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Fruzsina Szép reflects on Superbloom’s sold-out debut

Seasoned festival pro Fruzsina Szép has spoken to IQ about the debut edition of Goodlive’s newest festival, Superbloom.

The two-day event finally launched in Munich’s historic Olympic Park last weekend (3–4 September) after two postponements due to Covid-related restrictions.

Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Megan Thee Stallion, Rita Ora, Skepta and David Guetta were among the acts that performed across 11 stages during the event.

Alongside live music, the festival delivered a multi-faceted programme of art, culture, diversity, lifestyle, society, research and development, sustainability and science, with the aim of “redefining the music festival concept”.

“I wanted to create a 360-degree festival experience and I think we’ve done that well,” says Szép. “It was important to me that the visitors immersed themselves in a charming world and experienced many moments of happiness that they can now take with them into their everyday lives.”

The inaugural edition drew 50,000 visitors and ultimately sold out, which Szép says was “a dream come true” after a “mentally challenging” few years for the Superbloom team.

“It’s a new festival, a new brand, a new site and there are new colleagues, so there’s a learning curve”

And while the event was a success, Szép says that there’s plenty of room for improvement.

“It’s a new festival, a new brand, a new site and there are new colleagues, so there’s a learning curve…we have to be patient,” says the director, who has previously worked on Lollapalooza Berlin and Sziget.

“Sometimes our audience expects us to be 100% but we are not perfect and I don’t want to be perfect,” she continues. “I always wanted to have the possibility to make mistakes but to learn from them and to correct them and make them better in the next year. I’m not afraid to receive criticism – I grow from it.”

The biggest learning curve for the festival, she says, was navigating the unique site, which utilised the 70,000-capacity Olympic Stadium as the main stage.

On Saturday night, organisers were forced to halt entry to the stadium, where headliner Calvin Harris was playing his only German concert this year, due to a crowd flow issue.

“The problem was, on the floor of the stadium there is a maximum capacity of 20,000 and that was already full,” explains Szép.

“Sometimes our audience expects us to be 100% but we are not perfect and I don’t want to be perfect”

“There would have been space for 30–40,000 more people in the seats but people were stopping and sitting down at the beginning of the seats, rather than moving to the far end.

“Many people were queueing outside and some people were trying to go to another stage so it became the kind of situation which could have been very difficult. And Calvin Harris was already playing so it was impossible for the security and volunteers to ask people to get up and move along. That’s why we had to decide very quickly to stop letting people into the stadium.

“We were planning the crowd flow for months but we weren’t prepared for people to sit down at the beginning of the stands.”

The next day, the Superbloom team communicated the crowd flow to fans and the main stage programme went off without a hitch.

Extreme weather also proved to be an issue on the Saturday, with strong winds, heavy rain, lightning and thunder causing the programme to grind to a halt for an hour and a half.

As a result, Years & Years were forced to forego their set on the main stage and Megan Thee Stallion’s slot was reduced to 30 minutes.

Superbloom was praised by the German government for making the festival inclusive and accessible for disabled music fans

“The safety and security of our audience, our artists and our team is the first priority when we are on-site – no question,” says Szép. “Severe weather is an issue for every open-air event – we have to deal with force majeure measures all the time. These are normal procedures.”

Challenges aside, the festival was hailed as one of the most diverse events in the European festival market, with a range of ages, genders, races, nationalities and sexualities represented on the lineup. This was ultimately reflected in the audience – 60% of which were female.

In addition, Superbloom was praised by the German government for making the festival inclusive and accessible for disabled music fans.

“We worked closely with a group of experts who live with disabilities to help us deliver the maximum festival experience for others [with handicaps],” says Szép.

“Yesterday I was in a panel with the government’s representative for disabled people living in Germany, who is blind himself, and he said he has never before seen a German festival of that size so well organised for disabled people. That gave me such a great feeling.”

Having grown up with a blind father, accessibility is a matter close to Szép’s heart and has informed many aspects of the festival.

Having grown up with a blind father, accessibility is a matter close to Szép’s heart

“I grew up in Munich. And, for many years, on many weekends, my father and I would walk around this Olympic Park. He told me to experience the world not just with my eyes but with all my senses so I had this in my head while creating the concept for the festival.

