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Lolla Berlin, Superbloom cancelled as September events fall

German festivals scheduled for September 2020 inlcuding Lollapalooza Berlin and Superbloom have been cancelled, as the coronavirus pandemic begins to affect events beyond the end of August.

Last week, the German government imposed a ban on events over 1,000 people until 31 August, causing the cancellation of summer staples such as MLK’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, FKP Scorpio’s Hurricane and Southside, Goodlive’s Melt and Splash! Festivals and Superstruct’s Wacken Open Air and Parookaville.

Now, events past the 31 August deadline are also calling time on 2020. Goodlive has called off its September festivals Lollapalooza Berlin and Superbloom, in a week that also saw the cancellation of Oktoberfest, Munich’s 210-year-old, world famous beer festival, which runs for 17 days up to the first Sunday of October.

The Berlin senate yesterday (21 April) announced that events of over 5,000 people would not be allowed in Germany until 24 October, causing the cancellation of Lolla Berlin, which was to take place from 5 to 6 September at the city’s 90,000-capacity Olympic Stadium and Park.

“This decision saddens us tremendously because we would have loved to present you the new and playful world of Superbloom”

“Lollapalooza Berlin will no longer be taking place this year,” reads a statement from the Lolla Berlin team, which was to feature Rage Against the Machine and Miley Cyrus. “The health and safety of our fans, artists, staff and community will always be our top priority. Lollapalooza Berlin 2021 will be worth the wait…”

Information on ticket refunds will be available in due course.

Goodlive has also called off the debut outing of Munich festival Superbloom, scheduled for the same weekend with acts including David Guetta, Pussycat Dolls, Miley Cyrus and DJ Snake.

“This decision saddens us tremendously because we would have loved to present you the new and playful world of Superbloom,” reads a statement from organisers. “However, the safety and health of all our visitors, artists and crews is of course our first priority and considering the current decisions, we do not see any possibility to host the festival this year.”

The inaugural Superbloom will now take place from 4 to 5 September 2021.

 


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Macron: No French festivals until mid-July

French festival favourites including Eurockéennes de Belfort, Solidays, Festival d’Avignon and Main Square are no longer taking place this year, as the government extends its ban on large gatherings until mid-July at the earliest.

The news follows similar lengthening of event bans in Austria, where large gatherings are banned until the end of June, and Denmark, which will be festival free until 31 August.

French president Emmanuel Macron announced yesterday (13 April) that the country’s lockdown will last until 11 May, with schools and day centres reopening on that date. However, many businesses including restaurants, bars, music venues, and theatres will remain shuttered.

No festivals or other public events are expected to take place until “at least mid-July”.

The cancellations of Eurockéennes, Solidays and Festival d’Avignon add to those of fellow French festivals Hellfest and Lollapalooza Paris, which were called off last week. The Stockholm edition of the Lollapalooza festival brand was also cancelled last week, although the franchise’s Berlin event is going ahead from 5 to 6 September.

“From the very first news of the lockdown, this cancellation seemed unavoidable,” reads a statement from the organisers of Eurockéennes, winner of the best festival award at this year’s Arthurs.

The event, which was attended by 130,000 people in 2019, was due to take place from 2 to 4 July, featuring acts including Massive Attack, the Lumineers, Foals, Burna Boy, Cage the Elephant and Marc Rebillet. Refund information will be available from 20 April.

“It has now become a reality. Unfortunately this cancellation presents some serious questions about the future of the festival and of (non-profit festival organiser) Territoire de Musiques. Facing a complex financial situation, Eurockéennes will suffer long-term from this dark year.”

“The decision to cancel the festival is one of the most difficult ones we have ever had to make”

Main Square festival, due to take place from 3 to 5 July in the city of Arras, is another event to lose its 2020 edition. “This is obviously a blow to all of us, but your enthusiasm gives us the energy we need to offer you next year what will be the most beautiful edition of the festival in Arras,” reads a statement from organisers.

