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Covid puts the brakes on big US recovery

A swathe of concerts, festivals and tours in the US have been cancelled or postponed in the last week amid concerns over the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19.

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival was officially cancelled on Sunday 8 August “as a result of the current exponential growth of new Covid cases in New Orleans and the region and the ongoing public health emergency”.

The AEG festival, which would’ve taken place between 8–17 October 2021, typically attracts around 500,000 attendees across the seven days.

The 2021 edition was rescheduled in January to October, from its traditional spring dates of 22 April – 2 May. The festival’s lineup included Dead & Company, Stevie Nicks, Foo Fighters, Jimmy Buffett, Lizzo, Demi Lovato and more.

Artists including Michael Bublé, Limp Bizkit, Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings have exercised similar caution, postponing or cancelling late summer and early august 2021 dates due to uncertainty surrounding Covid.

“I do not want to put my fans, band or crew at risk by putting them in a situation that could possibly affect their health”

Last week, Michael Bublé announced the postponement of a string of August shows in the US, citing the current surge in new Covid-19 cases in the country – which are at the highest rate since early February, according to a New York Times database.

The August shows have now been rescheduled to take place in the second half of October. For now, Bublé’s September shows in the US are still going ahead as planned.

“I do not want to put my fans at risk, nor my band and crew, by putting them in a situation that could possibly affect their health and therefore their friends and family. It is better for me to reschedule these shows to a time when all of us are confident that we can relax and enjoy the show,” he said in a press statement.

Rock band Limp Bizkit has also announced the cancellation of their remaining August tour dates, citing concern over the rising tide of Covid-19 infections.

“Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of the band, crew and most of all the fans, the Limp Bizkit August tour is being cancelled. Refunds are available from your point of purchase,” a statement from the tour said.

“Out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety of the band, crew and most of all the fans, the tour is cancelled”

Affected dates include eight shows in August, including performances at Stubbs BBQ in Austin, the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, and Irving Plaza in New York.

Canadian rock legends Randy Bachman and Burton Cummings have followed suit, announcing that the US leg of their ‘Together Again – Live In Concert’ tour has been cancelled, again, due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

Slated to start 1 September at the Foellinger Theatre in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the tour was scheduled to run through the rest of the month before finishing at the Smith Centre in Las Vegas on 24 September.

“While Randy and Burton have been looking forward to reuniting for their fans throughout the United States, they extend their love and appreciation to all of the fans that were planning to come to these shows, and they cannot wait to see you all again when things are more predictable in terms of travel in and out of Canada.”

The growing concerns about artists’ health and safety while gigging during the pandemic have been validated by a slate of cancellations due to touring members testing positive for Covid-19.

Counting Crows pulled out of their Boston show mere hours before the show after a touring member tested positive

On Sunday (8 August), American rock band Counting Crows pulled out of their Boston show mere hours before they were due on stage after a member of the band’s touring party tested positive for Covid-19.

The band were forced to postpone the concert at Leader Bank Pavilion, as well as their gig in Youngstown Foundation Amphitheatre, Ohio, two nights later.

In a post on social media, they noted that the entire band and crew have been vaccinated and have been taking precautions to be as safe as possible.

Similarly, rock stalwarts Lynyrd Skynyrd postponed four upcoming performances on their current summer tour after the band’s longtime guitarist Rickey Medlocke tested positive for Covid-19.

Affected shows include 9 August performance at Tom Beson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio; 10 August at the Jackson County Fair in Jackson, Michigan; Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood in Atlanta on 13 August; and Rock The South in Culman, Alabam on 14 August.

The US is averaging more than 124,000 new virus cases each day – the highest rate since early February

Sebastian Bach also announced he had tested positive after several shows and days earlier, Fall Out Boy pulled out of their spots on the ‘Hella Mega’ tour (with Green Day and Weezer) in Boston, New York, and Washington DC.

The US is averaging more than 124,000 new virus cases each day, more than double the levels of two weeks ago and the highest rate since early February, according to a New York Times database.

