ILMC changes dates and venue for 2022 conference
This year’s edition of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) has been pushed back, in light of the rising number of Omicron cases and various restrictions across the world.
ILMC 34 will now take place from 26–29 April 2022, and the conference will return to its longstanding home, the Royal Garden Hotel in London, which will be reopening in early April following an extensive refurbishment.
This year’s Arthur Awards, which take place as part of ILMC’s ‘Great Indoors’ Gala Dinner, will move to Thursday 28 April. Hosted by CAA’s Emma Banks, the live music industry’s Oscar-equivalents remain at the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel.
Attracting 1,200 of the world’s top live music professionals from over 40 countries, ILMC is unparalleled in its international scope and appeal, making it particularly important that proper precautions are taken during this pandemic.
ILMC head Greg Parmley says: “We’re clearly still living in unusual times, but by delaying ILMC slightly, we can ensure that the world’s top live music and entertainment professionals are able to unite in person, and that this year’s edition of the conference is as packed and productive as ever.”
This year’s supporters, sponsors and key partners are fully behind the move.
“By delaying ILMC slightly, we can ensure that the world’s top live music professionals are able to unite in person”
John Reid, president, Live Nation EMEA, says: “Live Nation are proud to sponsor ILMC and we look forward to seeing everyone on the conference’s new 2022 dates in late April.”
Detlef Kornett, executive board member, CMO and international business affairs at DEAG, added: “This move at this time is the right one, and will ensure this year’s ILMC is a fantastic edition. All at DEAG are looking forward to seeing everyone in-person in late April.”
Andrew Parsons, MD at Ticketmaster UK, commented: “As a long-standing partner of ILMC, we are really looking forward to the industry getting back together in person at the end of April.”
With ILMC’s date change, 2022 will see the Green Events & Innovations conference take place within the main conference programme on Friday 29 April, and the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) taking place on Tuesday 26 April. IPM is expanding its programming in 2022 to include a day-long tranche of sessions by the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S).
The International Live Music Conference has been the foremost meeting place for live music professionals worldwide for over 30 years. In addition to its main conference, ILMC also produces the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM), the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), Futures Forum, The Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) and the International Festival Forum (IFF).
Full information about the conference including schedule, events and partners is at 34.ilmc.com.
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NEC Group to open 14,000m2 outdoor event space
The NEC Group is to open a new outdoor event space as part of a major redevelopment of the NEC Campus in Birmingham.
The site is already home to the UK’s largest exhibition venue – the National Exhibition Centre (NEC), as well as the Vox Conference Venue, Resorts World Arena (15,685), Resorts World Birmingham, The Bear Grylls Adventure and a number of hotels.
NEC Group says the redevelopment will transform over 27 hectares of surface level car parking and surplus land, to create new residential, office, leisure and community spaces.
In addition to the 14,000m2 event space, the plans include 35,000m2 of new commercial space, a hotel, restaurants and cafes, 5,000 new homes and a school.
The group says the redevelopment would create an estimated 3,500 new local jobs, and result in a greener and more sustainable environment on the NEC Campus.
The plan also involves the site being linked to the High Speed 2 Interchange Station via a four-minute shuttle.
“Now is the time to be bold and ambitious about the future and harness the power of the real estate we have to offer”
It said residential access will be separated from logistics and visitor traffic, and ample parking provisions will be maintained to ensure the venue can continue to service major sold-out events. Additional multi-storey car parks are part of the plan.
“Now is the time to be bold and ambitious about the future and harness the power of the real estate we have to offer, whilst simultaneously maximising the benefits of having a young, diverse and entrepreneurial population,” says NEC Group CEO Paul Thandi.
“The NEC Campus sits within a major engine of economic growth in the UK, recognised as one of the best-connected development zones in Europe. This Masterplan unites corporate ambition with global purpose, setting out our vision whilst considering eco and socially responsible practices.”
Birmingham City Council leader and councillor Ian Ward added: “I believe that we are at the beginning of a golden decade for Birmingham, with the Commonwealth Games taking place next year, and the arrival of HS2. The NEC Masterplan will connect the site with Arden Cross and the High Speed 2 Interchange, which together will transform this area, creating thousands of jobs and build thousands of homes.”
The Masterplan will be subject to a six-week period of public consultation running from 10 November to 24 December.
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ASM Global expands Middle East venue portfolio
ASM Global is expanding its Middle East portfolio with the addition of two new venues in Jeddah, Saudia Arabia.
