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Tomorrowland eyes third festival weekend for 2022

The organisers of marquee Belgian festival Tomorrowland have officially submitted an application for a third festival weekend in 2022 “out of economic necessity”.

According to organisers, the third weekend would help compensate for six cancelled festival weekends, including four in Belgium (Tomorrowland 2020 and 2021) and two in France (Tomorrowland Winter 2020 and 2021).

According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the two consecutive cancellations of the Belgian festival alone caused a financial blow of “no less than €25 million”.

“We really have to do this to cushion the financial hangover,” Tomorrowland spokesperson Debby Wilmsen told the Belgian newspaper. “Before Covid, there were no plans to start organising three weekends.”

In order for the one-off extra weekend to go ahead, permission is required from the Antwerp region, as well as the municipalities of Boom and Rumst, where the 70,000-capacity festival has taken place since 2005.

“We really have to do this to cushion the financial hangover”

Tomorrowland has taken place across two weekends since the tenth anniversary

On the tenth anniversary of Tomorrowland, two festival weekends were held for the first time instead of one. It was then the intention to do this only in jubilee years, every five editions, but organisers got a permit to hold the festival two weekends a year.

A third weekend would be held one week before the dates already announced, on Friday 15, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 July 2022.

A public inquiry on the application will be open until Tuesday 24 October and public objections can be made.

A decision will be made no later than 13 January. As it stands, the proposed weekend is likely to get the backing of Antwerp, Boom and Rumst, who have all indicated that they are not opposed.

In the meantime, Tomorrowland is busy preparing for two weekends of Tomorrowland Winter in the Alpe d’Huez ski area in March 2022.

Tomorrowland isn’t the only festival extending its duration for 2022 – Spain’s Primavera, Croatia’s InMusic and Germany’s Summer Breeze are all expanding next year to celebrate anniversaries.

 


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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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Poland’s Open’er reveals blockbuster acts for 2022

Open’er, Poland’s largest annual music festival, has announced a slate of global stars for next year’s edition.

Dua Lipa, Martin Garrix, Jessie Ware, Jehnny Beth, Sons Of Kemet, Moses Sumney, Pillow Queens and Cigarettes After Sex have today (29 September) been announced for the 2022 event, scheduled for 29 June–2 July at Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport.

They join previously announced artists Imagine Dragons, Twenty One Pilots, The Chemical Brothers, Michael Kiwanuka, BadBadNotGood, and Inhaler.

Next year’s event marks the 20th anniversary of Open’er, as well as the return of the annual festival after two cancellations

Next year’s event marks the 20th anniversary of Open’er, as well as the return of the annual festival after two consecutive cancellations due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In the absence of the flagship festival, the organisers hosted two alternative events, Open’er Park and Open’er BeachHouse.

Open’er Park took place in Kolibki Park, Gdynia, across six weeks and featured 23 concert days, attended by more than 75,000 people.

According to the organisers, Open’er Park was the longest-running festival in Poland during 2021 and attracted the most festival-goers.


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MDLBeast plans S.Arabia’s first music conference

MDLBeast has announced Saudi Arabia’s first music conference, set to become the “most forward-thinking gathering of music leaders in the region”.

The inaugural conference, XP, will take place in the capital city of Riyadh between 13 and 15 December, drawing leading international and regional music industry executives.

Through workshops, panel discussions and roundtables, networking opportunities, and music activations, XP plans to expand opportunities for music industry professionals of all backgrounds including artists, entrepreneurs, creatives and policymakers.

The conference, which is in partnership with the Saudi Music Commission, comes days after MDLBeast’s Soundstorm 2021 festival, which debuted in 2019.

“XP is a first for the region and will serve as the foundation for a thriving music industry across the Middle East”

Ramadan Alharatani, CEO of MDLBeast, says: “XP is a first for the region and will serve as the foundation for a thriving music industry across the Middle East. Providing a platform to authenticate and further build the music industry in the region, local and international guests will be embraced by the wealth of possibility offered by this exciting new market over the three days. Through XP, we aim to join the global conversation, and by hosting such an event we will continue to build & accelerate the music infrastructure across the region.”

