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Euro festival preview: Rock Werchter, Open’er & more

With the European festival season in full swing, IQ is previewing what the forthcoming weekend has in store…

Dutch festival Down The Rabbit Hole (5–7 July) will welcome a sold-out crowd for its 2024 edition, after selling all 45,000 tickets in less than 45 minutes of going on sale.

The Mojo-promoted event at De Groene Heuvels near Ewijk will feature performances from the likes of LCD Soundsystem, Michael Kiwanuka, The National, Jungle, Raye, Jessie Ware and Khruangbin.

Meanwhile, hip-hop festival franchise Rolling Loud will debut in Austria (5–7) as the only European edition in 2024.

The Live Nation Germany-promoted event, dubbed Rolling Loud Europe, will take over Racino in Ebreichsdorf, an open-air venue on the outskirts of Vienna.

Nicki Minaj, Playboi Carti and Travis Scott will headline the premiere, with support from acts including Ice Spice, Shirin David and Don Toliver.

In Belgium, Rock Werchter (4–7) is already underway at Festivalpark in Werchter. The Live Nation Belgium-promoted event is headlined by Foo Fighters, Dua Lipa, Lenny Kravitz and Måneskin. Day tickets have sold out for four of the five dates.

Bombay Bicycle Club, Snow Patrol, Yungblud and Sum 41, The Last Dinner Party, Nothing But Thieves, Avril Lavigne and Khruangbin, Michael Kiwanuka, Arlo Parks and Royal Blood will also perform at Belgium’s biggest festival over the coming days.

Hip-hop festival franchise Rolling Loud will debut in Austria this weekend

Dua Lipa and Foo Fighters are also headlining Open’er (3–6) on the north coast of Poland, in Gdynia, alongside Doja Cat.

Addition acts for the Alter Art-promoted event include Hozier, Charli XCX, Don Toliver, Måneskin, Disclosure, Ashnikko, 21 Savage, Ice Spice, Air, Loyle Carner, Michael Kiwanuka, Floating Points, Kim Gordon, Tom Morello, Sampha and Slowdive.

Ruisrock (5–7), the second oldest rock festival in Europe, will once again take over the national park of Ruissalo in Turku, Finland this weekend.

The Chainsmokers, Hardwell, Disclosure, PMMP and Stormzy are top are top billing for the 2024 edition, which will host up to 35,000 people a day.

Elsewhere, electronic music festival Balaton Sound (3–6) is afoot on the beach in Zamárdi, Hungary.

Marshmello, Alison Wonderland, Adam Beyer, Amelie Lens and Timmy Trumpet are among the acts performing at the event, organised by the team behind Sziget in Budapest.

Other festivals taking place this weekend include Electric Love Festival (AU), Lovely Days Festival (AU), Lytham Festival (UK), Les Eurockéennes de Belfort (FR), Awakenings Summer Festival (NL), Love Supreme Jazz Festival (UK) and Comfort Festival (IT).

 


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Setting a glocal trend: UPBEAT showcase platform

Folk never felt so stylish as the Blogothèque production of Macedonian rising star Zarina Prvasevda’s soaring voice on the stairs of Les Arènes de Lutèce, Paris. It’s all done in authentic arrangement, sprinkled with the natural charm of traditional music and of course Zarina, Best New Talent of 2023 according to the public and industry voters of UPBEAT. Celebrating the rise of her talent, emerging from a relatively unknown corner of Europe as well as marking a growing trend, the video is more than the unaffected allure of its musicians.

In an era of glocalizing markets, local heritage and cultural niches are gaining ground, and industry players are leaning into the trend. As Chris Dalla Riva and Will Page pointed out in a recent article, local, non English-speaking artists are thriving on streaming platforms, and chart-toppers increasingly perform in their native languages. UPBEAT, the European showcase platform for world music counting 14 members – WOMEX, Tallinn Music Week, PIN Music Conference and Budapest Ritmo among them – set out to assist new talent like Zarina, inspired by their own heritage and singing in their native languages; anything but the dated industry standard of English.

Europe is a well-chosen locale for the initiative, with its prism of cultural identities, centrally available resources and legislation. Countering the fear of fractured identities and markets, artists like Zarina are met with increasing interest: authenticity seems to outweigh generic production practices, if they find the right audience. And authentic she is, collecting folk songs from grandmas and standing up publicly for environmental causes, while mesmerising audiences with her singing. Voted best from a pool of 100 showcasers, she will hopefully get to more and more listeners, beyond her native North Macedonia and the Balkan region.

UPBEAT takes the lead in concentrating resources and effort into these segments, finding unity in diversity. The Creative Europe Programme sponsors the project with two million euros, matched by partners; some of the money channeled into the festival infrastructure, some going straight to artists and delegates; strengthening the community of European music professionals. It works on a membership basis, with sustainable criteria set as a benchmark in order to impact the industry as a whole. Hatched by Hangvető, a Budapest-based music firm with rising European relevance, UPBEAT is both setting and riding a trend.

In its first year, 140 bands from 30 countries and 200 delegates were supported by the project, shaping the music business one showcase festival at a time. Blogothèque’s video, reaching millions, is just one way of getting these artists across national borders. UPBEAT weighs in on the side of a better-connected European market, leaving artists’ originality unaffected. The platform, dedicated to new talent, music in original language and sustainability can serve as a model for value-driven business in other sectors and locations, answering the most critical challenges of our time.

UPBEAT stands for support of new talent, support of music in original language, sustainability, and strengthening the European network of industry professionals. World/global music artists and experts based in Europe have much to offer – follow and join UPBEAT for industry news and connections.

 


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Festivals ’24 update: Mad Cool, Sziget, Latitude

Spain’s Mad Cool, Hungary’s Sziget and the UK’s Latitude are among the latest major European festivals to unveil their lineups for 2024.

Set for Madrid from 10-13 July, the expanded four-day Mad Cool will feature acts including Dua Lipa, the Smashing Pumpkins, Janelle Monáe, Pearl Jam, Motxila 21, Sum 41, Jessie Ware, Black Pumas, Tom Morello, Bring Me The Horizon and Avril Lavigne.

Also on the bill are artists such as Garbage, Nothing But Thieves, Tom Odell, Greta Van Fleet, Keane, Rels B, Michael Kiwanuka, The Breeders, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Alvvays, The Gaslight Anthem, Arlo Parks and Ashnikko.

