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Finland: No events over 500 people until end of July

Finland has extended its ban on major events until at least 31 July, forcing the cancellation of many of the summer’s biggest music festivals, including some of Europe’s oldest open-air events.

Among the festivals affected by the extension, announced following a government meeting yesterday (23 April), are Ilosaarirock (17–19 July) in Joensuu – the second longest-running festival in Finland – and Fullsteam’s Provinssi (25–27 June) and Sideways (11–13 June), as well as several smaller events.

In near-identical statements, Provinssi, which debuted in 1979, and Sideways (which would have been headlined by System of a Down and the Chemical Brothers, and Kelis and Belle and Sebastian, respectively) say they are “heartbroken” by the cancellations and hope to announce the first performers for 2021 soon.

Joensuun Popmuusikot-organised Ilosaarirock says it “understands the government’s decision and accepts it”, and plans to make its delayed 50th-anniversary event in 2021 “the best festival ever”. Tones and I, Yungblud, Machine Gun Kelly and Sam Fender would have played Ilosaarirock 2020.

Elsewhere, Ruisrock – the oldest festival in Finland and the second-oldest in Europe, after the Netherlands’ similarly cancelled Pinkpop – was cancelled earlier this month on the order of Turku city authorities. It would have featured performances from Khalid, DaBaby, Zara Larsson and more.

“The decision … is the only responsible option in the current situation”

“Cancelling the festival is an extremely difficult decision for the organisers. We have been working for almost a year to bring more joy and happiness to the world through Ruisrock, like in the previous summers,” says Ruisrock promoter Mikko Niemelä. “For us and thousands of others, this festival is the highlight of the year, and it is heartbreaking to imagine a summer without Ruisrock.

“However, the decision we have made is the only responsible option in the current situation. The coronavirus spreads when people get together, so now is not the time to gather tens of thousands of people in the same place.”

The new guidelines in Finland follow similar decisions taken by governments elsewhere in Europe, including the Netherlands, where large events are banned until 1 September, and GermanyBelgium and Denmark, where a ban is in place until 31 August – as well as slightly shorter bans in France (mid-July) Austria (end of June) and Luxembourg (31 July) – and is in line with European Union guidance. In neighbouring Sweden, meanwhile, events over 50 people are off-limits for the foreseeable future.

“As far as events in late summer and early autumn are concerned, an assessment will be made no later than the start of June,” reads a statement from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, announcing the new restrictions.

Those events include Superstruct’s Flow Festival (14–16 August) and Live Nation Finland hip-hop event Blockfest (21–22 August), both of which are still on at the time of writing.

 


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Flow Festival collaborates with Finnish National Opera

Helsinki-based Flow Festival has announced a collaboration with the Finnish National Opera, bringing contemporary dance, electronic music and audiovisual to the Opera house at Almi Hall (500-cap.).

The Almi Hall performances, which will take place on the two nights preceding the festival on 7 and 8 August, are the work of British choreographer Wayne McGregor.

McGregor, famed for his work with the Royal Ballet, will present his dance portrait Autobiography Edits, in collaboration with experimental electronic music producer Jlin. The piece will be performed by ten dancers from Company Wayne McGregor, accompanied by live music performed by Jlin.

Both nights are opened by Fractal Fantasy’s Sinjin Hawke and Zora Jones, who will present a mix of electronic music and audiovisual art.

According to Flow’s artistic director Tuomas Kallio, the National Opera collaboration will “kick things off with something different this year”.

Kallio tells IQ that he has “great expectations” for this year’s Flow Festival, which features performances from Cardi B, the Cure, Tame Impala, Robyn and James Blake.

“Many European bookers say it’s been a very difficult year to book bigger acts but looking at the Flow Festival 2019 line-up, I guess we’ve been quite lucky”

Many European bookers say it’s been a very difficult year to book bigger acts but looking at the Flow Festival 2019 lineup, I guess we’ve been quite lucky,” says Kallio, adding that the Flow team has been happy so far, despite “fees getting crazy” and “competition on the most-wanted acts getting harder.”

Another new addition for the 2019 edition of Flow Festival is “Pink Space”, a conceptual indoor venue that “celebrates Flow’s diversity and inclusivity”.

Flow has been working towards achieving a gender-balanced line-up since 2010, and Kallio admits that it has proved more taxing to increase the presence of female performers within some musical genres than others.

“What worries me,” says Kallio, “is that people mostly talk about binary gender male/female and there are many artists who don’t want to place themselves into that binary picture at all… and that’s the problem to start with. We need to be careful that we do all this the right way or we end up making things worse for certain people.”

Providence-backed Superstruct Entertainment acquired a stake in Flow Festival in November 2018.

Flow Festival will take place from Friday 9 to Sunday 11 August. Tickets for both the festival and the pre-festival opera events are available here.

