Sacha Lord appointed chair of NTIA board
Parklife and The Warehouse Project co-founder Sacha Lord has been appointed chair of the UK’s Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) board of directors.
Lord, who is night time economy advisor for Greater Manchester, has worked with the NTIA and stakeholders across the UK over the last two years.
The trade association has been at the heart of the fight to gain representation and support for businesses throughout the pandemic.
“The Night Time Industries Association is a critical player in the sector, and has been a key voice in representing operators, not just in London but nationally across the UK,” says Lord.
“I am honoured to be joining as chair at this pivotal time in the sector’s recovery. There is still so much work to be done to help operators through these difficult times, and I wholly support the NTIA in their efforts to create better working practices for those in the industry, achieve greater funding for businesses nationwide, and develop vital initiatives to ensure everyone working within, or using the night time economy, gets home safely.”
“We are looking forward to harnessing his passion and drive in establishing a stronger voice for the sector”
NTIA CEO Michael Kill adds: “I have been lucky enough to have worked very closely with Sacha over the last three years, and alongside welcoming him as the chair of the board of directors at the Night Time Industries Association, would like to personally thank him on behalf of the industry for his exceptional work and support during the crisis.
“As a leading figurehead within our industry, we are looking forward to harnessing his passion and drive in establishing a stronger voice for the sector, adding another dimension to the public and political agenda to drive home positive change, and support an extremely ambitious strategy for the sector in the future. The unanimous appointment by the board is testament to the tireless work that he has put into representing this industry.”
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Sellouts and cancellations: Mixed fortunes for UK fests
Wireless and Parklife have joined a slate of other UK festivals in selling out their 2021 editions, while other festivals such as Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival and Margate’s Hi-Tide have decided to call it quits on this year, citing a lack of insurance and uncertainty as the reason.
Wireless Festival 2021 sold out of first release tickets within 24 hours of going on sale, even with the line-up yet to be announced.
First release tickets ranged from £75 for a day ticket to £195 for a three-day weekend pass. Final release tickets will be on sale soon.
The London festival will return once more between September 10-12 this year, but it will move from its traditional Finsbury Park location to South London’s Crystal Palace Park for the first time in its history.
Wireless Festival 2021 sold out of first release tickets within 24 hours of going on sale, even without a line-up announced
Wireless promoter, Live Nation-owned Festival Republic (FR), previously announced that one of its other big-hitters, Reading Festival (cap. 105,000), has also completely sold out.
Weekend tickets for Leeds Festival (75,000-cap.) are also gone, according to the festivals’ Twitter account, with only limited Friday and Sunday day tickets remaining.
FR also recently confirmed that Latitude Festival plans to run at ‘full capacity’, provided ‘the prevailing situation in the UK is deemed safe’.
The four-day festival, which takes place at Henham Park in Suffolk on July 22-25, will feature performances from Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, First Aid Kit and Snow Patrol, with more still to be announced.
Parklife enjoyed similar success to Wireless, selling out its 2021 edition in record time
Parklife, Manchester’s premier hip hop and electronic festival, is enjoying similar success to Wireless after selling out its 2021 edition in record time. Tickets ranged from £84.50 for day passes to £199.50 for weekend VIP.
Megan Thee Stallion, Skepta, Jamie xx and Little Simz are among the artists scheduled to play Parklife 2021 on 11 and 12 September in Heaton Park. See full line-up below.
Junction 2 Festival, Mighty Hoopla, Sundown Festival, Boomtown, Creamfields and Field Day have also sold out their 2021 editions after British prime minister Boris Johnson revealed plans for lifting all restrictions by 21 June, prompting a festival frenzy.
However, Johnson’s reopening roadmap hasn’t instilled confidence in everyone. Cambridge Folk Festival has pulled the plug on this year’s edition, planned for 29 July to 1 August, citing uncertainty about the organisation of large-scale events this summer.
“Despite the government roadmap out of lockdown, we still don’t know whether artists will be able to travel internationally and what steps organisers would be required to take to keep the public safe,” Cambridge councillor Anna Smith told Cambridge Live.
