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Tomorrowland, Rock Werchter launch new fest

Belgium festival behemoths Tomorrowland and Rock Werchter have joined forces to launch a new two-day festival in Brussels.

Core festival will debut between 27–28 May this year in Osseghem Park, a picturesque nature area in the Belgian capital.

The organisers say the boutique festival will feature “a very eclectic” line-up (yet to be announced) that will “break the boundaries between quality indie, hip hop, electronica, hyper pop and alternative dance”.

The four-stage event will aim to attract 25,000 visitors per day including domestic and international festivalgoers.

Core‘s lineup will be revealed soon and the presale for tickets (which start at €67 for one-day admission) will start on 23 February.

“Tomorrowland and Rock Werchter have been working together on several smaller events i.e. the Garden of Madness shows by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike at the Antwerp Sportpaleis, the KNTXT event in Ghent, Swedish House Mafia at the Antwerp Sportpaleis,” Rock Werchter’s Yo Van Saet tells IQ.

“Our ideas are mostly complementary, the ambition of both our teams are high and like-minded. And so there was this new idea, becoming now a brand-new event. We are uniting to create this original and refreshing festival in one of Brussels’ most beautiful green parks. Expertise and knowledge are shared. Our teams are working together closely on this new festival, with great passion. It’s new, it’s fresh. It’s nothing like Rock Werchter, nor Tomorrowland.”

“Two of the most important players in the world of music, are coming to Brussels with this new concept”

Philippe Close, mayor of the city of Brussels, says: “We are very proud that Tomorrowland and Rock Werchter, two of the most important players in the world of music, are coming to Brussels with this new concept. A total experience of music, art and nature. Brussels celebrates and thus enables the event, cultural and hotel industry to breathe again.”

Rock Werchter (cap. 88,000), promoted by Herman Schueremans and Live Nation Belgium, is the country’s largest festival.

The marquee event is due to return between 30 June and 3 July this year for the first time since 2019.

Tomorrowland (70,000), meanwhile, will return to Boom from 22 July to 24 July and from 29 July to 31 July.

In addition to the flagship festival, Tomorrowland is also busy preparing for two weekends of Tomorrowland Winter in the Alpe d’Huez ski area between 19–26 March 2022.

The brand has had to cancel six festival weekends due to the pandemic, including four in Belgium (Tomorrowland 2020 and 2021) and two in France (Tomorrowland Winter 2020 and 2021).

 


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Portugal to host Rolling Loud’s European debut

US hip-hop festival Rolling Loud will finally make its European debut when it lands in Portugal this summer.

Headlined by J. Cole, A$AP Rocky and Future, the Live Nation-backed event will take place from 6-8 July on Praia Da Rocha Beach, Portimão, in the Algarve.

Other artists on the bill include AJ Tracey, Central Cee, D-Block Europe, Skepta, Lil Yachty, Lil Uzi Vert, Jack Harlow and Lil Baby. Tickets go on sale on Friday (28 January). Acts will appear across two stages.

Rolling Loud has previously expanded from its flagship Miami festival to launch in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York, as well as Sydney, Australia

Rolling Loud Portugal was originally set for the summer of 2020, before being called off due to the pandemic. Founded in 2015 by Tariq Cherif and Matt Zingler, the brand has previously expanded from its flagship Miami festival to launch in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and New York, as well as Sydney, Australia. A proposed Hong Kong spin-off was cancelled in 2019.

Organisers introduced an 18+ age policy for its 2021 California leg in an apparent response to the Astroworld tragedy. Kid Cudi, J. Cole and Future headlined the 55,000-capacity festival at Nos Event Center, San Benardino, from 10-12 December last year.

 


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AEG’s Jim King: ‘Fans will expect more in 2022’

AEG Presents CEO of European Festivals Jim King says the live business will need to “up its game” in 2022 to meet fans’ raised expectations.

Though heartened by the success of the festivals that managed to go ahead in late summer ’21 following the Covid washout of the previous summer, the leading exec advises the bar will be set higher for the coming season.

“We must be careful,” he tells IQ. “The emergence from multiple lockdowns created a unique demand that is unlikely to repeat in the same way.

“Fans will expect more in 2022 than they accepted in 2021. We will see an increasing upturn in expectation from fans as the year plays out and they have been to more and more shows and there will be a need for the industry to up its game to keep fans attending and buying more tickets in the later part of the year.”

“For some artists and events, 2022 has a risk of being a hangover from the pandemic rather than the strong return the industry needs”

Highlighting the potential problems for tours and festivals over the next 12 months, King points to the number of headline tours rescheduled from 2020/21 into 2022 – an issue set to be further exacerbated by the ongoing disruption to the circuit in Q1 ’22.

