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Matt Schwarz on DreamHaus’s first festival season

DreamHaus CEO Matt Schwarz has spoken to IQ about the company’s “hugely successful and record-breaking” festival summer.

Having launched in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Berlin-based promoter waited almost two years to clock in for its first festival summer and even then, it wasn’t business as usual in Germany.

“Rock am Ring and Rock im Park were the first two major festivals of the season in central Europe after two years of Covid-19 related cancellations,” explains Schwarz.

“By March we still didn’t know if we could host the festivals due to Covid-19. Almost everything happened at the last minute, including the introduction and implementation of new features such as cashless payment for both editions, new festival apps and much more.”

In addition to the time crunch, the promoter had to deal with a slate of prevailing challenges including “lack of specialised personnel, increased production costs, and inflation and recession due to the geopolitical situation and the world being upside down”.

Despite the numerous hurdles, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park went ahead between the 3–5 June at Nürburgring race track and Zeppelin Field and sold a record 90,000 and 70,000 tickets respectively.

“[Rock am Ring] was the most successful festival stream ever in Germany”

“We were all the more relieved that the festivals turned out to be a huge success with record-breaking attendances and Rock am Ring being broadcast live/live in its entirety,” says Schwarz. “Streaming numbers exceeded any expectations making it the most successful festival stream ever in Germany.”

The festival was livestreamed via German streaming service RTL+, with fans around the world able to watch performances from the likes of Green Day, Muse, Volbeat, Placebo and Måneskin – free of charge.

In addition, the festival partnered with TikTok to bring the ‘Rock am Ring experience’ to the worldwide community through hashtag campaigns, live programmes, official playlists and backstage content with popular creators.

This year marks the first time DreamHaus has organised and programmed the twin festivals (along with eventimpresents) and for Schwarz, it’s a full-circle moment.

Rock am Ring was founded by Marcel Avram and Marek Lieberberg’s Mama Concerts in 1985, while Rock im Park took place for the first time in 1995 under Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK).

Schwarz was formerly VP of touring and festivals at MLK, before becoming MD and COO of Live Nation GSA when Lieberberg sold MLK to Eventim’s live music subsidiary Medusa Group in 2015. From 2016, the CTS-owned festivals were co-promoted with Lieberberg, now CEO of Live Nation GSA.

“I pondered a lot about what it would be like to work on The Rocks again”

Schwarz resigned his position at Live Nation GSA in February 2020 and in October of the same year, DreamHaus was launched with scant details and the ominous message “If you know you know”.

At the same time, it was announced that Schwarz would return to work on Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, but this time as head of eventimpresents (the company formerly known as MLK).

In February 2021, CTS Eventim acquired DreamHaus and it was announced that, under the Eventim Live umbrella, the promoter would be responsible for organising and programming the festivals from 2022, along with eventimpresents.

“Beforehand, I pondered a lot about what it would be like to work on The Rocks again,” Schwarz tells IQ. “Honestly, it felt like getting back on the bike – you never forget how to do it.”

While the DreamHaus CEO says that working on the marquee festivals was his highlight of 2022, the promoter has plenty of milestones to pick from.

This year also saw DreamHaus join forces with FKP Scorpio and Loft Concerts for a brand new Berlin-based festival, Tempelhof Sounds.

“Our new heavyweight domestic act Apache 207 sold over 60,000 tickets in seconds blowing out five arenas”

Touted as “an inclusive and cosmopolitan festival,” the three-day event saw the likes of Muse, The Strokes and Florence and the Machine perform on the grounds of Tempelhof Airport between 10–12 June.

On the touring side of the business, Schwarz says DreamHaus has promoted hundreds of concerts this year – mainly on the club and theatre level – and sold approximately 750,000 tickets in 2022.

“Our new heavyweight domestic act Apache 207 [German rapper] sold over 60,000 tickets in seconds blowing out five arenas,” says Schwarz. “We’re also very pleased with the ticket sales for Måneskin, Kid Cudi, Muse, Sam Smith, Lewis Capaldi and Tenacious D.”

