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Austrian agency Napalm launches in the US

European hard rock agency Napalm Events has expanded into North America, establishing a presence in Hoboken, New Jersey.

Founded in 2010, Napalm Events has offices in Eisenerz, Austria, and Berlin, Germany. Its roster includes in Scott Stapp (Creed), Mushroomhead, Konvent, Bizkit Park and Jinjer.

The agency is part of Austrian indie Napalm Records, whose Hoboken office it will share, though it notes it continues to represent acts not signed to the label. It also offers services including marketing, transportation, visas and merchandise.

Thomas Caser, managing director of Napalm Events, says: “Challenging times create new opportunities, [and] we are thrilled to launch our full-service booking agency in North America.

“I’m looking forward to bringing our amazing artists to North America”

“Our centre of attention at Napalm Events is the artist. Since we are deeply involved with all sides of touring, we know what a modern agency needs to offer in order to create the ideal environment for an artist’s touring ventures.”

“The Napalm Events artist roster has grown quickly during the last few years, and the company has become an internationally respected booking agency,” adds Napalm booking agent Thorsten Harm. “We’ve booked concerts and tours all over Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America and Russia, and helped to develop and break artists worldwide.

“Exciting new artists and established acts joined the Napalm family over the years. Now, I’m looking forward to bringing our amazing artists to North America.”


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Romeo Santos breaks records at 80k+ MetLife stadium

Bachata star Romeo Santos became the first Latin artist to headline – and sell out – the 82,500-capacity MetLife stadium in New Jersey on Saturday (21 September).

The Live Nation-promoted show was the highest grossing concert in the stadium’s history, breaking the record previously held by Irish rockers U2.

Special guests including Cardi B, reggaeton stars Ozuna and Wisin and Yandel and fellow Bachata artists Raulin Rodriguez, El Chaval and Zacarias Ferreira, as well as members from Santos’ former band Aventura, joined the singer onstage during his 22-track, four-hour performance.

“Romeo Santos has solidified himself as one of the greatest Latin artists of the generation with his historic MetLife show”

“Romeo Santos has solidified himself as one of the greatest Latin artists of the generation with his historic MetLife show,” comments Hans Schafer, head of Live Nation Latin. “This feat continues to show the power of Latin artists in the touring space and is a proud moment for Live Nation.”

The show celebrated Santos’ most recent album Utopia, which debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top Latin Albums list when released in April.

In 2014, Santos became the first Latin solo artist to headline a concert at New York’s 54,250-capacity Yankee Stadium.

From reggaeton to trap: Behind the global Latin boom

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Advocates urge New Jersey to veto changes to ticket holdback law

A group of US secondary ticketing advocates have penned a letter urging New Jersey governor Phil Murphy not to sign a bill which would abolish 17 year-old laws capping ticket holdbacks to 5%. Already a controversial move, the bill was made even more so by the fact it was quietly fast-tracked through legislature without any public hearings on the matter.

Now, Scot X. Esdaile of US Minority Ticketing Group (USMTG), Tom Patania of NJ Ticket Brokers, Gary Adler of the National Association of Ticket Brokers (NATB) and Darnell Goldson of TicketNetwork have come together to urge Murphy to reconsider the proposed changes, which have been heavily pushed by venue owners in the state.

In the letter, the group stress the need for the live event sector to be centred on consumers and their protection. It points out that while the new amendments operate under the guise of being consumer-friendly with some good measures, the overall outcome would harm both consumers and local small businesses alike.

This sentiment is echoed by Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of the NJ Citizen Action advocacy group. Reacting to the proposed bill, she admits some of the parts of the bill are positive, but questions “why, at the same time, it’s removed some really important consumer protections, like the 5%.” She also pointed out the necessity for public hearings, saying: “These were all things we would have talked about if we had the opportunity go to a hearing and testify.”

“These were all things we would have talked about if we had the opportunity go to a hearing and testify”

The letter calls on research by the New York Attorney General which found more than 50% of tickets are commonly held back from big concerts and shows. A smaller pool of available tickets leads to soaring ticket prices and frustrated fans. This was certainly the case in 2009, when New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen held back some 2,262 tickets (12%) from public sale. Sixty per cent of the ten best sections in the venue were holdbacks, with only 108 of the seats closest to the stage available to the public.

Alongside the criticism of the removal of 5% on holdbacks, the letter also points out a number of other faults with the bill. Proposed changes would remove consumer protections regarding season ticket holders being able to lawfully sell tickets back to the venue for events they aren’t able to attend.

It also adds uncertainty to consumers’ ability to gift, sell or donate tickets they have purchased – the bill gives power to ticket issuers to revoke tickets for any reason without conditions.

However, as stated by consumer advocates and politicians alike, the bill does propose some important, consumer-friendly measures. These include a ban on venues overbooking concerts, a ban on ‘bot’ technology and a clear refund policy.


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Multiple injuries in volatile US festival weekend

Two people have died and dozens were injured in a turbulent festival weekend in the United States.

At least 22 people were hurt in the early hours of yesterday morning after a gunman opened fire at a 24-hours arts festival in Trenton, New Jersey. Witnesses told TV station WPVI that attendees at Art All Night Trenton initially mistook the gunfire, which occurred at around 2.45 am on Sunday 17 June, for the sound of fireworks. “All of a sudden, my brother goes to me, ‘You hear that gunfire?’,” said local resident Angelo Nicolo. “I go, ‘It sounds like fireworks.’ He said, ‘No, that’s gunfire.’

