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The O2 celebrates 25 million ticket sales

Twenty five million tickets have been sold for shows at London’s O2 Arena since 2007, the venue team announced today (22 October), following a busy summer with concerts by Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, Muse and more.

The 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, which was crowned the world’s busiest venue for the 11th consecutive year in 2018, has this year seen performances from the likes of Daddy Yankee, George Ezra, Post Malone, Cher and Khalid.

Bjork, the Chemical Brothers, Liam Gallagher, Krept and Konan, Little Mix and the Lumineers are all set to perform at the arena before the end of the year.

Since opening in 2007, the O2 has hosted over 2,000 individual performances and now holds an average of 200 events per year, covering music, sport, comedy, family entertainment and esports.

“To reach the 25 million ticket milestone is a huge achievement and we’re so grateful to have hosted so many artists for the first time this year”

“To reach the 25 million ticket milestone is a huge achievement and we’re so grateful to have hosted so many artists for the first time this year,” comments Emma Bownes, vice president of programming.

“London has the best fans in the world, and we’d like to thank promoters, agents, managers and our partners for continuing to work with us to help bring the very best performers from the worlds of music, comedy, sport and entertainment to the O2”.

Canadian rapper Drake was this year inducted into the venue’s ‘21 Club’, joining acts including Prince, One Direction and Take That to have performed at the London arena 21 times.

Take That hold the record for the most number of shows played at the O2, whereas the attendance record belongs to Metallica, who played to a 22,211-strong crowd in 2017.

Tickets are not the only thing being sold in large quantities at the O2. In 2018, the venue sold over 172,000 portions of chips, 72,500 hot dogs and more than 993,000 pints of beer.

 


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Grande, Bieber, Coldplay for LN Manchester benefit

Ariana Grande will return to Manchester this Sunday (4 June), headlining a star-studded benefit in aid of the families of the victims of last Monday’s bombing.

One Love Manchester, underwritten by Live Nation and produced by Festival Republic in association with SJM Concerts, will take place at the Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground (50,000-cap.) and feature performances by Grande, Justin Bieber, Coldplay, Katy Perry, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Usher, Take That and 1D’s Niall Horan.

Tickets will go on sale through Ticketmaster at 10am on Thursday 1 June, while those who attended Grande’s tragic show at Manchester Arena on 22 May can register to attend for free.

All net proceeds for the show, which will be broadcast on BBC TV and radio and Capital radio, will be donated to the We Love Manchester Emergency Fund.

“We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us”

In an open letter to fans, Grande (pictured) – who postponed her Dangerous Woman tour in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack – says: “My heart, prayers and condolences are with the victims of the Manchester Attack and their loved ones. There is nothing I or anyone can do to take away the pain you are feeling or to make this better. However, I extend my hand and heart and everything I possibly can give to you and yours, should you want or need my help in any way.

“We will not quit or operate in fear. We won’t let this divide us. We won’t let hate win… Our response to this violence must be to come closer together, to help each other, to love more, to sing louder and to live more kindly and generously than we did before.

“Music is meant to heal us, to bring us together, to make us happy. So that is what it will continue to do for us. We will continue to honour the ones we lost, their loved ones, my fans and all affected by this tragedy. They will be on my mind and in my heart every day, and I will think of them with everything I do for the rest of my life.”

 


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Arena attack: Shows axed as premiums set to rise

British venues and promoters have been left counting the cost of last night’s deadly bombing at the Manchester Arena, with a spate of cancellations, questions over security and the threat of a spike in the cost of insurance cover.

The launch of Amazon’s much-heralded Prime Live Events concert series is among the most high-profile events to have been put on hold. As a “mark of respect”, the Blondie show at the 750-capacity Round Chapel tonight has been postponed.

“Out of a mark of respect for the victims of the terrible attack at Manchester Arena last night, Amazon and Blondie will not go ahead with the Prime Live Event scheduled for tonight at the Round Chapel in Hackney, London,” an Amazon spokesperson tells IQ. “We are working together with Blondie to reschedule the event, and we will communicate details to customers as soon as possible.”

Take That have also cancelled their planned concert at the Liverpool Echo Arena tonight “out of respect to all of the people and their families that were affected by the horrific incident” in Manchester, the band say in a statement.

The three-piece are due to play further dates at Manchester Arena later this week; it is not yet known whether those shows will go ahead.

Elsewhere in Manchester, Simple Minds at the Bridgewater Hall (2,400-cap.), Homeshake at Gorilla (700-cap.) and Priests at Gullivers (100-cap.) will all go ahead tonight.

At The O2 in London, meanwhile, Ariana Grande – who was performing at Manchester Arena the night of the bombing – is, at the time of writing, still booked to play on 25 and 26 May, while Iron Maiden have confirmed their 27–28 May dates will go ahead.

“The mood in Manchester is one of defiance: people are thinking, ‘We’re just going to get on with it'”

The most significant festival cancellation so far is Radio Festival, a radio/audio convention backed by PRS for Music, which was due to take place tonight at London’s British Library. Roger Cutsforth, chief executive of event organiser Radio Academy, says: “[D]ue to the sheer number of people from the industry who have been called back to their desks to report on the incident, and the many attendees attempting to travel, we have decided to reschedule the event for later this year.”

DHP Family’s Anton Lockwood, whose Dot to Dot new-music festival returns to Manchester this Friday (26 May), tells IQ it’s business as usual for the promoter until it hears otherwise.

“If police tell us we have to do anything different, we obviously will,” he explains, “but it never occurred to us to cancel.”

Arenas across the UK, as well as many London theatres, are believed to be urgently reviewing security procedures in the aftermath of the attack.

However, Phin Mackness, the managing director of urban booking agency Stateside Touring, says he believes not enough is being done to keep artists and audiences safe.

“This is the third time a music venue has been attacked in the space of 18 months,” he tells IQ, referencing the attacks on the Bataclan and Reina nightclub in Istanbul, “and I can only see that this is going to increase: when you’ve got lots of people in a small space like a venue, it makes an attractive target for terrorists.

“We need change – it’s not specific to the UK, but in live venues as a whole. This could happen anywhere.”

“When you’ve got lots of people in a small space like a venue, it makes an attractive target for terrorists”

In addition to the threat of terror discouraging some artists from visiting certain markets, a prominent industry insurance broker tells IQ premiums are likely to increase in the short-term as a “knee-jerk reaction” to the Manchester bombing.

“The attack is likely to have a direct affect on [insurance] rates”, says Alesco’s Paul Twomey, as underwriters “look at the location of shows: for example, insurers will see more incidents occurring in France and Belgium and so premiums will be higher in Spain, Denmark, Scandinavia…”

Twomey adds, however, that unless Britain is hit by a spate of terror attacks, as has happened in France, insurance policies will only peak in price temporarily. “As the old adage goes, the safest place to be right now is probably in a music venue,” he says.

Regardless of whether the attack is a sign of things to come in the UK, the data is clear: Terrorist incidents at live music events are on the rise, doubling year on year since 2015, with at least four so far in 2017 alone.

With a few exceptions, in Manchester, at least, the show looks to go on. While there is, says Lockwood, “a certain nervousness among some artists, especially Americans, flying in for Dot to Dot” – but the general mood “is one of defiance: people are thinking, ‘We’re just going to get on with it and not let last night stop me doing the things I want to do.”

 


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