“Being an adult now and having the possibility to organise Superbloom here was so emotional and I could feel my father’s energy,” says Szép.

Alongside the main stages, the Superbloom programme included an area hosting 30 NGOs including Greenpeace and Music Declares Emergency, assembled by Yourope general manager Holger Schmidt.

Other dedicated areas focussed on art, fashion, and theatre, with roaming performances ranging from robot dogs and giraffes, to ballerinas twirling atop mobile pianos and marching bands.

Superbloom returns to the Olympic Park in Munich from 2-3 September 2023.

 


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Germany’s first climate-neutral arena moves closer

Germany’s first climate-neutral arena has moved a step closer after council officials gave the green light to its urban zoning plan.

The decision by Freising City Council means Bavaria-based developer SWMunich Real Estate has passed another significant hurdle towards the development of the MUCcc Arena in Munich.

SWMunich will build and operate the 20,000-cap venue, backed by more than €300 million of private sector investment.

The arena will be located in a new green space next to LabCampus, the technology and innovation centre at Munich Airport, with the seating to be arranged in a 270° horseshoe shape. Global design firm Populous was chosen as the architect earlier this year following a multi-stage architecture competition.

“We are delighted with the clear vote”

“With the submission of the zoning plan, Germany’s first climate-neutral concert arena has taken another important step forward,” says SWMunich MD Lorenz Schmid. “We are delighted with the clear vote.”

The new arena will be climate-neutral thanks to lifecycle-based planning to reduce the carbon footprint during construction and climate-positive management of the operating phase. Several thousand solar panels on the roof of the arena and around the site, coupled with the potential for geothermal energy and district heating, will ensure that the energy for operating the arena can be generated and supplied on site.

According to a Deloitte study, the new venue will bring an annual gross value added of around €285m to the region. A construction start date is yet to be set, but it is hoped to open in the next five years.

Schmid detailed the plans in a recent IQ article.

“Our project brings Munich into the champions league of indoor concert venues”

“Our project brings Munich into the champions league of indoor concert venues,” he said. “The new arena will be a cultural boost, an economic and tourism driver, and a role model in terms of sustainability standards – economically, ecologically, and socially.

“In the Munich region, there is neither an arena specially designed for concerts and live shows nor an indoor location with a capacity of up to 20,000 guests. We are closing this gap and thus supplementing the cultural offerings in the region and throughout Germany at a time of increasing demand.

“Our goal is to maintain world-class levels of quality and visitor comfort while remaining well below the energy requirements of comparable arenas in Europe.”

 


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Go-ahead for Germany’s first climate-neutral arena

Plans for Germany’s first climate-neutral arena have been given the go-ahead by council officials.

Bavaria-based developer SWMunich will build and operate the 20,000-cap MUCcc Arena in Munich, backed by more than €300 million of private sector investment.

The multi-use concert and convention centre will be tailored to the requirements of concerts and other live entertainment, as well as in the areas of sustainability, transport and the environment.

“For us, the decision of the Freising City Council is both an incentive and an obligation,” says Lorenz Schmid, MD of SWMunich. “Because we will build and operate Germany’s most modern and first climate-neutral concert arena. And this for the benefit of the region. With the positive decision in principle, the city council of Freising has secured the chance for its city to help develop one of the most exciting cultural projects in Germany.”

The arena will be located in a new green space next to LabCampus, the technology and innovation centre at Munich Airport, with the seating to be arranged in a 270° horseshoe shape, placing the focus on the multifunctional stage.

“The project will create a new cultural centre for Munich and the wider Bavarian region to rival the best live entertainment venues in the world”

“With the construction and operation of Germany’s most sustainable concert arena, many cultural, economic and touristic impulses are created for Freising and the region,” adds director Gert Waltenbauer. “The arena helps to make the metropolitan region of Munich and the free state of Bavaria future-proof and internationally competitive in the concert and event sector. With the KGAL Group as a leading, independent investment and asset manager, the management and financing of the project is secured in the long term.”

