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Quarantine issues put end to NZ’s biggest 2022 festival

The organisers of Bay Dreams are cancelling both summer dates due to difficulty securing quarantine spots for international acts.

The festival was set to be the biggest of the year, with an event in Nelson (cap. 13,000) on 3 January and an event in Tauranga (cap. 30,000) on 6 January.

The line-up was announced when NZ was operating a trans-Tasman travel bubble and included acts such as Australians Tash Sultana and Tones and I, as well as European electronic artists Chase & Status and Netsky.

“As it stands, there is much uncertainty around the trans-Tasman bubble and quarantine spaces are extremely difficult to obtain,” wrote promoter Audiology Touring in a statement. “A queue of 30,000+ people are trying to gain access to a few thousand rooms.”

“A queue of 30,000+ people are trying to gain access to a few thousand rooms”

“At a time like this we have two choices: we either promote something that is unlikely to proceed, or we shift into an event that we can confidently bring to life for you.”

In lieu of the flagship events, Audiology will be hosting two alternative events in the same cities on the same dates, with the few international acts that have secured quarantine places. Netsky, Hybrid Minds, Friction and Koven have been confirmed so far.

Refunds for Bay Dreams are underway and the new sales will go on show next Wednesday (20 October).

Audiology says it’s working on securing more rooms every week and will add more acts in a second announcement when isolation places have been secured.

 


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Bonnaroo cancels 2021 edition amid Hurricane Ida

This year’s Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival has been cancelled at the eleventh hour due to flooding from Hurricane Ida.

The Live Nation-owned festival was to be held in Tennessee, US, this week (2 to 5 September), with headliners Foo Fighters, Megan Thee Stallion, Tame Impala, and more.

In a statement posted on social media, the Bonnaroo team said it is “heartbroken” to pull the plug for a second consecutive year.

“While this weekend’s weather looks outstanding, currently Centeroo is waterlogged in many areas, the ground is incredibly saturated on our tollbooth paths, and the campgrounds are flooded to the point that we are unable to drive in or park vehicles safely,” reads the statement.

It continues: “We have done everything in our power to try to keep the show moving forward, but Mother Nature has dealt us a tremendous amount of rain over the past 24 hours, and we have run out of options to try to make the event happen safely and in a way that lives up to the Bonnaroo experience.”

“We have run out of options to try to make the event happen safely and in a way that lives up to the Bonnaroo experience”

The festival organisers revealed that Bonnaroo will return in June 2022 to mark its 20th anniversary.

The festival has historically been held in the month of June since 2002, however, this year’s edition was pushed back to September.

The festival last took place in 2019, when organisers welcomed around 70,000 attendees per day for the festival’s first sell-out since 2013.

While Hurricane Ida (a category four storm) has been making its way through the southern part of the country, the northeast is still reeling from Hurricane Henri which caused a slate of concert cancellations.

UK festival Standon Calling had similar bad luck with flash flooding, forcing organisers to pull the plug on the last day of the event. The boutique event took place from 22 to 25 July with headliners Bastille, Hot Chip, Primal Scream and Craig David’s TS5.

 


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Storm Henri disrupts US concert comeback

We Love NYC: The Homecoming Concert, the star-studded show held in New York’s Central Park on Saturday 21 August, became the biggest victim of Hurricane Henri, the tropical storm which battered New England and the north-eastern United States over the weekend.

The concert, first announced by the mayor of New York city, Bill de Blasio, in June, was put together by veteran label exec Clive Davis in association with Live Nation and was to have featured performances by Bruce Springsteen, Patti Smith, Paul Simon, the Killers, Jennifer Hudson, Run DMC, Carlos Santana, LL Cool J, Andrea Bocelli and more. However, the 60,000-strong crowd were asked to leave Central Park early – at around 8pm, during Barry Manilow’s set, and before Springsteen, Simon and the Killers could take the stage – as the heavens opened and lightning filled the sky.

While most tickets for the show were given free to New York residents, VIP tickets were available, priced between US$399 and $5,000, according to AP.

De Blasio acknowledged that “while it’s disappointing that tonight’s concert had to end early”, the lightning meant that authorities had no choice but to end the show early: “the safety of everyone in attendance had to come first.”

Other events were also called off after the state of New York declared a state of emergency on Saturday morning ahead of Henri (now downgraded to a tropical storm) making landfall.

Eagles’ highly anticipated return to Madison Square Garden, part of the band’s Hotel California tour, on Sunday (22 August) was cancelled by the arena, as was a Jason Mraz show at Mohegan Sun Arena (10,000-cap.) in Uncasville, Connecticut, the same night.

