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Man dies after New York concert backflip

A man has died after falling from a balcony at a Dead and Company concert in New York last Friday.

Drinks entrepreneur Ian Crystal, 46, fell up to 50’ (15m) onto concrete after allegedly attempting a backflip during an interval at the show, held at the 42,000-capacity Citi Field stadium on 20 August.

According to local media, Brooklyn resident Crystal was found unresponsive at the scene after hitting the ground headfirst.

Crystal (pictured) , who is thought to have jumped from a second-floor concourse, was pronounced dead at arrival at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, the New York Post reports.

“Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to all the attendee’s loved ones”

A driver outside the stadium said he saw the man later identified as Crystal “flip” before falling and slamming into the ground below, the Post adds.

Harold Kaufman, a spokesperson for the New York Mets, who play at Citi Field, told CNN the following day: “We are aware of a tragic incident which sadly resulted in a fatality last night. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to all the attendee’s loved ones.”

Crystal was the CEO of Evolution Spirits, which produces Monkey Spiced Rum, and formerly worked with brands including Abolsut Vodka, Malibu Rum, and Stoli Vodka, collaborating with artists including Jay-Z, Swedish House Mafia and Ne-Yo.

 


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Disabled fans eager to return to live events

A new ‘audience snapshot’ by music and event industry charity Attitude is Everything indicates that a majority of Deaf, disabled and neurodivergent people want to return to live events – as long as accessible safety precautions are in place.

The poll of 289 individuals with a history of attending live events found that respondents went to more than 5,000 indoor and more than 1,200 outdoor live events in 2019 – from gigs and festivals to football matches and book launches.

Following the UK’s relaxation of restrictions on 19 July, 50% of respondents say they would feel comfortable attending an indoor live event and 73% said they would feel comfortable attending an outdoor live event, as long as they are confident that as many accessible measures as possible have been put in place to increase safety.

Almost three-quarters (74%) have additional access requirements in order to attend live events, such as companion tickets, accessible seating, step-free access and accessible toilets.

The results underscore the need for event organisers to ensure that access and Covid-safety measures are at the forefront of reopening plans.

Just over two-thirds (67%) of respondents considered themselves to be at heightened risk if they were to contract Covid-19, with 46% having shielded in 2020, and 27% feeling it necessary to return to shielding now rules have been lifted.

“More than ever before, it’s time to recognise that the disabled community are part of the life-blood of culture in the UK”

Furthermore, 42% didn’t see how a live venue could be a safe environment for them at the time they completed the survey (19 July– 1 August), with 24% feeling that they won’t be able to get to an indoor live event until next year at the earliest.

Eighty-three per cent said they would attend a venue or event that requires the NHS Covid Pass to gain entry, with 67% stating they would actively choose a venue that requires an NHS Covid Pass to gain entry over one that doesn’t.

Almost all (96%) of all respondents said it is important that venues and events engage with disabled people who don’t feel safe to return just yet, with 78% thinking venues and events should maintain online streaming as an option.

“In 2019, disabled people were big consumers of live events. In fact, in the years before the pandemic, the economic spend from disabled people attending live music grew from £3.4 million in 2013 to £9.3 million in 2019, so there was always going to be a huge demand from the disabled community to return to live events,” says Suzanne Bull MBE, founder of Attitude is Everything.

“Understandably, disabled people have real and deep-seated fears about how safe live events will be after the pandemic. I urge the live events sector to address concerns and make demonstratable efforts to welcome those with access requirements back to their venues and events, and for artists to become actively involved in this welcome.

“Over the past 18 months, disabled people have been loyal in donating to venues and campaigns to support musicians, and bought music, art and books to help creatives to sustain themselves. So more than ever before, it’s time to recognise that the disabled community are part of the life-blood of culture in the UK.”

Following the survey, Attitude is Everything calls on event organisers to check their post-19 July Covid-safety information and practices against its list of reopening measures supported by respondents.

