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Coldplay to open OVG’s Climate Pledge Arena

Coldplay will be the first act to play Oak View Group’s (OVG) Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle – the world’s first carbon-neutral certified arena.

The band’s frontman, Chris Martin, previously told BBC News that Coldplay would put touring plans on hold as they investigate how to make their concerts more sustainable.

“Our next tour will be the best possible version of a tour like that environmentally,” said Coldplay frontman, Chris Martin.

“We would be disappointed if it’s not carbon neutral. The hardest thing is the flying side of things. But, for example, our dream is to have a show with no single-use plastic, to have it largely solar-powered. We’ve done a lot of big tours at this point. How do we turn it around so it’s not so much taking as giving?”

The band will fulfil their dream by performing at the 18,100-seat Climate Pledge Arena, which will be powered exclusively by renewable energy sources.

The arena will also be a functionally zero-waste building from day one and will eliminate all single-use plastics by 2024.

“We’re so excited to have Coldplay who wholeheartedly believes in and supports sustainability efforts, be the first to play”

Coldplay, along with support act We Are King, will perform at the former KeyArena on 2 October, marking the official reopening.

Tickets go on sale on 15 September at 10:00 PST through Ticketmaster. Amazon Music will also be streaming the show live on Prime Video for all customers – with or without a Prime membership – as well as Twitch, and on the Amazon Music app.

Oak View Group CEO, Tim Leiweke, says: “We’ve embarked on what some may say was an impossible journey to turn this historic landmark into a world-class net-zero carbon certified arena that’s first of its kind. This is why we’re so excited to have Coldplay who wholeheartedly believes in and supports sustainability efforts, be the first to play in the building for what will be a night to remember.”

The concert will be the first public show at Climate Pledge Arena as a part of a weeklong opening celebration across the Seattle Center Campus.

Other opening week festivities include the VenuesNow Conference (hosted by OVG), a ribbon-cutting ceremony and Seattle Kraken’s inaugural home opener marking its first season.

Today’s news follows Leiweke’s call to arms for the live entertainment industry to take action on climate change. Read the full IQ interview here.

 


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Tim Leiweke: “Climate change is the fight of our lives”

Oak View Group (OVG) co-founder and chief executive Tim Leiweke has issued a call to arms for the live entertainment industry to take action on climate change.

“Climate change is without a doubt the fight of this generation’s lives,” he tells IQ. “At OVG, we believe that we, along with the whole live entertainment industry, have a unique opportunity to inspire others to take action on this era-defining issue,” adding that sustainability is one of OVG’s core values.

The global sports and entertainment company, along with ecommerce giant Amazon, is a few months out from opening the world’s first carbon neutral venue, Climate Pledge Arena (CPA) in Seattle.

“It hasn’t been easy, but I’m proud and excited that CPA will become the world’s first certified carbon neutral arena when it opens later this year. It’s also going to lead the way with commitments to zero waste from events and using recycled rainwater to service the NHL ice-rink,” explains Leiweke.

OVG and Amazon have set their sights on the 18,100-seat arena becoming ‘the most progressive, responsible, and sustainable arena in the world’ – a commitment underpinned by four goals.

The first goal is to maintain CPA’s carbon elimination by eschewing fossil fuel consumption for daily use; generating renewable energy from onsite solar panels; reducing all carbon emission activities and offsetting those not possible – like transportation – by purchasing credible carbon offsets.

“We have a unique opportunity to inspire others to take action on this era-defining issue”

CPA will also aim to eliminate single use plastics and achieve zero waste by ‘greatly simplifying the supply chain’.

Finally, the arena, home to ice hockey team NHL Seattle, will conserve water via its ‘rain to rink’ system which will harvest water off the roof and collect into a 15,000-gallon cistern. According to OVG, the system will save 50,000 gallons annually.

Other ways the CPA will conserve water include waterless urinals and ‘ultra-efficient’ showers, significant on-site retention tanks reducing stormwater runoff and water bottle filling stations throughout the arena.

Beyond this the CPA will have an advisory committee with partners at Amazon; create transparency and public reporting on initiatives progress; host arena events that celebrate the environment and its commitment to green operations; partner with educational institutions to utilise the arena as a classroom for environmental education.

Leiweke says that OVG is taking the learnings from CPA to guide future projects: “All of our arenas in both the US and around the world, from the UBS Arena in New York to Co-op Live in Manchester, are putting sustainability at the heart of both design and operations”.

If all goes according to plan, the UBS Arena (cap. 19,000) in Belmont Park, New York, won’t be far behind CPA in achieving a carbon-neutral status.