“Despite the government roadmap out of lockdown, we still don’t know whether artists will be able to travel internationally”
“With summer and the need to make binding contractual commitments fast approaching, we couldn’t delay a decision any longer. We are all so upset that we can’t have the festival this summer, but we look forward to being together again in person in 2022.”
Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the longest-running folk festivals in the world, having launched in 1965.
Elsewhere, Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival today called off its 17th edition, set for 29th-31st July 2021 at the Belladrum Estate near Inverness.
“We have been working closely with the rest of the UK event industry in lengthy conversations with Westminster Government to provide an insurance policy for our industry. Without this, the risk of pushing on with planning with no certainty on what the future holds is simply too huge,” reads a lengthy statement on Belladrum’s Facebook page.
” [Belladrum] feels there are still too many uncertainties surrounding the potential restrictions that may be in place”
“We don’t want to deliver an event we aren’t proud of or compromise in any way on the magic that makes Bella so special to all of us.”
Margate’s Hi-Tide Festival (cap. 15,000) is postponing its inaugural event for the second consecutive year, also citing the uncertainty around this summer.
The two-day festival was due to make its debut from 3-5 July at Dreamland Margate theme park with headliners Fatboy Slim and Madness. The organisers hope the festival will launch in 2022.
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Boost for Manchester nightlife as new venue opens
A brand-new, socially distanced outdoor events space is preparing to open in Manchester city centre this weekend, as news comes that two of the city’s music venues – Gorilla and Deaf Institute – have been saved from closure.
Escape to Freight Island, the brainchild of veteran Manchester DJs Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford (The Unabombers), together with Gareth Cooper of Festival No.6/Broadwick Live, Jon Drape of Engine No.4 and venue operator Dan Morris, is a large, socially distanced food and entertainment complex launching at Broadwick’s 10,000-capacity Depot Mayfield site this weekend.
The space can hold up to 600 people while complying with social distancing rules, with plans to bring the capacity up to 2,500 once measures relax. Platform 15 is the first part of the complex to open, with the full launch to follow.
DJ Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy will perform at Platform 15 on its opening night on Friday (24 July), with Mr Scruff, Mikey D.O.N. and Jamie Groovement playing the following evening. Norman Jay MBE and Mass will close out Escape to Freight Island’s inaugural weekend on Sunday.
Other acts scheduled to play at Platform 15 include Gilles Peterson, Erol Alkan and Greg Wilson, with events organised in conjunction with Manchester Pride, Festival No.6 and We Out Here Festival, and venue Band on the Wall, among others.
The space is all seated, with all food and drink ordered via an app and QR system. Fans must book in advance, with groups of up to 12 permitted. A staggered arrival system, managed queuing and toilet areas and extra hygiene precautions all form part of the complex’s social and safe manifesto.
“Platform 15 will give a flavour of what is to come when we launch the full Escape to Freight Island experience, so let’s all meet at Platform 15 to begin our escape to freedom,” comments Cowdrey.
“Let’s all meet at Platform 15 to begin our escape to freedom”
The opening of the new venue comes as many around the UK, and the world, struggle under the financial pressures of Covid-19.
Manchester venues Gorilla (600-cap.) and Deaf Institute (260-cap.) last week announced they were closing their doors permanently due to the pandemic. However, it emerged yesterday (22 June) that the venues have now been acquired by venue group Tokyo Industries (TI).
TI founder Aaron Mellor says the group has been working together with promoter SSD Concerts – which is launching the UK’s first socially distanced arena next month – and the Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess, to come up with ways “to help save both venues and their existing operating style in a post-Covid world.”
“So, looks like the story is out Deaf Institute and Gorilla have been saved and will be kept as live music venues as we know and love them,” writes Burgess in a Twitter post.
“I’ve been talking with the new owners over the weekend and we’ll be doing all we can to help with the next chapter.”
Manchester night-time economy advisor and Parklife founder Sacha Lord thanked mayor Andy Burnham for “helping to raise the profile” of the two venues’ plight.
“Great news…all done within four working days. Jobs saved and two of the city centres best live music venues kept alive,” tweeted Lord.
