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UK prepares for biggest festival weekend in two years

More than half a million people are expected at open-air music events across the UK over the next four days for the biggest festival weekend since summer 2019.

Among the major festivals making their long-awaited, non-socially distanced returns after a year off this long weekend – Monday is a public holiday in England – are Live Nation UK’s Creamfields (Thursday 26–Sunday 29 August), AEG Presents’ All Points East (Friday 27–Monday 30 August), Festival Republic’s Reading and Leeds Festivals (27–29 August) and Superstruct Entertainment’s Victorious Festival (27–29 August), as well as a handful of smaller events.

Citing the success of the national Covid-19 vaccine roll-out, the UK government did away with the last social distancing regulations in England on 19 July (so-called ‘freedom day’) and a number of music festivals, notably Tramlines, Latitude, Standon Calling and Boardmasters, have taken place since, most with a system of Covid-status certification in place based on the NHS (National Health Service) app.

After its cancellation in 2020, Creamfields, the UK’s biggest dance music event, returns to its long-time home in Daresbury, Cheshire, with performances by Basement Jaxx, Jaxx, Tiësto, Peggy Gou, Eric Prydz, Chemical Brothers, Carl Cox, Andy C, Scooter, Paul Van Dyck, Pete Tong, Martin Garrix and more.

Though Creamfields has not announced a capacity reduction for 2021 – a full complement of ten stages of music will be in operation from Friday to Sunday – the event will be fully cashless for the first time, with only electronic payments available at all bars and concessions.

The return of twin festivals Reading and Leeds, Stormzy, Liam Gallagher, Post Malone, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Disclosure and Biffy Clyro, will be “a real[ly] emotional time” for the mainly young people attending, who have had “the worst 18 months for that generation almost since the invention of the teenager in the late 50s, when teenagers became a thing,” Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn tells the BBC.

The festivals will also be home to pop-up vaccination clinics which the NHS says will make it as easy to get a jab as a burger or beer.

“The live music industry is holding itself to a higher standard than any other sector in terms of Covid measures”

London’s All Points East, which this year incorporates Field Day, is AEG Presents’ first festival in the UK since British Summer Time in Hyde Park in July 2019. Moved from its traditional spring dates, the festival opens with London Grammar headlining tonight, with other headliners across the weekend including Jorja Smith, Jamie XX, Kano and Foals, as well as Bicep at Field Day on Sunday.

The festival, held in Victoria Park, will be attended by in excess of 40,000 people a day, having boosted its capacity since 2019.

“We are already experiencing such a great feeling from everyone on site: happy faces of fans, artists and staff coming back together for a brilliant music festival,” AEG’s head of European festivals, Jim King, tells IQ. “There is excitement and anticipation, everyone getting to know each other again and discovering their new favourite artist or looking forward to the big headliners. For us at All Points East, it is our first opportunity to put into practice what we do best and that in itself is a brilliant feeling.

“We have sold 160,000 tickets for four days. It’s clear that everyone is eager to get back to live music and after All Points East being away for 817 days, it is really satisfying to know that. The live music industry is holding itself to a higher standard than any other sector in terms of Covid measures. We can be proud that our industry is leading the way in staff and customer safety.”

In Portsmouth, Madness, the Streets, Royal Blood, Manic Street Preachers, Supergrass and Nile Rogers and Chic are leading Victorious Festival’s return.

Like all the festivals mentioned, Victorious festivalgoers will need to demonstrate their negative Covid-19 status – proof of full vaccination or immunity, or a negative test – to gain entry.

While concerns have been raised about the impact of large events like festivals on Covid-19 transmission, scientists say the trigger points for spreading the virus are public transport and shared cars to get to events, Reuters reports, as outdoor gatherings can be relatively risk free, as demonstrated by pilot events in the UK and elsewhere.

 


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British fests sell out as more confirm 2021 dates

Three of the UK’s most popular music festivals, Reading Festival, Creamfields and Boomtown, have sold out their 2021 editions in the past 24 hours, underlining the huge demand for festival tickets among locked-down British live music fans.

