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IT FEELS LIKE THE ‘80S, WHEN WE WERE MUCH SMALLER BUT SOMEHOW FELT BIGGER THAN NOW ISSUE 80

Chris York – The Guvnor The U2 Experience Market Report: Sweden IFF 2018 Review The State of Welfare Cashless Payments The Growth of Jazz



Contents IQ Magazine Issue 80

Cover photo: The Slow Readers Club performing at the International Festival Forum 2018 © Martin Hughes @m3hcreative

News and Developments

6 In Tweets The main headlines over the last two months 8 In Depth Key stories and news analysis from around the live music world 12 New Signings and Rising Stars A round-up of the latest acts that have been added to the rosters of international agents 68 Techno Files Revealing the cutting-edge tech that’s helping our 21st century business

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Features

18 IFF 2018 A review of this year’s International Festival Forum 20 Minding Our Own Business Chris Austin speaks with some of those campaigners involved in the welfare of their peers working in the business of live entertainment 24 The Guvnor Richard Smirke charts the life and times of promoter Chris York, who is celebrating 25 years at SJM Concerts 38 And All That... Rock, Pop, Classical, Folk... Eamonn Forde finds out how jazz promoters worldwide are nurturing growing interest in the genre among young fans 44 $MART MON€¥ Jon Chapple discovers the latest developments in cashless payments 52 The U2 eXPERIENCE Rhian Jones looks behind the scenes at U2’s global eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour

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60 Sweden Market Report Adam Woods travels north to discover how Sweden’s live music community is pulling together to overcome societal issues with sexual assault

Comments and Columns

14 A Question of Safety Chris Hannam highlights the essential co-operation of vital roles in event and crowd safety management 15 Glastonbury, and the Trouble with Brexit Political writer Damon Culbert outlines the potential troubles Brexit has in store for our industry 16 How Healthy is the Live Music Industry? Hilde Spille encourages openness in dealing with the very real stresses and strains encountered by workers in the live music business 69 Members’ Noticeboard ILMC members’ photos 70 IQ Test Put your music knowledge to the test by tackling our Incredible Autumn Puzzle Page!

IQ Magazine November 2018

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Learning Live’s Lessons Gordon Masson ponders why money still takes precedence over wellbeing As i wRiTe This issue’s editorial, it’s the day after the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) and the IQ and ILMC team are a bit bleary-eyed after a long day and another early start. But given that we’re mostly desk jockeys, burning the candle at both ends is a fairly rare occurrence for us, conferences and other events aside. The same cannot be said for the valiant crew, event staff and production workers, who ply their trade all over the world, from city to city, continent to continent, on the tours and festivals that prop up the industry. They are the lifeblood of live music, so it’s perplexing to hear that when it comes to their welfare and wellbeing, very little seems to have changed, despite evidence of what long working hours can do to the body and mind. Five years ago, Crowd Connected’s James Cobb presented the findings of his Fatigue – Working Hours in Production research to a shocked ILMC Production Meeting (IPM), where many decision makers in the room vowed to make changes so that production professionals could factor in more rest to their schedules. His report stated that 26% of those surveyed admitted to having at least one accident in the previous 12 months, so, having established a clear correlation between lack of sleep and increased risk of accidents, Cobb urged live industry organisations to comply with the EU Working Time Directive. But half a decade later, Cobb reports that nothing has changed, with profit still paramount, rather than the health of staff. The status quo inevitably will mean that at some point, fatigue will play a role in an incident where people are badly injured,

or worse, but it really shouldn’t take a fatal accident inquiry to review industry working practice. Having heard about the efforts that everyone is making to improve safety and security at E3S, surely it’s time to prioritise caring for the workers who make events and live entertainment happen. Senior figures at E3S spoke about the fact they are now struggling to find skilled personnel for events, but perhaps if people across the industry were afforded better working conditions, the task of recruiting a new generation to work in live event production would be all the more simple. The age-old argument about where tomorrow’s headliners are coming from will quickly be redundant if there is nobody to build the stages, sets and infrastructure they need. For information about some of the work being done to improve people’s physical and mental wellbeing, be sure to read our feature on welfare (page 20). Elsewhere in this bumper edition of IQ, Rhian Jones takes a peek backstage at U2’s eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE tour (page 52); Eamonn Forde reports on the international growth of the jazz genre (page 38); there’s a pictorial review of the International Festival Forum on page 18; and Jon Chapple examines some of the operators developing cashless payment solutions for the live entertainment sector (page 44). Our resident market report specialist, Adam Woods, sets sail for Sweden (page 60), while Richard Smirke spends some time in the company of one of the UK’s most respected promoters, Chris York, as he marks quarter of a century at SJM Concerts (page 24).

OLD TEXT

IQ Magazine November 2018

Issue 80 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE

THE ILMC JOURNAL, November 2018

IQ Magazine

Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH info@iq-mag.net www.iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0300 Twitter: @iq_mag

Publisher

ILMC and Suspicious Marketing

Editor

Gordon Masson

News Editor Jon Chapple

Associate Editor Allan McGowan

Marketing & Advertising Director

Terry McNally

Design

Martin Hughes

Sub Editor

Michael Muldoon

Editorial Assistants

Imogen Battersby and Ben Delger

Contributors

Chris Austin, Damon Culbert, Eamonn Forde, Chris Hannam, Rhian Jones, Richard Smirke, Hilde Spille, Manfred Tari, Adam Woods

Editorial Contact

Gordon Masson, gordon@iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303

Advertising Contact

Terry McNally, terry@iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304

To subscribe to IQ Magazine: imogen@iq-mag.net An annual subscription to IQ is £75 (print) or £60 (electronic).

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Analysis

In Tweets...

@iq_mag

After initially defending her decision to play the inaugural edition of Meteor Festival, stating her performance would “not be a political statement,” Lana Del Rey pulls out of the Israeli event just three days before it opens its gates. Police in Hanoi, Vietnam try to trace a drug that kills seven local music fans and puts five others into a coma at dance music festival Trip to the Moon, promoted by Vietnam Electronic Weekend. Nick John, who counted Mastodon, Slayer and French metallers Gojira among his management clients, dies from pancreatic cancer. US secondary ticketing platform TicketNetwork pre-emptively sues New York’s attorney-general, Barbara Underwood, as she announces plans to sue for millions of dollars to prevent the site listing tickets that sellers do not yet own. European PROs, publishers and industry associations welcome a vote in favour of the new EU Copyright Directive – though critics warn of an end to freedom of expression online. The ‘booking war’ between AEG and Madison Square Garden Company reaches its end, after AEG’s Jay Marciano confirms the company is no longer block-booking its LA Staples Center and London O2 venues. Ticketmaster-owned, self-service ticketing platform Universe announces its launch in the Netherlands. Live Nation expands its operations in the GSA (Germany, Switzerland and Austria) region with the opening of a new office in Munich. US satellite radio SiriusXM giant acquires Internet radio service Pandora Media, reigniting speculation about a potential merger with Live Nation. Ticketmaster is hit with multiple classaction lawsuits in North America after

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Lana Del Ray

SEPTEMBER

being accused of encouraging professional resellers to list and sell inventory via its TradeDesk platform. AEG Presents acquires PromoWest Productions, the largest independent concert business in the American Midwest and formerly one of the US’s most prominent remaining indie promoters. Ticket agency Skiddle releases new data that shows many UK promoters and venue staff are struggling with “astronomical” levels of stress on a daily basis. AEG announces plans for major investment in south-east Asia with two new music and entertainment venues in Thai capital Bangkok, including a 16,000seat arena. A survey of 20,000 people by Live Nation, The Power of Live, reveals that for 71% of people, concerts are the moments that “give them the most life” – and that the average fan prefers going to a show to having sex. Live Nation acquires a 51% stake in Colorado-based promoter Emporium Presents, formed in 2016 by Dan Steinberg and Jason Zink.

OCTOBER Six people are charged with money laundering by the UK’s National Trading Standards, allegedly operating separate secondary ticketing scams worth millions of pounds. Leg 12 of Ed Sheeran’s already history-making ÷ tour smashes records as it goes on sale across Europe. The UK’s Advertising Standards Authority rejects a complaint by FanFair Alliance that adverts for secondary ticketing site Viagogo on Google search results could mislead consumers. Arts Council England faces fresh questions over the lack of funding available for grassroots music venues as it awards its seven most senior executives a 13% pay rise. Eventbrite is slapped with a classaction lawsuit over allegations that Ticketfly’s “lax cybersecurity procedures” allowed hackers to gain access to 27 million customers’ personal data in May’s cyberattack.

IQ Magazine November 2018


Analysis

Ed Sheeran

See Tickets/Universal Music Group owner Vivendi inaugurates its second CanalOlympia music venue in the capital of Togo, Lomé, which is also its tenth in Africa. German promoters Wizard Promotions and Handwerker Promotion, both owned by Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG), open a new joint office in Frankfurt. DEAG becomes the sole owner of Swiss classical music promoter The Classical Company, after acquiring all remaining shares in the company (50%) from Ringier. Azoff Music Management agrees to acquire Madison Square Garden Company’s 50% stake in the companies’ Azoff MSG Entertainment joint venture. Dutch promoters association VNPF, along with several music venues and festivals, throw their support behind Ben je oké? (‘Are you okay?’), a new campaign taking aim at sexual harassment at night-time events. An intellectual property lawsuit that accuses StubHub of stealing trade secrets in order to develop its own mobile apps is to be allowed to continue, a California judge rules. UK venue management company VMS Live acquires Hull venues The Welly and The Polar Bear, along with ticketing business Hull Box Office. Two New Zealanders who allegedly influenced Lorde to cancel a planned

show in Tel Aviv are ordered to pay ILS45,000 (€10,700) in damages by an Israeli court. Brian Becker-led, live music hologram company BASE Hologram announces a world tour with a holographic Amy Winehouse, adding to the ranks of the deceased stars taking to the stage once more. Verti Music Hall hosts its first show on Friday 12 October, with a capacity crowd packing out AEG’s new Berlin venue to mark Jack White’s return to Germany. A Cliff Richard show at Manchester’s 2,341-seat Bridgewater Hall grosses more than £1.1million (€1.24m) after being broadcast in cinemas in the UK and Republic of Ireland. The Blackstone Group, a US investment firm that manages around $440billion (€387bn) worth of assets, acquires the UK’s NEC Group in a deal reportedly worth more than £800m (€902m). Virgin Group founder Richard Branson announces the launch of Virgin Fest, a new “multi-experiential” music festival set to debut in the US in 2019. Ticketmaster becomes the first major traditional live music industry player to invest in the much-hyped blockchain space, announcing it has acquired San Francisco-based ticketing start-up Upgraded. Patron Technology, the parent company of ticketing platforms ShowClix and Ticketleap, and festival app developer Greencopper, acquires event management software provider Marcato. Insomniac, the US promoter behind dance music festival powerhouse Electric Daisy Carnival closes a deal to acquire a 50% stake in Dutch rival ALDA Events. YouTube becomes Eventbrite’s first video distribution partner in a deal that sees concert dates from Eventbrite partners listed next to YouTube videos of the artist in question. The fate of Camp Bestival, the financially troubled camping event run by Rob and Josie da Bank, is secured following an arrangement with UK promoters Live Nation-Gaiety and SJM Concerts. Through its Olympia Production subsidiary, Vivendi finalises its acquisition

of Garorock, one of France’s most popular music festivals. UK industry associations write to the Home Office to urge a rethink of new guidance that requires American artists to apply for British visas if arriving via the Irish Republic. Saudi Arabia’s ambitious 20-plus-year plan to develop a domestic live entertainment market falters following the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. New licence conditions are imposed on Festival Republic’s Wireless event in Finsbury Park, London, which will now finish at 9.30pm, with last drinks orders at 9pm. CTS Eventim takes full control of the German, online, movie ticketing platform kinoheld, which it acquired a 51% stake of in 2015. Ireland’s live music community goes into mourning following the sudden death of concert promoter and artist manager John Reynolds, the founder of Pod Concerts and a former co-manager of Boyzone. He was 52. The personal data of 64,000 people who bought tickets through Paylogic, including names, email addresses and postcodes, may have been stolen after hackers gain access to a Tomorrowland festival database. Turkish promoter Pozitif insists it’s ”business as usual” despite the loss of its two remaining co-founders, Cem Yegül and Ahmet Uluğ, and a wideranging corporate restructure. Corida Group, one of the largest independent live music companies in France, acquires 50% of Super!, the promoter behind Pitchfork Paris, Cabourg Mon Amour and Biarritz en Été festivals.

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IQ Magazine November 2018

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Analysis

Movers and Shakers

CTS Eventim has appointed Daniel Brown as CEO of Eventim UK. For the past six years, Brown held management positions at AEG, including director/vice-president of CRM at AEG Europe and, most recently, vice-president of marketing and customer experience at majority AEG-owned ticketing business, AXS. Music Support, the mental health charity for the UK music industry, has appointed experienced third sector professional Eric Mtungwazi as managing director. A former footballer and singer/songwriter, Mtungwazi joins Music Support from City Year UK, a youth social action and education charity, where he was programme director. Olivier Darbois, director of Paris-based promoter Corida, has been named president of French live music industry association Prodiss. His three-year term will succeed that of Luc Gaurichon of Caramba Spectacles in the top job. The new European Music Managers Alliance has announced Per Kviman and Virpi Immonen as its first chair and vicechair, respectively. Both Kviman, the CEO of Stockholmbased Versity Music and chair of the Music Managers Forum

The MJR Group continues its impressive international growth by opening a new venue in the Digbeth area of Birmingham, England. The Mill is a 1,600-capacity multipurpose space that will showcase an eclectic programme from multi-genre live music concerts, expansive club nights and private event spectacles. Designed to deliver the ultimate live music and clubbing experience, The Mill, which represents an investment of over £500,000 (€563,000) for Bristol-based MJR, boasts a Void sound-system, a state-of-the-art lighting system, and two artist dressing rooms with private en-suite facilities. “We recognised there was a gap in the market for a 750+-capacity live music venue in the city, and testament to this is our launch event programme, which takes in acts such as Napalm Death, Mogwai and the Fun Lovin’ Criminals,” says MJR operations director, Benjamin Newby. “We’re really looking forward to hosting a range of exciting live acts and some of the biggest names in the nightlife circuit in Digbeth, one of the most vibrant, creative quarters in the UK.” In addition to owning and operating more than ten live

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(MMF) Sweden, and Immonen, CEO of Finland’s Fullsteam Management, will serve a minimum two-year term. Tobias Habla has been tasked with running Live Nation’s new office in Munich, Germany. The office joins already established Live Nation GSA branches in Zürich, Vienna, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Berlin. Habla is the former director of international touring for United Promoters and manager of live entertainment for Sony Music. Gary Gersh has been promoted to the position of president of its new AEG Presents Global Touring and Talent. Formerly known as AEG Live, the company has also appointed Rich Schaefer as senior VP global touring, and Rich Holtzman as been senior VP of artist development and marketing. Australasian promotion, ticketing and data analytics company TEG has appointed former RugbyAustralia marketing guru John Nicholl to the newly created role of head of commercial, where he will have responsibility for brand partnerships, sponsorships and hospitality sales across TEG’s live entertainment portfolio, which includes Ticketek, TEG Live/TEG Dainty/Qudos Bank Arena, and the TEG Analytics subsidiary. US secondary ticketing platform Vivid Seats has hired Stan Chia as CEO. He was formerly COO of online food ordering service Grubhub, and has previously held senior roles at Amazon, Cisco and General Electric. RFID and cashless payment specialist Tappit has appointed Duco Smit, formerly director of business development at Eventbrite, as chief commercial officer.

The Mill (photo © Tom Bird)

Superfly, the co-promoter of US festivals including Bonnaroo, Outside Lands and Grandoozy, has appointed 20year marketing veteran Stacy Moscatelli as executive vicepresident of brand marketing. Most recently head of consumer marketing at music video platform, Vevo, Moscatelli will oversee all consumer marketing for the Superfly brand, whose corporate clients include Bose, Yahoo!, Samsung, Google, Asus and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer.

music venues in the UK, MJR Group promotes events and tours around the world, including through its MJR Presents affiliate in Australia and New Zealand. The company also presents multiple exhibitions, theatrical tours and immersive attractions internationally.

