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Freight expectations: Inside the sector’s busiest year

It’s an oft-used phrase in 2022 that the live music business is packing three years’ worth of activity into one year, as postponed festivals and tours from the pandemic period concertina alongside new tours and events around the planet. But, while there will undoubtedly be certain artists and outings that become casualties of the resulting vastly oversaturated marketplace, on paper, at least, the windfall for the likes of contractors and suppliers should help make up for some of the darker, revenue-free days that Covid inflicted.

In the freight and transport sector, the order books are full. Indeed, backlogs of requests remain seemingly permanently on reserve for those acts still scrambling to find solutions to get back out in front of their fans, while standard industry practices such as double drivers are all but non-existent for the foreseeable future such is the dearth of trained and skilled people.

“To be totally honest with you, everyone is working as hard as they ever have – but always with a smile on their faces, and no one is complaining,” reports Rock-it Global managing director Chris Palmer. “Because we had nearly two years without any kind of significant touring, everyone is just so hungry to get back to what we know and love best… 2022 is shaping up to be the busiest year I’ve known in over 20 years in the industry.”

“Everyone is working as hard as they ever have”

KB Event CEO Stuart McPherson comments, “We have everything from the biggest stadium tour on the road out right now (Ed Sheeran’s Mathematics) through arena tours such as Little Mix, Craig David, Stereophonics, etc, down to theatres with the likes of George Benson, Gregory Porter and many, many others. We are running from Malta to Finland with acts like Bring Me the Horizon, and we’re doing just about every festival on the circuit with various acts and production trucks over the summer.

“The volumes we are experiencing with re-scheduled tours and shows, coupled with new tours, festivals and events, are like nothing we have experienced in 30 years,” he continues. “This has been exacerbated by the challenges placed on the trucking industry by the TCA [Brexit deal]. The temporary dual registration easement agreed in March, with a planned permanent arrangement in the autumn, means that KB are able to service the European tours we are booked on.

“But the big challenge facing our sector is that there are now only five companies in the whole of the EU – KB being one of them – that are established and able to take advantage of the dual registration agreement to service tours throughout the UK and EU. This sees a huge demand for these services with a much-reduced resource pool to support the industry requirements.”

“The volumes [of events] we are experiencing are like nothing we have experienced in 30 years”

All too aware of the importance the sector has on delivering live music to the masses, Lisa Ryan, group CCO for EFM Global, comments, “Logistics is a hot topic at a much higher level than previously, due to the many ongoing challenges facing the industry, culminating in the perfect storm for everyone involved in touring.”

Detailing the various aspects contributing to that perfect storm, Ryan listed the main issues: ongoing global supply chain disruption (including port congestion and unreliable schedules), reduced space capacity on board flights and vessels, high fuel prices and unprecedented rate levels for international air and sea freight in particular.

Extremely high demand for ATA Carnets, short supply of trucks and drivers (particularly traditional music tour truckers) and shortage of “spare” aircraft available to the private charter market and resourcing, including staff.

“My advice is to plan to be late and over budget – in other words, don’t underestimate the budget or the length of time it may take to get from A to B to C on tour,” says Ryan. “Plan ahead, allow contingency, and keep last-minute changes to a minimum, where possible.”

“2022 is proving our busiest year to date after 40 years in operation”

It is sound advice that finds a sympathetic ear with Transam Trucking chief Mark Guterres. “2022 is proving our busiest year to date after 40 years in operation,” attests Guterres, who explains that his business experienced tremendous upheaval even before Covid reared its head, thanks to Brexit.

“Over three years ago we moved a large part of our European operations from the UK to [the Republic of Ireland] and the Netherlands, long before Brexit, so therefore our European operations have been running smoothly for some time now.” He adds, “Our biggest problems continue to be caused by the lack of preparation and planning by the UK authorities.”

Indeed, Guterres himself is now based in Auckland, New Zealand. “Here, I’m nearly a day ahead of the USA and therefore I can bridge the gap between our European offices and operating centres and our US-based customers,” he explains of his antipodean relocation.

New Kids on the Block
Of course, the coronavirus crisis radically changed the world as we know it, and in live entertainment, many companies folded, skilled people left the business entirely, while others used the moment as an opportunity to launch new enterprises to shake up and disrupt the marketplace.

In the freight game, one of the significant players to emerge from the pandemic is Freight Minds – a collection of vastly experienced individuals who initially set up a logistics company called SFW Logistics before morphing into the latest incarnation.

