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ASM Global pledges support to UK grassroots venues

ASM Global has pledged its support grassroots venues in the UK via Music Venue Trust (MVT) and an extensive set of new initiatives.

The venue management giant will step up its backing via donations, training and marketing support, with programmes that will roll out on a local level across ASM’s portfolio of UK venues.

OVO Arena Wembley has announced it will match Enter Shikari’s £1 per ticket sold donation to the MVT for their February 2024 show, while ASM will also make equipment and furniture in need of a new home available to grassroots music venues that need it. There will also be opportunities for additional fundraising activity.

“At ASM Global, we are very aware and concerned about the unprecedented cost pressures facing grassroots music venues, and in turn, the knock-on pressures placed on the pipeline of talent for the rest of the live music industry,” says recently announced MVT patron Tom Lynch, ASM’s commercial director and SVP Europe.

“This is an incredibly important first step towards ensuring that when an artist emerges from the grassroots sector, everyone shares in the success they generate once they reach the very top”

“Grassroots music venues are the lifeblood of our cultural fabric and where much of society truly falls in love with music for the first time. As a team, we have always admired the passion and hard work of Music Venue Trust, in providing a voice to grassroots music venues and creating a framework for vital support to keep the music playing.”

ASM will offer access to training either online or in its venues, as well as shadowing opportunities in key areas of operations to support the running of grassroots moving forward. ASM will be able to share guidance and insights received through its pledge to Greener Arena certification across its UK portfolio.

Elsewhere, marketing support will include inclusion in newsletters and linking to venue websites with event and ticketing information. The team will also offer social media support on a local level, as well as signage in venues, highlighting each city’s grassroots music venues, as well as more targeted support for specific venue shows.

“We want to thank ASM Global for being the first arena operators to respond to our call for support from the live music industry to deal with the crisis engulfing grassroots music venues,” adds MVT chief Mark Davyd. “This is an incredibly important first step towards ensuring that when an artist emerges from the grassroots sector, everyone shares in the success they generate once they reach the very top of the industry. We look forward to developing this important relationship.”

 


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Wembley’s John Drury hails debut arena headliners

OVO Arena Wembley boss John Drury has told IQ he is thrilled by the number of first-time arena headliners stepping up to play the venue.

Artists such as Yungblud and Loyle Carner are scheduled to make their debut headline appearances at the 12,500-cap arena in 2023, which Drury believes is a positive sign for a business as a whole.

“It’s great to have artists coming back and we’ve got those, but it’s also really good to see people coming through to arena level,” he says. “Another new headliner is Joe Hisaishi in September with his two sold-out Studio Ghibli shows. They were first on sale in 2020, but lockdown saw them off. Then he was supposed to be back in August last year, but was confined to his house because of Covid, so people have waited a long time for these shows.”

Drury, who will co-chair the ILMC panel The Venue’s Venue: The cost of live-ing alongside The O2’s Emma Bownes at 10am on 2 March, repeats his assertion that the touring calendar will not fully return to normality in 2024.

“It is still where we are,” he says. “There aren’t as many rescheduled shows now, but as well as Joe Hisaishi, we’ve got Sabaton – who were supposed to play in March last year but postponed – and a couple of others.

“Next year should be as normal a year as 2019 was in terms of the content and the way it comes in. Unless something else odd happens!”

“Next year should be as normal a year as 2019 was in terms of the content and the way it comes in. Unless something else odd happens!”

The ASM Global arena, which hosted around one million fans in 2022 and rounded off the year with a three-night stand by The Cure, also hosts the Heavy Music Awards on 26 May and is enjoying a fruitful run with live editions of podcasts such as That Peter Crouch Podcast’s Crouchfest, which featured a surprise 30-minute performance by Kasabian.

Upcoming shows include The Overlap Live with football pundits Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Roy Keane, set for 5 April, and Rob Beckett & Josh Widdicombe’s Parenting Hell (23 April), while other concerts include Black Stone Cherry & The Darkness, All Time Low, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Andre Rieu, Stromae, OneRepublic and Pet Shop Boys.

“It’s feeling strong,” adds Drury, Wembley’s longtime VP and GM. “We’ve all got the same challenges and through lockdowns we have seen there has been a bit of a talent drain across the production and talent side, which has been a concern for everybody. So that’s something we’re working through.

