2024’s blockbuster concert tours: Part II
Last week, IQ looked at ten blockbuster concert tours planned for the next 12 months, including outings by Taylor Swift, Coldplay, P!nk and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Here, in the second and final part of our 2024 preview, we run through another ten of the biggest treks in what promises to be another huge year for the international live music business…
Fresh from headlining Saudi Arabia first major heavy metal concert at Riyadh’s Soundstorm festival last month, Metallica’s M72 World Tour will see the band playing two nights in every city it visits. Each No Repeat Weekend features two completely different setlists and support lineups. It will also include a new in-the-round stage design that relocates the Metallica Snake Pit to centre stage, as well as the I Disappear full-tour pass and the debut of discounted tickets for fans under 16.
Territories: Europe, North America
Following her 2022 debut jaunt The SOUR Tour, the GUTS World Tour will be the 20-year-old Californian’s first arena tour. It kicks off on 23 February at Acrisure Arena in Palm Springs, CA, with stops across North America and Europe before wrapping up with four shows at Los Angeles’ Kia Forum in August. The 75-date tour will visit iconic venues including New York’s Madison Square Garden, Sportpaleis in Antwerp, Belgium, and The O2 in London, as well as Manchester’s new Co-op Live.
Territories: United States, Europe
The American singer-songwriter follows up his sold-out 2022 and 2023 Stick Season Tour runs by returning to Australia to launch his We’ll All Be Here Forever Tour this week. Produced by Live Nation, the Australia leg kicks off on Wednesday (17 January 17) at Melbourne’s Sidney Myer Music Bowl, followed by shows at Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, Hordern Pavilion, Sydney and Red Hill, Perth. The 27-year-old then embarks on sellout arena runs on both sides of the Atlantic, before returning to Europe in August.
Territories: Australia, Europe, North America
Doja Cat’s first-ever VR concert was announced earlier this month, but the US rapper will appear in-person for her debut European headline tour this summer. Having performed her inaugural arena headline tour in the US and Canada from October-December 2023, she comes to Glasgow’s OVO Hydro on 11 June 2024, kicking off a European arena jaunt which also includes dates at festivals such as Rock in Rio Lisboa in Portugal, I-Days Festival in Italy, Poland’s Open’er, STHLM Fields in Sweden, Slottsfjell in Norway and Les Ardentes in Belgium.
Reunited for the first time in a decade, Blink-182’s biggest-ever tour resumes Down Under next month at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia on 8 February. The ANZ leg is followed by a Latin American stint in March, with dates in Peru, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico, ahead of a US and Canada arena run over the summer months. The band will then land in the UK for a mix of arena, outdoor and festival slots, including headlining Reading & Leeds.
Territories: Australia/New Zealand, Latin America, North America, Europe
The enduring metal legends are still breaking records – selling out all 42,000 tickets for their first concert in Bogota, Colombia since 2011 this November in just 21 minutes. Maiden played to more than 750,000 fans across Europe and North America last summer and will hit the road again in Australia and New Zealand in September. The Future Past Tour will then move on to Japan for shows in Aichi, Osaka, Tokyo and Kanagawa, prior to a slew of North American gigs. It will conclude in South America in December, with two nights each at Chile’s National Stadium in Santiago and Allianz Parque in São Paulo, Brazil.
Territories: Australia/New Zealand, Asia, North America, Latin America
The British group’s 2023 was shrouded in controversy as a result of their infamous headline set that led to the cancellation of Malaysia’s Good Vibes Festival. But their touring business continues on the up and up, with a slate of European arena shows booked for Q1 2024, including three nights at The O2 in London.
Nicki Minaj Presents: Pink Friday 2 World, the Trinidadian rapper’s biggest tour to date, launches in Oakland, California, on 1 March. The North American leg runs until 12 May, visiting venues including Madison Square Garden in New York, Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle and Scotiabank Arena in Toronto. The European stint will commence on 23 May at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome, also visiting Manchester, Birmingham, London, Paris, Cologne and Berlin.