Bookings for Escape to Freight Island can be made here.
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Wireless cancels as more UK fests call time on 2020
Festival Republic’s Wireless Festival and an open-air the 1975 show are the latest losses to the UK’s 2020 summer calendar, in a week that also saw Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Music Festival and metal event Bloodstock move to 2021.
The UK’s summer festival season is looking increasingly uncertain, as organisers wait for the government to reveal details of its exit plan. The country has been in lockdown since 23 March.
“Wireless Festival will no longer be taking place this year,” reads a statement from organisers. “As you know we’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation, and it’s become clear that cancelling is unavoidable.
“Subject to contract, Wireless Festival will be back next year on 2 to 4 July 2021 and will be worth the wait,” continue organisers, urging fans to “keep your eyes peeled” for news on the virtual edition of the festivals.
The urban music event, which had booked ASAP Rocky, D-Block Europe and Lil Uzi Thug for this year, has encountered licensing restrictions imposed by the local council around its home in Finsbury Park.
The promoter has also announced the cancellation of an eco-friendly show by the 1975 at Finsbury Park, scheduled for 11 July. The show, which was also to feature Charli XCX, Clairo and Pale Waves, was set to be the Manchester band’s biggest show ever.
“We’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation, and it’s become clear that cancelling is unavoidable”
Festival Republic had previously called off the 2020 outings of Download Festival, set to feature Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down, and Latitude, which had a line-up including Liam Gallagher, Haim and the Chemical Brothers.
This week also saw the cancellation of the 20,000-capacity Cornbury Music Festival, which was to feature Dido, Jack Savoretti and the Waterboys, as well as Judas Priest-headlined metal festival Bloodstock. Organisers say the event will be back for a bumper five-day edition in 2021.
Other major UK festivals to cancel due to the coronavirus outbreak include Boomtown (Wu-Tang Clan, Underworld, the Libertines), Bluedot (Bjork, Metronomy, Groove Armada), Black Deer (Wilco, the Waterboys, the Dead South) and Y Not Festival (Royal Blood, Richard Ashcroft, Bombay Bicycle Club), adding to cancellations of AEG Presents’ All Points East and British Summer Time Hyde Park, Live Nation’s Parklife, Lovebox and Isle of Wight Festival, and Glastonbury Festival.
In Scotland, which has limited self-government within the UK, DF Concerts’ Trnsmt (Courteeners, Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi) and Regular Music’s Summer Nights at the Bandstand (Rick Astley, Van Morrison, Primal Scream) cancelled after first minster Nicola Sturgeon suggested public gatherings would be banned for the foreseeable future.
In the neighbouring country of the Republic of Ireland, festivals including Longitude and All Together Now cancelled last month, as the government announced a blanket ban on events over 5,000 people until 31 August, although it recently indicated that smaller events would be permitted from 10 August.
BST Hyde Park 2020 cancelled
AEG Presents’ British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park will not take place this year, as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic claims another UK summer staple.
The festival, which was to take place over two weeks from 2 to 12 July, was set to feature headline acts including Post Malone, Little Mix, Kendrick Lamar, Pearl Jam, Taylor Swift and Duran Duran.
The cancellation follows that of All Points East festival, which was called off at the end of March.
“It is with great sadness that we have made the difficult decision to cancel BST Hyde Park 2020,” reads a statement from organisers.
“After closely following government actions and statements during the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as consulting with our partners The Royal Parks and wider agencies, we have concluded that this is the only possible outcome.”
“It is with great sadness that we have made the difficult decision to cancel BST Hyde Park 2020”
Ticketholders will contacted by ticketing agencies by 6 May with information on the refund process.
“We look forward to welcoming you back in 2021 and will be in touch about plans soon. In the meantime, please follow the advice and stay safe,” state organisers.
This year was to be the eighth outing for BST Hyde Park, combining two weekend of music with free-to-access midweek events. Over the years, BST has seen performances from acts including the Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, the Cure, Black Sabbath and Barbra Streisand.
