Gadget abc delivers pro-vaccination concert series
Swiss powerhouse Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG has been enlisted by the federal government to organise and produce an ‘information and concert series’ to encourage the unvaccinated to get their jabs.
The ‘Back on Tour’ series comprises five open-air concerts, taking place during national vaccination week (8–13 November) in cantons with low vaccination rates.
Swiss artists Dabu, Danitsa, Kunz, Stefanie Heinzmann and Stress, as well as the special guests Anna Rossinelli, Baschi and Sophie Hunger, will perform in Thun, Lausanne, Sion, St. Gallen and Lucerne.
Each concert will admit 500 people, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, who snapped up one of the 2,500 free tickets. Vaccination buses will be parked at each site.
The concerts are subject to the current coronavirus regulations which say that outdoor events without a certificate or seat requirement can take place with a maximum of 500 people. The organisers hope such restrictions will help to ‘arouse the audience’s longing for normalcy’.
“[This] will remind us of how we all went to concerts two years ago without any reservations or limits”
“[The ‘Back on Tour’ concert series] will remind us of how we all went to concerts two years ago without any reservations or limits and enjoyed our social and cultural life without any restrictions,” says Marco Meroni, member of the management team at Rod Kommunikation, the agency that implemented the entire vaccination campaign on behalf of the Federal Office of Public Health.
Oliver Rosa, managing partner and director artists and brands at Gadget, added: “In this varied and challenging project, we were able to benefit from the experience and our network as the largest organiser and leading management agency in Switzerland.”
The company says it was given a lead time of just four weeks to put together the ‘Back on Tour’ concert series.
“The pandemic has been paralysing our industry for almost two years. We want to get involved and show our colours to get out of there as quickly as possible. The informative component of the vaccination week with a wide variety of concerts combining Swiss artists made sense to us,” added Rosa.
Last year, CTS Eventim acquired a majority stake in Gadget, uniting André Béchir’s abc Production with the wepromote consortium of companies.
The wepromote joint venture was formed four years ago by a group of Swiss promoters including Gadget Entertainment, Incognito Productions, wildpony, OpenAir St Gallen, SummerDays Festival, Seaside Festival and wepromote Live.
NZ organisers welcome vaccine passport mandate
New Zealand festival promoters have welcomed plans for a vaccine passport, saying it gives them certainty to plan major events this summer.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced plans on Tuesday (5 October) for a vaccine certificate system that could be operational by November.
Arden said the government is looking to mandate its use for large festivals, and that festivalgoers will need to get vaccinated this month if they want to go to such events over the summer.
Once available, the vaccine certificate can be printed out or displayed on a mobile phone. A beta version is already available.
Hamish Pinkham, director of Live Nation-owned Rhythm and Vines Music Festival, told Stuff that the vaccine certificate was good news for promoters and would give him the clarity he needed to run the December event.
“It makes sense that we follow the overseas success in this area.”
Callam Mitchell, director of event production company Team Event, which runs five major events in Christchurch including Electric Avenue in February, says the certificate system means they could plan events with confidence.
“We encourage everyone who wants to attend events this summer to get vaccinated as soon as possible, bearing in mind it’s an eight-week period between doses and the vaccine becoming effective,” says Mitchell.
Bay Dreams director Mitch Lowe, who runs two events set for early January in Nelson and Tauranga, also welcomed the vaccine certificate: “It makes sense that we follow the overseas success in this area.”
New Zealand is on pace to fully vaccinate about 90% of its eligible population by the end of November.
Australia’s music industry launches #vaxthenation campaign
Australia’s live industry has come together to launch a pro-vaccination campaign under the banner #Vaxthenation.
Spearheaded by the newly established Live Industry Venues & Entertainment Alliance (which includes Frontier Touring/Mushroom Group, Live Nation, Live Performance Australia, Secret Sounds, TEG and more), the initiative urges Australians to get vaccinated against Covid-19 to “stop the interruptions” and end the cycle of lockdowns.
The initiative is backed by more than 400 Australian artists, performers, promoters, festivals, venues, ticketing platforms, record labels, producers, theatre and opera companies, streaming platforms, industry associations, peak bodies and more.
Advertisements for the campaign are being rolled out on national television and through social media.
“We all have a part to play in getting back to the gigs, events, concerts and festivals we love”
“We’re all united by the same vision: ending the constant interruptions to our live entertainment culture by encouraging everybody to get vaccinated,” reads a statement on the campaign website.
“We all have a part to play in getting back to the gigs, events, concerts and festivals we love. Live entertainment is one of the nation’s most beloved pastimes.
“So no matter who you are, your background or where you live, now’s time to get vaccinated. We guarantee the first show back will be one of the best of your life. There’s nothing on Earth that compares to seeing it for real.”
