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ILMC 29 REGISTRATION GUIDE
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HAD ALFRED HITCHCOCK KNOWN that a certain International Live Music Conference would one day be so desperate for a theme that they would, in their 29th year, resort to Murder Most Foul, then he surely would have named his cinematic masterpiece The 29 Steps. But who needs critically acclaimed theatrical help to scrape that particular thematic barrel? From 8-10 March, ILMC will be calling upon 1,000 of the world’s top murder detectives to investigate just who is responsible – was it the record label, in the boardroom, with a contract? Or could it have been the collection society, in the parliament, with a heavily loaded new live tariff? Or perhaps it was Colonel Mustard, in Bertie’s Bar, with a candlestick? It all takes place in the Royal Garden Mansion, where hundreds of budding Miss Marples, Detective Columbos, Hercule Poirots, Sherlock Holmeses and Scooby Doos, piece together the clues to get to the bottom of who killed music’s golden goose. Or Doctor Black. With more heinous crimes than a night of Eurovision karaoke, the Investigators of Live Music Crimes will take over a corner of Kensington to sort
the youths from the sleuths as various suspect topics are put under forensic examination. With murder afoot, this guide will help you find your way around ILMC 29, piece together clues about key events, and make the most of your time at the conference. Taking place in a new mid-week format, and with new events and more networking space than ever, ILMC 29 features a packed schedule of meetings, networking, events and showcases. During four days of intense investigation into the scene’s most taxing issues, the greatest minds in the business will be kept guessing right up to the thrilling conclusion of the world’s favourite industry gathering. As usual, we will keep you up-to-date with our regular eNews, but for a complete run down of what is going on, head to www.ilmc.com/29. Remember, ILMC has sold out in advance for over 20 years, and with the switch to a mid-week format (at the behest of ILMC’s members), it’s likely we will sell out sooner than usual, so if you want to become one of the usual suspects, register as soon as possible for what promises to be a killer schedule and fun-filled few days.
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ILMC 29 REGISTRATION GUIDE
TO REGISTER FOR ILMC, go to ilmc.com/29 where you’ll also find up-to-date information about the conference, including event schedules, the networking scheme and details on how to get to the Royal Garden Hotel, along with the most important part of the conference – the agenda, when it is published in February. Please note, that if you haven’t attended before, ILMC is an invitation-only event. All new delegates must be nominated by two existing ILMC members, who have attended on more than one occasion. Please visit 29.ilmc.com/registration for more details.
THE ILMC SUSPECTS Producer Lou Percival +44 (0)203 743 0305 email@example.com
Agenda Allan McGowan +44 (0)7966 446226 firstname.lastname@example.org
Registration Manager Sina Kluver +44 (0)203 743 0301 email@example.com
Marketing & Press Chris Prosser +44 (0)203 743 0302 firstname.lastname@example.org
Agenda Gordon Masson +44 (0)203 743 0303 email@example.com
Travel The Tour Company +44 (0)141 353 8800 firstname.lastname@example.org
Agenda Greg Parmley +44 (0)203 743 0306 email@example.com
Showcases & Networking Tom Hopewell +44 (0)7739 316518 firstname.lastname@example.org
THE ILMC NETWORKING SCHEME is one of the ways that ILMC encourages dialogue between its members, in addition to the raft of events that take place throughout the conference programme. The scheme allows all registered delegates to access a secure area of ilmc.com/29 where they can contact fellow delegates and arrange meetings before the conference starts. To take part, please tick the relevant box when registering or contact email@example.com. For first-time delegates, the New Delegates’ Orientation (Wednesday 8 March at 10:00) is a must. The 30-minute session will provide information on how to get the very most from your conference weekend, as well as discovering more about this year’s murderous theme.
REPORTING FOR DUTY
CRIME LAB COMMUNICATIONS
ILMC 29 REGISTRATION GUIDE
THE ‘MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS’ GALA DINNER & ARTHUR AWARDS THE ‘MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS’ Gala Dinner invites 350 of the live music industry’s masterminds and top investigators to climb aboard for an evening of mystery, mayhem and prize giving. Hosted by Mainland Music, Montreux Jazz Festival & Opus One, the journey commences at the luxurious 8Northumberland Avenue hotel, which boasts one of the grandest Victorian interiors in London, and is just yards from Trafalgar Square. Just as the Orient Express found fame travelling from Paris to Constantinople, passengers will undertake a culinary journey of their own through an exquisite five-star, four-course feast with a selection of fine wines to match. Along the journey, there’ll be stops for the annual ILMC pop quiz and some utterly unforgettable entertainment, before the final destination of the evening: The Arthur Awards 2017. As excitement builds, the mystery of who will take home one of the coveted statuettes will finally be solved as conductress extraordinaire Emma Banks hosts the industry’s favourite awards
ceremony in her own inimitable style. The awards honour this year’s industry favourites in the fields of promoting (Promoters’ Promoter), festivals (Liggers’ Favourite Festival), agency (Second Least Offensive Agent), venues (First Venue to Come into Your Head), new business talent (Tomorrow’s New Boss), professional services (Most Professional Professional), ticketing (The Golden Ticket), production services (Services Above and Beyond) and assistants (People’s Assistant). Finally, the pinnacle of proceedings is The Bottle Award, where we honour one special hero for their outstanding contribution to the live music industry. Any prior ILMC delegate or IQ Magazine subscriber is eligible to vote for The Arthurs, with voting open until 6pm GMT on Friday 17 February. Tickets are £185 per person. To attend, tick the relevant box when registering for ILMC, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that the Gala Dinner always sells out in advance so early booking is advised.
INTERROGATION ROOMS WHILE ILMC FEATURES a long line-up of meetings and workshops, for many delegates, the availability of space for private meetings is of prime importance. As a result, every effort is made to free up a generous amount of space within the hotel to accommodate demand, so we’re expanding the networking space across the whole mezzanine floor of the hotel, while for anyone who attended ILMC 28, you’ll be delighted to learn that, once again, we’ve taken over our own pub! Immediately across the road from the Royal Garden Hotel, the Goat Tavern is available exclusively for ILMC delegates to meet during the day (11:00-18:00 on Wednesday 8 and Thursday 9 March). The Goat Tavern serves a variety of hot and cold beverages as well as a full menu of snacks and meals. For those who’d prefer to set up meetings within the hotel complex itself, delegates can make use of The Billiard Room (Lancaster Suite), The Conservatory (York Suite) and the Intelli-Lounge (Bertie’s Bar) to negotiate those allimportant deals. Planning your meetings ahead? Full details of all ILMC private meeting space is online at 29.ilmc.com/delegates.
THE ‘OPENING SCENE’ LAUNCH PARTY THERE’S ONLY ONE PLACE to start investigations into the mysteries of the live music business, and it’s at The ‘Opening Scene’ Launch Party on Tuesday 7 March. Taking place from 18:00–20:00 to allow delegates time for a quick inspection of the bar before heading out on the town, or to one of the private dinners or events taking place on the first night of ILMC. The Opening Scene party will include complimentary bubbles, tasty nibbles and great prizes – making it the perfect starting point for ILMC 29. Hosted by those handsome characters at .Tickets (the top-level ticketing web domain provider), the party reunites ILMC members after 12 months of global sleuthing. And as if all that networking and complimentary booze wasn’t enough, there will also be a competition or two, as well as a few more surprises on the night, details of which will be announced shortly.
PARALLEL INVESTIGATIONS FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ILMC’S long history, the Royal Garden Hotel will this year host a further three industry gatherings on the eve of the main conference – the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM); the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI); and the ILMC Association Summit. IPM will celebrate its 10th anniversary by returning to its spiritual home at the Royal Garden, moving to a bigger space to accommodate the expanding number of production managers; sound and lighting engineers; venue personnel; and suppliers and promoters’ representatives who are eager to participate in these important discussions. You can sign-up at 29.ilmc.com/registration with discounts available for ILMC delegates. Further details are available at 29.ilmc.com/ipm. IPM 10 will once again feature Production Notes sessions, following their successful debut last year. The Production Notes are a series of 10-minute presentations of innovations, case studies and leading initiatives from the global production community, and will run between the main IPM sessions to allow delegates to get the maximum benefit from their day. The ninth annual edition of the GEI - the UK’s leading conference for sustainability at live events, is expected to attract over 150 innovators, thought leaders and environmental practitioners from around the world to share their experiences and disclose new ways in which to cut greenhouse emissions and generally make the live entertainment business more sustainable. ILMC delegates can sign-up at 29.ilmc.com/registration and more details are available at 29.ilmc.com/gei. In an effort to increase the networking opportunities for IPM and GEI attendees, delegates of both events will be invited to share coffee breaks and will be able to mingle during the five-star buffet lunch. IPM and GEI will a closing drinks party, allowing even more time to meet new contacts and exchange that most precious of conference currency – business cards.
ILMC 29 REGISTRATION GUIDE ALL ONL INE AT w ww. ilmc .com /29 ITS
UNRAVELLING THE PLOT AS ANYONE WHO HAS ATTENDED previous editions of ILMC will testify, our annual gathering is far from a typical conference, and with all events and panel sessions designed to allow members to meet, network, have fun and do great business, there are plenty of opportunities to meet old friends, make new ones, and strike new business deals. Each delegate place includes: • Access to all panels, meetings and social areas • Five-star buffet lunches on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday • Tea and coffee service • An annual postal subscription to IQ Magazine • Participation in the delegates’ networking scheme • A copy of the ILMC Globetrotters Guide featuring contact info for all delegates • A limited edition ILMC delegate bag • Wi-Fi throughout the Royal Garden Hotel • The opportunity to be in the company of the greatest investigative minds in the global live music industry. And some of the most devious…
NEW BLOOD FOR THE THIRD SUCCESSIVE YEAR, ILMC is running a Bursary Scheme for young professionals and start-up companies. The programme is intended to provide a route for those who would otherwise not be able to attend, to participate in ILMC for the first time. If you’re employed by, or own, a company that has not previously attended ILMC, you may well be eligible. The closing date to apply is 30 January 2017. Uncover more clues at 29.ilmc.com/register.
ILMC 29 REGISTRATION GUIDE
WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH
TUESDAY 7 MARCH ILMC Production Meeting (IPM)
Testing 1 to 3: The Bureau Export Session
IPM celebrates its 10th anniversary by returning to its spiritual home in the Royal Garden Hotel, albeit in an enlarged space to accommodate the increasing demand from production professionals who converge from across the globe for this annual event. Hosted by eps, Megaforce, Star Events and EFM, registration for IPM is separate to the main conference but ILMC delegates can benefit from a discounted rate. For more info, visit 29.ilmc.com/ipm. 10:00 - 18:00
ILMC 29 launches a new series of lunchtime showcases, with the first – Testing 1 to 3: The Bureau Export Session – hosted by the French music export office. Four of the hottest new French artists will perform short sets at Bodo’s Schloss (next door to the hotel) with many key figures from the French live business in attendance. The session is timed so that delegates can enjoy the Royal Garden lunch before heading next door to investigate the showcases. Bureau Export will also be providing some of the best wines and cheeses available on the other side of the English Channel, so don’t forget to leave room for that, or you’ll brie sorry. 13:00 - 15:00
Green Events & Innovations Conference The ninth edition of the UK’s leading conference for sustainability at live events will gather around 150 professionals working or with an interest in environmental initiatives at live events. The conference mixes practical case studies and presentations from around the world, alongside complimentary refreshments, lunch and a closing party. ILMC delegates are entitled to a discounted rate and should sign-up when registering for ILMC. For more info, visit 29.ilmc.com/gei. 10:00 - 18:00
ILMC Association Summit
The United Talent Happy Hour For the second year running, the guys and gals at United Talent Agency have stepped up to lay-on their very own Happy Hour. It’s the ideal wind-down session after a busy day of conferencing, and it’s all complimentary, my dear Watson. But as last year taught us, a room full of agents and free booze is a major attraction, so be sure to arrive early. 17:30 - 18:30
The Deadly Dutch Impact Party
Following its successful debut at ILMC 28, the summit returns in 2017 with key live music associations from around the world. The summit draws together the leading, active live music association from each market, as well as a small number of pan-European sector associations, to meet, network and present best-case ideas and initiatives. This is a closed, invite-only meeting – for further information, or to represent your association at the summit, email email@example.com. 11:00 - 16:00
With excellent music, booze and snacks, the annual Dutch party and showcase is a conference favourite, and where any clued up delegate should head if they want to hear four dangerously strong new Dutch bands. The party takes place at Bodo’s Schloss, right next door to the Royal Garden Hotel. So as it’s less than 39 Steps away, getting there will be no mystery. 18:00 - 21:30
The ‘Opening Scene’ Launch Party
The ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ Poker Showdown
There’s only one place to start investigations into the mysteries of the live music business, and it’s at The ‘Opening Scene’ Launch Party. Taking place early to allow delegates time for a quick inspection of the bar before heading out for the evening, the party includes complimentary bubbles, tasty nibbles and great prizes – making it the perfect starting point for ILMC 29. Hosted by those handsome characters at .Tickets (the top-level ticketing web domain provider), what better excuse for a drink or two?! 18:00 - 20:00
ILMC invites the criminally minded and the downright villainous to take part in this annual event. With bluff, bravado and high stakes the order of the day, it’s a great way to make new friends before you raise the stakes and wipe them out. Sign-up when you register for ILMC 29, or if you feel like a gamble, swing by on Wednesday night and enquire about any lastminute places before the event commences. It costs £20 to enter and all proceeds go towards the Nikos Fund, which this year is raising money for Youth Music and Unicef. 21:00 - 00:00
The ‘Foul Play’ Table Football Coupe du Monde
Nowhere at ILMC sees more skulduggery than the Table Football Coupe du Monde. A late-night battle of quick reactions, tension, accusations and sometimes criminal moves, players sign-up in pairs to fight a series of rounds, competing for the smallest World Cup known to mankind. Find a friend and sign-up on the night as 22 tiny men shoot it out for glory on ILMC’s personalised Bonzini table. Be in the Intelli-Lounge with your co-player by 22:00 when the battle for international glory commences, under the watchful eye of IQ’s Terry ‘Ref-erend Green’ McNally. 00:00 - 03:00
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ILMC 29 REGISTRATION GUIDE ILMC.COM/29
THURSDAY 9 MARCH
FRIDAY 10 MARCH
Proof of the Pudding Lunch
Tesder’s Scooby Snack Lunch
Enjoy a second complimentary lunch alongside fellow detectives and shifty suspects, as the Royal Garden Hotel’s consummate chefs showcase their considerable talents and lay on a buffet menu to remember, including pudding. 12:30 - 14:30
After a full morning conferencing, the Scooby Snack Turkish Lunch offers delegates a two-hour window in which to solve any remaining mysteries while filling up on a variety of intriguing meze and mysterious Turkish delights, courtesy of our hosts, TESDER, the Turkish entertainment and events industry association. It would be a meze-take to miss. 13:30 - 15:30
Feld’s ‘Sherlock Cones’ Ice Cream Break Anyone hunting for a refreshing mid-afternoon sugar rush need look no further than Feld Entertainment’s legendary frozen treats intermission – one of the traditional sweet-toothed highlights of the ILMC. A welcome break from a busy afternoon’s mystery-solving and conferencing, be sure to investigate what this year’s cups – a perfect take home gift for the kids – look like, while enjoying a bloodcurdling I-scream. 16:00 - 17:00
The WME Happy Hour As both a pre-Gala Dinner drink, and a moment to wind down after meetings and panels, the WME Happy Hour offers 60-minutes of complimentary drinks and nibbles. The whole team at William Morris Endeavour Entertainment will be on hand to shake hands (and check for fingerprints after). Early arrival is recommended. 17:30-18:30
Match of the Year Football
Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw
The ILMC raises a significant amount of money every year in honour of the Nikos Fund. Hand in your business cards to the girls and boys with collection tins for the chance to win some colossal prizes. Who can forget ILMC 28’s grand prize - a trip to a Balkan nudist colony?! In 2017, our chosen charities will be Youth Music and Unicef. But don’t forget - you must be in the room to win. 14:45 - 15:15
The Big Friday Night Mystery With Friday night and the whole of London on our doorstep, anyone can join fellow survivors to venture out of the Royal Garden Mansion into the nearby area for a truly mysterious event, where the ILMC staff will do their utmost to not fall asleep in their food. Indeed, it’s so mysterious that we don’t even know where it is yet. 18:00 – who knows?
After hosts Aiken Promotions whisk players to a nearby football pitch, the Match of the Year showdown will see the UK team take on the Rest of the World in a match of near-epic proportions. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved. 19:30 - 21:30
The ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards 350 of the live music industry’s masterminds and top investigators climb aboard for an evening of mystery, mayhem and award giving, using the magnificent Victorian setting of the ballroom at 8 Northumberland Avenue. For more details, see page 6. 19:30 - 00:00
Criminal Records Karaoke The Criminal Records Karaoke will no doubt be the scene of a multitude of crimes, all against music. Expect general mayhem, hilarity and some truly mysterious performances as the night stretches from Thursday until the early hours of Friday morning. 22:30 - the end
ILMC 29 REGISTRATION GUIDE
“It is the brain, the little gray cells on which one must rely. One must seek the truth within - not without.” - Hercule Poirot
THE TIMELINE TUESDAY 7 MARCH
WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH 09:00 - 20:00 Registration Desk & Help Desk 09:00 - 18:00 Travel Desk 09:00 onwards The Intelli-lounge & Conservatory open 09:30 - 11:00 Professor Moria-tea & Coffee Break 10:00 - 10:30 New Delegates’ Orientation 10:00 - 17:00 Association Meetings (invitation only) 10:00 - 18:15 Conference Sessions 12:30 - 14:30 The ‘Red Herring’ Lunch Break 13:00 - 15:10 Testing 1 to 3: The Bureau Export Session (Bodo Schloss) 17:30 - 18:30 The UTA Happy Hour 18:00 - 21:30 The Deadly Dutch Impact Party 18:30 Dinner in The Garden Various Access All Areas Shows 21:00 - 00:00 The ‘Dead Man’s Hand’ Poker Showdown 00:00 - 03:00 The ‘Foul Play’ Table Football Coupe du Monde
07:00 - 10:00 Breakfast Available 09:00 - 18:00 Registration Desk & Travel Desk 09:00 - 19:30 Help Desk 09:00 onwards The Intelli-lounge & Conservatory open 09:30 - 10:30 The Crime and Brutali-tea & Coffee Break 10:00 - 13:00 Conference Sessions 12:30 - 14:30 Proof of the Pudding Lunch 14:00 - 18:15 Conference Sessions 17:30 - 18:30 The WME Entertainment Happy Hour 16:00 - 17:00 Feld’s ‘Sherlock Cones’ Ice-Cream 19:30 - 21:30 Match of the Year Football 19:30 - 00:00 The ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards 20:00 - 22:00 The ‘Haven’t a Clue-do’ Pop Quiz feat. Colonel Mustard’s Hot Dogs Various Access All Areas Shows 22:30 - 02:30 Criminal Records Karaoke
FRIDAY 10 MARCH 07:00 - 10:00 Breakfast on the Mezzanine 09:00 - 18:00 The Intelli-lounge open (Berties Bar) 10:00 - 11:00 The 100% Guil-tea & Coffee Break 10:00 - 12:00 Registration Desk 10:00 - 16:00 Travel & Help Desk 10:30 - 13:30 The Breakfast Meeting & Conference Sessions 13:30 - 15:30 Tesder’s Scooby Snack Lunch 14:45 - 15:15 Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw 15:30 - 16:30 The ILMC 29 Autopsy 18:00 - 20:00 The ‘Twist in the Tale’ Closing Drinks
THE NOT-SO-SMALL PRINT A full list of terms and conditions can be found online, but please note: • ILMC conference sessions may not be videoed or recorded • Children are not allowed in the conference areas
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• Conference passes must be worn at all times • Lost passes will incur a replacement fee
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IPM Registration IPM (ILMC Production Meeting) GEI (Green Events & Innovations Conference) Association Summit (invitation only) ILMC Early-Bird Registration Travel Desk Association Meetings (invitation only) IPM & GEI Closing Drinks Party The ‘Opening Scene’ Launch Party Access All Areas Shows
09:00 - 17:00 10:00 - 18:00 10:00 - 18:00 11:00 - 16:00 13:00 - 21:00 13:00 - 18:00 14:30 - 18:30 18:00 - 20:00 18:00 - 20:00 Various
THURSDAY 9 MARCH
Contents IQ Magazine Issue 69
News and Developments 14 In Tweets The main headlines over the last two months
16 In Depth Key stories from around the live music world 22 Busy Bodies Industry associations share business concerns and news 23 New Signings A round-up of the latest acts that have been added to the rosters of international agents
28 Techno Files Revealing the hottest new technology in live entertainment
Features 3 The Great Music Murder Mystery Game ILMC 29 launches with a new mid-week format
30 European Festival Report 2016 IQ’s ninth annual examination of the festivals sector 38 The Gaffer 2016 Bill Leabody talks about his 40-year sabbatical, which has culminated in working for the world’s biggest band 50 The Steel Magnates The iron men and women of the production sector who build our stages and structures 58 Bastille-ing the Show Rhian Jones discovers the story behind Bastille’s Wild, Wild World Tour 68 Rocking Rio Adam Woods learns of the ways that the Brazilian business is coping with its myriad problems
Comments and Columns 24 It’s All a Matter of Perspective Ivana Dragila reflects on her new industry role as your friendly neighbourhood mole 25 Artist Mobility to the US Matthew Covey fills us in on the history of the US artist-visa process 26 DIY is the Best Way to Do it! Kevin Clark explains his band’s successful DIY approach to America 27 Concert and Festival Rights in Switzerland Chantal Bolzern outlines the importance of co-operation between PROs and promoters
76 Members’ Noticeboard Keeping you posted on what ILMC members are up to
78 Your Shout What has been the highlight of your year?
IQ Magazine January 2017
Issue 69 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
THE ILMC JOURNAL, January 2017
Sign of the Times Gordon Masson laments a defining year, and looks forward to a more sane and charitable 2017
t may be a sign of my ever-advancing age but 2016 has flown by quicker than any other 12-month period that I can remember. And I can’t say I’ve been a fan of the past year. Quite frankly, 2016 can do one. In addition to prematurely claiming some of the most creative musical talent in history, it seems that 2016 marked a time when people fleeing death, persecution and other horrifying circumstances were labelled as undesirable. We also apparently lost the notion of a united Europe. And America, well, I’m still shaking my head in disbelief over the choice of your new realtor-in-chief. Rather than turn to my unreliable old friend, alcohol, for solace, I instead found it in the good people of the live music industry, by exploiting the Your Shout page to gather some special and inspirational moments from what has otherwise been the world’s collective annus stercus. See page 78. But it’s gone. Over. Confined to history. Well, nearly. And we can all look forward to better times in 2017 – a taste of which you can get from our European Festival Report (albeit, obviously, with a great deal of analysis on the season just past). Our 2016 report (page 30), highlights that the rising price of attending festivals is inexorably linked to the sharp increases in artist fees, which also might account for growth in site capacities and, worryingly, culls in the number of bands being booked by certain events. On a more celebratory note, I got to interview production guru, Bill Leabody, the recipient of The Gaffer award for 2016 (page 38) and discovered that his career, which soon marks its 40th
IQ Magazine January 2017
anniversary, has been one long leave of absence from his original occupation. Also lighting up the pages of Issue 69 are London band Bastille (page 58) in the midst of a successful and critically acclaimed world tour. Rhian Jones spent time with the band’s crew to bring us a fascinating insight into the many constituent parts that have united to make the Wild, Wild World tour a reality. Eamonn Forde, meanwhile, has been getting down to the basics of construction by talking to the iron men and women of the steel and structures business (page 50) to find out how the sector is coping with increasing demand ahead of what’s looking like another record year for touring. And in terms of performance, Adam Woods takes a look at the market in Brazil (page 68) and learns that despite hosting such global gatherings as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympic Games, the Brazilian live music industry is looking more inward than internationally during these economically challenging times. And if all that isn’t enough to whet your whistle for 2017, you may already have thumbed through our registration guide for ILMC 29 (page 3), where we’re inviting you all to invoke your inner Hetty Wainthropp or Piet van der Valk for the conference’s first mid-week sojourn, 8-10 March, where mystery awaits. By that count, I reckon that’s at least two obscure references that I’ll have prompted some of you to investigate on Google (although other search engines are available, I’m told), so with that I’ll say hasta la vista to 2016 and wish everyone in the extended ILMC and IQ families a very healthy and prosperous year ahead.
Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH email@example.com www.iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0300 Twitter: @iq_mag
ILMC and Suspicious Marketing
News Editor Jon Chapple
Associate Editor Allan McGowan
Marketing & Advertising Director Terry McNally
Ben Delger and Sina Klüver
Chantal Bolzern, Kevin Clark, Matthew Covey, Ivana Dragila, Eamonn Forde, Rhian Jones, Manfred Tari, Adam Woods
Gordon Masson, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303
Terry McNally, email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304
To subscribe to IQ Magazine: firstname.lastname@example.org An annual subscription to IQ is £75 (print) or £60 (electronic).
In Tweets... NOVEMBER Live Nation acquires majority stake in AC Entertainment, co-founder of Bonnaroo Festival. The company promotes more than 1,000 shows per year as well as three other festivals. SMG Europe appoints Ticketmaster as its official ticketing partner, as its CTS Eventim contract expires. Swiss ticketing market leaders Ticketcorner and Starticket announce a merger. A judge in Ontario rejects efforts by Live Nation to dismiss the criminal action that followed the death of drum tech Scott Johnson, following a stage collapse ahead of a Radiohead show in Toronto in 2012. Nearly 70% of UK music industry professionals have dealt with depression, a HelpMusiciansUK survey reveals. UK digital culture minister Matt Hancock affirms his “clear commitment” to tackle touts. Glenn Hughes cancels entire UK and Europe tour after claiming his co-headliner, Living Colour, was “knowingly” double-booked by management. New-media start-up Vox Media names StubHub its official ticketing partner in a deal that sees StubHub event listings on its Eater and SB Nation web platforms. Coldplay take song requests for the Indian and Australasian legs of their A Head Full of Dreams tour. Winners including Bastille, Jack Garratt and James Bay blast secondary ticketing at StubHub-sponsored Q Awards. German promoter Koko & DTK Entertainment announces the closure of its Konstanz HQ as managing directors Dieter Bös and Armin Nissel resign. Offices in Freiburg and Tübingen will remain open. London becomes the biggest city in the world to appoint a night czar, as Mayor Sadiq Khan selects Amy Lamé, an
American-born broadcaster, writer and gay rights activist, for the role. London Stadium chairman David Edmonds quits amid a costs investigation that leaves taxpayers footing an escalating bill, rather than its new residents, West Ham Football Club. Madison Square Garden Company posts massive 21% increase in revenue year on year for the first quarter of its 2017 financial year. Toronto city councillors follow cities such as London, Austin and San Francisco by launching a campaign to protect the city’s live music venues. Live Nation donates $100k to the city of Atlanta for capital improvement projects at Piedmont Park, which hosts the company’s annual Music Midtown event. The UK Government pulls funding for a new London concert hall, claiming it “does not currently offer value for money for taxpayers and is not affordable.” Le Bataclan announces plans to reopen earlier than expected with a 12 November show by Sting. UK face-value ticket exchange Twickets launches in Spain with financial backing from Doctor Music’s Neo Sala. Former AEG Live CEO Randy Phillips is confirmed as the new chief at SFX. Boutique British festival Brownstock announces it will close after 12 years because of unspecified “changes in the industry.” Live Nation turnover grew to a record $3.2billion in Q3 2016, the company reports. Agency powerhouse WME-IMG names Mark Shapiro and Ioris Francini as co-presidents. Canadian promoter and ticket agency Evenko is fined more than CAD$10,000 by Quebec’s consumer protection agency for misleadingly pricing concert tickets. Australia’s AEG Ogden wins the contract to manage the new 20,000-capac-
@iq_mag ity Dubai Arena, opening in 2018. Matthew Lazarus-Hall’s Uncommon Cord consultancy expands into Europe and North America. Former United Talent Agency VP Natasha Bent joins Coda Music Agency. Despite creditor protests, a US bankruptcy judge approves the SFX reorganisation plan, bringing an end to nine months of bankruptcy. The City of Orlando buys the Pulse nightclub to create a memorial for the 49 killed by a gunman in June. Jay Z and Demi Lovato join Coldplay at India’s first Global Citizen Festival. Industry figures, musicians and politicians pay tribute to Leonard Cohen, who passes away, aged 82, at home in California. Aerosmith announce that their Download Festival 2017 appearance will be their final ever UK show. Ticket resellers in Italy could soon face fines of up to €180,000 as the government aims to clamp down on touts. Californian magistrate rejects claims by Songkick that Live Nation destroyed evidence relating to its ongoing lawsuit. NBC Universal announces major push into live entertainment with hiring of former Disney Theatrical Group exec Carol Nygren. AEG announces the formation of a new AEG rugby division. A UK parliamentary committee recommends a fresh investigation into “the whole area of ticketing” following its secondary ticketing hearing. Ticket agency Gigantic partners with Twickets. Spotify partners with Ticketmaster, integrating ticket listings into artist pages, emails and concert recommendations. Music industry veteran Phil Quartararo is named vice-chairman of LiveXLive. Electric Zoo: Countdown Shanghai is hailed as a success by promoters Made
IQ Magazine January 2017
Event, after selling out its maiden year. A cultural VAT cut campaigned for by Spanish live music industry becomes a reality in the Canary Islands. Vivendi rebrands Flavorus as See Tickets US in an effort to “leverage its global assets.” The Indian live entertainment industry grew by 25% in 2015 following a “surge in demand” for live events, according to KPMG. Australian export office, Sounds Australia, is given a reprieve after a government U-turn on its support from the public purse. Scottish festival Wickerman is scrapped for good after losing close to £200,000 on its last edition. A new 5,000-capacity concert venue, Printworks, will open in London in January 2017 confirm owners, Vibration Group. Live Nation acquires a majority stake in Sweden Rock Festival. CISAC says that global royalty payments for public performance rights grew to €6.8bn in 2015. “Continued restrictions” on the festival site are blamed for Scottish festival, T in the Park, taking a hiatus in 2017. Dutch performing rights organisation Buma Stemra abolishes its controversial live tariff rebates for promoters.
Istanbul-based promoter Piu opens a London office as it prepares for its first UK shows. Chinese secondary platform Tking raises $10m in venture capital financing. Live music is temporarily banned in Havana following death of former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro. Paisley Park announces a festival to celebrate the life and legacy of former resident, Prince. Italian lawmakers approve legislation banning secondary ticketing.
DECEMBER Riot Fest co-founder, Sean McKeough, dies aged 42. He reportedly suffered a stroke attributed to the after effects of radiation during his successful treatment of throat cancer in 2013. Tomorrowland Brasil cancels its 2017 event. Live entertainment revenues and attendance both fell in Australia in 2015, reports Live Performance Australia. UK booking agency ATC Live hires Isla Angus and Sarah Besnard from Earth Agency, and Sinan Ors from UTA. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customers investigates the tax affairs of several
secondary-ticketing sites operating in the UK, on the recommendation of the Culture Media and Sport Committee. Iceland Airwaves announces expansion beyond Reykjavik to Akureyri in 2017, in a bid to increase local participation. Kong Qi, the general manager of Alibaba film and event ticketing business Tao Piao Piao is arrested for alleged corruption in China. SMG Europe agrees ten-year deal to operate, manage and programme the AECC in Aberdeen. Live Nation buys into the Australian festival market with a 51% stake in Secret Sounds, promoters of Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival. Ticketing company Eventbrite announces a strategic partnership with Bandsintown. Italian collection society SIAE wins a court order preventing resale of tickets for Coldplay’s Milan concerts. TicketWeb adds more than a million tickets to its platform via partnerships with 31 US venues. Music entrepreneur Rob Walker joins United Talent Agency’s New York office as an agent. Romanian promoter Interval ceases operations following “massive financial losses.” A devastating fire in Oakland, California venue Ghost Ship claims 33 lives, with prosecutors suggesting the promoter could be charged with murder. SFX Entertainment emerges from bankruptcy ahead of schedule and is rebranded as LiveStyle. The UK’s Music Venue Trust goes international with launch of Music Venues Alliance Austin. MyTicket UK partners with face-value ticket exchange Twickets.
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IQ Magazine January 2017
Movers and Shakers Former United Talent Agency (UTA) vice-president Natasha Bent has joined Coda Music Agency. She joined UTA (formerly The Agency Group) in 2006 from her own company, The Village Agency, and over the course of a decade has worked with Foals, The Knife, Chvrches, Foster the People and Amy Macdonald. Randy Phillips has been confirmed as the new chief at SFX. The former Global Entertainment and AEG Live CEO will lead the company, which has now exited bankruptcy and has been rebranded as LiveStyle (see page 20). Agency powerhouse WME-IMG has appointed Mark Shapiro and Ioris Francini as co-presidents. New York-based Shapiro, who was earlier this year re-elected to the Live Nation board of directors, was previously WME-IMG’s chief content officer, while London-based Francini was president of IMG events and media. Al Mouat has joined the Adlib sales team in the company’s Liverpool headquarters. At 6 feet 7 inches tall, ‘Big Al’ is a wellknown production, tour and stage manager for numerous acts. UK booking agency ATC Live has significantly boosted its artist roster by hiring Isla Angus, Sarah Besnard and Sinan
Ors as agents. Angus and Besnard join from Earth Agency, bringing with them a roster that includes Sleaford Mods, Austra, Dan Deacon, Cass McCombs and Girl Band; while Sinan Ors, formerly at UTA, brings electronic artists Romare, Daedelus and Clap! Clap!. Timo Mathes has joined Stageco Germany, having been a long-time employee of Megaforce. SecuTix has appointed David Hornby as its UK and Ireland managing director, with the remit to establish the company as a leading white-label player in the UK ticketing market. As the former commercial director of Visit London and a strategic consultant to the likes of The O2, Formula 1 and Red Bull, Hornby brings significant experience in growing businesses and an extensive network in the major events, entertainment and sports sector.
Campaigners Persuade Politicians to Investigate
In related news, a proposal by politician Nigel Adams to criminalise ticket bots, mirroring measures introduced in New York, has received backing from Prime Minister Theresa May. “The Consumer Rights Act 2015 introduced a review of online ticket sales,” says May. “Professor Mike Waterson’s independent report on online secondary ticketing makes a number of recommendations, including some whereby the industry itself could better protect itself from the problem. The Government will look very carefully at those recommendations to see what can be
The British Parliament’s Culture Media and Sport Committee (CMS), has recommended a fresh investigation into “the whole area of ticketing” in response to “farranging and disturbing factors in the market.” The CMS moved quickly to make its recommendations just a day after hearing evidence from managers, artists and ticketing companies during an inquiry into ticket abuse. In a statement, the comAnti-touting campaigners in Italy are celebrating after the country’s parliament ratified legislation to ban the resale of tickets to concerts and other events. The issue of secondary ticketing has barely been out of the news in recent weeks following an admission by Live Nation Italy’s managing director, Roberto de Luca, that his company had passed inventory directly
mittee said it was “aware of the distortion of the ticketing markets caused by the use of technology (bots and software) to ‘harvest’ large numbers of tickets as soon as they went on general sale.” The politicians on the CMS panel also criticised some witnesses for dodging questions about where ticketing companies make their profits, revealing it prompted them “to conclude that a fuller investigation of the whole area of ticketing is needed.”
Catering, logistics and brand support firm, Global Infusion Group (GIG), has announced three key new appointments to the business: Nick Venables becomes head of global sport and events; former CH&Co finance director, Trevor Jones, takes on a similar role at GIG; and Patrick Quilligan has been appointed executive chef following ten years working for GIG in a freelance capacity. done to address the issue.” FanFair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb applauded the developments. “This is fantastic news for all UK music fans and those who have campaigned so long for action,” he said. “We anticipate that a fuller investigation of the secondary market will lead to much-needed reform. The FanFair Alliance fully supports further actions into the fraudulent activities of online ticket touts and the industrial abuse of this market, as well as an amendment to the Digital Economy Bill to ban the misuse of bots.”
Italy Bans Secondary Ticketing
to Viagogo, leading to several artists, including stadium-filler Vasco Rossi, severing ties with Live Nation. TV programme Le Iene disclosed that while many promoters in the country have exclusive contracts with primary ticketing company Ticketone, some were selling primary tickets to resale
outlets at face value, with 90% of the uplift then passed back to those promoters. The broadcasters apparently did not investigate any subsequent deal with the artists. The ensuing furore quickly found the issue being debated in Parliament and a broad consensus was reached whereby politicians
sped through some of the strongest anti-touting legislation in the world. The new laws ban the “sale, or any other form of placement [on the secondary market], of tickets” by anyone other than the issuer, with fines of between €5,000 and €180,000 for anyone caught doing so.
IQ Magazine January 2017
Industry Tunes in to Tel Aviv More than 50 international music business types were invited to Israel’s leading conference and showcase event, Tune in Tel Aviv, in November, for two days of conferencing and four nights of showcases. The seventh edition of the event – organised by Oleh! Records, Israel’s Music Export Office – featured a mix of Israeli, Palestinian and international artists. With over 6,000 music fans attending shows across a dozen venues, Tune In Tel Aviv is already yielding strong results for many of the 100+ showcasing artists. Those picked up by the international delegation included songwriter Tamir Grinberg (signed by Becky
Sugden, X-ray Touring), and Noga Erez (recently signed by Jason Edwards, Coda Agency) who secured a spot at Primavera Sound. The Great Escape’s Martin Elbourne booked several artists including Bones Garage for the UK showcase event, and SXSW’s
Todd Puckhaber offered slots to several artists. “Tune in Tel Aviv is now firmly established as the most important industry event in the Middle East, and this year will kick-start the international careers of over a dozen artists,” says founder Jeremy
Jeremy Hulsh, Mark Walker of Free Focus and IQ’s Gordon Masson discuss the agency business during Tune In Tel Aviv
Hulsh. “With such a fantastic homegrown music scene, the huge pool of talent in Israel is finally receiving welldeserved recognition.” A number of delegates used the opportunity to visit Ramallah, Palestine, to meet with Palestinian artists in advance of the new Palestine Music Expo, which launches in April 2017. Alongside conference sessions about international showcases, EDM, playing live, record labels, and emerging markets, Tune in Tel Aviv offered Lion’s Den Sessions in which luminaries of the music industry, such as Sire Record’s Seymour Stein, The Orchard’s Scott Cohen, Elbourne and Goldenvoice’s Elliot Lefko, were interviewed.
Live Nation Further Boosts its Festivals Live Nation’s aggressive acquisitions strategy shows no sign of abating with the corporation adding some bigname festivals to its portfolio in Australia and Sweden. The company’s first outdoor move in the Australian festival market involves the purchase of a 51% stake in promoter Secret Sounds, which counts Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival among its events. The deal also includes the New South Wales-based company’s touring, sponsorship, PR, artist management and agency divisions. The live entertainment giant has also boosted its portfolio of more than 80 festivals around the world with the acquisition of Sweden Rock.
That deal sees Live Nation Sweden gaining a majority of Sweden Rock’s shares, although head promoter Martin Forssman insists there will be no changes to the running of the festival or its programming. “The live entertainment industry is moving more and more towards a few large companies booking artists for shows in many countries and during long periods of time. In that environment, a cooperation with Live Nation is the ultimate way forward for us,” says Forssman. Thomas Johansson, Live Nation’s chairman of international music, reveals the addition of Sweden Rock is part of a concerted effort to broaden its festival portfolio to include
three distinct genres and geographical areas. “We already had [indie/electronic festival] Way Out West,” he explains, “then we acquired Summerburst, which is an EDM event, and now a rock festival.” He also points out that Live Nation now has festivals across the breadth of Sweden: Way Out West in Gothenburg, on the west coast; Summerburst in capital Stockholm, in the southeast; and Sweden Rock in Sölvesborg, in the far south. In Australia, Secret Sounds CEOs Jess Ducrou and Paul Piticco state, “We started Secret Sounds with the sole mission of introducing Australians to the best artists, events and music possible, and Live Nation is the perfect
partner to help us take this goal to the next level. With their support we can continue to curate the line-ups that fans love while also experimenting with new exciting ways for fans to experience live music.” Around 33,000 people attended Splendour in the Grass 2016 in Byron Bay, which was headlined by The Strokes, The Cure and Flume. Falls, a multi-city event with festivals in Lorne, Victoria; Marion Bay, Tasmania; Byron Bay in New South Wales; and Fremantle in Western Austria, attracts more than 60,000 festival-goers per day. Recent headliners include Disclosure, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon, Childish Gambino and London Grammar.
Oz Fests Trial Drug Testing
Troxy venue in east London was showcased to millions of viewers around the world in December when footage of a special concert to honour Robbie Williams was broadcast as part of the run up to next year’s Brit Awards. The Brits Icon Award concert saw the 1,800-capacity theatre host a near arena-sized production that Troxy general manager Tom Sutton-Roberts reveals involved some careful planning. “They wanted to bring more equipment than
we’ve ever hung before from our rigging points, so we had to bring in structural engineers to make sure that was possible,” he says. The TV crews required 12 camera points, and a side road at the venue had to be closed off for the first time in the history of the 1930s venue. “Proving we can do events of that size is another string to our bow, so it’s fantastic that it was such a high-profile show,” adds Sutton-Roberts.
Promoters in Australia are risking prosecution in a brave bid to try to avoid drug deaths at their summer festivals. Despite European-style pill testing being outlawed by the New South Wales (NSW) government, thousands of kits will be handed out at Sydney music festivals to try to minimise drug-related deaths – albeit in a less effective form that campaigners warn may be unable to detect potentially dangerous cutting agents. Just One Life – a joint venture between the Ted Noffs Foundation, Harm Reduction Australia, the Australian Drug Observatory, Students for Sensible Drug Policy Australia and DanceWize – will distribute the kits, which are legal to possess, at NSW’s summer festivals. Harm Reduction were calling for professionally run, clinical drug testing – of the kind in force in Britain, Austria, Spain and the Neth-
erlands – which can detect adulterants and confirm exact dose levels of particular substances. However, a number of promoters were warned by the government and police that, should they allow the practice, it would be seen as a “tacit admission” of drug use at their events. As a result, drug-testing kits will only be able to confirm if pills contain a particular drug. “These kits give no information about purity,” pill-testing advocate David Caldicott says, “and one of the biggest problems we have in this summer’s market is very highdose MDMA.” In April 2016, two teenagers suffered overdoses from suspected high-dose MDMA at Groovin’ the Moo. “It is disappointing,” adds Caldicott. “There is a far better way we could do this. But [the government] have ignored the evidence and expertise available to them.”
