Smash!Bang!Pow! festival upscales to new home
Organisers of Denmark’s Syd for Solen have revealed the festival is relocating to Copenhagen’s largest park.
Promoted by Smash!Bang!Pow!, the event has been staged in Søndermarken since launching in 2022 but will switch to Valbyparken for 2024.
Syd for Solen is billed as a “three-day urban festival experience”, with each day featuring “its own musical flavour”. It will take place from 8-10 August with headliners Fred Again.. and Queens of The Stone Age, with other acts still to be announced.
“Our vision, right from the beginning, has been to create a dream festival that brings international music excellence to Copenhagen, a capital that truly deserves it,” says Smash!Bang!Pow! CEO Nikolaj Thorenfeldt. “Our journey in Søndermarken has been incredible, but to elevate the overall festival experience, a new, lush, and green setting is essential.
“Valbyparken provides the perfect canvas, allowing us to enhance our offerings while retaining the intimacy and warmth that both our audience and we associate with Syd for Solen. We’re merely providing better logistical facilities.”
“The festival-in-a-day concept has been enthusiastically embraced by Copenhageners, and the change in location enables us to enhance the concept further”
The festival is being pushed back from early June to August as part of its aim to be the year’s “last summer celebration before everyday life takes over”, and “to become a beacon of anticipation” for locals returning from their summer holidays and reuniting with friends.
“Syd for Solen is designed to be a summer tradition in the capital,” adds Thorenfeldt. “The festival-in-a-day concept has been enthusiastically embraced by Copenhageners, and the change in location enables us to enhance the concept further. We aim to set the musical backdrop for the city’s internationally recognised design, fashion, food, and culture.”
Former headliners include Aphex Twin, Bon Iver, Peggy Gou, Liam Gallagher, The War On Drugs, Jungle, The National and Iggy Pop.
“We brand ourselves as ‘Music to Copenhagen’ to fill the void of a city-based music festival, aligning with Copenhagen’s international image as a place of curiosity, open-mindedness, and a strong entrepreneurial spirit in the entertainment and experience industry,” adds head of festival programming Xenia Grigat.
FKP Scorpio became an international partner to Smash!Bang!Pow! after acquiring a 25% stake in late 2018.
LGBTIQ+ List 2023: Frederik Diness Ove, Queer Music Agency
The LGBTIQ+ List 2023 – IQ Magazine’s third annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.
The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s third Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.
To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.
Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Check out yesterday’s profile with Dev Mistry, global internal comms manager at DICE in London, UK.
The series continues with Frederik Diness Ove (he/him/his), founder of Queer Music Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Frederik Diness Ove is the founder of Queer Music Agency, which is an agency that aims to create more diversity in the music industry by representing queer artists and DJs whilst also fostering a strong community for queers and creating a safer space for minority groups.
Frederik studied marketing management and has had several C-level positions within different industries. In 2019, he established an association called Diversity Pop-Up, which organises events with the aim of creating more safe spaces and diversity and this led to him starting Queer Music Agency at the end of 2021.
Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2023 so far.
When I established Queer Music Agency (QMA) in 2021, the aim was to be a global company in the future, but of course, you need to start in one place. Since I live in Copenhagen, Denmark was the home market we started to focus on, which resulted in more than 150 gigs in Denmark during 2022. At the end of 2022, QMA got an intern based in London with the goal to organise our first concert abroad, and in March 2023, we held a queer concert there with great success. We were so grateful for all the support we received, and it showed us that there is a need for what we are doing worldwide, and now we are planning to organise a queer concert in Berlin, and more cities will follow.
Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
I am attending Roskilde Festival soon, and I am itching to see Lil Nas X live for the first time. I think and hope it is going to be an amazing queer concert, and it is so important to have big queer stars who can be an idol for the all the upcoming queer artists out there. I just wish for the future that queer artists will be able to become big stars as queer artists, instead of waiting to announce they are queer until after they have become stars.
What advice could you give to young queer professionals?
Fight for queer artists and queer music, because we still need to put in a lot of effort to change the status quo with the lack of diversity in the music industry. Maybe it is not the most mainstream music at the moment, but I think queer music and artists will become more mainstream in the future, so keep fighting for what you like even though it is a niche now, but who knows maybe you will end up with the queer lottery coupon one day.
