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Romania’s Saga postpones as lockdown lifting nears

The inaugural edition of Insomniac- and Alda-promoted Saga festival has been postponed to September, as the Romanian government prepares to begin a staggered easing of lockdown restrictions in mid-May.

Organisers of Saga, which was originally set to debut from 5 to 7 June in Bucharest’s Izvor park, state the postponement is “the best option for Saga festival with the health and wellbeing of visitors a main priority”.

Although the line-up for the rescheduled event on 11 to 13 September “may be slightly different due to artist scheduling”, organisers assure fans the billing “will be up to [the] standards” of dance music giants Insomniac (Electric Daisy Carnival) and Alda (Amsterdam Music Festival, New Horizons).

Saga joins fellow Bucharest festival Europafest, a multi-venue jazz, blues, pop and classical music event, to change its 2020 dates in view of the coronavirus crisis. Scheduled for May, organisers say they are now planning for Europafest to take place in the second half of July, with dates depending on the evolution of the situation in Romania and at European level.

Other major festivals in Romania, including electronic music events Untold and Neversea and European Festival Awards 2019 winners Electric Castle, Jazz in the Park and ARTmania, have yet to announce changes to their 2020 editions. The government expected to give more details on the future of public events when it begins to ease its stringent lockdown laws – which have seen citizens collectively fined up to €78 million for flouting restrictions –  on 15 May.

“Large-scale events are unlikely to take place given the announced and forecasted restrictions”

Although Emil Boc, mayor of the city of Cluj-Napoca where Untold, Electric Castle and Jazz in the Park take place, has said that large-scale events are “unlikely to take place given the announced and forecasted restrictions”, he notes that “difference and diverse ways of organising these events can be found”.

Festival organisers in Romania have also found diverse and different ways of helping the fight against coronavirus in recent weeks.

Promoters in Cluj-Napoca are selling “solidarity tickets” as part of the A Single Cluj (Un Singur Cluj) campaign, which brings together event organisers and others in the region to synchronise relief efforts and pool resources. By purchasing a solidarity ticket, fans can make direct donations to hospitals and other public institutions. “Ticket” prices range from RON 10 to RON 5,000 (€1,034).

Money raised by the campaign has gone towards buying surgical masks for help workers and supplying food to frontline staff. Members of the initiative have also helped to construct emergency triage centres.

The team behind Untold festival, currently set to take place from 30 July to 2 August with acts including Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Pussycat Dolls and David Guetta, launched the United Romania initiative, which aims to “bring together the good in Romania”.

So far, the campaign has helped supply six trucks with equipment such as portable flooring, geotextile and lighting from Untold and Neversea festivals for a field hospital in the city of Constanta and has provided 12,000 tests and other medical materials to hospitals in Cluj.

 


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Festival Fever: More festivals reveal their 2020 line-ups

Following on from last week’s round-up of 2020 line-up announcements,  IQ looks at a selection of festivals to see which acts will be gracing the stages in summer 2020.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Rock Werchter

When: 2 to 5 July
Where: Festival Park, Werchter, Belgium
How many: 88,000

Pearl Jam and Twenty One Pilots are the first acts announced for the 2020 edition of Rock Werchter, playing on 2 and 4 July respectively.

Founded and promoted by Live Nation Belgium CEO Herman Schueremans, Rock Werchter last year saw headline performances from Pink, the Cure, Tool, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons and Muse, in an edition that Schueremans deemed “a top result compared to a lot of festivals in Europe and the USA” that year.

Speaking at the International Festival Forum (IFF) in September this year, the Rock Werchter founder stressed the continued importance of festivals, saying they “sustain the live industry just as the Amazon rainforest sustains the world’s climate.”

Tickets for Rock Werchter 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 10 a.m. (CET), with a full festival ticket costing €243 (£207) and a single day-pass priced at €110 (£94).

Pearl Jam and Twenty One Pilots are the first acts announced for the 2020 edition of Rock Werchter

Nos Alive

When: 9 to 11 July
Where: Passeio Maritimo de Alges, Lisbon, Portugal
How many: 55,000

Everything is New’s Nos Alive festival runs on the ethos that “all stages are main stages”, last year programming acts including Johnny Marr, Primal Scream, Greta Van Fleet, Idles, Bon Iver, Grace Jones and Vampire Weekend.

The 2020 edition of the festival sees headliners Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and local favourites Da Weasel playing alongside Caribou, Two Door Cinema Club and Haim.

Portugal’s preeminent annual annual rock festival, Nos Alive is now entering its 14th year, having expanded from three stages in its inaugural year to seven, while striving to keep ticket prices low.

Tickets for Nos Alive 2020 are available now, priced at €69 (£59) for a one-day ticket and €159 (£136) for a three-day pass.

The 2020 edition of the festival sees headliners Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and local favourites Da Weasel

Latitude

When: 16 to 19 July
Where: Henham Park, Suffolk, UK
How many: 40,000

Latitude is one of a number of Festival Republic events to have enjoyed back-to-back sell-outs in recent years. The 2019 edition, which saw headline performances from George Ezra, Stereophonics and Lana Del Rey, contributed a season that, according to Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn,“genuinely couldn’t have been better.”

The 15th edition of Latitude includes headline performances from Liam Gallagher, the Chemical Brothers and Haim, with the Lumineers, Michael Kiwanuka, Keane and Charli XCX also appearing on the bill.

Gallagher, who is currently playing around the UK on the Why Me? Why Not? tour, is returning to the festival after playing as the ‘secret act’ in 2018.

Tickets for Latitude festival 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT). Adult weekend tickets cost £210, with accompanied teen tickets priced at $145 and child passes at £15.

