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New 18,000-capacity festival launching in Portugal

A new 18,000-capacity, multi-day festival is launching in Braga, the far north of Portugal, this winter.

The Authentica festival will take place between 10 and 11 December at indoor arena, Altice Forum Braga, with headliners Kodaline and Rag’n’Bone Man.

The festival will feature four stages and will open between 4:30 pm and 3 am each day.

“This festival is a dream of about two years of enormous planning and dedication of a hard-working team,” says the general director of Malpevent, Marco Poland, promoter of Authentica.

“Even with enormous challenges over the last few years, we heard the public that yearned for a great winter festival, to bring families and young people together again around excellent music.”

“The objective of Authentica is to place Braga on the map of the best and biggest music festivals in the world,” Poland concludes.

Malpevent believes that Authentica will be the only big festival to take place in 2021 in Portugal.

“The objective is to place Braga on the map of the best and biggest music festivals in the world”

Major Portuguese festivals including Nos Alive, NOS Primavera Sound Porto, Paredes de Coura, Super Bock Super Rock, EDP Vilar de Mouros were called off this year due to ongoing restrictions.

Under the current restrictions, cultural events can go ahead with up to 75% of a venue’s capacity, up from 50%.

The rules have been in effect since 20 August when the government decided to loosen restrictions two weeks earlier than planned, as its vaccination campaign moved ‘faster than anticipated’.

The government says the restrictions on cultural events will be lifted when 85% of the population is fully vaccinated.

As of yesterday (7 September), over 76% of the population has been fully vaccinated.

Authentica stakeholders say they have no doubt the festival will go ahead in December.

Tickets are already on sale at prices ranging from €45 euros for a day pass to €150 for a general VIP pass.

James Bay, De La Soul, Dino D’Santiago, Zara Larsson and Nothing But Thieves are among the other acts on the poster. See the full line-up below.

 


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Sónar announces Portuguese debut for 2022

Sónar has announced the launch of a brand new festival in Lisbon next year, marking the iconic brand’s Portuguese debut.

Sónar Lisboa 2022 will take place between 8–10 April next year and, in line with the brand’s flagship festival in Barcelona and its international offshoots, will celebrate “forward-thinking electronic music, creativity and technology”.

Like its other global counterparts, Sónar Lisboa will be split into Sónar by Day and Sónar by Night programming, held in several venues across the capital city including Parque Docas de Santos, Creative Hub Beato, Lisbon Congress Centre and more.

Sónar Lisboa 2022 will be held in several venues including Parque Docas de Santos, Creative Hub Beato and Lisbon Congress Centre

The lineup is yet to be announced but first-release tickets are on sale now, starting from £103.

The brand’s marquee festival Sónar Barcelona, which is majority-owned by Superstruct parent Providence Equity Partners, was called off earlier this year.

In lieu of the flagship festival, the brand has announced two new in-person festivals for Barcelona in autumn 2021, the AI and Music Festival and SónarCCCB.

The festival brand also has offshoots in Bogota, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Reykjavik and Istanbul.

 


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TicketSwap expands network with Portugal’s Boom

Amsterdam-based resale platform TicketSwap has announced a partnership with long-running festival, Boom.

The partnership includes integration with their ticketing company Weezevent, which allows TicketSwap to void a sold ticket and instead issue new tickets to buyers.

This Secure Swap integration ensures that fans can buy and sell quickly and easily, while providing visibility to the festival organiser.

The partnership with Boom marks TicketSwap’s first foray into Portugal and follows recent launches in Italy and Brazil.

“It’s great to have such a prominent partner for Portugal as we continue on our mission to be the experience platform that every fan loves”

“We are delighted to be working with Boom Festival,” says TicketSwap CEO Hans Ober. “The event is spectacular and people travel from all over the world to be there. We are very pleased to provide a safe and transparent way for fans to sell their tickets at a fair price.”

“TicketSwap have been expanding at a pace. We have set up an office in Brazil, launched in Italy, and we’re hiring our first local staff in the UK, Sweden, and Germany. It’s great to have such a prominent partner for Portugal as we continue on our mission to be the experience platform that every fan loves.”

The 25th edition of Boom festival will take place on 22–29th June 2022.

The event, which takes place every two years, has been ‘exceptionally popular’ on TicketSwap, with nearly 4,000 people registering for tickets and almost 500 tickets sold in the first three days.

 


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Major markets set out plans for Covid-19 passports

Australia and Iceland have joined a number of other markets across the globe in announcing plans for digital health passports which will show citizens’ Covid-19 vaccination and test status.

