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Exit festival to offer vaccines to int’l visitors

Exit Festival plans to offer doses of the coronavirus vaccine to international guests who attend the event this summer.

The Serbian festival, which will be held in Novi Sad from 8–11 July, is set to go ahead as normal as the country charges towards a full reopening on 21 June, thanks to Serbia’s “successful mass vaccination programme and significantly decreased number of new Covid cases”.

Now, “as a way to aid countries that currently have vaccine shortages,” Exit has partnered with the ministry of health to organise “a few thousand” coronavirus vaccine doses for international artists, ticketholders and accredited press who attend the festival.

The festival told IQ that international guests will be able to apply to have their vaccine in Serbia. More information regarding the vaccination process for international visitors will be announced soon.

Attendees who can prove they are immune against Covid-19 or can produce a negative PCR or antigen test will also be able to attend the 20th-anniversary edition of Exit – which is slated to feature international acts including Robin Schultz, David Guetta and DJ Snake.

“Serbia has been one of the global leaders in mass vaccination for months,” says Serbian prime minister Ana Brnabić. “Thanks to that, we have an ever-improving epidemiological situation and the plan is to open the country for gatherings, concerts and festivals on 21 June.

“Exit festival happening this July will be one of the important symbols of Serbia’s victory over the pandemic”

“In this way, we show not only the care for the event industry that contributes so much to our tourism and economy, but we also fight for the mental health of young people. Also, we confirm the strategic commitment of the government of Serbia towards the development of creative industries. Exit festival, which our country is globally proud of, happening this July will be one of the important symbols of Serbia’s victory over the pandemic”.

The country’s prospective 21 June reopening, which coincides with World Music Day, depends on 50% of adults getting vaccinated by that date.

Currently, around 45% of adults in Serbia have been vaccinated against Covid-19 with a further 5% expected in the next few weeks.

The government recently launched an immunisation campaign that would “reward” citizens for their “responsibility” to get inoculated against the virus.

Citizens over the age of 16 who have either already received one or two doses, or will be vaccinated with at least one dose by 31 May will receive a one-time payment of 3,000 dinars (€25). The amount equates to around 5% of the country’s average monthly salary.

The government initiative – believed to be the first of its kind in the world – is aiming to revive Serbia’s immunisation campaign amid waning public interest and growing scepticism.

Read about the international live music industry is divided as to how, if at all, fans’ vaccination status should be taken into account as live activity resumes here.

 


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Rock en Seine cancels, French organisers get creative

France’s Rock en Seine has been called off, following the government’s announcement that festivals would be restricted to 5,000 seated and socially distanced attendees.

The Paris festival, which typically welcomes 120,000 festivalgoers each year, was set to take place between 27–29 August 2021, though the line-up had not been announced.

In a statement, the organisers say: “Even with the greatest optimism, given the health restrictions in place today we know that the event we want to create and experience sadly cannot take place this year.”

The French government announced the framework for the 2021 festival season back in February, along with a €30 million fund.

The aid was launched to compensate organisers – both for losses incurred due to the implementation of alternative formats and in the event that festivals are cancelled due to an increasing Covid-19 infection rate.

Many French organisers have already jumped at the chance to implement an alternative event, including the country’s largest festival, the Vieilles Charrues (Old Plows).

The festival will host an intimate concert series at the Parc du Château in its home region of Brittany between 8–18 July 2021.

“Even with the greatest optimism, given the health restrictions in place today we know that the event cannot take place this year”

The series will comprise 10 evenings concerts featuring 30 domestic artists including Vianney, Woodkid and Pomme. See the full line-up here.

Live Nation’s Main Square festival is also planning a concert series, which will comprise eight concerts in eight ’emblematic places’ of Hauts-de-France, the northernmost region of France. See the line-up and the list of locations here.

Those who have purchased tickets to the 2020, 2021 or 2022 editions of the Arras-based festival will have the opportunity to attend the six shows free of charge, in strict compliance with the current restrictions.

All six concerts will be filmed and broadcast online on the festival’s official website as well as on its social networks and those of its partners, on July 2, 3 and 4 – when the flagship festival would’ve taken place.

Elsewhere, in the French festival market, Eurockéennes says it is “now imagining the different possible options to offer another project, in a new format and adapted to the framework that will be imposed on us” though no further details have emerged.

