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EAA adds arenas in Poland and the UK to membership

The European Arenas Association (EAA) is welcoming two new venues, taking the total membership to 36 arenas across 20 European countries.

Arena Gliwice, one of the largest and most modern sports and entertainment venues in Poland, has joined the association.

The Gliwice-based arena (cap. 17,000) opened in May 2018 and has since hosted more than 460 events in the region.

The purpose-built arena comprises two separate venues, Arena Glowna and Mala Arena, which each boast “cutting edge technology”.

According to newly elected EAA president Olivier Toth, Eastern European members now total almost 20% of the total membership.

ASM Global’s AO Arena in Manchester, UK, is also joining the membership.

At 21,000-capacity, the AO Arena has the highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the UK

At 21,000-capacity, the arena has the highest seating capacity of any indoor venue in the UK and the second-highest in Europe.

Toth says the arena will bring “extensive know-how and experience” to the association.

“Also we are looking forward to following their progress as they transform into one of Europe’s most sustainable venues as a result of their current development plans,” he added.

James Allen, GM, AO Arena Manchester, says: “The long period of separation during the global pandemic has highlighted the necessity of collaboration in a supportive manner across Europe, which the EAA champions.

“Our new headline sponsor, AO has strong links with mainland Europe so it is only right that their arena does too. It is a privilege to have our membership application accepted and we look forward to being active members.”

The addition of Arena Gliwice and AO Arena Manchester comes after Spain’s Navarra Arena joined the association last month.

 


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EAA appoints Rockhal’s Olivier Toth as president

The European Arenas Association (EAA) has named Olivier Toth, CEO Rockhal Luxembourg, as president.

Toth succeeds AEG Europe’s John Langford who is stepping down after completing his two-year tenure.

“I can think of no better person to lead the EAA,” says outgoing president, Langford.

“Since joining the association, Olivier has been working tirelessly on behalf of the members to deliver the association’s goal of strengthening ties with the European Union and boosting the advocacy impact of the EAA at EU level.”

Toth, an EAA board member, is a co-founder of the EAA EU Subgroup which morphed into the Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA) during the Covid-19 pandemic to open dialogue with EU governing bodies.

“I am confident that the EAA and the ARA will work towards building a stronger and more unified European live sector”

“I am honoured to be appointed as the EAA’s next president and look forward to further developing and delivering the EAA’s realigned objectives and to continue to work closely with the EU on arena-related topics,” says Toth.

“Through the ARA, we have seen how arenas play a vital role as the hub of the live events ecosystem and how necessary it is to have a collective voice for our industry. I think we can all agree the world we are returning to is not the same one we left behind and I am confident that the EAA and its ARA subgroup will work towards building a stronger and more unified European live events sector.”

The EAA’s membership comprises 34 arenas in 20 European countries, including the 6,500-capacity Rockhal, based in Esch-sur-Alzette.

According to the association, which was founded in 1991, its member arenas host over 2,900 annual events attracting a total audience of 19 million people.

 


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ARA set to reveal manifesto for Europe’s return to live

The Arena Resilience Alliance (ARA), the purpose-driven initiative created by the European Arenas Association (EAA), is set to launch a manifesto detailing the essential next steps for a safe return to live music and sport across Europe.

The action plan will be revealed during the industry body’s second conference, ‘A Game of Two Halves: The Return Leg‘ in association with IQ, which will be streamed live on Thursday 18 February at 1 pm GMT on the EAA’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The free virtual event will feature contributions from a range of speakers including John Langford (AEG Europe COO and EAA president), Sam Tanson (minister of culture for Luxembourg) and Alex Jäger, (sport director at Champions Hockey League).

The free virtual event will feature contributions from speakers including John Langford, Sam Tanson and Alex Jäger

A Game of Two Halves: The Return Leg will also feature a keynote speech and presentation by Sam Tanson, minister of culture for Luxembourg, featuring behind the scenes footage and in-depth analysis from a series of test concerts taking place in Luxembourg at Rockhal arena’s club venue.

Alongside the Rockhal test events presentation and ARA manifesto launch, the event will also feature two panel discussions titled ‘Ready to Rock and Play’ and ‘Working out Way Back To You’ which will explore what support the live events sector needs from policymakers on both a national and EU level to enable long-term resilience and future growth.

Opening addresses will be delivered by Rita Brasil de Brito (chair of the Cultural Affairs Committee, Portuguese presidency of the council of the EU and Viviane Hoffmann (deputy director general at the European Commission Directorate-General for Education, Youth, Sport and Culture).

ARA’s first virtual conference, A Game of Two Halves, which streamed in December 2020 is available to watch online here.

 


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EAA works on recovery plan for live

The European Arenas Association (EAA) has opened discussion with its members to help build a post-Covid-19 recovery plan for the live events industry.

The EAA, which represents 33 arenas across Europe with an annual collective audience of over 20 million, is the latest industry body to develop guidelines for reopening, following the publication of guides produced by the Event Safety Alliance and Society of Independent Show Organizers in the US and Research Institute for Exhibition and Live Communication in Germany.

The EAA’s European Union subgroup, which is working with the European Commission to develop a recovery plan for the live industry, has created a document covering all the key areas that will need to be addressed before venues across Europe can safely reopen their doors.

The document looks at both the infrastructure and systems that must be implemented to meet required safety standards, and the messaging and communication that will be necessary to regain customer confidence.

