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Wizard sells 250k tickets for summer rock shows

Germany’s Wizard Promotions has revealed it has sold more than 250,000 tickets for heavy rock shows this summer.

The Frankfurt-based promoter’s run of dates kicks off this weekend with rock veterans Scorpions, who bring their Rock Believer tour to Dortmund’s Westfalenhalle on Sunday 14 May, followed by arena gigs in Mannheim, Hannover, Stuttgart and Berlin.

Def Leppard and Mötley Crüe will follow at the end of May, with concerts by Iron Maiden and Papa Roach coming up in June alongside Kiss, who will mark their German swansong with five farewell shows, concluding at Cologne’s Lanxess Arena on 2 July.

“It will certainly be an emotional moment to see the band leave the big stages in Germany for the last time after so many decades of working together, but we are all the more looking forward to working on new topics and artists that we are already familiar with will employ in the future,” says Wizard MD Oliver Hoppe.

“Concerts and spectacular stage programs are irreplaceable”

Wizard Promotions has announced 300 shows across all genres for 2023, also including the likes of Ingrid Andress, Larkin Poe and Ane Brun, while debut tours are currently being planned with Awfultune and SKAAR,

In addition, Wizard is expanding its country music division to showcase artists such as Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi, Sean McConnell and Morgan Wade.

“Every artist and every band that belongs to us has their own idea of ​​where we want to go with them,” adds Hoppe. “Above all, we know everyone personally and they know us. I’m at at least one show with every group that we have on the street, especially with young bands.”

Hoppe concludes: “Concerts and spectacular stage programs are irreplaceable. Live experiences are a cultural asset that we love – and which was sorely missed, not least by the fans, during the pandemic. Loud guitars, choirs from the crowd of spectators , but also the quiet, intimate show moments are finally back and the longing for them is great.”


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Dark Horses: The resilience of metal

Cranked amplifiers. Pyrotechnic firepower. Mosh-pit mayhem. As a genre where the blood, sweat and riffs of the live experience are both an integral part of fan appeal and artists’ revenues, the fortunes of metal are intrinsically tied to the live market, in sickness and in health.

After nearly two years of silence due to the pandemic, metal is steadily finding its feet again as a return to the summer festival touring circuit continues apace. At the time of writing, Wacken Open Air had recently wound up its 2022 edition, where 80,000 diehard metalheads summed up the loyalty in the genre with more than 95% of them rolling over their tickets from previous years. And just one day after the curtain came down, fans took just five hours to snap up all 80,000 tickets for the 2023 edition.

Elsewhere, live juggernaut Rammstein are resuming their record-breaking global stadium tour after it was rudely interrupted in 2020, concluding with three nights at Mexico City’s 65,000-capacity Foro Sol stadium. Newer boutique events are also performing well, such as Italy’s Rock The Castle, which is offering fans the opportunity to see legendary headliners Judas Priest and Megadeth within Scaligero Castle grounds.

“Metal fans are fans for their whole life,” affirms Andrea Pieroni, CEO of Vertigo who promoted the event. “We sold almost 20,000 tickets over the weekend, which is good if you consider we sell only daily tickets and capacity is 9,000. It’s a new renaissance, literally!”

The road back to live has been rocky, and the issues beleaguering the entire live industry – crew shortages, skyrocketing fuel prices, ballooning production costs – are keenly felt. Yet, unsurprisingly, for a genre that has always punched above its weight and boasts fans regarded as the most loyal in the world, in this report IQ hears how many artists and show organisers have not only survived but thrived, through a mix of passion, community and grit.

“Metal fans are fans for their whole life”

Riders on the storm
When it dawned on the industry that 2021 would not see a return to business-as-usual, several no-table metal festivals embraced digital technology like never before by staging online editions rather than let another year pass unmarked.

One such festival is The Netherlands’ tastemaker event Roadburn, whose organisers launched Roadburn Redux in April 2021, a four-day streaming event with live performances from Tilburg’s lynchpin club venue, 013. “We pulled out all the stops to make Roadburn Redux something really special, and it was affirming, as an independent festival, that we might still have a future,” recalls artistic director Walter Hoeijmakers. Performances were broadcast in real-time by local production specialists, LiveWall, who also created the online portal, which saw 79,000 fans from 132 countries tune in.

The carefully curated programme recreated all the regular hallmarks that have earned Roadburn an engaged following and a reputation for “redefining heavy”: spotlights on emerging underground talent, panel discussions, and exclusive commissioned projects, made possible through grants from the Dutch government. “We approached 16 bands and told them, ‘We want to give you a portion of this grant to create new music that we can premiere at Roadburn 2021,’” explains Hoeijmakers. “That was the main goal: to inspire the community and give bands an opportunity to grow and keep them visible.”

France’s Hellfest also got in on the action, creating a virtual “metalverse” for Hellfest From Home, where visitors could navigate between stages and interact with other headbangers. Alongside live performances, video content catered to the wider festival experience, from cocktail recipes to cooking tutorials with rockstars, racking up nearly three million views overall.

