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Montreux Jazz Festival 2021 to go ahead

The 55th Montreux Jazz Festival will go ahead this July in a reimagined, Covid-secure format, organisers announced today (31 March).

In a first, Montreux Jazz Festival 2021 will take partially on Lake Geneva, with maximum of 600 people able to watch performances on the main stage from seats on the lake shoreline. Three other stages with a smaller capacity, located in the event spaces and gardens of the Fairmont Le Montreux Palace hotel, will also host live music performances, alongside jam sessions, workshops and other events.

Through a previously announced deal with livestreaming platform Qello Concerts, performances from the physical festival will also be made available in a digital format free of charge.

On the ground, artists will perform on four stages, the largest of which, the aforementioned Lake (Lac) stage, will be built atop Lake Geneva, 25 metres from the shore and have a seated capacity of 600. The second stage, the 300-seat Petit Théâtre, located in the grand Salle des Fêtes at the Montreux Palace, will showcase “jazz fused with different influences, with a fresh and contemporary feel”.

The free-to-access Grand Hall will focus on artists affiliated with the Montreux Jazz Artists Foundation, while the similarly open-to-all Gardens will feature acoustic performances, DJ sets, a cocktail bar and food stalls.

“Our stages’ capacities will be even smaller, which will create an exceptional streaming experience for international audiences who can’t come to the festival”

The Lake stage, in particular, was a long-time dream of festival founder Claude Nobs, who passed away in 2013. “In a year when everything seems impossible, we wanted to do Claude Nobs proud and channel his favourite saying, ’Nothing is impossible’,” say organisers.

MJF’s announcement it is forging ahead follows a raft of recent festival cancellations in Switzerland.

Mathieu Jaton, CEO of Montreux Jazz Festival, says: “We are thrilled to unveil our brand-new format for this year’s festival, which pursues our hybrid model strategy. Montreux Jazz Festival has always been about creating very special concerts where artists can feel up close and personal with their fans while sharing these unique moments worldwide through audiovisual content.”

Montreux Jazz Festival 2021 stages

The format of the 55th MJF will evolve based on the public health situation in consultation with the local and national authorities, says the festival, while contact tracing will be required for each festival zone (the Montreux Palace, Lake stage area and the Gardens). It will not, however, be necessary to reserve places for the free activities and zones, which will remain open until they reach maximum capacity.

“This year, our stages’ capacities will be even smaller due to Covid-19 restrictions, which will create an exceptional streaming experience for international audiences who can’t come to the festival,” adds Jaton. “The content will be especially breathtaking from our new stage built above the water on Lake Geneva, with the Alps in the background.”

 

Line-up and ticket information for Montreux Jazz Festival 2021 will be released in the coming weeks.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Bluesfest forced to cancel at the eleventh hour

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2021 has been cancelled by a public health order, a mere 24 hours before doors were due to open to the public.

The New South Wales (NSW) government announced on Wednesday (30 March) that Bluesfest would not be permitted to go ahead on its scheduled dates, Thursday 31 March to Monday 5 April, due to a new Covid case in Byron Bay.

Bluesfest confirmed the cancellation in a statement published late afternoon on 31 March. “We are heartbroken that Covid-19 has spread into our local community,” it read. “We are getting the message out as quickly as possible so that those traveling to the event can make alternate arrangements.”

Read the full Bluesfest statement via our website: www.bluesfest.com.au/bluesfest-is-cancelled-for-two-years-in-a-row

Posted by Bluesfest Byron Bay on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

 

In a statement, Minister Hazzard said: “While the cancellation of Bluesfest is disappointing for music lovers and the local community, I hope that ticket holders would support Bluesfest and hold on to their tickets as I understand Bluesfest will be working on a new date as soon as possible.”

Under an NSW Health-approved Covid-19 safety plan, Bluesfest 2021 was set to operate at approximately 50% of normal capacity and production, hosting around 16,500 people on each of its five days, with an all-Australian line-up.

The cancellation marks the second time the festival has been called off due to the coronavirus.

The last-minute cancellation of Bluesfest has prompted fresh calls for a government insurance scheme that would help live events redeem their costs in the event of an eleventh-hour cancellation.

Live Performance Australia and the Australian Festival Association, which have been advocating for a business interruption fund for the last year, say it’s “now a matter of urgency”.

