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This Week’s Blog Post
With stars like Rihanna and Justin Bieber back in the news recently for late appearances on stage, Adam Behr takes a look at stage times, backstage rituals and the common ground as well as the differences across the spectrum of musical activity in the ‘star system’.
One From the Archives
Kenny Forbes from Glasgow University, questions the drive towards streamlined venues and concerts. Will they ultimately make for less memorable gigs?
Live Music News:
The civil case brought by the Jackson family against promoter AEG, for £26 billion, has begun, with the jury selected and witnesses lists revealed, to include a host of stars and the late singer’s children. AEG will argue that Jackson was responsible for his own death and that Dr. Conrad Murray, whom the criminal courts jailed for his death and who has spoken out from prison, was employed by him.
AEG has, meanwhile, partnered with the Rolling Stones for a gig in Hyde Park a week after their Glastonbury appearance, forty-four years after they first played there, as part of its British Summer Time Festival. Tickets for the Hyde Park show sold out in under five minutes but there has been a row over premium priced tickets with claims that that fans were misled about their proximity to the stage, as well as reports of tickets being offered for resale at up to £12,000. The band has also added more dates to its US tour.
AEG Live subsidiary Goldenvoice has announced that its Coachella and Stagecoach festivals will stay in the Californian city of Indio until at least 2030: The main tenet of the agreement will more than double the amount per ticket that Goldenvoice will share with the city, moving from $2.33 to $5.01 beginning in 2014. It will also allow the promoter to the freedom to stage two additional events in the autumn, with capacities set at 75,000 and 99,000.
Leefest launches Kickstarter campaign: Independent festival LeeFest has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise £50,000 to help grow the annual event, which began as a party in Lee Denny’s back garden in Bromley in 2006.
Alt Fest has ended its own Kickstarter campaign with 205% of its goal: Over 593 backers pledged a total of £61,672 – doubling the £30,000 organisers had initially aimed for.
In more festivals news: Liverpool Sound City announces more panels for 2013 and partners with online review site Gigwise, who have also joined forces with The Great Escape; whilst Patti Smith, Boy George and Siouxsie Sioux have signed up for Yoko Ono’s Meltdown festival; The Cure and Mumford & Sons will headline Lollapalooza; and Glastonbury’s ‘Shagri-La’ area has announced an “afterlife” theme which will run for the next four years.
Residents object to Sunrise Festival plans in Wiltshire: Plans to stage a music festival at a former golf course in Wiltshire are being opposed by some local residents. The four-day festival, staged on a farm in Somerset since 2009, is looking to relocate after heavy rain turned the site into a sea of mud in 2012. Some residents have fears of drinking, drugs and loud music. Organisers say they are working with police.
Capercaillie and Skerryvore lead line-up for Tiree Music Festival: The event was previously named “Scotland’s best small festival” and this year will have increased capacity and a new family campsite.
PRS for Music has shown an increase in revenues of 1.7% for 2012, despite live revenues dropping 14.1% to £19.3 million. The reported cited the London 2012 Olympics, a cut back in touring because of the games and there being no Glastonbury Festival as reasons for the drop in revenues from live music but maintained that the market remained ‘buoyant’.
Ticket charges – No more ‘excessive’ card surcharges: Consumers booking a range of items from cinema tickets to hotel rooms now have new protection from card surcharges. A ban on “excessive” debit and credit card charges has come into effect which the government has said should put an end to unscrupulous practices by some businesses.
A survey by The Stage has revealed that the top prices for West End tickets are up to more than £80, although cheaper seats have fallen in price and there has also been a drop in extra booking fees. (Notes on the methodology of the survey are available here).
Ticketfly Canada has now landed two-dozen promoters and venues since January when the San Francisco-based ticket company launched in Canada and says others will follow suit when their existing contracts expire. They are hoping to to sell $8 million worth of tickets in Canada in their first year of operation.
