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European Festival Awards 2022 winners revealed

Denmark’s Roskilde Festival, the Netherlands’ Mojo Concerts and Atlas Ukraine were among the big winners at last night’s European Festival Awards (EFA).

The in-person ceremony, held at De Oosterpoort in Groningen, the Netherlands as part of Eurosonic Noorderslag (ESNS), returned to celebrate the best of the 2022 season after a forced hiatus due to the pandemic.

Already announced as winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award, Roskilde also triumphed in two other categories at the EFA’s 12th edition – Best Major Festival and The Impossible without Youth Award.

In their acceptance speech, the team praised the festival’s army of volunteers (“We couldn’t do it without them”), along with the “best audience in the world”. “We are so proud and so honoured,” they added. “Thank you for seeing the ambition and the idea and the community behind this.”

Elsewhere, Atlas Festival & Music Saves UA received a standing ovation when picking up the Take A Stand Award, while Mojo collected Promoter of the Year.

“Two years of corona showed how difficult it is to organise the things we love”

Germany’s Superbloom was named Best New Festival. “Two years of corona showed how difficult it is to organise the things we love,” said Superbloom organiser Fruzsina Szép. “And to start a new brand, even more so.”

X-ray Touring’s Josh Javor dedicated his Agent of the Year gong to his mentor, “the one and only legend”, Steve Strange and recalled the times Strange took him to Eurosonic. “Because of him I didn’t know there were panels for three years because all we did was drink, watch bands and sleep,” he joked.

The Award for Excellence & Passion, meanwhile, went to festival veteran Holger Jan Schmidt. Dubbed a “A true servant for the cause”, Schmidt said: “I can only do something with passion. Burnout goes hand in hand with passion. I think we should all take a look at ourselves. How much can we do. How much passion can we invest?”

Festivals from more than 30 countries participated in the awards process, with 300,000 single votes cast by the public, resulting in 124 shortlisted nominees in 15 categories, not counting the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The full list of winners is as follows:

The Take a Stand Award 
Atlas Festival & Music Saves UA (Ukraine)

Best New Festival
Superbloom (Germany)

The Impossible without Youth Award
Roskilde Festival (Denmark)

Best Indoor Festival
Iceland Airwaves (Iceland)

Line-Up of the Year
Hellfest (France)

The Health & Safety Innovation Award
Watt en Schlick Fest (Germany)

Agent of the Year
Josh Javor (X-Ray Touring)

Best Small Festival
Roadburn (The Netherlands)

Newcomer of the Year
Fred Again (UK)

The Brand Activation Award
Wacken Open Air (Germany) & Krombacher

Best Medium-Sized Festival
Best Kept Secret (The Netherlands)

The Green Operations Award
Rock Werchter (Belgium)

Best Major Festival
Roskilde Festival (Denmark)

The Award for Excellence & Passion
Holger Jan Schmidt

Promoter of the Year
Mojo (The Netherlands)

The Lifetime Achievement Award
Roskilde Festival (Denmark)

 


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Dansk Live partners with CTS Eventim’s Billetlugen

Denmark’s live music association has partnered with one of the country’s leading ticketing services to provide its members with key insights into ticket sales and marketing.

CTS Eventim’s Billetlugen will deliver knowledge about spending habits, social media trends and audience insights to Dansk Live in order to help its 120 members boost ticket sales.

“We are looking forward to starting a closer collaboration with Dansk Live and all the members,” says Jens B Arnesen, managing director at Billetlugen.

“In recent years, we have worked purposefully to convert our extensive data into knowledge about trends and marketing. With that as a starting point, we look forward to contributing with analyses, insights and concrete sessions that can support ticket sales.”

“We look forward to both us and the members being able to learn something new that can promote and develop ticket sales”

Esben Marcher, head of secretariat at Dansk Live, adds: “We are happy to enter into cooperation with Billetlugen, and we look forward to both us and the members being able to learn something new that can promote and develop ticket sales. In addition, it is also a great asset to have access to the knowledge Billetlugen shares with us when we speak for the organisers as part of our political work.”

Dansk Live’s membership includes some of Denmark’s biggest and best-known festivals such as Roskilde, Northside, Smukfest and Tinderbox.

Billetlugen’s parent company, CTS Eventim, is Europe’s leading ticketing provider in 21 countries and also operates venues & manages events worldwide.

 


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Roskilde, Primavera and more reveal 2023 lineups

Primavera Sound, Roskilde, Nova Rock, Rock Werchter, NorthSide and Nos Alive have added slates of artists to their 2023 lineups.

Rosalía, Calvin Harris, Kendrick Lamar, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, Blur and Halsey top the bill for Primavera Sound 2023, which will be held in two different Spanish cities across two weekends.

Next year’s festival will take place at its usual location of Parc Del Fòrum, Barcelona, on the first weekend (1–3 June).

On the second weekend (8–10 June), the festival will take place in the Ciudad de Rock (City of Rock) in Arganda del Rey, Madrid, for the first time ever.

The Spanish institution recently debuted in São Paulo, Brazil (5-6 November), Buenos Aires, Argentina and Santiago, Chile (both 12-13 November) to commemorate the event’s 20th birthday. Director Alfonso Lanza spoke to IQ about the “incredible response” to the festival’s South American debut.

Elsewhere, Denmark’s Roskilde has secured a raft of household names including Blur, Burna Boy, Christine & The Queens and Queens of the Stone Age for its 2023 edition, scheduled for 24 June to 1 July 2023.

