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European festivals expand 2024 lineups

Rock en Seine, Rock Werchter, Primavera Porto, NorthSide, Bilbao BBK, Paaspop, Sweden Rock Festival, North Festival, Best Kept Secret and Release Athens are among the European festivals that are taking shape for 2024.

AEG Presents’ Rock en Seine has detailed its 20th-anniversary edition, which coincides with the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.

Fred again., LCD Soundsystem, Måneskin, Massive Attack, PJ Harvey, The Offspring and The Smile are all set to headline the event, slated for 22–24 August at Domaine National de Saint-Cloud in France’s capital city.

Moonshine, The Hive Jungle, Olivia Dean, Soulwax, The Kills, Inhaler, Blonde Redhead, Róisin Murphy and Zaho De Sagazan are also on the bill for the 40,000-capacity event.

With Rock en Seine taking place just days before the start of the Summer Paralympic Games, the festival will curate a programme titled Cultural Olympiad, alongside four other major cultural festivals (Festival International de la BD d’Angoulême, Festival de Cannes, Festival d’Avignon, and Rencontres photographiques d’Arles).

Rock Werchter has added 11 new names to its 2024 lineup, which already includes headliners Foo Fighters, Dua Lipa and Måneskin

The Cultural Olympiad of Paris 2024 aims to foster dialogue between sports, culture, and Olympic and Paralympic values throughout the territory, according to a release.

Meanwhile, Rock Werchter has added 11 new names to its 2024 lineup, which already includes headliners Foo Fighters, Dua Lipa and Måneskin.

DEUS, Snow Patrol, Yungblud and Sum 41, The Last Dinner Party, Róisín Murphy, Nothing But Thieves, Avril Lavigne and Khruangbin, Michael Kiwanuka and Royal Blood will perform at Belgium’s biggest festival next year.

The Live Nation Belgium-promoted event will return to Festivalpark, Werchter, between 4–7 July 2024.

Primavera Sound Porto has also unveiled the poster for its 2024 edition, a week after announcing the Barcelona instalment.

Lana del Rey and SZA top a female-dominated bill, as Primavera continues to pave the way for gender-balanced festival lineups

Lana del Rey and SZA top a female-dominated bill, as Primavera continues to pave the way for gender-balanced festival lineups.

Mitski, PJ Harvey, Kim Petras, Pulp, The National, Justice, Ethical Cain and This Is The Kit are also among the 48 names due to perform at the 11th edition, scheduled for 6–8 June 2024 at Parque da Cidade, Porto.

Elsewhere in Portugal, the organisers of North Festival announced that next year it will move from Alfândega do Porto to Parque de Serralves, taking place on the 24–26 May.

Keane are the first name announced for the 2024 edition, returning to the country on the 20th anniversary of their breakthrough debut album, Hopes and Fears, which includes ‘Somewhere Only We Know’ and ‘Everybody’s Changing’.

“Serralves, due to the quality of the infrastructure, large spaces and excellent location – a premium space in the heart of Invicta – is a natural choice for a festival that is also premium,” says Jorge Veloso, director of the promoter Vibes & Beats, “We feel that this is a change that will allow us to raise the quality of the experience offered to our audience.”

The organisers of North Festival announced that next year it will move from Alfândega do Porto to Parque de Serralves

In Denmark, NorthSide festival has unveiled the first 12 names for next year’s instalment, including Massive Attack, Troye Sivan, Unkendt Kunstner, Coi Leray and Kaytranada.

Kaizers Orchestra, Amyl & The Sniffers, Shame, Barselona, August Høyen, VETO, 070 Shake will also appear at the Down The Drain-promoted event, set for Eskelunden in Aarhus from 6–8 June 2024.

Live Nation’s Sweden Rock has added 18 names to the 2024 poster, after previously confirming Judas Priest, Alice Cooper, Parkway Drive, Avantasia, Bruce Dickinson and Electric Callboy.

Joining those acts are Five Finger Death Punch, Rival Sons, Steel Panther, Graveyard, Beast In Black, Gloryhammer, Thy Art Is Murder and Ice Nine Kills.

Primal Fear, High On Fire, Richie Kotzen, Riverside, The Baboon Show, Mystic Prophecy, Dewolff, Vicious Rumors, Kebnekajse and Prins Svart will also appear at the Sölvesborg event between 5–8 June 2024.

Best Kept Secret is this year introducing New Generation tickets, offering those aged 21 or younger a 30% discount on a weekend ticket

Massive Attack are also set to headline Bilbao BBK, slated for 11–13 July 2024 in Kobetamendi, Bilbao, Spain.

