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Two dead after Thailand’s Wonderfruit Festival

At least two attendees of last weekend’s Wonderfruit Festival in Thailand have been reported dead, according to local reports.

Swiss national Guillaume Wyss, better known as Bangkok-based DJ Boogie G, was found unresponsive on the festival grounds on the morning of 16 December, with witnesses reporting that an associate attempted to wake him before resuscitation attempts from medics on the grounds failed.

Wyss, who played an early Friday morning set at the festival from midnight to 2 am, was taken to Bangkok Pattaya Hospital at 5 am and pronounced dead, according to Coconuts Bangkok.

“We’re devastated by the loss of our husband, father, son, brother and friend Guillaume Wyss aka Boogie G,” his wife Pich Wyss wrote on social media. “He was loved and he loved you all.”

A veteran in Bangkok’s underground music scene, Wyss was a founding partner of Preduce Skateboards and hosted a slew of popular nightlife events such as the long-running Nite Ride series at Studio Lam. Wyss founded party promoters Music Makes Me High and Qommon and also performed regularly at venues and events such as Tropic City and Transport.

“The investigations are underway to determine the cause of death”

Indonesian national Kimo Rusna, who opened Bali’s first wake park, was also pronounced dead after being brought to the Pattaya Memorial Hospital from the festival. His wife Dewa Sri Luce Rusna told the Coconuts Bangkok: “He died at hospital because of a heart attack. We are currently in grieving. Thank you so much for the attention.”

Deputy Station Chief Lt. Col. Anuchet Katsomboon told the publication that witnesses had reported seeing Rusna fall from the stands to the grounds at one of the festival venues, with preliminary investigations determining that the wakeboarder was under the influence of drugs or narcotics. An autopsy is underway.

Lt. Ying Siriyakorn of Chonburi’s Nong Prue police said today they were investigating one death and looking into reports of other fatalities.

“We are deeply saddened to have learnt that two attendees who fell ill at Friday’s night’s Wonderfruit passed away in the early hours of Saturday morning at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya and Pattaya Memorial Hospital,” spokesperson Muanprae Wannasri said in a statement. “The investigations are underway to determine the cause of death. Wonderfruit are working closely with the authorities to help with any queries.”

“Both cases had been very quickly brought to the attention of on-site medical staff, who assessed and treated the patients immediately, before they were taken by ambulance to the hospital,” the festival wrote.

The 7th edition of Wonderfruit Festival took place at The Fields at Siam Country Club in Pattaya between 15 and 18 December, and was attended by 25,000 people.

 


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AEG Global Partnerships expands into Asia Pacific

AEG Global Partnerships has announced an expansion into Asia Pacific (APAC), led by newly appointed vice president Matthew Zweck.

The industry veteran and 10-year AEG Global Partnerships executive will focus on developing strategic partnerships for the company’s portfolio of assets in Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Australia.

Based in the company’s Australian headquarters in Melbourne, Zweck and his team will be responsible for sales and servicing of brand collaborations with partners for AEG’s collection of assets in the region.

This includes recently announced projects such as Em Live, a 6,000-seat theatre that will anchor a new entertainment district in Bangkok, as well as new, state-of-the-art multi-purpose arena projects in Nagoya and Osaka, Japan, in addition to a new 20,000-seat arena in Seoul, Korea.

The new regional office will also oversee partnerships and innovative marketing programs for assets such Shanghai’s Mercedes-Benz Arena, and work with JV partner Mushroom for concert tours, festivals and other live entertainment properties produced by Frontier Touring.

Speaking on the expansion, Paul Samuels, executive VP of AEG Global Partnerships, says: “With a world-class network of more than 350 owned and affiliated venues, sports and music brands, our Global Partnerships business is unmatched in terms of our ability to offer partners access to platforms that cut through the clutter and create innovative campaigns and sponsorships that enable brands to build deeper relationships with their customers.