Territories: North America, Europe
The rearranged North American stretch of Madonna’s Celebration Tour continues over the next three months. The Queen of Pop began the anniversary tour in London last October, having been forced to postpone the 40-plus date run in the US, Canada and Mexico after being hospitalised last year. The outing will climax in the spring with five shows at Palacio De Los Deportes, Mexico City from 20-26 April.
Territories: North America
On the heels of touring their native North America in 2023, Jonas Brothers are taking Five Albums. One Night. The World Tour around the world in 2024. The show, which sees the group perform their five studio albums every night, picks back up in the Philippines at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on 22 February, followed two days later by a gig in Tangerang, Indonesia. The trio then move on to arenas in New Zealand and Australia, with their first Latin America concerts in 10 years – comprising nights in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina – scheduled for April, along with three shows in Mexico. The trek will then hit European arenas from May-June.
Territories: Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Latin America, Europe
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Nicki Minaj announces worldwide arena tour
Nicki Minaj has announced her largest tour to date, spanning 37 shows across North America and Europe.
The outing, titled Nicki Minaj Presents: Pink Friday 2 World, kicks off in Oakland, California, on 1 March 2024.
The North American leg runs until 12 May, visiting venues including Madison Square Garden (19,500) in New York, Climate Pledge Arena (18,300) in Seattle and Scotiabank Arena (19,800) in Toronto.
During the Live Nation-produced run, the 41-year-old rapper will make an appearance at Rolling Loud California in Inglewood, California, on 15 March and J.Cole’s Dreamville festival in Raleigh, North Carolina, on 7 April.
The European stint will commence on 25 May at Co-op Live in Manchester, UK, visiting Birmingham, London, Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne and Berlin.
The tour is in support of Minaj’s fifth studio album Pink Friday 2 – released 8 December 2024 – her first in five years.
Pink Friday 2 World tour dates:
Fri Mar 01 – Oakland, CA – Oakland Arena
Sun Mar 03 – Denver, CO – Ball Arena
Fri Mar 08 – Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
Sun Mar 10 – Seattle, WA – Climate Pledge Arena
Wed Mar 13 – Phoenix, AZ – Footprint Center
Fri Mar 15 – Inglewood, CA – Rolling Loud California*
Mon Mar 18 – New Orleans, LA – Smoothie King Center
Wed Mar 20 – Atlanta, GA – State Farm Arena
Fri Mar 22 – Orlando, FL – Amway Center
Tue Mar 26 – Charlotte, NC – Spectrum Center
Thu Mar 28 – Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
Fri Mar 29 – Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
Sat Mar 30 – New York, NY – Madison Square Garden
Mon Apr 01 – Washington, DC – Capital One Arena
Tue Apr 02 – Baltimore, MD – CFG Bank Arena
Thu Apr 04 – Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center
Fri Apr 05 – Hartford, CT – XL Center
Sun Apr 07 – Raleigh, NC – Dreamville Festival*
Wed Apr 10 – Boston, MA – TD Garden
Fri Apr 12 – Columbus, OH – Schottenstein Center
Sat Apr 13 – Milwaukee, WI – Fiserv Forum
Wed Apr 17 – Montreal, QC – Bell Centre
Thu Apr 18 – Toronto, ON – Scotiabank Arena
Sat Apr 20 – Detroit, MI – Little Caesars Arena
Wed Apr 24 – Chicago, IL – United Center
Sat Apr 27 – Minneapolis, MN – Target Center
Thu May 02 – Oklahoma City, OK – Paycom Center
Thu May 09 – Houston, TX – Toyota Center
Sat May 11 – Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
Sun May 12 – Austin, TX – Moody Center
Sat May 25 – Manchester, UK – Co-Op Live
Sun May 26 – Birmingham, UK – Resorts World Arena
Tue May 28 – London, UK – The O2
Sat Jun 01 – Paris, France – Accor Arena
Sun Jun 02 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Ziggo Dome
Wed Jun 05 – Cologne, Germany – Lanxess Arena
Fri Jun 07 – Berlin, Germany – Mercedes Benz Arena
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Report lifts lid on ‘South Africa’s Fyre Festival’
A new report has shed fresh light on a failed music spectacular in South Africa that was abruptly cancelled days before it was due to take place, drawing comparisons with the disastrous Fyre Festival.