A deal has gone through for Hilco to purchase HMV: Hilco CEO Paul McGowan will be HMV’s new chairman, while Ian Topping, formerly head of retail firm the Steinhoff Group, will become CEO, leading a strategy that will see the company refocus on music and DVDs, rather than further pursuing the gadget route the entertainment retailer had taken prior to falling into administration in January. 132 stores will be saved from closure, along with nine Fopp outlets. (A list of the rescued HMV shops is available here).
Hydro and SECC Glasgow appoint new concerts, events and ticketing director: Glasgow arena venues SECC and Hydro have appointed John Langford as director, Concerts, Events & Ticketing. In the newly-created role, Langford will be responsible for overseeing and developing the sales activity within the concerts, events and ticketing sector and to position forthcoming new venue The Hydro (and wider SECC campus).
English National Opera appoints Martyn Rose as chairman: He will take up his position from May 1st, when Ffion Hague and Glyn Barker, who currently share the role, will step down and continue as deputy chairs.Currently chairman of Dance East in Ipswich, Rose also chairs the Big Society Network, which was set up to encourage social enterprise.
UK Music’s Dot Levine joins Attitude Is Everything board: Attitude is Everything works with a number of live music venues and festivals, including the Brixton Academy, KOKO, Roundhouse, Glastonbury, Latitude and Lovebox, to improve access for deaf and disabled people. The charity has brought Levine onto its board of trustees to raise its profile amongst senior executives within the music business and other decision makers.
Live Nation and Starwood Hotels and Resorts have launched a series of exclusive hotel shows for guests: “On Tour With SPG: Hear the Music, See the World” is the latest programme of Live Nation and Starwood’s multiyear partnership, built around Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), a guest-rewards program and exclusive to rewards members.
DUP meets Parades Commission over north Belfast parade: There are concerns over a republican parade and membership of a particular marching band in north Belfast at the weekend. A masked gunman fired shots at the event, and several children were pictured marching in paramilitary clothing. DUP assembly member Nelson McCausland said the appearance of the gunman was not a matter solely for the police saying, “The fact is that when the masked man stepped forward, the bands were there and were playing music… therefore when they are looking for notification of parades in future by that particular band, that behaviour must be taken into account.”
Edinburgh arts quarter faces planning headache: Plans for a multi-million pound new arts quarter overlooking Edinburgh Castle are facing major stumbling blocks over calls to save a “Brutalist” era building facing demolition to make way for the project. Property experts have revealed that Edinburgh City Council faces major red-tape headaches in pursuing such a scheme on the site of Argyle House because of a long-term lease on the building, which is currently lying empty.
Taunton’s borough council to “safeguard” Brewhouse Theatre: Taunton Deane Borough Council will make a bid to secure the leasehold on the Brewhouse Theatre to safeguard its future as a public arts venue. The venue went into administration last month citing funding cuts for its closure, with visiting companies claiming they were owed thousands of pounds in unpaid fees.
East Kent College gets £1.6m government grant: East Kent College has won a £1.6m grant to help build a creative arts centre at its campus in Broadstairs. Principal Graham Razey said the new centre would include a theatre, digital media suite and music performance spaces.
Mark Knopfler cancels Russian shows in human rights protest: Former Dire Straits lead guitarist takes decision on Moscow and St Petersburg gigs following crackdown by the Kremlin.
Seven members of the National Ballet of Cuba defect: The dancers defected “to be in a place where one can grow artistically,” one of them declared on a television appearance.
St. Paul mayor brokers a likely St. Paul Chamber Orchestra settlement: The mayor of the city has appears to have brokered the terms of an agreement in principle that would end a long, bitter labour dispute at the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and salvage as many as 14 concerts, although the nearby Minnesota Orchestra remains locked out, with musicians leaving as violinist Gina DiBello departs to join the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
The troubled Nashville Symphony Orchestra also faces labour talks with the Nashville Musicians Association in addition to its negotiations with bank lenders concerning its $102 million debt.
