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ASM Global re-appointed Suncorp Stadium manager

The Queensland government has re-appointed ASM Global as manager of Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in Australia.

ASM Global Asia Pacific, which runs venues across Australia, New Zealand, the Asia Pacific and Middle East, has managed Suncorp Stadium since its redevelopment in 2003 and has now been granted a five-year extension following a formal tender process.

ASM Global Asia Pacific chair and CEO Harvey Lister AM says the company is honoured to be re-appointed as venue manager, which he said reflected the Queensland’s Government’s continuing faith and trust in the firm’s ability to manage the stadium to a world class standard.

Suncorp Stadium GM Alan Graham paid tribute to the work of the stadium management team.

“ASM Global has assisted us in continuing to take advantage of the latest innovations and cutting-edge technology”

“It is also fortunate that we are part of a world-wide network in ASM Global which has assisted us in continuing to take advantage of the latest innovations and cutting-edge technology ensuring the Suncorp Stadium team remains amongst the most elite in the world,” adds Graham.

It was recently revealed that the number of concerts permitted at the stadium could be set to double over the next two years to meet increased post-pandemic demand.

The 52,500-cap stadium is currently allowed to host a maximum of six gigs per year and already has shows lined up for 2023 by Elton John (21 January), Red Hot Chili Peppers (29 January) and three dates with Ed Sheeran (17-19 February).

But with a growing number of high-profile artists looking to tour the country post-Covid, the government is surveying residents and businesses for their views on temporarily raising the venue’s live music quota.

 


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Printworks London set for reprieve from closure

Printworks London is set be given a reprieve from closure after developer British Land said it would work “to explore retaining a cultural venue” as part of its Canada Water scheme.

Operated by event production firm Vibration Group and programmed by Broadwick Live, the acclaimed nightclub and events venue opened in January 2017, leased from British Land.

The 6,000-cap venue looked set to close after Southwark Council gave the go-ahead for it to be converted into offices earlier this year, despite close to 700 objections and a petition signed by more than 11,000 people protesting Printworks’ closure.

However, an agreement is now being finalised for the venue continue to operate in the SE16 scheme, even after the redevelopment is completed.

“We’re pleased to confirm that I partnership with British Land we’re in detailed talks about our return to our much-loved venue”

A statement from the Printworks team reads: “We’re pleased to confirm that in partnership with British Land we’re in detailed talks about our return to our much-loved venue.

“While there is still a detailed planning process that needs to take place before we can 100% confirm the future of Printworks, we’re positive about our future.”

It continues: “At this point, we can confirm that the venue will close in the new year for a number of years during a period of modernisation as planned.

“As a team, we’re committed to preserving the essence of the iconic Press Halls and retaining the spirit that we’ve all come to love, so we are working hard in partnership with British Land on designs that only seek to elevate the space.”

“I’m delighted that Broadwick Live and British Land are working together to develop the next chapter for Printworks”

“I’m delighted that Broadwick Live and British Land are working together to develop the next chapter for Printworks,” says London’s Night Czar, Amy Lamé. “This fantastic temporary venue has become a major destination that attracts some of the biggest names in electronic music and visitors from all over the world. I will keep working with them and offer all the support we can to secure an exciting future for the venue.”

Printworks London comprises multiple performance spaces in a 16-acre former newspaper printworks in London’s Docklands, and has hosted acts such as Skepta, Gorillaz and Seth Troxler, as well as events including the BBC Proms,  but its use as a cultural space was previously intended to be temporary.

“It is noted that a significant number of objections have been received in respect of the loss of the club/music venue currently operating on the site,” said a council report in July. “It is acknowledged that this use has been very successful. However, the events use was initiated as a short term interim use in 2016 pending development of the building within the masterplan. It was never intended to be a permanent use of the site.”

 


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AEG to operate new 3,500-cap venue in Raleigh, NC

AEG Presents has revealed plans for a 3,500-cap concert venue in Raleigh, North Carolina, US.

