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Festival Fever: more 2020 line-ups under the microscope

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ reveals what’s in store for the debut of Pitchfork Music Festival Berlin and the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim’s first year under a new promoter, as well as what’s on offer at old favourites Byron Bay Bluesfest, Exit Festival, Lovebox and more.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Byron Bay Bluesfest

When: 9 to 13 April
Where: Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, New South Wales, Australia
How many: 25,000

Byron Bay Bluesfest celebrated its 30th outing last year, with performances from Jack Johnson, Ben Harper, Mavis Staples and Kasey Chambers, among others.

The Peter Noble-led event is back in 2020, with acts including Dave Matthews Band, Crowded House, Patti Smith, George Benson, Lenny Kravitz, Brandi Carlile, Frank Turner and Xavier Rudd appearing on the bill.

A report undertaken earlier this year revealed that the festival contributed over AU$83 million (£43.5m) to the local economy in 2019.

Tickets for Byron Bay Bluesfest are available here, with five-day tickets costing AU$639 (£335), three-day passes priced at $440 (£230) and a single-day ticket available for $195 (£102).

The festival contributed over £43.5 million to the local economy in 2019

Down the Rabbit Hole

When: 17 to 19 July
Where: Groene Heuvels Park, the Netherlands
How many: 35,000

The Netherlands’ Down the Rabbit Hole last year saw performance from the Editors, Janelle Monae, Underworld and Thom Yorke.

The event, promoted by Mojo Concerts which last year celebrated its 50th anniversary, has announced a handful of acts for the 2020 edition, including Tyler the Creator, Disclosure, Beck, Kacey Musgraves, Haim, Bombay Bicycle Club, FKA Twigs, Charli XCX and Loyle Carner.

Elsewhere, acts for Mojo’s hip-hop festival Woo Hah! Include Kendrick Lamar, Asap Ferg, Aitch and DaBaby.

Tickets for Down the Rabbit Hole are available here, with a full festival ticket priced at €177.50 (£151). Weekend camping passes for Woo Hah! are available for £159, with day tickets from £50.

The Netherlands’ Down the Rabbit Hole last year saw performance from the Editors, Janelle Monae, and Thom Yorke

Exit Festival

When: 9 to 12 July
Where: Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia
How many: 55,000

Serbia’s Exit Festival is gearing up for its 20th anniversary in 2020, with organisers promising that the event’s special birthday will be celebrated in style. Acts announced for the 2020 edition so far include David Guetta, Tyga, Fatboy Slim, James Arthur and Meduza.

Last year’s festival, which saw record crowds of 200,000 over four days, saw performances from the Cure, Greta van Fleet, the Chainsmokers and Amelie Lens.

Founded as a social activism project in 2000, Exit has grown over the years while maintaining its roots. 2020 will see the launch of the festival’s Life Stream initiative, which aims to engage festivalgoers in the fight against climate change.

Tickets for Exit Festival 2020 are available here, with tickets costing £89 plus £27 for camping.

Organisers promise that the event’s special birthday will be celebrated in style

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB)

When: 16 to 19 July
Where: Costa del Azahar, Spain
How many: 50,000

The first outing for the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB) under new leadership will take place in July, following its acquisition by Spanish promoter the Music Republic earlier this year.

The 2020 event will see performances from acts including Liam Gallagher, the Libertines, Foals, Vampire Weekend, Khalid, Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki.

The Music Republic added FIB to its portfolio of Spanish festivals, which includes Arenal Sound, Viña Rock, Granada Sound and Madrid Salvaje, after buying it from Maraworld, a Madrid-based promoter majority owned by MCD Productions and SJM Concerts.

David and Toño Sánchez, owners of the Music Republic, state they aim to “maintain [FIB’s] essence and position it once more as a leader on the global scene.”

Tickets for FIB 2020 are available here for €65 (£55) for a full pass.

