Page 1


98 An ILMC Publication APRIL 2021 | £25 | €25


Key principles from science, health & safety, technology and the business, present the latest advances, updates and information around live music’s recovery. The latest COVID mitigation strategies Market comparisons and updates on vaccines and testing Reports on recent pilots and tests COVID-related technology solutions that assist in protecting concert goers, artists, crew and teams Projected reopening schedules Invited Q&As with scientists, epidemiologists and other experts, and industry heads.

The Recovery Sessions will be free to attend for all subscribers





Cover: Love of Lesbian’s 27 March concert for 5,000 fans at the Palau Sant Jordi was Europe’s biggest test event to date. Photo © Xavier Mercadé



© Xavier Mercadé






6 8 12


14 16

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 the pandemic

ILMC 33 Report Looking back at some of the highlights of this year’s virtual International Live Music Conference The Road to Recovery IQ examines some of the various test events and programmes that could help to reopen international touring Under Cover Operations Gordon Masson talks to some of live music’s leading insurance brokers about the state of their business and how that might impact plans for 2021 and beyond



Making Touring Sustainable Tom Schroeder outlines why everyone must buy into music’s green agenda Therapy on Tour Tiffany Hudson explains the reasons behind Therapy on Tour and the way it has evolved throughout lockdown The Other Pandemic Marta Pallarès highlights the benefits of a gender-balanced festival line up Production Notes: Chris Kansy Production manager Chris Kansy reflects on life in lockdown and learning to live without shows Your Shout What was your ILMC highlight this year?

17 18




Helping your return to live. Virtual Events Digital Tickets Timed Entry Contactless Admission Fan Research Marketing Reach Say hello at

In Brief



’ve written about this before, but given the key takeaways from this year’s ILMC, it merits a few more column inches. The issues of diversity and sustainability were front and centre at this year’s conference and it’s refreshing to see the recognition that the industry has in realising it has some serious problems to deal with. Now to do something about it. The diversity problem is obvious – there simply aren’t enough professionals in the business that reflect the audiences that are attending the shows that the industry depends on for its income. Quite why the industry became so white, male and middle-aged is beyond me, but recruitment policies and fair pay for all would probably be a decent place to begin any investigations. I know that a number of companies in the UK are looking at proactive ways in which they can educate teenagers about the potential careers that the live entertainment sector can offer, so that’s a start. But retaining people in the business is also key, and that will require long-term investment. Making that a priority when businesses are on their knees is tricky, but it’s not impossible. As was stated time and again at ILMC, the business presently finds itself in a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime situation, so the opportunity is here – now – to reset the way things have been done. And that also goes for the sustainability issue. Anyone who attended the Green Events & Innovations Conference, or the ILMC Production Meeting, for that matter, learned about the ways in which the business is trying to reduce its carbon footprint, but as agent Tom Schroeder notes in his comment piece on page 14, much more work is needed, by everyone, to improve the industry’s environmental credentials, and current business models need overhauling so that we can start combating climate change, instead of contributing to it. Talking of starting over, our main feature in this issue looks at the Road to Recovery (page 30) and the various test events, internationally, that are paving the way for the business to restart. Our cover photo is from one such event – Love of Lesbian’s 27 March show for 5,000 fans at the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona, and while an entire audience wearing face masks might look strange, I don’t think there are many of us who wouldn’t have wanted to be there. On page 19 we have our usual post-conference round up of what went on at ILMC, while I talk to a handful of live music insurance brokers (page 42) about the state of that industry and the very real impact that the lack of Covid insurance might have on events in the coming months. Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention the loss of two industry titans during the past month. The thoughts of everyone at IQ and ILMC are with the families, friends and colleagues of Márton Brády of Showtime Budapest, and Frontier Touring’s Michael Gudinski, who, as befitting his legendary status, was honoured with a state memorial. Both were pioneers in their countries and brought joy to millions. They will be sorely missed.

ISSUE 98 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE IQ Magazine Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0300 Twitter: @iq_mag Publisher ILMC and Suspicious Marketing Editor Gordon Masson News Editor Jon Chapple Staff Writer Lisa Henderson Advertising Manager Steve Woollett Design Philip Millard Sub Editor Michael Muldoon Head of Digital Ben Delger Contributors Tiffany Hudson, Chris Kansy, Marta Pallarès, Tom Schroeder Editorial Contact Gordon Masson Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303 Advertising Contact Steve Woollett Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304 ISSN 2633-0636



IN BRIEF INDEX The concert business digest

FEBRUARY Russian regions, Kemerovo and Novosibirsk, are the first to remove restrictions and allow venues to host concerts at 100% occupancy. Health experts in Germany create a set of guidelines to enable the gradual return of audiences to cultural and sporting events. UK festivals including Reading and Leeds, Slam Dunk, Black Deer and Wide Awake plot comebacks as optimism grows. Matt Bates, director of Primary Talent International, is named head of international and head of Europe for ICM Partners. Roqu Group CEO details Health Passport Worldwide, a secure platform that combines mobile technologies with official Covid-19 tests and vaccinations. Dutch DJ Luuk van Dijk is announced as the first-ever DJ to play a live set in Hotel Hideaway, the virtual hangout from the makers of Habbo. Canadian venues, festivals and other live music organisations adopt the Safe Travels stamp, a mark that their events meet certain safety and hygiene standards.


Michael Rapino predicts a huge 2022 as shares in Live Nation Entertainment reach an all-time high of $91.18 (€71.45). Australian singer-songwriter Tash Sultana promotes their newly released album Terra Firma with a new Fortnite map based on its cover art. Reading Festival, Creamfields and Boomtown in the UK sell out their 2021 editions.

2021 event, cancelling its planned 20th-anniversary celebration for a second year in a row. The premier of Victoria, the home state of Michael Gudinski, announces they will hold a state funeral for the late promoter. UTA acquires Obi Asika’s Londonbased Echo Location Talent Agency.


Event Management Forum condemns the German government for its phased reopening strategy, which offers ‘no perspective for the event industry.’

Jools Holland, Sir Cliff Richard and Robert Plant are among those that call for a governmentbacked insurance scheme for live entertainment in the UK.

Flemish minister-president Jan Jambon says he will wait as long as possible to make a decision on whether domestic festivals can take place this summer.

Festival Republic confirms the cancellation of Download Festival 2021.

Live Nation Concerts promotes Amanda Moore to lead the residency business for Live Nation Las Vegas.

Michael Gudinski, founder of Frontier Touring, and one of the best-known figures in the Australian concert business, passes aged 68.

The Beat Goes Live, a 48-hour livestreaming event, unites many of the world’s leading electronic music venues in support of the industry.

AEG joins forces with Japan’s Avex Entertainment to launch AEGX, a joint venture that aims to create new opportunities in both the Japanese and global live music markets.

Leading European cashless payment companies Weezevent, based in Dijon, and Playpass, headquartered in Antwerp, merge.

Primavera Sound calls time on its

Spanish indie-pop band Love of Lesbian announce a non-socially

distanced show for 5,000 fans at Barcelona’s Palau St Jordi arena. Oak View Group appoints three women to senior marketing, sales and partnership roles at Co-op Live, the upcoming arena in Manchester, UK. Thousands of Dutch residents take part in the latest Back to Live test events in Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome (cap. 17,000). Claire Mas, the former head of digital for Island Records, joins UK-based live-streaming business Driift as chief operating officer. Dutch rock band Di-rect sells more than 14,000 tickets for their latest concert live stream, held at the Omniversum cinema in The Hague. Love Supreme Jazz Festival (UK), the largest greenfield jazz, funk and soul festival in Europe, announces its debut Japanese edition for May. Denmark’s ‘restart team’ submits a catalogue of recommendations on the reopening of the cultural and sports sectors to the ministry of culture. Italy’s music industry is allocated €50million by the government following ‘The Last Concert?’ (L’ultimo Concerto?) campaign.

In Brief The Republic of Ireland announces €50million of new funding for the live entertainment sector. French festival-goers are unwilling to attend seated festivals, finds a survey from Eurockéennes de Belfort. Some of Germany’s biggest music festivals, including Eventim Presents/DreamHaus’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, are called off for a second year running. Ticketing and music discovery company Dice launches Merch on Dice, a direct-to-fan merchandise sales platform for artists. UTA appoints Geoff Sawyer as an agent in the video games division to foster collaborations between the agency’s music clients and the gaming industry.

Struggling concert halls in the US will receive additional aid, thanks to a $1.9billion (€1.6bn) stimulus package, signed into law by president Joe Biden. The O2 in London will reduce its carbon emissions by installing ten wind turbines on-site in Greenwich. The National Audit Office finds that just over half of the grants and loans awarded as part of the Culture Recovery Fund have been paid out as of February. Major UK events, such as the Brit Awards and FA Cup final, may be run as ‘pilot’ events. An EU-wide vaccine passport, which could replace the piecemeal approach currently being pursued by individual member states, is put forward.

Israel holds its first concert since reopening, with entry restricted to those who have had two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

New Zealand band Six60 announce the world’s largest concert since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, for 50,000 people.

Broadwick Live announces that UK festival Field Day will return to its original home of Victoria Park in 2021 as part of a tie-up with All Points East.

The Grammys delivers 32 live and pre-recorded performances from Megan Thee Stallion, Haim, Dua Lipa and more, after a year of no concerts.

American rock band Kings of Leon generates more than $2million (€1.7m) from ‘NFT Yourself,’ a collection of non-fungible tokens.

Belgium’s festival season depends on the results from a test event planned for the spring, says Flemish prime minister Jan Jambon.

The Dutch government announces the trial of a new app that displays the results of Covid-19 tests at the Back to Live pilot festivals.

Independent UK booking agency Runway Artists hires Steve Backman, formerly of Primary Talent International, as its first agent appointment.

Seasoned industry professionals, Sylvia Caldas-Roberts and Mariana Brandão, launch Embrace Music Management. German promoter Goodlive cancels the 2021 editions of Melt!, Splash!, Full Force and Heroes. Cruïlla, one of Barcelona’s three major international music festivals, plans to go ahead as normal with rapid antigen testing.

The Danish government announces a DKK 500m (€67.2m) safety net for festivals and major events. Australia announces its first concert series featuring international artists since the lockdown of March 2020. The Netherlands’ Lowlands festival unveils the first slate of artists for its 2021 edition.

Rock Werchter, one of Belgium’s biggest and most important music festivals, is called off for the second year in a row.

In the UK, City of Wolverhampton Council appoints AEG Presents to manage the city’s Civic Hall, which is due to reopen in early 2022.

Sally Dunstone, formerly of X-ray Touring, joins London-based Primary Talent International as an agent.

Firestarters, ‘the virtual festival of conversation,’ assembles some of the music industry’s key players.

Swiss festivals Paléo Festival Nyon, Greenfield Festival and Rock the Ring cancel their summer events.

The UK will gain a number of new outdoor music venues from June, signalling growing optimism among promoters.

The Ontario Festival Industry Taskforce announces a concert that is said to be the first major event in Canada to use rapid screening. Ron Bension, the long-time president of Live Nation’s House of Blues Entertainment, has joined ASM Global as president and CEO. Dan Owens, a former senior assistant at WME in London, has launched Loud Artists, a new booking agency specialising in punk, rock, metal and alternative music. The Estonian government announces a €42m aid package for the cultural sector, which includes a €6m ‘risk fund’ for large-scale events. Paradigm Talent Agency confirms it will sell its music business in North America to Casey Wasserman’s Wasserman Media Group. Live music streaming company Stabal Media Group hires Joe Clegg, founder of production company Artclub Live. Graham Martin, Diony Sepulveda and Kimberly Schon launch Grandview Music, a new artist management company based in California. Crew Nation, a global Covidrelief fund set up last year by Live Nation, raises $18m (€15m) for touring and venue crews impacted by the pandemic. Brussels concert hall Ancienne Belgique unveils a new virtual and interactive concert hall, christened Nouvelle Belgique.

Facebook rolls out its paid online events functionality, which enables creators to charge for entry to live streams, to a further 24 markets. The Swiss federal government will now subsidise event cancellation insurance for major events, according to a newly amended article in its Covid 19 Act. The British Music Embassy, South by Southwest’s venue for hotly tipped UK artists, hosts 35 artist showcases during SXSW Online. A new 10,000-capacity event is set to be ‘the largest standing festival in Australia since the beginning of Covid-19.’ Live Nation France announces The French Touch Tour, a new series of live-streamed concerts designed to raise funds and provide work, for French artists and crew. Neuland Concerts and Funke Media, Hamburg-based promoters and former competitors, join forces, with immediate effect. The Danish government publishes a reopening plan, which fails to provide concrete answers about whether large events can take place this summer. Famous Madrid flamenco club Villa-Rosa closes its doors after 140 years, due to a year of no shows and a lack of government assistance.




THE ‘FATHER OF THE AUSTRALIAN MUSIC INDUSTRY’ PASSES Frontier Touring founder Michael Gudinski, for five decades one of the best-known and most-loved figures in the concert business down under, has passed away at the age of 68.


he sudden passing of Gudinski – who died in his sleep at his home in Melbourne on 1 March – has sent a shockwave through the industry in Australia and beyond, with colleagues, artists, business rivals and parliamentarians sending their condolences and appreciation for a man Jimmy Barnes describes as “the heart of Australian music.” Born Vale Michael Solomon Gudinski to Russian-Jewish parents in 1952, Gudinski founded record label and music publisher Mushroom Group at the age of 20. Mushroom went on to become Australia’s largest homegrown entertainment company, adding booking agency, merchandise, film/TV production, and concert promotion services. Frontier Touring, founded in 1979, remains Australia’s largest tour promoter, having worked with artists including Ed Sheeran, Kylie Minogue, the Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Madonna, Paul McCartney and Foo Fighters. It merged with AEG Presents in 2019. The late promoter was honoured with a state funeral in his home region of Victoria on 24 March at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne – which was full for the first time since Covid-19


brought events in the country to a standstill. British singer Ed Sheeran, who was granted an exemption to fly into Australia, headlined the memorial, delivering an emotional rendition of his hit Castle on the Hill, which is said to have been a personal favourite of Gudinski. Alongside Sheeran, there were live performances by Mushroom-associated Australian acts Jimmy Barnes, Kylie Minogue, Paul Kelly, Mark Seymour, Mia Wray, and Vika and Linda Bull. “Michael, the ‘Big G,’ took this little girl from Melbourne to the world and back home again,” Minogue said. Taylor Swift, Billy Joel, Elton John and Sting were among the international megastars to post video tributes that were aired on the night. “We will cherish his memory. Shine on, you crazy man,” said Elton, who trusted Gudinski to oversee his final Australian tour last year. In a statement, Mushroom Group said, “With the music industry severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael conceptualised and developed Music from the Home Front, The Sound, and The State of Music, platforms designed to showcase and support contemporary Australian music in an incredibly difficult time. It speaks of the man he was that of his countless

illustrious career achievements, these projects that supported the industry he loved, were ones he was particularly proud of. Frontier Touring co-founder Michael Chugg, whose on-and-off business relationship with Gudinski culminated in his rejoining Mushroom Group in 2019, describes the passing of his friend as “shattering.” “It’s just so shocking,” he told Sydney radio station 2GB. “I first met him when he was a 16-yearold sitting at a desk at an agency in Melbourne, and we were friends, buddies and opponents ever since. It’s just one of the worst days of my life.” Bruce Springsteen is another of the artists to pay tribute to Gudinski’s achievements: “I’ve toured the world for the last 50 years and never met a better promoter.” Rival promoters including TEG and Live Nation Australia also sent their condolences, which respectively called Gudinski’s legacy “undeniable” and “extraordinary.” “You simply cannot tell the story of Australian music without Michael Gudinski squarely in the centre of it,” says Tony Burke MP, Australia’s shadow minister for the arts. “He was instrumental in turning it into a powerhouse, earning him the title ‘the father of the Australian music industry.’”