The company has entered into a long-term lease agreement to operate the building, which forms part of developer Kane Realty Corporation’s new Downtown South entertainment district.

Construction of the state-of-the-art venue will begin next spring, with the opening planned for autumn 2024.

“We are incredibly excited to be bringing a new venue to Raleigh, and Downtown South feels like a natural fit,” says Shawn Trell, EVP, COO, and general counsel, AEG Presents.

“Music venues are by nature cultural hubs; they bring a sense of community and help define the energy of a neighbourhood. We’ve experienced this most recently with our new venues in Atlanta and Boston, and in Kane Realty we have a partner who shares our vision for opening a state-of-the-art live music experience in this thriving market.”

“We are great admirers of AEG Presents’ ability to reach top-notch talent and create terrific event experiences at their venues”

Alongside the 3,500-cap main ballroom, the facility will also include an intimate rooftop lounge and special event space.

“We are thrilled to partner with AEG Presents on a unique music venue at Downtown South. The company is a leader in live entertainment and their decision to create their next venue at Downtown South speaks volumes about the district,” adds John Kane, CEO of Kane Realty Corporation.

“We are great admirers of AEG Presents’ ability to reach top-notch talent and create terrific event experiences at their venues such as Mission Ballroom in Denver and The Eastern in Atlanta. As Raleigh grows, it will be important for us as a City to keep pace with the demands for entertainment options – we believe that the size and flexibility of this new venue will fill a critical gap.”

 


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OVO Arena Wembley sale completed

Developer and asset manager Quintain has completed the sale of OVO Arena Wembley to Intermediate Capital Group (ICG).

Quintain had put the historic, 12,500-cap London venue up for sale as part of its strategy to focus on its build-to-rent business.

The ASM Global-managed arena is on track to welcome around one million visitors in 2022, with upcoming shows including Machine Gun Kelly, Bon Iver, Billy Idol, Ne-Yo, Jack Harlow, Sigrid and The Cure.

“We’re delighted to be the new custodians of the iconic OVO Arena and to be partnering with ASM, a globally renowned arena operator,” says Andreas Papadolambakis of ICG Real Estate. “The investment represents ICG Real Estate’s first in the content and live entertainment space, a sector which is benefitting from structural tailwinds. As music consumption has pivoted towards streaming, touring has become increasingly important for artists whilst consumers are dedicating an increasing portion of their disposable income to experiences over material goods.

“We expect this to be the first of a programme of investments in the European content and live entertainment market.”

“We look forward to working with new owners, ICG, to enhance Britain’s most iconic arena”

Built in 1934, the arena in Wembley – originally known as the Empire Pool – has been a live music venue for over six decades. London’s second largest arena, it was renamed from SSE Arena Wembley to OVO Arena earlier this yearfollowing in the footsteps of Glasgow’s Hydro (cap. 13,000) in linking with OVO Energy – the UK’s third-biggest energy supplier – which acquired SSE in 2020.

“Quintain have been excellent landlords for the OVO Arena for the last 20 years and we thank them for their stewardship,” adds Chris Bray, EVP Europe of ASM Global. “We look forward to working with new owners, ICG, to enhance Britain’s most iconic arena and continue to bring world class acts and artists to this world-famous entertainment district.”

Quintain, which was bought by US private equity firm Lone Star in 2015, acquired the then Wembley Arena in 2002 as part of its purchase of 44 acres of land in Wembley Park, and went on to transform the venue with an extensive, multi-million pound refurbishment in 2006.

“As we build out the Wembley Park estate, with 3,000 more homes still to deliver, we continue to focus our efforts on our Build to Rent ambition, neighbourhood retail and placemaking,” adds Quintain CEO James Saunders. “Naturally, we will work with ICG and ASM to ensure that the world-famous OVO Arena Wembley will remain an important part of this world class destination and neighbourhood.”

 


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Bristol’s SWX gets £3.2m redo after arson attack

SWX Bristol, a 1,800-capacity venue in the southwest of England, is to reopen just over a year after an arson attack damaged the building.