The Prodigy, Massive Attack, Jungle, Overmono, Ezra Collective, Floating Points live, Underworld, Noname, JPEGMAFIA, Jordan Rakei, Death From Above 1979 and Parcels are also on the lineup for the Last Tour-promoted event.

In the Netherlands, the 2024 lineups for Paaspop and Best Kept Secret are taking shape.

The former has announced acts including Editors, Tom Grennan, Tiësto, Die Antwoord, August Burns Red for the 29–31 March event in Schijndel, North Brabant.

Best Kept Secret has announced the first 63 names for its 10th edition. Disclosure, Justice and PJ Harvey, among others, will come to the Beekse Bergen during the weekend of 7–9 June 2024.

Promoters Friendly Fire is this year introducing New Generation tickets, offering those aged 21 or younger a 30% discount on a weekend ticket.

Elsewhere, Greece’s Release Athens has secured 2024 concerts with Pulp, Massive Attack, The Smile, Judas Priest and Bruce Dickinson at Water Plaza across June and July.

 


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Jim King talks building AEG’s summer festival hub

AEG’s European festivals CEO Jim King has spoken to IQ about the firm’s efforts to cultivate a “strong hub” for touring artists through its collection of late summer festivals.

The company’s All Points East (APE), Rock en Seine and Forwards Festival are all coming up in the next few weeks, while it has also aligned with Spanish independent promoter Last Tour on the latter’s Cala Mijas and MEO Kalorama festivals in Spain and Portugal, respectively.

First held in 2018, APE returns this Friday in London’s Victoria’s Park with the first of two weekends, featuring Stormzy (18 August) and a Field Day event headlined by Aphex Twin and Bonobo (19 August). It will then welcome headliners The Strokes, Jungle, Dermot Kennedy and Haim from 25-28 August.

“We’ve got a strong All Points East again this year,” says King. “It’s an event we’re still building and a relationship that we’re still building with the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and the community there.

“We’re really pleased with the way their programme is going. They’re really well curated lineups, which our team put together very passionately. So that’s great and it’s allowed us to consolidate our European position at the end of the summer.”

“The artists moving between those four shows has created a really strong hub”

AEG switched APE from its previous May slot to coincide with Rock en Seine at the end of August. The 20th anniversary French festival, which was acquired by AEG in 2017 in partnership with media investment group LNEI, takes place in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Paris on 23 and 25-27 August, topped by Billie Eilish, Florence + the Machine, Placebo, The Chemical Brothers and The Strokes.

“Rock en Seine had its best year ever [last year] since it started and I think we’ll go beyond that again this year with sold-out shows every day,” says King. “I love that show. It’s such a great site. We’ve talked about London being super-important culturally, but magical things happen when you’re in Paris and I always find it really exciting. You go there in an elevated state of emotion, if you like, and then you’re more receptive to being entertained.”

Meanwhile, AEG’s relationship with Last Tour on Cala Mijas and MEO Kalorama festivals, set for 31 August-2 September, will see Florence + the Machine headline both events, with The Strokes also performing at the former.

“The artists moving between those four shows has created a really strong hub,” says King. “We’re calling it ‘The Camino’, which allows these artists to move between as many or as few of those shows as they want. It just creates a very strong end of August, beginning of September run for artists coming into Europe or those who are based here.”

In addition, AEG teams with events company Team Love on 30,000-cap Forwards in Bristol, UK. The metropolitan festival, which debuted in 2022, returns to Clifton Downs for its second year from 1-2 September, headlined by Erykah Badu and Aphex Twin.

“It’s a very demanding industry at the moment. If you’re not on your game as a promoter, you’re going to be challenged”

“Forwards forms part of that run of shows as well,” notes King. “We had a great show last year – we broke even in year one, which is beyond our expectations for any new festival, and we’re building on that for year two. So that’s been a really good start. We set up our European festival division a few years ago now, and the building of that is still taking place, but the benefits of it are thankfully already with us, and we think it puts us in a really strong position for the next five years.”

Around 550,000 tickets were sold for AEG’s flagship BST Hyde Park Festival earlier this summer, topping the previous best of 530,000 set last year. The London concert series was headlined by Guns N’ Roses, Take That, Blackpink, Billy Joel and Lana Del Rey – plus two nights each from Pink and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. And King says he is not surprised by the number of successful shows to have gone ahead in the UK this summer.

