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AEG’s Jim King previews BST Hyde Park comeback

AEG Presents CEO of European festivals Jim King says BST Hyde Park’s extended format could become permanent as it prepares to launch its 2022 season tomorrow.

This year’s line-up includes headliners Elton John (24 June), the Rolling Stones (25 June/3 July), Eagles (26 June), Adele (1–2 July), Pearl Jam (8–9 July) and Duran Duran (10 July).

For the first time, the London-based series is taking place across three weekends, comprising nine concerts instead of the traditional six – a move King suggests is not a one-off.

“It’s certainly here to stay for the foreseeable future, which is fantastic,” King tells IQ. “It allows us to work with more artists and continue on our quest of ensuring that we have the biggest acts in the world come through this venue every year. And we love working with the artist community and the agents to achieve that.”

A by-product of the expansion will see the opening weekend clash with Glastonbury, albeit some acts – such as Sam Fender, Phoebe Bridgers and Robert Plant & Alison Krauss – are performing at both events.

“There is huge demand and that is testament to the artists.”

“It’s a natural weekend for us to grow into,” explains King. “We could go later into July, but we felt that it was the best weekend to work with this year. Obviously, there are some challenges because we have to work within the supply chain, but it has given artists the opportunity to come into this window and play both shows, which is a good thing.”

Due to the pandemic, this year will mark BST’s first edition since 2019, when it welcomed Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, Florence + The Machine and Robbie Williams. Pearl Jam and Duran Duran were originally booked to perform in 2020.

“We wanted to keep those shows in [for 2022] and their success is astounding when you think about it,” says King. “Pearl Jam are doing two nights in London and both are going to sell out. Duran Duran are going to have the biggest show of their career in this country. There is huge demand and that is testament to the artists.

“I also think it shows what a great connection there is between the fans and Hyde Park as a venue, because we are certainly seeing artists selling more tickets here with us [than at other venues].”

He adds: “What people are going to see when they turn up is a bigger and more creative BST Hyde Park than the one they last saw in 2019, including an even bigger Great Oak Stage, which just looks incredible. Every time I walk past it astounds me what the production guys have delivered. And hopefully the fan experience will be something everybody remembers – we’ve gone the extra mile to deliver a quality day out.”

“It’s the biggest line-up we’ve ever had: nine shows of quite simply the biggest artists on the planet”

While BST launched in 2013, King says its 2022 programme is already shaping up to be its most successful yet. The American Express-sponsored festival announced its latest partnership – a link-up with Hard Rock International – earlier this week.

“It’s the biggest line-up we’ve ever had: nine shows of quite simply the biggest artists on the planet,” he says. “It’s also the most amount of tickets we’ve ever sold, the highest gross and the largest number of sponsors and partners who want to be part of the festival. Every single metric we can apply shows us it is the biggest ever BST Hyde Park, so we start from a really strong place.

“An important footnote is that brands can take their sponsorship budgets to many places – to sport and other cultural activities – and music is one of the options they have, so for us to be able to be in a position where we’re seeing growth is a really good position for us to reflect on.”

 


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Superstruct acquires UK festival Bluedot

Live entertainment powerhouse Superstruct Entertainment has acquired a majority stake in the UK festival Bluedot.

Touted as “four days of music, science and cosmic culture,” Bluedot has been held annually in July since 2016 at Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire, England.

The 25,000-capacity event has previously played hosts to artists such as Kraftwerk, Chemical Brothers, Hot Chip, Prof Brian Cox, Helen Sharman, Richard Dawkins, Jean-Michel Jarre, New Order and Future Islands.

The 25,000-capacity event has previously played hosts to artists such as Kraftwerk, Chemical Brothers and Hot Chip

The festival was founded by Ben Robinson, director of music festival agency From the Fields.

Robinson also co-founded Kendal Calling which was acquired by Superstruct from Global when the latter company divvied up its festival portfolio in 2019.

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct counts Sziget, Elrow, Parookaville, Wacken Open Air, Boardmasters, Sonar, Tuska and Zwarte Cross among its extensive portfolio of European festivals.

IQ has contacted Superstruct for a comment.

 


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Taskforce publishes Astroworld tragedy report

A US taskforce has made a series of recommendations on how to improve concert safety in response to last year’s Astroworld Festival tragedy.

Ten concertgoers were killed and more than 300 were injured after a crowd surge during co-founder Travis Scott’s headline set in Houston, Texas on 5 November. The 50,000-cap festival at NRG Park was promoted by Live Nation and its Scoremore subsidiary.

