Woodstock 50 joins 2019’s festival graveyard
To the surprise of very few, Woodstock 50 is officially no more (for real this time, unlike that fake cancellation in April). With 16 days to go – and after losing its primary financier, two production partners, two venues and its entire line-up – organisers yesterday (31 July) finally pulled the plug on the troubled anniversary festival, which had yet to put a single ticket on sale.
“We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating,” Michael Lang, co-founder of the original 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair and lead producer of Woodstock 50.
Urging artists and agents, all of whom “have been fully paid”, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount, a nonprofit which works with musicians to promote voter registration and participation, Lang says his thoughts now “turn to Bethel” – where a rival event is being held at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (BWCA), on the original Woodstock site, on the same dates – “and its celebration of our 50th anniversary to reinforce the values of compassion, human dignity and the beauty of our differences embraced by Woodstock.”
But Woodstock 50 is far from the first festival doomed to fail, and it won’t be the last; as the round-up below illustrates, it’s in good company alongside numerous other high-profile cancellations in 2019…
“A series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined”
Doctor Music Festival (12–14 July)
A planned comeback for Spain’s iconic Doctor Music Festival (DMF), three years in the making and following a 19-year hiatus, was abandoned as a result of last-minute venue change forced on organisers by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA).
Originally scheduled to take place in a mountain valley amid the Catalan Pyrenees, DMF was relocated to the Catalunya-Barcelona racing circuit in April after ACA warned warned that the event’s original site was at risk of flooding. After promoter Doctor Music offered ticketholders refunds, a “huge number” of fans took them up on the offer, leaving organisers unable “to offer the experience we were striving for” and forced to cancel.
Writing in IQ shortly after the cancellation, Doctor Music CEO Neo Sala described the axing of DMF as a victory for “grey” bureaucrats and their “eco-opportunist” allies over common sense. “The circumstances that brought about the cancellation of the event are surreal to say the least, and would appear more befitting of a Kafkaesque state than a Spanish administration that claims to be concerned with popular culture and the development of rural areas,” said Sala.
DMF organisers were unable “to offer the experience we were striving for”
Arcadia London (4–5 May)
Initially envisioned as a one-off event for Glastonbury Festival’s 2018 fallow year, Arcadia – creator of Glastonbury’s iconic fire-breathing Spider installation – announced plans to bring back its Arcadia London festival (formerly Arcadia Spectacular) for 2019, with a line-up that included DJs Helix, Jamie Jones, DJ EZ and Sub Focus.
Promoter LWE Events called time on the event in February, with Arcadia saying it would be unable to honour its commitments to Glastonbury alongside a standalone festival.
“After planning for last year’s Arcadia tenth-anniversary event to be a one-off celebration, we received such strong feedback that we hoped to creatively evolve the event for a second year with a host of innovative new performance elements,” read a statement.
“As we stand, we aren’t confident of hitting the targets that would allow us to develop that new experience and the pressures of a difficult market would risk serious knock on effects to Arcadia’s other commitments, especially Glastonbury. Taking these factors into consideration, it is with great regret that Arcadia London will not be going ahead in 2019.”
“The environment that forces us to depend on foreign content to cast artists leads to excessive competition”
Jisan Rock (26–28 July)
Jisan Rock festival, one of South Korea’s biggest, was called off with three days to go, with promoter D2 Global Company cryptically blaming its lack of perspective “reading the trend[s] of today” and failure to “communicate enough with the fans”.
According to the Korea Herald, D2 also said on 23 July it was “not possible to hold the concerts”, sparking “anger and confusion from fans”. The abrupt cancellation reportedly came as a shock to the industry, with one of the acts slating to perform quoted as saying: “I never expected anything like this to happen three days before the performance. I figure fans will be more shocked than we are.”
At the time of its cancellation, just one international artist, Australia’s King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard, had been added to Jisan Rock 2019’s line-up. The 2019 festival would have been the first under new ownership for the former Jisan Valley Rock Festival, held intermittently in Icheon since 2009.
In the same statement, organisers hinted at problems in recruiting artists for the festival, referring to the “many innate problems in the concert-producing business in Korea”. “Due to lack of communication between producers, the environment that forces us to depend on foreign content to cast artists leads to excessive competition,” they said. “This results in an even more hazardous environment for producing concerts.”