Following the incident, Electric Group, which has owned and operated the venue since 2017, gave the Nelson Street venue a £3.2 million reconstruction.

The restored venue is due to reopen on 9 September with a show by metal band Gloryhammer, followed by club night Far Fetched.

Electric Group said the focus of the rebuild was on restoring the previous infrastructure with upgraded tech. The refit involved the fitting of an L-Acoustics Kara II PA, all new lighting, motors, and a Fiend Productions’ LED wall.

Among the most notable changes are the double-height foyer, a reinstated feature from the Top Rank Suite-era, and a wheelchair-friendly lift that opens up access to all three floors for people with a disability.

The venue closed 13 months ago when an arsonist, who was said to be obsessed with lockdown measures, set light to a petrol-soaked towel and posted it through the SWX letterbox.

“We are already ahead in Q4 and Q1 [2023] in terms of show counts from pre-pandemic”

Artists slated to play at SWX this year include Banks, Rema, Young T & Bugsey, Sugababes and Black Midi.

“The response has almost been overwhelming,” says Electric Group head of music Mike Weller. “We are already ahead in Q4 and Q1 [2023] in terms of show counts from pre-pandemic. On almost a daily basis for nearly a year I’ve been asked, ‘Is the diary open? When will you be back?'”

Electric Group CEO Dominic Madden said, “The fire, product of an arsonist’s obsessive concern with lockdown and Covid legislation, was started at 4 am and raged for 27 hours. Our original sprung dance floor lives to tell the tale but not much else.

“Among the reconstruction we have fitted electric shutters at all entrances to ensure nothing like this can happen again.

“While our priority was to retain the essence of the venue’s success, updating facilities to ensure that SWX would serve the requirements of artists and audiences for another 50 years, I was really pleased to take this opportunity to make the venue fully disability friendly.”

Alongside SWX, Electric Group also runs London’s 1,700-cap. Electric Brixton (formerly the Fridge), and owns O2 Academy Newcastle (operated by Academy Music Group) and the Leadmill in Sheffield.

 


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Oak View Group hires venues veteran Wesley Cullen

Oak View Group (OVG) has hired venues veteran Wesley Cullen as VP of international venue development.

San Juan, Puerto Rico-based Cullen, who was previously MD of entertainment for Loud and Live, will be tasked with helping to expand the company’s venue portfolio worldwide.

“We are thrilled to have Wesley join our international venue development team,” says Brian Kabatznick, OVG’s EVP business development, facilities international. “As a highly respected arena executive we welcome her management expertise, passion to support OVG’s environmental initiatives and commitment to working in wonderful global cities.”

Prior to joining Loud and Live last year, Cullen was general manager of Puerto Rico tourist attraction Casa Bacardi.

“It is an exciting time to join this talented team to lead the industry in sustainability and inclusion as we positively disrupt this field we are so passionate about,” says Cullen. “I am honoured to work alongside Brian and learn from one of our industry’s masters of international development. OVG is phenomenal at opening doors for others and has built a team of superstars that I feel privileged to join.”

“Wesley is known as a positive disruptor and community leader who is passionate about the power of diversity and making good things happen”

Cullen brings nearly 25 years of experience in touring, venue management, experience design, hospitality, brand building and international expansion.

Her other previous roles include general manager of the Coliseo, Puerto Rico’s largest entertainment venue, where she helmed all venue management and operations, including booking, ticketing, marketing, production and logistics.

Earlier in her career, Cullen managed international live events for WWE in the US, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America.

“Wesley is known as a positive disruptor and community leader who is passionate about the power of diversity and making good things happen,” adds Francesca Bodie, OVG’s president of business development. “I’m pleased to welcome her to our world-class team and excited to see her effectively accelerate our global growth.”

 


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ASM Global leads ‘Fill the Truck’ initiative

ASM Global, Louisville’s KFC Yum! Center and Pepsi partnered to host a “Fill the Truck” supply drive to collect and deliver essential items to help Eastern Kentucky residents recover from recent catastrophic flooding.

