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Ticket scammers target Swifties ahead of Oz gigs

Australian Taylor Swift fans have lost in excess of A$260,000 (€157,000) in a fake ticket scam for the star’s upcoming concerts in the country.

Swift will perform seven shows in Australia this month, with three nights at Melbourne Cricket Ground (16-18 February) followed by four dates at Sydney’s Accor Stadium (23-26 February). More than four million users attempted to buy pre-sale tickets for the shows last June.

Victoria Police say they have received at least 250 reports of ticketing scams for The Eras Tour since the dates went on sale, including 40 complaints since 30 January this year.

A common tactic has seen scammers hack social media accounts and then use the profiles to sell fake tickets to the victim’s friends. The scammers advertise their tickets “at cost price”, with a story behind why they can no longer attend, and may rush interested parties into buying the tickets and transferring them money.

“As well as the ticket price, they’ll likely ask you to pay the extra fees to change the name on the ticket,” say detectives from the cybercrime squad. “They will often send what they purport to be a screenshot of the email confirmation of having bought the tickets, making the scam look more legitimate. Then, once you’ve transferred the money… the profile will block you.”

“Keep your side of the street clean and protect yourself. Only buy tickets from an authorised reseller”

Det Sgt John Cheyne of Victoria Police’s cybercrime squad warns Swifties: “We know you’re often too in love to think straight when it comes to nabbing a ticket to the Eras Tour, but please, keep your side of the street clean and protect yourself. Only buy tickets from an authorised reseller.”

Swift wraps up a four-night run at Japan’s Tokyo Dome tomorrow (10 February) on the latest stop of her record-breaking world tour.

In December 2023, Eras officially became the first tour in history to surpass $1 billion in revenue, and is projected to generate another $1bn at the box office this year,

It was revealed earlier this week that The Eras Tour concert film is arriving on Disney + globally on 15 March, with five additional songs. The streaming service will make available ‘Taylor’s Version’ of the film, which includes the performance of ‘Cardigan’ and four acoustic songs that were cut out of the theatrical release.

In January, The Eras Tour concert film became the highest-grossing concert/documentary film in box office history with more than US$261.6 million earned globally.


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Cops charged with stealing champagne from festival

Three NYPD detectives have been charged in connection with the theft of almost $3,000 worth of champagne from the VIP area of the Electric Zoo festival.

Jonathan Gonzalez, 33 and Wojciech Czech, 44, are each charged with one count of grand larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, while Gonzalez and Warren Golden, 31, are both charged with official misconduct.

According to court documents and statements, the trio were on narcotics enforcement duty at the electronic music festival on Randall’s Island, New York on 3 September last year, and were in the VIP area when attendees at a nearby table had ordered bottles of Ace of Spades champagne.

It is alleged that when festival-goers stepped away from the table, Gonzalez took two of the unopened bottles – which cost a total of $2,900 – and set them on a table as he retrieved a backpack. Czech then handed the bottles back to Gonzalez, who put them into the backpack.

“In addition to the alleged theft that occurred, none of these officers stepped up and stopped this activity”

The DA’s office says the defendants were stopped by a security officer as they went into a restricted, staff-only area, and were confronted by two of the people who ordered the champagne in the VIP area – one of whom had witnessed the alleged theft.

The bottles were taken from Gonzalez’s bag and returned to the attendees, while the festival security officer notified his employer, who then notified the NYPD.

“In addition to the alleged theft that occurred, none of these officers stepped up and stopped this activity,” says Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg Jr. “Public confidence in the criminal justice system depends on members of law enforcement acting with the utmost integrity while on duty and following the same rules that apply to everyone else.”

The New York Times reports that the NYPD has suspended Golden and Czech from duty and that police officials would “initiate further discipline where appropriate”. Detectives Golden and Czech have both denied the allegations, while Gonzalez is due in court later this week.


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One dead, four hurt in shooting outside US concert

A 19-year-old woman was killed and four others were injured in a shooting outside a Fredo Bang concert in the early hours of Sunday (5 February).

The incident took place at the Old Branch Building in the city of Newport, Arkansas at 2.30am while the rapper was on stage.

The dead woman has been identified as Tamarionna Jarrett of Augusta, while one victim was airlifted to hospital for further treatment.

Two suspects have been arrested but are yet to be charged, with further arrests likely

Two suspects have been arrested but are yet to be charged, with further arrests likely, according to police.

