Visa-free touring in Greece secured for UK artists
UK artists and their crews will no longer need visas to tour in Greece, it has been confirmed.
The announcement, which comes into effect on Monday (13 June), was made yesterday by the Greek deputy minister of foreign affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis.
It follows extensive efforts from the Greek government and figures from across the UK and Greek music industry, including LIVE members James Wright of UTA, Craig Stanley of Marshall Arts and Paul Fenn of The Entertainment Agents’ Association.
With artists travelling to Greece previously having to apply for and receive a Schengen visa, the move represents a considerable boost for the UK’s live music sector post-Brexit.
“This is a huge victory for both artists and fans”
“This is a huge victory for both artists and fans, representing a further step towards the frictionless touring ecosystem needed by the live music sector,” says LIVE CEO Jon Collins. “The prohibitive costs and bureaucracy posed by visa regimes threaten the export and growth of budding talent from across the UK, and while issues such as cabotage and carnets remain, we will continue to work on behalf of the sector to resolve these alongside our international counterparts.”
Fenn adds: “We’re pleased to see that the diligent work of the LIVE Touring Group team coupled with the promoters in Greece quickly identified the problem that arose and managed to effectively target the lobbying in Athens to achieve a quick resolution.”
LIVE warns that despite the welcome move, which is subject to review at the end of the year, touring artists still face restrictions on touring: a three-stop limit to UK touring vehicles before they have to return to home, and an expensive goods passport (a “carnet”), including a bond for instruments and equipment.
Last year, LIVE and the Association for British Orchestras (ABO), alongside their Spanish counterparts Asociación Promotores Musicales and key industry players such as Live Nation Spain, also successfully worked to waive visas for UK artists touring in Spain.
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AEG’s Simon Jones talks Bieber tour, ’22 prospects
The 2022/23 global trek, which launched at San Diego’s Pechanga Arena in February, will cover six continents, with additional shows recently announced in Dubai, Bahrain, Sydney, New Delhi, Manila, Amsterdam, London and Dublin.
“We’ve gradually added additional regions over the past six months, and have now added every city that will be included,” Jones tells IQ. “It’s quite the juggernaut covering a lot of ground. I think you can safely say that Justin is one of the top global touring artists in the world.”
The biggest worldwide tour since the Covid shutdown lands in Europe next month with a stop at Italy’s Lucca Summer Festival before continuing on to Scandinavia for shows in August. Bieber then heads to South America, South Africa and the Middle East in September and October, closing out the year in Asia, Australia and New Zealand before moving to the UK in early 2023.
“The most challenging part has been traversing the very slow and gradual opening up of markets in Asia”
“Other than the ridiculous challenge of venue availability in major markets, the most challenging part has been traversing the very slow and gradual opening up of markets in Asia,” explains Jones, who was named Promoters’ Promoter at the recent Arthur Awards.
“[AEG Asia Pacific chief] Adam Wilkes and I, and our Asia team have spent many hundreds of hours planning the roll out of the recently launched Asia leg together. The appetite for Justin in that region has been frankly incredible, and we’ve mostly been capitalising on each countries ‘freedom day’ so to speak, so it has been a slow roll out, and thankfully we’re working with a very flexible artist team to help us do that.”
The Justice run is Bieber’s first global outing since 2016/2017’s Purpose world tour, which grossed $257 million, attracting 2,805,481 fans across 141 shows, according to Pollstar. Pre-pandemic, he had been due to tour in 2020 and launched his Changes album with a one-off fan event at the 2,800-cap Indigo at The O2 in London that February.
“The underplay acoustic show that we did in London for the launch of Changes, just before the pandemic hit, showed him to be in a great place: energised and eager to get into the campaign until the breaks were firmly put on for obvious reasons.
“It’s quite amazing to think that that was actually the only live show for the whole Changes campaign. But seeing this Justice tour play out, it’s incredible how much he is at the top of his game right now.”
“It’s no longer the parents buying their kids the majority of the tickets”
AEG’s SVP of international touring, Jones has worked with Bieber since 2015 and points out the 28-year-old Canadian’s audience base has broadened significantly over the years.
“It’s no longer the parents buying their kids the majority of the tickets,” he notes. “You could see that during Purpose that the songs he was releasing were reaching a mass audience. He’s taken those fans with him for his latest two records, and the mass appeal for his latest record will bring with it a slightly older crowd, but the consistent rate that he releases global smash songs reach new fans all the time, including new young fans too.”
While Bieber’s touring career continues to go from strength to strength, Jones admits to concerns over the market as a whole – particularly with regards to acts lower down the food chain.
