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Festivals ’24: Wireless, Release Athens, Longitude

Festival lineups from across Europe have continued to flood in for 2024, with the UK’s Wireless, Greece’s Release Athens and Ireland’s Longitude among the latest to confirm.

Nicki Minaj, Doja Cat, 21 Savage and J Hus head the first wave of acts for Wireless, which will take place at Finsbury Park, London from 12-14 July.

The bill also features special guest Future, plus Ice Spice, Sean Paul, Asake, Gunna, Rema, Tyla, Digga D, Vanessa Bling, Veeze, Ragz Originale, DJ Target and Remi Burgz. Sexyy Red, Fridayy, Skillibeng, Byron Messia, Shallipopi, Strandz, Kenny Allstar, Seani B, Uncle Waffles, Ruger, Teezo Touchdown, Nadia Jae and Snoochie Shy.

In Greece, concert series Release Athens has so far unveiled headliners The Offspring, Megadeth, Jain, Pulp, Thievery Corporation, Massive Attack, Duran Duran, Judas Priest and Behemoth between 9 June and 28 July. The Smile, Black Pumas, Blind Guardian, Telenova, Pestilence, Bruce Dickinson, Testament and Accept are also on the bill.

Set for Marlay Park, Dublin from 29-30 June, Longitude‘s first round of acts includes Central Cee, Doja Cat, Becky Hill, 21 Savage, Belters Only, blk., D-Block Europe, Sonny Fodera, Joel Corry, Jazzy and Kenya Grace.

Italy’s I-Days has headline shows with Metallica, Lana Del Rey, Green Day, Doja Cat, Tedua, Queens of the Stone Age, Bring Me the Horizon, Sum 41 and Stray Kids. The gigs, which will be staged in Milan between 29 May and 12 July, will also feature a supporting cast including Five Finger Death Punch, Ice Nine Kills, Nothing But Thieves, Hemlocke Springs, 21 Savage, Royal Blood, Yungblud, Bad Omens, Avril Lavigne and Simple Plan.

Jonas Brothers are the final headliner announced for the 20th anniversary of Rock in Rio Lisbon. The trio will play their first ever show in Portugal at the event alongside Scorpions, Ed Sheeran and Doja Cat over the weekends of 15-16 & 22-23 June. The likes of Camila Cabello, Jake Bugg, Evanescence, James, Lukas Graham, Ivete Sangalo and Callum Scott will also appear.

“It’s thrilling to announce such an incredible range of groundbreaking artists who are shaping the music scene in real time”

Spain’s Mad Cool has added The Killers, Måneskin, Rema, Tyla, Sexyy Red, Nia Archives, Alec Benjamin, 2ManyDJs, Claudia León, Dead Posey, Depresión Sonora, Lord Huron, Bar Italia, Andres Campo, Picture Parlour, Sea Girls, Nadye, Comandante Twin, Julia Sabaté, Choses Sauvages and Slix.

The acts join Pearl Jam, Motxila 21, Dua Lipa, The Smashing Pumpkins, Avril Lavigne, Keane, Janelle Monáe, Bring Me The Horizon, Garbage, Sum 41, Jessie Ware, Soccer Mommy, Greta Van Fleet, Larkin Poe, Rels B, Chinchilla and Jet Vesper on the lineup from 10-13 July.

Back in the UK, Reading & Leeds has announced more than 50 new artists for 2024 including Reneé Rapp, Fontaines D.C., Denzel Curry, Pendulum, Neck Deep and Nia Archives, who will join the six headliners, including UK festival exclusives Fred again.., Lana Del Rey and Blink-182, as well as Liam Gallagher, Catfish and the Bottlemen and Gerry Cinnamon. Organisers have also teased the launch of a new stage called The Chevron.

“It’s thrilling to announce such an incredible range of groundbreaking artists who are shaping the music scene in real time,” says Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn. “Reading & Leeds doesn’t stand still; our audience demands the best and our line up strives to reflect what people are currently listening to. We’re proud to always be at the cutting edge and keen eyes may have spotted another evolution for the show on the poster; ‘The Chevron’ – details of which will be revealed soon.”

K-pop superstars Stray Kids are the latest headliners announced for American Express presents BST Hyde Park in London on 14 July. Andrea Bocelli and Robbie Williams have previously been confirmed.

Completing Boardmasters‘ 2024 bill is Sam Fender, who headlines alongside Stormzy and Chase & Status in Newquay, Cornwall between 7-11 August. Other acts include Courteeners, Declan McKenna, Overmono, Kate Nash, Wunderhorse, Los Bitchos, Charlotte Plank, Newdad, Sprints, Redro, Flo Crowe & The Dilemmas, Girls Don’t Sync, Hedex & Eksman, Billy Gillies, Charlie Boon, 24hr Garage Girls, a Dick & Dom DnB set, Elkka, Syreeta, Kara and Pola & Bryson.