Last month’s flooding in the US devastated the region and claimed the lives of 39 residents.

The collection event was part of the 22,000-cap venue’s larger initiative to support the local community through ASM Global Acts – the company’s corporate social responsibility platform – which also made a financial contribution.

“While we cannot imagine the devastating loss that has impacted Eastern Kentucky residents, we knew we had to find a way to provide support,” says ASM Global KFC Yum! Center general manager Eric Granger. “Our ASM Global staff approached me wanting to help with Eastern Kentucky flood relief, and we knew we could make a bigger impact with the support of our partners and the local community.

“Pepsi is such a willing and supportive partner and eagerly jumped in to help by providing transportation to deliver items directly to residents in Eastern Kentucky. Seeing our community come together to help our neighbours during this incredibly difficult time has been extremely rewarding for our entire ASM Global team, and we could not be more pleased with the response.”

“It was incredible to see the Louisville community come together to support this meaningful initiative”

Local businesses and residents were encouraged to collect supplies and drop them off at the arena’s outdoor Pepsi Plaza. With support from Louisville-area residents, businesses and government office workers, the ASM Global team filled two large semi-trailer trucks with food and supplies for flood victims.

“It was incredible to see the Louisville community come together to support this meaningful initiative,” adds Louisville Arena Authority chair Leslie Geoghegan, who worked closely with ASM on the scheme.

“As a part of this community, it is our responsibility to find ways to make a different and give back. Like the tornadoes in Western Kentucky several months ago, this natural disaster’s impact has been felt throughout our state; and we wanted to assist the many families in Eastern Kentucky affected by flooding.”

 


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Germany’s first climate-neutral arena moves closer

Germany’s first climate-neutral arena has moved a step closer after council officials gave the green light to its urban zoning plan.

The decision by Freising City Council means Bavaria-based developer SWMunich Real Estate has passed another significant hurdle towards the development of the MUCcc Arena in Munich.

SWMunich will build and operate the 20,000-cap venue, backed by more than €300 million of private sector investment.

The arena will be located in a new green space next to LabCampus, the technology and innovation centre at Munich Airport, with the seating to be arranged in a 270° horseshoe shape. Global design firm Populous was chosen as the architect earlier this year following a multi-stage architecture competition.

“We are delighted with the clear vote”

“With the submission of the zoning plan, Germany’s first climate-neutral concert arena has taken another important step forward,” says SWMunich MD Lorenz Schmid. “We are delighted with the clear vote.”

The new arena will be climate-neutral thanks to lifecycle-based planning to reduce the carbon footprint during construction and climate-positive management of the operating phase. Several thousand solar panels on the roof of the arena and around the site, coupled with the potential for geothermal energy and district heating, will ensure that the energy for operating the arena can be generated and supplied on site.

According to a Deloitte study, the new venue will bring an annual gross value added of around €285m to the region. A construction start date is yet to be set, but it is hoped to open in the next five years.

Schmid detailed the plans in a recent IQ article.

“Our project brings Munich into the champions league of indoor concert venues”

“Our project brings Munich into the champions league of indoor concert venues,” he said. “The new arena will be a cultural boost, an economic and tourism driver, and a role model in terms of sustainability standards – economically, ecologically, and socially.

“In the Munich region, there is neither an arena specially designed for concerts and live shows nor an indoor location with a capacity of up to 20,000 guests. We are closing this gap and thus supplementing the cultural offerings in the region and throughout Germany at a time of increasing demand.

“Our goal is to maintain world-class levels of quality and visitor comfort while remaining well below the energy requirements of comparable arenas in Europe.”

 


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NIVA names first COO Cody Cowan

The US’s National Independent Venue Association (NIVA) has appointed Cody Cowan to the newly created position of chief operating officer.

As COO, Cowan will oversee the day-to-day operations of the grassroots music venues alliance, working closely with NIVA’s executive director, board members, department heads, staff, and committee chairs.