oncert organiser Márton Brády, the founder and leader of ShowTime Budapest and Ticket Express, died of coronavirus complications on 20 March, at the age of 54. Born in 1966, Brády began his career working for smaller companies, as an organiser of international concerts. In 1994, he founded international concert agency ShowTime Budapest with Austrian partners, and debuted with the Rolling Stones’ first ever show in Hungary in 1995, held at Népstadion. Brády also founded Ticket Express agency in the mid1990s, becoming one of the leaders of the cultural ticket-sale market in Hungary. A long-time ILMC member, Brády’s company has promoted hundreds of international acts (Bon Jovi, Eric Clapton, Mike Oldfield, Eros Ramazzotti, Leonard Cohen, Pink, REM, Elton John, Simply Red, Deep Purple, Lionel Richie, Jamiroquai, Rod Stewart, Santana and David Copperfield, among others), alongside more than 1,000 Hungarian acts (including Piramis, the Hobo Blues Band, Zorán, Charlie and Tátrai Band) since the mid-1990s. Sony bought a stake in ShowTime Budapest in 2010, before Brády bought it back in 2013, and since then he had been the sole owner. Ticket Express operated as part of ShowTime until 2000, then became a member of CTS Eventim group. In addition to the domestic market, it is also present in neighbouring countries. Ticket Express was also the first to launch an online ticket office in Hungary. The team at ShowTime Budapest, which has been working together for 25 years, will continue the work that Brády started, although they say he is greatly missed. Alex Nussbaumer, who had worked with Brády, says: “He was a good soul and big music lover. RIP, my friend.”


aradigm Talent Agency confirmed it has reached an agreement in principle to sell its music business in North America to Casey Wasserman’s Wasserman group. The deal, which IQ reported in early March was close to completion, will see Wasserman take over Paradigm’s profitable music assets. With thousands of acts on its roster, the Beverly Hills-based agency represents the likes of Coldplay, Shawn Mendes, Billie Eilish, Ed Sheeran, Kacey Musgraves, David Guetta, Sia, and Imagine Dragons for North America. Wasserman, a sports agency that manages a reported $4.2billion (€3.6bn) worth of contracts for athletes, sports broadcasters, team coaches/managers and others, has been in talks with Paradigm since at least last summer. It is understood that the former Paradigm music business will sit as a semi-independent operating unit under Wasserman, likely named Wasserman Music. "This agreement is a win for all parties and a vital step on the restructuring path we embarked upon more than a year ago,” Paradigm founder and CEO Sam Gores said. “It represents an important transition for the incredible music agents of Paradigm and the artists they so brilliantly serve. We are huge fans of Casey Wasserman and the company he's built, and I am very pleased that he and his team will be at the helm of this important business line.” Terms of the deal were not disclosed by Paradigm, though Variety estimates the value of Paradigm’s collective music operations at between $150m (€127) and $200m (€170).



hile the British government has unveiled a reopening roadmap – which ventures 21 June as the date when all restrictions may be lifted – without an insurance scheme, festival organisers have been forced to take a gamble on this summer. Live Nation-owned Festival Republic (FR) has put almost all its chips on the table, which is so far paying off. Wireless Festival (2-4 July), and Reading and

Leeds (27-29 August) have sold out, while Latitude Festival (22-25 July) is still on sale. Download, which would have taken place from 4 to 6 June, is so far the only FR festival to announce it will be unable to go ahead again this year. Other UK festivals that have sold out include Manchester’s Parklife (11-12 September), Norfolk’s Sundown Festival (3-5 September), Cheshire’s Creamfields (26-29 August) and Hampshire’s Boomtown (11-15 August). London festivals Field Day (29 August), Junction 2 (28-29 August), and Mighty Hoopla (4 September) have also sold out, in what is being dubbed a ‘festival frenzy’ in the UK. However, on the other end of the spectrum, Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival and Margate’s Hi-Tide have also decided to call it quits for 2021. Magazine





ompanies and associations from across the live music business celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March by paying tribute to inspiring female staff members, executives, performers and role models. Trade bodies including LIVE (Live music Industry Venues and Entertainment) and Music Venue Trust spotlighted the work of their female members using the respective hashtags #LIVEtogether and #WomenToTheFront. Liverpool Sound City hosted IWD-themed

programming both on its Facebook page and its dedicated Guesthouse streaming platform. Live Nation France chose to recognise its female staff with a special video, titled Les Femmes de Live Nation, which premiered on Instagram TV, while its UK sister company worked with Swedish singer-songwriter Zara Larsson on a free IWD live stream. For Australia’s Mushroom Group, IWD provided the perfect opportunity for the women of the company to pay tribute to its late founder, Michael Gudinski, who was known as an advocate for women in live music. The celebration of women continued at the




nother month, another raft of insurance schemes announced. The Danish government made good on its promises by announcing a DKK500million (€67.2m) safety net for festivals and major events, allowing organisers to plan for this summer without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak. The safety net will cover organisers of recurring events with at least 350 participants (such as music festivals, super-league matches, confer-


ences and markets), as well as events that were planned before 6 March 2020, but will not include new events created during the pandemic. The scheme is a ‘continuation and simplification’ of the existing organiser scheme and will cover eligible events between 1 May and 30 September 2021, in the event that the Covid-19 situation results in the cancellation, postponement or significant changes to an event. Elsewhere, the Estonian government announced a €42m aid package for the cultural sector, which includes a €6m ‘risk fund’ for large-

annual Grammy Awards, where female artists stole the show with excellent performances and record-breaking wins. Beyoncé became the most-awarded person in Grammys history after securing her 28th win for best R&B performance for Black Parade. Taylor Swift also made history at this year’s ceremony by becoming the first female artist ever to win album of the year three times, this time for her lockdown album Folklore. Billie Eilish and her brother/producer Finneas took home Record of the Year for the second consecutive year, for Everything I Wanted. And Megan Thee Stallion made her impressive Grammys debut, scooping three awards including Best New Artist, and delivering two performances that were ranked first and second place on Billboard’s performance review list. Dua Lipa, Cardi B and Doja Cat garnered rave reviews for their performances at the 63rd edition of the Grammys, which took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center on 14 March.

scale events. The supplementary budget includes €21m to help cultural event organisers (such as promoters) cover the costs of labour hired, with contracts under the law of obligations, as well as other unavoidable costs. The organisers of international cultural and sports events will also benefit from the separate €6m risk fund, which was designed to support large-scale events with a ‘significant economic impact,’ in the event that they are affected by cancellations, postponements or restrictions. In Switzerland, the federal government is planning to pitch in with event cancellation insurance for major events. A newly amended article in Switzerland’s Covid 19 Act says that the government will contribute to the uncovered costs of public events that have ‘cross-cantonal importance’ (such as concerts or festivals) between 1 June 2021 and 30 April 2022. Under the new act, organisers of major events who have a cantonal permit can claim back costs that aren’t covered by public support measures, insurance or cancellation agreements, if their event is cancelled or postponed due to government-enforced coronavirus restrictions. It is understood that each of the 26 Swiss cantons (member states) will continue to pay 50% of the costs of cancelled events in their region, as they have done so far in Switzerland’s other compensation schemes. The Swiss government has said it will only contribute, at most, the same amount as the cantons.




ome of Germany’s biggest music festivals, including Eventim Presents/ DreamHaus’s Rock am Ring (95,000cap) and Rock im Park (75,000-cap); FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane (78,000-cap) and Southside (65,000-cap); and ESK Events’ Deichbrand Festival (60,000cap), have been called off for a second year running. The festivals’ promoters, all part of the Eventim Live network, “were compelled to call off the events due to the ongoing uncertainty about infection rates and mutations,” according to a



ew Zealand band Six60 are set to play the world’s largest concert since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to 50,000 people next month. The band will be the first act to play New Zealand’s largest stadium, Eden Park (50,000-capacity) in Auckland, on 24 April as part of their Six60 Saturdays tour. In February this year, it was announced that the famous sporting stadium could host up to six concerts a year, following a five-day hearing in November in which residents’ concerns about potential noise and disruption were addressed. Six60 were an active voice in the campaign to bring concerts to Eden Park, and frontman Matiu Walters said in a statement: “It’s no secret that

statement from CTS Eventim. Days after the announcement, German promoter Goodlive cancelled the 2021 editions of Melt! (4-6 June, Ferropolis), Splash! (8 July and 15 July, Ferropolis), Full Force (25-27 June, Ferropolis) and Heroes (18-19 June, Geiselwind, and 23 July, Freiburg). “After months and months of hard work, so many different ideas and concepts, and hundreds of calls with other festivals, politicians and experts, we have to admit to ourselves that the decision is ultimately out of our hands,” reads a statement on Melt!’s website. In Switzerland, OpenAir St.Gallen (1-4 July),

Six60 thrilled the crowds at Sky Stadium Wellington in February

Six60 have wanted to play Eden Park for some time now. We always felt that it was important a kiwi band should play the first show at our national stadium.” The Eden Park concert will be the seventh date of Six60 Saturdays, which is the only stadium tour in the world to go ahead during the pandemic so far. In January, the band delivered the biggest headline show in New Zealand since the pandemic began to an estimated 20,000 people at Waitangi Sports Grounds in Paihia. Neighbouring country Australia is inching closer to New Zealand’s post-Covid reality, after the announcement of ‘the largest standing festival since the beginning of Covid-19.’ Inverted Festival is slated to take place on 1 May at Met-

Gurtenfestival (14-17 July), Zermatt Unplugged (15-25 July), Caribana Festival (16-20 July), Thunerseespiele (14-28 August), and Paléo Festival Nyon, Greenfield Festival, Rock the Ring and Baloise Session, have also called it quits on their 2021 summer events for a consecutive year. News of the cancellations came days after the Swiss federal government announced an update to its event cancellation scheme, which seems to have left organisers and live associations more uncertain than ever about the viability of this year’s festival season. In Spain, two of three major Barcelona festivals, Primavera Sound (2-6 June) and Sónar (17-19 June), have decided to forego their 2021 flagship events and focus on smaller in-person events instead. The third, Cruïlla (8-10 July), is pushing ahead with a plan to utilise Covid-19 rapid testing. Elsewhere, Rock Werchter (1-4 July), one of Belgium’s biggest and most important music festivals, has also been called off for the second year in a row.

ricon Stadium (cap. 25,000) on the Gold Coast, Queensland (QLD) and is expected to welcome up to 10,000 people. The all-day event will combine live performances from some of Australia’s best punk rock bands, including Skegss, Spiderbait, The Chats, Trophy Eyes, WAAX, Stand Atlantic and Fangz, with BMX, skate and FMX competitions. After extensive consultation between QLD health department and Metricon Stadium, the event organisers confirmed the festival would not be subject to zoned areas, meaning that festival-goers can move freely between stages. QLD became the first Australian state to lift restrictions for events, allowing 100% capacity in stadiums and venues from November 2020. Meanwhile, Andrew McManus’s One World Entertainment has announced Australia’s first concert series featuring international artists since the lockdown of March 2020. Under the Southern Stars comprises 11 shows across Australia in April and May and features US rock bands Cheap Trick, Stone Temple Pilots and Bush, acting as rotating headliners across the tour. The shows, which have been approved by the national border force commissioner, will take place in partnership with local and state authorities, who have signed off on the strict Covid-19 regulations that will allow the bands into and across Australia. One World Entertainment will also bring Kiss to Australia in November, with the band playing their final-ever Australian shows as part of the End of the Road tour. Magazine




has partnered with a number of agencies to compile a monthly playlist of new music, much of it released by the new signings to their rosters. Among the tracks on April’s playlist are submissions from 13 Artists, ATC Live, CAA, ICM Partners, ITB, Paradigm, Primary Talent, UTA and WME.


E (JO)

AGENTS Alex Hardee & Mike Malak Paradigm


B (US)

AGENT Darren James-Thomas FMLY


ven if you don’t understand what he’s saying, it’s hard to ignore this tour de force. Issam Alnajjar is leading the way for a new generation of artists from the Middle East and North Africa. A 17-year-old musician from Amman, Jordan, he had been creating music for a couple of years, studying the songwriting of pop artists like Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran and admiring the creativity of iconic artists like Queen and The Weeknd, when he got some inspiration for his breakout hit, Hadal Ahbek. After dropping a preview video for the song on Instagram, anticipation from his fans grew and by the time he finally released Hadal Ahbek, the popularity of it exceeded his expectations, as it currently sits atop dozens of music charts on Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer.

orn to an English-Jamaican mother and a Guyanese-South American father in Brooklyn, New York, Goya Gumbani’s relocation to London in his teens opened a new world of possibilities. Operating within various collectives throughout the city, his development as an artist and producer reached a breakthrough when he released his debut self-produced EP, Morta & More Doves, a dedication to his sister who passed away in 2018. That release began a prolific period for Gumbani, releasing four further projects in the years to come: three mixtapes and an EP called GG & Bori Steps Across The Pond, produced by Bori from New York. Sinu Metu, a single from the EP, was chosen as one of Pitchfork’s must-hear rap songs of the day. Despite his transatlantic upbringing, the flavour of Goya’s work is rooted in NYC hip-hop storytelling. He was recently named in NME’s 100 list of 2021 & ID’s one to watch.

New Signings

ARTIST LISTINGS A Wilhelm Scream (US) abrahamblue (BE) Alina Pash (UA) Angel Haze (US) Anna Phoebe (UK) AntsLive (UK) Aodhan (AU) Benny The Butcher (US) BETWEEN FRIENDS (US) Black Lotus (DE) Bleu Clair (ID) Cloth (UK) Drex Carter (US) Eden Prince (UK) Florence Arman (UK) Genesis Owusu (AU) Goya Gumbani (US) Hamish Hawk (UK) Hemi Moore (UK) Issam Alnajjar (JO) JJ Esko (UK) Joel Culpepper (UK) Juan Wauters (UY) Kay Young (UK) Laufey (US) Lea (DE) Léa Sen (UK) Lisa Subotic (ME) Lo Village (US) Londin (US)

Tom Taaffe, Paradigm Alice Hogg & Marlon Burton, ATC Live Christina Austin, UTA Darren James-Thomas, FMLY Angie Rance, UTA Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Tom Taaffe, Paradigm Darren James-Thomas, FMLY James Masters & Carlos Abreu, UTA Martje Kremers, Primary Talent Paul McQueen, Primary Talent Matt Pickering-Copley, Primary Talent Nick Matthews, Paradigm Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent Will Marshall, Primary Talent David Exley, ParadIgm Darren James-Thomas, FMLY Caitlin Ballard & Graham Clews, ATC Live Marlon Burton, ATC Live Alex Hardee & Mike Malak, Paradigm Max Lee, Earth Agency Marlon Burton & Sinan Ors, ATC Live Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live James Wright & James Osgood, UTA Nick Matthews, Paradigm Alex Hardee, Paradigm David Exley, Paradigm Ryan Penty, Paradigm Kevin Jergenson, ICM Partners Mike Malak, Paradigm




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.

