LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
AND THEN, ONE DAY, YOU FIND, TEN YEARS HAVE GOT BEHIND YOU
Highlights of the Decade From Russia With Live European Festival Report 2019 The Gaffer: John Zajonc Cancellation Insurance
Ten-page Registration Special...Ten-page Registration Special...Ten-page Registration Special...Ten-page Registration Special
COME ON DOWN! Although IQ readers are accustomed to the odd gamble, the 2020 edition of ILMC will see the stakes taken to an entirely new level, as we invite delegates to come on down to London to participate in our very own game show, The Game… of… Live!! That’s right, ladies, gentlemen, non-binaries, the 2020 edition of the International Live Music Conference will invite 1,200 eager contestants from all across the globe to descend on the Royal Garden Hotel in London for three thrilling, fun-packed days of sessions, events and networking opportunities. Furthermore, due to increased demand, ILMC 32 will also take on a second site, The Baglioni Hotel, which will be reserved exclusively for ILMC delegates, and will provide additional meeting space. And if that isn’t enough, ILMC 32 will also see the second edition of Futures Forum – the spin-off event that pits the ILMC delegation against the industry’s future leaders. Elsewhere, the ILMC Production Meeting and Green Events & Innovations Conference are back, and, of course, an ILMC wouldn’t be complete without the annual [drum roll, please] Arthur Awards and Gala Dinner – which this year invites guests to the five-star, Art Deco, grade II-listed surrounds of the Sheraton Park Lane Hotel in London. ILMC 32 also features spectacular lunches, opening and closing parties, chances for delegates to flex their supple wrists at the annual table football tournament, the chance to quadruple their money at the poker tourney, or
prove exactly why they should never ever be allowed to set foot on a real stage, at the karaoke. All these events and more are featured in the following pages. So if you don’t want to be a total wipeout, get your fingers on those buzzers, and secure yourself a place at what’s sure to be the most exciting edition of the International Live Music Conference yet. And with the conference selling out earlier and earlier every year, you really need to beat the clock. ILMC 32: The Game of Live London. 3-6 March 2020.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE
To register for ILMC, go to 32.ilmc.com where you will find everything you could possibly wish to know (and more!) about the conference, including event schedules and accommodation. The full conference agenda will be announced in January both online and in IQ Magazine, although in the meantime we’ll be sending details about specific sessions, topics and speakers via our regular eNews updates. Please note that ILMC is an invitation-only event, so if you or your company have not attended before, you will need to be nominated before you can register. The process is very simple, visit 32.ilmc.com/register or contact email@example.com for further details.
ILMC is unlike any other conference you may have been to, as existing members will testify. All events and panels are designed so that everyone can participate and make their voice heard. The purpose of ILMC is to learn how others operate, exchange ideas, generate new business, and to provide opportunities for ILMC members to meet old friends, make new ones, and collaborate on new deals. An ILMC delegate pass includes:
• Access to all panels, presentations, networking areas and most events. • An invitation list restricted to the industry’s top movers and shakers. • Five-star lunches & refreshments. • Reduced room rates at the Royal Garden Hotel & Baglioni Hotel throughout the conference. • The first-class facilities of top west London hotels. • All Futures Forum sessions, networking breaks, and closing drinks. • The Globetrotters Conference Guide, which includes the contact information of all delegates. • A delegate bag. • Free entry to shows across London throughout the conference. • Significant prizes to be won with proceeds going to charity. • Discounts in local restaurants. • An annual subscription to IQ Magazine (worth £90). • A copy of The European Arena Yearbook (£139). • A copy of the International Ticketing Yearbook (£139).
PHONE A FRIEND NEW CONTESTANTS WANTED If you or someone you know would be interested in participating as a contestant in the Game of Live – either ILMC or IPM – then we have a number of bursary places available for both events. The Alia Dann Swift Bursary Scheme is available for a small number of young professionals and start-up companies, and is intended to provide a route for those who would otherwise not be able to attend, to participate in ILMC for the first time. Meanwhile, members of the production industry can take advantage of the IPM Bursary Scheme. To find out more: ILMC: 32.ilmc.com/register/bursary IPM: 32.ilmc.com/ipm/bursary
The ILMC Networking Scheme allows all delegates to communicate with each other, so that meetings can be planned in advance of the conference. Members of the scheme will be issued a password to access a players-only area of 32.ilmc.com, where they can find each other’s contact details. The contact details for all delegates are listed in the Globetrotters Guide (which you will receive upon your arrival at ILMC), but the Networking Scheme is the only way to access each other’s details in advance. The host of the Networking Scheme is Tom Hopewell, who will be able to advise you on getting the most out of the conference, and will be on hand to make the odd introduction, if necessary. A full listing of Networking Scheme participants will be published on the ILMC website in late January 2020, and will be updated each Friday until the conference has taken place. To take part, tick the relevant box when registering or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
TUESDAY 3 MARCH 2020 10:00 – 18:00
Since it began, the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) has become one of the foremost platforms for international production professionals to meet, network and discuss the most pressing issues affecting the industry. In 2019, IPM featured over 200 of the world’s most renowned production managers; health, safety & security specialists; crewing companies; production suppliers; transport & travel specialists; new technology suppliers, and promoters’ reps. IPM takes place at the Royal Garden Hotel, the day before ILMC starts, allowing ILMC delegates to attend both events (and take advantage of a discounted registration fee.) The programme is a mixture of panel topics and Production Notes sessions, which showcase new ideas and innovations. A delegate pass to IPM includes a five-star buffet lunch, access to all conference sessions, tea & coffee breaks, a conference guide with contact information for all attending delegates, and a chance to hang out at the IPM Closing Drinks party. Each edition of IPM is hosted by a renowned figure from the production world. Previous hosts have included Rachel Haughey, Dan Craig, Lee Charteris, Bryan Grant, Keith Wood, John Probyn and Carl AH Martin.
11:00 - 16:00 THE ILMC ASSOCIATION SUMMIT The ILMC Association Summit draws together the leading, active live music association from each market, as well as a small number of pan-European sector associations, to meet, network and present best-case ideas and initiatives. The summit is a closed meeting, with one representative from each association invited. For further information or to represent your association at the meeting, please email email@example.com.
18:00 – 21:00 THE ‘BIG INTRO’ ILMC OPENING PARTY Welcoming all contestants to London for the start of ILMC, The ‘Big Intro’ is where it all kicks off proper. Reuniting friends and colleagues after 12 months of big bucks and blockbusters, and with ample opportunities to make new acquaintances, it’s three hours of music, complimentary drinks, nibbles and even the odd competition – the perfect opportunity for delegates to ease themselves into the conference, with a drink in their hand. With the event taking place early, there’ll be plenty of time to head out for the evening afterwards…
The full programme for IPM 13 will be published in January. 32.ilmc.com/ipm Hosts: eps | Megaforce | EFM | Loud Music
10:00 – 18:00
The 12th edition of the UK’s essential conference for sustainability at live events will take place at the Royal Garden Hotel, the day before ILMC starts, allowing ILMC delegates to attend both events (and take advantage of a discounted registration fee.) Drawing on the continuous work and observations by AGF and partners within the industry, each year GEI demonstrates the latest solutions and technologies for practical event management, as well as crucial challenges to be addressed. The conference mixes practical case studies, discussion panels and presentations from around the world, alongside networking coffee breaks, a complimentary lunch, and closing party, including the International AGF Awards. GEI 12 will welcome over 200 industry leaders, professionals and visionaries working to bring environmental and social sustainability to live events. www.32.ilmc.com/gei Hosts: A Greener Festival | ILMC
WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 2020 12:30 – 14:30 THE ‘WHO WANTS TO BE A MEALIONAIRE?’ LUNCH With the first full day of ILMC underway, this two-hour feasting challenge will give delegates ample time to fill their stomachs and boots with some of the most delicious food in west London. With a huge selection of five-star dishes, vegetarian and vegan options, and sumptuous sweet treats, it’s a winning spread. Meanwhile, for any delegates who fancy an early tipple or two, a pay bar operates.
18:00 – 19:00 WME HAPPY HOUR Kicking off Wednesday night at ILMC, the guys and girls at WME invite all delegates to join them for their ever-popular Happy Hour. A moment to wind down after the day’s discussions, the WME Happy Hour is the chance to enjoy complimentary booze and snacks, and meet and mingle with the WME team and other guests. But be warned, it’s a popular pit stop so early arrival is most definitely recommended.
18:45 – 21:30 THE ‘D-FACTOR’ IMPACT PARTY The Dutch Impact Party is an annual highlight of the ILMC schedule, and offers a winning combination of free food, booze and music, with three of the hottest new artists from the low country performing as they reach for the top. Forget the X-Factor, this year’s showcasing artists have the ‘D-Factor,’ and with it all taking place just a few minutes walk from the Royal Garden Hotel... there’s no discussion. The line-up will be announced in February 2020. Clubino, The Baglioni Hotel
00:00 – 03:00 THE ‘IT’S A KNOCKOUT!’ TABLE FOOTBALL CUP A late-night game of quick reactions and occasionally even skill, The ‘It’s a Knockout!’ Table Football Cup will see players compete in pairs for international glory and the world’s tiniest trophy. The game is refereed by IQ’s Steve Woollett (our very own ‘Goal’ Edmunds) who’ll be making sure that every second counts. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have watching leading players of the music industry manoeuvering small plastic things on metal skewers. Sign-up in pairs on the night as 22 shooting stars kick it out on ILMC’s two tournament-certified tables.
Brought to you by: Dutch Music Export | Buma Cultuur
Thursday 5 March 2020
21:00 – 00:00 THE ‘CALL MY BLUFF’ TEXAS HOLD ‘EM POKER TOURNEY
12:30 – 14:30 THE ‘COME ON DINE!’ LUNCH
The annual poker tournament will see contestants pit their ‘whist’ against one another in this fierce competition to take home spectacular bar tab prizes. Those with (Bruce) foresight can sign-up when they register or if you really like a gamble, enquire about any last-minute places on the night. Alongside several professionally manned poker tables, ILMC’s makeshift casino also features roulette and a few other reasons to be in the room. The tourney costs £30 to enter and all proceeds go towards the Nikos Fund, which this year is raising money for Teenage Cancer Trust.
For the second day, it’s a lunchtime rush to see who can race around the buffet and empty the most five-star cuisine onto their plates. This two-hour lunch break will give contenders ample time to catch up, recharge, and refuel for the afternoon ahead. And as if some of the tastiest food in west London wasn’t enough, the lunch is immediately followed by the Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw with an array of stunning prizes up for grabs.
13:30 – 14:00 NIKOS FUND GRAND PRIZE DRAW The ILMC raises a significant amount of money every year for a charity of its choice in honour of one of its founding members, Nikos Sachpasidis. Hand in your business cards to the ILMC girls and boys with collection tins for the chance to win some colossal prizes as our chosen charity Teenage Cancer Trust benefits.
16:00 – 17:00 FELD’S ROLL THE D’ICE CREAM BREAK Not content with conjuring up some of the world’s most magical family shows, Feld Entertainment will also be dishing out ice cream and mementos during their popular ice-cream intermission. Enjoy a quick commercial break whilst grabbing souvenirs to take back to the kids, before the afternoon sessions continue. Host: Feld Entertainment
19:30 – 21:30 MATCH OF THE YEAR FOOTBALL If it’s a question of sport, this annual football match will see the UK pit itself against the rest of the world (which might be a fairly accurate analogy of current events), in a 90-minute display of fancy footwork and ball control. Buses will transport players from the Royal Garden Hotel to the pitch and back again, allowing every opportunity for bragging rights afterwards, or time to nurse the odd bruise or three. Places are limited and must be booked in advance. So if you fancy going for goals, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The Hive Stadium Host: Aiken Promotions
22:30 – late ‘NAME THAT TUNE’ KARAOKE Your ears might find themselves in jeopardy on the Thursday night of ILMC, as a whole host of delegates unite for the ‘Name That Tune’ Karaoke. This event is always the scene of a multitude of aural sins, all of them against music. Expect some truly “challenging” performances as the event stretches into the early hours of Friday morning. With props and costumes on hand for inspiration, this late-night scene of debauchery and silliness is not the kind of event you want to miss, (nor attend if you’re sober). “It’s good… but it’s not right.”
19:30 – 00:00 THE ILMC ARTHUR AWARDS WINNERS’ DINNER And now, ladies and gentlemen, live from The Sheraton Grand Park Lane, London… it’s the event of the year! The Arthurs – the international live music business’s best-loved awards – are back in 2020. With thousands of votes compiled from professionals around the world, The Arthur Awards sees the results announced as the stars of the industry take one of the cherished statuettes home with them. As if seeing the top promoter, agent, venue, festival, assistant and more receive their gongs was not enough, we’re thrilled to reveal that the whole affair will be compèred by none other than the game-show hostess with the game-show most-ess, Miss Emm-aaa Baaanks, back due to unprecedented demand! The live music industry’s top awards return to the glamorous surroundings of the Sheraton Grand Park Lane. With its grade II-listed ballroom and Silver Gallery adorned with palladium leaf walls and Grecian muses, the Sheraton Grand is one of London’s most spectacular Art Deco spaces and the perfect location for a gaudy 70s-game-show-inspired extravaganza. Coaches will transport eager contestants directly from the Royal Garden Hotel to the venue, where, following a champagne reception, they will be treated to a five-star, four-course feast prepared by award-winning chefs to the very highest, delectable standards. And, of course, a selection of fine wines to match. There’ll be a few surprises on the night to keep guests entertained, but what’s no surprise is why 350 of the industry’s great and good – themselves the winners of the business – make this night one not to miss. A ticket to the Gala Dinner & Arthur Awards costs £199 with tables of ten available for £1,990. Tickets can be purchased when registering for ILMC or by emailing email@example.com. Sheraton Park Lane Hotel
FRIDAY 6 MARCH 2020 10:00 - 20:00
After a successful debut in 2019, Futures Forum returns – welcoming live music’s brightest young stars to share their 2020 vision for the future of the industry alongside ILMC delegates. Created and shaped by young professionals, Futures Forum is a one-day discussion and networking event that combines the people that currently define the business – ILMC delegates – with the next generation of live music industry leaders. Futures Forum 2020 will continue to experiment with nontraditional conference formats, mixing connected discussions with immersive workshops, peer-to-peer networking and TEDstyle presentations by thought leaders. Futures Forum forms part of ILMC and is free to all ILMC delegates. However, if you are 30 and under and would just like to attend Futures Forum, please visit Futuresforum.live for more information and to register.
12:30 – 14:00 THE ‘MEAL OF FORTUNE’ LUNCH After a full morning conferencing, ravenous contestants can recharge with some of the finest five-star dishes that the Royal Garden Hotel has to offer. A complimentary lunch offering a range of cuisines, it’s a mouth watering, sensation-bursting two hours, with ample time to catch up with old friends, and make new acquaintances.
17:45 – 20:00 THE ‘FINAL ROUND’ CLOSING DRINKS To wrap up both ILMC and Futures Forum, all delegates are invited to the Royal Garden Hotel’s well-stocked bar for a glass of wine or three. After three days of networking, competition and conversation, enjoy a final few hours in the company of new friends and colleagues alike. Make the most of these final ILMC moments before Friday evening in London begins in earnest…
SHOW SCHEDULE TUESDAY 3 MARCH 10:00 - 18:00 10:00 - 18:00 11:00 - 16:00 13:00 - 21:00 14:30 - 18:30 18:00 - 20:00 18:00 - 20:00 18:00 - 21:00 Various
ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI) Association Summit (invitation only) ILMC Early-Bird Registration Association Meetings (invitation only) IPM Closing Drinks Party GEI Closing Drinks & International AGF Awards The ‘Big Intro’ ILMC Opening Party Access All Areas Shows
THURSDAY 5 MARCH 07:00-10:00 09:30-11:00 10:00-18:00 12:30-14:30 13:30-14:00 16:00-17:00 16:00-19:00 19:30-21:30 19:30-00:00 Various 22:30-late
WEDNESDAY 4 MARCH 09:30-11:00 10:00-10:30 10:00-18:00 11:15-18:00 12:30-14:30 18:00-19:00 18:45-21:30 Various 21:00-00:00 00:00-03:00
The Tea & Coffee Commercial Break New Delegates’ Orientation Conference Sessions Association Meetings (invitation only) The ‘Who Wants to be a Mealionnaire?’ Lunch WME Happy Hour The ‘D-Factor’ Dutch Impact Party Access All Areas Shows The ‘Call My Bluff’ Texas Hold‘em Poker Tourney The ‘It’s a Knockout!’ Table Football Cup
Breakfast Available The Tea & Coffee Commercial Break Conference Sessions The ‘Come on Dine’ Lunch Nikos Fund Grand Prize Draw Feld’s Roll the D’ice Cream Break Association Meetings (invitation only) Match of the Year Football The ILMC Arthur Awards Winners’ Dinner Access All Areas Shows The ‘Name That Tune’ Karaoke
FRIDAY 6 MARCH 07:00-10:00 09:30-11:00 10:00-12:30 12:30-14:00 14:00-16:30 16:45-17:30 17:30-20:00 Various
Breakfast Available The Tea & Coffee Commercial Break Conference Sessions The ‘Meal of Fortune’ Lunch Conference Sessions Futures Forum Keynote The ‘Final Round’ Closing Drinks Access All Areas Shows
“We do not stop playing because we grow old. We grow old because we stop playing.” Benjamin Franklin
Contents IQ Magazine Issue 87
Cover photo: Stormzy at Glastonbury 2019 © Jill Furmanovsky (see page 16)
News and Developments
14 Index in Brief The main headlines over the last two months 16 Analysis Key stories and news analysis from around the live music world 20 New Signings & Rising Stars A round-up of the latest acts that have been added to the rosters of international agents 26 Techno Files Revealing the cutting-edge tech that’s helping our 21st century business
3 The Game of Live All the essential event and registration details for ILMC 32 28 European Festival Report 2019 Increased ticket prices, falling attendances and lower capacities are revealed in our twelfth annual examination of the continent’s festival business 38 The Times They Are A Changin’ Gordon Masson quizzes industry leaders about the evolution of the business over the past decade, as we enter the era of the 2020s 42 Cover Story With artist illness, poor weather, border delays and other issues prompting show cancellations, Jon Chapple looks into insurance cover and premiums 50 The Gaffer 2019: John ‘Lug’ Zajonc Metallica’s production manager talks about his rollercoaster year and reveals his hopes for a Pay It Forward foundation 62 Live for Rent Derek Robertson learns about Dido’s touring comeback 66 From Russia with Live Adam Woods discovers a land of vast opportunities, spanning eleven time zones
Comments and Columns
22 Time to Regenerate Chris Johnson applauds sustainability efforts, but stresses that live events have a long way to go 23 Encountering Trans Musicales Béatrice Macé comments on the unique ethos of Rencontres Trans Musicales 24 One Bad Apple Doesn’t Spoil the Barrel Boyan Robert Pinter defends the Bulgarian live music industry, after some recent negative publicity 25 Promotional Difficulties Greek ticketing exec Mary Gavala talks about her company’s brave decision to save an event after a promoter’s decision to walk away 76 Members’ Noticeboard ILMC members’ photos 78 Highlights of the Decade ILMC members share their best moments from the last ten years
IQ Magazine January 2020
Shock and Awe As Viagogo executes a multibillion-dollar acquisition of StubHub, Gordon Masson wonders what Eric Baker’s master plan for resale domination means for the industry… At the start of the 21 century there was no such thing as an online secondary ticketing platform. But, legend has it, that a banker by the name of Eric Baker tried to book tickets to see The Lion King and when he couldn’t find any, he came up with an idea to create a marketplace that would allow ticket holders to resell their tickets, often at many times their face value… and StubHub was born. So, we can lay the blame for everything at the door of animation gurus and Star Wars franchise botherers, Disney. Having cracked on to a concept that, in effect, generated StubHub about 25% of the resale transaction price, Baker and fellow StubHub co-founder Jeff Fluhr effectively delivered members of the public a way to exchange tickets that the primary industry had failed miserably to offer its customers. And that resale market was quickly turning over hundreds of millions of dollars. Baker then exited StubHub to relocate to Europe, where he established Viagogo, a similar operation, to target the lucrative ticketing markets outside of North America. But strangely, people don’t like it when touts from other countries start stealing their touts’ jobs, and some questionable business practices earned Viagogo something of a tarnished reputation in the established live music sector, while StubHub developed to the extent that it started to also get into the primary ticketing sector. But just when anti-resale campaigners thought that they were winning the war, thanks to Google banning Viagogo sponsored adverts and government watchdog’s increasing scrutiny of the Swiss-based entity, Baker played a st
trump card by forming an alliance with his former company. An alliance paid for with $4.05billion. In cash. A healthy sum really, given that eBay paid just $310million for the company in 2007. Quite what Baker’s plans are for the amalgamated Viagogo and StubHub is anyone’s guess, but the fact that he managed to persuade financiers – reportedly J.P. Morgan – to fund the multibillion-dollar transaction is a serious and significant development. As you’ll read more than once in this issue of IQ, optimism about the future of the live entertainment business is high as we enter a new decade, with business leaders predicting global expansion (see page 38) and ILMC members in Russia talking up opportunities for market growth across its huge landscape (page 66). However, if the world of high finance stumps up billions of dollars to fund an acquisition by one of the industry’s most controversial entities, then they obviously believe that the secondary ticketing business will also deliver exponential growth… With news that Google recently lifted its ban on Viagogo-sponsored adverts, the combined marketing power of Viagogo and StubHub could be formidable, although those close to the acquisition tell analysts that the companies are likely to operate independently for a period while integration strategies are explored. But far from the mooted end-ofdecade celebrations due to the live music business winning the resale war, we enter the 2020s with the prospect of even tougher times ahead in the secondary ticketing debacle.