Among Schwarz’s personal highlights for 2022 was a rescheduled concert from German superstar Marteria at the open-air concert venue Berlin Waldbühne (cap. 22,290).

“It got cancelled just minutes before doors due to a massive thunderstorm,” he says. “Luckily, we were able to return to the venue a few days later when Marteria caught up on the show and delivered a terrific concert.

“Another highlight was the beautiful James Blake show at Verti Music Hall, booked by Pana [Ioannis Panagopoulo] from our team. He is one of my favourite artists and it was such a special night.”

DreamHaus’ touring numbers are all the more impressive given Germany’s fractured and sluggish reopening, which has seen the market trail behind its European counterparts.

“2023 is going to be an uphill battle; the worst is yet to come”

“There was a lot of uncertainty around the varying Covid restrictions in the individual federal states,” says Schwarz. “And when a lot of the western world opened up, we still had to deal with these restrictions. This certainly had an impact on the potential ticket buyers who are still wary.

“People tend to wait and buy their ticket much later in the campaign and closer to the show date for most of the tours unless it’s blockbuster content. Outdoor shows are getting more popular.”

Schwarz expects that consumer trepidation will continue next year, prolonging the business’ full recovery.

“Everyone thought 2022 to be the transition year after the pandemic,” he says. “Now it turns out that 2023 will be the transition year. We will have to face inflation and recession which have an impact on how and what people will spend their money on. It’s going to be an uphill battle; the worst is yet to come. Our modus operandi, therefore, is “less is more” in regard to show count and risks.”

 


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The New Bosses 2022: Benji Fritzenschaft, DreamHaus

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 114 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2022’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous New Bosess 2022 interview with Agustina Cabo from Move Concerts here. The series continues with Benji Fritzenschaft, a talent buyer at Dreamhaus in Germany.

Whilst studying sports journalism in Hamburg, Fritzenschaft began a hip-hop podcast that opened a door for him into the music industry. He started working as a social media creator at Sony in 2019, and shortly after applied for a job at Goodlive, where he landed a job as part of the splash! Festival booking team, which resulted in his move to Berlin. He also helped promote the German tours of Goodlive’s hip-hop artists such as Stormzy, Skepta, Dave, and Trippie Redd & Suicideboys, and the company used his expertise for booking its domestic hip-hop festivals (Heroes).

In May 2022, Fritzenschaft was hired by DreamHaus as a talent buyer, working on tours for 070 Shake, Aitch, Kid Cudi, and Jack Harlow. He also books talent for DreamHaus’s festivals and helps develop new events.


You studied sports journalism at university. Are there any lessons from your studies that have been useful in your career?
I feel like my time at university helped me prepare for this job – especially the journalism part. For example, I learned how marketing works, how to get the information you need, and how important a good network is. In addition to that, there is lots of competition in sports and journalism, as well as the music business, so in hindsight, I feel like this prepared me.

Your podcast opened doors for you. What advice would you give to anyone trying to find a job in live music?
If you are passionate about music and want to work in live music but cannot seem to find an entrance, go the extra mile: Start your own project (podcast, blog, etc.) and invest your time. Show the world you have expertise and why you would be a good addition to any team.

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live music industry a better place?
I feel like, for my generation, sustainability is more important than ever before – mental health, diversity in festival line-ups, as well as in the office, and taking care of the environment… We all know there will be competition in the live music industry, but I have a feeling that sometimes people take it too far. I believe it should never be taken personally, as business is never personal.

“If you are passionate about music and want to work in live music but cannot seem to find an entrance, go the extra mile”

What has been the biggest challenge for you and the DreamHaus team as the business has emerged from the pandemic restrictions?
You probably know Germany’s way of handling the situation with loads of restrictions, so finally being able to have shows again was great. There is uncertainty about the upcoming winter, so hopefully we can continue having regular concerts throughout the colder times. Let me be fully honest: after months in my home office, it took a while for me to get used to the regular office workflow again.

Where would you like to see yourself in five years’ time?
I got into the industry three years ago and just moved from Goodlive to DreamHaus. With that move, I also got promoted from assistant to promoter, so I just want to keep my momentum going and build my roster. In general, my goal is to continue to do my work, learn, and evolve – personally as well as career-wise – and then who knows what the future will bring.

