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Alda expands to Croatia with new office and festival

Alda, the Amsterdam-based company behind leading EDM events including AMF, New Horizons and more, is expanding to Croatia.

The Dutch promoter, which is 50% owned by Live Nation-backed Insomniac, today announced it has opened an office in the capital, Zagreb.

In addition, Alda and Insomniac have also planned a new seven-day festival in the Croatian city of Pula, on the Adriatic coast.

The event, titled Secret Project Presents Pula Music Week, will take place in and around one of Europe’s oldest amphitheatres between 30 June to 6 July.

Peggy Gou, Solomon, Disclosure, Tale Of Us, Boris Brejcha, Charlotte de Witte and Black Coffee will each host their own evening. Support acts will be announced at a later date.

“Croatia will be the epic centre for the European dance industry for the foreseeable future”

Project Presents Pula Music Week is the second new festival Alda and Insomniac have launched together, after Saga festival in Bucharest, Romania.

Allan Hardenberg, director and co-founder of ALDA, says: “In the two years that the festival world has been on hiatus, we have of course not been idle. We’ve made plans for when it could all be done again… and that’s now! Earlier this month we officially opened our office in Zagreb, Croatia will be the epic centre for the European dance industry for the foreseeable future.

“There are so many options here, especially for destination festivals. With the Pula Music Week, music lovers can enjoy not just one evening, but a week of the very best DJs in a unique location, where they are provided with everything they need.”

Alda is behind events including A State of Trance in Utrecht, New Horizons in Germany (a JV with CTS Eventim) and Amsterdam Music Festival, the Netherlands’ largest indoor music festival.

Insomniac, meanwhile, has produced more than 2,000 events since 1993, including Electric Daisy Carnivals in North America, Japan, China and Mexico, and Nocturnal Wonderland, the US’s longest-running dance music event.

 


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Ukraine fundraisers: “Music has the power to make a difference”

A handful of benefit concerts have each raised upwards of six figures for humanitarian and financial relief during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Dutch promoter ALDA and renowned Dutch radio show ASOT100 (A State of Trance) raised a total of €152,350 from their Dance for Ukraine fundraiser in Poland.

The event took place on Saturday (12 March) at the Tauron Arena (cap. 22,000) in Kraków and featured performances from ASTOT producers Armin van Buuren and Ruben de Ronde among others.

The proceeds from Dance for Ukraine go to the Polish Red Cross to aid their efforts in helping the Ukrainian people in need.

Elsewhere, in Belgium, more than fourteen electronic music festivals and nightlife collectives rolled up their sleeves for a unique open-air festival to raise funds for Ukraine.

Led by festivals Hangar and Paradise City, the United for Ukraine benefit at Atomium in Brussels garnered €100,000 for Underground4Ukraine.

More than 4,000 attendees watched performances from Charlotte de Witte, Lefto, AliA, DC Salas and Ukrainian singer Ana Fantana who sang the national anthem.

“You proved that music has the power to make a difference,” wrote Paradise City on Facebook the day after the event.

Across the pond, a fundraiser at New York City’s City Winery, hosted by Ukrainian-born Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello, raised US$130,000 (€118,500).

Patti Smith, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and Suzanne Vega were among the artists that performed at the benefit.

 

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A post shared by Patti Villegas (@pattivill)

Proceeds from the concert were donated to Come Back Alive, a foundation that provides support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and Care.org.

Among the funds raised, there was a $50,000 donation by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon to Doctors Without Borders.

“Fundraising is crucial,” Hutz told Rolling Stone. “People are being super generous and making astronomical donations. Our task is to keep beating the drum and tell the story authentically.”

More benefit concerts for Ukraine are being announced every day, with Arcade Fire’s fundraiser in New Orleans, Louisana, being the latest.

The Canadian band will take to the stage at the city’s Toulouse Theatre venue tonight (14 March) and all proceeds will benefit the Plus 1 Ukraine relief fund.

Elsewhere, Polish promoter Follow the Step has announced a televised charity concert, Together with Ukraine, featuring some of the biggest Polish and Ukrainian stars.

