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Electric Picnic cancelled: “We have run out of time”

Electric Picnic 2021 has been cancelled following the local council’s refusal to grant the organisers a licence.

The Irish festival was scheduled for 24–26 September at Stradbally Hall Estate, County Laois but, at the beginning of August, the council declined to issue a permit based on “the most up-to-date public health advice”.

Electric Picnic’s promoters, Festival Republic and MCD, had previously petitioned Laois County Council to reverse its decision.

The council has since said it cannot legally revisit its previous refusal of an event licence for Electric Picnic 2021 and that statutory timelines would not allow for the processing of a new application in time for the original date.

“We would not be able to do the festival justice this close to show day”

“We have now run out of time,” the promoters wrote in a statement.

“Regrettably, we have no other choice but to cancel this year’s edition. We would not be able to do the festival justice this close to show day, and it would be unfair to ask ticket holders who’ve stood by us throughout this pandemic to come to EP and not get the full experience they are used to and deserve.”

Snow Patrol, Foals, Chemical Brothers, Rage Against The Machine, Lewis Capaldi, Skepta, James Vincent McMorrow, Denzel Curry were due to perform.

Ticketholders now have the option of obtaining a full refund or holding onto them for next year’s event, scheduled to take place from 2–4 September 2022.

A day before the festival was cancelled, the Irish government announced a new phased reopening plan which Festival Republic and MCD among others have long been calling for.

 


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Ireland’s Electric Picnic presses gov for reopening plan

Electric Picnic is calling on the Irish government to interrupt its summer recess and “immediately issue reopening guidelines,” after the festival was refused a licence for this year’s event.

The event, which would usually take place with 70,000 attendees per day, was scheduled to go ahead from 24–26 September at Stradbally Hall Estate, County Laois.

However, despite the organisers’ proposal to ensure that everyone attending the event would be fully vaccinated and registered in advance for contact tracing, the local council has declined to issue a permit based on “the most up-to-date public health advice”.

The council cited current government guidance in relation to “events of this nature being restricted to an attendance of 500 people only”.

“This was a very difficult decision for the council to make and I’m sure it will be disappointing to thousands of music fans and the live music industry,” says Laois County Council’s chairman, councillor Conor Bergin. “However, in the current climate, it’s the lack of certainty over Covid. We’d all love to see it go ahead but with no certainty, it’s very hard.”

The promoters, Festival Republic and MCD, described the news as a “huge blow and set back to our entire sector, which was mandated to close on the 12th March 2020 (over 500 days ago).”

The statement said that the decision means “the further loss of employment for over 3,000 people, who had clung to the hope that Electric Picnic would bring an end to their period of hardship”.

“This is a huge blow and set back to our entire sector”

“To see Scotland, a country with a similar population and virtually identical vaccine rollout and uptake as our own, only announce yesterday that they were easing restrictions and allowing events such as Trnsmt in Glasgow go ahead in September makes this decision even more difficult to accept,” it said.

It was announced yesterday that Trnsmt was granted ‘gateway event’ status by the government, exempting it from the capacity limit for outdoor events.

The three-day event will take place this September with up to 50,000 non-socially distanced fans per day.

Electric Picnic is now calling on the Irish government to reopen the live music sector “on a phased basis” from 14 August, building to the lifting of restrictions from 1 September onwards.

The organisers say they’re now “reviewing their options” and will be in contact with ticket holders over the next week.

Should Electric Picnic 2021 be cancelled, it will mark two years in a row without the festival. The festival has been staged annually since 2004.

 


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Festivals cancelled as Ireland outlaws events over 5k

The Republic of Ireland’s major summer festivals, including Longitude, All Together Now, Life Festival, Body & Soul and the new-for-2020 Sunstroke, have been called off after the Irish government confirmed there would there would be no licences issued for events over 5,000 people until the end of August.

A statement issued by the Irish prime minister (taoiseach), Leo Varadkar, says while licensing decisions in Ireland are usually reserved for local councils, local authorities “have been advised by government that event promoters should be informed that events requiring licences in excess of 5,000 will not be considered for the period up to the end of August”.

MCD Productions, which promotes Longitude (3–5 July) and Sunstroke (13–14 June), as well as Electric Picnic on 4–6 September, says while it is “obviously devastated” Longitude isn’t going ahead, “the health and safety of our fans and staff is paramount and we fully respect the government’s decision. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the frontline workers currently giving their all to keep us safe.”

Longitude’s 2020 line-up featured headliners Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator and Asap Rocky, along with Mabel, Young Thug, J Hus and Charli XCX.

As for Electric Picnic, MCD head Denis Desmond says: “It’s a long shot. The chances of it happening are not good.”

“The health and safety of our audience, team and performers takes total precedence at this time of global crisis”

Restrictions on major events are also in place in the Netherlands, where large events are banned until 1 September; GermanyBelgium and Denmark, where a ban is in place until 31 August; and Luxembourg and Finland, which have prohibited mass gatherings until 31 July. France, meanwhile, has given mid-July as the earliest date when events could go ahead, while Austria has identified the end of June.

