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V Festival returns for 2020 as online event

The UK’s V Festival – which in its heyday drew crowds of 170,000 across two sites in Essex and Staffordshire – will return as a one-off digital event later this month.

V Festival 2020 will be broadcast as a three-part television special on 21, 22 and 23 August. Festival headliners are Olly Murs, Dizzee Rascal and Anne-Marie, who will perform live from the original V Festival site at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex.

In addition to new performances livestreamed from Hylands Park, the ITV2 special will also feature archival footage of past V Festival performances, as well as interviews with artists about their favourite V sets and memories. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Cilesta Van Doorn, executive director of brand and marketing at broadband company Virgin Media, which is behind V Festival 2020, says: “We are thrilled to announce that V Festival will be returning in 2020 with a virtual twist. Festivals are a catalyst for connecting to each other, and they’re often social events as much as they are musical.

“Although we can’t flock to the fields physically this year, we’re so excited to enable people to stay connected not only to incredible live music, but to their friends and families online too.”

The last edition of V Festival, which debuted in 1996, took place in 2017, after which it was replaced by a new event in Chelmsford, Rize Festival. Rize did not return in 2019 following a disappointing first year.

“To come and sing at Hylands Park again was an easy ‘yes’”

“V Festival holds a very special place in my heart […] as not only did I used to go every year with my mates and camp as a punter, but I later got the chance to actually perform there and be invited back four times,” says Olly Murs. “Headlining the MTV stage in 2015 was definitely a career highlight of mine, as was jumping on stage with Madness to sing one of my favourite tracks of all time, ‘It Must Be Love.’ I’ve had some pretty special memories at V, so to come and sing at Hylands Park [again] was an easy ‘yes’.

“It’s great that ITV2 and Virgin Media are bringing V Festival into people’s living rooms, and I’m very glad to be a small part of that.”

Paul Mortimer, head of ITV’s digital channels, adds: “V Festival is a huge part of the UK’s festival history and the ITV2 team are so pleased to be able to play a part in bringing it back to the masses for one year only.

“The star-studded line-up music fans have come to expect from V Festival will be bigger than ever. We’re dipping into the archives to showcase some throwback performances, too, so people can reminisce on some of their favourites memories from past years.”

V Festival 2020 will air on ITV2 from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 August.


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Olly Murs celebrates ten years of touring

Olly Murs and his management have been presented with a commemorative plaque celebrating his ten-year touring career.

On the first of Murs’s two May shows at the O2 in London (17–18 May), CAA, which represents the British singer worldwide, honoured Murs and Modest! Management for a decade-long touring career (2009–19) with over 300 shows and 1.8 million tickets sold.

Pictured, from left to right, are: Modest! production manager Ant Carr, tour security Tony Murphy and tour manager Mark Murphy (back row), and Modest!’s Harry Magee and Sarah Gallagher, Olly Murs, CAA’s Mike Greek and Modest!’s Richard Griffiths (front row).

Griffiths and Magee, who co-founded Modest! in 2003, also look after the Spice Girls, Little Mix and One Direction’s Niall Horan. They will receive the prestigious MITs Award this November, and last year were presented with the coveted Peter Grant Award at the Artist & Manager Awards.


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‘No refunds’ as SW promoter Stephen C goes under

Two UK Olly Murs shows and a concert by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO) have been called off at the eleventh hour after their promoter, Dorset-based Stephen C Associates, went into liquidation.

In a statement, the company, incorporated in January 2014, says it is “not in a position to offer [ticketholders] a refund” to the approximately 40,000 people who had bought tickets, although ticket agency Gigantic is refunding customers for the two cancelled Olly Murs dates, in Exeter on 29 July and Bournemouth on 5 August.

Stephen C Associates is helmed by Stephen McManus, who also promoted the last two Upton House Music Festivals in Poole, Dorset. He is also a former director of Berkeley Square Ball Ltd, which led an unsuccessful crowdfunded attempt to revive the exclusive London ball of the same name, along with defunct events businesses Balm Lane Ltd, Balm Lane Events Ltd and SCM Events Ltd, each of which folded owing money to creditors.

Stephen C Associates’ most recent accounts showed a loss for the previous 12 months

Stephen C Associates’ most recent accounts, made up to 31 January 2016, showed a loss of £212 for the previous 12 months.

The BSO Last Night of the Proms concert, to have taken place on 30 July at Powderham Castle in Exeter, was to have raised funds for local charity Exeter Foundation. “In what was hoped to be a great weekend of vital fundraising for the foundation, the official charity of Exeter Rugby Club, it’s bitterly disappointing to hear the news that Stephen C Associates Limited, promoter of the two events, has ceased to trade, is insolvent and is expected to go into liquidation shortly,” reads a statement from the club. “The Foundation remain committed to working within the local community to help raise funds for a number of charities and organisations, not only here in Exeter, but across the wider region.”

McManus could not be reached for comment.


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