Also in Spain, Benicàssim has confirmed Royal Blood, Black Eyed Peas and Wade for 18-20 July, and Live Nation’s O Gozo Festival in Galicia will welcome Ed Sheeran on 6 July.

Elsewhere, Sziget‘s first wave of acts includes Stormzy, Fred Again.., Sam Smith, Martin Garrix, AMEME, Blondshell, Eris Drew & Octo Octa, Fontaines D.C., Four Tet, Honey Dijon, Joost, Joesef, L’Impératrice, MEUTE, Nia Archives, Nova Twins, Overmono, Pip Blom, Warhaus, Becky Hill, Aurora and Louis Tomlinson. The festival will be held in Budapest from 7-12 August.

“We have already received a lot of positive feedback during this year’s Sziget about how much the festival has improved in almost all areas”

“We have already received a lot of positive feedback during this year’s Sziget about how much the festival has improved in almost all areas compared to the 2022 Sziget, and from the early bird ticket sales so far we can observe that there is a huge interest in the 2024 festival,” says CEO Tamás Kádár.

“This announcement, which is only the first ‘package’ for now, shows that next year Sziget will also feature big world stars, current artists and newly discovered musical specialities, so that everyone will be offered a strong and exciting selection of music, regardless of genre.”

Hungary will also witness the return of Balaton Sound to Lake Balaton, Zamardi, from 3-6 July, with top names including James Hype, Purple Disco Machine, Paul Kalkbrenner, John Newman, Marshmello, Lost Frequencies, Timmy Trumpet, Ben Nicky, Will Sparks, Nervo, Switch Disco and Nick Moreno.

Duran Duran, Kasabian, Keane, London Grammar and comedian Sara Pascoe will headline Festival Republic’s Latitude Festival at Henham Park in Suffolk from 25-28 July. The lineup also includes Khruangbin, Nile Rodgers & Chic, Orbital, Rag’n’Bone Man and Rick Astley, among others.

“Having Duran Duran, Kasabian, London Grammar, Keane, and Sara Pascoe leading the lineup at this year’s Latitude Festival truly epitomises our vision for a diverse and dynamic programme,” says festival director Melvin Benn. “Each performer brings their unique energy and style to the bill, promising an unforgettable experience for our audience. We strive to create a space where art and music converge in the most extraordinary ways, and this year’s music headliners capture the essence of that vision.”

“We are focused on improving our off-track entertainment across all our events year on year, and 2024 feels really special”

Meanwhile, Bru-C, Becky Hill and Ben Nicky will top the bill at Plymouth’s first electronic music festival Alive At Argyle at home Park on 25 May, and Busted, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Olly Murs have been announced as headliners for next year’s Silverstone Festival, taking place from 23-25 August.

“We are focused on improving our off-track entertainment across all our events year on year, and 2024 feels really special for Silverstone Festival, Formula 1 British Grand Prix and British Grand Prix MotoGP,” says Silverstone commercial director Nick Read. “We cannot wait as Silverstone Festival brings the love of motorsport and music together in one place.”

Last Tour’s MEO Kalorama will welcome the likes of Massive Attack, LCD Soundsystem, Sam Smith, The Kills, The Postal Service, Death Cab For Cutie, Overmono, Ezra Collective, Yard Act and Ana Lua Caiano to its third edition, which will take place in Portugal at Bela Vista Park, Lisbon, from 29-31 August.

In addition, FKP Scorpio Sweden’s Rosendal Garden Party will host the likes of Massive Attack, Raye, Grace Jones, The Cardigans and Turnstile in Stockholm from 14-16 June. FKP has also added more than 25 new names to its twin Hurricane and Southside festivals in Germany, including Deichkind, Ayliva, Idles, Feine Sahne Fischfilet, Tom Odell, Bombay Bicycle Club, Silverstein, Danko Jones, The Subways, Noga Erez, Fatoni, Paula Carolina, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, The Last Dinner Party, Buntspecht, Ritter Lean, Becky Hill, Fast Boy and The Reytons.

And Lana Del Rey is the latest headliner announced for France’s Rock en Seine. The American superstar will open the AEG-operated Paris festival at Domaine national de Saint-Cloud on 21 August.

 


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Event Production Forum East sets 2023 date

The Event Production Forum East (EPFE) is returning for its seventh year to the Budapest Arena in Hungary on 10 November.

Organised by Carl A H Martin and Máté Horvath, the gathering attracts event professionals, technicians, bookers and entrepreneurs from production, venue management, promotion, hospitality and suppliers to focus on the challenges being faced across Central and Eastern Europe and the surrounding regions.

Delegates will enjoy a day of networking, centred around four panels, presented in association with EPS, Visual Europe Group and Continest.

Panels will include It Is Really So Difficult?, chaired by Sanjin Corovic, which will discuss education and training within the live events.

Do You Remember When We Didn’t Have All this S**t?, chaired by Nika Brunet Milunovic, will explore the evolution of technology and working practices over the past three decades.

“This year has been really hard work throughout the event industry, in the CEE and beyond”

The Real Legacy of Covid 19?, moderated by Carl AH Martin, asks whether post-pandemic fatigue has created a less caring and responsible industry.

And The Dinosaur Panel will see Mick Worwood and Paul Pike bring uncensored tales from yesteryear that will combine educational insights with hilarious anecdotes, according to a release.

“This year has been really hard work throughout the event industry, in the CEE and beyond,” says Carl AH Martin. “We will be discussing, in detail, what is going on and what is going to be happening in the future, plus what we can do to help.

“I love bringing together some of the industry’s most experienced operators with the young stars of the future, with input from the floor encouraged. We’ll keep delegates refreshed and fed through the day and will finish the day with the traditional free evening dinner and drinks in a downtown venue, followed by continuation of the revelry for those who are up for it.

“We look forward to seeing our regulars and welcoming new faces to EPFE23, where you can talk, be listened to, learn from others and enjoy life.”

Tickets are priced the same as last year – HUF30,000 (€78.50) – and can be bought here.

 


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Island of Freedom: Sziget Festival turns 30

As Sziget Festival chalks up its landmark 30th anniversary, Mark Beaumont reports that its evolution from student event to global phenomenon shows no signs of waning, as it looks towards the future.

For 30 years, the old railway bridge across the Danube to Old Buda Island has, for six days each August, become a portal to another world. A place where gigantic inflatable sculptures of heads made from eyes rise from the earth. Where sci-fi corridors of light guide you to arenas rammed with drag queens and late-night ravers. Where the world’s greatest circus performers, dance troupes, global ensembles, and theatrical extravaganzas come together; the biggest stars and most exciting rising acts blast brilliance from the main stages; and on every pathway, you might come across a real-life Super Mario race in progress or gigantic antique steampunk DJ engines honking out cranky gramophone dance music.

