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Festival bosses talk cash flow, artist fees

The second IQ Focus festival panel, Festival Forum: The Next Stage, saw festival leaders from around Europe discuss the thorny issues of refunds and insolvency, as well as the outlook for 2021, in what should have been the halfway point of the 2020 season.

Hosted by IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson, the panel welcomed Mad Cool’s CIndy Castillo, Isle of Wight Festival/Solo Agency’s John Giddings, ARTmania’s Codruta Vulcua and Goodlive’s Stefan Lehmkuhl, two months on from the initial virtual Festival Forum session.

The current situation, said Giddings, has made it “blatantly obvious” that the business has an issue with cash flow and that many promoters don’t have any kind of “war chest to go forwards”.

“I don’t understand how you bankrupt companies by refunding tickets,” he said. “You shouldn’t be spending the ticket money on costs – you need to be in the position to be able to refund all the money. We have a responsibility to the audience.”

Giddings noted that some promoters have got into the habit of “taking money from the future to pay the past”, and it has become clear that this doesn’t work.

“This may teach people a lesson on how to run a business,” he said.

The other panellists agreed to an extent, but noted that a lack of support and clarity from the authorities has complicated matters in a lot of cases.

“This may teach people a lesson on how to run a business”

“Our government hasn’t even declared force majeure yet for live events”, said Castillo, who promotes Madrid’s Mad Cool festival. “This has put us in a very tricky legal situation.”

The Mad Cool team only started its refund period last week, explained Castillo, but is allowing people to make the decision on whether to hold onto tickets for next year or refund them until after the full 2021 line-up is revealed.

In Romania, said Vulcu, an immediate reimbursement “would have bankrupted many organisers”, as the government is implementing new restrictions every two weeks.

“There are companies with shows built up, everything ready and paid for, and then suddenly it had to be cancelled,” she said. A voucher scheme implemented by the government, allowing promoters to offer credit for shows or merchandise in place of cash refunds, has been a lifeline for many.

ARTmania did choose to offer refunds, but only received 43 requests. “Our decision to trust our audience really worked for us,” said Vulcu, adding that this tactic may “work for rock and metal audiences perhaps more than for others.”

Lehmkuhl, who runs German festivals including Melt, Splash, Superbloom and With Full Force, added that a lot depends on how long the shutdown continues for.

“So far, we have been able to spend our own money,” he said,” but the next step would be to touch the ticket money, then to get low-interest credit from the government in case it takes longer.

“What happens if it takes longer than a year?” he asked. “Few companies will be able to survive for longer than a year.”

“Our decision to trust our audience really worked for us”

Mindful of cash flow, Goodlive has asked for deposits back from acts it booked for this year. “There is mutual understanding there,” said Lehmkuhl. “We are trying to rethink our festivals for next year, adjusting dates and concepts. We will start from scratch in some ways next year.”

As the promoter of Isle of Wight Festival, Giddings said he also asked for deposits to be returned. “We are doing contracts going forward for next year and will pay the deposit then.”

In terms of being an agent, Giddings said he is not going to take a fee reduction for artists. “I would rather they didn’t play than take a reduction on my act,” he said.

“As an agent I wouldn’t book an act for festival next year unless they’re going to pay me the same money,” he said, “and we’ve done the same thing as a festival.”

Ticket prices will also have to stay the same, as so many fans are rolling over their tickets to next year. “Anyone raising ticket prices is insane,” said Giddings. “We need to get an audience back first before charging more.”

Vulcu, who said she left the money with the agencies when rescheduling, agreed that she will not be paying artists less money, “but we will definitely not pay more”.

“Romanian audiences will have a lot less money and the priority will not be going to festivals,” she said.

“As an agent I wouldn’t book an act for festival next year unless they’re going to pay me the same money, and we’ve done the same thing as a festival”

Castillo said her experiences have been “positive” with every agent. “We are looking out for each other to prevent the industry collapsing,” she said.

