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Three major festivals hampered by severe weather

Gazebo Festival, Sueños Music Festival and Slam Dunk Festival were impacted by severe weather over the weekend.

Rapper Jack Harlow launched his inaugural Gazebo festival at the weekend (25-26 May), in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.

However, the second day of the event was called off after parts of the city were put on tornado watch until late afternoon on Sunday (26 May).

The National Weather Service also warned of wind that could reach up to 75 mph and scattered hail up to two inches in size.

“Well. We have to cancel day two of Gazebo,” Harlow wrote on social media. “We are currently on a tornado watch. I know things cleared up a little bit, but the bad weather has damaged the site and there’s more storms and dangerous winds on the way. This means everyone on Day 2, including myself, won’t be performing anymore. I’m trying to focus on the positive because all I felt was happiness yesterday. I’m grateful for our flawless first day and for the way this city came together. Thank you so much. I’m sorry.”

SZA, Vince Staples and James Blake were among that artists that performed at Gazebo festival on its opening day.

Harlow was supposed to headline the festival’s second day, which was also due to feature performances from the likes of PinkPantheress, Amaraee and Omar Apollo.

Sunday ticket holders will receive a full refund, while weekend pass ticket holders will be refunded 50%. All refunds will be issued within 30 days, according to a statement from Gazebo festival.

In the neighbouring state of Illinois, Sueños Music Festival was also having problems with inclement weather on its second day.

The Latin music festival was scheduled to take place across two days in Grant Park, Chicago. However, the opening of day two was postponed until 4 pm due to severe weather, prompting organisers to reshuffle the lineup.

“While the event is going ahead, we cannot guarantee access customers the experience that we had hoped”

At 7:45 pm, just before Peso Pluma’s headline set, attendees were asked to evacuate the site due to incoming storms.

The festival’s opening day featured performances by Xavi, Ivan Cornejo, Young Miko, Bizarrap and Rauw Alejandro. This year, Sueños’s third, was sold out for the first time with 65,000 attendees each day.

Also yesterday, UK festival Slam Dunk released an emergency weather update ahead of its Leeds leg, after heavy rainfall at the Temple Newsam site.

The rock, pop-punk and emo festival wrote before 10 am: “Having assessed the ground conditions for Slam Dunk North, we are sorry to inform you that due to the weather, the ground is in bad condition.

“While the event is going ahead, we cannot guarantee access customers the experience that we had hoped. While facilities including platforms and ambulant areas are still available and customers can still attend, we advise that those with mobility issues avoid the site.”

The festival also confirmed that refunds would be available for accessibility customers.

The Leeds leg at Temple Newsam went ahead with feature performances from the likes of You Me At Six, All-American Rejects and I Prevail. The southern leg took place at Hatfield Park the day prior.

The three festivals join a long list of events that have either been cut short or cancelled due to severe weather.

In the US, adverse weather coverage has “increased significantly” in the last five years, according to Jeff Torda from Higginbotham. Backing this point, a recent Billboard article claimed premiums in North America had tripled in recent years.

The latest edition of ILMC also saw industry leaders discussing ways to cope with the impact of weather on festivals and open-air live music events.


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UK lineups for 2024: All Points East, R&L and more

The UK’s 2024 festival season is beginning to take shape, with lineup announcements from All Points East, Reading & Leeds, Boardmasters, Slam Dunk, Lytham Festival and Summer Sessions.

LCD Soundsystem have been announced to headline London’s All Points East 2024, promoted by AEG Presents.

The New York-hailing electro-punk band, who headlined the inaugural edition of the festival back in 2018, will return to top the bill at Victoria Park on Friday 23 August for the Bank Holiday Weekend.

They’ll be joined by Jai Paul, Pixies, Floating Points, Jockstrap, Nation of Language, Sofia Kourtesis and Eyedress.

The news comes after Loyle Carner was announced as All Points East’s first headliner, to be joined by Nas, Ezra Collective, Sainté, Joe James, ENNY and Navy Blue. More headliners and other acts are expected to be revealed soon.

Reading & Leeds 2024, meanwhile, will be headlined by Liam Gallagher, Lana Del Rey, Blink-182, Fred Again.., Gerry Cinnamon and Catfish & The Bottlemen.

The legendary twin-site festival is due to return to Little John’s Farm in Reading and Bramham Park in Leeds across August Bank Holiday Weekend (21-25).

21 Savage, Jorja Smith and The Prodigy, Raye, Skrillex, Spiritbox and Digga D are also set to perform at the Festival Republic-promoted event.

The first wave of artists appearing at Boardmasters 2024 have been announced, with Stormzy, Chase & Status and Becky Hill leading the line-up.

