x

The latest industry news to your inbox.


I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

K-pop festival Waterbomb splashes into new markets

Touring K-pop festival series Waterbomb Festival is expanding to several global markets this year, with new editions set for the US, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Taiwan, the UAE, Singapore, and China.

Set to kick off this May in Xiamen, China, the international series will take water-soaked stars to Hong Kong in June before touring South Korea and Japan in July and more cities across both, plus Singapore, in August. A Bangkok edition has been set for September, with stints in Los Angeles, Ho Chi Minh City, Taipei, and Dubai to be announced.

First held in 2015 in Seoul, South Korea, the festival series first expanded to new markets in 2023 with two editions in Japan and one in Bangkok. This year, the series will visit nine cities in South Korea, four in Japan, and one in Thailand, along with the new editions.

The event was launched by Hong Kong-based streaming platform Viu and Singapore-based Evergreen Group Holdings, with local promoters helping bring it to new territories.

The K-pop genre continues to soar to new hights and into new markets

As the name suggests, Waterbomb intertwines various water activities alongside local and international lineups of K-pop, hip-hop, and EDM performers. Though lineups vary by city, performers include K-pop supergroup TWICE’s Nayeon, American rapper Jay Park, and SHINEE’s Taemin, and South Korean singers Hwasa, Chung Ha, and Bibi, among a variety of others. Former performers include Blackpink, aespa, Simon Dominic, and Jessi.

The K-pop genre continues to soar to new heights and into new markets, with behemoth HYBE reporting its concert revenue skyrocketed by 40% in 2023, reaching KRW 359.1 billion (€253m) in the year. Last autumn, fellow agency SM Entertainment announced its Q3 revenue surged 40% year-on-year, partly attributed to their star’s expansive world tours.

KCON, the world’s biggest K-pop and culture convention, also expanded to a fifth region this year, adding Hong Kong to its 2024 lineup of Japan, Los Angeles, Saudia Arabia, and to-be-announced Europe.

The 2024 schedule is as follows:

May
18-18: Xiamen, China

June
1-2: Hong Kong

July
5-7: Seoul, South Korea
13: Jeju, South Korea
13: Fukuoka, Japan
20: Daegu, South Korea
27: Busan, South Korea
27-28: Tokyo, Japan

August
3: Incheon, South Korea
10: Daejeon, South Korea
10: Osaka, Japan
17: Sokcho, South Korea
17: Nagoya, Japan
24: Suwon, South Korea
24-25: Singapore, Singapore
31: Gwangju, South Korea

September
TBA: Bangkok

TBA
Los Angeles, United States
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Taipei, Taiwan
Dubai, United Arab Emirates

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ IndexIQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Vampire Weekend to launch tour with ‘rare’ eclipse show

Indie rock band Vampire Weekend will launch their latest tour with a special gig in celebration of the total solar eclipse passing through North America today (8 April).

The sold-out alfresco performance at Texas’s Moody Ampitheare will kick off at noon CST, with the 5,000-capacity venue to plunge into darkness for three minutes between 1:35 and 1:38 PM as Austin reaches totality.

Today, the path will cross from Texas and Arkansas up to New York and Maine, along with parts of Mexico and Canada.

The outdoor gig formally kicks off their Only God Was Above Us arena tour, which will see the NYC-based band perform across North America, the UK, and Europe over the next year. Their fifth studio album of the same name was released last Friday.

The show will be streamed for free on Live Nation-owned platform Veeps. Attendees of the live event will receive eclipse glasses.

Several music events are popping up along the path of totality, offering a multi-day experience for the “once-in-a-lifetime” event

Today’s solar showcase — the last North American total eclipse for 20 years — has prompted mass tourism to the totality path, with nearly four million tourists expected to spend up to $1.6 billion, according to Business Insider.

Capitalising on the rare phenomenon, celebratory events have popped up across the country, including travel company Atlas Obscura’s Ecliptic Festival in Arkansas. Taking place through today, the four-day festival in Hot Springs features headliners Deerhoof, Blonde Redhead, Allah-Las, Shannon & The Clams, and Angel Olsen.

In Texas, the Texas Eclipse Festival is offering a “once-in-a-lifetime” experience, with their four-day camping event being headlined by Paul Oakenfold, Big Gigantic, Tycho, and Subtronics, along with hundreds of other performers across six stages.