LAST MONTH 1 7 10 18 7 29 33 27

Naomi Palmer, Earth Agency Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Michael Harvey-Bray, Paradigm Michael Harvey-Bray, Paradigm Angie Rance, UTA Heulwen Keyte & Beth Morton, UTA Scott Mantell, ICM Partners Matt Bates, Primary Talent Nick Matthews, Paradigm Kayleigh Lawrence, Earth Agency Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Dave Blackgrove, Paradigm Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Tom Schroeder, Paradigm Tobbe Lorentz, UTA Michael Harvey-Bray, Paradigm Tom Taaffe, Paradigm Clemence Renaut, ATC Live James Wright & James Osgood, UTA Jack Clark & Ishsha Bourguet, UTA Rob McGee, FMLY Agency Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Kayleigh Lawrence, Earth Agency Kara James, ITB Sarah Joy & Sinan Ors, ATC Live Heulwen Keyte, UTA Colin Keenan, ATC Live Francesco Caccamo, Primary Talent Clemence Renaut, ATC Live


MARCH 2021

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

Loshh (UK) M’Way (UK) Mac Wetha (UK) Martha Skye Murphy (UK) Memorial (UK) Mica Paris (UK) Michele Morrone (IT) Molly Burman (UK) Navos (UK) NiNE8 Collective (UK) NSJ Mali (UK) OBSKÜR (IE) Ordeal (UK) Overmono (UK) Pet Needs (UK) pinkpirate (UK) Rat Tally (US) Regressive Left (UK) Robert Glasper (US) Sainté (UK) Simone Marie Butler (UK) SNUBBS (US) Tailor Jae (UK) The OBGMs (CA) The Umlauts (UK) Tolü Makay (IE) Trousdale (US) Waeys (NL) Wu-Lu (UK)




MAKING TOURING SUSTAINABLE Paradigm director and agent Tom Schroeder is one of the key executives driving the sustainability agenda in the UK’s live music business. He outlines why the broader business must buy in....


e all need a break. I really need a break. The last 12 months have been testing in every facet of our lives and I cannot wait to be on holiday, in the sunshine and warmth, and later in the year, in the snow. I can’t wait to escape London and the UK. I deserve it and I am sure you do too. And I am not going to feel guilty about that either. I know air travel is bad for the environment, but I need to escape from time to time. Covid-19 has shown us all that we need to live our lives, as we just don’t know what is around the corner. So, why am I starting an article about sustainability and climate change by saying this? Because there remains a preconception that unless you live a perfect carbon neutral life, you can’t be part of the climate change debate, least of all part of the solution. And that just isn’t true. And I need you onboard. Live touring and the movement of production and people around the globe – which is absolutely what I do for a living – is horribly damaging for the planet. We, as an industry (and I am talking the entire industry from touring to labels to broadcast, etc) are so far behind the rest of the world. We are


about to start looking incredibly stupid – that is, unless we do something about it. Saving the planet for our children and theirs should be adequate motivation for us all to get on with this – but if it isn’t, and I really am not judgemental on this, then get motivated by the fact that live touring, in particular, is not ‘sustainable’ in its present form. We cannot continue touring as we have been pre-Covid. Here are some of the reasons why. All of them will turn our business upside down, much in the way that Covid has. The artists. They are the bosses, and it is their decision how and when they tour. But their fanbases will not tolerate huge carbon consumption with complete disregard for the consequences. Personally, I believe that this applies to both young people as well as the older generation, who are now thinking about their grandkids and their legacy. As we all know, this will be directed at the acts themselves. Unless we address this, it will impact sales. To give you a perspective on the power of the public on these matters – Greta Thunberg’s profile has risen from nothing to literally mobilising millions of kids with a tweet, over the course of just two years. So the length of a normal first album cycle…


We are a business, and what is totally clear is that even pre-Covid, every major government in the world was going to start taxing the shit out of anything that was destroying the world as we know it. Post-Covid, these governments are now skint and looking at where they can generate income. They will come knocking on our door at some point. One of the biggest lessons I have learnt as an agent and business owner, is that it is easy to spot problems and failures, but much harder to work out and implement solutions. There are an awful lot of very clever people who can tell you how we are damaging the planet, and what the consequences are. I would like to offer you some hope that we can do something quickly, effectively and without destroying any of our business models. Though let me reiterate, I don’t think any of our business models are ‘sustainable’ mid- to long-term anyway. Pre-Covid, I went round every major agency with a couple of my key managers. We discussed a system whereby all agents proposed to their managers that, at the point of confirming a show or tour, the show or tour would be offset. An industry standard calculation on the cost of that offset, based on scale, location and method, with the subsequent financial contribution going to a centralised industry foundation, run by experts. Tours that are carbon neutral are advertised as such, and this process becomes as routine as contracting/deposits/announcements/ticketing. What is enormously important is that this process works for every act – from the first headline tour up to the biggest bands in the world. This is completely achievable. Offsetting and the footprint of a show must be a discussion from those very important first shows right through to the final victory laps. So we have a starting point where artists will be choosing to offset, and the industry as a whole supports them in doing this in the most effective way. From there, the work continues with venues refining their own impact, and promoters

addressing the movement and consumption of the crowds coming to the shows. With this all as part of our DNA, the net casts wider, and labels will have to react to the agenda – artists will demand it. There are always exceptions, and I could happily list the major acts and events that are already tackling this head on. There is always scope for going above and beyond with what you are passionate about. Carbon positive, not neutrality, is, after all, the real goal. But artists have their individual passions too, and I have absolutely loved seeing the different initiatives and charities that our musicians and industry have backed. The Green Agenda cannot and shouldn’t get in their way. We just need an industry standard solution that respects artists own agendas, and makes it all work easily. So, what happens now? Well, we have a bit of a reckoning as we head towards Earth Day on 22nd April. A charter of goals, a system of calculation and distribution, and resources to help people understand and improve their approaches. That is (almost) all ready to go. What it needs is the whole ecosystem to come together to make this change, but without the partisanship that has dogged the industry forever. Live music is now full of some truly visionary leaders – by far the best I have seen in my 20 years. But now is our time of reckoning on the biggest of topics. I am sorry to say that you are going to be bombarded over the next few years with headlines of ‘you thought Covid was bad, well just wait for climate change.’ Let’s get ahead of this and show the rest of the world how impressive we are as an industry – we have some of the best brains around, and one of the loudest voices as an industry. We should be a global example of how to do it, not behind the curve. I am not interested in personal agendas and promotion, oneupmanship, and posturing. This is a change we have no choice but to make, and it needs absolutely all of us to play our parts. Enjoy your holidays, we all deserve them.

“You are going to be bombarded over the next few years with headlines of ‘you thought Covid was bad, well just wait for climate change.’ Let’s get ahead of this and show the rest of the world how impressive we are as an industry”




Therapy on Tour Tiffany Hudson is a psychotherapist working independently and with the British Association for Performing Arts Medicine (BAPAM). Here she describes the launch of Therapy on Tour and the way its services have evolved throughout lockdown.


y career in live music began in 2004. My first shift was working as local event crew on Madonna’s Re-Invention tour. Six months prior, I worked in a windowless Tesco cash office, listening to the radio and daydreaming about hopping on a tour bus with one of my favourite bands and getting the heck out of my hometown. As a relatively lonely kid, I longed for connection, and decided that ‘on the road’ was where I could find it. I was often met with such warmth at gigs, whether it was sitting with the fans, waiting for doors to open, or chatting with the bands and crew at after-show events. I experienced an immense feeling of belonging from working as local crew, which continued as I began to tour in various job roles. Touring life was a whirlwind of terrific adventures and intense connections but also… excess. I began to grow a little weary eight years into touring, and had lost my direction. I found a wonderful therapist who was flexible with session times – provided I was ready to commit to the work. I started to get a grip on my life again. Inspired by my positive personal experience with therapy, I began training as an integrative psychotherapist. Therapy on Tour officially opened its doors in 2019, intending to serve the touring and entertainment industry. Not long after this, the coronavirus pandemic struck. The impact on the many hundreds of thousands of artists and crew who invest their entire lives into live events was catastrophic. After the immediate health and financial concerns, came a string of losses. People lost their loved ones, homes, relationships, and in many cases, a sense of their identity. As a relatively sociable profession, event industry workers create close-knit bonds in their studios, workshops and within their tour families, all of which had been suddenly put on pause. These physical connections were painfully missed. Video conferencing platforms became our only way to communicate with friends and loved ones outside of our households. Despite apps like Skype being commonly used for well over a decade by touring folk to contact friends and family back home, it was not relied upon so heavily before. The benefit of the entire industry moving into the online


realm was a good move for mental health support. Therapists began shifting their practices online at a radical rate, which opened up previously unavailable opportunities. As Therapy on Tour could no longer be ‘on tour’ I reconsidered what mental health support I could now offer to grounded industry professionals. As well as one-to-one work, I ran a pilot support group online. The peer community provided a space to connect with others experiencing similar challenges, while rebuilding a sense of community through mutual support. Based on its success, I intend to pursue further online group work. As events slowly begin to fire up again the focus is now on how to stay sustainably healthy on the way back into event life, and beyond. Take a moment to ask yourself how your pre-pandemic life treated you. Is there anything that you would like to change when we return? This could be an excellent opportunity to reevaluate priorities. For those unable to return to the live events sector just yet, I hope to see increased support between peers. By valuing eachother’s strengths and respecting our limitations, we can forge a stronger, more inclusive creative community. Throughout our community, I’m encouraged to see a better understanding of the support that industry professionals need and more organisations working together to help. Continuing to connect to our peers via online platforms will also help to keep us afloat. Even though online connections will never be a substitute for all in-person social contact, it has provided a solid foundation for community-based support services and therapies. As the world is working its way back into some kind of regularity and a roadmap has been laid out for the tentative promised land beyond 21st June [in the UK], there is a sense of just needing to hang on for a little longer. Live events offer so much more than just a place of entertainment. They provide a setting in which we can feel big emotions as a collective, as a tribe. The audience’s passionate shout-singing, crying or moshing energy spills over to the bands and crew, and unites us all through the unique live experience. Keep holding on tight, we will be back.


The Other Pandemic Marta Pallarès, head of international press & PR for Primavera Sound, outlines the unprecedented opportunity we have, to build a better, more diverse industry once the face masks have gone.


ealth passports, fast testing, social distancing, rapid screenings: the industry has been grappling with more medical concepts in the last year than it ever had to before. Getting back to business; finding ways to reopen venues and stage festivals; getting technicians back to their sound desks and musicians back on stage, is all we’ve thought and talked about during the past 12 months. But is that everything? All of it? Perhaps the question shouldn’t simply be when is the industry resuming but how and with whom? Because we can’t afford to go back to pale, male and stale music festivals, to companies overwhelmingly ruled by men, to sound-checks where as far as the eyes can see it’s Johns and Jacks and Martins – not that we want them to disappear, we just want them to share their space with us Janes, Jackies and Martas. It’s been two years since Primavera Sound sent a message to the world: a gender-balanced lineup can be achieved. When we released that line-up, we said that equality and dismantling gender barriers should be normal, and yet, in spite of the fact that we claimed that that edition would be the one in which everything changed... it didn’t. Two years after becoming the first major festival with a 50/50 gender split, we haven’t seen much of a change. In fact, the situation has only got worse for women thanks to the pandemic. The biggest problem now is not only the ongoing systemic inactivity but the depressing thought that the pandemic can, and will, be used as an excuse to avoid taking the much-needed next steps. At Primavera, we know how challenging this process can be, maybe even more than the promoters and festivals that still refuse to be more diverse. In the end, we set our own standard: we have to live up to that past achievement, and keep honouring it. 2019 was an amazing year for music made by women: Rosalía, Janelle Monáe, Robyn, Erykah Badu, Chris from Christine & the Queens and many more, made it really easy for us. But was that programme just a once in a lifetime? Not really. The next year proved us right, thanks to Lana del Rey, Bikini Kill, Kacey Musgraves and Brittany Howard. So it’s not about the lack of female artists, or even female headliners: it’s about the lack of willingness to book them or

give them the rank they deserve. In the end, if they are the ones who chart the highest and win all the awards, shouldn’t they be also topping our line-ups? So, let’s talk business. Does a gender-balanced line-up translate into revenue? In 2019, Primavera Sound sold more day tickets than ever, up to 65,000. That Saturday, 1 June, Rosalía, Solange and Lizzo shared a line-up with James Blake, Jarvis Cocker and Stereolab, as well as the biggest Colombian reggaeton artist, J Balvin. Isn’t this how real diversity should look (and be heard)? Even our partners at the UN SDG Action Campaign thought so. Whilst I don’t pretend to be an expert on this matter, by any means, let’s ask Google how a more diverse and inclusive environment can and will improve any company. I remember moderating a panel last year at Primavera Pro. We were already asking ‘What’s Next?’ because we suspected that 2020 could be the perfect time to pause and reflect on our work. In that panel, we were inspired by Fruzsina Szép (director of Lollapalooza Berlin and Superbloom Munich) and her approach to the pandemic: her whole team was taking much-needed time to take a deeper look at their festivals and to think how they wanted them to be, not how they had to be. Why shouldn’t we use this crisis as an opportunity to fix systemic issues – that are more deep-rooted and insidious than a virus – instead of as an excuse? We understand that competition can be fierce, but saying that line-ups prior to the pandemic have to be honoured feels cheap. Crazy thought: what if they had already been diverse in 2020? To all the festivals who pledged to achieve gender equality in 2022 and to all of those who were already trying to do better, please don’t take a rain-check due to the pandemic; you are doing a great job. It’s not about being perfect, the real challenge is to do better, no matter how small each step may seem. We have this chance to start planting in empty fields, as nothing is written in stone anymore. If we don’t have a clue what it’s going to be like when we programme festivals again, if we lose all the benefits of a stable landscape, why should we inherit its problems?




New-found wealth in a paused industry In the first of a series of columns by leading production managers, Chris Kansy (Roger Waters, Nine Inch Nails) reflects on life in lockdown and learning to live without shows


ost of us have been home for over a year now. The break from touring due to the pandemic has become a transitional period, out of an initial shock with the frailty of human existence on this planet, and into a new normal. Are we the same people we were in 2019? My 5am lobby call has been swapped out for eight hours of sleep. The after-show pizza and wine have been swapped out for reading a book or falling asleep to Netflix by 10.30pm. I even have a work-out routine and feel stronger now than I have felt in the last 20 years. And then something else happened – I became a much better father to my ten-year-old daughter. Who knew? Despite the lack of work, I am incredibly lucky to be able to say this period has been enriching. With all this new-found wealth, why is it that some days I feel like I’m stranded in the desert, wandering around lost, looking for the loading dock? The experience is an aggressive tug of war, pulling me back and forth between a healthy home life and the addiction to touring. This is a strong addiction and I feel the withdrawals every day. Touring has instilled order in my life. I am regimented to a routine of: get off the bus, load-in, show, load-out, bus, hotel, load-in, etc. Disciplines are learned and muscle memory makes it all effortless. My body clock aligns with the job at hand. Responsibility, progress and accomplishment become my drug. What do I do without this rush? How do I cope in this other world without that needed fuel? On the road, sleep is the thing I want the most and yet the hardest thing to get. I stand on concrete all day long. I drink probably more than I should. Why do I miss that so much? Is it because we are a people who thrive on accomplishing routine miracles? In our element, we get little hits of dopamine for everything we achieve throughout a 16-hour show day. It becomes part of our body chemistry. There is a sense of belonging and tribalism we have with one another as well. We share teamwork and friendly competition. I love the banter between


the stage-left PA fly guy and the stage-right fly guy as they compete to drop their last box. There is no bigger rush than a great load-out. You know, the ones that flow so well it seems like the trucks are loading themselves? So good that even a cable bridge couldn’t screw it up. The feeling of camaraderie is strongest when on the bus after a great load-out as you embark toward a day-off hotel. The wine tastes great and the food is hardy. The song being played is the best song you have ever heard. You can see the sense of accomplishment in eachother’s faces. Life rarely gets better than at that exact moment. Man, do I miss it. I do enjoy being home, though. Perhaps much of this withdrawal stems from financial uncertainty, which makes my feet feel heavy some days. But on a personal level, I have accomplished so much more than I would have if touring had continued. This last year brought genuine life-changing experiences. I’ve had moments to sit back and ponder my and my family’s future. Build things. Create things. Experience things. I think it’s safe to say that I have grown personally. Sometimes being scared can straighten you out a little bit as well. If I choose to think about money, I could easily fall down the rabbit hole of despair. Remaining optimistic throughout this period has served me well, and the spotlight at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter by the day. The thought of going back to work again won’t be abstract for much longer. I look forward to walking into the venue to the aroma of bacon in the air, watching the trucks unload and feeling the euphoria of the house lights going out to start the show. The pandemic has devastated our industry. Crew, vendors, venue staff and all the various businesses that support us have all had major setbacks. But as we begin to find our way out of the desert, it is possible that some wonderful things have also transpired. I hope in my heart that after we get back to work and the anxiety has subsided, we can look back at 2020 and 2021 and have something to remember them fondly by.


t r o p Re The 33rd edition of the International Live Music Conference, held virtually 3-5 March, attracted an identical number of delegates to the physical ILMC 32 at the Royal Garden Hotel a year ago, underlining the ambition of more than 1,000 members around the world to get the live music industry back up and running as soon as is humanly possible. With 1596 registered delegates across ILMC, IPM and GEI, 7884 messages sent, an average time spent per delegate of 18 hours and 3 minutes, and between 250 and 550 delegates watching each session, it was an engaged week for live music. Sessions remain available to watch until 5 April, via the ILMC vault. Magazine




Presented by A Greener Festival (AGF) in partnership with ILMC, the 13th edition of the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) welcomed industry leaders, professionals, visionaries, government officials and numerous individuals and organisations who are working to bring environmental and social sustainability to the live events, sports and creative sectors. The event’s key message was that sustainability should not be put to one side as the live entertainment industry scrambles to rebuild. Rather, efforts should be ramped up so that we can build back better. As well as keynote addresses by the likes of African festival organiser Dave Ojay, and green energy entrepreneur Dale Vince, GEI consisted of four main sessions: The Elephant in the Road session posed questions about whether touring could ever truly become carbon neutral? Matt Cheshire from The Needs Group commented: “With regards to the ground elements, we need to look at setting up electric charging points at festivals or hotels, looking at ground logistics from airports and accommodation to festival sites, and looking at solar panels and things like that.” However, in terms of reducing travel for touring artists going from festival to festival, Cheshire noted that radius clauses in some contracts might hinder such concepts. Adam Hatton of Global Motion said, “If we look for technology to replace the technology we have now so we can carry on living the lifestyle we live now, I think we’re dreaming… The only real way of making this sustainable is by reducing the amount of kit we take. For example, why are we moving stages around the world? It [the stages] should be there already, waiting for us.”


