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Close Encounters of the 30th Kind The Gaffer: Tony Gittins Rag‘n’Bone Man’s rise to riches SAV Entertainment celebrates 30 years Austria market report





- page Alien Registration Special...Ten- page Alien Registration Special...Ten- page Alien Registration Special...Ten- page Alien Registration Special...Ten- page Alien R



GREETINGS EARTHLINGS mjdggd ggen It’s ILMC’s pearl anniversary and, in the words of the song, ‘Things are getting strange I’m starting to worry, this could be a case for Mulder and Scully.’ For returning ILMC members, you know the drill – your favourite themed live music industry conference is back and this year expect things to be, well, a little extraterrestrial. For first-time attendees – buckle up and enjoy the ride! The International Live Music Conference celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2018 and our 6-9 March gathering, at the Royal Garden Hotel in the London borough of Kensington, will once again be the global meeting place – and market place – for promoters, booking agents, venue operators, artist managers and all the associated professionals, suppliers and contractors that help make the live entertainment business such a vibrant and fascinating industry to work in. To herald our landmark year, there will, of course, be a birthday party to open proceedings, but that will be just the start of the festivities. Daily (and nightly) parties and events allow attendees to meet old friends and colleagues, as well as make new ones and, crucially, interact with the other key

players in the global business: the people who are helping to mould the shape of the international business and protect us from unfriendly invaders. Fulfilling its mission to maintain peace and harmony among the music worlds, ILMC 30, or the Interplanetary Lifeforms Moderation Corps as we’re calling it, will feature more meetings, events, networking, and out-of-body experiences than ever before, including a new, ticketed Friday night dinner for those guests who are not planning to leave London early. More details of that and the multitude of other special events can be found on the following pages of this guide. As the countdown to all things alien reaches warp speed, we will keep you up-to-date with our regular eNews communications, but for a complete guide to the conference, head to Remember, ILMC has sold -out in advance for the last 20-plus years, so if you want to avoid alienation, register at the speed of light, and join the other star-men and star-women of the live music industry during four days of close encounters and discussion. And remember, the truth is in here…








The ILMC Networking Scheme is one of the ways that ILMC encourages dialogue between all life forms, in addition to the galaxy of events that take place throughout the conference programme. The scheme allows delegates to communicate with each other and plan meetings in advance of the conference. To take part, please tick the relevant box when registering or contact The humanoid in charge of the Networking Scheme is Tom Hopewell (, who will be on hand to make the odd introduction, if necessary. For first-time delegates, the New Delegates’ Orientation (Wednesday 7 March at 10:00) is a must. The 30-minute session will provide information on how to get the very most from ILMC, as well as discovering more about this year’s extra-terrestrial theme.

As anyone who has attended previous editions of ILMC will testify, our annual gathering is far from a typical conference. All events and panel sessions are designed to allow members to network, have fun, and do great business. There are also plenty of opportunities to meet old friends, make new ones, and strike intergalactic trade deals and peace pacts. 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 subscription to IQ Magazine • Participation in the Networking Scheme • A copy of the 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 minds in the live music universe • For details of delegate rates and to sign up, please head to

30/45-67 esting





To register for ILMC, go to where you’ll find a universe of information about the conference, including event schedules, accommodation, and instructions on how to teleport yourself 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 30.ilmc. com/register for more details.

The Alia Dann Swift Bursary Scheme 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 a young professional, or are employed by, or own, a company that has not previously attended ILMC, you may well be eligible. This year, the bursary scheme has been renamed in memory of Alia Dann Swift, the ILMC’s long-standing producer who passed away in 2017. Alia was instrumental in both bringing talent into the industry, and supporting and encouraging new ILMC members. The closing date to apply is 30 January 2018. To find out more, visit






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This year, the highlight of the live music industry’s calendar will quite literally be out of this world. Over 350 guests – the leading explorers and star makers in the business – will be whisked off-planet as we take an interstellar journey to The Gala-ctic Dinner & Arthur Awards. The space voyage begins at the opulent 8Northumberland hotel, which boasts one of the grandest Victorian interiors in the solar system, and critically acclaimed cuisine and service. Travellers may experience a feeling of weightlessness after the champagne reception, which is followed by an exquisite five-star, four-course feast with a selection of fine wines to match. In addition to the finest cuisine in the cosmos, universally renowned entertainment and the annual Pop Quiz will see guests teleported to new heights of enjoyment. The highlight of the night is the Arthur Awards, hosted by CIA CAA special agent Emma Banks – who will reveal which stars of the live music industry will take UFOs (unidentified f…ing objects) back to their own galaxies. The awards honour 2017’s top names in the fields of promoting, festivals, agencies, venues, new business talent, professional services, ticketing, production services, and assistants. And finally, the pinnacle of proceedings is The Bottle Award, where we honour one special figure for their outstanding contribution to the live music industry. Tickets for the Gala Dinner are priced at £185 each, with tables of 10 priced at £1,850. To attend, tick the relevant box when registering for ILMC, or email Please note that the Gala Dinner always sells out in advance, so early booking is advised.

ILMC’S FIRST CONTACT BIRTHDAY BLAST-OFF ghjdmd You only celebrate your 30th birthday once, so to mark this momentous occasion, we’re inviting friends, family and intergalactic invaders to join us for a birthday party like no other. On the evening of Tuesday 6 March, we’re opening up the entire mezzanine floor of the Royal Garden Hotel, for a stellar early evening line-up of killer tunes from world-class DJs; top-secret competitions and prizes; and a guest list that stretches across the entire musical multiverse. As if that isn’t enough to guarantee invaders from all quadrants of the galaxy, guests will be able to take their very own space flight in our on-site simulator powered by cutting-edge tech. The party starts early so that delegates can head out for the evening afterwards. And with a galaxy of space-themed food, out-of-this-world cocktails and presumably soon-tobe spaced attendees, the only thing without space might be the venue itself – so early arrival is recommended. All delegates are welcome to attend (while entry to non-delegates is via guest list only (invitations with RSVP links will be emailed out separately).






While ILMC features a list of meetings and workshops

Last year, ILMC hosted three industry gatherings on the eve of the main conference, and we’re delighted

longer than the alien demands in Mars Attacks, for many delegates the availability of space for private meetings is of prime importance. With this in mind, ILMC has increased the amount of available space for private meetings in 2018 by reconfiguring the mezzanine level of the hotel. And back once again by popular demand is our very own ILMC pub. Located just across the road from the Royal Garden Hotel, The Goat Tavern will be open for the exclusive use of delegates between 11:00-18:00 on Wednesday 7 and Thursday 8 March. The Goat serves a variety of hot and cold beverages, as well as snacks and meals. Meanwhile, within the Royal Garden Hotel itself, additional seating will be placed in The Space Bar during the day; The Hangar-out Room will be open non-stop throughout the day; and additional space has also been created in the Lancaster Suite. Planning your meetings ahead? Details of all available private meeting spaces can be found online at 30.ilmc. com/delegates#space.


Since it began, 11 years ago, the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) has become one of the foremost platforms for international production professionals to meet, network and discuss the most pressing issues affecting the industry. IPM 11 will feature Production Notes sessions – 10-minute presentations of innovations, case studies and leading initiatives from the global production community, and will run between the conference’s main sessions to allow delegates to get maximum benefit from the day. Each edition of IPM is hosted by a renowned figure from the production world, a role that changes annually. This year, we are thrilled to announce that overseeing the day’s proceedings will be LoudSound’s head of operations, Dan Craig. For more information or to register for IPM, visit



to say that, once again, the ILMC Production Meeting; the Green Events & Innovations Conference; and the ILMC Association Summit, will be held in the Royal Garden Hotel on Tuesday 6 March.

festivals sector, and world venues. Festival Summit 2018 will return on Wednesday 7 March, with four bespoke sessions examining various elements that those involved in the ever-lengthening global festival season have to deal with. The following day, Venue Summit 2018 will also involve a mix of four sessions – panels and workshops – taking the indoor sector of the live music industry to task and debating the business concerns of venue operators and their users. Full details of both summits will be published, alongside the full conference agenda, in February, but keep an eye on our regular eNews updates, where we will announce a number of key panel sessions and guest speakers as we countdown to ILMC 30.

Festival Festival 20182018

Venue Venue 20182018


At ILMC 29, we introduced two specialist tranches of panel sessions, in order to discuss issues affecting the

The tenth edition of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) – the UK’s leading conference for sustainability at live events – will welcome 150 professionals working, or with an interest in, environmental and social initiatives and development of live events. The conference mixes practical case studies and presentations from around the world, alongside networking coffee breaks, a complimentary lunch, and a closing drinks party shared with IPM delegates. For more information or to register for GEI, visit Finally, The ILMC Association Summit will draw 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 bestcase ideas and initiatives. The summit is a closed meeting, with one representative from each association invited. For further information or to represent your association at the meeting, please email








10:00-18:00 ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) IPM 11 takes place in the spacious lower ground floor of the Royal Garden Hotel, in order to accommodate the increasing demand from production professionals who converge from across the live production universe 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 information or to register for IPM, visit ipm.

12:30-14:30 Lunch Encounters of the First Kind This two-hour lunch break will give delegates ample time to recharge and relax while making new contacts or just hanging out with old friends and colleagues and enjoying a galaxy of hot and cold dishes, stellar desserts, and an optional pay bar.


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10:00-18:00 Green Events & Innovations Conference The tenth 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. Visit for more info.


11:00-16:00 ILMC Association Summit The ILMC Association 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. The summit is a closed meeting, with one representative from each association invited. For further information or to represent your association at the meeting, email greg@ 18:00-21:00 ILMC’s First Contact Birthday Blast-off You only celebrate your 30th birthday once, so to mark this momentous occasion, we’re inviting friends, family and intergalactic invaders to join us for a birthday party like no other, for a stellar early evening line-up of killer tunes from world-class DJs; top-secret competitions and prizes; and a guest list that stretches across the entire musical multiverse. For more details, see page 6.

17:30-18:30 UTA’s Cocktails & Canapés UTA’s annual event is the perfect bridge between daytime sessions and the night that follows. Expect 60 minutes of complimentary drinks and tasty nibbles, with which to wind down. The whole UTA team will be on hand to discuss any lastminute festival offers, and if last year is anything to go by, almost the entire delegation of ILMC will be trying to fit into the Mess Area for this super-massive social. All delegates are welcome to attend. 18:00-21:30 The Dutch ‘Brace for’ Impact Party The annual Dutch Party is always a highlight of the ILMC schedule, with complimentary booze and nibbles, and showcases from four of the hottest new musical exports from the low country. Join unidentified flying Dutchmen and hundreds of other guests for a super-massive edition as the party upgrades to a new venue in 2018. For more information and to get your name on the list, see 21:00-00:00 Texas Probe ‘em Poker Tourney There’s a lot more to the annual poker tournament this year, which – hosted by Emporium Presents – moves to a larger ‘space’ and includes whisky tasting and roulette. The tourney sees a ragged collection of galactic gamblers and space cowboys come together during this annual battle for both glory and one of the bar tab prizes up for grabs. Sign-up when you register for ILMC, or if you feel like a gamble, swing by on Wednesday night and enquire about any last-minute places. The tourney costs £30 to enter and all proceeds go towards the Nikos Fund, which is raising money for Music Support in 2018. 00:00-03:00 The Table Football Coupe du Galaxie A late-night battle of quick reactions and sometimes outof-this-world skill, this event sees players compete for the smallest world cup in the galaxy. Sign-up in pairs on the night as 22 little (green) men fight for glory on ILMC’s two tournament-certified tables. Be in The Space Bar with your co-player by 22:00 when the battle for universal recognition commences under the watchful eye of IQ’s Terry McNally.






12:30-14:30 Lunch Encounters of the Second Kind This two-hour lunch break will give delegates ample time to recharge and relax while making new contacts or just hanging out with old friends and colleagues and enjoying a galaxy of hot and cold dishes, stellar desserts, and an optional pay bar.

12:00-12:30 Mars Attacks Break Stave-off the mid-morning hunger pangs with a selection of chocolaty treats. Expect Star Bars, Mars Bars and Milky Ways, as well as other earthbound snacks…

16:00-17:00 Feld’s ‘In Space No One Can Hear You’ Ice Cream Any interplanetary visitors on the hunt for a refreshing mid-afternoon sugar fix need look no further than Feld Entertainment’s legendary frozen treats intermission. A welcome break from a busy afternoon of cosmic conferencing, Feld will be handing out mementos for the kids back home, just be sure to eat the ice cream before you pack… 17:30-18:30 WME Happy Hour Invading another planet is thirsty work, so it’s lucky that the team at William Morris Endeavor Entertainment will be on hand, once again, to revive and rejuvenate all the top interplanetary travellers. Offering both a pre-Gala Dinner drink, and a moment to wind down after Thursday’s meteoric meetings and panels, the WME Happy Hour is 60 ‘star’studded minutes of complimentary booze and nibbles.

16:00-18:00 Closing Encounters of the Thirst Kind What better way to wrap-up ILMC than with a glass or two of bubbles in the company of new friends, foreign bodies, and long-time colleagues from around the live music universe? All delegates are invited to get-together before heading out for the evening, or returning to their own worlds in galaxies far, far away. 18:00-20:00 The Final Countdown Dinner After three days of conferencing and close encounters, a moment to relax with friends, colleagues and other intergalactic travellers before the evening fun that follows. And as anyone who’s experienced ILMC’s closing dinners before knows, it pays to expect the unexpected. Taking place in Dirty Bones, Kensington, with a menu ranging from flat-iron steak, slow ‘n’ low ribs, and other unidentified frying objects, it promises to be a last supper cooked to perfection. Tickets for the dinner cost £60 in advance. Sign-up when registering for ILMC or email


19:30-00:00 The Gala-tic Dinner & Arthur Awards 350 of the live music industry’s top alien investigators climb aboard the ILMC spacecraft for an evening of galactic mayhem and award giving. For more details, see page 6.

15:30-16:00 Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw Hand in your business cards to the ILMC girls and boys with collection tins and turn up for a 15.30 start, for the chance to win some colossal prizes as our chosen charity – Music Support – benefits.


19:30-21:30 Match of the Light Year Football This showdown sees the UK take on the Rest of the Universe in a game of epic proportions, as the leading players of the live industry battle it out for 90-minutes. Coaches will transport space-ially aware contenders from the Royal Garden Hotel to the grounds and back again, allowing every opportunity for bragging rights in The Space Bar afterwards. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. E-mail to get involved.

13:30-15:30 Invasion of the Buffet Snackers Lunch A two-hour window in which to discuss the meze-teries of the universe, while enjoying a five-‘star’ selection of Turkish delights, courtesy of TESDER, the Turkish promoters’ association.

22:30-Late The ‘Drunk Side of the Moon’ Live Karaoke Be afraid. Be very afraid. You might wish you were on a distant planet, or even solar system, when the annual ILMC karaoke takes place – always the scene of a multitude of sins, all of them against music. This year’s karaoke will feature a live backing band (, and an AirX Guitar competition that promises prizes for the most rock-god-like performances – an event not to miss, unless you’re sober.




SCHEDULE ghj;nnn





09:00 - 17:00 10:00 - 18:00 10:00 - 18:00 11:00 - 16:00 13:00 - 18:00 13:00 - 21:00 14:30 - 18:30 18:00 - 20:00 18:00 - 21:00 Various

IPM Registration IPM (ILMC Production Meeting) GEI (Green Events & Innovations Conference) Association Summit (invitation only) Travel Desk ILMC Early-Bird Registration Association Meetings (invitation only) IPM & GEI Closing Drinks Party The First Contact 30th Birthday Blast Access All Areas Shows

WEDNESDAY 7 MARCH tydnnnf 09:00 - 18:00 Travel Desk 09:00 - 20:00 Registration Desk & Help Desk 09:00 onwards The Space Bar and Hanger-out Room open 09:30 - 11:00 The Flying Cups & Saucers Coffee Break 10:00 - 10:30 New Delegates’ Orientation 10:00 - 17:00 Association Meetings (invitation only) 10:00 - 18:00 The Cyber Lounge open 10:00 - 18:00 Conference Sessions 12:30 - 14:30 Lunch Encounters of the First Kind 17:30 - 18:30 UTA’s Cocktails & Canapés 18:00 - 21:30 The Dutch ’Brace for’ Impact Party Various Access All Areas Shows 21:00 - 00:00 Texas Probe ‘em Poker Tourney 00:00 - 03:00 The Table Football Coupe de la Galaxie

“Look, I really don’t think they flew 90 billion light years to come down here and start a fight.” - Captain Steven Hiller

07:00 - 10:00 Breakfast Available 09:00 - 18:00 Registration Desk & Travel Desk 09:00 - 19:30 Help Desk 09:00 onwards The Space Bar and Hanger-out Room open 09:30 - 10:30 Space Oddi-tea & Coffee Break 10:00 - 18:00 Conference Sessions 12:30 - 14:30 Lunch Encounters of the Second Kind 16:00 - 17:00 Feld’s’ In Space No One Can Hear You’ Ice Cream 16:00 - 19:00 Association Meetings (invitation only) 17:30 - 18:30 The WME Happy Hour 19:30 - 21:30 Match of the Light Year Football 19:30 - 00:00 The Gala-ctic Dinner & Arthur Awards Various Access All Areas Shows 22:30 - late The ‘Drunk Side of the Moon’ Live Karaoke

FRIDAY 9 MARCH apkdbh 07:00 - 10:00 Breakfast Available 09:00 - 18:00 The Space Bar and Cyber Lounge open 10:00 - 11:00 The ET & Coffee Break 10:00 - 12:00 Registration Desk 10:00 - 16:00 Travel & Help Desk 10:30 - 13:30 The Breakfast Meeting & Conference Sessions 12:00 - 12:30 Mars Attacks Break 13:30 - 14:15 The ILMC 30 Alien Autopsy 13:30 - 15:30 Invasion of the Buffet Snackers Lunch 15:30 - 16:00 Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw 16:00 - 18:00 Closing Encounters of the Thirst Kind Drinks 18:00 - 20:00 The Final Countdown Dinner Various Access All Areas Shows


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


• Conference passes must be worn at all times • Lost passes will incur a replacement fee


Contents IQ Magazine Issue 75

News and Developments 14 In Tweets The main headlines over the last two months


16 Analysis Key stories from around the live music world 22 New Signings and Rising Stars A round-up of the latest acts that have been added to the rosters of international agents 28 Busy Bodies Industry associations share business concerns and news 30 Techno Files Revealing the hottest new technology in live entertainment

Features 3 The Truth Is In Here ILMC celebrates its 30th birthday with an out-of-this-world theme



32 European Festival Report 2017 IQ’s tenth annual examination of the festival sector 40 The Gaffer 2017 Tony Gittins talks about his accidental career and path to the top of the production tree 52 Rag’n’Bone Man The rags-to-riches tale of one of 2017’s hottest new acts 58 30 Years of SAV Entertainment Jon Chapple learns the story behind Russia’s powerhouse promoter 68 Market Report: Austria Adam Woods examines the evolving business landscape in Central Europe’s busiest market


Comments and Columns 24 Stronger Together Audrey Guerre describes the development of the Live DMA network 25 Safe Gigs For Women Sarah Claudine discusses how venues can help eradicate sexual assault and harassment at events 26 The Value of a Strategic Mindset Simeon Pranger advocates taking calculated risks to kickstart an international career 27 Buzz in the East Márton Náray outlines developments in Central and Eastern Europe

58 68

76 Members’ Mammals ILMC members and their four-legged friends

78 Your Shout What’s the best Spinal Tap moment that you’ve witnessed during your career?

IQ Magazine January 2018



THE ILMC JOURNAL, December 2017

IQ Magazine

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye Gordon Masson bids adieu to 2017, and hopes for a more harmonious 2018 WELL, ANOTHER YEAR has flown by and we’re all a bit older and, hopefully, a little bit wiser thanks to our experiences over the past 12 months. And certainly, as the world becomes a scarier place and people, led by undoubtedly the worst politicians I’ve seen in my lifetime, become more polarised, I think it’s safe to say we all work in the best industry in the world – bringing joy to millions and uniting people through music. Economic uncertainty, the threat of terrorism, and all manner of personal issues and pressures mean that people the world over are looking for ways in which to let their hair down – and going to see their favourite bands in the company of like-minded souls has, as a result, never been so important. Tapping into that environment, Yourope’s Take A Stand launched in 2017 and it will be interesting to see how the organisation’s member festivals deliver their messages of unity and tolerance in 2018. Unquestionably, the general public are craving to hear positive news, for a change, and if Yourope can use festivals as a platform to promote unity, then they should receive our full support. In the spirit of keeping things upbeat, we’ve closed our year-end issue with some fun pages: our Noticeboard (page 76) features a bunch of ILMC members with their better halves (four-legged friends), including a trio of IQ hounds; while Your Shout (page 78) should raise a smile or two with some unbelievable

Spinal Tap moments that you’ve shared with us. Our year-end features include the European Festival Report (page 32) which is our annual health check on the continent’s outdoor summer season and those brave souls who organise it, while as you’ve no doubt seen, we also have a handy guide to help you register for ILMC 30 and a hint at the extraterrestrial nature of the extravaganza that awaits you at the Royal Garden Hotel in March. Production guru Tony Gittins is the recipient of The Gaffer Award for 2017 (page 40) and talks about stumbling into his first job to repay a favour. And more than thirty years later, he’s still in that same job, albeit his responsibilities have multiplied. Another empire-building tale can be found on page 58, where Jon Chapple learns about SAV Entertainment’s successful construction of a live music business in Russia, as the company and its founders celebrate their 30th anniversary. Elsewhere, our market report specialist, Adam Woods, takes us to Austria (page 68), while Rhian Woods finds out the story behind one of 2017’s biggest artist breakthrough stories, Rag’n’Bone Man, as he comes to the end of one tour and gets ready to hit the road again for a new chapter in 2018 (page 62). And with that, I’d like to wish each and every one of you a happy new year and all the best for a healthy and prosperous 2018.