Sting, Twenty One Pilots, Tones and I, Black Eyed Peas, Sum 41 and Roger Hodgson were among artists billed to play the sold-out event. Tickets will remain valid for the 2021 event, with details of the refund process to be announced in coming weeks.

Solidays festival (70,000-cap.), scheduled to take place at Paris’ Longchamp Hippodrome from 19 to 21 June featuring Anderson Paak, Aya Nakamura, Black Eyed Peas and Metronomy, also announced its cancellation following Macron’s announcement.

“The decision to cancel the festival is one of the most difficult ones we have ever had to make,” says the team at Solidays, which is organised by French AIDS awareness group Solidarité Sida.

Refunds will be available from the start of May, say organisers, adding that, given the situation, “perhaps some will choose not to ask for one”.

Festival d’Avignon, a multi-venue festival of theatre due to take place from 3 to 23 July across the city of Avignon, is another to cancel due to the ban extension, with organisers saying: “We have held out hope for as long as it was possible but the situation has called for another outcome. Our duty now is to preserve and invent the future of Avignon Festival.”

The drama festival was set to celebrate its 74th outing in 2020.

Other French festivals including Festival de Nîmes, scheduled from 16 June to 24 July, Lyon’s Nuits Sonores, which was initially postponed from the end of May until 22 to 26 July, and Vieilles Charrues, set for 16 to 19 July, have also called off their 2020 outings.

 


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RATM announce European festival run

In their first shows in ten years, Rage Against the Machine will be appearing at Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK, Ireland’s Electric Picnic, Lollapalooza Berlin and French festival Rock en Seine.

The dates form part of the band’s upcoming global arena tour, which include other European stops at the O2 Arena in Prague (18,000-cap,), the Czech Republic, and the Tauron Arena (22,000-cap.) in Krakow, Poland.

Rage Against the Machine are heading up Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds (100,000-cap.) along with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher. Run the Jewels, who are supporting Rage Against the Machine on their global arena tour, are appearing on the main stage on the same day as the band (28 August at Leeds and 30 August for Reading) at both festivals.

Other performers include Courteeners, Migos, Gerry Cinnamon, AJ Tracey, Sam Fender, Rex Orange County, Slowthai and Idles.

Rage Against the Machine are also performing at Festival Republic’s sold-out Electric Picnic festival in county Laois, Ireland, which is taking place from 4 to 6 September with an increased capacity of 70,000.

Rage Against the Machine are heading up Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds (100,000-cap.) along with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher

The band will make its only German appearance of the year at Lollapalooza Berlin, which is organised by FRHUG Festival GmbH, a joint venture between Hörstmann/Melt! and Festival Republic. The festival is returning for its third year at Berlin’s 90,000-capacity Olympic Stadium from 5 to 6 September.

The final European festival date sees Rage Against the Machine travel to Paris for Rock en Seine (120,000-cap.), which is jointly owned by AEG Presents and Matthieu Pigasse’s LNEI. The band will again be joined by Run the Jewels for their first appearance in France for 12 years.

Rage Against the Machine’s tour begins on 26 March in El Paso, Texas, with the band performing a run of 27 shows at arenas across the United States and Canada, as well as festival appearances at Coachella Valley Music, Boston Calling, Firefly, Ottawa Bluesfest and Quebec Summer Festival.

A full list of arena dates and ticket information can be found here. Tickets for Reading and Leeds festivals go on sale on Thursday 13 February at 9 a.m, with Rock en Seine tickets being released on 12 February at 12 noon (CET). Lollapalooza Berlin tickets are available here.

 


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Rising costs belie positive sentiment in 2019 Festival Report

More than half of respondents to the European Festival Report 2019 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual health-check of the continent’s festival sector – consider the business to be in good shape, despite artist fees and a perceived lack of headliners continuing to act as bugbears for many.

Continuing the trend first seen in 2018, when the market began its return to normality following a turbulent few years, a majority of those who contributed to 2019’s survey reported business being good – with only a third of the 100-plus respondents saying the market was ‘static’ (16%) or ‘worrying’ (15%).

