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Covid-safe Lolla Paris to take place in July

The team behind Lollapalooza Paris has joined forces with Parisian couture house Balmain to host a one-day, musical picnic event on 19 July.

The adapted edition of Lolla Paris, which will take place on the original festival weekend at its home at the ParisLongchamp Racecourse, is also put on in collaboration with Michelin-starred French chef Jean Imbert and champagne brand Veuve Clicquot.

C3 Presents and Live Nation France called off the 2020 edition of Lolla Paris, which was set to feature Billie Eilish, Pearl Jam, Asap Rocky, Vampire Weekend and Rita Ora, due to the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing country-wide event ban.

Now, as touring gets set to return to France next month and venues, including stadiums and racetracks from 11 July, are allowed to host up to 5,000 people, a tailor-made Lollapalooza Paris 2020 is to take place.

Fans will sit on picnic blankets designed for the event by Balmain’s artistic director, Olivier Rousteing, and sample a menu prepared by Lolla chef Jean Imbert, accompanied by a bottle of Veuve Clicquot rosé champagne with wine and food pairing.

“[The event] will celebrate a certain French art of living in an exceptional summer setting”

The event will take place in compliance with current sanitary rules and distancing measures.

Tickets go on sale on Thursday 2 July at 10 a.m. CET on the Balmain website. Proceeds from ticket sales will go towards the Global Fund’s Covid-19 response, in collaboration with HIV/AIDS charity (RED).

To further raise awareness and funds, five customised pairs of Balmain trainers and several collector’s picnic blankets will be sold online on the day of the event with all profits raised going to the fund.

Angelo Gopee, general manager of Live Nation France, says the collaboration between Balmain and Lollapalooza, “two emblematic brands with an international reputation”, was “obvious”. “[The event] will celebrate a certain French art of living in an exceptional summer setting.”

“If there was one thing that the months of confinement made very clear, it was how much of life’s beauty that we had taken for granted,” adds Rousteing. “Forced apart, we realised how important it was to be together. Locked inside, we longed for the beauty of springtime in Paris.”

A full programme of content for Lolla Paris 2020 will be available online soon.

 


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Covid-19 restrictions claim major US festivals

Goldenvoice’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival will not take place this year, despite being pushed back six months, as the Covid-19 pandemic triumphs over the last few major US festivals still standing.

The news comes days after the cancellation of C3 Presents’ Lollapalooza Chicago (100,000-cap.), the festival franchise’s flagship edition, which was due to take place from 30 July to 1 August, representing some of the final losses of the 2020 US festival calendar. Events including Live Nation/AC Entertainment’s Bonnaroo (24 to 27 September) and BottleRock Napa Valley (2 to 4 October), both rescheduled, are currently still going ahead as planned.


A weekend-long virtual event will take place over the original festival weekend, showcasing archival footage from Lolla Chicago, as well as the festival’s six international editions.

Coachella (125,000-cap.), along with its country music counterpart Stagecoach, had previously been moved from its original dates in April to October in a bid to circumvent coronavirus restrictions.

However, yesterday (10 June), public health officer Dr Cameron Kaiser announced he was “concerned” that Covid-19 “could worsen” in the autumn.

“Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward [with Coachella and Stagecoach],” said Kaiser.

“These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted”

“These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted. My first priority is the health of the community.”

Kaiser also pointed out that mass gatherings such as festivals fall under the “highest-risk” category in the state of California’s four-step reopening plan, and will only be permitted to restart in the final phase “once therapeutics have been developed.

Coachella 2020 was set to feature headliners Rage Against the Machine, Frank Ocean and Travis Scott over two consecutive festival weekends at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, Riverside County, California.

Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood and Eric Church were among those to perform at Stagecoach the weekend after Coachella.

Dates for the 2021 editions of Coachella and Stagecoach have yet to be announced.

Earlier this week, Goldenvoice parent company AEG announced it would be laying off 15% of its workforce and furloughing over 100 employees, in addition to enacting pay cuts across the company.

Photo: Ben_1/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Footage from major fests to be shown in WMG’s PlayOn Fest

Past performances at major festivals including Coachella, Primavera Sound and Rock in Rio, as well as from venues such as the O2 Arena, will be streamed as part of Warner Music Group’s three-day virtual event, PlayOn Fest.

The event, which kicks off on Friday (24 April) at midday EDT will stream live for 72 hours via the Songkick YouTube channel, allowing fans to “relive epic performances for one time only”.

The virtual festival will raise funds for the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Covid-19 solidarity response fund through the sale of merchandise and donations.

