Festival Focus: More huge names confirmed for ’23
Another spate of European festivals have announced headliners and main stage artists for their 2023 editions.
Dutch festival Pinkpop has confirmed that British pop star Robbie Williams will return to Landgraaf for the first time since 2015.
He will close out Saturday night at the festival – which is said to be “the oldest and longest-running annual dedicated pop and rock music festival in the world” – while P!nk will top the bill on the Friday night. English indie rock band Editors and Dutch electronic band Goldband are also on the 2023 bill.
The 52nd edition of Pinkpop, promoted by Live Nation-owned Mojo Concerts, will take place between 16–18 June, next year.
Williams is also set to perform at the UK’s Isle of Wight festival, alongside Pulp, George Ezra and Chemical Brothers. Sugarbabes, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Anne-Marie, Gabrielle, Blondie and Ella Henderson have also been confirmed for the event, which runs between 15–18 June in Seaclose Park, Newport.
The festival is promoted by Solo Agency’s John Giddings and Live Nation.
Lowlands: “The oldest and longest-running annual dedicated pop and rock music festival in the world”
Elsewhere in the UK, DF Concert’s TRNSMT festival will see Pulp, George Ezra, Niall Horan, Sam Fender, Kasabian, The 1975 and Royal Blood perform at Glasgow Green in Scotland between 7–9 July next year.
Further South in the UK, Latitude will bring Pulp, Paulo Nutini, George Ezra, The Kooks, Metronomy to Henham Park, Suffolk, between 20–23 July.
In Poland, promoter Alter Art has announced Arctic Monkeys for the 2023 edition of Open’er, slated for 28 June to 1 July at Gdynia-Kosakowo in Gdynia. The English rockstars will close the Orange Main Stage on the Friday night, in support of their new album The Car.
And in neighbouring Czech Republic, Colours of Ostrava have confirmed US pop rock band One Republic as the first headliner for next year’s instalment, set for 19–22 July at Dolní Vítkovice in Ostrava.
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Over 100k fans enjoy huge UK festival weekend
Hundreds of thousands of music fans flocked to open-air venues across the UK last weekend for the country’s first big festival weekend since the summer of 2019.
Festival Republic’s Latitude and Superstruct-backed Tramlines, both 40,000-capacity, Broadwick Live’s Standon Calling (15,000-cap.) and Alexandra Palace’s Kaleidoscope (10,000-cap.) were among the events to take advantage of Covid-status certification – ie requiring proof of vaccine or a negative Covid-19 test from attendees – to do away with social distancing and create the first ‘normal’ festival experiences of the coronavirus era.
While the two biggest events were held as government-backed pilots as part of the Events Research Programme (ERP), all four festivals implemented some form of pre-event screening for Covid-19 status: Latitude, Tramlines and Kaleidoscope used the NHS (National Health Service) Covid Pass app to check festivalgoers were either fully vaccinated or had returned a negative test, while Standon Calling went a step further, requiring a negative test even if attendees had received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Latitude took place from 22 to 25 July at Henham Park in Suffolk with performers including Bastille, Wolf Alice, the Chemical Brothers and Bombay Bicycle Club.
Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn told local media that the stringent entry requirements meant the Latitude site was “close to being the safest place in England” last weekend, with even performers not able to bypass the checks (two acts, Fontaines DC and Alfie Templeman, were forced to cancel after testing positive and were replaced by Sleaford Mods and Sports Team, respectively).
Staff were “breaking down in tears” over being able to work again
The first festival most of those in attendance had been to since 2019, the same applied to many of the event’s staff; Benn told the BBC he knew of technicians and support staff who had been “breaking down in tears” that they were able to work again after 16 months of minimal event activity.
In addition to the music and comedy programme – other performers included Rudimental, Damon Albarn, Supergrass, Hot Chip, Kaiser Chiefs, Bill Bailey and king of the internet Rick Astley – Latitude also featured a ‘vaccine bus’, staffed by NHS workers, where over-18s could get either their first or second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine on a walk-in basis.
