Finland’s festival season dramatically reduces
Finland’s 2021 festival season has dramatically shrunk with the cancellations of major festivals such as Ruisrock, Ilosaarirock, Provinssi and Sideways.
Though event cancellation insurance for organisers may be on the horizon, according to the Finish government’s newly unveiled exit strategy, restrictions on public events will be the last to ease.
A lack of certainty about the forthcoming festival summer is the primary cause for the second consecutive cancellation of Ruisrock (9–11 July 2021), the oldest festival in Finland and the second-oldest in Europe.
In a statement on the festival’s website, the organiser writes: “Our biggest wish this past year has been that we could organise Ruisrock again. The longing for the audience, performers and all of us for the festival has been hand touching and we did everything we could to have organised a party in Ruissalo after a hard year.
“There are no conditions for [gathering people] in the current uncertain situation”
“Ruisrock has gathered people together for over 50 years to experience unforgettable experiences. However, there are no conditions for this in the current uncertain situation, so it is with a broken heart that we have to cancel the summer festival.”
Martin Garrix, Major Lazer, Zara Larsson, Blackbear and Alan Walker were among the artists who would’ve played Ruisrock 2021. The festival will return between 8–10 July 2022 in Ruissalo, Turku.
The 50th-anniversary edition of Ilosaarirock – the second longest-running festival in Finland – has also been cancelled due to ‘the rapidly changing and largely uncertain situation with Covid-19’.
“We believe that Ilosaarirock deserves to be celebrated at full throttle and a scaled-down version of it just will not do,” reads a statement on the festival’s website. “Since the current situation is so unpredictable, it is simply not possible to go ahead and organise an event of this size and scale.”
Organisers have said that by cancelling this year’s festival they are able to secure the future of Ilosaarirock.
“It is simply not possible to go ahead and organise an event of this size and scale”
Liam Gallagher, Yungblud and Sam Feldt were due to play the 2021 edition. The 2022 edition of Ilosaarirock Festival is slated for 15–17 July in Joensuu.
In similar statements, the organisers say they are ‘focusing our energy on next year’s festival’.
Sideways, which would have hosted artists including Kelis, Jarvis Cocker and Belle & Sebastian, will return between 16–18 June, 2022.
Povinssi, which would have been headlined by Korn, Pendulum Trinity and The Offspring, will be held between 30 June–2 July next year.
Finland’s live events sector ‘on brink of collapse’
Up to 2,300 companies in Finland’s live sector expect to permanently close in the next six months if financial support isn’t quickly provided, according to a survey conducted last week by Event Industries Finland.
The association – which incorporates all major Finnish concert businesses, including Fullsteam Agency, Live Nation Finland, Warner Music Live and CTS Eventim’s Lippupiste – also found that almost 300 events are under immediate threat.
According to the association, there are around 3,200 companies involved in organising live events in Finland, with the total value of the industry estimated at €2.35 billion. The sector employs 20,000 full-time, and 175,000 temporary, workers.
The study found these have received approximately €85m in financial support, which counts for around 4.5% of the estimated €1.9bn financial loss the sector suffered during 2020.
According to Event Industries Finland (Tapahtumateollisuus), the latest event closure in the industry, which lasted more than two months, and the lack of an exit strategy “threaten the realisation of several major events this year and the future of the entire industry in Finland”.
“We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large the damage is”
The association is now calling for a roadmap for Finland’s return to live music, as well as financial security for the event industry – namely a government-backed guarantee fund which would give organisers the ability to plan for the future.
“We understand that a timetable for lifting restrictions cannot be promised, but defining and publishing criteria is essential. The industry will not be able to function without a future perspective. We are no longer talking about whether the companies in our industry will collapse, but about how large and long-lasting damage we will have to repair,” says Kati Kuusisto, director of Event Industry Association.
“Event guarantee services would strengthen the courage and ability of companies in our industry to plan for the future. The decision on support must be obtained quickly and effective support must take into account the entire business network in the sector. Several European countries have already announced similar subsidies.
“Audiences are also waiting for the return of events, and the return of tickets already sold for events carried over from last summer to this year has been very low. The state should strengthen the possibilities for starting the event industry for several reasons,” Kuusisto emphasises.
Finland: No events over 500 people until end of July
Finland has extended its ban on major events until at least 31 July, forcing the cancellation of many of the summer’s biggest music festivals, including some of Europe’s oldest open-air events.
Among the festivals affected by the extension, announced following a government meeting yesterday (23 April), are Ilosaarirock (17–19 July) in Joensuu – the second longest-running festival in Finland – and Fullsteam’s Provinssi (25–27 June) and Sideways (11–13 June), as well as several smaller events.
