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Dark Horses: The resilience of metal

Cranked amplifiers. Pyrotechnic firepower. Mosh-pit mayhem. As a genre where the blood, sweat and riffs of the live experience are both an integral part of fan appeal and artists’ revenues, the fortunes of metal are intrinsically tied to the live market, in sickness and in health.

After nearly two years of silence due to the pandemic, metal is steadily finding its feet again as a return to the summer festival touring circuit continues apace. At the time of writing, Wacken Open Air had recently wound up its 2022 edition, where 80,000 diehard metalheads summed up the loyalty in the genre with more than 95% of them rolling over their tickets from previous years. And just one day after the curtain came down, fans took just five hours to snap up all 80,000 tickets for the 2023 edition.

Elsewhere, live juggernaut Rammstein are resuming their record-breaking global stadium tour after it was rudely interrupted in 2020, concluding with three nights at Mexico City’s 65,000-capacity Foro Sol stadium. Newer boutique events are also performing well, such as Italy’s Rock The Castle, which is offering fans the opportunity to see legendary headliners Judas Priest and Megadeth within Scaligero Castle grounds.

“Metal fans are fans for their whole life,” affirms Andrea Pieroni, CEO of Vertigo who promoted the event. “We sold almost 20,000 tickets over the weekend, which is good if you consider we sell only daily tickets and capacity is 9,000. It’s a new renaissance, literally!”

The road back to live has been rocky, and the issues beleaguering the entire live industry – crew shortages, skyrocketing fuel prices, ballooning production costs – are keenly felt. Yet, unsurprisingly, for a genre that has always punched above its weight and boasts fans regarded as the most loyal in the world, in this report IQ hears how many artists and show organisers have not only survived but thrived, through a mix of passion, community and grit.

“Metal fans are fans for their whole life”

Riders on the storm
When it dawned on the industry that 2021 would not see a return to business-as-usual, several no-table metal festivals embraced digital technology like never before by staging online editions rather than let another year pass unmarked.

One such festival is The Netherlands’ tastemaker event Roadburn, whose organisers launched Roadburn Redux in April 2021, a four-day streaming event with live performances from Tilburg’s lynchpin club venue, 013. “We pulled out all the stops to make Roadburn Redux something really special, and it was affirming, as an independent festival, that we might still have a future,” recalls artistic director Walter Hoeijmakers. Performances were broadcast in real-time by local production specialists, LiveWall, who also created the online portal, which saw 79,000 fans from 132 countries tune in.

The carefully curated programme recreated all the regular hallmarks that have earned Roadburn an engaged following and a reputation for “redefining heavy”: spotlights on emerging underground talent, panel discussions, and exclusive commissioned projects, made possible through grants from the Dutch government. “We approached 16 bands and told them, ‘We want to give you a portion of this grant to create new music that we can premiere at Roadburn 2021,’” explains Hoeijmakers. “That was the main goal: to inspire the community and give bands an opportunity to grow and keep them visible.”

France’s Hellfest also got in on the action, creating a virtual “metalverse” for Hellfest From Home, where visitors could navigate between stages and interact with other headbangers. Alongside live performances, video content catered to the wider festival experience, from cocktail recipes to cooking tutorials with rockstars, racking up nearly three million views overall.

“We don’t treat festival goers as customers: it’s more like a community”

Significantly, both festivals made the online experiences open to all, free of charge. Roadburn opened donations, raising over €56,000 to help cover costs, while Hellfest sold specially produced merchandise. As Hellfest communications manager Eric Perrin explains, the focus was to repay fans for their loyalty: “It was a ‘thank you’ to everyone who had held on to their tickets. We don’t treat festival goers as customers: it’s more like a community. As an independent festival, ticketing is 60% of our budget, so we maintain a special relationship with our community because, ultimately, they’re our lifeline.”

Both festivals have been rewarded this year with sold-out attendance for their respective physical comebacks, with nearly 90% of original tickets purchases rolled over. 5,500 visitors returned to Roadburn this year, with around 80% of attendees travelling from outside The Netherlands. Meanwhile, Hellfest celebrated its 15th anniversary by spreading a stacked bill over two weekends, welcoming 420,000 people to Clisson over seven days.