AEG’s Global Partnerships team is responsible for generating more than US$550 million in annual revenues

“Having worked with him for more than a decade, I’m thrilled to announce Matthew’s appointment and excited to see the growth and value he drives on the ground for not only our business, but for our future business partners across APAC.”

AEG’s Global Partnerships team is responsible for generating more than US$550 million in annual revenues and more than US$2 billion in contractually obligated income.

With a dedicated footprint and headcount based in Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand, the expansion of the Global Partnerships team mirrors the overall expansion of AEG’s business into Asia-Pacific.

Adam Wilkes, AEG Asia Pacific president & CEO, says: “The exponential growth of the APAC entertainment market is one I have been privileged to witness first-hand for over two decades. From first entering the market off the back off the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, our Asia Pacific business has gone from strength to strength and as we look to continue our investment footprint in this pivotal region, I am thrilled to have Matthew on hand to lead our Global Partnerships business on this new journey.”

Acting as an internal agency for AEG and AEG Presents, Global Partnerships oversees worldwide sponsorship sales and activation for over 135 properties across five continents, including venues, sports franchises, events, tours, festivals and digital content.

Notable deals include the naming rights of venues such as the O2 and the Mercedes-Benz Arenas – both the Berlin and Shanghai venues – to activations including the annual American Express presents BST Hyde Park festival, Luno presents All Points East and team sponsorship for Eisbären Ice Hockey teams.


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Fifteen killed in ‘inferno’ at music pub in Thailand

Fifteen people were killed and dozens badly injured by a fire that broke out at a music pub in eastern Thailand.

The blaze at the Mountain B pub, in the Sattahip district of Chonburi province, was reported at around 12.45 am on 5 August, according to police.

At least 100 pub-goers were listening to live music in the pub when a fire broke out in the roof above the stage. Videos on social media showed thick black smoke and then flames pouring from the front entrance as people attempted to flee, some with their clothing on fire.

Thirteen people died at the scene, with the death toll since rising to 15.

A spokesperson for Queen Sirikit Naval Hospital said 15 patients required intubation, with most suffering third-degree burns over more than 60% of their bodies. Two patients were transferred to a hospital in Bangkok for advanced treatment.

An electrical short circuit near the stage is initially thought to have been the cause of the tragedy, according to Chonburi deputy governor Naris Niramaiwong.

Flames poured from the front entrance as people attempted to flee, some with their clothing on fire

After an initial investigation by the police, it was found that at least one exit door was locked when the fire broke out and that the pub was lined with flammable soundproofing.

Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda said that the venue did not have a pub licence and was built in an area where entertainment venues were prohibited, while Pol Maj Gen Atthasit Kitjahan, commander of the Chonburi police, added that the premises was licensed to operate as a restaurant and had been illegally altered.

Mountain B owner Pongsiri Panprasong has been charged for causing death through recklessness and operating a pub without a licence. Panprasong’s lawyer says he has confessed to all charges.

Prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has urged business operators and officials to ensure that safety measures are in place for entertainment venues nationwide.

The blaze at Mountain B pub comes 13 years after a similar incident at Santika nightclub in Bangkok on 1 January 2009. Sixty-six people were killed and more than 200 injured in a fire during a New Year’s Eve celebration at the club. The blaze began on the ceiling above a stage, apparently sparked by an indoor fireworks display. Toxic smoke flooded the venue and contributed to the death toll as the entire club caught fire.

The fires in Thailand echo similar tragedies such at the unlicensed Ghost Ship in California, where an electrical fire sent the converted warehouse up in flames,  The Station in Rhode Island, where pyrotechnics ignited inflammable insulation foam during a concert by Great White, and Colectiv in Bucharest, where band Goodbye to Gravity and hundreds of clubgoers were caught in an almost identical blaze.

 


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Rolling Loud heading to Thailand in 2023

Rolling Loud, the world’s biggest hip-hop festival franchise, will plant its flag in Thailand next year.