Nada Alhelabi, XP programme director, added: “Through these conversations, we want it to inspire future generations to consider a career in the industry and promote music as a vehicle for job creation and innovation, making it a sustainable industry from which they can profit. A big focus for us is promoting diversity, wellbeing, and fair working conditions to empower females and give a voice to minority groups within the industry.”

The organisers say the conference is built on four key pillars – talent, policy, scene and impact – that will help to amplify the region’s music industry. Full programming will be released in due course.

Soundstorm will return to Riyadh between 16 and 19 December, this time with a fourth day.

Armin van Buuren, deadmau5, The Chainsmokers, Charlotte de Witte, Cirez-D, Martin Garrix, Steve Aoki, Tiësto are among the 150 acts slated for this year’s bumper edition.

 


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Green Man festival sells out in record time

The 20th anniversary Green Man festival in Wales sold out in a record three days, and 11 months ahead of next year’s event.

“It was incredible,” says owner and managing director Fiona Stewart. Next year’s anniversary festival (18-21 August) will be headlined by Michael Kiwanuka, with weekend tickets costing £210 ($287), and Stewart says there will be plenty of surprises for festival-goers.

“It’s lovely to feel we’ve been able to retain our core values for 20 years. The
festival industry has changed so much in that time.”

“Earlier this year we didn’t know if Green Man would be able to go ahead or not due to Covid restrictions, so we put a lot of energy into planning the 20th anniversary. By the time it opens, there will be three years of pent-up creativity that have gone into it.

“It’s lovely to feel we’ve been able to retain our core values for 20 years. The festival industry has changed so much in that time.”

This year’s event went ahead with short notice, with performances by Mogwai, Caribou, Fontaines DC, Thundercat, Self Esteem and Black Midi.

Stewart says being small independent festival meant it was able to be very agile during the Covid restrictions, adding many of the traders and companies it works with are also small businesses for whom this year’s event was a financial lifeline. “We were contacted by lots of organisations who aren’t anything to do with the festival industry, such as outdoor activity centres, who said our event gave them the confidence to reopen.”

 


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Boardmasters return brought ‘a lot of joy to people’

Surf and music festival, Boardmasters, returned to the Cornish town of Newquay this month for the first time since 2018.

Last year’s edition was called off due to coronavirus restrictions, while the 2019 event was cancelled due to severe weather warnings in the UK.

The festival’s return saw 50,000 attendees flock to Watergate Bay in Newquay between 11–15 August for performances from the likes of Gorillaz, Jorja Smith and Foals.

Despite subsequent reports that the festival may be linked to 4,700 Covid cases, Cornwall council’s portfolio holder for public health told a press briefing that cases were expected but that he was “reassured” they were not “translating into a serious life-threatening illness”.

The health official, Andy Virr, was also keen to emphasise the benefits of holding Boardmasters, adding: “Covid will have lots of impacts ongoing, and one of them is around loneliness and isolation and mental health problems.

“That festival brought a lot of joy to people. And, yes, there are some things we are having to deal with, but that was part of the judgement.”

“That festival brought a lot of joy. There are some things we are having to deal with, but that was part of the judgement.”

Recent data from the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP) – which included Blossoms’ Liverpool show, the BRIT Awards ceremony, Download Festival and Latitude –  shows that “mass events can be conducted safely”, but caution must still be taken around specific aspects of event participation.

Cornwall’s public health team said they won’t know the complete picture of the infections for another few days, though it is clear that about 800 of the positive cases are people who live in Cornwall.

“Since the government allowed live events to return, we have worked closely with Cornwall council’s public health team, putting in place risk management measures above and beyond national guidelines,” say festival organisers.

“These included use of the NHS Covid Pass as a condition of entry, which was introduced during the government Events Research Programme earlier this year and is being recommended as best-practice at other large events. The system detected over 450 people who would otherwise have been at risk of passing on the virus and as a result did not attend our Watergate Bay site or left the festival early. We are grateful to them and everyone else who took the extra steps this year.

“No event is able to eliminate risk entirely and the latest Test & Trace data includes reported infections among the 76,000 people who visited the festival or related activities at Fistral Beach, in Newquay and the wider area during the week of Boardmasters.

“We will continue to work with our public health partners to understand the extent to which attendance at the festival has contributed to the figures. We look forward to sharing our experience with our local authority partners and other large events so we can all continue to provide much needed economic benefit to our communities and entertainment to our loyal audiences.”