Denmark’s Roskilde has secured Blur, Burna Boy, Christine & The Queens and Queens of the Stone Age

The 51st edition will also feature Alice Glass, Japanese Breakfast, Tove Lo, Denzel Curry and Rina Sawayama. Explore the 50-year history of Roskilde with IQ‘s recent feature.

Austria’s 2023 festival season is beginning to shape with marquee festival Nova Rock confirming headliners Slipknot, Bilderbuch, Die Ärtze, The Prodigy and Tenacious D.

Promoted by Nova Music Entertainment (part of CTS Eventim’s Barracuda Music), the four-day festival is slated for 7–10 June 2023 in Nickelsdorf.

Belgium’s Rock Werchter, meanwhile, has bagged some of the biggest names in rock for the 2023 edition in Festivalpark between 29 June to 2 July.

Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, Arctic Monkeys will top the bill, with support from Fred Again, Oscar and the Wolf, Stromae and more.

Last year’s edition, promoted by Live Nation Belgium and Herman Schueremans, shifted 67,000 combi-tickets and four lots of 21,000 one-day tickets.

“Denmark’s Northside is coming together, with The 1975, White Lies and Muse lined up for the 2023 instalment”

Sister festival Rock Werchter Boutique, meanwhile, will be headlined by P!nk and One Republic on 17 June 2023 in Festivalpark.

Elsewhere, Denmark’s Northside is coming together, with The 1975, White Lies and Muse lined up for the 2023 instalment.

The Down the Drain-promoted event will take place between 1–3 June 2023 in Eskelund park, Aarhus.

Following last week’s confirmation of The Black Keys, Nos Alive has followed up with acts including Angel Olsen, Idles, Tasha Sultana, Lizzo, Men I Trust and Sylvan Esso for next year’s event.

The 15th edition is due to take place between 6–8 July 2023 in the Algés riverside, close to Lisbon.

This year’s NOS Alive, promoted as usual by Everything Is New, welcomed 210,000 people over four days and 165 artists across seven stages.

 


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IFF 2022: Roskilde, 50 years young

Roskilde’s Anders Wahren and Christina Bilde opened up on the past, present and future of the Danish institution in a keynote session at the International Festival Forum (IFF) in London.

Wahren, who has been a booker of Denmark’s biggest festival since 2003 and programme director since 2014, and deputy director – communications, partnerships & philanthropy Bilde sat down with ILMC head Greg Parmley to discuss the event, which celebrated its half-century this year.

Roskilde Festival recently announced a revamp of its booking team and an increased focus on volunteering in the wake of its recent 50th anniversary edition, with Wahren retaining overall responsibility for music, art and activism, but being succeeded as head of booking by Thomas Jepsen.

The festival is hosting a special 50th birthday celebration in the Glasshouse of IFF’s host hotel, the Holiday Inn in Camden from 9-11pm tonight.

First, here are some of the highlights of the hour-long Roskilde: 50 Years Young interview, starting with the first edition Wahren attended as a fan…

“The first show I saw on the Orange Stage was Sex Pistols. And maybe it’s too much to call it a show…”

Watching the Sex Pistols in 1996…

Anders Wahren: “It was 90,000 people in a field mostly wearing black boots and T-shirts, and it was an era of grunge, rock and metal. The first show I saw on the Orange Stage was Sex Pistols. And maybe it’s too much to call it a show because they tried to play but were hit by bottles and cups. They tried to come back and play three times, but in the end they had to give up. So that was my introduction to what it was like to be at the Orange Stage. Luckily, it was first and final [like] that. But there was still this community feeling. Not with the people throwing shit of course, but everybody else in the crowd. I was 13 at the time, I was going with some friends. But I also had friends from school who had been going since they were small kids going with their parents.”

The ever-evolving Roskilde line-up…

AW: “It’s reflecting audience taste and also what’s happening in the music world and in the world as such. We wouldn’t still have a young audience if we booked the same acts that were there in the 70s or 80s, there needs to be evolvement over time. Of course, some of the people who started coming when I did, complain: ‘Why are you not booking so many rock bands anymore?’ And we have got that for 20 years now because we don’t just book rock bands, we book a lot of other stuff as well. It’s very important that we keep the line-up fresh to attract new audiences and keep the festival moving. I think that’s a very good reason why we’re still here and having the 50th anniversary.”

“A challenge that we share with a lot of other events is how to get back the generation that haven’t been able to go to festivals during the pandemic”

Christina Bilde: “The average age [of the audience] has been 24 for the last 15 years. But this year, we had an average age of 27. I think some of the explanation is that the tickets were sold in 2019/2020 and the audience kept their tickets, so they rolled over. And of course, having a break of three years, the audience also grew older. We also think it being the 50th festival made some older people want to come. But that gives us a challenge, of course, because we want to get the younger participants back again. A challenge that we share with a lot of other events is how to get back the generation that haven’t been able to go to festivals during the pandemic.”

“The Roskilde poker face is something that all agents experience at one point or another”

The Roskilde ‘poker face’…

Jules de Lattre (UTA agent): “The Roskilde poker face is something that all agents experience at one point or another. We’re talking to the programming team and you could be pitching the next Daft Punk and doing so with passion, emotion, and throwing everything at it. What you will get back is not a sliver of visible interest or emotion, which is really quite unsettling the first time it happens for some of the younger agents and coordinators. We always have to reassure them after and say, ‘This is just the Roskilde poker face and actually you will probably get an offer for the act you least expect to have on the festival.’ I think that that points to – and I’m saying this seriously now – the impeccable A&R over the years at Roskilde.”