 


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Superstruct buys into Flow Festival Finland

James Barton-led festival owner/operator Superstruct Entertainment has expanded into Finland by acquiring a stake in leading music and arts event Flow Festival. Terms of the deal, described as an investment and partnership agreement, were not disclosed.

The partnership marks the fourth such deal for Superstruct – led by Creamfields founder Barton and backed by private-equity firm Providence Equity Partners – in 2018, following August’s investment in Øya Festival in NorwayMay’s acquisition of Sónar festival in Barcelona and February’s investment in Spanish promoter Elrow.

The company also owns 70% of Sziget festival in Hungary, which it acquired in January 2017.

“This is a great development for Superstruct and consistent with our strategy of partnering with outstanding live music and arts festivals in Europe,” comments Barton, Superstruct’s CEO.

“We want to ensure Flow is able to offer the highest-quality experience”

“We have been big fans of the Flow Festival for a number of years now and look forward to supporting the experienced management team solidify its market-leading position in Finland.”

Flow execs Tuomas Kallio, chairman of the board and artistic director, Suvi Kallio, managing director, and Toni Rantanen, artistic director of electronic music, will continue to lead Flow Festival Oy, the company behind the festival, and remain shareholders.

More than 80,000 people attended Flow Festival 2018, held in the post-industrial Suvilahti area of Helsinki, to see acts including Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Lykke Li, Lauryn Hill, Bonobo, Alma, Patti Smith, St Vincent, Fleet Foxes and Charlotte Gainsbourg.

“Given the accelerating global competition, we want to ensure Flow is able to offer the highest-quality experience,” adds Kallio. “By partnering with Superstruct, we will be able to not only improve our existing event in Finland – including continued development of the Suvilahti event area – but simultaneously collaborate with a chain of quality events.”

 


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Flow to investigate assault by security on performer

The organisers of Helsinki’s Flow Festival have promised that “everything will be investigated” after a performer was assaulted and ejected from the festival by security staff in the early hours of Sunday morning.

According to eyewitnesses, Russian DJ Inga Mauer was violently attacked by security, with another artist, Marie Davidson, describing on Facebook how she “witnessed a bunch of security guys hold a girl [Mauer] on the ground while she was screaming”.

“As I approached to try to help, I found out that this girl was actually my friend Inga Mauer, an artist who had played a killer set only two hours before,” Davidson explains. “She said they violently dragged her out of the festival area because she refused to leave right away. I tried to interfere and explain that I knew her and that I wanted to help her calm down because she was extremely confused and scared. As a result, we got both put aside, in a corner, isolated from the rest of the crowd. I tried to reach out to my friend but they wouldn’t let me touch her.”

According to both Davidson and Flow’s promoters, Mauer, who played the festival on Saturday, was then arrested by local police and spent the night in prison. I begged them to let me go with her because she was crying and very scared, she was bleeding from her knee and was in shock,” Davidson continues. “I just said, ‘Please, let me stay with her.’ Two security guys took me by the arms and threw me out in the street out of the festival zone. I told them I needed to at least be in touch with someone because I had no internet [and] no driver, and no taxis were taking people to any place at this hour. They laughed and said, ‘Go [and] figure it out’, and then closed the fence, leaving me in a totally unknown place without any way of reaching out for help.

“I had to ask strangers in the street to help me find a taxi to my hotel. About an hour after, I was back to my room, learning that my friend would spend the night in jail, to be released in the morning.”

“Compensation for the victims must follow, and nothing similar can never ever happen again”

In a statement shared with IQ, Flow Festival promoters promise a full investigation into the incident, including “serious discussions” with Local Crew Oy, the company responsible for festival security, and compensation for Mauer. It reads:

We, the three partners of Flow Festival, Suvi Kallio, Tuomas Kallio and Toni Rantanen, are still at a loss for words and very sad about the episode that happened at the Flow Festival area early Sunday morning. Inga Mauer and Marie Davidson are artists and lovely friends who Toni Rantanen booked to perform at the festival. It came to our knowledge that members of the security staff had used violence against Inga Mauer. Marie Davidson, who approached to try to help her, was inappropriately thrown out of the festival area. Even the police who came to sort out the situation acted threateningly and refused to give us any information after taking Inga Mauer to jail overnight.

Flow Festival does not approve the use of violence and we were shocked and very sad to hear this. We are truly sorry for what Inga Mauer and Marie Davidson had to go through.

Luckily we have video, photos and eyewitnesses. As festival organisers, we take responsibility of this incident and will make sure everything will be investigated and taken care of properly. Serious discussions are underway with our lawyers and the subcontractor, Local Crew Oy, that was responsible for Flow Festival’s 2017 security. Compensation for the victims must follow and something similar can never ever happen again. The security company has been a trusted subcontractor for many years but now they have failed to do their job in the right manner.

