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Coronavirus forces end of Love Parade inquiry

A regional court in Germany has ordered a definitive end to the trial of the organisers of the 2010 Love Parade festival.

The current trial began in December 2017 after previous legal proceedings cleared the defendants – four employees of festival promoter Lopavent and six of the city of Duisburg, in North Rhine-Westphalia – of any wrongdoing.

While prosecutors said at the start of the trial they were confident of securing prosecutions, the impact of the coronavirus means that reaching a verdict before the ten-year statute of limitations expires in July would be impossible, Duisburg regional court ruled. The trial lasted 184 days, according to Deutsche Welle.

Twenty-one people died, and more than 650 were injured, on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the long-running techno festival. Over a million people are said to have attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard in Duisburg with a capacity of around 250,000.

The victims included festivalgoers from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China and the Netherlands.

 


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The decade in live: 2010

The start of a new year and, perhaps more significantly, a new decade is fast approaching – and while many may be thinking ahead to New Year’s Eve plans and well-meaning 2020 resolutions, IQ is casting its mind back to the most pivotal industry moments of the last ten years.

Over the coming weeks, IQ will be bringing you a complete, chronological review of each year in the live business, from the beginning of the decade right up to the present day.

Kicking things off, we take a look at 2010 – the year that marked both the end of the first decade of the 21st century and the start of a new chapter.

At the start of this decade, the world was slowly recovering from the global financial crisis, with a continued shortage of disposable income for fans leading to the underperformance or cancellation of a number of concerts, tours and festivals, particularly in the United States.

The appearance of an unbudging volcanic ash cloud above Iceland also briefly took its toll on the live business, causing the closure of international airspace and the disruption of several high-profile tours.

The year also saw some several major mergers and acquisition, including arguably the deal of the decade, as Live Nation and Ticketmaster completed their merger.

 


2010 in numbers

According to Pollstar figures, the top 50 global tours of 2010 grossed a combined US$2.9 billion, down 12% from the year before.

The top five highest grossing tours of the year were Bon Jovi’s Circle ($201.1 million), AC/DC’s Black Ice World Tour ($177m), U2’s 360° ($160.9m), Lady Gaga’s The Monster Ball Tour ($133.6m) and Metallica’s World Magnetic Tour ($110.1m).

Over the year, a total of 38.3m tickets were sold to 2,650 shows, 7m fewer than in 2009, which also saw 8%, or around 200, more concerts.  The average ticket price did rise in 2010, however, by 4% ($2.90) from the previous year.

 


Who we lost

In 2010, the music industry lost some legends, including Mark Linkhous of Sparklehorse, 47; former Sex Pistols manager and musician Malcolm McLaren, 64; heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, 67; veteran agent Barbara Skydel of William Morris Entertainment, 70; Dave Kirby, founder of booking agency the Kirby Organization, 56.

 


2010 in brief

January
The US Justice Department clears the merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster Entertainment, forming the world’s largest live entertainment company. At the time, the behemoth owned 140 venues worldwide, promoted 22,000 concerts and sold 140 million tickets a year and managed the careers of over 200 artists.

February
Beyonce Knowles wins six Grammys at the annual US music awards shows, more than any other woman in a single night in the 52-year history of the awards.

All Good Entertainment files a $300m suit against Michael Jackson’s estate, AEG Live and others, claiming it had a contract with him and his family for a reunion concert.

March
Live Nation, FKP Scorpio and Exit festival all announce that they are testing cashless payment systems at festivals in the summer.

Michael Jackson’s estate signs a record-breaking $200m deal with Sony Music Entertainment for ten projects over seven years.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

Beyonce won six awards at the 2010 Grammys © idrewuk/Wikimedia Commons (CC By 2.0) (cropped)

April
Live Nation announces the launch of an Australian office in Melbourne, just weeks after it sets up in Germany.

Ash from an Icelandic volcano closes airspace in Europe destroying many tour plans and promotional campaigns.

May
CTS Eventim purchases the remaining 49.8% of shares it didn’t already own in Italian ticket company TicketOne for €20.6m ($25.5m).

Manchester Evening News Arena is bought by Development Securities for £62m ($90m) and venue manager SMG Europe announces a 25-year deal with the new owner.

