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More major Spanish festivals pull the plug on 2021

Spain’s 2021 festival season has diminished once again with fresh cancellations from major festivals Mad Cool and Bilbao BBK Live.

Other marquee Spanish festivals including Primavera Sound and Sónar Barcelona were previously called off, while Arenal Sound, Festival Internacional de Benicàssim and Cruïlla are still forging ahead with this year’s events.

Live Nation-promoted Mad Cool (cap. 60,000) was set to take place between 7–10 July 2021 in Madrid but this morning (20 May), the organisers confirmed that this year’s event is cancelled due to the “current force majeure circumstances” of the pandemic.

“It has been a very painful decision to come to, as our desire (and probably yours) was to find ourselves all together again at Mad Cool in 2021,” they said in a statement.

“However, we would like to let you know we think this is the appropriate, sensible and right decision to make. Health is more important than anything.”

“[Mad Cool] would like to let you know we think this is the appropriate, sensible and right decision to make”

The fifth edition of Mad Cool will take place in 2022 from July 6–9. All purchased tickets for Mad Cool 2021 will be valid for the 2022 edition of the festival, while refunds and ticket changes will be available between 7–21 July.

A line-up announcement for 2022 is expected to be made before 7 July, with the organisers noting that “we are keeping as many artists as we can from 2021 and also adding some new ones so we can have the best line-up ever”.

The likes of The Killers, Haim and Cardi B had all been set to play at the 2021 edition of the event.

The cancellation of Mad Cool follows that of Bilbao BBK Live, which was called off on Tuesday (18 May) due to ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

The 15th anniversary of the Spanish event was due to take place between 8–10 July 2021, with the likes of The Killers, Pet Shop Boys, Supergrass and FKA Twigs.

“We appreciate [fans’] patience, and we share the same frustration for missing out on the festival yet again”

“First and foremost, a big thank you to all of you for your patience and resilience during these tough times,” a statement read.

“We feel your support now more than ever. As you can imagine, Bilbao BBK Live will not be held as originally planned nor on the scheduled date. We will have to wait a bit longer as the highly anticipated reunion is postponed to 2022.”

The post continues: “We appreciate your patience, and we share the same frustration for missing out on the festival yet again. All we can think about is how incredible the reunion is going to be after this long wait, and we guarantee it will be worth it.

We will return even more eager to celebrate and enjoy live music. See you next year!”

The line-up for Bilbao 2022 will arrive by 8 July.

 


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First post-lockdown concerts take place in Spain

The first post-lockdown live music events are taking place in Spain this week, as the country embarks on phase two of its lockdown easing plan.

As of 25 May, outdoor events of up to 400 people and indoor concerts with a maximum capacity of 50 people have been allowed to resume in Spain.

Although the reopening measures have been criticised by members of the Spanish live industry for being unclear and unrealistic, a number of event organisers have taken the opportunity to restart business.

This week, five concerts are taking place in the northern region of Cantabria as part of the local government’s ‘Culture Counterattack’ campaign. Performances by acts Rulo, Vicky Castelo, Billy Boom Band, Deva and Repion will take place this weekend (29 to 30 May) in the cities of Santander, Torrelavega and Muriedas.

“These five Cantabrian artists will connect with their fans again, to a lesser extent than we would like, but with as many as is possible right now,” says Pablo Zuloaga, vice president of Cantabria, who announced the campaign last week.

Elsewhere in Spain, organisers of Barcelona’s Festival Cruïlla, who, along with promoters of major Spanish events including Primavera Sound, Mad Cool, Bilbao BBK Live and Sónar, recently called off their 2020 festival, have announced Cruïlla XXS, a series of over 200 open-air events taking place throughout the city in July.

“This is a way of putting the message out there that, little by little, things are getting better”

Priced between €15 and €45, each event – which range from concerts, talks and conference sessions to urban art and circus performances – will be seated and have a maximum capacity of 400. The events will be hosted in venues including open-air architectural museum the Poble Espanyol, the Design Museum of Barcelona, the Anella Olímpica (Olympic Ring) and the gardens of the Catalan national theatre.

“This is a way of putting the message out there that, little by little, things are getting better,” comments Cruïlla XXS programmer Jordi Herreruela. “This will have a positive impact on the collective state of mind.”

Cruïlla XXS organisers are working with the Barcelona Institute for Global Health to ensure adequate safety measures are in place. “If we want to go back to putting on events with several thousand people, we will have to show we are capable of doing so,” says Herreruela.

Two Door Cinema Club, Kase.O, Residente and Of Monsters and Men are among acts confirmed for Festival Cruïlla 2021.

