fbpx

PROFILE

MY SUBSCRIPTION

LOGOUT

x

The latest industry news to your inbox.

    

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities

    

I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

Blockfest founder accused of money laundering

The founder and CEO of Finland’s Blockfest festival has gone on trial accused of money laundering.

Kalle Kallonen, who denies the charge, allegedly received cash earned from drug offences for €10,000 which he transported to Spain in May 2021.

The prosecutor is demanding a three-month suspended prison sentence for Kallonen, claiming – based on his assignment and the amount of money received – that he would likely have known or considered it came from criminal activity.

The allegation is part of a larger criminal case, first reported on by Seiska, that is being heard in the Helsinki District Court.

Kallonen has denied the charge and the description of the act in its entirety

A total of 10 people have been charged in relation to the case. According to the prosecutor, the main perpetrators were three men who formed an organised criminal group to commit drug offences from 2020 to June 2021.

Founded in 2008 in Tampere, Finland, Blockfest has grown to become one of the biggest hip-hop festivals in the Nordic countries. Taking place at the Tampere stadium, the two-day festival attracts some 75,000 festival-goers each year.

In 2019, Blockfest was acquired by Live Nation Finland following years of collaboration with the festival.

Rap artist William, aka Ville Virta, is accused of a similar crime to Kallonen. He is also alleged to have taken €10,000 to Spain, but “possibly” failed to hand over the money because the recipient had been apprehended by the police on suspicion of drug offences. He denies the charge.

The trial continues.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Bilbao promoter announces new festival in Spain

Spanish festival organiser and concert promoter Last Tour is adding a new international festival to its stable of events.

The inaugural Cala Mijas festival will take place between 1–3 September in the picturesque municipality of Mijas, Málaga, with a number of high-profile acts.

Arctic Monkeys will return to Spain for the first time in four years to headline the Cala Mijas for what will be their only festival appearance in the country in 2022.

Kraftwerk, Chet Faker, Blossoms and Hot Chip have also been announced to perform at the festival.

Last Tour has also set out a commitment to follow the guidelines of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with Cala Mijas, “both in its execution and in the way its values and importance are promoted”.

Arctic Monkeys will return to Spain for the first time in four years for their only appearance in the country in 2022

“The event’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda and to the environment of the municipality of Malaga is one of the fundamental pillars of Cala Mijas. To that end, it will base its ideals, strategies, and actions on a transversal model with measures ranging from ensuring social inclusion and complete transparency in all its processes to the promotion of local commerce, and a workflow designed to optimise and reuse all available resources,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.

Three-day passes cost just €80 for those who sign up for an exclusive presale on 29 November.

Last Tour’s stable of events also includes Bilbao BBK Live, Azkena Rock Festival, Donostia Festibala, BIME Live, Goxo, Navia Suena festival and Festival Santas Pascuas.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Spain waives visas for UK touring artists

After months of lobbying from live music trade bodies, British artists will no longer need a visa when entering Spain to undertake a short-term tour.

Spain, the fifth-largest live music market in the world, has posed the most costly and complicated visa application process in the European Union for artists looking to travel for short-term work.

Until now, artists and their promoters have been required to file applications for short-term visas entirely in Spanish, provide a host of itinerary details before knowing whether the tour could go ahead and give proof of applicant earnings of up to nearly £1,000 before ever having left the country.

Touring artists and their production teams were also required to wait for over a month for a decision, making long term scheduling impossible.

Today’s seminal change follows months of dedicated work from live music industry trade body LIVE, the Association for British Orchestras (ABO) and their Spanish counterpart, APM Musicales, as well as Live Nation Spain.

“We are delighted that our hard work has paid off and the Spanish government has agreed to lift the restrictive visa process for touring artists, ending the complicated and painful process of expensive visa applications,” says Craig Stanley, chair of the LIVE Touring group.

“[This is] still only one small part of a very large problem affecting our ability to tour in the round”

“A whole host of people came together both here and in Spain to fix this situation and this shows what we can achieve when we work together.

“However, that is still only one small part of a very large problem affecting our ability to tour in the round. We are calling on the [UK] government to follow our lead and urgently work to fix the rules with the remaining member states so that we can continue to tour across the entirety of the European Union,” he concludes.

Mark Pemberton, director of Association of British Orchestras, adds: “The ABO is delighted the Spanish government has introduced a visa waiver for live performance.

“We have already heard from member orchestras that had had to go through the painful and expensive process of securing visas for their musicians these past months, and this will be welcome news for those orchestras with impending tours. It means we can continue to bring the best of British music-making to Spain.”

