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Danish promoters call for clarity on restrictions

Concert organisers in Denmark are calling for clarity over Covid measures, with current restrictions due to expire on 16 January.

In a bid to combat the spike in omicron cases, music venues and other indoor cultural institutions were ordered to close their doors on 19 December.

Despite the Danish parliament quickly reopening compensation schemes for event organisers, smaller venues and artists, the sector is growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of guidance from the authorities about what happens next.

Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at national live music association Dansk Live, says clarification is crucial for venues and promoters going forward.

In many places, the drop in ticket sales has been quite marked

“Unfortunately, organisers have been in a similar situation in the past, and we know that preparation is crucial in the dialogue with guests, suppliers and performing artists,” he says.

“We hope and believe that we will return to normal after the current restrictions, but everyone should have the opportunity to prepare for what happens if the infection situation does not allow a phasing out of the restrictions.”

Marcher suggests the continued uncertainty was having a detrimental effect on ticket sales.

“Several venues have found that the public is reluctant to buy tickets for concerts that are set to take place on the other side of the restrictions,” he notes. “The picture is very different across the country, but in many places the drop in ticket sales has been quite marked. And it only gets worse with the current situation.

“Overall, this calls for the need for a recovery effort to be taken very seriously from a political point of view.”

Denmark’s music industry lost over 3 billion krone (€403m) in revenue in 2020 according to a new report commissioned by Dansk Live and the Danish Chamber of Commerce, among others.

 


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New coronavirus curbs sweep Europe

Coronavirus curbs are being reintroduced around Europe as governments bid to combat the spread of the omicron variant.

Portugal has announced it will close bars and nightclubs from 26 December and limit outdoor gatherings to 10 people, while Germany is to close nightclubs from 28 December. Football matches will be played behind closed doors from that date, with private gatherings restricted to 10 people.

In Catalonia, concert halls and clubs have been closed, while Sweden is introducing new Covid measures from tomorrow (23 December), when vaccination certificates will be required for public gatherings and indoor events of more than 500 people. Participants must have a designated seat and 1m social distancing will be imposed. Groups must be limited to eight people.

The Swedish government has allocated SEK120 million (€11.7m) to the cultural sector, with the details to be finalised in the January budget.

It is absolutely crucial that in a difficult time we create security and support our cultural life

Elsewhere, Denmark has agreed to reopen a number of compensation schemes, including funds for smaller venues and artists.

“It is absolutely crucial that in a difficult time we create security and support our cultural and sports life,” said culture minister Ane Halsboe-Jørgensen.

“Among other things, we ensure assistance to cultural institutions that may cancel or postpone a production due to the restrictions. This will ensure better coverage for cancelled events.”

The reopened compensation schemes came into effect from 19 December and are welcomed by Dansk Live.

“Under the circumstances, it’s a good deal,” says Esben Marcher, the trade body’s head of secretariat. “We feel that they have really listened to us and we really appreciate that.”

The BBC is reporting that Northern Ireland nightclubs, which were the last in the UK to reopen on 31 October, will have to close once more from 27 December.

Yesterday, in Scotland, first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced new restrictions from 26 December, including the cancellation of large-scale events such as Hogmanay celebrations.

Indoor gatherings will be limited to 100 people standing and 200 seated, while outdoor events will be restricted to 500-capacity, with 1m physical distancing at all events.

Sturgeon also announced that support for businesses affected by Covid-19 will be increased by a further £275 million.

Wales also announced that spectators would be banned from all indoor, outdoor, professional and community sports events in the country from Boxing Day. There has not yet been any announcement about the closure of indoor or outdoor music venues, although economy minister Vaughan Gething said new restrictions will need to be introduced.

However, the contents of a new £1 billion financial package announced by the UK government disappointed live music groups. The additional measures included a £30 million top-up to the Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) and grants of up to £6,000 per premise.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has not ruled out introducing new post-Christmas measures.

 


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Covid event support extended in Sweden and Denmark

Support schemes have been extended for the live event sectors in Sweden and Denmark in response to the latest coronavirus restrictions.

Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson announced at a press conference that financial help will be extended to 31 March 2022, with a pledge to introduce further crisis support in the future if necessary.

Event support amounts to 70% of costs that are “directly necessary” for the event, up to a maximum of SEK17.5 million (€1.7m).