June
Stevie Wonder wraps up Glastonbury Festival with a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ as the 177,000-capacity event celebrates its 40th anniversary with blazing sunshine and a sell-out crowd.

Partners at Creative Artists Agency (CAA) acknowledge that the agency is in discussions with a private equity firm to buy a share of the company worth up to $250m.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

A scorching Glastonbury 2010 © MojoBaron/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0) (resized)

July
Ticket giant CTS Eventim buys See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group for €145m ($180) and secures exclusive ticketing rights to all Stage Entertainment Germany shows.

Twenty one die and over 500 are injured at the Love Parade festival in Duisberg, Germany, when panic breaks out in an entrance/exit tunnel to the event.

August
Veteran agent Brett Murrihy of Premier Harbour Agency launches a new company, Artist Voice, with Michael Gudinski’s Mushroom Group.

Deutsche Entertainment AG forms Gold Entertainment after purchasing two thirds of promoter Manfred Hertlein Veranstaltungs, to focus on the “grey gold” market.

September
Germany’s Federal Cartel Office launches a retrospective probe into CTS Eventim’s €145m purchase of See Tickets Germany and Ticket Online Group.

A survey of 414 ticketing sites by regulators across Europe finds that 247 are breaking consumer laws and will be investigated further by authorities.

Live Biz in review: IQ's decade highlights

Bon Jovi’s Circle tour was the highest grossing of 2010 © Miyagawa/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

October
CAA announces a strategic partnership with investment firm TPG Capital, which takes a 35% non-controlling stake in the agency.

November
Take That sell 1.35m tickets for its 2011 stadium tour featuring Robbie Williams, with demand crashing ticket websites and phone lines.

Live Nation buys France’s second largest ticketing company, Ticketnet, for an undisclosed sum.

December
David Campbell, chief executive of the O2 in London, departs the world’s top arena to work for Bernie Ecclestone’s Formula One Management.

Live Nation sells the 1,800-capacity Stockholm Circus to a syndicate that includes executives Thomas Johansson and Carl Pernow.

Live biz in review: IQ's decade highlightsTake That perform as part of their 2011 Progress Live tour © vagueonthehow/Flickr (CC by 2.0)

 


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New criminal trial begins for Love Parade 10

Following outcry over the failure of a previous lawsuit, ten of the organisers of the tragic 2010 Love Parade festival today once again went on trial in Germany.

The ten defendants – four employees of the festival’s promoter, Lopavent, and six of the city of Duisburg, in North Rhine-Westphalia – were cleared of any wrongdoing in an April 2016 decision by Duisburg state court, which found there was “no sufficient case to answer” – a ruling described as a “judicial scandal” by relatives of the deceased.

However, an appeals court overturned the decision in April of this year, with prosecutors saying they are confident of convictions the second time around.

Twenty-one people died, and more than 650 were injured, on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the techno festival. Over a million people are said to have attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard with a capacity of around 250,000.

Love Parade’s founder, DJ Dr Motte, says he hopes the trial will “shed full light” on the tragedy

The victims included festivalgoers from Spain, Australia, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, China and the Netherlands.

According to Agence France-Presse, defendants face charges of negligent manslaughter and bodily harm in one of the biggest criminal cases in Germany’s history, with the accused being represented by 32 lawyers and survivors by nearly 40.

The scale of the trial and the huge public interest have forced court officials to move the proceedings from the Duisburg state court to a 500-seat convention hall in nearby Dusseldorf, reports AFP.

Love Parade’s founder, DJ Dr Motte, says he hopes the trial will “shed full light” on how the tragedy was allowed by happen. “That’s what the parents want, and that’s what matters most,” he tells the DPA news agency.

 


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German court reopens Love Parade trial

An appeals court has said the ten people charged with 21 deaths at the 2010 Love Parade festival must stand trial, overturning last April’s controversial ruling by a Bremen state court to the contrary.

More than 500 people were also injured on 24 July 2010 in a deadly crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the now-defunct dance music festival, promoted by Berlin-based Lopavent. Over a million people were reported to have attended, despite the venue – a former goods yard in Duisburg – having a capacity of around 250,000.