“We don’t treat festival goers as customers: it’s more like a community”

Significantly, both festivals made the online experiences open to all, free of charge. Roadburn opened donations, raising over €56,000 to help cover costs, while Hellfest sold specially produced merchandise. As Hellfest communications manager Eric Perrin explains, the focus was to repay fans for their loyalty: “It was a ‘thank you’ to everyone who had held on to their tickets. We don’t treat festival goers as customers: it’s more like a community. As an independent festival, ticketing is 60% of our budget, so we maintain a special relationship with our community because, ultimately, they’re our lifeline.”

Both festivals have been rewarded this year with sold-out attendance for their respective physical comebacks, with nearly 90% of original tickets purchases rolled over. 5,500 visitors returned to Roadburn this year, with around 80% of attendees travelling from outside The Netherlands. Meanwhile, Hellfest celebrated its 15th anniversary by spreading a stacked bill over two weekends, welcoming 420,000 people to Clisson over seven days.

Younger bands, like Static Dress and Sleep Token, have also been able to build anticipation with fresh music over the pandemic and return to larger audiences. Canadian metallers Spiritbox were on their first tour playing support to 800-cap rooms or less when the world locked down. Now, they are one of the hottest properties in metal, recently notching up a much-anticipated debut at Download Festival and two sold-out nights at Islington’s O2 Academy venue as headliners, selling 1,600 tickets.

Back in the saddle
A few tentpole events can be seen as paving the way for metal’s return to heavyweight commercial performance. Most obvious is The Metal Tour of the Year which packages together Trivium and Lamb Of God with thrash icons Megadeth, which in its first leg in 2021 alone sold over 170,000 tickets across 24 North American dates, grossing nearly $8m (€7.9m) according to Pollstar.

More impressively, demand proved so high that a second leg of 26 dates was undertaken earlier this year. Over in the UK, Bring Me The Horizon launched a fresh tour of six arenas in 2021, which sold over 60,000 tickets, while Don Broco’s 11-date run of academy-sized venues (25,000 tickets sold) has set them up for their first arena tour next year.

“We need to take more chances on new headliners”

But, in Britain’s metal calendar, no event speaks louder than Download Festival. In 2021, the UK government tasked the festival with putting together a 10,000-capacity camping festival with zero social distancing, as part of the wider Events Research Programme that would make the case for large-scale gatherings post-lockdown. Oh, and with just four weeks’ notice. No pressure.

“John Probyn and his team at Festival Republic did an incredible job pulling together the production in such short notice,” recalls Live Nation promoter Kamran Haq. “We managed to confirm the entire line-up in four days. Some bands thought we were joking when we told them we were going to do a festival in four weeks’ time, but thankfully every band we approached jumped at the chance.”

The result was a scaled-down Download featuring a best-of-British line-up headed by Enter Shikari, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, and Bullet For My Valentine. While the event was never going to turn a profit with reduced capacity and reported production costs of £2.7m (€3.2m), Haq affirms that the exercise was worthwhile. “It was a loss leader, but its success allowed other festivals like Reading and Leeds, Creamfields, Latitude etc., to go ahead later in the summer. It also showed us that we need to take more chances on new headliners, and we will do.”

By all accounts, metal festivals and tours have been back in full force this summer, with many circuit mainstays reporting bumper attendance numbers, including: Download (110,000, UK); Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park (150,000 combined, Germany); Graspop Metal Meeting (220,000, Belgium); Welcome To Rockville (160,000, US); Resurrection Festival (145,000, Spain); and Good Things (90,000, Australia).

Perennial favourites Iron Maiden resumed their mammoth Legacy Of The Beast tour to sweep up 170,000 tickets over five German stadium shows alone. In most cases, ticket retention ranges from 75% up to 90%. Yet that diehard loyalty of holding on to tickets for the past two years has also come at a cost this year – namely that touring budgets and ticket prices drawn up in 2019/2020 do not square with the costs of staging shows in 2022, with many reporting at least a 30% increase in production costs.

“We’re going to be forced to analyse comfort levels for increasing ticket prices”

“I have never seen anything like it,” says Ossy Hoppe of Wizard Promotions who, with almost 50 years’ experience promoting hard rock’s elite under his belt, has seen it all. “We have a completely different situation now, where neither promoters nor bands are making the money they expected on deals. If bands can’t get trucks, they’re getting busses. If they can’t get busses, then they’re chartering planes. The only way we will get through is if we all pull on the same string.”

5B Artist Management president Justin Arcangel observes that 2023 tour sales vary wildly, and while per-head merchandise sales at shows are double pre-pandemic levels, selling VIP packages has become essential to mitigate risk. “Maybe in 2019 our guarantees would pay for the tour and VIP would be a profit centre. Now the VIP is necessary to help the tour break even,” says Arcangel, whose clients include heavy hitters Megadeth, Slipknot, and Behemoth. “We’re going to be forced to analyse comfort levels for increasing ticket prices, but we also have to figure out how to make these tours profit if touring is going to be sustainable.”

