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5G enables Bastille AR livestream

High-speed mobile internet allowed fans across the UK to livestream a surprise Bastille concert in augmented reality, in EE’s latest demonstration of its 5G technology.

The band, who are currently on tour in the UK and Ireland, performed at Birmingham New Street train station on Thursday (28 November).

Fans in Liverpool Lime Street station and Edinburgh’s Shore Street station also viewed the show, using Samsung 5G devices and Nreal’s mixed reality glasses for a full AR experience.

The show forms part of a new EE advert, due to be aired from January 2020. EE was the first provider to make its 5G network available to UK customers in May last year, followed by Vodafone in June, Three in August and, most recently, O2 in October.

“With 5G, our customers can enjoy immersive experiences no matter where they are, even during their commute and in the busiest places,” comments Pete Jeavons, marketing communications director at BT and EE.

“This AR performance from Bastille in three cities simultaneously, is a great demonstration of what’s now possible for our customers with 5G”

“We’re saying goodbye to the days of refreshing our screens while waiting to get out of the station into a less congested area. This extraordinary AR performance from Bastille in three cities simultaneously, is a great demonstration of what’s now possible for our customers with 5G.”

In its annual entertainment and media outlook report, consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) pegged the widespread availability of 5G as a “trend to keep an eye on”. Access to 5G, said a technology expert at the firm, is likely to increase the use of concert live streams and virtual reality (VR) concert, as well as prompting “better use of AI (artificial intelligence)”.

Speaking in IQ’s European Arena Yearbook 2019, Gil Murphy, head of event technology at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe stated that 5G connectivity is “the next technological leap” for arenas, noting that “great connectivity […] is one of the basic components of the live experience.”

The AEG-backed MTS Live Arena in Moscow, due to open next year, will be among those to provide 5G to its customers.

 


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107,000 for wet but “euphoric” OpenAir 2017

A total of 107,000 people attended last weekend’s OpenAir St Gallen, with organisers praising the festival’s “euphoric and peaceful experience” in spite of the challenges posed by wet weather.

Festivalgoers took the muddy conditions in their stride – the hashtag #schlammgallen (#mudgallen) was trending through the weekend – with 20,000 people visiting the Swiss festival on Thursday 29 June and 29,000 each day on Friday, Saturday and Saturday.

It is the first year since 2011 OpenAir has failed to reach capacity, although Swiss newspaper 20 Minuten attributes the slight drop in attendance (there were reportedly about 1,000 tickets unsold) to rumours the festival was already sold out.

Festival promoter Christof Huber says he “takes off [his] hat to our incredible audience, who made the festival a real highlight despite the rain and cold temperatures”.

Despite cold and rainy weather conditions, the event was an euphoric but peaceful experience”

New for 2017 was the Campfire stage – which, true to its name, hosted local artists including Silas Kutschmann, Emanuel Reiter and Turtur in a small (~150-cap.) campfire setting – an expanded Plaza area featuring “food, design and street culture” and several new other food and drink options.

For the second year running, the festival also partnered with Zurich-based nonprofit myclimate to minimise the environmental impact of its food offering. Other eco-friendly achievements included 91% of reusable cups being recycled and 89% of tents taken home, underlining what OpenAir calls its “[well] known efforts in sustainability”.

Headliners were Biffy Clyro, Bastille, Justice, alt-J and German punks Die Toten Hosen, with other performers including Lorde, Glass Animals, Cage the Elephant and Confidence Man.

OpenAir St Gallen will return on 28 June–1 July 2018.

 


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‘Festivals are to Belgium like tea is to Brits’

Pukkelpop programmer Chokri Mahassine has hailed the diversity of the Belgian festival market, telling IQ that – far from there being trop de festivals – “people like the variety our festival scene has to offer”.

Some in Belgium, as elsewhere in the world, have cast doubts on the viability of the “festivalisation” of the live music business, with Christophe Goethals of CRISP warning last year that the “supply [of festivals] cannot grow indefinitely”. Yet despite this increase in competition – as well as the potential for terror attacks to hurt ticket sales, as happened last summer – Mahassine says the health of the market remains “excellent”.

“I certainly don’t feel like there are too many festivals,” he explains. “People like the variety.

“With small-town events, they can go with their families and hang out with friends while enjoying live music; the bigger festivals, of course, have even more to offer; and hip and trendy fringe events make festivalgoers feel that they’re part of something new. It’s a package deal nowadays: popular music, the latest fashion trends, fancy food, celebs and stars, glamping, hipster activities, art – it’s all there.”