“Covid is still there, but we’re living with it now. But with a war in Ukraine, an energy crisis and the cost of living crisis, we’ve gone from one challenge to another and they are are overlapping a little bit as well. But it affects everybody. and we’re all working through it, so it is where we are.”

“We’ve got the oldest arena in the UK and it highlights what you can do with an old building”

Developer and asset manager Quintain completed the sale of OVO Arena Wembley to Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) last September. The venue, which opened in 1934 as the Empire Pool, also recently successfully completed its Greener Arena certification via A Greener Festival, becoming the oldest arena in the UK to do so.

Since April 2022, the venue has delved into the process via a baseline CO2 analysis and impact assessment, to develop and guide the arena’s strategy towards achieving its sustainability goals, supporting OVO Energy’s commitment to becoming a net-zero business by 2035.

“It’s an interesting process and an important one for us,” says Drury. “Clearly, our naming rights partner OVO Energy has strong sustainability credentials, and our new landlord, ICG, is very big on sustainability. We’ve got the oldest arena in the UK and it highlights what you can do with an old building.”

ASM’s entire portfolio of UK operated venues, which also includes AO Arena Manchester, First Direct Arena Leeds, Utilita Arena Newcastle, P&J Live Aberdeen and Olympia London, will undergo certification as part of a long-term strategy and pledge towards greener operations.

“It’s an ongoing process and no doubt things will change in the next 12 months and we will adapt again,” adds Drury. “It’s just a case of topping it up and keeping the work going.”

 


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OVO Arena Wembley sale completed

Developer and asset manager Quintain has completed the sale of OVO Arena Wembley to Intermediate Capital Group (ICG).

Quintain had put the historic, 12,500-cap London venue up for sale as part of its strategy to focus on its build-to-rent business.

The ASM Global-managed arena is on track to welcome around one million visitors in 2022, with upcoming shows including Machine Gun Kelly, Bon Iver, Billy Idol, Ne-Yo, Jack Harlow, Sigrid and The Cure.

“We’re delighted to be the new custodians of the iconic OVO Arena and to be partnering with ASM, a globally renowned arena operator,” says Andreas Papadolambakis of ICG Real Estate. “The investment represents ICG Real Estate’s first in the content and live entertainment space, a sector which is benefitting from structural tailwinds. As music consumption has pivoted towards streaming, touring has become increasingly important for artists whilst consumers are dedicating an increasing portion of their disposable income to experiences over material goods.

“We expect this to be the first of a programme of investments in the European content and live entertainment market.”

“We look forward to working with new owners, ICG, to enhance Britain’s most iconic arena”

Built in 1934, the arena in Wembley – originally known as the Empire Pool – has been a live music venue for over six decades. London’s second largest arena, it was renamed from SSE Arena Wembley to OVO Arena earlier this yearfollowing in the footsteps of Glasgow’s Hydro (cap. 13,000) in linking with OVO Energy – the UK’s third-biggest energy supplier – which acquired SSE in 2020.

“Quintain have been excellent landlords for the OVO Arena for the last 20 years and we thank them for their stewardship,” adds Chris Bray, EVP Europe of ASM Global. “We look forward to working with new owners, ICG, to enhance Britain’s most iconic arena and continue to bring world class acts and artists to this world-famous entertainment district.”

Quintain, which was bought by US private equity firm Lone Star in 2015, acquired the then Wembley Arena in 2002 as part of its purchase of 44 acres of land in Wembley Park, and went on to transform the venue with an extensive, multi-million pound refurbishment in 2006.

“As we build out the Wembley Park estate, with 3,000 more homes still to deliver, we continue to focus our efforts on our Build to Rent ambition, neighbourhood retail and placemaking,” adds Quintain CEO James Saunders. “Naturally, we will work with ICG and ASM to ensure that the world-famous OVO Arena Wembley will remain an important part of this world class destination and neighbourhood.”

 


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Fund manager in talks to buy OVO Arena Wembley

FTSE 100 fund manager Intermediate Capital is reportedly in exclusive talks to buy OVO Arena Wembley after the London venue was put up for sale by owner Quintain.

The 12,500-cap, ASM Global-managed arena is expected to welcome around one million visitors in 2022, with upcoming shows including The Libertines, The Gaslight Anthem, Machine Gun Kelly, Bon Iver, Sigrid and The Cure.

