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Paléo fest set for biggest revamp in 30 years

Switzerland’s Paléo Festival is undergoing its biggest makeover in more than three decades ahead of its 2022 comeback, booker Dany Hassenstein tells IQ.

The 30,000-cap Nyon event, which sold out in record time, returns from 19-24 July for its first edition since 2019. Kiss, Sting, DJ Snake, Stromae and Rag’n’Bone Man are among acts on the bill.

Organisers consider this year to be a major turning point in Paléo’s history due to the introduction of a raft of features including new stages, blockchain ticketing and a cashless payment system. Due in part to the installation of the NStCM railway depot, it will also see the most significant alteration to the long-running festival’s layout since it moved from the lakefront to Plaine de l’Asse more than 30 years ago.

“The major boost to undertake all these changes came from our audience last December when we sold all the tickets for the 2022 event within a record-breaking time”

“With all the changes we have on track, it will be the biggest reshaping of the festival since 1990,” says Hassenstein, speaking to IQ. “Some were planned already for 2020 and some have been invented and planned during the pandemic-related break. Not only it will improve the festival experience for our customers, the process of innovating and developing new project was also vital for the team to get through this terrible period.

“But the major boost to undertake all these changes came from our audience last December when we sold all the tickets for the 2022 event within a record-breaking time. It not only massively reduced some financial uncertainties; this incredible loyalty of our audience also gave us the last kick to prepare a return at the hight of their expectation.”

In addition, the former Arches and Detour stages will be replaced by two new spaces: the Vega stage and the electronic music-focused Belleville venue.

Tickets will be delivered via the Paléo Tickets blockchain-based mobile app, while the festival is also implementing a system of washable and returnable dishes in a bid to reduce the volume of waste and single-use. All plates, bowls, cups and jugs will be returnable as part of the event’s sustainability efforts.


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Major Swiss festivals cancel 2021 editions

A number of Swiss festivals have called off 2021 editions, citing uncertainty about whether major events will be permitted to take place this summer.

The 45th instalment of the annual rock festival Paléo Festival Nyon, scheduled to take place between 19–25 July, has been cancelled as “the situation is still too uncertain to consider organising the festival in its usual form”.

However, the organisers revealed that they are working on a ‘Covid-compatible event’ with a reduced capacity and size, and an extended duration. Health conditions permitting, it will take place from 8 July to 8 August 2021.

Greenfield Festival 2021, due to take place in Interlaken, Bern, between 3–5 June with headliners Volbeat, Korn and Billy Talent, has also been called off.

“Just when we saw a light at the end of the tunnel, it moves even further away than it already was,” reads a statement from the organisers.

“We don’t know which rules might have to be followed, which capacity is allowed, which measures we would have to integrate”

“The situation around Covid-19 is simply not getting better fast enough internationally and in Switzerland in particular. Since we don’t know whether major events will be allowed at all, we simply lack planning certainty. We don’t know which rules might have to be followed, which capacity is allowed and which measures we would have to integrate.”

Rock the Ring (cap. 15,000) has also been cancelled for a second consecutive year due to “the lack of planning security for large events,” says the organiser. The event was planned for 17–19 June in Hinwil, with a line-up that included Foreigner, Three Doors Down and Airbourne.

However, CTS Eventim’s stable of Swiss events, which includes Open Air St Gallen (1–4 July) and SummerDays and Seaside Festival (3–4 September), are taking a wait-and-see approach.

On 4 February, a statement was published on their respective social media pages saying the organisers are “working on various scenarios and protection concepts” for each festival but that ultimately, it’s uncertain whether the events will be able to take place.

At the time of writing Blue Balls Festival is set to go ahead from 23–31 July in Lucerne; hip-hop festival Openair Frauenfeld is holding onto its 7–10 July date and pop event Zürich Openair is on for 25–28 August.

Swiss concert series Baloise Session became the first major European festival to cancel its in-person 2021 edition

Swiss concert series Baloise Session became the first major European festival to cancel its in-person 2021 edition in January, as organisers say it’s “impossible to plan with any certainty” due to the limitations of the pandemic.

While it was announced in February that Montreux Jazz Festival will take place at least partially in the digital realm in 2021, livestreaming all performances from its 55th edition as part of a plan to protect the festival against future disruption.