Roxodus “did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent”
Roxodus (11–14 July)
Canada’s Roxodus festival, which would have taken place for the first time in mid-July, fell at the first hurdle, with organisers blaming “tremendous rainy weather” for its cancellation with weeks to go.
Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickelback, Billy Idol and Blondie were booked to perform at the rock-orientated event, produced by a company called MF Live, which later filed for bankruptcy after finding itself unable to pay its creditors. Liquidator Grant Thornton Ltd said Roxodus “did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent”.
Eventbrite refunded all ticketholders out of its own pocket while “aggressively pursu[ing] the return of funds from the festival’s creators”. Other parties owed money include security companies, production firms and other contractors and concession operators.
“The original footprint was affected by the presence of Great Lakes piping plover shorebirds”
Mamby on the Beach (23–24 August)
Bringing to mind the avian woes that plagued the final T in the Park, Chicago’s Mamby on the Beach was forced to pull its second edition with just over a month to go due to a number of “circumstances beyond” promoters’ control – including the presence of endangered birds on the festival site.
“Organisers for Mamby On The Beach are saddened to announce that the 2019 festival has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond their control,” promoters React Presents and Jam Productions said in a joint statement. “These unforeseen issues include significantly higher than average waters of Lake Michigan eliminating the beach portion of the festival’s intended site.
“Additionally, the original footprint was affected by the presence of Great Lakes piping plover shorebirds, a federally protected species.”
Acts due to perform at Mamby on the Beach 2019 included Flying Lotus, T-Pain, Troye Sivan, Brockhampton and Santigold.
“In the interests of the safety of our customers, we have taken the decision to cancel the event”
Rewind North (2–4 August)
The most recent cancellation on this list is Rewind North, the Cheshire leg of the popular UK retro music festival, which announced today (1 August) it would no longer go ahead due to “extreme weather”.
Due to kick off tomorrow, with performers including Bananarama, Gloria Gaynor and Level 42, Rewind North fell victim to the flooding affecting much of north-western England, with organisers pointing to “the prolonged extreme wet weather conditions experienced in Cheshire” as “caus[ing] significant disruption to the site at Rewind North.
“Although we have robust contingency plans in place and have made every effort to allow the festival to go ahead, in the interests of the safety of our customers, we have taken the decision to cancel the event,” read a statement from promoter Broadwick Live.
“Miracles based on marketing and myths don’t exist”
Vestiville (28–30 June)
By far the most controversial cancellation here, Vestiville, a Netherlands-born festival due to take place in Lommel, Belgium, at the end of the June, was called off at the last minute after Lommel’s mayor raised concerns about the security of festivalgoers.
Similar to the notorious Fyre Festival, Vestiville patrons – many of whom had come from abroad to see a largely American line-up that included hip-hop stars Cardi B, Future, Asap Rocky and Migos – reportedly arrived in Lommel to find an unfinished, under-staffed site a world away from the complete, professional-looking festival build trailed on social media in advance.
Videos shared on social media purported to show unrest after festivalgoers ordered by police to leave the site, while others described being stranded without food or water ahead its evacuation.
Speaking to IQ in the days following the cancellation – which ended up with organisers being detained by Belgian police – Herman Schuereman of Rock Werchter, which took place the same weekend, suggested Vestiville, an “imported festival from Holland”, failed because it tried to run before it could walk.
“It was a non-event, without roots, and it proves again that it is much wiser to start a festival small and let it grow every year,” he says. “It is like a tree: plant it in good soil, water it well, take care of it and it will grow every year. Miracles based on marketing and myths don’t exist…”
“[We are] finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize”
In addition to outright cancellations, several events are taking hiatuses in 2019 ahead of expected returns next summer. They include:
Festival Republic opted not to stage its V Festival replacement, Rize, this year after the festival underperformed in its 2018 debut, which was headlined by Liam Gallagher and Stereophonics.
A festival is expected to return to the V/Rize site in Hylands Park in Chelmsford, UK, in some form next year. A successor to the northern leg of V Festival, in Staffordshire, has yet to materialise.
“The council has been made aware that Festival Republic is not proceeding with Rize in 2019,” a spokesperson for Chelmsford City Council told IQ in January. “However, the council and Festival Republic are currently finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize to commence in 2020 and details of this will become available when contracts are in place.”
