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Slovenia’s MetalDays cancelled for 2024

Slovenia’s MetalDays will not take place in 2024 following the “unprecedented difficulties” of last year’s edition, it has been announced.

Although MetalDays 2023 was cut short due to Slovenia’s worst-ever floods, the 25,000-cap event was due to return Lake Velenje between 28 July-3 August with a lineup featuring acts such as Accept, Blind Guardian, Emperor, God is an Astronaut, The Amity Affliction, Caliban, Legion of the Damned, Tiamat, Unleashed and Rage.

However, “with a mix of emotions”, have opted to shift their focus to next year’s event, earmarked for 27 July-2 August 2025.

“After extensive discussions, we have made the difficult decision to postpone MetalDays 2024,” says a statement. “While this decision was not made lightly, we believe it is the most reasonable and in the best interest of everyone involved.

“MetalDays 2023 encountered unprecedented difficulties due to severe flooding, leading to the cancellation of the last two festival days. The aftermath, coupled with the financial setbacks, has made it challenging for us to deliver the experience you all deserve.”

“We see this as an opportunity to take a hiatus, regroup, and dedicate ourselves to ensuring the success of the next edition”

The heavy metal festival began life in 2004 as Metalcamp and has been called MetalDays since 2013 and has attracted bands including Megadeth, Slayer, Amon Amarth, Volbeat and Sabaton. Last month, it was announced the festival was partnering with the UK’s Bloodstock to offer rising bands the chance to perform at the corresponding event in 2025.

“At MetalDays, our mission from the very beginning has been to organise the best possible event,” adds the statement. “We set the bar very high… Given the circumstances, taking a break and redirecting our efforts to ensure a stellar next edition feels like the right step forward.

“Rather than rushing into another planning cycle with financial challenges, we see this as an opportunity to take a hiatus, regroup, and dedicate ourselves to ensuring the success of the next edition.”

Tickets purchased for 2024 will still be valid for 2025, and ticketholders are invited to attend Croatia’s GoatHell Festival, set for 25-27 July in Pula, Istria, Croatia, free of charge.

Last week, two of the UK’s best-loved independent festivals, Barn On The Farm and Splendour, were called off for 2024, while Scotland’s Doonhame Festival, held in Dumfries, has also been called off.

 


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MetalDays and Bloodstock partner on emerging acts

Slovenia’s MetalDays and the UK’s Bloodstock are partnering to offer rising bands the chance to perform at the corresponding event in 2025.

The initiative will reward the winners of the festivals’ respective emerging talent contests, New Forces and Metal to the Masses.

The victors of New Forces already earn a spot at MetalDays, while Metal to the Masses winners receive a 30-minute slot on the Bloodstock Newblood Stage, along with a raft of other prizes.

“We’re delighted to announce a unique partnership between two outstanding metal festivals”

“We’re delighted to announce a unique partnership between two outstanding metal festivals, providing emerging bands with the opportunity to perform at the corresponding event in 2025,” says a MetalDays statement. “The champion of New Forces 2024 (MetalDays) and the victor of Metal to the Masses 2024 (Bloodstock) will secure a slot at the adjoining festival in 2025. Bands will be chosen by festival representatives shortly after next years event.”

MetalDays returns to Velenje, Slovenia, between 28 July and 3 August, when acts will include Accept, Blind Guardian, Emperor, God is an Astronaut, The Amity Affliction, Caliban, Legion of the Damned, Tiamat, Unleashed and Rage. The final day of MetalDays 2023 had to be cancelled due to Slovenia’s worst-ever floods.

Derbyshire’s Bloodstock, meanwhile, has announced headliners including Opeth, Architects and Amon Amarth for next year’s festival, which is set for 8-11 August. The lineup also includes acts such as Clutch, Malevolence, Carcass, Whitechapel and Flogging Molly.

 


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Wacken rebounds to sell out 2024 in record time

Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) has rebounded from this year’s weather-related struggles to sell out next year’s festival in record time.

All 85,000 tickets were snapped up in just four-and-a-half hours yesterday evening, smashing the existing record of six hours set for 2023’s event.

Artists including Scorpions, Amon Amorth and In Extremo are already confirmed for W:O:A 2024, which will take place under the Witches & Warlocks banner from 31 July to 3 August.

