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Billy Joel extends best-ever sold-out run at MSG

Billy Joel will continue his record-breaking monthly residency at New York’s Madison Square Garden (MSG) on 25 January 2020.

The singer has played one show per month at the venue for the past six years, selling over one million tickets. All shows have been sold-out.

The January date marks the 72nd performance of his MSG residency and his 118th overall at the venue. Joel says he will maintain the residency “as long as the demand continues”.

Joel will continue his residency “as long as the demand continues”

In December 2013, Joel was named MSG’s first-ever music franchise, joining two other MSG mainstays – basketball team the New York Knicks and ice hockey club the New York Rangers.

Joel has been the recipient of the ASCAP Centennial Award, six Grammy Awards and a Tony Award. The singer was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

Tickets for the January show will be available to buy at 10 a.m. (EST) on Friday 1 November via the Ticketmaster website.

 


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Sheeran wraps up Divide tour with hometown return

Ending where it all began, Ed Sheeran is performing the final concerts of his record-breaking ÷ (Divide) tour in his hometown of Ipswich, UK.

After spending 893 days on the road, performing at 166 venues in 43 countries and breaking attendance records in Iceland, Finland and South Africa, the end of Sheeran’s Divide tour – the highest grossing concert tour ever – is finally in sight.

Sheeran is closing the tour with four homecoming gigs at a specially erected 40,000-capacity arena in Chantry Park, Ipswich, from Friday 23 to Monday 26 August. The shows follow two UK tour dates in Roundhay Park, Leeds, last weekend.

After spending 893 days on the road, performing at 166 venues in 43 countries and breaking attendance records in Iceland, Finland and South Africa, the end of Sheeran’s Divide tour is in sight

According to local paper, Ipswich Star, fans have been queuing from as early as 5 a.m. to secure the best spot at today’s (23 August) show.

Fellow Suffolk-hailing act the Darkness will support Sheeran at all four shows, with Passenger warming up crowds on Friday and Saturday and Lewis Capaldi kicking things off on the other two nights.

Sheeran’s team includes his manager, Stuart Camp, agents Jon Ollier (CAA) and Marty Diamond (Paradigm), tour manager Mark Friend and a roster of promoters that includes FKP Scorpio in Germany, AEG Presents, DHP Family and Kilimanjaro Live in the UK, Frontier Touring down under and Messina Touring Group in North America.

Tickets for the concerts are priced at £82.50, with only tickets for the Monday evening show remaining at press time.

 


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Sheeran extends record-breaking streak in Iceland

Ed Sheeran played two shows in the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik this weekend to record crowds, as the mammoth ÷ (Divide) tour shows no sign of slowing down.

Almost 50,000 people attended the AEG Presents/ Sena Live-promoted shows at the Laugardalsvöllur stadium on 10 and 11 August.

The shows became the biggest in the country’s history, with attendance equating to one in seven of the total Icelandic population.

The feat is the latest in a series of records for the singer’s Divide tour, which became the highest-grossing tour ever on 2 August. On its conclusion, more than 8.5 million people across 43 countries will have seen Sheeran perform on the tour, making it the most attended of all time.

“Though the biggest tour in history is coming to an incredible crescendo the records keep coming for Ed,” says AEG Presents senior vice president of international live music, Simon Jones.

“These historic shows in Iceland were like nothing I have ever seen”

“These historic shows in Iceland were like nothing I have ever seen. They completely took over the country with Sheeran fever at its peak. It was absolutely a national event and the scale of the shows relative to the population was colossal.”

Earlier this year, AEG Presents promoted the singer’s first-ever headline shows in South Africa, breaking previous tickets sales in the country by 30,000.

Sheeran also put on the biggest-ever concert in Finland, playing two shows promoted by FKP Scorpio’s Fullsteam Agency in Helsinki to 108,000 fans.

Other highlights for AEG Presents in the past year include Hugh Jackman playing six nights at the O2 in London and Shawn Mendes’ arena tour. A European tour with Khalid is set for the autumn.

 


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Sheeran’s Divide to become highest-grossing tour ever

Ed Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) is on course to become the highest-grossing concert tour of all time, breaking the current record, US$735.4 million, set by U2’s 360° stadium tour in July 2011.

