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All Things Live adds Swedish festival to portfolio

All Things Live is continuing its acquisition spree with the purchase of Sweden’s Amaze Festival.

Founded in 2018, the two-day festival takes place on the picturesque island of Smögen, on the west coast of Sweden, with both international and domestic acts.

Previous headliners include Veronica Maggio, Salvatore Ganacci, Newkid, Otto Knows, Sebastian Ingrosso and Molly Sandén.

The next edition of Amaze Festival is scheduled for 28 July with pop group Bolaget as the first confirmed artist.

“It’s incredibly exciting to take this step together” says Henrik Berndtson, CEO of All Things Live Sweden. “Great live experiences have a home in every corner of our country, we fully share that philosophy. Can’t wait to see what kind of magic we will create together.”

Christian Öster, co-founder of Amaze Festival adds: “Partnering up with All Things Live is a dream come true for us. Our combined passion and experience is a match made in heaven.

“We’ll be able to max out the experience for everyone involved, and us joining forces makes it possible to keep welcoming some of the best artists to Smögen for years to come.”

“Our combined passion and experience is a match made in heaven”

The Stockholm-headquartered All Things Live Sweden represents more than 80 domestic artists, and owns festivals including BigSlap, Summer On and The Sabaton Open Air.

In the last 12 months, the All Things Live group has acquired Dutch independent Agents After All, Antwerp-based management company Musickness and Italian promoter and agency Radar Concerti – which yesterday announced its first new festival since the ATL acquisition.

Since the Nordic group was founded by Waterland Private Equity in 2018, it has expanded to seven European countries and 19 companies, with offices in Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Brussels, Milan and Amsterdam.

The company’s portfolio ranges from musical productions to music festivals and standup events to stadium concerts, with The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Katy Perry and Rammstein among its clients.

The group, which largely consists of promoters, also includes ICO Concerts and ICO Management & Touring (Denmark), Friction, Atomic Soul Booking and Stand Up Norge (Norway), Maloney Concerts, Monkfish and ROA (Sweden) and Busker Agency in Belgium.


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Pukkelpop cancels indie festival Hear Hear

Pukkelpop has announced that its one-day festival for fans of indie and alternative music will not return in 2023.

Hear Hear! was launched in August 2022, drawing 15,000 fans to Hasselt, Belgium, for performances from the likes of Editors, Pixies, Liam Gallagher, Future Islands, Wolf Alice and Anna Calvi.

At the time of the announcement, Pukkelpop organisers said rock and indie had “faded into the background” at the marquee Belgian festival and that Hear Hear would give those genres “a little more attention”.

A recent statement from the organisers says: “Hear Hear! was very positively received by the festival-goers present, as evidenced by the numerous reactions we received during and after the festival.

“As an organisation, we have to dare to make choices”

“Unfortunately, in these times, that is not always enough and as an organisation, we have to dare to make choices. In 2023 we are fully committed to a rock-solid Pukkelpop edition and Hear Hear! will stay in the fridge for a while. Next year we will gladly revisit this.”

In the past, Pukkelpop has tried several times to start an extra festival in addition to its flagship event.

Previous events run by Pukkelpop include Polsslag, Rimpelrock and the Summer Swing family festival.

Since 2018, Pukkelpop has also been organising techno and house festival Garnizoen.

Pukkelpop (cap. 66,000) will return this year between 17–20 August, with the line-up yet to be announced.


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Travis Scott, Skepta to headline Mirror Mirror festival

Travis Scott and Skepta are set to headline a new festival called Mirror Mirror, honouring the late fashion designer Virgil Abloh.

Organised by his creative company Virgil Abloh Securities, the one-day event is slated to take place on 3 December at the FPL Solar Amphitheater at Bayfront Park – the largest outdoor concert venue in Miami, Florida.

Yves Tumor, Pedro, Venus X, Bambii, Rampa, Acyde, and Benji B are also set to perform at the ticketed event, with net profits supporting the Virgil Abloh Foundation.