In near-identical statements, Provinssi, which debuted in 1979, and Sideways (which would have been headlined by System of a Down and the Chemical Brothers, and Kelis and Belle and Sebastian, respectively) say they are “heartbroken” by the cancellations and hope to announce the first performers for 2021 soon.
Joensuun Popmuusikot-organised Ilosaarirock says it “understands the government’s decision and accepts it”, and plans to make its delayed 50th-anniversary event in 2021 “the best festival ever”. Tones and I, Yungblud, Machine Gun Kelly and Sam Fender would have played Ilosaarirock 2020.
Elsewhere, Ruisrock – the oldest festival in Finland and the second-oldest in Europe, after the Netherlands’ similarly cancelled Pinkpop – was cancelled earlier this month on the order of Turku city authorities. It would have featured performances from Khalid, DaBaby, Zara Larsson and more.
“The decision … is the only responsible option in the current situation”
“Cancelling the festival is an extremely difficult decision for the organisers. We have been working for almost a year to bring more joy and happiness to the world through Ruisrock, like in the previous summers,” says Ruisrock promoter Mikko Niemelä. “For us and thousands of others, this festival is the highlight of the year, and it is heartbreaking to imagine a summer without Ruisrock.
“However, the decision we have made is the only responsible option in the current situation. The coronavirus spreads when people get together, so now is not the time to gather tens of thousands of people in the same place.”
The new guidelines in Finland follow similar decisions taken by governments elsewhere in Europe, including the Netherlands, where large events are banned until 1 September, and Germany, Belgium and Denmark, where a ban is in place until 31 August – as well as slightly shorter bans in France (mid-July) Austria (end of June) and Luxembourg (31 July) – and is in line with European Union guidance. In neighbouring Sweden, meanwhile, events over 50 people are off-limits for the foreseeable future.
“As far as events in late summer and early autumn are concerned, an assessment will be made no later than the start of June,” reads a statement from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, announcing the new restrictions.
Festival Fever: how summer 2020 is shaping up
The 2020 festival season, and the long nights, sunny days and happy times that come with it, may seem an age away as winter proper sets in for many across Europe. However, as the festival booking window moves ever earlier and line-up announcements come in thick and fast, there’s no better time to take a look at the top talent gracing the stages of major festivals next year.
Positivity characterised the reports from festival chiefs IQ spoke to at the end of the 2019 season, despite some having expressed concerns around the lack of talent on tour.
Full 2019 festival analysis will appear in the the European Festival Report in the end-of-year issue of IQ Magazine, providing an in-depth look at capacity and attendance, ticketing and pricing, VIP sales, challenges and concerns, new technology and much more.
Right now, however, we turn our focus to the 2020 season. Over the coming weeks, IQ will post regular updates of the line-ups that have already been revealed.
So, without further ado, let’s have a look at what our first round of festival bookers have in store for us over the summer to come…
British Summer Time Hyde Park
When: 3 to 12 July
Where: Hyde Park, London, UK
How many: 70,000
AEG’s British Summer Time (BST) Hyde Park has announced Little Mix as the first of six headline acts. The girl group will play on the opening Saturday (4 July) of the 2020 concert series. Taking place across two weekends, BST last year saw performances from Celine Dion, Stevie Wonder, Robbie Williams and Barbra Streisand.
BST, this year sponsored by American Express, was founded in 2013, after AEG signed a contract with the Royal Parks, the body that manages Hyde Park.
Elsewhere in London, AEG’s three-year-old All Points East has made its first line-up reveal in the form of Australian psych-pop titans Tame Impala.
Tickets for Little Mix at BST Hyde Park go on sale on Thursday 28 November at 9 a.m. (GMT). Tickets for Tame Impala at All Points East are available here, for £65.
AEG’s BST Hyde Park has announced Little Mix as the first of six headline acts
When: 12 to 14 June
Where: Donington Park, Leicestershire, England
How many: 110,000
Festival Republic’s Download festival is embarking on its 18th year in 2020, with headline acts Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down playing alongside Deftones, Gojira, Korn, the Offspring and Baby Metal.
Download’s popularity in the UK has led to an extension of the brand, with sister events spawning over the years in Australia, Japan, France and Spain. The rock festival has also been praised for its efforts around accessibility, sustainability and inclusivity.
Tickets for Download 2020 are available here. Weekend camping costs £250, with the non-camping option priced at £216.
