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Festivals 2024: Electric Castle, Parklife, Sonar

The run-up to Christmas has brought with it another cavalcade of 2024 festival line-up announcements from across the world.

Massive Attack, Queens Of The Stone Age and Bring Me The Horizon will headline the 10th birthday of Romania’s “24-hour festival experience” Electric Castle, which takes place at Bánffy Castle in Transylvania from 17-21 July.

Spread across 10 stages, other acts confirmed include Chase & Status, DJ Shadow, Khruangbin, Sleaford Mods, Bonobo, Marc Rebillet, Priya Ragu and Kenya Grace in addition to DJ Diesel, aka NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Elsewhere, in a European festival exclusive, Fisher and Chris Lake will bring their Under Construction show from America for the first time to the UK’s Parklife. The house music duo are the first headliner announced for the festival, which will be held in Manchester’s Heaton Park on 8-9 June.

In what is billed as an industry-first, weekend tickets have been reduced from £129.50 to £125 to make them “accessible to all”.

Also in the UK, BST Hyde Park has named Robbie Williams as its second headliner for 2024. The pop icon, who previously starred at the London concert series in 2019, will appear on 6 July.

“We’re extremely happy to have Lenny Kravitz back on the poster, after the pandemic forced us to cancel in 2020”

Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival will take place from 23-25 August, headlined by Fatboy Slim, Jamie T and Biffy Clyro. The star-studded bill also features Snow Patrol, Idles, Jess Glynne, Courteeners, Pixies, The Lathums, Holly Humberstone, Becky Hill, Wet Leg, Soft Play, The Snuts, Maximo Park, Lottery Winners, Lightning Seeds and Yard Act, among others.

Plus, Crowded House (17 June), Nick Mulvey (20 June), Jungle (27 June) and Underworld (29 June) are the first acts unveiled for the second edition of Berkshire’s On The Mount at Wasing.

Sónar Barcelona, set for 13-15 June, revealed its first 70 artists for next year, including Floating Points, Kaytranada, Jessie Ware, Ben Böhmer, Martinez Brothers, Charlotte de Witte, Toya Delazy, Kerri Chandler and Reinier Zonneveld.

In Germany, Jazzopen Stuttgart celebrates its 30th anniversary from 18-29 July with artists such as Lenny Kravitz, Sting, Sam Smith, Jamie Cullum, Lawrence, Lettuce and The Cat Empire. Plus, Hamburg’s MS Dockville hosts the likes of Jeremias, Disarstar, Mayberg, Lime Cordiale, Fuffifufzich, My Ugly Clementine, Zeck, Hak Baker, Art School Girlfriend and Uche Yara between 16-18 August.

Lenny Kravitz has also joined the bill of Tinderbox in Odense, Denmark, from 27-29 June. The rocker was originally scheduled for the 2020 edition, which was cancelled due to Covid.

“We’re extremely happy to have Lenny Kravitz back on the poster, after the pandemic forced us to cancel in 2020,” says festival CEO Brian Nielsen. “Lenny Kravitz is one of the most inspiring artists of our time and continues to put his mark on the global music scene. We can’t wait to see what kind of magic will appear when he takes the stage at Tinderbox next summer.”

“Skrillex has single-handedly cut through a lot of barriers and is bringing together people across generations, nations, and musical inclinations”

Denmark’s Roskilde has added Skrillex, Róisín Murphy, Aurora, SexyyRed, Noname, Yaeji, Bar Italia, Shovel Dance Collective, Rhiannon Giddens and Kara Jackson to its bill. The 52nd edition of the festival will feature more than 170 acts from 29 June to 6 July.

“Skrillex has single-handedly cut through a lot of barriers and is bringing together people across generations, nations, and musical inclinations,” says programme director Anders Wahrén. “Everything we’ve seen and heard from Skrillex in 2023 – and that sums up to quite a lot – serves as euphoric and indisputable proof of his musical ambitions and innovative technical wizardry. We’re excited for this to unfold at Roskilde Festival.”

Finland’s Sideways has announced Peggy Gou, Jungle, Fontaines DC and Derya Yildirim & Grup Simsek for 13-15 June in Helsinki, and DJ sets from Bou, Dimension, Hedex, Sub Focus and Wilkinson will headline the inaugural DnB Allstars Portugal in Portimao from 3-6 May.