AW: “We should play more poker! Volunteers are a big part of the Roskilde organisation. We also have them in the midst of our booking team and that’s important because they are not entwined in the music business as such, so they just listen to a lot of music, go to a lot of shows, keep up with the current scenes and inform us. So there’s a lot going on behind the scenes and the poker face that we try to put up. Also, we’re not the sole decision makers and are not able to make the offer right away because we always want to discuss internally and make up our group mind. So it has never been my taste that dictates what a good Roskilde line-up is, it’s a combination of many people.”

“Roskilde has been quite good at listening and picking up trends from our audience over the years”

CB: “Roskilde has been quite good at listening and picking up trends from our audience over the years , even before the trends were visible in other areas of society. Listening to the young audience and being brave enough to move with them is part of the experience as well.”

Returning after Covid…

AW: “It felt good. I was a little worried that some things might have changed and maybe the audience only wanted to [see] the big headliners. How would we know? Three years off is a lot, so it was good to reconnect with the audience. Of course, it was a tough year: there were more cancellations than ever and there was a strike warning from Scandinavian Airlines. The pilots were going on strike the first day of the festival and they postponed it a week. But still, it was a lot of stress.”

The future…

AW: “The honest answer is we don’t know. It’s hard to say now that it’s going to be in this direction or that direction because it will probably change a few times, so we’ll see. We’ll keep evolving and will hopefully keep up with wherever the most interesting things are happening in art and music, we’ll go there and take the audience with us.”

Click here to read IQ‘s recent feature commemorating Roskilde’s half-century.

 


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Roskilde Festival revamps booking team

Roskilde Festival has announced a revamp of its booking team and an increased focus on volunteering in the wake of its recent 50th anniversary edition.

Anders Wahrén, who has been a booker of Denmark’s biggest festival since 2003 and programme director since 2014, will retain overall responsibility for music, art and activism, but will no longer book the event going forward and is succeeded by new head of booking Thomas Jepsen

“It is absolutely essential that we continue to push the limits and develop Roskilde Festival in new directions,” says Wahren. “That is why we are now changing how we put together our music programme. Partly in the distribution of roles in the booking team, but we are also in the process of rethinking how we can involve volunteers even more in programming in the future.”

Jepsen has been associated with the booking team since 2009 – the first years as a volunteer and from 2014 as a booker.

“I would like to build on the work we are already doing, where our focus is especially on young people’s communities,” says Jepsen. “We want to continue to pique people’s curiosity and give them something more than what they necessarily have on their wish list.

“At the same time, we must ensure diversity in the music programme. In recent years, there has been a necessary, increased focus on the gender distribution on the festival line-ups, we will also in the future pay even more attention to the representation of minorities in our programming.”

“We have a goal of reaching all corners of the musical trends, and the risk of hitting blind spots is minimised if we expand the group”

With Roskilde’s foundations based on voluntary engagement, the new organisation is focusing on involving even more volunteers in the booking team and on developing new ways in which they can engage.

“We have a goal of reaching all corners of the musical trends, and the risk of hitting blind spots is minimised if we expand the group,” adds Wahren. “Therefore, we are now investigating other ways to volunteer. It could, for example, be as a scout, where you go to concerts and report back to us. It could also be on a more organisational level. We are developing that.”

Wahren will be joined by deputy director – communications, partnerships & philanthropy Christina Bilde and head of sustainability Sanne Stephansen at this year’s International Festival Forum in London for the keynote conversation Roskilde Festival: 50 Years Young from noon on Wednesday 28 September.

The festival will then host a special 50th birthday celebration in the Glasshouse of IFF’s host hotel, the Holiday Inn in Camden from 9-11pm later that day.

Click here to read IQ‘s feature commemorating Roskilde’s half-century.

 


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One of a kinder: Roskilde at 50

It’s a fair bet to assume that, back in 1971, when Mogens Sandfær and Jesper Switzer Møller – two high-school students – decided to put on a festival, they had no idea how momentous an event it would eventually become. Sound Festival, as it was called, was a cultural success but a financial disaster – “10,000 people turned up, but less than half of them paid to get in,” remembers Leif Skov, the event’s former director and head of booking.

But the seed was sown and, slowly and organically, it grew in size and reputation. For 50 years now, music fans across the globe have flocked to Roskilde, its golden anniversary a fitting milestone for a festival that means so much to so many and has retained its unique character and vibe.

The event started out with a noble goal. “The idea was to bring people together,” says Skov, who notes that that remains the main ethos today. Inspired by Woodstock and the Isle of Wight, and based on their experience from a concert they had organised to support jailed Black civil rights activist Angela Davis, Sandfær and Møller were encouraged by a local Copenhagen agent, Karl Fischer, to do something that was unusual at that time – an outdoor event.

Twenty bands – mostly Danish but including US and UK acts like Stefan Grossman, Mick Softley, and The Grease Band – graced the single stage, with those fans who did pay coughing up just 30 Danish Kroner (approximately €4 euros, equivalent to €29 today) for the privilege.

That theme continued in the event’s early years – acts were mainly Danish and drawn from the world of folk, rock and pop. But behind the scenes, things changed. “In 1972, none of the 1971 organisers were involved,” says Skov. “Instead, it was organised jointly between American folk singer Tony Bush’s Kaunos Ltd, and the Roskilde Charity Society – about 16,000 people turned up. And from 1973 onwards, the Roskilde Charity Society became the main organiser under the name Roskilde Festival.”