In Hertfordshire, popular boutique event Standon Calling made a welcome return from 22 to 25 July, planning four days of family friendly fun headlined by Bastille, Hot Chip, Primal Scream and Craig David’s TS5.
Though it, too, successfully navigated Covid-19 to go ahead as planned, the festival came to an abrupt end yesterday after organisers were forced to pull the plug due to the flash flooding which had left much of southern England underwater.
Unfortunately due to flooding we will no longer be able to proceed with the festival.
If you can safely leave the site this evening please do so as soon as possible. We are working on getting everyone off site as safely and quickly as possible.
— Standon Calling (@StandonCalling) July 25, 2021
Among the artists booked to play on Sunday were Primal Scream, Craig David, De La Soul and Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
“Hearing the first band ring out over the festival was an emotional moment”
Also taking part in the ERP was Tramlines, which welcomed 40,000 people a day to Hillsborough Park in Sheffield from 23 to 25 July.
Featuring performances from the Streets, Dizzee Rascal, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Little Simz, the Sherlocks and more, the sold-out event grew both its capacity and festival site for 2021, adding 10,000 people, a new cabaret stage, The Open Arms, and a new arena for its second, T’Other stage to become the biggest Tramlines yet.
“After 18 months of strangeness, it was unbelievable to be back in the park again,” says the festival’s operations director, Timm Cleasby. “There have been so many hurdles we’ve had to jump to get here and, honestly, it’s been quite a rollercoaster. It’s been great to see so many happy smiling faces, from crew getting back to the thing they love to revellers having the time of their lives watching the bands they love. Hearing the first band ring out over the festival was an emotional moment.
“I’d really like to thank everyone for playing their part with the NHS Covid Pass system. It ran very smoothly, and by being part of the Events Research Programme together we’re helping to pave the way for festivals and live events to get back to normal. I’m full of gratitude for everyone: our amazing crew and suppliers, the support from the DCMS [Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport], Public Health Sheffield, Sheffield Council and, of course, our fans. Thank you all for helping us do this – we love you all and we can’t wait to see you all next year.”
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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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Lucy Wood joins Roundhouse as head of music
Former Festival Republic booker Lucy Wood has joined iconic London venue the Roundhouse (1,700-seat) as head of music, effective from the end of March.
Wood succeeds Jane Beese in the role, who left the Roundhouse at the end of last year to take up the position as head of music at Manchester International Festival (MIF) after five years at the venue.
Having previously led the music programming for Latitude Festival, which last year saw performances from Lana Del Rey, George Ezra, Snow Patrol, Loyle Carner and Primal Scream, Wood will now head up the music team at the Roundhouse, which hosts over 100 shows a year, as well as in-house festivals In the Round and Roundhouse Rising.
With 15 years’ experience in the music industry, Wood has previously held roles at 19 Entertainment, Warp Records and Eat Your Own Ears, working on festivals such as Field Day and promoting shows by Grimes, the xx and Four Tet.
As part of her Roundhouse role, Wood will help expand the venue’s onsite music programme for 11 to 25 year olds, developing the current site with a new talent development centre.
“We are really looking forward to welcoming Lucy to the team at such an exciting time for the Roundhouse”
“We are really looking forward to welcoming Lucy to the team at such an exciting time for the Roundhouse,” says the Roundhouse programmes director Delia Barker.
“She has a great track record and is well respected across the industry and will bring an incredible energy to support our emerging artists – all whilst programming some of the biggest names in the world on our iconic stage.”
Wood comments: “I’ve had a brilliant three years working with amazing music from across the spectrum of genres at Latitude, as part of Festival Republic – building on my time promoting at London’s cherished Eat Your Own Ears.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the team at the Roundhouse, a world-class arts institution with incredible history, and to be supporting its exceptional work with young people.”
Upcoming acts playing at the Roundhouse include Sigala and the Growlers, as well as shows by Sports Team, Michael Kiwanuka, Kate Tempest and Roisin Murphy as part of the 6 Music Festival. The Strokes performed a special, intimate show at the venue last night (19 February).
FR launches International Women’s Day event
Festival Republic has announced ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day, a networking event for women across the live music industry, as part of the promoter’s gender equality programme, ReBalance.
