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Tackling music’s diversity problem: IQ 92 out now

IQ 92, the latest issue of the new monthly digital IQ Magazine, bangs the drum for diversity in live, urging concert professionals to use the Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity to build a more inclusive business with opportunities for all.

Three months on from Black Out Tuesday, our cover feature sees executives of colour talk about their determination to make sure diversity stays at the top of the agenda in the live music industry.

Leading figures including Metropolis Music’s Raye Cosbert, Echo Location boss Obi Asika, ICM agent Yves Pierre and Live Nation’s David Carrigan weigh in on where the industry is doing well – and where there is room for improvement – as well as practical steps every live music professional can take to effect change, both in their own lives and in wider corporate structures.

Elsewhere in the September issue of IQ is a guide to the Interactive Festival Forum (iFF), which begins this Wednesday (2 September). A temporary, virtual replacement for the International Festival Forum, the event will feature the most packed programme ever for a conference devoted to the festivals sector, with networking aspects invaluable for strengthening professional relationships ahead of the 2021 season.

Leading execs of colour weigh in on where the industry is doing well, and where there is room for improvement

Tickets to iFF will be available before, during and after the event, with video panel sessions recorded to allow absent delegates to catch up. Registration is available via the IFF website.

Plus, in the spirit of the post-Zoom world in which we find ourselves, the final feature profiles some of the best livestreaming platforms and services that are defying lockdown and social distancing restrictions to help artists connect with their fans.

As always, most content from the magazine – including the regular news analysis, comment, new agency signings and more – will appear online in some form in the next month.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe now.


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First £10k penalties issued for illegal parties

The first fines have been issued in England under tough new measures designed to deter would-be organisers of illegal raves.

The British home secretary, Priti Patel, announced last week that anyone who organises an illegal rave, unlicensed music event or any other “unlawful” gathering of more than 30 people could be liable for a fine of £10,000.

In London, the Metropolitan Police says it broke up 21 unlicensed music events (‘UMEs’) on Saturday 29 August alone.

One raid, in Dace Road, Hackney, saw officers take “details of four individuals, who have been reported for consideration under the new legislation”, says the Met’s Commander Bas Javid. “Enquiries into this event are ongoing.”

A number of arrests were also made at an anti-lockdown protest in central London, with protester Piers Corbyn – brother of former Labour party leader Jeremy – notably hit with the maximum penalty of £10,000.

A total of 11 £10,000 fines were handed out last weekend

“One individual has been reported under the new legislation, and a fixed penalty notice [will] be issued for £10,000 for the offence of holding a gathering of more than 30 people in an outdoor public place,” adds Javid.

According to Sky News, a total of 11 £10,000 fines were handed out last weekend.

They include penalties issued to the organisers of an illegal rave in Banwen, south Wales, which was attended by 3,000 people, and a number of parties in West Yorkshire.

Another (licensed) music event in Leeds was shut down for not adhering to government guidelines on social distancing.

Also hosting UMEs over the weekend were Norfolk’s Thetford Forest, when an unlawful rave was attended by over 500 people, and Harlow, Essex, where authorities seized “thousands of pounds” worth of sound equipment just prior to the event’s start.

 


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The Associates: AFO, AIF, BDKV

Covid-19 has impacted every business sector around the world, but with live entertainment likely to be one of the last industries to return, given social distancing regulations, the associations that represent its millions of employees have never been more important.

As restrictions in many countries enter yet another month, for issue 91 IQ found out more about some of our association partners and discovered just what they are doing to help their members navigate and survive.

First in the spotlight are the UK’s Association of Festival Organisers and Association of Independent Festivals, along with Germany’s Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry.


Association of Festival Organisers (UK)
The Association of Festival Organisers (AFO) was formed in 1987 when just six organisers came together to exchange ideas, discuss the growing festival calendar and offer support to each other. Now, there are more than 250 members, over 150 of which are festivals, with the rest of the membership made up of associated supply services.

The AFO supports its members by engaging with UK government, local authorities, trade/industry, UK Music, and many other organisations, supplying them with information and a voice that enables them to stand up for their corner of the outdoor events industry.

Membership fees are kept as low as possible because they believe that the organisers that need help and advice the most are the ones with the smallest budgets. A festival, for example, can join for £100 (€112) per year; an associate will be more like £200 (€224), depending on size; while individuals pay around £40 (€45).

During the pandemic, AFO has provided members with information and guidance, and offered one-on-one Zoom calls for any member that needed more detailed attention. The association has posted 26 items of Covid-19 news on its website and sent out numerous blogs and newsletters, along with surveys and general questionnaires to keep up to speed with the devastating situation the virus has brought to the industry.