The news provides a boost for organiser International Concert Service, which was forced to run last week’s festival at a significantly reduced capacity after the site was hit by rain and thunderstorms in the days leading up to it, leaving the camping areas “impassable”.

The 32nd edition of the German metal institution concluded over the weekend, having welcomed the likes of Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Dropkick Murphys, Wardruna, Beartooth, Ensiferum and Pentagram.

Revised numbers indicate that 61,000 people entered the site before no further admissions were allowed (initial police reports put the figure at around 50,000), meaning close to 25,000 legitimate ticket-holders were denied entry. Those fans were given first refusal to buy tickets for next year’s Wacken, priced €333.

“We are more than grateful and humbled for your trust,” says a message from promoters. “Especially after the difficult start of the festival this summer, where a part of our metal family couldn’t celebrate with us, we really appreciate that the community stands by us and sticks together. The fact that all 85,000 tickets are gone is simply amazing!”

Festival co-founder Thomas Jensen estimates the revenue shortfall caused by the capacity reduction to be in excess of €7 million

With tickets for 2023 costing €299, the Superstruct-backed festival’s co-founder Thomas Jensen estimates the revenue shortfall caused by the capacity reduction to be in excess of €7 million.

“It’s a third of our income: 23,500 x 299, and then you get pretty close somewhere,” Jensen tells Watson.

Weather conditions have continued to blight Europe’s festival season. The final day of Slovenia’s MetalDays was scrapped on Friday (4 August) due to torrential rain and flash flooding in the area, which prompted the authorities to issue a state of emergency. The death toll has since climbed to six, prompting prime minister Robert Golob to describe the situation as the country’s worst natural disaster since gaining independence three decades ago.

Elsewhere, Depeche Mode’s scheduled Live Nation Finland-promoted concert at Kaisaniemi Park in Helsinki tomorrow night (8 August) has been cancelled due to forecasted severe weather conditions.

“The health and safety of our fans, crew, and everyone working at the site are our number one priority, and we have been advised by Tukes (the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency) and the local fire department that it could be unsafe to proceed given the forecasted weather conditions,” says a representative for the band.

Other outdoor music events to be disrupted by adverse weather conditions this summer include Pitchfork (US), Bluedot (UK), Primavera (Spain), Dutch festivals Awakenings, Bospop and Wildeburg, Alexandra Palace’s Kaleidoscope Festival and Robbie Williams’ concert in Austria.

 


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Slovenia hosts Europe’s biggest post-pandemic festival

Smile Nation Slovenia, the largest music festival in continental Europe since the coronavirus pandemic began, took place with 5,000 fans in Ljubljana on Thursday 24 June.

Held at the city’s Ilirija sports stadium, the festival, promoted by Celje-based Smile Festival, featured performances from popular international DJs, including Australia’s Nervo and Dutch producer Quintino, and local talent such as Minless and Tim Urbanya. The festival follows last year’s seated, socially distanced event with 500 people each night over three days.

A total of 5,000 people attended the one-day Smile Nation Slovenia 2021, which took place under so-called PCT conditions (pogojev PCT), referring to the Slovenian term for Covid-status certification. All attendees had to provide proof of either vaccination against Covid-19, immunity to the disease, or a negative Covid-19 test to gain entry.

Organisers advised non-vaccinated/immune guests to get tested the day beforehand in their hometowns, though a pre-event testing point was set up in Ljubljana’s Tivoli Park for those unable to.

Other hygiene measures in place at the festival included card-only payments and hand sanitising points, while face masks were recommended but not required.

“We are proud that in these unpredictable times, we managed to undertake an event of this magnitude”

According to local media, Smile Nation Slovenia is the largest festival of the Covid-19 era in the European Union. Recent events in the UK, including Sefton Park Pilot and Download Pilot, were the same size or bigger, although they were held under clinically controlled test-event conditions.

“From the bottom of our hearts, we thank visitors, performers, partners, sponsors and everyone else who contributed to this unique spectacle,” say organisers in a statement. “We are proud that in these unpredictable times, we managed to undertake an event of this magnitude and make history as one of the first major ’normal’ festivals of the past two years.

“An electric atmosphere, positive energy, lots of good fun and great music: this was Smile Nation Slovenia 2021.”