Rodrick Spearman, who was working security at the event, tells KAIT that he and others tried to get people inside once the shooting started.

“I know there was no weapons inside the building or anything like that, we had 10 security guards we had a an off-duty sheriff,” he says. “They controlled everything.”


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Four critical after Brixton concert incident

Investigations are ongoing after four people were critically injured in an apparent crowd crush during a concert by Afrobeats singer Asake at O2 Academy Brixton.

Police were called to the 4,921-cap London venue at 9.35pm last night (15 December) following reports that a large number of people were attempting to force entry to the venue. The concert – the third of three sold-out shows at the venue by the Nigerian artist – was curtailed as a result.

Officers, London Ambulance Service (LAS) and London Fire Brigade attended and found a number of people with injuries believed to have been caused by crushing. Eight people were taken by ambulance to hospital, four of whom remain in a critical condition, with LAS treating two other less seriously injured people at the scene.

No arrests have been made, but cordons remain in place.

“This is an extremely upsetting incident which has left four people critically ill in hospital”

“This is an extremely upsetting incident which has left four people critically ill in hospital,” says Met Police gold commander Ade Adelekan. “My thoughts and prayers are with them and their families.

“A police investigation has been launched, and it will be as thorough and as forensic as necessary to establish exactly what happened last night. The scene will be examined by specialist officers, CCTV will be viewed, every witness that we can make contact with will be spoken to and all other lines of enquiry will be followed.

“Officers are remaining in the area to provide reassurance to the local community in and around Brixton. If you have any information or concerns, please speak with them.”

“My heart is with those who were injured last night and caused any form of discomfort”

Video footage has circulated on social media showing a large crowd built up outside the venue and apparent clashes with police.

“I am aware of video being shared on social media,” adds Adelekan. “I would ask people to be sensible about what they share, and not to post material that will be upsetting to those affected by this incident. Where force has been used by police officers, those officers know they have to be accountable for their actions.

“The Met’s directorate of professional standards will view all material, including body worn video footage from the officers at the scene. In relation to a clip being widely shared, I can confirm that no police dogs were deployed to the location.”

IQ has reached out to O2 Academy Brixton for comment.

In an Instagram post, Asake writes: “My heart is with those who were injured last night and caused any form of discomfort. I pray you get well soonest. I am also in the process of reaching out to individuals.

“I still do not have the full brief from the venue management themselves as to what led to the disruption at the entrance of the Brixton Academy, but we are thankful that all was peaceful at the end. For my people who enjoyed the beginning of my performance, I am sorry that it was cut short.”


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Riot erupts after Lil Baby cancels headline set

A riot erupted at a hip-hop festival in Canada after rapper Lil Baby abruptly cancelled his headline performance due to illness.

The US artist had been due to close the two-day Breakout Festival at Vancouver’s 7,000-cap PNE Amphitheatre on 18 August, but pulled his set at the 11th hour, with organisers tweeting he was “too sick to perform”.

According to police, the announcement sparked fights among concert-goers inside and outside the venue, with seven people arrested for breach of the peace and “likely thousands of dollars” caused in property damage.

“Vancouver Police officers were already inside the venue and providing extra security when several hundred people began fighting and destroying property in the Amphitheatre, on the PNE grounds, and in the surrounding neighbourhood,” says constable Tania Visintin. “Dozens of extra officers were redeployed from other areas of the city to restore order, with some officers having bottles and other objects thrown at them.”

A criminal investigation into the disorder has now been launched.

“We will pursue criminal charges against people who participated in this violence and destruction”

“We will conduct a full and thorough investigation into the actions of anyone who destroyed property, put concert-goers in danger, or committed other criminal acts,” adds Visintin. “Though this investigation will take time, we will pursue criminal charges against people who participated in this violence and destruction.”

Artists including Polo G, Quavo & Takeoff and Saturday night headliner Trippie Red had performed at the event over the weekend. Breakout Festival had previously taken place in 2018 and 2019.

“Last night’s end to the 2022 Breakout Festival resulted in the worst case scenario of disappointment due to Sunday’s final performer cancelling and we want to apologise to everyone who peacefully left the venue, as well as the venue staff and the Hastings-Sunrise neighbourhood for the way Breakout 2022 ended,” says a statement from organisers.