The event is taking place at the 900-capacity Union Chapel in Islington, London, on Sunday 8 March, the day dedicated to recognising the movement for women’s rights worldwide.
Last year’s International Women’s Day saw pop star Dua Lipa speak at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London, who illustrated the struggle faced by young female artists trying to break into the industry.
Festival Republic is looking to combat this, with a daytime programme aimed at introducing those who want a career in the industry to women working within it. Professionals from Festival Republic, Live Nation, PRS Foundation, Academy Music Group, Sony Music, MAMA, Melody VR, Metropolis Music, the BBC, National Merchandise and Safe Gigs for Women will be in present to offer advice and deliver educational talks.
An evening performance from singer Nilüfer Yanya will follow the networking event, as well as appearances from Martha Hill and Tamzene, two artists to have come through Festival Republic’s ReBalance programme.
“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further”
Launched in 2017, ReBalance is a six-year programme combatting the gender imbalance within the music industry. It offers five day’s studio time to one core female-identified band and artist each month, as well as a slot of a Festival Republic or Live Nation festival.
So far, 300 nominations have been made across six rounds, with 19 finalists performing live at The Great Escape, Wireless, Latitude and Reading and Leeds Festivals.
“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further by hosting an event on International Women’s Day for those who want to meet women in the industry,” says the ReBalance team.
“Aimed at newcomers or if you’re just curious, this event is the chance to learn from the brightest stars and pick up some tips. Lack of female representation in music is an industry-wide issue, and we want to level it.”
Day tickets for ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day can be purchased for a £2 charity donation to Safe Gigs for Women, with evening tickets priced at £17.50. All tickets are available here.
Photo: Paul Hudson/Flickr (cropped) (CC BY 2.0)
Festival Fever: More festivals reveal their 2020 line-ups
Following on from last week’s round-up of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ looks at a selection of festivals to see which acts will be gracing the stages in summer 2020.
(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)
When: 2 to 5 July
Where: Festival Park, Werchter, Belgium
How many: 88,000
Pearl Jam and Twenty One Pilots are the first acts announced for the 2020 edition of Rock Werchter, playing on 2 and 4 July respectively.
Founded and promoted by Live Nation Belgium CEO Herman Schueremans, Rock Werchter last year saw headline performances from Pink, the Cure, Tool, Florence and the Machine, Mumford and Sons and Muse, in an edition that Schueremans deemed “a top result compared to a lot of festivals in Europe and the USA” that year.
Speaking at the International Festival Forum (IFF) in September this year, the Rock Werchter founder stressed the continued importance of festivals, saying they “sustain the live industry just as the Amazon rainforest sustains the world’s climate.”
Tickets for Rock Werchter 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 10 a.m. (CET), with a full festival ticket costing €243 (£207) and a single day-pass priced at €110 (£94).
Pearl Jam and Twenty One Pilots are the first acts announced for the 2020 edition of Rock Werchter
When: 9 to 11 July
Where: Passeio Maritimo de Alges, Lisbon, Portugal
How many: 55,000
Everything is New’s Nos Alive festival runs on the ethos that “all stages are main stages”, last year programming acts including Johnny Marr, Primal Scream, Greta Van Fleet, Idles, Bon Iver, Grace Jones and Vampire Weekend.
The 2020 edition of the festival sees headliners Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and local favourites Da Weasel playing alongside Caribou, Two Door Cinema Club and Haim.
Portugal’s preeminent annual annual rock festival, Nos Alive is now entering its 14th year, having expanded from three stages in its inaugural year to seven, while striving to keep ticket prices low.
Tickets for Nos Alive 2020 are available now, priced at €69 (£59) for a one-day ticket and €159 (£136) for a three-day pass.
The 2020 edition of the festival sees headliners Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and local favourites Da Weasel
When: 16 to 19 July
Where: Henham Park, Suffolk, UK
How many: 40,000
Latitude is one of a number of Festival Republic events to have enjoyed back-to-back sell-outs in recent years. The 2019 edition, which saw headline performances from George Ezra, Stereophonics and Lana Del Rey, contributed a season that, according to Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn,“genuinely couldn’t have been better.”
