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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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Arena-y McArenaface: Name suggestions invited for new Munich venue

Continuing in the tradition of previous name-this-thing classics such as Boaty McBoatface and Gritsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Yellow Anti-slip Machiney, a new indoor arena in Munich is inviting members of the public to submit their names for the venue ahead of its opening in 2021.

The 11,500-capacity arena, designed by Danish firm 3XN, will be located in Munich’s Olympic Park, and serve as home venue to two sports clubs, FC Bayern Basketball and ice-hockey team Munich Red Bulls. A social-media campaign, #NameGameOn – initiated by naming-rights partner SAP – will help chose its name, with representatives of Red Bull, FC Bayern Basketball and SAP whittling down the entries to a shortlist of favourites, and the winner then selected by public vote.

“In our role as the facility’s naming sponsor and technology and innovation partner, we believe it’s important that a venue in such a historic place as Munich’s Olympiapark has more than just another name,” comments Bernd Leukert, a member of SAP’s executive board.

“We’re looking forward to all their creative ideas”

“From the very beginning, we knew we wanted to get sports fans involved so they could identify with this multipurpose sports arena as well as possible. We’re looking forward to all their creative ideas.”

Name suggestions can be submitted at NameGameOn.com, with the winning entry receiving a personalised seat in the arena for its inaugural season.

Here’s hoping for another Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and Arts or Adolf Hitler School for Friendship and Tolerance.

 


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Rockavaria to take another break in 2019

There will be no Rockavaria festival next summer, organiser Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has announced.

In a statement, DEAG’s Global Concerts says building work on the Glyptothek museum, near the 2018 festival site in Munich’s Königsplatz plaza, means it has been forced to cancel. The festival, launched at great expense in 2015, formerly took place at the city’s Olympiapark, before moving to Königsplatz for 2018.

It took a break in 2017, citing a lack of talent on tour.

Rockavaria 2018 (Saturday 9–Sunday 10 June) was headlined by Iron Maiden and Limp Bizkit, the latter promoted to top of the bill after die Toten Hosen were forced to cancel. It was attended by 35,000 people, according to Museek.

 


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Live Nation partners with Motorworld Munich on the Zenith

Motorworld Munich, the owner of Munich’s the Zenith, has partnered with Live Nation Germany to upgrade and modernise the historic venue.

The 5,880-capacity Zenith, a former railway repair depot, has been at the centre of the Bavarian music scene for 20 years, having hosted shows by the likes of Adele, Muse, Rihanna, Pink, Kylie Minogue, No Doubt, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga.

According to Andreas Dünkel, president of the Motorworld Group, Arantxa Dörrie, managing director of Motorworld’s Munich office, and Live Nation Germany CEO Marek Lieberberg, Live Nation will leverage its expertise to “support modernising the venue”, along with growing the venue’s “concert and live entertainment business substantially”.

“It’s the perfect combination to turn the Zenith into a highly attractive, future-oriented concert and event venue”

The Zenith remains the property of Motorworld subsidiary Freimann Event, and will continue to be open to all event organisers, in addition to Live Nation projects.

“The concentrated power of the world leader in live entertainment, combined with our expertise as a real estate developer and operator, is the perfect combination to turn the Zenith into a highly attractive, future-oriented concert and event venue,” says Dünkel.

Lieberberg adds: “We want to leverage our portfolio and our worldwide network to contribute to strengthening the Zenith Munich as an essential venue for us and our artists.”

 


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Live Nation opens office in Munich

Live Nation has expanded its operations in the Germany-Switzerland-Austria region with the opening of an office in Munich, Germany,  Musikwoche reports. The office joins already established Live Nation GSA branches in Zurich, Vienna, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin.

At the helm of the new office is Tobias Habla, the former director of international touring for United Promoters and manager of live entertainment for Sony Music. Alongside his new leadership role, Habla has also been appointed senior executive manager of touring.

“We are delighted to have ‘boots on the ground’ in Munich”

Commenting on his new appointment, Habla says: “We look forward to the upcoming tasks and to be active in a forward-looking and extremely exciting company.”

Working with Habla will be two former employees of PGM promoters. Birgit Roth-Wiehler will operate as senior project manager for local business, and Eva Mittermeier as promotion manager and team assistant.

Matt Schwarz, chief operating officer of Live Nation GSA in Berlin has commented on the new opening and the appointment of Tobias Habla, saying: “We are delighted to have ‘boots on the ground’ in Munich through a high-caliber team and to be able to market our own portfolio there in the best possible way.”

 


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DEAG cancels Rockavaria 2017

There will be no Rockavaria in 2017, promoter Global Concerts has confirmed.

Announcing the cancellation, Global Concerts’ managing director, Andrea Blahetek-Hauzenberger, says the Munich festival – one of three launched at great expense in 2015 by Global parent company Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) – failed to attract a line-up of a calibre that “meets our high expectations”. “We want to remain faithful to our intention to stage Rockavaria only if it is good enough,” he explains. “[This year] that is not true.”

Iggy Pop, Iron Maiden and German metal act Powerworld headlined Rockavaria 2016, while Muse, Kiss and Metallica topped the bill in its debut year.

“We want to remain faithful to our intention to stage Rockavaria only if [the line-up] is good enough”

DEAG posted a €23 million loss in 2015 owing to expenses incurred by the launch of Rockavaria, Rock in Vienna and Rock im Revier, in the Ruhr district.

Of the three, only Rock in Vienna will make it to its third year, following the cancellation last October of Rock im Revier (originally billed as Grüne Hölle Rock, taking place at the Nürburgring racing track).

Despite DEAG’s hopes of sustaining its own Rock am Ring/Rock im Park competitor in Bavaria seemingly slipping away, CEO Peter Schwenkow maintains the company’s festival strategy is intact. He tells MusikWoche Rockavaria is “like Knebworth – if we attract the right artists, it will, of course, continue”.

 


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