Festival Republic’s Reading Festival, which normally has a capacity of 105,000, was one of several festivals to confirm this week they intend to go ahead in 2021, taking place alongside its sister Leeds Festival in the last weekend in August.

All 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.

Dance music festival Creamfields, promoted by Live Nation UK’s Cream Holdings, says it sold out in record time ahead of its return this summer. The festival, which has run since 1998 (since 2006 in its current location on the 70,000-capacity Daresbury estate in Cheshire), also takes place across the August bank holiday weekend (26–29 August).

That many fans held onto their 2020 tickets, says Cream, is “positive news for the live music industry, which has largely remained closed over the last 12 months. The news follows the prime minister’s ‘roadmap’ address on Monday that allows the safe return of large-scale outdoor events this summer.”

“This is positive news for the live music industry, which has largely remained closed over the last 12 months”

British prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday (22 February) that all lockdown measures should be lifted in England from 21 June, theoretically allowing large outdoor events such as festivals to take place with no restrictions. Industry response to the announcement was largely positive, though live music businesses and associations are seeking more clarity as to what will be possible.

Among the 300 artists and DJs performing at Creamfields 2021 are Bicep, Afrojack, Alesso, Carl Cox, Pete Tong, pendulum, Gorgon City, Sub Focus, Claptone, Sigma, Andy C, Martin Garrix, Sigma and Nina Kraviz.

Independent festival Boomtown, which typically has a capacity of more than 70,000, has scaled down its event for this year’s ‘Chapter One: The Gathering’-themed festival, which celebrates a “post-pandemic world” of “connection, community and celebration”. The line-up will also be kept secret until around a week before the festival.

Explaining the decision last year, organisers said: “[T]here are many aspects to the way the music industry runs that don’t work for independent festivals. The complex process of releasing a music line-up, with the exclusivity, billing and escalating costs ,has led us to decide this is the time to rethink the way we approach it and explore new ways of doing things.

“We have always been a creatively led festival and people attend Boomtown because of the overall experience.  We will continue to book incredible headline artists, and all the festival favourites, but by approaching our programming announcements in this radical way, we can create line-ups that are even more phenomenal and diverse than we have ever been able to before.”

“The anticipation to get back to showcasing the best in new music has never been greater”

Fans responded to the change, with over 90% of 2020 ticket holders declining a refund, and tickets for the 2021 edition, held as usual near Winchester in Hampshire, selling out last night.

Also riding the wave of fan demand is London’s Field Day, which announced just before 9pm yesterday (25 February) that it, too, had sold out its 2021 edition and second outing at the post-industrial Drumsheds venue in Enfield, north London.

Like its cancelled 2020 festival, Field Day 2021 will be a one-day, electronic music-focused event headlined by DJs Bicep. Other performers playing the Drumsheds, which has a capacity of 25,000, include Maribou State, Ross from Friends, Floating Points and Adelphi Music Factory.

https://twitter.com/fielddaylondon/status/1365040858198921216

The sellouts come as more festivals confirm they will be going ahead later this summer, with Liverpool Sound City, Gala Festival, Wilderness and Mighty Hoopla all announcing or re-confirming their 2021 dates in the wake of Johnson’s announcement.

“I can’t believe that it’s been nearly two years since the last time we came together at Sound City, and the anticipation to get back to showcasing the best in new music has never been greater,” says Sound City MD Becky Ayres. “Enjoying amazing new artists in incredible venues is what makes Sound City great, and we’re excited to bring together genre-pushing favourites, thrilling live bands and must-see moments this October.”

Sound City 2021 takes place from 1 to 3 October with artists including the Lathums, Rejjie Snow, the Mysterines, Red Rum Club and the Murder Capital.

 


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UK festivals plot comebacks as optimism grows

A growing number of UK festival operators are confident their events should take place in some capacity this summer, bolstered by plans to allow full-capacity outdoor shows in England from June (as well as a viral tweet from Reading and Leeds Festivals).

British prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday (22 February) that all lockdown measures should be lifted in England from 21 June, theoretically allowing large outdoor events such as festivals to take place with no restrictions. Industry response to the announcement was largely positive, though live music businesses and associations are seeking more clarity as to what will be possible.

