British fests sell out as more confirm 2021 dates
Three of the UK’s most popular music festivals, Reading Festival, Creamfields and Boomtown, have sold out their 2021 editions in the past 24 hours, underlining the huge demand for festival tickets among locked-down British live music fans.
Festival Republic’s Reading Festival, which normally has a capacity of 105,000, was one of several festivals to confirm this week they intend to go ahead in 2021, taking place alongside its sister Leeds Festival in the last weekend in August.
All weekend tickets for Leeds Festival (75,000-cap.) are also gone, according to the festivals’ Twitter account, with only limited Friday and Sunday day tickets remaining.
Dance music festival Creamfields, promoted by Live Nation UK’s Cream Holdings, says it sold out in record time ahead of its return this summer. The festival, which has run since 1998 (since 2006 in its current location on the 70,000-capacity Daresbury estate in Cheshire), also takes place across the August bank holiday weekend (26–29 August).
That many fans held onto their 2020 tickets, says Cream, is “positive news for the live music industry, which has largely remained closed over the last 12 months. The news follows the prime minister’s ‘roadmap’ address on Monday that allows the safe return of large-scale outdoor events this summer.”
“This is positive news for the live music industry, which has largely remained closed over the last 12 months”
British prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday (22 February) that all lockdown measures should be lifted in England from 21 June, theoretically allowing large outdoor events such as festivals to take place with no restrictions. Industry response to the announcement was largely positive, though live music businesses and associations are seeking more clarity as to what will be possible.
Among the 300 artists and DJs performing at Creamfields 2021 are Bicep, Afrojack, Alesso, Carl Cox, Pete Tong, pendulum, Gorgon City, Sub Focus, Claptone, Sigma, Andy C, Martin Garrix, Sigma and Nina Kraviz.
Independent festival Boomtown, which typically has a capacity of more than 70,000, has scaled down its event for this year’s ‘Chapter One: The Gathering’-themed festival, which celebrates a “post-pandemic world” of “connection, community and celebration”. The line-up will also be kept secret until around a week before the festival.
Explaining the decision last year, organisers said: “[T]here are many aspects to the way the music industry runs that don’t work for independent festivals. The complex process of releasing a music line-up, with the exclusivity, billing and escalating costs ,has led us to decide this is the time to rethink the way we approach it and explore new ways of doing things.
“We have always been a creatively led festival and people attend Boomtown because of the overall experience. We will continue to book incredible headline artists, and all the festival favourites, but by approaching our programming announcements in this radical way, we can create line-ups that are even more phenomenal and diverse than we have ever been able to before.”
“The anticipation to get back to showcasing the best in new music has never been greater”
Fans responded to the change, with over 90% of 2020 ticket holders declining a refund, and tickets for the 2021 edition, held as usual near Winchester in Hampshire, selling out last night.
Also riding the wave of fan demand is London’s Field Day, which announced just before 9pm yesterday (25 February) that it, too, had sold out its 2021 edition and second outing at the post-industrial Drumsheds venue in Enfield, north London.
Like its cancelled 2020 festival, Field Day 2021 will be a one-day, electronic music-focused event headlined by DJs Bicep. Other performers playing the Drumsheds, which has a capacity of 25,000, include Maribou State, Ross from Friends, Floating Points and Adelphi Music Factory.
Wow! Tickets for Field Day 2021 have sold out. Thank you so much to everyone who bought a ticket. If you missed out you can sign up to the waiting list via the website for further ticket updates 💜💚
— Field Day (@fielddaylondon) February 25, 2021
The sellouts come as more festivals confirm they will be going ahead later this summer, with Liverpool Sound City, Gala Festival, Wilderness and Mighty Hoopla all announcing or re-confirming their 2021 dates in the wake of Johnson’s announcement.
“I can’t believe that it’s been nearly two years since the last time we came together at Sound City, and the anticipation to get back to showcasing the best in new music has never been greater,” says Sound City MD Becky Ayres. “Enjoying amazing new artists in incredible venues is what makes Sound City great, and we’re excited to bring together genre-pushing favourites, thrilling live bands and must-see moments this October.”
Sound City 2021 takes place from 1 to 3 October with artists including the Lathums, Rejjie Snow, the Mysterines, Red Rum Club and the Murder Capital.
Roskilde 2021 sells out of full festival tickets
With more than 14 months to spare, Roskilde Festival has sold out of full event tickets for 2021, after 85% of those who planned to attend this summer’s cancelled festival opted to hold onto their tickets.
Roskilde was forced to call off its 50th-anniversary edition, originally scheduled for 27 June–4 July, in early April, after Denmark became one of the first countries to ban large-scale outdoor events to prevent the spread of Covid-19 this summer.
Of the 80,000 people who’d bought a ticket for the 2020 festival, just 15% opted to return them for a cash refund rather than use them for Roskilde 2021, according to organisers. Those 12,000 tickets went on sale again this morning (12 May) and sold out within hours.
The remaining five thousand one-day tickets, meanwhile, will go on sale in autumn 2020.
“Since the cancellation of this year’s festival due to Covid-19 unfortunately became a reality, we have received support in spades from participants and partners alike,” says festival promoter Roskilde Festival Charity Society in a statement.
