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Claudio Trotta awarded Milan’s gold medal

Italian promoter Claudio Trotta has been officially recognised by the city of Milan for his 40-year service to music.

The Barley Arts founder and Slow Music president has been awarded the gold medal of the Ambrogino d’Oro – only one of 15 given out by the municipality each year.

The Bureau of Milan City Council which decides the winners has commended Trotta for his ongoing fight against secondary ticketing; his “visionary” to launch iconic festivals such as Sonoria and organise Italian tours with the likes of Bruce Springsteen; and his promotion of sustainability which earned Barley Arts a Greener Festival Award.

“I have become part of a list of people, who since 1946, the City of Milan recognises as having given their city everything they could for the supreme and superior good that is the community,” says Trotta.

“Seeing my courage rewarded so publicly is a powerful incentive to continue on my path”

“Now, more than ever, it is vital to share hope, passion, affection, harmony, respect and vision of the future for those who are yet to be born and for humanity as a whole. I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life but I’ve always had the courage to act according to my visions, no matter the cost to myself.

“Seeing my courage rewarded so publicly and the reasons that supported my Ambrogino expressed vividly, is a powerful incentive to continue on my path.

“I would like to underline that a man alone can do nothing if he is not supported by a community; whether that be family, teamwork or even strangers who are kindred souls, they share in their daily lives my same priorities and struggles. Thank you everyone for this award, it represents real and heartfelt satisfaction.”

The official ceremony takes place every year on 7 December – the feast of Sant’Ambrogio, the patron saint of Milan – and the prizes are delivered by the city mayor.


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Milan study finds appetite for smaller live events

Gig-goers have a strong appetite for a more diverse range of event formats, especially small concerts, says the findings of a survey conducted in Milan.

The report explores the expectations, fears and changes in the public’s attitude towards live music and clubbing post-pandemic, and has found that smaller, open-air events with an intimate atmosphere are in-demand.

The survey was commissioned by Milan-based think tank Music Innovation Hub and market research agency Ergo Research, which specialises in consumer insight into the cultural industries.

The researchers say that, as the first western city in the contagion curve in February, Milan is a valuable test city for understanding the attitudes of music crowds worldwide and could pave the way to anti-crisis solutions.

According to the survey, gig-goers are eager to attend small concerts in clubs, bars and parks, registration-only private events, and small out-of-town festivals.

“The data from the survey is very encouraging. Smaller events represent a huge under-exploited market. Demand is strong. We need to find ways to unleash this potential and make smaller events economically sustainable,” says Dino Lupelli, head of Music Innovation Hub.

“Smaller events represent a huge under-exploited market”

The report states that one of the biggest hurdles to making smaller events sustainable is the administrative permits and licenses required, which can be very complex and costly to manage, especially in Italy where the survey was conducted.

Regarding coronavirus, the report reflects a mixed attitude towards the current health risk. The findings reveal that gig-goers feel uncomfortable with some of the containment measures (eg. staggered entry, wearing a mask or table service only), and more comfortable with others (e.g. temperature measurement, contact tracing), but are willing to comply with all of the requirements in order to be back soon to the real-life events.

“Smaller events with lower attendance can easily be made Covid-compliant,” says Lupelli.

“And in turn they can have great benefits for the music industry as a whole, since they provide an invaluable breeding ground for new talents. Moreover, they can widen the consumer base, appealing to an audience that is currently excluded from the market because they are not interested in big events. These are typically slightly older, more affluent music lovers, according to the findings of the survey”.

The report concludes with a call to arms for the partial deregulation of permit policies could “encourage a new music explosion”.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Bike-In concerts: The next wheely good idea?

In the space of just a few weeks, drive-in concerts have – along with the likes of live streams, virtual experiences and socially distanced shows – become an important part of live music’s ‘new normal’, with fans in Germany, the US, Lithuania, the Netherlands and elsewhere watching shows through their car windscreens and Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino identifying drive-ins as being key to getting the business restarted.

