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K2 joins forces with Y Entertainment Group’s AGI

UK-based international booking agency K2, which represents the likes of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer, has announced a joint venture with investment firm Yucaipa’s umbrella of companies.

Under the new partnership, K2 joins the Yucaipa-owned international booking agency Artist Group International (AGI) in the Y Entertainment Group.

Yucaipa’s existing interests in the music industry also include a joint venture with Paradigm Talent Agency, a minority stake in Primavera Sound and Primavera Pro and an acquisition of US promoter Danny Wimmer Presents (DWP).

“I have had the pleasure of collaborating with [AGI chairman] Dennis and the team at AGI for many years,” says K2 founder and renowned music agent John Jackson.

“Not only is there mutual respect between us, but we share a similar philosophy and work ethic when it comes to our artists, agents and staff. As such, joining forces is the perfect fit and an opportunity to flourish on the global stage.”

K2 agency was launched in 2004 and in recent years has acquired UK companies EGO Agency and Factory Music Management and Agency.

“Joining forces is the perfect fit and an opportunity to flourish”

Founder of Factory Music Management and Agency, Sharon Richardson, brought to K2 her roster of over 20 rock and metal artists, which include Delain, Sabaton, Steve Harris’s British Lion and Metal Allegiance. The acquisition of EGO brought over company founder Jim Morewood, agent Yerry Stetter, and EGO’s largely heavy metal-focused roster.

Chairman Dennis Arfa says, “John runs one of the best agencies in the world. We’re thrilled to be working with him and his K2 team. We share many clients including Metallica, Ghost, and Volbeat and over the years have developed a natural synergy. We are pleased that our ownership has staunchly facilitated and supported our expansion efforts.”

AGI was founded in 1986 and represents artists such as Billy Joel, Metallica, Def Leppard, Rod Stewart and Motley Crue.

It was acquired by The Yucaipa Companies in 2011, with an eye towards expanding its reach in the live entertainment space through strategic acquisitions and organic growth.

The companies say plans for collaboration, expansion and diversification will be further revealed in the coming months.

 


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Live Nation acquires another Nordic festival

Live Nation Entertainment has announced the acquisition of a majority stake in Tons of Rock (10,000-cap.), Norway’s biggest rock and metal festival.

The move comes following last week’s acquisition of Finnish urban music festival, Blockfest, as Live Nation continues to expand its foothold in the Nordic region.

Launched in 2013, the three-day rock and metal festival takes place in Fredrikstemn Fortress, Halden in June each year. The festival received recognition from the Norwegian Concert Organisers (NKA) in 2017, winning the organisation’s best Norwegian festival award.

Tons of Rock organisers have worked with Live Nation Norway since the festival’s first year, securing acts including Slayer, Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Alice Cooper, Ghost and Five Finger Death Punch, among others.

“We have worked with Tons of Rock from the very beginning and are excited about our future with the festival,” says Martin Nielsen, Live Nation Norway head promoter. “The Tons of Rock team have demonstrated an outstanding commitment to the festival and to audience experience.”

“We wanted a strong strategic partner who would help us continue to grow, and the answer was obvious – Live Nation Norway”

The announcement comes at a time of change for the Norwegian festival, which moves to its new home in Ekeburg, Oslo for its 2019 edition. Headliners for this year’s Tons of Rock include Kiss, Volbeat and Def Leppard.

“We are ready to take the next step in the festival’s journey and the line-up for the 2019 festival speaks for itself,” comments festival manager and co-founder, Jarle Kvåle. “After five successful years in Halden we saw potential for further growth.”

Kvåle adds: “We found the perfect venue and wanted a strong strategic partner who would help us continue to grow. The answer was obvious – and close at hand – [in] Live Nation Norway.”

Live Nation has acquired a string of festivals, promoters, venue operators and other industry businesses this year, including Tennessee-based event marketing company Neste, Canadian venue operator and promoter Embrace Presents and Spanish Latin music promoter Planet Events.

 


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Busiest year ever for SSE Arena, Wembley

The SSE Arena, Wembley, celebrated its busiest year on record in 2018. More than one million fans attended events at the 12,500 cap. arena over the year, the largest number of annual visitors since the venue opened its doors in 2006.

Last year, 157 performances took place in the 12,500-capacity London venue. Events included the world premiere of the Golden Globe-winning film Bohemian Rhapsody, three sold-out nights for Arcade Fire, the first ever all-nighter from drum’n’bass legend Andy C, an exclusive Smashing Pumpkins show, George Ezra’s biggest headline concert to date and a sold-out show for Slayer as part of their historic final world tour.

