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#PunksToo: #MeToo moment for Finnish industry

Finland’s major live music companies have condemned all forms of harassment and discrimination following a series of allegations posted on the Instagram account @punkstoo.

The #MeToo-inspired account, which has amassed more than 25,000 followers over the past week, collects anonymous accounts of alleged hate speech, violence and sexual harassment/assault in Finnish punk and rock circles.

Among those to confirm they have contributed their own experiences to the page are Anni Lötjönen from the band Huora, who has spoken of being subjected to violence in the industry, while the band Pää Kii, whose frontman has been linked to some of the allegations, have had a number of festival appearances cancelled.

In a statement, Fullsteam, the leading promoter, management company and record label, thanks those who shared their experiences and linked to a number of resources for those affected by the issues raised.

“The music industry still has a long road to take to eradicate all kinds of discrimination, harassment and violence. It’s overwhelming, but it’s also extremely important to hear how terrible things have been done in our field and how such activities have been repeatedly and constantly made possible,” says the company.

“Thank you to everyone who shared their experience. We hear, see and believe you,” the statement adds. “The problem is deep-rooted and we are not beyond it. We apologise to everyone who has ever been mistreated at our events or otherwise by us, our staff, our audiences, our partners or our artists, and we support every victim.

“Every person must be safe regardless of the situation and the situation, and that’s what each of us must work for. We will be doing everything we can in collaboration with other music industry players to make this happen.”

The company has also provided a link to a Google Form via which people can give anonymous feedback on Fullsteam’s “activities, artists and events”.

The country’s other major live music player, Live Nation Finland, also released a statement in response to the #PunkToo revelations, along with a similar call for feedback: “We would like to thank everyone who participated in the recent discussion and shared their experiences for your courage and openness. [I]t’s time for all of us to act so that nothing like this will happen again in the future.

“We take all harassment cases extremely seriously and will be doing things even better in the future so that everyone can be themselves and enjoy themselves safely at our events.

“It’s obvious that sexual harassment, violence, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia and any other harassment is not acceptable under any circumstances. It’s not part of our events, nor our work environment.

“We are currently working on the prevention of harassment and creating an action model we will introduce in our upcoming events.”

“As a company, we commit ourselves to developing our own understanding and activities, so that we can be a part of a more tolerant and safe future for everyone,” the company adds. “You can leave us anonymously feedback regarding our events or the artists we represent. We will use the feedback we received to improve our activities and raise awareness: https://bit.ly/Avoinpalaute.”


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Finland’s live events sector ‘on brink of collapse’

Up to 2,300 companies in Finland’s live sector expect to permanently close in the next six months if financial support isn’t quickly provided, according to a survey conducted last week by Event Industries Finland.

The association – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste – also found that almost 300 events are under immediate threat.

According to the association, there are around 3,200 companies involved in organising live events in Finland, with the total value of the industry estimated at €2.35 billion. The sector employs 20,000 full-time, and 175,000 temporary, workers.

The study found these have received approximately €85m in financial support, which counts for around 4.5% of the estimated €1.9bn financial loss the sector suffered during 2020.

According to Event Industries Finland (Tapahtumateollisuus), the latest event closure in the industry, which lasted more than two months, and the lack of an exit strategy “threaten the realisation of several major events this year and the future of the entire industry in Finland”.

“We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large the damage is”

The association is now calling for a roadmap for Finland’s return to live music, as well as financial security for the event industry – namely a government-backed guarantee fund which would give organisers the ability to plan for the future.

“We understand that a timetable for lifting restrictions cannot be promised, but defining and publishing criteria is essential. The industry will not be able to function without a future perspective. We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large and long-lasting damage we will have to repair,” says Kati Kuusisto, director of Event Industry Association.

“Event guarantee services would strengthen the courage and ability of companies in our industry to plan for the future. The decision on support must be obtained quickly and effective support must take into account the entire business network in the sector. Several European countries have already announced similar subsidies.

“Audiences are also waiting for the return of events, and the return of tickets already sold for events carried over from last summer to this year has been very low. The state should strengthen the possibilities for starting the event industry for several reasons,” Kuusisto emphasises.