France was the first major European market to make a decision on the 2021 festival season but countries including Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland have followed suit with tough restrictions.

 


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More major Spanish festivals pull the plug on 2021

Spain’s 2021 festival season has diminished once again with fresh cancellations from major festivals Mad Cool and Bilbao BBK Live.

Other marquee Spanish festivals including Primavera Sound and Sónar Barcelona were previously called off, while Arenal Sound, Festival Internacional de Benicàssim and Cruïlla are still forging ahead with this year’s events.

Live Nation-promoted Mad Cool (cap. 60,000) was set to take place between 7–10 July 2021 in Madrid but this morning (20 May), the organisers confirmed that this year’s event is cancelled due to the “current force majeure circumstances” of the pandemic.

“It has been a very painful decision to come to, as our desire (and probably yours) was to find ourselves all together again at Mad Cool in 2021,” they said in a statement.

“However, we would like to let you know we think this is the appropriate, sensible and right decision to make. Health is more important than anything.”

“[Mad Cool] would like to let you know we think this is the appropriate, sensible and right decision to make”

The fifth edition of Mad Cool will take place in 2022 from July 6–9. All purchased tickets for Mad Cool 2021 will be valid for the 2022 edition of the festival, while refunds and ticket changes will be available between 7–21 July.

A line-up announcement for 2022 is expected to be made before 7 July, with the organisers noting that “we are keeping as many artists as we can from 2021 and also adding some new ones so we can have the best line-up ever”.

The likes of The Killers, Haim and Cardi B had all been set to play at the 2021 edition of the event.

The cancellation of Mad Cool follows that of Bilbao BBK Live, which was called off on Tuesday (18 May) due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The 15th anniversary of the Spanish event was due to take place between 8–10 July 2021, with the likes of The Killers, Pet Shop Boys, Supergrass and FKA Twigs.

“We appreciate [fans’] patience, and we share the same frustration for missing out on the festival yet again”

“First and foremost, a big thank you to all of you for your patience and resilience during these tough times,” a statement read.

“We feel your support now more than ever. As you can imagine, Bilbao BBK Live will not be held as originally planned nor on the scheduled date. We will have to wait a bit longer as the highly anticipated reunion is postponed to 2022.”

The post continues: “We appreciate your patience, and we share the same frustration for missing out on the festival yet again. All we can think about is how incredible the reunion is going to be after this long wait, and we guarantee it will be worth it.

We will return even more eager to celebrate and enjoy live music. See you next year!”

The line-up for Bilbao 2022 will arrive by 8 July.

 


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Rock Werchter announces alternative event

Belgium’s Rock Werchter has announced a smaller stand-in event for the flagship festival which was cancelled in March.

The concert series, dubbed Werchter Parklife, is set to run for four days a week between 1 July and 1 August 2021 in a temporary open-air arena at the Werchter festival site.

Already confirmed for Werchter Parklife are Balthazar (1 July), Goose (2 July), Arsenal and Tin Fingers (3 July), Lil Kleine and Ronnie Flex & The Fam (4 July, afternoon), Black Box Revelation and Equal Idiots (4 July, evening).

Up to 2,500 fans will be permitted to attend each concert, divided into 625 safe bubbles of four people. Tickets for Werchter Parklife went on sale this morning (18 May) in batches of four.

Up to 2,500 fans will be permitted to attend each [Werchter Parklife] concert, divided into 625 safe bubbles of four people

Rock Werchter (cap. 88,000), promoted by Herman Schueremans and Live Nation Belgium, will “be back in full swing in 2022, from 30 June to 3 July” after two years off.

The festival last took place in 2019, welcoming more than 160,000 people for its 45th-anniversary event with Pink, Tool, Muse, the Cure, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons and more.

Belgian festivals including Graspop, Suikerrock, Couleur Cafe, Gent Jazz and Dour have also been called off, while Pukkelpop and Tomorrowland are still on at the time of writing.

 


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Sweden rules out major festivals this summer

The Swedish government’s new roadmap has hammered the final nail in the coffin of the country’s 2021 festival summer by ruling out major events until at least September.

The three-stage plan seals the fate of Swedish festivals – most of which have already pulled the plug.

Way Out West (12–14 August) is the latest major Swedish festival to be called off and follows high-profile cancellations from Sweden Rock (9–12 June), Lollapalooza Stockholm (2–5 July) and Statement Festival (3–4 September).