The festival’s primary icon, the stage, had previously belonged to the Rolling Stones

By 1975, the festival had grown to three stages and a capacity of around 25,000. Bigger names began to appear on the bill, too – the likes of The Kinks, Canned Heat, Fairport Convention, Status Quo, and Procol Harum all played prior to 1978, with the festival’s booking committee looking to entice the most popular bands of the day. But that year also saw another important development, one that came to shape the festival’s image for years to come – they introduced the Canopy Stage, better known as the Orange Stage.

The festival’s primary icon, the stage, had previously belonged to the Rolling Stones. But a chance encounter with a photograph set Leif Skov on a hunt to track it down. “In 1977, I saw a photo of the orange canopy roof in Hyde Park, in NME – it had been used by Queen, I think. This was long before the fax, web, and mobile phones, so I wrote a letter to NME: ‘Who owns this stage?’ Early in 1978, Roskilde bought the roof from a company in liquidation, and since then it’s been the main stage and the logo for the festival.”

That year “started a new era for Roskilde” says Skov. Bob Marley and the Wailers and Elvis Costello entertained 36,500 fans, who had started to come from further afield – Sweden, Norway, and Germany among other countries. The festival also started to invite more NGOs and intensified its charity work; Skov started seeing Michael Eavis off-season to “exchange ideas and experiences.” In 1982, U2 headlined, with 49,000 in attendance; the following year, it was Simple Minds and Echo & The Bunnymen, with over 60,000 fans. Roskilde was starting to come of age.

“The festival was founded and built by volunteers ever since the first edition”

One of a Kind
Many things stand out about Roskilde and make it somewhat unique in the festival world. There is, of course, the charity aspect – it has been a non-profit since the very beginning, donating its profits in full to initiatives that benefit children and young people. “All proceeds are donated to humanitarian, cultural, and social charities,” notes Skov. “Roskilde today is still not primarily a music industry event.” But there is also the famed army of volunteers – the current iteration sees 30,000 contribute every year.

“The festival was founded and built by volunteers ever since the first edition,” says Malte Vuorela, Roskilde’s head of press. “It wasn’t until 1986 that the festival began employing a selected few as paid administrators. Today, we have around 30,000 volunteers – some are active all year, others only during the festival. They come from all over Denmark, but a large group – around 5,500 volunteers – are from the local Roskilde area.”

The volunteers don’t just make the festival happen, however. According to Henrik Bondo Nielsen, head of division, service & safety, they shape the festival’s unique vibe and ethos, making it very special indeed. “What is characteristic of our volunteers is that a very large group of them are also participants in the festival – it’s just another way to participate. We don’t make a sharp distinction between volunteers and participants, so it is the co-creation between people that is the core of Roskilde Festival.”

This means that a large part of what happens in the first four days of Roskilde Festival is participant-created. Nielsen goes on. “A notable difference from, for example, Glastonbury, is that when you arrive there, you pitch a tent in an area where basically nothing happens. All the fun happens inside the festival site. Instead, we have chosen to spread out the party. If you want to be part of the community-based camping area, called Dream City, you can start up 100 days before the start of the festival and help build up a city. We don’t curate – we just facilitate. I don’t know many other places that give so much freedom to the participants – that, I think, is quite unique.”

“In those years, there was no upper limit for the number of participants, and more than 90,000 tickets were sold in 1996”

It’s a testament to the scheme’s effectiveness that many volunteers return year after year – and some, like Nielsen, end up working for the festival full-time. He started in 1980; Signe Lopdrup, the current CEO, first attended in 1985 as a regular fan. “I was fascinated by the organisation – the volunteering and the community,” she says. “And I was really impressed that you could create something that engaged so many people.”

Anders Wahrén first came as a 13-year-old fan in 1996; by 2001, he was volunteering as a stagehand at the Camping Stage and a few years later joined the booking team. He notes that in the 1990s, “It was very big and quite wild. In those years, there was no upper limit for the number of participants, and more than 90,000 tickets were sold in 1996. My first concert at the Orange Stage was the Sex Pistols. They had reunited – but apparently not everyone thought that was such a good idea. Some felt that as old punk rockers they had sold out by going back together, so bottles were thrown towards the stage; the band had to leave and return three times!”

By the mid-nineties, Roskilde was firmly established as one of Europe’s biggest and best festivals. For the 25th anniversary, in 1995, the event had grown to nine stages and accommodated 95,000 fans – with tickets selling out even faster. And it was more international than ever. “Two out of three visitors were not Danish,” says Skov, and the headliners were iconic names drawn from rock, pop, and indie – Bob Dylan, The Velvet Underground, David Bowie, Radiohead, Ray Charles, R.E.M., and Nirvana.

Live Nation’s chairman of international and the Nordics, Thomas Johansson, is one of the few people who has worked on all 50 editions of Roskilde Festival. “I booked the headliners for the very first festivals – acts like The Kinks, Status Quo, Fairport Convention – when the audience was 8-10,000 people, and I just kept booking the headliners ever since,” he tells IQ.

In addition to the previously listed talent, Johansson has also helped Roskilde secure the likes of U2, Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters, The Clash, Bob Marley, Lou Reed, Metallica, Nirvana, Rammstein, Coldplay, Blur, Kendrick Lamar, Rage Against The Machine and many, many more.

