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Electric Group details £1.5m refurb of former O2 Academy Newcastle

Independent music venue owner Electric Group has unveiled plans for the £1.5 million redevelopment of its newest acquisition NX, the former O2 Academy Newcastle.

Opening in October 2022, NX will be a “state-of-the-art 21st-century independent music venue”, to open in March 2022.

The company’s venue portfolio also includes Electric Brixton and SWX Bristol.

“After many years in the planning, I’m delighted to announce our exciting vision for the refurbishment of the O2 Academy Newcastle, which of course has a seminal history and we have the important task of curating the next stage of the venue’s development,” says Electric Group CEO Dominic Madden.

“NX will be a state-of-the-art 21st-century independent music venue. Our vision is to undertake a comprehensive refurbishment of the venue, with a focus on making the main room a more intimate gig experience, both for the music fan and the artist.

“Our vision is to undertake a comprehensive refurbishment, with a focus on making the main room a more intimate gig experience”

“Our plans include the creation of new standing mezzanine staircases on either side of the main room, and with access to an intimate standing platform within the existing balcony and with bars and access to a contained roof terrace for music fans to use.

“This redesign will improve sightlines for music fans and bring them closer to the stage. This 21st-century vision also fully respects the grandeur and history of the existing venue whilst putting the artist and fan experience front and centre of our plans.”

The live diary for NX is already open and is being overseen by Electric Group head of music Mike Weller.

“We operate with an independent mindset, shaping an easy and collaborative culture for promoters to embrace NX with as few financial strings attached as possible,” adds Madden.

“We will be investing substantially to make the venue production complete and we are focused on providing a perfect platform for shows so we can help promoters smash ticket sales.”

 


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All change at Keychange after Maxie Gedge’s exit

UK-based gender equality initiative Keychange has announced a series of new appointments following the exit of project manager Maxie Gedge.

Three current PRS Foundation members of staff are to expand their roles at the organisation, with Francine Gorman becoming Keychange project manager (UK), Aysha Hussain made Keychange coordinator (UK) and Alison Williams switching from part-time to full-time PRS Foundation communications coordinator.

In addition, Barnaby Duff has come on board as PRS Foundation grants coordinator.

“I am delighted to welcome Francine, Aysha, Alison and Barnaby to their new and expanded roles,” says PRS Foundation CEO Joe Frankland.

“Following the departure of Maxie Gedge, who worked across both Keychange as a project manager and our communications team as a part-time coordinator, it’s fantastic that both Francine and Alison are expanding their current remits with the organisation and Aysha steps into a wider role that epitomises the collaborative, Europe-wide ethos of Keychange.

“And following a period of record demand for our funds, Barnaby will play a vital role in making sure we maintain a pioneering approach to grant-making, efficiently reaching and helping many talented music creators to fulfil their potential as possible. The skills, dedication and knowledge in their respective areas will be a huge asset to the organisation going forward.”

“The impact of Maxie’s work at PRS Foundation over the past five years has been huge”

Frankland also paid tribute to Gedge, who has joined Secretly Group as European project manager.

“I and the whole PRS Foundation team wish Maxie the best in her new role at Secretly Group. The impact of Maxie’s work at PRS Foundation over the past five years has been huge and through Keychange she has really helped to move the dial for women and gender minority artists and innovators around the world,” he said.

“While all at PRS Foundation and Keychange are sad to see her go, we will continue to connect and know that in this exciting new role at Secretly Group, Maxie will continue to shape a stronger, fairer music industry.”

Keychange recently confirmed that 500 music organisations have now committed themselves to achieve parity between men and women and non-binary people by signing its pledge.

The Keychange pledge requires signatories to achieve at least 50% representation of women and gender minorities in an area of their work.

Launched in 2017, Keychange initially focused on festivals – with signatory festivals pledging to book at least 50% of women for their line-ups – and now also includes record labels, broadcasters, venues, publishers, collection societies and orchestras in six continents among its supporters.

 


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The New Bosses 2021: Dan Roberts, Live Nation

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Flo Noseda-Littler, agency assistant at Paradigm in the UK here.

Dan Roberts was born in Boston, Massachusetts, but brought up in Nottinghamshire in the UK. His introduction to live music began, aged 16, when Liars Club [in Manchester] owner Ricky Haley paid him to put up posters. From there Roberts moved to Leeds to study biology, while local entrepreneur Ash Kollakowski taught him how to rep shows and book local supports.

When he completed his studies, he found a job at DHP, where he learned to be a national promoter, and five years later he moved to Metropolis Music and the Live Nation family.