The first outing for the FIB under new leadership will take place in July

Firenze Rocks

When: 11 to 13 June
Where: Ippodromo delle Cascine, Florence, Italy
How many: 11,000

Italian rock festival Firenze Rocks is returning for its fourth year in 2020 with Guns N’ Roses, Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers heading up the event.

The Guns N’ Roses appearance is part of a wider European tour that will see the veteran rockers play in Portugal, Spain, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Austria, Switzerland, Poland, Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

The Live Nation-promoted festival last year saw performances from Ed Sheeran, the Cure, Tool and Eddie Vedder, with Foo Fighters, Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne among those to have played the event in recent years.

Tickets for Firenze Rocks 2020 are available here for €271.40 for four days (£230).

Italian rock festival Firenze Rocks is returning for its fourth year in 2020 with Guns N’ Roses, Green Day and Red Hot Chili Peppers

Lollapalooza Paris

When: 18 to 19 July
Where: Hippodrome de Longchamp, Paris, France
How many: 55,000

The fourth annual Lollapalooza Paris will feature headliners Pearl Jam and Billie Eilish, along with Vampire Weekend, Khalid, Burna Boy, Haim, Rita Ora, Illenium, the Struts and more, as over 40 acts will play at the four-stage event over two days.

Launched in 2017 as a further string to the Lollapalooza franchise bow, the Live Nation-promoted Lollapalooza Paris last year saw performances from the Strokes, Twenty one Pilots, martin Garrix, the 1975 and Bad Bunny.

The Paris event is one of three European editions of Lollapalooza, together with Lollapalooza Stockholm and Berlin.

Tickets for Lollapalooza Paris are available here, priced at €79 (£67) for a one-day pass and €139 (£118) for a weekend ticket.

The fourth annual Lollapalooza Paris will feature headliners Pearl Jam and Billie Eilish

Lovebox

When: 12 to 14 June
Where: Gunnersbury Park, London, UK
How many: 40,000

Mama Festivals’ Lovebox festival is returning for its third year at the Gunnersbury Park site in west London. The three-day event, which was founded in 2002, will be headed up by Khalid, Disclosure and Tyler the Creator in 2020.

Other acts appearing at the festival include Hot Chip, Jorja Smith, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals, FKA Twigs, Charli XCX, Peggy Gou, Mabel and Little Simz.

Gunnersbury Park has also been home to Mama’s Citadel festival for the past two years, with year’s line-up featuring Catfish and the Bottlemen, Bastille, Friendly Fires and Bear’s Den.

Sister company Festival Republic launched a new festival at the site in September this year. The inaugural Gunnersville saw performances from Doves, the Specials and You Me at Six.

Tickets for Lovebox 2020 are available here, with a three-day tickets costing £149.50 and one-day passes costing £72.50.

Mama Festivals’ Lovebox festival is returning for its third year at the Gunnersbury Park site in west London

Pitchfork Music Festival Berlin

When: 8 to 9 May
Where: Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
How many: 3,500

The team behind US-based magazine Pitchfork revealed plans for the inaugural Pitchfork Music festival Berlin at this year’s Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg, adding to events in Chicago and Paris.

The festival, promoted by Scumeck Sabottka’s MCT Agentur, will see headline performances from Lianna La Havas and Modeselektor, with Nike Hakim, Celeste, Tim Hecker and John Talabot also appearing on the bill.

Launched in 2006, the Chicago edition of Pitchfork Music Festival this year saw performances from Haim, the Isley Brothers, Robyn and Pusha T. The more recent Pitchfork Paris has taken place since 2011 and last year featured Skepta, the 1975, Chromatics and Charli XCX.

Tickets for Pitchfork Music Festival Berlin 2020 are available here, with two-day tickets costing €99 (£84) and one-day passes priced at €58 (£49).

 


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AEG European festivals expands leadership team

AEG’s European festivals division has appointed former MAMA marketing director Clare Lusher as its first marketing and brand director.