Spain is due to enter it final stage of lockdown easing on 8 June, which allows outdoor events of up to 800 people and indoor concerts with a capacity limit of 80, as well as the reopening of night clubs and bars at a third of usual capacity.

Photo: Roger Canals/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)

 


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Artists perform online in solidarity with Primavera Sound

Artists including Rosalía, Interpol, Belle & Sebastian, Jarvis Cocker and Billy Bragg have taken part in a video to show appreciation for all the promoters, fans and musicians affected by the Covid-19 crisis, in conjunction with Primavera Sound.

Organisers of the Barcelona festival, which was called off earlier this week, despite having rescheduled from June to August, reached out to over one hundred artists asking for video clips of home performances.

The resulting video can be found on the festival’s social media pages and using the hashtags #cantdowithout you and #ps21.

“Thanks for believing in us. In 2021 we will dance together again”

“Thanks for believing in us. In 2021 we will dance together again,” reads a post on the Primavera Sound Facebook page.

Primavera Sound is among Spanish festivals including Sónar and Bilbao BBK Live to call time on 2020.

Despite announcing its lockdown exit plan, the Spanish government has yet to detail when large-scale events such as festivals may take place again, preventing cancellation due to force majeure and leading to criticism from much of the country’s live music industry.


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Spanish fests at ‘clear disadvantage’ without gov action

The Spanish Association of Music Festivals (Asociación de Festivales de Música – FMA) has warned that the country “could become the first without festivals” if the government does not implement measures similar to those seen in neighbouring countries soon.

“If the adequate measures are not taken, our festivals will be at a clear disadvantage to other European festivals,” reads a statement from the FMA, which includes events including Primavera Sound, Bilbao BBK Live, Arenal Sound, Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB) and Sónar.

The Spanish association states it is expecting “the mass suspension of festivals and music events for the 2020 summer season”, which will “jeopardise the rest of the year due to the unfeasibility of rescheduling every event”.

The FMA proposes measures similar to those put forward by Spanish music federation Esmúsica, in particular, the introduction of greater flexibility around the way consumers can be compensated for a cancelled or postponed event.

Ticketholders should be able to decide whether to hold on to tickets for rescheduled events or exchange them for those for another event or festival via a voucher.

“If the adequate measures are not taken, our festivals will be at a clear disadvantage to other European festivals”

If neither of these options are available, says the FMA, customers should be able to ask for a cash refund that will be delivered within 18 months of the cancellation date.

The association highlights measures put in place in other countries such as Germany, which has introduced a voucher system; the Netherlands, which is running a public campaign encouraging consumers to retain tickets for future events; Italy, which has made the refund process more flexible; and Portugal, where a voucher scheme is also in place.

Spanish festivals including Primavera Sound, Mallorca Live and Vina Rock have moved to later in the year, with organisers of Sónar (18 to 20 June), Mad Cool (8 to 11 July), Bilbao BBK (9 to 11 July), FIB (16 to 19 July) and Arenal Sound (28 July to 2 August) yet to make announcements on the fate of their 2020 editions.

“We are waiting for them to tell us when we will be able to return to activity,” Albert Salmerón, president of Spanish promoters’ association, APM, tells el Periódico. “Or at least until when we won’t be able to return to it. That would help us to plan.”

The Spanish government is meeting on 5 May to approve measures for the cultural industry.

 


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Primavera Sound moves to August

The 20th-anniversary Primavera Sound Barcelona will now take place from 26 to 30 August, as the festival shifts back three months to avoid disruption from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Both Primavera Sound music festival and Primavera Pro, the industry conference that runs alongside it, will take place at their original venue, Barcelona’s waterfront at the Parc del Fòrum.

The events typically takes place at the start of June – Primavera means ‘spring’ in Spanish – with organisers using the slogan: “Primavera in summer, for once in a lifetime”.

Primavera’s Portuguese sister event, Nos Primavera Sound Porto has also been postponed, moving from mid-June to 3 to 5 September.

Tickets already purchased for both festivals and the conference remain valid for the new dates.

Primavera Sound experienced record ticket sales following the release of its line-up this year, with over 10,000 fans snapping up tickets in 24 hours to see the likes of the Strokes, Massive Attack, Iggy Pop, Lana Del Rey, Kacey Musgraves, Tyler the Creator, Beck, Bikini Kill and Disclosure.

Organisers state they “will make every effort to ensure that this change affects the festival’s programme as little as possible.”

“Let’s all face this together. We will get through this together. And we will celebrate our 20th anniversary together”

Ticket sales will be reactivated once the country’s official state of emergency, declared on 14 March, is over.