During the pandemic, AFO has provided members with information and guidance, and offered one-on-one Zoom calls

Association of Independent Festivals (UK)
The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) is one of the UK’s leading festival representative bodies. Founded in 2008, the combined attendance of AIF’s 65 member events exceeds 820,000 each year, with members contributing an estimated £386m (€433m) to the UK economy annually. AIF provides a vital support network for independent festival promoters through members meetings; public facing campaigns and lobbying; producing conferences and training events; and providing business support services to members.

AIF’s member events range from 500- to 70,000-capacity and include some of the most successful and innovative festivals in the UK: Boomtown Fair, Shambala, Boardmasters, End of the Road, Bluedot and many more. Member fees range between £500–£5,000 (€560–€5,600) and are calculated based on licensed capacity.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, AIF’s work representing members has been extensive and far-reaching, including proactively lobbying and presenting evidence and data to support measures that will alleviate the sector to both the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Her Majesty’s Treasury.

These include producing numerous impact surveys and lobbying on issues such as temporary extensions to consumer refund periods; VAT holidays; extending the coronavirus job retention scheme; making a distinction between retail and seasonal businesses; and clarity on the eligibility of festivals for grants and loans. These efforts have resulted in discussions at ministerial level about the festival industry’s issues.

BDKV successfully lobbied for legislation that gives promoters the right to offer ticketholders a voucher instead of a reimbursement

BDKV (Germany)
The Federal Association of the Concert and Event Industry, or Bundesverband der Konzert- und Veranstaltungswirtschaft (BDKV), membership includes about 450 promoters and agents across all sectors of the live entertainment business. Membership fees depend on the size of the member company or organisation and range from €750 to €2,500 per year.

During the pandemic, the BDKV successfully lobbied for legislation that gives promoters the right to offer ticketholders (for shows that were/are unable to go ahead due to the coronavirus) a voucher instead of a reimbursement, as well as for any presale expenses.

The voucher scheme is unique, according to BDKV, as it completely reverses existing German law. However, the association convinced policy makers that the vouchers were vital for German promoters whose businesses would have been in jeopardy if they had been forced to reimburse ticket holders.

In addition to its voucher campaign, BDKV has been instrumental in establishing a task force for all German associations involved in the music business, which has created a detailed damage claim for the business, amounting to €582m, including around €420m for the live sector. BDKV, alongside its task force partners, is currently awaiting an answer from German government regarding this claim.

 


View the full Associates list in the digital edition of IQ 91. To keep on top of the latest live music industry news, features and insights, subscribe to IQ now


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Ocesa spearheads Colombia’s first drive-in shows

Colombian promoters Ocesa Colombia and Páramo Presenta have announced the country’s first drive-in concerts.

The shows, staged in partnership with Live Nation, will be held in the car park of the Salitre Mágico theme park in Bogota. Organisers expect the first concerts, which will include a range of artists and genres, to take place in early October, Páramo Presenta’s Sergio Pabón tells radio show La W.

Initially only open to cars, the shows will be opened up to motorbikes towards the end of the year, he adds.

In Colombia, concerts and other large events are excluded from a loosening of coronavirus restrictions scheduled for 30 September.

“We want fans to enjoy the music and have fun from their vehicles”

Ocesa Colombia’s Luz Ángela Castro says there will capacity for 290 vehicles, “with a minimum of two people in the car and a maximum of four”.

The promoters expect to announce dates and an initial line-up next month. “We have complied with what the public asks of us, and that is also what we want: That fans enjoy [the music] and have fun from their vehicles,” adds Ángela Castro. “Now the public must help us” by buying tickets, he says.

The first drive-in shows in Latin America took place in Puerto Rico in July, courtesy of Move Concerts, closely followed by similar events in Mexico.

Ocesa Colombia’s Mexico-based parent company, Ocesa, was supposed to have been acquired by Live Nation this year. However, the deal was controversially called off in May after LN, reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, said it could not agree revised terms with Ocesa owners CIE and Televisa Group.


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LN Japan announces paid Tokyo Sessions live streams

Live Nation Japan has announced Tokyo Sessions, a new virtual concert series that aims to connect Japanese artists with international audiences.

A joint venture with artist management company Far East Entertainment and brand agency Helixes, Tokyo Sessions combines full-length livestreamed performances from Tokyo venues with behind-the-scenes and interview footage.

Heavy metal band Crossfaith is the first featured artist, performing from Tokyo’s ~900-capacity Liquidroom on 12 September. Tickets for the performance, dubbed ‘Open the Dimensions’, start at US$15 (ticket only), with a livestream ticket + T-shirt bundle priced at $45.

“We are living in a time when we can only enjoy live music through a big invisible filter,” say Crossfaith in a joint statement.

“Our answer to break such a filter is to Open the Dimensions, where we take fans to explore the fifth dimension and provide them with a completely new experience that goes beyond the limitations of traditional art and music and our previous physical live events.”