The 100,000-cap TribeOne Dinokeng Festival was scheduled to be staged in Dinokeng, near Cullinan, from 26-28 September 2014 – pre-dating the Fyre fiasco by almost three years – but was pulled by organisers after selling just a few hundred tickets.
The project, billed as “Africa’s biggest festival”, was to be hosted by the City of Tshwane and helmed by Sony Music Entertainment (SME) and its partner, pan-African music and entertainment production, content and events firm Rockstar 4000.
Hundreds of artists, including headliner Nicki Minaj, Wizkid, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kid Ink and J-Cole, were set to perform on three main stages at the festival.
But with tens of millions of rands of public money already spent, the event – led by Sony executive (now SME Africa MD) Sean Watson and Rockstar 4000 founder and CEO Jandre Louw – was axed, with promoters saying the host city had failed to meet infrastructure deadlines.
With three weeks to go until the event, organisers said only 4,000 tickets had been sold. It later emerged the actual total was 318
“Site preparation and related infrastructure development required to host the festival… fell behind schedule to a material extent, such that it was no longer realistically possible to stage and deliver the festival to the scale and quality that the organisers had always planned,” said a statement at the time.
However, nine years on, an exhaustive investigation by the Daily Maverick has uncovered more comprehensive details of the failed festival.
According to leaked documents, the mayoral committee pledged up to R20 million (€964,000) in public funds to build the festival’s infrastructure, with an additional R25m (€1.2m) to be paid to a “Sony Joint Venture” – thought to be Tribeone Festivals Pty Ltd, a company registered by Louw in 2012 – for the first year of a three-year, three-festival deal. But despite the city being unable to bear the costs alone, the agreement contained “no specific financial obligations” for the music executives.
Alarm bells rang among city officials in mid-June, around three months before the festival, when the City of Tshwane Group head of communications, marketing and events wrote to Louw expressing fears that their plans appeared to be in disarray – amid concerns over the progress of promised sponsorships and marketing – and ticket prices not even set.
Tickets did not go on sale until 12 August. With three weeks to go until the event, organisers said only 4,000 tickets had been sold (it later emerged the actual total was 318). Nine days after Louw had approached the city to underwrite a further R20m to help cover the financial shortfall, Louw and Watson cancelled the contract on 12 September and allegedly refused to negotiate a postponement or relocation.
Investigators criticised the event as “risky, ill-conceived and poorly executed”
The City of Tshwane went to the high court in a bid to compel the staging of the festival, but withdrew its application after learning that Watson and Louw had already cancelled the entire line-up.
“Emails from a number of booking agents… [indicated] that artists were booked, but that the deposit was still outstanding or that the artist has not received the balance of the amount due,” wrote investigators, who criticised the event as “risky, ill-conceived and poorly executed by inexperienced music executives”, in their forensic report.
Many of the suppliers, other companies and individuals left with unpaid invoices were reportedly told that Tribeone Festivals Pty Ltd had collapsed and could not fulfil its financial obligations.
Sony, Watson and Louw did not respond to DM‘s requests for interviews.
Legal action initiated by the City of Tshwane against Watson, Louw, Sony and Tribeone Festivals Pty Ltd is still pending.
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MDL Beast festival to debut in Saudi Arabia
David Guetta, Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki are among acts confirmed for electronic dance music (EDM) festival MDL Beast, the latest addition to Saudi Arabia’s flourishing festival scene.
The inaugural MDL Beast festival is taking place from 19 to 21 December 2019 in Riyadh, home to the 70,000-capacity King Fahd Stadium which recently hosted k-pop stars BTS.
