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Sphere announces two more dates with Anyma

Two new dates have been added to Afterlife presents Anyma ‘The End of Gensys’ Live at the Sphere in Las Vegas due to “overwhelming demand”.

Anyma, the solo project of acclaimed American DJ and producer Matteo Milleri, will perform on December 29, 30 and 31 (New Year’s Eve) at the 17,500-seat/20,000-cap venue.

The trio of Live Nation-promoted dates will see the DJ perform his critically acclaimed albums Genesys and Genesys II for the last time, having played it for tens of thousands of people at venues in Asia, Europe and South America.

The concerts will also showcase “a meticulously curated selection of music and visual art” by Afterlife (the record label co-founded by Milleri) in collaboration with digital artists and directors such as Alessio De Vecchi, Tobias Gremmler and Alexander Wessley.

Ticket prices for the new events will be the same as the NYE show, with the general on sale starting 23 July and a presale happening on 22 July.

The stint will see Anyma become the first electronic act to perform at the $2.3 billion next-generation venue

The stint will see Anyma become the first electronic act to perform at the $2.3 billion next-generation venue following residencies from Dead & Company, Phish and U2.

In other news, The Eagles this week extended their 2025 residency at the Sphere by four additional shows. The group now has 20 shows scheduled over ten weekends from September into January 2025.

The Sphere launched in September 2023 with the 40-night U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere residency.

In May, parent company Sphere Entertainment Co reported that the venue generated revenue of $170.4 million in its fiscal third quarter ending 31 March.

During the earnings call, Sphere Entertainment boss Jim Dolan revealed that talks are ongoing with “several” markets about constructing a second Sphere venue.

 


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New Las Vegas festival planned for F1 GP weekend

A new music festival starring “A-list musical talent” is being launched in Downtown Las Vegas during the city’s 2024 Formula 1 Grand Prix weekend.

The Neon City Festival will debut from 22-24 November after the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) board approved $1 million (€920,000) in sponsorship.

The new event, which is being produced by Downtown Las Vegas Resorts and the Fremont Street Experience, will be free and open to all ages. It will include programming across “Fremont Street Experience, Downtown Las Vegas Events Center and the surrounding downtown area”.

The 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix is set for 21-23 November, with Neon City designed to drive “incremental visitation” to the area in the midst of the F1 festivities along the Las Vegas Strip.

“The Neon City Festival will incorporate an eclectic mix of A-list musical talent”

“The Neon City Festival will incorporate an eclectic mix of A-list musical talent, local vendors, art installations and exhibits, and a variety of food and beverage outlets from famed Las Vegas venues,” says a LVCVA statement.

According to the Las Vegas-Review Journal, Neon City’s launch follows complaints from downtown businesses that they were hit financially when the F1 race premiered last year. A group of nine local businesses said they suffered losses as a result of traffic congestion and street closures during the event and pleaded with the authorities for compensation, as well as petitioning for the 2024 race not to go ahead.

The inaugural 2023 edition kicked off with a star-studded showcase, featuring artists including J Balvin, Journey, Keith Urban, and Steve Aoki. Entertainment also included performances from Mark Ronson, Kylie Minogue, Nile Rodgers & Chic and Major Lazer in the T-Mobile Zone at Sphere.

The track encircled the next-gen Sphere Entertainment venue, which boasted a dedicated fan zone during the event weekend.

 


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Vegas festival downsizes for 2024 edition

The organisers of the Life Is Beautiful festival in downtown Las Vegas have stepped back from plans to take a year off by rebranding the event for 2024, and moving to a different site with a slimmed down two-day electronic music gathering.

Renaming the 27-28 September gathering, Life Is Beautiful Presents: A Big Beautiful Block Party, it will move to a site close to The Arts District in Las Vegas, and will feature 14 electronic acts including Badbadnotgood, James Blake, Jamie xx, Jungle, Justice, LCD Soundsystem, LP Giobbi, Neil Frances, Peggy Gou, and Thundercat.