The arena, scheduled to open in time for the 2021-2022 National Hockey League season, is projected to be 100% carbon neutral by 2024 – which will make it the first to do so on the East Coast of the US.

“Climate Pledge Arena is going to lead the way with commitments to zero waste from events”

The UBS Arena is currently being built to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction (Leed) standards.

Elsewhere, Manchester’s Co-op Live (cap. 23,500) is leading the way for environmentally sustainable arenas in the UK, both in terms of design and future commitments.

The roof alone boasts 10,500 square-metres (1.5x a football pitch) of rooftop solar panels, air source heat pumps, high spec insulation and façade designed to reduce cooling and heating requirements.

The venue’s architecture is paired with renewable energy, low carbon technologies and intelligent building controls such as LED lighting design and smart building systems to minimise energy use).

Plus, in a bid to meet Manchester City Council’s 2038 net zero carbon goal, the venue is also using 100% electric fuel.

Taking note from CPA, Co-op Live will also use 100% rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing, bathroom use and water efficient catering, and will aim to be zero waste.

The Co-op Live development is targeting Breeam (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) ‘excellent’ accreditation.

Other arenas OVG is currently developing include Moody Center, Austin; Coachella Valley Arena, Palm Springs; Savannah Arena; Cardiff Bay Arena; and Santa Guilia, Milan.

 


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Drive-in rave poses as religious service in Seattle

Seattle-based concert lighting company R90 hosted a recent drive-in rave by classifying the event as a religious service, avoiding violation of lockdown laws in the state of Washington.

The Covert Bat Drive Thru Rave was the brainchild of R90 owner Joe Cole, who organised the event with the help of friend and attorney Neil Juneja of Gleam Law, lighting designer Erik Mahowald (Bending Lite Productions) and lighting programmer Christian Jackson (R90), making use of guidelines permitting drive-in spiritual services.

In coordination with city, county and state officials, the team pitched the rave as having religious affiliation through its offering of the ‘gift’ of music, with no legal reasons arising to prevent them from holding the event.

In coordination with city, county and state officials, the team pitched the rave as having religious affiliation through its offering of the ‘gift’ of music

The religious-service-cum-rave took place in the car park of R90’s shop in Seattle, which has enough room to hold 21 socially distanced vehicles.

Local DJ talent including Darrius, Pezzner, Subset and Powermitten performed at the event, which also included an experimental acoustic set from singer-songwriter Glan Cannon.

With a warehouse full of lighting gear, the team of production specialists built the venue as a 3D visualisation model, complete with three lighting towers, 15 Robe MegaPointes and 27 LEDBeams.

Guests had to remain in their cars, with no limit to the number of people in each vehicle provided they were from the same household.

In keeping with religious service customs, audience members could make ‘donations’.

The R90 team is working with local promoters to increase the scale of future events and source larger venues.

 


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OVG, Amazon team up for first carbon neutral arena

The former KeyArena in Seattle is to become the first carbon neutral venue in the world, powered exclusively by renewable energy sources.

Ecommerce giant Amazon announced it had secured the naming rights to the 18,100-seat arena yesterday (25 June). The venue, home to ice hockey team NHL Seattle, is to be known as the Climate Pledge Arena.

The online retailer has pledged to make the venue the first-ever net zero carbon certified arena when it opens in summer 2021, with zero waste production, ice made from reclaimed rain water, locally sourced food and an elimination of single use plastics by 2024.

The project, a joint collaboration between Amazon, NHL Seattle and venue operator Oak View Group (OVG) – which is funding the reconstruction of arena – has reportedly reached the $1 billion mark, partly due to the upgrades required to achieve carbon neutral status.

OVG has hired Seattle architect Jason McLennan, a specialist in sustainable design, as chief sustainability consultant for the arena.

“It’s not just about one arena. It’s the platform,” says OVG CEO Tim Leiweke, who is leading the arena development efforts.

“We must take steps to build arenas and stadiums that front-and-centre align with our zero-carbon mission statement”

“We challenge music, facilities, concert tours, and sports. It is our time to step up to face the challenge of our generation. We must take steps to build arenas and stadiums that front-and-centre align with our zero-carbon mission statement.”

“Instead of negotiating the assets, we’ve been brainstorming: What if we did this? What if we did that?” adds Tim’s brother, Tod Leiweke, president and CEO of NHL Seattle.

“Every day, we get to promote this idea of a sustainable world. It’s a beautiful vision, that we can change the course of what’s happened to our planet and dream of having a zero-carbon footprint. It’s going to require investment and policy, but it’s absolutely possible.”

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says the arena’s name is to serve as “a regular reminder of the importance of fighting climate change”.