LN’s chairman of international and the Nordics, Thomas Johansson, is one of the few people who has worked on all 50 editions

Less is More
Despite the success, Roskilde’s management team worried that the event had grown too unwieldy and that the fan experience was suffering as a result. In order to protect what they had, they did what almost no festival would do – they reduced the numbers, first to 85,000 in 1996, then down to 75,000 the following year. “We wanted to give the audience a greater experience,” says Skov; they also refocused their humanitarian and environmental work.

For Nielsen, such a move encapsulates what makes Roskilde so special. “What captured me was building something big – like Lego bricks, only on a larger scale,” he says. “Many other places you have to fight to make changes, but Roskilde Festival has a driving force that says that we must innovate all the time because we cannot offer our guests a copy of previous years.”

This feeling is echoed by those who work with the festival in a professional capacity, some of whom have been involved since the very early years – loyalty here runs very deep. “Soundforce first got involved in 1982,” says Vagn Olsen, the company’s CEO. “We rent them every imaginable piece of musical gear, instrument, and backline, and we’ve now worked together for 40 years this year. Which is absolutely crazy when you think about it.”

“The uniqueness of Roskilde is also the fact that no year is the same, and it feels like a new production each year”

“We have been lucky to work with almost the same people behind the scenes for around 28 years, so that makes a huge difference of where we are now. The uniqueness of Roskilde is also the fact that no year is the same, and it feels like a new production each year. So even though you have many years of experience, you never know quite what to expect.”

It’s a similar story for Meyer Sound, who have been providing sound reinforcement systems for Roskilde for years – and, since 2018, all stages have been powered by Meyer Sound. “In 2017, the Roskilde leadership team realised the best sounding stages were those with Meyer Sound,” says John McMahon, Meyer Sound senior vice president. “This inspired the festival to seek a sound partnership that would elevate the artist and fan experience at all stages, with a festival 100% powered by us.”

McMahon also believes that the partnerships the festival team foster, and the idea of equal collaboration, is what makes their working relationships so strong. “The Meyer Sound and Roskilde Festival teams are truly collaborative. The area where this is most apparent is on the technical side, where our team is embedded within the festival team to deliver the festival.”

He also notes that their actual festival work is just one aspect of their relationship. “We have partnered with the Roskilde Festival leadership on many levels, from the education of the audio teams to university research and development projects related to the impact of weather on festival sound and other scientific research, as well as creating the ‘Orange Feeling’ with our collaborative team approach.”

“That accident led to massive development of safety in general – not just for festivals but for all events”

Safety-ing Numbers
While the festival went from strength to strength during the 1990s, tragedy struck in 2000. A crush developed during Pearl Jam’s headline set, with people falling close to the stage after a series of wave-like motions in the audience. Nine people died, with a further 26 injured – three of them seriously. It was a “total shock and a warning for youth culture in general,” remembers Skov; “a wake-up call for the entire industry,” adds Nielson.

“There had been other accidents elsewhere, but this one was so big it caused tremors all over Europe. People said that if it can happen at Roskilde Festival, it can happen anywhere.” The official investigation ruled it an accident and that there had been no criminal actions, but Roskilde took it as a spur to lead change – and to make every effort to prevent something similar from happening in the future.

“That accident led to massive development of safety in general – not just for festivals but for all events. Now, Roskilde Festival is present in all important networks in the industry,” says Lopdrup. “Before the accident, safety was not something that was discussed across the industry. It had the effect that we in Roskilde decided that it was a theme we should engage in – a legacy, and one way to move forward was to take responsibility for it being put on the agenda,” adds Nielsen.

“This means that today we have a very close collaboration across Europe. We have created a network of festival safety managers who are in close contact, and we have organised more than 35 seminars across Europe. We also try to keep up with developments in youth culture, to create as safe events as possible.”

“One achievement is that we have managed to move and stay relevant through five decades”

Since then, and with extra safety measures in place, the festival has continued to grow – Roskilde now welcomes 130,000 music fans every year and continues to draw the biggest names in music. Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Eminem, Metallica, and Paul McCartney all headlined through the 2010s, and this year had a distinct pop flavour – Post Malone, Dua Lipa, and Tyler, the Creator sit atop the bill. It’s all part of what Skov says is a desire to “develop respectfully rather than grow – the world and its people need leadership based on values that you can feel but not buy.”

Celebrating Roskilde’s carefully curated evolution, Wahrén notes, “One achievement is that we have managed to move and stay relevant through five decades. We’ve gone from being a festival where you could not experience hard rock, to having it as the primary thing and to having electronic music, to being able to present the biggest acts in pop and hip-hop, which we also embraced early on.”

As a personal highlight, he mentions Eminem, someone they chased for many, many years. “We tried for 17 years before we managed to book him, and it was his first and only concert in Denmark. At the same time, it was the show with the largest audience ever on Danish soil. We don’t know exactly how many people attended but probably over 90,000 – it has been interesting to see the change from hip-hop being an underground genre at the festival to the fact that it is now the most unifying.”

“It has been a period of great uncertainty – we planned two festivals that were never brought to life”

Golden Year
And so to the 50th-anniversary celebrations, something that was postponed not once but twice due to Covid. Having such a special edition of the festival essentially “on hold” led to many challenges, but as ever, the Roskilde team rose to the occasion. 2022 will, they say, be the best yet.

“It has been a period of great uncertainty – we planned two festivals that were never brought to life, says Lopdrup. “But it also means that there are some things we have been working on for a long time – and that has given us great strength, too. So we are making a new, crisp festival this year.”