He will be tasked with identifying opportunities for growth while cultivating a workplace that is diverse, equitable and inclusive, according to a release. In addition, Cowan will work closely with the National Independent Venue Foundation.

“As NIVA continues its evolution from successfully ensuring the independent music, comedy, promoter and festival industry will survive, we’re now focused on how we thrive,” says Rev. Moose, executive director and co-founder of NIVA.

“We’re incredibly fortunate that Cody, a seasoned music industry veteran with a history of success working in the civic, hospitality, service, and live events industries, is joining NIVA in this newly created leadership position of COO. He’s a leader and vocal advocate for preserving the cultural identity of his hometown of Austin and we know he will bring this passion, commitment and energy to NIVA.”

“As NIVA continues its evolution, we’re now focused on how we thrive”

Cowan joins NIVA from Austin’s Red River Cultural District, where he held the position of executive director. He has been working in Austin’s music industry since 1997, including at two of the most iconic clubs in the city – Emos and Mohawk.

Cowan later co-founded the Red River Cultural District in 2016, as the nonprofit’s executive director with areas of focus including economic development, grassroots organising, live music policy, and innovation for the live music and cultural tourism economy.

“It’s truly an honour and a privilege to be invited to join NIVA’s hard-working, talented team and to also continue to be able to serve our independent music and comedy community’s mission in creating a thriving and sustainable ecosystem,” says Cowan.

“Music and comedy are not only the soundtrack for our day-to-day but also our inner lives – they comfort us in difficult times; energise us in diverse and incomparable ways; and help us to find deeper human connection and purpose in an ever complicated world. I’m grateful for this amazing opportunity to continue to serve our music and comedy community and look forward to what we may all build together at NIVA.”.

Formed at the onset of the Covid-19 shutdown, NIVA represents independent music and comedy venues, promoters and festivals across the country. NIVA created and led the #SaveOurStages campaign, resulting in landmark legislation establishing the US$16 billion Shuttered Venue Operators grant.

 


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Live Nation to operate Australia’s Anita’s Theatre

Live Nation is expanding its Australian venue portfolio with the addition of historic New South Wales venue Anita’s Theatre.

The company will operate the intimate, 1,000-cap theatre in Thirroul, approximately 60km south of Sydney, which has hosted artists including City of Colour, Eric Burdon, Suzi Quatro, Angus and Julia Stone, and John Butler Trio.

Australian rock band Midnight Oil included Anita’s Theatre as a special stop on their 2019 The Final Tour, which also included shows at Australia’s biggest arenas.

“Keeping venues, such as Anita’s Theatre, open is imperative to the ongoing growth of local Australian artists,” says Roger Field, president of Live Nation Asia Pacific. “As advocates for developing local Australian talent, we are aware of the cultural significance Anita’s Theatre holds within the Illawarra region, and we are looking forward to showcasing an array of amazing live entertainment and talent for local fans to enjoy.”

“Live Nation will be taking over theatre operations, working very hard to bring a high calibre of performers to our venue”

Initially opened in 1925 as the ‘King’s Theatre’, the venue was used for a variety of purposes throughout the decades until it was re-opened in its current guise in 2007.

The owners of Anita’s Theatre Thirroul add: “We are very excited to announce that we will be partnering with Live Nation to deliver the best of live entertainment that Australia and the world have to offer to the people of the Illawarra and outer Sydney. Live Nation will be taking over theatre operations, working very hard to bring a high calibre of performers to our venue for music fans.

“We would also like to thank everyone who has supported the theatre over the past decade, especially through the last two years which were particularly difficult. The magic of live brings people together like nothing else, and we look forward to the community’s ongoing support and patronage as we begin this new chapter of the theatre.”

Live Nation’s global portfolio of over 300 live entertainment venues includes Australia’s The Palais Theatre in Melbourne, the Fortitude Music Hall in Brisbane and the recently announced Hindley Street Music Hall in Adelaide.

 


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