“Fight for queer acts… we still need to put in a lot of effort to change the status quo with the lack of diversity in the industry”
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
Not to make a business plan when I started QMA. I studied marketing management and wrote a thesis about business planning and development, and I am quite sure that my conclusion would have been: do not start Queer Music Agency because in general the music industry is very tough and competitive. But sometimes you just have to follow your heart and passion and don’t think return on investment or how rich you can get. I have definitely not done this for the sake of money but because I want to create positive changes in the world, even though it means less travel, restaurant visits etc. Most important is that I am proud of what I am doing.
In terms of challenges in the industry, what’s currently keeping you up at night?
When we have events that need to sell tickets because the live industry is such a competitive market, which often makes it very difficult to sell tickets, especially when you are representing upcoming artists and DJs with a very small fan base. You know it demands a great effort, and you learn not to stress about it because you need to accept the fact that you are always in a quite uncertain field where a lot of factors can affect sales. Maybe you could do more, but it is already not a lucrative business working with many upcoming artists, so don’t calculate your salary per hour. It also means that at some point you need to stop doing more, because you have other things to do as well.
How do you see the live music business developing in the next few years?
I think we will see a tendency for festivals etc to become more specific in relation to their target group in terms of branding and programme. We see festivals with more than 30 years of experience shutting down and new festivals with a better concept, branding, and promotion [are becoming] popular instead. As an organiser, you really need to be able to offer a great overall experience, so everything from the programme, location, logistics, food, atmosphere etc need to be something people would like to spend their time and money on or else they will just choose another festival instead.
“I think we will see festivals become more specific in relation to their target group in terms of branding and programme”
Name one thing you’d like to see the live music business change.
I would love if more festivals had a greater variety in their programme; way too many festivals are booking the same mainstream artists. Of course, it is okay to book popular artists that people like to listen to, and it sells tickets, but in my eyes, festivals are also about experiencing new music, and I think festivals could better help upcoming artists. There could, for example, more often be a smaller stage close to a big stage, where upcoming artists could play. Also, radio and media could also be better at introducing “niche” music to people instead of the intense focus on mainstream music, and I think it would be very appreciated. We need more influential people with power in the industry to make some choices and try to change the music industry in a more diverse direction.
Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
Just STOP DISCRIMINATION, please! It should be so simple, and it would make the music industry a more equitable place to be and invite more people to be a part of it. Analyses made by the association Another Life is unfortunately showing that approximately 50% of all queers in the industry have experienced discrimination and that number is way too high in 2023. In the industry, I hope that more people that are privileged will make an effort to help make changes, because we still really need them, and you need to make an active effort to make it happen.
Let me mention an example from Denmark where an association for music practice rooms some years ago discovered that 98% of their members were white cis males, which is so crazy. Luckily, they thought so as well, and they started to make an effort to change their membership composition, which over some years has become more diverse. Every aspect of the industry needs to make an effort, but also schools, which contain the musicians of the future. The right support and influence for minority groups and also women, in general, can change who wants to follow a path of music, so it will be easier in the future for festivals etc to create more diverse programmes.
“In the industry, I hope that more people that are privileged will make an effort to help make changes”
Shout out to your biggest ally in the live music industry.
It must be my very dear friend Camilla Trodyb who is head of PR and marketing at All Things Live. She was the first one I pitched my idea about Queer Music Agency, and she has been a fan and very supportive from the beginning and made me believe that I should definitely give it a go. In this matter, she was a much better support than a business plan will ever be. Before Queer Music Agency, I was not a part of the music industry, so it was very important for me to have an ally in her who believed in my project and who could help me open some doors, especially in the beginning.
Do you support any LGBTIQ+ causes?
Our main cause is to support as many queer artists as possible, so we struggle each day for that matter, and we hope that many more queer artists all over the world in the future will be able to make music a way of living. And believe me it is a struggle, so we ourselves need more support from funds etc to help us realise more of our projects. As a booker or a company or even as a private person, the best way to support upcoming queer artists is to book them and pay them a nice well-earned salary, so always feel free to reach me at [email protected] or +45 53531087 if you want to book a talented queer artist or DJ.