“We chose not to try to keep the whole line-up from 2020,” adds Wahrén. “Instead, we look at it as a new festival and evaluated everything again. It is difficult to assess what the right balance is because, on the one hand, we have to live up to what people bought tickets for two years ago so that we can keep the value. But we must also create what is Roskilde – there have to be surprises and progression. We have not moved away from our core, even if it is not exactly the same names as in 2020.”

That means doing things differently and thinking outside the box. As part of the celebrations, the festival published several books, including one about graffiti, which has been an important part of the festival for more than 20 years. They are also, says Wahrén, “being far-sighted and taking new paths through art and music.” For example, they presented a 2,000-square-meter, colourful dance floor, created by the internationally renowned visual artist Katharina Grosse. And the acclaimed German artist Tino Sehgal has co-created their brand-new venue, Platform, featuring both concerts and boundary-pushing hybrid art.

With 13 stages, this year’s festival was the biggest iteration yet – but the team are confident that Roskilde remains Roskilde

With 13 stages, this year’s festival was the biggest iteration yet – but the team are confident that Roskilde remains Roskilde. “The core values of all involved in putting on this festival represent the spirit of how festivals first came about in the late 1960s and early 1970s,” says John McMahon. “The Roskilde Festival team remains true to those values 50 years later.”

That, more than anything, is what keeps everyone – the volunteers, the fans, the bands, and all who participate – coming back. “For many of our volunteers, creating Roskilde Festival is a lifestyle,” says Nielsen. “And we manage to deliver experiences that people did not expect,” adds Wahrén. “You know you’ll miss something if you’re not here. People also come to cultivate friendships and the communities that exist at the festival.”

“With a non-profit event like ours, the strength lies in the local grounding,” says Lopdrup. “That there are people who support us and fight for us. We are greeted by this because our organisation extends beyond itself. We want to take the lead, but we also want to make a difference for [people other] than ourselves. That’s the secret – the community of volunteers, participants who held on to their tickets through the pandemic, and partners and suppliers who support us all the way.”

One person delighted to still be involved in the historic event is Live Nation chief Johansson. “The people at Roskilde are inspiring to work with because it’s not about someone who wants to buy a new Ferrari – they give all the money to charity, and the artists love that aspect, too, as they get to hand cheques to their favourite causes,” he says. “It’s the mother of festivals in Europe, and it has been a fantastic ride to be involved with it for 50 years: a true privilege.”

“We can become a community for even more people…where everyone can feel at home”

The future certainly looks bright, for 2022 and beyond. And with some of the seismic changes currently affecting the wider world, Roskilde’s focus is changing, too – sustainability looms large on the agenda, as does diversity and inclusion. Says Wahrén: “We can become a community for even more people – not in terms of capacity but in terms of becoming a more diverse community where everyone can feel at home. Some of it starts in the line-up, something else starts in the relationship with the participants – but those two things must fit together.”

“We must continue to be a fantastic eight-day event,” adds Lopdrup. “But our ambition is to expand the community to be more vibrant and present throughout the year. We need to develop within sustainability, and we are well underway. It is essential for an organisation like ours – no one is perfect, and we can always get better, but we want to inspire a more sustainable way of at- tending festivals in the future.”

So here’s to the next 50 years, then, and an even bigger celebration in 2072 for the 100th edition? Why not? “If there is one thing we have learned during the pandemic, it is that gathering around art, food, music – all the sensory experiences – cannot be replaced by anything else,” says Lopdrup. “We believe that this is what Roskilde Festival can and must do. And I bet that there will still be a need to make a difference together in the future – that won’t change.”

 


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Here and queer: IQ Magazine’s Pride edition has arrived

IQ 112, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online and in print now.

The July 2022 issue sees the return of IQ Magazines annual Pride issue, which was made possible thanks to support from Ticketmaster.

Once again, the Pride issue’s marquee feature is the LGBTIQ+ List which profiles 20 queer professionals making an impact in the international live music business and beyond. This year’s top 20, which were announced yesterday, share their challenges, triumphs, advice and email addresses with us in the bumper feature.

Issue 112 also sees the return of the Loud & Proud playlist and feature, in which our agency partners profile some of the most exciting queer acts on their rosters. Contributing agencies include 13 Artists, ATC Live, CAA, FMLY, Hometown Talent, Progressive Artists, Wasserman Music, and X-ray Touring.

More recommendations for queer artists are shared in Your Shout, where executives including Rauha Kyyrö (Fullsteam), Raven Twigg (Metropolis Music), Paul Bonham (MMF) reveal the best queer act they’ve seen live.

Elsewhere, Pride editor Lisa Henderson speaks to executives working in the LGBTIQ+ events space to find out more about the economic and social value of the pink pound.

For this edition’s columns and comments, DICE’S Nix Corporan outlines ways the live music industry could make concerts safer and more inclusive for queer fans. In addition, Hatice Arici details the ramifications for the LGBTIQ+ community in Turkey, following the shutdown of Istanbul Pride.

Beyond the Pride-specific content, IQ Magazine editor Gordon Masson learns how the freight and transport business is dealing with its busiest and most challenging year ever.

Derek Robertson looks back on half a century of history that helped to shape Denmark’s iconic Roskilde Festival and Adam Woods reports on the extraordinary growth of live music in Latin America.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next six weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ for just £7.99 a month – or check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:

 


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Roskilde 50: ‘It was amazing to be back’

Roskilde programme director Anders Wahrén tells IQ it felt “amazing to be back” following the conclusion of the festival’s belated 50th anniversary edition.