The support applies to events that would have taken place between 1 June, 2021 and 31 March, 2022.

The situation also emphasises the need for a recovery pool, which we have been asking for for a very long time

In Denmark, meanwhile, compensation schemes have reopened for forced closures, while a new fund will be established to cover venue cancellations, postponements or significantly changed minor indoor events for between 51 and 349 standing spectators.

Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at trade body Dansk Live, welcomes the move, but says more comprehensive assistance is required.

Marcher is calling for a return of the Danish government’s activity fund, which offered compensation of up to 65% of an event’s cost for organisers of audience-oriented cultural activities such as concerts.

“It is gratifying that the many organisers, who are now once again affected by restrictions, are getting help. It is paramount in this critical time,” he says. “However, I must not hide the fact that we would also have liked to have seen a re-introduction of the activity fund.”

He adds: “The situation also emphasises the need for a recovery pool, which we have been asking for for a very long time.”

Denmark’s music industry lost over 3 billion krone (€403m) in revenue in 2020.

 


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Omicron in Europe: Latest restrictions on live music

As markets across Europe step up efforts to combat the new Omicron variant of coronavirus, IQ is endeavouring to update the industry on the most recent restrictions affecting live music across the continent.

Below you’ll find the latest information on certification schemes, social distancing requirements, mask mandates, capacity restrictions and lockdowns affecting key European markets.

Please note that we will aim to keep this article as up-to-date as possible but all information is subject to change. 

To submit an update to this, please get in touch. This article was last updated on 5 January.

Austria
Austria will suspend a lockdown for the unvaccinated during year-end holidays, allowing them to meet in groups of up to 10 on three days around Christmas, as well as New Year’s Eve.

On 12 December, the government ended the three-week lockdown for vaccinated people across most of the country.

The relaxation, which varies from region to region, largely allows for the reopening of theatres, museums and other cultural and entertainment venues. Masks will still be required in public spaces.

Austria is also set to become the first European country to make Covid vaccinations compulsory, with the law due to take effect from 1 February 2022.

Belgium
Music venues are to be shuttered and all indoor mass events are prohibited until at least 28 January.

Outdoor events are permitted to take place but social distancing must be maintained and masks are required. Events with more than 100 visitors must have a one-way circulation plan and a separate entrance and exit.

The new rules were introduced on 26 December 2021. Previously, indoor events in Belgium could take place with a seated and masked audience of no more than 200 people.

Denmark
Music venues, among other indoor cultural institutions, have been ordered to close from 19 December until 17 January 2022.

The Danish parliament has acted quickly to reopen compensation schemes for event organisers, smaller venues and artists.

Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at live music association Dansk Live, welcomes the agreement: “Under the circumstances, it’s a good deal. The rapporteurs and the minister have been very outreach in the dialogue around the agreement, and we feel that they have really listened to us. We really appreciate that.”

England
Vaccine passports and facemasks will be required in order to attend concerts in England from 15 December. The wearing of face masks will be mandated in all venues where crowds gather, and Covid certificates will be needed for: venues where large crowds gather, including nightclubs; unseated indoor venues with more than 500 people; and unseated outdoor venues with more than 4,000 people.

The introduction of a negative LFT in the certification scheme, meanwhile, followed extended lobbying by the sector to include the measure in any new restrictions.

France
From 3 January, indoor events are limited to 2,000 capacity and outdoor gatherings are restricted to 5,000 people, while nightclubs will remain closed until further notice.

The government said on 17 December it will present a bill early next year to change the French health pass into a vaccination pass. That means people will have to be vaccinated in order to enter music venues and many other leisure and entertainment facilities.

Under the current rules, a recent negative test can serve as a health pass even without vaccination.

Germany
The so-called 2G rule (meaning genesen for recovered in the past six months and geimpft for vaccinated) has been extended to cover the whole country – meaning only those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid can attend live music venues and other cultural events.

Outdoor events are limited to 50% capacity with a maximum of 15,000 attendees, while indoor gatherings are limited to 50% cap and crowds of up to 5,000. Masks are mandatory at all events.

Nightclubs will be required to close from 28 December. Football matches will be played behind closed doors from that date, with private gatherings restricted to 10 people.