The lack of certainty around Switzerland’s summer season prompted the Swiss Music Promoters Association (SMPA), along with 26 of the country’s festivals, to call for clarity on the conditions under which Swiss festivals can be held regularly and at full capacity without social distancing.

Last month’s appeal relayed three key requirements for the restart of Swiss festivals: a transparent strategy and uniform conditions for holding events safely, a continual review of measures to ensure they are proportionate to the risks posed, and an event cancellation fund that covers 100% of losses.

Elsewhere, in neighbouring Germany, CTS Eventim and Goodlive have cancelled a slate of the market’s major festivals.


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Paléo, MJF cancel, other Swiss fests await guidance

For the first time in 45 and 53 years, respectively, there will be Paléo Festival Nyon or Montreux Jazz Festival this summer, as several Swiss festivals take the decision on whether to cancel into their own hands.

In addition to Paléo (which would have taken place on 20–26 July) and Montreux Jazz (3–18 July), other smaller festivals to have given up on 2020 altogether include Rock the Ring (18–20 June) in Hinwil and Blue Balls Festival (17–25 July) in Lucerne.

The cancellations come as authorities in Switzerland yesterday (16 April) declined to be drawn on whether summer festivals would be allowed to go ahead, putting off the decision until a meeting of the Federal Council on 27 May.

Other major events, such as OpenAir St Gallen (25–28 June), SummerDays and Seaside Festivals (28–29 August), hip-hop festival Openair Frauenfeld (9–11 July) and pop event Zürich Openair (26–29 August), are taking a wait-and-see approach, with OpenAir St Gallen lamenting that the missed opportunity to provide the festival with a “clear decision” about the summer. “We need an order from the Federal Council as a legal basis” for any cancellation, it says in a statement.

According to Paléo, which has yet to announce its 2020 line-up, even in the absence of a formal ban on festivals, it “still couldn’t guarantee the smooth running of the event” amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

“We need an order from the Federal Council”

“Paléo is a temporary city that welcomes some 50,000 people every day. All conditions must be met to start the huge construction work, which relies on a whole chain of service providers, suppliers, artists, sponsors and technical teams,” organisers explain. “It’s highly likely that artists will postpone their tours and that the delivery of key equipment for the festival will be hampered due to the current climate. In view of these elements, maintaining the festival in July 2020 is not possible.”

“This Thursday, 16 April, the Swiss Federal Council announced that it would be gradually easing some of the protective measures against the coronavirus, but keeping the majority of the necessary hygiene and social distancing measures in place,” reads a statement from MJF, which put off its first line-up announcement late last month.”As such, it is now impossible for us to consider holding an event on the scale of Montreux Jazz Festival in July, just as it is for our fellow organisers of other summer festivals in Switzerland and around the world.

“Public health concerns naturally take precedence over all other considerations.”

“This is the first time the festival has had to be cancelled in its 53 years of making history, bringing people together and producing legendary musical moments,” festival organisers add. “Until the very end, all of us here in the festival team were still hoping to share these magical moments with everyone who, like us, cannot imagine a summer without the Montreux Jazz Festival.

“Public health concerns naturally take precedence”

“Our thoughts go out to the staff members, artists and their support teams, technicians and engineers and to all our partners who make the event possible, from local hotels and businesses, to everyone who lives in Montreux, and of course our loyal festivalgoers.”

“It’s a tough break,” adds Paléo. “This postponement will inevitably have heavy financial repercussions for the festival. Indeed, as a non-profit organisation (non-subsidised), Paléo generates close to 80% of its revenue through the sale of tickets, and food and beverage during the event. In this complex context, the organisation is working hard to mitigate the impact of this postponement.”

To help Paléo, says founder and president Daniel Rossellat, fans should keep hold of their tickets until July 2021, when the festival will return.

By not formally extending its ban on mass gatherings, the Swiss government is bucking a trend seen in many of its European neighbours, including Luxembourg (no large events until 31 July), Germany (31 August), Belgium 31 August), France (mid-July), Austria (30 June) and Denmark (31 August).


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Futureproofing festival wristbands: Dutchband Q&A

The festival wristband industry has seen significant innovation in recent years, as suppliers have incorporated payment solutions and anti-counterfeit measures, as well as experimenting with ever more sustainable and durable materials.

