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US festival lineups take shape

A raft of Live Nation festivals in the US have rolled out their 2023 lineups.

Hip-hop and R&B event Lovers & Friends returns for its second edition to the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on 6 May.

It will feature more than 45 artists include Missy Elliott’s first billed performance since 2019, slots from Mariah Carey, Christina Aguilera, Usher, 50 Cent, Nelly and Pitbull, and newer acts such as Miguel, Jhene Aiko, Summer Walker, Bryson Tiller and PartyNextDoor.

In addition, three-day camping festival Echoland Music Festival is set for 11-13 May at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, Florida. Early Access. Held across four stages, artists will include Tyler Childers, Vulfpeck, and Phil Lesh & Friends, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Tenacious D, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Noah Kahan and The Flaming Lips performing Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

Elsewhere, Sad Summer Festival will make its fourth trek across the US this summer, headlined by Taking Back Sunday. Kicking off at Daily’s Place in Jacksonville, Florida on 6 July, the 16-show run will wrap up on 29 July at the FivePoint Amphitheatre in Irvine, California.

“We believe the bill this year will take the tour and experience to a new level”

“We are very proud to have made it to year four of Sad Summer,” says the emo festival’s management team. ”We believe the bill this year will take the tour and experience to a new level.”

The daily lineup comprises the likes of The Maine, Hot Mulligan, Mom Jeans, Stand Atlantic, Daisy Grenade, Sincere Engineer and Cliffdiver. Special guests LS Dunes, Head Automatica, Motion City Soundtrack and Andrew McMahon will also perform on select dates.

Earlier this month, Boston Calling confirmed Foo Fighters, The Lumineers and Paramore as headliners from 26-28 May in Allston, Massachusetts, while Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, set for 15-18 June on the Bonnaroo Farm, 60 miles southeast of Nashville in Manchester, Tennessee, will be topped by Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and Odesza.

Last week, meanwhile, Goldenvoice revealed Bad Bunny, Blackpink and Frank Ocean as headliners for Coachella’s 2023 edition.


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Festival Focus: More huge names confirmed for ’23

Another spate of European festivals have announced headliners and main stage artists for their 2023 editions.

Dutch festival Pinkpop has confirmed that British pop star Robbie Williams will return to Landgraaf for the first time since 2015.

He will close out Saturday night at the festival – which is said to be “the oldest and longest-running annual dedicated pop and rock music festival in the world” – while P!nk will top the bill on the Friday night. English indie rock band Editors and Dutch electronic band Goldband are also on the 2023 bill.

The 52nd edition of Pinkpop, promoted by Live Nation-owned Mojo Concerts, will take place between 16–18 June, next year.

Williams is also set to perform at the UK’s Isle of Wight festival, alongside Pulp, George Ezra and Chemical Brothers. Sugarbabes, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Anne-Marie, Gabrielle, Blondie and Ella Henderson have also been confirmed for the event, which runs between 15–18 June in Seaclose Park, Newport.

The festival is promoted by Solo Agency’s John Giddings and Live Nation.

Lowlands: “The oldest and longest-running annual dedicated pop and rock music festival in the world”

Elsewhere in the UK, DF Concert’s TRNSMT festival will see Pulp, George Ezra, Niall Horan, Sam Fender, Kasabian, The 1975 and Royal Blood perform at Glasgow Green in Scotland between 7–9 July next year.

Further South in the UK, Latitude will bring Pulp, Paulo Nutini, George Ezra, The Kooks, Metronomy to Henham Park, Suffolk, between 20–23 July.

In Poland, promoter Alter Art has announced Arctic Monkeys for the 2023 edition of Open’er, slated for 28 June to 1 July at Gdynia-Kosakowo in Gdynia. The English rockstars will close the Orange Main Stage on the Friday night, in support of their new album The Car.

And in neighbouring Czech Republic, Colours of Ostrava have confirmed US pop rock band One Republic as the first headliner for next year’s instalment, set for 19–22 July at Dolní Vítkovice in Ostrava.


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Huge tour announcements rack up for 2023

The live business is braced for another intense year of touring amid a flurry of huge announcements for 2023.

This week has seen Pink, Depeche Mode, Iron Maiden, Lizzo, The 1975 and Dead & Company all confirm major tours for next year, adding to shows already on sale by artists such as Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band, Arctic Monkeys, Harry Styles, Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, Muse and Elton John.

Pink will perform two nights at the 65,000-cap BST Hyde Park in London from 24-25 June to conclude her UK stadium tour, which will also stop at the University of Bolton Stadium (7-8 June), Sunderland’s Stadium of Light (10-11 June) and Birmingham Villa Park (13 June).

Depeche Mode unveiled their first tour in five years at a special event in Berlin on Tuesday (4 October) in support of their forthcoming 15th studio album, Memento Mori. The Live Nation-presented tour will begin with a series of North American arena dates starting 23 March, before heading to Europe for a summer stadium run.

Live Nation president and chief financial officer Joe Berchtold recently detailed the post-Covid rush to return to the road.

