90 An ILMC Publication JULY 2020 | £25 | €25
GREEN GUARDIANS GUIDE 2020 INDIA MARKET REPORT
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COMMENT AND COLUMNS
06 08 12 20
Index In Brief The main headlines over the last two months Analysis Key stories and news analysis from around the live music world New Signings & Rising Stars A roundup of the latest acts that have found agents during lockdown Unsung Hero With EXIT looking like it will ge the only major festival of 2020, we profile the event’s technical director, Viktor Trifu
Streaming of You, My Love IQ examines Laura Marling’s historic live-streamed London shows The Green Guardians Guide 2020 Introducing IQ’s new annual list that champions the pioneers who are making live music more sustainable State of Hindipendents Adam Woods puts India under the microscope for IQ’s latest market report
Thank You, Black Out Tuesday Alexandra Ampofo implores employers to follow through with concrete action to promote diversity in live music Is the Future of Live Real or Virtual? Macky Drese asks whether traditional concerts could become a thing of the past Into the unknown Reduced guarantees and zero cancellations are crucial to live music’s health, argues Nick Hobbs Time to Consider TikTok Kendall Ostrow talks up the business opportunities of the social media app Going Live Lawyer Gregor Pryor examines the monetisation of live-streaming Your Shout What’s your favourite or most bizarre festival moment?
18 19 60
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TIME FOR ACTION
or some unfathomable reason, many of us foolishly entered 2020 believing it would be an amazing year, setting us up for a new golden decade and the promise of even better times to come. The coronavirus confined such dreams to fantasy, and while 2020 will doubtless go down in history as the year the first global pandemic of the 21st century happened, there’s a growing movement that might just result in the third decade of the millennium being remembered for more noble reasons: Black Lives Matter (BLM). The murder of George Floyd on 25 May triggered international protests and prompted many people to look at facets of their own lives, work places, and society in general, to examine if they live up to scrutiny in terms of truly supporting diversity. Like countless others, I’ve found myself arguing with people – even friends and family members – about the Black Lives Matter movement, proving to me, at least, that racism is indeed systemic, even among those who would be mortified to think of themselves as bigoted. Governments, meanwhile, have pledged to hold inquiries, but… the time for inquiries is over. Others far more eloquent than me have been stating that the black community is tired of words: action is what is now needed. In this issue of the magazine, you’ll find an analysis piece about diversity on page 8, while on page 14, promoter Alexandra Ampofo shares her thoughts on Black Out Tuesday and urges companies to do more to promote diversity in live music. IQ will continue to report on BLM issues in future editions of the magazine and through our online news service, while our new series of virtual panels continues on Thursday 25 June at 4pm BST/5pm CET with Beyond Rhetoric: Race in Live Music, which will look at the problems of systemic racism within the live business and discuss what needs to be done to make the industry a more diverse place. We implore you to tune in or watch the recording afterwards (see page 2). Elsewhere in the mag, we launch our Green Guardians Guide (page 32) – an annual initiative IQ is developing with the Green Events and Innovations Conference to promote those companies, organisations and individuals that are working so tirelessly to make touring and live entertainment a more sustainable environment. Adam Woods sets his sights on India (page 52) for this issue’s market report and learns about an ever more sophisticated marketplace providing huge scope for live music’s growth ambitions. Underlining the creativity in the live entertainment business, the scarcity of gigs and festivals has seen multiple acts turning to live-streaming to try to boost cash flow. As more and more platforms for such endeavours spring up, I take a peek behind the curtain of Laura Marling’s historic, ticketed live-streamed concerts (page 24) to discover that this fast-growing format won’t replace the live experience, but the benefits of using it means it might be here to stay.
ISSUE 90 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
IQ Magazine Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH email@example.com 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 Staff Writer Anna Grace Advertising Manager Steve Woollett Design Philip Millard Sub Editor Michael Muldoon Editorial Assistants Imogen Battersby and Ben Delger Contributors Alexandra Ampofo, Macky Drese, Nick Hobbs, Kendall Ostrow, Gregor Pryor, Adam Woods Editorial Contact Gordon Masson firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303 Advertising Contact Steve Woollett email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304 ISSN 2633-0636
IN BRIEF INDEX The concert business digest
MAY Music fans in Lithuania, Denmark, Germany and Hungary begin accessing live performances from the safety of their cars as drive-in concerts catch on quickly across Europe.
Tour Managers Not Touring, a fundraising initiative intended to aid several famous DJs’ out-of-work tour managers, is pulled following a backlash on social media, where commentators criticised the artists’ apparent reluctance to put their hands in their own pockets.
ASM Global takes the first steps towards reopening its venues with a new series of hygiene protocols, dubbed ‘VenueShield,’ to be put in place for when coronavirus restrictions ease.
Artist contracts – particularly those enshrining huge guarantees for performers – find themselves under the microscope, as cashstrapped promoters push for more favourable terms when live music returns.
Concerts of up to 200 people will be permitted in Norway as of 15 June, the government announces, as the country’s live music sector begins its slow return to normality.
Nearly a billion pounds will be wiped off the value of the UK music industry without immediate government action to support the live sector, industry leaders warn.
At least 700,000 people – around 13% of the population of Finland – celebrate May Day (1 May) by watching a Fortnite-inspired virtual concert by Finnish rap duo JVG in Helsinki.
Miquela, a singer, model, influencer and robot, becomes the first-ever virtual client to sign with Creative Artists Agency. She was previously represented by WME.
The Republic of Ireland releases its roadmap for reopening society and business following the Covid-19 shutdown, with socially distanced shows and festivals allowed to return from 10 August.
Agents, assistants and other support staff at WME’s EMEA headquarters at 100 New Oxford Street in London, are among those affected by a 20% reduction in the agency’s workforce globally. The French government pledges a further €50million to support the
country’s music industry, as well as establishing a festival fund to assist events forced to cancel by the coronavirus outbreak. Roskilde Festival sells out of full event tickets for 2021, after 85% of those who planned to attend this summer’s cancelled festival opt to hold onto their tickets. Move Concerts partners with Spin Agency, an advertising and branding company, to launch La Morada, an online entertainment hub designed to raise money for Colombia’s chinomatics, or production crews. Views of live music and arts content on Twitch, the leading live-streaming platform, have quadrupled year on year, according to a new report that illustrates the surge in interest in virtual concerts. Indoor shows of up to 200 people and outdoor concerts with a capacity of 1,000 will be allowed to take place in Italy from 15 June, the government confirms. Booking agents and artist managers continue to discover and sign new talent, with many using the opportunity to bolster their rosters in anticipation of live music’s return, they tell IQ.
Estonia ends its state of emergency, signalling a gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions in the country, with live events of up to 1,000 people set to return in July. Venues the world over experiment with behind-closed-doors gigs, with talent including Laura Marling, Jorge Drexler, Katherine Jenkins, Keith Urban and Pipo Rodríguez among those to perform to empty concert halls. Live Nation furloughs 2,100 staff, some 20% of its 10,500-strong global workforce, as part of a $600m (€535m) programme of cost cutting. Investment bank and research firm Goldman Sachs forecasts a strong rebound for the live industry in 2021 in its 2020 Music in the Air report. Milan-based promoter Shining Production launches Bike-In, an event concept that would see concertgoers bring their bicycles to a live show, allowing fans to experience a traditional open-air concert from the comfort of their saddles. At least 3,000 people gather on Charles Clore beach in Tel Aviv for a rally-cum-music festival in support of the Israeli music industry.
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Organisers of Serbia’s Exit Festival announce the festival will take place this year, though not in its full 55,000-capacity, 40-stage format. CIE, one of two parent companies of leading Mexican promoter Ocesa Entertainment, reveals Live Nation’s impending acquisition of Ocesa is no longer going ahead, after the US concert giant exercised “an alleged right to terminate” the agreement – one “with which CIE disagrees.” The government of New Zealand unveils a NZ$175m (€100m) recovery package for the arts and creative sector, of which NZ$16.5m (€9.5m) is dedicated to the country’s music industry.
JUNE The World Health Organization issues updated guidance on holding mass gatherings such as large music and sports events safely, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Facebook’s new product experimentation team launches a new live event-focused app, Venue, as a ‘second screen’ for fans and expert commentators to discuss events in real time.
Live Nation, AEG and all major international booking agencies declare their solidarity with the African-American community, as they participate in Black Out Tuesday on 2 June. Melvin Benn, managing director of the UK’s Festival Republic, designs an incentive-based plan to allow the restarting of live shows at full capacity, through an increase in testing and contact tracing. Live Nation Finland announces a series of daily, outdoor concerts throughout June, as the Finnish government allows events of up to 500 people “under special arrangements.” The German federal government pledges €150m to the live music industry, as part of a €1billion package to revive the country’s coronavirus-crippled creative sector. The live music business in Japan could be up and running without capacity restrictions from 1 August, according to government plans for the country’s gradual reopening. The team behind Glastonbury Festival’s famous after-hours mini-city, Shangri-La, announces virtual festival Lost Horizon, in partnership with Sansar.
Dutch dance music giant ID&T tries its hand at organising holidays, announcing socially distanced camping experience Tijdloos (Timeless). AEG implements staff layoffs, furloughs and salary reductions as part of its Covid-19 cost-cutting plan, including at promoting business AEG Presents. A collective of black music executives in the UK sends a letter to heads of companies including Live Nation, Universal Music Group and Spotify, laying out five “immediate calls to action” to tackle structural and systematic racism. Nearly 10,000 tune in to a ticketed live-streamed performance by the popular Dutch band Di-rect at The Hague’s 680-seat Royal Theater. Eventbrite becomes the latest ticket seller to be hit with a lawsuit over its alleged non-payment of refunds for cancelled or postponed events, following StubHub and SeatGeek. Italian live music industry professionals hit back at comments made by Sir Paul McCartney criticising the decision to offer fans vouchers, instead of cash refunds, for cancelled shows.
The 2021 edition of Primavera Sound Barcelona sells out of all full festival tickets and day tickets in just ten days. ASM Global, operator of the UK’s Manchester Arena, submits a formal objection to plans for a new 23,500-capacity arena in Manchester. Bang Bang Con: The Live, a 100-minute live stream featuring K-pop superstars BTS, becomes the most-attended paid virtual concert to date, with more than 750,000 people in 107 countries tuning in. Thousands of Britons are believed to have attended illegal, nonsocially distanced ‘quarantine raves’ on 12–13 June, prompting concerns of a spike in new Covid-19 infections. Thirteen independent metal festivals join forces to create the European Metal Festival Alliance, which is hosting a virtual event in August to raise money for the independent festival sector.
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INDUSTRY FACES RECKONING WITH DIVERSITY AMID BLM PROTESTS
fter the events of Black Out Tuesday, on which music companies worldwide downed tools in solidarity with anti-racism protestors, a number of firms announced details of follow-up initiatives intended to deliver lasting change in both their companies and across the wider music business. Using the hashtag #TheShowMustBePaused, the likes of Live Nation, AEG, WME, ICM, CAA, UTA, Paradigm Talent Agency and all three major record labels suspended operations for 24 hours, on 2 June, in support of the movement for racial justice sparked by the killing of George Floyd, one week earlier. “There are great injustices impacting our brothers and sisters, and we are striving to be part of the solution,” read a statement from Live Nation. “We need to stop the racists that are literally killing culture. We must take action.” AEG, too, said it “stands with communities of color [sic] against bigotry, racism and violence” and “will not stay silent” on the issue. The following week, on 9 June, a collective of black music executives in the UK sent a letter to heads of companies including Live Nation, Universal Music Group and Spotify, laying out five “immediate calls to action” to tackle structural and systematic racism within the British music industry. The workers, from Metropolis Music, the Music Managers Forum, Ministry of Sound, Sony Music, UMG, Atlantic Records, Warner Music Group and more, came together under #TheShowMustBePausedUK and the newly formed Black Music Coalition to call for immediate changes at the UK’s biggest live and recorded
music companies. Directed to “chairman, CEOs, presidents and music industry leaders,” the letter calls on companies to implement mandatory anti-racism/unconscious-bias training; commit money each year to black organisations, educational projects and charities in the UK; implement career development for black staff to ensure greater representation at senior management level; replace the term “urban music” with “black music”; and establish a dedicated equality and diversity taskforce. Many, but not all, companies that participated in Black Out Tuesday backed up their words with concrete actions, including making donations to anti-racist causes or reorganising their businesses to better reflect the racial diversity in many societies. Live Nation announced it had made a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative, an Alabama-based non-profit that provides support to prisoners who lack effective legal representation, particularly those of colour, while CAA made a new appointment to its company board, in a move it says – along with its participation in Black Out Tuesday and the return this year of its Amplify leadership summit, which “inspires and connects multicultural leaders” – underscores its “commitment to diversity and inclusion.”
Lisa Joseph Metelus, CAA Sports’ head of basketball marketing and servicing, is the latest addition to the agency’s new leadership structure, the CAA Board, which was established earlier this year. “It is critical that our board better reflects the real world,” says the agency’s president, Richard Lovett. Elsewhere, London-based agency ATC Live published a list of eight changes it is making to ensure its agents “do better as a team” in future. They include committing to improving diversity among its staff and artist roster; matching donations made towards charitable causes by employees; and encouraging artists to use their public platforms as a means of promoting “positive change.” Warner Music Group, whose live businesses include Warner Music Live (Finland) and Songkick, made perhaps the biggest announcement on the back of Black Out Tuesday by announcing a $100million (€89m) fund to support charitable causes “related to the music industry, social justice and campaigns against violence and racism.” The fund – jointly financed by WMG and the Blavatnik Family Foundation, the charitable foundation run by WMG vice-chairman Sir Leonard Blavatnik, whose Access Industries is the group’s majority owner – will support individuals and “organisations strengthening education, and promoting equality, opportunity, diversity and inclusion” in the music industry, according to WMG. Writing for the IQ website earlier this month, Ammo Talwar MBE, chair of UK Music’s diversity taskforce, emphasised that the time for slogans is over, and that #TheShowMustBePaused must act as a catalyst for lasting change in the music industry. “Diversity issues have been a box-ticking exercise for too many people for far too long,” he wrote. “As we move on from both Black Out Tuesday and the coronavirus lockdown, we have a real opportunity to change our business models, policy, governance and recruitment for the better. In any large corporation, responsibilities will be shared and devolved across the team – but accountability has to sit with the top table. “Every CEO, board member and chair is ultimately responsible for the diversity, social justice and fairness of their business.” To read Talwar’s piece online, click here.
“As we move on from both Black Out Tuesday and the coronavirus lockdown, we have a real opportunity to change our business models, policy, governance and recruitment for the better” Ammo Talwar MBE | chair of UK Music’s diversity taskforce
LOOSENED RESTRICTIONS OFFER PARTIAL RELIEF FOR LIVE
ajor international touring markets, including France, Italy, Spain, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, Denmark, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Greece and some states in the US and Australia, are again allowing limited-capacity concerts, with the first tentative live music events bringing some colour to an otherwise concert-free summer. At press time, Live Nation France had just announced the Big Tour 2020, the first nationwide concert tour in the country since March. Kicking off on 29 July in Vieux-Bocau on the southwest coast of France, the tour wraps up with two shows in Paris on 18 and 19 September.
Each show will be live-streamed on Live Nation’s social channels and available to watch back at a later date. Although festivals and other major events for over 5,000 people remain banned in France until September, entertainment venues were permitted to reopen in June in the vast majority of the country, with the mandatory use of face coverings. Denmark’s first major post-Covid-19 concert took place on Friday 26 June, when Sort Sol singer Steen Jørgensen played the 1,800-capacity DR Concert Hall in Copenhagen. Again promoted by a local Live Nation operation (PDH Music), the show’s capacity was limited to 500 people, with the venue set out according to Danish authorities’ guidelines to ensure social distancing among fans. Promoters in Portugal have also embraced reduced-capacity shows, with the first post-lockdown concerts taking place in the first week of June. Then-current government guidance said that seated shows could restart as long as: one seat is left between those who do not live together, a staggered entry and exit system is implemented, masks are worn, and a distance of two metres is kept between all artists, staff and audience members.
