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Festival Focus: Bestival, Mysteryland, FYF Fest

Bestival today unveiled the line-up for its “cathedral of cutting-edge sounds”, the Invaders of the Future stage.

“Yup, we all love a stonking big headliner […] and huge DJs and bands that have sold millions of records smashing it on our stages,” says festival promoter Rob da Bank, “but mostly where you’ll find me across the weekend at Bestival is in our Invaders stage checking out the new bands.

“Once more we’ve gone mentally diverse, from Radio 1 and SxSW darlings Danny L Harle, Pup and Sunflower Bean through the amazing Eska and a takeover from the hottest label out there, PC Music, to local island talent Born Ina Barn and Xockha. See you down the front!”

Other up-and-coming acts appearing on the Invaders of the Future stage, which had previously hosted early performances by Sam Smith, Alt-J, Kate Tempest and Ed Sheeran, include Fatherson, Subgiant, The Wytches, The Sherlocks, Haelos and Pretty Vicious.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Cirque Royal Bruxelles, 2015, Kmeron

Canadian post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor will make their only UK festival appearance this year at ArcTanGent (ATG). The Papercup Productions-promoted event takes place from 18 to 20 August in Cheddar (the town in Somerset, not the cheese).

“Godspeed headlining ArcTanGent is going to be incredible,” says organiser James Scarlett. “We’re giving them a two-hour set and their full production which includes some awesome visuals. The ATG Arc Stage is already a magical setting for post-rock and math rock fans but this will take it up another level, for sure.” (Godspeed You! Black Emperor photo by Kmeron on Flickr.)

Martin Garrix, Frequency Festival 2015, ANSPress Society News

Mysteryland has announced the first wave of performers for its 2016 Dutch edition, taking place in Haarlemmermeer on 27 and 28 August. Afrojack, Diplo and Martin Garrix will headline the SFX-owned dance music (EDM) event, with DJs and artists including Dave Clarke, Gorgon City, A-Trak and Robin Schulz also on the bill. More acts will be announced closer to the festival. (Martin Garrix photo by ANSPress Society News.)

Kendrick LamarLCD Soundsystem, Tame Impala, Grimes, Hot Chip, Air, Father John Misty, Beach House, Black LipsCharles Bradley, a Moby DJ set and a rare performance by Grace Jones will be among the highlights at FYF Fest in Los Angeles the same weekend.

FYF Fest, which rather suffers from RAS syndrome (the “FYF” stands for “Fuck Yeah Fest”), is produced by AEG Live-owned Goldenvoice, the promoter behind Coachella, and takes place at Exposition Park in LA city centre. (Grace Jones photo by Bruce [kingArthur_aus] on Flickr.)

Grace Jones, Vivid 2015, Sydney, Bruce (kingArthur_aus)

The UK’s biggest dance music festival, Creamfields, has added Martin Solveig, Sigala, Riton, Malaa, Lee Walker and a Chase & Status DJ set, to its 2016 line-up. The new acts join EDM superstars such as Calvin Harris, Tiestö, Axwell & Ingrosso, Alesso, Jack Ü, Hardwell and Sasha, as well as Avicii, who is playing his “last-ever UK performance” on 27 August following the Swedish DJ’s decision to retire from touring at the end of this year.

Oh, and a tiny British festival called Glastonbury (us neither) made its first line-up announcement on TuesdayLCD Soundsystem, FoalsBeckNew OrderZZ Top, The 1975, M83, Art Garfunkel, The Last Shadow Puppets Wolf Alice and lots more besides will join far less interesting headliners Adele, Muse and Coldplay at Worthy Farm in June.

ID&C launches £2,500 bursary for small UK festivals

ID&C has launched its sixth annual Grass Roots Festival Bursary, which gives small and medium British music festivals the chance to win £2,500 worth of security wristbands, passes and lanyards.

More than 60 festivals applied for last year’s grant, which is open to any UK festival which has operated for eight years or less and has an overall attendance of 15,000 people or less. Last year’s winner was Wild Rumpus’s Just So Festival, whose director, Sarah Bird, says the bursary was “a real boost and has allowed us to grow the festival further”.

“Since launching the bursary in 2011 we’ve continued to have a positive response,” says ID&C director Matt Wilkey. “As a family-run company, we always look for ways to give back to the industries we work in. The small-to-medium festival market is more vibrant than ever and we’re excited to be offering the bursary for sixth year running.”

Since 2011 over 250 festivals have applied for the bursary, which is awarded to festivals that “engage and give back to their local community, strive towards green initiatives and pioneer new technologies and fan experiences”.

Entries close on 30 April, and the winner will be announced in the first week of May.

