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LGBTIQ+ List 2024: Chris May, BC Place Stadium

The LGBTIQ+ List 2024 – IQ Magazine’s fourth annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.

The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s fourth Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on yesterday’s interview with Caterina Conti (she/her), an operations manager at 432 Presents in Glasgow, Scotland.

The series continues with Chris May (he/him), general manager at BC Place Stadium.


Chris May, general manager at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, has more than 15 years of dynamic leadership experience in global event management. With a diverse portfolio ranging from live concerts, musicals, and TV telethons to overseeing international touring logistics, May has overseen the successful execution of events on six continents, welcoming millions of guests. 

Since joining BC Place, May has been instrumental in driving its growth and diversification. Notable highlights include securing the stadium as a host venue for FIFA World Cup ’26, setting new records for the most concert nights in a year at BC Place and the most attended concert ever with Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics Tour in September 2023, and most recently, the launch of Coast City Country Festival in collaboration with Live Nation.

Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2024 so far.
This April we launched our first-ever country music festival, Coast City Country, right in the heart of downtown Vancouver. Hosting 50,000 attendees daily with an indoor-outdoor experience (not to mention, during the festival off-season), was a huge achievement and no small feat. Extraordinary collaboration between our stadium team and Live Nation is what made it possible.

“My job is to create space and amplify the voices of those who don’t have the level of privilege I do”

Your colleagues in the international live music industry have praised you for being a “fantastic ally” for LGBTIQ+ people. What does that allyship look like?
For me, being an ally to the LGBTIQ+ community is about recognising my privilege within this community as a cis-gendered white individual. It’s about leveraging that privilege to carve out space and extend support to those within our community who face systemic challenges. My job is to create space and amplify the voices of those who don’t have the level of privilege I do. My role is not to determine the path of our community, it’s to ensure that people who have had a more challenging journey than me are leading the way and I’m supporting them in the best way I can, and they want. 

What’s your most pressing challenge in the industry at the moment?
Our foremost challenge is in advocating for ourselves. Secondly, reshaping perceptions of our stadium. And importantly, finding a way to do these things through a lens of diversity, equity, and inclusion, while embracing the principles of Truth and Reconciliation as a venue located on the traditional Coast Salish territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Truth and Reconciliation involves confronting historical injustices and fostering healing and understanding among communities. In our context, it means acknowledging and addressing past wrongs and working towards a more equitable and inclusive future. 

“We all need to work together to develop what’s next and continue fostering a vibrant industry and ecosystem… This collaboration not only nurtures fresh talent but also opens doors for diverse experiences and perspectives to flourish”

How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
As the stadium business booms, it’s important that we aren’t losing focus. I aspire to be part of an industry where the big dogs are champions for emerging talents and venues. We all need to work together to develop what’s next and continue fostering a vibrant industry and ecosystem. Imagine a scenario where established venues, promoters, and investors actively engage with emerging talents, smaller venues, and grassroots initiatives. This collaboration not only nurtures fresh talent but also opens doors for diverse experiences and perspectives to flourish. It’s about creating beneficial partnerships where each player contributes to the growth and evolution of the industry. Without a focus on development, there won’t be a foundationally secure industry in the future.

Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
In North America, the industry has serious work to do in making sure folks with accessible needs get fair treatment from start to finish when attending a show. It starts with ticket buying – right now in North America, accessible tickets are generally available for any guest to purchase – we need to ensure accessible tickets are reserved exclusively for those who need them. The next step is enhancing the overall stadium experience to cater to diverse needs. In September 2023, we hosted Coldplay for two nights on their Music of the Spheres World Tour, and their accessible seating options, focus on sustainability, and commitment to diversity and accessibility set an inspiring example for all of us.

“The Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival is my favourite queer space and event, and it holds a special place in my heart — it makes me proud to call Vancouver home”

Is there a queer act you’re itching to see live this year?
I can’t wait to catch another Orville Peck show. It’s been a couple of years since I last saw him perform, and he has a strong Vancouver connection (in addition to being all-around fabulous). 

Do you have a favourite queer space/venue in British Colombia or Canada?
The Vancouver Pride Parade and Festival is my favourite queer space and event, and it holds a special place in my heart. Being one of the largest celebrations in the country, the whole city comes alive in early August. It makes me proud to call Vancouver home.

How do you celebrate pride?
Professionally, we celebrate by participating in the parade, and through our Pride Pit Stop patio party, which we run alongside the Pride Festival at the finish line for the parade (located right at our stadium). Personally, my husband and I, along with our 7-year-old son, host an annual pride brunch. From 7am to noon on parade day we host 50+ people, complete with a mimosa bar and Caesar bar (the Canadian Bloody Mary, for those who are wondering).