IQ Magazine January 2018

Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0300 Twitter: @iq_mag


ILMC and Suspicious Marketing


Gort-on Masson

News Editor Dune Chapple

Associate Editor Alien McGowan

Marketing & Advertising Director

Terrellian McNally


Martian Hughes

Sub Editor

Mon Calamari Muldoon

Editorial Assistants

Imogen Bandersnatchi and Ben Kenobi Delger


Sarah Claudine, Audrey Guerre, Rhian Jones, Márton Náray, Simeon Pranger, Manfred Tari, Adam Woods

Editorial Contact

Gordon Masson, Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303

Advertising Contact

Terry McNally, Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304

To subscribe to IQ Magazine: An annual subscription to IQ is £75 (print) or £60 (electronic).



In Tweets... The French live music industry approaches a “return to normal” following the events of November 2015, promoters’ association Prodiss reveals, with audience numbers increasing by 6% compared to last year. Sony Music UK becomes the first major industry player to commit to financially supporting Music Venue Trust and its mission to protect, preserve and improve Britain’s grassroots music venues. AEG’s Goldenvoice UK brings the British Summer Time model to the East End of London with plans for a new, ten-day event. All Points East (APE) will be staged May/June 2018, and will combine two weekends with a BST-style, free-to-access midweek offering. StubHub is performing below expectations due to a lack of big events, according to eBay president/CEO Devin Wenig, after posting weak growth for a second consecutive financial quarter in Q3 2017. Jeff Craft, co-founder of London-based X-ray Touring, announces his retirement. Craft launched X-ray with fellow Helter Skelter agents Steve Strange and Ian Huffman, and ITB’s Martin Horne and Scott Thomas, in 2005. The tourist board of Abu Dhabi announces a fund of almost $3m (€2.5m) aimed at boosting private-sector involvement in the Emirates’ events sector. The grant is open to “all entities involved in the retail and events industry, venues and IPR owners.” Download booker Andy Copping confirms rumours that the long-running metal festival will head down under in 2018. It follows the launch of local editions of the UK-born franchise in other markets, including France and Spain. Dutch MP Jasper van Dijk describes the rejection of a bill that would have reimbursed consumers who bought a ticket for more than 20% above face value, as a “huge missed opportuni-


ty,” after the Ticket Act (Ticketwet) is defeated in the Dutch senate. Rob Potts, the veteran, Australian country music promoter, agent and artist manager, dies in a motorcycle accident on 27 October, aged 65. As CEO of Entertainment Edge, he brought some of the biggest stars in country music – Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Dixie Chicks and Taylor Swift – down under. In contrast to its soon-to-be defunct ticketing platform, Songkick’s concert discovery app is “not going anywhere” following its purchase by Warner Music Group, the company says, explaining: “You can still count on us to be the first to tell you about new concerts, and to point you to the fairest, safest places to buy tickets.” After 22 years, Virgin Group ends its relationship with V Festival, with V 2017 the last year of the UK festival in its current guise.

NOVEMBER Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino praises the ‘resilience’ of the concert business, as the live music giant posts its best third-quarter results to date. In Q3, LN’s year-on-year revenue was up 12% to $3.6bn (€3.1bn), with operating income up 5% and adjusted operating income up 10%. Italian promoters’ association Assomusica welcomes a reduction in VAT on concert professionals to 10%, saying the move, enshrined in Italy’s 2018 budget law, recognises the “new reality” of the modern, production-heavy live music business. Promoter FKP Scorpio and Germany’s Rolling Stone magazine announce the launch of Rolling Stone Park, an indoor festival that will debut in southern Germany, in November 2018. Europe’s biggest airline, low-cost carrier Ryanair, trades landing gear for live music with the introduction of Ryanair

Download Festival is heading down under in 2018



Tickets, a service selling tickets to concerts, theatrical shows and sporting events. The platform is a joint venture with Coras. London’s Metropolitan Police abolish Form 696, the controversial riskassessment document that critics claim discriminates against grime and other predominantly black music, in a move welcomed by mayor Sadiq Khan. Ticketmaster confirms its longrumoured expansion into Italy. The launch of Ticketmaster Italia, headquartered in Milan, follows the end of the exclusive long-term online partnership in Italy between Ticketmaster’s parent company, Live Nation, and CTS Eventim-owned TicketOne. DEAG is to scale back activities in Austria amid a renewed focus on Germany and its “second home market,” the UK. Its Austrian concerts subsidiary, Blue Moon, ceased trading at the end of September. YouTube becomes the latest musicstreaming platform to partner with Ticketmaster in the US, integrating tour dates and ticket listings into hundreds of its hosted music videos. Live/background music is now the biggest source of revenue for songwriters and music publishers in

IQ Magazine January 2018


Kings of Leon


Europe reveals CISAC’s 2017 annual report, overtaking TV and radio for the first time. Representatives from four major multinational booking agencies tell IQ they are intensifying efforts to ensure the safety of employees and clients amid on-going allegations of sexual harassment in the music industry. Tickets for Kraftwerk’s upcoming show at the Kremlin will be sold on the blockchain by Tickets Cloud, which will mark the first time that the much-hyped, distributed ledger technology is utilised for a large, headline show. London-based booking agency Coalition Talent enters into a joint venture with dance music colossus Ministry of Sound for a range of new live events and brand partnerships. After 11 years in East London’s Victoria Park – now exclusive to AEG – Eat Your Own Ears’ Field Day Festival will head to Brockwell Park in South London. Live Nation’s Lovebox and Citadel are also rumoured to be moving to Brockwell Park. Walter Kolm’s WK Entertainment management company opens its first European office, in Madrid, on 1 December. The new operation is headed up by exAPM president Pascual Egea. Promoter and venue owner/operator MJR Group adds several new venues, makes a number of hires, and expands into Dubai, following a period of growth for the UK-based company. Secondary ticketing websites will, from January 2018, be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords, as the search-engine giant cracks down on ticket resellers’ controversial use of its online advertising platform.

The cost of many concert tickets in Chicago is set to rise after councillors vote overwhelmingly to increase the city’s amusement tax by 4% in 2018. The much-anticipated launch of Amazon Tickets in North America is reportedly delayed indefinitely after e-commerce giant Amazon fails to secure a distribution deal with Live Nation’s Ticketmaster. FKP Scorpio will ring in the New Year with its first office in Norway. Oslobased FKP Scorpio Norge will be run by Goldstar founder Torgeir Gullaksen when it opens 1 January. Clementine Bunel, the agent who helped shape the live careers of Stromae, Benjamin Clementine, Ibibio Sound Machine, Songhoy Blues and Parcels, departs ATC Live to take up a new role at Coda Agency. The UK’s Consumer and Markets Authority (CMA) is to take ‘enforcement action’ against ticket resale websites suspected of breaking consumer protection law. Veteran, Dubai-based, concert promoter Thomas Ovesen joins AEG Ogden as vice-president of programming for its new Dubai Arena. He will take up his new role, moving from 117 Live, in early 2018. Live Nation reportedly submits a proposal to buy venue management giant SMG. The Pennsylvania-based company was recently put on the market by current owner Northlane Capital Partners, and is expected to sell for around $750m (€636m). Ontario, Canada, abandons plans for legislation that would have required ticket sellers to disclose how many tickets are available to the public for a given event seven days before they go on sale, after reported resistance from the local live music business.

To the delight of grassroots music venue campaigners, London adopts the agent-of-change principle. The directive means property developers have to take into account pre-existing businesses, such as music venues, when applying for planning permission. Leading self-service ticketer Eventbrite announces a series of new partnerships, rolling out integrations with events guide The List, festival package provider Festicket, word-of-mouth ticket sales platform Verve, and brand ambassador software Ticketrunner. CTS Eventim is to take to the courts in a bid to overturn a surprise ban by the Federal Cartel Office on its use of exclusivity agreements with promoters and box offices in Germany. The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority dismisses Live Nation’s complaint against AEG over its blockbooking of The O2 in London and Staples Center in Los Angeles, telling the former company it does not intend to open an investigation on competition grounds. UK festival Tramlines is to move out of Sheffield city centre for its tenthanniversary event, after being granted an event licence for Hillsborough Park, a large, green space on the outskirts of the city. Kings of Leon sign with WME for exclusive, worldwide representation. The US rockers were previously with CAA domestically, and WME for international touring. Artist manager Rasmus Damsholt is to head-up a new Danish operation for ATC Management, the company’s third international office and its first in continental Europe.

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IQ Magazine January 2018



Movers and Shakers Clementine Bunel, the agent who has helped shape the live careers of artists including Stromae, Benjamin Clementine, Ibibio Sound Machine, Songhoy Blues and Parcels, has departed ATC Live to take up a new role at Coda Agency. Prior to joining ATC in 2015, Bunel ran her own successful agency, 2 For The Road Events Ltd, which combined a booking agency, promoter and creative production team. Live Nation Sweden has announced the promotion of its head promoter, Anna Sjölund, and director of marketing and Nordic partnerships, Therése Liljedahl, as joint managing directors. Sjölund will remain the company’s head promoter, overseeing LN Sweden’s agency, touring and festivals, while Liljedahl will retain responsibility for commercial partnerships in the Nordics while also managing LN Sweden’s marketing, partnership, finance, administration and HR functions. Danielle Russell has been appointed head of events at London Stadium 185, the operators of the former Olympic Stadium in London. Previously she spent five years across the other side of the capital, working for the Football Association at Wembley Stadium where latterly she was partnership development manager – music and new events. Ticketmaster France has hired Charlotte Broutin, formerly of rival operation France Billet, as head of music. Her arrival comes as Ticketmaster works to strengthen its share of the French ticketing market, where it is in competition with Fnac’s France Billet and Vivendi’s Digitick. Jeff Craft, co-founder of London-based X-ray Touring has announced his retirement. His roster included Pixies, PJ Harvey, Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker and Elbow.

Thomas Ovesen has revealed plans to join AEG Ogden as vice-president of programming for the new Dubai Arena. Currently CEO of 117 Live, Ovesen will commence his new role early in 2018. ATC Management has announced that artist manager Rasmus Damsholt will head up its new office in Denmark, the company’s third international office and its first in continental Europe. Infrastructure service provider eps has strengthened its international controlling team with the appointment of Alice Kentenich as its new head of finance/controlling at its German subsidiary. In addition, the parent company is bringing Olga Sarman and Katharina Wilk into the team group’s finance department. Kentenich was at Formel D GmbH as a treasury and controlling manager, while Sarman previously worked for Lufthansa, and Wilk joins from online shop SMG Europe has promoted Dan Harris, general manager of its Scunthorpe venues The Baths Hall (1,800-cap) and Plowright Theatre (354-cap), to the post of general manager at the new Hull Venue, a 3,500-capacity music and events complex set to open in summer 2018. Additionally, SMG has named Nick Waight as MD of Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre ahead of its move to a new home in 2019. Waight’s last role was as managing director of NEC Group. He will step into his new role in April 2018. Sheffield Arena in Yorkshire, the UK’s seventh most-visited arena, has promoted Joe Waldron to replace Rob O’Shea as general manager. Waldron, who has been at the arena for 18 years, including 11 as deputy GM, steps up after O’Shea left to focus on his promotions business, Manifesto Events.

International jury members at this year’s Swiss Live Talents Music Marathon in Bern had their work cut out deciding on the winners from the event’s 36 shortlisted emerging acts. Created by the SwissAmp association, Swiss Live Talents aims to promote and support the country’s live music scene, and this year attracted entries from 660 registered acts. Sharing a prize fund of CHF50,000 (€42,000), the winners in each musical category were: Zeal and Ardor (Best Live Act); KT Gorique (National Language); KT Gorique (Public Award); The Last Moan (Rock/Metal); Odd Beholder (Pop/Indie/Folk/Songwriter); WUGS (Electro/Dance); KoQa Beatbox (Urban/Hip-Hop/Groove/Reggae); and Long Tall Jefferson (Best Emerging Talent).


IQ Magazine January 2018


Groningen Prepares for Annual Industry Invasion strength to strength. Elsewhere, ESNS will kick off with the EBBA Awards, which recognise ten European acts who have been successful in developing their careers outside their own country. The current crop include Skott (SE), Off Bloom (DK), Blanche (BE), Alice Merton (DE), Alma (FI), Kristian Kostov (BG), Sigrid (NO), The Blaze (FR), Youngr (UK) and Salvador Sobral (PT). More than 400 acts from 30 countries will showcase their talent during ESNS, in the hope of catching the attention of some of the hundreds

of festival bookers who will be in Groningen for the 1720 January event, which also hosts the European Festival Awards on the opening night. Last year’s big ETEP winners were British Punk

band, shame, who achieved a record number of 17 ETEP festival bookings throughout 2017, while the scheme as a whole secured a total of 424 festival slots, involving 164 acts from 24 countries. Shame performing at the International Festival Forum 2016 photo ©M3HCreative

Barely had the festive parties started when agents began talking up some of the acts they will be showcasing at Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS) in the Netherlands in mid-January. Combining daytime panels and keynotes with a packed programme of evening gigs, ESNS will welcome Denmark as its focus nation for 2018 with a number of Danish acts rubbingshoulders with musicians from around Europe, vying for success in the European Talent Exchange Program (ETEP), which continues to go from

Live Nation Lining up SMG Acquisition? Mergers and monopolies executives around the world could be in for a busy start to 2018 as Live Nation has reportedly submitted a proposal to buy venue management giant SMG. Pennsylvania-based SMG, whose venue portfolio claims

to be the world’s largest, with stakes in some 500 arenas, stadia, theatres, amphitheatres and convention centres across North America, Europe and Asia, was recently put up for sale, with owners Northblane Capital Partners supposedly holding out for bids in the re-

gion of $750m (€636m). At press time, Live Nation had made no comment, but an acquisition of SMG would make it a dominant player in venue management, especially in the European arenas market, where rival AEG Facilities is traditionally stronger.

One major obstacle, however, would be regulatory approval in multiple territories, as with Live Nation’s 2010 acquisition of Ticketmaster. Indeed, when the company acquired Mama Group in the UK, it had to divest some of its venue assets to comply with watchdog rules.

Google Tightens Ticket Resale AdWords Regulations Anti-secondary ticketing campaigners are celebrating a significant victory after dominant search engine Google bowed to pressure over the misuse of its AdWords facilities by unscrupulous resale sites. Beginning in January 2018, secondary ticketing websites will be subject to stringent restrictions on their use of Google AdWords, as it cracks down on ticket resellers’ controversial abuse of the online advertising platform. An IQ investigation carried out in March 2017, revealed that resale sites spend up to 15 times more on Google


ads than some promoters and primary ticketers. Our research found that some sites will pay up to £15 (€17) per click for ads on hot on-sales, while at the lower end of the scale, the major secondary sites are still spending up to £3 (€3.40) cost per click (CPC) on Google AdWords for tours that have been onsale for some time, and have long sold-out of face-value tickets – far more than the event promoters can ever hope to devote to their legitimate marketing campaigns. That situation prompted vocal criticism from UK politicians, who accused sites

such as Viagogo, StubHub, Seatwave and Get Me In! of violating Google’s policies on advertising misrepresentation. However, in late November, Google said it will move ticket resellers into its ‘other restricted businesses’ category of customers, requiring them to be certified with Google before they can advertise using AdWords – and crucially prohibiting reseller operators from implying they are the “primary or original provider of event tickets.” To apply for certification, resellers must agree to: • Inform customers that their prices may be higher than

face value. • Breakdown prices to show included fees and taxes during checkout, and before the customer provides payment information. • List the face value of the ticket, along with the reseller’s price, in the same currency. “This is potentially a game changer,” Adam Webb, campaign manager at FanFair Alliance, says. “We have had a number of conversations with Google and their AdWords team, and we are delighted they have acted in such an assertive manner. It is a major step forward in cleaning up the secondary market.”

IQ Magazine January 2018

Eventim Vows to Battle Exclusivity Ticketing Ban Competition in Germany’s ticketing sector could be set to heat up markedy in 2018 – but not if CTS Eventim’s legal team has anything to do with it. The company’s lawyers are rolling up their sleeves for a fight with the country’s monopolies watchdog, which has effectively banned it from insisting on exclusive ticketing arrangements with promoters and venues in Germany. The ticketing giant has again fallen foul of the country’s Federal Cartel Office (Bundeskartellamt), which has issued an order that prohibits Eventim from requiring partners to “only sell tickets exclusively or to a considerable extent via CTS’s ticket sales system.” This is an abuse of the company’s dominant market position according to Bundeskartellamt. Estimates of

Eventim’s power within Germany range between 50–70% of the ticketing market. Following a lengthy investigation, the Bundeskartellamt stated that Eventim’s partners must have the option of selling at least 20% of their annual inventory via other ticket agencies, if their deal with the company is longer than two years. “CTS Eventim holds a dominant position in the market. Under competition law, a company with such a market position has special obligations,” says Bundeskartellamt president, Andreas Mundt. “With our decision, substantial ticket quotas will be freed up for sale via competing ticketing systems.” CTS has been given four months to comply. As one of Germany’s most recognisable brands, CTS

Eventim and its billionaire CEO Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, have found themselves the subject of a number of investigations in recent years, and their lawyers have a formidable reputation. With the exclusivity banning order threatening Eventim’s dominant position, the company was quick to hit back, claiming that the cartel watchdog had approached its investigation with a predetermined outcome in mind. In a statement, Eventim promised court action to overturn the ruling. “We have to assume that the Cartel Office has gone into this procedure with a preconceived notion,” it said. “All the investigations in the three-year proceedings were apparently aimed at confirming this belief.” The statement continues, “We regret that the agency

has not adequately considered our strong counterarguments, especially as they are supported by current studies and economic expert reports. [If] they had, the investigation would have led to a different outcome… For these reasons, we will not accept the decision of the Federal Cartel Office and [will] engage the courts to correct it.” In a separate move in November, the Bundeskartellamt blocked CTS Eventim’s proposed acquisition of Berlin-based promoter and booking agency Four Artists. Eventim’s lawyers are also working on an appeal to overturn that decision, stating, “We believe that the takeover of Four Artists is eligible for approval and therefore reserve the right to seek legal remedies against the ruling.”

The latest trades and handshakes from the agency world RL Boyce


Agent: Andy Duggan, Primary Talent In 2017, RL Boyce, the 62-year-old master of Mississippi hill country blues, released his first album (Roll and Tumble) for a decade, and also performed his first-ever UK shows. Capturing the juke-joint, moonshine-fuelled, picnic party life, Boyce takes the listener through Saturday night and over that fine line that separates it from Sunday morning – God-fearing music on Mississippi terms. He has become so highly regarded that people see him as the Ravi Shankar of hill country music – a loose and free form of music that puts both the performer and the listener in a warm, almost meditative state while still groovy enough “to demand a good ass shake.” A musician since his childhood, Boyce’s songs are often delivered in an improvisational fashion, with references to his collaborators, his environs and whatever else happens to be on his mind at that particular moment. You never hear the same RL Boyce song twice. “Most of it, when somethin’ hits my mind, I just start. I don’t do no rehearsin’ with nobody. I don’t do nothin’ like that. Whatever hits me, I jump in on it,” he states.


The Slow Readers Club


The Slow Readers Club is probably the biggest band you’ve never heard of. But that’s all about to change. The band consists of Aaron Starkie (vocals), Kurtis Starkie (guitar and vocals), James Ryan (bass) and David Whitworth (drums). They’re a Manchesterbased, four-piece who specialise in dark and brooding indie electro that has drawn comparisons with Interpol, The Killers and The National, and which feels equally at home in big arenas and festival fields, as it does in intimate surroundings. Formed in 2010, they’ve taken the long road to recognition. Their self-titled debut album featured live favourites like One More Minute, Feet On Fire, Sirens and Block Out The Sun, but despite rave reviews, they remained firmly under the radar. Many bands would have called it a day, but their self-belief, coupled with a growing band of influential bloggers and radio presenters, kept them going. Self-funded and self-managed with no more than word of mouth and album Cavalcade at their disposal, they sold-out The Ritz in Manchester two months in advance last year, and have just repeated the trick with Manchester’s Albert Hall. In London, they sold-out Oslo, and The Borderline with their army, as well as playing to growing crowds around the rest of the country.

PREDICTIONS FOR NEXT MONTH Artists not in the current top 15 but rapidly rising OMB PEEZY (US), NOT3s (UK), STELLA DONNELLY (AU) STARCRAWLER (US), MORGAN SAINT (US)

IQ Magazine January 2018

Artist listings 070 Shake (US) Mike Malak, Coda Agency Abhorrent Decimation (UK) Ben Ward, UTA Airways (UK) David Sullivan-Kaplan, UTA Anna Burch (US) Erin Coleman, Paper and Iron Booking Co Bok Bok (UK) Paul McQueen, Primary Talent Collard (UK) Tom Permaul-Baker, Primary Talent Craigie Knowes (UK) Josh Ergatoudis, Coda Agency Dan Croll (UK) Nick Holroyd & Andy Duggan, Primary Talent David Nance (US) Nikita Lavrinenko, Paper and Iron Booking Co Dom McAllister (UK) Mike Malak, Coda Agency Domino Kirke (US) Erin Coleman, Paper and Iron Booking Co Dune Rats (AU) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Touring E^st (AU) Tom Schroeder, Coda Agency Elli Ingram (UK) Mike Malak, Coda Agency Fekky (UK) Josh Ergatoudis, Coda Agency Fireball Ministry (US) Ben Ward, UTA Fischerspooner (US) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Full Crate (NL) Nick Reddick, Primary Talent Gold Fir (UK) Peter Elliott & Will Marshall, Primary Talent Goldie (UK) Tom Schroeder, Coda Agency Great News (NO) Rob Challice, Coda Agency Sol Parker, Coda Agency Hannah Jane Lewis (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Helena Deland (CA) Ed Sellers, Primary Talent Hellions (AU) Mike Malak, Coda Agency Higher Brothers (CN) I Don’t Know How But They Found Me (US) Steve Strange, X-ray Touring Olly Hodgson, Coda Agency Joshua Hedley (US) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Touring Joyce Manor (US) Craig D’Souza & Tracey Roper, Primary Talent Just Banco (UK) James Whitting, Coda Agency Kailee Morgue (US) Paul McQueen & Kata Farkas, Primary Talent Kayzo (US) Ross Warnock UTA Lady Bird (UK) Nikita Lavrinenko, Paper and Iron Booking Co Lido Pimienta (CA) Lina Tullgren (US) Erin Coleman, Paper and Iron Booking Co Lucien Parker (US) Josh Ergatoudis, Coda Agency MAX (US) Jason Edwards, Coda Agency Night Flight (UK) Chris Payne, ITB Noisia (NL) Francesco Caccamo, Primary Talent Now, Now (US) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Pitou (NL) David Sullivan-Kaplan, UTA Quirke (UK) Sandy Marris, Coda Agency QZB (CH/DE) Francesco Caccamo & Jack Herron, Primary Talent Robert Finley (US) Rob Challice, Coda Agency

IQ Magazine January 2018

New Signings & Rising Stars

Rina Sawayama (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Ritual (UK) Sol Parker, Coda Agency Sage the Gemini (US) Mike Malak, Coda Agency Sam Calver (UK) Sol Parker, Coda Agency Scarlet Pleasure (DK) Oliver Ward, (UTA) Scarlxrd (UK) Jess Kinn & Mike Malak, Coda Agency Shannon Lay (US) Nikita Lavrinenko, Paper and Iron Booking Co Smooky Margielaa (US) Mike Malak, Coda Agency Suno Deko (US) Erin Coleman, Paper and Iron Booking Co Suspect (UK) Nick Matthews, Coda Agency The Blow (US) Erin Coleman, Paper and Iron Booking Co The Comet Is Coming (UK) Rick Morton, Blow-Up The Maine (US) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Touring Tom Tripp (UK) Michael Harvey-Bray, Coda Agency Tony Njoku (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Touring Trever Horn (UK) Steve Strange, X-ray Touring Twain (US) Erin Coleman & Nikita Lavrinenko, Paper and Iron Booking Co Tyne (UK) Michael Harvey-Bray, Coda Agency Underwater Boys (UK) Adele Slater, Coda Agency Vök (IS) Steve Zapp, ITB Warmduscher (UK) Rick Morton, Blow-Up What So Not (AU) Paul McQueen, Primary Talent Whethan (US) Michael Harvey-Bray & Nick Matthews, Coda Agency Yaeji (KR) Jason Edwards, Coda Agency Yizzy (UK) Mike Malak, Coda Agency

IQ Magazine hottest new acts - Dec 2017

This Month

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Last Month 3 7 2 25 5 18 11 4 23 6 9 30 19 41 12



Fastest growing artists in terms of music consumption. Aggregated across a number of online sources.



Stronger Together Live DMA, the European network for music venues and festivals, recently turned five years old. Head of co-ordination Audrey Guerre describes the network’s development.


ur network now covers 17 live music associations in 13 countries, representing more than 2,500 music venues and festivals. Based on exchange of experience and best practice, the network is an arena for the members to meet and derive support from each other in order to share a vision of the music sector, and to affirm their social and cultural role in society. This collaborative network enables members to utilise our activities, highlighting their own experience and best practices, building skills, and participating in Live DMA’s strategic decisions. They also meet informally to create new collaborations, separate from Live DMA’s co-ordination. This assures us that Live DMA, as an international co-operation project, is successful.

“The live music sector contributes significantly to society by giving everybody the opportunity to take part in a collective adventure.” One of Live DMA’s primary achievements was the 2012 implementation of The Survey, which enabled members to share data about music venues’ activities, employment, and finances. This essential project supports to define us; as the members own the production of data, we have built a relationship of trust with them. Live DMA provides a survey co-ordinator who helps each referent by gathering data and presenting the results all around Europe. From 2013 to 2015, during the network’s Musication and Lighthouses projects, bookers, managers, and communication officers asked how they could engage audiences; connect music and education; build a qualitative programme; and develop new business models. In 2016 and 2017, Live DMA co-organised the International Congress for Concert Venues with its members ACCES and ASACC during Primavera Pro in Barcelona. Among the topics discussed were city development, nightlife, relationships with neighbours, youth audiences, sound-level regulation, sustainable development, and amateur status. Live DMA was then able to identify and present the main challenges for the live music sector in Europe. In June 2017, the Creative Europe programme officially recognised Live DMA as a network and granted it development funding. Under the heading Live Style Europe (LSE), we aim to empower music venues and festivals to adapt more easily to the evolution of the live music sector.


Our first working group session on music venues’ value to local authorities, took place in Berlin during the nightlife conference Stadt Nach Acht; and the second session on audience engagement will take place in Rennes, France, during Les Rencontres Transmusicales festival, in December. To reduce gaps and fragmentation, LSE provides equal resources and tools for the live sector to develop in terms of regulation and legislation. In 2018, Live DMA will launch an online resource platform, including a pool of expertise and a blog of best practices. In several European countries, especially in Eastern and Southern Europe, music venues and festivals have no support associations. LSE aims to structure the live music sector in these countries with the expertise of other Live DMA members. Finally, Live DMA is proud to present the first European edition of Open Club Day. On 3 February, 2018, live music venues all over Europe will open their doors to an audience that might not be familiar with live music activities. Open Club Day aims to demonstrate to people living in the vicinity of a venue, and policy makers, the reality of the work involved in running a live music venue. By highlighting the daily activities undertaken by music venues, Open Club Day offers the right circumstances for a constructive exchange that can help to clear up negative stereotypes that are so often cultivated around music venues and nightlife. The activities undertaken by live music venues go way beyond live music programming. Just 17% of Live DMA member venues exclusively devote their activities to live music programming; 56% also engage in social and educational activities; and 47% provide equipment and rehearsal space for musicians. The live music sector contributes significantly to society by giving everybody the opportunity to take part in a collective adventure. In 2015, over 81,000 people shared their passion for music by their voluntary engagement in music venues. By joining forces, co-operative projects such as Open Club Day can have a real impact on the recognition of music venues as significant contributors to culture. According to Isabelle von Walterskirchen, co-president of Live DMA, “Getting... insight into the complexity of providing live music in a grassroots venue is truly surprising to the outsider. Feeling the professionalism and passion of the crew is highly touching. Opening the venue to parents, neighbours, and nightlife critics helps change prejudicial thinking into a relationship of respect and trust. It supports the realisation of the cultural, social and economical value of live music venues.”

IQ Magazine January 2018


Safe Gigs for Women Sarah Claudine, a member of Safe Gigs for Women’s management team reflects on Venues Day 2017, and discusses how venues can join the fight to eradicate sexual assault and harassment at live music events.


afe Gigs for Women (SGFW) was established in 2015 with the aim of raising awareness of sexual assault and harassment at live music events. Initially a one-woman campaign fronted by founder Tracey Wise, following her own sexual assault at a show in Cardiff, the campaign has flourished into a UK-wide organisation that has had a presence at an estimated 50 events this year. The campaign attempts to engage those involved with the live music industry at all levels: from gig-goers themselves, to artists and, crucially, to venues and their management. Being invited to speak on the Safety Matters Panel at The Music Venue Trust’s annual Venues Day served as an incredible opportunity for us to examine issues of sexual assault and harassment from all of these perspectives. The panel featured representatives from UK venues such as Le Pub (Southport), The Railway (Winchester), and Trinity Centre (Bristol) with discussion covering all areas of personal safety, from drug and alcohol abuse, to discrimination, and terrorism at live music events. Establishing where other safety issues intersect specifically with sexual violence plays a key part in understanding what can be done to prevent it. The need for venues to recognise and treat sexual assault and harassment as seriously as they do violent assault, discrimination, and drug and alcohol abuse was unanimously agreed upon, and it was further agreed that it’s about focusing people’s minds on what is and isn’t acceptable. Input from prominent SGFW supporter Frank Turner also highlighted the vital role that artists can play in raising awareness amongst their own audiences, both at venues and online.

“The role of music venues (particularly grassroots and independent venues) in fighting sexual assault and harassment cannot be underplayed.” The role of music venues (particularly grassroots and independent venues) in fighting sexual assault and harassment cannot be underplayed. It is the aim of SGFW to publish guidelines and information packs for venues, but those looking to get involved immediately can see the suggestions below:

IQ Magazine January 2018

Set the Tone: Venues have very little control over who might walk through their doors at any given event, but they do get to set out exactly how customers should behave once inside. Venues can make their stance on sexual assault and harassment very clear both prior to events, through notices on their websites, social media and ticketing point of sale: and during, though venue signage. Having a venue code of conduct that explicitly addresses how the venue tackles assault will act both as a deterrent for potential perpetrators, and will reassure those who may previously have experienced assault at a live music venue. Train Your Staff: The safety and wellbeing of customers whilst in a venue should be the joint responsibility of all staff on-site. Security teams do an incredible job, but they can’t see and hear everything happening in the venue at all times. Bar, tech, cleaning, and other staff can assist simply by keeping an eye on what is going on around them – does someone look like they might be in trouble? If so, do security need to be made aware? Often victims will report assault to any member of staff that they feel comfortable disclosing to – it is the responsibility of venues to ensure that all staff are equipped to deal with this and that procedures are followed. Be Consistent and Persistent: Taking a zero-tolerance approach to any incidence of sexual assault or harassment each and every time is the only way that venues can maintain a safe space for persons of all genders. If perpetrators feel that they can ‘get away with it,’ they will continue to behave in this way – do not allow them that opportunity, and do not allow victims of sexual assault and harassment to think that their experience is invalid by failing to take appropriate action. Use Your Network: Venues have the right to set a behavioural precedent amongst their customers and staff, but we feel that they also have an obligation to do so with all persons involved with putting on their gigs. Ensuring that all artists, their teams, and other staff are aware of the principals that the venue stands by has the power to create a respectful and enjoyable environment for everybody. Live music is a community, and by all working together, we can stamp out sexual harassment and assault for good. Interested in getting involved with the work Safe Gigs for Women do? email: or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.



The Value of a Strategic Mindset Twenty-two-year-old Simeon Pranger from Treetop Agency shows how a little courage can kick-start an international career.


usic management qualifications are not a guaranteed road to success in the music industry. Introducing dozens of young creatives into an already saturated market each year, it takes the perfect combination of (academic) knowledge, insight, and entrepreneurship to get a foot in the door of the music industry for any graduate. At 22 years old, I am fortunate enough to work with and represent amazing talent from all over the world. How? The key word is ‘strategy.’ Walking through the doors of the Utrecht School of the Arts for the first time, in the autumn of 2013, I saw many of my peers immediately finding bands from the local scene to work with. Naturally, I did the same. However, I soon felt my work didn’t do the band justice. The network I was creating consisted solely of bars and amateur festivals, and therefore would never earn the band or me a living. This needed to change. But how? The answer came to me at Sziget Festival 2014 in Budapest, Hungary, when I saw New Zealand-born singer-songwriter Thomas Oliver play his first ever European show. On the hunt for a physical copy of Thomas’s music, I ended up talking to his manager at the time, Cushla Aston (Aston Road), and something clicked. I introduced myself as a booking agent – which I definitely wasn’t yet. And this was something she definitely knew. And I told her that if they had any plans to tour the Netherlands I was happy to get involved. Long story short: in early 2015, Thomas Oliver was the artist for whom I booked my first ever tour.

“Figure out what part of the industry fascinates you most, analyse the necessary steps to get involved in it, and take the risk.” So, I had to book a tour for a still unknown musician from the other side of the world with basically no valuable connections – let’s go! Looking at the tour schedules of similar artists, I quickly generated a list of venues to approach.


However, many turned out to be a little too ambitious, so I came up with an alternative plan. I figured that by booking shows in irregular venues, like churches and factory halls, the atmosphere would add promotional value to the shows. This especially turned out to be true outside of cities, in villages where not many international artists pass through, resulting in a full house at almost all of his shows. Treetop Agency was founded a month later, and from then on I kept an eye out for international artists whose music I enjoyed but who had not yet toured the Netherlands, hoping to add a couple of dates to their schedules. Earning the trust of experienced artists, managers and agents early in my career, I quickly introduced myself to the country’s top venues too, whilst avoiding the bar scene mentioned earlier. This way, I managed to put on hundreds of shows while still in school, the revenues of which I reinvested by visiting showcase festivals to keep the ball rolling. Having received my Bachelor’s degree in June 2017, I now represent 20 artists from 10 countries. My interest in finding ways to add promotional value to shows has slightly shifted to a fascination for the promotional spiral in which recorded and live music can catalyse each other. The combination of live shows being the main source of income for most artists and the promotion of live shows being strongly dependent on the results of the recorded music industry (and vice versa) inspired me to investigate the best possible balance and timing to create a solid foundation for success. Working closely together with the artists’ managements, I now focus on creating elaborate development plans for Treetop artists to gain momentum in the Netherlands and beyond. With the network and reputation of Treetop Agency in the Netherlands still growing steadily, more artists are asking me to get involved in the co-ordination of their European tours and promotion. The future will see a focus on not just expanding the network of promoters, but also of booking agencies and record labels throughout the continent, hopefully turning my passion for live music into a career as an international agent. With an estimated 50 years to go before retirement, there’s plenty of time for me to dream big. This is my personal advice to anyone starting in music management, school or no school: figure out what part of the industry fascinates you most, analyse the necessary steps to get involved in it, and take the risk. With a clear strategy and just a little bit of courage, you might just secure your spot in the market.

IQ Magazine January 2018


Buzz in the East Márton Náray, organiser of Czech conference and showcase event, Nouvelle Prague, and the founder of the recently launched SoundCzech/Czech Music Office, outlines developments in the region. ost likely, many IQ readers have at some point wondered what might be happening in the Central and Eastern parts of Europe, as it seems that more and more interesting festivals are popping up every year, and there has been a growth in international ticket sales at events. In order to stop unfounded assumptions, and to instead provide actual facts about the region, SoundCzech/Czech Music Office began operating this summer, with the aim of providing the wider live music community with access to information regarding the Czech music scene.


As the head of the office, and as a Hungarian expat living in Prague, I see the existing situation from a slightly different viewpoint than my Czech colleagues. Even though the CentralEastern European region (with a focus on Czech Republic) has been active for some time, in the past few years many developments have taken place. I believe that the Czech live music scene is flourishing, with many improvements all around the country: local and international bands can play and work in good quality venues and studios; the inauguration of new associations (such as FestAs, the Czech festival association; and the independent label association); many local bands are now

reaching international music standards; and last but not least, many young professionals are eager to find partners elsewhere in Europe to co-operate with. I would even risk saying that the scene is ready to take off and to start crossing borders. However, I should add that the education of young professionals is an area that still needs improvement. One other key topic we are working on is creating a general music sector platform to change the status quo of the region’s existing music sector. Just as in many other European countries, the official acknowledgement of the live music scene as a fully functioning ‘industry’ would drastically improve our ability to develop the sector further. Considering these current developments, our focus (on behalf of the SoundCzech/Czech Music Office), besides educating professionals, is to create as many access points to the Czech market as possible. You will find us at most relevant European events, and as a signature project together with other regional partners, we have created a new brand, the CEEntral party, that we will feature at different events (ESNS, Reeperbahn, ℅ pop)) with the aim of linking capable regional colleagues with professionals present at international trade gatherings.

News fr om live music associations ar ound the world

New Law for Live Music in Italy second significant boost, following the government’s decision to cut VAT on live shows – a regulation that campaigners had been expecting for almost ten years, but nevertheless finally highlights the political acknowledgement of live entertainment as a meaningful business sector. “It’s a historic moment for the sector: after so many years we have a real law for live music,” says Assomusica president Vincenzo Spera. “The new law acknowledges the social, educational and economic significance of live music and contemporary popular music, as well as their central role in the development of tourist and cultural offers in our country.”

V4 Roundabout is a music sector accelerator and regional showcase project that brings music professionals from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia together. Its main aim is to support interactions between the SMEs (small – and medium-sized enterprises) of the region and to boost the local music scene by creating strategies for new artists to grow. Supported by the Visegrad Fund, the project aims to enhance the growth of the music market by gathering professionals and media representatives from the four countries to share information, pick the hottest bands for the upcoming season, exchange ideas, and pave the

way for future businesses. Using the Nouvelle Prague conference and showcase festival for its latest meeting, the V4 Roundabout staged discussions that ranged from media collaboration to club touring, fundraising, and strategy building. The main project partners were LALA Music Agency (SK), Kraków Music Cluster (PL), MamaZone (HU) and Nouvelle Prague, in co-operation with Austria Music Export. Delegates included 48 professionals from the four partner countries who championed four bands – Tolstoys (SK), Ghost of You (CZ), Mïus (HU) and Hańba! (PL) – for performance slots during the showcase element of Nouvelle Prague.

prestigious award and are humbled that The Green Organisation chose AGF as a winner. Huge thanks go to all our assessors, supporters, and the events we have worked with. It is also warming to see that a donation has been made to the Green Earth Appeal on our behalf.” The Green Apple Awards began in 1994 and have become established as the

UK’s major recognition for environmental endeavours among companies, councils, communities and countries. The awards are organised by The Green Organisation, an international, independent, non-political, nonprofit environment group dedicated to recognising, rewarding and promoting environmental best practice around the world.

A Greener Festival Wins the Green Apple Award 2017 A Greener Festival (AGF), the not-for-profit organisation committed to helping festivals and events to minimise their environmental impact around the world, has won the Green Apple Environment Award in the international campaign to find the greenest companies, councils and communities. AGF competed against more than 500 other nominees for the award, which was presented at the Houses of Parliament, London. Over the last decade, AGF has assessed and accredited

more than 400 festivals worldwide including Glastonbury Festival (UK), Roskilde Festival (DK), Bonnaroo (US) and Falls Festival (AU). The organisation has delivered sustainable event training for professionals all over Europe, and on 6 March 2018, in London, will deliver the tenth Green Events and Innovations Conference in partnership with the International Live Music Conference. AGF co-founder Claire O’Neill says, “We are over the moon to receive this

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IQ Magazine January 2018

Tolstoys perform at the Nouvelle Prague showcase festival

Members of Italian promoters’ society, Assomusica, are celebrating the government’s approval of Act 4652, which will lead to the state providing enhanced support for contemporary live music activities. The law will see plans implemented for the “renovation of theatres, spaces and structures used for performances” with a particular focus on those located in small municipalities. The legislation will also fund schemes to support emerging Italian talent by renewing tax credit for artists and promoting performance culture in schools. The approval of the act has provided the Italian live music industry with a

V4 Roundabout

Gig Gadgetry from the Frontline...

Human Microchipping Yes, we’re serious. Human microchipping has actually become a thing in 2017, and for anyone attending technology and culture festival, Pause Fest, in Australia next year, you can look forward to hearing all about the pros and cons of having the grain of rice-sized chips implanted in your hand. At the launch of the event, which will take place in Melbourne 7-11 February, organisers revealed that ten VIP ticket holders had volunteered to have Near Field Communication (NFC) chips implanted between their thumbs and forefingers. The chips are preloaded with three-day passes to Pause, but can also unlock doors to the volunteers’ houses, gyms, and workplaces. And in a move mirroring Swedish train operator SJ Railways the chips can also be used on public transport as an alternative to printed passes.

Indeed, while the Pause experiment is limited to ten people, around 3,000 people have signed up to the SJ Railways scheme where the microchip is scanned by the conductor to validate tickets. The system works by registering each passenger with a membership number that is stored in the chip, and then monitored and updated via an app on the customer’s smartphone. The microchip and app exchange information using NFC – the same wireless data transfer technology used by the likes of Apple Pay, Android Pay and Amiibo. While widespread use of insertable technology may be some years off, scientists are already developing chips that dissolve and can be absorbed by the body, so don’t be too surprised in years to come when you’re registering for ILMC and you see a tick box for Would you like chips with that?

Stagelink Stagelink’s software provides event organisers and promoters with unique fan insights and effective digital marketing

to forecast sales and maximise profit. Leveraging machine intelligence, Stagelink analyses event and audience data to accurately predict ticket sales, as well as optimally design and channel marketing activities. Launched in Germany in 2014, Stagelink has supported hundreds of promoters to successfully produce more than 1,000 events by collecting and mining over 100 million data points. In the coming months, Stagelink has plans for international expansion to support more and more people all over the world, as they create and experience the live events they desire.

Viberate Viberate is a crowdsourced live music ecosystem and a blockchain-based marketplace. Currently, the Viberate platform lists profiles of more than 53,000 venues, 210,000 events, and 130,000 musicians, from superstars to garage bands. They are furnished with all available social media links and analytical insights. Profiles are also equipped with contact information that enables users to engage among themselves, while the company says that profiles of booking agencies and event organisers will be

added to the platform soon. Event organisers will be able to book musicians directly through Viberate, in a similar set-up to Airbnb. They can pick them out from the crowd using Viberate analytics and filters, and after the gig, event organisers can review the musicians and vice versa. Additionally, promoters will have a chance to sell tickets through Viberate on a decentralised system without intermediaries. In the booking process, the blockchain technology can be used to negotiate terms and transfer payments.

An SJ Railways customer has the microchip ‘ticket’ in his hand scanned

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IQ Magazine January 2018

The complaint that Europe’s music festival market has surpassed saturation point may be true, but feedback from our 2017 survey of the continent’s event organisers suggests that the fierce competition is not harming the vast majority of festivals.


total of 120 festivals took part in the 2017 European Festival Report and most of those events reported successful business for the year, despite the numerous challenges that promoters face when it comes to booking talent, securing licences, enhancing site security, and planning for inclement weather. Costs across the board may be rising, but the public appetite for music festivals still appears to be on the increase too, so the takeaways from this year’s report are thankfully more positive than negative. For the purposes of our quantitative reporting (ie the number crunching), we called upon the services of Live Data Agency’s Claire Buckle and Chris Carey, whose analytic skills and economist backgrounds have helped make sense of the data that so many of you trusted us with. Thanks go to both Live Data Agency (LDA) and everyone who took the time to fill in our survey forms. One caveat is that, for reasons of accuracy, we only collated the numbers from festivals whose daily capacity was above the 10,000 mark. The data submitted by smaller events has nevertheless been invaluable, notably through the commentaries that organisers shared regarding results and strategic planning, but in our efforts to deliver you meaningful information that you can use to help your business, when it comes to data such as pricing, VIP uptake, attendance, and staffing, we have discounted the quantitative information for those events with daily audiences of less than 10,000 people. As with all European festival seasons, 2017 of course claimed a number of casualties. In the UK alone, the final day at Y Not Festival in Derbyshire fell victim to a muddy fate, Flashback in Nottingham was canned because of poor ticket sales, and Hope & Glory in Liverpool folded mid-event amid rows concerning overcrowding and artist cancellations. But generally, Europe’s festival organisers had a relatively problem-free summer compared to previous years when the weather, in particular, played havoc across the continent.


And that sunny overview is underlined by the confidence being shown by promoters such as the people behind EXIT, which is expanding to five countries in 2018 with the addition of Festival84 in Bosnia and Herzegovina next year, joining Sea Dance in Montenegro, Sea Star in Croatia, Revolution in Romania, and the classic EXIT Festival in Serbia. Indeed, cashing in on the confidence infused in fans through their enjoyable 2017 festival experiences, the number of early announcements regarding line-ups and headliners for summer 2018 has been relentless in recent weeks, while early-bird ticket offers for 2018 have been running, since the day after some 2017 events ended – and were even on sale at a number of festivals during the 2017 season. But let’s get down to the nitty-gritty: the results of this year’s survey…



et’s start with the things that most directly affect the audience (other than the line-up): ticket prices. Discounting the handful of free events, the average price for a weekend or full event pass at our surveyed festivals in 2017 was €148.36 – a very marginal (1%) increase on the €146.22 that those same events charged in 2016. Keeping that average price pegged are a number of factors: while 49% of our survey respondents raised their ticket prices in 2017, 36% maintained pricing at last year’s levels. With artist fees, production cost and security, in particular, costing more year-on-year, increasing ticket prices hardly come as a surprise. However, a significant 11% of festivals around Europe decided to decrease their ticket prices in 2017. Some

IQ Magazine January 2018




Price increase from 2016 to 2017 Increase Static Decrease Free




4% 7%



Price of a full weekend or full festival pass in 2016 Free 1-49 Euros 50-99 Euros 100-149 Euros 150-199 Euros 200+ Euros




4% 7%



Price of a full weekend or full festival pass in 2017 Free 1-49 Euros 50-99 Euros 100-149 Euros 150-199 Euros 200+ Euros







D Ticketing by sales outlet Online (via festival website) Online (via third-party ticket seller) Call Centre Box Office Walk-Up


IQ Magazine January 2018

7% 9%


Percentage reasoned that less festival days warranted a price break, while of audience others simply could not secure big-name headline acts and from abroad were therefore able to keep prices down. Thanks to our friends at LDA, we’re also able to breakdown 0-5%show, pricing structure a little. As charts B and C on the left 6-10% there was little change in pricing structure between 2016 11-20%and 21% 2017, although, proportionately, more events crept21-40% into the 41%+ €200-plus pricing bracket than the year before. One area of ticketing that has undergone significant surgery 25% in the past 12 months is the way in which our surveyed festivals sell their tickets. In our 2016 report, we noted that, overall, 51% of tickets were sold via the festivals’ own websites, while third-party online sales accounted for 27% of total sales. 5% This year, the dominance of online sales outlets was 3% even more pronounced, as chart D, left,43% reveals, with online 17% own websites increasing their share to an sales via festivals’ Percentage of impressive 60%, while third-party website sales audience also gained taking up VIP or camping a bigger slice of the pie with 30% of overall festival ticket upgrade/package sales. Underlining the growing importance of online sales, two years ago our 2015 report recorded sales by festivals’ VIP N/A own websites of just 42%, while third-party online sales 1-5% were 39%. This could suggest that festival management have 6-10% determinedly taken control of their own ticketing inventory 11-20% 21%+ to try to improve profit margins, rather than pay percentages to third-party sellers. However, the fact that those third-party online platforms increased their share of sales in 2017 might 32% point to a marketing fight-back by the ticketing specialists, albeit at the expense of call-centre workers. 48% Average ticket15%price

2017: €148.36 2016: €146.22

25% Time period when festival sold-out

Elsewhere, among the sales platforms, call-centre salesbefore < 1 month accounted for just 1% of total European sales, box 1-2offices months before months before captured 7% (compared to more than 12% in our 20163-4report), 5+ months before and walk-up sales were marginally less popular with of out Did3% not sell 2017’s ticket sales (4% a year ago). Notably, ticket sales through social media platforms were negligible, crushing the predictions of a few years ago when some promoters believed 9% 3% that social media networks could challenge traditional ticketing websites by selling in volume. However, our survey does not trace the point-of-origin for sales, so it’s possible 12% learned about key events through that a chunk of ticket buyers their social media presence but clicked through to the festival websites to purchase passes. 9% Another trend identified in the ticketing section of the survey showed up in the variety of passes that event organisers offer to fans (see chart H, page 36). Of the 93 respondents who provided data for this question, just 9% said they only offer fans tickets on a day-by-day basis; 12% onlyTicketing allow fans structure to buy tickets for the whole event; and 79% of our surveyed Daily and full event festivals offer both whole-event and single-day tickets. While Single-day only that top number is similar to 2016 (77%), where the Weekend/whole numbers event did alter was in the other formats. In our 2016 survey,ticket 14%only of events were day-only tickets, while weekend or whole-event79% only tickets accounted for less than 9%.


4% 11%



7% 9%


Percentage of audience from abroad

Price increase

he fierce competitionfrom that2016 now exists for fans’ to 2017 disposable income in nearly every country in Europe Increase is evident in the proportion of events that told IQ that Static they had sold-out in 2017. Decrease Free While 55% of our survey respondents said that their festivals had sold-out in 2016, that figure dipped slightly to second year in our European Festival 36% 53% in 2017. For the49% Report, we also asked event organisers to divulge how far in advance their ticketing sales had sold-out G, page 36). While the same question one year ago was with a different set of respondents, the data was a very close match from year-toyear, with 34% of 2017’s events reporting that tickets were 4% all gone between one and five months of their gates opening, 7% 21% while 3% of our participants were in the enviable position of selling out five months 20% or more in advance. Meanwhile, at the Price of a full sharper end of the spectrum, 15% of this year’s respondents weekend or full said the remaining tickets forfestival their festivals had sold in the pass in 2016 final four weeks before their events took place, and while that may have meant extra marketingFree costs in the final days, it 1-49 Euros should be noted that those events were still in a privileged 50-99 Euros position compared to the 47% of festivals that still had unsold 100-149 Euros tickets for their 2017 editions. 150-199 Euros 200+ Euros When asked about their capacities, overall the trend 26% over the past year has been for festivals to aim for marginal 22% growth. Of the surveys that completed our capacity questions, 24% were in the 50,000+ capacity range, identical to what they reported in 2016. At the lower end of the scale, 2% of our respondents reported having a daily capacity of below 4% 10,000 in 2016, but this year, those events had breached 7% 23% the 10k barrier, making them eligible to be included in our quantitative calculations for the 2017 report. For the record, Price of a full the remaining capacity 18% fields for this year’s weekend or fullsurvey were: 34% had a capacity of between 10,000-19,999; 20,000-29,999 festival pass in 2017 covered 16% of our surveyed festivals; 14% were in the Free 30,000-39,999 range; while 40,000-49,999 included 12% of 1-49 Euros our respondents. 50-99 Euros Attendance was a more complex100-149 topic.Euros Despite not including 150-199 in Euros any events of less than 10,000-capacity our analysis, those 200+ Euros events that reported daily attendance of less than 10k accounted 25% for 15% of our surveyed festivals. At the top end, only 20% 23% of our respondents reported that they had daily attendance of more than 50,000 fans, hinting that a number of Europe’s biggest summer festivals fell short of selling out. When it came to declining ticket sales, Life Festival in 3% Poland complained60% about a lack of good headliners; staff of 6% 1% Plissken Festival in Athens pointed to the financial situation in Greece; Gent Jazz in Belgium blamed competition from other festivals; Spain’s PortAmericá said that changing cities had hit its sales; and Pohoda’s Michel Kaščák bemoaned “the Ticketing by sales outlet monopolisation of the festival scene.” But it wasn’t just the indie Online operators that experienced (via festival website) issues. Jasper Barendregt at FKP Scorpio reveals that the Online (via third-party ticket seller) sales. company’s Chiemsee Summer suffered lower ticket Callprofile Centre of the festival, as “We think it is a combination of the Box Office well as high pricing needed to produce a festival in one of the Walk-Up most expensive areas in Germany,” he explained. 30%

E 0-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21-40% 41%+




3% of European festivals reported achieving Again, a number sold-out status despite their ticket 43% sales not matching their 17% official capacity, which highlights that it’s culturally Percentagenormal of audiencenumbers taking up in some territories to include staff and volunteer VIP or camping within site capacities. Talking of staff… upgrade/package



VIP N/A 1-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21%+

ne of the anomalies from this year’s survey was the number32% of events that opted not to fill in our questions about employee numbers. Of those that did respond, more than one-third (34%) said that they had no voluntary staff onsite, while 47% said that they had less than 1,000 volunteers helping them to run their events. 15% At the very top end, 3% of the 48% festivals we communicated with said they had employed 4,0005,000 volunteers. 25% one festival said In the professional staff questions, just Time period when that it employed more than 5,000 people for its 2017 edition, festival sold-outto while at the lower end, 60% of our respondents reported employing less than 400 paid professionals. < 1 month before As noted in last year’s report, the use of 1-2 volunteers in months before months before some countries, notably Germany, has been 3-4 curtailed by months before government regulations, meaning that some5+ commercial Did not sell out promoters are only using paid professionals at their festivals.





he importance of VIP packages to the overall revenue at 12% some events has anecdotally been the difference between making a profit or a loss for some promoters in recent years. However,9%there are still a great number of European festivals who baulk at the idea of exploiting a them-and-us mentality amongst fans, and the fact that 53% of our survey participants in 2017 did not offer any kind of VIP upgrades, underlines that that traditional business model is still very much intact. Ticketing structure Almost one quarter (24%) of our respondents did state that they had introduced new VIP packages and initiatives Daily andwithin full event Single-day only the last 12 months, but it’s likely that the vast majority of those events were simply augmenting existing VIPWeekend/whole programmesevent ticket only with new glamping and luxury offers. 79%


IQ Magazine January 2018

Of those events that provided detailed VIP data (see chart F, below)), nearly one-third (32%) reported that the uptake of upgraded packages was between just 1-5% of their total audience. At the other end of the scale, 5% of our surveyed festivals reported that in excess of one in five fans in their audience (21%+) had paid for the option of some kind of VIP ticket. Among those who introduced new offers were Download Festival in the UK, who added new VIP camping options; 4% Poland’s Life Festival added a Super VIP Zone; Sweden’s Way Out West, France’s Snowboxx and Concert at Sea in the Netherlands all brought in public VIP tickets for the first time; Paradise City in Belgium took things to a new level by offering well-heeled patrons a butlerPrice service; and Dutch event Lowlands increase built luxury camping facilities at2016 its ever-evolving site. from to 2017 Elsewhere, UK dance event Boomtown upgraded camping Increase options with showers and posh loos; Ireland’s Indiependence Static added a slew of options (camping and arena VIP areas; toilets Decrease Freequeue skipping; and phoneand showers; morning coffee; charging add-ons); Spain’s Resurrection built a VIP viewing platform overlooking the main stage; Amsterdam Open 49% Air sold boutique accommodation; Deichbrand doubled its glamping sales to 3,000 fans; Lucca Summer Festival constructed a special corporate sky-box for its Rolling Stones show; whilst at the other end of the scale, Live Nation’s Barcelona Beach Festival simply added some “VIP tables.” 4%



– many of which carry marketing content for festivals in their in-flight magazines – has put virtually every event in Europe within easy reach of more than 700 million inhabitants across the continent. And while some travellers opt to jet-off to festivals where the appearance of the sun and warmer weather is more likely, or beers are less expensive, others take the opportunity to explore new climes. Super-fans, meanwhile, can follow their favourite acts in far-flung destinations, when those acts neglect to visit local markets on their festival tour routings. Whatever the 7%reasons, this year’s surveyed festivals revealed 9% mixed results for attracting visitors from other 38% countries. Those who enticed less than 5% of their total audience from outside the national borders accounted for 38% of our respondents, while a quarter Percentage of this year’s report of audience participants said 6-10% of their fans from wereabroad from foreign lands. As our chart E, opposite, shows, a healthy 21% of our reporting festivals said that between 11-20% of their 0-5% attendees travelled from outside the country. And those 6-10% events whose total audience comprises more than 20% of 11-20% 21% from other nations made up an impressive 21-40% 16% of our people 41%+ questionnaire fillers, with nearly half of those (7%) claiming upwards of25% 41% in international attendees.








Percentage of audience taking up VIP or camping upgrade/package

Price of a full weekend or full festival pass in 2016

Free 1-49 Euros n the ten years that IQ has 50-99been Eurospublishing its annual 100-149the Euros European Festival Report, number of festival 150-199 Euros organisers throughout the200+ continent who have devised Euros

VIP N/A 1-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21%+

marketing strategies to attract fans from other countries has grown massively. 22% A decade ago, the thought for many fans, of travelling to another country to attend a summer festival would have seemed very alien indeed. However, the availability of cheap airlines





4% 7%





Price of a full weekend or full festival pass in 2017

25% Time period when festival sold-out

Free 1-49 Euros 50-99 Euros 100-149 Euros 150-199 Euros 200+ Euros


< 1 month before 1-2 months before 3-4 months before 5+ months before Did not sell out

23% 3%






60% 9% Ticketing by sales outlet Online (via festival website) Online (via third-party ticket seller) Call Centre Box Office Walk-Up

Ticketing structure Daily and full event Single-day only Weekend/whole event






ften the testing place for state-of-the-art of audience technology fromasabroad – some of which disappears just fast as it makes its debut – our intrepid festival gurus once again went out on a limb with new systems and gizmos in 2017, 0-5% with 30% of our surveyed events revealing 6-10% that they had 11-20% introduced something innovative in the past 12 months. 21% 21-40% While Blue Note Festival in France lauded its own 41%+ ticketing system as a breakthrough, Way Out West in Sweden 25% went cashless and made all onsite transactions debit- or credit-card only. At FKP Scorpio’s twin Hurricane and Southside festivals, Barendregt reports, “We successfully implemented a feature in our festival 5% app that enabled us to create a heat map of 3% onsite. Through the messaging function in the crowd density 43% app we 17% were able to send dedicated messages to specific parts Percentage of of the crowd.” He adds that the company also implemented audience taking up the use of open loop card payments throughout both events. VIP or camping Heat mapping was something of a trend, with Graspop upgrade/package Metal Meeting in Belgium and Concert at SEA in the Netherlands also using the technology. Arjan de MooijVIP atN/A Concert at SEA organisers Agents After All, flags up their1-5% “friend-finder app, 6-10%friends in realWOOV, where the audience could locate their 11-20% time on a map, and could interact with 21%+ others or even find dating matches.” He adds, “On the back-end, we could see heat maps where people went on the festival site.” 32%




G Time period when festival sold-out < 1 month before 1-2 months before 3-4 months before 5+ months before Did not sell out



12% 9%

H Ticketing structure


Daily and full event Single-day only Weekend/whole event ticket only

Mikko Niemelä at Ruisrock in Finland tells IQ, “We did a video analysis of our audience with multiple static and circulating GoPro cameras, and monitored the feelings of our audience during shows and festival days. Also the video analysis was used to gather information about the age and gender of our audience.” In Germany, Elbjazz introduced technology to enable push notifications on its app. In Belgium, Gent Jazz Festival and Couleur Café chose 2017 to roll-out a cashless payment system, as did Germany’s Jazzopen Stuttgart, Plissken in Greece, France’s Jazz à Vienne, Croatia’s Outlook and Denmark’s Haven Festival, as well as the country’s biggest event, Roskilde. Amsterdam Open Air rolled out geofencing on a high-tech level and hard cups on the low-tech end of things; while in Norway, Claes Olsen at Øya Festival said they used solar power during the event. Enhancing its cutting-edge reputation, Boomtown in the UK brought in RFID ticketing and also toyed with virtual reality during this year’s festival, while 360-degree VR footage was also featured by Montreux Jazz Festival, and INmusic allowed its sponsors to use VR in some of their onsite activations. And finally, in an effort to improve communication on some of its social media channels, Serbia’s EXIT Festival made use of chat bots.



urope’s festival owners are continuously striving to make their events a more comfortable and enjoyable experience for staff, crew, artists and fans, so it’s no surprise that the majority of our survey participants revealed specific site improvement programmes during the last 12 months. Wireless in the UK, for example, removed a stage to create more room for the audience, while at fellow Festival Republic event Download, the company, “Changed the location of the second stage; created a new stage and arena area; improved drainage of the site; created new camping areas; and activation in the village.” At Sweden’s Way Out West, some admirable changes were introduced with “Pride Festival co-operation and gender-neutral toilets.” While the line-up for the festival was also a 50/50 gender split. Organisers also added a centrally located “pure” bar focusing on non-alcoholic beverages, and also offered better and more non-alcoholic options at all bars throughout the festival site. Barendregt at FKP Scorpio reports, “Due to terrorist attacks in Europe, shortly before the festival season started, the threat assessment of festivals became part of the public debate. 4% 3% Therefore, the focus of our safety architecture had to52% shift partly 12% from weather issues in 2016 to terrorism in 2017. Specifically the measures taken to secure events were publically discussed Current state of and resulted in significantly stronger police presence and visible the European anti-terror measures, such as concrete vehicle blocks.” festival market He continues, “Apart from that, all non-visible, anti-terror measures were reviewed and, for the most part, implementedFantastic more strongly than ever. The accreditation process for staff andHealthy guests became of public interest and there was a high demand ofStatic Worrying police forces to hand over staff lists in order to run those namesOther through the databases of29% national security.”


IQ Magazine January 2018


Christof Huber at OpenAir St.Gallen in Switzerland, 38% meanwhile, concentrated on ambience. “We added new sponsoring tools like aPercentage campfire, with a stage and a beautiful wine bar, and we diversified our food offers with more local of audience food trucks.” from abroad At Deichbrand in Germany, organisers switched the whole infield with one campsite because of a ten-year deal 0-5% with the local authorities. “We installed permanent digital 6-10% 11-20% water, wells, roads etc,” they infrastructure, power, (waste) 21% 21-40% report, noting that the heavy investment should repay itself 41%+ within a few years. There were also major infrastructure investments at 25% Concert at SEA, where De Mooij tells IQ, “We introduced a new stage in a 750-capacity tent, together with a national newspaper, where we [can host] stand-up comedy and 5%singer-songwriters. Next to the stage, we built a 26-metre3% high lighthouse and installed a lift where visitors could view 43% the festival site and the sea. It proved a big hit, also for our 17% Percentage ofreach on Facebook.” sponsors, with a record-breaking audience taking up A number of events described forming alliances with VIP or camping festival promoters elsewhere: Jazz à Vienne made pacts with upgrade/package festivals in Japan, Brazil and Canada, while Deer Shed in the UK says it is working on a cultural and work exchange VIP N/A scheme with a Dutch festival. 1-5% On an environmental6-10% front, Olsen at Øya in Norway “said 11-20% goodbye to plastic glasses in all bars, replaced by PLA.” 21%+ Pohoda Festival’s Michal Kaščák reports, “All dishes within the festival site are now biodegradable,” and in a similar 32% hue, the UK’s Shambala introduced a 25 pence levy on all disposable hot cups onsite, and promoted reusable cups. Elsewhere, Maarten van’t Veld reveals that Amsterdam Open Air went back to using tokens after three years of 15% RFID wristbands, while Paradise City in Belgium managed 48% to organise the best improvement of all: “We had sun!” When it comes 25% to improving their events for 2018, a number of promoters Time wereperiod keenwhen to flag up their intentions, with lots of events already festivalworking sold-out to improve next year’s sites and activities. 1 month before FKP Scorpio is making<further investments to make Southside 1-2 months before more resistant against weather influences, while at twin-event 3-4 months before Hurricane, Barendregt says, “Waterproofing the festival site has 5+ months before Did since not sellthe outdramatic events in 2016. been a project running ever The planning phase has now been finished and we’re waiting for the permits to start digging in early 2018 and completion of 9% the 3% project is due in 2019. When ready we’re going to be able to stay dry, even when it hits us as hard as 2016... at least, that’s what our architect and engineers are confident of.” Also in Germany, at New Fall Festival, Barış Başaran 12% reveals that following a dip in ticket sales during 2017, next year they will introduce a stage for up-and-coming talent. 9% “There will also be a stronger emphasis on combined/all-day tickets, a cashless system, and heavier marketing to fans in Belgium and Netherlands.” P-C Rae at Slottsfjell in Norway says paying attention to customer complaints has prompted the festival to “lose Ticketing a stage and make another a lotstructure bigger. There will be greater focus on camping tickets, will also go back to Dailywhile and fullwe event three days – audience feedback Single-dayasked only for that.” Also in the Weekend/whole event its talent line-up Nordics, Qstock is promising to diversify ticket only in 2018 by bringing in comedy and YouTube stars to the festival. 79% Also in Finland, Niemelä at Ruisrock underlined a problem experienced across the continent: “We are very 9%


much thinking how to reduce or make it impossible for ticket scalpers to resell our tickets and make it more difficult to make fake tickets,” he stated.



n the more qualitative answers in this year’s survey, our annual health-check on the current status of festival planners uncovered the issues that are causing sleepless nights across the continent, as well as delving into their grey matter to find out what Europe’s biggest live music risk takers believe could be the problem areas to tackle in the next five years. But more of that in a moment… On a more optimistic note, chart J, below, reveals the generally upbeat response when it comes to how festival organisers view the state of the market in 2017. More than half (52%) of the 120 festivals that took part in this year’s report believe that the market is healthy, compared to just 12% who describe the European festival business as ‘worrying.’A significant 29% ticked the ‘static’ box, while just 3% used the term ‘fantastic.’ When it comes to the biggest current concerns for event management, unsurprisingly artist fees were the number-one problem for a whopping 41% of our surveyed participants. Even though most of Europe is now out of recession, economic issues were the biggest current concern among 17% of our respondents, while issues such as competition (8%), weather (7%) and safety and security (5%) also found common ground across the continent. When it comes to major concerns, FKP Scorpio’s Barendregt comments, “The weather issues during past events have definitely influenced the industry in 2017. It is difficult to choose between weather, artist fees and production costs. If you ask us, it’s a combination of the three. Safety of the audience against any threats (weather, terrorism) costs a lot more than a couple of years ago. The artist fees have constantly been increasing as well, and thus, combining the two, resulting in higher ticket prices.” Our survey also asked people to flag up the various issues that they think will affect the European festival

4% 12%

3% 52%

J Current state of the European festival market Fantastic Healthy Static Worrying Other


market during the next five years, and while this mostly mirrored the responses for current concerns – artist fees, the economic climate, competition from other festivals, and safety & security – it is interesting to note that there was a peak when it came to the lack-of-festival-headliners category, which 11% of our surveys identified as their biggest concern looking ahead, suggesting that among many promoters there is a genuine fear that today’s emerging talent might not have what it takes to step up to the top of the bill. A number of UK events highlighted uncertainty over Brexit, which is causing the UK economy to falter, thereby reducing the disposable income of local ticket buyers. INmusic painted a gloomier scenario. “There are too many new, mostly corporate-owned, festivals popping up and these are pushing out independent promoters by hiking up artist fees. With this trajectory, the festival market in Europe will implode for the most part and boil down to a handful of corporate events rotating among themselves the same 20-30 artists year after year.” But let’s not finish on a negative. Niemelä at Ruisrock in Finland says, “2017 was a huge success. Ruisrock broke the all-time record in our sales and it was the largest amount of tickets ever sold in Finnish music festival




history. Also, many other festivals did extremely well with only very few exceptions.” The head of Hamburg’s Elbjazz Festival, Alexander Schulz, also believes 2017 offered a great platform to build upon: “The weather was perfect; the audience and the artists were in top form; ensuring a great festival mood at all Elbjazz venues, and celebrating both young talent and big names,” he says, adding that the event enjoyed a significant increase in overall visitor numbers. “We look forward to continuing next year.” Once again, it’s been a fascinating process to ask Europe’s live music festival hierarchy to share their numbers and opinions on their results for 2017 – and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to fill in our survey for their events. As we all know, planning for 2018 is already at an advanced stage, with many headliners announced, early-bird tickets on-sale (and being bought in healthy numbers), and infrastructure investments being implemented at sites all over Europe. However, we hope that you find the information in this year’s report useful enough to inform some decisions ahead of the next festival season, and perhaps you’ll find the inspiration to borrow one or two ideas that your peers have flagged up from their 2017 experiences.

The single most important factor affecting the festival industry Current Next 5 Years




o he f su ad ita lin ble er s Sa fe se ty a cu nd rit y Pr od uc co tion st s Le gi sl at lic ion en an si d ng br D an ec d rea bu s dg ing et s Ti ck et pr ic es Co m ot p he et r a itio rti n st fro to m ur s

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he r m p ot eti he tio rf n es fro tiv m al s


Participating festivals A Summer´s Tale (DE), Africa Oyé (UK), Amsterdam Open Air (NL), Appelsap (NL), ArcTanGent (UK), AWAKE (RO), Bad Bonn Kilbi (CH), Baloise Session (CH), Barcelona Beach (ES), Belladrum Tartan Heart (UK), Bloodstock Open Air (UK), Blue Note (FR), Boomtown (UK), Cactus (BE), Cap Roig (ES), Chiemsee Summer (DE), Colours of Ostrava (CZ), Community (UK), Concert at SEA (NL), COPENHELL (DK), Couleur Café (BE), Das Fest (DE), Deer Shed (UK), Deichbrand (DE), Download (UK), Dreamstate (UK), Ejekt Festival (GR), Elbjazz (DE), Electric Castle (RO), Electric Picnic (IE), EXIT (RS), Festi’neuch (CH), Benicàssim (ES), Fling (UK), G! Festival (FO), Garorock (FR), Gefle Metal (SE), Gent Jazz (BE), Granatos Live (LT), Graspop Metal Meeting (BE), Greenbelt (UK), Guinness Cork Jazz (IE), Haven (DK), Henley Festival (UK), Highfield (DE), Hurricane (DE), Ilosaarirock (FI), Indiependence Music & Arts (IE), INmusic (HU), Jazz à Vienne (AT), Jazzopen Stuttgart (DE), Jelling (DK), Kendal Calling (UK), Kunst!Rasen (DE), Latitude (UK), Leeds (UK), Life Festival Oświęcim (PL), Lollapalooza Berlin (DE), Lowlands (NL), Lucca Summer (IT), Maifeld Derby (DE), M’era Luna (DE), Metal Hammer Paradise (DE), MetalDays (SI), Metronome (CZ), Montreux Jazz (CH), MS Dockville (DE), Nature One (DE), New Fall (DE), Nice Jazz (FR), Noches del Botánico (ES), NorthSide (DK), Oerol (NL), Open Air Gampel (CH), OpenAir St.Gallen (CH), Ostrava in Flames (CZ), Out4fame (DE), Outlook (HR), Øya (NO), Paléo (CH), Paradise City (BE), ParkCity Live (NL), Pirineos Sur (ES), Plisskën (GR), Pohoda (SK), PortAmérica (ES), Positivus (LV), Primavera Sound (ES), Qstock (FI), R:EVOL:UTION (RO), Reading (UK), Reeperbahn (DE), Resurrection (ES), River Party (GR), Rolling Stone Weekender (DE), Roskilde (DK), Ruisrock (FI), Shambala (UK), Simple Things (UK), Slottsfjell (NO), Smukfest (DK), Snowboxx (FR), Southside (DE), Splendour In Nottingham (UK), Summer Well (RO), Summerjam (DE), Sweden Rock (SE), Sziget (HU), The British Sound Project (UK), Tunes In The Dunes (UK), Tuska (FI), Umsonst & Draußen (DE), V Festival North (UK), V Festival South (UK), Vestrock (NL), Vida (ES), Way Back When (DE), Way Out West (SE), Wireless (UK), Zomerparkfeest (NL).

IQ Magazine January 2018


The Gaffer

THE GAFFER: TONY GITTINS With a reputation for running smooth, calm productions, this year’s winner of The Gaffer Award, Tony Gittins, is one of the rare breed of production managers capable of handling stadia tours. Gordon Masson learns about his path to the top.


ike his predecessors, Tony Gittins has something in common with all the winners of IQ’s highest accolade, The Gaffer Award: he never had any intention of becoming a production manager. His journey, mirroring that of many other Gaffer Award winners, is a tale of being in the right place at the right time; a little bit of luck; and a lot of hard work. “I’d never even heard of a production manager and I hadn’t thought that people other than the band actually made a living out of touring,” confesses Tony. “But I’ve never had another job, so working with bands was my first job. And hopefully it will be my last.” Born and raised in Middlesbrough, Tony grew up in a family with teachers as parents: “But nobody in my family was in any way connected with music.”



eaving school during a time of deep recession, the prospects for teenage Tony were limited. “Unemployment in the north-east of England was really high. My choices were to either move somewhere else, or join the army like my older brother. So I moved to London.” Jobless and relying on the kindness of friends who had made similar migratory journeys to find work, Tony found himself dossing on people’s floors and couches in west London. His quest to find gainful employment proved tricky, so to repay the favour for his makeshift accommodation, he offered to help his flatmates with their

Above: Tony oversaw production during Stone Roses’ epic Heaton Park homecoming in 2012


IQ Magazine January 2018

The Gaffer Tony in his mobile Depeche Mode production office

production sector, he states, “I’m not so sure that these college and university courses give the grounding and background that you learn by simply being part of a local crew.” He adds, “One worrying element is that there are now people coming in to the business that do not have the experience of working on tour production. That’s a problem that, if we’re not careful, could result in things getting more dangerous.”


I “…just looking at your Stageco stage sitting at the other side of the stadium fills you with a huge sense of achievement.” amps and instruments. “I had some friends in a band called Big Boy Tomato, so I’d help them set-up their gear,” recalls Tony. And the rest is history… Despite not being part of any concrete plan, Tony’s voluntary act to become an unpaid stagehand caught the eye of other bands on the punk circuit – a fortuitous move for a man whose favourite band is “a toss up between the Ramones and The Clash.” “Before I knew it, I was working with other acts like UK Subs and travelling around Europe with them. And because they were punk bands, luckily they didn’t notice I had no musical ability whatsoever, so I kind of got away with it,” laughs Tony. “My favourite band of the moment is Sleaford Mods, so I think it’s fair to say I’m still a punk rocker at heart.” Although he quickly found himself trading the comfort of a sofa for the ‘glamour’ of life in a splitter van, Tony remained unfazed as he became used to waking up in a new place each day. He soon realised that he had found a job that was not the 9-5 career that many of his friends had chosen, but which allowed him to have fun with like-minded souls, while travelling to cities that he would never even had thought about otherwise. Life on the road suited him well, but in an effort to find more regular pay cheques, Tony began working as a stagehand for Stage Miracles. “I started working as local crew – I think my first show was at Wembley Arena,” he says. “I stayed on local crew for about four or five years and then started working on rigging for them, probably for about another five years.” Tony believes that being part of local crew was a crucial ingredient in the recipe for him becoming a well-rounded crew leader. “A good production manager or a good stage manager, is a jack of all trades, master of none. But we need to have a good grounding in each department so that we can know what we can ask of people. “Being at Stage Miracles was massive for me,” he tells IQ. “I was able to learn what local crews do, but I also got an education in working with lights, sound and video, so I was fortunate enough to get an all-round apprenticeship.” Comparing his schooling to what is happening in today’s

n the late 90s, Tony left Stage Miracles to explore another facet of artist support. “I fooled people into letting me do their backline,” he confesses. That work also saw him coming full circle from being a fan, when he started working with Madness. “They were the first big band I’d seen live as a kid, back in 1981 at Newcastle Town Hall, so it was a real moment when I ended up working for them and Andy Franks, doing their drums.” Next came a move into stage-managing, which saw him travelling the world with the likes of Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran. “The move into production managing wasn’t planned: it simply happened as the role became available with the same acts again – so from stage-managing Pet Shop Boys, James, Portishead, Craig David and Duran Duran, I became production manager as the vacancies opened up.” For his part, Tony acknowledges the colleagues and mentors who have helped him become the production pro he is today. “I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing people in my career, like James Monkman, Andy Franks, Lee Charteris and Wob Roberts. They’ve taught me most of what I know, and I’m also lucky enough to call them friends.” And it’s thanks to those friends that Tony found himself ascending the ladder toward running stadia tours. “I was working with Franksy and Lee [Charteris] when Peter Gabriel’s production manager left and, through Lee, I was asked to jump in to take a 14-truck show on tour.” Charteris also led to Tony’s relationship with Depeche Mode. “When Bill Leabody left Depeche Mode mid-tour to go on the road with Dixie Chicks, Lee recommended me to take over for the remainder of the tour. I flew out to New York for a load-in and I’ve been with Depeche Mode ever since.” That move, almost 12 years ago, has seen Tony work on every Depeche Mode tour since Playing the Angel, entering into a routine that usually involves a three-year plan. “Depeche are very cyclical – it tends to be a year of touring, followed by a year off, then a year in the studio to record a new album,” says Tony. “In between times I’ve been lucky enough to fill the gaps doing production for acts like Peter Gabriel, The Prodigy, Faithless, Melanie C, Pendulum and The Stone Roses.” However, his knowledge of the band and their representatives dates back further. “I actually toured with Depeche Mode in the late 90s as tour manager for their support band, Purity. But Spirit is now the fourth world tour with them and they are bigger than ever, selling out stadiums and arenas everywhere.”

“I’d never even heard of a production manager and I hadn’t thought that people other than the band actually made a living out of touring.” IQ Magazine January 2018


The Gaffer

TESTIMONIALS I have known Tony for over 25 years, from the early days of turning up with the Stage Miracles crews to his current position of PM supremo on the DM world tour. And he has not changed a bit – well his hair is shorter and he is now the boss – but apart from that… Tony is one of those people who has grown up through the ranks to take a top position, but hasn’t forgotten how he got there. He is a great guy to work with: thorough, funny, on the case, and just one point to his day – get the job done, properly. I have a few stories, but most are best left on tour, however I did get this one from Eddie Mulrainey: “We were on Portishead with a day off on Bondi Beach (me, Tony and Monkman) sat there with a few beers, then we went swimming. Tony, with his big dreads, tattoos etc – the goodlooking beach/surfer guy. We didn’t realise we were not swimming between the flags and got caught in the rip. I just managed to get out but Tony had to be rescued by a big lifeguard and came ashore holding onto the front of his board. I found that funny. He didn’t.” Andy Franks, tour manager – Madness I first met Tony in 2003, but we really got to know each other when he contacted me for the Depeche Mode job back in October 2005, and we worked together with Depeche, The Cure and Madness over the next few years. He has gone on to become one of the production greats and I am glad to have been a part of that story. Lee Charteris, event consultant I’ve got a lot of time for Tony Gittins. He’s a rare thing: an English production manager at the top of his game. Tony is the ultimate quiet achiever. He solves all the problems before you even hear about them – and without the fuss you sometimes get with the big-name Americans. He’s a straightforward, unassuming, reliable team player who gets on with the job. Tony deserves all of his success. Andrew Zweck, Sensible Events Congratulations to Tony on receiving this year’s Gaffer award. Well deserved! A very shrewd judge of character, Tony always runs a tight and happy, well organised ship. Well done Tony! Toby Plant, stage manager – Depeche Mode



s his career passes the 30-year mark, Tony has some show-stopping memories from his backstage endeavours – one recent highlight being Pendulum at Ultra Miami in 2016. “They wanted to do the first half of the show as Knife Party [two members of Pendulum are also in Knife Party], then the ‘surprise’ plan was that the stage would revolve and they’d play the remainder of the set as Pendulum,” he explains. “We basically had less than 40 minutes to load in on the revolving stage while Knife Party performed on the other side. That was complicated even further by the fact we were at a dance event in Miami with lots of guests hanging out backstage who were, how do I say this… wide awake and very lively.” Another bright spot was Stone Roses playing a trio of 2012 hometown gigs in Manchester’s Heaton Park. “It was the first time the band had been back together since the 90s. The atmosphere of excited expectation was just incredible,” states Tony. “But, to be honest, I get that feeling a lot – when you put together a stadium show, then just looking at your Stageco stage sitting at the other side of the stadium fills you with a huge sense of achievement.” He continues, “I find it really rewarding to get a tour started, from meeting up with [show designer] Anton Corbijn and [Depeche Mode manager] Jonathan [Kessler] and discussing the vision for the show, to honing things during rehearsals, to loading in for that first night of the tour – I never tire of that.” Travelling the world also takes Tony and his crews to some exotic destinations. “We just played four nights, backto-back, in the Hollywood Bowl – Depeche are the first band ever to do that,” he says, with justifiable pride. Asked to name other favourite venues, he replies, “Red Rocks is stunning – I love going there. And the Royal Albert Hall in London is also just amazing because of what it is.” But one of the most special locations Tony has experienced is on the Italian island of Sicily. “There’s a ruined Roman amphitheatre in a place called Taormina – it’s incredible. The backdrop for the stage is Mount Etna, so the setting is breathtaking. The downside is that it’s a nightmare to get into – you can only get into the site using a flatbed truck and it’s about 110 degrees for load-in during the day, but when you see a show there, it’s all worthwhile.” But it pales in comparison to a contract he enjoyed last year. “I did a New Year’s Eve show with Mel C, which was pretty special,” he says. “The Beckhams were having a party in The Maldives, so I had to spend a week there. That’s not a bad perk, especially when you also get a request to do a site visit months before.”

“Being on the road is a hard life and, unfortunately, the fun times that you used to associate with touring have been confined to history. It’s not nearly as interesting as it used to be.” Tony’s build for Prodigy at Milton Keynes in 2010 - at that time the band’s biggest headline show


IQ Magazine January 2018



Phil with Michael Jackson in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1977

The Gaffer “I’ve been known to divert the buses to a ski resort so the crew can go skiing or just enjoy the mountain air for a day.”



hile the pros of touring can be experienced on a weekly basis, be that in exotic destinations or simply through bringing fans’ favourite acts to their local venue, the cons are frighteningly intimidating. Taking large touring productions around the world is not without its dangers and, unfortunately, Tony has endured some tough experiences through his work. “There have been a lot of near misses – I remember a video screen fell over during a load-out for Robbie Williams, but luckily nobody was hurt,” he says. But undoubtedly his worst moment was when a rigger died in a fall from a roof during rehearsals for The Cure at Bray Studios. “It was a terrible accident,” he says. “We worked on him – doing CPR – for 15-20 minutes before the ambulance arrived and it was just an awful tragedy that everyone working on that tour will never forget.” Indeed, Tony spent countless days in court in the aftermath of the accident. After four years of dealing with lawyers, he was cleared of any wrongdoing, but he admits that the legal repercussions took their toll. “In saying that, I think our industry has a really good safety record,” he comments. “If you compare us to the construction business, where there are loads of injuries, then I think the production world does well, probably thanks to the fact that we took the decision to selfregulate and improve safety standards years ago.”