“Spain couldn’t afford another day being left behind in European touring routes”

Marta Pallares, from Spain’s marquee festival, Primavera Sound, comments: “This is, definitely, the best early Christmas present we could have had, and it’s great that it arrived before the bands which are meant to tour in 2022 spent any more money and energy on this nonsense.

“Spain couldn’t afford another day being left behind in European touring routes, and definitely British bands didn’t deserve losing one of their biggest markets especially after the pandemic hit. This agreement, which involved a joint effort from several ministries, is benefitting even more–for once– small and medium-sized bands, that’s the beauty of it.”

While today’s news represents a positive step towards the return of international touring, artists still face restrictions on touring in Spain such as a three-stop limit to UK touring vehicles before they have to return to home and a hugely expensive goods passport (a “carnet”), including a bond for instruments and equipment.

As a result of Brexit and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, European touring has become more expensive and more complicated for touring artists.

LIVE is continuing to lobby the government to work with individual EU nations to tackle the problem of visas and permits, prioritising the seven member states with the most urgent issues, such as Croatia.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Benicàssim festival sells 30,000+ tickets in 24 hours

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim (FIB) sold more than 30,000 tickets in just 24 hours for next year’s event.

According to Spanish promoter The Music Republic, which acquired the festival in 2019, the majority of tickets were bought by domestic residents, while English customers accounted for 20% of the sales.

The 26th edition of FIB is slated to take place between 14–17 July 2022 in the coastal town of Benicàssim, north of Valencia.

Previously announced acts for FIB 2022 include Kasabian, Two Door Cinema Club, Tom Grennan, The Hunna, Declan Mckenna, Steve Aoki, Lost Frequencies and Joel Corry. Festival passes are on sale now, with four-day admission (excluding camping) starting from €54,99.

Previously announced acts for FIB 2022 include Kasabian, Two Door Cinema Club, Tom Grennan, The Hunna, Declan Mckenna

The festival has taken place annually since 1995, though the 2020 and 2021 editions were cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In lieu of the 2021 edition, The Music Republic launched a new socially distanced concert series at the Benicàssim festival site.

The promoter, which counts Arenal Sound, Viña Rock, Granada Sound and Madrid Salvaje among its portfolio of festivals, acquired FIB in 2019 from Maraworld, which is majority-owned by MCD Productions and SJM Concerts.

That same year, the 25th edition of FIB took place from 18 to 21 July 2019 and was attended by 114,000 people, almost 30% less than the previous year’s 160,000. The festival saw performances from Kings of Leon, Lana del Rey, George Ezra, Jess Glynne and the 1975.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

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.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Barcelona’s Cruïlla buoyed by test results

Cruïlla Festival organisers say Covid-secure live events should be permitted to go ahead “even in the worst pandemic conditions”, in response to data gleaned from its 2021 edition.

The Barcelona event took place from 8-10 July, with Catalonia in the midst of a fifth coronavirus wave triggered by the Delta variant. Masks were mandatory for attendees, but no social distancing was required, with entry dependent on a negative rapid Covid-19 test.

Cruïlla, headlined by Two Door Cinema Club, Editors, Morcheeba, Of Monsters and Men, went ahead using recommendations from the Love of Lesbian test concert.

Speaking at this week’s BIME PRO conference in Bilbao, Spain, festival director Jordi Herreruela said that while the study indicated the festival was responsible for 360 new cases of Covid, it had not been a super-spreader event.

“When the festival was held, the fifth wave began to decrease in impact and continued to decline after the festival,” said Herreruela. “We have had an impact, but we have not been the cause of a super transmission event.”

We did not generate the fifth wave, just as no musical event was the cause of the previous four waves

Moreover, 14% of the 40,340 ticket-holders no-showed the event and 292 were denied entry after testing positive during the screening process.

Data released by the Institut Català de Salut revealed 23.3% of attendees were fully vaccinated, 43.8% had a single dose and 22.4% were not yet vaccinated. In addition, 78% of infections occurred among unvaccinated festival-goers.

In conclusion, Herreruela said the findings highlighted that being vaccinated and wearing a mask were key factors in reducing the risk of transmission.

“We did not generate the fifth wave, [just] as no musical event was the cause of the four previous waves,” he added. “The health passport protocol, added to the use of the mask, must allow cultural, leisure and entertainment activities to remain alive even in the worst pandemic conditions.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

ESNS bolsters 2022 programme

ESNS 2022 is taking shape after organisers confirmed a keynote interview with DreamHaus CEO Matt Schwarz and inked a long-term deal with See Tickets.

