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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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European live industry stepping up for Ukraine

Live music markets around the world are pitching in to support the citizens of Ukraine, as the Russian military continues its full-scale invasion of the country.

From helping with logistics at borders to finding employment for displaced professionals, the global sector is utilising its unique resources to help those fleeing the conflict.

Codruța Vulcu, festival director at ARTMania in Romania, is spearheading the launch of a pan-European job site that aims to help uprooted Ukrainians from the live music industry find work in other countries.

“We want to help them 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,” she tells IQ.

“I would call it an ideological solution for what Putin is trying to do. He’s trying to destroy a way of life and whatever these people have built and invested in.

“We want to help them resume their lives with dignity in other countries and give them a sense of normality”

“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, due to launch within the next week, is called ARTery for that very reason. “An artery keeps life going,” she explains. “It keeps the flow of blood and life – and so to say the activity of art – going.”

Michal Kascak from Pohoda, Slovakia’s biggest festival, is also involved in the project and the pair are attempting to enlist as many festivals, companies and venues within the industry as possible.

Vulcu hopes that, even after the war, the platform will be used by creatives around the world fleeing from conflict areas or dictatorial regimes – including Russians.

Alongside the launch of ARTery, ARTMania and Pohoda are deploying production staff to help organise logistics at their respective borders.

“I think that we as concert promoters, venues, clubs, festivals should offer slots in our events to Ukrainians who can play”

In addition, Pohoda also recently organised a solidarity concert for the people of Ukraine, which became a high-profile event in Slovakia.

“Slovakia’s president Zuzana Čaputová came to the event and made a great speech onstage, which was a surprise for everyone,” Kascak tells IQ.

“I was also positively surprised that public TV called us the evening before and asked to join the concert. Slovenska One, the major channel in Slovakia, broadcast the concert live on TV for three hours nonstop!”

The concert took place last Sunday (27 February) in Bratislava’s Main Square and featured more than 20 acts from Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Ukraine.

“I think that we as concert promoters, venues, clubs, festivals should offer slots in our events to Ukrainians who can play and bring a message from their country to ours,” says Kascak. “I think it can be a strong gesture and can also help to unite people and to spread the message about what’s going on in Ukraine.”

But it’s not just neighbouring countries that are pitching in to support citizens in Ukraine. In Austria, promoter Barracuda Music has transformed part of Nova Rock‘s festival site into a refugee centre.

Nova Rock Hall, which is typically used as a backstage and hospitality area during the festival, is now equipped to accommodate up to 480 refugees.

“The hall is set up in multiple sections, which are suited for 50 people each and include beds and seating,” Barracuda Music CEO Ewald Tatar explains to IQ. “Electricity, water, heating, light and hygiene and sanitation facilities (toilets, garbage disposal etc.) are all installed to accommodate the refugees.”

“It is important that the international live music industry shows solidarity with Ukraine,” adds Tatar.

Alongside the refugee centre, Nova Rock is also gearing up for a fundraising concert, titled ‘We Stand with Ukraine’.

The charity gig, announced today, is scheduled for 19 March at Ernst Happel-Stadion, Vienna, and donations will benefit people affected by the Ukraine war.

Nova Rock’s event is one of countless fundraisers around the world that have been organised to aid victims of the war.

Romanian promoter ALDA is spearheading two benefit events – We Are One at Bucharest stadium and Dance for Ukraine in Poland. Elsewhere, Brussels-based festivals, nightclubs and events have announced an open-air festival at Atomium.

Poland’s Follow the Step is gearing up to announce “the biggest show in Poland together with television and local artists”. While, across the pond, New York’s City Winery is hosting a benefit featuring Ukrainian-born Eugene Hütz & Gogol Bordello, as well as the likes of Patti Smith.

See a non-exhaustive list of benefit concerts, compiled by Music Export Ukraine, below.

 


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Ukraine’s live industry steps up support efforts

The Ukrainian live music industry is stepping up to provide humanitarian, logistical and military support while Russia continues its all-out assault of the country.

The teams behind venues, festivals and promoters in Ukraine are playing an important role in settling refugees, providing meals for troops, preventing the spread of misinformation, collecting essentials and donating funds towards the military.

Faine Misto, a rock and metal festival that typically takes place in August in Ternopil, western Ukraine, is doing a little of everything.