“Virgil had the ability to bring everyone together to create magic,” says Shannon Abloh, the designer and musician’s wife and Virgil Abloh Securities CEO and managing director.

“With his close collaborators, we wanted to bring everyone together to celebrate Virgil”

“With his close collaborators, we wanted to bring everyone together to celebrate Virgil–his legacy, his passion, and his care for others. He believed his real work was championing others and we will continue his work supporting youth in the arts with the launch of the Virgil Abloh Foundation in 2023.”

Perhaps best known as Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of menswear, Abloh also directed music videos and designed album covers including Westside Gunn’s Pray for Paris, Lil Uzi Vert’s Luv Is Rage 2 and Pop Smoke’s posthumous LP Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon.

Frank Ocean, Tyler, the Creator, and other artists paid tribute to the designer after learning of his death. Abloh died in November 2021 after privately living with cancer for years.


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Live Nation Urban acquires Broccoli City festival

Live Nation Urban has taken a “significant equity stake” in Broccoli City, a Washington DC-based festival touted as “the largest event in the US for Black people under 30-years-old”.

The festival’s co-founders Marcus Allen and Brandon McEachern will now take on executive roles at Live Nation Urban, where they will work with president Shawn Gee to “scale the Broccoli City brand and catalyse the creation of new content and culture-centric live experiences and festivals”.

Launched in 2010, Broccoli City describes itself as a “Black-owned social enterprise” and has featured artists such as Lil Wayne, Cardi B, Childish Gambino, and the late Nipsey Hussle, as well as rising superstars Lil Baby, Lil Durk, Summer Walker, Wizkid, and City Girls.

The festival supports environmental consciousness in the African-American community and promotes creativity through innovative initiatives in the areas of technology, music, art, and social impact.

“For us as a company, this investment was an important one,” says Gee. “When we formed in 2018, one of the first deals we did was the original co-promotion deal with the Broccoli City team. I promised the guys that the success of our partnership would lead to greater things, and it was important to me to keep my word.

“For us as a company, this investment was an important one”

“We are not simply investing in a festival; we are investing in these amazing founders. We believe this will be the first of many brands that we will build together with Marcus and Brandon as they have an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit. One of the core tenants of Live Nation Urban is identifying young black entrepreneurs in the live space and investing in their vision. I’m looking forward to continuing to build with Brandon and Marcus.”

McEachern adds: “We are super excited about this partnership with LNU/LN, and working closer with Shawn Gee. I really appreciate him encouraging us to be big thinking entrepreneurs and brand builders… not limiting us to event producers.”

Allen comments: “We are going to focus on curating untapped niche markets, bigger partnerships, and international expansion. Reimage the future of live cultural experiences. Our big picture goal is to create a 100-million-dollar community at the apex of live entertainment, social impact, and digital media.”

Broccoli City returned this May after a two-year pandemic-induced break, with a lineup topped by 21 Savage, Ari Lennox, Summer Walker and Wizkid.


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Afropunk founder cancels new US festival, a new US festival celebrating artists of colour, has been cancelled due to a variety of issues.

Conceived by Afropunk founder Matthew Morgan, the festival has been touted as a “radical movement designed for & by Black, Brown, Asian/Pacific Islander, & LGBTQIA+ spirits & creator”.

The two-day ‘conscious carnival’ was scheduled to take place in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York City, in mid-August with artists including Missy Elliot, Anderson .Paak, Ozuna, Wizkid and Jhene Aiko.

“The reason is complex, yet simple: The combination of the shifting dynamics of our industry”

However, today (29 June) released a statement explaining that the festival’s debut will be pushed back to August 2023: “The reason is complex, yet simple: The combination of the shifting dynamics of our industry, the inflation we’re all feeling and new safety regulations that were recently put in place would have forced us to greatly alter your experience to a smaller, watered-down, inauthentic version.

“And that simply wouldn’t be doing right by the vision, the ambition, our partners and most importantly, you. was created to do something very different, a first-of-its-kind for the industry, for Queens and for the many vibrant, beautiful communities within and around us. And that’s exactly what we will do.”