The Texas Task Force On Concert Safety (TFCS) was announced by Texas governor Greg Abbott in the days following the disaster.  Led by Texas Music Office Director Brendon Anthony, the group comprised safety experts, law enforcement, firefighters, state agencies and music industry leaders, who held several meetings and one-on-one discussions to develop ways to enhance security at live music events in the state.

“The recommendations in this report are narrowly tailored to address gaps that were identified as contributing to safety failures at the Astroworld event,” states its newly published conclusions. “The TFCS also proactively used this process to enhance the state’s standard of safety practices for mass gatherings of all types.

“While some level of risk is inherent in any mass gathering, it is the opinion of the TFCS that proper planning will allow Texans to enjoy safe performances, concerts, and other culturally significant events.”

“The recommendations, findings and solutions detailed in this report will help the state of Texas prevent another tragedy like that at Astroworld Festival from happening again”

One of its key proposals is for the creation of a centralised Event Production Guide – outlining and encouraging best-practice for event design and crowd control – which could serve as a one-stop shop for promoters to access existing legal requirements. The guide would include a list of robust training resources for promoters, staff, and first responders for site walkthrough drills, security briefings, communication trees, and show-stop triggers and responses.

“I thank the Texas Task Force on Concert Safety for their commitment to safety and security for all concertgoers and for their collaboration with stakeholders on this critical report,” says governor Abbott. “The recommendations, findings and solutions detailed in this report will help the state of Texas prevent another tragedy like that at Astroworld Festival from happening again.”

The task force supports a requirement that promoters determine which emergency service would respond to a 911 call on the site of their event, and recommends that local authorities stop the show when it is determined that an event has been organised without a permit or has breached the bounds of the issued permit.

“The recommendations in this report are narrowly tailored to address gaps that were identified as contributing to safety failures at the Astroworld event”

It has also called for a Concert Attendee Code of Conduct as part of the ticketing process, which makes clear what behaviours will lead to ejection, and recommends that venues communicate with other venue representatives that have previously hosted the artist.

It adds that promoters should partner with artists to encourage safety, since messaging from the artist can be “uniquely persuasive” for fans.

 


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C3 Presents launches music, art + tech fest Format

C3 Presents has partnered with creative house Triadic to launch new “multidisciplinary” US festival Format in the heart of the Ozarks.

Scheduled for 23-25 September on the Sugar Creek Airstrip in Bentonville, Northwest Arkansas, the event will fuse music, art and technology. Performers will include Rüfüs Du Sol, Phoenix, Khruangbin, Beach House, The War On Drugs, Nile Rodgers & Chic, The Flaming Lips, Jungle, and Herbie Hancock.

It will also feature integrated performances, installations, and art experiences from artists including Doug Aitken, Nick Cave, Jacolby Satterwhite, Pia Camil and Marinella Senatore.

“Format represents a new type of festival, placing visual and performing arts on the same plane as live music, creating a fluid and unified experience,” say Elizabeth Edelman, Mafalda Millies and Roya Sachs, co-founders of Triadic and creators of Format. “Visitors will encounter large-scale installation art and unconventional venues created by a range of internationally recognised artists, alongside an eclectic roster of musical acts. We hope to foster curiosity and discovery, and produce a memorable event on this beautiful, hidden stretch of land in Bentonville.”

The festival will have traditional main and side stages for headline acts, as well as several alternative settings such as hidden forest enclaves, an open-air pavilion, a converted disco barn, and a multi-room speakeasy.

“We’ve tried to capture all the things that make Northwest Arkansas one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic ecosystems in the country”

Presented in official partnership with OZ Brands, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and its satellite contemporary art space the Momentary, Format is billed as “a micro-universe of interactive exploration”, with curated food vendors, impromptu dance processions, experimental soundscapes, light shows, therapeutic workshops, and integrated technology activations.

Throughout the weekend, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and the Momentary will host events, with the latter hosting a kick-off event for Format featuring a performance by The War on Drugs and the launch of artist Doug Aitken’s mirrored hot-air balloon, which will travel from the centre of Bentonville to the Format festival site.

“With Format in OZ, we’ve tried to capture all the things that make Northwest Arkansas one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic ecosystems in the country – unparalleled access to outdoor recreation, accessible art everywhere you turn, and a culture of innovation as boundless and wild as the Ozark mountains,” adds Olivia Walton, Crystal Bridges and Momentary board chair, and OZ Brands.

“We’re excited that Format will help us introduce this corner of the heartland to art and music fans from around the world.”

C3’s event roster also includes Austin City Limits Music Festival, Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival (Manchester, TN), Innings Festival (Tempe and Tampa), Shaky Knees (Atlanta) and Austin Food + Wine Festival, among others.