 


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Netherlands announces €482m aid for culture sector

Following weeks of protests by beleaguered live entertainment businesses, the Netherlands’ government has announced a further €482 million in emergency funding for the Dutch cultural sector.

The new funding, announced today (28 August), follows an initial package of €300m made available to cultural businesses in April.

Speaking to de Volkskrant, Dutch culture minister Ingrid Van Engelshoven – who has been criticised for her perceived slowness to act on behalf of creative businesses, especially in comparison to neighbouring Germany –  says she believes that “the Dutch cultural sector cannot [now] say that their needs are not being met.”

The announcement of the support package follows the Night of Live and #SoundofSilence campaigns, both of which aimed to secure further government support for the Dutch live industry. While live music has to an extent restarted in the Netherlands, stringent social-distancing regulations mean the vast majority of business have been unable to return to any kind of normality.

€150m will be allocated to local authorities to support their local music venues and theatres

Businesses including Friendly Fire, Mojo Concerts and arenas Ziggo Dome and AFAS Live have made redundancies to cut costs in recent months.

Of the new money, €200m will be allocated to “large cultural institutions” and the ecosystem of artists and self-employed workers around them, according to de Volkskrant. The AFAS Live arena in Amsterdam illuminated for the recent Night of Live “as they see fit”, with the rest divided between, among other things, filmmakers, museums and the Brown Fleet of historic ships.

€14m is also reserved for events and companies who lost their subsidies in the latest round of Performing Arts Fund decisions.

“Just like other sectors, the cultural and creative sector will have to adapt,” says Van Engelshoven, “[but] the cabinet wants there to be a strong cultural and creative sector even after the corona crisis. It also makes a significant contribution to a healthy business climate in the Netherlands.”

 


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Ivan Milivojev exits Exit after 20 years

Twenty years after the first Exit Festival, Ivan Milivojev, co-founder and director of festival promoter Exit, has announced he is leaving the company.

Milivojev – a popular and widely respected figure credited with helping to put Serbia on the international live music map – shared the news in an email to colleagues and friends, writing that 2020 brings to an end his Exit journey. “Exit was my life and my passion, but now I feel that I need to let it go to start a new chapter in my business life,” he said, adding that “even the best stories have endings”.

With the Exit team, Milivojev (pictured) is a co-founder of Serbia’s Exit Festival (2000), Warriors Dance Festival (2012) and art event DEV9T (2015), Montenegro’s Sea Dance Festival (2014) and Romania’s Revolution (2015), among others.

Working primarily as a programming manager, he has worked with acts including the Prodigy, Madonna, Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Chemical Brothers, Robbie Williams, Franz Ferdinand and Die Antwoord.

“Even the best stories have endings”

He is also a long-time ILMC member and board member of Yourope, the European Festival Association.

“I will always be proud of Exit and what we did,” he tells IQ, saying the flagship festival was “important for Serbia as a country”, providing a platform for international artists to visit the country for the first time. The festival celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019.

Milivojev remains a minor Exit shareholder for the time being, but will have no role in the company’s management beyond 2020.

He says his plans for the future will be announced in the coming months, but confirms he will be remain in the festival/concert promotion business.

“I wish all my former colleagues the best of luck,” he comments, “but it’s time to say farewell and move onto new challenges in our crazy and beautiful music business.”

 


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Germany’s Festival for Festivals raises €350k

Germany’s Festival for Festivals (Festival für Festivals) raised €350,000 for events that are struggling due to the effects of the pandemic.

Over 150 festivals, including DEAG’s four-day Nature One festival, will benefit from the proceeds of the three-day livestream event, which took place between 21 and 23 August.

The festival saw 20,000 fans take part in various virtual challenges on the event’s app – 6,000 of which pre-ordered “festival boxes and ribbons”.

“We are incredibly happy and proud that we have been able to unite so many different festivals,” says Johannes Jacobi from Höme – Für Festivals, which initiated the project alongside broadcaster Alex Berlin.

“That alone is a strong signal and shows what can result from a collaboration of this size in the future,” he told MusikWoche.

“The fact that so many festival fans were so active at the weekend to literally celebrate festivals overwhelmed us”

“The fact that so many festival fans were so active at the weekend to literally celebrate festivals overwhelmed us, and was a little unexpected. We would like to thank every single person who celebrated the festival culture this weekend.”

Friends meeting festival in Berlin, Spremberg’s metal festival Gahlen Moscht Metal Open Air, and Rock am Berg Open Air were among the festivals supported by the event.

According to the Festival für Festivals organisers, fans solved over 20,000 challenges in the Höme Festivalcamp app, which garnered over 400,000 views across the weekend.

For every challenge solved, the participating camps could win points. The winning team “Korniville” won free access to all 156 festivals that took part in the campaign for the next festival summer.

