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South Africa’s Calabash festival expands, secures stars

Robbie Williams and Green Day have been revealed as Calabash South Africa’s headliners for the touring festival’s second edition, set for January 2025.

Landing in both Johannesburg and Cape Town, the touring event is stretching to two days across two weekends next year, doubling from its single-day programme in the same cities.

The Big Concerts-promoted outing is set to visit Johannesburg’s FNB Stadium (94,736-capacity) — Africa’s biggest stadium — from 18-19 January 2025 and Cape Town’s DHL Stadium (55,000) from 22-23 January 2025. The festival announced the 2025 event aspires to etch “a new chapter in South Africa’s rock ‘n’ roll legacy.”

UK superstar Williams’ headlining set marks his first gigs in the country since 2006, when he opened his Close Encounters world tour with three sold-out stadium shows in Pretoria, Cape Town, and Durban.

The festival will mark Green Day’s inaugural show in the country. In May, the Grammy-award-winning group will embark on The Savior Tour, performing across US stadiums and UK/European festivals throughout the year.

American punk band The Offspring and local rockers Fokofpolisiekar are set to join the Calabash bill with Green Day, with additional acts to be announced for both days.

“We expeect touring to expand across Africa, with new markets and new venues being added to the touring circuit”

Earlier this year, Maroon 5 led the debut of the festival and was joined by local and international artists including Will Linley, Keane, and Ava Max, among others.

The expansion of the festival could signal a new era for international acts visiting the African nation, with Big Concerts CEO Justin Van Wyk telling IQ the future looks bright for the African market.

“We anticipate a boom in new venue development and also expect touring to expand across Africa, with new markets and new venues being added to the touring circuit to bolster the economics for tours,” he says.

Big Concerts, which was acquired by Live Nation in 2016, is promoting shows by James Blunt, Kool & The Gang, and Cigarettes After Sex within the next year.

A new two-day country music festival, the ‘biggest outside the US’, will also take place in Cape Town’s DHL Stadium this October.

 


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Woman dies after fall at Robbie Williams concert

A woman has died in hospital following a fall at the end of a Robbie Williams concert in Sydney, Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Robyn Hall, who was in her 70s, fell down six floors of stairs on the upper level of the Allianz Stadium on 16 November.

She was treated at the scene for injuries to her face and head before being taken to hospital in a critical condition, but passed away yesterday after being in an induced coma for several days.

A spokesperson for Venues NSW, which operates the stadium, says the incident took place at around 10.15pm, when the sold-out 40,000-cap show finished and people started to leave.

This is a terribly sad incident and our thoughts and wishes are with the patron and their family during this time”

“Rather than use stairs, the woman attempted to step over seating rows,” says the spokesperson. “She lost her footing and fell. This is a terribly sad incident and our thoughts and wishes are with the patron and their family during this time.”

It is the second tragedy involving a major concert over the past few days after 23-year-old Taylor Swift fan Ana Clara Benevides Machado fainted during Swift’s performance at Estádio Nilton Santos in Rio de Janeiro last Friday, in the midst of Brazil’s record-breaking heatwave. She was rushed to hospital, where she died after suffering a reported cardiac arrest.

Williams, who is currently the subject of a four-part Netflix documentary, was performing in Sydney as part of his Australian XXV Tour, promoted by Chugg Entertainment and Frontier Touring.

The tour, which is celebrating Williams’ 25th anniversary as a solo artist, is due to continue this week with two nights at Melbourne’s AAMI Park.

 


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Late site move for Romania’s Summer in the City

This weekend’s Summer in the City festival in Romania has been relocated just days before it was due to begin.

Headlined by Robbie Williams – who last performed in the country in 2015 – and Jason Derulo, the 18-19 August event was set to be held at Bucharest’s Piata Constituției (Constitution Square), but will now take place at Romexpo, according to a Facebook post by organisers that shows the stage being constructed. No reason has been given for the switch.

The festival, which will also feature the likes of Editors, Calum Scott, Abby Roberts and Nicole Cherry, is being staged by D&D East Entertainment and veteran promoter Marcel Avram. Day tickets start at 369 leu (€75), and weekend passes from 499 leu.

Speaking before the venue change, D&D manager Denise Săndulescu said more than €3 million had been invested in the event, with around 30,000 people expected to attend for each of the two days.

“I hope that we will have a two-day urban festival that will remain in the souls of Bucharest residents and other visitors to the city,” she tells Romania Libera. “I firmly believe that every quality event should be embraced by politicians, public administration and should be seen as an opportunity for fun, relaxation, motivation of citizens.

