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Live Nation Germany announces Crew Nation benefit

Live Nation Germany has announced a livestream charity event for Crew Nation to benefit self-employed professionals who have been financially impacted by the pandemic.

The event, called #becomelouder (#lauterwerden), will see German artists including Die Fantastischen Vier, Milky Chance (pictured), Peter Maffay, Rea Garvey and The BossHoss perform on a mixed reality stage which first premiered at this year’s Wacken World Wide.

All artists will perform without pay and, while the event is free to stream on 12 and 13 December at MagentaMusik 360 and on the MagentaTV programme, viewers will be encouraged to make a donation. Fans can also view the performances afterwards on demand.

“All of us live music fans have our concert tickets pinned to the fridge by a magnet and are just waiting for it to get going. Meanwhile, a lot of the service providers that produce these shows are falling on hard times as a result of the pandemic,” says Smudo of Die Fantastischen Vier.

“Let’s get together and support those affected with this event, in the hope that we can soon take those tickets off the fridge and go out and have a good time again.”

“All of us live music fans have our concert tickets pinned to the fridge by a magnet and are just waiting for it to get going”

The Crew Nation relief fund was launched in April by Live Nation to support touring and venue crews through the coronavirus pandemic.

The live entertainment behemoth committed $10 million to the fund, contributing an initial $5m directly – including $250,000 personally from CEO Michael Rapino and his family – and matching the next $5m donated by artists, fans and employees dollar for dollar.

Since, a number of national events have taken place to benefit the fund, including Live Nation Spain’s ‘Crew Nation Presents…’ – a concert series which raised more than €150,000 through a €1 levy on each ticket.

Similiar fundraising concerts and tours have been organised by artists including Elisa, Nick Cave, Niall Horan, Amy MacDonald, and Marillion.

Donations to Crew Nation can be made directly or through purchasing limited edition Crew Nation merchandise.

 


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Life’s a beach: Germany’s deck chair concert series sells fast

Organisers of Strandkorb Open Air say they’ve sold more than 35,000 tickets for Germany’s open-air deck chair concert series.

The 60-show series, which runs from July until October, has so far sold out 20 shows including VNV Nation, Philipp Poisel and Gentleman.

In the first month of Strandkorb Open Air, Brings, Höhner, Markus Krebs, Kasalla, Pietro Lombardi, Martin Rütter and Michael Mittermeier all delivered sold-out events.

“This summer, with more than 60 shows, we will ensure that this season is remembered,” SparkassenPark MD Michael Hilgers told MusikWoche.

“We never expected that the concept would attract such a great response and demand, both from artists and from the audience, and we are proud that we can realistically target the sound limit of 50,000 concertgoers. We are very much expecting it that many more shows will be sold out at short notice. ”

Strandkorb Open Air is taking place in SparkassenPark, Mönchengladbach, where 450 separate deck chairs have been divided into nine units to adhere to social distancing.

“We never expected that the concept would attract such a great response and demand, both from artists and from the audience”

Each unit contains 50 deck chairs and operates with a one-way system to avoid contact between visitors. The event also requires guests to book food and drinks in advance which will be waiting in a cool box in the beach chair upon their arrival.

The series was launched after German chancellor, Angela Merkel, announced in June that major events in the country will be banned until the start of November unless organisers can prove that social distancing measures and hygiene protocol can be met.

Earlier today, Live Nation announced the biggest concert Germany has seen since March, marking the return of large-scale events this autumn.

Return to Live will take place in September at the 54,000-capacity outdoor stadium, Merkur Spiel Arena in Düsseldorf.

Bryan Adams, Sarah Connor, Rea Garvey, The BossHoss, Michael Mittermeier and Joris will play to 12,000 seated fans, who’ll be required to follow a strict health and safety procedure.

Elsewhere, Bayreuth-based promoter Semmel Concerts is planning to invite 5,000 fans to open-air concerts at the Waldbühne amphitheatre in Berlin, in September.

 


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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MD Matt Schwarz leaves Live Nation GSA

Live Nation GSA’s managing director and COO, Matt Schwarz, is leaving the company after almost five years, he announced today.

“Today I resigned from [this] office as managing director with immediate effect,” Schwarz wrote in an email to colleagues this afternoon (19 February).

Schwarz has been MD and COO of Live Nation GSA (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) since September 2015, when the staff of his former employer, Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK) joined the newly formed company. He was formerly VP of touring and festivals at MLK.

He was the keynote interviewee at Reeperbahn Festival last September, speaking about his career to date and changes in the German concert business.

