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European metal festivals form alliance

Some of the biggest and best-known metal festivals in Europe have formed an alliance to ensure that the members can “continue to offer their fans excellent line ups”.

The United Festival Force comprises seven festivals including Alcatraz (cap. 15,000) in Belgium, Bloodstock (20,000) in the UK, Brutal Assault (20,000) in the Czech Republic and Dynamo Metalfest (10,5000) in the Netherlands.

Leyendas del Rock (18,000) in Spain, Motocultor festival (14,000) in France and Summer Breeze (45,000) in Germany are also part of the alliance.

Bloodstock festival director Adam Gregory tells IQ that the members initially gelled during the pandemic when they joined forces on a virtual fundraiser event.

“We don’t look at each other as competition – we very much try to support each other”

“We were able to talk a lot more [during the pandemic] and provide something together that, individually, we would have probably struggled with. But using the resources of all the festivals, we were able to deliver an online event that was second to none. We don’t look at each other as competition – we very much try to support each other as much as we can.”

Emerging from the pandemic, the alliance says its main goal is to “make scheduling easier for bands as well as agents – no routing scheduling conflicts between these festivals and other arrangements”.

“We all have festivals all over Europe across two or three weekends in August so we wanted to have a bit of unity,” explains Gregory. “It means we can send combined offers to artists so they’ve got the opportunity to earn a bit more and reach a wider audience, across Europe.”

The United Festival Force members plan to meet every six months to share their visions.

 


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Bloodstock director steps back after “uninformed” tweet

The director of one of the UK’s biggest heavy metal festivals has “taken a step back” after coming under fire for an “uninformed” tweet.

Vicky Hungerford of Bloodstock Open Air (cap. 20,000) was criticised for tweeting: “If you are going to start putting pronouns on your emails so I can refer to you as he/him she or her I’m binning your emails.”

The festival booker deleted the comments after a backlash on Twitter, and said: “I would like to be clear that I fully support everyone in the LGBTQI+ community and am happy to learn more about how to be a better ally.

“I am genuinely upset that I have caused upset to these very people today, which was in no way my intention.”

A statement from Bloodstock Festival, which is owned and run by independent promoter Amust4music, says: “We are deeply sorry to everyone affected by these uninformed comments.

“For now, Vicky has taken a step back from Bloodstock effective immediately, and will be taking the time to properly educate herself for a better understanding.”

Hungerford has worked for Bloodstock Open Air since 2001. In 2004, she became a director of the festival and took over the booking of all artists for the main stage, and later on, for the second stage too.

In the wake of the director’s tweet, the festival’s entertainment manager Paul Watling has resigned from his role effective immediately.

In a post on Facebook Watling said: “I’ve left Bloodstock as entertainment manager tonight for obvious reasons. There are hundreds of people who make that festival happen, they’re all amazing, and I’ve been so proud to be a small part of it but this is not an isolated incident. You can not promote a festival of inclusivity without including everyone.”


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Superstruct buys into Finnish metal festival Tuska

Superstruct Entertainment has signed an ‘investment and partnership agreement’ with Finnish Metal Events Oy, organiser of Tuska Open Air Metal Festival.

Launched in 1988, Tuska (Finnish for “pain”) takes place annually in Helsinki across three days and is one of the largest metal festivals in the Nordic countries.

In 2019, the festival set a new attendance record, welcoming 43,000 visitors over the course of the event.

The deal will see Providence Equity-backed Superstruct become a key shareholder of the Tuska festival. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“This is the next step for Tuska,” says festival director Eeka Mäkynen. “Focusing on boutique festivals, Superstruct will provide us with more muscles for development and more rivets in our belt.

“Superstruct will provide us with more muscles for development and more rivets in our belt”

“All shareholders and key personnel will continue to be involved, and the organisation will continue to run the festival independently. The mosh pit will keep spinning, only faster – in other words, the festival will remain its own unique rough self, as it has been until now.”

Jouni Markkanen, who has been the head promoter of the Tuska Festival since 1999, adds: “We had been thinking about expanding our ownership base for a long time. Now the pieces all fell into place and the time was right.

“We believe that the festival business will intensify after the corona crisis. International connections have always been close to our hearts when booking bands. The arrival of Superstruct opens up more opportunities to create even better programmes and festivals for Tuska’s loyal customers, our tribe.”

Superstruct’s portfolio includes more than 30 European festivals including Sziget, Elrow, Parookaville, Wacken Open Air, Boardmasters, Sonar, Zwarte Cross and Finnish event, Flow Festival.

The live entertainment powerhouse recently signed a partnership agreement with Dutch promoter ID&T which produces Mysteryland, Defqon.1, Awakenings, and Milkshake.

 


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