“Govt has a Covid insurance system for the film industry. Music needs one too. Urgently”

Bluesfest’s Peter Noble had called for such a fund at the beginning of the year. A business interruption fund, he wrote on Facebook, would “incentivise event presenters to put on events and be protected in not going to the wall, should an out break of Covid shut down their businesses at short notice and protect artists, crew and suppliers [to] get paid should that occur”.

“The federal government did it more than six months ago for the film industry to get them back to making movies. Why are we still waiting?” he wrote.

Shadow Arts Minister Tony Burke has also called for a “Covid insurance system” for live music. “The music industry is full of viable profitable businesses unable to function because of public health,” he wrote on Twitter. “Govt has a Covid insurance system for the film industry. Music needs one too. Urgently.”

In the last year, insurance schemes have been announced in Germany (€2.5bn), Austria (€300m), the Netherlands (€300m), Belgium (€60m), Norway (€34m) Denmark (DKK 500m) and Estonia (€6m).


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Iceland Airwaves releases volcano-watching soundtrack

Iceland Airwaves has put together a Spotify playlist to soundtrack the spectacular eruption of a volcano at Geldingadalur, on Iceland’s Reykjanes Peninsula, which started on 19 March and at press time is still ongoing.

Featuring the likes of the B-52s’ ‘Lava’, John Grant’s ‘Magma Arrives’, Carole King’s ‘I Feel the Earth Move’ and Björk’s paean to Iceland, ‘Jóga’, the playlist – billed as ‘some cool tunes to enjoy while Iceland heats up’ – is intended to accompany visuals of the eruption, which is being livestreamed by Iceland’s state broadcaster, RÚV, and can be watched in real time above.

“If you don’t know what soundtrack best suits a volcanic eruption, we have you covered,” says the showcase festival, which returns to Reyjkavik from 3 to 6 November 2021. Four-day festivals passes for Iceland Airwaves 2021 are on sale now, priced from 17,990 kr. (€120).

While the eruption at Geldingadalur could, according to geologists, continue for weeks, months or even years, volcanoes in south-west Iceland do not typically produce much ash, meaning it is not expected to affect air travel – unlike in 2010, when the ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajökull eruption ruined a number of international tours.

Listen to Iceland Airwaves’ volcano-watching playlist below:


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Glastonbury goes global with ticketed livestream

Glastonbury will host an exclusive global livestream from its Worthy Farm festival site on 22 May, in lieu of the flagship event which was called off for a second consecutive year.

Coldplay, Damon Albarn, Haim, Idles, Jorja Smith, Kano, Michael Kiwanuka, Wolf Alice and DJ Honey Dijon will perform across the site’s landmarks – including the Pyramid Field and the Stone Circle – for the event, dubbed Live at Worthy Farm. There will also be a number of unannounced surprise performances.

The uninterrupted five-hour production will be shot by acclaimed Grammy-nominated director Paul Dugdale and co-promoted and produced by Driift, the pioneering UK livestream business which has hosted livestreams for Laura Marling, Nick Cave, Andrea Bocelli and Kylie Minogue.

“For one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through [Worthy Farm] together”

The performances will be interspersed by a spoken word narrative, written and delivered by special guests.

“After two Glastonbury cancellations, it brings us great pleasure to announce our first online livestream, which will present live music performances filmed across Worthy Farm at landmarks including the Pyramid and, for the first time ever, the Stone Circle,” says Glastonbury organiser, Emily Eavis.

“It will feature a rolling cast of artists and performers who have all given us enormous support by agreeing to take part in this event, showing the farm as you have never seen it. There will also be some very special guest appearances and collaborations. We are hoping this will bring a bit of Glastonbury to your homes and that for one night only people all over the world will be able to join us on this journey through the farm together!”

Live at Worthy Farm will support Glastonbury’s three main charitable partners, Oxfam, Greenpeace and WaterAid, as well as helping to secure next year’s edition.

Stagehand, the live production hardship fund that has been providing financial support to crew members throughout the pandemic, will receive the proceeds from a limited edition line-up poster for the event.

The online event will be broadcast in full across four separate time zones, with staggered livestreams.  Tickets are on sale now at worthyfarm.live for £20/€23/US$27.50/A$35.

Live at Worthy Farm

 


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BST Hyde Park, Lollapalooza Paris cancel

Leaving large festival-shaped holes in their respective countries’ summer calendars, AEG Presents’ British Summer Time Hyde Park and Live Nation France’s Lollapalooza Berlin today (30 March) became the latest high-profile European open airs to confirm they won’t be going ahead in 2021.