Family festival Camp Bestival lands in Lulworth Castle, Dorset from 25-28 July with artists such as Pete Tong, Paloma Faith, McFly, Orbital, Jake Shears, The Darkness, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Roger Sanchez. It will then be held at Weston Park, Shropshire between 15-18 August with a similar lineup including Faithless, Paloma Faith, Rick Astley, McFly, Orbital, Jake Shears, The Darkness and Level 42.

Elsewhere, following the announcement of Sheryl Crow as headliner, Black Deer Festival has bolstered its 2024 lineup with the likes of Seasick Steve, Hermanos Gutiérrez, The Shires, Courtney Barnett, The Staves and Villagers. Running from 14-16 June at Eridge Park, Kent, the UK’s festival for Americana will also showcase rising talent such as Dylan Gossett, Divorce, Michele Stodart, Prima Queen and Holly Macve.

“We really are at a critical point for the UK’s festival sector… UK festivals need time to recover and rebuild. They need help from our government”

Plus, the inaugural Plymouth Summer Sessions will star Tom Jones, Bryan Adams, Madness and Sting from 13-16 June, with support from Gabrielle, Cassyette, Lightning Seeds and Blondie, while Stirling Summer Sessions will welcome Busted and The Darkness on 28 June, with Tom Jones to perform on 30 June.

Meanwhile, UK trade body the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has launched a new campaign for a VAT reduction on festival tickets, which it says would save many event promoters from closures in 2024.

The 5% For Festivals campaign seeks to inform festival-goers about the problems that music festival promoters have faced over the last five years, encouraging them to contact their MPs to lobby for a VAT reduction on tickets.

AIF research suggests that at least 36 festivals cancelled before they were due to take place in 2023, with six UK festivals having announced some form of cancellation already this year: NASS Festival, Leopollooza, Long Division, Bluedot, Barn On The Farm and Nozstock The Hidden Valley, which will make its 2024 edition its last.

“We really are at a critical point for the UK’s festival sector,” says AIF CEO John Rostron. “Five years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine that promoters would have to endure something as damaging as the Covid-19 pandemic – but many of them did, without passing the inevitable cost onto the consumer. To think that, since then, they have had to manage the effects of Brexit, war in Ukraine, inflation and an energy crisis is staggering.

“That festival-goers were able to enjoy some of the fantastic events they did in 2023 is testament to the resilience and passion of those promoters. But we lost 36 festivals last year, and with six festivals having postponed activity in 2024 or closed the gates for good, we are on track to see well over double the number of casualties this year.

“UK festivals need time to recover and rebuild. They need help from our government. A reduction in VAT on festival tickets from 20% to 5% for three years is an evidence-based, simple, sensible remedy that would ease the financial burden on promoters enough for them to return to health. We need this action now.”

 


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New Bestival owners offer refunds for Camp Bestival 2018

Live Nation-Gaiety and SJM Concerts, the new owners of Camp Bestival, are to provide refunds and discounts on 2019 tickets out of their own pockets for all 2018 ticketholders, after the insurance pay-out from the partial cancellation of Camp Bestival 2018 was lost during the recent administration process.

“The nature of the last few months means that the insurance money that was available to refund 2018 ticketholders, and money from 2019 ticket sales, was entirely lost in the administration,” reads a statement from festival founders Rob and Josie da Bank. The final day of last year’s Camp Bestival was called off due to bad weather.

The festival, founded in 2008 and held at Lulworth Castle in Dorset, on the south coast of the UK, was forced into administration in September. Administrator Begbies Traynor later sold the event’s assets (along with those of Bestival itself, as well as several related companies) to Richmond Group, a company controlled by loans tycoon James Benamor which had previously loaned Bestival a reported £1.6 million.

The following month, Live Nation and SJM acquired those assets from Richmond Group (which had set up a new company called Safe Festivals Ltd, since handed over to LN-Gaiety), securing the future of Camp Bestival.

Since then, all parties have been tight-lipped on the future of the da Banks’ larger annual event, Bestival – though new documents filed by Begbies Traylor reveal Safe Festivals owns Bestival Group Ltd and Bestival Ltd, in addition to Camp Bestival Ltd, meaning the ball is likely in LN/SJM’s court. (Safe Festivals paid £958,824 for the companies, slightly less than the £1.1m reported originally.)