TESTIMONIALS I first came across Tony on Duran Duran in 2004. I found his organisation superb and his manner with people, second to none. He works hard and fully understands that someone like me – a self-driving rep – may well struggle to stay behind once the load-out has begun. I worked with him again on the Stone Roses in 2014 and he hadn’t changed a bit. His witty nature is always evident, and he is always looking out for the welfare of his team. He’s very deserving of the Gaffer Award. Graham Lambert, SJM Concerts Tony Gittins winning the Gaffer Award! Tony is a gentleman on all levels and a true professional. It has been our absolute pleasure to work with him over the years on so many tours – he has become a great friend to the company and many of the staff. Congratulations from everyone at Beat the Street, Tony. Long may you continue to be part of our world. Jörg Philipp, Beat the Street Tony’s a pleasure to do business with: he knows what he wants, knows what’s fair, and once he’s agreed a deal, he sticks to it. He looks after his crew and as long as they do what’s asked of them, he’s a great gaffer. And he’s got a sense of humour! Bryan Grant, Britannia Row Tony is genuinely one of the most exceptional individuals I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with in the music industry. His work on The Stone Roses reunification went above and beyond. Conrad Murray, SJM Concerts “I first met Tony in the early nineties. He was someone who had a presence and that you noticed, probably as he had long dreadlocks, and was introduced as “Dreads”. It was clear from the beginning and over the coming years, that he was enthusiastic, wanted to learn, and was prepared to put in the hard work to get to the top of his profession. It gives me great pleasure to see him awarded, “Gaffer of the Year”, it is very well deserved.” Robert Hewett, Stagetruck There’s no drama or ego with Tony: he’s just hard working and gets the job done without fuss. I’ve worked with other production managers whose egos are all about having the biggest production or the most number of people – that’s not Tony: he’s a minimalist who under promises and over delivers. When people come backstage at our shows, they often comment on how calm and quiet it is – that’s down to the way Tony works. We’re very lucky to have him in the Depeche Mode team – this award could not go to a better professional. He’s a pleasure all round to work with and there’s nothing too difficult for him to take on. Alex Pollock – tour accountant, Depeche Mode

Tony fly tests a practice rescue for Robbie Williams’ ‘2003 Tour’, watched many metres below by production manager Wob Roberts, who generously ‘volunteered’ Tony’s services...

IQ Magazine January 2018


The Gaffer

TESTIMONIALS I met Tony when he was at Stage Miracles and known as “Tony Dreads.” He was one of the four guys assigned to work with me on the first series of [TV show] TFI Friday, which I stage-managed back in 1997, just as I was becoming a production manager for the first time with Robbie Williams. Unlike most local crew guys, Tony was actually into the job he was doing, and, as a result, very quickly became the TFI drum tech and go-to everything guy. From there, Gitts spread his wings and flew, and via various stop-offs such as touring backline/drum tech and stage manager, he became Tony Gittins, production manager. I’ve done so many shows with him, it isn’t funny. On Robbie Williams’ 2003 tour, Tony was ‘volunteered’ to rehearse Robbie’s entrance, hanging upside down and lowered from height to the stage. I remember thinking that seeing Tony hanging there by his feet with his dreads hanging vertically downwards left him more exposed than a Scotsman in a kilt would have been… There are so many stories that I can’t tell about him, but for me, he is one of the gems that will shine forever in this industry. Never play chess with him; you will lose. Never discuss politics with him; you will change your vote. God forbid you discuss history with him – he knows more than Gary Currier! I can’t big him up enough. He’s much better than me. End of story. Wob Roberts, production manager Two testimonials to add: We have been working with Tony since Robbie Williams tour in 2001. Memorable for his love of Haribo jelly sweets in the early days, progressing to a love of Cheesy Wotsits washed down with a good Barolo. Rumour has it he favours vegetarian cuisine whilst touring nowadays too! It’s always a pleasure to deal with Tony. He is one of the most honest and straightforward people we have ever worked with – problems are nipped in the bud and sorted with least disruption, his crews are treated well at all times, and he is probably one of the hardest working people I have met! We would like to add our congratulations to him for this year’s Gaffer Award. Wendy Deans, Popcorn Catering



s the current Depeche Mode tour approaches the midpoint of its third leg, Tony explains that, unlike other superstar acts who rely on state-of-the-art tricks and gimmicks to take their shows to arena and stadia level, the band and its management approach live performance with a deliberately skeletal production. Band manager Jonathan Kessler tells IQ, “Flexibility is always at the forefront of our mind when it comes to planning our production and Tony is an integral part of that. We always throw some curveballs at him on each tour, but he just gets on with things and never grumbles – I don’t think I’ve ever heard Tony raise his voice to anyone. When you see Tony welcoming you, both the band and I feel very comfortable. He’s very simple and straightforward to work with.” Tony comments, “Depeche are different from other stadium acts in that it’s always a skimmed back production – you don’t need smoke and mirrors when you have a frontman like Dave Gahan. But the production centres around the video content that Anton Corbijn puts together. “For this particular tour, the schedule from first meeting Anton to the first date was about three months,” reveals Tony. “We had some rehearsal time in Santa Barbara, where Martin [Gore] lives, then Dave [Gahan] joined us in New York, where he lives. But the first production rehearsal was in May in Copenhagen, where we kicked off the tour in the Parken Stadium – we actually go back to Copenhagen for the first date in 2018, when we’ll play the new Royal Arena for the first time.” Underlining Tony’s importance to Depeche Mode, Kessler says, “During rehearsals, things change a lot. What Anton envisions and how that translates live doesn’t always match, so things inevitably alter and change. We had one issue where part of the set was simply too big. But rather than do what a lot of production managers would, by asking for two weeks to rectify it and get the likes of Tait to start again from scratch and manufacture something new, Tony just got one of the carpenters to cut it to size on the spot. That’s the kind of cando attitude that puts him above other production managers.” Kessler adds, “Tony doesn’t even have an assistant on tour – it’s ridiculous. I insisted he get an assistant, just to help out with

Congratulations, Tony, on your well-deserved award. Thank you for your ten years of service with the company, and thanks for your continued loyalty. Love and respect from all at Stage Miracles. Clive Ambler, Stage Miracles If anyone deserves recognition of their ability as a “Gaffer” it should be Tony. I’ve been working with him for over 12 years now. He makes the job look easy, which, I think we all know, it’s not. When Tony calls you about a job, you make sure you’re available. Its always going to be well organised and runs smoothly from start to finish. It’s a pleasure to be a part of his team. James Heath, rigger Miracle men: Mike Grove, Les Clifford and Tony ‘Dreads’ when he was part of the Stage Miracles set-up


IQ Magazine January 2018

The Gaffer Tony with Faithless and their crew in 2016

things like laundry and paperwork, but he said ‘no’ – he says he’s more efficient when he takes care of everything himself.” On the first leg in Europe, the Spirit tour visited stadia, while in North America the dates switched between arenas and sheds. But Tony notes that the production is designed in such a way that flipping between venue configurations can be seamless. “We’ve got 37 crew, but including bus and truck drivers, there are 55 people on the road,” says Tony, noting that compared to other tours, that’s a very economic use of personnel. “In January and February we continue our arena run around Europe, then we’re off to South America in March where it’s all stadiums. There’s also some talk of doing festivals next summer, which is quite unusual for Depeche Mode.” However, from the production manager’s point of view, that prospect can be challenging in terms of continuity. “It’s tricky with festivals these days as you can be back and forth quite a lot between dates. Stopping and starting can be problematic as sometimes it’s hard to get into any kind of rhythm – I prefer to be out on the road for a set number of weeks so we can concentrate on the production and improve what we do from show to show.”



he Spirit streamlined touring party is enhanced by the sense of community Tony encourages among those companies and individuals he takes out with Depeche Mode. “I’ve been lucky that all the acts and artist managers who I’ve worked with have been really good to me. I have to say that’s also been the case with the promoters I’ve worked with over the years. But because we’re all on the go, all of the time,


“We always throw some curveballs at him on each tour, but he just gets on with things and never grumbles – I don’t think I’ve ever heard Tony raise his voice to anyone.” Jonathan Kessler – manager, Depeche Mode it’s very rare that I get to meet up with anyone – musicians or promoters or even crew – outside of work.” However, Tony has his wish list of people he prefers to go on the road with. “I work with stage manager Toby Plant as often as possible, while James Heath is a rigger who I try to make sure is on the road with me whenever he can,” he says. “I usually end up working with Britannia Row, just because they are so reliable; Popcorn for catering; Stagetruck; and Beat the Street,” he adds. When it comes to spare time, Tony says, “I love to ski – snowboarding, actually – so if we have a day off on tour, I’ve been known to divert the buses to a ski resort so the crew can go skiing or just enjoy the mountain air for a day. It’s a great way to relax with everyone for a few hours and to bolster our sense of community.” “Yeah, I think two of the crew got injured on one of his ski trips,” laughs Kessler. “But Tony creates an environment which makes it a pleasure for the crew to be involved – he plans ski trips, dinners, drinks for his crew and there’s just a terrific sense of community and family – we often end up booking extra hotel rooms for families and kids to visit us when we’re on tour.” Indeed, when not on the road, Tony enjoys nothing more than returning to his home in the English seaside resort of Weston-super-Mare to spend time with son, Josh, who is now 11 years old.

IQ Magazine January 2018

The Gaffer Tony (black shirt) with the late Bill Macklin for a rigging job in Moscow in 1995



t 50, Tony Gittins is one of the younger stadiaproficient production managers currently available to the live entertainment industry. But as his experience dates back to his late teens, he is all too aware of the changing landscape that presents itself to international touring entities. During his ‘Gaffer’ interview, prior to Depeche Mode’s concert at The O2 in London, Russian embassy officials pop in and out of his production office chasing crew members. “It’s for their work permits,” explains Tony, noting that many governments have recently changed visa rules. “This is the first year Russia has introduced fingerprints for visas. They also want to know your parents’ place of birth, date of birth and date of death as well, if appropriate. And if you need to go back into Russia at a later date, you have to go through the entire process again. It’s a nightmare.” But it’s not just Russia that’s changing. “America has also transformed massively in the last ten years. The unions used to be extreme. But now the venues that have union crews tend to be a lot more relaxed. Certainly the ‘dark stages’ guidelines – when you couldn’t even retrieve your coat from the stage if it was there during the lunch break – those days have thankfully gone. Funnily enough, Canada is now a lot more unionised than the United States. But they definitely have a different way of working over there, and that’s just something you have to adapt to when you arrive in a new city with your production.” While he admits to loving his accidental career choice, Tony baulks at the prospect of son Josh following him into the industry. “Well, after he picked himself up off the floor, I think I’d try to persuade him to stay in school and study hard,” laughs Tony. “Being on the road is a hard life and, unfortunately, the fun times that you used to associate with touring have been confined to history. It’s not nearly as interesting as it used to be.” His philosophy toward those who wish to work in the business, however, has not changed over the decades. “If you don’t have the common sense and personality to get on

“If you don’t have the common sense and personality to get on with people, living in close proximity to them for months at a time, then you won’t last long in this business – and that’s not something that people can be taught at college. ” with people, living in close proximity to them for months at a time, then you won’t last long in this business – and that’s not something that people can be taught at college,” he observes. As for the year ahead and life after the Spirit tour ends, Tony reports that nothing has changed since his early days in the business. “When the tour ends? I’ll be looking around in panic for another job, as usual.”

Tony taking time for a breather backstage at Sportpaleis Antwerp during the ‘Spirit’ tour in May 2017

IQ Magazine January 2018



IQ Magazine December 2017

Rag‘n’Bone Man has just sold-out three nights at Brixton Academy less than a year after releasing his debut album, with a show at Alexandra Palace in the diary for 2018. Rhian Jones speaks to those behind the scenes to discover the factors behind his success story. Earlier this year, Rag‘n’Bone Man became the first new British act to truly break through a market that had been stagnant for the best part of a year. After charting at No.1 across Europe with lead single Human, his debut album hit the top of the UK charts in February and he’s just played three sold-out shows at the 5,000-capacity Brixton Academy in London as part of a 19-date European tour. For those who weren’t behind the scenes, the Sony-signed artist was an overnight success. However, it was a robust live strategy devised three years prior and led by agent Alex Hardee at Coda that built a strong foundation for what was to come. From the start, Hardee’s strategy has been to underplay capacity in order to keep building demand. He explains: “We knew at an early stage that Rag‘n’Bone Man was going to have a successful live career as we could see the reaction among fans, and he was selling tickets even before things took off on radio. We always believed in his live talent, even when we had no headline media we knew it was just a matter of time before radio caught up.” When radio did catch up, it was with Human in Germany, where the track ended eleven weeks at No.1 on the singles chart in November 2016. It also peaked at No.2 in the UK and France, and charted at No.1 in Austria, Belgium and Switzerland. Rag’n’Bone Man’s first headline tour took place in four club venues across the UK in 2014, followed by six more shows in March 2015. In November 2016, he played four shows on Tom Odell’s tour and then sold-out the majority of an 18-date European headline run ranging from small clubs to 2,000-cap venues. He returned to play 21 more dates in bigger venues in early 2017, including two at the 2,000-cap Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. His latest headline tour, The Overproof Tour, took in two shows at Glasgow Academy (2,500) and Manchester’s O2 Apollo (3,500), alongside the three at Brixton, and ten across the rest of Europe in October and November. A further European run will take place from February to May 2018 under the name of the Grande Reserve Tour, and he’ll visit Australia and New Zealand in between.

In London, a sold-out show at the 10,000-cap Alexandra Palace will take place in March 2018. Hardee’s booker Matt Hanner, who took over from Andy Clayton a year ago, says: “We’ve slowly stepped up his profile in London where we’ve always sold-out, and we continued to try and do that to make sure there was demand for that next jump. That meant we felt comfortable doing three Brixtons, and instead of pushing on to doing arenas, we’ve sold-out Ally Pally and left demand in the market for the next campaign.” Kilimanjaro Live promoter Carlo Scarampi has been working London and Rag‘n’Bone Man’s hometown of Brighton, where he sold-out the 4,500-cap Brighton Centre in November. “It all started to come together at the beginning of summer 2016 when people were getting to know Human,” Scarampi remembers. “When Shepherd’s Bush went on sale “He is charismatic and France loves the story of him. Because he raps, you expect Rory to be tough, but actually he’s a generous guy with an incredible voice.”

Damien Chamard-Boudet, Live Nation France at the end of 2016, the tickets just flew, and the three Brixtons sold-out in a morning, as did Brighton Centre.” The Brixton shows were the last to be promoted by Kilimanjaro with Live Nation set to take over from Alexandra Palace onwards. The London story mirrors that of Germany, where the first show Live Nation GSA promoter Ioannis Panagopoulos got involved with was at Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg in 2015. “We’ve gone from playing 200-cap club shows, to 1,500-cap venues, and now we are between 3,500- and 5,000-capacity all in one year,” he says. There was a standalone show at Hamburg Stadtpark in the summer, followed by dates at the Columbiahalle in Berlin and Samsung Hall in Zürich. Further dates in Germany and Austria will take place next year.

Rory Graham at Rock im Park 2017 © Stefan Brending,

IQ Magazine January 2018


Rag‘n’Bone Man “Sometimes the audience is always chatting, drinking and making noises […] but with Rag’n’Bone Man, everybody was totally focused on the stage.” Nacho Córdoba, Live Nation Spain

Contributors Top: Damien Chamard-Boudet, Live Nation France; Kim Bloem, Mojo Concerts; Matt Hanner, Coda Agency Middle: Dave McGeachan, DF Concerts; Phil Murphy, production manager; Ioannis Panagopoulos, Live Nation GSA Bottom: Carlo Scarampi, Kilimanjaro Live; Roel Vergauwen, Live Nation Belgium; Alex Hardee, Coda Agency

Mojo’s Kim Bloem joined the team after being blown away by Rag‘n’Bone Man at Eurosonic in 2016. She got him on five festival bills in the Dutch market that summer, including Lowlands and North Sea Jazz Festival. A sold-out, 700-cap club show in Amsterdam in November last year was swiftly followed by a sold-out date at the Melkweg (1,500) in April. Capacity doubled again for a sold-out October show at 013 in Tilburg, and Bloem is confident about shifting 6,000 tickets before the end of the year for a show at AFAS Live in April 2018. So what are the factors behind Rag‘n’Bone Man’s live success story? “He has a smart team that thinks things through properly,” Bloem answers. “Everybody is really aware of how to build it in the market and it’s not about jumping and aiming high when things are going well. You have certain artists who have one hit and want to be the biggest but they don’t want to invest by coming into the market, which is when you have one-hit wonders. I don’t think that’s the case with Rag‘n’Bone Man. With the team that he has, it should be possible to keep building and reaping what he sows.” In France, promoter Damien Chamard-Boudet of Live Nation recently sold 5,000 tickets for Zenith Arena Lille in February 2018, after selling out Le Trabendo (700) in November 2016 and Élysée Montmartre (1,500) in March. Chamard-Boudet puts the appeal of Rag‘n’Bone Man, whose real name is Rory Graham, down to his soulful voice and character. “He is charismatic and France loves the story of him. Because he raps, you expect Rory to be tough, but actually he’s a generous guy with an incredible voice.” The fact he has a back catalogue from playing and releasing music under Brighton hip-hop collective Rum Committee prior to his major label career is also part of the draw, says Hanner. “There are a lot of fans who have known him for a long time.” As well as radio support, it was a slot on the second stage at Rock Werchter at the end of June that furthered Rag‘n’Bone Man’s live career in Belgium. Roel Vergauwen of Live Nation promoted a sold-out show at Ancienne Belgique (1,900) in Brussels in April, followed by Botanique (4,000) in November. Vergauwen credits Rag‘n’Bone Man’s rise with the diversity of his fanbase. “Human was played on young, hipster radio, but also on stations that are listened to by an older audience,” he explains. “At his concerts, there’s a real mix of different people going from the very young to those aged 40+, and pop as well as rock fans.”

“It’s incredible to think that he has gone from King Tut’s to playing two sell-out dates at Glasgow Academy, all within 12 months.” Dave McGeachan, DF Concerts Rory, with his band and fellow performers, laps up the atmosphere at the final night of his three shows at the O2 Academy Brixton in November


IQ Magazine January 2018

Rag‘n’Bone Man Rockhal in Luxembourg has hosted three Rag‘n’Bone Man shows to date. The first was to a small audience at Sonic Visions in 2015, followed by a sold-out, 4,000-cap date in March, and 5,000 more tickets flew for a November show. When Paul Bradshaw booked the November date, he did so with a higher ticket price – which has risen to €30 from €20 – but based on a similar capacity as before. “It exceeded expectations and sold more than what we did back in March,” he says. “Because we kept the ticket price reasonable, I think people felt like coming to see him again.” Bradshaw will be looking at raising the ticket price again during a second album campaign, and has high hopes of selling out the full 6,000-capacity room. In Spain, Live Nation’s Nacho Córdoba promoted a comparatively intimate gig in November at the 1,200-cap Sala Apolo in Barcelona. That was the only venue available while the Rag‘n’Bone Man team was in the country for the LOS40 Music Awards, where he performed one day earlier. Córdoba recalls: “It was a very special show. Sometimes the audience is always chatting, drinking and making noises with their glasses but with Rag‘n’Bone Man, everybody was totally focused on the stage. He has an incredible engagement with the audience.” The show sold-out in two months and Córdoba says the demand is there to shift 2,500 tickets, if an appropriately sized venue existed in Barcelona – the next step up is 5,000-cap. Ireland has been another big underplay. A main stage slot at Electric Picnic Festival over the summer preceded a date at Dublin’s Olympia Theatre (1,600) in November that soldout within an hour. “He could have played three nights at the Olympia,” says MCD promoter Brian Spollen. “There was pent-up demand because he hadn’t come and played before and he’d done such a great show at Electric Picnic. People were dying to see him.” In Scotland, 5,000 tickets for the two Glasgow Academy shows in November went on sale the same day that

“I didn’t even think I’d play one night here, and tonight I’ve played three!” Rag’n’Bone Man

“He’s got everything it takes to become an arena act.” Ioannis Panagopoulos, Live Nation GSA Rag‘n’Bone Man opened TRNSMT, and sold-out within 30 minutes. Dave McGeachan of DF Concerts says the turning point for him in Scotland was when he supported Tom Odell at Glasgow Academy in 2016. “There were so many people in early to see him and I remember the audience reaction being huge,” McGeachan explains. His first headline show at King Tut’s in November 2016 was followed by a Glasgow O2 ABC (1,200) gig in April. McGeachan adds: “It’s incredible to think that he has gone from King Tut’s to playing two sellout dates at Glasgow Academy, all within 12 months.” Production manager Phil Murphy was brought on board in time for The Overproof Tour in September by tour manager Toby Iddison. Designer Will Potts devised a simple and sleek show that involves a five-segment stage layout in front of five drapes with graffiti caricatures. Says Murphy: “The venue sizes have been varied throughout Europe so the production can be adapted quite easily for small shows as well as big. Because it’s been well thought out, it’s not been challenging at all.” Bulletstage designed the stage layout and Adam Bettley supplied the equipment just before the Rag‘n’Bone Man team left for Europe early November. The layout comprises of five platforms, with the six-piece band, which includes a two-piece horn section for the first time, placed on different levels. Sound is provided by Nitelites and Jamie Moore has been working on the campaign since January. For this latest tour, a PA system is being provided to match the rise in venue size and includes Moore’s recently purchased and extremely pricey, K1 speaker. He says: “We bought the K1 at the start of this year for £1.5million [€1.7m], and Rory is one of the first artists I’ve heard on it where I’ve gone, ‘Wow, I’m glad I spent the money!’” Fly By Nite is supplying two articulated lorries to transport equipment from one show to the next. Matt Jackson has worked with both Murphy and Iddison previously and says the team makes his job a lot easier. “It’s always very straightforward,” he adds. “We get the information early on and it’s all very clear and concise. We know how they work and vice versa.” Two 14-berth, Mercedes-Benz, doubledecker tour buses are transporting Rory and his team, who Malcolm Farry of supplier Four Seasons says are “a pleasure to do business with.” In terms of what the future holds, a summer of festivals is in the works for 2018, and Coda’s main aim is to leave the debut album campaign in a position of strength for the follow up. At his final Brixton date, while the audience was listening intently to the music, it was Rag‘n’Bone Man’s personable nature that really stole the show. He had them firmly on side after wishing an audience member happy birthday by giving them one of his rum and cokes, and being visibly thankful for just how far he’s come: “I didn’t even think I’d play one night here, and tonight I’ve played three!” And this might only be the very beginning. Panagopoulos concludes: “Rag‘n’Bone Man is one of the few acts that combine brilliant songwriting with an amazing live performance, a credible character, and a wonderful team who are really great to work with. He’s got everything it takes to become an arena act.”