Next year’s edition of the Superstruct-backed festival will be held between 7-11 August, and take place on the usual sites on the Cornish Coast – Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach.

Over 30 other acts have also been locked in for the 2024 edition, including Becky Hill, Bicep, Nia Archives, Tom Odell, Soft Play, English Teacher and Katy B.

The surf and music festival is hoping to increase its capacity to 65,000 by 2025 after submitting a licensing application to Cornwall Council.

Slam Dunk festival will make its return to Hatfield Park and Leeds Temple Newsam Park on 25 and 26 May, with acts including You Me At Six, the All-American Rejects and I Prevail.

Also on the bill is Boys Like Girls, We The Kings, Funeral For A Friend, Asking Alexandria, I Prevail, The Interrupters, Waterparks, Palaye Royale, Pale Waves, Bob Vylan, Pennywise, The Skints, Goldfinger, LA Dispute, Mad Caddies, Mom Jeans, One Step Closer, Artio, Røry, Set It Off, The Bouncing Souls, The Selecter, The Wonder Years and L.S. Dunes.

Lytham Festival, the biggest in the North West, has also announced the line-up for the 2024 edition, featuring artists including Hozier, Courteeners, Madness and more.

Rick Astley, Johnny Marr, The Kooks and more are also booked to play the next instalment, set for Lytham Green from 3–7 July.

Summer Sessions, Scotland’s long-running live music series, has added Tom Jones, James and Johnny Marr to the bill.

They join the previously announced Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Jess Glynne and DJ Pete Tong’s Ibiza Classics as headliners.

As previously reported, Live Nation, DF Concerts and Cuffe & Taylor are expanding Summer Sessions to five new destinations in England and Wales in 2024.

The new 15,000 to 30,000-cap events will take place in Bedford’s Bedford Park, Chepstow Racecourse, Derby’s Markeaton Park, Plymouth’s The Hoe and Southampton’s Guildhall Square.


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European festival line-ups take shape for ’24

The 2024 festival season in Europe is beginning to take shape after a raft of top events made their first line-up announcements for next summer.

In Germany, Eventimpresents/DreamHaus’ twin Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, held at Nürburgring and Nürnberg, respectively, will welcome the likes of Die Ärzte, Avenged Sevenfold, Queens of the Stone Age, Green Day, Broilers, Billy Talent, Måneskin, Parkway Drive and Kraftklub from 7-9 June.

FKP Scorpio’s flagship festivals Hurricane, in Scheessel, and Southside, in Neuhausen ob Eck will also return from 21-23 June with acts such as Ed Sheeran, The National, Bring Me The Horizon, Avril Lavigne, The Offspring, The Hives, Jungle and Fontaines DC.

Denmark’s famed Roskilde has also announced its first batch of artists for its 52nd edition from 29 June to 6 July, which includes PJ Harvey, Kali Uchis, Romy, Trueno, The Armed and Blondshell.

“We have a long-running history of being a progressive festival with an international perspective, and we consistently push ourselves to further that purpose,” says Roskilde programme director Anders Wahrén. “We aim to inspire every single one of our 130,000 festival participants with a diverse lineup characterised by artistic curiosity and groundbreaking headliners presented in a unique festival setting.”

“Roskilde Festival is a very communal event where dreams and new ideas for a better tomorrow are being addressed”

He adds: “Roskilde Festival is a very communal event where dreams and new ideas for a better tomorrow are being addressed, exchanged, cultivated and eventually tried out by our participants. And music and art play a big part in inspiring us to even think and sense those new ideas to begin with.”

Set for 6-10 August, Norway’s Superstruct-backed Øyafestivalen will celebrate 25 years with headliners including Pulp and PJ Harvey, while Croatia’s biggest open-air music festival INMusic, which was cancelled in 2023 due to financial challenges, will return to Zagreb from 24-26 June, topped by Smashing Pumpkins and The National.

Elsewhere, Ed Sheeran was unveiled last month as the first headliner of Rock in Rio Lisbon’s 20th anniversary edition. First held in 2004, the biennial festival returns to Portugal for a double weekender between 15-16 & 22-23 June 2024.

Isle of Wight Festival today became the first major UK event to show its hand. Headlined by The Prodigy, Pet Shop Boys and – in a UK festival exclusive – Green Day from 20-23 June. The bill also includes The Streets, Keane, Simple Minds, Crowded House, Blossoms, Nothing But Thieves and Zara Larsson, among others.