Younger bands, like Static Dress and Sleep Token, have also been able to build anticipation with fresh music over the pandemic and return to larger audiences. Canadian metallers Spiritbox were on their first tour playing support to 800-cap rooms or less when the world locked down. Now, they are one of the hottest properties in metal, recently notching up a much-anticipated debut at Download Festival and two sold-out nights at Islington’s O2 Academy venue as headliners, selling 1,600 tickets.

Back in the saddle
A few tentpole events can be seen as paving the way for metal’s return to heavyweight commercial performance. Most obvious is The Metal Tour of the Year which packages together Trivium and Lamb Of God with thrash icons Megadeth, which in its first leg in 2021 alone sold over 170,000 tickets across 24 North American dates, grossing nearly $8m (€7.9m) according to Pollstar.

More impressively, demand proved so high that a second leg of 26 dates was undertaken earlier this year. Over in the UK, Bring Me The Horizon launched a fresh tour of six arenas in 2021, which sold over 60,000 tickets, while Don Broco’s 11-date run of academy-sized venues (25,000 tickets sold) has set them up for their first arena tour next year.

“We need to take more chances on new headliners”

But, in Britain’s metal calendar, no event speaks louder than Download Festival. In 2021, the UK government tasked the festival with putting together a 10,000-capacity camping festival with zero social distancing, as part of the wider Events Research Programme that would make the case for large-scale gatherings post-lockdown. Oh, and with just four weeks’ notice. No pressure.

“John Probyn and his team at Festival Republic did an incredible job pulling together the production in such short notice,” recalls Live Nation promoter Kamran Haq. “We managed to confirm the entire line-up in four days. Some bands thought we were joking when we told them we were going to do a festival in four weeks’ time, but thankfully every band we approached jumped at the chance.”

The result was a scaled-down Download featuring a best-of-British line-up headed by Enter Shikari, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and Bullet For My Valentine. While the event was never going to turn a profit with reduced capacity and reported production costs of £2.7m (€3.2m), Haq affirms that the exercise was worthwhile. “It was a loss leader, but its success allowed other festivals like Reading and Leeds, Creamfields, Latitude etc., to go ahead later in the summer. It also showed us that we need to take more chances on new headliners, and we will do.”

By all accounts, metal festivals and tours have been back in full force this summer, with many circuit mainstays reporting bumper attendance numbers, including: Download (110,000, UK); Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park (150,000 combined, Germany); Graspop Metal Meeting (220,000, Belgium); Welcome To Rockville (160,000, US); Resurrection Festival (145,000, Spain); and Good Things (90,000, Australia).

Perennial favourites Iron Maiden resumed their mammoth Legacy Of The Beast tour to sweep up 170,000 tickets over five German stadium shows alone. In most cases, ticket retention ranges from 75% up to 90%. Yet that diehard loyalty of holding on to tickets for the past two years has also come at a cost this year – namely that touring budgets and ticket prices drawn up in 2019/2020 do not square with the costs of staging shows in 2022, with many reporting at least a 30% increase in production costs.

“We’re going to be forced to analyse comfort levels for increasing ticket prices”

“I have never seen anything like it,” says Ossy Hoppe of Wizard Promotions who, with almost 50 years’ experience promoting hard rock’s elite under his belt, has seen it all. “We have a completely different situation now, where neither promoters nor bands are making the money they expected on deals. If bands can’t get trucks, they’re getting busses. If they can’t get busses, then they’re chartering planes. The only way we will get through is if we all pull on the same string.”

5B Artist Management president Justin Arcangel observes that 2023 tour sales vary wildly, and while per-head merchandise sales at shows are double pre-pandemic levels, selling VIP packages has become essential to mitigate risk. “Maybe in 2019 our guarantees would pay for the tour and VIP would be a profit centre. Now the VIP is necessary to help the tour break even,” says Arcangel, whose clients include heavy hitters Megadeth, Slipknot, and Behemoth. “We’re going to be forced to analyse comfort levels for increasing ticket prices, but we also have to figure out how to make these tours profit if touring is going to be sustainable.”