Iceland recently became the first European country to issue and recognise Covid-19 vaccination certificates to enable international travel for those inoculated against Covid-19.

Since early in the pandemic, the country has required a minimum five-day quarantine for international arrivals and now those with documentation showing they have received a full course of Covid-19 vaccines will be able to skip quarantine.

“You Check’s identity first [digital health passport] has a lot of potential to help venues and promoters manage risk”

In Australia, ahead of the nationwide rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, the government has announced that all vaccinations will be recorded on the Australian Immunisation Register, and certificates would then be available digitally via the Express Plus Medicare app or in hard copy through the vaccination provider or Services Australia.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told ABC National Radio it is “highly likely” that such documentation will be needed for international travel into the country.

Meanwhile, UK music venues are set to trial a health passport pioneered by London-based start-up You Check to accelerate the nation’s return to live.

The trials – which have been set-up in conjunction with Music Venue Trust (MVT) – are scheduled to take place at London’s 100 Club (cap. 350) and Bristol’s Exchange (cap. 250) in March.

The digital health passport will allow venue door staff and ingress operations to verify an attendee’s name, age, ticket and test result in one place and “facilitate communication between promoters and their full audiences, beyond the primary ticket buyer”.

[This] digital health passport will allow venue door staff and ingress operations to verify an attendee’s name, age, ticket and test result

“You Check’s identity first solution has a lot of potential to help venues and promoters manage risk,” says MVT CEO, Mark Davyd.

“It has a fast and thorough authentication process which enables health information to be stored against portable digital identity and MVT is pleased to be working with You Check to explore how this technology might form part of a comprehensive process which enables us to reopen every venue safely and revive live.”

Other nations that have revealed plans to launch a digital coronavirus passport include Sweden (by the summer) and Denmark (in three to four months), while Poland has already started issuing the digital pass to its citizens.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain’s foreign minister Arancha Gonzalez has said “vaccine certification is something we are going towards inevitably”; Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has called upon the European Commission to introduce a standardized coronavirus vaccination certificate to facilitate travel within the European Union bloc, and Portugal’s interior minister Eduardo Cabrita has said that a vaccine certification would be easier to manage than the current Covid-19 requirements.

 


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Portuguese festivals eye ‘Covid-free bubbles’

Portugal’s music festivals are looking into the possibility of restricting entry to ‘bubbles’ of vaccinated fans as a way of enabling their events to go ahead safely this summer.

A proposal to create infection-free “safe bubbles”, comprising fans “who are already vaccinated against Covid-19 [and carrying] their vaccination records”, was presented to the Portuguese government by the Association of Promoters, Shows, Festivals and Events (APEFE) in a meeting with the minister of culture, Graça Fonseca, on 15 January.

The meeting, also attended by the Association of Portuguese Music Festivals (Aporfest) and the new Association of Show Agents and Producers (AEAPP), also led to creation of of an industry-government working group that aims to find a solution to restarting live entertainment in Portugal in 2021.

Speaking to the Lusa news agency, Aporfest president Ricardo Bramão explained that while the meeting yielded no “guarantees” from government that there could be festivals this summer, “a door was opened” for festivals to present “specific solutions” as to how they could go ahead.

The ‘bubble’ solution, as being explored by APEFE, takes inspiration from hospitals, where a negative Covid-19 test or proof of vaccination is required for certain procedures, says the association’s head, NOS Alive festival director Álvaro Covões.

Speaking to Blitz, Covões explains: “What we are trying to study is the possibility of creating bubbles for events, as is done today in hospitals. To be operated on, you have to be tested, and you may only enter the hospital after you have been tested.”

“What we are trying to study is the possibility of creating bubbles for events”

“Travel is also a bubble,” he adds. “Theoretically, to get on a plane people must all be tested and be negative [for Covid-19].”

The APEFE solution is similar to the yet-to-be-implemented ‘Full Capacity Plan’ introduced last summer by Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn, which would only permit entry to those who test negative for the coronavirus.

The festival bubbles, however, should be even more rigorously enforced in hospitals, where staff are not tested every day, continues Covões.

The NOS Alive boss adds that similar conversations are currently taking place in other countries, including neighbouring Spain. “Barcelona, ​​for example, is very focused on this, both the municipality and the autonomous government [of Catalonia],” he adds, “because they have Sónar and Primavera Sound and they absolutely want to be working at that time, because otherwise they lose another economic year.”