There has been another strike at Milan’s La Scala opera house, forcing the cancellation of a performance of Verdi’s “Macbeth” conducted by Russian maestro Valery Gergiev, although the Bolshoi ballet’s ‘Rite of Spring’ festival has gone ahead despite all the turmoil within the company.
War of words erupts at beleaguered Belgrade Philharmonic: Concertmasters and musicians have responded to the music director who walked out on the Belgrade Philharmonic two weeks ago, blaming a ‘despotic’ manager.
Ailing Cleveland Orchestra music director Franz Welser-Most withdraws from programme at Severance Hall: After falling ill last weekend in Vienna, Austria, music director Franz Welser-Most has followed the advice of his physician and withdrawn from next week’s concerts at Severance Hall, ceding the podium to his assistant, conductor James Feddeck.
Sergei Polunin fails to show at the Coliseum: A dancer who dramatically walked out of the Royal Ballet last year has vanished again just days before the opening of a big new show in which he was set to star.
Euro woe puts paid to Sydney Symphony Orchestra tour: Failed negotiations over venue fees against the backdrop of the eurozone crisis have forced the cancellation of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s planned European tour this year.
London hosts first ‘opera Oscars’, but UK doesn’t make top award shortlist: Leading companies are overlooked for International Opera Awards after ‘playing it safe’, but individual British performers and productions are in with a chance
Chetham’s gets one month to clean up its act: Inspection reports are ‘damning’ to the £31,000-a-year school, which must decide on a plan of action before May 10th. A report by the Independent Schools Inspectorate noted a lack of adherence to required complaints procedures and Manchester Council was critical of failings by the board of governors and the school management to take account of ‘recent allegations in connection with the school’. Critic and writer Norman Lebrecht, who has been highly critical of the school, has also said that students at Chethams have orchestrated a campaign to disrupt his blog.
A group of former music pupils in Suffolk, meanwhile, is seeking damages ten years after the conviction of Stowmarket music teacher for indecent assault whilst a former music teacher at a Christian school in Chicago is being charged with sexually abusing two female students he met while working as an instructor there.
Brazil nightclub fire – Four charged with manslaughter: Two nightclub owners and two members of the band playing as the fire began are accused of “negligent homicide”.
Shrewsbury Big Busk remembers murdered Ben Bebbington: A busking festival has been held in Shrewsbury in memory of a man who was killed on an old canal footpath. Forty three-year-old Guy Benson Bebbington, known as Ben, was found with severe head injuries between Ditherington Road and Telford Way in September and later died in hospital.
Russian opera chief, 33, dies after falling into orchestra pit: Olga Enns, acting director of Perm Opera and Ballet, has died after two weeks in a coma. She fell into an unfenced opera pit during a rehearsal of Peer Gynt. She had worked in Perm since 2006 and was among those responsible for making the theatre friendly to foreign companies.
Bestival coach crash victim Michael Molloy honoured with Liverpool music award: A musician who died in a crash while returning from a festival is to have a music award named in honour of him.
Justin Bieber shows prompt Norwegian schools to reschedule exams: Several schools have changed dates after fears that Bieber’s forthcoming Oslo performances clash with exam timetables. German customer officials, meanwhile, have quarantined the singer’s monkey, Mally, and say that it will be put into care if required documentation is not produced.
Abertay University launches Dundee’s Sistema Scotland campaign: A campaign to bring the Sistema Scotland orchestra to Dundee is being launched at Abertay University. It is being headed by the family of the late Michael Marra, who had wanted to establish a Dundee Big Noise orchestra.
Reading walking music history tour launches: A walking and online tour charting Reading’s musical history has launched. The £25,000 Heritage Lottery-funded Reading On Tour project focuses on the town’s post war music history and Reading Festival.
