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Croatia’s INmusic pulls 2023 edition due to inflation

INmusic, Croatia’s biggest open-air music festival, has pulled the plug on its 2023 edition due to a myriad of financial challenges.

“The ongoing repercussions of the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, inflation, and general sense of insecurity many of us feel in our everyday lives, have resulted in conditions which do not allow for a fully independent festival such as INmusic to take place,” reads a statement from the organisers.

“In the current circumstances, it is not possible to deliver the best possible international live music programme for a ticket price set in accordance to the local audience’s financial limitations,” it continues.

“[These] conditions do not allow for a fully independent festival such as INmusic to take place”

“Unwilling to give up either one of those principles which make INmusic festival what it is, and honouring your support since 2006 and attendance which enabled the festival to grow and develop with each edition, we have concluded it is best to focus our activities on securing the necessary preconditions for a stable continuity of INmusic festival in the future.”

The annual festival typically takes place across three days in June in the Croatian capital of Zagreb with an international-heavy lineup.

Last year marked INmusic’s 15th edition which was extended from three days to four and featured artists including The Killers, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Deftones, Royal Blood, IDLES and Kasabian. Details had not been announced for the 2023 instalment.

The organisers say they are hoping to hold the 16th edition in 2024 and share dates with fans in the following months.

 


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Pohoda on most “emotional and challenging” edition

The organiser behind Slovakia’s biggest festival has told IQ about “the most emotionally charged and the most logistically difficult year in the festival’s history”.

Pohoda (peace) returned to Trenčín airport last week (6–8 July) for the first time in three years, due to two pandemic-related cancellations.

According to CEO and booker Michal Kascak, more than 10,000 people held onto tickets they bought before the pandemic and ultimately, the 30,000-capacity event sold out.

The 25th-anniversary edition played host to artists from thirty countries including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Confidence Man, Slowthai, Lianne La Havas, Metronomy, Sigrid and Wolf Alice, though it was acts from neighbouring Ukraine that stole the show.

Kascak says the most emotionally powerful concert came from the Philharmonic Orchestra of Luhansk, an area which has been a recent focal point during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The war in our neighbouring country, plus returning after three years of the pandemic, along with powerful performances brought a spectre of emotions, from total joy to gratitude, fellowship to sorrow,” says Kascak.

“I have never seen such enthusiasm and engagement like this year in the backstage of Pohoda”

“We know how lucky we are to hold a festival in a free democratic society – we could lose it in a second like our Ukrainian friends. I grew up under a communist regime, when a festival like this seemed like an unrealisable dream.

“We’ve been doing this for 25 years now and it is amazing to see people being together in all their diversity, enjoying art, life and creating a community of tolerance and peace. It shows that festivals have an important purpose.”

Throughout Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Pohoda has pitched in to support the citizens of Ukraine with a charity concert and an employment initiative.

As if supporting their neighbours wasn’t enough to occupy Pohoda, the festival also had to deal with the kind of post-Covid issues that are affecting festival across Europe.

“We had a lack of volunteers and temporary workers. There were many problems with flights. We also had some covid-related cancellations,” lists Kascak.

“[Despite that], I was positively surprised how were people dealing with that. All the team did incredible job, I have never seen such enthusiasm and engagement like this year in the backstage of Pohoda.”

 


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U2’s Bono and The Edge perform in Kyiv bomb shelter

U2 band members Bono and The Edge yesterday (8 May) delivered an acoustic concert in one of Kyiv’s subway stations that have been repurposed as a bomb shelter.

According to a post from the band’s official social media, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky invited the pair to play in his country, which has been fending off an invasion by Russia since 24 February.

According to the Irish Times, the musicians started the set with ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ as the sound of air-raid sirens went off in the distance.

Elsewhere in the setlist were ‘With Or Without You’, ‘Desire’ and ‘Angel Of Harlem’. Before the latter, Bono told the crowd that there was “nowhere in the whole world that we would rather be in today than in the great city of Kyiv”.

The pair also covered Ben E. King’s ‘Stand By Me’, bringing up a Ukrainian soldier on stage to help them sing it, and changing the “me” in the lyrics to “Ukraine”. Musicians who have had to join the military in recent months also joined the band on stage throughout the set, including Taras Topolya, frontman of Ukrainian band Antytila.