“Cost of living rises will hit live music as it has every other area, so we are likely to see an increase in ticket prices”
“We have some headaches and challenges to deal with for sure,” he says. “The huge amount of choice out there this year and next, the saturation rate is hitting a point where something will have to give – everyone will need to work harder to make sure we do the business that’s required and fans will want more value for money from shows than ever before.
“Cost of living rises will hit live music as it has every other area, so we are likely to see an increase in ticket prices. That will manifest itself by people becoming much choosier on who they spend their hard earned cash on, so maybe they’ll go to less shows on an average year, but they’ll likely spend more money per head at each show on the bar, merch, etc, as it may subconsciously be their big night out that they plan further ahead for.”
He concludes: “One thing’s for sure, that for the right artist, whether it be AAA*-level artists, for brand new red hot acts, and for the perfectly timed nostalgic plays; the business is still there, and alive and kicking. But extra care and thought from promoters, agents and managers needs to put into all other levels of artists, as nothing can be assumed or expected, or taken for granted, as it’s a very unpredictable landscape at the moment.”
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Bruce Springsteen unveils 2023 tour dates
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band have announced they will be returning to the road in 2023.
The group will kick off their tour in February with a series of still-to-be-announced US arena dates, followed by European stadium dates starting at Estadi Olímpic in Barcelona on 28 April. A second North American tour leg will then begin in August.
The scheduled European shows are in Barcelona, Dublin, Paris, Ferrara, Rome, Amsterdam, Landgraaf, Zurich, Düsseldorf, Gothenburg, Oslo, Copenhagen, Hamburg, Vienna, Munich and Monza, with additional cities and shows in the UK and Belgium to be announced at a later date.
The concerts mark the band’s first run since 2016/17’s The River Tour, which was the highest grossing worldwide tour of 2016, earning $268.3m over 76 shows.
“After six years, I’m looking forward to seeing our great and loyal fans next year”
“After six years, I’m looking forward to seeing our great and loyal fans next year,” says Springsteen. “And I’m looking forward to once again sharing the stage with the legendary E Street Band. See you out there, next year – and beyond.”
The frontman reprised his 2017/18 Springsteen On Broadway residency last summer to help reopen New York City theatres.
Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band’s confirmed 2023 dates are as follows:
28 April: Barcelona, Spain Estadi Olímpic
5&7 May: Dublin, Ireland RDS Arena
13 May: Paris, France La Défense Arena
18 May: Ferrara, Italy Parco Urbano G. Bassani
21 May: Rome, Italy Circo Massimo
25 May: Amsterdam, The Netherlands Johan Cruijff ArenA
11 June: Landgraaf, The Netherlands Megaland
13 June: Zurich, Switzerland Stadion Letzigrund
21 June: Düsseldorf, Germany Merkur Spiel Arena
24&26 June: Gothenburg, Sweden Ullevi
30 June: Oslo, Norway Voldsløkka
11&13 July: Copenhagen, Denmark Parken
15 July: Hamburg, Germany Volksparkstadion
18 July: Vienna, Austria Ernst Happel Stadion
23 July: Munich, Germany Olympiastadion
25 July: Monza, Italy Prato della Gerascia, Autodromo di Monza
Kehlani announces UK, European, N.America tour
Kehlani has announced details of a UK, European and North America tour that will run from July through to December, this year.
The multi-platinum singer-songwriter will hit the road in support of her new critically acclaimed album ‘Blue Water Road’, which was released last month.
Produced by Live Nation, the 28-city North American leg kicks off on 30 July at Red Hat Amphitheater in Raleigh, NC, making stops in Miami, New York, Houston and more before wrapping up in her hometown of Oakland on 30 September.
The 15-city European leg will commence on 17 November in Copenhagen, Denmark, visiting cities including Berlin, Paris and London before concluding in Manchester on 12 December.
Kehlani will be supported by Rico Nasty on the North America dates and Destin Conrad across all dates.
See the full routing below. Dates marked with an asterisk are not Live Nation shows.
Sat Jul 30 – Raleigh, NC – Red Hat Amphitheater
Mon Aug 01 – Miami, FL – FPL Solar Amphitheater
Wed Aug 03 – Atlanta, GA – Coca-Cola Roxy
Fri Aug 05 – Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre
Sun Aug 07 – Washington, DC – The Anthem
Tue Aug 09 – New York, NY – Radio City Music Hall
Fri Aug 12 – Boston, MA – Leader Bank Pavilion
Sat Aug 13 – Bridgeport, CT – Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater
Mon Aug 15 – Philadelphia, PA – Skyline Stage @ The Mann Center
Tue Aug 16 – Pittsburgh, PA – UPMC Events Center
Wed Aug 17 – Cincinnati, OH – The Andrew J Brady Music Center
Fri Aug 19 – Minneapolis, MN – The Armory
Mon Aug 22 – Detroit, MI – Fox Theatre
Wed Aug 24 – Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage!