Vito Bambino, Zalewski, Igo and Daria Zawiałow are among the artists that will perform at Atlas Arena (cap. 13,806) on 20 March for Together with Ukraine.

 


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Romania’s Saga festival reveals new venue for 2022

Leading dance music promoters Insomniac and Alda have announced a new location for their Romanian festival, Saga.

Saga’s inaugural edition took place across three days in September at Bucharest’s Romaero SA airfield with acts including Don Diablo, Carl Cox and Tiësto.

The electronic dance event will return to the Romanian capital in June 2022, this time taking place at Bucharest’s National Arena (cap. 55,000) and the surrounding park area.

Afrojack, Marshmello and Timmy Trumpet are set to headline the event, with more artists to be announced on 2 December.

In celebration of Saga’s new home, Alda has planned a special event at the National Arena on 1 December, Romania’s National Day.

Afrojack, Marshmello and Timmy Trumpet are set to headline the event, with more artists to be announced on 2 December

According to the promoter, there will be a “dramatic” fireworks display around the stadium during an exclusive on-location DJ performance supported by Du Mad and Kov.

The event will be broadcast live and, during this time (19:00 and 00:00 EET), those who have registered for ticket information on the Saga Festival website will be able to purchase tickets for next year’s edition at a special price. General ticket sales will then commence on 2 December.

Alda and Insomniac, based in Amsterdam and Los Angeles, respectively, have been partners since October 2018, when majority Live Nation-owned Insomniac acquired a 50% stake in Alda.

Insomniac has produced more than 2,000 events since 1993, including Electric Daisy Carnivals in North America, Japan, China and Mexico, and Nocturnal Wonderland, the US’s longest-running dance music event.

Alda, meanwhile, is behind events including A State of Trance in Utrecht, New Horizons in Germany (a JV with CTS Eventim) and Amsterdam Music Festival, the Netherlands’ largest indoor music festival.

 


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Romania’s Saga festival draws 45,000 for debut

Leading dance music promoters Insomniac and Alda welcomed 45,000 guests to the inaugural edition of Saga, Romania’s first large-scale music festival since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The electronic dance event took place between 10–12 September in the Romanian capital of Bucharest and drew both domestic and international guests.

The three-day event featured some of the biggest names in electronic music including Don Diablo, Carl Cox, Tiësto, Topic, Allan Walker, Fisher and Sigala, who performed across four stages.

Alda and Insomniac, based in Amsterdam and Los Angeles, respectively, have been partners since October 2018, when majority Live Nation-owned Insomniac acquired a 50% stake in Alda.

“We found a place we can call home… Saga has Bucharest and Bucharest has Saga”

Insomniac has produced more than 2,000 events since 1993, including Electric Daisy Carnivals in North America, Japan, China and Mexico, and Nocturnal Wonderland, the US’s longest-running dance music event.

Alda, meanwhile, is behind events including A State of Trance in Utrecht, New Horizons in Germany (a JV with CTS Eventim) and Amsterdam Music Festival, the Netherlands’ largest indoor music festival – which was cancelled yesterday.

Following the event, Alda said: “We found a place we can call home… Saga has Bucharest and Bucharest has Saga. During the past three days, we have all seen the beginning of something that goes beyond our imagination. We’ve shared our energy and vibrated together for the first time, all in the name of electronic music.”

Saga was set to debut in 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic. The festival will return in 2022 at the earlier date of 3–5 June.

 


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ASOT1000 sells 55,000 tickets in four hours

The Netherlands’ A State of Trance (ASOT) has sold all 55,000 tickets for this September’s festival, which takes place at the Jaarbeurs convention centre in Utrecht on 3–4 September.

The ASOT1000 Celebration Weekend, which marks 1,000 episodes and 20 years of Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance radio show, is the most-anticipated A State of Trance to date, selling out in under four hours, according to promoter Alda.

Headlined by van Buuren, the first night of ASOT1000 will be a “nostalgic journey through two decades of trance”, with the Saturday show a more standard ASOT experience, welcoming a “star-studded line-up packed with new young talent, as well as iconic trance artists”. The nine-hour event will take place across five areas of the 100,000m² Jaarbeurs.

