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Paléo Festival revamp pays off amid ‘epic’ return

Paléo Festival booker Dany Hassenstein has spoken to IQ about the revamped event‘s “epic” return, which marked a major turning point in its history.

Held from 19-24 July, the 30,000-cap event in Nyon, Switzerland hosted acts such as Kiss, Sting, DJ Snake, Stromae and Rag’n’Bone Man. Tickets for its first edition since 2019 sold out in record time last December.

“It was an epic return after the break of more than 1,000 days,” Hassenstein tells IQ. “We were sold out way in advance and the festival was a success in every aspect – satisfied visitors, artists and volunteers.”

“We have been overwhelmed by the success of our two new stages”

In what was billed as the festival’s biggest makeover in more than 30 years, organisers introduced of a raft of well-received changes for 2022 including new stages, blockchain ticketing and a cashless payment system. The former Arches and Detour stages were replaced by two new spaces: the Vega stage and the electronic music-focused Belleville venue.

“All improvements made full sense, not a single show was cancelled because of Covid and it looks like our guests were very hungry and thirsty,” smiles Hassenstein.

“We will be able to copy paste all new features to the future. In particular, we have been overwhelmed by the success of our two new stages: Véga and Belleville. We have had fantastic feedback from artists on the infrastructure and the general vibe of the 20,000-capacity Véga Stage.”

“Switzerland is having a fantastic summer”

According to Hassenstein, the only real setback of note involved the pandemic-related dropouts of a number of staff members. “The summer wave was at its peak in Switzerland when we opened the gates,” he says.

Hassenstein says Paléo’s successful comeback reflects the fortunes of the resurgent Swiss industry as a whole since returning from the Covid shutdown.

“I believe Switzerland is having a fantastic summer,” he adds. “All festivals I know are doing better than they expected at the beginning of the season.

“I know this mess-up is not over yet – indoor promoters are still facing existential challenges over the next month, but at least we can see now at festivals that the fans are ready to move forward.”

Subscribers can read IQ‘s report on the Swiss live music market here.

 


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Montreux Jazz Fest chief maps out expansion plans

Montreux Jazz Festival CEO Mathieu Jaton has told IQ of his global ambitions for the brand following the Swiss institution’s most-well attended edition yet.

Held from 1-16 July, the festival’s 56th edition attracted an estimated 250,000 fans for a bill comprising over 450 free events, along with 70 paying concerts by headliners including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Bjork, John Legend, Maneskin, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Van Morrison, Stormzy and Diana Ross.

“It was totally amazing, what a comeback! Everything was perfect from beginning to end,” says Jaton. “The weather was exceptional, tickets sales were better than ever and the number of people coming onsite for all the free activities was amazing.

“We had a lot of concerns before the festival about having to cancel due to Covid, but nothing happened. When you have 550 different shows with 3,000 musicians and everybody is on stage, we can call that a miracle.”

A number of artists deviated from their usual setlists to perform special shows for Montreux. Stormzy delivered a one-off anthological gospel-rap performance “because it’s the Montreux Jazz Festival”. Elsewhere, The Smile played new six-minute song Bending Hectic, composed at the festival earlier that day, which continued the tradition of tracks being created in Montreux, from Deep Purple’s Smoke on the Water to Prince’s Lavaux.

“It was very clear that 2022 should not be a copy and paste of what we were doing in 2019”

“It’s very interesting for me that after 56 years, the DNA and tradition of Montreux being a bubble of creativity – a place where artists can create and do something special – [is still intact],” says Jaton. “These moments are key, because they are writing the next pages of the history of Montreux.”

The festival – founded in 1967 by the legendary Claude Nobs – entered into a partnership with TikTok on new music initiative MJF Spotlight, which was launched in 2021 to support emerging artists and new music with original content creation and live performances.

“That partnership is very important strategically,” notes Jaton. “We’ve made a lot of effort with the creation of our media company Montreux Media Ventures to regenerate the audience, and that’s what we did. We had brand new artists playing on the free stages and attracting a new audience, and that’s an investment in the future.

“I’m very happy to say that 60% of [festival attendees] are loyal visitors who have been coming for a lot of years, but 40% are brand new visitors and it is very important to have both.”

MJF’s 2020 edition was replaced by a 16-day YouTube event, Summer of Music, while last year’s MJF went ahead in a reimagined, Covid-secure format, with maximum of 600 people able to watch performances on the main stage from seats on the Lake Geneva shoreline. Continuing the hybrid physical/digital format debuted in 2021, 30 shows from this year’s programme were also livestreamed.

This year’s revamped event also integrated features such as the new Lake House venue, which combined cultural and artistic experiences in eight rooms across three floors in the Petit Palais.