“Certain parts of the industry, one could argue are outperforming expectations, but that’s not to say that we weren’t confident they will be successful,” he adds. “If you look at events out there, you can see the quality ones in terms of the way they’re presented and operated, and the value point for them and the lineups which they have.

“I’m not surprised at all that they’re being successful. I’m also not surprised at all that the ones that aren’t presenting that level of quality aren’t as successful either because it’s a very demanding industry at the moment. And if you are not on your game as a promoter or as an artist, then you’re going to be challenged. But if you are, the chances are you’re going to be rewarded for it.”

 


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Global Promoters Report: France

The Global Promoters Report, a first-of-its-kind resource that highlights the world’s leading promoters and the 40 top markets they operate in, is now available to subscribers of IQ.

In an excerpt from the guide, IQ delves into one of Europe’s most influential markets: France.


As one of Europe’s major international touring markets, trends in France have repercussions across the continent. The market prognosis in 2022 is very much a mixed bag. Recovery from Covid after long periods of shutdown was beginning to happen only to crash headfirst into growing energy costs and a mounting economic crisis in the country. There are plenty of things to be optimistic about in the sector, but the severe challenges impacting live music cannot be ignored.

As in most European markets, the international heavyweights in France are Live Nation and AEG Presents. Live Nation runs Lollapalooza and Afropunk festivals in the capital, as well as I Love Techno Europe and Main Square. International touring acts it brought in during 2022 included The Rolling Stones, Jack Harlow, Sting, Chainsmokers, and Lil Nas X, with Bring Me The Horizon, You Me At Six, The Vamps, Lizzo, and Sam Smith booked for 2023 as well as stadium shows in Paris with Beyoncé, Metallica and The Weeknd.

AEG Presents runs the Rock en Seine festival, and acts it booked for 2022 included Suede and Olivia Rodrigo. Acts confirmed for 2023 include Tom Brennan, Yungblud, and Celine Dion.

Take Me Out is a new local entrant in the French market, launching in February 2022. Bookings this year include The Amazons, …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead, and The Libertines, with We Are Scientists, North Mississippi Allstars, Circa Waves, and The Slow Readers Club booked for next year.

Corida Group (incorporating Corida, Super!, The Talent Boutique. and Pi-Pôle) is the live music arm of the Because Group and acquired a 50% stake in the Pitchfork Paris festival promoter Super! in 2018. Super! also runs the Villette Sonique festival.

“Unlike other countries, we were lucky enough to benefit from government subsidies during most of the pandemic”

Alias Production brought acts such as Courtney Barnett, Mogwai, Confidence Man, Franz Ferdinand, and Youssou N’Dour to play in 2022. Its bookings for 2023 include dEUS, The War on Drugs, Yo La Tengo, Lewis Capaldi, and Robbie Willims.

“Unlike other countries, we were lucky enough to benefit from government subsidies during most of the pandemic, which has protected companies and saved many jobs, so there hasn’t been too much damage across the industry,” says Emma Greco, promoter at AEG Presents in Paris.

“However, the French political climate is heated as we’re facing new challenges with the rise of energy prices, shortages of gas, and the high cost of living, all causing new waves of protest and strikes.”

She says touring costs are shooting up, with transportation costs in particular up 20% this year. There is also a skills and equipment shortage, caused in part by the pandemic, as infrastructure companies closed/downscaled and skilled workers were forced to leave the business and seek work elsewhere. As more acts race to get back on the road in France, there is still not enough staff or enough equipment to go around.

“All the sound and lighting providers were out of stock in recent months, meaning we have sometimes had to turn to our EU neighbours,” explains Greco.

“All the sound and lighting providers were out of stock in recent months, meaning we have had to turn to our EU neighbours”

Jean-Louis Schell, promoter at Take Me Out, believes there is also an oversaturation in the market. He says that 20 years ago, around 150 international acts were touring in France each year; now it is over 1,000.

“We have the same number of venues, maybe more small clubs with free entry, but there are the same number of people buying tickets and inflation is increasing; even if it is less than in other territories, 5.6% is still huge,” he says. “Students and young people generally have less money.”

Arnaud Meersseman, general manager of AEG Presents and programmer at Rock en Seine, says increases in ticket prices and acts touring too frequently are causing severe problems in the market.

“Large venues with more than 5,000 capacity have seen ticketing go up by 19% compared to 2019, but small venues have seen a drop of 38%, and medium venues have seen a drop of 26%,” he says. “Those medium and small bands that are in the middle, they’re all touring at the same time. They are probably not that new, they’ve probably been around for a while, people have seen them, and they’re on their second or third record. If you miss them this time around, well, that’s fine; you can see them the next time they come around.”