Four employees of Lopavent and six of the city of Duisburg were indicted in 2014 on charges including involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm. The state court in Duisburg dismissed the case in April 2016, ruling that insufficient evidence meant “there [was] no sufficient case to answer”, prompting a civil suit from three of the injured.

According to the Associated Press, an appeals court in Dusseldorf said on Monday that there is in fact a “sufficient probability” of convictions, with the Duisburg court having set “overly high demands” of the chances on conviction in making its decision.

The reopened trial will once again take place in Duisburg, but with a new panel of judges.

 


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Love Parade, Duisburg facing new damage claims

Three Love Parade attendees have began fresh civil proceedings against those involved in organising the tragic 2010 festival.

There have been over 30 civil cases brought against festival promoter Lopavent, the city of Duisburg and the state of North Rhine-Westphalia since 2010 – all of them unsuccessful – although the latest claims are the first since a court ruled in April no one will stand trial over the disaster, which left 21 dead, owing to a lack of evidence.

German public broadcaster WDR reports that one woman, who suffered concussion, is seeking €73,000 in damages, with two more seeking between €34,000 and €56,000 each.

“I am of the view that the irresponsible behaviour of planners and organisers can not be atoned for without [paying these damages]”

Bärbel Schönhof, representing the first woman, a 51-year-old from Duisburg, says despite the failure of earlier lawsuits she is confident of a victory, “because I am of the view that [the] irresponsible behaviour of planners and organisers can not be atoned for without such a judgment”.

Twenty-one people died and over 500 were injured on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to Love Parade. Over a million people attended the dance music festival, which was held at a former goods yard in Duisburg with a capacity of around 250,000.

 


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Calls for criminal prosecution of Love Parade 10

Nearly 360,000 people have signed a petition calling for a criminal case to be opened against the organisers of the tragic 2010 Love Parade festival.

Duisburg state court ruled in April that 10 people – four employees of Love Parade promoter Lopavent and six of the city of Duisburg – would not stand trial for their role in the disaster, which left 21 people dead, owing to a lack of evidence. Lawyer Julius Reiter, representing around 100 people, including the relatives of four of the dead, called the decision a “judicial scandal” and said prosecutors would appeal to the higher regional court (Oberlandesgericht, OLG) in Dusseldorf.

A petition to Dusseldorf OLG created by Gabi Müller, the mother of victim Christian Müller, has attracted 359,188 signatures at the time of writing and will be presented to the court on Monday (25 July). It calls for a criminal trial of the 10 people who escaped prosecution in April.

Müller says she is “overwhelmed” by the response and regularly reads comments on the petition, “especially in dark hours”. “They help me to keep going and not lose hope that one day my son, Christian, and all the other victims of the Love Parade will have justice.”

Twenty-one people died and over 500 were injured on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the dance music festival in Duisburg. Over a million people attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard with a capacity of around 250,000.

 


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Love Parade accused won’t stand trial

Ten people charged over the Love Parade disaster in 2010 will not stand trial after a German court ruled the case against them lacked sufficient strength.

Four employees of event promoter Lopavent and six of the city of Duisburg were indicted two years ago on charges including involuntary manslaughter and bodily harm and accused of failing to follow proper security procedures.

The state court in Duisburg, however, ruled earlier today that “an exhaustive examination” of the prosecution’s case and evidence “has shown that there is no sufficient case to answer”, reports AP.

“The state’s accusations could not be proved with the evidence presented. Hence a conviction of the accused could not be expected”

In a statement issued after dismissing the charges, the court said: “The state’s accusations could not be proved with the evidence presented. Hence a conviction of the accused could not be expected.”

Prosecutors have filed an appeal, which will now be considered by a higher court in Dusseldorf.

Julius Reiter, who represents around 100 people, including the relatives of four people who died in the disaster, told news agency DPA the decision is a “judicial scandal”, adding that “they [the victims’ families] have been fobbed off for years with the statement that thoroughness comes before speed”.

Twenty-one people died and over 500 were injured on 24 July 2010 in a crush in a tunnel that served as the sole entrance to the now-defunct dance music festival. Over a million people attended the 2010 event, which was held at a former goods yard with a capacity of around 250,000.