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Sick Britons to be prescribed concerts and playlists

Patients with mental health conditions and degenerative diseases should be prescribed concerts, playlists and music classes in addition to medication, according to Britain’s health secretary, Matt Hancock MP.

In a speech to King’s Fund, a UK health think tank, yesterday, Hancock suggested trips to concert venues, as well as ‘personal playlists’ of music, could be prescribed to help patients and their families cope with the symptoms of brain diseases such as dementia – a practice dubbed “social prescribing”.

“We’ve been fostering a culture that’s popping pills and Prozac, when what we should be doing is more prevention and perspiration,” he said, reports the Times. “Social prescribing can help us combat over-medicalising people. It’s about moving from patient-centred care to person-centred care.”

Hancock – formerly the UK’s culture minister, where he worked towards securing a ban on ticket bots, as well as the abolition of the controversial ‘form 696’ – said a National Academy for Social Prescribing will also be established to champion the plans.

“Social prescribing can help us combat over-medicalising people”

“We should value the arts because they’re essential to our health and wellbeing,” added. “And that’s not me as a former culture secretary, who’s spent a lot of time around luvvies, saying it. It’s scientifically proven. Access to the arts improves people’s mental and physical health. It makes us happier and healthier.”

Paul Farmer, chief executive of mental-health charity Mind, welcomes the proposals but says they need to be matched with the proper funding, according to the BBC.

“Local services have been subject to substantial cuts over the past decade,” he comments. “This prevention strategy must be matched with long-term investment, if we want to see it become a reality and making a real difference to people’s everyday lives.”

 


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MSG reveals high-tech London venue plans

London is to get a striking new large-scale music and entertainment venue courtesy of Madison Square Garden Company (MSG), its first outside the US, IQ can reveal. The venue will be based on the groundbreaking MSG Sphere concept unveiled yesterday in New York and LA.

MSG Sphere – which will debut at the American venue giant’s new 18,000-seat arena in Las Vegas when it breaks ground this June – aims “to make concertgoers part of the experience” through what MSG describes as “game-changing technologies that push the limits of connectivity, acoustics, video and content distribution”.

High-tech innovations include a sound system that individually targets each seat, ensuring everyone hears the same performance, no matter their location, and – most strikingly – ultra-HD video screens that stretch across venue’s walls and ceilings, enveloping attendees in an immersive visual experience. The Vegas venue will also feature high-speed internet at every seat, allowing concertgoers to share their experience on social media and enabling interactive experiences with artists.

While the London venue is still in the early stages of planning, with no concrete details on capacity or design, the company confirms it will be based on the MSG Sphere concept.

MSG Sphere London will be located next to the Westfield shopping centre in Stratford, east London, near the site of the 2012 Olympic games.

 


MSG says Sphere is a natural fit for EDM events

MSG says Sphere is a natural fit for EDM events


 

Madison Square Garden Company – which has long been rumoured to have an interest in London, and was believed to be in the running to buy the Olympia before its acquisition by German investors in April – has purchased nearly five acres of land in the area on which to construct the venue, says MSG CEO James Dolan.

“London is one of the world’s greatest cities, and we are delighted to be taking this first step towards making it the location for MSG’s first international venue,” he says.

The project will be overseen by Jayne McGivern, who joined MSG as executive vice-president, development and construction. McGivern’s previous executive roles have included spells as UK managing director of AEG and CEO of leading contractor Multiplex Europe, which built the new Wembley Stadium.

“We believe that a large-scale, next-generation venue will not only become a premier destination, but also drive growth in London’s overall music and entertainment market,” continues Dolan, “benefiting artists and fans and serving as a long-term investment in the future of this incredible city. MSG Sphere will provide a home where like-minded communities can come together to not only interact with the performance, but also with each other.”

“London is one of the world’s greatest cities, and we are delighted to be taking this first step towards making it the location for MSG’s first international venue”

Preliminary analysis by Ernst & Young shows MSG Sphere London will create approximately 3,200 new jobs annually, contribute £2.7bn to the UK economy over the initial 20 years of operations and generate additional revenues of more than £50m every year for local businesses.

McGivern tells IQ that since the closure of Earls Court (20,000-cap.) in 2014, London has been “underserved by big arenas” – a statement backed up by research undertaken by Sound Diplomacy which found London, Europe’s live music capital, has fewer large arenas relative to population size than other major cities, including Paris, Berlin, Madrid and New York.

Plans for a new arena in east London raise the prospect of an escalation of the much-publicised ‘venue war’ between MSG and The O2 operator AEG, although McGivern says MSG is focused on “growing the market” rather than taking market share from other operators. “It’s absolutely an opportunity to grow the market in London,” she explains. “Whenever we see new venues popping up, the market grows with them – just look at the Forum in LA.”

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, says MSG’s confidence in the UK capital is further testament to London’s status as a “music powerhouse”. “From intimate grassroots music venues to spectacular arenas, London’s buzzing live music scene is world renowned,” he comments. “It’s great to welcome another world-class venue to the capital, to confirm London’s position as a music powerhouse and to boost still further our city’s thriving night-time economy.”

