V Festival returns for 2020 as online event
The UK’s V Festival – which in its heyday drew crowds of 170,000 across two sites in Essex and Staffordshire – will return as a one-off digital event later this month.
V Festival 2020 will be broadcast as a three-part television special on 21, 22 and 23 August. Festival headliners are Olly Murs, Dizzee Rascal and Anne-Marie, who will perform live from the original V Festival site at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex.
In addition to new performances livestreamed from Hylands Park, the ITV2 special will also feature archival footage of past V Festival performances, as well as interviews with artists about their favourite V sets and memories. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks.
Cilesta Van Doorn, executive director of brand and marketing at broadband company Virgin Media, which is behind V Festival 2020, says: “We are thrilled to announce that V Festival will be returning in 2020 with a virtual twist. Festivals are a catalyst for connecting to each other, and they’re often social events as much as they are musical.
“Although we can’t flock to the fields physically this year, we’re so excited to enable people to stay connected not only to incredible live music, but to their friends and families online too.”
The last edition of V Festival, which debuted in 1996, took place in 2017, after which it was replaced by a new event in Chelmsford, Rize Festival. Rize did not return in 2019 following a disappointing first year.
“To come and sing at Hylands Park again was an easy ‘yes’”
“V Festival holds a very special place in my heart […] as not only did I used to go every year with my mates and camp as a punter, but I later got the chance to actually perform there and be invited back four times,” says Olly Murs. “Headlining the MTV stage in 2015 was definitely a career highlight of mine, as was jumping on stage with Madness to sing one of my favourite tracks of all time, ‘It Must Be Love.’ I’ve had some pretty special memories at V, so to come and sing at Hylands Park [again] was an easy ‘yes’.
“It’s great that ITV2 and Virgin Media are bringing V Festival into people’s living rooms, and I’m very glad to be a small part of that.”
Paul Mortimer, head of ITV’s digital channels, adds: “V Festival is a huge part of the UK’s festival history and the ITV2 team are so pleased to be able to play a part in bringing it back to the masses for one year only.
“The star-studded line-up music fans have come to expect from V Festival will be bigger than ever. We’re dipping into the archives to showcase some throwback performances, too, so people can reminisce on some of their favourites memories from past years.”
V Festival 2020 will air on ITV2 from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 August.
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Woodstock 50 joins 2019’s festival graveyard
To the surprise of very few, Woodstock 50 is officially no more (for real this time, unlike that fake cancellation in April). With 16 days to go – and after losing its primary financier, two production partners, two venues and its entire line-up – organisers yesterday (31 July) finally pulled the plug on the troubled anniversary festival, which had yet to put a single ticket on sale.
“We are saddened that a series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined with the great line-up we had booked and the social engagement we were anticipating,” Michael Lang, co-founder of the original 1969 Woodstock Music and Art Fair and lead producer of Woodstock 50.
Urging artists and agents, all of whom “have been fully paid”, to donate 10% of their fees to HeadCount, a nonprofit which works with musicians to promote voter registration and participation, Lang says his thoughts now “turn to Bethel” – where a rival event is being held at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts (BWCA), on the original Woodstock site, on the same dates – “and its celebration of our 50th anniversary to reinforce the values of compassion, human dignity and the beauty of our differences embraced by Woodstock.”
But Woodstock 50 is far from the first festival doomed to fail, and it won’t be the last; as the round-up below illustrates, it’s in good company alongside numerous other high-profile cancellations in 2019…
“A series of unforeseen setbacks has made it impossible to put on the festival we imagined”
Doctor Music Festival (12–14 July)
A planned comeback for Spain’s iconic Doctor Music Festival (DMF), three years in the making and following a 19-year hiatus, was abandoned as a result of last-minute venue change forced on organisers by the Catalan Water Agency (ACA).
Originally scheduled to take place in a mountain valley amid the Catalan Pyrenees, DMF was relocated to the Catalunya-Barcelona racing circuit in April after ACA warned warned that the event’s original site was at risk of flooding. After promoter Doctor Music offered ticketholders refunds, a “huge number” of fans took them up on the offer, leaving organisers unable “to offer the experience we were striving for” and forced to cancel.
