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Bad Bunny concert spurs Covid case ‘explosion’ in Puerto Rico

Bad Bunny’s two-day concert in Puerto Rico triggered an ‘explosion’ of Covid-19 cases on the island, according to The New York Times.

The sold-out P Fkn R show, promoted by Noah Assad Presents and Move Concerts, took place at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium on 10 and 11 December 2021 with 60,000 attendees – all of whom were required to show proof of full vaccination.

Reportedly, 2,000 attendees fell sick as a result of the concert, contributing to a 4,600% increase in cases on the island. Business events, company holiday parties and family gatherings also contributed.

Rafael Irizarry, a Harvard University statistician who keeps a dashboard of Puerto Rico Covid-19 data, tweeted that a third of all coronavirus cases the island has recorded since the start of the pandemic occurred in the past month.

A third of all coronavirus cases the island has recorded since the start of the pandemic occurred in the past month

The number of cases per 100,000 residents jumped to 225, from three, in three weeks. In December, the number of hospitalisations doubled — twice.

Puerto Rico previously had one of the most successful vaccination campaigns in the United States. Nearly 85% of residents have had at least one vaccine dose and 75% of the population are fully vaccinated.

Following the increase in cases, officials have imposed tougher restrictions in a bid to stave off the new wave of cases.

As of 22 December 2021, those attending mass events (both indoors and outdoors) will be required to present proof of vaccination and also a negative Covid-19 test (either antigen or PCR performed by an authorised health provider) taken in the 48 hours prior to the event.

Get up to date with the latest live music restrictions affecting key international touring markets here.

 


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Wesley Elizabeth Cullen joins Loud and Live

Entertainment, marketing and media company Loud and Live has added another key executive to its ranks with the hiring of Wesley Elizabeth Cullen as managing director of entertainment.

Most recently general manager of Puerto Rico tourist attraction Casa Bacardi, Cullen joins the firm’s management team, supporting its global expansion in touring, festivals, sponsorships and content development.

“Wesley is an exciting addition to our management team as we strengthen our position and growth across entertainment,” says Loud and Live CEO Nelson Albareda. “She brings diverse and complementary skill sets to Loud and Live, all of which will be instrumental as we continue our course to be the global leader in Latin entertainment.”

Headquartered in Miami , Loud and Live also has offices in San Francisco, Puerto Rico,  Mexico and Spain.

Cullen brings nearly 25 years of experience in touring, venue management, experience design, hospitality, brand building and international expansion.

I’m looking forward to returning to the live entertainment side of the industry

Prior to Casa Bacardi, Cullen was general manager of the Coliseo, Puerto Rico’s largest entertainment venue, where she helmed all venue management and operations, including booking, ticketing, marketing, production and logistics.

Early in her career, Cullen managed international live events for WWE in the US, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

“I’m thrilled to join Loud and Live to deliver excellence, growth and good times for our artists, partners and team,” says Cullen. “Among the many values that attracted me to Loud and Live was their culture-driven passion, ethical standards, and ambitious business strategy. I’m looking forward to returning to the live entertainment side of the industry and collaborating with longtime peers and friends as the post-pandemic boom in live events continues.”

Cullen enhances an already experienced executive management team that includes Edgar Martínez, who has been with the Loud and Live since 2018, and Claudia Arcay, who formally joined the company earlier this month.

The leadership team will be responsible for managing the delivery of nearly 400 concerts within the next 12 months, as well as leading its continued international expansion into Latin America and Europe.

 


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Q&A: Move Concerts boss details LatAm’s recovery

As markets across Latin America gradually reopen, Phil Rodriguez of Move Concerts – the biggest independent concert promoter in the region – says he’s optimistic about the region’s recovery.

Emerging from the most difficult year in live music history, Rodriguez expects the industry to come out of the Covid-19 pandemic “stronger and wiser”.

However, according to the Move Concerts boss, there are a number of obstacles that stand between Latam’s industry and a full recovery.

Below, Rodriguez outlines those obstacles, reflects on the lessons learnt from the pandemic, and addresses “the elephant in the room”…

IQ: How is Latin America’s return to business going?
PR: It’s a patchwork of different sets of rules and regulations per country so it has been a challenge to get them all aligned to have a proper tour of the region. But we’re finally getting there!

In which markets are you now able to fully operate?
Puerto Rico was able to start at full capacity (with proof of vaccination) as of August and business has been incredible. Not only have the shows been selling out, but single dates became multiples. That market came back STRONG.