The new arena will be climate-neutral thanks to lifecycle-based planning to reduce the carbon footprint during construction and climate-positive management of the operating phase. Several thousand solar panels on the roof of the arena and around the site, coupled with the potential for geothermal energy and district heating, will ensure that the energy for operating the arena can be generated and supplied on site.

Global design firm Populous has been chosen as the architect following a multi-stage architecture competition. Its winning design draws upon Bavarian heritage and character, with the support structure paying homage to the lozenge shape used in the Bavarian state flag.

“The design for MUCcc Arena places people at its heart, delivering a unique and immersive visitor experience, as well as showcasing the very latest in sustainable design methods,” adds Declan Sharkey, senior principal at Populous and lead architect for the scheme. “The project will create a new cultural centre for Munich and the wider Bavarian region to rival the best live entertainment venues in the world.”

 


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Superbloom hires Annika Hintz as head of booking

Germany’s Goodlive has named Annika Hintz as head of music booking for its newest festival, Superbloom.

She succeeds Christof Huber (Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG), who led the booking team on an interim basis.

Hintz previously worked at Hamburg-based promoter Kopf und Steine, where she was head of booking and department head of the festivals. As part of her role, she was responsible for booking Hamburg festivals MS Dockville and Spektrum until 2020.

Between March 2020 and January 2022, Annika Hintz was responsible for booking the About You Pangea Festival, the only festival that was allowed to take place in Germany in 2021 with a capacity of 15,000 visitors.

“A diverse and sophisticated line-up is guaranteed for the years to come”

She was also responsible for Das Ding Festival in Mannheim, the Way Back When Festival in Dortmund and Kosmos Chemnitz.

Hintz will now take on the national and international booking for Superbloom, which debuts between 3–4 September at Munich Olympic Park.

The music, arts and lifestyle festival will host acts including Calvin Harris, Kraftklub, Megan The Stallion, Rita Ora and Stromae.

“We are very pleased that we were able to win such a great booker as Annika for Superbloom,” says Fruzsina Szép, festival director and managing director of Superbloom Festival.

“With their comprehensive view of new and established artists, a diverse and sophisticated line-up is guaranteed for the years to come. We would like to thank Christof Huber for his support this year and are delighted that he will continue to serve as a strategic advisor will work for the Superbloom and support the booking team.”

 


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CTS Eventim’s annual revenue soared in 2021

CTS Eventim has reported a 60% increase in annual revenue during 2021.

The Munich-based pan-European promoter and ticketing company saw consolidated revenue rise by 58.8% to €407.8 million, compared to €256.8m in 2020.

According to CTS, the increase was driven mainly by a resurgence in ticket sales, with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Genesis and Udo Lindenberg among the bestsellers.

“The number of events on offer in our ticketing systems is increasing with each new day – a clear sign of growing confidence within the events industry, and we anticipate that festivals and large-open air events will begin to resume from the second quarter onwards, after an enforced break of two years,” says Klaus Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim.

The financial results also revealed a normalised EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) for 2021, rising to €208m (previous year: loss of €2.9m).

“The number of events on offer in our ticketing systems is increasing with each new day”

CTS chalks this up to cost savings, an improved operating business and extensive government aid of around €157m.

Consolidated revenue for the fourth quarter of 2021, meanwhile, was up to €227.8m, compared with €28.1m in the equivalent period of the previous year. Normalised EBITDA for the quarter amounted to €102.6m (previous year: €14.8m).

In the ticketing segment, revenue for 2021 as a whole improved by 77% to €224.1m (previous year: €126.6m). Normalised EBITDA stood at €177.1m, following a loss of €23.6m in 2020. In the fourth quarter of 2021, there was an increase in revenue to €113.5m (previous year: €19.5m), while normalised EBITDA rose to €85.8m (previous year: loss of €11.0m).

Annual revenue in the live entertainment segment advanced by 39.7% in 2021 to reach €191.1m (previous year: €136.8m). Normalised EBITDA for the segment came to €30.9m (previous year: €20.7m). In the last three months of the reporting year, revenue generated by live entertainment improved to €117.0m, compared with €9.5m in the final quarter of 2020. The segment’s normalised EBITDA for the fourth quarter totalled €16.8m (previous year: €25.8m).