“The new owners, LN-Gaiety and SJM, understand how unfair this feels and as a result have agreed to fund discounts and refunds for 2018”

The documents also show that at the time of the acquisition, Live Nation’s Ticketmaster UK was Bestival Group’s largest known unsecured creditor, being owed £1.2m.

A person with knowledge of the situation says they believe the insurance money is still in the possession of Richmond Group, though this could not be independently verified at press time. IQ has contacted Richmond for comment.

The loss of the insurance money, the da Banks’ statement continues, “is unfair to you, our fans. The new owners, LN-Gaiety and SJM, understand how unfair this feels and as a result have agreed to fund discounts and refunds for 2018 ticketholders, and will honour all existing 2019 tickets.”

Anyone who bought a Sunday 2018 ticket can exchange it for a full refund, or apply for a free day ticket to either the Friday, Saturday or Sunday of Camp Bestival 2019, scheduled for 25–28 July. Those who had a 2018 weekend ticket are being offered a 33% discount on 2019 weekend tickets, to be redeemed via an email code.

 


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Camp Bestival back in da Bank

The fate of Camp Bestival, the family-focussed camping event run by Rob and Josie de Bank, is apparently secure following an arrangement with promoters Live Nation-Gaiety and SJM Concerts.

The festival, founded in 2008 and held at Lulworth Castle in Dorset on the south coast of the UK, was forced into administration last month. But a statement by the couple posted on the festival’s website earlier today reads:

“With the help of Live Nation-Gaiety and SJM we will really be able to bring more of our creative vision to life with the support structure needed going forward. Our aim has been and will always be to create the best ever family festival. We look forward to sharing this new chapter with you. More news very shortly.”

Adminstrators Begbies Traynor last week confirmed to the BBC that it had completed a sale to Richmond Group, which offered £1.1m for the Bestival group of companies. Richmond, a company controlled by loans tycoon James Benamor, had stated that it would continue to run Camp Bestival moving forward.

That stake appears to have been taken over by Live Nation-Gaiety.

“We will…be able to bring more of our creative vision to life with the support structure needed going forward”

A Live Nation spokesperson tells IQ: “LN-Gaiety and SJM look forward to working with Rob and Josie on Camp Bestival”, although would not go into further details on the arrangement.

The new interest in Camp Bestival adds at least one more UK festival to Live Nation-Gaiety’s portfolio that includes Reading, Leeds, Wireless, Download, Lovebox, Wilderness, Isle of Wight & Parklife.

The news is an unexpected turn of events given that Rob da Bank co founded the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), which has traditionally been opposed to Live Nation’s increasing dominance in the festival space. In August, the association called on the Competition and Markets Authority to investigate Live Nation, which it claims owns over 25% of the market.

The fate of the da Bank’s larger annual event, Bestival – which relocated from the Isle of Wight to the same site as Camp Bestival last year – remains unclear.

This summer saw Bestival (2-5 August) host artists including London Grammar, Silk City, M.I.A & Grace Jones. Camp Bestival’s (25-28 July) line up included Rick Astley, Clean Bandit & Orbital, although the final day was cancelled due to bad weather.

 


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Creditor RG offers £1.1m for Bestival Group

Richmond Group, a company controlled by British loans tycoon James Benamor, has offered £1.1 million to rescue Bestival and Camp Bestival from administration.

It was revealed earlier this week that Benamor had filed notices at the High Court in London of his intention to appoint administrators to three companies behind the events, Bestival Group Ltd, Bestival Ltd and Camp Bestival Ltd. Another company owned by Benamor, Richmond Debt Capital, extended a £1.6m loan to Bestival and took charge of several festival “assets” in February 2017.

A statement from Richmond Group (RG) announcing the bid confirms the family friendly Camp Bestival 2019, for which tickets are already on sale, will go ahead as planned, although no mention is made of Bestival. IQ has sought clarification as to the future of the flagship event.

“Richmond Group has today made an offer of £1.1m to purchase the brand and assets of Bestival Group, with the intention of running the successful Camp Bestival going forward,” says a spokesperson for the company. “Under this offer, all Camp Bestival 2019 tickets sold so far will be honoured.”

“We have been fans and supporters of Bestival since the beginning. Our children have grown up with wonderful memories of these festivals,” adds Benamor.

“Bestival is an example of Dorset being world class and we are keen to ensure that this fantastic institution goes on to delight families and local businesses, for many years to come.”

This story will be updated.


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Bestival faced with administration over “financial challenges”

The companies behind the UK’s Bestival and Camp Bestival festivals are reportedly heading for collapse, after billionaire creditor James Benamor revealed plans to place them into administration.