Fri Aug 26 – Chicago, IL – Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom
Sun Aug 28 – Indianapolis, IN – TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park
Tue Aug 30 – Houston, TX – Bayou Music Center
Thu Sep 01 – Austin, TX – Moody Amphitheater
Sat Sep 03 – Dallas, TX – South Side Ballroom
Tue Sep 06 – Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium
Fri Sep 09 – Las Vegas, NV – The Chelsea @ The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Sat Sep 10 – Los Angeles, CA – YouTube Theater
Wed Sep 14 – Phoenix, AZ – Arizona Federal Theatre
Thu Sep 15 – San Diego, CA – Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
Sat Sep 17 – Portland, OR – Theater of the Clouds @ Moda Center
Sun Sep 18 – Seattle, WA – WAMU Theater
Wed Sep 21 – Vancouver, BC – PNE Forum!
Fri Sep 30 – Oakland, CA – Oakland Arena
Fri Oct 21 – Honolulu, HI – Waikiki Shell*!
* Not A Live Nation Date | ! Citi Presale Not Applicable
Thu Nov 17 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Grey Hall
Fri Nov 18 – Stockholm, Sweden – Annexet
Mon Nov 21 – Oberhausen, Germany – Turbinhalle*
Tue Nov 22 – Berlin, Germany – Tempodrom*
Thu Nov 24 – Zurich, Switzerland – Komplex 457
Sat Nov 26 – Vienna, Austria – Gasometer*
Sun Nov 27 – Munich, Germany – Zenith*
Tue Nov 29 – Milan, Italy – Fabrique*
Wed Nov 30 – Paris, France – Salle Pleyel
Sat Dec 03 – Tilburg, Netherlands – O13
Sun Dec 04 – London, UK – Brixton Academy
Wed Dec 07 – Dublin, Ireland – Olympia
Fri Dec 09 – Glasgow, UK – O2 Academy
Sat Dec 10 – Birmingham, UK – Academy
Mon Dec 12 – Manchester, UK – Victoria Warehouse
Hans Zimmer Live: Claiming victory over adversity
When Hans Zimmer Live made its debut in Hamburg on 11 March, the wave of emotion across an audience who had been starved of live entertainment for the best part of two years was palpable. And those scenes were reflected by everyone involved in the spectacular production.
“The tour was originally scheduled for Spring 2020, so when we had our first show in Hamburg, somebody from our social media team found out that we had announced that show 858 days ago,” reports Christoph Scholz from Semmel Concerts, which is co-producing the tour with RCI Global.
“There were definitely people in that audience who had sat on their tickets for more than two years, so the sense of relief and enjoyment was immense.”With an office in Hamburg, Semmel Concerts promoted that opening night. “It was very emotional,” says Scholz. “There was enormous tension on stage and backstage. But the audience, the crew, and the artists were simply very happy to be together again, and the atmosphere was special.”
A world apart
At press time, Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine was still raging, and thoughts of that senseless conflict are never far from the Hans Zimmer Live touring party, some of whom were forced to flee their country following the Russian invasion.
“Our originally scheduled orchestra is the Odessa Opera Orchestra from Ukraine,” reveals Scholz. “Within the first 72 hours of the conflict, ten musicians and their families were able to make it out to safety. But that was only about half of the orchestra and the others were unable to leave Ukraine. As a result, we’ve renamed it Odessa Opera Orchestra & Friends because we cast musicians from elsewhere in Europe.
“We were following the IQ newsletter every day, monitoring everywhere that was closing the doors”
“On the opening night, Hans introduced the band first after his first song, and there were standing ovations. It was a very touching moment. But we’ve had lots of standing ovations, since. The support has been just phenomenal.”
Getting the tour out of the starting blocks has been a monumental task, especially with so many false starts to contend with. “At Semmel, we were already hosting arena shows for domestic acts in Germany last year – between the end of August to mid-November we had 430,000 people attend our shows,” reports Scholz.
“So, when we met Hans Zimmer for a production meeting in early September last year, we were confident we were all set to kick-start the tour and go full steam ahead.” But in November, everything ground to a halt. “Suddenly, Germany restricted events again; the Netherlands never really reopened; Belgium shut down… we were following the IQ newsletter every day, monitoring everywhere that was closing the doors,” says Scholz.
Point of no return
With Zimmer being one of Hollywood’s most in-demand creators, his diary is continually jam-full. But along with Semmel and RCI Global, he was determined to make the tour happen as early in 2022 as possible. “We gambled a little bit,” admits Scholz. “In early January, when all of Europe was really closed, we had a large production meeting with Hans, and everybody agreed that we should just pencil in the dates and go for it.”
