WHO: Stadium events “unrealistic” in most countries in 2020
It is “very unrealistic” to expect to see packed New Zealand-style stadia in the majority of countries this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
Speaking during an online discussion last week, Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies programme, said it would be “disastrous” to allow the return of stadium-level events, such as sporting fixtures, in territories that still have “community-level transmission” of Covid-19, reports AFP.
“Large crowds of 40,000, 50,0000, 60,000 people… it’s not just the risk of being in the stadium – it’s the risk of going to the stadium, the public transport, the bars and the clubs,” said Ryan (pictured).
“Imagine all the problems we have now with nightclubs and bars, and you squeeze all of that together into a four- or five-hour experience, where thousands of people go on the same public transport to a venue, get involved in the social aspects before a game, be involved in the game and then all of the social aspects after. In the context of community transmission, that could be disastrous.”
“We’re just going to have to be careful for a good bit longer”
Ryan said he expected stadia to continue to allow small numbers of fans – up to around 2,000, with social distancing in place – in countries with active cases of Covid-19 for the foreseeable future.
“We all want our sport back,” he continued. “We’re just going to have to be careful for a good bit longer.
“It’s very unrealistic in countries with community transmission that we’re going to be seeing large gatherings like that this year. Right now, it’s hard to see those fully reopened venues.”
New Zealand – which recorded a 102-day streak without a new coronavirus infection – has several hosted major arena and stadium events, including a rugby match attended by 43,000 people, since reopening its live sector in July. Japan and South Korea have also reopened sports stadia to fans.
The WHO released its latest guidance on holding ‘mass gatherings’, such as large music and sports events, safely in late May.
Global Citizen concert raises $6.9bn to tackle Covid-19
International advocacy platform Global Citizen has raised almost US$7 billion in pledges from governments, corporations and philanthropists following its Global Goal live music event and summit.
Global Goal: Unite For Our Future was broadcast on Saturday (27 June), with performances from Miley Cyrus, who covered the Beatles’ ‘Help!’ in an empty Rose Bowl Stadium; Jennifer Hudson, who sang ‘Where Peaceful Waters Flow’ from a boat on the Chicago River; and Coldplay, who dedicated their performance of ‘Paradise’ to Elijah McClain, a young black man who died in police custody in Denver last year.
Justin Bieber, Shakira, Usher, Christine and the Queens, Chloe x Halle and J Balvin were among others to perform in the virtual concert, which was produced by entertainment giants including Live Nation, Scooter Braun and SB Projects, Roc Nation, Universal Music Group, Maverick and Hamish Hamilton’s Done+Dusted.
The summit and concert aired in over 180 countries and was streamed global on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. The event raised $1.5bn in cash grants and $5.4bn in loans from the European Investment Bank in partnership with Global Goal co-organiser the European Commission.
“The $6.9bn that was pledged today to support the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities is an incredible next step on our journey out of the Covid-19 era”
The money is to be used to fund research for Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines and to ensure fair access to medical help for all, in a bid to combat the disproportionate impact of the disease on marginalised and disadvantaged communities, as part of the World Health Organisation’s Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator plan.
The event came as the follow-up to Global Citizen’s One World: Together at Home concert, which generated almost US$128 million for the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 solidarity response fund in April.
“Global Goal: Unite for Our Future was launched in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and we are proud to join the European Commission, and over 40 governments from around the world, to ensure Covid-19 tests, treatments and vaccines would be made available for everyone, everywhere,” says Global Citizen CEO, Hugh Evans.
“The $6.9bn that was pledged today to support the world’s poorest and most marginalised communities is an incredible next step on our journey out of the Covid-19 era, but there is more still to be done as no one is safe until everyone is safe.”
WHO releases new guidance on ‘mass gatherings’
The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued updated guidance on holding ‘mass gatherings’, such as large music and sports events, safely amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The document Key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19, dated 29 May, updates previous guidance from 19 March. The new version, which “reflects the evolution of the knowledge on the pandemic over the past weeks”, sees the WHO recommend that event organisers stagger arrivals, hold events outside where possible and restrict entry to healthy people, among other guidelines.