Organisers promise that sets will not overlap, with performances starting each evening at 5 pm and continuing until 2 am.

“If you look at the festival landscape, I think this is a product there should probably be more of”

Life Is Beautiful is now owned by Rolling Stone, whose CEO Gus Wenner says that the intention is to bring back the full-scale festival in the future, while they are also considering hosting more block party events.

“It was exciting for us to put something a little more focused together that wasn’t so multi genre,” Wenner told Billboard – a sister publication of Rolling Stone. “If you look at the festival landscape, I think this is a product there should probably be more of, as opposed to these big box festivals where you’ve got huge pop acts that are all playing the festival circuit with little permutations.”

A Big Beautiful Block Party happens on the same days at San Francisco’s electronic festival Portola, which will also feature performances by the likes of Justice, LP Giobbi, Neil Frances and Jamie xx.

Life Is Beautiful was founded in 2013 by Tony Hsieh, who died in 2020 at the age of 46, and Wenner has pledged that this year’s block party will honour Hsieh’s legacy.

 


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New COOs at UTA, Sphere Entertainment

Talent agency UTA and live entertainment company Sphere Entertainment have each announced new chief operating officers.

UTA has appointed Bob Roback, a veteran entertainment and tech entrepreneur and executive, as its new COO.

In joining the firm, Roback will also be a partner and join UTA’s board of directors. He takes over the COO role from Andrew Thau, who will continue as co-head of UTA Sports.

This week, Thau and Rich Paul, UTA Sports co-head and KLUTCH Sports founder, announced UTA’s acquisition of ROOF (Representatives Of Outstanding Footballers), a leading football agency representing top soccer players in Europe and beyond.

Roback will report to UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer and president David Kramer. As COO, his responsibilities include overall business operations and overseeing growth, strategy and technology, with a focus on efficiency and innovation, the agency said.

Roback’s career spans content, digital consumer services and consumer products, as well as business-to-business platforms and marketplaces. He spent seven years as CEO of Ingrooves Music Group, a tech-led music and marketing business acquired by Universal Music Group in 2019. Prior to that, Roback served as president and a member of the board of Fender Musical Instruments Corp. He also co-founded several companies, including Dashbox, The Media Farm and Launch Media, which became Yahoo Music.

“Throughout his accomplished career, Bob has built and led multiple businesses at the intersection of entertainment and technology, and he will be a valued partner at UTA as we help our clients thrive in an increasingly global and complex marketplace,” says Zimmer.

Roback adds: “I’ve long admired UTA’s dedication to its clients and ability to lead the way in defining what it means to be a global agency during a time of tremendous change and opportunity. I’m thrilled to be joining the company at this exciting time and look forward to shaping the future with UTA’s talented and ambitious team.”

“Bob will be a valued partner at UTA as we help our clients thrive in an increasingly global and complex marketplace”

Elsewhere, Sphere Entertainment Co has expanded Jennifer Koester’s role at the firm to president and COO. Koester most recently served as the company’s president, Sphere business operations, where she led the strategy and execution of all business aspects of Sphere, a futuristic $2.3 billion arena launched in Las Vegas in September 2023.

In the expanded role, Koester will continue working with executive leadership, and across the broader Sphere team, to grow the business and optimise its operations, said the firm.

Koester will now also provide strategic oversight for Sphere Studios – the immersive content studio in Burbank dedicated to developing multi-sensory experiences exclusively for Sphere – including further developing the Studios’ capabilities as a full-service production studio.

She will continue to focus on maximizing venue utilisation across a range of categories, such as original programming, attractions, concerts, residencies, and corporate and marquee events; driving strategic partnerships; delivering the best customer experience; and growing Sphere as a premium global brand.

“Since joining our team earlier this year, Jennifer’s contributions have had a significant impact,” says James Dolan, executive chairman and chief executive officer, Sphere Entertainment. “We believe we are just scratching the surface of what is possible with Sphere, and her expertise will be essential as we continue to advance on our long-term vision for this next-generation entertainment medium.”

