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Jazzopen Stuttgart pulls in 45k+ festival-goers

Long-running German city festival Jazzopen Stuttgart welcomed more than 45,000 paying visitors over the 11 days of its 29th edition, achieving a stage occupancy rate of 90%.

Launched in 1994 and organised by Opus, the 2023 event was held from 13-23 July, the festival featured 53 concerts across eight stages and was brought to a close by Simply Red at Schlossplatz.

The free admission Jazz Open Stages concerts, which have been offered since 2018, attracted a further 8,000 to 10,000 fans.

“Not only our audience, but above all the artists themselves, appreciate our way of always offering high quality of the most diverse music genres on stage,” concludes promoter Jürgen Schlensog.

Preparations are already underway for next year’s 30th anniversary, which will take place from 19-29 July 2024

Jazz-focused shows included Steve Turre, Emile Parisien, Kenny Garrett, Mike Stern, Branford Marsalis, Arturo Sandoval, Marius Neset, James Morrison, Michael Wollny and many club acts.

In addition, ltes Schloss and the Schlossplatz hosted bands such as Snarky Puppy, MEUTE, Die Fantastischen Vier, Simply Red and Deep Purple as well as Parov Stelar, Beth Hart, Joss Stone, LP, Grace Jones, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, Paolo Nutini, Madrugada, Cory Wong and St Paul & The Broken Bones as part of a diverse bill.

Various evenings were streamed live by ARTE Concert and made available as Video on Demand.

Preparations are already underway for next year’s 30th anniversary, which will take place from 19-29 July 2024. The line-up will be announced from early November.


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Holding the line: Jazzopen talks 2021 plans

Jazzopen Stuttgart is on track to welcome more than 30,000 fans to open-air venues across the city this September, for what will be one of the biggest events in Germany’s increasingly sparse 2021 festival calendar.

The long-running city festival was originally scheduled for July, but the team postponed that event – which included names such as Lenny Kravitz, Jamie Cullum and Corinna Bailey Rae – to 2022, instead booking an entirely new line-up for a replacement 2021 festival in September.

Sven Meyer, managing director of Jazzopen organiser Opus (Jürgen Schlensog, Jazzopen’s promoter, is Opus CEO) says Jazzopen was able to take advantage of its good relationships with agents, as well as direct lines to certain bands, to get together a line-up in a fraction of the time it would take normally. “We have very good contacts with UK and US agents, and so we are booking either direct with management or, in most cases, with agents in the UK,” he explains. “[These relationships] have developed over many years, so it was a really fast process of getting on the phone to a lot of people, and also being creative where have direct contacts: Parov Stelar, for example, has played the festival before, so it’s was just a quick check to see if he was keen to play.

“For obvious reasons we had quite a few ‘no’s, but also lots of ‘yes’es.”

“Either make it work, or we don’t do it”

In addition to Stelar, Jazzopen 2021 will welcome international stars such as Liam Gallagher, Ben Howard, Katie Melua, Lianne La Havas, Amy MacDonald and Laura Pergolizzi, as well as German band Element of Crime, Swiss singer-songwriter Sophie Hunger and Italian singer Mario Biondi. MacDonald tweeted in April that when she got the offer from Jazzopen, she “may have shed a little tear!”

It is hoped that the international artists will not have to quarantine on their arrival in Germany – Meyer says it is currently under discussion “and I think it will go through” – but the preference is for them to already be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Meyer praises the speed of the vaccine roll-out in Germany – at press time, 36.5 million Germans, or 44% of the population, have had at least one jab – and says he’s confident the festival should be able to go ahead in its revised format in September. Plus, “you can still play open-air in September” in Stuttgart, he adds. (By October, it’s too cold.)

While a seated event is nobody’s first preference, Meyer says Jazzopen is also prepared should the coronavirus situation in Germany deteriorate. “We have reduced the capacity of our main venue, which under normal circumstances is 7,000, to 5,800, to make sure that if the authorities expect us to have a seated venue only, we can still seat everybody,” he explains.

“All the big festivals in Germany have been cancelled, so it’s a fairly brave decision”

“The other thing is that we have a number of events, these big outdoor shows – it’s not like two days with 40,000 people a night,” he continues. “We have a maximum of 7,000 per night, and in the smaller concert venue it’s only 1,000. So we are in a special situation compared to something like Rock im Park, where you have two or three days and a massive audience every day. We are very lucky in that respect.”