The Mad Cool booker admitted that it will be “really hard” to get the same audiences next year, “so we need help with fees to make things happen”.

“We are running a big risk with the festival next year”.

The recovery of the music business in Spain “hasn’t event started yet”, said Castillo, as “you first have to understand our business model, identify problems and offer solutions – and we haven’t been offered any solutions yet.”

Vulcu added that support packages offered by governments in western European countries such as Germany and the UK may put newer markets at a disadvantage, as they are less likely to receive support.

Giddings replied that, although the recent culture funding package announced by the UK government is sizeable, “we have no idea who it’s going to go to and how it will work”. He added that it was more likely to benefit venues than agents or promoters.

Sponsors are another issue for 2021. “Investing in events is risky now,” said Castillo, “and this is definitely affecting us.”

Vulcu said that, while ARTmania has secured its main sponsor for next year, “it is very difficult to get new sponsors”.

“Investing in events is risky now, and this is definitely affecting us”

Most Isle of Wight Festival sponsors have also “stuck with us” said Giddings, who believes that sponsors will start to come back in once it’s clear the event is going to happen, although they may be “different kinds of sponsors relating to our changing normal”.

Giddings added that he is “praying” for some direction on what will happen next year by Christmas, with clear information needed by March at the latest.

For Lehmkuhl, the key for the “new normal” is a high level of flexibility and an ability to keep running costs very low.

The Goodlive co-founder said that the idea of testing at festivals “is one of the few realistic plans [for getting event up and running] nowadays”, provided that the government is able to provide tests for free.

“It is hard for me to imagine that we will be able to do festivals as normal next year,” he admitted, “but one thing’s for sure, I will not be doing them with social distancing.”

The next IQ Focus session State of Independence: Promoters will take place on Thursday 16 July at 4 p.m. BST/5 p.m. CET. To set a reminder head to the IQ Magazine page on Facebook or YouTube.

Watch yesterday’s session back below, or on YouTube or Facebook now.


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Wireless cancels as more UK fests call time on 2020

Festival Republic’s Wireless Festival and an open-air the 1975 show are the latest losses to the UK’s 2020 summer calendar, in a week that also saw Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Music Festival and metal event Bloodstock move to 2021.

The UK’s summer festival season is looking increasingly uncertain, as organisers wait for the government to reveal details of its exit plan. The country has been in lockdown since 23 March.

“Wireless Festival will no longer be taking place this year,” reads a statement from organisers. “As you know we’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation, and it’s become clear that cancelling is unavoidable.

“Subject to contract, Wireless Festival will be back next year on 2 to 4 July 2021 and will be worth the wait,” continue organisers, urging fans to “keep your eyes peeled” for news on the virtual edition of the festivals.

The urban music event, which had booked ASAP Rocky, D-Block Europe and Lil Uzi Thug for this year, has encountered licensing restrictions imposed by the local council around its home in Finsbury Park.

The promoter has also announced the cancellation of an eco-friendly show by the 1975 at Finsbury Park, scheduled for 11 July. The show, which was also to feature Charli XCX, Clairo and Pale Waves, was set to be the Manchester band’s biggest show ever.

“We’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation, and it’s become clear that cancelling is unavoidable”

Festival Republic had previously called off the 2020 outings of Download Festival, set to feature Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down, and Latitude, which had a line-up including Liam Gallagher, Haim and the Chemical Brothers.

This week also saw the cancellation of the 20,000-capacity Cornbury Music Festival, which was to feature Dido, Jack Savoretti and the Waterboys, as well as Judas Priest-headlined metal festival Bloodstock. Organisers say the event will be back for a bumper five-day edition in 2021.

Other major UK festivals to cancel due to the coronavirus outbreak include Boomtown (Wu-Tang Clan, Underworld, the Libertines), Bluedot (Bjork, Metronomy, Groove Armada), Black Deer (Wilco, the Waterboys, the Dead South) and Y Not Festival (Royal Blood, Richard Ashcroft, Bombay Bicycle Club), adding to cancellations of AEG Presents’ All Points East and British Summer Time Hyde Park, Live Nation’s Parklife, Lovebox and Isle of Wight Festival, and Glastonbury Festival.