“We lost a lot of freelancers [during the pandemic] because they had to move on and find other jobs”
Initially, the tour was set for a mid-February debut, but with many governments still reluctant to allow venues to reopen, those dates were delayed and simply moved to the latter part of the routing. Still, being one of the first tours out on the road means the supply chain issues that event organisers around the world are having sleepless nights about, were not such a problem for those involved in Hans Zimmer Live. But it doesn’t mean they were non-existent.
Sebastian “Deichkind” Bülowius of back-line suppliers Captured Live is providing all the backline gear, as well as four backline techs on the road. He tells IQ, “We lost a lot of freelancers [during the pandemic] because they had to move on and find other jobs. I would say about 10-15% have decided to stay in the [new] job rather than returning. That means we’re expecting 85-90% of people to return as freelancers, which is positive, but a 10-15% loss of staff is still significant.”
Highlighting the spiralling cost of even the simplest materials, Bülowius says, “We had to get a couple of cases built for equipment. But ordering wood is getting more and more expensive, so that makes it really challenging.” Prices are also high on the agenda for Oliver Rosenwald, who as senior project manager at Semmel booked the entire European tour for Hans Zimmer Live and is currently in charge of operations on the road.
“We’re facing big problems to get our crews together, and it seems many riggers have just gone missing,” Rosenwald reports. “With Genesis and some other productions out on the road at the same time as us – even though there are not many tours out there at the moment – trucks and buses are already getting rare, so it could be very tough when more productions hit the road.”
“We’re facing big problems to get our crews together, and it seems many riggers have just gone missing”
On that transport side, Leo Steffen of Germany-based Trucking Service says they are overjoyed at getting back to touring. “The drivers are extremely happy, even if there is still a bit of uncertainty about the next few months as far as Covid restrictions are concerned,” he says.
“But they are glad to be travelling, not only with their Trucking Service colleagues and familiar crews again, but also to be out around the continent meeting new faces and facing new challenges that have developed over the long touring break.”
Those sentiments are shared by Hannes Hauser of personnel transport providers Beat The Street. “Everybody that came back to take over their buses again has been very excited, as they were sick of just sitting at home or of the alternative jobs some of them did. I only hear very good feedback from the drivers to finally be on the road again, doing what they like the most.”
However, if ever a reminder of the pandemic is needed, even as the first shows were entertaining sold-out arenas in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dublin and London, in Italy restrictions were still limiting audiences to 60% capacity, while many other territories remain on a knife-edge and could be subject to restrictions being reimposed at any time, should Covid infection rates spike.
The spectre of Brexit also looms large. Border control issues have generated more paperwork, but one disappointing aspect experienced by the touring party was the number of Ukrainian musicians prevented from travelling to the UK.
“It was a very big challenge to get the Odessa orchestra and their families over the border to safety”
“It was a very big challenge to get the Odessa orchestra and their families over the border to safety, and we’ve rented houses and apartments for the families of our Ukraine musicians,” says Rosenwald. “Everywhere in Europe has been great, as they did not require any visas or work permits for our Ukrainian citizens. But that wasn’t the case with the UK, and we had to leave six or seven of our musicians at a hotel in Germany because they could not get their visas in time.”
Another supplier working hand in hand with the producers has been Satis & Fy – a longstanding partner for Semmel, according to project manager Lui Helmig. He explains that for the current tour, “All technical trades are controlled 360° from our house: lighting, sound, rigging and stage and scenic construction come directly from us for the Hans Zimmer tour, and for video technology we work with Video Bär.”
Helmig adds, “We put the crew together with the production management of Semmel Entertainment… when 15 [trucks] left our location in Werne for the start of the tour, it was a very emotional moment for all of us after two years of pandemic, because it’s finally really starting again.”
As good as it gets
With the tour effectively mothballed for two years, one of the producers’ biggest achievements was keeping the original production team and suppliers on board.
“With Hans, people are very loyal so we managed to keep everyone – suppliers, venues, promoters – who were originally working on the 2020 tour,” says Scholz. “Certainly there were changes within the crews, but every company stayed on board, even though we’ve all been extremely nervous. To be honest, we couldn’t fully guarantee that the tour would happen, but we’ve been welcomed with open arms because we’re the first large-scale arena show that many of venues have had for a long time.”
As the first post-Covid production to visit a number of arenas, the task of devising the tour’s hygiene concept fell to Rosenwald, who quickly realised that placing the tour party into a ‘bubble’ was not the solution. “The bubble is an illusion,” he states. “You cannot prevent people going for breakfasts in hotels, or going to bars and restaurants, so all you can do is take as many precautions as possible.”