The expansion was announced via Rolling Loud’s Twitter account on Tuesday (26 July), with a caption reading: “Rolling Loud Thailand. See you 2023”. Details on the festival’s lineup, location, dates and tickets are yet to be announced.

The festival’s foray into Thailand will mark its first official event in Asia after a failed attempt at venturing into Hong Kong in 2019. The Hong Kong edition was scheduled to take place in October 2019 but was cancelled due to the city’s ongoing riots and protests at the time.

Rolling Loud Hong Kong would have been headlined by Migos and Wiz Khalifa with additional performances from the likes of Playboi Carti, Smokepurpp, Ski Mask The Slump God and more.

The festival’s foray into Thailand will mark its first official event in Asia

Founded in 2015, Rolling Loud has previously expanded from its flagship Miami festival to launch in cities including Los Angeles, New York and Sydney.

Earlier this month, Rolling Loud made its European debut in Portugal. Headlined by J Cole, A$AP Rocky and Future, the Live Nation-backed event was held on Praia Da Rocha Beach, Portimão, in the Algarve. The Portuguese spin-off was originally set for the summer of 2020 before being called off due to the pandemic.

In addition, Rolling Loud is expanding to Canada for the first time with headliners Dave, Future and Wizkid at Ontario Place, Toronto from 9-11 September. Its New York edition, meanwhile, is lined up for Queens Citi Field from 23–25 September, headed by Nicki Minaj, A$AP Rocky and Future.

Alongside its sister events, the brand also joined forces with the Netherlands’ Woo Hah! hip-hop festival to launch Woo Hah! x Rolling Loud at Beekse Bergen in Hilvarenbeek. Held from 1–3 July, acts included J Cole, Future, Dave and Roddy Ricch.

 


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Ticketmaster to acquire Thai Ticket Major

Ticketmaster has announced the part acquisition of Bangkok-headquartered Thai Ticket Major (TTM) as it enhances its presence in the Asian market.

Founded in 1999 by Tero Entertainment, TTM is the leading full-service ticketing company in Thailand and also has operations elsewhere within the region. Live Nation announced the acquisition of Tero’s concerts and entertainment division earlier this month.

Ticketmaster says that 90% of Western tours in Asia currently route through Bangkok, while Thailand also has a strong regional market for K-Pop and Japanese talent.

“Thailand’s live entertainment industry has seen immense growth over the past few years,” says Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich. “As we join with Thai Ticket Major, Ticketmaster will enhance the nation’s ticketing experience, bringing event organisers, venues and fans across the country an unrivalled level of service and experience.”

“Being part of Ticketmaster gives us the opportunity to elevate our ticketing solutions for Thailand’s premier venues and event creators”

Home to “several world-class venues and significant fan demand for live entertainment”, the Thai market is considered to be primed for the rapid adoption of digital ticketing, which Ticketmaster will deliver. Current TTM MD Komkrit Sirirat will continue to lead the local team and be responsible for all Thai operations.

“Delivering a market leading ticketing solution has been at the heart of TTM for the last 23 years, so it was the natural next step for us to join the world’s leading ticketing company, Ticketmaster,” adds TTM shareholder Brian Marcar, MD of Tero Entertainment. “Being part of Ticketmaster gives us the opportunity to elevate our ticketing solutions for Thailand’s premier venues and event creators as this market grows into one of the world’s premier live entertainment destinations.”

The announcement marks the latest phase in Ticketmaster’s Asian expansion following the establishment of Ticketmaster Taiwan and Singapore in 2020.

 


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LN steps up Thailand operations with TERO deal

Live Nation has acquired the concerts and entertainment division of Thailand-based TERO Entertainment (TERO C&E).

The strategic acquisition builds on the existing JV between Live Nation and TERO, launched in 2015, and signals further growth within the country through a commitment to developing local Thai talent, while also continuing to bring major international acts to the region.

