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Paradise City to run entirely on renewables by 2025

Belgian festival Paradise City says it is on track to run entirely on renewable energy by 2025.

The three-day electronic festival – named the world’s most sustainable music festival at January’s International A Greener Festival (AGF) Awards – takes place annually in the gardens of Castle Ribaucourt, Steenokkerzee.

With the support of renewable energy pioneer Eneco, the 8,000-cap festival has taken “big steps” towards its 2025 sustainability goal, implementing floating solar panels and an on-site electricity cabin that provides green power.

The total on-site solar power at Paradise City 2024 will be 372m²

Organisers say that the goal for the upcoming edition of Paradise City is to glean 33% of total energy consumption from solar power, 33% from HVO (bio-fuel) and 33% from grid power. The festival will be supplied with 100% sustainable and locally generated power from an Eneco solar farm in Puurs.

Last year, the festival installed more than 90 additional solar panels and three battery containers on the island in front of its castle, dubbed the Eneco Solar Island. The island’s 180m² of solar panels generated 1038 kWh and directly powered the Contrast Stage.

This year, an additional 60 solar panels will float on the water next to the castle, creating another 120m² of solar energy and bringing the total on-site solar power to 372m².

To further reduce energy consumption, Paradise City uses a smart energy plan including an algorithm that controls generators to minimise excess energy consumption. In addition, all light sources at the festival site use LED technology.

Paradise City 2024 will see 134 artists and bands, including Floating Points and Bonobo, perform across seven stages between 28–30 June.

 


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Gracia Live hails Camille after record-setting run

Gracia Live promoter Sam Perl has saluted Belgian pop star Camille after she became the youngest solo artist to sell out four dates at Antwerp’s Sportpaleis.

The Wevelgem-born 22-year-old, who is tipped to be the country’s next big music export following Stromae and Angele, performed two shows per day at the venue on 4-5 May, selling more than 62,500 tickets.

It was not the first the singer has broken records in her home country, having previously been recognised as the youngest act to sell out five consecutive shows at the 8,050-cap Lotto Arena in Antwerp in November 2022.  She also sold 125,000 tickets in Belgium for her first nationwide tour, which concluded in August 2023.

“We have promoted artists such as Adele, and Måneskin and Olivia Rodrigo’s first concerts in Belgium,” says Perl.” If I would rate Camille’s potential, I’m positive that she’s destined for one place and one place only – the international top! What we have witnessed at the Sportpaleis in Antwerp is only an affirmation that with hard work we can work towards that, step by step, but [earlier this month] we got one step closer.”

“As a music lover, entrepreneur and brand builder, being able to work with an exceptional talent like Camille is a blessing”

Full name Camille Dhont, Camille rose to fame as an actress as part of the cast of Belgian musical drama #LikeMe! and went on to win the second season of The Masked Singer. She also appeared in a reality TV show and two-part documentary about her life. She also plays the lead role in  Currently, she plays the lead role on Belgian TV series Milo.

“As a music lover, entrepreneur and brand builder, being able to work with an exceptional talent like Camille is a blessing,” adds her manager, respected Belgian music industry veteran William Vaesen. “Not only does she represent a new generation of pop artists in our country, but she also combines that with an unprecedented work ethic and a high level of professionalism.

“Giving direction to that total package is not work, it is pure passion. The satisfaction of seeing that result in four sold-out sports arenas in just four years – 62,500 tickets in a market of only six million people – is great, as well as the desire to look beyond national borders and seek partners to further roll out this 360° model together.”

 

 


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Festival bills ’24: Paléo, Lolla Berlin, Pukkelpop

Switzerland’s Paléo and Lollapalooza Berlin in Germany head the latest festival lineup announcements for 2024, while Belgium’s Pukkelpop is celebrating a speedy sellout.

Paléo Festival Nyon returns from 23-28 July with a bill headed by Sam Smith, Burna Boy, Booba, Mika, Sean Paul, Major Lazer Soundsystem, Gazo & Tiakola, PLK, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Patti Smith, The Blaze, Paul Kalkbrenner, Aurora and Royal Blood.

Expanding its musical horizons with a mix of pop, rock, rap, dancehall, Afrobeats, reggae, electro, opera and funk, the event will welcome 130 artists in all. Its Village du Monde (Village of the World) will focus on the Balkans, featuring around 20 acts.