According to Pollstar data, the Divide tour will tonight (2 August) exceed that total when it plays the Hanover Fairgrounds in northern Germany – one of the latest run of European open-airs that smashed onsale records last autumn – with the Hanover show set to push Sheeran’s total gross to $736.7m.

Total tour attendance, meanwhile, will stand at 8,504,493, from shows at 166 venues in 43 countries, compared to the 360° tour’s 7.3m.

Posting on Instagram today (2 August), Sheeran thanked “each and every one” of his fans for helping the tour become a record breaker:

 

View this post on Instagram

Today the Divide tour broke the all time tour record set by U2. Its now the most attended and highest grossing tour of all time. Thanks so much for each and every one of you who have come to a show. 12 shows left, will never forget it x

A post shared by Ed Sheeran (@teddysphotos) on

In contrast to the ‘slow’ ticketing model popularised by Sheeran’s friend Taylor Swift on her Reputation stadium tour – using dynamic pricing to capture maximum value from tickets, often at the expense of outright sell-outs – Team Sheeran employed a touring strategy that combined a huge amount of shows, including multiple stadium and arena dates, with relatively low-priced tickets.

The tour’s final show tally is expected to be 255, compared to U2’s 110, with tickets around $15% cheaper on average ($86.75, compared to $101.15 for the 360° tour). Despite keeping ticket prices low, Sheeran still placed first on Pollstar’s 2018 top 100 tours chart – the only artist in the top ten to do so without VIP ticketing, alongside an aggressive campaign against the secondary market.

Sheeran’s team includes his manager, Stuart Camp, agents Jon Ollier (CAA) and Marty Diamond (Paradigm), tour manager Mark Friend and a roster of promoters that includes FKP Scorpio in Germany, AEG Presents, DHP Family and Kilimanjaro Live in the UK, Frontier Touring down under and Messina Touring Group in North America.

“What Ed has accomplished is truly incredible”

Ray Waddell, who oversees Pollstar owner Oak View Group’s media and conferences division, says: “They assembled an impressive team of international and domestic executive talent. In all my years covering the business, it’s amazing to see an artist like Sheeran, at the age of 28, create a new touring paradigm and achieve a touring record that may not be broken in this lifetime. And he still has a lot more to do.”

“What Ed has accomplished is truly incredible,” comments Camp. “I thought we might have a shot at having the highest attendance record but not the highest-grossing tour.”

On the significance of beating U2, Camps adds: “I don’t think there’s much of a coincidence that my favourite band growing up was U2.

“I’m not putting us at that level because they’ve obviously maintained their career for much longer, but to even be in the same ballpark as them or spoken in the same sentence with a touring act like that is very humbling.”

 


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Rain fails to dampen spirits at From the Fields fests

Extreme weather tested Manchester, UK-based promoter From the Fields at Kendal Calling and Bluedot festivals this year, but did little to detract from the events’ best ticket sales to date.

Bluedot and Kendal Calling, From the Field’s biggest events, took place on two consecutive weekends from 18 to 21 and 25 to 28 July.

Both festivals were an “absolute success”, From the Fields co-director and Bluedot festival director Ben Robinson tells IQ. Bluedot, now in its fourth year, sold out in advance with a 30% increase in capacity.

“I think we’ve reached our happy size there at 16,000,” says Robinson, stating “we have no ambition to increase further.”

The longer-running, larger Kendal Calling also saw record sales, shifting 30,000 tickets and maintaining a capacity crowd throughout the weekend, despite “a lot of extreme weather”.

“Every stage went ahead as planned and the festival opened on time every day,” explains Robinson, commending the site crew on their efforts “against the elements”.

Taking place each year at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the gigantic Lovell Telescope, the fourth outing was a special one for Bluedot, coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing.

“[The moon bounce] was the most unique thing I’ve ever seen at a festival and something you’d only find at Bluedot”

Audio clips recorded by headliners Kraftwerk, New Order and Hot Chip were used in a moon bounce, a radio communications technique that reflects waves from the moon back to an Earth-based receiver.

Robinson says the Bluedot moon bounce was “the most unique thing I’ve ever seen at a festival and something you’d only find at Bluedot”, which fuses music, science and technology.