IQ FOCUS PANELS TACKLE FESTIVALS, DIVERSITY AND MORE
n early May, IQ launched IQ Focus, a new live-streamed panel series, complementing our daily Index newsletter with weekly, fully interactive discussions on key focus points for the international live music industry. Kicking off on 7 May with Staying Safe & Sane During Covid, the series has welcomed some of the biggest names internationally for panel discussions on the 2021 festival season, technological innovation, the grassroots venues sector, the new agency business, and diversity and inclusion in the live music sector. The evolving role of the booking agent, the increasingly crowded 2021 circuit, and the agency sector’s shaky record on diversity were among the topics discussed during one of the most popular sessions, The Agency Business 3.0, on 11 June. Hosted by ILMC MD Greg Parmley, the panel
checked in with CAA’s Maria May, UTA’s Jules de Lattre, Paradigm’s Tom Schroeder and 13 Artists’ Angus Baskerville, to see how the business had changed three months after the world went into lockdown. “It’s been proper bonkers these past few months,” said Schroeder, who recalled how, back “in February, we were saying, ‘We’re going to need 20 laptops’ [for people to work from home], and other people going, ‘You’re mad; it’s the flu!’ “We’ve gone from that,” he continued, “to ‘Is Glastonbury going to wobble?’ to ‘Is Glastonbury 2021 going to happen…?’” Despite the speed at which circumstances changed – as well as ongoing uncertainty about when live music will return in force – Schroeder said, as an agent, he’s never felt like a more essential part of the music industry ecosystem. “Gigs
NOS Alive promoter Everything Is New was among the first to capitalise on the eased restrictions, staging two performances by Portugal’s Bruno Nogueira and Manuela Azevedo at the 5,000-capacity Campo Pequeno in Lisbon. The venue operated at 50% capacity, with 2,200 people attending each night. Tickets for the first show, at €5 each, proved so popular that the second date was added, with an increased cost of €10. Major markets notably absent from the list above are Germany and the UK, with the former having extended its ban on large-scale gatherings until the end of the October and the latter typically indecisive despite industry calls for clarity. British industry associations are requesting confirmation as to when events will be allowed to return, as well as lobbying for a support package that includes VAT reduction on ticket sales, access to long-term finance, and the removal of social distancing restrictions for shows. At press time, none of those requests had been granted by the UK government. The UK Live Music Group – part of umbrella body UK Music – is warning that the music business will lose a collective £900million (€1billion) if it fails to address these points, as well as an extension of existing furlough and self-employed schemes to stave off thousands of redundancies.
are an absolutely integral part of the music food chain,” he explained. “I feel more valuable than I have before.” Also proving popular with viewers was 14 May’s Festival Forum: Here Comes ’21, with AEG Presents’ Jim King, FKP Scorpio’s Stephan Thanscheidt, Bloodstock Open Air’s Rachael Greenfield, Roskilde Festival’s Anders Wahrén and Montreux Jazz Festival’s Mathieu Jaton. A key talking point was the incompatibility of festivals with any form of social distancing. “To be able to have a good time you can’t separate people – that’s not what a festival is about,” said Greenfield. Wahrén, Roskilde’s head of programming, agreed that “it’s all or nothing. I can’t see us running a festival wearing masks or standing one metre apart.” For Wahrén, alternative forms of live events such as drive-in concerts, although fun, are stopgap solutions, and “not what we are in this business for.” To watch previous discussions, or for details of the latest IQ Focus session, visit IQ’s Facebook or YouTube pages.
MEGA-STREAMS PROVE VIABILITY OF VIRTUAL CONCERTS
BTS perform during Bang Bang Con: The Live
ajor live-streamed concerts by the likes of BTS, Lewis Capaldi, Laura Marling and Di-rect in May and June demonstrated the viability of potentially lucrative paid virtual concerts for artists and their teams. By far the biggest virtual event came courtesy of BTS, with the K-pop superstars’ 100-minute live stream, Bang Bang Con: The Live, becoming the most-attended paid virtual concert to date on 14 June, with more than 750,000 people in 107 countries tuning in. The interactive show – co-produced by the band’s agency/management company, Big Hit Entertainment, and US live-streaming firm Kiswe – saw band members performing in various spaces (two concert stages and five rooms), with fans able to switch between six viewing angles, from “video call-like close-ups to full shots that encapsulated the tight choreography,” according to Big Hit. The event peaked at 756,600 concurrent viewers – equivalent to 15 shows at a 50,000-capacity stadium – all of whom had paid to be there. Tickets were priced at 29,000 (€21) for members of BTS’s ARMY fan club, and 39,000 (€29) for members of the general public, meaning the concert grossed at least 21.9billion, or €16million. Bang Bang Con: The Live is the first time Big Hit has charged for an online-only show, although BTS raised an additional €3.5m from
live-streaming their historic Wembley Stadium concerts last summer. The BTS event followed a similar, though smaller-scale, live stream by another Korean pop band, SuperM, on 26 April. Fans who tuned into the show, dubbed Beyond Live, paid an average of $30 (€27) to be there, earning SuperM some $2m (€1.8m) from virtual ticket sales. “By mobilising an audience 7.5 times bigger than ‘offline’ concerts, we expect to develop a new concert business,” said SM Entertainment, the group’s management company. Dutch band Di-rect, meanwhile, played to a not-to-be-sniffed at 10,000 people at an otherwise empty Royal Theater, a 680-seat venue in The Hague, on 6 June, having sold tickets for the concert on a pay-what-you-want basis. With ticket sales in the five figures, the band – who were originally scheduled to play 20 festival shows this summer – played to a virtual crowd of around 15 times the venue’s in-person capacity. According to Twitch, the Amazon-owned live-streaming platform du jour, views of live music and arts content have quadrupled year on
year, from 3.6m in April 2019 to 17m in April 2020 – a 385% increase. As of the start of 2020, it had also been doubling month on month this year, starting at around 4m in February and then growing to nearly 8m in March. One such Twitch event was a virtual show (albeit a free one) by Dutch DJ duo W&W, who played what was billed as the world’s first extended-reality (XR) live stream to more than a million fans on 23 May. The pair appeared as themselves inside a 3D virtual world, playing a new set to over 150,000 viewers on Twitch and 900,000 viewers on Facebook, while green-screen special effects, including lighting, confetti, lasers and fireworks, illuminated the computer-generated environment around them. Allan Hardenberg, CEO of EDM promoter and event organiser Alda, described the videogame-like W&W show as a “revolutionary experience in dance music.” Speaking during an IQ Focus virtual panel (see page 2) on 28 May, Amy Oldham from DICE – which recently launched a live-streaming platform called DICE TV – stressed the importance of “identifying the value” in virtual shows. “In the beginning [of the pandemic], there was a lot of noise and a lot of not-very-good-quality shows,” she explained. “In the very beginning, these bedroom and kitchen performances played an important role,” but now people expect a more polished experience, said Ben Samuels, MelodyVR’s president and GM in North America. “What we’re doing is investing a lot to ensure these shows look and feel fantastic. […] They should be the next best thing to actually being on stage or in the front row of a real show. So production values have been crucial to us.” Oldham added that Capaldi, who performed live from his home via DICE TV on 16 May, “is a great example” of what the industry should be working towards. “He did an acoustic set of the first album, and it actually felt like being on a night out – you had people taking photos of themselves hugging the TV saying that it’s the best £5 they ever spent,” she said. Read IQ’s full show report from Laura Marling’s UK and US live streams – also a DICE TV event – on page 24.
“They should be the next best thing to actually being on stage or in the front row of a real shot.” Ben Samuels | Melody VR
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LISTEN TO JULY’S ‘NEW SIGNINGS’ AGENCY PLAYLIST HERE
IQ recently partnered with a number of agencies to compile a monthly playlist of new music released by some of their new signings. To highlight just two of the tracks on June’s playlist, here are two tracks by new acts on the rosters of Pitch & Smith and Solo Agency.
righton quartet, LIME, jump over genre boundaries with an energy that oozes from every corner, weaving post-punk foundations with earworm melodies and razor-sharp, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. With debut single Surf N Turf already passing 30,000 streams and landing a spot on the BBC 6 Music playlist, the band are set to follow up with new music in late summer and a busy live schedule (fingers crossed!), including supports with Happyness, Junodream and more.
AGENT Duncan Smith
Pitch & Smith
TAYLOR CASTRO AGENT John Giddings
oetic lyricism, such as those on Abyss, is one sure-fire way Taylor Castro sets herself apart from the oversaturated market of pop music. The instrumentation indicates Castro as someone with a keen eye on the trends of the music industry, with her outstanding lyrics tucked away in a package disguised as the hit of the summer. The fairy tale like Abyss is one of the finest feats of storytelling you will see in the charts. This is a talent caught right at the beginning of her journey, and we are privileged to share it with her.
ARTIST LISTINGS A.O. Gerber (US) AJIMAL (UK) Alex Amor (UK) ALX (US) Baby Queen (ZA) Bananagun (AU) Bartees Strange (US) BE GOOD (UK) Biicla (RU) Bronson (US) C’est Karmas (LU) Chad Lawson (US) Che Lingo (UK) Christian Alexander (UK) CloZee (FR) Courting (UK) Death Tour (US) Drab City (US) Drain (US) Dreya Mac (UK) Eleni Drake (UK) Elles Baily (UK)
Colin Keenan & Stu Kennedy, ATC Live Angie Rance, UTA Natasha Bent, Paradigm Noah Simon, UTA Will Marshall & Matt Bates, Primary Talent Liam Keightley, ITB Kai Lehmann, Cabin Artists Darren James-Thomas, FMLY Paul McQueen, Primary Talent James Whitting, Paradigm Kai Lehmann, Cabin Artists Angie Rance & Heulwen Keyte, UTA Sam Gill, Sean Goulding, Jeremy Norkin, James Osgood & Cleo Thompson, UTA Andy Clayton & Tom Schroeder, Paradigm Paul McQueen, Primary Talent Matt Bates, Primary Talent Paul Ryan, UTA Kalle Lundgren Smith, Pitch and Smith Tom Taaffe, Paradigm Sam Gill & Sean Goulding, UTA Mike Malak, Paradigm Beth Morton, UTA
HOTTEST NEW ACTS THIS MONTH 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15
LAST MONTH 3 2 1 – 8 33 5 754 9 24 45 26 535 14 29
PREDICTIONS FOR JULY 2020
ARTIST MIQUELA (US) NAIRA MARLEY (UK) 42 DUGG (US) MAYA HAWKE (US) SMOOVE’L (US) DUTCHAVELLI (UK) AUBREYS, THE (US) NJOMZA (US) SHO MADJOZI & PS DJZ (ZA) LIL POPPA (US) LIDO PIMIENTA (CA) THAT GIRL LAY LAY (US) DEANTE’ HITCHCOCK (US) REI AMI (US) MARIAH THE SCIENTIST (US) DRESAGE (US), HOLLY HUMBERSTONE (UK), OLIVER MALCOLM (SE), JEAN DAWSON (US), DAY 1 (AU)
Artists not in the current top 15, but growing quickly
Fastest growing artists in terms of music consumption, aggregated across a number of online sources.
Erin Bloomer (UK) Mike Malak, Paradigm Evann McIntosh (US) Tessie Lammie, UTA Eydis Evensen (IS) Angie Rance & Heulwen Keyte, UTA Faux Real (US) Sarah Joy, ATC Live Frankie Beetlestone (UK) Nikos Kazoleas & James Osgood, UTA Gia Ford (UK) Matt Bates, Primary Talent Headache (UK) Anna Bewers & Sol Parker, Paradigm Hilang Child (UK) Steve Backman & Stefan Romer, Primary Talent Holly (PT) Paul McQueen, Primary Talent I Have A Tribe (IE) Angie Rance, UTA Jess Williamson (US) Eleanor McGuinness, Pitch and Smith jxdn (US) Mike Malak, Tom Taaffe & James Whitting, Paradigm Katie Von Schleicher (US) Shane Daunt, Progressive Artists KOTA The Friend (US) Darren James-Thomas, FMLY Le Ren (CA) Nikita Lavrinenko, Pitch and Smith Lightning Orchestra (US) Darren James-Thomas, FMLY LIME (UK) Duncan Smith, Pitch & Smith Logan Ledger (US) Beth Morton, UTA Louis III (UK) Sol Parker, Paradigm Luke Elliot (US) Steve Backman & Stefan Romer, Primary Talent Luke Varney (UK) Andy Clayton, Paradigm Mansur Brown (UK) Mike Malak, Paradigm Marie Davidson (CA) Kalle Lundgren Smith, Pitch and Smith Martha Hill (UK) Adele Slater, Paradigm Matt Lang (CA) Christina Austin & Sean Goulding, UTA Meet Me @ The Altar (US) Anna Bewers, Paradigm Metz (CA) Tom Taaffe, Paradigm Mia Rodriguez (AU) Alex Hardee, Paradigm Michelle (US) Matt Bates, Primary Talent Mora Prokaza (BY) Paul Ryan, UTA Nick Waterhouse (US) Sam Gill & Angie Rance, UTA Odd Morris (IE) Sophie Roberts, UTA Ohmme (US) Joren Heuvels, The Lullabye Factor Phil Madeley (UK) Liam Keightley, ITB Powfu (CA) Mike Malak, Paradigm Punkband (UK) Alex Hardee & Paul Buck, Paradigm Quelle Chris (US) Darren James-Thomas, FMLY Sam Ryder (UK) Ryan Penty, Paradigm Sfven (UK) Geoff Meall, Paradigm Silly Boy Blue (FR) James Masters, Christian Bernhardt & Zach Hyde, UTA Song Sung (IE) Darren James-Thomas, FMLY Starsailor (UK) Ben Winchester, Matt Pickering-Copley & Charlie Renton, Primary Talent StaySolidRocky (US) Mike Malak, Paradigm The Cooties (US) Beth Morton & Sophie Roberts, UTA The International Teachers Of Pop (UK) Darren James-Thomas, FMLY The Luka State (UK) Bex Majors, Zach Hyde & Guy Oldaker, UTA The Magic Gang (UK) Natasha Bent, Paradigm Ur Monarch (NO) Andy Clayton & Paul Buck, Paradigm We Came As Romans (US) Paul Ryan & Bex Majors, UTA Magazine
Thank you, Black Out Tuesday Alexandra Ampofo, promoter at Metropolis Music/Live Nation UK, reflects on Blackout Tuesday and says employers must now follow through with concrete action to promote diversity in live music
lackout Tuesday was created by Jamila Thomas, senior director of marketing at Atlantic Records, and Brianna Agyemang, the senior artist campaign manager at Platoon. Tuesday 2 June 2020, saw business as usual halt in solidarity for black lives. The entire world was shaken by the inhumane loss of George Floyd. Sadly, he is not the only one whose life has been stolen at the hands of police brutality and racism – there are hundreds more, including recent cases Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. This had an effect on the black community that I personally have never seen in my lifetime. Over the last week or so, I have seen and felt a sense of togetherness and support for black people, which we deserve… it is about time. For me, Black Out Tuesday was a day of reflection and homage, and an opportunity to encourage a profound, uninterrupted level of education within our respective organisations. We used the opportunity to have an open dialogue, amplify black voices, address imperfections in our own policies, and discuss next steps towards tackling prejudice, discrimination and the outright racism black people are forced to endure. Without this day, a lot of us wouldn’t have been able to gain the attention of our non-black counterparts; we wouldn’t
have been able to open the dialogue with the same altitude of poise and tenacity.
So, what are the next steps?
The issues have been identified – now it’s time to present the facts. Where are your ethnicity pay gap and employee satisfaction reports? If they don’t exist, now is a good time to populate that data and work towards a safer space for black employees. Data is an extremely important tool and necessary for change. If you have the capacity to roll out anti-racism training, do so. Educate where possible, and call out racist behaviour, because failure to address these key issues makes you complicit. If you’re reading this and you’re an executive, a business owner, a manager, a CEO, a founder or anything in between, please ask yourself, “What can I do to spark change? What can I do to make sure my company policies reflect the black square I posted on Tuesday?” This isn’t a gimmick: systemic and institutionalised racism affects people’s lives, and you have a duty of care. This is a battle we have been fighting since the ‘beginning of time’ and will continue to fight until there is real change. If Black Out Tuesday taught me anything, it’s that there is strength in numbers.
“failure to address these key issues makes you complicit”
WHAT ELSE CAN YOU DO?
Why I’m no longer talking to white people about race
Black LGBTQIA Therapy Fund
Jane Elliot, an anti-racist activist and educator, devised this experiment following the assassination of Martin Luther King. WATCH IT HERE
BFI COLLECTION Portraits of public and private lives against the shifting social climate of 20th-century Britain. WATCH IT HERE
Will Britain Ever Have a Black Prime Minister? BBC DOCUMENTARY WATCH IT HERE
Unfiltered with James O’Brien
INTERVIEW Rapper, activist, author and journalist, Akala, deconstructs race and class. WATCH IT HERE
The Secret Windrush Files
BBC DOCUMENTARY A look at how the Windrush scandal and the ‘hostile environment’ for black British immigrants has been 70 years in the making. WATCH IT HERE
Reni Eddo-Lodge BUY IT HERE
Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging Afua Hirsh
BUY IT HERE
How to Be an Antiracist Ibram X. Kendi READ IT HERE
So You Want to Talk About Race Ijeoma Oluo BUY IT HERE
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism
A fund dedicated to the mental health of black LGBTQIA+ people. DONATE HERE
A collective creating safer, all-inclusive spaces, good fortune and equal opportunities for women and non-binary folks in the creative industry. DONATE HERE
Black Ticket Project
Award-winning initiative creating cultural access points for black young people. DONATE HERE
Exist Loudly Fund
A fund to support queer, black, young people. DONATE HERE
DOWNLOAD IT HERE
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness Michelle Alexander BUY IT HERE
Is the future of live real or virtual? As virtual events become more sophisticated, Macky Drese, general manager, live, at Apollo World Touring, asks if traditional concerts could ever become a thing of the past
welve weeks ago we were gearing up to launch World Tour, the first in a series of multi-artist, live music events, with a calendar of iconic world cities and the likes of Miley Cyrus ready to headline. Today we are reimagining what the live experience looks like in a very different world. The reality today is that no one really knows what the future holds. Renowned DJs won’t be playing to thousands in Ibiza’s clubs this summer and bands aren’t playing the main stage at a sold-out Glastonbury. Artist teams are wary about when they can start confirming talent appearances at events and promoters are in no-man’s land with uncertainty on how things can possibly play out. The path is untrodden. The appetite for live music will never diminish. But what will events look like? From a production point of view, it’s going to be interesting to see how things adapt – not simply adjusting to new health and safety measures but adapting to the changes in what fans expect, what they value and what they actually want. As we’ve all been forced to remain in our homes for weeks on end, livestreaming has become an integral part of our lives. It’s no longer strange to watch and enjoy a DJ set from someone’s living room. We’re even seeing games companies hosting live virtual concerts for fans. For my generation, this is all a little bit new and unusual. However, for younger generations this is what they’ve grown up with and they don’t see anything unnatural in it at all. Is it a case of real life vs virtual? I don’t think they are mutually exclusive anymore. But what’s become glaringly obvious is that consumers want and need the brands they support to stand for something and be willing to stand above the parapet for the cause. Whether assembling virtually or physically, it needs to be purpose-driven and a platform for change. That’s why purpose lies at the heart of our World Tour proposition and why our first sponsor, a carbon-negative, renewable energy and fuels company, had to reflect that. Whether sustainability, health or social and political causes, we know that brands need to be bridging that gap more be-
tween what they are saying and what they are actually doing – in the long term. It’s been fantastic to see the solidarity across the board for the Black Lives Matter movement, especially with the difficult backdrop of coronavirus. But I think what will become clear is that brands can’t simply put a black square on Instagram with inspirational messaging alone; they must be willing to stand by these issues and fight where necessary with the power and influence that they hold. It’s obvious that younger generations particularly are getting much more involved in discussions around causes that are important to them, so it would be crazy for event organisers, brands and artists to not be more involved in those discussions and create platforms that positively engage. There will always be an appetite for being part of a crowd, enjoying and celebrating an artist and feeling part of a beautiful shared experience. But we can’t deny that the developments and innovation with virtual experiences has answered a lot of questions. It’s opened doors to new waves of creativity, which, from a fan’s perspective, is excellent. It makes me wonder: are traditional live concerts as we know them a thing of the past? I think it’s fair to say we will see more virtual events become more sophisticated with interaction. No one seems to be interested in watching full live sets anymore – most people want to dip in and out and choose the content they want to watch, when they want to watch it. The boundaries are also being pushed further still. At the end of April, Epic Games saw 12.3m players log on to Fortnite to watch Travis Scott’s Astronomical event, with an additional 27.7m viewing after. Despite the technological advancements, it had the hallmarks of a traditional gig – people ‘attended’ with their mates and could chat and dance as though actually next to them. That excitement level with an avatar is completely different to a simple live stream. The opportunity to do something different has never presented itself more clearly. There’s no excuse for going back to old formats or attitudes – change is needed, and I know we’re excited at Apollo to be part of that.