“To be honest, we couldn’t fully guarantee that the tour would happen, but we’ve been welcomed with open arms”
Thankfully, Rosenwald was able to prove his hygiene concept with Semmel during a ten-city tour of France in autumn last year. “Basically, you cannot be part of the tour unless you are three-times vaccinated,” he explains. “FFP2 masks are worn by everyone in the tour party, and we’re also testing everyone regularly for the virus.
“Meanwhile, we’ve asked local promoters to test their own staff and wear masks when they deal with the touring party, and we have a hygiene manager on the road with us who makes sure that local crew are also tested.”
Despite the odd case, here and there, the plan has worked well. “It’s nerve-wracking,” says Scholz. “It was a lot of work for Oliver, but everybody was very flexible. It’s clear to everybody – each venue owner, each artist, each crew member, each supplier – that we work in uncertain times and that we all need to live with the unknown now. Covid can strike at any time – in the first week of production rehearsals in Berlin, for instance, we had three or four cases including two of our crew chiefs who were locked for almost ten days in their hotel rooms. But, just as Her Majesty the Queen did recently, they were able to do ‘light work’ while we conducted rehearsals and all that.
“It’s good that things are calming down because a couple of months ago one Covid case would lead to mass panic in production output – Broadway and West End shows would shut down, or film shoots would be postponed. But that seems to be changing.”
“We did The World of Hans Zimmer tour with five or six trucks… this tour has a total of 13 trucks”
While the current tour has had numerous challenges to overcome, what many in the business may not realise is that the scale of the production is enormous compared to previous Hans Zimmer outings.
“We did The World of Hans Zimmer tour, which was a smaller production with five or six trucks compared to this tour, which has a total of 13 trucks,” reveals Trucking Service’s Steffen. “Logistically, Hans Zimmer Live is more of a challenge in almost every way. Not only is there more equipment and personnel on the road, but the tour in general is a lot longer and covers more countries. This was also the first time we’ve been in the UK, post-Brexit, with a production this size, which made careful planning and customs preparation even more important than usual.”
One newbie to the world of Hans Zimmer is lighting designer John Featherstone, who nevertheless has been a friend of the composer since before the pandemic. “We have a lot of friends in common, but I first met Hans when he was doing a bespoke private show,” he explains. “He is always looking for new and exciting ways to deliver his music and vision to the audience, so it was inspiring to work with him on the concept for this tour.”
While other film-score-based shows simply match images from the movies to the music, that was not going to work with Hans Zimmer Live, which with a stage full of virtuoso musicians was always going to be more of a live concert than a scripted set.
“This was also the first time we’ve been in the UK, post-Brexit, with a production this size”
“The way Hans composes and the way in which the musicians interpret their roles means it was never going to be as iterative as other shows,” continues Featherstone. “You have to lean into the movies, for sure, but it was interesting to hear the way Hans approaches projects in collaboration with the film’s director, and then devise the lighting design in a similar way.”
The result is amazing. With about 20 virtuoso musicians on stage, there are astounding solo performances constantly throughout the show, while the impressive video screens above the stage and projections behind the 20-something-piece orchestra complement Zimmer’s compositions, which touch on blockbusters such as Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, Dune, The Last Samurai, The Lion King, The Dark Knight and others.
“Dark Knight is bombastic and tortured, whereas Last Samurai is far softer and melancholic, and Lion King is obviously completely different. But the lighting and images allow the musicians to do their own thing without having to stick to a script or in time with certain scenes on a video,” adds Featherstone, who also had to design a system that could be tailored to work everywhere from the low, 12-metre height confines of Stuttgart, through to the soaring expanses of The O2 Arena.
A league of their own
The show itself is extraordinary. Like a latter-day Prince, Zimmer surrounds himself with the crème de la crème of musicians and artists, while the tour is Zimmer’s first to involve dancers and even an aerial artist to wow the audience.
Zimmer and his business partner, Steven Kofsky were originally persuaded to take his music to the fans by legendary impresario Harvey Goldsmith, who promoted their first shows in October 2014 at Hammersmith Apollo in the UK. Now, while Semmel and RCI have taken over as producers, Goldsmith remains involved co-promoting the shows with Kilimanjaro Live at The O2 Arena and the AO Arena Manchester.
“Unfortunately, because of Covid, we had to postpone not once but twice”
“Unfortunately, because of Covid, we had to postpone not once but twice, so the fact that most people still had their tickets was a minor miracle,” states Goldsmith. “But they are a unique audience: very wide ranging but people who love the movies. The audience in London just went nuts.
“It is a big show, but then all of his shows are big, as he likes the spectacle of it,” he adds. “When you look at the quality of the musicians, that’s what makes it very unique – every one of them playing on that show is a star.”