“Many of the sales cycles sit on top of each other and in many cases, also sit on top of the festivals that the artist is also appearing on,” he says. “Ultimately, tour and festival announcements need to be carefully coordinated, but if an artist normally sells 5,000 tickets in a market per cycle, then packaging 10,000 or more tickets around a festival play all in the same market in one year is going to be a challenge, and some artists and events will suffer.

“At some point there is likely to be fatigue between fans and certain artists, resulting in some events experiencing lower sales and/or higher non-attendance. If not managed, then for some artists and events, 2022 has a risk of being a hangover from the pandemic rather than the strong return the industry needs.”

AEG’s flagship UK concert series, BST Hyde Park, was cancelled for the second year in succession in 2021, but will return with a bumper line-up this summer. The London-based festival is to take place across two weeks from 24 June to 10 July, with concerts from Elton John (24 June), Eagles (26 June), Duran Duran (10 July), Pearl Jam (8–9 July) and, in a huge coup, Adele (1–2 July).

“With the volume of shows in play, fans will not respond favourably if their expectations are not being met”

The promoter’s All Points East staple was able to take place in London’s Victoria Park last August and its 2022 edition is set over two weekends from 19-20 and 25-28 August with headliners Gorillaz, The Chemical Brothers, Tame Impala, The National and Disclosure.

AEG’s French festival, Rock en Seine (ReS), meanwhile, has swelled to a four-day format and will be headlined by Stromae, Tame Impala and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds from 25–28 August in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud.

King has previously explained the company paused its pre-pandemic plans for new events in favour of focusing on rejuvenating established festivals. But as the industry gears up for its first proper summer season since 2019, he retains high hopes of a strong return.

“Overall, I am positive for the summer,” concludes King. “AEG has a fantastic series of festivals on sale with amazing headliners, but the ball is in our court to deliver great fan experiences, and with the volume of shows in play, fans will not respond favourably if their expectations are not being met.”

Read the full interview with King in IQ 107, out now.

 


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NZ’s new traffic-light system causes first disruptions

The fate of New Zealand’s upcoming festival season is to be determined by a new traffic-light system, which came into effect last night.

Under the new system, each region in the country has been assigned a colour (green, orange or red) based on vaccination rates and the spread of Covid-19 in the community, as well as a set of corresponding restrictions.

In regions assigned ‘red’, venues using vaccine certificates are limited to 100 people with 1-metre social distancing.

In ‘orange’ regions, these venues face no limits on gatherings at events, retail, hospitality.

Venues that don’t use vaccine certificates are not permitted indoor or outdoor events under red or orange.

“Getting vaccinated is how we can return to the shows and festivals we love”

Auckland is among a number of regions in the North Island that have been assigned ‘red’. Wellington, Waikato and all of the South Island are among the regions moving to orange. No region starts at green.

The traffic-light system is bad news for Live Nation-owned festival Rhythm and Vines, which was scheduled to take place on New Year’s Eve in Gisborne – currently ‘red’ on the system.

Organisers yesterday announced that, for the first time in the festival’s 19-year history, the event will be rescheduled to 15 April until 17 April 2022.

In a statement, the festival organisers said: “Rhythm and Vines’ mission has [been] and always will be a safe and secure festival for all involved, and [we] believe this decision will allow us to keep delivering the best festival experience that over 400,000 young Kiwis have enjoyed since 2003.

Northern Bass refuses to pull the plug yet, even though the event site in Mangawhai falls under a ‘red’ light

“Rhythm and Vines would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to everyone who has continued to support this year’s festival including all staff, contractors, artists and suppliers who will have been affected by this decision.

“Getting vaccinated is how we can return to the shows and festivals we love and we encourage everyone to #vaxforlive.”

Elsewhere, New Year’s Eve drum and bass festival Northern Bass refuses to pull the plug yet, even though the event site in Mangawhai has been assigned ‘red’.

The festival organisers say they are crossing their fingers for an orange light status after the next update from the government on 13 December.

“We won’t cancel [yet] – there’s no reason to cancel,” event organiser Gareth Popham told Stuff. “We’ve sold 11,500 tickets and currently have 10,000 kids on a waiting list wanting tickets.”

The sold-out event is set to be headlined by British DJ Andy C and electronic music duo Chase & Status.

Meanwhile, Auckland-born Lorde has postponed her Solar Power Tour until 2023, citing uncertainty around Covid and international touring.

Auckland’s Outerfields festival, originally scheduled for March 6th 2021, has been beset by Covid delays twice and is now tabled for 3 December 2022.

 


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