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Paradise City to run entirely on renewables by 2025

Belgian festival Paradise City says it is on track to run entirely on renewable energy by 2025.

The three-day electronic festival – named the world’s most sustainable music festival at January’s International A Greener Festival (AGF) Awards – takes place annually in the gardens of Castle Ribaucourt, Steenokkerzee.

With the support of renewable energy pioneer Eneco, the 8,000-cap festival has taken “big steps” towards its 2025 sustainability goal, implementing floating solar panels and an on-site electricity cabin that provides green power.

The total on-site solar power at Paradise City 2024 will be 372m²

Organisers say that the goal for the upcoming edition of Paradise City is to glean 33% of total energy consumption from solar power, 33% from HVO (bio-fuel) and 33% from grid power. The festival will be supplied with 100% sustainable and locally generated power from an Eneco solar farm in Puurs.

Last year, the festival installed more than 90 additional solar panels and three battery containers on the island in front of its castle, dubbed the Eneco Solar Island. The island’s 180m² of solar panels generated 1038 kWh and directly powered the Contrast Stage.

This year, an additional 60 solar panels will float on the water next to the castle, creating another 120m² of solar energy and bringing the total on-site solar power to 372m².

To further reduce energy consumption, Paradise City uses a smart energy plan including an algorithm that controls generators to minimise excess energy consumption. In addition, all light sources at the festival site use LED technology.

Paradise City 2024 will see 134 artists and bands, including Floating Points and Bonobo, perform across seven stages between 28–30 June.

 


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Festival Friday: Lineups, newbies & cancellations

It has been a week of ups and downs in the world of festivals, with new events announced, alongside further cancellations and lineup confirmations.

In the US, Connecticut’s biggest music festival Sound On Sound has been rechristened as Soundside Music Festival under C3 Presents. Noah Kahan and Foo Fighters will headline the event – known for its unique rotating single-stage set up – at Seaside Park in Bridgeport from 28-29 September.

Queens of the Stone Age, Goo Goo Dolls, Teddy Swims, Fleet Foxes, Norah Jones, Boyz II Men, Gregory Alan Isakov, Grace Potter, The Kills, Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories will also appear.

“In past years, this festival has drawn in over 50,000 visitors,” says Bridgeport, CT mayor Joe Ganim. “I am sure this year it will again draw tens of thousands who will get to experience all that Bridgeport has to offer. This is another example of how Bridgeport is ‘on the move’ as we strengthen our legacy of being the music and entertainment capital of Connecticut.”

Nine-stage, two weekend music celebration Austin City Limits will welcome headliners Dua Lipa, Tyler, The Creator, Chris Stapleton, Blink-182, Sturgill Simpson and Pretty Lights to Zilker Park over the weekends of 4-6 & 13-15 October. The lineup will also feature performances from Khruangbin, Leon Bridges, Carin León, Norah Jones, Reneé Rapp, Foster The People, Kehlani, Teddy Swims, Benson Boone, CAAMP, Dominic Fike, The Marías, Jungle, Dom Dolla, Chappell Roan, Porter Robinson, Fletcher, Something Corporate and David Shaw.

More than 30 Texas artists will grace this year’s ACL Fest stages, including Khruangbin, Leon Bridges, Norah Jones, Kevin Abstract, That Mexican OT, Mickey Guyton, Penny & Sparrow, Chance Peña, Dexter And The Moonrocks, Bob Schneider, Asleep At The Wheel, whookilledkenny, Kalu & The Electric Joint, The Droptines, Jon Muq, Daiistar, Rickshaw Billie’s Burger Patrol, Late Night Drive Home, Theo Lawrence, Chief Cleopatra, West 22nd and Chaparelle.

C3 Presents’ Sudden Little Thrills festival, due to be headlined by SZA and The Killers, has been cancelled less than a month after being announced

However, C3’s Sudden Little Thrills festival, which was slated to debut at Hazelwood Green, Pittsburgh, between 7-8 September with headliners SZA and The Killers, has been abruptly cancelled less than a month after being announced. In a short statement, organisers say it will no longer take place “due to circumstances beyond our control”.

The Killers will top the bill at Mexico’s Festival Pulso GNP, which will be held at Autódromo de Querétaro on 12 October, with a supporting cast including Belanova, Franz Ferdinand, Los Auténticos Decadentes, Sabino and Simple Plan.