Writing in IQ shortly after the cancellation, Doctor Music CEO Neo Sala described the axing of DMF as a victory for “grey” bureaucrats and their “eco-opportunist” allies over common sense. “The circumstances that brought about the cancellation of the event are surreal to say the least, and would appear more befitting of a Kafkaesque state than a Spanish administration that claims to be concerned with popular culture and the development of rural areas,” said Sala.
DMF organisers were unable “to offer the experience we were striving for”
Arcadia London (4–5 May)
Initially envisioned as a one-off event for Glastonbury Festival’s 2018 fallow year, Arcadia – creator of Glastonbury’s iconic fire-breathing Spider installation – announced plans to bring back its Arcadia London festival (formerly Arcadia Spectacular) for 2019, with a line-up that included DJs Helix, Jamie Jones, DJ EZ and Sub Focus.
Promoter LWE Events called time on the event in February, with Arcadia saying it would be unable to honour its commitments to Glastonbury alongside a standalone festival.
“After planning for last year’s Arcadia tenth-anniversary event to be a one-off celebration, we received such strong feedback that we hoped to creatively evolve the event for a second year with a host of innovative new performance elements,” read a statement.
“As we stand, we aren’t confident of hitting the targets that would allow us to develop that new experience and the pressures of a difficult market would risk serious knock on effects to Arcadia’s other commitments, especially Glastonbury. Taking these factors into consideration, it is with great regret that Arcadia London will not be going ahead in 2019.”
“The environment that forces us to depend on foreign content to cast artists leads to excessive competition”
Jisan Rock (26–28 July)
Jisan Rock festival, one of South Korea’s biggest, was called off with three days to go, with promoter D2 Global Company cryptically blaming its lack of perspective “reading the trend[s] of today” and failure to “communicate enough with the fans”.
According to the Korea Herald, D2 also said on 23 July it was “not possible to hold the concerts”, sparking “anger and confusion from fans”. The abrupt cancellation reportedly came as a shock to the industry, with one of the acts slating to perform quoted as saying: “I never expected anything like this to happen three days before the performance. I figure fans will be more shocked than we are.”
At the time of its cancellation, just one international artist, Australia’s King Gizzard and Lizard Wizard, had been added to Jisan Rock 2019’s line-up. The 2019 festival would have been the first under new ownership for the former Jisan Valley Rock Festival, held intermittently in Icheon since 2009.
In the same statement, organisers hinted at problems in recruiting artists for the festival, referring to the “many innate problems in the concert-producing business in Korea”. “Due to lack of communication between producers, the environment that forces us to depend on foreign content to cast artists leads to excessive competition,” they said. “This results in an even more hazardous environment for producing concerts.”
Roxodus “did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent”
Roxodus (11–14 July)
Canada’s Roxodus festival, which would have taken place for the first time in mid-July, fell at the first hurdle, with organisers blaming “tremendous rainy weather” for its cancellation with weeks to go.
Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Kid Rock, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nickelback, Billy Idol and Blondie were booked to perform at the rock-orientated event, produced by a company called MF Live, which later filed for bankruptcy after finding itself unable to pay its creditors. Liquidator Grant Thornton Ltd said Roxodus “did not generate sufficient ticket sales to cover the expected costs, leaving MF Live Inc. insolvent”.
Eventbrite refunded all ticketholders out of its own pocket while “aggressively pursu[ing] the return of funds from the festival’s creators”. Other parties owed money include security companies, production firms and other contractors and concession operators.
“The original footprint was affected by the presence of Great Lakes piping plover shorebirds”
Mamby on the Beach (23–24 August)
Bringing to mind the avian woes that plagued the final T in the Park, Chicago’s Mamby on the Beach was forced to pull its second edition with just over a month to go due to a number of “circumstances beyond” promoters’ control – including the presence of endangered birds on the festival site.
“Organisers for Mamby On The Beach are saddened to announce that the 2019 festival has been cancelled due to circumstances beyond their control,” promoters React Presents and Jam Productions said in a joint statement. “These unforeseen issues include significantly higher than average waters of Lake Michigan eliminating the beach portion of the festival’s intended site.
“Additionally, the original footprint was affected by the presence of Great Lakes piping plover shorebirds, a federally protected species.”
Acts due to perform at Mamby on the Beach 2019 included Flying Lotus, T-Pain, Troye Sivan, Brockhampton and Santigold.