IQ Magazine November 2018


Analysis

Blockchain set for wider industry adoption in 2019 As we near the end of the year, blockchain is once again at the top of the tech agenda, with the world’s biggest live music company becoming one of the latest organisations to invest in the burgeoning sector. In mid-October, Ticketmaster revealed it had acquired Bay Area start-up Upgraded, providing one of the clearest indications yet that the live industry is bullish on blockchain’s potential. Although financial details were not disclosed, Live Nation Entertainment’s ticketing division is gambling that Upgraded’s ability to convert traditional tickets into secure, interactive, digital assets protected by blockchain technology will offer it a competitive advantage going forward. With so many blockchain start-ups popping up in recent years, it’s difficult to keep track of the multitude of deals and alliances that are being

agreed between music business operations and the tech community. But to illustrate some of the strides forward that blockchain developers are making, Slovenia-based Viberate has already agreed terms of ticketing allocations with Ticketmaster, Eventbrite and Skiddle, and recently the company considerably boosted its European business by adding Eventim as ticketing partners. Spotify was slightly more ahead of its live music counterparts, when in April 2017, it acquired blockchain startup Mediachair. And hinting at just one potential application for blockchain technology, the inaugural Our Music Festival in San Francisco’s Greek Theatre on 20 October, created its own OMF crypto tokens in an effort to “reward fans and artists for participating in the experience.” And the blockchain developers are equally bullish when

it comes to accelerating their impact on the world of entertainment – also in October 2018, blockchain-powered, music-data tracking platform, Utopia Music, purchased Swedish technology development company ISPY so that it could “open avenues to an estimated $30-60billion [€2652bn] of untapped revenue in the music industry.” Quite whether blockchain can incrementally increase the size of the music market in such a dramatic fashion remains to be seen, but advocates of the technology point to the transparent nature of blockchain transactions as being a huge selling point in limiting secondary ticketing, while its ability to instantly split revenues and share them among copyright owners is also seen as a boon. According to Ticketmaster, its most recently acquired asset, Upgraded, combines

Truce Called in Venues War The war of words between AEG and Madison Square Garden (MSG) regarding controversial tit-for-tat venue booking policies, appears to be over. The corporate spat primarily involved AEG’s Staples Center in Los Angeles and The O2 Arena in London; and MSG’s Forum in Los Angeles and eponymous arena in New York City, in which artists were asked to agree to arrangements whereby they could only play one venue by committing to playing in its sister venue elsewhere. However, the long-running

battle was all but ended when AEG Presents CEO, Jay Marciano, confirmed the company is no longer block-booking its Staples and O2 venues. AEG’s policy of insisting acts needed to play both venues, rather than opting for the rival company’s facilities, prompted outrage among the artistic community, while MSG reacted by similarly tying the historic Garden to its Forum venue for visiting acts. Indeed, Ozzy Osbourne filed an antitrust lawsuit against AEG, such was his fury at the policy. However, that legal action has now been

IQ Magazine November 2018

dropped following Marciano’s pledge, which he said was in reaction to MSG ending its block-booking arrangements. “Going forward, promoters for artists who want to play the O2 will no longer be required to commit to playing Staples,” Marciano told Variety. “We would only require that commitment if we had reason to believe that artists were being somehow pressured to play the Forum in order to have access to the Garden. But we’ve had a lot of feedback from artists and agents and managers that they’re no longer [feeling pressured to do so].”

blockchain tech with dynamic, encrypted barcodes to prevent fraud, and can be implemented without requiring a venue to replace existing access-control hardware. “Ticketmaster [provides] the perfect platform for us to bring the unique promise of blockchain to millions of fans,” says Upgraded founder/ CEO Sandy Khaund. “Upgraded leverages Blockchain to maximise trust for ticket holders, give control and flexibility to content owners, and data to teams and performers. We’re proud of what we’ve built and are looking forward to working with the incredible team at Ticketmaster to help us scale.” With Ticketmaster now joining the likes of Aventus, Blockparty, Citizen Ticket, GUTS Tickets, Tracer, Baidu and Crypto Tickets, in exploring blockchain opportunities, the race to fully exploit the technology could be set to go into overdrive in the next 12 months, with ticketing companies, in particular, keen to get in on the action early, or face playing catchup as their rivals benefit.

For his part, Irving Azoff, who was in a joint venture with MSG, welcomed the news. “It’s a great day for artists when those of us that make a living serving them recognise that artists should have the right to their own decisions, especially regarding choice of venues to play,” he said. Shortly after the announcement, Azoff paid MSG $125million (€110m) to purchase their 50% of the companies’ Azoff MSG Entertainment joint venture, formed in 2013. The company has since been rebranded as the Azoff Company and will continue to act as a consultant to MSG.

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Analysis

International Experts Gather for 2018 Event Safety & Security Summit The Manchester Arena bombing of 22 May 2017 was a “game-changer” from a counter-terrorism perspective, laying bare the importance of a strong private security presence to combat the growing threat to ‘soft’ targets such as concerts, said Metropolitan Police (The Met) commander Lucy D’Orsi, opening the second edition of the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S) on 30 October. The Met’s deputy assistant commissioner in specialist operations provided the event’s welcome address in which she said that the Manchester attack – along with the vehicle-ramming attacks in Westminster and on London Bridge in March and June 2017, respectively – proved that “anything is potentially a target; anything is possible.” D’Orsi’s address kicked off a packed day of panels, presentations and workshops for the sophomore E3S, which boasted more than double the content of last year’s debut event. 300 professionals from 20 markets

attended the day. Other highlights included a speech by Lord Kerslake, author of the eponymous inquiry into the Manchester Arena attack, who presented the key findings and recommendations of his report; panel sessions on ‘Protecting the Future of Live Events’, which examined what initiatives are helping develop an international safety culture, and ‘Learning Transferrable Lessons’, which considered operations from the World Cup to state visits by US presidents to learn lessons from each scenario; and a host of talks and workshops covering security training, emergency messaging, behavioural detection, lockdown procedures and more. Lord Kerslake described the Manchester Arena bombing – the deadliest terrorist attack in the UK since the 7/7 bombings of 2005 – as a “brutal, real-world test” of the venue’s security procedures. He identified four key lessons that event organisers and venues should learn from

the tragedy: That his review, commissioned by mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, was “the right thing to do, and should become standard practice in future”; that “importance of partnerships” between stakeholders, as well as thorough emergency planning, “cannot be overstated”; that a “genuinely multi-agency approach” is needed in case of emergency (“even in strong partnerships, the tendency of agencies under pressure to default to a singleagency way of working is extremely strong,” he explained); and that, however good those plans are, “the reality will be different. There is no substitution for good situational awareness and discretion.” As terrible as the attack was, Lord Kerslake concluded that, had it taken place ten minutes later – when more young fans were exiting the arena – the outcome would have been even worse. “We cannot afford to be complacent,” he said. A key theme of E3S 2018 was the importance of openness among stakeholders, and the ability – and will – to share crucial information. The O2 head of operations, Danielle Kennedy-Clark, said the live events industry needs to get better at sharing data. “As a venue,” she commented, “we have a very close relationship with local authorities and other stakeholders […] but I do still feel a lot of the time security is seen as a big secret. We’re getting better but there’s still a long way to come.” Tony Duncan, who works as tour security director for artists including U2, Madonna, Rihanna and Sir Paul McCartney, said the events security landscape is current-

ly “fractured at best,” tending to “react to big events”. The industry could, he suggested, benefit from “formalis[ing] procedures across the board.” One popular presentation at E3S was a preview of the new Green Guide, given by Ken Scott of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority. Scott also spoke about how his organisation, formerly the Football Licensing Authority, was formed after the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, to “sit over the top of all those competing commercial entities [football clubs] and take the best bits of each, which you [the entertainment industry] don’t have.” “Maybe you need something similar,” he said. The SEC’s Jeanette Roberts, a former inspector for the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), suggested there could be an HSE-style government agency to set security standards, industry-wide. With HSE, she explained, “What they did was reach out to the industry for their knowledge – it was a brave step for the agency to go and say, ‘we need your help’.” D’Orsi concluded by saying it’s a long-term police goal to share as much information on threats as possible with venues and private security companies. Addressing delegates, she said: “Many of you represent iconic locations and events, which are often broadcast live – and if you look at the propaganda put out by ISIL [Islamic State], Al-Qaeda and other groups, you are attractive targets. “There will be less policing at live events in future – but the ambition to share as much as we can with you is very strong, and I’m confident we will achieve that.”

The Met’s deputy assistant commissioner, Lucy D’Orsi (photo © Carolina Faruolo)

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IQ Magazine November 2018


Analysis

IQ Magazine November 2018

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Emmanuel Jal & Nyaruach

The latest trades and handshakes from the agency world BADFLOWER (US)

Agent: Neil Warnock, United Talent Agency Badflower have quietly become one of L.A.’s most buzzedabout rock bands. Since their emergence in 2014, they have shared stages with the likes of KONGOS and The Veronicas; earned acclaim from OC Weekly and Loudwire; plus achieved a two-week run at No. 1 on the KROQ Locals Only show with single Heroin. Wielding their signature energy, the music taps into a gritty and grunge-y, gutter-rock spirit complemented by jarring theatrical delivery and unshakable riffing. Following the release of their Temper EP, Badflower became the first signing on the new Big Machine/John Varvatos Records joint venture. The crushing realness of their latest track, Ghost, brought the band to the attention of iHeartRadio, highlighting them as one of their On The Verge Artists, while the single is quickly making its way inside the top-ten at Rock Radio.

EMMANUEL JAL & NYARUACH (SS/CA) Siblings Emmanuel and Nyaruach draw strongly on the unique sounds of their native Kingdom of Kush in South Sudan, interweaving traditional folklore and love songs alongside infectious dance tunes. Their music is often at odds with the image of war and poverty that has blighted South Sudan, instead focusing on its resilience and rich culture. The duo’s background is challenging, to put it mildly: Emmanuel Jal was a child soldier in the early 80s and has come through huge personal struggles to become an acclaimed recording artist and peace ambassador, now living in Toronto. Nyaruach was separated from the rest of her immediate family at the age of four and has witnessed family members killed and raped by government officials. Although reunited with Jal in Nairobi, in 2004, Nyaruach is forced to live in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya, where her future is uncertain. Emmanuel Jal & Nyaruach have performed together in Kenya for Oxfam, and in South Sudan’s first peace concert, and despite immense obstacles, have now completed their first album.

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Badflower

Agent: Serena Parsons, Primary Talent

PREDICTIONS FOR NEXT MONTH

(Artists moving through database the quickest) TOMBERLIN (US), KIAN (AU), NO ROME (UK), STIMULATOR JONES (US), GRAACE (AU)

IQ Magazine November 2018


Artist listings A$ap Nast (US) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Anna St. Louis (US) Erin Coleman, Paper and Iron Arthur Baker (US) Tom Hasson, MN2S Astroid Boys (UK) Beckie Sugden & Shaun Faulkner, X-ray BEA1991 (NL) Martin Mackay & Andy Duggan, Primary Talent Beach Goons (US) Ed Sellers, Primary Talent Boy Pablo (NO) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Br3nya (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Breathe Panel (UK) Matt Hanner, ATC Live Brodinski (FR) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Bury Tomorrow (UK) Tom Taaffe, Coda Cane Hill (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Cat Clyde (CA) Colin Keenan & Stuart Kennedy, ATC Live Chicane (UK) Tim Levy, MN2S Circa Survive (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Cozy Boys (US) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Dapz On The Map (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Daughters (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Dead Combo (PT) Steve Backman, Primary Talent Deb Never (US) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live DJ Ace (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Every Time I Die (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Everyone You Know (UK) C raig D’Souza & Tom Permaul-Baker, Primary Talent Field Medic (US) Matt Pickering-Copley, Primary Talent Foxing (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Free Love (UK) Tom Manley & Sinan Ors, ATC Live Gabe Gurnsey (UK) Peter Elliott & Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Gabi (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Gammer (UK) Paul McQueen, Primary Talent Geko (UK) Samuel Rumsey, MN2S Hamzaa (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Hembree (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Higher Power (UK) Tom Taaffe, Coda Horror My Friend (AU) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Hot Water Music (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda House Of Pharaohs (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Indian Queens (UK) Steve Backman, Primary Talent International Teachers Of Pop (UK) Roxane Dumoulin, ATC Live J Styles (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Jellybean Benitez (US) Tom Hasson, MN2S Jerry Paper (US) Sally Dunstone, X-ray JessB (NZ) Matthew Pidgeon, MN2S Jimi Somewhere (NO) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live JURASSIC 5 (US) Sean Goulding & Zach Hyde, UTA K Koke (UK) Samuel Rumsey, MN2S KAMI (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Kim Viera (US) Sean Goulding, Jeremy Norkin, Ryan Soroka & Jbeau Lewis, UTA King Kong Company (IE) Zac Peters, DMF Music Kingswood (AU) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Konradsen (NO) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Konshens (JA) Yusuf Bashir, MN2S Lenny Fontana (US) Tim Levy, MN2S Liz Lawrence (UK) Isla Angus & Matt Hanner, ATC Live Lunar Vacation (US) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Luvia (UK) Steve Backman, Primary Talent Lydia Ainsworth (CA) Erin Coleman, Paper and Iron Major Murphy (US) Matt Pickering-Copley, Primary Talent Marc Rebillet (US) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Miami Horror (AU) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Mutoid Man (US) Ben Ward, UTA Myd (FR) Martje Kremers, Primary Talent Naked Giants (US) Sarah Joy & Chris Meredith, ATC Live Night Trains (UK) Tom Bull, MN2S

IQ Magazine November 2018

New Signings & Rising Stars

Odina (ES/UK) Steve Backman, Primary Talent Of Mice And Men (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda OFF! (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Pearl Charles (US) Steve Backman, Primary Talent Pell (US) Tom Permaul-Baker, Primary Talent Peter Hook presents Joy Division Orchestrated (UK) Emily Robbins & Zach Hyde, UTA Pianos Become The Teeth (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Pierce The Veil (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Princess Nokia (US) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Rasharn Powell (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Raver Tots (UK) Tom Bull, MN2S Restorations (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Riley (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Riz MC (UK) Serena Parsons, Primary Talent Rubblebucket (US) Peter Elliott, Primary Talent Rum.Gold (US) Serena Parsons, Primary Talent S. Carey (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Sam Valdez (US) Matt Hanner, ATC Live Silverstein (CA) Tom Taaffe, Coda Slow Magic (US) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Sody (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Soho Rezanejad (DK) Nikita Lavrinenko, Paper and Iron Spragga Benz & Friends (US/UK) Yusuf Bashir, MN2S Squid (UK) Sarah Joy, ATC Live Sunshine Frisbee Laserbeam (UK) Tom Taaffe, Coda Tancred (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Taylor Janzen (CA) Tom Taaffe, Coda The Flatliners (CA) Tom Taaffe, Coda The Menzingers (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda The Ninth Wave (UK) Jamie Wade, X-ray The Spitfires (UK) Zac Peters, DMF Music Theo Kottis (UK) Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent They Might Be Giants (US) Zac Peters, DMF Music Tranell (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Tropical Fuck Storm (AU) Stuart Kennedy, ATC Live Trupa Trupa (PL) Matt Hanner, ATC Live Turnstile (US) Ed Sellers, Primary Talent Unknown T X (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Vanity Fairy (UK) Steve Backman, Primary Talent Vein (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda While She Sleeps (UK) Tom Taaffe, Coda William Crighton (AU) Matt Hanner, ATC Live William Ryan Key (US) Tom Taaffe, Coda Yonica (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray

IQ Magazine hottest new acts - Nov 2018

This Month

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

Last Month 10 22 27 44 31 1 16 3 7 12 8 6 19 9 24

ARTIST

SHECK WES (US) QUANDO RONDO (US) IDLES (UK) BENNY BLANCO (US) LOUD LUXURY (CA) YNW MELLY (US) THE BLAZE (FR) FISHER (AU) SHORELINE MAFIA (US) CHARLOTTE LAWRENCE (US) RUEL (AU) DEREZ DESHON (US) PALE WAVES (UK) FREYA RIDINGS (UK) LOVELYTHEBAND (US)

Fastest growing artists based on online music consumption. Aggregated across a number of online sources.

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Comment

A Question of Safety Chris Hannam of Stagesafe highlights the essential co-operation of vital roles in event and crowd safety management, and the correct use of relevant terminology.

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n order to successfully complete a risk assessment for safety management at temporary event sites (and it could be argued on every site where entertainment is performed), “two entirely separate, but equally important roles” were vital (Upton, 2004): 1. Crowd Safety Manager (CSM) 2. Health & Safety Consultant (HSC) The late Mick Upton clearly advises in one of his papers that the “crowd manager should be responsible for designing a crowd management plan and then focus on command and control of the event. The health and safety consultant or advisor should adopt a broader role in monitoring working practices during the build-up, event day(s) and de-rig.” Both should operate in co-operation and in tandem with each other as the roles complement each other but are not interchangeable.

