UK stars weigh in as visa petition reaches parliament
Colin Greenwood, bassist for Radiohead, has become the latest high-profile British artist to make the case for free movement for musicians in Europe, arguing in an article in the Guardian today that the UK government must act to eliminate red tape on touring.
The piece, titled ‘European touring made Radiohead the band we are. Brexit must not destroy it’, follows a similarly critical piece by Sir Elton John in the same paper on Sunday (7 February) – in which John contrasts his early career, playing Hamburg and Paris and touring Europe, with the “visas, work permits and equipment carnets” which could now be required by emerging British artists.
The Guardian op-eds – along with a new campaign, Carry on Touring, which also launches today – are the latest twist in the ongoing saga over musicians’ access to continental Europe post-Brexit, which has seen the UK and EU blame each other for the lack of a dedicated arrangement for touring artists following Britain’s exit from the bloc last month.
Spearheaded by Gill Morris of DevoConnect, with help from Ian Smith of Frusion and UKE Arts Work, Carry on Touring aims to force the British government back to the negotiating table to secure EU-wide free movement for touring artists and professionals. The campaign is supporting a petition for visa-free travel by freelancer Tim Brennan, which will be debated in parliament today after reaching nearly 300,000 signatures.
The parliamentary session takes place between 16.30 and 18.30 GMT and can be watched live at Parliamentlive.tv.
“Freelancers and touring professionals desperately need MPs and the government to fight our corner”
“Support for my petition has been phenomenal,” says Brennan, whose petition has won the support of a number of members of parliament, as well as Horace Trubridge of the Musicians’ Union, Parklife’s Sacha Lord and artists Fish (Marillion) and Eliza Carthy. “Freelancers and touring professionals like myself desperately need MPs and the government to fight our corner and renegotiate the current Brexit deal for this industry.
“This is an issue that has a huge impact on my life and my ability to earn and pay tax through my work in an industry that brings pleasure to millions of people.”
Following today’s parliamentary hearing, Carry on Touring will send a letter to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, urging him to seek an amendment or exemption for touring artists.
At press time, there are at least 14 European countries – including major markets like France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the Republic of Ireland – where free, short-term entry is guaranteed for touring musicians and their crew, according to a new guide published by umbrella body LIVE. Only Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Croatia definitively require a work or temporary stay visa for UK artists.
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.
Coroner: ‘inadequacies’ caused Radiohead drum tech death
An investigation has found that “inherent deficiencies” in design and construction led to the stage collapse that claimed the life of Radiohead drum technician Scott Johnson in 2012.
The conclusions of the inquest, which took place in Johnson’s hometown of Doncaster in the UK, come after those of a previous investigation in Toronto, where the fatal incident took place.
Johnson was killed when a stage roof collapsed before a Radiohead show at Downsview Park in Canada.
“Inadequate technical advice coupled with wholly inadequate construction techniques led to the collapse of the roof system which led to Scott Johnson’s death,” stated coroner Nicola Mundy at the UK inquest.
“It’s quite clear from what I have heard that the design and construction itself had inherent deficiencies within them”
“It’s quite clear from what I have heard that the design and construction itself had inherent deficiencies within them.”
Speaking at the inquest, Ken Johnson, the father of the drum technician, stated that the coroner’s comments were “exactly what we needed someone to say” and should enable an acknowledgement of the “negligence” that led to the fatal accident.
A previous Toronto-held inquest returned a verdict of ‘accidental death’ in April, a conclusion that Radiohead deemed “frustratingly insufficient” given that the collapse was “shown to be preventable”.
The Canadian inquest also resulted in a set of non-binding recommendations for improving safety at live events.
A court case brought against Live Nation, Optex Staging and stage engineer Domenic Cugliari was stayed in 2017.
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.
Radiohead drum tech death inquest comes to a close
An inquest into the death of Radiohead drum technician Scott Johnson, who was killed in a stage collapse, has resulted in a set of non-binding recommendations to update best practice for the live entertainment industry.
Johnson was killed when the stage roof collapsed before a Radiohead show at Toronto’s Downsview Park in June 2012.