What’s the deal with vaccine passports and capacity restrictions in Latam?
As noted, it’s a patchwork. Brazil is operating at 70% capacity with proof of vaccination and will open to 100% this week. Argentina will open at 100% capacity with proof of vaccination and with requirements for face masks from 16 November.

Uruguay is at 55% without vaccination and 70% with vaccination. Colombia will be at 100% capacity for vaccinated people from 16 November. Chile is currently held to 40% and in some cases 60% capacity – vaccinated and socially distanced. The expectation is to be open at 100% for the vaccinated by January 2022. Costa Rica will be at 100% as of March 2022 for the vaccinated.

“The lack of cancellation insurance for Covid is the elephant in the room for all of us”

Where has Move’s focus been since markets started to open up?
Rescheduling, booking new tours for the end of 2022 and 2023. Plus our management company and indie record label, Grand Move Records, which are both at full speed.

What opportunities do you see during this recovery period?
The chance to reinvent ourselves and look outside our comfort zone. We all had to do this during the pandemic. We should not get complacent once we return to some normalcy and forget that.

What are the challenges you’re facing right now? 
The lack of cancellation insurance for Covid is the elephant in the room for all of us. The rest we can deal with but will still present a strong challenge such as inflation and devaluation of currencies – which have been hit hard by the pandemic – and the economic consequences of the lockdowns, etc.

How long do you think it’ll take for Latam to get back to pre-pandemic levels of business?
The Covid issue, in my opinion, has been both a health and political issue, unfortunately, and that has not helped us get a better picture of what is ahead of us. But if by the second half of 2022, we are not on a solid road to pre-pandemic levels, we will ALL have bigger problems to worry about. That said, I’m an optimist by nature and I think we’ll come out of this wiser and stronger!

“If by the second half of ’22, we are not on a solid road to pre-pandemic levels, we’ll all have bigger problems to worry about”

When and how do you see international acts coming back to Latin America?
In South America, we kick off with a-ha in March 2022 – Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil.

Move hosted Latam’s first drive-thru show during the pandemic. Is that a format you’ll be returning to?
Not really…we do not see the need nor demand for this any longer as live concerts startup.

What about livestreaming – is there still demand in that area of the business?
This has essentially stopped. With the return of live shows – with reduced capacities – streaming has lost its initial appeal. I’m sure it will still be a good tool to have in our toolbox for use in the future but in a different form… more related to marketing or a special event, etc.

What one thing are you most proud of doing during the pandemic?
That we kept all our team in place and did not have to furlough or lay off anyone. We all took salary cuts and weathered the storm together.

Also, our office in Bogota took the initiative and created an internet site with different content – entertainment, cooking, lifestyle, etc – that raised over US$10,000 to support the local production crews and their families in the middle of the pandemic. That was a fabulous effort that made me very proud of our team there.

 


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Move’s Bad Bunny stadium show sells out fast

Bad Bunny’s highly anticipated hometown shows at Puerto Rico’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium sold out in less than 20 minutes, promoters Move Concerts and Noah Assad Presents have revealed.

The urban sensation’s P Fkn R show, rescheduled from May 2020, went on sale on Friday (20 August) and sold out soon after. The concerts, which take place at the 18,000-seat stadium on 10 and 11 December, will be Puerto Rico-born Bad Bunny’s first shows this year.

P Fkn R is the first announced show of a new partnership between Miami-based Move Concerts, which has an office in Puerto Rico, and Noah Assad, whose Rimas Music represents some of the world’s biggest reggaeton artists.

Everyone attending the P Fkn R show will be required to present proof of vaccination

Everyone attending the 10 and 11 December shows, which have a capacity of 35,000 each, will be required to present proof of full Covid-19 vaccination.

The Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the island’s largest, has previously hosted concerts by the likes Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Rihanna, Shakira, Sting and Whitney Houston, in addition to its regular use as a baseball park.

Multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy-winner Bad Bunny will follow up the show with a world tour, El Último Tour del Mundo 2022, which kicks off on 9 February 2022 at the Ball Arena (20,000-cap.) in Denver, Colorado.

 


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Move Concerts hosts Latam’s first drive-in show

Move Concerts, the largest independent promoter in Latin America, has staged the first live event in the region since the Covid-19 shutdown, hosting a four-hour drive in concert in Puerto Rico on Saturday (4 July).

The Drive-in Summer Fest, which was organised by Move Concerts Puerto Rico in conjunction with No Limit Entertainment, saw Latin Grammy-winning Pedro Capó and local rock bands La Secta and Circo perform to 1,500 vehicle-bound guests.

The show was the first drive-in concert to take place in Latin America, following the format’s success in markets worldwide. Live Nation, the world’s biggest promoter, is currently preparing for a series of drive-in shows in the United States and the UK.