Speaking after the announcement, Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, said he is “optimistic that many of our member festivals may be able to go ahead in some capacity later on this year. There are still, however, some urgent points of clarity that need to be made around the exact requirements that festival organisers will need to meet, in particular around testing and Covid certification.”

Also optimistic about this summer is Festival Republic, which tweeted yesterday that, “following the government’s recent announcement”, its Reading (105,000-cap.) and Leeds Festivals (75,000-cap.) “can’t wait to [welcome] fans back to the fields” this summer:

https://twitter.com/OfficialRandL/status/1364526936660336643

The sister festivals are scheduled for Friday 27 to Sunday 29 August and boast a largely British line-up, though there are several international artists – including Americans Madison Beer, Fever 333, Ashnikko and, notably, headliner Post Malone – booked to perform.

“We cannot wait to open our gates and welcome both fans and artists”

Speaking to the NME last month, Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn said that while the festival sector is relying on “the vaccine first and testing second”, his ‘Full-Capacity Plan’ would allow for major events to go ahead even before the UK achieves herd immunity to the virus. “It could be a mix of both,” he explained. “I feel that we can get away with shows purely on testing. It’s immensely hard work, but operationally doable and hopefully unnecessary. The Full Capacity Plan was always based on verification of being clear of Covid, or clear of being in danger of Covid.

“The vaccination, and verification that you’ve had it, would give you that safety of knowing that you’re not going to get super ill. It will work, providing that they can get the majority of the people in the country vaccinated, and as long as there are enough people at the event who have been vaccinated.”

Among the other UK festivals that have indicated they will take place this summer – all after the key date of 21 June – are pop-punk event Slam Dunk, Americana weekender Black Deer, drum’n’bass festival Hospitality Weekend in the Woods and a new one-day London event, Wide Awake.

Slam Dunk said on Tuesday (23 February) that both Slam Dunk North in Leeds and Slam Dunk South in Hatfield (both 22,000-cap.) would be pushed back to September from their original dates in May.

In a statement, the independent festival said it had already predicated that the original dates would not be feasible and had, “of course, been working hard on rescheduled dates”.

Slam Dunk has yet to announce its 2021 line-up although organisers say it should “remain very similar” to 2020’s cancelled event, which would have featured Sum 41, Don Broco, NOFX, Billy Talent, the Used and more.

“Following the government’s recent announcement, we can’t wait to get back to the fields this summer”

Black Deer, meanwhile, is taking place just a week after originally planned, returning to its 20,000-capacity Eridge Park site in Kent on 25–27 June.

The 2021 festival is headlined by Van Morrison, Wilco, the Waterboys and Robert Plant’s band Saving Grace, with other performers including Lucinda Williams, the Dead South, Imelda May and Drive-By Truckers.

Speaking to Access All Areas, Black Deer promoter Gill Tee said the festival is “planning for a full-capacity event” in June, and that “ticket sales are moving towards that number”.

Wide Awake, a new festival of “leftfield indie, post-punk, electronic, techno and jazz” which was originally due to debut in 2020, takes place on 3 September at Brockwell Park in south London (formerly home to Field Day) with artists including Black Midi, Songhoy Blues, Tinariwen, A Certain Ratio and Erol Alkan.

Organiser Marcus Weedon, who co-founded Field Day in 2007, comments: “We’re incredibly excited to finally be able to bring this very special show to London this September. It’s been a tough year for everyone, not least the festival and event industry, and we have been working very hard to ensure Wide Awake is brilliantly curated with the safety of everyone at the forefront.

“We cannot wait to open our gates and welcome both fans and artists in what is going to be an incredibly special event this year.”

 


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Fraudsters target UK’s festival season

A number of UK festivals that have been forced to go online due to coronavirus restrictions have been targeted by streaming scammers.

The scams involve fraudsters setting up fake Facebook pages and unofficial events, charging individuals to view free live streams or old footage, and posting comments or links under the guise of fans.

Kevin Tate, the editor of Festival & Events UK, told The Guardian he uncovered approximately 39 fake links to the Bristol event Love Saves the Day and more than 41 links to Reading and Leeds festival, which featured footage from previous years.