“Next year’s shaping up to be another very big stadium year”

“Artists are like everybody else – they went without the majority of their income for a couple of years – they’re making 80-90% of their money from touring,” he told Goldman Sachs Communacopia & Technology Conference. “So if you’re going to lose that percentage of your income for a few years, you obviously are going to be pretty motivated to get out and start making money again.

“What we saw was a very strong return on the supply side with artists wanting to get out. Next year’s shaping up to be another very big stadium year. We’re seeing that ’23 is looking like another great year for us.”

Meanwhile, Iron Maiden will visit arenas for their The Future Past Tour, which launches in Europe next June. The dates will showcase previously unperformed songs from the band’s most recent studio album, Senjutsu along with a focus on 1986’s Somewhere In Time.

“This combination of the two albums we feel is very exciting,” says the band’s manager Rod Smallwood of Phantom Management. “We know fans want to hear those epic cuts on Senjutsu for the first time live and we think that by combining it with an iconic album like Somewhere In Time it will make for another really special tour for fans old and new. Of course, for a new album tour in Europe and the UK we will go back largely to the relative intimacy of arenas and we know fans will be very happy about that too.”

Elsewhere, Lizzo will play 15 shows across European arenas next February/March and The 1975 have revealed Australia and New Zealand dates for April 2023, while Dead & Company have said their US 2023 summer tour, produced by Live Nation, will be their final tour since forming in 2015.

The announcements come despite warnings from European festival heads that there is “trouble ahead”, with the impact of spiralling costs, while AEG Presents UK head Steve Homer advised “the watchword is caution” for 2023.


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Ukraine biz: “No concerts until 2023, at best”

Executives from the Ukrainian live music business say that concerts – both international and domestic – will not take place until 2023 at the earliest.

International artists including Bring Me The Horizon, Imagine Dragons, Louis Tomlinson and Jethro Tull have already cancelled shows in Ukraine, in light of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its eastern European neighbour.

At the time of writing, major acts such as Iron Maiden, Billy Talent, Black Veil Brides, Pixies, Disclosure, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Roisin Murphy, King Krule, Elderbrook, The Neighbourhood and Pete Doherty still have Ukraine concerts planned, though local promoters are doubtful whether they’ll take place.

Ihor Samosud, COO at promoter Virus Music – which owns Ukraine’s largest ticket seller Concert.UA and Kyiv concert venue Bel Etage Music Hall (cap. 1,000) – says there were “hundreds” of international shows scheduled in the next two years but “everything is now cancelled or postponed until 2023 at best”.

“We were looking forward to Iron Maiden’s first visit to Ukraine (promoted by Virus Music) and the second visit of Imagine Dragons (for which Concert.UA is the exclusive ticket seller), who are a favourite in Ukraine,” Samosud tells IQ.

According to Samosud, the company is currently helping clients and promoters communicate with ticket buyers until money can be refunded for cancelled shows.

Continuing a trend that started in the pandemic, the firm is also enabling clients and promoters to offer ticket vouchers as an alternative to cash refunds.

Samosud says he hopes this will help soften the financial blow for promoters, who were already out of pocket due to the pandemic.

“All Ukrainian promoters already have large financial losses associated with cancellations,” he says. “And this process will continue for a long time. Even after the end of the war, we will need a lot of time to restore our industry.”

Sergii Maletskyi, general manager and talent buyer at Kyiv-based promoter H2D, also believes that shows in Ukraine will be cancelled or postponed until 2023 and that many announcements are yet to come.

“I’ve said to all management not to make cancellations public at this stage because it will cause panic and we don’t need it at the moment,” he told IQ yesterday. “I’ve asked them to give us a week or two to focus on our safety. After that, we will be ready to manage cancellations, postponements and everything else.”

The conflict will not just impact shows in venues, with a summer schedule of outdoor events on sale across the country. Atlas Weekend, the largest festival in Eastern Europe, is due to take place in July at Kyiv’s Expocenter with headliners Twenty One Pilots, Placebo and Alt-J.

While Upark, scheduled for June and July at Sky Family Park in Kyiv, had previously confirmed a raft of western acts including Pendulum, Sum 41, My Chemical Romance, Gorillaz, Deftones, Iggy Pop, Slipknot and Frank Carter.

Venues, however, have been quick to post messages on social media, announcing closure until further notice, as well as information for ticket holders.

Caribbean Club, in Kyiv, posted on Facebook: “Due to the military invasion in Ukraine, we temporarily suspend work. We hope to return to normal life as soon as possible and our warm meetings at the Caribbean Club.”

Bel Etage Music Hall, also in the capital, posted on Facebook: “War. All concerts and events are postponed until victory. The tickets are valid. Glory to Ukraine!”

Though stages in Ukraine have fallen quiet, a number of venues are devoting time and resources to the military.

Arena Lviv, a 34,000-capacity stadium in western Ukraine, has tasked its catering team with cooking food for the country’s troops and have already prepared and delivered more than 2,000 dinners.

The stadium has also opened a centre for migrants who have fled their homes and need assistance finding a temporary residence.


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