A court case brought against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Services and stage engineer Domenic Cugliari was stayed – meaning no charges would be brought forward – in 2017, sparking outrage from Radiohead and the technician’s father, Ken Johnson.
On March 25, Ontario’s chief coroner began a new inquest into the cause of Johnson’s death. A five-person jury heard testimony from Radiohead drummer Philip Selway and the drum technician’s father, among others.
The Toronto jury returned on 10 April with a verdict of ‘accidental death’ and a set of 28 non-binding recommendations for the live entertainment industry, aimed at bolstering oversight pertaining to safety requirements for temporary stages in Ontario.
Proposals included the establishment of a working group to update best practice for live events, changes to the building code and occupational health and safety laws pertaining to temporary stages, as well as suggestions aimed at engineers.
“For us, we sort of accept that life is different and we expect that emotional rollercoaster, we don’t see a way out for that”
Ken Johnson told reporters he “would be disappointed” if nothing changed as a result of the investigation. Johnson advises on scaffolding safety in the UK and is expected to continue aiding organisations in Canada with the implementation of live performance venue safety.
“For us, we sort of accept that life is different and we expect that emotional rollercoaster, we don’t see a way out for that,” said Johnson.
“I think it just brings some closure, at least. There’s hardly a month gone by in the last seven years where I’m not involved in some dialogue about Scott and what’s happened, so I quite look forward to perhaps not having that dialogue.”
All parties involved in the original court case pleaded not guilty to charges brought under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for wrongdoing.
Radiohead released a statement commending the inquest as “constructive, thorough and fair-minded”.
“It [the inquest] revealed the negligence and failings that lead to Scott’s death,” reads the band’s statement, which goes on to say that “a verdict of accidental death was returned, which feels frustratingly insufficient given that the stage collapse was shown to be preventable.”
The band stressed that “it’s up to all of us now to make sure that these recommendations are implemented.”
Radiohead’s Thom Yorke voiced his outrage at the lack of legal action during the band’s first performance in Toronto since the incident, stating that “the silence is fucking deafening.” The band dedicated their 2016 album A Moon Shaped Pool to Johnson’s memory.
Radiohead demand answers for fatal stage collapse
Last night saw Radiohead play their first Toronto show since the fatal accident that claimed the claimed the life of their drum technician Scott Johnson six years ago. During the second encore, the band called for answers and accountability over the 2012 incident.
“We wanted to do a show in Toronto, the stage collapsed, killing one of our colleagues and friends,” frontman Thom Yorke said to the audience.
“The people who should be held accountable are still not being held accountable in your city. The silence is fucking deafening.”
Whilst preparing for a show at Downsview Park in Toronto in June 2012, the roof of the stage collapsed, killing the 33 year-old from Doncaster and injuring three others. The following year, Ontario’s Ministry of Labour brought charges against Live Nation, Optex Staging and Services and stage engineer Domenic Cugliari for wrongdoing under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. All parties pleaded not guilty.
“The people who should be held accountable are still not being held accountable in your city.”
However, with three days remaining on the trial, judge Shaun Nakatsuru was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, declaring a mistrial. The judge appointed to the case after Nakatsuru’s departure, Ann Nelson, ruled in favour of the defendant’s application to drop the case, citing their entitlement to a trial without unreasonable delays. Last year, the charges were stayed altogether.
Radiohead drummer Philip Selway recently discussed the lack of response from the Canadian justice system on BBC’s Newsnight. He said the court case had “broken down on a technicality,” with everyone involved having received “no real answers”.
Yorke’s passionate speech at last night’s gig at the Scotiabank Arena was followed by a moment of silence. It is reported that members of the crowd interrupted the silence only to shout “we’re sorry” and “we love you”.
“Thank you”: Ellis hails success of debut Trnsmt
Some 120,000 people witnessed the first outing for DF Concerts’ new Glasgow festival, Trnsmt, over the weekend, with festival director Geoff Ellis thanking attendees for a successful debut year.