Co-promoter Stuart Galbraith from Kilimanjaro Live says, “The Hans Zimmer Live shows in the UK were some of the strongest we have seen come through the pandemic. The fans were absolutely dedicated – 95% of them hung on to their tickets through the postponements and the tour, unlike many others, continued to sell strongly. But is it any wonder when Hans continues seems to release an award-winning soundtrack every month?!”
In Ireland, MCD’s Noel McHale who promoted the show at Dublin’s 3Arena, agrees. “It’s great to see crowds coming through the doors, all excited and buzzing to be going out to gigs again,” he says. “The Hans Zimmer Live show sold out two years ago and 99% held on to their tickets – people were really looking forward to this one.” And the fans were not disappointeded. “The show is genuinely spectacular – there were standing ovations: it was a sonic and visual feast,” says McHale.
But he isn’t surprised. “I go back a long way with Oliver and Christoph from Semmel Concerts, and I’ve promoted Hans Zimmer with them many times. They know how to put a great production team together and always find ways to improve on previous productions. Hans always finds the best musicians for his shows – stunning virtuoso players, every one of them.”
“The show is genuinely spectacular – there were standing ovations: it was a sonic and visual feast”
Another contributor keen to applaud the producers is Bülowius at Captured Live. “They’ve done a really good job: everything they did in advance to make sure that all these shows were going to happen the way they are – that was a lot of work. We’re showing everybody that it is possible, again, to just do it: to tour all over Europe,” he says.
That’s music to the ears of Rosenwald. “Hans Zimmer Live is a much bigger show and it’s been more challenging for everyone,” he notes. “People have fallen out of their routines because they haven’t done the stuff they were doing in the last few years, at least not in the in the way they’d done it before.” However, he notes that morale is high. “The entire feedback that I’ve had from the production side has been really good,” he tells IQ.
And that’s one of the reasons people are so happy to buy into Rosenwald’s hygiene concept. “As local promoters, we have a duty of care to Hans, his band, orchestra and crew to look after them when they come visit and keep them safe and healthy so they can continue to tour,” says McHale. “With over 250 people in the backstage area, everyone bought into our safety plans – everyone from the local crew to riggers to caterers and all production and venue staff wore masks all day, kept a safe distance, and continually used the sanitisers.”
A Monster in Paris
At IQ’s press time, the tour had loaded out of its three triumphant back-to-back shows at the Accor Arena in Paris and was on its way back to Germany for a date in Munich. Rosenwald comments, “I’m very proud that we managed to sell-out two nights at The O2 Arena in London, at the Hallenstadion Zürich, and at the Ziggo Dome in the Netherlands, but I’m even happier that we’ve sold out three nights at the Accor Hotels Arena in Paris!”
Friendly Fire promoter Rense van Kessel sold out the Ziggo Dome dates. He tells IQ, “We got so used to rescheduling things in the past two years that we all have become kind of experts on it. But we have been working so closely with the venue, ticketing company, our own staff, etc, on so many [events], that we worked out a very good functioning script [to communicate with ticket holders] which makes it all very smooth.”
“We got so used to rescheduling things in the past two years that we all have become kind of experts on it”
Unfortunately, a positive Covid test ruled van Kessel out from seeing the show himself. However, he reports that everyone involved with the Amsterdam dates was buzzing with excitement. “It is a great show of power from the Zimmer and Semmel teams that they managed to pull off a tour of this magnitude, production, number of people on the road, etc, in such challenging times,” he says. “Many would have pulled the plug, but they did everything they could to stay positive and do everything to get it on the road. And they succeeded. That is very impressive.”
By the end of the tour, the production will have played 30 dates to more than 300,000 fans across 15 nations, giving Hans Zimmer the undoubted title of biggest international tour since the pandemic closed venues more than two years ago.
Plans for the next part of Zimmer’s live career are still unconfirmed, but Los Angeles-based CAA agent Chris Dalston has been tasked with securing future dates. “The idea is to get the US tour, East Coast, on sale after the European tour finishes in June,” Dalston tells IQ, explaining that major cities like Miami, Tampa, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC, Montreal, Toronto, Atlantic City, Boston and New York are in the reckoning.
He reveals that further legs of the tour are being considered for Australia and Asia “at the end of ‘22 or early ‘23,” while a West Coast jaunt for North America could also be scheduled around that. Beyond then, promoters, producers and fans alike are already waiting in anticipation of what one of the greatest composers of our time will do next. “Hans has changed the entire genre of film music,” says Scholz. “It’s not the typical orchestra sitting in front of a screen and playing music to a film and the classic conductor. It’s a rock band, presenting the biggest film scores on Earth in a rock-pop show.”