Pascal Bernardin of Encore Productions lays out the scale of the challenges as he sees them. “I’m lucky that my business is outside France,” he says of the state of the domestic market. “If I look at promoters, it’s been hard, and I’m not sure when it will come back. Festivals did okay, and the big ones did very, very well. A lot of smaller festivals did not do so well. A lot of people complain about the cost, which is getting higher.”

The average ticket price for major shows in France is €120-130 so consumers cannot afford to go to more shows more frequently

What this all means is that smaller acts and acts in the middle are struggling the most, with Schell suggesting audiences are increasingly waiting until the last minute to buy tickets. “It forces the promoters to increase their promo expenses, so the breaking point becomes more difficult to reach,” he says. “Stadiums and arenas are filling – or at least most of them are.”

And, of course, the impact of Brexit on British acts touring in France (and elsewhere in Europe) remains an issue. “The ATA carnets are a pain for young bands,” says Schell, “so we mainly look for venues and festivals providing backline.”

For the biggest acts, their popularity insulates them to an extent. Meersseman points to Blackpink and other K-pop superstars as creating their own centre of gravity in the French market. “We find that it is doing exceptionally well with very high ticket prices,” he says, especially with regard to upsell options. “If you get the full VIP package and you’re two people, you can be spending up to €2,000 on the show.”

Meersseman also suggests the average ticket price for major shows in France is €120-130, and that means big acts scoop most of the money, and consumers cannot afford to go to more shows more frequently. “Once you spend that times two, you’re not going to be spending much on tickets for the rest of the month,” he says.

Meersseman also feels there is something of a touring arms race happening at the upper levels at the moment that will greatly impact on the future shape of the market.

“To bring in a bigger show costs a fortune, therefore you raise ticket prices”

“The competition is so intense because of the volume of touring that acts need to bring in bigger and bigger shows – but everything costs more and more,” he says. “To bring in a bigger show costs a fortune, therefore you raise ticket prices. Other acts think they should raise ticket prices and bring in a bigger show. It’s a vicious circle, and I don’t think it’s leading to anything very good.”

The processes of breaking acts across France are, however, beginning to change, even amid the market uncertainty outlined above. “We start off with a club show or a tastemaker event,” says Meersseman. “Agents love putting all their acts through Primavera and then having a soft launch for all the acts at the same time in June. We try to avoid that if we can. From there on, we’ll usually give them a good slot at our festival, Rock en Seine, to try to build them up from there. Then we’ll try to get them back in for a bigger Paris show. After that we will try to get them back for some regional shows and regional festivals. France is such a centralised country, that if you don’t break Paris, you’ll never be able to venture into the regions. Paris is the key to opening up everything.”

Greco says that breaking Paris is only the start and that promoters really need to be thinking and acting locally. “I think it’s important to build an artist outside of Paris – whether it’s through festivals or regional shows,” she says. “There’s not always time for it, but I believe it’s an important step when building an artist in our market.”

“If you don’t break Paris, you’ll never be able to venture into the regions”

International acts that have performed well in terms of touring are varied. Schell mentions Peter Doherty and Kasabian as recent successes, adding that French hip-hop acts are now selling tickets on a par with some of the biggest international acts, suggesting an interesting domestic/foreign split in the live market.

Greco points to Fred Again, who sold 1,600 tickets in two minutes for his show at Elysée Montmartre, and Olivia Rodrigo’s first show in France at the Zenith in June 2022 exceeded expectations.

Meersseman says, beyond a range of K-pop acts and major international stars like Robbie Williams and Tyler, The Creator doing well, there is a revival of interest in pop-punk from the late 1990s and early 2000s. The Hella Mega Tour (featuring Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer) sold out the 35,000-capacity La Défense Arena in July 2022. Meanwhile, The Offspring have sold out the Zenith in Nantes and were already close to selling out the AccorHotels Arena in Paris, with both shows not happening until May 2023.

Parts of the market are struggling and other parts of the market are over-indexing. This dynamic looks unlikely to change for a while, with suggestions that, with many postponed shows running into next year, it might not be until 2023 that the live market in France fully recalibrates itself.


The Global Promoters Report is published in print, digitally, and all content is also available as a year-round resource on the IQ site. The Global Promoters Report includes key summaries of the major promoters working across 40+ markets, unique interviews and editorial on key trends and developments across the global live music business.