Regional events including Urkult, Bingsjöstämman, Storsjöyran, Dance Band Week in Malung, Gefle Metal, Putte in the Park (Karlstad and Luleå), Kiruna Festival and Uppsala Reggae previously called time on 2021 editions.

The roadmap, proposed by the Swedish Public Health Agency and commissioned by the government, suggests that from 1 June (stage three) outdoor events can take place with 500 seated and socially distanced attendees or with 100 standing.

Sweden Rock, Lollapalooza Stockholm, Way Out West and Statement Festival have been called off

Indoor events can take place with either 50 seated and socially distanced attendees or just eight standing.

Dates for the next two levels have not yet been given but the Public Health Agency believes that stage two will come into effect later in June or July, which is when outdoor events can take place with 3,000 seated and socially distanced attendees.

The majority of capacity limits will likely be scrapped in early September, which will mark stage one of the roadmap.

The Swedish government has been notably strict with restrictions for live music. In November, it imposed one of the lowest capacity limits in Europe, permitting just eight people indoors – a limit that, according to the roadmap, may not be lifted until July.

Sweden is the latest European market to pull the plug on the 2021 festival season due to uncertainty about the 2021 festival season, following widespread cancellations in Norway, Germanythe UKSwitzerlandDenmark and France.


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Norway’s 2021 festival season obliterated

Norway’s 2021 festival season has been effectively wiped out with the cancellation of Live Nation-owned festivals Bergenfest and Tons of Rock, Superstruct-backed Øya Festival, Over Oslo, Picnic in the Park, Stavernfetsivalen, Seljord Festival and Country Festival.

The cancellations come after the minister for culture last week (6 May) announced preliminary guidelines which would restrict festivals to 2,000 attendees until June, 5,000 attendees until August and 10,000 thereafter.

The restrictions come in spite of the government’s NOK 350m festival cancellation pot, which the minister said aims to “create predictability now, so that the industry can start planning different scenarios”.

“There is also uncertainty related to what the economic support schemes that include Bergenfest in practice”

Bergenfest, which would have take place between 15–19 June 2021 at Bergenhus Fortress in Bergen, was cancelled last night.

“With current restrictions on outdoor events in June, it is not possible to complete Bergenfest 2021 as we know the festival. There is also uncertainty related to what the economic support schemes that include Bergenfest in practice. It is therefore unfortunately time to confirm the inevitable – Bergenfest 2021 will not happen in June this year,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.

Bergenfest will return between 14–18 June 2022.

Øya Festival, which would have taken place between 10–14 August 2021 at Tøyenparken, Oslo, was cancelled the day after the proposed restrictions were revealed.

“It feels like a little nightmare to have to cancel Øya for the second year in a row”

“It feels like a little nightmare to have to cancel Øya for the second year in a row,” general manager Tonje Kaada wrote on the festival’s website. “Our big wish over the past year has been to gather artists, the audience, festival workers, volunteers and partners for a unique festival experience in Tøyenparken, but it will not be possible with the guidelines that the authorities presented this week.

“There is too much uncertainty associated with the existing framework, and even the best case scenario with 5,000 people, it’s not compatible with the audience experience Øya Festival wants to provide. We have no choice but to realize that it will not be happening in 2021. Even though we are sorry, it is a relief to be able to provide a clarification to everyone who has been waiting for it. We’ll roll up our sleeves and start over now.”

Øya will return between 10–13 August 2022.

Norway is the latest European market to pull the plug on the 2021 festival season, following widespread cancellations in Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Denmark and France.

 


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Flemish gov optimistic about Pukkelpop, Tomorrowland

The Flemish government says large events such as Pukkelpop and Tomorrowland should be able to go ahead in late summer, under certain conditions.

The reassurance for Belgian festival organisers comes after the government unveiled its summer ‘Freedom Plan’ yesterday (9 May), which ventures that all adults would have had the chance to be vaccinated by mid-August.

Flemish minister of health Frank Vandenbroucke says the implementation of the Green Pass – the European corona passport which shows vaccination status and test results – will be key to restarting large events.

Other conditions include on-site Covid-19 testing and limiting access to events to Europeans: “We will not invite the whole world. Within Europe, too, we have to be careful who we admit,” says Vandenbroucke.

