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Friday round-up: World news in brief 7/1/22

Welcome to IQ‘s weekly round-up of news from around the world. Here, in bite-sized chunks, we present a selection of international stories you may have missed from the last seven days…

MEXICO:

Dead & Company and promoter CID Presents have cancelled their Playing in the Sand destination festival less than 24 hours before it was due to take place. The annual event had been set for Riviera Cancun over two weekends from 7-10 and 13-16 January, but has been axed due to a spike in Covid cases. “Dead & Company and CID Presents tried everything possible to bring normalcy and to deliver a great experience and amazing music, but with each day it became increasingly clear that cancelling is the correct thing to do for the fans and for our crew,” says a statement on the band’s Instagram page.  Dead & Company frontman John Mayer had earlier pulled out of the festival after testing positive for coronavirus.

UNITED STATES:

A woman has filed a lawsuit against California’s The Forum, promoter Live Nation and ticketing platforms Ticketmaster and StubHub, alleging she was injured in a crowd crush at a Harry Styles concert at the venue in December 2019. According to court documents obtained by TMZ, the plaintiff claims the venue, promoters and ticketing services “failed to provide sufficient seating, lighting, security, supervision and crowd control”.

UNITED STATES:

A US judge rejected Goldenvoice’s bid to extend a restraining order against Live Nation in its trademark infringement lawsuit over a rival music event called ‘Coachella Day One 22’. The event’s promoter, Native American Tribe Twenty-Nine Palms, was not listed as a defendant in the lawsuit after claiming sovereign immunity, but Live Nation was accused of “contributory infringement” due to tickets for the New Year’s Eve event being sold on Ticketmaster. The event listing had already been changed to ‘Day One 22’ on Ticketmaster, which was permitted to continue selling tickets for the festival after the judge concluded it was no longer directly infringing the Coachella trademark. Tribal chairman Darrell Mike praised the ruling as “a win for the tribe, the community and our ticketing partners at Live Nation”.

UNITED KINGDOM:

Bengi Ünsal, head of contemporary music at London’s Southbank Centre, is switching to The Institute of Contemporary Arts in March as its new director. Ünsal was artistic and managing director of Istanbul’s Salon IKSV venue prior to joining the Southbank Centre in 2016, where she has overseen the annual Meltdown festival with guest curators MIA, Robert Smith and Nile Rodgers. This year’s Grace Jones-helmed edition is set for June.

UNITED KINGDOM:

Well-being organisation Music & You has teamed up with beauty cosmetics firm Lush, entrepreneur Zoe Sugg, aka Zoella, and mental health campaign #IAmWhole to create a fund providing free therapeutic support to people who are working, or used to work, in the live music sector pre-pandemic. To apply, individuals should complete this application form by no later than midnight on Thursday, 20 January. Applicants will be notified of a decision by 22 January.

UNITED STATES:

TodayTix Group has acquired live events ticketing platform Goldstar. The deal marks the latest move for TodayTix, which has been on an acquisition spree since 2020,  purchasing four companies including theatre specialist Show-Score; London-based Encore and Broadway Roulette.“We are focused on unlocking as much potential as we can so when the industry returns we can be a big part of its recovery,” the company’s co-founder and CEO, Brian Fenty, tells Variety. “We are live events purists through and through. We really do believe that despite the toll of the pandemic, there’s going to be a Roaring ’20s. We believe that people are desperate for arts and culture and are eager to get back into theatres.”

UNITED KINGDOM:

Britvic has been named as The O2’s new Official Soft Drinks partner in a five-year deal, brokered by AEG Global Partnerships, with Pepsi Max served and seen across the London venue. The partnership will mean pouring and supply rights across all bars at Indigo at The O2 and concourse bars, suites and premium bars including The Deck, AMEX Lounge, O2 Blueroom and Sky Backstage bars at The O2 arena. The deal will also welcome a takeover of the level 1 bar which is to be rebranded as The London Essence Company bar. In addition, Britvic will have activation opportunities at the venue and access to tickets for Up at The O2 ­ for promotional use. Meanwhile, Birmingham-based NEC Group has announced a multi-year deal with Molson Coors Beverage Company, which is responsible for a portfolio that includes Pravha, Staropramen, Rekorderlig and Coors. The deal will see Pravha being named as the official beer of Utilita Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena with bars across both venues carrying the Pravha branding.