Post-Pollution Politics, Industry & Culture featured dialogue between the live events sector, green activists, and Niclas Svenningsen of the United Nations’ global climate action team, as to how events can contribute to ensuring targets for emissions reduction and sustainability are met. Svenningsen spoke of the importance of getting back to business “in a smarter and better way,” while Green Music Initiative’s Jacob Bilabel said change is inevitable. “We are locked in structures that are not good and not right, and they’re not even making us happy any more,” he said. “Do we want to have that transformation happen by disaster or by design?” Dismissing the concept of a pollution tax as “absurd,” Dave Ojay of Kenya’s Naam Festival asked, “How can I give you a licence to destroy nature simply because you can pay? Rather than a pollution tax, let’s force the polluter to set up a recycling or regeneration plan to keep [their business] green.” Panellists on the We Are Not Socially Distanced session had one resounding message: privilege comes with responsibility. Michael Fritz of Viva Con Agua said, “It’s all about how much access you have, either to education, human rights, money, technologies or resources. Those are privileges, and if you have a privilege you have big responsibility.” Yaw Owusu, BrukOut Entertainment/PRS Foundation, agreed: “If you’re in a place where putting food on the table or surviving day to

day is not your concern then you’ve got more space to wonder about the causes.” A Greener Tour Round III gathered key stakeholders from inside and outside of the live music industry to discuss what can be done collectively to create the regenerative tour of the future, post-pandemic. Paradigm Talent Agency’s Tom Schroeder suggested that the live entertainment business could use its unique power to reach and inspire the masses to further the cause. “Nothing to do with Live Aid was directly producing food in Africa, but what it did is it made the Western world understand third-world poverty – for 20,30,40 years, it had a huge impact,” he said. Musician Nuno Bettencourt agreed, urging the industry to empower artists to speak about sustainability. “We need the agents and managers and experts to give artists a utility belt and superhero cape by showing them how to do it and make them excited about the cause. Fans want to be inspired, they don’t want to hear you blame the politicians.” And Anna Golden of AEG Presents emphasised that any progress is a step in the right direction. “It’s not that we have to get this perfect the first time around, and yeah we do need to get some sort of charter and some sort of objectives and achievable roles in place, but actually, if we’re having a slow start because resourcing and finances are tight, all we have to do is be better than yesterday.”


THE ILMC PRODUCTION MEETING 2021 The 14th ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) gathered the world’s leading production managers; health, safety and security specialists; crewing companies; production suppliers; transport and travel firms; new technology suppliers; and venue and promoters’ reps to discuss the most pressing issues affecting the live event production industry. The event examined potential pathways back to business and how the live entertainment supply chain can work together to make shows Covid-safe and persuade authorities to lift restrictions sooner rather than later. Among the highlights of the event were: Let’s Get On With It: Part II explored how the production sector can help get the events industry back on its feet post-pandemic, on the back of part I, which took place at the Event Production Forum East in Budapest. Addressing how the production sector can help live entertainment return in some capacity but with restrictions, Chris Woodford of Logical Safety Solutions Ltd stated that, “A mass testing solution, coupled with vaccinations, is probably the only way forward.” Glen Rainsbury, general manager of Ticketek, believes governments will be more inclined to bring back live entertainment if organisers

consider the wider risk of an event, including concerns such as public transport. “Our responsibility as event organisers, promoters and venues is no longer just the drip line of the venue, it is the full picture, and governments and regulators are absolutely focusing on it because they’re not actually seeing it as being a benefit [but] a risk,” he said. “You’ve got to prove that you can manage their risk as far out as it spreads from your venue because you are the core. Fold that into your risk matrix and your communications plan.” We Don’t Need No Education: Erm… Yes, you do! saw session chair Dan Craig of Superstruct Entertainment suggest that there could be value in a common ‘passport’ ensuring equal standards across the production industry globally. David Suslik from the Czech Republic’s OnSinch was supportive, saying the production business is “late to the party” and should be collaborating on an international standard. The UK’s Keith Wood opined that there’s nothing better than hands-on experience, while he also spoke of the benefit of international travel to learn how crews in other countries do things – whether good or bad – allowing both sides to learn from eachother. “Here in Jakarta, we learn many things from production managers who come through Indonesia,” agreed show director and stage manager Asthie Wendra. In the first of two Gaffer Q&As, Ed Sheeran production manager Chris Marsh sat down with IQ’s Lisa Henderson to discuss his career

in live music production – a job he likened to a “drug” to which he has been addicted from an early age. Marsh likened the production challenges of working with a solo acoustic act like Sheeran, particularly at stadium level, to a comedy show, where it’s similarly important every person feels engaged with, and can hear, the live performance, regardless of their position in the venue. Marsh also spoke about his recent work on making touring more sustainable with the PSA’s Tour Production Group, as well as how and when live entertainment will return post-pandemic. In the second Gaffer Q&A, IQ‘s Jon Chapple quizzed Jake Berry on his career in live production, working with the likes of AC/DC, U2, Barney, Cher and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Commenting on the ongoing shutdown of the live music industry, Berry said: “It amazes me that you can fly these days in a ‘cigar tube’ with 150-200 people, no problem, for ten hours, and sports players can go back and forth and be exempt from all the quarantine rules, but we can’t put people in [a] theatre.” However, in reference to the UK’s recently announced roadmap, Berry said, “It’s probably too soon to announce shows… we don’t want to come back too soon and risk another lockdown.” Health & Mental Health: Of sound body & mind explored realistic improvements in the health and wellbeing of those working in post-pandemic event production. Kate Bunyan of MB Medical Solutions/ Doctor Care Anywhere said the digitisation of wellbeing resources due to the pandemic will prove extremely useful when crew members hit the road again. “One of the things that the last 12 months has done is show people what [help] they can access virtually. We’ve seen this explosion of resources available online, which means [when crew go back on tour] you won’t need to find resources in each town, each city, each country you’re going to, and you can start having some continuity of those tools, through the virtual network. “That is something that we have to be grateful to Covid for. I think the fact that we have been able to elevate resources and put them into a more remote environment to tap into wherever you’re travelling to really does help,” she says.





THE OPEN FORUM ILMC’s traditional opening panel welcomed returning chair Phil Bowdery along with CAA’s Emma Banks, Oak View Group’s Tim Leiweke and AEG’s Jay Marciano to reflect on the year that wasn’t. Noting that he usually begins The Open Forum by recapping the biggest grossing tours of the year, Live Nation’s executive president of international touring, Bowdery, instead asked his guests how they’d spent the past year in the absence of selling millions of tickets. Banks summed up the mood when she said, “we’ve all been busy fools,” rearranging tours and shows with no knowledge of when live music might be able to return. “Anybody that claims they know when we’ll be able to do international tours, they know something the rest of the world does not,” echoed Leiweke. “This thing has its own path of destruction it has to reap, and we’re going to have to be patient.” When the time is right “we have to open up globally,” stated Marciano. Referring to the number of fans who have kept their tickets for postponed events, Marciano added that he’s been struck by how patient people have been. “I want to open up – I have $5billion [€4.2bn] invested in nine new arenas. But in order to open up we have to have an agreement [as to when], because if one of us opens up too early it’ll affect the rest of us, too,” he warned. Noting the upsides to 2020’s time out, Banks said, “One thing that has been good is no planes – hopefully, that’s been helping the planet we’ve been wrecking. Travel represents a tiny amount of carbon emissions, but – without taking away the gig – what we’ve learnt with Zoom, Webex, Teams, etc., is that we don’t need all the meetings we have, which we fly all over the world for, often only for a day. We


need to rethink what we’re doing.” Both Leiweke and Marciano pointed to advances in new technology such as 5G while touring has been on pause. “Technology didn’t take a year and a half off,” said Leiweke. When shows return, “we’re going to see brand new technology that will enhance the experience but won’t replace it,” he added. Whenever it is live returns, none of the panellists were in any doubt about fans’ continued passion for live music, referencing the incredible pent-up demand for shows that has been building throughout 2020/21. “I’ve never seen this kind of demand. [For 2021] we have 180 holds in our new arena in New York already,” added Leiweke. “We’re going to get through this.”


Speaking during his ILMC keynote interview, Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, founder and CEO of CTS Eventim, shared his belief that it will take the industry until late 2023 or 2024 to get back to the same levels of business that it enjoyed pre-Covid. In conversation with ILMC chief Greg Parmley, Schulenberg was responding to a question about consumer confidence in a post-pandemic world and revealed that his company’s research indicated that 80% of people would buy a ticket three months after the end of the pandemic. But that meant 20% of people would not be willing to buy a concert ticket. That problem prompted his assertion that artists and agents need to understand that they should be more modest in their demands as the industry starts to recover. Indeed, he suggested that promoters should try to persuade artists to share in the risk of a show. “The guarantee should go down,” he said, while acknowledging that such conversations did not always find a sympathetic ear.

“Reopening is not recovery,” he said . “We are now looking at reopening, but recovery would mean that fans would come back at levels of 2019 and recovery would mean that people could attend a concert care-free.” He also forecast that show costs could rise by as much as 15-20% in the short term because of the effect of the pandemic and the fact that local costs will be much higher than they used to be. “Look at the stagehands, look at the security, service companies for light and sound and maybe even the venues will try to make up their losses they incurred in 2020 and probably 2021 as well,” he explained. Echoing the excitement over technological development that had been flagged up in The Open Forum, Schulenberg said the adoption of 5G was something his company had been working on, as they could radically change the way shows work – citing fan-to-fan communication and fan-to-artist communication within a show as possibilities. “We want to stay as a technological leader, so we have been working on new tech and new features and I am pretty optimistic in this respect,” he commented. And he also opened the doors to collaborating with rivals Live Nation and others when it comes to improving the industry’s lobbying efforts with politicians and policymakers. “I never take competition personally,” he said. “We are all in the same boat and I am a fan of good partnerships – that’s how we made our business and we welcome everybody to partner with us. It’s to all of our advantage.” But he concluded that the industry needs to understand that having a strong voice requires expenditure, although he suggested that many companies are not ready to put their money where their mouths are. “We need professional associations and we have to know that professional associations are expensive – they cost money – and the industry must be willing to invest, but I think that’s a problem,” he observed.


While the past year has been quiet across the live events industry, the time has not been wasted by those involved in tech, prompting ILMC to launch PULSE – a platform that sits at the intersection of technology and live entertainment. A collaboration between ILMC, agent Mike Malak (Paradigm), and digital entertainment expert Yvan Boudillet (TheLynk), topics covered in the inaugural event were as follows: The Business of Live Tech discussed emerging business models and new deals around tech and music. Unsurprisingly, one of the panel’s most interesting discourses was about the perceived fan-appetite for live-streaming before, during and after the pandemic – a recurring topic throughout ILMC. Steve Hancock from Melody VR claimed that demand for live-streaming was strong before the pandemic and will continue to be a valuable complementary offering to live. “Live-streaming will never replace live, but I think a hybrid, and marriage, of physical and digital attendance is, in my opinion, the way forward,” he said. Cheryl Paglierani from United Talent Agency, extolled some of the new revenue streams the technology might offer: “There are going to be ways for us to create virtual balconies or virtual meet-and-greet experiences,” she said, noting that some fans would be willing to pay for experiences through Zoom or similar platforms. Asking how to keep the fan at the centre of new virtual performance spaces, The New Fan Experience saw Sheri Bryant from virtual events platform Sansar, speak of the importance of connecting fans with performers but not competing with the live experience. Where the sector goes next, suggested

Brandon Goodman of Best Friends Music, “depends on the artist. […] I don’t think artists should necessarily do what Billie [Eilish] did. For example, I loved the Dermot Kennedy stream – but I don’t think Dermot Kennedy in an XR world, like Billie, would be very on-brand for an artist like him.” Trivium frontman Matt Heafy opened The Live-streamers’ Guide to Live Music by talking about videogame-focused site Twitch, where he has more than 200,000 subscribers. Julie Bogaert from Facebook spoke of the importance for streamers of having a “presence on as many platforms as possible, because they all have different audiences.” Viewer engagement is key, added Heafy. “That’s what separates live from video. That viewer-streamer relationship is the big difference [between a live broadcast and] a video that already exists.” Sweet Streams – Best in Class saw Live Nation GSA’s Lars-Oliver Vogt assemble leaders in the live-streaming space to share best practice and reflect on 2020’s standout events. James Sutcliffe, LiveNow Global, detailed the success of Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054 broadcast, which garnered more than 500 million views and 300,000 ticket sales. Mike Schabel, Kiswe, enjoyed similar success with K-pop band BTS and their Map of the Soul On:e pay-per-view live stream, which saw 993,000 people across 193 countries tune in. Speaking on the role of an agent in live-streaming, Natasha Gregory from Mother

Artists (UK), reported that the decision to use the Idles broadcast as a marketing tool was wise, because six weeks of hard work resulted in 12,000 streams for a band that can sell 2,500 tickets for a London show. However, Tim Westergreen, Sessions Live suggested that the monetisation of live-streaming for mid-range acts depends on two things: a fan and audience development platform, as well as a monetisation mechanism similar to those tried and tested in gaming. “Gaming has done [this] for two decades now. It’s why, as an industry, it’s been so much more successful than music in the digital era.” Fabrice Sergent reported the rapid adoption that his company Bandsintown had witnessed through listing 70,000 live streams last year, 75% of which were listed by artists of less than 100,000 followers, while from July to October the number of live streams that were ticketed jumped from 2% to 50%. “For something that started as a free medium, it has only taken ten months for fans to accept they have to pay for tickets to a live stream,” said Sergent. “When music was pirated on Napster, it took ten years for fans to finally accept [buying a] subscription to music streaming.” PULSE also became the home for ILMC’s traditional New Technology Pitches, hosted by Steve Machin of LiveFrom Events, who oversaw presentations from Moment House, Bramble, Driift, Noq, Notetracks, Lookport, FanSifter, and Eighth Day Sound.





IRVING AZOFF “HOPEFUL” FOR RETURN TO LIVE IN JULY Legendary artist manager Irving Azoff is hopeful that the US live sector will see a “decent reopening” this July, he said during his keynote interview with Ed Bicknell, which also touched on his early career in management with acts such as REO Speedwagon and Dan Fogelberg, hell-raising with Keith Moon, his long association with Eagles and Fleetwood Mac, his induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and recent deals with The Beach Boys

and David Crosby. Azoff believes the US is “much more optimistic” about returning to live music – albeit with caveats – since the number of Covid cases has dropped off quicker than predicted. However, he warned that the US live sector faces two big issues. “The first issue is: When are states going to be open at full capacity or near it? The second is, without insurance, do you want to really take the risk, after a year or two of no income, of putting your production together to try to work the rest of this year – or do you just want to wait till 2022?” Even once the US has found a way to reopen, Azoff predicts “a lot of drama” with test and tracing to get into live events. “A lot of major artists are saying, ‘I’m just going to wait till 2022,’ but 2022 is going to be a train wreck here, just getting avails and everybody trying to run at once.” The full Breakfast Meeting interview – which also included Azoff giving the inside story of Ticketmaster’s 2010 merger with Live Nation, as well as recounting how he fired Lindsey Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac – is available to watch back until 5 April 2021 for ILMC 33 ticket holders.