Other UK events to be called off this summer due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic include Glastonbury Festival, Isle of Wight Festival, Download, Lovebox, Parklife, Womad, Cambridge Folk Festival, Country to Country Festival, Radio One’s Big Weekend and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, as well as industry conferences including The Great Escape and the Ticketing Professionals Conference.
Festival Fever: what’s in store for summer 2020
Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ has a look at what organisers of Parklife, OpenAir St Gallen, Rock in Rio Lisbon, Colours of Ostrava, Download Japan, Wireless Festival and Roskilde have up their sleeves for 2020.
(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)
When: 13 to 15 June
Where: Heaton Park, Manchester, UK
How many: 80,000
The line-up for Manchester’s Parklife festival was announced earlier this week, with a mixture of major hip-hop, electronic and pop acts topping the bill.
Tyler the creator, Carl Cox, Jorja Smith, Hot Chip, Giggs, Bicep, Four Tet and Roisin Murphy are among artists performing on the Saturday, with Khalid, Skepta, Lewis Capaldi, Anderson Paak, Robyn, Peggy Gou, Eric Prydz and Nina Kraviz leading the charge on Sunday.
Co-founded by Sacha Lord and Sam Kandel, who also started the Manchester-based Warehouse Project club nights, Parklife is majority controlled by LN-Gaiety, following a 2016 deal.
Tickets for Parklife 2020 are available here, priced at £125 for a weekend ticket and £95 for a day pass.
A mixture of major hip-hop, electronic and pop acts top the Parklife 2020 bill
OpenAir St Gallen
When: 25 to 28 June
Where: River Sitter valley, Saint Gallen, Switzerland
How many: 30,000
Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen is entering its 44th year in 2020 and its first as part of the newly formed powerhouse Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG, in which CTS Eventim acquired a majority stake last week.
This year’s festival will see performances from Twenty One Pilots, the Lumineers, Alan Walker and Of Monsters and Men, as well as German acts AnnenMayKantereit, Kontra K and Deichkind.
OpenAir St Gallen received the green operations award at the 2019 European Festival Awards, with Wepromote – the joint venture between OpenAir St Gallen, Gadget Entertainment, Incognito Productions, wildpony, SummerDays Festival, Seaside Festival and Wepromote Live – taking home promoter of the year.
Tickets for OpenAir St Gallen 2020 are available here, priced at CHF 239 (£188) for a four-day ticket and CHF 77 (£61) for a single day.
Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen is entering its 44th year in 2020
When: 3 to 5 July
Where: Finsbury Park, London, UK
How many: 50,000
Festival Republic’s Wireless Festival is returning to London’s Finsbury Park this summer for three days of urban music, headlined by ASAP Rocky, Skepta and Meek Mill.
Within a day of announcing the line-up, all weekend tickets and single Friday and Saturday tickets had sold out.
Other artists performing at the event include Quality Control Takeover, DaBaby, Roddy Ricch, AJ Tracey, Aitch, Burna Boy and Young Thug.
The line-up announcement for Wireless’ flagship UK event came days after the billing for its German edition was revealed. ASAP Rocky will also head up the 40,000-capacity Frankfurt festival, alongside Kendrick Lamar.
Sunday tickets for Wireless London are available here for £72.50, with joint Friday and Sunday passes also still available for £137.50.
Tickets for Wireless Germany can be found here, with a weekend ticket costing €149 (£125) and a day pass priced at €79 (£67).
Within a day of announcing the line-up, all weekend tickets and single Friday and Saturday tickets had sold out
Colours of Ostrava
When: 15 to 18 July
Where: Dolní Vítkovice, Ostrava, Czech Republic
How many: 45,000
Czech Republic’s Colours of Ostrava festival is this year featuring acts including the Killers, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, the Lumineers, Sigrid, LP and Youssou N’Dour.
The festival, which takes place in the industrial area of a former mining site in the Czech city, hosts acts over two dozen outdoor and indoor stages, as well as providing a programme of cinema, theatre, literature and art.
The Colours of Ostrava team also organises the free Festival v ulicích (Street Festival) in the centre of Ostrava, and the Czech Music Crossroads, a music showcase conference
Four-day tickets for Colours of Ostrava 2020 are available here for €125.