“We do not condone violence or destruction of property and are utterly disappointed with the way some of our patrons acted at this year’s event. Safety of our guests and venue staff is our number one concern. We did everything to make Breakout a unique and enjoyable experience for Vancouver’s rap fans.

“We want our audience to know we did everything in our power to make every festival a success and we want to thank every loyal fan and all of the staff who attended the events over the years. Stay tuned for information and details regarding partial refunds for two-day and Sunday Breakout 2022 ticket-holders.”


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Safety taskforce formed after Astroworld tragedy

A taskforce on concert safety has been formed in the US in the wake of last weekend’s Astroworld Festival tragedy in Houston.

Announced by Texas governor Greg Abbott, the Texas Task Force On Concert Safety will be led by Texas Music Office director Brendon Anthony.

Roundtable discussions will be held to “analyse concert safety and develop ways to enhance security at live music events” in the state, which will then form the basis of a report of recommendations and strategies.

“Live music is a source of joy, entertainment, and community for so many Texans — and the last thing concertgoers should have to worry about is their safety and security,” says Abbott. “To ensure that the tragedy that occurred at the Astroworld Festival never happens again in the Lone Star State, I am forming the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety.

“From crowd control strategies to security measures to addressing controlled substances, this task force will develop meaningful solutions that will keep Texans safe while maximising the joy of live music events. I thank the members of this taskforce for coming together to work on this important issue.”

Alongside live music figures, the taskforce will consist of representatives from Texas Music Office, Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, Sheriffs’ Association of Texas, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Municipal Police Association, Texas Police Chiefs Association, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission and the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters.

Investigations are ongoing into the Live Nation and Scoremore-promoted event at NRG Park on 5 November. Eight people died and hundreds others were injured after a crowd surge during co-founder Travis Scott’s headline set. A nine-year-old boy is reportedly in a medically-induced coma due to injuries sustained, while a 22-year-old student has been declared brain dead.

Those who need to be held accountable will be held accountable

Houston police chief Troy Finner gave an update on proceedings at a news conference held yesterday (10 November).

“Our department owe it to those families to look at every aspect – how [and] why it happened,” he said. “We owe it to our city, we owe it to our nation and we have to learn lessons from this. Those who need to be held accountable will be held accountable.”

On whether he expected the inquiries to result in criminal charges, Finner replied: “I’m not sure and I’m not comfortable with saying that. I will tell you that we’re not going to leave any stones unturned.” 

Finner confirmed he met with Scott prior to the festival began to discuss safety concerns, but said he had “no reason to believe it wasn’t going to be safe”.

“I’m the kind of chief that I meet with people whenever I can and that includes him,” he added. “We had a very respectful few minute conversation on my concerns.”

While a “mass casualty incident” was triggered at 9.38pm, Scott continued performing until completing his headline set at around 10.15pm. Asked who had the “ultimate jurisdiction” to shut down the festival, Finner replied it had to be a group decision. 

“Ultimate authority to end the show is with production and the entertainer and that should be through communication with public safety officials,” he elaborated.

Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing

Some fans had stormed the entrance gates on the morning of the event, which Finner suggested was triggered by a rush for the “very sought after merchandise” from the merch stands. “That’s what caused some of the kids rushing towards that and breaking down barriers,” he said. “Once they breached, we quickly got that under control and we didn’t have any major injuries so we went on with the show.”

Finner also corrected earlier claims that a security guard had been rendered unconscious after being injected with drugs by a festival-goer.

“We did locate that security guard, his story’s not consistent with that,” clarified Finner. “He says he was struck in his head, he went unconscious, he woke up in the security tent. He says that no one injected drugs in him so we want to clear that part up.”

Meanwhile, Scott’s lawyer Edwin F McPherson has accused the authorities of putting out “inconsistent messages” in relation to the tragedy.

“Houston Police chief Troy Finner was quoted in the New York Times as saying ‘You cannot just close when you got 50,000 and over 50,000 individuals. We have to worry about rioting, riots, when you have a group that’s that young,’ ” McPherson told People. “Yet, just a short time later, Chief Finner states the responsibility to stop the show falls on Travis.

“It was reported that the operations plan designated that only the festival director and executive producers have authority to stop the show, neither of which is part of Travis’s crew. This also runs afoul of HPD’s own previous actions when it shut down the power and sound at this very festival when the performance ran over five minutes back in 2019.

“Investigations should start proceeding over finger-pointing so that together, we can identify exactly what transpired and how we can prevent anything like this from happening again.”