To access all content from the current Global Promoters Report, please click here.

European festival lineups stack up for 2023

The final week of January has brought a flood of festival announcements from events across Europe for this summer.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary France’s Rock en Seine will return to Paris on 23 and 25-27 August, headed by Billie Eilish, Placebo, The Chemical Brothers, Florence + The Machine and The Strokes.

The Strokes will also star at AEG’s All Points East in Victoria Park, London, on 25 August, while the UK’s Wireless Festival will feature headliners Travis Scott, Playboi Carti and D-Block Europe in London’s Finsbury Park from 7-9 July.

Also in the UK, Kendal Calling will be topped by Nile Rodgers & Chic, Kasabian, Royal Blood and Blossoms at Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District from 27-30 July, and Love Saves the Day will take place at Ashton Court Estate, Bristol from 27-28 May, topped by Fatboy Slim and Years & Years.

Travis Scott, Playboy Carti and Meek Mill will top the bill at the second annual Rolling Loud Portugal

Afro Nation Portugal will host Burna Boy, 50 Cent and Booba in Portimao, the Algarve, from 28-30 June, and Travis Scott, Playboy Carti and Meek Mill will top the bill at the second annual Rolling Loud Portugal, also in Portimao, from 5-7 July.

Elsewhere, Stormzy is a new addition to Belgium’s Rock Werchter, scheduled for 29 June to 2 July and Wizkid and Blur have been unveiled as headliners for Norway’s Øya Festival from 8-12 August. The latter two acts have also bolstered Finland’s Flow Festival Helsinki, which is set for 11-13 August, while Ellie Goulding and The Kid Laroi have joined Sam Smith and The 1975 on the Orange Warsaw Festival 2023 line-up from 2-3 June.

And Denmark’s Tinderbox has 19 new names including Black Eyed Peas, Lukas Graham and Dean Lewis. The event takes place in Odense from 22-24 June.

 


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AEG Presents France teams up with Salomon Hazot

AEG Presents France is partnering with renowned promoter Salomon Hazot on exclusively representing, producing and distributing his artist roster.

Hazot is a stalwart of the European live music business, having previously created and managed Garance Productions, Nous Productions and Paris-based festival Rock en Seine.

Previously, he was vice-president at Live Nation France and more recently teamed up with Olympia Production.

He is said to have been instrumental in the success of many international artists in France, establishing the likes of Björk, Black Eyed Peas, Eminem, Bruno Mars, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ed Sheeran, The Weeknd and Robbie Williams in his home market.

Meersseman says he’s “so happy to reconnect and accompany Salomon and his outstanding artist roster”

The new partnership sees Hazot reunited with AEG Presents France MD Arnaud Meersseman, who previously served as a booker, promoter and A&R at Nous Productions.

Speaking on the new collaboration, Meersseman says he’s “so happy to reconnect and accompany Salomon and his outstanding artist roster”.

Hazot adds: “We have such a special relationship with Arnaud and not only because we share the same anniversary date! I’m really excited.”

Newly announced Robbie Williams (Accor Arena) and Pixies (Olympia) shows in 2023, as well as forthcoming gigs of Alt-J, Massive Attack, Queens of the Stone Age, Sigur Ros and The Offspring are among the first artists to be named as part of the deal with AEG Presents France.

Hazot’s current roster also includes Björk, Black Eyed Peas, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Chance the Rapper, Cypress Hill, Dead Can Dance, Deftones, Ed Sheeran, Eminem, Erykah Badu, Iron Maiden, Janelle Monae, M.I.A, Moby, Nine Inch Nails, Pet Shop Boys, Pixies, Portugal the Man, Raphael Saadiq, Rita Ora, Sum 41, The Roots, Wiz Khalifa and more.

 


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France’s Rock en Seine embarks on new era

Rock en Seine GM Matthieu Ducos and AEG European festivals boss Jim King have previewed a new era for the French festival in an interview with IQ.

The extended 18th edition of the 40,000-cap event takes place in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud, Paris from 25-28 August with headliners Arctic Monkeys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tame Impala and Stromae.

“From an AEG perspective, we see Rock en Seine as being as important to our global portfolio of festivals as Hyde Park, All Points East, Coachella and everywhere else,” says King. “It’s equal in every measure to the other festivals that we operate in any market around the world.

“It needed some attention; it needed resource and support and we needed to allow the team to realise their ambitions. But it has the potential to be one of the world’s leading city-based festivals and we certainly feel it’s on its way to achieving that.”

