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Live Nation set to get Canada ‘back on touring map’

Canada is welcoming US artists to perform on the country’s stages for the first time in 18 months.

Vaccinated Americans and permanent residents are now able to cross the Canadian border for the first time since closing on 18 March 2020.

“This step opens possibilities to get Canada back on the touring map for sure. Some artists already have shows planned with more conversations picking up,” says Arthur Fogel, chairman of global touring for Live Nation.

Live Nation Canada’s first concert with major US acts will be on 2 September with Maroon 5 and Blackbear at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. This will make the artists the first major US acts to play in the country since reopening.

This week, Live Nation Canada announced plans to require all artists and fans to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test to attend shows at the company’s stable of owned and operated Canadian venues.

The mandate is set to come into effect from no later than 4 October at Live Nation Canada’s outdoor venues and festivals, including Budweiser Stage (Toronto), History (Toronto), The Danforth Music Hall (Toronto), Commodore Ballroom (Vancouver), Midway (Edmonton), and The Velvet Underground (Toronto).

“Some artists already have shows planned [in Canada] with more conversations picking up”

The live entertainment behemoth is also sharing best practices for artists to request these policies at third-party venues where Live Nation promotes shows but does not control protocols.

“Live Nation and the live music 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,” said Wayne Zronik, president business operations, Live Nation Canada.

“We’re confident this is the right move for everyone coming out to shows, including artists, fans, crew, and our staff.”

Live Nation has announced similar entry requirements for markets including the UK and the US. IQ also understands that the promoter will take a market-by-market approach based on local governments’ requirements –many of which already utilise Covid-status certification for entrance to public spaces.

 


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LN to require Covid-status certification for all US shows

Live Nation will, from 4 October, require all artists, crew and fans to produce proof of Covid-19 vaccination or a negative test to gain entry to its US venues and festivals.

The company’s CEO, Michael Rapino, had previously told Live Nation staff that it would be the artist’s choice as to whether they require concertgoers and venue staff to be vaccinated. However, in a statement released late on Friday (Saturday morning UK time), Rapino said artists would also be included in mandatory Covid-status certification at Live Nation-owned venues and festivals in the United States.

“Vaccines are going to be your ticket back to shows, and as of 4 October we will be following the model we developed for Lollapalooza and requiring this for artists, fans and employees at Live Nation venues and festivals everywhere possible in the US,” says Rapino.

The announcement brings Live Nation, the world’s biggest concert promoter, into line with its global rival AEG Presents, which announced earlier in the day that it would require all attendees to its venues to be vaccinated (or show a negative Covid-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours) from 1 October, where permitted by law. (Some states have passed legal restrictions on so-called ‘vaccine passports’ certifying consumers’ vaccination status.)

“We will be following the model we developed for Lollapalooza and requiring this for artists, fans and employees at Live Nation venues and festivals”

Both Live Nation and AEG had already confirmed that all full-time staff at their US offices would need to be vaccinated before returning to work.

While Live Nation will only be able to enforce Covid-status certification at their own venues and events, a spokesperson says the company “has also developed best practices for artists to request these policies at third-party venues” owned or managed by other venue operators.

Similarly, AEG Presents’ vaccine mandate will only apply to its “owned and operated clubs, theatres and festivals”, though the company says it hopes artists, where they have the choice, will follow the promoters’ lead on certification.

“Certain states’ regulations may override our mandate, or a few artists may not want to immediately get on board with the plan, but we know that using our platform to take a strong position on vaccinations can make an impact,” says Shawn Trell, COO and general counsel of AEG Presents. “The message we want to send is simple and clear: the only way to be as safe as possible is to require everyone to be vaccinated. And we’re confident that others who haven’t been ready to make this full commitment yet will follow our lead.”

 


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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.”

 


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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.

 


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