“We’re thrilled to announce our 2024 headliners today and to continue to showcase a truly exciting array of talent for next year’s festival,” says IoW organiser John Giddings. “From globally-recognised and pioneering artists, to chart-topping talent and rising stars, we can’t wait to welcome everyone to the island next year.”

Glastonbury has pushed its 2024 ticket sale back by two weeks

Also in the UK, Derbyshire’s Bearded Theory will welcome the likes of Jane’s Addiction, Amyl and the Sniffers, Sleaford Mods, Orbital and Dinosaur Jr to its 15th anniversary from 23-26 May.

And Slam Dunk, the UK’s biggest independent rock festival, will bring You Me At Six, The All American Rejects, I Prevail, Funeral For A Friend, Asking Alexandria, Waterparks, Palaye Royale and Pale Waves to Hatfield Park (25 May) and Leeds’ Temple Newsam (26 May).

Meanwhile, Glastonbury has pushed its 2024 ticket sale back by two weeks to 16 November (tickets plus coach travel) and 19 November (general admission) “out of fairness” to people who discovered they were no longer registered to attempt to buy tickets, despite believing they were.

“Following this year’s festival, we alerted everyone with a registration which pre-dated 2020 of a scheduled review of the details held by See Tickets in the Glastonbury Festival registration database,” says a statement. “This was in order to ensure that the details we hold are current and that we do not store individuals’ information for any longer than is necessary. These registrants were asked to take action to confirm their registration if they wished to keep it.

“Unfortunately, it has come to light that some individuals hoping to buy tickets for 2024 have discovered after Monday’s registration deadline that they are no longer registered, despite believing they were.

“Out of fairness to those individuals, we will be re-opening the window for registration at 12 noon on Monday, 6th November. It will remain open until 5pm on Monday, 13th November.”

Yesterday it was announced that annual action sport and music festival NASS, held near Bristol, will not take place next year as a result of rising costs. Meanwhile, the debut of new Dutch heavy metal festival South of Heaven has been postponed for a year after “no certainty could be given about obtaining the necessary permit for the first edition”. The event was set for 31 May and 1 June, promoted by TIRR Music Agency, Muziekgieterij Maastricht and Doomstar Bookings.


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UK festivals plot comebacks as optimism grows

A growing number of UK festival operators are confident their events should take place in some capacity this summer, bolstered by plans to allow full-capacity outdoor shows in England from June (as well as a viral tweet from Reading and Leeds Festivals).

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.

Speaking after the announcement, Paul Reed, CEO of the Association of Independent Festivals, said he is “optimistic that many of our member festivals may be able to go ahead in some capacity later on this year. There are still, however, some urgent points of clarity that need to be made around the exact requirements that festival organisers will need to meet, in particular around testing and Covid certification.”

Also optimistic about this summer is Festival Republic, which tweeted yesterday that, “following the government’s recent announcement”, its Reading (105,000-cap.) and Leeds Festivals (75,000-cap.) “can’t wait to [welcome] fans back to the fields” this summer:

The sister festivals are scheduled for Friday 27 to Sunday 29 August and boast a largely British line-up, though there are several international artists – including Americans Madison Beer, Fever 333, Ashnikko and, notably, headliner Post Malone – booked to perform.

“We cannot wait to open our gates and welcome both fans and artists”

Speaking to the NME last month, Festival Republic managing director Melvin Benn said that while the festival sector is relying on “the vaccine first and testing second”, his ‘Full-Capacity Plan’ would allow for major events to go ahead even before the UK achieves herd immunity to the virus. “It could be a mix of both,” he explained. “I feel that we can get away with shows purely on testing. It’s immensely hard work, but operationally doable and hopefully unnecessary. The Full Capacity Plan was always based on verification of being clear of Covid, or clear of being in danger of Covid.

“The vaccination, and verification that you’ve had it, would give you that safety of knowing that you’re not going to get super ill. It will work, providing that they can get the majority of the people in the country vaccinated, and as long as there are enough people at the event who have been vaccinated.”

Among the other UK festivals that have indicated they will take place this summer – all after the key date of 21 June – are pop-punk event Slam Dunk, Americana weekender Black Deer, drum’n’bass festival Hospitality Weekend in the Woods and a new one-day London event, Wide Awake.

Slam Dunk said on Tuesday (23 February) that both Slam Dunk North in Leeds and Slam Dunk South in Hatfield (both 22,000-cap.) would be pushed back to September from their original dates in May.

In a statement, the independent festival said it had already predicated that the original dates would not be feasible and had, “of course, been working hard on rescheduled dates”.

Slam Dunk has yet to announce its 2021 line-up although organisers say it should “remain very similar” to 2020’s cancelled event, which would have featured Sum 41, Don Broco, NOFX, Billy Talent, the Used and more.