SUSTAINABILITY AND DIVERSITY TOP AGENTS’ AGENDAS The sustainability of the post-Covid return to business, and how the business, in general, can be more open to attracting people from different backgrounds were the main topics discussed during The Agency Business 2021. Session chairman Tom Schroeder of Paradigm Talent Agency admitted to guests Lucy Dickins (WME), Mike Greek (CAA), Sam Kirby Yoh (UTA) and Obi Asika (UTA previously Echo Location Talent Agency) that prior to the panel he thought his passion, sustainability, would be the main takeaway from the panel, but instead it turned out to be diversity. Earlier in the session, Schroeder had joked that UTA had been the most aggressive agency during the pandemic,


so much so that they had a 50% market share of the panel guests, thanks to the 3 March announcement that the company had acquired Asika’s Echo Location operation. And it was Asika who, in tackling a question about race and diversity, recounted a story from his youth where his mother, a sociology teacher, had urged him to read a book by Jock Young who wrote about labelling theory, opening Asika’s mind to the dangers of stereotyping. “I was aware from the age of 13 or 14 that I was constantly stereotyped by teachers at my school, by parents of the children, by school friends, and even maybe sometimes myself, because you end up, potentially, becoming that stereotype,” said Asika. “We all do it, but if you are judging somebody before you’ve given them a chance, think about how dangerous that can be. And on the other side of it, think about how powerful the industry we work in is – someone who felt that way, because of the love of music, is now sitting here and has just started as the head of the UK office of a global agency, having a talk with all you fine people.”


Also making its ILMC debut was The Experience Economy Meeting (TEEM), which as the world’s only conference dedicated entirely to touring exhibitions and the experience economy, brought a host of leading professionals, including expo producers, promoters, venue bookers and suppliers to ILMC 33. TEEM consisted of the following sessions: What’s Next in the World for Experience Exhibitions? saw Christoph Scholz of Semmel Concerts and Charles Read of Blooloop focus on ways of enhancing the user experience of exhibitions from design, production and cross-cultural standpoints. Panellists spoke of the importance of creating multilayered immersive environments that can provide sensory reality. “We see more and more experiences that integrate smell, sound, touch, and really surrounding people so they can have a proper immersive experience,” said Manon Delaury of Teo in France. “Another key trend, which will emerge, is transformative experiences that are truly social. The idea is that once you’ve been through the experience you feel a little bit different. You’ve learned and you’ve grown.” Teem’s second panel of the day, Taking Exhibitions Further, explored the post-Covid future of the experience economy. Serge Grimaux of venue Fórum Karlín predicted the exhibition world would experience a post-Covid boom: “We have a lot of people who have been very hungry for entertainment, live entertainment and edutainment,” he said. “The technology that is now available, and becomes more available every month, can provide an environment that will be

incredible for everybody and at the same time, affordable. Because as soon as we get out of this Covid war and the economy starts, affordability will be important and exhibitions will definitely be a very sought after product.” Paola Cappitelli, 24 ORE Cultura, pointed out that tech should play an important role in making exhibitions appeal to younger people, noting that museums have to meet the challenge of catering to all demographics. The meeting concluded with The TEEM X ILMC Flea Market, which gave delegates representing touring exhibitions and producers just three minutes to present their shows to

the promoters and venues in the room. The session featured presentations from Corrado Canonici of World Touring Exhibitions; Amy Bornkamp of IMG Events; Glenn Blackman of Global Touring & Promotion; Teo’s Manon Delaury; Pierre Morand of GAAP Bookings; Zuppar’s Nick Zuppar; Charles Reed of Blooloop; Alex Susanna of Expona; Giorgio Castagnera of Hereleb; Semmel Concerts’ Anna Lenhof; and Jole Martinenghi of Contemporanea Progetti. Exhibitions and attractions presented included King Tut, Pompeii, Travelling Bricks (Lego), Kid Koala, the Walt Disney 100th anniversary exhibition, and The Monster, an inflatable playground for adults.




have got less time for murder, but it’s honestly been a pleasure. Thanks you so much to everyone who voted.”


UNSUNG HERO Sandra Beckmann & Tom Koperek, Alarmstufe Rot

“It was a great honour to be nominated for the award and it’s absolutely amazing to receive it. We accept this award on behalf of more than three million people in the event industry of Germany that have been affected by this crisis. We would like to thank everyone from the bottom of our hearts for their support. We will keep on fighting to make sure that everyone gets through this. Thank you very much and stay safe.”


“Arthur of the Decade? Does that mean it comes with £10million? Just the right timing. Thanks very much, it means a lot.”


Sarah Donovan, Live Nation UK “It’s a bit different to the last time I won this award – I’m not drunk, for starters, which is not helping at this moment in time. To Phil [Bowdery], I know we joke about how I could

“We really, really appreciate it and it means a lot to win this award, especially this year when there are not any award ceremonies. Thank you so much, we’ll see you in 2022.”

TOMORROW’S NEW BOSS Alexandra Ampofo, Metropolis Music “Thank you for voting for me. I’m really grateful and would just like to thank everyone who has supported me.”


“I was amazed to even be on the nominations list, so thank you so much to the people who voted for me. It’s very much a team effort at SJM and everyone is brilliant, but especially Chris, Rob, Matt, Katie, John and Emma. And thanks to all the brilliant artists we work with – it’s down to them that we’re even in business. I’d like to dedicate the award to the legendary and much missed Michael Gudinski.”


“I’m shocked and thrilled. I just wanted to thank all my clients who I’ve been working with for many, many years; all the people at Team Strange; and all the people at X-ray Touring

who have all had a difficult year, but we’re getting there. Thank you very much indeed.”


“I’m amazed. I was very honoured to be on the list alongside such amazing gents, so to win is totally [unexpected]. I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who made it possible for me to win something like this, and that is the teams I work with on the tours that I do. They make huge sacrifices, they work so hard and are so dedicated, and without them I definitely wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today. So to all those guys and girls that I work with on tour, thank you.”

THE ULTIMATE VENUE’S VENUE The Royal Albert Hall (Craig Hassall) “I guess that one of the only high points of the pandemic is that The Arthurs can be at The Royal Albert Hall, so that’s good. But for the industry, this last year has been the most crippling for all of us. Normally every night there is some amazing act on this stage, which is hallowed ground for the industry and everyone watching. For audiences and artists, this place is so special, and yet everyone is welcome and I love that about the Royal Albert Hall, as it’s been that way for 150 years. We’re looking forward to welcoming you back live with live artists on the stage and live people in the audience, and that will be soon. So on behalf of all of our staff – and to all the agents, artists and promoters, this is for you. Thank you and we will see you very soon.”

TOUR OF THE DECADE Ed Sheeran (agent Jon Ollier)

“Ed has asked me to accept the award on his behalf. I know that he would like me to thank the Arthurs for nominating him; I know he would want me to thank everyone for voting for him; I know he would like me to thank each and every member of his team and every person involved that make tours like this possible. I also know that everyone would approve if I was to dedicate this to the late Michael Gudinski who really has left the biggest hole in our industry and in our hearts. We will miss you Michael. Thanks everyone.”



THE BOTTLE AWARD André Béchir, Gadget abc Entertainment Group

“Winning the Bottle Award is very special for me – even more special under the actual circumstances. To be nominated by people from the live music industry such as agents, managers, tour managers, friends and colleagues, and to receive the lifetime achievement award from this industry is definitely a peak in my life. "As you know, I’m still full of passion for what I am doing and for what we are doing, and I’m thankful that I still can do it. A big thank you for your support over more than 50 years in the business, and for your loyalty. I promise you I will do my best also in my new role as senior adviser. You can count on me. Quality and friendship will remain for the next decade. It’s a shame we cannot celebrate together but I hope to see you soon. "I am thrilled. It’s a very special prize for me.”





NEW BOSSES REFLECT ON A YEAR OF TURMOIL While Futures Forum, ILMC’s gathering for young professionals, took a year off in 2021, its traditional opening session survived ILMC’s move online, welcoming five emerging execs to take the temperature of the business from an under-30s' perspective. “It’s been a year and a half since my last show, and I’m very uncertain about what’s going to happen this summer,” said Sziget’s

Virág Csiszár, reflecting on a difficult year. “It’s been a really tough time – we’ve had to let go of a lot of good colleagues and friends.” Live-streaming has filled the gap to a certain extent, said Metropolis Music’s Alexandra Ampofo (winner of the 2021 Tomorrow’s New Boss Arthur Award) although it will never replace the real thing. “It’s really great from an accessibility point of view,” she continued. “It’s a real progressive move for our whole scene, given that there are people who can’t

FESTIVAL LEADERS LOOK TO DOMESTIC ARTISTS FOR 2021 Gathering speakers from Australia, South Korea, Germany, Switzerland and the UK, Festival Forum: Reboot & Reset delved into the states of those local markets and their various timelines for reopening, and agreed that if open-air events go ahead this summer, they will likely be dominated by domestic acts. Jessica Ducrou of Secret Sounds revealed that although refunds had been offered to fans after Splendour in the Grass moved dates from July to November, “the retention is high at 90% despite rescheduling three times. So that shows that people are really looking forward to events reopening,” she said. Tommy Jinho Yoon of International Creative Agency revealed he was not making any festival plans for 2021, but the shows he is booking for Q1 and Q2 of 2022 are in conjunction


go to [physical] gigs.” Discussing panellists’ routes into the industry and their obligations to the next generation, CAA’s Bilge Morden argued it’s essential that internships and entry-level jobs should be well paid, to ensure a diversity of voices. “Even when I was doing a paid internship, I was still putting on shows in Liverpool to make ends meet,” he said. The legacy of Black Out Tuesday and the Black Lives Matter movement makes the conversation about diversity particularly important, said Kedist Bezabih from FKP Scorpio in Norway. “It’s not just race – it’s gender, and even disability,” added Ampofo. “When you listen to people, you’re able to make the tangible change you need to make. Companies need to put their money where their mouth is.” Looking ahead to the immediate return of concerts, Bezabih said she believes we’re going to see enhanced cleaning and sanitisation for years to come, adding that, “2022 is going to be amazing. It’s packed with shows already. I’m very hopeful for 2022.”

with artists who are also confirming Australian dates, hinting that international touring could be on the way back sooner than some people imagine. While domestic talent will be the key for most events in 2021, Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO of FKP Scorpio, stated that format would not work for some of Scorpio’s festival brands, where restrictions such as social distancing or zero alcohol policies wouldn’t be a good fit either. But Thanscheidt ended on a positive vibe by repeating a theme that ran throughout ILMC regarding industry unity. “The teaming up by different companies in solidarity is, for me, a very astonishing and very good outcome,” he declared, citing regular conference calls that the FKP Scorpio team have had with the likes of AEG Presents, Eventim Live, Goodlive, Live Nation and Superstruct as part of Yourope’s Solutions for Festivals Initiative.


s m a e R t s e Liv

More than 50 acts recorded performances at ILMC this year, thanks to partners UK Sounds, ATC Live, ITB, Paradigm, UTA, Primary Talent, Sound Czech, HOTS and Why Portugal. Over two nights (3-4 March) the gigs, which were available only to ILMC delegates, were watched more than 1,600 times, while a repeat broadcast on 5 March saw hundreds more enjoying some of the hottest emerging talent on the planet. Details of each act and contacts for their representatives can be found on the relevant partner pages of the website.



As vaccination programmes ramp up and Covid infection rates fall, event organisers around the world are working on test events to prove to authorities – and themselves – that the live entertainment sector can reopen safely, without contributing to a new wave of coronavirus cases. IQ’s news team reports.



istorically, the live music business has relied on an army of creative minds to deliver oncein-a-lifetime experiences for fans, but as the industry slowly starts to emerge from an enforced shutdown, professionals are turning to the scientific community to help kick-start live events. Statisticians and epidemiologists have been key players in government policy to put a lid on the spread of Covid-19, and with international studies proving that various vaccines are even more effective than originally thought, the events industry is hoping scientists can help map out the best way to reintroduce live entertainment to society. In the UK, such high-profile occasions as the BRIT Awards on 11 May and the FA Cup Final on 15 May are being touted as potential test events to showcase various Covid-safe systems, procedures and products that will help pave the way to arenas and stadia reopening. Details of the UK’s Event Research Programme test events were imminent at IQ’s press time, but it is expected the city of Liverpool will

be used to trial the full return of audiences in the likes of nightclubs, comedy clubs and conference centres, while the World Snooker Championship (17 April to 3 May) at the Crucible venue in Sheffield, will be used to trial a theatre setting. Across the North Sea in the Netherlands, a series of test events are being run by Fieldlab Events, a government-backed initiative that has represented the events sector during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fieldlab is a joint initiative from the events sector, united with the EventPlatform, the Alliance of Event Builders, and the government, along with science and health bodies. Its test events have included festivals, concerts, conferences and football matches. Indeed, the Dutch government gave the green light for the national football team’s 27 March FIFA World Cup qualifier against Latvia. The match, at Amsterdam’s 55,500-capacity Johan Cruijff ArenA, was configured to welcome a maximum of 5,000 fans. Elsewhere, test events have already been held in Spain; programmes are being discussed in the likes of Denmark and Greece (where a collaboration of rap acts are working on a solution); while in Germany, a group of scientists, health experts and doctors have created a set of guidelines to enable the gradual return of audiences to cultural and sporting events. At the same time, numerous test events have been scheduled as the German live events sector also seeks a return for its estimated workforce of three million people.

An Integrated Return

In a paper whose title translates to Gradual return of spectators and guests: An integrated return to culture and sport, specialists in infectious diseases, virolMagazine


Feature_The Path To Recovery ogy, ventilation, health economics, sports medicine, culture and law present various models for both indoor and outdoor events in Germany as a roadmap for them to reopen safely. Each model is based on a basic concept that can be expanded to gradually increase the number of guests per event. This basic concept, described as stage one in a three-stage plan, is based on an indoor capacity of 25-30% (up to 40% if outdoors), with mandatory face masks and no food or beverage sales indoors (outside, there should be no F&B sales above 1,000 visitors). There should also be social distancing, achieved by leaving many seats empty. These rules are the same for attendees, regardless of whether or not they are vaccinated against Covid-19. Beyond the basic model, the paper highlights a number of special individual concepts depending on the venue or event, with varying hygiene, ventilation and occupancy requirements. At 100% capacity – the so-called ‘maximum model’ – the guidelines require, among other provisions, digital contact tracing for all attendees, along with mandatory coronavirus tests before entry. The concept has won the support of major German venues, including Mercedes-Benz Arena/Verti Music Hall in Berlin, Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, Olympiapark Munich and Quarterback Immobilien Arena in Leipzig, as well as a number of other music and sports organisations, including the governing bodies of German football, basketball, handball and volleyball. The head of the German Cultural Council, Olaf Zimmermann, says the authors of the plan have provided “a comprehensive concept, which could enable spectators and guests to participate in cultural and sporting events under strict hygiene and infection-protection measures.” Zimmerman adds, “With their concept, the scientists, experts and cultural and sports institutions are, for the first time, presenting a cross-industry, data-based approach […] to the discussion about appropriate ways out of lockdown.” The Event Management Forum (EMF), which was founded last year by live music group BDKV and four other events associations, also welcomed the plan – which is similar to its Manifest Restart scheme – but points out that recent studies on the back of test events in Leipzig and Dortmund show that venues can go up to 100% capacity safely, far beyond the 25-30% on which the basic concept is based. The forum points to an aerosol study in Dortmund where, “a capacity of 100% was considered harmless, provided that the audience in the hall wear masks.” As for the ‘maximum model’ proposed in the plan, the EMF also claims venues could safely go to 100% capacity if attendees are tested for the virus before entry, making the other restrictions redundant. “The implementation of suitable



BUTLR: HELPING VENUES BUILD BACK FASTER Venues looking to get back on their feet quickly as we come out of lockdown could benefit hugely from ordering apps like Butlr to help boost revenue and maximise productivity, even if they’ve had to cut back on staff due to Covid-19. Data from current partners shows that introducing Butlr to their ordering increased spend per head by 64%, thanks to a combination of speedier ordering, increasing the number of drinks, and a clearly laid-out menu meaning customers chose the premium spirits and mixers more often. Butlr is a marketplace ordering app that offers both table service and collectat-bar functions, giving venues real flexibility as they reopen. And while it’s an app, for venues worried about imposing downloads on their customers, Butlr has recently introduced App Clips (a tiny version of the app accessible by QR code), which means all the sales uplift and seamless functionality of an app – such as one-click reordering and reminders – with no download required. Perfect when customers are seated for mandatory table service. What’s more, using the free QR code stickers provided will take customers directly to a venue’s own branded page, effectively creating a white-label own-brand offering at zero cost. Butlr charges no sign-up or monthly fees, just a market-beating 1.9% transaction rate. And the customer service is second-to-none, with each venue having instant access to support 24/7. The brand has seen significant growth over recent months as more venues are seeing the value, resulting in exciting new partnerships, including with the Association of Independent Promoters. James McKeown, of AIP explains, “We’re pleased to be working with Butlr to offer our members the financial support & technology needed as part of the sector’s recovery to full-capacity. The technology within the app is useful to our members not only in terms of cost and providing user-friendly table service, but also longer term with the potential of Butlr’s collection-point technology being integrated into full capacity operations.” See how you can build back stronger and faster at or drop us a line at

tests can enable the utilisation of 100% [of a venue] without further measures if this ensures that only negative, non-infectious visitors are admitted,” the organisation adds. Meanwhile, a number of new test events have been confirmed in Germany, although each pilot is subject to the local infection rate and pandemic situation, meaning that some events might be called off. For instance, the Berliner Philharmoniker sold out tickets within minutes for a symphony concert on 20 March, where the audience were tested in advance for the coronavirus. And Berlin appears to be leading the way, with other test events including: the Berliner Ensemble on 19/20 March; a chamber concert at the Konzerthaus Berlin (25 March); the Berlin Club commission in cooperation with the Holzmarkt (27 March); the Volksbühne Berlin (1 April); the Berlin State Opera (2 April); and Deutsche Opera (4 April). Also, visitBerlin held a 25 March conference for companies in the MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions)

industry at the Estrel Hotel Berlin. As with other test events around the world, the implementation of the German pilot shows are designed to check the logistical feasibility of events in conjunction with Covid antigen tests. The findings of the test runs will be evaluated jointly by all participants at the beginning of April and made available to interested parties, which could help other territories plan their strategies for reopening.