Camila Cabello joins Scorpions and Ed Sheeran in topping Rock in Rio Lisbon‘s 10th edition, set for 15-16 & 22-23 June, while Imagine Dragons are the latest headliner unveiled for the 40th anniversary of Rock in Rio Brazil, scheduled for 13-22 September.

Norway’s Oya Festival, meanwhile, has bolstered its 25th anniversary lineup with bands including Queens Of The Stone Age, The Smile and The National from 7-10 August.

“We hope our festive festival helps bring a moment of joy to travellers this Christmas”

Over in the US, Foo Fighters, Noah Kahan, and Weezer will headline the 2024 edition of rock festival Shaky Knees. Taking place 3-5 May at Central Park in downtown Atlanta, the lineup features over 60 artists across four stages also including Queens Of The Stone Age, Arcade Fire, Girl in Red, Billy Idol, The Offspring, Portugal. The Man, Young the Giant and Interpol.

Cruel World will return to Brookside at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on 11 May, starring Duran Duran, Blondie, Interpol, Simple Minds, Placebo, Soft Cell, Adam Ant and The Jesus and Mary Chain, while Skrillex, Rezz, David Guetta, Carl Cox, Armin van Buuren and Alesso are among acts lined up for EDC Mexico, which runs in Mexico City from 23-25 February.

And Trainline has announced TrainLive, the UK’s first “train station music festival”, which will take place in a London train station this Friday, 8 December, topped by Sugababes and featuring a range of up-and-coming local musicians. Tickets for the Sugababes performance can be won through a ballot hosted on the Trainline website, with ticket-holders to receive an email the morning of the event, revealing the secret location.

“We’ve always been committed to getting journeys off to a great start, by making it easy to find and buy great-value rail tickets,” says Sakshi Anand, Trainline’s VP of growth and UK general manager. “Now we want to get Christmas off to a great start too, by hosting our first ever music festival in a station. From new artists to our iconic headliners, we hope our festive festival helps bring a moment of joy to travellers this Christmas.”


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Finland’s festival season dramatically reduces

Finland’s 2021 festival season has dramatically shrunk with the cancellations of major festivals such as Ruisrock, Ilosaarirock, Provinssi and Sideways.

Though event cancellation insurance for organisers may be on the horizon, according to the Finish government’s newly unveiled exit strategy, restrictions on public events will be the last to ease.

A lack of certainty about the forthcoming festival summer is the primary cause for the second consecutive cancellation of Ruisrock (9–11 July 2021), the oldest festival in Finland and the second-oldest in Europe.

In a statement on the festival’s website, the organiser writes: “Our biggest wish this past year has been that we could organise Ruisrock again. The longing for the audience, performers and all of us for the festival has been hand touching and we did everything we could to have organised a party in Ruissalo after a hard year.

“There are no conditions for [gathering people] in the current uncertain situation”

“Ruisrock has gathered people together for over 50 years to experience unforgettable experiences. However, there are no conditions for this in the current uncertain situation, so it is with a broken heart that we have to cancel the summer festival.”

Martin Garrix, Major Lazer, Zara Larsson, Blackbear and Alan Walker were among the artists who would’ve played Ruisrock 2021. The festival will return between 8–10 July 2022 in Ruissalo, Turku.

The 50th-anniversary edition of Ilosaarirock  – the second longest-running festival in Finland – has also been cancelled due to ‘the rapidly changing and largely uncertain situation with Covid-19’.

“We believe that Ilosaarirock deserves to be celebrated at full throttle and a scaled-down version of it just will not do,” reads a statement on the festival’s website. “Since the current situation is so unpredictable, it is simply not possible to go ahead and organise an event of this size and scale.”

Organisers have said that by cancelling this year’s festival they are able to secure the future of Ilosaarirock.

“It is simply not possible to go ahead and organise an event of this size and scale”

Liam Gallagher, Yungblud and Sam Feldt were due to play the 2021 edition. The 2022 edition of Ilosaarirock Festival is slated for 15–17 July in Joensuu.

Elsewhere, Finnish promoter Fullsteam has pulled the plug on Provinssi (1–3 July, Seinäjoki), which debuted in 1979, and Sideways (17–19 June, Helsinki).

In similar statements, the organisers say they are ‘focusing our energy on next year’s festival’.

Sideways, which would have hosted artists including Kelis, Jarvis Cocker and Belle & Sebastian, will return between 16–18 June, 2022.

Povinssi, which would have been headlined by Korn, Pendulum Trinity and The Offspring, will be held between 30 June–2 July next year.