Trnsmt, which took place on Glasgow Green from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 June, was first announced in January. Although some speculated the festival would serve as a replacement for DF’s dormant T in the Park (TITP), Ellis has insisted that isn’t the case, with TITP “definitely” returning in 2018.
More than 100 acts performed across five stages, including The 1975, Stormzy, London Grammar, The LaFontaines and headliners Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro.
“The first-ever Trnsmt event has been an immediate hit with fans, and it’s safe to say our team has delivered an exciting new addition to the festival calendar,” comments Ellis. “The site lay-out worked beautifully and we received positive feedback from music fans, staff and vendors on the overall smooth flow of the event.
“The first-ever Trnsmt event has been an immediate hit with fans”
“The multi-agency organisation of Trnsmt has worked exceptionally well, and we would like to thank Police Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Ambulance Scotland and Fire Scotland for their support in the lead-up to and during the festival weekend.”
He also thanked festivalgoers for “creating the positive energy that we hope will be part of Trnsmt for years to come”.
Police Scotland also praised the behaviour of the crowd, reporting ten arrests in total over the three days – far fewer than the 54 at TITP 2016, which had a capacity of 70,000.
Chief inspector Simon Jeacocke, event commander for Police Scotland, says: “We’d like to commend everyone who attended Trsmt festival for their good spirits this weekend. Our zero-tolerance approach to drugs, increased security presence and thorough bag searches were well received by attendees, and everyone’s cooperation meant that people got on site smoothly every day.”
NorthSide 2017 sells out in record time
Danish festival Northside has sold out seven weeks in advance for the first time in its eight-year history.
Booker John Fogde, who in December told IQ tickets were selling “historically well” amid a ‘crazily’ good time for live music in Denmark, says the record-fast sell-out is “even more impressive considering this year’s edition will be the largest in the history of NorthSide, with 40,000 guests attending each day”.
NorthSide 2017, which returns to the Ådalen river valley, near the city of Aarhus, from 9 to 11 June, is headlined by Radiohead, Frank Ocean and The Prodigy, with The 1975, Bastille, James Blake, Richard Ashcroft, Run the Jewels and 2manydjs also on the bill.
“We are thrilled and very proud that so many people would choose to spend their weekend with us at NorthSide… It is amazing our new direction has been received so positively”
“We are thrilled and very proud that so many people would choose to spend their weekend with us at NorthSide,” comments Fogde. “We have deliberately expanded this year both in relation to the music budget, which has allowed us to hire big acts like Radiohead and Frank Ocean, and also the rest of the content, which will get an extra boost with the introduction of a new area on the festival site.
“It is amazing that this new direction has been received so positively and that so many people are looking forward to NorthSide as much as we are.”
Artists lend support to FanFair fans’ guide
British anti-ticket touting organisation FanFair Alliance has followed up its #ToutsOut guide for managers with a similar handbook “demystify the ticket-buying process” for fans.
The guide, downloadable for free from FanFair, centres on ’10 tips for ticket-buying’, which include signing up for artists’ and events’ mailing lists, checking for presales and – crucially – learning to differentiate unauthorised secondary sellers from authorised primary ticket agents.
It has won the support of several prominent artists, including Ed Sheeran, Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Mumford & Sons, Royal Blood, Mark Knopfler, Amy MacDonald and You Me at Six’s Josh Franceschi, all of whom will push the guide on the social media channels.
“It’s important to get educated about ticket touts,” says Sheeran. “Read the advice in the FanFair Alliance guide – find out who the authorised ticket sellers are, avoid the secondary sites and, if you’ve got to sell a ticket, sell if for face value.”
Knopfler comments: “The FanFair Alliance Guide offers common sense advice to ticket buyers, and the more widely it is adopted, the better it will be for fans and performers. Nobody wants the front ten rows of their event to be full of super-rich consumers who may or may not actually be into the music, as opposed to just attending the event.”
“FanFair has consulted widely to come up with ten simple tips that aim to empower audiences and help them better navigate the ticket-buying process”
Also backing the guide are MPs Nigel Adams and Sharon Hodgson, the co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group in Ticket Abuse.