According to Faine Misto’s Veronika Grass, one of the key things the organisers are doing is taking part in the “information war”.

“There’s a lot of fake news about the real situation in Ukraine, so we find false information, send reports and make sure that the world knows the truth,” she tells IQ.

“There’s a lot of fake news, so we find false information, send reports, make sure that the world knows the truth”

The organisers are also staying in contact with foreign bands that have previously performed at the festival, asking them to share truthful information and links to official funds.

In addition, the festival’s website has been completely reformatted to signpost links to funds, contacts of shelters, basic emergency numbers, locations of bomb shelters, medical care and more.

On a practical level, the festival has made a number of donations to the territorial defence including walkie-talkies, raincoats and backpacks.

At the beginning of this week, the festival’s concert agency arm and Ukrainian act Grandma’s Smuzi donated 326,000 hryvnias (€10,000) from ticket sales for the band’s upcoming tour.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, the team behind Respublica, a free international art and music festival that typically takes place in Kamianets-Podilskyi, western Ukraine, are turning their efforts towards arming the country’s military.

“We weave nets for the territorial defence and look for ammunition for our guys in the Armed Forces and TRO”

“We weave nets for the territorial defence of the city and look for ammunition for our guys in the Armed Forces and TRO, provide humanitarian aid, and Molotov cocktails. We’re trying to create and accept any support that will help our fighters and migrants,” a spokesperson tells IQ.

The team is also engaged in the settlement of refugees from different cities, including Bakotí and Kamianets-Podílsʹkomu.

Settling refugees has become a major part of the live industry’s support during the war, as more and more Ukrainians migrate.

The UN estimates at least 160,000 people in Ukraine who have fled the war are displaced within their own country, while one million civilians have fled the country altogether.

Kyiv Contemporary Music Days (KCMD), an NGO educational and concert platform for classical contemporary music, has asked its network of artists around Europe if they will host those in need.

“I reached out to our network of artists and asked them if they would host a person in need of asylum”

“On the first day of the war, I reached out to our network of artists and asked them if they would host a person in need of asylum. Artists in Austria, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Turkey and Italy said yes,” Albert Saprykin from KCMD tells IQ.

Alive Art Center (AAC), in Uzhgorod in western Ukraine, is also pitching in to help the displaced.

“We have joined in helping refugees from other regions of Ukraine, since our region is calm compared to those in which hostilities are taking place,” says AAC’s Max Fidosh.

Western Ukraine has become somewhat of a refuge for displaced Ukrainians that are fleeing Kyiv, Kharkiv and beyond. Lviv, which has a train line to Poland and is far from the conflict, has become somewhat of a ‘sanctuary’ for migrants.

A number of music venues in the city have opened their doors to refugees and utilised their resources to help the military.

“Now we are not only doing volunteer work to resettle people in places that are available to us”

The Les Kurbas Theatre, one of Ukraine’s most critically acclaimed theatres, has been transformed into a refugee centre featuring camp beds and a bomb shelter in the basement.

Natalia Rybka-Parhomenko, who normally acts and sings at the venue, now volunteers there, helping to organise, manage and settle.

“We thought about how we could be useful in such an alarming time and decided to make a refugee shelter, because we understood that there would be a great need for people to leave, especially from the east, because it is especially difficult there,” she told Sky News.

“There is a demand, the theatre works as a hostel now. We joke that this is a five-star hotel, because we have a bomb shelter here and people don’t have to go outside the theatre – just go down. We dress people and they have a place to rest and eat.”

Some six miles away, Arena Lviv, a 34,000-capacity stadium in western Ukraine, has opened a coordination centre helping migrants and refugees with resettlement and border crossing.

“The entire staff of Arena Lviv is working tirelessly to provide the highest degree of comfort to all re-settlers and refugees”

“Every hour more and more people come to us from all over the country where the occupiers are destroying their homes,” Olga Manko, head of Arena Lviv, tells IQ.

Alongside the centre, the venue has also tasked its catering team with cooking food for the country’s troops and has already prepared and delivered more than 5,000 dinners to the frontline in five days.

“The entire staff and management of Arena Lviv is working tirelessly, doing everything possible and impossible to provide the highest degree of comfort to all re-settlers and refugees, and as a result became volunteers themselves,” continues Manko.

“We continue to help our citizens and believe in a victory of our country.”

 


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