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.
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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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French gov declares summer event ban
The French government has announced that events of over 5,000 people will not be permitted before September, extending a previous ban that outlawed events until mid-July.
“Major sporting and cultural events – in particular festivals – major trade fairs and any other event with over 5,000 attendees cannot be held before September,” French prime minister Edouard Philippe announced last week.
It was also announced that music venues and theatres will remain closed after 11 May, when some cultural institutions such as small museums and libraries will begin to reopen. Depending on the situation, some venues may be permitted to reopen from 2 June.
Following the news of the extended ban, organisers of La Route du Rock (25,000-cap.), set to take place from 19 to 22 August with acts including Kraftwerk, Chromatics and Cigarettes After Sex, called off the festival’s 30th anniversary edition this summer.
“Major sporting and cultural events – in particular festivals – major trade fairs and any other event with over 5,000 attendees cannot be held before September”
Organisers of Rock en Seine (40,000-cap.), scheduled for 29 to 30 August in Paris, have announced they will update fans “with concrete information as soon as possible”. Rage Against the Machine and Run the Jewels are billed to play the 2020 edition of the festival.
Festivals including Eurockéennes de Belfort, Solidays, Festival d’Avignon and Main Square cancelled their 2020 editions when the French government pronounced its mid-July event ban deadline, following the lead of previously called off events Hellfest and Lollapalooza Paris.
The extended ban leaves the French festival season in the same situation as those in the Netherlands, where large events are banned until 1 September; and Switzerland, Ireland, Germany, Belgium and Denmark, where a ban is in place until 31 August.
The new deadline also extends France’s restrictions beyond those in place in Hungary, which has called off large-scale events until mid-August; Luxembourg and Finland, which have prohibited mass gatherings until 31 July; and Austria, where events are off until the end of June.
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.
Schmitt replaces Missonnier as Rock en Seine director
Sarah Schmitt, the long-time assistant to Rock en Seine co-founder François Missonnier, has replaced Missonnier as festival director, the festival’s new owner has announced, ahead of a rumoured takeover of the event by AEG.
Rock en Seine – one of France’s largest music festivals – was acquired from founders Missonnier, Christophe Davy and Salomon Hazot in April by investment banker Matthieu Pigasse, who says he plans to turn his LNEI (Les Nouvelles Éditions indépendantes) holding company into a “leader in the production of premium content”. Rock en Seine forms part of a new live music division, LNEI Live, comprising the Rock en Seine, inRocKs and Nuits Zébrées festivals.
The next month, Pigasse announced a “very advanced partnership” between LNEI and a “recognised specialist in the programming of major festivals”, named by Libération as AEG. He declined, however, to further elaborate on the nature of the relationship, including whether any money had changed hands.
Unlike rival Live Nation, AEG otherwise lacks a festival presence in France, although it does operate the 17,000-cap. AccorHotels Arena in Paris.
In a statement provided to AFP, LNEI says Missionnier (pictured) will now “dedicate himself to other projects, including Europavox”, a festival in Auvergne he founded in 2006.
A total of 110,000 attended the 15th Rock en Seine, held in late August, matching the festival’s strong showing in 2016, although both figures are down slightly on the 120,000 people who bought tickets to Rock en Seine 2015 (held before the attack on the Bataclan).
Pigasse buys Rock en Seine, launches live outfit
Investment banker Matthieu Pigasse has bought Rock en Seine, one of France’s biggest music festivals, from its founders, François Missonnier, Christophe Davy and Salomon Hazot.
Pigasse, profiled by the The Wall Street Journal as the “rock star of finance”, already has a personal interest in rival festival Eurockéennes de Belfort, of which he is chair, and – through the LNEI (Les Nouvelles Éditions indépendantes) holding company – the inRocKs festivals and the Nuits Zébrées concert series by Radio Nova.
Pigasse (pictured) owns both Les Inrockuptibles and Radio Nova, along with stakes in the Le Monde newspaper, The Huffington Post France and, through his Mediawan investment vehicle, pay-TV giant Groupe AB.
Speaking to AFP, Pigasse says Rock en Seine will form the basis of a new live music division, LNEI Live, comprising Rock en Seine, inRocKs and Nuits Zébrées.
While Missonnier has been confirmed as the head of LNEI Live, Davy’s role in the new set-up is unclear. (IQ has contacted him for comment.) Hazot, meanwhile, is now president of Live Nation France, which has its own plans for the French festival market, launching in the past few years local editions of Download and Lollapalooza.
“We want to become a major player in France and in Europe, with other acquisitions to come”
The 2016 edition of Rock en Seine, established in 2003, was attended by 110,000 people amid a strong showing for the French festival sector as a whole.
Pigasse tells AFP part of the appeal of buying Rock en Seine is that it’s a “favourite” of his. “I would not buy [comedy radio station] Rire et Chansons or Radio Nostalgie,” he says.