Elsewhere in Connecticut, Kiss’s show at the 30,000-capacity Xfinity Theatre in Hartford will now take place tonight (23 August) after being postponed from Sunday due to the hurricane.

Sporting events such as the PGA Tour golf tournament, which is in New Jersey, also cancelled or postponed scheduled fixtures.

 


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Norway’s 2021 festival season obliterated

Norway’s 2021 festival season has been effectively wiped out with the cancellation of Live Nation-owned festivals Bergenfest and Tons of Rock, Superstruct-backed Øya Festival, Over Oslo, Picnic in the Park, Stavernfetsivalen, Seljord Festival and Country Festival.

The cancellations come after the minister for culture last week (6 May) announced preliminary guidelines which would restrict festivals to 2,000 attendees until June, 5,000 attendees until August and 10,000 thereafter.

The restrictions come in spite of the government’s NOK 350m festival cancellation pot, which the minister said aims to “create predictability now, so that the industry can start planning different scenarios”.

“There is also uncertainty related to what the economic support schemes that include Bergenfest in practice”

Bergenfest, which would have take place between 15–19 June 2021 at Bergenhus Fortress in Bergen, was cancelled last night.

“With current restrictions on outdoor events in June, it is not possible to complete Bergenfest 2021 as we know the festival. There is also uncertainty related to what the economic support schemes that include Bergenfest in practice. It is therefore unfortunately time to confirm the inevitable – Bergenfest 2021 will not happen in June this year,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.

Bergenfest will return between 14–18 June 2022.

Øya Festival, which would have taken place between 10–14 August 2021 at Tøyenparken, Oslo, was cancelled the day after the proposed restrictions were revealed.

“It feels like a little nightmare to have to cancel Øya for the second year in a row”

“It feels like a little nightmare to have to cancel Øya for the second year in a row,” general manager Tonje Kaada wrote on the festival’s website. “Our big wish over the past year has been to gather artists, the audience, festival workers, volunteers and partners for a unique festival experience in Tøyenparken, but it will not be possible with the guidelines that the authorities presented this week.

“There is too much uncertainty associated with the existing framework, and even the best case scenario with 5,000 people, it’s not compatible with the audience experience Øya Festival wants to provide. We have no choice but to realize that it will not be happening in 2021. Even though we are sorry, it is a relief to be able to provide a clarification to everyone who has been waiting for it. We’ll roll up our sleeves and start over now.”

Øya will return between 10–13 August 2022.

Norway is the latest European market to pull the plug on the 2021 festival season, following widespread cancellations in Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Denmark and France.

 


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Poland’s Open’er festival cancelled again

Open’er, Poland’s largest annual music festival, has been cancelled for the second year running due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a statement, the organisers wrote: “This is a difficult moment for us. Another one in the midst of the pandemic. Over the last few months we have fought and done so much to make this year’s edition of the Open’er Festival possible. Although we are convinced that the return of the festival world is very close, we are losing this race against time.

“The process of recovering from the pandemic is progressing, vaccinations are ongoing, but unfortunately for obvious reasons, both local and international, the lack of a plan for the coming months and the restrictions in force – the beginning of July in Poland is not yet the time when we will be able to organize Open’er Festival in the scale and form you expect.”

Kendrick Lamar, Twenty One Pilots and A$AP Rocky would have headlined this year’s event at Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport in Gdynia between 30 June and 3 July.

“Although we are convinced that the return of the festival world is very close, we are losing this race against time”

Twenty One Pilots, however, have already been announced for next year’s 20th-anniversary edition.

Michael Kiwanuka, Destroyer, Badbadnotgood and Seasick Steve have also been confirmed for Open’er 2022, set to take place between 29 June and 2 July.

In the meantime, Open’er is planning a new event that will take place in Gdynia and span several weeks. The organisers say they will reveal more details in the coming weeks.

The cancellation of Open’er follows that of multi-venue festival World Wide Warsaw and electronic festival Undercity, both of which are promoted by Follow the Step.

At the time of writing, Fest Festival, Pol ‘and’ Rock and Wisloujscie are still set to go ahead.

 


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Bluesfest forced to cancel at the eleventh hour

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2021 has been cancelled by a public health order, a mere 24 hours before doors were due to open to the public.

The New South Wales (NSW) government announced on Wednesday (30 March) that Bluesfest would not be permitted to go ahead on its scheduled dates, Thursday 31 March to Monday 5 April, due to a new Covid case in Byron Bay.