The 15th edition of Latitude includes headline performances from Liam Gallagher, the Chemical Brothers and Haim, with the Lumineers, Michael Kiwanuka, Keane and Charli XCX also appearing on the bill.
Gallagher, who is currently playing around the UK on the Why Me? Why Not? tour, is returning to the festival after playing as the ‘secret act’ in 2018.
Tickets for Latitude festival 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT). Adult weekend tickets cost £210, with accompanied teen tickets priced at $145 and child passes at £15.
Latitude is one of a number of Festival Republic events to have enjoyed back-to-back sell-outs in recent years
Isle of Wight Festival
When: 11 to 14 June
Where: Seaclose Park, Isle of Wight, UK
How many: 90,000
The Isle of Wight festival yesterday (3 December) revealed its 2020 headliners, with Lionel Richie and Lewis Capaldi playing the mainstage on the opening night, Snow Patrol and the Chemical Brothers heading up the second evening and Duran Duran closing proceedings on the Sunday.
The 2020 festival will mark the 50th anniversary of its 1970 edition, which saw headline performances from Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Joni Mitchell and constituted the last festival on the island until its 2002 resurrection.
“I’m excited to be playing at the Isle of Wight Festival next summer,” says Lionel Richie, who will make his debut appearance at the event. “It’s a festival steeped in music history – Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones have all headlined and I’m honoured to be joining the esteemed list.”
Other acts on the 2020 line-up include Happy Mondays, Kaiser Chiefs, Sam Fender, Dido, James Arthur and Primal Scream.
Tickets for the Isle of Wight Festival 2020 go on sale on 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT), with adult weekend tickets priced at £185.
“It’s a festival steeped in music history – Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones have all headlined”
When: 15 to 19 July
Where: Bannfy Castle, Cluj, Romania
How many: 50,000
Romania’s multi-genre Electric Castle festival is returning for its 8th year in 2020, with already announced acts including Twenty One Pilots, Foals, Floating Points, the Neighbourhood and Fisher.
The 2019 edition of the festival, which takes place each year in an old Transylvanian castle, saw performances from Florence and the Machine, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Limp Bizkit, Bring Me the Horizon and Chvrches.
For the second consecutive year, Electric Castle will have an area dedicated to visual artists, called the New Media Castle, which will house art installations from Robert Henke, James Clar and Claire Hentschker.
Tickets for Electric Castle 2020 are available here, with general tickets costing LEI 499 (£89) and camping passes priced at LEI 539 (£96).
Romania’s multi-genre Electric Castle festival is returning for its 8th year in 2020
Bilbao BBK Live
When: 9 to 11 July
Where: Kobetamendi, Bilbao, Spain
How many: 40,000
Set in the mountains near to the coastal city of Bilbao, BBK Live has nearly doubled in size in recent years. The Spanish festival welcomed 112,800 people from 100 different countries to its 14th edition last year, with performances from the Strokes, Rosalía, Liam Gallagher and Hot Chip.
Founded in 2006, BBK Live has seen the likes of the Police, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, New Order, Depeche Mode, Guns N’ Roses and Lenny Kravitz perform over the years.
For the 2020 edition, Kendrick Lamar, the Killers, Pet Shop Boys and Bad Bunny top the bill, playing along with Caribou, Four Tet, Supergrass, Kelly Lee Owens and Slowthai, with more acts still to be announced.
Tickets for Bilbao BBK Live are available here with a full festival pass costing €140 (£119) and camping tickets priced at €158 (£134).
For the 2020 edition, Kendrick Lamar, the Killers, Pet Shop Boys and Bad Bunny top the bill
All Points East
When: 22 to 31 May
Where: Victoria Park, London, UK
How many: 40,000
All Points East has announced another headliner since the last edition of Festival Fever. German electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk will perform their only UK show of the year at the festival on Friday 29 May, supported by Iggy Pop, Johnny Marr, the Orb and others.
Kraftwerk mark the second UK exclusive for the festival, adding to the headline performance from Tame Impala on Saturday 23 May.