As the Delta variant tears through the US, more key players from the country’s live sector are implementing mandates to keep staff and artists safe.

Yesterday (9 August), Live Nation announced it is allowing artists performing at its US venues to require all attendees and staff to be fully vaccinated or to show a negative test result to gain entry, where permitted by law.

While New York became the first major city to require proof of being vaccinated for anyone who wants to attend an indoor live show – reinforcing similar requirements already set by venues such as Madison Square Garden.

 


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Dutch festival organisers dealt another big blow

Only small, one-day festivals will be permitted to take place in the Netherlands this summer, the Dutch government has announced.

From 14 August, events with a maximum of 750 attendees can take place provided they meet a series of restrictions.

Attendees must be fully vaccinated, recovered from infection within the past six months, or present a negative test from Testing for Access. Visitors are also asked to take a test five days after the event. The events are not allowed closed festival tents.

Multi-day festivals with overnight stays are not allowed until at least 1 September, after the government last week extended the ban.

Events that cannot meet the aforementioned restrictions will not be covered by the government’s guarantee fund.

In addition to the measures for the event sector, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte also announced that those who get the Janssen jab will not be considered fully vaccinated until four weeks after, rather than two.

“[The government’s decision is] a bitter pill for the industry that has been closed for so long”

The Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers) has reacted to the news: “Unfortunately, we conclude that the government is once again imposing a major restriction on the events today. As a result, the event industry is again faced with serious disappointment.

“After the multi-day festivals with camping last week, many one-day festivals and multi-day festivals without camping are now also deleted from the summer calendar. A hard decision and of course another big blow, a very sad observation and bitter pill for the industry that has been closed for so long.

“We will soon resume talks [with the government] for the period after 1 September. With the further increase in vaccination coverage and the insights from the Fieldlab Events studies, the Alliance is committed to a responsible, full opening of the planned events.”

Initially, the government was due to give a decision on one-day events without overnight stays on 13 August but the date was brought forward at the request of the events sector.

It’s like that the summary proceedings that promoter ID&T filed against the government also played a role in bringing the decision forward.

The event organiser – which has been forced to cancel events including Mysteryland – and 44 industry peers have filed a lawsuit against the government because they believed a decision on 13 August would be too late. The preliminary relief proceedings have been temporarily adjourned pending today’s decision.

The lawyer representing ID&T and co-claimants has contacted the state lawyer to request the Outbreak Management Team’s advice and the substantiation of the decision. ID&T will consider these documents and decide within two days whether the summary proceedings will be continued.

 


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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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Further blows to Germany’s 2021 festival season

Germany’s 2021 festival season has diminished once again after the cancellations of Zelt Musik Festival Freiburg, Rudolstadt Festival and Rock Hard Festival.

The 38th edition of Zelt Musik Festival Freiburg (ZMF) was due to take place from 21 July to 8 August but, according to a statement from the organisers, the financial risk of going ahead this year is too great.

“We are heartbroken, but the seriousness of the situation forces us to make this step. Due to the ongoing corona pandemic, the Freiburg Tent Music Festival is not possible this year either.

“The restrictions would not do justice to a ZMF as we know it. We have thought and reckoned a lot and have come to the conclusion that we cannot bear the financial risk. We would like to enable our favourite festival and Freiburg’s most beautiful place in the summer to have a future, which is only feasible due to the lowest possible economic risk,” the statement says.

The festival has taken place since 1983, attracting around 120,000 visitors to the ‘tent city’ in the countryside of Mundenhof. Pixies, Agnes Obel and Black Pumas were slated for this year’s edition.

Rudolstadt Festival, which would’ve taken place from 1 to 4 July in the Thuringia town of Rudolstadt, has also been called off for a second consecutive year.

“Our hearts feel heavy, but the head knows it is the right thing to do. We have decided to cancel this year’s festival. Even a festival in miniature with a responsible hygiene concept cannot be planned reliably under the current circumstances,” says a statement on the festival’s website.