During the performance, Bono also addressed the war that is ongoing in Ukraine and has taken the lives of 3,280 Ukrainian civilians as of Friday (6 May), according to the OHCHR. “The people in Ukraine are not just fighting for your own freedom, you are fighting for all of us who love freedom,” he said. “We pray that you will enjoy some of that peace soon.”

U2 aren’t the only musicians to perform in a bomb shelter as, in March, a string quintet performed to hundreds of residents taking shelter in an underground train station to mark what would have been the first day of Kharkiv Music Fest.

 


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ARTmania spearheads launch of job site for Ukrainians

European festivals ARTmania (Romania) and Pohoda (Slovakia) have teamed up with Music Export Ukraine to launch a pan-European job site that aims to help displaced Ukrainians from the live music industry find work in other countries.

The companies say that ARTery was launched as a reaction to the war in Ukraine but that the platform will also counter the effects of the staff shortage in Europe caused by Covid.

“We want to help [Ukrainians] resume their lives with dignity in other countries and give them a sense of normality by helping them to do what they’re trained to do,” Codruța Vulcu, festival director at ARTMania in Romania, previously told IQ.

“We want to help [Ukrainians] resume their lives with dignity in other countries”

“The aim is that these people don’t end up washing dishes in Berlin, for example, but that they can continue the work they’ve studied and prepared for – and all that added value will not get lost,” she says.

The platform officially launched on Saturday (7 May) and is already advertising jobs for ARTmania festival, Music Export Ukraine and European Music Exporters Exchange in Belgium.

Companies can post a job, while Ukrainian music representatives can register and create a profile in order to browse job offers and apply directly. Visit the ARTery website here.

 


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ASM launches donation scheme for Ukraine

ASM Global is showing its support for Ukraine by launching a UK fundraising initiative to support those impacted by the war, having severed ties with its business interests in Russia.

As of 14 April, customers at all ASM-operated venues in the UK to donate to the British Red Cross, with an option to add 50p to their food and beverage order during shows, which will be used to help send aid to those in need.

ASM’s UK venues include AO Arena (Manchester), OVO Arena Wembley (London), first direct Arena (Leeds), Utilita Arena (Newcastle) and P&J Live (Aberdeen).

Chris Bray, EVP of Europe at ASM Global says: “ASM Global is proud to implement this new fundraising initiative, using ASM Global’s portfolio of UK venues as locations for donations to this important cause.

“We hope our customers will support us in these efforts, as the conflict in Ukraine continues.”

“ASM Global Acts, our corporate responsibility platform, works to make a meaningful difference to communities locally and all over the world, and we hope our customers will support us in these efforts, as the conflict in Ukraine continues. These funds will allow the British Red Cross to continue their vital work in providing urgent aid to those who need it the most.”

In addition, a spokesperson from the company today (21 April) told IQ that ASM is “not operating, managing, or providing any services at any venues in Russia”.

ASM had been an international partner in the MTS Live Arena (cap. 11,500) in Moscow, a £70million investment originally due to open in 2019, now scheduled to open doors in Q2 this year.

ASM joins Live Nation, Ticketmaster and Oak View Group in pledging not to do business with Russia.

 


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Kharkiv Music Fest takes place in bomb shelter

A string quintet performed to hundreds of residents taking shelter in an underground train station to mark what would have been the first day of Kharkiv Music Fest.

Despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the organisers of the annual international classical music festival were determined to bring a slice of the festival to Ukraine’s second-largest city.

The five musicians delivered a ‘concert between explosions’ – as it was dubbed on social media – opening with the Ukrainian national anthem, then playing works by Bach and Dvořák, alongside arrangements of Ukrainian folk songs.

The conductor and artistic director of the Kharkiv festival, Vitali Alekseenok, explained that the chosen music was programmed to highlight the connections between Ukrainian and Western European culture.

“Music can unite,” Alekseenok told The Washington Post. “It’s important now for those who stay in Kharkiv to be united.”