IQ Magazine January 2020
Issue 87 LIVE MUSIC INTELLIGENCE
THE ILMC JOURNAL, January 2020
Unit 31 Tileyard Road London, N7 9AH firstname.lastname@example.org www.iq-mag.net Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0300 Twitter: @iq_mag
ILMC and Suspicious Marketing
News Editor Jon Chapple
Staff Writer Anna Grace
Advertising & Sales Manager
Imogen Battersby and Ben Delger
Mary Gavala, Chris Johnson, Béatrice Macé, Boyan Robert Pinter, Derek Robertson, Manfred Tari, Adam Woods
Gordon Masson, email@example.com Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0303
Steven Woollett, firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +44 (0)20 3743 0304 ISSN 2633-0636
To subscribe to IQ Magazine: email@example.com An annual subscription to IQ is £75 (print) or £60 (electronic).
in brief Martin Garrix
NOVEMBER Australia’s Mushroom Group announces major structural and personnel changes following recent partnerships with AEG Presents and Chugg Entertainment/CMC Rocks. Live Nation records its highest-ever quarterly operating income, clocking in at $260million (€234m) in Q3 2019. Five years after its stateside launch, See Tickets announces plans for a new US office in Nashville, Tennessee. The latest phase of a Competition and Markets Authority inquiry finds the acquisition of MCD Productions by Live Nation-Gaiety does not raise competition concerns. Event production veteran Jon Drape launches Engine No.4, a new production company headquartered in Manchester, UK, as he retires the Ground Control brand. Ahead of its fifth edition next summer, Serge Grimaux and Karlín Group’s Serge Borenstein and Jan Ludvík acquire a stake in Prague’s Metronome Festival. Several South Korean industry insiders are accused of defrauding promoters and investors out of more than $4m (€3.6m) by posing as representatives of BTS’s management company, Big Hit. The European Arenas Association launches the Europact programme, introducing branded live performance spaces for showcasing European emerging talent across their member arenas. Magnetic Asia announces that the worsening of the situation in Hong Kong has made it “impossible” for Clockenflap festival to go ahead as planned. Telco Movistar signs a naming-rights
deal with ASM Global-operated Buenos Aires Arena, the venue becoming the third Movistar Arena in South America. Upcoming shows by Spanish star Enrique Iglesias in Croatia, Belarus and Latvia are cancelled, as Iglesias’s agency, CAA, declares a lack of compliance on behalf of promoter Art BG. The live music sector contributed £1.1billion (€1.28bn) to the British economy in 2018 – a 10% year-on-year increase – UK Music’s inaugural Music by Numbers report reveals. Greek ticketing company Viva pursues legal action against Art BG (see page 19) for the return of almost €740,000 in ticket sales for events it claims the promoter “did not end up organising.” Coldplay have put a temporary hold on their touring career due to concerns over live music’s environmental impact, frontman Chris Martin says. Following strong third-quarter results, CTS Eventim’s share price climbs to a record high of €55 – up 60% since the start of 2019. Three people are wounded in a shooting following a concert by Los Angeles rap group Shoreline Mafia in Salt Lake City, Utah. In a landmark deal that brings together the world’s two largest secondary ticket sellers, Viagogo announces its acquisition of StubHub for $4.05bn (€3.65bn) in cash. Just four months after its indefinite suspension from Google Ads, Viagogo advertisements once again appear at the top of Google’s search results as the ban is lifted. Austria-based tour bus provider Beat the Street announces its stateside debut, with plans for the introduction of the
first double-decker coach to the American touring market in January 2020. Robert FX Sillerman, the controversial founder of SFX Entertainment, dies of respiratory illness at the age of 71. The construction of a new 3,500-capacity, ATG-operated arena in Swansea, Wales, begins as part of a £1bn (€1.2bn) regeneration of the city centre. David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki are confirmed for EDM event MDL Beast, the latest addition to Saudi Arabia’s flourishing festival scene. Silver Lake, a private-equity firm with stakes in MSG, WME, TEG and more, acquires a $500m (€451m) stake in Manchester City FC owner City Football Group. Amid a backdrop of postponed stock market launches, CAA reportedly looks to repurchase employees’ equity as an
IQ Magazine January 2020
alternative method of improving liquidity. Following a successful trial, the UK’s NEC Group commits to rolling out mental health first-aid support across a number of shows at both its arenas, Arena Birmingham and Resorts World Arena. Six years after signing a ‘cessation of touring’ agreement bringing down the curtain on their live career, infamous LA hair metallers Mötley Crüe announce their reformation, following the success of Netflix biopic The Dirt. Members of Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag, call for clubs and live music venues to be classified as cultural institutions, in a bid to avoid further grass-roots venue closures. Ticketmaster names Pink its global ‘ticket of the year’ 2019, after polling fans globally from its database of more than 200m people to discover the most popular live events of the year. The UK’s Competition and Markets
Authority opens a preliminary investigation into Hasbro’s planned acquisition of London Stock Exchange-listed Entertainment One. The US House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee opens an investigation into “potentially unfair and deceptive practices” in both the primary and secondary ticketing markets.
DECEMBER CTS Eventim makes official its acquisition of a majority stake in Barracuda Music, formerly the largest independent promoter in Austria. Independent British promoter and venue operator VMS Live makes changes to its business model, opening a central London office and creating a new marketing division. Oak View Group breaks ground on the
Moody Center, a new multipurpose, 15,000-seat arena at the University of Texas in Austin. Leading dance music promoters Insomniac and Alda announce the launch of a new three-day festival in the Romanian capital, Bucharest. Madison Square Garden Company announces a “significant milestone” in the proposed spin-off of its entertainment business, set to take place in the first three months of 2020. NOS Alive announces it will kick off a day earlier in 2020, with hip-hop superstar Kendrick Lamar appearing on the main NOS stage on Wednesday 8 July. Acclaimed electronic music duo Bicep will headline Field Day with an exclusive live set in 2020, with the London festival announcing its return in stripped-back form on Saturday 11 July. Dua Lipa sells more than 15,000 tickets in a single morning for the Spanish leg of her Future Nostalgia European arena tour, according to promoter Mercury Wheels. UK Music CEO Michael Dugher announces he is to step down after almost three years at the end of January 2020. Montreux Jazz Festival announces the launch of Montreux Media Ventures, which will develop year-round content and events for corporate clients, labels and brands. To subscribe to IQ Magazine: firstname.lastname@example.org An annual subscription to IQ is £90 (print) or £75 (electronic).
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IQ Magazine January 2020
Movers and Shakers Booking agent Alice Hogg has joined London-based international agency ATC Live. The move comes after a three-year stint at Live Nation International as a buyer, where she worked on European tours for artists including Post Malone, Billie Eilish and Lizzo. Prior to joining LN, she was an agent at United Talent Agency. Ethical secondary ticketer TicketSwap has appointed Chris Carey as head of international marketing. As the founder and CEO of Londonbased Media Insight Consulting, Carey has worked with clients including Spotify, Sony and The O2 Arena. Prior to starting his consultancy firm, he was global insight director at EMI Music and Universal Records. AEG Presents has promoted Debra Rathwell from SVP to executive vicepresident of its Global Touring and Talent division. She has been at the company since 2002. Music festival experience platform Festicket has named Ed Walsh as its new strategic commercial director. He joins the company after more than two years as music account director at Eventbrite. Prior to that he worked at Broadwick Live, NVS Music Group and Mainstage Travel. Former Tomorrowland Brazil and Electric Zoo São Paulo booker Edo van Duijn has joined electronic music promoter ID&T as its new music director. Kelly Stelbasky has joined AEG Presents as vice-president of global touring. She was most recently vice-president of US concerts at Live Nation, and prior to that worked at Paradigm Talent Agency. Event and ticket search engine TickX has announced Laurence Marlor, co-founder of car-hire site Rentalcars.com, as its new chairman. The Ticket Factory has appointed Noel Edwards as commercial director, in a move that brings him back to the company after 15 years. In that time, he has held roles at Songkick, CrowdSurge, and event travel and ticketing company Kaboodle. Odd Inge Sneve, a 16-year veteran of Live Nation Norway, has joined All Things Live as a senior promoter in its Oslo office. Three months after stepping down from her role at Down the Drain Concerts, Xenia Grigat, one of Denmark’s most experienced concert promoters, has joined Luger Denmark, where she will lead the company’s Danish expansion as it transforms from an agency for local artists to promoting international acts.
Rock photographer Jill Furmanovsky explains the circumstances behind IQ’s end-ofdecade cover picture – one of her favourite photographs from the past ten years… “This is Stormzy at Glastonbury 2019. I thought he put on a superb show – much better and infinitely more human than Kanye West’s a few years earlier. “The Eavis family has championed new artists from the word go, and taken risks with giving them the best stage in the world – The Pyramid – in front of the best audience in the world – Glastonbury! “I gave IQ Magazine quite a choice [from my portfolio], but for me, this was the right one to celebrate the end of a decade and the beginning of a new one.” Read the full Q&A with Furmanovsky, including her 30-year-plus Rock Archive project at iq-mag.net.
IQ Magazine January 2020
Industry slams Viagogo-StubHub deal Anti-ticket touting campaigners have written to UK regulators to urge an investigation into the takeover of StubHub by Viagogo, as industry figures voice concerns over the $4billion (€3.6bn) deal. In a letter to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), FanFair campaign manager Adam Webb says the deal “would concentrate market power in ‘for-profit’ secondary ticketing in the hands of a single operator (a combined Viagogo/StubHub would control closer to 100% of the UK market, far above the CMA’s 40% benchmark), and potentially result in anticompetitive behaviour with significant and damaging implications throughout the UK’s live music sector.” Viagogo and StubHub are the last of the ‘big four’ ticket
resale sites still operating in the European market. Neo Sala, the founder and CEO of Spanish promoter Doctor Music, says: “Viagogo may hope that their reputation will be greenwashed by association with StubHub, who have historically kept more in line with regulation – but both have a long history of ripping off fans.” News of the acquisition came as Viagogo was cleared to once again advertise on Google (following the lifting of a ban implemented in July), and after agreeing to comply with a number of Google Ads guidelines, and is once again appearing at the top of search results for many major shows. “I have no doubt that if this gets cleared it will be bad news for fans, as well as those of us who invest in the live sector,” continues Sala.
“Along with the disturbing news that Google is allowing Viagogo to advertise again, we see this as a step backwards in the fight against inflated-price secondary ticketing,” Anton Lockwood, director of live at UK promoter DHP Family, tells IQ. “Viagogo’s brand has become toxic in the last few years and this seems like an attempt to cleanse it.” Claudio Trotta, founder of Italy’s Barley Arts, says in his more than 40 years in the business, “this is one of the worst pieces of news I have received.” He states, “It is really scary – first of all, the fact that Viagogo can spend $4billion in cash is very worrying. Secondly, that Viagogo has bought a competitor that operates in most countries in the world means we are really far away from winning the battle
against this cancer – and I do truly believe it is a cancer. “I am sure they have made this deal because they absolutely know they can carry on doing secondary ticketing in the majority of countries in the world and circumvent the laws that are in place.” Consumer organisation Which? is similarly urging the CMA to investigate the deal in the UK. “Viagogo has a long history of ripping off music and sports fans and had to be threatened with court action after failing to provide vital information to customers, so any move to increase its grip on the secondary ticketing sector is likely to be a worry for consumers,” says Which?’s Adam French. “The regulator should closely examine this deal and the impact it could have on competition in the sector to ensure consumers do not lose out,” he adds.
Big names line-up for 2020 festival dates Pop and rock heavyweights including Taylor Swift, The Killers, Paul McCartney, Pearl Jam, and break-out star Billie Eilish have confirmed a raft of European festival dates, as summer 2020 begins to take shape. Pop superstar Swift kicks off her next tour, in support of her sixth studio album, Lover, with a festival run, playing at Live Nation Belgium’s Werchter Boutique on 20 June, All Things Live’s Oslo Sommertid on 26 June, Roskilde in Denmark on 1 July, Alter Art’s Open’er in Poland on 3 July, Festival de Nîmes in France on 5 July, Live Nation Spain’s Mad Cool on 8 July, Everything is New’s NOS Alive in Portugal
on 9 July, and AEG’s British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park on 11 July. She will also play two one-off festivals in the US on 25–26 July and 31 July–1 August, respectively: Lover Fest West, which will take place at Los Angeles’ 100,000-capacity SoFi Stadium, and Lover Fest East, at Gillette Stadium (66,829-cap) in Foxborough, Massachusetts. “I want to perform [Lover] in a way that feels authentic,” she said. “I want to go to some places I haven’t been and play festivals. Where we didn’t have festivals, we made some.” The Killers, meanwhile, are bringing their Imploding
the Mirage tour to events including FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane and Southside (19 and 20 June), Live Nation Belgium’s TW Classic (21 June), Mad Cool (9 July), Last Tour’s Bilbao BBK Live (9-11 July) and Melnitsa’s Park Live in Moscow (18 July). The Las Vegas band lead up to the festival season with their first-ever stadium tour, playing open-air venues across the UK from 30 May (Old Trafford, Manchester) to 13 June (Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough), followed by two nights at the 20,000-cap Malahide Castle in Dublin on 16 and 17 June. McCartney is also confirmed for TW Classic – at the time of writing, his
only summer 2020 festival date other than Glastonbury, where he’ll be headlining Saturday night (27 June). Diana Ross will play Glasto’s ‘legends’ slot on the afternoon of Sunday 28 June. Grunge heroes Pearl Jam will play two Lollapaloozas – Stockholm on 27 June and Paris on 19 July – as well as Rock Werchter on 2 July and BST on 10 July, while Eilish will also appear at Lolla Paris, as well as NOS Alive on 10 July. At press time, hip-hop star Kendrick Lamar was also lining a string of festival performances, having been confirmed for Lolla Stockholm, Rock Werchter, NOS Alive and Bilbao BBK Live.
Climate Takes Centre Stage Sustainability and environmental protection are fast becoming a universal focus across the live music industry, with multiple initiatives being established to reduce carbon footprints. Arguably the most highprofile move to date came in November when Coldplay frontman Chris Martin announced that the band was putting a temporary hold on touring, due to concerns over its environmental impact. Despite the act having reportedly held stadium dates for 2020, the band say they will not tour the new album, Everyday Life, with Martin suggesting their live career may remain on hiatus for one or two years while
they figure out how to make touring more sustainable and “actively beneficial.” Hot on the heels of Coldplay’s announcement, Massive Attack revealed they have commissioned academics to examine the most efficient ways of reducing the live industry’s carbon impact. The band’s Robert Del Naja said Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research will look at three key areas where CO2 is emitted in the music industry: band travel and production; audience transport; and venues. The hope is that the resulting “roadmap to decarbonisation” will be shared with other touring acts, promoters, festival
organisers, and venue owners to encourage and facilitate a reduction in carbon emissions across the industry. With other big-name acts such as Billie Eilish and The 1975 also actively working on ways to reduce their touring carbon footprints, it’s likely that others will follow, perhaps driving further research into clean-tech solutions, and investment in the likes of green truck and bus fleets. Not to be outdone, industry professionals are also stepping up their game. In the UK, as part of The Show Must Go On report, which outlines the environmental impacts of the festival industry and aims to provide a robust basis for industry-wide action,
the Festival Vision: 2025 Pledge is bringing together an increasing number of festivals that wish to take action to create a sustainable future. Meanwhile, UK Music has established an environmental group to examine and establish best practice when it comes to green initiatives, and the Music Declares Emergency group continues to attract new ‘declarers’ with more than 1,250 artists already signed up, alongside 640 organisations, and more than 500 individuals. Further sustainability developments will be debated and examined at the 12th edition of the Green Events and Initiatives Conference on the eve of ILMC on 3 March.
IQ Magazine January 2020
The latest trades and handshakes from the agency world His new solo release Dem A Lie is a big step up sonically, helped by the production of Coolie, who is riding high on the back of his production on fellow Coventry local Jay 1’s hit record Your Mrs. Agents Obi Asika and Jack Clark are looking at festival opportunities for Pa Salieu in summer 2020, but are also on the hunt for a good support slot for the rapper, ahead of plans for a Q4 tour. This Month
PA SALIEU (UK)
Agents: Obi Asika & Jack Clark, Echo Location Pa Salieu is a 22-year-old rapper from Coventry, England. He is proud of his Gambian heritage, fluent in Wolof, and keen to represent his culture wherever possible. Pa has a deep-rooted belief that music is a calling bigger than him, whether that’s down to his family tribe’s folk music background, or the death of his close friend AP which drove him to write his first lyrics.
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Artist COI LERAY (US) 24KGOLDN (US) NASTY CHERRY (UK) KING COMBS (US) KAASH PAIGE (US) MS BANKS (UK) LIGHTSKINSKEISHA (US) BABY KEEM (US) FLO MILLI (US) HP BOYZ (AU) VEGYN (UK) MAE MULLER (UK) CATIE TURNER (US) REI AMI (US) LUCKI (US)
Fastest growing artists based on online music consumption. Aggregated across a number of online sources
Alesso (SE) Obi Asika & Tom Jones, Echo Location AMA (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Angelica Garcia (US) Peter Elliott, Primary Talent Another Michael (US) Matt Pickering-Copley, Primary Talent Arrested Youth (US) Paul Ryan, Daniel McCartney, Josh Kline, Chris Visconti & Mike G, UTA Austin Millz (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Bad Touch (UK) Filippo Mei, ITB Barney Artist (UK) Steve Nickolls & James Wright, UTA Bayonne (US) Sarah Casey, UTA Beverly Glenn-Copeland (CA) Isla Angus, ATC Live Binki (US) Jamie Wade, X-ray Black Pumas (US) Alex Bruford, ATC Live Ca7riel y Paco Amoroso (AR) Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live Cellar Door Moon Crow (UK) Adam Saunders, X-ray Charlotte Rose Benjamin (US) Jamie Wade, X-ray Chartreuse (UK) Jules de Lattre & Angie Rance, UTA Chinatown Slalom (UK) David Exley, Paradigm Clams Casino (US) Andy Duggan, Primary Talent Cockney Rejects (UK) Paul Ryan, UTA Crooked Colours (AU) Matt Bates & Chris Smyth, Primary Talent Darkoo (UK) Myles Jessop, Echo Location DCappella (US) Heulwen Keyte, UTA Deb Never (US) Matt Bates, Primary Talent Debbie Schippers (UK) Jamie Wade, X-ray Delaire The Liar (UK) Sean Goulding & Christina Austin, UTA Divino Nino (US) William Church & Sarah Joy, ATC Live DJ EZ (UK) Obi Asika, Jack Clark & Hannah Shogbola, Echo Location Don Q (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Dream Nails (UK) Olivia Sime, ITB Eagles & Butterflies (UK) Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent Eliza and the Delusionals (AU) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Emanne Beasha (US) Heulwen Keyte, UTA Fields of the Nephilim (UK) Paul Ryan, UTA Finn Foxell (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Flares (UK) Jo Biddiscombe, X-ray Frances Quinlan (US) Matt Pickering-Copley, Primary Talent Galantis (SE) Obi Asika & Jack Clark, Echo Location Gallows (UK) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Geoffroy (CA) James Masters, UTA GRAMN. (UK) Andy Duggan, Primary Talent Headie One (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Howard Kaye (UK) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Humanist (UK) Steve Backman & Stefan Romer, Primary Talent Imanu (NL) Francesco Caccamo, Primary Talent Jasmine Sokko (SG) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Joce Wavy (UK) Myles Jessop, Echo Location Jon Bryant (IE) Sara Besnard, ATC Live Karate Boogaloo (AU) Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live Kasai (UK) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Keeley Forsyth (UK) Dave Jennings, Art & Industry Kojo Funds (UK) Myles Jessop, Echo Location Koko (UK) Olly Ward, UTA L’Rain (US) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Lazarus (MW) Serena Parsons, Primary Talent Lilla Vargen (UK) Ryan Penty & Alex Hardee, Paradigm Lo Nightly (US) Mike Malak, Paradigm
IQ Magazine January 2020
Los Retros (US) Sinan Ors, ATC Live Loverboi (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Lucia and the Best Boys (UK) Ross Warnock, Zoe Williamson & David Strunk, UTA Mark Morton (US) Paul Ryan, UTA Matador (IE) Martje Kremers, Primary Talent Matilda Mann (UK) Will Marshall & Matt Bates, Primary Talent Mick Jenkins (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Milan Ring (AU) Nick Holroyd, Primary Talent Oso Leone (ES) Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live Pa Salieu (UK) Obi Asika & Jack Clark, Echo Location Patoranking (NG) Serena Parsons, Primary Talent Patrice Rushen (US) Sam Gill & James Wright, UTA People Club (DE) Sara Besnard, ATC Live Pete & Bas (UK) Marlon Burton, ATC Live Phoxjaw (UK) Sean Goulding, Christina Austin & Nikos Kazoleas, UTA Polly Money (UK) Olly Ward, UTA Poundz (UK) Myles Jessop, Echo Location Red Moon (NO) Guillaume Brevers, ATC Live Resavoir (US) Sinan Ors & William Church, ATC Live Rose Ringed (NL) Martje Kremers, Primary Talent Sam Wise (UK) Sean Goulding, James Osgood & Diana Richardson, UTA Samuel Jack (UK) Phyllis Belezos, ITB Savage Ga$p (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 (NG) Sam Gill, Sean Goulding, Jeremy Norkin, Jeremy Holgersen & Christian Bernhardt, UTA Shaybo (UK) Craig D’Souza, Primary Talent Sister Sledge (US) Ross Warnock & Diana Richardson, UTA SmokePurpp (US) Myles Jessop, Echo Location SOSA (UK) Obi Asika & Jack Clark, Echo Location Static Dress (UK) Anna Bewers, Paradigm Subtronics (US) Paul McQueen, Primary Talent Sunni Colón (US) Beckie Sugden, X-ray Svdden Death (US) Paul McQueen, Primary Talent SwaVay (US) Sally Dunstone, X-ray Sylosis (UK) Paul Ryan, UTA Tallsaint (UK) Phyllis Belezos, ITB Tay Oskee (AU) Beth Morton, UTA Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers (AU) Shaun Faulkner, X-ray Terno Rei (BR) Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live The Big Push (UK) David Sullivan-Kaplan & James Osgood, UTA The Goa Express (UK) Alex Bruford, ATC Live The Hara (UK) Sol Parker & Tom Taaffe, Paradigm The Roly Mo (UK) Paul Buck, Paradigm UJI (AR) Felipe Mina Calvo, ATC Live Vexed (UK) Paul Ryan, UTA Yizzy (UK) Sean Goulding, James Osgood, Christina Austin & Diana Richardson, UTA Yousef (UK) Laetitia Descouens, Primary Talent Zack Villere (US) Olly Ward, UTA
PREDICTIONS FOR NEXT MONTH
(Artists moving through the database the quickest) STAY FLEE GET LIZZY (UK), MOBY RICH (US), BINKI (US), KRYPTO9095 (US), CHIIILD (US)
Time to Regenerate Shambala Festival’s Chris Johnson applauds efforts toward becoming more sustainable, but acknowledges that live events have a long way to go.