Tate says many of the fake pages were set up close to before the event started, and often registered to countries such as Bangladesh. He says individuals have had varying amounts of money taken from their accounts for free services, ranging from £2.95 to £7.50.

“I do know some festivals have had live streams over the weekends, and I do know people are clicking on the links and getting charged different amounts,” he told The Guardian. “One person will get charged a couple of pence, and the other will get charged pounds.

“This may seem a small amount, but if you think about it, if the scammers get 100 people to click on their link, and people are charged different amounts, then it’s all going to add up.”

“If the scammers get 100 people to click on their link, and people are charged different amounts, then it’s all going to add up”

According to Vicky Carter, a freelance reporter for the BBC, festivals including Glasthomebury, Shindig Festival, and Boomtown Festival have also been targeted by streaming scammers.

The streaming scammers issue first emerged in July when two fake pages, one posing as Universal Music Group (@GroupMusicUniversal) and the other going under the name of Live Concert Music were uncovered.

The sites listed live streams for Rolling Loud Portugal, Michael Kiwanuka and Jill Scott, Cage the Elephant, Montreux Jazz Festival, Nickelback, Robbie Williams, Brad Paisley and Dave Matthews Band, among others.

Almost all streams were listed as happening on the same day, with links landing on pages for sites called Eventflix and Stream Concert. A section below the supposed streams showed comments from “fans” – almost identical for each one – discussing the lack of lag, commending the quality of the stream and recommending the service to others.

Viewers were encouraged to register for free in order to view the content, leading to a page asking for contact details and other information.

Members of the public have been encouraged to protect themselves against streaming scammers by joining Friends Against Scams, a free online initiative that provides training to help people take a stand against scams.

 


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2020 Reading and Leeds Festivals cancelled

There will be no Reading or Leeds Festivals this August, promoter Festival Republic (FR) has confirmed.

The cancellation of the major UK festivals – which usually take place over the late summer bank holiday weekend (28–30 August) – follows that of other FR events including Download, Latitude and Wireless in the UK, Electric Picnic in the Republic of Ireland and Lollapalooza Berlin in Germany.

“We’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation and we were hopeful we could deliver the ultimate festival to you in August; something to look forward to in these strange and confusing times,” reads a joint statement from both events. “However, it has become clear that it’s just not possible for this year’s festival to go ahead.”

Stormzy, Liam Gallagher and Rage Against the Machine were among the acts who were scheduled to play both events, which take place simultaneously in Reading, in the south of England, and Leeds, in Yorkshire in the north.

“We’re already counting down the days to when we’re back in the fields”

Nearly 200,000 people a day attended Reading and Leeds 2019, headlined by the 1975, Foo Fighters, Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots and featuring an appearance by then-rising star Billie Eilish.

“We’re already counting down the days to when we’re back in the fields we call home for the August bank holiday weekend. We promise you that Reading and Leeds 2021 will be worth the wait,” the announcement continues.

“Keep safe, keep healthy and look after each other.”

 


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Festival Fever: updates on 2020 summer

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ rounds up line-ups from Bluedot, Sziget festival, Reading and Leeds, Lowlands, Flow Festival and Montreux Jazz Festival.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Bluedot

When: 23 to 26 July
Where: Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, UK
How many: 16,000

From the Fields’ Bluedot festival, which takes place each year at the Jodrell Band Observatory – a recently declared UNESCO World Heritage site – is back for its fifth outing in 2020 with another packed programme of music and science.

Friday night sees dance act Groove Armada head up the main stage, with indie-electro group Metronomy headlining on Saturday. The final day of the festival will close with a UK festival exclusive from Björk, who is performing alongside Manchester’s Halle Orchestra to a backdrop of bespoke projections on Jodrell Bank’s crowning jewel, the Lovell Telescope.

Elsewhere, performances will come from 808 State, Roisin Murphy, Crazy P, Spiritualized and Daniel Avery.

Last year’s Bluedot, which coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing, saw headline performances from Hot Chip, Kraftwerk and New Order.

Tickets for Bluedot 2020 are available here, priced at £168.75 for a weekend camping ticket.

