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AEG Presents France teams up with Salomon Hazot

AEG Presents France is partnering with renowned promoter Salomon Hazot on exclusively representing, producing and distributing his artist roster.

Hazot is a stalwart of the European live music business, having previously created and managed Garance Productions, Nous Productions and Paris-based festival Rock en Seine.

Previously, he was vice-president at Live Nation France and more recently teamed up with Olympia Production.

He is said to have been instrumental in the success of many international artists in France, establishing the likes of Björk, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Bruno Mars, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd and Robbie Williams in his home market.

Meersseman says he’s “so happy to reconnect and accompany Salomon and his outstanding artist roster”

The new partnership sees Hazot reunited with AEG Presents France MD Arnaud Meersseman, who previously served as a booker, promoter and A&R at Nous Productions.

Speaking on the new collaboration, Meersseman says he’s “so happy to reconnect and accompany Salomon and his outstanding artist roster”.

Hazot adds: “We have such a special relationship with Arnaud and not only because we share the same anniversary date! I’m really excited.”

Newly announced Robbie Williams (Accor Arena) and Pixies (Olympia) shows in 2023, as well as forthcoming gigs of Alt-J, Massive Attack, Queens of the Stone Age, Sigur Ros and The Offspring are among the first artists to be named as part of the deal with AEG Presents France.

Hazot’s current roster also includes Björk, Black Eyed Peas, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Chance the Rapper, Cypress Hill, Dead Can Dance, Deftones, Ed Sheeran, Eminem, Erykah Badu, Iron Maiden, Janelle Monae, M.I.A, Moby, Nine Inch Nails, Pet Shop Boys, Pixies, Portugal the Man, Raphael Saadiq, Rita Ora, Sum 41, The Roots, Wiz Khalifa and more.

 


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France’s Rock en Seine embarks on new era

Rock en Seine GM Matthieu Ducos and AEG European festivals boss Jim King have previewed a new era for the French festival in an interview with IQ.

The extended 18th edition of the 40,000-cap event takes place in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Paris from 25-28 August with headliners Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tame Impala and Stromae.

“From an AEG perspective, we see Rock en Seine as being as important to our global portfolio of festivals as Hyde Park, All Points East, Coachella and everywhere else,” says King. “It’s equal in every measure to the other festivals that we operate in any market around the world.

“It needed some attention; it needed resource and support and we needed to allow the team to realise their ambitions. But it has the potential to be one of the world’s leading city-based festivals and we certainly feel it’s on its way to achieving that.”

AEG acquired Rock en Seine in 2017 in partnership with media investment group LNEI, but King suggests the event’s return from its Covid-enforced hiatus marks something of a reboot, as it is the first edition to be held since the launch of AEG’s European Festivals division in three years ago.

“It had not had its best years, but it is a well respected event with a great history, and a great site in the centre of Paris”

“It allowed us to bring some specialist overview to Rock en Seine, which is a very long-standing and established festival in Europe,” he explains. “It had not had its best years but it is a well-respected event with a great history, and a great site in the centre of Paris.

“With the Covid shutdown, it enabled all stakeholders this extended review on how to make it better. It allowed us to reset the team locally, build a stronger relationship and, from that platform, provide whatever assistance – and I need to underline assistance – to that team to realise what their vision of it was.

“What you’re seeing now is the realisation of the outlook and the vision of the team in Paris. Our role has been able to provide that framework and at times just some guidance and resourcing to allow that to be achieved.”

AEG’s London concert series All Points East, which was held in May pre-pandemic, has been pushed back to the same weekend as Rock en Seine, enabling Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Tame Impala to headline both events.

All Points East, which kicks off tonight with Gorillaz, runs in Victoria Park over two weekends – 19-20 and 25-28 August.

“Festivals live and die on artist bookings. We can say otherwise, but it is essential to it”

“The one thing we did centrally was reposition All Points East to the same weekend, which would then allow Matthew and also Arnaud [Meersseman], who runs AEG’s Paris office, to work much more closely with the booking teams from All Points East and establish that new culture,” says King.

“Festivals live and die on artist bookings. We can say otherwise, but it’s essential to it. So the idea was to start building that platform where agents could see a strengthened end of the summer window, with two great shows which they could then support with their artists.

“Those foundations have then been picked up by Matthieu, and what we’re seeing now is the best line-up Rock en Seine has ever had. That’s creating more ticket sales and a higher gross than Rock en Seine has ever had, and more sponsors and sponsorship gross than Rock en Seine has ever had. So it’s just success, on success, on success.”

Ducos backs up King’s assessment.

“Moving All Points East to the same weekend as Rock en Seine was a huge step,” he tells IQ. “I agree we have the strongest line-up we’ve ever had, so it’s great to start this new version of Rock en Seine after a two-year stop.

“Usually, about 60% of the festival-goers come from the Paris region and 40% from other regions of France and abroad. We will have more people from abroad than usual, that’s for sure, because we have some bands that are doing only a few shows in Europe, like Arctic Monkeys, so people are coming from far away to see them.”

“We have great ambitions that it will continue to grow”

With the festival expanding from three to four days for the first time this year, King elaborates on the ambitions to grow Rock en Seine’s international appeal.

“You look at some of the other successes around mainland Europe where they have become destination festivals for a multinational audience, and for whatever reason Rock en Seine had lost that, or was not that,” he says. “But I think it certainly is developing into that and we have great ambitions that it will continue to grow because Paris is such a great city and so easy to travel to. Once you’re there, there’s so much to do. So why only do it for two days or three days?

“The ability to attract great talent is based on many things: the offer, the routing, but obviously where you’re going to and what we were able to do with Rock en Seine is to be more ambitious with the acts that we wanted to attract and then, with that, be more ambitious with the audience that we want to attract to see those acts.

“I think you’ll see great developments in the range of people – and the countries they originate from – coming to Rock en Seine over the next five years.”

In a setback for organisers, a planned standalone date on 30 August, headlined by Rage Against the Machine, with support from Run The Jewels and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, was scrapped last week on “medical guidance” due to an injury sustained by RATM frontman Zach de la Rocha.

Nonetheless, Ducos suggests AEG’s backing puts Rock in Seine in a strong position as it looks to enhance its reputation year-on-year.

“Paris doesn’t have a history of iconic, pop/rock music festivals,” he says. “We’ve been there for 18 years now and we did a great job, but I think we can go further and become an iconic festival in this great city. I’m quite confident about our power and attractiveness to book the rock, pop, but also electro and hip-hop acts we want in the future.”

 


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AEG Presents’ Jim King shares forecast for 2022

This article is the second part of IQ’s interview with Jim King, originally published in December 2021. To read the first instalment, in which King discusses Adele and BST Hyde Park 2022, click here.

Jim King, CEO of European Festivals at AEG Presents, warns the industry to be careful with thinking that the pent-up demand seen in early summer 2021 will remain.

“I have some caution over 2022 and the concern remains that the industry has reacted, in some areas, by oversupplying the market with rescheduled tours sitting on top of new tours which now sit very closely to summer festival periods,” he says.

“The industry needs to pause and reflect on how many tickets it feels can be sold in 2022 and 2023 and then react and plan accordingly. The problem is that our industry has a problem saying no.”

Alongside a slew of rescheduled tours, 2022 is also set to gain a multitude of new events, extended editions and revived festivals.

Tomorrowland (Belgium), Primavera (Spain), Mad Cool (Spain), Standon Calling (UK), InMusic (Croatia) and Summer Breeze (Germany) are among the existing festivals to be extended in 2022 – in some cases by entire weekends. Meanwhile, promoters including FKP Scorpio, Goldenvoice, Primavera, Live Nation and DreamHaus have marked brand new festivals in 2022’s increasingly busy calendar.

“The industry needs to pause and reflect on how many tickets it feels can be sold in 2022 and 2023 and then react”

In light of concerns about oversupplying, King says AEG has hit pause on pre-pandemic plans for new events and is instead focused on rejuvenating existing festivals. One such event is Rock en Seine (ReS), the responsibility for which which recently passed to his team, allowing a “total review” of what the enduring Paris festival could be.

“The challenge, like with many long-standing events, was that we needed to reset what the event stood for and what we wanted to say to fans, artists, media, and sponsors,” explains King.

In October it was announced that the 18th edition of the annual event will take place in an extended four-day format with a “new vision and one of the most impressive line-ups in the history of the festival”. Stromae, Tame Impala and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds are to headline between 25–28 August in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud.

“The challenge, like with many long-standing events, was that we needed to reset what the [Rock en Seine] stood for”

“We just feel that the new format offers a more compelling commercial framework and one that aligns with the modern festival industry landscape which has changed a great deal over the last 20 years,” says King.

“ReS needed to reflect these changes. More days means we get to work with more artists and that’s another great reason to expand. Plus, Paris is one of the most accessible and culturally vibrant cities in the world. We felt that we had the opportunity to reflect that and widen the appeal of the festival to more fans.”

King says he prefers to look forward rather than backwards but that the lockdown was “tough” financially. “We are very fortunate that our owner was hugely supportive of our company and so we were able to plan through that period,” he says. “It’s our job now to repay that commitment and recover the losses from 2020 with a solid strategic plan for 2022/23 that builds on from the successes we were able to deliver at All Points East 2021.”

“It’s our job now to repay that commitment and recover the losses from 2020 with a solid strategic plan for 2022/23”

King says that strategic plan is to take a “new and fresh approach” to line-ups that were announced before the pandemic.

“That didn’t mean that we stopped working with all the acts from 2020 but we sought to reshape and strengthen the line ups,” he says. “Examples of this included Bombay Bicycle Club who instead played with Foals in 2021 [at All Points East] and Kraftwerk now playing with The Chemical Brothers in 2022.”

Discussing how he sees the recovery of the international live music industry progressing, King says the challenge will be whether the industry can approach 2022 and 2023 with the spirit of collaboration that was fostered in 2021.

“I think we saw the resilience that the industry can offer in some of the successes in 2021. The ability to mobilise quickly and work collaboratively throughout the supply chain to deliver high-quality shows demonstrates how strong we can be when we work with a common interest. If we can do this again, then recovery will be quicker and built on much stronger foundations.”

 


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AEG Presents’ Rock en Seine expands to four days

AEG Presents’ Rock en Seine festival in France is expanding to four days for its return in 2022.

The annual Paris festival, which typically welcomes 120,000 festivalgoers across three days, will take place from 25–28 August next year in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud.

The 2022 event will be the 18th edition of Rock en Seine, which hasn’t taken place since 2019 due to the pandemic.

The 2022 event will be the 18th edition of Rock en Seine, which hasn’t taken place since 2019 due to the pandemic

Jim King, CEO of European festivals at AEG Presents, says: “It’s very exciting to announce the return and a new vision for Rock en Seine, with one of the most impressive line-ups in the history of the festival. Headliners Stromae, Tame Impala and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds will be joined by a deep supporting line up including Kraftwerk and Jamie xx.

“To match this incredible line-up, the new format for the festival sees it grow to four days. Paris has always provided a cultural heart beat in Europe and with its incredible city centre location in the beautiful gardens of Saint Cloud on the banks of the River Seine, Rock en Seine provides four days of music in one of the world’s truly great cities that is easily accessible for music fans from all over Europe.”

Other artists will include La Femme, The Blaze plus FKJ, Aurora, DIIV, Los Bitchos, Malik Djoudi, Jehnny Beth and The Limiñanas. More are still to be announced, including a special Rock en Seine exclusive on Thursday 25 August.

 


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Rock en Seine cancels, French organisers get creative

France’s Rock en Seine has been called off, following the government’s announcement that festivals would be restricted to 5,000 seated and socially distanced attendees.

The Paris festival, which typically welcomes 120,000 festivalgoers each year, was set to take place between 27–29 August 2021, though the line-up had not been announced.

In a statement, the organisers say: “Even with the greatest optimism, given the health restrictions in place today we know that the event we want to create and experience sadly cannot take place this year.”

The French government announced the framework for the 2021 festival season back in February, along with a €30 million fund.

The aid was launched to compensate organisers – both for losses incurred due to the implementation of alternative formats and in the event that festivals are cancelled due to an increasing Covid-19 infection rate.

Many French organisers have already jumped at the chance to implement an alternative event, including the country’s largest festival, the Vieilles Charrues (Old Plows).

The festival will host an intimate concert series at the Parc du Château in its home region of Brittany between 8–18 July 2021.

“Even with the greatest optimism, given the health restrictions in place today we know that the event cannot take place this year”

The series will comprise 10 evenings concerts featuring 30 domestic artists including Vianney, Woodkid and Pomme. See the full line-up here.

Live Nation’s Main Square festival is also planning a concert series, which will comprise eight concerts in eight ’emblematic places’ of Hauts-de-France, the northernmost region of France. See the line-up and the list of locations here.

Those who have purchased tickets to the 2020, 2021 or 2022 editions of the Arras-based festival will have the opportunity to attend the six shows free of charge, in strict compliance with the current restrictions.

All six concerts will be filmed and broadcast online on the festival’s official website as well as on its social networks and those of its partners, on July 2, 3 and 4 – when the flagship festival would’ve taken place.

Elsewhere, in the French festival market, Eurockéennes says it is “now imagining the different possible options to offer another project, in a new format and adapted to the framework that will be imposed on us” though no further details have emerged.

France was the first major European market to make a decision on the 2021 festival season but countries including Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland have followed suit with tough restrictions.

 


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European giants Mad Cool, Rock en Seine move to 2021

Spain’s Mad Cool and France’s Rock en Seine are the latest high-profile calamities of the 2020 festival season, as organisers call off their events this summer due to the continuing coronavirus crisis.

The cancellation of Live Nation-promoted Mad Cool (60,000-cap.), which was due to take place from 8 to 11 July with acts including Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and the Killers, follows that of fellow Spanish festivals Sónar on Friday (8 May) and Primavera Sound on Monday (11 May).

“A few days ago we told you that the possibility of celebrating Mad Cool was very slight,” reads a statement from organisers. “Today, we have to tell you, with the utmost sincerity, that the festival will not take place on the scheduled dates.

“As the situation has evolved, we have worked on a number of alternatives. The most real and feasible option is to postpone the festival for the same dates in 2021.”

Organisers say they are waiting for the government to decree force majeure “so we can resolve things in the proper way”.

Despite announcing its lockdown exit plan, the Spanish government has yet to detail when large-scale events such as festivals may take place again, preventing cancellation due to force majeure and leading to criticism from much of the country’s live music industry.

“Today, we have to tell you, with the utmost sincerity, that the festival will not take place on the scheduled dates”

Rock en Seine (40,000-cap.), due to take place from 28 August to 1 September in Paris, was also called off last night, following the extension of the French government’s ban on large events until September.

The 2020 edition of the festival was set to feature Rage Against the Machine and Run the Jewels.

“Over the past sixteen years Rock en Seine has cemented itself as one of the biggest festivals in France,” reads a statement from organisers. “Unfortunately it has become clear that these three days cannot take place in the format we had planned due to the health measures currently in place because of the ongoing crisis.”

Organisers state they are working on “an imaginative, creative, strong and symbolic culture and music event for as soon as health rules permit”, in addition to hosting the festival in its usual format in 2021.

The French government recently established a ‘festival fund’ to assist events forced to cancel due to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as dedicating an additional €50 million in aid to the music sector.

Yesterday also saw the cancellations of Festival Republic’s Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK.

 


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French gov declares summer event ban

The French government has announced that events of over 5,000 people will not be permitted before September, extending a previous ban that outlawed events until mid-July.

“Major sporting and cultural events – in particular festivals – major trade fairs and any other event with over 5,000 attendees cannot be held before September,” French prime minister Edouard Philippe announced last week.

It was also announced that music venues and theatres will remain closed after 11 May, when some cultural institutions such as small museums and libraries will begin to reopen. Depending on the situation, some venues may be permitted to reopen from 2 June.

Following the news of the extended ban, organisers of La Route du Rock (25,000-cap.), set to take place from 19 to 22 August with acts including Kraftwerk, Chromatics and Cigarettes After Sex, called off the festival’s 30th anniversary edition this summer.

“Major sporting and cultural events – in particular festivals – major trade fairs and any other event with over 5,000 attendees cannot be held before September”

Organisers of Rock en Seine (40,000-cap.), scheduled for 29 to 30 August in Paris, have announced they will update fans “with concrete information as soon as possible”. Rage Against the Machine and Run the Jewels are billed to play the 2020 edition of the festival.

Festivals including Eurockéennes de Belfort, Solidays, Festival d’Avignon and Main Square cancelled their 2020 editions when the French government pronounced its mid-July event ban deadline, following the lead of previously called off events Hellfest and Lollapalooza Paris.

The extended ban leaves the French festival season in the same situation as those in the Netherlands, where large events are banned until 1 September; and Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Denmark, where a ban is in place until 31 August.

The new deadline also extends France’s restrictions beyond those in place in Hungary, which has called off large-scale events until mid-August; Luxembourg and Finland, which have prohibited mass gatherings until 31 July; and Austria, where events are off until the end of June.

 


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RATM announce European festival run

In their first shows in ten years, Rage Against the Machine will be appearing at Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK, Ireland’s Electric Picnic, Lollapalooza Berlin and French festival Rock en Seine.

The dates form part of the band’s upcoming global arena tour, which include other European stops at the O2 Arena in Prague (18,000-cap,), the Czech Republic, and the Tauron Arena (22,000-cap.) in Krakow, Poland.

Rage Against the Machine are heading up Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds (100,000-cap.) along with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher. Run the Jewels, who are supporting Rage Against the Machine on their global arena tour, are appearing on the main stage on the same day as the band (28 August at Leeds and 30 August for Reading) at both festivals.

Other performers include Courteeners, Migos, Gerry Cinnamon, AJ Tracey, Sam Fender, Rex Orange County, Slowthai and Idles.

Rage Against the Machine are also performing at Festival Republic’s sold-out Electric Picnic festival in county Laois, Ireland, which is taking place from 4 to 6 September with an increased capacity of 70,000.

Rage Against the Machine are heading up Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds (100,000-cap.) along with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher

The band will make its only German appearance of the year at Lollapalooza Berlin, which is organised by FRHUG Festival GmbH, a joint venture between Hörstmann/Melt! and Festival Republic. The festival is returning for its third year at Berlin’s 90,000-capacity Olympic Stadium from 5 to 6 September.

The final European festival date sees Rage Against the Machine travel to Paris for Rock en Seine (120,000-cap.), which is jointly owned by AEG Presents and Matthieu Pigasse’s LNEI. The band will again be joined by Run the Jewels for their first appearance in France for 12 years.

Rage Against the Machine’s tour begins on 26 March in El Paso, Texas, with the band performing a run of 27 shows at arenas across the United States and Canada, as well as festival appearances at Coachella Valley Music, Boston Calling, Firefly, Ottawa Bluesfest and Quebec Summer Festival.

A full list of arena dates and ticket information can be found here. Tickets for Reading and Leeds festivals go on sale on Thursday 13 February at 9 a.m, with Rock en Seine tickets being released on 12 February at 12 noon (CET). Lollapalooza Berlin tickets are available here.

 


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Schmitt replaces Missonnier as Rock en Seine director

Sarah Schmitt, the long-time assistant to Rock en Seine co-founder François Missonnier, has replaced Missonnier as festival director, the festival’s new owner has announced, ahead of a rumoured takeover of the event by AEG.

Rock en Seine – one of France’s largest music festivals – was acquired from founders Missonnier, Christophe Davy and Salomon Hazot in April by investment banker Matthieu Pigasse, who says he plans to turn his LNEI (Les Nouvelles Éditions indépendantes) holding company into a “leader in the production of premium content”. Rock en Seine forms part of a new live music division, LNEI Live, comprising the Rock en Seine, inRocKs and Nuits Zébrées festivals.

Pigasse buys Rock en Seine, launches live outfit

The next month, Pigasse announced a “very advanced partnership” between LNEI and a “recognised specialist in the programming of major festivals”, named by Libération as AEG. He declined, however, to further elaborate on the nature of the relationship, including whether any money had changed hands.

Unlike rival Live Nation, AEG otherwise lacks a festival presence in France, although it does operate the 17,000-cap. AccorHotels Arena in Paris.

In a statement provided to AFP, LNEI says Missionnier (pictured) will now “dedicate himself to other projects, including Europavox”, a festival in Auvergne he founded in 2006.

A total of 110,000 attended the 15th Rock en Seine, held in late August, matching the festival’s strong showing in 2016, although both figures are down slightly on the 120,000 people who bought tickets to Rock en Seine 2015 (held before the attack on the Bataclan).

 


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Pigasse buys Rock en Seine, launches live outfit

Investment banker Matthieu Pigasse has bought Rock en Seine, one of France’s biggest music festivals, from its founders, François Missonnier, Christophe Davy and Salomon Hazot.

Pigasse, profiled by the The Wall Street Journal as the “rock star of finance”, already has a personal interest in rival festival Eurockéennes de Belfort, of which he is chair, and – through the LNEI (Les Nouvelles Éditions indépendantes) holding company – the inRocKs festivals and the Nuits Zébrées concert series by Radio Nova.

Pigasse (pictured) owns both Les Inrockuptibles and Radio Nova, along with stakes in the Le Monde newspaper, The Huffington Post France and, through his Mediawan investment vehicle, pay-TV giant Groupe AB.

Speaking to AFP, Pigasse says Rock en Seine will form the basis of a new live music division, LNEI Live, comprising Rock en Seine, inRocKs and Nuits Zébrées.

While Missonnier has been confirmed as the head of LNEI Live, Davy’s role in the new set-up is unclear. (IQ has contacted him for comment.) Hazot, meanwhile, is now president of Live Nation France, which has its own plans for the French festival market, launching in the past few years local editions of Download and Lollapalooza.

“We want to become a major player in France and in Europe, with other acquisitions to come”

The 2016 edition of Rock en Seine, established in 2003, was attended by 110,000 people amid a strong showing for the French festival sector as a whole.

Pigasse tells AFP part of the appeal of buying Rock en Seine is that it’s a “favourite” of his. “I would not buy [comedy radio station] Rire et Chansons or Radio Nostalgie,” he says.

“But the acquisition of the festival is also at the heart of the strategy of LNEI, which wants to become a leader in the production of premium content.”

He adds that the acquisition of Rock en Seine is only the beginning of LNEI’s festival plans, hinting at the building of a European festival portfolio to rival that of the likes of Live Nation, DEAG, CTS Eventim or, closer to home, Miala, which is led by Arnaud Meersseman – formerly at Nous Productions with Hazot – and backed by €2.6bn French investment vehicle Fimalac.

“We want to become a major player in France and in Europe, with other acquisitions to come,” he continues. “There are a lot of festivals in eastern and northern Europe…”

Commenting on the deal, Missonnier echoes Isle of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings, who recently sold to Live Nation, by saying Rock en Seine needed to be part of a larger entity in order to stay competitive. “After 15 years our project is doing very well, but we have reached the limits of what we could achieve alone,” he comments. “By integrating with LNEI, Rock en Seine will benefit from increased resources.”

 


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