AEG acquired Rock en Seine in 2017 in partnership with media investment group LNEI, but King suggests the event’s return from its Covid-enforced hiatus marks something of a reboot, as it is the first edition to be held since the launch of AEG’s European Festivals division in three years ago.

“It had not had its best years, but it is a well respected event with a great history, and a great site in the centre of Paris”

“It allowed us to bring some specialist overview to Rock en Seine, which is a very long-standing and established festival in Europe,” he explains. “It had not had its best years but it is a well-respected event with a great history, and a great site in the centre of Paris.

“With the Covid shutdown, it enabled all stakeholders this extended review on how to make it better. It allowed us to reset the team locally, build a stronger relationship and, from that platform, provide whatever assistance – and I need to underline assistance – to that team to realise what their vision of it was.

“What you’re seeing now is the realisation of the outlook and the vision of the team in Paris. Our role has been able to provide that framework and at times just some guidance and resourcing to allow that to be achieved.”

AEG’s London concert series All Points East, which was held in May pre-pandemic, has been pushed back to the same weekend as Rock en Seine, enabling Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds and Tame Impala to headline both events.

All Points East, which kicks off tonight with Gorillaz, runs in Victoria Park over two weekends – 19-20 and 25-28 August.

“Festivals live and die on artist bookings. We can say otherwise, but it is essential to it”

“The one thing we did centrally was reposition All Points East to the same weekend, which would then allow Matthew and also Arnaud [Meersseman], who runs AEG’s Paris office, to work much more closely with the booking teams from All Points East and establish that new culture,” says King.

“Festivals live and die on artist bookings. We can say otherwise, but it’s essential to it. So the idea was to start building that platform where agents could see a strengthened end of the summer window, with two great shows which they could then support with their artists.

“Those foundations have then been picked up by Matthieu, and what we’re seeing now is the best line-up Rock en Seine has ever had. That’s creating more ticket sales and a higher gross than Rock en Seine has ever had, and more sponsors and sponsorship gross than Rock en Seine has ever had. So it’s just success, on success, on success.”

Ducos backs up King’s assessment.

“Moving All Points East to the same weekend as Rock en Seine was a huge step,” he tells IQ. “I agree we have the strongest line-up we’ve ever had, so it’s great to start this new version of Rock en Seine after a two-year stop.

“Usually, about 60% of the festival-goers come from the Paris region and 40% from other regions of France and abroad. We will have more people from abroad than usual, that’s for sure, because we have some bands that are doing only a few shows in Europe, like Arctic Monkeys, so people are coming from far away to see them.”

“We have great ambitions that it will continue to grow”

With the festival expanding from three to four days for the first time this year, King elaborates on the ambitions to grow Rock en Seine’s international appeal.

“You look at some of the other successes around mainland Europe where they have become destination festivals for a multinational audience, and for whatever reason Rock en Seine had lost that, or was not that,” he says. “But I think it certainly is developing into that and we have great ambitions that it will continue to grow because Paris is such a great city and so easy to travel to. Once you’re there, there’s so much to do. So why only do it for two days or three days?

“The ability to attract great talent is based on many things: the offer, the routing, but obviously where you’re going to and what we were able to do with Rock en Seine is to be more ambitious with the acts that we wanted to attract and then, with that, be more ambitious with the audience that we want to attract to see those acts.

“I think you’ll see great developments in the range of people – and the countries they originate from – coming to Rock en Seine over the next five years.”

In a setback for organisers, a planned standalone date on 30 August, headlined by Rage Against the Machine, with support from Run The Jewels and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, was scrapped last week on “medical guidance” due to an injury sustained by RATM frontman Zach de la Rocha.

Nonetheless, Ducos suggests AEG’s backing puts Rock in Seine in a strong position as it looks to enhance its reputation year-on-year.

“Paris doesn’t have a history of iconic, pop/rock music festivals,” he says. “We’ve been there for 18 years now and we did a great job, but I think we can go further and become an iconic festival in this great city. I’m quite confident about our power and attractiveness to book the rock, pop, but also electro and hip-hop acts we want in the future.”

 


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AEG Presents’ Jim King shares forecast for 2022

This article is the second part of IQ’s interview with Jim King, originally published in December 2021. To read the first instalment, in which King discusses Adele and BST Hyde Park 2022, click here.

Jim King, CEO of European Festivals at AEG Presents, warns the industry to be careful with thinking that the pent-up demand seen in early summer 2021 will remain.