Benamor has filed notices at the High Court in London of his intention to appoint administrators to Bestival Group Ltd, Bestival Ltd and Camp Bestival Ltd, reports the Sunday Times. Companies House filings show a company owned by Benamor, Richmond Debt Capital, extended a loan – in the region of £1.6 million, according to the Times – and took charge of several Bestival “assets” in February 2017.

A statement from Bestival Group acknowledges the festivals’ “financial challenges” but says the company is seeking a new partner for Camp Bestival 2019, after the 2018 event was partially cancelled due to severe weather.

“The process we are in allows a new partner to come on board with the financial commitments required”

“We can confirm the Bestival Group has had some financial challenges of late, but the process we are in allows a new partner to come on board with the financial commitments required to deliver Camp Bestival 2019 in its finest form,” it reads. “As we stand currently, there is every intention to make this show happen, and move forward into a new era.”

Camp Bestival, a family friendly version of the flagship festival, has been held at Lulworth Estate in Dorset since 2008. Bestival, which had previously been held on the Isle of Wight, moved to the same site for 2017.

Benamor is the founder of guarantor lender Amigo Loans, and controls around a third of the company through his Richmond Group business. He became a billionaire in July when Amigo floated on the London Stock Exchange.

 


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Closing day of Camp Bestival shut down due to bad weather

Camp Bestival organisers were “devastated and heartbroken” yesterday (29 June) after making the decision to cancel the final day of the festival after adverse weather conditions prompted concerns over safety.

Despite having enjoyed a prolonged summer heatwave, weather in the UK turned over the weekend, with torrential rain and gale-force winds battering the 30,000 capacity festival site at Lulworth Castle, Dorset. Conditions caused tents to flood and all stages were shut down by the team, amid health and safety concerns for artists, staff and guests.

Some guests tweeted about the state of their camping equipment, after the weather took hold:

https://twitter.com/LauraRaynes/status/1023553910294896640

The cancellation early on Sunday morning meant all acts billed for the day were unable to play. Sunday headliners Simple Minds tweeted their disappointment at the news, saying they were “very sorry to announce” that they would not be performing.

Campsites remained open after the announcement was made, with organisers inviting guests to stay for the remainder of the weekend if they wished. Toilets, showers and traders also remained open. For those who wanted out, extra taxis were laid on to ferry people off site.

In response to the cancellation, organisers of Camp Bestival have already announced they will be following up with their ticket refund policy. Responding to festivalgoers on Twitter, organisers said refunds would be issued as quickly as possible.

“This has been such a tough decision but the safety of all you guys, the families, kids and our working staff has to be of paramount importance.”

Festivalgoers who opted for this year’s new cashless system adopted by Camp Bestival and its ‘big sister’ Bestival are also now able to ‘cash out’ online for the next seven days. Users are advised not throw away their wristbands until the funds have reached their bank accounts.

Despite the disappointment felt all round, organisers still reported Camp Bestival 2018, the eleventh year of the family festival, the best in the event’s history. A statement discussing the cancellation reads: “We have had the best three days in Camp Bestival’s history, it’s been our greatest ever show with all our favourite performers, shows, stages, and artists which we have thoroughly enjoyed sharing with you all.

“You are by far the best festival audience and we love you dearly. This has been such a tough decision but the safety of all you guys, the families, kids and our working staff has to be of paramount importance.”

 


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Bestival goes cashless for 2018

UK festivals Bestival and Camp Bestival are to go partially cashless after agreeing a three-year strategic partnership with RFID specialist Tappit.

Festivalgoers at both Camp Bestival (26–29 July) and Bestival (2–5 August) will use Tappit’s contactless payment wristbands for the first time, streamlining the payment process while allowing the festivals to capture more data from their ticket buyers.

“Bestival has always been about escapism, creating an otherworldly wonderland where you can leave all the stresses of real life behind,” says Bestival co-founder and curator Rob da Bank. “We think Tappit’s wristbands can be a big part of that, reducing queues and hassles and making things a bit more carefree for festivalgoers. They also give us the sort of real-time data insights that can help us with a lot of things like crowd management.

“We are looking forward to bringing this experience to two of the UK’s leading festivals”

“We eventually foresee it all going totally cashless, which will make the whole Bestival experience even more easygoing for everyone.”

Adds Tappit CEO Jason Thomas: “The process of going cashless isn’t as costly, complicated or time consuming as people may think. Working at a strategic level with Bestival, we’ve been able to establish a cashless payments infrastructure in less than a month. Event owners using Tappit benefit from a proven return on investment, improved customer satisfaction and greater business insight.

“We’ve worked with major events all around the world and we are looking forward to bringing this experience to two of the UK’s leading festivals.”

 


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