AEG’s other London festival, British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park has added Taylor Swift and Pearl Jam to its 2020 headliner list, following the announcement of its first headline act, Little Mix, last week.
Pearl Jam will perform on Friday 10 July, as part of their 13-date European summer tour, with Swift playing on the following evening. Pixies and White Reaper will join Pearl Jam on the Friday.
Little Mix will play the opening Saturday of the concert series (4 July), along with newly announced special guests Rita Ora, Kesha and Zara Larsson.
Tickets for Kraftwerk at All Points East go on sale on 6 December at 10 a.m. (GMT). Tickets for Taylor Swift at BST will become available 6 December at 9 a.m. (GMT), with Pearl Jam tickets going on sale on 7 December at 10 a.m. (GMT).
BST, Latitude, Standon Calling praised for accessibility
The UK minister for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, has called on festival sites to continue improving accessibility, noting efforts by British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park and Latitude festival.
Poor access, unsuitable camping arrangement, restricted visibility and a lack of representation both on and off the stage are the most common issues facing disabled people at live music events, says Tomlinson.
AEG Presents’ BST Hyde Park (65,000-cap.) is one festival leading the way in terms of accessibility, recently receiving Attitude is Everything’s (AIE) gold status for best practice for inclusivity. BST offers accessible viewing platforms, sign language interpreters and hearing induction loops.
BST 2019 took place over two consecutive weekends from 5 to 14 July, with performances from Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand and more.
Latitude festival (35,000-cap.), which took place in Suffolk from 16 to 19 July, provides additional tickets free of charge for personal assistants, fridges to store medication and an accessible campsite, complete with accessible showers and charging points for wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
“Everyone should be able to experience the joy of attending one of Britain’s world-famous music festivals, no matter their circumstances”
Embarking on its second day today (26 July), Standon Calling (15,000-cap.) has a dedicated team to support customers in its accessible campsite, as well as sign language interpreters across the site.
“Everyone should be able to experience the joy of attending one of Britain’s world-famous music festivals, no matter their circumstances,” says Tomlinson.
“Disabled fans are spending more than ever on live music, but it’s clear there is still more to do to improve festival access and facilities.”
According to AIE, disabled people spent £8.3 million on live music last year, up £3.4m from 2013.
The government’s disability champion for live music, Suzanne Bull, says these figures shows that “UK festivals have made great strides in improving access”.
However, says Bull, “there is much more to do beyond just audience provision. We need to plan for disabled artists and disabled employees to be working throughout all levels of the industry.”
40,000 festivalgoers enjoy Latitude’s hottest year ever
In keeping with a trend seen at a number of events this European festival season, guests at the 13th edition of Latitude last weekend experienced record-breaking temperatures while enjoying music, comedy and live entertainment.
This year’s event, organised by Festival Republic, attracted a headcount of 40,000 people in all. When the festival first began in 2006, it hosted a modest 15,000 people. Year on year, promoters have increased the capacity of the festival, with this year representing a near two-and-a-half times increase since that first edition in 2006.
Alongside performances from local talent and headline acts from Solange, The Killers and alt-J, and a secret set from Liam Gallagher, the festival also showcased a host of different artistic material. Beyond music, guests could watch live comedy performances, theatre pieces and become one with the art in immersive installations.
“An oasis in the post-Brexit confusion”
Festival Republic rejected fast food throughout the festival site: instead of traditional food offerings, the festival teamed up with Street Feast, a street food market from London. As more and more people turn to meat-free, vegetarian and vegan diets, festivals must keep up with demand. This year’s Latitude menu “catered widely for both vegetarian and vegan patrons, with a focus on organic and ethical.”
Politics also played a role throughout the festival. Taking place against the wider backdrop of US president Donald Trump’s visit to the UK, the festival hailed itself “an oasis in the post-Brexit confusion” and “a space to recollect, reassess and look towards less troubling times.”
While this years festival is still fresh in the minds of festivalgoers, tickets for next year’s event will go on sale this week.
The Ticket Factory introduces new commercial team
One of the UK’s leading national ticketing agents, the Ticket Factory, has today announced the creation of a new commercial team tasked with creating more sales and driving profits.