“Let’s all face this together. We will get through this together. And we will celebrate our 20th anniversary together,” reads a statement from organisers.

Primavera is not the only Spanish festival to change dates due to coronavirus.

Mallorca Live has moved from mid-May to 8 to 10 October, with organisers stating that 80% of the line-up has so far been retained for the later date. The 25th edition of Viña Rock festival will also take place in October, moving from dates at the end of April.

Mad Cool festival director Javier Arnaiz confirmed his intention to continue with the 2020 festival to Spanish newspaper El País last week, saying “our aim is for the festival to go ahead on the original dates. We are positive despite the cirumstances. Suspension is not a part of our plans.” Spanish festivals including Sónar (18 to 20 June), Arenal Sound (28 July to 2 August), Bilbao BBK (9 to 11) and FIB are all currently going ahead as planned.

The approach differs from that seen in the UK in recent weeks, with the cancellation of the major events including Glastonbury Festival, Download, Isle of Wight, Parklife, Lovebox and All Points East.

 


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Spain’s APM launches new festival arm

Spain’s Association of Music Promoters (APM) is launching APM Festivals, a new division consisting of 80 festival from across Spain.

The association will present its new division today (22 January) at Madrid’s International Tourism Trade Fair (Fitur), which is taking place at exhibition centre Ifema, at 4 p.m. local time.

APM spokesperson Carol Rodriguez, who is responsible for the festival division, will announce the objectives and demands of the new division, and name the participating festivals.

The Spanish live music industry has gone from strength to strength in recent years, with APM recording five consecutive years of growth since 2014.

Major Spanish festivals include Primavera Sound, which reported record ticket sales for its 2020 edition; Live Nation’s Mad Cool festival; Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, which was last year acquired by the Music Republic, promoter of festivals Arenal Sound and Viña Rock; Bilbao BBK Live and Superstruct-backed Sónar Festival.

Photo: (CC BY 2.0)

 


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Festival Fever: More festivals reveal their 2020 line-ups

Following on from last week’s round-up of 2020 line-up announcements,  IQ looks at a selection of festivals to see which acts will be gracing the stages in summer 2020.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Rock Werchter

When: 2 to 5 July
Where: Festival Park, Werchter, Belgium
How many: 88,000

Pearl Jam and Twenty One Pilots are the first acts announced for the 2020 edition of Rock Werchter, playing on 2 and 4 July respectively.

Founded and promoted by Live Nation Belgium CEO Herman Schueremans, Rock Werchter last year saw headline performances from Pink, the Cure, Tool, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons and Muse, in an edition that Schueremans deemed “a top result compared to a lot of festivals in Europe and the USA” that year.

Speaking at the International Festival Forum (IFF) in September this year, the Rock Werchter founder stressed the continued importance of festivals, saying they “sustain the live industry just as the Amazon rainforest sustains the world’s climate.”

Tickets for Rock Werchter 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 10 a.m. (CET), with a full festival ticket costing €243 (£207) and a single day-pass priced at €110 (£94).

Pearl Jam and Twenty One Pilots are the first acts announced for the 2020 edition of Rock Werchter

Nos Alive

When: 9 to 11 July
Where: Passeio Maritimo de Alges, Lisbon, Portugal
How many: 55,000

Everything is New’s Nos Alive festival runs on the ethos that “all stages are main stages”, last year programming acts including Johnny Marr, Primal Scream, Greta Van Fleet, Idles, Bon Iver, Grace Jones and Vampire Weekend.

The 2020 edition of the festival sees headliners Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and local favourites Da Weasel playing alongside Caribou, Two Door Cinema Club and Haim.

Portugal’s preeminent annual annual rock festival, Nos Alive is now entering its 14th year, having expanded from three stages in its inaugural year to seven, while striving to keep ticket prices low.

Tickets for Nos Alive 2020 are available now, priced at €69 (£59) for a one-day ticket and €159 (£136) for a three-day pass.

The 2020 edition of the festival sees headliners Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and local favourites Da Weasel

Latitude

When: 16 to 19 July
Where: Henham Park, Suffolk, UK
How many: 40,000

Latitude is one of a number of Festival Republic events to have enjoyed back-to-back sell-outs in recent years. The 2019 edition, which saw headline performances from George Ezra, Stereophonics and Lana Del Rey, contributed a season that, according to Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn,“genuinely couldn’t have been better.”

The 15th edition of Latitude includes headline performances from Liam Gallagher, the Chemical Brothers and Haim, with the Lumineers, Michael Kiwanuka, Keane and Charli XCX also appearing on the bill.