“We are also in a very good position because we are not in the touring business,” Meyer adds. “Particularly in Germany, which is a federal country, you could be fine in one state and not in another, which is horrible. So being based in one city, with the shows spread out over a couple of days, is a much better situation.”

As expected, fans must be either fully vaccinated against Covid-19 or produce a negative test to gain entry to the festival.

Meyer estimates they are putting around 33,000 tickets on sale in total – and says they couldn’t have considered going any smaller.

“If we have a real downturn in the [coronavirus] situation and lockdowns and everything, we might come into situation where we’d have to call it off – but Jürgen and I already agreed that we would consider a even more reduced capacity,” he explains, “in the line with the actual government rules at time of the festival. So we either make it work or we don’t do it.”

“Our competitors are saying, ‘Go for it! Raise the flag for our business’”

Meyer says Jazzopen is proud to be able to go ahead in some capacity this year ahead of a return to normality next summer. “The reception we’ve got from the market and from customers is that people would love to see the festival, and artists would love to play there,” he comments, “and we are the first to stick out our necks and say, ‘Okay, we’ll do it.”

“All the big festivals in Germany have been cancelled, so it’s a fairly brave decision. Hopefully we will be rewarded for that.”

Meyer adds that other festivals in Germany are rooting for Jazzopen, having not been able to go ahead themselves.

“Some people are obliged to go for a certain date, or can’t change the nature of the event, and obviously that creates a degree of jealousy,” he says. “But even our competitors, they give us a ring and say, ‘Hey, go for it! Raise the flag for our business.’”

Jazzopen Stuttgart 2021 takes place from 10 to 19 September. The festival returns to its traditional dates next summer (7–17 July 2022).


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Festival Fever: latest wave of line-up announcements

In the most recent edition in a series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ rounds up the festival billings from Rolling Loud Portugal, Jazzopen Stuttgart, Nos Primavera Sound Porto, Balaton Sound, Mallorca Live and Fest Festival.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)


Rolling Loud Portugal

When: 8 to 10 July
Where: Praia da Rocha, Portimão, Portugal

The Rolling Loud festival brand is making its European debut this summer in the Algarve region of Portugal.

The beachside festival is headlined by ASAP Rocky, Future and Wiz Khalifa, with performances from artists including AJ Tracey, Roddy Ricch, Dababy, Young Thug, Tyga, Playboi Carti, D-Block Europe and Giggs.

In an Instagram post, Rolling Loud co-founder Tariq Cherif warned that capacity is “limited” for the festival due to the beach setting, and advised fans to act quickly to purchase tickets.

Founded in 2015 by Cherif and Matt Zingler, Rolling Loud has expanded from its flagship Miami festival to take place in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York and Sydney, Australia. An inaugural Rolling Loud Hong Kong was called off earlier this year.

The pre-sale for Rolling Loud Portugal starts on Thursday 6 February at 8 a.m. Remaining tickets go on sale at 8 a.m. the following day here.

The Rolling Loud festival brand is making its European debut this summer

Jazzopen Stuttgart

When: 9 to 19 July
Where: Stuttgart, Germany
How many: 50,000 (whole festival)

Founded in 1994, the Jazzopen Stuttgart has hosted the likes of Quincy Jones, Bob Dylan, Lauryn Hill, Jamiroquai, BB King, Herbie Hancock, James Brown and Joss Stone over the years.

The 2020 edition will see artists including Sting, Lenny Kravitz, Van Morrison, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, John Legend, Jessie J, Jamie Cullum and Corinne Bailey Rae grace the main stage.

Staged in multiple venues ranging from 250- to 7,000-capacity, fans will be able to see acts such as Nils Frahm, Herbie Hancock, Arturo Sandoval, James Carter Organ Trio, Emmet Cohen and Rymden over the course of ten days.

“In the last 10 years we expanded the jazzopen from a regional event to one of the leading international jazz festivals with 50.000 ticket sales annually,” comments festival director Juergen Schlensog.

“This was only possible by means of a strong sponsoring. Daimler, Mastercard and Allianz accompany the festival alongside other valuable partners and brands. The UK market is of vital importance for us, as we book all major acts in direct exchange with local agents in the UK and USA.”

Tickets for Jazzopen Stuttgart 2020 are available here, with full festival passes priced from €700. Tickets for individual shows are also available for a range of prices, with some free-to-access concerts.

