Pete Tong announces 2022 UK Ibiza Classics Heritage Orchestra arena tour

Pete Tong has announced the return of his Ibiza Classics Heritage Orchestra show, which will take him to arenas across the UK in 2022.

The show first debuted at The O2 in December 2016 and has returned to huge crowds every year since – with the Heritage Orchestra putting a classical spin on a selection of rave classics.

Next November and December, Tong will be joined by the full orchestra, conductor Jules Buckley, and host of guests for reworkings of house hits like ‘Love Can’t Turn Around’ and ‘Right Here Right Now’.

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The tour will kick off in Cardiff on November 23, 2022, eventually finishing up with two dates at London’s O2 Arena on December 2 and 3. Tickets go on general sale this Friday (December 10) at 9.30am GMT here.

Last Saturday (December 4), Tong completed his COVID-rescheduled Ibiza Classics Tour at the O2 Arena. Meanwhile, in December 2020, he returned to The O2 for a one-off livestream of his acclaimed show with the Heritage Orchestra.

Pete Tong’s 2022 Ibiza Classics Heritage Orchestra arena tour is:

NOVEMBER
23 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
24 – Brighton Centre
25 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
26 – AO Arena, Manchester
30 – OVO Hydro, Glasgow

DECEMBER
1 – Utilita Arena, Birmingham
2 – O2 Arena, London
3 – O2 Arena, London

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In November, Tong was honoured with the prestigious Music Industry Trusts Award. “I’m seriously thrilled and humbled to be standing here receiving the MITS Award because I think this is recognition of dance music’s and club culture’s influence and success,” he said at the ceremony.

“Looking round this room, there are so many people that have been on that journey with me so this is for all of you.”

Back in 2013, Tong was awarded an MBE for his services to music and broadcasting.

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Six cases of COVID-19 variant Omicron linked to Steps concert in Glasgow

Six fans of ‘90s dance-pop legends Steps are confirmed to be among Scotland’s rising cases of the COVID-19 variant Omicron.

Scotland had recorded 29 cases of the Omicron variant by Thursday (December 3). At a press conference, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Steps’ November 22 concert at The Hydro in Glasgow – Scotland’s largest indoor venue – is being treated as a particular site of concern.

“The number of Omicron cases now being reported in Scotland is rising,” she said (via Rolling Stone), “and cases are no longer all linked to a single event, but to several different sources including a Steps concert at the Hydro on November 22. This confirms our view that there is now community transmission of this variant within Scotland. 

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Given the nature of transmission we would expect to see cases rise, perhaps significantly, in the days ahead. However, health protection teams are continuing work through contact tracing, isolation and testing to slow the spread as far as possible while we learn more about the new variant’s impact. Ministers are also keeping the situation under daily review.”

The gig’s significance was also noted in a statement shared by the Glasgow Herald, wherein an anonymous source said: “The Steps gig has been identified as an area of concern, via [contact tracing app] Track And Trace. 

“One of the people identified from the original event – a function at a club in the centre of Glasgow – subsequently went to the Hydro a couple of days later. It is unlikely that thousands of people will be forced to isolate but there will be Track And Trace information being given to some.”

Steps were forced to cancel shows in Cardiff and Bournemouth last month, after several members of their touring party, including singer Lee Latchford-Evans, tested positive for COVID-19. Those two dates have since been rescheduled for June, with tickets on sale now.

The group were touring in support of their seventh full-length effort, ‘What The Future Holds Pt. 2’, which landed back in September via BMG. 

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Irish nightclubs to close next week, music venue capacities lowered to 50 per cent

Ireland’s prime minister Micheál Martin has announced a tightening of the country’s measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

According to the BBC News, some of the measures being implemented include a drop in capacity for indoor events such as concerts, as well as an altogether shutting of nightclubs.

BBC policy editor Lewis Goodall tweeted that these new rules will begin from on Tuesday (December 7), and will remain in place until Sunday (December 9).

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It comes amid advice offered to Martin by chief medical officer Tony Holohan, alongside the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET). In his press conference, Martin told reporters that “[the] risks associated with proceeding into the Christmas period without some restrictions to reduce the volume of personal contacts is just too high”.

Nightclubs – which only reopened on October 22 following the initial lockdown – will be forced to close entirely, with no ability for them to operate under restricted circumstances. Indoor venues – which include live music hotspots, pubs and sporting halls – will need to enact capacity limits set at a maximum of 50 per cent.

These venues will also be to subject to a suite of rules returning from prior crackdowns, such as punters being barred from queuing in lines to order food or drinks, a limit of six adults per table, and a mandate on masks being worn when customers are away from their tables.

Martin promised that venues severely impacted by the new restrictions would be eligible for financial support, acknowledging that several industries “will be bitterly disappointed by this news” and “many of them will be fearing for their livelihoods”.

“I want to reassure them that just as we have done since the beginning of the pandemic, the government will stand by them and ensure that they have the financial supports necessary to weather this latest storm and to stay intact until we are out of it,” he said (per the BBC).

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Last month, Van Morrison was sued by Robin Swann, the health minister for Northern Ireland, over comments relating to COVID-19 that the singer made earlier this year.

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Foo Fighters drop Minneapolis stadium from US tour over venue’s COVID-19 policies

Hours after announcing their 2022 US tour, the Foo Fighters said they will not play Minneapolis’ Huntington Bank Arena due to the venue’s “refusal to agree to the band’s COVID-19 safety measures”.