“An overwhelming majority of ticketholders have gracefully chosen to transfer their ticket from the 2020 to 2021”
“Our social media has been overflowing with encouragement and now, we are happy to say, words have been followed by action. An overwhelming majority of ticketholders have gracefully chosen to transfer their ticket from the 2020 to 2021.”
“Your support means that we can continue our work preparing our anniversary festival in 2021,” it continues. “It also means that we can continue our non-profit work for children and young people all over the world.”
Thirty-two projects, including community recording studios and an activist hip-hop festival, will each receive between 10,000 and 1.4 million kroner (€1,340–€188,000) from the money earned from Roskilde Festival 2019.
Roskilde Festival 2020 was to have been headlined by Taylor Swift, Deftones, Kendrick Lamar, Tyler the Creator and the Strokes. Roskilde Festival 2021 will take place from 26 June to 3 July.
IQ’s next IQ Focus virtual panel, Festival Forum: Here Comes 21, features Roskilde’s Anders Wahren along with Jim King (AEG Presents), Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio), Rachael Greenfield (Bloodstock Open Air) and Mathieu Jaton (Montreux Jazz Festival).
Reading Festival 2019 sells out
With just over a month to go, Reading Festival promoter Festival Republic has revealed that all tickets for the 105,000-capacity UK festival have sold out.
Reading and its Leeds sister festival return this August bank holiday weekend (23–25 August 2019), with Foo Fighters, the 1975, Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots headlining. Other performers include Billie Eilish, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Bastille, Machine Gun Kelly, Charli XCX, Dace and Royal Blood.
A limited number of day and weekend tickets remain for Leeds Festival.
All tickets for 105,000-capacity Reading have sold out
Tickets for both events were priced at £205 + booking fee for a full weekend pass, with day tickets starting at £69.50.
Reading’s capacity was increased by an additional 5,000 for 2019, reflecting Festival Republic’s positive relationship with local authorities. Councillor Sarah Hacker, Reading council’s lead member for culture, heritage and recreation, said: “Thank you for the sheer amount of hard work that is put into these festivals, both by Reading Borough Council and Festival Republic.”
Other events produced by Live Nation-owned Festival Republic include Download, Community, Wireless, Lollapalooza Berlin and last weekend’s Latitude, which also sold out.
“We have the best audience on the planet”: Pohoda sells out
With a week to go until kick-off, Slovakia’s Pohoda Festival has sold out for the second year in a row.
Pohoda (‘Peace’), Slovakia’s biggest music festival, was founded in 1997 and has taken place at its current home, Trenčín Airport, since 2004. Artists playing the 2019 event, the festival’s 23rd, include the 1975, Liam Gallagher, Lykke Li, the Roots, Mac Demarco, Death Grips, Skepta, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Michael Kiwanuka and Lianne La Havas.
A multidisciplinary arts programme runs alongside the music, including theatre, dance, literature, visual arts and – new for 2019 – the Sporka Science & Magic stage, which will host scientific lectures and talks during the day and burlesque performances by night.
“We can’t wait to meet all these beautiful people”
“We are excited and thankful that Pohoda is sold out for the second year in a row,” Michal Kaščák, founder and promoter of the 30,000-capacity event, tells IQ. “We can’t wait to meet all these beautiful people who will bring sense to the work we do at the moment, changing the previously military airport into space for celebrating freedom and tolerance. We have the best audience on the planet and we do our best to prepare a great time for all Pohoda people.
“Thanks for the trust and thanks for the best atmosphere in the world – see you very soon in Trenčín.”
Pohoda 2019 takes place from Thursday 11 to Saturday 13 July.
Wireless 2019 shifts 135,000 tickets in matter of hours
Wireless 2019 sold out within hours of going on sale yesterday morning, sending a signal to increasingly hostile local authorities that the festival is still the leading draw for urban music in the UK.
All 135,000 tickets for the three-day event, headlined this year by Cardi B, Travis Scott and Asap Rocky, were snapped up in record time, according to promoter Festival Republic.
Other acts performing at Wireless 2019 – the 14th edition of the festival – include Migos, Tyga, Rae Sremmurd, Future, Stefflon Don, Young Thug and Juice Wrld.
Festival Republic earlier this month withdrew its appeal against restrictive new licensing conditions imposed on the festival from this year, including reduced noise levels, a ban on swearing and revealing clothing for performers, and a final-night curfew of 9.30pm.
Wireless 2019 takes place from Friday 5 to Sunday 7 July in Finsbury Park, north London.
NorthSide 2017 sells out in record time
Danish festival Northside has sold out seven weeks in advance for the first time in its eight-year history.
Booker John Fogde, who in December told IQ tickets were selling “historically well” amid a ‘crazily’ good time for live music in Denmark, says the record-fast sell-out is “even more impressive considering this year’s edition will be the largest in the history of NorthSide, with 40,000 guests attending each day”.
NorthSide 2017, which returns to the Ådalen river valley, near the city of Aarhus, from 9 to 11 June, is headlined by Radiohead, Frank Ocean and The Prodigy, with The 1975, Bastille, James Blake, Richard Ashcroft, Run the Jewels and 2manydjs also on the bill.