However, drive-in concerts aren’t without their detractors, with critics having pointed to the environmental impact of hundreds of cars sitting stationary with their engines running, as well as the perceived lack of immersion compared to a ‘real’ live show.

Now, Fulvio De Rosa, head manager of Milan-based promoter Shining Production, believes he has the answer:  Bike-In, a new event concept that would instead see concertgoers bring their bicycles to a live show, allowing fans to experience a traditional open-air concert from the comfort of their saddles.

De Rosa, who is in the process of raising funding for the idea, highlights Bike-In’s advantages compared to a drive-in show: “There’s been a lot of talk in these last few days about the return of ‘drive-in’ movies, but we prefer thinking of something that, above all, should be eco-friendly and sharable. This is how Bike-In was born.”

Whereas drive-in concerts see fans, many of whom have been in “lockdown for a long time”, once again isolated in their vehicles, and need a large paved area such as a car park, Bike-In allows fans to enjoy the music “while breathing fresh air”, and is adaptable to any space, including parks and other green spaces, he continues.

The Bike-In concept is designed to be “eco-friendly and sharable”

According to a presentation document, events using Bike-In would allow fans to choose their own spot in the ‘venue’, from three options: a single spot for one person and one bicycle, a family or couples spot, for multiple people and bikes, and a ‘premium spot’ on a raised platform that includes services such as food and beverage. Each spot has its own bike rack, and is located at a safe distance from others to ensure social distancing.

The document also suggests Bike-In could be used for livestreamed shows, with those who purchase the format benefitting from a F&B delivery service to fans watching from home.

Speaking to Italian media, Laura Ciraudo, communications manager for Shining Production and sister businesses Live Music Club and Fresh Agency, says Bike-In has already received concrete interest from venues in Lombardy and Turin, as well as more general enquiries from all over Italy.

The Italian government announced on Monday that concerts, sans F&B and with strict capacity limits and social-distancing measures, may once again be held from 15 June.


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Coronavirus puts Italy’s live scene on lockdown

Coronavirus, which has been affecting the live entertainment industry in China and other Asian countries for the past few months, is now taking its toll on the Italian business, with all public events in the north of the country cancelled until Sunday 1 March.

Over 400 cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have now been recorded in Italy, with towns in the country’s north placed in quarantine. Cases have also been reported in France, Germany, the UK, Austria, Croatia, Greece, Norway, Switzerland, Georgia and North Macedonia.

The cancellations of concerts in the affected regions, which include the cities of Milan, Venice, Bologna, Trieste and Turin, have cost the live industry an estimated €10.5 million. According to Vincenzo Spera, president of Italian trade association Assomusica, wider losses to the sector’s supply chain could reach as much as €20m.

Affected events include Venice carnival and concerts by Brit Award-winner Mabel, US rock band Algiers, UK rockers Procol HarumItalian and electronic act Tycho, as well as Italian artists Francesca Michielin, Nuclear Tactical Penguins, Negrita, Brunori Sas and Angelo Branduardi, among others.

The men’s and women’s Six Nations rugby ties between Italy and Ireland, set to be played in Dublin on 7 and 8 March, have also been postponed.

“The risk, in particular, is that many of the companies and promoters active in the local and regional territories will suffer a rapid collapse,” says Spera, noting how important the concert industry is to other sectors, such as tourism and hospitality.

“We represent one of the sectors most affected by this emergency and we find that there are still no measures in place that seem to take into account our reality.”

“The risk, in particular, is that many of the companies and promoters active in the local and regional territories will suffer a rapid collapse”

Artist manager Katia Giampaolo, who is also co-director of Bologna’s 2,000-capacity Estragon Club and organiser of the Botanique festival, tells IQ that over 7,400 musical and theatrical events have been postponed or cancelled in the past few days.