Based at London’s Heathrow Airport, Freight Minds got off the ground in August 2021 when industry veterans Alan Durrant, Geoff Knight, Matt Wright and Chris Jenkins began offering services including air passenger and cargo charter; warehousing and logistics; couriers; ATA Carnets; and Brexit-related customs clearance services both into and out of the UK via road.

“These companies are rapidly trying to recruit staff to plug the gap, but the pandemic hasn’t helped”

Addressing the current situation in freight, Wright tells IQ, “[Pre-Covid] we could reasonably rely on published ocean line schedules with the occasional hiccup. Now it seems to be the opposite: permanent hiccups with the occasional vessel running on time.

“There’s been a massive staff reduction in the supply chain since March 2020, and the way these companies communicate has now changed. The vast majority is now expected to be done via email, which isn’t always the easiest way to discuss matters. These companies are rapidly trying to recruit staff to plug the gap, but the pandemic hasn’t helped and Brexit has compounded that further.”

He adds, “Only operating as a new business, the work has hit us like a tidal wave, which has been amazing for Freight Minds, but it’s come with its challenges as we only have so many hours in the day to service our customers.”

Spiralling Costs
One inescapable horror that is affecting companies across the transport and freight sector is Russia’s war on Ukraine, which has prompted fuel prices to soar and contributed to rising inflation. But there are other costs to contend with as well.

Noting the ever-increasing price of diesel and other fuels, KB Event’s McPherson tells IQ, “Tours and shows are booking so late at the moment that we are quoting pretty much at fuel rates as they sit. However, our drivers’ wages have increased by 46% since August 2021, and for anything we are quoting on that’s more than a few weeks away, we are having to put in contractual clauses to say that we will review the fuel costs prior to start up.”

While those staff wage rises are inevitably passed on to clients, McPherson is at pains to highlight that ongoing fuel cost reviews should lead to lower quotes at some point. “We are being very clear with clients on what fuel rate we are quoting at, and we’re being absolutely transparent that if fuel costs reduce when we are live, we will reduce our charges,” promises McPherson. “It is unreasonable to expect clients to cover fuel increases but not to offer a reduction when costs reduce.”

“Logistics costs, whether via air, road, rail or sea, have been soaring for months and are showing little sign of slowing down”

Elsewhere, Ryan notes that freight forwarding costs have also taken an unprecedented leap, meaning that fees for moving equipment from city to city, country to country and continent to continent have soared, post-pandemic. “Logistics costs, whether via air, road, rail or sea, have been soaring for months and are showing little sign of slowing down in the immediate
future,” states Ryan.

“Factors driving these price increases are ongoing global supply chain disruption, port congestion, reduced capacity in tandem with increased demand, staff shortages, high fuel prices and now rising inflation levels in many locations. Plus, the ever-present impact of Covid-19.”

While Ryan is reluctant to specify general ballpark figures, “as it varies dramatically on different routes,” she tells IQ that costs have at least doubled and significantly more in many cases. “I can tell you as an example that from the Far East to the UK, the sea freight rates around the time of the Tokyo Olympics had increased to more than five-times pre-pandemic levels,” she adds.

Covid Recovery
In tandem with many businesses forced to curtail normal operations during the pandemic, Rock-it Global’s senior management team used the downtime as wisely as possible in an effort to ensure the company was ready to hit the road running when the green light was finally given.

“We had the foresight to hire a good number of people at the back end of 2021 as we could foresee what was going to happen with the explosion of work,” says Palmer. “For me, it is incredibly important to protect the team we have, so we always want to have enough people to cope with the demand. I have an incredible team, from operations to business development to warehouse and transport – and they all manage their own parts of the business – and my job is to make sure that they all have the tools they need to make it all work.”

As the transport business involves a continuous programme of hefty investment, its protagonists, although unprepared for Covid, were nevertheless quick to adapt to the conditions imposed by governments around the world. Guterres notes that his company rolled out an extensive expansion project prior to the pandemic that is only now beginning to pay off.

“Shame on Great Britain as most of our trucks are now EU registered”

“Apart from our UK operations centre, we have Transam Trucking International Ltd based in Cork, Ireland; and Transam Trucking B.V. based near Schiphol Airport in the Netherlands,” he says, adding, “Shame on Great Britain as most of our trucks are now EU registered.”