Temperature checks were performed on entry at the Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan and hand sanitiser distributed to fans. Social distancing was enforced as each party remained in designated areas marked around their cars.

“Thanks to Move Concerts PR and No Limit Entertainment for having the initiative at such a difficult time. Last night was truly special”

All tickets for the sell-out event were digital, with the show ending at 9 p.m. to ensure all guests adhered to the island’s coronavirus curfew of 10 p.m.

A drone show, consisting of 135 drones, was put on by the event’s main sponsor, telecommunications company AT&T – a first in Puerto Rico – to announce the launch of its 5G network.

“Thanks Puerto Rico for always supporting your own,” posted headliner Capó on Instagram. “I feel I can speak for all the colleagues, technicians and musicians when I say that you don’t know how much we missed being on stage.

“Thanks to Move Concerts PR and No Limit Entertainment for having the initiative at such a difficult time. Last night was truly special.”

This Saturday (11 July), Move Concerts will put on the first pay-per-view live stream concert in Puerto Rico, which will see Kany García. García will perform her new album Mesa para Dos (Table for Two), alongside guests including Camilo, Tommy Torres and Pedro Capó, live from the 5,000-capacity Coca-Cola Music Hall in San Juan.

Tickets for the concert are available here for fans all over the world.

 


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Plaque for “showman” Ed after sold-out PR show

Ed Sheeran was presented with an award plaque by the Coliseo de Puerto Rico on Sunday night after his sold-out show in the US territory.

Sheeran’s third headlining concert trek, the ÷ (pronounced ‘Divide’) tour, is currently winding its way across Latin America ahead of his return to the UK on 22 June for The O2’s tenth birthday shows.

The Move Concerts-promoted Puerto Rico show, which drew 15,000 fans to the SMG-operated Coliseo, was well received on the island, with local paper El Nuevo Día praising Sheeran as a “complete showman” (“It is incredible that a solo singer, armed only with his guitar, can generate as much passion and energy as Sheeran did,” writes reporter Rafael Vega Curry) and hailing the show’s production, which “magnificently amplified the emotional effect of the music”.

Puerto Rico is growing in importance as a touring destination, with SMG rival AEG planning to open a 6,000-cap. music and entertainment venue in early 2019.

 


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Jochi Dávila to book Puerto Rico’s District Live!

AEG Facilities has appointed Jose ‘Jochi’ Dávila Carlos to oversee sponsorship and programming at its new Puerto Rican venue at District Live! in San Juan.

The 6,000-capacity music and entertainment venue was first announced last October, with AEG Facilities president Bob Newman expressing his hope it will “instantly become one of the area’s most visited destinations for both residents and tourists alike”.

Dávila (pictured), who was from January 2002 to September 2015 regional vice-president of business development at rival arena operator SMG, will report directly to Newman and be responsible for both booking and corporate sponsorships throughout the District Live! development and nearby Puerto Rico Convention Center.

“Having Jochi join our team marks another great milestone for this project”

“Having Jochi join our team marks another great milestone for this project,” says Newman. “His track record in developing amazing corporate partnerships and positive client relationships in the market is unparallelled.”

Dávila adds: “I am extremely happy to be officially part of the AEG Facilities family and contribute to the development of District Live!, a much-needed project for the district authority and the entertainment industry in Puerto Rico.”

 


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AEG Facilities to operate new Puerto Rican venue

AEG Facilities is to operate new 6,000-seat music and entertainment venue in San Juan, Puerto Rico, set to open in early 2019.

Located next to the Puerto Rico Convention Center (pictured), operated by AEG since July, the venue will be part of the District Live! tourist region, which will also include cinemas, a luxury hotel, radio and TV studios, a 500-capacity club and a number of outdoor stages.

“This new venue for live entertainment is the perfect anchor for what we believe will be the region’s most vibrant and popular setting for events, conventions and performances of all types, says AEG Facilities’ president, Bob Newman.

“District Live! will instantly become one of the area’s most visited destinations for both residents and tourists alike”

“Situated just steps from one of the most picturesque waterfronts, as well as a thriving convention centre and nearby urban core, District Live! will instantly become one of the area’s most visited destinations for both residents and tourists alike.”

“For a world-class project such as this, we needed an alliance with a world class player such as AEG,” adds Federic Stubbe Jnr, the president of Prisa Group, one of the companies behind District Live!. “District Live! will be an innovative entertainment centre with world-class leisure activities that will capture the energy, joy and gusto of the Puerto Rican people.”

 


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