Set for 7-8 September at the German capital’s Olympic Stadium and Olympic Park, Lollapalooza Berlin will be headlined by Sam Smith, Martin Garrix, Burna Boy, Seventeen, The Chainsmokers, Niall Horan, Louis Tomlinson, Shirin David and CRO.

Other acts will include Loyle Carner, Nothing But Thieves, Meduza, Tom Grennan, Kenya Grace, Elderbrook, Joel Corry and Alok.

That same weekend will also see Goodlive’s Superbloom take place at the Olympic Park in Munich, which has unveiled its expanded lineup. Joining Calvin Harris on the bill are Burna Boy, Shirin David, Jorja Smith, Milky Chance, Loyle Carner, Loreen and Chappell Roan.

Previously confirmed acts included Sam Smith, The Chainsmokers, CRO, Louis Tomlinson, RIN, Provinz, Tokio Hotel, Nothing But Thieves, Kenya Grace and David Puentez. For the first time, there will also be readings by renowned authors, including Ilona Hartmann and Phia Quantius, with two crime podcasts also represented.

“Ticket sales are going well: we are certainly further ahead than this time last year”

Meanwhile, Pukkelpop, which will be held in Hasselt between 15-18 August, sold out all combination tickets in less than 48 hours, according to organisers.

The event will star the likes of Fred Again.., Stormzy, Sam Smith, Queens of the Stone Age, The Offspring, Charlotte de Witte, Goldband, Raye, Inhaler, Sugababes, The Vaccines, Skrillex, Jorja Smith, The Smile and Denzel Curry.

Also in Belgium, the resurgent Gent Jazz Festival is expanding from ten to 13 days and has confirmed André 3000 among this year’s performers. The 5,500-cap series runs from 5-20 July and will also feature names such as Diana Krall, Laufey, Jamie Cullum, Air, Alexis Ffrench, DJ Shadow, Nile Rodgers & Chic and Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Ghent-based promoter and booking agency Greenhouse Talent took over the international jazz festival last year after previous organiser – the non-profit Jazz en Muziek – went backrupt at the end of 2022.

“For us, the expansion is an essential intervention to guarantee our survival,” organiser Pascal Van De Velde tells De Standaard. “It is difficult for a festival in our niche and with our capacity to break even, and we did not want to save on costs. So we found the solution in extra days: this allows us to spread the basic costs of the festival.

“Ticket sales are going well: we are certainly further ahead than this time last year.”

AIF reports that 21 UK festivals have now announced a postponement, cancellation or complete closure in 2024

Elsewhere, Smash’s Fuji Rock, which will grace Japan’s Naeba Ski Resort in Tokyo from 26-28 July, has added Peggy Gou and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds as headliners alongside Kraftwerk. Other new additions include Remi Wolf, Hiromi’s Sonic Wonder, Denki Groove, Kid Fresno, Man With a Mission, Sampha, Teddy Swims, Macaroni Empitsu, The Spellbound and Kim Gordon.

And AEG’s BST Hyde Park in London has revealed Morgan Wallen as its final 2024 headliner. The country music superstar will perform on 4 July, completing a lineup which also includes SZA (29 June), Kings of Leon (30 June), Andrea Bocelli (5 July), Robbie Williams (6 July), Shania Twain (7 July), Stevie Nicks (12 July), Kylie Minogue (13 July) and Stray Kids (14 July).

However, trade body the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) reports that 21 UK festivals have now announced a postponement, cancellation or complete closure in 2024.

Cotswolds-based Nibley Festival has announced that this year’s event will be its last, shortly after Bradford’s Bingley Festival announced that its 2024 edition will not go ahead.

Promoters of both festivals have cited rapidly rising production costs as the reason why running their event is no longer viable. Portsmouth rock and metal festival Takedown also recently postponed to 2025, citing “challenging trading conditions” among other factors.

AIF warns that, without intervention, the UK could see over 100 festivals disappear in 2024 due to rising costs and has reiterated the need for temporary support from the UK government to lower VAT from 20% to 5% on ticket sales for the next three years.

“It’s with grave concern that we again sound the alarm to government upon passing this critical milestone,” says AIF CEO John Rostron. “UK festivals are disappearing at a worrying rate, and we as a nation are witnessing the erosion of one of our most successful and unique cultural industry sectors.

