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Road stories: Barry Dickins and Leon Ramakers

Live industry greats Barry Dickins and Leon Ramakers shared stories from their legendary careers in an intimate Dragons’ Den chat at ILMC 34 in London.

Dickins started his career more than 50 years ago arranging gigs for the likes of The Who, Jimi Hendrix Experience and Otis Redding. Going on to form agency International Talent Booking (ITB) with Rod MacSween in 1978, he still represents artists such as Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Neil Young, and ZZ Top.

Former Mojo Concerts director Ramakers, meanwhile, made his music business debut in 1970 at Holland Pop Festival, which featured Pink Floyd, The Byrds, T. Rex and Santana. Ramakers remains involved with Mojo – a company he has helped to maintain its market dominance in the Netherlands for more than half a century, latterly as part of Live Nation.

Here are a handful of highlights from their hour-long conversation…

“I’m so sorry I missed Sinatra, and that’s because I was too nice”

Selling Mojo to SFX in 1999…

Leon Ramakers: “[SFX founder Robert Sillerman] said, ‘Do you want to sell your company?’ I said, ‘It depends on what you want to pay for it?’ And he mentioned a figure. I said, ‘No, no, I’m not interested’ and I put the phone down. And I thought, ‘What have you just done?’ The next day, he called again and he doubled [the price]. He had no idea of my finances, they were crazy times. Finally, we went to see Sillerman in Madison Avenue. The door opens, Sillerman comes in and says, ‘Is this Holland? Today, I’m going to buy Holland.’ There were three reasons [to sell]. They were going to buy all of Europe and I didn’t want to be the island like Asterix and Obelix, like the Gallic village within the Roman Empire. The second thing, the money was good. And thirdly, I thought that we would have creative input from all these people from all over the world, although that never happened.”

Superstar clients – and the ones that got away…

Barry Dickins: “Dylan is still going. It’s very hard when you talk to a billionaire and say, ‘I’ve got this good gig for you Bob, it’s paying a million dollars.’ It’s like, ‘What? I get that for a painting!’ I’m very lucky because I worked with Jimi Hendrix; I worked with The Doors; I worked with Jefferson Aeroplane; I worked with Canned Heat. I’d like to have done Bruce Springsteen, I must admit, but so would everybody else. But I’ve been fortunate I’ve worked with some great clients.”

LR: “I’m sorry I missed Sinatra, and that’s because I was too nice. The previous promoter was [Dutch impresario] Lou van Rees, so I went to the Lou, and I said, ‘Shall we share?’ But then it turned out that the manager or the agent hated Lou van Rees, so they gave it to somebody else.”

BD: “I had Hendrix and I thought, ‘If anyone sees me at a Frank Sinatra concert, it’s all over.’ That was my mum and dad’s thing, and I never went. But I did go and see him the last time he played, which was a little bit sad, because had all the teleprompters around him and his son Frank Sinatra Jr. was playing the keyboards and leading the band. But he was a real pro and I’m glad I saw him, I just wish I’d seen him [earlier in his career].”

“You’re not entitled to keep an act forever”

Losing acts…

BD: “Nothing’s forever. We don’t live forever. You’re not entitled to keep an act forever. I’ve been very lucky I’ve had Dylan for nearly 40 years and it’s a bloody long time. Diana Ross was a bit difficult. I did have 32 years with her and earned every penny. She got pissed off once when I said, ‘I’m having an indoor pool put in my house, would you mind if I call it the Diana Ross pool?’ And she said, ‘What are you talking about?’ I said, ‘Well, every time I do well on a tour, I buy something for my house – and I want to know if you’re happy to have the swimming pool named after you.’ Fleetwood Mac paid for a snooker room. You’ve heard of the house Jack built, this was the house that Fleetwood Mac built! No one enjoys losing a band, and sometimes you lose them for no reason. Other times, I’ve really fucked up on something and haven’t been fired. The hard thing when you’ve got the older acts is they want a younger audience. My way of thinking is that with any artist, their core fans are 10 years older and 10 years younger. You’re not going to start getting 20-year-olds. Dylan, funnily enough, crosses over a bit because he’s Dylan, but it’s still mainly older people. And, of course, he’s 80, so my audience is 70 to 90. I’ve got to tell you, that’s a dying business mate!”

LR: “Also, it’s scientifically proven that the vast majority of people don’t change their musical tastes after 30. Obviously there are exceptions to the rule, but the vast majority stick to what they like [after] 30 and that’s it.”