IQ Magazine January 2017
Club Fire Claims 36 Lives The cause of America’s deadliest nightclub fire in 13 years remained inconclusive at IQ’s press time, with federal investigators warning it may take them some time to reach any conclusions about the inferno that claimed 36 lives. The 2 December tragedy that took place at a makeshift venue inside the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland, California, has been slammed by a number of parties who claim it was a deathtrap and an accident waiting to happen. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
investigators have ruled out arson and believe that the fire started on the bottom floor of the warehouse premises, home to an art collective known as the Ghost Ship, which reportedly did not have a permit to operate as a club. Local media report that Oakland building inspectors had opened an investigation into the warehouse last month following complaints about alleged unsafe and unsanitary conditions for those living in the property. Prosecutors have suggested that the event promoter could face homicide charges, with
local district attorney Nancy O’Malley pledging that her criminal investigators will be “thorough, methodical and calculated in examining every piece of evidence recovered, as well as the circumstances surrounding the fire.” She has also hinted that charges could range from murder to involuntary manslaughter. Derick Ion Almena, the manager of the Ghost Ship, is among those in the firing line, but as IQ went to press, no arrests had been made. Meanwhile, more than 100 Red Cross volunteers are helping families of the victims –
many of which are still to be identified. The fire was the deadliest fire in California in more than 100 years, and the worst in the United States since The Station nightclub fire which killed 100 people on Rhode Island in 2003. In the aftermath of December’s Oakland inferno, authorities across the United States are speedily examining other so-called DIY venues, and at least one – Rhinoceropolis in Denver, Colorado – has been shut down, with the local fire department citing numerous serious violations.
SHAREHOLDERS FAIL TO HALT SFX LIVESTYLE REBRAND Beleaguered dance music conglomerate, SFX Entertainment, has a new highprofile boss, a new corporate identity, and renewed energy to succeed, having emerged from bankruptcy ahead of schedule. Installed as the company’s new CEO in November, former Global Entertainment and AEG Live boss, Randy Phillips, wasted no time in accelerating the company’s recovery plans and, despite legal objections, SFX exited
Chapter 11 administration on 2 December. Not content with that, Phillips has rebranded the company as LiveStyle Inc as he looks to distance it from its financially disastrous recent past. Now debt free, the group is being talked-up by Phillips, who says, “LiveStyle has the same potential that AEG Live had when I assumed the reins of that company.” He contends that with the founders of the likes of Elec-
tric Zoo, Tomorrowland, Mysteryland and Spring Awakening still part of the management team, the future is rosy as they look to bring different genres of music to some events. “Armed with no debt, a recapitalised financial structure, and an incredibly supportive board, we will build LiveStyle into an essential company in the live entertainment sector. Having done this once before, my team and I are very excited to get started.”
LiveStyle’s clean financial status was granted over the objections of two major shareholders – Denis Brisson and Valery Burlak – who remain convinced SFX was deliberately undervalued in order to extract itself from administration. But Brisson is not going quietly. He has launched a fresh bid to recoup some of his money arguing it is in “the public’s interest to not allow bankruptcy to be used as a means for public companies to shield themselves from fraud.”
Paris venue Le Bataclan reopened with a concert by Sting just a day before the first anniversary of the co-ordinated terror attacks on the city, which claimed more than 130 lives. The former Police frontman performed before many grieving parents and survivors of the attack, in which 90 people were killed by gunmen at the historic club. Footage of the 12 November concert was broadcast
live around the world and Sting captured the emotion of the event, addressing the audience in French. “We’ve got two important things to do tonight,” he said. “First, to remember and honour those who lost their lives in the attacks a year ago. And then to celebrate the life and the music of this historic venue.” He added, “We shall not forget them,” before holding a minute’s silence on stage.
IQ Magazine January 2017
BUMA Drops Controversial Tariff Discounts
Buma’s announcement that it is abolishing its controversial practice of offering live tariff rebates to promoters, has been called into question by a leading advocate for direct licensing. From 1 January 2017, the Dutch performing rights organisation’s rates will remain unchanged from 2016 – a maximum of 7% for events with more than two-thirds Buma repertoire; 5% for between one and two thirds; and 3% for less than a third – but the practice of granting ‘volume discounts,’ under which promoters receive up to 25% of money earmarked for songwriters and composers, will cease. Buma had been offering its discounts, ranging from 10% (for licencefee invoices of between
€75,000 and €250,000) to 25% (€1m+). Other PROs offering discounts to promoters include Sabam in Belgium, SIAE in Italy, GEMA in Germany, SUISA in Switzerland and Sacem in France, with most justifying the practice by saying promoters are helping to administer public performance rights. A spokesman for Buma told IQ the plan to drop the current rebates took into consideration the views of “all market players, including authors and performers,” and has been approved by the Supervisory Board of Collection Societies. While the volume discount will end, there will be a smaller discount of 5% available to promoters that organise more than 25 shows per year and
pay more than €100,000 in annual Buma fees. To qualify for the discount, promoters will also need to “pay monthly advance invoices to Buma, provide financial security in the form of bank guarantees, report repertoire in a way that allows Buma to digitally fingerprint any songs played [and] provide backstage access to Buma to events for inspection purposes.” The 5% deduction will therefore be a “fee for services rendered” claims Buma. Not everyone is impressed. Adam Elfin of PACE Rights Management takes issue with Buma’s claim that the new system is “completely transparent,” and believes that the organisation is simply moving the goal posts. “Under the new system, promoters will still be
receiving money deducted on behalf of songwriters and composers,” says Elfin, whose company is helping artists to direct license shows. Elfin says he seriously questions Buma’s assertion that the 5% deduction will be for services rendered. “Aren’t those services just the promoter’s licence requirements anyway?” he asks. “Getting the set-list is still reliant on the information provided by the artist’s tour manager. Yet, this is now apparently a service the promoter is providing and charging for.” He further disputes that those services should include providing backstage access to Buma to events for inspection purposes. “There is no cost associated with that, so why does the promoter receive a kickback for it?” he adds.
Chris Cornell brought his Higher Truth world tour to Lima in early December, for what was a magical evening at a historically significant
archaeological complex. Promoted by Move Concerts, Cornell performed in front of 1,675 people at the adobe pyramid of Huaca Pucllana – an ancient
structure built on seven staggered platforms, that is one of Peru’s most significant ancient monuments and is protected by the government. However,
Move was able to secure a special permit for the show, which marked the first time Cornell had visited the country since touring with Soundgarden.
for talent and production – compared to 2.2% in 2015. “From our experience at OpenAir St. Gallen, we raised prices in both 2015 and 2016,” says festival director Christof Huber, “because of the higher programming costs. I know that for a lot of events, the costs of
licensing, security and infrastructure are increasing, but definitely the main cause of higher prices is rising artist fees.” Other trends included the continuing growth of VIP ticket options, and an increase in average capacity (up 2.5% in 2016).
Sell-outs down, prices up at European festivals A majority of promoters believe the European festival market remains in good shape, despite a 3% decline in sell-outs this year, reveals
IQ Magazine January 2017
IQ’s 2016 European Festival Report (see page 30). The report found that ticket prices spiralled 8% in just one year – reflecting increased costs
BUSY BODIES News fr om live music associations ar ound the world
Live music is good for you and good for cities Research conducted by Concerts SA – a joint South African-Norwegian live music development project – has concluded that not only will people be happier and healthier if they listen to or play live music, but that towns and cities can also greatly benefit. The report, It Starts with a Heartbeat, sets out practical options for supporting the growth of live music audiences – and evidence of why such support is a good thing. Concerts SA contends that a thriving live music environment helps unite communities and generate social awareness. For the economy, live music is a major generator of revenue, helping cities and provinces brand themselves and attract foreign investment. The next five to ten years, the report states, will be a crucial time for interventions to support live music in southern Africa. Live music overtaking recorded product as a source of revenue has opened multiple opportunities for local
venues and promoters, many of whom, as small-, mediumand micro-sized enterprises, are precisely the sector singled out as one of the most fertile sources of future prosperity. The report suggests local authorities have a key role in making live music more attractive and accessible. Policy options range from improving public transport, to giving the night-time economy special status in planning processes. Cities that have done this have seen both a growth in revenue from music activities and an improvement in safety and security – something South African cities sorely need. “Take some time to read this report,” Andre Le Roux, managing director of the Southern African Music Rights Organisation (SAMRO) Foundation urges businesses and policymakers. “Use it as a menu, and choose which options you can use to build the consumption of live music, for the good of society and your city.”
European Arenas Association Expands The European Arenas Association (EAA) has revealed that it will again expand in January 2017, when the Žalgirio Arena in Kaunas, Lithuania becomes its 37th member venue. With the 2016 additions of the ISS Dome in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Arena Armeec in the Bulgarian
capital Sofia, the organisation now represents venues in 22 European countries. Casting its net even further afield, the EAA took a delegation of 28 executives from 17 European arenas, to New York during summer 2016, for a three-day trip focussing on venue redevelopment.
New Romanian Association Scores Early Victories Fledgling Romanian promoters association, AROC, has achieved some remarkable early results, thanks to concerted political lobbying efforts. AROC was founded in September 2016, partly in response to the tragic Colectiv nightclub fire in Bucharest, which claimed 64 lives. Founder members include ARTmania Festival, Emagic, Electric Castle Festival, Summer Well Festival, Sunwaves Festival, Twin Arts, Metalhead, Amphitrion, Events, Wise Factor, Plai Festival and Mozaic Jazz Festival. And with more members now added AROC has transformed into the most relevant dialogue partner for the authorities in regard to the Romanian live music industry. “Romanian promoters have never been actively involved in the process of regulating or controlling it,” says AROC chairperson Codruța Vulcu, of ARTmania. “What became clear after the Colectiv fire, where we all lost friends and
colleagues, is that we need to be better organised so that safety is improved everywhere and the professionals who work so hard in this country to put on concerts and festivals are not associated with those elements who cut corners and ignore regulations, just to make a quick profit.” AROC has already helped block legislation that would have seen 5% of gross ticketing income diverted to a private association – run by the parties who introduced the legislation. Noting the private sector’s outrage, Vulcu says, “How can this even be a discussion in parliament? To tax the people who are investing in the cultural sector and centralise funds, with this private association having the legal right to use the money as it pleases.” Vulcu vows that AROC’s members are determined to stand their ground and keep pushing for a “less corrupt sector, equitable legislation and a safer industry.”
The Europeans were welcomed as VIP guests to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the Prudential Center in Newark and Madison Square Garden, which has just undergone a $1billion (€0.95bn) refurbishment. The group toured each venue guided by the venue managers to gain an insight into each building’s individual features and to learn how they each overcome
the unique challenges they face. Between tours, the group also met up with executives from Feld, Viacom and Archaio. The success of the New York mission has initiated plans for a similar trip to examine major arenas in Las Vegas and/or Los Angeles in 2018. The EAA will hold its next general meeting in spring 2017 at the AccorHotels Arena in Paris.
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IQ Magazine January 2017
The latest trades and handshakes from the agency world
Aaron Lee Tasjan (US) Paul Fenn, Asgard Alex Izenberg (US) Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent Amelie Lens (BE) Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent Annabel Allum (UK) Phyllis Belezos, ITB April (UK) Matt Bates, Primary Talent Austra (CA) Isla Angus, ATC Live Awate (UK) Serena Parsons, Primary Talent Azad (US) Nick Reddick, Primary Talent Baile (US) Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent Bali Bandits (NL) Cris Hearn, Coda Agency Basenji (AU) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Baths (US) Isla Angus, ATC Live Black Dylan (DK) Sarah Casey, LPO Boys Forever (UK) Isla Angus, ATC Live Bruce O Yates (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Cass McCombs (US) Isla Angus, ATC Live Catching Flies (UK) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Clap! Clap! (IT) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Communions (DK) Adele Slater, CodaAgency Cosmo Sheldrake (UK) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Daedelus (US) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Dan Deacon (US) Isla Angus, ATC Live Deetron (CH) Dave Alcock, UTA DENA (DE/BG) Sarah Besnard, ATC Live DJ Fitz (UK) Isla Angus, ATC Live DJ Spoko (ZA) Isla Angus, ATC Live Draper (FR/UK) Sinan Ors, ATC Live ELLA (NL) Chris Meredith, ATC Live Eska (UK) Isla Angus, ATC Live Falcons (US) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Foxygen (US) Matt Bates, Primary Talent GENTS (DK) Tom Dunne, ATC Live Geowulf (AU) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Gigi Masin (IT) Andy Duggan, Primary Talent Girl Band (IE) Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Girl Ray (UK) William Church, ATC Live Gold Panda (UK) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Gwilym Gold (UK) Isla Angus, ATC Live Hannah Peel (UK) Chris Meredith, ATC Live Holy Fuck (CA) William Church, ATC Live HONNE (UK) Lucy Dickins, ITB Hook N Sling (AU) Cris Hearn, Coda Agency ISLE (UK) Colin Keenan & Stuart Kennedy, ATC Live Jaakko Eino Kalevi (FI) Isla Angus, ATC Live Jacob Sartorius (US) Sean Goulding, UTA Jain (FR) Mark Bennett & Jules de Lattre, UTA Jay Som (US) Paul Buck, Coda Agency JFDR (IS) Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Joy Room (UK) Matt Bates, Primary Talent Judas (UK) Mark Bennett & Geoff Meall, UTA Julie Byrne (US) Liam Keightley, ITB Jungle DJs (UK) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Kasbo (SE) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Lafawndah (FR) Isla Angus, ATC Live Life (UK) Ross Warnock, UTA Maggie Rogers (US) James Whitting, Coda Agency Melt Yourself Down (UK) Sinan Ors, ATC Live MiC LOWRY (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Mic Righteous (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Michael Bernard Fitzgerald (CA) Sarah Casey, LPO Mishcatt (CR) Mark Bennett & Jules de Lattre, UTA Mndsgn (US) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Mourn (ES) Clemence Renaut, ATC Live My Baby (NL) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent NAKED SIX (UK) Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Native Kings (UK) Liam Keightley, ITB No Joy (CA) Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Noga Erez (IL) Jason Edwards, Coda Agency November Lights (UK) Jack Cox, X-ray Touring Olof Dreijer (SE) Cris Hearn, Coda Agency OOIOO (JP) Isla Angus, ATC Live OUR GIRL (UK) Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Parcels (AU) Clementine Bunel & Cecile Communal, ATC Live
Aleem’s words, “a fun song Agent: Sarah Casey, Leighton about getting cheated on.” Pope Organisation He grew a fanbase in Europe on tour recently with Fifth LA-based Aleem creates a Harmony, including a date feel-good experience charged at The O2 in London, and with pure feeling in both his following a US tour in Spring, live show and his songwrit- Aleem is primed for more ing. He co-wrote the songs on European dates in 2017. his EP, Open Letters, with the likes of Scott Harris (Shawn Mendes, Jessie J) and Anjulie (Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj), taking a storytelling-like approach to his lyrics, to instil each song with a daring vulnerability. Debut single Find Out is a sly twist on the classic break-up anthem – or, in Parekh & Singh (IN) Parker Millsap (US) PAULi. (UK) PYRMDPLAZA (UK) Rats on Rafts (NL) Romare (UK) Sammi Sanchez (US) Saun & Starr (US) Savoy Motel (US) Sean Rowe (US) Seekae (AU) Siinai (FI) Sinjin Hawke (US) Sleaford Mods (UK) Swimming Girls (UK) Tamikrest (ML) Tamir Grinberg (IL) Tania Vulcano (ES) TENNIS (US) The Goon Sax (AU) The Pastels (UK) The Proper Ornaments (UK) The Wild Reeds (US) TOPS (CA) Tortured Soul (US) Twin Atlantic (UK) Valaire (CA) Vanishing Twin (UK) Vök (IS) Warm Graves (DE) Werkha (UK) White Wine (DE) Wiki (US) Willis Earl Beal (US) Willow (US) Wyvern Lingo (IE) Yowl (UK) Zeal and Ardor (CH) Zora Jones (AT)
Dave Chumbley, Primary Talent Colin Keenan, ATC Live Alex Bruford, ATC Live Francesco Caccamo, Primary Talent Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Sinan Ors, ATC Live Mark Bennett, UTA Isla Angus, ATC Live Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Colin Keenan, ATC Live Sinan Ors, ATC Live Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Sinan Ors, ATC Live Isla Angus, ATC Live Steve Zapp, ITB Isla Angus, ATC Live Beckie Sugden, X-ray Touring Dave Alcock, UTA Jamie Wade, X-ray Touring Isla Angus, ATC Live Isla Angus, ATC Live Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Paul Buck, Coda Agency Isla Angus, ATC Live Sinan Ors, ATC Live Matt Bates, Primary Talent Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Rob Gibbs, Live It Out Adele Slater, Coda Agency Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Sinan Ors, ATC Live Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Andy Duggan, Primary Talent Sarah Besnard, ATC Live Mark Bennett, UTA Dave Jennings, Art & Industry Tom Dunne, ATC Live Ross Warnock, UTA Sinan Ors, ATC Live
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IQ Magazine January 2017
It’s All a Matter of Perspective Ivana Dragila, until recently the editor of Germany’s MusikMarkt, now online marketing manager for service company eps, reflects on her new industry role, as your friendly neighbourhood mole…
hey’re crap. Crap, crap, mega-crap. I’ll give you two hundred bucks for all of ‘em.” All superhero fans will remember this quote from the movie Spider-Man. It was said by J. Jonah Jameson, editor-in-chief of the fictitious Daily Bugle, as he explains to Peter Parker that his shots of Spider-Man are not worth paying for (although they are brilliant, of course, since they are basically selfies). Just a scene from a movie? A comic, you might say? Yes, but Jameson is a prime example of a media representative that is always trying to get the best he can in order to boost the newspaper’s circulation while saving money. Exclusive photos, catchy headlines and great stories are key in the world of media. Especially nowadays, in the digital world, when everyone is in a hurry. Journalists, editors and publishers are always trying to get more clicks, attract more readers and be faster than the competitor.
“There’s nothing more boring than reading paraphrased press releases presented as ‘news’, or companies’ self-promotion disguised as news items. We want to be entertained and we want to be informed at the same time.” This was my reality for about six years, when I was editor for the German music business magazine Musikmarkt. Looking back, I wonder how often I complained about bad pictures, boring information, or about readers’ unwillingness to click on an article I’d worked so hard on. Always under pressure, trying to be as fast as I could, selecting the right information from tons of emails received every day, making sure nothing was missed. I often felt like I was an outsider, someone who was not allowed to be right up there with the front runners or be part of the game; or appreciated for my knowledge of the industry, but at the same time feeling like a spoilsport, someone who is tolerated but not really accepted. Just look around you at your
next conference and ask yourself whether you’re willing to give media representatives some exclusive information. After all, everybody wants to be an insider – like Peter Parker. Someone who knows all the stories, who is directly involved. A real hero who’s trying to ‘save’ the world, to show people what’s really happening behind the curtains. Yes, in a way, being a mole in order to get the best information possible. Sounds like every journalist’s dream – and indeed, it is. But it is also the dream of every reader. There’s nothing more boring than reading paraphrased press releases presented as ‘news’, or companies’ self-promotion disguised as news items. We want to be entertained and we want to be informed at the same time. I’m sure everybody will remember The great ticket swindle news item from 2012, which showed the unfiltered truth about the highly immoral business methods of Viagogo and Seatwave in the UK. When Musikmarkt had to close down in July this year, my dream finally came true: I became a mole – or something like that… I’m now in the middle of the industry, working as an online marketing manager for the German infrastructure service company eps. But I just entered the molehill, and I’m currently looking at what’s going on in the first tunnel. Would you like to know what I see? The same world of live entertainment I’ve seen before – just from a completely new perspective. Now it is me who receives newsletters and new articles from the industry and is often unwilling to click on them. I have to admit that I often smile when I read the news, as I understand the thoughts and aims of the journalists that wrote it. And sometimes, surrounded by touring plans and CAD drawings for festival sites or venues, I wonder why some news is even considered news, as I’d known about it for weeks or even months before. And no doubt, having been a journalist, it is easier for me to prepare PR campaigns or talk to former colleagues from the editorial or sales departments, as I understand their needs. That’s the key point for every one of us: changing perspective, staying curious in order to learn more about the people around us and trying to think like the people we work with – whether that’s a colleague, a promoter, the management, a service provider, a journalist or just a music fan attending our festivals or concerts. So I hope you will all stay curious about the industry, and I look forward to seeing you all soon! Your friendly, neighbourhood, music-industry mole.
IQ Magazine January 2017
Artist Mobility to the US Matthew Covey of New York-based visa specialists Tamizdat fills us in on the problematical history of the US artist-visa process, and what may be done to simplify and improve things to ensure that America is accessible to international performing arts.
ecently, the music industry reeled in horror at news that the fee for US artist visas will soon increase from $325 (€302) to $460 (€429). I understand people’s annoyance, but the current outrage is misdirected. A little fee increase is not the problem with the US artistvisa process. The problem is that the process is so slow that almost everyone has to pay the government’s $1225 (€1141) Premium Processing expediting fee, and it is so complex and unreliable that almost everyone has to hire a lawyer to get through it (costing anywhere from $800 [€745] to $8,000 [€7,450]). Those are untenable expenses. Many artists have entirely given up touring in the US because it’s impossible to break even. The cost of getting an artist into the US has multiplied twentyfold in the last 25 years, which is not only terrible for business, but also means Americans have less access to international culture, which can’t be helping America’s growing isolationism and xenophobia. And what is most gutting is that this transformation is not anyone’s agenda; it’s merely the heavy tread of the rough beast of slouching bureaucracy.