Ticketholders have the option to hold on to their original ticket or request a refund. The festival says refunds are scheduled to be processed on or before 15 September.


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One of a kinder: Roskilde at 50

It’s a fair bet to assume that, back in 1971, when Mogens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller – two high-school students – decided to put on a festival, they had no idea how momentous an event it would eventually become. Sound Festival, as it was called, was a cultural success but a financial disaster – “10,000 people turned up, but less than half of them paid to get in,” remembers Leif Skov, the event’s former director and head of booking.

But the seed was sown and, slowly and organically, it grew in size and reputation. For 50 years now, music fans across the globe have flocked to Roskilde, its golden anniversary a fitting milestone for a festival that means so much to so many and has retained its unique character and vibe.

The event started out with a noble goal. “The idea was to bring people together,” says Skov, who notes that that remains the main ethos today. Inspired by Woodstock and the Isle of Wight, and based on their experience from a concert they had organised to support jailed Black civil rights activist Angela Davis, Sandfær and Møller were encouraged by a local Copenhagen agent, Karl Fischer, to do something that was unusual at that time – an outdoor event.

Twenty bands – mostly Danish but including US and UK acts like Stefan Grossman, Mick Softley, and The Grease Band – graced the single stage, with those fans who did pay coughing up just 30 Danish Kroner (approximately €4 euros, equivalent to €29 today) for the privilege.

That theme continued in the event’s early years – acts were mainly Danish and drawn from the world of folk, rock and pop. But behind the scenes, things changed. “In 1972, none of the 1971 organisers were involved,” says Skov. “Instead, it was organised jointly between American folk singer Tony Bush’s Kaunos Ltd, and the Roskilde Charity Society – about 16,000 people turned up. And from 1973 onwards, the Roskilde Charity Society became the main organiser under the name Roskilde Festival.”

The festival’s primary icon, the stage, had previously belonged to the Rolling Stones

By 1975, the festival had grown to three stages and a capacity of around 25,000. Bigger names began to appear on the bill, too – the likes of The Kinks, Canned Heat, Fairport Convention, Status Quo, and Procol Harum all played prior to 1978, with the festival’s booking committee looking to entice the most popular bands of the day. But that year also saw another important development, one that came to shape the festival’s image for years to come – they introduced the Canopy Stage, better known as the Orange Stage.

The festival’s primary icon, the stage, had previously belonged to the Rolling Stones. But a chance encounter with a photograph set Leif Skov on a hunt to track it down. “In 1977, I saw a photo of the orange canopy roof in Hyde Park, in NME – it had been used by Queen, I think. This was long before the fax, web, and mobile phones, so I wrote a letter to NME: ‘Who owns this stage?’ Early in 1978, Roskilde bought the roof from a company in liquidation, and since then it’s been the main stage and the logo for the festival.”

That year “started a new era for Roskilde” says Skov. Bob Marley and the Wailers and Elvis Costello entertained 36,500 fans, who had started to come from further afield – Sweden, Norway, and Germany among other countries. The festival also started to invite more NGOs and intensified its charity work; Skov started seeing Michael Eavis off-season to “exchange ideas and experiences.” In 1982, U2 headlined, with 49,000 in attendance; the following year, it was Simple Minds and Echo & The Bunnymen, with over 60,000 fans. Roskilde was starting to come of age.

“The festival was founded and built by volunteers ever since the first edition”

One of a Kind
Many things stand out about Roskilde and make it somewhat unique in the festival world. There is, of course, the charity aspect – it has been a non-profit since the very beginning, donating its profits in full to initiatives that benefit children and young people. “All proceeds are donated to humanitarian, cultural, and social charities,” notes Skov. “Roskilde today is still not primarily a music industry event.” But there is also the famed army of volunteers – the current iteration sees 30,000 contribute every year.