The next meeting – between APEFE, Aporfest, AEAPP and APSTE (Portuguese Association of Technical Services for Events) on one side, and Fonseca, the State Secretariat for Tourism and the State Secretariat for Health on the other – is scheduled for this Wednesday (3 February).

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Portugal’s culture sector to stage national protest

A number of Portugal’s cultural organisations are organising a national protest to call attention to the government’s perceived lack of action on ‘the devastating consequences of the pandemic’ for people working in the sector.

Culture workers are calling for ‘effective social protection, due to the total or partial loss of their income due to the pandemic,’ adding that they want social protection to ‘be above the poverty line’.

The protest will take place this Friday (30 January), in a format yet to be determined, under the banner ‘On the Street for the Future of Culture’ (‘Na Rua Pelo Futuro da Cultura’).

 

The demonstration has been organised by a number of organisations including Cooperative Action; the Union of Show Workers, Audiovisual and Musicians (CENA-STE); Plateia – Association of Performing Arts Professionals; the Portuguese Association of Film Directors (APR); the Union of Archaeology Workers (STARQ) and Network – Association of Contemporary Dance Structures.

“We have been brutally suffering for ten months the consequences of job insecurity and the lack of rights and social protection, aggravated by the devastating consequences of the pandemic, which lead us, with no alternative, to economic deprivation, situations of indebtedness and informality,” said Teresa Coutinho of Cooperative Action at an online news conference.

“We’ve been brutally suffering for ten months the consequences of job insecurity and the lack of rights and social protection”

Rui Galveias, head of CENA-STE, added: “It is very important that the Portuguese government understand the strength of culture, because they have not fully understood it. We continue to experience many difficulties in understanding the dimension of these workers and of all the areas they involve.”

According to Amarilis Felizes, of Plateia, the protest is “in response to the non-response” that the organisations received from the ministry of culture at their meeting with officials in December. “We think that being on the street is important to attract attention and we want concrete answers.”

The groups said that they were outraged by the fact that, “as of January 2021, support for those who work as freelancers will be even less and access will be more constrained [with means testing] than those that existed in 2020.”

The demonstration comes as Portugal prepares for a new month-long lockdown, commencing tomorrow (14 January).

Today (13 January), the country has hit the highest number of deaths per day so far (156), the highest number of cases registered in 24 hours (10,556) and the highest daily number of admissions into hospital (197).

 


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New associations find common ground in 2020

Way back in April, Stuart Galbraith, CEO of UK promoter Kilimanjaro Live, told IQ that one of the small silver linings to come out of the giant corona-cloud that is 2020 was the spirit of increased cooperation among those who had just a month earlier been bitter rivals. “What has been very pleasant is that, with one or two exceptions, everyone’s been mucking in,” explained Galbraith, who is also vice-chairman of the UK’s Concert Promoters Association (CPA).

Another key takeaway from the then still-young coronavirus crisis, he said, was the importance of industry associations: “Government don’t want to talk to individual commercial organisations,” Galbraith explained, but officialdom will deal with representative bodies.

While there are no shortage of those in the UK, representing all aspects of the business – including new umbrella group LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), whose members include the CPA, Entertainment Agents Association and Association of Independent Festivals, as well as One Industry One Voice, a similar body representing the broader events sector – elsewhere the Covid-19 pandemic has spawned the creation of a number of new associations, as industry professionals pool resources to ensure the business is properly represented in its discussions with the powers that be.

In Finland, Kati Kuusisto and Maria Sahlstedt have managed to unite not only the concert business, but the wider events sector, with Events Industries of Finland (Tapahtumateollisuus) – an achievement it took the coronavirus crisis to make possible, says director Kuusisto.

“We’d been thinking about setting up an association for the past two years, but it wasn’t until April 2020, when I saw an industry person on LinkedIn asking if anyone was interested in launching a union for the event industry, that it became reality,” she explains.

“It was important to start talking to each other, because the industry doesn’t exist in the eyes of the government otherwise”

“We started to call around all the different entities in the sector, and within two days we’d set up meetings with 60 different organisations, from sports clubs to concert organisers, theatres, venues, festivals, religious institutions, subcontractors, technical staff and more.”

What unites the diverse members of Event Industries of Finland is that they have fundamentally the same business model, despite differences in the content of what they organise, adds Kuusisto. “We have different formats, different content, but we are all fundamentally running business with same kind of problems and solutions.”

Quoting figures that will be familiar to event organisers across the world, Sahlstedt, the association’s director of communications, says those in government were surprised to learn of the extent of the event business’s losses, which are around 90% compared to 2020, according to Event Industries of Finland research.

