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Mysteryland sets sustainability goal

The Netherlands’ leading dance festival Mysteryland is set to enter a new phase of sustainable planning in its 30th anniversary year.

As of next year, approximately 80% of the festival’s power consumption will consist of green grid power, according to organisers, while the remaining 20% will mainly consist of flexible, sustainably generated energy.

The pledge is a collaboration with the Municipality of Haarlemmermeer, Recreatieschap Spaarnwoude and Mysteryland promoter ID&T Group.

“We are extremely proud to take this important step forward together with the other parties involved and hope this will inspire other organisers to do the same,” says Mysteryland MD Milan Raven. “This effort fits perfectly with our recent signing of the Green Deal Circular Festivals, which focuses on sustainable innovation and in which we have promised to work hard to become more circular and climate neutral in the future.”

The green grid power will be supplied by local energy company Tegenstroom, which is owned by the Municipality. Tegenstroom supplies 100% locally generated solar power produced by entrepreneurs in the region including neighbouring farmer Jos Koeckhoven, whose land forms part of Mysteryland’s campsite.

Mysteryland recently signed up to the Green Deal Circular Festivals sustainability pact

Mysteryland and its partners have devised a plan to supply energy to the festival, with electricity cables being dug deep into the ground. Underground wells will be constructed at places where a lot of power is needed, such as the main stages. During the festival, containers will be placed on these wells, which will work similar to large-scale power sockets, fed with solar power from neighbours.

The campsite will be used as a ‘testing ground’ for new forms of sustainable energy. All parties involved have made a one-off investment that will provide a medium-voltage grid power supply, while various grants were also received.

Mysteryland recently signed up to the Green Deal Circular Festivals (GDCF) sustainability pact during the Amsterdam Dance Event. Launched in 2019 by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, GDCF brings together participating festivals to share knowledge and experience on sustainability practices in a bid to become circular and climate-neutral by 2025.

Mysteryland returns to Haarlemmermeer, near Amsterdam, from 25-27 August 2023.

 


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Lowlands festival site to be used as refugee shelter

The festival site where Dutch festivals Lowlands and Defqon. 1 are held each year will become a shelter for more than 1,000 registered refugees.

The first refugees are expected at Walibi Holland in Biddinghuizen, central Netherlands, in three weeks’ time and will be accommodated in temporary housing units until next spring.

The shelter will be used to relieve the burden on the asylum seekers’ centre in Ter Apel, Groningen, until April 2023 when the site will be available for festivals again.

The mayor of governing providence Dronten, Jean Paul Gebber, tells de Volkskrant that Walibi Holland is a good choice for a temporary shelter because of the festivals that are organised there. “If we can build a village here for 60,000 people three times a year, we can also set up a village for 1,500 asylum seekers if there is a need for it.”

The mayor of Dronten says that Walibi Holland is a good choice because of the festivals that are organised there

Walibi Holland hosts the 55,000-capacity Lowlands (aka A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise) in August each year, with the 2023 edition set for 18–20 of that month.

The festival’s promoter, Live Nation-backed Mojo Concerts, recently opened the world’s largest solar carport in Walibi Holland’s on-site car park.

The site is shared by Defqon. 1 which is promoted by Q-dance, part of the Superstruct-backed ID&T group.

The electronic dance music festival is due to return to the site between 22–25 June, 2023.

 


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ID&T links with electronic music promoter Apenkooi

Superstruct Entertainment’s ID&T has purchased a stake in fellow Dutch electronic music promoter Apenkooi Group.

The strategic partnership with Superstruct and ID&T is designed to accelerate the company’s trajectory, unlocking new opportunities for the group in the areas of brand partnerships activation and events sustainability.

Launched in 2004 with a local party in the Utrecht-based Club Monza, Apenkooi’s portfolio has grown to include brands such as DGTL, STRAF_WERK, Pleinvrees, Amsterdam Open Air and The Gardens of Babylon. It also organises festivals internationally and promotes Elrow events in the Netherlands.