The Flemish minister of health says the implementation of the Green Pass will be key to restarting large events

According to the Freedom Plan, large events can restart in July under certain conditions. Events can take place with 5,000 outdoors or 3,000 indoors provided attendees adhere to social distancing and mask-wearing.

In August, the maximum number of people allowed at outdoor events is increased to 10,000, and 4,500 indoors.

Pukkelpop (cap. 60,000) and Tomorrowland (70,000) are set to take place in late August and early September respectively and are the last major Belgian festivals still planning to go ahead after Rock Werchter and Graspop cancelled their 2021 events.

The cancellations came despite the Flemish government’s €60 million pot to help the region’s organisers kickstart preparations for this summer’s festival season.


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Denmark’s festival season wiped out due to restrictions

Denmark’s festival season has been decimated for the second consecutive year after the government announced that a maximum of 2,000 participants will be permitted at festivals between 21 May and 1 August 2021.

The announcement came last night (3 May) and was followed this morning by a raft of festival cancellations including Roskilde (26 June to 3 July), Smukfest (4–8 August), Northside (3–5 June), Tinderbox (24–26 June), Beautiful Party (4–8 August), Jelling Festival (20–23 May), Copenhell (16–19 June) and Heartland (27–29 May).

Vig Festival (8–10 July), Thy Rock (25–26 June), Nibe Festival (30 June to 3 July), Ringsted Festival (5–7 August), Langelandsfestival (18–25 July), Radio ABC Beach Party (17 July) and Kløften Festival (24–26 June) have also been called off.

The government’s reopening agreement states that 2,000-capacity events are permitted, provided attendees are divided into sections with a maximum of 200 people in each.

“It is a day of mourning”

After 1 August, the capacity limit will be raised to 5,000 with sections of up to 500 attendees. Events with 10,000 attendees will not take place until it is ‘assessed as sound from a health point of view’.

The agreement comes after the government’s expert advisory group warned that festivals with more than 10,000 participants should not be carried out as usual, which cast serious doubt over the viability of Denmark’s 2021 festival season.

The organisers of Roskilde, which typically gathers 130,000 people each year, say its enforced cancellation is not surprising.

“We are devastated by the fact that we can’t get together at our festival and contribute to recreating the communities that the corona crisis has destroyed for so many,” says a statement on the festival’s website.

“The cancellation is very serious for the festival, for the charity society behind it and for our community. And it is serious for the artistic environments and the growth segments of culture.”

“We are extremely annoyed that the politicians are writing off the festivals already”

Esben Marcher, head of Danish live music association Dansk Live, dubbed the government’s plan an “over-cautious reopening that does not leave much hope for the festivals”. “It’s a day of mourning,” he added.

Smukfest spokesman, Søren Eskildsen, believes that government acted hastily: “We are extremely annoyed that the politicians are writing off the festivals already, as we believe that it is too early to make such decisive decisions on the basis of conjecture about what the situation will look like in three months’ time and what can and cannot be done at that time.”

The reopening agreement has effectively rendered Denmark’s DKK 500 million (€67.2m) safety net redundant for the organisers of festivals and major events.

Announced in March, the safety net was designed to cover organisers of recurring events with at least 350 participants, taking place between 1 May and 30 September 2021, in the event that the Covid-19 situation results in the cancellation, postponement or significant changes to an event.

 


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Banner festivals postpone in America

Burning Man, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas and Lollapalooza Brasil have become the latest high-profile festivals to cut their losses and cancel or postpone their respective 2021 editions.

Annual countercultural arts event Burning Man has been cancelled for a second consecutive year, though organisers say it will return in 2022.

The organisers of the festival, which typically draws tens of thousands of people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert each year, had been considering making Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for the event in August 2021 but have ultimately decided to forego this year’s event.

In a statement, they said: “Although here in the United States we may be feeling the weight lifting and the light at the end of the tunnel brightening, we are still in the pandemic, and the uncertainties that need to be resolved are impossible to resolve in the time we have.”

Elsewhere in the US, the organisers of EDC Las Vegas have been forced to postpone the 25th edition from May to October due to local restrictions on large-scale events.