 


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Big Day Out festival founder Ken West dies at 64

Big Day Out festival founder and creator Ken West has died in his sleep at the age of 64.

With his business partner Viv Lees, West produced the renowned touring festival, which debuted in Sydney in 1992 and went on to expand to Melbourne, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Perth in Australia, as well as Auckland in New Zealand.

Most recently staged in 2014, the festival welcomed artists such as Nirvana, Kanye West, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Foo Fighters, Muse, Metallica, Hole, the Ramones, Pearl Jam and Rage Against the Machine.

“Ken was big and noisy in life”

“We bring unfortunate news that Ken West; a father, husband, mentor and most of all a legend, has passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of 7 April 2022,” says a statement from his family. “Our family would appreciate respect and privacy during this difficult time. Ken was big and noisy in life, but passed quietly and peacefully.”

West released an excerpt from his upcoming book in January this year to mark the 30th anniversary of the inaugural Big Day Out. Chapters of the book were released on his Kenfest website.

“I treat art as a living thing that constantly changes, he wrote on the site. “The people are the art as much as the artists are the people. I believe that the fact it is temporary makes it all the more important, not less.”

Veteran promoter Colleen Ironside described Ken as “A trailblazer and inspiration to so many people and the person who gave so many people and acts a chance… Another gone way too soon and a force in the industry whose vibe humor and talent will be greatly missed.”

West is survived by his wife Cathy and son Oliver.

 


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Latvia’s Positivus Festival moves to new location

Positivus, the Baltic region’s largest festival, is moving to a new location in Latvia’s capital city.

After 13 years in the Latvian coastal town of Salacgrīva, the festival will now take place in Riga’s Lucavsala park, located alongside the Daugava river.

Artists including Foo Fighters, Red Hot Chili Peppers, James Arthur, Ed Sheeran and Rammstein have delivered concerts in the park.

Caribou, Thundercat, Yves Tumor, Moses Sumney, Black Midi and Black Country, New Road have also been confirmed

This year’s edition of Positivus will see artists including A$AP Rocky, Megan Thee Stallion and Jamie xx perform in Lucavsala on 15 and 16 July.

Caribou, Thundercat, Yves Tumor & Its band, SoFaygo, Bas, Moses Sumney, Black Midi and Black Country, New Road have also been confirmed.

Positivus has gathered up to 30,000 fans from Latvia and abroad every year between 2007 and 2019, when it took a two-year break due to the pandemic.

The festival has previously hosted the likes of Muse, Nick Cave, Robert Plant, Iggy Pop, Imagine Dragons, Ellie Goulding, The xx, Sigur Rós and Sinéad O’Connor.

 


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Bulgaria gains first music showcase and conference

Bulgaria is set to gain its first music showcase and conference festival this spring.

Spike is scheduled to take place between 26-28 May in Plovdiv, one of Bulgaria’s most historic cities.

The event will welcome music business delegates from over 12 countries, including the US and Canada.

The content of the conference will cater to executives in artist booking and management, publishing, royalties, and sync licensing, digital technology workshops and equality and diversity in the music industry.

The event was founded by Boyan Robert Pinter of Bulgarian promoter Pan Harmony, who says: “The festival’s primary goal is to create learning and networking opportunities for Bulgarian artists and professionals and to introduce international delegates to Bulgaria’s music scene. This will be done in the spirit of diversity and inclusivity.

“The festival’s primary goal is to introduce international delegates to Bulgaria’s music scene”

“We are very happy that our event will finally go live. When we took our first steps, we received a lot of international support, which gave us the confidence to continue building this platform for local artists and music professionals. We are very grateful to the city of Plovdiv – EU Capital of Culture 2019 – for being our gracious host, providing us with the perfect backdrop to our activities.”

The Spike showcase will take place across several locations on Plovdiv’s main street, including the Temple Bar, Bezistenа, and Rock Bar Download. A special selection of artists will be chosen to perform at the city’s Roman Stadium, downtown, which was built in the 2nd century AD.

“There are many surprises in store for our international delegates, as we’d like to them to experience the wonderful architecture, delicious food, and the hip, laid-back vibe that Plovdiv can offer,” says Pinter.

 


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NI’s Belsonic team launches Emerge Music Festival

The team behind Northern Ireland’s Belsonic concert series has unveiled the new two-day Emerge Music Festival.

The 20,000-cap electronic music-focused event will be held at Boucher Road Playing Fields, Belfast from 27-28 August with headliners Eric Prydz, Disclosure, Peggy Gou and Patrick Topping.