“I welcome the opportunity to take on this expanded role,” says Koester. “Across the Sphere organisation we are focused on both bringing unique experiences to life in Las Vegas, and developing new experiences that will keep Sphere at the forefront of immersive entertainment. I look forward to continuing to work with our world-class team to grow our business and deliver on Sphere’s vision for the future of entertainment.”

A seasoned executive with 30 years of diverse experience in technology, media, and entertainment, Ms. Koester’s experience spans across functional areas including business development, marketing, technology, legal, and product management.

She joined Sphere Entertainment in February 2024 from Google, where she served as managing director, Americas Strategic Alliances, Global Partnerships.

She also previously served as director, telecommunications and video distributors, global partnerships at Google, where she was a key contributor to product strategy and roadmaps that delivered new revenue opportunities, including development and monetisation of advertising product lines. Her experience prior to Google includes serving as senior vice president of advanced advertising product development, data analytics and ad operations at Cablevision, as well as various legal positions.

 


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The Eagles confirm Sphere residency

The Eagles have confirmed their long-rumoured residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas.

The American band will play eight shows over four weekends this autumn, offering fans “the ultimate connection to the band’s legendary catalogue in an immersive experience that only Sphere can provide”.

The shows will take place on 20-21 & 27-28 September and 11-12 & 18-19 October.

Tickets start at $175 and will reflect all-in pricing, while Vibee packages include a two-night stay at The Venetian Resort Las Vegas with guests receiving priority entry to Sphere, commemorative keepsakes, and access to a fan experience.  Limited VIP Ticket Packages will also be available.

“We will never have an act play the Sphere that doesn’t have something compelling up on the screen”

The next-generation $2.3 billion Sphere launched in September 2023 with the 40-night U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere residency, followed by a four-show stint by Phish last month. Dead & Company recently added six shows to their Dead Forever – Live at Sphere run at the 20,000-cap venue due to “increased demand” to take their total number of dates to 30.

“Every time an act books the Sphere, they have to create content around it,” said Sphere Entertainment boss Jim Dolan during the company’s most recent earnings call. “We will never have an act play the Sphere that doesn’t have something compelling up on the screen. It takes a while to do that, so we’re being too judicious about it. But the more an act plays the Sphere, like U2, the more they can monetise the content across multiple shows and therefore invest more on the content and create an even better show.”

The Eagles recently wrapped up a five-night UK stint at Manchester’s new Co-op Live as part of their Long Goodbye farewell tour and will perform a European stadium date with their first of two dates at Arnhem’s GelreDome in the Netherlands tonight (13 June).

The group, who are represented by manager Irving Azoff, revealed their plans to bring the curtain down on their 52-year career with one final tour last summer, beginning last September at New York’s Madison Square Garden. The tour is expected to continue into 2025, as “the band will perform as many shows in each market as their audience demands”.

 


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Lovers & Friends Festival cancelled last minute

US festival Lovers & Friends was cancelled less than 15 hours before it was scheduled to begin due to “dangerous weather”.

Promoted by Live Nation, the one-day festival was supposed to kick off on midday Saturday (4 May) in Las Vegas, US, with headlining sets from Usher, Backstreet Boys, Janet Jackson and Alicia Keys.

However, an overnight statement from organisers said they had been “monitoring the weather for several days and proactively preparing for a windy Saturday,” but decided it was too unsafe after advice from public officials and the National Weather Service, which warned of high winds and “gusts potentially more than 60 mph.”

“This was an incredibly heartbreaking decision to make as we are aware that fans have travelled from all over the world to enjoy this incredible lineup of superstars and have been looking forward to this event for several months,” the statement said. “We’ve worked hard to create an amazing event for you, and we are just as disappointed as you are.”

Ja Rule, Ashanti, Gwen Stefani, Monica, Brandy, Nas, M.I.A., Snoop Dogg, Ciara and Ludacris were also featured on the 90s-centric lineup.

