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Austria’s Racino to host two new 60,000-cap events

Live Nation and Leutgeb Entertainment Group are hoping to establish a new 60,000-cap concert venue in Austria with two huge events this summer.

The promoters are teaming up to stage Rolling Loud Europe – 2024’s only European edition of the hip-hop festival franchise – at Racino open-air venue in Ebreichsdorf, Vienna from 5-7 July, marking the brand’s debut in the country.

Rolling Loud Europe will be headlined by Nicki Minaj, Playboi Carti and Travis Scott, with other acts to include Ice Spice, Offset, Shirin David, Gunna, Lil Tjay, Don Toliver and NLE Choppa, among others. Remaining weekend tickets cost €259.

The same venue will also host the one-day Racino Rocks, starring Metallica, backed by a supporting bill including Five Finger Death Punch, Ice Nine Kills and Mammoth WVH. General sale tickets cost €149.00 to €223.70. Punters also have the option of arriving onsite a day early for €25.

Speaking at a press conference, Live Nation’s Marek Lieberberg, André Lieberberg and Matthias Rotermund, and Austrian promoter Klaus Leutgeb declared that both events are expected to welcome 60,000 fans per day.

“We are extremely satisfied with the response,” said Live Nation GSA head Marek Lieberberg, as per Vorarlberg Online and oeticket.

Lieberberg said he was “very happy and proud” that Leutgeb had secured a year-round contract for the location, which he described as “one of the most beautiful festival grounds in Europe… embedded in nature, close to the metropolis of Vienna”, after a decade of working with Racino.

Moving forward, the promoters plan to organise smaller 5,000 to 10,000-cap events at the Racino each year, as well as larger concerts

“We are here to stay,” he added. “We are putting the metropolis of Vienna and its charisma at the centre. The visitors come from Vienna, will go back there and spend the night there.”

André Lieberberg noted that 50% of the visitors to Rolling Loud Europe will come from Austria along with a significant from southern Germany, while almost 1,000 tickets have been sold in the US so far.

Moving forward, the promoters plan to organise smaller 5,000 to 10,000-cap events at the Racino each year, as well as larger concerts for up to 60,000 attendees.

Launched in 2015, the Miami-hailing Rolling Loud has also run events in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Sydney, Toronto, and is also plotting a debut event in Thailand for November this year. In Europe, most recently Rolling Loud has been staged in the Dutch city of Rotterdam, Portimão on Portugal’s Algarve and Munich, Germany.

Marek Lieberberg also played down reports that Rolling Loud’s 2023 German launch had been married by crowd trouble. Nine security staff were reportedly pelted by bottles and stones by festivalgoers on the event’s first day, as police described a “remarkably aggressive” mood among the audience.

“You should classify it,” Lieberberg told local media. “No people were hurt, no containers burned.”

 


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Rolling Loud streamlines European editions for 2024

Hip-hop festival franchise Rolling Loud will launch in Austria next year and will be the only European edition in 2024, according to organisers.

This means the US-hailing brand will not return to Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany, where European editions have previously been held.

The inaugural Austrian edition, dubbed Rolling Loud Europe, will take over Racino in Ebreichsdorf, an open-air venue on the outskirts of the Austrian capital of Vienna, between 5–7 July.

Mojo Concerts, promoter of Rolling Loud Rotterdam in the Netherlands, said there would not be a second edition because the brand “the rising costs of organising a festival of this size makes it a risky venture”.

This means the US-hailing brand will not return to Portugal, the Netherlands and Germany

The Germany edition, which debuted this year in Munich, was marred by a spate of incidents, with police describing a “remarkably aggressive” mood among the festival audience.

The event, headlined by Travis Scott, WizKid and Kendrick Lamar, was promoted by Live Nation and Austrian promoter Leutgeb Entertainment Group.

And the Portuguese offshoot launched at the Praia Da Rocha Beach, Portimão, in the Algarve in 2022 and was Rolling Loud’s first foray in Europe.