The global entertainment giant has been appointed as the managing operator of the 20,000-seat Jeddah Arena and the International Convention Centre Jeddah (ICC Jeddah), both set to open in December 2025.
The two new venues will be located adjacent to Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport, as part of the Jeddah Airport City project.
ASM’s Middle East portfolio already includes the Coca-Cola Arena in Dubai (cap. 17,000), the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre and The Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre.
“ASM Global is looking forward to being an integral part of the team to deliver this visionary project in Jeddah,” says ASM Global Asia Pacific chairman and chief executive, Harvey Lister.
“It was only fitting to appoint the global giants in the venue and entertainment industry to collaborate on this landmark project”
“We pride ourselves on joining forces with partners with whom we know we can make a difference to creating and delivering amazing experiences.”
SARH Real Estate and Development founder and chairman of SARH Real Estate Investments, Sultan Al-Harbi, added: “Upon analysing the significant importance of both the iconic arena and convention centre, it was only fitting to appoint the global giants in the venue and entertainment industry, ASM Global, to collaborate on this landmark project for Jeddah and Saudi Arabia.”
SARH Real Estate and Development recently announced the Airport City project, which will include three to five-star hotels, a shopping mall, ‘world-class’ parklands, a dedicated business centre and residential sector, as well as many other recreational amenities. The development is set to commence by the end of 2021.
Today’s news comes weeks after ASM was announced as the managing operator of The Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre – the largest venue of its kind in the Middle East.
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YouTube, Live Nation open livestreaming-focused venue
YouTube Theatre, the new 6,000-seat live music and entertainment venue located at Hollywood Park in California, is now open.
The venue’s initial slate of events spans September, October and November and will culminate in a grand opening this winter when YouTube Theatre and Live Nation, the venue’s exclusive booking promoter, will announce the first artist residency.
Throughout autumn, the YouTube Theatre will host concerts with the likes of Pitbull, Iggy Azalea, TLC, Evanescence, Halestorm, Marina (and the Diamonds) and Louis Tomlinson, as well as awards shows, esports competitions, community gatherings and conferences.
The state-of-the-art indoor venue has a focus on digital technology, with capabilities to “seamlessly” stream live events to YouTube’s two billion global monthly users.
The three-story, 227,000-square-foot venue is part of Hollywood Park, a privately funded 300-acre sports and entertainment destination being developed by Kroenke.
“YouTube Theatre will share the event experience with our two billion global monthly users through live streams and VOD”
The YouTube Theatre is housed under the same roof canopy as the 70,000-capacity SoFi Stadium (home to American football teams, Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers) and the American Airlines Plaza.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled to be the exclusive promoters of this incredibly dynamic venue coming alive in Los Angeles,” says Rich Best, Live Nation’s regional head of talent for California. “Alongside Hollywood Park, we plan to make this a must-visit live entertainment venue and we can’t wait to unveil what is in store for this unique space.”
Angela Courtin, VP of brand marketing, YouTube, added: “YouTube Theatre will drive the uniqueness of YouTube by combining physical, ‘in real life’ events that bring creators and fans together, while simultaneously sharing that same event experience with our two billion global monthly users through live streams and VOD content.”
Jason Gannon, managing director, SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park, says: “When he set out to build YouTube Theatre, Stan Kroenke envisioned an intimate, world-class venue that exemplified three core aspects: technology, creativity, and entertainment. We cannot imagine a better partner to help us bring this vision to life than YouTube.”
ASM to operate largest convention centre in Middle East
ASM Global has been appointed as the managing operator of the largest exhibition and convention centre in the Middle East.
The Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre will offer 95,000 sqm of exhibition space over 10 halls, a 4,000-seat tiered auditorium and 95 meeting rooms.
Royal & VIP Majlis (parliament rooms), event organisers’ offices and a 250-seat capacity restaurant will complete a total site area of 309,000 sqm.
Upon completion in mid-2022, the venue will host a range of events including exhibitions and conventions, concerts, live events, weddings and seminars.
ASM will manage, operate and programme the new destination, after being successfully appointed by Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority (BTEA).
“[This development] will further position Bahrain as a growing international destination helping to drive growth”
“We are delighted to have been appointed the operator of what will be a landmark development, which will further position Bahrain as a growing international destination helping to drive growth and create jobs as well as a legacy for the Kingdom,” says ASM Global Asia Pacific chairman and chief executive, Harvey Lister.
