Live music made a return to New Zealand earlier in July, as the country entered ‘alert level one’ and hosted a 6,000 capacity gig without social distancing in Auckland.

Reggae band L.A.B performed at the Spark Arena, in a gig that was organised by New Zealand-based promoters Loop. Access spoke to Loop Founder and Managing Director Mikee Tucker (pictured above) to hear about how his company put together one of world’s first major live events since the Covid-19 pandemic caused global lockdowns in March.

“Thanks to the people of New Zealand eradicating Covid and some astute planning and quick business decisions, we are back on track for 2020,” says Tucker.

Loop was founded in Wellington in 2001, borne from the multi-platform Loop magazine which closed that same year. The company operates in New Zealand and Australia, and has a live business as well as a record label and publishing arm. Tucker says they had some “minor losses” due to live postponements, but that by and large they are back to business as usual.

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When asked what the reaction has been to the recent shows, Tucker says “One hundred percent positive. In addition to breathing air back into the lungs of the live entertainment industry it was awesome to see 6,000 happy, smiling faces!”

The shows followed the event guidelines laid out by the New Zealand government, published on 8 June, which can be viewed in detail here.

“People trust in our government’s leadership and the vibe was relaxed and positively charged. L.A.B are the hottest act in New Zealand right now and they sold out the Auckland Town Hall in a few hours so moving to Spark Arena made sense.”

However, Tucker doesn’t think the headstart New Zealand has on the rest of the world will cause many more international artists to visit the country, if they weren’t already planning to. He says: “Due to the population of NZ that doesn’t seem viable. Three shows for two weeks quarantine seems like a tall order for most acts.

“At this stage the government has not made any special dispensations outside of citizens except for the America Cup, some key films and other reasons. But, Flume and many other Australian acts are booked for summer so there is a lot riding on this trans-tasman bubble. L.A.B have sold 15,000 tickets for an Australian tour in November, so we are hoping for the trans-tasman bubble too.”