Latin America has proven itself to be a hotbed for a thriving, passionate metal fanbase across the continent. In our 2020 report, CKConcerts managing director Christian Krämer stated that development of venues and tour infrastructure would be necessary to truly open up the region. Fortunately, from his perspective, the pandemic has not set back efforts in this area.

“A few venues had to close, but the vast majority are still there, and we are even seeing new venues being opened, such as Coliseo Live arena in Bogotá,” he says. Appetites for continent-spanning tours with Airbourne and Obituary are looking promising, but not all sales are equal. “Both tours are selling very good, but I have seen several other shows that only sold very late. The market will be oversaturated until late 2023 probably, so it is still too early to see how everything will play out.”

But, as Christopher “Bitz” Ruvalcaba of metal powerhouse Cobra Agency observes, uncertainty is par for the course in a territory where political stability and currency values can, and will, vary year-to-year, state to state: “It’s not just Covid for us. You might have riots in Chile or you do a deal where the value of the dollar was worth five pesos, then three months later the dollar might be worth ten pesos. Tour cancellations happen all the time. It’s a case of resilience and adapting to bring the best opportunities to your artists.”

“The metal fans in South America are more passionate than anywhere in the world”

The pandemic and the war in Ukraine may have exacerbated existing problems, such as the costs of flying and freighting, which are a logistical necessity for a band crossing the Andes, but Ruvalcaba’s optimism for metal’s growth in the region remains unchanged. Having worked with promoters from grassroots to stadium-level and built strong relationships with artists such as Slipknot over the past ten years, he has seen touring infrastructure for metal bands across the region go from strength to strength.

The success of Mexico’s Hell and Heaven Metal Fest (30,000 cap), and the high-profile expansion of Knotfest into the territory are proof of long-term commitment bearing fruit. “We have been trying to stage Knotfest in Brazil and Chile for five years, and we have only just found the right bands and right time to do it,” he says proudly of the Slipknot-affiliated festival, which this year will also be staged in Colombia and so far has sold 30,000 tickets for each event before the full bill has even been announced. “You need passion and patience to make shows happen here, but the metal fans in South America are more passionate than anywhere in the world. It’s a culture. It’s a message.”

Forging ahead
As a heavy metal summer of festivals and touring draws to a close, conversation naturally turns to how tours set for winter 2022 and spring 2023 will perform. After all, once rollover tickets have been used up and punters start to feel the pinch of winter energy costs, how will tours sell?

Whether at a major league or independent-level, both 5B’s Justin Arcangel and Sarika Rice of London-based Desertfest have noticed a trend for customers to wait until the 11th hour to buy tickets. “I think people are wary of parting with money in advance or [concerned] that the shows are even going to happen,” says Rice, who as Desertfest’s booker and marketing head is finding the last-minute ticket sales challenging when it comes to projecting budgets for 2023’s festivals in London and New York. “Going into this year, we had 1,000 tickets rolled over for London. Will we see a quick uptake when we put tickets on sale or will it be down to the wire? We’ve got to be prepared for that.”

Yet Alan Day of Kilimanjaro Live and Action! Presents is bullish about the sales coming in. “You hear, ‘Oh, this autumn is going to be tough,’ but people say that every year! It’s always busy, but I think the market is very strong for rock and metal bands,” says Day, who has major UK tours with Bullet For My Valentine, Saboton, and Don Broco scheduled for Q1 2023. “I am very wary of the cost-of-living crisis, and we are being careful in how we position younger bands, but people will do everything they can to ensure their pay cheques stretch to go to see a show. The metal audience is loyal – that will never go away.”

“The future of touring itself will be about having much stronger packaging and not an increase in ticket price”

The opinion among many promoters and bookers is that rewarding that loyalty and delivering value-for-money at the barriers will prove crucial when it comes to ensuring good turnouts while navigating the rising costs of touring. As Adam ‘Rad’ Saunders of X-ray Touring cautions, simply offloading touring costs onto the consumer by hiking ticket prices simply won’t cut it.

“The future of touring itself will be about having much stronger packaging and not an increase in ticket price,” says Saunders, who believes that co-headline packages such as Amon Amarth and Machine Head’s upcoming UK arena tour are the way forward. “You need to put more on the table. The ticket buyer needs more value for their money, and I think that is what is needed for the confidence to return and for advance ticket sales to come back to what they were prior.”

One thing everyone IQ spoke to agrees upon is that metal continues to gain a fresh young audience, whether through well-placed syncs creating a “Stranger Things moment” or through rock lifers introducing their children to the visceral thrill of a metal show turned up to 11.