However, nearly 13% of the surveyed festivals opted for the ‘other’ category to describe the current state of the business. (Responses suggested the market is “overhyped”, “something between healthy and worrying” and “unprofitable”, though another said: “Our very existence means it’s OK.”)

Jasper Barendregt of FKP Scorpio, one of Europe’s biggest festival operators, explains: “A lot is happening in the market. One is under the impression that the market is saturated, but then suddenly a new festival arises out of the blue and attracts a significant amount of guests.

“There is a great need for existing festivals to stay in sync with their audience and their demands”

“There is a great need for existing festivals to stay in sync with their audience and the demands that they have. Failing to do so is a risk and can result in declining spectator numbers.”

Artist fees are once again pinpointed as the biggest issue affecting business, both in 2019 and for the next five years, with a lack of suitable headliners, competition from other festivals and the economic climate also highlighted as key concerns for many.

Last year saw a ticket price hike of 3.5%, bringing the price increase for festival tickets over the past decade to 78%. Significantly, 2019 marks the first year that fans paid over €200 on average for tickets to European festivals.

The average capacity of events dropped very slightly in 2019, down 0.6% from the year before. Yet, in 2019 the average attendance rate relative to capacity rose by nearly 15% from the year before, reaching 87.4% and indicating that 2020 could see audience yield approach 2016’s record of 90%.

Last year saw a ticket price hike of 3.5%, bringing the price increase for festival tickets over the past decade to 78%

Another positive sign for the future comes with the level of innovation shown by festival organisers in 2019, with green initiatives, technological developments and welfare efforts all appearing high on promoters’ priority lists.

Germany’s FKP Scorpio introduced a “giant metal-magnetising clean-up truck” to “sweep campsites” clean after the event. The truck will be enlarged in 2020, tripling its cleaning capacity. Mojo’s Lowlands festival is also embarking on an exciting sustainability project, with plans to develop a “50-hectaresolar-power plant”.

Cashless payment systems were the norm at an increasing number of events in 2019, with other notable tech including Wireless Festival’s new virtual reality experience and Shambala’s blockchain-based festival app.

Initiatives such as on site psychologists at Exit Festival in Serbia, mindfulness sessions at UK festival Download and a staff ‘quiet room’ at Lollapalooza Berlin helped ensure the welfare of both fans and workers at many European events.

“The bottom line is that festivals are about tradition”

Addressing delegates at the International Festival Forum during his keynote interview in September, veteran promoter Herman Schueremans (Rock Werchter) suggested that some of his festival colleagues and peers were maybe being economical with the truth when it comes to the health of the business, ticket sales and event profitability.

Expanding upon those remarks, he explains: “People very reluctantly might admit that they are suffering, but I think it’s maybe time that they start to face reality. I liken it to a parent who will do anything for their children – give them the food out of their mouth – and that’s also how people can be with their festivals.

“In the end, though, things like this happen every decade: more festivals are launched and the competition becomes really fierce before natural selection kills off some of the events and the business goes into a new cycle. In recent times, there have been a lot of people who do not have our festival DNA launching events because they see this as the new El Dorado.

“But the bottom line is that festivals are about tradition. Maybe it’s about brands in the USA, but in Europe it’s more about cultural heritage, and in the end it’s those events with history and heritage that invest in safety and the service they give to the audience, that will survive.”

 


Read the European Festival Report 2019 here:


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Angry punks and happy faces: industry pros talk breakthroughs

Hard work, knowing the right people and a slice of good luck can all play a part in getting a proper footing on the career ladder. IQ puts some more ILMC regulars in the spotlight and asks them to share their breakthrough moments…

 


John Giddings, Solo Agency

When I was about 14 years old, a mate at school persuaded me to learn to play bass guitar, with the promise that we would pull chicks. I had to borrow a bass because I could not afford to buy one and that’s why, to this day, I play bass guitar with a right-handed guitar, upside down, because I’m left handed.