s Shambala Festival’s 20th anniversary approaches in 2020, I’m reflecting on our journey from humble beginnings with 120 friends in a field, to becoming one of Europe’s leading sustainable events. We have been driven by the desire to put on a wildly creative celebration and be at the vanguard of ethics and environmental practice. We have experimented in every way we can, learning about our impacts with the input of scientific experts, setting ambitious targets, working with all stakeholders, and taking risks. We have transitioned from diesel generators to completely renewable energy, eliminated single-use plastics, taken meat and fish off the menu, and in 2018, served only plant-based m*lks across the festival. We have a myriad of policies in place to reduce travel impacts and tackle the complex issue of waste, from both materials management and audience perspectives, with the support of behaviour-change psychologists. All of this has helped us to reduce the overall environmental footprint of the festival by over 90%, verified by third-party carbon calculator tools and certification. We also place a huge emphasis on inspiring – and often requiring – everyone we are in contact with to think and act differently: audience, supply chain, local community and authorities, and the wider industry. I see a festival as a petridish opportunity for experimenting with positive change. We know we can positively affect audience behaviour beyond the festival. When we took meat and fish off the menu, 50% of our audience ‘drastically changed their diets as a result of their experience of the festival’ and 76% of them had sustained that change six months later. Not everything we’ve done works initially; we try things, learn, collect data like it’s going out of fashion so that we understand the minutiae of Shambala, we review, and then we shape strategy and policy accordingly. But I believe this isn’t enough. The climate crisis is rapidly changing the world, biodiversity is in freefall, soil fertility is seriously at risk and the oceans are saturated with plastics. It’s not climate ‘change.’ It’s an emergency, and one that affects people profoundly disproportionately globally. We recently looked into our food policies and standards. What crystallised was that ‘sustainability’ as a concept is no longer fully adequate in meeting the challenges we face. It’s not enough to sustain. We need to improve ecological systems as quickly as we can, and a paradigm shift toward
‘regenerative’ thinking, models and practices is required to provide the life-support systems we need for the future. My eyes have been opened to how all aspects of our supply chain could become more regenerative. We will now pursue long-term relationships with food producers that are enhancing environmental and social capital, embracing a truly circular approach, whereby materials we use and no longer require have a next-life use pre-identified.
“I see a festival as a petri-dish opportunity for experimenting with positive change.” I’m beginning to appreciate how all aspects of our supply chain could become more regenerative, particularly in relation to food. Small-scale agriculture – under 12 acres – is significantly more beneficial for biodiversity, productivity, health, wellbeing and employment. On this basis, we are now developing long-term relationships with small-scale local food growers that are actually enhancing environmental and social capital, rather than simply ‘not damaging it.’ I feel optimistic about the bigger picture, but we face a challenge and need to get on with it quickly. We have the knowledge, technology, skills and resources to do this. The event and music industries are now showing signs of taking real action. Energy Revolution, a UK charity dedicated to sustainable travel and carbon balancing now has 50 festivals and many suppliers engaged; and has balanced over 10 million miles of travel emissions with investments in renewable energy. Music Declares Emergency has experienced an explosive start with 2,500 individuals and organisations joining within months of the launch. The Powerful Thinking group, comprised of all the membership bodies in the events industry, has been working together on environmental practice for ten years. Their Vision:2025 campaign, a framework for halving the event industry’s impacts by 2025, has over 100 festivals in its portfolio. Given the scale and urgency of the challenge, I am heartened by the cross-industry support to launch an updated Show Must Go On Report and Vision:2025 online hub, January 2020. These free-to-access knowledge hubs will give all event professionals the tools to take significant steps toward zero-carbon events, without having to re-invent the wheel.
IQ Magazine January 2020
Encountering Trans Musicales Béatrice Macé, co-founder and co-director of leading French “you-saw-them-here-first” festival Rencontres Trans Musicales, comments on the unique ethos of the event.
e started Trans Musicales because we noticed that many local bands were often not well-known by local audiences, even if they lived in the same city. At the very beginning, we didn’t set it up as a festival; we did a concert to support our association, a French, not-forprofit entity that was created in 1975 by a friend called Hervé Bordier, with the aim of organising concerts. We invited 12 local bands to perform at the initial event, which took place over two days in June 1979. The concept was different then. There were fewer than 20 rock & pop or world music concerts happening in Rennes each year. The entrance price was on a voluntary donation basis, and the event was pretty successful, with a total attendance of 1,600. The following year, both the audience and artists came to us and asked why we hadn’t run the event again, so we decided to organise a second edition, this time in December. The idea was the same: to create the right conditions for artists and audience members to meet (rencontres). In 1985, we redefined the Rencontres Trans Musicales de Rennes as a festival, and stopped doing other shows so that we could focus on the one event. We went from having just local bands, to bands from other French cities, to European bands, and, from the end of the 80s, to bands from all around the world. We chose and still choose bands that we believe have something new to bring to the current music scene. We like to keep in mind the humble beginnings of our event, back when rock music was a counterculture and there was little access to live music from that genre; it was difficult to see live on stage the bands whose records we were buying. Nowadays, the music market focuses on artists who are already famous and on those with a huge potential for record and concert ticket sales; which has led to the industrialisation of music. But, we are not aware of the reality and potential of musical creation across genres. Maybe we miss artists that we might have otherwise liked. To us, this translates as not really having a choice when it comes to what music we are exposed to. We aren’t really free to choose. So that’s what we want to offer our audiences – a real choice. We expose them to a diverse lineup and they are free to take away what they want and like from it, and leave the rest. We’re lucky that through our choice of artistic direction, we haven’t experienced the huge rise in artist fees that most
IQ Magazine January 2020
festivals have in past years. Artistic freedom is really the big benefit, as we don’t depend on musical trends and what big acts are touring that year. We have evolved slowly as an event, and our audience has stayed loyal. We also stick to our guns and we have done so since the beginning, always defending the same ideologies – the unknown is worth knowing; the liberty of choice is compelling; and popular music genres (rock, jazz, world music) are arts first and foremost, before becoming part of an industry. Whilst we don’t look down on the music industry, we don’t feel that our event is part of it. We may run parallel to it, but we start from a different location.
“Nowadays, the music market focuses on artists who are already famous and on those with a huge potential for record and concert ticket sales.” Trans Musicales is a great place for bands to play because we attract most of the music industry professionals from France and beyond. An agent once said to me that he got 40 offers the night of his band’s show at the festival. We play our part. We have a low-price policy because our purpose is to help people discover unknown bands, which is impossible to do if you don’t have a price policy that allows everyone to be able to access the event, even if they are on a low income. Finally, we are a “sustainable development” festival (certified ISO 20121) which means we pay attention to all our stakeholders, and try to make the festival an easily accessible one. For us, the easier the access, the more people can attend and the better the ambience of the festival.
One Bad Apple Doesn’t Spoil the Barrel Boyan Robert Pinter, head of booking at Sofia venue Joy Station, charts the journey of the Bulgarian live music industry, and explains why companies such as Art BG are just a drop in the ocean…
n light of recent developments with Bulgarian promoters, now is the perfect time to widen the lens a bit and take a look at the Bulgarian live music industry beyond its recent highly publicised scandals. The live music business in Bulgaria only really started in the 1990s. While Europe and the US were crafting the rules of the game and creating high-class music professionals during the post-war years, Eastern European markets had to wait for the fall of communism before a music industry could really take off. The earliest western acts to come to Bulgaria came courtesy of adventurous local musicians who booked themselves as the support act, profit coming second to the glory of sharing the stage and a cold one with their musical heroes. Despite these amateur beginnings, by the end of the nineties, Bulgaria had already received the blessing of a number of UK agents and production managers, bringing in stadium acts like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Sting and others. Before 1989, the idea of seeing any of these acts live was absolutely unthinkable. For Bulgarian music fans, these shows were an affirmation, a sign that Bulgaria was finally on the map. By the 2000s, the Bulgarian live music sector had expanded exponentially. On the wings of a few lucky promoters (some heavily buttressed financially by western companies), a second generation of promoters arrived. These were not the passionate rockers of the 1990s, but a more opportunistic breed who saw the live music industry as a gateway to quick profits. Unfortunately, these young bloods came to the scene having skipped the foundational level – music biz 101 – as it developed in the US and UK, growing out of social secretaries and campus events organisers. This new wave of promoters wanted only safe bets and sell-out shows. While fast-moving markets have grown tired of shows consisting of classic rock albums played in their entirety by the few remaining members of a heritage band, Bulgarians, and Bulgarian promoters especially, are reluctant to move away from these established acts. In effect, very few Bulgarian promoters had ever truly attempted to promote an act, preferring shows that sold themselves. The art of popularising and increasing the demand for an act, shining a spotlight on their talent, shaping public appetites and driving demand never really developed. Their
only skill was in delivering shows; this being thanks more to the local production crew than the so-called promoter. The loyalty between foreign agents and Bulgarian promoters is built on the back of the hard-working production crew. I’m proud to say that Bulgarian crews can, and do, work at every level. Now, as the 2010s draw to a close, a new class of Bulgarian promoter is emerging. Our universities even offer degree programmes in music management. One can start saying “a music industry professional” in all senses of the term. The local scene has quite a few things to be proud of, from the success of large-scale productions like Roger Waters’ The Wall
“Before 1989, the idea of seeing any of these acts live was absolutely unthinkable.” at the National Stadium, the development of the 1st century AD Ancient Theatre in Plovdiv as a concert venue, to the emergence of well-equipped clubs like Joy Station, which has been heavily invested in. These all show a marked step forward. The music industries in smaller countries rarely make the news with anything positive. Despite our best efforts to fight against these notions and do a better job than most, it’s just a drop in the ocean. This manifests itself clearly in situations where the outstanding work of a Bulgarian production team gets described as, “Not as bad as I expected.” I have witnessed this many times, and while it’s nice to be one of the exceptions, I’d much prefer to just change the perceptions. It is important to remember that scandals only make the news because they are newsworthy. “Show in foreign country went fine!” is not a good headline. For every scandal that makes the news, there are many successful shows put on by music-loving professionals and attended by passionate, grateful music fans.
IQ Magazine January 2020
Mary Gavala, marketing manager at Greek e-ticketing platform VivaWallet, comments on what to do when a promoter drops out just days before a show.
ince 2010, VivaWallet has sold more than 46 million tickets, providing services for over 35,000 events organised by nearly 2,000 promoters. Among such a large portfolio of successful events, there are bound to be cases where things do not go as planned. Recent concerts by Bryan Adams (18 November) and José Carreras (24 November), as well as two shows by Maluma due to take place in March 2020, are four such cases. Shortly before the Bryan Adams concert, the promoter of the shows – Art BG – informed Viva that due to “financial difficulties” it would be unable to fulfill its obligations and pay for the cost of the shows. The promoter then promptly disappeared, causing the loss of thousands of euros from the sale of two shows’ worth of tickets. This left Viva, acting as the intermediate ticketing provider, with two options. The first option, and the most straightforward based on the business terms that govern ticketing, was to announce the cancellation of the events and advise the furious ticketholders to request refunds directly from Art BG. The second option was for Viva to try to salvage the events, becoming responsible for all costs and losses, to
avoid cancellations and keep ticketholders happy, no matter the price. Given that a new but experienced organiser, the Gazarte Group, stepped in to help with the organisation of the events, VivaWallet swiftly decided to follow the second option, assuming the full cost of the shows, which then went ahead as planned. This decision was the only way to honour the more than 8,000 customers who had already bought tickets to the shows, and to protect the reputation of Greece’s live music business in the eyes of international promoters and artists. Viva also issued 2,500 free tickets online, with an optional donation of €7 per ticket for the charity “Together We Can,” which cares for poor families across Greece. In the end, the organisational capacity of Gazarte combined with the high-speed reaction of Viva, which stepped in to show its appreciation to consumers and artists, led to two hugely successful events in Athens, with two more to follow in March 2020. Viva is now pursuing legal action against the promoter, which has also been at the centre of controversy elsewhere in Europe in recent weeks, resulting in the cancellation of Enrique Iglesias shows in Croatia, Belarus and Latvia.
Music industry technological trends under the microscope...
‘World-first’ stage with 360° sound lands in Thailand
Polygon, a UK-based startup that claims to have invented “the world’s first fully immersive 3D 360° sound stage,” officially launched Polygon Live at Wonderfruit festival in Thailand in December. Designed around an LAcoustics processor, the Polygon Live arena “changes the status quo” by giving performers – who are first invited to Polygon’s London office to ‘pre-spatialise’ their music – “the ability to perfectly spatialise sounds within, but also to physically move sounds around, a space,” putting the fan at the centre of an immersive surround-sound experience. Dr Christian Heil, CEO and founder of L-Acoustics, says: “Sound is by definition a spatialised medium. It’s how the human species naturally experiences sound: detailed, multidimensional and localised. Today at concerts we should instead be asking, ‘Why is the sound not spatialised?’ Until recently, the answer to this question was because we didn’t have a us-
er-friendly and cost-effective ecosystem to reproduce natural 3D sound.” At Wonderfruit, which took place from 12 to 16 December at Siam Country Club in Pattaya, Polygon Live took the form of a bamboo stage designed by lighting designer/architect Visual Systems, also featuring scent dispersion, pyrotechnics and tubed LED lighting. “EDM,” Heil adds, “is a thrilling application for LISA [Immersive Sound Art] because the genre does not tie the physical localisation of sound to a known and recognisable instrument such as a violin or a drum kit. This opens up tremendous freedom to have sound travel, shape-shift and ricochet, independently of where the sound is made. “L-ISA becomes a kind of instrument, enveloping fans in entirely new sensations and perceptions. It’s exciting and Polygon is at the forefront of a sonic and creative revolution that is only just beginning to unfold.”
5G enables superfast concert streams High-speed mobile Internet allowed fans across the UK to live-stream a surprise Bastille concert in augmented reality recently. The band, currently on tour in the UK and Ireland, performed at Birmingham New Street railway station on 28 November. Whilst fans at Liverpool Lime Street and Edinburgh’s Shore Street stations also viewed the show, using Samsung 5G devices and Nreal’s mixed-reality glasses for a full AR experience. The show forms part of a new EE advert, due to be aired from January 2020. EE was the first provider to make its 5G network available to UK customers in May last year, followed by Vodafone in June, Three in
August, and, most recently, O2 in October. In its annual Entertainment and Media Outlook report, PricewaterhouseCoopers pegged the widespread availability of 5G as a “trend to keep an eye on.” Access to 5G, said a technology expert at the consulting firm, is likely to increase the use of concert live streams and virtual reality concerts, as well as prompting “better use of AI.” Speaking in IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2019, Gil Murphy, head of event technology at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe, stated that 5G connectivity is “the next technological leap” for arenas, noting that, “great connectivity […] is one of the basic components of the live experience.”
YouTube enhances ticketing collaborations Music fans in the UK and Republic of Ireland can now discover concert tickets on YouTube as a result of new partnerships with Ticketmaster, See Tickets and Eventbrite. Since November, those watching videos on official artist channels have been able to see ticket listings for live music performances throughout the UK and Ire-
land. By clicking the ‘Tickets’ button, fans can now purchase tickets directly from one of YouTube’s ticketing partners. YouTube’s ticketing integration first launched with Ticketmaster in the US in 2017, later expanding with Eventbrite in 2018, and was subsequently rolled out across Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
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IQ Magazine January 2020
Escalating prices, lower attendances and falling capacities wouldn’t appear to be factors of a healthy marketplace, but those are some of the takeaways from this year’s survey of European festivals… “Cautious” would be a suitable description of Europe’s collective festival community when it comes to reviewing the 2019 season, with the optimism of many promoting teams perhaps belying the reality of a marketplace that faced – and is continuing to face – challenges on multiple fronts. Addressing delegates at the International Festival Forum during his keynote interview in September, veteran promoter Herman Schueremans suggested that some of his festival colleagues and peers were maybe being economical with the truth when it comes to the health of the business, ticket sales and event profitability. Expanding upon those remarks, Schueremans tells IQ, “People very reluctantly might admit that they are suffering, but I think it’s maybe time that they start to face reality. I liken it to a parent who will do anything for their children – give them the food out of their mouth – and that’s also how people can be with their festivals. “In the end, though, things like this happen every decade: more festivals are launched and the competition becomes really fierce before natural selection kills off some of the events and the business goes into a new cycle. In recent times, there have been a lot of people who do not have our festival DNA launching events because they see this as the new Eldorado. But the bottom line is that festivals are about tradition. Maybe it’s about brands in the USA, but in Europe it’s more about cultural heritage, and in the end it’s those events with history and heritage that invest in safety and the service they give to the audience, that will survive.” It’s a point of view that finds some sympathy with others. Indeed, while more than 100 festivals took part in the survey that forms the basis of this report, that number was down on our 2018 questionnaire (130 festivals), while a number of respondents simply declined to answer certain survey questions, perhaps masking some of the problems that Schueremans highlights.
Market Description While one event described the current festival market as “fantastic,” more than half of those who took part in our 2019 survey described the business overall as “healthy.” But not every festival enjoyed such a positive year, with 16% describing the marketplace as “static” and 15% revealing that their 2019 results were “worrying.” Interestingly, nearly 13% of this year’s surveyed event organisers opted for the “other” category to describe the current state of the market. Expanding upon that, they also used terms such as “overhyped,” “something between healthy and worrying,” and “unprofitable.” While one suggested that, “our very existence means it’s OK.” While one promoter observed that major corporate takeovers of events throughout Europe made crystal-ball gazing somewhat futile, FKP Scorpio’s Jasper Barendregt comments, “A lot is happening in the market. One is under the impression that the market is saturated, but then suddenly a new festival arises out of the blue and attracts a significant amount of guests. There is a great need for existing festivals to stay in sync with their audience and the demands that they have. Failing to do so is a risk and can result in declining spectator numbers.”