What has been the highlight of your career, so far?
There have been a couple: After years of attending splash! as a fan, the moment I was backstage at the festival as an official was pretty cool. The first big shows were nice as well: Stormzy before Covid, Dave on the first day after restrictions were gone, and selling out our Kid Cudi show within a couple of days. In addition to that, LUIS – the first domestic act I signed – just started his first tour, which is basically sold out.

“My goal is to continue to do my work, learn, and evolve – personally as well as career-wise”

Where is your favourite venue?
The splash! Festival site at Ferropolis will always have a special place in my heart. For concert venues, there is of course Berghain in Berlin where we had great shows with Little Simz and Bas. A concert at Berghain is always special. Uebel & Gefährlich in Hamburg and Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld in Cologne are also among my favourites.

The hip-hop world is a tight community. Who are your best friends or allies at other companies in your day-to-day work?
I am still friends with a lot of people at Goodlive and Bomber Der Herzen. I am also constantly speaking to Cedric Icaasain who manages artists and runs a club in Cologne. I also want to mention Malte von der Lanken and Andrej Malogajski from Mainland Music. Regarding domestic acts, Greg from ARKTIK Management and Steph from Atlantic Germany are my guys. Special shout-out to Thomas ‘The Don’ Schlett as well.


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The New Bosses: Introducing the class of 2022

The 15th edition of IQ Magazine‘s New Bosses can now be revealed, highlighting 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

New Bosses 2022 inspired the most engaged voting process to date, with hundreds of people taking the time to submit nominations. The final 20 comprises executives working across agencies, promoters, ticketing companies, charities and venues in 12 different countries.

In no particular order, the New Bosses 2022 are:

Benji Fritzenschaft, DreamHaus (DE).
Clara Cullen, Music Venue Trust (UK).
Dan Rais, CAA (CO).
David Nguyen, Rock The People (CZ).
Daytona Häusermann, Gadget ABC (CH).
Grant Hall, ASM Global (US).
James Craigie, Goldenvoice (UK).
Kathryn Dryburgh, ATC Live (UK).
Resi Scheurmann, Konzertbüro Schoneberg (DE).
Seny Kassaye, Fort Agency (CA).
Agustina Cabo, Move Concerts (AR).
Sönke Schal, Karsten Janke Konzertdirektion (DE).
Steel Hanf, Proxy Agency (US).
Steff James, Live Nation (UK).
Stella Scocco, Södra Teatern (SE).
Vegard Storaas, Live Nation (NO).
Lewis Wilde, DICE (UK).
Zoe Williamson, UTA (US).
Jonathan Hou, Live Nation (US).
Maciej Korczak, Follow The Step (PL).

Subscribers can read shortened profiles of each of the 2022 New Bosses in issue 114 of IQ Magazine, which is out now. Full-length Q&As will appear on IQ in the coming days and weeks.

Click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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Festival heads talk costs: “There is trouble ahead”

European festival heads discussed the impact of spiralling costs on the 2022 and 2023 festival seasons at last week’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, Germany.

Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio, DE), Catharine Krämer (DreamHaus, DE), and Codruța Vulcu (ARTmania, RO) were among the pros discussing higher expenses during the Festival Season 22/23 panel.

Thanscheidt told the panel that while Hamburg-headquartered FKP Scorpio sold out 27 of its 28 festivals, the margins were “complete shit” due to higher expenses.

“Production costs are up 25–30%,” he said. “It depends on the department because some [costs] are up just 10% but others were like 120%. This year we were put into a corner where we could either say yes [to the increase] or just not do the festival.”

The company’s festival portfolio includes Hurricane (DE), Southside (DE), Provinssi (FI), Sideways (FI), Greenfield (CH), Best Kept Secret (NL) and new festival Tempelhof Sounds (DE) – some of which were €30 to €50 more expensive to attend this year.