Eurosonic Noorderslag, which returns to Groningen, the Netherlands from 19-22 January 2022, will also feature talks from Urgenda director Marjan Minnesma, Dutch music entrepreneur André de Raaf and psychologist Anne Löhr of Mental Health In Music.

See Tickets will handle all ticketing for the conference and festival as part of a new four-year partnership.

“ESNS is always on the lookout for new possibilities to take the customer journey to a higher level,” says Dago Houben, CEO of ESNS. “Especially in this time, smart data interpretation and personal communication with our visitors are key. We’re looking forward to building a strong partnership with See Tickets.”

This partnership fits in perfectly with the experience we have in the dance industry and our ambitions in live music

Under the agreement, all products will be selectable in one single transaction and ESNS will also be one of the first partners to benefit from the new See Tickets CRM-tool Identity.

“The combination of history and heritage of the festival/conference and our scalable e-commerce solutions promises a lot for our joint future,” adds See Tickets Benelux MD Marijke van den Bosch. “This partnership fits in perfectly with the experience we have in the dance industry and our ambitions in live music.”

Meanwhile, 60 up-and-coming European acts have been added to the ESNS line-up, including 10 new Spanish acts (Marta Knight, Marina Herlop, Mundo Prestigio, Pódium, Biznaga, Gabriela Richardson, Santa Salut, Maika Makovski, Derby Motoreta’s Burrito Kachimba and Dora) for Eurosonic, along with five Dutch acts (Don Melody Club, Flemming, Hang Youth, Kuzko, and Son Mieux) for Noorderslag. Spain has already been announced as the focus country

“[The focus on Spain] will bring a wide palette of young, emerging and talented acts from all over Spain to show how fresh, alive and exportable artists we have in our country,” says César Andión, of The Spanish Wave and Live Nation Madrid.

The 2021 edition of ESNS was held entirely online and welcomed nearly 4,000 people from 124 countries to its digital conference and festival platforms.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Mad Cool adds fifth day for 2022 edition

Live Nation’s Mad Cool has announced an additional day for next year’s edition, in celebration of the festival’s fifth anniversary.

According to organisers, the expansion comes from “a commitment to offer the best experience for the community of music fans” who attend the Spanish festival in 2022.

The five-day event will take place between 6–10 July 2022, in Madrid, with acts including Florence + The Machine, Queens Of The Stone Age and Haim.

The fifth-anniversary edition was due to take place in 2020 with a reduced capacity, increased stage numbers and a fourth day (up from three days).

However, both the 2020 and 2021 editions of Mad Cool were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The expansion comes from “a commitment to offer the best experience for the community of music fans”

Since launching in 2016, Mad Cool has grown rapidly from an overall capacity of 45,000 to 80,000 last edition.

This “massive growth” has led to some “incidents” in past editions, festival director Javier Arnáiz told IQ in a post-season reflection.

Florence + The Machine, Queens Of The Stone Age and Haim are among 32 new names announced today.

The likes of Chvrches, Sam Fender, Arlo Parks, Glass Animals and Easy Life have also been added to the bill.

Those artists join the 104 acts announced for Mad Cool 2022 last June, which include Muse, The Killers and Metallica.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Primavera Weekender returns as Spain reopens

Primavera Weekender is set to return after the government of the Valencian Community announced that standing festivals could once again take place.

The rollback of restrictions came into effect on 9 October, less than a month before the festival is due to take place in Benidorm on 5 and 6 November.

Primavera Weekender debuted in November 2019, ahead of the celebrations planned for Primavera Sound’s 20th anniversary in 2020, which would have also included festivals in Barcelona, Oporto and Los Angeles before Covid-19 struck.

Ultimately, only Primavera Weekender 2019 went ahead, with the 2020 edition also called off.

Taking place once again at the Magic Robin Hood holiday park in Benidorm, on Alicante’s Costa Blanca, Primavera Weekender 2021 will aim to replicate, as much as possible, “what a festival was before the pandemic”, say organisers.

Asturias, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Extremadura, Madrid, Navarre and the Basque Country have also reopened

However, access to the festival will not be possible without a Covid passport. In the coming days, organisers will report further details related to the regulations that govern nightlife and events.

The sold-out festival will welcome 1,000 attendees and some 30 artists including Mogwai, Kings of Convenience, Los Planetas, Thurston Moore Band, Maria Arnal i Marcel Bagés, Pa Salieu, Danny L Harle and La Zowi.