Lusher, who prior to MAMA held positions at the Walt Disney Company and Sony Music, will lead on all aspects of brand and marketing across events, partnerships and artist channels, as well as developing strategies for future events.

As part of the European festivals leadership team, which is led by CEO Jim King, Lusher will build on AEG’s presence in the European festival market, with a portfolio that includes London events British Summer Time Hyde Park and All Points East, as well as Rock En Seine in Paris.

Taylor Swift, Pearl Jam and Little Mix are among those headlining BST this year, whereas Kraftwerk and Tame Impala will head up All Points East, with more acts to be announced.

“The creation of this new leadership position was a hugely important part of the festival division structure”

“The creation of this new leadership position was a hugely important part of the festival division structure,” comments King. “It underlines AEG’s commitment to invest in high-quality marketing, brand and partnership strategies so we can offer even greater value for the fans, artists and partners.

“Clare is highly creative and has a proven track record in leadership and delivering excellence so we’re delighted she has chosen to join AEG to drive this key part of our business.”

Lusher adds that she is “delighted” to be joining AEG, saying that “the new position presents the ideal opportunity to nurture and develop a multifaceted, creatively insightful and future-fit marketing team.

“I look forward to maximising the wealth of collaborative potential across brand and media partnerships combined with overarching strategic clarity”.

 


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The Great Escape unveils 2020 conference details

Showcase festival and convention the Great Escape (TGE) has announced that music education, music media and global markets will form the key themes of its 2020 conference in Brighton, UK.

TGE 2020 will take place from 13 to 16 May in venues across the seaside city of Brighton, with the conference hub located at the Jury’s Inn Brighton Waterfront hotel.

The music education conference will take place on the first day of the 2020 event, with music educators and employers coming together to discuss how music education, the music industry and the music community can better support early-career artists and musicians.

Day two will see the music media conference, which will put the spotlight on how consumers interact with media and influencers. Alongside the sessions will explore who is influencing artists’ fanbases, aside from the music press and radio, exploring options such as social media, playlists, gaming platforms and podcasters.

Finally, the global markets conference will provide an overview of the major trends, developments, challenges and opportunities in each key music market, identifying the strongest revenue streams, services, social media and genres in each region. The conference will also highlight emerging markets including India, China, Brazil, Nigeria and South Korea.

Organisers of the event also confirmed South Korea as lead country partner, following Australia last year and the Netherlands in 2018. Brighton-based charity Grassroots Suicide Prevention is the event’s named charity partner.

“The impact Korean artists are having within the music industry today is very exciting”

Alternative K-pop band Balming Tiger will perform at TGE 2020’s showcase festival, alongside Sons of Raphael, Lazarus Kane and Boy Scouts. More acts are to be confirmed in the run up to the festival.

Last year’s festival saw performances from Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Shame, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Friendly Fires and more.

“We are very excited to be back for another year bringing together top industry professionals and creative minds under one roof,” comments Rory Bett, CEO of TGE promoter MAMA Festivals.

“The impact Korean artists are having within the music industry today is very exciting and it’s important for The Great Escape to put the spotlight on and to celebrate that fact.”

A spokesperson for the music industry team at the Korea Creative Content Agency, Kocca, says it is an “honour” to team up with TGE.

“It will be our fourth year working with the festival and to be named lead country partner for 2020 is a great privilege. It is a very exciting time for the Korean music market and we are looking forward to bringing our new wave of artists to the Brighton shoreline next year.”

Early bird delegate passes for TGE 2020 are available here, priced at £180.

 


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TM UK records biggest weekend for digital tickets

The long weekend of 12–14 July was one of the biggest in recent memory for the Ticketmaster UK team, with more digital tickets processed at greenfield sites than at any time since the technology’s introduction.