All attendees over 11 years old were required to prove their Covid-19 status through the NHS Covid app before entering. Face masks were not compulsory but were encouraged.

People who camped at the festival had to take a second NHS lateral flow test during the event and log their results in the app.

 


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No infections recorded at Pohoda on the Ground

Slovakia’s Pohoda on the Ground did not record a single positive Covid-19 result throughout the “extraordinary” five days it took place, according to organisers.

The festival mini-series took place between 7–11 July 2021 at Trenčín Airport in western Slovakia instead of the flagship event, which was cancelled for a second consecutive year.

A maximum of 1,000 people were permitted on each of the five days, including campers who had their own designated space.

According to the organisers, nearly three-quarters of the visitors were vaccinated (twice as much as the national average), for whom pre-testing was not mandatory.

All non-vaccinated people (including crew) were tested at one of the festival’s seven test sites and not a single positive Covid-19 result was recorded in more than 2,200 tests, prompting the organisers to declare that “well-established cultural events can be even safer from the epidemiological point of view than the streets of our cities”.

“The Pohoda on the Ground Festival started as a concept full of uncertainty but all obstacles are negligible in terms of its outcome. The measures were worth it; I feel that we have managed to create a space full of freedom, a celebration of art, tolerance, and the joy of meeting,” says Pohoda’s Michal Kaščák.

“[The festival] started as a concept full of uncertainty but all obstacles are negligible in terms of its outcome”

“I would like to thank everyone who contributed to its implementation—the commitment of many was huge and admirable, and visitors made sense of all our efforts. Also, this Pohoda has shown the importance of live art. We keep our fingers crossed for the other organisers of live culture events; we wish them to experience similar feelings of joy as we are experiencing now, so that they can realise their events in the freest possible format.”

Among the artists that performed at Pohoda on the Ground were Jewish DJ Ramzy Al Spinoza, Palestinian rapper MC Safaa Hathot, Korean-British duo Wooze, British band Dry Cleaning and Kinshasa-hailing collective Fulu Miziki.

Performances could be watched virtually on the festival’s 16-hour live stream which was viewed more than 3,000 times on the festival’s website, watched on YouTube more than 2,000 times, and Facebook videos were watched more than 18,000 times.

Marquee event Pohoda (cap. 30,000), which is the biggest festival in Slovakia, is due to return to Trenčín Airport between 7–9 July 2022.

Confirmed names for Pohoda 2022 include Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Libertines, Richie Hawtin, Black Pumas, Metronomy, Wolf Alice, slowthai.

 


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Slovenia hosts Europe’s biggest post-pandemic festival

Smile Nation Slovenia, the largest music festival in continental Europe since the coronavirus pandemic began, took place with 5,000 fans in Ljubljana on Thursday 24 June.

Held at the city’s Ilirija sports stadium, the festival, promoted by Celje-based Smile Festival, featured performances from popular international DJs, including Australia’s Nervo and Dutch producer Quintino, and local talent such as Minless and Tim Urbanya. The festival follows last year’s seated, socially distanced event with 500 people each night over three days.

A total of 5,000 people attended the one-day Smile Nation Slovenia 2021, which took place under so-called PCT conditions (pogojev PCT), referring to the Slovenian term for Covid-status certification. All attendees had to provide proof of either vaccination against Covid-19, immunity to the disease, or a negative Covid-19 test to gain entry.

Organisers advised non-vaccinated/immune guests to get tested the day beforehand in their hometowns, though a pre-event testing point was set up in Ljubljana’s Tivoli Park for those unable to.

Other hygiene measures in place at the festival included card-only payments and hand sanitising points, while face masks were recommended but not required.

“We are proud that in these unpredictable times, we managed to undertake an event of this magnitude”

According to local media, Smile Nation Slovenia is the largest festival of the Covid-19 era in the European Union. Recent events in the UK, including Sefton Park Pilot and Download Pilot, were the same size or bigger, although they were held under clinically controlled test-event conditions.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank visitors, performers, partners, sponsors and everyone else who contributed to this unique spectacle,” say organisers in a statement. “We are proud that in these unpredictable times, we managed to undertake an event of this magnitude and make history as one of the first major ’normal’ festivals of the past two years.

“An electric atmosphere, positive energy, lots of good fun and great music: this was Smile Nation Slovenia 2021.”

