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Czech live industry joins forces for United Live Radio

Live music industry professionals from across the Czech Republic have teamed up to launch United Live Radio, a non-commercial radio station broadcasting live music, talk shows and podcasts.

Since going live on 10 April, the online radio station, which can be accessed here, has broadcast archived live concerts from Talking Heads, the Rolling Stones and Sting, as well as featuring talk shows by venue owner Jakub Horak and music selections from Michael Kyselka of radio Vltava and artists including Michal Kořán and Michal Prokop,

Upcoming radio hosts include Metronome Festival’s Barbora Šubrtová, veteran promoter and Fórum Karlín CEO Serge Grimaux and singer Moimir Papalescu.

“The impact of restrictions on live culture is enormous and this project, which is being developed in collaboration with festivals, concert promoters, venues and artists, aims to help everyone going through these difficult times,” says David Gaydečka, founder of Prague’s 20,000-capacity Metronome Festival, which has been postponed to September this year.

“The impact of restrictions on live culture is enormous and this project aims to help everyone going through these difficult times”

“Our common goal is to stay in touch with the musicians and the fans by offering them unique musical experiences, while also having a look inside festivals, concerts and venues.”

In addition to Metronome, festivals currently taking part in the United Live Radio initiative include dance music festival Beats for Love, Benátská noc, BluesAlive, metal festival Brutal Assault, JazzFestBrno, drum and bass events Festival Svojšice and Let It Roll, Folk Holidays, Open Air MusicFest Prestige, Prague Spring Festival, Respect Festival, Strings of Autumn Festival, Štěrkovna Open Music, United Islands of Prague and sports event Slovácké léto.

Venues including Forum Karlín, Joe’s Garage are also taking part, as well as promoters Fource Entertainment, Live Nation, Obscure Promotion and agency 10:15 Entertainment.

Listen to United Live Radio here.

 


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Grimaux and Fórum Karlín team buy into Metronome Prague

Ahead of its fifth edition next summer, Serge Grimaux and Karlín Group’s Serge Borenstein and Jan Ludvík have acquired a stake in Prague’s Metronome Festival.

The trio, which recently took over and refurbished the 4,000-cap. Fórum Karlín in Prague, aim to turn the festival – to be renamed Metronome Prague –  into “the largest city festival in the Czech Republic”, Grimaux tells IQ, adding that the new investors will “provide the existing team with the resources and the guidance they need” to achieve that goal.

Metronome founders David Gaydečka, Martin Voňka and Libor Winkler, as well as the rest of the festival team, will continue their involvement with the event.

“Joining forces with these people will help us materialising the vision Martin and I had when we created Metronome Festival,” says Gaydečka. “In fact, it is so much the beginning of a new era that, to underline the importance of this, we will soon rename the event Metronome Prague. The event will definitively be much more than just a festival.”

Liam Gallagher and Kraftwerk headlined Metronome 2019, which was attended by 18,000 people, following Massive Attack, the Chemical Brothers and David Byrne in 2018 and Sting and Kasabian the year previous.

“Metronome Prague will soon reach … the level of top events of the same type presented in many capital cities around the world”

“Early in my career I was lucky enough to be part of the group of people that created the Montreal International Jazz Festival, which later became, and to this day remains, the largest jazz festival in the world,” says Grimaux.

“Organised in the heart of the city, I can see a lot of similarities between that event, which started in 1979, and Metronome Prague. With such a great event site; the magic of the city of Prague; the perfect time of the year; and the amazing potential offered by what Martin, David and their team, the programme director Barbora Šubrtová, executive producer Martin Mára and new marketing director Jakub Horák, have created so far, there is no doubt in my mind that Metronome Prague will soon reach, if not exceed, the level of top events of the same type presented in many capital cities around the world.”

Metronome Prague 2020 will take place on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 June, returning to the open-air Výstaviště exhibition grounds in central Prague.

“The new partners will help us present top international artists to the audience,” says Voňka, “as well as an even more comfortable environment for attendees, as we are aiming to increase ​​the event area in the Výstaviště, hence accelerating and strengthening the development of our common vision.”

 


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Serge Grimaux takes over redeveloped Fórum Karlín

The new-look Fórum Karlín in Prague is open for business, with a 4,000-plus capacity, cashless-only payments and impeccable green credentials among the key features of Karlín Group’s ‘smart’ venue.

The multi-functional Fórum Karlín originally opened in 2014, and was acquired from former owner Zdeněk Bakala by Karlín Group’s Serge Borenstein and Jan Ludvík late last year. The venue is now jointly owned by Borenstein, Ludvík and Serge Grimaux, the veteran promoter and founder of Ticketpro and Intellitix, who becomes the venue’s CEO.