“You see some reluctance now in ticket buying”

Worst deals…

BD: “I did a Michael Jackson show in Cardiff and the ticket [sales] were really slow. About two weeks from the show, we were losing £250,000, which was a bloody lot of money. To cut a long story short, we actually made money [in the end]. That was probably one of the worst deals, but it ended up okay.”

LR: “The worst half a second of my life was on stage. I was supposed to announce the support act in Utrecht for a show and said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please now welcome…’ and I’d forgotten the name. It took about a second, but it was the worst second of my life.”

BD: “I bet it felt like five minutes!”

Biggest hope for the industry…

BD: “Getting the business back to what it was, and I think we’ve got a shot at it. It was always a problem when it was just England [that was open]. Everyone kept saying, ‘Oh well, England is fine.’ I said, ‘Yeah, England’s fine, but nowhere else is.’ Try and say to an American act, ‘Come and do five shows in England: five arenas in England and that’s it.’ ‘No, I want Germany! I want Scandinavia!’ So now we’re kind of an even playing field.”

LR: “But you see some reluctance now in ticket buying. It’s the war; it’s the fact that they have got three tickets in their pocket already for shows that were postponed; it’s the inflation. Anything that went on sale before Christmas did very well, but what has been established this year is a bit soft… I’m not a pessimistic guy, but with ticket prices [going up and up], it could be that in three, four years time, we thought we saw the writing on the wall, but we didn’t act. I’m doing now a show with a really well known artist and the average ticket price is €110.”

 


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Lowlands opens world’s largest solar carport

Organisers of Lowlands festival in the Netherlands have opened the world’s largest solar carport in the event’s on-site car park.

A collaboration between promoter Mojo Concerts and renewable energy producer Solarfields, the car park opened on 3 May and covers 35 hectares.

Providing space for 15,000 cars, its 90,000 solar panels produce an annual capacity of 35 MWp of electricity, meaning around 10,000 households can be supplied with green energy – equivalent to the power consumption of roughly 100 Lowlands weekends.

“It is essential for our company that we commit ourselves to a sustainable society”

“We are proud of the realisation of Solar Carport,” says Mojo Concerts director Ruben Brouwer. “It is essential for our company that we commit ourselves to a sustainable society and with this initiative we ensure that more sustainable, green energy is generated. In our transition to using only renewable energy, this is a huge step.”

Held in Walibi Holland in Biddinghuizen, the 55,000-cap Lowlands (aka A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise) returns from 19-21 August, when it will welcome acts such as Arctic Monkeys, Bring Me The Horizon, Glass Animals, Sam Fender and Arlo Parks.

“We are proud that this solar carport has been opened in collaboration with Solarfields after many years of development,” says Lowlands director Eric van Eerdenburg. “As a festival organisation we want to propagate an optimistic vision of the future and play a role in solving climate problems. We hope in this way to be a source of inspiration for our visitors to contribute – no matter how small – to making the world more sustainable.”

“We want to be part of the solution, not the problem”

Van Eerdenburg added to Dutch publication Omroep Flevoland the festival wants to run on green energy within two years.

“We are going to connect to the Smart Grid of Flevoland,” he said. “This consists of seven wind farms, solar farms and a number of large batteries. The dream is to connect to those batteries so that we can reduce aggregate use and diesel to zero. We want to be part of the solution, not the problem. It is super-important for our young audience, for the future of the Netherlands, for green energy and a better future.”

 


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Covid-19 lay-offs hit Dutch live market

Promoter Friendly Fire has become the latest Dutch concert business to make redundancies following a challenging summer, according to local media.

Amsterdam-based Friendly Fire, part of CTS Eventim’s Eventim Live grouping, organises festivals such as Best Kept Secret (25,000-cap.), Indian Summer (30,000-cap.) and Tuckerville (30,000-cap.) and promotes both local and international artists, including the 1975, Fontaines DC, alt-J and Pip Blom. The National, the Strokes and Massive Attack will headline the company’s flagship event, Best Kept Secret, next year; the festival, like all major events, was axed in 2020 because of Covid-19.

Of its 35 employees, Friendly Fire has been forced to let go of ten, reports public broadcaster VPRO.

The lay-offs at Friendly Fire follow redundancies at other Dutch live entertainment stalwarts

The lay-offs at Friendly Fire follow redundancies at other Dutch live entertainment stalwarts, including the country’s leading promoter, Live Nation-owned Mojo Concerts, which has laid off around a third of its staff, according to VPRO.