“Even a festival in miniature with a responsible hygiene concept cannot be planned reliably under the current circumstances”

“Now it’s certain. And disappointing. Leaving behind a deep longing for live music. But what uplifts our minds in all this mess: The way is open for new ideas and a fresh program 2022, which is living up to the festival’s spirit.”

The four-day festival typically hosts around 300 performances by 150 artists on 20 stages around the town and welcomes up to 25,000 visitors a day. The festival will celebrate its 30th edition next year.

Elsewhere, Rock Hard Festival, which would’ve taken place between 21 and 23 May at the Amphitheater Gelsenkirchen in Dortmund, has also pulled the plug.

“It had been evolving for a long time, but now we have to finally announce the transfer of the festival to 2022. The fact that there won’t even be any conditions for open-air events this spring is a heavy blow for the entire live industry, of course, for us too. We have put a lot of love and work into a great billing 2020/2021 and will strive to convince as many artists as possible to be available for an appointment next year,” the organisers have said in a statement.

Earlier this month, some of Germany’s biggest music festivals, including Eventim Presents/DreamHaus’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane and Southside and ESK Events’ Deichbrand Festival, were called off for a second year running.

Days later, Goodlive pulled the 2021 editions of Melt, Splash, Full Force and Heroes.

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.


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More Swiss festivals cancel “unfeasible” 2021 editions

OpenAir St.Gallen (1–4 July), Gurtenfestival (14–17 July), Zermatt Unplugged (15–25 July), Caribana Festival (16–20 July) and Thunerseespiele (14–28 August) have called it quits on their Swiss summer events for the second consecutive year.

Swiss festivals Paléo Festival Nyon, Greenfield Festival, Rock the Ring and Baloise Session have already called off their 2021 editions.

CTS Eventim’s OpenAir St.Gallen (OASG), which usually welcomes 30,000 guests each year, released a statement on Facebook saying a 2021 edition “is simply not feasible” due to the pandemic and the current ban on large events.

“The outlook for the summer has become more and more uncertain over the past few weeks and months,” reads the statement.

News of the recent cancellations comes days after the Swiss federal government announced an update to its event cancellation scheme, which seems to have left organisers and live associations more uncertain than ever about the viability of this year’s festival season.

“The outlook for the summer has become more and more uncertain over the past few weeks and months”

One of the main concerns of the Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA) is whether the government will provide insurance for events that can only be carried out to a limited extent.

Stefan Breitenmoser, managing director of SMPA, says: “Should the original planning be maintained or can alternative formats be worked out? There are still no framework conditions and approval criteria for both. In addition, it is unclear what compensation organisers will receive if planning continues and the event has to be cancelled later or can only be carried out to a limited extent.”

Christoph Bill, president of the SMPA, says it boils down to a fundamental question: “Do we want to preserve cultural diversity in the long term?”

“Its economic importance and its role for the wellbeing of a large population are undisputed, but politicians and authorities still do not seem to recognise the seriousness and urgency of the situation. Is there also a lack of will? Does it even come in handy when the organisers cancel on their own initiative? Doesn’t anyone want to take responsibility on the part of the authorities? Is the federal system simply not suitable for a crisis?”

The SMPA is now calling for compensation for losses of more than 100% of the actual damage incurred

The SMPA is now calling for the opening steps and framework conditions until normal operations resume to be defined in a standardised manner across Switzerland, as well as a commitment to compensation for losses of more than 100% of the actual damage incurred – “without cantonal ceilings that distort competition, and rapid, pragmatic implementation of the protective umbrella that has been agreed”.

According to the SMPA, the following Swiss festivals are under pressure to make a decision now: Stars of Sounds Aarberg / Murten, blues’n’jazz Rapperswil, Montreux Jazz Festival, Open Air Frauenfeld, Openair Etziken, Open Air Lumnezia, Unique Moments Zurich, Blue Balls Festival, Basel Tattoo, Sion sous les étoiles, Flumserberg Open Air, Summer Stage Basel and Lake Live Festival.