Last month, plans for Rolling Loud to return to Australia next year for the first time since 2019 were cancelled due to “circumstances beyond our control”.

Launched in 2015, the Miami-hailing festival has also run events in Los Angeles, New York, Sydney, Toronto, and will launch in Thailand next year.

 


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OVG ‘very disappointed’ at Vienna arena veto

Oak View Group (OVG) has expressed its disappointment after an Austrian court revoked the decision to award it the contract to build and run a new “world-class” arena in Vienna.

OVG was identified as the ‘best bidder’ in July this year, with construction on the 20,000-cap venue scheduled to begin in 2025, aiming for completion in late 2029.

The €384 million arena was to be largely financed by OVG, with the City of Vienna contributing an amount in the “double-digit million range” according to the final offer.

However, Kurier reports the tender process is now back to square one after the award was “declared void for formal reasons” by Vienna Regional Court, following an objection by rival bidder CTS Eventim.

“Of course we are very disappointed with the result,” says OVG CEO Tim Leiweke, as per Die Presse. “This beautiful city has always been the jewel in Europe’s cultural landscape, but it had no arena to match it.

“We are pleased that the court assessed our offer in such a way that we meet all the tender requirements and also require the least amount of effort for taxpayers.”

“Should we decide to go ahead and continue the procedure, we remain confident that we will be able to overcome the court’s objections”

Jessica Koravos, president of OVG International, adds the company is now considering its options.

“Together with our partners in Vienna , the Oak View Group will now analyse the procedure and decide on the next steps,” she says. “Should we decide to go ahead and continue the procedure, we remain confident that we will be able to overcome the court’s objections and our project of a bespoke, contemporary venue with the latest technology will ultimately prevail.”

The opening of the arena was originally planned for 2024, but the City of Vienna began looking for a partner due to the expected high costs.

The Vienna arena was to have marked OVG’s ninth arena project in the last two years. The developer oversees the operations of Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY, and Moody Center in Austin, TX as well as arena development projects for Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, CA and Co-op Live in Manchester, UK.

Its other projects include Arena São Paulo in São Paulo, BZ; CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD; FirstOntario Centre Arena in Hamilton, ON; a new arena and entertainment district in Las Vegas, NV; and a new arena in Cardiff, Wales.

Last week, it was announced that Climate Pledge Arena had become the first arena in the world to achieve International Living Future Institute’s Zero Carbon Certification. The certification is awarded to buildings that are energy efficient, can demonstrate a significant reduction in carbon footprint and offset the remaining embodied carbon and energy use through high-impact offset programmes.

 


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OVG to build and operate new arena in Vienna

Oak View Group (OVG) will spearhead the construction and operation of a new ‘world-class’ arena in Austria’s capital city, Vienna.

After an 18-month process, the world’s biggest arena developer was identified as the ‘best bidder’ for planning, constructing, financing and operating the new venue.

Construction on the arena, which will have a minimum capacity of 20,000, is scheduled to begin in 2025, aiming for completion in late 2029.

The €384 million arena will be largely financed by OVG, with the City of Vienna contributing an amount in the “double-digit million range” according to the final offer.

OVG states that it intends to build “the best [arena] in continental Europe, enabling Vienna to compete with other worldwide capital markets and to host more of the world’s top events.”

While the City of Vienna acknowledges that OVG cooperates closely with Live Nation, an important part of the bidding process was a guarantee that the arena would be open to all event organisers, “and that there are no exclusive rights for certain event organisers,” as it states on the City’s website.

“Vienna is a capital market that deserves one of Europe’s top entertainment arenas”

Ticketing, too, must be designed in such a way as “not to impair the existing competition among the various ticket providers,” it adds.

Commenting on the news, Tim Leiweke, chairman and CEO of OVG, says “Vienna is a capital market that deserves one of Europe’s top entertainment arenas”.