Average ticket price 2019: €203.61 2018: €196.46
IQ Magazine January 2020
from 2016 to 2017 0-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21-40% 41%+
Increase Static Decrease Free
Price of a full weekend or full festival pass in 2018 Free 1-49 Euros 50-99 Euros 100-149 Euros 150-199 Euros 200+ Euros
Price of a full weekend or full festival pass in 2019 Free 1-49 Euros 50-99 Euros 100-149 Euros 150-199 Euros 200+ Euros
1.9% 2.2% 1.8% 49.4%
C Ticketing by sales outlet Online (via festival website) Online (via third-party ticketers) Call Centre Box Office Walk-Up Group/Corporate sales Other
5% 8% 47%
D Percentage of audience from abroad
0-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21-40% 41%+
31% Percentage of audience taking up VIP or camping festivals upgrade/package
Following18% last year’s trend, where participating reported a slight fall in average capacity (by 2.7%), this year’s respondents also reported a dip, but by a more modest 0.6%, from 38,506 in 2018 to 38,275 this year. Although theN/A past 1-5% couple of years have seen minor falls in capacity, the results 6-10% 11-20% hint at more caution being shown by organisers. As graph L on page 34 shows, while promoters 21%+ grew average capacity from 2011 to 2013, there followed a threeyear fall in average caps 38% before optimism returned in 2016. And despite the majority of events describing the marketplace as healthy, the recent downward revisions on capacity could signal another tightening of the belts, backing up anecdotal evidence that, while boutique festivals 15% are enjoying a surge in 48% popularity, the bigger gatherings are experiencing declining visitor numbers and are adjusting their overall capacities 25% accordingly.
Time period when festival sold-out
“People very reluctantly might admit that they 1 month before are suffering, but I think it’s maybe time <1-2 that months before 3-4 months before they start to face reality.” 5+ months before Did not sell out
Herman Schueremans, Rock Werchter
9% of capacity seems Measuring attendance as a3% percentage to justify that cautious approach, with those who filled in our survey reporting average sales yields of 87.4% for 2019, compared to 89.2% at the same events in 2018 – a 1.8% decline year on year. 13% However, looking at our festival reports individually over the past decade, this year’s yield is significantly better than the 74.5% attendance figures that 2018’s respondents reported. Indeed, analysing the Attendance Based on Capacity chart 11% (see page 34, graph K), there may well be positive signs ahead for the 2020 season. Since 2011, falls in attendance yield have been Ticketing recordedstructure in back-to-back years, while the recovery was a threeDaily and full event year growth spurt from 2013 to 2016. That might indicate Weekend/whole event only another year of growth ahead, however, given theticket steep improvement between the 2018 and 2019 reports, itSingle-day might only well be that the bounce back this time has been more rapid, 76% as organisers have cut their capacities more realistically to cope with falling visitor numbers. And certainly, another cut in average capacities in 2020 could nudge the audience yield results closer to 2016’s record 90% figure, without actually meaning more people attend festivals in 2020. In terms of sold-out events, the split for those taking part in this year’s report was almost down the middle, with 49.4% of festivals reporting they had sold all of their 2019 tickets, versus 50.6% who had tickets left over. Of those who responded to the survey, an identical 49.4% said their events had also sold out in 2018. Of those that did sell out, only six events said that they had done so more than one month in advance, while just one reported selling out nine months in advance of the 2019 edition. The vast majority of sold-out events indicated
About 80% of the exhibits on show in ‘David Bowie is’ were the property of Bowie himself
IQ Magazine January 2020 9% 31%
Festival Capacity & Attendance 4%
Percentage of audience taking up VIP or camping
Price increase from 2016 to 2017
Percentage of audience from abroad
0-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21-40% 41%+
Increase Static Decrease Free
that the last ticket was purchased within the final ten days, indicating that many fans waited until the 11th hour. 3% reviewing our historical data on festival sell-outs Again, 6% (see graph M on page 34), every year in which there has been an improvement in the 16% percentage Price of aof fullevents selling out has been immediately followedweekend by a decline or full in those numbers, festival pass in 2018 apart from 2013/2014 where the market remained static. If 2020 remains true to that pattern, then perhaps the best that Free promoters can hope for is matching this year’s 49.4% of sold1-49 Euros 50-99 Euros out festivals. 100-149number Euros On the down side, a significant of participating 150-199 Euros festivals admitted to suffering200+ declines in ticket sales, with Euros many candidly sharing their thoughts about why this had 23% a hangover after an event’s landmark happened, ranging from birthday, the lack of or cancellation of major acts (with hiphop acts in particular causing frustrations), and the weather. In terms of foreign visitors, 73% of festivals reported that 10% or 3% fewer of their audience came from abroad, while at 3% the other end of the spectrum, 13% had an audience made up of 21% or more fans18% from abroad. For more details see graph D on page 29. Price of a full weekendoformany full Surprisingly, given the efforts events to attract in 2019 fans from other countries,festival chart pass F on page 31 suggests there has been a steady decline in the average percentage of Free overseas fans attending European festivals. The average of 1-49 Euros nearly 15% in 2012 dipping to thisEuros year’s average of 12%, 50-99 100-149 Euros save for a spike in 2016 (17.6%), which, taken with our other 150-199 Euros multiple-year charts, appears 200+ to have been Europe’s best Euros 22% season of the past decade.
1.9% 2.2% 1.8% 49.4%
Ticketing by sales outlet Online (via festival website) Online (via third-party ticketers) Call Centre Box Office Walk-Up Group/Corporate sales Other
31% Percentage of audience taking up VIP or camping upgrade/package
N/A 1-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21%+
Ticketing & Pricing 15%
The all-important matter of ticket prices inevitably saw 25% fans reach a little deeper into their pockets than before, but Time period with a more modest price hike than in years gone by. when Across sold-out participating festivals, the average ticket festival price during 2019 was €203.61, a 3.5% rise on the €196.46 that <the same events 1 month before charged, on average, in 2018. Significantly, 2019 before marks 1-2 months 3-4 months before the first year that the average price for tickets at European 5+ months before festivals has breached the €200 mark. Did not sell out In our 2018 report, participating events revealed that ticket prices had risen by 8.5% over 2017 prices, while in previous years the average price had followed similar patterns. Graph 9% 3% tracks the average price of a festival G on the opposite page ticket over the past decade, starting with €114.25 in 2010, breaking through the €150 mark in 2016, and now, just three years later, 13% topping out at €203.61. That’s a 78% price increase over the past decade for tickets to European festivals. In terms of the types of tickets on offer, organisers still favour weekend or whole-event tickets, which came out on top with 47.9% of overall tickets on-sale. But a significant number of events 11% (40.3%) rely on the sale of single-day tickets, while only 11.8% reported offering the option to buy day tickets or whole-event passes. Related to that data, the number of Ticketing participating events structure that ran over three days or more was 82.3%, while the number Daily and full event of one-day festivals was a mere 2.5% of our survey respondents.
Weekend/whole event ticket only Single-day only
Asked about personnel at their festival sites over the summer months, 60 event organisers divulged their numbers to IQ, revealing total numbers of 55,679 volunteers and 64,773 professional staff, meaning that those events relied on volunteers for 46.2% of their manpower. Schueremans observes, “There is definitely an evolution toward working with more professionals – and that is probably the way the business should be going. However, at the likes of Rock Werchter, the volunteers do not actually work for us; they work for local clubs and associations. But they help the festival area be more alive and kicking, and it is hard to imagine our events operating without their participation.” Shambala in the UK has built an international reputation for its no-nonsense approach to reducing waste and emissions
IQ Magazine January 2020
Percentage of audience
20 18 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 2012
Average ticket price (Euros)
220 200 Euros
180 160 140 120 100
Percentage of sales by ticketing outlet
100 90 80 70 Percent
60 50 40 30 20 10 0
“We’ve developed a giant metal-magnetising clean-up-truck in order to sweep our campsites after clean up has finished.” Jasper Barendregt, FKP Scorpio
IQ Magazine January 2020
Of course, climate change is an issue that is being discussed across society, and with festival organisers arguably doing more than most to reduce their carbon footprints and educate visitors about sustainability, this year we encouraged events to share ideas on how to improve their green credentials. And we were not disappointed, with dozens of events speaking enthusiastically about their environmental efforts. Das Fest in Germany introduced its onsite Climate Academy, “where visitors could find out for themselves how they can contribute to the preservation of the environment with the right sustainable behaviour.” On a practical note, organisers also equipped the entire area in front of the main stage with ecological toilets – a move well received by visitors. Provinssi is one of the first Finnish festivals to enrol in environmental programme Ekokompassi, which sets certain standards and measurements for participants. As a result, the festival has not sent any garbage to landfill for years, with 100% of its waste being recycled by environmental partners. Across the continent, a number of events banned singleuse plastics, proving that there is no justification for festivals to condone the use of such material. Sea Dance Festival in Montenegro and EXIT Foundation implemented the Rock & Recycle campaign, which aims to keep the festival site clean whilst educating festivalgoers. EXIT Festival in Serbia also had fans sign up for a tree planting scheme, and managed to recycle 100% of the plastic used at the event. In France, Main Square Festival undertook a range of green initiatives, as well as using its cashless payment system and ticketing to help raise funds for environmental NGOs, while in Germany, FKP Scorpio brought in industrial machinery to assist its efforts at its many events. “We’ve developed a giant metal-magnetising clean-up-truck in order to sweep our campsites after clean up has finished,” FKP’s Barendregt tells IQ. “The magnet was able to pick up a large amount of metal pieces, which would have been missed by human cleaners. The prototype was used at several festivals, [but in] 2020 we will enlarge the magnetic FOP to a width of 6.5metres, which will enable us to increase the amount of cleaned square meters per day to three times the amount.” When it comes to food, many event organisers are also putting pressure on concessionaires to consider their carbon footprint too, with the likes of Open’er Festival in Poland reporting that 80% of food trucks now offer vegetarian dishes, while Amsterdam Open Air boasts a 100% vegetarian food court, and the festival’s Eveline Grimberg reporting that bands have been banned from using confetti or balloons. A number of Festival Republic events introduced meatfree Mondays in crew catering, and the company’s chief, Melvin Benn, oversaw a range of new measures to tackle sustainability, supplementing previous concepts such as bottle deposit return schemes (2018). Hot on the Festival Republic green agenda were reusable water bottles; recycled (rPET) water bottles; canned soft drinks to eliminate single-use plastic; demanding that all crewmembers use reusable water bottles; the Zero Waste Festival Goer campaign; WaterAid Good Loos; and Benn even made sure that Extinction Rebellion had a presence at his events.
EXIT Festival in Serbia has implemented an educational sustainability campaign called Rock & Recycle
8% 47% Environmental activist Chris Johnson, who runs Shambala Festival in the UK, took his F&B policy one stage further. Percentage of audience “We banned dairy milk in onsite hot drinks,” he says. “We 14% from abroad partnered with [Swedish company] Carbonate to provide concessions, with a tool to measure the 0-5% carbon impact of 6-10% food.” Other Shambala edicts required carnival costumes 11-20% to be made only with recycled materials, while compulsory 21-40% carbon offsetting donations were added to all vehicle passes. 41%+ And also choosing its partners carefully was Finland’s Ruisrock. “We started a big co-operation with UNICEF to 26% highlight the importance of clean water,” a spokesperson reveals. “To demonstrate this we installed the same kind of water outlets on the festival site that are used in crisis areas where hygiene and water are a huge problem.” “Sustainability 4% is now the primary concern of the British voting public,” says Johnson. “2,500 live music sector 9% 31% organisations have joined Music Declares Emergency, and it’s rising in importance for audiences.Percentage There is of lethally a audience taking up is climate emergency – analysing economic data/attitudes camping going to seem like a waste of time if VIP theorworld collapses 18% upgrade/package around us.”
N/A 1-5% 6-10% 11-20% 21%+
The speed in which new technology is being developed and introduced inevitably tempts festival organisers to trial new products 38% and systems, and this year has been no different, with more than half of those surveyed stating that their events had incorporated new wizardry. Electric Picnic in Ireland, for instance, introduced an 15% interactive map via the festival’s app, allowing attendees to 48% see their location in real time. A slew of FKP Scorpio’s events brought in cashless 25% payment systems on all bars, while many other events, period when such as Download in the UK, brought Time in cashless and RFID festival sold-out equipment. Meanwhile, Starlite Festival in southern Spain, said it has developed “wearable payment < 1 bracelets” month beforewhile 1-2 months beforeas a fans are offered dynamic pricing on tickets, as well 3-4 months before financing option for people wishing to pay in instalments. 5+ months before Another big cashless investment was made Did not sell outby the organisers of Deichbrand Festival, where 120 point-of-sale units were installed to handle cashless payment transactions. At the cutting3%edge of9%things, Wireless Festival worked with Melody VR to deliver visitors a virtual reality experience
J Ticketing structure Daily and full event Weekend/whole event ticket only Single-day only
of the festival using their phones. At Sónar in Spain, Paul Geddis says that geolocated app push notifications were used, while Concert at Sea in the Netherlands employed similar technology to give away prizes. Also pushing the boundaries on the technology front were Paléo Festival Nyon, which set up giant interactive screens that the audience could send pictures to via an app, while the trendsetters at Shambala in the UK used a blockchain-based festival app called BOMA. And not to be outdone, 2019 saw the Tuska Festival in Finland establish a merchandise pre-order and pick-up point using their mobile app, while at Lowlands in the Netherlands, Eric van Eerdenburg and his team “did an experiment with mobile pay/pre order.”
VIP For a number of years now, the practice of offering fans VIP experiences and glamping packages has been growing as promoters sought to improve facilities and boost revenues. This year, 59% of our surveyed festivals said that they had offered fans VIP upgrades. Of the events that introduced new VIP offers during 2019, Rock in Roma offered an impressive array of bolt-ons, namely “a VIP pack including tickets, pre-show, check-in, fast-track, parking, food & beverage, and after-show access.” Starlite in Spain embraced the VIP concept with premium seats, VIP boxes, access areas, tables at its 7% to exclusive 5% upmarket Starlite Restaurant, a valet parking service, and a limited number of meet-and-greet artist packages. 14% In the Netherlands, Concert at Sea provided VIP guests with a new option that featured a separate deck area with Current state of great views for up to 350 people, as well as separate bar the andEuropean festival market toilet facilities. Whilst Lowlands stepped up51% its high-end accommodation options with the possibility to upgrade toFantastic its Glamcamp and camper/caravan areas, as well as allowingHealthy Static group camping reservations. In Portugal, at EDP Vilar de Mouros, organisers introducedWorrying Other VIP breakfast 23% offers, bike tours and camping upgrades, while at Mad Cool in Spain and Henley Festival in the UK, special boxes and lounges were created for event sponsors and branding partners.
IQ Magazine January 2020
IQ Magazine January 2020
Rock in Roma offered visitors VIP options that included pre-show, check-in, fast-track, parking, food & beverage and after-show access.
Average attendance as a percentage of capacity
90 85 80 75 70 65 60
L 50 48 46 42 40 38 36 34 32 30
Average capacity of responding festivals
Percentage of festivals claiming a sell-out
55 50 45 40 35 30
Such ingenuity is proving popular with those fans – and brands – who want or demand a more indulgent festival experience, with chart E on page 30 detailing the breakdown of VIP purchases across our festival respondents. However, at least one event has had enough of the “them versus us” concept that VIP can create: Festival Week-end au bord de l’eau in France has pledged to withdraw its VIP packages in 2020.
Improvements A majority of survey respondents said they had introduced changes to their events in 2019, with improvements including everything from additional performance spaces to science labs across greenfield sites. As part of an on-going drive to develop mental health awareness, EXIT in Serbia provided a team of psychologists and experienced volunteers to give psychological aid and support to attendees.
Welfare was also a priority at Download in the UK where a mindfulness programme allowed festivalgoers to channel their Zen and immerse themselves in hour-long classes. Further east at Lollapalooza Berlin, emphasis was given to personnel working onsite. Festival director Fruzsina Szép discloses, “We introduced a quiet room for the staff, so that if they need some rest or if they have some mental health problems, then they can talk to an expert.” In the Netherlands, Concert at Sea introduced genderneutral toilets and reported, “It works perfectly, it removed problems instantly and our positive score on toilettes [sic] increased 100%.” As for planned improvements for the year ahead, some promoters, perhaps concerned about competition from other festivals, chose to stay tight-lipped about schemes for 2020. Others were more vocal. “Next year, EXIT Festival is launching its biggest environmental project to date, LIFE STREAM […] with one paramount goal: to preserve life on the planet. The planet will be fine, we won’t,” organisers tell IQ. “With the help of all partners and friends of EXIT Festival, we will call [upon] the world leaders and people everywhere to take immediate action, while also helping relevant organisations raise donations and make a difference.” Lowlands is also embarking on a sustainability programme. “If all licences come through, we will start building a huge, 50-hectare, solar-power plant on the carports of our parking areas,” reveals Mojo promoter Eric van Eerdenburg.
Brand/Sponsor Applications Another new category introduced to our 2019 survey dealt with the ever-growing importance of sponsor integrations. As artist fees and production costs continue to increase, year-onyear, the funding boost provided by brands and sponsors is taking on more significance for many festivals.
IQ Magazine January 2020
However, the ways in which those brands interact with festival visitors is now becoming an interesting challenge, with promoters acknowledging that fans desire meaningful value-added experiences, rather than the hard-sell brand placements of the past. Nevertheless, lots of participants in our survey reported that they had found fantastic creative partners to work with on this year’s editions. FKP Scorpio worked with Aldi Süd to set up a supermarket onsite at Southside, while Hurricane’s partner Otto constructed a two-storey penthouse where competition winners lived a life of luxury just 50 metres from the main stage. And on a more basic level, stationery provider Lamy encouraged fans to write postcards to the talent at A Summer’s Tale, with the messages delivered to the artists prior to their performances. Concert at Sea partners Heineken 0.0% constructed a Silent DJ Beach Hotel to accommodate up to 700 people who could sample the alcohol-free beer while enjoying a silent disco. And everyone’s favourite Swedish flat-pack purveyors, IKEA, caused a stir onsite at Das Fest, serving up “family breakfasts in bed” to raffle winners. Top prize, however, should probably go to the organisers of Tuska who turned the entire site around to integrate with the REDI shopping mall, meaning that 100% of its guests came in through the mall, which is home to a metro station, thus reducing the event’s carbon footprint, but also allowing various festival elements such as wristband exchange and information desks to be set up on the event’s doorstep.
Economic Impact Assessment
In an effort to provide better information for the industry, this year’s survey included a number of new questions to help identify trends or provide event management with pointers on how they might be able to plan better for the years ahead. One such tried-and-tested exercise is to conduct economic impact assessments, but of the 54 participants that addressed the question, only 19 reported they had studied the revenues that their festivals generated for local economies. However, with those events able to show local authorities and licensing authorities that they are generating vast sums of money for their local economies – ranging from £700,000 (€829,445) via the 15,000-capacity Shambala to €64.6million at Mad Cool in Madrid – then surely such studies, often carried out in conjunction with local universities, should be universally encouraged at every single festival.
Unsurprisingly, when asked about the biggest issues affecting business in 2019, the thorny subject of artist fees once again was the most pressing, as it has been every year since IQ launched the European Festival Report in 2008. Chart N on page 36 highlights other areas of concern and suggests that competition from other festivals has become a major dilemma, perhaps linked with escalating artist fees and a perceived lack of headliners.
Indeed, looking ahead, festival organisers tell IQ that the factors that they worry about most for the coming years (see the purple bars on chart N) remain artist fees, competition from other festivals, and a lack of headliners. Barendregt concludes, “Our audience expects more from promoters than ever before. At first, there is the demand of being honest about our festivals’ philosophy, our ecology, sustainability and social awareness. We have experienced a shift in behaviour: significantly more tickets sold for green camping [areas]; more people using public transport to travel to the festival than ever; and we’ve experienced great acceptance of [environmental efforts] like our reduce plastic campaign this summer.
“If all licences come through, we will start building a huge, 50-hectare, solar-power plant on the carports of our parking areas.” Eric van Eerdenburg, Lowlands Festival “On the other hand, our audience demands much more comfort than ever before – supplying Internet is a must, and fallout will not be tolerated! Basically, [they want] all the comforts of home at the festival site as well. Obviously, this doesn’t count for all audiences and festivals, but it is definitely a trend that needs follow up from our part and will significantly influence the festival business in the future.”