The full lineup has now been released for the ninth edition of Paradise City, which is set for 28-30 June at Ribaucourt Castle, Perk, Belgium. Newly announced artists include David August, Rival Consoles, Rex The Dog, Sally C and OCB, plus homegrown talent such as Bjeor, Catalina, Eline Anne & r.omy, Odymel and RIET.

They join the likes of Bonobo, Maribou State, Marlon Hoffstadt, Job Jobse, Daria Kolosova, Skin on Skin and DJ Gigola. The festival will also feature a seventh stage, dedicated entirely to chill-out, downtempo and ambient performances.

Nelly Furtado will headline free, open-air festival Isle of MTV Malta 2024 on 16 July, when other acts will include DJ Snake and Raye. It will be followed by Isle of MTV Malta Music Week, a series of club nights and parties across various venues on the island with various artists including Benni Benassi, Icona Pop and more from 16-21 July.

Iceland Airwaves has unveiled the second wave of artists joining its 25th anniversary edition, taking place in Downtown Reykjavik this 7-9 November. Highlights include Overmono, The Vaccines, English Teacher, Villano Antillano, Personal Trainer, MRCY, Lynks, GDRN, Monobloc, Gabríel Ólafs, Alice Longyu Gao and cumgirl8, with previously announced artists including Shygirl, Bar Italia, Charlotte Adigery & Bolis Pupul, Joy (Anonymous) and Saya Gray.

And the 10th anniversary Ultra Europe Music Festival will bring Afrojack, Alison Wonderland, Subtronics, DJ Snake, W&W, KSHMR, SLANDER, Vini Vici, Black Tiger Sex Machine, Deborah De Luca and CamelPhat to Park Mladeži in Split, Croatia, from 12-14 July. It will also star Adam Beyer, Boris Brejcha and Martin Garrix.

 


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Belgium’s Jazz Middelheim gets new operator

The City of Antwerp has selected a partnership between the Brosella and Paradise City festivals to relaunch the Jazz Middelheim festival.

First held in 1969, Jazz Middelheim hosted artists such as Van Morrison, Jamie Cullum, Patti Smith, Ludovico Einaudi, Jean “Toots” Thielemans, John Zorn, Wynton Marsalis, Wayne Shorter, Kenny Werner, Archie Shepp, Robin Verheyen and Cassandra Wilson.

It was most recently staged in 2022, but Jazz en Muziek – the non-profit organisation behind the festival – went bankrupt at the end of last year. Jazz en Muziek also staged Gent Jazz Festival, which was rescued by Greenhouse Talent.

The new version of Jazz Middelheim will take place this year on a small scale in Antwerp’s Den Brandt Park, before a full-scale edition in 2025.

Details for the 2024 edition are yet to be announced, although the organisers have stated their intention to extend the festival to two days in September.

The City of Antwerp was attracted by the “balance between tradition and innovation” proposed by Brosella and Paradise City

Meanwhile, the festival’s name is currently still being negotiated as the brand is owned by Flemish public broadcaster VRT.

A total of eight candidates came forward in response to the call for a new Jazz Middelheim promoter, launched in 2023 by the City of Antwerp.

The municipal authorities were attracted by the “balance between tradition and innovation” proposed by Brosella and Paradise City, as well as their “experience in organising events in a green park environment”.

“The Brosella festival is synonymous with a varied musical offering of urban ethno and jazz and many musical styles in between,” says the City. “It presents and produces musical projects by big names and young national and international talent. Every year, the Paradise City Festival marks the start of summer for fans of electronic music on the site of a castle and is recognised worldwide for its considerable efforts in terms of sustainable development.”

Antwerp’s councillor for culture, Nabilla Ait Daoud, adds: “We are looking forward to a festival that is both warm and intimate, that honours both the past and the future of jazz, and that puts Antwerp back on the international jazz map.”

Bert Schreurs, director of Brosella Festival, comments: “We want to combine classic, established jazz artists with DJs influenced by jazz. In this way, we hope to appeal to a younger audience. We are therefore joining forces with Paradise City.”

 


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Belgium’s Paradise City unveils Green Power Plan

Paradise City Festival has shared details of its new Green Action plan as it bids to become the first festival in Belgium that runs exclusively on renewable energy by 2025.

The electronic music event, which returns to Ribaucourt Castle, Perk, from 30 June to 2 July, is working with renewable energy pioneer Eneco to reduce its dependency on biofuel and increase the share of solar energy in total energy consumption from 20% to 50% this summer.