“Following the government’s recent announcement, we can’t wait to get back to the fields this summer”

Black Deer, meanwhile, is taking place just a week after originally planned, returning to its 20,000-capacity Eridge Park site in Kent on 25–27 June.

The 2021 festival is headlined by Van Morrison, Wilco, the Waterboys and Robert Plant’s band Saving Grace, with other performers including Lucinda Williams, the Dead South, Imelda May and Drive-By Truckers.

Speaking to Access All Areas, Black Deer promoter Gill Tee said the festival is “planning for a full-capacity event” in June, and that “ticket sales are moving towards that number”.

Wide Awake, a new festival of “leftfield indie, post-punk, electronic, techno and jazz” which was originally due to debut in 2020, takes place on 3 September at Brockwell Park in south London (formerly home to Field Day) with artists including Black Midi, Songhoy Blues, Tinariwen, A Certain Ratio and Erol Alkan.

Organiser Marcus Weedon, who co-founded Field Day in 2007, comments: “We’re incredibly excited to finally be able to bring this very special show to London this September. It’s been a tough year for everyone, not least the festival and event industry, and we have been working very hard to ensure Wide Awake is brilliantly curated with the safety of everyone at the forefront.

“We cannot wait to open our gates and welcome both fans and artists in what is going to be an incredibly special event this year.”


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The show goes on: UK set for huge weekend of music

It’s business as usual for the UK this long weekend, with British festival fans, refusing to be cowed by the threat of terror, gearing up for three days of live music across the country.

While several concerts, including Take That at the Echo Arena in Liverpool and Blondie at London’s Round Chapel, were called off in the aftermath of Monday’s bombing at Manchester Arena, the majority of events have chosen to continue, with many issuing statements on the importance of carrying on as usual.

Among the events going ahead as planned this weekend are pop-punk festival Slam Dunk, in Birmingham, Leeds and Hatfield; We Are Fstvl in London; Margate WonderlandRadio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull; and Liverpool Sound City, which says it will “not be defeated” by the “cowardice” of the Manchester Arena bomber.

Dot to Dot, which includes a Manchester leg, is also still on – Anton Lockwood of promoter DHP Family told IQ on Tuesday “it didn’t occur to us to cancel” amid a mood of “defiance” in Manchester– as are Happy Days festival in Esher, Surrey, and Bestival’s Common People in Oxford and Southampton.

As in France – where, says Live Nation France head of festivals Armel Campagna, seeing live music has become an act of ‘cultural resistance‘ following the Bataclan attack – many promoters say pushing ahead with their events sends a strong message to enemies of live music.

“The message is: ‘The show will go on'”

In a statement, Manchester festival Parklife – organised by LN-Gaiety-owned The Warehouse Project – says it will go ahead as planned on 10 and 11 June and that, “we will not be defeated by such cowardice”.

“We can’t let these people get us down,” adds Common People/Bestival promoter Rob Da Bank. “The message is: ‘The show will go on.'”

Gary Barlow of Take That, meanwhile – whose postponed Liverpool show will instead take place tonight – called upon the crowd to “sing a little louder, reach a little higher and clap our hands a little harder”:

While much of the discussion around the attack has, understandably, largely focused on the security implications for live music, it bears remembering that the Manchester bomber, Salman Abedi, was, thankfully, unable to gain access to the arena itself.

Speaking to Billboard yesterday, LiveStyle CEO Randy Phillips praised Manchester Arena’s security, saying that “no one can say that venue security wasn’t sufficient”, and expressed his concern that while terrorist attacks remain extremely rare, the abundance of mainstream news coverage “could lead to an exaggerated sense of insecurity among concertgoers”.

One organisation aiming to counter those perceptions is Live DMA, an umbrella body representing associations of venues and festivals in 13 European countries.

“Terrorism can never stop us from making music”

With support from Music Venue Trust in the UK, the association’s venues will tonight at 9.59pm GMT hold a minute’s silence for the victims – followed by ‘One Minute of Noise’ at 10pm.

“Live music is joy and fellowship,” says Live DMA. “We are thousands of venues, festivals and other concert organisers, at thousands of places across Europe, that open our doors for joy, music, freedom and friendship daily – and we will keep them open and let live music go everywhere.

“Our thoughts are with the affected families and our colleagues in the UK live music industry, and we will dedicate our upcoming concerts to the victims of this tragedy, when venues across Europe, together with the audience and artists, will mark the terrorist attack in Manchester with ‘one minute of noise’. Because terrorism can never stop us from making music.”


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