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Germany’s Goodlive announces reshuffle

Germany’s Goodlive has announced a new management structure “in preparation for ‘the roaring 20s’ of the post-pandemic live entertainment industry”.

Co-founders and managing partners Stefan Lehmkuhl and Thomas Resch have announced their departure from the company, leaving Fruzsina Szép, Julian Gupta and Justus Mang with greater responsibility.

Gupta, alongside his role as managing director of Ferropolis-based festival splash! (cap. 30,000), will also assume responsibility for the festival booking team at Goodlive.

In addition, he will also take over the management and booking of Freiburg-based festival Heroes, which Goodlive partnered with in early 2020, working alongside the festival’s founder Lukas Apfelbacher.

Szép, who was appointed MD of Superbloom in 2019, will be primarily responsible for the Munich launch of the festival.

“[Fruzsina, Julian and Justus] have one of the best teams in the world at their disposal”

Meanwhile, Mang heads Goodlive Artists, the company’s touring arm (description), which recently expanded to Austria.

In the future, all three will actively support the management of Goodlive, alongside the remaining confounders and managing partners at the company Marko Hegner and Mirko Roßner. The fifth cofounder of Goodlive, Matthias Hörstmann, left in 2017.

Stefan Lehmkuhl says: “I am incredibly proud and delighted that trusted friends like Fruzsina, Julian and Justus will play a more leading role in shaping the future of Goodlive. They have one of the best teams in the world at their disposal, and many of the people I’ve worked with over the years are taking on more responsibility for some of the projects I’ve had the pleasure to help shape over the past 20 years.

“Personally, I long for a period of pause and reflection on whether and in what capacity I see my future in the live entertainment industry after the pandemic, and I am happy to have the privilege of taking a longer break after more than two decades of never standing still.”

“We feel well-positioned to further expand our role as an independent alternative in the festival and touring market”

Thomas Resch adds: “When I stumbled into the live entertainment industry 25 years ago at the young age of 18, I could not have imagined where this journey would lead. It was a very exciting time with many challenges and even more unforgettable moments.

“During the last years, Julian Gupta has firmly shaped splash! and achieved a great deal. I am sure that under his leadership, our strong team will master all other challenges and that Goodlive will continue on its successful path.”

Marko Hegner, MD, Goodlive, says: “We feel well-positioned to further expand our role as an independent alternative in the festival and touring market from 2022 onwards and are incredibly excited to finally tackle projects that had already been planned before Corona, such as Superbloom Festival in Munich, Heroes Festival in Freiburg and the launch of Goodlive Artists in Austria.

“I have a lot of respect for Thomas’ and Stefan’s decisions to put their own needs first after a pandemic that was demanding for all of us, and I am grateful that together we have succeeded in optimally positioning Goodlive for the future in terms of personnel during a longer preparation phase.”

 


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Germany’s Goodlive cancels Melt festival and more

German promoter Goodlive has cancelled the 2021 editions of Melt, Splash, Full Force and Heroes, days after CTS Eventim announced that its stable of summer festivals are taking another year off.

Goodlive’s best-known festival Melt was scheduled to take place between 4 and 6 June 2021 at the Ferropolis open-air museum, in Gräfenhainichen, Saxony-Anhalt, featuring acts including Arlo Parks, FKA twigs and Jamie XX.

“After months and months of hard work, so many different ideas and concepts and hundreds of calls with other festivals, politicians and experts, we have to admit to ourselves that the decision is ultimately out of our hands,” reads a statement on Melt’s website.

“Believe us when we say that we have tried everything to meet you guys in Ferropolis this summer, but due to the current political situation, the uncertainty of the pandemic and lack of prospects we simply cannot continue planning the festival for 4–6 June 2021.”

“Due to the current political situation, the uncertainty of the pandemic and lack of prospects [Melt]i cannot continue planning”

Similar statements have appeared on the social media pages of Splash (originally scheduled for the weekends 8 July and 15 July in Ferropolis), Full Force (25–27 June, Ferropolis) and Heroes (18-19 June in Geiselwind and 23 July in Freiburg).

Each of the statements adds that the festival is “doing everything in our power to get together and have a party later this year, even if it might be in a different setting”.

Goodlive’s newest festival, Superbloom, is still scheduled to make its delayed debut outing at Munich’s Olympiapark and Olympiastadion (75,000-cap.) this September, at the time of writing.

Elsewhere in the German festival market, Superstruct-backed events Wacken Open Air and Parookaville have not yet given up on their 2021 editions.

