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MCD boss confident live music festivals will go ahead this summer

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The boss of MCD, Denis Desmond is expressing confidence Electric Picnic and Longitude music festivals will proceed this summer.

In an interview, Mr Desmond said “there is no reason other than logistics around the roll out of the vaccines here why this summer cannot happen”.

“I am hugely optimistic and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be back this summer staging concerts,” he said.

Mr Desmond said additional acts have been booked for the 70,000 capacity Electric Picnic this September and it is planned currently to announce the full line-up around St Patrick’s Day.

The 4pc of unsold tickets will be put on sale at that time, he said, pointing out 96pc of those who bought tickets for last year’s cancelled Electric Picnic have held on to their tickets.

The cancelled 2020 event included acts such as The Chemical Brothers, Lewis Capaldi, Snow Patrol and Picture This.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shut down the live music business around the world since March last year.

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New figures from trade industry journal Pollstar show MCD last year recorded gross revenues of $18.6m (€15.2m) arising from 415,318 tickets sold.

This represents an 88.5pc drop on the gross revenues of $159.29m (€130.25m) for 2019 from the 2.3 million music fans who attended MCD promoted concerts here.

Asked when music fans can expect MCD concerts again, Mr Desmond said: “The summer. There is nothing to stop us getting back to normality other than the supply and logistics of rolling out the vaccines."

“We lost last summer. We have to get back this summer,” he said.

Mr Desmond said the next number of weeks will be a very difficult time for front-line health workers and those battling Covid-19.

He said however that the “huge positive is that we have two vaccines and more on the way that will allow us to return to a normal life later this year”.

The live music industry doesn’t work on reduced capacity he said.

“The return to business involves no social distance and I see no reason why that can’t happen this summer,” he said.

However, Mr Desmond ruled out any major stadium gigs this summer.

“I don’t see any major acts touring this year as there will still be massive restrictions on travelling.

“The artistes who have big productions will not be able to tour because they are dependent on doing a European tour and that is too risky for this year.
“Artistes who are festival artistes will be able to tour because they can hire locally.

"Stadium acts who need big productions won’t be able to tour this year, they need three to four months to set it up."

He said: “All the big stadium tours will happen in 2022.”

Mr Desmond said Longitude is booked out with the line up announced which includes Kendrick Lemar.

The Electric Picnic line up includes some bands who were down to play last year and some new acts.

He said: “The line-up is very good. The future is positive due to the great news around the vaccines."

Mr Desmond ruled out seeking proof of vaccinations from concert goers.

He said: “I don’t see us doing that. The vaccination of the elderly and those with underlying health conditions will protect the hospitals and the healthcare system.”

Mr Desmond described the front-line health-worker as "heroes and they have been heroes all year. They deserve our support and adherence to the lockdown and we try to make it that bit easier for them to complete the job.”


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