The Roots pull out of ‘#Bitchass’ Bowie tribute gigs

The Roots have pulled out of tonight and tomorrow’s David Bowie tribute concerts in New York after a dispute over equipment.

The Roots’ drummer and co-frontman Questlove announced on Instagram yesterday that his band, Bilal and Kimbra would no longer performing at tonight’s gig in Carnegie Hall and tomorrow’s in Radio City Music Hall because an unnamed musician had not allowed him to use their equipment. “I’ve never been so insecure or petty as to deny a fellow musician use of any of my equipment (or my band’s equipment – or resources or contacts or knowledge or anything) [and]  it angers me when the same courtesy is not reciprocated,” he wrote.

“We have patience,” he continued. “But we do NOT have patience for the #Bitchassness.”

The Music of David Bowie concerts will feature performers including Pixies, Michael Stipe, Blondie, The Flaming Lips, Cyndi Lauper, Cat Power, Jakob Dylan and Robyn Hitchcock. Organiser Michael Dorf announced on Tuesday that the shows will be live-streamed over Skype for those unable to attend.

Vancouver venue Railway Club closes

The Railway Club, a historic music venue in Vancouver city centre which has hosted acts including Barenaked Ladies, kd lang, Spirit of the West and Canadian icons The Tragically Hip, has announced it is to close, “effective immediately”.

In a Facebook post, Railway Club owner Steve Silman, who bought the venue in 2008, said: “The long-term and persistent combination of relatively high expenses, in particular rent, as compared to business receipts has left the business unable to continue.”

The Railway Club opened as a pub in 1931 and became a music venue in the 1980s under the ownership of local politician Bob Williams. It had been for sale since December for C$299,000 ($160,500), which included an alcohol licence.

The closing of the venue reflects the increasingly unaffordable nature of trading in central Vancouver, Andrey Parlov, a finance professor at Simon Fraser University, tells The Globe and Mail. Prof. Parlov says music venues rely on an audience of mostly young people, who in Vancouver’s case are being squeezed out of the city by soaring rents: “What kills businesses is a lack of customers,” he says.

Atmospériques’ Marc Thonon named Bureau Export MD

The French Music Export Office (Bureau Export de la musique française) has appointed Marc Thonon as its new directeur général, or managing director.

Thonon (pictured) is head of indie record label Atmosphériques and a former A&R man at Virgin at Barclay. He has also served as president of the ‘French Grammys’, the Victoires de la musique, and was involved in the conception of the Centre national de la musique.

The Bureau Export is a non-profit organisation “that helps French and international music professionals work together to develop French-produced music around the world” – both concerts and recorded music.

The previous managing director was Fabrice Rebois.

Bigsound announces details for 15th festival/conference

Bigsound, the Eurosonic Noorderslag/The Great Escape/SxSW of the southern hemisphere, has announced the dates for its 15th-anniversary event.

The Brisbane conference and new music festival will this year take place from 7 to 9 September and promises a “programme of surprises” from new co-programmer Maggie Collins and outgoing programmer Nick O’Byrne.

“[This year] is a turning point in Bigsound’s history,” says Joel Edmonson, executive officer of event organiser QMusic. “Although we’re focused on adding new dimensions to the Bigsound experience, it’s also important that we look back on our roots and celebrate just how far we’ve come.

“We feel privileged to curate a tasteful line-up of the most respected and burgeoning artists from a wide range of genres and formats, as well as a conference that meaningfully explores what the industry currently faces”

“The Bigsound alumni list is a who’s who of Australian music. That Bigsound is a place where a public audience can share in the birth of those careers is something truly unique and special.”

Collins adds: “We are excited about where music is in general right now and feel privileged to curate a tasteful line-up of the most respected and burgeoning artists from a wide range of genres and formats, as well as a conference that meaningfully explores what the industry currently faces. […] It’s the best party of the year, and we want to create life highlights for everyone involved that can only be topped by coming back the next year.”

Acts who have launched their careers at Bigsound include Courtney Barnett, Flume, Rufus and The Jezabels.

Chinese promoter in hot water over 30min Exo gig

Shanghai’s arts and culture administration has ordered a Chinese promoter to provide a full refund to fans of K-pop boy band Exo after a concert advertised as lasting three hours finished after just 30 minutes.

The promoter had promised that all nine members of Exo would perform at least 10 songs. However, one band member, Lay, was absent, and the concert lasted barely half an hour, reports allkpop.

Many fans had reportedly paid up to ¥10,000 (roughly US$1,500) for front-row seats, with regular tickets fetching between¥4,000 and ¥6,000 yuan ($600–$900).

Although refunds will be given, concertgoers will have to travel to an office block in Shanghai to collect their money, regardless of where they live.

Agency reshuffle: Perale joins CAA, new partners at ICM

Corporate strategy specialist Matteo Perale has joined Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to lead the booking and sports agency’s “aggressive growth and diversification” efforts worldwide.