“The festival was founded and built by volunteers ever since the first edition,” says Malte Vuorela, Roskilde’s head of press. “It wasn’t until 1986 that the festival began employing a selected few as paid administrators. Today, we have around 30,000 volunteers – some are active all year, others only during the festival. They come from all over Denmark, but a large group – around 5,500 volunteers – are from the local Roskilde area.”

The volunteers don’t just make the festival happen, however. According to Henrik Bondo Nielsen, head of division, service & safety, they shape the festival’s unique vibe and ethos, making it very special indeed. “What is characteristic of our volunteers is that a very large group of them are also participants in the festival – it’s just another way to participate. We don’t make a sharp distinction between volunteers and participants, so it is the co-creation between people that is the core of Roskilde Festival.”

This means that a large part of what happens in the first four days of Roskilde Festival is participant-created. Nielsen goes on. “A notable difference from, for example, Glastonbury, is that when you arrive there, you pitch a tent in an area where basically nothing happens. All the fun happens inside the festival site. Instead, we have chosen to spread out the party. If you want to be part of the community-based camping area, called Dream City, you can start up 100 days before the start of the festival and help build up a city. We don’t curate – we just facilitate. I don’t know many other places that give so much freedom to the participants – that, I think, is quite unique.”

“In those years, there was no upper limit for the number of participants, and more than 90,000 tickets were sold in 1996”

It’s a testament to the scheme’s effectiveness that many volunteers return year after year – and some, like Nielsen, end up working for the festival full-time. He started in 1980; Signe Lopdrup, the current CEO, first attended in 1985 as a regular fan. “I was fascinated by the organisation – the volunteering and the community,” she says. “And I was really impressed that you could create something that engaged so many people.”

Anders Wahrén first came as a 13-year-old fan in 1996; by 2001, he was volunteering as a stagehand at the Camping Stage and a few years later joined the booking team. He notes that in the 1990s, “It was very big and quite wild. In those years, there was no upper limit for the number of participants, and more than 90,000 tickets were sold in 1996. My first concert at the Orange Stage was the Sex Pistols. They had reunited – but apparently not everyone thought that was such a good idea. Some felt that as old punk rockers they had sold out by going back together, so bottles were thrown towards the stage; the band had to leave and return three times!”

By the mid-nineties, Roskilde was firmly established as one of Europe’s biggest and best festivals. For the 25th anniversary, in 1995, the event had grown to nine stages and accommodated 95,000 fans – with tickets selling out even faster. And it was more international than ever. “Two out of three visitors were not Danish,” says Skov, and the headliners were iconic names drawn from rock, pop, and indie – Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Radiohead, Ray Charles, R.E.M., and Nirvana.

Live Nation’s chairman of international and the Nordics, Thomas Johansson, is one of the few people who has worked on all 50 editions of Roskilde Festival. “I booked the headliners for the very first festivals – acts like The Kinks, Status Quo, Fairport Convention – when the audience was 8-10,000 people, and I just kept booking the headliners ever since,” he tells IQ.

In addition to the previously listed talent, Johansson has also helped Roskilde secure the likes of U2, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters, The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed, Metallica, Nirvana, Rammstein, Coldplay, Blur, Kendrick Lamar, Rage Against The Machine and many, many more.

LN’s chairman of international and the Nordics, Thomas Johansson, is one of the few people who has worked on all 50 editions

Less is More
Despite the success, Roskilde’s management team worried that the event had grown too unwieldy and that the fan experience was suffering as a result. In order to protect what they had, they did what almost no festival would do – they reduced the numbers, first to 85,000 in 1996, then down to 75,000 the following year. “We wanted to give the audience a greater experience,” says Skov; they also refocused their humanitarian and environmental work.

For Nielsen, such a move encapsulates what makes Roskilde so special. “What captured me was building something big – like Lego bricks, only on a larger scale,” he says. “Many other places you have to fight to make changes, but Roskilde Festival has a driving force that says that we must innovate all the time because we cannot offer our guests a copy of previous years.”