The Live Industry Venues & Entertainment Alliance says that 79,000 jobs in the live performance industry had disappeared by the end of 2020, and AU$23.6 billion of economic output lost.
As of 5 September, 38.4% of the country’s population are fully vaccinated, according to the government’s vaccine rollout update.
Iceland Airwaves 2021 cancelled due to new restrictions
Iceland Airwaves has been cancelled for a second consecutive year due to “new and ongoing Covid-19 measures imposed by the government”.
The festival was expected to return to Reykjavík in November this year after being cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic but organisers say the current restrictions “render a multi-venue, multi-capacity, standing event, such as Iceland Airwaves impossible to produce”.
The new measures, just delivered by the local authorities, will see venues capped at 500 people per section, all of whom must be assigned a seat as guests are not allowed to face each other.
The government is also introducing mandatory rapid tests, which must be taken within 48 hours of the event, for everyone attending an event.
Events that do not require attendees to be seated or to take a test cannot have more than 200 people in each section.
The news comes months after the Icelandic government abolished all temporary regulations relating to the coronavirus, as the country was reaching a vaccination rate of 90% in adults.
“It seems these new measures are here for the indefinite future”
“Despite Iceland approaching a vaccination rate of over 90%, the Icelandic government has, to date, not laid out any plan to get large-scale music events started again,” reads a statement from the organisers.
It continues: “It seems these new measures are here for the indefinite future and everything regarding the execution of, and access to the obligatory rapid tests is still unclear. This means that for the time being, planning any all large-scale events in Iceland is not possible.
“Even though it is our belief that events like Iceland Airwaves can now be executed in a safe and responsible manner, using all available safety measures, the authorities apparently disagree. It goes without saying, the team at Airwaves is devastated to have to move the festival for yet another year.”
According to the Reuters Covid-19 tracker, infections are actually decreasing in Iceland, with 73 new infections reported on average each day. That’s 62% of the peak — the highest daily average reported on August 5.
Arlo Parks, Sad Night Dynamite, Eydís Evensen, Bartees Strange, Daði Freyr, Daughters of Reykjavík, Metronomy, Mammút, Squid, Dry Cleaning, Porridge Radio, Black Pumas and more were due to perform at Iceland Airwaves 2021.
The festival will return to Reykjavïk from 2-5 November 2022. Visit icelandairwaves.is for more information.
UK report: Double vaccination rate higher in concertgoers
The double vaccination rate among UK concertgoers is substantially higher than in the country’s general population, according to a new report by Music Venue Trust (MVT).
More than three-quarters (76.3%) of people attending live music events in the UK were fully vaccinated, while just 61.3% of the general population received two jabs, it found at the time of data collection.
Furthermore, almost all UK concertgoers (91.6%) will have been fully vaccinated by the end of September if they complete their vaccination programme – again, substantially higher than predicted for the general population (77.9%).
According to the report, these statistics aren’t a coincidence; 91.3% of attendees had chosen to take an additional personal precaution such as double vaccination, testing or immunity to support their safety.
Despite a high vaccination rate among concertgoers, only 2.1% of live music fans wanted to see certified double vaccination as the sole mandatory condition of entry and 8.9% wanted to see mandatory certification of health status as a condition of entry to grassroots music venues.
Only 2.1% of live music fans wanted to see certified double vaccination as the sole mandatory condition of entry
A mix of mandatory certification options, displaying vaccination, testing or immunity, was more strongly supported by live music fans.
The findings are from a series of surveys and data collection exercises conducted by MVT during the first month of the full capacity reopening of grassroots music venues in the UK.
The audience survey recorded answers from 1,891 people who normally attended live music events prior to the Covid crisis.
While 221 grassroots music venues took part in a survey about the precautions they had taken around opening and the attendance at their events.
And 100 grassroots music venues were selected as representative of the sector, with case rates and transmission rates in their locality mapped to explore if the full capacity reopening of grassroots music venues had a discernible impact on local case rates.
In the local areas around a representative sample of 100 grassroots music venues, Covid-19 case rates declined by 39%
Notably, in the local areas around a representative sample of 100 grassroots music venues, Covid-19 case rates declined by 39%.
“The response from venues, artists and audiences to the Covid threat has been incredible,” says Mark Davyd, CEO of Music Venue Trust.
“These survey results clearly demonstrate a will by the live music community to create safe spaces, to take personal responsibility for ourselves and each other, and to act to Reopen Every Venue Safely. It is particularly striking that local case and transmission rates around grassroots music venues, far from exponentially increasing as was predicted, have, in reality, exceeded the decline in rates witnessed nationally.”