“It is vital that all decisions regarding venue strategy are made on the basis of first-hand experience and knowledge from people working in the business”

The document is one part of the EAA’s strategy to support current European Commission initiatives designed to strengthen the European live industry and aid its recovery.

“There is no precedent to follow and decisions taken over the next few weeks will have a long-lasting impact on a key industry,” comments Olivier Toth, head of the EAA’s EU subgroup.

“It is vital that all decisions regarding venue strategy are made on the basis of first-hand experience and knowledge from people working in the business who are best placed to ensure delivery.”

Toth will be speaking alongside John Langford (AEG Europe), Lucy Noble (Royal Albert Hall/NAA), Oliver Hoppe (Wizard Promotions), Tom Lynch (ASM Global) and Lotta Nibell (GOT Event) in next IQ Focus panel, The Venue’s Venue: Building Back, tomorrow (21 May) at 3.30 (BST)/4.30 (CET).

Get an automatic reminder when the live stream starts via Facebook Live or YouTube Live.

 


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Venues in the spotlight for next IQ Focus panel

Following on from last week’s popular Festival Forum session, this week’s IQ Focus virtual panel will turn the attention to venues, discussing how the world’s many shuttered music venues can weather the Covid-19 storm, and emerge from life under lockdown.

Chaired by John Langford (AEG Europe), The Venue’s Venue: Building Back, will feature speakers Lucy Noble (Royal Albert Hall/NAA), Olivier Toth (Rockhal/EAA), Oliver Hoppe (Wizard Promotions), Tom Lynch (ASM Global) and Lotta Nibell (GOT Event).

The touring world has changed dramatically since venue professionals came together for the Venue Summit at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March, as doors have been shuttered, countless concerts cancelled and many venues repurposed to help in the fight against the disease.

Panellists will share their strategies on getting through the current crisis, as well as discussing the main lessons they have learned so far

Panellists will share their strategies on getting through the current crisis, as well as discussing the main lessons they have learned so far.

Looking to the future, the venue experts will also reflect on what the recovery process may look like and what will need to be done to keeps fans, staff and artists safe and get business back up and running in the crucial months ahead.

The session is taking place on Thursday 21 May at 3.30 (BST)/4.30 (CET). Get an automatic reminder when the live stream starts via Facebook Live or YouTube Live.


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Industry calls for sharing of security burden at first E3S

Some of the biggest names in concert promotion, venue management and event security have called for closer collaboration between industry stakeholders, as event organisers look towards a future where audience expectations demand increasingly stringent – and expensive – security measures at live events.

The theme of the need for increased cooperation between promoters, venues and other event stakeholders ran throughout the inaugural Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S), which debuted in London last Tuesday.

Speaking on the final panel of the day, The Show Goes On… Moving forward together, Live Nation executive president of touring Phil Bowdery said there is a “huge expectation” from artists about the level of security at venues, with “most international acts bringing a bigger security detail. [They] are quite detailed on what they want and how they want it, which we haven’t really seen before”.

While Paléo Festival’s Pascal Viot said in the earlier Rings of Steel panel that he believes people are ready to pay an extra euro per ticket to cover the costs of security, Bowdery stressed he “doesn’t want the cost passed on to consumers”. However, he also said the current model – where venues bear the sole responsibility for those costs – is no longer realistic.

“We need to come up with a model that works,” he explained, “because it’s not a sole venue cost.”

Bowdery added that he believes most promoters would be willing to contribute, “but we need some time to make sure we’re prepared for it. We have certain hurdles to get over – artists would be concerned we’re just taking more money out of their pockets – so we have to make them aware of what we’re all doing [on the security front].”

John Sharkey said SMG Europe is focusing on a new increased security environment while getting people into their venues earlier, which both “flattens out the arrival pattern and has the benefit of guests spending more money inside the building instead of nearby bars”. This, he said, will “help fund some of what we’re doing [security-wise] over the longer term”.

“We need to come up with a model that works, because it’s not a sole venue cost”

One measure that shouldn’t cost the earth – albeit it one difficult to implement – is a universal set of security standards across the world’s major events venues. MOM Consulting’s Chris Kemp used the example of the NAA’s A-Guide, which allows bands to “come into the country to play knowing the venue should be set up the same way wherever they’re going”.

Kemp called for the creation of one unified document bringing together all the existing security and safety guides – while Sharkey suggested venues could have a star rating, like hotels, so touring artists would know what level of facilities to expect.

Other key topics of discussion included an industry wide lack of qualified security staff, with delegates from the UK, Belgium and Germany all reporting a shortage in their own countries, and the importance of increased security not coming at the expense of crowd and general event safety.

“This summer focused so much on security that I’m worried the safety aspect – crowd management, stopping drugs being brought on site and even weather planning– is going to fall away,” said Gentian Events’ Eric Stuart. “That focus on security has been a direct contributor to lots of unnecessary accidents at events this summer where people were hurt.”

Also on the agenda was the problem of queues – and whether a group of people confined in a small area outside an event present an easier target than the event itself. A security adviser for the British government warned that individual new security measures can “interfere with each other” and called for a “holistic view” that includes the entire property, including its perimeter. “If your security policy is causing queues outside the venue, you’ve got your screening process wrong,” he said.

The inaugural E3S, produced by ILMC in close collaboration with the European Arenas Association (EAA) and the UK’s National Arenas Association (NAA), took place at the Intercontinental London hotel at The O2 on 10 October.

 


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