The association says the following Swiss festivals have until the end of April 2021 to make fundamental decisions: Stars in Town, Musikfestwochen Winterthur, Hehre Open Air, Open Air Gampel, Royal Arena Festival, SummerDays Festival, Seaside Festival and JazzNoJazz.

 


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Sellouts and cancellations: Mixed fortunes for UK fests

Wireless and Parklife have joined a slate of other UK festivals in selling out their 2021 editions, while other festivals such as Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival and Margate’s Hi-Tide have decided to call it quits on this year, citing a lack of insurance and uncertainty as the reason.

Wireless Festival 2021 sold out of first release tickets within 24 hours of going on sale, even with the line-up yet to be announced.


First release tickets ranged from £75 for a day ticket to £195 for a three-day weekend pass. Final release tickets will be on sale soon.

The London festival will return once more between September 10-12 this year, but it will move from its traditional Finsbury Park location to South London’s Crystal Palace Park for the first time in its history.

Wireless Festival 2021 sold out of first release tickets within 24 hours of going on sale, even without a line-up announced

Wireless promoter, Live Nation-owned Festival Republic (FR), previously announced that one of its other big-hitters, Reading Festival (cap. 105,000), has also completely sold out.

Weekend tickets for Leeds Festival (75,000-cap.) are also gone, according to the festivals’ Twitter account, with only limited Friday and Sunday day tickets remaining.

FR also recently confirmed that Latitude Festival plans to run at ‘full capacity’, provided ‘the prevailing situation in the UK is deemed safe’.

The four-day festival, which takes place at Henham Park in Suffolk on July 22-25, will feature performances from Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, First Aid Kit and Snow Patrol, with more still to be announced.

Parklife enjoyed similar success to Wireless, selling out its 2021 edition in record time

Parklife, Manchester’s premier hip hop and electronic festival, is enjoying similar success to Wireless after selling out its 2021 edition in record time. Tickets ranged from £84.50 for day passes to £199.50 for weekend VIP.

Megan Thee Stallion, Skepta, Jamie xx and Little Simz are among the artists scheduled to play Parklife 2021 on 11 and 12 September in Heaton Park. See full line-up below.

Parklife 2021 line-up

Junction 2 Festival, Mighty Hoopla, Sundown Festival, Boomtown, Creamfields and Field Day have also sold out their 2021 editions after British prime minister Boris Johnson revealed plans for lifting all restrictions by 21 June, prompting a festival frenzy.

However, Johnson’s reopening roadmap hasn’t instilled confidence in everyone. Cambridge Folk Festival has pulled the plug on this year’s edition, planned for 29 July to 1 August, citing uncertainty about the organisation of large-scale events this summer.

“Despite the government roadmap out of lockdown, we still don’t know whether artists will be able to travel internationally and what steps organisers would be required to take to keep the public safe,” Cambridge councillor Anna Smith told Cambridge Live

“Despite the government roadmap out of lockdown, we still don’t know whether artists will be able to travel internationally”

“With summer and the need to make binding contractual commitments fast approaching, we couldn’t delay a decision any longer. We are all so upset that we can’t have the festival this summer, but we look forward to being together again in person in 2022.”

Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the longest-running folk festivals in the world, having launched in 1965.

Elsewhere, Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival today called off its 17th edition, set for 29th-31st July 2021 at the Belladrum Estate near Inverness.

“We have been working closely with the rest of the UK event industry in lengthy conversations with Westminster Government to provide an insurance policy for our industry. Without this, the risk of pushing on with planning with no certainty on what the future holds is simply too huge,” reads a lengthy statement on Belladrum’s Facebook page.

” [Belladrum] feels there are still too many uncertainties surrounding the potential restrictions that may be in place”

“We don’t want to deliver an event we aren’t proud of or compromise in any way on the magic that makes Bella so special to all of us.”