Harry Styles’ Denmark gig cancelled after shooting
Harry Styles’ concert at Copenhagen’s Royal Arena was cancelled after three people were killed in a mass shooting at a nearby shopping centre.
The 16,000-cap venue was evacuated shortly before the singer was due to perform a sold-out show on Sunday (3 July).
The BBC reports that two 17-year-old Danish citizens and a 47-year-old Russian were killed in the apparently random attack. Police say 30 people were injured in total, with one person remaining in a critical condition.
A 22-year-old man was arrested at 5.48pm local time in relation to the incident and has been charged with murder.
“I’m heartbroken along with the people of Copenhagen”
Styles took to social media to share his thoughts with fans.
“I’m heartbroken along with the people of Copenhagen,” he tweeted. “I adore this city. The people are so warm and full of love.
“I’m devastated for the victims, their families, and everyone hurting. I’m sorry we couldn’t be together. Please look after each other.”
Pearl Jam’s performance at the arena tomorrow night is still currently scheduled to go ahead as planned.
All Things Live to launch Common Ground Festival
All Things Live is launching an intimate three-day music festival in Denmark’s capital city this summer.
The private equity-backed live entertainment group says the aim of the festival is to “move away from genre limitations and bring a diverse pool of artists to the same stage”.
The festival will be headlined by English electronic music group Metronomy, American rock band Parquet Courts and Turkish psych-folk band Altın Gün.
“One thing that really excites me about this is that you’d usually expect to see these headliners playing much larger venues”
“One thing that really excites me about this project is that you’d usually expect to see these headliners playing much larger venues, or to much larger festival crowds,” says promoter Liam Carroll.
“Experiencing live music in this manner really allows you to feel like you’re a part of something special.”
Commenting on the festival’s intimate venue, promoter Kasper Boldt says: “From the first brainstorm, we knew we wanted a post-industrial space, something a little left from centre. When we committed to having this year’s festival in-venue, we knew that Volume was going to be hard to look past.”
The All Things Live group, which mainly consists of promoters, also includes ICO Concerts and ICO Management & Touring (Denmark), Friction, Atomic Soul Booking and Stand Up Norge (Norway), Maloney Concerts, Monkfish and ROA (Sweden) and Busker Agency in Belgium.
See the poster for Common Ground Festival below.
Queer Music Agency launches in Denmark
Denmark has gained a new agency that will exclusively represent queer artists.
Queer Music Agency will provide non-heterosexual talent with better opportunities to breakthrough in the music industry, according to founder Frederik Diness Ove.
“Unfortunately, there are far too many minorities who feel oppressed in the music industry. This industry is very much dominated by cis-gendered white straight men and therefore we try to rally so we can hopefully stand stronger,” says Diness Ove.
“I would not have [launched Queer Music Agency] if there was no problem with the lack of diversity and oppression of minorities. I hope that in five years’ time it will no longer be necessary, and then I am more than ready to change the profile of our company.”
The agency will offer a number of services to its artists – acting as a record label, management, booking agent and promoter.
“Unfortunately, there are far too many minorities who feel oppressed in the music industry”
Queer Music Agency has already announced its first event at Rust (cap. 670) in Copenhagen on 18 December.
The event, dubbed Queer Concerts, will showcase several of the artists on the roster including singer Sander Sanchez.
Sanchez has previously participated in the Danish Melodi Grand Prix (Denmark’s selection for the Eurovision Song Contest), performed during prestigious festival Aarhus Festuge and closed the ceremony for this year’s WorldPride event in Copenhagen.
Currently, the Queer Music Agency roster also includes 21-year-old queer activist and emerging DJ Nova, artist and producer Taralillah and 23-year-old Irish/danish rising star Ella Costello.
Diness Ove says there are plans to represent 20–25 queer artists by this time next year.
The ILGA-Europe ranks Denmark as the ninth-best country on the continent for LGBTI people, based on how the nation’s laws and policies impact the lives of queer folk.
Copenhagen to gain ‘top-tier’ music venue
The Danish capital is set to gain a new 2,500-capacity music venue this winter.
Stagebox will open this November in Refshaleøen, a former industrial site in the harbour of Copenhagen that has been dubbed a ‘cultural playground’.