“This was an incredibly heartbreaking decision to make as we are aware that fans have travelled from all over the world”

Tickets ranged from $325 (€302) to $695 (€645). Organisers said those who purchased tickets through official channels will receive a refund within 30 days.

Since launching in 2020, Friends & Lovers Festival has experienced its fair share of upsets. When it was first announced in 2020, several artists on its lineup denied their involvement. That year’s event was later cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The festival finally debuted in Vegas in 2022 but three attendees later sued organisers, claiming they failed to provide adequate safety and security measures when rumours of gunfire at the event caused them to be trampled in a stampede. The case is still pending.

Lovers & Friends is the latest festival impacted by extreme weather, following the recent cancellation of California’s Sol Blume.

In the US, adverse weather coverage has “increased significantly” in the last five years, according to Jeff Torda from Higginbotham. Backing this point, a recent Billboard article claimed premiums in North America had tripled in recent years.

The latest edition of ILMC also saw industry leaders discussing ways to cope with the impact of weather on festivals and open-air live music events.

 


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Adele announces final Vegas residency dates

Adele has announced the final dates of her Las Vegas residency, rescheduling 10 shows cancelled due to illness.

The 100-date Weekends With Adele residency at Caesars Palace’s The Colosseum (4,100-capacity) will wrap up with ‘The Final Shows’ on October 25 and 26, and November 1, 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, 22 and 23.

In late February, the 16-time Grammy Award-winner announced the postponement of the March shows, citing ongoing illness.

“Sadly I have to take a break and pause my Vegas residency,” the singer said in a social media post. “I hadn’t quite gotten the chance to get back to full health before shows resumed and now I’m sick again, and unfortunately it’s taken a toll on my voice. And so on doctor’s orders, I have no choice but to rest thoroughly.”

Pre-existing ticket holders will be contacted with their newly allocated date.

“I couldn’t think of a more wonderful way to spend my summer”

The 35-year-old will resume her US residency after a 10-show stint in Germany, her first mainland Europe shows since her 2016/17 Adele Live tour. The WME-repped singer will perform throughout August at a purpose-built “bespoke stadium” in Munich.

“I couldn’t think of a more wonderful way to spend my summer and end this beautiful phase of my life and career with shows closer to home during such an exciting summer,” she said.

Based at convention centre Munich Messe, the 80,000-cap open-air stadium will feature a combination of grandstand seating and standing areas. The Live Nation-promoted dates were met with phenomenal demand, with more than 2.2 million registering to purchase tickets.

But the exclusive European shows, which increased from four to 10 dates, have yet to sell out.

Adele’s Las Vegas residency resumes on 17 May.

 


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Sphere names Ned McNeilage chief creative officer

Sphere Entertainment Co. has named Ned McNeilage, an award-winning creative leader with more than 30 years of experience, as the company’s chief creative officer (CCO).

As the owners and operators of the groundbreaking Sphere venue in Las Vegas, the company says that McNeilage will help shape its creative and brand strategy. He will lead Sphere’s in-house creative design studio and brand teams, overseeing all brand strategy and creative. He will also be responsible for content that runs on the Exosphere – the venue’s fully programmable LED exterior.

Throughout his career, McNeilage has worked at the intersection of brands, entertainment, and technology. Prior to joining Sphere, he served as CCO at VML, working on innovative campaigns for blue-chip brands including Microsoft, IBM, and Google in addition to overseeing multiple offices. Prior to VML, McNeilage was CCO at BBH LA, managing a team of creatives, entertainment specialists and technologists across brands including Samsung, American Express, and Activision.

McNeilage’s work for brands has been recognised with multiple industry honours including at Cannes Lions, The One Show, D&AD, and Effies.

McNeilage’s advertising career began at Wieden + Kennedy where he spent almost a decade creating campaigns for clients including Nike, ESPN, and Coca-Cola. His work for brands has been recognised with multiple industry honours including at Cannes Lions, The One Show, D&AD, and Effies.