KB’s McPherson reveals, “We have spent in excess of £3m [€3.5m] on additional trucks and trailers in the last three months to expand our fleet, but this resource has just been swallowed up, and we find ourselves, on a daily basis, having to turn tours and shows away, at the moment.

“KB are also actively employing management and administration staff and staff to bolster our front-line teams, and we are expanding our director team. We are on a very aggressive employment drive to broaden and train our driving team. But finding the quality of people we are looking for is proving a real challenge.”

Improving Working Conditions
The ability to recruit – and retain – staff has become a multifaceted task. The pandemic saw thousands of employees who were furloughed or made redundant find employment elsewhere, and rather than that work being viewed as a temporary solution, many people are opting to remain in new occupations that often involve more sociable hours and better working conditions.

That situation has upped the ante for HR and recruitment experts, while one key issue that Rock-it’s Palmer is keen to tackle is in improving welfare conditions for personnel. “Mental health is a very important subject for me as I have struggled a lot in the past, and I never felt I got the support I needed, so that is one thing I was very keen to change,” Palmer tells IQ.

“With this incredible tsunami of work comes challenges of keeping everyone in a good place mentally. A large part of that is making sure that we have enough people at the pumps so that we can all take a break when we need to,” he explains. “We continue to hire new starters and train them – and, importantly, we have retained all of the key staff that we supported through the pandemic so that we are now ready to deal with these challenges with a smile on our faces and a spring in our step.”

“The market itself just has to learn to circumnavigate the current challenges”

But it’s not all gloomy news on the recruitment front. EFM’s Ryan states, “From our perspective, we have been fortunate to have re-employed the key staff that we lost over the past few years, along with employing a number of excellent calibre new staff around the world. We took the time to invest in systems and training, which is now paying dividends, and we are currently opening three new overseas offices in Europe and the Middle East in response to demand from clients.”

Freight Minds is also expanding. “The next two years represent a huge opportunity for Freight Minds to show its wealth of in-house experience, which at the moment is up to around 150 years as we’ve just had Andy Lovell join us,” says Wright.
He adds, “The market itself just has to learn to circumnavigate the current challenges and continually learn to adapt to the new post-pandemic world and the challenges that Brexit has thrown our collective way. What was normal in 2019 is no longer normal.”

ESG Considerations
Pre-pandemic there was an accelerating drive by artists and others to improve sustainability across touring and live music, while diversity and equality were no longer being seen as buzz words but more essential elements of a 21st-century industry.

In the rush to get back on the road some of those concerns may not be as prevalent, but as the recovery transforms – hopefully – into a business-as-usual situation, they will undoubtedly start creeping back up the order in terms of priorities, meaning the transport sector needs to keep working on potential solutions to present to clients.

Looking ahead, Palmer predicts that once the crazy circumstances of the coming year subside, the core values that were coming to the fore pre-pandemic will once again become significant, industry-wide.

“I am certainly still being asked regularly by clients both old and new about our carbon offset programme that we have”

“A lot of our blue-chip-type clients are now asking us about our [environmental, social, and governance] policies as part of the vetting process before we even get to the quoting stage,” reveals Palmer. “I am certainly still being asked regularly by clients both old and new about our carbon offset programme that we have in place, so it’s clearly still a concern within the industry.
“I believe that after this initial rush of madness, we will get back to the points that matter for long-term sustainability in our business – looking after our planet and looking after our people.”

At Freight Minds, Wright notes that sustainability remains on the agenda, “But with the ever constant changing world of logistics due to carriers cancelling flights or ocean lines adjusting schedules, there is an element of constantly putting out fires just to try and get the equipment to the next show on time. With that being said, it’s still a very important subject and one that we can’t ignore,” says Wright.

For his part, McPherson is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of his company’s activities. “As KB was the first trucking company in the UK to get accreditation to BS8555 (Environmental Standard) back in 2007, it has been very high on our agenda for a long time,” he says.

“KB started pushing the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as fuel, and looking at more sustainable routings”

“In 2019, KB took the fight to the market and started pushing the use of Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) as fuel, and looking at more sustainable routings. One of our big corporate clients [was] the first to really buy into this with a 50+ artic show for Google in Barcelona. Sadly, very shortly after this event, the pandemic hit and the industry ground to a halt.