React News reports that a deal is close after Quintain, which was acquired by US private equity firm Lone Star in 2015, put the storied venue up for sale to focus on its build-to-rent business.

Quintain acquired the then Wembley Arena in 2002 as part of its purchase of 44 acres of land in Wembley Park. It is expected to fetch up to £50 million after attracting more interested parties than initially expected.

“We are refocusing… efforts on our build-to-rent ambition, neighbourhood retail and placemaking”

“As we continue to build out the Wembley Park estate, with 3,000 more homes still to deliver by 2027, we are refocusing… efforts on our build-to-rent ambition, neighbourhood retail and placemaking,” says Quintain CEO James Saunders.

Built in 1934, the arena in Wembley – originally known as the Empire Pool – has been a live music venue for over six decades. Following a £26 million refurbishment, the arena reopened in 2006, taking the name of the SSE Arena, Wembley in 2014.

Earlier this year, it was renamed OVO Arena Wembley, following in the footsteps of Glasgow’s Hydro (cap. 13,000) in linking with OVO Energy – the UK’s third-biggest energy supplier – which acquired SSE in 2020.

 


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Years & Years show to be livestreamed on demand

Years & Years homecoming show from London’s OVO Arena Wembley will be available to watch On Demand via new live event streaming platform On Air.

Recorded on 26 May as part of the Night Call Tour, the show will be available to watch in 4K UHD Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision from 7pm on 11 August.

“I’m so happy and excited to share this performance from the Night Call Tour,” says Years & Years’ Olly Alexander. “I grew up loving concert videos of Britney, the Spice Girls and Madonna so this is literally a dream come true.

“This show, created with Theo Addams, is a delirious night out that begins in a phone box and ends with a cosmic impalement. There are toilet cubicles, motorbikes, a magic chair and a giant bed along the way. I had the best time. It’s not possible for me to physically take this show around the world so it’s a great feeling to have it captured like this and to be able to share it with everybody.”

On Air has previously worked with artists including Arlo Parks and Skepta

Originally formed as a band, Years & Years is now an Alexander solo project. Represented by One Fiinix Live agent Jess Kinn outside of North America, he performed on the Other Stage at last weekend’s Glastonbury festival, with upcoming tour dates including Poland’s Open’er Festival (29 July), Montreux Jazz Festival (1 July), the UK’s Wilderness Festival (4 August) and Spain’s DCode Festival (17 September)

Launched in 2020, On Air has previously worked with artists including Arlo Parks and Skepta, as well as announcing an upcoming show with Tinie Tempah. On Air events promise to create an innovative and immersive experience optimised for streaming – including high-quality production, lighting and set design.

As part of its ongoing partnership with not-for-profit charity One Tree Planted, On Air will be planting one tree for every ticket purchased from their website for the Years & Years show.

 


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TEG MJR to promote the UK’s first K-pop festival

TEG MJR is to promote the UK’s first-ever K-pop festival, taking place in London this summer.

HallyuPopFest, previously held in Singapore in 2018 and 2019, is scheduled for 9 and 10 July at OVO Arena Wembley (cap. 12,500).

Mamamoo singer Hwasa, girl group Everglow, and boybands Astro and Oneus are among the artists due to perform on the first day of the festival.

While boybands SF9 and Cravity are lined up for day two of the event. More artists are expected to be confirmed in the coming weeks.

Aside from the three-hour headline concerts taking place each evening, HallyuPopFest will also include a red carpet event and a HallyuTown marketplace, where ticketholders will be able to experience Korean food and culture.

“We wanted to create a festival experience where K-pop fans from all over could come together and celebrate”

“It will be the UK’s first K-pop festival, as well as HallyuPopFest’s first global landing. It’s an amazing lineup, consisting of a diverse variety of Korean music genres, from pop to rap to adult contemporary to indie artists,” says global promoter TEG MJR chief executive Richard Buck. “There will be something for everyone.”

Selena Ho, chief executive of the Singapore-headquartered HAH Entertainment, which oversees HallyuPopFest operations, adds: “HallyuPopFest came about because we wanted to create a festival experience where K-pop fans from all over, from various fandoms, could come together and celebrate their fervent idol support, boundless energy and love for music and dance that are the cornerstones of K-pop.”

