our artists and employees who persevered during the most challenging times with stages dark around the world for so long. I just can’t wait to see the lights go back on.”

“This is only the beginning,” he adds. “We look forward to sharing more exciting news in the coming weeks.”

 


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Amanda Moore to lead Live Nation Vegas residency biz

Live Nation Concerts has promoted Amanda Moore to lead the residency business for Live Nation Las Vegas, having launched residencies for artists including Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, Backstreet Boys, Aerosmith, Usher and Britney Spears.

In her new role, Moore will oversee booking, marketing and business operations for Live Nation’s multi-million dollar residency business in the Vegas market.

Moore will continue to work closely alongside Sid Greenfeig who will continue to manage and run all of Live Nation’s concert business in the market, including across the major large capacity venues such as T-Mobile Arena (cap. 20,000) and the all-new Allegiant Stadium (65,000).

“Amanda has been an integral part of Live Nation’s success and highly esteemed reputation in the Las Vegas market”

The pair will report to Kurt Melien who will oversee overall Las Vegas market growth as well as key client and artist partnerships.

“Amanda has been an integral part of Live Nation’s success and highly esteemed reputation in the Las Vegas market,” says Bob Roux, president of Live Nation Concerts. “I am looking forward to the company’s continued growth in the Las Vegas market, especially for our residency business as we continue to build from a strong historical base of business with our artists and partners.”

Moore helped open the Las Vegas office in 2015, overseeing marketing for the region. Over the last six years, she was closely involved in all residencies and oversaw all marketing, PR, partnerships and community relations initiatives for the market.

In 2019, Live Nation Las Vegas produced over 410 concerts, 300 of which were residency dates.

 


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$800m for Route 91 Harvest victims

Survivors of the 2017 Route 91 Harvest massacre and their families will receive a collective pay-out of US$800 million, a US court has confirmed.

Hotel operator MGM Resorts International, whose Las Vegas Mandalay Bay hotel was the site of the shooting, agreed a settlement with victims last October, with the amount of compensation estimated at $735–800m depending on the amount of the claimants.

In her court order, Clark County, Nevada, judge Linda Bell said there was “near-unanimous participation in the settlement among potential claimants”, with a total of 4,400 claimants, according to the Associated Press, nudging the settlement towards the maximum $800m figure.

“We are grateful that the decision brings families, victims and the community closer to closure”

MGM acknowledges no liability for the attack, and will pay $49m of the settlement, compared to $751m from its insurance companies, reports AP.

Fifty-eight people were killed and a further 422 injured when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on Route 91 Harvest, a Live Nation-promoted open-air country music festival, from 32nd floor of the MGM Mandalay Bay on 1 October 2017.

The attack – the deadliest mass shooting in US history – also caused a mass panic that left another 800 festivalgoers injured.

“We are grateful that the decision brings families, victims and the community closer to closure,” says MGM in a statement.

 


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Live Nation takes stake in Miami’s Groot Hospitality

Live Nation has taken a majority stake in Miami-based venue operator Groot Hospitality, owned by entrepreneur David Grutman.

Groot Hospitality’s portfolio includes nightclubs Liv (1,100-cap.) and Story (1,400-cap.), the Swan and Bar Bevy, which is a joint venture with singer Pharell Williams, and several restaurants.

Launched by Grutman in 2018, Groot Hospitality now plans to expand into new markets, with eleven projects set to open in Dallas, Las Vegas and Dubai, as well as in Miami, over the next two years.

“Entertainment is the DNA of Groot Hospitality, so it was a natural fit for us to join the leading live entertainment company,” says Grutman.

“Entertainment is the DNA of Groot Hospitality, so it was a natural fit for us to join the leading live entertainment company”

“Live Nation shares my passion for creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences and together we will grow our portfolio worldwide while pushing the limits of fans’ expectations.”

Grutman will stay on as CEO of Groot Hospitality, along with executives Chris Cuomo and Mo Garcia.

According to a press statement, Live Nation hopes to use Grutman’s expertise to “elevate and launch offerings” across its venues, festivals and events.

IQ calculates that Live Nation has taken a majority shareholding in 18 promoters, festivals and other live music-related businesses so far this year across Asia (One Production), Australia (Moshtix), North America (Embrace Presents, Neste Event Marketing, Levitate, Spaceland Presents, Bonnaroo), Europe (Planet Events, Blockfest, Tons of Rock, Antwerps Sportpaleis, PDH Music, Go Ahead, Rewind Festival, Hög Agency) and Latin America (Rock in Rio, Ocesa Entertainment).

 


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Amazon announces full line-up for new Intersect festival

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has revealed the full artist line-up for Intersect, its music and technology festival debuting in Las Vegas next month.

Acts including Jpegmafia, Toro y Moi, the Black Madonna, Japanese Breakfast and Kelsey Lu join the likes of Foo Fighters, Kacey Musgraves, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, Beck, Brandi Carlile, Leon Bridges, HER and Jamie XX at the event, which will take place on 6 and 7 November at the 85,000-capacity Las Vegas Festival Grounds.