UNITED STATES:

Dice has ramped up its North American expansion by becoming the ticketing partner of the Newport Jazz Festival and Newport Folk Festival. The partnership will see the events, which will be held in Rhode Island in July, offer digital ticketing for the first time. “Every year of the event, we work with our partners to innovate beyond traditional ticketing,” says Newport Folk executive producer Jay Sweet. “In a year where fans deserve to get out and go see the music they love, we know Dice is the right partner to make things as easy as possible, fair, transparent and intuitive for our Newport Family. We want these tickets in the hands of our fans and not on the secondary market.”

 


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Ticketmaster grows presence in Mexico, Chile

Ticketmaster, the world’s largest ticketer, is expanding its presence in Latin America with new operations in Mexico and Chile.

The news comes shortly after Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation acquired Ocesa Entretenimiento, the third-largest promoter in the world and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico.

Under the new ownership structure, Ticketmaster Mexico will transition from a licensing agreement to integrating operations with the broader organisation.

According to Ticketmaster, the move will enable the Mexican business to gain access to the company’s full suite of technology, products and services.

“”Latin America is an incredibly important live entertainment market and a core focus of our global expansion efforts”

In Chile, where Ticketmaster will launch for the first time, the initial market focus will be on increasing digital ticketing use.

Chile and Mexico are the latest markets to be added to Ticketmaster’s Latin American portfolio, which already includes Argentina and Brazil.

The company has long had a foothold in Argentina, delivering ticketing services for several venues and festivals.

While in Brazil, the company focuses on supporting Live Nation’s Rock in Rio music festival and touring business, with plans to bring its digital ticketing technology to the market in 2022.

“Latin America is an incredibly important live entertainment market and a core focus of our global expansion efforts,” says Mark Yovich, Ticketmaster president. “The region has become an important destination for global touring artists, and we have also seen significant growth in venue and festival activity over the last several years.

“Bringing Mexico into the fold and launching in Chile is such a positive way to finish off the year. We look forward to working with our strong base of partners to elevate the fan experience and further our support of the region.”

 


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Omicron live music restrictions: World update

As the new Omicron variant of coronavirus takes hold, IQ has updated the latest restrictions affecting major international touring markets. This update complements our European list which can be read here

Below you’ll find the latest information on certification schemes, social distancing requirements, mask mandates, capacity restrictions and lockdowns affecting key live music markets around the globe.

Please note that we will aim to keep this article as up-to-date as possible but all information is subject to change. 

To submit an update to this, please get in touch. This article was last updated on Thursday 16 December.

To read about the Omicron restrictions affecting European markets, please click here


Abu Dhabi
As of 27 November, the operating capacity of indoor events has increased to 80%. Entry to indoor events requires attendees to show their green pass and a negative PCR test result received within 96 hours.

Attendees at indoor events must also undertake an EDE scan at public entry points and wear a mask.

Argentina
As of 16 November, mass events in outdoor spaces can take place at 100% capacity. Attendees over 18 years of age must provide proof of at least one dose of the vaccine, and wear a face mask during the event.

Australia
In New South Wales, face masks, proof of vaccination and Covid-19 Safe Check-in are not required. Retail and businesses are no longer required to have a Safety Plan.

In Victoria (and from 17 December, Queensland too) many leisure and entertainment facilities, such as live music venues, can only open for attendees and staff who are fully vaccinated or exempted. Capacity limits and social distancing will not apply.

South Australia is currently operating under Level 1 restrictions which means venues are limited to 75% capacity for seated events and 50% for standing events. Covid Management Plans required for events of more than 1,000 people. Masks are required for shared indoor public spaces.

Though Western Australia remains in a ‘state of emergency’, events and concerts are permitted to go ahead at full capacity. However, businesses must provide a Covid Safety Plan and maintain a contact register. Events with more than 500 patrons are required to complete a Covid Event Checklist or Plan.

For information on restrictions in Northern Territory click here, Tasmania here and Australia Capital Territory here.

Brazil
In November, the Brazilian government increased the capacity limit for music venues from 70% to 100% with proof of vaccination.

