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Banner festivals postpone in America

Burning Man, Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) Las Vegas and Lollapalooza Brasil have become the latest high-profile festivals to cut their losses and cancel or postpone their respective 2021 editions.

Annual countercultural arts event Burning Man has been cancelled for a second consecutive year, though organisers say it will return in 2022.

The organisers of the festival, which typically draws tens of thousands of people to Nevada’s Black Rock Desert each year, had been considering making Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for the event in August 2021 but have ultimately decided to forego this year’s event.

In a statement, they said: “Although here in the United States we may be feeling the weight lifting and the light at the end of the tunnel brightening, we are still in the pandemic, and the uncertainties that need to be resolved are impossible to resolve in the time we have.”

Elsewhere in the US, the organisers of EDC Las Vegas have been forced to postpone the 25th edition from May to October due to local restrictions on large-scale events.

“We are still in the pandemic, and the uncertainties that need to be resolved are impossible to resolve in the time we have”

According a statement by EDC founder Pasquale Rotella, Nevada state officials announced they would lift social distancing requirements as of 1 May, permitting the festival to go ahead as planned at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

The statement goes on to say that on 21 April, the Clark County passed a reopening plan that requires 60% of their residents to be vaccinated before restrictions over large scale gatherings can be lifted, casting uncertainty over the viability of the event.

“We currently have over 40 trucks en route to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway from all over the country,” wrote Rotella. “The lineup is fully booked and was going to be announced tomorrow [22 April] at 12 pm PT. The team and I are heartbroken, as I know many of you are as well. For those who have stayed with us on this journey, I thank you. Your trust & loyalty is what gives us strength to keep moving forward.”

EDC Vegas has now been rescheduled to 22-24 October.

Meanwhile, Lollapalooza, which has planted its flag in seven countries, has pulled its Brazil edition due to the pandemic.

“It became increasingly clear that it will not be possible to have the spectacular weekend you love in 2021”

“Our mission has always been and will always create amazing days and nights for you, passionate about music,” says a statement on the festival’s website. “Moments that shiver, that inspire, that fall in love, and that never leave the memory. We really wanted to make another unforgettable edition this year, but with the public health emergency of international importance due to the pandemic, it became increasingly clear that it will not be possible to have the spectacular weekend you love in 2021.”

The festival, organised by South America’s largest live entertainment company Time For Fun, would have taken place in September 2021 but fortunately fans won’t have to wait an entire year for its return.

The 9th edition will take place between 25 and 27 March 2022 at Interlagos Circuit, in São Paulo.

At the time of writing, Lollapalooza is still set to go ahead in Chile and Argentina in November 2021, while dates are yet to be announced for Berlin and Chicago, which typically take place late summer/early autumn. The Paris and Stockholm 2021 editions have already been cancelled.

 


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Virtual event to replace cancelled Burning Man 2020

Burning Man is the latest US festival to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, with organisers announcing that the famous Black Rock City will take the form of a “virtual metropolis” instead this year.

The countercultural gathering was set to take place from 30 August to 7 September in Nevada’s Black Rock desert.

“After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020,” reads a statement on the Burning Man website.

“Given the painful reality of Covid-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do.”

The event, often dubbed as an “anti-festival”, will go ahead online, however, with fans invited to enter the Virtual Black Rock City 2020, in keeping with the event’s 2020 theme, the Multiverse.

“Given the painful reality of Covid-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do”

Unsure what form the online gathering will take, the Burning Man team says although it “will likely be messy and awkward with mistakes”, the virtual event will also be “engaging, connective, and fun”.

The first round of Burning Man ticket sales took place last month, with 4,000 tickets prices at $1,400 sold during the ‘FOMO’ ticket sale in March, as well as those sold through Direct Group Sale (DGS). The event’s main ticket sale was postponed earlier this month.

Organisers state they are “committed” to providing refunds to “those who need them”, adding that they hope some “will consider donating all or a portion of your ticket value, and/or making a tax-deductible donation to (non-profit festival organiser) Burning Man Project”.

“Substantial” staff layoffs, pay reductions and other cost-cutting measures will be needed to ensure the organisation remains operational into next year’s event season, say organisers.