“In 1991, the total process cost about $200 (€94)... in 2016, the same process costs as much as $10,000 (€9,310).” The process used to be a lot cheaper, easier, and faster. When US Congress passed the Immigration Act of 1990, it was trying to make it easier for talented foreign artists to work legally in the US while still protecting the labour interests of American performing artists. Initially, the INS (later to become USCIS or ‘The Service’) applied the rules broadly enough that almost any artist with renown was deemed eligible for a longterm visa. The only real problem was inconsistency: a grumpy officer occasionally threw a spanner in the works, delaying or even denying a petition. The entertainment industry grumbled a lot about this, so some time in the late 2000s, The Service setout to clean up its act by trying to ground decisions in a more literal interpretation of the law. Unfortunately, it turns out the laws are incredibly complex, ambiguous, and onerous, if you actually try to interpret them strictly. This is where things started to fall apart. The
IQ Magazine January 2017
government had to increase its fee from $125 (€116) to $325 (€303) to $460 (€428) to cover increased labour costs of strict adjudication. To systematise (and subsidise) the expedition of the process, it introduced an optional Premium Processing service, removing any incentive to improve “normal” processing times. Meanwhile, the unions, tasked with reviewing mountains of materials, started charging a $50 (€47) fee, which has since grown to as much as $500 (€470). But while these costs are bad, they are dwarfed by a new budget item: most agencies, labels, and promoters lost confidence in their ability to navigate the process in-house, and ceded the work to lawyers who typically charge anywhere between $1,000 (€931) to $10,000 (€9,310) to prepare and file a petition. In 1991, the total process cost about $200 (€94), required minimal effort, and rendered reliable results and long-term visas; in 2016, the same process costs as much as $10,000 (€9,310), may or may not work, and often has to be repeated every few months. This is unconscionable, especially considering… The Service shouldn’t be doing this. This is a remarkable case of mission drift. Since The Service’s role in this process is neither to secure the homeland (that’s the Department of State’s job), nor to protect US labour interests (that’s the AFM’s job), there is no compelling reason for USCIS to be making this so hard. The Service doesn’t want to do this. The current malaise means a lose/lose for everyone (except the lawyers). USCIS is chronically understaffed and overworked, and the level of scrutiny required to maintain the current process is an administrative nightmare for them. The Service doesn’t have to do this. The problem is not with the laws, but rather their enforcement, reflected in the myriad policy memos, officers’ handbooks, executive guides, and regulations that guide officers. These “rules” are not law, and can be changed if there is sufficient will and desire to do so. And this is why there is hope, and why your outrage can be useful: in January, Tamizdat will publish a White Paper on Artist Mobility to the U.S. This document will review the problems artists encounter with the US visa process, and will propose dozens of specific solutions. Some solutions will be long-range, but most are procedural tweaks to help get The Service back on track, and back in the business of working with the US performing arts industry to ensure that America is accessible to international performing arts. To succeed, we need broad public and private support. For more information or to get involved, please see www.tamizdat. org, or drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
DIY is the Best Way to Do it! Kevin Clark of Scotland-based The Broken Ravens explains how applying the DIY ethic, and a lot of hard work, has helped the band make inroads in the US.
hings changed for The Broken Ravens after our invitation to showcase at a local industry event. Seminars with various industry professionals were run through the day, giving an in-depth insight into the business as well as invaluable advice for the aspiring unsigned band. Meanwhile, showcases were staged at night, providing real opportunities for participating acts. We left the event with a plan. “Let’s do this, and do it ourselves!” Move up a gear. Since the band formed in 2012, we have orchestrated everything ourselves – writing, recording, producing, shooting videos, PR, promotion, flyering, design, artwork, social media, branding, tour managing, making our own guitars, pedals, amps and, most importantly, financing. We are all veterans of the music scene and we have a wide variety of experience in the business side of things.
“There are so many hoops of fire to jump through with releasing material independently, demands for PR at a moment’s notice, and not to mention the nightmare that is the US working visa application.” We spent two years back and forth from various bodies that are there to help aspiring musicians. A business plan was painstakingly created to co-ordinate a release; US dates to coincide with the release, and to follow-up on interest shown; and a detailed budget was devised that was easy on the wallet. We’d already released a single, toured, and put out two videos that had been received well. But frustrated by the lack of support and encouragement, we took it upon
ourselves to put our new plan into action in autumn 2015. We headed straight to a local studio and recorded ten tracks and shot another video. In November 2016, I combined a holiday to Los Angeles with business and set-up as many meetings as possible. Armed with Harris Tweed bags filled with USB sticks (containing the usual EPK and mixes of new recordings – that were still being mixed while I was in the air); Ishga luxury skin products (made from Scottish seaweed); band merchandise; and the deal-maker: good Scottish malt whisky. I found myself not only being a representative for the band but also for our island (Lewis in the Western Isles) and its produce. The trip was a success, which resulted in The Broken Ravens being offered some showcase opportunities to interested parties. We went to town, quite literally, with our band merchandise and social media. Such was the overwhelming response locally, we raised enough money through selective home shows, sponsorship and merchandise, that we were able to book a trip to Los Angeles to showcase ourselves, hired a PR Company to back the release of an EP to coincide with the showcase, and booked studio time to record more songs so that we could choose the most solid release possible. We were also fortunate enough to license music to a new video game and co-ordinate that with a PR campaign running at the same time to increase awareness of the band, in both the UK and USA. Not all as easy as it sounds – there are so many hoops of fire to jump through with releasing material independently, demands for PR at a moment’s notice, and not to mention the nightmare that is the US working visa application. It’s hard enough to find a company that won’t charge you the earth, let alone as an unsigned rock band having to prove that your talent and ability is internationally recognised. I sometimes think it would have been easier to break into Fort Knox. It’s been a steep learning curve that involved a lot of juggling and copious amounts of luck – two steps forward, then three steps back – but the most important thing is we are doing it, and, so far, we’ve done it all by ourselves. We made this happen.
IQ Magazine January 2017
Concert and Festival Rights in Switzerland Chantal Bolzern, head of the performance rights department at Swiss Collection Society SUISA, outlines the importance of co-operation between PROs and promoters.
he Swiss love concerts and festivals. Every year new festivals are founded, even in remote mountain areas. Some quickly disappear, whilst others can look back on a tradition of 40 years or more. Also a wide range of music clubs attract large crowds every week. In 2015, SUISA licensed more than 20,000 concerts and festivals, where over 360,000 different songs were performed, generating royalties of CHF20.3million (â‚Ź18.9m) - nearly 50% of all revenue from performing rights. Considering Switzerland has a population of just 8 million, these figures are impressive. To make all this possible, you need a great song, interpreted as an inspiring live performance. And, of course, you need a promoter to organise a well-run, crowd-pleasing event. SUISA serves as a hub in this business. Owned by our members, our aim is to help songwriters and publishers benefit from the income others generate when they use their songs. But also, we want promoters to have easy access to the rights necessary to create their event. SUISA has negotiated a new two-year concert and
festival tariff with all the relevant trade organisations in order to simplify calculations for promoters. The tariff sets a licence rate for concerts and festivals of between 7-10% of ticketing revenue, and a rebate for those with a membership in a trade organisation. Our tariff is also a one-stop shop for neighbouring rights, which especially facilitates the lives of festival promoters. Every three months, detailed royalties statements are distributed, allowing songwriters and publishers to verify where their money is coming from. We have full transparency and all licensing and distribution work is done at an administration cost of 12%. The live business is an ecosystem where all parties involved need each other. When they all do a good job, they not only have a great time but they also make money. This allows composers to create new songs, making new performances and new concerts possible. Therefore, we should all value and respect each otherâ€™s shares and efforts in this business, and we should work together to find solutions to the new challenges we are faced with.
Gig Gadgetry from the Frontline...
The Dot Blockchain Music Project
Get access to that sold-out concert; experience a festival at the other end of the world; or simply stand right next to your favourite artist on stage – it’s all possible with Orah 4i, whose developers claim to be the first 360° camera capable of capturing and streaming events live in virtual reality (VR) at the push of a button. The 4K camera is made especially for live-streaming high-profile events. It delivers professional image and sound quality and ensures the possibility of reaching a wide audience by directly broadcasting to YouTube and other video platforms. Thanks to its discreet design and handy size the camera can be placed virtually anywhere without disrupting the show – right on stage, in the middle of the audience or even backstage. “Orah 4i gives fans all around the world the possibility to not just watch, but experience a concert or festival from a unique perspective,” explains Nicolas Burtey, CEO of Orah. “In VR, fans have the possibility to choose their very own angle and fully immerse themselves in the show – all without having to be physically present.” Previously, Orah 4i has been used to live-stream high-profile events such as the red-carpet premiere of Sony Crackle’s The Art of More and global sports events such as the French Open. The Orah 4i 360° camera
Founders Anthony Matchett and Steven Hancock believe their business, MelodyVR, is set to change the music industry forever. The duo claim their technology is the first-ever dedicated virtual reality platform for music and has the ability to “teleport fans through time to experience phenomenal performances by their favourite artists first-hand.” And all from the comfort of their own home. Thanks to custom camera technology solutions built by MelodyVR, fans can be given vantage points that would otherwise be impossible. Ambisonic audio means that users not only see performances as if they were really there, but also hear everything in full 360° audio. Matchett contends that what separates MelodyVR from competitors are its unique technology and business model, which funds the creation of VR content. “We fund all the creation and production elements, including investing in all the state-of-the-art camera and sound equipment,” he tells IQ, adding that MelodyVR in turn becomes a rights holder, along with the artist or event, allowing it a share of the revenues. That concept has enabled around 500 artists to engage with VR technology without any initial financial commitment, while the company also notched up 40 festivals in 2016. Indeed, MelodyVR recently won the ‘best use of technology’ title at the UK Festival Awards for its work at Festival No.6.
The foundation of the modern, digital music business is data. Data about recordings, data about songwriters, and data about publishers must all be connected for the system to operate and to compensate creators. Yet the current state of music data is far from ideal, as systems used by different parts of the industry are not interoperable, and the data stored by individual companies is rife with errors and ambiguity. But help is at hand. In early 2016, Dot Blockchain music (dotBC) was founded as a public benefit corporation to solve this problem. It is developing a system that leverages the power of a distributed blockchain ledger to create a standard set of “rails” and minimum data set for the industry to operate on, at all levels of sophistication. If that means nothing to you, in layman’s terms it means dotBC is devising a system that all stakeholders can use, from individuals to large corporations. The dotBC rights system will provide for the provenance of works, a persistent record of ownership, unprecedented levels of control to the owners, transparency where needed, and privacy of personal data. According to company co-founder, Benji Rogers, “The dotBlockchain music project team believe that transparency and interoperability will lead to a music ecosystem that will benefit not just the larger players, such as major labels publishers and digital service providers, but also independent artists, songwriters and those whose craft is in the making of music, such as engineers, producers and musicians of all types. A music format created and owned by the music industry, to us, is the only way to leverage the best of existing and forthcoming open source Blockchain and private cloud infrastructure around the songs themselves.”
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IQ Magazine January 2017
IQ Magazine January 2017
Europe’s festival organisers and promoters, by and large, enjoyed a successful season in 2016, with seemingly fewer cancellations than recent years. But once again, the weather took its toll. And looking ahead to 2017, bookers are more worried than ever about the prices they are being quoted for acts… While many promoters around Europe reported healthy ticket sales and successful events during 2016, it was, nevertheless, an incident-packed season for the outdoor live music industry. Cancellations in the 2016 season included One Love Festival in Turkey, Wickerman and ATP in the UK, The Flying Dutch – Swedish Journey festival, Les Muzik’elles and Les Voix du Gaou in France, and who could forget the pro-Brexit onedayer, bpopLive which finally bit the dust following a string of withdrawals by confirmed artists. In the ever buoyant German market, some of the biggest gatherings, including Rock Am Ring, Hurricane and Southside, were all severely hit by storms, although somehow the team at FKP Scorpio managed to work overnight miracles to save Hurricane’s 20th anniversary event, and have turned adversity into opportunity. Managing director Stephan Thanscheidt, says, “Despite the weather problems we had at Hurricane Southside, we’re having the best sales ever for those events. 30-35% of the bands rescheduled for 2017 straight away, which helped, but
also a lot of people said that instead of their refund, they’d rather use that money and pay a bit more to get a ticket for next year. “How we handled the storm situation on social media and dealt with the damage caused by the weather was very good. We’ve won a few awards from it, and actually the atmosphere it helped create at the event was fantastic.” In terms of trends, the 101 festivals that participated in this year’s European Festival Report (EFR) delivered conclusions that closely mirrored some of last year’s headlines, with average capacities rising and ticket prices nudging higher, but with attendance also increasing, proving that the efforts that are being made across the board to enhance the fan experience are indeed paying off. In 2016, a new question was added to the EFA survey in which we asked individuals to summarise how they feel the festival market performed in their own country throughout the year – and the results show that despite European borders
IQ Magazine January 2017
still being open, from nation to nation, idiosyncrasies can mean a world of difference. DCODE Festival organisers, Live Nation, say of the Spanish market, “[It was] very competitive. The big festivals stayed steady, but with massive costs, while the new ones found it hard to establish themselves,” and cites a “lack of variety and ideas,” as an issue. That point was echoed by the organisers of Festival Portamérica, who observe that Spain had “Too much to offer, but not too many headliners, so all the festivals are almost the same.” However, organisers of Mad Cool Festival in Madrid are a little more optimistic. “The 2016 festival scene in our market is growing tremendously,” they report, stressing that the key for them is to provide attendees with something they haven’t experienced before. “There is more competition and different options. So we should be original.” Giannis Paltoglou, promoter of Ejekt Festival, claims, “We were the most successful festival in Greece this year. Our market, it seems, is in a stable condition, but the people don’t have money to spend on concerts.” Elsewhere, organisers of Electric Castle in the city of Cluj, report, “The Romanian market is growing. There are lots of new festivals appearing and lots of new people want to [attend] a music festival.” That theme of growing competition is echoed across Europe. “The festival scene in Serbia is still flourishing, but mostly with medium and small festivals, not with major ones,” observe the team behind EXIT Festival. Meanwhile, in the north, the organisers of Qstock say, “Finnish festivals have performed well this year, but the impact from the rest of Europe is already showing in the lack of headliners and growing artist fees.” Their colleagues at Provinssi agree, stating, “[The market is] healthy: most of the major festivals are doing well and the strongly specialised niche events are doing well, but anything in between is in a challenging position.” And at Ruisrock, production manager Mikko Niemelä notes that while there are a lot of very successful festivals throughout the country, “Most of them are medium-sized festivals – less than 10,000 capacity – and focus on domestic acts.” But the same isn’t true in one of the continent’s biggest markets, Germany. “Overall the market is good, but it’s easier at the moment for mainstream and big events than for boutique events,” says Stefan Lehmkuhl of Melt! Festival. “The market is getting more mainstream: hip-hop, EDM, lots of important domestic acts. But the boutique festivals, meanwhile, compete a lot against each other and the demand isn’t as big as the demand for more mainstream-orientated events.”
Average Festival Ticket Prices
2016: €155.72 2015: €144.15 8% increase IQ Magazine January 2017
How would you describe the European festival market? Static
Meanwhile, in the UK, Joe Gibbs, owner of the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival reports, “Scotland as a whole is struggling with festivals closing or being aborted, and ticket sales to festivals are down overall compared to previous years.” Nevertheless, the appetite for festivals appears to have remained healthy, and despite Turkey losing a major gathering – One Love Festival – Banu Tuncag, of promoters Pozitif, tells IQ that at the company’s Azbank Jazz Festival in Istanbul, “Participation was [really] high. Compared to previous years, this year went very well – the market is full of young people, so we are trying to make some special festivals to satisfy them.” On that positive note, let’s dive into this year’s survey results…
FESTIVAL CAPACITY AND ATTENDANCE As in previous years, festivals throughout Europe once again increased the size of their events in 2016. Of 101 surveyed festivals, 95 responded to questions we put to them regarding capacity, and on average events saw a year-on-year increase in capacity from 28,627 in 2015 to 29,332 in 2016 – a modest 2.5% boost. What is more remarkable, is that according to our survey responses, attendance on average was at 90% of capacity – a rise of 4% from the 86.1% figure in 2015. However, one caveat that should be added to this noteworthy yield figure is that many events include staff and volunteers among their numbers – an issue that we’ll seek to clarify ahead of next year’s report. In terms of sales, a healthy 43% of the surveyed events report that they had sold out their festivals (compared to 46% in the 2015 report). However, at least one event with a capacity of 80,000 reports being sold out with 70,000 ticket sales, underlining the fact that some organisers count staff in their capacity numbers. For the first time in the history of the EFR, IQ asked promoters to divulge when their events sold out, and it turns out
1.1% Social Call
4.1% Centre 0.8% 2.6%
Online (via festival website)
Ticketing by sales outlet
Online (third-party vendor)
that 28 events were sold out between 1-5 months in advance, which, out of 101 events, seems an encouraging number. Chistof Huber, general secretary of European festival organisation Yourope, observes, “I think those established brands that have a loyal fan base are selling out faster than ever, but for the festivals that are trying to establish themselves it’s tougher and for new festivals in particular it can take longer now to sell tickets.”
The all-important price of tickets, unsurprisingly, nudged higher yet again in 2016. The average cost of a ticket was €155.72 in 2016, compared to €144.15 a year earlier. That equates to an 8% increase in ticket prices in just one year, reflecting, perhaps, the increased costs that promoters are facing in booking talent, as well as the spiralling cost of production, amongst other factors. Last year, the EFR reported a price rise of just 2.2% and noted that even that low figure was greater than the rate of inflation in most European economies. However, it pales into insignificance against this year’s 8% surge. “From our experience at Open Air St Gallen, we raised prices in both 2015 and 2016 and this was because of the higher programming costs,” says Huber. “I know that for a lot of events the costs of licensing, security and infrastructure are increasing, but definitely the main cause of higher prices is rising artist fees.” Another trend that emerged from this year’s statistics is a shift in the variety of passes on offer. Of the 90 events responding to this question, 13 (14.4%) report that they only offered day tickets; eight (8.9%) only allowed customers to purchase tickets for the entire event; while the vast majority, 69 (76.7%) gave fans the option of both. Comparing these results to last year, the number of festivals relying on whole-eventonly tickets fell marginally from 9.1%, while day tickets fell from 18.2%. This means that the number of organisers offering purchasing flexibility is rising, perhaps conceding to the fact that some people only want to see certain acts on a specific day
or can’t afford to attend the entire event. Whatever the reasons, allowing fans flexibility hasn’t done any harm, with attendance levels, as we have already established, on the increase. Delving deeper into ticket type data, day tickets made up 37.5% of overall sales (up from 35% in 2015). This further underlines the advantages of offering different ticketing options. Looking back, weekend and whole-event tickets accounted for 75% of overall sales in 2014, so organisers’ responses to consumer behaviour seem to be paying dividends. From these results, it would be reasonable to predict that more festivals will offer both day and wholeevent passes for their 2017 editions. Another ticketing mechanism we track each year is purchasing behaviour – and the 2016 data makes for interesting reading. As can be seen in the chart at the top of this page, sales outlets for tickets are split into online (via festival website); online (third-party website); call centre; box office; walk-up; mobile; and social media. Online in total accounted for 79.1% of total sales in 2016, which is 2% down on 2015, with those two percent picked up equally by box office with 12.3% of sales (11% in 2015) and walk-up customers, who accounted for 4.1% of 2016 sales (3% in 2015). There are marked changes, however, in the online ticket sources that festival-goers are electing to purchase from. Last year, 42% of tickets were sold via festivals’ own websites, while third-party websites made good with 39% of sales. However, in this year’s poll, festivals’ own websites shipped more than half of all tickets (51.6%), while thirdparty sites dropped to 27.5%. The pressure being exerted on festival organisers to seek ways in which to preserve profit margin may well be the reason that many have succeeded in persuading more customers to buy directly from the festivals’ website, and we’d expect the number of events that try to take more control of their own sales to rise in the future, especially as they try to contend with elevating costs elsewhere. Scorpio’s Thanscheidt comments, “A lot of people use our call centre, so having your own ticketing department also means you can have cool people answering the hotlines who know the events well and can answer all the questions from fans.”
What proportion of your audience is from abroad? 0-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21-40% 41+
IQ Magazine January 2017
ATTENDANCE FROM ABROAD Over the past few years, the number of music fans that visit festivals overseas has been on the rise, and canny promoters throughout Europe have been gambling on marketing initiatives in key foreign hotspots in an effort to bring new visitors to their events. As you’ll see from the chart at the foot of page 32, 36% of those festivals surveyed saw 5% or less people visiting from abroad, which is down from 47% last year, whilst 16% of the respondents (compared to just 9% a year ago) reported an overseas attendance rate of 11-20%. However, it’s at the top end where things become decidedly more interesting. In 2015, 6% of those festivals that completed our questionnaire reported that their audience consisted of 41%-plus foreign visitors, whereas in this year’s survey, that number has risen dramatically to 13%, meaning that more than double the number of festival-goers are feeling adventurous when deciding which events to attend, be that based on better weather, a favoured line-up or location, or just in order to broaden their horizons. Yourop’s Huber says, “I hear from a lot of markets that tourist boards are finally finding out that using festivals is a great way to promote their region. Certainly, without the partnerships with tourist boards, a lot of Portuguese and Spanish events would not be getting the numbers of visitors that they are.” From his point of view, Thanscheidt (who counts more than 20 festivals throughout Europe on FKP Scorpio’s roster), says, “For special interest events, or where it makes geographical sense, marketing to people in other countries makes sense, but for festivals with pop acts, those acts usually play in every country anyway. At M’era Luna, the biggest goth festival in Europe, for instance, we do some international marketing, as we get flights coming from the UK, buses from Scandinavia, etc.” Certainly, having the support of organisations that promote national or regional tourism to entice festival fans to different locations seems to be worthwhile – and perhaps that’s one reason why increasing numbers of promoters are carrying out economic impact studies to highlight the financial benefits that festivals can bring to a region. Of our surveyed events, 30% say they have already conducted such economic impact studies. This means that the vast majority are yet to discover this handy tool, which can help convince local authorities when it comes to licensing, or can encourage public transport companies to engage with their event.