Other ‘normal’ festivals going ahead this summer include Exit Festival in Serbia, Pukkelpop in Belgium, Mysteryland in the Netherlands and a handful of UK events, pending the removal of restrictions on 19 July.

 


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France to lift all restrictions on outdoor shows

There will be no capacity restrictions on open-air concerts and festivals in France from 30 June, in news that will be welcomed by the live music industry but which comes too late for many summer festivals.

Following sustained lobbying by industry associations and the success of the Ambition Live Again pilot concert, as of next Wednesday concert organisers will be able to do away with social distancing, and the current attendance cap of 5,000 people, for outdoor events. Indoor shows, meanwhile, remain limited to 75% of capacity.

All events of more than 1,000 people must ask for attendees’ pass sanitaire, the French health passport, certifying that they have had both vaccines or a negative Covid-19 test in the last 48 hours. Masks are advised but not compulsory.

Previously outdoor festivals in France were limited to 5,000 people, seated, with social distancing equivalent to a space of 4m² for each festivalgoer. “It was unrealistic; people can not sit in their own little square,” says Aurélie Hannedouche, head of the Union of Contemporary Music (SMA).

Hannedouche tells Le Dauphiné libéré she welcomes the news but notes that it comes too late for events like Hellfest and Rock en Seine. “The resumption of standing concerts is good news, but it will be hard to readjust for festivals planned around mid-July,” she adds.

“We haven’t had any standing shows for fifteen months. Now we will be able to restart”

Malika Seguineau, head of live music industry association Prodiss, also welcomes the resumption of standing concerts, but criticises the need for the pass sanitaire for bigger shows. “People do not understand it,” she says.

“I’ve had festivalgoers tell me that they cannot attend come because they did not have their two doses of the vaccine, but this is not a vaccination passport – all it takes is a recent test,” adds Jérôme Tréhorel, director of Les Vieilles Charrues, which is taking place in a smaller, socially distanced format, compliant with the previous regulations, from 8 to 18 July.

Additionally, the préfets which represent the French government in each region can also overrule the national guidelines in the event of a severe local health situation.

Regardless of of these reservations, the return of full-capacity live music to France after nearly year and a half is a cause for celebration, Seguineau tells Le Monde. “We haven’t had any standing shows for fifteen months. Now we will be able to restart, within these conditions.”

With this week’s announcement, France joins other European countries incluyding Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Austria and the UK in having set a date this summer for the resumption of non-socially distanced shows.

 


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Female urinals developed to eliminate festival queues

Historically, equality at festivals has fallen over when it comes to fans answering a call of nature. While male attendees are often catered to with urinal installations, their female peers have to endure waiting times of up to 30 times longer to use the facilities.

However, a number of companies are addressing the situation with the introduction of female urinals, designed to vastly cut queues for festivalgoers, which could, in turn, result in higher concession sales, with ladies able to spend more time waiting for food or drink without having to meticulously plan their day around toilet breaks.

At the Green Events and Innovations Conference in March, the order books of Lapee became busier after numerous festivals were impressed by its advantages, while the latest operation to enter the market is Peequal, which is making a similar system available to event organisers.

Former University of Bristol students Amber Probyn and Hazel McShane developed their hands-free Peequal after interviewing 2,000 women in focus groups and spending their summers working at music festivals. According to McShane, during their work breaks they had to choose between going to the loo or getting food, because the queues for the toilets were so bad.

“Peequal has been created by women, for women”

As a result, the pair took on the challenge of designing a better toilet solution as part of their master’s degree project, and the outcome could very well be seen in a field near you soon.

Like Lapee, Peequal provides users with a degree of privacy, and delivers a much greener solution for toilet facilities at events.

The standalone, touch free Peequal units claim to be six times quicker to use than a lock-door loo. The design is flat-pack and its developers say it is six times quicker to pack, as well as being made from 100% recycled material and they produce 98% less CO2 than portable toilets. The unit can be configured in three ways, making it easily adaptable to different environments.

“Peequal has been created by women, for women,” say the inventors. “We have been endorsed by WaterAid, Glastonbury and many more customers, who also see this problem and want a solution. Initially we intend to rent to early adopting and influential customers, and then scale up to reach the global market where we have identified a demand.”

 


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