“Music can unite”

Music teacher and violinist Olha Pyshchyta said that performing in the subway sparked a range of emotions, after a month of war.

She said she was angry and tired “but at the concert … we felt unity”. “I, like all Ukrainians, are waiting for victory,” Pyshchyta said.

Fellow violinist Stanislav Kucherenko told The Post that the concert was unlike any other he’d played: “There was at no stage the excitement that usually happens when performing for people but I knew that I was where I should be.”

Kucherenko said music can have a “strong influence on the psycho-emotional state of a person and in the conditions of war it can inspire faith and optimism”.

Kharkiv Music Fest would’ve taken place in the grand hall of the Kharkiv Philharmonic on Saturday 26 March.

 


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Moscow’s Park Live festival decimated by cancellations

Moscow’s Park Live festival has been called off following a raft of cancellations from international acts.

Placebo, My Chemical Romance, Slipknot, Biffy Clyro, Iggy Pop, Deftones, Royal Blood and The Killers have all pulled out of the festival in light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

With only a handful of acts left on the bill, the annual international music festival will no longer take place at Luzhniki Olympic Complex in June and July.

“Y’all already understood that Park Live festival won’t be happening this year,” reads a statement from the organisers, posted on Facebook. “The picture of current circumstances does not provide the opportunity to fit our [festival] into it for legal, logistic, or for simple human reasons.”

“The picture of current circumstances does not provide the opportunity to fit our [festival] into it”

Park Live was launched in 2013 by Moscow-headquartered promoter Melnitsa Concert Agency, with the aim of bringing international artists to Russia.

The promoter, which also has offices in Kyiv, Minsk and Tbilisi, is considered one of the leading live music organisers of international and domestic acts in the ex-USSR territory.

Alongside Park Live, the company’s stable of festivals includes UPark in Kyiv, Ukraine, which has also been called off due to the conflict.

As more events are called off in Russia, the country’s live music association is proposing a moratorium on ticket refunds to prevent “the collapse of the industry”.

Other acts that have cancelled performances in Russia include Green Day, Imagine Dragons, Louis Tomlinson, Yungblud, Franz Ferdinand, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds and Bring Me the Horizon.

 


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Russians Against War concert raises £50k

A benefit concert spearheaded by Russia’s most popular rapper has raised £50,000 for Ukrainian refugees impacted by the war.

The Russians Against War show, led by Oxxxymiron, took place last Thursday (24 March) at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London with a sold-out crowd.

The concert saw the Paradigm-repped artist deliver his first London show in six years, as well as a surprise appearance from Russian rock icon Boris Grebenshikov.

Oxxxymiron’s rare UK performance comes after he cancelled six sold-out arena shows in Moscow in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The rapper initially launched the Russians Against War concert in Istanbul, Turkey, in mid-March. Both charity shows were livestreamed on Twitch, YouTube and Instagram in the hope that people in Russia would watch and donate.

“It is times like these that remind me why I and many of us got into music and the power it holds”

Mike Malak, Oxxxymiron’s agent at Paradigm Talent, says: “It was vital to both myself and [Live Nation promoter James Ponnusamy] to put this show on and unify people against war and allow an incredible artist to use his platform. It is times like these that remind me why I and many of us got into music and the power it holds.

“To see so many people of different ages and backgrounds come together and raise an incredible amount of money for an important cause makes it all worth it. Combining the live experience with livestreaming meant we could not only raise money but also an awareness that this is a war nobody wants to see nor supports.”

Ponnusamy adds: “Nights like last Thursday are an incredible reminder of the strength of music and how it brings people together for the greater good. Thank you to ticket holders and the livestream audience who helped raise awareness and show their generosity and support. All donations received will help those in Ukraine impacted by the war.”

 


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Benefit concerts for Ukraine raise millions

Three benefits concerts have together raised almost €20 million for charities providing relief during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Sound of Peace, a televised live concert that took place yesterday (20 March) in Berlin, raised more than €12 million, according to the organisers.

Around 20,000 people attended the concert at Brandenburg Gate, while viewership at home peaked at more than a million.

Peter Maffay, Marius Müller-Westernhagen and David Garrett were among the raft of artists that performed in support of the cause.