Yet, nothing will be programmed during the period of totality, with founder Mitch Morales telling Billboard the organisers don’t “need to augment that experience”.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ IndexIQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Global Arena Guide 2023: USA

The United States is rife with arena sizes and configurations, with consumer-focused convertible spaces being used for everything from live music and entertainment events to collegiate and professional sports. From coast to coast — with a chunk of viable land and markets in between — the US contains the vast majority of arenas worldwide, including freshly established, historically iconic, and athletically tied venues.

“The health of the arena businesses is really good,” says John Boyle, global chief content officer for multinational venue company ASM Global. “Aside from the frontline concert business, there’s a lot of family content, motorsports, and more.”

In addition, having flexibility of configuration is key for arenas – being able to change capacity from 20,000 to 6,000, for example. “Curtaining off the upper half of the arena means you can put an act in there, and the show still feels good. So all these things together is what’s making the arena business really healthy. There’s a lot of content, and there’s a lot of thoughtfulness in how the supply chain is presenting the content.”

The US has seen a huge growth in Latin acts, as well as a regional Mexican movement – and he notes this trend has expanded out of the US to the rest of the world. Genres such as K-pop and J-pop are also seeing huge global success. Meanwhile, staffing “continues to be a challenge across the board,” and economic headwinds mean consumer behaviour and buying habits are changing, with tickets selling later.

Nonetheless, there’s a huge variety of new content coming through, especially in the family entertainment segment and in immersive exhibitions, which are showing “huge growth.”

“The K-pop shows are hugely successful. The second they go on presale, they sell out immediately.”

The West
On the west coast, California features a range of old and new, including LA’s AEG-owned Crypto.com Arena (20,000-capacity), currently undergoing property-wide upgrades set to be completed in autumn 2024, and Inglewood’s iconic Kia Forum (17,500). The Forum, which can seat as few as 2,500, has hosted ground-breaking residencies, with 15 sold-out nights for Harry Styles and 12 shows for Maná. Multiple show runs are planned for the upcoming year, with Rauw Alejandro, Dead & Company, Drake, and Depeche Mode set to play many nights at the venue.

“As we transition out of the pandemic era, we see that fans are more excited to attend live events than ever before, so it’s our priority to keep the shows coming,” says Becky Colwell, Kia Forum’s general manager.

The Intuit Dome (18,000), the Forum’s new neighbour in Inglewood, is expected to open in autumn 2024 and is set to become the new home of the Los Angeles Clippers, along with hosting live events.

Oak View Group (OVG) recently broke into the arid Coachella Valley region, launching a nearly $300m arena in Palm Springs. Opening in December 2022, the Live Nation-operated Acrisure Arena (11,000) has hosted Maroon 5, Journey, and The Doobie Brothers in its first year, with Paramore and Bryan Adams shows on the horizon.

In the Bay Area, the LEED Silver-certified Oakland Arena, which can be customised anywhere from 1,500-19,500 capacity, has shifted focus from being the home of the Golden State Warriors basketball team to being ‘K-pop central.’ They’re set to host Suga, Twice, and MAMAMOO soon.

“The K-pop shows are hugely successful. The second they go on presale, they sell out immediately. And we continue to prove how amazing it is to have a show here by selling out shows and hosting an amazing experience for fans,” says general manager Nicole Strange.

“I’m not sure in the 33 years I’ve been in the industry, I’ve seen it stronger”

With over 500,000 guests welcomed in 2022 and a 12% increase in ticket sales from 2019, Strange says the venue is focusing on new opportunities and revenue arms that weren’t previously possible with a sports residency.

Further up the west coast, Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena has transformed after OVG’s $1.2bn investment wholly renovated the 1960s venue. Reopened in October 2021, the 17,000-capacity arena is set to become the world’s first venue with net-zero carbon emissions as certified by the International Living Future Institute – all while welcoming 2.5m attendees in the 19 months since reopening.

Amazon acquired naming rights to the former KeyArena in 2020, vowing to make all operations carbon-neutral as part of its Climate Pledge pact in partnership with the Global Optimism advocacy group. With these ambitions, the venue is operating at a higher cost in order to “be at the forefront of these efforts to raise the bar in sustainability throughout the sports and entertainment industry,” says general manager Steve Mattson.

The OVG-operated space has eliminated fossil fuels, installed onsite renewable energy sources, and retained the arena’s historic roof from the ’60s. Mattson says they’ll continue to track external natural gas emissions — such as those from artists and fans travelling to the venue — recycle rainwater in soaked Seattle, source 75% of food from a 300-mile radius, and work towards banning all single-use plastics by the end of 2024.