“The chamber of commerce told us that restaurants and travel agents have suffered the worst [of any industry] this year because their losses are around 30%!” she comments. “So that was a moment of black humour for us…”

Over the border in Russia, Nadia Solovieva of SAV Entertainment, the country’s leading concert promoter, is the driving force behind the new Association of Concert, Theatre and Ticket Organisations (KTiBO), which largely picks up where the now-defunct Soyuz Concert left off in providing a representative association for the Russian live business.

“When the pandemic started, people started to realise that, believe it or not, we all have common interests,” explains Solovieva, “and there is a need to think about how we can help ourselves and the industry in general.”

“Within two days we’d set up meetings with 60 different organisations”

Unlike state-funded theatres and operate houses, which receive subsidies of up to 100%, private concert businesses have largely been left out in the cold when it comes to state support, Solovieva says, with payments worth employees’ minimum wage in May and June the extent of the help extended to SAV and businesses like it this year.

“It was important to start talking to each other, because the industry doesn’t exist in the eyes of the government otherwise, which is why it was so important to form some kind of organisation,” she continues. “I was the one going to all these government officials and asking for help, but it’s difficult when you don’t have an association – and you want to represent the whole industry, not just yourself and your friends.”

“It’s partly our fault, too,” she adds, “because we’ve tried to stay away from officials as much as possible, which means they don’t have any idea what we do – the economics, and how we survive. But in times like this, we need to be speaking to them and we need their help.”

In Portugal, a new association, Circuito, is fighting for grassroots venues, which have been particularly hard hit by the on-off lockdowns, curfews and states of emergency imposed since March.

The brainchild of three clubs, Lisbon’s Musicbox and LuxFrágil and Oporto’s Maus Hábitos, the association was formed earlier this year to address an “urgent need to secure the survival of grassroots music venues”, says Circuito director Gonçalo Riscado, by calling for “support measures and fight[ing] for the recognition of the circuit” by the Portuguese authorities.

“The timings and the conditions to do it never seemed right before”

“Even though the idea of creating a Portuguese network of music venues was envisaged previously, the timings and the conditions to do it never seemed right,” explains Riscado.

The new association recently organised its first major campaign, #AoVivoOuMorto (#LiveOrDead), to raise awareness of the difficulties facing venues and to encourage government to engage with the embattled grassroots sector.

Riscado describes 17 October’s #AoVivoOuMorto –which saw demonstrators queue outside shuttered venues in four Portuguese cities, forming lines up to five miles long – as a “a fruitful campaign” which led to important talks between Circuito and the government regarding a plan to protect small music venues.

“Being our first public demonstration, it was very important to build the foundations for our current and future work,” continues Riscado. “We had two simultaneous goals with it: to raise awareness for the importance and the value of  grassroots music venues, and call for immediate support measures. With that in mind, placing the grassroots venues circuit within the cultural map and highlighting its importance is the first visible result of this campaign.

“The way artists, the general audience and the media understood, adhered to and enhanced our position was fundamental for us to achieve this goal. In this sense, the ability to overcome this first stage in months, when usually it takes years, is definitely our first big achievement and is an effect of #AoVivoOuMorto.

“Furthermore, after the demonstration, Circuito had several meetings with the central government and city halls and important negotiations were started.”

“I’m glad that people understand that we have common interests”

Sahlstedt says she hopes the spirit of pan-industry cooperation in Finland can continue after the Covid-19 crisis passes, noting that – largely as a result of the work put in by Event Industries of Finland – the events sector is on its way to being officially recognised as an industry in its own right by the Finnish statistical office.

“It’s been a case of repeating the same thing over and over and people finally starting to hear us,” adds Kuusisto. “The whole idea of live events as an industry is totally new and will take some time to understand, but I have a feeling that we’ve finally started to find a framework for the future.”

“I’m glad that people understand that we have common interests,” adds Solovieva, who also says she “absolutely” hopes KTiBO will outlive coronavirus. “The industry needs representation, full stop,” she says. “It’s like a trade union – even in normal times, we need an organisation which can speak on behalf of the industry.”

Circuito, says Riscado, is a “real-life example of the visible strengthening of collaborative networks in the music industry” in 2020. “The sense of collectiveness and association gained renewed importance during the pandemic, given that there is a common need, goal and threat.”

“Keeping it alive when this is all over will be the main challenge,” he adds. “However, we believe many of these ties will not be lost after the pandemic.”

 


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New Portuguese association Circuito launches

A new association of independent music venues, Circuito, has launched in Portugal.

