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Rock in Rio founder plans new 105,000-cap festival

Roberto Medina, founder of the largest festival in South America, Rock in Rio, has announced a new event which is set to be “the biggest music, culture and art festival Sāo Paulo, Brazil, has ever seen”.

The inaugural edition of The Town will take place in September 2023, welcoming up to 105,000 people per day to the Interlagos race track in Sāo Paulo – the largest city in Latin America.

The event will involve “lots of music, lots of stages and lots of entertainment, with national and international attractions during the five days of celebration,” according to Medina.

“I love Brazil intensely,” says Medina. “And, just like Rock in Rio, The Town was born from this passion for our land, from the amplification of looking at new opportunities and from the desire that the pandemic brought me in these months of confinement to bring something new.

“It will be surprising. The entire concept was conceived based on an inspiring and cosmopolitan São Paulo, in addition to being ready to host an event of this magnitude.”

“The entire concept [of The Town] was conceived based on an inspiring and cosmopolitan São Paulo”

From next year, Brazil will host Rock in Rio (cap. 100,000) in even years and now The Town in odd years.

The Brazilian edition of Rock in Rio will be held between 2–4 and 8–11 September 2022 at the Olympic Park in Rio De Janeiro, and will be headlined by Justin Bieber and Demi Lovato.

The Lisbon-based edition of Rock in Rio (cap. 80,000) will also take place next year (18–19 and 25–26 June), with Foo Fighters, The National, Liam Gallagher, Duran Duran, a-ha, Xutos & Pontapés, Bush and Post Malone all confirmed.

The Brazil and Lisbon editions of Rock in Rio were called off in 2021 and 2020.

Rock in Rio is majority-owned by Live Nation after the entertainment giant increased its shareholding in the company, in 2019.

 


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Portugal to ban festivals until 30 September

Under the Portguese cabinet’s stabilisation plan, festivals and shows “of a similar nature” will not be permitted until October 2020 and organisers will not be obliged to offer fans a cash refund for cancelled events.

The plan, which needs approval from the Portuguese parliament before becoming law, offers some clarity to promoters in the country, many of whom were awaiting an official declaration before deciding the fate of their 2020 events.

Festivals including NOS Alive, Paredes de Coura, Meo Sudoeste, Super Bock Super Rock and EDP Vilar de Mouros have acknowledged the government’s decision and state they are waiting for parliament to approve the measures before announcing how they will proceed.

Organisers of NOS Primavera Sound Porto, which had moved to early September in an attempt to avoid virus-related restrictions, made a similar announcement, adding that: “It seemed like a good idea, when we decided to celebrate Primavera in summer, we did it because we believed that in September we would be living in safer times.

“This new scenario does not allow us to celebrate what we wanted most. We continue to work hard so that, in 2021, we can celebrate more than NOS Primavera Sound.”

A number of organisers, including those of Rock in Rio Lisbon and North Music Festival, have already pulled their 2020 events, rescheduling for next year.

“When we decided to celebrate Primavera in summer, we did it because we believed that in September we would be living in safer times”

Under the government guidelines, organisers of festivals and other events scheduled for between 28 February and 30 September 2020 which were unable to take place due to the Covid-19 outbreak, can offer ticketholders a voucher of equal price to the original ticket.

This “guarantees the rights of the consumers”, reads the government document.

However, organisers of Afro Nation, which was due to host its second outing from 1 to 3 July, received criticism from some fans on social media upon announcing that they will not be issuing refunds for Afro Nation 2020.

“According to the new Portuguese law, your ticket will be automatically transferred to the new date,” reads a statement from organisers.

“Should you wish not to transfer to 2021, you will have the opportunity to sell your ticket via our primary ticket provider Festicket. Afro Nation will delay putting any tickets on sale in order to give ticket holders as much time as possible to resell tickets if that is what you choose to do.

“Your provider will be in touch today via email with further details on how to transfer to 2021 and how to resell your ticket via Festicket.”