While FKP Scorpio sold out 27 of its 28 festivals, the margins were “complete shit” due to higher expenses

“We’re trying to [increase ticket prices] in a very smooth way,” said Thanscheidt. “If we get to €400–500 for normal festival tickets, we’ll have a problem. We’re trying to be very sensible in setting the prices. So we’re very happy that the audience was fine with that and we sold all the tickets without getting a shitstorm on socials or something.”

In Romania, rising costs are only exacerbated by the country’s close proximity to the war in Ukraine.

“The inflation rate is 15.5% which is extremely high so everything from production to personnel was completely out of proportion,” said Vulcu, CEO of ARTmania, Romania’s longest-running rock festival.

Vulcu told the panel that many of the festival’s partners backed out of supporting the 2022 event but the main sponsor, German hypermarket chain Kaufland, offered to make up the slack.

“They said ‘Okay, let’s give you some more money to survive. Can we take extra costs from you that we can put on our budgets?’ So it was a positive and totally unexpected turn but apparently, they were they are wanting to be the saviours of festivals,” she said.

“The inflation rate [in Romania] is 15.5% so everything from production to personnel was completely out of proportion”

Looking towards next year’s ARTmania, which is already on sale, Vulcu says it’s hard to see how the festival can spread skyrocketing costs.

“We book mainly internationally and the prices that I’m getting from some artists are not low but we can’t put the ticket prices so high that the young people can’t come,” she explained.

DreamHaus’ Krämer says the Berlin-based agency is facing a similar stalemate situation for next year’s festival season after their production costs increased 25–30%.

“No supplier will ever say ‘We’re going back to the prices that we had in 2019’,” she said. “So we could lower the cost of the whole festival experience but this would have a significant impact on the whole quality of it.”

CTS Eventim-backed DreamHaus is jointly responsible for organising and programming the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, which have a combined attendance of 150,000, among other events.

“We could lower the cost of the whole festival experience but this would have a significant impact on the quality”

Referencing Thanscheidt’s earlier point, Krämer added: “There are not that many suppliers that can supply festivals of our size so we’re also in a corner, where we can take it or leave it.”

Thanscheidt says the crisis will only get worse ahead of next year’s season, though he’s bullish about the industry’s ability to come up with solutions.

“Costs will not go down next year,” said Thanscheidt. “Gas and electricity prices are doubled now and they will be tripled in a few weeks. Inflation might go up again.

“There are some months of trouble coming up and the result is yet to be seen. But of course, we will all stay very positive because that’s what we always do in an industry in which most of us have a DIY background. So let’s see how we solve this but it will not be easy.”

 


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DreamHaus poaches Goodlive’s Julian Gupta and team

CTS Eventim’s DreamHaus has announced the appointment of Julian Gupta as director of festival booking.

His team, which consists of talent buyer Benjamin Fritzenschaft and talent buying assistant Moritz Kob, will follow him to the Berlin-based agency.

Gupta joins DreamHaus from Germany’s Goodlive where he was head of festival booking and curated line-ups for events including splash! (Ferropolis) and Heroes (Kassel, Freiburg and Geiselwind).

“I’m grateful that with Julian, Benji and Moritz we have been able to win an amazing team, who perfectly fit into DreamHaus’ DNA”

Gupta and his team have also worked on tours for the likes of Stormzy, Odesza, Little Simz, Khalid, Skepta and Dave.

Commenting on the new appointments, DreamHaus CEO Matt Schwarz says: “I’m grateful that with Julian, Benji and Moritz we have been able to win an amazing team, who perfectly fit into DreamHaus’ DNA.”

Gupta adds: “Since the first talks, I’ve been convinced that we can implement new ideas with the team here. I’m looking forward to the upcoming tasks in a perfect environment.”

Marc Seemann, director strategy & business development at DreamHaus, says: “We are very pleased about the new opportunities the integration of Julian and his team will open up together with their convincing market competence. We will further expand the areas of marketing and brand partnership by using new synergies.”

DreamHaus is responsible for organising and programming the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, along with eventimpresents. The agency says it is planning to “build up additional live platforms” with the new team.

 


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Rock am Ring sells record 90,000 weekend tickets

Germany’s premier rock festival Rock am Ring has sold a record 90,000 weekend tickets for its 2022 edition.