“Live Nation and Matt Schwarz have mutually agreed to end their collaboration”

Schwarz’s current projects will be taken over by Live Nation GSA colleagues Carrie McNamara, Matias Muelas and Nastassja Roberts, the email continues.

“Live Nation and Matt Schwarz have mutually agreed to end their collaboration,” reads a statement from Live Nation GSA.

“Matt Schwarz has resigned as a managing director with immediate effect.

“Live Nation would like to thank Matt Schwarz for his successful work over many years.”

 


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“There’s room for everybody”: Matt Schwarz talks LN GSA success

Matt Schwarz, COO of Live Nation Germany, Switzerland and Austria (GSA), was the keynote interviewee at Reeperbahn Festival on Friday 20 September, giving a wide-ranging interview to ILMC MD Greg Parmley on the company’s journey to date.

Schwarz, 38, joked that he is the “black sheep” in a family of teachers and doctors, starting his career working for a music magazine before joining Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK), leaving to join the newly formed Live Nation GSA in 2015. “My birthday was on 31 August, and I joined Live Nation on 1 September 2015,” he explained. “We started out with 800 shows [annually] and now we’re on nearly double that, with a quarter of a million-euro turnover…”

Schwarz (pictured) told Parmley it was only a matter of time before the German market, long a stronghold of independent promoters, fell in line with the consolidation sweeping the rest of the global live music industry. “There’s a German idiom which translates to ‘change or die’,” he said. “The business and the world is changing, and you have to have awareness of that. The promoter business is the last to consolidate, after the record labels and the booking agencies.”

Why now? The ever-smaller margins on shows have played a key part, he continued: “When I started in the early 2000s I still remember 80/20 deals, and the generation before had 70/30, 60/40 and even 50/50 deals scrawled on the back of napkins…

“There’s room for everybody, and there always will be”

“But the pie isn’t getting any bigger, so there isn’t much space in the food chain to involve third parties. The music ecosystem is changing, and an oftentimes low-margin, high-risk business does not leave any room for third-party promoters, especially when you have your own boots on the ground. We have own offices in Hamburg, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Zurich as of now, and are able to fully self-promote our content.”

Schwarz said the biggest advantage to being part of a larger multinational group is the ability to combine US-directed global touring with local expertise.

“The importance of personal relationships is decreasing”, he explained. “It’s becoming a corporate business with some decisions and global plans made by the artists overseas: Live Nation, for example, can just buy a global tour.”

“But the artists need local operators on the ground that get the job done in the best possible way. Local expertise is important – one size doesn’t fit all. We are an artist-serving company that want to secure the highest possible standard to serve our clients and audience… local flavour is still very important in Germany, which is a very decentralised market, as well as in Switzerland, where they speak four languages.”

Schwarz also talked his involved with the Global Citizen Festival in Hamburg, which raised over US$650 million for charity, and his meditation practice (twice a day for 20 minutes apiece), to which he attributes his ability to easily switch between the “different worlds” of being both a senior exec and a father.

“Local expertise is important – one size doesn’t fit all”

He additionally touched on the recent warming of relations between the live and recorded music sectors, the latter of which is returning to growth as streaming grows in popularity.

“I think it’s got better. There were times before when it was tough for the labels, pre-streaming success,” he said. “Everyone looked at the live business as they saw there was money to be had – many labels even opened own in-house promoting shops – they just wanted to be involved. That’s changed as their business has become healthy again.”

Despite the squeezing of margins in live, Schwarz said there is still “definitely room for independent promoters” in the GSA countries. “There’s room for everybody,” he said, “and there always will be. It doesn’t even need to be a niche product.”

“And,” he concluded, “if they decide they don’t want to be independent, we are always happy to have a conversation!”

 


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Live Nation partners with Motorworld Munich on the Zenith

Motorworld Munich, the owner of Munich’s the Zenith, has partnered with Live Nation Germany to upgrade and modernise the historic venue.

The 5,880-capacity Zenith, a former railway repair depot, has been at the centre of the Bavarian music scene for 20 years, having hosted shows by the likes of Adele, Muse, Rihanna, Pink, Kylie Minogue, No Doubt, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.

According to Andreas Dünkel, president of the Motorworld Group, Arantxa Dörrie, managing director of Motorworld’s Munich office, and Live Nation Germany CEO Marek Lieberberg, Live Nation will leverage its expertise to “support modernising the venue”, along with growing the venue’s “concert and live entertainment business substantially”.