Gallagher, who is currently playing around the UK on the Why Me? Why Not? tour, is returning to the festival after playing as the ‘secret act’ in 2018.

Tickets for Latitude festival 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT). Adult weekend tickets cost £210, with accompanied teen tickets priced at $145 and child passes at £15.

Latitude is one of a number of Festival Republic events to have enjoyed back-to-back sell-outs in recent years

Isle of Wight Festival

When: 11 to 14 June
Where: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight, UK
How many: 90,000

The Isle of Wight festival yesterday (3 December) revealed its 2020 headliners, with Lionel Richie and Lewis Capaldi playing the mainstage on the opening night, Snow Patrol and the Chemical Brothers heading up the second evening and Duran Duran closing proceedings on the Sunday.

The 2020 festival will mark the 50th anniversary of its 1970 edition, which saw headline performances from Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Joni Mitchell and constituted the last festival on the island until its 2002 resurrection.

“I’m excited to be playing at the Isle of Wight Festival next summer,” says Lionel Richie, who will make his debut appearance at the event. “It’s a festival steeped in music history – Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones have all headlined and I’m honoured to be joining the esteemed list.”

Other acts on the 2020 line-up include Happy Mondays, Kaiser Chiefs, Sam Fender, Dido, James Arthur and Primal Scream.

Tickets for the Isle of Wight Festival 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT), with adult weekend tickets priced at £185.

“It’s a festival steeped in music history – Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones have all headlined”

Electric Castle

When: 15 to 19 July
Where: Bannfy Castle, Cluj, Romania
How many: 50,000

Romania’s multi-genre Electric Castle festival is returning for its 8th year in 2020, with already announced acts including Twenty One Pilots, Foals, Floating Points, the Neighbourhood and Fisher.

The 2019 edition of the festival, which takes place each year in an old Transylvanian castle, saw performances from Florence and the Machine, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Limp Bizkit, Bring Me the Horizon and Chvrches.

For the second consecutive year, Electric Castle will have an area dedicated to visual artists, called the New Media Castle, which will house art installations from Robert Henke, James Clar and Claire Hentschker.

Tickets for Electric Castle 2020 are available here, with general tickets costing LEI 499 (£89) and camping passes priced at LEI 539 (£96).

Romania’s multi-genre Electric Castle festival is returning for its 8th year in 2020

Bilbao BBK Live

When: 9 to 11 July
Where: Kobetamendi, Bilbao, Spain
How many: 40,000

Set in the mountains near to the coastal city of Bilbao, BBK Live has nearly doubled in size in recent years. The Spanish festival welcomed 112,800 people from 100 different countries to its 14th edition last year, with performances from the Strokes, Rosalía, Liam Gallagher and Hot Chip.

Founded in 2006, BBK Live has seen the likes of the Police, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, New Order, Depeche Mode, Guns N’ Roses and Lenny Kravitz perform over the years.

For the 2020 edition, Kendrick Lamar, the Killers, Pet Shop Boys and Bad Bunny top the bill, playing along with Caribou, Four Tet, Supergrass, Kelly Lee Owens and Slowthai, with more acts still to be announced.

Tickets for Bilbao BBK Live are available here with a full festival pass costing €140 (£119) and camping tickets priced at €158 (£134).

For the 2020 edition, Kendrick Lamar, the Killers, Pet Shop Boys and Bad Bunny top the bill

All Points East

When: 22 to 31 May
Where: Victoria Park, London, UK
How many: 40,000

All Points East has announced another headliner since the last edition of Festival Fever. German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk will perform their only UK show of the year at the festival on Friday 29 May, supported by Iggy Pop, Johnny Marr, the Orb and others.

Kraftwerk mark the second UK exclusive for the festival, adding to the headline performance from Tame Impala on Saturday 23 May.

AEG’s other London festival, British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park has added Taylor Swift and Pearl Jam to its 2020 headliner list, following the announcement of its first headline act, Little Mix, last week.

Pearl Jam will perform on Friday 10 July, as part of their 13-date European summer tour, with Swift playing on the following evening. Pixies and White Reaper will join Pearl Jam on the Friday.

Little Mix will play the opening Saturday of the concert series (4 July), along with newly announced special guests Rita Ora, Kesha and Zara Larsson.

Tickets for Kraftwerk at All Points East go on sale on 6 December at 10 a.m. (GMT). Tickets for Taylor Swift at BST will become available 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT), with Pearl Jam tickets going on sale on 7 December at 10 a.m. (GMT).

 


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