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BBC reveals most-viewed Glastonbury sets

Sets by Paul McCartney and Diana Ross drew the biggest UK TV audiences at this year’s Glastonbury festival, the BBC has revealed.

McCartney’s Saturday night Pyramid Stage headline performance saw him joined by surprise guests Bruce Springsteen and Dave Grohl, in addition to performing a virtual duet with John Lennon.

The former Beatle’s near three-hour set averaged 2.7 million viewers on BBC One and peaked at 3.9m, while Ross’ 75-minute Sunday legend slot had an average audience of 3.1m, peaking at 3.8m.

According to Broadcast, the broadcaster’s coverage of the festival’s Friday night, which saw 20-year-old Billie Eilish becoming Glastonbury’s youngest ever headliner, attracted 1.2m. Its Sunday evening coverage averaged 1.4m prior to Kendrick Lamar’s headline appearance, which garnered 570,000 viewers.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival”

The BBC has also confirmed record breaking figures across its digital platforms for its coverage of the 2022 festival.

Content was streamed 34.1m times on BBC iPlayer, including 23m streams live – the highest on record for a BBC programme brand – and was played 2.3m times on BBC Sounds.

Streams rocketed 116% on BBC iPlayer and 205% on BBC Sounds from the most recent festival in 2019, up from 15.8m and 765,000 respectively.

“The BBC provided the ultimate armchair experience of the world’s best-loved festival this weekend with a dedicated Glastonbury channel on BBC iPlayer, 6 Music’s All Day Glastonbury coverage, performances from the biggest artists on demand on BBC Sounds and over 35 hours of coverage across our TV channels,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke.

There were secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra

Other acts at the 210,000-cap 22-26 June extravaganza included Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. There were also secret sets by the likes of Jack White and George Ezra.

Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis paid tribute to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness, in this year’s official programme.

“I’ll miss him so much,” wrote Eavis. “He should have worked for years and years but he was sadly taken before his time. I am very sad and upset to lose this remarkable man.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The past weekend is believed to have been the UK’s biggest ever for live music, with more than one million people attending concerts.

 


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BBC details ‘most extensive’ Glasto coverage yet

The BBC will present its most extensive coverage of Glastonbury to date when the festival returns after a three-year absence from 22-26 June.

Billie Eilish, Paul McCartney and Kendrick Lamar will headline the Pyramid Stage at this year’s event at Worthy Farm in Pilton, Somerset. Eilish and Lamar are both represented by Wasserman Music, while McCartney works with Marshall Arts.

Other acts will include Diana Ross, Crowded House, Lorde, Pet Shop Boys, Sam Fender, Megan thee Stallion, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Olivia Rodrigo, Little Simz, Wolf Alice, Glass Animals, Burna Boy, Arlo Parks, Haim, Blossoms, Sigrid, Girl in Red, Charli XCX, Celeste, Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Foals, Idles and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Set times were released this week and can be viewed here.

BBC Music will present the festival across TV, radio, BBC Sounds, BBC iPlayer and online, with Glastonbury 2022 marking the first time the BBC has broadcast any music event in Ultra High Definition. Sets from the Pyramid Stage will be shown live in UHD on BBC iPlayer on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with key performances and a special programme featuring highlights from the Pyramid Stage available on demand in UHD after the event.

“I’m looking forward to Worthy Farm being filled with thousands of people once again”

“It’s a joy to have the BBC and its brilliant team back and broadcasting live from Glastonbury for the first time since 2019 – continuing a special partnership that’s been evolving since 1997,” says festival co-organiser Emily Eavis. “I’m looking forward to Worthy Farm being filled with thousands of people once again and for millions more around the country being able to enjoy performances from our stellar line-up, courtesy of the BBC, wherever they are.”

Glastonbury’s scheduled 50th anniversary 2020 edition and 2021 event were both cancelled due to the pandemic. The BAFTA Award-winning Live at Worthy Farm ticketed livestream was staged last year in its place.

The BBC’s celebration of Glastonbury 2022 will begin earlier than in previous years, including the broadcast of new documentary Glastonbury: 50 Years & Counting in the days leading up to the festival. BBC iPlayer’s dedicated Glastonbury channel launches on Thursday 23 June.

“Our coverage this year will be our most extensive to date”

“I’m very proud of the BBC’s long history of broadcasting from Glastonbury, the highlight of our summer of live music,” says BBC director of music Lorna Clarke. “Our coverage this year will be our most extensive to date, with over 35 hours of programming across BBC One, Two, Three and Four, and over 40 hours on BBC iPlayer – in addition to digital live streams from the five biggest festival stages.