The 2020 edition will see artists including Sting, Lenny Kravitz and Van Morrison

Nos Primavera Sound Porto

When: 11 to 13 June
Where: Parque da Cidade, Porto, Portugal
How many: 30,000

The Portuguese sister event of Barcelona festival Primavera Sound has released the line-up for its ninth edition.

Tyler the Creator, Lana Del Rey, Pavement, FKA Twigs, Beck, Bad Bunny and King Krule are among those headlining the festival, which also features Chromatics, Earl Sweatshirt, Cigarettes After Sex and Kim Gordon.

Primavera Sound’s flagship Spanish event, which sold over 10,000 tickets in a day after announcing its line-up last month, will feature performances from the Stokes, Iggy Pop, Massive Attack, Lana Del Rey and Brittany Howard.

Tickets for Nos Primavera Sound Porto are available here, with a full festival pass priced at €120 (£102) and a day ticket at €60 (£51). Tickets for Primavera Sound Barcelona are still available here for €195 (£165).

The Portuguese sister event of Barcelona festival Primavera Sound has released the line-up for its ninth edition

Balaton Sound

When: 8 to 12 July
Where: Lake Balaton, Hungary
How many: 40,000

Balaton Sound, one of Europe’s largest open-air electronic music festivals, is back in 2020 following a record-breaking outing last year.

Over 170,000 fans attended the five-day event in 2019 to see artists including Tiesto, Marshmello, the Chainsmokers and Armin van Buuren.

The 2020 edition brings performances from the likes of Martin Garrix, DJ Snake, Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike, Kygo, Steve Aoki, Don Diablo, Sigala and Jonas Blue.

A special, Hollywood-themed VIP area will provide guests with a massage parlour, makeup lounge, exclusive pool parties and surprise shows.

Tickets for Balaton Sound 2020 are on sale now, with multi-day passes starting from €169 and going up to €325 for a five-day VIP ticket. Prices will increase on 14 February.

Over 170,000 fans attended the five-day event in 2019

Mallorca Live

When: 14 to 16 May
Where: Old Aquapark of Calvià, Mallorca, Spain
How many: 11,000

Mallorca Live festival is back in 2020 for its fifth year, with a headline performance from British electronic pop band Pet Shop Boys.

Crystal Fighters, Michael Kiwanuka, Miles Kane, Kate Tempest and Temples are among other acts performing at the festival.

Last year’s festival saw a record attendance of 33,500 people over three days, thanks to a festival site extension. A new fourth stage – Tròpic Stage – has been added for 2020, dedicated to electronic acts, featuring DJs including Marcel Dettman, dOP, Or:La and Red Axes.

Tickets for Mallorca Live festival can be purchased for €75 (£64) plus fees for the two-day pass (Friday and Saturday) and for €90 (£76) plus fees for the three-day pass here.

Crystal Fighters, Michael Kiwanuka and Kate Tempest are among other acts performing at the festival

Fest Festival

When: 13 to 15 August
Where: Silesia Park, Chorzów, Poland

Poland’s Fest Festival, one of the fastest-growing music festivals in eastern Europe, has announced the second wave of acts for its 2020 edition.

The festival’s second outing will be headlined by Mark Ronson, with performances from James Bay, Nothing But Thieves, Denzel Curry, Sigrid, Alice Glass, Sohn and Daughter.

Polish rappers Taco Hemingway and Mata have also been added to the line-up, along with local indie-rock band Sonbird.

Fest Festival was nominated for best new festival at the European Festival Awards 2019 and is up for the New Gig on the Block prize at the 2020 Arthur Awards, taking place at the International Live Music Conference in March.

Tickets for Fest Festival are available here for PLN 349 (£70), with prices set to increase on 14 February.

The festival’s second outing will be headlined by Mark Ronson

Forbidden Fruit Festival

When: 30 to 31 May
Where: Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin, Ireland
How many: 10,000

Pod’s Forbidden Fruit Festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary edition in 2020 at its home in the grounds of the Irish Museum of Modern Art in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin.

The line-up for this year’s festival includes headliners Jorja Smith and Underworld, along with Peggy Gou, Loyle Carner, Hot Chip and the Avalanches.
The festival is returning to its roots this year, taking place over two days, rather than the three-day format preferred in previous editions. Organisers promise plenty of “birthday surprises” for their tenth year.

Weekend tickets are available here, priced at €124.50, with day tickets available for €69.50.


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