“Next thing you know, we turn around and everybody’s running down the street. All hell broke loose.”

Around 1,000 people were believed to have been at the festival, held at the historic Roebling Wire Works venue in south Trenton, at the time of the shooting.

Police said the incident appeared to be part of a gang dispute and not related to terrorism. The suspected perpetrator, 33-year-old Tahaij Wells, who had just been released from prison, was killed by police officers.

Four victims were were left in a critical condition as a result of their wounds, said prosecutor Angelo Onofri – although three of them, including a 13-year-old boy, have, as of this morning, been upgraded to stable. The last person in critical condition is believed to be a suspect, while a 23-year-old man, Amir Armstrong, is in police custody on suspicion of firearms offences.

Attendees at Art All Night-Trenton initially mistook the gunfire for the sound of fireworks

In western Colorado, police are investigating after a man shot himself in the stomach – apparently by accident – at a country music festival in Mesa County.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that the 30-year-old man shot himself on Friday evening while attending the Country Jam festival, promoted by Townsquare/Madison Square Garden Company.

The shooting was an isolated incident, according to Mesa County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Megan Terlecky. “We believe it was accidental, but we’re still investigating,” she said, adding sheriffs are looking into how the gun came to be at the festival, which prohibits firearms and searches all bags.

Meanwhile, at Red Frog Events/Goldenvoice’s Firefly Music Festival – which has taken place at Dover International Speedway, in Dover, Delaware, since 2012 – a 20-year-old woman died after being found unresponsive in the campsite early on Sunday morning.

According to WDEL-FM, the cause of 20-year-old Caroline Friedman’s death is not yet down, but authorities have largely ruled out foul play.

Arctic Monkeys, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar headlined Firefly 2018, which ran from Thursday 14 to Sunday 17 June.


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MSG agrees booking deal with Prudential Center

American venue owner/operator Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has signed a booking and marketing partnership with Prudential Center, a 19,500-cap. indoor arena in Newark, expanding its influence into New Jersey.

The partnership will, says MSG, bring together “two leading venues in the industry” – Prudential Center (pictured) and MSG’s Madison Square Garden in New York, the US’s most-visited music venue – “to bring elite entertainment acts to [New] Jersey, as well as solidifying the state as a premier destination for the world’s top performers.”

Both venues are members of the Arena Alliance, a membership alliance of North American arenas established by Irving Azoff and Tim Leiweke’s Oak View Group last September.

Darren Pfeffer, who joined MSG in April as executive VP of its newly created MSG Live division, comments: “MSG owns some of the world’s most celebrated venues, including Madison Square Garden, the number-one concert venue in North America and undisputed market leader in the New York area. These assets, along with our effective booking strategy and proven expertise in marketing have helped make MSG an industry leader in live entertainment.

“By forging this relationship with MSG, Prudential Center will continue to serve as a community cornerstone … for the entire state of New Jersey”

“We look forward to leveraging MSG’s unique stature and strong, long-standing relationships with industry leaders, along with a common membership with the Prudential Center in Oak View Group’s Arena Alliance, to help bring an exciting array of events to the Prudential Center while also serving the market with more options.”

“New Jersey has an incredible, rich history in entertainment, and is home to some of the greatest performers and artists to ever live,” adds Scott O’Neil, CEO of Prudential Center. “It is our mission, responsibility and priority to celebrate that history and further the legacy of this state by bringing the world’s top entertainers and attractions to Prudential Center.

“By forging this relationship with the innovative team at the iconic Madison Square Garden, we believe Prudential Center will continue to serve as a community cornerstone not only for Newark, but for the entire state of New Jersey, unifying the area through the power of sports and entertainment.”

Azoff MSG Entertainment, a joint venture between Azoff and Madison Square Garden Company, is currently embroiled in a public ‘booking war’ with AEG, with both parties barring acts from playing some of their venues unless they play another: for example, MSG’s LA Forum and Madison Square Garden and AEG’s Staples Center and The O2.


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D’Esposito sued by Twisted Sister over ‘unpaid’ fee

Promoter John D’Esposito, the founder of New Jersey’s The Bamboozle festival and a former VP of talent at Live Nation, is being sued by Twisted Sister for US$150,000 in allegedly unpaid artist fees.

In a suit filed on behalf of Jema Productions, a company run by Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French, the ’80s hair-metallers claim they have only been paid $50,000 of the $200,000 they are owed for headlining The Rock Carnival, held in New Jersey from 30 September to 1 October 2016.

The festival – promoted by D’Esposito’s company Rock N Festivals – was hit by three days of storms, which D’Esposito says led to an agreement with the band’s agent, Coallier Entertainment’s Daniel Stanton, to postpone payment in favour of giving three opening bands their fees up front, reports the Associated Press.

Rock N Festivals sent Jema a cheque for $200,000 after the festival.

“Thousands of people were prevented from attending because of torrential rains and excessive winds”

However, according to documents filed in the Monmouth County superior court, the company’s lawyers wrote to French on 13 October saying there was no money in the account and urging him not to cash it.

D’Esposito says the Rock N Festivals “suffered catastrophic economic losses” as a result of the wet weather, with “thousands of people” prevented from attending due to “torrential rains and excessive winds”.

The band claim they were paid $50,000 on 7 December 2016, but have yet to receive the outstanding balance.

“After a stellar 14-year reunion in which we played in 32 countries all around the world, to have this happen at the final show in the New York area is very disheartening to the band,” French tells AP.


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