“We’ll also have wall-to-wall coverage on the BBC’s pop radio networks and BBC Sounds – with over 60 hours of broadcasts from the festival itself.”

In January, Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis led tributes to the festival’s long-serving commercial director Robert Richards, who died aged 65 following a short illness.

 


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Roundhouse announces BBC’s Lorna Clarke as trustee

London’s Roundhouse has announced BBC pop controller Lorna Clarke as a new trustee.

The 3,000-cap Camden venue and charity works with thousands of young creatives each year through music, performance, broadcast and digital projects in its in-house Roundhouse Studios.

Clarke is the BBC’s controller of pop music, with responsibility for national music networks BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, 6 Music, Radio 1Xtra, Asian Network) as well as live events, music television commissioning and the visualisation team.

“I’m thrilled that I am now a trustee of the Roundhouse, one of London’s leading creative hubs and iconic performance venues,” she says. “I look forward to playing my role in the future of the charity.”

“I have no doubt that Lorna’s wealth of experience will help us thrive in the coming months and years”

Bringing more than 30 years of broadcasting experience, Clarke previously worked with the venue when she was director of Electric Proms, which were hosted at the Roundhouse between 2006-2010, with performances from artists including Dame Shirley Bassey, James Brown, Oasis, Robbie Williams, Dizzee Rascal and Paul McCartney.

“I’m delighted to welcome Lorna to the board of trustees at the Roundhouse,” adds Roundhouse chair Simon Turner. ” We’re entering an incredibly exciting period as we emerge from the pandemic and expand our creative offer for young people. I have no doubt that Lorna’s wealth of experience will help us thrive in the coming months and years.”

Upcoming concerts at the venue include Sons of Kemet, Pale Waves, The Cribs, Sparks, Celeste, Ride and Girl in Red.

 


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10m+ stream BBC Glastonbury 2020 coverage

The BBC’s Glastonbury Experience was a break-out streaming hit, with more than ten million views on the corporation’s on-demand platform, BBC iPlayer, as of Tuesday 30 June.

Running from 10am local time on Thursday 25 June until late on Monday 29 June – commemorating the 50th anniversary of Glastonbury Festival that never was – the Glastonbury Experience aimed to bring the spirit of the legendary festival to viewers at home by broadcasting past performances on iPlayer, television, radio and the BBC Sounds audio streaming service.

In addition to broadcasting sets on TV (BBC Two and BBC Four), including Adele (2016), Beyoncé (2011), Coldplay (2016), Jay-Z (2008) and David Bowie (2000) – the first time Bowie’s performance has ever been broadcast in full – the BBC created a ‘pop-up’ Glastonbury Experience channel on iPlayer. That channel additionally featured shows by the likes of the Killers (2004), Radiohead (1997), Christine and the Queens (2016) and Billie Eilish (2019).

At press time, a BBC Music spokesperson tells IQ, there have been 10.2 million requests for Glastonbury content on iPlayer so far – and with content available for another 30 days, the corporation says it expects that number to grow.

Adele’s set was the most-watched programme on BBC Two, with an audience of 2.1m

Overnight figures for television content, meanwhile, show that Adele’s set was the most-watched programme on BBC Two, with an audience of 2.1m (the biggest for a BBC Two Glastonbury programme since 2017).

Sunday evening’s edition of Glastonbury Backstage Acoustics, with an audience of 261,000, was the BBC Four programme with the highest audience, followed closely by Nile Rodgers and Chic (2017), which had an audience of 258,000. For your background information these initial figures are not consolidated so are only an early indication of the performances of Glastonbury related programming on BBC TV and BBC iPlayer this weekend.

Glastonbury Festival will return on 23–27 June 2021.

 


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FR launches International Women’s Day event

Festival Republic has announced ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day, a networking event for women across the live music industry, as part of the promoter’s gender equality programme, ReBalance.

The event is taking place at the 900-capacity Union Chapel in Islington, London, on Sunday 8 March, the day dedicated to recognising the movement for women’s rights worldwide.

Last year’s International Women’s Day saw pop star Dua Lipa speak at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London, who illustrated the struggle faced by young female artists trying to break into the industry.

Festival Republic is looking to combat this, with a daytime programme aimed at introducing those who want a career in the industry to women working within it. Professionals from Festival Republic, Live Nation, PRS Foundation, Academy Music Group, Sony Music, MAMA, Melody VR, Metropolis Music, the BBC, National Merchandise and Safe Gigs for Women will be in present to offer advice and deliver educational talks.