Established in 1998, TERO C&E is a leader in domestic touring, family entertainment, exhibitions, musicals, and artist management within Thailand.

“TERO C&E has it all – local expertise delivering outstanding experiences to fans, and career growth for international and local artists,” Live Nation Asia Pacific president Roger Field. “Our deepened partnership with TERO will expand our presence not only in Thailand but across the region, and we are looking forward to bringing an ever-growing and incredible roster of domestic and international talent to fans, connecting them with the magic of live.”

“Our vision is to extend and grow the partnership”

Brian Marcar, MD of Tero Entertainment PLC, says: “Our partnership with Live Nation has grown over the years and we have seen many benefits from this union for international artists. Our vision is to extend and grow the partnership to enable the same benefits to local talent so they too can have the opportunity to develop internationally, making this hugely beneficial to both the local fans and the local artists.”

The deal expands Live Nation’s reach in the region, as well as deepening its strategy to offer new events to brand partners across the region which include Marriot Hotels, Mercedes, Toyota, Pepsi, Budweiser, and Samsung.

Revenue from domestic artist shows across Thailand is predicted to grow rapidly year-on-year between 2022 and 2025.

“We are excited by the growth opportunities of the entertainment business under the one company, this will not only increase the number of leading acts coming to perform in Thailand but now will give local artists the opportunity to work with a global company to manage their live touring here in Thailand, the APAC region and the rest of the world,” adds Neil Thompson, CEO of Live Nation Tero and DMD of Tero Entertainment.

 


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Alda plots in-person Rave Culture fest in Thailand

Following the success of its first Rave Culture show, which welcomed 1,400 fans to Cologne’s Lanxess Arena in July, Dutch electronic promoter Alda is planning an “even more spectacular show” in Thailand this December.

The first Thai music festival since early 2020, Rave Culture part two will be held in Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, on the Gulf of Thailand, on 12 December. A co-pro with Bangkok’s 808 Festival and Amsterdam-based creative agency 20 Agency, Rave Culture welcomes a “top-tier” line-up, says Alda, as well as high-end production featuring lasers, LEDs, “state-of-the-art” lighting and other special effects.

Performers will include trance star Andrew Rayel, hardstyle duo Sub Zero Project, psy-trance act Vini Vici and future-rave pioneer Morten, as well as Rave Culture founders W&W. W&W played at the inaugural Rave Culture festival, as well as an Alda-organised virtual-reality live stream which attracted more than a million viewers in May.

Pattaya is known as the nightlife capital of Thailand, while the 500-acre Nong Nooch gardens will provide a “beautiful setting” for the event, adds an Alda statement.

Tickets for Rave Culture, which takes place as part of day two of 808 Festival, start at ฿2,950 (€81) for general admission and are on sale now.

 


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Thai promoter charged over non-socially distanced show

A concert promoter has been charged with violating Thailand’s restrictions on mass gatherings after organising a non-socially distanced concert attended by thousands 2,500 people.

Paisant Vettayayong, the organiser of a 25 July show by popular luk thung (Thai country music) singer Jenny, is accused of violating an emergency decree banning non-distanced large-scale public gatherings until 31 August. Photos posted to social media appear to show hundreds of unmasked concertgoers packed into a temporary indoor arena for the Red Cross Fair charity event, held near Nakhon Sri Thammarat in southern Thailand.

In a 4 August news release, the Thai Ministry of Public Health confirmed that the concert, which was attended by 2,582 people, did “not meet government standards” and therefore posed a “high change of Covid-19 transmission”.

Paisant Vettayayong is accused of violating an emergency decree banning large-scale public gatherings until 31 August

Paisant, who admitted wrongdoing, is liable for a fine of up to ฿40,000 (US$1,300) or a two-year prison sentence, the Bangkok Post reports.