The single most important factor affecting the festival industry 80
Number of Festivals
70 60 50 40 30 20 10
on cl om im ic at e
Ex c ot lus he ivi r f ty es fro tiv m al Le s gi sl at lic ion en an si d ng Sa fe se ty a cu nd De rit c y bu reas dg in et g b /in ra Ch te nd re an st gi ng au fa die n ta nce st / es
ck la A
s ee tf tis Ar
o he f su ad ita lin ble er s Pr od uc co tion st s W ea th Co er m p ot eti he tio rf n es fro tiv m Co al s ot mp he et r a itio rti n st fro to m ur s Ti ck et pr ic es
Concerns for Next Five Years
PARTICIPATING FESTIVALS A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise (NL), A Summer´s Tale (DE), Amsterdam Open Air (NL), ArcTanGent (UK), Bad Bonn Kilbi (CH), Baloise Session (CH), Best Kept Secret (NL), Cactusfestival (BE), Colours of Ostrava (CZ), Community Festival (UK), Concert at SEA (NL), Das Fest Karlsruhe (DE), Dcode (ES), Deer Shed (UK), Deichbrand Festival at the Northsea (DE), Download (UK), Download Festival Madrid (ES), EDP Vilar de Mouros (PT), Ejekt (GR), Electric Picnic (IE), EXIT (RS), Festival The Brave (NL), Festival Week-end au bord de l’eau (FR), G! Festival (FO), Garorock (FR), Godiva Festival (UK), Granatos Live (LT), Hellfest (FR), Henley Festival (UK), Highfield (DE), Home Festival (IT), Hurricane (DE), Indiependence (IE), Jazzopen Stuttgart (DE), Jelling Musikfestival (DK), Kendal Calling (UK), Latitude (UK), Leeds Festival (UK), Levitation (FR), Lollapalooza Berlin (DE), Lollapalooza Paris (FR), M’era Luna (DE), Mad Cool (ES), Main Square (FR), Metal Hammer Paradise (DE), Montreux Jazz Festival (CH), Nature One (DE), Noorderzon Performing Arts Festival Groningen (NL), North Sea Jazz (NL), NorthSide (DK), ONBlackheath (UK), Open’er Festival (PL), OpenAir St.Gallen (CH), Orange Blossom Special (DE), Ostrava v plamenech (CZ), Øyafestivalen (NO), Paléo Festival Nyon (CH), Paradise City Festival (BE), Pete the Monkey (UK), Pinkpop (NL), Plage Noire (DE), Pohoda (SK), Portsmouth Festivities (UK), Provinssi (FI), Punk Rock Holiday (SI), Reading Festival (UK), Revolution (RO), Riverboat Jazz (DK), Rock for People (CZ), Rock in Roma (IT), Rockmaraton (HU), Rolling Stone Beach (DE), Rolling Stone Park (DE), Roskilde Festival (DK), Ruisrock (FI), Sea Dance (ME), Seaside Festival (CH), Shambala (UK), Sideways (FI), Smash Fest (SE), Smukfest (DK), Sónar (ES), Southside (DE), Starlite (ES), SummerDays (CH), Sunwaves (RO), Sweden Rock (SE), Szene Openair (AT), Sziget (HU), Taksirat (MK), The Downs Bristol (UK), Tuska (FI), Vestrock (NL), Vida (ES), Visor (ES), Weekend Festival (FI), WeitjeRock (NL), Wireless (UK), Zelt-Musik-Festival (DE).
IQ Magazine January 2020
20 20 20 10
TIMES THEY ARE A
CHANGINâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; As we enter a new decade, IQ hosted a virtual panel session with seven leaders from the global live music business in order to reflect upon the development of the industry over the past ten years, as well as looking forward to what we can expect in the 2020s. Panellists: Emma Banks, CAA; Michael Gudinski, Frontier Touring; Tim Leiweke, Oak View Group; Jay Marciano, AEG; Phil Rodriguez, Move Concerts; Marsha Vlasic, Artist Group International; Neil Warnock, UTA. Moderator: Gordon Masson, IQ Magazine
20 20 20 10 Masson: Consolidation has been a constant theme of this decade. Looking ahead, how do you see the balance between the industry’s key corporations and the remaining independent players? Banks: I understand why people are selling to the corporations. But the market does adjust itself and you’ll always have artists who don’t want to work for ‘the man,’ so the indies will always play an important role in music. Rodriguez: There’s room for everyone in the food chain. Independents have to up their game and focus on whatever their particular strengths may be. As with everything in life, one size does not fit all. Vlasic: I think there will be less and less independent players. Marciano: The major companies need to provide excellent administrative functions; build out and maintain ticketing and digital marketing capabilities; and provide growth capital in an environment that allows our promoters to provide artists and audiences with the excellent personalised and creative service that independents are known for. Warnock: Consolidation in the industry is interesting. When we see labels, agencies, managers consolidate, it also throws up a number of independents. My view is that it’s great to have both. Consolidated companies give managers what they want, but some managers like to have an independent view over the lives and professional status of an artist. Leiweke: “Business” is not an ugly word. It’s people who take risks that drive the economy, create jobs and give people livelihoods. I’ve been hearing about the independents being endangered for the last 20 years, but the music business is the healthiest it has ever been in terms of tickets sold, revenues, and the priority that the live side of things is having in artists’ careers. So I think we need to take a step back and take a deep breath because despite the fear and loathing, consolidation has been good for the industry. I can understand that fear, but I have to give credit to Live Nation and Michael Rapino – he’s the most important person in the music industry. Gudinski: Consolidation is inevitable and there is more coming in the agency world and some more in management, I predict. I’ve represented AEG for 15 years plus and we cemented that relationship recently when AEG took a stake in Frontier, but we are still independent. There needs to be an alternative to Live Nation to allow creativity to continue in artist careers, so although I agree that a lot of indies have been squeezed out, the indies are the heart of our creative business, so we need them and there will always be room for more.
The growth of the live business has been impressive in the last decade, and the current level of investment by financial institutions seems to indicate that they think that growth will continue. Where do you see those growth opportunities? Gudinski: The problem with investment companies is that you inevitably lose some control. But the music business has changed enormously since I started out and our fan-base now ranges from age two up to 80-plus, so I’m not surprised that the moneymen want a part of it. Leiweke: Looking back over the past ten years, the largest accommodation operation, Airbnb, did not exist, Uber did not exist, streaming did not exist, and I think that technology is going to have even more of an impact in the next ten years than it has over the past decade.
IQ Magazine January 2020
We’re at a unique point in North America, Europe and Asia, where our economies are still extremely healthy and I don’t think that they are in danger for some time to come. Getting money as an entrepreneur is as inexpensive as it’s ever been and the ability to find investment or debt is having an impact. So in the next decade, we’ll see more investment in festival sites, arenas, theatres and clubs – it’s a brilliant time to be an entrepreneur in the music business and that bodes well for us all. Rodriguez: International expansion and consolidation on all fronts – promotion, venues and ticketing. To continue the growth curve, the emerging international markets hold the most potential for growth. Banks: Asia is now a very viable touring destination. China is changing all the time: it’s still not an easy market but the audiences are becoming more used to western music and they are getting more demonstrative, to the extent that they are allowed to stand up in front of their chairs in certain Chinese markets. If you can embrace the culture and pay the attention that you need to on social media, then China is a really strong market and the opportunities can be a real positive for certain acts.
What, in your opinion, are the most significant developments (positive and/or negative) in the live music industry over the past ten years? Rodriguez: Data. The amount of data that is now available, and will certainly grow in the future, is fantastic. Long gone are the days of calling the local record store to check on sales! Marciano: 1) Unlocking what was, for four decades, a static box-office gross. Dynamic price points that allow artists to fully capture the true gross at all levels. 2) Digital marketing, data capture, and mobile ticketing. We are on the precipice
20 20 20 10 of a truly personalised marketing and ticketing experience that will benefit the concertgoer while creating new revenue opportunities and increasing consumption. 3) Streaming. This has already helped create more new artists than any other time in the history of pop music. Streaming has helped artists create global fan-bases in ways we never dreamed of just ten years ago. Banks: It’s hard to remember a decade ago, but we’ve obviously seen a massive rise in Internet ticketing and how easy it is to purchase tickets. The downside of that is it also made secondary ticketing easier, so there have been pros and cons, although in the last couple of years we’ve seen decent movement to control the wholesale buying of attractive tickets.
Topics such as inclusion, diversity and mental health are commonly discussed these days. How is the live business shaping up compared to other sectors? Warnock: The fact that these topics are out in the open and are being discussed is fantastic, and we are now seeing that the industry is working hard to continue to drive awareness to these areas. UTA is a company that believes that diversity and inclusion are fundamental to our success as a business. This year, we launched our employee-led, company-funded Employee Inclusion Groups (UTA Proud, Unity, Wellness and Women’s Interest). Two of our last three board appointments, Blair Kohan and Tracey Jacobs, have been women, and we are the first major talent agency ever to name a woman, Lyndsay Harding, as our CFO. Vlasic: These are topics that cannot be buried or ignored anymore. It is completely out in the open and, hopefully, that will continue to help people with problems feel safe to come out with it. There are many avenues and places in the music industry that people can seek help. Banks: Awareness of gender balance on bills is an incredibly difficult topic to deal with – each event has its own unique character, you cannot just say it should have X number of male acts and Y number of female acts. Sometimes acts that sell lots of tickets are not suitable to play certain festivals, so I think we need to be careful about pointing the finger at event organisers and bookers.
Looking ahead, what do you perceive will be the biggest challenges for the live music sector in the 2020s? Warnock: The touring outlook for artists is looking good. The challenges are to ensure artists give value for money to customers, and to ensure that the fan experience is outstanding so that a customer will want to come back and see that artist for another show. Rodriguez: There are so many fronts – ticketing, international expansion, worldwide stability, both politically and economically – but the most important challenge is to keep music important and relevant for the next generations. Everything else springs from that. Leiweke: We need to acknowledge that many of the places where we conduct our business are going through political change and are becoming more isolationist. We’re caught up in societies that are talking about walls and borders and islands and separation, and that will undoubtedly have an impact on touring.
Banks: In the live music sphere, our biggest challenge is working out how to deal with environmental issues. Touring is climate unfriendly, so we need to think long and hard about how we make that better. Technology keeps changing, so you now have LED lights saving power and costs, compared to halogen lights, which is a step forward, while I know that there are clever people working on solutions for things like electric trucks. But I think people should be looking at how much production they are taking out on the road with them, and we have to educate fans and the media not to be derogatory about productions with less bells and whistles than they’d like. We all have to take a step back. Ultimately, are you there to see a theatrical event or are you there to hear good music? Bring back the star cloth – it’s the answer to everything. Gudinski: Ticket prices are a huge challenge. Ensuring that the punter comes first, and improving things like catering to take care of them, is a challenge we have to prioritise. People want unique experiences, so our job is about presenting shows properly, ensuring high standards of safety, and developing artists’ careers. The Australian dollar is a disaster but we can compensate for that with higher and higher ticket prices.
This decade is ending with a long list of new buildings slated for development internationally. What does the venue of the next decade look like? Leiweke: It’s definitely going to be different, and there will be a couple of things that will impact on design and operations. Technology delivering us grab-and-go facilities will change the customer experience across parking, seating, ticketing, F&B, and everything else. The 5G wave will create opportunities, and we will be driven to make the experience more bespoke – on command and on demand. Ultimately, customers will be able to grab food or merch without scanning, and those kinds of capabilities will have a big impact on venue design. Marciano: Form follows function. From the artist’s perspective: robust production capabilities, and flexible, artist-friendly features. From the fan’s perspective: emphasis on a warm environment that has great audio fidelity; superior service; multiple food and drink options; features for every price point. Leiweke: The O2 has proven that you can build venues and create a model based on music, so there will be less of the oldschool design and build around the likes of resident hockey or basketball teams. Designing arenas first and foremost with live music in mind will spread throughout Europe, in particular. Arenas will be less about suites and boxes, in favour of a
IQ Magazine January 2020
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“ Ultimately, are you there to see a theatrical event or are you there to hear good music?” Emma Banks, CAA more social VIP experience with premium seating in the arena bowl at the frontend, backed by Vegas-style nightclub and social spaces at the back, creating high-end spaces that can deliver customers a unique night’s entertainment.
One of the biggest success stories over the past ten years has been the growth of the global festival market. Can this growth be sustained? Rodriguez: Some will remain, others will fade away… and the great ones will evolve with the times. Banks: The rise of festivals has been incredible. The really big ones may be struggling, but the slightly smaller events are doing better and I’d argue that most of them are setup by indies, and that is really exciting because they often have fantastic ideas about moderation. If a festival has a six-man team, then the expectation of profit will probably be lower than something that is part of a corporate machine. Gudinski: Festivals go through cycles, and every market is different. England is the trend-setting music capital: when there was the rage on dance, that started in England and came to Australia before it got too big and screwed up. In Australia, there is a lot of controversy about multiday festivals and government rules, so a lot of the promoters here have instead concentrated on destination events and one-day festivals to keep away from that government scrutiny. For instance, we organise events at Hanging Rock. We don’t have the stately homes and amazing parks that exist in the UK, but we still have some stunning locations. It’s great to be involved in festivals and it’s an easy way for agents to put an act on in front of a big audience when they are starting out. But I can see the big headline acts breaking away from playing traditional festivals. There are so many different touring markets now – South America, Eastern Europe, Asia – that the big acts are maybe thinking that they’re better off doing proper headline shows.
five years, plus my daughter going to graduate school for her Master’s degree. Leiweke: Being part of the Pandora board and watching streaming explode and evolve. The ease in which we can now access music and how much music is readily available to us, is phenomenal. Thanks to the success of The O2, Europe and the UK is about to see the largest development of venue construction in the world over the next decade, and I give enormous amounts of credit to The O2 and AEG for inspiring that. Warnock: Dolly Parton live at Glastonbury in 2014. Additionally, the tremendous steps that Nordoff Robbins has made as a charity, and on a personal note, being awarded an MBE was tremendous for myself and my family. Gudinski: Highlights? Desert Trip was phenomenal – I hope they bring that back. For me, working with Foo Fighters, Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, the Rolling Stones, and the late great Leonard Cohen was amazing – we’ve had a really good run. Rekindling my partnership with Michael Chugg is a definite highlight, while seeing my son stand up for himself in the business and bring lots of new young people into the Mushroom Group means that I can sleep easy knowing that the company is in safe hands for the future. Banks: I’ve had some bloody great days at the horseracing. A decade ago, I definitely had more disposable income because I didn’t have any horses. But every single gig is in some way a highlight – an act’s first sold-out club show, their first arena show, headlining a festival stage, and all of those special gigs that prove difficult to pull off – they are all highlights. I’ve seen Chili Peppers play at the Pyramids in Giza. That was really special. I was lucky enough to have Kanye and Florence as two of the Glastonbury headliners in the same year. And I’ve just had Katy Perry play a show in Mumbai. I’m very lucky to have a job that delivers highlights all the time.
What are your own personal highlights from the last decade? Marciano: The sheer amount of new talent. It has been exhilarating just trying to keep up! Vlasic: Staying relevant! Keeping my clients and enjoying what I do. Rodriguez: The creation and growth of Move Concerts in
IQ Magazine January 2020
With the cost of putting on a show higher than ever, so too are the financial liabilities for organisers. Combine that with unpredictable weather, ageing headliners and other risk factors, and it’s clear that cancellation insurance is a must, learns Jon Chapple
rom Kanye West to Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, Cardi B and a host of festivals, the tail end of the 2010s has seen no shortage of big-name cancellations and postponements – with illness, civil disorder and, especially, severe weather all doing their part to torpedo major live music events in recent years. All touring productions are team efforts, and when it becomes clear a show won’t go ahead, the first person
IQ Magazine January 2020
to receive a call is a stakeholder that’s otherwise largely forgotten about, jokes insurance broker Steven Howell: “When something goes wrong, we suddenly become the most influential and important people in the chain – but before that we’re just another P&L.” It is, of course, yet another spiralling cost on a tour’s balance sheet. But with artist fees and production values trending ever upwards, and inclement weather conditions
INSURANCE apparently becoming more common, insuring against a tour or show’s cancellation can be worth every penny. Howell, of Media Insurance Brokers (MIB), which has offices in London, Glasgow, Dublin and Los Angeles, says that while he doesn’t necessarily see an increase in the number of cancellations, the size of claims is rising (in tandem with rising performance fees and production costs). “Every year we have lots of claims – there’ve always been cancelled shows – but the claims we’ve had [in 2019] are bigger than before,” he explains. “You’re also getting bigger production going into festivals as they try and differentiate themselves from each other, but it’s mainly because artist fees are higher.
THERE HAVE BEEN AN AWFUL LOT OF LARGE CLAIMS, WHICH HAS HAD A BIG IMPACT ON THE INSURANCE MARKET.” Martin Goebbels, Miller Insurance
“The value of claims is getting bigger year on year. And that’s not just by 5%, 10%, even 20% – recently we’ve seen some artists who were earning hundreds or low thousands [of dollars] per show, and they’re now earning hundreds of thousands. Then at the top end, you’ve obviously got the people who earn two or three million a show.” The result is, of course, higher premiums, with experts telling IQ that premiums have increased, on average, 20-30% in the past year alone. And there are indications cancellation insurance could cost even more in the next 12 months. “This year has seen an increase in cancellations compared to previous years on both sides of the Atlantic,” says Tim Thornhill of international insurance brokerage Integro (which is set to rebrand as Tysers in 2020 after a recent acquisition). “The US has been hit by strong winds, storms and fires, and when these happen during a tour – particularly a big one – or any mass-participation events, it will have a big bearing on the level of claims that insurers are liable to pay out.”
“There have been an awful lot of large claims, which has had a big impact on the insurance market,” agrees Miller’s Martin Goebbels, speaking to IQ from London (the company also has offices in Paris, Brussels, Singapore, and Ipswich, UK). “Whether the number of claims as a percentage has increased I don’t know, but certainly on the weather side they are growing.” The impact of this cluster of large pay-outs, says Goebbels, is that premiums have increased recently, and several large insurers have pulled out of offering cancellation insurance altogether.
his, explains Integro’s Tim Rudland, is “what’s called a ‘hardening market,’ where insurers have increased their premiums due to a number of losses in the contingency market.” (Examples of ‘contingency’ insurance products include policies covering event cancellation, non-appearance, terrorism and prize indemnity.) “Some insurers have reduced the amount they are able to write, and some have stopped writing this type of business altogether,” Rudland continues, “which means that the size of the market is shrinking.” According to Howden’s Robert Barron, formerly vicepresident of accident, health, sports and contingency at US insurance brokerage giant Lockton, in 2018 loss ratios incurred by non-appearances reached the highest level since records began in 1999. “As a result of such losses, there has been a scaling back in lines, and three market exits since last summer ,” he wrote last year. “Barbican and Travelers both exited the standalone contingency business for 2017, while ProSight Specialty Insurance, which wrote contingency as part of its media and entertainment book, placed its Lloyd’s operation into orderly run-off last June.” “In the past 12 months, there have been five or six decentsized insurers that have pulled out of event-cancellation
Boardmasters Festival organisers are planning a return to the spectacular clifftop location in Cornwall in 2020 after weather caused 2019’s cancellation
IQ Magazine January 2020
I COULDN’T CONSIDER DELIVERING A UK FESTIVAL WITHOUT HAVING CONTINGENCY COVER IN PLACE.” Jon Drape, Engine No.4
insurance altogether,” adds Goebbels, who notes that there have been a number of high-profile, non-music cancellation claims in that period, too, including severe weather-hit rugby and cricket fixtures. “All those claims go into the same book of business,” he explains, “so insurers have a much wider view of the risks.” The same is true in continental Europe, says Matthias Grischke, the founder of Novitas based in Ahrensburg near Hamburg. “Some major companies, like Swiss Re, have left the market, and a number of mergers have also reduced the total number of insurers,” Grischke explains, although he notes, “we aren’t really feeling a lack of capacity yet.” This, in turn, he says, drives up prices. “The insurers have united a lot more,” Goebbels says. “They have their associations and they get together and they say we can’t sustain this – we either cut each other’s throats or we close ranks to make sure we maintain a market standard.” Other factors can also push up premiums – although, contrary to popular opinion, Goebbels says he isn’t seeing a disproportionate amount of cancellations by artists of a particular genre (urban acts are often described anecdotally as being especially cancel-happy), suggesting insurers are rather “keeping a watching brief in a lot of areas. Something like when Krept was stabbed, for example [the rapper, one half of Krept and Konan, was attacked backstage at BBC Radio 1Xtra Live in Birmingham in October], they’ll be keeping an eye on – but it hasn’t yet had any impact.” If anything, he adds, of more interest to insurers is the
Cardi B sparked controversy in 2019 when she cancelled a number of shows to allow her to heal from cosmetic surgery procedures
CONTRIBUTORS Robert Barron, Howden UK Group; Jon Drape, Engine No.4; Martin Goebbels, Miller Insurance; Steven Howell, Media Insurance Brokers; Tim Rudland, Integro Insurance Brokers; Tim Thornhill, Integro Insurance Brokers.
increasing average age of performers: “There’s a larger pool of artists who could cause an issue for insurers,” Goebbels explains. “Paul McCartney is 78, Patti Smith is 74… the implications [of artists getting older] is much, much higher premiums.”
n the customer side, the impact of recent cancellations appears to be an increased awareness of the need for insurance, suggests Rudland, “not just from organisers but suppliers in the industry, who can also lose out on revenue if an event cancels. Those further down in the supply chain are now starting to think about their potential loss in revenue, and not just the promoters of festivals and tours.” “It may also have an impact on the way in which organisers structure their contracts with their suppliers, and that might include artists,” he adds. Howell agrees that parties beyond the organisers are beginning to look more closely at cancellation insurance; for example, festival suppliers, whose income is “dependent on the festival opening and running.” “What the cancellations of Houghton, Boardmasters, Rewind North (and events like them in the UK) have done, is highlighted to everyone that even well-run, established festivals can have problems,” continues Howell. “I’ve been speaking to people who haven’t bought it [cancellation cover] before and it’s really focused people’s minds.”