A third of tickets at Trnsmt in Glasgow (Friday 12–Sunday 14 July) were mobile-only, and 100% of Ticketmaster tickets at Lovebox (12–13 July) and Citadel (14 July), held in Gunnersbury Park, London, were delivered to fans’ mobile phones.

Festivalgoers were reminded in advance to download tickets using the TM mobile app; for those that didn’t, wifi hotspots were set up in the queue so getting into the festival was as quick as possible.

A transfer function, meanwhile, enabled fans to pass tickets to the phones of other people in their party – every person needed their own individual downloaded ticket – meaning Ticketmaster and the festivals knew every person entering the site (rather than just the buyer), reducing ticket fraud while increasing in- and post-event marketing potential.

“Our team scanned more mobile tickets than ever before at events across the UK last weekend, with 100% of tickets at Lovebox and Citadel delivered to fan’s mobiles,” explains Andrew Parsons, managing director of Ticketmaster UK.

“It was a fantastic outcome for us and, most importantly, the fans”

“What we saw was the fast and frictionless entry of fans into the shows they love, along with a significant reduction in ticket fraud. A further benefit of mobile tickets is that we now know the individual attendees who walked through the festival gates, so we’ve increased our marketing potential even further.

“We’re in the business of happy fans, and it’s clear from a very successful weekend that mobile is the way forward.”

Rory Bett, CEO of Lovebox and Citadel promoter MAMA, adds: “This was our first foray into using mobile tickets at Lovebox and Citadel and we’re pleased to say it was huge success. It was one of the most effortless experiences we’ve had getting fans on site, and quick, too.

“Together with the Ticketmaster team it was a fantastic outcome for us and, most importantly, the fans. We’re now looking ahead to the rest of the festival season and beyond.”

Ticketmaster began rolling out SafeTix, its new anti-counterfeiting technology for digital tickets, in North America earlier this year.

 


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The Message: MAMA Festivals/Live Nation

The Message, in partnership with I AM POP, is a monthly insight into the latest direct message and Facebook Messenger marketing methods.

For this edition, Camella Agalbayan from MAMA Festivals describes how the company is using Messenger to market Lovebox Festival, among other events. (Read the last column, with Green House Group and End of the Road festival, here.)

 


Who are you, and what is your role in music marketing?
My name is Camella Agalbayan and I am senior marketing manager at Live Nation’s MAMA Festivals. I oversee the marketing and design team for Lovebox Festival and Citadel Festival, and I am also involved in Wilderness Festival and the Great Escape Festival.

Why did you start experimenting with direct-to-fan messaging? How does it fit in with your marketing strategy, and what lessons have you learned along the way?
We’re conscious as a company that our events are focused heavily on experience. We’ve always been a very dedicated team who aim to respond to as many emails and questions as we can. But as we grow as a company, it gets harder to have a one-to-one experience with every guest.

We felt the Messenger channel was a good place to filter the obvious questions, so we could spend more time taking care of special cases that demanded more attention. We’ve also used the Messenger channel as a way to incentivise our current audiences by giving them information before anybody else.

You used I AM POP’s tool to market the 2018 edition of Lovebox Festival. Could you tell us something about how you went about getting people to subscribe to the festival’s Messenger channel?
We were quite traditional in that sense – simply because we were still testing the efficacy of the channel, and we’re conscious we have a huge audience with high demands – so 2018 was very much a ‘beta’ version of how we’ll be marketing Lovebox Festival for 2019.

All our social content is paid, so we simply integrated this messaging through our content calendar. This way, we could track clicks, sign-ups and return from our posts.

“It’s a good way to filter out the noise”

How did you run your messaging campaign after that? How was it received?
I think people are much more aware about Messenger marketing on Facebook and its purpose, so it’s much easier nowadays to promote your Messenger channel. We’re not being much more playful with how it’s being used, necessarily. Instead, we’re focusing on how we can ensure people get the right information, as well as how we can use it as a marketing tool to increase brand loyalty and build our brand identity.