Other findings from MVT’s report include:
- 86% of grassroots music venues are currently open and trading with a live music offer, equating to 817 venues, delivering over 13,000 shows in the last four weeks, to a total capacity audience in excess of two million people.
- 67.5% of grassroots music venues report that their advance ticket sales are down compared to their pre-Covid-19 advance ticket sales.
- 61.7% of grassroots music venues report that their turn up on the night (advanced sales and walk-up) is down compared to their pre-Covid-19 turn up on the night.
- 52.1% of grassroots music venues report that their bar take is down compared to their pre-Covid-19 bar take.
Both concert giants to make vaccines mandatory
Live Nation and AEG, the world’s biggest live entertainment companies, will both require all full-time employees in the US to be vaccinated against Covid-19 when they return to the office, the firms have announced.
Live Nation Entertainment, comprising the company’s concerts, ticketing (Ticketmaster) and sponsorship divisions, and Anschutz Entertainment Group, including Goldenvoice/Coachella, ticket agency AXS and AEG’s owned sports teams, will mandate that all employees working at their US offices have had the vaccine, with “limited exceptions as required by law”, the Los Angeles-based companies say in a rare joint statement.
The announcement makes official previous comments by Live Nation president and CEO Michael Rapino, who first mentioned a potential vaccine mandate during the company’s recent Q2 2021 earnings call and followed up with a memo sent to employees last week. “Our business and our industry are about uniting people,” he wrote, “and vaccines are one of the greatest tools for making sure that everyone can continue to enjoy live music together.”
Rapino also announced that artists would be given the choice as to whether they require all concertgoers and venue staff to be vaccinated for their US shows, and it is understood a similar model will likely be rolled out internationally.
AEG Presents, AEG’s concert promotion division, will additionally require all fans in the US to be vaccinated from 1 October. “We realise that some people might look at this as a dramatic step, but it’s the right one,” says AEG COO and AEG Presents CEO Jay Marcino.
“These organisations are setting a good example for other companies, and I applaud their efforts”
In addition to live entertainment firms such as AEG Presents, Goldenvoice and AXS, AEG’s vaccine mandate will apply to employees of the Los Angeles Lakers, LA Kings and LA Galaxy, all of which are at least partially owned by AEG or the company’s founder and chairman, Phil Anschutz.
Two other California-based clubs, ice-hockey team the Anaheim Ducks and American football squad the Los Angeles Chargers, have also said they will require their employees to be immunised against Covid-19.
Every organisation “has or will be implementing policies designed to expand on health department guidelines and ensure the best interests of employees,” according to the Californian Department of Public Health.
“We must work together and across sectors to ensure that we are increasing vaccination rates, especially now as we see an increase in Covid-19 hospitalisations and intensive care admissions due to the highly contagious delta variant,” says Dr Mark Ghaly, California’s health and human services secretary. “Vaccination against Covid-19 is the most effective means of preventing infection from Covid-19 virus and subsequent transmission and outbreaks.
“These organisations are setting a good example for other companies, and I applaud their efforts.”
Live Nation allows artists to choose entry restrictions
Live Nation is allowing artists performing at its US venues to require all attendees and staff to be fully vaccinated or to show a negative test result to gain entry, where permitted by law.
This is according to a document obtained by Variety, in which the global entertainment giant outlined standard practices for its US events in response to the varying Covid protocols in each state.
The company says the model has already been successfully implemented at many major shows in the US, including Lollapalooza which took place at Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois, between 29 July–1 August.
Live Nation will also require that, as of 4 October, all employees in the US be vaccinated to enter the company’s events, venues or offices – with limited exceptions as may be required by law.
“Our business and our industry are about uniting people and vaccines are one of the greatest tools for making sure that everyone can continue to enjoy live music together,” reads the note, signed by CEO Michael Rapino.
“Vaccines are one of the greatest tools for making sure that everyone can continue to enjoy live music together”
Rapino initially mentioned the vaccination mandates during the company’s Q2 earnings call, explaining that it would help protect employees – whichever state they’re in.
“I think that the biggest challenge we’ve had is just scrambling on a day-to-day basis with part-time employees back, and abiding by different local Covid laws; mask, no mask, now test, no test. I think that’s been our only real challenge from HR and communication,” he said.
“So, hats off to my frontline. They’re doing an incredible job trying to adjust, and we’re going to move to more central protocols now on mandating the vaccine and making sure they’re all safe, too.”
Live Nation’s memorandum comes shortly after New York became the first major city to require proof of being vaccinated for anyone who wants to attend an indoor live show – reinforcing similar requirements already set by venues such as Madison Square Garden.