The 85 events that disclosed staffing numbers report that volunteers totalled 71,012 (59%) of overall staff in 2016, compared to 48,539 (41%) professionals. With the caveat that this year’s participating festivals are not identical to last year’s, this is still a sizeable difference, as professionals in 2015 made up 47% of the total workforce. Certainly FKP Scorpio, arguably the biggest festival promoter on the continent, doesn’t subscribe to such cost-cutting measures, as its entire staff is made up of professionals. However, Thanscheidt explains that the company does
uses volunteers wherever possible throughout Scandinavia, for example, but in Germany, changes in the laws for commercial promoters means that Scorpio only employs paid professionals at its festivals.
The number of festivals offering VIP packages at their event increased 8% between 2015 and 2016, from 41% to 49%. Of all surveyed festivals this year, there was an equal split between those who ‘do’ VIP and those who do not. As was noted in last year’s report, the cost of creating VIP areas and glamping sites can often be prohibitive, meaning that many events shy away from luxury ticket options, while other festival organisers simply do not like the idea of creating a class system at their events. Still, there were a number of innovative VIP introductions to Europe’s festival scene during 2016 – the more successful of which we’ll no doubt see being duplicated elsewhere when the 2017 season commences. As for those well-heeled music fans that were willing to pay for the privileges that VIP packages offer – such as backstage passes VIP bars and restaurants; and increasing levels of comfortable accommodation – the data here also makes for an interesting read. As can be seen in the charts on this page, events offering VIP options achieved different levels of success in attracting 2.5%
What percentage of your audience took up a VIP or camping upgrade? 0-5 6-10 11-20 21+
What percentage of your audience took up a VIP or camping upgrade?
0-5 6-10 11-20 21+ 30%
IQ Magazine January 2017
Legislation Production 3% Costs Weather
A lack of headliners
What will affect the industry over the next 5 years? custom. VIP packages start from the relatively affordable and extend right through into the downright outrageous that hundreds tens of thousands of Euros. Examples of the diversity of VIP packages offered in 2016 include the opportunity to get married on-site, which was one option offered at Qstock Festival in Finland. For those not quite ready to tie the knot or with nobody to tie the knot with, Qstock also offered casino games and slot machines within the festival area, for those willing to pay a little bit extra. Looking forward to 2017, Concert at SEA in the Netherlands have announced that they will open a new glamping area for 500 people that will be located on the beach, right behind the festival. “Together with a big sponsor in hospitality, we might do a pre-party on Thursday for visitors already in the area,” says Arjan de Mooij of promoters Agents After All.
started our sustainability programme intensively in 2004 and have increased our efforts every year since. For example, myclimate is now involved in consulting for our food stalls and as a result, all of the meat at our festival now comes only from Switzerland.” Another interesting discovery following this year’s survey was the surprising number of festival organisers who reported that they had toyed with virtual reality (VR) technology at their events – Hellfest in France and Qstock in Finland, were amongst a slew of events that tapped into the augmented reality world with 360°-video technology. Also among those early adopters was the ill-fated One Love Festival in Turkey, who had lined up a raft of new tech that would have included VR and 3D printing. In Greece, the Plissken Festival also used its 2016 edition to trial VR and augmented reality, as well as bringing in a cashless payment system; whilst at Provinssi in Finland, organisers launched RFID cashless as a payment option whilst still offering the cold, hard cash option for those that preferred it. Montreux Jazz Festival, meanwhile, introduced a new app called CUTS, which allows the audience to relive 30 seconds of a performance they just witnessed via a video excerpt that they can access via an app on their smartphone or device. Over in Denmark, NorthSide promoter, John Fogde used a cashless system to great effect, whilst also employing a fleet of drones to monitor the event from on high and provide a bird’s-eye view. “We did a few things very successfully with drones and will continue working with the same crew next year,” says Fogde. “We would live broadcast from drones to the screens during shows to get overhead shots and some of those shots also made it to the after movie. “Working with a professional crew meant that we could cut from regular cameras to drones, which we made use of both during our Facebook Live events and the coverage of the shows. It worked really well at both NorthSide and Tinderbox, so we’ll be doing similar things in 2017.”
NEW TECHNOLOGY AND RFID With festivals ever desperate to stand out from what everyone else is offering, 2016 has proved to be an interesting year for trialling state-of-the-art technology. Of 101 participating events, all but one was willing to disclose details regarding their RFID preferences, with 22 reporting that they had employed RFID technology in some shape or form this year, be that for festival access, cashless payments or a combination of both. However, what is most apparent from this year’s responses is that organisers are becoming more and more keen to embrace new technologies that will excite festivalgoers, as well as introducing new products and service advancements that can improve the efficiency of their event – especially when it comes to sustainability and green initiatives. “Sustainability wasn’t sexy five or ten years ago, but now it really matters,” says Yourope’s Huber. “At our event we Opus Live’s Jazzopen event in Stuttgart
IQ Magazine January 2017
IMPROVEMENTS But it wasn’t just hi-tech solutions that helped up the game across the European festival market this year. The Netherlands’ 2016 version of the DGTL Festival in Amsterdam, introduced non-disposable cups in order to reduce plastic waste, while, taking a leaf out of the book of some pioneering Nordic events, also implemented a meatfree menu, which is an incredibly effective way of reducing an event’s carbon footprint. Picking up on such radical culinary developments, Chris Johnson at Shambala in the UK reports that it went both meat- and fish-free in 2016, whilst also pioneering ticket sales by accepting Bitcoin. “People are using it, but currently less than 5% of the tickets sold,” says Johnson. “Shambala seeks to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’, and we see Bitcoin as part of this. In addition, Bitcoin has been growing at a rapid rate and we enjoy innovating.” Elsewhere, Michal Kaščák, promoter of Pohoda in Slovakia, boosted the festival’s aesthetics by employing works by almost 100 artists. “A growing number of installations, interactive works, and performances turned the Pohoda grounds into a huge stage of visual art,” he says. “We have built three new stages – a 2,000-cap tent, a 250-cap tent and a ‘garage’ stage for just 25-50 people.” Pohoda also built grandstands by the main stage capable of seating up to 500 people, while one stage at the event was wholly powered by a mobile solar power plant. According to Luc Upson of Festival The Brave in the Netherlands, the event decreased its capacity intentionally in 2016, in order to make the festival more intimate, and to lower the promoter’s financial risk. And at Sound City Liverpool in the UK, similar strategies were employed when it moved from a three-day event down to two, thanks to customer feedback, which, they tell IQ allowed them to spend more on artists. Meanwhile, other events expanded. Germany’s New Fall Festival became a two-city event, taking place in Düsseldorf and Stuttgart during the same weekend. Whilst Stefan Lehmkuhl at Melt! Festival, also in Germany, implemented a complete new site layout. “It was very good – it increased our
capacity and also created more space/freedom for the people, with less fences and more access to hidden corners.” In the UK, Download Festival improved its access and facilities for disabled patrons. However, with the festival suffering a summer downpour, organisers are already looking to further develop the site, admitting that it “needs stronger rain defences for 2017.” Looking ahead, Lehmkuhl is happy to reveal one of Melt!’s proposed strategies to encourage event loyalty. “We are planning to have more exclusive performances, in order to sell-out in advance,” he says. Whilst rival event, New Fall Festival, is looking to attract attendees from neighbouring countries to its November 2017 twin events by focusing on sales in the Netherlands and Belgium and offering special hotel packages. Elsewhere, Hungarian festival Lakeside will be offering high-quality food, and a chic interior area near to the main stage; and SummerDays Festival in Switzerland has collaborated with environmental organisation, myclimate, to improve carbon dioxide emissions ahead of its 2017 gathering. With nearly every festival looking at ways to improve the visitor experience – both for fans and for artists – it’s not only headline-grabbing initiatives that are in the pipeline, of course. Judith Reimann from Deichbrand Festival in Germany reveals that they are “changing the whole site and its areas to install long-term investments like solid roads and underground [cables] and pipes.” Further north in Finland, Qstock is ploughing money into similar infrastructure, including “water faucets and electricity stations; soil leveling and firming; wider fairways, etc.”
The fact that promoters across Europe are undertaking forward-thinking infrastructure programmes underlines the confidence that the continent’s festival sector has in its longterm future. However, as with all EFRs undertaken so far, we asked survey respondents to disclose which elements of the business causes them the most worry. And this year, the results were startling. Since the EFR began, promoters have been repeatedly claiming that steep rises in artist fees have had a detrimental effect on their programming. In last year’s report, one promoter revealed that he had been forced to cut his festival bill from 180 acts in 2014 to 120 in 2015. When we contacted that same individual this year, he said that a further hike in artist fees meant that he’d probably have to lose another 20 to 25 acts this year. “It’s not just my event – this is happening everywhere,” he says. “Agents are demanding unrealistic prices, but they don’t seem to then understand why we can’t afford to book some of their other acts, in particular, the baby bands.” Such concerns are indeed Europe-wide, and as the table on the opposite page demonstrates, artist fees are considered either the first or second most important factor affecting the business, according to more than half of all the events that took part in this year’s survey. Indeed, while in years gone by our ‘important factors’ graph featured peaks and troughs, in 2016, most promoters appear to be losing sleep over just three related issues – artist fees, competition from other festivals, and a lack of suitable
IQ Magazine January 2017
headliners – all of which, it could be argued, are tied in to how much of an event’s budget goes on securing talent. Highlighting the extent of the problem, Huber reveals, “A lot of bands are now asking for a minimum of €50,000 even when they don’t have an album out. Breaking bands from the UK have gone from costing about €5,000 to asking for €15-20,000. The problem is that festivals’ hot radar stages are now getting so expensive, that it might not make sense to have them any more.” It’s not exactly a shock then that our surveyed events also predicted that artist fees, a lack of headliners, and competition would be the three most troublesome concerns over the next five years in the European festivals business. But with literally thousands of festivals now chasing a finite pool of proven talent, coming up with a solution to the dilemma of spiralling fees is a tricky one for the industry to address. “Baby acts still cost about the same, while the mid range is getting more expensive. But when it comes to headliners and
co-headliners, fees are just exploding beyond any reasonable level – the rates have become scary in the last five years,” says Thanscheidt. “We’re now at a point where ticket prices cannot be raised much more, but at Scorpio we are not cutting down on acts, as we are also a huge tour promoter and we use our festivals to help develop acts for touring.” As preoccupied as people might be with artist fees, it appears that, overall, the industry believes that the festivals sector is in good shape. Indeed, asked to describe the current state of the industry, only 15% described it as ‘worrying’, while 44% chose either ‘fantastic’ or ‘healthy’ and 31% opted for ‘static.’ With that, we’d like to heartily thank all the festivals that took the time to participate in this year’s report and we wish them all the best for the 2017 season. Certainly, with many events expanding capacity and reaping the rewards of higher audience numbers, the demand from fans does not seem to be diminishing.
What are the first and second most important factors affecting the festival industry currently?
First most important Second most important
es t it i To on f ur ro in m g A ot rt he ist r s Pr od uc tio nC os ts
ck et Pr ic Ti
Co mp e
er th We a
r he Ot
Ec o Cl nom im i at c e
tis tF ee s
Co m ot pet he it r F ion es fr t iv om al s A La ck o He f Su ad ita lin bl er e s
A Summer’s Tale (DE), Akbank Jazz (TU), Amsterdam Woods (NL), Bad Bonn Kilbi (CH), Balaton Sound (HU), Baloise Session (CH), Belladrum Tartan Heart (UK), Benicàssim (ES), Bergenfest (NO), Best Kept Secret (NL), Bluetone (DE), Cactus (BE), Chiemsee Summer (DE), Colours of Ostrava (CZ), Concert at SEA (NL), D-Marin Classical Music Festival (TU), Das Fest (DE), DCODE (ES), Deer Shed Festival (UK), Deichbrand (DE), DGTL (NL), Download (UK), EDC (UK), Ejekt (GR), Elbjazz (DE), Electric Castle (RO), Esbjerg Rock (DK), EXIT (RS), Festival The Brave (NL), Week-end au bord l’eau (CH), FortaRock (NL), Granatos Live (LT), Hellfest (FR), Highfield (DE), Hurricane (DE), Ilosaarirock (FI), Immergut (DE), INmusic (HU), Into the Woods (NL), Jazine Open Air (HR), Jazzopen Stuttgart (DE), Jelling Musikfestival (DK), Latitude Festival (UK), Leeds Festival (UK), Liverpool Sound City (UK), Lowlands (NL), Lucca Summer Festival (IT), M’era Luna (DE), Mad Cool (ES), Maifeld Derby (DE), Melt! (DE), MENT Ljubljana (SI), Metal Hammer Paradise (DE), MetalDays (SI), Montreux Jazz Festival (CH), MS Dockville (DE), New Fall Festival (DE), NorthSide (DK), One Love Festival (TU), Open Air Gampel (CH), Open’er Festival (PL), OpenAir St.Gallen (CH), Øya (NO), Paaspop (NL), Paléo Festival Nyon (CH), ParkCity Live (NL), Pete the Monkey (FR), Plisskën (GR), Pohoda (SK), Popronde (NL), North Sea Jazz (NL), Primavera Sound (ES), Provinssi (FI), Qstock (FI), Reading Festival (UK), Resurrection (ES), River Party (GR), Rock for People (CZ), Rock in Vienna (AT), Rock Werchter (BE), Rolling Stone Weekender (DE), Roskilde Festival (DK), Ruisrock Festival (FI), Shambala Festival (UK), Slottsfjell (NO), Southside (DE), SummerDays (CH), Sweden Rock Festival (SE), Szene Openair (AT), Sziget Festival (HU), SZIN Festival (HU), Tuska Open Air Metal (FI), Umsonst & Draußen (DE), Vestrock (NL), VOLT (HU), Way Back When (DE), Way Out West (SE), Weekend Festival Finland (FI), What’s Next in Music? (LT), Wireless (UK), Young Art Festival (NL).
IQ Magazine January 2017
IQ Magazine January 2017
The Gaffer: Bill Leabody
In 1977, with Britain deep in the grip of one of its worst post-war recessions, young construction trainee, Bill Leabody, decided to take a break from the building site to become a roadie for a few months. Gordon Masson learns just how Bill reached the top of the production ladder during his 40-year sabbatical. As The Gaffer for 2016, Bill Leabody joins an elite list of winners that includes Jake Berry, Chris Kansy, Jesse Sandler, Jason Danter, Wob Roberts and Arthur Kemish. In addition to being production wizards, at the top of their game, that group also share something else in common – none of them set out to become a production manager. For Leabody, his route into music was entirely fortuitous, as the 61 year old admits that he cannot play any musical instruments. “I can’t play a single chord on a guitar,” he laughs – despite being a tech for the likes of The Edge down the years. “Oh sure, as long as it’s plugged into a tuner, I can tune a guitar,” he says. “But back in 1977, I don’t think anyone who went to a gig by The Damned would have noticed if the guitar wasn’t properly tuned.” However, his love affair with music has been life-long. “My sister used to take me to the Gin Mill Club in Godalming. I saw Genesis there. They were like the local band because they were at Charterhouse School, so I saw them first when I was about 14 – something I was only too happy to tell Peter Gabriel about when I worked on his tours.” After four decades in the business, one thing Bill can profess to being is one of the world’s best production managers – a fact that current employers, Coldplay, took advantage of five years ago when they persuaded him to take on the gaffer role for their Mylo Xyloto stadium tour. “I’d known Bill for years and he’s a legend, so when the position became available in our world, he was at the top of my wish list,” says the band’s manager, Dave Holmes. “Bill has a very even temperament and is never rattled by anything. He’s extremely well liked by the crew and the band and always has solutions, which is vitally important for a production manager.” And when it comes to touring acts, there aren’t too many who are more demanding – in a positive way – than Coldplay. “They are very ambitious: I don’t think people quite understand that,” reports Bill. “They are determined to put on spectacular shows and groundbreaking tours, so it’s a pleasure to work with such creative minds. “Coldplay have a tendency to change their minds about things at the last minute, but that’s just one of the challenges that you have to expect when working with great artists and it happens with most bands. I think it’s because a lot of acts don’t understand drawings and when they see the reality of a creative plan in the actual production, they want to change things so that it matches the expectations of their vision. It puts a lot of pressure on everyone working in the crew when that happens, but for Coldplay, we’ve all been working with them for a long
time and everyone wants to push the envelope to make each show better and better.” But more on Coldplay’s A Head Full of Dreams tour later…
Early Years Born in Guildford, Surrey, Bill admits that upon leaving school he didn’t have a clue what he wanted to do. As a result, he followed a friend into the construction industry, initially studying at the South Bank Polytechnic in London before embarking on a traineeship with building giants Bovis. “It was hard work but I really enjoyed it,” recalls Bill. “You’d work in different departments for six-month spells – surveying, contracting and, of course, on-site with the builders. It made me realise how hard people work – it wasn’t exactly fun climbing on scaffolding, in the snow, 30 stories up.” Working hard to learn his trade, Bill had no inclination that he’d soon be working with some of the biggest rock stars on the planet. But when the 1970s recession hit home and Britain entered its notorious three-day week, the construction industry downed tools and Bill found himself looking for something else to keep busy. “A guy I knew in the pub, Ron Wolf, was Graham Parker’s tour manager, whose manager, Dave Robinson, was also coowner of Stiff Records. They needed two roadies to go out on tour with The Damned, so me and a guy I went to school with, Oz Marsh – who is now one of the world’s best riggers – stepped in,” says Bill. “I basically told Bovis I was going to take a sixweek sabbatical and 40 years later, I’m still on it.” While the rarefied environment of being one of the industry’s few successful stadium-tour production managers brings with it certain perks, Bill’s introduction to touring was far from glamorous. “Those punk gigs in the 70s were a battlefield,” he states. “It was more about trying to keep people from getting onto the stage, and making sure nobody was nicking the gear, than anything else.” Those early years saw Bill working with a variety of Stiff label acts – Larry Wallis and “pub gigs with Ian Dury” spring to mind. But a call to help out a young act called The Pretenders soon saw Bill taking on a whole new range of responsibilities and learning the ropes on various crewing roles. “I was their general dogsbody, but it was a full-time job and I’m a quick learner, so it proved invaluable. I’d go into the studio with them and they just toured non-stop and played everywhere, so we were on the road a lot.”
Bill backstage at the Global Citizen Festival India in November © Matt Miller
IQ Magazine January 2017
The Gaffer “Back in 1977, I don’t think anyone who went to a gig by The Damned would have noticed if the guitar wasn’t properly tuned.” Bill relaxing on a bullet train during one of his early visits to Japan
got on well. I ended up doing the Kick tour with them and that just became huge.” But the connections with The Pretenders continued to pay dividends. “My first stadium show was with Simple Minds and that came through The Pretenders, as Chrissy was obviously married to Jim Kerr – and Jim’s brother, Paul, was the tour manager, so I knew him well. So I ended up doing a couple of tours with them as site coordinator and then did the same job for Tina Turner.” It was on Turner’s tour that Bill met one of the biggest influences on his career – Barrie Marshall. “I learned a lot from watching him operate,” says Bill. “He really cares about everyone – I’d see him taking a bottle of water to the security guy at the back gate. He just wants to make sure everyone is taken care of and feels like a valued member of the team. He’s a fantastic promoter, but more than that, he’s just a very decent human being and I’ve tried to learn from his example.” These days, Bill finds himself among that rare breed of production managers that can run global stadium tours. “You’re right, there aren’t that many of us who can do it – it’s like a knitting circle,” he comments. “I speak to Mark Spring a lot, Jake Berry, Arthur Kemish sometimes, Richard Young quite a lot.”
Wow Moments As the band grew, so did Bill’s skill-set. “The Pretenders got big very quickly, especially in America,” he says. “I went to the States for the first time in 1979 and we were lucky to have Stan Tippins as tour manager, so although we were really green and didn’t know what we were doing, Stan was a real professional and kept us right. Stan was brilliant to me and I learned nearly everything I know by working with him. He was very funny but worked hard and was always professional in the way he went about things and the way he treated people.”
Dark Days Being on the road with a rock band whose fame was in the ascendance was a life-changing experience, but tragedy soon put things into perspective when drugs claimed the lives of two of the band’s original members, James Honeyman-Scott and Pete Farndon, within months of each other. “Jimmy and I were very close and his death hit me hard,” says Bill. “It was such a waste because he was such a great talent. There’s barely a day goes by when I don’t think of Jimmy.” While such tragedy might spell the end of other acts, singer Chrissie Hynde wanted to carry on. “She put together a new band and we just went from clubs to theatres to arenas very quickly and that’s more or less how I became the default production manager,” continues Bill. “Things would happen and it would be a case of ‘Who’s going to call the promoter? You can do it, Bill, cos you’re good at those things.’ So I was the PM, stage manager, you name it…” By 1987, Hynde wanted time off to raise her children. “That’s when I entered the world as a freelance production manager and had to actually start calling myself that,” says Bill. “In saying that, though, I’ve always been very lucky when it comes to getting work – I’ve never really had to go looking for it, as people tend to know when you’re coming to the end of a tour and will get in touch.” His first freelance gig came courtesy of Peter Gabriel. “His tour manager, Billy Francis, called me,” he remembers. “Then the guys from INXS contacted me, as we’d met in Australia and
As Bill closes in on his 40th anniversary in music, there are, of course, many highlights to look back on, but some are more prominent than others. “The Pretenders played the US Festival in California,” smiles Bill. “It was something Steve Wosniak financed and there were about 500,000 people there. It just so happened that it was one of the first shows The Pretenders played with the new line-up and I remember turning around and just seeing this sea of people in front of the stage – it took my breath away.” Another great memory was his first show at Madison Square Garden, also with The Pretenders. “It’s just the Holy Grail for anyone that works in the production side of things. The first time is definitely special though. Loading out can be fun and games when you’re working with the union guys, but I’ve always gotten on well with them and never had any issues. The Garden’s just a special place.”
