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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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Storm the Arena: LN France plans indoor metal fest

The Accor Arena in Paris will host Storm the Arena in December, the city’s first indoor metal festival and one of the first events of its kind this year.

The event will take place from 11 to 12 December at the 20,300-capacity arena, which will host a main stage and two side stages.

Between concerts from 14 French and international bands, there will be other kinds of performances, including burlesque shows, film screenings and “tattoo flash” sessions.

Merchandise including Storm the Arena CDs and vinyl will also be available.

A full line-up will be announced on 6 July.

The Accor Arena in Paris will host Storm the Arena in December, the city’s first indoor metal festival and one of the first events of its kind this year

A ban on events over 5,000 people remains in place in France until September, although concerts with fewer than 5,000 attendees will be permitted from 11 July, with Live Nation France’s Big Tour kicking off later that month.

French festivals including Hellfest, Eurockéennes de Belfort, Solidays, Festival d’Avignon, Main Square, Lollapalooza Paris and Rock en Seine have all been forced to cancel this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A special, Covid-safe Lollapalooza Paris is taking place in July, in conjunction with Parisian couture house Balmain, Michelin-starred French chef Jean Imbert and champagne brand Veuve Clicquot.

 


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Cancelled Hellfest tells insurer: “F**k you!”

French metal festival Hellfest Open Air has hit out at what it calls the “shameful” behaviour of its insurance company after being forced to cancel its 2020 edition, originally scheduled for 19–21 June.

In an extraordinary statement posted to the festival’s website, promoter Hellfest Productions – which has been ordered by French authorities to pull the 2020 event because of Covid-19 – says Albingia is refusing to pay out, despite Hellfest having taken out cover specifically for pandemics, as the “type” of pandemic represented by the novel coronavirus is apparently not covered by the festival’s insurance policy.

With a capacity of around 60,000, Hellfest, in Clisson, Pays de la Loire, is France’s biggest hard rock festival. Hellfest 2020, which would have been headlined by Deftones, Faith No More and System of a Down, is officially ‘postponed’ to 18–20 June 2021, with tickets for the 2020 festival remaining valid for next year.

While organisers say they agree with the government’s decision to cancel the festival on health grounds, Hellfest Productions has some choice words for Albingia, which they accuse of prioritising its own financial wellbeing at a time of national crisis.

“For the modest amount of €175,000,” Hellfest says, the festival had taken out a ‘no exemptions’ policy which “clearly stipulates that financial losses due to possible pandemics will be covered, provided that the contract was signed before the outbreak and recognition of the pandemic by the French authorities or by the WHO. Our contract was signed on December 17, 2019, before the virus appeared in China.”

“For Albingia, solidarity is for other people”

Responding to Albingia’s assertion that the current coronavirus outbreak is not covered by Hellfest’s policy, organisers add: “We obviously contest this. For Albingia, solidarity is for others…

“Their reasoning is simple: take our contributions for cancellation insurance? YES. Compensate us? NEVER.”

Hellfest Productions says the impasse will likely result in a legal battle lasting several years. “Meanwhile, the company will keep the money that is owed to us.”

“In short,” it adds, “while are waiting for the start of this long [legal] process, two words come to mind for an insurance company that is supposed to specialise in the events industry: FUCK YOU!”

IQ has contacted Albingia for comment.

Hellfest is the first major coronavirus casualty of the French festival season, following high-profile cancellations in the UK, Austria and Denmark, among others.

 


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Black Gold: How metal became a cultural phenomenon

Last year, Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson was bestowed with two very unique honours.

In April, he was made an honorary citizen of Sarajevo in recognition of a concert his solo band Skunkworks played there in 1994, during a prolonged siege of the Bosnian capital. Presenting the award, mayor Abdulah Skaka said: “The arrival of Mr Dickinson in Sarajevo, in 1994, was one of those moments that made us realise that we will survive.”

The other accolade was bestowed upon Dickinson by Dr Cristina Rheims, a Brazilian biologist and metal fan who gave a newly discovered species of spider the name Extraordinarius brucedickonsoni.

If these honours anecdotally demonstrate metal’s soft power, its global reach and the deep devotion of its fans, then the fact that Amon Amarth, a melodic death metal band whose principal lyrical inspiration is Viking folklore, will shake the fields of Wacken Open Air festival with 75,000 roaring fans this summer should be considered testament to metal’s undaunted commercial clout.

“It feels like there’s a cultural movement happening where, if you’re in the metal game and you’re good at what you do, you have a specific brand and you put on a great live show, things are moving,” enthuses Justin Arcangel, president of 5B Artist Management and Touring, who represent Amon Amarth, Babymetal, Slipknot and more.

“All our data – streaming numbers, ticket numbers, merch sales, whatever – are all bigger in 2020 than in 2019. The funny thing is when you speak to some people that don’t work in this genre, they have no idea. Metal is, to this day, outsider music, but let me tell you, it’s a major cultural thing, especially in Europe.”

“What we’ve witnessed across our events is metal is really a community – this outlaw feeling that unites us”

Summer knights
“Some of our hardcore audience think maybe metal is too mainstream now, because in Germany there’s a lot in the charts,” chuckles Thomas Jensen, CEO of International Concert Services and Wacken co-founder, pondering the sea change since he first staged the festival in the German village’s gravel pit in 1990.

Now in its third decade, with all 75,000 tickets for 2020’s edition snapped up in an astonishing 21 hours, Wacken is a major force, with good company in France’s Hellfest (55,000-capacity), Belgium’s Graspop (50,000-cap.), plus the UK’s Bloodstock Open Air (20,000-cap.) and Download, which attracts 110,000 fans over the weekend – a “heavy music summer,” as Jensen calls it. Which is not even to dig into the boom in boutique festivals offering bespoke experiences, such as Italy’s Rock the Castle or the Netherlands’ Roadburn, whose reputation as a tastemaker event means 75% of its 4,000 attendees travel from abroad.

“What we’ve witnessed across Wacken events is that metal is really a community, this outlaw feeling that unites us,” says Jensen. “Our music is a live experience and the whole festival circuit allows bands to survive. For international acts, it’s easier to put a festival run together than it was in the 90s, and you see bands working their way up the bill each year.”

“I’ve only ever seen the metal market over the years grow,” agrees Vicky Hungerford, co-director at Bloodstock, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with headline spots from Polish black metallers Behemoth and the UK’s Judas Priest. As well as fostering new talent with their popular Metal to the Masses series of regional shows, where unsigned bands compete to play the festival, Bloodstock strongly believes in paving the way for tomorrow’s monsters of rock.

 


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 88, or subscribe to the magazine here.


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