Into the unknown As the live shutdown continues, artists must be prepared to accept reduced guarantees and no cancellations if promoters are to survive until 2021, says Charmenko’s Nick Hobbs
bviously, all of us are making this up as we go along, and every rescheduled or cancelled show is a unique case. But it seems that agents all understand that promoters are in deep trouble, with frightening running costs to keep their teams in place but with next to no income for what may well be a year. It seems clear that caution, especially in the form of lower ticket prices and guarantees, is the only sensible strategy. The future (in the form of 2021) is unknown; your guess is as good as mine. The brave and bullish are likely next year to pile losses onto whatever fortunes they lose this year. If a show is rescheduled, do the show costs for the 2020 date become part of the renegotiation? Some agents are saying if you can’t maintain the guarantee or fee agreed for 2020 for the rescheduled show in 2021 (or close to it) then we cancel rather than agree to rescheduling, and then that leads to the thorny issue of who pays for the show costs for the cancelled show. And we all know that few promoters and events had epidemic cover. Many venues and ticket companies are minimising charges to promot-
ers for rescheduled shows, but it’s a harder call for a cancellation, as there’s no future business for them to replace this year’s loss. On a show that had sold well but is now cancelled – not postponed – costs can be large. In some cases, show costs are mitigated by booking fees that are not reimbursed. It doesn’t seem right that the consumer should pay for a worthless piece of virtual paper, but business-wise it helps to keep some ticketers and promoters afloat. A simple solution would be no cancellations and a fair reduction in guarantees, with all artists recognising a moral obligation to reschedule to next year. Reality is different: the majority are, but some are not, and that includes some big names. I haven’t a clue how promoters are supposed to survive. Most are like us – hanging on by our fingernails and hoping this is all over sooner rather than later, and that most artists are understanding and reasonable about the need both for renegotiating and rescheduling rather than cancelling. Leaving, of course, the begged question of what happens if things don’t return to some kind of normal in Q2 2021…
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Time to consider TikTok Kendall Ostrow, head of IQ client strategy at United Talent Agency, lauds TikTok for providing a platform to those ignored by traditional gatekeepers
ith a record 315 million downloads in the first quarter of this year, TikTok has cemented its place as the hottest app of 2020. It has dominated conversations about social media and has landed in the centre of the cultural zeitgeist for a generation of fans across the globe. Still, many misconceptions surround TikTok due to its evolution from musical.ly, an app primarily known for dancing lip-sync videos featuring 13-year-old girls. TikTok is much broader than a social media app: it is the first modern, fully democratised entertainment media company. With TikTok, there are no gatekeepers. There is no standardised development process. There is no lag time or barrier to spread users’ messages to the world. Accounts with no followers at the time of their first upload can see millions of views in one day. Never before has any media platform given such limitless access to unknown voices. It is a next-generation business far more similar to Netflix than to Instagram due to its on-demand, endless availability of full screen, full volume, captivating content. In reality, delineating between a media company and a social media company is passé. Every streaming company should have social baked into its DNA in 2020. For content to thrive, it must be shareable, meme-able, GIF-able, and engaging enough to entice viewers to discuss it with friends and fans online. Any creator or platform that doesn’t possess these qualities clips the wings of its own content before it has the chance to fly.
TikTok is built on this ideal by prioritising mobile-first, snack-able content that entertains, informs, enlightens, brings families together, and celebrates everyday moments. It is no coincidence that TikTok saw record-breaking downloads during Q1 of this year; people are looking for an escape, and they have found it in TikTok. But while TikTok’s mission statement is to “bring joy,” it also carries depth. For the past year, educators have given TikTok “assignments” to students, understanding that if you can distil a convoluted history lesson into a clear 15-second narrative, you will have a greater mastery of the topic than you would after writing a five-paragraph essay. Over the past few weeks, we have seen this relevance accelerate beyond education and into activism. The typical light-hearted and upbeat content that characterised TikTok fell away and was replaced with socially charged imagery meant to spread awareness for, and stand in solidarity with, the Black Lives Matter movement. Already known for its activism, Generation Z has used TikTok’s 15- to 60-second content limits to clearly and articulately share impactful stories that drive action in short form. One thing is sure: TikTok is providing a platform to those ignored by traditional gatekeepers and, in doing so, gives voice to an entire generation. As a result, TikTok stands as an unstoppable force that will shape the future of the entertainment business. It can no longer be trivialised as a lip-syncing app for teens.
“TikTok stands as an unstoppable force that will shape the future of the entertainment business.”
Going live With live performance on hold, live-streaming has become the new normal. Gregor Pryor, co-chair of law firm Reed Smith’s entertainment and media industry group, discusses how artists can effectively – and legally – engage and monetise this online format
he Covid-19 lockdowns around the world have put an end to multiple big-name festivals this year, as well as concerts of all kinds, from huge artists to those playing local venues. With the future of what a live event will look like in a post-lockdown world still unclear, musicians are turning to alternative methods to reach their audiences. Live streaming is now an increasingly vital tool, enabling musicians to reach audiences in real time and in a format that most closely reflects live performance. It seems clear that in the near term, virtual concerts will become the new normal. Take One World: Together At Home as just one example of how streaming can be harnessed to deliver live entertainment on a global scale. Live-streaming platforms make this possible. The technological and operational investment required to operate a stable multifunctional and global online live-streaming capability, at scale, is huge. It is not surprising that the most capable and technically attractive platforms are operated by major tech companies: Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc. Some platforms have already collaborated with music-industry players to support artists’ transition from venues to home. However, artists also need to be aware of how to effectively monetise their live-streams, and the applicable rules and regulations that must be followed. Live streamers are usually required to meet certain criteria, and artists and event organisers should become familiar with each live-streaming platform’s monetisation policies and how to access them. Artists must also check the platform’s terms and conditions, and remember they are responsible for all rights and clearances necessary to perform their music. Artists can earn revenue by enabling ads placed before, after, or embedded within content. Advertisers typically pay on a cost-per-click or cost-per-view basis, so a live streamer will only be paid if a user clicks on the advert or watches it for a certain period of time. However, an artist should balance this with the risk of putting fans off for using too many. Brands may also pay artists to produce promoted content or direct viewers to purchase a brand’s products by post-
ing links or discount codes for particular sites, earning the streamer commission on any sales. In the UK, any advertising or promotions need to comply with the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (the ‘Regulations’) and the UK Code of Non-broadcast Advertising and Direct and Promotional Marketing (the ‘CAP Code’). The Regulations provide protection to consumers against unfair practices. The CAP Code includes rules about how advertising should be recognisable, and other rules to prevent viewers being misled. If live-streamers breach these, the Advertising Standards Agency can require the amendment or withdrawal of an ad, and there are other sanctions co-ordinated through CAP that can be employed in different circumstances. Many streaming services make it easy for users to give donations to a streamer, and streamers may incentivise these by offering exclusive content. Artists should be aware that most platforms will take a cut. Subscriptions allow paying subscribers to access extra perks such as exclusive content. This is subject to streaming services’ policies and, as with donations, they are likely to take a cut on fees. Services such as Patreon also allow patrons to directly fund a live streamer, or GoFundMe can finance a project in advance. Just as artists sell merchandise on tour, online store services can be used to sell designs. To ensure compliance with consumer law, streamers may elect to use existing sites such as Merch by Amazon. Certain live-streaming platforms also merchandise to be advertised. YouTube, for example, allows eligible channels to showcase their official branded merchandise on the channel’s page. Live-streaming has opened up a way for artists to reach their audiences, and a potential revenue stream while live events cannot go ahead. Platforms are adapting in real time to a huge surge in demand while Covid-19 prevents a true live experience. Considering the rules and regulations involved and, where applicable, seeking advice to ensure compliance with these, will be essential to prevent any regulator- or platform-imposed penalties affecting the artist’s ability to live-stream.
VIKTOR TRIFU Known by countless touring acts as the technical director of EXIT Festival, Viktor Trifu was one of the first graduates of the Stage Light Design faculty at Novi Sad’s Academy of Arts in Serbia. Fast-forward a few years, and he is now an associate professor of the faculty, with 30 alumni who have already achieved success as lighting designers in theatres, movies, television and, of course, concerts.
How did you first get into the production side of live music? My first job happened by accident. In 1996, I started working as a technician on a major Mediterranean festival, where Toto Cutugno was one of the performers. At that time, the first intelligent devices (scanners, lights with moving mirrors) arrived at the production company I was working for, but they were unable to launch the software for two days because there was no light desk. I stayed up all night studying the software, figured it out, and started the system. That was my first job where, by chance, I immediately ended up behind the software for lights. At the end of the festival, I was offered a permanent job, and I spent the next ten years working as a light designer. I travelled a lot and fell in love with this business. It is a dynamic job, projects are never the same, we are never in the same place, the equipment is constantly improving, and along with it, so are the work processes. When I started working in ‘96, many of the things that are normal in our business today didn’t exist – moving heads, DMX signal, line array speakers, LED lights, LED screens, digital consoles… Today, at 44 years old, and after a quarter of a century in the business, you could say that I am one of the pioneers and veterans in the region. How did you first get to work at EXIT Festival? My first encounter with production happened at EXIT, and as the festival grew, so did my responsibilities – from production manager of a single stage to the technical director of the entire festival. EXIT and me grew together, and I think we’ve both exceeded expectations. EXIT was one of my first serious projects. I also worked on innumerable festivals, concerts and events in Serbia and abroad, both as a
freelancer at the time, and now as a director of Skymusic Production, the biggest rental company in this part of Europe. What have been the highlights for you while working at EXIT? It would have to be the very first festival, because at the time, our country had been liberated from years of dictatorship and isolation, so that was our first contact with international stars. At that time even the “small” stars seemed the biggest in the world. I would have to single out Prodigy as one of the highlights. When I was a kid, I loved their music and always went to their concerts, and years later I got to be a part of them, more than ten times, all over the region. That was a big deal for me. And what about the biggest challenges? Have there been any productions that have arrived that have been particularly challenging to deal with? Every year and every performer is a challenge. We try to upgrade ourselves every year, to make all the stages and performances grander, more spectacular, and it’s an exhausting task. Famous DJs can be very demanding and for years we’ve been trying to meet their demands. The Dance Arena, which is the biggest DJ stage at EXIT, is thematically designed every year, which doesn’t leave much room to comply with riders of the big stars, and they have to adapt to the theme. Those negotiations can be tricky, but once they get on stage, they ask to perform again next year. Big stages, like the Main Stage and Dance Arena, never close, so we work in many shifts. There’s always something going on. Once the programme is over, setup for the next day begins, tone rehearsals follow and continue to the next day. EXIT takes place in a medieval fortress and therefore access for big trucks is impossible. We
have a special team for logistics, cross-load, loadin and load-out of equipment, because everything is trans-shipped to small trucks, 800m away from the fortress and then shipped to the stages. It’s a huge headache. The logistics team alone counts over 100 people during the festival, and they are responsible for all the equipment of all the performers getting to all the stages – and off of them – in time. And they are 100% successful because of the great advance production before the festival. Is there anything you would like visiting artists or tour managers to change that would make life easier for everyone? Or maybe there is something that visiting acts do that annoys you? They have low expectations, but are forgiven for that; they run into all kinds of stuff all over the world, and come to Serbia expecting the worst, but get the best treatment from the minute they arrive. When it comes to equipment, stage design and staff, they are on the same quality level as in Germany or the Netherlands, and visiting artists always get more then they expected. How has the coronavirus impacted you? Skymusic Production is a big company and it was able to keep all employees (who will work on this year’s EXIT Festival). As for the corona time, we used it for additional education of the Skymusic and EXIT production teams. What do you do to relax? I really work a lot, both at Skymusic Production and the Academy, so I can’t wait to go to my home, which is out of the city, next to the Danube river, and spend time with my family and my two dogs, and hang out with my neighbours. We hang out, barbecue and spend time, like everyone esle. I often miss that when I’m working.
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While the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered the live music business, pioneering artists and their representatives have been working hard to make the most of a bad situation. And it seems like pay-per-view, live-streamed concerts may be one silver lining to this particular global cloud. Gordon Masson speaks to the architects behind Laura Marling’s successful shows at London’s Union Chapel.
Photography © Joel Ryan
hen the first song was over and, of course, no applause followed… I found the awkwardness of it somewhat thrilling,” says Laura Marling of her groundbreaking 6 June live-streamed gigs – the first for fans in UK and Europe, followed hours later by a second show tailored for fans in North America. “It felt similar to a sound check in that people
around you are getting on with their jobs and, in my case as a solo performer, you’re left there to get on with it, to do my job – there’s something I really enjoy about that. To sing in an empty church is a pleasure at any time. Also, my shows certainly aren’t famous for my mid-set one liners... so a lack of audience interaction didn’t factor too much.” While the thousands of fans who bought a ticket for the Union Chapel concerts were prob-
ably unaware of the historic significance of the shows, the reaction to the format was almost unanimously positive, with Marling’s haunting lyrics, song choices and mesmeric performance complemented by the setting of the empty and silent venue. Indeed, the artist herself was one of the biggest fans of the format and she is already working with her management team – ATC Management’s Brian Message and Ric Salmon – on another bigger live-streaming concept. To that
“Without an audience, there’s tremendous possibility with what could be done in a space” Laura Marling | artist
Feature_Laura Marling end, Message and Salmon have established a new company called Driift to capitalise on the potential of the new ticketed live-streaming model.
“Great content costs money to create and deliver, so artists should not be ashamed of wanting to sell tickets to make a living” Ric Salmon | ATC Management/Driift
In terms of performance, thousands of acts around the world have found themselves redundant since politicians started banning mass gatherings and confined live music to all but a memory of better times. Using a variety of platforms, however, numerous acts have been video live-streaming from their own homes, albeit with little quality control on either audio or visual aspects. And using the technology at hand, only those with huge followings have been able to generate revenues through the likes of advertising that, again, they rarely have any say about. Where Marling’s activity differed was in charging fans for a ticket to access the live broadcast of her show, which transported her out of the ubiquitous corona confines of the living room/bedroom/bathroom/home studio setting, to a proper, recognisable venue. There she could call upon state-of-the-art sound, lighting and camera equipment, and even an award-winning director, Giorgio Testi, and Pulse Films, to deliver something meaningful and give ‘attendees’ something lasting. “Without an audience, there’s tremendous possibility with what could be done in a space,” enthuses Marling. “An unforeseen bonus to an audience-free show, which of course means no front-of-house sound, is that you can get incredible sound – close to studio quality… With this set-up, we could use mics on everything without fear of feedback.” Manager Ric Salmon tells IQ, “The genesis of the idea was born out of frustration. Laura had sold out her solo, acoustic tour around Australia, North America, the UK and Europe. But then
Covid hit.” When it became clear that not just the North American leg was doomed, but the remainder of the entire tour, the Marling team, like so many others, announced the cancellation: 41 dates in total. Ever proactive, ATC Management convinced Marling to fast track the release of new album, Song for Our Daughter, and started revising plans for promo. “Laura is social media averse, but she was comfortable doing guitar tutorials for fans, so we sent her HD cameras to use in her house and she quite enjoyed performing remotely – culminating in a home performance for Later with Jools on the BBC. “For the tour, we’d refunded about 25,000 people who missed out on seeing her, so we came up with the idea of broadcasting a show from a proper venue, to tap into that demand. But then the discussion was about who would pay for it, as nobody had sold tickets for any live-streamed shows at that point.” Taking that situation as a challenge, the ATC partners set about pulling the necessary team together. “Laura suggested the Union Chapel because that venue means so much to her and, because we’re not technologists, we reckoned the best idea would be to aggregate the best companies in their class,” explains Salmon. Pulse Films and director Testi topped ATC’s wish list and having worked extensively with DICE in the past, the company’s new DICE TV platform also made them a clear choice. Finally, YouTube was added, given its global footprint, but that plan, Salmon admits, had one major flaw: “Being ad-funded, they don’t do paywalls, but Dan Chalmers at YouTube really championed the idea and before we knew it there was terrific forward momentum. “The primary function was not to make money, hence the ticket price of just £12 (€13). But Laura was mortified about cancelling the tour, so this was more about offering her the chance to perform to fans. And it worked brilliantly, as she is in her ele-
ment when it’s just her and her guitar. So it was some sort of replacement for the tour.”