The multi-stage festival will feature 18 international headliners and 28 global dance acts including Afrojack, Camelphat, J Balvin and Tiësto, as well as 24 local and regional performers, such as EDM DJ Cosmicat and local DJ duo Dish Dash.
Steve Aoki, who this summer performed at Roqu Media’s Jeddah World Fest – the first, major, ticketed music festival in the country – comments: “When I got the offer to play at the three-day MDL Beast festival, I was thrilled to become part of it and be back in the region again. It’s go[ing to] be an incredible event with tons of acts and lots of new names.”
“We’re confident MDL Beast will be like nothing seen before and we cannot wait to experience this transformative musical milestone”
Ahmad Alammary, DJ and member of the festival team, adds: “More than just a music festival, MDL Beast is also a platform with multiple [projects] including ongoing seasonal local and global events, online and radio channels, recording studios, and a non-profit foundation promoting music education and therapy.
“We’re confident MDL Beast will be like nothing seen before and we cannot wait to experience this transformative musical milestone.”
“I’m so proud of the fact that we’re hosting this festival in Saudi; it’s a great reflection of the Saudi audience being able to experience the music they love,” comments Cosmicat. “As one of the first female EDM DJs here, I’m excited to be flying the flag and representing women on the scene.”
As Saudi Arabia continues to boost its live entertainment offering and cement its place on the international touring map, criticism is still levelled at artists who opt to play in the kingdom. Nicki Minaj pulled out of Jeddah World Fest following pressure from human rights organisations and BTS’ appearance in the country sparked a mixed reaction from fans.
Fans can register for tickets to the MDL Beast here.
Saudi’s live success divides international opinion
K-pop stars BTS became the first international band to play a solo stadium concert in Saudi Arabia on Friday (11 October), in what has been lauded as the start of a “new story” for live entertainment in the kingdom by some, and accused of “whitewashing” an authoritarian regime by others.
The BTS show, which drew an audience of around 40,000 at Riyadh’s 70,000-capacity King Fahd stadium, marked the first day of Saudi Arabia’s eight-week Riyadh Season, the biggest of eleven region-specific seasons aiming to boost live entertainment offerings and touristic activities across the country.
“Getting BTS is a huge win, because they are the most in demand,” James Craven, president of Live Nation Middle East, told Arab News.
“Two years ago, no one would have ever expected us to bring in international touring artists into Saudi,” says Craven. “I want the people in the industry to come and see the changes, come and see what’s happening and meet the people.”
More shows by international artists are yet to be announced for Riyadh. Craven explains that demand for concerts is high, resulting in a sales cycle of only a few days. “In Saudi, you can actually put [tickets] out on sale three days before a show and have it sold out,” says Craven.
“I want the people in the industry to come and see the changes, come and see what’s happening and meet the people”
Other successful live events to have taken place in the kingdom this year include Roqu Media-promoted Jeddah World Fest and performances from Mariah Carey, Jason Derulo and Marshmello.
Criticisms have been levelled at international artists who play in Saudi Arabia. Non-profit organisation Human Rights Foundation (HRF) has been especially vocal on the subject.
“Rather than using their platform to denounce the Saudi regime’s abuses, BTS chose to whitewash the regime’s human rights violations by performing in Riyadh today,” reads a HRF twitter post.
“HRF calls on celebrities to think twice before endorsing authoritarian regimes.”
Rapper Nicki Minaj pulled out of Jeddah World Fest following pressure from the human rights organisation in July.
Fans took to social media with the hashtag BTSDontGo to show their discontent with the Saudi concert. The band had previously defended their decision to play in the country, admitting it was not an “easy” one to make, but explaining that “if there’s a place where people want to see us, we’ll go there.”
Saudi Arabia festival “turning point” for youth culture
Jeddah World Fest, the largest music festival to take place in Saudi Arabia, has been dubbed as “overwhelmingly successful” by organisers Roqu Media International.
