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Baloise Session extends partnership agreement

Swiss concert series Baloise Session has announced a four-year extension to its long-running sponsorship agreement.

Basel-headquartered insurance and financial services provider Baloise has partnered with the event for 25 years, and has served as its presenting sponsor since 2013. The new deal runs until 2029.

The 2023 edition of the intimate series, which hosts 15,500 fans annually to the club-like setting of the 1,150-seat Event Hall of the Basel Fair, runs from 21 October to 9 November. Artists include Freya Ridings, Jessie J, Ellie Goulding, Eurythmics Songbook featuring Dave Stewart and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

“We are proud to have had Baloise by our side as a loyal partner for the past 25 years,” says Baloise Session CEO Beatrice Stirnimann. “This sponsoring engagement has allowed us, as an independent event organiser, to make the Baloise Session what it is today: a festival that attracts musicians and visitors from around the world and has gained an international reputation.”

“Thanks to this timely contract extension, we have the necessary planning security to further develop the festival”

Running every autumn for the past 38 years, the Baloise Session has presented acts such as Alicia Keys, Rod Stewart, Lewis Capaldi and Eric Clapton.

“We want to thank Baloise for the major trust it has placed in our institution over many years,” adds Stephan Werthmüller, chair of the festival board. “Thanks to this timely contract extension, we have the necessary planning security to further develop the festival.”

This year’s event wraps up with shows by the Eurythmics Songbook featuring Dave Stewart/Joss Stone (7 November), UB40/Gentleman (8 November) and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds/Richard Hawley (9 November). Tickets cost from 80-150 Swiss francs.

“The Baloise Session is a unique music festival that brings people together and offers them magical musical
moments,” says Baloise CEO Clemens Markstein. “We are proud to continue supporting this renowned series of events as presenting sponsor, and look forward to many more years of collaboration.”


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Five takeaways from the International Festival Forum

A record 800 delegates from 40 countries flocked to the eighth edition of the International Festival Forum (IFF) in London, last week.

With the world’s best-known festival professionals and booking agents in attendance, IQ has compiled some key takeaways from this year’s event.

Play it safe and route your tours selectively
During the panel Festivals & Agents: Happier than ever? Chris Payne (WME, UK) voiced concerns about the viability of club shows, both for the fans and the touring industry.

“I don’t know that the next generation is going to want to go to a club in their town, be it Bedford or Coventry. They will go online. I’m worried about clubs generally because the ticket price is very expensive, and bands can’t afford to tour for anything less than £1,200–1,500 [per night] but then we’re missing a gap [in the touring ecosystem]. We can’t just skip straight to 800 capacity venues”

Payne also said that agents will need to be selective about which markets their artists play in 2023 in order to curb losses.

“You know your major markets will likely sell,” he said. “The ticket prices are going to be difficult… but it’s going to look better in your Londons or Amsterdams or Berlins than in a fifth market or a sixth market – I don’t think that’s [possible in] 2023. Forget those regional shows, if you’re not sure. There’s nothing worse than losing money on those one or two shows and then it wipes out your profit.”

Payne’s thoughts were echoed by One Finiix Live’s Jess Kinn during the New Kids on the Block panel, who said: “We need to make sure we’re not just putting an artist out there for the sake of it and really stick to the strategy of only touring at the right time, especially now,” she said. “Being able to pick and choose helps.”

Payne continued: “Next year will be about making safe bets. Personally, I won’t be trying to take a big bite out of the market next year, I just want to remain stable.”

“Even if it’s a partner I don’t like or a brand I hate, I have to start considering it”

Reconsider sponsorship offers in order to keep ticket prices down
Speaking during Festivals & Agents: Happier than ever? Cindy Castillo (Mad Cool, ES) said that festivals may have to be less fussy about their partners in order to secure much-needed cash and keep ticket prices down.

“We now need to adapt, as a festival, to things that we wouldn’t have done before in order to keep the prices affordable,” she said.

“For example, brands would come to us and say ‘Hey, I want to sponsor your festival’ and if it was not a brand that we share values with, I would have said no – it doesn’t matter the amount of money you put in. But now, even if it’s a partner I don’t like or a brand I hate, I have to start considering it. We have a business here and we need to keep it running and working.”

“People are going to have to choose whether they want to go on vacation or whether they want to do a festival as a holiday”

Be cheap or be unique to attract fans
With the projected increase in ticket prices and a decrease in fans’ disposable income, festival bosses are anticipating tough competition in 2023. During The Festival Season 2022 panel, Primary Talent’s Sally Dunstone ventured that destination festivals may come out on top if fans are forced to choose between a holiday or a festival.