“We are giving ourselves the breathing room to redesign the festival and bring in the necessary changes”
Matchbox Live’s OppiKoppi, one of South Africa’s longest-running and best-loved music festivals, in April called off its 25th anniversary edition following a spate of violent crime at the 2018 event.
In a statement, organisers said: “For 24 years, OppiKoppi has been going great guns. Unfortunately, in 2018 we experienced the rampant crime currently impacting events and festivals across South Africa. For us to present the 2019 event with the increased security measures that are required to curb this crime to present a safe and enjoyable festival, the production costs also increase drastically.
“By taking a gap year, we are giving ourselves the breathing room to redesign the festival and bring in the necessary changes without impacting the festivalgoer by increasing ticket prices. We believe that in doing this, we will bring everyone a fresh new festival, ready to take music lovers forward for the next 25 years.”
OppiKoppi 2018, held near Northam, a small town in Limpopo (formerly Transvaal) in the north-east of the country, was targeted by roving gangs of thieves, with one festivalgoer allegedly having his entire tent taken. The festival is expected to return, possibly in a new location, in 2020.
“The team is relooking every single brick that builds a festival in South Africa,” the statement continues. “We are even investigating bringing the festival to a venue closer to a major city, to enable day tickets, less travelling and other options for the attendees. […] We realise that a festival like OppiKoppi has a significant role to play in the South African music scene, along with a critical social cohesion role that it has been playing for many years. We are 100% up for it – but we want to do it right.”
“We feel that we have achieved all that we can at this site”
After a stormy 2018, AEG’s Panorama, held since 2016 on New York’s Randalls Island, is similarly taking a gap year, after failing to secure an event permit for a new site in Queens.
In a statement, AEG says Panorama, booked partially by Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett, is on “hiatus in 2019 while we continue discussions with NYC Parks to bring the festival to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, where it was originally envisioned”.
“We had a fantastic experience with Paul Simon this past September at Flushing Meadows and look forward to returning in the future,” a spokesperson told Billboard in January. “We were disappointed in NYC Parks’ denial of our permit application, despite the long-term benefits this event would deliver to the community and the park. While we have enjoyed our time on Randall’s Island and its great facilities, we feel that we have achieved all that we can at this site.”
Janet Jackson, David Byrne and St Vincent were among those who played Panorama 2018.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
How grey policies killed Doctor Music Festival
The recent cancellation of Doctor Music Festival, aka the Festival of the Cow, which was scheduled to take place this summer, was a bitter pill to swallow.
The circumstances that brought about the cancellation of the event are surreal to say the least, and would appear more befitting of a Kafkaesque state than a Spanish administration that claims to be concerned with popular culture and the development of rural areas.
Doctor Music Festival was due to take place in July 2019 in Escalarre, in the Pallars Sobirà region of Catalonia, set among an idyllic valley in the Catalan Pyrenees.
This vast meadow, which spans over 100 hectares and is surrounded by high mountain peaks and natural parks, had already played host, some 20 years ago, to three of the festival’s previous editions, which are forever engrained in the history of Europe’s live music scene. In 1996, 1997 and 1998, the region saw three special editions take place, bringing together tens of thousands of people for unforgettable events featuring the likes of David Bowie, Lou Reed, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, and hundreds of other legendary names.
This year, the festival was going to make its comeback with the Reincarnation Edition, which looked set to put the Pallars region back on the international music map.
Someone, somewhere, sat in a grey office in a grey building, found a way to extinguish the magic
The 2019 line-up included names such as Rosalía, the Strokes, the Chemical Brothers, Smashing Pumpkins, Greta Van Fleet, King Crimson, Underworld and Christine and the Queens, along with cutting-edge DJs such as Black Coffee, Damian Lazarus, Luciano, Jamie Jones and many more. It was going to be a three-day/four-night extravaganza of music, friendship and nature. A special communion between people, music and the stars.