“I see young kids between 12 and 17 going back and listening to UFO and Thin Lizzy, and it’s amazing that there’s a new generation coming up that are really into hard rock and heavy metal,” marvels Ossy Hoppe, concluding that whatever the upcoming years bring for bands and their teams, the future of metal is loud. “Long live rock and roll and hopefully so will we!”

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Stuart Galbraith, Oliver Hoppe join DEAG board

Germany’s Deutsche Entertainment (DEAG) has appointed Kilimanjaro Live’s Stuart Galbraith and Wizard Promotions’ Oliver Hoppe as divisional board members.

Galbraith becomes executive vice president of international touring, and is tasked with the development of the rock/pop/contemporary business within the DEAG Group and in DEAG’s national markets (Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Ireland and Denmark).

Hoppe, meanwhile, is named executive vice president of product and innovation, and is responsible for the further development of the overarching product acquisition and utilisation.

DEAG says the pair’s tasks will also include the further expansion of the live entertainment business and a stronger interlinking of the DEAG Group companies.

This includes the development of new channels for the evaluation of content as well as the further harmonisation of various distribution channels.

Hoppe and Galbraith will assist DEAG’s executive board with the implementation of M&A projects

In addition, Hoppe and Galbraith will assist DEAG’s executive board with the implementation of M&A projects and create further synergy effects in ticketing and artist acquisition.

Hoppe is managing director of the DEAG subsidiary Wizard Promotions, the main tour and concert promoter within the DEAG Group in Germany. In recent years, the company has organised concerts by Iron Maiden, Bryan Ferry, Zucchero, Papa Roach, KISS, Böhse Onkelz and den Scorpions, among other artists.

Wizard’s portfolio also includes artists like 50 Cent, Limp Bizkit and Jamie Cullum.

Galbraith is CEO of the British promoter Kilimanjaro Live. The DEAG subsidiary has significantly expanded its event portfolio in recent years to include areas such as the spoken word, comedy and sports, and is now one of the largest live entertainment promoters in the UK. Both Galbraith and Hoppe will remain active in these roles.

The executive board is completed by Jacqueline Zich (executive vice president classics & jazz and COO DEAG Classics AG) and Benedikt Alder (executive vice president legal affairs & business development).


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The LGBTIQ+ List 2022: Can Büyükcinar, Wizard Promotions

The LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – IQ Magazine’s second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – was published in the Pride edition (issue 112) this month.

The July 2022 issue, which is available to read now, was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster. 

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each individual on their challenges, triumphs, advice and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on the previous interview with Alexandra Ampofo, promoter at Live Nation-owned Metropolis.

The series continues with Can Büyükcinar (he/him/his), head of operations at Wizard Promotions in Germany.


Tell us about a personal triumph in your career
Of course, I could mention the biggest shows and tours that I have contributed to so far, but actually it was the past two years that showed me that, even under the most adverse circumstances in our industry, I managed to make the best out of the given situation. We made it through this pandemic craziness by developing our company, employing new digital processes and even relocating our entire office to a new, stylish site in the heart of Frankfurt.

What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
From time to time, this business can be tough as hell and some of the old hands in the industry might think your opinion is not as valuable, particularly if they cling to prejudices. Don’t let them get you down, be calm, do your thing and prove them wrong! They might not say anything, but they will realise how wrong their assumptions were.

Tell us about a professional challenge you’ve come across as a queer person in the industry.
I am afraid most of us queer people can relate to Kelly Clarkson’s What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger. But gladly, I was never subject to direct discrimination in my industry experience so far. Of course, the live industry was and sometimes is a place with very patriarchic-dominated structures and old boy beliefs, but my growing up in a low-income Muslim society in Berlin gave me the toolbox to overcome these biases.

“Growing up in a low-income Muslim society in Berlin gave me the toolbox to overcome these biases”

One thing the live industry could do to be a more inclusive place
I think it is vital that we (and privileged individuals, in particular) step in and speak up whenever we observe unacceptable and discriminatory behaviour such as misogynistic comments. Secondly, representation matters, and we should not underestimate the influence diverse bookings can have. It might require some courage, but it is not only the morally fair strategy – there’s obviously a business case to cater to more diverse audiences.

A cause you support
I feel deeply connected to Kreuzberger Kinderstiftung, a Berlin-based charity that promotes educational equality. Eleven years ago, I received a scholarship through them and therefore experienced myself how impactful it can be to provide opportunities for young people.

The queer act you’re itching to see live this year
I am quite impressed by Lil Nas X’s artistic music videos, so I’m excited to see him in Berlin later this year.

Your favourite queer space
My favourite queer spaces are not specific venues but the audiences of artists who are supportive of the queer community, such as Adele, Britney Spears, Lady Gaga, Celine Dion, Harry Styles, Beyoncé or Cher. Listening to great pop live performances, surrounded by a queer audience – that is a real happy place for me.


