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Virtual event to replace cancelled Burning Man 2020

Burning Man is the latest US festival to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, with organisers announcing that the famous Black Rock City will take the form of a “virtual metropolis” instead this year.

The countercultural gathering was set to take place from 30 August to 7 September in Nevada’s Black Rock desert.

“After much listening, discussion, and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision not to build Black Rock City in 2020,” reads a statement on the Burning Man website.

“Given the painful reality of Covid-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do.”

The event, often dubbed as an “anti-festival”, will go ahead online, however, with fans invited to enter the Virtual Black Rock City 2020, in keeping with the event’s 2020 theme, the Multiverse.

“Given the painful reality of Covid-19, one of the greatest global challenges of our lifetimes, we believe this is the right thing to do”

Unsure what form the online gathering will take, the Burning Man team says although it “will likely be messy and awkward with mistakes”, the virtual event will also be “engaging, connective, and fun”.

The first round of Burning Man ticket sales took place last month, with 4,000 tickets prices at $1,400 sold during the ‘FOMO’ ticket sale in March, as well as those sold through Direct Group Sale (DGS). The event’s main ticket sale was postponed earlier this month.

Organisers state they are “committed” to providing refunds to “those who need them”, adding that they hope some “will consider donating all or a portion of your ticket value, and/or making a tax-deductible donation to (non-profit festival organiser) Burning Man Project”.

“Substantial” staff layoffs, pay reductions and other cost-cutting measures will be needed to ensure the organisation remains operational into next year’s event season, say organisers.

Burning Man joins other major US events to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 outbreak, including South by Southwest, Governors Ball, Boston Calling, Firefly Festival and Ultra Miami, with Coachella, Bonnaroo, BottleRock, New Orleans’ Jazz Fest and Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas all pushed back to later in the year.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)


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Tinder for festivals: a modern-day summer of love

Location-based mobile dating app Tinder has partnered with live music giants AEG and Live Nation to create “Festival Mode”, allowing users to match with fellow festivalgoers at events across the United States and UK.

Attendees of festivals including All Points East, British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park and Bonnaroo can add the official festival badge to their profile, allowing them to view and match with other Tinder users who are attending.

“Claim your badge to let others know which festival you’re attending and find someone who wont mind that you haven’t showered in a few days,” the Match Group-owned dating app posted on Twitter.

Thye company explains that the app consistently records a surge in activity over festival weekends, as “music festivals unite people around a common passion – music.”

“We wanted to create a new experience that makes it easier to connect with other concertgoers before even setting foot on festival grounds”

“We wanted to create a new experience that makes it easier to connect with other concertgoers before even setting foot on festival grounds,” says Tinder chief marketing officer Jenny Campbell.

“We’ve partnered with some of the biggest names in the entertainment and events industry to make that happen, and we couldn’t be more excited to help Tinder users find their crowd during these events for the rest of 2019.”

Other events available in the festival mode include UK-based Parklife and Lovebox, as well as US festivals Hangout, the Governors’ Ball, Firefly, Faster Horses, Hard Summer and of Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and Orlando.

The feature can be toggled on and off, giving users the freedom to view and match with those not attending the festival as well.

Festival Mode began rolling out on Wednesday 1 May. Event-specific badges will be available for users approximately three weeks prior to each festival.

 


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Updated: Live Nation acquires Governors Ball

Update: The New York Times reports that Live Nation completed its purchase of Founders Entertainment on Friday.

 


Live Nation is reportedly on the verge of acquiring a majority stake in Governors Ball promoter Founders Entertainment.

According to Billboard, the live events giant is in “final stages of closing a deal” with New York-based independent Founders.

Governors Ball, the first major music festival in New York, will take place for the sixth time this year with a line-up featuring The Strokes, Kanye West, The Killers, Beck, M83 and Haim. Last year’s event drew roughly 150,000 people to Randalls Island in Manhattan.

The deal comes in the wake of AEG Live announcing plans for its own festival on Randalls Island, Panorama

Founders has worked with Live Nation before: the two companies partnered for country festival FarmBorough, which lasted just one year.

The deal would be the latest in a string of festival purchases by Live Nation that includes Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Bonnaroo and Electric Daisy Carnival.

It also comes in the wake of Goldenvoice, owned by Live Nation archrival AEG Live, announcing plans for its own festival on Randalls Island, to be called Panorama. In January, Founders Entertainment’s Tom Russell called the move “short-sighted and disappointing”, telling Billboard: “Scheduling two same-genre festivals on top of each other like this makes it difficult for either to provide the maximum benefit to its fans, its neighbours and taxpayers.”