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NZ faces ‘staggering’ number of event cancellations

A ‘staggering’ number of major events across New Zealand have been cancelled and more are expected, following the country’s recent move to red in the Covid traffic light system.

As of 11:59 pm on Sunday (23 January), indoor and outdoor events across the country are limited to 100 people and the use of vaccine passports is mandatory.

The new restrictions prompted a fresh wave of cancellations including music, food, and wine festivals, sports tournaments, arts events, and a wide array of summer festivities scheduled for February and March.

The latest casualties include the sold-out Splore festival, which would’ve taken place between 25–27 February at Tapapakanga Regional Park in Orere Point.

In a statement, the organisers said the country’s move to red “doesn’t leave any room for ambiguity”.

Organisers said the country’s move to red “doesn’t leave any room for ambiguity”

Elsewhere, The Others Way festival, which was scheduled for next Saturday (29 January) in Tāmaki Makaurau, Auckland, has also been pulled.

Anthonie Tonnon, Carnivorous Plant Society and Coolies were scheduled to perform at the event, promoted by Flying Out, 95bFM and UTR Presents.

Other cancelled events include Auckland Pride Festival (1–27 February), New Zealand Fashion Week (7–12 February, Auckland), Great Kiwi Beer Festival (23 January, Christchurch), Warbirds over Wanaka (15–17 April) and the Bluff Oyster Festival (21 May).

Outfields music festival (Auckland), Rhythm and Vines (Gisborne) and Northern Bass (Northland) have already been postponed.

At the time of writing, no decision has been made on major upcoming festivals including Electric Avenue Music Festival, Urban Polo in Christchurch, South Island Wine and Food Festival.

Only cancelled events or postponed events with more than 5,000 vaccinated attendees can make use of the government insurance scheme, announced last year, which covers 90% of unrecoverable costs.

The move to red in the Covid traffic light system comes after a cluster of nine Omicron cases were recorded.

 


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UK faces “devastating loss” over cancellations, no-shows

The UK live industry is contending with up to 50% audience no shows and widespread cancellations due to Omicron, a snap industry survey has shown.

The survey, conducted by LIVE, found that 70% of organisers were forced to cancel shows due to take place last week. Jessie Ware, Steps, Paul Weller, Coldplay and Lil Nas X are among the artists forced to cancel due to the virus.

Among the major artists that have this week cancelled remaining shows for 2021 are also The Charlatans (five dates), Supergrass (three), Stereophonics (two), Deacon Blue (two), Del Amitri (three), The Libertines (two) and Amy Macdonald (one).

Cancellations also extend into next year, with 50% of venues having already cancelled shows for January and February– some as many as 10 each – and more expected to follow, according to LIVE’s survey.

Cancellations also extend into next year, with 50% of venues having already cancelled shows for January and February

MØ and Brockhampton are among the artists that have already cancelled or postponed UK/EU tours scheduled for 2022 as a result of concerns around Omicron.

The trade association says that the widespread cancellations, alongside a high rate of audience dropouts, are leading to a “devastating” rise in lost income for the live music industry.

These losses are compounded by drastic falls in tickets sales, with expected ticket sales for 2022 live music falling by over a third in the last few weeks, the association adds.

Lucy Noble, National Arenas Association chair and artistic director at Royal Albert Hall, says ticket sales for the London venue have “fallen off a cliff in the past fortnight due to the climate of uncertainty”.

“Ticket sales have fallen off a cliff in the past fortnight due to the climate of uncertainty”

“We have already had a £20m loan from the government but we don’t want to accumulate any more debt,” she tells IQ.

Mark Davyd, CEO of The Music Venue Trust, warns that the position of the industry is taking “a dramatic turn for the worst”.

“Without swift action from the government the entire sector risks collapse within weeks not months,” he tells IQ. “We are currently organising the sector to make applications for all available funding, but more than 50% of grassroots music venues across the UK do not meet the criteria to qualify for the funding currently available.

“The government needs to act on VAT, business rates, retail, hospitality & leisure grants and additional restrictions grants without delay. None of this is new; the government did an excellent job of preventing music venue closures in the last 23 months. We simply need that support reopened to deal with the latest phase of the pandemic.”

“Without swift action from the government the entire sector risks collapse within weeks not months”

Commenting on the snap survey, a spokesperson from LIVE said: “These statistics paint a bleak picture for the sector which is why it’s absolutely vital that the government provides additional support immediately. We need urgent assistance to avoid the live music industry running into the ground, forcing venues to shut up shop and a Christmas of Misery with job losses, and freelancers and artists without work.

“We also face a double-whammy as next year’s sales take a nosedive, meaning organisers do not have the cash needed to cover soaring costs as they struggle to stay afloat while operating at a loss.”

LIVE, on behalf of more than 3,100 businesses in the sector, is now calling for urgent financial support from government, including:

 


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Tomorrowland eyes third festival weekend for 2022

The organisers of marquee Belgian festival Tomorrowland have officially submitted an application for a third festival weekend in 2022 “out of economic necessity”.

According to organisers, the third weekend would help compensate for six cancelled festival weekends, including four in Belgium (Tomorrowland 2020 and 2021) and two in France (Tomorrowland Winter 2020 and 2021).

