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Biffy Clyro complete The Piece Hall’s 2024 bill

Biffy Clyro have been confirmed as the final headliner for The Piece Hall in Halifax’s star-studded summer calendar.

The Scottish rock band, who will play on 23 August, complete the 2024 lineup at the acclaimed 5,500-cap West Yorkshire venue, which includes artists such as Blondie, Sheryl Crow, Annie Mac, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Crowded House, Grace Jones, Bryan Adams, Placebo, Air, Michael Kiwanuka, Underworld, Tom Odell and Rick Astley.

Running from June to August, TK Maxx Presents Live at The Piece Hall will also feature Loyle Carner, Tom Jones, Idles, Ministry of Sound with Ellie Sax & Friends, Bill Bailey, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Richard Ashcroft, The Stranglers, Jess Glynne, Korn, McFly, Status Quo, PJ Harvey, Pixies, The Streets, Fatboy Slim, Jungle and Cian Ducrot.

Live Nation’s Cuffe & Taylor has programmed The Piece Hall – the world’s only remaining Georgian cloth hall – since 2022, presenting the likes of Sting, George Ezra, James, Boygenius, Limp Bizkit, Queens of the Stone Age, The Lumineers, Rag’n’Bone Man, Hozier and Orbital.

“If you’re doing something in London and Scotland, it’s a nice little stop halfway”

The Grade I listed building originally opened in 1779 for the trading of ‘pieces’ of cloth produced by Yorkshire’s famous woollen mills. More than 120,000 tickets were sold for its 2023 concerts.

“It’s not in the main markets and if you’re doing something in London and Scotland, it’s a nice little stop halfway,” promoter Peter Taylor told IQ last year. “It’s been a case of you put a show on and it sells out. It’s taken on a life of its own and I think that’s down to that space and how unique it is. I would like to hope that in a few years, The Piece Hall is seen as the UK’s premier outdoor music venue. It’s in a league of its own.”

Cuffe & Taylor also programmes all live music events at the 8,000-cap Scarborough Open Air Theatre in Yorkshire, as well as promoting Lytham Festival, outdoor live music series Forest Live and Bedford Park Concerts, in addition to events at Cardiff Castle and Chepstow Racecourse.


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Download festival 2021 cancelled

There will be no Download festival in the UK this summer, promoter Festival Republic confirmed today (1 March).

Iron Maiden, Kiss and Biffy Clyro will headline the 2022 edition of the 110,000-capacity rock and metal festival, which returns to Donington Park in Leicestershire next 10–12 June. Tickets for Download 2022 go on sale this Friday (5 March) at 10am GMT, priced from £250 for a standard weekend camping pass.

Download, which would have taken place from 4 to 6 June 2021, is the first of Live Nation-owned Festival Republic’s events to announce it will be unable to go ahead for a second consecutive year, with the likes of Wireless (2–4 July) and Latitude (22–25 July) still on for now and Reading and Leeds (27–29 August) having already sold out.

Download Australia, which would have debuted in 2020, is on hiatus, as are Download Madrid and Download France in Paris (both of which last took place in 2019).

“Ware determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever”

“Downloaders, your 2022 headliners are here,” comments Download booker Andy Copping. “Rock’n’roll legends Kiss will be kicking off Friday in style, Iron Maiden will return, bringing with them mascot Eddie and more fire than we can handle, and what better way to end the festival than with Biffy, who will leave us awestruck with their energy. I’m counting down the days already.”

“Like everyone, we were all hugely disappointed when the global pandemic forced the cancellation of Download 2020, which would have been Maiden’s seventh time headlining here,” says Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, “so we are delighted to be invited back and fulfil our ambition of playing Donington Park in every decade since the 1980s.

“As most people know, this festival is hallowed ground for us – and Eddie – and our fans’ vocal support and enthusiasm is always phenomenal and much appreciated. We can’t wait to see everyone again, and are determined to make the show one hell of a party and the greatest homecoming ever.”

Further Download 2022 artists will be announced in the coming months.


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Driift celebrates success with livestream concerts

UK-based virtual producer and promoter Driift is announcing a slate of ticketed livestream concerts after successful online events with Laura Marling, Lianne La Havas and Dermot Kennedy.

The company, founded by ATC Management’s Ric Salmon and Brian Message, trialled the pay-per-view livestream concerts with a performance from Laura Marling at the Union Chapel in London in June.

“Ticketed live streaming is currently a space that no one controls, and we believe there is a long-term and commercially viable business here. It’s incredibly exciting” says Salmon.

