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Driift celebrates success with livestream concerts

UK-based virtual producer and promoter Driift is announcing a slate of ticketed livestream concerts after successful online events with Laura Marling, Lianne La Havas and Dermot Kennedy.

The company, founded by ATC Management’s Ric Salmon and Brian Message, trialled the pay-per-view livestream concerts with a performance from Laura Marling at the Union Chapel in London in June.

“Ticketed live streaming is currently a space that no one controls, and we believe there is a long-term and commercially viable business here. It’s incredibly exciting” says Salmon.

Capitalising on the success of Marling’s show, Driift has since produced livestream shows for Lianne La Havas at the Roundhouse and Dermot Kennedy at the Natural History Museum.

Kennedy’s livestream show, which took place last Thursday (30 June) and featured Normal People’s Paul Mescal, sold over 30,000 tickets worldwide and was broadcast live over four different time zones.

“It strikes me that this is just the beginning of an exciting opportunity for artists and their teams to create new art that many will choose to pay for,” says Message. “If we get this right, ticketed livestream productions, whether live shows or something not yet dreamt of, can comfortably sit alongside promotional videos, traditional live shows and other ways fans and artists relate.”

This is not a replacement for live, this is a coming of age for livestreaming

Now, with investment from shareholders Beggars Group, Driift is producing more high profile livestream shows including a one-off worldwide performance from Biffy Clyro on 15 August from an iconic Glasgow venue and a performance from Sleaford Mods at the 100 club on 12 September.

“We’ve felt for a long time that livestreaming has been undervalued,” says Ruth Barlow, director of live at Beggars Group.

“We’re excited about the creative and commercial opportunities for the business, the artists and their fans; who no longer have to be in a particular city at a particular time to experience unique live music events.

“This is not a replacement for live, this is a coming of age for livestreaming.”

Driift will oversee ticketing, production, licensing, rights management and digital marketing for the livestream concerts – allowing artists to rebuild live music into their release campaigns and overall strategies.

Having collaborated with live industry giants such as CAA, Dice, Universe/Ticketmaster, YouTube, Pulse Films and Jackshoot, Driift is expanding its offering outside of the UK, with a number of shows being set up in North America.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Opening gambit: Chess & Jazz on why it’s game on for 2020

With all eyes currently on Exit Festival and its phoenix-like rise from the ashes of the  festival season, it’s worth remembering that while the Serbian event is by far the largest European festival to confirm it will go ahead this summer, it’s not (quite) the only one.

In an addition to the raft of music festivals adapted into a digital format, a handful of events are still going ahead physically, including showcase events such as Tallinn Music Week (Estonia) and Reeperbahn Festival (Germany) and Russian music festival Chess & Jazz, originally scheduled for 24–25 July but now expected to be pushed back to September.

IQ caught up with Nick Babin, founder of Chess & Jazz, to discuss the festival’s ethos, preparations for 2020, and why the festival won’t be going online…

 


Give us a brief history of Chess & Jazz.
Chess & Jazz is international boutique festival which has been held in Moscow since 2018. The festival takes place in the iconic venue of the Hermitage Garden, in the historical centre of Moscow, where Soviet Jazz was born in the early 20th century.

Chess & Jazz has already featured performances from double Grammy award-winner Gregory Porter, the Manchester trio GoGo Penguin, American singer CeeLo Green, London-based band Kamaal Williams and the American soul star Christian Berishai, better known as JMSN, over the past few years.

The festival concept has also drawn attention from international markets, and we organised Chess & Jazz in Singapore and Kazakhstan in 2019.

Why combine chess and live music?
Russia has a significant chess legacy, and it’s probably for that reason that, from the outset, our festival made a large impact on the Russian cultural map.

I also run a booking agency, booking acts for several Russian festivals and private events. But I always wanted to create my own product and realise the ideas that come from my own experience – so, one day, being inspired by chess aesthetic and being a huge fan of jazz music, I did it.

What is your music booking philosophy?
We are a jazz festival. We try to present to our guests stars such as Gregory Porter, but we are not afraid to mix genres, because jazz is a baseline for all music. Our social and cultural mission is to present to our audience new names in the global jazz scene, while also spotlighting Russian jazz artists.

“I don’t believe in online festivals. … Festivals’ main strength is in the live atmosphere and human contact”

Who is the average Chess & Jazz fan?
Our audience is an intelligent, creative class of people from 25 to 40 who love comfort and unusual, interesting events. The first day of the festival is a grand opening with ‘jazz-tie’ dress code and more academic jazz. The second day is more about lifestyle, picnics, more mixed genres, and the best gastronomy Moscow has to offer.

The chess part of the festival is very significant; it has its own line-up with world-famous grandmasters. The opportunity to play chess matches with stars such as the youngest grandmaster in history, world champion in blitz and rapid chess, Sergey Karjakin, attracts a lot of people.

Chess & Jazz is not a mass product. Events like ours are good because they allow you to maintain your personality. At Coachella, for example, you are just one of 50,000 or 100,000 people. You are lost in a crowd. When the event is for a very specific audience, you are significant – you are a personality, not part of the mass.

What is the situation in Russia at the moment? Do you think you’ll be allowed to go ahead?
From April all public events are prohibited by authorities because of Covid-19, so it will be impossible to stage our festival in July. Nevertheless, we haven’t considered changing the format and going online. I don’t believe in online festivals. Offline events will remain offline, as their main strength is in the live atmosphere and human contact.

In the days ahead, we are going to announce new rescheduled dates in September. Our festival is not classified as a mass event, because the capacity is less than 5,000 people, but still we hope that we will be able to conduct our event without any danger to the audience’s health in September – this is our main priority.

Also, we would like to thank our artists and their agents for the support and cooperation in such turbulent period of time.

“We are confident that Chess & Jazz will commemorate the coming together of music fans once more”

Beyond coronavirus, are there any unique challenges involved in organising a festival in your part of the world?
Unfortunately, we have no support from the Russian authorities and no dialogue with the government. To be honest, it has always been like that.

Another challenge is partners. Partners for a niche event should be selected more carefully than for large festivals. In the case of our festival, chess and jazz should be organically presented in every detail. If the brand says it just wants to put up its stand, we’d say that this does not work. We take an individual approach to each partner so that the integration fits harmoniously with the rest of the event.

What are you most looking forward to at Chess & Jazz 2020?
I am just really looking forward to the festival! This year’s Chess & Jazz will be the most anticipated festival yet, as the other Russian festivals are canceled. Our headliners are British soul star Lianne La Havas and Australian musician Jordan Rakei, with the full line-up to be announced at a later date.

We are confident that Chess & Jazz will commemorate the coming together of music fans once more and mark a victory over this crisis.

 


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5 Singapore debuts at September grand prix

Five major international acts will play their maiden shows in Singapore this September, joining Duran Duran and OneRepublic for after-race concerts at the Singaporean grand prix.

Race promoter Singapore GP yesterday announced the first wave of artists for this year’s shows – a tradition of Singaporean grands prix since the race’s revival in 2008 – bringing The Chainsmokers, Ariana Grande, Seal, Lianne La Havas and British rapper George the Poet for their debut performances in the city-state over three days in late September.

Duran Duran, who played their last Singaporean show in 2012, will perform on both Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September, with the other acts playing a single day apiece. More performers are set to be announced in future.

Liberty Media, which holds a significant minority stake in Live Nation, acquired grand prix organiser Formula 1 last September.

 


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