Governments in Norway, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria have recently announced event cancellation funds.

Government-backed insurance funds will be explored at ILMC during Insurance: The Big Update.

 


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60% of Finnish businesses facing bankruptcy

More than 60% of Finland’s live events companies do not expect to survive the next six months, new research reveals.

A survey conducted in October by the recently launched Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus) – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste –  found that over 70% of businesses still have next to no work and nearly two thirds believe they will not survive until summer 2021.

“The companies in our sector are in an unprecedentedly difficult situation,” explains Kati Kuusisto, director of advocacy for the Event Industry Association.

“The constantly changing situation and recommendations weaken our customers’ confidence and willingness to buy [tickets], while compliance with the applicable restrictions increases the cost of organising events,” she adds.

According to the association, there are around 3,200 companies involved in organising live events in Finland, with the total value of the industry estimated at €2.35 billion. The sector employs 20,000 full-time, and 175,000 temporary, workers.

Kuusisto says the industry needs an “exit strategy” in the form of urgent financial support and increased cooperation with the authorities, as well as a campaign that reassure Finns they may return to shows safely.

“We need to restore customers’ trust and send them a message that participating in safe events is OK”

“Adequate financial support must be a priority, so that the damage to the ecosystem, which is vital to our sector’s activities, does not become permanent,” she continues. “Immediately thereafter, cooperation between [the industry], authorities and the government ministries should ensure that the [coronavirus] constraints and recommendations for events are at an appropriate level.

“All means available implement safe events, such as functional rapid testing, must also be widely deployed. At the same time, we need to restore customers’ trust and send them a message that participating in safe events is OK.”

In an open letter to the press written in late September, the Tapahtumateollisuus criticised media outlets for fuelling fears about Covid-19 by inaccurately pointing to major events as the source of an increase in infections in Finland.

“During the coronavirus epidemic, professional event organisers have made investments and taken comprehensive measures to make it possible to stage events safely,” the association said. “The loss of customers, and even entire events, caused by incorrect news coverage are already deepening the losses of companies in the sector and threatening the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people.”

 


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Sell-out shows for LN Finland’s post-Covid concert series

Live Nation Finland has expanded the programme of its Suvilahti Summer concert series “due to high demand and sold-out shows”.

The series, which began on 11 June and runs until the end of the month at Helsinki’s Suvilahti energy field, was announced as the Finnish government lifted restrictions on events of up to 500 people.

Following on from sold-out shows from Finnish acts Maustetutöt, Anssi Kela and Knip, Live Nation has added additional dates from Olavi Uusivirta Duo and Jesse Marki, as well as introducing new content from the likes of the Ida Paul & Kalle Lindroth duo, rock singer Tuomari Nurmio and YouTubers Elisa Malik, Joona Hellman and Nelli Orelli.

The series of events is being carried out in accordance with current official guidelines. Tables and chairs are set for groups of two to six people, with individual parties separated from each other at a safe distance.

The full schedule of shows, along with ticketing information, can be found here.

Finland is one of a number of countries, including Denmark and the Czech Republic, to reintroduce shows of up to 500 people, with nations including Austria and Estonia allowing 500-capacity shows to return next month.

 


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Finland allows events of up to 500 people

Live Nation Finland is putting on daily, outdoor concerts throughout June, as the Finnish government allows events of up to 500 people “under special arrangements”.

As of 1 June, indoor and outdoor public events of up to 500 people were permitted to take place in Finland, provided that organisers comply with governmental guidelines on how to prevent the spread of the virus. Events of more than 500 people remain banned until 31 July.

Following the announcement, Live Nation Finland unveiled the Suvilahti Summer concert series, which it is organising in conjunction with Suvilahti TBA and the City of Helsinki.



The series kicks off on 11 June at the Suvilahti energy field in Helsinki with a performance from Finnish artist Evelina, who will be joined onstage by local acts Anssi Kela, Olavi Uusivirta Duo, Maustetytöt, Jesse Markin, Ursus Factory, Dallapé and Martti Servo & Napander.