As often happens with any new concept, when word started to spread about the Laura Marling pay-per-views, sceptics rattled out cautionary ‘you can’t replicate live’ adages. But with locked down fans desperate for any kind of shared experience, demand for tickets uncannily replicated ‘normal’ sales patterns. “The level of interest around the announcement was incredible,” reports DICE chief revenue officer, Russ Tannen. “Just like a normal ticketed gig, people were nervous about missing out so they decided to buy early.” Another familiar aspect was a sales spike on the day of the event – a whopping 16% of total sales for the UK show. “A substantial proportion happened in the final hour before the show,” says Tannen. “And
“Yes, it was a live concert without an audience, which was quite strange, but that helped to make it timeless” Giorgio Testi | film director
for people who bought their tickets after the concert had started, they were able to rewind so that they did not miss the first couple of songs.” The North American show was slightly different. “ATC wanted to cap sales, which helped to create a scarcity around the tickets,” says Tannen. Salmon confides that about 200 people were on a waiting list for the North American-timed gig, and on the day of the show that loyalty was recognised when a final batch of tickets was released. Delighted by the results, which saw around 6,500 tickets sold between the two shows, Tan-
nen says, “It was great to do back-to-back shows – a first as far as we’ve seen but it will be a model that’s replicated, as we’ve learned that time zones are more important than geography.” As well as the price of the ticket, purchasers were also given the option of adding a charity donation to Refuge and The Trussell Trust, with whom Marling has long relationships. “Great content costs money to create and deliver, so artists should not be ashamed of wanting to sell tickets to make a living, and I think it’s important to break away from the notion that live-streaming is free to watch,” says Salmon. “But Laura saw an opportunity where people could opt to add a donation on top of the ticket price – £2, £5 or £10 add-ons – and we were
thrilled to see that 60% of people who bought tickets also made donations, raising nearly £7,000 [€7,700] for the charities.” He adds, “Interestingly, for the Sleaford Mods show that is coming up, so far 80% of the buyers have added donations.”
How can I
At the time of the shows, the lockdown regulations in the UK had been somewhat relaxed, but social distancing rules of two metres existed – as they still do at press time – complicating the normal etiquette for both the artist and crew. Fortunately, Marling’s choice of venue provided the project with an unexpected bonus in the shape of Union Chapel CEO Michael Chandler. “We’d been thinking about doing something in the Chapel since we were forced to close, so early on we looked at reconfiguring to work out just how many people we could safely accommodate while meeting government guidelines,” Magazine
Chandler says, revealing that the legislated two-metre rule decimates the venue’s capacity: “It goes from 900 down to just 84.” Nonetheless, the Chapel’s homeless service has remained functional under social distancing procedures since the end of March and Chandler says extending that programme to the rest of the building provided ATC with a template. “We worked out a way for a production team to safely get in and around the venue, and once we could show that to the local council, we obtained approval.” Recalling the stringent regulations, Salmon lauds Pulse Films, noting they will also be partners for Driift’s future live-stream projects. “Pulse walked us through the government-issued guidelines for TV and film, which meant everyone on the crew had to sign a health declaration stating they had no symptoms and had not been in contact with anyone with symptoms.” Personal protection equipment, such as face masks and gloves were mandatory, with director Giorgio Testi making a stark pandemic observation. “There were three or four people who I hadn’t worked with before and it was only when I was walking home afterwards I realised I could just pass them in the street, because the masks mean I have no idea what they look like…” Other restrictions, Salmon discloses, were
“There are a lot of distractions normally – people coughing, or coming and going to the bar or the toilets or whatever. But Laura did not have any of that and it was a deeply powerful performance” Ric Salmon | ATC Management/Driift
more specific. “Catering had to be brought in individually for each member of crew, who had to observe the two-metre rules at all times.” Such obstacles result in other compromises. “I found that I could not use a dolly because the grip who operates it would not be able to stay two metres away from the person with the camera,” says Testi. “Other than that, it was a normal shoot,” laughs Salmon. “We had two outside broadcast trucks, which were brilliantly managed by our friends at Jackshoot, and all the technology worked perfectly.”
For her part in the historic event, Marling is refreshingly modest. “It took some complex logistical manoeuvring to get this done, from a lot of people; I just showed up,” she says. “It’s ex-
citing that it shows some possibility of being an alternative mode of income. It will never replace touring, and it could be argued that it should be considered a totally different thing – but when touring comes back, I think there will be people who now prefer to watch from home.” Of course, where there’s a hit, there’s a writ, and Driift’s principals are all too aware that monetising live streams will result in others looking for their share of the pie. “It’s a simple model,” says Salmon, “we run all aspects of the show – we produce, we promote, we do the marketing and we contract people to do the ticketing, filming, etc. And then on the back end of the profits, we have a revenue split directly with the artist. That seemed the easiest solution, as there was no precedent for this. “From a rights perspective, the deals will depend on the contract that each act has with
their record label regarding performance footage ownership. Then there is the publishing and master side of the synchronisation framework, and performance payments on the writer’s side of things, for which we are collaborating in a really open and progressive way with PRS. But there are no constructs in the field as yet and maybe we should be paying a bit more than the 4.5% of the ticket gross that currently exists for live shows, so that songwriters can get a bit more. It’s a discussion that is in progress and we’re holding a percentage of the ticket gross in escrow for the time being.” Certainly, with a number of projects already lined up, including shows by Lianne La Havas, Sleaford Mods and Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Driift is off to a busy start. And with Marling herself predicting that post-Covid some fans may be reluctant to risk attending shows, then the future for operations like Driift could be very bright indeed. Drawing parallels with the way sports havecashed in on live broadcasting, DICE’s Tannen comments, “We’ve been talking a lot about pay-per-view recently. Going to Old Trafford is not the only way that people can see Manchester United live – there are multiple platforms around the world where people can watch the game live and experience some of that atmosphere. But in live music, the model has been that if you cannot go to Old Trafford, then you don’t get to see the game. “A lot of factors have got to line up to allow people to go to a gig, so I really believe we have been underserving huge numbers of people in society who, for any number of reasons, could not access the live show. With live-streaming, we can change that: a superfan in Paris might be able to pay to watch the last night of their favourite band’s world tour in Los Angeles, for instance.”
The shows themselves extended a lifeline to Union Chapel’s charitable endeavours, which rely on revenues from the venue rental to fund projects such as its homeless outreach programme. “It was beautiful and the social media response was fantastic,” says CEO Chandler of the shows. “The production team did an amazing job and Laura just brought the Chapel to life in a stunning way.” He adds, “We’re very excited to find out who will be next and how we can maybe develop a ‘Live from Union Chapel’ concept, as it could open all kinds of doors when it comes to accessibility and the affordability of tickets.” One of the biggest beneficiaries of live streaming has been DICE which, before launching DICE TV, was in six countries, but is now global, having sold tickets in 130 countries. And learning from the ticketing platform’s past experience, Tannen is confident that many more people will be turning to DICE TV as live-streaming grows. “Fans tell us that the number one reason they don’t go to a gig is that they don’t know anyone else who is going. As a result, we created a feature that tells users who out of their friends is going to a gig, and that feature has completely blown up through live-streaming.” Director Testi also is a big fan of the format. “Laura was a breath of fresh air, because we had a crew and a team who were all involved in filming it live. It was the first job in a while that I’ve done in person with other people. “Yes, it was a live concert without an audience, which was quite strange, but that helped to make it timeless. In fact, normally you have to find compromises for filming when there is an audience, but the beauty of this project was that we had creative freedom. We were able to position Laura right in the middle of the venue and she was able to perform with her back facing where the audience would normally be. “We did something very classical with Laura, with references to the 60s and 70s rather than something more contemporary. We only had three operated cameras and one locked-off camera. That’s very unusual for me because I often use more than 20 cameras on projects, but to be honest, I would have done the same thing if this was June 2019 – it was the right approach for the concert, the artist and the venue.” While some musicians might find the lack of audience a hindrance, Salmon counters, “Being able to perform in that silent setting was fantastic for her, as you could see she was totally im-
mersed in her music. There are a lot of distractions normally – people coughing, or coming and going to the bar or the toilets or whatever. But Laura did not have any of that and it was a deeply powerful performance.” And railing at those who sneer about the lack of audience interaction, Salmon says, “When you put on an album at home, you don’t applaud between songs, so I think the live-streaming shows allow fans to enjoy things in a different way.” He concludes, “Going forward, Driift is going to be a big focus for us – it’s an exciting new format and a brand new model. And the great thing is that this doesn’t eat anyone else’s lunch, so we’re not bulldozing another business – it’s an additional thing, which, if anything, can amplify record sales, touring activity, etc. Nothing is cannibalised.” Indeed, that constantly chased concept of a new revenue stream could have multiple elements. “For Laura, it was very simply about the performance, but for Lianne La Havas and probably Frank Carter we’re looking at exclusive merchandise, just for the shows. We’re also exploring bundling tickets with party hampers and other ideas, which opens up additional revenue streams and potential sponsorship or branding deals. The possibilities are endless.” The last word, of course, goes to the artist. “As an event, it was very much like any other gig,” states Marling. “I wanted to get the set list right, to not faff around tuning guitars too long, to stare at the ceiling and allow myself to disappear into the songs, as I always do. I guess you could say it was surprising how quickly you adapt and carry on...very much in the spirit of the pandemic itself.”
MICHAEL CHANDLER | UNION CHAPEL RIC SALMON | ATC MANAGEMENT/DRIIFT RUSS TANNEN | DICE GIORGIO TESTI | FILM DIRECTOR Magazine
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Welcome to IQ Magazine’s inaugural Green Guardians Guide – an annual list that we are hoping will boost the profile of those working at the forefront of sustainability, while inspiring others to take up the challenges of making live events, and day-to-day life, more environmentally friendly. he Green Guardians Guide is spearheaded by the Green Events & Innovations Conference and IQ Magazine and aims to highlight some of the work that is being done around the world to reduce the carbon footprint of the live entertainment business. To identify the companies, organisations and individuals that are pioneering sustainability measures, a Green Guardians committee has been established, including representatives of some of the sector’s most respected bodies, including A Greener Festival, Go Group, Greener Events Foundation, Green Events Netherlands,
Green Music Initiative, Julie’s Bicycle, Réseau des Femmes en Environnement (women in environment network) and Vision:2025. This inaugural list features 60 entries across ten categories, and we would like to congratulate all those featured for making this year’s guide. As well as thanking everyone involved for the hard work they are putting in to making the world a cleaner and better place. The goal next year is to feature 100 Green Guardians and establish this as an annual guide for anyone that is looking for partners to address sustainability matters and, ideally, help to make the live events industry carbon neutral. Magazine
Located at the centre of Montreal’s Cité des arts
Passareco offers soil protection solutions that make it possible to use nature while
du cirque, the 1,200-capacity TOHU is a place where dissemination, creation, and experimentation converge with culture, environment and community involvement. Since its 2004 inception, it has become an example of sustainable development through culture. TOHU’s 360-degree circular hall is in the purest circus tradition and plays a major role in the incredible growth of Quebec circus, which it places at the top of the bill, thanks to its dedicated venue and festival. TOHU’s Pavilion is green not only in spirit, but in body, too. It was been awarded LEED GOLD (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – a programme that imposes the strictest environmental standards, not only during construction but also in the management of the completed building. Among the many measures TOHU can boast are passive geothermal power, an ice bunker, biogas heating, natural/hybrid ventilation, recycled architecture, green roofs, a naturalised basin, and even a vegetable garden and beehives.
also protecting it: whether parking lot infrastructure, hiking or bike trails – Passareco helps customers reconcile the different usage requirements. Climate protection is central to Passareco and as a result it sources wood from regional sawmills and uses 100% green electricity. The company’s all-encompassing approach to sustainability means it is incredibly careful in choosing its partners, and it promotes like-minded organisations such as tent rental company Tent in Time, social company Syphon AG (which produces floor-protection panels), landscapers Biel-Seeland, and a variety of social enterprise operations that variously provide skills training to unemployed and disabled adults. Passareco also champions ESB’s Biel/Bienne green electricity product, which is Naturemade Star-certified – produced in the Biel city area through a combination of electricity from the Taubenloch Gorge and power from solar roofs. www.passareco.ch
NNNN was created to target the audio market with a disruptive solution and
mindset, combining acoustic quality with sustainability. The company’s patents enable it to do with sound what LED did with light, and it has succeeded in designing speaker solutions that reduce energy consumption by up to 90%, compared to leading premium brands. Transportation is one of the largest contributors of CO2 emissions, so NNNN is setting up a local manufacturer in the US to cover the North American market, while manufacturing in Norway will cover the European market. NNNN’s speakers are made of sustainable Nordic spruce and are manufactured without toxic substances such as beryllium. Manufacturing in Norway is done with 100% hydroelectric power, which has no CO2 footprint. The company says its search for better solutions for the environment has only just begun. www.nnnn.no
With its plastics-free signage solutions, The
Although its mission statement is “Keeping People Safe,” environ-
mental issues have always been on the agenda for FHG Security. The company was an early adopter of the #DrasticOnPlastic campaign and saves 100,000 cups and bottles from going to landfill every year, simply by issuing 500 mugs and 500 sports bottles to its team. FGH has been carbon-neutral for a number of years and as part of its ISO 14001 certification, it calculates all the carbon it has produced (travel Co2, paper, electric, etc.) and plants four trees for every ton. The FGH team is also working on a plan to build an office from sustainable materials, complete with solar panels, vegetable gardens and a gym that produces electricity. Boss Peter Harrison tells IQ, “Most of the things we have done – electric cars, a paperless office, #DrasticOnPlastic – are actually cost-neutral, so doing good does not need to cost a lot. It just needs the will, tenacity and some thinking outside the box.”
Sustainable Signage Co. is a forward-thinking, can-do operation, whose focus is to help companies and individuals reduce the amount of plastic-containing materials that are currently being used in the signage industry. It does this by offering sustainable alternatives that are as good, if not better, than current plastic signs used, while also helping to minimise the amount of plastic entering landfill every day. The company claims to be the world’s first signage specialist that only deals with sustainable materials that can meet the demand of internal and external signage in small and large quantities. Its products have been scrutinised and accredited by A Plastic Planet and it says it is the only signage company to have been accredited with this certification mark. Located in the West Midlands, UK, the company has both UK and international clients, and even before the Covid-19 pandemic, it was encouraging the use of Skype or Facetime to reduce carbon footprint whenever possible. www.sustainablesignageco.com
Continest is an innovative, foldable container
solution especially developed for relatively short-period usage anywhere there is a need for temporary accommodation, office/meeting rooms, first aid, command posts, storage, service areas, and cooling and heating purposes. The containers are uniquely developed for easy and quick set up and transport, thus being environmentally friendly. The solution offers an 80% cost cut on logistic and storage costs, and a similar reduction of CO2 and GHG emissions. In the next 12 months, three main innovations will be rolled out: the CN20 Solar 20-foot, foldable container; connectable Wet Cell units; and the bullet and blast proof foldable version. Continest aims to succeed in the event market segment as well as providing innovative solutions to the defense industry. www.continest.com
Water scarcity is a very real concern for organisers because events cannot take place
without a guaranteed supply of freshwater and wastewater supply for sewerage maintenance. SANI solutions has developed water-saving sanitary vacuum products for the event sector, including vacuum toilets, showers and urinals. SANI’s products require less water and less power, meaning that emissions from wastewater transport and power consumption are reduced in comparison to traditional festival toilets. There is a lower faecal load of wastewater compared to portable toilets and the wastewater left is more resource efficient to clarify in sewage treatment plants compared to portable toilet wastewater. The company says that it can save: up to 80% in wastewater transport costs compared to conventional flush toilets; up to 30% in energy costs through more efficient units, distributors, etc; and up to 50% in storage costs for wastewater and freshwater. In 2019, SANI worked with Rock am Ring to install vacuum toilets, showers, washing units, urinals and toilets with wheelchair accessibility. The festival saved 25-30% water for the event, or about 1,500-1,800m³ . www.sani.de
MaiNoi is a Romanian NGO that specialises in
MARTE WULFF PHOTO © SOLVEIG BERGLI SELJ / MARTEWULFF.COM
Norwegian artist Marte Wulff was originally driven by a simple
desire to make sustainability and environmental issues more mainstream from an artistic perspective. “My ethos is that we need to speak up about what we can do as individuals and as an industry, even though it’s hard and uncomfortable,” she tells IQ. “We have the possibility right now to go ahead and define our own industry before nature or someone else does it for us.” Wulff tours mainly by train or boat, and focuses on quality and sustainability before quantity. She asks all venues for low-carbon solutions in every part of the production, from food and drinks to transport, accommodation, promotion, etc. She makes and releases carbon neutral music videos, and when making physical albums, she puts pressure on suppliers to offer the most ethical products with the lowest carbon footprint, all the way from the paper used on the vinyl, to cutting out plastic and avoiding unnecessary or unethically produced merchandise. www.martewulff.com
sustainability, environmental communications and education campaigns for youth, at national and international level. It has successfully pioneered sustainable events management at music festivals in Romania, through a five-year environmental programme developed at Electric Castle festival, which reduced the carbon footprint of the event and created thousands of agents of change from the audience, artists, and the festival’s ecosystem. Other notable projects initiated by MaiNoi are the Music Drives Change campaign, which encouraged musicians to act as sustainability champions; as well as the “eco-ambassadors” behavioural and policy-change campaign to promote cycling as an alternative means of transportation and to push for the adoption of a cycling law in Romania. The advice MaiNoi gives to those who want to improve their green credentials is to believe in their power, to make an impact at their scale, and to drive all their energy towards this objective: walking the sustainability path pays off sooner rather than later, and opens up wonderful opportunities for personal and collective evolution along the way. www.mainoi.ro
Greenbelt believes passionately in the ability of individuals
to come together and make a change – hence winning the 2020 International A Greener Festival Community Action Award. Committed to halving its carbon footprint by 2025, Greenbelt continually examines all aspects of sustainability within the festival, while also sharing lessons with the wider industry to inspire others to also make changes. Greenbelt’s activities range from halving fuel usage, to introducing bamboo wristbands, and even discovering the success that Bin Fairies can have on recycling rates. Greenbelt 2020 was planned single-use plastic free (apart from cable ties, which it is still working on) and this is ambition will be retained for 2021 when fully electric crew and artist buggies will be onsite. “If you're looking to improve your green credentials, focus on just a couple of things at a time - you can't fix everything in one go,” says Greenbelt’s Mary Corfield. “Transport is a great place to start - how festivalgoers, artists and kit get to site, is a huge part of the emissions from every event.”
plastic, one stainless steel bottle at a time. The organisation intends to help make this happen while having a lot of fun along the way. Every bottle sold not only tackles single-use plastics, but also makes partner brands look amazing. Whilst also helping to fund RAW Foundation’s campaign work globally on this critical issue, and supports its aim of eliminating single-use plastic by 2030. RAW was co-founded by campaigner Melinda Watson, the founder of sister organisation RAW Foundation; the folks behind Shambala Festival; and Ed Gillespie, founder of global sustainability consultancy and creative change agency, Futerra. RAW bottles are made of stainless steel, which will not leach, stain or react with the bottles’ contents. The vessels are durable, reusable, light, easy to carry and virtually indestructible. The company has already eliminated the use of countless plastic bottles and is busy persuading others, to help it toward its 2030 goals.