Held from 25 June to 2 July, Post Malone, Dua Lipa, Tyler, the Creator and The Strokes headlined the first Roskilde since 2019, with the likes of Megan Thee Stallion, St Vincent, Haim, The Smile, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss and Biffy Clyro also featuring on the bill.

“It was amazing to be back doing what we love to do,” Wahrén tells IQ. “The highlights were many, but seeing how our audience always lifts the artists up, supporting the headliners as well as the lesser known acts, was probably the overall highlight.

“Seeing young headliners as Dua Lipa, Tyler, the Creator, Post Malone, Haim and Megan Thee Stallion take on our main stage bodes well for the future.”

“We had a lot of new people in the organisation”

One of the largest and best-loved festivals in Europe, for 2022, organisers released 5,000 extra tickets exclusively for fans aged under 25 to help secure a new generation, thus growing the festival’s capacity to 85,000 people per day.

However, with a three-year gap since the last festival, the Danish institution’s return proved a triumph despite having to content with a series of Covid-related challenges.

“Like everyone else, we have had to lay off staff during the pandemic which means we had a lot of new people in the organisation,” says Wahrén. “Combined with a shortage of staff from our suppliers and a lack of volunteers in some parts of the organisation made it a tough year. But everyone did an amazing job, and it is always jaw-dropping to see how much responsibility our volunteers take on site, helping and lifting each other up.”

“Hopefully, we will get back to where we were in terms of engaging volunteers”

Rebuilding volunteer numbers, which totalled around 30,000 pre-pandemic, is considered a priority.

“Hopefully, we will get back to where we were in terms of engaging volunteers,” notes Wahrén. “This work starts early and normally builds on top of the success of one festival towards the planning of the next one. Festivals are important as an inspiration, and I hope we can inspire change in terms of diversity, sustainability and solidarity in the years to come.”

In closing, Wahrén suggests that although the public’s appetite to attend concerts in Denmark has not waned, the market was yet to return to normal.

“They are keen, but you can definitely still sense that there is a backlog on private arrangements such as birthdays, weddings, etc, and rolled over shows, making some ticket sales hard,” he says. “But once they are there – and with our festival being sold out well in advance, they were – they enjoy it more than ever. I could sense the urgency of having real, physical live shows back and the smiles were wider than ever.”

The next issue of IQ will include a special anniversary feature on 50 years of Roskilde festival. 

 


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Festival chiefs preview the upcoming season

The cost of living crisis, an oversaturated market and rising costs threaten to create a “recipe for disaster” for the first full festival season since 2019, it has been claimed.

ILMC’s Festival Forum: New lands, new adventures panel heard divergent views from event bosses on prospects for this summer, with the public’s appetite for returning to music shows evident, but two years of lockdown and restrictions throwing up a litany of new problems.

UTA agent Beth Morton moderated the illuminating debate starring Eric van Eerdenburg of Mojo Concerts (NL), Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts (UK), Sophie Lobl of C3 Presents (US), Henrik Bondo Nielsen of Roskilde Festival (DK), Stephan Thanscheidt of FKP Scorpio (DE) and Reshad Hossenally of Festicket’s Event Genius ticketing and event technology platform.

Event Genius COO Hossenally said that, despite the anticipated rush for concert tickets after two lost years to Covid-19, other issues were cropping up.

“People don’t trust that everything is back to normal yet”

“There are a hell of a lot of shows and it’s almost a bit of a recipe for disaster because you’ve got costs going up, a lot of tickets being carried across and a huge amount of competition,” he said. “The other part is people are being told they don’t have any money in the press. I think you’ll see the buying pattern starting to become a lot later. People don’t trust that everything is back to normal yet.

“We ran a global survey and 75% of people said that they want to understand what the cancellation policies are. Before, that would have been an impulse buy – people didn’t even look at terms and conditions beforehand. The decision of buying a festival ticket now is a lot more considered. So as a festival promoter, I suspect it must be quite a scary road to see that we’re not selling as quickly.”

Roskilde head of safety and service Bondo Nielsen referenced complaints from some of his European contemporaries regarding fan behaviour since the restart, with the pandemic resulting in a lag in younger consumers attending their first festival.

“What I hear is that people talk about inexperienced audience and that they are not behaving well,” he said. “My view is that, as a festival organiser, it’s your job to manage the audience that you invite. So if they don’t behave well, you have to teach them.”

“Costs are going up at least 25% from 2019 prices”

Ellis, who heads up events such as Scotland’s Transmt, responded: “You’ve got gig veterans, and then you always get new people coming in – 16 to 17-year-olds coming along for the first time – and I think they get carried along and looked after by the older members of the audience a bit. It is a real community spirit that you get, no matter what the festival is. They’re all there for the same purpose: to enjoy music, and the shared experience of being at an event.”

Ellis considered increasing costs, exacerbated by supply chain and staffing issues, as the biggest challenge for festivals going forward.

“Certainly in the UK, costs are going up at least 25% from 2019 prices, which is really difficult,” he said. “And it’s the scarcity of kit as well, so stages, barriers – we’re having to beg, borrow and steal barriers from different arenas, because there are so many shows on. There are shows that have moved from 2020, and didn’t happen in ’21, all happening, plus the festivals, plus the outdoor business that would have taken place in ’22.

