FKP Scorpio cancels August festivals
FKP Scorpio has cancelled three more of its summer festivals, saying the spread of the highly transmissible Indian (Delta) variant of the coronavirus in Germany makes going ahead with Highfield, M’era Luna and A Summer’s Tale this year impossible.
Alternative music event M’era Luna, which was scheduled for 7–8 August, and Leipzig rock festival Highfield, which was to have taken place 13–15 August, have both been postponed until 2022, while the relaunch of boutique event A Summer’s Tale, which went on hiatus in 2020, has also been delayed by a year.
Like flagship events Hurricane and Southside, which were called off in March, all tickets for the rescheduled events remain valid. Kraftklub, Casper, Deichkind and Limp Bizkit will headline Highfield 2022, with goth icons Sisters of Mercy newly announced for next year’s M’era Luna.
“The situation is still unpredictable because of the Delta variant, among other things”
At press time, FKP’s autumn events, including November’s Rolling Stone Beach and Metal Hammer Paradise, are still on.
There are currently no nationwide rules for major events in Germany, with the continually changing state-by-state rules making planning a festival a near impossibility at the time of writing.
“As with the Hurricane and Southside, we have done everything in consultation with experts to ensure that our August festivals can take place,” says FKP Scorpio managing director Stephan Thanscheidt. “However, despite falling incidences [of Covid-19], we were ultimately forced to postpone it again, as the situation is still unpredictable because of the Delta variant, among other things.
“For this reason, in order to protect the health of our guests and the teams, we have to wait another year until we can finally meet again in 2022 for an unforgettable festival summer. ”
‘As disappointed as our guests’: Germany cans summer fests
Germany, Europe’s largest live music market, has become the latest European nation to outlaw all large-scale live events until 31 August, forcing the mass cancellation of some of Europe’s best-loved music festivals.
“Since major events play an important role in spreading infection, they remain prohibited until at least 31 August 2020,” reads a news release from the German federal government, which had yesterday (15 April) given the go-ahead for shops and schools to reopen.
Among the affected events are nearly all of Germany’s summer festival fixtures, including MLK’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane and Southside, Goodlive’s Melt and Splash! Festivals and Superstruct’s Wacken Open Air and Parookaville – with the likes of Goodlive’s Lollapalooza Berlin and new festival Superbloom (both 5–6 September) spared from the ban by a matter of days.
For FKP Scorpio – which, in addition to its flagship twin open-airs, is also calling off Highfield, Deichbrand, Elbjazz, Limestone and Mera Luna – the decision, although “a clear and important safety measure”, is a source of sadness for the entire company, says founder-CEO Folkert Koopmans.
“All of us are bitterly disappointed”
“It goes without saying that these cancellations, like the entire unprecedented [Covid-19] situation, make us very sad, even if we fully support the political decision to protect the population,” comments Koopmans. “Our whole team has been working with countless partners for a long time in preparation for the summer festival season, and is as disappointed as our guests.”
Thomas Jensen, co-founder of metal festival Wacken Open Air, which sold out its 2020 edition under a day, echoes: “Our whole team has been working intensively on the festival these last months, and all of us are bitterly disappointed that we are not allowed to celebrate a Wacken Open Air together with our visitors and the bands this year.”
Similarly sold out were Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, promoted by CTS Eventim’s Marek Lieberberg Konzeragentur, which would have celebrated 35 and 25 years in 2020, respectively.
“For the organisers, the artists and the 175,000 fans who wanted to celebrate 35 years of Rock am Ring and 25 years of Rock im Park in the first weekend in June, this decision is of course disappointing,” reads a statement from organisers.
“Nevertheless, the producers unreservedly support these inevitable measures in the interests of the safety and health of everyone involved, however sad we are over the cancellation of the festivals.”
Highfield Festival marks 20th year with 35,000 people
Highfield Festival, a joint venture by German promoters FKP Scorpio and Semmel Concerts, celebrated its 20th birthday over the weekend, welcoming a sold-out crowd of 35,000 music fans to the site on Germany’s Lake Störmthal.
Like many events this summer, Highfield enjoyed a weekend of good weather. Warm temperatures and no rain was particularly welcome after last year, which saw a wash-out for a number of acts. Relishing in the sunshine, festivalgoers were treated to performances from the likes of The Hives, Billy Talent and Editors.
Offstage, fans were equally well treated, with several acts making surprise appearances in amongst the crowds. Performer Eisfahrrad came to the rescue of a number of overheated fans, as he delivered water to them by speedboat, whilst Marteria hosted an impromptu autographing session in front of a mint green monster truck.
“The Highfield 2018 was so filled with emotion and special moments on and off the stage, the energy at the festival site was palpable”
Speaking of the success of this year’s sell-out event, Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO of FKP says: “The Highfield 2018 was so filled with emotion and special moments on and off the stage, the energy at the festival site was palpable,”
“Our thanks, therefore, is especially our artists who have made Highfield with their music and countless crazy ideas memorable. Our guests have thanked them with a euphoria that caused goosebumps. We are already looking forward to next year!”
The news of Highfield’s success comes after a successful festival season all-round for Germany. Northern Germany’s Wacken Open Air enjoyed huge success with the world’s first ever festival esports arena, and A Summer’s Tale in Luhmühlen reported record ticket sales for its 2018 edition.
Tickets for next year’s Highfield Festival go on sale today and are available from the festival website.
Need help at Southside? Just head for Panama…
Anyone feeling unsafe at Hurricane, Southside, Highfield, M’era Luna, Chiemsee Summer, A Summer’s Tale and Deichbrand festivals this summer need only ask one question – “Which way to Panama?” – to receive assistance, as part of a new anti-harassment scheme being trialled by FKP Scorpio.
The idea, says FKP marketing manager Katja Wittenstein, is to provide festivalgoers with a simple question (“Wo geht’s nach Panama?” in German) that they can ask stewards, staff, police and paramedics in order to request help without having to divulge the nature of the situation.
The asker will then be taken to ‘Panama’ – or any private space away from the crowds – to explain what they have seen or experienced. Everyone who ‘knows the way to Panama’ will be wearing a green and red wristband emblazoned with ‘Panama’.
The introduction of Wo geht’s nach Panama? follows similar initiatives in Australia, where Laneway attendees can call an anonymous hotline to report “disrespectful behaviour”, and the UK, where 60+ AIF members have agreed to implement a zero-tolerance policy to any form of harassment and the provision of confidential welfare to victims of an assault.
Everyone who ‘knows the way to Panama’ will be wearing a green and red wristband emblazoned with the word
There were five sexual assaults at FKP Scorpio’s Bråvalla festival in Norrköping, Sweden, last year.
“When we heard about this concept, which originally came from England, we were enthusiastic about the clear logic and effectiveness,” explains Wittenstein. “Festivals are a lot of fun, but they can also lead to sensory overload: There are people everywhere, it is loud, it is lively, it is colourful…
“An unusual observation or encounter with other people can be felt to be threatening, and both women and men can feel oppressed or harassed.”
A similar scheme is also in use in the German city of Munster, where clubgoers need only ask for “Luisa” to receive help.