Organizer of Chris Janson’s Weekend Concert Says All Required Coronavirus Precautions Were in Place

Photos and videos of country artist Chris Janson playing a concert Saturday night at Gordy’s Hwy 30 Music Fest in Filer, Idaho, caused a stir on social media after it appeared fans were not social distancing or wearing masks. But Gordy Schroeder, the festival’s organizer and namesake, says the three-day event took all legally required precautions.

Working with state and local authorities to ensure COVID-19 pandemic safety guidelines were observed during the festival — one of the first to take place since the country shut down in mid-March — Schroeder says all attendees were instructed to use hand sanitizer as they entered and were provided with free face masks and gloves (neither of which are mandatory in Flier). There were also hand sanitizer stations set up throughout the Twin Falls fairgrounds.

Between acts, the stage and all equipment were disinfected “from head to toe,” Schroeder says, and the front rail separating the audience and the stage was wiped down. There were a number of medical personnel on hand available to take attendees’ temperatures or advise if they began to feel ill.

Idaho entered stage 4 of its reopening plan on June 13, allowing public gatherings of more than 50 people with appropriate physical distancing and precautionary measures observed. The state has seen growing rates of COVID-19 over the past two weeks and as of Monday was reporting 5,752 confirmed and probable cases.

Though Schroeder says social distancing was stressed to festival goers, “When Chris Janson got on, [the audience] came forward,” he says. “They came up and he put on one hell of a performance.”

As the audience collected toward the front of the stage, seeing as it was the festival’s third day, Schroeder says he figured attendees knew the safety guidelines by now and made their own choices with that knowledge. “How I kind of see it, and I hate to be this way, people were allowed to protest and riot. And we saw where supposedly that doesn’t cause a bump [in COVID-19 cases],” he says. “These people weren’t rioting. They weren’t being bad. All they were doing was enjoying music and wanting to live… They were enjoying themselves and loving on one another and enjoying music. And if it’s not OK to do that, but it’s okay to riot and it’s okay to protest everything, then I went and fought for this country for the wrong reasons, I guess.”

Janson posted video on his social media shot from the back of the stage showing fans crowded up against the railing with no social distancing and few wearing masks, but took the video down on Sunday.

“Until he posted [the video on social media], everything had been no negativity. Everybody’s thanking us,” Schroeder says. “I actually had a couple of gals after the Chris Janson show talk to me across the fence and they wanted to thank me so much and this one little girl said, ‘I’m not gonna lie. I’ve been locked up in my home with all these rules and regulations.’ She says, ‘I was to the point where I was almost suicidal and getting out and being able to enjoy some music and seeing people and some music and live again, I needed this.’”

This past weekend’s festival was the 10th overall and the seventh held at the fairgrounds. While Janson was the biggest name, other acts among the nearly two dozen acts included Ray Wylie Hubbard and Jack Ingram.

Schroeder says he was in near constant contact with the performers’ teams making sure all members were healthy and this even led to a handful of artists pulling off the bill, including Shane Smith & The Saints after they had someone in their camp test positive with COVID-19. Friday’s headliner, Koe Wetzel, had a member feel ill as they were on the bus headed into Flier and even though the member wasn’t tested for COVID-19 Schroeder and the act decided to pull the plug on their set out of an abundance of caution.

Capacity on the grounds is around 5,000, but Schroeder says it was capped at around 2,500 per day to give people room to spread out. Additionally, Schroeder says they expanded the grounds and put up grandstands where attendees — especially families — could sit while socially distancing.

Still, Schroeder says he is concerned some attendees might end up sick. “It bothers me. I’m not gonna lie. I don’t want anybody to get sick. I know we did everything we were asked to do,” he says.

When Billboard asked for a comment from Janson, Janson’s label, Warner Music Nashville replied, “Chris was one of two dozen performers to fulfill a contractual obligation after being told that last weekend’s event would adhere to all safety and social distancing protocols, as has been confirmed by the festival in its statement below: ‘The Hwy 30 Music Fest in Filer, ID, assured all performers and concert attendees they were safe and following all local guidelines.'”


Iskwē Delivers Powerful ‘Little Star’ Performance at 2020 Juno Awards

iskwē stunned at the 2020 Juno Awards with a performance of her hit, “Little Star.”

The Indigenous singer-songwriter and activist brought delivered the tune in a lush forest, surrounded by her band performing on drum and string instruments.

The performance wasn’t the only highlight for iskwē on Monday night (June 29). “Little Star” also went home with the music video of the year award for its creatively done, claymation clip.

Other performers at the event included The Dead South with “Diamond Ring,” Neon Dreams with “We Are Kings” and Alessia Cara with “Rooting for You.”

See a complete list of winners from the 2020 Juno Awards here.

Alessia Cara Brings ‘Rooting For You’ to the 2020 Juno Awards

Alessia Cara had plenty of people rooting for her at the 2020 Juno Awards.

The singer, who won three Junos at the June 29th ceremony, brought “Rooting For You” to the virtual show.

Of her six nominations, Cara took home the awards for album of the year, pop album of the year and songwriter of the year.

Other performers at the event included The Dead South with “Diamond Ring,” Neon Dreams with “We Are Kings,” and Iskwe with “Little Star.”

See a complete list of winners from the 2020 Juno Awards here.

Dr. Dre’s Wife of 24 Years, Nicole Young, Files for Divorce

Nicole Young, Dr. Dre’s wife of 24 years, has filed for divorce.

Young filed documents seeking to end her marriage with Dr. Dre — the producer, rapper and music mogul whose real name is Andre Young — on Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Nicole Young, 50, cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the split, and she is seeking spousal support from the 55-year-old Dr. Dre, who has amassed a major fortune in his time as an N.W.A. member, solo rapper, producer, co-owner of Death Row Records and founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics.