Burning Man joins other major US events to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, including South by Southwest, Governors Ball, Boston Calling, Firefly Festival and Ultra Miami, with Coachella, Bonnaroo, BottleRock, New Orleans’ Jazz Fest and Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas all pushed back to later in the year.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)


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Study: 1 in 4 people attend festivals sober

Streaming platform Cloud Cover Music has examined the changes in music festival experiences across the United States over the last few decades in a new survey asking respondents about sobriety, drug intake, sex, memorable acts and life-changing experiences.

The study finds that 24% of those surveyed reported being sober at music festivals. Alcohol consumption at festivals has been higher in the past decade than previously, rising from 64% in the noughties to 71%.

The survey finds that festivalgoers in the 1980s were more likely to consume marijuana or hard drugs, witness violence and rioting, have sex and witness nudity at a festival than they are now. 83% of attendees in that same decade described festivals as life-changing, compared to 53% in the 90s, 62% in the noughties and 65% now.

Burning Man consistently proved to be the least sober event, with 45% of festivalgoers saying they drank alcohol and consumed a mixture of drugs at the event

82% of respondents stated that Woodstock 1969 was life-changing, making it the most impactful music festival on the survey. However, the festival had only 17 survey respondents. Ultra Music Festival was voted the second most life-changing music festival with 78%, followed by Electric Daisy Carnival (75%) and Burning man (73%).

Burning Man consistently proved to be the least sober event, with 45% of festivalgoers saying they drank alcohol and consumed a mixture of drugs at the event. The results coincide with secondary ticketer TickPick’s survey of drug consumption at festivals last year. In contrast, 72% of respondents say they did not consume any substances at Warped Tour.

Across genres and festivals, Red Hot Chili Peppers were ranked the most memorable act at music festivals, with Jane’s Addiction, Kendrick Lamar, Beyoncé and Tiësto also making the top five.

The full study can be read here.

 


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Update: Bowie’s ashes NOT scattered at Burning Man

Contrary to E!’s report, David Bowie’s ashes were not scattered at Burning Man, his son, Duncan Jones, has confirmed.


 

David Bowie’s ashes were reportedly scattered at Burning Man – a festival the late singer “loved” – earlier this month with the permission of his widow, Iman.

According to an “insider” quoted by E! News, Iman gave a portion of Bowie’s ashes to one of his godchildren to scatter at a ceremony at the long-running countercultural gathering in the Nevada desert, which this year ran from 28 August to 5 September.

“David’s godchild and David had long talks about Burning Man and what it stands for,” the source said, “and David loved the message behind it.”

“David’s godchild and David had long talks about Burning Man and what it stands for, and David loved the message behind it”

An eyewitness told E! News the 70-person ceremony involved playing Bowie’s music “the entire drive from our camp to the Temple and back” and that “most of us had the Bowie [lightning bolt] face paint on in his honour”.

Burning Man hit headlines last week after its luxury White Ocean camp was attacked by “hooligans”, with raiders stealing and cutting power lines in protest at what they see as a betrayal of the festival’s ethos by those – largely Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs – staying there.

Bowie died of cancer aged 69 on 11 January.

 


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Festival Focus: Lolla Berlin, MTA, Burning Man

Lollapalooza Berlin sold out for the second year running.

The Melt! Booking-promoted event, which won the European Festival Award for best new festival for its debut at the former Tempelhof airport (since converted into temporary housing for migrants) last year, overcame opposition from residents and even the former Soviet Union to its move to Treptower Park to shift its entire inventory of 70,000 tickets before the festival last weekend.

Festival director Fruzsina Szép told the Berliner Zeitung the weekend “went well and ran according to plan”, and that 50% of attendees came from outside Germany. She also  revealed the 2017 event will take place in a new location, to be announced “very soon”.

2016 performers included headliners Radiohead and Kings of Leon, Major Lazer, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, New Order, James Blake and The 1975.

Billie Joe Armstrong, Green Day, Steve Higgs

Green Day have been confirmed for FKP Scorpio’s sister Hurricane and Southside festivals in 2017.

In a statement, the promoter says it is “already looking forward to an epic live show by the legendary punk-rock trio” in their “first appearance” in Scheeßel (Hurricane) and Neuhausen Ob Eck (Southside).

Both festivals were called off early this year after being hit by severe storms. FKP Scorpio CEO Folkert Koopmans told IQ at the time the Southside site was underwater by Friday night, “with all the offices flooded, the backstage area flooded, the stages damaged, all the bars damaged… I had never in my life seen rain that heavy.” (Green Day photo by Steve Higgs.)