“People have to be more careful with how they spend their money,” she explained. “So people are going to have to choose whether they want to go on vacation or whether they want to do a festival as a holiday.”

Detlef Kornett (DEAG, DE) added: “Recession is going to hit us and I think we will see people that left our industry return because logistics and retail and construction, all of them will suffer. Starting a new festival will be a big challenge. I like to say that next year is going to be about ‘be unique or be cheap’, but anything in the middle will be really difficult to get through.”

“There needs to be a way for us to keep people who can’t afford [festivals] the chance to see live music”

Be careful of pricing out certain groups of fans
During one of many discussions about ticket prices, Rauha Kyyrö (Fullsteam Agency, FI) said that increasing the cost for consumers could price out certain groups, making festivals less accessible for all.

“One real concern I have is that we’re making these events less and less inclusive,” she said. “We have to start thinking about ways to let people in for a very, very low price. I don’t know how we justify it, but there needs to be a way to allow people who can’t afford it the chance to see live music.

Nikolaj Thorenfeldt (Smash! Bang! Pow!, DK) added: “‘Inclusive’ is incredibly important. It’s the first word in our office when we discuss building a new event because they have to be for everybody. Everybody has to feel welcome. If you’re pricing out several customer groups, that is not the right direction.”

During The Festival Season 2022 Karolina Kozlowska (Live Nation, SE) said there had been a huge increase in VIP and platinum ticket sales, which could theoretically help subsidise cheaper tickets in the future.

“Some people are very willing to buy the more expensive ticket to get that extra comfortable experience,” said Kozlowska. “So you might not need to raise all your ticket prices – at least not by 20% – if you can make better experiences for the VIP or platinum guests which then allows the young kids an affordable ticket.”

“I think we’re going to see more and more questions about touring and how we tour”

Rethink the way you tour, to protect everyone’s mental health
With an increasing number of artists cancelling tours due to mental health concerns, James Wright (UTA, UK) was keen to remind the industry that it’s not just those on the stage that are at risk of burn out.

“It’s encouraging that [this issue] is getting the press coverage that it is because it’s been under-discussed in the public domain for a very long time. But it’s not just the artists who get the headlines; it’s the burnt-out tour manager or it’s the crew that are physically exhausted.

“We’re going to see more and more questions about touring and how we tour; length of tours, turnaround of shows more crew required and so. It’s a big topic.

“Going forward, a lot more needs to come from agents about how we route tours. There needs to be conversations with the artists and management ahead of time, to talk about how they want to tour and what their expectations are. And it’s the whole ecosystem that needs to work together.”

IFF returns to London from 26-28 September, 2023.


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AEG’s Jim King previews BST Hyde Park comeback

AEG Presents CEO of European festivals Jim King says BST Hyde Park’s extended format could become permanent as it prepares to launch its 2022 season tomorrow.

This year’s line-up includes headliners Elton John (24 June), the Rolling Stones (25 June/3 July), Eagles (26 June), Adele (1–2 July), Pearl Jam (8–9 July) and Duran Duran (10 July).

For the first time, the London-based series is taking place across three weekends, comprising nine concerts instead of the traditional six – a move King suggests is not a one-off.

“It’s certainly here to stay for the foreseeable future, which is fantastic,” King tells IQ. “It allows us to work with more artists and continue on our quest of ensuring that we have the biggest acts in the world come through this venue every year. And we love working with the artist community and the agents to achieve that.”

A by-product of the expansion will see the opening weekend clash with Glastonbury, albeit some acts – such as Sam Fender, Phoebe Bridgers and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – are performing at both events.

“There is huge demand and that is testament to the artists.”

“It’s a natural weekend for us to grow into,” explains King. “We could go later into July, but we felt that it was the best weekend to work with this year. Obviously, there are some challenges because we have to work within the supply chain, but it has given artists the opportunity to come into this window and play both shows, which is a good thing.”

Due to the pandemic, this year will mark BST’s first edition since 2019, when it welcomed Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Florence + The Machine and Robbie Williams. Pearl Jam and Duran Duran were originally booked to perform in 2020.

“We wanted to keep those shows in [for 2022] and their success is astounding when you think about it,” says King. “Pearl Jam are doing two nights in London and both are going to sell out. Duran Duran are going to have the biggest show of their career in this country. There is huge demand and that is testament to the artists.