Latin America has proven itself to be a hotbed for a thriving, passionate metal fanbase across the continent. In our 2020 report, CKConcerts managing director Christian Krämer stated that development of venues and tour infrastructure would be necessary to truly open up the region. Fortunately, from his perspective, the pandemic has not set back efforts in this area.

“A few venues had to close, but the vast majority are still there, and we are even seeing new venues being opened, such as Coliseo Live arena in Bogotá,” he says. Appetites for continent-spanning tours with Airbourne and Obituary are looking promising, but not all sales are equal. “Both tours are selling very good, but I have seen several other shows that only sold very late. The market will be oversaturated until late 2023 probably, so it is still too early to see how everything will play out.”

But, as Christopher “Bitz” Ruvalcaba of metal powerhouse Cobra Agency observes, uncertainty is par for the course in a territory where political stability and currency values can, and will, vary year-to-year, state to state: “It’s not just Covid for us. You might have riots in Chile or you do a deal where the value of the dollar was worth five pesos, then three months later the dollar might be worth ten pesos. Tour cancellations happen all the time. It’s a case of resilience and adapting to bring the best opportunities to your artists.”

“The metal fans in South America are more passionate than anywhere in the world”

The pandemic and the war in Ukraine may have exacerbated existing problems, such as the costs of flying and freighting, which are a logistical necessity for a band crossing the Andes, but Ruvalcaba’s optimism for metal’s growth in the region remains unchanged. Having worked with promoters from grassroots to stadium-level and built strong relationships with artists such as Slipknot over the past ten years, he has seen touring infrastructure for metal bands across the region go from strength to strength.

The success of Mexico’s Hell and Heaven Metal Fest (30,000 cap), and the high-profile expansion of Knotfest into the territory are proof of long-term commitment bearing fruit. “We have been trying to stage Knotfest in Brazil and Chile for five years, and we have only just found the right bands and right time to do it,” he says proudly of the Slipknot-affiliated festival, which this year will also be staged in Colombia and so far has sold 30,000 tickets for each event before the full bill has even been announced. “You need passion and patience to make shows happen here, but the metal fans in South America are more passionate than anywhere in the world. It’s a culture. It’s a message.”

Forging ahead
As a heavy metal summer of festivals and touring draws to a close, conversation naturally turns to how tours set for winter 2022 and spring 2023 will perform. After all, once rollover tickets have been used up and punters start to feel the pinch of winter energy costs, how will tours sell?

Whether at a major league or independent-level, both 5B’s Justin Arcangel and Sarika Rice of London-based Desertfest have noticed a trend for customers to wait until the 11th hour to buy tickets. “I think people are wary of parting with money in advance or [concerned] that the shows are even going to happen,” says Rice, who as Desertfest’s booker and marketing head is finding the last-minute ticket sales challenging when it comes to projecting budgets for 2023’s festivals in London and New York. “Going into this year, we had 1,000 tickets rolled over for London. Will we see a quick uptake when we put tickets on sale or will it be down to the wire? We’ve got to be prepared for that.”

Yet Alan Day of Kilimanjaro Live and Action! Presents is bullish about the sales coming in. “You hear, ‘Oh, this autumn is going to be tough,’ but people say that every year! It’s always busy, but I think the market is very strong for rock and metal bands,” says Day, who has major UK tours with Bullet For My Valentine, Saboton, and Don Broco scheduled for Q1 2023. “I am very wary of the cost-of-living crisis, and we are being careful in how we position younger bands, but people will do everything they can to ensure their pay cheques stretch to go to see a show. The metal audience is loyal – that will never go away.”

“The future of touring itself will be about having much stronger packaging and not an increase in ticket price”

The opinion among many promoters and bookers is that rewarding that loyalty and delivering value-for-money at the barriers will prove crucial when it comes to ensuring good turnouts while navigating the rising costs of touring. As Adam ‘Rad’ Saunders of X-ray Touring cautions, simply offloading touring costs onto the consumer by hiking ticket prices simply won’t cut it.