For over 17 years, Dutchband, the largest supplier of event wristbands and consumption tokens in the Netherlands, has provided fraud-resistant, user-friendly and efficient wristband and payment solutions to over 1,000 events worldwide.

IQ checks in with Dutchband managing director Michiel Fransen to discover how the company is keeping gatecrashers out and making products more eco-friendly, as well as finding out what lengths the team will go to in order to ensure speedy wristband delivery.


IQ: Can you give me a brief description of who Dutchband are and what work you do?

Michiel Fransen: Dutchband has been active in the wristband and cashless payment business for close to two decades. Initially started as one of the first companies to use digital printing technology for wristband production, we have also introduced other innovations such as our unique payment tokens, vending machines, point-of-sale (POS) terminals and, of course, our high security SealStation solution (pictured), a semi automatic machine that seals wristbands on fans safely, quickly and comfortably.

We are proud to work with many of the bigger festivals in Europe. Festivals like Solidays and Fete de l’Humanité in France, the UK’s Download and WeAreFSTVL, German festival Rock am Ring, Poland’s Open’er, Lowlands in the Netherlands, Paleo in Switzerland and the Defqon1 and Mysteryland franchises all have used our solutions for either access-control wristbands or cashless payment.

We have seen an influx of new kinds of festival wristbands entering the market in recent years. What sets Dutchband apart from other companies working in the sector?

We differentiate ourselves mainly by always looking for ways to improve on the products that are currently offered in the market. We do this not only in terms of the physical properties of the products themselves, but also by exceeding customer expectations when it comes to service and reliability as a supplier.

There are quite a few cases where festivals have contacted us just before, or even during an event, to arrange delivery of additional wristbands or payment tokens. We understand the importance of helping out our customers in these cases and will do everything to arrange timely delivery, even if it means that one of our team has to jump on a plane to do so.

Dutchband Q&A

In terms of new developments, what are the most exciting innovations that Dutchband has implemented in recent years?

What I’m really excited about is our new range of wristbands, made entirely from organic and recycled materials. This perfectly matches our ambition to help our customers further reduce their environmental footprint. This means we can now offer sustainable alternatives for our entire product range, from SealStation wristbands made out of recycled soda bottles, to payment tokens produced from our own production waste.

Being more sustainable is the top of the priority list for many working in the live event industry, what do you believe are the other main challenges facing the wristband sector today and how is Dutchband tackling them?

The biggest challenge is to keep outsmarting the counterfeiters (and cheeky visitors) trying to get into the event for free. I believe that with our fully tamperproof, closureless SealStation wristband, we can really help festivals tackle this problem.

This foolproof design applies not only to our higher-end solutions but – and this is quite unique for this industry – even to our most basic Tyvek wristbands, made out of a plastic fibre that resembles paper, as a standard come with overt and covert anti-counterfeiting measures.

Looking to the future, what does Dutchband hope to achieve?

We keep on innovating to bring sustainable, reliable and easy-to-implement payment and accreditation products to the leading festivals of the world. Just like in the Netherlands, we want to be the people to call globally if you need a good solution and you need it now.


Want to promote your business or service with a sponsored news story? Contact Archie Carmichael by emailing [email protected] for more information.

Switzerland market report: positive signs

Probably the gravest thing you can say about Switzerland as a live music market is that it has all manner of first-world problems.

It’s a fact that not every Swiss ticket sells and not every show is a hit. But in a market of just 8.5 million people, where a vast mass of concerts and festivals nonetheless turned over CHF576m (€515m) in 2017 [source: PwC], saturation will always be a threat.

It’s also true that a market that has traditionally prided itself on its independence is now squarely on the international corporate map, with Live Nation, DEAG, Eventim and AEG all much in evidence. But that’s the way of the world, for better or worse. And in the meantime, plenty of Swiss independents report healthy trading.

This year, by some accounts, feels like a slightly rocky one, if only by Swiss standards. Festival ticket sales are down and a number of promoters are openly steering clear of big, risky events, sensing a softening of demand. And then again, for every cautious projection, you’ll find someone who will happily tell you that business has seldom been better.

Live Nation, for one, is on the up. Ask Live Nation GSA COO Matt Schwarz about saturation and he notes the possibility while making it clear that it’s not yet anything resembling a problem for his business.