“I also think it shows what a great connection there is between the fans and Hyde Park as a venue, because we are certainly seeing artists selling more tickets here with us [than at other venues].”

He adds: “What people are going to see when they turn up is a bigger and more creative BST Hyde Park than the one they last saw in 2019, including an even bigger Great Oak Stage, which just looks incredible. Every time I walk past it astounds me what the production guys have delivered. And hopefully the fan experience will be something everybody remembers – we’ve gone the extra mile to deliver a quality day out.”

“It’s the biggest line-up we’ve ever had: nine shows of quite simply the biggest artists on the planet”

While BST launched in 2013, King says its 2022 programme is already shaping up to be its most successful yet. The American Express-sponsored festival announced its latest partnership – a link-up with Hard Rock International – earlier this week.

“It’s the biggest line-up we’ve ever had: nine shows of quite simply the biggest artists on the planet,” he says. “It’s also the most amount of tickets we’ve ever sold, the highest gross and the largest number of sponsors and partners who want to be part of the festival. Every single metric we can apply shows us it is the biggest ever BST Hyde Park, so we start from a really strong place.

“An important footnote is that brands can take their sponsorship budgets to many places – to sport and other cultural activities – and music is one of the options they have, so for us to be able to be in a position where we’re seeing growth is a really good position for us to reflect on.”


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Uncertainty grows over former Hartwall Arena

The future of the former Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland is unclear, with shows relocated and its naming rights partner terminating its long-standing sponsorship due to the venue’s Russian ownership.

The country’s largest arena, the 15,500-cap venue has been owned by Arena Events Oy (AEO) since 2013 but has been shuttered since two of the company’s co-founders, Gennady Timchenko and Boris Rotenberg, were added to the UK’s sanctions list following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland’s National Enforcement Authority reportedly confiscated Timchenko’s 22.5% holdings in the venue in April.

Helsinki-based Beverage giant Hartwall ended its 25-year association with the building soon after the war began, leading the arena to be renamed Helsinki Halli.

“The arena will not bear Hartwall’s name, and the Hartwall logo has been removed from the arena’s walls”

“The war started by Russia is an absurd and reprehensible act,” said Hartwall CEO Kalle Järvinen at the time. “We will no longer engage in marketing collaboration with Helsinki Halli due to the war in Russia. In the future, the arena will not bear Hartwall’s name and the Hartwall logo has been removed from the arena’s walls.”

High-profile 2022 concerts to have been moved include Kiss and The Cure, which were both switched to the 8,200-cap Helsinki Ice Hall, while Queen + Adam Lambert’s 24-25 July gigs will now take place at the 15,000-cap Nokia Arena in Tampere. Eric Clapton’s performance was also relocated to the latter venue.

“Due to ongoing sanctions pertaining to the situation in Ukraine, all Live Nation events originally scheduled to take place at the Hartwall Arena (Helsinki Halli) are being moved to alternate venues,” Live Nation told ticket-holders.

Shows by acts including Elton John, Dua Lipa and Bjork, meanwhile, were unable to be rescheduled and have now been cancelled.

“It is not possible to do business with Russians on the sanctions list”

A number of Finnish promoters have confirmed to IQ that the venue remains out of use for events as a result of the sanctions. Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen, meanwhile, has expressed his hope for a change in ownership to end the deadlock.

“It is not possible to do business with Russians on the sanctions list,” he said, reports YLE. “At this stage, we can only make sure that the hall pays its taxes and fulfils its obligations… My understanding is that a forced sale could come up in the event that Helsinki Halli does not pay its debts.”

YLE notes that Rotenberg and Timchenko own a combined 44% of the arena’s holding company, Helsinki Halli Oy, but their combined voting power in the firm accounts for 93.9%.

According to Iltalehti, the rent for the arena is due quarterly and was paid on time on its previous due date in April. The publication notes that due to the sanctions, the owners cannot sell the hall without the consent of the Finnish authorities.

The venue’s management has not responded to IQ‘s requests for comment.


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Hard Rock International links with BST Hyde Park

AEG’s BST Hyde Park has announced a partnership with Hard Rock International.

The London festival’s 2022 edition runs from Friday 24 June to Sunday 10 July, with headliners including Elton John, the Rolling Stones, Adele, Pearl Jam and Eagles.