This is Sziget – dubbed the Island of Freedom – where any prejudices and bigotries are left on the mainland and 500,000 annual visitors from across the world are encouraged to live their true selves during one of Europe’s biggest, most inclusive, and most broad-minded festivals: Hungary’s own Glastonbury and a unique keystone in the global festival season.

In this 30th anniversary year – marking the 29th event, due to the Covid break – the 60,000 fans at the main stage lose their minds to David Guetta’s laser-strewn electro; Lorde and Billie Eilish’s dark-hearted alt-pop; and Florence + The Machine’s pagan wailings. In the 15,000-capacity FreeDome tent, France’s M83 and the UK’s Jamie xx fill the cavernous space with euphoric electronica while Sweden’s Viagra Boys, Australia’s Amyl and the Sniffers, and Britain’s Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes bring the visceral punk noise.

World-class DJs pump the rave crowds at the Colosseum – a dance arena built from wooden pallets – nostalgia addicts take in tributes to Queen, ABBA, and Elvis at the Tribute stage, and more chilled Szitizens (as they’re known) wander the giant metal suns of the Artzone or join tantric dance sessions at Sziget Beach on the island’s northern tip. Set virtually in the heart of Budapest, it’s an idyllic escape from the city where minds are opened, differences celebrated, and nights invariably lost in the spin of it all.

“When we cross the bridge and leave the real world and everyday struggle behind, we are entering a different world, like an ‘Island of Freedom’”

“When we cross the bridge and leave the real world and everyday struggle behind, we are entering a different world, like an ‘Island of Freedom’,” says Sziget CEO Tamás Kádár, quoting the social media message that gave the festival its slogan. “Sziget has [had] the same values for 30 years. We stand up for tolerance, acceptance for all kinds of people.”

“Hungary has a quite bad reputation nowadays,” says programme director Jozsef Kardos, sitting behind the LGBTQ+ venue Magic Mirror, “but Sziget remains a flame in the darkness. From the first moment, it was a festival where we wanted people to be able to be themselves and enjoy their life how they want to enjoy it. So, there are no prejudices here, there’s no racism, no homophobia, no xenophobia, we don’t want to make any difference between people because of their religion, their sexual orientation or skin colour or anything. The idea was that during this one week when the festival is happening, we want to create a world to show the people how we would love to live in our everyday life.”

Humble Beginnings
Since its very beginnings, Sziget has been a celebration of freedom. In the wake of the end of the Communist era in 1989, the festival was launched by a group of artists and rock enthusiasts in 1993 to combat the collapse of the previously successful Hungarian festival scene, now drained of government funds. Named Diáksziget (Student Island), the first event had a capacity of just 43,000 and a bill made up purely of Hungarian bands, celebrating the fresh hope of Hungary’s student communities and younger generations.

“In ’92, ’93, there was a big change in Hungary,” says Ádám Lőrincz, managing director of BL Crew who have staged the festival since day one, and one of just two people working on the festival today who have been with Sziget since its 1993 debut. “We felt the change, we felt the freedom. We had two big stages, and some small stages six-by-four size. You have a small hill in the island, and the opposite side of the hill was the first place for the stage. 5,000 people could go there, sitting on the hill and watching the Hungarian bands playing there. It was like a family.”

From the off, Sziget was imagined as a multicultural, multimedia affair. “There were small theatres, a small circus, a movie venue, and Sziget News,” says Lőrincz. “All day, a camera goes around and at [10pm,] after the main act, there’d be a Sziget News show giving information [about] what’s happening [the next] day on the island.”

“Having Pepsi on the front of a flyer would give the agents some degree of security. A multinational isn’t going to sponsor something that’s gonna be a disaster”

In charge of everything from building the stages to putting up the fence; laying electricity and water cables; and putting down the field cover, Lőrincz recalls putting together 20 military tents at a time for the venues at the 1993 event. “There was no power anywhere, no water any- where, nothing. I remember a hundred people pulling a 200-meter-long cable rented from a Hungarian movie company from the entrance to the middle of the island like a snake, that was a special challenge for us.”

As very much an amateur event, the first Sziget ran over budget, earning the festival significant debts. The first attempt to make the festival profitable came the following year, the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock festival, when organisers attempted to (partly) restage it, booking some acts that had played at the original Woodstock on Max Yasgur’s farm in upstate New York in 1969.

The likes of Jefferson Starship, Eric Burdon, and Jethro Tull appeared, drawing a total crowd of 143,000 to the island. 173,000 arrived in 1994 to see The Stranglers, John Cale, and Clawfinger play, but it wasn’t until sponsorship deals were struck with beer brands, media partners, and crucially Pepsi for the 1996 event – and major acts including The Prodigy, Stone Roses, and Sonic Youth began attracting international audiences – that Sziget began to clear its debts and build a reputation as a major stop of the European circuit.

“I think the Pepsi deal helped to develop the festival,” says Sziget’s head of sponsorship Nora Pinter. “It was an international deal, quite long at five years.”

“I imagine it would’ve turned things around massively,” says Alex Hardee at Wasserman Music UK, which has placed the likes of Lewis Capaldi and Billie Eilish at Sziget in recent years. “In ’96, there weren’t that many festivals in that part of the world. Nowadays, booking things into Central Europe, no one has any worries or fears, but this was at a time when you were very suspicious of booking things into what they used to call ‘tertiary markets.’ If someone rang you from Hungary, you’d be checking out if the gig was legit or not. Having Pepsi on the front of a flyer would give the agents some degree of security. A multinational isn’t going to sponsor something that’s gonna be a disaster.”

“It will have a knock-on effect if you headline Sziget. The other European markets take note”

Now with a daily site capacity of 90,000, Sziget could pull huge bill-toppers. David Bowie, Oasis, Foo Fighters, and Green Day were amongst the headliners gracing the Island of Freedom in the late-90s and early-00s as the festival grew to allow for around 360,000 visitors per year. A slot there began to be a marker of regional success. “It will have a knock-on effect if you headline Sziget,” says Wasserman Music agent James Whitting. “The other European markets take note.”