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LGBTIQ+ List 2022: This year’s queer pioneers revealed

IQ Magazine has revealed this year’s LGBTIQ+ List – the second annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business.

The landmark list is the centrepiece of IQs second Pride edition, which will be available for subscribers online and in print, in the coming days.

The 20 individuals comprising the LGBTIQ+ List 2022 – as nominated by our readers and verified by our esteemed steering committee – are individuals that have gone above and beyond to wave the flag for an industry that we can all be proud of.

The sophomore class comprises agents, promoters, CFOs, CIOs, tour managers, marketing managers and more – all of whom identify as LGBTIQ+ and, in the face of adversity, have made enormous contributions to their respective sectors.

In alphabetical order, the LGBTIQ+ List 2022 is:

Alexander Rastén Rydberg, head of diversity and talent management, Dansk Live (DK)
Alexandra Ampofo, promoter, Metropolis Music (UK)
Can Büyükcinar, head of operations, Wizard Promotions Konzertagentur (DE)
Cloe Gregson, senior events manager, Manchester Pride (UK)
David Davies, founder and head of live, Double D Live (UK, IE)
David Jones, chief information officer, AEG Global Technology (UK)
Georgie Lanfranchi, tour manager for Years & Years, Only Helix (UK)
Hatice Arıcı, promoting director/ artist agent, Charmenko (TR)
James Fleury, marketing lead, Ticket Swap (NL)
Jill Wheeler, director of booking, Red Mountain Entertainment (US)
Joel Siviour, director & booking agent, Seismic Talent Agency (AU)
Jonas Sjödén, CFO, Live Nation Sweden (SE)
Natalie Rudland, senior promotions assistant, Live Nation (UK)
Nikos Kazoleas, agent, UTA (UK)
Nix Corporan, fan support team lead, DICE (US)
Patrick Erhardt, senior manager content & creation, Goodlive (DE)
Patrick Janssen, marketing manager, Live Nation Germany (DE)
Paul Bonham, director of professional development, MMF (UK)
Peter Taylor, promoter, Cuffe and Taylor (UK)
Troy Suda, chief product officer, Ticketmaster (UK)

Throughout the next month, IQ will be publishing full-length profiles of each person on the LGBTIQ+ List 2022.

“We work in an industry that aims to entertain the entire population. And that population is made up of extremely diverse audiences,” says Ticketmaster’s Troy Suda in his profile.

Joel Siviour, Seismic Talent Agency, adds: “I’ve witnessed plenty of virtue-signaling from within our industry, but when push comes to shove there are companies whose actions don’t align with the values they claim to hold.”

Check out last year’s cohort of queer pioneers here.


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The wonderful wizard of Oss: 70 years of Hoppe

Trying to keep a secret from one of the best-connected people in the business has not been easy. However, with the help of some of Ossy’s family, friends and confidantes – and some historical information taken from an anniversary feature that appeared in IQ in 2015 – we hope that when this issue of the magazine landed on Ossy’s doorstep, this feature came as something of a surprise.

When IQ spoke to Ossy Hoppe, on the pretext of a coronavirus story back in March, the enigmatic promoter was at home in rural France, near the village of Cotignac in Provence. “I’m in the middle of nowhere, four kilometres from the nearest supermarket, where there are never more than four or five people in the shop, so I’m used to being in isolation,” he reported. “I’m with my donkeys, dogs, cats, and the wife. In that order,” he laughed. “This is a novelty to all of us – it’s like we’re in a science-fiction movie – and nobody ever expected we’d be in this kind of situation. But I think this will change people’s attention toward appreciating some of the things we’re used to taking for granted. We’re delighted when a bird sings, at the moment.”

While millions of people around the world struggled to come to terms with the enforced – and long-lasting – house arrest situation, Ossy had unwittingly been in training for the past few years, since stepping back from being the boss at Wizard Promotions to taking on the role of consultant for the company. “Normally, these days, I’m in France for three weeks and then Germany for one week of the month,” he said. “A lot of the business can be done by phone anyway, so it doesn’t really matter where I am. The nitty-gritty is taken care of by the team in the Wizard offices, while I’m tasked with getting the clients, alongside [son and Wizard MD] Oliver, and making the offers.”

At that point, Ossy dropped off the line to pick up another call. “That was my boss, Oliver,” he said on his return, before addressing what has happened to the live music business in the wake of the spread of coronavirus.

“I’ve never seen anything like it – and I’ve been doing this a long, long time,” he stated. “We’re in a very fortunate position because our insurance covers this, so our costs are covered.” Even at this early stage in the crisis, Hoppe foresaw that a lot of smaller promoters, as well as some of the bigger ones, would run into problems, with suppliers and smaller acts in particular likely “to suffer”.

“It’s crucial that everyone keeps talking so that when things do start to return to normal, we’re all ready to go”

Hoppe also predicted that the business might not get going again until next year. “It’s crucial that everyone keeps talking so that when things do start to return to normal, we’re all ready to go,” he said. “Nobody knows when that might be – if you talk to three people, you get four opinions. So, I’m trying to remain optimistic and look forward to better times.”