Limited day tickets are available for eventimpresents/DreamHaus’s festival but otherwise, it is completely sold out.

Green Day, Muse, Volbeat, Placebo, Måneskin are among the acts slated to perform at the event, taking place at the Nürburgring race track between 3 and 5 June.

It was recently announced that all performances will be livestreamed via German streaming service RTL+, with fans around the world able to watch the broadcast free of charge.

Green Day, Muse, Volbeat, Placebo, Måneskin are among the acts slated to perform at the event

Additionally, a partnership with TikTok will bring the Rock am Ring experience to the worldwide community through hashtag campaigns, live programmes, official playlists and backstage content with popular creators.

Eventimpresents and DreamHaus have also reported that twin festival Rock im Park is almost sold out, having shifted more than 70,000 tickets. The event takes place concurrently with Rock am Ring, at Zeppelin Field in Nüremberg.

Rock am Ring was founded by Marcel Avram and Marek Lieberberg’s Mama Concerts in 1985, while Rock im Park took place for the first time in 1995 under Marek Lieberberg Konzertagentur (MLK).

Berlin-based promoter DreamHaus is now responsible for organising and programming the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, along with eventimpresents.

 


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DreamHaus and veteran exec Alex Richter to collaborate

DreamHaus has announced an exclusive collaboration with Alex Ritcher, the former managing director of Four Artists agency.

According to the Berlin-based promoter and agency, Ritcher will help expand its national acts starting with Michael Patrick Kelly’s extensive arena tour.

Richter will utilise his 22 years’ worth of expertise as MD for Four Artists agency, which he left of his own volition in November 2019.

“I’m looking forward to working with Alex. His resounding successes, his passion for music, and not to mention his great sense for artist development speak for themselves,” says DreamHaus CEO Matt Schwarz.

“Together with Alex, we will significantly expand the DreamHaus domestic talent portfolio”

Alex Richter comments: “I’m very happy to have found a competent partner for future live projects in Matt Schwarz and his highly motivated DreamHaus team. The start of our collaboration is the B.O.A.T.S. arena tour of Michael Patrick Kelly – an extraordinary artist who, with his talent, vita and personality highly impressed me.”

“Together with Alex, we will significantly expand the DreamHaus domestic talent portfolio. In addition to established artists, the joint, long-term development of long-lasting careers is very exciting for us as an agency,” comments Marc Seemann, DreamHaus Director Strategy & Business Development.

Michael Patrick Kelly’s tour runs between 15 September 2022 and 11 February 2023, visiting arenas in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Last month, CTS Eventim-backed DreamHaus announced its first-ever arena tour with one of Germany’s biggest artists, Marteria.

The agency/promoter has also announced tours with international acts such as Bullet For My Valentine, Jake Bugg, James Blake, Orla Gartland, Rebecca Black, Evanescence, Maneskin and Yungblud, as well as a brand new festival, Tempelhof Sounds.

 


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Germany’s DreamHaus announces first arena tour

CTS Eventim-backed DreamHaus has planned its first-ever arena tour with one of Germany’s biggest artists.

The Berlin-based promoter and agency yesterday (18 October) announced a 14-date tour with rapper Marteria.

The 2022 jaunt will visit arenas in Germany, Switzerland and Austria including Berlin’s Waldbühne (cap. 22,000), Vienna’s Stadthalle (16,000) and Zurich’s Hallenstadion (15,000).

The tour is part of a new long term agreement that will see Dreamhaus become Marteria’s tour organiser and exclusive artist agency.

Matt Schwarz, CEO and managing partner of DreamHaus, told Musik Woche he admires Marteria as one of the most style-defining and credible artists of his generation.

The 14-date 2022 jaunt will visit arenas in Germany, Switzerland and Austria

“It makes me all the happier that I can now actively support him together with the DreamHaus team and professionally accompany the expansion of his live career,” says Schwarz.

The ‘Full Contact’ tour will kick off in Marteria’s hometown of Rostock on 29 May and conclude in Bremen on 20 December 2022.

Under the new partnership, the rapper will also perform at Rock am Ring/Rock im Park in June 2022, which DreamHaus will jointly organise.