Performances from over 65 acts, including Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Coldplay, Twenty One Pilots, Bruno Mars, Janelle Monáe, Green Day and Slipknot will be broadcast over the three-day event.

“PlayOn Fest is a great way to come together, enjoy good music and company, and support the WHO’s most urgent global work to combat Covid-19”

PlayOn Fest will include festival footage from Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Primavera Sound and Rock In Rio, as well as live shows from London’s O2 Arena, Sydney Opera House and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

“During this pandemic, we are all searching for ways to stay connected,” says Elizabeth Cousens, president and CEO of the UN Foundation, which powers the WHO’s Covid-19 fund.

“The PlayOn Fest is a great way to come together, enjoy good music and company, and support the World Health Organization’s most urgent global work to combat Covid-19.”

Over the weekend, the Global Citizen-organised, Lady Gaga-curated One World: Together at Home benefit concert, which featured live performances from acts in real time, raised $127 million for the WHO’s fund.

Read more about the booming business of livestreaming here.

Photo: slgckgc/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Pearl Jam line up 13-date European summer

Pearl Jam are embarking on a European tour this summer, with nine arena dates scheduled around the continent and four headline festival shows.

The band’s summer tour kicks off on 23 June 2020 at Frankfurt’s Festhalle (13,500-cap.) – the group’s first show in the German city since 1992 – ending a month later at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam (17,000-cap.).

The tour includes four festival headline appearances at Lollapalooza Stockholm (27 June) and Paris (19 July), Rock Werchter Festival in Belgium (2 July) and British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park in the UK (10 July).

Pearl Jam are also visiting arenas in Berlin (Waldbuhne, 22,290-cap.), Copenhagen (Royal Arena, 13,000-cap.), Vienna (Wiener Stadhalle, 16,000-cap.), Krakow (Tauron Arena, 18,000-cap.), Budapest (Budapest Arena, 12,500-cap.) and Zurich (Hallenstadion, 15,000-cap.).

Pearl Jam are embarking on a European tour this summer, with nine arena dates and four headline festival shows

The band is also playing at the 60,000-capacity Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari race track in Imola, Italy.

Support acts for the arena and race track shows are Pixies, Idles and White Reaper.

Tickets go on sale for all concert dates and the BST Hyde Park show on Saturday 7 December at 10 a.m. GMT. As of yesterday (1 December), Pearl Jam Ten club members can access a pre-sale on all non-festival tickets.

Lollapalooza Stockholm tickets are on sale now at the early-bird price of SEK 2,295 (£186), with tickets for the Paris edition becoming available on 4 December at 10 a.m. CET. Rock Werchter tickets go on sale on 6 December at 10 a.m. CET.

A full list of tour dates and support acts can be found here.

 


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Live Nation posts record operating income in Q3

Live Nation has recorded its highest-ever quarterly operating income in Q3 2019, clocking in at US$260 million, as the company looks to close the year with record revenue and over 100 million tickets sold.

The live entertainment giant surpassed last year’s record Q3, growing both operating income and AOI (adjusted operating income) from the third quarter of 2018 by 11%, from $234m to $260m and $387m to $427m respectively.

Revenue for the quarter fell short of analysts’ expectations, dipping 2% from Q3 2018 to $3.8 billion. In last night’s (Thursday 31 October) earnings call, chief financial officer Kathy Willard put the revenue decline down to “a foreign exchange negative impact”, which primarily affected the concerts revenue, down 4% from the same period last year.

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino notes that international concert business has been “particularly robust”, contributing to much fan growth. So far this year, 73m fans have attended over 26,000 Live Nation shows, delivering a year-to-date AOI of $333m for the concert division, a 17% increase on 2018.

International markets have also driven the majority of Live Nation’s sponsorship and advertising growth this quarter, with a special mention given to the recently wholly acquired Rock in Rio festival, which drove sponsorship revenue up 26% over its first weekend in September, and the expansion of the Lollapalooza festival brand.

“As we continue building our expertise on on-site execution, we are finding more opportunities to build new venues or takeover operations of existing venues”

Festivals, say Rapino, are “our most profitable businesses” and remain “the ultimate fan experience”.

Venues appear to be a particular point of expansion for Live Nation this year, with a further 36 venues added to its portfolio, including Belgium’s 23,000-capacity Sportpaleis Arena. A focus on fan experience in Live Nation venues, comments Rapino, has driven up the average spend per customer by $2.50, to $29.

“As we continue building our expertise on on-site execution, we are finding more opportunities to build new venues or takeover operations of existing venues,” says Rapino.