“Joining the Sphere team and being part of shaping the brand’s creative vision is a remarkable opportunity,” says McNeilage. “Sphere has expanded the possibilities for artists and brands to express themselves through an entirely new medium, and I am eager to work with our partners and across the entire Sphere team to continue exploring the power of Sphere to connect with audiences in innovative ways.”

Welcoming him to the company, Jennifer Koester, president of Sphere business operations, says, “Sphere is redefining immersive experiences, including through the Exosphere, which is an unparalleled digital canvas for public art and brand storytelling. Ned has worked with premier brands to spearhead memorable campaigns, and he will bring that expertise to not only support our partners in creating impactful brand moments at Sphere, but also continue to build the Sphere brand.”

 


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Lady Gaga to revive ‘Jazz & Piano’ residency in Vegas

Lady Gaga is again reviving her ‘Jazz & Piano’ Las Vegas residency this summer.

The 13-time Grammy Award-winning singer will return to Dolby Live at Park MGM for eight dates between 19 June and 6 July.

The residency, which debuted in 2019, celebrates her love of the Great American Songbook and features reworked versions of her biggest hits.

Gaga revived the residency at Dolby Live late last summer until early autumn, following the death of Tony Bennett, with whom she collaborated closely during the latter years of his life.

The setlist boasts several songs that the pair recorded and performed together, such as “Cheek to Cheek” and “The Lady Is a Tramp”.

The residency celebrates her love of the Great American Songbook and features reworked versions of her biggest hits

The first Jazz & Piano shows in 2019 were paired with her Enigma concert residency, in which she showcased her pop hits.

The 11-date sold-out run at The Park Theater at Monte Carlo Resort & Casino in Las Vegas grossed $16 million and sold 59,162 tickets, according to Billboard.

The residency comprised two Jazz & Piano shows and nine Enigma shows and, notably, the former concerts were individually the two highest-grossing and least-attended dates.

Gaga’s most recent performances include a private show at the Fontainebleau in Vegas last month, as well as a Fortnite: Battle Royale gig during the 2024 Fortnite Festival on 22 February.

 


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U2’s Sphere run closes after 700k+ ticket sales

U2 sold more than 700,000 tickets for their groundbreaking residency at the Sphere in Las Vegas, which wrapped up earlier this month.

In partnership with Live Nation and Sphere Entertainment, the band played to fans from over 100 countries across 40 sold-out dates from 29 September 2023 to 2 March 2024. Tickets started at US$140 (€129), with 60% of tickets priced under $300.

The acclaimed U2:UV Achtung Baby Live At Sphere run at the next-generation 17,500-seat/20,000-cap venue saw Dutch musician Bram van den Berg step in as a temporary replacement for drummer Larry Mullen Jr, who was taking time out due to surgery.

Mullen was in attendance for the Friday night of the closing weekend, later posting to the group’s social media: “What an incredible night at Sphere. So grateful to Bono, Edge and Adam and of course Bram for an amazing job, very emotional night for me personally.”

The Eagles have reportedly been in talks over a potential Sphere residency for later this year

The project saw the group reunite with creative collaborator and show director Willie Williams, as well as artists including Es Devlin, John Gerrard and Marco Brambilla. Billboard Boxscore reported that the first 17 shows grossed $109.8 million and sold 281,000 tickets, making it the fastest-grossing residency in Boxscore history.

American rock band Phish are the next major act lined up to play at the Sphere and will deliver a four-show stint at the 17,500-seat/20,000-cap venue from 18-21 April 2024, with Dead & Company to follow with 18 concerts across six consecutive weeks from 16 May to 6 June, with a different setlist performed each weekend.

TMZ recently reported the Eagles have been in talks over a potential Sphere residency to launch in the autumn. The band are currently in the midst of their final tour, titled The Long Goodbye, which is expected to run to 2025.

In its latest financial results, the Sphere in Las Vegas posted losses of US$193.9m for fiscal 2024 Q2 – its first full quarter of operation – on revenue of $167.8m. Sphere Entertainment reported event-related revenues of $55.2m, almost entirely from concerts, for the quarter.

 


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