 


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We Are Ops, female-led operations firm, launches

We Are Ops, a new female-led event operations, safety and people management business, has launched in the UK.

Created by senior female staff at London-based We Are the Fair, an event production company which has worked on festivals including Field Day, Gala, Kisstory, Camp Wildfire and El Dorado, We Are Ops aims to boost gender diversity in what can still often feel like a “macho industry”, according to We Are Ops director and We Are the Fair head of production Yasmin Galletti.

“Since I started out in the industry 12 years ago, we’ve seen the workforce on site and behind the scenes become more balanced, but it still feels women are working in the shadows, not being given the platform or recognition that they deserve for their work,” Galletti explains.

“I feel proud and blessed to be part of a company that celebrates the female attitude towards event operations”

The We Are Ops team have 150 years of combined experience, with other members including health and safety advisors Sarah Tew and Francesca Boden and operations manager Jan Rankou.

The company offers services including licensing, traffic and security planning, safety management, sustainability consulting, risk assessments, crowd and capacity planning and accessibility and inclusion.

“I feel proud and blessed to be part of a company that celebrates the female attitude towards event operations,” continues Galletti, “especially in the area of health and safety, which is still a very male-led faction of the industry.”

 


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Safe presents findings of three-year project

After three years of research, Safe, a pan-European project working to improve safety at live events, today (22 March) presented its conclusions.

Initiated and coordinated by French live music association Prodiss, in partnership with Le Laba (FR), Issue (CH), Mind Over Matter Consultancy (UK), TSC Crowd Management (NL), Wallifornia MusicTech (BE), ILMC (UK), BDKV (DE) and the European Arenas Association (NL), the Safe Project aims to improve the safety of live event spaces and develop the skills of safety and security professionals across the continent.

Initiated after the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris, the project, funded by the EU’s Erasmus+ adult education programme, evolved with the Covid-19 crisis to ensure that health, safety and security continued to be seen as priorities during the pandemic.

As part of the project, Safe participants presented results of their research and experiments, including:

Five events were used to disseminate the results of the Safe project. These included an online webinar, broadcast in French on 26 February, and the recent 33rd International Live Music Conference (ILMC), which took place online from 3 to 5 March.

Following the initial broadcast of the webinar, which can be watched back on the Safe YouTube channel, 67% of participants said they plan to use Safe resources and 70% will to share the information presented with their colleagues.

Live events professionals may access the Safe project resources at www.thesafeproject.eu.

 


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Safe to hold hackathon on Covid-19 solutions for live

Safe – a European project that deals with event safety, security and crowd management – is inviting the public to join its hackathon, which aims to find innovative and viable solutions to help festival and events manage the constraints caused by Covid-19.

The hackathon will take place in the form of an ideation camp with four different focus groups, which will be guided by experts from the live sector, safety management, technology, data, smart cities and sociology:

The Safe hackathon will take place on 21 and 22 January from 9:30 am –12:30 pm CET. Each group will host a maximum of 12 participants and registration is now open.

Safe is a project lead by Prodiss, with International Live Music Conference (ILMC), Le Laba, Issue, Wallifornia, TSC Group Management, Mind Over Matter Consultancy, BDV and European Arenas Association, and backed by the European Union via Erasmus Plus program.

 


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UK production pros launch Covid-19 working group

Professionals from across the UK concert touring sector have joined forces to launch the PSA Tour Production Group (PSA TPG), a new association that aims to provide a unified industry response to the impact of Covid-19 on live music events.

The group is a new arm of the Production Services Association (PSA), the trade body for the live event production industry, and includes tour managers, production managers, safety professionals, venue and festival managers, travel and logistics specialists, promoters and suppliers. Past and present clients of the PSA TPG team include artists such as Adele, Madonna, Pink, U2, Ed Sheeran and Spice Girls and events including Isle of Wight Festival, Lollapalooza and British Summer Time Hyde Park (pictured).