“But the acquisition of the festival is also at the heart of the strategy of LNEI, which wants to become a leader in the production of premium content.”
He adds that the acquisition of Rock en Seine is only the beginning of LNEI’s festival plans, hinting at the building of a European festival portfolio to rival that of the likes of Live Nation, DEAG, CTS Eventim or, closer to home, Miala, which is led by Arnaud Meersseman – formerly at Nous Productions with Hazot – and backed by €2.6bn French investment vehicle Fimalac.
“We want to become a major player in France and in Europe, with other acquisitions to come,” he continues. “There are a lot of festivals in eastern and northern Europe…”
Commenting on the deal, Missonnier echoes Isle of Wight Festival promoter John Giddings, who recently sold to Live Nation, by saying Rock en Seine needed to be part of a larger entity in order to stay competitive. “After 15 years our project is doing very well, but we have reached the limits of what we could achieve alone,” he comments. “By integrating with LNEI, Rock en Seine will benefit from increased resources.”
Festival Focus: Lollapalooza, Arroyo Seco, Sziget
With the 2017 festival season fast approaching and many events close to finalising this year’s line-ups, we’ve introduced a new, slimmed-down Festival Focus for 2017 to ensure we cover as much news as possible – keeping you abreast of all the latest developments in the festival world with the minimum of waffle.
Read on for all the latest festival announcements (headliners are in bold), or click here for the previous FF. And if we’ve missed something, or you’d like to see your event featured in a future Festival Focus, feel free to drop news editor Jon Chapple a line at email@example.com.
Demon Dayz Festival, UK (Goldenvoice/X-ray Touring, 10 June 2017)
Gorillaz (Gorillaz photo by Adrian Pua)
Arroyo Seco Weekend, US (Goldenvoice, 24–25 June 2017)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, Weezer, The Shins, Andrew Bird, etc.
Global Citizen Festival Hamburg, Germany (Global Poverty Project/Live Nation, 6 July 2017)
Herbert Grönemeyer, Coldplay, The Chainsmokers, Ellie Goulding
Trnsmt, UK (DF Concerts, 7–9 July 2017)
Stormzy, The View, Cabbage
Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, Spain (Maraworld, 13–16 July 2017)
Deadmau5, Stormzy, Crystal Fighters, Pete Doherty, Courteeners, Dua Lipa, Mura Masa, Kaytranada, etc. (Deadmau5 photo by Hyunji Choi)
Glastonbury Festival, UK (Glastonbury Festivals Ltd, 21–25 June 2017)
Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters
FYF Fest, US (Goldenvoice, 21–23 July 2017)
Missy Elliot, Björk, Frank Ocean, Nine Inch Nails, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Solange, Iggy Pop, Run the Jewels, Flying Lotus, Anderson .Paak, MGMT, etc.
Karoondinha Music & Arts Festival, US (Hawk Eye Presents, 21–23 July 2017)
John Legend, Odesza, The Roots, Chromeo, Alessia Cara, X Ambassadors, Needtobreathe, St Lucia, Alunageorge, etc.
Lollapalooza, US (C3 Presents, 3–6 August 2017)
Chance the Rapper, The Killers, Muse, Arcade Fire, The xx, Lorde, Blink-182, DJ Snake, Justice, Alt-J, Run the Jewels, Cage the Elephant, Wiz Khalifa, etc.
Osheaga, Canada (Evenko, 4–6 August 2017)
The Weeknd, Muse, Lorde, Major Lazer, Alabama Shakes, Justice, Solange, Vance Joy, Cage the Elephant, MGMT, Foster the People, Father John Misty, Die Antwoord, Liam Gallagher, etc.
Sziget, Hungary (Sziget Cultural Management, 9–16 August 2017)
Pink, Wiz Khalifa, Rita Ora, Paul Van Dyk, Alex Clare, Dimension, The Courteeners, The Vaccines, Her (Rita Ora photo by Craig Sjodin for Disney-ABC Television Group)
V Festival, UK (Metropolis Music/SJM Concerts, 19–20 August 2017)
Pink, Jay Z, Rudimental, Craig David, Pete Tong, Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne, Stormzy, George Ezra, Madness, Jason Derulo, Sean Paul, Dizzee Rascal, James Arthur, etc.
Glasgow Summer Sessions, UK (DF Concerts, 24 August 2017)
Eminem, Run the Jewels, Danny Brown, Russ (Eminem photo by paniko.cl)
Reading Festival/Leeds Festival,UK (Festival Republic, 25–27 August 2017)
Eminem, Haim, Migos, Giggs, You Me at Six, Blossoms, Frank Carter, The Pretty Reckless, Billy Talent, Everything Everything, Cabbage, Milky Change, Lethal Bizzle, Black Lips, etc.