We were at a gig and we were playing ‘The Nile Song’ from Pink Floyd’s More album and this punk came up to the stage and said, “If you don’t stop playing, now, then I’m going to fucking hit you!”

That was the end of my career as a musician, but I knew I wanted to be part of the live music thing, even if I was not capable of being onstage.

In those days, we just used to listen to LPs on our own in our bedroom, but I remember going to Isle of Wight Festival and walking over the top of the hill to see 600,000 other people who liked the same music as me – it was like going on a pilgrimage. And that was that – I was hooked.

Going to Isle of Wight Festival was like going on a pilgrimage – I was hooked

Christof Huber, OpenAir St. Gallen/Yourope

When I was around 15, I knew that I wanted to work in music and organise events. I even wrote business plans about my future virtual company. After my apprenticeship, I looked around for job options, but at that time there were very few in the Swiss market and I couldn’t find a way in. I never lost that focus, but I had to work in several other jobs, including as a bookkeeper in real estate in 1992. Hell!

Out of the blue, a former work colleague called me to tell me that she was working for OpenAir St. Gallen, as the assistant for the festival director but was going to leave. As I was so persistent in telling her about my vision, she suggested I put myself forward for the job interview. This was my chance!

I went to the interview and tried to convince them that there was only one person who would be perfect to do the job. They asked me for some time as they had other candidates, but due to a timeline in my other job, I needed a quick answer. They had me complete some tests and I convinced them that I would do everything to make my dream come true. And they finally offered me the job.

I remember as I drove home that I looked at other people and felt so lucky to have achieved my dream.

I started in 1993, was able to take over the event company a few years later and work with wepromote Switzerland on a national level for many festivals and concerts.

In addition, for the past 20 years, I have been part of the European festival family of Yourope where I’ve made so many close friends.

Thank you, Lisa and Andreas, for having given me this opportunity.

I remember as I drove home that I looked at other people and felt so lucky to have achieved my dream

Fruzsina Szép, Lollapalooza Berlin

Since childhood I had always been very passionate and enthusiastic about arts and music and creating and organising things. Watching the happy faces during a festival is “my fuel“ and has kept me going for so many years in the industry, despite the gigantic workload many of us deal with day to day.

In 2008, I was offered the position of programme and artistic director for Sziget Festival in Budapest. I was 30 and I thought ‘Oh my God!’ – this coat is really not my size. My size is S/M and that coat felt XXL.

But I listened to my inner voice. I knew that if I didn’t try, I would never know if I was capable. I can always fail, I told myself, but only after trying.

I’m so extremely happy that I was wise enough to listen to my inner voice, to have the support of my family, and to believe in myself.

If Elon Musk asked me to organise the first festival on Mars, I’d be up for the job

I’m so thankful for having gained such an enormous amount of experience in those seven years working at Sziget. Without which, I could have never taken the next huge challenge and worn the even bigger coat known as Lollapalooza Berlin.

Moving the Lolla festival site four years in a row allowed me to learn so much and overcome so many challenges. I must say that I’m very thankful for these experiences because now, if Elon Musk asked me to organise the first festival on Mars, I’d be up for the job.

I’m so grateful to have been able to work in such an amazing industry, to have colleagues from whom I can learn day by day, and to be part of an international festival family with like-minded humans that are rocking their own festivals every summer.

 


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Festivals make green pledge at ADE 2019

A group of 20 festivals from seven different countries have pledged their commitment to increasing sustainability efforts today (Friday 18 October) at ADE Green, the environment-focused sub-conference of Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE).

Representatives from Dutch festivals including Amsterdam Open Air, DGTL, Down the Rabbit Hole, Lowlands, North Sea Jazz and Into the Great Wide Open, as well as Denmark’s Roskilde, the UK’s Boardmasters, Boomtown and Shambala, Ireland’s Body & Soul, French festival We Love Green, the Berlin edition of Festival Republic’s Lollapalooza festival, and others, signed the Green Deal Festivals Circular onstage with Dutch environment minister Stientje van Veldhoven.