Reigniting Confidence

Biosecurity Systems uses robotic cleaners and other integrated technology and services to diminish the risk of Covid-19 and other epidemic infections in tourism destinations, public buildings (such as airports) and sporting events. Company CEO, Dr Paul Twomey, reveals that in private discussions with insurers he has been informed that communicable disease cover is likely to be withdrawn completely. “The other point of interest is that the insurance business thinks that

Build back better. Do more with less. Table service and bar collection app. Butlr significantly increases spend per head and overall revenue, even with reduced staff levels and customer numbers. 0 monthly fees 0 sign-up fee Market-beating 1.9% transaction rate

Get in touch for a demo today and see how Butlr can help you come out of lockdown stronger.

Feature_The Path To Recovery venues need to be doing a lot more,” he tells IQ. Twomey says the test events that the industry is relying on to plot its return to action need to deliver results that convince scientists and politicians, but crucially the proof will also be vital to restore confidence among consumers. “One of the bosses of a major arena operation told me that they were not in the business of trying to convince the kids; they are in the business of trying to convince the parents of those kids that it will be safe when their children come back home to see grandma after a show,” he notes. Indeed, the Biosecurity Systems founder notes that being able to list a series of precautionary measures could also be crucial in persuading artists to return to live work – especially those from North America. “The Americans are a lot more risk conscious and litigious, so acts based in the States are going to be cautious not only for themselves but because they live in a different liability environment, they’re going to want to know that people have taken all the steps that they can to minimise any prospect of negligence claims,” notes Twomey. “Due diligence is going to be important.”

Test Event Programmes

When the coronavirus first started shutting down events last March, most people in the in-

“Put simply, if you’re not willing to make the effort to shift and know your risk, then that’s not going to solve any problems” Dr Paul Twomey | Biosecurity Systems

dustry (if they are honest) thought the ‘pause’ would last a matter of weeks. When it became apparent that was not the case, promoters and venue operators in a number of nations were granted permission to run test events to prove that live entertainment could still continue, despite the virus. As successful as those initial tests were, the fact that strict social distancing had to be implemented meant that venue capacities were slashed, making shows financially unviable. However, thanks to the thousands of scientists around the world who have been studying the virus, the test events that are being held in 2021 are benefitting from a whole host of new technology and protocol that is geared toward showing that the live entertainment industry can reopen its doors with minimal risk of Covid transmission. Individual companies have been formulating their own plans to mitigate Covid transmission, for example ASM Global’s VenueShield is being

As markets around the world roll out test events and gradually begin to reopen, IQ will be hosting a series of free, monthly mini-conferences to help subscribers stay up to date with latest Covid mitigation developments and best practice procedures. The Recovery Sessions will feature a mix of online discussions with industry professionals, advice and data from scientific experts, and presentations both from suppliers who are delivering products and suppliers that will assist in the roadmap to re-opening. Looking at every sector of the industry, the Recovery Sessions will be devised with the aim of providing guidance, advice and support to the industry as a whole. Programming will include: Global updates on vaccination, testing and data driven analysis New tech showcases and presentations Q&As with scientists and industry leading experts Sector spotlight discussions Recovery Sessions will initially run for four editions starting on Thursday 6 May and continuing through August when, hopefully, many countries will be closer to knowing their pathway back to business. The dates for your diary are: 6 May, 10 June, 8 July and 5 August. For further information or to get involved, contact: Chris Prosser or Steve Woollett


rolled out across the group’s 325 venues worldwide in an effort to provide “the highest levels of safety, security and consumer confidence, in alignment with approvals from local government officials and health care experts.” Elsewhere, numerous suppliers and technology developers have been working tirelessly to launch products and services to assist in the battle against the virus, while, at a national level, countries are doing their best to implement roadmaps for their economies to fully reopen, although many governments have yet to implement any schemes to assist the live entertainment sector. Thankfully, other authorities recognise the value of the live entertainment sector and are working with the industry on test event programmes. In Israel, where the majority of the population has now had both Covid-19 vaccinations, a new passport or ‘Green Pass’ has been introduced by the ministry of health that has to be shown before fans are admitted to concerts and other gatherings, although such events are still subject to capacity limits. The certificate, which can also be presented virtually on a mobile device, confirms the holder has received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which has been preferred by the Israeli government. On 5 March, local star Ivri Lider performed to an audience of 500 fans at the 30,000-capacity Bloomfield Stadium in a concert that was organised by Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality, which governs the city. Although those fans were not socially distanced, they were all seated and were required to wear face masks. Thanks to the success of that pilot, up to 1,000 people are now allowed at indoor events in the country, and 1,500 for open-air shows, provided all attendees have a Green Pass. However, those capacity limits also come with caveats as they only apply to venues that normally can seat more than 10,000 people. For smaller venues, a 500-cap still exists for indoors, while smaller outdoor spaces are limited to 750 fans. The Green Pass programme has quickly been adopted nationwide, with Israeli restaurants, hotels, cafés, gyms and shops allowed to reopen without social distancing restrictions provided patrons can prove they have had both doses of the vaccine. At press time, UK-based operators were working on final details as part of preparations for the Events

SUPPORTING A SAFE FUTURE FOR MUSIC VENUES Music venues were the first to close and will be the last to open. That’s why we’re helping venues and festivals find solutions and products that provide a safe, sustainable future for live music. Find out more at

Feature_The Path To Recovery Research Programme (ERP), which culture minister Oliver Dowden has said will examine scientific findings from around a dozen pilot events over the coming weeks in order to gauge the viability of large-scale events without having to impose social distancing on audiences. Those ERP events will take place in April and May, and depending on the results, are designed to assist a return to full-capacity concerts, shows, sports, festivals and other events as early as June, with the UK prime minister’s roadmap to recovery naming 21 June as the date when all restrictions on indoor gatherings are set to be lifted. Before that (from 17 May), outdoor gatherings will be permitted with audiences of up to 10,000 people, under that roadmap strategy. According to the Department for Digital, Culture Media & Sport, the ERP will use a range of non-pharmaceutical methods to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at the events, including preand post-event testing, enhanced ventilation, special venue configurations, and systems to monitor audience movement and interaction. “These test events will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely without social distancing,” stated Dowden. “We will be guided by the science and medical experts, but will work flat out to make that happen. We want to get the people back to enjoying what they love and ensure some of our most important growth industries get back on their feet.” Experts in the Netherlands have been running a testing regime called Back to Live for a number of weeks – the largest event of which took place on Saturday 27 March when 5,000 spectators were

ROAD TO REOPENING A timeline of the pilot projects that aim to show a scientific path back to live


admitted to the 55,000-cap Johan Cruijff ArenA to witness the FIFA World Cup qualifier between the home nation and Latvia. Other Dutch tests have used Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome (cap. 17,000) where 1,300 participants were given access to a dance event featuring a number of DJs, and a similar number enjoyed a concert by André Hazes. Those events, organised by Mojo and ID&T, ran from 3pm till 7pm in order to comply with the nationwide curfew (9pm to 4:30am), which has been in place since January. At press time, the government changed the start time of the curfew to 10pm, promising to review it again on 20 April. The promoters of the Ziggo Dome shows report that 100,000 people applied for tickets, providing further evidence of public support for the industry’s revival. Those who were successful were required to produce proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of doors opening. Those applicants who received a positive test, which amounted to 12 people, were not admitted. Those who did attend were asked to take another test five days after the shows, while the Back to Live guidelines ensured that the movements of event participants were tracked and traced. The Dutch testing scheme has been heralded as one of the most comprehensive yet. Attendees for the Ziggo Dome shows were divided into five ‘bubbles’ of 250 people, plus one of 50, each of which had to comply with different rules to test different spectator scenarios. ▶ BUBBLE 1 Participants were told to wear a mask throughout the event. They could decide for themselves where to stand but had to ensure

that there were no more than three people in a square metre of space. ▶ BUBBLE 2 Participants wore a mask at all times but were told to keep a distance of 1.5 metres. ▶ BUBBLE 3 Participants wore a mask only when in motion and had to stand on designated spots. ▶ BUBBLE 4 People wore masks all the time and were permitted to sit down. ▶ BUBBLE 5 People wore masks only when on the move. There were standing and seating areas. The participants were put in their dancing spot by the organisers with two chairs spacing people apart. ▶ BUBBLE 6 Participants did not wear masks and were allowed to stand or sit where and when they pleased. Additionally, one group was reportedly given a fluorescent drink and encouraged to sing along to the music, so that scientists could monitor the levels of saliva being spread. Speaking to media, Tim Boersma, of Fieldlab, said, “We hope this can lead to a tailor-made reopening of venues. Measures are now generic, allowing for instance a maximum of 100 guests at any event if coronavirus infections drop to a certain level. We hope for more specific measures, such as allowing the Ziggo Dome to open at half its capacity.” The Back to Live series has also included a simulated conference environment with 500 people and two music festivals on the site usually used by Lowlands Festival in Biddinghuizen. The behavioural data gathered at the pilot events will inform governmental decisions on the easing of restrictions in the Netherlands as the country plots its way out of lockdown, which has seen a ban on gatherings of more than 100 people for more than a year.


When: 22 August 2020 Where: Quarterback Immobilien Arena, Leipzig, Germany Who: University Medical Center of Halle What they said: “[T]he contacts that do occur at an event do not involve all participants. Therefore, events could take place under specific conditions during a pandemic.”


When: 2–3, 20 November 2020 Where: Konzerthaus Dortmund, Germany Who: Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute Goslar, ParteQ What they said: “Concert halls and theatres are not places of infection. […] With our study, we want to ensure that concert halls and theatres may again admit sufficient audiences when they reopen.”

The Path To Recovery_Feature At press time, Spanish chart toppers Love of Lesbian were celebrating their 27 March concert at the Palau Sant Jordi arena, which utilised rapid Covid-19 testing to allow 5,000 fans to attend. Audience members were given three locations in Barcelona where they could take a rapid antigen test on the morning of the show. Test results were communicated in a matter of minutes via an app on their phones and only a handful of people tested positive, with those fans banned from the concert but refunded. The ticket price covered the cost of the Covid test, while attendees were also provided with a mask as part of the package. At the Palau Sant Jordi, the show was delayed due to the strict health controls at the entrance, but with the audience all wearing masks, the event was heralded as a great success. The planning for that show reportedly persuaded organisers of Barcelona festival Cruïlla to proceed with plans for their 8-10 July 2021 festival, despite fellow Parc del Fòrum festival Primavera Sound cancelling its 10-12 June activities. The proposed Cruïlla is a step forward from last year when the festival pivoted to host a series of socially distanced concerts, Cruïlla XXS, in place of its usual 25,000-capacity gathering. While shows in Israel have required proof of full vaccination, Cruïlla promoter Barcelona Events Musicals will allow vaccination proof as well as depending on a rapid testing programme to create a “sanitary bubble” of healthy festival-goers. The company is confident that that will deliver a full-capacity festival, with no social distancing restrictions for attendees who have bought tickets to see the likes of Two Door Cinema Club, Editors, Morcheeba, Of Monsters and

Men, and local acts Kase.O, and Natos y Waor. In nearby Canet del Mar, the annual Canet Rock extravaganza on 3 July is planning wide-ranging measures including rapid tests, mandatory masks, a trace-and-track app, and a scheme to enlarge the festival site to provide extra space for its 50,000 visitors. Despite calling time for the second year in a row, Primavera Sound Festival has been at the forefront of activities to try to reopen the events sector in Spain. In addition to a series of 70 small gigs last summer, Primavera partnered with Hospital Germans Trias i Pujol, and the Fight AIDS Foundation, to conduct a test event in Barcelona’s Apolo venue last October. The show saw 1,000 fans trial a situation that coupled temperature testing with a rapid testing scheme, before watching the concert wearing face masks. That pilot show was considered a success as the venue introduced additional ventilation and the study concluded that people should be able to begin attending live events again, as long as similar measures were followed. For 2021, the Primavera team is organising a second round of shows in late April, where over the course of a week the likes of Swedish singer-songwriter José González, Seville collective Califato ¾ and Derby Motoreta’s Burrito Kachimba will entertain fans at Barcelona’s Coliseum Theatre.

At IQ’s press time, the situation in France was precarious as new government restrictions were anticipated amidst doctors warning about surging coronavirus infection rates. Nonetheless, efforts to organise test events – notably in Paris and Marseille – are continuing in the hope that those restrictions will not put plans for venues reopening in further jeopardy. An event for 5,000 people is being organised by industry association Prodiss for 29 April, which many in the industry are hoping will prove to authorities that concerts, handled properly, can proceed without social distancing, without any increased threat of spreading the virus. “A lot of measures are being put in place for the event – it is very protocol heavy,” says Angelo Gopee, managing director of Live Nation France, which is working with Prodiss to produce the test event for a standing audience. “We will be looking for 7,500 people to participate,” he explains. “The AccorHotels Arena will host 5,000 of them for the event, while the other 2,500 will remain at home so we can compare the test result of both groups.” Gopee says each participant will undergo three Covid tests: the first two days before the event; the second immediately before the show; and the third one week after the event. “People

“We want to get the people back to enjoying what they love and ensure some of our most important growth industries get back on their feet” Oliver Dowden | Culture minister - UK



When: 12 December 2020 Where: Apolo, Barcelona, Spain Who: Primavera Sound, Germans Trias Hospital, the Fight Aids and Infectious Diseases Foundation What they said: “A live music concert, staged with a series of security measures that included a negative antigen test for SarsCoV-2 done on the same day, was not associated with an increase in Covid-19 infections.”

When: 16 December 2020 Where: Philharmonie de Paris, France Who: Dassault Systèmes What they said: “The combination of face masks with a fresh-air supply built into every seat gives the indoor Philharmonie a similar profile to that of an outdoor space, with a very limited risk of spread from one side [of the venue] to the other.”


When: 18–19 December 2020 Where: Sands Theatre, Marina Bay, Singapore Who: AEG Presents, Collective Minds What they said: “[T]he outcome of such pilots will be critical to our ongoing efforts to allow events of a larger scale to resume in a safe and sustainable manner.”