“The guide is a response to the dark arts employed by the resale platforms Get Me In!, Seatwave, StubHub and Viagogo,” explains FanFair campaign manager Adam Webb. “These businesses not only fuel industrial-scale levels of ticket touting, they also use a range of manipulative marketing techniques that sow confusion when tickets go on sale and direct fans away from legitimate and authorised sellers.
“In response, FanFair has consulted widely to come up with ten simple tips that aim to empower audiences and help them better navigate the ticket-buying process. We want to help fans identify legitimate and authorised ticket agents, and to promote the concept of ethical resale – where ticket purchasers who can genuinely no longer attend a show have a safe and secure mechanism to sell on their ticket at face value. The vast majority of artists and music businesses are with us on this issue.”
The British government earlier this month announced its intention to ban ticket bots, which Webb described as a move “hugely important in helping clean up this market”.
Radiohead, Kasabian, Biffy Clyro for first Trnsmt
Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro will headline the first edition of DF Concerts’ new Glasgow festival, Trnsmt.
Trnsmt, launched last week, will take place in the second weekend of July – the traditional dates for T in the Park (TITP) – and has been described as a replacement for the on-hiatus festival, although the line-up appears to be targeted at a slightly different audience.
The line-up so far is as follows:
Unlike T in the Park, Trnsmt is a non-camping event, taking place on Glasgow Green in the city centre, and is half the capacity: 35,000, as opposed to 70,000 for TITP 2016.
DF Concerts head Geoff Ellis says: “We’re incredibly pleased to be bringing such a fresh, new festival to Scotland. Trnsmt will bring together the best in live music, from global acts to the best cutting-edge artists on the King Tut’s Stage […] against the iconic skyline of Glasgow. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing the rest of the line-up, as well as all the additional experiences that Trnsmt will have to offer, such as mouth-watering street food and a diverse offering of drinks. Stay tuned – there’s plenty more to come!”
Glasgow City Council leader Cllr Frank McAveety adds: “Trnsmt is already shaping up to be an exciting event that will add to that global reputation – and become a big date in the city’s summer calendar.”
Early-bird tickets are on sale on 3 February for £149 for three days.
Coachella 2017 headliners revealed
The line-up for Coachella 2017 has been revealed, with Beyonce, Radiohead and Kendrick Lamar set to headline the festival in April.
Promoted by Goldenvoice, the event returns this year to the Empire Polo Club in California and takes place across two weekends.
Radiohead are headlining on Friday April 14th and 21st. Other acts on the bill for those dates include the XX, Travis Scott, Father John Misty and Empire of the Sun.
On Saturday, April 15th and 22nd, Beyonce is the main act. Bon Iver, Future, DJ Snake, Martin Garrix, School Boy Q and Gucci Mane will also play.
Kendrick Lamar completes the headline line-up on Sunday April 16th and 23rd. He appears on the bill alongside Lorde, Justice, New Order, Porter Robinson & Madeon and Future Islands.
A whole host of other acts are also set to appear, including Bastille, Glass Animals, Steve Angello, Banks, Two Door Cinema Club, DJ Khaled and many more.
Last year Goldenvoice won approval from Indio City Council to increase the festival’s capacity by 26.3%, with the attendance cap rising from 99,000 to 125,000.
Passes for 2017’s festival go on sale on January 4th.
Radiohead announce more 2017 festival dates
Radiohead’s 2017 is fast starting to take shape.
Following their confirmation last week for Glastonbury Festival, Belgium’s biggest rock festival, Rock Werchter, has announced the band – whose ninth studio album, A Moon Shaped Pool, was released in May – will perform on Friday 30 June, presumably as headliners.
Radiohead last played Rock Werchter, promoted by Live Nation Belgium’s Herman Schueremans, in 2008, and the festival says it’s “going to be going to be great to see this band again”.
Some 145,000 people attended Rock Werchter 2016 – down 4,500 on 2015, but still the festival’s third-best attendance since its founding in 1976.
In addition to Rock Werchter, Radiohead will also play FKP Scorpio’s Northside in Denmark; Best Kept Secret in the Netherlands, Open’er in Poland and Live Nation France’s Main Square.