In Scotland, which has limited self-government within the UK, DF Concerts’ Trnsmt (Courteeners, Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi) and Regular Music’s Summer Nights at the Bandstand (Rick Astley, Van Morrison, Primal Scream) cancelled after first minster Nicola Sturgeon suggested public gatherings would be banned for the foreseeable future.

In the neighbouring country of the Republic of Ireland, festivals including Longitude and All Together Now cancelled last month, as the government announced a blanket ban on events over 5,000 people until 31 August, although it recently indicated that smaller events would be permitted from 10 August.

 


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IoW Festival announces first artists for 2019 event

The Isle of Wight Festival has announced the first artists playing its 2019 event. Traditionally marking the start of the UK festival season, the Isle of Wight Festival returns for its 51st year from 13 to 16 June in Seaclose Park, Newport.

More than 70,000 people attended the event last year over three days of live music in Newport on the Isle of Wight.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will kick off proceedings on the Friday evening, returning to the festival for the first time since 2012. On the Saturday, George Ezra will make his first major UK festival headline debut and Isle of White Festival veterans Biffy Clyro will take the headline spot on the closing night.

“We are delighted to be headlining the Isle of Wight Festival again. ’Tis a beauty. Hail Satan,” comment the Scottish rockers.

Elsewhere, festivalgoers will see performances by Anne-Marie, Bastille, Courteeners, DMA’s, Miles Kane, Haçienda Classiçal and Freya Ridings. Award-winning DJ and producer Fatboy Slim will make his Isle of Wight debut, playing the main stage for a special guest slot on Saturday night.

“It’s going to be brilliant to return to the beautiful Isle. I’m extremely flattered to have been asked to headline and can’t wait to get up and play”

“It’s going to be brilliant to return to the beautiful Isle and play new songs to an audience that has heard the record. I’m extremely flattered to have been asked to headline and can’t wait to get up and play,” says Ezra, who previously performed at the festival in 2017.

Tickets go on sale for the festival on Friday 25 January at 9am. Presale tickets for Barclaycard users will be available from Wednesday 23 January at 8am. Weekend tickets cost between £145 and £175, with children under 12 entering free. A range of accommodation is available, including luxury tipis with cocktails and hot breakfast, and ethical camping experiences.

Live Nation acquired a majority stake in the festival in March 2017, adding to its portfolio of music festivals around the world.

 


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Giddings: Rod’s got a train set—I’ve got a festival

John Giddings has said he has no plans to step down from Isle of Wight Festival, as he celebrates a “bumper year” for the long-running UK event.

Giddings – speaking to IQ in a brief moment of downtime amid a five-night run for Phil Collins at Lanxess Arena (18,000-cap.) in Cologne – says his day job with Solo Agency, whose other upcoming shows include Iggy Pop, Little Mix and U2, means the festival remains a “hobby” rather than a moneyspinner: “Every penny I’ve made from the festival I’ve invested back into it,” he explains. “Rod Stewart’s got a train set – I’ve got a festival!

“How many other people can say they can pay artists far too much money to come and play on the Isle of Wight and invite all their mates…?”

If social media is anything to go by, Giddings’s friends weren’t the only people who had a good time at the 16th festival, held over four days last week (8–11 June).

Although he “never gives out” attendance figures, Giddings (pictured) says the 2017 event had a “very good atmosphere” and points IQ towards social media – on which he keeps a keen eye throughout the weekend – for a sample of attendee feedback. (A quick look on the festival’s Facebook page sees visitors saying they had an “awesome weekend” at a “fantastic” event – and lots of praise for the surprisingly clean loos.)

“It’s good to have a visible promoter – it gives the festival an identity”

“You need to read social media,” continues Giddings. “It’s the first thing people will turn to if they have any complaints – so if they’re congratulating you, you know you’ve done well.”