According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the two consecutive cancellations of the Belgian festival alone caused a financial blow of “no less than €25 million”.

“We really have to do this to cushion the financial hangover,” Tomorrowland spokesperson Debby Wilmsen told the Belgian newspaper. “Before Covid, there were no plans to start organising three weekends.”

In order for the one-off extra weekend to go ahead, permission is required from the Antwerp region, as well as the municipalities of Boom and Rumst, where the 70,000-capacity festival has taken place since 2005.

“We really have to do this to cushion the financial hangover”

Tomorrowland has taken place across two weekends since the tenth anniversary

On the tenth anniversary of Tomorrowland, two festival weekends were held for the first time instead of one. It was then the intention to do this only in jubilee years, every five editions, but organisers got a permit to hold the festival two weekends a year.

A third weekend would be held one week before the dates already announced, on Friday 15, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July 2022.

A public inquiry on the application will be open until Tuesday 24 October and public objections can be made.

A decision will be made no later than 13 January. As it stands, the proposed weekend is likely to get the backing of Antwerp, Boom and Rumst, who have all indicated that they are not opposed.

In the meantime, Tomorrowland is busy preparing for two weekends of Tomorrowland Winter in the Alpe d’Huez ski area in March 2022.

Tomorrowland isn’t the only festival extending its duration for 2022 – Spain’s Primavera, Croatia’s InMusic and Germany’s Summer Breeze are all expanding next year to celebrate anniversaries.

 


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UK acts cancel Spanish dates: “Brexit is the next major threat to live music”

ATC Live has warned that Brexit is “the next major threat to live music” after two of the agency’s British acts were forced to pull out of Spain dates due to Brexit-related visa issues.

Earlier this year, 19 out of 27 EU member states reached an agreement with the UK government to award free work visas for 90 days, so that artists and their crew can travel freely during that period.

No such agreement was reached with major touring markets such as Spain and Portugal, as well as Greece, Croatia, Romania, Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria.

For that reason, ATC-repped acts Squid and Black Country, New Road were each forced to pull out of several Spain dates on their respective European tours due to bureaucratic and financial hurdles.

“Not being able to play territories that are essential for growth is devastating for acts on the up and means a loss of earnings for everyone”

Sarah Joy, ATC Live, agent for Squid, tells IQ they worked hard with dedicated partners in Spain to “make every effort for the band to perform”.

“Unfortunately there were two major hurdles. Firstly, the cost of the visas makes mid-level venue touring untenable with a tour party of this size. Each member and crew would need a working visa and the costs stack up high against budgets.

“Secondly, the increased red tape including passports being submitted to embassies and long wait times for appointments made these dates completely unviable in the timescale.

“We hope with time that this process will be slim-lined and the costs reaccessed. Not being able to play territories that are essential for growth and reaching fans is devastating for artists on the up and means a loss of earnings for everyone involved. Now we are able to operate in the post-pandemic landscape, Brexit is the next major threat to live music.”

“We hope with time that this process will be slim-lined and the costs reaccessed”

Clemence Renaut, ATC Live, agent for Black Country New Road, adds: “We got clear information about the Spanish visa process and costs only recently, and the Spanish dates being right in the middle of the tour, it became too risky to try to get the visas on time, and too expensive for the band.

“It is a real shame for the band, the fans, the promoters and venues, as they were their first headline shows in Spain following their first album release this year, before coming back for Primavera in 2022. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem feasible to reschedule these shows in the near future because of other commitments, and also because we always try to tour Spain as part of a tour to avoid fly-ins. We all hope for an agreement to be reached very soon!”

Squid would have played in Barcelona (28 October), Madrid (29 October) and Vigo (30 October), while Black Country New Road were due to perform in San Sebastian (29 October), Madrid (30 October) and Barcelona (2 and 3 November).

Barcelona festival Primavera, which has booked both bands for its 2022 event, says that the cost of such cancellations due to visa issues could be “the final blow” for the Spanish market, which is still largely closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“The lack of progress to solve this problem is leading us dangerously close to a point of no return”

“We are suffering the cancellation of tours that were already programmed and for which money had already been invested, whilst those tours which should now be closed for next year are still up in the air. In a very delicate climate due to the Covid crisis, with promoters who have been unable to programme for the last two years and bands unable to tour internationally for the same amount of time, these costs could the final blow for an industry on which technical teams, venues and festivals depend, as well as of course the artists from one of the countries with a huge presence on our stages.

“The lack of progress to solve this problem is leading us dangerously close to a point of no return. In the meantime, and respecting the “principle of reciprocity” which was promised by the EU, the Spanish artists and creators have indeed already been granted temporary UK visas for creative / artistic performances, free of charge. In short, if practically the whole European Union has been able to find a solution to this problem, we should be able to do the same in ours. And with the utmost urgency.”

The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) previously said it is “actively engaging with the remaining EU member states that do not allow visa- and permit-free touring” has made formal approaches to them “to align their arrangements with the UK’s generous rules, which allow touring performers and support staff to come to the UK for up to three months without a visa”.

“We recognise challenges remain around touring, and we are continuing to work closely with the industry,” says DCMS in a statement. “We want to ensure that when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, touring can resume and our world-leading creative and cultural artists can continue to travel widely, learning their craft, growing their audiences and showing the best of British creativity to the world.”

 


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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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