Live Nation-owned Ticketmaster also recorded its highest AOI quarter ever, up 20% from last year and a 6% growth year-to-date. According to Rapino, this growth is facilitating the roll-out of digital ticketing, which is expected to be in place at over 700 venues and used by over 60% of fans by the year end.

The number of dynamically priced Platinum tickets sold per show has risen by 54% this year, with Rapino noting the company has been “more effective” in pricing tickets closer to the market value.

“We are confident in the success of our Concert flywheel for 2019,” concludes Rapino. “We will promote more shows, reach more fans, price more effectively and provide a better fan experience at our venues, which will then drive double-digit AOI growth for the business year.”

 


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ILMC 31: Festival Forum: Fan First?

Chair Codruta Vulcu of Romania’s Artmania festival welcomed the session as co-chair Dany Hassenstein from Switzerland’s Paléo festival offered some facts and figures relating to the state of play.

“The good news is that most people still go to festivals for the music,” said Hassenstein, “but as ticket prices are rising, fans are beginning to voice their concerns.”

ICM Partners’ Ari Bernstein, the sole agent on the panel, stated that “the experience of the audience is first and foremost the most important thing,” in terms of retaining customer loyalty. The agent added he would like to see “fewer multi-genre festivals” to vary the types of artists appearing on festival line-ups.

Jim King of AEG Presents spoke of the highly developed UK festival scene, stating that there is now limited growth in terms of procuring bigger headliners. “It comes down to experience at this point,” said the All Points East and BST Hyde Park promoter. “We need to add as much value to the festival experience as is justifiable.”

Talk turned to catering festivals to different cultural markets, a topic of which C3 Presents’ Sophie Lobl has experience. “We definitely tailor Lollapalooza to the country it’s in, whilst keeping it to the level expected of our brand,” explained Lobl.

“We need to add as much value to the festival experience as is justifiable”

However, in Spain, said Nara Pinto of Mad Cool festival, fans value line-up over experience. “We’re struggling with the experience side of things,” she admitted. “We create that bond with the public through our line-ups.”

King described the key to enhancing any festival experience, saying that “the basics of any event are the critical part,” and stressing that finding, entering and navigating around a festival has to be simple for the fan. “If that fails, then everything else fails.”

Crisis management became the topic of conversation, as Pinto outlined the need for communication in times of difficulty, “people need to know what’s going on.”

The panel moved away from the focus on fans to explore the subject of artists, and how to contend with ever-rising fees. Block-booking an act for multiple events “helps to secure the bands but not to save money,” said Lobl, as panellists agreed that festivals remain line-up driven in essence.

“That’s never going to change,” said King. “Even the best experiential festivals have a lifespan.”

 


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PlayPass acquires French cashless provider Yuflow

RFID technology company PlayPass has acquired the French cashless payment provider, Yuflow, as part of its global expansion programme.

The acquisition of Yuflow allows PlayPass to expand into key European markets. Yuflow has used NFC wristbands to process payments from more than two million visitors at over 200 events, including FrancoFolies de la Rochelle and Jazz à Vienne (7,000-daily cap.).

Yuflow will now operate as an independent subsidiary using PlayPass technology, and will retain its original name and identity. Yuflow’s co-founders, Martin Rigot-Muller and Jean-Alexandre Janoray, will remain in charge of the company.

Rigot-Muller comments: “PlayPass has the best understanding of event organisers’ needs and the most complete solution in the market. This development gives Yuflow an unparalleled advantage in our ambitions to lead the cashless events sector in France and Switzerland, as well as expanding our horizons as part of a fast-growing global player.”

“PlayPass has the best understanding of event organisers’ needs and the most complete solution in the market”

PlayPass, named Best Festival Technology Provider at the 2019 Festival Supplier Awards last week, supplies cashless payment technology to festivals including Lollapalooza Berlin and Santiago (80,000-cap.), Rock Werchter (88,000-cap.) and British Summer Time Hyde Park (65,000-cap.).

The company has expanded greatly since launching in 2012, working at over 600 events worldwide and processing more than €50 million in payments. PlayPass secured €1.9m in funding from Dutch venture-capital firm Newion Investments in August.

Chief executive David de Wever states that Yuflow has cultivated “strong commercial and operational footprints in France and Switzerland”, key markets in PlayPass’s global expansion programme.

Yuflow’s approach and position in the market “fits with our [PlayPass’s] strategy of combining organic growth with strategic acquisitions to become the market leader in the key live event markets over the next few years,” explains de Wever.