Feature_The Path To Recovery will have to wear face masks, but there will be no social distancing as we want to prove that standing shows can work without reduced capacities.” Neither will there be any ventiallation measures taken in the arena, as organisers do not want to exclude any other venues from benefitting from the trial. Meanwhile, a second test event is also scheduled to take place in Marseille on 30 April when local rap superstars IAM will perform to 1,000 seated fans at the 8,500-capacity Dôme de Marseille. The band has already taken part in a Covid trial concert, having performed to 500 fans in Barcelona last December. No acts have been named for the Paris event, as yet, with Gopee observing it is more of a medical project than a concert, therefore tickets for the test will be free. “We don’t know if we will be able to proceed with the show if new restrictions are announced, but we are working hard to finish the protocol and get it approved so that we’re ready to host the show,” he says. “There are two goals: first is to get permission to increase capacities for the summer; second is so we can reopen venues as quickly as possible.” Denmark’s ‘restart team’ has submitted a catalogue of recommendations on the reopening of the cultural and sports sectors to the ministry of culture for government approval. The ten-person team – which includes Esben Marcher (Dansk Live), Signe Lopdrup (Roskilde Festival Group) and Sara Indrio (Danish Artist Association) from the music sector – has met with more than 80 key stakeholders across the two sectors to determine how the government

should allocate its DKK50million (€7m) fund. The restart team has made the following recommendations: ▶ Form an advisory expert group composed of members of the culture and sports sectors, which will maintain dialogue between the sector, authorities and the government, and assist in the preparation of a fact-based long-term and differentiated opening plan. ▶ Launch a nationwide campaign, immediately after reopening the entire cultural and sports sectors, to celebrate the restart. The team has recommended that the government arranges a nationwide festival, and sets aside DKK2m (€0.3m), for this purpose. ▶ Back the implementation of SAFE (SARSCoV-2 Antigen testing of fans before events in Denmark), which is a large-scale study of Covid-19 antigen testing of the public prior to matches in the 3F Superliga. The estimated cost is DKK5m (€0.7m). ▶ Create an ‘innovation laboratory,’ bolstered by DKK6m (€0.8m), which will develop new digital formats, technologies and initiatives for parts of each sector that have difficulty reopening – principally crowd management solutions for live music events. ▶ Collect data to understand citizens’ concerns, considerations and motivations in relation to cultural and sports life in the wake of Covid-19 and make the information publicly available so the sectors can make informed choices of how to restart. DKK500,000 (€67,000) has been suggested for this recommendation. ▶ Set aside DKK36.5m (€4.5m) for the development and testing of new formats for culture and sports, which will enable a safe return. The team has also made a number of recom-

mendations that require a longer-term effort and/or funding that is outside the allocated DKK50m (€6.7m). As a result, various schemes, such as compensation funding and a government-backed insurance guarantee, have been tabled, as has the suggestion of ongoing compensation for those who have to wait longer to open. Dansk Live’s Marcher says: “We have gone for broad, embracing proposals that can benefit all actors, which, of course, means that recommendations are not necessarily directly aimed at live organisers. However, I think it is positive that the SAFE project on quick tests is included in recommendations, just as it is positive that there is a focus on pushing for innovation in culture and sports.” Roskilde’s Lopdrup, who is deputy chairman of the restart team, says: “Our recommendations certainly do not solve all the challenges, but I hope they can help inspire and open up new opportunities for the players and thus pave the way for the reopening of cultural and sports life, so we can meet about the community-creating experiences again.”

Next Steps

Millions of people around the world who rely on the live entertainment business for their livelihoods will be anxiously awaiting the results of those test show schemes to gauge when they might conceivably get back to work. For its part, and despite zero revenue streams, the industry at large has been investing significant time and money into creating protocols that will allow doors to reopen, to meet the huge demand for entertainment that has been underlined by



When: 15, 20, 21, 28 February & 6, 7, 20, 21 March 2021 Where: The Netherlands Who: Fieldlab Evenementen What they said: “We can now show that we can organise events in a very safe way. […] We hope this can lead to a tailormade reopening of venues.”


When: 27 March 2021 Where: Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona Who: Festivals per la Cultura Segura What they said: “If the results confirm our theories, we will be able to see the return of big events this summer.”


When: April/May 2021 Where: England Who: Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport What they said: “These test events will be crucial in finding ways to get fans and audiences back in safely without social distancing. We will be guided by the science and medical experts but will work flat out to make that happen.”

The Path To Recovery_Feature PROMOTED CONTENT


The impact of the pandemic on the live music business over the past 12 months has exposed the vulnerability of our music spaces and businesses. Music venues were the first to close and will be the last to open. We have cherry picked services and products to provide commercially viable infection management measures to ensure a healthy and sustainable future. As restrictions relax, infection control has moved from a ‘nice to have’ to becoming a critical element of any ethical business. “Through technologies such as UV-C sterilisation, we are already helping the NHS, major manufacturers and the creative industries to manage safe and secure work places.” KEITH WYATT, UV CLEAN LIGHT Not only will evidence of infection control make venues more attractive to both customers and artists, but a clear and sustainable framework will be essential to gain the support of the government in allowing gigs and festivals to proceed. The vaccine roll-out is still happening. A ‘COVID Pass’ is a good start. In the long-term, venues that are unable to show a commitment to infection control may lose ground on more

the frenzy for festival tickets apparent in the UK. And those protocols could be a vital part of the business into 2022 and beyond, according to Twomey of Biosecurity Systems. “The population


When: TBC 2021 Where: Denmark Who: Dansk Live, Divisionsforeningen What they said: “This should very much lead to a much-needed festival summer and many great concert experiences across the country in 2021.”

responsible competitors. Infection control is not only a health and safety concern – it is becoming a key differentiator. Enki Music provides the advisory to understand what your venue needs. This is backed up by a full range of proven technologies from specialist partners. We can enable venues and festivals to stage events, within a broad infection control framework - including UV-C sterilisation, automated thermal measurement and automated social distancing and track and trace. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, technologies such as UV-C sterilisation have become a ‘band wagon.’ There are a variety of products and services available, many of which are not effective (as in the case of most LED UV-C products), and potentially electrically dangerous. Building the confidence of artists, staff members and fans is key. If this is false confidence from ineffective systems, we have a problem.” KEITH WYATT, UV CLEAN LIGHT

might slowly be beginning to understand that the vaccine does not solve Covid,” he says. “It certainly diminishes it, and the death rates and hospitalisation numbers will ease, but the disease problem is not going to go away and the variety of issues around that are going to continue to exist. “The real question for the industry, particularly in Europe, is can they get to a position where they can show sufficiently diminished risk to the extent that public health authorities – and agents are artists – are willing to adopt that risk. If that’s the pertinent question, then I can see a tiered pathway forward.” Twomey believes venues should be able to show that the risk profile of the people they are inviting into an event is well known and “less than the average risk elsewhere in the environment.” Using Israel’s Green Pass scheme as an example, he comments, “I can see the same thing happening in Europe built around showing similar types of passes or passports that show that the holder has been inoculated or has recently had a PCR test. The mix between those two is going to vary country by country. “At ILMC, one of the things I was taken with was some of the festival people saying they would not consider vaccine passports because it was against their beliefs. Obviously, I’m not close to their business or the people that attend their


events, but my immediate thought is that those events won’t be returning to business as quickly as those who do implement such guidelines. Put simply, if you’re not willing to make the effort to shift and know your risk, then that’s not going to solve any problems.” Citing such measures as air purification, disinfection of surfaces, obligatory mask usage, and audience testing, screening and contact tracing, Twomey draws parallels with the anti-terrorism precautions introduced by airports in the aftermath of 9/11, where, ultimately, travellers bore the cost. “The difference between this and terrorism is that everybody now has changed their behaviour, whereas there was only a small percentage of the population who went through airports regularly,” he observes. “With Covid, everyone has been through it and everyone understands it. Therefore, if you say to consumers that there’s going to be a bit more expense as we try to sort things out, personally I think consumers will live with that.” Twomey concludes, “It’s going to cost a bit more money but probably not as much as people think. But people are going to have to do something. If your model is I’m going to sit and wait, that’s fine, but plan for the second quarter of 2022… maybe.” Magazine



Ahead of the 20th anniversary edition of EXIT, festival founder and CEO Dušan Kovačević talks to IQ about plans for the 8-11 July gathering. IQ: EXIT’s Dance Arena is almost as big as the main arena (25,000 vs 35,000). How important is it, and why do you mix musical styles so much? DK: We were one of the first festivals to have two main stages and have alternative electronic music on the big stage. The Dance Arena soon became known among DJs and music magazines as one of the best, if not the best electronic dance floor in the world. It is our flagship stage and the main reason we have visitors from over 100 countries. We have more than 35 stages and zones throughout the fortress, providing a unique and unforgettable festival experience, and combining a large number of genres. We are committed to being a multi-genre festival where you can hear the world’s best alternative and mainstream electronic music, but also the best rock, hip-hop, pop, as well as reggae, drum & bass, and other genres. If you could sum up the top three things you’ve learned over the last 20 years of EXIT, what are they? Firstly, never give up. I often say that doing a major festival in a country where wages and ticket prices are ten times lower than in developed western countries is akin to farming in the Sahara. But I learned that the night really is always darkest before dawn and that one must persevere. I have the same mindset regarding the pandemic, and I believe that the end is closer than most expect. Secondly, people are most important – both people within the festival team and the people in the audience, the fans. It’s vital to be dedicated to people; then you can expect great things from them. I would say that this is one reason why EXIT is known for having one of the best atmospheres in the world. Thirdly, nothing is impossible. The key to life is believing in yourself and your dreams, and if that faith is strong enough, miracles can happen every day. What’s the plan for the 20th birthday party? We are planning a Big Bang at the Fortress. Many performers have already been confirmed, including David Guetta, DJ Snake, Sheck Wes, Nina Kraviz, Eric Prydz (in a special b2b set with Four Tet), Paul Kalkbrenner, Solomon, Tyga, Boris Brejcha, Honey Dijon, Metronomy, Paul van Dyk and Sepultura. What’s the plan for 2021 in terms of capacity and mitigation measures in place regarding Covid? How will you ensure that EXIT is safe? In the first few months of 2021, Serbia, along with the UK, established itself as the European leader in immunisation numbers, which is why we expect an accelerated opening plan similar to the British model. We believe that, before the end of spring, we will have achieved herd immunity. Therefore, we expect the government to lift all restrictions by the beginning of summer, similar to what is planned in the UK. In the worst-case scenario, we expect entry to the festival to be possible for all who have been vaccinated, while others will be able to take quick tests at the entrance.

How do you see the festival business changing over the next few years? It will take several years for the whole industry to recover from such a strong impact. We will have to be more united than ever, and I see a significant change in the fact that the pandemic has awakened solidarity in the music industry. The practice used to be that agencies and event organisers were often on opposite sides. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how, after the outbreak of the pandemic, the whole industry united, and we all finally realised that if any part of the music ecosystem is disrupted, everyone is threatened. EXIT was born from political struggle – how political is the organisation these days? The EXIT Foundation is as important to us as the music festival, and it implements dozens of important projects each year. Using the power of the brand, the EXIT Foundation has positioned itself as a leader in mobilising both public opinion and decision makers in the areas of youth support, environmental protection, peace promotion, creative industries, destination branding and humanitarian work. Last year, we used our Green Revolution platform to influence the government of Serbia to adopt our initiative and increase the country's afforestation, from the current 28% to 40% of its territory. How do you see the festival developing over the next 20 years? The next 20 years will determine whether our planet will become uninhabitable. I see EXIT at the forefront of that fight, along with all like-minded individuals and organisations, because only united can we make real change. What are you most looking forward to this year? I am most looking forward to another embrace – an embrace between the audience and the artists, and an embrace between all of us.

The Path To Recovery_Feature





OPERATIONS As roadmaps to reopening roll out in key territories around the world, the subject of insurance has become more vital than ever, as it becomes apparent that Covid cover is non-existent. Gordon Masson investigates. 42



he fact that more than 350 delegates tuned in to participate in the specialist insurance session at this year’s ILMC underlines the live entertainment industry’s drive to return to normality, albeit with the reasonable caveat that their risks are insured should restrictions on mass gatherings be reintroduced due to Covid. “Insurance in the past has always been a dirty word: nobody gave a damn and that was always reflected in the show contracts,” states Martin Goebbels of brokers Miller Insurance. “Either nobody looked at, or perhaps understood the full implications of show contract cancellation and force majeure clauses until volcanic ash and a couple of instances after that – terrorism particularly. Obviously, Covid has just blown everything out of the water and people are suddenly realising that insurance can be important. But insurance runs in line with contract terms so it is vital to get both in sync.” The business, however, has never been trickier. Insurers globally lost more than £8billion (€9.3bn) in the past year because of the pandemic – £2.6bn (€3bn) of which was incurred by

Lloyds of London alone. Understandably, insurers are, therefore, reluctant to offer any future Covid cover, leaving event organisers high and dry when it comes to including the coronavirus as part of their event cancellation coverage. In a number of markets, notably Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway, the industry has been able to persuade government to set aside funds to provide an insurance stop-gap should events have to be cancelled because of a new wave of Covid cases, while trade bodies – and, indeed, the traditional insurance market – elsewhere around the world are lobbying authorities to create similar schemes that would allow the beleaguered live events business to get back on its feet. Tim Thornhill of specialist brokers Tysers Insurance has played a lead role in the ongoing negotiations between the UK Government and the country’s live music and event businesses. He notes, “41% of Covid losses last year were as a result of event cancellation, so that is one of the key reasons that the commercial insurance market is not in a position at this moment and does not have the appetite to write Covid-related risks. That’s one of the critical reasons why we have been working alongside other brokers in the live music Magazine


Feature_Insurance sector to ask UK government to provide a government-backed insurance solution.” Tysers’ efforts have included employing professional lobbyists and PR firms, months of conversations with the Treasury and other government departments, and complex modelling developed with the live music sector, including umbrella trade organisation LIVE. Goebbels explains that the landscape for live events coverage had already started thinning prior to the pandemic. “If you put Covid to one side, over the past couple of years the contingency insurance market took some massive hits,” he says. “Certainly in the UK – which is generally recognised as the centre of the insurance industry – on the music contingency side and cancellation insurance side, there were about half a dozen insurers pulled out of writing that class of business prior to Covid, because their losses on adverse weather, illness and other reasons had increased in recent years. “More insurers have now pulled out because of Covid. But there are glimmers of hope, as there are some new markets that have expressed an interest in coming in. [But] quite often in the past we’ve had people who want to get involved in what they see as a glamorous business, dip their toe in the market, find they have some losses, and then get twitchy and withdraw again.” That’s a dilemma underlined by Paul Twomey, director of contingency insurance at broker, Gallagher. “Some new companies have seen this as an opportunity to make money because rates are going up and exclusions are going onto the policies; there are definitely some chancers out there who can see this as a potential way to make a quick buck,” he warns. “But because nobody is buying, it’s very much up in the air as to whether these new players will stick around.” Thankfully, the news isn’t all bleak. Edel Ryan, sports entertainment & media industry head of strategic business development UK&I for

“Live music events and festivals are unwilling to be the first to walk the plank and cancel their events in light of the uprecedented pent up demand and ticket sales” Tim Thornhill | Tysers

specialist brokers Marsh, observes that although a number of insurance companies have withdrawn from live entertainment cover, the expertise on the underwriting side has not been lost. “While some key insurers have formally exited from the entertainment industry, those experts and teams have moved and turned up in new places,” Ryan tells IQ. “The contingency market recovers well and they are already open for business, providing terms where although the cover may have changed, the rates are kinder than we would have expected.”

Long-term Recovery

With the insurance industry’s losses amounting to about 13 years worth of premiums, EC3 broker James Davies sums up the dilemma that live events find themselves in: “Traditionally, the contingency market generates something in the region of between £500-600million [€580-696m] per year in premiums, so it’s going to take a very long time to recover that income,” he says. Indeed, Twomey estimates it could take the insurance market an entire generation to claw back those sums. “If the insurers were to have a run with no other losses beginning today, they are telling us it would take 24 years to get back that money,” says Twomey. Pragmatic in trying to encourage insurers to remain interested in the live music sector, Davies reveals why his company is in talks with

government over a UK insurance scheme. “One of the reasons we’re trying to structure something is to involve the insurance market so that they can still generate some income to recover, and they can underwrite some of the non-Covid risks that we need them to cover,” he says. For his spart, Tysers’ Thornhill observes, “Live music events and festivals are, understandably, unwilling to be the first to walk the plank and cancel their events in light of the uprecedented pent up demand and ticket sales following the announcement of the [UK] roadmap.” Thornhill adds, “No festival wants to cancel, but might be forced to because of the result of the [UK’s Events Research Programme], safety concerns of organisers or a lack of confidence in the ability to pay suppliers in time and release deposits to the supply chain. With government-backed insurance for costs aligning to the roadmap, the flow of money to the supply chain will unlock, bringing many out of furlough to plan events in their industry.”