WME agent Rob Markus, who booked Imagine Dragons as headliners this year, was working at EMI Hungary at the time. “I remember when the Foo Fighters went and played early on, I was asked by the head of EMI at the time if I thought it was a good idea, and I said it was a great opportunity. I said, ‘This is going to be a really big festival.’ This was pre a lot of other festivals in that part of Europe, so it became a real opportunity for acts. As soon as you start getting one or two acts, people tend to follow. The Pepsi deal helped tremendously in terms of being able to make the investments needed to get these bigger acts. It was ground-breaking at the time, in Hungary in particular. It was the beginning of changing the landscape of the entertainment business in Hungary and the region.”

Hardee also credits the efficiency and amenability of long-term booker Dan Panaitescu (who sadly died in a car accident in 2016) with convincing UK agents to trust Sziget with their major acts, plus the years when the festival ran mid-week rather than at weekends. “As the festival circuit expanded and everybody wanted weekends,” he says, “it became an important midweek play.”

Beyond the main stages, for many years the broader programme was spread over a wide range of smaller stages themed around musical genres, from classical to Romany. “We had about 15 or 16 different music stages,” says Kardos, who has been programme director since 1998. “We had a blues stage, a jazz stage, metal stage, a pop stage, a stage for alternative music, we had a folk music stage. But when the festival was getting bigger, we needed bigger stages and venues for much bigger capacities. So, the concept changed a little bit, and we now have four big main stages.”

The growth in size and reputation required a more professional approach, too. In the early ’00s, many of the current team were recruited to update the festival for the new millennium. “It used to be a family type of company that used to operate it,” says Dániel Benis, on board since 2003 and head of production at the festival since 2007. “I started to work on that a decade and a half ago – how to create a professional attitude – and it was a really huge task because the organisers would work on paper in exercise books and things like that. Right now, we have multitasking cloud management software to operate the whole thing. We are well-equipped and super-efficient.”

“Some years, we had a stop in Germany. Dancing, drinking, and then they arrive here prepared for Sziget, they have six days at Sziget, and party their way back home. It lengthens their festival experience”

Benis has overseen the gradual growth of the festival production to accommodate the demand and requirements that come with hosting the world’s biggest acts. The Freedome tent started at 2,500sqm, he explains, now it’s more than 6,000sqm. “When I negotiated with the fire department ten years ago, they asked what should be the maximum size for an outdoor tent in Hungary legally, and I thought, ‘Okay, it can be 6,000sqm,’” he laughs. “I never thought I was going to fall into my own trap!”

Where Benis started with 100 containers, now he has 300. Where there were once 300 to 500 Portaloos, now there are more than 1,000 flushing toilets. “Everything – size, decoration, and audio-visual as well – everything has improved.”

Have there been major problems with getting large-scale productions onsite, given the island setting? “It has already happened that we had to crane an even bigger crane from a ship because the weight was not allowed to come across the bridge. It’s a benefit that we’re on an island, but it’s also a really big side-effect for the pull-up because we have only one bridge for heavy vehicles, we have one pedestrian entrance during the operational times, so it’s quite a challenge.”

As the biggest names of the ‘00s kept coming – Muse, The Cure, REM, The Killers, and Pulp, alongside plentiful rock and nu metal heroes and superstar DJs – word got around Europe of this remarkably affordable island of dreams, a rock & roll jewel adrift in the Danube. Combined with press and social media campaigns and partnerships that set out to publicise the experience of the festival as much as its line-up, Sziget began to outstrip other European festivals in terms of its international appeal. The situation, so close to Budapest, encouraged fans from across Europe to treat the festival as the basis for a longer city-break, and the festival even worked with a travel partner in the Netherlands to put on party trains from Amsterdam to Sziget.

“Some years, we had a stop in Germany,” says Pinter. “Dancing, drinking, and then they arrive here prepared for Sziget, they have six days at Sziget, and party their way back home. It lengthens their festival experience.”

“There are some artists such as Lana Del Ray and Kendrick Lamar that had not even played in Hungary before, and the fact that we could bring those artists to the Hungarian crowd is something I’m very proud of”

Many Szitizens from countries outside Hungary even arrange to camp in specific areas together, making for a veritable global map of a campsite. It’s all part of Sziget’s unique sense of community, encouraged not just by the festival’s ethos of togetherness, acceptance, and understanding but by specific programmes – regular early-bird ticket buyers who secure their passes before the line-up is announced are entered into the Szitizen Prime programme, receiving presents and the chance to win exclusive experiences.

As a result of the international in-rush, Sziget is now the biggest tourism event in Hungary each year. “Sziget is not just a festival,” says Benis, “it’s a multicultural holiday. This is a special atmosphere. We’re here in the city centre on an island, so once you enter K-Bridge you’ve fundamentally stepped into another world. You can leave your pain and problems behind, and it works.”

Pop-rika
The Sziget that the outside world arrives at today is a place both calming and head-spinning at once. With over 1,000 performances over six days, it’s a feast of pan-cultural entertainment. In continuing Dan’s good work in curating the main stage bills, booker Virág Csiszár focusses on appealing to the key international markets from which Sziget’s visitors are drawn, including the UK, Netherlands, Germany, and France. “We run polling on our socials as well,” she says, “we try to reach as many fans [as possible] so they can submit their favourite artists. There are some artists such as Lana Del Ray and Kendrick Lamar that had not even played in Hungary before, and the fact that we could bring those artists to the Hungarian crowd is something I’m very proud of.”

Elsewhere, each of the smaller stages forms a vital strut to Sziget’s central philosophy. With acts from 62 countries performing this year, it’s not just one of the top ten most successful major festivals in Europe but one of the most diverse, too, a factor encapsulated by the Global Village stage, a 2019 conglomerate of the previous long-standing World Music stage (the festival’s second biggest until 2010) and the Afro-Latin and Romany stages. Here, gigantic giraffe and zebra puppets dance around the arena; workshops teach visitors the techniques of ethno-sound; and acts from as far afield as Senegal, India, Mexico, and Korea perform.

“This stage and a few of the other smaller stages are still the heart and spirit of what Sziget was before,” says venue manager Marina Pommier, who started working at the festival as manager of the Romany stage in 2002. “The atmosphere is very family and open to all kinds of genres. I try to mix traditional with rock – there will be folk rock and punk rock and very traditional groups. I’m looking for things to let the public be as open as possible to the other music in the world.”

