Music Venue Trust has announced a new partnership to support its #saveourvenues campaign, while Coachella and Stagecoach have been officially cancelled…

Coachella

Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival and Stagecoach: California’s Country Music Festival have both been officially cancelled after being rescheduled from April to October due to COVID-19 concerns.

Riverside County public health officer Cameron Kaiser confirmed yesterday that officials have been in touch with Goldenvoice, which operates both festivals, to order the cancellation over fears of an autumn resurgence of COVID-19.

Kaiser said: “I am concerned as indications grow that COVID-19 could worsen in the fall. In addition, events like Coachella and Stagecoach would fall under Governor Newsom’s Stage 4, which he has previously stated would require treatments or a vaccine to enter.

“Given the projected circumstances and potential, I would not be comfortable moving forward. These decisions are not taken lightly with the knowledge that many people will be impacted. My first priority is the health of the community.”

Coachella usually welcomes international crowds of around 250,000 people over two weekends, while Stagecoach hosts around 85,000 attendees.

Italian vouchers

Italian promoter D’allessandro e Galli have defended the country’s ticket voucher scheme after Sir Paul McCartney slated the initiative as “outrageous” following the cancellation of his concerts due to COVID-19.

McCartney had been set to perform in the Italian cities of Naples and Lucca this week but cancelled the shows early last month, which led to a fiery response from fans who were this week offered vouchers but not refunds.

The former Beatles star said in a statement on his official Facebook page: “It is outrageous that those who have paid for their tickets are not getting their money back. Without the fans there would be no live entertainment.

“We strongly disagree with what the Italian government are doing. In every other country we were going to visit this summer the fans have all been offered full refunds. The organiser of our shows and the Italian law makers must do the right thing here. We are all extremely disappointed the shows could not take place and this is a real insult to the fans.”

D’allessandro e Galli responded in a statement: “This reimbursement formula is an extraordinary measure that Paul McCartney’s staff was perfectly aware of before the cancellation and which, as is well known, was established by the Italian Government to deal with an unprecedented crisis that risked giving a shot fatal to the live music industry and the approximately 400,000 workers who are part of it and who risk not being able to work for a year.

“We believe that the Government has identified in the voucher the tool that would guarantee the correct balance between the legitimate disappointment of the fan who will not be able to attend a given concert and the vital need to support the entire production chain.”

Music Venue Trust

Music Beyond Mainstream (MBM), a consortium of larger UK regional concert halls collaborating to programme and produce tours, has teamed up with Music Venue Trust (MVT) to participate in their #saveourvenues campaign.

MBM has 12 partner venues of over 1,100-capacity which commit to programmes and works collaboratively with artists to create experiences in live music that would be unlikely to be produced in any other way.

MVT, which was founded to help improve, maintain, and organise music venues in the UK, launched the campaign in March in response to the detrimental effect the pandemic has had on 670 small grassroots venues. It has so far raised £2m and last month removed 140 venues from its ‘critical’ list.

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director for MVT, said: “We hugely appreciate this act of solidarity from Music Beyond Mainstream, who recognise that all venues are part of a live music ladder, that sees artists start their careers in Grassroots Venues before progressing onto larger stages. Their help and generosity is very much appreciated by the many venues we represent.”

As part of the partnership, the 1,640-capacity Sage Gateshead, which is home to the UK’s only full-time chamber orchestra Royal Northern Sinfonia, led on producing a collaboration for Music Beyond Mainstream between American singer-songwriter John Grant and Royal Northern Sinfonia in 2014. The venue has now made a film of this concert available to stream this Friday to raise funds for the #saveourvenues campaign

The film will be simultaneously cast on 10 of the MBM member venues’ Facebook pages. The event will be free to view, but donations can be made via the campaign’s main fundraising page.

Image: Alan Paone