“The future of touring itself will be about having much stronger packaging and not an increase in ticket price,” says Saunders, who believes that co-headline packages such as Amon Amarth and Machine Head’s upcoming UK arena tour are the way forward. “You need to put more on the table. The ticket buyer needs more value for their money, and I think that is what is needed for the confidence to return and for advance ticket sales to come back to what they were prior.”

One thing everyone IQ spoke to agrees upon is that metal continues to gain a fresh young audience, whether through well-placed syncs creating a “Stranger Things moment” or through rock lifers introducing their children to the visceral thrill of a metal show turned up to 11.

“I see young kids between 12 and 17 going back and listening to UFO and Thin Lizzy, and it’s amazing that there’s a new generation coming up that are really into hard rock and heavy metal,” marvels Ossy Hoppe, concluding that whatever the upcoming years bring for bands and their teams, the future of metal is loud. “Long live rock and roll and hopefully so will we!”

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IQ 113 out now: Coldplay, Lucy Dickins and more

IQ 113, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite monthly magazine, is available to read online now.

The August edition sees IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson go behind the scenes of Coldplay’s Music of the Spheres global tour and explore the band’s record-breaking success.

Elsewhere, he profiles WME’s global head of contemporary music and touring, Lucy Dickins, charting her extraordinary rise through the corporate ranks.

Meanwhile, our metal expert James MacKinnon tracks the genre’s impressive post-pandemic recovery, and Adam Woods learns about the mixed fortunes confronting touring artists and productions in an otherwise buoyant Swedish live music market.

For this edition’s columns and comments, Professor Chris Kemp examines the changing landscape of crowd behaviour in the post-Covid environment, and Music Support‘s Lynne Maltman provides a sobering reminder of the collective promises we made for our mental health.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

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United Festival Force: ‘Banding together keeps us independent’

Some of the festival organisers behind the newly formed United Festival Force (UFF) have told IQ about the benefits of banding together.

The alliance, announced earlier this month, comprises seven European metal festivals including Alcatraz (cap. 15,000) in Belgium, Bloodstock (20,000) in the UK and Brutal Assault (20,000) in the Czech Republic.

Dynamo Metalfest (10,5000) in the Netherlands, Leyendas del Rock (18,000) in Spain, Motocultor festival (14,000) in France and Summer Breeze (45,000) in Germany are also part of the group.

The group came together after their joint virtual event, in August 2020, to raise money for the independent festival sector.

“The project helped us to battle the challenging Covid times. We joined our fanbases who supported us by buying a ticket for the event,” says Tomas Fiala from Obscure Promotion, which promotes Brutal Assault (CZ).

“We’re able to show interest by offering a larger number of possible festival appearances”

Roman Hilser from Silverdust, which promotes Summer Breeze, says that joining forces has helped each one of the festivals stay independent. “Together we are stronger,” he adds.

Even as the pandemic recedes, the festivals want to continue the spirit of independence, says Fiala: “The future is finally looking bright so there will be more interesting opportunities for our collaboration.”

Hilser says that one of the top benefits of operating under one umbrella is being able to make bigger and better offers to agents.

“We’re able to show interest by offering a larger number of possible festival appearances to create reasonable routing and advanced touring plans for artists,” he says. “We can also offer help to fill vacant show days before respective festival dates.”

“This will certainly be of advantage for overseas bands, especially US bands,” he continues. “We can act faster and earlier to ensure the required number of show dates, which naturally add further income through fees for the artists.”

“The passion that lies within all our festivals will be strong enough to build future headliners”

Another key objective for the United Festival Force is developing local and underground acts by providing them with slots across the European metal festivals.

“We believe in the importance of developing underground bands,” says Hilser. “The passion that lies within all our festivals will be strong enough to build future headliners. That’s what we are aiming for.”

But on a basic level, the festival organisers are hoping to exchange experiences and learn from both the similarities and differences with their events.

“Of course, we can’t always find a common ground in perspectives since we each have slightly different fan bases and dramaturgy – and the local business environment also comes into play,” says Fiala.

“What’s interesting is that these distinctions can be enriching moments in which we can learn from the approaches and attitudes of others.”