DreamHaus recently added to its stable of festivals with the addition of a brand new Berlin festival Tempelhof Sounds.

The agency/promoter has also announced tours with the likes of Bullet For My Valentine, Jake Bugg, James Blake, Orla Gartland, Rebecca Black, Evanescence, Maneskin and Yungblud.

 


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DreamHaus forms strategic partnership with Publicis

CTS Eventim-backed DreamHaus has entered into a strategic partnership with advertising agency Publicis Groupe Germany.

Under the new alliance, the partners intend to use the live entertainment business as a platform for the creative staging of brands, and “make the world of music accessible for innovative marketing concepts”.

Another aim of the partnership is to create new experiences by linking artists, fans and brands and thus to help brands achieve more relevance and a credible role in pop culture, says DreamHaus.

Marc Seemann, director strategy and business development at DreamHaus, says: “We are very excited about this strategic partnership with Publicis, as we create important synergy effects through this alliance. With authenticity and the right feeling for musical trends, we will facilitate artists’ access to brands with this shoulder-to-shoulder alliance and develop authentic collaborations together.”

“With authenticity and the right feeling for musical trends, we will facilitate artists’ access to brands with this alliance”

Matt Schwarz, CEO and managing partner at DreamHaus, adds: “The collaboration with Publicis offers further perspectives to artists, fans, brands and our festival formats. We are excited to be innovating together from now on and to have found a partner who shares our passion for live entertainment.”

Dennis May, COO Publicis Groupe Germany, comments: “The emotional power of music and entertainment platforms is unique. And the possibilities for brands to play a content role here are almost limitless. So far, however, this has been used far too little – especially when it comes to tailor-made concepts that go beyond pure sponsoring. We see DreamHaus as a partner who will write great brand stories with us. We are already working on this – and have been having a lot of fun since the first minute!”

Earlier this week, DreamHaus, alongside FKP Scorpio and Loft Concerts, announced a new Berlin festival for 2022.

DreamHaus, meanwhile, is jointly responsible for organising and programming the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, after the company was acquired by CTS Eventim.

 


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FKP Scorpio, DreamHaus, Loft announce new festival

FKP Scorpio, DreamHaus and Loft Concerts are joining forces on a brand new open-air festival, set to launch in Berlin next year.

Tempelhof Sounds will take place between 10 to 12 June 2022 on the grounds of Tempelhof Airport – where the Berlin Festival once took place, and the German Lollapalooza Festival launched in 2015.

Muse and The Strokes will headline the festival, along with a third act that is yet to be announced. Alt-J, Interpol, Idles, Royal Blood, Two Door Cinema Club, Mac DeMarco, Wolf Alice and Big Thief are also set to perform.

A mission statement says the event is an “inclusive and cosmopolitan festival” and the organisers “firmly believe in equality, diversity and sustainability”.

“We are very pleased to make this special festival format possible in the capital together with our partners,” comments Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO of FKP Scorpio. “Our guests can expect an event that combines top international acts with an extraordinary open-air experience. Tempelhof Sounds wants to offer ‘programmatic surprises’ and present a diverse line-up.”

“Our guests can expect an event that combines top international acts with an extraordinary open-air experience”

Fontaines DC, The Gardener & The Tree, Hinds, Black Honey, Just Mustard, Pillow Queens and The Pale White are also slated to perform.

Other confirmed acts include London Grammar, Parcels, Courtney Barnett, Sophie Hunger, Freya Ridings, Anna Calvi, Kat Frankie, Holly Humberstone, Griff and Baby Queen.

Tickets are on sale now, with day passes starting from €79 and festival passes starting from €179.

Hamburg-headquartered FKP Scorpio adds Tempelhof Sounds to a portfolio that already includes a raft of marquee German festivals such as Hurricane, Southside, Highfield, M’era Luna and A Summer’s Tale.

Berlin-based DreamHaus, meanwhile, is jointly responsible for organising and programming the Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, after the company was acquired by CTS Eventim.

Loft Concerts, also based in Berlin, was founded 30 years ago and today promotes more than 200 concerts a year in the greater Berlin area.

 


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