“I have some caution over 2022 and the concern remains that the industry has reacted, in some areas, by oversupplying the market with rescheduled tours sitting on top of new tours which now sit very closely to summer festival periods,” he says.

“The industry needs to pause and reflect on how many tickets it feels can be sold in 2022 and 2023 and then react and plan accordingly. The problem is that our industry has a problem saying no.”

Alongside a slew of rescheduled tours, 2022 is also set to gain a multitude of new events, extended editions and revived festivals.

Tomorrowland (Belgium), Primavera (Spain), Mad Cool (Spain), Standon Calling (UK), InMusic (Croatia) and Summer Breeze (Germany) are among the existing festivals to be extended in 2022 – in some cases by entire weekends. Meanwhile, promoters including FKP Scorpio, Goldenvoice, Primavera, Live Nation and DreamHaus have marked brand new festivals in 2022’s increasingly busy calendar.

“The industry needs to pause and reflect on how many tickets it feels can be sold in 2022 and 2023 and then react”

In light of concerns about oversupplying, King says AEG has hit pause on pre-pandemic plans for new events and is instead focused on rejuvenating existing festivals. One such event is Rock en Seine (ReS), the responsibility for which which recently passed to his team, allowing a “total review” of what the enduring Paris festival could be.

“The challenge, like with many long-standing events, was that we needed to reset what the event stood for and what we wanted to say to fans, artists, media, and sponsors,” explains King.

In October it was announced that the 18th edition of the annual event will take place in an extended four-day format with a “new vision and one of the most impressive line-ups in the history of the festival”. Stromae, Tame Impala and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds are to headline between 25–28 August in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud.

“The challenge, like with many long-standing events, was that we needed to reset what the [Rock en Seine] stood for”

“We just feel that the new format offers a more compelling commercial framework and one that aligns with the modern festival industry landscape which has changed a great deal over the last 20 years,” says King.

“ReS needed to reflect these changes. More days means we get to work with more artists and that’s another great reason to expand. Plus, Paris is one of the most accessible and culturally vibrant cities in the world. We felt that we had the opportunity to reflect that and widen the appeal of the festival to more fans.”

King says he prefers to look forward rather than backwards but that the lockdown was “tough” financially. “We are very fortunate that our owner was hugely supportive of our company and so we were able to plan through that period,” he says. “It’s our job now to repay that commitment and recover the losses from 2020 with a solid strategic plan for 2022/23 that builds on from the successes we were able to deliver at All Points East 2021.”

“It’s our job now to repay that commitment and recover the losses from 2020 with a solid strategic plan for 2022/23”

King says that strategic plan is to take a “new and fresh approach” to line-ups that were announced before the pandemic.

“That didn’t mean that we stopped working with all the acts from 2020 but we sought to reshape and strengthen the line ups,” he says. “Examples of this included Bombay Bicycle Club who instead played with Foals in 2021 [at All Points East] and Kraftwerk now playing with The Chemical Brothers in 2022.”

Discussing how he sees the recovery of the international live music industry progressing, King says the challenge will be whether the industry can approach 2022 and 2023 with the spirit of collaboration that was fostered in 2021.

“I think we saw the resilience that the industry can offer in some of the successes in 2021. The ability to mobilise quickly and work collaboratively throughout the supply chain to deliver high-quality shows demonstrates how strong we can be when we work with a common interest. If we can do this again, then recovery will be quicker and built on much stronger foundations.”

 


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AEG Presents’ Rock en Seine expands to four days

AEG Presents’ Rock en Seine festival in France is expanding to four days for its return in 2022.

The annual Paris festival, which typically welcomes 120,000 festivalgoers across three days, will take place from 25–28 August next year in Domaine National de Saint-Cloud.

The 2022 event will be the 18th edition of Rock en Seine, which hasn’t taken place since 2019 due to the pandemic.

The 2022 event will be the 18th edition of Rock en Seine, which hasn’t taken place since 2019 due to the pandemic

Jim King, CEO of European festivals at AEG Presents, says: “It’s very exciting to announce the return and a new vision for Rock en Seine, with one of the most impressive line-ups in the history of the festival. Headliners Stromae, Tame Impala and Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds will be joined by a deep supporting line up including Kraftwerk and Jamie xx.

“To match this incredible line-up, the new format for the festival sees it grow to four days. Paris has always provided a cultural heart beat in Europe and with its incredible city centre location in the beautiful gardens of Saint Cloud on the banks of the River Seine, Rock en Seine provides four days of music in one of the world’s truly great cities that is easily accessible for music fans from all over Europe.”