The formation of the group centres on getting touring professionals back to work safely, and supporting the sector’s survival, “in a pre-vaccine Covid-19 era”, according to the PSA, when tour-specific safety guidelines working around local threat levels will become the norm.

To that end, PSA TPG today (30 July) released a Working Procedures Guidance document which outlines how touring productions – defined as one-off shows, festivals and live events of any size that require moving personnel and equipment to a new destination – can better align with suppliers, venues and promoters to assist risk management relating to transmission of the coronavirus.

“Based around a hierarchy of control (including elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administration and PPE) and a responsive threat scale, the guidance details different levels of design, schedule and control measures appropriate to conditions,” explains the group. “These measures include social distancing, health declarations and monitoring, hygiene and cleaning, and mitigation.”

there’s no better group of people to find the solution than those that deliver shows for a living

The document is designed to add to existing guidance “by outlining practical measures that will inform tour-specific risk assessments and method statements”, the association adds. Production industry professionals are encouraged to provide feedback on the guidance via the PSA website.

Take That production manager Chris Vaughan says: “We have brought together the leading experts in live music concert touring to agree on how tours should be run whilst the threat of Covid-19 remains with us.

“Production and tour managers are responsible for the operational, logistical, financial, creative and technical delivery of concerts around the world and, as such, we are proposing a series of guidelines that can be practically and realistically implemented.”

Sam Smith’s production manager, Wob Roberts, adds: “Covid-19 is an unwelcome addition to the rider, yet there’s no better group of people to find the solution than those that deliver shows for a living. More than a document, this is intended to be a responsive set of protocols that efficiently move with a changing environment.”

“From an industry whose timeless motto is ‘the show must go on’, the pandemic has been a devastating blow, both economically and for the mental wellbeing of the huge number of people who work behind the scenes,” comments Mark Ward, production director of BST Hyde Park. “These new documents offer many of the answers those people are searching for.”

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Australian biz unites for safe reopening strategy

The Live Entertainment Industry Forum (LEIF), a new initiative that aims to to ensure fans can return safely to live events when restrictions on mass gatherings are lifted, has been formed by Australia’s biggest live entertainment companies.

LEIF’s mission is to “support the COVIDSafe reactivation of events with live audiences across Australia” when restrictions are eased in July, according to the body. (COVIDSafe is Australia’s coronavirus contact-tracing app.) “LEIF will put in place a comprehensive, flexible, all-of-industry reopening and risk-management strategy that meets the needs of the public, governments, sporting bodies, venues, performers and industry, with safety at its core.”



LEIF comprises all major Australian live businesses, including promoters Live Nation, TEG, Frontier Touring, Chugg Entertainment and AEG; agency WME; venues Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Cricket Ground, Marvel Stadium, Melbourne Olympic Parks and Adelaide Oval; venue operators ASM Global, Venues West and Venues Live; musical producer Michael Cassel Group; and associations Live Performance Australia, Venue Management Association and Australian Festivals Association.

Led by an executive committee headed by former Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland, the forum says will work in conjunction with governments, sporting bodies, venues and audiences to “build confidence in the industry’s preparedness to operate safely, flexibly and sustainably and explore how industry can be supported by governments during its gradual return”.

“I am proud that we stand united to work together”

LEIF will develop measures regarding cleaning and sanitisation, crowd management, physical distancing plans, health monitoring and contact tracing, with the objective of restarting an industry responsible for more than 175,000 Australian jobs. The objective is to safely restart an industry which supports over 175,000 Australian jobs and feeds other sectors hit hard by COVID-19 such as tourism, transport and hospitality.

“This pandemic has brought our industry to a complete standstill. The thousands of cancelled sporting events, concerts, festivals, theatre, family and comedy shows, and all the associated revenues related to them, can never be replaced,” comments Sutherland.