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ATL acquires Finland’s Till Dawn They Count

Till Dawn They Count, the Finnish artist management company which represents symphonic metal icons Nightwish, has joined Nordic live entertainment group All Things Live.

Till Dawn They Count joins Weekend Festival to become the second Finnish member of All Things Live (ATL), a network of mainly Scandinavian live music businesses backed by private-equity firm Waterland. It is also the first management company to join the group.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though ATL notes that “the acquisition does not entail changes for artists, partners, customers or employees, as proximity and familiarity is a key area of focus for the All Things Live partnership”.

In addition to Nightwish, Till Dawn They Count (TDTC) looks after leading Finnish metal stars, including Sonata Arctica, Beast in Black and Marko Hietala.

“I am very excited about the prospect of Till Dawn They Count becoming a member of the All Things Live family, who shares our ambition to help realise the vision and potential of both established and emerging artists,” says Toni Peiju, who founded TDTC with Ewo Pohjola in 2014.

“We see great prospects in the dedicated Till Dawn They Count team … and the expansion into artist management

“We maintain our independence and strong dedication to our bands, with the All Things Live partnership broadening our network and providing us with a strong and supporting organisation that further strengthens our ability to help develop established and emerging artists alike. Meanwhile, we are looking forward to contributing to the partnership with our knowhow and network.”

“We are very excited about Till Dawn They Count joining the All Things Live partnership, as we now establish a strong entry into the artist management activities of live entertainment,” says Kim Worsøe, CEO of All Things Live.

“We see great prospects in the dedicated Till Dawn They Count team, the many talented artists and the expansion into artist management. Together we establish an even stronger platform and ability to grow artists.”

In addition to Weekend Festival and TDTC, All Things Live’s other businesses include ICO Concerts and ICO Management & Touring (Denmark), Friction, Atomic Soul Booking and Stand Up Norge (Norway), and Maloney Concerts, Monkfish, Big Slap and ROA (Sweden). It also recently made its first investment outside the Nordic countries, in Belgian agency Busker.


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5B Artist Management makes new hires

International music management company 5B Artists and Media, home to hard rock/metal acts including Slipknot, Megadeth, Stone Sour, Lamb of God, Behemoth and Trivium, has hired artist manager James Vitalo.

Vitalo, who brings acts such as Turnstile, Knocked Loose, Gatecreeper, Terror and Harms Way, joins 5B after five years at New Jersey-based Good Fight Entertainment.

5B Artists and Media has offices in Los Angeles, Brooklyn (New York) and Birmingham (UK), and also comprises a record label, a film and music festival production arm, a booking agency and a digital marketing agency.

“I’m incredibly excited to begin working with James and the amazing artists he represents,” 5B founder and CEO Cory Brennan says. “His energy, positivity and sheer determination is second to none and aligns perfectly with that of 5B. We welcome his invaluable perspective, and look forward to developing and uncovering the next generation of important artists alongside him.”

“I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than to work with 5B”

Vitalo adds: “I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity than to work with 5B. The team has an incredible reputation for being hardworking and forward-thinking, while also maintaining a level of ethics that can sometimes be lost in the music industry.

“Everything they work on, from festivals like Knotfest to initiatives like Rock Against Racism, highlights the range of capabilities and thoughtfulness of the company. 5B has always been at the forefront of pushing the underground to the highest level and I’m excited for myself and the bands I manage to be part of what’s to come.”

In other 5B news, the company has promoted senior artist manager Brad Fuhrman to vice-president and Stephen Reeder from director of digital to senior director of digital.

“When you’ve got people like Brad and Stephen on the team, you count yourself lucky,” comments 5B president Bob Johnsen. “We at 5B take pride in what we do and how we do it, and no matter what comes at us these two keep innovating and helping to make us all smarter.”


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New management outfit Grandview Music launches

Experienced managers Graham Martin, Diony Sepulveda and Kimberly Schon have launched Grandview Music, a new artist management company based in Encinitas, San Diego, California.

Martin will serve as the company’s CEO, with Sepulveda as president and Schon as executive vice-president. Grandview Music’s rock-focused roster includes the likes of Rise Against, the Story So Far, Pepper, Quicksand, Bad Child, Militarie Gun, Asking Alexandria, Motionless in White, Lowlives, and the Messenger Birds.