Other artists will include La Femme, The Blaze plus FKJ, Aurora, DIIV, Los Bitchos, Malik Djoudi, Jehnny Beth and The Limiñanas. More are still to be announced, including a special Rock en Seine exclusive on Thursday 25 August.

 


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Rock en Seine cancels, French organisers get creative

France’s Rock en Seine has been called off, following the government’s announcement that festivals would be restricted to 5,000 seated and socially distanced attendees.

The Paris festival, which typically welcomes 120,000 festivalgoers each year, was set to take place between 27–29 August 2021, though the line-up had not been announced.

In a statement, the organisers say: “Even with the greatest optimism, given the health restrictions in place today we know that the event we want to create and experience sadly cannot take place this year.”

The French government announced the framework for the 2021 festival season back in February, along with a €30 million fund.

The aid was launched to compensate organisers – both for losses incurred due to the implementation of alternative formats and in the event that festivals are cancelled due to an increasing Covid-19 infection rate.

Many French organisers have already jumped at the chance to implement an alternative event, including the country’s largest festival, the Vieilles Charrues (Old Plows).

The festival will host an intimate concert series at the Parc du Château in its home region of Brittany between 8–18 July 2021.

“Even with the greatest optimism, given the health restrictions in place today we know that the event cannot take place this year”

The series will comprise 10 evenings concerts featuring 30 domestic artists including Vianney, Woodkid and Pomme. See the full line-up here.

Live Nation’s Main Square festival is also planning a concert series, which will comprise eight concerts in eight ’emblematic places’ of Hauts-de-France, the northernmost region of France. See the line-up and the list of locations here.

Those who have purchased tickets to the 2020, 2021 or 2022 editions of the Arras-based festival will have the opportunity to attend the six shows free of charge, in strict compliance with the current restrictions.

All six concerts will be filmed and broadcast online on the festival’s official website as well as on its social networks and those of its partners, on July 2, 3 and 4 – when the flagship festival would’ve taken place.

Elsewhere, in the French festival market, Eurockéennes says it is “now imagining the different possible options to offer another project, in a new format and adapted to the framework that will be imposed on us” though no further details have emerged.

France was the first major European market to make a decision on the 2021 festival season but countries including Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland have followed suit with tough restrictions.

 


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European giants Mad Cool, Rock en Seine move to 2021

Spain’s Mad Cool and France’s Rock en Seine are the latest high-profile calamities of the 2020 festival season, as organisers call off their events this summer due to the continuing coronavirus crisis.

The cancellation of Live Nation-promoted Mad Cool (60,000-cap.), which was due to take place from 8 to 11 July with acts including Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and the Killers, follows that of fellow Spanish festivals Sónar on Friday (8 May) and Primavera Sound on Monday (11 May).

“A few days ago we told you that the possibility of celebrating Mad Cool was very slight,” reads a statement from organisers. “Today, we have to tell you, with the utmost sincerity, that the festival will not take place on the scheduled dates.

“As the situation has evolved, we have worked on a number of alternatives. The most real and feasible option is to postpone the festival for the same dates in 2021.”

Organisers say they are waiting for the government to decree force majeure “so we can resolve things in the proper way”.

Despite announcing its lockdown exit plan, the Spanish government has yet to detail when large-scale events such as festivals may take place again, preventing cancellation due to force majeure and leading to criticism from much of the country’s live music industry.

“Today, we have to tell you, with the utmost sincerity, that the festival will not take place on the scheduled dates”

Rock en Seine (40,000-cap.), due to take place from 28 August to 1 September in Paris, was also called off last night, following the extension of the French government’s ban on large events until September.

The 2020 edition of the festival was set to feature Rage Against the Machine and Run the Jewels.

“Over the past sixteen years Rock en Seine has cemented itself as one of the biggest festivals in France,” reads a statement from organisers. “Unfortunately it has become clear that these three days cannot take place in the format we had planned due to the health measures currently in place because of the ongoing crisis.”

Organisers state they are working on “an imaginative, creative, strong and symbolic culture and music event for as soon as health rules permit”, in addition to hosting the festival in its usual format in 2021.

The French government recently established a ‘festival fund’ to assist events forced to cancel due to the coronavirus outbreak, as well as dedicating an additional €50 million in aid to the music sector.

Yesterday also saw the cancellations of Festival Republic’s Reading and Leeds festivals in the UK.

 


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