The final day of the festival will close with a UK festival exclusive from Björk

Sziget

When: 5 to 11 August
Where: Obuda island, Budapest, Hungary
How many: 60,000

Hungarian mega-festival Sziget released the first wave of its line-up last week, with a total of five headline acts announced so far.

Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Kings of Leon, Major Lazer and the Strokes will head up the main stage at the week-long festival, with ASAP Rocky, Khalid, Stormzy, Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Mark Ronson, Foster the People, Diplo and FKA Twigs among other acts performing at the event.

Over 530,000 people attended Sziget 2019, which saw nine headline performances over seven days from Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Florence and the Machine, Martin Garrix, the 1975, Twenty One Pilots, the National and Macklemore.

Providence Equity partners took a 70% stake in Sziget promoter Sziget Cultural Management in 2017, as the festival became one of the first assets in the now-significant Superstruct portfolio.

Tickets for Sziget 2020 are available here, with a full seven-day pass costing €299 (£249) and a VIP pass priced at €599 (£499). Prices go up on 3 March.

Calvin Harris, Dua Lipa, Kings of Leon, Major Lazer and the Strokes will head up the main stage

Reading and Leeds

When: 28 to 30 August
Where: Richfield Avenue, Reading/Bramham Park, Leeds, UK
How many: 100,000

Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds will be headed up by Rage Against the Machine this year, with fellow headliners Stormzy and Liam Gallagher.

Other performers at 2020 events include Run the Jewels, Courteeners, Migos, Gerry Cinnamon, AJ Tracey, Sam Fender, Rex Orange County, Slowthai and Idles.

The festivals last year recorded their hottest and biggest year yet, with nearly 200,00 people a day collectively attending the twin events over the hottest August bank holiday on record. Headline performances came from the 1975, Foo Fighters and Twenty One Pilots, with then-rising star, now multi award-winner Billie Eilish producing what “may well have been the biggest crowd at a Reading show ever”.

Tickets to Reading and Leeds festivals are available here, with a weekend ticket priced at £232.20 and day tickets priced between £81.50 and £86.50.

Reading and Leeds will be headed up by Rage Against the Machine, with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher

A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise

When: 21 to 23 August
Where: Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands
How many: 55,000

Mojo Concerts’ A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise, or Lowlands, has confirmed the first 55 acts for its 2020 festival.

The Chemical Brothers, Foals, Lewis Capaldi, Liam Gallagher, Stormzy and Michael Kiwanuka are among acts playing at this year’s event.

The 2019 edition of Lowlands sold out for the fastest time in years, with a line-up featuring Tame Impala, Twenty One Pilots, ASAP Rocky and New Order.

In a bid to make future events more sustainable, Mojo is working together with renewable energy producer Solarfields to develop a 35-hectare solar farm on the Lowlands festival car park, due to be completed in time for 2021 festival.

Festival tickets for Lowlands 2020 have sold out, but €605 (£504) group camping tickets (up to 8 people) are still available here.

The Chemical Brothers, Foals and Lewis Capaldi are among acts playing at this year’s event

Flow Festival

When: 14 to 16 August
Where: Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki-based, multi-venue music and arts event Flow Festival is playing host to acts including Bon Iver, Mac DeMarco, Stormzy, the Strokes, FKA Twigs and 070 Shake.

The festival marks the Strokes’ first-ever Finnish appearance and comes in a string of Scandinavian festival appearances, adding to slots at Norway’s Oya festival and Way Out West in Sweden.

James Barton-led festival owner/operator Superstruct acquired a stake in Flow Festival in November 2018.

Tickets for Flow Festival 2020 are available here, with a one-day ticket costing €105 (£88) and a three-day passed priced at €195 (£163).

The festival marks the Strokes’ first-ever Finnish appearance

Montreux Jazz Festival

When: 3 to 18 July
Where: Montreux, Switzerland
How many: 200,000 (whole festival)

Lionel Richie, Lenny Kravitz, Brittany Howard and Black Pumas are the first acts announced this year’s Montreux Jazz Festival (MJF).

Taking place on the banks of Lake Geneva, MJF celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2016 and last year played host to performers including Elton John, Snarky Puppy, Lewis Capaldi, George Ezra, Lizzo, the Chemical Brothers, Mac DeMarco and Quincy Jones.