“Local authorities, HSE enforcement and police officers are not trained in, and generally know nothing of crowd safety management, but they are charged with the responsibility of assessing us.” Health and safety management is an industrial process defined as organised efforts and procedures for identifying workplace hazards and reducing accidents and exposure to harmful situations and substances. It also includes training of personnel in accident prevention, accident response, emergency preparedness, and use of protective clothing and equipment. Typically at events, these hazards include work at height, temporary structures, rigging (lifting equipment and lifting operations), electricity, noise, plant and machinery, fire, weather, hazardous substances, manual handling etc. “Occupational health aims at: the promotion and maintenance of the highest degree of physical, mental and social well-being of workers; the prevention amongst workers of departures from health caused by their working conditions; the protection of workers in their employment from risks resulting from factors adverse to health; the placing and maintenance of the worker in an occupational environment adapted to his physiological and psychological capabilities; and, to summarise, the adaptation of work to man and of each man to his job.” Crowd safety management is the supervision of safe, orderly movement and assembly of people. It is a vast subject that the majority of health and safety practitioners have little or no

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knowledge of and, until relatively recently, was not considered a social science. Sadly, it is not a term that the majority of small security companies (who often make unsubstantiated claims that they are event security companies) are familiar with, and who still place emphasis on public order rather than public safety. The Security Industry Authority (SIA), the UK Government’s body who license companies and individuals in the security industry who have passed a relevant compulsory industry training course, have not helped as there are no crowd management aspects included within SIA training, so in effect we have two separate roles to consider – crowd safety management, and security – and it is the forward-thinking and well-placed event security companies and individuals who undertake crowd safety management. By the same token, very few crowd safety managers know very much about general event health and safety, I am not saying they do not know anything but that they are two very different roles. Local authorities, HSE enforcement and police officers are not trained in, and generally know nothing of crowd safety management, but they are charged with the responsibility of assessing us (usually during the event licensing process), and enforcement. A case of the blind leading the sighted as we have many trained, experienced and qualified crowd safety managers within the events industry who have far more knowledge than most of the regulators and enforcers. A similar situation arises within health and safety enforcement, many local authority officers lack the required knowledge and skills to assess health and safety standards within the event industry, but, fortunately, the HSE are aware of this problem and are attempting to bring local authority officers up to speed, an issue that will not be resolved quickly enough. So, we have three very different yet equally important roles, the event safety manager, the crowd safety manager, and the security manager, but, unfortunately, many see the three titles as interchangeable and simply a matter of semantics. They are not. This does not help our situation, especially with limited local authority and police understanding and knowledge. Even highly experienced event professionals still talk about and even run conferences or training courses in what they generally refer to as “event safety and crowd management” that when looked at in further detail are actually crowd management or security with little or no reference to event (health and) safety. They are different disciplines and I beseech everyone to use the correct terminology in the right context. Let’s stop the confusion now! www.stagesafe.co.uk

IQ Magazine November 2018


Comment

Glastonbury, and the Trouble with Brexit Damon Culbert, political writer for the Immigration Advice Service, outlines the potential troubles Brexit has in store for our industry.

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recent report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has shown that the UK’s creative industries could face serious troubles immediately after Brexit if no deal is reached, or even if the Government maintains the current visa system as it is. From individual acts on European tours to massive events like Glastonbury, losing the freedom of labour that the UK enjoys will make these projects difficult in the future. The system isn’t working… If the current visa system is maintained, foreign workers in the music industry will face convoluted, drawn-out visa applications, or being shut out entirely as their jobs don’t qualify for the Tier 2 Work Visa. With the visa cap for working visas being reached every month this year, minimum salaries for non-EEA workers have reached £40-50k (€4657k), meaning anything below this is ignored and the position goes empty. The CBI report identifies the great contributions Europeans make to the music industry, noting that 10% of those in UK music have a European passport. As a key player in the global music industry, Britain also plays host to many EU managers who use the country as a base to manage international artists. To lose this ease of free movement with the continent could result in big names shunning the UK in favour of other countries on the continent. The CBI report states that self-employed workers account for 70% of the music industry. Since the Tier 2 Work Visa route requires all applicants to be sponsored by a UK sponsor, this 70% could be at risk, and any further EU migrants may lose this opportunity entirely in the future. This would mean a much less diverse workforce, losing out on skills from the European market that many Brits do not have, such as second-language skills needed to break into the international market. Mixed feeling on festivals… For festivals, there is varied opinion. Adding visas and carnets to the cost of each performer could mean costs trickle down to the ticket buyers, which could see crowds drop in numbers. Festivals like Glastonbury could be struck at the source as the festival has a turnover of £37m (€42.4m) but a profit of just £86k (€98k) – or 50p (57¢) a ticket. A lack of access to casual labour, which the EU provides, may also leave us short in everything from security to bar staff. While Europeans are not being asked to leave at the stroke of midnight on Brexit day next March, those here on a temporary basis are unlikely to want to spend the money and effort to sign up to the Government’s Settlement Scheme.

IQ Magazine November 2018

823,000 Europeans visited the UK as music festival tourists last year. When compared with just 135,000 tickets available at Glastonbury each year, this could be quite a deficit to make up should Europeans choose not to make the journey in the future. Therefore, the government should keep the British festival industry (which contributes up to £4.4billion [€5bn] to the UK economy each year) in mind when they are agreeing our future trade and mobility deals with the EU.

“The government should keep the British festival industry in mind when they are agreeing our future trade and mobility deals with the EU.” Touring troubles… Tour carnets – documents required for all musicians touring on a visa – are needed to report all equipment entering and leaving, which could mean that smaller UK groups avoid touring in Europe altogether. Bigger names could still extend this price hike to their fans, which could affect the industry’s public image as a top authority worldwide. While at present government hopes are that the UK and EU will have reciprocal ‘visa-less’ travel after Brexit, this would only cover certain ‘business activities,’ and European artists may still need to enter on a Tier 5 Temporary Work Visa, which also requires sponsorship, making it far more complicated for each musician to enter. A separate touring visa has been suggested that could provide a lifeline for EU bands trying to break out in the UK. Artists from anywhere touring in Europe will also be required to pay extra for further carnets to enter the UK, meaning that artists may consider not entering the UK or touring for fewer dates to keep costs down. Smaller bands who already tour on a shoestring will be most affected, which will in turn affect the venues that support them. Considering our music exports make up a quarter of the market in Europe, the bloc has a lot to lose from our exit without the right kind of deal, and there are still a few months until solid decisions must be set in stone. If the government listens to the advice of the CBI, the music industry could insure itself against a complete Brexit catastrophe. Or, the indominable strength of British music culture may thrive no matter what happens. Only time will tell as Europe decides what it’s going to do with us, and its citizens mull over whether they’re willing to stay in the UK. Iasservices.org.uk

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Comment

How healthy is the live music industry? Hilde Spille of Paper Clip Agency in Holland writes about the very real stresses and strains encountered by workers in the live music business, and encourages openness in dealing with these pressures.

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usic is magic. We are all very lucky to be able to make our living by working in the live music business. Friends and family envy us for the work we do, for the passion, fun and success associated with live concerts. For musicians though, it is certainly not always about passion, fun and success. In the last two years, several sets of research have pointed out the mental health problems associated with musicians, such as depression and anxiety disorders; alcohol- and drug-related problems; and financial precarity. When I talk to artists about what causes them the most stress, they always mention touring. During a tour they can’t just give into ‘not feeling very well.’ Musicians have to give their absolute best, night after night, and can’t let their fans down by not performing or by performing badly. The show must go on, as David Grohl demonstrated in 2016, when he delivered full-on performances despite a broken and plastered leg. But, whilst talking about physical problems is difficult for musicians, talking about mental problems is that much harder. When I look at agents, promoters and talent buyers, we don’t have any problems like that, right? No matter which of my colleagues I ask, we are always doing “fine,” or “great.” We are very busy and we love it. We work with passion and have so much fun, always ready to discover the next superstar. That is also my automatic reaction when asked how I am doing. I currently work as agent and promoter on tours for some great artists, like I Muvrini, Pussy Riot, Sass Jordan, and Huun-Huur-Tu. I have also worked, for 17 years, as talent buyer for the boutique festival Conincx Pop. Talking about problems, let alone mental problems, is difficult for all of us in the live music business. According to a recent study of promoters by ticketing outlet and events guide Skiddle, more than 80% of the study’s participants report that they suffer consistent levels of stress, anxiety and depression. 47% said working in music led to a constant feeling of anxiety and sadness. For 38%, the work causes problems in relationships with partners or spouses. So I can only conclude that most of us are not doing that well after all. Still, no one is talking about it. We wear the ‘passion, fun and success’ mask even though we are suffering from anxiety and/or depression. The whole live music business is built on trust, in a very competitive atmosphere. At a symposium at the University of Groningen in September on gender quota

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at festivals, Doctor Kristin McGee pointed out that the live music business is a very neo-liberal and macho business. We all fight for our survival and illness is seen as weakness, which we are ashamed to show.

“I hope that, with a bit of courage, we will all be able to talk more openly about our mental challenges, without fear of being punished.” If you give it a second thought, it sounds pretty disturbing. We trust people who show us the common ‘passion, fun and success’-mask, while we do not trust people who honestly tell us that they are suffering from anxiety or depression, and how they are dealing with it. It can happen to all of us. Wouldn’t it be logical to start trusting people who are honest and authentic, instead of always showing the reassuring mask? It would certainly help promote some necessary cultural changes in the present extreme difficulties in the music business regarding diversity in gender and ethnicity. Before I started in the music business, I got an MA in psychology. With this background, I started a blog – Compass for Creatives – about the mental challenges facing artists. Very interesting in this context is the research concerning shame that was carried out by Professor Doctor Bené Brown. Shame plays an important role in keeping everyone wearing the ‘passion, fun and success’-mask. One way to break the shame, according to Brown, is talking about it, and knowing that you are not the only one. She says, you don’t need to be a hero; you just need a bit of courage. I want to start showing some courage by confessing that I am recovering from being overworked, close to burnout. Fortunately, writing the Compass for Creatives blog helped me to recognise this in time. While in the past, musicians formed my target group for coaching and training, I am broadening it to include everyone in the live music business. And I hope that, with a bit of courage, we will all be able to talk more openly about our mental challenges, without fear of being punished.

IQ Magazine November 2018



More than 600 festival organisers and agents registered for the 2018 edition of the International Festival Forum (IFF), which once again took place at the Fest venue in Camden Town London, for the conference, while the two stages at Dingwalls, hosted 33 acts for the world’s top agency showcases. As representatives of 450 festivals agreed artist deals for 2019’s events, the conference panels dealt with a variety of topics and saw some of the best-known faces in the business debate current and future industry issues. Highlights of the conference include:

The Festival Season 2018 Panel: Clementine Bunel, Coda (chair); Josh Javor, X-ray Touring; Isla Angus, ATC Live; Stefan Lehmkuhl, Melt! Festival; Ide Koffeman, Mojo Concerts Centering on the recently ended festival season, issues debated included the difficulties agents encounter when putting together coherent festival dates for acts, and promoters having to be more aware of “Instagram influencer”-friendly electronic, hip-hop and pop artists, who can now outsell indie rock artists. The panellists discussed contrasting audience attitudes towards trash and recycling, while on the business side, Javor stated that artist fees for emerging talent “all come down to whether they have a good manager, or one who’s demanding 17 times what the act is actually worth.”

The Generation Game Panel: Nick Hobbs, Charm Music (chair); Cindy Castillo, Mad Cool Festival; Mike Malak, Coda Agency; Brian Nielsen, Down The Drain; Neil Warnock, United Talent Agency Hobbs called upon two of the industry’s current leaders – Warnock and Nielsen – to compare methods and mind-sets with two individuals forging through the ranks in the shape of Malak and Castillo, resulting in some fascinating insights. Warnock noted that, “Our customer would not put up with what we gave them 30 or 40 years ago as they want a RollsRoyce experience these days.” Malak agreed, stating that festivals have to deliver an experience that fans can share on Instagram. However, Nielsen observed that the festival crowd is a lot older than it used to be, and in his country (Denmark) the

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IQ Magazine November 2018


younger audience members want the camping experience, with some hardly leave the camping area to see bands. Castillo revealed that she also does Instagram booking, where she will monitor the traction that acts have with followers. “I’ve booked quite a lot of acts that way,” she said, citing Dua Lipa as one such act.

Keynote Interview: Alex Hardee, Coda Agency Interviewed by artist manager, Paul Crockford Hardee opened proceedings with a potted history of Coda Agency – from its humble beginnings in a “shitty office that stunk,” derided as the “Tesco” Agency by a major US rival, to its transformation into a slick, modern operation with film, branding and an in-house “wellness committee” – before taking the hot-seat alongside Crockford to begin the keynote proper. Mixing his legendary sense of humour with some serious industry talk, Hardee confessed that his approach to life was not a great model and highlighted the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance in a business where you’re expected to “be on call 24/7.” He went on to say: “It’s too late for me – I’m fucked. I’m a workaholic. It’s shit – it’s unhealthy and I can’t get out of it.

“I’d like the generation that comes after me to look after themselves. The music industry has got it completely wrong – that’s why you see a lot of people fall over and breakdown. You need to have breaks, and people work better when they have breaks and they’re well rested.”

The Curation Session Panel: Sammy Andrews, Deviate Digital (chair); Pau Cristòful, Primavera Festival; Maria May, CAA; Maja Starcevic, EXIT Festival; Steve Thomassen, Toutpartout Digital evangelist Andrews spent most of this session trying to persuade agents and promoters that they are missing out on opportunities that various apps and digital operations can bring to their everyday activities, with panellists and delegates eventually conceding that they did use certain systems to assist business decisions. However, when it comes to curation, the vast majority of people in the room stated that the selection process for a festival lineup mostly comes down to individual taste and gut feeling. Summing up the attitude of many to data, CAA’s May noted, “David Guetta had 65 million Facebook likes and brands were pitching to us all the time. But what I’m finding now is that hard ticket sales are the best measurement – 30 million Spotify streams in Germany for an act is meaningless to a UK promoter.” Andrews found that a small number of promoters in the room had been afforded access to Spotify Insight data. “If you have relationships with your artist, I would ask to see their data to help you make more informed decisions,” she said. And while pondering where the disconnect is between artists and promoters getting hold of their data, Andrews nevertheless warned that a lot of data can be falsified, through buying Facebook likes, for instance. She concluded by urging promoters to check engagement levels on artists, warning if there is a big disparity with the ‘likes’ it’s because the band has bought them.

IQ Magazine November 2018

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Welfare

MINDING OUR OWN BUSINESS Individuals and organisations from across the music industry lent their support to World Mental Health Day in October, but many believe there is a long way to go before employee and artist welfare is given the attention it deserves, writes CHRIS AUSTIN.

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raditionally an industry that attracts passionate and creative individuals who are willing to go the extra mile, the highly competitive live music business appears to be rife with fatigue, anxiety, stress, and drink – and drug-related problems. A recent survey of more than 500 promoters, event organisers and venue owners, by ticket agency Skiddle indicates the extent of the welfare challenge facing the music industry. Some 82% of respondents said they had suffered with stress, 67% said they had anxiety, and 40% said they had struggled with depression. Skiddle found 65% of promoters admitted to frequently feeling an “intense and unmanageable level of pressure.” Someone who knows first hand what it feels like to suffer mental health issues as a result of intense pressure at work is production manager Andy Franks. After being sacked from a tour as a result of excessive drinking, Franks says he didn’t know where to turn to for help. After meeting artist manager Matt Thomas, and collectively realising that drink – and drug-related mental health problems were widespread in the recorded and live music sectors, the duo founded the charity Music Support. Franks says the aim of Music Support’s tagline – ‘You Are Not Alone’ – is to emphasise that the charity is there to ensure there is always someone on hand to help. As well as offering a 24-hour helpline manned by volunteers with experience in the music industry, Music

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Support provides Safe Tents backstage at UK festivals, and services including crisis support and trauma therapy. “We get feedback from people who we have helped and it is awe inspiring, we know we have saved people’s lives,” says Franks. As well as crew, promoters and venue staff, artists are also affected by the enormous pressures involved in delivering live music. One of the patrons of Music Support is Robbie Williams, while acts including Depeche Mode and Coldplay are among those to have helped fund the charity. Despite the high-level backing, Franks says the future of Music Support is far from secure unless further funding can be found. “These problems are in everyone’s business and we are providing a valuable service, but the only way we can sustain that is with regular funding. We are in desperate need of sustained funding,” says Franks.

“There are some myths I would like to see dispelled and one of them is that you can’t show any weaknesses otherwise you are not going to make it in this industry.”

HILDE SPILLE – PAPERCLIP AGENCY

IQ Magazine November 2018


Welfare

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Under Pressure

ina Ugrinovska is another live music industry executive who, having struggled with issues including stress, became determined to help others overcome their problems. Ugrinovska handles international booking at Password Production in Macedonia. Earlier this year she launched the ‘Mental Health Care in the Music Industry’initiative with the aim of raising the profile of mental health issues, and helping people to tackle their problems via mentoring sessions and panel discussions. She says, “I feel a responsibility to open the box and show that people should feel comfortable talking about their issues, instead of treating them as a sign of weakness. “The idea behind the initiative is to raise awareness and help develop a healthier industry, through sharing stories, diagnosing, prevention and problem solving. It is something that everyone involved in this industry should take responsibility for.” An organisation that clearly has its employees’ best interests at heart is UK performance rights organisation PRS for Music. It used World Mental Health Day to announce the launch of an initiative that will see 16 of its staff trained as ‘mental health first-aiders.’

IQ Magazine November 2018

The initiative, in partnership with Mental Health First Aid England, is the next step in a series of wellbeing programmes carried out by the organisation in recent years. Steve Powell, PRS for Music chief financial officer, says, “We have undertaken wellbeing programmes covering issues including nutrition, physical, financial, digital detox, and mental health. This latest initiative enables people to have conversations more regularly and outside of a structured programme. “The area of stress and mental resilience is something that more and more people are having to cope with. This initiative is designed to enable people to talk about mental health and break down the stigma surrounding it in an informal and confidential way.” Another organisation providing a 24-hours-a-day, sevendays-a-week help line for people suffering with mental health issues is Britain’s Help Musicians. Its Music Minds Matter service was launched in December in response to the findings of its Can Music Make You Sick? study released the previous year. Nearly three quarters of survey respondents stated they had experienced anxiety and depression, while more than half said there wasn’t sufficient support available. Aside from the helpline, Music Support provides a network of international counsellors to help those in need while out on tour. Formerly known as the Musicians Benevolent Fund, which was set up in 1921, Help Musicians not only helps people with mental health issues, but other problems including isolation and financial turmoil.