An evening performance from singer Nilüfer Yanya will follow the networking event, as well as appearances from Martha Hill and Tamzene, two artists to have come through Festival Republic’s ReBalance programme.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further”

Launched in 2017, ReBalance is a six-year programme combatting the gender imbalance within the music industry. It offers five day’s studio time to one core female-identified band and artist each month, as well as a slot of a Festival Republic or Live Nation festival.

So far, 300 nominations have been made across six rounds, with 19 finalists performing live at The Great Escape, Wireless, Latitude and Reading and Leeds Festivals.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further by hosting an event on International Women’s Day for those who want to meet women in the industry,” says the ReBalance team.

“Aimed at newcomers or if you’re just curious, this event is the chance to learn from the brightest stars and pick up some tips. Lack of female representation in music is an industry-wide issue, and we want to level it.”

Day tickets for ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day can be purchased for a £2 charity donation to Safe Gigs for Women, with evening tickets priced at £17.50. All tickets are available here.

Photo: Paul Hudson/Flickr (cropped) (CC BY 2.0)

 


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Ticket prices are rising – but it’s all about the experience

Ian Taylor, head of ticketing and data management at bigdog Live, offers his thoughts on today’s BBC 5 Live report showing ticket prices in the UK have “doubled since the late 1990s”…

While some of the voxpops on the BBC article used words like ‘overpriced’, an equal if not greater number of people called in and said that the acts they’d seen recently were worth the money paid. I think this drills to the root of this – the experience.

There’s acknowledgment that income from recording and sales is down, so many acts are touring more to enhance that revenue deficit. But it’s also true that the actual experience is growing bigger in every sense. The shows are more spectacular, the venues bigger, and filling these with something not seen before isn’t cheap. Plus there’s a business need to pay fairly, to sort staff pensions, pay taxes, etc.

I think it’s easy to say it’s ‘extortionate’ if you personally feel you should be able to see that act but cannot afford that price. And it’s also true to say that the grassroots scene is still very fairly priced and accessible – so it’s really just to the arena and stadium end that this rise is happening.

The shows are more spectacular, the venues bigger – and filling these with something not seen before isn’t cheap

Ultimately, many promoters are indeed lifting prices to offset the perceived losses of the fan-to-fan secondary sites, where none of the revenue paid on higher-priced tickets goes back to the act, and back into the industry. It’s unclear if the prices looked at include booking fees charged by venues – which can add a tasty amount on top in many cases, so, for example, while the act may get £50, the customer may well pay nearer £60 or more.

What it all boils down to is that if people are willing to pay it, then that’s the market ‘bearing’ the price. It’s commercial enterprise.

I paid handsomely for both Fleetwood Mac and Kate Bush in recent years – and it’s the one and only time I expect to see them. Truly a memory to last a lifetime and certainly worth what I paid, as the shows were exceptionally well staged.

Did I get ripped off? Hardly.

 


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Anti-Viagogo campaigner ‘helps reclaim £100k’

Anti-Viagogo campaigner Claire Turnham says she has helped disgruntled people claim back over £100,000 in refunds and bank chargebacks in six months.

The founder of the Victim of Viagogo Facebook group started her crusade in February after she says she was overcharged £1,150 trying to buy four Ed Sheeran tickets through the resale site. She finally got a refund after doggedly persisting with her claim and taking her story to the media.

Fanfair Alliance, a music industry campaign against ticket touts, has published her advice for fans on how to get refunds from resale sites such as Viagogo, Seatwave, Getmein and Stubhub.

“We continue to hear from ticket-buyers who are extremely frustrated when seeking redress from Viagogo.”

On Wednesday, BBC consumer advice programme Watchdog investigated the activities of secondary ticketing websites – in particular Viagogo and its sale of tickets to Ed Sheeran concerts in the UK. The singer vowed to cancel all tickets to his gigs on secondary sites, and promoters Kilimanjaro and DHP reportedly voided 10,000 passes.

However, while most resale sites refused to list the tickets, Viagogo continued to allow them to be sold. It claimed the promoters were not legally able to cancel tickets, maintained they remained valid, and refused refunds. UK Trading Standards disputes this interpretation of the law, the programme heard.

Fanfair Alliance campaign manager Adam Webb said: “We continue to hear from ticket-buyers who are extremely frustrated when seeking redress from Viagogo, which is why FanFair Alliance has teamed up with Claire Turnham to produce some comprehensive guidance to help them secure a refund.”

