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Final line-up for VR Wireless Connect revealed

Festival Republic and MelodyVR have announced the full line-up for Wireless Connect, a three-day virtual reality music festival taking place from 3 to 5 July.

The event will see exclusive performances – filmed in MelodyVR’s LA studio and custom-made studio in Alexandra Palace, London – from acts including Stefflon Don, Mist, Steel Banglez, Jay1, as well as additional footage from Wireless 2019 featuring Skepta, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd and more. 

Other performances will come from Yungen, Unknown T, Big Narstie and Deno in the UK and from Saweetie, iann dior and 24kGoldn in the US. The full line-up and schedule can be found here.

Wireless Connect will be available in 360​° immersive virtual ​reality on smartphones and VR headsets via the MelodyVR app. It will also stream on the Wireless Facebook Live and YouTube channels.

Free to watch, Wireless Connect fans are encouraged to make a donation to the Black Lives Matter movement

Free to watch, Wireless Connect fans are encouraged to make a donation to the Black Lives Matter movement via a Crowdfunder, which launches at 5 p.m. BST today (29 June).

Radio station Capital Xtra will air artist interviews and provide the soundtrack to those bringing the festival experience to their home.

A celebration of rap, grime, hip hop and RnB, Wireless Festival was forced to cancel its fifteenth anniversary edition this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Acts billed to play the event in London’s Finsbury Park included ASAP Rocky, D-Block Europe and Lil Uzi Thug.

Ben Samuels, North America president of MelodyVR, was one of a number of music industry innovators to take part in the IQ Focus Innovation Session last month. All previous IQ Focus sessions can be watched back here.

 


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The 1975 to only play festivals with 50/50 gender split?

The 1975 frontman Matty Healy has announced that he will only agree to play at festivals that commit to featuring 50% female and non-binary performers, saying “this is how male artists can be true allies”.

The statement evolved from a Twitter exchange with journalist Laura Snapes, who suggested the artist add a condition to his rider to stipulate a boycott of festivals dominated by male acts.

“Take this as me signing this contract,” wrote Healy. “I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this and I would never let fans down who have tickets. But from now I will.”

“This is how male artists can be true allies”

Healy admitted that he was sure “my agents are having kittens right now”, but stated that “people need to act and not chat”. The 1975 are represented by Mike Mori at Paradigm (North America) and Matt Bates at Primary Talent International (RoW).

The 1975 are headlining a one-day event at London’s Finsbury Park this summer, in a special eco-friendly show. The band are also making appearances at UK festivals Boardmasters and Edinburgh Summer Sessions, Bonnaroo and Boston Calling in the US, and Rock for People in Czech Republic.

Over 300 festival, industry organisations and events have now signed the Keychange pledge, committing to achieve a 50/50 gender balance by 2022.

Photo: © pitpony.photography/ Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0) (cropped)

 


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Environment top of agenda for major UK events

The 1975 and Massive Attack, two British bands at the forefront of the effort to make touring more sustainable, have recently announced headline performances in London this summer.

Festival Republic, whose managing director Melvin Benn has spearheaded various environmental projects at UK live music events, is promoting a one-day event headlined by the 1975 in North London’s Finsbury Park on 11 July – the Manchester band’s biggest-ever show and, according to a statement from the promoter, the greenest event ever put on in the park.

Charli XCX, Clairo, Pale Waves, Phoebe Bridgers and Beabadoobee will also perform at the event, which will be entirely powered by sustainably sourced Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel – a form of renewable diesel produced from vegetable fats and oils lowering the show’s carbon footprint by 90%.

In addition to the 1975’s one tree planted initiative, which sees the band plant one tree for every ticket sold to their shows, Festival Republic will plant 1,975 trees in the park’s surrounding boroughs of Haringey, Hackney and Islington, in partnership with charity Trees for Cities.

Fans are encouraged to bring old band t-shirts to the show for reprinting with new logos, as part of the 1975’s sustainable merchandise range. Other eco-friendly measures include the use of hybrid-powered generators with solar arrays, and a traffic light system to highlight the carbon footprint of food options.