In a statement, the 65,000-capacity British Summer Time (BST), which was scheduled for the second weekend of July, says both previously announced 2021 headline shows, Duran Duran and Pearl Jam, will instead take place in July 2022, with support from Nile Rodgers/Chic and Pixies plus another special guest, respectively.

Current restrictions are expected to be rolled back in the UK no sooner than 21 June, with the publication of new guidelines no earlier than seven days in advance. With high production standards, and having been due to take place in early July, BST organisers say it’s not possible to press on.

“Following our review of the most recent government advice, the latest timeline means that we are unable to deliver with certainty the quality BST Hyde Park is known for in the time available,” say organisers.

“By making this decision at this stage we allow everyone … to plan accordingly”

“By making this decision at this stage we allow artists, crew, fans and everyone that comes together to help create these shows to plan accordingly.”

All BST 2020 and 2021 tickets remain valid for 2022, although cash refunds are also available from the point of purchase.

In France, where the latest regulations permit a maximum of just 5,000 people, all seated, at summer events, Lollapalooza Paris says “current uncertainties” prevent the festival from delivering its “Lolla magic” for Parisian fans this year.

The 50,000-capacity festival, which would have taken place at the Longchamp Racecourse on 17 and 18 July, had also announced Pearl Jam for 2021, with much of the 2020 line-up, which included Billie Eilish, Asap Rocky, Vampire Weekend and Khalid, also expected to be carried over.

Pearl Jam will now play next year’s festival, set for 16–17 July 2022.

 


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TEG MJR and Snoop Dogg sign exclusive touring deal

TEG MJR, the UK-based promotion division of Asia-Pacific live powerhouse TEG, has secured an exclusive five-year deal with hip-hop heavyweight, Snoop Dogg.

Under the multi-million-dollar deal, TEG MJR will promote all of Snoop Dogg’s tours globally outside of North America, beginning with dates for Snoop’s 2022 world tour.

The European leg of the tour kicks off on 20 February 2022 and includes rescheduled sold-out shows at London’s 02 Arena (cap. 21,000), Dublin’s 3 Arena (cap. 13,000) and Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome Arena (cap. 17,000).

TEG MJR CEO Richard Buck penned the agreement with Snoop’s international agents Julian O’Brien and MPI’s Minneapolis-based partner Nabil Ghebre, who have been working closely together with Bobby D (Aaka Robert Dreislen), who is at the helm of Snoop Dogg’s operations in Los Angeles.

Geoff Jones, CEO of TEG, says: “Snoop Dogg is a hip hop pioneer and one of its greatest live performers. He has won an astonishing number of awards and nominations and we are thrilled to be able to bring the man and his music live to fans the world over for the next five years.”

“We are really excited in helping him bring both his new music and back catalogue to life with this touring partnership”

Richard Buck, CEO of TEG MJR, says: “Snoop is one of the most respected and prolific hip hop artists on the planet. We are really excited in helping him bring both his new music and back catalogue to life with this touring partnership.”

Bobby D, Snoop Dogg’s manager and co-owner of Uncle Snoop’s Army, says: “We are excited about this five-year international partnership with TEG and to continuously come overseas to connect with our fans around the world.”

Uncle Snoop’s Army is a multi-million-dollar LA-based music and entertainment company representing hip-hop artists.

The first dates on Snoop Dogg’s world tour (including rescheduled dates for the UK, Ireland and Amsterdam) are:

20 Feb 2022 – Telenor Arena, Oslo, NO
21 Feb 2022 – Bella Center Kongreshal, Copenhagen, DK
23 Feb 2022 – Koepi Arena , Oberhausen, DE
24 Feb 2022 – Sportpaleis Arena , Antwerp, NL
25 Feb 2022 – Max Schmeling Halle , Berlin, DE
27 Feb 2022 – Accor Arena, Paris, FR
28 Feb 2022 – Ziggo Dome Arena, Amsterdam NL
02 Mar 2022 – SSE Hydro Arena, Glasgow UK
03 Mar 2022 – Resorts World Arena, Birmingham UK
05 Mar 2022 – AO Arena, Manchester UK
07 Mar 2022 – First Direct Arena, Leeds UK
08 Mar 2022 – 02 Arena, London UK
09 Mar 2022 – 3 Arena, Dublin IE
11 Mar 2022 – INEC Arena, Kerry IE
12 Mar 2022 – SSE Arena, Belfast UK

 


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German tests show you ‘can’t write off the summer yet’

The artistic director of the Berlin Philharmonic has shared preliminary findings from the orchestra’s recent pilot concert, saying the zero infections among the 1,000 people who attended the show is further proof that events can be organised safely during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The 20 March performance, part of a series of planned test concerts which have now been cut short by a new lockdown in Berlin, welcomed fans who could provide a negative Covid-19 test to the 1,180-seat Chamber Music Hall for a performance of Rachmaninoff’s Symphony No 2.