Bill at Knebworth in 1972 watching The Rolling Stones
IQ Magazine January 2017
The Gaffer “Those punk gigs in the 70s were a battlefield. It was more about trying to keep people from getting onto the stage, and making sure nobody was nicking the gear, than anything else.” Bill also says he’s enjoying the many highlights he gets with Coldplay and with the current tour running until October 2017, he’s looking forward to a few more. “Wembley Stadium was very special,” he says. “We were there for four nights and the shows were just fantastic. Coldplay are definitely at the top of their game – they’ve taken their live performance to another level and it’s a pleasure to be involved.” Another big date was Coldplay’s headline slot at Glastonbury Festival. “The show was phenomenal – and for me it’s the first time I’d been involved with Glastonbury,” says Bill. “Coming onto the site after Adele had loaded out, it just looked like a mud pit and I thought to myself, ‘why on earth would people want to stand in that to watch a band?’ But by the time the gig started it was incredible and that was definitely one of those big moments that you look back on with pride. The band made the decision to give everyone the LED wristbands, which was a hugely expensive exercise, but the result was fantastic. For my first experience of the festival, it could not have gone better and I have to say that the people that work on Glastonbury were fantastic – really professional and helpful. “Chris [Martin] is incredible – he’s become so good and is genuinely one of the best frontmen out there,” states Bill. And he also enjoys the band’s work ethic, which is a great deal more crew-friendly than most. “Coldplay tend to work two days on, one day off, but they will also figure in breaks of a few weeks at a time too, because they have families now and want to spend time with them. That obviously works well for everyone involved, as it means crew can also take time off with their families.”
Testimonials I’ve worked with Bill for the last six years on Coldplay and The Cure. He’s a professional who’s pretty much unflappable. It doesn’t get much more frenetic than the Coldplay tour (we just did Bombay to 110,000) and there will always be issues on a tour of this size, but he tackles problems directly and never loses his sense of humour, which is key to who he is. An absolute gentleman and it’s genuinely a pleasure to work for him.
Adam Hatton, Global Motion Ltd Bill is a wonderful person. A pleasure to work with. He really listens and supports the design process and will do his utmost to make it happen. A total legend.
Misty Buckley, production designer Bill Leabody is a lovely man. Working with him over the years has always been a real pleasure and he became a dear friend. On the current run, Bill has been an integral part again in letting Coldplay’s dreams become reality in the stadiums. A Head Full of Dreams is another milestone and I am truly excited to be a part of it, and to spend more time with Bill and his team. Congratulations to the Gaffer 2016 – well deserved, bud!
Matt Schwarz, Live Nation Germany, Austria, Switzerland I have worked with Bill for a long time. You can call him up in the middle of a drama and he doesn’t get flustered. He just helps solve it. He’s one of the best! Congratulations, Bill. Overdue and well deserved!!
John Giddings, Solo Agency
Bill and Coldplay’s ‘A Head Full of Dreams’ crew at Levi’s Stadium in San Francisco © Matt Miller
IQ Magazine January 2017
The Gaffer “Coldplay have a tendency to change their minds about things at the last minute, but that’s just one of the challenges that you have to expect when working with great artists and it happens with most bands.”
The ‘Dreams’ Team Being in charge of a mammoth global stadium tour obviously brings with it a whole set of challenges to overcome, but Bill is remarkably relaxed when it comes to discussing the logistics of taking A Head Full of Dreams intercontinental. “We have two sets of steel out – three sets when needed. But the expense of having a third set out is silly, so we avoid it as much as possible,” Bill says of the tour. “We’ve got a fantastic relationship with Stageco, which is an amazing company to deal with, so we’re able to plan things well ahead of time in terms of staging.” That isn’t true for everything, however. “On this tour there have been an enormous amount of changes from concept to now, production-wise,” reveals Bill. “Stuff was literally showing up as we rehearsed in Nice for the first date of the European tour.” He continues, “The band are all heavily involved, but Chris and Phil Harvey drive the design elements. One thing that Chris wanted for this tour, for example, was that the stage had to be sprung so he could run around.” Another request from the band, carried over from 2012’s Mylo Xyloto tour, was a roofless stage – a particular challenge for the crew when inclement weather hits. “We’ve been pretty lucky on this tour with rain,” Bill tells IQ. “On Mylo, it rained all the time and grew to be pretty miserable sometimes for the crew. On that tour we had a protective shelter for Will and the drum kit. But he absolutely hated it, so it’s gone on this tour.” And the learning curve for the Coldplay crew means that other artists in the future should benefit from their new skills. “We’ve become pretty good at waterproofing equipment,” confirms Bill. “But the real secret is that we carry a lot of spares – we carry four pianos for Chris, for instance.” But the weather can still wreak havoc. “We’ve not had to stop a show, so far, but we came pretty close in Sunderland where it poured the whole time we
Bill is a true professional, and it has been a pleasure to work with him on many projects over the years. He has a unique talent for being able to understand all aspects of a live show, whether big or small, from the point of view of not only the artist, but the venue and the promoter. He will always ensure the show works as well as it possibly can for everyone, especially the most important people at any show – the customers. This prestigious award is richly deserved and everyone from SJM Concerts congratulates him on receiving it. We look forward to many more years of working together.
Andy Redhead, SJM Concerts I’ve known Bill from when I was wearing shorts – it was on a Depeche Mode tour and we had some arguments. But after that, we got to know each other better, and we’ve since had a fantastic relationship. My team and I will be very happy to see him again on the Coldplay 2017 tour.
Roberto De Luca, Live Nation Italy It is with great joy and a big smile we hear that Bill has been awarded the 2016 Gaffer Award. Good to hear that an honest, dedicated industry stalwart gets the recognition that all their hard work and perspiration over many years deserves. Really, really pleased for Bill, he will defo get our vote for The Gaffer Award 2017 too!
Jon Greaves, Lite Alternative Bill Leabody is a great production manager – he is the kind of guy you actually feel like you are on the same team with, which just delivers the best result for the artist, audience and promoter. Bill is the person you like to see when you get the first production details from a band. We have just had the pleasure of working with him on two very successful Coldplay shows in Copenhagen – stunning production – and my production manager Signe and I send our congratulations for this welldeserved award, and hope to see Bill on the road again soon.
Jesper Christensen, Live Nation Denmark We have worked on the same projects as Bill for more years than either of us would care to remember, especially as he still looks so young! I have always found him to be one of the most methodical and helpful people to deal with. His projects often seem to carry that extra bit of spice or challenge, which he rises to professionally and enthusiastically. It is great to hear Bill has won this well-deserved award – many congratulations and I look forward to interesting projects in the future.
Martin Goebbels, Robertson Taylor There are some characters in this business, and then there are some characters who are gentlemen. Bill has the knowledge to handle any issue that confronts him with experience, patience and a smile. He is someone I admire greatly and I know the music business is in good hands with Bill.
Barrie Marshall, Marshall Arts Bill is the calm, steady guy you want on your big tour! Coldplay’s spectacular production is set to sell close to five million tickets by the time the tour ends © Matt Miller
Larry Webman, Paradigm Talent Agency IQ Magazine January 2017
“… there aren’t that many of us who can do it – it’s like a knitting circle.” were there and we got down to the last piano. So it’s important to have a lot of spare equipment, but it’s also important to have a thorough repair programme – we take a piano tech with us to do just that.” When it comes to the biggest challenges Bill has had to overcome in 2016, Coldplay’s manager Dave Holmes has an instant response: “The Super Bowl.” Now recognised as one of the biggest gigs on the planet, Super Bowl 50 saw the band share the stage with Beyoncé and Bruno Mars during the half-time show. “It’s the single biggest gig Coldplay have ever done and the challenges were immense,” Holmes says. “The pressure is tremendous as half time is just 20 minutes and the performance is 12 minutes long, which means you have to build and tear down a stadium-sized production in just eight minutes. But Bill just took it in his stride.”
Next on the Bill With nearly 50 stadium dates still to go before the tour ends in October 2017, Bill reveals Coldplay’s total ticket sales will be close to five million, making it one of the biggest tours in history. And any thoughts on how to follow that are far from his mind. “I’ll be 62 years old by the end of the tour, so I’ll see how I feel before making any decisions on what to do next,” says Bill. “But I reckon I’ll take a bit of time off.” He adds, “When you work with Coldplay, it’s difficult to contemplate working for anyone else. With Coldplay the budget is available to do things right. To go into another situation where that’s not the case isn’t very appealing.” So, are there any particular acts he couldn’t say ‘no’ to? “There’s nobody I particularly dream of working with. It would have been David Bowie, but I did his last tour. I grew up as the biggest Bowie fan, so working for the man was amazing. He was a true gentleman and amazingly professional. Peter Gabriel is also like that – as far as artists go, I can’t think of any better.” However, working for Bowie also resulted in the worst incident in Bill’s career. “A stage hand died when he fell from a height – it was terrible,” he says. “But David was great; he was very supportive and we had long conversations about what had happened and the impact it had. Something like that, when someone dies, leaves a mark on you. Health
My team and I have been lucky enough to work with Bill on both The Dixie Chicks and Coldplay. Bill is a wonderful person – quiet, unassuming and very professional at everything he does. He made both the set-up and the actual tours easy for all of us. Congratulations, Bill, well deserved and long over due.
Michael Chugg, Chugg Entertainment Many congratulations, Bill, on receiving the prestigious Gaffer Award. From working with you in 79 with The Pretenders, when we toured in a three-and-a-half tonner using the Good Beer Guide for the best route from gig to gig, throughout the years to the present day, working with you on Coldplay – you have always been passionate and professional in every way. To a good friend, very well deserved.
Tony Bowern, Brilliant Stages Bill is a true gentleman, ready to take on any challenge. It’s great to see him recognised for his remarkable contribution to the world of touring production. He is as accomplished as he is fair-minded, in all of his dealings on the road. We are always confident that Bill will effectively manage the moving of our equipment around the world while taking great care of the crew. It’s always an honour to work for him.
Kevin Forster, VER I have a long association with my best friend, Bill – I went to school with him and was in the same class from the age of 12. I was partially responsible for his delving into the rock & roll world at the start of his career and we enjoyed touring together in the late 70s and early 80s, including a memorable US tour in 82 with The Pretenders in which the whole crew apart from the drivers were UK-based and took the US by storm – demanding lamb for Sunday dinner from local catering in parts of the US where they believe that there are only two types of meat; steak and bacon! Bill’s talent as a production manager is the calmness he effuses, creating a very strong and talented team around him for the multitude of tasks a modern, stadium touring show requires. His productions are marked by a great family vibe and a happy ship throughout the crew and band parties with everyone willing to give it all and go that extra mile when asked!
Oz Marsh, Global Rigging Ltd In our tours together I’ve seen Bill pull off some of the most difficult, elaborate, and pioneering show productions under tight deadlines and tricky circumstances, all the while maintaining his composure and staying an absolute pleasure to work with. He’s a great production manager because beneath his technical ability, he’s a great person. He’s upbeat, relaxed, friendly, thoughtful, intelligent, and most of all, he’s incredibly caring. He cares deeply about the show, his acts and his crew, and it shows in everything he does. Bill’s not only a colleague but an incredible friend, and I’d guess that most people who have worked with him feel the same way.
Alex Pollock, Coldplay tour accountant Bill on location with youngest daughter, Annabella, during the 2016 tour
IQ Magazine January 2017
“People don’t realise the sacrifices that you make when you work in this business. You cannot compromise and unfortunately you have to be on it all of the time…”
We are currently advancing the upcoming Coldplay stadium tour across Asia, and Bill’s involvement has been crucial. His longevity in this industry speaks of his utmost professionalism.
Jason C Miller, Live Nation
Bill took wife, Lauren, and daughter, Annabella, to his beloved Chelsea Football Club during a recent visit to London
Bill is absolutely one of the nicest and most amazing people I’ve worked with. I have no idea how he keeps up with everything he has to keep up with – it’s an inhuman ability. There’s a side to him that I like to call ‘Indomitable Bill’. When he’s dealing with someone who is telling him something he knows is wrong or is not nearly as big of an issue as the person might be trying to make it out to be, Bill stands up really tall (he’s a rather tall fellow) crosses his arms and looks downward at them. In these moments, Bill is an insurmountable mountain. I have seen people just trail off when he does this. Bill has seen, and done, just about any type of show in any type of location, and takes it all in his stride. Just an amazing fellow!
David Kennedy, Strictly FX
and safety sometimes goes over the top, but the dark days of people climbing without harnesses and proper training and things, are, thankfully, long gone.” So when Coldplay decide to return to touring, will Bill still be around to take the production reins? “I’ve thought about stopping; retiring. But what would I do? I play golf but I’m awful,” he laughs. “I’m part of a fantastic team – from the riggers and carpenters right through to the stage managers and Nicole who works for me. To be honest, I feel like I’d be letting them down if I decided not to turn up.” Nonetheless, he is looking forward to spending more time at home in Laguna Beach, California, with wife, Lauren and daughter, Annabella, while Charlie, son of his eldest daughter, Joanna, is also in line for some more granddad time. “My daughter used to hate the fact that my job takes me away for weeks at a time, but she’s now at the age when she realises that dad can get her tickets for things, so now I think she’s ok with it,” he says. “People don’t realise the sacrifices that you make when you work in this business. You cannot compromise and unfortunately you have to be on it all of the time and even when I go home I find it hard to relax. But the one thing I look forward to is not being tired.”
I’ve been Coldplay’s audio supplier for well over ten years. We’ve provided systems and technical support for the band working in small theatres to outdoor stadiums and we’ve become part of the Coldplay family. Working with Bill is a pleasure. He has the great ability to let the heads of departments work directly with each other on the finer details on technical issues, to end with a show that is worthy of the band’s ambitions and eye for detail. Coldplay are a very demanding band, which shows in the production values they strive for from small promo engagements, to large, stadium-format shows, and this passes down to the departments and crew around them. Bill is a perfect person to keep the technical departments on the ball in a calm and managed manner. Congratulations, Bill, on the award, and we look forward to continuing the tour in 2017.
Chris Hill, Wigwam Acoustics Ltd Bill worked for us for a couple of years as the production manager for Roxette when they did the Joyride world tour of arenas and stadiums, so I know him very well. He’s a very solid man, a dear friend and I’m very happy for him that he’s with Coldplay, as they are great guys and fantastic artists and we’re looking forward to having them back here with us next summer.
Thomas Johansson, Live Nation Sweden I’ve been working closely with Bill on the past two Coldplay tours and he’s a great guy as well as a very talented production manager who has made some great decisions for the band. It was astonishing to watch how he handled the Super Bowl production, as the time frame for that is just insane. Bill is especially good when it comes to the practicalities of getting the tour from one place to another, as his knowledge of carnets and customs clearance is second to none. In Asia, he’s been able to provide us with amazing accurate time frames for getting from one country to another, so he’s an invaluable asset for Coldplay.
Proud grandparent, Bill, with eldest daughter, Joanna, and newest addition to the family, Charlie
IQ Magazine January 2017
Steve Strange, X-ray Touring 49
IQ Magazine January 2017
A strong 2016, cautious optimism for 2017, a doubling down on existing events, diversification out of commercial necessity, and a move to shorter lead times, are, Eamonn Forde learns, the dominant themes across the staging, tracking and rigging area of the live industry at the moment.
ne of the major beneficiaries of the growth of the live music industry, and the many festivals and tours that are now constantly on the road, is the steel business – the engineers and crew who erect everything from the most basic fencing through to the most elaborate stage sets that audiences have ever witnessed. But we ain’t seen nothing yet... The list of suppliers now operating in the steel sector is vast, but among the best known experts are the likes of Star Events Group, Stageco, Megaforce, Eve Lion Trackhire (formerly Eve Trakway), Prolyte, All Access Inc, Tait Towers, Gearhouse, Mojo Barriers and eps, some of whom tell IQ that, against the backdrop of a tough economic reality, 2016 has been better than they hoped. Others report it far exceeded forecasts; suggesting a mixed bag, but not one doused in misery. “It’s been better than a good one – it’s been the best!” says an ebullient Tom Bilsen, operations director for Stageco, of the past year for his company, which worked on major tours by Beyoncé, AC/DC, Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna. “We have never had this much work in one year. We have never had as many stages out at the same time. But it also means we have never had as much turnover that reflects the amount of work we did throughout the whole year.” Michael Brombacher, CEO of staging rivals Megaforce, says, “The demands of classic festivals and concerts/artists, did not really change in recent years concerning steel and structures. But festivals more and more want to offer their audiences different attractions in one place, so there is not only a main stage, but also a second stage, chill out area, camping area, VIP platform, club area and so on. “They offer different themes in one festival in order to create a kind of adventure event with the character of a vacation including camping.” On the back of a bumper 2016, supplying stages and support structures to festivals, stadium shows, sports events, brand activations and more besides, Star Events special projects director Roger Barrett is busy developing infrastructure for the new year. “Further investment of over £1.5million [€1.8m] before next summer will see festival mainstay Orbit Flexidome rebranded as Orbit Arch, with more height, floor space and rigging capacity, while a new, touring ‘Ultra’ version of the flagship VerTech stage system will be unveiled in early 2017 too,” Barrett reports. David Walkden of Eve Trakway says that major stadium shows by acts like Rod Stewart, Elton John and Beyoncé – as well as recurring work at festivals such as Glastonbury, Isle of Wight and Bestival – provided an uptick for his company this year. “2016 was a busy year for stadium cover,” he says. “We serviced over 30 stadiums in the UK, providing promoters with heavy-duty trackway to enable safe access into venues, which is paramount for the protection of their production infrastructure.”
IQ Magazine January 2017
Structure Prolyte’s LT Roof in action for Maroon5
Ruud de Deugd, Prolyte product manager for roof structures, observes, “We’re definitely seeing a growth in demand for roof structures, whether these are for small to mid-scale events or for the larger events and festivals. We also see a slowly growing awareness towards safety aspects in the build of roof structures – one of the biggest challenges for our industry at the moment.” Meanwhile, Robyn D’Alessandro, marketing manager at Gearhouse in South Africa, is more circumspect, despite working on shows by Mariah Carey and Nicki Minaj this year, as well as the MTV MAMAs and SA Music Awards. The sector there was dampened somewhat by tougher and less predictable trading conditions. “One of the learning curves of 2016 for us was that peaks and troughs are no longer as predictable as they have been in the past,” says D’Alessandro. “Budgets are under extreme pressure and projected work can dissolve into thin air at the last second as budgets collapse. We have streamlined processes and looked at our offering more strategically to counteract the downturn.”
“Budgets are under extreme pressure and projected work can dissolve into thin air at the last second as budgets collapse.” Robyn D’Alessandro, Gearhouse Okan Tombluca, managing director of eps holding gmbh, comments, “2016 was an ambivalent year: On one side great tours with Beyoncé, Coldplay, Rihanna and many others, and on the other side a lot of weather issues at many festivals. “2017 looks like a much busier year with again a lot of great tours like Guns N’ Roses, Depeche Mode, Coldplay, Phil Collins, AIDA with Placido Domingo, and Robbie Williams. And in addition a lot of new festivals like Lollapalooza Paris, Download at a new site in Paris, Wireless in Germany and many others.”
For some, they are becoming less reliant on music events for their bottom line, especially as outdoor shows are seasonal, whereas others are seeing it as a new sector to diversify into. Richard Howey Nunn, director at Steeldeck, estimates that music makes up just 5% of his company’s business, with over 10% being film/TV and 50% being events. “It’s been a good year, but live music is not a big part of what we do,” he says. That said, they do work at the O2 and count both Glastonbury and WOMAD as regular clients. Others, meanwhile, have identified live entertainment as an area of opportunity and a way to offset revenue declines in more traditional parts of the business. “There is the mining division, the construction division and the entertainment division – which is the newest division of the company,” explains Coni Monroe of Arizona-based Elko Wire. “The entertainment division has been building steadily and we are cautiously optimistic for 2017. The reasoning behind setting up [the entertainment division] is that it is a lucrative division and [we] decided to give it a try.” When much of your business is around festivals and outdoor touring, you are somewhat at the mercy of the weather, as well as the diversity and quality of acts on the road at any one time. But as live becomes a bigger draw the shows are becoming more spectacular. It appears it is a qualitative increase in the scale of events rather than quantitative uptick in the number of events that is proving the driver. “The live events market goes from strength to strength, and with productions growing in complexity and scale every year, the need for temporary infrastructure grows,” says Walkden. “In the touring market, the production becomes increasingly adventurous each year and the methodology for building the production has evolved with a requirement to install heavy-duty access in front of the stage now, as well as backstage for heavy materials and crane support.” So, with more and more events, especially festivals, cropping up all the time, how do companies make sure they have enough equipment to meet demand? “The secret is to have the right logistics,” says eps boss Tombulca. “We’re trying to utilise our material as effectively as possible, which demands the best team on earth (our people), very good warehouse facilities with 24/7 operation, as well as very good trucking. Besides that, we are investing every year a couple of million Euros into different equipment, and we just increased our development department by one more person. Mobile cleaning facilities, strong operations on-site and a good co-ordination between different festivals and shows are essential.” Brombacher reveals that Megaforce is focussing on dance events as part of its long-term strategy. “These kind of events are becoming more and more popular and are focussed on event/scaffolding structures. Megaforce already did several constructions and is aiming to become the leading company in creating these constructions – watch out, this will be the future,” he states. “The challenge in the EDM sector is to create flexible constructions because the demands are always changing. Although the theme may stay the same, the contours of the stages for example are changing from event to event. Therefore, we have to do calculations on stability, load capacity, structure and statics, which are very flexible. Otherwise we would have to start every calculation for an event from scratch. What we do is create basic engineering that is flexible and compatible to a variety of demands.”