The restrictions across Europe are in line with the latest European Union guidance.

“Like everyone across the world, we’ve been watching the ongoing effects that Covid-19 is having on our everyday lives,” say All Together Now (31 July–2 August) organisers Pod Concerts and Aiken Promotions, which had booked Iggy Pop, Lauryn Hill, Mura Masa, Goldfrapp and more for its third edition. “The health and safety of our audience, team and performers, plus the extended communities to which they belong, takes total precedence at this time of global crisis.

“Being ‘All Together’ has never been more poignant. While for now, we can’t be together physically, we must be together in spirit by following HSE [Health Service Executive] and government guidelines [and] supporting frontline staff, our local communities, independent businesses and artists who need our support more than ever.”

Avril Stanley, promoter and festival director of Body & Soul (19–21 June), says: “While we may not be able to gather in person this summer, we are with you in spirit. We’re not going anywhere.”

 


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RATM announce European festival run

In their first shows in ten years, Rage Against the Machine will be appearing at Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK, Ireland’s Electric Picnic, Lollapalooza Berlin and French festival Rock en Seine.

The dates form part of the band’s upcoming global arena tour, which include other European stops at the O2 Arena in Prague (18,000-cap,), the Czech Republic, and the Tauron Arena (22,000-cap.) in Krakow, Poland.

Rage Against the Machine are heading up Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds (100,000-cap.) along with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher. Run the Jewels, who are supporting Rage Against the Machine on their global arena tour, are appearing on the main stage on the same day as the band (28 August at Leeds and 30 August for Reading) at both festivals.

Other performers include Courteeners, Migos, Gerry Cinnamon, AJ Tracey, Sam Fender, Rex Orange County, Slowthai and Idles.

Rage Against the Machine are also performing at Festival Republic’s sold-out Electric Picnic festival in county Laois, Ireland, which is taking place from 4 to 6 September with an increased capacity of 70,000.

Rage Against the Machine are heading up Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds (100,000-cap.) along with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher

The band will make its only German appearance of the year at Lollapalooza Berlin, which is organised by FRHUG Festival GmbH, a joint venture between Hörstmann/Melt! and Festival Republic. The festival is returning for its third year at Berlin’s 90,000-capacity Olympic Stadium from 5 to 6 September.

The final European festival date sees Rage Against the Machine travel to Paris for Rock en Seine (120,000-cap.), which is jointly owned by AEG Presents and Matthieu Pigasse’s LNEI. The band will again be joined by Run the Jewels for their first appearance in France for 12 years.

Rage Against the Machine’s tour begins on 26 March in El Paso, Texas, with the band performing a run of 27 shows at arenas across the United States and Canada, as well as festival appearances at Coachella Valley Music, Boston Calling, Firefly, Ottawa Bluesfest and Quebec Summer Festival.

A full list of arena dates and ticket information can be found here. Tickets for Reading and Leeds festivals go on sale on Thursday 13 February at 9 a.m, with Rock en Seine tickets being released on 12 February at 12 noon (CET). Lollapalooza Berlin tickets are available here.

 


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Pod Concerts’ John Reynolds passes aged 52

Irish concert promoter and artist manager John Reynolds, the founder of Pod Concerts and a former co-manager of Boyzone, has passed away aged 52.

Reynolds, one of the Republic of Ireland’s most successful independent promoters, co-founded the Electric Picnic festival with Robert Laffan in 2004 and formerly owned a string of venues, including Market Bar, IdleWild Bar and the famed Pod nightclub, in Dublin.

According to IQ’s recent Ireland market report, Reynolds, an ILMC member, also operated Dublin’s Button Factory venue and festivals around the city, including electronic music event Winterparty at 3Arena, Metropolis at the RDS complex and Forbidden Fruit at Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

He is also credited with the creation of Boyzone, loaning money to, and initially co-managing the band with, Louis Walsh in the mid-1990s.

A new Pod festival, the 15,000-cap. All Together Now in Waterford, launched to great success earlier this year.

Reynolds was found dead in his flat in Milltown, south Dublin, yesterday (26 October) evening.

A statement issued by his family reads: “It is with great sadness that the Reynolds family confirm the sudden death of John Reynolds of POD this evening.

“John, aged 52 years, who was one of Ireland’s leading independent festival and concert promoters, died suddenly at his home in Milltown, Dublin.

“Funeral arrangements will be announced in the coming days. The family requested privacy at this time.

“Metropolis Festival will go ahead this Saturday 27 and Sunday 28 October as scheduled in the RDS, Dublin.”

“As a promoter, it was about the experience – putting on a string of best nights out – more than the business”

Robomagic’s Rob Hallett, who co-promoted Leonard Cohen in Ireland with Hallett (then at AEG), says: “Words fail me. [He was] an unbelievable promoter with the most amazing ideas and execution. I challenged him every time, and every time he came up trumps.