“Our state support is zero, which means we are 100% independent from any government, and we don’t feel any pressure… We do whatever we want”

Pommier’s recent highlights on the stage have included sets by Italian singer-songwriter Vinicio Capossela, Mali’s Bamba Wassoulou Groove, and Poland’s gutsy classical-folk string group VOŁOSI. “The public was like, ‘What is this? How can it exist?’” she says of VOŁOSI’s performance. “People really discover things, and that’s what I want. My duty is to transmit. My challenge this year was to bring, on the last day, a polyphonic group from France. They taught two songs in the workshop because I hoped that in the end there would be a few people to sing with them during the show.”

Love Hungary
For the more colourful clubbers, the Magic Mirror is the hub of the festival’s inclusive mindset. The circular wooden venue – rented from and constructed by Belgian company Magic Mirrors each year – hosts Mirror Talks and film screenings on issues such as identity politics, religion, and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as late-night parties crammed with revellers and drag shows such as Queenz and Queens Brunch Vienna.

“The straight community is really interested in drag culture,” says venue manager György Ujvári-Pintér, who has been running the stage since 2017, “because when they go into the tent and they can see drag queens on the stage, it’s eye candy. There are some fantastic creatures on the stage, and then they can sit down and hear all these historical and cultural facts about drag queens, so it’s always very interesting.”

For all its flamboyant positivity, the Magic Mirror has a troubled history. There were protests around attempts to ban its launch in 2001, and the current right-wing government in Hungary has been putting LGBTQ+ rights at risk. A Mirror Talk called East of Pride focusing on the difficulties facing the Pride movement in Eastern Europe takes place this year, while the Amsterdam Rainbow Dress, made from flags of countries where homosexuality is illegal, makes an appearance on the island. “We hope that Hungary won’t be one of the flags in the next couple of years on that dress,” says Kardos.

“We stand up for tolerance, acceptance for all kinds of people, there [has been] no change in that for 30 years,” says Kádár. “Because we are getting so old, we have seen different governments in this country with different values. Our state support is zero, which means we are 100% independent from any government, and we don’t feel any pressure – we don’t feel any push-back from the government, we do whatever we want.”

“The audience is getting younger, and they prefer faster entertainment, with a shorter span of attention”

Yet the situation in Hungary and the wider world has altered Ujvári-Pintér’s approach to the Magic Mirror mentality. “The original objective was the fight against homophobia and [to] show [the] broader society how we are not different,” he explains. “But times have changed a lot for the queer side of society. When I took it over [in 2017], my main mission was that we should speak directly to the LGBT+. Even if the majority of society has to make a bigger step to understand us, the main thing is to create a point of reference [for] queer society.”

Left of Fields
Performing arts are another Sziget cornerstone. Since starting at Sziget in 2003, Theatre and Dance Field manager Anikó Rácz has seen the theatrical programme shift from enclosed 1,500-capacity black box theatre venues and auditoriums featuring classical and opera shows with 120 singers performing Carmina Burana, to its current incarnation as an accessible open field featuring eight largely contemporary dance-based shows every day.

“It needs to be accessible language-wise,” she says, “and it also needs to be accessible in a way that people can join in and leave it as they like because there is so much else to do that it’s difficult to keep people engaged for an hour. The audience is getting younger, and they prefer faster entertainment, with a shorter span of attention.”

Companies such as France’s Dyptik even invite the audience to dance with them on the stage at the end, a practice somewhat less advisable in the Cirque du Sziget area, where the world’s most renowned contemporary circus troupes – Australia’s Circa, Czechia’s Cirk la Putyka, Canada’s Cirque Alfonse – spin by their hair from poles and recreate the Ukrainian refugee crisis in acrobatic dance, amongst other jaw-dropping spectacles. With four international shows collaborating to utilise the same set-up in a dedicated 1,000-seat arena since 2015 – each company getting just nine hours to set up and rehearse – the rarity of Sziget’s commitment to cutting-edge circus acts has made the venue a huge draw, playing to full houses all weekend.

“The idea is to bring something to the visitors they haven’t necessarily seen before,” says venue manager Ziad Hakim. “There’s always a theme to the show, there’s always a story behind [it], whether it’s LBGTQ+, whether it’s war, we’ve had many different shows. We bring something new, we bring excitement, we bring emotions, all this through contemporary circus. We believe that by having such a varying and strong programme, that [is] making the festival unique.”

“The audience is almost all from Gen Z, which is very unreachable nowadays, and Sziget is very international”

As such an international festival, with a young audience, Sziget has found itself well-primed to strike sponsorship deals with major international partners, making up around 10% of the festival’s full budget of €25million (with the rest covered by
its strong ticket sales). Mastercard, Samsung, TicketSwap, Bolt, Tanqueray, and Ibis are amongst the companies sponsoring main stages and areas, and Pinter sees further potential for global partnerships. “The audience is almost all from Gen Z, which is very unreachable nowadays,” she says, “and Sziget is very international.”

Yet Sziget has managed to achieve this without overwhelming its audience with branding. “Sometimes we’re the audience to dance with them on the stage at the end, a practice somewhat less advisable in the Cirque du Sziget area, where the world’s most renowned contemporary circus troupes – Australia’s Circa, Czechia’s Cirk la Putyka, Canada’s Cirque Alfonse – spin by their hair from poles and recreate the Ukrainian refugee crisis in acrobatic dance, amongst other jaw-dropping spectacles. With four international shows collaborating to utilise the same set-up in a dedicated 1,000-seat arena since 2015 – each company getting just nine hours to set up and rehearse – the rarity of Sziget’s commitment to cutting-edge circus acts has made the venue a huge draw, playing to full houses all weekend.

“The idea is to bring something to the visitors they haven’t necessarily seen before,” says venue manager Ziad Hakim. “There’s always a theme to the show, there’s always a story behind [it], whether it’s LBGTQ+, whether it’s war, we’ve had many different shows. We bring something new, we bring excitement, we bring emotions, all this through contemporary circus. We believe that by having such a varying and strong programme, that [is] making the festival unique.”

As such an international festival, with a young audience, Sziget has found itself well-primed to strike sponsorship deals with major international partners, making up around 10% of the festival’s full budget of €25million (with the rest covered by
its strong ticket sales). Mastercard, Samsung, TicketSwap, Bolt, Tanqueray, and Ibis are amongst the companies sponsoring main stages and areas, and Pinter sees further potential for global partnerships. “The audience is almost all from Gen Z, which is very unreachable nowadays,” she says, “and Sziget is very international.” Yet Sziget has managed to achieve this without overwhelming its audience with branding. “Sometimes we’re struggling with a partner in convincing them that less is more, at least with this audience. But every time you can reach the balance.”

