The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Industry experts create drone advisory service

It has been announced that the Institute for Drone Technology (IfDT), Paul Sergeant Events (PSE) and Secure Events and Assets (SEAA) are coming together to work on a collaborative drone advisory service. It aims to provide owners and operators of venues with support to better understand and use drone technology to ensure the safety of people and property.

As capability increases and price diminishes, drones are becoming an attractive idea for many venue operators and owners. However, operating a drone comes with a multitude of legal and safety matters that need to be considered. Whilst drones may have grown in popularity, the lack of access to informed advice poses a problem.

By bringing to the table a host of difference experiences and expertise, the service aims to provide a solution. Melbourne-based PSE has be involved in the management and promotion of over 10,000 events, including the Sydney Irish Festival. Paul Sergeant, managing director of PSE, says: “The practical and commercial use of drones can have huge benefits for a business but currently many owners and operators don’t know where to turn for reliable, independent advice.

“Ignorance is no excuse in a court of law and this is just as essential as every other aspect of the industry.”

“There is a host of legalities in relation to airspace to consider and who has what authority and responsibility for what.”

As well as advice on the successful use of drones at events, the drone advisory service will also provide information on counter-drone technology. Besides their practical uses, drones can pose a significant threat to public safety and operators need policies in place to combat this.

Dr Joel Spencer of the IfDT highlights the help the service can give concerned operators: “We will be able to provide the most up to date advice about what kind of options are available to organisations that want to get a better sense of the threats that are in their airspace and in turn what action they need to take.”

This idea of responsibility over public safety is part of the core ethos of the service. Jim Fidler, managing director of SEAA, says: “Ignorance is no excuse in a court of law and this is just as essential as every other aspect of the industry.

“Visitors to events quite rightly expect their safety and security is in good hands so it is imperative the industry stays ahead of any potential threat including those posed by drones.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Sergeant’s PSE secures first client

Paul Sergeant Events (PSE), the new event-management venture launched by ex-Etihad Stadium boss Paul Sergeant earlier this month, has signed up its first client in the form of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA).

The Dublin-based sports association will send two hurling teams to Australia to compete in a fixture in November 2018, with Melbourne-based PSE managing and promoting the event. Full details of the matches, which Sergeant tells IQ will also include a music and entertainment component, will be announced next month.

“We are privileged and honoured to have entered into this partnership”

“This is a first for hurling and a wonderful chance to promote and expand the game on an international stage,” says GAA commercial director Peter McKenna. “We are delighted to have a partner in PSE that has the experience and local knowledge required to successfully deliver such an important undertaking in Australia”.

Sergeant adds: “The GAA is one of the oldest and most recognisable governing bodies in world sport. We are privileged and honoured to have entered into this partnership, PSE’s first since the business was launched earlier this month.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Ex-Etihad Stadium boss Paul Sergeant bows new venture

Australian venue veteran Paul Sergeant has announced the formation of Paul Sergeant Events (PSE), a Melbourne-based event management company specialising in securing and promoting niche events in Australia.

Sergeant – a former head of several major Australian and international venues, including Wembley Stadium, Qudos Bank Arena (formerly Allphones Arena), Suncorp Stadium and, most recently, Etihad Stadium – says his mission statement for PSE is to support the “array of quality, niche event content around the world that is seeking to expand beyond its own boundaries, but doesn’t necessarily have the resources or knowledge to take on a move into Australia”.

The new company will also provide advisory services to the rights-owners of fringe sports events and venues in Austria, who “often require a helping hand to support their growth”.

At PSE, Sergeant (pictured), who stepped down as CEO of Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium last year, is joined by CFO Chris Charleson, head of commercial Sarah Brady and head of operations Glen Rainsbury. “I’ve always worked on the basis that you need to know where the talented people are, and these people are among the best in the industry here in Australia,” he explains. “Chris, Sarah and Glen are highly respected across the sport and entertainment business internationally. They know what they’re doing, have immense experience and aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and make things happen.”

Charleston is a former COO/CFO of ticketing market leader Ticketek, while Brady headed up consumer business departments at sports clubs including the Brisbane Lions, South Sydney Rabbitohs and GWS Giants. Rainsbury, meanwhile, has held sales and operation roles at Brisbane Entertainment Centre and the Gabba cricket ground, as well as the Royal Horticultural Society and the Chelsea and Hampton Court flower shows in London.

“These are exciting times for a new business”

Most recently, they formed the core management team at the 53,359-capacity Etihad Stadium. “During the three and a half years we worked together, we secured and successfully delivered a vast array of massive international events,” continues Sergeant, “including the world record breaking UFC 193, Australian Speedway Grand Prix, Edinburgh Military Tattoo and concerts by Coldplay, Adele, Foo Fighters, Taylor Swift and many others.

“In addition to delivering major events, we were also integral to many varied improvements and developments at the venue. Because of our experience, catering, technology and playing surface improvements were among the many areas that made significant progress under our watch – and this expertise is now available for others to tap into.”

“Of course, none of this success is possible without the support of a wide network of others. We have had the benefit of working with a vast number of staff, freelance operators and other specialist organisations. We’re well networked across the globe and know who to turn to when we need to when it comes to delivering successful projects anywhere across Australia and New Zealand.”

While Sergeant’s main focus will be in the new business, he retains his role as a board member of PMY Group.

“These are exciting times for a new business,” he concludes, “and we anticipate making announcements about several projects in the coming months.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Belgian festivals sue Sabam over rates rise

A coalition of festival and concert promoters is suing Sabam, the Belgian performance rights organisation (PRO), over the live music tariff increases which came into force at the beginning of this year.

As of 1 January, the largest festivals have seen their payments to Sabam increase 30%, to 3.25% of box-office receipts, while promoters of shows whose artistic budgets exceed €1.6 million will pay 16% more (3.5%). Rates have increased across the board, with smaller events also facing increases and Sabam now including sponsorship, subsidies and production costs in festivals’ budgets.

“The new tariffs Sabam pushed through in January are a bridge too far,” says Jan Vereecke of Night of the Proms promoter PSE, who brought the suit with festivals Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop and concert promoter GraciaLive, reports HLN. (Rock Werchter promoter Herman Schueremans had previously said the tariff increase would “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”.)

“Sabam has unilaterally decided to raise their tariffs by 30%. It is justifying this by saying neighbouring countries charge similar rates, but it is simply abusing its monopoly [on public performance royalty collection].

“The new tariffs are a bridge too far”

“For Sabam, nothing has changed: it is offering no additional services in exchange for the price increase.”

Vereecke says the PRO (Société d’Auteurs Belge/Belgische Auteurs Maatschappij) has justified the rises by saying promoters in Belgium had it too easy while creators were being underpaid. This, he says, simply isn’t true: “We calculated after Justin Bieber’s world tour that in the United States he will be paid 12 times less than here.”

“Actually, the whole system is outdated,” he continues. “Sabam takes a percentage of the income from tickets. But shows these days are different from ten years ago – more attention is paid to the entertainment value: larger screens, more fireworks, drones… you name it.

“As a result, tickets are more expensive and Sabam knows it can skim more off the top. That is wrong.”


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.