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French man loses hand in pre-festival clash

Seven people, including five police officers, were injured on Friday night as police broke up an illegal rave in Brittany.

Violent clashes broke out after 400 gendarmes were dispatched to shut down the party, a so-called ‘teknival’ which had been organised in violation of an 11pm curfew, at a racecourse near the commune of Redon on the evening of 18 June.

The rave was held on the eve of the annual Fête de la Musique festival – which takes place in a reduced-capacity format today (21 June) – and was intended to commemorate Steve Maia Caniço, a young man who died after falling into the Loire river during Fête de la Musique in 2019. ‘Justice for Steve’ protesters hold the police responsible for Caniço’s death, which occurred after officers moved in to break up a gathering in Nantes.

Authorities say some partygoers pelted police with molotov cocktails and pieces of breeze block

Local authorities had secured a legal order against the party, which involved as many as 1,500 people. The National Gendarmerie seized equipment including sound systems and generators after dispersing the crowds.

Speaking to AFP, local prefect Emmanuel Berthier describes the “very violent clashes” on 18 June between police and the ravers, who “had an objective: to confront the forces of public order”. Authorities say some partygoers brought metal pétanque balls to the rave, while others pelted police with molotov cocktails and pieces of breeze block.

Two police officers suffered serious enough injuries as to need hospital treatment, while two ravers were also injured – including one man who lost a hand in the violence. Organisers of the rave accuse police of choosing ‘violence instead of dialogue’ after firing tear gas grenades at the gathering.


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Wave of illegal concerts sweeps South America

Thousands of South Americans attended illegal, non-socially distanced concerts and parties over the Easter weekend, with authorities making arrests across the continent as national governments continue to battle the coronavirus with varying degrees of success.

South America remains a hotspot for Covid-19 – with high mortality rates in Brazil, Peru, Chile and Paraguay of particular cause for concern – though the recent unlicensed live events suggest some people are beginning to chafe under ongoing restrictions on indoor gatherings.

In the town of Turuku, in Ecuador’s northern Imbabura province, local government officials, national police and the armed forces shut down an unlicensed music festival, Killary Fest, which would have been attended by an estimated 5,000 people.

Despite dismantling the stage and confiscating much of Killary Fest’s equipment, including speakers, authorities returned on the evening of Friday 2 April to “learn that, despite the warnings, the party was starting”, reports El Comercio. When they again moved to shut down the event, police and soldiers were pelted with sticks and stones by revellers.

The incident follows months of parties, concerts and other unlawful events in Ecuador, reports El Comercio.

In Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in Chile, a local election candidate is being held by police after organising a concert in a former hospital, attended by around 100 people.

Brazilian police continue to target illegal parties, which are being blamed for the surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths

In addition to not seeking permission for the event, Juan Pablo Martinez – who is standing in upcoming city council elections – failed to enforce mandatory social distancing and mask wearing at the clandestine concert, according to prosecutor Rina Blanco.

The show “endangered public health, given the number of people in close contact, and who he invited,” Blanco comments.

A music venue in Morón, near Buenos Aires in Argentina, has been shut down for 30 days after video emerged of cumbia singer Pablo Lescano playing to a non-socially distanced audience.

The event, which many have dubbed “el recital covid” (the Covid concert), was harshly criticised by the mayor of Morón, Lucas Ghi, who says organiser Vaprisana “worship[s] mischief, deception and the violation in rules” – comparing the club unfavourably to the honest businesspeople of the city, who “adhere to the norms and protocols required by the pandemic”.

Brazilian police also continue to target illegal parties, which are being blamed for the surge in Covid-19 cases and deaths in South America’s most populous country.

The most recent brought together around 100 people – half of whom were caught not wearing face masks – in the city of Sao Paolo last weekend. According to local press, the three organisers were arrested, while the venue was fined R$190,000 (€28,000).


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Article 25: Keep guns out, urge French festivals

French festival associations De Concert! and France Festivals have expressed their concerns about a controversial new security bill that would allow off-duty police and gendarmes to carry their weapons into music festivals, entertainment venues and other places open to the public.

Article 25 of the proposed global security (sécurité globale) law, introduced last October by the incumbent Jean Castex government, would remove the right of so-called public establishments (établissements recevant du public, ERP) to deny entry to police officers or soldiers of National Gendarmery who are carrying guns when they are not on active service.