This feeling is echoed by those who work with the festival in a professional capacity, some of whom have been involved since the very early years – loyalty here runs very deep. “Soundforce first got involved in 1982,” says Vagn Olsen, the company’s CEO. “We rent them every imaginable piece of musical gear, instrument, and backline, and we’ve now worked together for 40 years this year. Which is absolutely crazy when you think about it.”

“The uniqueness of Roskilde is also the fact that no year is the same, and it feels like a new production each year”

“We have been lucky to work with almost the same people behind the scenes for around 28 years, so that makes a huge difference of where we are now. The uniqueness of Roskilde is also the fact that no year is the same, and it feels like a new production each year. So even though you have many years of experience, you never know quite what to expect.”

It’s a similar story for Meyer Sound, who have been providing sound reinforcement systems for Roskilde for years – and, since 2018, all stages have been powered by Meyer Sound. “In 2017, the Roskilde leadership team realised the best sounding stages were those with Meyer Sound,” says John McMahon, Meyer Sound senior vice president. “This inspired the festival to seek a sound partnership that would elevate the artist and fan experience at all stages, with a festival 100% powered by us.”

McMahon also believes that the partnerships the festival team foster, and the idea of equal collaboration, is what makes their working relationships so strong. “The Meyer Sound and Roskilde Festival teams are truly collaborative. The area where this is most apparent is on the technical side, where our team is embedded within the festival team to deliver the festival.”

He also notes that their actual festival work is just one aspect of their relationship. “We have partnered with the Roskilde Festival leadership on many levels, from the education of the audio teams to university research and development projects related to the impact of weather on festival sound and other scientific research, as well as creating the ‘Orange Feeling’ with our collaborative team approach.”

“That accident led to massive development of safety in general – not just for festivals but for all events”

Safety-ing Numbers
While the festival went from strength to strength during the 1990s, tragedy struck in 2000. A crush developed during Pearl Jam’s headline set, with people falling close to the stage after a series of wave-like motions in the audience. Nine people died, with a further 26 injured – three of them seriously. It was a “total shock and a warning for youth culture in general,” remembers Skov; “a wake-up call for the entire industry,” adds Nielson.

“There had been other accidents elsewhere, but this one was so big it caused tremors all over Europe. People said that if it can happen at Roskilde Festival, it can happen anywhere.” The official investigation ruled it an accident and that there had been no criminal actions, but Roskilde took it as a spur to lead change – and to make every effort to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

“That accident led to massive development of safety in general – not just for festivals but for all events. Now, Roskilde Festival is present in all important networks in the industry,” says Lopdrup. “Before the accident, safety was not something that was discussed across the industry. It had the effect that we in Roskilde decided that it was a theme we should engage in – a legacy, and one way to move forward was to take responsibility for it being put on the agenda,” adds Nielsen.

“This means that today we have a very close collaboration across Europe. We have created a network of festival safety managers who are in close contact, and we have organised more than 35 seminars across Europe. We also try to keep up with developments in youth culture, to create as safe events as possible.”

“One achievement is that we have managed to move and stay relevant through five decades”

Since then, and with extra safety measures in place, the festival has continued to grow – Roskilde now welcomes 130,000 music fans every year and continues to draw the biggest names in music. Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Metallica, and Paul McCartney all headlined through the 2010s, and this year had a distinct pop flavour – Post Malone, Dua Lipa, and Tyler, the Creator sit atop the bill. It’s all part of what Skov says is a desire to “develop respectfully rather than grow – the world and its people need leadership based on values that you can feel but not buy.”

Celebrating Roskilde’s carefully curated evolution, Wahrén notes, “One achievement is that we have managed to move and stay relevant through five decades. We’ve gone from being a festival where you could not experience hard rock, to having it as the primary thing and to having electronic music, to being able to present the biggest acts in pop and hip-hop, which we also embraced early on.”