The last word, however, goes to the maestro himself. “I try to write music in the studio that can live without the film, because I owe it to the director,” says Zimmer. Talking of the current tour, he states, “I don’t show a single frame of film because I am arrogant enough to believe that the music can stand on its own two feet.”
And noting that he shares the stage with musicians who are political refugees from South Africa and Venezuela, as well as the Ukrainian orchestral members, Zimmer concludes, “This orchestra is precious. It’s important that we get to go across the world with these people because it will remind you of all the times that art and artists are there to bring peace to this world.”
How organisers can benefit from the hotel demand they create
When a major act’s tour dates are revealed, it is not just their fans who get excited as they jump online to snap up tickets. Tour announcements are music to the ears of hoteliers, who can hear the beautiful melody of their cash tills ringing months in advance of a band or performer coming to town.
“Putting on an event requires a huge amount of planning, forward investment and risk, but hotel operators are free to increase prices and enjoy a surge in bookings on the back of the hard work of others,” says Bayon.
The balance of risk and reward between the different parties does not seem fair. “It’s crazy that artists and promoters have been missing out on the demand their events create. We understand why and it’s mainly down to it not being core to the model of selling tickets and adding roll dates.”
Sound Travel recognised that many music fans were booking hotels near music venues once they’d bought their tickets and after the hotels had taken advantage of the announcement and increased their prices. So Sound Travel saw the opportunity to make things easier for customers and create incremental revenue for the ticketing ecosystem with its innovative packaging model.
Leveraging its deep experience in the hospitality sector, Sound Travel has developed a comprehensive portfolio of partnerships with the UK’s major hotel groups, including Hilton, Marriott, and Accor. In addition, through strategic ticket agent partnerships, Sound Travel can offer concertgoers a seamless ticket and hotel package via its proprietary technology platform.
Sound Travel has developed a comprehensive portfolio of partnerships with the UK’s major hotel groups
These partnerships ensure that Sound Travel’s clients, including rights holders, promoters, venues, sports associations and ticket agents – all benefit from the extra revenue generated. In addition, the hotels also prosper from their association with the events.
“Everyone wins,” Bayon said. “It’s a data play using the ticket as the trigger point. We secure rooms in bulk from hotels close to the venue before they even know events will occur and then focus demand on these hotels. Then, when gigs are announced, and hotel prices surge, we have already locked in low prices, allowing us to generate extra revenues for the organisers whilst offering convenient, price competitive packages of hotel and tickets to customers.
“We have had a very positive response from all parties. For rights holders and organisers, our service is entirely de-risked. They don’t have to do anything other than provide an allocation of tickets for which we share a healthy profit share.
“Hotels like it because they get bookings maybe six to nine months in advance, they receive upfront payment from us, and notwithstanding the challenges of the last two years, hotel bookings are pretty much guaranteed as fans normally do not cancel.
“Most importantly, the customer enjoys a much simpler booking experience as they can buy their event ticket and a convenient and well-priced hotel room in a single transaction. In addition, they know if the event is cancelled or deferred, Sound Travel as a bonded package provider, will either return their money or rearrange everything. Covid-19 disruption has opened customers’ eyes to the benefit of this packaged approach.”
Sound Travel will be attending this year’s ILMC34 event. If you’d like to meet and discuss how you could earn more from your tickets through a brand new revenue stream then please contact [email protected]
See how it works below:
Brexit: Summer tours saved by temporary legislation
Over 100 European summer tours put at risk by the post-Brexit trade deal will be able to go ahead, thanks to extensive lobbying from LIVE and others.
Under cabotage restrictions now in force across the whole of Europe following the UK’s exit from the EU, trucks carrying tour equipment over 3.5 tonnes are limited to just three stops before they have to leave the EU and return to the UK.
However, the British Department for Transport (DfT) has now agreed to bring in a short-term, temporary license that would allow the ‘big five’ haulage companies to operate their vehicles under both GB and EU operating licenses according to where their vehicles are needed for a particular tour.
Craig Stanley, tour producer for Marshall Arts and chair of the LIVE touring group, says he identified more than 110 European tours scheduled to take place this summer that were at risk because of cabotage restrictions – all of which can now go ahead.
“This mechanism is most welcome news for the industry,” says Stanley. “Extensive lobbying by LIVE and others in the live music industry means that the government now has a clear understanding of the complexities and issues faced by the whole sector,” he says.
“The government now has a clear understanding of the complexities and issues faced by the whole sector”
According to Stanley, secretary of state for transport Grant Shapps has committed to lay amendments to existing transport regulations before parliament after the summer recess to secure the formal implementation of dual registration.