Rock en Seine, France (Nous Productions, 25–27 August 2017)
At the Drive-In, PJ Harvey, The xx, Flume, The Kills, Franz Ferdinand, Cypress Hill, Frank Carter, The Pretty Reckless, Ty Segall, Mø, etc.
110,000 attend Rock en Seine 2016
The 14th edition of Rock en Seine, the last major event on the French festival calendar, closed on Sunday with an attendance over three days of 110,000.
The figure – 10,000 fewer than last year, when the Paris event sold out – can be nevertheless counted as a win for newly Live Nation-owned promoter Nous Productions in a year when many predicted major drop-offs in attendance for live events amid fears of further terror attacks.
Additionally, a spokesman for the festival tells IQ that Saturday 28 August – headlined by Massive Attack and Sigur Rós – did sell out, shifting all 40,000 tickets to fill the festival site, in Saint-Cloud Park, to capacity.
The figure is a win for Nous in a year when many predicted major drop-offs in attendance for live events amid fears of further terror attacks
French culture minister Audrey Azoulay said earlier this week (before the release of Rock en Seine’s attendance figures) ticket sales for music festivals this summer have been “exceptional”, with the “vast majority” of events seeing their attendance rise.
Rock en Seine will return from 25 to 27 August 2017.
Festival Focus: Lindisfarne, SGP, Gibraltar Fest
Conleth Maenpaa, the founder of Lindisfarne Festival, has urged the British public to support the UK’s independent music festivals following the cancellation earlier this week of fellow Northumberland event Down to the Woods.
“We were very disappointed to learn about the cancellation of Down to the Woods,” Maenpaa, a director of Nokomis and Bor Events, the promoter behind Lindisfarne, tells eFestivals. “Last year also sadly saw the cancellation of the Northern Lights event in Newcastle, and there seems to be a growing trend of smaller independents across the country also having to close. We are really keen to urge people to get behind our local festivals, to join in the fun and help protect their future and legacy.
“While the market is tough out there, we are lucky to be seeing a steady stream of ticket sales for Lindisfarne Festival 2016. I think what makes it difficult is that the public know that a lot of these north-east festivals won’t sell out straight away, hence waiting to purchase tickets till nearer to the time. This can make it hard for organisers to plan when you are anticipating demand ahead of the event, knowing how much to invest and so forth.”
Reef and British Sea Power will headline the second Lindisfarne Festival, on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 September, respectively.
Down to the Woods is the second UK indie to go under in two weeks, with Summer Days Festival at Clitheroe Castle in Lancashire also calling time on its second outing just weeks before it was due to kick off on 6 July.
A spokesman for the festival, which was to have featured headliners Simply Red, Jools Holland and Echo & the Bunnymen, says: “We have looked at every angle possible to keep the event live, but due to a combination of factors, including rising cost and newly arisen logistical obstacles ,we have no choice but to call Summer Days off.
“Support for Summer Days has been both incredible and humbling and makes this decision all the harder. You have our heartfelt apologies. Thank you again for all your support.” (Mick Hucknall/Simply Red photo by Jazzuality.com.)
In happier news, Festival Republic’s Latitude has added further names to its Comedy Arena line-up.
Among the newly confirmed comedians are headliner Bill Bailey, Milton Jones, Katherine Ryan, Robin Ince and Josie Long and Reece Shearsmith and Rufus Hound of The League of Gentlemen, who will present Festival Shambles, a Latitude-themed edition of their Book Shambles podcast. (Bill Bailey photo by Nick Webb.)
The Secret Garden Party (SGP) has chosen a new headliner to replace Primal Scream, who earlier this month cancelled their slots at SGP and seven other festivals after frontman Bobby Gillespie fell off the stage at Caribana Festival in Vaud, Switzerland.
UK dance music duo Maribou State will step up to the plate, joining other new additions Molotov Jukebox, Clean Cut Kid, Sundara Karma, Secret Company, Kloe, Mt Wolf, Nimmo, Blondage, Kioko, Stony Browder Jnr and Belle Roscoe at the psychedelic extravaganza in Abbots Ripton, Cambridgeshire, from 21 to 24 July. (Maribou State photo Marc Sethi.)
Nous Productions/Radical Production’s Rock en Seine, set for Château de Saint-Cloud park in west Paris in the last weekend of August, also finalised its line-up this week, adding 20 new acts including The Shins, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Little Simz and film composer Flavien Berger.
Here are the new additions in full:
(Brian Jonestown Massacre photo by Laurent Breillat.)
And American R&B singer and prolific songwriter Ne-Yo will play a British festival exclusive (well, ‘British’) alongside Bryan Ferry, The Vamps and Toploader at the fifth Gibraltar Music Festival this September.
The festival, backed by Gibraltar’s government, takes place on the 3rd and 4th at the UK overseas territory’s 5,000-capacity Victoria Stadium. Already confirmed are Stereophonics, Jess Glynne, All Saints, KT Tunstall, Foxes and more.