“Our industry was the first to close during Covid-19 and it will be one of the last to fully reopen. The cultural, creative and sports industries supports the livelihoods of around 175,000 Australians, many of whom are casual or part time. The industry also contributes an estimated $150 billion to the Australian economy. Our live events have a huge economic flow on effect: we support jobs in airlines and other transport companies, hotels, pubs, restaurants and retail establishments of all sizes all over Australia.

“We need a clear roadmap to get our industry back to work, while playing a bigger role in the post-Covid-19 economic recovery of our nation. We are committed to working with all states and territories, especially with their chief medical and health officers. We will develop COVIDSafe best practices and a world-leading response to revive our industry, get people back to work and bring fans back together throughout Australia through the unbeatable power of live events.”

“We must put aside our natural competitive instincts so we can all bring large-scale live events back to the Australian people”

“Our industry has to work together at this challenging time. We must put aside our natural competitive instincts so we can all bring large-scale live events back to the Australian people safely,” says Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG. “We want to work closely with the federal, state and territory governments to create solutions that get our industry up and running again and help get the many thousands of people who support our industry back to work. We want to bring fans back and jobs back, safely.”

Roger Field, CEO of Live Nation Australasia – who also serves on the executive committee alongside Sutherland and Jones – adds: “Live events and mass gatherings are not solely for recreational purposes – they play a crucial part in the fabric of Australian life.

“Just as sport plays an important role in promoting healthy behaviours, so too do music and the performing arts. The positive impact culture brings to society is not only seen both psychologically and in social wellbeing, but in the fact that the live events industry contributes hundreds of thousands of jobs, which flows on and effects the whole economy.

“I am proud that we stand united to work together to make the return to events a reality and for the people of Australia to enjoy the power of live once again.”

 


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WHO releases new guidance on ‘mass gatherings’

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued updated guidance on holding ‘mass gatherings’, such as large music and sports events, safely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The document Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19, dated 29 May, updates previous guidance from 19 March. The new version, which “reflects the evolution of the knowledge on the pandemic over the past weeks”, sees the WHO recommend that event organisers stagger arrivals, hold events outside where possible and restrict entry to healthy people, among other guidelines.

Other recommendations include reducing venues’ capacities (as has already happened in the US, Europe, New Zealand and elsewhere); increasing the amount of transport to and from the event (to reduce contact in crowded buses/trains); designating seating (presumably to enforce social distancing); and ensuring the widespread availability of handwash/sanitiser for eventgoers.

In contrast with its guidance in March – when it recommended that “all countries with community [Covid-19 transmission should seriously consider postponing or reducing mass gatherings” – the WHO now says authorities should, recognising the positive role such events play in societies’ cultural lives, consider allowing ‘mass gatherings’ to take place where it is safe to do so.

“Mass gatherings are not merely recreational events; they have important implications on the psychological well-being of large number of individuals (eg religious events), can play an important role in promoting healthy behaviours (eg. sports), provide employment for a great number of people, and could leave a legacy of improved assets or capacities developed as a result of hosting a mass gathering event,” reads the document.

“Generally, events associated with a low risk of Covid-19 transmission … may be considered sufficiently safe to proceed”

“Since mass gatherings have substantial political, cultural, social, and economic implications, authorities should assess the importance and necessity of an event and consider the option that it may take place, provided all associated public health risks are adequately addressed and mitigated.”

The WHO further recommends that those particularly vulnerable to the virus, such as the elderly, should still stay away, and that there should be isolation facilities on site for anyone who becomes ill during an event.

“Generally, events associated with a low or very low risk of Covid-19 transmission and low strain on the health system may be considered sufficiently safe to proceed,” the guide concludes.

However, “[e]vents with a moderate, high or very high level of risk might not be sufficiently safe to proceed and would require a more thorough application of prevention and control measures. If the risk of spreading Covid-19 remains significant after application of all control measures, postponing or cancelling the planned event should be considered.”

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Further post-coronavirus reopening guides released

Industry organisations in Germany and the US have become the latest to contribute to the body of reference material for venue operators wishing to reopen safely once the coronavirus threat has passed.