“In the interests of the safety of our customers, we have taken the decision to cancel the event”
Rewind North (2–4 August)
The most recent cancellation on this list is Rewind North, the Cheshire leg of the popular UK retro music festival, which announced today (1 August) it would no longer go ahead due to “extreme weather”.
Due to kick off tomorrow, with performers including Bananarama, Gloria Gaynor and Level 42, Rewind North fell victim to the flooding affecting much of north-western England, with organisers pointing to “the prolonged extreme wet weather conditions experienced in Cheshire” as “caus[ing] significant disruption to the site at Rewind North.
“Although we have robust contingency plans in place and have made every effort to allow the festival to go ahead, in the interests of the safety of our customers, we have taken the decision to cancel the event,” read a statement from promoter Broadwick Live.
“Miracles based on marketing and myths don’t exist”
Vestiville (28–30 June)
By far the most controversial cancellation here, Vestiville, a Netherlands-born festival due to take place in Lommel, Belgium, at the end of the June, was called off at the last minute after Lommel’s mayor raised concerns about the security of festivalgoers.
Similar to the notorious Fyre Festival, Vestiville patrons – many of whom had come from abroad to see a largely American line-up that included hip-hop stars Cardi B, Future, Asap Rocky and Migos – reportedly arrived in Lommel to find an unfinished, under-staffed site a world away from the complete, professional-looking festival build trailed on social media in advance.
Videos shared on social media purported to show unrest after festivalgoers ordered by police to leave the site, while others described being stranded without food or water ahead its evacuation.
Speaking to IQ in the days following the cancellation – which ended up with organisers being detained by Belgian police – Herman Schuereman of Rock Werchter, which took place the same weekend, suggested Vestiville, an “imported festival from Holland”, failed because it tried to run before it could walk.
“It was a non-event, without roots, and it proves again that it is much wiser to start a festival small and let it grow every year,” he says. “It is like a tree: plant it in good soil, water it well, take care of it and it will grow every year. Miracles based on marketing and myths don’t exist…”
“[We are] finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize”
In addition to outright cancellations, several events are taking hiatuses in 2019 ahead of expected returns next summer. They include:
Festival Republic opted not to stage its V Festival replacement, Rize, this year after the festival underperformed in its 2018 debut, which was headlined by Liam Gallagher and Stereophonics.
A festival is expected to return to the V/Rize site in Hylands Park in Chelmsford, UK, in some form next year. A successor to the northern leg of V Festival, in Staffordshire, has yet to materialise.
“The council has been made aware that Festival Republic is not proceeding with Rize in 2019,” a spokesperson for Chelmsford City Council told IQ in January. “However, the council and Festival Republic are currently finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize to commence in 2020 and details of this will become available when contracts are in place.”
“We are giving ourselves the breathing room to redesign the festival and bring in the necessary changes”
Matchbox Live’s OppiKoppi, one of South Africa’s longest-running and best-loved music festivals, in April called off its 25th anniversary edition following a spate of violent crime at the 2018 event.
In a statement, organisers said: “For 24 years, OppiKoppi has been going great guns. Unfortunately, in 2018 we experienced the rampant crime currently impacting events and festivals across South Africa. For us to present the 2019 event with the increased security measures that are required to curb this crime to present a safe and enjoyable festival, the production costs also increase drastically.
“By taking a gap year, we are giving ourselves the breathing room to redesign the festival and bring in the necessary changes without impacting the festivalgoer by increasing ticket prices. We believe that in doing this, we will bring everyone a fresh new festival, ready to take music lovers forward for the next 25 years.”
OppiKoppi 2018, held near Northam, a small town in Limpopo (formerly Transvaal) in the north-east of the country, was targeted by roving gangs of thieves, with one festivalgoer allegedly having his entire tent taken. The festival is expected to return, possibly in a new location, in 2020.
“The team is relooking every single brick that builds a festival in South Africa,” the statement continues. “We are even investigating bringing the festival to a venue closer to a major city, to enable day tickets, less travelling and other options for the attendees. […] We realise that a festival like OppiKoppi has a significant role to play in the South African music scene, along with a critical social cohesion role that it has been playing for many years. We are 100% up for it – but we want to do it right.”
“We feel that we have achieved all that we can at this site”
After a stormy 2018, AEG’s Panorama, held since 2016 on New York’s Randalls Island, is similarly taking a gap year, after failing to secure an event permit for a new site in Queens.