The event had been designed following the most rigorous of standards when it comes to sustainability, recycling, zero-waste policies, locally sourced produce and harmony with the natural surroundings. The end goal was to leave the valley exactly as it was before the festival took place, or maybe even better. And then bureaucracy happened…
Someone, somewhere, sat in a grey office in a grey building, found a way to extinguish the magic. Thanks to the board of directors at the Agència Catalana de l’Aigua (Catalan Water Agency), and spurred on by a small local group of urban ecologists of questionable reputation – “eco-opportunists” is perhaps a more fitting term – it was ruled that the open valley was at risk of flooding – despite never having previously suffered flooding as far as any existing records show, and despite the final remnants of snow on the surrounding mountains having melted two months ago. And just like that, the dream was over.
It was a small victory for bureaucracy. Despite protests from the valley’s local residents and mayors, who continued to emphasise the positive economic, touristic and cultural impact the festival would have on the local agricultural communities and residents, the decision remained unchanged. The powers that be had already decided that the local countryside was better used as a “theme park” for city folk to escape to on weekends, where they can enjoy a fleeting illusion of their eco-friendliness, or of being “at one with nature”.
The powers that be decided that the local countryside was better used as a theme park for city folk to escape to on weekends
The harmonious development of rural communities, encouraging nature-friendly human activities and working to bring wealth and cultural enrichment to areas that have otherwise been overlooked by these administrations clearly weren’t as important as their desire to demonstrate who ruled the roost.
Their argument was based around the possibility of a flood occurring in Escalarre… maybe. At some point. Perhaps.
What happened next is already common knowledge. We tried to relocate the festival to the Catalunya-Barcelona Formula 1 Circuit in Montmeló, but the general public were not convinced by this swap from lush green valley to urban racetrack. The spirit of the cow had been mortally wounded (at least for the time being) and the magic behind this celebration of music, peace nature and friendship was over.
Live music in Spain owes a lot to Doctor Music Festival, but there is no greater debt than that owed by political parties to the citizens who vote for them.
I hope they bear that in mind when it’s election time and they start promising the citizens of Spain a wonderful and colourful country. The colour they are referring to… might just be grey.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
European festivals, associations report 2019 slowdown
Mainland Europe’s music festivals are experiencing a similarly slow season to their counterparts in Britain, hurt by repetitive line-ups, rising ticket prices and – potentially – wider societal changes in entertainment consumption, according to festival associations and operators.
IQ revealed last month that many UK festivals are bracing for a quieter-than-normal summer, with sell-outs down amid economic uncertainty and difficulty in differentiating themselves from the competition.
That’s also the case on the continent, says Christof Huber, festival director of Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen and general secretary of Yourope, the European Festival Association. “It’s definitely slower than in previous festival seasons,” says Huber, who says he thinks there are fewer sell-outs compared to previous years.
“I am afraid this is a real trend,” says Jean-Paul Roland, festival director of Eurockéennes, one of the biggest rock festivals in France. Roland – who is also co-president of festival association De Concert! with Les Nuits Botanique’s Paul-Henri Wauters – explains that, in France, the success of metal festival Hellfest (which sold 55,000 tickets in two hours) is an exception, playing “the role of the tree that hides the forest”.
“Paleo in Switzerland and Vieilles Charrues in France are usually sold out very quickly always. Biarritz En Été [also in France] threw in the towel for lack of sufficient reservations. Indeed, the season seems more subdued than last year: later sales, more difficulties to reach a point of profitability…”
This was illustrated earlier this week by the surprise cancellation of the revived Doctor Music Festival, with promoter Doctor Music pulling the plug due to low ticket sales after the event was forced to move by Catalonia’s environment agency.
“The market has been quite saturated for a few years”
Doctor Music head Neo Sala described the cancellation as “the toughest decision of my promoter career”, but said the number of fans who had returned the tickets for refunds – coupled with slower-than-expected sales for its new location at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya racetrack – meant the headliner-heavy festival (the Strokes, the Smashing Pumpkins, the Chemical Brothers, the Prodigy and Christine and the Queens were all booked to perform) “won’t be able to offer the experience we were striving for”.
While independent, non-corporate events are believed to have been hardest hit by the slowdown – a senior exec at one of the multinationals tells IQ it has a “couple” of festivals underperforming, “but no more than usual” – Folkert Koopmans, CEO of European festival powerhouse FKP Scorpio, says, to his knowledge, “it’s the same everywhere. There are a few that are sold out, but it’s not like it used to be before.”
