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Non-quarantining concertgoers fined in Covid-free Taiwan

Seven people who attended attended a stadium concert on new year’s eve instead of self-isolating have been fined by Taiwanese authorities for endangering public health.

The concertgoers – who had been ordered to observe ‘self-health management’ (ie self-isolate/quarantine) after coming into contact with someone infected with Covid-19 – went to see veteran Mandopop band Mayday perform at Taoyuan International Baseball Stadium near Taipei on 31 December.

Over 22,000 people attended the show, according to Taiwan News, part-way through which “news broke out that several individuals who were supposed to be following self-health management protocols were in the crowd”.

The seven were caught out by Taiwan’s mobile phone-based contact tracing system, dubbed “Skynet”

Taiwan’s Central News Agency reports that the potentially infected septet were caught out by the country’s mobile phone-based contact tracing system, dubbed “Skynet”, which clocked them just half an hour after they left their houses.

Three of the Mayday fans, who were supposed to be quarantining for another three days, were each fined NT$70,000 (US$2,460), while the other four, who each had one day to go, received fines of NT$30,000 (US$1,070).

Taiwan, which is home to nearly 24m people, on 22 December recorded its first domestic case of Covid-19 in over 250 days. The island country was the first to return to hosting full-capacity major events, with arena shows restarting in August.

 


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How Taiwan became a global outlier for live, post pandemic

Taiwan has become the envy of the global live music industry after enjoying many months of full-capacity festivals, concerts and events.

The east Asian country, which has a population of more than 23 million, has recorded a mere 603 cases and only seven deaths during the pandemic, despite being close to mainland China where the virus began.

The country recently celebrated a record 200 consecutive days without any domestically transmitted cases of Covid-19, making it even more successful than New Zealand (which has a far smaller population) and Vietnam – both of which have been lauded for their efforts since March.

Taiwan’s success with controlling the virus has been tied to a number of factors, including: an early response which brought in strict control measures such as two weeks of quarantine for anyone flying into the island; a generous amount of resources being poured into testing and tracing and checks on travellers arriving from Wuhan as early as December last year.

On top of that, the island’s previous exposure to the Sars epidemic meant that preparations were extensive and up to date.

As a result, the nation has managed to maintain a positive rate of economic growth, and unemployment rate dropped to 3.83% in September, the lowest seen in six months.

Thanks to these precautions and achievements, the country saw a return to live as early as June when the Taiwanese government lifted all limits on the number of people allowed to attend public gatherings, including cultural events, and removed the need for social distancing at concert halls and stadiums.

Taiwain has recorded a mere 603 cases and only seven deaths during the pandemic

Following that, Taiwanese artist Eric Chou delivered Asia’s first post-Covid arena shows to a sold-out, full-capacity Taipei Arena (cap. 15,350) on 8 and 9 August.

Fans were still required to wear masks, undergo temperature checks upon entry, and provide identification that would facilitate contact tracing should the need arise. Pink medical masks and square alcohol wipes were provided.

Since then, however, measures are not being as strictly enforced. Last Saturday (14 November), some 10,000 – mostly maskless – patrons crammed together at Dajie Riverside Park in Taipei for Ultra festival, a worldwide electronic music festival franchise.

A carefree audience enjoyed performances from domestic and international artists (who would have quarantined for 14 days upon entering the country) including Kayzo, Vini Vici, Slander and Alesso.

Artists have been among those praising the nation for its efforts in tackling coronavirus. Last Tuesday (10 November), world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma gave thanks to the audience and praised the people of Taiwan for their “truly amazing” feat during his concert.

His performance at Taipei Music Center to more than 4,000 fans was his first in front of a live audience since March.

One of the nation’s biggest triumph in terms of live events, however, came last month as tens of thousands celebrated the LGBTQ+ community in Taipei.

On the 31 October, the capital hosted the biggest in-person pride event of 2020 since the pandemic began, drawing an estimated 130,000 people.

 


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Taiwan revels in success of first post-Covid arena show

Taiwanese artist Eric Chou performed to a sold-out, full-capacity Taipei Arena (cap. 15,350) on 8 and 9 August, delivering Asia’s first post-Covid arena shows.

In July, the singer announced a series of four concerts in major arenas in Taiwan – including two upcoming dates at the 15,000-capacity Kaohsiung Arena on 5 and 6 September – which sold out in a quarter of an hour.

All attendees of the Tapei Arena shows were required to wear masks, undergo temperature checks upon entry, and provide identification that would facilitate contact tracing should the need arise. Pink medical masks and square alcohol wipes were provided.

“We were the first to do it during this Covid-19 situation, and there was a lot of preparation,” Chou told the South China Morning Post. “But the show went really well – every part was exactly like how I pictured it was going to be.”