The concerts will be complemented by Hard Rock-sponsored festivities, including Hard Rock Rising presents the Rainbow Stage, which will showcase up-and-coming artists. The brand’s first ever Hard Rock Cafe opened in London in 1971.

“As we reflect on half a century of Hard Rock, which started right here in London and has since expanded to reach all corners of the globe with venues in over 70 countries, we’re thrilled to take part in such an iconic cultural celebration by helping extend access to music lovers and enrich the experiences of festival goers at BST Hyde Park” says Jim Allen, Hard Rock International chairman.

“For 50 years, Hard Rock has been associated with the biggest names in music”

Hard Rock Cafe will activate at BST Hyde Park with a cafe pop-up on the festival grounds and in the VIP section. Hard Rock Cafe locations will also have unique memorabilia on display from BST Hyde Park performers, as well as memorabilia from other UK music legends.

BST Hyde Park’s Open House is also set to return, offering a host of free activities between the weekends of music.

“For 50 years, Hard Rock has been associated with the biggest names in music,” says Jim King CEO of European Festivals at AEG Presents. “We look forward to sharing their glorious history at BST Hyde Park this summer where music fans can enjoy the famous Hard Rock Cafe and the Hard Rock Rising Stage.”

Hard Rock previously partnered with Live Nation on the Hard Rock Calling series in Hyde Park from 2008-12. AEG launched BST Hyde Park in 2013 after signing an exclusive agreement for the venue with The Royal Parks.


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Inside the changing face of live music sponsorship

The pandemic has changed the game for live music sponsorship, according to prominent figures across the business.

With question marks arising over whether brand tie-ins have lost its allure or remain a premier choice for brand leaders, most signs appear to point towards the latter.

Bijal Parmar, head of consumer marketing for Virgin Media O2, indicated much of the appeal for sponsors was derived from music’s “immense power” of connectivity.

“It’s a common culture and a universal language that during the pandemic – and even post-pandemic – has been able to unite people,” she said. “It’s something that has kept people connected, so we’re able to use it to articulate our brand strategy and provide an experience for our customers… So it’s a memory that we’re creating, not just an event.”

Dukagjin ‘Dugi’ Lipa, founder of Republika Communications Agency and co-organiser of Kosovo’s Sunny Hill Festival, with his daughter, Dua Lipa, discussed the evolving relationship.

“Rather than just being that transactional stance between the artist and the brand, we see a lot of changes and different approaches from brand partners,” he said. “Now it’s more connected to brand values: do they see anything that can have longevity rather than just one kind of interaction between the artist and the brand?”

“We get a lot of brand offers, but it’s never about the money”

Dugi pointed out that although the global success of Dua Lipa’s second album Future Nostalgia had placed her in even higher demand with would-be sponsors, there were additional considerations to take into account.

“We get a lot of brand offers, but it’s never about the money,” he insisted. “It’s always about the long term partnership and the values. You become part of the brand and the brand becomes a part of you for that period of time.

“Even though you have a lot of offers, you have to be very, very careful what your next step is and who you are going to be affiliated with, etc. We are living in a new kind of world, where everything is online, everything is reachable, everything is accessible to you. So you have to be very careful who you work and why you do it.”

US-based ASM Global EVP of marketing Alex Merchan summed up the venue company’s approach.

“A key thing we find is really looking beyond just the transactional relationship,” he said. “What is in it for both parties? We’re looking for partners that we can find unique, creative things that add value to the fan experience, or to the facility itself.”

Music Venue Trust CEO Mark Davyd explained the organisation’s formation in 2014 marked a turning point for the grassroots sector’s relationship with brands. Davyd referenced the Revive Live showcase, launched in July 2021 with support from the UK National Lottery, which contributed £1 million to directly underwrite the touring and production costs of hundreds of live performances.

“Post-pandemic, it seems to me like a lot of the brands are becoming smarter and not overlaying quite so much,” he suggested. “Our deal with them doesn’t really involve us saying ‘the National Lottery’ very much at all. What they’re looking to do is own the space where an artist broke through, from being unknown to being a touring artist. They want to own that across a number of years.

“In five years’ time, they’re hoping that one of the 60 or 70 tours we’ve already put out will be by the next Adele or Dua Lipa – and they want that reputational branding, rather than a big ‘look what the National Lottery has done’ shout, and that feels quite different. I’ve done a lot of branding where quite often you weren’t really sure why the company was there, but you liked their money. But what we’re now seeing is a lot more of a focus on, ‘What is the authentic experience and how can our brand sit alongside that?'”