“We don’t feel that at all – our ticket sales are exceptional and still growing,” says Schwarz. “Moreover, international acts still love playing Switzerland. However, there has been a huge volume of international tours in the market. Spending capital is available but at some point it has its limits. [But] so far, we have not experienced buying resistance in general.”

“Our ticket sales are exceptional and still growing. International acts still love playing Switzerland”

Live Nation acquired large indie player Mainland Music last December, in a move that gives the corporate a Swiss grassroots presence where it has previously dealt mainly in arenas and stadiums. The year before, it treated itself to a majority stake in Openair Frauenfeld, Europe’s largest hip-hop festival.

“Numbers are constantly growing,” says Schwarz. “With our new partners we have steady feet on the ground to optimise and increase our number of shows, and subsequently our ticket sales.”

Elsewhere, examples of healthy, world-class names are easy to find. Zürich’s 15,000-capacity Hallenstadion is one of the most successful arenas in the world in its size range, while festivals such as Paléo, Montreux Jazz, Frauenfeld and Open Air St.Gallen represent the top end of a huge nationwide offering of outdoor summer music events. By some accounts, all this activity threatens to burst the market’s seams.

“The country is still the same size it was in 2017,” says Good News CEO Stefan Matthey, with a nod to the last time IQ covered Switzerland in detail. “It’s got four languages, which means more or less four different markets, and every field has got its own festival.”

One thing that has changed, on the domestic talent front, is Switzerland’s hipness to new musical trends. “It used to take everything three years to get to Switzerland, and then there would be a wave of Swiss bands that would go nowhere because the world had moved on,” says Stefan Schurter of booking and management agency Deepdive Music.

“Now, people listen to Spotify, like they do everywhere else, and we are no longer two or three years behind the trend. Whereas people used to say [adopts bored voice] ‘oh, Switzerland – that’s the home of Yello and Krokus,’ now it’s, ‘Oh, Switzerland, that’s the home of Sophie Hunger or Zeal & Ardor!’ And there are so many other great Swiss artists now.”

“We can see more and more amazing Swiss artists coming through especially within the last couple of years”

Indeed, agent Théo Quiblier at Two Gentlemen in Lausanne, tells IQ that Sophie Hunger’s Molecules tour is on track to sell 20,000 tickets on headline shows in Switzerland alone by the end of the year. “We can see more and more amazing Swiss artists coming through especially within the last couple of years,” he comments. “Each year, more and more Swiss acts are also touring abroad which is great. There’s also now an agency called Orange Peel Agency, run by two amazing young people, taking care of Swiss artists only. All in all, the future seems to be bright for the Swiss scene.”

With four national languages – French, German, Italian and Romansh – Switzerland could be a recipe for sectarian discord, but in fact it’s generally a model of co-operation. Promoters largely keep to their own parts of the country – German speakers in cities such as Zürich, Bern, Basel and St.Gallen; French in Geneva, Lausanne and Montreux. For shows outside their patch, they work with partners. Many shows are co-promoted, very few promoters operate in isolation and the market is generous but finite.

“Normally, you can do one, maybe two shows in Switzerland for an international artist,” says Stefan Wyss, director of multifaceted, Zürich-based indie Gadget, whose home-grown band Hecht plays the Hallenstadion in October – one of a tiny handful of Swiss bands to rise to that level.

The French part of Switzerland is smaller and doesn’t support as many tickets as the German part, adds Wyss, “but when your artists play there, you need the expertise of someone local. We work with [Sion-based fellow indie] Takk. We promote all their artists here and they promote all our artists in the French part. That’s how we all work – it’s a different market over there.”


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 83, or subscribe to the magazine here

The secrets behind festival sell outs

Since Coachella opened its festival gates in mid-April, the 2019 festival season is now well and truly upon us.

As ticket sales remain a point of contention and concern for many events, IQ speaks to ten festivals that appear to have no problem shifting tickets and selling out year-on-year, to find out the secrets to their success and how they continue to distinguish themselves in an increasingly crowded festival arena.



Byron Bay Bluesfest
Australia’s most-awarded live music festival, Byron Bay Bluesfest turned 30 this year – and the landmark edition was one of the most successful to date. Before the event, festival director and owner Peter Noble noted that all ticket sale records had been broken.