The 8,000-cap festival will install more than 90 additional solar panels and three battery containers on the island in front of its castle, creating the Eneco Solar Island. This initiative will ramp up the total surface of solar panels to 435m2 and directly power the Contrast Stage and various bars.

Eneco’s support also ensures the festival’s buildup will be fully powered by renewable energy – another first for the Belgian event business.

“Becoming fully sustainable is crucial for our planet and future generations”

“We are thrilled we can partner up with an ambitious organisation like Paradise City,” says Bert Clinckers, MD of Eneco Belgium. “Becoming fully sustainable is crucial for our planet and future generations. That is why we support our clients and partners in realising their goals to become carbon neutral. We’re in this together.”

Paradise City is also continuing its partnership with Audi, which helped make its power plan more sustainable in 2022 with a giant 170m2 solar panel, the largest of its kind at any European event. As a result, the festival was able to double the share of solar power to 20%, with the rest of the used energy sourced from biofuel (HVO) to minimise carbon emissions.

DJs on this year’s line-up include Folamour, Palms Trax, Helena Hauff, RY X, Inner City, Max Cooper, Interplanetary Criminal, Moodymann, Ben UFO, Christian Löffler and Omar S.

 


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Ukraine fundraisers: “Music has the power to make a difference”

A handful of benefit concerts have each raised upwards of six figures for humanitarian and financial relief during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Dutch promoter ALDA and renowned Dutch radio show ASOT100 (A State of Trance) raised a total of €152,350 from their Dance for Ukraine fundraiser in Poland.

The event took place on Saturday (12 March) at the Tauron Arena (cap. 22,000) in Kraków and featured performances from ASTOT producers Armin van Buuren and Ruben de Ronde among others.

The proceeds from Dance for Ukraine go to the Polish Red Cross to aid their efforts in helping the Ukrainian people in need.

Elsewhere, in Belgium, more than fourteen electronic music festivals and nightlife collectives rolled up their sleeves for a unique open-air festival to raise funds for Ukraine.

Led by festivals Hangar and Paradise City, the United for Ukraine benefit at Atomium in Brussels garnered €100,000 for Underground4Ukraine.

More than 4,000 attendees watched performances from Charlotte de Witte, Lefto, AliA, DC Salas and Ukrainian singer Ana Fantana who sang the national anthem.

“You proved that music has the power to make a difference,” wrote Paradise City on Facebook the day after the event.

Across the pond, a fundraiser at New York City’s City Winery, hosted by Ukrainian-born Eugene Hutz of Gogol Bordello, raised US$130,000 (€118,500).

Patti Smith, The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and Suzanne Vega were among the artists that performed at the benefit.

 

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A post shared by Patti Villegas (@pattivill)

Proceeds from the concert were donated to Come Back Alive, a foundation that provides support to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and Care.org.

Among the funds raised, there was a $50,000 donation by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon to Doctors Without Borders.

“Fundraising is crucial,” Hutz told Rolling Stone. “People are being super generous and making astronomical donations. Our task is to keep beating the drum and tell the story authentically.”

More benefit concerts for Ukraine are being announced every day, with Arcade Fire’s fundraiser in New Orleans, Louisana, being the latest.

The Canadian band will take to the stage at the city’s Toulouse Theatre venue tonight (14 March) and all proceeds will benefit the Plus 1 Ukraine relief fund.

Elsewhere, Polish promoter Follow the Step has announced a televised charity concert, Together with Ukraine, featuring some of the biggest Polish and Ukrainian stars.

Vito Bambino, Zalewski, Igo and Daria Zawiałow are among the artists that will perform at Atlas Arena (cap. 13,806) on 20 March for Together with Ukraine.

 


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AGF reveals top green festivals and events of 2021

Environmental nonprofit A Greener Festival (AGF) has announced the recipients of the A Greener Festival Award in 2021.

Launched in 2007, the AGF Awards is the gold standard for festivals and events to reduce their environmental impact.

In the latest round of awards, eight events across five countries have been recognised including Paradise City (Belgium), Elrow Town (Netherlands) and Deep Tropics (US).

Recipients received awards across four categories: outstanding, highly commended, commended and improvers.

The festivals and events were awarded based on a rigorous assessment, site visit and post-event analysis of their sustainability actions, with assessors looking at 11 areas, including transport, waste, power, water and local area impacts.

According to AGF, the standards have been developed over 15 years in consultation with 1000s of events, event services, suppliers and sustainability experts across key areas assessed.