Bluesfest confirmed the cancellation in a statement published late afternoon on 31 March. “We are heartbroken that Covid-19 has spread into our local community,” it read. “We are getting the message out as quickly as possible so that those traveling to the event can make alternate arrangements.”

Read the full Bluesfest statement via our website: www.bluesfest.com.au/bluesfest-is-cancelled-for-two-years-in-a-row

Posted by Bluesfest Byron Bay on Tuesday, March 30, 2021

 

In a statement, Minister Hazzard said: “While the cancellation of Bluesfest is disappointing for music lovers and the local community, I hope that ticket holders would support Bluesfest and hold on to their tickets as I understand Bluesfest will be working on a new date as soon as possible.”

Under an NSW Health-approved Covid-19 safety plan, Bluesfest 2021 was set to operate at approximately 50% of normal capacity and production, hosting around 16,500 people on each of its five days, with an all-Australian line-up.

The cancellation marks the second time the festival has been called off due to the coronavirus.

The last-minute cancellation of Bluesfest has prompted fresh calls for a government insurance scheme that would help live events redeem their costs in the event of an eleventh-hour cancellation.

Live Performance Australia and the Australian Festival Association, which have been advocating for a business interruption fund for the last year, say it’s “now a matter of urgency”.

“Govt has a Covid insurance system for the film industry. Music needs one too. Urgently”

Bluesfest’s Peter Noble had called for such a fund at the beginning of the year. A business interruption fund, he wrote on Facebook, would “incentivise event presenters to put on events and be protected in not going to the wall, should an out break of Covid shut down their businesses at short notice and protect artists, crew and suppliers [to] get paid should that occur”.

“The federal government did it more than six months ago for the film industry to get them back to making movies. Why are we still waiting?” he wrote.

Shadow Arts Minister Tony Burke has also called for a “Covid insurance system” for live music. “The music industry is full of viable profitable businesses unable to function because of public health,” he wrote on Twitter. “Govt has a Covid insurance system for the film industry. Music needs one too. Urgently.”

In the last year, insurance schemes have been announced in Germany (€2.5bn), Austria (€300m), the Netherlands (€300m), Belgium (€60m), Norway (€34m) Denmark (DKK 500m) and Estonia (€6m).


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Belgium’s Rock Werchter called off again

Rock Werchter, one of Belgium’s biggest and most important music festivals, will take another year off this summer, organisers have announced.

The 88,000-capacity festival, promoted by Herman Schueremans and Live Nation Belgium, will “be back in full swing in 2022, from 30 June to 3 July”, reads an announcement. Rock Werchter last took place in 2019, welcoming more than 160,000 people for its 45th-anniversary event with Pink, Tool, Muse, the Cure, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons and more.

“This is not a decision we have taken lightly and in recent months we have been talking to governments, experts and colleagues in here and elsewhere about how festivals could take place,” the festival says in a statement. “With the great momentum on vaccine roll-out we had hoped that it might be possible; however, we have come to the reluctant conclusion that given current restrictions we simply cannot prepare for a 2021 festival in the normal way. We want every fan and artist to enjoy the festival to the fullest, and with the current situation we could not achieve this.

“While we know that this is the right decision, we also know that this decision affects many: our employees, the technical crew, suppliers, artists and their entourages, all the local associations and their volunteers, and, of course, the fans. Our sector has been on hold for a whole year now. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, but the dark times are not over, even with the cautious restart happening soon. The once-thriving live music industry needs government support.”

“We are currently working out what will be possible with the anticipated restrictions in place”

IQ reported yesterday that the prime minister of Flanders, the Belgian province that contains the village of Werchter, is waiting until the end of April to make a decision on whether large-scale music events will be allowed to go ahead this summer. At press time, preparations for other major Flemish festivals, including Tomorrowland and Pukkelpop, are still ongoing.

“We have a special word of thanks for the fans and friends of the festival: they Rock Werchter,” continues the announcement. “Every time. Over and over again. They kept hoping during the dark days, showed understanding over the uncertain situation, and gave support to each other and to us. We cannot thank them enough. We look forward to making great memories together again in the future.”

As in 2020, when 36 performances were held in aid of industry charity Live 2020, a smaller, potentially socially distanced, event will take place at the Werchter festival site in lieu of the festival proper.

“We are eager to bring back live music to the Festivalpark this summer in any way we can and are currently working out what will be possible with the anticipated restrictions in place,” it concludes. “As soon as the right and best formula is determined, we will come back to you. It won’t be Rock Werchter, but you can rest assured that we will sing, dance and celebrate together again this summer.”