The 1975 and Massive Attack, two bands at the forefront of the effort to make touring more sustainable, have announced headline performances in London this summer

Elsewhere in London, Massive Attack are headlining AEG Presents’ All Points East festival on Sunday 24 May, adding to previously announced headliners Kraftwerk and Tame Impala. Nils Frahm, Young Fathers, Neneh Cherry and Sevdaliza are among other acts performing on the Massive Attack-headlined day.

The Bristol-hailing band have been vocal on the subject of touring’s environmental impact, commissioning a team of researchers to look into how the live industry can reduce its carbon footprint, performing at the Extinction Rebellion climate protest in London, and pledging to tour Europe by train.

The eco initiatives employed by Festival Republic, the 1975, Massive Attack and others will form part of the discussion at leading live industry sustainability gathering the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) on 3 March. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.

Tickets for the 1975’s Finsbury Park show go on sale at 9 a.m. on 31 January, priced from £52.50 plus booking fee for general admission, with VIP options also available.

Massive Attack tickets will come on sale in due course. More information can be found here.

Photo: Begoña/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Wireless 2019 shifts 135,000 tickets in matter of hours

Wireless 2019 sold out within hours of going on sale yesterday morning, sending a signal to increasingly hostile local authorities that the festival is still the leading draw for urban music in the UK.

All 135,000 tickets for the three-day event, headlined this year by Cardi B, Travis Scott and Asap Rocky, were snapped up in record time, according to promoter Festival Republic.

Other acts performing at Wireless 2019 – the 14th edition of the festival – include Migos, Tyga, Rae Sremmurd, Future, Stefflon Don, Young Thug and Juice Wrld.

Festival Republic earlier this month withdrew its appeal against restrictive new licensing conditions imposed on the festival from this year, including reduced noise levels, a ban on swearing and revealing clothing for performers, and a final-night curfew of 9.30pm.

Wireless 2019 takes place from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 July in Finsbury Park, north London.

 


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Festival Republic withdraws appeal over Wireless licensing restrictions

Festival Republic has withdrawn an appeal lodged in November with Haringey Council regarding licensing restrictions for this year’s Wireless festival. The new restrictions demand reduced noise levels and a final night 9.30pm curfew for the festival, which has taken place in north London’s Finsbury Park since 2014.

The restrictions came into place following a campaign led by residents’ group Friends of Finsbury Park (FOFP) and supported by Hackney and Islington Councils. The campaigners cite antisocial behaviour and public disruption as motivations for their objection to the festival.

The festival promoters initially appealed the decision, stating that the earlier curfew and noise restrictions would “seriously damage” Wireless’s international reputation. The appeal argued: “Headline artists will be deterred from appearing and the enjoyment of the audience will be materially diminished.”

“Headline artists will be deterred from appearing and the enjoyment of the audience will be materially diminished”

However, Festival Republic this week withdrew the appeal at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court after reaching an agreement about sound levels with Haringey Council.

Despite the apparent compromise, campaigners remain displeased with the outcome. Martin Bell, a FOFP member calls the measures “a betrayal of those who call for tougher controls on the event.”

Festival Republic has been contacted for comment.

Wireless festival is the UK’s biggest urban music festival, last year welcoming almost 40,000 festivalgoers over three days of music from J Cole, Post Malone and Stormzy, among others.

A full copy of the Haringey Council licensing report can be read here.

 


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Last day of Wireless to finish at 9.30 under new licence

The final day of London’s Wireless festival will now finish at 9.30pm, with last drinks orders at 9pm, under new licence conditions imposed by Haringey borough council.

The outcome of a licensing review – initiated by residents’ group Friends of Finsbury Park (FoFP) and supported by Hackney and Islington councils and Islington MP Jeremy Corbyn – also imposed new sound level limits on the festival, which takes place in Finsbury Park in north London, as well ordering promoter Live Nation/Festival Republic to hire more security staff.