“For me, it was very clear that 2022 should not be a copy and paste of what we were doing in 2019,” explains Jaton. “We took all the knowledge we accumulated from the last two years and 2022 was the closing of the circle of everything that we’ve created. So 2023 will definitely be a continuation of what we put in place in 2022, but there will be more innovation to come.”

“We are full of ideas to extend the Montreux brand all around the world”

Jaton also opens up on plans to strengthen Montreux Jazz Festival as an all-year-round brand, and teases the possibility of a winter spin-off.

“We will push the button a little bit further, continuing the brand recognition of Montreux 365 days a year with Autumn of Music [festival] in the autumn, with maybe a festival in winter next February, and then the Montreux Jazz Festival in the summer, of course. We are full of ideas to extend the Montreux brand all around the world.”

International festivals will also be held under the MJF umbrella in China, Tokyo and Brazil in the coming months.

“We’re very excited,” adds Jaton. “The expansion of the Montreux brand worldwide is not something new because we had the Montreux Jazz Festival in Atlanta for 15 years,  in Detroit for 20 years, Tokyo for 10 years, Singapore, Monaco, Sao Paulo… We also had the Montreux Jazz Cafe in Harrods for four years in London, and  we also have a cafe that will be in Singapore.

“China, of course, is a brand new market for music, which is very interesting for us. So the goal for us is to have brand recognition worldwide.”


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Bern Baby Bern: Swiss market report

As one of the world’s most affluent countries, with a population that adores the live music experience, Switzerland could be a poster boy market for post-pandemic corporate recovery. Adam Woods reports.

It has always been a fairly good rule of thumb that Covid hits the poorest and least fortunate hardest. On that basis, the Swiss live music business, one of the most vigorous in Europe, was always a good bet for pandemic survival and a sturdy rebound.

Look at the market as the summer approaches and you see a snap-shot of a country tripping over itself for a good time. In June alone at Zürich’s Hallenstadion, Zucchero, Marc Anthony, Shaan, Pearl Jam, 50 Cent, Iron Maiden, Queen + Adam Lambert, Céline Dion, and Basel-born house hero DJ Antoine are coming through the doors.

Of the great Swiss festivals, OpenAir St. Gallen and Paléo both promptly sold out, and reports across the sector are of a golden return to action. In the stadiums, you’ve got two nights of Rammstein in June and two more of Ed Sheeran in September at Zürich’s Letzigrund, while Elton John and Imagine Dragons hit Bern’s Wankdorf in June.

“There are 11 or 12 stadium shows this summer, and normally it’s, like, three or four,” says Stefan Wyss of Gadget abc Entertainment Group.

“St. Gallen, we sold out since the middle of March,” ventures his fellow partner and director Christof Huber. “And it’s the young punters that are buying the tickets. The clubs are doing well for the same reason: the younger generation wants to go out; they want to experience again.”

“What’s coming up is terrifying. I think we have never had more shows here than in the next few months”

But while the shows are numerous, the sales pretty healthy, and the relief palpable, this may not be a year promoters will look back on with relish. An unprecedented glut of variously long delayed and newly announced shows makes this a uniquely challenging summer. Old tickets need honouring, but the revenue-hungry business is also keen to get cooped-up talent back on the road for fresh shows, and nowhere is this bottleneck any more evident than in Switzerland.

“We did not expect all the shows scheduled this spring to take place due to the Covid restrictions at the beginning of the year, but the situation changed almost overnight mid-February, and we had to put ourselves back at work to make these shows happen,” says Julien Rouyer, CEO of Lausanne-based promoter Soldout Productions. “Summer and Autumn are getting quite busy as well, raising higher expectations for the end of the year.”

For some, the volume of shows on offer verges on the alarming.

“Oh yeah, Switzerland is always a busy market, especially in the summer,” says Johannes Vogel of Winterthur-based promoter All-Blues Konzert. “What’s coming up is terrifying. I think we have never had more shows here than in the next few months.”

“There’s a lot of transport issues. We are missing tour buses for the bands; we are missing stagehands; they don’t have enough workers to build the stages”

And the issue of scarce and costly infrastructure that besets the entire continent, if not the world, is a more grievous one still.

“It’s challenging,” says Paléo festival booker Dany Hassenstein. “I don’t think there’s enough equipment around for everybody to be able to set up a production. There’s a lot of transport issues. We are missing tour buses for the bands; we are missing stagehands; they don’t have enough workers to build the stages.

“At Paléo, I think we have everything important secured, though there is a 15-20% increase in equipment costs, and that’s obviously not cool, but then I’m sure it is just a result of the challenges companies are facing themselves.”

Saturation in the music capital of Zürich is already leading to anomalies, with proven acts some- times selling markedly better in traditionally quieter cities with less competition. In fact, while festival tickets may be flying out in one of the most festival-hungry markets in the world, shows in general are a harder sell, with no predictable patterns.