A Born Entertainer
Life on the road for Ossy is literally in his blood, as he was born into a circus family that was touring their native Germany at the time little Oskar Hoppe junior made his first appearance, on 28 April 1950. “I was born in Munich because that’s where the circus was performing at the time,” recalled Ossy in IQ issue 59. “After the war, the allies were very careful about who they trusted, but because my father, Oskar, had hidden Jewish friends from the Nazis, the Americans gave him the authority to grant entertainment licences. He married into a circus family, but then he met my mother who became his fourth wife.”

Ossy was immersed in circus life and by the age of five, he was already a star attraction, billed as the youngest elephant trainer in the world alongside his pachyderm co-stars, Bounty and Chandra. Despite that fame, Ossy’s mother, Apollonia, was determined he should receive a proper education, so initially he attended the first permanent circus school, established by his father, before enrolling at boarding school.

Sadly, Ossy’s mother died when he was just 15, and by the time he was 19, he was an orphan, as his father passed away in 1969. Those circumstances saw him move in with his grandparents in Frankfurt, where he studied law at university for a time, before deciding it was time to get a job – taking on roles including nightclub doorman, building site labourer, delivery driver, and a printing plant worker.

Fate, combined with Ossy’s love of football and outgoing persona, intervened. As a team member of Makkabi Frankfurt, Ossy had already befriended team-mates Marcel Avram and Marek Lieberberg, who were the founders of new promoter business, Mama Concerts. So when Ossy picked up an injury and was looking for work, Avram employed him as his driver before trusting him to take on the role of tour manager. “Ossy was the best player in the team,” states Avram. “He was twice as fast as me and made us all look good, so we liked him.”

Always ready to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in, Ossy’s can-do attitude quickly earned him a lot of friends in the live music business

Always ready to roll up his sleeves and get stuck in, Ossy’s can-do attitude quickly earned him a lot of friends in the live music business, so when he volunteered his services to help out with Deep Purple’s impending 1973 American tour, one week later he found himself on the other side of the Atlantic. But not before meeting the love of his life, Barbara, on the eve of his departure to the United States.

Given that the couple now have a menagerie of animals, including their donkey sanctuary, at home in Provence, it won’t come as a surprise to many that Barbara worked for a veterinary surgeon when she first met Ossy. But they had one significant question to answer before they could start dating. “Barbara’s name was also Hoppe,” states Ossy. “It’s not a common name in Frankfurt, so I had to check on her background because my father was married five times in total…” The outcome of those investigations obviously worked out, as Ossy and Barbara have been together now for 37 years and celebrate their 44th wedding anniversary this year.

Back in 1973, Ossy found himself in the role of Ian Gillan’s assistant on that tour with Purple, but having impressed all who were on the road that year, he soon climbed the ladder to become the band’s tour manager, kick-starting a relationship rivalled in length only by the one with his wife.

Indeed, Purple were so impressed by Ossy that when the band split, they persuaded Ossy and Barbara to move to England, and even arranged a mortgage for them so that Ossy could look after various solo projects and acts. “The house, in Amersham, near London, became the headquarters for all of the Deep Purple spin-offs,” says Ossy. “So I looked after Whitesnake, Rainbow, Paice Ashton Lord, and the Ian Gillan Band as they took off.”


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 89, or subscribe to the magazine here

Venue leaders optimistic for 2020 reopening

Venue professionals expressed confidence that doors will reopen before the end of the year, but shared doubts as to whether social distancing is the answer, in the latest IQ Focus panel.

Available to watch back now on the IQ website, as well as on Facebook and Youtube, the session saw John Langford (AEG Europe), Lucy Noble (Royal Albert Hall/NAA), Olivier Toth (Rockhal/EAA), Oliver Hoppe (Wizard Promotions), Tom Lynch (ASM Global) and Lotta Nibell (GOT Event) reflect on when they will return to business and the tactics that venues will use to ensure the show goes on.

All panellists were optimistic that some shows will return before the end of 2020, although next year will see the true restart of indoor live events, with many speaking of “packed 2021 calendars”.

For Toth, CEO of the 6,500-capacity Rockhal in Luxembourg, smaller capacity shows with strict social distancing measures will be the most likely to restart before the new year. Rockhal’s intimate club venue, which typically has a capacity of 1,100, can hold 90 people with two metre distancing measures in place, but “we can increase capacity as we go”, said Toth.

“For shows of a bigger scale, I am optimistically hoping for the end of this year, but it is more likely to be 2021,” said Toth.

Rockhal is one of a number of venues in Luxembourg acting as a temporary medical facility.

For GOT Event, which operates nine venues in Sweden, sports fixtures are the most likely to return in 2020, with all matches played behind closed doors. “For music and other shows, I think it’ll be next year,” said Nibell.