Artists including Stevie Nicks, Phish, Muse, and NCT Dream have graced the Climate Pledge stage in recent months, and while the venue hosts primarily sports-related events, the future for live music in the US market looks brighter than ever.

“I’m not sure in the 33 years I’ve been in the industry, I’ve seen it stronger,” says Mattson. “I think part of it is the pandemic pause that prevented artists from touring, and now they’re all out working.”

“Last year was the most successful year that the building has ever had”

With more content comes the desire for new venues, and Madison Square Garden Entertainment is focussed on the Las Vegas market, with the eye-popping MSG Sphere at The Venetian. The dome-shaped auditorium with a projected 17,500-capacity is set to open with a U2 residency in September 2023. It will boast the world’s largest and first 16K LED screen — which wraps up, around, and behind audience members — while immersing them in 4D and pitch-perfect sound technology.

The new venue will bring increased competition to an already busy market in the western portion of the US. The ASM Global-operated Desert Diamond Arena (18,000) in Arizona is familiar with the competition, with Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Coachella being short distances away – though pivoting away from being a sports tenant-held building has led to more opportunities in the live music space.

“If you don’t have that tenant, it’s one less player in the middle. Without them, in this case, it’s a really good thing. And it supports the whole growth of this area right here,” says Dale Adams, general manager of the Glendale arena.

“Last year was the most successful year that the building has ever had. This year, we’ve already confirmed more events than we had last year, so we’re just getting better.” Along with a boom in ticket sales as people return to live performances, Adams says the Latin genre has taken both his venue and the US market by storm, becoming one of the hottest genres in the market today.

The South & Midwest
The Latin fever gripping the US is primarily led by the culturally proximal southern states. In Texas, the newly opened Moody Center (15,000) in Austin is set to host Billy Strings, Ricardo Arjona, Chris Stapleton, and Luis Miguel in the upcoming year, which is only its second in operation.

“We’re seeing really strong indicators that international business will continue to grow here, particularly with Latin and regional Mexican acts,” says Michael Owens, Moody Center’s VP of programming. “Not only is the overall show count increasing, but we’re beginning to cycle into second plays with many of these artists. There is a massive underserved audience in this region, with zip reports showing both regional ticket purchases and cross-border traffic into Austin for these shows.”

“When we think about sustainability, we like to call it our ‘forever journey’ because it’s continuous”

Opening in April 2022, the Moody Center has surpassed expectations to become the world’s highest-grossing venue of its size, according to Billboard. Backed by OVG, Live Nation, and C3 Presents, nearly 50% of its more than 140 events have sold out, with 1.5m fans entering during the inaugural year of business — and Owens says they’re “just getting started.”

“Over the past few decades, many nationally touring acts have skipped the Austin market, opting for pro-sports buildings in major markets like Dallas and Houston,” says Owens. “With the recent addition of this world-class arena in the heart of the city, we’re realising a lot of pent-up demand from those fans who no longer have to travel outside the market to see their favourite artists. Factor in the strong local economy in Austin and the record number of people moving to the region every day, and you have the recipe for an explosive inaugural year.”

Local economies, cultures, and markets are important considerations for venues in the US. In Atlanta, which lies in the south-eastern region, the State Farm Arena (17,000) is striving to be the leading arena in its area, according to general manager and EVP Brett Stefansson.

“Atlanta is a melting pot of different cultures; you can book any genre in our building, and it’s going to be successful,” he says. “Covid caused so much isolation and took away the human-to-human interaction that people crave. We now see fans prioritising and appreciating live entertainment more than ever before.”

Home to the Atlanta Hawks NBA team, which operates the arena, the southern arena hosts both live entertainment and sports and is balancing its recent successes with reshaping the venue for the future. In 2022, it became the world’s first venue to earn Platinum TRUE Zero Waste certification, and it was a founding and equity member in the launch of the OVG-partnered Green Operations & Advanced Leadership (GOAL) platform.

“When we think about sustainability, we like to call it our ‘forever journey’ because it’s continuous. We feel it’s our duty to the community as stewards of a world-class arena and an NBA franchise to do the right thing and to set an example,” says Stefansson.