“The shows you think will work do not do as much as you would like,” says Théo Quiblier of Lausanne-based 360° indie Two Gentlemen, “and then ones you were less sure about are doing really well. Among the big acts, we have seen some surprises though I can’t say names. But even if your arenas are selling out, it is just the tip of the iceberg. If you want to get a vibe of the health of the market, you need to look below – and in fact we are seeing mixed sales at every level.”

“The most frustrating point about 2020 and 2021 was to be very busy, working full-time every day, for shows that never happened”

One random element has been the unpredictable attendance of rescheduled shows. “We have always been pretty good at knowing roughly how many people you would have in a room,” says Quiblier. “But when shows have been rescheduled four or five times, we were regularly getting between 20% and 30% no-shows. It’s not that people were afraid to go back; I think it’s more that they have missed the announcement of the new date or forgotten what they had tickets for.”

Pre-pandemic Switzerland always did set itself a hard target to chase. In 2019, live music revenues totalled CHF437m (€425m), accord- ing to PwC/Omdia’s Switzerland Entertainment and Media Outlook 2021-25. That same report’s projections point to a bumpy road back, with revenues of CHF370m (€360m) this year, CHF359m (€349m) next, CHF305m (€296m) in 2024 and CHF394m (€383m) in 2025.

“The most frustrating point about 2020 and 2021, was to be very busy, working full-time every day, for shows that never happened,” says Sebastien Vuignier of French-Swiss promoter TAKK. “It was like playing a video game, being a virtual concert promoter. But luckily enough, we didn’t struggle financially as we had good and efficient support from the authorities.”

Swiss support for business was generous and arrived within a month or two, covering 80% of staff salaries for firms furloughing staff, as well as office costs.

“We didn’t make any money during the past two years, but we didn’t lose too much,” says Vuignier. “We are now in 2022, with a financial situation that is quite similar to what we had [at the] end of 2019. Some shows are selling a bit less than expected, but luckily enough, some others are doing very well. Khruangbin, Foals, Masego, Metronomy, Kings of Convenience, Sleaford Mods, Lucy Dacus, Julien Baker, Leif Vollebekk, amongst others, are all selling out.”

“I don’t see major changes in the market, which is a good sign of a healthy industry”

For all the frustrations of the re-start, there is broad confidence that Switzerland can handle the turbulence of 2022 – even if it might be a rough ride at times.

“I don’t see major changes in the market, which is a good sign of a healthy industry. The landscape is pretty much the same as what it was in 2019,” says Vuignier. “But this year might be challenging for all of us, and I hope we’ll all be in good shape on the other side.”

Soldout Productions chief Rouyer sums up the feeling: “Shaken but alive. Recovering. Reorganising. Rising. It looks like every piece of the puzzle somehow made their way out of the crisis and is now ready to rumble again to get their part of the cake.”

Promoters
Once a notably independent-driven market, Switzerland has seen many of its indies arming up for security in recent years, and most now have some form of corporate support after a busy couple of years of consolidation.

Mainland, originally formed from the union of Black Sheep, Cult Agency and Redda Music, has been a part of Live Nation since 2018. Gadget, Wepromote, and local veteran André Béchir’s abc Production were pulled together by CTS Eventim just a month or
two before the pandemic hit and now operate as Gadget abc Entertainment Group – 60%-owned by Eventim with the rest held by the Swiss partners.

“We have around 80 shows in the next three months. It’s a lot, but obviously it’s positive that people are buying tickets”

On the one hand, the timing might seem inauspicious, but the pause in the market feels like a benefit in at least one respect, says Stefan Wyss.

“For us, these two years were really challenging, but due to Covid, we did at least have time to structure this new company,” he says. “And now we are really ready. We have a company of 45 people and promote lots of arena and stadium shows these days.”

Sure enough, Gadget abc shows include the two Rammstein Letzigrund sell-outs, Elton, and Imagine Dragons at Wankdorf and a fistful of Hallenstadions, as well as too many small and medium shows to count – although, of course, the promoter itself has done so.

“We have 150-200 shows on sale,” says Wyss. “We have around 80 shows in the next three months. It’s a lot, but obviously it’s positive that people are buying tickets.”

Switzerland is small, but it is also fragmented, and it has some singular characteristics. Promoters largely keep to their own parts of the country – German speakers in cities such as Zürich, Bern, Basel and St. Gallen; French in Geneva, Lausanne and Montreux. For shows outside their patch, they work with partners. Many shows are co-promoted, and very few promoters operate in isolation.

Since the lifting of Good News’s exclusive deal with the Hallenstadion a few years ago, it has also not been remotely uncommon to see a wide range of Swiss promoters, including independents, taking a chance on much bigger shows.