Voucher schemes, which are designed to keep cash-strapped event organisers afloat during the coronavirus crisis, are in place in countries including Greece, Germany, Italy, Poland and Brazil.

 


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Portuguese fests bide their time as Swift cancels NOS Alive

Organisers of Portuguese festival NOS Alive say they are waiting until the government lifts the nation-wide state of emergency on 2 May before making any final decisions about the 2020 edition of the event, following the loss of headline act Taylor Swift.

Swift, who was to headline the festival along with Kendrick Lamar, the Strokes, Billie Eilish and Faith No More, announced the cancellation of all her 2020 live dates last week. Of the singer’s European festival dates, only NOS Alive, Spain’s Mad Cool and Open’er in Poland are still going ahead, with the UK’s Glastonbury Festival and BST Hyde Park, Denmark’s Roskilde, Festival de Nîmes in France, Belgium’s Werchter Boutique and Norway’s Oslo Sommertid festival all moved to 2021.

“We are sad to announce that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Taylor Swift will not be a part of the July edition of Nos Alive 2020,” reads a statement from NOS Alive organisers. “We understand and support the artist’s decision considering this global health crisis.

“We are evaluating on a daily basis all possibilities in order to enjoy music at [Nos Alive festival site]  Passeio Marítimo de Algés and for that we are working on every scenario, inlucing postponement of festival dates with the same line-up,” continues the statement.

“After the state of emergency is listed [on 2 May], we will surely be able to make more appropriate decisions regarding this edition of NOS Alive.”

“We are working on every scenario, inlucing postponement of festival dates with the same line-up”

Other major music festivals in Portugal, including July festivals Vilar de Mouros (Iggy Pop, Limp Bizkit, Placebo), Paredes de Coura (Pixies, Mac DeMarco and Idles) and August festivals Meo Sudoeste (Migos, Major Lazer, Bad Bunny, Ozuna) and Super Bock Super Rock (Asap Rocky, Brockhampton, Foals) are similarly biding their time until more information is available from the government.

However, many other Portuguese festivals have postponed their 2020 editions, or moved to 2021. Following the lead of its Spanish counterpart, NOS Primavera Sound Porto rescheduled its 2020 edition, moving from mid-June to the start of September. The line-up for the new dates is yet to be confirmed.

Rock in Rio Lisbon will no longer be taking place this year, moving to 19 to 20 June 2021. The festival was set to feature Post Malone, Black Eyed Peas, Foo Fighters, The National and Liam Gallagher.

Porto’s North Music Festival (Deftones, the Script, the Waterboys) has also called off its 2020 edition, set to take place from 22 to 23 May.

The Portuguese government are expected to announce its exit plan over the coming week, as it prepares to lift its state of emergency on 2 May. Similar announcements in other European markets has led to summer event bans in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Denmark and, and partial ones in France (mid-July), Austria (end of June), Luxembourg and Finland (31 July).

 


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Festival Fever: what’s in store for summer 2020

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ has a look at what organisers of Parklife, OpenAir St Gallen, Rock in Rio Lisbon, Colours of Ostrava, Download Japan, Wireless Festival and Roskilde have up their sleeves for 2020.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Parklife

When: 13 to 15 June
Where: Heaton Park, Manchester, UK
How many: 80,000

The line-up for Manchester’s Parklife festival was announced earlier this week, with a mixture of major hip-hop, electronic and pop acts topping the bill.

Tyler the creator, Carl Cox, Jorja Smith, Hot Chip, Giggs, Bicep, Four Tet and Roisin Murphy are among artists performing on the Saturday, with Khalid, Skepta, Lewis Capaldi, Anderson Paak, Robyn, Peggy Gou, Eric Prydz and Nina Kraviz leading the charge on Sunday.

Co-founded by Sacha Lord and Sam Kandel, who also started the Manchester-based Warehouse Project club nights, Parklife is majority controlled by LN-Gaiety, following a 2016 deal.