“In terms of technical labour, a stagehand, for example, there are simply fewer of them around”

Up the eastern coast sits one of the US’s largest arenas by capacity, the Greensboro Coliseum. Configurable between 13,000 to 22,000, the North Carolina arena has hosted The Eagles, Los Temerarios, and New Edition recently.

“The past 12 months were exceptional, and we reached, if not surpassed, how busy we were before the pandemic started,” says deputy director Scott E. Johnson. “Going into the next 12 to 18 months, we are forecasting much of the same. More shows, high sales at high prices.”

Yet Johnson adds the space has struggled to retain part-time and skilled technical labourers, even with significant pay increases. As the American labour force reels from pandemic disruption, the hospitality and leisure sector has the highest quit rate of the US industries, up to 5.6% in February 2023, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“Our industry is predominantly supported by part-time workers, who were drastically affected by the pandemic,” says Johnson. “Our industry carries part-time workers as ‘second jobs’ for ancillary income, not a primary job. People are slow to return to secondary employment.”

“In terms of technical labour, a stagehand, for example, there are simply fewer of them around. We have lost quite a few who changed careers during the pandemic. Travelling stagehands took local jobs to survive, and they are only returning to the road if [they receive] significant pay increases,” adds Johnson.

In addition to challenges with labour, inflation in the US market is also a pressing issue for venues and attendees alike. The Consumer Price Index, which measures the average cost of goods and services, peaked in June 2022 at 9.1%, up from 2.3% in December 2019, and has trended downwards to 5% in March 2023.

“Slowdowns in the overall economy related to inflation and a reduction in individuals’ discretionary income could affect our industry as a whole”

Inflation remains an ongoing issue for venues like the university-owned Colonial Life Arena (18,000) in South Carolina, where general manager Sid Kenyon says, “slowdowns in the overall economy related to inflation and a reduction in individuals’ discretionary income could affect our industry as a whole.”

Nonetheless, Kenyon reports that this year is projected to match the full fiscal year before the pandemic. The venue is unique in its ties to collegiate affairs but still competes in the broader market against neighbouring venues.

“There are no differences for a collegiate arena than that of any arena that has a primary tenant, such as a professional sports team who receives priority scheduling,” says Kenyon. “I would also say we may also have some advantages with a large infrastructure already in place supporting the entire university, in areas such as legal services, procurement, law enforcement, and security, among others. Another advantage is having thousands of college students in our market.”

Over in the midwestern market, Ohio’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse (19,432) also keeps its significant potential audience in mind when booking shows, with EVP of venue operations Antony Bonavita saying, “we’re not just flyover country.” The Cleveland venue has recently seen an explosion in Latin, K-pop, J-pop, and C-pop performances and is set to host Pink, Madonna, Greta Van Fleet, and Peter Gabriel later this year.

Across the Midwest, other notable venues include Tulsa’s BOK Center (19,200), Kansas City’s T-Mobile Center (19,250), St. Louis’s Enterprise Center (22,000), Detroit’s Little Caesars Arena (21,000), and Chicago’s United Center (23,500).

The Northeast
The northeast sector of the US is home to renowned venues including New York City’s Madison Square Garden (18,600), Radio City Music Hall (6,000), and Barclays Arena (19,000). NYC lands in between Boston’s TD Garden (19,500) to the north and Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center (21,000) to the south.

“Within this competitive marketplace, it is extremely important that everyone who sets foot inside UBS Arena has a fun, easy, and memorable experience”

Between Philadelphia and the US capital, Washington, D.C., lies the CFG Bank Arena (14,000), which reopened in April 2023 after an OVG-funded $250m renovation. Instead of demolishing and rebuilding, the decision to renovate the historic Baltimore venue kept concrete and rebar out of landfills, shortened the construction timeline from 18 to 11 months, and reduced overall costs, says general manager Frank Remesch.

Originally known as the Baltimore Civic Center, CFG Bank Arena will go from 105 events per year to a projected 130 – with concerts roughly doubling in their line up. With 38 brand-new suites; an in-venue kitchen; expanded bathroom access; better sightlines; improved lighting, rigging, and sound systems; and a doubling of staff, the venue plans to welcome 1m visitors this year, up from 560,000 per year pre-renovation.

“I’ve got a new building with an experienced staff,” says Remesch. “Some nuances with the building we had to learn, but for the most part, we understand the market. We understand what the patrons expect. It’s really worked out well. And we’ve hit the ground running; we’ve had five sold-out shows already.”