“The big shows have really good ticket sales, but the battle is in the middle tier and the club gigs”

Winterthur-based AllBlues, who promoted Ed Sheeran’s first Swiss shows a decade ago, this year promotes Sheeran’s second pair of Swiss stadiums.

“We did the first 1,000-cap headline show in 2012 at Kaufleuten Zürich,” says managing director Johannes Vogel. “Then it went just upwards to 2,000, 3,000, 13,000, until Letzigrund Stadium for the first time in 2018, when we had two sold-out 45k shows. Now, again, we have two shows in September, which are pretty close to selling out.”

Nonetheless, Vogel is concerned that the Swiss market on the whole is overplaying its hand.

“Are promoters being careful?” he muses. “We at AllBlues were careful with focusing on the postponed shows and not announcing a lot of new shows. Others were not and put shows and shows on sale. But I think we should all have the responsibility not to overplay the market. Let’s see how we overcome 2022. Back to normal will be 2023 or even 2024.”

Switzerland’s other big-hitting promoters include the DEAG- owned Good News Productions and Vincent Sager’s Nyon-based Opus One, which is part of the Paléo organisation and focuses largely on Geneva and Lausanne.

“It is the most difficult time since the start of Covid”

At Good News, Stefan Matthey believe oversaturation will play a part in the market for the considerable future. “For sure there are too many events this year,” he says. “The big shows have really good ticket sales, but the battle is in the middle tier and the club gigs.”

Matthey reveals that among the bigger concerts Good News is organising are stadium shows for Die Ärzte and Die Toten Hosen,
as well as three-day festival Rock the Ring. “Indoors we have Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, KISS, Megadeth, Whitesnake and a bunch of others, as well as lots of club dates,” he adds.

Geneva’s Live Music Production, also part-owned by DEAG since 2019, mixes concerts, comedy, and other touring musical shows for the French-speaking part of Switzerland. And while there are stand- out successes, such as a 40,000-cap Stade de la Pontaise in Lausanne for French star Soprano, managing director Michael Drieberg says 2022 is not entirely to be savoured.

“I would say it is the most difficult time since the start of Covid,” says Drieberg. “We have old shows still on sale, and maybe two years ago they were the show to see but now it isn’t anymore, and we still have to do it. And because we can’t fill them, we make no money on them. The good part is the new shows are selling well, so you can feel the market is starting again.” Like many others, Drieberg has noticed little quirks in this new market. To his eye, today’s Covid-conscious punters prefer smaller-capacity, seated shows.

“We are seeing more and more shows that are about 2,000-capacity. And we have found that it’s really possible to bring bigger acts to smaller venues, with higher prices. People are ready for that: to pay two times, even three times the normal ticket price to be closer to the artist, in a smaller audience. We had Phil Collins for three nights and that worked very well. And the artist doesn’t make [substantially less] money because the production is much smaller.”

“The market is not as strong as before and I think it will take some time for confidence to fully return”

Act Entertainment, another Eventim company, notches up its 30th anniversary in December, and CEO Thomas Dürr is happy to be back in action.

“This year is going much better than last year,” says Dürr, who threw himself into painting during lockdown and is preparing for an exhibition at Art Basel next year. “Last year, we had more turnover from selling my pictures than from concerts.

“This year, we had two sold-out shows at Hallenstadion with Hans Zimmer, which was a really big success, and a lot of smaller shows. Comedians also are doing really well. With everything, the sale starts really late, but eventually most of the results are good.”

Like Drieberg, Dürr, too, notes a new appetite for seated shows. In fact, in some respects, Covid seems to have challenged every preconception about the behaviour of live music-goers.

“Here’s something funny,” says Théo Quiblier. “For ages, the adult audience, the ones that are paying the higher ticket prices for the big shows, they always booked six months in advance, and the young audience would decide on the Friday night if they wanted to go to a show. Now we are seeing that in reverse: the young audience is booking so far in advance that you think, ‘Really?!’, and the old audience is sitting back and going, ‘Well, we will see…’”

Matthey agrees, stating, “The market is not as strong as before and I think it will take some time for confidence to fully return, because lots of people still have tickets that they bought more than two years ago on their fridge door.”

“Some artists that were just getting started got some really interesting opportunities”

Swiss talent
Another unintended consequence of the pandemic, given the Swiss market’s summer reopening last year, was the opportunity it afforded for local acts to get their names on a bill, with the usual international scene-stealers grounded in their own backyards.

“For a long time, there were no bands coming in, and Swiss bands were offered way more slots at festivals and venues,” says Kilian Mutter of Orange Peel Agency, the Swiss-focused, Lucerne-based booking agency, management company and label. “I think promoters dug a lot deeper into the Swiss music scene to fill their programmes, and some artists that were just getting started got some really interesting opportunities.”