Capitalising on the success of Marling’s show, Driift has since produced livestream shows for Lianne La Havas at the Roundhouse and Dermot Kennedy at the Natural History Museum.

Kennedy’s livestream show, which took place last Thursday (30 June) and featured Normal People’s Paul Mescal, sold over 30,000 tickets worldwide and was broadcast live over four different time zones.

“It strikes me that this is just the beginning of an exciting opportunity for artists and their teams to create new art that many will choose to pay for,” says Message. “If we get this right, ticketed livestream productions, whether live shows or something not yet dreamt of, can comfortably sit alongside promotional videos, traditional live shows and other ways fans and artists relate.”

This is not a replacement for live, this is a coming of age for livestreaming

Now, with investment from shareholders Beggars Group, Driift is producing more high profile livestream shows including a one-off worldwide performance from Biffy Clyro on 15 August from an iconic Glasgow venue and a performance from Sleaford Mods at the 100 club on 12 September.

“We’ve felt for a long time that livestreaming has been undervalued,” says Ruth Barlow, director of live at Beggars Group.

“We’re excited about the creative and commercial opportunities for the business, the artists and their fans; who no longer have to be in a particular city at a particular time to experience unique live music events.

“This is not a replacement for live, this is a coming of age for livestreaming.”

Driift will oversee ticketing, production, licensing, rights management and digital marketing for the livestream concerts – allowing artists to rebuild live music into their release campaigns and overall strategies.

Having collaborated with live industry giants such as CAA, Dice, Universe/Ticketmaster, YouTube, Pulse Films and Jackshoot, Driift is expanding its offering outside of the UK, with a number of shows being set up in North America.


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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IoW Festival announces first artists for 2019 event

The Isle of Wight Festival has announced the first artists playing its 2019 event. Traditionally marking the start of the UK festival season, the Isle of Wight Festival returns for its 51st year from 13 to 16 June in Seaclose Park, Newport.

More than 70,000 people attended the event last year over three days of live music in Newport on the Isle of Wight.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will kick off proceedings on the Friday evening, returning to the festival for the first time since 2012. On the Saturday, George Ezra will make his first major UK festival headline debut and Isle of White Festival veterans Biffy Clyro will take the headline spot on the closing night.

“We are delighted to be headlining the Isle of Wight Festival again. ’Tis a beauty. Hail Satan,” comment the Scottish rockers.

Elsewhere, festivalgoers will see performances by Anne-Marie, Bastille, Courteeners, DMA’s, Miles Kane, Haçienda Classiçal and Freya Ridings. Award-winning DJ and producer Fatboy Slim will make his Isle of Wight debut, playing the main stage for a special guest slot on Saturday night.

“It’s going to be brilliant to return to the beautiful Isle. I’m extremely flattered to have been asked to headline and can’t wait to get up and play”

“It’s going to be brilliant to return to the beautiful Isle and play new songs to an audience that has heard the record. I’m extremely flattered to have been asked to headline and can’t wait to get up and play,” says Ezra, who previously performed at the festival in 2017.

Tickets go on sale for the festival on Friday 25 January at 9am. Presale tickets for Barclaycard users will be available from Wednesday 23 January at 8am. Weekend tickets cost between £145 and £175, with children under 12 entering free. A range of accommodation is available, including luxury tipis with cocktails and hot breakfast, and ethical camping experiences.

Live Nation acquired a majority stake in the festival in March 2017, adding to its portfolio of music festivals around the world.


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“Thank you”: Ellis hails success of debut Trnsmt

Some 120,000 people witnessed the first outing for DF Concerts’ new Glasgow festival, Trnsmt, over the weekend, with festival director Geoff Ellis thanking attendees for a successful debut year.

Trnsmt, which took place on Glasgow Green from Friday 7 to Sunday 9 June, was first announced in January. Although some speculated the festival would serve as a replacement for DF’s dormant T in the Park (TITP), Ellis has insisted that isn’t the case, with TITP “definitely” returning in 2018.

More than 100 acts performed across five stages, including The 1975, Stormzy, London Grammar, The LaFontaines and headliners Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro.

“The first-ever Trnsmt event has been an immediate hit with fans, and it’s safe to say our team has delivered an exciting new addition to the festival calendar,” comments Ellis. “The site lay-out worked beautifully and we received positive feedback from music fans, staff and vendors on the overall smooth flow of the event.

“The first-ever Trnsmt event has been an immediate hit with fans”

“The multi-agency organisation of Trnsmt has worked exceptionally well, and we would like to thank Police Scotland, Glasgow City Council, Ambulance Scotland and Fire Scotland for their support in the lead-up to and during the festival weekend.”