The concerts come after the Taiwanese government lifted all limits on the number of people allowed to attend public gatherings, including cultural events, on 7 June, and removed the need for social distancing at concert halls and stadiums.

“The show went really well – every part was exactly like how I pictured it was going to be”

Taiwan has been praised worldwide for its response to the coronavirus crisis. The country, which has a population of more than 23 million, has recorded 479 cases of Covid-19 and only seven deaths. In early June, after no new locally transmitted cases were recorded for eight weeks, leading to the lifting of restrictions.

Taipei Arena has announced a number of concerts scheduled for the coming weeks, including Zhan Yawen’s 30th Anniversary Tour and the Folk 45 Summit.

The restart of arena shows comes following the Taiwan ministry of culture’s issuing of 2.1 million electronic cultural vouchers, worth NT$600 (€18) each, for tickets to concerts, art exhibitions and other cultural events, or to buy items at venues or culture-focused shops.

The NT$1.2 billion (€35.3m) programme aims to boost the cultural and arts sector and encourage people to attend cultural events as the Covid-19 situation subsides in Taiwan. The programme is expected to generate an estimated NT$5bn (€146.8m) for the sector.

Chou’s arena shows signal that Taiwan’s live music scene may return to something like normalcy sooner rather than later.


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Rapid sell-out for Asia’s first post-Covid arena shows

Tickets for a series of four concerts featuring Taiwanese artist Eric Chou have sold out in a quarter of an hour, indicating demand is high for the region’s first arena shows since coronavirus restrictions began.

Chou is scheduled to perform on 8 and 9 August at the 15,350-capacity Taipei Arena and on 5 and 6 September at the 15,000-capacity Kaohsiung Arena, with tickets for all four Taiwan shows selling out in just 15 minutes after going on sale this weekend.

In Taiwan, the government lifted all limits on the number of people allowed to attend public gatherings, including cultural events, on 7 June, and removed the need for social distancing at concert halls and stadiums.

The concerts are the first to be held at the venues since coronavirus restrictions were put in place early this year.

A named ticket system is in place to facilitate track and trace at the shows, with fans asked to fill in their name and contact number on the ticket upon purchase, or just before entering the venue in the case of ticket transfers.

The restart of arena shows comes following the Taiwan ministry of culture’s issuing of 2.1 million electronic cultural vouchers, worth NT$600 (€18) each, for tickets to concerts, art exhibitions and other cultural events, or to buy items at venues or culture-focused shops.

Tickets for a series of four concerts featuring Taiwanese artist Eric Chou have sold out in a quarter of an hour

The NT$1.2 billion (€35.3m) programme aims to boost the cultural and arts sector and encourage people to attend cultural events as the Covid-19 situation subsides in Taiwan. The programme is expected to generate an estimated NT$5bn (€146.8m) for the sector.

Taiwan has been praised worldwide for its response to the coronavirus crisis. The country, which has a population of 23.78 million, has reported 455 cases of the virus and seven deaths.

Elsewhere in northeast Asia, Japan gave the go-ahead for 5,000-person indoor concerts earlier this month, although plans to remove an upper capacity limit at events altogether from 1 August may be halted due to a recent rise in infections.

Creativeman’s Supersonic festival – a replacement of its usual Summer Sonic event – is still scheduled to go ahead from 19 to 21 September in Tokyo and 19 to 20 September in Osaka, featuring acts including the 1975, Post Malone, Wu-Tang Clan, Liam Gallagher, Fatboy Slim, Black Eyed Peas, Kygo and Steve Aoki.

In South Korea, a recent spike in new cases in Seoul and neighbouring cities is hindering the resumption of large-scale events.

This week, a ban on events of over 5,000 people was put in place in the Sonpa district of Seoul, leading to the postponement of upcoming shows at the 15,000-capacity Olympic Gymnastics Arena, or KSPO Dome. Around 5,200 fans were expect to attend each of the 15 concerts planned for the arena in the next three weeks.

Photo: Gene Wang/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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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Woman indicted for Taiwanese promoter scam

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office has reportedly charged a woman with fraud and forgery, for posing as a promoter for concerts by K-Pop groups, Mandopop star Andy Lau and Singaporean musician JJ Lin.

According to the Taipei Times, Chao Chung-ling is accused of defrauding six people who invested TWD 4.84 million (US$159,000) in her business after she claimed she was promoting a concert by Lau in Taiwan last year.

The individual in question, reportedly the proprietor of Taipei-based agency FD Model Co, had previously received TWD 4m ($132,000) from separate investors for a concert tour by K-pop band VIXX.

The report also states that Chao sought an investment of TWD 800,000 ($26,000) in January last year, again claiming she was putting on an Andy Lau show in Taiwan.

The Asian live industry has seen its fair share of scams in recent years

Chao was also allegedly sued last year by claimants who said they lost TWD 40m ($1.3m) on a concert she claimed she was promoting for K-pop superstars BTS. In another claim, an investor said he gave Chao TWD 6m ($198,000) for a series of dates by Taiwanese hip-hop band 911.