The venue opened its doors with a sold-out performance from Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, followed the next night by The Eagles. CFG Bank Arena will welcome SZA, Andrea Bocelli, Janet Jackson, and KISS in the next year.

Up the east coast, the newest entrant to the NYC territory is UBS Arena (19,000), which opened in November 2021 directly adjacent to city limits in Elmont. While it entered a market faced with staffing and supply chain challenges, venue management has “hit our stride and refined our operation. Our focus now is on delivering the best possible experience for our guests and clients,” says general manager Michael Sciortino.

“Within this competitive marketplace, it is extremely important that everyone who sets foot inside UBS Arena has a fun, easy, and memorable experience, to ensure they come back soon,” he adds.

“All you have to do is stand in the crowd and feel the energy of one of our recent sold-out concerts to know the industry is very much alive and well”

The new space is outfitted with modern luxuries, including premier dressing rooms, a state-of-the-art sound system, a back-of-house designed with advice from Live Nation, and is the first New York venue to feature Amazon’s Just Walk Out self-service shop. The LEED-certified venue’s goals for future development centre on sustainability measures, aiming to become a zero-waste venue by the end of 2023 and to continue exploring onsite solar energy possibilities.

While the New York market is potentially the most competitive in the nation, UBS is carving its own path, having hosted Kendrick Lamar, Billie Eilish, and Post Malone since opening, with Aerosmith and John Mayer to play before the year is out.

The US market is fresh with new developments hosting numerous global tours for eager fans around the nation. With overarching goals of improving sustainability measures, combating market inflation, and maintaining staffing levels, the US sector has its work cut out for it. But from coast to coast, live music is bringing Americans back together again.

“All you have to do is stand in the crowd and feel the energy of one of our recent sold-out Bruce Springsteen or Suga concerts to know the industry is very much alive and well,” says Sciortino.

Population: 329.5 million
Language: English
Currency: US dollar (USD)
GDP per capita: $63,543
Internet users: 307.2 million
Active smartphones: 294.2 million

The 2023 edition of the Global Arena Guide is out now. Find out more on the dedicated year-round mini-site.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Las Vegas’ Resorts World Theatre set for opening

Resorts World Las Vegas and Concerts West/AEG Presents have unveiled new joint-venture, the Resorts World Theatre.

Designed by Scéno Plus, the multi-level, 5,000-capacity live performance venue is programmed and operated by AEG Presents/Concerts West, and will debut tonight (1 December) with the launch of Carrie Underwood’s production Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency.

Other upcoming acts will include Katy Perry, Celine Dion and Luke Bryan.

We are excited to introduce our guests to an extraordinary venue

“In collaboration with AEG, we are excited to introduce our guests to an extraordinary venue integrating world-class talent, innovative design by our partners at Scéno Plus, and cutting-edge technology,” says Scott Sibella, president of Resorts World Las Vegas. “The Resorts World Theatre celebrates our customers by delivering on our brand promise of exceeding industry standards through luxury and high-tech multi-sensory experiences.”

The seventh performance venue in as Vegas designed by Scéno Plus, the Resorts World Theatre features the city’s largest and tallest stage to date, covering an area of 13,550sq ft, with the furthest seat only 150ft from the stage.

It also features fully configurable high-definition LED screens and an immersive audio experience through more than 200 L-Acoustics speakers, powered by L-ISA Hyperreal Sound technology.

“We are appreciative of our long-standing and trusted partnership with AEG, and for the collaboration with the Resorts World Las Vegas team to design a unique space, where unrivalled entertainers such as Celine Dion, Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry and Luke Bryan, can deliver memorable performances in the unparalleled comfort of the Resorts World Theatre,” adds Olivier Berthiaume-Bergé, president and CEO of Scéno Plus.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Live Nation unveils NFT ticket stubs

Live Nation is collaborating with artists to launch digital collectable NFT ticket stubs.

Trumpeted as an “industry-first”, Live Stubs will mirror the unique section, row, and seat of each ticket purchased and will be included with tickets on select Live Nation shows in North America, beginning with the upcoming Swedish House Mafia: Paradise Again tour.

Fans will be able to view, share, gift, trade, and resell their Live Stubs on Livenation.com, opening up new avenues for artists to engage with ticket-holders before, during and after live events. The NFTs are designed to be collector items and will not replace the digital tickets needed to physically enter the show.