“Lissadell [House in Co. Sligo, where Cohen played in 2010] will live long in many memories. RIP.”

Reynolds’s friend Jim Carroll, writing for Irish broadcaster RTÉ, says he “displayed more imagination, energy, enthusiasm, spirit and crazy unique ideas before breakfast than many of his peers do in a lifetime”.

He writes: “Music may have been his main game, but he was informed by art, design, architecture, football and dozens of other things. Like the very best people, he was a relentless optimist, someone who battled and pushed and strived with an idea long after the rest of us would have given up. As a promoter, it was about the experience – putting on a string of best-nights-out – more than the business. He had that vision thing – and he drove some of us crazy with that fucking vision thing.

“Like many folks right now, I’m going to miss him. I knew him a long time. As you get older, such key associations and friendships get longer and deeper and you can always pick up the thread when there’s a gap. Like any long friendship, there were times when we fought like cats and dogs – he threw me head first out of the POD a few times over some row now long forgotten in the mists of time – but there was always a reconciliation. I valued the calls, the texts, the conversations, the encounters, the crazy ideas.

“I find it really hard to believe there won’t be more. Deepest, heartfelt condolences to his family and colleagues in POD on this sad loss.”

 


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Festival Focus: Sziget, Electric Picnic, ETEP

Hungary’s Sziget festival today made its last major line-up announcement ahead of the seven-day event in August.

The Chemical Brothers, Tinie Tempah, Editors, Boy, BørnsFedde Le Grand, Laidback Luke and 17 other acts have been booked to perform on the independent festival’s ‘Island of Freedom’ in the Danube from 10 to 17 August.

The festival, founded and promoted by Hungarian entrepreneur Károly Gerenda, last year saw a record-breaking attendance of 441,000. Tickets for Sziget 2016 are, according to the festival, roughly 90% sold out. (Editors photo by PJGDesign.nl.)

Editors, Taubertal 2013, PJGDesign.nl

Morrissey (who, by the way, after the uncertainty of two weeks ago has confirmed he is appearing at Riot Fest after all) has added a second festival date in the form of Flow Festival in Helsinki.

Described by boutique foodie event Flow as a “lyricist with a penchant for songs that do not shy away from controversy”, the ex-Smith will headline Saturday 13 August, joining FKA Twigs, The Last Shadow Puppets, M83 and The Kills at a disused power station near the centre of the Finnish capital. (Morrissey photo by Mark Oshiro.)

Morrissey, Coachella 2009, Mark Oshiro

British singer-songwriter Tom Odell, drum and bass act Chase & Status and recently reformed Australian plunderphonicists The Avalanches (also playing Primavera Sound, Field Day and Australia’s Splendour in the Grass) at A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise (that’s Lowlands for those in a rush) in August.

Lowlands 2016 will take place from 19 to 21 August in the Dutch village of Biddinghuizen and also feature Muse, Disclosure, LCD Soundsystem, The Last Shadow Puppets, Foals and Sigur Rós. (Chase & Status photo by Chase & Status, Taubertal 2013, PJGDesign.nl.)

Chase & Status, Taubertal 2013, PJGDesign.nl

It’s not just those who want to vote in the EU referendum the old-fashioned way who are going to miss out at Glastonbury 2016: football fans won’t be able to watch the Euros between bands either.

In a statement, the Eavises explain: “With this summer’s Euro 2016 tournament in France fast approaching, we have being asked about our plans for screening any matches during the Festival. With the kick-off times of the tournament potentially clashing with headline sets, the decision has been taken that no matches from the tournament will be shown at Glastonbury this year.”

This means your correspondent won’t be able to watch England ignominiously lose to Germany, thus ruining the rest of the afternoon, as he did with the World Cup at Glastonbury 2010. More’s the pity.

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Summer Arena Assago, Milan, Massimiliano Motta

Festival Republic’s sold-out Electric Picnic last week added no less than 22 new names for its 13th edition, which will be held in County Laois in the Republic of Ireland in the first week of September.

Fifth headliner Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds along with The 1975, Nas, The Shins, Bat for Lashes, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Local Natives, Joey Bada$$, Editors, John Talabot, DJ EZ, Toots and the Maytals, Mura Masa, Kano, Kevin Morby, Shit Robot, Jessy Lanza, Little Simz, Whitney, Frankie Cosmos, Lemaitre and Pumarosa will all make the journey to the Stradbally Hall Estate from 2 to 4 September, joining headliners LCD Soundsystem, Lana Del Rey, The Chemical Brothers and New Order and dozens of other local and international names. (Noel Gallagher photo by Massimiliano Motta.)

Blossoms, Eurosonic 2016, Jorn Baars

Finally, today saw the release of this month’s ETEP results, which rank the most-booked acts for European Talent Exchange Programme-affiliated festivals in 2016 so far.

Nineteen-year-old Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora is still on top (as she was in March and May) with 12, with Blossoms (11) just one booking behind and Dutch blues band My Baby (6) jumping up to third. (Blossoms photo by Jorn Baars.)