As a personal highlight, he mentions Eminem, someone they chased for many, many years. “We tried for 17 years before we managed to book him, and it was his first and only concert in Denmark. At the same time, it was the show with the largest audience ever on Danish soil. We don’t know exactly how many people attended but probably over 90,000 – it has been interesting to see the change from hip-hop being an underground genre at the festival to the fact that it is now the most unifying.”

“It has been a period of great uncertainty – we planned two festivals that were never brought to life”

Golden Year
And so to the 50th-anniversary celebrations, something that was postponed not once but twice due to Covid. Having such a special edition of the festival essentially “on hold” led to many challenges, but as ever, the Roskilde team rose to the occasion. 2022 will, they say, be the best yet.

“It has been a period of great uncertainty – we planned two festivals that were never brought to life, says Lopdrup. “But it also means that there are some things we have been working on for a long time – and that has given us great strength, too. So we are making a new, crisp festival this year.”

“We chose not to try to keep the whole line-up from 2020,” adds Wahrén. “Instead, we look at it as a new festival and evaluated everything again. It is difficult to assess what the right balance is because, on the one hand, we have to live up to what people bought tickets for two years ago so that we can keep the value. But we must also create what is Roskilde – there have to be surprises and progression. We have not moved away from our core, even if it is not exactly the same names as in 2020.”

That means doing things differently and thinking outside the box. As part of the celebrations, the festival published several books, including one about graffiti, which has been an important part of the festival for more than 20 years. They are also, says Wahrén, “being far-sighted and taking new paths through art and music.” For example, they presented a 2,000-square-meter, colourful dance floor, created by the internationally renowned visual artist Katharina Grosse. And the acclaimed German artist Tino Sehgal has co-created their brand-new venue, Platform, featuring both concerts and boundary-pushing hybrid art.

With 13 stages, this year’s festival was the biggest iteration yet – but the team are confident that Roskilde remains Roskilde

With 13 stages, this year’s festival was the biggest iteration yet – but the team are confident that Roskilde remains Roskilde. “The core values of all involved in putting on this festival represent the spirit of how festivals first came about in the late 1960s and early 1970s,” says John McMahon. “The Roskilde Festival team remains true to those values 50 years later.”

That, more than anything, is what keeps everyone – the volunteers, the fans, the bands, and all who participate – coming back. “For many of our volunteers, creating Roskilde Festival is a lifestyle,” says Nielsen. “And we manage to deliver experiences that people did not expect,” adds Wahrén. “You know you’ll miss something if you’re not here. People also come to cultivate friendships and the communities that exist at the festival.”

“With a non-profit event like ours, the strength lies in the local grounding,” says Lopdrup. “That there are people who support us and fight for us. We are greeted by this because our organisation extends beyond itself. We want to take the lead, but we also want to make a difference for [people other] than ourselves. That’s the secret – the community of volunteers, participants who held on to their tickets through the pandemic, and partners and suppliers who support us all the way.”

One person delighted to still be involved in the historic event is Live Nation chief Johansson. “The people at Roskilde are inspiring to work with because it’s not about someone who wants to buy a new Ferrari – they give all the money to charity, and the artists love that aspect, too, as they get to hand cheques to their favourite causes,” he says. “It’s the mother of festivals in Europe, and it has been a fantastic ride to be involved with it for 50 years: a true privilege.”

“We can become a community for even more people…where everyone can feel at home”

The future certainly looks bright, for 2022 and beyond. And with some of the seismic changes currently affecting the wider world, Roskilde’s focus is changing, too – sustainability looms large on the agenda, as does diversity and inclusion. Says Wahrén: “We can become a community for even more people – not in terms of capacity but in terms of becoming a more diverse community where everyone can feel at home. Some of it starts in the line-up, something else starts in the relationship with the participants – but those two things must fit together.”

“We must continue to be a fantastic eight-day event,” adds Lopdrup. “But our ambition is to expand the community to be more vibrant and present throughout the year. We need to develop within sustainability, and we are well underway. It is essential for an organisation like ours – no one is perfect, and we can always get better, but we want to inspire a more sustainable way of at- tending festivals in the future.”