“We look forward to working together with Oak View Group, a new Climate Pledge signatory, and NHL Seattle to inspire global climate action,” says Bezos.

Amazon created its climate pledge last year with activist group Global Optimism, pushing for corporate America to achieve net zero carbon by 2040. Current signatories include Verizon, Infosys and consumer-goods giant Reckitt Benckiser Group (RB).

Earlier this week, Amazon announced the Climate Pledge Fund, a US$2 billion venture capital fund dedicated to investing in clean energy.

 


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OVG bolsters Seattle arena team

Oak View Group (OVG) has made three appointments to the executive team for its new arena at Seattle Center in Seattle, Washington, due to open in mid 2021.

With immediate effect, Eric Bresler joins OVG as senior vice-president of programming, while Tom Conroy becomes vice-president of operations and Rosemary Selle vice-president of marketing.

“As we continue to make momentous progress in the construction of our world-class arena for Seattle, we also are assembling the best in executive leadership to operate and run the arena day to day,” says Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke. “Eric, Tom and Rosemary are all highly experienced and the best in their respective fields.

“I’m pleased to officially welcome them on board and have no doubt they will continue to add to the culture of excellence we strive to establish and execute.”

“The success of this venue depends on securing world-class talent”

As senior VP, Bresler will lead programming and entertainment business development, as well as assisting in providing content for other US OVG venues, including Moody Center at the University of Texas, the new arena at Agua Caliente in Palm Springs, and the New York Islanders’ new arena in Belmont, New York. He joins from AEG Facilities, where he was VP of event booking and development.

Conroy, meanwhile, was previously director of operations at Ottawa’s Canadian Tire Centre, while Selle most recently served as regional director of marketing for AEG Facilities/ASM Global, based at Target Center in Minneapolis.

Steve Mattson, executive vice-president of Oak View Group and GM of the Seattle arena, comments: “We are building a world-class, iconic arena in Seattle and the success of this venue depends on securing world-class talent. In adding to our leadership with Eric, Tom and Rosie, we have injected exactly that. They are proven performers that will differentiate Seattle as one of the best facilities in the industry.”

In addition to its US properties, OVG – founded in 2015 by Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff – is developing arenas in Milan, Italy, and Manchester, UK.

 


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Music fans injured in screen, barricade collapses

Incidents at two separate live music events this weekend left around 50 fans injured.

Thirty people sustained injuries at a 20,000-capacity rap concert in Essen, Germany on Saturday night (31 August), when a large LED screen fell into the crowd. Police told reporters that two fans were left in a “critical condition” following the incident at the Marteria and Casper concert.

The concert was immediately cancelled and fans evacuated from the area of Seaside beach, Lake Baldeney. According to some reports, extreme weather contributed to the collapse.

The rappers later took to social media to thank “our crews, the emergency services and local authorities” for their professional response.

Incidents at two separate live music events this weekend left around 50 fans injured

In the United States, more than two dozen festivalgoers were injured at AEG-promoted Bumbershoot music festival at the Seattle Center. A steel barricade separating the crowd from the stage collapsed during a performance by DJ and producer Jai Wolf.

“Saturday night at Bumbershoot Festival there was a steel barricade failure that resulted in several non-life threatening injuries,” read a statement issued by festival organisers. “Those injured were handled by on-site medical teams and further treatment continued at an area hospital as deemed necessary.”

The show was rescheduled for the following evening, with entry granted to all those with Saturday Bumbershoot passes.

Tyler the Creator, Lizzo, the Lumineers and Her were among the acts to play at the three-day festival.

 


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11 accuse former Lumineers manager of sexual assault

Following the accusations of five women last month, a further six have come forward this week to speak out about the alleged sexual assault and sexual misconduct they endured at the hands of former Lumineers manager David Meinert. The reported events, now coming from a total of 11 different women, date from 2001 to 2015.

The alleged events from each accuser were recounted in detail and supported with secondary sources by Seattle-based news organisation KUOW. The accounts include non-consensual genital touching, forcible and non-consenual kissing, attempted forcing of oral sex and even repeated slapping when one woman rejected his aggressive advances. Meinert, 52, is also said to have threatened two other women upon learning they had told friends about their assaults.

Five of the six most recent accusers have come forward publicly – they include musician Erryn Young, Seattle Times food critic Bethany Jean Clement, Umami Seattle (a catering company) founder Elise Ballard, Urban Artworks board chair Rebecca Jacobs and political operative and adjunct Bellevue College faculty member Maria Leininger. A sixth, named only as Jenna, withheld her second name out of fear of the stigma still attached to sexual assault victims.