Live Stubs bring back the nostalgia of collecting ticket stubs while also giving artists a new tool to deepen that relationship with their fans

“Our Live Stubs product brings back the nostalgia of collecting ticket stubs while also giving artists a new tool to deepen that relationship with their fans and we can’t wait to see what the creativity of this community dreams up as it grows,” says Michael Rapino, Live Nation president and CEO. “Special thanks to Swedish House Mafia for kicking it off for their upcoming tour.”

Minted on an eco-friendly blockchain, Live Stubs will automatically be given for free to fans who purchase a primary ticket to Live Nation-promoted shows as well as in venues powered by Ticketmaster.

Fans can share links to view their Live Stubs on social media, with more features and offerings to be announced closer to the concerts. Artists will also be able to work with the Live Nation team to integrate special experiences and rewards.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Arena Network appoints new booking director

Arena Network, the association of US arenas and large theatres, has appointed Justin Kujawa as booking director.

In his new role, Kujawa, who joins from Nederlander Concerts in Los Angeles, will focus on identifying and pursuing national and regional bookings for the association’s 40-plus member venues.

Before joining Nederland Concerts, where he booked some of the premiere concert venues in California (including the Greek Theatre, Vina Robles Amphitheater and the Forum), Jujawa worked for 17 years at Live Nation, starting his career in operations at Deer Creek Music Center in Indianapolis and working his way up to talent buyer.

“I’m looking forward to driving more content to our venues”

“My years of experience as a talent buyer in many different markets throughout the country has provided me with a unique perspective to help Arena Network’s venue members,” says Kujawa.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to build strong relationships with agents and promoters alike, and I’m looking forward to driving more content to our venues and getting to know many new markets and venue execs in the process.”

“We are thrilled to have Justin joining our team,” adds Arena Network CEO Andrew Prince. “As we all navigate this unprecedented time and venues welcome back fans, having someone with his experience and knowledge will be an incredible asset to all our members. We couldn’t be happier to have Justin with us as we continue to grow our membership and services.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Oak View Group to merge with Spectra

Oak View Group (OVG) has announced plans to merge with Spectra, a Philadelphia-based venue management firm with arenas, stadia, theatres and convention centres across North America.

Founded in 2015 by industry veterans Tim Leiweke and Irving Azoff, OVG specialises in property development and financing, sponsorship and partnerships and venue operation and security, while Spectra provides management, consultancy and hospitality services to its partner venues. The merger of the pair, terms of which were not disclosed, creates a “full-service” company with complementary specialities, according to Leiweke, the former AEG CEO who now serves in the same role at OVG.

“This merger brings together two dynamic leaders in the live events industry with complementary capabilities that will deliver a broad array of services to our clients,” says Leiweke. “OVG’s core competencies in arena development and corporate sponsorships, coupled with Spectra’s leadership in food and beverage services, will create a full-service live events company that will deliver a compelling and highly competitive set of offerings that meet our clients’ evolving needs.

“I look forward to collaborating with the talented team at Spectra and bringing together our two organisations to create something truly unique.”

“This merger brings together two dynamic leaders in the live events industry with complementary capabilities”

Dave Scott, CEO of Spectra, adds: “This is an exciting development for Spectra and an important step in our journey to provide unparallelled services to our clients along with exciting growth opportunities for our team members as part of a larger, more diverse organisation. This merger accelerates our existing strategy and will lead to significant opportunities to cross-sell food, beverage and sponsorship services across our combined client base.

“I look forward to working with Tim, Irving and the OVG team to enhance the future of live events for our valued clients.”

Following completion of the merger, which is expected in the fourth quarter of this 2021 (subject to regulatory approvals and other conditions), OVG will remain headquartered in Los Angeles and Spectra in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Spectra offers venue management, food services and hospitality, and partnerships services for 330 clients in the US and Canada, including stadia, arenas, convention centres, performing arts centres, fairgrounds and casinos, as well as Singapore Sports Hub in south-east Asia. OVG, which has six arenas under construction, including Co-op Live in Manchester, UK, recently inked a global ticketing deal with Ticketmaster.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Man dies after New York concert backflip

A man has died after falling from a balcony at a Dead and Company concert in New York last Friday.

Drinks entrepreneur Ian Crystal, 46, fell up to 50’ (15m) onto concrete after allegedly attempting a backflip during an interval at the show, held at the 42,000-capacity Citi Field stadium on 20 August.

According to local media, Brooklyn resident Crystal was found unresponsive at the scene after hitting the ground headfirst.