You studied biology – are there any parallels at all with your work, or did any of the disciplines learned at university help you?
Communicating concisely in writing and applying a functional, transactional mindset to the processes that go into building a show. You can’t teach taste though.

Having a US passport can be very useful in this business – have you been able to take advantage of that for your work, as yet?
I once went to the Hamptons with Matt Bates, which was very nice. Aside from that and a trip to NYC to see Partisan Records and Cigarettes After Sex team, I look forward to building my US network further as we return to full business.

You started working on shows while you were a student: do you have a mentor or anyone you turn to for advice?
Ricky Haley, Dan McEvoy, Ash Kollakowski, Dan Ealam, George Akins, Anton Lockwood, Raye Cosbert, Will Marshall, Bob Angus, Denis Desmond, Melvin Benn… What Denis, Raye and Bob can communicate with ten words would take most people a hundred.

Learning how to rep shows and book local support acts in Nottingham has obviously served you well. Does that experience help when it comes to choosing who to work with in cities around the UK?
A good network of reps is useful. As an industry, we’ve lost a lot of freelancers on the production side over this period which is a travesty.

“Taking acts from 200-cap rooms to Brixton Academy is incredibly rewarding”

What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
Taking acts from 200-cap rooms to Brixton Academy is incredibly rewarding. Show-wise it would have to be The Strokes at the Roundhouse in February 2020, which I worked on with Bob. Implementing 100% digital ticketing with Ticketmaster was an operational win.

The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you are taking out of it?
This time has given me a chance to get closer to the teams at Metropolis, Live Nation, Festival Republic and Ticketmaster.

What are you most looking forward to as restrictions lift?
Fontaines D.C. playing A Lucid Dream to 10,250 people at Ally Pally. More specifically, the bit at the start where Grian goes “shew”. That on a big L-Acoustics or d&b rig at about 103db, with their wonderful team around me at FOH, that would be nice.

What’s the biggest challenge for you and your colleagues now that the business is emerging from lockdown restrictions?
Everyone is coming back to shows from different places and from different experiences during lockdown, so empathy is a must. Our communal mental health is very important as we return.

 


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UK’s £800m government insurance scheme opens

The British government’s highly anticipated £800 million insurance scheme for live events is now open.

The Live Events Reinsurance Scheme, announced at the beginning of August, will cover costs incurred if an event has to be cancelled, postponed, relocated or abandoned due to a government-imposed lockdown in response to Covid-19.

The cover, which is a partnership between the government and the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, is now available to purchase alongside standard commercial events insurance for an additional premium.

To be eligible, event organisers must purchase the relevant cover from participating insurers within the scheme, including Arch, Beazley, Dale, Hiscox and Munich Re.

Organisers must also have or purchase a standard events cancellation policy (or a policy that includes event cancellation coverage) provided at least in part by a participating insurer.

“This is an important and valuable step in the right direction and provides additional security as we head into autumn and winter”

The indemnification must be purchased at least eight weeks prior to the event taking place. This requirement will not apply for the first 12 weeks of the scheme, which starts today (22 September 2021) and runs until the end of September 2022.

Premium is set at 5% of the total value of insured costs (plus Insurance Premium Tax) and claims will be subject to an excess of 5% of the value of the insured costs or £1,000 (whichever is higher) per policy.

The scheme will not cover loss of revenue due to lower demand for tickets, reduced venue capacity, or self-isolation of staff or performers.

“The live music industry welcomes the introduction of a government-backed insurance scheme, which we have been calling for since the start of the pandemic,” says a spokesperson from Live, (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) – which has been pushing for government-guaranteed insurance since at least this time last year.

“While there are still gaps in the cover available, such as for an artist withdrawal due to catching Covid or enforced social distancing, this is an important and valuable step in the right direction and provides additional security as we head into autumn and winter. After a year of almost total shutdown the industry needs a period of time where it can get back on its feet by provide the live experiences that fans are desperate for.”

Full details of the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme are available here.

 


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GEI Summer Edition saw industry “come of age”

The 14th edition of the Green Events and Innovations (GEI) conference saw the industry “come of age” on the subject of sustainability, according to the organisers.

Thursday’s (16 September) conference, presented by A Greener Festival (AGF) and the International Live Music Conference (ILMC), was the first-ever Summer Edition of GEI, with the virtual event supported by a raft of sponsors including Ecotricity, Live Nation, Res, Ticketmaster, Solcell and The Virtual Venue.