“ Joining a global platform of industry-leading, like-minded entrepreneurs will take Apenkooi to the next level and enable our company to seize the numerous growth opportunities within electronic music events brand partnerships and sustainability,” says Jasper Goossen CEO and co-founder of Apenkooi.

ID&T, which signed a partnership agreement with Superstruct last year, runs events such as Mysteryland, Defqon.1, Awakenings, and Milkshake.

“We are very happy and proud to welcome so many talented and passionate people to our family. Not only does Apenkooi have an amazing portfolio with brands such as DGTL, STRAF_WERK and Pleinvrees, we also have been partners already in several festivals such as Amsterdam Open Air, Valhalla and By the Creek for many years,” adds ID&T Group CEO Ritty van Straalen.

“In addition to the many popular festivals, their in-house brand partnership agency will also become part of the group. For the ID&T brand partnership team this is a very important step to further expand the partnership portfolio with commercial and qualitative propositions.”

 


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TicketSwap grows international footprint

Price-capped ‘ethical’ ticket marketplace TicketSwap has expanded to new markets in Europe and Latin America.

The Amsterdam-headquartered firm is growing its international footprint by opening offices in London, Paris, Milan, Barcelona, Berlin, Stockholm and São Paulo, which will serve as its first Latin American base.

The company has also signed a multi-year deal with Sziget, the company behind Sziget Festival, to be the brand’s official resale partner until 2026. Other partners include Hellfest (France), LWE (UK), Bootshaus (Germany), Norbergfestival (Sweden), Entourage and Ingresse (Brazil).

“After the pandemic, fan behaviours are changing dramatically, and with over 750,000 people attending our events every year, it’s crucial for us to have an option for fans to safely sell their tickets to other authentic fans,” says Sziget CEO Tamás Kádár. “I’m convinced that the more we see event organisers supporting ethical fan resale sites, the quicker we can bring an end to ticket touts and help protect our fans.”

“We’ve focused on the business growth and expansion to new markets, while reinforcing our presence in existing markets”

The company, which launched in 2012 and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, caps the resale price of tickets at 20% above face value.

Last year, TicketSwap raised $10 million in new funding from Amsterdam-based venture-capital firm Million Monkeys.

“Thanks to our first funding raised in June 2021, we’ve focused on the business growth and expansion to new markets, while reinforcing our presence in existing markets,” says Hans Ober, co-founder and CEO of TicketSwap, which counts 6.5 million users in 36 countries.

TicketSwap is also extending its partnership with Netherlands-based Tomorrowland promoter ID&T Group.

“We’re thrilled to support our partners in this crucial phase for their businesses,” adds Simon Aurik, CMO and CCO of TicketSwap. “Our 10th anniversary is also the perfect occasion for us to give back to the community and partners.”

 


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Dutch event sector loses summary proceedings

The Dutch event sector has lost the summary proceedings that were brought against the state due to the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

Twenty organisations including Mojo, ID&T, Unmute Us and Apenkooi Events demanded in court that all events and club nights be allowed again without restrictions on capacity and time.

As of 25 September, indoor events are restricted to 75% capacity of the venue and are required to close between 00:00 and 06:00 CET.

The Dutch event sector has continuously argued that the government restrictions do not reflect the three months’ worth of findings from the Fieldlab Evenementen studies.

However, the judge said that the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) has, in fact, factored in the results when giving advice to the outgoing cabinet: “That has led to a decision to gradually relax with the abolition of the one and a half meter measure, but with additional measures for indoor events.

“The reason we are still not allowed to open completely is not substantiated”

“This does not lead to an unjustified distinction with other branches. The necessity of the measures taken for indoor events has been explained by the State and that explanation is not incomprehensible.”

The organisations that went to court say they are deeply disappointed.

MOJO director Ruben Brouwer says: “Over a year and a half ago we were the first to close and now we are at the back of the queue to be able to open fully again despite all our efforts. The cabinet continues to focus on keeping our sector closed even longer and has even asked us not to organise dance parties because they could not legally prohibit this. We are considering steps to be taken, but we must and will continue towards the autumn and we will do everything we can to organise the events for visitors and artists in the best possible and safe way.”