The 2021 AGF Awards will be presented during the Green Events & Innovations Conference (GEI 14) and International Live Music Conference (ILMC 34) on Friday 29 April at the Royal Garden Hotel, London.

“We’re impressed by these events that not only took place but also reduced negative environmental impacts”

AGF CEO Claire O’Neill says: “We’re impressed by these events that not only took place in 2021, which was a feat in itself, but also maintained and developed their actions to reduce negative environmental impacts and enhance positive community impacts.

“We’re happy to be able to award this certification. Record numbers of events worldwide have applied for AGF certification in 2022. This shows the appetite and need for genuine action for sustainability, and the expectation from audiences and local authorities alike for events to prove their minimum environmental standards.”

Gilles De Decker, co-founder of Paradise City Festival, adds: “Claiming you are sustainable means taking responsibility. AGF has been auditing Paradise City Festival for several editions now and it is thanks to their valuable feedback and detailed analysis of the ecological footprint of our festival that we can improve year by year. So this recognition as one of the most sustainable festivals worldwide means a lot to our team.”

Joel Atchinson, regenerative design and co-founder, Deep Tropics, comments: “Working in collaboration with the AGF team was incredibly rewarding and expansive! Even with the great success of producing a climate positive event, the depth of their survey and data collection revealed several blindspots of which we are very grateful to have identified. We feel like our team has a clearer roadmap, and a more refined approach to build on into 2022 and beyond!”

A full list of AGF Award winners for 2021 is below:

Paradise City (Belgium)
“Outstanding” A Greener Festival Award 2021

elrow Town (Netherlands)
“Highly Commended” A Greener Festival Award 2021

Cridem pel Clima (Spain)
“Commended” A Greener Festival Award 2021

Deep Tropics (USA)
“Commended” A Greener Festival Awards 2021

Festival de la Luz (Spain)
“Commended” A Greener Festival Award 2021

Lost Village (UK)
“Improvers” A Greener Festival Award 2021

Madblue (Spain)
“Improvers” A Greener Festival Award 2021

South Summit (Spain)
“Improvers” A Greener Event Award 2021

 


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Belgium enjoys first festival weekend back

Hundreds of thousands of music fans attended festivals across Belgium in the last few days, marking the country’s first big festival weekend since restrictions were relaxed.

Paradise City, Alcatraz, Leuven Air and Jazz Middelheim were among the events to take advantage of the Belgium federal government’s Covid Safe Ticket (CST) to do away with social distancing, masks, and the previous 5,000-capacity limit.

The CTS launched last Friday (13 August) for outdoor events of over 1,500 people to certify that all attendees are either fully vaccinated or have returned a negative Covid-19 test in the previous 48 hours. The certification will apply to indoor events from 1 September.

Dance festival Paradise City, which took place between 13–15 at Ribaucourt Castle in Perk, Steenokkerzeel, welcomed a total of 25,500 festivalgoers for its three-day extravaganza.

Those attending who weren’t fully vaccinated could take a rapid test at the festival’s test centre for the cost of €15. It was reported that, of the 3,300 tests taken at the festival, a total of six people tested positive – all of whom were sent home.

There were no infections among the campers which is “proof that government protocols work,” says Paradise City co-founder, Gilles De Decker. “This offers hope for the entire event sector.”

“”After a long period of uncertainty, we were finally back to doing what we are passionate about”

Alcatraz also took place over the weekend, welcoming 12,000 fans per day to Sports Campus Lange Munte in Kortrijk for performances from the likes of Epica, Kreator and Jinjer.

The hard rock and metal festival chose to offer PCR tests onsite rather than rapid tests, which were free of charge for those who hadn’t used up all of their government-funded PCR tests or €56 for those who had.

“After a long period of uncertainty, we were finally back to doing what we are passionate about: creating a gathering that encompasses all facets of the metal genre for our precious inmates to enjoy,” say the organisers.

“Because of the challenging nature of organising this year’s edition, we were even more compelled to make sure Alcatraz Festival 2021 would be absolutely impeccable! We confronted every hurdle head-on and succeeded in organising a safe, but thrilling festival thanks to you metalheads.”

Leuven Air and Jazz Middelheim, which also took place last weekend, did not build their own test villages as it was “too expensive,” according to the organisers. “We should have passed on the costs to our audience,” they added.

The implementation of the CST comes too late for major international festivals including Pukkelpop, Rock Werchter and Tomorrowland, which have already been called off.

 


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