“Marcel Avram has been in this industry for 55 years. He is a Mohican of the event industry”

“In addition, it should be understood that these are opportunities that have a ‘time limit’; no one knows how long an artist will be at our ‘disposal’, the public’s, or a new pandemic, a war or another global event may occur that will rob us of this privilege of seeing live international entertainers as important as Robbie Williams.”

Săndulescu praises the influence of Avram, who pioneered global touring with the likes of Rod Stewart and Michael Jackson.

“Let’s not forget that our partner Marcel Avram has been in this industry for 55 years,” she says. “He is a Mohican of the event industry, he knows both the old and the new generation and he has never lost his spirit, but he can’t to forget the true values ​​of music. He wants to invest his power, his will, his credibility to bring the artists who still exist on this earth and mean something to the music and the audience.”

Summer in the City was originally announced for 3-4 June before original headliner Sam Smith cancelled their slot alongside a number of other shows, citing technical and logistical problems.

“Geographically, Romania is a difficult market, but it is recognised as a country with a warm, music-loving, welcoming audience,” adds Săndulescu. “D&D East Entertainment has other events planned and we want to cover all the possibilities to bring all the artists who would love to entrust us with this Romanian market.”


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Robbie Williams concert cancelled due to storms

Storms in the Carinthia region of Austria have led to the cancellation of Robbie Williams’ concert at Hochosterwitz Castle tomorrow (22 July).

Promoter Barracuda Music says severe storms have “taken a toll on the park and event areas”, with further intense rainfall and thunderstorms forecast for the day of the event.

“Necessary inspections by the operations centre have shown that under these circumstances, the traffic volume and the event can no longer be handled safely to a sufficient degree,” a spokesperson tells Puls 24.

Austria has been hit by storms of up to 161km an hour in recent days, reports The Local, causing damage to buildings, railway lines and power outages.

Barracuda says the decision to cancel followed lengthy talks with the local authority and emergency services.

“We are very sorry to announce that the event with Robbie Williams scheduled for Saturday cannot take place”

“We are very sorry to announce that the event with Robbie Williams scheduled for Saturday cannot take place,” says the company in a statement posted on social media.

“After hours of discussions with all participants and the authority, it was established that safe adherence and implementation in accordance with the knowledge is not feasible. The safety of our visitors is a top priority for us, as organisers and location operators.”

Williams, who is represented on the live scene by Ian Huffam of X-ray Touring, is approaching the conclusion of his XXV 25th anniversary solo tour, which continues with headlines slot at Lucca Summer Festival in Italy (28 July), Summer in the City in Bucharest, Romania (19 August) and Zurich Open Air in Switzerland (22 August).

The 49-year-old will then perform in Malta at the Granaries in Floriana on 24 August, presented by Greatt and NNG Promotions, followed by two dates at Norfolk’s Sandringham Estate in his native UK from 26-27 August as part of the Heritage Live Concert Series.

He will also play the Singapore F1 Grand Prix (17 September) and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena (18 October), prior to touring New Zealand and Australia in November/December.

 


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Croatian biz “exceptionally strong” thanks to Euro

Croatia’s live music business has been “exceptionally strong” in 2023 so far, thanks to the country’s adoption of the Euro and an increase in international fans.

“Switching to the Euro helped in raising ticket prices and the public seems ready to follow that. Now we can come pretty close to Western European ticket prices – something that was unheard of four to five years ago,” says Mario Grdosic, managing director of Croatian independent promoter LAA.

Based in the Croatian capital of Zagreb, LAA typically promotes 50-75 shows a year with previous clients including Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden, Duran Duran, Pet Shop Boys, The xx, The Prodigy, The Cult, Whitesnake, Lorde, Slayer and King Gizzard.

“If someone told me three years ago I would sell a ticket for close to €150, I definitely wouldn’t have believed it”

LAA has held around 30 shows so far this year with “only three to four concerts underperforming,” Grdosic tells IQ.

The company’s biggest offerings in H1 were Florence + The Machine in Pula Arena, and two nights with Robbie Williams in the same venue. Grdosic says those shows are the perfect example of how switching from the Croatian Kuna (KN) to the Euro has helped business.

“I had the Foo Fighters in June 2019 in Pula Arena and our prices then were KN370–460, which was €49–62, and there were some complaints on socials that we were charging way too high,” he explains.

“This year, four years later and with prices in Euro, we had Florence and Robbie in Pula with tickets between €75–139 and nobody said a word.