Meanwhile, among the emerging Swiss names achieving international prominence are well-travelled indie-folk collective Black Sea Dahu, ‘80s-influenced singer Crimer, Warner-signed Tamil-Swiss artist Priya Ragu, the London-based Kings Elliot, and the Swiss standard-bearer Sophie Hunger, who has chalked up five Swiss number-one albums while making inroads into Austria and Germany.

The process has been one of increasing musical self-assurance, says Mutter. “Back in the day, many Swiss bands were copying whatever was happening in the market in the UK or the US, but just five years too late all the time. Now it feels like there’s been a lot of really interesting projects coming up.”

“There is a lot of talent now breaking through internationally”

Stefan Schurter, of booking and management agency deepdive, who handles Swiss artists Veronica Fusaro and beatboxer/sampler Arthur Henry, believes outside attitudes to Swiss music are being forcibly reset.

“People still talk about DJ BoBo and Krokus and Yello when it comes to Switzerland, but there is a lot of talent now breaking through internationally,” he says.

Festivals
While Switzerland had its share of lockdowns, it also was allowed to welcome crowds for significant summer periods. So while titans such as Paléo, OpenAir St. Gallen, Openair Frauenfeld, Greenfield Festival, and Rock the Ring cancelled their summer 2021 editions, a return to full-capacity concerts in July allowed others to salvage something.

Montreux Jazz Festival, for instance, produced a ‘small is beautiful’ edition for its 55th event from July 2-17, with tickets only on sale the month before and Arlo Parks, Woodkid, Ibrahim Maalouf and Rag ‘n’ Bone Man on the bill. Open Air Gampel and Heitere Open Air Zofingen snuck in scaled-back versions, while Gadget abc staged SummerDays in Arbon, Seaside in Spiez, and Unique Moments in Zürich, all in their regular forms.

“Last summer, Switzerland had a small late festival season, but we had regular festivals without any restrictions other than the [vaccination] certificate,” says Huber. “And I think the confidence is here now because the figures of incidents then were really, really low.”

Needless to say, the big names are roaring back this summer. Live Nation’s Frauenfeld offers A$AP Rocky, Megan Thee Stallion, J. Cole, and Tyler, The Creator. OpenAir St. Gallen has Muse and Mando Diao. Act Entertainment’s Greenfield, Switzerland’s biggest rock festival, presents Volbeat, Korn, and Billy Talent. Gurten collects Black Eyed Peas, Erykah Badu, Chemical Brothers and Megan Thee Stallion, again.

“We’re really looking forward to getting back to normality”

Montreux, meanwhile, makes up for lost time with a line-up encompassing Diana Ross, Van Morrison, A-Ha, Björk and Nick Cave, as well as new favourites including Phoebe Bridgers, Stormzy, Arlo Parks and Self Esteem. Baloise Session in Basel will also return from 28 October to 17 November, but does not announce its programme until late August.

Nonetheless, Baloise Session promoter Beatrice Stirnimann is enthusiastic about getting back to in-person gigs after two years of livestreaming festival performances. “But the livestreaming was good and we’re examining how we can keep that going in future years,” she says. This year, it’s all about live shows again, thankfully.”

Having endured the tough times, Baloise recently signed a multi-year deal with the city of Basel as part of a marketing partnership to promote the Basel-Stadt canton. In the meantime, the excitement levels in the Baloise Session organisation are rising, ahead of the line-up announcement in August.

“We will have ten nights; two shows per night,” adds Stirnimann. “We only had two acts confirmed from 2020 who could carry over until this year, so it’s been a lot of work to confirm everything, but we’re really looking forward to getting back to normality.”

Elsewhere, Paléo leads with KISS, Sting, Angèle and others, and Hassenstein declares himself satisfied, while ruing what might have been in 2020, when Céline Dion was the jewel in the crown.

“In 2020, we had a very good line-up indeed,” he says. “It is still a very good line-up, though it has changed a bit. But we sold all the tickets in a few minutes, so obviously it is a dream line-up. Kiss is going to be very unique. Their production is massive – I think they are coming with 11 trucks. And then we have all the acts who couldn’t play the last two years and the ones who broke through during that time.”

Like other promoters with a stake in both, Michael Drieberg makes a distinction between the concerts and festival markets this year. His Sion Sous Les Étoiles festival, not far from the French border, has Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Julien Doré and is selling strongly. “I even think we will break a record,” says Drieberg. “We should do our best year ever.”

“Nowadays, you can’t put all your eggs in one basket”

Venues
Between the Hallenstadion, Kongresshaus and Komplex 457 in Zürich, the 9,500-cap Geneva Arena, and Lausanne’s Les Docks, Switzerland has plenty of well-known venues.

It also added a number of new ones in the years before the pandemic, including the 5,000-cap Samsung Hall and 3,500-capacity Halle 622 in Zürich. Lausanne’s Vaudoise Aréna is a more recent newcomer – an 11,500-cap arena for ice hockey and concerts man- aged by AEG Facilities. This year, it has welcomed Texas, with Kendrick Lamar due in October.