Giddings’s personal highlights of the festival include Friday-night co-headliners Run-DMC and David Guetta (“five out of five”), Arcade Fire, who made their Isle of Wight debut on Saturday after “a number of years’” worth of approaches, and Rod Stewart, who closed the festival on Sunday night.

He also praises the new talent on display, including The Amazons, The Sherlocks, Bang Bang Romeo and Judas, all of whom got “great reactions” from the crowd.

As with Download, held concurrently in Leicestershire, there was a beefed up police presence at the festival, with armed officers from Hampshire Constabulary deployed throughout the festival site. Giddings says the police “behaved so well”, both in making attendees feel safe and getting into the festival spirit (a selection #policeselfies were posted on the @FestivalCop twitter account).

Isle of Wight Festival 2017’s policing commander, Hampshire’s Supt Simon Dodds, says the support his officers received from festivalgoers was “overwhelming”. “The fact that the policing family and the public were able to communicate so well has made the experience all the more safe, reassuring and enjoyable for all,” he explains.

Giddings resurrected the long-dormant Isle of Wight Festival brand in 2002 after a 32-year hiatus – “I’m lucky because I’ve got an iconic name from the 1970s, so it’s on everyone’s bucket list,” he jokes – and agreed to sell a majority stake in the festival to Live Nation earlier this year.

“You need to read social media … If people are congratulating you, you know you’ve done well”

While that deal is now under investigation by the Consumer and Markets Authority, Giddings has no regrets about joining forces once more with the world’s biggest promoter, using the metaphor of a train leaving the station: “it was either get on board [with Live Nation] or be left on the platform.”

Along with Download’s Andy Copping, Bestival’s Rob da Bank and the Eavises at Glastonbury, Giddings is one of the few UK festival promoters well known to (and easily contactable by) the general public – a status he embraces. “It’s good to have a visible promoter,” he explains. “It gives the festival an identity.”

Returning the theme of social media, Giddings explains that he welcomes criticism from festivalgoers, saying feedback from attendees is key to continually improving the event. “I don’t think I’m perfect,” he says. “I appreciate constructive criticism, because I want to make it better for everyone.”

With many festival bosses already having a rough idea of what they want their 2018 line-ups to look like, Giddings says he hasn’t had time to even “start thinking about next year yet”. Does this mean he’s looking to step down any time soon, IQ wonders?

Not so, explains Giddings, who says he has “no idea” when he might hand over the reins. “Nobody would do this job for the money,” he concludes. “We do it because we enjoy it. So I’ll stop doing it when it stops becoming enjoyable…”

 


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LN, Isle of Wight merger under investigation

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority is investigating the recent acquisition of Isle of Wight Festival by Live Nation.

The competition watchdog, which is also currently probing several secondary ticketing sites for suspected breaches of consumer law, said yesterday it is “considering, pursuant to section 22 of the [2002 Enterprise] Act”, whether the merger of Isle of Wight Festival Ltd and Live Nation/Denis Desmond’s LN-Gaiety Holdings Ltd “has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition in any market or markets in the United Kingdom”.

While noting nothing in its initial enforcement order “shall oblige Live Nation or LN-Gaiety to reverse any act or omission” taken so far, CMA says the two companies are prohibited from taking any actions which may “lead to the integration of the Isle of Wight Festival business with the Live Nation business” or “transfer the ownership or control of the Live Nation business or the Isle of Wight Festival business or any of their subsidiaries” until its investigation is complete.

Live Nation is prohibited from taking any actions which may “lead to the integration of the Isle of Wight Festival business with the Live Nation business” until the CMA’s investigation is complete

Representatives of Live Nation and LN-Gaiety, as well as other interested parties, will be invited to comment at a later date.

As reported in March, under the acquisition plans LN-Gaiety is to become a majority shareholder in Isle of Wight Festival, with agent and promoter John Giddings, who revived the event in 2002 after a 32-year hiatus, continuing in his leadership role.