“During the pandemic, we continued to work on and develop our sustainability strategy and engage with the industry leaders to inform and advise. This included giving formal presentations to the TPG on sustainability in trucking. This has certainly been carried into live with some of our clients, with acts like Bring Me The Horizon and Enter Shikari buying into full HVO (non-palm-oil source) fuelled touring. The quest continues…”

Targeting Vertical Markets
Despite the current boom times, the experience of the pandemic has taught those working in live music’s transport and freight sector that the ability to be nimble and identify other business opportunities is a crucial skill to ensure corporate survival.

Indeed, Palmer reveals his company is looking at other areas to fulfil the company’s ambitions for future growth. “At Rock-it we are very realistic,” he says. “We have traditionally had maybe [about] 75% of the live music touring market, and we know that there are some truly excellent other freight companies out there. So we are looking for growth in other sectors where we can use our learned skills in other verticals such as TV and film, sports broadcast, e-sports, theatre and art, amongst other things.

“During the pandemic we pivoted in various directions – as did many of our compadres in transport and freight – and we have seen that there is a huge market for skilled freight forwarders in the ‘time-sensitive’ market in the aforementioned verticals. We are growing all the time, but we are also focused on the next ten, 15, 20 years, and we are not looking to capitalise on what is happening right now to make a quick buck – we are planning for the future so that we have a strong and skilled team and a varied client base.”

A Rosy Future
Having endured two catastrophic years, transport and freight operators are understandably happy to finally be back problem-solving the live music industry’s logistics nightmare.

“We have been inundated with truck and Carnet requests with the European Festival season in full swing, and we are handling one of the logistically biggest music tours this year, for Rammstein,” reports Ryan.

She muses, “The business had doubled year on year in 2019, and after the obvious downturn across the entire industry, we are now ahead of where we left off pre-Covid, thanks in part to the other areas in which we operate that came back to life considerably earlier than music and theatre touring – TV and film, exhibitions, hotels, aerospace and automotive, for instance.

McPherson warns that while 2022 might feel like a gold rush, expansion in the sector will involve some patient planning

“Now we are laser-focused on maintaining our high service levels for the customers, continuing our innovative ways of operating and investing in our people and their well-being.”

Wright comments, “The next two or three years will certainly be a challenge for all of us at Freight Minds but given our collective experience from years of doing what we do, we will be able to guide our existing and prospective clients through the new world that we all cohabitate.”

Rock-it’s Palmer is in a similarly optimistic state of mind. “In terms of our operations, we’re in a good place to be able to cope with the rush, and we are working in tandem with all sectors of our industry from booking agents to promoters to make sure that shows can go ahead despite the financial and operational challenges that we’re facing.”

However, McPherson warns that while 2022 might feel like a gold rush, expansion in the sector will involve some patient planning, and he believes that there could be another wave of mergers and acquisitions as the sector evolves in the post-pandemic period. “There is certainly the opportunity for strong organic growth at the moment, but we believe that the current demand is not representative of the medium- to long-term picture,” he tells IQ.

He concludes, “KB plans to continue to grow organically at a sustainable pace over the coming 24 months, but in reality, this is somewhat hampered by the availability of new equipment: truck and trailer lead times won’t see new kit that is ordered now on the road much before summer to autumn of 2023. To that end, we are seriously considering what options are available for acquisitional growth or strategic partnership.”


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Here and queer: IQ Magazine’s Pride edition has arrived

IQ 112, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online and in print now.

The July 2022 issue sees the return of IQ Magazines annual Pride issue, which was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster.

Once again, the Pride issue’s marquee feature is the LGBTIQ+ List which profiles 20 queer professionals making an impact in the international live music business and beyond. This year’s top 20, which were announced yesterday, share their challenges, triumphs, advice and email addresses with us in the bumper feature.

Issue 112 also sees the return of the Loud & Proud playlist and feature, in which our agency partners profile some of the most exciting queer acts on their rosters. Contributing agencies include 13 Artists, ATC Live, CAA, FMLY, Hometown Talent, Progressive Artists, Wasserman Music, and X-ray Touring.

More recommendations for queer artists are shared in Your Shout, where executives including Rauha Kyyrö (Fullsteam), Raven Twigg (Metropolis Music), Paul Bonham (MMF) reveal the best queer act they’ve seen live.

Elsewhere, Pride editor Lisa Henderson speaks to executives working in the LGBTIQ+ events space to find out more about the economic and social value of the pink pound.