Canada
In Ontario, Canada’s capital city and its biggest live music market, new restrictions came into effect on Sunday 19 December.

Under the new rules, music venues and many other indoor public settings will be limited to 50% capacity. Event spaces are required to close by 23:00.

Canada’s live music restrictions vary from province to province.

See the latest guidelines for each of the regions here: AlbertaBritish Columbia, Manitoba, New BrunswickNewfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova ScotiaNunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Yukon.

Chile
Restrictions vary across the country but the majority of regions are on step 3 (preparation) or step 4 (initial opening) of the national five-step reopening plan.

During step 3, seated concerts in closed spaces (such as music venues) can take place at 50% capacity if all attendees show a Mobility Pass verifying full vaccination. If there is food consumption, it is reduced to 30% capacity.

Seated concerts in open spaces (such as open-air venues) can take place at 60% capacity with a Mobility Pass. If there is food consumption, it is reduced to 40% capacity.

In non-seated closed spaces, events can take place with up to 100 people (sans Mobility Pass) or 500 people (with Mobility Pass). In non-seated open spaces, events can take place with up to 200 (sans Mobility Pass) or 1,000 (with Mobility Pass).

Attendees at all non-seated venues must be able to maintain social distancing (1m without food consumption, 1.5m with).

Masks are required in all public spaces.

China

Life is largely back to normal but regional lockdowns have been imposed every time there are new outbreaks of the virus.

Dubai
Mask-wearing is compulsory, as is keeping a two-meter social distance, except in restaurants, cafes, offices, workplaces, gyms, shopping centres, beaches and public and entertainment parks, where a one-meter rule applies.

Outside, you must wear a mask unless exercising, eating or drinking, at a barbershop or salon, in a car with people from the same household, or if you’re alone.

Live entertainment and activities are permitted in restaurants, cafés and shopping malls. Events with free movement – such as standing concerts – are now allowed again, with a maximum of 5,000 people. Vaccination is required for these events.

Japan
At the beginning of November, the Japanese government eased its 10,000-capacity limit on mass gatherings such as concerts following a steady decline in coronavirus cases.

Events across the country can now admit 5,000 people, or 50% of capacity – whichever is larger – while large-scale spaces are permitted to welcome more than 10,000 spectators in Tokyo and other regions previously under a state or quasi-state of emergency. However, events that will involve fans shouting and cheering will be capped at 50% of capacity.

See more information on event restrictions here.

Mexico
Mexico is currently following a colour-coded system (red, orange, yellow, green) which is updated every two weeks.

Currently, all states are coded yellow (resuming limited activities but with precaution) or green (resuming normal activities but with precaution).

Concerts can only take place in green-coded states. See the colour codes for states here.

New Zealand
Since the beginning of this month, New Zealand has been operating with a traffic light system, under which each region has been assigned a colour (green, orange or red) based on vaccination rates and the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

A region’s colour determines the set of restrictions by which it has to abide.

In regions assigned ‘red’, venues using vaccine certificates are limited to 100 people with one-metre social distancing. In ‘orange’ regions, these venues face no limits on gatherings at events, retail, hospitality. Venues that don’t use vaccine certificates are not permitted indoor or outdoor events under red or orange.

Every region aside from Northland will move to orange at 23:59 NZST on 30 December.  These settings will stay in place until 17 January when the cabinet will review. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she expected many areas would move to green at that point.

South Africa
As of 1 October 2021, South Africa is operating under an adjusted Alert Level 1 which indicates a “low Covid-19 spread with a high health system readiness”.

Under Alert Level 1, leisure and entertainment facilities, whether indoors or outdoors, must close at 23:00. Nightclubs are closed to the public.

Face masks are mandatory for every person when in a public place and 1.5 metres social distancing must be maintained.

Entertainment facilities are limited to a maximum capacity of 750 people for indoor venues and 2,000 people or less for outdoor venues – with social distancing. Smaller venues are limited to 50% capacity.

South Korea
It was announced on 16 December that South Korea will reimpose curfews on businesses for an initial two weeks from Saturday 18 December.

Public places such as concert halls and cinemas will be permitted to operate until 22:00, while restaurants, cafes and other nightlife venues will have to close at 21:00.