According to the Philharmoniker’s Andrea Zietzschmann, shows such as those in Berlin are helping to create “a perspective that we can find a creative, constructive and responsible approach to being able to organise cultur[al events] again during the pandemic.” The city’s pilot project is “not only of great importance for Berlin, but also for the entire cultural landscape,” she adds.

Dr Florian Kainzinge, who oversaw the rapid testing ahead of the concert, has revealed that it cost €23,000 to test the 680 people who were tested at the Chamber Music Hall, plus 200 staff. According to the Tagesspiegel, this would add around €20 to the cost of tickets at venues of a similar size.

Other findings include that it took an average of 12 minutes between testing and producing the result (all negative in the case of 20 March concert), and that the no-show rate, at 43, was also much lower when compared to a normal concert.

“The pilot project can create a perspective that we can find a creative, constructive and responsible approach to being able to organise culture again”

Only two people were turned away, for forgetting to bring their proof of having a negative Covid-19 test.

Marko Hegner from Goodlive says the results so far should be transferable to events of all kinds, “so we shouldn’t write off the event summer yet.”

The initial findings come as Berlin presses pause on its cultural Pilotprojekt, which also includes events in other events in concert halls, theatres and nightclubs, due to the worsening coronavirus situation in Germany.

Michael Müller, the mayor of Berlin, says the controlled test events will be continued at a later date. “It is absolutely clear that the pilot projects that we have planned for culture, sport and gastronomy can no longer be implemented [at present],” he explains.

German chancellor Angela Merkel has been critical of the approach taken by local governments which are focusing on mass testing as opposed to stay-at-home orders or lockdowns.

“I really don’t know now whether testing and [allowing people to] wander, as they say in Berlin, is the right answer to what’s going on at the moment,” she said earlier this week.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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Finland’s guarantee fund ‘doesn’t meet industry’s needs’

The Finnish government has proposed an event guarantee fund that would “put players in the sector in a highly unequal position”, according to the Event Industry Association (Tapahtumateollisuus).

The proposal, prepared by the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy and submitted for comments on Monday (29 March), has been designed to reimburse a portion of the production costs for large-scale events and festivals should they be cancelled or restricted due to official regulations.

However, the association says the proposed guarantee scheme “unjustifiably” excludes a large part of the event industry, such as year-round events, professional sports and theatre.

In addition, the proposed guarantee support would only cover events during the summer season, up until 30 September. The association says the time limit does not take into account the time span of planning provisions in the event industry, nor would it cover “one of the most active operating periods in the industry”.

“In the proposed form, guarantee support would completely exclude a large part of the events industry”

The association adds that summer events have a “rather narrow employment impact on the industry as a whole”.

“It is good that the need for transaction support has finally been identified. However, it must also act on its purpose. Therefore, the support model must be corrected before the decision of parliament, because in the proposed form, guarantee support would completely exclude a large part of the events industry,” says Pekka Timonen, chairman of the Event Industry Association.

“A guarantee covering only the summer should have been provided for in January at the latest. We also require security from the guarantee to secure the events of the autumn season. Many trade fairs and corporate events as well as entertainment and seminar events are held in the autumn and early winter. They must be covered by comprehensive guarantee support,” adds Timonen.

In the northern hemisphere, other insurance schemes have been announced in Germany (€2.5bn), Austria (€300m), the Netherlands (€300m), Belgium (€60m), Norway (€34m) Denmark (DKK 500m) and Estonia (€6m).

 


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Primavera Weekender 2021 is a go

Primavera Sound’s Primavera Weekender will return in November, welcoming some 30 artists and around 1,000 attendees for the second edition of the resort festival in Benidorm.

Primavera Weekender debuted in November 2019, ahead of the celebrations planned for Primavera Sound’s 20th anniversary in 2020, which would have also included festivals in Barcelona, Oporto and Los Angeles before Covid-19 struck. Ultimately, only Primavera Weekender 2019 went ahead, with the 2020 edition also called off.