An estimated 75,000 people attended Flow Festival 2017, which was headlined by Lana Del Rey, The xx and Frank Ocean.

 


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Festival Focus: 6 Music, Lovebox, WayHome, Flow

With the 2017 festival season fast approaching and many events close to finalising this year’s line-ups, we’ve introduced a new, slimmed-down Festival Focus for 2017 to ensure we cover as much news as possible – keeping you abreast of all the latest developments in the festival world with the minimum of waffle.

Read on for all the latest festival announcements (headliners are in bold), or click here for the previous FF. And if we’ve missed something, or you’d like to see your event featured in a future Festival Focus, feel free to drop news editor Jon Chapple a line at jon@iq-mag.net.

 


Father John Misty, Ana Violtti/Side Stage Collective

6 Music Festival, UK (BBC, 24–26 March 2017)
Depeche Mode, Father John Misty, Belle and Sebastian, Temples, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Goldfrapp, The Lemon Twigs, Ride, Sparks, Cate Le Bon, etc. (Father John Misty photo by Ana Violtti/Side Stage Collective)

Cheltenham Jazz Festival, UK (Cheltenham Festivals, 26 April–1 May 2017)
Gregory Porter, Laura Mvula, Ben Folds and Jamie Cullum, Chick Corea, Booker T. Jones, Jack Savoretti, etc.

Sea Star Festival, Croatia (Exit, 26–27 May 2017)
Fatboy Slim, Paul Kalkbrenner, Modestep, Pendulum, Elemental, Bad Copy, Brkovi, Artan Lili, Jonathan, High5 and Kukus, Kiša metaka, Krankšvester, Matter, Sassja

Roots Picnic, US (Live Nation, 3 June 2017)
Pharrell and The Roots, Lil Wayne, Solange, 21 Savage, Kimbra, etc.

Justin Bieber, Lou Stejskal

FPSF, US (Free Press Houston, 3–4 June 2017)
Lorde, Flume, G-Eazy, Cage the Elephant, Solange, The Shins, Groulove, Charli XCX, Tove Lo, Carnage, Post Malone, Jon Bellion, Lil Uzi Vert, Jauz, etc.

Pinkpop, Netherlands (Mojo Concerts, 3–5 June 2017)
Justin Bieber (photo by Lou Stejskal)

Lovebox Festival, UK (Mama Festivals, 14–15 July 2017)
Chase & Status, Jamie XX, Jess Glynne, Solange, Annie Mac, Giggs, Andy C, Rag’n’Bone Man, Mac Miller, Seth Troxler, Kurupt FM, etc.

Rock Werchter, Belgium (Live Nation, 29 June–2 July)
Prophets of Rage, The Kills, Crystal Fighters, Kaleo, Warhaus, Benjamin Clementine, Mark Lanegan Band, Mura Masa, Maggie Rogers, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Soulwax, Rae Sremmurd

Jamiroquai, Sydney, new year's eve 2011, Eva Rinaldi

Colours of Ostrava, Czech Republic (Colour Production, 19–22 July 2017)
Jamiroquai, Imagine Dragons, Norah Jones, alt-J, Birdy, Moderat, LP, Laura Mvula, Benjamin Clementine, Unkle, Booka Shade, Nouvelle Vague, Afro Celt Sound System, etc. (Jamiroquai photo by Eva Rinaldi)

Truck Festival, UK (Global, 21–23 July 2017)
The Libertines, Franz Ferdinand, The Vaccines, The Wombats, Slaves, Maxïmo Park, Nothing but Thieves, Loyle Carner, British Sea Power, Twin Atlantic, Jagwar Ma, Mr Motivator, etc.

WayHome Music & Arts Festival, Canada (Republic Live/Fource, 28–30 July 2017)
Frank Ocean, Imagine Dragons, Flume, Justice, Solange, Marshmello, Schoolboy Q, Vance Joy, Tegan and Sara, The Shins, etc.

Boardmasters, UK (SW1 Productions, 9–13 August 2017)
The Flaming Lips, The Vaccines, Stormzy, Frank Turner, Lethal Bizzle, Ziggy Marley, Gordon City, Giggs, Jagwar Ma, Kate Nash, Kurupt FM, etc.

Frank Ocean, Øyafestivalen 2012, Per Ole Hagen/NRK

Flow Festival, Finland (Flow Festival Ltd, 11–13 August 2017)
Frank Ocean, Ryan Adams, Moderat, Young Thug, Sampha, Sparks, Car Seat Headrest, which was originally born as a solo vehicle for frontman Will Toledo, Larry Heard, Model 500, Princess Nokia, Oranssi Pazuzu, Töölön Ketterä, Mikko Joensuu, Pykäri and Ahjo Ensemble, Litku Klemetti, The Holy, Vesta (Frank Ocean photo by Per Ole Hagen/NRK)

Appelsap Fresh Music Festival, Netherlands (Applesap, 12 August 2017)
Lil Wayne, Dave, Kempi, Yung Nnelg, 67, Jarreau Vandal, Siobhan Bell, Vic Crezée, etc.