Can you share some stats from the campaign? How did the open rates and ticket sales do, for instance?
The open rates are amazing! The last broadcast we sent out regarding the Lovebox Festival line-up announcement had over 84% open rates. We make sure to ‘filter’ audiences on Messenger as much as possible, so people are aware about what they are signing up to. I think transparency is key, so you can forge a small community of loyal fans.

Direct-message marketing calls for a different approach to traditional marketing channels like social and email. What kind of approaches do you think work best for direct message marketing in the live music space?
We’ve always been very transparent with our messaging in general. We have really strong brands and create huge worlds in which our artwork, tone of voice and programming comes to life. It’s important to be consistent with that messaging, and we ensure that everything from our website to our newsletters to our communications in general all fit into the same world. With direct messaging you can definitely be more playful with how you reach out to the fan and make it more friendly, and less targeted around sales, specifically.

“A new strategy for us this year is to create small communities of fans within Lovebox that feel special”

Have you already started using direct-to-fan messaging to promote the 2019 edition of Lovebox? If so, how? And how are you planning to proceed?
Indeed we have. A new strategy for us this year is to create small communities of fans within Lovebox that feel special. We are working with a small Lovebox ‘squad’ (to be announced in April), for example, who will be involved in artwork, photography and design for the show.

With our Messenger channel, we want those fans to feel they have signed up to something that has a purpose, which is why we have decided to make sure they are always the first to be in the know before anyone else. Whether it’s dropping a poster, launching a merch line or access to afterparty ticket, our Messenger subscribers will be the first to hear about it!

Do you work on any other projects where Messenger marketing might prove useful?
Citadel is another festival I run. We intend to use Messenger this year, as we want to ensure people can get adequate information about the show easily.

We moved site last year and we tend to vary in audiences depending on the headliner, so it’s important for those new guests to know everything is there for them to explore.

Any final words of advice for other people wanting to get into direct-to-fan messaging?
I definitely think the Messenger channel has been a great add-on to our marketing campaign. It helps us keep things streamlined online and target the right people with the right information.

It’s a good way to filter out the noise when you have some guests that require specific attention, but can also be a really easy and playful tool that lets you have fun with your fans and enhance brand loyalty.

 


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Dutch set to make an Impact at TGE 2018

The Netherlands has been announced as The Great Escape’s lead international partner for 2018.

Partnering with export office Dutch Music Export (DME), the 13th edition of the British conference and showcase festival will highlight some of the Netherlands’ most prominent rising stars, including Dutch-Kurdish artist Naaz and Amsterdam-based singer Pitou. DME’s Dutch Impact party has long been a mainstay of The Great Escape (TGE), having brought Jameszoo, Klangstof, Amber Arcades, Dope DOD and Jacco Gardner to the event in the past.

Dutch Music Export producer Ruud Berends comments: “Dutch Music Export is proud to be the focus country at TGE 2018. Our country has supported and attended TGE from year one with both the Dutch Impact party and through various promotional support for our artists and industry.

“The UK is one of the most important countries for us to present the best the Lowlands has to offer and The Great Escape provides the best platform to showcase, support and promote Dutch musical talent to not only the UK but international music industries and audiences.”

“2018 is the perfect time to put the very best the Netherlands has to offer at the forefront of our festival”

Previous international partners include Switzerland (2017), Latvia and Lithuania (2016), New Zealand (2009), France (2007) and Canada (2006).

“At last we are thrilled to shine a spotlight on one of our strongest, most longstanding partners, the Netherlands,” adds Rory Bett, CEO of festival organiser Mama. “Since the birth of TGE in 2006, DME has worked alongside us to bring the best Dutch artists to the festival; our convention and line-up has grown from strength to strength with their support and incredible music scene.

“Twenty-eighteen is the perfect time to put the very best the Netherlands has to offer at the forefront of our festival.”

TGE returns to Brighton from 17 to 19 May 2018.

 


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