Other ‘normal’ festivals going ahead this summer include Exit Festival in Serbia, Pukkelpop in Belgium, Mysteryland in the Netherlands and a handful of UK events, pending the removal of restrictions on 19 July.

 


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EEnlarge Europe launches with SOS campaign

A new, partially EU-funded association of grassroots music venues, EEnlarge Europe, has launched in eastern Europe with its first five members.

EEnlarge Europe, described as both a “community of venues” and an “educational project for the grassroots scene”, aims to bring together venues in the region to support each other and share knowledge and best practice.

At launch, the association comprises Channel Zero (270-cap.) in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Nappali (200-cap.) in Pécs, Hungary; Moszkva Kávézó (300-cap.) in Oradea, Romania; Kvaka 22 (250-cap.) in Belgrade, Serbia; and Zentropia in Senta, Serbia, with support from Budapest-based journalist and artist manager Eszter Décsy (Now Books & Music).

EEnlarge Europe’s first campaign, ‘SOS: Save Our Sources’, aims to raise awareness of the plight of grassroots music venues, which it says are in urgent need of more financial help and to be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.

we strongly hope that the decision-makers will finally realise they need to act now, before it is too late,”

Ana-Marija Cupin from the Serbian band Repetitor, one of several artists backing the campaign, says: “All the legendary gigs have happened in a small venue. A warm and relaxed atmosphere […] is something you do not experience in the arena.”

“I’m still crazy for club gigs – that’s where we started everything from,” says Hungary’s ‘Apey’ András Áron (Lazarvs, Apey, Trillion). “It’s really good to keep those gigs in mind. If these places disappear, I can’t even imagine how hard that would be for an emerging band to start – not that it was ever easy.

To spread the world about SOS, EEnlarge Europe has asked local musicians describe in their own words what small venues mean to them, both personally and professionally. Their responses can be found on EEnlarge Europe’s Facebook page.

“By this, we strongly hope that the decision-makers will finally realise they need to act now, before it is too late,” says the association.

 


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Viberate adds CTS Eventim to ticket sales partners

Blockchain-based live music marketplace Viberate has increased the number of tickets on sale through its platform to 70,000 by partnering with CTS Eventim.

Since raising more than US$10m in an initial coin offering (ICO) last August, the Slovenia-based company, which aims to “map the global live music ecosystem” using blockchain technology, has grown its database of musicians, venues, booking agencies and promoters by 270%, and had its VIB tokens listed on 14 cryptocurrency exchanges. It also already has ticket distribution agreements in place with Ticketmaster, Eventbrite and Skiddle.

Oliver Fraemke, senior vice-president of international business development at CTS Eventim, says: “As Europe’s leading ticketing company, generating reach on the web is obviously among our core competencies. Teaming up with an exciting start-up like Viberate adds yet another powerful channel to our ever-increasing number of affiliate outlets.

“Teaming up with an exciting start-up like Viberate adds yet another powerful channel to our ever-increasing number of affiliate outlets”

“Our cooperation will help us draw a much sought-for and highly-attractive customer group to our own Eventim web shops, to the benefit of music fans and artists alike.”

According to the STA news agency, the partnership with the German company will also include its local operations, including Slovenia’s Eventim.si.

“Getting the recognition from the big players in the industry is a huge reward for our work so far,” adds Vasja Veber, Viberate’s COO. “Our team is fully devoted to developing a completely new digital playground for music enthusiasts, industry professionals and crypto fans that will make a huge impact on the industry.”

 


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Imogen Heap partners with Viberate

Two of the earliest adopters of the blockchain in music, Grammy-winning artist Imogen Heap and live music marketplace Viberate, have announced their collaboration.

Heap will serve in an advisory role at Viberate – whose platform is powered by a cryptocurrency, Viberate token (VIB) – to help “guide us towards a second-to-none service for the live music segment that truly works for the music-maker”, reads a statement from the Ljubljana-based company.

Viberate’s mission is to use blockchain technology to “map the global live music ecosystem by building a database of profiles for musicians, venues, agencies and event organisers”. It closed its initial coin offering (ICO) of 120 million VIB tokens, announced last August, in under five minutes, raising more than US$10m.

|Imogen is not only … an inspiration to many of today’s superstars, she is also widely known for getting on the blockchain train before it was cool”

Heap, whose Mycelia Creative Passports project aims to create an industry standard digital identity for creators, says: “Blockchain has become the long overdue catalyst for the music industry to update its policy and business models toward music-makers and to provide quicker and seamless experiences for anyone involved in creating or interacting with music.”