RAW Ltd exists to do one simple thing: help create a world free of pointless
In the late ’90s, a group of like-minded people
met and bonded over a shared love of music, good times, and a thirst for questioning the world. They threw a lot of parties, including Afrika Jam – a regular live African night, which they took on national tour in support of charity People & Planet. Shambala quickly followed with 100 folk, a couple of toilets, and a farmer’s trailer for a stage. There was no real plan for the future, but people had a good time, so it was repeated again and again. Twenty years later Shambala is still going strong. Shambala is committed to being as environmentally sustainable as possible. The carbon footprint of the festival has been reduced by over 80%, achieved 100% renewable power, become meat- and fish-free and has eradicated disposable plastics. The organisation is more than five times carbon positive, and it works with a large network of charities to generate income.
My Cause has provided more than 6,000 proactive front-line volunteers to the UK’s
biggest events such as Boomtown, Boardmasters, Bestival, Download Festival, Noisily, NASS, Love Saves The Day, Lovebox and many more. My Cause offers event organisers an ethical and sustainable alternative to existing staffing providers by channelling its fees to the charities its volunteers nominate. That provides My Cause with a switched on, engaged and reliable team to represent client events in the best possible way. So far, it has donated almost £150,000 (€168,000) to more than 1,000 charities chosen by its volunteers. My Cause director Rob Wilkinson notes, “When you are looking to book crew, volunteers, or staff from any supplier don’t just look at your bottom line but ask about what they do to care for and support their team. Well briefed, motivated and well cared for staff on your front line will bring your green credentials to life better than any sign or page in a programme ever could.” www.mycauseuk.com
SEBASTIAN FLEITER Sebastian Fleiter’s grandfather taught him to use things up to the very end, and then try to repurpose them, “Later on, while staying in the US as a teenager, I learned about a first nations ancient language. This language had no word for ‘trash’… Everything used was part of an everlasting circle. That blew my mind.“ One of Fleiter’s best-known projects is The Electric Hotel – a recycled, 1960s Airstream trailer capable of mass-charging over 1,000 mobile phones simultaneously, with energy generated on-site at music festivals and other events all over Europe. The installation can provide enough power for small bands to perform in the middle of nowhere. “I ask myself two questions when using something – the clothes I wear, electricity I use, the melon in the supermarket, a smart phone, a hairbrush, a search engine, pens, my knowledge, fossil fuel, the keyboard I am writing this on, or the coins in my pocket. The questions are very simple: Where does it come from? Where does it go?” www.the-electric-hotel.com
Roskilde Festival is a volunteer-run, non-profit organisation whose aim is to make a dif-
ference and have a positive effect on its surroundings; to support initiatives benefitting children and young people; and to support humanitarian and cultural work. Festival volunteers participate year round in the decision-making, planning and troubleshooting processes, and in the recruitment and management of other volunteers. The volunteer community is motivated by teamwork and a sense of all being in it together, and due to actively participating in the development of the festival. This has an impact on volunteers signing up and participating for the first time. Roskilde’s core management team supports the organisation by providing leadership training (also developed and run by volunteers) and by providing tools for supporting feedback processes, allowing volunteers’ voices to be heard regarding the many ideas they have on how to improve processes and co-operation. www.roskilde-festival.dk
Greenpeace was actually founded with a concert in Canada, in 1970, when James Taylor, Joni Mitchell and the late Phil Ochs performed a benefit gig to pay for the fuel that allowed a Greenpeace ship to sail into a nuclear testing zone. Glastonbury was the first major festival that Greenpeace attended, in 1992. Many concerts and festivals have followed and continue to play a major part in helping the organisation to raise awareness of its international work. The majority of its event volunteers come from the network of local Greenpeace groups, but it also advertises on its social media platforms where potential volunteers complete a questionnaire and Greenpeace asks for another person to vouch for them. In terms of sustainability, Greenpeace endeavours to lead by example, calling out areas where improvements can be made. Festivals give Greenpeace access to an audience that it can inform and entertain, allowing it to communicate vital messages such as: “Don’t count the cost; DO IT! As otherwise it’s costing the Earth.” www.greenpeace.org
The Food Line-up was founded in 2012 and is based on the principles of slow food i.e.
Stack-Cup’s vision is to live in a world where
consuming is fun, guilt-free and doesn’t destroy the Earth. The team behind Stack-Cup believe that changing consumer behaviour and habits will lead to a better future for our planet. Stack-Cup’s clients include The O2 (London), The Oval cricket ground (London) and Hong Kong Stadium. All of which had previously used tonnes of single-use plastics every year. However, by partnering with all three venues on the customer experience, cup logistics and washing infrastructure, Stack-Cup was able to implement a circular approach to reusing cups, ensuring that they were returned to the venues time and again. In each case, there were challenges to overcome, from councils regarding health and safety through to customer deposit programmes. Working with each venue, Stack-Cup continues to fine-tune and improve its service. The company can track its impact by calculating the number of reusable cups, rather than single-use plastics, in venues, which can be articulated both in financial terms and reduction in CO2 emissions. Last year, it removed 14.8 million single-use cups from the economy. www.stack-cup.com
good, clean and fair. Visiting festivals, the company’s founders became frustrated with the type of food that was being served, mostly by one giant company. They decided it was time food became part of the event line-up, hence the company name, and have been working with specialised chefs to achieve this ever since. Alongside its main role as “food booker” for large-scale festivals and corporate events, The Food Line-Up has also developed projects such as the circular food-court, together with DGTL Festival; and Brasserie 2050, together with financial services company Rabobank, in the Netherlands. The project aims to address the issue of feeding the world’s rapidly increasing population, which is set to reach almost ten billion by 2050. The project’s central theme was minimal impact on people, animals and the environment. In addition, all dishes were given an accurate C02 measurement and every dish told the story of a smart technologist, driven farmer or visionary entrepreneur. www.thefoodlineup.nl
Øya Festival uses plates made from wheat bran that is compressed and shaped using
steam. The end product is edible and tastes like a very dry biscuit – and has become a favourite amongst beer-thirsty audiences. Uneaten plates can be disposed of alongside food waste, and it is easy for the public to properly source them. Festival-goers don’t need to scrape food waste off the plates, since food and plates go into the same garbage bin. The plates are manufactured by Biotrem and are a Polish innovation. They are made from residual products that would otherwise be discarded, and represent a fantastic solution, as they replace a disposable product that would normally be made of single-use plastic. There are drawbacks, as the plates weigh a lot, both as new products and as part of the festival’s total waste. They also tend to dissolve if left with hot liquid for too long. But all in all, it is a solution Øya is very proud to use, and the carbon footprint is minimal. www.oyafestivalen.no
Det Runde Bord (DRB) is the food waste partner of Roskilde Festival and
Prior to starting the business in 1988, company founders
many others, and has been spreading its message globally, and inspiring many, since 2014. The organisation has attended around 100 festivals since its inception, and in total has saved six million meals from ending up as food waste – a significant part of which has come from wholesale food companies and food producers. As well as food waste, DRB has undertaken a large number of projects relating to the environment involving food for the needy. During the coronavirus pandemic, the organisation was contacted by social workers due to the numerous soup kitchens that were forced to close down. DRB started production within three days, and since the end of March has distributed 500 single packaged meals a day (many thousands in total) to homeless people and drug addicts. The company will continue to do so until these people are in a sound nutritional state.
Barry and Peter Tiffen, were travelling in South America where they witnessed first hand the destruction being carried out to primary forests in order to make space for both cattle and palm oil. After seeing the effects this was having on the environment, the brothers set up Goodness Gracious Healthy Foods with the aim of providing healthy food at events and festivals and encouraging people to try a plantbased diet, which is a healthy and more environmentally friendly alternative. In addition, after realising that very few events provide composting, the Tiffens established a system where they take leftovers to a nearby farmer to be composted. Keeping busy during the pandemic lockdown, Barry and Peter have been converting a large, overgrown field into an organic allotment, as well as building an eco-house with rainwater harvesting, photovoltaic panels, an air source heat pump and a heat recovery system etc.
Tollwood Festival unites a zest for life, an enjoyment of culture, and a
commitment to a tolerant, peaceful and sustainable world. Since the first festival in 1988, ecological and social commitment has formed the way the festival thinks and acts, and its key focus is to keep its carbon footprint as small as possible. Tollwood is known for its international gastronomy, which is provided by around 50 restaurateurs, and since 2003, the festival’s catering has been certified in accordance with EU organic council regulation. This means that the event’s visitors can enjoy a diverse selection of 100% organic, vegetarian and vegan food from 20 or so nations. This dedication to organic, plant-based cuisine saves the festival 116 tons of CO2 per year. As a leader in its field, Tollwood is often contacted by other festivals and venues requesting information about its returnable system and waste sorting systems. “If you change conditions, you change behaviour! Your guests will act sustainably, when sustainability is the standard. It’s your turn, it’s your responsibility, act now!” www.tollwood.de
Immersa Off Grid is a sister company to Immersa
Midas recognised during the early stages of its development, that in order to respond
to client demands and requirements, it should own the machinery itself. Investment in plant is one of the company’s main annual expenditures, and to complement its fleet, Midas stocks large quantities of mains cable and distribution products, and can cater to both the UK’s smallest events and to its most prestigious festivals. As part of its services, Midas offers full site design, often working to very tight timescales and budgetary demands, sometimes in the most challenging and sensitive locations around the UK. Midas sees all contracts as bespoke by nature and therefore treats them accordingly in order to deliver efficient, reliable and, above all, safe electrical systems. Operations range from optimised generator sizing, to avoid plant running inefficiently, to road haulage and logistics. The Midas aim is to deliver cost-effective solutions to festival power hire clients, whilst at all times minimising the impact on the environment.
Ltd, which provides energy consumers, large and small, with bespoke energy solutions, utilising renewable energy generation and storage. Immersa Off Grid focuses on the deployment of renewable energy and storage to festivals and events, principally on a rental/leasing basis, with the goal of replacing existing dirty/expensive equipment and infrastructure, such as diesel generators with clean alternatives, including temporary solar arrays with battery storage. The use of solar and battery storage in concession-stand vehicles has a direct positive impact, as there is no diesel generator running to power the vehicle, meaning no noise and no exhaust fumes. This has an easily definable impact on people working in the vehicle, and everybody who visits it. If all such concession stands at an event were powered in the same way this would have a huge effect on the localised environment and would be of great benefit to all those attending. www.immersa.co.uk
Greener was founded in January 2018, in order
MHM was incorporated in early 2010 as a supplier of power generation, solar-hybrid
generators, fluid storage, lighting towers, engine drive welders and product-related accessories to the UK and Irish rental markets for both purchase and rehire. The company has been awarded the prestigious SafeHire certification quality mark, which is governed by Hire Association Europe. All MHM products are manufactured in a purpose-built facility based near Milan, Italy, that has individually designed production lines that produce the MHM range of equipment swiftly and efficiently, without compromising on quality or safety. In keeping with modern-day requirements, MHM places particular emphasis on environmental considerations as it develops its product range. Examples for this progression include the increasing use of hybrid technology, LED lighting, solar power, clean fluid storage and emission-efficient diesel engines. MHM undertakes to pursue the use of renewables to power their equipment wherever and whenever possible. www.mhmplant.co.uk
to make an impact on the carbon dioxide footprint of on- and off-grid energy markets, using mobile batteries and smart energy planning. The idea emerged in 2014, after a backstage visit to one of the biggest festivals in The Netherlands. Greener’s founders were shocked to discover how little thought had gone into accurately and efficiently planning the power supply of equipment such as lights, audio and food trucks. As they investigated further, they saw the same lack of planning for energy efficiency in other areas, like construction sites and grid maintenance. Instead, all they could see was unnecessarily massive equipment running on very low efficiency rates – a situation they felt compelled to change. The people behind Greener are convinced that there are many opportunities to make practices in the energy sector less of a burden on the environment. The company sees solutions in technological innovation and it is bringing these to the market to make our world greener. www.greener.nl
In the event, construction and film sector, more than 100 million litres of fuel are
Having decided to create a music festival with
burned per year. This is associated with pollution, noise, odour and high costs. With the threat of climate change that we, as individuals, can no longer close our eyes to, organisations are being held increasingly responsible for pollution. Wattsun pop-up Power was established to help address this. In 2015, Wattsun began the development of its portable battery systems and several prototypes were built that ultimately led to the current Wattsun products for which it has obtained a worldwide patent. The Wattsun is extremely user-friendly. Thanks to the intuitive design and simplicity of operation, anyone, even without technical knowledge, can operate the system. The design immediately gives the user the idea that the modules are stackable and no matter how the module is stacked, clockwise or counter-clockwise, it always works, while the loading and unloading programme is automated in such a way that the user does not have to think about charging and discharging.
a prominent focus on environmental issues, We Love Green organisers really had to start from scratch. The festival site, located in Bois de Vincennes forest in Paris, is not supplied with electricity, so organisers had to find innovative energy solutions. Solar panels were installed onsite and despite the technology only being available in the UK at the time, they have since managed to source French, local providers willing to bring solar energy to temporary events. We Love Green now uses 100% renewable energy powered by biofuel generators that use 100% French-produced rapeseed biofuel; and green hydrogen, which is produced in Paris with electricity from a wind farm. “Rethinking” is We Love Green’s key strategy, according to co-founder Marie Sabot. “You have to rethink your way of doing things: you have to rethink design, rethink organisation, rethink implementation. We have to readjust ourselves to prioritise the health of our planet and its ecosystems.”