Turnham said: “If you are distressed and desperately seeking a refund, I urge you to persevere. It’s not an easy process but it is possible to reclaim your money back. Keep referring to our self-help guide and connect with others for support.”

Recent research by Which? found that approximately half of people who purchased tickets on these sites believed that they were buying from the official ticket seller.

BBC announces Biggest Weekend for Glasto fallow year

On the back of its record-breaking Glastonbury Festival 2017 coverage, BBC Music has announced a one-off four-day event for next summer, filling the gap left by Glastonbury’s fallow year.

The Biggest Weekend will take place in all four UK countries – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – from 25 to 28 May, with more than 175,000 ticket expected to be sold. The BBC’s coverage will be “similar to that offered around Glastonbury”, says the corporation, with concerts broadcast live on radio (Radios 1, 2, 3 and 6 Music) and television (BBC Two and BBC Four), as well as on demand on BBC iPlayer.

No venues or performers have been announced, and a BBC spokesperson tells IQ it has yet to appoint a promoter partner for the events, although the process is “underway”.

BBC has yet to appoint a promoter for the events, although the process is “underway”

Bob Shennan, director of BBC Radio and Music, comment: “BBC Music has a strong history of bringing the nation together for some special moments, and this is the biggest single music event ever attempted by the BBC.

We will be celebrating the diversity of music from four different corners of the country, bringing the best UK music to the world and the best global music to the UK.”

The last time Glastonbury took a year off, in 2012, the BBC staged its Radio 1 Big Weekend festival in Hackney, east London, to coincide with the London Olympics.

 


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Record audience for BBC Glastonbury coverage

The BBC’s 21st year covering Glastonbury Festival was also most successful, the corporation announced today, with BBC Music’s television and online coverage of the event reaching a record audience of almost 21 million.

A total of 20.9m people watched the BBC’s Glastonbury TV coverage for at least three minutes – a 12% increase on 2016 – with Ed Sheeran’s closing slot on Sunday night achieving a record high for a Glastonbury programme of 2.9m, replacing previous recordholder ELO, who achieved 2.4m last year.

With 4.1m, Sheeran also broke the record one-minute peak audience figure.

Other strong performers included Barry Gibb’s 6pm ‘Legends’ slot, broadcast on BBC Two, which achieved an average audience of 2.48m; Elbow’s surprise performance on Friday evening, which was seen by 784,000 BBC Four viewers; and Friday and Saturday’s headliners, Radiohead and Foo Fighters, who drew in an average of 811,000 and 1.6m, respectively.

“We’re delighted this year’s Glastonbury Festival has been enjoyed by a record number of people”

“We’re delighted that this year’s Glastonbury Festival has been enjoyed by a record number of people,” says the BBC’s director of radio and music, Bob Shennan.

“BBC Music was able to bring audiences such an incredible range of genres, from grime [to] reggae, rock and pop, [and] memorable sets including Ed Sheeran, who made his Glastonbury debut only six years ago on the BBC Music Introducing Stage, and legendary artists Radiohead, Foo Fighters and Barry Gibb – and all under a shining sun, for a change.”

In keeping with its commitment to impartiality, the BBC did not broadcast Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s appearance at the festival, although it has been criticised by some right-wing press, including the Daily Mail, for allegedly disseminating “left-wing propaganda” online and on radio.

 


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Tower Ballroom a “perfect” live venue, says GM

The UK’s largest ballroom is inviting artists and promoters to take advantage of its “stunning acoustics” and “unique features” as it seeks to bolster its live music credentials.

The Blackpool Tower Ballroom – known to most non-ballroom dancing enthusiasts as a (Strictly) Come Dancing venue – recently hosted the finale of the BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge tour, which saw The 1975 playing with the 60-piece BBC Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and its general manager tells IQ he’s keen for the venue, which has a capacity of 2,500 for concerts, to host more events of a similar nature.

“The ballroom produces such a wonderful sound that it makes a perfect concert hall, with a real uniqueness”

Kenny Mew, who describes the ballroom (pictured) as an “amazing space with […] amazing architectural features, stunning acoustics and the latest technical specifications”, comments: “The 1975’s Live Lounge performance in the Blackpool Tower Ballroom was fantastic, and we hope to welcome more live music artists to the venue in the future.

“The ballroom produces such a wonderful sound that it makes a perfect concert hall, with a real uniqueness.”

The Tower Ballroom, which opened in 1894, is situated at the base at Eiffel-inspired Blackpool Tower in the English seaside town of the same name. It is jointly operated by Blackpool Council and Merlin Entertainments.

 


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