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Welfare

CONTRIBUTORS Top: Hilde Spille, Paperclip Agency; Andy Franks, Music Support; James Cobb, Crowd Connected Bottom: Joe Hastings, Help Musicians; Lina Ugrinovska, Password Production; Steve Powell, PRS for Music

Money Talks

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ead of health and welfare, Joe Hastings, says, “A huge amount of our work is outside Music Minds Matter. We support thousands of musicians and people working in the industry every year through financial assistance and social welfare support, and working with partners to offer professional health interventions.” The organisation has seen a 25% year-on-year rise in applications for general support from people across the music industry who are struggling to manage because of serious financial difficulty. “The financial challenges of working in this industry now are very different to 15 years ago. People are applying to us in crisis situations because they are unable to meet outgoings due to health issues or something that is affecting their work.” In the Netherlands, Hilde Spille of Paperclip Agency has written at length on issues such as burnout in the music industry, and how to recognise it and prevent it (see Comment page 16). Under the banner Compass for Creatives, Spille trains artists to deal with issues including intimidation. She also lectures on mental health issues at institutions including the Conservatory of Amsterdam and Herman Brood Academy in Utrecht. “There is a macho culture in the music business and often people don’t talk about mental health issues – we think we have to be strong and be able to do everything all the time. It is often difficult to say no,” says Spille.

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She says that in the music industry people are usually passionate about what they do, but that loving the job doesn’t make it easier: “There is a common belief that if you are passionate about what you are doing you are less likely to burn out, but what often happens is that passionate people ignore the warning signs of burnout.” Spille believes that in order for real change to be achieved across the industry, deeply embedded perceptions need to be changed: “There are some myths I would like to see dispelled and one of them is that you can’t show any weaknesses otherwise you are not going to make it in this industry. “Another one is, if you work hard enough you will make it. There is no doubt that people at the top work very hard but there are plenty of artists who don’t make it to the top who are working just as hard and are under enormous pressure.” Five years after revealing the startling results of research into the dangers caused by widespread fatigue among event staff, James Cobb, CEO of audience insight provider Crowd Connected, says little has changed. His ‘Fatigue – Working Hours in Production’ survey involved more than 500 people working on tours or on event sites. While his research demonstrated that eight hours sleep was needed to avoid impairment of memory, decisionmaking and reaction times, some 75% of respondents said they were getting less than six hours sleep, and 26% admitted to having had at least one accident in the past year. Having established a clear correlation between lack of sleep and increased risk of accidents, Cobb called for live industry organisations to comply with the EU Working Time Directive. He has presented his findings at ILMC, to numerous industry organisations, and some of the world’s leading concert promoters, but he remains frustrated that no progress has been made. “I presented quite shocking findings that clearly show there is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed, but nobody has done anything about it,” says Cobb. He believes the lack of progress boils down to live industry economics and its employment structure. “In the live industry, there is a disproportionate number of independent freelance operators, so trying to get someone to take responsibility is a huge problem,” he says. “Crew members often do a load-out and then drive to a load-in having been awake for 18 hours. Many of them have told me that if they turn down work in order to have sufficient sleep their income would be impacted and they wouldn’t be able to survive.”

“ I presented quite shocking findings that clearly show there is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed, but nobody has done anything about it.”

JAMES COBB – CROWD CONNECTED

IQ Magazine November 2018



Chris York

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IQ Magazine November 2018


A chance encounter with a rival promoter in the early 90s forever changed Chris York’s career trajectory. Now quarter of a century on, Richard Smirke learns about York’s integral role in the rise of the SJM-pire…

he first time that Chris York recalls meeting Simon Moran was at a Levellers concert at London’s Brixton Academy in 1993, promoted by Moran’s company SJM Concerts. “I was there purely as a punter and this man came up to me and berated me for trying to steal his acts,” remembers York with a smile. “I pointed out, probably not as eloquently as I might have done, that that was actually my job seeing as I didn’t technically work for him. He retorted, ‘Well, you should do then.’” A few months later, York made the 200-mile journey up the M1 from London to Manchester to take up Moran’s offer and join SJM. Back then, there were five of them working out of a nondescript workspace shared with post-punk band The Fall, where the “much-missed” Mark E Smith could regularly be seen “swaying in the lifts in the mornings.” Fast-forward a quarter of a century to today and SJM employs 65 people, puts on around 2,500 concerts and events a year, and proudly stands as the UK’s biggest independent promoter, with The Stone Roses, Take That, Coldplay, Muse, Robbie Williams, Peter Kay, Adele, The Killers, Arctic Monkeys, The Courteeners and Little Mix just a few of the many acts it has worked with in recent years. “I’ve always felt at home at SJM,” says York, who recently celebrated 25 years at the company that he has played a key role in turning into a promoting powerhouse. “It’s always had the right ethos. We’ve always been artist-focused and tried to develop talent, and I think Simon and I share the right attitude about how we want to take things forward. Certainly, whenever we’ve been recruiting new staff we are always keen to add people who aren’t identical to ourselves. In order for the company to keep progressing and be relevant

to new challenges, you’ve got to find people who aren’t doing exactly what you do.” “Chris has been a huge part of the SJM story over the last 25 years,” says Moran. “He’s made a massive contribution in all facets of the business – clients becoming bigger, getting and retaining new clients, growing the business and gaining people, [investing in] buildings. He’s a very, very bright guy. He works hard. We’ve become really good friends and we’ve got implicit trust.” “I think Simon’s style and my style are distinctly different, but they work well together, and I guess the biggest barometer of that is that we have gone on to be a very successful company,” reflects York, whose personal clients include Noel Gallagher, Foo Fighters, Massive Attack, Stereophonics, Lily Allen, Smashing Pumpkins, Underworld, Fatboy Slim, Green Day, Placebo, Lorde, Robert Plant, Morrissey, Kraftwerk, Swedish House Mafia, and The Chemical Brothers, among others. York is also one of SJM’s four directors alongside Moran, Rob Ballantine and Glenn Tyrrell. Respect and admiration for the 49 year old extends throughout the industry. “Chris is, if not the best, one of the best promoters that I have ever worked with in the world,” says Underworld manager Mike Gillespie, who has known him since the mid-1990s. “He is loyal and sticks with his artists. Whereas a lot of promoters are naturally very cautious and hedge their bets, he is a bold and confident risk taker and is always looking at what the next step can be. “At the same time, he can be stubborn, belligerent and awkward, but that’s part of what makes him brilliant. He will tell it you like it is and he doesn’t hold back. When you have an act that is doing well people tend to tell you what you want

Photo © Jill Furmanovsky/rockarchive.com

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Chris York to hear. Chris isn’t one of them, and I really like and respect that. He understands that you’re only as good as your last gig and he’s not afraid to say to the manager or the artist, ‘That’s not good enough.’” By way of an example, Gillespie turns the clock back five years to when “Underworld had reached a ceiling” in terms of how many tickets they could sell. Through working closely with York over a series of releases and tours they rebuilt momentum and were able to sell-out two nights at London’s 3,000-capacity Roundhouse. “Chris’s response off the back of that was, ‘Now we do the (10,000-capacity) Ally Pally,’ which really knocked me out,” recalls the manager. The gig sold out six months in advance and Underworld are now selling more tickets in the UK than ever before, he states. “A huge part of that is down to Chris’s willingness to take a risk, his determination to be bold, and his clear vision.”

The RooTs of yoRk’s pRoMoTinG cAReeR can be traced back to his childhood in Yorkshire where he developed an “unhealthy interest” in music from a young age and became immersed in Leeds’ post-punk and goth scenes as a teenager. To earn some extra cash while studying chemistry at Warwick, he began crewing and stage managing bands that visited the university. That led him to being elected cultural affairs officer in 1989, booking gigs by The Sundays and De La Soul, and gaining a first real taste of how the industry operates. “It was a steep learning curve initially, but through that I developed good friendships with people that I still work with today,” says York, who moved to London after finishing his studies and spent 18 months as a booker at punk and indie club The Venue in New Cross.

“What he couldn’t do was personally fix the generator, but he did seem to do pretty much everything else that needed attending to in order for the show to still go ahead.” Marcus Russell, manager – Oasis

“It was a really exciting time in music and we put some great bands on,” he says, listing memorable shows by Lush, Pulp, Suede, PJ Harvey, New Model Army and Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine. The job also saw him establish with Steve Lamacq the inaugural NME On Nights with On For ‘92, which ran at The Venue from 1991 to 1993, later evolving into the NME Awards Brat Bus tours. A brief stint working for John Curd (“a legendary promoter with a brilliant handle on street promotion and what’s important in the job: tell people that it’s on”) followed, which saw York put on a series of now legendary gigs by Suede (who he still promotes) at London’s Africa Centre and 100 Club. After that came a short-lived solo endeavour, Sunrise, putting on shows by Radiohead, The Auteurs and Aphex Twin in the capital. “It was the beginnings of something that could have gone somewhere, but then I met Tim Parsons at MCP, which I thought was a better horse to back at the time.” Although his time at the Midlands-based company (later acquired by SFX and incorporated into Live Nation) lasted only six months, the experience proved hugely beneficial in teaching him how a high-level national promoting company operates, along with the value of not resting on your laurels. “Tim had a very cerebral approach to promoting, in that sometimes he saw it almost as a challenge to do things in a more difficult, unconventional or circular way, just to see if it could be done. That was very influential in terms of thinking

New Order helped SJM enjoy yet another successful Sounds of the City concert series in 2018 © Sam Neill

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IQ Magazine November 2018



Chris York

i’m alWays overWhelmed by the incredible support we have in the music industry for this charity and these shows. Thank you, Chris, and everybody at SJM for your unconditional and continued support. Roger Daltrey, The Who / Teenage Cancer Trust i first met chris When i Was running Rock City in Nottingham and he first started at SJM. He came through with his tours many times at Rock City and was always an absolute gentleman. When I became a national promoter 16 years ago I always looked at Chris as someone I wanted to be in the business – respected, informed, knowledgeable and well liked. I am now lucky enough to work closely as a co-promoter with him on a number of tours, Slash, Drake, Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, to name but a few, and I learn something new from him every time we work together. Yorky has not changed one bit since I first met him 25 years ago, and it is a pleasure and an honour to know him – a fine man and great promoter. Andy Copping, Live Nation i’ve WorKed With chris for many years, most recently with Robert Plant, Morrissey (a lot of fun) and Placebo, to name a few. He’s a funny guy with a witty, dry sense of humour, and is very reliable, honest and true to his word – critical criteria for a solid promoter these days. Chris commands great respect around the various venues we work with and within the industry. He is at the top of his game and a pleasure to work with. Rod MacSween, ITB chris has given us some of the biggest gigs we’ve ever hosted and continues to do so. At all times his judgement is spot on and he’s always a pleasure to deal with. He’s created some special memories for Wembley and his presence is felt even when he’s not at the gig. At Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds 2012 show, Chris couldn’t make it and so Conal Dodds (who co-promoted) held up a picture of Chris as we presented an award to (as a result) a slightly bemused Noel… Here’s to the next 25 years, and many more huge nights!

outside of the box. As a promoter, doing the ‘same old, same old’ sometimes isn’t the right approach. Great agents are the same. You have to start with a blank sheet of paper and think, How can we do this differently and not be constrained by previous bad thinking?” Working at MCP also gave him hands-on experience of working on U2 stadium shows. “Seeing the scale of the stadium operation stood me in good stead for when I ended up doing things like Oasis later down the line because it didn’t seem as difficult a proposition when you’ve already seen it on the ground.” It was in the autumn of 1993, while York was working at MCP, that Moran approached him about joining him in business. “I’d noticed the stuff he was doing and he was obviously making some waves,” remembers the SJM founder and owner. “Plus he came with some great recommendations from people like Charlie Myatt, who I’d worked with on The Levellers.”

foR yoRk, The oppoRTuniTy To Join A fAsT-GRowinG, although still young and relatively small operation like SJM was too good to turn down. “I felt there was a lot of room for growth and a lot of room to have an input into the direction of the business.” Relocating to Manchester (where he knew only one person other than Moran) just as Britpop was simmering over proved to be a case of being “in the right place at the right time” and brought him into the orbit of local guitar band Oasis, who he promoted from the start of their touring career. Within a few short years the group went from playing 500-capacity rooms to being the biggest band in Britain, selling out huge era-defining shows at Manchester City’s Maine Road Stadium and two nights at Knebworth that York co-promoted with MCP and famously saw 2.5 million people apply for tickets. “It sounds ridiculous now, but when we put Knebworth on sale there was only me and one other person in the office. We sold 220,000 tickets in a day – all of them over the counter,

John Drury, The SSE Arena – Wembley it’s about time chris got a spotlight on him. He is one of the good guys and a stalwart of the SJM team. We started in the business around the same time (and that is so long ago I don’t want to think about it!) but over the years we have worked on some great shows together. From Jeff Buckley to Lorde, from Kraftwerk to Lily Allen, Chris knows exactly how to promote a show. He’s smart, stays calm in a crisis, and he is intuitive about what we need to do for our clients. The music business is a good place when Chris York is part of it. Long may he rule! Emma Banks, CAA York says that the Foo Fighters 2018 shows at the London Stadium were two of the best rock shows he has ever seen (photo© Graham Joy Photography)

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IQ Magazine November 2018



Chris York chris and i became partners in country crime in 2013 when AEG partnered with SJM and we launched and built Country to Country. It was a true collaboration (despite Chris returning only about 1 in 200 of my calls) and something both of us are immensely proud of. I have MASSIVE respect for Chris. I consider myself lucky that I got to work with him and got to see what makes him the excellent promoter that he is. 25 years in the business – that explains why nothing ruffles his feathers. I learnt a ton from him and am glad to have wangled my way into some of those 25 years. Milly Olykan, Country Music Association i’ve had the pleasure of WorKing With Chris since 2004 as GM at both Apollos in Hammersmith and Manchester. Chris is a prominent figure in the world of promoting; he’s a towering presence at SJM and promotes many of the world’s biggest and best acts. Chris is a formidable negotiator and a very respected operator – but always fair. I very much enjoy hosting Chris’s shows and having a chat with him about the industry and business, but, moreover, what fine ales he’s serving in his beautifully restored country inn, the Royal Oak, Tetbury. On a personal level, Chris helped me to achieve a lifetime’s dream of seeing U2 at Glastonbury, for which I’ll be forever grateful – a class act indeed. A memory that springs to mind in Chris’s presence was the first night of Oasis at Heaton Park as smoke billowed out from a broken generator with Noel G on stage offering refunds – who’d be a promoter?! Congratulations on 25 years at SJM, Chris – here’s to 25 more! Phil Rogers, O2 Apollo Manchester Quite simply, chris yorK is hands down one of the best promoters in the business. I have been fortunate to work with many of the best so I feel credible saying this. He is strategic and fair, thinks ‘big picture’ but pays attention to the small details that make all the difference. As a leader, he builds incredible teams that execute at the highest levels. His gut instinct is spot on. Working on C2C with Chris has been one of the most gratifying projects of my career. He is a lovely and generous gentleman and I’m grateful to call him my friend. I’m very happy to see him being recognised for his 25 years at SJM, a truly deserved recognition. Ali Harnell, AEG Presents

“He’s made a massive contribution in all facets of the business… He’s a very, very bright guy. He works hard. We’ve become really good friends and we’ve got implicit trust.” Simon Moran, SJM

or through people calling ticket offices and all of them in ticket books, which is utter lunacy when you look back on it now. There were people queuing for tickets in Portsmouth, Plymouth – all over the country. To be around that was extremely exciting,” he states. Promoting Oasis also gave York – who moved back to London in 2001 – one of his toughest days at the office when the generators failed on the first of three sold-out nights at Manchester’s Heaton Park in June 2009 (co-promoted with Metropolis). “Instead of living the dream, we were all of a sudden living the nightmare,” recalls Oasis manager Marcus Russell. “[There were] 75,000 restless and anxious fans and ‘gaskets were blowing’ backstage in both dressing room and production offices. “Chris, however, was calmness personified in amongst the ensuing panic,” he explains. “Considerable contingencies had to be arranged with local authorities, police force and transport, as, if the show were to still go ahead, it would now be finishing well after the agreed curfew. Chris oversaw all of these rearrangements, as well as ensuring that the fans were fully informed. What he couldn’t do was personally fix the generator, but he did seem to do pretty much everything else that needed attending to in order for the show to still go ahead. Eventually, some 60 minutes later, the ‘gennies’ were fixed and the gig went ahead. Everyone went home happy and safely, if a little later than planned.” For his part, York identifies the creative side of the job as the aspect he finds most rewarding. “Most of the acts that I promote I’ve worked with since they began and I like to have an ongoing developing relationship with people who share that creative mindset. Managers, labels and agents all have a massive input into the decision-making process but it’s nice to be able to offer an insight into things that they probably haven’t thought of. I think one of our main roles as a live producer is to be able to throw those ideas into the mix and make it happen for them.”