Other Dutch industry professionals to have lost their jobs in recent months include staff at arenas Ziggo Dome (14 of 34) and AFAS Live (10 of 25) and pro-AV company Ampco Flashlight Group.

The Dutch live music industry, united under umbrella group the Alliance of Event Builders, recently warned of a wave of bankruptcies of events businesses without further government support for the sector.

 


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Netherlands latest EU country hit by summer event ban

There will be no festivals in the Netherlands this summer, as the Dutch government imposes a ban on all large-scale events until 1 September.

The move follows similar decisions taken in some of Europe’s biggest festival markets including Germany, Belgium and Denmark, where events are banned until 31 August, as well as slightly shorter bans in France (mid-July) Austria (end of June) and Luxembourg (31 July), and is in line with European Union guidance.

The government in the Netherlands had previously stated public events were not permitted until 1 June, affecting festivals including DGTL Amsterdam, Awakenings Easter and Dauwpop.

The extended ban has resulted in the calling off of major festivals organised by Live Nation’s Mojo Concerts, Friendly Fire – part of the CTS Eventim-owned FKP Scorpio group – and dance music giant ID&T.

“We all saw it coming, but the hammer has finally fallen: there will be no Lowlands this summer,” reads a statement on the Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise (Lowlands) website, set to take place from 21 to 23 August with performances from Stormzy, the Chemical Brothers, Foals and Liam Gallagher.

“Like you, we are heartbroken. All we can do now is look to the future and promise you that we’ll make Lowlands 2021 an all-out party beyond your wildest dreams.”

“Like you, we are heartbroken. All we can do now is look to the future and promise you that we’ll make Lowlands 2021 an all-out party beyond your wildest dreams”

Mojo-promoted Lowlands is part of the Netherlands’ ‘Save your ticket, enjoy later’ campaign, supported by the Dutch government and competition watchdog ACM, encouraging fans to hang on to tickets for a later date, rather than request refunds.

Lowlands will return from 20 to 22 August 2021.

Fellow Mojo festivals, Pinkpop (Guns N Roses, Post Malone, Red Hot Chili Peppers), Down the Rabbit Hole (Tyler the Creator, Disclosure, FKA Twigs), North Sea Jazz Festival (Alicia Keys, John Legend, Lionel Richie) and Woo Hah! (Kendrick Lamar, Asap Ferg, Aitch) have all moved to 2021 following the ban.

The cancellation of the 8th edition of Friendly Fire’s Best Kept Secret, which had a line-up including the Strokes, the National and Massive Attack, is a “massive blow”, say organisers.

“This news has an enormous impact on our festival and everyone involved. For us it makes an enormous difference if you decide to stay with us in 2021. By doing so, you’ll help secure the foundation of Best Kept Secret so that we can organise a fantastic edition for you next year.”

Best Kept Secret returns from 11 to 13 June 2021.

Netherlands-based dance music promoter ID&T has also had a number of events affected by the extended ban. The group states “we will do everything in our power to find an alternative date for all concerned events,” with the 2021 dates for festival including Defqon.1, Awakenings, Mysteryland and Amsterdam Open Air already announced.

 


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Festival Fever: updates on 2020 summer

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ rounds up line-ups from Bluedot, Sziget festival, Reading and Leeds, Lowlands, Flow Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Bluedot

When: 23 to 26 July
Where: Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, UK
How many: 16,000

From the Fields’ Bluedot festival, which takes place each year at the Jodrell Band Observatory – a recently declared UNESCO World Heritage site – is back for its fifth outing in 2020 with another packed programme of music and science.

Friday night sees dance act Groove Armada head up the main stage, with indie-electro group Metronomy headlining on Saturday. The final day of the festival will close with a UK festival exclusive from Björk, who is performing alongside Manchester’s Halle Orchestra to a backdrop of bespoke projections on Jodrell Bank’s crowning jewel, the Lovell Telescope.

Elsewhere, performances will come from 808 State, Roisin Murphy, Crazy P, Spiritualized and Daniel Avery.

Last year’s Bluedot, which coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, saw headline performances from Hot Chip, Kraftwerk and New Order.

Tickets for Bluedot 2020 are available here, priced at £168.75 for a weekend camping ticket.

The final day of the festival will close with a UK festival exclusive from Björk

Sziget

When: 5 to 11 August
Where: Obuda island, Budapest, Hungary
How many: 60,000

Hungarian mega-festival Sziget released the first wave of its line-up last week, with a total of five headline acts announced so far.

Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Kings of Leon, Major Lazer and the Strokes will head up the main stage at the week-long festival, with ASAP Rocky, Khalid, Stormzy, Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Mark Ronson, Foster the People, Diplo and FKA Twigs among other acts performing at the event.

Over 530,000 people attended Sziget 2019, which saw nine headline performances over seven days from Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Florence and the Machine, Martin Garrix, the 1975, Twenty One Pilots, the National and Macklemore.

Providence Equity partners took a 70% stake in Sziget promoter Sziget Cultural Management in 2017, as the festival became one of the first assets in the now-significant Superstruct portfolio.

Tickets for Sziget 2020 are available here, with a full seven-day pass costing €299 (£249) and a VIP pass priced at €599 (£499). Prices go up on 3 March.

Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Kings of Leon, Major Lazer and the Strokes will head up the main stage

Reading and Leeds

When: 28 to 30 August
Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading/Bramham Park, Leeds, UK
How many: 100,000

Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds will be headed up by Rage Against the Machine this year, with fellow headliners Stormzy and Liam Gallagher.

Other performers at 2020 events include Run the Jewels, Courteeners, Migos, Gerry Cinnamon, AJ Tracey, Sam Fender, Rex Orange County, Slowthai and Idles.

The festivals last year recorded their hottest and biggest year yet, with nearly 200,00 people a day collectively attending the twin events over the hottest August bank holiday on record. Headline performances came from the 1975, Foo Fighters and Twenty One Pilots, with then-rising star, now multi award-winner Billie Eilish producing what “may well have been the biggest crowd at a Reading show ever”.

Tickets to Reading and Leeds festivals are available here, with a weekend ticket priced at £232.20 and day tickets priced between £81.50 and £86.50.

Reading and Leeds will be headed up by Rage Against the Machine, with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher

A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise

When: 21 to 23 August
Where: Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands
How many: 55,000

Mojo Concerts’ A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise, or Lowlands, has confirmed the first 55 acts for its 2020 festival.

The Chemical Brothers, Foals, Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher, Stormzy and Michael Kiwanuka are among acts playing at this year’s event.

The 2019 edition of Lowlands sold out for the fastest time in years, with a line-up featuring Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, ASAP Rocky and New Order.

In a bid to make future events more sustainable, Mojo is working together with renewable energy producer Solarfields to develop a 35-hectare solar farm on the Lowlands festival car park, due to be completed in time for 2021 festival.

Festival tickets for Lowlands 2020 have sold out, but €605 (£504) group camping tickets (up to 8 people) are still available here.

The Chemical Brothers, Foals and Lewis Capaldi are among acts playing at this year’s event

Flow Festival

When: 14 to 16 August
Where: Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki-based, multi-venue music and arts event Flow Festival is playing host to acts including Bon Iver, Mac DeMarco, Stormzy, the Strokes, FKA Twigs and 070 Shake.

The festival marks the Strokes’ first-ever Finnish appearance and comes in a string of Scandinavian festival appearances, adding to slots at Norway’s Oya festival and Way Out West in Sweden.

James Barton-led festival owner/operator Superstruct acquired a stake in Flow Festival in November 2018.

Tickets for Flow Festival 2020 are available here, with a one-day ticket costing €105 (£88) and a three-day passed priced at €195 (£163).

The festival marks the Strokes’ first-ever Finnish appearance

Montreux Jazz Festival

When: 3 to 18 July
Where: Montreux, Switzerland
How many: 200,000 (whole festival)

Lionel Richie, Lenny Kravitz, Brittany Howard and Black Pumas are the first acts announced this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF).

Taking place on the banks of Lake Geneva, MJF celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 and last year played host to performers including Elton John, Snarky Puppy, Lewis Capaldi, George Ezra, Lizzo, the Chemical Brothers, Mac DeMarco and Quincy Jones.

The MJF team last year launched media company Montreux Media Ventures, which is working together with luxury hotel chain Fairmont Hotels and Resort Group to establish a concert series across the group’s properties and keep the MJF spirit alive all year.

Tickets to Montreux Jazz Festival 2020 will become available on March 27, the day after the full programme is released.

 


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Lowlands festival to build 35-hectare solar park

Mojo Concerts has teamed up with renewable energy producer Solarfields to develop a 35-hectare solar farm on the Lowlands festival car park.

A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise – or Lowlands – sold out in the fastest time for years last year, with performances from Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, ASAP Rocky, the National and New Order.

In a bid to make the event more sustainable, festival organiser Mojo is working with Solarfields to implement 90,000 solar panels in its car park, generating 35 million kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity annually – enough to power 100 festival weekends per year.