The 47-year-old St. Jakobshalle in Basel reopened in 2018 after a renovation, and director Thomas Kastl acknowledges the difficulties of the last couple of years.

“It has not been an easy time,” he says. “Our industry has suffered greatly, with countless events that could not take place. But the multifunctionality of our location was to our advantage. Since we operate another ten halls in the building in addition to the main arena, a lot of events took place there. Luckily, it was possible to host small events or to carry out sports, while complying with the safety and distance regulations. So, except for a few months when our building was spookily empty, there was always something going on.”

In the coming year at St. Jakobshalle Basel, you’ll see The Cure, Dropkick Murphys, and Bring Me The Horizon. “Hosting concerts in our arena is always a special thrill,” says Kastl. “The energy and the atmosphere with more than 10,000 guests in the arena are truly special and make our hearts beat a little faster.”

At the same time, he says, a pandemic gives you new perspectives. “We have grown with the situation but also had to critically question some things. Our USP is our multifunctionality. We are not just one hall or arena, and the focus can be shifted. We want to continue to offer a diverse portfolio. As before, we will to keep our main focus on events and sports and even strengthen and expand it but also break new ground with new business areas. Nowadays you can’t put all your eggs in one basket.”

 


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Paléo fest set for biggest revamp in 30 years

Switzerland’s Paléo Festival is undergoing its biggest makeover in more than three decades ahead of its 2022 comeback, booker Dany Hassenstein tells IQ.

The 30,000-cap Nyon event, which sold out in record time, returns from 19-24 July for its first edition since 2019. Kiss, Sting, DJ Snake, Stromae and Rag’n’Bone Man are among acts on the bill.

Organisers consider this year to be a major turning point in Paléo’s history due to the introduction of a raft of features including new stages, blockchain ticketing and a cashless payment system. Due in part to the installation of the NStCM railway depot, it will also see the most significant alteration to the long-running festival’s layout since it moved from the lakefront to Plaine de l’Asse more than 30 years ago.

“The major boost to undertake all these changes came from our audience last December when we sold all the tickets for the 2022 event within a record-breaking time”

“With all the changes we have on track, it will be the biggest reshaping of the festival since 1990,” says Hassenstein, speaking to IQ. “Some were planned already for 2020 and some have been invented and planned during the pandemic-related break. Not only it will improve the festival experience for our customers, the process of innovating and developing new project was also vital for the team to get through this terrible period.

“But the major boost to undertake all these changes came from our audience last December when we sold all the tickets for the 2022 event within a record-breaking time. It not only massively reduced some financial uncertainties; this incredible loyalty of our audience also gave us the last kick to prepare a return at the hight of their expectation.”

In addition, the former Arches and Detour stages will be replaced by two new spaces: the Vega stage and the electronic music-focused Belleville venue.

Tickets will be delivered via the Paléo Tickets blockchain-based mobile app, while the festival is also implementing a system of washable and returnable dishes in a bid to reduce the volume of waste and single-use. All plates, bowls, cups and jugs will be returnable as part of the event’s sustainability efforts.

 


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Johnny Depp to perform with Jeff Beck at Montreux

Montreux Jazz Festival has announced that Johnny Depp will join Jeff Beck on stage at the 56th edition of the Swiss music festival.

The event runs from 1-16 July, with Beck’s performance already confirmed for Auditorium Stravinski stage on Friday 15 July.

Depp has joined Beck for several performances on his latest UK tour, amid the culmination of the former’s well publicised defamation lawsuit against ex-wife Amber Heard. Depp and Beck have released their first single as a duo, Isolation ahead of an upcoming album they have been working on together, which is due for release this summer.

Depp previously performed at Montreux in 2018 as part of the Hollywood Vampires supergroup he formed alongside Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

Other acts billed for this year’s event include Diana Ross, Stormzy, Björk, Sam Ryder, Nick Cave and The Smile.

 


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New Bosses name one thing industry must change

Alumni from IQ Magazine‘s most recent class of New Bosses have identified areas of improvement for the international live music business.

A handful of the next-gen leaders shared their thoughts during Meet the New Bosses: The Class of 2021, at last month’s International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

Theo Quiblier, head of concerts at Two Gentlemen in Switzerland, believes the one thing the industry needs to get better at is normalising failure.

“We are in a fantastic industry where everyone is signing the new top artist or selling out venues or sealing huge deals with festivals but that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he says. “I feel that we’re all a bit afraid of saying, ‘I went on sale with my favourite band and it didn’t go well’ – as simple as that.