The inaugural HallyuPopFest was held in 2018 in Singapore and returned to the island-state the following year for its second instalment.

Artists that have previously performed at HallyuPopFest include Wanna One, Apink, AOA, Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon, NCT 127, NU’EST, (G)I-DLE, Monsta X and more.

Today’s news comes after the announcement of Europe’s biggest K-pop festival launching in Germany. The 44,000-capacity Kpop.Flex festival is to take place at Deutsche Bank Park Stadium in Frankfurt between 14–15 May.

 


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London’s SSE Arena renamed OVO Arena Wembley

London’s legendary Wembley Arena has been renamed OVO Arena Wembley.

The 12,500-cap, ASM Global-managed venue has been known as The SSE Arena, Wembley since 2014, but now follows in the footsteps of Glasgow’s Hydro (cap. 13,000) in linking with OVO Energy, the UK’s third-biggest energy supplier, which acquired SSE in 2020.

OVO Arena Wembley is expected to welcome around one million visitors in 2022, with upcoming shows including 50 Cent, Armin Van Buuren, Sigrid, KSI, The Cure and Anne-Marie.

“ASM Global is delighted to support OVO Energy on the renaming of OVO Arena Wembley,” says John Drury, VP & general manager. “The live entertainment industry has endured a challenging couple of years, but ASM Global is now looking forward to a bumper schedule of events across 2022.”

OVO will also support ASM Global’s goal to achieve ‘Greener Arena Certification’, set to be implemented across all ASM Global venues. A Greener Festival’s independent certification process provides external verification that carbon reduction and transition strategies are at the heart of all venue operations, from catering to materials used and circularity.

“As we look to welcome more fans than ever before, we’re working hard to manage the environmental footprint of our operation – one show at a time,” adds Drury. “This partnership between OVO Energy and ASM Global means that our brilliant events will be aligned with our shared desire for a carbon-free future.”

“At OVO, we’re committed to establishing purposeful partnerships which reflect our commitment to make zero carbon living a reality – not just in the home, but in the things we love doing too, whether that be going to a gig or comedy show,” adds OVO’s head of sponsorship & partnerships, Colin Banks. “That’s why we share in the OVO Arena Wembley’s ambition to help live entertainment in becoming more sustainable.

“Together, we want to identify meaningful ways through which to make lower-impact live events a headline act in their own right”

“It’ll take time, but together, we want to identify meaningful ways through which to make lower-impact live events a headline act in their own right and working with A Greener Festival represents a very positive step on that journey. But we know that’s just the beginning, and we want to continue to support the venue in identifying practical ways in which we can help to further reduce its environmental impact, without detracting from OVO Arena Wembley’s first-class visitor experience. We look forward to releasing more detail around some of the initiatives already being considered, in the very near future.”

The development and implementation of the sustainable strategies will be bolstered by social responsibility platform ASM Global Acts, which pledges the venue operator’s commitment to protecting the environment.

“ASM Global is committed to providing sustainable solutions and initiatives across our portfolio of venues around the world,” says Chris Bray, EVP Europe, ASM Global. “Our social responsibility platform, ASM Global Acts pledges our longstanding commitment to protecting the environment as we work towards ‘Greener Arena Certification’ in all ASM Global venues. We are pleased, therefore, to continue our relationship with OVO Energy, a brand which shares our vision for greener strategies in the live events industry.

Alongside the OVO Energy team at Wembley, we are excited to see how we can continue to work together to develop and collaborate on our ongoing sustainability strategies. Together, we aim to continue to ensure this iconic London concert and events venue remains a world class experience whilst developing it into one of the most sustainable arenas in the world.”

Georgina Iceton, VP Activations at AEG Global Partnerships adds: “We’re thrilled to support our partner, OVO Energy, on their renaming of such a legendary venue in London. As part of the rebrand, it was important for AEG, ASM Global and OVO, that we had a zero waste to landfill policy, so our priority from the offset, was to source from new suppliers who would deliver the most sustainable materials on the market.”

“The initiatives, through all aspects of this progressive project, were underpinned by AEG’s drive for meaningful partnerships that support goals of both the venue and partner. Through the work we establish with A Greener Festival, we will be able to implement new solutions for this legendary building which will see even greater energy efficiencies across the venue.”

 


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