Colours of Ostrava is this year featuring the Killers, Twenty One Pilots and Martin Garrix
Rock in Rio Lisbon
When: 20 to 28 June
Where: Bela Vista Park, Lisbon, Portugal
How many: 80,000
The Lisbon edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio added two more acts to its 2020 line-up this week, with singers Ivete Sangalo and Anitta joining artists including Foo Fighters, the Black Eyed Peas, Camila Cabello, the National, Liam Gallagher and Post Malone.
Promoted by Rock City, in which Live Nation recently upped its shareholding to a majority stake, the festival’s flagship Rio de Janeiro event hosted the likes of Drake, Red Hit Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Pink and Muse across two four-day festival in September and October 2019.
Last year, Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina hinted at the possibility of launching a Chilean edition of the festival, in what would be the first expansion of the festival brand within the Latin American region.
Tickets for Rock in Rio Lisboa are available here. Day tickets cost €69 (£58) and weekend passes are priced at €112 (£94).
The Lisbon edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio added two more acts to its 2020 line-up this week
When: 29 March
Where: Makuhari Messe Event Hall, Chiba, Japan
How many: 9,000
The Japanese edition of Live Nation’s Download festival franchise is returning for its second outing this March, with a headline performance from My Chemical Romance.
Other artists playing at the festival include Evanescence, the Offspring, Jimmy East World, Ministry and In Flames.
The flagship UK edition of Download Festival is celebrating its 18th year in 2020, with performances from Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down.
Download is also returning to Australia this year, with festivals in Melbourne and Sydney on 20 and 21 March respectively. My Chemical Romance will also head up Download down under, alongside Ministry, Jimmy Eat World and Lacuna Coil, as well as domestic acts Dead Letter Circus, Hellions and Orpheus Omega.
Spanish and French editions of the festival will not be returning in 2020.
Tickets for Download Japan are available here for ¥16,500 (£115). Camping tickets for Download UK can be found here for £250 and tickets for the Australian Download events are available here for AU$194.93 (£99).
The Japanese edition of Live Nation’s Download festival franchise is returning for its second outing this March
When: 27 June to 4 July
Where: Roskilde, Denmark
How many: 85,000
Roskilde Festival’s 50th anniversary edition is shaping up to be a big, with 32 more acts added to the line-up this week.
Faith No More, FKA Twigs, Anderson Paak and Kacey Musgraves are among artists joining previously announced acts Taylor Swift, Tyler the Creator, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Deftones and more.
“What is unique about this generation of artists is how fast they make their mark – both artistically and when it comes to drawing attention,” comments Anders Wahrén, head of programming at the Danish non-profit festival.
“Artists like FKA Twigs, Anderson Paak and Kacey Musgraves are important to music, but are also important voices for the young people too.”
Tickets for the full eight-day festival experience plus camping are available here for DDK2250 (£257).
Roskilde Festival’s 50th anniversary edition is shaping up to be a big, with 32 more acts added to the line-up this week
Summer Nights at the Bandstand
When: 30 July to 15 August
Where: Kelvingrove bandstand, Glasgow, Scotland
How many: 2,500
Regular Music’s annual concert series is returning to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove bandstand this summer for 13 nights of live music.
This year’s line-up includes performances from Rufus Wainwright, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, KT Tunstall, Van Morrison and Rick Astely, as well as a two-night run by Primal Scream.
All twelve shows sold out last year, which featured acts including Bloc Party, the National, Burt Bacharach, Father John Misty and Patti Smith. Tickets for this year’s Summer Nights went on sale last week, with the Van Morrison, Yusuf/Cat Stevens and Rick Astley shows already selling out.
“Kelvingrove Bandstand has such a fantastic atmosphere and the feedback we have had from both artists and audiences is that they have a great time just being there,” comments Regular Music director Mark Mackie. “They really are unique and special nights under the stars.”
Tickets for Summer Nights at the Bandstand 2020 are available here.
Ground Control’s Jon Drape launches Engine No. 4
Event production veteran Jon Drape has launched Engine No.4, a new production company headquartered in Manchester, UK, as he retires the Ground Control brand.