The festival received a one-off license extension to 5 a.m. on the Saturday, allowing organisers to projection map onto the telescope and broadcast radio clips in real time with the original moon landing fifty years before.

According to Robinson, the “niche electronic programming” and music/ science combination – scientific speakers such as astronaut Helen Sharman and wildlife documentary presenter and biologist Liz Bonnin shared the main stage along with musical acts – attracts a “more specific audience” than Kendal Calling.

“Kendal Calling really feels like a broad cross section of the northwest of the UK,” says the From the Fields co-director. “There’s something for everyone.”

Orbital, Nile Rodgers and Chic, Manic Street Preachers, Doves, Courteeners and Tom Jones were among those playing the main stage over the weekend at Kendal Calling. Bristol punk rock band Idles were joined on stage by rapper Slowthai in a “truly unique” collaboration.

“There’s a real sense of community at both Bluedot and Kendal, and that makes people feel safe”

Despite their differences, both festivals provide a family-friendly environment, which Robinson puts down to “robust back of house services” and “good security and stewarding”.

“There’s a real sense of community at both Bluedot and Kendal, and that makes people feel safe,” says Robinson.

Both festivals have “landmark” years coming up in 2020, with Bluedot’s fifth anniversary and Kendal Calling’s 15th edition.

If this year’s Bluedot was about looking backwards at an iconic historical moment, says Robinson, next year’s festival will be a lot more future-facing. “The collaboration between music, science and tech gives ample opportunity to keep things fresh, as there are always new and exciting elements within those areas.”

Robinson describes the longevity of Kendal Calling as a “really bold achievement for us”, as the promoter confirms plans to continue the festival for the next ten years at least. Following “quite a muddy year”, the From the Fields co-director believes it is the right time to take a step back and look at “refreshing the site and design” in time for the festival’s anniversary.

Tickets for Bluedot 2020 are already available, with weekend camping priced at £168.75. Tickets for next year’s Kendal Calling go on sale on Friday at 10 am GMT.

 


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Ed Sheeran plays Finland’s biggest-ever concert

Ed Sheeran has broken more records, with two shows promoted by Fullsteam Agency in Finland attracting more visitors than any other live music event in the country’s history.

The Helsinki shows combined constitute the biggest concert event to take place in the country, surpassing the record of 104,000 attendees set by two U2 concerts at Helsinki Olympic Stadium in 2010.

The two Ed Sheeran shows were also attended by more people than Finland’s three-day Ruisrock festival, which brings in around 105,000 visitors each year, according to Fullsteam.

Sheeran previously beat ticket sales records in South Africa, selling 230,000 tickets across four dates as part of his multi-record breaking ÷ tour, which ended 2018 as the highest-grossing tour of the last 30 years.

Originally intended as a one-date show, all 60,000 tickets for the concert were snapped up in 20 minutes, with a second date later added to meet demand.

“The event was extraordinarily well planned and executed”

The concerts, which took place on 23 and 24 July, were the first-ever large-scale entertainment events to take place at Helsinki’s Malmi Airport.

“The event was extraordinarily well planned and executed and, from the City of Helsinki’s point of view, the collaboration was seamless,” comments the city’s deputy mayor for urban environment, Anni Sinnemäki.

“We warmly welcome other productions to Malmi Airport in the future.”

Fullsteam, part of the FKP Scorpio group, reported a record-breaking summer last year, with a combined attendance of more than 100,000 for the promoter’s festivals, Provinssi and Sideways. Provinssi saw a slight drop in attendance this year, down to 73,000 visitors from the previous year’s 76,000.

German metal band Rammstein are set to play two Fullsteam-promoted shows at the 32,000-capacity Ratina Stadium in Tampere, Finland, on 9 and 10 August. Tickets for the earlier date are still available, priced at €99.

 


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Record attendance for Ukraine’s Atlas Weekend

The fifth edition of Kiev-based Atlas Weekend festival saw more visitors than ever before, with 538,000 festivalgoers from 75 different countries attending the six-day festival.

The festival, which took place from 9 to 14 July, featured performances from the Chainsmokers, Black Eyed Peas, the Vaccines, Liam Gallagher and Russian rock group Splean.