Ticket holders for Rock Werchter 2020 and ’21 can hold on to their tickets for 2022 or request a refund from Ticketmaster.

 


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Rock am Ring/im Park, Hurricane and more called off

Some of Germany’s biggest music festivals, including Eventim Presents/DreamHaus’s Rock am Ring (95,000-cap.) and Rock im Park (75,000-cap.), FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane (78,000-cap.) and Southside (65,000-cap.) and ESK Events’ Deichbrand Festival (60,000-cap.), have been called off for a second year running.

The festivals’s promoters, all part of the Eventim Live network, “were compelled to call off the events due to the ongoing uncertainty about infection rates and mutations”, according to a statement from CTS Eventim.

Also off are dance music festival SonneMondSterne (35,000-cap.) and Swiss event Greenfield, which is also promoted by Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio.

Klaus-Peter Schulenberg, CEO of CTS Eventim, says: “We regret these cancellations very much and share the disappointment of everyone involved. But precedence must, of course, be given to safeguarding and protecting the health of fans, performers, festival teams and partners.

“However, it is also clear that this continuing uncertainty is further exacerbating the dramatic financial situation in which the live music industry finds itself. We are working on many levels to ensure that live culture can return to the stage as quickly and safely as possible.”

“We have had to accept with a heavy heart that festivals of this magnitude are not yet feasible at present”

The cancellations come in spite of Germany’s €2.5 billion fund for underwriting events held later in the year, as the country lags behind its neighbours in its Covid-19 vaccine roll-out.

Other major German festivals, including Melt Festival, Wacken Open Air, Parookaville, Wireless Germany and Superbloom, are still on at the time of writing.

Frithjof Pils, managing director of Eventim Live, says that “2021 was actually meant to be the summer of reunions, and festival organisers have invested a great deal of time and energy in sanitary and infection control concepts to make that possible. But given the persistent epidemiological situation and the associated restrictions in force, we have had to accept with a heavy heart that festivals of this magnitude are not yet feasible at present.”

“We are therefore focusing on the 2022 festival summer,” he adds, “and want to make it unforgettable for all of us.”

 


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Primavera Sound called off, Primavera Pro goes hybrid

Primavera Sound has called time on its 2021 event, cancelling its planned 20th-anniversary celebration for a second year in a row, despite having shown that live music need not lead to an increase in Covid-19 infections with its Primacov clincal trial.

In an announcement today (2 March), the Barcelona festival says its 20th edition “deserves a party like the ones we are used to, and the global situation does not seem favourable” towards being able to go ahead without significant restrictions this summer. Headliners for Primavera Sound 2021, which sold out in record time, were Gorillaz, the Strokes and Tame Impala, with FKA Twigs, Tyler the Creator, Iggy Pop and Disclosure also set to perform from 2 to 6 June.

As in 2020, all tickets remain valid for the delayed Primavera Sound 20 in June 2022. Ticketholders who would prefer a refund will be able to make a request from 2 June, when the 2022 line-up will be revealed.

“We have reached this painful decision due to the uncertainty surrounding the legal framework for large events on the original dates of the festival,” say organisers, “which, added to the restrictions that currently exist, mean that we cannot work normally on the preparation of the festival nor ensure that, once the date arrives, it can be celebrated. Although it is painful, we know that this is the right decision, especially for those of you who have to plan your trip in advance.

“The 20th anniversary of Primavera Sound deserves a party like the ones we are used to, and the global situation does not seem favourable to allowing something like this to happen”

“We have left no stone unturned: we led the clinical trial carried out at the Apolo in Barcelona last December and we have been in constant contact with the health authorities to explore all possible solutions. But the 20th anniversary of Primavera Sound deserves a party like the ones we are used to, and the global situation does not seem favourable to allowing something like this to happen this summer. At least not in a way in which we can live the full Primavera Sound experience.”

Primavera Pro, the music industry conference, will hold a ‘hybrid’ edition (part physical, part online) from 2 to 4 June. Sister festival NOS Primavera Sound, in Oporto, Portugal, is still scheduled for 10–12 June.

The Primacov study at the Apolo, organised by Primavera Sound in association with Barcelona’s Hospital German Trias, found that concerts held with rapid coronavirus testing in advance are “not associated with an increase in Covid-19 infections”.

Primavera Sound announced a series of physical concerts in Barcelona, Coliseum Nights, set for 26 April–2 May, earlier this month.

 


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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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