Crystal (pictured) , who is thought to have jumped from a second-floor concourse, was pronounced dead at arrival at New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Queens, the New York Post reports.

“Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to all the attendee’s loved ones”

A driver outside the stadium said he saw the man later identified as Crystal “flip” before falling and slamming into the ground below, the Post adds.

Harold Kaufman, a spokesperson for the New York Mets, who play at Citi Field, told CNN the following day: “We are aware of a tragic incident which sadly resulted in a fatality last night. Our deepest and heartfelt condolences go out to all the attendee’s loved ones.”

Crystal was the CEO of Evolution Spirits, which produces Monkey Spiced Rum, and formerly worked with brands including Abolsut Vodka, Malibu Rum, and Stoli Vodka, collaborating with artists including Jay-Z, Swedish House Mafia and Ne-Yo.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UTA invests in livestreaming service Moment House

Moment House has received US$12 million in new funding from investors including UTA Ventures, the investment arm of United Talent Agency, artists Halsey and Kaytranada, and Max Cutler, founder of podcast studio Parcast and head of new content for Spotify.

The series-A funding round, led by venture-capital firm Forerunner Ventures, also includes design firm Ideo, actors Whitney Cummings and Tom Felton, artist manager William Robillard-Cole, and YouTuber and comedian Noel Miller.

LA-based Moment House, which powers ticketed livestreamed ‘Moments’ for leading musicians and entertainers, has processed more than million tickets across 168 countries since its launch in 2019. It has worked with artists including Tame Impala, KSI, Halsey, St Vincent, Kygo, Kaytranada, Brockhampton, Grouplove, Yungblud and Justin Bieber.

The new investors join existing backers including high-profile artist managers Troy Carter, Scooter Braun, Myles Shear (Kygo), Austin Rosen (Post Malone), as well as actor Jared Leto, UnitedMasters’ Steve Stoute, Patreon CEO Jack Conte and ex-TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer.

“This fundraising round allows us to execute on our ambitious product roadmap”

“We’re excited to welcome more top tech and entertainment leaders to Moment House as we continue empowering creators to deliver special live experiences to their worldwide communities digitally,” says Moment House co-founder and CEO Arjun Mehta.

“This fundraising round allows us to execute on our ambitious product roadmap, which involves deepening the consumer social experience, and on the supply side, opening up the platform so that any creator in the world can easily make a Moment.

“Everything we have done so far is just step one of a much bigger plan to help build the ‘metaverse’.”

Upcoming shows for Moment House, which recent made a string of senior hires, include Halsey, Tinashe, Michelle Branch, Louis the Child, the Tiny Meat Gang Podcast, the Small Town Murder podcast and more.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Storm Henri disrupts US concert comeback

We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert, the star-studded show held in New York’s Central Park on Saturday 21 August, became the biggest victim of Hurricane Henri, the tropical storm which battered New England and the north-eastern United States over the weekend.

The concert, first announced by the mayor of New York city, Bill de Blasio, in June, was put together by veteran label exec Clive Davis in association with Live Nation and was to have featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Paul Simon, the Killers, Jennifer Hudson, Run DMC, Carlos Santana, LL Cool J, Andrea Bocelli and more. However, the 60,000-strong crowd were asked to leave Central Park early – at around 8pm, during Barry Manilow’s set, and before Springsteen, Simon and the Killers could take the stage – as the heavens opened and lightning filled the sky.

While most tickets for the show were given free to New York residents, VIP tickets were available, priced between US$399 and $5,000, according to AP.

De Blasio acknowledged that “while it’s disappointing that tonight’s concert had to end early”, the lightning meant that authorities had no choice but to end the show early: “the safety of everyone in attendance had to come first.”

Other events were also called off after the state of New York declared a state of emergency on Saturday morning ahead of Henri (now downgraded to a tropical storm) making landfall.

Eagles’ highly anticipated return to Madison Square Garden, part of the band’s Hotel California tour, on Sunday (22 August) was cancelled by the arena, as was a Jason Mraz show at Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000-cap.) in Uncasville, Connecticut, the same night.

Elsewhere in Connecticut, Kiss’s show at the 30,000-capacity Xfinity Theatre in Hartford will now take place tonight (23 August) after being postponed from Sunday due to the hurricane.

Sporting events such as the PGA Tour golf tournament, which is in New Jersey, also cancelled or postponed scheduled fixtures.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.