Russell Marsden, Band of Skulls, Kelsey Weaver

Chairlift, Band of Skulls, Japandroids, Shapeshifter, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and BadBadNotGood are among the first acts announced for Australia’s Disconnect festival.

Taking place from 2 to 4 December at Fairbridge Village in Pinjarra, Western Australia, Disconnect debuted last year as a European-style festival promoter Chris Knight/Spring Fever Promotions says he hopes to turn into a “mini-Glastonbury”(Russell Marsden/Band of Skulls photo by Kelsey Weaver.)

New Chinese desert fest MTA Festival, pitched as a homegrown alternative to Coachella and SXSW, took place for the first time last weekend at in the Sky Desert, 90km from Beijing.

Mixing local artists with line-up heavy on major international acts, including headliners Example, Rudimental, Alan Walker and Alina Baraz, the event also featured a tech showcase with VR and robotics demos, a wine festival and a conference component with panel discussions. (Bridgette Amofah/Rudimental photo by Thomas Hawk.)

Bridgette Amofah, Rudimental, Coachella 2014, Thomas Hawk

Demi Lovato will replace Selena Gomez at fifth Global Citizen Festival this September after the latter dropped out due to anxiety and depression caused by Lupus.

The charity festival, the brainchild of humanitarian group Global Citizen, was co-founded in 2012 by filmmaker Ryan Gall and Poverty Project CEO Hugh Evans. Its nearly 50,000 tickets aren’t for sale, but instead can be won by promoting Global Citizen’s work (by signing petitions and contacting governments, companies and universities to advocate for the charity, for example).

“The Global Citizen Festival combines music and activism in a way that inspires and affects millions around the world. I am proud to support this amazing organisation’s ongoing efforts to improve global healthcare and to end extreme poverty,” Lovato tells People(Demi Lovato photo by Jennifer Linea.)

Demi Lovato, Jennifer Linnea

The luxury White Ocean zone at Burning Man was attacked by “hooligans” at Burning Man last week, its owners have said, with raiders stealing and cutting power lines in protest at what they see as a betrayal of the festival’s ethos by those – largely Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs – staying in the camp.

Writing on Facebook, White Ocean said: “A band of hooligans raided our camp, stole from us, pulled and sliced all of our electrical lines, leaving us with no refrigeration and wasting our food, and glued our trailer doors shut, vandalised most of our camping infrastructure [and] dumped 200 gallons of portable water, flooding our camp.

“This year has been quite the challenge for our camp. We have felt like we’ve been sabotaged from every angle, but last night’s chain of events, while we were all out enjoying our beautiful home, was an absolute and definitive confirmation that some feel we are not deserving of Burning Man. We actually had someone from the organisation tell us that, [to] paraphrase, ‘It makes sense that you have been sabotaged as you are a closed camp and not welcoming’.”

The anarchic festival, which regularly attracts crowds of 70,000, has been transformed in recent years by an influx of moneyed tourists. One commenter praised the attackers for “taking Burning Man back from the parasite class, back from the EDM tourists. Taking Burning Man back for the people.”

 


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8,000 attend first ADE Mumbai

Over 8,000 people attended the inaugural ADE Global Sessions Mumbai from 7 to 10 April.

One of India’s first dance music conferences (but not the first: that honour goes to 2009’s Global Groove in Delhi), the event, held in the former Bombay, is Amsterdam Dance Event‘s second global spin-off, after three years of ADE Global Sessions in Aruba, which focused on the dance music market in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

Delegates discussed the state of the electronic music scene in in India and Asia, with speakers including representatives from Bookmyshow, Burning Man, Twitter, BMI, Percept Live, Universal Asia, Sunburn Festival, Boom Festival, The Windish Agency and Skrillex’s label, OWSLA, while Perfectiming, Arjun Vagale, Nucleya and Ankytrixx were among the performers in the evening.

Highlights of the day programme also included a visual presentation by VALIS Studios’ Peter Martin, who spoke on the future of entertainment, virtual reality, the advancement of technology and electronic music festivals in 2026; a keynote on dance music and social responsibility by Sunburn’s Shailendra Singh; and a tribute to electronic musician Charanjit Singh by OWSLA’s Blaise DeAngelo.

India is one of the fastest-growing markets for dance music, with tours by major international artists like Diplo, Major Lazer and Skrillex inspiring a thriving local scene.