‘The Overproof Tour’ included 19 European dates across 15 cities in ten countries between October and November 2017


IQ Magazine January 2018

Three decades ago, with the Soviet Union in its twilight years, Nadia Solovieva broke new ground with SAV Entertainment: a new, private company dedicated to bringing Western acts to Russia. As SAV turns 30, Russia’s first and largest concert promoter has no intention of passing on its crown, discovers Jon Chapple. Russia, to quote American writer Ralph Peters, has “long been a land of contradictions layered upon contradictions.” Straddling East and West, democracy and absolutism, collectivism and capitalism, the world’s largest country has always been a nation of stark contrasts – and never more so than in 1987. Thirty years ago, as the ruling Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU) celebrated the 70th anniversary of the October Revolution, Russian society stood at a crossroads. A


year earlier, general secretary Mikhail Gorbachev had used the 27th congress of the CPSU to introduce a range of reforms, including glasnost (openness), perestroika (restructuring) and demokratizatsiya (democratisation), paving the way for reduced state censorship, a degree of political liberalisation, and, ultimately, the fall of the Soviet Union and an independent Russia’s transition to a market economy. Not, then, the kind of stable political environment in which most people would think to start a new company – especially

IQ Magazine January 2018

Nadia Solovieva and Vladimir Zubitsky with U2 during the band’s one and only show in Russia in 2010

one engaged in the inherently risky business of promoting live music – but then Nadia Solovieva, co-founder and CEO of Moscow-based SAV Entertainment, isn’t most people. Solovieva, for four decades the matriarch of the Russian live music industry, tells IQ that SAV was initially conceived as a vehicle for promoting Russian artists in the West, capitalising on the USSR’s appeal to capitalist audiences amid the glasnost-era thaw in East–West relations. “The initial idea for SAV was the opposite of what it eventually became,” she explains. “Russia was hip at the time! But we gradually realised there wasn’t much of a business there, and started bringing foreign artists to Russia instead.” Solovieva cut her promotion teeth at Gosconcert, the Soviet state concert monopoly, where she worked in the late 1970s and early 80s as a tour manager and translator. The first Western artist she worked with at Gosconcert was Elton John, who toured Russia with Harvey Goldsmith in 1979. Solovieva has promoted Sir Elton on numerous occasions since (he will play the 7,500-cap. Crocus City Hall in Moscow with SAV on 14 December), but the British singer’s famous first visit to Russia – which set the stage for a lasting friendship between Solovieva and Goldsmith – was actually something of an accident, as the latter recalls. “Elton went onstage [at Wembley] in 1977 and announced he was never going to tour again,” explains Goldsmith. “Later, we had lunch and he said, ‘I’ve got a new album coming out and I’ve promised to do a show in Paris for the record company – but I’m not touring.’ “Over lunch, he kept saying, ‘I’m not touring, I’m not going to all those places I normally go,’ and that he wanted to play new places: Russia, Israel, Egypt… In the end, ‘not touring’ ended up being 18 months on the road!”

IQ Magazine January 2018

New beginnings The genesis of SAV – originally Seabeko Alla Venture, after the company’s initial partners, Canadian investment firm Seabeco Group and singer Alla Pugacheva – came in 1987 when Gorbachev legalised private enterprise. Unlike their counterparts in Europe and North America, Russia’s fledgling promoters had little experience of the international live music industry – and, crucially, even less experience running a business, with private enterprise having been illegal since Stalin’s abolition of the New Economic Policy in 1928. “We were, all of us together, learning how things worked,” Solovieva explains. “Before then, there were no businesses except those owned by the state – even the word ‘business’ was new, for God’s sake! “Of course, now everything is here: the hotels, the transfers, the infrastructure… The only thing the promoter has to have is the ability to be music-orientated – and have money, of course. But when we started out, we had to learn everything from scratch.” Still, Solovieva – with a decade of Gosconcert experience under her belt – clearly knew her market: The new company’s first dates, Pink Floyd, and Billy Joel at Moscow’s Olympic Stadium, or Olimpiyskiy (then 36,000-cap.), in spring 1989, were sell-outs, and paved the way for bigger things to come in the following decade. When SAV really came into its own as the go-to promoter for Western acts, says Solovieva, was with Elton John’s memorable performance at the Kremlin Palace in 1994, which she followed a year later with a similarly successful Kremlin show by Sting. About 80% of the exhibits on show in ‘David Bowie is’ were the property of Bowie himself


SAV Guns N’Roses, Roger Waters, and Elton John enjoy almost everlasting success in Russia

“When you had a prestige act, an Elton John or a Sting, in the Kremlin Palace, it was a huge social event,” recalls Sensible Events’ Andrew Zweck, then John’s agent. “The women would dress up in their finery, but the clothes were all 20 years out of date. They looked so funny… we’d all go into the lobby and have a giggle!” “People like Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Paul Simon – they all wanted to go to Russia, and Nadia was the go-to person,” adds Goldsmith. “We taught her all the things we knew, and she picked it up quickly and always delivered.” Zweck remembers the early days of SAV as being “very exciting. The bands didn’t go for the money – they went for the novelty and the adventure. All the men were drunk and the women were running the country, and Nadia was the queen bee.” The dependable Solovieva naturally stood out in a sea of “crooks and gangsters,” adds Zweck, who says some unscrupulous “new” Russians in the 90s saw the growing concert business as a way to launder dirty money. “At that time there was no box-office regulation, and people were selling tickets at these little street kiosks, so nobody knew how many tickets were being sold in Russia,” he explains. “It was an easy way to ‘wash’ a load of roubles – you could pay a band stupid money, make out you sold 40,000 tickets and then say, ‘I’ve got millions of dollars: I sold-out the Olimpiyskiy!’”

arranged the first Russian tours for bands like Deep Purple and Scorpions, which embraced not only the capitals but also other big Russian cities as well.” Thomas Johansson, Live Nation’s chairman of international and the Nordics, is another long-term partner of SAV, having first met Solovieva in the early 80s when Abba visited Russia. Johansson decided to take Alla Pugacheva on tour in Sweden, and since then Solovieva has “done all my shows in Russia,” he says, “from Abba to Rod Stewart, Bob Dylan, Metallica and Roxette.” Roxette’s most recent Russian tour is testament to the nationwide reach described by Zubitsky, beginning in Vladivostok on Russia’s Pacific coast, not far from China and North Korea, on 28 October 2014, and finishing at Crocus City Hall – some 4,000 miles away – on 21 November. “To get to Vladivostok, we had to fly 11 hours overland from Sweden – a longer flight than from Stockholm to Los Angeles,” says Johansson. He similarly pays tribute to Solovieva’s professionalism, saying that when the Roxette touring party stepped off the plane, 11 hours later, “everything was as it should be. There was a man on the tarmac to collect us, he took us to the hotel, the gig was sold-out – everything worked perfectly. And when you go halfway around the world for a show, that’s exactly what you want.”

Show time As the number of foreign artists travelling to Russia increased, so too did SAV Entertainment’s market profile, eventually attracting the attention of Russian Show Center, a concert promoter associated with Russkoye Radio, and its co-founder and CEO, Vladimir Zubitsky. “I first met Nadia and her business partner [and thenhusband of Alla Pugacheva], Yevgeniy Boldin, in the mid1990s, by which time SAV Entertainment was well known,” Zubitsky tells IQ. “At first, they asked me to help with some administrative stuff for Patricia Kaas and Pet Shop Boys shows. “They then won a tender for arranging a huge tour with many artists involved, organised by one of the political parties for a parliamentary election rally. The tour consisted of more than 100 shows, from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok – it was a truly massive project, and it was then that we joined forces. When the tour was over, we decided my company, Russian Show Center, and SAV Entertainment, should merge. “SAV was focused on Western artists, bringing them to Moscow and sometimes Saint Petersburg, while I arranged shows by Russian artists throughout the country. Together we formed the biggest concert company in Russia.” Zubitsky says the merger of SAV and Russian Show Center enabled both companies to “increase the scope” of their business beyond the traditional touring hotspots of Moscow and Saint Petersburg. Together, he says, “we Flea of Red Hot Chili Peppers at Luzhniki Stadium in 2012


IQ Magazine January 2018

SAV George Benson, Russian opera legend Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Bryan Adams

Playing politics Winston Churchill famously once described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma” – and it’s a characterisation still shared by many outsiders, including several artists put off playing there by its controversial antigay propaganda law. While business remains good, especially this year, says Solovieva, it can be for that reason “difficult” to attract Western talent. “Some acts say they won’t come, especially in recent years,” she explains – although it’s usually “more talk than reality. Most artists enjoy touring here because the audiences are more lively and enthusiastic: they’re not spoilt like audiences in bigger markets!” Solovieva laments the politicisation of music and sport, asking why young people should miss out on live entertainment “because people don’t agree with our government. You have all these young people who want to see live music,” she says, “but the people who actually need to be punished don’t go to concerts. It’s not like having sanctions against Gazprom.”

She adds that while Russia “can’t compare to the amount of shows in, for example, London,” she takes issue with the portrayal of Russia as an ‘emerging market.’ “Russia is always described as an emerging market,” she comments. “I’ve been speaking at ILMC for 25 years, so I think we’ve emerged now! “Buying capacity here is, of course, less than in the UK, but it’s more than in Poland, Serbia, etc. The only problem is we’re a bit far away.”

Building bridges But it’ll take more than distance to stop the planet’s biggest artists from visiting Russia: Zweck’s act Roger Waters is taking his Us + Them Tour over next summer, with Depeche Mode, Guns N’ Roses and supergroup Hollywood Vampires also among SAV’s confirmations for 2018. Solovieva describes Depeche Mode, who have an obsessive following in Russia and Eastern Europe (“their fan club has 100,000 paying members!”), as her favourite band to work with – and reels off anecdotes about promoting David Bowie, Pavarotti, Tina Turner, Diana Ross and more – but both her and Zubitsky identify Paul McCartney’s 2003 show in Moscow’s Red Square as a particular career highlight. “It’s the most ambitious project we’ve ever done,” says Zubitsky. “I can’t remember any other concerts that took us several years to make: the negotiations with McCartney’s management started two or even three years before the show. “We had to build the whole stage, which was the biggest in Europe; we had to get all the permissions from the authorities; and we even built a hall for the press conference right in the square. As the organiser, I had to live in Red Square for nearly two weeks!” “When I listened to Paul singing Back in the USSR in Red Square, I thought my career should end there and then,” adds Solovieva. “Where else could I go from there?” For Zubitsky, the second most memorable was U2’s first and only show in Russia: the 360° Tour at Luzhniki Stadium on 25 August 2010, which attracted a sell-out crowd of 60,496. “When we looked at the technical rider and realised we had to ensure 120 trucks arrived in time, it was something else,” he comments. “I think it was the most expensive concert in Russia’s history. “Luckily, we broke even – but the financial side of both of these shows wasn’t the most important aspect. What was important was that they were extremely successful in terms of improving our image, and they involved the highest political officials.

IQ Magazine January 2018

SAV Steven Tyler hits Olimpiyskiy arena in 2007

“Before the concert, McCartney met Mikhail Gorbachev and Vladimir Putin – and it was on his own initiative. Bono took a charter flight to Sochi to meet [then-Russian president] Dmitry Medvedev and discuss the battle against HIV with him, which was also his idea. So there was something very unifying in these concerts. A show like that is something massive and spectacular – and the next day, when it’s over, you miss it already.” Johansson remembers Metallica’s sold-out show at the Olimpiyskiy with particular fondness: “It was absolutely fantastic, both for me, putting it together; and for the band and crowd.”

Depeche Mode, Sting, Roxette are repeat visitors to Russia through SAV

Staying power Zubitsky attributes SAV’s 30 years of success to a combination of being first to market – and being the best at what they do. “Firstly, we were, for a pretty long time, the one and only private company to organise shows by Western A-listers in Russia,” he explains. “But we also have a fantastic track record: our reputation is just rock solid, and artists always feel comfortable working with us. “And last but not least, we’re like a big family. We have a very low staff turnover: people usually stay with us for years, and even if they have to leave, we always remain friends.” Solovieva’s early collaborators, meanwhile, highlight the personal and professional character of Russia’s ‘queen bee’ as integral to SAV’s lasting success. “She just gets on with it,” says Johansson. “When you ask a question, you get a straight answer. And that’s so important: we deal in such a strange business, and [when you’re booking a show] you need to have an answer that’s correct.


SAV Entertainment has been our strategic partner for over 18 years. I think it’s the most professional and experienced company in the Russian market now. During these times our relations with Mrs Solovieva have grown from strictly business to friendship. I’m guessing the very first shows we worked on together were Depeche Mode in 1998. It was the year when financial crisis hit Russia, so we’d lost all the money, and recovery took us a long time. Still, nowadays our company is the biggest promoter in north-west Russia, and I’d like to thank Nadia for her connections and advice that have helped us over the years. Evgeny Finkelstein, PMI Corporation I think that the role of SAV Entertainment in the music market in Russia is the same as the role of the Bible or the Koran for christians and muslims. We can talk about the state of the market, but the very basics of it were written by SAV. You can spend much time studying how to make cheese or wine using the most precise recipes – and people will still say that your cheese is bad and wine is sour. The same thing with Solovieva: you can follow her path and her pieces of advice, but to get where she is you simply have to be her. It’s impossible to learn. Dmitry Konnov, Universal Music Russia I first met Nadia when she was working with Alla Pugacheva, they had an office at the Olimpiyskiy stadium. She was very ambitious, bursting with energy. My responsibilities at that time were arranging different events in the arena. I cannot remember the first shows we did together, but I can certainly say that it’s always been a pleasure to work with SAV Entertainment. These guys are truly reliable and professional. They were the pioneers in this business, before them there was only state-owned Gosconcert. But Gosconcert was nowhere near as good in terms of professionalism. That’s why when I was meeting with people from the biggest concert agencies in London

IQ Magazine January 2018


TESTIMONIALS and New York, they all knew SAV. SAV have a rock-solid reputation both in Russia and the West, which was earned during these last 30 years. I hope they keep going and make more great shows in the future! Olga Kharmadjeva, Olimpiyskiy a LOnG-time PartnershiP with SAV Entertainment is a real pleasure for us at Crocus City Hall. We started co-operating with SAV in the year 2001, and we’re happy to maintain partner relations until today. It’s hard to underestimate the role of SAV Entertainment in the Russian show industry. The image of the concert hall is created by its partners and the artists on stage. Thanks to SAV, Crocus City Hall has seen shows by Elton John, Sade, Scorpions, Robert Plant. Bryan Adams, ZZ Top, Lenny Kravitz, Stromae, and many other popular artists. It’s great to see, that apart from superstars, SAV also arranges shows for young and promising artists. Almost every show arranged by SAV is sold-out. A good example is the LP show – the first time she played in Crocus nobody knew about her, but this spring she’s going to do a long tour in Russia. The success of SAV Entertainment is based on the unique expertise and diligence of its executives. We are sure that 30 years is just a small milestone in the company’s lifespan and that it has many successful projects ahead. Roman Grachev, Crocus City Hall

I would certainly not work in this business today, and it amuses me how Nadia still manages to prosper. Boris Zosimov, MTV Russia we started tO wOrk with SAV Entertainment when the Russian music market was at the early developing stage. In the beginning of the 1990s, independent company GALA records had received exclusive publishing rights for the records of EMI catalogue. At that time, Nadia Solovieva and Vladimir Zubitsky were bringing Paul McCartney, Depeche Mode, Kylie Minogue and many other artists from the EMI catalogue to Russia. The most memorable story from our relationship happened during the first visit of Sir Paul McCartney to Moscow, where he played at the Red Square. We knew that Sir Paul pays much attention to various social issues and thought it would be a good idea to organise a meeting with him and Vladimir Putin. The president’s administration was positive about the idea, and SAV joined us to carry out the details. But when everything was settled, the day before the meeting, Sir Paul refused to go to the countryside residence and asked for a meeting in the Kremlin! SAV and their partners did something miraculous: in the end, the president of Russia changed his timeframe and personally guided Sir Paul through the Kremlin. These guys seem to know how to work wonders. Alexander Blinov, Warner Music Russia

IQ Magazine January 2018

SAV organises the Red Summer Festival in Moscow’s landmark Red Square, which in 2006 featured Shakira and Black Eyed Peas

nadia is a Very briGht and talented person, who has come a long way to become the #1 promoter in Russia. I think we first met in the USA when she was working with Alla Pugacheva. We started working in the concert business at nearly the same time, and we met each other at different promoter conferences in Europe and the USA. Then I switched to media business, radio and TV. Partly that was because I didn’t want to compete with her, as she was my friend. I thought, that she was the ideal person to develop this market in Russia in the future, and I was right. When I was doing Monsters of Rock in 1991 (with Metallica, AC/DC and Pantera), there was no infrastructure for that kind of show. People responsible for security were policemen and soldiers, who didn’t know how to act at a huge show like that. And also bikers! The first shows we did – they were funny, and sometimes scary. Nowadays, it’s harder to survive in the concert business. Firstly, because the market is saturated: there are so many shows in Moscow. Secondly, it’s harder financially: you have to make an advance payment, and then pay the agent 80-85% of your profits. Whereas in the beginning of the 1990s, you had to make a single payment, and that was all.