SOME MAJOR COMPANIES, LIKE SWISS RE, HAVE LEFT THE MARKET, AND A NUMBER OF MERGERS HAVE ALSO REDUCED THE TOTAL NUMBER OF INSURERS.” Matthias Grischke, Novitas
IQ Magazine January 2020
ritain’s impending departure from the European Union will, as with the rest of the continent’s live business, have an impact on the entertainment insurance sector, though all UK-based brokers IQ spoke to say they’re well prepared. “Brexit is a challenge, but we’ve already arranged a solution by establishing a licensed Belgian broker, regulated by the FSMA [Financial Services and Markets Act], which also has a UK branch and is FCA approved,” says Integro’s Thornhill. “This enables us to continue to conduct European business as normal for new and existing customers. “I’m more concerned on how it will impact UK touring, and hope that all the good work done by UK Music and other trade bodies will make things as bearable as possible.” Grischke says while a no-deal Brexit would likely affect Novitas’s business negatively, Brexit could present continental brokers with opportunities to poach business from their London rivals. A key selling point for the broker is Germany’s insurance law, which Grischke says is more likely to deliver a favourable outcome for the client than if they were to sue in London. “If we talk to European clients we very often refer to our German legal situation,” he explains.
WEIGHING THE RISK
ost is a big barrier to insurance,” admits Rudland, “though there are things you can consider to bring the premium down, such as first-loss limits, deductibles, electing to only insure specified line items, etc.” “Standard cancellation insurance is purely about things like the weather or other safety issues, but it can be enhanced for things like non-appearance,” explains Howell. “If all your tickets have been sold because of the headliner then you’d absolutely want to take that up, but if it’s a multi-day festival that’s about the whole experience across the weekend, some organisers might consider going without.” Jon Drape, director of event production company Engine No.4, isn’t one of them: “I couldn’t consider delivering a UK festival without having contingency cover in place,” he explains. “In my opinion, festival organisers should have a duty to place this cover to protect themselves, suppliers and their customers. You can see where festivals have no cover in place they are so exposed financially that they will carry on with the show regardless, potentially putting customers, suppliers, staff and performers at risk.” Drape is a long-term Integro client and says of the broker: “They have a huge amount of experience in placing contingency policies, and they are also there when the worst may happen to help, support and advise through the complex situation of making a claim. I wouldn’t work with anyone else.” Novitas’s Petra Sandrieser, who says the company’s clients include the “full overview of the entertainment market” in German-speaking Europe, explains that its customers need no convincing either of the merits of cancellation insurance or Novitas as a broker. “Many of our competitors are looking only at the price,” she says. “We’re rarely – if ever – the cheapest. But we have clients from the smaller end right the way up to the big fishes, and in 17 years we haven’t lost a client to a competitor.” “Let’s be honest: promoters are risk-takers by their very nature,” concludes Rudland, outlining the role of a good broker. “It’s our job to explain those risks and give them a way of reducing their liabilities; at least that way they can make an informed decision.”
THE US HAS BEEN HIT BY STRONG WINDS, STORMS AND FIRES, AND WHEN THESE HAPPEN DURING A TOUR – PARTICULARLY A BIG ONE – OR ANY MASS-PARTICIPATION EVENTS, IT WILL HAVE A BIG BEARING ON THE LEVEL OF CLAIMS THAT INSURERS ARE LIABLE TO PAY OUT.” Tim Thornhill, Integro
As governments around the world tighten border security, delays to touring personnel and equipment could become more common
IQ Magazine January 2020
The Gaffer 2019: John ‘Lug’ Zajonc
As The Gaffer for 2019, John ‘Lug’ Zajonc joins an impressive list of the industry’s production trailblazers, but as Gordon Masson learns, the tenth recipient of the award came perilously close to being honoured posthumously…
t’s been a hell of a year for John Zajonc. Having masterminded Metallica’s massively successful North American tour, within days he found himself in Europe overseeing a build for the band’s arena tour that he’d put together between stadia shows stateside. But that was child’s play compared with what was about to happen. During a break in the tour schedule, Zajonc travelled to Saudi Arabia to help another long-term client, WWE, prepare for its Super ShowDown event, only to wind up in hospital after a massive electric shock. “Let’s put it like this; I’m now officially retired as an electrician,” he reports of the incident that would certainly have killed lesser mortals. Thanks to his general levels of fitness, he lived to tell the tale, despite some horrific injuries. “I was electrocuted: 400 volts across my chest and back. The force of the shock ripped my shoulders out of their sockets and broke them both.” Within hours, Zajonc checked himself out of hospital and took himself to Amsterdam to resume duties for Metallica. But more on that later…
IQ Magazine January 2020
The Memory Remains Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Zajonc loved sport from an early age, playing soccer, baseball, ice hockey and “anything that could get me outdoors.” But it was an indoor pastime that would earn him a place in college. “I won a wrestling scholarship, but the plain fact of the matter was that I hated school, so I dropped out after a year,” the 51 year old tells IQ. “My dad’s reaction was that if I wasn’t going to study, then I needed to work and start paying my way in life.” Zajonc recalls some of the many jobs: “I drove a cab, I drove a laundry truck, I worked in construction – just anything to earn money, but I worked really hard. My dad’s mantra was that if I was going to dig ditches then I should be the best damn ditch digger in the world, so that’s what I tried to do.”
The Gaffer Perhaps noting that drive, a friend presented Zajonc with an opportunity to earn some extra money, helping out local firm Capron Lighting & Sound with some concerts. “I did two or three shows and I really liked it, so I stayed and ended up doing their Summertime Anytime beach parties. I just did whatever I was told to do and a guy called Steve Sergeant took me under his wing.”
Wherever I May Roam
couple of years after starting at Capron Sound, Zajonc got itchy feet and decided to give sport another shot. “I moved to Florida to become a golf professional,” he says. “It was a hard life and I soon realised that I didn’t have the right connections – I couldn’t find sponsorship and, unlike other people, I couldn’t rely on my family to support me financially, , so I moved back to Boston and went back to Capron Lighting & Sound for a while.” Eager to start moving up the ranks, Zajonc began bombarding people in the business with job requests. “Eventually, a friend at Show Power in California said he would give me a chance if I promised to stop calling him. So in the early 90s, I moved west and started to work on bigger tours.” As Show Power’s new kid on the block, Zajonc threw himself in at the deep end and made sure he was always on hand to help out, no matter the task. That work ethic paid off. “I got a job as the cable guy on a Genesis tour,” he recalls. “It was a nice gig as I had no responsibility really. I did that for four or five months, until the final show at Knebworth, but that’s when things really started to take off: from there I was straight on a plane to Hershey for rehearsals with U2, and then I was on the road for months with the Zoo TV tour; then Madonna; and then back to U2 again, and so on.” By the mid-90s, he had worked his way up to electrical crew chief for tours by the likes of U2, the Eagles, Metallica and others. “I’m now certified, but I’m pretty much a self-
“As a production manager, I’m also a parttime therapist, uncle and father to a pretty dysfunctional family…” I have known Lug for many years. I believe we first met at Woodstock ‘99 when he was running the Show Power crew and I was a stage manager on stage 2. We then toured together on Janet Jackson (2001) and Tina Turner (2008). He is one of my closest friends, and I lived in his house in Las Vegas for a few years when I first moved out there. He is intelligent, funny, calm but with a strong will, and he’s one of the nicest and most dedicated people I know in this profession. Having known him as a “power guy” to owning a power company and then moving into production management for Tim McGraw and now Metallica, he has always successfully taken on new jobs and challenges, and prospered. He has come a long way, but this wouldn’t be a shock to anyone who has known him. Seth Goldstein, production manager taught electrician. That’s the case with most people on the tour circuit – you learn on the job – and, thankfully, I’ve worked across every department on the road, so I can turn my hand to most things, if needed.” Things changed when Show Power was acquired by General Electric. “I had a desk job for a few months, but it really didn’t suit me working for such a big company. They didn’t want me to limit myself to entertainment, but I wasn’t really interested in some of the other stuff they wanted me to do, so it was time to move on.”
Lug with Spice Girl Victoria Beckham
Turn The Page
n 2001, alongside fellow road warriors Henry Wetzel and Carlos Oldigs, Zajonc established Legacy Power Services to provide concerts and tours with portable power systems and solutions. “Legacy has been great to work on – whenever I’m not out on the road, I’m back in the Legacy building in Las Vegas helping other productions with their electricity needs,” he reveals, talking to IQ from those Nevada premises. Having amassed more than a decade of touring experience, Zajonc’s next step up the ladder came about when Scott Chase, stage manager for Paul McCartney was sidelined with an injury. “Scott asked me to fill in for him, and I spent the year with McCartney, followed by Tim McGraw & Faith Hill until Tim and his team asked if I would take on the role of production manager. “They wanted to try something new and I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, so I stepped up and ended up spending eight or nine years as PM for Tim
IQ Magazine January 2020
The Gaffer With close to thirty years and innumerable shared experiences, both professional and social, I can say that I consider John one of my closest friends in the business. He understands that finding the humour in the job is the one thing that can keep you going when you start to get fed up. Being in the trenches as a power vendor has most likely delayed the recognition he sorely deserves and that is long overdue. Here’s to many more years of success! Metallica is lucky to have you. Roadie Thanksgiving Forever, Lug! John “Bugzee” Hougdahl McGraw. But all good things come to an end and next I found myself working on stadium shows with the likes of Luke Bryan and Chris Stapleton.” It was then the turn of long-time employers Metallica to turn to one of their most trusted crew chiefs. “I think the first time I worked on a Metallica tour was 1994 and I’d been in and out with them ever since as crew chief and even as stage manager at times, with Dan Braun as production manager.” However, when Braun became the band’s show director and stage designer, Metallica’s inner circle decided a culture change was required. “Manager Tony DiCioccio wanted to bring in someone with a different viewpoint, productionwise, who might also have some new ideas about how to crew a tour, so they asked me and there was no way I was going to turn them down. “As a band, Metallica are phenomenal: they are probably the most professional outfit I’ve ever worked with and they’ve been touring for so many years that they can handle anything – if we have to make production compromises because of certain venues, they just take it all in their stride and trust us to get on with things.” Quizzed on who he learned his craft from, it’s obvious why Zajonc’s leadership style prompted Metallica to entice him on board. “I’ve taken what I like and discarded what I didn’t like about other production managers,” he says, citing the likes of Charlie Hernandez, Malcolm Weldon, Gerry Stickels and the late Rick ‘Parnelli’ O’Brien as big influences. “I’d say Chris Lamb was a bit of a mentor and I learned most of what I know by watching him and Mark Spring… but you’re arrogant if you think you are not still learning, and I think there’s a lot also to learn from younger people in the business and the way that they utilise new tech.” Ultimately, however, Zajonc has an old-school approach. “We wear black and we hang in the shadows because we don’t aspire to being on that stage,” he notes. “Just knowing you had something to do with making all those thousands of fans happy and giving them memories to last a lifetime is a great feeling.” Pondering his unique approach to being the boss, he says, “As a production manager, I’m also a part-time therapist, uncle and father to a pretty dysfunctional family… When you have a great crew of 12 people and one person doesn’t quite gel, that can be like a cancer to the whole operation, John, I would like to congratulate you on your welldeserved Gaffer award. We have known and worked with each other for more than 20 years and I am proud to call you my friend and colleague. Malcolm Weldon, production manager Backstage with Metallica’s Kirk Hammett; relaxing with Rick Mello; and enjoying sound check with Faith Hill
IQ Magazine January 2020
The Gaffer Fine-tuning with Tim McGraw
so making sure everyone works well together is a skill that would be hard to teach. I tend to spend a lot of time watching how people work and interact together. The bottom line is that you need foot soldiers. Not everyone can or wants to be the stage manager or production manager.” It’s not everyone who is bestowed a nickname, either. Asked where ‘Lug’ originated, he laughs: “That’s a threedrink minimum to hear the proper story, but back in 1992, I was on a tour bus with five people – Conan, Snake, Pinky, Cheeks and Parnelli – so ‘John’ just wasn’t going to cut it. To cut a long story short, they started calling me ‘Lug’.”
Nothing Else Matters
etallica’s ongoing WorldWired tour has proved to be one of Zajonc’s most challenging. “While the band were playing shows in the USA, they decided they wanted to follow on with an arena show in Europe, so while we were hopping from stadium to stadium in America, I was also having to plan the arena tour. “We finished in Edmonton [Canada] and two days later we were in Malmö [Sweden] to start a ten-day production build and try to figure the whole thing out. It was intense, but it was great to be involved at the sharp end of things. Thankfully, I’ve hired some amazing site co-ordinators, so I was able to lean heavily on them. It meant an unbelievable number of hours on the phone, and we didn’t physically see the result until nine days before the first show, so it was very challenging. We went from a stadium stage that was 63 metres wide to something that was just 15 metres for the arena shows.” He continues, “I’d love to tell you that we nailed it and the production was good to go, but the show had lots of problems that needed ironing out before the tour started. “The most complex thing was that we had 52 cubes continuously moving on the stage and we had to put in hundreds of hours programming them to deal with the various stage configurations we were going to come across.
I have known Lug for a while now and seen him grow in the business. I think the first time we toured was on a Cher tour and it was a lot of fun – we used to keep the boss happy with various start-of-show skits. In Norway, we dressed up as Vikings and made a kind of Viking boat that we pretended to row across the stage when she came up; in Austria, we dressed up as the Vienna Boys’ Choir in all of the robes; and at the end of the tour in Sheffield, we dressed as a reindeer and Santa Claus and made a stage appearance – these things always brought a smile to her face. It’s great to see Lug grow to owning his own power company and production managing bands like Metallica. Jake Berry, Jake Berry Productions It was a nightmare. The production was flying 176,000lbs, with all those elements moving, but we knew if there were any problems with the motors and hydraulics, it could mean an additional 60,000lbs of dead weight, so every building we were visiting on the tour had to be engineered. The rigging and engineering were definitely the most difficult elements, but nobody wants to be the guy that pulled the roof down. Safety is of paramount importance, so I learned a lot of things across our European tour: Chad Koehler, our head rigger, was unbelievable!”
Meyer Sound enjoyed a spectacular show with the injured Lug and Metallica at the Amsterdam date of the ‘World Wired Tour’ © Ralph Larmann
IQ Magazine January 2020
“I was on a tour bus with five people – Conan, Snake, Pinky, Cheeks and Parnelli – so ‘John’ just wasn’t going to cut it.”
Ride The Lightning
scheduled four-week break in the WorldWired tour allowed Zajonc to fit in the fateful job for wrestling powerhouse, WWE – an accident that, at the moment, realistically means he is still several months away from full fitness. “I knew I was hurt bad, but when I take on a project, I feel responsible for it, so I wanted to brush it off and go on tour again. I flew into Holland to resume the tour, but the doctors in Amsterdam told me I was broken and there was no way I could do it, so I sort of took the medical advice and split up my responsibilities across a few of my key people. “I’ve got three great site co-ordinators, and Ron Chamberlain from Live Nation as the promoter’s rep, so they
took over as a committee, with me on the phone six to ten times a day. It’s pretty satisfying to know that I’ve built a team that can take over when something like this happens.” Talking in early-November – five months after the accident – Zajonc says he has 75% recovered, “which is way ahead of where the doctors thought I would be,” and despite his shoulder injuries, he’s recently been back on the golf course. Doubtless Zajonc’s general good health and determination to stay in shape helped save his life, but the accident has him in reflective mood. “Things happen in life that definitely change the way you look at things,” he states. “The first one for me was when my mum passed away, 13 years ago – it just made me approach life in a different way.”
Hero of the Day
ypically understated, Zajonc mentions the effect the tragic Route 91 Harvest Festival in 2017 had on him, when a gunman killed 58 people and injured more than 500 others. “I was the stage manager that day,” he reveals. “I was on stage when the gunfire broke out, but we were really fortunate to have a security chief called Andy Peloquin who corralled all the crew into a safe space. Andy is a former marine who did something like 13 tours of duty, so once he made sure we were OK, he jumped over the barriers into the crowd to help the audience. I don’t think I could ever have enough respect for the amazing things he did that day. It was extraordinary. I went out to try to help others, too, and I saw things that nobody should ever have to see… I don’t think anyone ever gets over something like that. There were 25,000 people there that day, and life simply won’t be the same for any of them again.” He continues, “My first instinct after Route 91 was screw it, I’m done. But a few days later I realised that if I gave in, then they win. In the aftermath, Andy was someone I could talk to about what happened that day, and Metallica’s stage manager, Dewey Evans, was also working with me, so we’ve been able to support each other. I remember our first show together with Metallica after Route 91, and we were both on edge, breathing heavier and struggling in the same way as we walked with the band to stage, but it was comforting to be able to talk to each other about it and get on with things. I first met Lug 25 years ago when he was an electrician for Metallica – he was unloading his golf clubs from a trolley and we were on the way to the golf course so we asked him to join us, and it’s been a glorious ride ever since, although I’m nowhere near his standard. When I became show designer for Metallica, Lug was our first draft pick to be the new production manager and luckily we got him because he’s the greatest collaborator any designer could have. We’ve had the maximum fun possible over the years. The fact that Lug was back with Metallica so soon after his accident this year shows his sense of commitment to the show and that’s something that, as a kid who used to buy tickets, warms my heart. Dan Braun, show designer, Metallica
IQ Magazine January 2020
The Gaffer Lug, Tim McGraw and Tim Shanahan discuss logistics in yet another arena
“But it changes you in little ways: I have more comprehensive evacuation plans now – even if I go to the cinema, or on a plane, or go into any unfamiliar room, I make myself aware of the exits.”
The Unnamed Feeling
hile such traumas inevitably take their toll, Zajonc’s reaction has been impressively positive. In September this year, he and his business partners sold Legacy Power to Filmwerks International, giving his bank balance a healthy boost. But rather than splashing out on a bigger house or a stable or sports cars, Zajonc has more admirable plans for his money. “I’m working to build a foundation to try to help people, in perpetuity, once I’m gone,” he tells IQ. “To be honest, I’m not sure what shape it will take, as it’s a work in progress, but if you’ve seen the movie Pay It Forward, it’ll give you an idea of what I want to achieve. “I’ve worked hard and had my share of luck along the way, but I was fortunate to have two great parents and I’ve inherited my dad’s work ethic. But when it comes to the foundation’s goals, I’m still thinking about that. Maybe it will be feeding people, as let’s face it, nobody in America should be hungry.
Lug and I started working together almost 30 years ago and I cannot remember how many tours we have done together. He gives 110% to the job, he always puts the show and his artist first and doesn’t bend to outside pressure. He is a good, stand-up guy, plus he was one of our star players in the softball games we used to play all over the world while on tour – we played on every continent except Antarctica. Lug is a true professional and I’m proud to also call him my friend. Chris Lamb, production manager
I first met John in 2001 on Madonna’s Drowned World Tour. We have been together ever since. An interesting side note is that we grew up in the same town in Massachusetts about five miles apart, and worked for the same lighting company (Capron), albeit I am significantly older. John has been a good friend, a confidant to bounce thoughts and schemes off, and is smart business-man. This award is truly deserved. Mark Spring, production manager However, one thing I’m finding is that it can be tricky to find people or organisations that are willing to accept help.” That desire to help his fellow man neatly sums up Zajonc’s outlook on life. Asked about his career highlights, the 30year veteran struggles to come up with anything specific. “It used to be when you finished a tour: you’d have the final date and there would be that sense of accomplishment. Now though, the tours kind of meld into each other, so you finish a stadium tour and you’re straight into the arena tour.” Nonetheless, he pinpoints a couple of memories that he holds dear, “I remember doing the U2 show in Sarajevo, post war. It was both fascinating and heart rending. The gratitude of people to us for just being there was overwhelming and hearing what they had been through will stay with everyone who worked on that show. “I also recall a site visit with Mark Spring in Moscow, when we were standing in Red Square – I just had to phone my dad and tell him where I was, in the heart of what we were told was the evil empire.” A more recent moment involves a 6 September show with his current employers to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their landmark S&M album. “The reunion show with
Metallica and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra was a gigantic one-off and probably the hardest show I’ve ever had to put together in terms of timelines. What the band achieved was pretty cool though, so it was great to be part of that.” But his true highlights are more people-oriented, private affairs. “To me, there’s nothing more gratifying than helping people who are going through a hard time, so if I can set something up that can do that after I’m gone, then I’ll know it was all worthwhile.” He continues, “The world has lost a lot of its civility and I’ve been thinking about that more since my accident. I’m not married and I don’t have kids, so I’m determined to do something that actually matters.”
All Within My Hands
ow well on the way to recovery, Zajonc is in a good place and is already looking forward to getting back on the road with Metallica in one of his favourite places. “Next year we’re going to stadiums in South America and then festivals in America, but theoretically there’s no end in sight for this Metallica tour,” he says. “The energy of the fans in South America is like nowhere else, so I can’t wait to get back there.” At the time of writing, Zajonc is still waiting for much of the Metallica set and equipment to arrive back in the States, where a major programme of maintenance awaits it. In the meantime, he is enjoying sleeping in his own bed at night and operating at a more sedate pace. “I don’t want to be on the road like I was in my 20s and 30s,” he admits. “I like being at home more these days and being able to spend more time at Legacy.