The MJF team last year launched media company Montreux Media Ventures, which is working together with luxury hotel chain Fairmont Hotels and Resort Group to establish a concert series across the group’s properties and keep the MJF spirit alive all year.

Tickets to Montreux Jazz Festival 2020 will become available on March 27, the day after the full programme is released.

 


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Billie Eilish to debut Bond theme at 2020 Brits

Billie Eilish will perform the official theme song to the new James Bond film live for the first time at the Brit Awards 2020 on Tuesday 18 February.

The Paradigm-repped artist, who recently became the second artist ever to take home all four top awards at the Grammys, is debuting ‘No Time to Die’ with her brother and producer Finneas, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr and an orchestral arrangement by Hans Zimmer and Matt Dunkley.

Eilish is nominated for the international female solo artist award at the Brits, along with Ariana Grande, Lana Del Rey, Lizzo and Camila Cabello.

Taking place at London’s 20,000-capacity O2 Arena, other performances at the live-focused event will come from Brits rising star winner Celeste, Dave, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Lizzo, Mabel and Stormzy and will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall.

London rapper Dave and scottish singer Lewis Capaldi lead the way with Brit nominations this year, with four apiece for male solo artist, song of the year, album of the year and best new artist.

Billie Eilish will perform the official theme song to the new James Bond film live for the first time at the Brit Awards 2020

Mabel is also nominated for multiple awards, appearing in the female solo artist, song of the year and best new artist nominees. Across the eight categories awarded on the night, the singer is the only woman to receive a nomination outside of the female-only awards, asides from Miley Cyrus’ feature on Mark Ronson’s ‘Nothing Breaks Like a Heart’ in the song of the year category.

Stormzy – who is this year headlining Reading and Leeds, Pohoda and Sziget – is up for male solo artist, song of the year and album of the year.

The Brits is this year partnering with short-form mobile video platform TikTok, which will livestream the arrival of nominees and others on the Brits red carpet, including an exclusive live performance from Lewis Capaldi.

“Our BRITs 2020 partnership is part of a wider UK programme that aims at collaborating with and educating labels, managers and artists to make the most out of the platform, taking advantage of TikTok’s unique creativity to engage with their fans and connect with a new global audience,” comments Paul Hourican, TikTok’s head of music operations, UK.

Hourican will be delivering a workshop on how music industry professionals can make the most of TikTok at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) on 4 March.

The Brit Awards 2020 is taking place on Tuesday 18 February at the O2, broadcast live on ITV from 7.30 p.m.

 


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RATM announce European festival run

In their first shows in ten years, Rage Against the Machine will be appearing at Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK, Ireland’s Electric Picnic, Lollapalooza Berlin and French festival Rock en Seine.

The dates form part of the band’s upcoming global arena tour, which include other European stops at the O2 Arena in Prague (18,000-cap,), the Czech Republic, and the Tauron Arena (22,000-cap.) in Krakow, Poland.

Rage Against the Machine are heading up Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds (100,000-cap.) along with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher. Run the Jewels, who are supporting Rage Against the Machine on their global arena tour, are appearing on the main stage on the same day as the band (28 August at Leeds and 30 August for Reading) at both festivals.

Other performers include Courteeners, Migos, Gerry Cinnamon, AJ Tracey, Sam Fender, Rex Orange County, Slowthai and Idles.

Rage Against the Machine are also performing at Festival Republic’s sold-out Electric Picnic festival in county Laois, Ireland, which is taking place from 4 to 6 September with an increased capacity of 70,000.

Rage Against the Machine are heading up Festival Republic’s twin festivals Reading and Leeds (100,000-cap.) along with Stormzy and Liam Gallagher

The band will make its only German appearance of the year at Lollapalooza Berlin, which is organised by FRHUG Festival GmbH, a joint venture between Hörstmann/Melt! and Festival Republic. The festival is returning for its third year at Berlin’s 90,000-capacity Olympic Stadium from 5 to 6 September.