Roland says rising artist fees (what the AIF’s Paul Reed recently described as the headliner “arms race”) are making major international stars “more inaccessible” to many European events.
“The summer circuit in North and South America is becoming more structured and competitive, and that captures the international headliners in the summer, which results in less and less differentiated line-ups,” he explains. In France especially, this means “often the same Francophone artists are [headlining lots of] different festivals”, with festival ticket sales increasing “shifting to major theme parks”.
“My personal view is that the market has been quite saturated for a few years,” says Huber. “Also, the same headliners return too often and sometimes play multiple festival seasons.”
“We need to see what is happening, what people want, and adapt to those changes”
This, combined with more expensive tickets, has “led to the point that sales got slower”, he adds.
Koopmans suggests the soft summer is a symptom of wider demographic changes that will have an impact on the business for years to come. “It’s changing and we have to adapt,” he says. “When we were young, we were fans of music – we’d buy the records, spend hours looking at the sleeves – but young people now are more into gaming and other things. They’ll hear a song they like, then swap to another song – they’re not willing to spend so much money on music anymore.
“For example, they’ll go to an EDM festival because they can dance to the music, and they don’t mind going to smaller, one-day events that are €49. But not €200…”
The perception of a general slowdown isn’t being felt in other areas, with the world music genre faring better, suggests Patrick de Groote, the artistic director of the Sfinks Mixed arts festival in Boechout, Belgium, and secretary of the Forum of Worldwide Music Festivals (FWMW).
Roland agrees with Huber that the popular music market is saturated, saying De Concert!’s events are being negatively affected by increased competition, especially the “multiplication of small regional festivals, often at low prices or free, which offer more conviviality, more proximity and less security than the big festivals”.
“Small regional festivals, often at low prices or free, offer more conviviality, more proximity and less security…”
He adds that, in addition to competition from smaller festivals and theme parks, stadium events are taking away marketshare: the likes of Metallica, Muse and French-Canadian star Mylène Farmer all play stadium shows throughout this summer, which “makes festivals’ programmes less exceptional”.
Koopmans says festival operators are being forced to accept that traditional camping festivals – with a few honourable exceptions – “aren’t the hip thing anymore”, with people preferring to go to headline shows and one-day events.
“The festival market is still there, and it will continue to exist – Hurricane and Southside, for example, have great line-ups, and they’ll work this year – but in general it’s a challenge,” he explains. “Over the next few years we need to see what is happening, what people want, and adapt to those changes.
“Touring is stronger than ever before – people love to go to shows. But there’s been a change across the whole society, about what you do when you’re young and how you spend your money. We’re an entertainment company, and we need to entertain people in the way they want to be entertained.”
IQ’s own analysis of Europe’s festival market, the annual European Festival Report, will return in the end-of-year issue #87, providing an in-depth look at capacity and attendance, ticketing and pricing, VIP sales, challenges and concerns, new technology and more.
Read the 2018 European Festival Report here.
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.
Doctor Music Festival cancelled
After a three-year campaign to resurrect the brand, and just weeks from opening its doors, the Doctor Music Festival (DMF) has called time on the revived event. DMF’s comeback was due to take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in Montmeló from 12 to 14 July, but requests for refunds from ticket holders have forced promoter Neo Sala’s hand.
“Cancelling the comeback edition of Doctor Music Festival is among the toughest decision of my promoter career,” he says. “At the same time, it is inevitable. The recent relocation of the festival has not been well-received by the public. Since the ACA (Catalan Agency d’Aigues) surprisingly ordered us to move the DMF, we’ve seen a huge number of fans cancelling their tickets. While sales for our new location in Montmeló have risen in recent weeks, we ultimately won’t be able to offer the experience we were striving for.”
“Cancelling the comeback edition of Doctor Music Festival is among the toughest decision of my promoter career”
DMF was forced to move site in April after the Catalan Water Agency (ACA) warned that the event’s original site in the Pyrenees was at risk of flooding. In a press conference at the time, Sala talked of ecologists and “eco-opportunists”, criticising those who felt the valley was “theirs, and untouchable”.
Artists confirmed to appear at DMF included The Strokes, The Smashing Pumpkins, Rosalía, The Chemical Brothers, Greta Van Fleet & The Good, The Bad & The Queen. All ticket holders will be fully refunded for the event.