Ireland
From Monday 20 December, hospitality and cultural venues including music venues, pubs, restaurants, cinemas and theatres must close by 20:00.

All indoor events can operate at 1,000 or 50% capacity and must be fully seated. The number of spectators allowed to attend sporting events is now capped at 50% capacity, up to a maximum of 5,000 people. The measures will stay in place until at least 30 January 2022.

Face masks will be obligatory unless people are eating or drinking. Nightclubs — which in October reopened for the first time in 19 months — have been closed since 7 December.

Italy
The government has banned concerts until 31 January and extended the country’s state of emergency to 31 March 2022. Nightclubs will also remain closed until the end of this month, and the consumption of food and drink at concert halls and other indoor locations is also banned until the end of March, amid the spread of the omicron variant. The use of FFP2 masks is also compulsory on public transport, in theatres, concert halls and cinemas and for sporting events until at least 31 March.

Netherlands
For the second time in the space of a week, the Dutch government has imposed tighter restrictions in an attempt to slow the spread of the Omicron variant.

It was announced on 18 December that residents will be subject to a full lockdown from Sunday 19 December until at least Friday 14 January 2022.

During this time, music venues will be closed and events will not be permitted. Residents must stay at home as much as possible and adhere to the 1.5-metre social distancing rule when outside.

The Dutch government has put plans to implement a 2G system on hold until the new year, saying there is not currently enough time to draw up the legislation.

Northern Ireland
As of 26 December, indoor standing events are not permitted. For outdoor and indoor events, either proof of vaccination, a negative lateral flow test or proof of recovery from Covid-19 is required.

Norway
As of 13 December, a maximum of 20 people is permitted at public indoor events without fixed allocated seats, and 50 people with fixed allocated seats.

At outdoor public events, a maximum of 100 people is permitted without fixed allocated places, and up to 200 in three cohorts with fixed allocated places.

For all indoor events, whether seated or standing, organisers must ensure that one-metre social distancing can be maintained between attendees. In addition, all attendees at indoor events must wear masks.

Event organisers are required to register guests for track and trace.

Poland
From 15 December, nightclubs will close and the maximum number of people allowed in other venues will be reduced from 50% capacity to 30%.

Venues can increase their operating capacity by only admitting vaccinated attendees, with staff required to check vaccination certificates. Face coverings are mandatory inside music venues.

Portugal
As of 1 December, Covid passports certifying full inoculation, recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test result, will be mandatory to access events, restaurants, gyms and other leisure and hospitality businesses. Masks will be required for indoor spaces.

In addition, both vaccinated and unvaccinated people will be required to show a negative test to be granted entry to large events without marked seats, sports venues, bars and nightclubs.

From 26 December, bars and nightclubs will be closed, with outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people

For the week of 2–9 January (aka ‘containment week’), working from home will be obligatory, bars will close and school holidays extended to prevent a post-holiday season spread.

Romania
Concerts and events in Romania will be staged at 50% capacity to a maximum of 1,000 people (all of whom must be vaccinated) with a 10:00 pm curfew.

Scotland
As of 6 December, evidence of a negative Covid test – from either a lateral flow test or PCR – is included in Scotland’s Covid-19 passport scheme. Previously, attendees were required to show proof of full vaccination.

The Scottish government is implementing further restrictions on large-scale events and public spaces from 26 December.

From 27 December until the first week in January, when it is reviewed, the government is advising people to limit their social contacts, to adhere to social distancing advice and to stay at home where possible. Nightclubs will be closed for three weeks from that date.

Spain
As of 3 December, Covid certification demonstrating proof of vaccination, recovery from the virus, or a recent negative test is required to enter music venues, bars, restaurants, gyms, nightclubs, care homes, or attend events in hotels and restaurants with indoor dance floors. For indoor standing events, capacity is set at 80% maximum.

Sweden
Indoor events with between 20 and 500 attendees that don’t require vaccinations certificates must now be seated. For events with more than 500 participants, vaccinations certificates and social distancing are required.

Groups must be able to keep a distance of at least one meter sideways and forwards and backwards from other groups. If a group is larger than eight people, the organiser must divide the party with a maximum of eight participants in each.

The restrictions were introduced on 23 December and the effect will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.