Some 42,000 festivalgoers are expected to attend Isle of Wight 2017, headlined by Rod Stewart, Arcade Fire and David Guetta and Run-DMC.

Live Nation declined to comment.

 


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Live Nation buys majority stake in IoW Festival

Live Nation has acquired a controlling stake in the UK’s Isle of Wight Festival.

Through LN-Gaiety – its UK joint venture with Denis Desmond’s Gaiety Investments – the live entertainment giant has become the majority shareholder in the festival, adding it to its portfolio of more than 85 music festivals worldwide.

Agent and promoter John Giddings, who revived the festival in 2002 after a 32-year hiatus, will continue his leadership role.

He comments: “After 15 hugely successful and glorious years, we have been looking at how we can elevate and take the Isle of Wight Festival to the next level. This partnership with Live Nation will give us the ability to access the company’s scale and talent pool, bringing more acts and a better experience to the UK.”

“This partnership with Live Nation will give us the ability to access its scale and talent pool, bringing more acts and a better experience to the UK”

Following a 2016 in which it made eight major acquisitions, Live Nation enters 2017 having accelerated the pace of its current buying spree: The Isle of Wight deal brings its total to six in 2017 alone, after Israel’s Bluestone Entertainment, British promoters Cuffe & Taylor and Metropolis Music, Idaho-based promoter/venue owner CT Touring and the BottleRock Napa Valley music and culinary festival in California.

“John Giddings and the Solo team have developed the Isle of Wight Festival to be one of the most iconic festival brands in the world,” says Live Nation UK chairman Desmond, “and it’s fantastic to be able to add it to our growing and diverse portfolio of festivals.”

Some 42,000 festivalgoers are expected to attend Isle of Wight 2017, headlined by Rod Stewart, Arcade Fire and David Guetta and Run-DMC.

Giddings, whose Solo Agency represents Blondie, Phil Collins, U2 and Iggy Pop, won the award for best agent (Second Least Offensive Agent) at this year’s Arthur Awards in London.

 


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Festival Focus: BST, Sziget, EDC Japan, Sasquatch

With the 2017 festival season fast approaching and many events close to finalising this year’s line-ups, there’s a lot to fit in the first festival round-up of the year.

With that in mind, we’ve introduced a new, slimmed-down Festival Focus for the new year to ensure we cover as much news as possible, keeping you abreast of all the latest developments in the festival world with the minimum of waffle.

So, without further ado, read on for all the latest festival announcements (headliners are in bold) – and if we’ve missed something, or you’d like to see your event featured in a future Festival Focus, drop news editor Jon Chapple a line at jon@iq-mag.net.

 


Stevie Wonder, Austin City Limits 2011, Thomas Hawk

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Jazz & Heritage Foundation, US, 28 April–7 May 2017)
Stevie Wonder, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds, Kings of Leon, Usher/The Roots, Harry Connick Jnr, Meghan Trainor, Lorde, Snoop Dogg, Alabama Shakes, Pitbull, etc. (Stevie Wonder photo by Thomas Hawk)

EDC Japan (Creativeman/Insomniac, Japan, 29–30 April 2017)
Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Axwell Λ Ingrosso, Fatboy Slim, Kaskade, Martin Garrix, Sander Van Doorn, Yellow Claw, Zedd, etc.

Sasquatch! Music Festival (Live Nation/Adam Zachs, US, 26–28 May 2017)
Twenty One Pilots, Frank Ocean, Chance the Rapper, The Head and the Heart, The Shins, MGMT, Phantogram, Mac Miller, Bonobo, etc. (Twenty One Pilots photo by Clark Terrell/Do512)

Bunbury Music Festival (PromoFest, US, 2–4 June 2017)
Muse, Wiz Khalifa, G-Eazy, Bassnectar, Pretty Lights, The 1975, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Death Cab for Cutie, The Shins, etc.