The sold-out festival, which took place on 18 July, saw performances by 50 Cent, Janet Jackson, Chris Brown and Steve Aoki. Nicki Minaj, originally billed as a headliner for the event, pulled out a week before following pressure from human rights organisations.
The Ireland-based Roqu Media now has a contract to deliver the festival for the next three years. The media production company is also preparing similar events to take place in Russia, Georgia and South Africa.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Roqu president Robert Quirke says the Saudi festival was “overwhelmingly successful [but] extremely challenging given the local circumstances.”
“[Jeddah World Fest is] a turning point for all youth culturally”
According to Quirke, Jeddah World Fest is helping to change perceptions of the country, serving as a “turning point for all youth culturally”. The event, like all those produced by Roqu, was broadcast live on television in countries across the world.
The international live entertainment market in Saudi Arabia is still in relatively early days. Many acts have faced criticism for adding the country to their touring schedule due to human rights’ concerns.
The kingdom hosted its first-ever mixed gender music festival in December last year. Korean pop stars BTS will become the first international group to play a solo stadium concert in the country in October.
Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority has said it plans to spend US$64 billion on the sector over the next decade.
Saudi’s Jeddah Fest secures 50 Cent, Janet Jackson
Saudi Arabia’s largest-ever music festival, Jeddah World Fest, is taking place today (18 July), with the last-minute additions of Janet Jackson, 50 Cent, Chris Brown and Future.
The artists will perform alongside Liam Payne, Steve Aoki and Tyga at the 63,241-capacity King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah.
The newly added acts replace rapper Nicki Minaj, who cancelled her appearance at the sold-out music festival last week, following pressure from human rights organisations.
The president of the Human Rights Foundation – the principle organisation urging acts to boycott shows in Saudi Arabia – says it is “profoundly distressing that they [the artists] have chosen money over morals.”
“These individuals constantly make public statements of support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached”
“These individuals constantly make public statements of support for LGBT rights and women’s rights, except, apparently, when a seven-figure check is attached,” Halvorssen told the Associated Press.
Jeddah World Fest is part of the Saudi government’s campaign to open up the live entertainment market, following a US$2.7 billion investment in the sector in 2017.
K-pop stars BTS were the latest act to add the country to their touring schedule, announcing an October show in Riyadh. Mariah Carey, Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, the Black Eyed Peas and Tiesto are among international acts to have recently played in the country.
BTS Saudi Arabia concert prompts mixed reaction
K-pop stars BTS have added a date at Saudi Arabia’s 70,000-capacity King Fahd stadium to their 2019 world tour.
BTS are the latest high-profile act to announce dates in Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom continues its bid to put itself on the touring map. The boy band would be the first international group to play a solo stadium concert in the country. The concert is scheduled to take place on 11 October 2019 as part of the band’s Love Yourself: Speak Yourself tour.
However, some fans have taken to social media to criticise the decision, questioning the Saudi government’s human rights record.
Nicki Minaj recently cancelled her appearance at the country’s largest-ever music festival, Jeddah World Fest, citing support for women’s rights, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.
Human Rights Foundation (HRF), the organisation that lobbied for Minaj’s cancellation, is also urging fellow headliner Liam Payne to withdraw from the festival.
“Saudi Arabia is attempting to change the country’s image in part by developing an entertainment industry”
In a statement to Middle East Eye, Human Rights Watch researcher Adam Coogle said that Saudi Arabia was “attempting to change the country’s image in part by developing an entertainment industry and hosting concerts by well-known artists”, and encouraged artists to speak out against abuses.
Others believe the opening up of the live entertainment market is a sign of Saudi Arabia’s growing liberalisation.
Saudi Arabia hosted its first-ever gender-integrated concert series last December. The following month, Mariah Carey became the first international female to perform a solo concert at the King Abdullah stadium.
Jeddah World Fest takes place later this week (Thursday 18 July) at the 63,241-capacity King Abdullah Sports Stadium. All tickets for the event have sold-out.
Nicki Minaj pulls out of Saudi music festival
Rapper Nick Minaj has cancelled her upcoming performance at Jeddah World Fest in Saudi Arabia, citing support for women’s rights, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.