 


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Rotterdam stadium paid millions to stop hosting concerts

A Rotterdam stadium will reportedly receive ‘millions’ in compensation after it was ordered to stop hosting concerts.

Feyenoord Stadium (also known as De Kuip) has hosted concerts from the likes of Madonna, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, U2 and Rammstein.

From 2026, the 51,177-capacity venue will no longer be permitted to host concerts due to the construction of new homes in the local area.

The local municipality says the sound insulation required for the properties is too expensive so it is, instead, opting to compensate the stadium for the loss of concerts.

“Many people have great memories of a concert in De Kuip but we have a social responsibility to be a good neighbour”

The last major concerts at De Kuip took place in 2019 with Rammstein and Marco Borsato, however, just six months ago the stadium director announced ambitions to revive the venue’s concert programme.

“Of course, it is a shame that we can no longer facilitate pop concerts,” says director Lilian De Leeuw. “Many people have great memories of a concert in De Kuip but we have a social responsibility to be a good neighbour.

“With the one-off compensation, we now ensure future-proof, healthy business operations and we remain a solid home base for Feyenoord, also financially.”

De Leeuw says the stadium, which is home to Dutch football team Feyenoord Rotterdam, now hopes to host an increased number of national and international matches.

 


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George Strait on pace to break US attendance record

Country music legend George Strait could break the all-time attendance record for a ticketed concert in the US with his June performance at a Texas football stadium.

The one-off show at Texas A&M University’s stadium, dubbed The King at Kyle Field, has already sold 100,000 tickets since its announcement on 28 March. His only home-state performance this year, set for 15 June, the potentially record-breaking venture will see him play in the round during the venue’s first-ever concert. He’ll be supported by two additional Texas natives, Parker McCollum and Catie Offerman.

While seats are still available, including platinum-level seats ranging up to US$2,750, the gig could break the standing record of 107,019 set by the Grateful Dead in 1977 during their Terrapin Station Tour at New Jesery’s Raceway Park. Internationally, Italian singer Vasco Rossi holds the overall record with over 225,000 tickets sold for his 2017 show at Modena, Italy’s Enzo Ferrari Park.

Strait’s performance could also break the College Station football stadium’s attendance record, set at 110,633 during a 2014 matchup between the Aggies and the University of Mississippi’s Rebels.

“George has always said he has the best fans, and there’s nothing like a Texas crowd,” says longtime promoter and Messina Touring Group founder, Louis Messina.

“We knew the show at Kyle Field would be exciting as it’s the first-ever one of its size to be held in the stadium, but even I didn’t expect we’d sell over 100,000 tickets in just a few days. He’ll play to more people in one night than we did at AT&T in 2014! It’s a testament to George’s reputation as an entertainer and performer that here we are, still setting records and personal bests years later.”

“Bringing these magical nights from the King of Country music to fans has been one of the greatest honors of my life”

The homecoming gig is on pace to break Strait’s personal attendance record of 104,793, set in 2014 during his Cowboy Rides Away stop at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The finale to his 47-show retirement tour grossed over $18.1 million, a record for the largest gross at a single-show country concert. Strait has since played speciality productions, including his 17-weekend Vegas residency Strait to Vegas at T-Mobile Arena (20,000-capacity).

“The King of Country Music”, Strait’s career spans five decades and includes a multitude of accolades, including a Grammy; Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year in 1989, 1990, and 2013; Academy of Country Music Awards Entertainer of the Year in 1990 and 2014; and induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2006.

The 71-year-old has landed 60 No. 1 hits, the record across all charts by an artist in any genre of music, a record he’s held since 2013 with Give It All We Got Tonight. He’s also the only artist to have a top 10 hit every year for 30 years and has sold more than 105 million records worldwide.

Strait’s upcoming performance — his first one in Texas since 2022 — lands amid his 10-stop summer stadium outing alongside Chris Stapleton, supported by Little Big Town. Kicking off 4 May at Indianapolis’s Lucas Oil Stadium (70,000), the country pioneer will play MetLife Stadium (82,500) in New Jersey, Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium (51,444), and Soldier Field (61,500) in Chicago. After a break in the autumn, the tour will wrap up at Las Vegas’s Allegiant Stadium (65,000) on 7 December.

“We’ve spent the last few years playing specialty one-off shows in markets he’ll likely never play again,” Messina adds. “I’m excited about this summer of special shows with Chris Stapleton – it’s always been such a great experience for the fans. Bringing these magical nights from the King of Country music to fans has been one of the greatest honours of my life.”