“As the gateway between Western and Eastern Europe and again ranked as the world’s most liveable city this year, it needs an arena that can attract the world’s best events. For those that doubt our commitment and wherewithal, there have been 7 new arenas built in the world in the last 2 years and OVG did them all. We are committed to this project and will deliver on our commitments.”

Francesca Bodie, president of business development and lead negotiator on behalf of OVG, adds: “We have huge admiration for the City of Vienna for having the vision to deliver continental Europe’s best arena, as well as the initiative to find a partner with a proven record of delivering outstanding new arenas that minimise the cost to taxpayers and prioritize innovation and sustainability.”

The next phase of the award process will include planning, zoning, and environmental impact assessments for the project before the contract signing later this year.

The Vienna arena marks OVG’s ninth arena project in the last two years. The LA-based developer oversees the operations of Climate Pledge Arena at Seattle Center, UBS Arena in Belmont Park, NY, and Moody Center in Austin, TX as well as arena development projects for Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, CA; Co-op Live in Manchester, UK; and projects for Arena São Paulo in São Paulo, BZ; CFG Bank Arena in Baltimore, MD; FirstOntario Centre Arena in Hamilton, ON; a new arena and entertainment district in Las Vegas, NV; and a new arena in Cardiff, Wales.

 


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Barracuda unveils Vienna’s first major hip-hop festival

Austria’s capital city is set to gain its first major hip-hop festival, courtesy of promoters Barracuda Music and Beat the Fish.

Not Afraid Festival will take place on 27 June 2023 at The Donauinsel, an artificial island parallel to the Danube river and in central Vienna.

US superstar Machine Gun Kelly will headline the open-air festival, performing alongside Viennese rap icon Yung Hurn, German rap legend Sido and Berlin’s Kontra K.

Makko and Eli Preiss, two burgeoning talents on the German-speaking music scene, also appear on the bill. Early bird tickets for Not Afraid start from €79.99 (£68.82).

“Vienna finally has its first big, star-studded hip-hop festival”

“Vienna finally has its first big, star-studded hip-hop festival,” says Barracuda Music CEO Ewald Tartar. “No Afraid ’23 sees itself as a modern, musical exclamation mark as well as a message and statement! Thanks to everyone who helped make this day and the festival possible!”

Vienna-based Barracuda Music has a festival portfolio which includes Nova Rock, FM4 Frequency Festival, Butterfly Dance, Clam Rock and Lovely Days.

The CTS Eventim-backed company will promote concerts with P!nk, Michael Buble, Lionel Richie, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi and Simply Red in Austria, next year.

Beat the Fish, meanwhile, specialises in bringing hip-hop acts to Austria, and has been enlisted by Barracuda to curate a part of the bill for FM4 Frequency Festival next year.

 


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Germany’s Goodlive Artists expands to Austria

Goodlive Artists, the booking and touring division of Berlin-based Goodlive, has launched Goodlive Artists Austria in Vienna.

Headed up by Silvio Huber, formerly head of booking for Arcadia Live, and Philipp Maly, co-owner of Czech promoter Selection and formerly part of the management team at Colours of Ostrava festival, Goodlive Artists Austria will focus on creating “new concepts and visions in the Austrian market”, according to an announcement from the new company.

Huber brings his own roster to Goodlive Artists Austria, having promoted shows by George Ezra, Tame Impala, AnnenMayKantereit, Conan Gray and more, while Maly’s Selection has worked with acts including Lewis Capaldi, Jamie Cullum and Woodkid.

“Above all, we would like to thank Goodlive Artists for the trust they have placed in us in such turbulent and unusual times, and so we are looking forward to a positive industry relaunch in a strengthened, motivated and hopeful manner,” say Huber and Maly in a joint statement.

“Philipp and Silvio fit perfectly into our team … With this step, we will be able to expand our touring services for our artists”

“Although we have only had a few and limited opportunities to get to know our new colleagues, we feel more than welcome and part of the family after only a short time.”