“Our reputation as one of the UK’s most iconic concert and events venues rang true in 2018,” says John Drury, vice-president and general manager of the SSE Arena, Wembley. “With a stunning array of events across music, comedy, sport and entertainment, we helped to create memories that will last a lifetime.”

“Our reputation as one of the UK’s most iconic concert and events venues rang true in 2018”

Venue developments in 2018 included the unveiling of a brand-new 200-cap. restaurant, the Empire Bar & Grill, as well as an accompanying 50-cap. VIP Empire Lounge. 12,000 visitors downloaded the venue’s new app, which allowed them to skip out food and drink queues, with many outlets in the arena offering dedicated collection lanes for those ordering through the app.

SSE, the venue’s naming partner, invested in free in-auditorium wifi, mobile phone charging points and social activations. Members of the SSE Reward programme received exclusive offers to ticket presales, and enjoyed a dedicated VIP entrance and customer lounge.

“Our building is 85 years old this year, but constant reinvention and innovation ensure we are ready to hit more heights through 2019 and beyond,” says Drury, optimistic for an even busier 2019.

 


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Slayer, Jackson and Copping awarded for final Wembley Arena show

US thrash-metal legends Slayer, along with their management, agent and promoter, were presented with award frames by the SSE Arena Wembley following their last-ever show at the 12,500-cap. London venue.

The awards were handed out by arena GM John Drury and booking manager James Harrison following the sold-out 3 November concert, part of the band’s Farewell world tour. After support from Obituary, Anthrax and Lamb of God, the show kicked off with ‘Repentless’, accompanied by 10ft columns of fire erupting from the stage, and came to a close nearly an hour and a half later with an encore comprising ‘Raining Blood’ and ‘Angel of Death’.

Pictured after the show, left to right, are Tom Araya and Ernie Gonzalez (Slayer); John Jackson (K2 Agency); Kristen Mulderig (manager); Kerry King (Slayer); Rick Sales (manager); Gary Holt (Slayer); John Drury; Andy Copping (Live Nation); Jane Miller (K2 Agency); James Harrison; and Paul Bostaph (Slayer).

 


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Touring powerhouses bow out

In a string of announcements, two of the biggest names in global touring, along with several other veterans of the live scene, have revealed they are to quit touring.

Legendary crooner Neil Diamond – one of the best-selling artists in music history, and still a major live draw, placing no20 on Pollstar’s end-of-year top 100 in 2015, the year of his previous concert tour – announced his retirement on Tuesday after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Commenting after the cancellation of a string of his 50th Anniversary tour dates in Australia and New Zealand, Diamond said: “My thanks goes out to my loyal and devoted audiences around the world. You will always have my appreciation for your support and encouragement.”

Alluding to his song ‘Sweet Caroline’, he added: “This ride has been ‘so good, so good, so good’, thanks to you.”

Diamond was followed yesterday by 70-year-old Sir Elton John, who announced at a press conference in New York that 2018–2021’s Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, promoted by AEG Presents, would be his last.

“I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life”

“I’ve had an amazing life, amazing career,” he said. “My priorities now are my children, my husband and my family and I’ve been touring since I was 17 with various bands, then as Elton John in 1969, and I thought the time was right to say thank you to all my friends around the world globally and then to say goodbye and just to have a breather.”

“After the tour finishes, I’m very much looking forward to closing off that chapter of my life by saying farewell to life on the road,” he added. “I need to dedicate more time to raising my children.”

The tour kicks off in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on 8 September, and will consist of 300 shows across five continents, visiting North America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia, South America and Australasia.

Also bowing out are metal pioneers Slayer, who after 37 years are calling a day with a global farewell tour, and Spanish singer-songwriter legend Joaquín Sabina – while Canadian prog-rock heroes Rush have confirmed they quit touring in 2016 and have no plans to return to the road.

“It’s been a little over two years since Rush last toured,” guitarist Alex Lifeson explains to the Globe and Mail. “We have no plans to tour or record any more. We’re basically done. After 41 years, we felt it was enough.”

 


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K2 Agency acquires Factory Music

K2 Agency, which represents Metallica, Iron Maiden and Slayer, has acquired booking agency Factory Music, it announced today.

Sharon Richardson, who launched UK-based Factory Music Management and Agency in 2004, will join K2 on 1 October, bringing a roster that includes some of the biggest names in metal to John Jackson’s company.

“We have known and worked with Sharon for many years, and when the opportunity arose for her to join I jumped at the chance,” says Jackson, CEO of K2 Agency. “She will be joining the K2 team headed by Jane Miller, who has worked with me since the early ’80s, and Leo Benton, who joined us four years ago from Newcastle University.