 


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New 55,000-seat stadium proposed for Auckland

A new 55,000-seat stadium has been proposed for the Quay Park area of Auckland, New Zealand.

The stadium would form part of a wider 15-hectare precinct known as Te Tōangaroa, which would also include hotels, bars, restaurants, retail and office space, residential apartments and green spaces.

Designed by architecture firm HKS Australasia, the proposed stadium features an innovative U-shaped design, with the roof drawing inspiration from Maori culture.

The stadium will allow configurations for both sports and concerts, while the retractable roof will allow for indoor and outdoor events to take place, irrespective of the weather.

“The last thing Auckland needs is another cookie cutter, cake tin solution that is imported from Australia or Europe”

The Auckland Council is reviewing a number of projects for a major stadium development in the city. One of these proposals has been put forward by Eden Park, New Zealand’s national stadium, which is planning on fitting a new retractable roof.

Other projects in the mix include potential waterfront stadiums at Bledisloe Wharf and Wynyard Point. Last year, it emerged that the Auckland Waterfront Consortium (AWC), which first revealed a proposal for a NZ$1.8 billion venture back in 2018, was planning a new venue that could seat up to 70,000 people.

Speaking about the unique design of the stadium, Andrew Colling, a director at HKS Australasia, told the NZ Herald: “Every city deserves a unique response and especially New Zealand. The last thing Auckland needs is another cookie cutter, cake tin solution that is imported from Australia or imported from Europe. We felt very strongly that this was an opportunity to take a fresh start.

“It reflects the unique context and backdrop and hopefully when people see the images they feel a strong sense of connection that yes, this is New Zealand, this is Auckland. That was the key driver; when you are in the stadium you can’t be anywhere else in the world.”

Colling added: “We hope that our design excites the community, shows what is possible and hopefully the momentum keeps going. It’s a catalyst to look at the east side of the city a bit differently.”

 


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El Salvador to build largest stadium in Central America

El Salvador has broken ground on a new 52,000-capacity stadium, set to be the largest in Central America.

The US$100 million venue, developed by the Chinese government, will host El Salvador’s national football team along with other events, such as concerts by international artists.

Located to the west of the capital city, San Salvador, the new Estadio Nacional stadium is being built in the municipality of Antiguo Cuscatlán on land currently occupied by the Capitán General Gerardo Barrios military school.

The new stadium, expected to be complete in early 2027, will replace Estadio Cuscatlán, which opened in July 1976 but is now limited to a capacity of 34,000 due to regulations from world football’s governing body, FIFA.

“We are laying the first stone of what will be the most modern stadium in Latin America”

Estadio Nacional will also offer parking space for 1,400 vehicles, with the wider complex to include two basketball courts and another football pitch.

“We are laying the first stone of what will be the most modern stadium in Latin America and the largest stadium in all of Central America,” El Salvador president Nayib Bukele told local newspaper El Mundo.

In January 2022, it was revealed that China would continue its ‘stadium diplomacy’ strategy by helping to develop a new national stadium for El Salvador.

Bukele called the partnership “a testament to the friendship between the governments of China and El Salvador”.

 


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The Weeknd expands After Hours Til Dawn stadium tour

The Weeknd is continuing his After Hours Til Dawn stadium tour with newly announced legs in Europe and Latin America.

The Canadian singer-songwriter-producer (real name Abel Tesfaye) recently concluded his record-breaking North America leg, which grossed over US$130 million to date.

The next leg of the After Hours Til Dawn Tour will kick off 10 June 2023 at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium in the UK, with stops in Stockholm, Amsterdam, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, and more before wrapping up in Santiago, Chile, on Sunday 15 October at Estadio Bicentenario de La Florida. Additional 2023 dates will be announced soon.

Kaytranada and Mike Dean will join the CAA-repped singer on all European dates. The outing is in support of The Weeknd’s 2020 album After Hours, as well as his critically-acclaimed album Dawn FM, which was released in January this year.

The Weeknd’s global After Hours til Dawn tour was originally scheduled in 2020 (when it was just the After Hours tour) to hit 105 arena dates beginning June 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic – first to 2021 then January 2022 and then summer 2022.

The singer recently concluded his record-breaking North America leg, which grossed over US$130 million to date

In October 2021, the singer/producer broke the news that he was nixing the 104-date arena trek in favour of stadiums, saying “I want to do something bigger and special for you which requires more stadiums”.

For the second leg of the After Hours Til Dawn Tour, Tesfaye – a United Nations World Food Programme Goodwill Ambassador – will once again partner with the U.N. World Food Programme to contribute funds from the second leg of the tour to the XO Humanitarian Fund, which supports the organisation’s response to the global hunger crisis.