Goodlive Artists sits alongside other Goodlive companies including Melt! Booking, Der Bomber Der Herzen, Full Force Concerts and the recently launched Nitelive Artists, and Goodlive Artists Austria says it plans to take advantage of the synergies between the firms “in the best possible way”.

Justus Mang, managing director of Goodlive Artists, comments: “Philipp and Silvio fit perfectly into our team, both personally and professionally. With this step, we will be able to expand our touring services for our artists and act more strategically.

“In our talks beforehand, we all quickly realised that we share the same views on many things, that our visions are similar and that we could draw great motivation from this exchange. I’m incredibly excited about this collaboration and more Wiener melange in my life.”

 


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Sex toy causes classical concert terror scare

Police were called to the Vienna Konzerthaus after a concealed sex toy sparked a terror alert.

Staff at the concert hall called in explosive experts to report a bag that was “shaking suspiciously” in the cloakroom. It was later discovered that the suspect movement was prompted by a vibrator in a concertgoer’s bag.

The incident did not disturb the Viennese Symphony Orchestra’s rendition of Richard Wagner works Siegfried Idyll and The Valkyrie.

“The owners of the bag were informed of the incident and the officers wished them a nice evening”

“The bag had fallen on its side. Officers were able to quickly identify the cause of vibration and therefore it was not necessary to disturb the performance and the show went on,” says police spokesperson Patrick Maierhofer.

“After the performance had finished, the suitcase was handed over to its owner and his lady friend. They were informed of the incident and the officers wished them a nice evening.”

Opening in 1913, Vienna’s Konzerthaus regularly hosts concerts by the Vienna Philharmonic, Vienna Chamber Orchestra and Vienna Singakademie choir. The venue houses three rooms: the great hall (1,840 seats), the Mozart hall (704 seats) and the Schubert hall (336 seats).

 


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Ticketmaster signs Waves Vienna

Ticketmaster has added Waves Vienna, the Austrian conference and showcase festival, to its roster of industry events.

The company is now the lead ticket agent for Norway’s by:Larm, the UK’s the Great Escape and the Netherlands’ Eurosonic Noorderslag, and also tickets Wide Days in Scotland.

“We’re happy to welcome Vienna’s first music showcase festival, Waves, to the family,” says Jon West, Ticketmaster artist services marketing director.

“The magic of these events is their dual nature – the music right alongside the conference”

“We’ve been supporting important showcase festivals like the Great Escape, Eurosonic, by:Larm and more for many years now. We get a big kick out of supporting and spotlighting new artists, and festivals like Waves help us do exactly that.

“The magic of these events is their dual nature – the music right alongside the conference – and we have the technology and experience to handle both.”

 


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Elisabeth concert proves a success for Semmel

The debut of a concert adaptation of popular German-language musical Elisabeth attracted 20,000 viewers over the weekend to the Court of Honour at Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.

A collaboration between German promoter Semmel Concerts Entertainment, the Vienna Theatre Association (VTA) and local promoter Showfactory, the concert brought the musical back to its original setting in Vienna. The concert version was performed by the VTA orchestra.

Making its debut in 1992, Elisabeth documents the life, works and sufferings of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. The musical has been viewed around the world in a total of seven languages and by over 11 million people.

Due to the popularity of the event, the concert will return for three dates in 2020, from 25 to 27 June at the Schönbrunn Palace.

“There is no better way to stage Elisabeth than with a big orchestra and we look forward to continuing the international success story.”

“It is really special to showcase our worldwide success with a big concert in this exceptional historical setting,” says Christian Struppeck, musical director at the VTA.

“There is no better way to stage Elisabeth than with a big orchestra and we look forward to continuing the international success story.”

Dieter Semmelmann, chief executive of Semmel Concerts comments: “We are very happy with the outstanding realisation of this idea by all parties involved.”

Semmelmann adds that he was “honoured” by the “enthusiasm” from the writers of Elisabeth, Dr Michael Kunze and Sylvester Levay.

Tickets for the 2020 Elisabeth concerts are available here, with prices ranging from €59,50 (£53.50) to € 152,50 (£137).