“I feel that we’re all a bit afraid of saying, ‘I went on sale with my favourite band and it didn’t go well'”

“As a promoter, I could say, ‘Oh, I work with this top band,’ and people think, ‘That’s amazing, he must be rich,’ and, in reality, it’s your biggest loss of the year. We need little reality checks, and to say ‘I’m doing my best but I’m not the best’. Sharing insecurities is great because failure happens to everybody.”

Flo Noseda-Littler, agency assistant at Wasserman Music (formerly Paradigm UK), called for better pay for junior staff so more people can viably start their careers in the industry.

“Fair salaries for junior staff and internships so that it enables people in those positions to live in the cities in which they work,” comments Noseda-Littler. “By providing a free internship or a low paid job, you’re cutting off so many people who don’t have the ability to still live with their parents or be subsidised by their parents. And then you’re just reducing the number of people you can recruit and missing out on potentially really ambitious and amazing people.”

Anna Parry, partnerships manager at the O2 in London, echoed Noseda-Littler’s thoughts, adding that companies also need to improve their recruitment strategies in order to reach a more diverse pool of talent.

“This is a job that costs you a lot of time at your desk and a lot of time in your head”

“Companies really need to put more effort into understanding why people aren’t applying for these jobs, and then they need to create a lower barrier of entry for those types of people,” says Parry. “It’s not just saying, ‘Oh okay, well we posted the job on a different forum than we usually would’. It’s going to take a lot more of that to actually make a difference. We need to focus on that because it’s important our industry is representative of the artists we represent.”

Age Versluis (promoter at Friendly Fire in the Netherlands) on the other hand, is petitioning for a four-day workweek: “This is a job that costs you a lot of time at your desk and a lot of time in your head. Since Covid, we’re seeing a lot of people burning out and having trouble getting to that fourth or fifth gear.

“We forget that moving shows for two years to the same months is quite stressful. I think we could use some extra ‘me’ time.”

Tessie Lammle, agent at UTA in the US, echoed her peers’ points, adding: “I was going to say diversity or work-life balance but Theo’s point is huge. I think the younger generation is getting much better at [sharing insecurities].”

Each of the panellists appeared as part of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses 2021, an annual list celebrating the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business. See the full list of the distinguished dozen here.

 


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Ticketcorner names Oliver Niedermann as CEO

Leading Swiss ticketing firm Ticketcorner has appointed Oliver Niedermann as the new CEO.

Niedermann joins the company from Raiffeisen Switzerland, the third-largest Swiss banking group, where he has been head of marketing for the past ten years.

At Ticketcorner, he will succeed Andreas Angehrn, who has played a major role in the company’s success in Switzerland since 2010. Angehrn will leave the company at the end of June.

Ticketcorner AG is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ticketcorner Holding AG, which has been owned in equal shares by CTS Eventim and Ringier since 2010.

Ticketcorner processes more than 10 million ticket sales for 15,000 events per year

Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, chair of the Ticketcorner board of directors and CEO of Eventim Management, says: “We are pleased to have gained a highly qualified marketing and events expert in Niedermann, who will further expand Ticketcorner’s leading position. He brings with him the very best professional prerequisites to gain an even stronger foothold in the Swiss market and make our offer even more attractive to our customers.”

Marc Walder, vice-chair of the Ticketcorner board of directors and CEO of Ringier, added: “I look forward to working with Niedermann and continuing the Ticketcorner success story. The ticketing and events industry is still transforming at a rapid pace, and we are faced with many challenges. With Oliver, we will continue to strengthen the company’s leading position with innovative, smart applications and an attractive offer that meets the needs of Swiss customers.”

Ticketcorner processes more than 10 million ticket sales for 15,000 events per year. In addition to events in the entertainment, culture and sports sectors, this also includes the sale of ski tickets for about 60 ski resorts. The ticketing platform has 200 booking offices throughout Switzerland.

 


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European live trade bodies stand up for Ukraine

Live event organisations across Europe are taking a stand in condemnation of Russia’s attacks on Ukraine.

Representatives from the Alliance of Swiss Organisers’ Associations, the German Interest Group Event Management and the Austrian Society for Theatre Technology have linked up to launch the Light for Peace campaign.

From 8pm on Thursday (3 March), venues, company headquarters and other locations will shine in the rainbow colours of peace for two hours, with videos and photos to be shared on social media under the hashtag #lightforpeace2022.

“The network from Switzerland, Germany and Austria not only represents the interests of promoting quality, safety and cooperation in the event industry. As international, diverse, heterogeneous and open-minded as the self-image of the events industry is in its various areas, we act in many of our endeavours with the clear idea of ​​peace in mind,” reads a joint statement from the associations.

“It is a privilege to be able to take a stand and we want to use this to express our solidarity. Solidarity with the people who are victims of political, physical and psychological violence worldwide and with all those who courageously take to the streets against aggressors.”