Additionally, performers are to be forbidden from swearing on stage, while “offensive” clothing – such as “attire which exposes the groin, private parts, buttock or female breast(s)” –is also prohibited.

However, FoFP’s proposal that the event’s daily capacity should be reduced from 45,000 to 10,000 was rejected.

Live Nation lawyer Philip Kolvin told the licence hearing that Wireless is the “only festival in the world that fully represents the community in which it is based”. “It’s a celebration of grime music,” he said. “A genre that emerged from London, from the estates, from the inner city. It’s London music – therefore, the festival celebrates the music of the people.”

“It’s London music … the festival celebrates the music of the people”

“We are pleased that the committee has taken into consideration the testimony of our witnesses and noise expert on the excessive and invasive noise that is produced by the festival, and agreed with the Friends’ case that loud music from Wireless, including bass level noise, has caused a public nuisance,” reads a statement from FoFP. “We therefore welcome the decision of the committee to incorporate our proposed noise limits and noise monitoring conditions.

“We are also pleased that the event will finish earlier on a Sunday, as we had suggested. However, several of our proposed licensing conditions have been disregarded by the committee, of which the most important is our request to reduce the number of attendees at the event.”

Both parties have until 12 November to appeal the decision, which can be read in full here, according to the Islington Gazette.

FoFP had previously attempted to prevent Wireless being allowed to take place in Finsbury Park, arguing the park’s residential location, combined with alleged antisocial behaviour by attendees, is unsuitable for an event of Wireless’s size. The association appealed following the failure of a previous legal challenge ahead of Wireless 2016, but the appeal was dismissed last November by a court of appeal judge.

 


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FR reveals QOTSA Finsbury Park show…as Wireless challenge fails

Liam Gallagher’s 29 June 2018 headline show in Finsbury Park, London, will be followed on the 30th by a similar mini-festival headlined by Queens of the Stone Age, promoter Festival Republic announced today.

The show, billed as ‘Queens of the Stone Age and Friends’, will also include performances by Iggy Pop (a UK exclusive), Run the Jewels and the Hives, with more acts still to be announced.

Festival Republic currently promotes two festivals, Wireless and Community Festival, in Finsbury Park, in Harringay, north London.

The announcement of the QOTSA (pictured) show follows the rejection of another bid by residents’ group Friends of Finsbury Park to prevent Wireless being allowed to take place in the 110-acre park. The association appealed following the failure of a previous legal challenge against Wireless 2016, but its claims were last week dismissed by court of appeal judge Gary Hickinbottom. Friends of Finsbury Park chair Simon Hunt says the group has now applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The show will also include performances by Iggy Pop, Run the Jewels and the Hives

Like the Liam Gallagher concert, Festival Republic says the new event is “guaranteed to be [a] stand-out show of the summer”.

In addition to Wireless, Community and the two new shows, Festival Republic has applied to Haringey Council for permission to stage an additional, yet-to-be-announced “music event” with a daily capacity of 20,000 from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 May.

Tickets for the QOTSA-headlined event will go on sale on 9am on Friday 1 December, priced at £52.50 plus booking fee for GA, with VIP tickets are available.

 


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London’s parks set for 2018 festival boom

London’s parklands and open spaces are gearing up for a huge 2018 festival summer, following a slate of new announcements – and with more events believed to be in the pipeline.

In the last 24 hours alone, AEG announced the launch of a new ten-day event, All Points East, following its securing a multi-year contract for exclusive use of Victoria Park in Bow, east London, for events, while rival Festival Republic revealed it is adding a headline show by Liam Gallagher to its programming for Finsbury Park next year, alongside the existing Wireless and Community Festivals.

AEG’s exclusivity on the 213-acre Victoria Park leaves at least three festivals by other promoters without a home for 2018, with Eat Your Own Ears’ Field Day already confirming it will be “upping sticks” for an as-yet-unannounced location elsewhere in London.

Both Field Day and Live Nation/Mama’s Lovebox and Citadel festivals are rumoured to be decamping to Brockwell Park in Brixton, south London, in 2018, where they would share the 26-acre space with indie events such as Sunfall Festival and Gala Brixton.