Switzerland
As of 6 December, masks will have to be worn indoors wherever a certificate obligation applies. Events and venues, both indoor and outdoor, will be allowed to restrict entry to people who are vaccinated or recovered. The measures will be in effect until 24 January.

Wales
Large events are prohibited with maximum numbers of 30 at an indoor event and 50 outdoors. Nightclubs must close.

The NHS Covid Pass is needed for entry to concert halls and many other venues. Face masks are still required in most public places.

 


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Concert restrictions tightened over Omicron fears

More European countries have tightened restrictions on concerts in a bid to combat the spread of the Omicron variant.

Germany last week extended its so-called 2G rule to cover the whole country – meaning only those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid can attend live music venues and other cultural events.

Outdoor events are limited to 50% capacity with a maximum of 15,000 attendees, while indoor gatherings are limited to 50% capacity with a maximum crowd of 5,000. Masks are mandatory at all events.

Meanwhile, in Ireland, indoor events are now limited to 50% capacity, whereas evidence of a negative Covid test – from either a lateral flow test or PCR – has been added to Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme from today (6 December). Previously, attendees were required to show proof of full vaccination.

It is really good if the new restrictions can help curb the infection and keep the doors open for our members

However, in the Netherlands, the government has put plans to implement a 2G system on hold until the new year, saying there is not currently enough time to draw up the legislation. A temporary capacity limit of 1,250 was imposed on venues last month.

In Denmark, Covid passes are now required for indoor gatherings of at least 100 people (previously 200) and outdoor gatherings of 1,000 upwards (previously 2,000). The measures came into effect on 29 November.

Esben Marcher, secretary of national trade body Dansk Live, has welcomed the efforts to allow the sector to continue operating.

“It is really good if the new restrictions can help curb the infection and keep the doors open for our members,” he says. “Our members are experts in dealing with large crowds, and we have always believed that you can go to a concert safely, but we also welcome the fact that those who should need it can now feel completely safe when they go to concerts.”

Elsewhere, Austria is in the midst of a national lockdown Austria and is set to become the first European country to make Covid vaccinations compulsory from February 2022.

 


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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.

 


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NorthSide festival to offer plant-based food only

NorthSide promoter Down the Drain has announced that all food at the 2022 festival will be plant-based and 100% organic.

The Danish festival will take place between 2–4 June next year at its new home in Eskelund park, Aarhus.

Next year’s edition will mark a “sustainable quantum leap” for the festival, which has previously earned the A Greener Festival Award in 2014 and 2016.

“In 2014, we launched the first organic beer in collaboration with Tuborg,” lists says Brian Nielsen, festival director for NorthSide.

“In 2019, we removed disposable plastic mugs and the sale of bottled water, and in 2022, plant-based food will stand side by side with the transition to 100% green electricity.”

“We want to continue to surprise, challenge and take the lead, and serving plant-based food is a natural next step”

Nielsen continues: “We want to continue to surprise, challenge and take the lead, and serving plant-based food is a natural next step on our sustainability journey. It is the food of the future now.”

To provide all plant-based food, the festival collaborated with The Vegetarian Society of Denmark and Organic Denmark, who are behind The Plant-based Knowledge Centre.

Katrine Ejlerskov, center manager for Plant-Based Knowledge Centre, says NorthSide’s commitment sends an important signal.

“One of the most important things we can each do for the climate is to eat far more vegetables and correspondingly far fewer animal products; and if we then choose organic food at the same time, we help to ensure our clean groundwater, better animal welfare and richer biodiversity in and around the fields,” says Ejlerskov.

“NorthSide takes the lead and, with the initiative, once again takes concrete responsibility for the green transition – this time by making it clear that our eating habits are a crucial part of the solution for a more sustainable future.”

“NorthSide takes the lead and, with the initiative, once again takes concrete responsibility for the green transition”

In the run-up to the festival, NorthSide will collaborate with its stallholders to develop food “that can inspire and challenge guests’ dining experiences”.

The festival says it has opted out of meat and fish in the meals and will use a maximum of 15% cheese, eggs or mayonnaise per portion.

Northside 2022 will be the first edition to take place at Eskelunden, a greenfield that is more than twice the size of the Ådalen site.

Since launching in 2010, the festival has grown from a one-day event with domestic artists into a major three-day international event that attracts some 40,000 visitors.

