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Live Nation PH director Rhiza Pascua on bringing back live events post-pandemic

By Maya Tuviera, The Philippine STAR Published Jul 28, 2023 5:00 am

If you’ve felt the ground shake to the beat of your favorite song in a grandiose stadium or experienced the surreal in seeing your longtime idols face-to-face, you understand why people line up for hours or dedicate their savings for concert tickets.

That’s why, in our efforts to reinstate pre-pandemic norms in a post-COVID world, bringing back concerts and festivals was the first thought on the minds of many. The Philippine STAR spoke to Rhiza Pascua, who is at the forefront of the effort to bring back live events.

Rhiza is the Managing Director of Live Nation Philippines. Live Nation, the world’s leading live entertainment company, launched its Philippine chapter through the strategic acquisition of Music Management International (MMI). Live Nation is responsible for bringing some of the biggest artists to the Philippines, such as Harry Styles, Bruno Mars, TWICE, and Billie Eilish.

“As the world’s leading live entertainment company, we are privileged to work with artists to bring their creativity to life on stages around the world,” Rhiza shares.

Rhiza Pascua is the Managing Director of Live Nation Philippines.

The pandemic was a challenging time for the company and the live events industry as a whole. Live Nation had to cancel over 5,000 concerts worldwide—which equates to 15 million tickets—and postpone a further 6,000 concerts (22 million tickets) in 2021.

Rhiza says the company used the pandemic downtime to rebuild its internal infrastructure in an effort to bring back live events bigger and better than before.

Now that they’re back, the tailwinds uplifting Live Nation have never been stronger. “I believe this is just the start of what will be the strongest multi-year period ever for the concert industry.”

This tremendous growth signals significant changes. It could translate to more diversity in the live events industry, from more concert venues outside of Metro Manila to smaller acts from an array of genres having a shot at performing in the Philippines.

“Since bringing back live events, every event has been memorable. Everyone seems to be enjoying every second of the concert, every lyric of the song.

It also plays a significant role in the nation’s post-pandemic recovery. “In the wake of COVID-19, live events were shut down for over a year. Beyond the cultural loss involved, the economy has incurred massive losses in GDP, employment, household income, and tax revenue due to the absence of live events. After a year of isolation, many crave getting back to enjoying memorable live experiences safely in 2021 and into the 2022 and 2023 seasons, which position the industry for growth in the coming years.”

Rhiza further elaborated that “many fans are eager to return to live entertainment after all the COVID lockdowns, despite the fact that ticket prices have risen in many cases. And once inside the venue, fans have been spending more on merch, food, drink, and other services.”

When asked if safety measures are being implemented to ensure the health and well-being of both artists and audiences, Rhiza says, “We set the industry standard on the health and safety front by requiring proof of vaccine and testing for our shows. We also worked in conjunction with local health officials to mitigate transmission risks from our events.”

It’s obvious extended periods of isolation did not make us forget the joy and exhilaration of connecting with our favorite artists live—in fact, it only made us clamor for it more. “Since bringing back live events, every event has been memorable,” Rhiza shares. “Everyone seems to be enjoying every second of the concert, every lyric of the song. From our first post-pandemic event with Louis Tomlinson to the last one in April with Treasure, the energy level has been the same.”