“It’s the perfect combination to turn the Zenith into a highly attractive, future-oriented concert and event venue”

The Zenith remains the property of Motorworld subsidiary Freimann Event, and will continue to be open to all event organisers, in addition to Live Nation projects.

“The concentrated power of the world leader in live entertainment, combined with our expertise as a real estate developer and operator, is the perfect combination to turn the Zenith into a highly attractive, future-oriented concert and event venue,” says Dünkel.

Lieberberg adds: “We want to leverage our portfolio and our worldwide network to contribute to strengthening the Zenith Munich as an essential venue for us and our artists.”

 


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Rock in Rio Germany to bring the carnival to Dusseldorf?

German event management company Production Office has applied to stage the first Rock in Rio Germany next year, according to local media.

Production Office has written to the city’s lord mayor, Thomas Geisel, to ask permission to hold a Rock in Rio ‘mega-event’ in the new D.LIVE Open Air Park in August 2019, according to the Westfälische RundschauRock in Rio was acquired by Live Nation – which has also produced domestic German editions of several of its other festival franchises, including Lollapalooza and Wireless – in May.

However, Production Office/Live Nation are likely to face stiff opposition from Dusseldorf city councillors, who recently succeeded in forcing the relocation of a planned open-air show by Ed Sheeran in the city over environmental concerns.

To the “amazement” and “boundless disappointment” of promoter FKP Scorpio, city officials from across the political spectrum, from conservative Christian Democrats to left-leaning Green and the Left party members, declared the concert at D.LIVE – which would have necessitated the chopping down of 104 trees – off limits, causing FKP to relocate to the Veltins Arena stadium in Gelsenkirchen.

Even if the new festival were to be greenlit, Michael Brill, the CEO of D.LIVE, is doubtful whether organisers could meet the August 2019 deadline, reports the Rundschau.

The festival is likely to face stiff opposition from Dusseldorf city councillors, who recently forced the relocation of a planned open-air show by Ed Sheeran

“Due to the presumed duration of the [approval] process, it is unlikely that it [the venue] will be available before summer 2020,” he says.

Opponents of the Sheeran show are also digging in their heels, with local Left leader Angelika Kraft-Dlangamandla confirming her party is still against any events that would lead to tree felling. While Production Office has reportedly offered to plant new trees, and assured the mayor all its events are “carbon neutral and sustainable”, “small trees do not” offset the damage caused by uprooting larger ones, according to Kraft-Dlangamandla.

Should it be approved, Rock in Rio Germany would take place in 2019, 2021 and 2023, alternating with Rock in Rio Lisbon, according to the application.

In addition to Rock in Rio Lisbon and its flagship event in Rio de Janeiro and, promoter Rock City formerly operated sister festivals in Spain and Las Vegas.

At press time, Live Nation had not responded to a request for comment.

 


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Lieberberg on growth plans (and bribing the weather god)

Live Nation GSA president and managing director Andre Lieberberg has said the company is pursuing a strategy of “aggressive but organic growth” two years after its effective acquisition of Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK).

MLK, said Lieberberg – the son of MLK founder Marek, who is now Live Nation GSA’s CEO – had a “conservative approach to growth” throughout the 13 years he worked there. “Marek always said, ‘We only do our own events,’” he told IQ editor Gordon Masson at Reeperbahn Festival today. “It wasn’t like we had a clear strategic path of having to grow for growth’s sake, or post increasing numbers every year. On the one hand that was a good thing, but also hindered you, to some degree, in being more aggressive and ballsy in what you can do.”

Both Lieberbergs left MLK in August to form new company Live Nation Concerts Germany, although the MLK name, assets and Rock am Ring/Rock im Park festivals stayed with CTS Eventim.

Lieberberg told Masson being part of an “American company listed on the stock exchange” is “of course very different to what we were used to” – but that Live Nation GSA (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) is a “more rounded company” than MLK: “We’re still a promoter but we’re also a media company – for example, we’ve just set up a sponsorship and brand partnerships division

He said the company also has different attitude towards hiring. “All three MDs all Live Nation GSA agree on growth by staffing,” he explained. “Everyone had to be approved by Marek before, which has obviously changed.”

As for acquisitions, Lieberberg insisted LN GSA is “not going to buy up every festival in Germany” – “we wouldn’t have the money even if we wanted to,” he joked – “but certainly there are going to be more partnerships over the next five years.” The company made its first acquisition, of Openair Frauenfeld, in July, although, as is standard for Live Nation, founder Rene Götz will continue to run the festival.

He added that he “understands the concern from independents” (promoters) about Live Nation’s entry into the German market, “but I don’t see that we’re a threat to them. […] Since we became Live Nation we haven’t done anything to shrink anyone else’s output, or marginalise them in any way.”