More live shows, as well as brunch concerts, karaoke nights and film screenings will take place throughout the month of June at the site. The list of performers will be updated in due course.

“This event series is a good example of how a crisis can lead to innovation”

The events will be carried out in accordance with current official safety guidelines, with tables and chairs set up for groups of two to six people and separate parties placed apart to observe social distancing rules.

“It is great to be back with events in such a unique way, after a short break,” says Live Nation Finland MD Tomi Saarinen. “This event series is a good example of how a crisis can lead to innovation.

“We believe that these upcoming summer moments in Helsinki’s finest setting will create memories that last.”

Suvilahti TBA had been working with Live Nation to launch Suvilahti Winefest this May, now postponed to 2021. “We wondered if we could arrange something [else] special together, during the crisis, and bring joy to people,” says Suvilahti TBA CEO Mikko Vehmas.

“It has been great to realise that even during the difficult times we can create great things together.”

Tickets for Suvilahti Summer events will be available here from 5 June, starting from €12.

 


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Live Nation Finland acquires Hög Agency

Live Nation Finland has acquired Helsinki-based booking agency and promoter Hög, in the latest of a series of moves by the live entertainment behemoth’s Finnish branch.

Founded in 2016 by Mikko Varjamo (pictured), Hög represents Finnish artists including Olavi Uusivirta (pictured), Adi L Hasla, Mouhous and Vilma Alina (pictured).

In addition to the acquisition, which aims to strengthen Live Nation Finland’s domestic roster, Live Nation Finland has also signed emerging Finnish acts, Kube and SONNY.

“After running my own agencies for over nine years, I felt it was time to move forward,” comments Hög founder and CEO Varjamo, who will stay on at Live Nation Finland as an agent. “This new union with Live Nation will enable the company to operate at a different level and will strengthen our position in Finland’s music scene. I’m extremely excited about this.”

“This new union with Live Nation will enable the company to operate at a different level and will strengthen our position in Finland’s music scene”

Live Nation Finland’s Tomi Saarinen (pictured), who took on the role of managing director in August, adds that, “our focus is on developing a strong domestic artist roster and the acquisition of Hög Agency & Promotion is a key part of this plan.

“We aim to be the best possible partner for our artists and enable them to develop and reach their full potential while offering fans memorable experiences. We welcome the Hög super team to the Live Nation family.”

In February, Live Nation Finland acquired urban music festival Blockfest, which, according to Live Nation Finland head promoter Zachris Sundell (pictured), this year sold out to its largest capacity crowd ever.

2019 has been a busy year for Live Nation, with IQ calculating 17 acquisitions or equivalent to date, following Singapore’s One Production in January, Canada’s Embrace Presents, Spain’s Planet Events, Tennessee’s Neste Event Marketing, Blockfest, Norway’s Tons of Rock and Australia’s Moshtix (through Ticketmaster) in February, Belgium’s Antwerps Sportpaleis and New England’s Levitate in April, Denmark’s PDH Music and Los Angeles-based Spaceland Presents in May, Poland’s Go Ahead and Superfly’s share of Bonnaroo in June, IMM’s stake in Rock in Rio in July and the UK’s Rewind Festival earlier this month.

The company is expected to finalise the taking of a majority stake Mexico’s Ocesa Entertainment – the largest promoter in Latin America – before the end of the year.

 


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Live Nation Finland appoints new MD

Live Nation Finland has appointed Tomi Saarinen as its new managing director, succeeding outgoing MD Nina Castrén.

Saarinen, who started work in Live Nation’s Helsinki office yesterday (12 August), was formerly marking director of Sony Music Finland. He has also worked at Finnish radio stations YleX and NJR.

“It’s great to be part of a top team that has recently performed spectacularly with Muse and Metallica, as well as several other gigs over the Finnish summer,” comments Saarinen. “We will continue to produce high-quality, memorable events and develop our artist roster.

“We want to be the best partner for artists, and enable them to develop to their full potential, while providing Finns with ever-more exciting experiences. I thank Live Nation for this great opportunity.”