Latitude is one of a number of Festival Republic events to have enjoyed back-to-back sell-outs in recent years

Isle of Wight Festival

When: 11 to 14 June
Where: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight, UK
How many: 90,000

The Isle of Wight festival yesterday (3 December) revealed its 2020 headliners, with Lionel Richie and Lewis Capaldi playing the mainstage on the opening night, Snow Patrol and the Chemical Brothers heading up the second evening and Duran Duran closing proceedings on the Sunday.

The 2020 festival will mark the 50th anniversary of its 1970 edition, which saw headline performances from Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Joni Mitchell and constituted the last festival on the island until its 2002 resurrection.

“I’m excited to be playing at the Isle of Wight Festival next summer,” says Lionel Richie, who will make his debut appearance at the event. “It’s a festival steeped in music history – Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones have all headlined and I’m honoured to be joining the esteemed list.”

Other acts on the 2020 line-up include Happy Mondays, Kaiser Chiefs, Sam Fender, Dido, James Arthur and Primal Scream.

Tickets for the Isle of Wight Festival 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT), with adult weekend tickets priced at £185.

“It’s a festival steeped in music history – Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones have all headlined”

Electric Castle

When: 15 to 19 July
Where: Bannfy Castle, Cluj, Romania
How many: 50,000

Romania’s multi-genre Electric Castle festival is returning for its 8th year in 2020, with already announced acts including Twenty One Pilots, Foals, Floating Points, the Neighbourhood and Fisher.

The 2019 edition of the festival, which takes place each year in an old Transylvanian castle, saw performances from Florence and the Machine, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Limp Bizkit, Bring Me the Horizon and Chvrches.

For the second consecutive year, Electric Castle will have an area dedicated to visual artists, called the New Media Castle, which will house art installations from Robert Henke, James Clar and Claire Hentschker.

Tickets for Electric Castle 2020 are available here, with general tickets costing LEI 499 (£89) and camping passes priced at LEI 539 (£96).

Romania’s multi-genre Electric Castle festival is returning for its 8th year in 2020

Bilbao BBK Live

When: 9 to 11 July
Where: Kobetamendi, Bilbao, Spain
How many: 40,000

Set in the mountains near to the coastal city of Bilbao, BBK Live has nearly doubled in size in recent years. The Spanish festival welcomed 112,800 people from 100 different countries to its 14th edition last year, with performances from the Strokes, Rosalía, Liam Gallagher and Hot Chip.

Founded in 2006, BBK Live has seen the likes of the Police, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, New Order, Depeche Mode, Guns N’ Roses and Lenny Kravitz perform over the years.

For the 2020 edition, Kendrick Lamar, the Killers, Pet Shop Boys and Bad Bunny top the bill, playing along with Caribou, Four Tet, Supergrass, Kelly Lee Owens and Slowthai, with more acts still to be announced.

Tickets for Bilbao BBK Live are available here with a full festival pass costing €140 (£119) and camping tickets priced at €158 (£134).

For the 2020 edition, Kendrick Lamar, the Killers, Pet Shop Boys and Bad Bunny top the bill

All Points East

When: 22 to 31 May
Where: Victoria Park, London, UK
How many: 40,000

All Points East has announced another headliner since the last edition of Festival Fever. German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk will perform their only UK show of the year at the festival on Friday 29 May, supported by Iggy Pop, Johnny Marr, the Orb and others.

Kraftwerk mark the second UK exclusive for the festival, adding to the headline performance from Tame Impala on Saturday 23 May.

AEG’s other London festival, British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park has added Taylor Swift and Pearl Jam to its 2020 headliner list, following the announcement of its first headline act, Little Mix, last week.

Pearl Jam will perform on Friday 10 July, as part of their 13-date European summer tour, with Swift playing on the following evening. Pixies and White Reaper will join Pearl Jam on the Friday.

Little Mix will play the opening Saturday of the concert series (4 July), along with newly announced special guests Rita Ora, Kesha and Zara Larsson.

Tickets for Kraftwerk at All Points East go on sale on 6 December at 10 a.m. (GMT). Tickets for Taylor Swift at BST will become available 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT), with Pearl Jam tickets going on sale on 7 December at 10 a.m. (GMT).

 


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Electric Castle goes fully cashless

Romanian electronic music festival Electric Castle will go fully cashless for 2016.

The festival, promoted by Cluj-Napoca-based Boiler Events, will provide its 100,000 attendees with Intellitix RFID wristbands for both access-control and payment, which it says will result in “significantly reduced queue times, increased convenience and enhanced security”.

Guests will be able top up their accounts via the Electric Castle website, or set up an ‘auto top-up’ feature’ to automatically recharge the wristband when funds fall below a certain amount.

“Romania will be the 18th border we cross, and what better way to introduce our solutions than at the Electric Castle Festival – it’s a magical event”

Electric Castle’s head of communications, Andi Vanca, says: “It’s fantastic to be able introduce this new technology for our festivalgoers at this year’s Electric Castle. Our ambitions are to improve the experience of each and every one of our festivalgoers, and through speedy purchases via the RFID wristbands we will be able to reduce queue times and increase convenience for all, meaning more time to explore the amazing line-up and programme we’ve put on for everyone.”

Intellitix’s Serge Grimaux adds: “It is always exciting to deploy our services for the first time in a new country. Romania will be the 18th border we cross, and what better way to introduce our solutions than at the Electric Castle Festival – it’s a magical event.”

The fourth Electric Festival takes place at Bánffy Castle in Bonţida from 14 to July, and will be headlined by Sigur Rós and German techno DJ Paul Kalkbrenner.