Power Logistics is a global leader in the
provision of temporary events power, with a customer-focused service and respected track record that spans two decades. The company’s logistical and electrical safety records are exemplary, and they also provide services within permanent venues as well as temporary, green-field events. It maintains a whole host of equipment and services in-house, from a fleet of dedicated event generators suitable for use with biodiesel, to an extensive stock of mains cabling, distribution and lighting equipment. In addition, it also has the facilities and expertise to fabricate new products, as well as adapting existing equipment to meet a client’s specific requirements. Being energy efficient is at the forefront of everything the company does. It continually investigates new and alternative methods to make events as carbon efficient as possible. Sustainable solutions and reducing impact on the environment are key to ensuring Power Logistics’ business is both efficient and cost effective for its clients. www.powerlog.co.uk
ZAP Concepts offer consultancy in energy and sustainability; specialising in energy
assessment, measurement and logging, together with the design of optimal power supplies for live events, through the use of its unique and internationally awarded Smart Power Plan. The company not only accurately manages power at festivals and events, it is also active in the field of energy consultancy for both indoor and outdoor venues and public and private land-owners. The organisation designs and specifies permanent grid power connections for sites, based on the power needs of the different events that take place there, reducing or removing the need for temporary generators. ZAP also works with developers of innovative energy systems by offering coaching and executive support. In addition to providing practical advice, it can also form the bridge between the technical developers of these systems and producers of festivals and events to achieve successful pilot schemes. www.zapconcepts.com
Frustrated by the volume of fake environmen-
TicketSellers pushes its sustainability agenda through its eventree platform. The com-
pany builds all of its software in-house allowing it to incorporate new features to help its clients’ events to be greener, as well as engaging their audiences in sustainability initiatives. Its first carbon-balancing tool, for instance, was launched in 2009. Clients Shambala, Boomtown, Nozstock, Noisily, Just So, Elderflower Fields, and mountain-bike fest GT Bicycles Malverns Classic have all benefited from the goodwill associated with engaging customers with the impact of their travel. Eventree is TicketSellers’ crew management platform, accrediting tens of thousands of event workers each year. The system captures postcodes for requested vehicle passes and looks to present event organisers with comprehensive carbon footprint analysis for crew travel. In 2018, the festivals who implemented the eventree carbon calculator on their ticket page collectively balanced over half a million miles of travel carbon. www.theticketsellers.co.uk
tal claims and greenwashing, Enviral founder Joss Ford wanted to put great environmental and social brands in the spotlight so that other eco-minded consumers could purchase from them. Essentially, he wanted to create a PR agency that could help green businesses use their force for good, in order to evoke positive behaviour change and ultimately make whole industries better. Ford advises potential clients to: “Make sure it’s genuine. A disingenuous purpose or greenwashing will only work to damage your brand, so if you’re going to talk the sustainability talk, then your festival better walk the walk.” He adds, “If you’re looking to genuinely improve green credentials, then getting attendees involved with your initiatives will help them feel like they’re part of this positive change. For example, offer attendees the option to pay a few extra pounds for renewable power at the event. Initiatives such as this will help festival goers feel like they’re contributing to positive change.” www.enviral.co.uk
HEARTFELDT FOUNDATION Established by platinum-selling DJ and producer, Sam Feldt,
Launched by the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) in
the Heartfeldt Foundation uses its voice to make a positive impact at festivals and events including Coachella, Ultra Music Festival, ADE Green, IMS and A Greener Festival Awards. Last year, the Foundation produced Heartfeldt Event, which took place during the Amsterdam Dance Event, with the aim of making it carbon neutral. Visitors to the event were asked about their method of transportation so that the amount of offset required could be calculated. Meanwhile, the venue removed single-use plastics in its food and beverage section, employed a liquid smoke machine as FX instead of C02, served healthy, non-alcoholic drinks, and brought in an entire jungle of plants. Prior to the pandemic, Heartfeldt was busy with the production of a self-sustainable, pop-up touring concept, designed to positively contribute to the communities it visits, which will be rolled out as soon as touring restarts.
association with RAW Foundation to coincide with Earth Day in 2018, #DrasticOnPlastic saw more than 60 AIF member festival websites ‘wrapped in plastic’ for 24 hours to raise awareness of the devastating effects of single-use plastic. Website visitors were faced with facts about the extent and impact of everyday plastic use, alongside links to RAW Foundation resources. One of the key messages was to promote re-use as opposed to single-use, and to illustrate the footprint of festivals, with 23,500 tonnes of waste generated and audiences consuming ten million plastic bottles annually. The campaign attracted global media attention across TV, radio and online, generating over 15m impressions on social media. Crucially, all participating festivals committed to banning plastic straws on-site in 2018, as a minimum first step, and pledged to eliminate all single-use plastic at their events by 2021 (now 2022 in light of the COVID-19 crisis and festival reschedules).
2020 Summer Series GEI
In lieu of our beloved summer antics, the live community are coming together to create a better normal. Join inspiring, interactive debates about things that matter. Sign-up to our mailing list and follow us on social media to join the conversation mailing list: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sustainability Specialists www.agreenerfestival.com Training
Both the circular economy and the mantra “cradle to cradle” (as opposed to “cradle to
grave”) are what drive Pitched For You, which, in a nutshell, hires ready pitched tents to festival fans. During a trip to Africa, recycling fanatic Kieran vanden Bosch was inspired by how many things the local people reused and repurposed, and so on his return to the UK in 2008, he started Transition Resource as a Transition Town group based in Glastonbury. Under that banner, he set about picking up rubbish and trying to make useful things out of it, in the hope of turning rubbish into resource by creating a need for it. “I found a lot of tents left at festivals and started Camplight in 2012,” says the serial entrepreneur. “I soon realised Camplight could never actually fully change the problem at large, so that’s why I’ve started Pitched for You, which I’m now trying to find funding for.” www.pitchedforyou.com
Mepex is a Norwegian consulting company that specialises in waste management and
recycling. With almost 30 years of experience, Mepex has acquired a unique knowledge base. Combined with a solid international network and good digital tools, it ensures its clients’ resource-efficient solutions enable them to achieve their environmental goals. Mepex has a long list of ongoing and completed assignments for both the public and private sectors. It is an independent company run by partners and has 16 employees, located in the centre of Asker. Those employees have a solid knowledge base and extensive expertise in the fields of waste management and recycling, allowing Mepex to embark on projects for different types of client groups, throughout the waste pyramid – and along the entire value chain for all types of products and materials. With a strong background in waste management and recycling, Mepex offers a vast array of services including analyses; strategies and measures; implementation; and new circular concepts. www.mepex.no
For those organising a public or private event,
Devizes, UK-based Grist Environmental can ensure that it is clean, safe and environmentally responsible. The company’s specialist event services team is experienced, flexible and unobtrusive. It ensures that all waste is recycled and recovered from events at its specialist materials recovery facility, resulting in zero waste going to landfill. Grist’s employees regularly manage waste solutions at events ranging from 30,000 revellers at a week-long festival to village fetes for a few hundred people at local, regional and national levels. From the set-up to the breakdown of an event, the company can provide experienced and committed staff as well as flexible and reliable equipment hire. This ensures excellent customer satisfaction and site cleanliness for the duration. Supplying a wide range of high-quality, customer-focused waste management packages, Grist’s services are tailored to meet specific client needs and can include everything from litter picking teams and corporate hospitality staff, to portable event toilets and fencing and crowd control barriers www.gristenvironmental.com
Describing itself as a “go-to source for sustainable hospitality,” Tutaka makes sus-
Based in Bristol, UK, waste and recycling special-
tainable procurement easy by relieving buyers from the hotel, restaurant and event industry of the complex task of searching. “In our marketplace, numerous audited products and services can be directly acquired. This saves time and brings products into the operations that inspire guests and employees alike,” it states. The Tutaka platform features such varied products as upcycled, PET, hotel slippers, soap dispensers, aprons from recycled PET, edible spoons, straws made from straw and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has even sourced ranges of sustainable face masks. For events and festival organisers, Hamburg-based Tutaka carries links for items such as F&B tokens made from wood cut-offs, organic cotton festival bracelets, recycled polyester wristbands and rentable lanyards. On a larger scale, it brokers deals for the likes of sustainable festival toilet blocks, solar phone-charging stations, cardboard trash-cans and even cardboard tents.
ist Greenbox offers a unique and forward-thinking approach to events waste management. It pioneers the most sustainable strategies whilst keeping events clean, tidy and safe. The Greenbox team builds on a wealth of experience that dates back to the mid-90s when recycling was first taking a foothold in the events industry. Its specially designed, distinctive and robust recycling stations are renowned for their ease of use and high recycling yield. The company maintains that it’s what you don’t see that’s most important; through strategic deployment of its teams, Greenbox tackles cleansing issues before they become a problem. Greenbox operates throughout the UK, frequently in remote areas with limited and difficult access, as well as busy city centres and at high-profile sporting events. It provides all the necessary vehicles, personnel, equipment and expertise to ensure events are cleaned efficiently, professionally and more sustainably.
Ecofest is a Belgian, not-for-profit organisation
that is constantly searching for more sustainable solutions for the event sector. It combines knowledge of circularity and sustainability with hands-on waste management at events. Ecofest supports event organisers in its implementation of green measures by analysing the current situation, presenting a trajectory of solutions, and making the link between organisation and potential suppliers. While Ecofest specialises in working with reusable cups and waste sorting, it also investigates possibilities within the whole range of environmental issues – waste, energy, catering, mobility, etc. The organisation’s aim is to raise awareness and change the behaviour of event visitors, organisers and suppliers. It shares its practical experience through workshops, lectures and ‘how to’ documents. To date, Ecofest has worked with several Belgian festivals, dance events and local authorities including the City of Antwerp and the Flemish waste administration, OVAM. www.ecofest.be
Festovers’ ethos is to look at all avenues to create a circular economy, which currently
translates as upcycling for reuse. Environmentalism has been at the core of Festovers from the start, as the whole idea involves trying to create a more sustainable festival/ events industry. Festovers’ main work in 2019 was with Truck Festival in Oxfordshire where it managed to collect over 85% of the leftover tents, all to be upcycled. Every year, more than 95% of leftover festival tents end up in landfill/incinerators. Festovers wants to work with major festivals across the sector to massively reduce that number. Thanks to Festovers’ hard work, festivals can make a massive dent in their waste. With a good social media presence, the company is also offering a positive impact to the audience, as it educates about tent waste and tries to encourage people to take their tents home. Festovers founder Thomas Panton says, “Don’t be afraid to make a big change. The future needs big changes, and sometimes leading the way is the best thing an event/ festival or even an individual can do.” www.festovers.co.uk
NO TIME TO WASTE ARTS No Time to Waste Arts was created in 2018 by
a trio of artists with the aim of transforming waste tyres and scrap metal into visually stunning public sculptures and installations. Their pieces address environmental issues both in the materials they are made of and their themes. These issues have included ocean plastic, global tyre waste, deforestation and pollution. The artists also have a charitable project, ‘waste not want not charitable salvage,’ which collects waste materials from event sites, such as wood, tents, bedding, tools and materials, and redistributes them to community projects, adventure playgrounds and for charitable purposes. It has collected large quantities of bedding and tents from UK festivals and redistributed them to homeless projects throughout the UK and Calais refugee camps, as well as collecting wood from corporate events and re-distributing it to adventure playgrounds in the UK, and playground building project Team Playground in The Gambia and Senegal. The artists provide a clearance service and can help with waste management and recycling strategies. They advocate that event organisers source recycled material and support local salvage of materials.
© NO TIME TO WASTE ARTS
RUTH HERBERT As an art director and set designer, Ruth Herbert has been engaged in sustainable
design since her training as a technical artist for film and TV, when she admits to being hugely shocked by the waste and toxic materials used within these industries. Through experience and autonomy, however, she has managed to find more sustainable solutions without impacting the final product. For the last five years, Herbert has been art director for the UK’s Noisily Festival of Music and Arts, where she ensures all artwork and set design follows the sustainability ethos at the core of the festival planning. She works with companies and institutions such as the V&A Museum to reuse components from their previous exhibitions, adapting each donated item to fit the unique aesthetic of the event. “Making the right sustainable choices in design is an obligation as well as a way to educate the audience, incorporating the narrative either through leadership, the installations commissioned, or simply through the materials used,” she says. www.ruthherbert.com
IAN GARRETT Ian Garrett can point to 2005 as the
beginning of his fusion of design for performance and sustainability in art making. “I started to question the impact of my practice,” he recalls. “Some quick calculations in my notebook, about the environmental impact of a project I was designing, spun off to a career dedicated to environmental issues in art making.” He is working with the National Arts Centre in Canada to calculate the carbon footprint of their events, having completed similar projects with the Fusebox Festival in Austin, Texas and the Hillside Festival in Guelph, Ontario – Hillside was certified carbon neutral as part of that research. “I’ve contributed to smaller projects too, and we often found that the environmental impact of a performance was less than what an audience would have if they stayed home,” he reveals. “So a lot of our work has shifted to audience behaviours since their transportation is consistently the biggest source of emissions for cultural events.” www.sustainablepractice.org
Rather than fixating
Écoscéno was created by four women
on issues relating to the environment, Daniel Popper says he is more influenced by relationships with nature and the wonders of the natural world. “The wonderful by-product is that my work then begins to raise awareness around the issues threatening this very experience,” he says. Early in his career, Popper was involved with projects such as building a giant baobab tree as a symbol of sustainability for the COP17 eco-summit. That led to him creating other large-scale structures to which he added reclaimed materials and natural fibres, allowing the organic textures to resonate with the message of the work, which is to strengthen our relationship with nature. “Develop your relationship with nature; spend time with nature; fall in love with nature. Once you recognise how connected you are, protecting it will be second nature,” says Popper.
working in the Montreal cultural scene with a shared concern for the amount of waste produced by the art sector. Écoscéno’s mission is a process: firstly, to educate people on the challenges and opportunities the industry faces regarding sustainability; then to instil reflexes and habits in producers and creators so that they really think about what the future of the materials they are using could be; and finally to help productions find ways to repurpose, re-use or donate their materials in order to save them from going to landfill, thereby creating a circular economy in the industry. Key impact indicators are essential to the organisation’s work, as they quantify the value of what Écoscéno does. The amount of production waste that is saved from landfill by being reused or repurposed is tracked, and the organisation also looks at the savings made by the adoption of sustainable practices, in order to debunk the myth that being greener is more expensive. www.ecosceno.org
As human beings, we leave an unavoidable
QUALITÉ MOTEL Canadian electro-group Qualité Motel have always been sensitive to environmental is-
sues, but the main change to the band’s habits came in 2018, when the ACT movement started in Montreal, offering touring artists a deeper understanding of their environmental impact, and providing tools and a list of actions that can be done differently. The band emphasises that every small gesture counts: they bring reusable water bottles and coffee thermoses to avoid trashing plastic bottles and single-use coffee cups; they bring their own lunch; and their eco artist rider requests local food, local alcohol, “access to water” instead of bottled water, zero-waste catering, etc. “We also encourage them to extend as much as they can those principles to the rest of the event,” says band member François-Simon Déziel. In 2019, Qualité Motel launched a new festival called La Virée du Saint-Laurent where they organised three beach parties along the Saint-Laurent River, and embarked on a seven-day tour using a sailing boat in an effort to achieve zero-waste events, zero-emission transport and 100% local proposition for food and alcohol. www.qualitemotel.com
carbon footprint, simply by existing on Planet Earth. By now, we’ve learned that the choices we make, especially with regards to travel, can affect the size of that footprint, and many of us already make an effort to reduce our emissions where possible. CHOOOSE makes it easy to act on climate change by making solutions for global CO2 reduction available to everyone. With a monthly subscription, it is possible to directly support some of the most impactful CO2-reducing projects around the world. These projects are carefully handpicked by the CHOOOSE international carbon advisory team, and verified by acknowledged institutions such as Veritas, DNV GL, and the United Nations. The average CO2 footprint for a world citizen is 4.8 metric tons per year, but emissions vary depending on the country e.g. the average person in Nepal emits 0.3 tons per year, compared to the average Canadian’s 15.2 tons. Based on numbers provided by The World Bank, CHOOOSE therefore offers subscriptions based on country. www.chooose.no
During the 2006/07 season, when Yourope (the association of European
festivals), launched its Green & Clean guidelines for greener festivals, Rock Werchter was among the first to get on board. In association with Belgian public transport companies, SNCB and De Lijn, Rock Werchter offers a free train e-ticket for anyone who buys a ticket to the festival, and/or free return travel by train or bus. Festivalgoers can take the train to Leuven or Aarschot stations, from where De Lijn takes them by shuttle bus to the Werchter site on either hybrid buses or buses with diesel filters. NMBS also provide night trains to ensure people get home after each day of Rock Werchter, and after the promoter’s one-day festivals. The festival also encourages fans, crew and volunteers to cycle to Werchter and runs a park & bike scheme whereby fans can use car-parks near the festival for free, before using their own bikes to complete the final leg of the trip. www.rockwerchter.be
Big Green Coach claims to be the largest events travel company in the
UK, through its work with more festivals and gigs than any of its industry rivals. It is the official and exclusive coach partner to major festivals such as Boardmasters, Creamfields, Download, Isle of Wight Festival, Latitude, Leeds, Parklife, Reading, Wireless and many more. Further afield it transports fans to the likes of Outlook, Hideout, Tomorrowland, Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop. Since its creation in 2009, Big Green Coach has been working hard to make a positive impact on the environment. More recently, for every customer who books travel with Big Green Coach, the company commits to sponsoring and protecting 5 square feet of Amazonian rainforest for ten years. This has resulted in more than 1.2million square feet of rainforest in Peru being protected by Big Green Coach for the next ten years. The company’s target is to protect an area covering 3m square feet during the next five years. www.biggreencoach.co.uk
Sustainability goes hand in hand with Pieter
Smit’s efficiency driven factors, and as a result, all its trucks are Euro 6 and equipped with state-of-the-art technology, meeting all the latest EU standards. This is the most environmentally friendly technology available for (long-distance) trucking. In addition, all Pieter Smit vehicles are equipped to run on biodiesel. Company policy dictates that vehicles must drive as few unnecessary kilometres as possible, which often means leaving trucks and trailers at venues for a few days, while the driver travels home on public transport. Among its various sustainability credentials, Pieter Smit’s new and renovated buildings use geothermal heating systems (earth warmth) together with improved insulation materials and triple-glazed windows. At company HQ, 600 solar panels, with a 153 KWP capacity have been installed, and the buildings have been fitted with LED lighting to reduce energy consumption, meaning the company delivers electricity back to the grid. www.pietersmit.com
Literally translated as ‘bicycle cloakroom,’ FahrradGarderobe (FG) promotes
quality-conscious, environmentally friendly and socially responsible event tourism throughout Germany and beyond. Bicycle cloakrooms (or ‘bike racks’), are becoming commonplace at festivals and sporting events, thanks to FG, who provide guarded, insured, and fully accessible, mobile parking spaces for attendees’ bikes. The use of bicycles delivers a significant CO2 reduction for events, with the bonus that FG staff and volunteers can directly record the diverse positive and negative visitor impressions at each event and pass that feedback to the organisers. Bike parking also cuts down on possible congestion around escape routes, while space saving on a large scale. FG also encourages event visitors to check out the local area outside of the event itself, and supports regional eco-cycling initiatives. www.fahrradgarderobe.de
Goldeimer’s aim is that every single person on the planet will have access to secure
sanitation. As there are currently 4.2 billion people that don’t, 100% of Goldeimer’s profits are used to support United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 6: clean water and sanitation. The organisation’s toilet paper is made from 100% waste paper, contributing to the protection of primeval forests in South America, Russia and Scandinavia. In addition to safeguarding biodiversity in these forests, this reduces environmental pollution through long transport routes, whilst saving a lot of water and energy. However, Goldeimer doesn’t just sell toilet paper. Every year the company’s task force of more than 200 volunteers takes 80 Goldeimer compost toilets to many festivals in Germany, where they can educate festival attendees and provide a sustainable alternative to regular sanitary facilities, without the use of water or chemicals. In this way, the company saves around 1.6 million litres of water per season that would have been used by regular flushing toilets, and generates 15 tons of nutrient-rich soil from 40 tons of festival faeces. www.goldeimer.de
In 2011, Jacob Bossaer was asked to design
Describing itself as the first social network of tap-water drinkers, Join the Pipe
says more and more people are getting on board with its dream of redistributing drinking water worldwide in a fair way, whilst tackling plastic waste at the source. Join the Pipe is realising this dream with its reusable water bottles and refill stations, and states that every bottle forms a part of the longest water pipe in the world: long enough to bring water to all of those without it. By using reusable/multiuse bottles, Join the Pipe can reduce the amount of waste from single-use plastic water bottles. Its bottles are produced in the Netherlands, and are BPA free and dishwasher-proof. They come in a range of colours and can be printed with a logo or text. Join the Pipe’s refill stations deliver sustainable tap water and can be installed both indoors and outdoors. The stations have been developed in collaboration with Dutch water companies, are made of stainless steel 316 and are vandal-proof. www.join-the-pipe.org
the water treatment system in the Princess Elizabeth polar research station in Antarctica. During the four seasons he spent on one of the harshest terrains on the planet, he realised that if it was possible to manage water in a sustainable way in such a remote place, then it must be possible everywhere. Upon returning to Belgium, he set about finding other engineers with whom he could share his vision of supplying the world with sustainable, clean water. BOSAQ was founded in 2015, and from the outset developed products and services that are in line with the circular economy. The operation now consists of four main parts: off-grid systems (the technology); a consulting firm (the Water Experts); premium water; and a social purpose (Water Heroes) whose remit is to provide solutions for everyone who needs water. www.bosaq.com
Frank Water began after social entrepreneur Katie Alcott discovered that she had
The Ecoz story started ten years ago, and its
contracted dysentery from drinking dirty water. Since 2005, Frank Water has funded safe drinking water and sanitation for nearly 400,000 people in 549 communities. It aims to provide safe drinking water to the 663 million people worldwide who still lack access to this basic human right. Summer 2019 saw 182 volunteers serve more than 169,000 refills of chilled, filtered water at 15 UK music festivals, potentially saving the same number of single-use plastic bottles from being sent to landfill or recycling. The Festival Refill Service serves unlimited refills of filtered, chilled water to people who purchase a refillable water bottle or Frank Water wristband. The range includes a 500ml BPA-free hardwearing plastic bottle, and stainless steel bottles in 532ml and 800ml sizes. Festival-goers can refill throughout the festival from one of the fixed Refill marquees or from roaming Frank Tanks!