10 4


6 21




5.GRAZ 14



Map Key Agent Promoter Agent/Promotor Venue Festival

1. Bildein Picture on Festival

2. Bregenz Al-x Concert Promoter Festspielhaus Seebühne Werkstattbühne Bregenz Festival

3. Buch in Tirol Saudades Tourneen GmbH

4. Dornbirn Conrad Sohm Messe Dornbirn Spielboden TiK

5. Graz Kammerkonzertsaal Kasematten Opernhaus Graz Stadthalle Graz NUKE Festival Springfestival


6. Hafnerbach Rhythm and Clues 77

7. Innsbruck Soulshine GmbH Olympiahalle Treibhaus Weekender Club

8. Klagenfurt MetalDaysl

14. Nickelsdorf Nova Rock

15. Nußdorf am Haunsberg Rock THE Nation

16. Plainfeld Electric Love

17. Rohrbach Ink Music

9. Linz

18. Saalbach Hinterglemm

10. Lustenau

19. Salzburg

Brucknerhaus Posthof

Szene Openai

11. Mattersburg Nova Music Entertainment GmbH

12. Mayrhofen Snowbombing Festival

13. Mörbisch am See Seefestspiele

Rave On Snow RTN-Touring Republic Rockhouse Salzburgarena

20. Sittersdorf Acoustic Lakeside Festival

21. St. Pölten VAZ Beatpatrol

FM4 Frequency Lovely Days Festival

22. Vienna Bella Concerts Georg Leitner Productions Intension Music Live Performance Service RTN-Touring al-x concert promoter Barracuda Music Fechter Management & Verlag KW Consulting Musicnet Entertainment NuCoast Entertainment GmbH Planet Music & Media PSI Music Red Snapper Entertainment Arcadia Live Event Marketing Service Frequent Music Productions Show Connection Wohnzimmer Arena Wien Burgtheater Chaya Fuera

Ernst-Happel-Stadionl Gasometer B Konzerthaus Kulturvermittlung Wirth-Schwarz Art Marx Halle MuseumsQuartier Halle E Ottakringer Brauerei Porgy & Bess Staatsoper Wiener Metropol Wiener Stadthalle WUK Danube Island Festival Jazz Fest Wien Popfest Vienna Festival Waves Vienna

23. Wiener Neustadt Arena Nova

24. Wiesen Nu Forms Wiesen Festival

IQ Magazine January 2018


Its central location in Europe means concerts and festivals in Austria have always been able to attract visitors from other countries. But with multinational corporations now chipping away at market share, Adam Woods learns that the live music landscape is changing.

sIttInG In a mountaIn ranGe – the Eastern Alps, which covers nearly two-thirds of the territory – and with a population of 8.7m, around a fifth of whom live in the capital, Vienna, the country of Mozart, Mahler and Falco these days draws music from everywhere. For instance, at the time of writing, the calendar of Vienna’s alternative art complex Arena Wien is a multicultural stew featuring Franco-German reggae-punks Irie Révoltés, US hip-hopper Joey Badass, Finnish rockers Sunrise Avenue, and German electro-poppers Lali Puna, along with Austria’s own Julian Le Play. And when the Ernst-Happel-Stadion prepares itself for blockbuster shows, it’s for the likes of Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Robbie Williams and German star Helene Fischer. Yet there’s still something distinctive about the Austrian music business, where highly individual independent festivals remain the norm, and where “you can still develop things based on quality rather than quantity,” in the words of veteran indie promoter Alex Nussbaumer. “Austria is a very sensible market,” says Nussbaumer, who operates as al-x, with offices in Vienna and Bregenz. “I often liken it to Switzerland because it has the same, very healthy scene, whereas in Germany, you don’t really have the middle range anymore. My experience here has always been that you can really develop an artist from scratch with touring.” However, times change, as Nussbaumer concedes, and it’s possible that the Austria of the near future will be different from that of recent decades. Like Switzerland, Austria was built by indies and has only lately attracted the undivided attention of multinational operators. Live Nation and FKP Scorpio/CTS Eventim are now a couple of years into their respective Austrian ventures, and though Barracuda (the 2016 amalgam of leading indies Skalar, Red Snapper and NuCoast Entertainment) remains the biggest player in both shows and festivals, it is safe to say the gap has closed. “To be the only big, independent player is not easy when Live Nation, DEAG and CTS all have offices in Vienna,”

IQ Magazine January 2018

says Barracuda CEO Ewald Tatar, whose recent projects have included The Rolling Stones at Spielberg; Robbie Williams in Vienna and Klagenfurt; and the perennial Nova Rock festival. “But for us,” he adds, “business is still very, very good.” For now, this is a view more or less shared by indies and multinationals alike. Austria may not be huge but it’s in reasonably good shape, especially after the festival market pulled back from the edge of saturation a year or two ago. “In general, it’s been a pretty good year – possibly the best year ever,” says Arcadia Live head of booking Silvio Huber. “The Rolling Stones pulled a massive crowd; there’s been a significant rise in stadium shows in Vienna; and, of course, a steady growth of club and arena shows. It seems we have not reached a critical peak in Austria yet but we should be aware that no business grows endlessly.”

“My experience here has always been that you can really develop an artist from scratch with touring.” – Alex Nussbaumer, al-x

Nestled beneath Germany with borders into Switzerland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia and the Czech Republic, Austria has always been a well-connected sort of place, part-west and part-east, so a well-placed show in Austria can often draw part of its crowd from elsewhere. A show such as Barracuda’s 95,000-capacity Stones show, for example, which took place in September at Red Bull Ring in Spielberg bei Knittelfeld in the central part of the country, is only an hour or two by road from the borders of Italy, Slovenia, Hungary and Croatia.



Nonetheless, Austria is a relatively small country, and its ticket-shifting powers have limits. Roughly 70-80% of all tickets sold are for shows in and around Vienna, and though Austria has many fetching cities, from Linz and Graz to Salzburg and Innsbruck, acts of any size can’t hope to play more than one or two of them. “Basically, in Austria you can definitely play one big arena or one big stadium,” says Tatar. “For the second or third show, you need to be really careful. Outside Vienna, the other cities in Austria are not big. We play arena shows in Linz or Graz but you can’t do both – you need to decide if it’s Vienna and Linz or Vienna and Graz.” On the ticketing front, Eventim is winning, with its oeticket platform standing as the clear market leader, though Ticketmaster, the city-owned Wien Ticket, DEAG’s MyTicket, and Culturall also make an impression. Estimates put the market’s yield at 60-80m tickets a year. And, while Austria may be an enthusiastic market for international music, it does, of course, make its own, from Christina Stürmer to DJ Ötzi to respected electronic exports such as Parov Stelar, Kruder & Dorfmeister, Christian Fennesz and Florian Hecker.


Alex Nussbaumer, al-x; Ewald Tatar, Barracuda; Matt Schwarz, Live Nation Silvio Huber, Arcadia Live; Georg Leitner, Georg Leitner Productions

“Yes, I can do some administrative work from Berlin, but you need people on the ground who know the best billboard locations, the hottest club in town, the right media partners, local expertise on talent.” Arcadia Live plays a strong festival hand and has also had a good year for stand-alone shows, particularly with German and UK/US acts. “Die Toten Hosen returned with some very successful arena shows in Vienna, Wiesen and Innsbruck, and AnnenMayKantereit played two sold-out, open-air shows in a row [at Arena Wien in August],” says Huber. “Then there’s Phoenix played at Arcadia Live’s Out Of The Woods festival in July 2017 © Florian Wieser

In the past couple of years, Austria has witnessed a familiar pattern, as multinational players have entered and set about changing the landscape. Live Nation launched in Vienna in September 2015, as part of the Marek Lieberberg-powered play to conquer Germany, Austria and Switzerland. FKP Scorpio had already arrived in January of the same year, setting up its own Austrian unit, Arcadia Live, in collaboration with Vienna-based promoters Filip Potocki and Bernhard Kaufmann of Arcadia, plus German partners Four Artists, Chimperator Live and KKT.


“ …promoters love to complain…” – Silvio Huber, Arcadia Live The following year, Skalar, Red Snapper and NuCoast pulled together for warmth and clout, and with the addition of a handful of smaller operators, the battle lines were drawn. To date, Live Nation is still just another challenger albeit a muscular one. It sold-out two stadiums this year – Guns N’ Roses and Coldplay – but doesn’t yet have a festival, though it is scouting for possibilities. The promoter has a small office in Vienna under Matthias Rotermund, and Live Nation GAS managing director and COO Matt Schwarz, aware of possible local perceptions of incoming Germanbased giants, says the plan has never been to run an Austrian business from Germany. “We don’t believe in a decentralised organisation,” he says. “We want local flavour, we want local expertise. We want the right people on the ground in the major markets, and Vienna is one of the seven major markets [for Live Nation GAS]: Zürich, Vienna, Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne, Munich and Frankfurt.


IQ Magazine January 2018


“ I’m a strong believer that if you combine the right artist with the right venue, it’s a win-win situation.” – Alex Nussbaumer, al-x Likewise, based in Vienna but working around the world, agent Georg Leitner of Georg Leitner Productions, offers a demonstration of just how well-placed Austria can be. Leitner finds international opportunities for acts including Luis Fonsi, Kool & the Gang, and numerous other heritage soul, funk and world music artists, and he recently booked shows in Egypt for Gloria Gaynor, Wyclef Jean in Morocco, and Nicole Scherzinger in Malaysia. “We come across opportunities that some of the big agents don’t have,” says Leitner. “Because we were the agency of James Brown, we have a lot of funk and soul, so we have all the connections, whereas somebody else wouldn’t know who to call.”

Festivals The Austrian festival scene is a busy one, ranging from the extremely large to the very, very small; the Austrian-focused to the highly international; the commercial to the statefunded, free monster shows. In the commercial world, Barracuda’s Nova Rock is the daddy of Austrian festivals, bringing a record 220,000 to Nickelsdorf in the eastern state of Burgenland over four days this year. Tatar’s hold on the festival market is not as strong as in pre-consolidation days when his Skalar company sold

IQ Magazine January 2018

The spectacular Seebühne floating stage at the 2017 edition of Bregenz Festival

been the continuous rise and success of Cigarettes After Sex, entertaining shows with James Blunt, and more sold-out shows with The Kooks, Nothing But Thieves, The Jesus & Mary Chain, and Macy Gray. And I’m personally very excited about some new amazing talents like Alice Merton, Dagny, Noga Erez and Declan McKenna, just to name a few. ” DEAG’s recent experience illustrates that Austria doesn’t necessarily constitute easy pickings for big promoters from outside its borders. The German operator closed the doors of its four-year-old Austrian subsidiary Blue Moon Entertainment in September to focus on Germany, Switzerland and the UK, though its ticketing portal platform remains in place. Any future Austrian shows will be organised from Germany with the help of local partners. The prospects of the smaller promoter in the market’s middle ground remain to be proven. Alex Nussbaumer has long-term relationships with artists including Iggy Pop, Paul Weller, Elvis Costello, Seasick Steve, and The Cure, and he remains convinced that good indies have much to offer. “What agents most appreciate about me is that I’m trying to be creative, trying to give them input into what we should be doing,” he says. “I’m a strong believer that if you combine the right artist with the right venue, it’s a win-win situation.” Some Austrian live business players, of course, ply their trade more widely. Rock & roll bus company, Beat The Street, operates across Europe but its continental base is in Fritzens, near Innsbruck.

an estimated 50-60% of all tickets but Barracuda remains the biggest festival operator. The company also runs the FM4 Frequency in St Pölten, with an average attendance of 120,000 over three days, as well as classic-rock festival Clam Rock at Clam Castle in Upper Austria, and Picture On in Burgenland. “The festivals are better again,” says Tatar. “We had hard years in 2014 and 2015 with the big festivals, but ’16 and ’17 were great. We changed the musical direction of the festivals a little bit, so Nova Rock went a little bit more rock and hiphop, and Frequency moved a little bit more to EDM and electronic stuff and hip-hop, and the changes were successful – it definitely was the right step.” For the past 40 or so years, the town of Wiesen in Burgenland, with its 8,000-capacity Otakringer Arena site, has been the historic home of Austrian festivals, starting with the first edition of the Jazz Fest Open Air in 1976. These days, Arcadia Live has exclusive use of the festival site, and recently launched events include indie-alternative boutique festival Out

“ We want local flavour, we want local expertise. We want the right people on the ground in the major markets, and Vienna is one of the seven major markets…” – Matt Schwarz, Live Nation GAS Of The Woods and drum & bass gathering Nu Forms. Arcadia too had some teething troubles last year, cancelling reggae festival One Drop and Jazz Fest, both in Wiesen, and the Nuke festival in Graz. In recent years, the increasing festival strength of accessible nearby countries such as Hungary, Serbia, Croatia and Latvia is said to have stemmed the tide of festival-hungry fans from other nations, as well as sending young Austrians across the border in search of cheaper fun.



“ It’s a tough market, for sure, but the ongoing competition leads to better events.” – Silvio Huber, Arcadia Live

Salzburg Arena proves a popular destination venue for many international acts © Kaindl-Hönig Fotostudio

“It’s a tough market, for sure, but the ongoing competition leads to better events,” says Huber. “If you don’t deliver a good concept in every aspect, you won’t be around forever. It seems to be working out, as Nu Forms and Out Of The Woods did better than ever this year, and both events got buzz reviews from media and extremely good feedback from artists and audiences.” At the big, free end of things, the Donauinselfest (Danube Island Festival), is an annual event on the 4.5km island that stretches through the centre of Vienna, organised by the Social Democratic Party of Austria (SPÖ). Drawing 2.8m people over three days in June – and more than 3m in years gone by – the festival is, by some measures, the largest in the world, and this year’s headliners included Mando Diao, Michael Bolton, Mike Perry, Hansi Hinterseer, and Nihils. Another free event in the capital, Popfest Wien, draws 60,000 people over four days and is funded by the culture department of the Provincial Government of Vienna. But it could be argued that it’s in the smaller or more idiosyncratic events that Austria shows its distinctive character. Open Air Ottensheim, not far from Linz, is a homemade, volunteer-driven festival dating back to 1993 that showcases mainly Austrian and Central European indie acts. The organisers took 2017 off, though the next edition is promised for 2018, and smaller events have been taking place in the meantime. In the summer, meanwhile, independent electronic festivals are particularly numerous, from May’s very serious improv festival V:NM to June’s Springfestival, both in Graz. Nordkette Wetterleuchten brings 1,100 to a spot near the summit of the Seegrube, high above Innsbruck and 2,000m above sea level, for DJs and electronic acts in July. It may be small – its numbers are capped so that the entire crowd can theoretically be housed indoors if the weather turns ugly – but it has run for 15 years and remains the highest altitude music festival in Europe. The Poolbar Festival at the Alte Hallenbad in the western town of Feldkirch, is a yearly summer festival for music and culture that runs for six weeks; spans pop, architecture, film and theatre; and attracts around 20,000 visitors. Acoustic Lakeside, meanwhile, does its mellow thing in July by the shore of the Sonnegger See, a little lake near the Slovenian border.

Wiener Stadthalle arena, Austria’s largest event centre; the 3,500-cap Gasometer B; and the Arena Wien, which goes up to 3,000 in its largest space. Go up to the 55,000-cap Ernst-Happel-Stadion and down to clubs such as Ottakringer Brauerai, Porgy & Bess, WUK, Metropol and Chaya Fuera, and you’ve accounted for most of the venue options in Austria’s key live music city. But, as Silvio Huber admits, “promoters love to complain,” and he suggests one or two worthwhile additions. “Personally, I would love to see a mid-sized arena in Vienna, to have a solid venue for 4,000 to 8,000 people,” he says. “Some new, innovative venues at club-level would be desirable too.” The city tax of up to 25%, already abandoned in Vienna, will disappear more widely soon, “which is pretty good news,” says Huber. “That will make [other cities] competitive and attractive for another tour stop in Austria.” Austria’s pleasant scenery means outdoor locations can always be found, but indoor spots aren’t lacking either, including the 800- and 1,400-cap rooms in the Posthof in Linz; the 2,000-cap Opernhaus, 1,800-cap Kasematten and 10,000-cap Stadthalle in Graz; and the 500-cap Rockhaus, 800-cap Republic and 8,000-cap Salzburg Arena, all in Mozart’s birthplace of Salzburg. Innsbruck, meanwhile, has clubs such as the Weekender and Treibhaus, as well as the arena-scale Olympiahalle; while Bregenz, between the Swiss and German borders, offers the 7,000-capacity floating Seebühne, the 2,000-cap Festival Hall and the 3,500-cap Werkstattbühne.

Venues As a cradle for classical music, Vienna is not short of a smart venue, including the Konzerthaus, the Burgtheater and the Staatsoper, all between 1,200 and 2,000-capacity. Vienna also has less highbrow venues, including the multi-room


IQ Magazine January 2018

Members’ Mammals LIVE NATION CHAIRMAN of international music, Thomas Johansson, beg ins each day with a 6am walk in the woods wit h his four-legged friend. Pictured here with his beloved Vorstee, Tanyc, Thomas admits that when the snow arrives , however, he’s often left to trek solo.

CLOCKENFLAP FESTIVAL organiser Justin Sweeting’s home in Hong Kong is dominated by 15-year-old ‘Wanchai Terrier’ rescue dog, The Professor, who is captured here celebrating Justin’s birthday in early December.

Elliott Lefko takes seven-year-old Yorkshire Terrier, Twilly, on the road with him to many of the company’s events. A valley girl, Twilly’s ability to drive makes her a typical LA resident.



SUPPLEMENTING HER CAA earnings, Emma Banks thankfully has racehorse, Wimpole Hall, to help pay the bills, thanks to wins at the likes of Sandown Racecourse and victorious jockey Silvestre de Sousa.

IQ EDITOR GORDON MASSON relaxes at home with his personal assailant, Pompidou George, a three-year-old English Bulldog who is no stranger to appearing in publications himself, with previous appearances in the Eurostar’s Metropolitan Magazine and 2015’s bestseller, Pub Dogs of London.

DEPARTING 117 LIVE boss, Thomas Ovesen, will be ensuring that two-year-old desert Pug, Izzy, is well catered for when he moves to his new job at Dubai Arena.

IQ OFFICE DOG, OSCAR, enjoys long early mornin g walks on Hampstead Heath with owner Gre g Parmley. He also enjoys reminding staff that plastic should be recycled, rather than binned.

SHOWING EVERYONE IN THE DICKINS family who is boss, eight-year-old English Bulldog, Percy, refuses to sit anywhere but the comfiest seat in the house, no matter if he’s at home with ITB agent Lucy, or visiting her father, Barry.

IQ’S SUB EDITOR MICHAEL MULDOON left her role at ILMC in 2010 to take care of a four-week-old puppy she found in a hedge whilst backpacking around Eastern Europe. Her hirsute progeny – Sweep Osito – likes toasted sandwiches, jazz trumpet and has visited 16 countries... so far.

FIRST EMPLOYEE AT MISHA LOOTS’ new ventures (Roll Through Music and Sport Solutions; and Brand New Artist Solutions) was rescued three-year-old Bull Terrier, Musafa, who gets hold of clients’ shoe laces to prevent them leaving meetings.

If you or any of your ILMC colleagues have any pets, notices or updates to include on the noticeboard, please contact the club secretary, Gordon Masson, via


IQ Magazine January 2018

Your Shout

“What’s the best Spinal Tap moment that you’ve witnessed during your career?” TOP SHOUT In the 90s, guitar players started using wireless systems and loved to show off. One guitar player decided to walk through the audience during his solo, out the main door, and then come back on stage via the backstage entrance. Firstly, he forgot that it was raining outside – not good for his fancy hairdo. Then, he discovered that the backstage door could not be opened from the outside. So he returned, totally soaked, through the main entrance, and walked back to the stage – much to the bewilderment of the audience. Derrick Thomson, Mainland Music

For an open-air Dubai Media City Amphitheatre show with one of the absolute top female artists in the world at that time, her production manager insisted on having his “own” Portaloo installed by front of house, despite this being only 30 metres away from the backstage toilets, and a sight-line obstacle for fans. Furthermore, the same PM then insisted on having his own private toilet rolls imported. To celebrate such outlandish demands, after the show, we had his Portaloo shipped to his Florida address. We never received a thank-you note… Thomas Ovesen, 117 Live

Last year, we did a club show with The Adicts in Peru. The caterer apparently didn’t read the backstage rider properly, so the band ended up having pre-packed, white loaves of bread instead of proper bread rolls. Their reaction: “I mean, we’re punk but this is a bit too much.” Italo Rossi, Move Concerts

I have two Spinal Tap moments that, as it happens, are from our Spinal Tap One Night Only World Tour a few years ago. At the time, we were giving awards in the shape of the front of the building to artists, and for Spinal Tap I thought we should give awards in the shape of Stonehenge instead. On presenting them to the band (in character – see pic) Harry Shearer told me I had a great grasp of the obvious, which I took as a compliment… Later on, I walked Justin Hawkins down to his car. He’d been playing guest bass with an unfeasibly large guitar. The car turned up with space for two passengers, but without a boot that could accommodate his bass. “This is a bit of a Spinal Tap moment,” said Justin… John Drury, The SSE Arena, Wembley

In the early 60s, I had Curtis Knight and the Squires at the Lighthouse Café, in New York City. At 1:40am, the manager of the venue called me at home, complaining the band was too loud and he wanted them to quiet down. I explained that if the guitarist quieted down, the lines outside his club would vanish. The noise was from Jimi Hendrix. The Lighthouse is now a Starbucks. Van Joyce, Joyce Agency

Italy, mid-80s. A big, open-air with Lou Reed. I’m the talent buyer and promoter’s rep. Reed’s manager has an Italian name, is from NY and in the ‘horse-racing’ business. The gig starts. Things are kinda crazy – we’re in the days before Mojo barriers. The manager starts screaming at me “They’ve thrown a syringe on stage! If that happens one more time then Lou’s walking straight off and not coming back!” So I go to the front barrier looking at 30,000 people going mental thinking how the hell do I stop one of them throwing a syringe on stage… Luckily, it didn’t happen again, but I definitely didn’t have a real good time. Nick Hobbs, Charmenko

Back in the early 70s, I was booking Black Sabbath. At a gig in Lausanne, the intro music was already playing to a sold-out show when Ozzy decided he needed a piss. He duly found a backstage pillar but didn’t see the Swiss police officer standing behind it with possibly the shiniest boots known to man. Ozzy missed the pillar and a golden shower landed, guessed it... The policeman was, well...very pissed. Arrest loomed. I knew there was one place he wouldn’t go: the stage. So I grabbed Ozzy and literally threw him on. Only problem, the other three waited for what must have been a full minute for the intro music to “climax” before joining him. I’m not sure Ozzy noticed, and the baying audience were temporarily baffled, but as the sound of War Pigs thundered out, I vowed never again to be caught short by the overflowing bladder of a lead singer. Now, of course, every self-respecting TM utters the immortal words “lastminute pees!” because…well, you never know. Ed Bicknell, Damage Management

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IQ Magazine January 2018

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