In order to ensure consistently healthy ticket sales, Bluesfest uses a mixed marketing strategy, including traditional methods, use of online channels, and face-to-face marketing campaigns.

“Our marketing strategies focus on the festival experience and also the great lineups that we have here,” Noble tells IQ. “We have focused on customer retention over the past number of years and around 40% of ticketholders are repeat purchasers, which we are very proud of.”

Recognised as an “industry leader” within the management of live music festivals, Noble states that Bluesfest is unworried by the licensing laws imposed by the New South Wales Government on music festivals.

“We are well regarded as a safe family event with three generations of patrons joining us annually,” Noble tells IQ. “We will continue to review our extensive procedures and practices in close liaison with emergency services, various government bodies and through a detailed risk management approach.”


Wacken Open Air
Wacken Open Air also celebrates its 30th edition this year and enthusiasm for the anniversary event is high. Tickets for Wacken 2019 sold out in four days, and in the words of co-founder Thomas Jensen: “Quite obviously, we are doing something right.”

In order to improve, the Wacken co-founders have always placed great value on what festival attendees have to say, actively responding to suggestions.

“We invite the fans to give us their feedback via means such as our social media channels or in person at a Q&A session with both me and my fellow co-founder Holger Hübner,” explains Jensen.

“There is always room for improvement – no matter how well things are working out,” stresses the Wacken boss.

Jensen talks about this year’s lineup, saying the festival aims to “maintain the right balance of sticking to our roots and offering innovations,” placing new acts alongside integral, longstanding Wacken Open Air performers. “This is why Parkway Drive can be found next to Slayer as one of our headliners in 2019.”

The festival has received some slack for having “a very German touch,” says the Wacken co-founder. However, guests come from all over to attend what is now the world’s biggest heavy metal gathering, and, “since the metal family is probably the most open-minded community on Earth, everybody is welcomed with open arms.”


Paléo Festival de Nyon
From its origins in the town assembly rooms of the French-Swiss town of Nyon, Paléo Festival has grown to become an important European music event. Each year, more than 280 concerts and shows take place for 230,000 visitors across the 84-hectare festival site.

For more than 20 years, the festival has successfully and consistently sold out.

“One of the keys to Paléo’s success is that it distinguishes itself from other events by not only providing musical entertainment but by giving place to a whole experience,” says festival director Dany Hassenstein.

“Between music, street theatre and performances inspired by the circus or architectural installations, Paléo is an extraordinary global village for the audience,” he says…


Continue reading this feature in the digital edition of IQ 83, or subscribe to the magazine here


Fewer headliners, stronger sales: EU festival preview

Festivals across Europe are hoping to ride off the high temperatures and high spirits of last summer for another successful festival season, as sales shape up well and the strength of newer talent bolsters event bills.

“We sold out more than two months earlier than last year,” Lowlands festival director Eric van Eerdenburg tells IQ. “There was a huge demand on tickets after we sold out too.” Van Eerdenburg puts the swift sell-out down to the success of last year, saying he is confident this year’s festival will live up to expectations.

The “exceptionally great summer” of 2018 has also helped to boost sales for powerhouse German promoter FKP Scorpio, with chief executive Stephan Thanscheidt noting that festivals are selling better than last year. The promoter notes that “fantastic line-ups” are another contributor to this success.

Elsewhere in Europe, Denmark’s Roskilde festival expects another sell-out year, Montreux Jazz Festival sales are on a par with previous years – despite an increasingly tough Swiss market – and Serbia’s Exit festival has sold 15% more tickets than at the same time last year.

However, ticket sales are only part of the story, as obtaining headline acts has not proved so straightforward for many this summer. “It’s been a big challenge for us this year to book big acts,” admits Down the Rabbit Hole director Ide Koffeman.

Koffeman points out that this is not so much an issue for more future-focused festivals such as Down the Rabbit Hole, but for fellow Mojo festival Pinkpop, which “depends on all the big names”, it has been a bit more of a struggle.

Mojo’s Lowlands has faced problems with procuring its line-up. Prodigy cancelled their slot following the sad passing of frontman Keith Flint, whereas Vince Staples, Courtney Barnett and Clairo confirmed and later cancelled “for no valid reason”.