The bill, which is opposed by many civil liberties groups, also contains several other provisions strengthening police powers, including giving municipal police access to CCTV footage, restricting when police and gendarmes may be filmed by the public, and expanding the use of police drones.

Ahead of the bill reaching the Senate, the two associations – along with six other groups, including the SMA (Union of Contemporary Music), Fedelima (Federation of Contemporary Music Venues) and Profedim (Union of Producers, Festivals, Ensembles and Independent Music Distributors) – have urged politicians to act to keep weapons out of ERPs, which also include concert venues, rehearsal spaces, theatres, cinemas, hotels and restaurants.

“With the adoption of article 25, the presence of weapons within ERP, and therefore cultural places, would be facilitated or even trivialised, and we see a serious danger,” say the eight associations in a statement.

“Our teams are unable to absolutely check the validity of a potentially falsifiable police card”

The associations’ objection is two-fold: First, that anyone posing as a policeman or gendarme could smuggle a gun into a live event, and secondly, that it reduces ordinary concertgoers to second-class citizens not entitled to the same privileges the police would enjoy.

“Our teams and our private security agents are unable to absolutely check the validity of a potentially falsifiable police card,” they continue. “Nothing could be simpler, therefore, for those who would like to commit a mass murder.”

Secondly, the statement adds, “because an undercover police officer who is not on duty is a citizen like any other, and citizens remain free and equal in rights, we see in this difference in treatment as an attack on the founding principles of our Republic.

“Thus, it seems to us that the benefits that the extension of the authorisation to carry weapons within the ERP would represent [pale in comparison] to the heavy risks involved.”

The draft global security law returns to the French parliament next month.


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Live music companies back Black Out Tuesday

Live Nation, AEG and all major international booking agencies have declared their solidarity with the African-American community, with widespread planned shutdowns across the business planned for tomorrow. The Black Out Tuesday campaign was launched amid ongoing protests sparked by the death of George Floyd last week.

Using the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, the shuttering is described as chance to “disconnect from work and reconnect with our community.”

Floyd, a black man, died after being arrested and handcuffed by a white police officer in Powderhorn, Minneapolis, on Monday 25 May. Eyewitness video appears to show the officer, Derek Chauvin, with his knee on Floyd’s neck while Floyd – who had been arrested after a nearby delicatessen reported he had tried to pay with a counterfeit $20 note – lay face down on the ground. Officials say Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes – including for nearly three minutes after he became unresponsive.

Floyd later died in hospital. Chauvin was sacked by the Minneapolis Police Department and is now being charged with both the murder and manslaughter of Floyd.

“We need to stop the racists that are literally killing culture”

The death of Floyd sparked protests in Minneapolis and across the US, well as demonstrations in Canada, Europe, Israel and Japan. In addition to seeking justice for Floyd, many of the protests – which began peacefully but in many cases turned violent – support the wider Black Lives Matter movement, while many of the international demos are also focused on local race-relations issues.

“There are great injustices impacting our brothers and sisters, and we are striving to be part of the solution,” reads a statement from Live Nation. “We need to stop the racists that are literally killing culture. We must take action.”

The company says it has also donated to the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based nonprofit that provides legal support to prisoners who lack effective legal representation, particularly those of colour.

AEG says it, too “stands with communities of color [sic] against bigotry, racism and violence” and “will not stay silent” on the issue.

“Enough is enough. We’ve seen this. We’ve felt this. We will not be silent,” reads a forceful statement from CAA. “The racial injustice and violence suffered within black communities needs to stop. We will stand up, speak up, and stand alongside our CAA family.”

ICM Partners says it “stand[s] in solidarity with the families of George Floyd” and other slain African Americans “Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery”, and WME with its “black colleagues, clients, partners and allies today and every day.”

Also sending messages of support are UTA, which has prepared a list of companies “taking action nationwide to fight for justice”, and Paradigm Talent Agency, which similarly provides links to the campaign for justice for Floyd, as well as several anti-racist resources.



In the recorded music industry, the big three labels – Universal, Warner and Sony Music – have also confirmed their participation in Black Out Tuesday, announcing they will suspend all business operations tomorrow as a statement of solidarity, with some cancelling the scheduled release of all music this week.

The Black Out Tuesday campaign will also be acknowledged by IQ and ILMC, which will suspend all operations for 24 hours.


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