With an island location used as a public park for the rest of the year, and with a nature reserve onsite, which their ten-year contract with the Budapest municipality requires them to protect, Sziget is limited in its possibilities for future expansion. Having recently upgraded the toilets (some now feature hidden doors to secret club areas) and added chill zones around catering areas, Benis hopes to redraw the site map for 2024 to include more service areas on the festival’s surrounding road. Kardos hopes to reintroduce the classical music stages he loved when he first arrived and introduce a venue exploring the impact and opportunities created by AI.

“The focus is to provide people with the time of their lives”

Otherwise, future plans are focused on learning from each year’s festival in terms of making the event safer and more efficient in maintaining its service levels – particularly as inflation has tripled many staffing costs in the past few years, ticket prices can’t increase substantially, and the 530,000-capacity can’t be stretched further.

From Benis’s specially created control room overseeing every aspect of the festival – having already honed the three-week set-up, ten-day operational period, and two-and-a-half-week takedown – it’s about fine-tuning issues such as reducing dust levels on the island; improving infrastructure and hygiene; and encouraging more environmentally friendly stage productions. “It’s really interesting to see our audience,” he says, “they’re not the ten-year-before generation who wanted to see more confetti, more lasers, more whatever. I think that’s gonna be the trend for the future – how to reduce that and be environmentally conscious.”

For Kádár, however, the future of Sziget is the same as it ever was. “After a quite hard period during Covid, it’s the start of a new beginning,” he says. “The focus is to provide people with the time of their lives.”

Read the article in this month’s issue of IQ

 


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BALKAN:MOST event blows minds in Veszprém

How do you make a sold-out street fiesta celebrating a musical niche removed from its place of origin, attracting small-town folks and seasoned professionals? BALKAN:MOST pulled off just that in the Hungarian town of Veszprém, between 7 and 9 September, with free entry. Taking showcase festivals to the next level, it acted as a roll-call for Balkan talent, and people loved it.

Location, location, location
Veszprém is small in comparison to say Budapest, but a neat little cultural hub seated in the picturesque Balaton region – rich in wines, views and prime venues. The town used the impetus of Veszprém-Balaton 2023 European Capital of Culture year to the max. BALKAN:MOST Showcase and Conference, in cooperation with WOMEX, acted as a double-edged sword: it attracted European music buffs besides bagging popular appeal. The crowds – over a tenth of the city’s population – chanting along to Bosnian ska punk or falling in love with heritage-inspired R’n’B would definitely agree. Organisers Hangvető delivered production seamlessly as per usual, nursing delegates along to revelative experiences and fruitful networking. BALKAN:MOST represented the region in its diversity and carried out an ambitious professional agenda and a three-day street fiesta. No coincidence, in a city that has welcomed buskers at its Street Music Festival for decades, and where locals easily take to quirky musicians occupying their quaint streets.

“MOST gave us a big boost, and a new network. We learnt a lot about how the music industry works”

Clever Programming
Organisers relied heavily on the Balkan brand, while questioning and broadening its content. The term oversteps the backlog of ‘world music’, while suggesting that musical heritage is indeed involved. Showcase bands had already had an established working relationship with the team, who began to map out the region’s talent and industry as part of project MOST.

“This is the most important event to show almost everything this project has achieved in these years, like a final exam. Except it already includes the celebration afterwards,” as Balázs Weyer, MOST mentor and programming director at Hangvető put it.

The showcase and conference was the pinnacle of a four-year-long development project ‘bridging’ the gap still dividing the Balkans with the rest of the European market. MOST literally means bridge in Slavic languages, also resonating with Hungarian and English speakers. Thirty-two bands, 100 managers and 60 festivals received a boost throughout the programme, in the form of mentoring, training, networking and performance opportunities. Some, like Divanhana, champions of sevdah, went through rapid evolution: professional awards and attention are resulting in more and more invitations outside their home.

“Being the only Finnish-Bulgarian singer can be lonely. With MOST, I was brought to this big family of Balkan musicians”

Bridge through music
The mastermind behind the project, the festival and MOST’s long-term mission is Hangvető, a Budapest-based 360° music firm with increasing scope in its region and beyond. They initiated the cooperation with 11 Balkan and European partners (BOZAR, EXIT, European Music Council among them), secured funding from Creative Europe, and threw in their expertise and professional network. They recognised the impact hands-on training and personal connections can have on artists’ careers. MOST set off a new generation of not only musicians but other professionals with closer ties in Europe, and made it all visible through BALKAN:MOST. But will it remain a one-hit wonder?

Repeating MOST magic
Inspirational gigs at BALKAN:MOST underlined two key factors of the region’s scene: its kaleidoscopic diversity and underrepresented nature. A sense of shared Balkan belonging emerged among artists emerged as an added extra. Feedback across all tiers of the industry agrees that MOST succeeded in its mission, but the quest remains. A tangible legacy seems to be the personal pathways across two ends of Europe, and within the Balkans itself.

 


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Sziget CEO discusses ‘new and improved’ festival

Sziget CEO Tamás Kádár has spoken to IQ about the new and improved experience at this year’s festival.

The 30th-anniversary edition took place 10-15 August at the event’s longtime home of Óbudai-sziget, in the Hungarian capital of Budapest. Headliners were Billie Eilish, Lorde, Florence + The Machine, Imagine Dragons, David Guetta, Macklemore and Mumford & Sons.

While 2023 ticket sales were slightly lower than the previous year, Kádár says this was expected due to pent-up demand and a high number of rollover tickets after the pandemic.

Sizing up the success of this year’s instalment, he says: “This year, we had two days which ran almost at full capacity, guests were coming from over 80 countries to Budapest, and Sziget was again one of the most international festivals in the world, providing a unique experience for young people from all over.”

“The entire look and feel of the festival was a huge step forward”

The fan experience at the festival was a major focus for the Sziget team, with major investments and improvements in decoration, catering, sustainability and amenities.

“Since the beginning, Sziget has been constantly improving and developing, with innovations in different areas every year,” explains Kádár. “However, last year, after a two-year interruption, we were happy that we managed to survive the difficulties which were overwhelming for many, and which were attacking us on several fronts. This year, however, we were back on the road to progress.

“The entire look and feel of the festival was a huge step forward, the new toilet blocks, the food courts, the decoration, the art all over the place made a great change to the experience of our visitors not to mention the spectacular venues like the TicketSwap Colosseum, the Samsung Party Arena, the Cirque du Sziget, which looked all really amazing.”

