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Bands recruit sniffer dogs to detect Covid on tour

Artists such as Metallica, Tool and the Black Keys have recruited sniffer dogs to detect Covid backstage on their tours.

Overseen by Ohio-based Bio-Detection K9, whose president Jerry Johnson worked with dog teams in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 2000s, the canines were used for late 2021 US shows by Eric Church and Metallica.

The dogs are taught to sit down if they detect the virus on people’s hands and feet.

“If you understand the instincts of a dog’s behaviour, it makes a lot of sense,” Johnson tells Rolling Stone. “Dogs sniff each other to see if that other dog has a virus. We’re training them to look for something they’d be interested in anyway.”

“So far, knock on wood, the dogs have been knocking it out of the park”

The dogs are being utilised for upcoming dates by Church, Tool and Ashley McBryde, among others.

“So far, knock on wood, the dogs have been knocking it out of the park,” adds John Peets of management company Q Prime. “We haven’t had a dog miss anybody.”

Loudwire notes that noted that the Covid-sniffing dogs have been utilised to examine smaller groups of people, rather than entire audiences.

Research carried out in the UK last year, led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), showed that people who are infected with  coronavirus have a distinct odour that can be detected by trained dogs with a high degree of accuracy.

Part-funded by the UK’s Department of Health & Social Care, the study used over 3,500 odour samples donated by the public and NHS staff, and indicated that a Covid-19 infection has a distinct smell, which specially trained dogs can rapidly, non-invasively detect with up to 94.3% sensitivity and up to 92% specificity.

“The advantage of using this method is being able to detect Covid-19 with incredible speed and good accuracy among large groups of people, even in asymptomatic cases,” said Professor James Logan, head of the department of disease control at LSHTM.


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Peter Mensch confirmed for ILMC 30

Legendary artist manager Peter Mensch will be the subject of the ILMC 30 Breakfast Meeting, the leading touring/festival business conference’s keynote interview, organisers announced today.

The news comes as the International Live Music Conference announces the first round of agenda topics for the 30th anniversary edition of the event in March 2018.

From 1979 to 1982, Mensch worked as a manager at Leber Krebs, where he was responsible for AC/DC, Scorpions, Def Leppard and Michael Schenker. Starting on April Fools’ Day 1982, Mensch and Cliff Burnstein formed Q Prime with just Def Leppard. The company’s roster currently includes Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Snow Patrol, Foals, Silversun Pickups, Cage the Elephant and the Black Keys.

The Breakfast Meeting, which takes place at 10.30 on Friday 9 March, will be hosted by former artist manager and raconteur Ed Bicknell. Previous interviewees in the hot-seat have included artist managers Paul McGuinness and Doc McGhee, WME’s Marc Geiger and Live Nation’s Arthur Fogel.

Also announced is the first round of conference sessions, including ‘BREXIT 2025: Looking back’, chaired by UK Music’s CEO Michael Dugher, which considers the impact of Brexit on the European touring business.

“We’ve never had an edition of ILMC when there were so many topics to cover”

‘Gender: Calm down, what’s the fuss?’, meanwhile, sees Coda Agency’s Natasha Bent chair a panel of industry leaders to discuss gender and inclusivity in the live music business, with guests including renowned investment banking head and mother of nine Dame Helena Morrissey.

Meanwhile, ILMC’s Venue Summit strand will include ‘Venues Summit: Corridors of power’, chaired by Kilimanjaro Live’s Stuart Galbraith, which considers whether venues hold the real power in the global touring business. ‘Venues Venue: Spaces for stars’, chaired by Ahoy Arena’s Peter van der Veer, presents a first look at new data from the NAA, EAA and IQ’s European Arena Yearbook while discussing the race to meet changing consumer tastes.

“We’ve never had an edition of ILMC when there were so many topics to cover,” says conference head Greg Parmley. “The full agenda will be announced in January, and with some of the industry’s biggest names and most active campaigners already confirmed, it’s shaping up fast.”

An invitation-only event, ILMC will welcome over 1,000 delegates to the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington from 6–9 March 2018. Companies supporting ILMC 30 include Live Nation, Ticketmaster, CTS Eventim, DEAG, Showsec, Malaysia Major Events, AirX, Eventbrite, United Talent Agency, WME Entertainment, eps, Emporium Presents, Feld Entertainment, Green Copper and Buma Cultuur.

Full information on ILMC’s schedule of networking and events is online at 30.ilmc.com.


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