Watch the June 2019 edition of the XLIVE Monthly Beat below!
Hello everyone, Ace Antonio here back with another edition of The Monthly Beat by XLIVE, the community creating extraordinary live event experiences. Now with the 2019 festival season in full swing, there are tons of updates that I'm excited to talk about both domestically and around the globe.
Primavera Sound is Headed to Los Angeles
To get us started, and one thing I'm particularly excited about, the iconic Barcelona event Primavera Sound, is headed to Los Angeles in 2020. Gabi Ruiz, one of the festival directors of the event announced the expansion as part of the event's 20th year anniversary. The event is one of Europe's top festivals and is known for it's eclectic mix of rock acts, dance acts, and perhaps more importantly, the smaller up and coming favorites on secondary stages. Live Nation will co-produce the Los Angeles event and it's going to be held at the Los Angeles Historic State Park in Downtown Los Angeles. This venue has been home to such festivals as Hard and FYF Fest.
Burning Man 2019's Permit Problems
With Burning Man 2019 just three short months away, organizers are still waiting on permits and some key decisions from the Bureau of Land Management that could potentially shape the counterculture festival that takes place in the desert 100 miles north of Reno, Nevada. A document released by the BLM assesses things like the potential of terror attack and proposes additions for things like trash bins throughout the festival or concrete barriers to surround the perimeter. The proposals are part of consideration of a new 10 year special use permit for Black Rock City, the temporary community that emerges as part of burning man every year. Organizers estimate that some of the proposed costs would add about $10 million in operating costs, while supporters of the event saying that some of the changes actually go against the very things that burning man stands for. Now while these proposals may sound extreme, Burning Man project CEO Marian Goodell has stated that planning for the 2019 event is going on as usual with assurance from the BLM that there won't be any significant changes and that these assessments and new proposals are just the BLM doing their job.
Class Action Lawsuit for North Carolina Festival
Now I'm jumping around the country here, but over in North Carolina, the Epicenter Music Festival is facing a class action lawsuit after what is only described as a disastrous weekend. On top of some high winds and severe rain that damaged the event and venue infrastructure, parking and traffic is reportedly so disorganized that some people reported being stuck in traffic and moving only 1.5 miles in four hours on the way in, and being stuck in the parking lot for four hours on the way out. The severe weather and traffic resulted in some cancelled sets, which added to the frustration throughout the weekend, as artists themselves also struggled to get to the venue. Despite the mishaps, the three day rock festival marched on and ended the weekend on a high note with a successful Sunday.
More Festival Cancellations
In Scotland, the Electric Fields music festival has been canceled just two months after announcing that they are moving venues. Organizers announced in April that they were moving from the Drum Land Rig Castle in southern Scotland to a warehouse venue called SWG3 in Glasgow. The change was not very well received from previous attendees who say that the 17th century castle is key to the brand and vibe of the event and who can blame them. Look how beautiful this is. Just two short months after that organizers posted an official cancellation announcement saying that they were 'facing logistical issues and challenges they simply can't overcome'
Over New York, Governors Ball ended on a soggy note when it was forced to evacuate the festival grounds due to severe weather. At around 9:00 PM organizers announced throughout the festival grounds and on social media that an evacuation was in effect, thus canceling highly anticipated performances by The Strokes, SZA, and many more. Heavy rainfall also affected the beginning of that day earlier, pushing doors from 12:30 in the afternoon to 6:30 at night. And unfortunately this is not the first time that severe weather has affected the Governors Ball music festival. In 2013 artists scheduled to perform on the later half of that first day were canceled, which included headliners Kings of Leon for similar reasons. Gov Ball has since hosted an AMA on Reddit and releases a very transparent statement documenting the difficult decision to evacuate the festival that night. As part of their ongoing damage control, refund information is available on their website for anyone who attended the event.
And for my last highlight, and I really hate to end this on such a downer, but after 16 consecutive years, the Naperville Wine Festival in Illinois has been canceled. The two day wine festival was scheduled for August 23rd and 24th and was owned and operated by the PR firm, KemperLesnik. Tom Valdiserri, Executive Vice President of the firm, said that it was a strategic decision, but other than that not much is really publicly known about the details of that decision. On that same note, the Windy City Wine Festival in Chicago, also owned by KemperLesnik will also not be returning this year.
AEG's New Personalized Event Technology
So pivoting over to tech, and fortunately there's some really cool stuff here because I did not realize how much of what I was talking about today involved canceled sets or really bad weekends. At Stage Coach in April, AEG Presents quietly tested a new data-driven way to personalize concerts. About 20% of all event attendees received what seemed to be random texts offering a plethora of things like $100 off a VIP upgrade, to buy-one get-one merchandise vouchers. AEG later revealed that these texts actually weren't random at all, at least not the content of them. They were actually part of a new digital initiative that provides value based on behavior of its attendees at their events. Brooke Michael Kain, AEG's Chief Digital Officer and leader of the Stage Coach Initiative, spearheaded this personalization project by centralizing consumer Info and creating algorithms based on that data.
Without getting too technical, Kain and her team spent months gathering data from their own internal vendor databases. Data including ticket purchase history, merchandise purchase history, and other consumer touch points that typically store that info but don't actually use it in a centralized fashion like this. The result was a new disruptive technology which sent push notifications based on your prior history at other AEG events. Now while they declined to share specific numbers, Kain called it a 'wildly successful initiative'. So next time you're at an AEG event, make sure you check your phone here and there for a pleasant surprise.
Using Uber Vouchers at Events
And lastly, Uber for business has just launched their vouchers program, which allows businesses to distribute vouchers to users. In an event context, some applications which come to mind are giving vouchers to talent for local ground travel, or giving vouchers to event staff to get them to and from the venue in lieu of things like a shuttle or a paid car rental service.
Through the vouchers feature, businesses can now create tailored campaigns with custom budgets, designated pickup and drop off points, even specific time parameters. Vouchers are currently available in most cities where Uber currently operates, including international locations.
And to wrap this up, as you know, summer is in full swing, so there are tons of events happening around the nation. I'm going to end it with some of my top picks, but before I do that, I just want to thank you for watching this video. The Monthly Beat by XLIVE. Don't forget to follow XLIVE on social media and check out their brand new original content platform XLIVE Online. I'll put the link in the description below so you can check out all their original content, including this video and future Monthly Beat videos. Once again, my name is Ace Antonio, and thank you for watching. I'll see you in July!
About the Author: Ace Antonio is an event producer and festival content creator from San Diego, CA. After attending his first Electric Daisy Carnival in 2011, he dove into the world of live events to create experiences and memories for others. In 2018, Ace launched The Beat Stop, a festival news, media and entertainment brand with a focus on creating original video content. You can check out the channel and subscribe here.