One of Sziget’s biggest considerations when designing the 2023 edition was the country’s monster inflation rate, which has lingered around 20% –  the highest in Europe.

“The inflation rate is a huge problem for the entire country”

“The inflation rate is a huge problem for the entire country, especially the food inflation rate which was almost 50% throughout the last 12 months,” notes Kádár. “However, with the weaker Forint this inflation is not as high in Euro terms. The only impact we see for our customers is higher food prices on the festival but this price level is still lower than Western-European or UK prices.”

In response to the food inflation rate, each vendor in Sziget’s new food court was required to offer at least one so-called “budget food” with a maximum price of €6.50.

Catering was also the subject of increased sustainability, with a key aim to offer food prepared with a smaller carbon footprint.

Organisers launched a campaign among caterers that resulted in 80% of those partners offering at least two vegetarian main courses, and over 40% of partners not offering any red meat at all. The campaign also aimed to increase the proportion of Hungarian food used by caterers. A set of seven sustainability criteria was also introduced, of which at least two criteria must be met by all caterers.

“I hope this festival will maintain its leading place amongst the top European festivals in the next 30 years as well”

Elsewhere in the sustainability realm, the festival recycled 50% of the total waste – 8% more than last year. A special camping section was provided for those who wanted to spend time in a waste-free environment and made a commitment to this.

In addition, on a trial basis, a special carbon offsetting scheme was launched for those arriving at the festival by plane, and only electric or human-powered vehicles were used on the festival site.

“We are constantly improving and changing things to please our visitors and we already have great plans for 2024,” teases Kádár. “Sziget was founded 30 years ago in 1993. I hope this festival will maintain its leading place amongst the top European festivals in the next 30 years as well.”

A special feature celebrating Sziget’s 30th anniversary will be published in the next edition of IQ Magazine.

 


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Hungarian festival triumphs over adversity

Hungary’s Paloznaki Jazzpiknik pulled in close to 25,000 fans across three days for its 11th edition despite unpredictable weather threatening to shut down the festival.

Held near Lake Balaton from 3-5 August, the sold-out event featured the likes of Nik West, Rick Astley, Dirty Loops, Thievery Corporation, Incognito and Level 42. More than 40 acts performed over four stages.

But having prepared for the worst weather in the festival’s 12-year history, co-owner and director Orsolya Valde tells IQ it was a minor miracle it emerged unscathed this year.

“Although it looked like we might have to cancel two days out of three, we were able to hold it as planned, without any danger and with an unbelievably happy audience,” says Valde. “It was quite touching to see how the audience and the performers welcomed each other with great enthusiasm despite the changeable weather conditions, and closed this year’s Piknik with unforgettable concert experiences.”

“The weather forecast was so bad that it looked like the festival would have to stop at 7pm”

With turbulent conditions forecast for the festival’s second day, organisers brought forward the programme by 90 minutes, starting with Swedish pop-funk-jazz fusion trio Dirty Loops, followed by American electronic duo Thievery Corporation. However, the weather turned out better than expected and the remainder of the festival was able to proceed as planned.

“The weather forecast was so bad that it looked like the festival would have to stop at 7pm because of the supercells coming straight towards the festival,” notes Valde. “But the supercell – which caused huge damage throughout Europe, including Hungary – miraculously avoided the venue.”

The organisers have announced that Paloznak Jazzpiknik will return from 1-3 August 2024, with line-up and tickets details to be announced this winter.

Acts to have played the festival in previous years include The Jacksons, Jamie Cullum, Soul II Soul, Kool & the Gang and Jazzanova.

 


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‘There is still a demand for concerts in Ukraine’

The impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on touring in Eastern Europe and ethical dilemmas around potentially lucrative new markets were top of the agenda for ILMC’s Geo-politics: The Bigger Picture session.

The panel, hosted by LIVE’s Jon Collins, examined the place of touring and festivals in a tumultuous world.

Just over a year on from Russia’s invasion, Kyiv-raised Dartsya Tarkovska, co-founder of Music Export Ukraine, brought the room up to date on the office’s work, and stressed the importance of the international live music community continuing to support their efforts.

“We have the team of six people now,” she said. “And since Russia started the invasion in Ukraine, we had to split. Right now, we have two people working in Ukraine and four of them are abroad. I’m one of them. I’m currently working and living in the UK as a temporarily displaced person, aka, a refugee. That still allows us to be super-active and promote Ukrainian artists as much as we can, internationally. And our mission was definitely brought to a whole new level.”

Despite the stark circumstances, Tarkovska stressed that the Ukrainian live music industry was still a going concern.

“We used to think that Covid restrictions were super-tough to maintain. Trust me, it’s nothing compared to these challenges”

“It changed dramatically, and there are definitely a few things that impacted this change,” she said. “One of things would was a set of new restrictions and rules for concerts for civilians, because we have air raid alerts, we have shellings, we have curfew, electricity cuts… We used to think that Covid restrictions were super-tough to maintain. Trust me, it’s nothing compared to these challenges. But there are still promoters and bookers who are keeping up with these restrictions, because there is still a demand for concerts in Ukraine.”

She added: “Another trend would be concerts for Ukrainian soldiers at the frontline. That’s definitely a new, very non commercial niche, but a very important one. You can barely find an event without a charity component, and many Ukrainian artists donate at least part of their income for charity purposes.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies – a lot of industry stakeholders did pivot, because it’s very hard to maintain a full time business at the time of war. Some of them tried to diversify their activities, or stay open for new markets and explore new opportunities, whereas others literally do a 180 and focus on charity and other areas.

“For example, some of my colleagues – an independent booking agency called Kontrabass Promo – opened a charity organisations called Musicians Defend Ukraine, and are now collecting for charity. But solely for musicians who are now spending their time in the Ukrainian army, or at the territorial defence, so that they could get back from war and keep on creating more music.”

“Right now, one of the main challenges for us is to keep the conversation going, to keep the spotlight on Ukraine”

Promoter Máté Horváth of Live Nation CEE (Central and Eastern Europe) said the Hungarian market had enjoyed a “serious bounceback”, with strong post-Covid ticket sales, adding that the ramifications of the Ukraine war for the scene had been minimal up to this point.

“I think there was one confirmed tour which was, which was cancelled, but it hadn’t even been announced. It was literally just a week or two weeks after 24 February [2022],” he said. “I saw very few cancellations. I know there were difficulties for artists who lost tour dates in Ukraine, Russia or Belarus, to figure out how to make their tours work out… but it was not very rampant.”