Oxford Playhouse presents ‘autism-friendly’ musical: A musical that has been specifically adapted for young people with autism has premiered in Oxford. The Oxford Playhouse’s “relaxed performance” of Spot’s Birthday Party encourages audience members to come and go as they please and make noise if they wish.
Kilter Theatre performs play in back of van: The tiny theatre, equipped with an orchestra pit for a single musician, can accommodate an audience of just 17.
Bollywood live opera auditions in Bradford: Auditions have been taking place in Bradford for Bollywood Live, a BBC production to be held in the city. It is an adaptation of the opera Carmen by Bizet, and will include original music and pop songs.
Shop owner sued over lost $400,000 violin: The shop lost the $400,000, 176-year-old instrument by lending it to a stranger who never returned, according to the lawsuit. Korean musician Kyungah Yang placed her 1837 J.F. Pressenda violin with the Midtown shop in 1998, according to the $800,000 Manhattan federal suit. The store was supposed to sell the instrument for $285,000, but it never found a buyer.
Sambora drops out of Bon Jovi tour: A statement said, “Due to personal issues, Richie Sambora will not be performing on this upcoming leg. All shows will go on as scheduled”.
Cat Power tour on again: The tour, postponed because of health and financial issues, will re-start in June.
Lady Gaga turned down $1 million to sing at Republican Party Convention: The snub was revealed in lawsuit papers filed by Republican fundraisers, American Action Network, against production company Cater America LLC, who were booking entertainment for the event.
Steven Tyler cancels ASCAP Expo appearance, offers Naked Google+ Hangout instead: A scheduling conflict will prevent Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler from appearing at the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo. Instead, he has committed to take part in “the first naked chat room on Google+ Hangout,” adding, “Be there or be square, I don’t want to hear you don’t have anything to wear.”
Live Music Features:
As the Rolling Stones prepare to take on Glastonbury and return to Hyde Park, an interview with Charlie Watts reveal his qualms about the festival, and playing outdoors, whilst The Guardian recounts the memories of audience members at the first Hyde Park gig and Ed Vuillamy argues that this summer’s how will never match it.
Festivals – but not as we know them: the next generation of music weekenders is here: Gillian Orr in The Independent looks at the evolution of the music festival beyond just bands and camping.
All Things SXSW (Re)Considered: Marc Ruxin on the growth of South by Southwest, and the accompanying changes.
ITV celebrates Andrew Lloyd Webber – but where was the musical theatre talent?: Matthew Hemley criticises a television tribute for its lack of acknowledgement of onstage talent.
Hall of the House to Auntie’s Rescue: Norman Lebrecht on incoming BBC Director General’s history at the Royal Opera House.
Creative industries – forget about tax breaks and focus on training: We need to stop ‘celebrating’ our creative sector and start doing all the boring things that will sustain it, argues Tom Campbell.
Pulling down ‘monstrous’ block might be too Brutal: Euan Leitch on the plans for an ‘arts cluster’ in Edinburgh.
Would independence give our artists wings?: Hannah McGill considers the prospects for arts infrastructure in light of the Scottish referendum.
Creative Australia likely to deliver real change: A positive assessment of Australia’s arts policy review.
HMV – Where did it all go wrong? : The BBC’s analysis of the background to the high street chain’s problems.
Rihanna, Bieber and all you tardy people – Stop stealing our time: Katrina Onstad on studies of lateness.
A Brief History of Applause, the ‘Big Data’ of the Ancient World: Megan Garber looks at the development of and variations in one of the oldest forms of audience feedback.
Live Music Exchange Events:
Pathways to mediation for live music in the community: University of Glasgow, Monday April 15th, 2:00-5:00pm. Free.
A one-day mediation session, open to live music practitioners, businesses and anyone affected who is interested in learning more about the surrounding issues and the process. Produced by Live Music Exchange and the University of Glasgow with the Scottish Mediation Network. The event is free but spaces are limited.