However, in order to be registered in the EU, concert haulage companies will need a European yard which, as Stanley points out, is a huge expense. “They’d need a bonafide office that is tax registered and upholds all the regulations of that country,” he explains.
Therefore, while the live music industry has welcomed dual registration as a quick workaround solution, it is still calling for a cultural exemption to allow the free movement of trucks.
“The cultural exemption needs to be reciprocal because the UK has its own cabotage regulations, which means that the Europeans are prevented from coming to work here as we are prevented to go and work there,” explains Stanley.
LIVE is continuing to lobby the British government and Strasbourg to allow haulage operators of all sizes using different types of vehicle to move freely between shows.
UK bands get “reality check” on Brexit legislation
With the restart of international touring, UK bands say they are getting a “reality check” on the challenges presented by the post-Brexit trade deal.
A year on from the deal and the live music industry is still battling to resolve issues around immigration, social security, carnets, cabotage and VAT.
London-hailing band White Lies yesterday (7 April) cancelled a show in Paris after their equipment was detained by Brexit legislation.
Tonight’s show can’t go ahead, even though we are in Paris. We are so gutted to announce this. News on rescheduling ASAP. Details below. pic.twitter.com/YDqJKjeJCJ
— White Lies (@whiteliesmusic) April 7, 2022
In a statement titled “Sad News” the band wrote: “To our dear fans here in Paris, We and our crew have arrived safely this morning to start our European tour. But our equipment has been detained by Brexit legislation leaving England, along with countless other trucks.
“We are aware this happened to [another] British band last week. We’re devastated to say that without our equipment we do not have a show, and tonight’s has to be cancelled and rescheduled. It’s heartbreaking to be here in this wonderful city, and unable to perform due to such a trivial issue.”
Elsewhere, Belfast-based band New Pagans, who have returned home from a European tour with Skunk Anansie, says: “Brexit and Covid have truly done a number on small bands.”
A few post tour thoughts 🖤 pic.twitter.com/KKxEVzUutS
— NEW PAGANS (@NewPagansBand) April 6, 2022
“To break even on a tour, or even come home with a little profit was always the goal… to come home from a tour having accumulated massive debt is now the reality for many small and independent bands in 2022,” reads a tweet from the band.
“Fuel costs, tolls, venues taking 25% of merch, buying a carnet to get through customs: just a few things conspiring against you.”
Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) CEO David Martin recently told IQ that “for smaller artists, the cost of the carnet and the bond are prohibitive when it comes to touring”.
While Craig Stanley, tour producer for Marshall Arts and chair of the LIVE touring group, called the carnet process a “bureaucratic nightmare for smaller artists”.
Read more about the issues around immigration, social security, carnets, cabotage and VAT for UK touring musicians here.
Maluma breaks WiZink’s attendance record
Colombian singer Maluma last night (5 April) broke the attendance record for Madrid’s WiZink Center, with an audience of 17,412.
The Latin superstar, who is undertaking his Papi Juancho Europe Tour 2022, opted for a 360º format which meant the venue’s maximum capacity of 17,453 could be used.
The record was previously held by American heavy metal legends Metallica, who also used the 360º format and drew 17,267 fans to their 2018 concert.
The record was previously held by American heavy metal legends Metallica, who also used the 360º format and drew 17,267 fans
The WiZink Center says it deployed its maximum organisational capacity, including 704 workers, to make the Maluma concert possible.
This included 226 technical professionals, lighting, sound, assemblers, loading and unloading operators, 252 people in the security device, health services, fire prevention technicians, ushers and access controllers; and another 172 in restaurant services, bars, and kitchens; in addition to another 54 professionals in other different tasks.
Shawn Mendes extends mammoth world tour
Shawn Mendes is to play a total of 99 arena shows on his world tour, after extending the North America leg with 13 additional dates.
The 23-year-old Grammy-nominated Canadian singer/songwriter is due to visit North America, Europe and the UK on his year-long jaunt, dubbed Wonder: The World Tour.
On the first leg, which kicks off on 27 June in Portland, Oregon, at the Moda Center (cap. 19,980) and runs through to August, Mendes will be joined by Dermot Kennedy.
More dates for the UK and Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand legs are to be announced shortly
The second leg of the tour, which will run from September to October, will be supported by Tate McRae.
Among the 13 additional shows are an extra date at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center (19,000), new shows in St.Louis and San Diego, as well as one in his hometown of Toronto.
The UK and European legs of the tour, which were rescheduled due to the pandemic, begins in May 2023. The UK leg is promoted by AEG Presents’ Messina Touring Group.
More dates for the UK and Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Australia/New Zealand legs are to be announced shortly.
Mendes is represented by Nick Matthews at Paradigm Talent in Europe and Matt Galle at CAA for the rest of the world.