The Week in Light & Sound
Tuesday, 12 February 2019
Merging Venues - Venue operators AEG Facilities and SMG - which runs arenas in Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle - have announced a merger, creating a new company: ASM Global. The company will be based in Los Angeles and will operate more than 310 venues across five continents.
SMG Europe, a subsidiary of SMG, currently operates venues such as the Manchester Arena, the First Direct Arena in Leeds, and Utilita Arena in Newcastle. AEG Facilities is the venue management arm of AEG and will own 50% of the company, with the other half owned by Onex, the parent company of SMG.
SMG chief executive Wes Westley described the move as a “major step for our industry”. He adds: “We are excited to bring together these complementary businesses to further elevate the standard of excellence in venue management. We plan to accelerate innovation by combining our expertise to deliver increased value and offer enhanced capabilities to municipalities and venue owners worldwide.”
All Together Now - Michael Rice, who won BBC talent show All Together Now last year, has been chosen to fly the flag for the UK at this year's Eurovision Song Contest. The 21-year-old from Hartlepool, who was also on The X Factor in 2014, was picked in a TV viewers' vote. He will now travel to Israel in May in the hope of impressing Eurovision fans with his rousing anthem Bigger Than Us.
Special Delivery - The Specials have thanked fans after scoring their first-ever number one album - 40 years on from the release of their debut. Encore, the new album from the ska combo, saw off competition from pop-punk band Busted, who had also been hoping to top the album charts for the first time.
After numerous splits and reunions over the years, the current incarnation of The Specials features original members Lynval Golding, Terry Hall and Horace Panter. Speaking to after getting the number one, the band said: "Recording the album has been one of the most amazing trips of our lives. What can we say? It couldn't have been better timing.”
Golden Oldies - At the age of 85, country star Willie Nelson won best traditional pop vocal album for My Way at last weekend’s Grammy Awards. Fellow octogenarian Quincy Jones was honoured in the best music film category, for the Netflix film Quincy. Neither Quincy nor Willie is close to being the oldest-ever Grammy winner, though. That accolade is held by Pinetop Perkins, who won best traditional blues album in 2011, when he was 97.
(Jim Evans)
12 February 2019

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