“I’d like to thank everybody who, over the past three years, gave a helping hand in revitalizing one of Southern Europe’s most successful festival brands – artists, representatives, sponsors, partners, and, above all, the fans,” Sala says. “A special thanks goes to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, who have done everything possible to adapt their spaces to a festival that had been originally designed to occupy a whole valley of the Pyrenees.”
Doctor Music Festival forced to move by flood threat
Spain’s Doctor Music Festival (DMF) has been obliged to change sites for its comeback edition this summer, after the Catalan Water Agency (ACA) warned that the event’s original site in the Pyrenees was at risk of flooding.
Neo Sala, the founder of promoter Doctor Music, confirmed today that Doctor Music 2019 will take place at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya Formula 1 track in Montmeló, near Barcelona, from 12 to 14 July. The festival was originally planned to take place over four days at Escalarre, in the Àneu valley, from 11 to 14 July, with the change meaning that Smashing Pumpkins will play on 14 July rather than the 11th, as originally planned.
Smashing Pumpkins will now play before Sunday’s headliner, the Strokes, after agreeing to “accommodate the date and time change for the sake of the festival, their fans and the other bands”.
Doctor Music Festival took place in Escalarre in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Festival organisers said they considered the ACA’s warning to be an exaggerated interpretation of the theoretical risk of flooding, in a valley that hasn’t flooded in summer for as long as records exist.
In a press conference to announce the change of venue, Sala talked of ecologists and “eco-opportunists”, criticising those who felt the valley was “theirs, and untouchable”.
“In the festival’s opinion, there has been a very over-exaggerated and destructive interpretation of the regulations surroundings theoretical flood risks in the valley, which has never before flooded in summer (at least as far as current data shows),” says DMF in a statement.
“We have found Montmeló, which is a fantastic place”
“The stringency levels which have been applied in this case far surpass the norm and we have therefore been forced to abandon the originally planned location in order to ensure that all artistic commitments made are complied with, and make sure that the festival goes ahead as per originally designed for this new edition.”
All of the artists confirmed for DMF 2019 will still perform, with the exception of Chris Robinson Brotherhood and the Prodigy, who cancelled all their live dates following the death of Keith Flint.
All tickets remain valid, though a refund policy has been implemented for those who no longer wish to attend. Ticket prices have also dropped, in reflection of the new three-day nature of the event, and promoters will reimburse those who already bought passes at the old, more expensive rate. Full information is available from www.doctormusicfestival.com.
Sala said he hasn’t considered the future of DMF beyond the 2019 event. “We are not even thinking about it,” he said. “We have found Montmeló, which is a fantastic place. And we are concentrating on having the best possible festival in Montmeló.”
Doctor Music today also announced new names for the festival, including Empire of the Sun, Johnny Marr, Texas, Kamasi Washington and Luciano. Swiss DJ Luciano will play in Force Field, an open-air stage dedicated to electronic music curated by DJ Damian Lazarus.
Sala also spoke on DMF’s impressive technical specs. The main stage will be 162m (531’) wide – apparently the largest concert or festival stage ever used in the south of Europe – and is designed by Ray Winkler of Stufish Architects, which has worked on stage design for the likes of the Rolling Stones and U2.
The festival’s lighting is being overseen by Patrick Woodroffe, director of Woodroffe Bassett Design, who designed recent tours by AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Adele and Black Sabbath.
Doctor Music Festival 2019 announces first acts
Spain’s Doctor Music Festival has announced its first wave of artists for next year’s ‘reincarnation edition’, including several who will perform multiple times throughout the festival.
Both King Crimson and Underworld will perform three sets apiece, giving fans more than one opportunity to see headliners and “reduce the anxiety generated […] by the worry of missing any of the key concerts”, according to festival promoter Neo Sala.
Sala explains: “I do not want people to have the feeling that they will miss something – the famous FOMO [fear of missing out] effect that you get in those big events will be reduced at Doctor Music Festival.”
Other performers include the Strokes (who return to the road in 2019 after a two-year hiatus), Smashing Pumpkins, Greta Van Fleet, Primal Scream, the Prodigy, Sisters of Mercy and Eyellusion’s Frank Zappa hologram.