The first year will see more than 40 acts across three stages, including the likes of Kettama, Mall Grab, Michael Bibi, DJ Seinfeld, Dusky, Special Request, FJAKK and Rebekah.

“The electronic music scene is one that has grown steadily in Belfast over the 30-odd years that I’ve been promoting in the city”

“The electronic music scene is one that has grown steadily in Belfast over the 30-odd years that I’ve been promoting in the city with my Shine brand, and it’s grown exponentially over the last few years,” says co-promoter Alan Simms of Shine Productions. “Belfast is one of the most fertile and dynamic scenes of its kind in the UK or Ireland. We’ve promoted many large scale outdoor electronic events in recent years but always wanted to do a huge multistage event of this kind.

“Feedback from our audience suggested that a huge appetite exists for a unique production of this kind in Northern Ireland. We’re lucky to have some of the world’s biggest names in dance music on our inaugural line-up of Emerge Music Festival, most of whom we’ve been working with since their very first club shows in the country.”

Day tickets are priced from £55 (€66), with weekend tickets available from £95 (€114).

The 15,000-cap Belsonic returns to Belfast’s Ormeau Park from 13-26 June with headline acts such as Iron Maiden, Gerry Cinnamon, Calvin Harris, Liam Gallagher and Lewis Capaldi.

 


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Goodlive details debut outing of Superbloom

Germany’s Goodlive has detailed the inaugural edition of Munich festival Superbloom.

The two-day event was due to launch two years ago but was postponed in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid-related restrictions.

The highly anticipated festival is now set to take place at Munich’s historic Olympic Park on 3 and 4 September.

Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Megan Thee Stallion, Rita Ora, Skepta, Years & Years and Tupoka Ogette have today been confirmed to perform at Superbloom 2022.

They join previously announced acts David Guetta, AnnenMayKantereit, Kraftklub, Glass Animals, Stromae, Anne-Marie, Zoe Wees, Kaya Yanar, Willow and Girl in Red.

Calvin Harris, Macklemore, Megan Thee Stallion, Rita Ora, Skepta, Years & Years and Tupoka Ogette have today been confirmed

In addition to musical artists, best-selling author, human rights activist and anti-racism expert Tupoka Ogette will give a keynote speech on the main stage.

The Berlin comedian Kurt Krömer and comedy veteran Kaya Yanar will deliver comedy shows, and many other artists and podcasters will also be part of the diverse line-up.

Alongside the entertainment, Superbloom will offer 11 ‘experience areas’ centred around art, fashion, science, sustainability, dance and acrobatics.

Further experience areas as well as the line-up of the newcomer stage NeoNeo and the BeerBrass&Beats beer garden will be announced in the coming months.

The Superbloom team is spearheaded by European festival pro Fruzsina Szép, who was appointed MD of the festival in 2019.

See the line-up for Superbloom below.

Superbloom, Munich

 


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Europe’s first K-pop fest reveals expansion plans

Organisers of Europe’s biggest K-pop festival have revealed international expansion ambitions after adding a second day in Frankfurt, Germany.

Staged by K-Pop Europa in partnership with PK Events and Korean broadcaster SBS Television Network, the 44,000-capacity Kpop.Flex festival at Deutsche Bank Park Stadium will now run from 14-15 May, kicking off a five-year deal to further grow the genre in Europe.

A partnership between the UK’s Live Company Group and Germany’s Explorado Group, K-Pop Europa plans to expand its brand with new dates and locations over the coming year.

“We’ve been wowed by the response Kpop.Flex has had from fans so far, and are delighted to be able to extend the event into a full weekend festival,” says David Ciclitira, Chairman of Live Company Group. “This is only the beginning for K-Pop Europa, and we’re eager to bring even more of the genre’s biggest names to perform for European fans in future.”

“K-pop is a fantastic and very enriching part of the world’s music. We are really glad to be a part of implementing it into the hearts of Europe”

The opening day line-up has now been finalised, with EXO member Kai and boy band AB6IX joining the previously announced (G)I-DLE, NCT Dream, Enhypen, Mamamoo and IVE on the bill. (G)I-DLE, AB6IX, and IVE will play both dates, with Oneus performing exclusively on Sunday 15 May, alongside Monsta X.

Ticket buyers will also have access to a fan-fest Korean culture in the grounds of the stadium.

“K-pop is a fantastic and very enriching part of the world’s music,” adds Explorado Group chairman Andreas Waschk. “We are really glad to be a part of implementing it in the hearts of Europe and its people. We look forward to a wonderful weekend in May and a great experience for everyone.”

 

 


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