The festival – which follows the Taylor Swift-headlined Prime Day concert as the web giant’s first new live entertainment project since the abrupt shutdown of Amazon Tickets and Prime Live Events early last year – also includes a reported million square feet (93,000m²) of games and activities, including a video arcade, a ‘post-apocalyptic’ dodgeball stadium and a huge ball pit with 200,000 balls, as well as installations and exhibitions by acclaimed visual artists and a drone light show celebrating women in tech.

“We’ve built a pretty amazing and unusual live music experience at our annual AWS conference that attendees have loved”

Ariel Kelman, vice-president of worldwide marketing for AWS, comments: “Music has been an uncanny unifier of people over the years. We’ve built a pretty amazing and unusual live music experience at our annual AWS conference that attendees have loved, and with Intersect, we’re excited to extend this unique event into a two-day, public music festival.

“Festivalgoers can look forward to a mix of musical performances from legendary acts like the Foo Fighters and Kacey Musgraves, and unique musical talents from the likes of Brandi Carlile, Kelsey Lu, and Jpegmafia, coupled with immersive digital installations and some of the interactive games and technology elements our AWS re:Invent and re:Play attendees know and love.”

Two-day tickets are priced from US$169 and available from intersectfest.com.

 


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MGM to pay $735m to Route 91 shooting victims

Hotel operator MGM Resorts International has reached a settlement of between US$735 million and $800m with the victims and survivors of the 2017 shooting at Route 91 Harvest festival (22,000-cap.) in Las Vegas.

According to Las Vegas law firm Eglet Adams, the final amount of the settlement is dependent on how many claimants come forward.

MGM subsidiary Mandalay Corps owns the Mandalay Bay hotel, from where gunman Stephen Paddock killed 58 and wounded a further 422 people attending the open-air country music festival in October 2017. A further 800 festivalgoers were injured in the panic following the shooting.

Hundreds of law suits have since been filed against the hotel giant, which also owns the venue at which the festival was taking place.

“Today’s agreement marks a milestone in the recovery process for the victims of the horrifying events of 1 October,” says attorney Robert Eglet, whose firm represents almost 2,500 victims of the massacre.

“While nothing will be able to bring back the lives lost or undo the horrors so many suffered on that day, this settlement will provide fair compensation for thousands of victims and their families.”

“While nothing will be able to bring back the lives lost or undo the horrors so many suffered on that day, this settlement will provide fair compensation for thousands of victims and their families”

“We hope this resolution will provide some sense of closure to our clients,” adds fellow attorney Mo Aziz, a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Azi, which represents more than 1,300 victims and survivors. “In this era of mass shootings, this settlement sends a strong message to the hospitality industry that all steps necessary to prevent mass shootings must be taken.”

MGM Resorts chairman and CEO Jim Murren, who says the deals represents “good corporate citizenship” on his company’s behalf, says, “our goal has always been to resolve these matters so our community and the victims and their families can move forward in the healing process.

“This agreement with the plaintiffs’ counsel is a major step, and one that we hoped for a long time would be possible.”

MGM Resorts had previously filed its own litigation against the victims in a bid to avoid liability. This settlement does not act as an admission of liability.

An IQ timeline of terror attacks at live music events and festivals predating the Las Vegas massacre is available here.

Anti-terrorism efforts at live events will form one focus of discussions at the Event Safety and Security Summit (E3S) on 8 October.

 


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Alienstock creator cancels Area 51 event

The creator of the Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us Facebook event and subsequent spin-off music festival Alienstock has stepped away from the event, which was due to take place in Rachel, Nevada (population ~50) from 20 to 22 September 2019.

Organisers are instead teaming up with the one-day Bud Light Area 51 Celebration, taking place on 19 September at the Downtown Las Vegas Events Center (2,500- to 11,000-cap.).

The cancellation came shortly after organisers announced Alienstock’s line-up, which featured Boots Electric – the solo project of Eagles of Death Metal frontman Jesse Hughes –, Willy Savage and alien-costumed trio Brothers of Alien Rock.

“Due to the lack of infrastructure, poor planning, risk management and blatant disregard for the safety of the expected 10,000-plus Alienstock attendees, we decided to pull the plug on the festival,” reads a post on the festival’s website.

“We foresee a possible humanitarian disaster in the works, and we can’t participate in any capacity at this point.”

“Due to the lack of infrastructure, poor planning, risk management and blatant disregard for the safety of the expected 10,000-plus Alienstock attendees, we decided to pull the plug on the festival”

Storm Area 51 creator Matty Roberts, who was organising the festival along with event producer Frank DiMaggio, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the cancellation of Alienstock came as a “fantastic relief” following a build up of “concerns” in the run up to the event.

Fans have expressed disappointment on the Area 51 celebration page, which numbers 440 attendees compared to Storm Area 51’s two million, with one user writing: “Alienstock canceled [sic]… no more desert party… what a disappointment… now it’s [a] one day thing in Vegas on a THURSDAY!? I took vacay days off for [this] c’mon at least let it be a Friday.”