Minaj was billed to perform alongside EDM artist Steve Aoki and former One Direction member Liam Payne at Saudi Arabia’s largest-ever music festival, which takes place on Thursday 18 July at the 63,241-capacity King Abdullah Sports Stadium in Jeddah.
“After careful reflection I have decided to no longer move forward with my scheduled concert at Jeddah World Fest,” the singer said in a statement.
“While I want nothing more than to bring my show to fans in Saudi Arabia, after better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression.”
The decision comes after the president of US-based Human Rights Foundation (HRF) penned an open letter to Minaj asking her to cancel the appearance “as a symbol of solidarity with the ongoing suffering of the Saudi people.”
“After better educating myself on the issues, I believe it is important for me to make clear my support for the rights of women, the LGBTQ community and freedom of expression”
HRF president Thor Halvorssen detailed cases of human rights abuses in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which he describes as “one of the most repressive regimes on earth”.
Halvorssen has since praised Minaj’s decision to pull out of the festival, and urged Payne to do the same.
“We are grateful to Nicki Minaj for her inspiring and thoughtful decision to reject the Saudi regime’s transparent attempt at using her for a public relations stunt,” writes the HRF president.
After years of restrictions on entertainment, Jeddah World Fest signifies the next step in Saudi Arabia’s embrace of live music events.
A post on the festival’s Facebook page states that Minaj had cancelled “due to personal reasons”. A second wave performers will be announced later this week.
The kingdom hosted its first mixed gender music festival in December, featuring artists including Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias and David Guetta. A US$2.7 billion fund was established in 2017 to kickstart the entertainment sector.
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Nicki Minaj to headline Saudi Arabia’s first major music fest
After hosting its first-ever gender-integrated concert series at the Formula E ePrix last December, the rapidly liberalising kingdom of Saudi Arabia is preparing for its first major music festival, which debuts this month.
Part of the Jeddah Season festival, Jeddah World Fest, organised by Ireland-based Roqu Media International, will take place at King Abdullah Sports Stadium (63,241-cap.) in Jeddah on Thursday 18 July, and feature international performers including Nicki Minaj, Steve Aoki and former One Direction member Liam Payne.
It is the latest and most significant move by Saudi Arabia’s rulers to open up the conservative Islamic kingdom – which until recently considered secular music haram, or sinful – to touring live entertainment, and comes nearly two years after the General Authority for Entertainment (GEA), the body tasked with driving growth in the entertainment sector, announced a US$2.7 billion fund to attract international partners.
Commenting on the line-up, Roqu’s Robert Quirke says Minaj (pictured) is “an absolute global icon. She has 130 million followers on Instagram, she is considered one of the top 10 female performers of all time, she’s had multiple awards and she’ll have her new album come out this year.
“She is going to get a lot of attention for Jeddah in the most positive way you can imagine. She’s going to be actively on her social media, she’ll be posting right from the stage in Jeddah and at her hotel in Jeddah. Everyone is going to know that Nicki Minaj has landed in Saudi Arabia.”
“Everyone is going to know that Nicki Minaj has landed in Saudi Arabia”
Other performers include Ministry of Sound-signed DJs R3wire and Varski, who “will make sure that the crowd stays absolutely pumped” between artist sets, adds Quirke.
The event will also be streamed live internationally, according to Raed Abuzinadah, the director-general of Jeddah Season, who says Jeddah World Fest is set to be “the largest musical festival of its kind in the region, that will be broadcast to a global audience in more than 100 countries,” reports Gulf News.
“There is a stereotype of the kingdom all over the world, and today it is disappearing,” Abuzinadah told reporters recently. “In its place is a new picture of the kingdom that accepts everyone. “This is the first global music festival of this scale in [Saudi Arabia] and is sure to absolutely wow the lucky audience in Jeddah like never before.”
Tickets are being sold via the website of Sharek, Saudi Arabia’s new e-visa system.