“We have done the research: a reduction of VAT to 5% on festival tickets over the next three years is a conservative, targeted and temporary measure that would save almost all of the festival businesses that are likely to fall by the wayside this year and many more over the years to come. We need this intervention now.”

 


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Booking agency Upsurge expands to Europe

UK-based independent booking agency Upsurge has hired Philippe Van Leuven from Bandwerk in Belgium as the company’s first EU agent.

Van Leuven brings a roster that includes Death Lens, Ruby Haunt, Trauma Ray, Wrong Man, Soft Blue Shimmer and Chase Petra.

“Joining Upsurge is a very logical step to keep developing and growing the acts I’ve been working with the last few years,” says Van Leuven. “In an already competitive market, it also feels natural to combine forces. I very much admire Upsurge’s existing roster and their artist-focused approach. I’m super pleased to be able to reinforce the team and bring my own personal touch to the already amazing line-up.”

Upsurge, which is overseen by tour coordinator Flick Price-Thomas, has grown to a team of five since its inception by Eddie Griffiths in July 2022. The firm has booked artists on festivals such as Download, 2000Trees, Outbreak, Full Force, Resurrection, Summer Breeze, Copenhell and Damnation.

“Upsurge was born out of a love for alternative music and putting on shows”

“Upsurge was born out of a love for alternative music and putting on shows,” says Griffiths. “There’s so many incredible artists coming through those scenes and the underground, so with Upsurge I wanted to provide a home for these types of artists for touring.

“The stellar network of independent venues throughout the UK and Europe plays a very key role in what we do and is vital to our artists. I’m stoked to be part of an incredible team of Flick, Oscar, Lee and now Philippe who all share that same passion as I do and do it for the love of it.

“I didn’t expect things to grow like they have over such a short period of time and I’m truly honoured that Upsurge gets to work with so many of our favourite artists. This is all down to the hard work of our growing team.”

The agency’s roster includes the likes of Superheaven, Fiddlehead, Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, Speed, Split Chain, Bug Bath, Knives, Sick Joy, Pure Hex, Present, Panik Flower, Shooting Daggers, Splitknuckle, Stiff Meds, Out Of Love, Plastics and Cruelty.

 


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Four arrested over plan to attack Brussels venue

The Botanique concert hall in Brussels has confirmed it was the target of a foiled terrorist attack last weekend, which resulted in the arrest of three minors and one adult.

The four suspects had met online, where they allegedly forged plans to commit an attack on the venue in a few weeks. Their conversations reportedly referred to the terrorist group Islamic State.

On Sunday (4 March) morning, the three minors from Ninove, Brussels and Charleroi, and one adult from Liège were arrested. No weapons or explosives were found during the searches, but the Federal Prosecutor’s Office confiscated laptops and mobile phones for further investigation.

The 18-year-old suspect was brought before the investigating judge this morning (5 March) and charged with “participating in the activities of a terrorist group and preparatory acts with a view to committing a terrorist attack,” according to the Prosecutor’s Office.

After consultation with the services, it was deemed that the venue’s current security measures are adequate

The three minors were put in front of an investigating judge in Dendermonde, a city in the Flemish province of East Flanders.

The Botanique concert hall team told Belga News Agency that it was in contact with the security services throughout the weekend.

After consultation with the services, it was deemed that the current security measures, which have been in place since the 2015 Paris terror attacks and the 2016 terror attacks in Belgium, are adequate.

Following those attacks, the venue reinforced its security team and additional measures were put in place at the entrance and across the site, such as checking bags.

“These measures are evaluated on an ongoing basis,” the venue noted, adding that “planned events and concerts can continue according to the current security standards”.

 


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Belgium’s Jazz Middelheim gets new operator

The City of Antwerp has selected a partnership between the Brosella and Paradise City festivals to relaunch the Jazz Middelheim festival.

First held in 1969, Jazz Middelheim hosted artists such as Van Morrison, Jamie Cullum, Patti Smith, Ludovico Einaudi, Jean “Toots” Thielemans, John Zorn, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Werner, Archie Shepp, Robin Verheyen and Cassandra Wilson.

It was most recently staged in 2022, but Jazz en Muziek – the non-profit organisation behind the festival – went bankrupt at the end of last year. Jazz en Muziek also staged Gent Jazz Festival, which was rescued by Greenhouse Talent.