The event followed a hybrid model, with some speakers coming together at PYTCH’s Virtual Venue in Bristol, powered by 100% renewable energy. Others joined from their homes and were broadcast live to delegates from around the world.

“We had such a great time delivering the first hybrid GEI Summer Edition. Live speakers connected with powerful and inspiring individuals and organisations from all around the world, and a truly international interactive audience,” says AGF co-founder Claire O’Neill.

“Considering the crucial topics that GEI addresses, this global collaboration is heartwarming and hopeful, to say the least. With 14 years of GEI under our belts, it feels like the industry is coming of age on the subject of sustainability and the next step is to use our unparalleled power of communication connect these messages with the masses.”

“The next step is to use our unparalleled power of communication connect these messages with the masses”

The speaker line-up was packed with industry titans including Nuno Bettencourt (Extreme), Dale Vince (Ecotricity/Forest Green Rovers), Dave Ojay (NAAM Festival), Amber Etre (Christie Lites), Fay Milton (Savages/Music Declares Emergency) and Celia Palau Lodge (Cooking Vinyl Records).

Samm Farai Monro (Magamba Network), Meegan Jones (Sustainable Event Alliance/Great Ocean Race), Stuart McPherson (KB Event) and Jamal Chalabi (Backlash Productions) also topped the bill.

Highlights from the Summer Edition included an exclusive first look at LIVE Green’s declaration and voluntary charter and a follow-up discussion between John Langford (Live Green/ AEG Europe), Stuart Galbraith (Kilimanjaro Live), Clementine Bunel (Paradigm), artist Sam Lee and Chiara Badiali (Julie’s Bicycle).

Also featured at the conference was a presentation of a new roadmap for greener events, following the recent publication of research conducted by scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research under commission by Massive Attack.

The wider programme included panels on greener arenas and vendors as well as ‘ask the expert’ sessions, a quick-fire innovation round and deep dives on carbon removals and value chain planning for events.

AGF is now looking towards returning to live events with the next GEI Conference set to take place in March 2022. Find out more about the work of AGF at agreenerfestival.com.


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The New Bosses 2021: Jenna Dooling, WME

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Arjun Mehta, founder and CEO at Moment House in the US here.

Jenna Dooling’s path into the music industry began in her hometown of Liverpool, where she first began working for a club promoter. This prompted her to apply for a course at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), for a degree in music, theatre and entertainment management.

During her studies she also worked for various promoters and realised she wanted to be in London to pursue a career in the music industry, and just months after graduating she began working at WME.

Five years later she is an agent at WME having worked her way up from mailroom assistant in 2015. She is now handling all club bookings across the UK and Ireland for the agency’s electronic roster, while her own roster includes Black Coffee, Fatboy Slim, and Damian Lazarus (alongside David Levy).

 


WME’s mailroom programme is legendary. Can you tell us a bit about it and how it helped set you up for a path into being an agent?

Although my job title was ‘mailroom assistant’, I worked on the front desk so my role also included duties of a receptionist. You are the first and last person that anyone sees when entering the office, so you have to take pride in your role and present yourself in a professional way, with a warm welcome.

Whilst greeting agents and assistants from all departments and learning about the clients they represent, I started to picture my career path and formulate a plan as to how I was going to get there. My main focus was to progress into the music department.

Like any job, you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. From answering calls, handling the mail, to tea/coffee runs, ordering cabs, you have to think of the end goal and that this is only temporary until you have proven yourself.

“Being a former promoter has given me a real appreciation of how hard they work in order to help deliver a successful show”

You had some experience working on the promoter side when you were younger – do you think that’s helped make you a better agent?
Being a former promoter, I understand what it’s like being on the other side of the fence. It’s given me a real appreciation of how hard [promoters] work in order to help deliver a successful show for our clients.

We’ve heard a lot about the closer collaboration between agents and promoters during the past year. What’s your experience of that been, and how do you see it benefitting your clients as the business reopens?
Throughout the pandemic I’ve built closer relationships with promoters by just keeping the conversations rolling, checking in seeing how people are, even when there were no shows happening that needed to be discussed.

We’ve all faced difficult challenges, so working together through these tough times has helped us put our best foot forward. By being proactive, we have implemented backup plans and been constantly flexible across the board with reschedules and cancellations.

One of the best things we have picked up from this is the sharing of information relevant to specific territories which has been invaluable. Throughout the last 18 months, we have built stronger relationships with our promoter partners that in turn will benefit our clients hugely as we work hand-in-hand to deliver the best possible shows and experiences for our careers.