The Asian live industry has seen its fair share of scams in recent years. Last year, promoters, festivals and venues across Asia were contacted by bogus ‘agents’ claiming to represent artists such as Lady Gaga, Eminem, Rihanna and System of a Down.

More recently, several South Korean industry insiders were accused of defrauding promoters and investors of more than $4m by posing as representatives of BTS’ management company, Big Hit Entertainment.

Similar scams targeted European promoters in 2018, which saw fraudsters pose as representatives of Adele, Justin Timberlake, Beyoncé and more.

Photo: Huandy618/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0) (cropped)

 


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Ticketmaster expands to Singapore, Taiwan

Ticketing giant Ticketmaster is expanding into Asia, establishing a presence in Taiwan and Singapore.

The move, which sees Ticketmaster acquire Taiwanese ticketer Tixcraft and open a Singaporean branch, brings the company’s operations to 32 countries worldwide.

As a result of the expansion, Chad Phillips, former managing director for ApacTic, has been appointed to the newly created role of managing director of Ticketmaster Asia.

The launch of Ticketmaster Singapore following the company’s selection as one of three ticketing partners for Singaporean sports and entertainment complex, Sports Hub, late last year, along with TEG’s Ticketek and Sistic.

Sports Hub incorporates the 55,000 capacity National Stadium and a 12,000 capacity indoor stadium, which serve as the main venues for concerts in Singapore, hosting acts including U2 and Mayday, along with a 3,000 capacity arena and other facilities.

In Taiwan, Ticketmaster takes control of concert ticketing platform Tixcraft, which works with promoters such as Live Nation Taiwan, B’in and iMe Taiwan. Tixcraft founder and managing director KT Chiu will stay on at the company, serving as Ticketmaster Taiwan MD.

“The live entertainment industry across Asia has seen some immense growth and right now is the perfect time to welcome Ticketmaster to Taiwan and Singapore”

“By acquiring market leaders Tixcraft in Taiwan and launching in Singapore, we have established two great bases with talented teams to support the bourgeoning live entertainment scene in Asia,” comments Ticketmaster International president Mark Yovich.

“We are introducing greater levels of service and choice to event organisers across the region and can now provide fans with seamless access to our worldwide marketplace of events.”

Ticketmaster Asia MD Phillips adds: “Over recent years, the live entertainment industry across Asia has seen some immense growth and right now is the perfect time to welcome Ticketmaster to Taiwan and Singapore. I’m hugely excited to be joining the team and look forward to managing the rollout of the world’s most innovative ticketing marketplace.”

The launch of Ticketmaster in Taiwan and Singapore complements Live Nation’s existing concert promotions business across Asia Pacific.

In 2019, the company acquired Singaporean promoter One Production and PR Worldwide in Malaysia, while also making senior appointments to its growing business in China. In December last year, Live Nation Asia launched Live Nation Connects, a new creative marketing agency to connect brands to fans across Asia.

Read IQ’s analysis on consolidation within the ticketing sector here.

Major moves: consolidation sweeps the ticketing sector


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‘World’s biggest arts venue’ opens in Taiwan

Weiwuying, a US$280m, 1,500,000sqft mega-venue Taiwan hopes will serve as the main cultural hub for east Asia, has opened to the public after 12 years in development.

Weiwuying – in full the National Kaohsiung Center for the Arts, Weiwuying – was designed by Dutch architect Mecanoo, and takes influence from the canopies of banyan trees in the 116-acre Weiwuying park, in central Kaohsiung. The single, sweeping building covers a surface area of 35 acres, and incorporates five performance spaces: a 2,236-seat opera house, a 1,981-seat concert hall, a playhouse seating up to 1,210, a 434-seat recital hall and an outdoor theatre, linking the building to the park.

According to Mecanoo, that makes it the world’s largest performing arts centre under one roof, and “Taiwan’s most significant cultural investment in a generation”.

A ceremony in the concert hall on 13 October, attended by Tsai Ing-Wen, president of the Republic of China (Taiwan’s official name), officially inaugurated the venue.

Weiwuying outside view

While music programming is largely classical, popular and world music gets a look-in, too: Taiwanese-Korean act Du Bud perform on 3 November, while French electronic project Cinema for Ears will play a pre-Christmas set exploring “the interplay of electronic music and sound art”.

Weiwuying’s artistic director, Chien Wen-Pin, comments: “Something that overseas visitors to Weiwuying will encounter is the passion for theatre, dance, spectacle and music that is everywhere in Taiwan. Our audiences are extraordinarily enthusiastic and knowledgeable. I will continue to work with artists at home and abroad to uncover new ideas for programming that reflect the very best in contemporary practice.