So here’s to the next 50 years, then, and an even bigger celebration in 2072 for the 100th edition? Why not? “If there is one thing we have learned during the pandemic, it is that gathering around art, food, music – all the sensory experiences – cannot be replaced by anything else,” says Lopdrup. “We believe that this is what Roskilde Festival can and must do. And I bet that there will still be a need to make a difference together in the future – that won’t change.”


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Tomorrowland discusses approach to recouping €25m losses

Tomorrowland’s chief has discussed the festival’s attempts to recoup some of the €25 million it lost between 2020 and 2021.

As previously announced, the Belgian festival was granted a permit for a third festival weekend this year to “cushion the financial hangover” from six cancelled festival weekends, including four in Belgium (Tomorrowland 2020 and 2021) and two in France (Tomorrowland Winter 2020 and 2021).

This year’s extended edition will see a record 600,000 people descend on De Schorre park, Boom, between 15–17, 22–24 and 29–31 July.

The sold-out third weekend was priced 5% higher at €114.50 per day or €310 for the weekend, to help compensate for high inflation in Europe.

In addition to the extra weekend, Tomorrowland founder Michiel Beers successfully appealed to the festival’s headliners to discount their 2019-level fees by 10%.

Tomorrowland founder Michiel Beers successfully appealed to the festival’s headliners to discount their 2019-level fees by 10%

According to the handful of headliners Billboard spoke to, it wasn’t a tough sell. “We’re all sticking together because basically we’re kind of lost without each other in this game,” said Danish techno DJ Kölsch.

The extra weekend and lower artist fees won’t be enough, however, to make the company profitable again, according to Tomorrowland founder Michiel Beers.

“It’s an important part of a solution of being healthy again,” he says. “Does it cover a two-year loss? No.” What’s more, the festival must return to its two-weekend format from next year onwards.

In, perhaps, another bid to recoup losses, Tomorrowland teamed up with another of Belgium’s biggest festival organisers, Rock Werchter, for a new two-day festival in Brussels.

Core festival debuted between 27–28 May in Osseghem Park, with up to 25,000 visitors per day enjoying sets from the likes of Action Bronson, Caribou, Celeste, Cellini, DJ Harvey and Jamie xx.

This year also saw the return of Tomorrowland Winter at the Alpe d’Huez ski area between 19–26 March 2022. The festival’s other activities include a partnership with leading global cryptocurrency exchange FTX Europe and a link-up with Coca-Cola.


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DEAG acquires majority stake in Airbeat One festival

DEAG has acquired a majority stake in Airbeat One, an electronic music festival which takes place annually in northern Germany.

Founded in 2002 by Music Eggert, the festival typically attracts around 60,000 visitors to Neustadt-Glewe in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern each year.

According to DEAG, Airbeat One is now the largest electronic music festival in northern Germany and one of the largest in Germany.

Following the acquisition, Sebastian Eggert from Music Eggert becomes managing director of Airbeat One GmbH, the new organiser of Airbeat One.

With his team, which will remain entirely with the festival, he will continue to run the event in the long term.

DEAG says it expects the takeover to create “synergy effects in the live entertainment business as well as positive impulses for the ticketing business, especially for DEAG Group company I-Motion”– organiser of electronic music festivals Nature One, Mayday, Syndicate, Toxicator and Ruhr-in-Love.

DEAG says it expects the takeover to create “synergy effects in the live entertainment business”

In addition, the company hopes the acquisition will result in “significant cost synergies as well as added values in purchasing and artist acquisition, among other areas”.

Oliver Vordemvenne, MD of I-Motion, says: “We are all delighted about the partnership and the co-operation with Sebastian and the whole team, who have built up one of the biggest electro music festivals in Germany and inspire thousands of fans from all over the world every year.

“Airbeat One is an excellent addition to DEAG’s portfolio. With Airbeat One, we unite two of the most successful electro music festivals in Germany under one roof and are excellently positioned in this field with now a total of six electro music festivals with over 200,000 visitors annually. With the acquisition of Airbeat One, we have also created very good conditions for the further expansion of our business activities.”