Drape, former MD of Ground Control Productions, director at Broadwick Live and founder of Festival Safe, forms part of a core team of equal partners with Tommy Sheals-Barrett (Back On Your Heads Ltd), Jim Gee (N4 Productions) and Will McHugh (CC Events).
The decision to create Engine No.4 follows the withdrawal of Broadwick Live and Ground Control parent company, Global, from the festival space earlier this year.
“It was the ideal time for a rethink – it’s not just a rebadged version of Ground Control,” comments Drape. “We came to realise that a more streamlined business was the only sustainable option.
“With a desire to focus on quality events and festivals, I thought the best move forwards would be to form a new partnership of four equal shareholders and directors together, covering all elements of the industry and able to deliver more bespoke and considered solutions.”
“It was the ideal time for a rethink – it’s not just a rebadged version of Ground Control”
With over 30 years’ experience in the live industry, Drape managed production at legendary Manchester venue the Hacienda, later founding Ground Control in 2013. Drape is a patron for music charity Attitude is Everything and drug safety testing group the Loop.
Sheals-Barrett takes on the role of head of technical production, with 25 years’ experience managing production for Festival No. 6, Bluedot and Parklife.
Kendal Calling and Parklife operations director McHugh will handle the sponsorship side of the business, building on existing relationships with clients such as EE, Lynx, Nintendo and Carling.
Gee, whose recent projects include reopening Manchester’s 10,000-capacity Depot at Mayfield, will serve as the director and head of site management.
“We’re immensely proud of what we have achieved so far at the Depot,” says Gee. “Our remit was to transition the Warehouse Project from Store Street without losing the spirit and the vibe in a much larger venue. Somewhat of a challenge but something we have delivered.”
Operating from September 2019, Engine No.4 has new projects lined up to add to its existing client base.
International event production professionals will be gathering at the ILMC Production Meeting (IPM) on Tuesday 3 March at the Royal Garden Hotel in London.
Lucid Dreams: Glasto designer on perspective-changing staging
The team at Lucid, a stage design and festival infrastructure company based in Kent, UK, focuses on creating immersive, environmentally friendly stages for festivals including Glastonbury and Boomtown.
Here, IQ speaks to Lucid co-director Helen Swan about the company’s new Mayan-inspired Glastonbury stage, the importance of being green, and the struggles of being a woman in a heavily male-dominated sector of the industry…
IQ: Tell us a bit about Lucid and your role within it.
HS: Lucid is a creative partnership between me and [co-director] Chris Carr. We met in a field at an immersive festival I ran and quickly realised we shared the same goal: to create environments that affected people’s perspective on life.
We’d both worked with lots of other people as freelancers and in our own companies but realised we could realise our visions far better as a team.
What is the most important part of stage design for you?
It’s a combination of the personal satisfaction of realising our concepts and designs and using our platform to engage and inform people. I remember Chris saying to me: “If I only open the mind of one person at each show we do, then I have achieved something significant.”
It’s true – if we can create engaging spaces that also change perspectives on radical, important issues such as climate, respect and acceptance then we are doing something worthwhile.
“If I only open the mind of one person at each show we do, then I have achieved something significant”
Lucid’s mission is to pioneer sustainable stage design, is a lack of sustainability a big issue in the stage design world?
Yes, particularly when it’s a one-off event. So much goes into the bin at the end as it can cost more to salvage used materials and store them than simply chuck everything into a skip, but this is inherently wrong and we cannot sustain our industry in this way.
At Lucid, we are working to counteract disposable sets by using a system of modular steel frames and brackets. The frames are really durable can be used for years, and when they eventually reach the end of their lives, the metal can be recycled. It means we can reskin frames over and over, massively reducing the need to use virgin materials.
In the festival industry people reuse materials a lot, which is brilliant, but a huge amount of stuff is still wasted. It’s really important to trace the journey of where materials come from, using recycled plastics and sustainably sourced wood, for example.
Your most recent project was the Samula stage at Glastonbury Festival – what were the central inspirations behind the stage?