 


Audiences will be immersed in multi-sensory environments that can be "as large as the ocean"

Audiences will be immersed in multi-sensory environments that can be “as large as the ocean”


 

“It’s great news that the world-famous Madison Square Garden Company has chosen London to be home for its first international venue,” adds Britain’s secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, Matt Hancock. “This cements both the capital and UK’s reputation for leading the world in music and the creative industries.

“This groundbreaking arena in east London will not only create jobs, but help us continue to develop incredible artists, music and innovative technology that will give fans an amazing experience.”

In addition to its plans to build in London and Las Vegas, MSG’s venues include its flagship 20,000-cap. Madison Square Garden venue in New York, along with the Theatre at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall and Beacon Theatre; the Forum in Inglewood, California; the Chicago Theatre; and the Wang Theatre in Boston.

 


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UK MP backs calls for visa deal for EU artists

British member of parliament Bernard Jenkin has called for immediate government action to safeguard free movement for musicians after Brexit, warning of a “paralysis” gripping the music industry as negotiations between the UK and EU rumble on.

Speaking at a fringe meeting at the Conservative party conference in Manchester, veteran Eurosceptic Jenkin (pictured) said Britain does not have to wait for a deal with the EU to set up a visa system for European musicians visiting the UK.

His comments come after meeting chair Michael Dugher, an ex-MP who now leads industry group UK Music, urged the government to consider introducing a touring ‘passport’ for British artists playing the EU after Britain leaves in 2019.

According to the BBC’s Brian Wheeler, who was at the meeting, Jenkin said music organisations “need to know where they stand. We don’t need to wait for an agreement, but there is a sense – the same applies to seasonal workers in agriculture – that there is paralysis because everyone has been told not to announce anything, or decide anything, until further agreement has been made.

“There are things we need to get on with and decide and implement for ourselves, whatever the outcome of the negotiations”

“There are things we need to get on with and decide and implement for ourselves, whatever the outcome of the negotiations.”

Matt Hancock, the minister of state for digital and culture, appeared to welcome Jenkin’s suggestion, saying he “entirely agree[s] that we don’t need to wait for a deal before we set out the direction of future immigration policy, and I take your pleadings to get on with it.”

“I hope we can come to a good and reasonable resolution on this,” he added.

Industry figures and associations, both in the UK and internationally, quizzed by IQ in the run-up to last June’s referendum overwhelmingly expressed a wish to remain in the European Union – with uncertainty over future visa-free travel for artists a common concern – but most were sanguine on British music’s prospects following the 52–48 vote to leave.

 


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UK minister voices concerns over ‘anti-grime’ 696

Matt Hancock MP, the UK’s minister of state for digital and culture, has written to the mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, to express his concern that promoters of grime and other “urban music events” are being forced out of the capital by a controversial risk-assessment form.

‘Form 696′, a document issued by the Metropolitan police to those requesting permission to hold an event, requires potential licensees to list performers’ and promoters’ names, addresses and phone numbers, the style of music to be performed and the event’s target audience. It is the requests for information on genre and audience that are particularly controversial, with critics accusing the police of racial profiling by singling out primarily black musical styles such as grime, garage and bashment.

Hancock says form 696 risks hurting London’s embattled small-venue scene, which has only recently recovered after a long period of decline, by “pushing organisers and promoters of urban music events to take them outside London” to cities that don’t use the form.

In his letter, shared with The Independent, Hancock writes: “I am concerned that the form is not only potentially stifling young artists and reducing the diversity of London’s world-renowned musical offering, but is also having a negative impact on London’s night-time economy by pushing organisers and promoters of urban music events to take them outside London. This form is just used in London and not other UK cities.

“British music is successful because it is diverse. It is right that government is stepping in on this issue”

“I appreciate that form 696 is a risk assessment designed to allow the management of licensed premises, promoters of music events, event security and the police to work in partnership to identify and minimise any risk of serious crime happening at a proposed event. But I’m sure you will agree that anything which has the potential to impact negatively on free expression and London’s economy, while denying young people the opportunity to attend and perform at certain events, needs careful consideration.

“Genres of urban music like grime have the same significance for today’s young people as punk did in the 1970s, empowering them, creating a new generation of musical heroes and growing to become a worldwide phenomenon. I strongly believe that we should be encouraging and embracing all musical genres, building on London’s rich musical history as the city that gave us The Kinks, David Bowie, The Sex Pistols and Amy Winehouse.

“I would like to understand whether you think form 696 is serving a justified purpose and working well, or whether there is a case for changing the current system.”

Music industry umbrella group UK Music says it welcomes Hancock’s intervention. Chief executive Jo Dipple comments: “UK Music thanks the minister, who has a track record of stepping in to support British musicians. [Hancock was also instrumental in brokering the impending ban on ticket bots.]

“Genres of urban music like grime have the same significance for today’s young people as punk did in the 1970s”

“It is important to make sure form 696 is not being unfairly used against particular musical genres. Discrimination against any musician damages all of us. It reduces the diversity of our output and limits our ability to reach our economic potential.

“We ask that anyone with first-hand experience of misuse of form 696 contacts UK Music. British music is successful because it is diverse. It is right that government is stepping in on this issue and we will work with the minister, the mayor’s office and the Metropolitan police to properly examine and address any misuse of this form.”

She adds, however, that her comments should be not construed as a “criticism of the Met police, who do amazing work in very difficult circumstances”.

 


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