“We are really happy with how the 2019 edition went,” Atlas Weekend owner and chief executive Dmytro Sydorenko tells IQ. “It was our best festival yet.”

159,710 people attended the free-to-enter opening day of the festival, breaking the event’s daily attendance record.

“The point of the first day is to showcase Ukrainian music to the widest audience possible,” explains Sydorenko, stating that the number of attendees also marked a new daily attendance record for festival venue Ukrainian Expo Centre, “in all 61 years of its existence”.

“One of our main goals is to develop music tourism in Ukraine and also make the festival more prominent in markets outside of our country,” says Sydorenko. “We work closely with government departments to ease planning for foreign visitors – both artists and fans – and make sure they have the best time possible during their stay in Kiev.”

Over 250 acts from 20 different countries made up the festival’s most international line-up yet, with 30 acts performing in Ukraine for the first time.

“One of our main goals is to make the festival more prominent in markets outside of Ukraine”

Asap Rocky, who was billed to headline Atlas Weekend’s Saturday night, was detained in Sweden for suspected assault shortly before the event, leading to the cancellation of remaining tour dates.

The absence of the headliner was much talked about on social media and in the Ukrainian press, says the Atlas chief executive, admitting that “there was a lot of tension involved”.

“We have never had to deal with a headliner replacement before, especially not one that urgent,” Sydorenko tells IQ, “but we are happy that we managed to find a suitable replacement both for Asap Rocky’s fans and our festivalgoers.”

Fellow Asap Mob member Asap Ferg filled the headline slot, in a performance that “almost didn’t happen due to flight delays”.

A key goal for the 2019 festival was to be “as inclusive and accessible as possible.” Through its Mastercard Vibes initiative, festival sponsor Mastercard provided sign language interpretation at the main stage, as well as setting up a lounge area with visual and tactile installations.

“We believe in inclusivity and take pride in our efforts to make our festival a place for everyone to have a good time and enjoy music,” says Sydorenko.

The festival was held in partnership with Music Conference Ukraine, which was organised by the country’s music export office.

 


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Record-breaking summer for music at Wembley Stadium

London’s Wembley Stadium connected by EE is getting ready for a record-breaking summer of live music, with a line-up of 14 concerts expected to attract over a million music fans to the stadium.

The 90,000-capacity stadium, owned by the Football Association (FA), will host five weeks’ worth of concerts from 1 June. Nine headliners will play a total of fourteen shows, in the most music-focused schedule ever for the stadium.

The line-up includes shows from K-pop stars BTS, Bon Jovi, the Who and the Spice Girls, in their first set of shows since the 2012 London Olympics closing ceremony. Pink will also perform at the stadium as part of her mega Beautiful Trauma world tour, which has sold three million tickets just over a month in.

The number of concerts surpasses the stadium’s previous record of 13, set in 1992, before the stadium was demolished and rebuilt. The best year for music since the 2007 reopening of the stadium came in 2016, when six headliners played across ten shows.

“We are delighted to host what will be a record-breaking year for music at Wembley Stadium,” says Wembley’s senior commercial manager, James Taylor.

“Holding music events and attracting more people to our venue are an essential part of our business and we are looking forward to hosting some of the world’s biggest artists this summer”

“Holding music events and attracting more people to our venue are an essential part of our business and we are looking forward to hosting some of the world’s biggest artists this summer. We are setting the bar high in 2019 and long may this continue.”

The stadium will also host performances from Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel and Eagles, as well as the Capital Summertime Ball, featuring Mark Ronson, Ellie Goulding, Jonas Brothers, Maroon 5 and Jess Glynne.

In 2016, Wembley Stadium achieved it best-ever turnover of £370m, driven in part by a busier live events calendar, with dates by Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Rihanna and Ed Sheeran.

However, last year the stadium recorded a pre-tax deficit of £9 million, compared with a £5.5m profit the year before, and a drop in sales by 13%. This slump in profit follows a scaling back of the music calendar in 2017 and a renewed focus on football.

More information and tickets for the shows can be found here.