He also thanked festivalgoers for “creating the positive energy that we hope will be part of Trnsmt for years to come”.

Police Scotland also praised the behaviour of the crowd, reporting ten arrests in total over the three days – far fewer than the 54 at TITP 2016, which had a capacity of 70,000.

Chief inspector Simon Jeacocke, event commander for Police Scotland, says: “We’d like to commend everyone who attended Trsmt festival for their good spirits this weekend. Our zero-tolerance approach to drugs, increased security presence and thorough bag searches were well received by attendees, and everyone’s cooperation meant that people got on site smoothly every day.”


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MMF UK elects new chair, vice-chair at AGM

The Music Managers Forum (MMF) in the UK has overhauled its board of directors following yesterday’s annual general meeting.

Diane Wagg of Deluxxe Management (Cortney Dixon, D!!ves), formerly co-chair of the association with Stephen Budd, has been elected sole chair. Budd steps down to “focus on a number of upcoming projects”, says the MMF, including Amnesty International and Sofar Sound’s Give a Home concert series for World Refugee Day.

Nostromo Management’s Paul Craig (Biffy Clyro), meanwhile, becomes vice-chair.

Also elected were five new board members: Claire Southwick of Primitive Management, Ellie Giles of Various Artists, Paul Crockford of Paul Crockford Management, Steven Braines of The Weird & Wonderful and Tom Burris of ie:music. Brian Message (ATC Management) and Paul Burger (Soho Artists) were reelected.

Outgoing board members Carol Crabtree (Solar Management), Gary McClarnan (Sparklestreet), Ian McAndrew (Wildlife Entertainment), Scott Rodger (Quest Management) and Tim Clarke (ie:music) have been appointed to the MMF Custodians – a newly elected group meeting on a biannual basis to advise on MMF policy.

The five new board members were elected under a new system of governance for the MMF that will see its 16-person board rotate on an annual basis, with members elected to serve a fixed three-year term and with at least five required to stand down each year to make way for a newly elected group.

“Together we’ve overseen the continued development and progress of the MMF as a trade organisation that represents the full diversity of the UK’s music management community. That work carries on”

“Working with Stephen these past three years has been a pleasure,” comments Wagg. “He’s one of the industry’s best-loved characters and sharpest entrepreneurial operators. Together we’ve overseen the continued development and progress of the MMF as a trade organisation that represents and is relevant to the full diversity of the UK’s music management community. That work carries on to create a transparent and fair world for all artists, including well over a thousand of the best acts on the planet who are represented by our ever-increasing membership.

“And while Stephen continues to break new and exciting ground with the Give a Home concert series, I am delighted to welcome onboard Paul Craig, who has played such a fundamental role in developing Biffy Clyro into the all-conquering festival-headlining band that they are today, as our first ever vice-chair.”

Craig adds: “Having served as a board member for a number of years, it is a great honour to accept the position of vice-chair and to work alongside Diane, our chief executive Annabella Coldrick and the rest of the MMF team. Over recent years, the MMF has made great strides to become more inclusive and to provide the support, education and lobbying that all modern-day managers need, from the most established to those taking their first steps.

“In such a fast-paced commercial environment we all need to learn from each other, and the MMF is essential to building that community among managers and helping us all stay up to date as the industry evolves.”


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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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Sunny 15th Download Festival “a huge success”

Festival Republic (FR) has hailed the “huge success” of the 2017 edition of Download, which returned to Donington Park in Leicester, UK, for the 15th time last weekend.

After flash flooding at the 2016 festival, the company installed 3,000+ metres of new drainage for 2017, more than quadrupling the site’s run-off capacity in preparation for a similar downpour this year. (According to Download, more than 70 million gallons of water fell on Donington in 2016 – equivalent to 106 Olympic-sized swimming pools.)

As it happened, the weather gods saw fit to smile on Download 2017, leaving the festival largely rain-free and the improved site “greener than ever”, says FR. More than 80,000 people turned out to see headliners Aerosmith (in their final UK show), System of a Down and Biffy Clyro, with other performers including Prophets of Rage, Good Charlotte, Sum 41, Machine Gun Kelly, AFI, Simple Plan.

Other highlights included a full-size wrestling arena courtesy of WWE NXT, the return of the Wall of Death with vintage motorcycles, a silent disco, a cinema and a mobile tattoo studio.

In addition to the new drainage, FR introduced additional security measures, including armed police on site, and a new traffic plan to ease congestion following the closure of the M1 motorway.