“The whole process of announcing acts, and agreeing on a line-up poster is becoming a mission impossible,” says van Eerdenburg.

“The whole process of announcing acts, and agreeing on a line-up poster is becoming a mission impossible”

Roskilde head of programming Anders Wahrén also encountered some obstacles when confirming headliners. “Negotiations have drawn out because of the lack of headliners in some territories, but we have been patient and – we think – rewarded in the end,” says Wahrén.

Indeed, the rate of artist development and the strength of young acts are earmarked as a great positive of this year’s festival season. “It’s an opportunity for a great number of up-and-coming acts to headline big festivals,” explains Paléo festival’s Dany Hassenstein.

“These young artists are really keen to play live, it’s a massive part of their identity,” says Mojo’s Koffeman, naming Billie Eilish as one act in particular to have grown massively since being booked.

Despite the seeming lack of top shelf acts on tour, FKP Scorpio’s Thanscheidt is looking forward to presenting line-ups consisting of a mix of “legendary acts like the Cure, Foo Fighters and Mumford and Sons” alongside popular national acts and “very interesting new bands”.

Festivalgoers can also expect to see a growing number of urban artists on stages this year. Exit has dedicated a whole new stage to hip-hop, as the festivals focuses “on the millenials and their own taste in music”.

This sentiment is echoed elsewhere. “It is clear that urban is king”, says Roskilde’s Wahrén, identifying hip-hop and rap as the dominant genres among young festivalgoers.

Another point of discussion has been the attempt to increase female presence on festival stages. Yet, despite the growing presence of initiatives such as Keychange, organisers are struggling to produce gender-balanced line-ups.

“If we had the opportunity to book as many female stars [as males] we would, but it’s not always the case”

“Right now, we notice that we cannot find as many great female artists in the musical genres we mainly present, as we would like to,” says Thanscheidt. “We are trying to help change this status quo by supporting female talent wherever we can, through our festivals, tours and concerts.”

Montreux Jazz Festival chief executive Mathieu Jaton stresses the need to work on the “full chain”, focusing on the development of female artists from an earlier stage, both in the recording studio and the live arena. “If we had the opportunity to book as many female stars [as males] we would, but it’s not always the case”, he explains.

Exit festival’s Bojana Kozomora also highlights the need to initiate change “among the younger generations”, whereas Wahrén talks of the importance of looking for role models when booking artists. Janelle Monáe and Rosalía serve as female role models at this year’s Down the Rabbit Hole. “We do as much as we can,” says Koffeman, “but we have to be successful too.”

Sustainability is another key issue for 2019 festivals. “The plastic discussion took up a lot of our time,” says Lowlands’ van Eerdenburg, who states that the reusable PET plastic cups favoured by many brands are “no solution to any environmental issue”, given the miles covered transporting them to washing sites.

In an increasingly saturated and globalised market, Jaton speaks of the challenge of standing out from the crowd, whilst maintaining an event’s original spirit. “You need to build a story. It’s about the whole experience and what you’re giving to the audience after the show,” states Jaton.

“A bill-driven concept is not enough anymore”, says Paléo’s Hassenstein and, for Mojo, it’s all about developing the artist-fan interaction. This year’s Down the Rabbit Hole will feature a live studio on site to offer a more personal view of the artist.

After all, says Koffeman, festivals are about much more than “just the stage and the beer” nowadays.


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ILMC 31: Festival Forum: Fan First?

Chair Codruta Vulcu of Romania’s Artmania festival welcomed the session as co-chair Dany Hassenstein from Switzerland’s Paléo festival offered some facts and figures relating to the state of play.

“The good news is that most people still go to festivals for the music,” said Hassenstein, “but as ticket prices are rising, fans are beginning to voice their concerns.”

ICM Partners’ Ari Bernstein, the sole agent on the panel, stated that “the experience of the audience is first and foremost the most important thing,” in terms of retaining customer loyalty. The agent added he would like to see “fewer multi-genre festivals” to vary the types of artists appearing on festival line-ups.

Jim King of AEG Presents spoke of the highly developed UK festival scene, stating that there is now limited growth in terms of procuring bigger headliners. “It comes down to experience at this point,” said the All Points East and BST Hyde Park promoter. “We need to add as much value to the festival experience as is justifiable.”