one pRoJecT ThAT cAlled upon All his cReATive and promoting skills, not to mention his vast experience, was helping devise and launch Country 2 Country (C2C), a multiple-night country festival at London’s O2 Arena that was far from a guaranteed success when it debuted in 2013. “I’ll be the first to hold my hands up and say that in 2012, I was somewhat of a country outsider,” admits York, who was approached by AEG Presents CEO Jay Marciano (then head of AEG Live) to help deliver the marquee event. Nearly seven years later, the festival has become a tent pole fixture in the SJM’s Green Day concert at Emirates Old Trafford cricket ground in 2010 has become a legendary gig

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IQ Magazine November 2018




Chris York

someWhere in south-east London almost 30 years ago, I “…he can be stubborn, belligerent and awkward, met Chris at The Venue in New Cross, back in the days when but that’s part of what makes him brilliant. hardly any of the respectable venues wanted the grungy and He will tell it to you like it is and he doesn’t far out sounds I helped import. Who played there? Mudhoney, Hole, Afghan Whigs, Ween... hold back.” those I remember, but there were many more. I lost count of Mike Gillespie, manager – Underworld the trips I made down there. Did it almost become a desirable destination in an age where the fashion was anti-fashion? Anyway, I’ve known Chris ever since, from the early days with Stereolab, at what was then known as the T&C2, down British music calendar with C2C events also taking place each a long road to stadiums with Foo Fighters. Chris York, you year in Dublin and Glasgow. possess a great heart, one jacket, and sometimes I can even get “To go from a standing start to effectively creating a touring hold of you. Salute to you, dear friend and ally. Rx market for country outside the US is one of the things that I’m proudest of. The UK is now regarded as proper touring market Russell Lewis Warby, WME by Nashville and part of that is down to us approaching it and developing it in a modern way, reaching fans through social i have WorKed With chris for the whole of my career as media and partnering with BBC Radio 2 to make country an agent, ever since he was booking the New Cross venue, accessible to new audiences.” which he transformed, helping to put New Cross on the map Another source of immense personal pride and satisfaction for live music when south London had absolutely nothing. for York is his long-term involvement with Teenage Cancer Chris is a very methodical promoter, and as someone to Trust’s annual concert series, which he has promoted since work with, he ticks every box. Chris and Simon are great 2006, working with live producer Des Murphy and The partners at SJM and I have nothing but respect for them – we Who’s Roger Daltrey to bring the world’s biggest artists to work on a lot of bands together, and long may that continue.I London’s Royal Albert Hall. “I really love doing that. It’s a wish Chris the greatest success over the next 25 years! week of my life in the Albert Hall working with great people for a great cause.” Steve Strange, X-ray Touring



Chris York In psychedelic mood

To date the concerts have raised over £29million (€33m) for the charity – an achievement that Murphy says wouldn’t have been possible without York’s tireless commitment and hard work. “His support is incredible and he’s always a calm influence who is ready with a sensible solution to any potential problem. It’s a pleasure working with him and I’m glad to count him as a friend.”

i have been WorKing With chris for far too long. We have worked together on all styles of act ranging from Lil Wayne through to all the Nashville acts that we do together on C2C and the individual headline tours. Chris is a pleasure to work with and a promoter you can have open and honest discussions with! He has obviously promoted some of the biggest acts in the world but it has been great working with him for the last six years with the country acts and watching him develop C2C from an idea to the powerful and influential festival that it is today. This is an amazing stepping stone for both young and established acts, and has helped launch the careers of the likes of Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, Little Big Town, Kacey Musgraves, Kip Moore, and most recently Luke Combs. Chris, keep up the good work, and here’s to another 25 years... maybe! Nigel Hassler, CAA

lookinG AheAd, yoRk sAys The biGGesT chAllenGe for SJM will continue to be competition from rival promoters, but calmly notes, “that’s always been the case, and competition evolves and changes in the same way that we constantly evolve and change. “It’s a very competitive market out there and we’re not in the same landscape of promoting that we were 20 years ago. We’re now in a world of giant, multinational promoting companies and that presents both challenges and opportunities for a company like ourselves that is independent.” Ongoing relationships with AEG on C2C; and Live Nation/MCD over many years on V Festival, T In The Park and Academy Music Group, the UK’s leading venue operator (which SJM has shares in), illustrate how the business can continue to thrive in a dynamic, highly competitive market, he says. “We have a very productive relationship with both of our main rivals. The secret to being independent in the market at the moment is understanding our strengths and


Chris York York’s work on Country 2 Country has helped develop a credible tour circuit for country stars throughout the UK (photo: © Aron Klein)

understanding their strengths and how those work together. That model will hopefully continue to grow.” Technology, too, will play a big role in determining how SJM, like every company in the live business, operates in the future. Gigsandtours.com, its own ticketing platform, was launched in 1999 – a market-leading innovation, instigated by York, that’s since been adopted by numerous other promoting companies. “Obviously, everybody has got one now, but that’s the way of the world and it was good to be first. It’s been a very useful and well-received tool. When opportunities like that come along with new technology, you need to be open-minded enough to embrace them at the right time.” He identifies the “big black hole” of secondary ticketing as a particular problem that blockchain technology should “hopefully” eradicate in the next few years “and we can focus on what’s really important, which is putting on great events and delivering for our clients.” It’s a philosophy that exists at the heart of SJM and flows through York’s three decades in the live business. Yet to turn 50, he envisages “many more years” at the touring coalface and says he remains just as committed, driven and focused on developing SJM as he was when he first joined 25 years ago. “The day you stop having that inquisitive attitude, you start going backwards. Our goals are to keep progressing, stay relevant and keep competing at the highest level. It’s an old adage that you always need to surround yourself with the most intelligent people in the room, and I think we’ve done that over the years and will continue to do so. You should always try and employ somebody who will ultimately replace you,” he says with a hearty laugh. “That’s the sign of a healthy business.” Further diversification into non-music areas is likely to be a growing part of the business going forward, he predicts. “I think now you’d probably say we’re an entertainment

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company because the spectrum of what we do isn’t just music. We’re always very opened minded about diversifying into new things, be it sport or TV-related or comedy, and we take on people to reflect areas that we think are going to grow, which aren’t necessarily areas that Simon and I specialise in.”

“As a promoter, doing the same old, same old’ sometimes isn’t the right approach.” Chris York

Outside of SJM, York is the guvnor of a Cotswolds pub, where his skills have helped the hostelrie win numerous awards. But even The Royal Oak hosts an annual music festival so it’s clear that promoting remains his principle passion. Asked to pick some personal highlights from the last quarter century, York reels off a long list of names, events and artists – Oasis, Jeff Buckley and Morrissey among them – but reserves a special mention for the man that brought him to SJM. “The greatest pleasure has been working alongside Simon for the last 25 years. He is singularly the best music business leader of this generation,” declares York. Standout memories from this summer’s touring schedule, meanwhile, include Foo Fighters’ gigs at London Stadium, which York describes as “two of the best rock shows I have ever seen.” “There’s nothing better than seeing a live gig when it has that level of excitement around it,” he says. “It’s very intoxicating and it’s that excitement that keeps me inspired and coming back for more.”

IQ Magazine November 2018



Jazz

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IQ Magazine November 2018


Jazz

And all that... rock, pop, classical, folk... The growth of jazz festivals and events around the world has been increasing in the past few years, as younger audiences become more interested in the genre. Eamonn Forde speaks to some of the entrepreneurs leading the charge in the revival of jazz…

T

his year marks a full century since the arrival of jazz in the UK, one of the first countries outside of the US where the genre really took root after American musicians started touring to appreciative British audiences. In that time, the style has evolved and faced backlashes from purists, and has become a byword for both effortless cool and difficult or indulgent music. Jazz is all of these things and more, but the fact it has endured and evolved, finding fresh ways to reconfigure itself and reach new audiences, is something to be celebrated. Part of its endurance is due to the support of jazz festivals and how they have contributed to the rolling narrative of what jazz is and what it can be next. For these events, jazz is a common thread running through the music on offer rather than existing as a full stop. This allows the events to bring in musicians forged exclusively in the furnaces of jazz as well as others who come from very different traditions but have jazz DNA in there somewhere. Founded in 1967 by the late Claude Nobs, Montreux Jazz Festival is a giant in this world as well as a talisman for those events that came in its wake. “Montreux has always been about multiple genres of music,” says Mathieu Jaton, CEO of the festival. “It is not only about jazz.” He has been involved in the festival for the past 22 years, eventually taking over after the passing of Nobs in 2013. He is keen to retain that committed and adventurous spirit brought to the event by Nobs and ensure its eclecticism continues. “The focus on jazz music is getting higher and higher,” he says of the new acts coming to the fore today. “Jazz has never been in such good shape.” Another key development was the establishment of the International Jazz Festivals Organization (IJFO), which can

trace its origins back to 1982. Now headed up by Fritz Thom, who also runs the Jazz Fest Vienna event, it is intentionally tight in its focus and membership. “IJFO is not like other organisations around the world that might want to gather large membership numbers and try to have as many members as possible to collect membership fees from them,” explains Thom. “Our aim is to have one festival per market that interests us. We are an umbrella organisation for 16 festivals currently.” Thom suggests that it was Claude Nobs who really set the benchmark for all the other European events who are members of IJFO. “Montreux was the first one to really open wide to other genres in its programming,” he argues. “But there is always a media discussion around if this counts as jazz and if it should be allowed to be programmed in a jazz festival.” The Montreux founder was also a huge inspiration for Jean-René Palacio who has been running the Antibes Jazz Festival for the past decade and which will celebrate its 60th anniversary in 2020. “What I’m trying to say with this programme is that jazz is an open music,” says Palacio. “It is open to everybody. Like Claude Nobs started doing years ago, jazz festivals must be open to other types of quality music. This is a way to bring new people into the jazz festival. You want to bring in a younger audience and a new audience.” The Montreux effect was also felt outside of Europe, with the Montreal Jazz Festival in the 1970s taking the lead from its near-namesake. As co-founder André Ménard says, “We were influenced by festivals like Montreux that would go into different styles. We never went as far as Montreux by booking Johnny Hallyday and Motörhead. But I would love to have booked Motörhead!” About 80% of the exhibits on show in ‘David Bowie is’ were the property of Bowie himself

IQ Magazine November 2018

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Jazz N.E.R.D were among the star-studded line up for this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival (photo: © Marc Ducrest)

W “You must have the guts to reinvent every aspect of the festival, every year.” Jan Willem Luyken, North Sea Jazz Festival At times, these festivals have had to battle against the purists – what Ménard jokingly refers to as having “the jazz police on our backs” – but they also can delight in proving the naysayers wrong with inspired bookings. “When Prince arrived in Montreal [for the 2011 festival] he saw a newspaper that said he did not fit in with the festival,” recalls Ménard. “He then opened his show by doing one hour of freestyle music – just him and Larry Graham! […] Then he launched into two hours of his own hits.” Ménard adds that his event in Canada and others outside of the harsh glare of major jazz centres have been able to evolve and grow at their own pace and, as such, develop their own idiosyncrasies. “Jazz festivals in London and New York have to address a pretty strict corridor of music that is as close as it can be to jazz,” he proposes. “In the smaller cities and communities in Europe and North America, some jazz festivals can venture outside of the jazz idiom.” Ménard is part of a breed of festival organisers who came to prominence after spotting a gap in their local market for a jazz festival – something he says the main promotors of rock in Canada in the 1970s had missed – initially working with French Canadian acts who could work in francophone markets. Annika Larsson-Ruggiano at Umbria Jazz is also used to relying on local talent for the festival. “Italian jazz musicians are among the best in the world and many of them like Stefano Bollani, Paolo Fresu, Fabrizio Bosso and many more have a lot of young fans,” she tells IQ, adding, “Jazz is definitely growing among the young audience lately, thanks to groups like Snarky Puppy and Kamasi Washington.”

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Fluidity

hile jazz is the unifying thread, none of the jazz festival organisers IQ spoke to for this feature considered themselves to be dealing purely in jazz, all regarding a hybrid approach and programming eclecticism as key to their continued presence in the market. The trick, they argue, is moving in lockstep with the musicological evolution of the form. “Jazz is an alive music,” is how Ménard puts it. “It has taken lots of influences and it has given lots of influences. It is coming back in new waves from around the world. It is no longer American music. It belongs to the world.” Jaton adds, “A good definition of a jazz musician is someone who is ready to share music with others and to open minds to different styles of music.” This, he says, is reflected in the bookings that happen at Montreux, where acts like Jamie Cullum, Gregory Porter and Rag’n’Bone Man can comfortably be added to the festival running order. Jan Willem Luyken of North Sea Jazz Festival concurs. “Because we book a lot of young talent every year, there were lots of artists who performed in an early stage of their career,” he says of his role in helping to break new acts through the festivals and, in doing so, give the events a new energy. “The ones on the top of my mind are Gregory Porter, D’Angelo, Maxwell, Jamie Cullum, Jason Mraz, Amy Winehouse, Snarky Puppy, Cory Henry, Kurt Elling, Joshua Redman, Brad Mehldau and Melody Gardot.” Palacio suggests that diverse running orders can become symbolic statements of intent. He cites the example of having Sting play last year on the same running order as Colombian harpist Edmar Castañeda and pianist Hiromi as a ripe example of this in action.

Contributors: Clockwise from top left: André Ménard, Montreal Jazz Festival; Fritz Thom, IJFO/Jazz Fest Vienna; Annika Larsson-Ruggiano, Umbria Jazz Mathieu Jaton, Montreux Jazz Festival; Jan Willem Luyken, North Sea Jazz Festival

IQ Magazine November 2018


Jazz Jaton takes it one step further and says on-stage collaborations can be the most visible manifestation of a festival’s eclectic ambitions. He gives the example of when Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga were touring their 2014 duets album Cheek To Cheek. “They were only playing jazz festivals and that was very interesting,” he says. “You had a huge star like Lady Gaga creating a bridge to Tony Bennett.” This is increasingly a key strategy to keep festivals fresh and attract a broader audience – using globally famous pop stars as a direct link back to the jazz that weaves through the fabric of the event. Sometimes, however, these calculated billing risks don’t always come good – but organisers need to take them otherwise their events can atrophy. “Sometimes you make mistakes by trying to diversify,” admits Ménard. “I can admit that we made some mistakes. We did a Shirley Bassey concert that should never have happened. It was very tacky. It was not good. It was a shame. I would rather make a mistake every once in a while than do the same thing over and over again. I think the future belongs to people who understand that.” Umbria Jazz organiser Larsson-Ruggiano comments, “We are trying to book young and fresh artists, who attract a young audience, even though I can see that ‘old’ jazz is getting increasingly popular, too. “We have been bringing artists from Africa to China to Umbria and that has been a great success.” For Thom, thinking too hard about what is and what is not jazz is not the way to develop as an event. “For me, there never were these compartments – that this is jazz and

“Montreux has always been about multiple genres of music.” Mathieu Jaton, Montreux Jazz Festival jazz festivals are only allowed to have jazz, or that is rock and this is blues,” he says. “For me it was just always really good music.” In parallel with this is the emergence of a new breed of festival promoter, ones not necessarily baptised in the old orthodoxy, who are keen to try something different. “[Many of] the other members are now second – or thirdgeneration,” says Thom of the make-up of the IJFO today beyond the founding fathers. “But they have helped to freshen up the organisation in the sense of their personalities and their views on programming – as well as being open to new communication tools.” Technology is also playing a key part in the future of jazz festivals. In the days of physical record releases, jazz and classical were treated as “difficult” genres and even racked in sub-rooms within big record shops. Now with streaming, everything


Jazz is available, the streaming services serve up truly eclectic recommendations and genre lines get blurred in the process. “Streaming platforms have changed everything,” argues Thom. “People are getting recommendations from the algorithms that feed into their tastes, expanding and widening them.” Festivals are also seeing live streaming as a key means of expanding and pulling in new audiences. Ménard says TV broadcasts used to be a key part of the festival’s marketing and income, but the opportunities are narrower now. But the rise of video-streaming platforms, notably YouTube, is changing all that. Festivals do have to accept, however, that the balance here is tilting away from revenue and more towards pure marketing. “We do it more for publicity rather than money now as those platforms don’t really have much money to give for content,” he says of the reasons for live streaming the festival. “They just need content but they don’t have the budgets to really buy exclusivity.” Thom ads that, in the terrestrial TV era, broadcast deals were struck on a territory-by-territory basis, but now the streaming platforms are truly international and this comes with licensing complications. “We still have the royalties and the territorial issues to deal with,” he says. “Because streaming is worldwide, it is very difficult to control.” Jaton says that Montreux is keen to stay ahead of the curve here and argues that just broadcasting something is not enough. “It is about using the technology with an editorial perspective to bring it to the right audience and at the right time,” he says. “It is not a question anymore of recording or producing the content; it is really a question of how you are going to editorialise that content, to address it to a certain audience and how you are going to distribute it across the different technological platforms […] Seven years ago we created our own internal television company with journalists and editorial teams, really thinking about what added value we could bring with this content.” Festivals, he says, also need to adapt to the content for all of the different platforms – such as Facebook Live and YouTube, as well as moving into VR. The format for each has to be different and content packaged up in different ways. Brand maintenance and expansion are also key to the future of the sector, especially in an increasingly busy festival market.