“Also, staff – lots of stewards left the industry during the pandemic. Toilets, again, lots of sporting events are taking certainly the high end toilets, maybe not the actual portaloos but the flushable toilets and trailers, so that’s a real challenge.”

“People have hung on to their tickets for a couple of years, you can’t go back to them and ask for more money”

The promoter added that simply hiking up ticket prices was not an option for this year.

“People have hung on to their tickets for a couple of years, you can’t go back to them and ask for more money,” he said. “And we’re going into a cost of living crisis globally, with people having concerns about how they’re going to pay their energy bills and everything else. So some of it will have to be passed on going forward, but it’s too late for this year.

“I think we all have to try our best to get costs down and look at innovative ways of delivering things as well. We need suppliers to give us a bit of a break really.

“The positive thing is there was a recent survey in America showing what people are looking forward to getting back to most, and concerts was top of the list, so that’s reassuring. Obviously we’re all worried about how they’re going to afford to do it, but at least they want to go to concerts.”

“There are so many artists, coming out of Covid, that haven’t done a hard ticket tour”

The conversation later switched to social media’s influence on programming and its correlation to ticket sales.

“There is so much that we have to take into account that’s not just ticket sales,” revealed C3 and Live Nation global festival talent buyer Lobl. “Obviously socials, obviously TikTok, but the show we’re booking kind of determines what we look at.”

She continued: “There are so many artists, coming out of Covid, that haven’t done a hard ticket tour. If you take someone like Doja Cat, who has been one of our biggest artists at all of our festivals, and probably had the biggest crowd at Austin City Limits and in South America, hasn’t done her own hard ticket run yet.

“It’s also a lot more global now, which makes it more fun. But it also makes it a lot harder to navigate. For us, the Latin market has been huge and there’s a lot more global booking of really sizeable bands.”

“We have also analysing tools for social media,” noted FKP head of festival booking Thanscheidt. “You also have to do look at where are the likes and plays are coming from because if they’re coming from another part of the world, it’s nice for the band, but maybe not for us putting on a festival or a show with them. Also, not every Tiktok hype translates to the festivals we book.

“In general, you don’t want to go away from the history of the festival. But you also want to keep it modern and fresh and cool at the same time. In the end, booking is a process. It is, of course, influenced by other things nowadays, but it’s still a mixture of very different facts coming together.

“It also really depends on the festival – because if you have an older audience, TikTok and all that does not play the biggest role and vice-versa, so you have to look at it very individually to make the right decisions. You have to know your market and  your audiences because sometimes it’s hard to explain, especially to agents, why this act is working and the other one is not.”

“It’s not an exact science and it never has been”

Van Eerdenberg, director of Netherlands’ Lowlands festival, shared his own booking philosophy.

“We had discussions in our programming team about this, and we ended up saying quality is not the thing we measure, but whether people are reacting and responding to it,” he said. “You have to work with what you see happening online. But it’s difficult to determine the value of an act, especially when agents are very convincing.”

Ellis pointed out that hard ticket sales were not always a barometer of an artist’s value to a festival because their audience might steer away from outdoor shows.

“It’s not an exact science and it never has been,” he added. “It’s always been a bit of gut feel, a bit of scarcity – if somebody’s not doing shows they’re more valuable to a festival than if they are doing shows because there’s a pent up demand to see them.

“Over the years at T in the Park, an act like Tom Jones went down an absolute storm. His audience wouldn’t have particularly come to a music festival, but… we had 50,000 people in front of the main stage, singing along to him, and none of them had ever seen him before. With that kind of booking, if you tried to look at the TikTok figures, it wouldn’t have synced. There was a gut feel that it would go down well, and it went down well, but sometimes we get those things wrong and nobody’s watching the act.”

 


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European Festival Conference returns to Barcelona

Yourope’s annual European Festival Conference (EFC) will return to Barcelona this November after two years off due to the pandemic.

The delayed fourth edition is set to take place between 23 and 26 November at Mas Salagros EcoResort in Vallromanes, 25 kilometres outside of Barcelona in Catalunya, Spain.

The two-day event comprises workshops, outdoor activity, networking excursions and seminars that will address issues such as post-pandemic challenges, health and safety, diversity and inclusion, sustainability, weather and insurance.

This year’s speaker line-up includes Claire O’Neill (A Greener Festival), Marta Pallares (Primavera Sound), Mikko Niemelä (Ruisrock Festival), Henrik Nielsen (Roskilde Festival & YES Group), Andreas Groth Clausen (Roskilde Festival) and Johannes Jacobi (Für Festivals).

The two-day event will address issues such as post-pandemic challenges, health and safety, diversity and inclusion

Participating industry associations are the Green Operations Group (GO Group), Yourope Event Safety Group (YES Group) and the European Marketing and Communications Group (EMAC), which was formed at the first EFC.

Michael Fritz (co-founder of Viva con Agua de St.Pauli) will deliver the EFC keynote speech, discussing 15 years of social activism at festivals (and beyond) that helped provide fresh drinking water for more than 3.5 million people in need.

Elsewhere, Johannes Jacobi (Höme – für Festivals) will present the results of Europe’s biggest festival survey so far and Prof. Dr Ralf Kitzberger, Yourope’s lawyer on standard terms, will answer questions on annexes, clauses and insurances.

Since launching, the festival has moved from Austria to Norway to Barcelona, hosting around 100 delegates at each conference.

Conference tickets are priced at €800 for a single room or €700 for a shared double room, with a €100 discount for Yourope members, and are available from www.europeanfestivalconference.com.

 


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