While the show attracted significant public criticism, including from Thailand’s prime minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, it emerged on Sunday (9 August) that no concertgoers had been infected with Covid-19.

At press time, Thailand had no new daily cases of Covid-19. Some 3,351 Thais have had the disease since January, 58 of which died.

 


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Tuk Tuk Fest: Thailand’s take on drive-in shows

Thailand’s capital of Bangkok is the latest city to offer its own take on the Covid-safe drive-in concert format, introducing the Amazing Thailand Tuk Tuk Festival, set to take place on 8 August.

Organised by Chang Music Connection, in cooperation with Woody World, ZAAP and Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), the festival will see fans hop into their own auto rickshaws, or tuk tuks, a three-wheeled motorised vehicle used through Southeast Asia, to access the festival grounds at waterside promenade Asiatique: The Riverfront.

Each of the 200 tuk tuks will be allocated a 16-square-metre spot from which to watch the performances, with waiters on hand to provide food and drink, and escort fans to the restrooms.

Thailand’s capital of Bangkok is the latest city to offer its own take on the Covid-safe drive-in concert format

Rock band Potato will headline the seven-hour event, playing alongside singer-songwriter Stamp Aphiwat, hip-hop act Joey Boy, singer Palmy, boyband Three Man Down, indie group Taitosmith and DJ Taidy.

The tuk tuk festival is the latest wheely good idea to come from concert promoters looking to put on live shows while adhering to coronavirus regulations, and follows the adoption of drive-in concerts from Moscow to Mexico, and the creation of the world’s first bike-in arena in Italy.

More information about the festival can be found on the event’s Facebook page.

 


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Polygon introduces ‘world-first’ 360° 3D sound stage

Polygon, a UK-based start-up which claims to have invented “the world’s first fully immersive 3D 360° sound stage”, will officially launch Polygon Live at Wonderfruit festival in Thailand next month.

Designed around an L-Acoustics processor, the Polygon Live arena “changes the status quo” by giving performers – who are first flown to Polygon’s London office to ‘pre-spatialise’ their music – “the ability to perfectly spatialise sounds within, but also to physically move sounds around, a space”, putting the fan at the centre of immersive surround-sound experience.

Christian Heil, CEO and founder of L-Acoustics, says: “Sound is by definition a spatialised medium. It’s how the human species naturally experiences sound: detailed, multidimensional and localised. Today at concerts we should instead be asking, ‘Why is the sound not spatialised?’ Until recently, the answer to this question was because we didn’t have a user-friendly and cost-effective ecosystem to reproduce natural, 3D sound.”

“Polygon and Wonderfruit have showcased L-ISA technology since 2017 and can be considered pioneers in the use of spatialised sound in the electronic and dance music world,” Heil adds. “EDM is a thrilling application for L-ISA because the genre does not tie the physical localisation of sound to a known and recognisable instrument such as a violin or a drum kit. This opens up tremendous freedom to have sound travel, shapeshift and ricochet, independently of where the sound is made.

“Today at concerts we should instead be asking, ‘Why is the sound not spatialised?’”

“L-ISA becomes a kind of instrument, enveloping fans in entirely new sensations and perceptions. It’s exciting and Polygon is at the forefront of a sonic and creative revolution that is only just beginning to unfold.”

Polygon CEO Nico Elliott adds: “After many years researching 3D sound we are excited to officially launch Polygon Live. We believe that Polygon will redefine how live music is experienced and set a new benchmark for the industry.”

At Wonderfruit this year, Polygon Live will take the form of a bamboo stage designed by lighting designer/architect Visual Systems, also featuring scent dispersion, pyrotechnics and tubed LED lighting.

The Polygon Live line-up at Wonderfruit includes leading electronic musicians and DJs including Be Svendsen, Luis Rosenberg, Viken Arman Alban Endlos, Martha Van Straaten and Matanza.

Wonderfruit 2019 takes place from 12 to 16 December at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, Chonburi.

 


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