Down the Drain were forced to cancel the 2020 and 2021 editions of the festival due to coronavirus related restrictions.

 


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Roskilde announces ‘Under 25’ tickets for 2022 event

The organisers of Roskilde festival will release 5,000 extra tickets for the 2022 edition, exclusively for fans aged under 25.

With 80% of guests attending the Danish festival for the first time before they hit their mid-twenties, Roskilde has created the ‘Under 25’ ticket in order to secure a new generation.

“When Roskilde Festival 2022 takes place next summer, we hope to see a lot of first-timers. Those who experience the festival and have that unspoiled, extraordinary experience where everything is seen, heard and felt for the very first time,” says a spokesperson for the festival.

Under-25 tickets will go on sale on 30 November at the same price as the regular full event tickets.

With the addition of the extra 5,000 tickets, the capacity of Roskilde will expand to 85,000 people per day.

Organisers say they are doing their “utmost to deliver three years of development in one festival”

Tickets for Roskilde are in short supply after the festival sold out of full weeklong passes with 14 months to spare.

The only remaining inventory is 5,000 which were refunded after the cancellation of the 2021 event. Those will go on sale this Thursday (14 October).

The demand for tickets is likely to increase following this morning’s announcement of a slate of world-renowned artists.

Artists include Dua Lipa, Tyler, the Creator, Haim, St. Vincent, Arlo Parks, Fontaines D.C., Idles, Kelly Lee Owens and Poppy.

Organisers say they are doing their “utmost to deliver three years of development in one festival” following the cancellation of Roskilde in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the pandemic.

The 2022 event, set to go ahead from 25 June to 2 July 2022, will mark the 50th edition of Roskilde, one of the largest and best-loved festivals in Europe.

 


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Danish music industry reports 3bn loss in 2020

Denmark’s music industry lost over 3 billion krone (€403m) in revenue in 2020.

That’s according to a new report commissioned by live music association Dansk Live and the Danish Chamber of Commerce along with others.

The Danish Music Sales report uncovers that in 2020, the entire industry – including live and recorded – experienced a decline in revenue of up to 35% due to Covid-19 restrictions.

This makes music one of the hardest-hit industries in Denmark.

The concert sector has been particularly hard hit with a 52% drop in revenue compared to 2019.

For concert and festival organisers, closures and restrictions have had a devastating effect on ticket sales – which fell by 65% in 2020 compared with 2019.

At Danish venues, ticket sales fell by 51% compared with the previous year, while festivals lost as much as 97% of their ticket sales.

“The low ticket turnover clearly shows that 2020 was in many ways a year of horror for Danish music. Of course, it greatly affects the organisers, but it has spread rings to the rest of the music scene – including artists, songwriters and producers,” says Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at Dansk Live.

“The low ticket turnover clearly shows that 2020 was in many ways a year of horror for Danish music”

Mikkel Xavier, booker and head of development for Smukfest, says: “These are disappointing numbers, but of course not surprising. At the same time, we look forward to the end of 2021, where we, especially as festival organisers, do not expect better numbers. Unresolved help package applications, pressured suppliers and declining interest in working with the technical part of the festival industry, challenge broadly.”

The report warns that closures and restrictions have had major consequences for local venues and festivals, and it will take time and support to get them back to pre-pandemic levels of operation.

The Danish Chamber of Commerce is subsequently calling for help for the industry from the government’s so-called ‘war fund’.

“The Danish music industry is characterised by being a cohesive ecosystem, where fluctuations in one part of the industry are also felt in other parts of the industry,” says Brian Mikkelsen, CEO of Dansk Erhverv, the Danish Chamber of Commerce.

“We do not yet know the full extent of the consequences for the music industry, but it is quite clear that especially festivals and the entire live part, including not least the music export, have suffered tremendously during closures and restrictions.

“Therefore, there is a need to focus on a good restart, and here some of the funds in the government’s so-called ‘war fund’ should be prioritised for the music industry. This has consequences for both exports in the area and for the entire food chain, and it is important that the damage does not become greater than it needs to be.”

The report, also in collaboration IFPI, Koda, MXD, Gramex, Musikforlæggerne and Rambøll, can be viewed here.

 


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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.

 


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