“We look forward to working with Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority in creating a brand-new exhibition and convention hub at the heart of the region.”
Iain Campbell, executive VP, ASM Global Gulf Region, added: “The appointment as managing operator is testament to ASM Global’s expertise, knowledge and experience in bringing venues to life across the world.
“Our aim for Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Centre is to create a venue with its own distinct identity that resonates with MICE [meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions] visitors as well as the leisure and tourism market that benefits the local economy and enhances the Kingdom’s status globally.”
Bahrain Tourism & Exhibition Authority chief executive officer, Dr Nasser Qaedi, says: “The new centre will reinforce the Kingdom’s status regionally and internationally and Bahrain’s position in the MICE industry. We look forward to working with ASM Global to attract international exhibitions and conferences to be held in Bahrain.”
ASM Global’s venue network spans five continents, with a portfolio of more than 325 arenas, stadiums, convention, and exhibition centres, and performing arts venues.
New outdoor venues promise UK fans summer of music
The UK will gain a number of new outdoor music venues from June, signalling growing optimism among promoters that they will be able to welcome fans back to shows before the summer is out.
Perhaps hoping to replicate the success of Newcastle’s Unity Arena, which hosted some of the UK’s only major live music events last summer, new open-air venues will host concerts and DJ performances as England reopens following the prime minister’s roadmap for summer 2021.
In the Bedfordshire countryside, promoter Labyrinth Events will exclusively present three festivals at Tofte Manor, a 17th-century manor house located near the village of Sharnbrook (but only a 35-minute train ride from London’s St Pancras).
No concerts have previously been staged at Tofte Manor, a favourite haunt of painter Abbott McNeill Whistler and home to a labyrinth (modelled on that of Chartes Cathedral) through which runs fresh water that will be served to guests.
Focused on dance music, the Labyrinth festivals, which will have a capacity of 3,500, will take place on 10 July, 7 August and 18 September, with more events planned for 2022. Tickets for the 2021 events go on sale on 1 April.
In a joint statement, Labyrinth’s Nick Castleman and Michael Dicks say: “Our business is built on the vision that fans want to experience music in unique settings. We want to find venues that truly excite our audience and allow us to work with some of the leading talent in the world. This venue is unlike anything that is possible to find in Greater London and gives us the opportunity to realise our vision, which is restricted when using limited-capacity venues in London and having to compete with corporate beasts for talent bookings.
“Tofte Manor … offers a totally unique music and lifestyle experience unlike anything else in the UK”
“Tofte Manor gives us the opportunity to move away from the crowded London scene and offer our audience a totally unique music and lifestyle experience unlike anything else in the UK. We will be working closely with the local community to ensure that the events generate as much revenue as possible to the surrounding villages of Sharnbrook and Souldrop and have nothing but a positive impact on the neighbourhood. We’re thrilled to be bringing globally recognised artists to Bedfordshire.”
In Manchester, Square One will transform a disused car park into a new open-air clubbing destination hosting weekly events from June.
Opening 26 June with launch parties featuring Denis Sulta, Mella Dee, Enzo Siragusa and Hot Since 82, owners promise “the absolute cream of national and international DJs” from dance music promoters including Zutekh, Jika Jika, Animal Crossing and Dutch label PIV.
“This one is for the dancers: a new venue with no nonsense,” reads a launch statement from the venue, located on Cakebread Street, near Manchester Piccadilly station. “Let’s make up for the lost memories and come together, a good and proper open-air affair. Summer is coming and the dance floor is ready.”
A similar outdoor dance music venue, Ernie’s Yard – comprising two event spaces, a food area and multiple bars – promises revellers in London 12-hour open-air parties from promoters including Secretsundaze, Art of Dark, Adonis, Percolate and Good Life.
The 12,000sqft (1,115m²) venue, run by the team behind Tottenham warehouse club the Cause, will open on 25 June in a former scrapyard in Canning Town, in London’s East End, with an 11pm licence.
“Summer is coming and the dance floor is ready”
Stuart Glen, Ernie’s Yard co-founder, says: “Back in 2019 we walked past a huge street food and drinks venue built from shipping containers and decided to have a pint. As we walked in, the bartender explained the lease was up on the site. I immediately thought: ‘This structure would be amazing for a party; maybe I can buy it and find some land to move it to.’ Two weeks later, we’d agreed to buy it, put a deposit down and had three months to seal the deal on some land I was after.