The full line-up for the festival – which takes place from 11 to 14 July 2019 at a 350-acre site in Escalarre, surrounded by the Catalan Pyrenees – will be announced early next year.
A poster showing the first wave of acts in full is below:
Reincarnation for Doctor Music Festival
Spanish promoter Doctor Music last night held a launch party in London for the new iteration of its Doctor Music Festival, which will return after a 19-year hiatus in summer 2019.
MCed by BBC Radio 6 Music presenter Matt Everitt, and featuring food by world-famous chef Albert Adrià, the event – held at the exclusive Groucho Club – was attended by a number of high-profile agents and managers, including representatives of Arcade Fire (CAA), Bob Dylan (ITB), Robbie Williams (ie:music), Neil Young (ITB), Muse (UTA), The Black Keys (Paradigm) and Tom Petty (ITB).
The first 6,000 tickets for the ‘Reincarnation Edition’ festival, which will run from 12 to 14 July 2019, will go on sale from www.doctormusicfestival.com in early May – more than two years before the actual event itself.
Three-day passes are €175, although those who attended any of the previous Doctor Music Festivals – 1996, 1997 and 1998 in Escalarre or 2000 in Asturias – will be offered a €50 discount.
The festival site for the 2017 event – which returns to Escalarre, in the Catalan Pyrenees – will be spread over 140 hectares (346 acres), with five stages and general and VIP camping areas, for a minimum capacity of 40,000.
“The combination of the stars right above our heads, the greatest music legends and the most outstanding young talent will create a heavenly experience”
No performers have yet been announced, although is has been confirmed Adrià will integrate his Barcelona restaurant, Tickets, into the festival, bringing over chefs and staff to cook for festivalgoers. He says he’s “really excited to close the restaurant in Barcelona for a full weekend and move it to a wonderful mountain valley”. Albert Adrià’s ‘Tickets’ Food Experience at Doctor Music Festival can already be pre-booked through their website.
Doctor Music founder and CEO Neo Sala comments: “The Doctor Music Festival is an ecological Shangri-La, an unspoilt valley providing limitless space to roam and surrounded by mountains, where we will welcome tens of thousands of lovers of peace, music and nature.
“The combination of the stars right above our heads, the greatest music legends and the most outstanding young talent will create a heavenly experience.”
There have so far been four Doctor Music Festivals in total: in 1996 (headliners: David Bowie, Blur, Lou Reed), 1997 (Rage Against the Machine, Megadeth, Placebo), 1998 (Beastie Boys, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) and 2000 (Beck, Pet Shop Boys and the first Spanish show by Muse).
Melvin Benn’s Mean Fiddler group staged a spin-off one-day festival in Barcelona, the Metallica-headlined Doctor Music Day, in 2003, although there was no follow-up.
Spanish festival to return after 19-year hiatus
Spanish promoter Doctor Music is to revive its long-dormant Doctor Music Festival brand for a new event in July 2019.
Three years in the making, Doctor Music Festival 2019 will be “based on the same spirit” as the three original events in 1996, 1997 and 1998 – and take place on the same site in rural Escalarre in Catalonia, in the middle of the Pyrenees mountains – but “updated [for] present times”, says Doctor Music founder Neo Sala.
The new event has the support of four local city councils – Valls d’Àneu-Esterri, La Guingueta, València d’Àneu and Espot – and the county council of Pallars Sobirà, says Sala, who adds that more information will be available “next autumn”.
“The reaction after the announcement has been phenomenal – even though it’s going to be three years from now – and I’m really excited to put this together again”
There have been four Doctor Music Festivals in total: in 1996 (headliners: David Bowie, Blur, Lou Reed), 1997 (Rage Against the Machine, Megadeth, Placebo), 1998 (Beastie Boys, Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds) and 2000 (Beck, Pet Shop Boys and the first Spanish show by Muse).
Melvin Benn’s Mean Fiddler group staged a spin-off one day festival in Barcelona, the Metallica-headlined Doctor Music Day, in 2003, although there was no follow-up event.
“We were so much ahead of our time when we did the first edition in 1996 and faced all sorts of difficulties, but we succeeded in creating a unique event which became a positive and unforgettable life experience for everyone who was there,” Sala tells IQ. “The reaction after the announcement has been phenomenal – even though it’s going to be three years from now – and I’m really excited to put this together again.”