Commenting on her partnership with Viberate, she adds: “Anything that involves music-makers being independent and having space where they can reach out to anybody who wants to make business directly with them is a really positive thing.”

“Imogen is not only one of the best artists out there and an inspiration to many of today’s superstars, she is also widely known for getting on the blockchain train before it was cool,” comments Vasja Veber, Viberate co-founder and COO. “We respect that and that is why we are so excited to have her on board.”

 


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Viberate, live music cryptocurrency, prepping ICO

Viberate – a blockchain-based ‘live music marketplace’ that aims to “do for music what Airbnb did for tourism” – is gearing up for an initial coin offering (ICO) of US$12 million worth of Vibes, the first cryptocurrency aimed specifically at the live music industry.

The ‘crowdsale’ of 200m Vibe tokens, which have a base price of $0.10, runs from from 5 September to 4 October, and follows more than $1m worth of investment in the Ljubljana-based start-up since April 2016.

“The main difference” between Viberate and other music-focused cryptocurrencies, says co-founder and COO Vasja Veber, “is that those services operate in the recorded music segment, whereas Viberate focuses on the live segment.

“We are not interested in the world of recorded music, royalties and copyright. It’s an interesting field and in definite need for help, and we hope that our fellow founders in Musiconomi, Voise, Opus and others will give the massive recorded music market a much needed kick in the butt and let musicians make money again by producing good music.

“[But w]hat we are interested at is giving musicians an opportunity to charge for their gigs in cryptocurrencies. We want to do for music what Airbnb did for tourism.”

“There is a clear need for an entity that would effectively and safely represent all those who don’t have a privilege of an agent”

In addition to allowing touring musicians to be paid in Vibes, Viberate – as detailed in its white paper – aims to offer artists, promoters and agents a blockchain-based alternative to what it calls a “heavily centralised” industry dominated by “a few major talent agencies”.

“Musicians need agents in order to land enough gigs to make a living, and most of the musicians don’t stand a chance of getting spotted,” it reads. “Only a fraction of a percent of all the world’s musicians have proper representation and are lucky enough to have music as their primary source of income. The rest are left on their own, struggling with exposure in a heavily saturated market, dealing with marketing, sales, networking, legal, taxation and debt collection issues instead of focusing on the creative part of the music business. […]

“There is a clear need for an entity that would effectively and safely represent all those who don’t have a privilege of an agent. Blockchain technology offers the best tools for this task.”

For event organisers, the platform gives promoters a helping hand in staying “on top of trends in live music” and provides them with a constantly evolving roster – which may also be supplied by booking agencies – of “interesting musicians”.

“A good event organiser in a busy city can organise up to three or four events weekly with several musicians on the line-up. Such frequency soon leads to the organiser not knowing who to book next. An event organiser’s product is a ticket, and their primary goal is to sell as many tickets as possible. To do this they need a good programme and a good ticket sales channel.”

“80% of all musicians in the world are unsigned … We want to be their agent, and we’ll offer them the tools they need to become successful performers”

In both scenarios, says Viberate, the solution is a decentralised, blockchain-based database of artists, promoters, agencies and venues that allows each party to communicate with, and book, the others at will, “regardless of genre, country, fame level or gig history”.

Commenting on the upcoming ICO, Veber tells Cointelegraph: “We don’t expect the big guys to jump on the bandwagon right away. But they were never our target group anyway, and we don’t expect Justin Bieber or Coldplay to be ready to accept Bitcoins or Vibes in exchange for their services.

“Our main target group has always been the underdogs: Local musicians, low-profile garage bands, who need a place to offer their performances to promoters and clubs. And those are usually younger people, millennials, who are quite fond of cryptocurrencies. They are our true ambassadors and there’s a lot of them. We estimate that around 80% of all musicians in the world are unsigned, meaning they don’t have an agent to represent them.

“Now we want to be their agent, and we’ll offer them all the tools they need to become successful performers and make a living by doing what they love.”

 


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