Taking place once again at the Magic Robin Hood holiday park in Benidorm, on Alicante’s Costa Blanca, Primavera Weekender 2021 will aim to replicate, as much as possible, “what a festival was before the pandemic”, say organisers, who add: “We have been working for a long time to make it so.”

No artists have been announced yet, though the 2019 event featured performers including Primal Scream, Belle and Sebastian, Idles, Mura Masa, Squid, Cigarettes After Sex and Sleaford Mods.

Reflecting on the festival’s successful debut in 2019, Primavera Sound says in a statement: “The first weekend of the event at the Magic Robin Hood resort in Benidorm in November 2019 was supposed to be the starting point for the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Primavera Sound… and it ended up being the only one.

“Primavera Weekender will once again be the beginning of many things”

“But what a celebration it was: some 3,000 attendees experienced a weekend in which the concerts shared the limelight with a community party; it was as if somehow we were saying goodbye to something for a while.

“When it was over, everyone who had been there was clear on one thing: it had to happen again. There was something magical in the atmosphere during that sort of musical camp with unforgettable concerts, lodges, unpredictable alliances and, of course, legends that will be talked about for years.”

Tickets for the festival, which include two nights in a two-person cabin and full board, start at €299pp and go on sale Tuesday (6 April) at local time.

Two years on, “Primavera Weekender will once again be the beginning of many things: the true 20th anniversary of Primavera Sound, and all the time we want to make up for,” add organisers.

The flagship Primavera Sound festival cancelled its 2021 edition earlier this month as a result of ongoing uncertainty around mass gatherings in Spain.

 


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Further blows to Germany’s 2021 festival season

Germany’s 2021 festival season has diminished once again after the cancellations of Zelt Musik Festival Freiburg, Rudolstadt Festival and Rock Hard Festival.

The 38th edition of Zelt Musik Festival Freiburg (ZMF) was due to take place from 21 July to 8 August but, according to a statement from the organisers, the financial risk of going ahead this year is too great.

“We are heartbroken, but the seriousness of the situation forces us to make this step. Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, the Freiburg Tent Music Festival is not possible this year either.

“The restrictions would not do justice to a ZMF as we know it. We have thought and reckoned a lot and have come to the conclusion that we cannot bear the financial risk. We would like to enable our favourite festival and Freiburg’s most beautiful place in the summer to have a future, which is only feasible due to the lowest possible economic risk,” the statement says.

The festival has taken place since 1983, attracting around 120,000 visitors to the ‘tent city’ in the countryside of Mundenhof. Pixies, Agnes Obel and Black Pumas were slated for this year’s edition.

Rudolstadt Festival, which would’ve taken place from 1 to 4 July in the Thuringia town of Rudolstadt, has also been called off for a second consecutive year.

“Our hearts feel heavy, but the head knows it is the right thing to do. We have decided to cancel this year’s festival. Even a festival in miniature with a responsible hygiene concept cannot be planned reliably under the current circumstances,” says a statement on the festival’s website.

“Even a festival in miniature with a responsible hygiene concept cannot be planned reliably under the current circumstances”

“Now it’s certain. And disappointing. Leaving behind a deep longing for live music. But what uplifts our minds in all this mess: The way is open for new ideas and a fresh program 2022, which is living up to the festival’s spirit.”

The four-day festival typically hosts around 300 performances by 150 artists on 20 stages around the town and welcomes up to 25,000 visitors a day. The festival will celebrate its 30th edition next year.

Elsewhere, Rock Hard Festival, which would’ve taken place between 21 and 23 May at the Amphitheater Gelsenkirchen in Dortmund, has also pulled the plug.

“It had been evolving for a long time, but now we have to finally announce the transfer of the festival to 2022. The fact that there won’t even be any conditions for open-air events this spring is a heavy blow for the entire live industry, of course, for us too. We have put a lot of love and work into a great billing 2020/2021 and will strive to convince as many artists as possible to be available for an appointment next year,” the organisers have said in a statement.

Earlier this month, some of Germany’s biggest music festivals, including Eventim Presents/DreamHaus’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane and Southside and ESK Events’ Deichbrand Festival, were called off for a second year running.

Days later, Goodlive pulled the 2021 editions of Melt, Splash, Full Force and Heroes.

The cancellations come in spite of Germany’s €2.5 billion fund for underwriting events held later in the year, as the country lags behind its neighbours in its Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.


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