IQ Magazine January 2017
Meanwhile, Bilsen describes his company’s festival work in Europe as “stable” but it is about repeat business in markets it is already active in – the UK, Germany, France, Belgium and The Netherlands – rather than geographical expansion. “I can’t really say that it’s new markets opening up,” he says, but does point out that Eastern European festivals are growing in scale as they attract more foreign visitors each year, so their infrastructure demands are increasing. As part of this and in light of health and safety regulations, the need to invest in new equipment is paramount. “In 2016, we invested more or less the average of what we invested in the few years before, so it was not a big step up,” says Bilsen. “Nevertheless, on a group level, we are investing 6-7% of our turnover into new material. That’s rather stable throughout the years.” Some years the investment is higher than others and this is often down to the specific requirements of a touring show that wants to push the envelope in terms of spectacle. “2012 was an exception as we made about double that amount,” Bilsen explains. “We had a big tour by Madonna [that year] for which we made new and bigger roofs – what we call our XXL roofs. We invested in these back in 2012 when we manufactured new and big systems that we did not have before.” New Prolyte products that are proving popular include its XXL and Space Roof systems, the latter of which can be built up to 37 x 25 metres and can handle 30 tonnes live load, divided over the complete roof structure, plus a side load or PA load of four tonnes per side. The Space Roof was used by the likes of Rammstein, Iron Maiden, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Way out West, Flow (Massive Attack) and Sweden Rock during the past year. “There’s definitely a trend for productions and touring structures to get larger and more heavy, like the before mentioned Metallica and Rammstein,” de Deugd tells IQ. “Even though PA and video equipment have become lighter, we see more and more set pieces, motion or special effects in the production, contributing to a growth in total weight.” Although this is the standard live load this roof can handle, Prolyte does get frequent requests for heavier productions. For Metallica it made specific calculations and some extra re-enforcements to get the 55-tonne production in, where for Rammstein the Space Roof was able to support the 48-tonne production set. Howey Nunn notes that sometimes investment in new equipment is determined by what suddenly comes into vogue and what clients start to demand. This is even if the suppliers would prefer to keep using the older structures, as they feel more confident deploying them. “We started doing light deck a couple of years ago as, especially on the rock & roll side of things, people like a shiny light deck rather than a steel deck,” he says. “They are used on stage rather than to make the stage. That’s how we generally see them. We’d rather build stages out of steel deck and if people want them, rolling risers or drum risers or backline risers, but if they want them in light deck, then we will supply them in light deck. That’s because people just like that look, but we prefer to build in steel deck just because we know what it is.” Occasionally, clients will make very specific requests and do so for very particular reasons around insurance as well as health and safety. Suppliers have to ensure that these Caption
IQ Magazine January 2017
“The live events market goes from strength to strength, and with productions growing in complexity and scale every year, the need for temporary infrastructure grows.” David Walkden, Eve Trakway requests are met if they want to see repeat business. “We do have a lot of customers that are very emphatic that they want only American-made materials; they don’t like Chinese,” says Elko Wire’s Monroe. “The biggest demand is that it [eg steel rope] be American-made. They want to be able to have a chain of reference in case something goes wrong. Insurance is a huge issue here. While they can go after an American-made company or even a European-made company, the chances of going after anyone in China are zilch.” While some acts travel with their complete production, de Deugd says others take advantage of Prolyte’s global network. “For example, the Bruce Springsteen production
eps played a role in the Rolling Stones’ historic 2016 gig in Cuba
“We have never had this much work in one year. We have never had as many stages out at the same time.” Tom Bilsen, Stageco used a Prolyte roof structure for the tour in Scandinavia, which proved to be more efficient from a logistic point of view – it saves enormously on transportation. We have our structures placed in many countries, so touring productions do not need to take the roof structure with them,” says de Deugd. “This could mean a great saving in production costs, as well as contributing to a smaller ecological footprint.” For D’Alessandro, investment in hardware is a priority as customers are seeing this as feeding into their USP in a crowded market. “Clients are looking for ways of differentiating their events by using technology more creatively,” she says. “As a result, we have seen an upswing in the use of our unique Dome Venues, particularly for corporate events, product launches and the like, looking for a more unusual setting and look with improved rigging capabilities. This is not so much a new opportunity, but rather that clients are starting to realise the value of these structures and the product use is picking up nicely.” Rather than react to customer demands, there is also a need to be proactive and drive product innovation as this will benefit the sector as a whole and also underline a company’s position as one that is characterised by forward thinking. “We have designed what we believe will be a ‘game changing’ product for the events/stadium sector,” says Eve’s Walkden. “This sixth generation of trackway harnesses the heavy-duty benefit of aluminium and the aesthetic and malleable feel of plastic, all connectable to our current system. This system will still provide stability for the UK’s heaviest cranes but with improved safety and comfort for pedestrians, whilst protecting the delicate playing surface beneath.” A more important priority, however, is investment in staffing and training. “Our stockholding is rider-driven and we are very proactive in terms of investing in equipment, as and when technology advances dictate,” says D’Alessandro. “[But] we see our people as our greatest asset and are constantly investing in them via our own Gearhouse Kentse Mpahlwa Academy and equipment/function-specific training.” Looking forward to next year, everyone is cautiously optimistic rather than bullish. For the moment, they cannot say which major acts are going to be doing stadium tours in 2017 as many have not yet been announced. They add that being able to robustly predict what the next 12 months will hold is becoming harder and harder as the leadtime for bookings has dramatically reduced in recent years. “2017 is looking good, but the growing trend towards shortened lead-times makes it very difficult to predict accurately,” says D’Alessandro. “We are, however, very eager to get started.”
Howey Nunn spells out the reality for many in the space – namely, that bookings will come in but advance planning is increasingly a thing of the past because swift turnarounds are becoming the norm. “At the beginning of this month we probably had about 25% of our total orders for the month confirmed,” he says. Looking ahead, Tombulca foresees a number of challenges to tackle in the year ahead. “The biggest one is the compressed period with the most tours and festivals happening,” he says. “The weather problems at festivals are influencing promoters in terms of having material standby, but only paying for it if it’s needed.” He reveals that eps will trial a new floor cover system. “This product currently is the most effective product for pitch cover,” he notes. “In addition we’ve developed a lot of special barricade pieces for many tours like Robbie Williams, Adele and Take That.” Amid the uncertainty and growing need to invest in both equipment and staff, companies here cannot lose sight of what their clients expect – consistency and certainty. “At the end of the day, our customers’ requirements haven’t changed that much over the last 30 years,” says Walkden. “We are always on hand to provide the most suitable solution; after that, it’s simple. We need to provide a quality product and service, on time, every time, for a fair price. That has been our mantra since inception, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”
Megaforce crews will be building ever more complex staging for dance events in the future
IQ Magazine January 2017
IQ Magazine January 2017
Bastille are one of a small handful of British acts to reach European arena-level on their second album. As their Wild, Wild World Tour kicks off, Rhian Jones finds out from those involved, exactly what it’s taken to get there. To go from the 100-cap Hoxton Hall to two sold-out dates at The O2 arena in London, in the space of two albums and four years, is a mighty feat, and one which Bastille and team have achieved in a market whose attention has never been harder to sustain long-term. After hitting No.1 for the second time with their Wild World album in September, in October the band embarked on a 56-date tour that will continue into 2017, visiting arenas and theatres around Europe and the US. Kilimanjaro promoter Carlo Scarampi has been working with the band since that first Hoxton show, and has promoted the Wild, Wild World Tour’s London, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Cardiff and Birmingham dates. “The band’s live
business has gone crazy in a really good way,” he tells us. “After that first sold-out Hoxton show, we sold out the second one, then Scala, and it steamrolled from there. When their debut album came out in 2013, that’s when they really started to hit the ground running.” Live Nation’s Roel Vergauwen, who’s promoting the Sportpaleis (15-19,000 cap) date in Antwerp next year, partly attributes the band’s live success to smart decisions made by agency Coda. “Coda likes to build careers for the long-term. They don’t overplay, they make the right choices, and do it step by step,” he says. Over nearly six years, Bastille have played 460+ shows.
IQ Magazine January 2017
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Bastille The tour visited Cardiff among its UK dates © Gregory Nolan
“We want to finish this campaign at the end of next year on a second headline slot at Reading and Leeds.” Alex Hardee, Coda Agency Since 2014, they have done a worldwide summer festival season, three months of lower-bowl, half-house arenas in North America and Canada; a run of festivals and small shows in Asia, South America, New Zealand and Australia; before heading into a second festival season and then back to the States. This summer they played Glastonbury, Bestival, T in the Park, V Festival and Lollapalooza Chicago, amongst other shows, and the Wild, Wild World Tour is their first headline outing for two and a half years. “This cycle might be the first time in Bastille’s history, beyond the very early steps, where we have tested the value in the market and explored the outer regions of what we are able to sell,” says manager James Sandom at Red Light. “The band are very lucky to be punching at a similar level in almost all major markets around the world, and hopefully this summer’s festival plays demonstrated that we have a show
IQ Magazine January 2017
that is engaging and has the scalability to go beyond arena level, into next summer’s festivals, and justify the value that we have as a live act.” Some production elements of the arena tour had been trialled over the summer, and will be unravelled in phases, starting with the European dates as phase one. Adds Sandom: “If you look at Bastille’s immediate perceived peers, it’s going to be a show that punches right on weight, if not above. “There’s a lot of content and a bespoke set build that will be the foundation on which we will build as we take that same tour to America, into festivals, and Asia, South Africa and other parts of the world at the end of next year.” Due to a change in management, the band ended up playing two summers of festivals without new music, which helped them to reach a broader audience. Agent Alex Hardee at Coda predicts “90-95%” business everywhere for the Wild World run. “I was very confident going into arenas,” he tells IQ. “Our goal was to establish them as a pan-European arena act and we want to finish this campaign at the end of next year on a second headline slot at Reading and Leeds, as well as some of the bigger festivals in Europe, and headline slots on some of the 20,000-capacity ones.” Rock am Ring and Rock im Park in Germany are the only festivals to have been publicly confirmed to date, but Hardee says the band will be playing a major festival in every European country in 2017. So what makes Bastille arena-worthy? According to Mojo’s Ron Euser, it’s their pop sensibility that has taken them from Amsterdam’s 1,500-cap Paradiso, to the 5,500-cap Heineken
“Bastille are a relatively young band, so selling close to full capacity for the Ziggo Dome is quite an achievement.” Ron Euser, Mojo Concerts Music Hall, to selling 14,000 tickets for the capital’s Ziggo Dome show in November. “Bastille are a relatively young band, so selling close to full capacity for the Ziggo Dome is quite an achievement,” Euser says. “But there has always been that support here – the Heineken sold out in a weekend. They’ve had really good support from radio and [their record label] Universal has worked hard on their music. They also came to Holland twice recently for a promotion trip, doing TV shows and radio. They are a really hard-working band.” Both Scarampi and Euser are amongst the many promoters who’ve worked with the band from the get-go, thanks to the loyalty of Bastille frontman Dan Smith. DF Concerts’ Dave McGeachan has promoted every Bastille show in Scotland, taking them from the 250-cap O2 ABC2, to the 2,800-cap Edinburgh Corn Exchange, and then the 12,000-cap SSE Hydro, Glasgow. “When the last album came out, they played a sold-out theatre tour, and T in the Park main stage in 2014,
where the hype and vibe was incredible,” says McGeachan. “It’s hard to go away for a few years, you don’t know how fans’ tastes change and how strong the demand for the band is going to be. But Bastille have returned just as strong as we thought they would. Dan has a bond with the audience and that makes them a really good live act.” Lukasz Minta, who promoted the 24 November date at the 6,000-capacity Torwar in Poland, also notes the jump from the 1,800-cap venue-level Stodola in 2013. “However, the previous show sold out easily and we could have sold even more tickets if the venue was larger,” he adds. Over in Vienna, Harry Jenner, who worked the sold-out, 3,500-cap Gasometer date, has also been very happy with the demand. Bastille will play a similar-sized venue when they play the Zenith in Paris next year, and promoter Gerome Minchelli says that demand is growing in France. “Bastille are a radio band and people need to hear songs on the radio before going to see them live,” he says. “However, we are still selling more tickets and playing bigger venues each time, so we are on the right track. Still, France will be tougher than in other European territories.” Marketing strategies for the shows have focused on traditional print and digital media, with Andy Smith, who promoted the sold-out, 10,000-cap First Direct Arena date in Leeds in November, allocating most of his marketing budget to the latter. “Although print is great for blanket awareness and useful for a show with such wide appeal, we concentrated the majority of our spend on digital ads,” he explains. “Our team use a variety of different platforms to target fans in key locations with specific interests to push ticket sales. We also used digital signage around the region, which we found extremely useful,
Crew load in for the band’s visit to Belfast © Gregory Nolan
IQ Magazine January 2017
Contributors Top, from left to right: Andy Smith (Future Sound Events), Carlo Scarampi (Kilimanjaro Live), Caroline McCann ((TAG Global Touring), Ron Euser (Mojo Concerts), James Sandom (Red Light Management) Middle, from left to right: Matt Woolliscroft (SJM), Matt Wright (Rock-it Cargo), Roel Vergauwen (Live Nation Belgium), Alex Hardee (Coda Agency), Harry Jenner (Musicnet Entertainment) Bottom, from left to right: Lukasz Minta (Go Ahead), Richard PriceDeer (Jumbocruiser), Joel Stanley (production manager), Dave McGeachan (DF Concerts), Jim Liddiard (Creative Technology)
“The band will be the band, whatever stuff you throw around them…No one goes home humming the lights!” Dick Meredith, TM as we were able to quickly amend the campaign and locality of the ads due to demand, for example, if particular events were happening in the city we wanted to target.” SJM’s Matt Woolliscroft, who worked the Manchester Arena (14,500) and Metro Radio Arena (10,500) in Newcastle dates in November, found that ticket sales were noticeably reactive to visual marketing. “We did a TV advert for the Newcastle show and sales jumped sharply. Not all tours do that.” The show has been designed by Rob Sinclair, who has also worked on sets for Florence & the Machine, Zayn, Charli XCX, Queen & Adam Lambert, Adele, and Hurts. He was tasked with a vague brief that tied in with the Wild World album cover theme of falling, perspective and looking down. During the live show, three different-sized screens feature scenes involving travel, architecture and nature interspersed with live video. A Wild World Communication Newscast features a typically pompous politician who hosts the show, which Smith has described as a nod “towards the omnipresent media and the mad, post-truth world of politics that we all live in at the moment.”
AV equipment has been provided by Avesco, and Creative Technology’s project manager, Jim Liddiard, describes Sinclair’s work as “one of the best arena designs I’ve seen in a long time.” Managing the budget is tour manager Dick Meredith’s hardest task, as it was important to the band to keep ticket prices reasonable: from Ally Pally to the O2, the price is up by £8.50 (€9.95). “With a £30 [€35] ticket you can’t put on a Rihanna-sized show, if we had a £50 [€59] ticket we could have all kinds of bells and whistles, but I’m absolutely convinced that the audience will see this tour and be blown away. The band will be the band, whatever stuff you throw around them,” says Meredith. “No one goes home humming the lights!” Production has doubled in terms of the number of trucks and personnel since production manager Joel Stanley joined in 2014. “I brought on a design team, stage manager and rigger and a bunch of people I’ve worked with before,” he explains. “They’ve gone from projection to LED, one designer to another, we’ve had a little shift in playback systems, the infrastructure has changed, and they’ve now got a US and UK rig. The whole operation has been taken up a gear.” Fly By Nite provides eight trucks for Wild World’s UK and European dates. The firm has worked on every tour Bastille has done, and describes the band and team as a “pleasure to work with.” Unsurprisingly, time constraints prove the biggest challenge when driving long distances overnight, which can span 600 miles. “We need to put two drivers in to do that kind of distance,” says Fly By Nite’s Matt Jackson. “One of the tough ones for this tour was Birmingham to Belfast overnight. Because of the timing of the ferries we couldn’t arrive until midday and normally we’d be in to load at 9am. It’s a challenge for Joel and the guys to get the show set-up in a short timescale.”
IQ Magazine January 2017
Bastille Bastille at the Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, in November © Gregory Nolan
“I feel as though we have accomplished the hardest part, which is being in the game for a second cycle...” James Sandom, Red Light Management
relaxed and comfortable working environment, even at times of immense pressure.” For Sandom, the success of the Wild World album campaign and tour is proof that Bastille has arrived as a fully developed career act that is here to stay. “I feel as though we have accomplished the hardest part, which is being in the game for a second cycle; having a ticket value that is greater than the first cycle; festival discussions that were beyond where we were at on the first record; a genuine hit single for a second time; and a business that is building in every sense, but most importantly in terms of perception. So there’s a bit of good news!”
Matt Wright, from freight shipping firm Rock-it Cargo, credits Stanley for understanding the security and customs clearance hoops that cargo has to go through to get from place to place. “Bastille seem to love touring, which means schedules are pretty frantic and hectic, so there is always kit being moved somewhere between cities around the globe,” he says. It’s a great crew and camp to work with.” Wright has gone from being responsible for flying and shipping around 300kg of equipment in 2014, to up to 4,500kg today, including two wire men structures, one of which is rigged from the roof of venues and falls down at the end of the show. “Even though they had two sets of band gear, they didn’t have two sets of the wire men, so I think these guys earned as many air miles as the crew did by the time promo finished!” Travel agents TAG Global Touring have witnessed the increased size of Bastille’s tour operation over the years, with the travel party growing to around 40 people on the road. Says MD Caroline McCann: “It is always a pleasure to work with Bastille and those working on the tour here at TAG Global Touring feel very privileged to be a part of their team.” Sharing that sentiment is Jumbocruiser, who provided four coaches for the band’s October tour. Adds operations manager Richard PriceDeer: “It is a very friendly, familybased feel, the road management under Joel and Dick’s control make it a pleasure to be part of. All the crew are pretty much handpicked, like our drivers were, and this results in a The show’s spectacular video screens at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena © Gregory Nolan
IQ Magazine January 2017
12.OLINDA 14.RECIFE 3.BRASÍLIA
7.GOIÂNIA 2.BELO HORIZONTE 9.LONDRINA 4.CURITIBA
15.RIO DE JANEIRO 17.SÃO PAULO 5.FLORIANÓPOLIS
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ROCKING RIO In the centre of a perfect storm, the economic climate hasn’t been worse in living memory. But as the conditions to attract international acts worsen, Adam Woods learns that the local industry is witnessing a resurgence in domestic talent. In Brazil, when they go to work on a tricky problem, they call it peeling the pineapple – descascar o abacaxi. But Brazil in 2016 offers a lot of the kind of pineapples that aren’t easily peeled. The former president was impeached in September amid a wide-ranging corruption enquiry; the economy is suffering a recession worse than the Great Depression; and the Real-US dollar exchange rate has halved since 2012. Then there are ecological concerns, the Zika virus, and an epic struggle with economic inequality. If Brazil was only recently thought to have moved into a new era of ease and prosperity, 2016 – a fairly terrible year in just about any language – has provided a sharp correction. For the live business, however, one negative appears to have created a positive: a reduction in international traffic, leading to a boom in domestic action. Brazil is still the number-one live market in South America and a must-visit for international stars going that way. But the weakness of the Real means they’re not going that way as often as they were, even if the megastar shows – The Stones, Paul McCartney, Black Sabbath – keep on coming and keep on selling. “Brazil is going through a tough phase,” says Phil Rodriguez of Miami-based, South America-wide Move Concerts. “Between the corruption scandals, the economy going through the worst recession since the 1930s and companies laying off workers, a certain paralysis has come into play. “Companies are holding onto budgets until a better, moredefined picture of the future comes into view. That primarily affects sponsorships, and it creates a scenario where the top-
Map Key Promoter Agent Agent/Promoter Venue Festival 1. Belém
2. Belo Horizonte TF7 Eventos
Embaixada Cultural Malab Produções A Autêntica CCBB Chevrolet Hall Funarte BH Mineirão Music Hall SESC Paladium 53 HC Music Fest Eletronika Embaixada Cultural Música Mundo Savassi Transborda
3. Brasília 8X8 Live
CCBB Mané Garrincha Stadium Net Live Parques da Cidade Teatro da Caixa Teatro Dulcina Picnik Porão do Rock
4. Curitiba Zeropila Produções Jokers Pub Parque das Pedreiras Monsters of Rock
5. Florianópolis Better World Devassa on Stage
6. Fortaleza Arte Produções Arena Castelão Siará Hall
7.Goiânia A Construtora Monstro Centro Cultural Martim Cererê Bananada Goiânia Noise
IQ Magazine January 2017
line shows still do well but many mid-level shows are hurt.” It also creates a scenario in which, in the absence of a swathe of international visitors, Brazilian music – always the most popular kind in Brazil – is doing particularly well. Big household purchases may be off the cards, but ticket sales are holding up in many sectors. “The market for small events, parties and seasonal events, like New Year’s Eve and Carnival, has not decreased,” says Gabriel Benarros, founder of ticketing app Ingresse. “I’ve seen studies that show people actually spend more in times of economic recession as the average Brazilian [makes fewer] long-term investments. “As the exchange rate has rendered it prohibitive to pay for international performers, I’ve seen the larger producers doing smaller concerts with national performers over the large, David Guetta-type concerts. But tickets are still selling.” According to data from T4F, published well before the recession, the South American live entertainment market has for some years been expanding faster than the overall global average. In Brazil, per capita spending on entertainment in general increased by 13% between 2005 and 2012, from $152 (€143) to $359 (€339), representing nearly $70billion (€66bn) in total spending – including sporting events, cinema, eating out and music. Regardless of today’s challenges, Brazilians believe that given the industrious new government and undeniable untapped economic potential, the live business can only continue to grow over the longer term. “Every crisis always has a turnaround,” says T4F director Luiz Oscar Niemeyer, whose Planmusic, famous for
Abril Pro Rock Coquetel Molotov Rec Beat
Festival de Jazz e Blues
9. Londrina Open The Road
15. Rio de Janeiro
10. Manaus Amazônia Arena
11. Natal DoSol DoSol
12.Olinda Chevrolet Hall
13. Porto Alegre Opinião Estádio Passo d’Areia Bar Opinião Pepsi on Stage El Mapa Del Todos Monsters of Rock Se Rasgum
14. Recife Astronave Fina Produção Rec Beat Produções Coquetel Molotov
Dueto Producoes Artisticas Luanda Producoes Planmusic Top Cat Producoes Artisticas Queremos WeDemand Centro Cultural Circo Voador Citibank Hall Fundição Progresso HSBC Arena Imperator João Nogueira MAM Maracanã Stadium Oi Futuro Teatro Odisséia Teatro Rival Novas Frequencias Rio das Ostras Jazz & Blues Rock In Rio Ultra
16. Salvador Concha Acústica
17. São Paulo AEG Dynamo Prod Enjoy Experiences Mercury Concerts Move Concerts Plus Talent Poladian Promocoes Agogô Cultural Ataque Frontal Balaclava Records BarraventoArtes Brain Productions Brasuca Produções Difusa Fronteira Inker Lucas Shows Mundo Giras Popload Scubidu Music Sob Controle Squat Intl. Booking Agency Urban Jungle T4f XYZ Anhembi Arena Audio Club Auditório Ibirapuera Autódromo José Carlos Pace
Beco 203 Bourbon St Music Club Campo de Marte Cine Jóia Citibank Hall Espaço das Américas Estádio do Morumbi Metropolitan Prefeitura Sesc Pompeia Studio Verona Abraxas Balaclava Jazz na Fábrica Lollapalooza Maximus MECA Monsters of Rock Popload SIM São Paulo Sónar Tomorrowland Brasil Virada Cultural Festival
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blockbuster shows since the 1980s, was acquired by T4F in May. “The country will have a slight growth in 2017, we already see an improvement in the mood and in the Real against the US dollar, and for 2018 we foresee a more positive scenario. All economic measurements being taken now will really start showing results in 2018. By then, we hope we will be able to say the worst is gone.”