“Overwhelmed by the support we shared as an initiative and this strong co-operation of all participants, we find it hard to find words to describe how we feel right now,” reads a post on Facebook from the organisers.

“Sound of Peace has shown that anything can be achieved if you stick together and support each other,” it adds.

“Sound of Peace has shown that anything can be achieved if you stick together and support each other”

A similar event took place in Poland over the weekend at the Atlas Arena (cap. 13,000) in Łódź.

Together with Ukraine, a live concert organised by promoter Follow the Step that aired in 50 countries, raised nearly PLN 8 million (€1.7m).

The concert saw some of the biggest names in Ukraine and Poland perform in aid of Polish Humanitarian Action.

The stars in attendance included Daria Zawialow, Igo, Dagadana, Jerry Heil and Marcin Wyrostek.

Amelia Anisovych, a seven-year-old Ukrainian girl who went viral for singing Let It Go in a Kyiv bomb shelter, also performed.

“We are moved and proud that we could work with you on this unforgettable event,” reads a post on Follow the Step’s Facebook page.

“As a festival organiser, we turned our powerlessness into actual help, and that felt like the least we could do”

Elsewhere, a pair of events spearheaded by Dutch promoter Alda together raised more than €1 million for the Romanian Red Cross.

We Are One took place at the National Arena in Bucharest, Romania, with as many as 50,000 attendees, according to Alda.

The eight-hour event saw a plethora of artists invited to participate, including illustrious names such as Armin van Buuren, Inna and Tom O’Dell.

It was also streamed online and via Romanian TV and radio, with more than seven million people tuning in nationally, and around the world.

Alda’s second fundraiser, Dance For Ukraine, took place at the Tauron Arena in Poland with no fewer than 14,000 trance fans.

Armin van Buuren, Ferry Corsten, Ruben de Ronde, Solarstone and Vini Vici were among the performers.

Allan Hardenberg, director and co-founder of festival organiser Alda, says: “We are extremely proud that we have been able to raise such a nice amount for the Red Cross with both shows, in support of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The power of music was tangible during We Are One and #danceforukraine.

“As a festival organiser, we turned our powerlessness into actual help, and that felt like the least we could do.”

 


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Ticketmaster condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Ticketmaster has “strongly condemned” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has raged on for almost three weeks.

The ticketing giant follows in the footsteps of its parent company, Live Nation, which recently said it would not do business with Russia.

“Ticketmaster joins the world in strongly condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” a spokesperson from Ticketmaster tells IQ. “We are taking care of our employees in the region with assistance and support, and many of our markets, including Ticketmaster Poland, have started initiatives to support local non-profits assisting the crisis.

“The team is also working on a variety of concerts where money from ticket sales will be donated to foundations supporting Ukraine’s fight for freedom.”

Ticketmaster Poland is providing ticketing services for a number of concerts, from which the profits will be allocated to the Polish Medical Mission and carried out by humanitarian aid to the residents of Ukraine.

“The team is also working on a variety of concerts where money from ticket sales will be donated to foundations”

The concerts, organised by a number of domestic promoters, will take place across Poland between 4 April and 1 May, under the banner ‘Free Ukraine’. Fans can choose to pay between 75 PLN (€15) and 300 PLN (€63) for a ticket.

Ticketmaster, which is in 30+ countries worldwide, says it will announce global efforts early this week.

Ticketmaster and Live Nation aren’t the only live music behemoths that have denounced the actions of Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.

Venue management and services company ASM Global, whose portfolio includes Moscow Convention Center and MTS Live Arena, says it “stands with the people of Ukraine and condemns Russia’s actions”.

Sports and entertainment firm Oak View Group (OVG) pledged to “not do business in or with Russia, nor serve Russian brands in any of our venues on a global basis, effective immediately”.

In the world of recorded music, all three major music companies (Universal, Sony, and Warner) have announced they are halting their own business activities in the market.

Other major music companies to take action include streaming platforms Spotify and Apple, publishers Kobalt Music Group and Downtown, and collection societies PRS For Music (UK), CISAC (France) and SoundExchange (US).

 


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