“When super-fans plan to travel to see their favourite artists, they’re increasingly choosing Croatia”

“If someone told me three years ago I would sell a ticket for close to €150, I definitely wouldn’t have believed it. It was unimaginable here for the biggest shows some five to six years ago…”

And it’s not just domestic fans that are putting their hands in their pockets; Grdosic notes an increasing trend of international fans attending shows in Croatia.

“When super-fans plan to travel to see their favourite artists, they’re increasingly choosing Croatia. For the Robbie Williams shows, around 45% of ticketholders came from outside of Croatia,” he says.

“Even in Zagreb, which was never a particularly strong touristic destination, we now have club shows where 70% of tickets are from Croatia and 30% are from elsewhere. That was never the case some seven to eight years ago.”

“We’ll see if there is enough money in fans’ pockets to follow the trend into 2024/2025…”

While Grdosic is revelling in the market’s upswing, he does admit that 2023 may be an anomaly. “This is a bit of an unusual year, being the first year after Covid and the first with prices in Euros. When things do settle down a bit, I expect people to be more cautious with their money and for 2024 to be a bit less successful than this year.”

The market is also facing universal challenges such as inflation, staff shortages and over-saturation in the market. “But I’m definitely happy with how most things have sold this year,” he adds. “There’s so much stuff happening, so many choices for fans, and ticket prices are higher – it’s better than I expected it to be. We’ll see if there is enough money in fans’ pockets to follow the trend into 2024/2025…”

LAA’s upcoming shows include Tasha Sultana at Tvornica Kulture in Zagreb and two nights with Sigur Ros at Saint Michael’s Fortress in Šibenik.

 


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Robbie Williams becomes Tickets For Good’s largest investor

Robbie Williams has become the largest investor in Tickets For Good, a platform providing free and discounted tickets for UK live events to NHS and charity sector workers.

It comes after the Sheffield-headquartered company raised £500,000 of equity in seed funding to expand the business to new audiences and territories.

In addition to Williams, Tickets For Good investors include Bethnal Green Ventures and US accelerator, Comcast NBCUniversal Sports Tech. The current investment round is expected to close at the end of June.

“Supporting access to the arts is a cause close to my heart,” says Robbie Williams. “The magic of live entertainment is something everyone should be able to benefit from, so I’m thrilled to be working with Tickets For Good.”

“The magic of live entertainment is something everyone should be able to benefit from”

Stephen Rimmer, founder and CEO of Tickets For Good, comments: “As we continue to build the Tickets For Good offering, to have backing from one of our country’s most-loved entertainers in Robbie is a welcome endorsement of our work. Our expanded group of heavyweight investors underlines the strength of our mission-driven business strategy and, as we evolve with the next phase of our plans, their support and insight will be invaluable.”

Founded in 2019, Tickets For Good aims to increase the accessibility of live entertainment for NHS and charity sector workers, who can sign up to the platform as members for free and secure tickets by paying only a booking fee – a maximum of £3.95.

Through its partnerships with over 500 live events companies, the company has offered tickets to concerts from Williams himself, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, and festivals such as Parklife, Tramlines and Live at Leeds.

Tickets For Good currently has more than 200,000 users and has processed over 300,000 free and discounted tickets.

 


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Robbie Williams to perform at Sandringham Estate

Robbie Williams is set to play at the Royal Estate of Sandringham in Norfolk, England, next summer.

The show will be the first-ever large-scale live music event to be hosted on the 20,000-acre estate owned by the Royal Family and is taking place on Saturday 26 August 2023.

The concert, which will be Williams’ only outdoor headline show in the UK next year, is staged by Heritage Live – a promoter that specialises in putting on gigs at some of England’s most historic landmarks, stately homes and estates.

“It’s been an ambition of us all at Heritage Live to stage a concert for the legendary Robbie Williams”

Heritage Live promoter Giles Cooper says: “It’s been an ambition of us all at Heritage Live to stage a concert for the legendary Robbie Williams and the thing about Robbie is that he keeps getting better and better!

“His 2022 arena tour show was the best I’d ever seen him perform and for me he’s the best entertainer since Elvis!  We can’t wait!  It will be the most magical concert in the most amazing surroundings that’ll live in our memories for ever!”

Upcoming gigs from Heritage Live include Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds and Soft Cell, each performing headline shows at Audley End in Saffron Walden, Essex.

 


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Oz Grand Prix sued for $8m over Robbie Williams gig

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation is being sued for more than $8 million for the last-minute cancellation of a performance by Robbie Williams at the 2020 Formula One event in Melbourne.

Williams was paid $1.94m to headline the first World Tour Melbourne concert event on 14 March, but his show was cancelled as fans queued to enter on 13 March.