“The most important aspect of the entertainment industry is building strong, long-standing relationships”

Your determination played a significant role in you getting your foot in the door. What advice would you give to others trying to break into the live music business?
The most important aspect of the entertainment industry is building strong, long-standing relationships. Attend as many events and conferences as possible, you never know who you will meet. There’s no harm in reaching out to people on email with a friendly introduction, asking for some advice etc. Don’t be put off when some people don’t respond, consistency is key, so don’t give up!

When I was at school, I didn’t know being a ‘music agent’ was even a thing – we didn’t get taught about all the creative roles in the entertainment industry. You have to do as much research as possible, but speaking to people that you look up to is the best place to start and never be afraid to ask questions! What has helped me through my time at WME is having a mentor, to be able to help guide me, explain things and just absorb information when sitting on calls, as you understand how that agent is thinking logistically and strategically.

What are the biggest challenges facing you and your WME colleagues as the industry starts to get back on its feet?
Diversity and inclusion have been and will continue to be major priorities for me. We continue to push for equality on line ups and open dialogue about how to have better representation.

“Logistically, one of the biggest challenges that we face at the moment is the congested schedule of festivals and tours”

Logistically, one of the biggest challenges that we face at the moment is the congested schedule of festivals and tours, with most artists having missed a full two years of touring. All of them are keen to get back on the road doing what they love best and playing for their fans. This is leading to limited availability at venues and festival slots with many having chosen to honour offers made for artists in 2020 and 2021.

What are you most looking forward to about the year ahead?
I can’t wait to get back to the office to be with my colleagues and friends. Since everything reopened in the UK, it feels so good to be back, attending gigs and festivals – what we have all been waiting (patiently) for and hoping it continues back to normal across the world.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
Like any aspiring agent, I want to see myself continue to expand my roster with exciting new talent. Focusing on building a diversified roster, representing artists from the developmental stage to headline level both in the live space and electronic world. I want to look back at the end of each year and be proud of my clients and the team around me for putting together a great run of shows and headline tours.

 


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IFF ’21: WME, CAA, Marshall, MVT complete schedule

The full schedule for the 2021 edition of the International Festival Forum (IFF) is now complete, with the final addition of WME, CAA, Marshall Live, and a final night in partnership with Music Venue Trust.

WME, CAA and Marshall Live join a line-up of partner agencies which already includes 13 Artists, ATC Live, Earth Agency, ICM Partners, ITB, Paradigm Agency, Primary Talent International, UTA and X-ray Touring, many of whom are showcasing new artists from their rosters.

IFF has also partnered with grassroots venue champions Music Venue Trust (MVT) to present the final night of their recent Revive Live tour, which is supported by the National Lottery. Taking place on Thursday 30 September (19:30 – late), MVT will present five unique artist showcases, with the full line up announced next week.

The completed schedule also includes a double keynote interview with Melvin Benn and Folkert Koopmans, as well as an array of sessions with high-profile speakers.

Replacing the usual closing party on the Thursday night of IFF, MVT will present five unique artist showcases

Joining IQ Magazine‘s Gordon Masson on The Therapy Session will be Earth agent and co-founder Claire Courtney, as well as Mercury Wheels @ Live Nation’s head promoter, Barnaby Harrod.

The Roaring 20s will see chair Clementine Bunel (Paradigm) take the stage with Jim King (AEG Presents), Lowlands Festival Director Eric van Eerdenburg; WME agent Andy Duggan; and Primary Talent International/Decked Out! agent Martje Kremers.

The Agency Business 2021 conversation, chaired by Anna Sjölund (Live Nation Sweden), will see One Fiinix Live’s Jon Ollier joined by ATC Live agent and founder Alex Bruford and Mad Cool festival booker Cindy Castillo.

Finally, virtual panel Counting the Cost of Brexit welcomes UTA senior agent James Wright to a lineup including Marshall Arts’ Craig Stanley, Anita Debaere from Pearle* and Annabella Coldrick of the MMF. Other online topics include sustainability and insurance.

Over 500 music festivals and booking agents are expected to attend the invitation-only event, which returns to Camden, north London, for the sixth in-person edition. This year’s physical event follows an online-only edition in 2020, in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Some 500 delegates are expected to attend this year’s IFF

As the first major live music industry gathering in 18 months, IFF 2021 will kick off with the opening party on Tuesday 28 September and end late on Thursday 30 September. And with some international delegates still unable to travel to the UK, all of this year’s conference sessions will be available to watch back on-demand for up to 30 days after the event.