 

A full list of concerts and dates are below:

Saturday 1 June: BTS

Sunday 2 June: BTS

Saturday 8 June: Capital Summertime Ball

Thursday 13 June: Spice Girls

Friday 14 June: Spice Girls

Saturday 15 June: Spice Girls

Sunday 16 June: Fleetwood Mac

Tuesday 18 June: Fleetwood Mac

Friday 21 June: Bon Jovi

Saturday 22 June: Billy Joel

Sunday 23 June: Eagles

Saturday 29 June: Pink

Sunday 30 June: Pink

Saturday 6 July: The Who and Eddie Vedder

 

 


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Ed Sheeran performs record-breaking South African shows

Ed Sheeran performed his first-ever headline shows in South Africa in March, breaking existing ticket sales records to put on the biggest concerts in South African history.

The AEG Presents-promoted shows sold 230,000 tickets across four dates, breaking the previous ticket sales record by 30,000.

The South African shows were part of Sheeran’s worldwide ÷ tour, which has consistently broken ticket sales records and ended 2018 as the highest-grossing tour of the last 30 years.

The British singer-songwriter performed two shows as at the 55,000-capacity Cape Town Stadium and two at Johannesburg’s 94,736-capacity First National Bank (FNB) Stadium.

Simon Jones, senior vice president of live music international at AEG Presents UK, promoted the shows in partnership with South Africa’s largest promoter, Live Nation-owned Big Concerts.

“With the South African stadium tour we were taking him [Ed Sheeran] to a new audience who hadn’t experienced him live and the appetite to come to the shows was enormous”

“Ed is an artist who makes universal and timeless music and that’s why he is a global phenomenon. With the South African stadium tour we were taking him to a new audience who hadn’t experienced him live and the appetite to come to the shows was enormous,” says Jones.

“The operation to ensure all Ed’s fans were able to enjoy the concerts in an extremely safe environment was huge. Along with our partners Big Concerts, the cooperation from all relevant government services to achieve this was fantastic and showed what a brilliant destination South Africa is for international touring artists.

“We are really proud to have worked on the shows with Ed and his team and to deliver something very special in a brand new territory,” comments Jones.

Sheeran’s tour has now travelled to Asia, last week kicking off in Taoyuan, Taiwan. The artist will play a full stadium and greenfield tour in Japan (Tokyo, Osaka), Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur), Hong Kong, Singapore, Thailand (Bangkok) and Indonesia (Jakarta).

These shows account for a further 350,000 ticket sales across the region.

 


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Australia’s QBA reports record attendance for 2018

The Qudos Bank Arena (QBA) reported a record number of visitors in 2018, with over one million fans attending shows in Australasia’s largest indoor live entertainment venue (21,000-cap.).

The TEG-owned and AEG-operated QBA hosted over 1,066,607 ticketed patrons last year, the largest ticketed crowd to attend the arena for live entertainment since it opened its doors in 2000.

The attendance figures do not include guests who visited the arena for business events such as functions, conferences, seminars and exhibitions.

To celebrate the landmark achievement, a ‘QBA Golden Ticket’ was awarded to the one millionth guest through the arena’s turnstiles. The recipient will receive two tickets for every ticketed event of the 2019 QBA calendar.

“Qudos Bank Arena hosted over 110 ticketed shows throughout 2018, and with that level of event activity likely to continue in 2019, we couldn’t be happier for Kayla [Golden Ticket recipient] who will get to enjoy even more great events over the next 12 months,” comments Steve Hevern, QBA general manager.

“2018 was a special year, and the huge accomplishment is credit to the entire team that work so hard every day”

“2018 was a special year, and the huge accomplishment is credit to the entire team that work so hard every day to provide our clients, patrons and guests with outstanding customer service that keeps them coming back.”

The arena reported other record-breaking events in 2018. P!NK played nine shows as part of her Beautiful Trauma World Tour, breaking the arena record for the longest run of shows played by a solo artist, as well as the record for total ticket sales for any artist.

Bruno Mars accumulated the highest ticket sales for a male solo artist at the arena, playing five shows as part of his 24k Magic World Tour.

Others acts to play in the arena last year include Katy Perry, Sam Smith, Celine Dion, The Killers and 21 Pilots.

QBA, previously known as the Acer Arena and as Sydney Superbowl, was originally built for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. It is one of the top ten grossing arenas in the world, hosting hosts a range of live entertainment events across music, comedy and sport, as well as corporate events and conferences.

 


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