World Touring Melbourne (WTM) says it was only informed of the cancellation during a teleconference with the Australian Grand Prix Corporation and local touring partner Dainty on that same day.

WTM is now seeking $7.594m for costs it incurred, another $1.128m in lost profits, and interest

The touring agency, part-owned by Hollywood actor Will Smith, is alleging the cancellation was a breach of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation’s obligations.

It is now seeking $7.594m for costs it incurred, another $1.128m in lost profits, and interest.

A writ filed in the Supreme Court last week lists venue hire, backstage catering of $32,500, production costs such as sound and lighting, publicity and legal fees among other costs. Williams’ talent fee was reported as $1.94m.

The $99 tickets to see the British star perform were refunded to fans.

Miley Cyrus, Pete Murray, Seb Fontaine and The Veronicas were also booked to perform.

 


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Byron Bay Bluesfest to go ahead as planned

The organisers of Byron Bay Bluesfest have confirmed that the festival is going ahead as planned from 9 to 13 April, despite the spread of Covid-19.

“We are all aware of COVID-19 in Australia and want to update you. Bluesfest Byron Bay will be going ahead as planned,” reads a post on the festival’s Facebook page, last updated today (12 March).

“Both NSW Health and the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC), the federal body, report that attending public events such as Bluesfest are low risk.”

Fan are assured that their tickets are “fully insured” in case of a coronavirus-related cancellation.

The New South Wales festival, organised by Peter Noble, is entering its 31st year in 2020, featuring acts including Lenny Kravitz, Dave Matthews Band, Kool and the Gang and John Butler.

“We are all aware of COVID-19 in Australia and want to update you. Bluesfest Byron Bay will be going ahead as planned”

Extra safety measures and additional facilities, such as hand sanitisation stations, will be put in place at Bluesfest to further safeguard the health and safety of guests.

Covid-19 was yesterday declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Major festivals including Coachella, Ultra Miami, South by Southwest and Tomorrowland Winter have been cancelled or postponed due to the virus.

Events affected in Australia include Miley Cyrus’ cancelled headline performance at the World Tour Bushfire Relief concert in Melbourne, Victoria. However, Robbie Wiliams’ appearance as part of the same event series is going ahead as planned, along with the Australian grand prix.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today said there will be a “further review of mass gatherings” across the state, saying, “there is no need to massively change what you are doing but it’s not business as usual. We are asking everybody to be alert.”

13 new cases of the virus were reported in NSW yesterday alone, bringing the state’s total to 78, half the total number of cases reported across the whole country.

 


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Miley Cyrus to headline World Tour Bushfire Relief

Miley Cyrus is headlining a bushfire benefit concert in Melbourne on Friday 13 March, as part of new global concert series World Tour.

Promoted by Apollo World Touring, TEG Dainty and Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s Westbrook Inc., World Tour Bushfire Relief is a one-night only event taking place at Melbourne’s Lakeside Stadium, featuring performances from Lil Nas X, the Veronicas and DJ Seb Fontaine.

The concert is taking place the night before the previously announced Robbie Williams-headlined World Tour show at Lakeside Stadium and alongside the Australian Grand Prix.

Proceeds from ticket sales will go to the WWF Australian Wildlife and Nature Recovery Fund and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, two Australian-based nonprofits working to rebuild communities affected by the country’s wildfires and restore forests and wildlife.

The benefit concert follows Fire Fight Australia, the Queen-headlined event organised by TEG, TEG Dainty and TEG Live that has so far raised almost AU$10 million (US$6.6m) for bushfire relief.

“The partnership that AgBioEn has developed with World Tour is all about inspiring music fans to become a part of the exciting transition to a net-zero, climate-friendly future”

World Tour recently announced a multi-year, multi-territory partnership with AgBioEn, an Australia-based renewable energy company. The partnership will see the concert series visit cities in Canada, Italy, Taiwan, the US, Germany, South Korea and Japan.

“As an Australian company, AgBioEn are devastated by the impacts of the recent bushfires, and we are proud to have been able to work with World Tour, TEG Dainty and The Australian Grand Prix Corporation to rapidly pull together this exciting event with Miley,” comments AgBioEn chairman Charles Hunting.

“The partnership that AgBioEn has developed with World Tour is all about inspiring music fans to become a part of the exciting transition to a net-zero, climate-friendly future.”

Tickets for World Tour Bushfire Relief go on sale on Tuesday 25 February at 2 p.m. AEDT here. Tickets for the Robbie Williams concert are available here from AU$99 ($65).

 


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