“[To cut a] long story short, two sites fell through and we’ve been juggling where to put 19 40-foot shipping containers for two years. It’s been a sticky situation, to say the least, but somehow we’ve managed to pull in some favours, met an East End legend called Ernie, and Bob’s your fathers brother: Ernie’s Yard – a killer new daytime space for London – was born.”
Also opening in London this year – albeit indoors – is Outernet, the music venue complex and entertainment district under construction in central London, which has appointed marketing veteran Joe Russell as events director.
James McEwan, COO of Outernet, comments: “We are delighted to have Joe join the team. Outernet districts will be destinations where people come to share incredible multi-sensory experiences, blending the digital and physical, [and] Joe will play a key role in helping us create those unprecedented audience connections.”
Outernet’s enormous main public space, dubbed the Now Building, will feature a four-storey, 360-degree, 16k interactive screen surface and be fully rigged to accommodate high-impact staging and production, creating “the most advanced experiential space in the world”, says Outernet. The venue, located near Tottenham Court Road tube station, is scheduled to open in winter 2021.“
Sportpaleis Group to open pop-up arena in Belgium
Belgian live entertainment giant Sportpaleis Group has revealed plans to build and operate a pop-up arena, which will be based at Middelkerke leisure park throughout the summer.
The temporary venue, dubbed the Proximus Pop-Up Arena, will be equipped to host 3,500 attendees with a seated configuration and 5,500 attendees with a mix of standing and seated.
According to SportPaleis Group, the infrastructure of the venue will combine aspects of a festival setting – such as tents and open-air spaces – with the comfort of permanent areas with weather-resistant, grandstand seats.
Belgian singer Stan Van Samang will christen the stage on 11 June and the venue will remain open until 31 August, hosting both domestic and international artists.
So far, the artists announced to play the Proximus Pop-Up Arena include Gers Pardoel, Cleymans & Van Geel, André Hazes, The Schlager Festival Summer Edition, Mama’s Jasje, Soulsister, Natalia and Axelle Red.
A regular feature of the programming will be the Thursday night concert series ‘A Symphonic Evening with’, which will see the 20-piece Antwerp Philharmonic Orchestra accompany a number of artists.
The series will run during the months of July and August and tickets are on sale now.
“In these harsh times, it is up to us to show our faith in the music industry. This innovative project comes at the right time”
“There is an explosion of artists and audiences who want to meet each other within the magic of a concert,” says Jan Van Esbroeck, managing director of Sportpaleis Group. “The sector is clearly waiting for it, as evidenced by the more than 20 confirmed activities that have already been booked.”
“In these harsh times, it is up to us to show our faith in the music industry. This innovative project comes at the right time. The relatively small scale guarantees a carefree event experience for visitors by the summer of 2021,” he says.
Van Esbroeck says he hopes the arena will be attended not only by locals but by the millions of holidaymakers that visit the Belgian coast.
Jim Casteele, chief consumer market officer at Proximus, the Belgian communication and media company which has secured the naming rights of the arena, says: “Via the Proximus Pop-Up Arena we want to give Belgian artists, both established and young talents, the opportunity to show themselves to a large audience and at the same time bring them closer to the fans.”
The Sportpaleis Group comprises Night of the Proms promoter PSE Belgium, ticketing company Tele Ticket Service, and venue operator Antwerps Sportpaleis, which was acquired by Live Nation Belgium in 2019 but is still managed by Van Esbroeck and Jan Vereecke following the deal.
The deal also saw Live Nation Belgium acquire the Sportpaleis Group venues which includes the 23,001-capacity Sportpaleis arena in Antwerp (one of the largest arenas in Europe), the Lotto Arena (8,050-cap.), Forest National (8,000-cap.) in Brussels and the Ethias Arena (18,000-cap.) in Hasselt.
AEG Presents-operated venue to open in Olympia London
West London exhibition centre Olympia has announced the £1.3 billion redevelopment of its 14-acre site will include a 4,400 capacity live music venue.
The venue, which will be located above the existing west exhibition hall, will be operated by live entertainment giant AEG Presents after signing a ‘long-term agreement’ with owners Yoo Capital and Deutsche Finance International who acquired Olympia in 2017 for €330 m.