The new version of Jazz Middelheim will take place this year on a small scale in Antwerp’s Den Brandt Park, before a full-scale edition in 2025.

Details for the 2024 edition are yet to be announced, although the organisers have stated their intention to extend the festival to two days in September.

The City of Antwerp was attracted by the “balance between tradition and innovation” proposed by Brosella and Paradise City

Meanwhile, the festival’s name is currently still being negotiated as the brand is owned by Flemish public broadcaster VRT.

A total of eight candidates came forward in response to the call for a new Jazz Middelheim promoter, launched in 2023 by the City of Antwerp.

The municipal authorities were attracted by the “balance between tradition and innovation” proposed by Brosella and Paradise City, as well as their “experience in organising events in a green park environment”.

“The Brosella festival is synonymous with a varied musical offering of urban ethno and jazz and many musical styles in between,” says the City. “It presents and produces musical projects by big names and young national and international talent. Every year, the Paradise City Festival marks the start of summer for fans of electronic music on the site of a castle and is recognised worldwide for its considerable efforts in terms of sustainable development.”

Antwerp’s councillor for culture, Nabilla Ait Daoud, adds: “We are looking forward to a festival that is both warm and intimate, that honours both the past and the future of jazz, and that puts Antwerp back on the international jazz map.”

Bert Schreurs, director of Brosella Festival, comments: “We want to combine classic, established jazz artists with DJs influenced by jazz. In this way, we hope to appeal to a younger audience. We are therefore joining forces with Paradise City.”

 


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Tomorrowland Belgium sells out in less than a day

Tickets for the 20th anniversary edition of Tomorrowland’s flagship Belgian festival sold out in less than a day.

The electronic music extravaganza will welcome 400,000 ticket holders across two weekends to Boom, in the province of Antwerp, from 19-21 and 26-28 July.

The Brussels Times reports that around 200,000 tickets reserved for Belgian citizens were snapped up in 27 minutes, with the remaining allocation selling out by the end of the first day of the general sale.

Three-day passes cost €304, with a one-day pass priced €129. All prospective ticket buyers were required to register in advance.

Staged under the ‘LIFE’ theme, more than 400 acts including Armin van Buuren, Amelie Lens, Bonobo B2B Dixon, David Guetta, ANNA, Vintage Culture, Tale Of Us, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Solomun B2B Four Tet and Swedish House Mafia will appear across 16 stages.

“It rests on the shoulders of the justice system, police, and festival organisers to ensure a responsible and safe environment for all festivalgoers”

Organisers are teaming up with local police to step up the fight against dangerous drugs at the event, including on-site testing of seized substances by the National Institute of Forensic Science and Criminology (INCC). The move follows last year’s introduction of a system to immediately process fines imposed on drug users and bring dealers to court.

“Drugs are exceedingly harmful to health and can be fatal,” justice minister Paul Van Tigchelt told The Brussels Times. “It rests on the shoulders of the justice system, police, and festival organisers to ensure a responsible and safe environment for all festivalgoers.”

Elsewhere, the fourth edition of Tomorrowland Winter, slated for Alpe D’Huez, France from 16-23 March, is also sold out.

The brand has also been exported to Brazil, while it was revealed last month that it is launching a new 10,000-cap festival in the Colombian city of Medellín, with the help of local promoter Breakfast Club.

Its newly created CORE stage is being transported to Medellín’s botanical garden for the two-day event on 11-12 May. The CORE stage debuted at Tomorrowland’s January event in Tulum, Mexico, and is slated to ‘pop up around the globe’ including at Tomorrowland Belgium.

 


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Successor sought for Belgium’s Jazz Middelheim

The City of Antwerp is looking for a new promoter to come forward to run a new jazz festival in the Belgian city following the demise of the long-running Jazz Middelheim.

First held in 1969, Jazz Middelheim hosted artists such as Van Morrison, Jamie Cullum, Patti Smith, Ludovico Einaudi, Jean “Toots” Thielemans, John Zorn, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Werner, Archie Shepp, Robin Verheyen and Cassandra Wilson.

It was most recently staged in 2022, but Jazz en Muziek – the non-profit organisation behind the festival – went bankrupt at the end of last year.

Jazz en Muziek also staged Gent Jazz Festival, which was rescued by Greenhouse Talent. However, Greenhouse reportedly had no interest in taking on Jazz Middelheim and no new partner has been found for the event.