For this edition’s columns and comments, DICE’S Nix Corporan outlines ways the live music industry could make concerts safer and more inclusive for queer fans. In addition, Hatice Arici details the ramifications for the LGBTIQ+ community in Turkey, following the shutdown of Istanbul Pride.

Beyond the Pride-specific content, IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson learns how the freight and transport business is dealing with its busiest and most challenging year ever.

Derek Robertson looks back on half a century of history that helped to shape Denmark’s iconic Roskilde Festival and Adam Woods reports on the extraordinary growth of live music in Latin America.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next six weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:


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Brexit one year on: What’s the state of play?

It has been a little over a year since the post-Brexit trade deal came into effect, presenting the live music industry with a myriad of challenges to overcome.

Since then, 21 of the 27 EU member states have confirmed that British artists will not need a visa or work permit when entering those countries to undertake “short-term” tours, with each country having their own slightly different regulations to navigate.

But while the vast majority of Europe is ‘open for rock and roll business’, the live music industry is still battling to resolve issues around immigration, social security, carnets, cabotage and VAT.

With many creases still to be ironed out, IQ spoke with Craig Stanley, tour producer for Marshall Arts and chair of the LIVE touring group, and Featured Artists Coalition (FAC) CEO David Martin to identify the current state of play for the live music business.

Concert hauliers
A year on from the post-Brexit trade deal and little has been resolved in terms of cabotage restrictions that limit movements into and around the EU.

Before Brexit, concert hauliers were not restricted in the number of times they could unload and load productions on a European tour. Now, trucks over 3.5 tonnes are limited to just three stops before they have to leave the EU and return to the UK.

An estimated 75-80% of the European concert trucking business is based in the UK, meaning there are not enough trucks in Europe to make up the shortfall.

According to Stanley, the British Department for Transport (DfT) has offered to bring in dual registration as a solution to cabotage restrictions, meaning concert hauliers can be registered in both the UK and Europe.

However, 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.

“We’ve made it clear on a ministerial level that [cabotage restrictions] is absolutely an existential threat to our industry”

According to Stanley, the DfT says that the earliest it can introduce dual registration is summer, causing great uncertainty for spring European tours.

“There are big tours starting in May that don’t know what they should be doing – it’s catastrophic,” says Stanley. “We’ve made it clear on a ministerial level that this is absolutely an existential threat to our industry, and they don’t seem to understand that there’s a tremendous urgency to get this fixed.”

While Stanley says the industry would broadly welcome dual registration as a “quick workaround solution”, he’s anxious to stress that the sector needs a comprehensive long-term solution in the form of a cultural exemption to allow free movement of trucks.

Unlike immigration issues, cabotage is an EU matter and cannot be determined by individual sovereign states. This means all 27 EU states would need to agree on any change to cabotage, including a cultural exemption. “It’s going to take some time,” adds Stanley.

As it stands, all but six EU member states have confirmed that British artists will not need visas or work permits when European touring resumes, though with some local conditions that will still need to be considered.

Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Portugal and Spain have all confirmed that British artists will not need a visa or work permit when entering those countries to undertake “short-term” tours.

Spain, the fifth-largest live music market in the world, is the most recent market to join the list after months of lobbying from live music trade bodies.

Previously, artists and their promoters had been required to file applications for short-term visas entirely in Spanish, provide a host of itinerary details before knowing whether the tour could go ahead and give proof of applicant earnings of up to nearly £1,000 before ever having left the country.

Touring artists and their production teams were also required to wait for over a month for a decision, making long term scheduling impossible.

“Being restricted to spend no more than 90 days in the EU in a period of 180 days is a limiting factor”

The seminal change followed months of dedicated work from live music industry trade body LIVE, the Association for British Orchestras (ABO) and their Spanish counterpart, APM Musicales, as well as Live Nation Spain.

“This was a fantastic example of putting pressure on the government within the UK whilst applying pressure in Spain and, as a result, we brought about change,” says Stanley.

LIVE is continuing to lobby the government to work with individual EU nations to tackle the problem of visas and permits, prioritising Greece, Croatia, Romania, Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria.

While the ability to undertake “short-term tours” in 21 of the EU member states is a win for the industry, it’s still less than ideal for anyone who is consistently in Europe, warns Stanley.