AEG Presents promotes events such as British Summer Time at Hyde Park in London and the Coachella festival in California. Its parent company AEG Worldwide operates the O2 in Greenwich (cap. 21,000) and Eventim Apollo in Hammersmith (5,039), which will be Olympia’s closest competitor in size and location.
“This is a very exciting opportunity,” says Steve Homer, CEO AEG Presents. “Olympia is steeped in British music history as far back as Jimi Hendrix in the 60s. AEG Presents are delighted to be part of the new development and we plan to create more iconic shows for London audiences.”
“Olympia is steeped in British music history as far back as Jimi Hendrix in the 60s”
Will Dowdy, VP of global partnerships at AEG Presents, says: “The regeneration of Olympia is a huge milestone for entertainment in west London and the opportunities for brands to reach their target audience is vast. Our team have secured some of the very best partnerships across the globe and I have no doubt we will deliver the right deals at both our new music venue and across the whole Olympia campus.”
The 134-year-old landmark has played host to world-renowned artists including Jimi Hendrix, Rod Stewart, Pink Floyd, Status Quo, Procol Harum, The Cure and Primal Scream.
Only a few major music shows have taken place at the complex in the past decade including Skepta’s sold-out show at the venue last year, but live music programming again became a focus for the venue before the pandemic. Next year’s programme includes indie superstars Foals, who are due to play three rescheduled, sold-out shows next May.
Nigel Nathan, managing director of Olympia London, says: “We’re incredibly excited to have these fantastic brands [including global hotel group Hyatt and affordable luxury lifestyle and hotel brand citizenM] joining us as our new onsite neighbours. Collectively we’re creating richer experiences and more opportunities for all our customers and visitors that we host at our iconic London venue.”
Live Nation to open new venue in Portland’s Lloyd Center
Live Nation Entertainment has announced details of a new mid-size venue coming to Portland’s Lloyd Center. The move is the next step in a multi-million dollar renovation of the shopping mall, which so far has included a new food court and a revamp of its historic ice rink.
The new venue will add to Live Nation’s already extensive portfolio, which includes the Fillmore and House of Blues clubs across the US. Concertgoers in Portland can expect state-of-the-art lighting and sound technology inside the venue, whilst the surrounding spaces will see the creation of communal bars and lounge areas. A box office will be located on the first floor of the mall.
“This mid-size venue will fill the gap between the smaller-club venues and larger arenas already present in Portland, bringing fans even more entertainment offerings,” explains Liam Thornton, executive vice president of development of Live Nation’s Clubs and Theatres.
“This is the first step in Lloyd Center’s evolution to become a true lifestyle entertainment centre”
“The mall’s central location and convenient access to extensive transportation options will only elevate the concertgoer’s experience.”
The Live Nation deal is part of phase two of the renovation project, which aims to see the 1.2 million-square-foot Lloyd Center transformed into a leisure destination in its own right, with offerings for guests of all ages. “This is the first step in Lloyd Center’s evolution to become a true lifestyle entertainment centre,” says Bob Dye, general manager of the Lloyd Center.
“Our restaurants and retailers are thrilled about the thousands of concertgoers who will walk by their stores every day.”
As well as a venue on its top floor, the Lloyd Center is also in talks with additional family-friendly entertainment companies, restaurants and bars, in the hope of creating an entire entertainment wing in the mall.
Work on the new venue will begin in the coming months.
Edinburgh council backs new outdoor arena
Edinburgh may soon have a new outdoor concert venue after city councillors agreed to partner with property tycoon Norman Springford to push for a replacement for the ageing Ross Bandstand.
City of Edinburgh Council leader Andrew Burns says that while the 2,000-capacity Ross Bandstand (or Theatre), which was built in 1935 and stands in Princes Street Gardens, in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, “remains a key venue for the city’s famous festival fireworks and Hogmanay concert, it is more than 80 years old and is nearing the end of its useful life.”
“It has been a long-held ambition of the council to create a new facility as part of major renewal of the gardens,” he continues, “but is not, in the current financial climate, a project we could undertake alone. We are extremely grateful to Mr Springford for his personal commitment to the project.”
Springford, the founder of the Apex Hotels chain and former owner of the Edinburgh Playhouse, will help bankroll the project.
Apart from Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve), the last major music event at the Ross Bandstand was the Regular Music-promoted Magners Summer Nights festival in August, with James, The Flaming Lips and The Waterboys.