The final European festival date sees Rage Against the Machine travel to Paris for Rock en Seine (120,000-cap.), which is jointly owned by AEG Presents and Matthieu Pigasse’s LNEI. The band will again be joined by Run the Jewels for their first appearance in France for 12 years.

Rage Against the Machine’s tour begins on 26 March in El Paso, Texas, with the band performing a run of 27 shows at arenas across the United States and Canada, as well as festival appearances at Coachella Valley Music, Boston Calling, Firefly, Ottawa Bluesfest and Quebec Summer Festival.

A full list of arena dates and ticket information can be found here. Tickets for Reading and Leeds festivals go on sale on Thursday 13 February at 9 a.m, with Rock en Seine tickets being released on 12 February at 12 noon (CET). Lollapalooza Berlin tickets are available here.

 


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FR launches International Women’s Day event

Festival Republic has announced ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day, a networking event for women across the live music industry, as part of the promoter’s gender equality programme, ReBalance.

The event is taking place at the 900-capacity Union Chapel in Islington, London, on Sunday 8 March, the day dedicated to recognising the movement for women’s rights worldwide.

Last year’s International Women’s Day saw pop star Dua Lipa speak at the International Live Music Conference (ILMC) in London, who illustrated the struggle faced by young female artists trying to break into the industry.

Festival Republic is looking to combat this, with a daytime programme aimed at introducing those who want a career in the industry to women working within it. Professionals from Festival Republic, Live Nation, PRS Foundation, Academy Music Group, Sony Music, MAMA, Melody VR, Metropolis Music, the BBC, National Merchandise and Safe Gigs for Women will be in present to offer advice and deliver educational talks.

An evening performance from singer Nilüfer Yanya will follow the networking event, as well as appearances from Martha Hill and Tamzene, two artists to have come through Festival Republic’s ReBalance programme.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further”

Launched in 2017, ReBalance is a six-year programme combatting the gender imbalance within the music industry. It offers five day’s studio time to one core female-identified band and artist each month, as well as a slot of a Festival Republic or Live Nation festival.

So far, 300 nominations have been made across six rounds, with 19 finalists performing live at The Great Escape, Wireless, Latitude and Reading and Leeds Festivals.

“We are incredibly proud of what ReBalance has achieved, so it only made sense to take the scheme further by hosting an event on International Women’s Day for those who want to meet women in the industry,” says the ReBalance team.

“Aimed at newcomers or if you’re just curious, this event is the chance to learn from the brightest stars and pick up some tips. Lack of female representation in music is an industry-wide issue, and we want to level it.”

Day tickets for ReBalance Celebrates International Women’s Day can be purchased for a £2 charity donation to Safe Gigs for Women, with evening tickets priced at £17.50. All tickets are available here.

Photo: Paul Hudson/Flickr (cropped) (CC BY 2.0)

 


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Green campaigners call for festival tent tax

UK-based environmental organisations have urged for a deposit scheme to be implemented on festival camping tickets, with funds returned to those who take their tents home.

Clean Up Britain called for a £25 “tent tax” to be paid by all those bringing a tent to a festival, with founder John Read stating it was “very sad to see so many tents abandoned” this summer.

It is estimated that 250,000 tents are left at UK music festivals each year, resulting in almost 900 tonnes of plastic waste every year.

“That is hypocrisy, leaving tents in an age where we are doing our best to fight plastic bags and water bottles,” says Allison Ogden-Newton, chief executive of anti-litter charity Keep Britain Tidy.

“That is hypocrisy, leaving tents in an age where we are doing our best to fight plastic bags and water bottles”

The proposed “tent tax” is the latest in a host of initiatives to cut down on tent-related plastic waste at festivals. The Association for Independent Festivals (AIF) this year launched a campaign urging festivalgoers to take their tents home.

A 2016 pledge to reduce waste at Glastonbury Festival reaped rewards this year, with organiser Emily Eavis announcing that over 99% of tents were taken home after the 2019 festival, an 81% increase from 2017.

Many festivals implemented their own green initiatives, including Reading/ Leeds Festivals, Sziget, Roskilde, Tinderbox and Lowlands. Live Nation also launched its Green Nation campaign this year, committing to eliminating single-use plastics at all its events and venues by 2021.

 


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