A meeting for the Green Deal was held earlier this year in London, as part of the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI). Tickets for GEI 2020 can be found here.

The pledge will see the participating festivals become completely circular, or sustainable, by 2025.

“This deal has a great value for all involved,” said Roskilde’s Freja Marie Frederiksen, speaking at the event. “We can all learn from each other and improve things much more quickly.”

“Collaboration is the key to the urgently needed change in how we deal with energy, water, food, mobility, plastic and other materials,” added Paul Schurink of Green Events International, organising partner of ADE Green and an initiator of the green deal along with the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

“Collaboration is the key to the urgently needed change in how we deal with energy, water, food, mobility, plastic and other materials”.

“With a combined number of over three million festival visitors we can make an enormous impact.”

Topics discussed throughout the day at ADE Green included responsible plastic use, DJ’s air miles and innovative ways to change the industry. A workshop run by sustainability expert Douwe Luijnenburg instructed delegates on how to manage events in a environmentally friendly way.

Elsewhere, green initiatives will again take centre stage later today at the launch of Exit festival’s Life Stream, a project aiming to increase audience awareness around environmental issues.

The team behind the Exit events will broadcast performances from DJs Artbat, Coeus, After Affair, Andrew Meller and DJ Jock live from the Faralda Crane Hotel in Amsterdam from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Environmental imagery and statements will be incorporated into the live stream.

The Life Stream platform will be used throughout Exit Festival’s 20th anniversary event, which takes place from 9 to 12 July 2020 in Novi Sad, Serbia.

More than 9,000 delegates registered for this year’s ADE which kicked off on 16 October and wraps up on Sunday, 20 October.

The industry will once again unite to tackle issues surrounding sustainability at GEI12 in London on Tuesday 3 March in London, on the opening day of the International Live Music Conference (ILMC).

 


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Irish, British acts top preliminary ETEP results

Irish post-punk band Fontaines D.C. and south London group Black Midi lead the way in the first results of Eurosonic Noorderslag’s (ESNS) European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), with ten and seven festival slots booked respectively.

ETEP aims to promote European music across the world, supporting the booking of emerging European talent at festivals in 37 countries. Two months on from the 33rd edition of ESNS, promising acts from the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belarus and Belgium have all secured multiple festival shows.

51 out of the 129 Etep festivals have released some line-up information, with 143 ETEP shows already confirmed across festivals including the Great Escape (20 ETEP acts), Ment Ljubljana (6 ETEP acts) and Lollapalooza Berlin (5 ETEP acts).

“ETEP selection results are always a surprise – no-one can predict the ten most booked acts,” says Robert Meijerink, head of programme and programme manager of European talent at ESNS.

“The first results prove that festivals across the world are interested in putting on a wide variety of different styles and genres by European artists”

“I am really pleased to see how ETEP is helping the circulation of European artists in the live sector already so early in the year. The first results also prove that festivals across the world are interested in putting on a wide variety of different styles and genres by European artists,” adds Meijerink.

The initiative enjoyed a record-breaking festival season last year, with ETEP acts playing 457 shows at festivals around the world. British indie band Superorganism finished the summer at the top of the leaderboard, playing 20 gigs in total, beating the record set the previous year by London post-punk band Shame.

Since launching in 2003, ETEP has facilitated 4,144 shows by 1,531 acts in 37 countries. The programme has helped to initiate successful careers for artists including Calvin Harris, Franz Ferdinand, James Blake, the Kooks and the XX. More recently, ETEP has supported the first international shows of acts such as Idles, Aurora and Dua Lipa.

A list of the ten most booked ETEP acts so far can be found below:

1) Fontaines D.C. (Ie) – 10 shows

2) Black Midi (GB) – 7 shows

3) Flohio (GB) – 6 shows

4) Pip Blom (NL) – 5 shows

5) The Murder Capital (Ie) – 4 shows

6) Iris Gold (Dk) – 4 shows

7) Yegor Zabelov (By) – 3 shows

8) Whispering Sons (Be) – 3 shows

9) Lewsberg (NL) – 3 shows

10) Whenyoung (Ie) – 3 shows

 


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Fourth time’s the charm for Lolla Berlin 2018

The fourth edition of Lollapalooza Berlin, held on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 September, was a sell-out success, welcoming 70,000 festivalgoers a day to its new home, the Berlin Olympic Stadium (Olympiastadion).

Lolla Berlin, organised by FRHUG Festival GmbH, a joint venture between Hörstmann/Melt! and Festival Republic, moved to the Olympiastadion/Olympiapark for 2018 – the fourth venue in four years – after an otherwise successful 2017 event was marred by problems with public transport.

The 2018 event was headlined was headlined by the Weeknd and Kraftwerk, with other performers including Imagine Dragons, Liam Gallagher, Dua Lipa, David Guetta, the National, Kygo, Rag’n’Bone Man and German rapper Casper. It was the biggest-ever event of its kind to take place at the stadium.

“It would be great if Lollapalooza can play here for a very long time”

According to festival director Fruzsina Szép, there is a “firm commitment” from the city for Lolla to stay at the Olympiastadion next year, although its long-term future depends on the festival weekend not clashing with football fixtures for Hertha BSC, who play their home games at the stadium.

“We are having very good conversations with Hertha about it,” she tells the Berliner Zeitung. “It would be great if Lollapalooza can play here for a very long time.”

The festival was forced to evacuate its original home, the disused Tempelhof Airport, when the site was converted into temporary housing for refugees in early 2016. A move to Treptower Park followed in 2016, which was opposed by many local residents and even ten states of the former USSR, as the park houses a Soviet war memorial.

 


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Lolla Berlin moves to Olympiapark for year four

The 2018 edition of Lollapalooza Berlin will be held at Olympiapark Berlin – the festival’s fourth venue in four years – promoters have announced, after an otherwise successful 2017 event was marred by problems with public transport.

Mumford & Sons, Foo Fighters, The xx and Two Door Cinema Club headlined Lollapalooza Berlin 2017, which was held at the Hoppegarten racecourse, around 12 miles east of Berlin, on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September. Some 85,000 people – a new record – attended, although the festival was affected by overcrowding on Saturday night, with local media reports suggesting around 3,000 people were stuck at Hoppegarten station after trains were unable to cope with the exodus following Two Door Cinema Club’s set.

A statement issued on Sunday said organisers were “truly sorry for how long it took many of you to get home” and apologised for the “strenuous” return journey, which took some people nearly four hours to get back to Berlin.

Olympiapark, which houses the 74,475-cap. Olympiastadion, is more centrally located, lying in the Westend suburb of Berlin, just west of the inner city.

Lollapalooza Berlin, promoted by Hörstmann/Melt! and Live Nation’s Festival Republic, was forced to evacuate its original home, the disused Tempelhof Airport, when the site was converted into temporary housing for refugees in early 2016. A move to Treptower Park followed in 2016, which was opposed by many local residents and even ten states of the former USSR, as the park houses a Soviet war memorial.

 


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Foos, Mumfords head to Hoppegarten for Lolla 2017

Foo Fighters and Mumford & Sons have been announced as headliners for the 2017 edition of Lollapalooza Berlin, which will be held at the new venue of the Hoppegarten Racecourse – its third in as many years.

The festival, co-promoted by Melt! Booking and Live Nation (C3 Presents/Festival Republic), was forced to evacuate its original home, the disused Tempelhof Airport, when the site was converted into temporary housing for refugees. A move to Treptower Park followed in 2016, which was opposed by many local residents and even ten states of the former USSR (the park houses a Soviet war memorial).

Hoppegarten Racecourse (Rennbahn) is located around 12 miles to the east of Berlin.

Other newly confirmed acts include The XX, Two Door Cinema Club, Rudimental, EDM star Hardwell and local favourites Beatsteaks, Marteria and Cro:

Lollapalooza Berlin 2017 phase 1 line-up

 


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