Tickets for Parklife 2020 are available here, priced at £125 for a weekend ticket and £95 for a day pass.

A mixture of major hip-hop, electronic and pop acts top the Parklife 2020 bill

OpenAir St Gallen

When: 25 to 28 June
Where: River Sitter valley, Saint Gallen, Switzerland
How many: 30,000

Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen is entering its 44th year in 2020 and its first as part of the newly formed powerhouse Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG, in which CTS Eventim acquired a majority stake last week.

This year’s festival will see performances from Twenty One Pilots, the Lumineers, Alan Walker and Of Monsters and Men, as well as German acts AnnenMayKantereit, Kontra K and Deichkind.

OpenAir St Gallen received the green operations award at the 2019 European Festival Awards, with Wepromote – the joint venture between OpenAir St Gallen, Gadget Entertainment, Incognito Productions, wildpony, SummerDays Festival, Seaside Festival and Wepromote Live – taking home promoter of the year.

Tickets for OpenAir St Gallen 2020 are available here, priced at CHF 239 (£188) for a four-day ticket and CHF 77 (£61) for a single day.

Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen is entering its 44th year in 2020

Wireless Festival

When: 3 to 5 July
Where: Finsbury Park, London, UK
How many: 50,000

Festival Republic’s Wireless Festival is returning to London’s Finsbury Park this summer for three days of urban music, headlined by ASAP Rocky, Skepta and Meek Mill.

Within a day of announcing the line-up, all weekend tickets and single Friday and Saturday tickets had sold out.

Other artists performing at the event include Quality Control Takeover, DaBaby, Roddy Ricch, AJ Tracey, Aitch, Burna Boy and Young Thug.

The line-up announcement for Wireless’ flagship UK event came days after the billing for its German edition was revealed. ASAP Rocky will also head up the 40,000-capacity Frankfurt festival, alongside Kendrick Lamar.

Sunday tickets for Wireless London are available here for £72.50, with joint Friday and Sunday passes also still available for £137.50.

Tickets for Wireless Germany can be found here, with a weekend ticket costing €149 (£125) and a day pass priced at €79 (£67).

Within a day of announcing the line-up, all weekend tickets and single Friday and Saturday tickets had sold out

Colours of Ostrava

When: 15 to 18 July
Where: Dolní Vítkovice, Ostrava, Czech Republic
How many: 45,000

Czech Republic’s Colours of Ostrava festival is this year featuring acts including the Killers, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, the Lumineers, Sigrid, LP and Youssou N’Dour.

The festival, which takes place in the industrial area of a former mining site in the Czech city, hosts acts over two dozen outdoor and indoor stages, as well as providing a programme of cinema, theatre, literature and art.

The Colours of Ostrava team also organises the free Festival v ulicích (Street Festival) in the centre of Ostrava, and the Czech Music Crossroads, a music showcase conference

Four-day tickets for Colours of Ostrava 2020 are available here for €125.

Colours of Ostrava is this year featuring the Killers, Twenty One Pilots and Martin Garrix

Rock in Rio Lisbon

When: 20 to 28 June
Where: Bela Vista Park, Lisbon, Portugal
How many: 80,000

The Lisbon edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio added two more acts to its 2020 line-up this week, with singers Ivete Sangalo and Anitta joining artists including Foo Fighters, the Black Eyed Peas, Camila Cabello, the National, Liam Gallagher and Post Malone.

Promoted by Rock City, in which Live Nation recently upped its shareholding to a majority stake, the festival’s flagship Rio de Janeiro event hosted the likes of Drake, Red Hit Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Pink and Muse across two four-day festival in September and October 2019.

Last year, Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina hinted at the possibility of launching a Chilean edition of the festival, in what would be the first expansion of the festival brand within the Latin American region.

Tickets for Rock in Rio Lisboa are available here. Day tickets cost €69 (£58) and weekend passes are priced at €112 (£94).

