The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 30 June 2020
Brit Awards - Next year's Brit Awards have been pushed back by three months to May, to have a better chance of staging a full live ceremony featuring live performances. The 41st edition of the music awards show was due to take place in February at London's O2 Arena. But uncertainty around the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the music industry to delay it.
Organisers said they want “outstanding production levels, superstar performances and live excitement”. Geoff Taylor, chief executive of The Brits and industry body the BPI, said: "We believe that the best way to achieve this in 2021 is to move the show back a few months to May. We are already at work planning a spectacular event that will remind us how important music has been in getting us all through these difficult times."
On The Campaign Trail - The Rolling Stones have warned US President Donald Trump that he could face legal action if he continues using their songs at his campaign rallies. A statement from the band's legal team said it was working with the performing rights organisation, the BMI, to stop the unauthorised use of their music.
The Trump campaign used the song You Can't Always Get What You Want at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The same song was used by the Trump campaign during the 2016 US election.
In a statement released on Saturday, representatives for the group said that “further steps to exclude” Mr Trump from using Rolling Stones material in future presidential campaigning was necessary after previous “cease and desist directives” had been ignored. The BMI has reportedly notified the Trump campaign on behalf of the Stones that the use of their songs without permission will constitute a breach of its licensing agreement, and would be subject to legal action.
Earlier this month, the family of Tom Petty issued a cease and desist letter to the Trump campaign over the unauthorised use of his song I Won't Back Down at the Tulsa rally. In a statement posted on Twitter, the family said that the late artist would “never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate”.
Double Celebration - Next year's Glastonbury festival will be a “double celebration”, organiser Emily Eavis has told the BBC. The festival was due to be celebrating its 50th anniversary last weekend, with headline sets from Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar. Instead, it was called off in March as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.
“Having to cancel was quite gutting,” Eavis told BBC Music. “But the first year back after what we've been through will be the most amazing party. We all need it, the public need it, we all need that kind of connection. We need to be together. Being forced to be in lockdown and everything we've all gone through together has made those things all the more precious.”
She hinted that next year's line-up could be one of the most spectacular yet, with sets delayed from this year's festival combined with the artists already booked for 2021. “Because we're rolling two festivals together, we've got a hell of a lot of surprises that we were planning for the 50th and I think we're going to try and get those things going for next year," she said. "It's a little bit unknown as to where we're going to be, so we're optimistic - but we're not going too far down that road at the moment.”
Björk’s Back - Björk has announced a trio of August shows - complete with concertgoers - in Reykjavík, Iceland, which has begun the process of reopening after nearly eliminating the coronavirus from the country. The three shows will also be livestreamed to raise money for domestic women’s charities in both Iceland and worldwide.
“I would like to invite you to some concerts to honour folks who got hit hardest in the coronavirus and the Black Lives Matter movement and to honour how many Icelandic musicians I have worked with through the years,” Björk said in a statement. “We are going to celebrate that we are all healthily exiting quarantine together by playing concerts in Harpa Music Hall for three weekends of August.” The matinee concerts dubbed Björk Orkestral “will be ‘unplugged’ and performed without beats and electronics”.
Six for the Road - Six the Musical has unveiled drive-in performances will be taking place in 12 locations from August. While the show's tour and West End productions have been put on hold due to the ongoing pandemic, drive-in shows will be permitted under new government rules. Three-hundred vehicles can attend each show with a maximum of seven people allowed per car. There will be an adjacent space next to each vehicle for revellers to picnic and party.
All shows will be mounted in line with social distancing rules, with large screens and light displays making the productions a true live-experience. The show will play in full with a backing band on stage, complete choreography and costumes. The cast for the piece will be a mix of the West End and tour ensembles, with the drive-in show opening at Milton Keynes on 4 August.
Cirque du Soleil - The Canada-based operator is to cut 3,500 jobs after striking a deal to avoid bankruptcy. The group said the coronavirus pandemic had forced it to cancel shows and lay off its artists. The company will now try to restructure while shedding about 95% of its staff. "With zero revenue since the forced closure of all of our shows due to COVID-19, the management had to act decisively," said boss Daniel Lamarre.
The firm had to pause production of all of its shows, including six in Las Vegas, back in March. Along with its circuses, it also has musicals that tour the world including Michael Jackson One and The Beatles Love.
The firm said it had entered an agreement under which its existing shareholders will take over Cirque's liabilities and invest $300m in the business. It also said shareholders would set aside $20m to provide additional relief to affected employees and contractors.
It said it intended to rehire “a substantial majority” of terminated employees, business conditions allowing, once coronavirus-related shutdowns were lifted and operations could resume.
(Jim Evans)
30 June 2020

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