Government Backing

On 16 March, Denmark became the latest nation where the government proactively stepped in to assist promoters and event organisers, when it created a DKK 500m (€67.2m) safety net for festivals and major events, allowing organisers to plan for this summer without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.


DENMARK DKK 500m (€67.2m)


GERMANY €2.5bn













event cancellation claims paid

different countries

estimated claims payments

UK cities and towns



OF EXPERIENCE Our Music & Event industry roots date back to 1964

 Artists & Bands  Festivals  Production  Promoters  Tours ....and more For more information contact our Music & Event insurance specialists on +44 (0)20 3037 8000 or Tysers Insurance Brokers Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered Office: 71 Fenchurch Street, London, EC3M 4BS. Registered Company in England: 2957627. R.97.3.21V1.0

Feature_Insurance The safety net will cover organisers of recurring events with at least 350 participants (such as music festivals, sports fixtures, conferences and markets), as well as events that were planned before 6 March 2020, but will not include new events created during the pandemic. Denmark’s move mirrors similar schemes in Germany (which has announced a €2.5bn fund); Austria’s €300m ‘protective umbrella’; a similar €300m pot in the Netherlands; Belgium’s €60m festival cancellation fund; Norway’s €34m festival safety net; and Estonia’s €6m risk fund for large-scale events. A government scheme is also under consideration in France, it is reported. Although some of the announced schemes have delayed their start dates, to varying degrees the government support provides event organisers with peace of mind in case the Covid-19 situation results in cancellation, postponement or significant changes to their event. In effect, governments are plugging a hole that the tradi-

The UK government’s compensation fund for film & TV is being eyed enviously by the live entertainment business


tional insurance market is not prepared to cover, ance market, Davies states, “Covid cover on cancellation abandonment insurance for live events at least in the short-term. That’s a stance that Goebbels fully under- is not available. Forms of communicable disease stands. “One of the problems insurers have for insurance is available, while Covid cover is actuinsuring something like a pandemic is the global ally available for individuals, meaning you could losses – they’ve got no cap on how much they buy individual Covid cover if you had a superstar can lose, whereas on a regular tour it’s pretty who is going to attend, but it only covers them: much a finite amount. That’s why they are hav- it does not cover the cancellation of the event.” In conjunction with Tysers, which has been ing an issue with it – they can’t just have a blank, leading efforts, EC3 has joined forces with some open cheque book.” EC3’s Davies agrees. “There are still policies in of the UK’s live entertainment trade associations place that are covering Covid-related cancellation in lobbying the Treasury and the Department risks into the next three years, so insurers are still on risk for long-term policies. So that’s why the insurance industry has stepped back from underwriting Covid-related risks for cancellation,” he explains. Detailing some of the exclusions in the current insurMartin Goebbels | Miller Insurance

“Insurance in the past has always been a dirty word: nobody gave a damn and that was always reflected in the show contracts”

Insurance_Feature for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) over the past nine months in the hope that they will fund a scheme similar to the one they have rolled out for film and TV production in the UK. Crucial to that process, says Davies, is the collaboration of the insurance industry. “We feel that the insurers need to be engaged in order for them to create an element of premium income outside of Covid – in other words the bits that they can underwrite,” he says, noting that without any premiums more insurers will exit from the sector. Tysers’ Thornhill comments, “We’re in discussions with government about the details, but the aim is for it to cover the costs across three specific areas: a local authority shut down; the artists or crew not being able to turn up to allow the show to go ahead; and the third would be an enforced reduced capacity, so if, for example, the government limited maximum mass gatherings to 500 and 5,000 tickets had been sold, the policy would respond at that point.”

Film & TV Compensation Scheme

One company with invaluable experience in partnering with government is Marsh, which is administering the UK government’s Film and TV scheme. Expressing her admiration for that scheme, Marsh’s Ryan tells IQ, “The DCMS and Treasury really did their homework with regards to engagement with the insurance industry – brokers and insurance companies – as well as engaging directly with the client sector, associations, broadcasters and independent production companies. They spoke to us because we have clients active in this space and it’s an area where we have expertise, as is live music, as is sports.” She explains, “What we’ve done, which is a little bit different to how we would work with our clients, is that we’ve assembled a team who are not necessarily experts in this space but are experts in the intention, the purpose, the rules and the criteria of this scheme, and that’s what was important. We were also able to put plans in place should there be a tsunami of enquiries, which we were primed to expect.” However, the Marsh team was not initially inundated with calls. “The applications in the beginning were slow, but they’ve picked up because of the extensions that have been put in place, which have made the application much more feasible for production schedules,” says Ryan. Describing the scheme as a compensation scheme, rather than insurance, Ryan says, “For the industry it’s a first. It’s set the standard and I am not at all surprised that live music and live entertainment is looking toward that and appealing to the DCMS and Treasury to replicate it or extend it beyond its scope. “If the government were to do it, I think they have a model to be able to shape it very quickly. And what the DCMS and Treasury have also proven is that they are willing and able to work with industry. They’ve already extended the film and TV scheme four times, and they’ve extended some of its cover beyond the original intention to things like the over 70s. So they’ve proven that they listen and will find a way, if there is a way to do it.”

50-50 Chance

While the UK government’s stop-gap for the film and TV sectors provides a glimmer of hope for the country’s live events business, brokers are at pains to stress that the industries operate to very different standards, with those IQ spoke to

believing it is 50-50 as to whether government departments will establish a similar programme for concerts and festivals. Goebbels observes, “The film scheme is far easier for the government to underwrite because film sets by their very nature are enclosed environments that don’t rely on the public or an audience. So for film it’s far clearer as they can put themselves into a bubble or isolated set situation and carry on their business. Any event reliant on an audience is a very different proposition.” Davies believes that even if a government scheme is approved, it will still take some time to establish. “If the government gives a green light, we then have to work on the structure in order to put the indemnity scheme together and we’ve been advised that would take between six to eight weeks from the green light,” says Davies. Thornhill is hopeful. “The government does understand, from the conversations that we have had, that there is a need, so we are hopeful that something will come out,” he says. “We need everyone in the supply chain to be supported and [a government fund] would do that.” At Marsh, Ryan is also hopeful that the government could provide the live entertainment sector with the same kind of support it has extended to film and television production companies. And she sees a series of upcoming pilot shows as being crucial to persuading politicians. “There seems to be a determination by the industry and the government to make this happen,” says Ryan. “I believe there are test events planned, and I think those events will set the standard in regards to how things can be done safely. They will influence things like capacity and audience numbers. I also think the speed and success in the way the vaccinations are being rolled out is going to be a significant factor.” Making a compelling case for state-sponsored help, Thornhill says, “The commercial insurance market does not have an incentive to put its neck and money on the line when there is so much insecurity around Covid. But the government does have an incentive. If it put down a fund now, then it would only have £400m [€463m] of exposure, but that could generate £9bn [€10.4bn] in economic value added to the UK economy across the course of the year. So the government’s risk reward is much greater because it will be rewarded by companies not going out of business and economic activity in certain sectors.”

“This is not a competitive market, so my message to clients has not changed since day one: choose your broker well and talk to your broker early” Edel Ryan | Marsh Magazine



Backing up that assertion, Ryan says, “What I read recently from the [British Film Institute] was they believe that close to £1bn [€1.2bn] in production costs have happened because of this scheme, supporting over 25,000 jobs.” The main difference between industries is obvious, but there are other factors at play according to Ryan. “Of course, film and TV is not reliant on a mass audience,” she says, “ but prior to the fund being announced they had also proven that they were able to get back to work. However, the single barrier that was preventing other projects was insurance,” she adds, again drawing parallels with the situation in which events organisers find themselves.


Other Concerns

Covid aside, the insurance market for live events has never been more complex. “It’s going to be a tough market, certainly for the next year or two,” warns Goebbels. “Communicable disease and Covid are going to be at the forefront, and other areas coming into it now are things like cyber insurance, where insurers can see potential global losses and they have to find a way to cap their losses as they go along.” Goebbels also notes with interest the way in which the industry has made fundamental changes in its operations. “Live Nation made a clear statement by announcing proposed changes to their show contracts: if the show happens,

the artist gets paid; if the show doesn’t happen, for any reason, they don’t. That’s it. It’s very clear and skips all the grey areas from previous contract as to when a promoter must pay an artist or not. So the artist will then have to draw up their own deals with suppliers and the promoter in turn, whether that’s with venues or advertisers or sponsors or whatever else it may be. Everyone down the line is going to have to work out where their responsibility lies with the person they are contracting to. That’s going to be a lot of work and maybe needs some legal input somewhere down the line.” Thornhill points out that it’s not just the contingency market that is seeing an increase in


Without Covid insurance, the risks may be too great for many promoters to put on concerts and festivals in 2021

premiums – it’s many classes of business. “We’re going into a hard market now, which means that the premiums are going to be increasing across many of the insurance policies that those in the industry purchase,” he says. “There is a lot of change going on in the insurance market at the moment and we, as brokers, have got to be mindful of that and we have to make everyone who is buying from us aware of the changes that are happening.” That’s a sentiment Marsh’s Ryan echoes. “This is not a competitive market, so my message to clients has not changed since day one: choose your broker well and talk to your broker early,” she advises. “With our clients, we make

sure they have a relationship with their market, as well as having it with us. We make sure the client is involved in making sure the underwriter has a very good impression of what the event is, rather than what they think it might be. Those are significant factors in how underwriters will rate it and price it. And while rates are going up you want to make sure the client has as much faith in their market as they do in their broker.” One monumental change of tune amongst the insurance community is the way they are working with clients to refund premiums. Gallagher’s Twomey explains, “One of the biggest issues that clients are concerned about is getting the money back if Covid does shut things down. They know they cannot claim for it, but can they get their premiums back?” That flexibility is proving helpful. “Pretty much everyone in the contingency world has agreed to premium cancellation clauses that work in favour of the client,” says Ryan. However, she says clients remain “hesitant” for fear of exposing themselves to sunken costs, meaning she and her colleagues are bracing for a deluge of enquiries as events begin to announce a return. She adds, “Because the pandemic was declared so early in the year in 2020, many festivals were able to avoid a lot of sunken costs. That is a positive, but many festivals also were not insured because of their practice of purchasing insurance closer to the event. So our message to clients is buy early. The price is the price and each day closer to your event doesn’t reduce the cost – the cost is always going to be the same. So you should make insurance one of your first to-do’s.” The fact that brokers’ phones and email inboxes are becoming more active again signals that confidence is slowly returning to the live entertainment industry. Twomey says, “We’re starting to be hopeful for the back end of 2021. We’re quoting on some US events, dependent on the state where the event is taking place because of the way they are doing things: Texas has opened up; Florida never seemed to close down in the first place. “European-wise, international touring may be a no-no for this year, whereas UK artists doing a UK tour or French acts touring in France may be feasible. Later on this year I think we’ll see some of those starting to come through and that’s the way it will run for this year.” But Twomey believes the increase in prices may dissuade some promoters from hosting events until 2022. “Margins were quite tight anyway for promoters, and if insurance is the thing that tips the margin into the negative because the rates have increased, then that’s going to be an issue,” he says. “On the other hand, Covid has certainly opened people’s eyes to the benefit of insurance, because with billions paid out, a lot of clients have benefitted from policies, so I like to think it’s concentrated minds on things.”

As for other areas of concern, Goebbels suggests that with the Queen in her 94th year, the prospect of a period of national mourning is becoming more of a reality – not just in the UK but also around the world in Commonwealth nations. “It’s a sad reality that’s never happened in our lifetimes so we don’t know the full impact, but when it happens everyone will be looking to be paid. But I try to point out it is excluded by all standard cancellation policies as they have an age limit. We don’t know for sure whether the USA would have national mourning for a serving President but Biden now also exceeds insurers age limit. These are matters that many clients don’t take note of but no doubt when it happens will expect insurance to pay.” And, of course, Brexit has also created untold issues, with many insurers having to establish European offices to adhere to legal requirements. “As and when touring starts, we’re going to run into issues with visas and travel, because it is a requirement of all insurance policies that all arrangements are made in advance,” says Twomey, regarding Brexit. “If we arrive at a situation where a UK band cannot enter Germany because they don’t have the correct visas, or whatever, then the insurance policy would not respond because it’s warranted that all arrangements are made in advance.” At EC3, Davies concludes that the entire future of insuring live events is in the balance, unless governments intervene. “The market has failed, so the government have to step up and insure this element of the contingency insurance policy that is not covered at the moment. The future of both the contingency market and UK live events relies on this,” he says.




Your Shout

“What was your ILMC highlight this year?”

Emma Banks keeping it briefs at The Arthur Awards 2021


Ed Bicknell talking about Ed Bicknell was drollery personified; Irving Azoff putting the boot into Philip Anschutz was revenge served ice-cold; but the overall highlight was Emma Banks pitching her stand-up persona just right – the real Emma taking the piss out of everything, herself included – great! Nick Hobbs | Charmenko

I loved how candid Irving Azoff was in his interview, it was so refreshing for someone to be so open and honest. That, and coming second in the quiz and fourth in the poker, where I was genuinely reading the rules on how to play whilst everyone thought I was hustling. Mark Bennett | MBA Live My top highlights were catching up with folks in The Smoking Steps; having an online jam with the mighty Marc Lambelet; and explaining to the wonderful Martin Hopewell where Bulgaria is actually located. A million laughs as we stayed until the system timed out and kicked us out! Boyan Robert Pinter | Booking and Event Production The Ed Bicknell and Bob Lefsetz podcast was a classic. Dan Waite | Better Noise Music On a serious note, I thought that being able to type in a question or comment was very useful; quicker and less inhibiting for many. Perhaps it


could be incorporated into next year’s event with a moderator posting the questions on screens and the panel responding live? It’d be like a One Direction concert! Bryan Grant | Britannia Row My ILMC highlight this year… was that it happened at all. Ed Grossman | Brackman Chopra LLP My highlight of ILMC this year was knowing I could have meetings and conversations with my industry friends without worrying if I had enough cash in my pocket to buy another round of drinks… Martin Jarvis | 1266 Music Group/On Point Touring I cannot pinpoint one highlight… well maybe Greg’s intro. I enjoyed all the sessions, and when they clashed it was so helpful to be able to watch them the next day. I met some super lovely people on the speed meetings, not all were matched, but I was able to send contact info to one or two

people who were looking at setting up businesses within festivals. Totally loved it – the ILMC team did a great job! Well done. Sharon Richardson | K2 AGENCY Surprisingly enough the virtual ILMC turned out brilliantly from my perspective and much better than anticipated. My favourite and most meaningful moments would have to be the music and the artists as these two elements are the primary foundations that have built and sustained all of this. Being able to see artists perform virtually, comprehending that the fact that this was the only option available, made me focus more on the artist and the music. It was such a great pleasure to particpate in ILMC 33. I have to say that I was genuinely impressed with how the virtual ILMC was organised and orchestrated. Tommy Jinho Yoon | International Creative Agency My highlight of this year’s virtual ILMC was how well the panels worked and how much more interesting they were because we were all able to engage with the panellists through the rolling ‘chat’ on the side of the screen. In the past, I’ve found most panels to be pretty boring because they’ve mostly been an ‘audience’ watching a discussion on stage. This year, there was far more interaction and side discussions about what was being said – hard work for the mods, but they did a great job. Mike Donovan | MD Tour Accounting Limited Definitely Ben Lovett challenging TikTok on their responsibilities to the artist to stop fans using phones at gigs. Beckie Sugden | X-ray Touring

92 An ILMC Publication SEPTEMBER 2020 | £25 | €25


Click this page to get a digital subscription now for premium, subscriber-only features including: Monthly digital edition of


Unlimited access to industry-leading news, articles and insight Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, long-form analysis and features All of our annual reports Access to all of our previous magazines and yearbooks


Enabling the Safe Return of Live Events We long for the feeling of togetherness, enjoying those shared moments at events, festivals, concerts and sports. Nothing beats the live experience and Health Passport Worldwide helps to get the show back on the road and fans back together.

Test. Protect. Enjoy.

Download from your app store today

Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.