Infrastructure São Paulo, with its 11m inhabitants, its clubs and its industry infrastructure, is the centre of the Brazilian music business, with Rio a plucky second, though in a nation so vast, different cities might as well be different countries. “São Paulo is still the focus,” says David McLoughlin of export office Brasil Music Exchange. “Acts from around the country usually make their way to São Paulo. There’s more work there. SP has the afro-beat scene, with Bixiga 70 being one of the more important acts; hip-hop has been reborn with acts such as Emicida, Karol Conka, Rashid, and MC Sombra, and there’s a healthy indie jazz scene with acts such as Nomade Orquestra. “But so many regions have strong local scenes. I’ve just come back from doing workshops in Bahia where there is a scene mixing jazz, indie and local rhythms. There’s not a ‘name’ yet, but it’s being called the ‘Bahia Experimental’ scene.” Brazil has 17 cities of more than a million people, of which most of the top ten – including Fortaleza, Belo Horizonte, Curitiba, Recife, Porto Alegre – are now fairly accustomed to appearing on international touring itineraries. They would do so more often, but even aside from the exchange rate issue, the Brazilian touring circuit is not a straightforward thing. To a certain degree, it is true [that other cities have opened up],” says Rodriguez. “Brasilia, Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador come to mind. That said, they work for certain types of artists only. And it is tough and expensive to route the cities in the northeast – Recife, Fortaleza, Salvador – due to the distance. Poor roads make the drive time longer than the same distances would take in the US or Europe. We need to allow two to three days for the trucking.
“Also, given that most sound, lights and video vendors are based in São Paulo, we need to truck in not only the artist’s gear but also the S&L&V – particularly for the big outdoor shows. That adds costs that you wouldn’t be paying in São Paulo or Rio.” In the main cities, too, infrastructural development can be sluggish in different ways. Stadiums are no issue – Brazil is swimming in them since the World Cup, and there are numerous other outdoor spaces to hold megaevents – but arenas are rare, particularly in São Paulo. Meanwhile, ticketing remains paper-based and kioskdriven overall, due to fear of fraud and a dominant older market of gig-goers. “We have seen online penetration going from 15% to over 30% - big changes in a small period of time,” says Benarros. “However, 30% is still low compared to more mature markets like the US where basically 100% of tickets are sold online. There’s still much to grow.” The lack of a modern arena in São Paulo remains a source of irritation to big-time promoters. Rio de Janeiro has upped its game since the Pan-American Games in 2007 and the Olympics this summer, and now offers several, including the HSBC Arena in Barra da Tijuca. But in Brazil’s musical capital, the one arena – the Ibirapuera – was built in 1957. T4F, a major venue operator and ticketing player as well as a promoter, operates a host of theatres and halls, including São Paulo’s 7,000-capacity Credicard Hall, the 8,450-capacity Citibank Hall in Rio and Belo Horizonte’s 5,500-capacity Chevrolet Hall. The World Cup, of course, left Brazil teeming with stadiums, including the 68,000-capacity Arena de São Paulo, the 45,000-capacity Itaipava Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Belo Horizonte’s 62,547-capacity Estadio Mineirão, and the 70,000-capacity Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha in Brasilia, plus Rio’s newly renovated Maracanã. At the club level, venues such as the converted cinema Cine Joia and Tropical Butantã in São Paulo and Circo Voador in Rio draw a constant stream of rock and indie acts. D-Edge, the legendary São Paulo club, opened in Rio in 2014, and numerous others host local music. Smaller Brazilian acts can and do tour around a nationwide circuit of event spaces run by the Social Service of Commerce (SESC), a non-profit cultural organisation that draws its budget from a 1.5% payroll tax.
Move Concerts promoted New Order in São Paulo’s Espaço das Américas in December 2016
IQ Magazine January 2017
Promoters Time for Fun (T4F) is the country’s – indeed, the continent’s – biggest promoter, and the fourth largest in the world. Its Q3 revenues tell a story of shrewd management and good timing, with ticketing, venue and sponsorship returns down a little year on year but event revenues almost doubling to R$55.6m (€15.2m), thanks to an 83% increase in tickets sold and an 18% hike in average ticket prices. “Despite the severe economic conditions of the country we had important tours this year,” says Niemeyer, who handled shows by the Rolling Stones and The Kooks while fellow promoter Alexandre Faria accounted for a list including Live Nation tourers Lollapalooza, Black Sabbath, Coldplay and Maroon 5. “We did have a decline in sponsorship revenue, but in this worst scenario we sold out all our stadium tours including Coldplay, the Stones and Paul McCartney, as well as the Lollapalooza festival and most of our indoor shows,” says Niemeyer. “Our results for this year will show a considerable growth compared to last year,“ he adds. “Again, despite the macroeconomics, it is a very good year for T4F.” Live Nation has partnered with T4F in Brazil since 2008, though Bruce Moran, Live Nation president, Latin America, indicates that the relationship is currently under review. “We have great respect for our friends at Time 4 Fun and we are in the process of considering all options throughout the region,” he says. Moran prides himself on Live Nation’s success in expanding the Latin American market for international acts over almost a decade. Metallica have recently returned and Justin Bieber and Sting are in the diary for next year, and in spite of the challenges of secondary Brazilian markets, Maroon 5 put together seven shows in May, touching secondary cities such as Salvador, Fortaleza, Porto Alegre and Belo Horizonte. “We have been extremely active in the region - maybe much more than people realise,” says Moran. “With the economy, with the currency fluctuations, the secondaries especially are much more of a challenge in Brazil today than they were a handful of years ago, when the economy was humming along and the real was much more stable. “But artists are prepared to devote more time to Latin America now, and that enables us to set tour dates in markets that were previously under-served, though we need to be very careful how we do it at the moment. But to be in a place like Salvador and see the reaction of the fans to a band like Maroon 5 - it’s heart-warming.”
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“Between the corruption scandals, the economy going through the worst recession since the 1930s and companies laying off workers, a certain paralysis has come into play.” Phil Rodriguez, Move Concerts Also toasting recent international successes in Latin America is former T4F man José Muñiz of Orlando-based Mercury Concerts, who has sold 580,000 tickets for Guns N’ Roses across the region this year and a further 200,000 for Aerosmith, including six shows in Brazil for the former and three for the latter.“Of course the currency is still a problem but it has improved from last year, when at the peak of the crisis it reached 4.10 (real to the US dollar),” says Muñiz. [At the time of writing it stood at 3.38]. “Small and medium shows are the ones getting hurt the most, but the big concerts are having a great response from the fans.” Move is a high-achieving independent that operates throughout the region, and its focus on international artists has kept its Brazilian show count modest this year. “All in all, we’ve had a decent year – not great, but okay,” says Rodriguez. “We had New Order in December in São Paulo, and that show has sold-out at the Espaço das Américas. It is important to note that buying a ticket to a good show is still an accessible luxury for most people. They may hold off on buying a car or taking a vacation abroad given the economy, but if an artist is strong people will still buy the tickets to go to the show.” Of Brazil’s other key promoters, Better World is the company behind Rock In Rio, and is in the process of attempting to reacquire the 50% stake sold to SFX Entertainment in 2013. A 2014 Brazilian SFX acquisition, booking agent and Tomorrowland promoter Plus Talent, remains on board at this stage, and remains notably active in Brazil’s fertile dance scene. Plus Talent CEO Luiz Eurico Klotz says SFX’s rebranding as LiveStyle and new leadership under Randy Phillips will open what he describes as “a new era for all of us”. This year has been tough in Brazil, he adds, though he agrees there have been opportunities for domestic acts, citing Plus Talent artists such as Alok, Illusionize, Gabe, Elekfantz, Bruno Martini and Victor Ruiz among the beneficiaries. The key model for local promoters, says Klotz, has been “small scale events with local talent. The rest, at the moment, you can simply forget it,” he adds. “Dance music is still growing in all corners of Brazil, but the current economic and political situation are not helping at all,” says Klotz. “Kids look for experiences so festivals and parties are more likely to do well than clubs. They don’t want to go to the same place every week and have the same experience. They want something different every time.” Many other promoters operate at all sorts of levels and specialisms, including legendary São Paulo club proprietor and promoter D-Edge, rock specialist Honorsounds and rock/ punk operator Solid Music. Enjoy Experiences, which staged the Club NME shows in São Paulo, was dealt a crushing blow in October with the tragic death of its much-admired founder, Bianca Freitas, from Guillain-Barré syndrome.
T4F brought The Rolling Stones to Brazil in February 2016 © Camila Cara
IQ Magazine January 2017
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Phil Rodriguez, Move Concerts; Gabriel Benarros, Ingresse; Luiz Oscar Niemeyer, Planmusic; David McLoughlin, Brasil Music Exchange; Ana Garcia, No Ar Coquetel Molotov festival; Alexandre Faria, T4F; José Muñiz, Mercury Concerts; Bruce Moran, Live Nation.
Festivals Sponsorship, particularly from telecoms, beer, food and fashion companies, has significantly shaped the Brazilian festival business. Rock In Rio famously draws $54m (€51m) in sponsorship revenues. When Sónar arrived in Brazil in 2012, the event was presented by Doritos. Major events of the past decade such as Planeta Terra and TIM Festival have owed their existence to the brands whose names they bore. Accordingly, when they outlive their usefulness to the brands’ marketing aims, they don’t hang around. “I think the bigger festivals probably didn’t make sense anymore to the big telephone companies that sponsored most of them,” says Ana Garcia, founder of Recife’s boutique No Ar Coquetel Molotov festival. “I don’t know if TIM got more clients because of TIM Festival, although it was a great festival. And I think the curation of certain festivals started to get questionable. The experience started to be not so positive, as well. But I think mostly it is because of different marketing strategies.” As economic uncertainty has unsettled big brands and sponsorship has consequently declined, various festivals have ducked out in recent years, permanently or otherwise. The electronic Dream Valley Festival, which drew 110,000 dance fans to the Beto Carreiro World theme park for three editions between 2012 and 14, was pulled in 2015 by its organisers, Camboriú’s Green Valley club and the RBS Group, and hasn’t yet returned. Neither has Planeta Terra, which ran to seven editions before proposing to become a travelling festival in 2014 and then abandoning all plans, citing competition from the World Cup. ID&T’s electronic monster Tomorrowland, meanwhile, having sold out two 180,000-capacity editions in Itu, São Paulo in 2015 and 2016, was recently cancelled for 2017, with the economy held to blame. Klotz says he “definitely” expects the festival to return in 2018, assuming things improve. Smaller festivals, of course, have struggled too, even when their artistic goals are being met. Coquetel Molotov, which has run for 13 years and brought alternative acts including Dinosaur Jr, Tortoise and Teenage Fanclub to the city of Recife, this year took place without any financial support from the city council and government. Nonetheless, the festival managed to expand this year, drawing 9,000 and running small simultaneous events in Belo Jardim and Belo Horizonte, while focusing on Brazilian acts, with a few subsidised exceptions. “We were able to get support from the American Consulate from Recife to bring Deerhoof,” says Garcia. “With the
“I think the bigger festivals probably didn’t make sense anymore to the big telephone companies that sponsored most of them.” Ana Garcia, No Ar Coquetel Molotov festival French Consulate/Institut Français and Bureau Export we brought Moodoïd, and with the Spanish Embassy in Brazil we brought Los Nastys.” On a different scale, Rock In Rio returns next year, with Maroon 5 and Aerosmith already announced. Mercury Concerts has an exclusive booking and consulting contract with the festival and is now in the process of securing the headliners together with Rock In Rio VP Paulo Fellin, says Muñiz. “We will be also promoting side tours in partnership with the festival, and we have plans to bring back our Monsters of Rock Festival which sold 75.000 tickets in 2015 with Ozzy and Kiss as headliners, so we are very excited with the busy year ahead,” says Muñiz. Rock In Rio’s US adventure, after an inaugural Las Vegas event in 2015, is presumed to be continuing in May 2017, But details remain scant and dates unconfirmed, and the parlous state of co-owner SFX and founder Roberto Medina’s attempts to move the festival back into private hands might suggest an event on the scale of 2015 is unlikely. In the meantime, the ever socially minded Rock In Rio launched Amazonia Live, a project to plant 4m trees in the Amazon, spearheaded in August by a concert in the rainforest city of Manaus featuring Plácido Domingo, Amazonas Philharmonic Orchestra, the Amazonas Choir and Ivete Sangalo. Meanwhile, the Montreux Jazz Festival will be expanding to Rio de Janeiro next year, reputedly taking up residence in the military base of Fort Copacabana. Other major Brazilian festivals include legendary psytrance utopia Universo Paralello in Ituberá, Bahia; the returning Lollapalooza next March, starring Metallica and The Strokes; underground techno and house event Tribaltech, down south in Curitiba; Ultra Brazil in Rio; and Plus Talent’s XXXPerience in Itu. On the pop front, Move staged its Z Festival in December at Allianz Parque in São Paulo, featuring Demi Lovato and others. “It is under our expectations sales-wise but we did have some issues with this event as our original headliner Selena Gomez cancelled,” said Rodriguez, speaking just before the event. “We’ll do about 15,000, when our projections were to hit 20,000”
IQ Magazine January 2017
Some of the international delegates attending Tune In Tel Aviv, 9-12 November , were treated to a guided tour of Jerusalem by event creator Jeremy Hulsh.
Echo Arena Liverpool chief executive, Bob Prattey, welcomed Sir Rod Stewart on the first night of his tour by presenting him with the venue’s Icon Award.
drink in t place for a found a quie e of your biggest u’d yo t gh ou u th ks on Just when yo lphia, in wal was there first, Live ets of Philade ho the back stre but we’re not saying w ls abatznick. business riva tham or AEG’s Brian K La ul Pa Nation’s
You Me At Six frontman Josh Franceschi, Wildlife Management’s Ian McAndrew and MMF chief exec Annabella Coldrick were among some of the industry experts to testify at a parliamentary committee on ticket touting - which successfully put the issue back on the government’s agenda (see page 16).
AEG Ogden direct or Tim Worton and Qudos Bank execut ive Joff Stevens wer e among the hundreds of guests at a dinner to showcase the fac ilities at the new ICC Sydney venue.
David Urban (D Smack U Promotion), Zdeněk Souček (Let It Roll Festival), Serge Grimaux (Intellitix), Fruzsina Szép (Lollapalooza Berlin) and Tomas Prasek (Eventival) shared the stage at Nouvelle Prague to provide an insight into the various challenges faced by organisers in bringing an event to life.
Dan Steinberg of Emporium Presents had a Fireside Chat with AEG Live chairman Jay Marciano on stage at Aspen Live in Colorado.
Nickelback’s Mike Kroeger was just one celebrity lucky enough to be at London’s Royal Albert Hall in October to see Brian Wilson’s 50th anniversary celebration of Pet Sounds. Pictured backstage are Kroeger family Dawson, Avalon and Mike, with Neil Warnock, UTA’s head of music worldwide, and wife Christa, and the great man himself, Brian Wilson.
If you or any of your ILMC colleagues have any notices or updates to include on the noticeboard, please contact the club secretary, Gordon Masson, via firstname.lastname@example.org
IQ Magazine January 2017
What has been the highlight of your year? TOP SHOUT Watching my son’s youth jazz combo stir up some cool sounds at the NZ Jazz Festival, and realising that the group comprises the sons of Iraqi, Turkish, British and Kiwi descents – co-mingling Muslim, Jewish and Christian family backgrounds. I kind of welled up when I realised what a very different type of life these gorgeous 17-year-old boys could be living in a different location and situation on our planet. Making music is their purpose; long may that continue! Judith Clumpas, Vector Arena
This year, Music Venue Trust, working alongside UK Music and Musicians’ Union, actually managed to change UK law to specifically protect grass-roots music venues. To give you some idea of how difficult that is to do, the other specially protected categories are in case of flooding, toxic chemicals or railway lines. We can now proudly boast that live music is finally where it belongs in UK law; right alongside hazardous waste as a thing you don’t mess with. Mark Davyd, Music Venues Trust
For a Brit living in Turkey, I seem to care a great deal about American politics, and the two Obamas and Saunders scored highly this year. Then there were our two splendid Rammstein shows. But my personal highlight was a gig of my own where I was a soloist with the Estonian Symphony Orchestra; my alter ego had a boost. Nick Hobbs, Charmenko
My highlight was visiting Ramallah on the West Bank a few weeks ago with part of the new Palestinian music-export team. It was mostly profoundly depressing, but with some nuggets of positivity and lovely people. It made the rest of the year seem a bit irrelevant. Martin Elbourne, Glastonbury Festival
Moving job. In all seriousness, five years at The O2 has equipped me well for a move into the world of luvvies… And we do stage gigs amongst the musical theatrics! More and more on the gigging side to come… Rebecca Kane Burton, Really Useful Group
Kool & The Gang in Africa proved to be the biggest highlight for 2016! I managed to put together a run of three dates in Mozambique, Uganda and Kenya. In times when we hear so much negative news from this burdened continent, this tour shone a ray of hope – and showed what people in Africa are capable of. Georg Leitner, Georg Leitner Productions
Biffy Clyro playing their biggest ever headline show at Bellahouston Park in Glasgow. A truly great moment – 35,000 tickets sold in advance. I’ve promoted the band for nearly 18 years – from being first on a three-band bill at King Tuts, to selling out King Tuts, Barrowland and SECC, then headlining T in the Park in 2014. But actually selling out such a large show themselves was an incredibly proud moment, and my highlight of the year.
Three kings from the West made a long, long journey to visit the modest artist village of Pohoda festival to headline backstage and bring one unforgettable gift to... me. Three Scottish abutments of music – his wisdom Allan McGowan, his hilarity Vic Galloway and his ‘massness’ Gordon Masson, honoured me with a Scottish kilt in front of backstage coheadliners Fruzina ‘Sunflower’ Szép, Ruud ‘Lighthouse’ Berends, her honesty Codruţa Vulcu, blissful duo Didi & Dado, Matjaž ‘Squirrel’ Manček and Semyon ‘Braveness’ Galperin. Their good mood was infectious and the surprise was nearly as funny as when I read the word ‘ASAP’ in agents’ emails in early October. I wish all men would wear kilts and then probably the world wouldn’t be so throttled down. Michal Kaščák, Pohoda Festival
Dave McGeachan, DF Concerts
I could say the highlight was meeting Gordon Masson in the desert, with the emphasis on Desert Trip, which was a fantastically well-run event as you would imagine. All credit to Paul Tollett for having the vision. Andrew Zweck, Sensible Events
My 80th birthday. And I’m still working beyond my wildest dreams. Barry Clayman, Live Nation
It would have to be seeing David Gilmour at Pompeii, in the same amphitheatre Pink Floyd recorded Live at… all those years ago. Just an incredible couple of shows. Neil Warnock, United Talent Agency
It’s understandable that many will remember 2016 as an annus horribilis, but there is light in the dark. Some 30,000 people witnessed the Orchestra of Syrian Musicians open our Orange Stage this year, showing that refugees are individuals with individual talents, and that music and culture can still bring people together. Anders Wahren, Roskilde Festival
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IQ Magazine January 2017