Following the publication of the Event Safety Alliance Reopening Guide by the US-based ESA earlier this month, Germany’s Research Institute for Exhibition and Live Communication (RIFEL) and the US-based Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) have produced guidelines of their own, as the live industry looks towards its post-Covid-19 recovery.

SISO, which represents nearly 200 exhibition, conference and trade show organisers across the world, has created the ‘All Secure Standard’ – a set of guidelines that several of the largest show organisers are using to reopen their events “in a healthy and safe environment”.

The four key themes, or ‘cornerstones’, of the standard are physical distancing; communication (such as keeping attendees up to date with safety protocols); cleaning and hygiene; and ‘protect and detect’ (which includes measures such as contact tracing, temperature checks and quarantine areas).

“This is an open-source document, meaning that it is being provided for your information and use as you find best serves your own events and business,” explains SISO’s executive director, David Audrain. “They are guidelines, not rules, and not necessarily a one-fits-all expectation.”

“This document provides baseline for many to use as a standard starting point, which you can then customise”

“What this document does is provide a baseline for many to use as a standard starting point, which you can then customise as necessary for the needs of each of your own events,” he adds.

In a document entitled Event Safety and Security in the Context of Covid-19, RIFEL – an academic research body focused on the events industry – has outlined three protection guidelines it says conform with both the WHO’s planning recommendations on mass gatherings and licensing/building codes in most German states.

Protection guideline A says that events may “fundamentally be carried out” if all persons present – including visitors, artists, service/production companies, venue employees and others – are “verifiably not infected with Covid-19 [ie already tested] and not contagious or have already acquired immunity”.

If that is not possible, events should be able to go ahead if social distancing is enforced and additional hygiene measures are implemented, according to guideline B. Guideline C (for those venues unable to follow B), meanwhile, recommends “more stringent hygiene conditions” which “must be explicitly described in the risk analysis and approved by the authorities.”

RIFEL’s guideline B notably recommends chequerboard seating (with empty seats between attendees) as a means of keeping visitors apart, as well as details on enhanced hygiene protocols. Read the full RIFEL guidelines here.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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French biz laments “very partial” Collomb circular annulment

French industry association Prodiss and trade union SMA have deemed the State Council’s recent changes to the controversial Collomb circular as “very partial”, saying they will continue to “defend the sector against the directive”.

Proposed by former interior minister Gérard Collomb in May 2018, the so-called Collomb circular (circulaire Collomb) saw organisers pay the government for the deployment of police at live events, except in the case of terrorist-related incidents.

The idea was met with incredulity across most of the industry, with many citing a drastic increase to security bills as a result.

Under the new changes, organisers no longer have to pay a deposit – equalling 60% to 80% of the total security cost – when agreeing a contract with the state. The annulment also removes a deadline that obliged organisers to complete their payment within a month of an event’s conclusion.

An additional change dictates that an agreement must be signed between organisers and the government in advance of an event, if any law enforcement is to be deployed and billed for.

“Safety is a sovereign matter that should not be dealt with by the organiser of festivals and shows alone”

Although Prodiss and SMA, who took legal action to revoke the circular in 2018, call the partial annulment “a first step against the injustice of the circular”, they state that the key issue of organisers reimbursing the state for security costs has not been called into question.

“Event owners will continue to single handedly bear the costs of all police intervention that is directly associated with their events,” reads a statement from Prodiss and SMA.

“For professionals, safety is a sovereign matter that should not be dealt with by the organisers of festivals and shows alone,” continues the statement. “Our organisations will continue to fight to defend the sector against this directive that weakens its entire cultural and artistic ecosystem.”

The changes to the circular come following the French government’s creation of a new decree last year, which provided funding for security enforcement at live events. The law failed to appease Prodiss and SMA, with event organisers only being spared costs in the case of “exceptional circumstances”.

Photo: Arthur Empereur/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)

 


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