Alongside the Valencian Community, seven other regions  – Asturias, Castilla-La Mancha, Castilla y Leon, Extremadura, Madrid, Navarre and the Basque Country – have also dropped all coronavirus restrictions.

The remaining seven communities – Andalusia, Aragon, Balearic Islands and Catalonia, Canary Islands, Cantabria and La Rioja – are still reckoning with various restrictions.

The news will come as a relief to Spanish music venues which have endured the broadest restrictions in Europe, despite having the third-highest (73%) vaccination rate in the continent.

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

UK acts cancel Spanish dates: “Brexit is the next major threat to live music”

ATC Live has warned that Brexit is “the next major threat to live music” after two of the agency’s British acts were forced to pull out of Spain dates due to Brexit-related visa issues.

Earlier this year, 19 out of 27 EU member states reached an agreement with the UK government to award free work visas for 90 days, so that artists and their crew can travel freely during that period.

No such agreement was reached with major touring markets such as Spain and Portugal, as well as Greece, Croatia, Romania, Malta, Cyprus and Bulgaria.

For that reason, ATC-repped acts Squid and Black Country, New Road were each forced to pull out of several Spain dates on their respective European tours due to bureaucratic and financial hurdles.

“Not being able to play territories that are essential for growth is devastating for acts on the up and means a loss of earnings for everyone”

Sarah Joy, ATC Live, agent for Squid, tells IQ they worked hard with dedicated partners in Spain to “make every effort for the band to perform”.

“Unfortunately there were two major hurdles. Firstly, the cost of the visas makes mid-level venue touring untenable with a tour party of this size. Each member and crew would need a working visa and the costs stack up high against budgets.

“Secondly, the increased red tape including passports being submitted to embassies and long wait times for appointments made these dates completely unviable in the timescale.

“We hope with time that this process will be slim-lined and the costs reaccessed. Not being able to play territories that are essential for growth and reaching fans is devastating for artists on the up and means a loss of earnings for everyone involved. Now we are able to operate in the post-pandemic landscape, Brexit is the next major threat to live music.”

“We hope with time that this process will be slim-lined and the costs reaccessed”

Clemence Renaut, ATC Live, agent for Black Country New Road, adds: “We got clear information about the Spanish visa process and costs only recently, and the Spanish dates being right in the middle of the tour, it became too risky to try to get the visas on time, and too expensive for the band.

“It is a real shame for the band, the fans, the promoters and venues, as they were their first headline shows in Spain following their first album release this year, before coming back for Primavera in 2022. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem feasible to reschedule these shows in the near future because of other commitments, and also because we always try to tour Spain as part of a tour to avoid fly-ins. We all hope for an agreement to be reached very soon!”

Squid would have played in Barcelona (28 October), Madrid (29 October) and Vigo (30 October), while Black Country New Road were due to perform in San Sebastian (29 October), Madrid (30 October) and Barcelona (2 and 3 November).

Barcelona festival Primavera, which has booked both bands for its 2022 event, says that the cost of such cancellations due to visa issues could be “the final blow” for the Spanish market, which is still largely closed due to Covid-19 restrictions.

“The lack of progress to solve this problem is leading us dangerously close to a point of no return”

“We are suffering the cancellation of tours that were already programmed and for which money had already been invested, whilst those tours which should now be closed for next year are still up in the air. In a very delicate climate due to the Covid crisis, with promoters who have been unable to programme for the last two years and bands unable to tour internationally for the same amount of time, these costs could the final blow for an industry on which technical teams, venues and festivals depend, as well as of course the artists from one of the countries with a huge presence on our stages.

“The lack of progress to solve this problem is leading us dangerously close to a point of no return. In the meantime, and respecting the “principle of reciprocity” which was promised by the EU, the Spanish artists and creators have indeed already been granted temporary UK visas for creative / artistic performances, free of charge. In short, if practically the whole European Union has been able to find a solution to this problem, we should be able to do the same in ours. And with the utmost urgency.”

The UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) previously said it is “actively engaging with the remaining EU member states that do not allow visa- and permit-free touring” has made formal approaches to them “to align their arrangements with the UK’s generous rules, which allow touring performers and support staff to come to the UK for up to three months without a visa”.

“We recognise challenges remain around touring, and we are continuing to work closely with the industry,” says DCMS in a statement. “We want to ensure that when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, touring can resume and our world-leading creative and cultural artists can continue to travel widely, learning their craft, growing their audiences and showing the best of British creativity to the world.”

 


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.