Talk turned to catering festivals to different cultural markets, a topic of which C3 Presents’ Sophie Lobl has experience. “We definitely tailor Lollapalooza to the country it’s in, whilst keeping it to the level expected of our brand,” explained Lobl.

“We need to add as much value to the festival experience as is justifiable”

However, in Spain, said Nara Pinto of Mad Cool festival, fans value line-up over experience. “We’re struggling with the experience side of things,” she admitted. “We create that bond with the public through our line-ups.”

King described the key to enhancing any festival experience, saying that “the basics of any event are the critical part,” and stressing that finding, entering and navigating around a festival has to be simple for the fan. “If that fails, then everything else fails.”

Crisis management became the topic of conversation, as Pinto outlined the need for communication in times of difficulty, “people need to know what’s going on.”

The panel moved away from the focus on fans to explore the subject of artists, and how to contend with ever-rising fees. Block-booking an act for multiple events “helps to secure the bands but not to save money,” said Lobl, as panellists agreed that festivals remain line-up driven in essence.

“That’s never going to change,” said King. “Even the best experiential festivals have a lifespan.”


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Festivals on ETEP: “It’s not just about the bands”

The European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP), founded in 2003 by Eurosonic Noorderslag to increase the cross-border circulation of music in Europe, celebrated its best-ever year in 2016, with 402 confirmed shows at participating events by 148 artists from 27 European countries.

ETEP counts among its membership 100 of Europe’s leading music festivals – and in light of the initiative’s record-breaking 2016, IQ caught up with just a few, asking their opinion of the programme and how it affects their booking decisions…

Etep keeps UK agents on their toes. … Now they’re afraid they might miss something important

Eric van Eerdenburg, festival director, Lowlands
ETEP has raised awareness that there is good-quality music from other countries, rather than just music of Anglo-American origin.

It raised pride within the European music scene that different cultural influences, different crossovers, are a good thing, and that we have to tour and promote these acts as festival and tour promoters. We shouldn’t just watch the UK, America and the exceptional world music talent from Africa and far-away exotic countries: It also happens here, right under our noses!

ETEP has also played a role in raising the level of professionalism of European managers and agents – and has kept the UK agency world on its toes. British agents come and watch the talent being presented with different eyes than they did ten years ago: 10–15 years ago they did not watch at all – now they are afraid they might miss something important. They actually want acts for their rosters – if they can get them, that is…

The music business is too often focused on the US and UK, but we have plenty of great artists, too

Alex Stevens, head of programme, Dour Festival
We book 250–300 acts per year and have been focused on European artists for a long time, so naturally we have a lot of ETEP acts playing Dour every year.

Of course, by booking ETEP acts it reduces our costs, but my booking decisions are only taken on an artistic basis!

I think it’s important to promote European music and European culture, which is rich and exciting. The music business is too often focused on the US and UK, but we have plenty of great artists, too.

The musical quality is usually brilliant

Stephan Thanscheidt, managing director, FKP Scorpio
We are part of Etep with a lot of festivals in different countries from our roster, and book many Etep acts every year.

The musical quality is usually brilliant, and the inter-European circulation of this talent gets stronger every year.

Etep is not just about the bands: it’s also a great network to exchange information with bookers from all over Europe

Dany Hassenstein, booker, Paléo Festival Nyon
ETEP is great for up-and-coming bands. It fits perfectly with our booking process: we announce our line-up in March, and January is perfect timing to look at completing the line-up with new bands.

There’s no obligation for us to book ETEP bands – but, since the programme exists, Paléo has always booked bands from it, as ETEP acts are very well pre-selected and of high quality.

But ETEP is not only about the bands: it’s also a great network to exchange information with bookers from all over Europe. And this is as important as finding the new future headliners!


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Festival Focus: Goldenvoice ‘megafestival’, Paléo

The Who’s Roger Daltrey has let slip that the much-rumoured ‘megafestival’ – featuring his band on the mother of all heritage line-ups alongside Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters – is going ahead, masterminded by Coachella promoter Goldenvoice.

“What a great weekend it will be,” Daltrey told BBC Radio 6 Music. “They’re all going to be there, on the one spot, at the one time.

“It’s amazing really. It’s amazing we’re still here.”

The festival is expected to take place from 7 to 9 October on the Coachella site at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California.

