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Updated: Live Nation acquires Governors Ball

Update: The New York Times reports that Live Nation completed its purchase of Founders Entertainment on Friday.

 


Live Nation is reportedly on the verge of acquiring a majority stake in Governors Ball promoter Founders Entertainment.

According to Billboard, the live events giant is in “final stages of closing a deal” with New York-based independent Founders.

Governors Ball, the first major music festival in New York, will take place for the sixth time this year with a line-up featuring The Strokes, Kanye West, The Killers, Beck, M83 and Haim. Last year’s event drew roughly 150,000 people to Randalls Island in Manhattan.

The deal comes in the wake of AEG Live announcing plans for its own festival on Randalls Island, Panorama

Founders has worked with Live Nation before: the two companies partnered for country festival FarmBorough, which lasted just one year.

The deal would be the latest in a string of festival purchases by Live Nation that includes Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and Electric Daisy Carnival.

It also comes in the wake of Goldenvoice, owned by Live Nation archrival AEG Live, announcing plans for its own festival on Randalls Island, to be called Panorama. In January, Founders Entertainment’s Tom Russell called the move “short-sighted and disappointing”, telling Billboard: “Scheduling two same-genre festivals on top of each other like this makes it difficult for either to provide the maximum benefit to its fans, its neighbours and taxpayers.”

Exclusive: 32,000 stream David Bowie memorial concerts

Last week’s David Bowie tribute concerts in New York were live-streamed by 32,000 people worldwide.

The two The Music of David Bowie gigs, at Carnegie Hall on Thursday 31 March and Radio City Music Hall the following night, could be streamed live over Skype for a recommended minimum donation of US$20 or £15 to the events’ charity partners.

The concerts were the 12th in Knitting Factory founder Michael Dorf’s Music of series, which raises funds for music education programmes for underprivileged children.

Speaking to IQ, Dorf revealed that donations from those 32,000 viewers raised a total of US$45,000 – an impressive sum, even if it does work out to just over $1.40 per stream (seven per cent of the recommended $20).

Performers at the shows included Ann Wilson of Heart, who opened with ‘Space Oddity’, REM’s Michael Stipe, who played a stripped down version of ‘Ashes to Ashes’ accompanied only by a piano and model/backing vocalist Karen Elson, Blondie, who performed ‘Heroes’, Mumford & Sons performing ‘It Ain’t Easy’, Perry Farrell playing ‘Rebel Rebel” and The Flaming Lips, whose frontman Wayne Coyne sang ‘Life on Mars?’ while riding on the shoulders of a man in a Chewbacca costume (because why not).

Long-time Bowie producer Tony Visconti also led a house band that included Spiders from Mars drummer Mick ‘Woody’ Woodmansey.

David Bowie died aged 69 on 10 January 2016.

Toni Braxton, Robin Thicke, Chuck D for first Grammy-branded concerts

The Recording Academy has revealed the details of its upcoming Grammy Park concerts, the first live events to bear the name of its famous music awards.

A joint venture with venue operator Upsilon Ventures, the 10 concerts will take place in Brooklyn, New York, from 5 to 8 May and feature the talents of more than 30 artists collectively honoured with over 40 Grammy and Latin Grammy Awards, including seven-time winner Toni Braxton, three-time winner Ne-Yo and Grammy nominees Robin Thicke and Aloe Blacc.

In addition to the paid events (which range between US$35 and, for VIP packages, $175) there are free gigs open to the public, such as a concert featuring emerging artists and jazz ensembles on Saturday 7 May and a gospel concert celebrating Mother’s Day (the American one) the following day.

The concerts will take place in the Kings Theatre, The LeFrak Center at Lakeside and Prospect Park Bandshell.

For a full list of performers (also on the bill are, among other things, a ‘Hip-Hop Groundbreakers’ event with Chuck D and a ‘Latin Mix’ with Natalia Lafourcade, Arturo O’Farrill and Alex Cuba) visit the Grammy Park website.