New York to require Covid-19 vax for all indoor shows
New York City, one of the world’s live music capitals, will soon require proof of being vaccinated for anyone who wants to attend an indoor live show, mayor Bill de Blasio announced today (3 August).
The strict new requirements will be extended to other indoor activities, including dining at a restaurant and working out at in the gym, throughout August and September, as the city seeks to stop the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus, reports the Associated Press.
New York is the first major city to impose such restrictions, though some venues already have similar requirements: Iconic arena Madison Square Garden, for example, has required all fans to be fully vaccinated for its non-socially distanced events since the Foo Fighters’ huge show in June. (Interestingly, the city mandate won’t require ‘full’/double vaccinations – only the first jab.)
“If we’re going to stop the delta variant, the time is now. And that means getting vaccinated”
According to AP, the policy will come into effect on 16 August but inspections and enforcement won’t begin until 13 September, when the city’s schools reopen. About 66% of adults in New York are fully vaccinated, according to official data.
De Blasio has so far rejected calls to require masks indoors, as some cities in California have, focusing instead on getting the city’s population immunised against the virus.
“The only way to patronise these establishments indoors will be if you’re vaccinated,” says de Blasio, whose office administers a city of over eight million people.“The goal here is to convince everyone that this is the time. If we’re going to stop the delta variant, the time is now. And that means getting vaccinated right now.”
UK open for business as quarantine axed for int’l artists
International performers who have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 in the United States or European Union will no longer need to quarantine after entering England from Monday, the British government has announced.
The change, which comes into force at 4am BST on 2 August, will see the replacement of mandatory quarantine with a single Covid-19 test before departing their country of origin and a PCR test on the second day after their arrival in England. The new rules apply to all countries rated ‘amber’ for coronavirus risk, with the exception of travellers from France, who will still be required to quarantine.
In addition to the pre-departure test, arrivals from the US will also need to provide proof of US residency.
In a statement, LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment), which represents the UK’s live music business, welcomes the move, saying it will enable foreign artists to play shows and festivals in England in the coming months.
“We are extremely pleased to see that government has taken the decision to allow people into the UK without the need to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated in Europe or the USA,” says a LIVE spokesperson. “This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months and will provide a vital boost to our iconic live music industry as we come out of lockdown.”
To take advantage of the changes, artists will need to have taken a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency or the US Food and Drug Administration (ie Pfizer/BioNTech, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson) and been vaccinated in either the EU or US.
“This will allow international artists to perform at our world-leading festivals and venues over the coming months”
UK transport secretary Grant Shapps says: “We’ve taken great strides on our journey to reopen international travel, and today is another important step forward. Whether you are a family reuniting for the first time since the start of the pandemic or a business benefiting from increased trade, this is progress we can all enjoy.
“We will of course continue to be guided by the latest scientific data, but thanks to our world-leading domestic vaccination programme we’re able to look to the future and start to rebuild key transatlantic routes with the US while further cementing ties with our European neighbours.”
It is not known when Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland (which, unlike England, have devolved local governments) will follow suit in doing away with mandatory quarantine.
A Scottish government spokesperson tells the Scotsman it will wait for a whole-of-UK solution before opening Scotland’s borders, and warns against travel for leisure: “We aim to come to a four-nations position on international travel restrictions wherever possible. However, our current position remains international travel for holidaying purposes remains risky and subject to sudden change.
“We have said before people should think very carefully about travelling, and especially so given the prevalence and unpredictable nature of variants of concern.”
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Fest gets green light for full-capacity festival
Poland’s Fest Festival has been given permission to go ahead as planned, without any capacity limits, provided that attendees have had their Covid-19 vaccinations.
The event, which is scheduled to happen 11–14 August in Chorzów, has been told it can go ahead after the Polish government announced an easing of certain pandemic restrictions.
During a press conference last week, the Polish minister of health confirmed the information that people vaccinated against Covid-19 do not count towards the established limits applicable during mass events.
“We are leading conversations to extend the current restrictions so that festivalgoers who own a European certificate can also enjoy this year’s edition”
Fest Festival launched in 2019 as a multi-genre event and enjoyed a successful debut when more than 30,000 people attended the gathering. The 2021 edition has been extended to four days and organisers have so far confirmed acts such as Kygo, James Bay, Rag’n’Bone Man and Alan Walker on the bill.
However, Follow the Step Agency has pledged to try to open the gates for others. “As per today, the festival can only be held for vaccinated people,” says Fest’s promoter.
“Considering the fact that it’s not a perfect solution, [we] are leading conversations […] to extend the current restrictions so that festivalgoers who own a valid European certificate – available for free for [Covid] convalescents, people tested and vaccinated with the first dose – can also enjoy this year’s edition of Fest Festival.”