Even though Sweden has not entered a full lockdown unlike many of its European counterparts, a ban on shows over 50 people has left the Swedish live industry in much the same position as elsewhere.

“For shows of a bigger scale, I am optimistically hoping for the end of this year, but it is more likely to be 2021”

ASM Global has already seen some success with the return of sporting events, hosting Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events behind closed doors at venues in the United States.

Lynch said ASM Global’s VenueShield, a post-coronavirus reopening programme, has played a big part in allowing the sports powerhouse to get back up and running. “Next I’d like to see how, or if, we can introduce fans with social distancing and in a safe and clean environment.”

Social distancing has been a “hot topic” of late for the events industry, said Langford, asking Wizard Promotions’ Hoppe if it is a viable solution for event organisers.

While it may work for some kinds of shows and events, “I don’t think social distancing will be a part of what we will be looking at,” said Hoppe.  Drive-in concerts offer an example of social distancing success, added Hoppe, but “are horrible for an artist in my opinion”.

Noble, artistic and commercial director at London’s (5,272-cap.) Royal Albert Hall and chair of the UK’s National Arenas Association (NAA), agreed that social distancing is not part of the plan for reopening as “it just doesn’t work financially”.

“We do know we can run our venues in world class ways to facilitate shows going on, be it by contact tracing, temperature checks, questionnaires, disinfectant mists etc.”

Noble noted the lack of clarity given to the live industry by the UK government, which is yet to give a date for when events of any size will be permitted again. “If they don’t give us clarity, then we need to give them clarity,” said Noble. “We are suggesting to them how we can operate.”

“I am really positive about the future of live events, but we just need to find a way of operating in this situation, if it recurs”

The EAA has also taken up a lobbying position, working with the European Commission to develop a reopening plan for the live industry.

“We’ll be facing very different requirements and expectations from our customers,” said Toth. “Scenarios will be very different, from artist hospitality to audience experience, not even mentioning social distancing, so the ambition was to put major concerns out there and open up the discussion.”

Consumer demand has been another worry for the live industry, with surveys indicating a potential cautiousness on behalf of some about returning to public events. However, Toth pointed out that the majority of fans are holding on to tickets for postponed events, indicating that “people are looking forward to coming back”.

Noble said that the Royal Albert Hall is expecting confidence will take a while to return and is modelling accordingly.

“We certainly won’t be selling to full houses when we reopen,” said Noble. The venue is adjusting its programming to focus on shows that attract younger audiences first, the demographic most likely to make a quick return to events.

“I am really positive about the future of live events,” said Noble, “but we just need to find a way of operating in this situation, and for if it recurs.”

The next IQ Focus session, The Innovation Session, is taking place on Thursday 28 May at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET, chaired by Mike Malak (Paradigm), and featuring speakers Sheri Bryant (Sansar), Tommas Arnby (Locomotion Ent.), Amy Oldham (Dice), Ben Samuels (MelodyVR) and Prajit Gopal (Looped).

Get an automatic reminder when the live stream starts via Facebook Live or YouTube Live.


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Venues in the spotlight for next IQ Focus panel

Following on from last week’s popular Festival Forum session, this week’s IQ Focus virtual panel will turn the attention to venues, discussing how the world’s many shuttered music venues can weather the Covid-19 storm, and emerge from life under lockdown.

Chaired by John Langford (AEG Europe), The Venue’s Venue: Building Back, will feature speakers Lucy Noble (Royal Albert Hall/NAA), Olivier Toth (Rockhal/EAA), Oliver Hoppe (Wizard Promotions), Tom Lynch (ASM Global) and Lotta Nibell (GOT Event).

The touring world has changed dramatically since venue professionals came together for the Venue Summit at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in March, as doors have been shuttered, countless concerts cancelled and many venues repurposed to help in the fight against the disease.

Panellists will share their strategies on getting through the current crisis, as well as discussing the main lessons they have learned so far

Panellists will share their strategies on getting through the current crisis, as well as discussing the main lessons they have learned so far.

Looking to the future, the venue experts will also reflect on what the recovery process may look like and what will need to be done to keeps fans, staff and artists safe and get business back up and running in the crucial months ahead.

The session is taking place on Thursday 21 May at 3.30 (BST)/4.30 (CET). Get an automatic reminder when the live stream starts via Facebook Live or YouTube Live.

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‘The potential is immense’: DEAG buys into esports firm

Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has become the latest major live music player to invest in the fast-growing esports sector, acquiring a minority stake in Ally4ever Entertainment, a specialist gaming events agency.

The investment, through DEAG subsidiaries Wizard Promotions and Handwerker Promotion, sees Deutsche Entertainment and Ally4ever partner to create a new esports stadium event in Germany. DEAG has the option to increase its minority stake in Verl-based Allyever by 2022.