“It’s been another really good year, with a great atmosphere and low levels”

The extra police presence was well received, with officers encouraging fans to pose for selfies using the hashtag #copaselfie. Supt Martin Ball of Leicestershire police says the festival was also a success from a policing perspective: “It’s been another really good year with a great atmosphere and low levels of crime reported to us. The success of our operation lies in our great working relationship with the organisers, Festival Republic. Although it is too soon to give definite crime figures, early indications are that reported crime is very low. Officers worked hard day and night patrolling car parks and campsites and they talked to hundreds of rock fans, swapping hats, giving high fives and having their picture taken.

“We had visibly armed officers patrolling for the first time this year following the tragic events of Manchester and London and they were all overwhelmed by the positive response from festivalgoers, who thanked them for keeping them safe. They were happy to have their picture taken many times, which was a new experience for the usually camera-shy firearms officers.”

Festival promoter Andy Copping, Live Nation’s president of UK touring, says the vibe at the festival remains unchanged, despite the security challenges posed by the Manchester Arena bombing. “This is the home of rock, and has been since 1980, and I love reading people’s social media when they get here when they say, ‘We’re home’,” he tells the Derby Telegraph. “There is something about the spirit of the place – you can feel the vibe.”

Since 2016 a sister festival has taken place in France, as Live Nation seeks to replicate the success of the UK event on the continent. Linkin Park, System of a Down and Green Day headlined Download Paris, which also took place last weekend, with the first Download Madrid set for 22–24 June.


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Radiohead, Kasabian, Biffy Clyro for first Trnsmt

Radiohead, Kasabian and Biffy Clyro will headline the first edition of DF Concerts’ new Glasgow festival, Trnsmt.

Trnsmt, launched last week, will take place in the second weekend of July – the traditional dates for T in the Park (TITP) – and has been described as a replacement for the on-hiatus festival, although the line-up appears to be targeted at a slightly different audience.

The line-up so far is as follows:

Trsnmt line-up

Unlike T in the Park, Trnsmt is a non-camping event, taking place on Glasgow Green in the city centre, and is half the capacity: 35,000, as opposed to 70,000 for TITP 2016.

DF Concerts head Geoff Ellis says: “We’re incredibly pleased to be bringing such a fresh, new festival to Scotland. Trnsmt will bring together the best in live music, from global acts to the best cutting-edge artists on the King Tut’s Stage […] against the iconic skyline of Glasgow. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be announcing the rest of the line-up, as well as all the additional experiences that Trnsmt will have to offer, such as mouth-watering street food and a diverse offering of drinks. Stay tuned – there’s plenty more to come!”

Glasgow City Council leader Cllr Frank McAveety adds: “Trnsmt is already shaping up to be an exciting event that will add to that global reputation – and become a big date in the city’s summer calendar.”

Early-bird tickets are on sale on 3 February for £149 for three days.

Other festival headline slots for Radiohead (pictured) in 2017 include Glastonbury, Rock Werchter, NorthSide, Main Square, Open’er and Coachella.


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The unstoppable Steve Zapp

… Branded one of the hardest working agents around, Zapp tells Eamonn Forde about his work ethic and his first 25 years in music…

If your earliest experiences of live music involved sleeping on train platforms, being physically assaulted and getting the sack for booking an act deemed enormously inappropriate, then the chances are you’d probably want to cut your losses and get into a more stable career path.

Steve Zapp, despite his placid demeanour and antipathy towards swearing, is made of sterner stuff. He is marking 25 years in the business and 15 years at ITB where he looks after a roster of around 55 acts that include Biffy Clyro, a band he spotted, like an alt-rock Brian Epstein, in The Cavern Club in Liverpool, and has taken to headlining festivals and touring arenas.

Zapp cites three London shows as pivotal in his early life: The Wonder Stuff at Brixton Academy, Energy Orchard at The Borderline and Pete Wylie & The Mighty Wah! At Subterranea

Born in 1973 and growing up in Folkestone, Zapp was introduced to music via The Smurfs and The Wombles but soon expanded into Adam & the Ants, Wham! and Duran Duran. His dad was into music, but it was Thursday night’s Top of the Pops that really kicked the doors open for him.

“I lived in Kent and there weren’t many acts that played live,” he says of the dearth of concerts in his formative years, which amateur psychologists would suggest he has spent his professional career making up for.

He cites three London shows as pivotal in his early life – The Wonder Stuff at Brixton Academy, Energy Orchard at The Borderline and Pete Wylie & The Mighty Wah! At Subterranea. “I hung out too long after the Pete Wylie gig and missed my last train so had to sleep in the station,” he recalls. “I got through it.”


Read the rest of this feature in issue 67 of IQ Magazine.

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