Twenty One Pilots, Austin 360 Amphitheater, July 2016, Clark Terrell/Do512

Isle of Wight Festival (Solo, UK, 8–11 June 2017)
Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Vamps, Clean Bandit, Zara Larsson, The Strypes, The Second Sons, The Amazons, The Novatones, Judas, Germein Sisters

NorthSide (FKP Scorpio Nordic/MKS 64/Down the Drain, Denmark, 9–11 June 2017)
The Prodigy, Richard Ashcroft, Agnes Obel, When Saints Go Machine, Peter Sommer/Tiggerne

Parklife (Parklife Manchester Ltd, UK, 10–11 June 2017)
The 1975, Frank Ocean, Boy Better Know, A Tribe Called Quest, Jess Glyne, Two Door Cinema Club, Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Damian Marley, London Grammar, George Ezra, Flying Lotus, Chaka Khan, Eric Prydz, Above & Beyond, etc. (Frank Ocean photo by Andy Holmes/Pemberton Music Festival)

Roskilde Festival (Fonden Roskilde Festival, Denmark, 24 June–1 July 2017)
A Tribe Called Quest, Lorde, Against Me!, Gucci Mane, Bryson Tiller, Rag’n’Bone Man, Av Av Av, etc.

Frank Ocean, Pemberton Music Festival 2014

Rock Werchter (Live Nation Belgium, Belgium, 29 June–2 July 2017)
The Chainsmokers, Royal Blood, Bazart, Bonobo, White Lies, Agnes Obel

British Summer Time (AEG Live, UK, 30 June–9 July 2017)
The Killers (exclusive), Elbow, Tears for Fears, White Lies

Bilbao BBK Live (Last Tour, Spain, 6–8 July 2017)
Royal Blood, Brian Wilson, Explosions in The Sky, Joe Goddard, Idles, Aterciopelados, Los Punsetes, Zazkel

Trnsmt (DF Concerts, UK, 7–9 July 2017)
Radiohead, Kasabian, Biffy Clyro, Belle and Sebastian, Catfish and the Bottlemen, The 1975, London Grammar, George Ezra, The 1975, London Grammar, etc.

Kasabian, Lotus @ Lollapalooza Chile 2015

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (Maraworld, Spain, 13–16 July 2017)
Kasabian, Liam Gallagher, Ride, Blossoms, Bonobo, Tyler the Creator, Slaves, Surfin’ Bichos, Mourn

Kendal Calling (From the Fields, UK, 27–30 July 2017)
Stereophonics, Manic Street Preachers, Franz Ferdinand, Brian Wilson, Tinie TempahFrank Turner and The Sleeping Souls, Jake Bugg, Seasick Steve, Editors, Slaves, Lethal Bizzle, The Coral, Kate Nash, etc.

Sziget (Sziget Cultural Management, Hungary, 9–16 August 2017)
Kasabian, Billy Talent, Jamie Cullum, The Kills, Clean Bandit, Metronomy, Interpol, The Pretty Reckless, Jagwar Ma, Charli XCX, Crystal Fighters, Flume, etc.

Reading Festival/Leeds Festival (Festival Republic, UK, 25–27 August 2017)
Kasabian, Two Door Cinema Club, Flume, Fatboy Slim, Wiley, Circa Waves, Jimmy Eat World, The Amity Affliction, Rat Boy (Kasabian photo by Lotus @ Lollapalooza Chile)

 


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Bestival to leave Isle of Wight after 13 years

Bestival is to move to Lulworth Estate in Dorset for 2017, leaving behind its “spiritual home” of the Isle of Wight after 13 years.

The news was announced this morning by festival curator and co-founder Rob da Bank, who says he’s “super-excited about our shiny new Bestival adventure”.

Ticket sales for Bestival 2016, its last on the island, fell to 40,000 – 15,000 under capacity – blamed by da Bank on “more competition” and a “wobbly economy”. He acknowledged following the event that “sound and tent spec was not always what we would have wanted it to be”, but said Bestival would be “back to its very high standards next year”.