In addition to the challenges, there was a varied program on three digital stages over the entire weekend which included auctions, quizzes, documentary screenings, and panels.

 


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UK braces for long weekend of illegal events

Police, local authorities and industry associations have warned would-be party promoters against organising illegal gatherings in the UK this long weekend, after the government announced tougher fines for those found to be facilitating “the most serious breaches of social distancing restrictions”.

Britain’s home secretary, Priti Patel, announced earlier this week that anyone who organises an illegal rave, unlicensed music event or any other “unlawful” gathering of more than 30 people could be liable for a fine of £10,000.

Those who attend said events could also be punished with a fine of £100 for each violation, Patel (pictured) said.

“To the organisers of this sort of activity, I strongly advise that you seriously consider the risks you’re creating for everyone in attendance and the wider community,” says Commander Ade Adelekan, the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s lead for unlicensed music events.

Illegal raves have been on the increase in the UK in recent months amid the continuing shutdown of live entertainment, with unlicensed events also reported in France and elsewhere in continental Europe.

In London alone, the Metropolitan Police has responded to more than 1,000 unlicensed events since the end of June, receiving information on more than 200 events across the city in a single weekend, according to the Home Office.

“The government must consider safe options to allow the night-time economy and events sector to reopen”

There are fears the three-day weekend (Monday 31 August is a public holiday in the UK) could see an escalation in the number of illicit events, with councils across the country warning people against organising or attending illegal mass gatherings.

Michael Kill, CEO of the Night-Time Industries Association, says a spike in unlicensed parties over the bank holiday weekend will “escalate an already increasing number of unregulated and unsafe events placing young people at risk”.

“Small house parties and raves have been bubbling under the surface of society for many years now – but lockdown has intensified this, with young people searching for alternatives to late-night venues as they struggle to cope with continuing restrictions on their lives due to the pandemic,” he comments.

“Bank holidays present a particular challenge, but given the imminent reintroduction of student communities to university cities, and restrictions on the reopening of nightclubs and venues, we are concerned that the freshers’ period will result in an eruption of illegal house parties and gatherings. This will create challenging times for police forces up and down the country.”

He continues: “As the night-time economy and events sector is unable to reopen to provide safe spaces for young people to express themselves, DIY alternatives are being organised which are unregulated and may compromise young people’s safety. Previous illegal events have resulted in several serious incidents, but have continued to grow in popularity over the last few months.

“Thousands of businesses remain closed and struggle to survive and protect the livelihoods of their staff while unsafe illegal events continue. The government must consider safe options to allow the night-time economy and events sector to reopen to help combat the rise in illegal parties and raves across the country.”+

 


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DEAG minimises losses in first half of 2020

German live entertainment group DEAG has managed to cap its losses at €300,000 in the first half of the year, according to the company’s half-year earnings report.

Despite the widespread economic impact of coronavirus, the company has minimised its losses as a result of a “massive cost-cutting programme” and €9 million in insurance payouts, with another €5.1 million in the settlement process.

DEAG (Deutsche Entertainment AG), which owns My Ticket and Gigantic, also reported that sales in the first half of the year amounted to €31.7 million (previous year €63.9m) and to €5.6m (previous year: €38.4m) in the second quarter.

In the second quarter, the company managed to save more than 30% compared to the first quarter of 2020.

“We are satisfied with the economic result in the first half of 2020 against the backdrop of the drastic restrictions imposed by Covid-19 on us. Above all, we are demonstrating operationally that DEAG can develop and implement successful events in any market environment, provided the regulatory framework allows it,” says Peter Schwenkow, CEO of DEAG.

“Due to DEAG’s strong financial resources, the time scale of the crisis is not the main focus of our considerations”

DEAG’s report says its relatively smooth six months is down to the company’s swift pivot to new event formats.

According to the report, electronic festival Nature One made its virtual debut in August to an audience of 4.5 million users.

While the drive-in event, BW-Bank Kulturwasen in Stuttgart, has been extended until the end of September.

The company also cites Stage Drive in Frankurt and virtual reality format TimeRide as successful projects.

“I am extremely grateful to all our employees not only for their ideas, but also for their motivation and commitment to our cost reduction and efficiency programmes. Our enormous efforts are proving to be a great success. Due to DEAG’s strong financial resources, the time scale of the crisis is not the main focus of our considerations,” continues Schwenkow.

“On the contrary, our dense calendar of events for 2021, many millions of tickets sold and already more than €100m in contracted revenues at the end of the first half of the year make us very optimistic. For the vast majority of these revenues in the coming year, we also have full insurance coverage again, including cancellation due to force majeure.”

According to the company, nearly 90% of customers have indicated that they will keep their tickets for postponed events. At the end of the first half of the year, DEAG had already sold a total of around 2.5m tickets in Germany, Switzerland and the UK (including Scotland).

 


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