“The fear and pain experienced by the people of Ukraine is familiar and we mourn for the innocent victims on all sides”

Serbia’s Exit festival has also released an emotive statement across its social media channels.

“You have probably seen this photo of a man draped in Ukrainian flag embracing a woman wearing Russian flag at a concert in Poland,” it says. “This image perfectly describes what Exit has been fighting for since the beginning. It shows the essence of how we should look at each other, not as members of a particular race, nation, religion, sexual, political, or any other orientation, but as human beings, with all of our imperfections, fears, hopes, and dreams.

“Since we also found ourselves bombed back in 1999 by some of the biggest countries in the world, the fear and pain experienced by the people of Ukraine is familiar, and we mourn for the innocent victims on all sides. We also remember and mourn all the victims of the wars fought in ex-Yugoslavia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Yemen and all other bloodsheds worldwide, truly believing that there is no such thing as justified war.

“Just as the hippie movement and the forerunner of modern music festivals, Woodstock, emerged as a reaction to the Vietnam War, Exit was created as part of a movement for freedom and peace in the Balkans. We have vowed to be the generation to stop the bloody cycle of war in the region. That is one of the primary social missions of our festivals in Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, and other countries.

“Now is the time for the next step – for like-minded people and organisations around the world to unite and forge new relationships among people, bringing true world peace. That is why this new movement must overshadow all countries and governments worldwide. It must outshine all previous structures and lead us to a New Era dreamed of by many generations before.”

Meanwhile, in Australia, the Australian Road Crew Association (ARCA) has pulled out its music recordings from the Russian Federation and challenged the rest of the Australian music industry to do the same.

“The ARCA crews are family,” says ARCA co-founder Ian Peel. “We celebrate our freedoms and what we’ve fought hard to achieve. Although we in no way know how much real suffering is going on in the Ukraine, we feel for its people and want to make a stand. We roadies don’t cop abuse; we don’t tolerate it on a personal, local or national level.”

 


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Montreux Jazz Festival partners with TikTok

Montreux Jazz Festival has announced a UK and European partnership with TikTok for the festival’s new music initiative, MJF Spotlight.

Launched in 2021, MJF Spotlight was created to support emerging artists and new music with original content creation and live performances. MJF Spotlight will release a series of live performances under the name The Road To Montreux, showcasing emerging acts, as part of the partnership.

TikTok has also been named an official partner for the 2022 edition of the legendary Swiss festival, which returns to the Lake Geneva shoreline for its 56th edition from 1-16 July. TikTok will collaborate with the festival’s talent team to identify the most promising rising stars and provide them with a platform to reach new audiences.

The Road To Montreux will feature six live showcases throughout the year that will be livestreamed via TikTok and on Montreux’s own channels. The showcases will be filmed in Zurich, with stops in Berlin, Hamburg, and London, before ending at the Montreux Jazz Festival. Additionally, Montreux will offer artists from MJF Spotlight the opportunity to perform on the MJF Spotlight stage at the 2022 festival.

“Our passion is enabling artists of any genre take their music and passion to the next level”

“Artist discovery starts on TikTok and at Montreux Jazz Festival,” says Michael Kümmerle, TikTok’s head of music operations Germany, Austria and Switzerland. “Same as for MJF, our passion is enabling emerging artists of any genre take their music and passion to the next level. We cannot wait to see how the next rising stars will be unleashing the interactive potential of TikTok LIVE or create entertaining content to inspire new and existing fans.”

Each month, MJF Spotlight supports one specially selected artist with exclusive digital content and live shows internationally. Previous MJF Spotlight artists have included the likes of Priya Ragu, who released two live music videos from 2021 festival performance, as well as a two-track live EP via DSPs.

MJF Spotlight is organised through the festival’s subsidiary media company Montreux Media Ventures (MMV). Launched in 2019, MMV was created to evolve the festival from an annual event into a sustainable company by creating quality content all year round.

“Like TikTok, we are passionate about music,” says MMV CEO Nick Bonard. “Leveraging the festival’s legacy of supporting young artists, MJF Spotlight offers new talent a physical and digital platform to showcase their music to new audiences. Together, TikTok and MJF Spotlight can supercharge the process of artist discovery through entertaining and engaging content. We are very excited to find new artists to highlight through MJF Spotlight this year.”

 


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The New Bosses: Remembering the class of 2021

The 14th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses celebrated the brightest talent aged 30 and under in the international live music business.

The New Bosses 2021 honoured no fewer than a dozen young executives, as voted by their colleagues around the world.

The 14th edition of the annual list inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations.

The year’s distinguished dozen comprises promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs and more, all involved in the international business and each of whom is making a real difference in their respective sector.

In alphabetical order, the New Bosses 2021 are:

Subscribers can read full interviews with each of the 2021 New Bosses in issue 103 of IQ Magazine.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £5.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 

 


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