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530k attend most headliner-focused Sziget yet

One of the biggest festivals in the world, 530,000 fans attended this year’s week-long Sziget festival, falling slightly shy of 2018’s record-breaking attendance.

The 27th edition of Providence Equity-backed Sziget took place from 7 to 13 August on Obuda island in Budapest, Hungary. Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Florence and the Machine and Martin Garrix were among the more than 1,000 acts playing at the festival.

“The performances on Sziget’s main stage this year were outstanding in many ways,” says Sziget chief executive, Tamás Kádár. “We increased our funding for mainstream performers even more than last year as part of our ongoing growth strategy, bringing us nine headline acts for seven festival days.”

Hungary Today reported that organisers spent 500 million forints (US$1.7m) more this year on securing headliners, out of a total budget of more than 10 billion forints ($34m).

Two nights saw back-to-back headline performances, with Twenty One Pilots performing ahead of Foo Fighters on the closing day and a Saturday night combination of the National and Macklemore.

The first day of Sziget festival, headlined by Ed Sheeran, reportedly sold out with as many as 60,000 fans attending Sheeran’s show and 95,000 visitors on the festival site. Several fans complained about overcrowding and congestion on social media.

“The performances on Sziget’s main stage this year were outstanding in many ways”

Organisers told a Hungarian news outlet that “an unexpected, brief rainstorm” resulted in more fans leaving immediately after Sheeran’s performance than expected. “We decided to break up the crowd by only allowing visitors to leave intermittently from the festival area in order to avoid external congestion,” reads the statement.

Speaking of the extensive line-up of headliners, Kádár says that it was “a great pleasure for us to programme world stars who cover a wide, diverse fan base over different genres”, as well as “artists who fit in well with our [environmental] Love Revolution campaign messages, such as The 1975.”

Organisers celebrated Sziget festival’s most sustainable year to date, preventing the use of 1.5 million one-use plastic cups and 600,000 straws through a reusable cup system and “Don’t Suck” anti-straw campaign.

A new low-carbon dining block was introduced this year, providing attendees with sustainable food options.

Talks by Dr Jane Goodall of the United Nations (UN) peace envoy, the UN Refugee Agency’s Emitithal Mahmoud and former US vice president and climate change campaigner Al Gore also featured on the main stage.

 


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AEG promotes Jim King to CEO, EU festivals

AEG Presents has announced that Jim King, current executive vice-president of live music, is to take on a new role as chief executive of European Festivals.

King’s appointment will launch the newly created European Festivals division, as AEG Presents looks to expand its presence in Europe. In his new role, King will seek out new opportunities in the festival space.

King previously worked for club brand Cream, later launching and running Creamfields festival. Prior to working at AEG, King ran his own company, Loudsound, which promoted and produced several UK festivals.

Since joining AEG Presents in 2008, King launched and produced BST Hyde Park in 2015 and All Points East in 2018.

The European Festivals boss will continue to work from AEG’s London office, reporting directly to president of AEG Europe, Alex Hill.

“I really believe that AEG does something truly special when it comes to festivals,” says King.

“I really believe that AEG does something truly special when it comes to festivals”

“The music fans and the artists are always at the heart of our thinking and this has meant we have been able to curate shows that resonate with them and keep both coming back.”

Hill, who says King “is without a doubt the very best at what he does”, expects “great things” from the European Festivals chief executive and his team.

“We wanted to give him [King] the freedom to accelerate AEG’s activity in the festival space hence the creation of this division and his leadership role at the head of it,” comments Hill. “Being able to confirm him in this job as we approach the second weekend of BST Hyde Park seems very fitting indeed.”

BST returns this weekend (13 and 14 July), with headline performances from Florence and the Machine and Robbie Williams. Tickets for the Saturday are still available, with general admission priced at £73.60 and VIP packages starting from £163.95.

 


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