The couple has two adult children, 23-year-old son Truice and 19-year-old daughter Truly.

Dr. Dre has four children from previous relationships.

The two married in 1996. It was the first marriage for Dr. Dre. Young was previously married to NBA player Sedale Threatt.

An email to Dr. Dre’s publicist seeking comment on the divorce filing was not immediately returned.

Ellie Goulding & Lauv Tease ‘Slow Grenade’ Collab, Blow Up Twitter With Cute Exchange

Ellie Goulding wants to release “Slow Grenade” with Lauv ahead of her forthcoming fourth album Brighest Blue, which comes out July 17. And he’s all for it.

“So I’ve been thinking about releasing one more song before #BrightestBlue comes out. maybe with @lauvsongs?” she asked her 6.6 million Twitter followers today (June 29). According to her tracklist, the English singer-songwriter split her album into two parts titled Brightest Blue and EG.0, and the Lauv joint falls in the latter with a few other star-studded songs featuring blackbear (“Worry About Me”), Diplo and Swae Lee (“Close To Me”), and the late Juice WRLD (“Hate Me”).

“yayayayayayayay :)” the “I Like Me Better” hitmaker replied on Twitter, which Goulding used as permission to reveal one of the song’s lyrics: “… slow grenade it’s blowing up my mistakes. so why don’t i, why don’t i stop it? @lauvsongs.” One clever Twitter user couldn’t help but join in on their cuteness and quipped, “LAUV ME LIKE YOU DO!!” in reference to Goulding’s Hot 100 No. 3 hit from the first Fifty Shades of Grey film.

Goulding later shared a sweet black-and-white photo of the two artists to announce that “Slow Grenade” would officially drop tomorrow (June 30), which Lauv later retweeted.

Check out the artists’ sweet Twitter exchange ahead of the release of “Slow Grenade” below.

Madison Square Garden Entertainment Names Scott Packman Executive VP and General Counsel

On Monday (June 29) Madison Square Garden Entertainment announced it had named Scott Packman executive vp and general counsel.

Effective July 1, Packman will be tasked with overseeing and directing all of MSG Entertainment’s legal affairs and managing the company’s legal affairs team, including all corporate, commercial, transactional, litigation, regulatory and day-to-day legal matters. He will report to MSG Entertainment executive chairman and CEO Jim Dolan.

Packman comes to MSG Entertainment with over 25 years of legal experience under his belt. Most notably, this includes a 14-year year stint at MGM Holdings/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he served in a variety of leadership roles, including 12 years as general counsel and secretary. During his run at the company, which he ended as senior executive vp, he served as a strategic partner to the CEO and board of directors on several key initiatives, including the company’s successful restructuring and investments in domestic and foreign joint ventures.

More recently, Packman worked as senior executive vp, general counsel, chief strategy officer and head of business affairs for the independent TV studio and distributor Sonar Entertainment. He kicked off his career at the New York office of law firm Rogers & Wells before moving to O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles.

Packman currently serves on the board of directors of pro bono legal services provider Bet Tzedek in Los Angeles, as well as the board of the National Council of AIPAC and the Advisory Board of Creative Community for Peace.

“We are pleased to welcome Scott to MSG Entertainment, where he brings with him decades of outstanding legal experience, particularly in the entertainment industry,” said Dolan in a statement. “His expertise and insights will be an asset as we continue to grow our Company, including through our state-of-the-art MSG Sphere venues.”

Added Packman, “I am excited to be joining MSG Entertainment and look forward to working with the Company’s senior management team and the entire Legal department to advance the Company’s key legal and business priorities.”

The news of Packman’s hiring follows MSG Entertainment’s announcement earlier this month that Ted King had joined the company as president, creative content and studio productions, which will include overseeing its immersive MSG Sphere venues.

MPM Productions Inks Multi-Year Partnership With Universal Music Latin

Universal Music Latin has inked a multi-year partnership with Los Angeles-based music and media company MPM Productions. The first artist signed under the deal is Mexican urban act Juan De Dios Pantoja, better known as JD Pantoja, a YouTuber-turned-recording artist.

Pantoja’s single “El Error,” has garnered over 50 million views since its release in May.

MPM, co-founded in 2016 by Arizona State University alums Eric O’ConnorDimitri Hurt and Luis Arellano, started out as a company that represented YouTubers. Eventually, says Arellano, president of MPM Latin, “we shifted our business strategy to focus on creating our own intellectual property. That’s why we proposed making music to our talent.”

Their first artist to sign to a label was DDG, a hip-hop act who signed with Epic. The company also represents social media personality Flight, whose YouTube channel, NotYourAverageFlight has 2.23 million subscribers. With Pantoja, whose YouTube channel has 9.5 million subscribers, MPM aimed for the Latin marketplace.

“Many YouTubers do music, but few are accepted by the industry and the fans,” says Arellano. “One thing is to identify talent, and another is to have multi-hyphen talent: influencers who can develop as credible artists and be seen as such. There’s a lot of work to do.”

Pantoja, for example, recorded with several urban acts last year, including Lary Over and Ovy On The Drums. And in April, he released “Mi Plan,” featuring Noriel.

“We’re proud to say that our artists are paving the way for this business model to be successful,” adds Arellano.   “These guys have shown a proven track record of not only finding these successful acts early on but also sticking with them to develop them and provide them with the strategy and resources they need to succeed and be great artists,” says Victor Gonzalez, president of UMLE. “UMLE is happy to be in business with MPM.”