Ritty van Straalen, CEO of the ID&T Group, adds: “We are extremely disappointed. We have been standing still for over 18 months and in that time have demonstrated through various Fieldlabs, together with the government, that we can safely organise events. The reason we are still not allowed to open completely is not substantiated.

“The Fieldlab advice explicitly states that organising events at 100% capacity, both indoor and outdoor, is safe if the guidelines from the research are followed. Our Fieldlab results are successfully used in Belgium to organise events safely, at 100% capacity. It is incomprehensible that we in the Netherlands still have to remain partly closed while the very last step would be that the 1.5 meters would go off. Now we are the very last step.

“We must show solidarity with society, but where is the solidarity towards us?”

Jasper Goossen, on behalf of newly formed campaign group Unmute Us, says: “We are despondent by the wall we keep running into. It is frustrating that the judge apparently cannot allow our investigation results to outweigh arbitrary advice and decisions from the OMT and the cabinet, but we will continue to fight for the preservation of our sector. We recently took to the streets with more than 150,000 people to demonstrate how essential our sector is. Besides the fact that our sector guarantees more than 100,000 jobs, it also provides an essential social outlet for young and old. We must show solidarity with society, but where is the solidarity towards us?”

The Dutch government has attempted to soften the blow of the restrictions by announcing a €15 million fund to compensate promoters and venues for lost revenue from indoor standing shows – on top of its €385m guarantee fund.

Lowlands festival director Eric van Eerdenburg last week told the International Festival Forum (IFF) that the guarantee fund helped to “keep the festival infrastructure alive” and that the industry was looking at implementing a long-term contingency plan for unforeseen circumstances like Covid.

“As an industry, we’re looking at an alliance right now and adding a levy of €1 per ticket to go towards an insurance fund for unforeseen circumstances like Covid,” says van Eerdenburg.

Eerdenburg went on to say that the fans also played a crucial part in keeping the business alive during the Covid-19 pandemic due to a vast majority holding onto tickets.

“The audiences have been our bank,” the Lowlands director said. “A ticket is like a crowdfunding exercise. Even after the second round of cancellations we said we’d pay everyone back, and the audience didn’t want it. We should be grateful to our audiences because without them everyone would have gone bust.”

 


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Superstruct expands in the Dutch festival market

Live powerhouse Superstruct Entertainment has acquired a stake in Amsterdam-based Festival Travel.

Specialising in festival holidays, Festival Travel has organised travel arrangements for international visitors to events such as Exit in Serbia and Hungary’s Sziget and Balaton Sound over the past decade.

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct produces a number of major European festivals including Sziget, Elrow, Parookaville, Wacken Open Air, Boardmasters, Sonar and the Dutch festival Zwarte Cross.

“It is very valuable to gain the trust of a company of this size”

“It is very valuable to gain the trust of a company of this size,” says Festival Travel co-owner Ruud Bongaerts. “The customer experience is always central to our way of acting and with that, we create unique festival summers for tens of thousands of young people every year.

“The past summers were of course very difficult for us, with everything that resulted from the corona pandemic, but this new chapter gives us a lot of confidence in the future.”

The parties released no further details on the deal, which was reported by Netherlands-based publication Entertainment Business and comes a week after Superstruct signed a partnership agreement with Dutch promoter ID&T.

 


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ID&T joins forces with Superstruct Entertainment

Dutch promoter ID&T has signed a partnership agreement with leading live organisation Superstruct Entertainment.

According to today’s announcement, the deal has helped steer ID&T into “a safe haven” after a tough year and a half that saw the company take out a number of loans, slash its workforce, and cancel its festivals.

“By creating this financially sound situation, we have secured the employment of our 100+ employees and are able to move forward with our suppliers who are also struggling at this time,” says Ritty van Straalen, CEO of the ID&T Group.

Financial terms of the partnership have not been disclosed but it has been revealed that the founders and senior management of the ID&T Group have become shareholders in Superstruct.