“We are thrilled and very proud that so many people would choose to spend their weekend with us at NorthSide… It is amazing our new direction has been received so positively”
“We are thrilled and very proud that so many people would choose to spend their weekend with us at NorthSide,” comments Fogde. “We have deliberately expanded this year both in relation to the music budget, which has allowed us to hire big acts like Radiohead and Frank Ocean, and also the rest of the content, which will get an extra boost with the introduction of a new area on the festival site.
“It is amazing that this new direction has been received so positively and that so many people are looking forward to NorthSide as much as we are.”
First Tomorrowland Germany sells out in an hour
The 30,000 tickets allocated to the German leg of the second Tomorrowland Unite (or, in full, Unite – The Mirror to Tomorrowland) sold out in under an hour on Friday, demonstrating further that corporate instability at bankrupt parent promoter SFX Entertainment hasn’t dampened audiences’ enthusiasm for ID&T’s Belgian long-running dance music festival.
Tomorrowland Unite Germany will take place on Saturday 23 July at the Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen and feature a live stream of sets by Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Nicky Romero and Afrojack at Tomorrowland in Boom, Belgium, plus nine hours of live performances by DJs in Gelsenkirchen. The event will be jointly organised by ID&T/SFX and local promoter Big City Beats.
DJs Laidback Luke, Yves V and Robin Schulz will be flown by helicopter into Germany from Boom, reports WAZ, with German DJ Le Shuuk also on the bill. Attendees will stand on the grass at the 54,740-capacity arena, with capacity limited to 30,000.
“What a start to the partnership of Tomorrowland and Big City Beats,” says Big City Beats chief Bernd Breiter. “Both teams have grown together so quickly and confidently, culminating in the incredible success of Unite – The Mirror to Tomorrowland in Gelsenkirchen.”
There will also be sister Unite events in Mexico, India, Japan, Colombia, South Africa and Israel.
Desert Trip on course to gross $150m
Tickets for both weekends of Goldenvoice’s Desert Trip reportedly sold out in under three hours, netting the AEG Live-owned promoter a box-office gross well in excess of US$100 million – the highest ever for a single festival – and no doubt sparking plenty of frantic boardroom meetings at rivals eager to replicate the success of what is being called the ‘concert of the century’.
The ‘megafestival’, originally scheduled for 7–9 October but expanded to a second weekend, Coachella-style, on the day tickets went on sale (Monday 9 May), features a line-up of just six acts, all of whom are at least 50 years into their career, leading some to dub the event ‘Oldchella’. However, the combined pulling power of its sextet of boomer greats – The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Neil Young, Roger Waters and The Who – proved irresistible to ticket-buyers, with fans from the Americas, Europe and further afield snapping up every ticket and surely leaving open the prospect of events with a similarly prestigious billing in future.
While Goldenvoice did not respond to IQ’s requests for comment, sources tell Billboard that Desert Trip’s overall box-office gross is expected to top $150 million, and that AEG/Goldenvoice is “ecstatic” about the event’s success. By comparison, Coachella, also promoted by Goldenvoice, made $84.26m over two weekends in 2015.
Wherever Desert Trip’s gross ends up, it’ll be a figure bolstered by packaging hotel stays and VIP experiences with this autumn’s hottest ticket, as well as listing allocation direct on the secondary market.
Goldenvoice will likely be paying between $6m and $9m to each of the six headliners
Each Desert Trip weekend will seat in excess of 70,000 people: around 35,000 on reserved seats, priced at $699, $999 and $1,599, and 35,000 general admission, priced at $399. In addition, there were a number of day tickets available for $199, as well as numerous hotel and travel packages through event partner Valley Music Travel. (The $199 daily passes, says Billboard, were the last to sell out.)
The hotel packages ranged in price from $2,129 – for two general admission tickets and a stay at the three-star Homewood Suites La Quinta – to $6,709, which includes three nights at the Agua Caliente Casino Resort & Spa and a choice of reserved floor or reserved grandstand seating.
Of course, the headliners needed to gross $150m from a single festival don’t come cheap. One source “familiar with the logistics of booking huge acts” tells The Guardian that Goldenvoice will likely be paying between $6m and $9m to each of the six acts.
In a change to AEG’s traditional secondary ticketing arrangements – the company has had a partnership with eBay-owned StubHub to list tickets from the resale site on its AXS ticketing platform since 2012 – Viagogo serves as Desert Trip’s “Official Premium Seating” partner. Viagogo’s site explains that “Official Premium Passes are being sold directly by the event organiser and are not resale tickets… The price of Premium Passes varies with demand.”
Tickets advertised on the platform are now roughly three-times the face value. Prices for weekend one and weekend two tickets listed on Viagogo start at £1004 (roughly US$1,455) for floor seating passes (or £1,454 for the front blocks), £1,454 ($2,105) for grandstand seating and £1,485 ($2,150) for pit standing tickets. While not official secondary partners, at press time StubHub was advertising 3,400 passes across both weekends, while Vivid Seats is selling three-day passes for weekend two for under $1,000.