“These financial results provide further evidence of the strength and financial stability of the group,” says Schulenberg. “2021 was also a year in which key strategic initiatives strengthened our international position.”

“These financial results provide further evidence of the strength and financial stability of the group”

In 2021, CTS launched Singapore-based Eventim Live Asia, entered the North American ticketing market and announced plans for a new 16,000-capacity arena in Milan, Italy.

In the same year, the live entertainment giant also acquired software and hardware developer Simply-X and regional ticketing providers Kölnticket and Bonnticket.

In addition, the tickets for Ed Sheeran’s European tour were the first to be sold by CTS Eventim exclusively through its proprietary digital ticket, Eventim.Pass.

Elsewhere, EMC Presents, a joint venture established with US promoter Michael Cohl in 2020, organised the group’s first tour in the US at the end of 2021 with Genesis as the headline act.

The company says it is “optimistic” about its prospects for 2022 after two pandemic-hit years, and believes it is “well-positioned” for a restart of the live entertainment sector.

At the time of writing, CTS Eventim’s share price is up 1.38% to €60.06.

 


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Goodlive details debut outing of Superbloom

Germany’s Goodlive has detailed the inaugural edition of Munich festival Superbloom.

The two-day event was due to launch two years ago but was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-related restrictions.

The highly anticipated festival is now set to take place at Munich’s historic Olympic Park on 3 and 4 September.

Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Megan Thee Stallion, Rita Ora, Skepta, Years & Years and Tupoka Ogette have today been confirmed to perform at Superbloom 2022.

They join previously announced acts David Guetta, AnnenMayKantereit, Kraftklub, Glass Animals, Stromae, Anne-Marie, Zoe Wees, Kaya Yanar, Willow and Girl in Red.

Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Megan Thee Stallion, Rita Ora, Skepta, Years & Years and Tupoka Ogette have today been confirmed

In addition to musical artists, best-selling author, human rights activist and anti-racism expert Tupoka Ogette will give a keynote speech on the main stage.

The Berlin comedian Kurt Krömer and comedy veteran Kaya Yanar will deliver comedy shows, and many other artists and podcasters will also be part of the diverse line-up.

Alongside the entertainment, Superbloom will offer 11 ‘experience areas’ centred around art, fashion, science, sustainability, dance and acrobatics.

Further experience areas as well as the line-up of the newcomer stage NeoNeo and the BeerBrass&Beats beer garden will be announced in the coming months.

The Superbloom team is spearheaded by European festival pro Fruzsina Szép, who was appointed MD of the festival in 2019.

See the line-up for Superbloom below.

Superbloom, Munich

 


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Booking fees in the dock in Germany

Verbraucherzentrale NRW, the Consumer Advice Centre of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) in Germany, has brought legal action against CTS Eventim over the ticket agency’s non-refunding of booking fees on events cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Verbraucherzentrale sued Eventim in Munich after claiming to have received “massive [amounts of] complaints” from consumers in the state who received ticket money back less the booking fee. The cancelled shows were organised by a various promoters which had “commissioned Eventim to reimburse the ticket costs for cancelled events”, according to Verbraucherzentrale NRW, the North Rhine-Westphalian branch of Germany’s network of 51 consumer organisations.

The case reached the First District Court of Munich (Landgericht München I) on Wednesday 9 June, with both the Consumer Advice Centre and CTS Eventim claiming victory – the former because it secured a change to Eventim’s terms and conditions on ticket refunds, and the latter because the judgment confirmed that the promoter is responsible for overseeing ticket refunds, while it had dispensed with the T&Cs in question in October last year.

Wolfgang Schuldzinski, CEO of Verbraucherzentrale NRW, says the Consumer Advice Centre’s position is that, “in a large number of cases, Eventim wrongly withheld sums of money instead of repaying the entire ticket cost to consumers”.

The ruling confirmed that the ticket seller is “neither obliged to reimburse the ticket price nor the advance booking fee”

Following the court judgment, “if Eventim was commissioned to repay the ticket cost in the event of cancellations, those affected can now request Eventim to pay the outstanding amounts [the fees],” adds Schuldzinski. “This is a great success.”