The measures, announced on Thursday (16 December), come a month and a half after the government initiated a phased reopening plan. Amid record highs of Covid-19 infections, the cabinet has gradually rolled back the policy.

United States
Restrictions may vary from state to state – check the US government website for the latest guidance.

New York City
On 13 December, governor Kathy Hochul announced that masks will be required to be worn in all indoor public places unless businesses or venues implement a vaccine requirement. This measure is effective until 15 January 2022, after which the state will re-evaluate based on current conditions.

California
California is fully open for business with no capacity limits or physical distancing requirements.

For indoor events with 1,000 or more or outdoor events with 10,000 or more, attendees age 3 and older must provide proof that they are fully vaccinated or have received a negative Covid-19 test.

Unvaccinated persons are required to wear masks in all indoor public settings. It is recommended that fully vaccinated people also wear masks in these settings.

 


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Live Nation resumes acquisition of Ocesa for $444m

Live Nation has resumed its acquisition of Ocesa, the third-largest promoter in the world and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico.

The US$444 million deal, if completed, would give the world’s largest live entertainment company a 51% stake in one of its largest competitors, which dominates the Latin American market.

The acquisition, which was paused due to the pandemic, is now expected to close by late 2021 or early 2022, subject to regulatory approval.

Live Nation originally agreed to buy 51% of Ocesa for over $400m in summer 2019 but pulled out of the deal in May last year, just a month after Mexican competition regulators approved the deal.

Following the termination of the deal, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said that he was “long term, still bullish on [Ocesa’s] business and ours” but that Live Nation was “not looking to take on any losses from Mexico while they’re going through their six or eight months of business downturn”.

“Ocesa will play a pivotal role in putting together many incredible shows in Mexico and the rest of Latin America”

The joint sellers of the stake are the Inter-American Entertainment Corporation (Corporación Interamericana de Entretenimiento, or CIE) and Grupo Televisa, a media giant in the Spanish-speaking world.

Live Nation is reportedly buying a 40% stake in Ocesa from Grupo Televisa, and 11% of the concert promoter from CIE.

CIE will hold on to the remaining 49% minority stake in Ocesa. Live Nation is expected to hold back 7% of the closing price to cover any potential operating losses for several quarters.

“After serving as Live Nation’s touring, festival, and ticketing partner in Mexico for years, we know Ocesa is a stellar business with deep roots in live entertainment in Mexico,” says Michael Rapino, president and CEO, Live Nation Entertainment.

“Alex has built a remarkable company and as we continue to build on the return to live, Ocesa will play a pivotal role in putting together many incredible shows in Mexico and the rest of Latin America.”

“This deal gives us a unique opportunity to continue Ocesa’s 30-year contribution to the development of the Mexican live sector”

Alejandro Soberón Kuri, president and CEO of CIE, added: “We are extremely proud to finally join Live Nation. This is a natural evolution of our long-standing relationship and it gives us a unique opportunity to continue Ocesa’s 30-year contribution to the development of the Mexican live entertainment industry. Additionally, it will help us foster CIE’s commitment to the promotion of Mexican artistic talent abroad.”

Soberón Kuri will serve as CEO and sit on the board of the newly-formed joint venture. Rapino will become chairman of the venture’s board of directors.

Ocesa promotes more than 3,100 events for nearly six million fans annually across Mexico and Colombia and has a robust business portfolio in ticketing, sponsorship, food & beverage, merchandise, and venue operation – including 13 premier venues across Mexico with a collective capacity of nearly 250,000 seats.

Ocesa’s primary ticketing business, Ticketmaster Mexico, is a leading ticket company in Mexico.

 


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Mexico embraces drive-in concerts

Promoters in Mexico are the latest to embrace drive-in concerts, with live shows planned for Mexico City and Toluca, following the adoption of the popular Covid-safe show format in Puerto Rico earlier this month.

Drive-in concerts, or autoconciertos as they are known in Spanish, have brought the live experience back to music-deprived fans across the world in recent months.

Move Concerts premiered the format in San Juan, Puerto Rico, at the start of the month, with Pedro Capó performing to 1,500 vehicle-bound fans.

Now, the format has made its way Mexico, with the first drive-in concerts set to take place at the beginning of August.