The Lisbon edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio added two more acts to its 2020 line-up this week

Download Japan

When: 29 March
Where: Makuhari Messe Event Hall, Chiba, Japan
How many: 9,000

The Japanese edition of Live Nation’s Download festival franchise is returning for its second outing this March, with a headline performance from My Chemical Romance.

Other artists playing at the festival include Evanescence, the Offspring, Jimmy East World, Ministry and In Flames.

The flagship UK edition of Download Festival is celebrating its 18th year in 2020, with performances from Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down.

Download is also returning to Australia this year, with festivals in Melbourne and Sydney on 20 and 21 March respectively. My Chemical Romance will also head up Download down under, alongside Ministry, Jimmy Eat World and Lacuna Coil, as well as domestic acts Dead Letter Circus, Hellions and Orpheus Omega.

Spanish and French editions of the festival will not be returning in 2020.

Tickets for Download Japan are available here for ¥16,500 (£115). Camping tickets for Download UK can be found here for £250 and tickets for the Australian Download events are available here for AU$194.93 (£99).

The Japanese edition of Live Nation’s Download festival franchise is returning for its second outing this March

Roskilde

When: 27 June to 4 July
Where: Roskilde, Denmark
How many: 85,000

Roskilde Festival’s 50th anniversary edition is shaping up to be a big, with 32 more acts added to the line-up this week.

Faith No More, FKA Twigs, Anderson Paak and Kacey Musgraves are among artists joining previously announced acts Taylor Swift, Tyler the Creator, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Deftones and more.

“What is unique about this generation of artists is how fast they make their mark – both artistically and when it comes to drawing attention,” comments Anders Wahrén, head of programming at the Danish non-profit festival.

“Artists like FKA Twigs, Anderson Paak and Kacey Musgraves are important to music, but are also important voices for the young people too.”

Tickets for the full eight-day festival experience plus camping are available here for DDK2250 (£257).

Roskilde Festival’s 50th anniversary edition is shaping up to be a big, with 32 more acts added to the line-up this week

Summer Nights at the Bandstand

When: 30 July to 15 August
Where: Kelvingrove bandstand, Glasgow, Scotland
How many: 2,500

Regular Music’s annual concert series is returning to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove bandstand this summer for 13 nights of live music.

This year’s line-up includes performances from Rufus Wainwright, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, KT Tunstall, Van Morrison and Rick Astely, as well as a two-night run by Primal Scream.

All twelve shows sold out last year, which featured acts including Bloc Party, the National, Burt Bacharach, Father John Misty and Patti Smith. Tickets for this year’s Summer Nights went on sale last week, with the Van Morrison, Yusuf/Cat Stevens and Rick Astley shows already selling out.

“Kelvingrove Bandstand has such a fantastic atmosphere and the feedback we have had from both artists and audiences is that they have a great time just being there,” comments Regular Music director Mark Mackie. “They really are unique and special nights under the stars.”

Tickets for Summer Nights at the Bandstand 2020 are available here.

 


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Rock in Rio founder plans Chilean fest

A Chilean edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio is in the works for 2021, confirms festival founder Roberto Medina.

Rock City-promoted Rock in Rio, founded by Medina in 1985, is the second highest-grossing festival in the world and the largest in South America. Rock City, in which Live Nation recently upped its shareholding to a majority stake, also operates a sister event in Lisbon, and formerly in Las Vegas and Madrid.

The Santiago de Chile edition marks the first expansion of the Rock in Rio festival brand within the Latin American region. Medina estimates investment needed for the new festival to be “nearly $150 million”.

The four-day event is billed for October 2021, just after the flagship Rio de Janeiro festival, with “practically the same line-up”. Drake, Foo Fighters, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Pink and Muse are among those playing Rock in Rio this year.

“Chile is a calm country with a stable economy, it seems like a logical step,” Medina told Chilean newspaper La Tercera. “800,000 people live in Lisbon, whereas Santiago has five million inhabitants in a country with a much bigger economy than Portugal.”