main aim has always been to do things differently. In recent years it has become clear that “the inconvenient truth” is quickly becoming a reality, not least in the field of water supply. Water is not a single-use commodity! The team at Ecoz Mobile is committed to tackling a worldwide problem with regional solutions. The company offers local water-sanitation and strives to make water systems “circular.” Working at music festivals has given Ecoz Mobile a tremendous platform to reach a very wide audience (festival-goers, press, national and international TV), which has helped boost the company’s credibility and has helped create awareness amongst festival audiences. “Implementing Ecoz Mobile at festivals has allowed us to road-test our system in very challenging situations. We‘ve acquired a lot of data to work with in the future and that we can convert into solutions for everyday use,” says the company’s Wouter Igodt.
It was an oceanic expedition and the disposal
of single-use plastic in the sea that gave birth to the concept of The Green Stop, an organisation dedicated to the protection and preservation of the planet. Last summer, the organisation’s bottle refill installations were present at four events, the most notable of which was Osheaga Festival, where it became the event’s official water fountain service. Additionally, the business model has pivoted for summer 2020 in order to provide hand-washing stations, thus reducing the amount of waste from plastic gloves. The Green Stop has developed a hand-washing station that allows people to clean their hands using a touch-less faucet, while maintaining an appropriate social distance. Over four events in 2019, The Green Stop mitigated the use of 140,000 plastic water bottles and 940 plastic trash bags. Events, artists and crew were able to see first-hand the positives of an eco-friendly music festival. www.thegreenstop.co
MOBILE SANITARY SOLUTIONS (MSS) products are designed with one eye on the environ-
mental profit, whether it is on savings in water consumption (and even better, wastewater reduction), or the fact that most of its products are foldable and/or modular. For example, it can ship sanitation for up to 10,000 people (POP UP3 vacuum toilets, UReo urinals and ReFresh handwash stations) on just one truck; or 48 ReBoost showers on one truck. And with international partners, MSS also saves on transportation costs by identifying the closest partner to the event venue. The company has partners in Finland, Sweden, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Portugal, Spain, the United States, Canada and Japan, while it also has deals with companies in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Romania, Australia, New Zealand and others. In addition to working at music events, MSS is increasingly involved in humanitarian and military services in refugee camps, disaster relief situations, campsites, and during the Covid-19 pandemic, in emergency hospitals around the world. www.mss-international.com
CHINA CHANDIGARH ●
GUWAHATI BHUTAN ●
BAY OF BENGAL
STATE OF HINDIPENDENTS India’s flirtation with live music has long hinted that a lasting affair could be a possibility. Adam Woods discovers that as the country’s infrastructure becomes more professional, more and more promoters are tapping into growing demand, suggesting that a long-term relationship is on the horizon.
f there were an award for the greatest potential touring market, India would be on that stage, brandishing the trophy, year in, year out. With a population nudging 1.4billion and projected to surpass that of China by 2022, India is about as vast as countries get. Nonetheless, when a big band comes to town, the comparative rarity of the event still makes global headlines. U2’s show in December at Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium, the very last stop on the fifth leg of The Joshua Tree Tour, wasn’t the first superstar show to come to India – far from it: The Stones played Mumbai and Bangalore in 2003, while Beyoncé and Shakira came in 2007, Metallica in 2011, Coldplay in 2016, and Ed Sheeran in 2015 and 2017, with other significant visitors in between. But each major concert fires up the expectation that India’s biggest cities could soon become routine destinations for the world’s biggest artists. And U2’s show before a crowd of 42,590, staged by local ticketing giant BookMyShow in partnership with Live Nation, got the country dreaming once more. “There were a lot of reservations from everybody coming into India,” says BookMyShow CEO and founder Ashish Hemrajani, who freely concedes that India has failed to meet international expectations for live shows in the past. “It was the first outing for U2 here; it was the first show of this scale and magnitude; it was the last show of the tour. There was a lot riding on it and everyone was on tenterhooks.” BookMyShow has been scaling up its promoting exploits in recent years, bringing Cirque du Soleil, NBA pre-season games, an adapted Hindi Aladdin and the Coldplay-headlined Mumbai edition of the Global Citizen festival, but Hem-
rajani says U2 represented a new level and a new set of pressures. “We have got a great team in India, but nothing prepares you for dealing with Arthur Fogel, with Jake Berry and the whole team,” he says. “But if you talk to the folks that we dealt with,
they were very pleasantly surprised by the level of professionalism they found.” More than anyone else in the Indian business, Hemrajani has both a vision and a platform to bring about a revolution in the nation’s live entertainment offering. BookMyShow sells between 35% and 50% of all cinema tickets in a cinema-mad nation (“we are a hot, dusty country, which is an assault on all your senses, and cinema is the cheapest, most comfortable form of indoor entertainment,” he explains), and played a part in the massive success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) of cricket. If Hemrajani judges that India is ripe for some concert-going, the chances are he knows what he is talking about. The same feeling has recently been in the air across the country. The preceding month, also at DY Patil Stadium, Katy Perry and Dua Lipa inaugurated the OnePlus Music Festival, along with local acts Amit Trivedi, Ritviz, aswekeepsearching and The Local Train. Both of the top-billers were new to the market, and again, the show was an unconventional labour of love, this time or-
MAP KEY ● Festival ● Venue ● Promoter / Agent BANGALORE
● Bacardi NH7 Weekender ● Bass Camp ● Bollyboom Holi Bash ● DGTL ● Echoes of Earth ● Submerge Festival ● Opus ● Bacchus
● Bacardi NH7 Weekender ● Bass Camp ● Bollyboom Holi Bash
● Bass Camp ● Satellite Beachside ● Submerge
● Bass Camp
● Bacardi NH7 Weekender ● Bass Camp
● Bass Camp
● Bollyboom Holi Bash ● Bacardi NH7 Weekender ● Bass Camp ● Bollyboom Holi Bash ● Boxout Weekender ● Ultra Music Festival ● Blue Frog ● TLR Cafe ● Out of the Box ● Zook
● Bollyboom Holi Bash ● Bollyboom Holi Bash
● BookMyShow ● Krunk Live ● Mixtape Live ● Only Much Louder ● Opium Events ● Percept Live
● Suberge Entertainment ● Bass Camp ● Bollyboom ● Far Out Left ● OnePlus Music Festival ● Ultra Music Festival ● DY Patil Stadium ● Bonobo ● Blue Frog ● Tata Theatre
● Bollyboom Holi Bash
● Bacardi NH7 Weekender ● Bass Camp ● Bollyboom Holi Bash ● Magnetic Fields ● Sunburn ● Vh1 Supersonic
● Magnetic Fields
● Bacardi NH7 Weekender
Profile_India ganised by the local operation of Chinese smartphone brand OnePlus, which rivals Samsung and Apple in India. As OnePlus India general manager Vikas Agarwal told India’s The Telegraph newspaper: “[We were] not looking to organise everything by ourselves, but the country [was] not yet ready to organise such a large-scale event. [So] starting from the artist selection to the whole conceptualisation of the event, logistics – everything was done for the first time by the brand. I hope more such events will be organised in India.” And then, of course, came Covid-19, to which we will inevitably return in a minute. Still a mostly rural nation of numerous languages and cultures, heavily regionalised laws and huge inequality, India has always had more pressing priorities than slotting conveniently into a Western live music model. All the same, its entertainment market is highly evolved. The homegrown cinema industry enjoys a sophisticated, mostly mobile ticketing infrastructure, spearheaded by BookMyShow, with strong competition lately from Alibaba-backed Paytm. Both have diverse businesses and are busy across many sectors, including cricket, theatre, food and mobile payments. Online ticketing was reckoned to be worth $330million (€297m) in 2017, according to Indian management consultant RedSeer, whose prediction of $580m (€521m) in revenues this year has sadly been scuppered by recent events. In the past, the lion’s share of online ticket sales (55%), was for movies, with sport on 25% and events taking the remaining 20%, though both the latter categories are growing. EDM, in particular, has found a booming home in India, where there is a large network of clubs and established festivals, from OML’s multi-city Bacardi NH7 Weekender to the monster Sunburn in Pune. “The electronic music scene in the country has developed into its own industry and it’s spread to wider parts of the country,” says Dev Bhatia of dance music management and booking agency UnMute. “Having said that, I still feel we’re barely scratching the surface. Considering India will [soon] have five to six hundred million people under the age of 35 with cell phones and accessibility, the potential is endless.” That potential is currently on pause. At the time of writing, India was attempting to relax its notably strict lockdown conditions even as it faced a record spike in Covid-19 infections. In a country where many millions of informal workers live on a daily wage, the economy can’t stand idle for long. The first of several consecutive periods of lockdown began in India on 24 March, and the country was coming to the end of its fourth – and theoretically final – phase at the time of writing. India’s particular policy involved the classifica-
Dualist Inquiry performed at Echoes of Earth Festival in Bangalore in 2018
tion of each locality into one of three zones of varying severity. Everywhere, transport has been halted and most businesses closed, and there was an instruction to all Indians to leave home only to shop for food. In a society as unequal as India, clearly, the situation has not been a simple one. “The lockdown was meant to be pretty strict,” says Sohail Arora of promoter, agent and management company Krunk Live. “And while many of us privileged folk could survive this lockdown by staying home, it is the migrant workers, the people who cannot afford to self-isolate, people who can’t pay their rent, the ones who [have been] trying to go back to their villages by road for days and weeks – those are the people who have my thoughts, mostly. India has a huge population and a success-
ful lockdown is definitely a huge challenge, one can imagine, if it is not done right.” Just like everywhere else, it will be some time before mass events regain their appeal, and with live music forming just a tentative part of the Indian entertainment calendar, the challenge is particularly stiff. But in the Indian industry, there is positivity and belief that this embryonic business has come too far to disappear again now. The ever-growing middle class has been gradually reshaping metropolitan parts of the country in a new, modern form, generating thriving new scenes in alternative music, art and film. “It felt like India was breaking free from this narrative the world had built of what India is, and what colours it is, and what its music is,” says
Munbir Chawla, founder of the three-day Magnetic Fields festival in Rajasthan. “That’s all still true, but there was this new, modern India too, and that was really exciting.”
The biggest promoter in India is best known as a ticketing company. Selling more than 15m tickets of all kinds each month during normal times, in over 650 towns and cities, BookMyShow has established itself as the dominant player in India’s entertainment ecosystem, and its move into promotion has been an ambitious statement of intent in the past two or three years. The company worked with Live Nation on its U2 show and with AEG Presents and leading
“It felt like India was breaking free from this narrative the world had built of what India is, and what colours it is, and what its music is” Munbir Chawla | Magnetic Fields
Malaysian promoter (and recent Live Nation acquisition) PR Worldwide on Ed Sheeran’s Mumbai show in 2017, in addition to its own ventures. To a degree, Hemrajani says the company was nudged towards live entertainment by particular circumstances. “The infrastructure on the live side hasn’t really been there, so for a long time it was a small business for us,” he says. “But even-
tually it grew, and we realised, as the ones selling the ticket, that we were taking a lot of the risk. If there’s a great event, people remember the artist; but if shit goes to hell, they remember the guy who took their money, and that’s BookMyShow. “We were taking the risk, but we were not in control. I could take care of things that happened at the gate, when people entered, but I Magazine
was not in control of the food, the experience, the artist lip-synching or not showing up at all. The consumer had lost faith and trust in events, and BookMyShow was apologising and refunding when things didn’t happen or people were dissatisfied. So we decided it was time we started promoting events ourselves.” Like many developing markets, India is hugely stratified, with 100m consumers who wield high spending power, 400m in the emerging middle class, and 800m people who are “underserved, undernourished and exploited,” in Hemrajani’s words, but who nonetheless have been rising steadily out of extreme poverty. “We have this huge young demographic that is looking to go out and have experiences,” says Hemrajani. “How do you fill that void? How do you make sure it’s safe, secure, honest; [that] the artists show up, [that] you get cheap, hygienic food, [that] it’s all contactless? If you can do that repeatedly over a period of time, you end up building an industry. We are educating people and saying, ‘this is a lifestyle choice you can make with your income.’” He cites the example of India’s famous love of cricket, now represented in the eyes of all the world in colourful, cheering, stadiums full of mixed crowds. Before the IPL, he recalls, “the stadiums were full of burly guys. Your seat would be occupied by someone else and he would tell you to eff off. The food was terrible, the toilets were terrible and no one cared because it was only a load of men. “So we added marshals and security staff to make sure the seat you bought, you were guaranteed to sit in. The toilets and food were improved, and it brought in families, it brought in kids, it brought in women. This is ten, twelve years ago and now it’s the second biggest league in the world. It wasn’t only us, but we played a big part in building the ecosystem. And that is what we want to do with live entertainment.” For those with an interest in the international touring circuit, the much-touted potential of India is a particularly intriguing thing. In the wake of the U2 show, rumours abounded of further big-name tours on the cards, with several Indian dates in prospect this time. Hemrajani says Khalid and Trevor Noah were both booked in, and gig calendars were under development at BookMyShow for 2021 and 2022. With a Middle Eastern circuit also on the verge of taking off, India’s geographical situation was an enticing factor for global promoters and international agents, routing with Israel, the UAE and Saudi Arabia to create a cluster of possibilities. All the same, the live events business does not offer easy wins in India. For one thing, events are heavily taxed at 28%. And as OnePlus’s Agarwal indicated, the infrastructure for live events is lacking, resulting in high costs that are not easily offset by ticket sales alone. Sponsors and other
© PINEAPPLES MUMBAI
“If there’s a great event, people remember the artist; but if shit goes to hell, they remember the guy who took their money” Ashish Hemrajani | BookMyShow
revenues are consequently crucial, though a glut of heavily subsidised live events in previous years has, in some eyes, done a lot to shape the public view of what constitutes a reasonable ticket price. Sponsorship is an essential ingredient of shows and festivals, typically from domestic and international brands with strong youth appeal. Karan Singh, COO of Sunburn promoter Percept Live, notes, however, that India’s substantial upper middle class brings significant spending power to premium events in major cities. “In India, we have lots of different crowds,’
says Singh. “A lot of our festivals, we price them really low and we go after big numbers. We have had concerts with DJ Snake and Martin Garrix, with 20,000, 30,000 people, and that is all down to the pricing strategy.” Another key Indian promoter is Only Much Louder (OML) As well as its flagship multi-stage music event NH7 Weekender, OML has operated a range of festivals over the years, booked international comedy shows and founded – then subsequently sold to Paytm – the Insider.in ticketing platform.