Perale comes to CAA from sports marketing giant Infront Sports and Media, where he was director of strategic development and was responsible for, among other things, reorganising the company’s digital media business. Before Infront he worked for 11 years in private equity, most recently at Bridgeport Capital.

“It is one thing for CAA to maintain its dominant market position year after year for decades, but quite another to watch it drive the industry forward in the intelligent, ambitious and innovative way it has done in recent years,” says Perale.  “I feel very lucky to join the company and help capitalise on its entirely unique global platform.  As content, sports, media, technology and brands continue to converge, the opportunities for CAA and its clients are limitless.”

CAA last week promoted five trainees to full agents.

Booking agents Dennis Ashley and Robert Gibbs, who co-run ICM’s West Coast urban music division, are among the company’s new partners

At ICM Partners, meanwhile, no less than nine agents are now partners in the business.

Music agents Dennis Ashley and Robert Gibbs, who co-run ICM’s West Coast urban music division, are among the new partners. The agents’ powerhouse roster includes J. Cole, Missy Elliott and D’Angelo, as well as Mary J. Blige, who signed with ICM last month.

“We founded ICM Partners on the principle of rewarding success and providing an opportunity for growth for our agents,” the company said in a statement. “The spirit of teamwork and collegiality that we envision is embodied by this outstanding group of agents.”

ICM now has a total of 47 partners.

Mojo Barriers inks three-year deal with Roskilde

Mojo Barriers has secured a new three-year contract to supply its aluminium stage barriers to Roskilde Festival.

The company, which has offices in the Netherlands, the UK, the US and Australia, has a 15-year relationship with the Danish festival, which will this year take place between 25 June and 2 July.

Mojo Barriers will, as in previous years, supply a system which splits the front-of-stage area into four pens that are emptied between the bands, allowing Roskilde staff to control the number of people in those areas and divide the audience to prevent large crowd surges.

Mojo will also supply line-up gates to control the flow rate into the pens and give security staff an effective monitoring system.

“There is a great health and safety culture at Roskilde, and we’ve worked closely with organisers to develop a barrier configuration which provides optimum safety to festivalgoers,” says Mojo Barriers’ Alex Borger. “This three-year contact is [a] testament to Roskilde’s commitment to crowd management and we’re looking forward to expanding on our long-term relationship with this brilliant event.”

Roskilde Festival’s 2016 line-up features Red Hot Chili Peppers, New Order, Foals, PJ Harvey, Bring Me the Horizon, LCD Soundsystem, Wiz Khalifa and Tame Impala.

VR “opens a world of opportunity” for live music

On 28 February British synthpop trio Years & Years played what was billed as the world’s first live virtual-reality (VR) gig.

Using Samsung’s Gear VR headsets, audiences across Europe could switch between three camera angles – in the front row, on stage with the band or from a moving camera on the ceiling – as Years & Years performed ‘Worship’, ‘Shine’, ‘Desire’ and ‘King’. The concert was filmed using Samsung’s Gear 360 cameras.

In an interview with International Business Times UK, the show’s director, Sam Wrench, spoke on the opportunities and challenges for the music industry presented by VR technology and explained the process behind shooting live events in virtual reality.

“As a viewer it gives you a chance to be fully immersed within a moment that you can’t get to in real life, often from a viewpoint that you’d never be able to access in reality,” says Wrench. “VR opens a world of opportunity, from experiencing your favourite band as a member on stage to sitting next to your [sports] team’s manager through to the 90th minute.”

According to Wrench, the biggest opportunity for the live music sector is the ability to “explore experiences away from the stage: Who are you watching the show with, or what are the crowd around you doing during certain songs?”

Drawing back the curtain on the Years & Years concert, Wrench explains: “When it came to designing the Years & Years set for Samsung, I put myself into the viewers’ point of view. It wasn’t about creating an energy and directing the viewer to a certain focal point; we instead had to create a world where there was something happening wherever they looked and the 360° stage and video dome – or ‘web’, as it was described – came from there.

“I didn’t want them to look behind and see an empty blackness, but we also had to keep it intimate. The dome allowed us to create a sense of enclosure and defined planes to place yourself within.”

According to Wrench, the biggest opportunity for the live music sector is the ability to “explore experiences away from the stage: Who are you watching the show with, or what are the crowd around you doing during certain songs? It’s these elements that impact a gig experience when you are there but have been previously hard to convey in a traditional multi-camera set-up. VR opens up that element of storytelling with endless results.”

In issue 64 of IQ Magazine, industry figures, including representatives from Exit Festival, Tomorrowland and Sziget, gave Richard Smirke their predictions on how VR technology would shape the live music sector in coming years.