We knew that the Common – an area in the south-east, ‘naughty’ corner of Glastonbury with roots in Mayan culture – were looking for a venue to replace a stage called the Cave. The Mayan peninsula is an area of Mexico with lots of cenotes, which are giant, lush sinkholes that the Mayans view as a portal between earth and the underworld. We did a load of R&D around this concept and decided to incorporate an unusual crystal with which we’d developed an obsession, bismuth.
We also wanted to have an element of mystery and secrecy, so designed a massive rock frontage with a huge waterfall over a crack in the rock. People could only enter the venue by walking through the crack. During the day it was a really cool, serene place. At night, of course, it transformed into a rave cave.
“When it takes a lot of strength just to be there, it makes it so much harder to succeed”
How was Samula received at Glastonbury?
Reception really exceeded our expectations. We heard that there was an internal crew vote about the best venue and there was huge support for us. People were really surprised by it, and that’s super-exciting. There were huge queues to get in and it was packed until 6am every night.
Samula should be at Glastonbury for three to five years minimum and we would like to grow it in that time. As it’s modular, we can add things in and expand it each year. I really want to bring in more LED to the rock face, for example, and build upon the design of the rock face entrance.
Samula had an 50/50 gender-balanced line-up, was that a conscious decision?
Yes, we loved that the Common made sure this happened. Far fewer female DJs than male are booked, for a multitude of reasons, and this makes a lot of women feel they like they can’t be one. It’s important to champion female DJs and show young women that they do have a space.
I have found it incredibly difficult to be a woman in the music industry. Almost every course I’ve been on and venue or workplace I’ve visited have consisted of almost all, if not all, men. A lot of the time, these men assume you are an assistant, or that your voice is less valuable, and it’s really hard to counter that.
When it takes a lot of strength just to be there, it makes it so much harder to succeed.
What I want to do is create a space within our business where everyone’s voice is valid and every person has a place. It is hard as this is not just a creative industry but also a construction one, and there’s a natural tendency to think men are stronger and can lift more, but that’s bollocks. It’s just practice – it’s about investing time and showing people they are capable. I’m trying to hire female carpenters and welders to change perspectives and make people realise their ideas are just a preconception.
“If you put your core beliefs into a business then you know you’re doing it with integrity”
What other projects are you working on or have completed recently?
We created an arena at Parklife, called the Valley. This was a life-sized dystopian city, 100 metres wide and 25m tall. The bar was a set that looked like an enormous disused car park; we built a factory on a hill, as a Pepsi-sponsored viewing platform. It really blew me away, it was so immersive.
We are also working on a new stage for Boomtown, the Lighthouse. It is going to beam light across the whole festival. There is a huge push for sustainability at Boomtown and the Lighthouse is emblematic of that. It’s representing the old ways and getting back in touch with the earth. The area the stage is in is going to be a place of learning and positivity, and Boomtown are going to use it to demonstrate how sets can built more sustainably.
What does the future hold?
We are going to continue to maximise the immersive experience of fans and the sustainability of our stages – those are the things that are needed in the festival space, as well as an inclusive environment.
Something else I want to do is, in the future, to stipulate in our contract that all our stages must feature a gender-balanced line-up. I think this will only benefit everyone, even if people might object.
If you put your core beliefs into a business then you know you’re doing it with integrity.
Cardi B cancels headline Parklife appearance
Cardi B will no longer appear at the UK’s Parklife festival this weekend, as the rapper continues to recover from cosmetic surgery procedures.
The ‘Bodak Yellow’ star, who recently underwent breast augmentation and liposuction, was scheduled to headline the 80,000-cap. Manchester event’s main stage on Saturday 8 June. In addition to the Parklife cancellation, the surgery caused the rapper to cancel her slot at Primavera Sound and postpone three concerts in the United States last month.
“We are very sorry for the late notice but have only just had confirmation that she will not be able to perform,” say Parklife organisers, who have not announced a replacement for Cardi B. “We all remain super-excited for Parklife this weekend and cannot wait to see you in a completely transformed Heaton Park.”