For Belgians, says Mahassine, “festivals truly are part of our national heritage”. “They belong to the Belgian summer like sand to a beach!” he explains. “Or like tea to the British, for that matter…”

“You can’t cook without ingredients. Beer prices continue to rise, and so do the fees of our artists and security expenses”

Independently promoted Pukkelpop – meaning ‘Pimplepop’ in Dutch, as “we wanted a name to refer to something all young people have in common”, jokes Mahassine – is Belgium’s second-largest music festival, after Live Nation Belgium’s Rock Werchter.

Founded in 1985, it has taken place in the village of Kiewit, near Hasselt in Dutch-speaking Limburg, since 1991, with a daily capacity of 60,000. Ticket sales for the 2017 event, headlined by Bastille, Editors, Mumford & Sons and The xx, are off to a “good start”, says Mahassine, adding that he’s “pretty confident we’ll sell out this year”.

Heading into its 32nd year (there was no festival in 1989), Mahassine says one of the biggest changes he’s seen in the festival is an increased focus on non-music entertainment, such as poetry, theatre and comedy. “Fringe activities are gaining popularity rapidly,” he explains. “Nowadays, they’re part of the overall festival experience.

“Petit Bazar and Salon Fou usher in street theatre and comedy, entertainment and wellbeing, [while] Food Wood serves up dishes from around the world in the festival’s greenest nook and Baraque Futur focuses on sustainability, experiment and keynote speaking. […] No Pukkelpop experience is complete without a visit to these corners of the festival site.”

However, all those fringe activities come at a price – and with ever-increasing costs, Mahassine says it’s becoming a challenge to keep from raising ticket prices, echoing recent comments by North Sea Jazz’s Jan Willem Luyken.

“You can’t cook without ingredients,” he comments. “Beer prices continue to rise, and so do the fees of our artists. Plus, it won’t come as a surprise to hear that we’ve seen a significant increase in security expenses in recent years – and, of course, we continue to invest in our festival infrastructure.

“Fringe activities are gaining popularity rapidly. Nowadays, they’re part of the festival experience”

“We’ve set the bar high to keep all our festivalgoers happy, but ticket prices for Pukkelpop haven’t changed in four years. Last year we were forced to raise the price of food and drinks tokens, but we’re still offering them at a reduced rates in the presale. For now, we’re trying to keep the price level constant for another few years.”

As expensive as on-site security is, Pukkelpop can at least benefit from the sharing of security intelligence with other festivals, including those promoted by Live Nation Belgium, with which Mahassine says the festival has a “very good relationship”.

“We meet on a regular basis, and they help us with a lot of issues,” he explains. “Of course, that relationship is essential when it comes to booking international acts – but we also exchange security measures and other festival-related know how.

“[Live Nation Belgium CEO] Herman Schueremans always reminds us of the Belgian national motto, “L’union fait la force” (“Unity makes strength”). That’s a mantra we try to live by!”

Pukkelpop 2017 takes place from Wednesday 16 to Saturday 19 August.

 


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Bastille-ing the show

To go from the 100-cap. Hoxton Hall to two sold-out dates at The O2 Arena in London in the space of two albums and four years is a mighty feat, and one which Bastille and team have achieved in a market whose attention has never been harder to sustain long-term. After hitting №1 for the second time with their Wild World album in September, in October the band embarked on a 56-date tour that will continue into 2017, visiting arenas and theatres around Europe and the US.

Kilimanjaro promoter Carlo Scarampi has been working with the band since that first Hoxton show, and has promoted the Wild, Wild World tour’s London, Bournemouth, Plymouth, Cardiff and Birmingham dates. “The band’s live business has gone crazy in a really good way,” he tells IQ. “After that first sold-out Hoxton show, we sold out the second one, then Scala, and it steamrolled from there. When their debut album came out in 2013, that’s when they really started to hit the ground running.”

“The band’s live business has gone crazy in a really good way”

Live Nation’s Roel Vergauwen, who is promoting the Sportpaleis (19,000-cap.) date in Antwerp this year, attributes the band’s live success partially to smart decisions made by agency Coda. “Coda likes to build careers for the long-term. They don’t overplay, they make the right choices, and do it step by step,” he says.

Over nearly six years, Bastille have played more than 460 shows. Since 2014, they have done a summer festival season, three months of lower-bowl, half-house arenas in North America and Canada, a run of festivals and small shows in Asia, South America, New Zealand and Australia, a second festival season and then back to the States. This summer they played Glastonbury, Bestival and Lollapalooza Chicago, among other shows, and the Wild, Wild World tour is their first headline tour for two and a half years.

 


Read the rest of this feature in issue 69 of IQ Magazine.


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