Dave Grohl and co. just announced details of a 2022 stadium tour of North America, hitting 16 dates throughout the continent from May to August next year. The tour will kick off in Pennsylvania and wrap up in Los Angeles.

However, in a new update, the band have revealed their Minneapolis show on August 3 will not go ahead at Huntington Bank Stadium. In a new tweet, the band said the cancellation is due to the venue’s refusal to comply with Foo Fighters’ proposed COVID-19 safety measures, and they are looking for a replacement venue that will abide by them.

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“Due to Huntington Bank Stadium’s refusal to agree to the band’s COVID safety measures, Foo Fighters are unable to perform at that venue,” a statement from the band read.

“We apologize for any inconvenience and are working on finding a suitable replacement one that will prioritize the health and safety of everyone working and attending the show.”

The Star Tribune, via Stereogum, reports that Huntington Bank Stadium doesn’t mandate masks, proof of vaccine or negative test results for event attendance.

In a statement, a representative for the stadium told The Star Tribune that the University of Minnesota, where the stadium resides, “declined to change its existing protocols for large events, which have been effective.

“We continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, wear a mask when in large crowds, and take appropriate steps to protect public and personal health,” it continued.

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Since the return of in-person concerts, Foo Fighters have come under fire for their previous requirement that punters be vaccinated to attend their concerts. Protests were staged outside the band’s California and New York shows that took place in June.

Cro-Mags frontman John Joseph previously criticised the band’s stance, dubbing them ‘Flu Pfizers’ and ‘Flu Fighters’, saying: “What kind of bullshit is that? What kind of fucking bullshit are you fucking dealing with in your fucking head that you would play a vaccinated-only fucking show?”

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Government publishes final Events Research Programme results

The government has published the final results from the Events Research Programme.

Over 30 pilot events took place over the course of a four-month period to determine the safety of large-scale gatherings post-COVID lockdown.

Included in the programme was an outdoor Blossoms’ show at Sefton Park in Liverpool, the BRIT Awards 2021 ceremonyDownload Festival and Latitude – the latter of which being the first festival to return at full capacity after restrictions were lifted on July 19.

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Back in August, data from NHS Test And Trace showed that “mass participation events can be conducted safely” while urging caution around “specific aspects of event participation”. It took into account all three phases of the ERP.

It was found that “case numbers were largely in line with or below community infection rates for the duration of the programme”. However, potential risks involved in attending “unstructured events” were noted. This also includes travelling and mixing indoors before, during and after events.

Published on November 26, the final ERP reports indicated that “numerous factors were likely to have contributed to the higher transmission risk at these events, including high rates of unvaccinated attendees, community prevalence at the time of the events studied, the structure of the events, and the behaviour of attendees leading up to and after attending these events.

festival crowd
The crowd at Latitude Festival 2021 at Henham Park on July 25, 2021 in Southwold (Picture: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

“Therefore, the results may not be applicable to other contexts.”

The “individual risk” of attendees, meanwhile, was found to be “dependent on social interactions, on the interaction with the environment, and on the individual journey through an event”.

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According to the findings, there was little evidence of increased COVID transmission by attending events in the following categories: mainly outdoor seated, mainly outdoor partially seated or the indoor seated theatre events studied.

However, it’s said that “caution is needed” when interpreting these results as some theatre events, for example, ran at or below 50 per cent capacity.

Mainly unseated outdoor events (including Latitude and Tramlines) were associated with a 1.7 fold increased risk of COVID-19 transmission amongst attendees (95 per cent confidence interval between 1.52 and 1.89).

“For context, the risk of infection in the baseline period was ~0.9 per cent for Latitude attendees in the study; a 70 per cent increase would take this risk to 1.53 per cent. This confidence interval means the estimate of 70 per cent is robust due to the large number of attendees (over 2000) at these events.”

It continued: “Reasons for this difference in transmission risk are likely to be multifactorial and could include behaviour whilst at the event, overall event size and duration or mode of travel to and from the event.

Tramlines 2021. CREDIT: Getty

“It should also be noted that these results are set against the background of a particular epidemiological situation, and the possibility remains that new variants arise that are more transmissible and possibly less responsive to vaccines than those encountered in our studies, which would change transmission risk.”

Elsewhere, the document said that “it is not yet possible to directly quantify the passive risk of inhaling aerosol particles that carry the virus from ambient air. However, risk is increased with prolonged and repeated exposure to poor air quality, insufficient ventilation, reduced distancing between individuals or limited compliance with face covering.

“It was found to vary significantly among venues and even within the same event, implying that customers can choose lower risk environments and behaviours to reduce their personal risk. Risk assessments and possibly additional mitigations should be considered separately for staff.”

Analysis of the data will continue, with “further investigation of key risk factors” being used for new modelling and to inform policy guidance. It’s said that venues should keep in mind “ventilation strategy, occupancy, operations, space utilisation, and people movement within an overall risk assessment tailored to each venue”.

Professor Dame Theresa Marteau, Chair of Events Research Programme Science Board, said: “It has been a pleasure to lead the Science Board that has overseen this large-scale science-lead programme researching the risk of transmission from attending live events to help people get back to doing the things they love.

“We have gathered large amounts of data that can be used by the scientific community worldwide, event organisers and government for the best understanding to date of the risk of transmitting coronavirus at live events and how we can best keep this risk low.

You can read the results in full here.

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