This year’s edition is supported by key partners that include Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Tysers and Megaforce. Association partners on the 2021 are Yourope, AIF and DeConcert!

More information about how to attend, along with the full event schedule is online at www.iff.rocks.

 


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The New Bosses 2021: Paris Harding, SJM

The New Bosses 2021 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual celebration of the brightest young talent in the live business today, as voted for by their peers – was published in IQ 103 this month, revealing the 12 promising promoters, bookers, agents, entrepreneurs that make up this year’s list.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2021’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous 2021 New Bosses interview with Anna Parry, programming manager at the O2, London, here.

Born and raised in Liverpool, Harding belongs to a family of musicians, artists and performers, with multiple generations of his family having a presence in and around the industry.

Influenced by the first grime wave, Harding learned to produce music and opened a small recording studio where he worked with local talent, and ultimately landed remix placements with the likes of Wiley, Sneakbo, Dappy, Steve Aoki, Iggy Azalea and others.

Stints as a club DJ introduced him to other emerging acts, prompting him to promote his own events and underground nights, which led to curating line-ups and securing talent for local festivals. His focus then switched to touring and concert promotion and in 2019 he began a new chapter at SJM Concerts.


What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to have many, which have all been relatively important to where I was in life and what my goals were at that time.

I would say the present moment – even as we limp out from a global pandemic – feels like the highlight for me; the artists, tours and projects I’m able to work across on a daily basis whilst being such a fan and follower of the music and culture itself and be able to make a real contribution to it… incredible.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to find a job in live music?
Think laterally; your specialities and skillset can be used and will be needed in numerous ways. Try not to become restricted to the idea of only having one role or path. Say yes to opportunities that feel uncomfortable, pick up the experience and aim to become the nucleus.

“Think laterally; your specialities and skillset can be used and will be needed in numerous ways”

The pandemic has been hard on us all – are there any positive aspects that you and SJM are taking out of it?
With so much uncertainty and changes made throughout the industry, it has definitely forced us all to be more introspective and compassionate. We’ve had to collectively help each other navigate our way towards normality on a business and personal level, and there’s a much greater sense of unity as a result of this.

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
In the immediate future, maintaining a fluid mindset to how we build our way back to normal. What we’ve experienced in the last 16 months globally means the scaffolding will very likely need to be rebuilt somewhat differently, and we all need to be on board and willing to do that.

“[The industry needs to] maintain a fluid mindset to how we build our way back to normal”

Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
I want to continue to help bring through new artists and play my part in building their live career experience with the aim of taking them to the highest level possible (with a few arena-level tours under my belt by that time.) I’ve always been involved in the creative process from production, visuals, to release campaigns, so I’d also like to bring those aspects to the table as an all-round offering.

What’s the biggest challenge for you and SJM now that the business is emerging from lockdown restrictions?
I think helping everyone regain confidence in attending shows, managing crowds, performing and travelling safely and successfully. From this, we’ll be able to better play our role in helping the industry thrive again. To achieve this we need patience and a solid end to the year, but things are already looking really positive.

 


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Viagogo sells StubHub business outside N.America

Viagogo has sold its StubHub business outside of North America – including the UK – to investment firm Digital Fuel Capital LLC for an undisclosed sum.

The sale was approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and completed on 3 September, after secondary ticketing giant Viagogo was forced to sell its international business due to competition concerns.

Viagogo acquired eBay’s ticketing division StubHub for $4.05 billion in cash in February 2020.

According to the CMA, a merger between the two companies would have resulted in a substantial lessening of competition in the secondary ticketing market, leading to higher prices and limited option for fans.

“We look forward to sharing more details about the integration of the two businesses”

Viagogo assuaged competition concerns by proposing the “divestment to an upfront buyer of StubHub’s European and certain other international legal entities”.

The sale of StubHub International to Digital Fuel Capital now brings the merger investigation to a close, says the CMA.

The Massachusetts-based investment firm will add StubHub International to its portfolio which consists of Artifact Uprising, Boutique Brands, BuyAutoParts, Guild Brands, National Tree Company, Outdoor Adventure Brands, Renovation Brands, RugsUSA, and Seattle Coffee Gear.

“We appreciate the CMA’s role in bringing the merger to this conclusion, and we look forward to sharing more details about the integration of the two businesses with our loyal customers and partners very soon,” says Cris Miller, VP of business development, Viagogo.