The Foro Pegaso (10,000-capacity), an open-air arena in Toluca, some 60km west of the Mexican capital, is hosting a series of 2,000-carpacity drive-in shows from 7 August, kicking off with Mexican rock band Moderatto.

Subsequent performances will come from rock band El Tri and Tejano group Intocable, who are also playing the first-ever drive-in concert in El Paso, Texas next month, on 14 and 15 August respectively.

Promoters in Mexico are the latest to embrace drive-in concerts, following the adoption of the popular Covid-safe show format in Puerto Rico earlier this month

The Foro Pegaso shows are promoted by Miami-based company MH Music Live. Tickets are available here, costing Mex$1,500 (€59) per car, with up to four people allowed in each.

The Mexico City Arena is also trialling drive-in concerts next month, with a show by blues-rock band Real de Catorce and rock group Salvador y los Eones on 8 August in its special open-air arena. Tickets will become available here on Thursday (16 July).

The arena has been hosting drive-in film screenings and family theatre events since the beginning of July.

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Entertainment and Media Outlook Mexico 2016-2020 had estimated the Mexican live industry to be worth US$276 million in 2020, before Covid-19 wiped out much of the year’s event calendar.

In the first quarter of 2020, CIE, one of two parent companies of leading Mexican promoter Ocesa Entertainment, reported a 6% fall in revenue compared to the same period of the previous year, due to over 200 coronavirus-related event cancellations.

CIE had been due to sell its 11% stake in Ocesa to Live Nation, but the deal was called off earlier this year, after the promoter was unable to agree revised terms with CIE and fellow Ocesa stakeholder Televisa Group.

 


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Live Nation pulls out of Ocesa acquisition [updated]

Updated (27 May): Live Nation confirmed in an SEC filing yesterday that the company has terminated its ‘material definitive agreement’ to acquire 51% of Ocesa after being unable to agree revised terms with CIE and Televisa.

“On May 25, 2020, Live Nation notified CIE that it was terminating the CIE purchase agreement as a result of CIE’s failure to comply with its contractual obligation to continue operating the target companies [Ocesa] in the ordinary course of business and the occurrence of a material adverse effect (as that term is defined in the CIE purchase agreement),” reads the 8-K form, dated 25 May, which appears to say CIE and Televisa’s failure to keep Ocesa operating as normal amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic is grounds for cancelling the acquisition.

“Live Nation simultaneously notified TV that it was terminating the TV purchase agreement, which agreement may be terminated if the CIE Purchase Agreement is terminated for any reason.

“Live Nation has commenced binding arbitration proceedings, seated in New York, New York, before the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce, seeking a declaratory judgment that it has properly terminated the CIE purchase agreement and that any obligations thereunder are excused on the grounds set forth above, among others.”

 


CIE, one of two parent companies of leading Mexican promoter Ocesa Entertainment, has told investors that Live Nation’s impending acquisition of Ocesa is no longer going ahead, after the US concert giant exercised “an alleged right to terminate” the agreement, one “with which CIE disagrees”.

Live Nation announced last July it intended to acquire 51% of Ocesa, which also owns Ticketmaster Mexico, from CIE and Televisa Group for a combined US$480 million, with the transaction expected to close by the end of 2019.

According to CIE, on 5 May (two days before Live Nation announced its Q1 2020 results) the parties signed a ‘standstill agreement’ that put the deal on hold; that agreement, reports Televisa, has now expired, with no agreement on terms of the acquisition reached.

CIE “will continue to analyse its alternatives and reserves all of its rights under the agreements executed in connection with [the] transaction and the applicable laws”, according to a notice filed by the company today (26 May) with the Mexican Stock Exchange (BMV).

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino spoke about the deal during the company’s Q1 investor call, saying the company needed to pause the deal; while he is “long term, still bullish on [Ocesa’s] business and ours”, Rapino explained, Live Nation “is not looking to take on any losses from Mexico while they’re going through their six or eight months of business downturn” due to Covid-19, reports MBW.

“We want to delay the cash payment of the deal until we both know how and when we’re on the other side of this crisis,” he added. “So that’s the intent.”