The full force of Metallica’s ‘World Wired Tour’ was felt by the audience in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium © Jay Blakesberg, Meyer Sound
IQ Magazine January 2020
Gaffer Metallica are known for good, even, low-end coverage and pushing the boundaries in audio production. This is FOH engineer Big Mick Hughes’ never-ending quest, and he has high expectations. It’s also Lug’s job to ensure the stage is very quiet for the band. Going to Lug for every possible sub and PA option from in-the-round arenas to massive stadium systems during the design phase, to the first few shows of a run, he finds the balance. Lug works with the audio team and what show director Dan Braun is striving for with the band’s audio and the full production to achieve the best audience experience. For the stadium run, Lug accepted our request to add end-fire subs on the delay towers because he wanted the folks in the cheap seats to have a front-row sonic experience without getting too loud. As the tour was adding even more seats, while some might settle for side coverage that is just a tad quieter, Lug wanted to ensure that those fans had a great experience as well. He worked with Dan, Mick and Meyer Sound to add loudspeakers that were not noticed by many, but it provided the fans in those added seats with an amazing sonic experience as well. That is the sign of a great production manager – someone who finds the middle ground for all while still looking at the bigger picture. Meyer Sound is honoured to have the opportunity to work with John Zajonc on the Metallica tour. Michael Maxson, Meyer Sound “The Filmwerks deal is exciting as it gives us the opportunity to work in different areas and gives us access to a lot more equipment. They are specialists in broadcast power and UPS technology as well as structural work, so they were not competitors, which made the deal a good fit for Legacy. And they have a lot more clients in TV, film and sports, so it will be interesting to work in those areas where we’ve not been involved until now.” However, domestic comforts only have a limited shelf life. “I’ve really found a home with Metallica. They let me do my job and are just fantastic to be involved with, so I’m not looking to find another job: it’s been a phenomenal chapter and I’m not ready to close it yet. But if Metallica decided they were not going to tour again, I’m not sure I wouldn’t go looking for something else. I still love being on the road.” He concludes, “We’re all a work in progress and I’m glad to say that money is not my only driving force. But I hope I’m still around in 30 years to witness the changes in the business and see how it evolves.”
“...if Metallica decided they were not going to tour again, I’m not sure I wouldn’t go looking for something else. I still love being on the road.”
IQ Magazine January 2020
LIVE FOR RENT After a self-imposed hiatus, one of the 21st centuryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s biggest selling acts, Dido, has just brought down the curtain on a highly successful comeback tour. Derek Robertson talks to the team behind the scenes, and learns about the strategy to re-establish her as a global performer.
IQ Magazine January 2020
A lot has changed since Dido was last on the road. Prior to stepping out at Prague’s Forum Karlín in May this year, it’d been 15 long years since she’d graced a stage; back in 2004, Tony Blair was the British prime minister, a little known rapper by the name of Kanye West was creating waves with his debut album, and Facebook was but a niche site for US college kids to find out who was dating who. But although she took a break from touring and time out to raise a family (her son, Stanley, was born in 2011) creatively she never really stopped. 2008’s Safe Trip Home was followed by a number of singles and collaborations including If I Rise, written with A.R. Rahman for the Danny Boyle-directed 127 Hours and subsequently nominated for an Oscar; and by Girl Who Got Away and a greatest hits collection, both of which were released in 2013. She also appeared on The Voice UK, serving as an advisor to one of the coaches. “I was always writing,” she told Stereogum back in March, and according to longtime manager Craig Logan, it was while putting together material for her fifth album (and first for new label BMG) Still On My Mind that hitting the road again was first discussed. “It was part of the plan,” says Logan of the 50 dates spread throughout 2019. “It just felt right for Dido.” According to Logan, the cities were chosen and venues booked a year in advance, with dates tied-in to the album release. “We worked very closely with BMG on the setup,” he says, “and made sure that the dates complemented both the album coming out and the singles we had lined up.” May saw Dido playing major cities in Europe such as Vienna, Paris, and Amsterdam, as well as five dates across the UK, before 11 shows in North America in June, and an autumn jaunt around South America and Mexico. Keely Myers, the founder of Global Touring Office and a highly experienced tour director, has been working with Dido since 2013. According to her, once the decision to tour was made, talks around the creative aspect of the show and logistics swiftly followed. The planning process was, says Myers, smooth and trouble free. There were “no issues,” only an acceptance that after 15 years away, “there were a few things to recap, and to see what best suited her in terms of adapting back to live concert performances and life on the road.” Both Myers and Logan use the words “simple” and “classy” when talking about the production brief and how Dido envisaged the show would be. “Creatively, we were looking for something effective to complement Dido, which I think we achieved,” says Myers. “The brief was directed towards a great light show, to incorporate screens and/ or projection, and inject it all with cutting-edge technology.” The projection element was something that Dido herself was keen to include, and so the team worked hard to come up with a solution that would work in venues of differing sizes and that wouldn’t affect sight lines. They hit upon a stage set of six “silver voiles” hanging from a mid truss to the floor at various angles, transparent enough to see the musicians performing behind them, but solid enough that a projected image would read well in all the venues. As such, the whole production was scalable; more voiles could be added in bigger venues, or longer drops introduced for those with higher clearance.
GEARING UP Further technical wizardry was provided by lighting designer Oli Metcalfe, who brought on board a BlackTrax system that allows real-time tracking of lights and video content. “Dido’s performance adopts an interactive element with her movement onstage and video content that plays throughout the show, so no two shows are ever the same,” explains Myers. Such uniqueness added to the sense of an artist making up for lost time and keen to give fans a spectacle to remember. Another factor was getting the maximum visual impact relative to the production’s modest size; from the outset, the logistics of taking it round the world were a key consideration. Myers notes that an initial priority was fitting everything into one truck, and while eventually two were required, such careful planning served the tour well. “We had to be able to replicate our European show in the USA without incurring large freight costs. And, in the same respect, when we entered the South American market we knew we would have to approach this slightly differently due to the schedule and the numerous flights involved.”
IQ Magazine January 2020
Dido “ Dido’s profile has always been strong so we weren’t worried about her time away…” Daryl Robinson, SJM Concerts very sonically aware of what’s going on, which means it’s important to achieve a fine balance of energy and precision at the right points in the set,” says monitor engineer Stefano Serpagli, something that’s echoed by front-of-house chief Davide Lombardi. “Dido is the composer for all her music, so she knows each note and is very interested in how her music reaches to the audience,” Lombardi says. “In order to keep consistency and ensure the audience would fully enjoy the show, I chose a set-up that could easily be reproduced in different continents. In this way, regardless who was the supplier, the mix would not be altered, but could instead be adapted to different PAs and venues.”
EVERYTHING TO LOSE
CONTRIBUTORS Fabiano De Queiroz, Move Concerts; Gérard Drouot, GDP; Craig Logan, manager; Łukasz Minta, Live Nation Poland; Aleida Patricia Montalvo Cantú, Ocesa Promoters; Daryl Robinson, SJM Concerts; Sérgio Peixoto, T4F Entretenimento; Andy Walker, AudioRent Clair.
As it currently stands, the tour consists of two buses and two trucks, with a total crew of 28. Everything needed for the production is in those trucks; rigging, a flown-and-floor lighting package, BlackTrax system, audio control, PA, catering, and backline. All of it travelled to the States, but for the South American leg – a show in Argentina, four in Brazil, and one in Mexico City – the crew had to rent local, travelling only with “an essential fly pack consisting of instruments, voiles, and a media server, so we could deliver a show that was very close to our previous shows in Europe and the US,” says Myers. “The only thing we were missing was the BlackTrax system, so we found a way to work around that.” The biggest challenge the tour faced was the positioning of the projectors in each venue, something that occasionally proved tricky. Keeping them as light and maneuverable as possible whilst retaining power was key; two active Epson EB-L25000U 25,000 ANSI Lumen projectors were chosen – each weighs a relatively minor 66.6kgs – a compact set-up in comparison to similar systems. Ditto the Clair CO-10 PA system the tour switched to half-way through. As Andy Walker, account executive at AudioRent Clair notes, “The biggest issue was dealing with available truck space. The CO-10, which is one of Clair’s latest models, is doing amazingly well.” In terms of audio, the power and adaptability of the PA rig was just one concern; getting the on-stage sound mixes and the in-ear monitoring right was a huge priority for the artist herself. “The main challenge was to get Dido comfortable with her performance and what she was hearing. She’s
Regardless of how significant an artist’s past glories may be, time away from the live arena always poses a risk for bookers and promotors; one can never really be sure of demand. Even for one of indie-pop’s biggest and most significant acts, 15 years is a long time, yet her team had no worries. “Dido has sold in every market in the past,” says Logan. “She’s sold about 30 million albums, and the first two [she released] sold pretty much everywhere.” In Europe, demand was strong for the first leg in May; the Paris show, at the 2,000-capacity L’Olympia, sold out in January, while sales in the UK went so well that a second date at London’s Roundhouse was added after the first sold out more or less instantly. As Daryl Robinson of SJM Concerts, her UK promoter, notes; “Dido’s profile has always been strong so we weren’t worried about her time away; as she doesn’t do a lot of shows, dates are always seen as a special night out. It was also the 20th anniversary of No Angel, so we figured there’d be a lot of radio play prior to the new material coming out.” “Her fans have stayed loyal and the demand is still there,” adds Gérard Drouot of GDP, her French promotor. “We started building up her comeback by playing L’Olympia, which is one of the most mystical theatres in Paris, and it sold out very quickly.” The last time she played France she went through seven cities,
Photos © Christie Goodwin
IQ Magazine January 2020
playing to audiences ranging from 2,800 in Marseille to 10,000 in Nîmes. “Her show at La Seine Musicale on 22 November to 4,000 people, also sold out,” adds Drouot. South America provided a new challenge – she’d never toured there before. Again though, this wasn’t an issue. “We looked at potential based on her incredible success in the past, but also took into consideration the country’s economic challenges,” says Fabiano De Queiroz of Move Concerts, who planned her Buenos Aires show on 31 October. “Her fans here have waited patiently to see her live for many years, so we looked into the venue that would capture her audience and her performance best.” The 1,700-capacity Teatro Coliseo fitted the bill perfectly; it sold out in less than two months. It was a similar story in Brazil. Being a much bigger territory, four shows were planned; her chart-topping early career ensured fans all over the country were eager to see her in the flesh for the first time ever. “Right from the start, we knew we had something special on our hands and wanted to make these shows a unique moment for Dido and her fans,” says Sérgio Peixoto of T4F Entretenimento, one of the largest live entertainment companies in Latin America. Owning their own venues made planning somewhat straightforward. “We always start with our own [venues] and then look into demand in other cities. In Dido´s case, we were able to include Curitiba, another major city in Brazil,” explains Peixoto. All told, Dido played São Paulo’s UnimedHall (capacity 4,171), Km de Vantagens Hall in Belo Horizonte (3,650), Km de Vantagens Hall in Rio de Janeiro (2,885), and Teatro Positivo in Curitiba (2,300). “The shows were beautiful,” adds Peixoto. “She really connected with her fans here.” Her show in Mexico City was every bit as special. Serenaded with Cielito Lindo (the unofficial Mexican anthem) by a near sell-out crowd at the 9,600-capacity National Auditorium, it was, says Aleida Patricia Montalvo Cantú of Ocesa Promoters, “Amazing. Her fan base is big in Mexico, and the audience sang most of the songs with her. Dido said on Instagram she wanted to come back soon, so we’re looking forward to next time.”
HE-VOTEES But Montalvo Cantú noted something else, something that a few other promoters did not expect. “To my surprise, there were a lot of male fans in the audience,” she says. In fact, it was a 60/40 split in Mexico, with the majority of the audience – 52% – in the 25-34 age bracket. Both Daryl Robinson and Fabiano De Queiroz observed an “even split,” while in France, Gérard Drouot says that 55% of tickets were purchased by men (and also notes that the average age of attendees was 40).
IQ Magazine January 2020
Clearly then, Dido’s appeal remains far broader than the nostalgia market; most of those going to see her in 2019 were mere teenagers when her biggest hits were riding high in the charts. A new generation of her fans have discovered her music, and judging by the favourable reviews and impressive sales of Still On My Mind (it’s already gone Silver), everything is set-up nicely for the next wave of promotion, and an equally productive 2020 – especially in the live arena. “Next year we are looking at some festivals and theatres in the summer,” says Logan. “It will be a mix, but as we’ll be out in the summer, it’ll mean more outdoor shows, which will be very exciting!” As such, the production will have to be adapted somewhat as the current set-up “won’t really work outdoors. It will be fun to reinvent some of it,” he adds. Gérard Drouot confirms that three French festival shows are already planned for 2020, but others remain coy; “Let’s get this tour done first before talking about more dates!” says Robinson. Clearly though, the demand is there. “I would expect we could do either the same business or, based on a new record cycle, maybe a tad more,” says De Queiroz. “We plan on having her back soon,” adds Peixoto. Łukasz Minta of Live Nation Poland – who promoted her sold-out show in Poznań at the 2,500-capacity Sala Ziemi – says there was a “huge buzz around the show,” and that some fans travelled hundreds of kilometres to see it. As such, he adds, “We expect to book more shows in bigger venues next summer. I’m sure we can offer three shows in Poland next time.” And beyond mere sales and critical accolades, everyone involved in the tour is at pains to point out how professional and well run everything has been, and what a pleasure it has been to be part of Dido’s return to the road. “A privilege” and “like being part of the family,” says Robert Hewett of Stagetruck, while Sean Gerrard of Phoenix Bussing notes how Myers and everyone involved were “very easy to deal with.” “It’s been such a pleasure to bring an incredibly talented bunch of people together,” says Myers of the mix of suppliers from her previous tours and new personnel to the Dido camp, and it really does seem to have been a joyful experience, both front of house and behind the scenes. As for Dido’s immediate future, it looks bright and busy. “This year of touring has been a phenomenal success; we have an exceptional band and crew, which makes it all so much easier,” says Logan. “We’re already talking about the next record, and with dates next year there are lots of future plans. Dido has absolutely loved being back on the road, and it certainly won’t be a long time before you see her again.” The spotlight is where Dido and her music belong; here’s hoping she doesn’t surrender it again any time soon. “ Right from the start, we knew we had something special on our hands and wanted to make these shows a unique moment for Dido and her fans.” Sérgio Peixoto, T4F Entretenimento
PETROZAVODSK ST PETERSBURG
TVER MOSCOW NIZHNY NOVGOROD KAZAN TAMBOV UFA VORONEZH ROSTOV-ON-DON
KRASNODAR SOCHI NOVOSIBIRSK
Map Key Promoter Agent/Promotor Venue Festival
EKATERINBURG Tele-Club Group Ural Production Center – can’t find it. Congress Hall DIVS Arena Dom Pechati Ekaterinburg Arena Expocenter KRK Uralets Arena Kosmos Tele-Club Ural Music Night
IRKUTSK Trud Sports Palace
KAZAN Basket-Hall Arena Ermitaj Hermitage-Kazan Exhibition Centre Palace of Water Sports Pyramid Concert Hall TatNeft Arena
KHABAROVSK Platinum Arena Velicano KRASNODAR Arena Hall Basket-Hall Olympic Stadium Taman
KRASNOYARSK Grand Hall Siberia Platinum Arena MOSCOW Caviar Lounge CTS Eventim Euro-Entertainment Eventation GlavClub Green Concert Icon Management Ildar Bakeev Entertainment MAI Tour Service Melek Agency Melnitsa International Pop Farm RSP Concert Russian Show Center Sagrado Live SAV Entertainment TCI Universal Music Live Warner Music Attack Concerts City Concerts International
Jazz Agency Miras-Art L-Concert Live Music Space Pushing Stone Russian United Creative Entertainment SM Media Group Spika Concert Agency Tinkoff 1930 Moscow Adrenaline Stadium Aglomerat Club Crocus City Hall Gipsy Club Glav Club Icon Club Izvestia Hall Luzhniki Stadium Megasport Sport Palace MTS Live Arena (opening 2020) Mutabor Club Olimpiyskiy Stadium Red Club VTB Arena ZIL Culture Centre Afisha Picnic Arkhstoyaniye Bol Delivery Fest Dobrofest Europa Plus Live! Kubana Moscow Music Week Park Live SKIF Usadba Jazz Wild Mind
NIZHNY NOVGOROD Jupiter Concert Hall Milo Concert Hall Trade Union Sport Palace Premio Centre Alfa Future People
NOVOSIBIRSK Loft-Park Podzemka Siberia Stadium Culture Palace of Railroad Workers PETROZAVODSK Interfest ROSTOV-ON-DON Arena Don KRK Express SAMARA MTL Arena Samara Arena Zvezda Club
Grushinsky Rock on Volga
SOCHI Usadba Jazz Sochi
ST. PETERSBURG 7to.rocks EM Concert Euroshow Light Music Matreshka Concerts
NCA Group Planet Plus PMI S.P. Concert A2 Club Club Jagger Ice Palace Kosmonavt Club Morze Yubileyny Sports Palace Locals Only Stereoleto
TAMBOV Chernosyom TVER Nashestvie
UFA Ogny Ugy Palace of Sports Ufa Arena VLADIVOSTOK Fesco Hall Fetisov Arena VORONEZH Aura Event Hall Palazzo
IQ Magazine January 2020
From Russia With Live IRKUTSK
Hampered by political sanctions and a weakened local currency, Russia’s live music operations are nevertheless enjoying a healthy period. But there remains room for significant growth according to those working in the industry. Adam Woods reports. Global election meddling, Novichok, Syria, Ukraine, London house prices – it’s not hard to find things to blame “the Russians” for. Then again, as Juha ‘Richie’ Mattila, veteran Finnish promoter and frequent Russian tourer points out, how would the rest of us like to be judged for the sins of our leaders and our oligarchs? “We shouldn’t tour Russia because of Putin? Yeah, well, everybody should quit touring the USA then,” he hoots. “It’s [like] the old saying: don’t judge a book by its cover.” Russia’s renewed role as the villain of international politics is so entrenched in the western narrative that it’s easy to forget there’s a real country under there – unimaginably huge, rich in culture and with plenty of good guys. “You need to remember, Russia is part of Europe, even if politically it’s a little different,” says Mattila. The international sanctions in place since Russia annexed
IQ Magazine January 2020
the Crimea nearly six years ago have put a drag on the economy, destabilised the ruble and, from a live perspective, punctured the growth of cities other than St Petersburg and Moscow. There was a period, not long after the beginning of the sanctions, when the prospect of seeing international acts in even Russia’s wealthiest two cities seemed in doubt. “Moscow Can’t Afford Foreign Performers,” read a 2015 headline in English-language newspaper The Moscow Times, citing a 95% fall in shows by western acts due to unaffordable fees. In Moscow and St Petersburg, the market has bounced back – if not all the way, then enough that the relatively lighter schedule of international shows has sharpened demand for what tickets there are. “It’s an interesting tendency in Russia lately,” says Ed Ratnikov of leading promoter Talent Concert International (TCI), which in October sold a 51% share to CTS Eventim.