Masson also asked about the Lieberbergs’ Rock am Ring festival, which was once again partially cancelled this summer, this time over after a terrorism scare, later revealed to be the result of a spelling error. In 2015 and 2016 festivalgoers were injured by lightning strikes, with the final day of the 2016 event called off altogether.

“We’re still looking for a way to bribe the weather god,” joked Lieberberg. “We’ve had four years of Murphy’s law” (the festival was forced to move in 2014 after a falling out between MLK and the Nürburgring racetrack), “so I’m hoping next year will be better!”

 


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First Global Citizen Hamburg ‘surpasses all expectations’

Live Nation Europe president John Reid has hailed the success of yesterday’s Global Citizen Festival Hamburg, which marked the European debut for the UN-backed benefit concert series with performances by Coldplay, Shakira, Herbert Grönemeyer, Pharrell Williams and Ellie Goulding.

Held at the Barclaycard Arena (16,000-cap.) ahead of today’s G20 summit, the show was attended by more than 12,000 ‘Global Citizens’ – tickets aren’t for sale, with attendees instead earning entry through civic engagement – and aimed to earn commitments from world leaders “towards [tackling] some of the greatest global issues of our time, including the education deficit, global health security, gender equality and the refugee crisis”.

The show was also streamed live to millions around the world via broadcast partner ARD.

According to Global Poverty Project – the organisation behind the festivals, which also take place in the US and, for the first time last year, India – actions taken by supporters in the run-up to the event secured US$706 million worth of commitments to its goals.

“I’m deeply grateful for the achievements of the Hamburg Global Citizen Festival … which has hugely surpassed all expectations”

These include Germany maintaining its foreign aid budget at 0.7% of GNI, “to ensure no one is left behind”; Canada, Australia and the EU reaffirming $151m worth of commitments to polio eradication; and Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands and several charitable foundations committing more than $172m towards the She Decides movement, set up to counter US president Donald Trump’s ‘gag rule’ prohibiting the public funding of organisations which advise on abortion.

Reid says the show marked a “great night in Hamburg to launch the European campaign for a wonderful cause and movement” and offered his congratulations to “Hugh Evans [the founder of Global Poverty Project], Matt Schwarz [of Live Nation GSA] and the entire team.” (Live Nation was a partner of the event.)

Schwarz, COO of Live Nation in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, adds: “I’m deeply grateful for the achievements of the Hamburg Global Citizen Festival. I thank the entire Global Citizen organisation around Hugh Evans, and our Live Nation team, for their outstanding cooperation during this premiere, which has hugely surpassed all expectations.”

 


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Spelling error blamed for Rock am Ring disruption

German police have said a spelling mistake was to blame for the disruption of the first day of this year’s Rock am Ring festival.

Johannes Kunz, chief of the Rhineland-Palatinate state police force, says the names of two Syrian nationals working at the festival were misspelt on the list of staff provided to police by promoter Marek Lieberberg Concert Agency (MLK).

At the time, authorities suspected an Islamist terror plot in the state of Hesse, and when the two men’s names could not be found on the list, the decision was made to evacuate the festival.

Rock am Ring organisers deal with ‘terrorism’ scare

“The names of the suspects were misspelt,” Kunz tells the Allgemeine Zeitung.

Roger Lewentz, Rhineland-Palatinate’s interior minister, says in future festivals should be forced to provide authorities with photographs of all staff “so a clear identification is possible”.

Festivals around the world have stepped up security in the aftermath of two years of terrorism, most recently at Manchester Arena in the UK. MLK announced shortly before Rock am Ring 2017 and sister festival Rock im Park that backpacks would be prohibited in the festival arena as a result of the “horrendous attack in Manchester”.

 


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Rock am Ring bans backpacks (but bumbags are OK)

Following the “horrendous attack in Manchester” earlier this week, Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur has announced that backpacks will be prohibited at this year’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park.

Following in the footsteps of Wacken Open Air, the German sister festivals will be rucksack-free zones this summer, with keys, wallets, mobile phones and bum bags/fanny packs the only personal items allowed into the main festival arena.

That includes any drinks containers – including water bottles – although the festivals will provide free water on site.

In German, a full list of prohibited items is pictured below (no selfie sticks!):

Rock am Ring/Rock im Park prohibited items

Promoter Marek Lieberberg on Tuesday paid tribute to those who lost their lives in Manchester, calling the bombing of Manchester Arena “an attack on our freedom, culture and [way of] life”.

 


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