In a statement, AEG says Panorama, booked partially by Coachella co-founder Paul Tollett, is on “hiatus in 2019 while we continue discussions with NYC Parks to bring the festival to Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens, where it was originally envisioned”.
“We had a fantastic experience with Paul Simon this past September at Flushing Meadows and look forward to returning in the future,” a spokesperson told Billboard in January. “We were disappointed in NYC Parks’ denial of our permit application, despite the long-term benefits this event would deliver to the community and the park. While we have enjoyed our time on Randall’s Island and its great facilities, we feel that we have achieved all that we can at this site.”
Janet Jackson, David Byrne and St Vincent were among those who played Panorama 2018.
New festival to replace cancelled Rize in 2020
Festival Republic has decided to cancel this year’s Rize festival following a disappointing first year of the event for local authorities. Plans for a replacement event in 2020 are now underway.
The inaugural Rize festival took place in Hylands Park, Chelmsford last year as a replacement for the southern leg of V Festival (90,000-cap.). The event did not prove as successful as organisers had hoped and Chelmsford City Council reported a large loss in expected revenue.
Roy Whitehead, leader of Chelmsford City Council, told Essex Live: “V turned into Rize which wasn’t widely successful last year. It is a loss of considerable income. It is roughly £500,000 a year which we have to find.”
It is believed that event organiser Festival Republic planned to alter the scale of the event to host a more successful Rize 2019. However, such alterations would have resulted in an estimated loss of £470,000 from the council’s annual budget.
The event organiser is now working with the Council to create a new successor festival for 2020.
“The Council and Festival Republic are currently finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize to commence in 2020”
“The council has been made aware that Festival Republic is not proceeding with Rize in 2019,” a spokesperson for Chelmsford City Council told IQ.
“However, the Council and Festival Republic are currently finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize to commence in 2020 and details of this will become available when contracts are in place.”
IQ has contacted Festival Republic for comment.
Rize festival was held on Friday 17 August and Saturday 18 August 2018, departing from V’s traditional Saturday and Sunday dates. Performers included Liam Gallagher, Stereophonics, Bastille and Maximo Park.
The festival replaced the Chelmsford leg of V Festival. The last edition of V Festival took place in 2017 when Richard Branson’s Virgin Group pulled sponsorship to end a 22 year commercial relationship with the festival.
Rize announced for Hylands Park…but no event in Staffs
SJM Concerts today announced dates and the first acts for Rize Festival, the event replacing V Festival at Hylands Park in Chelmsford.
Taking place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 August 2018, rather than V’s traditional Saturday and Sunday, the festival will be headlined by Liam Gallagher and Stereophonics. Other performers include James Bay, Manic Street Preachers, Bastille, Maximo Park, Rag’n’Bone Man, Rita Ora, Circa Waves and Craig David’s TS5, with bookers focusing on an “exciting mix of the very best music from classic indie, pop, urban, dance and new upcoming talent across four stages”.
Richard Branson’s Virgin Group announced in October it was pulling its sponsorship of V, ending a 22-year commercial relationship and bringing to a close the festival in its former guise. While the Chelmsford leg now has a replacement in the form of Rize, no event has been announced for Weston Park in Staffordshire, which formerly hosted a sister festival on the same weekend.
A representative for Rize Festival confirms to IQ that Roseclaim – the company behind V Festival, whose directors include Live Nation’s Paul Latham, Metropolis’s Bob Angus, SJM Concerts’ Simon Moran and MCD Productions’ Denis Desmond – will “not be promoting a new event at Weston Park in 2018”.
“We are very excited about working with Roseclaim on a future project here on the estate in 2019”
Colin Sweeney, CEO of the Weston Park Foundation, which manages the park, says: “We have been enormously proud to have been home to the former V Festival over the last 19 years. The significant contribution that hosting the event has made to the charitable objectives of the Weston Park Foundation and the wider regional economy cannot be underestimated.”
Sweeney adds, however, there will likely be another Live Nation/Metropolis/SJM/MCD festival in the park next year, saying: “We are very excited about working with Roseclaim on a future project here on the estate in 2019.”
Liam Gallagher’s upcoming headline show in Finsbury Park, promoted by Live Nation’s Festival Republic, is billed as being presented by “Rize”, indicating the promoter has plans for the brand outside the annual festival.
A full line-up is below: