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Circus Maximus to continue as gig venue after row

Italy’s historic Circus Maximus is to be retained as a concert venue despite the row around last week’s Travis Scott’s gig.

The director of the nearby Colosseum called for an end to “mega concerts” at the ancient Rome site after the 60,000 fans jumping in unison at the rapper’s 7 August gig apparently sparked earthquake fears.

But according to Wanted in Rome, the city’s mayor Roberto Gualtieri and Italian culture minister Gennaro Sangiuliano have agreed the venue can continue to host concerts with the proviso that organisers face more stringent controls and sanctions. Each show will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Scott became the latest contemporary act to play the  site, which is close to the Colosseum, following shows by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Imagine Dragons earlier this summer. The venue has hosted the likes of the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Maneskin and David Gilmour in previous years.

Meanwhile, Alessandro Onorato, the city’s councillor for tourism and major events, has slammed the controversy over Scott’s performance as “surreal”. He adds that the venue generated €2.1 million from events last year, with each show bringing in around €350,000 to be used towards maintaining and protecting Rome’s archaeological sites.

“We welcome safety discussions, but there’s the risk that we’re discriminating against an entire generation”

Oronato also played down reports that 60 fans required medical attention following a suspected pepper spray attack during Scott’s show.

“The story is not as it was reported,” Onorato tells the Hollywood Reporter Roma. “It was three boys, I would say three criminals, who attempted to attack the cashier of the bar in the centre of the Circus Maximus, using pepper spray as a weapon. The theft was averted by security, but the three fled. And the cloud irritated the people nearby.”

No severe injuries were reported, although some people received assistance for minor eye and throat irritation.

“The police have opened an investigation, but as far as the concert and its management are concerned, there were no other problems or incidents,” says Onorato. “Zero medical incidents.”

He notes that an incident in which a 14-year-old was hospitalised after falling from a height, having allegedly attempted to elude security to enter the concert, happened far away from the venue.

“The only other major concert to receive strong criticism was that of Måneskin,” he adds. “We welcome safety discussions, but there’s the risk that we’re discriminating against an entire generation.”

 


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Dozens fall ill during Travis Scott’s Rome concert

Dozens of fans required medical attention following a suspected pepper spray incident during a Travis Scott concert in Italy.

Police are investigating after around 60 people received treatment for eye and throat irritation at the rapper’s show at Rome’s 60,000-cap Circus Maximus on Monday (7 August).

Ansa sources indicate that the use of pepper spray by an audience member may have been to blame, while Euronews reports a 14-year-old was also hospitalised after falling from a height, having attempted to elude security to enter the venue.

The show, which saw the live premiere of Scott’s new album Utopia, came less than two weeks after the last minute cancellation of his scheduled concert in front of the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt. The American star was joined by surprise guest Kanye West – making his first appearance since posting antisemitic slurs online last year – at the Rome gig to perform the latter’s songs Praise God and Can’t Tell Me Nothing.

“The Circus Maximus is a monument. It is not a stadium, not a concert hall. These mega rock concerts put it at risk”

Meanwhile, CNN reports that the director of Rome’s Colosseum has called for an end to concerts at Circus Maximus after the tens of thousands of fans jumping in unison at Scott’s gig sparked fears of an earthquake.

The 32-year-old became the latest act to play the ancient site, which is close to the Colosseum, following shows by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band and Imagine Dragons earlier this summer. The venue has hosted the likes of the Rolling Stones, Lady Gaga, Maneskin and David Gilmour in previous years.

“The Circus Maximus is a monument. It is not a stadium, not a concert hall,” Alfonsina Russo, director of the head of the Colosseum Archeological Park, tells Italian news service AGI. “These mega rock concerts put it at risk… Rock concerts should be held in stadiums so as not to endanger public safety.”

Houston police published its full report on the 2021 Astroworld tragedy, in which 10 concertgoers died during Scott’s headline set, last month.

 


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Italian watchdog ordered to repay €1m to TicketOne

The Italian Competition Authority (AGCM) has been ordered to return €1 million to TicketOne, as well as refund all legal expenses, after an Italian court rejected earlier claims by AGCM the company had not done enough to prevent the resale of its tickets on the secondary market.

TicketOne, owned by Germany’s CTS Eventim, was fined €1m last April for allegedly failing to take adequate measures to prevent tickets getting into the hands of touts. The competition watchdog found that while that while TicketOne is “contractually bound to adopt anti-touting measures, [it] did not take appropriate steps to prevent bulk buying through specialist software, nor has it tried to limit multiple purchases or set up a system of ex-post controls to cancel them”.

Four secondary ticketing sites – Viagogo, MyWayTicket, Live Nation’s Seatwave and eBay/StubHub’s Ticketbis – were additionally hit with a collective €700,000 fine for their failure to provide complete ticket information to customers.

However, in a ruling on Friday (2 March), the regional administrative court of Lazio, sided with TicketOne’s argument that it has “always operated with utmost care and diligence, and that its business conduct did not favour the secondary market”, and ordered AGCM to refund the the €1m, along with its legal costs.

“The ruling underlines that our company has always operated with transparency and professionalism”

“We have always distanced ourselves from unlawful and speculative business practices that occur within the secondary ticketing market,” says Stefano Lionetti, CEO of TicketOne. “Therefore, we are very satisfied that the court confirmed that the allegations made against us were wrongful.

“Over and above, the ruling underlines that our company has always operated with transparency and professionalism.”

While TicketOne says it already has “high security standards in place” to prevent automated software, or bots, from bulk-buying its tickets, it has announce plans to “expand on its efforts” against speculative ticket resale. The company “asks fans and concertgoers not to purchase tickets from secondary market sites and to only make use of licensed ticket sellers and official dealers.”

TicketOne parent company CTS Eventim has been investing heavily in Italy recently, last month making its third acquisition – of promoter Di and Gi – in five months.

 


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