“It has taken lots of influences and it has given lots of influences. It is coming back in new waves from around the world.” André Ménard, Montreal Jazz Festival “The Montreux Jazz brand has been exported around the world,” explains Jaton. “We have a festival in Japan, we had one in Detroit. We have Montreux Jazz Cafés in Geneva, Zürich, Abu Dhabi, Paris and other locations […] Montreux Jazz Festival now has a connotation of quality and being deep into music.” Ultimately, however, it is all about enabling new talent to break through, and this can ensure festivals stay healthy whilst also helping to create the headliners for five, 10 or 20 years down the line. “We are developing new stages and presentation formats together with the artists,” says Thom. “We want to keep it healthy and fresh, coming in with new ideas so that we can develop the headliners for tomorrow.” Within this is a constant recalibration of what music can be welcomed into the jazz world. And this is all down to brave eclecticism in designing the line-ups. “You must have the guts to reinvent every aspect of the festival, every year,” says Luyken. “And keep investing in new elements, keep your audience surprised. As long as the artists and the audience stay happy, we will be fine for many years to come.” In doing so, festival organisers need to be respectful of jazz’s long, rich and varied history. “We like to think of our programme as a big tree,” concludes Ménard. “Jazz is the trunk, but the branches and foliage are of many colours.”

Jazz Fest Vienna uses Vienna State Opera as a venue during its week-long programme

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IQ Magazine November 2018




Cashless Payments

$MART

MON€¥ Put Your Money Where Your Wrist Is As paper money begins its journey to the great bank vault in the sky, Jon Chapple speaks to the companies making concert payments simpler, smarter and safer, in an increasingly cashless world.

S

ince bursting onto the festival circuit around five years ago, the popularity of cashless payment technology has grown exponentially, with cashless solutions – usually delivered via an RFID (radio-frequency identification) chip attached to a wristband or festival pass – now a familiar sight at some of the world’s most popular events. After a bumpy start (including high-profile failures at events such as Download and Hurricane Festival), cashless tech has shed its growing pains and is now common across much of mainland Europe. It’s also fast making inroads into largely cashless-resistant markets such as the UK and US, where event promoters, like their continental cousins, are drawn to its sales uplift potential – 15-30%, according to Payzone – and contactless-native audiences to its security and ease of use.

IQ Magazine November 2018

A

French revolution

Steve Jenner, UK business development director for Belgium-based PlayPass, Britain is lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to cashless payment take-up – although it is catching up fast. “Outside the UK, it is now uncommon for an event not to use RFID for payments – to the extent that there is very little noise generated by it, with no debate needed beforehand and no audience fuss after,” he explains. “The established systems now work offline, avoiding the well-publicised issues that ccording to

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Cashless Payments

“Like all technologies, cashless technology develops at a mile a minute, and the technology used back in 2015 is well and truly a thing of the past.” Pierre-Henri Deballon,Weezevent

Contributors: Top: David Kenny, TicketCo; Pierre-Henri Deballon, Weezevent; Reshad Hossenally, Event Genius. Bottom: Steve Jenner, PlayPass; Jason Thomas, Tappit.

affected some of the earlier adopters, like Download in the UK and Hurricane in Germany, both in 2015. “The UK – while later to the party than most other markets – is now catching up rapidly, following three highly successful summers of cashless festival implementations. PlayPass has doubled its overall worldwide growth in 2018, but we have tripled the number of UK events we work with, and are on course to do at least the same in 2019.” “On the whole, the UK market has not yet switched to cashless,” agrees Pierre-Henri Deballon, co-founder and CEO of Dijon-based Weezevent, which provides cashless solutions for some of the biggest events in France. Referencing Download 2015 – whose cashless-only set-up was criticised by many festivalgoers after it failed on the first day, leading to the reinstatement of cash payments the following year – Deballon compares barriers to adoption in

the UK and other largely non-cashless markets to flying: “It’s similar to aviation,” he says. “It’s the safest way to travel but if one aircraft fails then people become scared of flying.” Weezevent’s system – which, like PlayPass’s, works offline, avoiding the risk posed by an unstable Internet connection – is used by the majority of France’s cashless festivals, says Deballon, which account for nearly three quarters of the French market. “Of the 100 biggest festivals, 70% of them are cashless,” he says, “and we’re doing 95% of them.” Weezevent was founded in 2008 by Deballon, Sébastien Tonglet and Yann Pagès, and went cashless with its first major client, France’s biggest festival, les Vieilles Charrues, in 2015. “All the other festivals looked at what they were doing, saw how successful it was and decided to switch,” Deballon explains. “Maybe if Download [2015] had succeeded, it would have been the same in the UK market.” Reshad Hossenally, founder and managing director of UKbased Event Genius, says the market for cashless technology “is always rising. As a relatively new technology, when compared with the likes of online ticketing and traditional access control, there is a big pool of events and festivals that have the potential to make the switch to cashless and benefit as a result. “Between 2017 and 2018, we have doubled the number of events we have serviced,” he continues, “with lots more events for the winter booked in on top of this. “As the technology becomes more widely adopted, it is also opening up a broader range of industries. We’ve used our technology at music festivals; food and drink festivals; winter and Christmas carnival events; large-scale clubbing and warehouse

Event Genius supplied cashless systems for the UK’s El Dorado Festival

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Cashless Payments Norway’s Tysnesfest increased its turnover 28% in 2017 using TicketCo for ticketing and cashless payments

“There are a small minority of festivals where going cashless may not be the right choice for them, but there will come a point when running your festival cashless will become the industry standard.” Reshad Hossenally, Event Genius events and more, and are targeting even more sectors for 2019.” Hossenally says RFID payment technology has come on in leaps and bounds since the dark days of 2015 – something the company is keen to make clear to event organisers. “What we always try to communicate is that, like all technologies, cashless technology develops at a mile a minute,” he explains, “and the technology used back in 2015 is well and truly a thing of the past. Today the tech is far more advanced, reliable and robust. “Major failures are often related to networking issues. At Event Genius, we have developed our solution, Event Genius Pay, to be able to run completely offline, mitigating any possibility of downtime.”

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Triple threat

t’s easy to see why downtime is such a major concern for cashless events: for festivals, especially – where the trading ‘year’ is compressed into just two or three days – any outage could be catastrophic. “If the system fails, it would have many impacts,” says Deballon. “We service over 200 festivals, and often have maybe 10-20 on any one weekend, and we’ve never had the organiser not being able to sell – if a festival can’t process payments, that’s like a normal business being closed for weeks…”

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When it works, however – and it’s worth noting there have been no major festival RFID failures for nearly four years – cashless payment technology benefits event organisers and punters alike. The chief advantages of going cashless, says Jason Thomas, global CEO of Tappit, whose clients include Bestival and Creamfields Hong Kong, as well as several major sporting venues, “can all be summed up in three main points: Firstly, it improves the fan experience. Secondly, it increases revenues through speeding up transactions and significantly reducing fraud. And thirdly, it gives event organisers valuable data and insights. “From shortening queues to enabling people to spend safely and quickly, to providing organisers with data to help them understand fan behaviour, the benefits of a cashless system are clear, and the question of whether to go cashless should be a nobrainer. If the fans are having a better experience, they are more likely to offer positive feedback and book to go back, laying the groundwork for the event to become even more successful.” Unlike many other companies in the space, Norwaybased TicketCo does not rely solely on an RFID solution for cashless payments, as David Kenny, UK area manager, explains: “For us in TicketCo, cashless payments and RFID are very different things. We operate on both the RFID and the cashless – and even cardless – payments side, but we have developed a system that can cut out the separate technology that RFID consists of. This will save festival organisers the costs to use it, and the festivalgoers the hassle of obtaining and handling wristbands and coupons. “Festivals, therefore, do not need those bridging elements, such as wristbands or coupons, to enable a cashless payment environment – just our mobile cloud solution. And festivalgoers only need to use their regular smartphones, or free top-up cards in the absence of a phone.” As for post-event refunds, he adds, it can be “a hassle for the audience having to deal with wristbands and similar RFID items. […] [They] would like to get refunded the unused credit, and it can be a timely process. If the event organiser wants to refund (it’s the organiser’s choice) the process should be quick and hassle free.”

IQ Magazine November 2018



Cashless Payments

Jenner says events can benefit financially from ‘breakage’ – or money loaded onto wristbands but not spent – although profiting from unspent funds is generally looked down upon in the industry. “Some providers, and events, view breakage as a revenue source,” says Jenner, “but this conflicts with our ethos of putting the customer first, so we strive to make it as quick, easy and painless as possible for visitors to reclaim unspent funds after the event. “We do, however, give them the opportunity to put these funds towards a discounted ticket for next year, which is a great way to keep some of this money in the event’s ecosystem while giving the customer value and kick-starting early-bird sales.” Of course, as adoption of cashless payment technology grows internationally, so too does the number of little plastic chips that make RFID work, at a time when many festivals and venues are going plastic-free in a bid to cut down on nonrecyclable waste. Deballon says Weezevent already offers biodegradable RFID tags but, ultimately, it’s down to the client which solution they choose. “Festivals have the option

“Cash is no longer king, and we are witnessing the final age of the cash era.” David Kenny, TicketCo

to buy either the cheap chips or the biodegradable ones, which are more expensive,” he explains. “Though we do try and push people towards the biodegradable ones.”

Start of a new era

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ossenally says the move to cashless for all live events is inevitable, as consumer habits more widely move away from cash and towards digital payments. “Across the globe, we are moving towards a cashless society,” he comments. “Digital payments are making up a greater proportion of the pie each year as cash becomes less and less important. In the UK alone, cash is predicted to make up just 21% of all sales by 2026. “There are a small minority of festivals where going cashless may not be the right choice for them, but there will come a point when running your festival cashless will become the industry standard.” “Cash is no longer king, and we are witnessing the final age of the cash era,” adds Kenny. “Who carries around cash these days? The audience will soon expect lightning-fast mobile click payments and the reduction of queues it brings.” “This,” he concludes, “will not only wipe out cash in the festival industry – it will also wipe out the cashless suppliers who are not up to speed.”



The

U2

As one of the first acts to tap into the benefits of global deals, U2 have consistently been one of the biggest bands on the planet, recording phenomenal box office grosses. Rhian Jones talks to the people who have helped make the latest tour yet another global smash... Since envisioning the concept for their eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE two-part arena tour in 2013, U2 and their team have had a tumultuous few years. During that time, the band’s long-time tour manager Dennis Sheehan and stage architect Mark Fisher have both sadly passed away, and Bono had a near-death experience himself after a bike accident in New York resulted in a five-hour operation. He was back in hospital last year for another bout of surgery (the details of

which the front man has been reticent to talk about publicly). During that time, U2 have toured the first iNNOCENCE part of their two-album series, celebrated 30 years of seminal ’87 release The Joshua Tree with a 51-date stadium run, and have just wrapped up the eXPERIENCE sequel. It’s an apt ending – the narrative of the most recent shows is themed around the complexity of life as an adult and the final journey towards the bright light.

Photo © Ross Stewart

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experience eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE is in support of U2’s 2017 US and UK No.1 album, Songs of Experience, which followed 2014’s Songs of Innocence. It has spanned 26 sold-out arena dates in North America that started in May, while the European leg ends with a rescheduled show in Berlin on 13 November. Described as their most technically complex shows to date, the tour features augmented reality, an innovative sound set-up, a revolutionary light-follow spot system, and bespoke, transparent, 200-foot-long LED screens that surround a moving catwalk. While iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE told the story of the band’s upbringing in Ireland, eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE

IQ Magazine November 2018

documents their journey out into the world, facing death, and ties in a political element that centres on the death of democracy. The show “is more of a story really, a very personal story,” Bono explained during one of their three Madison Square Garden gigs. “A boy tries to hold on to his innocence, fails, only to discover at the far end of experience some wisdom and some good company.” And the concept has obviously caught the imagination: by the end of its European run, more than 924,000 people will have seen the show across 60 dates. That’s a little short of the 1,220,000 who bought tickets for 2015’s iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE outing, although that tour included 76 dates.

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Photo © Danny North

U2 Tour Report

Creative direction The plot started taking shape during a weekend in the south of France, where the band and their creative team found inspiration in shared history across a 40-year-plus career that started in high school in Dublin. Creative director Willie Williams explains: “The two stories it came down to wanting to tell were what it’s like for anybody growing up, where you feel like your bedroom is the whole world. It’s the story of how you escape from that bedroom and your house where you’re looking out the window at the world outside, trying to make sense of what’s going on. Journey two is being a grown-up in the outside world, the things that you have to face and what it takes to deal with all of that.” The 2015 tour told the first part of the story, and the brief for the latest run was to finish it off. Williams adds: “It’s funny because at the beginning we thought it would be something to do with coming home, finding your new family or deciding where you settle ultimately. Because of some of the things that Bono went through, we realised that one way of looking at this journey home is basically death, which sounds pretty bleak!” The European shows open with footage of cities the tour visits, shot between 1935 and 1945 whilst they were in ruins during WW2. “We wanted to make the point that because we’ve grown up in Europe and we’ve never seen war, we just assume that this is the way it’s always been. The start of the show is a reminder that we can’t take these things for granted,” says Williams. The footage also includes the MRI scans that Bono had after coming off his bike to combine the “personal and political cataclysm.” From there starts Lights of Home – a song that encapsulates the tour’s theme – followed by a reprise from the iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE leg about growing up in Dublin. An intermission includes a graphic novel of the four band members and their journey together, followed by songs

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from their back catalogue, including the live debut of Acrobat from Achtung Baby. Bono then brings back his devil alterego Mr. MacPhisto for an address to camera that’s politically themed for each city. A personal arc follows, before the refugee crisis is brought to the fore as part of Summer of Love, ending with an optimistic look at the future of Europe as born-again cities with Pride and City of Blinding Lights. In the US, the show opens on a personal theme with the idea of facing your own mortality using augmented reality. A series of still images play across the cinema-sized LED screen, which transform into a giant avatar version of Bono when audience members look through a custom-made app on their smartphones. The stage, which was designed by Es Devlin and Ric Lipson, appears as a giant iceberg that melts over the audience, preluding the cataclysm theme, which is enacted as a tsunami in the middle of the set with waves appearing across the screen while U2 sing The End of the World. Naturally, the political element of the US shows centres on the reign of Donald Trump. The show ends with Bono walking towards a 3D doll-size model of the house he grew up in. He lifts the lid to find a light bulb, which appeared at the beginning of the iNNOCENCE shows, before quietly walking off stage.

‘Because of some of the things that Bono went through, we realised that one way of looking at this journey home is basically death, which sounds pretty bleak!’ Willie Williams, creative director

IQ Magazine November 2018



Photo © Danny North

U2 Tour Report

Technical complexity While the production has a similar set-up to the 2015 iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour, the 2018 shows have been upgraded to feature a high-resolution, super-transparent version of the LED video screens and an independent automated kinetic catwalk that sits between them. The video screens, which were developed by Production Resource Group (PRG), allow band members to perform amidst the LED walls without creating a visual divide in the arena, and enable the integration of augmented reality into the show. “We developed a new screen that had to have as much air in it as possible, allowing it to be easily seen through,” says SVP at PRG, Tim Murch. “With the catwalk moving vertically between the screens, there were some serious structural difficulties we had to overcome. It was definitely an engineering challenge.” While working on the project, PRG revolutionised the way LED screens are built and created using the patent-pending PURE10 product. Rather than mounting the printed circuit boards and holding the LED in clunky standard frames, PRG sliced the boards in strips and turned them 90-degrees with the LED mounted on the side, resulting in 75% transparency. The company also improved on standard metal fabrication that would normally be used to house or frame the PURE10, instead using knowledge gained from developing the PRG SPACEFRAME™ – a touring frame design that was first used for U2’s 2017 Joshua Tree Tour – and engineered a fast-building system in carbon fibre. This resulted in weight savings, reducing the amount of transport needed by half, while giving the designers and the band free rein to use the automated catwalk creatively. PRG also provided lighting for the eXPERIENCE + iNNOCENCE Tour, which were the largest shows to use their 2018 Engineering Emmy Award-winning PRG GroundControl Followspot System on to date. PRG GroundControl™ is a “revolutionary piece of technology,” says Murch, which allows operators to be on the floor and remotely operate Bad Boy lights acting as follow spots using

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video cameras and screens for pinpoint accuracy. “It takes out the need for people to be put in danger by climbing onto the rig, which in this instance, was 40-feet in the air. Previously, someone had to sit there for several hours while they operate these follows spots from the trussing system,” he adds. A bespoke sound set-up was debuted during the 2015 tour, and used again in 2018, as engineered by U2’s long-time sound director Joe O’Herlihy. He explains: “The brief from the band was that they wanted to create an entire performance area within the floor of the arena space. For most productions, you would come in, put a stage at one end, put your sound system above that stage, and you would play down into the arena space. But in the way this tour was structured and set up, the band wanted to play in various different locations. To accommodate that you can’t have your conventional generic system at one end of the main stage if you’re going to be playing within the screen, or if you’re going to be on the catwalk or E-stage. Sound has to be connected to your location performance-wise.” To achieve that, O’Herlihy came up with a configuration that involved 12 different speakers that were placed in locations that had close proximity to every seat in the house. He adds: “That means you don’t have to make the sound really loud to penetrate the distance from where the performance is to where the listening audience member is. The system is omnipresent – the sound is pretty much the same no matter where you go.”