“Sharon will be bringing to K2 her roster of over 20 rock and metal artists, which include Delain, Sabaton, Steve Harris’s British Lion and Metal Allegiance. They join the extensive roster of K2 artists [including] Alter Bridge, Ghost, Gojira, Iron Maiden, Mastodon, Metallica [pictured] and Slayer.”

“We have known and worked with Sharon for many years, and when the opportunity arose for her to join I jumped at the chance”

In addition to booking, Factor Music manages Delain and Alex Skolnick of Testament and offers tour production services.

Richardson adds: “We are extremely thrilled at having the opportunity to join and be part of the K2 team after working with and knowing John for many years. It felt that joining the K2 team is more than a positive step forward and we are delighted to be bringing our roster of artists over to K2.

“I am very fortunate to be joining such a respected company, which prides itself on a top-quality service to [its] roster of artists, and I look forward to an exciting and successful future at K2.”

Jackson, formerly of Helter Skelter Agency, formed K2 in 2002. He was also the co-founder with Kili’s Stuart Galbraith of the now-defunct Sonosphere festivals.

 


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50% increase in ticket sales for second Maximus

Move Concerts doubled ticket sales in Sao Paolo for the second edition of Maximus Festival, in what CEO Phil Rodriguez calls a “gratifyingly very positive” year for the fledgling twin rock/metal festivals.

Maximus debuted last September with two one-day festivals in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and Buenos Aires, Argentina, headlined by Rammstein and Marilyn Manson. It returned earlier this month – on Saturday 6 May at the Tecnopolis in Buenos Aires and Saturday 13 May at the Interlagos race circuit in Sao Paolo – and featured performances from Linkin Park, Prophets of Rage, Slayer, Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Böhse Onkelz and more.

“Both festivals were flawless in execution,” Rodriguez tells IQ, “and the response from punters, artists and press was gratifyingly very positive. And the weather on both dates was perfect, which always helps!

“Both festivals were flawless in execution, and the response from punters, artists and press was gratifyingly very positive”

“In Sao Paulo, we had an increase in ticket sales of over 50% from the 2016 edition, selling more than 32,000 tickets. This year we also had our third stage in Sao Paulo host hardcore bands – Rise Against, Pennywise, The Flatliners – and it was an absolute success.”

Upcoming shows for Move Concerts, Latin America’s largest independent promoter, include the South American legs of Ed Sheeran’s ÷ and Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman tours. It also promoted Kraftwerk’s 23 November show in Buenos Aires, after a judge overturned the city’s ban on concerts where “synthesisers or samplers are the primary instrument”.

Some sample shots of both festivals, courtesy of photographers Stephan Solon and Camila Cara, are below…

 


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Neil Young, Slayer, Biffy Clyro complete Roskilde line-up

Roskilde Festival this morning announced its full line-up, adding Neil Young and his band, Promise of the Real, Slayer, Biffy Clyro, James Blake, Future, Grimes, M83, Santigold, Young Thug and more to make a total of 179 acts from 30 countries.

Young and co join existing headliners LCD Soundsystem, New Order, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Wiz Khalifa and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the Roskilde Foundation-run festival, which will take place south of the city of the same name in Denmark from 25 June to 2 July.

“A handful” of remaining acts will be announced shortly before the festival.

Roskilde is so far Young’s only confirmed festival appearance for 2016.

“We have literally traveled the world the past year to find the stars of tomorrow, [who] will perform next to legends and established acts”

Anders Wahrén, Roskilde’s head of programming, says: “Neil Young is as relevant as he’s ever been with his astonishing ability to try new things and work with new people. During his last visit in 2008 he called Roskilde Festival the greatest festival in the world, and there’s no doubt in my mind that he will once again deliver an overwhelming show with both new material and all the classics.

“With renowned acts like Grimes, MØ and Santigold, pop music will play a big part in our line-up this year. Even artists such as Ghost and Tame Impala show how metal and psychedelic rock are also experimenting with pop music, rewriting both their own genres and pop itself. We see the same things with hip-hop acts like Future, Young Thug and Wiz Khalifa spitting out hits without losing their credibility or edge as rappers. We can’t wait to see our guests work their way through a diverse line-up with a pop sensibility that will take them to memorable concerts they perhaps didn’t plan on going to.

“We have literally traveled the world the past year to find the stars of tomorrow that will perform next to legends and established acts. We see Roskilde Festival as the city where you can find all the music you didn’t know you were going to love. During our travels we have found new favourite artists ourselves, and we’re convinced that our enthusiastic guests will fall in love with new artists at the festival as well.”

The updated line-up is below:

Roskilde Festival 2016 line-up poster