“We want to be the best partner for artists and enable them to develop to their full potential”

Castrén, who is stepping down for health reasons, adds: “I leave Tom with a strong, stable and successful market leader. […] I am proud of the company, and I believe Tom will continue to increase its success with his input.”

According to IQ’s most recent Finland market report, Live Nation Finland and FKP-owned Fullsteam are the country’s two leading promoters.

Risto Juvonen, founder of Welldone Agency and Promotions, which became Live Nation Finland, stays on as the company’s chairman.

“The company is very grateful to Nina for her contribution, both as MD over the last nine years and throughout her 20-year career,” he says. “Her legacy provides Tom with a solid foundation from which to develop Live Nation’s market leadership.”

 


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Live Nation acquires Finnish hip-hop festival

Live Nation Finland has announced the acquisition of the country’s leading hip-hop festival, Blockfest.

Founded in 2008 in Tampere, Finland, Blockfest has grown to become one of the biggest hip-hop festivals in the Nordic countries. Taking place at the Tampere stadium, the two-day festival attracted 75,000 festivalgoers last year.

“This deal cements Blockfest’s position in the festival calendar and will ensure that the festival attracts the hottest international acts going forward,” says Kalle Kallonen, Blockfest founder and chief executive.

“We have a great team who are excited to work more closely with Live Nation Finland to deliver the best possible live experience for our audience.”

“Blockfest is one of the most innovative festivals in Finland and we are thrilled to be a part of its future”

Live Nation Finland’s head promoter, Zachris Sundell, comments: “Blockfest is one of the most innovative festivals in Finland and we are thrilled to be a part of its future.”

“We have always had a great relationship with Blockfest and are looking forward to putting our resources into bringing more of the world’s leading hip-hop, R&B and grime artists to the festival,” says Sundell.

Live Nation Finland and Blockfest have worked together since 2013, bringing artists including including Wu-Tang Clan, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Wiz Khalifa, Skepta, Mobb Deep and Lil Wayne to the festival’s stages.

The announcement is one in a string of recent acquisitions for the live entertainment company, including Tennessee-based event marketing company Neste, Canadian venue operator and promoter Embrace Presents and Spanish latin music promoter Planet Events.

 


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Fabrizio Pompeo joins Radar, announces new festival

Italian concert promoter Fabrizio Pompeo, most recently of Live Nation Finland, has joined Giorgio Riccitelli’s Radar Concerti as a partner.

Radar was founded in 2014 by Riccitelli after five years with Live Nation Italy, and has since grown to become one of Italy’s leading independent promoters, organising Italian shows by international acts including The xx, Foals, Grimes, Solange, Bonobo, Nothing but Thieves, M83 and FKA Twigs. It also acts as a booking agency for several up-and-coming Italian acts, including Coma Cose, Ketama 126, Hån and Lim.

As a senior promoter at Live Nation Finland, Pompeo promoted shows in Finland, the Baltics and Russia. He says by joining forces with Riccitelli, he hopes to help drive Radar on to even greater success.

“We believe our collaboration, experience and skills will help the company to grow faster in the market”

“Giorgio has done a great job with Radar,” Pompeo tells IQ, “which is now a well-established brand, focusing mainly on scouting for the best talent in both the domestic and the international indie-pop-electro scene.

“We believe our collaboration, experience and skills will help the company to grow faster in the market.”

Pompeo will be based in Milan, while Riccitelli remains in the company’s Rome office.

The first initiative by the Riccitelli-Pompeo partnership is the new Radar Festival, which will debut in Milan on 8–9 June.

RADAR concerti è davvero felice di presentare:RADAR FESTIVAL • 8-9 GIUGNO • MILANO • ITALYIT'S OKAY TO SMILE 🌈È…

Posted by RADAR concerti on Friday, 16 February 2018

 

The 5,000-capacity, four-stage event will have a “pop-electro-indie-trap-urban sound”, says Pompeo, who aims to “position the event in the international calendar of similar festivals”.

Radar Festival will be followed by a second new event, he adds, planned for Rome later this summer.

 


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