‘With the catwalk moving vertically between the screens, there were some serious structural challenges we had to overcome. It was definitely an engineering challenge.’ Tim Murch, PRG

IQ Magazine November 2018



U2 Tour Report

Contributors: ‘A really fantastic back catalogue means you’re guaranteed to have a really great show musically, and they are known for their innovative production stages. All of that and staying fresh equals longevity.’ Jake Berry, production manager

Top: Aaron Siebert, Tait Towers; Joe O’Herlihy, sound director; Martin Corr, Sound Moves Bottom: Okan Tombulca, eps; Tim Murch; PRG; Matt Schwarz, Live Nation GSA

Challenges Technological complexity aside, the biggest complication of the tour once it started was when Bono lost his voice on the second date in Berlin at the Mercedes-Benz Arena on 1 September. Thankfully, it wasn’t long lasting and he was back on stage in Cologne a few days later. Live Nation GSA promoter Matt Schwarz, who promoted the two Berlin shows plus two in Cologne and two in Hamburg, says the team turned the situation around in a matter of hours. The show was rescheduled for 13 November, with all tickets remaining valid for that date, and refunds offered to those who can’t make it. “We immediately informed the audience after Bono lost his voice, told them to stay tuned, give us a few minutes and that we

Photo © Ross Stewart

are trying to make it work,” Schwarz says. “It was on a Saturday night and we had a lot of people travelling to that show, some of whom had come from outside of Germany, but the audience stayed really calm. When I went on stage to say we couldn’t continue, the audience started cheering and were screaming ‘Bono get well!’. The day after, he saw the doctor and within a few hours we were already able to reschedule the Berlin date. “Within 24 hours after we cancelled, we were done, including a statement from the artist, informed all fans via mail-outs and had put the new date up, which is significant. U2 is like a well-oiled machine, there is not one tour or organisation like this one, for me, it’s learning and dealing with the best.” Sound Moves, who provide the freight logistics, have had to completely revise the plans they had made to leave Dublin, which would have been the last show on the tour on 10 November. Martin Corr from the Sound Moves team says: “Even though the shows are over, there is an additional pressure on timing coming out of Berlin because the vendors have an expectation on when they are going to get their equipment back so they can meet rehiring commitments.” That means that Transam Trucking, who have provided 31 trucks for the tour, have got less than two days to drive


Photo © Ross Stewart

from Dublin to Berlin. Nevertheless, “everybody now pulls together,” says Corr. “Vendors have to extend their load periods, we have to reschedule and cancel arrangements we’ve made, look at deadlines, routings and carrier options, and what we can do to mitigate the delays on behalf of the artist because it costs them in lease and rental costs. As an industry, we’ve all got to plan and pull together.”

Team players The end of 2013 marked somewhat of a new era for U2 after Live Nation and Guy Oseary took over management duties from the long-serving Paul McGuinness. A core team remains intact, however – Arthur Fogel continues as lead promoter, Williams has been on board for 30 years, O’Herlihy celebrated his 40th anniversary with a tribute from the band on stage in Copenhagen, and production manager Jake Berry, who is praised as one of the best in the business by tour partners, is nearing his 20th year. That loyalty continues, with Sound Moves, PRG, tour barricade providers eps, security team Sequel, and staging and automation firm Tait Towers, all counting long stretches with the band. Discussing his nine years working with U2, eps managing director Okan Tombulca says: “It’s always a great atmosphere and really fun. Everybody is enjoying what they are doing, it doesn’t matter how hard the job is. The band is extremely respectful with the whole team – that doesn’t matter if it’s catering, media, the dressing-room people – they are very friendly, respectful and honourable. It’s something very special to be working with U2.” Aaron Siebert, senior product manager at Tait Towers, echoes that sentiment. He says: “The entire U2 team is always a pleasure to work with – they are a solid, professional group who consistently and effectively push the boundaries of technology and art. Willie and Ric [Lipson] aren’t afraid to reinvent what has already been done and engage the right group to execute that vision. For that to happen, trust is imperative. They trust Tait, and we trust them, which makes for a positive and impactful collaboration.”

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Tour director Ciaran Flaherty of Live Nation Global is the new kid on the block, having started working with U2 in 2017 on the Joshua Tree Tour. He counts long-term loyalty as integral to their longevity. “There is a group cohesiveness with that, they are all really tight,” he explains. “There is so much water under the bridge – getting on and falling out and getting on again, it’s kind of like family. They lived together for many years and that’s the unique thing for me – I’ve worked on millions of projects in this industry and I’ve never seen that before. These people are long-termers, I’ll probably always be the newbie!” What are the other factors behind U2’s continued relevance and success across the best part of four decades? “They have a very strong musical base, they are innovative, creative, they always want to be relevant and keep up with the times,” answers Berry. “A really fantastic back catalogue means you’re guaranteed to have a really great show musically, and they are known for their innovative production stages. All of that and staying fresh equals longevity.” The constant innovation doesn’t make Williams’ job easy, but the satisfaction of seeing the finished product is always worth it. He concludes: “They are probably the most difficult people you could ever work with! Not because they are personally difficult but they just never stop striving. On one level it drives you crazy because they never stop but on the other hand it’s incredibly rewarding, when you get there you really know you’ve got there. To work with a band who are that dedicated and will strive that far is very unusual.”

‘They are a solid, professional group who consistently and effectively push the boundaries of technology and art.’ Aaron Siebert, Tait Towers

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Sweden 1. Alnarp Julius Production 2. Bollnäs Bollnäs Kulturhuset 3. Borgholm Borgholm Brinner 4. Borlänge Peace & Love 5. Eskilstuna HPM Entertainment Lokomotivet 6. Gävle Konserthuset Gävle Metal Festival 7. Göteborg Storan Motor Sweden Triffid and Danger Concerts Göteborg Konserthuset Liseberg Lisebergshallen Pustervik Storan Scandinavium Trädgårn Ullevi Stadium Summerburst Way Out West 8. Helsingborg Helsingborg Arena Kulturhuset 9. Hultsfred Skrikhult Production 10. Jönköping Spira Kulturhuset 11. Karlskrona Konserthusteatern 12. Karlstad CCC Löfbergs Lila Arena Nöjesfabriken 13. Kristianstad Kristianstad Arena 14. Linköping Linkopings Konsert och Kongress Saab Arena 15. Lidingö FELD Entertainment Maloney Concerts 16. Lund Mejeriet 17. Malmö United Talent Agency Babel Kulturbolaget Malmö Arena Malmö Live

28. Stockholm FKP Scorpio Jelly Palm Laurel Canyon AB PJP Redin Amusement Tuna Music Woah Dad! Eriksson Music Touring Exhibitions HPM Entertainment Live Nation Sweden Luger Monstera Agency & Promoter United Stage Annexet Berwaldhallen Cirkus Debaser Strand Dramaten Ericsson Globe Arena Fasching Friends Arena Fryhuset Gröna Lund Hovet Kägelbanan Kafe 44 Konserthuset Münchenbryggeriet Nalen Södra Teatern Stockholm Stadium Studion, Kulturhuset Tele 2 Arena Waterfront Dans Dakar Gröna Lund Lollapalooza Music & Arts Popaganda Smash Fest Stockholm Jazz Festival Stockholm Kulturfestival Sonar Stockholm Summerburst The Cultural Festival of Stockholm

24.RÄTTVIK 26.SANDVIKEN 6.GÄVLE 4.BORLÄNGE

33. Västerås Västerås Konserthus

Promoter Agent Agent/Promoter Venue Festival

31.UPPSALA 25.ROSERSBERG 15.LIDINGÖ

OSLO

12.KARLSTAD

32.VARA

32. Vara Konserthuset

Map Key

23. Ostersund Storsjöyran

2.BOLLNÄS

31. Uppsala Katalin Uppsala Konsert & Kongress

19. Nässjö Kulturhuset Pigalle

22. Örebro Konserthuset Ritz

29.SUNDSVALL

30. Umeå Idunteatern Väven

34. Ystad Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival Teater

21. Nyköping Campus Nyköping

23.OSTERSUND

NORWAY

29. Sundsvall Tonhallen

18. Munka-Ljungby European Arena Sport & Entertainment

20. Norrköping Louis de Geer konsert & kongress Värmekyrken

30.UMEÅ

7.GÖTEBORG

33.VÄSTERÅS

5.ESKILSTUNA 28.STOCKHOLM 22.ÖREBRO

20.NORRKÖPING 14.LINKÖPING

21.NYKÖPING

10.JÖNKÖPING 19.NÄSSJÖ 9.HULTSFRED

3.BORGHOLM

DENMARK

11.KARLSKRONA 16.LUND 13.KRISTIANSTAD 8.HELSINGBORG 1.ALNARP 27.SÖLVESBORG 17.MALMÖ 34.YSTAD

18.MUNKA-LJUNGBY

COPENHAGEN

24. Rättvik Dalhalla Into The Valley 25. Rosersberg European Talent Broker AB 26. Sandviken Göransson Arena 27. Sölvesborg Sweden Rock Festival

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SWEDEN FINLAND

Live music in Sweden may appear healthy on the surface, but club venues are closing, some shows have age limitations imposed, and high taxes are all challenges to overcome. Thankfully, the demand among fans remains high and as Adam Woods discovers, an appetite to be first adopters is helping drive creativity when it comes to new festivals and events…

P

olitically idealistic, economically sturdy, and with a knack for a bittersweet pop song, Sweden is the kind of country other European nations might easily envy. Who wouldn’t want to futuristically lead the world in cashless payments, or be the planet’s biggest exporter of pop music per head? But to imagine Sweden doesn’t have everyday problems of its own is to succumb to an unrealistic stereotype. This year, for example, Sweden became the first country to lose a music festival – its biggest, no less – to a rape scandal, after reports of four rapes and 23 sexual assaults at Bråvalla’s 2017 event forced organiser FKP Scorpio to shelve it for 2018, and then scrap the tainted brand entirely. Meanwhile, in November 2017, performers including Zara Larsson, Robyn, First Aid Kit and Icona Pop were among almost 2,000 women in the Swedish music business who put their names to a petition decrying the sexual harassment they point out is endemic in the industry. But what perhaps still marks Sweden out is its reaction to such issues. Numerous major festivals worldwide have unwittingly played host to sexual assaults, but only in Sweden – where the problem was undeniably extreme – has the event in question fallen on its own sword. And in another pointed response, Gothenburg this summer saw the launch of The Statement, the world’s first large-scale festival exclusively for women, transgender and non-binary people. In answer to the petition, not only have the local and regional bosses of Sony, Universal and Warner lent their support and pledged to act, but trade association Musiksverige announced that the quest for a more inclusive industry – “free from antagonistic behaviour, sexual harassment and abuse” – would henceforth take precedence over all its other activities.

IQ Magazine November 2018

All right, Sweden has its failings, but no one can accuse it of refusing to address them. “I think a lot of good things are happening - the whole #MeToo movement, gender equality progression in festival line-ups - all of that I think is great,” says Ola Broquist, cofounder of booking agency and Way Out West promoter Luger. He suggests that, in airing its dirty laundry, Sweden is ahead of many countries who would prefer to bury their own. “In Sweden, we are starting to look at the solutions. I think if you don’t address these things, then you definitely have a problem.” Setting these things to one side, if it’s possible entirely to do so, live music fares very well in Sweden. Domestic and international revenue from the Swedish music industry amounted to SEK10billion (€970million) in 2016, of which concert revenue accounted for 55% (SEK5.5bn or €530m). Between 2009 and 2016, Swedish music industry revenue, domestic and international, increased by just over 50%. Individual festivals may rise and fall, but overall audiences remain strong and incoming tours are generally guaranteed to stop in Stockholm. There are practical concerns: the krona is toiling at its lowest levels against the euro since the financial crisis of 2009; the club scene in Stockholm is under a familiar kind of threat from high rents and typical city pressures; the touring market often verges on saturation; and there has been a rash – not music-related but still dramatic – of hand grenade attacks in Swedish cities. But by and large, Sweden is bearing up. “I think generally we have a pretty healthy business up here,” says Live Nation Sweden’s joint managing director Anna Sjölund. “We have a steady flow of acts that want to play here and people who want to go to shows. From time to time, we have acts who say they don’t want to come up here and they finish in Germany, but most of them, we do get.”

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Sweden

Promoters

SWEDEN

There’s no disputing that Live Nation is by far the strongest promoter in Sweden. In fact, given its full concert schedule and the imminent arrival of a Swedish Lollapalooza due to take place in central Stockholm next June – to add to Way Out West, Summerburst, Sweden Rock and other festivals in its stable – some argue that Live Nation is more dominant in Sweden than in any other nation in the world. In many ways, it earned its dominance fair and square, building its modern business on the foundations laid down by EMA Telstar, which was bought up in 1999, and whose founder Thomas Johansson remains Live Nation’s Stockholmbased chairman of international music. Live Nation Sweden added Luger to the fold in 2008, and has more recently bought majority shares in Summerburst and Sweden Rock festivals, as well as shaping up to bring in Lollapalooza in 2019. “Live Nation has, and always has had, a firm grip on the Swedish market,” says Tobbe Lorentz, United Talent Agency’s Malmö-based senior vice president. “With this expansion, Live Nation controls most aspects of the festival circuit in Sweden.” Since November 2017, Live Nation Sweden has been under Sjölund and Therése Liljedahl, with a staff of about 115, and business is predictably good. “We have had a very good year, lots of great shows,” says Sjölund. “We had the fantastic stadium shows with Guns N’ Roses, Jay-Z & Beyoncé, Foo Fighters, and Eminem through Luger. For once, the Swedish summer didn’t get rained away – it’s been really hot, really nice. Really healthy arena business, too. And we are catching our breath now and putting things in place for next year.” Luger operates as a distinct company within Live Nation, while sharing expertise on certain projects, says Broquist. Lollapalooza is one such joint venture, and Luger is also upping its game in big shows, with Eminem, Coldplay and Mumford & Sons among those it has lately promoted on the biggest stages. ”We will never stop doing the smaller ones – that’s the backbone of the whole thing for us – finding new acts and growing with them,” Broquist adds. “But it is interesting to step up and do some bigger shows as well.”

“It’s the name of the game, but when you have done such a good job and then you lose out, it is alarming.” David Maloney – Maloney Concerts

FKP Scorpio stands as the most ambitious competitor to Live Nation, though in the light of its Bråvalla problem, CEO Folkert Koopmans admits some of his more bullish ambitions for festivals – three years ago, FKP was aiming for eight to ten in the Nordic countries – have been tempered. “We have stepped a little bit back on that, but sometimes things develop in another direction than you think,” says Koopmans. “We did three stadium shows with Ed Sheeran, which were sold out, of course. We did Sam Smith, Radiohead,

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Contributors Top: Joel Borg, Woah Dad!; Edward Janson, Triffid and Danger; Folkert Koopmans, FKP Scorpio. Middle: Tobbe Lorentz, United Talent Agency; David Maloney, Maloney Concerts; Anna Sjölund, Live Nation Sweden. Bottom: Ola Bloquist, Luger; Karin Mårtensson, Malmö Arena Gorillaz, a few others. We did the Stones in Sweden and Germany. With Håkan Hellström we did the biggest Swedish tour of last year; we are doing a lot of headline shows already for next year. “Apart from the festivals, everything is going very well. I see it from a European perspective. Our company is developing across Europe, and we had probably the strongest year ever.” Sweden doesn’t have a wide array of multipurpose indies, although Maloney Concerts punches up, with around 80 shows a year for artists that, in 2018, have included Britney Spears, Gary Numan, Morrissey, A-ha, D’Angelo and, for the inaugural Smash Fest in Stockholm, Post Malone and Lil Pump. “I don’t want to go over 100 because you lose focus, and I try to have a very mixed range of music so I don’t just end up promoting one style,” says CEO David Maloney. “I want to keep the personal touch on the stuff I do.” Maloney is determined not to be seen to be moaning but in spite of his own busy year he strikes a similar note to many other small European promoters when he observes that the system is increasingly skewed in favour of exclusive global deals, struck in the US to cover numerous markets. “It’s becoming more and more common that artists you have helped to develop, who normally would go on and tour using historical promoters, all of a sudden become Live

IQ Magazine November 2018



Sweden Despite legal objections to its male-free agenda, the inaugural Statement Festival ended up receiving state subsidies

“The live music scene is thriving, but oversaturation and the lack of smaller, affordable venues is an ongoing issue.” Tobbe Lorentz – United Talent Agency

SWEDEN

Nation acts for the world,” he says. “With Smash Fest, we had great success, sold 18,000 tickets in Stockholm in August, and both acts, when they came back, had taken a Live Nation touring deal. It’s the name of the game, but when you have done such a good job and then you lose out, it is alarming.” Both Maloney Concerts and sometime partner Woah Dad! have an occasional co-promoting relationship with FKP Scorpio. Other promoters in Sweden include dancefocused agent and promoter Monstera; musicals, tribute acts and veteran promoter Julius Production; and rock, metal and heritage pop promoter Triffid and Danger. The latter operates across Scandinavia and out into the regions, focusing particularly on fanbase-driven vintage acts, from Manowar to Wishbone Ash to Toto. “Those kinds of acts, you can charge quite high ticket prices for because their fans are not teenagers and they have a good income,” says Triffid and Danger’s Edward Janson. “We are trying not just to focus on Stockholm and Gothenburg, but doing shows all over Sweden and into other parts of Scandinavia as well. “Arch Enemy, we did seven shows all over Sweden [in Sundsvall, Gävle, Eskilstuna, Norrköping, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö] and we did 800 to 1,000 tickets a show, so it is possible to do shows outside the megacities. Sweden is a big place and it is very spread out. For those people who live five hours from Stockholm, they are very pleased to have something coming to them.”