Da Bank said this morning Bestival 2017 will have “an incredible line-up, headliners confirmed and ridiculous new stages and installations” at Lulworth Estate, which is also home to sister festival Camp Bestival.

“We remain fully committed to supporting the Isle of Wight through music, charities and projects, and will be giving islanders an exclusive ticket offer for the new site,” he added. “Plus, we’re working towards a new event for the island. Watch this space…”

 


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Festival Focus: Positivus, LIMF, Isle of Wight

Positivus, the Baltics’ largest music festival, today finalised its 2016 line-up.

New additions include Joss Stone, Branko, Chloe Martini, Hana, The Very Best, Italian group JoyCut and Mike Skinner and Murkage‘s club night, Tonga, who will join Ellie Goulding, Iggy Pop, M83, Years & Years, Hot Chip, John Newman, Air, Grimes, Wolf Alice and more at the three day-event in the Latvian coastal town of Salacgriva.

Over 30,000 tickets have been sold for the festival, promoted by Ģirts Majors’ Positivus Music, which takes place from 15 to 17 July.

Bobby Gillespie, Primal Scream, Rodrigo Díaz

Primal Scream have cancelled their slots at eight festivals, including Azkena Rock Festival, Musiqes en Stock, the Beat-Herder, Rock in Roma and the Secret Garden Party, after frontman Bobby Gillespie fell off the stage at Caribana Festival in Vaud, Switzerland, last week.

The band revealed on Twitter that Gillespie has been ordered to rest for a “minimum of eight weeks”.

(Bobby Gillespie photo by Rodrigo Díaz.)

Headliner Elton John and main support act Madness are the first acts to be announced for the BBC’s Radio 2 in Hyde Park 2016.

Here’s hoping the event’s security are less heavy handed than the “pricks” on duty at Leicestershire County Cricket Ground earlier this week…

Leona Lewis, Rod Stewart, Bryan Adams, The Shires, The Corrs and Giorgio Moroder played last year’s event.

A host of new names have been announced for Butlin’s’ Great British Folk Festival this December.

Joining headliners Donovan, Levellers and Kate Rusby in Skegness will be Bob Geldof, Oysterband, Lindisfarne, a Ronnie Lane-less Slim Chance, Gryphon and more. Tickets start at £79 and include three nights’ accommodation at the Butlin’s Skegness resort.

IQ revealed in February that Butlin’s will welcome close to half a million visitors to 58 festivals at its three holiday parks throughout 2016. (Bob Geldof photo Matthias Muehlbradt.)

Bob Geldof, Matthias Muehlbradt

Liverpool International Music Festival (LIMF) has announced the launch of a ‘pop-up’ radio station, LIMF Radio, for its 2016 event.

The station, broadcasting on 87.7 FM and online at www.limfradio.co.uk, will “reflect the past and present Liverpool music scene, as well as featuring artists and bands who will be taking part in July’s highly anticipated event”. It will also provide training for 35 local young Liverpudlians who want to work in radio.

Artists playing the free festival, backed by the city of Liverpool, include Sigma, The Wombats, Wretch 32, The Lightning Seeds, Buzzcocks and Lianne La Havas.

Queen and Adam Lambert, DianaKat/SmugMug

Queen and singer Adam Lambert dedicated their headline slot at the Isle of Wight Festival last weekend to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Lambert, who has sung with the band since 2011, said: “This song [‘Who Wants to Live Forever’] is dedicated to those who lost their lives in Orlando, Florida, and anyone who has been a victim of senseless violence or hatred.” (Queen/Adam Lambert photo by DianaKat on SmugMug.)

The festival also paid tribute to the late David Bowie, selling Aladdin Sane masks to raise money for charity Stand Up to Cancer and putting on a tribute featuring Andrea Corr and Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet, who sung a medley including ‘Starman’, ‘Heroes’, ‘Rebel Rebel’ and ‘All the Young Dudes’.

Promoter John Giddings, who was Bowie’s agent for over 30 years, described him as a “true friend to the festival”.