Margate’s Hi-Tide Festival (cap. 15,000) is postponing its inaugural event for the second consecutive year, also citing the uncertainty around this summer.

The two-day festival was due to make its debut from 3-5 July at Dreamland Margate theme park with headliners Fatboy Slim and Madness. The organisers hope the festival will launch in 2022.

Other UK festivals set to return this year include Kendal Calling (Cumbria), Victorious Festival (Portsmouth), Arts By The Sea Festival (Bournemouth), all of which announced plans this week.

 


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Major Swiss festivals cancel 2021 editions

A number of Swiss festivals have called off 2021 editions, citing uncertainty about whether major events will be permitted to take place this summer.

The 45th instalment of the annual rock festival Paléo Festival Nyon, scheduled to take place between 19–25 July, has been cancelled as “the situation is still too uncertain to consider organising the festival in its usual form”.

However, the organisers revealed that they are working on a ‘Covid-compatible event’ with a reduced capacity and size, and an extended duration. Health conditions permitting, it will take place from 8 July to 8 August 2021.

Greenfield Festival 2021, due to take place in Interlaken, Bern, between 3–5 June with headliners Volbeat, Korn and Billy Talent, has also been called off.

“Just when we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, it moves even further away than it already was,” reads a statement from the organisers.

“We don’t know which rules might have to be followed, which capacity is allowed, which measures we would have to integrate”

“The situation around Covid-19 is simply not getting better fast enough internationally and in Switzerland in particular. Since we don’t know whether major events will be allowed at all, we simply lack planning certainty. We don’t know which rules might have to be followed, which capacity is allowed and which measures we would have to integrate.”

Rock the Ring (cap. 15,000) has also been cancelled for a second consecutive year due to “the lack of planning security for large events,” says the organiser. The event was planned for 17–19 June in Hinwil, with a line-up that included Foreigner, Three Doors Down and Airbourne.

However, CTS Eventim’s stable of Swiss events, which includes Open Air St Gallen (1–4 July) and SummerDays and Seaside Festival (3–4 September), are taking a wait-and-see approach.

On 4 February, a statement was published on their respective social media pages saying the organisers are “working on various scenarios and protection concepts” for each festival but that ultimately, it’s uncertain whether the events will be able to take place.

At the time of writing Blue Balls Festival is set to go ahead from 23–31 July in Lucerne; hip-hop festival Openair Frauenfeld is holding onto its 7–10 July date and pop event Zürich Openair is on for 25–28 August.

Swiss concert series Baloise Session became the first major European festival to cancel its in-person 2021 edition

Swiss concert series Baloise Session became the first major European festival to cancel its in-person 2021 edition in January, as organisers say it’s “impossible to plan with any certainty” due to the limitations of the pandemic.

While it was announced in February that Montreux Jazz Festival will take place at least partially in the digital realm in 2021, livestreaming all performances from its 55th edition as part of a plan to protect the festival against future disruption.

The lack of certainty around Switzerland’s summer season prompted the Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA), along with 26 of the country’s festivals, to call for clarity on the conditions under which Swiss festivals can be held regularly and at full capacity without social distancing.

Last month’s appeal relayed three key requirements for the restart of Swiss festivals: a transparent strategy and uniform conditions for holding events safely, a continual review of measures to ensure they are proportionate to the risks posed, and an event cancellation fund that covers 100% of losses.

Elsewhere, in neighbouring Germany, CTS Eventim and Goodlive have cancelled a slate of the market’s major festivals.

 


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Germany’s Goodlive cancels Melt festival and more

German promoter Goodlive has cancelled the 2021 editions of Melt, Splash, Full Force and Heroes, days after CTS Eventim announced that its stable of summer festivals are taking another year off.

Goodlive’s best-known festival Melt was scheduled to take place between 4 and 6 June 2021 at the Ferropolis open-air museum, in Gräfenhainichen, Saxony-Anhalt, featuring acts including Arlo Parks, FKA twigs and Jamie XX.