“We are still in the pandemic, and the uncertainties that need to be resolved are impossible to resolve in the time we have”

According a statement by EDC founder Pasquale Rotella, Nevada state officials announced they would lift social distancing requirements as of 1 May, permitting the festival to go ahead as planned at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The statement goes on to say that on 21 April, the Clark County passed a reopening plan that requires 60% of their residents to be vaccinated before restrictions over large scale gatherings can be lifted, casting uncertainty over the viability of the event.

“We currently have over 40 trucks en route to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway from all over the country,” wrote Rotella. “The lineup is fully booked and was going to be announced tomorrow [22 April] at 12 pm PT. The team and I are heartbroken, as I know many of you are as well. For those who have stayed with us on this journey, I thank you. Your trust & loyalty is what gives us strength to keep moving forward.”

EDC Vegas has now been rescheduled to 22-24 October.

Meanwhile, Lollapalooza, which has planted its flag in seven countries, has pulled its Brazil edition due to the pandemic.

“It became increasingly clear that it will not be possible to have the spectacular weekend you love in 2021”

“Our mission has always been and will always create amazing days and nights for you, passionate about music,” says a statement on the festival’s website. “Moments that shiver, that inspire, that fall in love, and that never leave the memory. We really wanted to make another unforgettable edition this year, but with the public health emergency of international importance due to the pandemic, it became increasingly clear that it will not be possible to have the spectacular weekend you love in 2021.”

The festival, organised by South America’s largest live entertainment company Time For Fun, would have taken place in September 2021 but fortunately fans won’t have to wait an entire year for its return.

The 9th edition will take place between 25 and 27 March 2022 at Interlagos Circuit, in São Paulo.

At the time of writing, Lollapalooza is still set to go ahead in Chile and Argentina in November 2021, while dates are yet to be announced for Berlin and Chicago, which typically take place late summer/early autumn. The Paris and Stockholm 2021 editions have already been cancelled.

 


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Greece’s 2021 festival season undergoes shake-up

Greek festivals are in fight-or-flight mode as the summer season draws closer and uncertainty about the Covid restrictions looms.

Ejekt Festival and AthensRocks have cut their losses and pulled the plug on 2021, while Rockwave and Release Athens regroup after cancellations from international acts and The Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival and Athens Music Week assume hybrid formats.

The organisers of Ejekt festival say they ‘did everything possible’ to avoid cancelling this year’s event, which would have taken place on 26 June at Markopoulo Park near Athens.

“Unfortunately we find ourselves in the very sad position to have to cancel Ejeckt Festival for the second year in a row,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.

“With our main priority being the safety of fans, artists and festival personnel, we worked for many months on various plans and we tried to come up with solutions. We did everything possible in order to make the festival take place this year. But, our efforts and hopes are again thrown in the garbage bin due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We are as devastated as you are. We miss live music and we miss you so much. Even though we don’t like it, at this point all we can do is move on.”

“Our efforts and hopes are again thrown in the garbage bin due to the Covid-19 pandemic”

The festival has taken place each year since 2004 and is said to attract around 55,000 visitors.

Red Hot Chili Peppers would have made their second-ever appearance in Greece at this year’s Ejekt festival. It is not yet known whether the band will perform at the 2022 event – the date of which will be announced soon.

Those who have already purchased their tickets can roll them over for the 2022 event or from 7 June can exchange with a voucher of equal value, which will can be used at any concert of the same organiser.

AthensRocks, which would have taken place on 12 June at Athens Olympic Complex in the Greek capital, will also forego 2021.

The festival’s promoters High Priority Promotions have not commented on the cancellation apart from to say that the 2021 headliners – The National, Idles and Balthazar – are not able to return for the next edition, which will take place on 16 July 2022.

Athens Music Week and The Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival have decided to hedge their bets by adopting a hybrid format

Ticket holders will be refunded, rather than offered vouchers, ahead of the 2022 line-up announcement.

Elsewhere, Release Athens Festival, an annual concert series that takes place in Athens each summer, is forging ahead despite Pet Shop Boys and Judas Priest pulling out of this year’s edition.

At the time of writing, Massive Attack, Sabaton and Slipknot are due to play the series, which takes place throughout June and July.

Rockwave, an open-air rock festival that has taken place in Athens since 1996, is also “reviewing the festival programme” after Deep Purple dropped out of the June event.

Meanwhile, Athens Music Week (22–26 June) and The Athens Technopolis Jazz Festival (27–29 May) have decided to hedge their bets by adopting a hybrid format for 2021.

 


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