“The reaction from the audience is tangibly different than it was before Covid. And I think brands can see that and want to be part of it”

Davyd added that Covid-19 had acted as a “wake-up” call for people who had previously taken their local venue for granted.

“They had to drive or walk past it when it was closed for nearly two years and they really thought, ‘Wow, I could lose that,'” said Davyd. “In this pandemic, a lot of the audience reconnected with what they’ve missed. I’ve been to about 200 shows already and the reaction from the audience is tangibly different than it was before Covid. There’s a real atmosphere in the room of being so happy to be there. And I think brands can see that and want to be part of it.”

CAA UK’s Bradlee Banbury continued on a similar theme, saying many brands had been forced to rethink their relationship with live music due to pandemic.

“They had been lazily badging tours or festivals, but not really activating in a different way with music fans,” he said. “And when we went into the pandemic and there were no live events happening, I think everyone had to reinvent the wheel a little bit. There were some brands that already had strong connections with musicians established for years and they lent into it quite easily. But there were others that were just completely shocked by the whole experience.

“Post-pandemic, I think everyone will have a bit more of a strategy to spread the money a little bit further and make that connection with the actual fans, rather than just badging a tour [although] there’s a place for that as well.”

Banbury spoke highly of drink brands White Claw and Jagermeister’s link-ups with All Points East.

“They’ve got their own stages,” he said. “So you’ve got a lot of fans seeing a show, drinking Jagermeister or White Claw; they’re having a party and they’re really enjoying it. Those brands have brought something to the table.”

This discussion took place as part of the Sponsorship: Falling through the cracks? panel at ILMC 34 in London.


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CTS Eventim hires Jan Voss as MD of brand business

CTS Eventim is bolstering its brand partnerships and sponsoring business with the appointment of Jan Voss as the new managing director at Eventim Brand Connect.

Voss joins the company from Universal Music Group (UMG) Germany, where he was responsible for partnerships and licensing as VP of UMG for Brands. Previous roles include director of marketing and head of new business at the same company.

At UMG, he played a key role in establishing the product endorsement business and digital media marketing, and in taking UMG for Brands into new areas of business such as the food sector.

He will take up his new role at CTS Eventim on 1 May 2022 and will report to the managing director of Eventim Live, Dr Frithjof Pils, who was formerly also managing director of Eventim Brand Connect.

“Jan Voss brings the ideal mix of industry expertise and broad experience in the area of brand partnerships”

Pils says: “Jan Voss brings the ideal mix of industry expertise and broad experience in the area of brand partnerships. We are looking forward to embarking upon a massive expansion of Eventim Brand Connect with him on board as managing director.”

Voss added: “Live entertainment offers brands one of the most powerfully emotive ways to interact with people. There are numerous new opportunities here for brands, particularly as the live events sector starts to open up again.

“Taking Eventim Brand Connect forward in such an exciting environment with the power of Europe’s biggest live entertainment platforms and an excellent team will be a fantastic challenge.”

Eventim Brand Connect enables companies to associate themselves with live events such as major festivals as part of their marketing strategy, allowing them to engage with specific target groups.


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Crypto.com currency ‘up 70%’ after LA arena deal

Crypto.com’s currency, CRO token, surged almost 70% in the wake of the platform’s naming rights deal for AEG’s Staples Center, according to a new report.

The 20-year deal with the Singapore-based cryptocurrency company is reportedly worth US$700 million (€622m), with all of the 20,000-cap venue’s external signage to be replaced by June 2022.

However, Forbes reports the coin’s value has risen 69.9% since last week’s announcement that the 20,000-cap Los Angeles venue is to be renamed the Crypto.com Arena from 25 December following an agreement brokered by AEG Global Partnerships. The news prompted Meltem Demirors, chief strategy officer at CoinShares International, to say the deal had already paid for itself more than a dozen times.

The deal paid for itself – 13x over

“Crypto.com put $700M into a 20 year sponsorship, and the resulting PR doubled its token price and led to a $9B run-up in market cap the deal paid for itself –13x over,” she tweeted, “difficult to untangle token distribution and who benefited, but smart token marketing strategy!”

The new relationship will result in the first name change in the venue’s 22-year history and will also see Crypto.com featured prominently across the venue with large-scale, premium branding and signage.