“Weiwuying, with its extraordinary facilities, gives us the opportunity to experiment – to be bold and innovative, and to try different things.”

 


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Jim Wong to head up new Live Nation Electronic Asia unit

Live Nation has formed a new electronic music division, Live Nation Electronic Asia, in response to what it calls “the region’s rising demand for electronic dance music”.

The new venture is headed up Jim Wong, an independent Hong Kong-based promoter who has promoted and booked more than 500 acts in Hong Kong and mainland China over the past three years.

He comments: “I am excited to join Live Nation, especially considering the enormous potential this new venture creates for electronic music fans and artists. My team and I are passionate about electronic music and we are committed to contributing to the growth of this community in Asia.”

The first event for Live Nation Electronic Asia will be Tïesto’s Clublife China tour, which visits eight cities in China from 13 to 21 October, with Creamfields events in Hong Kong and Taipei following in December.

“Our overarching goal is to connect artists and fans for unparallelled live music experiences,” says Alan Ridgeway, Live Nation’s president of international and emerging markets, “and it’s undeniable that fans in Asia, especially China, are eager for more electronic music.

“Combining Jim’s experience with Live Nation’s network and resources allows us to accelerate our presence in this genre, giving fans even more electronic music performances through both concerts and festivals.”

Live Nation is active in eight other markets in Asia, including Indonesia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

 


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China’s Storm touches down in Taiwan, Australia

China’s leading electronic dance music (EDM) festival, A2Live’s Storm, will for the first time this year include two international dates.

Making good on newly appointed MD Eric Reithler-Barros’s promise to prioritise “Asian expansion”, the promoter – a division of Shanghai-based Ato Ato Integrated Media – has announced it will make its “first foray outside China” with events in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, and Sydney, Australia.

Along with a new Ultra event, Storm Australia will be one of two new EDM festivals in Australia this year, filling the vacuum left by SFX’s late Stereosonic event.

The flagship Storm festival in Shanghai (35,000-cap.) has, since its founding in 2013, hosted several major international EDM DJs, including Avicii, Skrillex, Alesso, Hardwell and Tiësto. In addition to the Taiwanese and Australian events, Storm festivals will take place in nine Chinese cities in 2017 – up from five last year – with a special show at IMS Asia-Pacific in September.

“When Storm goes abroad for the first time … China will finally become more cemented in the world view as a real pillar of the electronic music community”

At a press conference in Shanghai last Thursday (11 May), A2Live also announced the launch of a new label, Storm Records, in partnership with Amsterdam-based Spinnin’ Records.

The company says an increase in Storm events will serve as a counterbalance to the growing influence of Western dance music in China. “Historically, the electronic dance music scene in China has drawn heavily from Western influences,” reads a statement. “With increasing numbers of international festivals taking aim at the enormous consumer market in China, the genre is getting more influences from outside its borders.

“When China-born titan Storm goes abroad for the first time, pushing its blend of international electronic music stars outside its home country, China will finally become more cemented in the world view as a real pillar of the electronic music community. Due to Storm’s rapid expansion, more music lovers worldwide will experience the magical energy that Storm produces and propagates.

“China will no longer only take cues from abroad but will also play a crucial role in innovating, setting the trends and shaping the global dance music scene.”

 


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Further Asian expansion for Sony’s Zepp venues

Zepp Hall Network, a division of Sony Music Entertainment Japan, has revealed plans for two more mid-sized venues outside Japan.

Joining Zepp Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia – announced in February as the company’s first non-Japanese venue – are Zepp@BIGBOX Singapore, a 2,333-capacity venue jointly operated with Singapore’s Big Box Investment, and Zepp New Taipei, a 2,200-cap. space across four floors in a new development in the Taipei suburb of Hsinchuang Futuhsin.

Zepp@BIGBOX will open first, on 4 June with a show by J-rock band Radwimps, with Zepp New Taipei following in April 2020 and Zepp Kuala Lumpur at the tail end of the same year.

“Zepp’s expansion in Asia will … create touring opportunities for Japanese and international artists”

Funding for the new venues – all of which will feature “stage machinery, lighting and sound systems with specifications standardised for all Zepp venues across the globe”, giving “an advantage to tour promoters and touring artists alike” – is covered partially by the Japanese government’s Cool Japan fund.

The latest round of expansion, says Zepp, “will blaze a trail for the Japanese music industry while creating touring opportunities for Japanese and international artists”. “Our hope is to bring people around the world together and provide the grounds for cultural exchange by building the infrastructure,” it adds in a statement.

Zepp Hall Network manages six venues in Japan – Zepp Sapporo, Zepp Tokyo and Zepp DiverCity in Tokyo, Zepp Nagoya, Zepp Namba in Osaka and the newly opened Zepp Osaka Bayside, with new venues opened in Fukuoka in 2018 and Yokohama in 2020.

 


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