Televisa – which owns 41% of Ocesa compared to CIE’s 11% – said on 7 May it agrees that Live Nation does not have the right to terminate the agreement unilaterally.

 


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Venues open up, but doors remain closed to public

Venues the world over are beginning to experiment with behind-closed-doors gigs, with talent including Laura Marling, Jorge Drexler, Katherine Jenkins, Keith Urban and Pipo Rodríguez among those to perform to empty concert halls.

The coronavirus crisis has seen no end of creative alternatives to traditional live shows, with concerts performed via videocalls, in-game live performances and the rising phenomenon of drive-in concerts.

Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino has said the company is “going to dabble in” some such alternative concert formats, such as fan-less concerts, reduced-capacity shows and drive-in concerts.

Indeed, a handful of venues have already started to bring live events back home, broadcasting performances live from their empty concert halls.

An early pioneer of the fan-less concert format is Uruguayan musician Jorge Drexler, who performed to an empty Teatro Melico Salazar in San José, Costa Rica, on 10 March, after his shows at the venue were cancelled due to the onset of the coronvairus crisis.

A few days later, French ska band Tyro played to a desolate AccorsHotel Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris, on the very day that prime minster Édouard Philippe outlawed events of more than 100 people in a bid to stem the spread of the virus.

The AccorsHotel Arena is set to stage another, larger-scale fan-less event on 19 June. All Together for Music (Tous ensemble pour la musique) will see dozens of artists perform from the arena in support of venues that have been shuttered and festivals called off due to the current crisis. The show will be broadcast on TV channel France 2.

“It’s still magic, still sounds good, feels rich and feels special. That just shows how special this place is”

In the US, country stars Keith Urban and Kelsea Ballerini performed at the 2,362-capacity Grand Ole Opry in Nashville last week. Ballerini, who said she was “interested” to see what it would be like to perform “without full pews”, comments on the night that: “It’s still magic, still sounds good, feels rich and feels special. That just shows how special this place is.”

Other upcoming fan-less shows in the US include Dropkick Murphys’ performance at an empty Fenway Park (37,731-cap.), the home of baseball team the Boston Red Sox, on 29 May. Bruce Sprinsteen will join the band as a “virtual” special guest.

The show will be livestreamed for free at 6 p.m. (EDT), hosted by Boston tech company Pega.

In the UK, where the government recently announced that live events would likely be able to take place behind closed doors from 1 June, venues are taking the opportunity to return to some sort of business.

The 900-capacity Union Chapel in London is putting on a ticketed livestreamed show by singer Laura Marling on 6 June.

“The announcement also offers a tentative step in helping to aid the flagging live sector, and sets a potentially positive new precedent for other artists suffering from the loss of live earnings,” reads a statement from organisers.

Fans in the UK and Europe can purchase tickets for the show, priced at £12 with the option of making an additional charitable donation, here. A separate livestream is available for fans in the United States for US$12.

“This offers a tentative step in helping to aid the flagging live sector, and sets a potentially positive new precedent for those suffering the loss of live earnings”

Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins performed a one-off live show at the 5,272-capacity Royal Albert Hall – the first UK arena to completely shut its doors as a result of the coronavirus outbreak – to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day.

The sold-out performance, available to watch back here, also featured a virtual duet with Dame Vera Lynn, who sang to British troops during the Second World War.

Elsewhere, London’s 545-capacity Wigmore Hall last week announced a twenty-show concert series, featuring classical musicians including singers Iestyn Davies and Roderick Williams, as well as pianists Benjamin Grosvenor, Angela Hewitt and Paul Lewis.

All concerts will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and will be available for 30 days after the live show.

“When we shut the hall on 16 March we made sure to leave the piano on the stage, and the camera and audio equipment – all of which can be operated remotely – in place,” says the venue’s artistic director, John Gilhooly, tells the Guardian. “With only one or two performers on stage it’s very possible to make this work within government guidelines observing social distancing.”

Fan-less concerts are also taking off in Mexico, with venues in Mexico City and Guadalajara opening up behind closed doors as part of the Reactivation of entertainment and music in Mexico (REMM) programme.

The scheme, which has been initiated by operators of Mexico City’s Pepsi Center WTC (7,500-cap.) and the Conjunto Santander de Artes Escénicas (1,700-cap.) in Guadalajara, along with local booking agencies and promoters, aims to create over 1,000 jobs in the two cities.