Sebastian Eggert, MD of Airbeat One, adds: “We are all very pleased to have DEAG as a strong partner for the further development of Airbeat One. We share the same vision for the festival with a clear focus on the visitors and want to continue to offer them an exceptional customer experience in the future. We are strongly rooted in the region of northern Germany and will stay here for the long term and drive our growth together with DEAG.”


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Pohoda on most “emotional and challenging” edition

The organiser behind Slovakia’s biggest festival has told IQ about “the most emotionally charged and the most logistically difficult year in the festival’s history”.

Pohoda (peace) returned to Trenčín airport last week (6–8 July) for the first time in three years, due to two pandemic-related cancellations.

According to CEO and booker Michal Kascak, more than 10,000 people held onto tickets they bought before the pandemic and ultimately, the 30,000-capacity event sold out.

The 25th-anniversary edition played host to artists from thirty countries including Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Confidence Man, Slowthai, Lianne La Havas, Metronomy, Sigrid and Wolf Alice, though it was acts from neighbouring Ukraine that stole the show.

Kascak says the most emotionally powerful concert came from the Philharmonic Orchestra of Luhansk, an area which has been a recent focal point during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“The war in our neighbouring country, plus returning after three years of the pandemic, along with powerful performances brought a spectre of emotions, from total joy to gratitude, fellowship to sorrow,” says Kascak.

“I have never seen such enthusiasm and engagement like this year in the backstage of Pohoda”

“We know how lucky we are to hold a festival in a free democratic society – we could lose it in a second like our Ukrainian friends. I grew up under a communist regime, when a festival like this seemed like an unrealisable dream.

“We’ve been doing this for 25 years now and it is amazing to see people being together in all their diversity, enjoying art, life and creating a community of tolerance and peace. It shows that festivals have an important purpose.”

Throughout Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Pohoda has pitched in to support the citizens of Ukraine with a charity concert and an employment initiative.

As if supporting their neighbours wasn’t enough to occupy Pohoda, the festival also had to deal with the kind of post-Covid issues that are affecting festival across Europe.

“We had a lack of volunteers and temporary workers. There were many problems with flights. We also had some covid-related cancellations,” lists Kascak.

“[Despite that], I was positively surprised how were people dealing with that. All the team did incredible job, I have never seen such enthusiasm and engagement like this year in the backstage of Pohoda.”


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Pollen teams with 50 Cent on Malta getaway

Music, travel and tech company Pollen has shared further details of its 50 Cent festival collaboration Green Light Gang, which heads to Malta from 22-26 September.

The rapper is headlining the four-day “island holiday experience” offering live music, parties, beach walks and other activities, and has curated a supporting line-up of hip-hop and R&B talent.

Confirmed acts include Akon, Fat Joe, Heartless Crew, DJ Premier, Remi Ma, So Solid Crew, Trina and Jeremih, while venues will include nightclubs Uno, Cafe Del Mar and The Castle.

Hotel options start at £499, with add-ons such as champagne brunch and cruises, jet ski safari and other VIP packages also available.

Pollen previously teamed with Bring Me The Horizon on a four-day festival in Malta

“Influencer marketplace” Pollen previously teamed with rock band Bring Me The Horizon on a four-day festival in Malta in May.

Other artist-curated weekenders organised by Pollen Presents include the Unruly Culture Splash Weekender in Croatia with Popcaan, Diplo’s Higher Ground festival in Cabo, Mexico, the Kurupt FM Weekender in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and J Balvin’s Neon Weekender and Justin Bieber & Friends – both in Las Vegas, US.

Founded in 2014 by brothers Callum and Liam Negus-Fancey, London-headquartered Pollen runs two offerings: Pollen Presents, which curates experiences for customers across travel, music, and more; and Pollen+ which partners with promoters and music festivals to offer customers who book through its platforms perks at events.

The company raised US$150 million in a Series C round earlier this year.


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