One Euro from each ticket sold across Europe, £1 in the UK and the $1 equivalent in countries across Latin America will go to this important cause. The fund raised money during the North American leg of the tour through ticket sales, proceeds from an exclusive tour t-shirt, and a $500,000 donation directly from The Weeknd.

The Weeknd’s corporate partners, tour venues, World Food Program USA board of directors and supporters also stepped up to contribute, as well as tour sponsor Binance, who contributed US$2m to the fund. The first grant of $2m will be going to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to the most food-insecure regions of Ethiopia.

The After Hours Til Dawn tour is powered by Binance, the global blockchain ecosystem behind the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, bringing Web 3.0 technology to concert-goers worldwide.

Ticket holders receive souvenir NFTs in addition to access to an exclusive NFT collection for The Weeknd’s tour, in collaboration with HXOUSE, a think-center and community incubator for creative entrepreneurs. Five percent of the sales from the upcoming tour NFT collection will be donated to the XO Humanitarian Fund.

AFTER HOURS TIL DAWN TOUR 2023 EUROPE TOUR DATES:

Sat Jun 10 – Manchester, UK – Etihad Stadium

Wed Jun 14 – Horsens, Denmark – Nordstern Arena

Sat Jun 17 – Stockholm, Sweden – Tele2 Arena

Tue Jun 20 – Oslo, Norway – Telenor Arena

Sat Jun 24 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Johan Cruijiff ArenA

Wed Jun 28 – Dublin, Ireland – Marlay Park

Sun Jul 2 – Hamburg, Germany – Volkspark Stadium

Tue Jul 4 – Dusseldorf, Germany – Merkur Spiel Arena

Fri Jul 7 – London, UK– London Stadium

Tue Jul 11 – Brussels, Belgium – King Baudouin Stadium

Fri Jul 14 – Frankfurt, Germany – Deutsche Bank Park

Tue Jul 18 – Madrid, Spain – Cívitas Metropolitano

Thu Jul 20 – Barcelona, ​​Spain – Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium

Sat Jul 22 – Nice, France – Allianz Riviera

Wed Jul 26 – Milan, Italy – Ippodromo La Maura

Sat Jul 29 – Paris, France – Stade de France

Tue Aug 1 – Bordeaux, France – Matmut Atlantique

Fri Aug 4 – Munich, Germany – Olympic Stadium

Sun Aug 6 – Prague, Czech Republic – Letnany Airport

Wed Aug 9 – Warsaw, Poland – PGE Narodowy

Sat Aug 12 – Tallinn, Estonia – Tallinn Song Festival Grounds

AFTER HOURS TIL DAWN TOUR 2023 LATIN AMERICA TOUR DATES:

Fri Sep 29 – Mexico City, Mexico – Foro Sol

Wed Oct 4 – Bogotá, Colombia – El Campín Stadium

Sat Oct 7 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – Nilton Santos Engenhão Stadium

Tue Oct 10 – Sao Paulo, Brazil – Allianz Parque

Fri Oct 13 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – San Isidro Racetrack

Sun Oct 15 – Santiago, Chile – La Florida Bicentennial Stadium

 


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Lady Gaga extends worldwide stadium tour

Lady Gaga has extended her previously announced summer 2022 stadium tour, spanning 14 cities worldwide.

The Chromatica Ball, presented by Live Nation, kicks off on 17 July in Dusseldorf and closes on 10 September in California.

In addition to cities announced before the pandemic, the blockbuster tour adds eight new markets to the schedule.

The CAA-repped act is due in Stockholm, Düsseldorf, Paris, Arnhem, London, Toronto, Washington, New York, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Atlanta, San Francisco and Los Angeles.

In addition to cities announced before the pandemic, the blockbuster tour adds eight new markets to the schedule

The 15-date run includes two shows – the second newly added – at the 62,850-capacity Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

The tour will mark her first-ever public live performances from the #1 selling and Grammy-winning 2020 album Chromatica.

The Chromatica Ball will follow Gaga’s recently announced Las Vegas residency this spring.

See all dates for The Chromatica Ball below.