“[Wacken Open Air’s] late date, on the last weekend in July, allows us to observe the further development of the situation”

“We sympathise with our colleagues, for whom this decision was certainly not an easy one,” said Thomas Jensen, co-founder of Wacken, regarding the cancellation of the CTS Eventim festivals.

“Our late date, on the last weekend in July, allows us to observe the further development of the situation – for example with regard to the progress of the vaccination campaign and upcoming decisions by the federal government – and allows us a longer preparation time,” explains Jensen. “We remain hopeful and continue planning.”

The 2021 edition of the German metal festival is scheduled to take place between 29 and 31 July in the village of Wacken, Schleswig-Holstein. The sold-out event will be headlined by Amon Amarth, Slipknot and Judas Priest.

The Parookaville team is considering postponing the electronic music festival from 16–18 July at Weeze airport to a weekend in September, saying they are “examining all possibilities”.

 


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Festival bosses talk cash flow, artist fees

The second IQ Focus festival panel, Festival Forum: The Next Stage, saw festival leaders from around Europe discuss the thorny issues of refunds and insolvency, as well as the outlook for 2021, in what should have been the halfway point of the 2020 season.

Hosted by IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson, the panel welcomed Mad Cool’s CIndy Castillo, Isle of Wight Festival/Solo Agency’s John Giddings, ARTmania’s Codruta Vulcua and Goodlive’s Stefan Lehmkuhl, two months on from the initial virtual Festival Forum session.

The current situation, said Giddings, has made it “blatantly obvious” that the business has an issue with cash flow and that many promoters don’t have any kind of “war chest to go forwards”.

“I don’t understand how you bankrupt companies by refunding tickets,” he said. “You shouldn’t be spending the ticket money on costs – you need to be in the position to be able to refund all the money. We have a responsibility to the audience.”

Giddings noted that some promoters have got into the habit of “taking money from the future to pay the past”, and it has become clear that this doesn’t work.

“This may teach people a lesson on how to run a business,” he said.

The other panellists agreed to an extent, but noted that a lack of support and clarity from the authorities has complicated matters in a lot of cases.

“This may teach people a lesson on how to run a business”

“Our government hasn’t even declared force majeure yet for live events”, said Castillo, who promotes Madrid’s Mad Cool festival. “This has put us in a very tricky legal situation.”

The Mad Cool team only started its refund period last week, explained Castillo, but is allowing people to make the decision on whether to hold onto tickets for next year or refund them until after the full 2021 line-up is revealed.

In Romania, said Vulcu, an immediate reimbursement “would have bankrupted many organisers”, as the government is implementing new restrictions every two weeks.

“There are companies with shows built up, everything ready and paid for, and then suddenly it had to be cancelled,” she said. A voucher scheme implemented by the government, allowing promoters to offer credit for shows or merchandise in place of cash refunds, has been a lifeline for many.

ARTmania did choose to offer refunds, but only received 43 requests. “Our decision to trust our audience really worked for us,” said Vulcu, adding that this tactic may “work for rock and metal audiences perhaps more than for others.”

Lehmkuhl, who runs German festivals including Melt, Splash, Superbloom and With Full Force, added that a lot depends on how long the shutdown continues for.

“So far, we have been able to spend our own money,” he said,” but the next step would be to touch the ticket money, then to get low-interest credit from the government in case it takes longer.

“What happens if it takes longer than a year?” he asked. “Few companies will be able to survive for longer than a year.”

“Our decision to trust our audience really worked for us”

Mindful of cash flow, Goodlive has asked for deposits back from acts it booked for this year. “There is mutual understanding there,” said Lehmkuhl. “We are trying to rethink our festivals for next year, adjusting dates and concepts. We will start from scratch in some ways next year.”

As the promoter of Isle of Wight Festival, Giddings said he also asked for deposits to be returned. “We are doing contracts going forward for next year and will pay the deposit then.”

In terms of being an agent, Giddings said he is not going to take a fee reduction for artists. “I would rather they didn’t play than take a reduction on my act,” he said.

“As an agent I wouldn’t book an act for festival next year unless they’re going to pay me the same money,” he said, “and we’ve done the same thing as a festival.”

Ticket prices will also have to stay the same, as so many fans are rolling over their tickets to next year. “Anyone raising ticket prices is insane,” said Giddings. “We need to get an audience back first before charging more.”

Vulcu, who said she left the money with the agencies when rescheduling, agreed that she will not be paying artists less money, “but we will definitely not pay more”.