The festival follows ASOT 950, which took place last February, also at the Jaarbeurs, with 40,000 fans in attendance and millions more watching online.

Further ASOT1000 events will take place in Poland and Russia the following month, before heading to more countries on A State of Trance world tour.

“This incredible achievement signifies that music has always been a unifying force”

Allan Hardenberg, CEO of leading dance music promoter Alda, says: “This milestone celebration is a very special one for Alda, as we have been a part of this extraordinary journey for 14 years in organising ASOT events worldwide. We are glad to celebrate this landmark occasion with Armin and fans from all over the world.

“This incredible achievement signifies that music has always been a unifying force. See you on the dancefloor this September.”

Tickets for ASOT1000 Celebration Weekend started at €110 for a weekend ticket, or €65 for a single-day pass.

Regarding coronavirus, Alda says it will take “measures that are necessary at that moment” to protect fans and comply with all Dutch government regulations. Another dance music festival, new event Frontier, says it will also go ahead in a ‘corona-proof’ format, regardless of restrictions, this summer.

 


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Alda plots in-person Rave Culture fest in Thailand

Following the success of its first Rave Culture show, which welcomed 1,400 fans to Cologne’s Lanxess Arena in July, Dutch electronic promoter Alda is planning an “even more spectacular show” in Thailand this December.

The first Thai music festival since early 2020, Rave Culture part two will be held in Nong Nooch Tropical Garden in Pattaya, on the Gulf of Thailand, on 12 December. A co-pro with Bangkok’s 808 Festival and Amsterdam-based creative agency 20 Agency, Rave Culture welcomes a “top-tier” line-up, says Alda, as well as high-end production featuring lasers, LEDs, “state-of-the-art” lighting and other special effects.

Performers will include trance star Andrew Rayel, hardstyle duo Sub Zero Project, psy-trance act Vini Vici and future-rave pioneer Morten, as well as Rave Culture founders W&W. W&W played at the inaugural Rave Culture festival, as well as an Alda-organised virtual-reality live stream which attracted more than a million viewers in May.

Pattaya is known as the nightlife capital of Thailand, while the 500-acre Nong Nooch gardens will provide a “beautiful setting” for the event, adds an Alda statement.

Tickets for Rave Culture, which takes place as part of day two of 808 Festival, start at ฿2,950 (€81) for general admission and are on sale now.

 


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1m+ view groundbreaking W&W XR live stream

Dutch DJ duo W&W played what was billed as the world’s first extended-reality (XR) live stream over the weekend, performing amid virtual pyrotechnics in a custom-built stadium to more than a million fans on Facebook and Twitch.

The pair appeared as themselves inside a 3D virtual world, playing a new set to 900,000 viewers on Facebook and over 150,000 on Twitch, while green-screen special effects, including lighting, confetti, lasers and fireworks, illuminated the computer-generated environment around them.

Commenting on the 23 May show, Allan Hardenberg, CEO of organiser Alda, says: “It was incredible to bring to life this revolutionary experience in dance music.

“The partnership with W&W meant that we could bring the best in music, and we succeeded in our goal to bring our fans the best music experience, no matter where they are in the world. We’re looking forward to bringing more groundbreaking music experiences to our fans.”

 


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Dutch DJs W&W plan ‘world’s first XR livestream’

In what promoter Alda Events is calling the dance music world’s first-ever extended-reality (XR) live stream, Dutch DJ duo W&W have announced a show that will take place inside a specially created 3D virtual world.

For the 23 May event, the pair – who have been among DJ Mag’s top 100 DJs since 2010, and are renowned for their live shows – will play a set in a custom-made virtual stadium overlaid with futuristic, videogame-like ‘XR’ effects, pointing the way towards “a potential future route for the events industry during the global lockdown,” says Alda.