In addition to Wireless, Community and Liam Gallagher’s As You Were, Festival Republic has applied to Haringey Council for permission to stage a “music event” with a daily capacity of 20,000 from Friday 4 to Sunday 6 May. (A spokesperson for the promoter declined to comment.)

Festival Republic has applied for permission to stage a “music event” with a daily capacity of 20,000 from 4–6 May

Also in Finsbury Park, council minutes reveal Slammin’ Events plans to reprise its Southport Weekender/Tranz-mission and Hospitality/Abode in the Park events in 2018, with the festivals pencilled in for 9–10 June and 22–23 September.

Back in south London, meanwhile, Lambeth Council has given permission for an “unprecedented” 110 event days on Clapham Common in future, paving the way for new events to join the likes of SW4, Let’s Rock and Madness’s House of Common, while Crosstown Concerts has confirmed OnBlackheath will return to the park of the same name next year following a successful debut event this summer.

Finally, in Hyde Park – a grade I-listed, 350-acre royal park in Westminster, and London’s most famous – AEG has exclusive rights to produce festivals until at least 2019. And with almost half a million people attending its flagship British Summer Time event in 2017 alone, don’t bet against that relationship lasting well into the 2020s…

After IQ revealed in September that London is by far Europe’s leading city for live music, and the third biggest in the world, mayor Sadiq Khan paid tribute to the city’s “incredible nightlife” and called London a “powerhouse for music”.

 


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Festival Republic announces Gallagher Finsbury Park show

Liam Gallagher will bring his As You Were tour to London’s Finsbury Park next June for a two-stage, multi-artist day of music, promoter Festival Republic has announced.

Gallagher, who is touring in support of his no1 debut solo album, will be supported on 29 June by “many more artists” still to be announced for his biggest headline show to date.

The news was announced on RadioX, the show’s radio partner, this afternoon, with Gallagher (pictured) telling DJ Johnny Vaughan he’s “currently in rehearsals,  blowing the cobwebs off some stone-cold classics.” Festival Republic says the event is “guaranteed to be the stand-out rock show of the summer”.

Festival Republic currently promotes two festivals, Wireless and Community Festival, in the 110-acre park in Harringay, north London.

The news follows a similar major announcement by rival Goldenvoice, which is launching a new festival in Victoria Park, east London, this morning. Both events go on sale at 9am this Friday (27 October).

The Liam Gallagher show is priced at £52.50 plus booking fee for GA, and £85 plus booking fee for VIP tickets, with tickets available from www.festivalrepublic.com/liamgallagher.

 


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Wireless 2016 to go ahead as planned

A High Court judge yesterday dismissed a bid to have Wireless Festival banned from Finsbury Park.

Residents’ group The Friends of Finsbury Park had requested a judicial review of the decision to allow the festival to go ahead, arguing that that local authority Haringey Council “does not have the power” to greenlight the Live Nation event for the grade II-listed public park, which is classified as Metropolitan Open Land.

The group, which raised over £11,000 on crowdfunding website CrowdJustice towards its legal costs, contended the council’s decision was illegal under the Greater London (Parks and Open Spaces Act), which allows a maximum of the 10% of the park to be shut off for a private event (Wireless takes up 27%).

“Events like Wireless make a huge contribution to London’s cultural scene and in Haringey bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds, which is spent improving our parks and attracting more visitors”

Haringey Council’s cabinet member for the environment, Peray Ahmet, welcomed the decision. Cllr Ahmet said: “We are pleased with today’s ruling, which means that large-scale live music events in Finsbury Park and open spaces across London are no longer under threat.

“Events like Wireless make a huge contribution to London’s cultural scene and in Haringey bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds, which is spent improving our parks and attracting more visitors. We will continue to work with residents and event organisers to ensure Wireless Festival is safe and enjoyable for all.”

Tom Palin, The Friends of Finsbury Park’s chairman, says it will appeal the decision.