“This is without even knowing what will happen from 1 March,” says Giampaolo. “The real extent of the damage is innumerable, considering that no legislation supports independent activities and we have an entire industry that has no guarantee in these types of circumstances – hopefully the government does view this as a crisis for the entire music market.

“We are obviously aware that this is an extraordinary emergency,” adds Giampaolo, “so, despite the extreme difficulty, we are in solidarity with the government and with the prudent measures it is taking, to which we are adhering fully.”

A spokesperson for Live Nation Italy states that the authorities have given no information “regarding the shows scheduled after 1 March”, adding that although “the situation is getting better”, no long-term forecasts are possible.

Live Nation Italy is promoting upcoming shows in Milan by King Nun, Cage the Elephant, OneRepublic, Louis Tomlinson, Kelis, Rex Orange County and Avril Lavigne.

Photo: Harald Krichel/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)


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Oak View Group announces first international arena

Oak View Group (OVG) has partnered with Live Nation to build and run a new entertainment and sports arena in Milan, Italy.

The project is Oak View Group’s first venue development outside the US, and follows the launch of the company’s London-based overseas division, OVG International, at the ILMC in March.

OVG announced today it has signed a head of terms agreement with property companies Risanamento and Lendlease to construct and operate the new arena, which will be privately funded and located in Milan’s new Santa Giulia neighbourhood. Though no official figures have been released, IQ understands the venue could have a capacity of up to 17,000 for concerts.

The Santa Giulia Arena will provide a significant boost to Milan’s bid for the 2026 Winter Olympic and Paralympic games, and would host the Olympics’ ice hockey tournament, according to OVG co-founder and CEO Tim Leiweke.

“We’re delighted to announce our first European partnership, bringing a state-of-the-art entertainment facility to Milan,” Leiweke comments. “The new arena will be an exciting addition for the city and an important part of hosting what would be an inspiring 2026 Winter Olympics.

“Oak View Group and Live Nation have years of experience working together and are the ideal partners to deliver and run the Santa Giulia Arena.”

The Santa Giulia Arena will compete with the 12,700-seat Mediolanum Forum in Assago, near Milan, which has served the city since 1990 and is one of two Italian members of the European Arena Association (EAA).

“We look forward to announcing more European partnerships soon”

An older open-air venue, the 10,000-capacity Arena Civica, which opened in 1807, is also capable of hosting concerts, as is the 80,000-cap. San Siro stadium.

Oak View Group, a venue development, advisory and investment company co-founded by former AEG CEO Leiweke and ex-Live Nation chairman Irving Azoff, launched in 2015.

In addition to arena development projects at the Key Arena in Seattle, Belmont in New York and the University of Texas in Austin, OVG runs the Arena and Stadium Alliance, an invitation-only association of of 28 arenas in the United States.

It also has a venue-management outfit, OVG Facilities, launched in 2017 following the acquisition of Pinnacle Venue Services, and a security arm, Prevent Advisors, and owns industry trade titles Venues Today and Pollstar, the latter which it bought the same year.

“We’re looking forward to working with Risanamento and Lendlease as part of their major regeneration project,” adds Leiweke, “and to announcing more European partnerships soon.”


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Exclusive: No Secondary Ticketing stream

Update (27/7): The conference has finished, but the archived stream can still be watched in its entirety above.


Today, at the Franco Parenti Theatre in Milan, Italian promoter Barley Arts hosts the inaugural No Secondary Ticketing conference.

No Secondary Ticketing, the “first international conference against secondary ticketing”, was convened in the aftermath of the infamous ‘Coldplay case’ which led to ticket touting being provisionally banned outright in Italy. It brings together international live music professionals to discuss the ethics and effects of secondary ticketing on the global live entertainment industry, and will see the launch of the Anti-Secondary Ticketing Federation – an association that will report illegal ticket resale to police and “inform consumers about the risks of the secondary market”.

A live stream in English will be live from 10am GMT. The full agenda is as follows:

Session 1 (10.00–12.30 GMT)

Session 2 (14.30–17.00 GMT)


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