“Being restricted to spend no more than 90 days in the EU in a period of 180 days is a limiting factor,” he explains. “It could have severe implications for, say, technicians and drivers who go from one tour to the next. Those kinds of professionals could easily spend more than three months in the EU – especially as that law includes holidays.

If they were going to exceed the limit, then “they would then have to get their employer to get them a work permit which is an expensive and involved process”.

Social security
Since leaving the EU, the European Health Insurance Card (EHICS, previously E111) will become null and void upon expiry for British citizens, meaning medical insurance is just another cost that touring artists will have to consider.

“Because we pay National Insurance here, most countries don’t deduct any social security payments in their country,” explains Stanley. “But, you have to obtain the right form from the UK tax authorities confirming you’ve paid social security in the UK. However, this hasn’t been road-tested. France, for example, is saying they’re going to increase their deduction of social security from an artist’s fee.

“Further clarification is still required on social security deductions in various territories, primarily France. It’s a question of whether laws are enforced and how they’re interpreted.”

“Further clarification is still required on social security deductions in various territories, primarily France”

ATA Carnets
The carnet system once again applies within Europe, as it did prior to the UK’s membership of the EU, and in line with other non-EU international tours.

It’s now necessary for tours to obtain ATA Carnets for all equipment travelling outside of the UK on a temporary basis. And while the carnet process is well established, its reintroduction is expected to add friction and cost to European touring, with its impact felt more intensely by grassroots and emerging artists.

“It’s a bureaucratic nightmare for smaller artists,” says Stanley. “It’s not only the lodging fee, it’s also what’s called the bond. You have to put up a bond which is the value of the goods being temporarily exported. If you don’t return them, you can actually risk forfeiting the bond. The bond is a way of making sure that what you temporarily export you are going to bring back.”

Martin from the FAC echoes Stanely’s point, adding that “for smaller artists, the cost of the carnet and the bond are prohibitive when it comes to touring”.

The FAC negotiated an agreement with London Chamber of Commerce, to offer its members a 40% discount on the purchase and bond for ATA Carnets. However, merchandise shipments and any other consumable items cannot be shipped on a carnet.

“This means merchandise will probably have to enter the EU on a permanent basis and, whilst they should be duty-free, a local company in the European destination country will have to take responsibility for the VAT due on the import,” John Corr at Sound Moves explained to IQ last year.

The other option, Stanley says, is to have merchandise made within the EU so the tax is already paid. “It’s straightforward once you’ve done it once or twice but it’s more friction,” he says.

“The most urgent and potentially the most impactful issues are clarity and engagement”

Clarity, guidance and support
“The most urgent and potentially the most impactful issues are clarity and engagement,” says Martin from the FAC. “One of my one of my members had a top 40 album this year and did not tour when they could have because of the complexity.”

“It is completely within the UK government’s gift to write guidance around what on earth this incredibly complex landscape means for professionals and operators in the sector, and they have not done that. It’s an unwillingness, it’s not an inability,” maintains Martin.

Since March 2021, LIVE, ISM, Musicians Union, UK Music, Music Managers Forum and Carry on Touring have been lobbying for a transitional support package to help the industry overcome the challenges presented by Brexit.

According to the coalition, the Live Music Transitional Support Package (TSP) would:
• Offer a quick solution for the government to mitigate the catastrophic disruption to the live music sector caused by Brexit.
• Establish a working partnership between the government and the live music sector until the planned UK Cultural Export Office is operational.
• Prioritise emerging talent and those likely to be hardest hit by the new regulations.
• Provide support for all those on stage and everyone involved behind the scenes.

Alongside government support, Stanley and Martin are also appealing to record labels to get behind the cause.

“There’s this invisible line between live and recorded but the success of an artist is generally predicated on them succeeding on both fronts – and British talent is at risk,” warns Martin.

Stanley echoes that sentiment: “The live side can’t understand why the recording and publishing industries – which are riding high on record-breaking profits – can’t put their hand in their pocket to support the pipeline of talent on which their future revenues depend.”


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Green Guardians: Transport and travel

The Green Guardians Guide, spearheaded by the Green Events and Innovations Conference and IQ Magazine, is a new yearly initiative highlighting some of the work being done around the world to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business.

The inaugural list, which originally ran in IQ 90, features 60 entries across ten categories, selected by the Green Guardians committee, which includes representatives from some of the sector’s most respected bodies, such as A Greener Festival, Go Group, Green Music Initiative, Julie’s Bicycle and Vision:2025.