Festivals It took a year for FKP Scorpio to definitively cancel Bråvalla after pulling the 2018 event in July 2017. The final announcement, in late June this year, capped off the meteoric rise and fall of a festival that was only born in 2013 but rapidly captured the market with a robust mix of rock, metal, dance music, pop and hip-hop.

“When we started Bråvalla, the first two years we had nearly 60,000 people,” says Koopmans. “That never would have happened in Germany for a new festival. In Germany, it would have been a slow sell and then started to grow after a couple of years. In Sweden, it’s the other way round.” Bråvalla’s fall from grace pivoted on a run of grim luck. In 2014, several attendees were seriously injured when lightning struck the festival. In 2016, five women were raped and 12 sexually assaulted. A repeat of the pattern the following year brought about the festival’s demise. “It’s not our fault, but it’s been a struggle,” says Koopmans. “Finally, we decided not to go on. We had been talking about it for a while, but in the end we said, let’s do something new. If you have general damage to your brand across Sweden, among people who have never seen the festival, that’s really difficult to turn around.” Koopmans has a theory – first mooted in 2013 when Scorpio called time on the theoretically venerable but actually mortally wounded Hultsfred brand – that Sweden is a market particularly fixated on novelty. “Swedish people are fast movers, they always want to see something new. If something is brand new and out there, they jump on it,” he says, adding that the same very often applies to hot new acts: Woah Dad!/FKP Scorpio’s Stockholm show by US hip-hop sensation Juice WRLD sold out in a day, he says, whereas in Berlin it took three weeks. On the festival front, Scorpio is working on something new, to add to the one-day Garden festival in Gothenburg’s Trädgårdsföreningen park, which it plans to develop into a two-day event. “I think it’s time for pop-up festivals, things like that,” says Koopmans. “We will do another festival in Sweden but I can’t tell you about it yet.”

“I think the whole festival scene overall is weird, globally.” Joel Borg – Woah Dad! Post Malone was one of the big draws at 2018’s Smash Festival in Stockholm

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Sweden

SWEDEN

Joel Borg of label, publisher and promoter Woah Dad!, which linked up with Maloney Concerts on Smash Fest this summer, acknowledges that these are strange times. “I think the whole festival scene overall is weird, globally,” says Borg. “You see these mega ones hitting the wall. We truly believe people really want to have fun and go to shows – but it’s more important than ever to curate it and make the best experience you possibly can. And we believe there is more room for new fun concepts than old-school festivals.” Borg, once of Luger, and erstwhile PR man for Zlatan Ibrahimović’s fashion line, classes Smash as “probably the fest of the year in Sweden. It was sold out six or seven weeks prior to the event – almost 20,000 kids at this fantastic location [the Maritime Museum] where Nirvana and Oasis played back in the day. Magic. Basically, we saw the opportunity and went for it. We believed early in Post Malone and that was a good move.” This summer, meanwhile, Gothenburg’s melodic death metal heroes In Flames staged their own festival, Borgholm Brinner, at the ruins of Borgholm Castle on the island of Öland on Sweden’s east coast. The band headlined both nights and curated the rest of the line-up, which included Graveyard, Danko Jones, Comeback Kid, Dark Tranquility, among others. “It was an amazing location and a wonderful event, and it sold out,” says Lorentz, the band’s agent. For all the healthy, unconventional newcomers, it must be said that not all older festivals are hitting the skids, and Live Nation has been hoovering up some of the biggest names in recent years. In 2015, it bought a majority stake in Stureplansgruppen Live (SPG Live), promoter of the Summerburst festivals in Stockholm and Gothenburg, and the following year struck a similar deal with the 27-year-old Sweden Rock, which annually draws around 30,000 fans to the small town of Norje, outside Sölvesborg in southern Sweden. “Sweden Rock is a fantastic success year after year, and the audience comes back and they love it,” says Sjölund. “Summerburst has been going for eight years. [Maintaining success] all depends on where and when, I guess, and the artists. We need to make sure we have the artists playing. Generally,” she concedes, “the audience here has high expectations.” The arrival of Lollapalooza in its third European incarnation (after Berlin and Paris) ought to meet the market’s high standards. The festival will take place across two days at the end of June in Stockholm’s Gärdet park.

“…to be able to bring Lollapalooza, one of the strongest festival brands in the world, is very exciting.” Anna Sjölund – Live Nation Sweden “The site is fantastic, it’s downtown, it’s a 20-minute walk from everything,” says Sjölund. “We have been wanting a festival in Stockholm for some time. Being a major European city, we should have a good festival, and to be able to bring Lollapalooza, one of the strongest festival brands in the world, is very exciting.” On top of Way Out West, which has pushed the agenda on issues such as gender-balanced line-ups and meat-free catering, Luger is also building its ski-resort festival Åre Sessions. “That is developing nicely,” says Broquist. “It is interesting, because it is a festival with no tickets – your ski pass is your ticket. That’s kind of a new solution, and it’s added value for everyone who goes there.” Other major Swedish events include Storsjöyran, which draws 55,000 visitors to the independent-spirited province of Jämtland in northern Sweden, and the Stockholm Jazz Festival, which has run since 1980, latterly under the ownership of artloving philanthropists Tove and Ingvar Jensen. Triffid and Danger’s Gävle Metal Festival has also put in a strong showing since its launch from the ashes of FKP Scorpio’s Getaway Festival on the same site. “We are selling a bit over 5,000 tickets, which is rather good considering it is a very niche festival – thrash metal, black metal, death metal,” says Janson, who also points out that extreme music doesn’t necessarily mean bad festival behaviour. “We have done bands like Behemoth and Testament, all those heavy acts, and we have had zero problems with violence or assault.”

Venues and regulations There doesn’t seem to be any particular problem with Sweden’s bigger venues, which are as fresh and prosperous as the country in which they are located. Stockholm has AEG’s five-year-old Tele2 Arena, to which Iron Maiden drew 40,000 in summer 2018, and the 65,000-capacity Friends Arena, just one year older, where Guns N’ Roses last year played to 55,000 people, barely a thousand short of Bruce Springsteen’s 2013 attendance record. In Gothenburg, at the Ullevi Stadium, the crowds are bigger still. The peak was Håkan Hellström’s 5 June 2016 show, with an audience of 70,144, though the Swedish star also played to 70,091 the night before. This year, GN’R swept back through, clocking up 64,289 – a venue record for a hard-rock show.

“We have done bands like Behemoth and Testament, all those heavy acts, and we have had zero problems with violence or assault.” Edward Janson – Triffid and Danger FKP Scorpio’s Swedish division promoted Håkan Hellström’s most recent sold-out visit to Ullevi Stadium (photo: © Annika Berglund)

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Sweden Meanwhile, the 16,000-capacity Ericsson Globe, part of the Stockholm Globe City complex that includes the Tele2, the multiuse Hovet and smaller hall Annexet, has hosted Shania Twain, Sam Smith and Katy Perry in 2018, as well as Norwegian favourites Marcus & Martinus and Kygo. Malmö Arena is the second-biggest arena in Sweden, with a capacity of 13,000 for sports – predominantly ice hockey – and 15,500 for concerts. This winter sees a run of Walking With Dinosaurs, as well as three shows by Swedish singersongwriter Ledin and a date of the Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra’s 4U: A Symphonic Celebration of Prince. “Our goal is to host 2-4 events per week during the high season of September to May,” says Malmö Arena’s Karin Mårtensson. “Recently we transformed 13 skyboxes into one lounge and the audience just love it – it’s been sold out at every hockey game.” Other developments at the arena include 100 new hotel rooms under construction at the Malmö Arena Hotel, which when finished will provide a 400-room hotel directly connected with the venue to cater for demand when A-list tours visit the city. But the healthy activity at the top level masks certain problems further down the chain. “Especially in Stockholm, there’s a lack of clubs,” says Janson. “Gothenburg and Malmö, it’s fine, but Stockholm there’s not many – they have closed down one after another.” Among the casualties was Stockholm’s Debaser Medis, which was redeveloped as a children’s library last year, though the smaller Debaser Strand remains. Also still on the scene are legendary jazz club Fasching,

the 1,800-cap Cirkus, and the ornate Södra Teatern, the oldest theatre in Stockholm. “The live music scene is thriving, but oversaturation and the lack of smaller, affordable venues is an ongoing issue,” says Lorentz. Age limits on shows are another problem in Sweden, with many venues imposing limits of 18 or 20 to deter attempts at underage drinking. There are also tax complications in Sweden, where the burden is notoriously heavy. Artist tax stands at 16%, while VAT is between 6% and 25%, but employment tax and social security on casual workers make tasks like rigging and security expensive ones for promoters. For Swedish bands touring internationally, meanwhile, there is a different set of bureaucratic obstacles, according to Lorentz, whose roster includes international tourers such as Clutch, Opeth, Danko Jones, Mando Diao, Graveyard and Gogol Bordello. “Most recently, Swedish authorities stopped issuing A1 forms for artists touring abroad,” he says, “which creates issues when dealing with foreign artist tax in other countries.”

“I think it’s time for pop-up festivals, things like that.” Folkert Koopmans – FKP Scorpio


Gig Gadgetry from the Frontline...

FieldDrive.live’s Face Recognition Software

Showcasing its technology at the Event Safety & Security Summit (E3S), fielddrive was able to highlight the speed and security elements of its facial recognition system as delegates checked in for the conference. The company has partnered with Houston, Texas-based Zenus Biometrics, to launch facial recognition event check-in services for conferences and exhibitions. As visitors to E3S discovered, this technology allows attendees to check-in at events using only their face, with fielddrive reporting shorter wait times, while the facial recog-

Stagelink Stagelink’s software provides event organisers and promoters with intelligent marketing automation to drive sales and maximise returns. Leveraging machine intelligence, Stagelink analyses event and audience data to optimally design and channel digital marketing activities, and predict results.

The Eminem AR Show

nition tech also offers personalised attendee greetings. “Face recognition recognises attendees as they walk in and immediately prints their badge,” fielddrive explain. “This means you have extra time to greet your guests by name and, rest assured, that those who do not belong will be flagged by the system.” The meeting and event industry has responded positively, too. Since the first pilot was conducted in 2017, facial recognition check-in has been used at several events and is becoming increasingly popular among event organisers. “Facial recognition is intuitive and easy to use. The attendee participation has been exceeding our expectations because people are already familiar with the technology. Event planners who want to maximise their attendee experience should definitely give it a try,” says Panos Moutafis, president of Zenus.

Having debuted his augmented reality (AR) app at Coachella, Eminem’s high tech approach to wowing fans around North America and Europe has been one of the major talking points for show effects in 2018. The rap superstar limited his appearances to 14 shows this year – nine of which were in Europe – while he will head to Australia and New Zealand in February, before apparently embarking on a bigger American tour later in the year, where presumably the AR phone app will be rolled out again. Enhancing the production values of the stadiumsized show, Eminem’s crew worked with multimedia production specialists Drive Studios to develop a geo-tagged, time-stamped system that allowed fans to experience enhanced visuals at the show, using their mobile phones. Talking about the technology, Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg says, “We figured, if the phones are going to be there and people are going to be putting them up in the air

and looking at them anyway, why don’t we provide a way to maybe change the way they’re perceiving the show.” Drive Studios’ creative director, Rich Lee, has been working with Eminem for eight years and reveals, “We started talking about getting VR and AR […] [but] it’s only recently come about that this technology has come around to the point where we feel we could pull this stuff off.” As well as the in-show special effects, the app also delivered exclusive content to concertgoers, and Lee believes that AR apps could become a significant tool for artists looking to strengthen their connection with fans.

Launched in Germany in 2014, Stagelink has already supported more than 100 clients to successfully promote over 1,000 events, while collecting and mining more than 100 million data points. Those clients include Viacom (VidCon), Tech Open Air, Neuland Concerts, Messe Berlin (Berlin Trade Fair), Actnews.ch, and United Talent Agency. Stagelink provides its clients with digital, cross-channel marketing software that

offers optional ticketing solutions. Recently, the company has developed intelligent, cross-channel marketing automation that integrates with multiple ticketing providers – Eventbrite, Eventim Inhouse, Reservix, MyTicket, white label eCommerce, Starticket – as well as Stagelink’s proprietary ticketing system. “Over the past year, Stagelink’s focus has shifted from a primarily fan- and artist-facing crowdsourcing platform

towards a promoter-centric digital marketing software,” explains founder and CEO Nikolas Schriefer. “Now organisers and promoters can easily book automated social media and search campaigns to drive ticket sales for their events. We believe in the great potential of measurable, conversion-based, intelligent advertising, and we are excited to build an innovative solution for the entertainment industry.”

Do you have a new product or technology to contribute to this page? Email gordon@iq-mag.net to be considered for the next issue…

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IQ Magazine November 2018


Members’ Noticeboard

kiliMAnJARo pRoMoTeR AlAn dAy presented Nick Mason with a special plaque backstage at the Manchester Apollo to commemorate the sold-out UK tour of Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets. Pictured left to right are: Gary Kemp, Guy Pratt, Alan Day, Nick Mason, Lee Harris and Dom Beken.

uTA AGenT sARAh cAsey married Nick Redmond in a ceremony at Cloughjordan House in County Tipperary, Ireland

the fine September iQ news ediToR Jon chApple made the most of at Great Dunmow ny ceremo a in m Gardha Nikki marry weather to d. Englan Maltings in Essex,

iTb held A speciAl farew ell event at neighbouring restaurant The Dela uney to mark the departure of Ian Sales – the first person ever to retire from the London-based agency.

ll (Featured Artists Coalition), iQ ediToR, GoRdon MAsson, joined Lucie Caswe enko), Alain Lahana (Le Rat (Charm Hobbs Nick l), Festiva a (Pohod Michal Kaščák tions) at the MaMA Festival Produc Drouot d (Gérar Drouot des Villes) and Matthieu in Survival Mode?’ Sector Live ndent Indepe & Convention in Paris, to ask ‘Is the

koReAn pRoMoTeR Tommy Jinho Yoon and wife Bora recently welcomed son Noah to the family

Music venues TRusT sTRATeGic diRecToR, Beverley Whitrick, and political patron Lord Tim Clement Jones, welcomed Wolf Alice singer/ guitarist Ellie Rowsell as the latest board member of the MVT during the organisation’s Venues Day event in London. (Photo © Jannica Honey)

If you or any of your ILMC colleagues have any notices or updates to include on the noticeboard, please contact the club secretary, Gordon Masson, via gordon@iq-mag.net

IQ Magazine November 2018

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The Incredible Autumn Puzzle Page Your day won’t get more rock & roll than this…

The Music Biz Word-Square

The Great Rock & Roll Riddle

Can you find at least 15 well-known music industry words and phrases that we have cunningly hidden horizontally, vertically and diagonally in our fascinating Music Biz Word-Square?

A pop star has six children: Dominique, Regis, Michelle, Fawn, Sophie and Lara. What will they name their next child? Jessica, Katie, Abby or Tilly?

Can You Spot the Difference? Use that powerful eye for detail you’ve developed after reading tedious 60-page artist contracts... Take a close look at these two photos and you might spot some subtle differences between the two images. We can see at least six! For a bonus point, can you tell us the name of the 1980s MOR icon who remodelled the room in such dramatic fashion?

Music Mastermind 1. Which chart-topping act did this handsome, young man become the frontman/manager/owner of? 2. Which American rockers officially opened The O2 Arena in London in 2007? 3. Which rock star was one of the founders and owners of the Arena Football League team Philadelphia Soul? 4. Which artist’s first professional recording was R2-D2 We Wish You A Merry Christmas? 5. Which was the last band to play at the old Wembley Stadium before it was demolished in 2002? Wordsquare: Artist Kickbacks, Double The Offer, Dynamic Pricing, Exclusivity Deal, Global Deal, How Fucking Much, Merchandise, Production Crew, Ridiculous Rider, Sold Out Festival, Spiralling Costs, Support Slot, Tour Routing, Venue Hold Date, Viagogo Touts Riddle: Tilly – it’s the musical scale: Do Re Mi Fa So La… Ti. Music Mastermind: Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi, Bon Jovi, Jon Bon Jovi. Spot the difference: there is no fruit on the table, the wardrobe door is open, there are only two pictures on the wall, there is no glass jug, someone has blown the ceiling up, and some bastard has nicked the cushions.

Answers

If you would like to send feedback, comments or suggestions for future Your Shout topics, please email: info@iq-mag.net

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IQ Magazine November 2018