Roberts places the blame on permit holder Connie West, the owner of Rachel’s Little A’Le’Inn who reportedly failed to supply the event organisers with “contracts, proof of deposits or any paper proof of anything” that she claimed to have secured for the festival.

In turn, West claims Roberts and DiMaggio have “broke[n] the intent”, stating she intends to take legal action.

An announcement on the official Rachel, Nevada website states that a “scaled down event” is still being planned for the Little A’Le’Inn. However, the site warns that the event “will be rather disappointing”, with expected attendance of “a few hundred at best”.

Town officials had previously voiced opposition to Alienstock, warning that locals would “step up to protect their property” from festivalgoers.

 


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AEG to manage new Las Vegas stadium

AEG Facilities has been selected to operate 65,000-seat stadium under construction in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Set to open in August 2020, the US$2 billion domed stadium will serve as the new home ground of American football team the Oakland Raiders (who will become the Las Vegas Raiders when they relocate from Oakland, California), as well as hosting concerts, festivals, family shows and other sporting events.

AEG Facilities – the arena/stadia management division of AEG – will be responsible for all stadium operations, including hiring staff and planning the schedule of events for its 2020 opening.

“The addition of the stadium … will provide immediate opportunities to bring new high-profile events to Las Vegas”

“We are honoured to have the opportunity to partner with one of sports’ most recognisable, successful and iconic international brands,” says Bob Newman, president of AEG Facilities, “and with a city known as the ‘sports and entertainment capital of the world’ in a stadium destined to set new standards for the fan experience that will be created.

“The addition of the Las Vegas stadium into our global stadia network will provide immediate opportunities to bring new high-profile events to Las Vegas to take advantage of the incredible new stadium and a city that knows how to deliver best-in-class experiences and events.”

AEG Facilities already operates the 20,000-cap. T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which opened in 2016. Other venues under construction in the city include the Sphere arena, owned by rival operator MSG.

 


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Gaga’s Vegas residency is the Strip’s hottest ticket

It might not have started yet, but Lady Gaga’s upcoming Las Vegas residency, Enigma, is already the hottest ticket in Sin City.

Enigma, the star’s first-ever concert residency, kicks off on 28 December 2018 at the 5,200-capacity Park Theatre, at the Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip. Announced in August, it is produced and promoted by Live Nation and comprises two distinct shows: Lady Gaga Enigma, showcasing Gaga’s pop hits, and Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano, featuring stripped-back versions of her songs and music from the Great American Songbook.

The show will run for a minimum of two years, with 28 dates announced so far.

Gaga is pulling in more sales for a single performance than all scheduled shows of Spears

According to Ticket Club data, the show is dominating its competition, with sale grosses outstripping Celine Dion’s eight-year residency, which closes in June 2019, and Britney Spears’s Domination show, with Gaga “pulling in more sales for a single performance than all scheduled shows of Spears”, according to the US resale site.

While Lady Gaga is currently riding high on the success of the film A Star is Born – for which she is tipped for an Oscar nomination alongside co-star Bradley Cooper – the show’s sales success is skewed by its high ticket price, with tickets for the 28–31 December shows selling for an average of US$535 on the secondary market, compared to around $330 for Spears, $277 for Dion.

Tickets for Gwen Stefani’s residency at Planet Hollywood, meanwhile, are selling for $248 apiece, with Mariah Carey’s the Butterfly Returns show pulling in $160 per ticket.

 


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Lady Gaga announces “spectacular” Vegas residency

Lady Gaga’s upcoming Las Vegas residency will kick off on 28 December, promoter/producer Live Nation announced today, and comprise two distinct shows showcasing the star’s pop and jazz output.

Lady Gaga Enigma, which runs from 28 to 31 December 2018 and then intermittently from 17 January to 8 November 2019, is a “brand-new odyssey of her pop hits built as an experience unlike any other”, while Lady Gaga Jazz & Piano, taking place on 20 January, 3 February and 2 and 9 June 2019, will feature “stripped-down versions of her hits, as well as music from the Great American Songbook”,  made famous by her 2014–15 collaboration with Tony Bennett.

All shows will take place at the 5,200-seat Park MGM, operated by MGM Resorts International.

“What she is planning for Las Vegas audiences is nothing short of spectacular”

Bill Hornbuckle, president of MGM Resorts International, says: “Working with Lady Gaga and her team has been a career highlight for me. What she is planning for Las Vegas audiences is nothing short of spectacular. Welcoming her into our family will firmly position Park MGM as the city’s most exciting new destination.”

“I can’t wait to share Enigma with all of my fans and with Las Vegas,” adds Lady Gaga. “We’re creating a show unlike anything I’ve done before. It will be a celebration of all that is unique and different within us. The challenges of bravery can be overcome with creativity and courage that is grown out of adversity, love and music.”

GA tickets are priced at US$77.90, with VIP options, including meet-and-greets, also available.

Live Nation has produced and promoted all Gaga’s tours since 2009–2011’s the Monster Ball tour, including, most recently, the Joanne world tour.

 


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