Martin began his management career at Valvet Hammer Music Management, working with clients including Deftones, Alice in Chains and Pepper. In 2014, he joined Pat Magnarella Management, which relaunched in 2018 as Grndvw.

Sepulveda has worked with artists including Pennywise, Avenged Sevenfold and Slipknot. He most recently worked at 5B Artist Management, where he ran Slipknot’s touring business, in addition to signing Asking Alexandria and Hollywood Undead.

“It’s very rare that in this journey you get to join forces with such extraordinarily talented, like-minded and passionate friends”

Another 5B alumnus, Schon has managed acts such as Stone Sour, Motionless in White, Lowlives and Slipknot, helping to launch the latter’s music festival Knotfest internationally. She launched her own management company in 2019.

“Diony, Kim and I have a deep passion for what we do and strive to work with culturally relevant artists,” says Martin, “while building a music company that reaches far beyond the status quo of what an artist management company is.”

“I have been lucky enough to work alongside some of the most respected and innovative industry professionals and artists the last 20-plus years,” adds Sepulveda. “It’s an honour to be working with Graham and Kim as I have incredible respect for what they have accomplished in their careers. I’m very excited for this next chapter of creating a new unique modern music company with my friends.”

Adds Schon: “I got into this business with the goal of helping foster the voice of the next generation of artists. It’s very rare that in this journey you get to join forces with such extraordinarily talented, like-minded and passionate friends as Graham and Diony.”


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Download festival 2021 cancelled

There will be no Download festival in the UK this summer, promoter Festival Republic confirmed today (1 March).

Iron Maiden, Kiss and Biffy Clyro will headline the 2022 edition of the 110,000-capacity rock and metal festival, which returns to Donington Park in Leicestershire next 10–12 June. Tickets for Download 2022 go on sale this Friday (5 March) at 10am GMT, priced from £250 for a standard weekend camping pass.

Download, which would have taken place from 4 to 6 June 2021, is the first of Live Nation-owned Festival Republic’s events to announce it will be unable to go ahead for a second consecutive year, with the likes of Wireless (2–4 July) and Latitude (22–25 July) still on for now and Reading and Leeds (27–29 August) having already sold out.

Download Australia, which would have debuted in 2020, is on hiatus, as are Download Madrid and Download France in Paris (both of which last took place in 2019).

“Ware determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever”

“Downloaders, your 2022 headliners are here,” comments Download booker Andy Copping. “Rock’n’roll legends Kiss will be kicking off Friday in style, Iron Maiden will return, bringing with them mascot Eddie and more fire than we can handle, and what better way to end the festival than with Biffy, who will leave us awestruck with their energy. I’m counting down the days already.”

“Like everyone, we were all hugely disappointed when the global pandemic forced the cancellation of Download 2020, which would have been Maiden’s seventh time headlining here,” says Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, “so we are delighted to be invited back and fulfil our ambition of playing Donington Park in every decade since the 1980s.

“As most people know, this festival is hallowed ground for us – and Eddie – and our fans’ vocal support and enthusiasm is always phenomenal and much appreciated. We can’t wait to see everyone again, and are determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever.”

Further Download 2022 artists will be announced in the coming months.


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Hellfest begs gov to make decision on festival season

French metal festival Hellfest Open Air has penned an open letter to France’s minister of culture warning of the “economic catastrophe” that’ll happen if this year’s festival season cannot go ahead.

The 60,000-capacity event, which is scheduled to take place across three days in June, in Clisson, Pays de la Loire, has begged minister Roselyn Bachelot to act quickly to “put an end to this unbearable waiting situation” that festival organisers are experiencing.

“We have been very attentive to your latest media interventions during the past few days, in which you’ve said: ‘We will go to festivals this summer’, ‘we have time’ and ‘let’s cross our fingers’. Madame minister: excuse our tone but on our side, we do not cross the fingers, we squeeze the buttocks!” the letter reads.