In addition to Alda – the part-Insomniac-owned, Amsterdam-based EDM promoter – the show’s partners include Chinese sports brand Li-Ning (which lends its name to the virtual ‘Li-Ning Arena’), DJ Mag, livestreaming platform Twitch and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

The concert will see W&W “implement green screens to enhance the illusion of their creative 3D reality”, surrounding themselves with “a series of mind-blowing special effects”

According to the show announcement, the concert will see W&W “implement green screens to enhance the illusion of their creative 3D reality”, surrounding themselves with “a series of mind-blowing special effects” and “creating a space that welcomes everyone”.

The W&W shows follows Travis Scott’s pre-recorded show in the videogame Fortnite, which was seen by an estimated 12 million people and won praise for its spectacular visual effects, as well as the boom in livestreamed shows of all kinds during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The event will be streamed live on Facebook and Twitch on Saturday 23 May at 5pm CEST.

W&W virtual livestream poster

 


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Romania’s Saga postpones as lockdown lifting nears

The inaugural edition of Insomniac- and Alda-promoted Saga festival has been postponed to September, as the Romanian government prepares to begin a staggered easing of lockdown restrictions in mid-May.

Organisers of Saga, which was originally set to debut from 5 to 7 June in Bucharest’s Izvor park, state the postponement is “the best option for Saga festival with the health and wellbeing of visitors a main priority”.

Although the line-up for the rescheduled event on 11 to 13 September “may be slightly different due to artist scheduling”, organisers assure fans the billing “will be up to [the] standards” of dance music giants Insomniac (Electric Daisy Carnival) and Alda (Amsterdam Music Festival, New Horizons).

Saga joins fellow Bucharest festival Europafest, a multi-venue jazz, blues, pop and classical music event, to change its 2020 dates in view of the coronavirus crisis. Scheduled for May, organisers say they are now planning for Europafest to take place in the second half of July, with dates depending on the evolution of the situation in Romania and at European level.

Other major festivals in Romania, including electronic music events Untold and Neversea and European Festival Awards 2019 winners Electric Castle, Jazz in the Park and ARTmania, have yet to announce changes to their 2020 editions. The government expected to give more details on the future of public events when it begins to ease its stringent lockdown laws – which have seen citizens collectively fined up to €78 million for flouting restrictions –  on 15 May.

“Large-scale events are unlikely to take place given the announced and forecasted restrictions”

Although Emil Boc, mayor of the city of Cluj-Napoca where Untold, Electric Castle and Jazz in the Park take place, has said that large-scale events are “unlikely to take place given the announced and forecasted restrictions”, he notes that “difference and diverse ways of organising these events can be found”.

Festival organisers in Romania have also found diverse and different ways of helping the fight against coronavirus in recent weeks.

Promoters in Cluj-Napoca are selling “solidarity tickets” as part of the A Single Cluj (Un Singur Cluj) campaign, which brings together event organisers and others in the region to synchronise relief efforts and pool resources. By purchasing a solidarity ticket, fans can make direct donations to hospitals and other public institutions. “Ticket” prices range from RON 10 to RON 5,000 (€1,034).

Money raised by the campaign has gone towards buying surgical masks for help workers and supplying food to frontline staff. Members of the initiative have also helped to construct emergency triage centres.

The team behind Untold festival, currently set to take place from 30 July to 2 August with acts including Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Pussycat Dolls and David Guetta, launched the United Romania initiative, which aims to “bring together the good in Romania”.

So far, the campaign has helped supply six trucks with equipment such as portable flooring, geotextile and lighting from Untold and Neversea festivals for a field hospital in the city of Constanta and has provided 12,000 tests and other medical materials to hospitals in Cluj.

 


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Festival Fever: what to expect from summer 2020

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ has a look at what Saga Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival and Sea Star Festival have in store, as well as the latest additions to the massive Roskilde and Mad Cool line-ups.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Roskilde

When: 27 June to 4 July
Where: Roskilde, Denmark
How many: 85,000

Roskilde Festival has completed the line-up for its mammoth 50th anniversary edition, with Kendrick Lamar, the Strokes, Haim and Charli XCX among those joining the bill.

The Roots, DaBaby, Dave, Brittany Howard and Bicep also form part of the 110-strong group of new additions.