The Fórum has hosted more than 750 events since opening, and the new owners hope to build on that success by transforming it into a ‘SmArt Venue’ (emphasis theirs) that provides both audiences and event organisers with the best experience possible.

According to Karlín Group, in practical terms this means:

“This is […] one of the most, if not the most, exciting projects I have [worked on] these past years”

Grimaux, who originally consulted on the venue when it was being built seven years ago, tells IQ that Fórum Karlín is an “extremely versatile” space. “The entire ceiling is a rigging grid with equally great capacity,” he explains. “It can be configured in many different ways.”

One of those configurations is Fórum Karlín Club, a 1,500-person setup with the stage build closer to the main floor bar area and two levels of balcony “Never before in the Czech Republic have fans and musicians experienced such an immersive, comfortable and exciting experience.”

“My aim is for having the venue as ‘promoter-friendly’ as possible, offering new types of events such as sporting events, culinary events, etc., and also adapting its capacity so it can provide Prague with its first 1,500-capacity venue,” continues Grimaux, something which was missing in this marketplace – hence increasing the amount of live music entertainment events hosted in it.”

“Teaming with the Karlín Group, I could not imagine a better scenario to once again become fully active in the live events industry in the Czech Republic,” he adds in a statement.

“After having been part of creating the current dominant force in concert promotion – and having launched the first, and to this day the most efficient, ticketing company in the country – to now oversee the evolution of the greatest live venue in the Czech Republic, taking this entire spectrum of activities to where the world will be tomorrow is one of the most, if not the most, exciting projects I have come to embrace in the past years.

“For event organisers, we do not just rent you a venue – we care. And for fans, we do not just let you in our venue, we take care of you.”

 


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Intellitix hires new president & CEO

RFID specialist Intellitix has hired a new CEO with a background in developing high-growth global tech companies.

Carlo Chiarello joins the firm from the Lazaridis Institute (LI) at Wilfred Laurier University, which offers support and advice to Canadian tech start-ups. He previously spent over a decade at Blackberry, launching 50 smartphones globally and scaling many aspects of the business.

Chiarello steps into the shoes of former CEO and founder Serge Grimaux, who remains with the company as chairman of the board and will continue with international business development.

“I am very pleased to see that Intellitix has grown so much that it can now attract a professional CEO of Carlo’s calibre”

“I’m honoured and excited to be joining a market leader in event FinTech [financial technology] and the cashless future,” Chiarello comments. “Intellitix has many technology firsts in the event industry and a rock-solid team. I look forward to the next chapter in driving growth and scale.”

Grimaux adds: “I am very pleased to see that Intellitix has grown so much that it can now attract a professional CEO of Carlo’s calibre. Intellitix will now have the opportunity to continue its path to great success.”

Intellitix earlier this year acquired a controlling stake in LOC Pay Systems, a supplier of token-based payment systems to European venues and festivals.

 


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Ticketmaster acquires Czech Republic’s Ticketpro

Ticketmaster has acquired Czech primary ticket agency Ticketpro.

Ticketpro, founded in 1992, is based chiefly in the Czech Republic and Poland, and has also licensed its TicketSoft software to agencies internationally, including in Hungary, Belarus and Chile.

The acquisition will, says global market leader Ticketmaster, offer it the “opportunity to extend its international ticketing business activities into another key central European market […] as well as complement the development of its existing business in neighbouring Poland”.

“The live entertainment industry continues to flourish,” says Ticketmaster International president Mark Yovich. “There are more events taking place and artists on the road than ever before, coupled with increasing demand from fans across the world. Acquiring Ticketpro enables us to better service our clients in central Europe while providing a world-class service to the many fans in these countries.”

“This is an exciting time for the business and the live entertainment industry in this part of the world”

Serge Grimaux (pictured), the outgoing CEO of Ticketpro, adds: “Having started our business in the Czech Republic, Ticketpro has established a proven track record in Central Europe and many emerging markets around the world. Combining this with Ticketmaster’s global scale and reach will ensure that Ticketpro continues to provide an even better experience to its current fans, while attracting considerably more.

“This is an exciting time for the business and the live entertainment industry in this part of the world. For me, it is the end of a ticketing journey which has lasted over 25 years.”

According to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2016, Ticketpro rival Ticketportal is currently the largest ticketing company in the Czech Republic, “thanks largely to its exclusive deal with the O2 Arena in Prague”.

 


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