Lowlands, Netherlands (Mojo Concerts, 18–20 August 2017)
Bastille, London Grammar, Cypress Hill, Michael Kiwanuka, Architects, Billy Talent, Future Islands, Glass Animals, Nina Kraviz, Robert Hood, Talaboman, Baloji, Denzel Curry, Palace, Shame, SMIB

Summer Sonic, Japan (Creativeman, 19–20 August 2017)
Calvin Harris, Liam Gallagher, 5 Seconds of Summer, Charli XCX, Justice, Kesha, Phoenix, Royal Blood, Sum 41, Circa Waves, Good Charlotte, G-Eazy, New Found Glory, etc.

 


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Festival Focus: Flow, By the Sea, London Calling

FKA Twigs, Laura Mvula, British electronic producer Mura Masa and Canadian singer-songwriter Moonface, with Finnish band Siinai, will appear at Finnish event Flow Festival in August, joining an eclectic line-up that already includes Sia, New Order, Massive Attack, Iggy Pop, The Last Shadow Puppets and M83.

In addition to music, independently promoted Flow – called “the most achingly cool festival in the world” by Forbes – which takes place in central Helsinki from 12 to 14 August, prides itself on its gourmet food and drink, with 40 restaurants, cars and cafes serving food from around the world made with sustainable, locally sourced, in-season ingredients.

Wooden Shjips, Sala BeGood, 2014, Alterna2

The 10th edition of Johan Gijsen and Bob van Heur’s Le Guess Who? will feature a line-up co-curated by indie darlings Wilco, Savages, Julia Holter and Suuns.

All four acts will perform at the festival, which takes place at multiple venues across Utrecht from 10 to 13 November, and will be joined by Swans, Dinosaur Jr, Digable PlanetsWooden Shjips, Raime, Cate Le Bon, Patty Waters, The Comet is ComingRyley WalkerHeron Oblivion and others. More acts are expected to be announced in the run-up to the event. (Wooden Shjips photo by Alterna2.)

Further north along the Vecht river, the misleadingly named London Calling (it’s in Amsterdam) earlier this week announced its first names for 2016. Wild Beasts, Wall, The Lapelles, Adia Victoria, The Duke Spirit and Riot Horse Royale will all play the Paradiso in late October.

Wolf Alice, SxSW 2014, Brendan T. Lynch

A Saturday night headliner has been announced for Rockfeedback Concerts’ By the Sea, which will return to the Dreamland theme park in Margate, Kent, for the second time on 30 September and 1 October.

NME best live band 2016 Wolf Alice will join previously announced Friday headliner Super Furry Animals, with other newly confirmed acts including Meilyr Jones and Dreller and ‘gender-fuck’ club night Sink the Pink(Wolf Alice photo by Brendan T. Lynch.)

Jason Manford, comedy masterclass, 2013, University of Salford

Kendal Calling says it “couldn’t be happier to welcome another huge Manchester talent to the festival” as it announces Jason Manford as the headliner for its Soapbox comedy stage. Joining Manford in the Lake District in the last weekend in July will be Justin Moorhouse, Rob House, Russell Hicks, Phil Jerrod, Sarah Callaghan, John Hastings, Vince Atta, Bethany Black, Steve Shanyaski, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Laura Lexx and Katie Mulgrew(Jason Manford photo by the University of Salford.)

Badly Drawn Boy, Adam Kerfoot-Roberts

Therapy?, Badly Drawn Boy, Lynched, DJ Yoda, Hayseed Dixie, The Bonnevilles and The Emerald Armada lead the first acts to be announced for Northern Ireland’s Stendhal Festival (named for a psychosomatic illness causing rapid heartbeat, dizziness, fainting, confusion and hallucinations when an individual is exposed to art – fun), which takes place in the Roe Valley in County Londonderry.

The volunteer-run, family friendly event combines music, art, dance, sculpture, poetry and host of other activities and will run from Friday 12 to Saturday 13 August. (Badly Drawn Boy photo by Adam Kerfoot-Roberts.)

James Bay, NOS Alive 2015, Ana Viotti

Finally, up in the great white north, Toronto Urban Roots Fest (TURF) has announced its ‘phase 1’ line-up, featuring headliners James Bay, Death Cab for Cutie and the mysterious ‘???? ???‘, who we can only assume is some kind of avant-garde dance-punk act in the vein of !!!(James Bay photo by Ana Vioti/Side Stage Collective.)

Here’s the poster:

Toronto Urban Roots Fest (TURF) phase 1 line-up poster