“After months and months of hard work, so many different ideas and concepts and hundreds of calls with other festivals, politicians and experts, we have to admit to ourselves that the decision is ultimately out of our hands,” reads a statement on Melt’s website.

“Believe us when we say that we have tried everything to meet you guys in Ferropolis this summer, but due to the current political situation, the uncertainty of the pandemic and lack of prospects we simply cannot continue planning the festival for 4–6 June 2021.”

“Due to the current political situation, the uncertainty of the pandemic and lack of prospects [Melt]i cannot continue planning”

Similar statements have appeared on the social media pages of Splash (originally scheduled for the weekends 8 July and 15 July in Ferropolis), Full Force (25–27 June, Ferropolis) and Heroes (18-19 June in Geiselwind and 23 July in Freiburg).

Each of the statements adds that the festival is “doing everything in our power to get together and have a party later this year, even if it might be in a different setting”.

Goodlive’s newest festival, Superbloom, is still scheduled to make its delayed debut outing at Munich’s Olympiapark and Olympiastadion (75,000-cap.) this September, at the time of writing.

Elsewhere in the German festival market, Superstruct-backed events Wacken Open Air and Parookaville have not yet given up on their 2021 editions.

“[Wacken Open Air’s] late date, on the last weekend in July, allows us to observe the further development of the situation”

“We sympathise with our colleagues, for whom this decision was certainly not an easy one,” said Thomas Jensen, co-founder of Wacken, regarding the cancellation of the CTS Eventim festivals.

“Our late date, on the last weekend in July, allows us to observe the further development of the situation – for example with regard to the progress of the vaccination campaign and upcoming decisions by the federal government – and allows us a longer preparation time,” explains Jensen. “We remain hopeful and continue planning.”

The 2021 edition of the German metal festival is scheduled to take place between 29 and 31 July in the village of Wacken, Schleswig-Holstein. The sold-out event will be headlined by Amon Amarth, Slipknot and Judas Priest.

The Parookaville team is considering postponing the electronic music festival from 16–18 July at Weeze airport to a weekend in September, saying they are “examining all possibilities”.

 


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French festivalgoers unwilling to attend seated festivals

The majority of French festivalgoers would not be willing to attend Eurockéennes de Belfort 2021 if they were required to be seated for the duration, according to a survey conducted by the festival.

The survey aimed to find whether festivalgoers would be willing to attend this summer’s edition with the restrictions recently announced by the government.

The restrictions, announced at the end of last month, require both indoor and outdoor festivals to limit attendance to 5,000 people, who must be seated and socially distanced.

The survey attracted 21,418 respondents, 72% of which said they would not be willing to attend a seated version of Eurockéennes this year.

One per cent of respondents did not answer the questions but 27% of respondents (around 6,000 people) said they would be willing to attend, which is more than the capacity limit.

Almost half of the respondents (48%) said they would not be willing to attend this year’s festival if social distancing was imposed and 73% would not attend if refreshments were not available.

Almost half of the respondents said they would not be willing to attend this year’s festival if social distancing was imposed

However, the majority of festivalgoers would agree to wear a mask (72%) and present results of a Covid-19 screening test for access to the festival (69%).

Eurockéennes, which was cancelled in 2020, is due to take place from 1 to 4 July this year, featuring acts including Massive Attack, the Lumineers, Foals, Simple Minds and Diplo. The 2019 edition was attended by 130,000 people.

Though the minister for culture, Roselyne Bachelot, announced a €30 million compensation fund for organisers alongside the restrictions, the French live industry has criticised the framework.

France’s trade union, the SMA (Syndicat des Musiques Actuelles), said “a seated event bringing together 5,000 maximum people, perhaps without access to the bar or the restaurant, cannot be called a festival”.

AEG Presents France GM and VP, Arnaud Meerseeman, said the “loose framework” and the issues it presents “points to another empty season”.

French metal festival Hellfest Open Air (cap. 60,000) was the first major French festival to cancel, saying that “to accept these overly restrictive rules would go against the very DNA of the festival”.

 


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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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