CTS Eventim, meanwhile, welcomes the court judgement as a “clarification” that for postponed or cancelled events, “the organiser alone is always the contact point for ticket buyers” as opposed to the ticket agency.

According to Eventim, the Landgericht’s ruling confirmed that the ticket seller is “neither obliged to reimburse the ticket price nor the advance booking fee”, which is the responsibility of the concert organiser. CTS Eventim CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenbgerg, who says his company should never have been the defendant in the case, criticises the lawsuit as nothing more “PR for their own ends” by Verbraucherzentrale NRW.

Additionally, the court found that tickets for shows which have been postponed – as opposed to cancelled outright – remain valid for the rescheduled events, according to MusikWoche. In Germany, a ticket voucher scheme allows promoters to issue vouchers for rescheduled events in lieu of cash refunds.

Both sides have a month to appeal the court’s verdict, which is not yet final.

 


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Munich music venues file lawsuit against Bavaria

Seven Munich music venues have teamed up to sue the Free State of Bavaria for allegedly violating the law when it forced the venues to close at the end of March, due to coronavirus.

One of the club owners, Alexander Spierer of Sweet Club, told Süddeutsche Zeitung that the venues do not dispute the state’s decision to force closure in a bid to control the virus, but are frustrated that the operators have largely abandoned by the government.

Spierer went on to say that club operators are not interested in reopening any time soon but would like to hold the state liable for damages, saying the help offered was inadequate.

After teaming up with the other clubs, Spierer’s lawyer submitted a standard control application to the Bavarian Administrative Court, claiming that the Bavarian government violated applicable law and the Basic Law when, by decree, on 27 March, it banned the operation of clubs, among other things.

“Munich music venue operators are frustrated that they have largely been left alone by politics and feel the help offered was inadequate”

Bavaria, Germany’s biggest state, was the first to implement a full lockdown, which started from 4 March. The state premier Markus Söder began to relax measures in mid-May.

Concert spaces in Bavaria were permitted to reopen on 22 June, with a maximum of 100 guests indoors and up to 200 guests outdoors, and adhering to social distancing measures. Major events remain prohibited at least until 31 August.

Elsewhere in Germany, major events remain banned until the start of November unless organisers can prove that social distancing measures and hygiene protocol can be met.

Bayreuth-based promoter Semmel Concerts is planning to host the biggest event the country has seen post-coronavirus, inviting 5,000 fans to open-air concerts at the Waldbühne amphitheatre in Berlin, in September.

A custom-designed hygiene protocol will be in place at the event, which will also respect all distancing regulations.

 


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Superbloom festival to debut in Munich

Miley Cyrus and David Guetta are among the headliners for the inaugural Superbloom festival, which is taking place on 5 and 6 September in the German city of Munich.

Promoted by Goodlive, Superbloom will see performances from acts including the Pussycat Dolls, DJ Snake, AnnenMayKantereit, Apache 207, Bishop Briggs, Liam Payne and Parcels.

Located in the grounds of Munich’s Olympiapark and Olympiastadion (75,000-cap.), the festival will also feature a firework display from RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World, as well as comedy from Kaya Yanar and live podcasts.

Advance ticket sales are now open, with weekend passes priced at €155 (£130).

Goodlive is also behind German electronic music festival Melt!, hip-hop and rap festival Splash!, metal festival Full Force and touring yoga festival Wanderlust.


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Viagogo no longer allowed to advertise “valid” tickets

Viagogo has been told by a Munich court it may no longer advertise its tickets as guaranteeing entry to an event.

A 4 June decision by the city’s district court (Landgericht), ruling on a case brought by the Bavarian Consumer Association (Verbraucherzentrale Bayern), bars the secondary ticketing site from claiming all tickets resold on its platform are valid for entry.

The court ruling also aims to provide ticket buyers with more transparency by requiring sellers to provide their name and address to buyers, as well as forcing Viagogo to make clear it is a marketplace and not a primary ticket seller, reports German daily der Tagesspiegel.

The move brings local law into line with countries such as the UK, where secondary ticketers are legally required to inform customers if there’s a chance they may not get into the venue, as affirmed in a November 2018 high court judgment against Viagogo.

Switzerland-headquartered Viagogo says it will appeal the Munich district court decision.

 


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