Other recommendations include reducing venues’ capacities (as has already happened in the US, Europe, New Zealand and elsewhere); increasing the amount of transport to and from the event (to reduce contact in crowded buses/trains); designating seating (presumably to enforce social distancing); and ensuring the widespread availability of handwash/sanitiser for eventgoers.
In contrast with its guidance in March – when it recommended that “all countries with community [Covid-19 transmission should seriously consider postponing or reducing mass gatherings” – the WHO now says authorities should, recognising the positive role such events play in societies’ cultural lives, consider allowing ‘mass gatherings’ to take place where it is safe to do so.
“Mass gatherings are not merely recreational events; they have important implications on the psychological well-being of large number of individuals (eg religious events), can play an important role in promoting healthy behaviours (eg. sports), provide employment for a great number of people, and could leave a legacy of improved assets or capacities developed as a result of hosting a mass gathering event,” reads the document.
“Generally, events associated with a low risk of Covid-19 transmission … may be considered sufficiently safe to proceed”
“Since mass gatherings have substantial political, cultural, social, and economic implications, authorities should assess the importance and necessity of an event and consider the option that it may take place, provided all associated public health risks are adequately addressed and mitigated.”
The WHO further recommends that those particularly vulnerable to the virus, such as the elderly, should still stay away, and that there should be isolation facilities on site for anyone who becomes ill during an event.
“Generally, events associated with a low or very low risk of Covid-19 transmission and low strain on the health system may be considered sufficiently safe to proceed,” the guide concludes.
However, “[e]vents with a moderate, high or very high level of risk might not be sufficiently safe to proceed and would require a more thorough application of prevention and control measures. If the risk of spreading Covid-19 remains significant after application of all control measures, postponing or cancelling the planned event should be considered.”
This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.
Chinese, Korean entertainment giants unite for benefit show
Chinese entertainment agency Freegos Entertainment and Korean media platform KVLY are organising a livestreamed benefit concert dubbed We Are The World 2020, scheduled to take place on 30 April.
The charity concert takes a similar format to that of Global Citizen’s recent One World: Together at Home show, with artists performing from different locations around the world.
According to the Korea Times, the state-affiliated China Benevolent General Association is inviting Korean record labels to take part in the concert, which could see Korean content appear on online platforms in China for the first time since 2016.
The event will be broadcast live on YouTube and Chinese streaming platforms, featuring acts including Taiwanese musician Jay Chou, Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung and G-Dragon of the K-pop band BigBang.
The charity concert takes a similar format to that of the recent One World show, with artists performing from different locations around the world
The concert takes its name from the 1985 charity single We Are The World, co-written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and recorded by ‘supergroup’ USA for Africa. The single was performed live at Live Aid that same year.
Viewers will be able to donate in real-time during the concert to the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 solidarity response fund and Korean welfare institution, the Community Chest of Korea.
The New Straits Times reports that the event has received investment from NetEase Music, one of China’s leading music platforms, and cosmetics and media commerce company VT GMP, known for its work on the BTS perfume.
Other sponsors reportedly include Chinese Association of Performing Arts and the Chinese Charity Foundation.
Photo: Gene Wang/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)
Footage from major fests to be shown in WMG’s PlayOn Fest
Past performances at major festivals including Coachella, Primavera Sound and Rock in Rio, as well as from venues such as the O2 Arena, will be streamed as part of Warner Music Group’s three-day virtual event, PlayOn Fest.
The event, which kicks off on Friday (24 April) at midday EDT will stream live for 72 hours via the Songkick YouTube channel, allowing fans to “relive epic performances for one time only”.
The virtual festival will raise funds for the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Covid-19 solidarity response fund through the sale of merchandise and donations.
Performances from over 65 acts, including Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Coldplay, Twenty One Pilots, Bruno Mars, Janelle Monáe, Green Day and Slipknot will be broadcast over the three-day event.
“PlayOn Fest is a great way to come together, enjoy good music and company, and support the WHO’s most urgent global work to combat Covid-19”
PlayOn Fest will include festival footage from Coachella, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Primavera Sound and Rock In Rio, as well as live shows from London’s O2 Arena, Sydney Opera House and Red Rocks Amphitheatre.