Nas, SxSW 2010, whittlz

Rapper Nas, pop-punk acts Good Charlotte and Tonight Alive – all UK festival exclusives – Frank Turner, Kano, Coheed & Cambria, Hælos, Black Foxxes and The Temper Trap are among the 76 new acts announced today for Festival Republic’s Reading and Leeds Festivals.

Veteran US prog-metal four-piece Mastodon were also earlier this week revealed as headlining the rock-focused Pit Stage (on Saturday in Reading and Sunday in Leeds). The Georgia band were set to headline the same stage last year but were forced pull out due to personal reasons.

Headlining the main stages at the sister festivals, held across the August bank holiday weekend (26–28 August), are Red Hot Chili Peppers; Foals and Disclosure; and Biffy Clyro and Fall Out Boy. (Nas photo by whittlz on Flickr.)

Napalm Death, Steve Leggat

If you like your rock a little heavier, you’ll be pleased by the initial line-up announcement from Hard Rock Hell and Metal Hammer’s Hammerfest, which will welcome Alestorm, HammerFall, Napalm Death, Armored Saint, Grand Magus, Venom Inc and Evil Scarecrow for its ninth, ‘Welsh Warriors’-themed edition.

Like another, more ill-fated, festival which will rename nameless (until the next paragraph), Hammerfest 2016 takes place in a holiday park: Haven, in Pwllheli, Gwynedd, Wales, from 23 to 26 March. (Napalm Death photo by Steve Leggat.)

Flamin' Groovies, Yoshiaki Ito

First the venue didn’t get paid. Then the promoter took out a payday loan. Then a festival was uprooted and moved halfway across the country. And now the sad saga of both of All Tomorrows Parties’ ATP 2.0 weekenders has come to an end: Stewart Lee’s with a “nightmare start” that saw John Cale pull out, Roky Erickson not get paid and guests left without chalets, and Drive Like Jehu’s with outright cancellation.

The band, who curated the festival line-up and were due to perform with Hot Snakes, Rocket from the Crypt, Diamanda Galás and the Flamin’ Groovies, announced scathingly via their Facebook feed that: “After four months of a long and bumpy ride, the wheels finally fell off the wagon and crashed and burned. A search party was sent to Monkey Island to scan the wreckage for survivors and only found [promoter] Barry Hogan/ATP collecting bits of luggage and body parts for his next show, ‘ATP 3.0: The ’90s Deconstructed’. Tickets on sale now at” Yikes. (Flamin’ Groovies photo by Yoshiaki Ito.)

In happier news, Iggy Pop, Foals, The Kooks and Crystal Fighters will headline new Prague festival Metronome, which will be held concurrently with the international, multi-genre United Islands of Prague festival over the weekend of 25 and 26 June.

Held in the Vystaviste Holesovice exhibition grounds, the event will also feature domestic artists and is promoted by David Gaydecka and Martin Vonka’s Metronome Productions.

“I like the idea of people coming to the Czech capital for a long weekend, doing some sightseeing and spending their afternoon walking Prague’s islands and parks and listening to young and talented musicians at the United Islands of Prague,” says Vonka. “In the evening, they take a tram to the Vystaviste and get to enjoy world-class music stars.”

Steve Harris, Iron Maiden, Graham Berry

Joining Blossoms on Kendal Calling‘s Calling Out Stage bill will be Libertine, Babyshambler and Bataclan re-opener Pete Doherty and Mercury Award-nominated London singer Ghostpoet (Obaro Ejimiwe to his mum). The 11th Kendal Calling, co-promoted by Andy Smith and Ben Robinson, will return to Lowther Deer Park in the UK’s Lake District from Thursday 28 to Sunday 31 July.

Finally, a big-name line-up for Paléo Festival in Nyon, Switzerland, for its 41st edition: Muse, Iron Maiden and The Chemical Brothers, no less, are among the headliners for the six-day event, with The Lumineers, Courtney Barnett, Massive Attack, Bastille and chanson superstar Michel Polnareff also on the bill.

2015’s 40th-anniversary event welcomed around 270,000 festivalgoers to see performances by, among others, Robbie Williams, Robert Plant and Sting, and was sold out within the hour. (Steve Harrison/Iron Maiden photo by Graham Berry.)