The show goes on: UK set for huge weekend of music
It’s business as usual for the UK this long weekend, with British festival fans, refusing to be cowed by the threat of terror, gearing up for three days of live music across the country.
While several concerts, including Take That at the Echo Arena in Liverpool and Blondie at London’s Round Chapel, were called off in the aftermath of Monday’s bombing at Manchester Arena, the majority of events have chosen to continue, with many issuing statements on the importance of carrying on as usual.
Among the events going ahead as planned this weekend are pop-punk festival Slam Dunk, in Birmingham, Leeds and Hatfield; We Are Fstvl in London; Margate Wonderland; Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull; and Liverpool Sound City, which says it will “not be defeated” by the “cowardice” of the Manchester Arena bomber.
Dot to Dot, which includes a Manchester leg, is also still on – Anton Lockwood of promoter DHP Family told IQ on Tuesday “it didn’t occur to us to cancel” amid a mood of “defiance” in Manchester– as are Happy Days festival in Esher, Surrey, and Bestival’s Common People in Oxford and Southampton.
As in France – where, says Live Nation France head of festivals Armel Campagna, seeing live music has become an act of ‘cultural resistance‘ following the Bataclan attack – many promoters say pushing ahead with their events sends a strong message to enemies of live music.
“The message is: ‘The show will go on'”
In a statement, Manchester festival Parklife – organised by LN-Gaiety-owned The Warehouse Project – says it will go ahead as planned on 10 and 11 June and that, “we will not be defeated by such cowardice”.
“We can’t let these people get us down,” adds Common People/Bestival promoter Rob Da Bank. “The message is: ‘The show will go on.'”
Gary Barlow of Take That, meanwhile – whose postponed Liverpool show will instead take place tonight – called upon the crowd to “sing a little louder, reach a little higher and clap our hands a little harder”:
See you Friday night Liverpool ! We need to sing a little louder, reach a little higher and clap our hands a little harder #together
— Gary Barlow (@GaryBarlow) May 24, 2017
While much of the discussion around the attack has, understandably, largely focused on the security implications for live music, it bears remembering that the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, was, thankfully, unable to gain access to the arena itself.
Speaking to Billboard yesterday, LiveStyle CEO Randy Phillips praised Manchester Arena’s security, saying that “no one can say that venue security wasn’t sufficient”, and expressed his concern that while terrorist attacks remain extremely rare, the abundance of mainstream news coverage “could lead to an exaggerated sense of insecurity among concertgoers”.
One organisation aiming to counter those perceptions is Live DMA, an umbrella body representing associations of venues and festivals in 13 European countries.
“Terrorism can never stop us from making music”
With support from Music Venue Trust in the UK, the association’s venues will tonight at 9.59pm GMT hold a minute’s silence for the victims – followed by ‘One Minute of Noise’ at 10pm.
“Live music is joy and fellowship,” says Live DMA. “We are thousands of venues, festivals and other concert organisers, at thousands of places across Europe, that open our doors for joy, music, freedom and friendship daily – and we will keep them open and let live music go everywhere.
“Our thoughts are with the affected families and our colleagues in the UK live music industry, and we will dedicate our upcoming concerts to the victims of this tragedy, when venues across Europe, together with the audience and artists, will mark the terrorist attack in Manchester with ‘one minute of noise’. Because terrorism can never stop us from making music.”