“With less hospital pressure, outdoor organisation combined with the summer period when it is known that this virus is less virulent, and an additional preventive test, is it conceivable to consider holding our mega-events? Or, should we consider now that if collective immunity is not achieved, it will be impossible to set up events hosting tens of thousands?” the Hellfest team asks.

The festival goes on to say that 99.75% of fans who bought tickets to the 2020 edition, which was inevitably postponed, have held onto their tickets in the hope that the 2021 event will go ahead.

Hellfest says that in the run up to this year’s event – the 15th-anniversary edition which is due to be headlined by Deftones, Faith No More and System of a Down – it is spending more than €250,000 per month on salaries, fixed expenses and other loan repayments.

“Madame minister: excuse our tone but on our side, we do not cross the fingers, we squeeze the buttocks”

“Without knowing if the festival will take place, what organisation would agree to spend this much without a result guaranteed, without having the assurance that all this money is not thrown out the window?” the letter reads.

In the letter, the festival also highlights that the “economic catastrophe” that would ensue if the festival season cannot go ahead, would not only impact the festival itself but also the region in which the festival takes place.

“From an economic point of view, our festivals are invaluable drivers of activities for territories that welcome them. The hotels, restaurants, bars, and other shops that are around us are all sectors that are suffering enormously from this crisis and that expect a lot from the event we hold. To speak only of the territory of the Nantes Vineyard, the fallout is estimated at more than 25 million euros,” the letter states.

The letter concludes with a plea to the minister to “put everything into allowing the resumption of life,” once again emphasising that if the summer season is a “disaster” again, “everything that will be lost, will be lost”.

During an interview regarding the recently announced test shows in France, Bachelot said she wants “to send a message of hope: we must be able to achieve a summer of festivals”.

Currently, museums, cinemas, theatres and music venues in France remain closed after prime minister Jean Castex announced at the beginning of January that there would be “no relaxation” of the restrictions yet.


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K2 Agency signs Bullet for My Valentine

London-based K2 Agency has signed metal superstars Bullet for My Valentine for all international (excluding North America) representation.

The signing is the first major deal struck by K2 following the agency’s partnering with private-equity company Yucaipa’s Y Entertainment Group in August.

“I have admired Bullet for many years and I am honoured to be chosen to represent such an iconic British band,” comments K2 founder John Jackson. “K2 and Raw Power Management will be a formidable force, and I look forward to working with Craig Jennings and his fantastic team.”

“I am honoured to be chosen to represent such an iconic British band”

Bullet for My Valentine, who were formerly represented by UTA’s Paul Ryan, continue with CAA in the US and Canada.

The band are currently working on their seventh studio album, the follow-up to 2018’s Gravity, with plans for a tour in 2021.

Bullet join the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden, Slayer, A Day to Remember, Ghost, Alter Bridge, Shinedown, Volbeat, Gojira and Mastodon on K2’s roster of rock and metal heavyweights.


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Austrian agency Napalm launches in the US

European hard rock agency Napalm Events has expanded into North America, establishing a presence in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Founded in 2010, Napalm Events has offices in Eisenerz, Austria, and Berlin, Germany. Its roster includes in Scott Stapp (Creed), Mushroomhead, Konvent, Bizkit Park and Jinjer.

The agency is part of Austrian indie Napalm Records, whose Hoboken office it will share, though it notes it continues to represent acts not signed to the label. It also offers services including marketing, transportation, visas and merchandise.

Thomas Caser, managing director of Napalm Events, says: “Challenging times create new opportunities, [and] we are thrilled to launch our full-service booking agency in North America.

“I’m looking forward to bringing our amazing artists to North America”

“Our centre of attention at Napalm Events is the artist. Since we are deeply involved with all sides of touring, we know what a modern agency needs to offer in order to create the ideal environment for an artist’s touring ventures.”

“The Napalm Events artist roster has grown quickly during the last few years, and the company has become an internationally respected booking agency,” adds Napalm booking agent Thorsten Harm. “We’ve booked concerts and tours all over Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America and Russia, and helped to develop and break artists worldwide.

“Exciting new artists and established acts joined the Napalm family over the years. Now, I’m looking forward to bringing our amazing artists to North America.”


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