The KUOW report told of how he acted “contrite” when questioned, and admitted “to being a jerk to women, to making off-colour sexist remarks, to being ‘handsy’.”

Last month, Meinert was interviewed twice by KUOW in response to the initial five allegations. He denied rape and sexual assault. The KUOW report told of how he acted “contrite” when questioned, and admitted “to being a jerk to women, to making off-colour sexist remarks, to being ‘handsy’.” Despite this, he went on to say he didn’t know why the accusations were being made against him, and that he “didn’t recall” any instances of inappropriate behaviour.

In the aftermath of the initial five accusations last month, and the further six this week, Meinert’s Seattle-based businesses have suffered a sharp downturn. Of his management company Onto Entertainment, three acts have left, including – according to their band representative – the Lumineers. Elsewhere, his restaurant and club empire has crumbled. In the cases of Comet Tavern, Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, Grim’s and Queer/Bar, he has been barred from entering the premises.

Meinert is just the latest name to come unstuck in the music world in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Since last year, repeated scandals have revealed the extent to which sexual misconduct, assault and harassment permeate the entertainment industries. Post-#MeToo, responses have included improved reporting and support services and campaigns to tackle harassment.

 


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AEG withdraws from Seattle Arena renovation scheme

AEG Facilities has withdrawn its $521million plan to renovate Seattle’s KeyArena, blaming the way the city has conducted the bidding process for their decision to exit.

AEG and Hudson Pacific Properties submitted their refurb proposal in April under the banner of Seattle Partners. However, on Sunday they rescinded that bid, leaving Oak View Group as the only bidder, with its $564million plan.

Explaining their decision to drop out of the renovation race, AEG Facilities president Bob Newman and Hudson Pacific chief investment officer, Alex Vouvalides told Seattle’s mayor and city council that, “significant factors through the bidding process have eroded our confidence in the ultimate execution of this project, no matter which group is selected.”

In a letter to the council, made public, Seattle Partners added, “We fear the City is driving toward an unrealistic financing structure, and we believe the City has failed to conduct a sufficiently thorough, objective and transparent process to properly evaluate the respective strengths and weaknesses of the two proposals and, most significantly, to identify the proposal best positioned to deliver a project consistent with the community’s interests.”

Significant factors through the bidding process have eroded our confidence in the ultimate execution of this project.

In response, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said, “There are strengths and weaknesses in each proposal and the City fully expects a robust negotiation upon choosing a preferred alternative, to ensure the final plan meets the needs of the surrounding neighbourhoods, the city, Seattle Center and those who will use the building for years to come.

“It is unfortunate Seattle Partners chose to pull their proposal. As recently as May 19th, Seattle Partners stated in a mass email: ‘We applaud the City for executing a thoughtful public process. Engaging with teams from the City and the public has strengthened our proposal and crystalized our approach.’ We hope to continue our current relationship with AEG and look forward to addressing our path forward on KeyArena, as well as our commitment to engage the community, in the coming days.”

With Oak View’s proposal now seemingly the only option for the arena’s future, its CEO Tim Leiweke commented, “Our project is 100% privately financed and built with 100% private proceeds. With our partners MSG and Live Nation, we have assembled the best team in the sports and entertainment industry. Our chief objective is this: provide the best financial deal for the city, an exemplary public-private partnership, and build Seattle a showcase venue for professional sports, music, and entertainment.”

 


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Swift plays only 2016 show as lawsuit rumbles on

Taylor Swift, whose 1989 world tour was the highest-grossing of 2015, played her only full concert of 2016 yesterday at the United States grand prix in Austin, Texas.

Swift played a 15-song set for an audience of roughly 80,000 at the Circuit of the Americas following the conclusion of the Formula 1 race, which was won by Britain’s Lewis Hamilton for the Mercedes team.

A surprise addition to the the setlist was Calvin Harris’s ‘This is What You Came For’, written by Swift with ex Harris:

Swift has for much of 2016 been embroiled in a lawsuit with radio DJ David Mueller, whom she alleges groped her buttocks at a fan meeting at the Pepsi Center in Denver in June 2013. “I remember being frantic, distressed, feeling violated in a way I had never experienced before,” Swift said a video deposition leaked to Billboard. “A meet-and-greet is supposed to be a situation where you’re thanking people for coming, you’re supposed to be welcoming people into your home, which is the arena for that day. For someone to violate that hospitality in that way, I was completely stunned.”

Liberty Media, which owns 34% of Live Nation, agreed in September to acquire Formula 1 from its current owner, CVC Capital Partners. CVC has since invested US$75 million into DTI Management, an inventory-management platform for secondary ticket sellers.

 


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