The ticketing company, is owned by UK venue operator NEC Group and is the official box office for the NEC Birmingham as well as a ticket seller for top music festivals like Latitude and Download. It hopes the move will nurture already established links with clients and partners as well as secure new ones.
The team will be comprised of four handpicked individuals. Previously consumer sales and marketing director, Chris Pile has been appointed as commercial director. He will be joined by Nick Fenton, who will take on the role of commercial manager. Fenton will also be tasked with selling TTF’s industry-leading trade system ExpoWare.
On the subject of his new appointment, Pile says: “I’m looking forward to the opportunities myself and my team can build and nurture with both clients and partners for the Ticket Factory.
“This is the next exciting stage in the Ticket Factory’s development”
“Driving market awareness of TTF’s products and services is essential to achieving our business goals.”
The pair will be joined by partnership manager Aliya Hussain, who will take on the company’s marketing and distribution reach. The team is finished by group sales manager Kelly Sharman.
Speaking about the Ticket Factory’s aims, director of ticketing Richard Howle says: “This is the next exciting stage in the Ticket Factory’s development.
“Introducing a dedicated commercial team serves to propel these ambitions.”
The news of the new commercial team comes after the Ticket Factory recently secured an exclusive three year ticketing contract with Crufts. It hopes the new team will be able to deliver an expanded product range to high-profile clients like this.
Front Gate Tickets launches in the UK
Front Gate Tickets, the US white-label festival ticketing company whose clients include some of North America’s biggest events, has launched in the UK, IQ can reveal.
Front Gate Tickets (FGT), headquartered in Austin, Texas, was acquired by Ticketmaster/Live Nation along with DIY platform Universe in September 2015. It was previously jointly owned by AEG, Live Nation’s chief rival, and Lollapalooza promoter C3 Presents, itself now a Live Nation company.
The decision to launch FGT locally came as a result of Ticketmaster’s belief that a “one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t work for all clients”, explains its UK director of business development for music, Sarah Slater.
“It’s about having the right platform for the right client,” she says. “Ticketmaster.co.uk is brilliant platform that can sell millions of tickets on a Friday morning for big tours and arena shows; for festivals, which don’t necessarily sell out on a Friday, that’s where Front Gate comes in.”
Other Ticketmaster subsidiaries targeted at specific markets include TicketWeb, for smaller, independent venues and events, and aforementioned self-service platform Universe, which launched in Europe last April.
The first British festival on FGT – which counts among its North American clients Lollapalooza, Bonnaroo, Governors Ball, Outside Lands, Austin City Limits, Electric Daisy Carnival and Bestival Canada (also formerly AEG’s Coachella and Stagecoach, “before we bought it”, jokes Slater) – is Latitude 2017.
“For festivals, which don’t necessarily sell out on a Friday, that’s where Front Gate comes in”
The plan, explains Slater, is to have all Ticketmaster festivals – including both Live Nation/Festival Republic events and its non-Live Nation clients – using Front Gate by 2018. She also reveals the company hopes to extend the FGT roll-out to its festivals in continental Europe in future.
“Front Gate is built specifically with festivals in mind,” Slater continues. “It’s tailored to their needs: so they can do a quick check-out, including Facebook log-in options, they can upsell VIP experiences, spa sessions, parking… all the things our festival clients need to do in one completely white-label solution.”
Other features include group booking and tiered pricing, optimisation for both desktop and mobile devices and RFID capabilities for both site access and cashless payments.
In addition, FGT’s RFID solution can be used to create “interactive touchpoints”, such as sweepstakes and giveaways, allowing promoters to maximise the collection of customer data. “This gives festival promoters the ability to increase sponsorship revenue with a unique opportunity for branding and data insight,” says Ticketmaster.
The launch of Front Gate Tickets in the UK, which is supported by the Ticketmaster team, is part of a “massive focus on festivals”, concludes Slater, reflecting the “different needs” of festival ticketing compared to stadium and arena tours.
“Our focus is on selling more tickets – and Front Gate enables us to work with festivals to get exactly what they want and do just that.”