Circuito, which has 27 members across the country, will function as a “national network for the enhancement, protection and development” of grassroots music venues, aiming to secure further support while the majority are shuttered by coronavirus restrictions.

A recent Circuito campaign, #AovivoOuMorto (#LiveOrDead), aimed to raise awareness of the difficulties the sector is facing and spur the Portuguese government into taking concrete action to protect music venues.

Hundreds of people took to the streets in four Portuguese cities (Lisbon, Oporto, Viseu and Évora) on Saturday (17 October) in support of #AovivoOuMorto, queueing outside closed venues to raise awareness of their plight.

According to Espalha-Factos, the lines in Lisbon and Oporto were each more than a kilometre long.

“The coronavirus crisis accelerated the need for a representative association” in Portugal

Umbrella association Live DMA welcomes the creation of the new body. “The coronavirus crisis undoubtedly accelerated the need for a representative association which advocates for the great cultural, social and economic value of the independent live music scene, which needs to be supported,” it says in a statement.

The Portuguese live music industry is asking for greater financial help from the government, which, in common with its European neighbours, is allowing concerts only with social distancing and a very limited capacity.

Daniel Pires, of the 100-cap. Maus Hábitos in Oporto, says a recent increase in Portugal’s culture budget by nearly 8%, to €563.9 million, is “not enough” to safeguard music venues. “There must be a correction,” he adds.

Other industry associations in Portugal include promoters’ association APEFE, festival body Aporfest and the new Audiovisual Union.

 


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Hungry for culture: Portugal union stages shows for food

União Audiovisual (Audiovisual Union), an association providing support to Portuguese crew during the coronavirus crisis, is staging a series of concerts to help raise money for food packages for out-of-work live professionals.

The union, formed in the early days of the crisis, delivers food parcels to “audiovisual workers”, including artists, show producers and stage managers, in need. Those needing assistance can apply via a form on the union’s website or the dedicated Facebook group, with food drops available across Portugal, including Lisbon, Oporto, Coimbra, the Algarve and the Azores.

Following a concert by the Legendary Tigerman at Lisbon’s Village Underground in July, the organisation is now staging what is calls its biggest shows to date, organising two days of programming in the city of Évora this week.

The concerts – taking place tonight (24 September) and Saturday (26 September) – feature the Legendary Tigerman, Dead Combo, Duarte and Omiri and are being co-produced with local authorities.

Concert attendees are asked to bring a bag of non-perishable food goods

Tickets are priced at an “affordable” €5, the union tells the Lusa news agency, with all attendees also asked to bring a bag of non-perishable food goods.

Speaking to Lusa, Audiovisual Union’s Manuel Chambel says the organisation’s objective is to “help with food products for professionals in the artistic and audiovisual industries who have seen their work cancelled or postponed”.

“Here in the Alentejo [in south Portugal], we help only one person, but in Lisbon, Oporto, the Algarve and elsewhere, there are many more,” he explains.

With the concerts in Évora, he adds, “we want to do what we do best, which is to produce events that we think are cool” while at the same time “contribute to a noble cause”.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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GEI Summer Series: Boom Festival shares secret to 20-year success

For the latest instalment of the GEI Summer Series, organised by A Greener Festival (AGF) and the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI), Claire O’Neill talks to Artur Mendes on what would have been the 20th-anniversary edition of Boom Festival.

The Biennial Transformational festival takes place in Portugal and welcomes over 40,000 people from around the world each year, but was forced to reschedule this year’s event due to coronavirus.

Instead, Mendes discusses the triumphs and trials of running Boom Festival for two decades with O’Neill, including the challenges associated with winning AGF’s Outstanding Greener Festival Award six times.

“Due to the pandemic, we risk going backwards in terms of the whole plastic disposable culture”

Other topics discussed include sustainability challenges that have arisen due to the pandemic, the redistribution of budget for sustainability, and the festival’s work with NGOs and communities.

Speaking of the sustainability challenges that have been presented by the pandemic, Mendes says: “We risk going backwards in terms of the whole plastic disposable culture… the governments and many promoters don’t want to risk the safety and the health of the people. I’m already seeing disposable cups are back in Portugal. We are also concerned about the impact of hygiene chemicals on water biology and health. We don’t know how prepared the infrastructure of festivals and events are for this.”

The interview went live on YouTube and Facebook yesterday (4 August) and can be watched in its entirety above.

The series launched on World Environment Day (June 5) with Preventing Plastic Pollution Post Pandemic, a virtual panel featuring speakers from the environmental and live events sectors.

 


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