“It is certainly an original reason for cancellation,” Alesco director Paul Twomey tells IQ, adding that multi-act festivals are unlikely to be insured against the no-show of an individual act. “The festival will merely adjust the line-up in terms of set times and lengths or look to replace if time allows.”
However, Twomey adds, Cardi B’s reason for cancelling would be unlikely to be included in “a standard non-appearance policy” if in place, given that such policies “exclude cancellation as a result of elective surgery, as this would be deemed to be within the artist’s control.
Festivals may actually be better off “as the act would have to return their fee”
“There is a wider cover available that promoters and the like can take out which would pick this up as long as it was outside of the purchasing party’s control. Insurers would charge a higher premium for this,” says the insurance specialist.
“Cardi B has been advised to cancel on medical grounds following an allegedly non-essential operation. Much depends on when the operation happened and the surroundings of the ‘complications’ that have led to cancelling,” explains Martin Goebbels, head of Miller’s music and touring insurance team.
“If the operation were a while ago and total unexpected complications have occurred then possibly there would be grounds for an insurance claim. However, if it were very recent – particularly after any insurance policies were placed – it is likely any insurance would not pay if such an operation were deemed non-essential.”
In general, says Goebbels, a festival “may not suffer any loss” from an artist cancellation. In fact, events may be better off “as the act would have to return their fee”. Organisers then decide whether to keep the money or spend it on a replacement.
“Even if there were no replacement available,” continues Goebbels, “it is possible that festivals do not have to refund any money as they sell tickets for a ‘festival’ rather than a ‘headline artist’.”
The cancellation of individual shows, however, poses more difficulties.
“You know, I hate cancelling shows because I love money”
“If it were an artist’s own show, the promoter would not be insured so it becomes a legal situation to try and recover the promoter’s total loss,” explains Goebbels.
Addressing the May postponements, Cardi B posted on Instagram saying: “You know, I hate cancelling shows because I love money. But like, health is wealth, so I have to do what I have to do. My breasts gotta heal, and it is what it is.”
Parklife will make its fully updated schedule available via the festival app from 7pm on Friday 7 June.
Performers at this year’s sold-out festival include George Ezra, the Streets, Nas, Dave, Christine and the Queens, Solange and Major Lazer Soundsystem. Parklife takes place in Heaton Park, Manchester, on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June.
Festival director Jon Drape and co-founder Sacha Lord touted last year’s Parklife as the “best one yet”. Live nation acquired a majority stake in the festival, along with the Warehouse Project club nights that Lord co-founded with Parklife partner Sam Kandel, in 2016.
Tinder for festivals: a modern-day summer of love
Location-based mobile dating app Tinder has partnered with live music giants AEG and Live Nation to create “Festival Mode”, allowing users to match with fellow festivalgoers at events across the United States and UK.
Attendees of festivals including All Points East, British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park and Bonnaroo can add the official festival badge to their profile, allowing them to view and match with other Tinder users who are attending.
“Claim your badge to let others know which festival you’re attending and find someone who wont mind that you haven’t showered in a few days,” the Match Group-owned dating app posted on Twitter.
Thye company explains that the app consistently records a surge in activity over festival weekends, as “music festivals unite people around a common passion – music.”
“We wanted to create a new experience that makes it easier to connect with other concertgoers before even setting foot on festival grounds”
“We wanted to create a new experience that makes it easier to connect with other concertgoers before even setting foot on festival grounds,” says Tinder chief marketing officer Jenny Campbell.
“We’ve partnered with some of the biggest names in the entertainment and events industry to make that happen, and we couldn’t be more excited to help Tinder users find their crowd during these events for the rest of 2019.”
Other events available in the festival mode include UK-based Parklife and Lovebox, as well as US festivals Hangout, the Governors’ Ball, Firefly, Faster Horses, Hard Summer and of Electric Daisy Carnival Las Vegas and Orlando.
The feature can be toggled on and off, giving users the freedom to view and match with those not attending the festival as well.
Festival Mode began rolling out on Wednesday 1 May. Event-specific badges will be available for users approximately three weeks prior to each festival.