VIKAS AGARWAL | ONEPLUS INDIA SOHAIL ARORA | KRUNK LIVE DEV BHATIA | UNMUTE MUNBIR CHAWLA | MAGNETIC FIELDS NAVEEN DESHPANDE | MIXTAPE ASHISH HEMRAJANI | BOOKMYSHOW ASHISH JOSE | ONLY MUCH LOUDER HERMIT SETHI | SUBMERGE KARAN SINGH | PERCEPT LIVE
BookMyShow persuaded U2 to end their four-year The Joshua Tree Tour at Mumbai’s DY Patil Stadium in December 2019
OML head of international programming, Ashish Jose, says the lockdown period has been “super-productive” as the company has looked at how to adapt and take its properties online. “If we keep a positive outlook and understand how things are going to be, the depression that has hit everybody around us seems to lift a little bit,” he says. One OML project during lockdown has been One Nation, a day-long event run with YouTube featuring music, Bollywood celebrities, comedy, cooking lessons and storytelling, which drew an audience of 17.3m. “We have been really lucky to have things on our plate,” says Jose. “We definitely had a big year planned, but these are the circumstances and we can’t do anything about it except see what else might be possible.” Other promoters in India include Mumbai’s Opium Events, which has brought OneRepublic
and Dream Theater to the city in recent years, and Joe Satriani and Sepultura before that. There are also numerous companies with their roots in electronic events, often juggling various combinations of booking, management, club promotion and festival curation. These include Mixtape, Krunk Live, Submerge and others, all of whom tell a similar tale. “Before the coronavirus took control, I’d say India was really peaking in the electronic music space, with audiences growing steadily in most cities and the number of cities increasing,” says Arora. “The electronic touring circuit was buzzing with regular international talent and incredible boutique festivals, and parties and crews were pushing Indian talent at the highest level. I think we were on track to be a very successful electronic music market as a whole. Corona has definitely put massive brakes on everything.” Mixtape has evolved from an artist man-
agement company into a production company, booking agency and promoter, and now also offers music PR and digital marketing. “India has been a very exciting market for the last couple of years now,” says Mixtape founder Naveen Deshpande. “I still have conversations with many managers and agents who are pleasantly surprised with their streaming numbers and views in this region.” A significant development in recent times, Deshpande notes, has been the rise of homegrown hip-hop. “The release of Gully Boy [a Bollywood film focused on the local hip-hop community] really pushed that genre ahead. The majority of the festivals now have Indian/international hip-hop headliners and most of [the leading local acts] have a busy touring schedule. There has also been an evolving interest in crossover jazz and world music, with artists like Jacob Collier, Kamasi Washington and Tinariwen visiting the country recently.”
Like other promoters, Percept Live is investigating the possibility of monetising online versions of popular events, having grown a following by streaming content to fans for free since the beginning of lockdown. Its flagship festival, the influential Sunburn, is Asia’s biggest and reputedly Magazine
© PRASHIN JAGGER
Jacob Collier performed at the Tata Theatre in Mumbai in September 2019
the third-largest dance event in the world after Tomorrowland and Ultra, drawing 50,000 people a day with a formidable list of international superstar DJs. Percept is part of a broader advertising and marketing group, and its other live properties include the Bollyboom and Sunburn Arena events. The promoter also brought the Ultra Music Festival to Delhi and Mumbai in 2017. Singh says the company was in the early planning stages for this December’s festival when Covid-19 struck. Working with authorities, Percept will take a view on the viability of Sunburn 2020 by the end of June, and Singh says they can ready the event in five or six months – rather than the usual eight or nine – if it gets the green light. “Usually, the whole summer and monsoon season from June to September is off-season and nobody really does anything,” says Singh. “We hadn’t planned anything [for those months], and we were initially hoping that by the time October comes things would be back to normal, but right now that doesn’t look like it’s going to be the case.”
Building on Goa’s long-standing culture of trance events and dance music tourism, Sunburn deserves credit for putting India on the map as a festival market. In certain years, the event has brought visitors from 52 countries. Singh concedes this depth of international involvement may be a challenge for a while, but he expects both Sunburn and the wider market will ultimately bounce back and pick up where they left off. “Really big acts – Justin Bieber, Ed Sheeran, U2 – have been coming, and they have all had a good response,” he says. “While our focus has been mainly on the electronic space, there is a lot of definite potential in India, because there are so many different markets here. You may see artists come and tour six, eight, ten cities – though that is obviously still a way off.” Week in, week out, live music remains a fairly niche preserve, concentrated on venues such as Bonobo (Mumbai), Blue Frog (Mumbai and Delhi), TLR Cafe, Out of the Box and Zook (all Delhi), and Opus and Bacchus (in Bangalore). Most
promoters focus their efforts on India’s tier-one cities, particularly the three above, with Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai other growth spots. “And then it kind of stops there,” says Chawla. Consequently, for most acts, festivals offer the best route in. “International artists and event brands have a lot of interest in our region,” says Bhatia. “Awakenings has been holding down a stage at [Viacom 18’s big-hitting Pune festival] Vh1 Supersonic every year over the last few; we recently had the first ever DGTL and there are really good Indian events too, like Magnetic Fields, Far Out Left, Disrupt, Echoes of Earth, Boxout Weekender and a few others.” Having moved to New Delhi in search of opportunity nearly a decade ago, London-born Chawla and wife Sarah, whose background was in music and events, initially resolved not to launch a festival, having seen friends try elsewhere and fail. But after launching an online music magazine, The Wild City, they found the opportunity too tempting to resist. “We ended up going to our first music festi-
India_Profile val here and it didn’t represent what we knew of festivals,” he says. “We were very aware of all the cool stuff that was happening, so we thought, let’s take all that cool stuff and put it into a festival.” From 400 tickets in year one, Magnetic Fields is now a 5,000-person alternative and electronic festival held at a palace-turned-hotel in the village of Jhunjhunu. “We still have to book international artists, because the scene is not there yet to totally rely on Indian talent, but we use that as a building block,” says Chawla, who has also extended Wild City into brand consultancy. “I think what is happening right now will teach the world a lot about local scenes and local communities and supporting local economies,” he adds, referring to the pandemic. “We are definitely going to put a bit more focus on our domestic artists after this.” Krunk Live’s Bass Camp Festival, meanwhile, is a niche club festival that tours increasingly widely. “Last year, we managed to hit eight cities,” says Arora. “The quality keeps getting bigger and better every year, and we intend to keep it that way. We also curate Echoes of Earth in Bangalore. We are still waiting to figure out next steps for both, as it’s a wait-and-watch game mostly at this time. We are still positive that
things will get better by year-end, but it’s probably me being optimistic. Let’s hope for the best.”
The way forward
India doesn’t have the solution to the current situation any more than the rest of us, though there is a certain realism about its place in the queue. “In terms of India specifically, we are last in the chain in terms of priority,” says Bhatia. “So I feel it’s going to be a good six-to-twelve months till we get back on our feet. If the vaccine comes in earlier, then things will change fast.” OML has been in talks across the region. “We have been speaking to a lot of Asian promoters and international managers to understand what the market will be like,” says Jose. “We think 2021 is realistically when we may be able to stage events again, of some kind. Hopefully, between January and March we will try and do something.” Booking and management agency Submerge, which also curates popular dance music events such as Satellite Beachside in Goa, has taken the opportunity of lockdown to relaunch its music conference The Exchange in an online form. “It was amazing,” says Hermit Sethi, who co-founded Submerge in 2003. “We had more than 200,000 views on our panels and music
“I think what is happening right now will teach the world a lot about local scenes and local communities and supporting local economies” Munbir Chawla | Magnetic Fields
© VIKRAM CHANDRASHEKAR
Garden City Movement were one of the many acts to perform at Only Much Louder’s touring NH7 Weekender
showcase. So we have been busy doing the second edition of that. The first edition was four weeks back, when people were scared and worried and wanted to hear a voice from the industry to feel comforted. But who knows what the current time demands?” Sethi’s view is that the events business faces a minimum of a six-to-eight-month lay-off, and no one is much more optimistic. “Realistically, the future looks bleak right now,” says Deshpande. “I have heard that the government is not going to be allowing any large-scale gatherings until November 2020, so I guess the best way forward is to start small and then keep on re-evaluating, with health and safety as the utmost priority. Digital events have been shaping up quite well, but it will take a few more months to call it a tangible source of income.” Others are perhaps a little more sceptical about the potential of online. “The next steps would be to polish your live performances, make them more entertaining, and start charging, I believe,” says Arora. “The goal would be to get enough traction that you could start to bring advertising money and brands on board. But there is very little advertising money currently in the market,” he says. “Even the big brands that would usually support many projects have no revenue and are laying off employees. We are hoping this will change a little, post-lockdown. You’ve got to stay positive, but things are looking really tough at this point.” Hemrajani is in a similar boat but remains philosophical, having survived the dot-com bubble and the global financial crash. “We have no revenue coming in, but I am busier than I have been in my life,” he says. BookMyShow has been experimenting with online events behind a paywall, with some encouraging results, but for a return to physical shows, he isn’t holding his breath. “I would be pleasantly surprised if cinemas and malls reopened by August, September,” he says, speaking in early June. “I think, for live events, we will see the first shoots not before the end of the year, November or December. Events that would accommodate 15,000 will be allowed for three or four thousand, with social distancing and a lot of VIP and hospitality tickets. “There’s going to be a challenge for global touring, because the cost structure may not work. If certain countries are locked down, you may not be able to build a tour. Having said that, artists will be open to a new economic model, where, rather than an upfront guarantee, they will be more open to doing shows on a revenue share – putting themselves out there to bring life back into the business. “But I don’t think we will see anything at scale until next summer. If it’s a comedian, like Trevor Noah, or a smaller show, that’s easier. But the big bands, with two planeloads coming in – that is going to take time.” Magazine
What’s your favourite or most bizarre festival moment?
Musilac Festival, July 2014: Motörhead’s Lemmy walks onto the stage. I am having a chat with Rémi Perrier, the festival organiser, when my very young son, Loulou, a metal fan, yells: “Take me! Take me!” and a yeti-sized Hell’s Angel from Lemmy’s entourage picks up my son, puts him on his shoulder, says “Show can’t wait, kiddo – OK, mum?” Next minute Loulou was onstage and kiddo understood why I do my job: Adrenaline! Aline Renet, Prodiss
We had an artist who requested 30 real palm trees for their dressing room. Palm trees do not occur naturally in our climate [Poland] but, fortunately, we managed to find a place in the city that did actually have some. Initially, the owner of the facility was not sure if we were serious, however, he agreed to lend us 30 palms and they were transported to the venue in several cars. Ten or so minutes before the show, I went to check if everything was ok backstage, and it turned out that the artist’s management had selected two out of the 30 palm trees and placed them in the dressing room; the other 28 had been left outside in the corridor. Mateusz Pawlicki, Imprezy Prestige Breaking my nose in the pit during Cancer Bats at Reading Festival 2010. I was a hero backstage. Alan Day, Kilimanjaro Live The first festival I ever worked on was The Weeley Festival (UK) in1972. The event was overrun by bikers who ignored the idea of buying tickets and roared through the audience aiming for the backstage. I was a callow youth in those days and had been entrusted by the stage manager with
making sure that no unauthorised characters made their way onto the stage. But the four gigantic and hirsute characters who made their way up the stairs were not impressed or in any way responsive to my polite requests for their non-existent passes. Their response was to approach me making quite disturbing growling noises. As a very inexperienced and totally unsupported stage security person, there seemed to be only one truly professional thing to do – I legged it to the backstage area, jumping into the first caravan I came across, where I found Rory Gallagher tuning his famous battered-looking Strat – he looked up, and observing my panicky appearance, said ‘What’s the matter with you?’ I breathlessly replied, “I’m being chased by Hell’s Angels!” His response was to strike two great blues intro chords, followed by the vocal line, “I know exactly what you feckin’ mean!” It all worked out in the end and I’ve always remained a staunch Rory fan – RIP. Allan McGowan, ILMC In 2011, when the North Sea Jazz Festival was already booked and budget spent, I got a call from “the other Kim,” (who I’m often confused with when receiving emails from various people), asking if Prince could do a show at the festival. We ended up with three special shows, every single night of the festival, starting at 1:30am, which is the time of the day when Prince was at his best. At 6am, the second night, when I was finally about to go to sleep, I got a phone call from his agent, asking me if we’d like to buy the full rights to the live recording. As I’d been collecting recordings of his shows for a long time, I was, of course, thrilled. Unfortunately, without hearing the quality and with the amount that was requested together with the quick decision that was needed, I had to decline. Kim Bloem, Mojo Concerts
It’s 2009. US band The National, not widely known in Poland, come to OFF. Together with Spiritualized, they are the biggest band on the bill. The show is great. Afterwards, my colleague meets Bryce Dessner in the bar of the Hotel Trojak – a unique hotel that was the heart of backstage for everyone from artists and tech crew to VIP guests. Dessner says to the barmaid: “Tea, please.” Barmaid: “Nie rozumiem (I don’t understand.)” Dessner repeats: “Tea, please.” The barmaid repeats: “Nie rozumiem.” Dessner spells it out, letter by letter: “T-e-a p-l-e-a-s-e.” Barmaid (also letter by letter): “N-i-e-r-o-z-u-m-i-e-m.” My colleague (slightly intimidated) intervenes: “He would like tea.” Barmaid: “Ok. 10 złotych (€3).” Dessner: “I’m from The National!” Barmaid: “Ok… 10 złotych.” Artur Rojek, OFF Festival Last year, I went to Australia over the Easter bank holiday weekend, to see one of our artists, Iggy Pop, perform a special show at the iconic Sydney Opera House, which in itself felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity. I then flew to Byron Bay for Bluesfest where we had Iggy Pop and Imelda May perform. I went for five days in total, so it was a whirlwind to say the least, but certainly one of my most memorable festival moments. Bluesfest is such a unique festival, one that feels like it is truly loved and appreciated by music fans first and foremost; something that is very much a part of its DNA. To have been able to travel to Australia for a long weekend feels more surreal now than ever, given the current circumstances, and will always remain an experience I am truly grateful for. Charly Beedell Tuck, Solo Agency I remember Lou Reed playing an hour of songs I couldn’t recognise. And then Coldplay came on and played Perfect Day, as they didn’t know whether he played it or not. Another one was Jay-Z tearing the place apart. I didn’t think an audience could get any wilder… and then Kanye West walked on. I turned to my left and Beyoncé was standing next to me…. John Giddings, Isle of Wight Festival In 1972, I was a post-hippy, pre-punk 18 year old and I bunked off school to go to the Bickershaw Festival. My musical heroes were Captain Beef-
heart & The Magic Band, who I’d already been on the road with. We hooked up at the festival, along with Hawkwind’s Stacia. Everything – especially the toilets – was horrible, except the music and vibes, which were fantastic. The Magic Band invited me to join them for the whole set and I danced like a crazy little thing onstage with my heroes. Part of me still wishes I’d never grown up… Nick Hobbs, Charmenko About 15 years ago at Secret Garden Party, me and a load of friends were watching Alabama 3 up on the hill at the front of a huge crowd. About halfway into the set we heard a guy behind us
shouting, “Excuse me! Excuse me!” I looked behind to see a man in a wheelchair being pushed through to the front. Naturally I made way for him so he could see the show. After about five minutes he suddenly said, “Well, that’s enough of that then,” got out of his wheelchair and walked off, leaving the wheelchair behind. Gary Prosser, Music Venues Trust I was not even 15 years old and was part of the huge crowd for the first Rock in Rio Festival in Rio de Janeiro in 1985; the feeling of being part of history was very clear to everyone there. Never mind the mud and all that could go wrong, experienc-
ing, amongst others, artists like Iron Maiden, AC/ DC, Rod Stewart, James Taylor and, principally, Queen with the late Freddy Mercury, helped form a structural part of my personality and career. Fabiano De Queiroz, Move Concerts My favourite festival moment: Watching the sunrise, arm in arm with my drummer, behind the decommissioned nuclear power plant Obrigheim at Mörtelstein Festival in 2015, and feeling that everything was fine. I hope this feeling comes back soon. Steffen Rudnik, gigmit Michael Eavis once borrowed a fiver off me to buy fish and chips from a van outside one of the gates at the 1994 Glastonbury Festival. I say, “borrowed,” but in hindsight, it was more of a gift. Ben Challis, Glastonbury Festival Queuing for pizza and beer between Quo and what turned out to be Queen’s final ever set at Knebworth in 1986, I got chatting to an affable Aussie guy who asked where I was from and what I did for a living. I asked him the same questions – he said he was a singer in Australia – it was John Farnham… even the legends are fans… Michael Hosking, Midas Promotions When I think about my best festival moment from the last year, it would have to be at Salt Wave Festival. It was the first edition, which always brings much uncertainty. After we had finished working and decided that everything turned out to be successful, the whole team jumped into the sea and we stayed at the beach to see the sunrise. I hope to experience more happy moments like this one soon! Sara Maria Kordek, Good Taste Production The Saturday of Download 2006; Donington Park Circuit: I was working with Metallica and Trivium. I drove up from London, and was given a ‘go anywhere’ vehicle pass, so I jumped in the car and drove halfway round the racing circuit to the back of the stage. Pulled off the track to park next to a few other cars and drove straight into the gravel trap. The front of the car buried a foot deep and I had to wait for almost two hours until a tractor came to pull it out, with a steady stream of ‘Hey, Mike, what happened to you?’ And that gravel gets everywhere! I was almost home before the rattling stopped. So much for being Mr Cool Tour Accountant. Mike Donovan, MD Tour Accounting Limited Magazine
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