The newly announced artists join Taylor Swift, Pusha T, Faith No More, FKA Twigs and Tyler the Creator for the festival’s half-century celebrations.

“With this year’s line-up, we do what we’ve always done: look ahead,” comments Anders Wahrén, the festival’s head of programming.

“It has been important to us that festival number 50 points to the future, and that is why 2020 will feature the lowest average age ever among the headliners. You don’t have to have 20 years of experience to perform on the main stage. That era is over.”

Tickets for Roskilde Festival 2020 are available here, with a full eight-day festival pass costing DDK2250 (£257).

“2020 will feature the lowest average age ever among the headliners”

Saga Festival

When: 5 to 7 June
Where: Izvor Park, Bucharest, Romania

Saga Festival, a new three-day event promoted by electronic music specialists Alda and Insomniac, is debuting in Bucharest this summer.

Tiësto, Marshmello, Disclosure, Faithless, Meduza and Sigala are among more than 150 acts performing across five stages at the festival, with recently announced artists including Timmy Trumpet, Vini Vici, Laidback Luke, Denis Sulta and Zara Larsson.

The festival has partnered with Romanian waste management charity Reciclad’Or and conservation organisation WWF, as part of its commitment to securing a low ‘festival footprint’ and promoting understanding of the issues facing the planet.

Tickets for Saga Festival are available here, with a three-day pass priced at RON299 (£52) and VIP options costing RON699 (£123).

Tiësto, Marshmello, Disclosure, Faithless, Meduza and Sigala are among more than 150 acts performing at the festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

When: 17 to 19 July
Where: Union Park, Chicago, USA
How many: 20,000

YeahYeahYeahs, Run the Jewels and the National are headlining US magazine Pitchfork’s flagship Chicago festival this year, with other performances coming from Angel Olsen, Danny Brown, Phoebe Bridgers and Badbadnotgood.

2020 marks the 15th year of the Chicago edition of Pitchfork Music Festival. A spin-off event has taken place in Paris since 2011, promoted by Parisian booking and events agency Super!, and a German edition is launching this year in Berlin, featuring Lianne La Havas, Celeste and Modeselektor.

Tickets for Pitchfork Music Festival 2020 are available here, with day tickets costing $75 (£58) and a three-day pass priced at $185 (£144).

2020 marks the 15th year of the Chicago edition of Pitchfork Music Festival

Sea Star Festival

When: 22 to 23 May
Where: Stella Maris lagoon, Umag, Croatia
How many: 20,000

The brainchild of the team behind Serbia’s Exit Festival, Sea Star Festival is preparing for its fourth outing this year in the Croatian seaside town of Umag.

Hip-hop group Cypress Hill are topping the bill, which features acts including Amelie Lens, Meduza, Umek, Dubioza Kolektiv and Farrago. A welcome party and closing party will take place on 21 and 24 May respectively.

Sea Star is part of Exit’s extended festival network, consisting of Serbia’s No Sleep Festival, Romania’s Revolution Festival and Montenegro’s Sea Dance Festival.

Exit Festival will see performances by David Guetta, Tyga, Fatboy Slim and James Arthur for its 20th anniversary edition this year.

Tickets for Sea Star Festival 2020 are available here, priced at €39 (£33) for international fans and €30 (£26) for locals. Ticket prices will increase on 6 March.

The brainchild of the team behind Serbia’s Exit Festival, Sea Star Festival is preparing for its fourth outing this year

Mad Cool

When: 8 to 11 July
Where: Espacio Mad Cool, Madrid Spain
How many: 60,000

Live Nation’s Mad Cool festival has a big year ahead, with an extra day of programming for 2020.

Royal Blood and Mumford & Sons are the most recent additions to the extensive line-up, joining previously announced acts Taylor Swift, the Killers, Kings of Leon, Faith No More, Billie Eilish, Twenty One Pilots, Foals and Anderson Paak.

Other acts appearing across the three days include Wolf Alice, Placebo, Jamie Cullum, Major Lazer and Khalid.

Tickets for Mad Cool 2020 are available here, with a four-day pass costing €179 (£153).

 


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