Following on from last week’s feature on the companies providing decor & set design, this edition of Green Guardians looks at how to reduce our collective carbon footprint with savvy methods of travel.


Transport & travel

Qualité Motel
Canadian electro-group Qualité Motel have always been sensitive to environmental issues, but the main change to the band’s habits came in 2018, when the ACT movement started in Montreal, offering touring artists a deeper understanding of their environmental impact, and providing tools and a list of actions that can be done differently.

The band emphasises that every small gesture counts: they bring reusable water bottles and coffee thermoses to avoid trashing plastic bottles and single-use coffee cups; they bring their own lunch; and their eco artist rider requests local food, local alcohol, “access to water” instead of bottled water, zero-waste catering, etc.

“We also encourage them to extend as much as they can those principles to the rest of the event,” says band member François-Simon Déziel. In 2019, Qualité Motel launched a new festival called La Virée du Saint-Laurent where they organised three beach parties along the Saint-Laurent River, and embarked on a seven-day tour using a sailing boat in an effort to achieve zero-waste events, zero-emission transport and 100% local proposition for food and alcohol.

The band emphasises that every small gesture counts: they bring reusable water bottles and coffee thermoses

As human beings, we leave an unavoidable carbon footprint, simply by existing on Planet Earth. By now, we’ve learned that the choices we make, especially with regards to travel, can affect the size of that footprint, and many of us already make an effort to reduce our emissions where possible.

Chooose makes it easy to act on climate change by making solutions for global CO2 reduction available to everyone. With a monthly subscription, it is possible to directly support some of the most impactful CO2-reducing projects around the world.

These projects are carefully handpicked by the Chooose international carbon advisory team, and verified by acknowledged institutions such as Veritas, DNV GL, and the United Nations.

The average CO2 footprint for a world citizen is 4.8 metric tons per year, but emissions vary depending on the country e.g. the average person in Nepal emits 0.3 tons per year, compared to the average Canadian’s 15.2 tons.

Based on numbers provided by The World Bank, Chooose therefore offers subscriptions based on country.

Chooose makes it easy to act on climate change by making solutions for global CO2 reduction available to everyone

Rock Werchter
During the 2006/07 season, when Yourope (the association of European festivals), launched its Green & Clean guidelines for greener festivals, Rock Werchter was among the first to get on board.

In association with Belgian public transport companies, SNCB and De Lijn, Rock Werchter offers a free train e-ticket for anyone who buys a ticket to the festival, and/or free return travel by train or bus.

Festival-goers can take the train to Leuven or Aarschot stations, from where De Lijn takes them by shuttle bus to the Werchter site on either hybrid buses or buses with diesel filters.

NMBS also provide night trains to ensure people get home after each day of Rock Werchter, and after the promoter’s one-day festivals.

The festival also encourages fans, crew and volunteers to cycle to Werchter and runs a park & bike scheme whereby fans can use car-parks near the festival for free, before using their own bikes to complete the final leg of the trip.

Rock Werchter offers a free train e-ticket for anyone who buys a ticket to the festival, and/or free return travel by train or bus

Big Green Coach
Big Green Coach claims to be the largest events travel company in the UK, through its work with more festivals and gigs than any of its industry rivals.

It is the official and exclusive coach partner to major festivals such as Boardmasters, Creamfields, Download, Isle of Wight Festival, Latitude, Leeds, Parklife, Reading, Wireless and many more. Further afield it transports fans to the likes of Outlook, Hideout, Tomorrowland, Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop.

Since its creation in 2009, Big Green Coach has been working hard to make a positive impact on the environment. More recently, for every customer who books travel with Big Green Coach, the company commits to sponsoring and protecting 5 square feet of Amazonian rainforest for ten years.

This has resulted in more than 1.2million square feet of rainforest in Peru being protected by Big Green Coach for the next ten years. The company’s target is to protect an area covering 3m square feet during the next five years.

The company commits to sponsoring and protecting 5 square feet of Amazonian rainforest for ten years per customer

Pieter Smit
Sustainability goes hand in hand with Pieter Smit’s efficiency-driven factors, and as a result, all its trucks are Euro 6 and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, meeting all the latest EU standards.

This is the most environmentally friendly technology available for (long-distance) trucking. In addition, all Pieter Smit vehicles are equipped to run on biodiesel.