“Viagogo is a website with a long and storied history of breaking the law”

“As the live events industry emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, robust competition in the ticketing market is needed more than ever and Viagogo will continue to take its essential role in the live events industry very seriously. Viagogo and StubHub will always remain committed to working with regulators, while providing safe and secure platforms for people to buy and sell tickets to events all over the world.”

In 2021 so far, Viagogo has been investigated for violating laws in countries including Austria, Italy and Australia.

Adam Webb, campaign manager at FanFair Alliance, an anti-touting campaign group, says: “Good luck to Digital Fuel Capital. For their sake, I hope they didn’t pay very much.

“Viagogo is a website with a long and storied history of breaking the law and that’s dominated by large-scale touts and non-existent tickets.”

 


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More details emerge on Abba’s Voyage concerts

More details have emerged about ABBA’s upcoming ‘Voyage’ concerts, as tickets today (7 September) go on general sale.

The Swedish pop icons announced the “revolutionary” live experience last week (2 September) heralding the band’s first reunion in 40 years.

The Voyage concerts will see Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid performing digitally with a live 10-piece band, in a 3,000-capacity purpose-built arena in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.

The residency is set to run from May 2022 until October 2022.

A variety of different ticket types are available for the concerts, including general admission (standing), auditorium seating and dance booths – of which there are eight, each named after people from the ABBA universe.

Each booth has seating and its very own dance floor. Fans can either book the entire booth or individual seats.

“The world has never seen a concert on a scale like this before”

Tickets for the ABBA Voyage were made available from 10 am on Sunday 5 September for fans who pre-ordered the album from the official ABBA store, and from 10 am Monday 6 September for those who pre-registered.

General sale commenced this morning (7 September) at 10 am with tickets starting from £21.

Ticketmaster UK was yesterday (6 September) named the official ticketing partner for the ‘Voyage’ concerts in London, tasked with providing the technology required to run all shows as 100% digital.

“The world has never seen a concert on a scale like this before and we’re beyond proud to be involved,” says Andrew Parsons, MD Ticketmaster UK.

“We’ve had the privilege of working alongside the ABBA team since the concert’s conception, and together we’re going to give ABBA fans the greatest experience from the moment they buy a ticket right through to show time.”

It was also revealed yesterday that British electro-pop artist Little Boots will be part of the live band (aka the ‘ABBAtars’) for the Voyage shows, performing keyboards, synth and backing vocals.

The musician – whose real name is Victoria Hesketh – wrote on Instagram: “It has already been a dream to spend time in the studio with my musical heroes.

“I am beyond excited for this journey to continue and to have the privilege of performing these songs with a group of the most incredible musicians I have ever played with. The sound of this band will give you goosebumps!⁠⁠”

 

 

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The live band will be supporting digital avatars of ABBA, which have been created by an 850-strong team from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), the company founded by George Lucas (Star Wars, Indiana Jones).

According to Ben Morris, creative director at ILM, the avatars replicate the band members’ appearance in 1979 – their ‘prime’.

The characters’ movements, however, are based on five weeks’ worth of performances from the present-day members.

The four members performed every song in the 22-track ‘Voyage’ set over and over for five weeks in front of motion-capture technology.

ABBA’s ‘Voyage’ is ILM’s first foray into music but the company is joined by a number of stalwarts from the business.

The project is being spearheaded by producer Svana Gisla (David Bowie Blackstar/Lazarus, Beyoncé and Jay Z for HBO, Springsteen and I), producer Ludvig Andersson (And Then We Danced, Yung Lean – “In My Head”, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) and director Baillie Walsh (Flashbacks of a Fool, Being James Bond, Springsteen and I).

Co-executive producer Johan Renck (Spaceman, David Bowie Blackstar/Lazarus, Chernobyl) and choreographer Wayne McGregor CBE (The Royal Ballet, Company Wayne McGregor, Paris Opera Ballet) are also leading the project.

ABBA’s ‘Voyage’ concert series will be supported by a new studio album of the same name.

‘Voyage’ will be released on 5 November on Polydor (UK)/Universal Music Group (UMG).

The album has already become the most pre-ordered album in UMG UK’s history, according to the Official Charts, receiving over 80,000 pre-orders in the UK alone.

The band have already released two songs from the album, I Still Have Faith In You and Don’t Shut Me Down.

See the full tracklisting for ‘Voyage’ below:

I Still Have Faith In You
When You Danced With Me
Little Things
Don’t Shut Me Down
Just A Notion
I Can Be That Woman
Keep An Eye On Dan
Bumblebee
No Doubt About It
Ode To Freedom

 


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