“With only one or two performers on stage it’s very possible to make this work within government guidelines observing social distancing”

Artists billed to play at the venues include cumbia singer Pipo Rodríguez, who will perform along with a 20-piece orchestra, rock group El Haragán y Compañía and Afro-Argentinian reggae musician Fidel Nadal.

The performances will be broadcast live via streaming platforms. Those wishing to watch in Mexico can purchase virtual tickets, priced between 60 (€2.35) and 100 pesos (€3.91) on the Acceso ShoWare website.

Shows will be broadcast internationally in collaboration with Mexican telecommunications company Alestra and live entertainment platform Switch it.

All revenue generated by the concerts will be distributed to the musicians and live event professionals involved.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the game for the entertainment world,” Norma Gasca, CEO of REMM co-founder Rock Show Entertainment. “This is a small step forward – once we see the outcome [of these concerts] – to continue proposing different formats until we are able to return to live shows again.”

Rock Show Entertainment is also among companies taking part in the Auto-Conciertos #DesdeTu Auto (Drive-in concerts #FromYourCar) initiative, along with MH Music Live, Switch it, Meximm Mexico Internacional Music Market, Blu2 Entretenimiento, Wild Side Press, Capital Nation and HM Entretenimiento.

The concerts are expected to take place in Mexico City from the end of June.

Read more about the drive-in concert boom here.

 

Drive-in concerts get live back on the road

Photo: © User:Colin /Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-4.0)

 


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Uncertainty for promoters as Covid-19 spreads in Latam

Promoters in Latin America are facing much uncertainty as shows are shut down, curfews imposed and currency values decline due to the worsening spread of coronavirus

The first case of Covid-19 was reported in Latin America in late February, in the Brazilian city of São Paulo. The virus has now spread to many other countries in the region, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

In the region’s biggest touring markets, quarantines are in place in Argentina, Colombia and parts of Brazil. In Chile, the government has imposed a curfew between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m, with over one million residents of its capital, Santiago, put under lockdown today (26 March).

This week, the Mexican government placed a ban on all public and private gatherings of over 100 people for the next month, as the country moved into phase two of the epidemic.

“It is still way too early to gauge the full impact in the mid and long term,” says Phil Rodriguez, CEO of Move Concerts, which has offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru and Puerto Rico, as well as its Miami headquarters. “The first impact is that shows and festivals have been cancelled or rescheduled.”

“For now, we are rescheduling shows from September onwards assuming that is a safe bet, but this could change.”

Major festivals in Latin America affected by the virus include the Lollapalooza festival franchise, which has been rescheduled for 23 to 26 November in Argentina, 27 to 29 November in Chile and 4 to 6 December in Brazil. Estéreo Picnic, due to take place in the Colombian capital of Bogotá in March, has now moved to the start of December.

“For now, we are rescheduling shows from September onwards assuming that is a safe bet, but this could change”

Rodriguez notes that promoters’ associations in all markets have been meeting and reaching out to governments for assistance in various forms, such as “ low interest credit lines, moratorium on taxes and extensions on the time period for reimbursements on cancelled shows.”

Asked what can be expected over the next few months, Rodriguez simply replies: “I wish I knew”.

“This is a continually changing scenario that can change at any minute and has so many parts involved that any speculation is sheer conjecture,” says the Move Concerts boss. “I think we all need a few more weeks to get a better handle on the longer term picture.”

Guillermo Parra, director of international events at Ocesa, the largest promoter in Latin America, agrees that the upcoming weeks “will be crucial”.

Live Nation announced its plan to acquire a controlling stake in Ocesa Entertainment, the world’s fifth-largest promoter and the parent company of Ticketmaster Mexico, in July last year. The promoter puts around 3,100 shows a year and operates 14 venues across Mexico.

“At the moment, all gatherings have been banned – from movie theaters to concerts – until 19 April,” says Parra, “but I honestly think this will go on for longer.”

“When we wake from the virus nightmare, the economic reality will begin”

In Chile, a market which has seen heavy disruption over the past few months due to wide-spread anti-government protests, promoters are rescheduling shows to June, subject to venue availability and touring schedules, says Carlos Geniso, president of DG Medios.