“Chile is a calm country with a stable economy, it seems like a logical step”

Medina also cites “great political and economic stability” in neighbouring Argentina as a major deterrent for a potential Argentinian branch.

“[Chile’s] proximity to Brazil is a positive,” states Medina, saying “almost 200,000 people” miss out on tickets for the Rio edition each year. Fans now have the option to attend the sister event a four-hour plane ride away. According to Medina, acts have traditionally played solo concerts in Santiago after their Rock in Rio appearance.

Medina also cites the positive economic impact the festival would bring to Santiago, estimated to be US$500 million over the four days.

Lollapalooza Chile, which has taken place in Santiago since 2011, is not viewed as competition for the Rock City festival. “The scale and approach [of the two events] are different,” explains Medina.

Rock in Rio takes place from 27 to 29 September and 3 to 6 October in Barra Olympic Park. Tickets will be available soon via Festicket.


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Live Nation to acquire IMM’s share of Rock in Rio

Live Nation has confirmed to IQ it is to increase its shareholding in Rock in Rio to a majority stake.

The US concert giant bought into Rock City – the company behind the 100,000-capacity flagship festival in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and its 80,000-cap. Lisbon sister event – in May 2018, taking over the minority share formerly held by SFX/LiveStyle. At the time, Live Nation said it aimed to become the controlling shareholder by 2019.

It now appears to be putting those plans in motion by acquiring the 20% stake held by Brazil-based, Abu Dhabi-owned entertainment and sports promoter IMM (formerly IMX). A buy-out is “in process”, subject to regulatory approvals, according to a Live Nation spokesperson.

A buy-out is in process, subject to regulatory approvals

IMM and Live Nation clashed in court late last year, with LN appealing after a Rio judge suspended the sale of Rock in Rio after protests by IMM.

Live Nation declined to comment on pricing, but a report in the Global Legal Chronicle puts the value of the Live Nation–IMM deal at US$20 million and Live Nation’s new shareholding at 60%.

Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina will reportedly retain a 40% stake after LN’s buy-out of IMM, and continue to manage the festivals.

 


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Sustained growth for Portuguese festival market

There were 249 music festivals held in Portugal in 2016 – 39 more than in 2015, or an 18% year-on-year increase – according to a new report by Aporfest (the Association of Portuguese Festivals).

Aporfest’s findings, presented at last week’s talkfest festival conference in Lisbon by Ticketea marketing director Ismael García, also reveal ticket sales grew by 300,000 to 2.1 million.

Portugal’s population is approximately 10.5 million, appearing to suggest one in five Portuguese bought a music festival ticket last year. However, according to García, the growth in sales in fact owes much to what Eventbrite calls ‘super fans’ or ‘hardcore festies’, with 30% of respondents saying they had been to two or more festivals in 2016.

The Portuguese festival scene has seen sustained growth in the past three years, growing from 127 events in 2013 to 156 in 2014, 210 in 2015 and 249 in 2016. According to talkfest director Ricardo Bramão, the number of festivals cancelled in 2016 also fell, to 14, a “figure lower than in previous years”.

Rock festivals were the most popular (attended by 25% of all festivalgoers), followed by alternative music (23%), indie (18%), electronic music (9%), pop (8%), jazz (6%), hip hop (4%) and metal (3%).

The most popular events overall were Rock in Rio Lisbon, NOS em D’Bandada, Sudoeste and Nos Alive (see graphic below).

Aporfest top 15 festivals 2016

While steady growth can only be a good thing, Aporfest cautions that the market remains immature and reliant on subsidies from local authorities.

Festivals that last more than three or four consecutive editions are rare, as it is “difficult for events to be able to attract new sponsors and audiences and achieve profitability”, the report reads. “In recent years, the only festivals that have grown steadily are those that are supported or supported by municipalities.” The organisation also expresses its concern the gulf between “the so-called ‘big festivals'” and smaller players is growing, with a majority of Portuguese festivals now having fewer than 1,000 attendees.

 


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