“We’re very excited about partnering with AEG and investing long term in this city, starting with Crypto.com Arena in the heart of downtown, and using our platform in new and creative ways so that cryptocurrency can power the future of world class sports, entertainment and technology for fans in LA and around the world,” said Crypto.com co-founder and CEO, Kris Marszalek.

Opening its doors in 1999, the downtown Los Angeles arena is home to the NBA’s LA Lakers and LA Clippers and the NHL’s LA Kings and LA Sparks and hosts over 240 major high-profile events a year, including 19 of the last 21 Grammy Awards shows. Upcoming concerts include Enrique Iglesias & Ricky Martin, Bad Bunny, Justin Bieber, Imagine Dragons and the Bud Light Super Bowl Music Fest series.

Earlier this year, Crypto.com became the first crypto platform to partner with an F1 team (Aston Martin), the first to partner with an NHL team (Montreal Canadiens), and the first to partner with a professional sports league (Lega Serie A).


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Sponsor refuses to pay ‘super-spreader’ festival

Cider company Magners is facing legal action for allegedly refusing to pay more than £1.7 million in owed sponsorship money after a partner festival became a Covid-19 ‘super-spreader’ event.

Magners, owned by Dublin-based C&C Group, claims that the decision by Cheltenham Festival to push ahead in 2020 caused the four-day festival serious reputational damage and as such should have been cancelled.

The popular horse-racing event took place with over 250,000 visitors from 10 to 13 March 2020, ten days before the first UK lockdown on 23 March. It also featured a new live music-focused enclosure, The Park, featuring DJ sets from Nick Grimshaw, Laura Whitmore, Roman Kemp and more.

According to the Telegraph, Cheltenham Festival 2020 was “widely seen as a Covid superspreader event”, though organisers and the Department of Health and Social Care confirm the event was operating within the public health guidance at the time. (Just over a week earlier, on 1 March, the UK’s deputy chief medical officer had told event organisers there was no need to stop major events to halt the spread of the coronavirus.)

C&C claims the decision to push ahead in 2020 caused the festival serious reputational damage

Magners had agreed to sponsor the festival, as well as other meetings at Cheltenham Racecourse, from 2018 to 2022 in a deal worth just over £1.7 million. However, in documents filed with the High Court in London, C&C claims that the 2020 Cheltenham Festival should have been cancelled, and revealed that it also did not want the Magners name associated with the 2021 event, which was held behind closed doors.

The Jockey Club, owner of the racecourse, is now suing C&C for damages of £1,733,761.51, arguing that it has violated the terms of the sponsorship agreement, which remains in force.

A racing industry source tells the Telegraph it is confident the Jockey Club will win the ensuing legal battle, saying: “Magners appear to be trying to throw mud at the Cheltenham Festival because they know their own defence is weak. The Jockey Club appear to be confident of their case, that the sponsorship contract agreed with [Magners] stands, is valid and must be honoured.”

C&C declined to comment on the ongoing legal proceedings.


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Virtual Tomorrowland gets “world’s fastest flyer”

Tomorrowland will advertise its upcoming virtual event, Tomorrowland Around the World, with the “world’s fastest flyer” – an ad on the side of a Formula 1 car – at this weekend’s Austrian grand prix.

Marking the first time a music festival has appeared on an F1 car, the Tomorrowland Around the World logo will appear on the McLaren MCL35M driven by Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo as part of a partnership with McLaren sponsor British American Tobacco (BAT), which will hand over its spot on the car for the race on 4 July.

While Tomorrowland, the world’s biggest dance music festival, has been forced to cancel its flagship physical event in Boom, Belgium, there will be a Tomorrowland festival this year in the form of the second edition of Tomorrowland: Around the World, a virtual festival with Armin van Buuren, Nicky Romero, Charlotte de Witte and other international DJs taking place place on 16 and 17 July. Over 1m people bought tickets for last year’s Around the World event.


The partnership with BAT will use the “global audiences of the grand prix to drive visibility to the digital festival” for both new and existing Tomorrowland fans, says BAT.

John Beasley, group head of brand building for BAT, comments: “McLaren is more than a partner in motorsport; we share a love of music and innovation, and this provides a never-before-seen opportunity to make a statement for our music-loving fans of motor racing and provid[e] much-needed support for the live music industry.

“We always want to help our partners and give back to the fans, and while Tomorrowland may not happen in person in 2021, together we have created the world’s fastest flyer for the greatest digital music festival.”

Tickets for Tomorrowland Around the World, which takes place in a virtual world on the “magical island” of Pāpiliōnem, are priced from €20.


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