The project will result in the largest solar carport in the world and is due to be finished in May 2021.

“Without swift and concrete measures, our young visitors will experience the effects of climate change and environmental pollution in their daily lives,” comments festival director Eric van Eerdenburg.

“We hope to be a source of inspiration for our visitors to play their part in making the world more sustainable”

“As a festival organisation, we want to be part of the solution and contribute to an optimistic view of the future. We hope to be a source of inspiration for our visitors to play their part – no matter how small – in making the world more sustainable.”

Van Eerdenburg states that the festival team began to look at how to improve sustainability around 12 years ago, adding that, “actualising this together with Solarfields on a large scale is a long-held dream come true.”

”Over the past two-and-a-half years, we have worked hard with Mojo to address all challenges involved in a project of this magnitude,” says Solarfields director Jalmer Pijlman.

“We were fortunate to get a great deal of support along the way and think it is fantastic that we can announce this now. The location is perfect for making the Netherlands more sustainable and this project is a wonderful example of multiple land use: parking and sustainable energy production in the same space.”

The Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI), a leading gathering for sustainability at live events, is taking place on Tuesday 3 March in London. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.

 


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Dutch concert revenue up 25% in 2019

New figures have shown that over 2.9 million people attended large concerts (over 3,000-cap.) in the Netherlands in 2019, a 16 % rise from the year before, with Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome recording the highest footfall of any venue in the country.

The findings, presented by research agency Response and the Association of Events Makers (VVEM) at Eurosonic Noorderslag last week, show revenue generated by live music events equalled €165 million in 2019, a 25% rise from the year before.

According to the VVEM, the revenue increase is due in part to a 7% growth in the number of large concerts in the Netherlands last year, “regular price increases” and a rise in the tax levied on live event tickets from 6% to 9%. Ticket prices rose on average by 7% in 2019, to €56.60.

The 17,000-capacity Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam was the most-visited concert venue, welcoming over one million fans in 2019

The 17,000-capacity Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam – the city that took 75% of the national large concert market share – was the most-visited concert venue, welcoming over one million fans in 2019. Afas Live (6,000-cap.) offered 80 live events over the year, the highest number of any venue, and reported the second highest number of visitors at 412,000.

Mojo Concerts, which celebrated its 50th year in 2018, remained the “most important” concert promoter according to the report, with Amsterdam-based Friendly Fire recording the most growth.

Dutch singer Marco Borsato sold the most tickets of any artist, attracting 240,000 fans, with André Rieu’s concerts at the Vrijthof in Maastricht and Guus Meeuwis’ shows in Eindhoven also proving popular with 150,000 and 135,000 tickets apiece.

Photo: Shirley de Jong/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

 


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Festival Fever: a further glance at 2020 line-ups

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ takes a peek at what organisers of Hellfest, Longitude, Lollapalooza Stockholm, Rock am Ring/Rock im Park and NorthSide have up their sleeves for the summer to come.

(See last week’s edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Hellfest

When: 19 to 21 June
Where: Clisson, France
How many: 50,000

French metal festival Hellfest celebrated one of its best editions ever last year, which included an extra day to host the Slipknot-fronted Knotfest within the festival site.

The 2020 festival will feature headliners Deftones, Faith No More and System of a Down, playing alongside Incubus, Korn, Deep Purple and Judas Priest.

Earlier this year, a man was sentenced to a month in prison for hacking into the onsale of the French festival. The hacker, who works in cybersecurity, claimed he had only wanted to buy tickets to Hellfest 2020 “without having to queue”.

Tickets for Hellfest 2020 are sold out. Organisers advise fans to use fan-to-fan resale site TicketSwap to buy or sell tickets to the festival.

The 2020 festival will feature headliners Deftones, Faith No More and System of a Down

Longitude

When: 5 to 7 July
Where: Marlay Park, Dublin, Ireland
How many: 40,000

MCD Productions’ Longitude festival is returning in 2020 with headline performances from Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator and Asap Rocky.

The event will also see performances from the likes of J Hus, AJ Tracey, Young Thug, Aitch, Playboi Carti and Dababy.

The Longitude line-up announcement comes shortly after the news that Denis Desmond-led MCD is bringing back alternative-rock festival Sunstroke in 2020. The event, which takes place from 13 to 14 June at Punchestown Racecourse near Naas in Ireland, features headliners Faith No More and Deftones.