“During this pandemic, we are all searching for ways to stay connected,” says Elizabeth Cousens, president and CEO of the UN Foundation, which powers the WHO’s Covid-19 fund.
“The PlayOn Fest is a great way to come together, enjoy good music and company, and support the World Health Organization’s most urgent global work to combat Covid-19.”
Over the weekend, the Global Citizen-organised, Lady Gaga-curated One World: Together at Home benefit concert, which featured live performances from acts in real time, raised $127 million for the WHO’s fund.
Read more about the booming business of livestreaming here.
Photo: slgckgc/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)
More high-profile acts join Lady Gaga-curated benefit gig
A host of new artists have joined the line-up for One World: Together at Home, a livestreamed benefit concert co-curated by Lady Gaga in celebration of health workers and in support of the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 solidarity response fund.
Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez, Christine and the Queens, the Killers, Sam Smith, Alicia Keys, Usher and Celine Dion join previously announced acts Stevie Wonder, Billie Eilish, Elton John, Lizzo, John Legend, Paul McCartney, J Balvin and many more for the mega charity concert, which is taking place on Saturday 18 April from 8 p.m. (EDT).
First announcing the event last week, Gaga revealed she had helped to raise $35 million for the WHO fund, which is dedicated to funding protective equipment for health workers and efforts to find a Covid-19 vaccine.
On Monday, the singer called on world leaders including Canada’s Justin Trudeau, France’s Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to contribute funds to the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (Cepi) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, organisations seeking to find a vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus.
As part as the One World: Together at Home initiative, Global Citizen, the social action platform that has partnered with the WHO to produce the event, is calling on individuals, philanthropists, investors and business to support global health efforts.
“We are incredibly grateful for the continued support from the artist community to make One World: Together At Home a moment of global unity”
“We are grateful to the private sector who have listened to the public’s call for action and come together to support the global response to Covid-19,” says Hugh Evans, co-founder and CEO of Global Citizen. “This pandemic is too large for governments to tackle alone.
“We are also incredibly grateful for the continued support from the artist community to make One World: Together At Home a moment of global unity,” continues Evans. “Our hope for the special is that everyone will come away believing that we, as a shared humanity, can emerge from this moment forever grateful for the work of doctors, nurses, teachers, grocery store workers, and all those who are the backbone of our communities.”
One World: Together at Home, which will be hosted by US talk show hosts Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel and Stephen Colbert, will be broadcast live across US television networks ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as being streamed online.
Internationally, the UK’s BBC One will show an adapted version of the concert the following day from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. (BST), including exclusive performances from UK artists and interviews with frontline health workers. Additional international broadcasters include AXS TV, beIN Media Group, IMDb, MultiChoice Group, and RTE.
There will also be a globally curated digital show beginning at 2 p.m. EDT/6 p.m. GMT. Streaming partners include Alibaba, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook, Instagram, LiveXLive, Tencent, Tencent Music Entertainment Group, TIDAL, TuneIn, Twitch, Twitter, Yahoo, and YouTube.
Photo: proacguy1/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped)
New Who song streaming exclusively in Music Walk of Fame app
On Tuesday (19 November), the Who became the first artists to receive a stone on the new Music Walk of Fame (MWOF) on Britannia Junction in Camden, London. The legendary British band, who were presented with their stone by Primal Scream’s Bobby Gillespie, are also airing their latest single, ‘I Don’t Wanna Get Wise’, exclusively through the MWOF app.
The premiere of the new song – which comes over two weeks before the release of their 12th studio album, Who – is “the first taste of exclusive content that will become a characteristic of the official app”, according to its developer, Second Screen, which has also created festival apps for the likes of Boardmasters, Sound City, Neighbourhood Weekender, Notting Hill Carnival and Liverpool Psych Fest.
The MWOF app already houses a map of Camden with interactive points of interest marked as series of pins.
It will also incorporate augmented-reality (AR) technology triggered by each MWOF stone (the Who’s is outside Camden Town tube station), with more AR experiences set to be added as more stones are laid.ed in a series of insightful pins.
The Music Walk of Fame app is available to download for iPhone now, with the Android version set to follow in the coming weeks.