- The right to musical expression and enjoyment is a crucial part of our cultural lives. But what happens when it clashes with other rights- a good night’s sleep, clean communal spaces, access to your own street?
- Promoting live music can be at the sharp end of these clashes as well as complex issues of planning and regulation – and it’s not always clear whose side the law is on, still less where the rights and wrongs lie.
- This event will examine the concept of competing rights and introduce participants to a mediation approach- moving towards working out specific issues and problems.
- With members of the Scottish Mediation Network, we offer the chance for a range of stakeholders to air concerns and look at the options available to them that avoid entrenched and potentially costly positions.
Live Music Exchange, London: ‘Changing Times for Live Music: Sustaining a vibrant live music ecology’: City University London, 14th May 2013, 9.00am-5.00pm, £10/5 (conc).
A one-day conference organised by The University of Edinburgh’s Live Music Exchange and City University London’s Department of Creative Practice and Enterprise, featuring Paul Latham (Live Nation), Will Page (Spotify), Simon Frith, and Dave Laing.
Live Music-Related Events
Wide Days: Teviot Row House, Edinburgh, 10th and 11th April 2013.
A music industry convention in Edinburgh which is now in its third year. There are panel events throughout the day and gigs to attend in the evening.
Generator Music Clinic- Newcastle: Dance City, Temple Street, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, NE1 4BR, 10am-5pm, 11th April 2013.
The Music Clinic comprises of one-to-one sessions with music business advisors who have years of experience working in the music industry. They can advise on all aspects of the industry – records, publishing, legal, marketing, live, finance, digital, and general business development.
First Family Friendly Arts Conference: Town Hall Birmingham, 15th April.
Supported by Town Hall & Symphony Hall, Birmingham Museum Trust and Birmingham Conservatoire. The Campaign has commissioned new research into discovering both the driving factors for and barriers to family engagement in the arts in 2013. This will be the first time this research is publically presented and will give you the chance to question the researchers first hand.
Workshops for Instrumental Teachers – Hertfordshire Music Service: Mid Herts Music Centre, Birchwood Avenue, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 OXX – 17th or 18th April, 10:30am-3:00pm.
Motivational sessions delivered by specialist trainers and run by Hertfordshire Music Service, the Lead Partner for the Hertfordshire Music Education Hub.
South African Jazz Cultures: Study Day, University of York, Saturday 20th April 2013.
The South African Jazz Cultures indaba / discussion day is an interdisciplinary forum structured around five presentations and a round table. Contributions from academics (Eato, Pyper), filmmakers (Kaganof), heritage practitioners (Temple, Huntley), musicians (Abdul-Rahim, Brubeck, Moholo-Moholo), and Hazel Miller of Ogun Records will invite discussion on a range of issues broadly framed by the idea of South African jazz cultures
Cr8net: Village Underground (in ‘Tech City’) on 24th April 2013.
A one-day conference for the creative industries, bringing together industry practitioners, policy makers and businesses.
Focus Wales Cymru 2013: Multiple venues, Wrexham, 25th-27th April 2013.
Music Festival & Conference in Wrexham: Three days of live music, 100+ lives acts, multiple venues, and music industry discussions.
Musicians’ Union: What’s the Deal?: The MU brings professional advice and networking sessions to the coasts of Devon and Dorset this spring, visiting both Bridport and Torquay and looking at the latest MU campaigns and services to members, together with an overview, updates and advice on copyrights, agents, teaching, royalties and income streams, live issues, insurances, tax, promoting and monetising your music online, partnerships, contracts. For MU members.
Bridport: Bridport Arts Centre, South Street, DT6- 29th April 2013, 6-9pm /
Torquay: The Imperial Hotel Hill Park Road, TQ1 4LD- 30th April, 6-9pm
17th Biennial IASPM Conference: Laboral Ciudad de la Cultura, Gijón, Asturias, Spain, 24-28 June 2013.
Bridge Over Troubled Waters: Challenging Orthodoxies.
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