Picture (left to right): VTA CEO Franz Patay, Schönbrunn Palace cultural director Klaus Panholzer, Elisabeth actress Pia Douwes, VTA musical director Christian Struppeck and Semmel Concerts CEO Dieter Semmelmann.

 


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Market report: Austria

Sitting in a mountain range – the Eastern Alps, which covers nearly two-thirds of the territory – and with a population of 8.7m, around a fifth of whom live in the capital, Vienna, the country of Mozart, Mahler and Falco these days draws music from everywhere.

For instance, at the time of writing, the calendar of Vienna’s alternative art complex Arena Wien is a multicultural stew featuring Franco-German reggae-punks Irie Révoltés, US hip-hopper Joey Badass, Finnish rockers Sunrise Avenue and German electro-poppers Lali Puna, along with Austria’s own Julian Le Play. And when the Ernst-Happel-Stadion prepares itself for blockbuster shows, it’s for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Robbie Williams and German star Helene Fischer. Yet there’s still something distinctive about the Austrian music business, where highly individual independent festivals remain the norm, and where “you can still develop things based on quality rather than quantity,” in the words of veteran indie promoter Alex Nussbaumer.

“Austria is a very sensible market,” says Nussbaumer, who operates as al-x, with offices in Vienna and Bregenz. “I often liken it to Switzerland because it has the same, very healthy scene, whereas in Germany, you don’t really have the middle range anymore. My experience here has always been that you can really develop an artist from scratch with touring.” However, times change, as Nussbaumer concedes, and it’s possible that the Austria of the near future will be different from that of recent decades. Like Switzerland, Austria was built by indies and has only lately attracted the undivided attention of multinational operators.

Live Nation and FKP Scorpio/CTS Eventim are now a couple of years into their respective Austrian ventures, and though Barracuda (the 2016 amalgam of leading indies Skalar, Red Snapper and NuCoast Entertainment) remains the biggest player in both shows and festivals, it is safe to say the gap has closed

“To be the only big, independent player is not easy when Live Nation, DEAG and CTS all have offices in Vienna,” says Barracuda CEO Ewald Tatar, whose recent projects have included the Rolling Stones at Spielberg; Robbie Williams in Vienna and Klagenfurt; and the perennial Nova Rock festival. “But for us,” he adds, “business is still very, very good.”

“You can definitely play one big arena or one big stadium. For the second or third show, you need to be really careful”

For now, this is a view more or less shared by indies and multinationals alike. Austria may not be huge but it’s in reasonably good shape, especially after the festival market pulled back from the edge of saturation a year or two ago.

“In general, it’s been a pretty good year – possibly the best year ever,” says Arcadia Live head of booking Silvio Huber. “The Rolling Stones pulled a massive crowd; there’s been a significant rise in stadium shows in Vienna; and, of course, a steady growth of club and arena shows. It seems we have not reached a critical peak in Austria yet, but we should be aware that no business grows endlessly.”

Nestled beneath Germany with borders into Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, Austria has always been a well-connected sort of place, part west and part east, so a well-placed show in Austria can often draw part of its crowd from elsewhere.

A show such as Barracuda’s 95,000-capacity Stones show, for example, which took place in September at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg bei Knittelfeld in the central part of the country, is only an hour or two by road from the borders of Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia.

Nonetheless, Austria is a relatively small country, and its ticket-shifting powers have limits. Roughly 70–80% of all tickets sold are for shows in and around Vienna, and though Austria has many fetching cities, from Linz and Graz to Salzburg and Innsbruck, acts of any size can’t hope to play more than one or two of them.

“Basically, in Austria you can definitely play one big arena or one big stadium,” says Tatar. “For the second or third show, you need to be really careful. Outside Vienna, the other cities in Austria are not big. We play arena shows in Linz or Graz but you can’t do both – you need to decide if it’s Vienna and Linz or Vienna and Graz.”

 


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