 


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PlayPass secures €1.9 million in new funding

PlayPass, the RFID company that lists Ticketmaster, Dice, Live Nation and AEG Presents among its client list, has secured €1.9 million in its latest round of capital funding from Amsterdam-based VC Newion Investments.

Speaking about PlayPass’ plans, co-founder and CEO David de Wever comments, “We will continue to develop innovative technology, expanding our own local operational teams across our international territories as well as extending relationships with strong local partners acting as resellers or licensees.

“Secondly, we will look to accelerate our success in other sectors, including indoor arenas and sports clubs.”

“This capital will fuel our growth and advance our progress to expand and become the global market leader in access and contactless payment solutions for the events market”

While the technology is no stranger to the festival world, RFID is still a popular topic on annual lists of festival trends, with a number of events adopting cashless systems this season. Since its launch in 2012, PlayPass has deployed its technology at festivals including Rock Werchter (340,000 visitors) and Lollapalooza Berlin (80,000), working at over 600 events across the world and processing more than €50 million in payments.

With the vision of expanding their offering further into fixed venues, the company has recently partnered with Belgian football club RSC Anderlecht. Season ticket holders at the club can now use their passes to make cashless payments, using PlayPass technology.

“This capital will fuel our growth and advance our progress to expand and become the global market leader in access and contactless payment solutions for the events market,” adds de Wever.

 


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Storms force Lollapalooza to cut short first night

Headline sets by Lorde, Muse and others were cut short as a storm forced the early closure of the first day of Lollapalooza.

Promoter C3 Presents and Chicago city officials evacuated the Grant Park site an hour before it was due to close, telling people via Twitter: “Grant Park is being evacuated due to weather. Please make your way to the nearest exit,” and “Tonight’s performances will not resume. Please make your way toward shelter, away from Grant Park”. Announcements were also made over loudspeakers and by stewards.

“We are disappointed to have to end today’s performances early, however our first priority is the safety of our fans, staff and artists,” said C3 Presents spokesperson Sandee Fenton.

It’s not the first time the event has been affected by the weather. In 2015 the final day of the festival was cut short by a nearby storm, and in 2012 the site was evacuated for similar reasons.

Very sad Chicago City & police evacuated Grant Park early on in our show tonight due to lightning strikes nearby. We will be back as soon as we can. Thanks to all those that were rocking in the storm. Amazing fans as always.

A post shared by MUSE (@muse) on Aug 3, 2017 at 8:11pm PDT

The 100,000-capacity festival runs from 3-6 August. Artists include The Killers, Arcade Fire, The xx, Alt-J, Chance the Rapper and Blink-182.

 


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110,000+ attend homegrown Lollapalooza Paris 2017

The first edition of Lollapalooza Paris, which took place last weekend, has been hailed as a success by promoter Live Nation France, which has praised the festival as a triumph of “local initiative” in the face of criticism by former culture minister Jack Lang.

Lang – a veteran Socialist party politician who served as France’s minister of culture from 1981–86 and 1988–92 – on Saturday attacked the new festival, announced in October, as part of an “invasion of the musical life of France by American multinationals”.

According to Lang, Live Nation is threatening France’s domestic, often public subsidised, festival scene with the “extension of its empire” across the country. (The company’s most recent French acquisition was Nous Productions last August.)

He also took a swipe at AEG, which is believed to be going into partnership with Matthieu Pigasse’s LNEI Live on Rock en Seine, saying the rival promoter is “already scandalously present in [Paris] with AccorHotels Arena”.

“We would have been delighted to welcome Mr Lang to the festival, so that he realises that it is a local initiative, produced by a French company called Live Nation France”

Live Nation France issued a statement in response to Lang’s attack, with deputy GM Matthias Leullier saying he “would have been delighted to welcome Mr Lang to the festival, so that he realises that it is a local initiative, produced by a French company called Live Nation France”. Leullier also notes Live Nation France has 65 permanent employees and hired 1,500 people for Lollapalooza, all of which “are paid, and not by public subsidies.”

According to Le Figaro, no fewer than 110,000 people attended Lollapalooza Paris 2017, held at the Longchamp racecourse – the home of Download Paris, also a Live Nation production – on 22 and 23 July. Headliners were Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Weeknd, Imagine Dragons, Lana Del Rey, London Grammar and DJ Snake.

Lollapalooza, revived in Chicago by Live Nation’s C3 Presents in 2005, is now staged in five other cities worldwide:  Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Berlin, Paris and Chilean capital Santiago.

 


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