Download embarks on its 18th year in 2020, with headline acts Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down
When: 19 to 21 June
Where: Eichenring in Scheeßel/Gewerbepark in Neuhausen ob Eck, Germany
How many: 68,000/60,000
FKP Scorpio’s twin festivals, Hurricane and Southside, contributed to the German promoter’s best-ever weekend last year. The 2020 editions of the festivals see recently announced acts the Killers and Rise Against join a bill also featuring Martin Garrix, the Lumineers, Twenty One Pilots, the 1975, Kings of Leon, Seeed and Bring Me the Horizon.
Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO and head of festival booking at FKP Scorpio, recently lauded the diversity of the Scorpio festival portfolio, which includes “intimate indoor festivals” as well as multi-day open air affairs like Hurricane and Southside.
Tickets for Hurricane/Southside 2020 are available here, priced at €189 (£161) for three days. The price will go up to €199 (£170) at 12 p.m. (CET) on 2 December, when a limited number of €99 (£85) day tickets will be released.
The 2020 editions of the festivals see recently announced acts the Killers and Rise Against
When: 8 to 11 July
Where: Espacio Mad Cool, Madrid, Spain
How many: 60,000
Changes are afoot as Live Nation’s Mad Cool festival enters its fifth year, with a 25% reduction in capacity and extra day of programming. Already confirmed acts for the extended 2020 event include Taylor Swift, the Killers, Kings of Leon, Faith No More, Billie Eilish, Twenty One Pilots, Foals and Anderson Paak.
“Our promise to the music world and the audience is this,” state organisers, “that Mad Cool 2020 will be better quality, more exciting, more spectacular, more memorable, safe, comfortable and sustainable than ever before.”
Tickets for Mad Cool 2020 will be available on 1 December at 12 p.m. (CET). A one-day festival ticket costs €65 (£56), with a four-day pass priced at €159 (£136).
Already confirmed acts for the extended 2020 event include Taylor Swift, the Killers, Kings of Leon and Billie Eilish
When: 25 to 27 June
Where: Törnävänsaari, Seinäjoki, Finland
How many: 32,000
Founded in 1979, Fullsteam Agency’s Provinssi festival counts System of a Down, the Chemical Brothers, Hassisen Kone, Korn, Gojira, Deftones, Charli XCX and Hatari among its 2020 acts.
Provinssi recorded its second-highest attendance in history (76,000) at it 40th anniversary event in 2018, contributing to a record-breaking summer for Fullsteam in 2018, which forms part of the FKP Scorpio group.
Earl bird tickets are now available, with one-day passes costing €89 (£76) and a three-day ticket priced at €149 (£127).
Fullsteam Agency’s Provinssi festival counts System of a Down, the Chemical Brothers and Korn among its 2020 acts
When: 27 June to 4 July
Where: Roskilde, Denmark
How many: 85,000
Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, non-profit Roskilde festival has announced a handful of acts so far including Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Pusha T, Mura Masa and Whitney.
Speaking to IQ following a “fantastic” 2019 edition, Roskilde chief executive Signe Lopdrup stressed the importance of having a future-facing attitude as the anniversary event draws near, stating that, “one of our goals is to show fans something they haven’t seen before.”
Tickets for the full eight-day festival experience plus camping are available here for DDK2250 (£257).
Roskilde festival has announced a handful of acts so far including Taylor Swift, Thom Yorke and Pusha T
When: 10 to 12 July
Where: Glasgow Green, Glasgow, Scotland
How many: 50,000
The fourth edition of DF Concerts’ city-centre festival Trnsmt will see headline performances from Courteeners, Liam Gallagher and Lewis Capaldi.
Ian Brown, Sam Fender, Foals, Keane, Snow Patrol and Rita Ora are also on the bill for the 2020 festival, following a sell-out third year in which the event became “an established part of Glasgow’s cultural calendar”, according to festival director Geoff Ellis.
“The response that we’ve had to Trnsmt since we launched in 2017 is amazing to see,” comments Ellis.
“The fact that it has become such a pillar of the UK festival scene every year is testament to the incredible music fans that we have here in this country.”
Tickets for Trnsmt 2020 go on sale on Friday 30 November at 9 a.m.
The New Bosses 2018: Aino-Maria Paasivirta, Fullsteam
The New Bosses 2018 – the latest edition of IQ’s annual list of future live business leaders – received a rapturous industry response following its publication in IQ 78, with friends and colleagues of the winning ten agents, promoters and other rising stars rushing to congratulate the class of 2018.
In putting together the list, 2018’s New Bosses gave IQ lengthy interviews spotlighting their careers so far, as well as insights into their working methods and tips for those hoping to follow in their footsteps. While these were (owing to the limitations of a print magazine) edited heavily, they’ll be reproduced in full online and on IQ Index over the coming weeks.