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct produces a number of major festivals across Europe including Sziget, Elrow, Parookaville, Wacken Open Air, Boardmasters, Sonar and the Dutch festival Zwarte Cross – the company’s first acquisition since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

ID&T’s portfolio includes Mysteryland, Defqon.1, Awakenings, and Milkshake – all of which have been cancelled two years in a row due to restrictions.

It is also the parent company of organisations such as Q-dance, ID&T Events, B2S, Monumental (Awakenings), Art of Dance, Platinum Agency, and Headliner Entertainment.

“ID&T is a significant milestone for Superstruct and reflects our deep conviction in the value of experience-focused festivals”

James Barton, chairman of Superstruct Entertainment: “We are very excited to join forces with ID&T, a business that I have long admired. Our partnership with ID&T is a very significant milestone for Superstruct and reflects our deep conviction in the value of experience-focused live music festivals and our excitement about the significant joint growth opportunities that lie ahead as live events return.”

The companies say the deal will provide great opportunities in sharing knowledge and creating synergies between the companies to further improve the fan experience at their festivals.

Ritty van Straalen, CEO of the ID&T Group adds: “ID&T will celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2022. This partnership is an important strategic step in the development of our company, which we already embarked upon in 2019, pre-covid, and was ultimately delayed by 1.5 years.

“The past 19 months have been very tough for us and the entire event industry, but we are excited to see that Superstruct has been able to look through the current environment, recognising the combined potential of these two world-class companies.

“The international live events industry is increasingly consolidating and Superstruct has developed itself into a high quality, market-leading powerhouse in our industry. We are happy to be part of such an experienced group and strongly believe we can reinforce each other in many ways.”

 


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350+ Dutch fests join protest: “We will not be silenced”

More than 350 organisations from the Dutch event industry are backing a protest march against the government’s ‘arbitrary’ restrictions which have effectively wiped out the festival season.

Last Friday (13 August), the cabinet announced that the current restrictions preventing multi-day festivals with overnight stays will remain in force until 19 September – despite the promise they could take place again when everyone has been offered the vaccine.

The protest, dubbed ‘Unmute Us‘, has drawn support from some of the Netherlands’ biggest and best-known festivals such as DGTL, A State of Trance Festival, Amsterdam Open Air, Awakenings, Best Kept Secret, Defqon, Dekmantel Festival, Down The Rabbit Hole, Lowlands, Mysteryland and Paaspop.

While many of the aforementioned festivals have been cancelled as a result of government restrictions, other large events outside of the live music industry have been permitted to take place with hundreds of thousands of attendees.

“Elsewhere in society there is room for full football stadiums and overcrowded fairgrounds, but safely organised events are not given any space. And that has been the case since the start of the pandemic, more than a year and a half ago,” reads a statement on the ‘Unmute Us’ website.

“It is measured with two measures, with the message that Formula 1 in Zandvoort (operating at two-thirds of its normal capacity, with 105,000 visitors per day) can continue as an exception for the time being. It shows a total undermining and misjudgment of everyone who cares about culture and nightlife.”

“The studies and results are a painful reminder that at this point not corona, but politics is the cause of a festival-free summer”

The organisations involved point out that it was the government itself, along with Fieldlab, that conducted months of scientific research and pilot events to determine whether festivals could be organised safely.

It was ultimately revealed that, when following certain hygiene and testing protocols, the risk of Covid-19 infection at concerts and festivals is about the same as being at home.

“The studies and results are a painful reminder that at this point not corona, but politics is the cause of a festival-free summer and uncertain future,” the ‘Unmute Us’ manifesto continues.

As well as event organisers, it is hoped that the campaign will galvanise young festivalgoers who have ‘been delivered empty promises by the government and kept on mute’.

“With ‘Unmute Us’ we make a fist. We are sending out a clear signal to The Hague: it can no longer be done like this, we will not be silenced. The sector asks for a clear plan for the future, with measurable agreements, but also for recognition of the emotional state of the many visitors and makers who do not feel heard. We want to be able to meet again, laugh and dance again. Above all, we want to be able to look ahead again.”