Horváth added, however, that the completion of a new venue in the country was delayed and is still under construction because the building materials were to have arrived from Ukraine. “So there are effects on the market. But as far as cancellations go, it was not a major issue for us,” he said.

Tarkovska indicated that maintaining the attention of the international music community over a year into the war was a challenge.

“At first, we were overwhelmed as an export office with the amount of booking requests and cooperation ideas,” she said. “But as the time goes, we are definitely seeing the attention decreasing. Right now, one of the main challenges for us is to keep the conversation going, to keep the spotlight on Ukraine and keep the representation of our country in the international context.”

“We’re doing as much as we can. But we still need the interest from the international industry stakeholders to make this magic happen”

She pointed out, however, that keeping the spotlight on the issue was a “two-way street”.

“One of the things that our government is doing at this point is trying to develop some international policies and build the bridge to keep the spotlight and make sure Ukraine is represented at the key international events and cultural events,” she said. “Music would definitely be one of the areas of interest, and we’re doing as much as we can. But we still need the interest from the international industry stakeholders to make this magic happen. So if you’re wondering, ‘What can I personally do to support Ukraine?’ This is exactly what you can do.”

Weining Hung, co-founder of Taiwan’s LUCFest, mentioned that tensions between Taiwan and China had left some overseas acts reluctant to visit the former.

“We got rejected or asked questions by many artists from Western countries like Canada or the UK because they were quite concerned about their safety and asked us whether it was still a safe place to go.

“You definitely won’t have problems if you play in Taiwan. You can definitely still go to China, so it won’t have any impact.”

“Beyoncé did not perform in Dubai to celebrate the government, she performed to open a hotel”

The discussion later turned to how the industry should approach markets with questionable human rights records. Beyoncé’s recent private concert in Dubai marking the opening of the luxury Atlantis Royal Hotel, for which the singer was reportedly paid US$24 million, was put forward as an example.

Tarkovska said such decisions should be left up to the artist, but advised they first carry out “thorough homework” to understand the background of the country.

“They really have to evaluate if their values are aligned and if they’re not, why is it still beneficial for the artists to go and work in this particular market? It has to be thoroughly evaluated – what are the pros and cons of this kind of involvement? Because it is very tricky, and the consequences are inevitable. At the end of the day, it’s not necessarily all about the money.”

Middle East-based promoter Thomas Ovesen of TOP Entertainment said there was an important distinction for artists.

“Beyoncé did not perform in Dubai to celebrate the government, she performed to open a hotel,” he said. “Many of the shows in Dubai are commercial shows where the government has no involvement. Perhaps in Saudi is slightly different. So I think it’s a bit more nuanced than dismissing a market if you don’t agree with the rulership, because there is a massive upside in having acts performing. I mean, I’ve had Elton John in Dubai and he’s were very well aware of the rules there, but played to fans and did not play to support the government.”

However, Nick Hobbs of Istanbul-based Charmenko argued that outlook should not extend to all countries.

“Just to be polemical, I would say if there is a situation that the Russian regime continues after this war ends, then going to play in Russia normalises that situation. It says it’s okay, it’s normal.

“It wouldn’t be the Russian government directly inviting [the artist to play], although that is possible, it would be a promoter – but with the sanction of the government. And that, for me, is normalising something which is not normal.”

 


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2023 lineups take shape: Superbloom, Sziget and more

Superbloom, Standon Calling, Sziget, Shaky Knees and Kite’s 2023 lineups are taking shape, with rafts of new additions announced.

After its successful debut this year, Goodlive’s Superbloom returns to Munich’s Olympiapark on 2 and 3 September, 2023.

Imagine Dragons, Martin Garrix, Ellie Goulding, Marteria, Badmómzjay, Zara Larsson, Ofenbach, Aurora, LostFrequencies, Giant Rooks, Years & Years and Cat Burns are among the first wave of confirmations for the second instalment.

The inaugural edition sold out, welcoming 50,000 fans each day. Goodlive director Fruzsina Szép reflected on the successful launch in an IQ inteview.

Standon Calling has announced Years & Years, Self Esteem, Bloc Party and The Human League

Elsewhere, the UK’s Standon Calling has announced that Years & Years, Self Esteem, Bloc Party and The Human League will headline the 2023 offering.

Anastacia, Confidence Man, Dylan, Squid, Katy B, KT Tunstall and Melanie C will also perform at the 17th edition of the boutique music and arts festival.

Festival founder and director Alex Trenchard says “We’re so proud of this year’s progress in booking a gender-balanced headline bill.”

The Broadwick Live-owned festival will return to the Hertfordshire countryside between 20 and 23 July 2023.

Across the Atlantic, Shaky Knees has confirmed headliners The Killers, Muse and The Lumineers for the 10th-anniversary edition.

Shaky Knees has confirmed headliners The Killers, Muse and The Lumineers for the 10th-anniversary edition

More than 60 bands will perform across four stages during the 2023 festival, slated for 5–7 May at Central Park, downtown Atlanta.

Greta Van Fleet, Tenacious D, Hozier, The Mars Volta, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Flaming Lips performing “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,” Cypress Hill performing “Black Sunday” have also been announced.

The festival is promoted by Live Nation subsidiary C3 Presents, who today announced new festival Palm Tree in Aspen.

Elsewhere, Hungary’s Sziget festival has unveiled the first wave of artists for next year, including headliners Billie Eilish, Florence & The Machine, David Guetta and Imagine Dragons.

Other confirmations include Sam Fender, Foals, Niall Horan, Yungblud, Jamie xx and Nothing But Thieves.

Tinderbox has lined up Maroon 5, George Ezra, Jada, bbno$ and Oliver Malcolm

Europe’s biggest festival will return to Óbuda Island in Budapest between 10 and 15 August 2023.

In Denmark, Tinderbox has lined up Maroon 5, George Ezra, Jada, bbno$ and Oliver Malcolm for the 2023 event, between 22–24 June in Odense, Funen.

Last year, the festival broke records when a daily number of 48,000 people visited the festival again after two years of cancellations.

The UK’s Kite festival today announced it will return for a second year, with musical artists including Hot Chip, Suede, Candi Staton, Lynks and Sarathy Korwar.

Hailed as a “festival of ideas and music,” the Oxfordshire event will also feature authors, actors, comedians, journalists, motivational speakers and more. The festival is set for 9–11 June at Kirtlington Park.

See more festival lineup announcements from the likes of Roskilde, Primavera and Nova Rock here.

 


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