Tickets for Longitude festival are available here, priced at €89.50 (£75) for a day ticket and €199.50 (£168) for a weekend pass. Tickets for Sunstroke can be bought here, with day tickets costing €79.50 (£67) and weekend camping tickets costing €169.50 (£143).

Longitude festival is returning with headline performances from Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator and Asap Rocky

Lollapalooza Stockholm

When: 26 to 28 June
Where: Gärdet, Stockholm, Sweden

The debut edition of Lollapalooza Stockholm took place last year, signalling the festival franchise’s first edition in Scandinavia and third in Europe after Lolla Berlin and Paris.

The festival, which is produced by Lollapalooza founder Perry Farrell, WME, C3 Presents and Live Nation Sweden with subsidiary company Luger, features headline performances from Post Malone, Pearl Jam, the Killers and Kendrick Lamar, as well as appearances from Ellie Goulding, Zara Larsson, Kacey Musgraves and Camila Cabello.

Launched in Chicago in 1991, Lollapalooza events now take place in Sweden, France, Germany, Chile, Brazil and Argentina, as well as the US.

Three-day early bird passes are available here for SEK 2,295 (£185).

The debut edition of Lollapalooza Stockholm took place last year

Rock am Ring/Rock im Park

When: 5 to 7 June
Where: Nürburgring race track/Zeppelinfeld, Nürnberg, Germany
How many: 90,000

Marek Lieberberg’s twin festivals Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, the biggest in Germany and among the largest in the world, are turning 35 and 25 respectively in 2020.

Headliners for the anniversary events come in the form of System of a Down, Green Day and Volbeat, with performances also coming from Babymetal, Korn, Gojira, Deftones, the Offspring, Weezer and Yungblud.

The past two editions of the festivals have proved successful, following three years plagued by inclement weather and possible terror threats.

Tickets for Rock am Ring and Rock im Park are available here for €194 (£163) and Rock im Park here for €244 (£205).

Headliners for the anniversary events come in the form of System of a Down, Green Day and Volbeat

NorthSide

When: 4 to 6 June
Where: Aarhus, Denmark
How many: 40,000

The 2020 edition of Down the Drain’s NorthSide festival will be the last at its current site in the Ådalen river valley, near the Danish city of Aarhus, as the event prepares to move to a new site, more than twice the size of its original home, in Eskelund, also near Aarhus.

Described as ‘a controlled chaos’ by festival CEO Brian Nielsen, NorthSide has already confirmed acts for 2020 including Green Day, Robyn, Weezer, White Lies, Johnny Marr, Franc Moody and Jung.

Down the Drain Group, which wholly acquired the festival from FKP Scorpio in 2018, earlier this year received investment from Providence Equity-backed Superstruct Entertainment.

Tickets for NorthSide 2020 are available here, priced at DDK 1,935 (£218) for a full festival pass and DDK 1,195 (£135) for a day ticket.

 


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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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Former Mojo boss Ramakers receives Dutch royal award

Leon Ramakers, the former, long-term director of Mojo Concerts, been made an officer of the Order of Orange Nassau for his contributions to the live music industry from deputy mayor of Amsterdam, Touria Meliani.

Ramakers received the royal award for “his major contribution to the cultural sector” and, in particular, for his efforts in promoting and developing “international pop music in the Netherlands” as part of Mojo Concerts, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year.

The award also recognised the support Ramakers offered to start-ups in the music industry and across the cultural sector. The ex-Mojo chief has also held various administrative and supervisory positions within the Dutch cultural landscape, including in architecture and in publishing.

In 1970, Ramakers met Mojo co-founder Berry Visser when buying tickets for a Led Zeppelin concert. Shortly after, the pair put on Holland Pop Festival, one of the first multi-day rock festivals in Holland. The event was headlined by Pink Floyd and featured performances form the Byrds, T. Rex and Santana.

Ramakers received the royal award for his efforts in promoting and developing “international pop music in the Netherlands”

Mojo was also responsible for the Netherlands’ first-ever stadium concert in 1978, putting on a Eric Clapton and Bob Dylan show at the Feijenoord stadium in Rotterdam (then 69,000-cap.).

Ramakers was instrumental in the setting up of Amsterdam venues AFAS Live (6,000-cap.), formerly the Heineken Music Hall, and the Ziggo Dome (17,000-cap.).

The former Mojo director received a Golden Harp at the Buma Awards earlier this month, alongside Pinkpop festival founder Jan Smeets. The judges commented on Ramakers’ contribution to the professionalisation of the concert industry and his influence on the talent development of various bands and artists.

 


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