The ‘Unmute Us’ protest march will take place on Saturday 21 August in various Dutch cities.

 


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ID&T drops lawsuit against Dutch government

ID&T says it sees no legal grounds to advance with the preliminary injunction proceedings against the Dutch government for its restrictions on live music events.

Earlier this week, the government announced that only small, one-day festivals will be permitted to take place in the Netherlands this summer due to the number of Covid-19 infections and hospital admissions.

In response, the lawyer representing ID&T and more than 40 co-claimants from the live industry contacted the state lawyer to request the Outbreak Management Team’s (OMT) advice and the substantiation of the decision.

After deliberation between all parties, ID&T says it has become clear that the current summary proceedings cannot be continued.

Rosanne Janmaat, COO of the ID&T group says: “We are extremely disappointed in the outcome of the decision. In our opinion, Fieldlab Events has shown that it is possible to organise events in a safe and responsible way, but the cabinet has decided otherwise. Despite this, our lawyers have indicated that, in view of the OMT advice on which the cabinet’s decisions are substantiated this time, there is little chance of overturning the decision by means of summary proceedings.”

“We assume that the cabinet will soon take a structural decision and that we will be able to fully open again in September”

On 13 August, the current decision on live music events will be reconsidered by the cabinet.

“We assume that the cabinet will soon take a fundamental and structural decision and that we will be able to fully open again in September,” continues Janmaat.

“After all, it has always been communicated that when everyone who wants to has been able to vaccinate, that is the way out. If the government lets us dangle again and does not offer a sustainable future perspective, we will prepare possible legal steps and perhaps even call on our entire supporters of fans, suppliers, artists, etc. to mobilise and make themselves heard.”

The Dutch promoter – known for events such as Mysteryland, Sensation, Milkshake and Decibel Outdoor – announced the summary proceedings in early July after the government reimposed Covid restrictions weeks after they were lifted.

ID&T was then joined by more than 40 event organisations including Event Warehouse/Paaspop, DGTL and F1 Dutch Grand Prix Zandvoort.

 


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Dutch festival organisers dealt another big blow

Only small, one-day festivals will be permitted to take place in the Netherlands this summer, the Dutch government has announced.

From 14 August, events with a maximum of 750 attendees can take place provided they meet a series of restrictions.

Attendees must be fully vaccinated, recovered from infection within the past six months, or present a negative test from Testing for Access. Visitors are also asked to take a test five days after the event. The events are not allowed closed festival tents.

Multi-day festivals with overnight stays are not allowed until at least 1 September, after the government last week extended the ban.

Events that cannot meet the aforementioned restrictions will not be covered by the government’s guarantee fund.

In addition to the measures for the event sector, Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte also announced that those who get the Janssen jab will not be considered fully vaccinated until four weeks after, rather than two.

“[The government’s decision is] a bitter pill for the industry that has been closed for so long”

The Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers) has reacted to the news: “Unfortunately, we conclude that the government is once again imposing a major restriction on the events today. As a result, the event industry is again faced with serious disappointment.

“After the multi-day festivals with camping last week, many one-day festivals and multi-day festivals without camping are now also deleted from the summer calendar. A hard decision and of course another big blow, a very sad observation and bitter pill for the industry that has been closed for so long.

“We will soon resume talks [with the government] for the period after 1 September. With the further increase in vaccination coverage and the insights from the Fieldlab Events studies, the Alliance is committed to a responsible, full opening of the planned events.”

Initially, the government was due to give a decision on one-day events without overnight stays on 13 August but the date was brought forward at the request of the events sector.

It’s like that the summary proceedings that promoter ID&T filed against the government also played a role in bringing the decision forward.

The event organiser – which has been forced to cancel events including Mysteryland – and 44 industry peers have filed a lawsuit against the government because they believed a decision on 13 August would be too late. The preliminary relief proceedings have been temporarily adjourned pending today’s decision.

The lawyer representing ID&T and co-claimants has contacted the state lawyer to request the Outbreak Management Team’s advice and the substantiation of the decision. ID&T will consider these documents and decide within two days whether the summary proceedings will be continued.

 


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