The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 15 March 2022
Ukraine Support - International dancers from companies including the Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet and English National Ballet are coming together for a fundraising gala in support of Ukraine. Directed by former Royal Ballet stars Ivan Putrov - who is Ukrainian born - and Alina Cojocaru, the charity gala will take place at the London Coliseum on 19 March. All participating dancers have donated their services for free, the English National Opera has waived its rental fee for the Coliseum and the chorus has volunteered to support the evening. Money raised by the event will go to the Disaster Emergency Committee’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.
Ticket Pricing Fears - Music industry leaders are urging Chancellor Rishi Sunak to abandon a large increase on concert and live event tickets, due to come into force on 1 April. The 7.5% hike would see the tax return to its pre-pandemic level of 20% - a move that would be "hugely damaging" to the industry, according to trade body UK Music. VAT is currently charged at 12.5% on tickets for live events, but went down to 5% at the height of the pandemic.
Chief executive Jamie Njoku-Goodwin has written to Sunak, in a bid to change his mind ahead of his mini-budget as part of the spring statement on 23 March. Njoku-Goodwin says millions of music fans would be likely to face a rise in ticket prices resulting from the increase, at a time when the cost of living is already pushing many to the limit.
The move would also come as the industry attempts to get back to work following two years of near shutdown. Before the pandemic, the UK music industry contributed £5.8bn to the UK economy and supported almost 200,000 jobs, according to the latest figures from UK Music.
Online Ticketing - The Musicians’ Union, ticketing campaign group FanFair Alliance and London’s O2 are among the UK backers of a Europe-wide call demanding stricter regulation of online ticket marketplaces.
More than 130 individuals and organisations have signed an open letter, penned by the Face-value European Alliance for Ticketing in association with FanFair Alliance, which warns that secondary ticketing malpractice "threatens the post-pandemic recovery of Europe’s live events sector", with knock-on effects for artists and businesses. The letter described the ticket resale market as "a hotbed for illegal activity" and said that by concealing the identities of sellers, it "supports widespread tax evasion".
The FanFair Alliance is one of six organisations from across Europe involved in the creation of the letter, with signatories representing "the core of live performance sector" working across the continent. They include the MU’s outgoing general secretary Horace Trubridge, talent agencies United and the Creative Artists Agency and venues including the Brighton Centre and the O2, as well as theatre, opera, ballet, comedy and music organisations from across the EU. It has been written ahead of a European Union meeting about a new EU regulation on digital safety, and calls for legislation to outline "clear and robust responsibilities for marketplaces to ensure sellers are identifiable".
Rolling On - The Rolling Stones have announced their first UK shows since the death of their drummer Charlie Watts last year. The band will play in Liverpool and London as part of their 60th anniversary tour of Europe this summer. As with their US dates last year, Watts will be replaced by Steve Jordan, a session musician who has played with the band since the 1980s.
The tour is billed simply as ‘Sixty’ and will feature new staging and production. Launching in Madrid on 1 June, it will see the band performing at the home of Liverpool FC, Anfield, for the Stones' first Liverpool show in more than 50 years. They will then head to London for two dates at the BST Summertime festival in Hyde Park, with further dates in Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, Austria and France. "Sorry to keep you all hanging around, but the waiting is over," said guitarist Keith Richards, announcing the tour.
(Jim Evans)
15 March 2022

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