On 18 March, Chilean president Sebastian Piñera declared a “state of catastrophe” for 90 days in the whole country, including a ban on gatherings in public spaces and the establishing of a quarantine and curfew. After Brazil, the country is currently one of the worst affected in the region, with 1,142 confirmed cases.

“We are trying to move as much we can to the last quarter calendar of 2020,” says Geniso, adding that the income loss for thousands of people working in the country’s live industry “will be great for a long period of time”.

The economic impact of the virus is of great concern for all in Latin America. Rodriguez states that Brazil and Colombia have been hit particularly hard by the virus, not just in terms of numbers – Brazil has reported 2,201 cases and Colombia has 378 – but rather because “the exchange rate with the dollar has skyrocketed”.

One dollar is equivalent to 5.05 Brazilian reales, up from BRL4.45 at the end of February, whereas 4,066 Colombian pesos now equal $1, increasing from COP3,460 a month ago.

In Mexico, Parra states that, between the virus and declining oil prices, “the Mexican peso has been crushed”. The Mexican currency fell to a record low against the dollar earlier this week, with $1 selling for over 25 pesos on Monday.

“When we wake from the virus nightmare, the economic reality will begin,” says Parra.

Photo: Leonardo Samran/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Spain’s Wegow reports record 2019

Spanish concert discovery and ticketing platform Wegow reported a record year in 2019, receiving 38 million visits and opening a new office in Mexico City.

Launched in 2015, the Bilbao- and Madrid-headquartered company is one of a number of B2B digital platforms growing in popularity in Spain, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019. As well as providing ticketing services, Wegow also acts as a concert discovery portal, digital marketing tool and live music-focused social platform.

The start-up recorded a turnover of €25.4 million (£21.1m) in 2019, a 135% increase year-on-year.

Around 2,300 promoters now sell tickets through Wegow, with over one million customers buying tickets via the platform last year – more than double those bought in 2018.

“It is very important to keep offering a live music platform that is complete, fast and secure, both for users and all other industry stakeholders”

Over 28.3m unique users visited the marketplace throughout 2019, with significant increases in visits from the USA, Portugal and UK. The company also strengthened its Latin American footprint in 2019, opening offices in Mexico, adding to operations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Brazil.

“We are extremely satisfied with the 2019 results, which prove that we have a well-established and consolidated business in Spain,” says Wegow CEO and cofounder José María Ozamiz.

“We have also been extremely well received in Mexico and other Latin American countries. Based on this, we will continue to commit to Wegow’s internationalisation. However, beyond the good numbers, we believe it is very important to keep offering a live music platform that is complete, fast and secure, both for users and all other industry stakeholders.”

Wegow currently operates in 17 countries across Europe and Latin America, as well as in the United States and Australia.

 


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Slipknot’s Knotfest to make UK debut

Knotfest, the festival brand created by metal legends Slipknot, is launching in the UK for the first time next year.

The Live Nation-promoted Knotfest UK, which will take place on 22 August 2020 at the 65,000-capacity National Bowl in Milton Keynes, around 80 kilometres northwest of London, is the second European edition of the festival, adding to Knotfest Meets Hellfest which debuted last summer in France.

Slipknot will headline the festival, in their first return to the National Bowl since their performance at Ozzfest in 2001. Full line-up details and onsite activities will be announced in early 2020.

Since launching in 2012, Knotfest has expanded into six countries

Since launching in 2012, Knotfest has expanded into six countries, with events in the USA Colombia, Mexico and Japan, as well as France and, now, the UK. The inaugural cruise-based Slipknot at Sea is set to take place in conjunction with music cruise specialist Sixthman in August 2020.

Prior to Knotfest UK, Slipknot will be embarking on a European arena tour in January, with appearances at London’s O2 Arena (20,000-cap.), Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome (17,000-cap.), the Accorhotels Arena (20,300-cap.) in Paris, Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena (17,000-cap.) and Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe (16,000-cap.), among others.

Members of Slipknot’s official fan club, Outside The 9, will have access to a pre-sale on 19 December at 10 a.m. GMT. Fans can join and get their passcode here.

Picture: © Наиль Якупов/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

 


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