The format of DEAG’s new event is “unique due to its concept”, says the company, combining a three-day event programme – viewable on television or online, as well as at the venue – with “extensive side attractions” for attendees and appearances by international music, film and sports stars, celebrities and influencers.

Players, meanwhile, will compete for a total prize pool of €3.5 million.

“The potential of the esports segment is immense,” says DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow. “For our company, this offers the opportunity of sustainable expansion into a new, fast-growing live entertainment segment with a young target audience.

“Our esports events are intended to represent the next generation of live entertainment in Europe”

“The objective for DEAG is to gain a knowledge and experience advantage with experienced partners for further growth opportunities in this rapidly growing entertainment format.

Other concert businesses which have an interest in the esports, or competitive videogaming, sports include AEG, Madison Square Garden Company, TEG and Vivendi.

Fred Handwerker, managing director of Handwerker Promotion, comments: “This new partnership sets standards in a still very young and rapidly developing live event sector. We are all the more pleased to be part of this trend-setting event.”

“Our esports events are intended to represent the next generation of live entertainment in Europe,” adds Oliver Hoppe, MD of Wizard Promotions, “and we are delighted to be part of this visionary project.”

DEAG promotes around 4,000 concerts and events, selling more than five million tickets, annually. The Berlin-based company reported 25% organic growth in the first quarter of 2019, with revenue climbing to €25.5m.


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Theatre producer Mehr-BB wins big at PRG LEA 2019

The 14th edition of the German Live Entertainment Awards (LEA) took place at the Frankfurt Festhalle last night (1 April), with theatrical producer Mehr-BB picking two awards for best show and best concert hall or arena.

Awards were presented across 15 categories to concert and show organisers, managers, agents and venue operators from German-speaking countries.

“The LEA is a red carpet event in our city,” says Frankfurt city councillor Markus Frank. “It is an honour for us to celebrate the top-class LEA gala in our traditional festival hall.”

The ceremony was presented for the eighth time by broadcast journalist Ingo Nommsen, with performances from Kiefer Sutherland, Stefanie Heinzmann, Mike Singer and electronic swing jazz band DelDap.

The ensemble of hit musical Starlight Express also performed on the night. Mehr-BB Entertainment received the award for show of the year for the musical, which has run for 30 consecutive years in the Starlight Express Theatre in Bochum.

Neue Deutsche Welle singer Nena closed the ceremony, who won Wizard Promotions the concert hall tour of the year award with her Nothing Missed tour.

“Live entertainment is now the leading entertainment market [in Germany] and the most highly consumed cultural product”

“In Germany, around five billion euros are spent each year on attending music events and other live entertainment,” reports Professor Jens Michow, president of the Federal Association of the Concerts and Events Industry (BDKV) and producer of the awards ceremony.

“With those figures, live entertainment is now the leading entertainment market and the most highly consumed cultural product [in the country],” adds Michow.

Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio picked up the biggest touring category award, winning the prize for the best stadium tour of the year for Ed Sheeran’s ÷ tour and Semmel concerts earned the arena tour of the year award for the Kelly Family We Got Love tour.

Wacken Open Air founders Thomas Jensen and Holger Hübner won the lifetime achievement award for their work developing the largest heavy-metal festival in the world, receiving the award from German rock band Scorpions and comedian Matze Knop.

Jazzopen organiser Opus, along with MCT Agency and the European Astronaut Centre, won the award for concert of the year. The trio had collaborated on a special Kraftwerk concert in Stuttgart which saw astronaut Alexander Gerst broadcast live from space.

Live Nation won promoter of the year, whereas the homegrown promoter prize went to Vaddi Concerts.

A full list of winners can be found below and a round-up of nominees is available here.

Stadium tour of the year
Ed Sheeran ÷ tour (FKP Scorpio)

Arena tour of the year
The Kelly Family, We Got Love tour (Semmel Concerts)

Concert hall tour of the year
Nena, Nothing Missed tour (Wizard Promotions)

Club tour of the year
Bosse, Everything is now tour (Undercover)

Festival of the year
Nature One, Pydna

Concert of the year
Kraftwerk + Special Guest Dr Alexander Gerst, Stuttgart (Opus Festival, MCT Agentur GmbH and EAC Köln)

Show of the year
30 Years Starlight Express, Bochum (Mehr-BB Entertainment)

Promoter of the year
Live Nation

Local promoter of the year
Vaddi Concerts

Concert hall/ arena of the year
Mehr Theater, Hamburg (Mehr-BB Entertainment)

Artist development of the year
Timo Birth

Manager/ agent of the year
Johannes Jakob Hofmann, Jay Music and Selective Artists

Jury prize
Jamel rockt den Förster (Grünes Forum Selbstverwaltung Förderverein)

Lifetime achievement award
Holger Hübner and Thomas Jensen

Collaboration of the year
Aida-Schiffstaufe with David Guetta (Hannover Concerts, KG Betriebsgesellschaft, Aida Cruises, Four Artists Booking and Meyer Werft)


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