Company policy dictates that vehicles must drive as few unnecessary kilometres as possible, which often means leaving trucks and trailers at venues for a few days, while the driver travels home on public transport.

Among its various sustainability credentials, Pieter Smit’s new and renovated buildings use geothermal heating systems (earth warmth) together with improved insulation materials and triple-glazed windows.

At company HQ, 600 solar panels, with a 153 KWP capacity have been installed, and the buildings have been fitted with LED lighting to reduce energy consumption, meaning the company delivers electricity back to the grid.

All of its trucks are equipped with the most environmentally friendly technology available for (long-distance) trucking

Literally translated as ‘bicycle cloakroom,’ FahrradGarderobe (FG) promotes quality-conscious, environmentally friendly and socially responsible event tourism throughout Germany and beyond.

Bicycle cloakrooms (or ‘bike racks’), are becoming commonplace at festivals and sporting events, thanks to FG, who provide guarded, insured, and fully accessible, mobile parking spaces for attendees’ bikes.

The use of bicycles delivers a significant CO2 reduction for events, with the bonus that FG staff and volunteers can directly record the diverse positive and negative visitor impressions at each event and pass that feedback to the organisers.

Bike parking also cuts down on possible congestion around escape routes, while space-saving on a large scale.

FG also encourages event visitors to check out the local area outside of the event itself, and supports regional eco-cycling initiatives.


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Massive Attack announce latest eco initiative

Bristol band Massive Attack have announced they will travel by train when touring Europe in future, in the group’s latest attempt to tackle the live industry’s carbon footprint.

The announcement follows the band’s commissioning of the University of Manchester’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to look into ways in which the live music industry can reduce its carbon footprint. Band travel is one of the three key areas the research will focus on, along with audience transport and venues.

Massive Attack were also among acts to perform at the Extinction Rebellion climate protests in London in October 2019.

Currently on tour in North America, Massive Attack will return to Europe in summer 2020, making appearances at the Netherlands’ Best Kept Secret Festival and Les Eurockéennes in France, among others.

“The challenge now is to not only make personal sacrifices, but to insist on the systemic change that’s needed”

Lead singer Robert Del Naja, also known as 3D, told the BBC: “[As musicians] we have enjoyed a high-carbon lifestyle. But as a society we’ve all existed in a fossil-fuel economy for a long time and had very little choice in that.

“The challenge now is to not only make personal sacrifices, but to insist on the systemic change that’s needed. Business as usual is over.”

Coda Agency and A Greener Festival (AGF) launched the Green Artist Rider at the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) in March last year, in a bid to reduce the environmental impact of touring. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.


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Car and buses separated in new T in the Park transport set-up

Following previous revelations that 2016’s festival will have a reconfigured, more spacious arena and a larger, better stewarded campsite, T in the Park has concluded its trio of announcements about the new infrastructure for July’s rejuvenated event.

Improvements include separate roads for buses and cars accessing the site; a large new bus station with over 40 stands; one dedicated pick-up and drop-off point; and a number of new car parks. Each transport hub will have dedicated management teams and facilities T in the Park promoter DJ Concerts says will “ensure the comfort of festivalgoers”.

The new set-up is being managed by the T in the Park’s new traffic manager, former road police inspector Ian Martin. “The changes to the on-site transport set-up are significant,” Martin says. “We’ve not tweaked last year’s: we started with a blank piece of paper and after months of testing and liaising with our partner agencies, including Transport Scotland, Perth and Kinross Council and Police Scotland, as well as local community councils, we have a solid plan in place.

“The separated routes for buses and cars will help keep traffic moving and the bus station will make travelling with Citylink and Big Green Coach the best ways to get to and from the festival.  With an event of this scale, an element of patience will always be required when getting in and out of the site, but I can guarantee this will be of a normal level and managed by an experienced team.”

The changes are explained in a new video from the festival, embedded below:

All the new changes come as part of a major management restructuring for the festival. Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn was brought in as executive producer after last year’s event, its first at Strathallan Castle, which was heavily was criticised for its traffic congestion, failings on crowd control and security and repeated breaches of planning permission.

The criticism culminated in January, when Perth and Kinross Council warned that the festival’s future is in jeopardy “until DF can demonstrate their capability to effectively manage this event in future”.

The Stone Roses, Calvin Harris, Red Hot Chili Peppers and LCD Soundsystem are headlining T in the Park 2016.