“There is clearly an audience for jazz. That is why we do not want to let go of the tradition of a summer jazz festival in the city”

Nethertheless, Nieuwsbld reports the local authority is still hoping to host another jazz festival in the city and has launched an appeal for collaborators, initially for 2024 and 2025. The city will then review the submitted proposals based on its established criteria.

“Jazz Middelheim’s formula worked extremely well,” says alderman of culture Nabilla Ait Daoud. “The success of the festival speaks for itself: there is clearly an audience for jazz. That is why we do not want to let go of the tradition of a summer jazz festival in the city. We are open to new ideas for the concrete implementation of the festival.”

Ghent-based Greenhouse successfully relaunched Gent Jazz Festival from 5-15 July, pulling in around 40,000 visitors across 74 concerts by acts including Ludovico Einaudi, Norah Jones and Herbie Hancock.

 


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Greenhouse sells 120k tickets for Clouseau shows

Greenhouse Talent has revealed it has sold 120,000 tickets in just one hour for a series of concerts marking the 40th anniversary of Belgian pop group Clouseau.

The band, who mainly perform in Dutch, have a large following across Belgium and the Netherlands, and have already sold out eight nights at Antwerp’s Sportpaleis (cap. 23,001) from 20 December 2024 to 4 January 2025.

The response has prompted them to add two extra shows for 9-10 January 2025, bringing their overall number of dates at the venue to 10. Tickets are priced €34-64.

Clouseau played their first ever show on 16 December, 1984 at the CC Sint-Genesius-Rode in Belgium.

“It is clear that no one wants to miss Clouseau’s fortieth birthday,” says a statement by Greenhouse. “No fewer than 120,000 tickets, good for eight Sports Palaces, flew out the door in barely an hour. Demand remains enormous, so Clouseau is adding two extra dates.”

Greenhouse Talent also has upcoming shows with the likes of Jason Derulo, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Rick Astley

The Ghent-based promoter and booking agency also has upcoming shows with the likes of Tony Hadley, Alexis Ffrench, Till Lindemann, Eagle-Eye Cherry, Paul Young, Air, Jason Derulo, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Rick Astley.

The company rescued Belgium’s Gent Jazz Festival from bankruptcy earlier this year after previous organiser went bankrupt. The 2023 event, held from 5-15 July, pulled in around 40,000 visitors across 74 concerts by acts including Ludovico Einaudi, Norah Jones and Herbie Hancock.

“I have a long history with the festival,” Greenhouse Talent owner Pascal Van De Velde told IQ. “We have supplied many headline acts in the past and one of the founders was my best friend, who passed away in 2011, so there was an emotional connection. There is also a geographical connection because it is in our hometown and there is, of course, a content connection because we promote so much jazz.

“We relaunched it and had a very successful edition – one of the most successful editions the festival has ever had.”

Gent Jazz Festival was recently profiled as part of IQ‘s list of ten of the best independent festivals.

 


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Dua Lipa confirms first live shows since 2022

Dua Lipa has announced her first live shows since 2022, with two European festival slots confirmed for next summer.

The multi Grammy and BRIT Award-winning singer will headline Belgium’s Rock Werchter on Saturday 6 July, and is the first artist to be confirmed for Portugal’s NOS Alive, where she will star on the main stage on Friday July 12.

The 28-year-old, who released her new single Houdini at the end of last week as the lead track from her forthcoming third album, generated $89,302,575 from her 71-date Future Nostalgia Tour last year. Future Nostalgia was ranked the 18th highest-grossing tour of 2022, according to Billboard Boxscore.

Lipa has also been strongly tipped to headline next year’s Glastonbury festival

Lipa joins Foo Fighters on the bill at Rock Werchter 2024, which will take place at the Festivalpark in Werchter from 4-7 July. Tickets go on sale on 1 December.

Tickets for NOS Alive, meanwhile, which runs from 11-13 July at Passeio Marítimo de Algés, near Lisbon, are already on sale. Single-day tickets cost €84.53, with a two-day pass costing €169.06 and three-day passes available at €203.30.

Lipa has also been strongly tipped to headline next year’s Glastonbury festival, although co-organiser recently dismissed rumours that Lipa, Coldplay and Madonna were all booked to play the 2024 event as “untrue”.

 


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