“We shouldn’t tour Russia because of Putin? Yeah, well, everybody should quit touring the USA then.” Juha ‘Richie’ Mattila, promoter “The market is going down due to sanctions and government politics, and people’s income is not getting any better but the business is growing.” In the absence of a full complement of international stars, Russian acts including Basta, Max Korzh and Zemfira have graduated to stadium status. Leningrad, formed in the 1990s in St Petersburg, the city formerly of that name, made Russian music history this summer with a stadium tour, playing Kaliningrad, Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod in June, amidst a series of dates in arenas. Hot local pop stars include Zivert, Artik & Asti, Cream Soda and Shortparis. “We have a new generation of kids who were born and live in the digital era,” says Ratnikov. “They have their headphones on 24 hours a day, they share tunes fast and make unknown artists well known in hours. Those kids are the majority of our ticket buyers now and are eager for quality entertainment.” Russia’s instinct, where international music was concerned, was always to go big, and its early outdoor spectaculars – the 1989 Moscow Music Peace Festival at Luzhniki Stadium (featuring Bon Jovi, Ozzy and Scorpions), 1991’s Monsters of Rock at Tushino Airfield (Metallica, AC/DC et al), The Prodigy in Manezh Square in 1997, Chili Peppers and McCartney in Red Square in 1999 and 2003 – live long in the memory. In spite of ups and downs, that pattern of serial one-offs has given way to a steady, professional business in the past
decade or so. The most seasoned Russian promoters now have three decades of experience to draw upon, and the main cities have taken big steps too. “Russian infrastructure has improved significantly,” says Ratnikov. “We have new airports, world-standard sports arenas and stadiums as well as recognisable hotel chains. Russia has improved very well during the last decade.” Estimates of the size of the ticket market in Russia range from R45billion (€630m) to R60bn (€840m) per year [source: PwC]. Subject to more favourable economic and diplomatic conditions, there is still an enormous amount of room for growth. Moscow has a population of 12.4m, St Petersburg 5.4m, and in the comparatively dormant secondary markets there are 13 more cities of more than a million, led by Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Partly because prices are often out of reach for average incomes, concerts sit behind cinema and theatre in turnover terms. But an ever-growing contingent of promoters is working hard to shift the balance. “The market is getting more and more competitive, while the incomes of Russians don’t tend to rise,” says SAV founder Nadia Solovieva. “But we are used to this economic reality –that’s the way things usually are here.” As infamous art collective Pussy Riot can attest, politicians and the country’s legal system are not against interfering with the Russian music scene. Homemade hip-hop has come under fire for its poor moral character, and a spate of small shows were shut down last year in a crackdown on allegedly seditious youth music that affected artists including Siberian rapper Husky and teen band Frendzona. But increasingly, big business is taking an interest in the Russian live sector. European giant Eventim’s move into promoting follows its ownership of ticketing operation Parter.ru since 2006. However, in practice, the major corporate influence on the Russian live business comes from domestic tech, mobile and finance juggernauts, which have claimed entertainment tickets as a feature of their own wider online offering. Russian Internet titan Yandex took its share of the e-ticketing market to an estimated 20% in the summer with the acquisition of TicketSteam. Yandex’s rival Mail.Ru Group invested in ticketing aggregator TIWO’s Moscow-based Ticketing Platform at the same sort of time, while Russian bank Tinkoff has held a 20% stake in concert ticketing market leader Kassir.ru since 2018, when mobile giant MTS also snapped up leading ticketers Ticketland and Ponominalu. “It is about creating ecosystems and marketplaces,” Ticketland CEO Vitaly Vinogradov told the IQ International Ticketing Yearbook 2019. The next step for Russia and elsewhere, believes Katerina Kirillova, co-founder of local blockchain distribution ventures Tickets Cloud and Crypto.Tickets, will be a shift to smart ticketing. When promoters and vendors can track and control tickets using blockchain technology, she suggests, data, marketing and anti-touting value will follow, while consumers are rewarded with secure tickets and music-driven social networking opportunities. Existing tickets needn’t be threatened by the dawn of crypto, according to Kirillova, who adds that Tickets Cloud is in the process of securing its next funding round. “None of the traditional resellers wanted to integrate with us, because they considered us competitors, but now we have almost all the key resellers integrated as partners,” says Kirillova. “We don’t want to compete with them, but we want to provide the technology.”
Attack Concerts promoted an October date for Thomas Anders at Crocus City Hall in Moscow
IQ Magazine January 2020
Pop Farm had Billie Eilish performing at both St. Petersburg’s Ice Palace and Moscow’s Megasport Arena in August 2019
Promoters Promoters stick around in Russia, where big names such as SAV and TCI are celebrating increasingly big birthdays: SAV recently turned 30, having opened its account with Pink Floyd and Billy Joel shows at Moscow’s Olimpiyskiy arena in the spring of 1989; TCI will be 25 next year, though Ratnikov promoted the free Monsters of Rock show for BiZ Enterprises in 1991. Other long-standing heavy-hitters include St Petersburgbased PMI Show Concert Agency, part of Evgeny Finkelstein’s PMI Corporation that also includes Kassir.ru, and Moscow’s Melnitsa Concert Agency, the company behind the prominent Park Live and UPark festivals in Moscow and Kiev respectively. Moscow’s Pop Farm is younger, launching in 2013, but has built a strong reputation for cutting-edge international imports. Other players include Moscow’s Ildar Bakeev Entertainment, Michael Shurygin’s National Concert Academy, Moscow rock specialist Eventation and Matreshka Concerts, a new venture from Vera Borina, once of Planet Plus. Many other promoters, including Universal Music Live, Caviar Lounge and Attack Concerts, do well by focusing a large part of their efforts on sponsored events and the booming private party segment. “Generally, it’s been a good year,” says Solovieva. “We’ve done a lot of great shows that are going to be remembered for a long time. Metallica’s gig at Luzhniki Stadium broke the attendance record, with more than 62,000 people visiting the stadium that night – it was just magnificent. After they performed their cover version of Blood Type by Kino, the biggest Russian rock band of all time, the Internet was buzzing for a week or so.” SAV also staged Christina Aguilera and The Chemical Brothers at Moscow’s VTB Arena this year, as well as bringing Bon Jovi back to Russia for the first time since the Music Peace Festival in 1989.
IQ Magazine January 2020
“That was a completely different era and a different country,” says Solovieva. “So we knew this show was historical in a way, and we invested a lot of effort into preparation. Lately, we found out that some people travelled several thousand kilometres with their families just to see Bon Jovi. The atmosphere in Luzhniki was truly magical.” At TCI, the ink is barely dry on the Eventim deal, and Ratnikov says it is too early to say how his business will change. “We just have to continue [to] work hard and it is business as usual for us,” he says. But the company has announced stadium shows for Iron Maiden and arena shows for Hans Zimmer, and expects a stadium tour for long-term clients Rammstein to drop into the calendar soon after a Luzhniki date last summer. Pop Farm’s forthcoming schedule mixes Harry Styles, Pixies, and Of Monsters And Men with smaller western indie acts, as well as the odd Russian one such as rapper GONE. Fludd. But director Dmitry Zaretsky identifies the market’s real growth area as Russian-language music. “Some Russian bands have moved to stadium level now, and in the capital, some of them even promote themselves,” he says. An ambitious new player in Moscow and St Petersburg is Sagrado Live, launched on the back of Sagrado Corp’s mainly Moscow-focused venue operation, which includes Adrenaline Stadium, Izvestia Hall, MIR and Red, and clubs such as Gipsy, Icon, Mix and Mutabor that opened in April. Sagrado also runs EPIZODE Festival on the beach of Pho Quoc island in Vietnam during the annual New Year holidays. “Our plan is for 20 shows in Moscow each year and ten in St Petersburg,” says Sagrado Live’s Denis Sazenkov. “The shows we have done already have gone very well: Justice, Moderat, Nigel Kennedy, Oh Wonder, Awolnation, Lamb, Wu-Tang Clan, White Lies, etc. We are looking to do a broader type of artist: pop, rock, indie, electronic and hip-hop. We will also also be trying to bring [in] new international talent.”
Russia In a market that is still evolving, there is clearly mileage in spotting the coming thing. In Attack Concerts’ case that involves trying to break new acts in boom genres. K-pop market-leaders BTS and Exo haven’t played Russia yet, but in June, the promoter staged the first Russian shows of boy band NCT 127 at the Ice Palace St Petersburg and Moscow’s Megasport Sport Palace, both approximately 12,000-cap. “It was a new experience for us and for the band, and we hope it is the next step to doing something more interesting with K-pop in Russia,” says Attack CEO Artem Gorny. The challenge of selling expensive tickets in a country where the average salary is RUB43,000 a month (around €600) is a real one, and though Moscow salaries are around twice that amount, many promoters find their bread and butter in the corporate and private-party sector. “After London, Moscow is the city with the secondbiggest population of billionaires in Europe – or maybe the first,” says Michael Ginzburg, head of Universal Music Live. “We have a lot of oil tycoons here, and of course they spend a lot of money on entertainment.” Born in St Petersburg, raised in Germany, Ginzburg says the party circuit in Russia remains distinctive. “In Germany, it’s different because there’s a lot of old-money billionaires and they don’t like showing off. Here, it’s a bit of a cliché, but there are a lot of people who really like to spend money on entertainment, just to show they can afford to.” UML organises something like 100 shows a year – most of them private, perhaps 20% featuring international acts – and in Ginzburg’s experience, relatively few western pop and rock acts suffer serious scruples about taking Russian money. “What we do here is bring the nations together,” he suggests.
“We are cultural ambassadors. We offer excursions if artists want to – we have ballet, opera, museums, beautiful art made here in Russia. And the artists bring the message of peace back to the West, and that’s important to us.” The repeated call from Russian promoters is to ignore the media’s messages about the country. “Despite all the news you are likely to read or see on TV about Russia, there’s a constant, ever-growing interest in new music coming from the West,” says Solovieva. “Sometimes this market is overlooked by younger or established artists, but we’ve done a very extensive and successful tour with [Italian-American singer-songwriter] LP this year: she travelled from Vladivostok to Moscow, stopping in 11 big Siberian and European cities, and the response everywhere was amazing. So it’s definitely a good place to invest your efforts.” American rap-metaller Ghostemane, meanwhile, will play eight shows across Russia in August, as well as more in Ukraine, Belarus and the Baltics. “We could have done more but they didn’t have enough time,” says Pop Farm’s Zaretsky. That kind of dedication, of course, isn’t always easy to find. In Ekaterinburg, Ghostemane will play at the Tele-Club, but proprietor Semyon Galperin reports that conditions have generally worsened for the regional circuit in recent years. “We have two clubs in Ekaterinburg, and I started booking Russian tours because agents would say, ‘we can’t only go to Ekaterinburg – can you also offer Moscow?’ And now I still book those tours, but I can’t get the bands to Ekaterinburg anymore. We just announced Korn shows in Moscow and St Petersburg but no other cities can afford them.”
Papa Roach were just one of the many international acts to visit Tele-Club in Yekaterinburg during 2019 © Daria Popova
IQ Magazine January 2020
Contributors Daria Epishkova, Caviar Lounge; Semyon Galperin, Tele-Club; Michael Ginzburg, Universal Music Live; Artem Gorny, Attack Concerts; Katerina Kirillova, Tickets Cloud/Crypto.Tickets; Juha ‘Richie’ Mattila, promoter; Ed Ratnikov, Talent Concert International (TCI); Denis Sazenkov, Sagrado Live; Nadia Solovieva, SAV; Vitaly Vinogradov, Ticketland; Dmitry Zaretsky, Pop Farm.
Festivals The Russian festival scene hasn’t yet fully plugged into the same steroid drip that has been driving such rampant growth in many other nations, but some leading names have certainly emerged in the past decade or so. Bol Festival, founded five years ago by indie promoter Stefan Kazaryan and co-promoted for the past two years by Pop Farm, is regarded as Russia’s foremost indie event, taking over the ZIL Culture Centre in southeast Moscow for three days in July. Across seven stages, Bol this year mixed around 30% international acts – The Good, the Bad & the Queen, Death Grips, Sophie, Black Midi, Fontaines DC – with the remainder Russian, including Monetochka, Poexxxali and IC3PEAK, as well as Pasosh, Inturist and Aigel, the three of whom played at IFF in London as part of a Bol showcase in September 2019. Other prominent events include Park Live, which held its eighth edition this summer in Gorky Park with Bring Me The
Caviar Lounge brought Charlotte Gainsbourg to Moscow’s Garage Museum of Contemporary Art for a show in July 2019
Horizon, Thirty Seconds To Mars and Die Antwoord at the top of the bill. The one-day Afisha Picnic, founded by culture magazine Afisha and latterly also programmed by Pop Farm, has run since 2004. For the past 13 it has resided at Kolomenskoye, a former royal estate on the edge of Moscow, and its 2019 edition was headlined by The Cure and Royal Blood. Nashestvie, a spin-off of radio station Nashe Radio, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year and typically draws 200,000 fans to Bolshoe Zavidovo in the plains of Tver Oblast for a celebration of Russian hard rock. Local bands Alisa, Aquarium, Bi-2 and DDT were among this year’s talent – although in 2018, rockers Pornofilmy, Elysium and Ukrainian act Poshlaya Molly pulled out over the festival’s links to the Russian army, which for several years showcased military hardware and organised “patriotic displays.” Russia’s diverse festival brands include the Grushinsky folk festival near the city of Samara, EDM event Alfa Future People in Nizhny Novgorod and Usadba Jazz Festival, which takes place at a number of sites across Russia, with events in Moscow, St Petersburg, Voronezh, Yekaterinburg and Sochi. Europa Plus Live!, a free one-dayer run by the Europa Plus radio station, draws big crowds to Luzhniki Stadium in July with a programme of mostly local pop talent. As in most growing markets, new events pop up all the time, though the pitfalls to success are many. One that attempted to make the leap from local to semi-international event was St Petersburg/Moscow hip-hop fest Locals Only, which added North American stars such as Desiigner and Grandson to Russian acts including Oxxxymiron and Zuluwarrior this summer but struggled to draw the necessary crowds. “There are a lot of new festivals just launched in Russia and the market is really developing from that perspective,” says Caviar Lounge project manager and agent Daria Epishkova. “But what we can see is that there is still a lack of audience. The culture of going out and going to festivals still needs to be developed. Just 20, 30 years ago, people didn’t have the chance to go to a show. For a lot of them, it is still a special occasion and they don’t tend to do it often. With the younger audience it is different, but there is still a money problem.” The Russian festival market isn’t flooded with sponsorship cash, but for those brands with the means, live music is a
“ Despite all the news you are likely to read or see on TV about Russia, there’s a constant, ever-growing interest in new music coming from the West.” Nadia Solovieva, SAV
IQ Magazine January 2020
Russia meaningful model. Food delivery service Delivery Club subsidised its first Delivery Fest at Moscow’s Gorky Park this year – a music and food event booked by Caviar Lounge with performances from John Newman and local acts including Cream Soda and My Michelle. “They had the budget, they set a really cheap ticket price, it was a family-type festival and they did really well,” says Epishkova. “When you are not depending on ticket sales, festivals work a lot better. They got more than 15,000 people on the day.”
Venues Moscow and St Petersburg have plenty of venues, of course, and more all the time. In Moscow, the larger staples include the 81,000-cap Luzhniki Stadium, the 35,000-cap Olimpiyskiy arena and Dynamo Moscow’s 25,716-cap VTB Arena. In the middle range are the 7,233-cap Crocus City Hall and 6,500-cap Adrenaline Stadium, and its diverse smaller halls and clubs include the Glav Club, Izvestia Hall, Volta Club, Red, Icon, Aglomerat, Melnitsa’s new 1930 Club and others. Given its size, however, Moscow could always use more. “We don’t have a good substitute for Olimpiyskiy – an indoor
“Sometimes we need to pay what we can’t pay just to have good international bands in our schedule…” Semyon Galperin, Tele-Club
venue for large-scale events happening in the “cold season,” which can be around seven or eight months in Moscow,” says Solovieva. “We’re forced to organise most of our big shows in late spring or summer, which is a super-competitive time, while some of the artists we’d like to bring to Russia have free dates only in winter or late autumn.” St Petersburg, historically Russia’s cultural capital and still a hotbed of music, has its 12,300-cap Ice Palace (Ledovy Dvorets) arena and the 7,000-cap Yubileyny Sports Palace, to add to Morze, the Cosmonavt Club, Club Jagger, A2 Club and plenty more. Outside those two cities, things get more complicated. There are theatres and sport arenas and a scattering of active music clubs – Tele-Club, Zvezda in Samara, Aura in Voronezh – to accommodate passing small and medium artists. The problems, however, are the same old ones, compounded by diminished spending power outside Moscow. “In general, it’s always the same thing with touring,” says Zaretsky. “Logistics are quite difficult. Not enough good venues. But we have a lot of great new stadiums after the World Cup, and there are some ice hockey arenas being built as well.” Galperin says regional venues find themselves marginalised due to Russia’s weakened economic position. Unkle, Papa Roach and Tricky have been through Tele-Club lately, but international fees are hard to square with local ticket prices, given the weakened Russian ruble. “It’s very hard,” says Galperin. “Sometimes we need to pay what we can’t pay just to have good international bands in our schedule, so people still believe we are a cool venue. We say, ‘let’s just close our eyes and bring Unkle.’ Unfortunately, I think that until Putin goes, or the oil price becomes huge again and the Russian economy grows, it will be like this.”
Sagrado Group’s Izvestia Hall in Moscow hosts a steady stream of international acts
IQ Magazine January 2020
Funktion-One founder Tony Andrews was presented with an Honorary Fellowship by Wrexham Glyndŵr University’s vice-chancellor, Professor Maria Hinfelaar, in recognition of his decade-spanning work at the forefront of professional audio.
Pictured at their mindfulness station at Resorts World Arena are a number of NEC Group’s trained mental health first-aiders. Following a successful trial, the venues operator has committed to rolling out mental health support across a number of events.
Apologies to UTA’s Olly Ward, but if you’re going to post photos on Facebook from your night out at Doktoberfest, we feel almost obliged to share them with a wider audience.
The Cult celebrated the 30th anniversary of their album Sonic Temple with a sold-out UK tour, shifting more than 25,000 tickets. Helping band members Billy Duffy and Ian Astbury mark the occasion backstage at Hammersmith Apollo were agent Steve Zapp of ITB and promoter Alan Day of Kilimanjaro Live.
Richard Howle, director of ticketing for The Ticket Factory, was congratulated by colleagues after scooping the ‘Company Leader (100+ employees)’ gong at the recent West Midlands Leadership Awards.
Delegates travelled from far and wide to take part in the third edition of the European Festival Conference, which this year took place 20-23 November at the picturesque Mas Salagros EcoResort in Vallromanes, 25 kilometres outside of Barcelona.
Staff, friends and family helped Georg Leitner mark both his 60th birthday and the 40th anniversary of Georg Leitner Productions at what sounds like a legendary party © Conny de Beauclair.
If you or any of your ILMC colleagues have any notices or updates to include on the noticeboard, please contact the club secretary, Gordon Masson, via firstname.lastname@example.org
IQ Magazine January 2020
“What was your most memorable moment from the last ten years?” I had nearly 30 international artists confirmed for the 2019 Pentaport Festival, Jisan Festival and a few others, but, unexpectedly, new government laws and systems forced some festivals to shift their dates while others had to cancel. Concerned emails and calls were coming in every night, and with the time difference in Korea, there was basically no time for me to sleep. It felt like living hell wondering how I was going to put this fire out. The only thing I could do was get down on my knees and pray! By the grace of God, I managed to put together a new festival at the Paradise City Resort in Incheon in less than 60 days and ended up saving the dates with the confirmed acts. Not only did we save the situation, but this became the launching pad for our new summer festival, which became the number one summer festival of Korea in 2019. My sincere gratitude goes out to the artist agents that were there for me throughout and believed and supported me in every way. Everybody has a story to tell and I guess this was one of mine… A storm that turned into sunshine!
Firstly, I got married seven years ago. Secondly, my wife and I had a daughter. Lastly, about five years ago our company realised that our exhibitions department [had] developed so successfully [that] it was time to give up on the music and shows industry. So we started trading as World Touring Exhibitions; new website, new productions, and moved on for good. Waving goodbye to irrational deals and people shouting almost made me reach nirvana (and we are wealthier now, which has definitely helped me reach nirvana).
Tommy Jinho Yoon, International Creative Agency
Nick Hobbs, Charmenko
Without a doubt, the most memorable moment was back in 2014 during the 12th edition of our festival. We had Volbeat headlining our first day, which had gone smoothly until the TM told me the singer of the band had missed his connecting flight to Oulu. But some magic happened and 50 minutes after the panic call, the singer was on a private jet. So the show was delayed but not cancelled. Giving birth to my son, six months previously, was nothing compared to: “He missed his flight!” Always remember to adjust your watch to local time when catching connecting flights!
Corrado Canonici, World Touring Exhibitions
Professionally: three cities with the ginger-haired lad from Halifax felt like a strong test of my less-than-perfect ability to stay calm in the face of challenge. Personally: performing as a soloist with the Estonian Symphony Orchestra took me a long way out of my musical comfort zone. And hiking nearly 4,000km through Istanbul’s threatened green region in the interests of opening up hiking routes where before there were none, felt like I did something that will outlast me. Most memorable moment? June 2018: Seeing Gordon Masson’s face when we were standing at the side of the stage at the London Stadium watching 75,000 people watching Foo Fighters. Highlight? July 2019: Becoming a “Grauntie” (great aunt) for the first time! Gillian Park, MGR Touring
My highlight was my 60th birthday party, which was also the 40th anniversary of GLP. Many friends from the business that had worked with me throughout the years, such as my old partner, Richard Hoermann, now at Barracuda Music, were there, along with my 86-yearold father, Rudi Leitner, who has been responsible for the financial control at my company, and who danced the night away with my mother. Georg Leitner, GLP
On 3 September 2010, I promoted the amazing U2 360° show at the Olympic Stadium of Athens, which was unforgettable and quite challenging. During this event, I met U2 production director Jake Berry, who is currently my life partner. My life has changed since then and my relationship with Jake has given me happiness and fulfilment. So, I can only say: Thank you, U2! Nana Trandou, High Priority Promotions PC
The last ten years have been a total blur, but what stood out is ILMC and all the friends I have made all over the world. It brought me to the UK for the first time ever, and I met Chris Prosser within the first five minutes, thanks to Gary Smith. The following years have been nothing but ten-hour flights back and forth, building an amazing understanding of the international business place. Thank you, ILMC. Dan Steinberg, Emporium Presents
Sandy Kantola, Qstock Oy
Without a doubt, Desert Trip was unbelievable – I was there. The incredible growth of Nordoff Robbins is also up there. But the sale of my company, The Agency Group – after 34 years of ownership – to UTA, is my biggest highlight. Neil Warnock, UTA
Foo Fighters at the London Stadium © Gordon Masson
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IQ Magazine January 2020