The fifth New Boss, Finnish promoter Aino-Maria Paasivirta, interned at Fullsteam Agency while studying in Helsinki for a degree in cultural management. After graduating, she worked at Copenhagen venue Pumpehuset before returning to Fullsteam as assistant to founder Rauha Kyyrö.
Since then she has worked with the likes of Big Boi, José González, Franz Ferdinand, Wiz Khalifa, Jack White, Volbeat and Justin Bieber, and recently took on the role of full-time promoter. (Read the previous New Bosses interview, with UTA’s Maxim Karlik, here.)
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m lucky enough to be working with a variety of different-sized bands and venues, from a couple of hundred-capacity venues to arenas. I have been booking foreign artists to Provinssi Festival (32,000-cap.) together with Rauha the last three years.
I am also the promoter for Allas Sea Pool, a 2,500-capacity outdoor venue in downtown Helsinki.
Is there anyone that you can name as a mentor?
I don’t think I’ve ever actually called her my mentor, but I would not be where I am today without Rauha Kyyrö’s constant support. She keeps pushing me forward on many levels, and I’m lucky enough to not just call her my boss but also my friend.
I’m also grateful to be sharing my office with whom I’d call Finland’s best agents and promoters.
As a New Boss, how would you improve the way business is done?
Not as much a specific practice, but I think we would all benefit from talking about equality – and, more importantly, taking actions to improve equality within the business.
What has been the most exciting event you have been involved with in 2018?
It was wonderful to be a part of the 40th-anniversary edition of Provinssi Festival. The festival looked great, we had a wonderful line-up and it was just great to see how much the festival has evolved and that all the hard work put into the festival has paid off.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned while at Fullsteam?
I don’t think it’s possible to mention just one thing – I’ve learnt so much at Fullsteam. Having been PA to someone who works with such a variety of acts, both international and domestic, was such an eye-opening experience. For example, one of my first tasks as PA to Rauha was doing ticketing for an arena tour, for a domestic act that we represent, to which we sold 75,000 tickets. Some of the venues had never hosted concerts before, so that was quite an experience!
“When you’re willing to accept challenges, work hard and learn from your mistakes, you will be rewarded”
Also, having never done ticketing before, it wasn’t easy, but I learnt so much from it. I think when you’re willing to accept challenges, work hard and learn from your mistakes, you will be rewarded. I also think that having done a variety of different tasks has helped me understand the business better, and what it takes to put together great events.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt at Fullsteam is that when you get to work with people you can call your friends, you’ll always be ready to go that extra mile for them and they’ll be ready to do the same for you. Not to mention that being at the office is then a lot of fun.
What do you do in your spare time to relax?
I like going to shows. Sometimes when I really need to clear my head I read, go to dance class or study a language on an app. I guess it’s good to activate your brain with something that has nothing to do with your job every now and then.
What advice would you give anyone who wants to get into the live music business?
Be ready to work hard, and always try to see as many sides of the business as you can. If you have the chance to do and internship or get a job opportunity abroad, take it.
You’ll not only learn about the business, but about yourself as well.
Fullsteam celebrates record-breaking summer
The summer of 2018 has been the biggest to date for Finnish promoter Fullsteam Agency, whose recent festivals Provinssi and Sideways attracted a combined audience of 102,000 visitors.
Provinssi celebrated its 40th anniversary over 28–30 June, featuring performances by Volbeat, Prophets of Rage, French Montana, the Offspring, Biffy Clyro, Run the Jewels and more. Over three days, the festival recorded the second-largest attendance in its history, with 76,000 people making congregating on the town of Seinäjoki, in western Finland.
“I am extremely happy and proud to say that our anniversary edition was able to fulfil our expectations, and beyond,” says festival director Sami Rumpunen. “The history and tradition of Provinssi as a major groundbreaker within the Finnish festival market is an endless fuel for us each and every day.
“We are now turning the focus towards taking another big step in developing a next-level festival experience.”
“The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re already looking forward to and planning the next edition”
Sideways, held in Helsinki on the weekend of 8–10 June, drew a record audience, with 26,000 visitors – over 10,000 more than the previous high, largely owing to the addition of a third day. The festival’s headliners included Mø, A Perfect Circle and the National.
Previously a two-day event, the festival added one more day and moved to a new festival site in central Helsinki. With three stages outdoors and three indoors, along with designated venues for non-music programming, such as art exhibitions, pinball arcade, beer yoga and ‘bird karaoke’.
“The new site worked really well and its functionality exceeded all our expectations,” says Fullsteam promoter Artemi Remes. “All shows were well attended and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re already looking forward to and planning the next edition of Sideways.”
Fullsteam Agency is part of German’s FKP Scorpio group.