“Romanian audiences will have a lot less money and the priority will not be going to festivals,” she said.

“As an agent I wouldn’t book an act for festival next year unless they’re going to pay me the same money, and we’ve done the same thing as a festival”

Castillo said her experiences have been “positive” with every agent. “We are looking out for each other to prevent the industry collapsing,” she said.

The Mad Cool booker admitted that it will be “really hard” to get the same audiences next year, “so we need help with fees to make things happen”.

“We are running a big risk with the festival next year”.

The recovery of the music business in Spain “hasn’t event started yet”, said Castillo, as “you first have to understand our business model, identify problems and offer solutions – and we haven’t been offered any solutions yet.”

Vulcu added that support packages offered by governments in western European countries such as Germany and the UK may put newer markets at a disadvantage, as they are less likely to receive support.

Giddings replied that, although the recent culture funding package announced by the UK government is sizeable, “we have no idea who it’s going to go to and how it will work”. He added that it was more likely to benefit venues than agents or promoters.

Sponsors are another issue for 2021. “Investing in events is risky now,” said Castillo, “and this is definitely affecting us.”

Vulcu said that, while ARTmania has secured its main sponsor for next year, “it is very difficult to get new sponsors”.

“Investing in events is risky now, and this is definitely affecting us”

Most Isle of Wight Festival sponsors have also “stuck with us” said Giddings, who believes that sponsors will start to come back in once it’s clear the event is going to happen, although they may be “different kinds of sponsors relating to our changing normal”.

Giddings added that he is “praying” for some direction on what will happen next year by Christmas, with clear information needed by March at the latest.

For Lehmkuhl, the key for the “new normal” is a high level of flexibility and an ability to keep running costs very low.

The Goodlive co-founder said that the idea of testing at festivals “is one of the few realistic plans [for getting event up and running] nowadays”, provided that the government is able to provide tests for free.

“It is hard for me to imagine that we will be able to do festivals as normal next year,” he admitted, “but one thing’s for sure, I will not be doing them with social distancing.”

The next IQ Focus session State of Independence: Promoters will take place on Thursday 16 July at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET. To set a reminder head to the IQ Magazine page on Facebook or YouTube.

Watch yesterday’s session back below, or on YouTube or Facebook now.


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IQ Focus returns with ‘Festival Forum: The Next Stage’

After a week’s break, IQ’s virtual panel series – IQ Focus – is back with Festival Forum: The Next Stage, which sees representatives from a handful of European festivals give an update on the state of the sector.

The ninth panel of the popular IQ Focus series, the session will be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube on Thursday 9 July at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET, building on a previous Festival Forum panel almost two months on.

Midway through what would have been this year’s festival season, it’s a summer like no other. But are we midway through the crisis, or is there still further to go before the festival sector can confidently progress into 2021?

How confident are promoters feeling about next year, and are artists and audiences ready to return?

With a number of government support packages in place, and much of this year’s line-ups transplanted to next year, how confident are promoters feeling about next year, and are artists and audiences ready to return?

IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson hosts this IQ Focus discussion with panellists Cindy Castillo of Spain’s Mad Cool festival; John Giddings of the Isle of Wight Festival and Solo Agency; Stefan Lehmkuhl who promotes Splash, Melt, Superbloom and With Full Force festivals at Germany’s Goodlive; and Codruta Vulcu of Romania’s ARTmania Festival.

All previous IQ Focus sessions, which have looked at topics including diversity in live, management under lockdown, the agency business, large-scale and grassroots music venues and innovation in live music, can be watched back here.

To set a reminder about the IQ Focus Festival Forum: The Next Stage session on Thursday head to the IQ Magazine page on Facebook or YouTube.

 


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Superbloom festival to debut in Munich

Miley Cyrus and David Guetta are among the headliners for the inaugural Superbloom festival, which is taking place on 5 and 6 September in the German city of Munich.

Promoted by Goodlive, Superbloom will see performances from acts including the Pussycat Dolls, DJ Snake, AnnenMayKantereit, Apache 207, Bishop Briggs, Liam Payne and Parcels.

Located in the grounds of Munich’s Olympiapark and Olympiastadion (75,000-cap.), the festival will also feature a firework display from RuPaul’s Drag Race: Werq the World, as well as comedy from Kaya Yanar and live podcasts.

Advance ticket sales are now open, with weekend passes priced at €155 (£130).

Goodlive is also behind German electronic music festival Melt!, hip-hop and rap festival Splash!, metal festival Full Force and touring yoga festival Wanderlust.


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