At the time of writing, Superstruct’s Flow Festival (13–15 August) and Live Nation Finland’s hip-hop event Blockfest (20–21 August), are still on.


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Finland: No events over 500 people until end of July

Finland has extended its ban on major events until at least 31 July, forcing the cancellation of many of the summer’s biggest music festivals, including some of Europe’s oldest open-air events.

Among the festivals affected by the extension, announced following a government meeting yesterday (23 April), are Ilosaarirock (17–19 July) in Joensuu – the second longest-running festival in Finland – and Fullsteam’s Provinssi (25–27 June) and Sideways (11–13 June), as well as several smaller events.

In near-identical statements, Provinssi, which debuted in 1979, and Sideways (which would have been headlined by System of a Down and the Chemical Brothers, and Kelis and Belle and Sebastian, respectively) say they are “heartbroken” by the cancellations and hope to announce the first performers for 2021 soon.

Joensuun Popmuusikot-organised Ilosaarirock says it “understands the government’s decision and accepts it”, and plans to make its delayed 50th-anniversary event in 2021 “the best festival ever”. Tones and I, Yungblud, Machine Gun Kelly and Sam Fender would have played Ilosaarirock 2020.

Elsewhere, Ruisrock – the oldest festival in Finland and the second-oldest in Europe, after the Netherlands’ similarly cancelled Pinkpop – was cancelled earlier this month on the order of Turku city authorities. It would have featured performances from Khalid, DaBaby, Zara Larsson and more.

“The decision … is the only responsible option in the current situation”

“Cancelling the festival is an extremely difficult decision for the organisers. We have been working for almost a year to bring more joy and happiness to the world through Ruisrock, like in the previous summers,” says Ruisrock promoter Mikko Niemelä. “For us and thousands of others, this festival is the highlight of the year, and it is heartbreaking to imagine a summer without Ruisrock.

“However, the decision we have made is the only responsible option in the current situation. The coronavirus spreads when people get together, so now is not the time to gather tens of thousands of people in the same place.”

The new guidelines in Finland follow similar decisions taken by governments elsewhere in Europe, including the Netherlands, where large events are banned until 1 September, and GermanyBelgium and Denmark, where a ban is in place until 31 August – as well as slightly shorter bans in France (mid-July) Austria (end of June) and Luxembourg (31 July) – and is in line with European Union guidance. In neighbouring Sweden, meanwhile, events over 50 people are off-limits for the foreseeable future.

“As far as events in late summer and early autumn are concerned, an assessment will be made no later than the start of June,” reads a statement from the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, announcing the new restrictions.

Those events include Superstruct’s Flow Festival (14–16 August) and Live Nation Finland hip-hop event Blockfest (21–22 August), both of which are still on at the time of writing.


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Fullsteam celebrates record-breaking summer

The summer of 2018 has been the biggest to date for Finnish promoter Fullsteam Agency, whose recent festivals Provinssi and Sideways attracted a combined audience of 102,000 visitors.

Provinssi celebrated its 40th anniversary over 28–30 June, featuring performances by Volbeat, Prophets of Rage, French Montana, the Offspring, Biffy Clyro, Run the Jewels and more. Over three days, the festival recorded the second-largest attendance in its history, with 76,000 people making congregating on the town of Seinäjoki, in western Finland.

“I am extremely happy and proud to say that our anniversary edition was able to fulfil our expectations, and beyond,” says festival director Sami Rumpunen. “The history and tradition of Provinssi as a major groundbreaker within the Finnish festival market is an endless fuel for us each and every day.

“We are now turning the focus towards taking another big step in developing a next-level festival experience.”

“The feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re already looking forward to and planning the next edition”

Sideways, held in Helsinki on the weekend of 8–10 June, drew a record audience, with 26,000 visitors – over 10,000 more than the previous high, largely owing to the addition of a third day. The festival’s headliners included Mø, A Perfect Circle and the National.

Previously a two-day event, the festival added one more day and moved to a new festival site in central Helsinki. With three stages outdoors and three indoors, along with designated venues for non-music programming, such as art exhibitions, pinball arcade, beer yoga and ‘bird karaoke’.

“The new site worked really well and its functionality exceeded all our expectations,” says Fullsteam promoter Artemi Remes. “All shows were well attended and the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re already looking forward to and planning the next edition of Sideways.”

Fullsteam Agency is part of German’s FKP Scorpio group.


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