7/17 Düsseldorf. DE Merkur Spiel- Arena
7/21 Stockholm. SW Friends Arena
7/24 Paris, FR Stade de France
7/26 Arnhem, NL GelreDome
7/29 London, UK Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
7/30 London, UK Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
8/06 Toronto, ON Rogers Centre
8/08 Washington, DC Nationals Park
8/11 East Rutherford, NJ Metlife Stadium
8/15 Chicago, IL Wrigley Field
8/19 Boston, MA Fenway Park
8/23 Dallas, TX Globe Life Field
8/26 Atlanta, GA Truist Park
9/8 San Francisco, CA Oracle Park
9/10 Los Angeles, CA Dodger Stadium

 


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Move’s Bad Bunny stadium show sells out fast

Bad Bunny’s highly anticipated hometown shows at Puerto Rico’s Hiram Bithorn Stadium sold out in less than 20 minutes, promoters Move Concerts and Noah Assad Presents have revealed.

The urban sensation’s P Fkn R show, rescheduled from May 2020, went on sale on Friday (20 August) and sold out soon after. The concerts, which take place at the 18,000-seat stadium on 10 and 11 December, will be Puerto Rico-born Bad Bunny’s first shows this year.

P Fkn R is the first announced show of a new partnership between Miami-based Move Concerts, which has an office in Puerto Rico, and Noah Assad, whose Rimas Music represents some of the world’s biggest reggaeton artists.

Everyone attending the P Fkn R show will be required to present proof of vaccination

Everyone attending the 10 and 11 December shows, which have a capacity of 35,000 each, will be required to present proof of full Covid-19 vaccination.

The Hiram Bithorn Stadium, the island’s largest, has previously hosted concerts by the likes Bon Jovi, Ozzy Osbourne, Rihanna, Shakira, Sting and Whitney Houston, in addition to its regular use as a baseball park.

Multiple Grammy and Latin Grammy-winner Bad Bunny will follow up the show with a world tour, El Último Tour del Mundo 2022, which kicks off on 9 February 2022 at the Ball Arena (20,000-cap.) in Denver, Colorado.

 


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AI-powered screens detect mask wearing at venue

A North Carolina stadium is using artificial-intelligence (AI) technology to monitor for Covid-compliant public behaviour, such as social distancing and the wearing of face coverings, among fans arriving at the venue.

The 50,500-capacity Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, which is primarily used for American football, has installed ‘Health Greeter Kiosks’ to encourage anyone passing to wear masks and practice social distancing. The AI – specifically machine learning and computer vision – uses real-time data from a depth-sensing camera to detect if someone is wearing a mask and whether there is proper spacing between individuals. As people walk by the screens, a large display alerts them to either correct or continue their behaviour.

The technology was developed by the University of North Carolina’s Reese Innovation Lab, with support from Lenovo North America, and first deployed for an American football match (University of North Carolina vs Virginia Tech) on 10 October. The kiosks, which were placed at locations such as entrances, bag-check queues and ticket offices, “worked as intended, tracking and encouraging safe behaviour”, according to Lenovo.

“These kiosks will help us better understand human behaviour and encourage safe behaviour”

“We needed real innovation to meet this unprecedented challenge, and pushing the limits of technology is at the core of our lab’s mission,” says Steven King, chief innovation officer of Reese Innovation Lab. “Engineering a technological response to Covid-19 and event-attendance restarting is a real and rewarding challenge, [and] I’m grateful for the support of UNC-Chapel Hill leadership, our exceptional and inventive students and Lenovo.”

The kiosks, which use fully anonymised data, with no images saved or transmitted, may help shape safety protocol and provide insight on how crowds behave during the coronavirus pandemic, adds King.

“We see this as the starting point of wider deployment, with opportunities to refine and customise the technology,” he explains. “From campus hallways to outdoor events, these kiosks will help us better understand human behaviour and encourage safe behaviour, and I’m excited to see how we evolve and adapt this AI-powered solution.”

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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World’s first mobile stadium takes shape

Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, a 40,000-seat temporary venue billed as the world’s first ‘demountable’ stadium, is under construction in Doha, Qatar.

Constructed on an artificial promontory in the district of the same name, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium is being built to a modular design, and partly out of old shipping containers from Doha Port. It is one of eight new venues under construction ahead of the Fifa World Cup football competition in 2022.

The first moveable stadium in World Cup history, Ras Abu Aboud Stadium “will be entirely dismantled and repurposed post-2022, setting a new standard in tournament sustainability and legacy,” according to Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC), which is overseeing the Qatar 2022 world cup.

In a tweet sent on Friday (16 October), the SC said the new venue is “slowly taking shape”:

After the tournament, says the SC, the “modular seats and even the roof will be disassembled and reused”.

What they’ll be reused for, however, is still under discussion: the Qatari authorities note its modular design “could provide the building blocks for another 40,000-seat stadium in a different location, or for several different types of sporting or non-sporting venues”.

The Qatar 2022 Fifa World Cup takes place from 21 November to 18 December, with 32 national teams taking part.

 


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