The venue, which is being opened by new operator Live Partner Denmark, will be located at Refshalevej 189 – an old and historical construction hall in the post-industrial shipyard.
Stagebox’s CEO Daniel Vangsgaard and head of partnerships Stefan Petersen (previously a booking agent and promoter at All Things Live Denmark) say they have kept the hall’s original features but the sound and lighting have been elevated.
The pair expect approximately 200,000 guests at Stagebox over the course of 2022.
The official opening concert, along with additional concerts and information on partnerships, will be announced later this month.
“I daresay that Copenhagen has long lacked a venue that was built exclusively for events and concerts”
“Speaking for Danish concert organisers, I daresay that Copenhagen has long lacked a venue that was built exclusively for events and concerts, where the sound and surroundings have been prioritised in order to provide the ultimate audience and artist experience,” says Vangsgaard, director and venue manager.
“And we’re incredibly excited to present them with such a space – both Danes and internationals.”
Refshaleøen is also home to major music festivals and events, as well as Michelin-star restaurants, food markets, plant halls, and exhibitions.
In 2017, Beatbox Entertainment (the promoter behind greenfield festivals Tinderbox and NorthSide) launched the brand new Haven festival in the shipyard – selling 20,000 tickets.
More recently, Live Nation Denmark, along with nine of the country’s biggest festivals, held a one-off event at Refshaleøen to mark the reopening of the country.
Europe’s first stadium show since Covid-19 sells out
Live Nation Denmark has announced the first full-capacity stadium show in Europe since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
The sold-out show will see Danish post-punk band, The Minds of 99, perform to 50,000 people at the National Stadium (aka Parken) in Copenhagen.
The concert is slated to take place in the Danish capital on 11 September, a day after the Danish government drops all remaining Covid-19 restrictions.
This means attendees will be able to enjoy the show without social distancing, wearing masks or showing Covid-19 certification.
Ulrik Orum-Petersen, promoter at Live Nation Denmark, told IQ that it’s a “historic day” for the European live music industry.
“[This is] a manifestation of the strong fan confidence towards our industry… it gives our whole industry incredible optimism”
“It’s also a manifestation of the strong fan confidence towards our industry and it gives our whole industry an incredible optimism and strong faith in a bright future ahead,” Orum-Petersen added.
The Minds of 99 say: “This concert has turned into something far greater than The Minds of 99. It’s about what the whole world has been through the last year and a half. It is about the full reopening of live music in Denmark. The live music that so many people live and breathe for. It’s not about us anymore. It is beautiful.”
Denmark is the EU’s third-most vaccinated country, according to Our World in Data, with 71% of the population having received two shots.
The high vaccination rate prompted the government to start the rollback of restrictions at the beginning of this month.
After 10 September, the Danish government will no longer categorise Covid-19 as a “socially critical disease” or legally impose any Covid-19 restrictions.
Nordic agencies merge to form United Stage Group
Nordic agencies United Stage Sweden, United Stage Norway and Copenhagen Music have merged to create a new company called United Stage Group, recruiting Universal Music Sweden as a partner.
United Stage currently represents around 250 artists including Lars Winnerbäck, Darin, Melissa Horn, and annually performs over 3,000 events in Sweden and Norway.
In addition to its activities as agents, tour producers and concert organisers, the company also runs artist management for around 20 artists. United Stage Sweden launched in 1984 and stands as the country’s biggest and most successful agency.
“We at United Stage have a fairly simple philosophy that has pushed us forward since the start. We believe in the magic of the meeting between an artist and an audience,” says Anders Larsson, CEO and founder of United Stage.
“As a market leader in Sweden, and on a strong upswing in Norway, we have for several years strived to broaden the market for our artists to a Nordic platform. With this strategic merger, we are now creating the best possible structure for a really strong Nordic business that will benefit both our staff in their daily work, our partners, but above all our artists who are always the most important to us and are in focus for our entire organisation. I am very much looking forward to the collaboration with Copenhagen Music and our joint effort to build the Nordic region’s best artist company.”
Copenhagen Music was founded in 2008 in Denmark and works with artists such as Lukas Graham, Rasmus Seebach, Suspekt and Medina.
With the merger complete, Copenhagen Music will oversee all touring activities in Denmark for artists signed to United Stage and vice versa. The company will still operate under the same name but as part of the United Stage Group umbrella.
“We want to improve the conditions of our artists, both creatively and financially – this merger will be a way to ensure this”
The company’s managing director, Jimmi Riise, will assume a new role as Nordic CEO of United Stage Group.
“The merger of United Stage and Copenhagen Music is a pioneering collaboration that will pave the way for a creative flow between Sweden, Norway and Denmark,” says Riise. “United Stage has often been our go-to partner in Norway and Sweden, and I strongly admire what Anders and his team have built over the past 30 years.
“This partnership provides completely new conditions for our artists beyond their local stages and introduces them to new fans and arenas throughout the Nordic region. The merger with United Stage is, therefore, the most obvious and strategically important step for our companies and artists. The new collaboration will give us opportunities to develop artist careers throughout our region and take our artists’ careers to completely new heights. Let the music play!”
Joakim Johansson, CEO of Universal Music Sweden, says: “For many years, Universal has been looking for new and innovative ways to develop and establish long-term artist careers, and since music lovers today have access to all the world’s music through a quick click, I am convinced that investing in concert experiences is more important than ever before to create holistic experiences between artists and fans.
“When the live scene reopens, we want to improve the conditions of our artists, both creatively and financially, and this merger will be a way to ensure this. The feeling you experience when the lights are dimmed in the arena and the audience begins to rejoice and when the artist finally enters the stage can create a bond between artist and audience that cannot be reached in any other way. This is a milestone for the Swedish music industry.”
Denmark announces first post-Covid-19 concert
Denmark will host its first major rock concert since March this month when Steen Jørgensen plays the DR Concert Hall in Copenhagen.
The show, set for Friday 26 June, will see Jørgensen (pictured) – the frontman of post-punk heroes Sort Sol, and a former judge on The Voice Denmark – perform in front of a live, albeit significantly under-capacity, audience at the 1,800-cap. venue.
Promoted by Live Nation’s PDH Music, the historic concert will be limited to 500 people, with the Concert Hall (Koncerthuset) set out according to Danish authorities’ guidelines to ensure social distancing among fans.
“All of Denmark has been looking forward to experiencing live music once again, and now the day has finally come when we can again see a rock concert in the beautiful setting of the Concert Hall,” says PDH in an announcement.
Hearing loss rife among Woodstock gen music lovers
Almost 50% of festivalgoers belonging to the original Woodstock 1969 generation now suffer from hearing loss, a new survey reveals.
The survey, conducted by the Harris Poll and commissioned by Danish hearing aid specialist Oticon, questioned over 1,000 US adults between the age of 65 to 80 who had reported listening to “loud or very loud music in their youth”.
Fifty years on from Woodstock, 36% of a self-proclaimed music-loving crowd – 71% of respondees reported music was a major part of their lives when they were young – now state that hearing difficulties negatively impacts their ability to listen to music to some extent.
Among those with hearing loss, 47% say they no longer enjoy music as much as they used to and 70% wish they could experience music as they did in the past.
The results suggest that, even if Michael Lang’s Woodstock 50 anniversary event had gone ahead as planned, it is unlikely that the original fans would have enjoyed themselves as much the second time around.
“We [now] know the long-term effects of noise on hearing health and the importance of protecting hearing to maintain the ability to enjoy music”
“The survey results demonstrate the far-reaching consequences of loud music listening on hearing health,” says Oticon president Gary Rosenblum.
“That’s an important message for young people today. We [now] know the long-term effects of noise on hearing health and the importance of protecting hearing to maintain the ability to enjoy music and conversation.”
Rosenblum urges those of the “Woodstock Generation” to address their hearing loss. 70% of those surveyed had never seen a health care professional about their hearing, and only 12% had ever used a hearing aid.
Exposure to loud noise also produces negative effects on music industry professionals, damaging their ability to sleep and sometimes provoking mental health risks.
Help Musicians UK is one charity safeguarding the hearing of those working in live, providing moulded hearing protection for 10,000 music professionals through the Hearing Health Scheme.