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Wacken Open Air adds extra arrival day for 2024

German metal festival Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) is introducing an extra arrival day for campers in 2024 in a bid to help avoid a repeat of the scenes that marred this year’s festival.

Promoter International Concert Service was forced to run the 85,000-cap event at a reduced capacity back in August after the festival site was hit by rain and thunderstorms in the days leading up to it, leaving the camping areas “impassable”.

Around 61,000 people entered the site before no further admissions were allowed, meaning close to 25,000 ticket-holders were denied entry.

“We had to leave a third of our family standing in front of the door. That was almost emotionally unbearable.” says the Superstruct-backed event’s co-founder Thomas Jensen. 

In a message to fans, W:O:A says: “In 2024, we want to do everything we can to avoid a similar situation.

“What many of you have wanted for a long time, we will implement next year: we will open some camping areas on Sunday, 28th of July 2024 from 8am, including Bauer Uwes Garten, Camper-Park and of course the heart of our camping areas, the W:O:A Campground.”

“Our team have developed a system that’ll allow us even more precise planning and can help to optimise the traffic situation for everyone”

It will mark the first time a limited number of access passes, priced €66.60 per vehicle, will be made available for the Sunday before the festival – meaning areas of the campsite will be open for a whole week.

People arriving by car must register online in advance for an exact day of arrival, with a welcome party for early arrivals to be hosted by Wacken boss Holger Hübner, aka DJ Hübi.

“In order to be best prepared for the upcoming edition, we and our team have developed a system that’ll allow us even more precise planning and can help to optimise the traffic situation for everyone,” says Jensen. “We would therefore like to thank the metalheads in advance for their support in this matter with their pre-registration – and look forward to spending a whole week on the field with some of them,”

Artists announced for next year’s event, which runs from 31 July to 3 August, include Scorpions, Amon Amorth and In Extremo. All tickets sold out in just four-and-a-half hours. Ticket-holders denied entry this year were given first refusal to buy tickets for Wacken 2024.

 


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Superstruct-backed NASS Festival axed for 2024

The UK’s only professional action sport and music festival will not go ahead in 2024 due to rising costs and the cost-of-living crisis.

Operated by Vision Nine, NASS most recently took place in Shepton Mallett, near Bristol, in July, when it featured artists including Chase & Status, Wu-Tang Clan, Little Simz and Anne-Marie.

Live entertainment powerhouse Superstruct Entertainment acquired a stake in the 30,000-cap event last year.

“We’re gutted to announce that NASS will not be taking place in 2024,” says a statement from the festival team. “This decision has not been made lightly. Unfortunately, we have found ourselves impacted by both the cost-of-living crisis and the significant increase in operational costs to run a show like NASS. Regrettably, despite our best efforts, it’s just not economically feasible to continue.”

Vision Nine also produces Superstruct-owned surf and music festival Boardmasters.

“As a key gateway festival for many young people, its cancellation will have repercussions for the entire sector”

Established in 2008, NASS (National Adventure Sports Show) is a member of the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) and has welcomed acts such as Giggs, Rudimental, Stormzy, Public Enemy and Loyle Carner down the years.

AIF CEO John Rostron says its cancellation highlights both the continued financial pressure faced by festival operators, as well as “the urgent help many of them need to survive”.

“NASS is a particularly painful loss for the UK’s cultural landscape,” adds Rostron. “As a key gateway festival for many young people, its cancellation will have repercussions for the entire sector.

“This is further evidence of the compounding impact of both Covid and the cost-of-living crisis, which means many young people have missed out or not returned to the live event experience. This coupled with high supply chain costs means the squeeze on festivals is increasing, leaving many with no choice but to close.

“We again call on government to review VAT on music festival ticket sales and lower the rate to 5% for an extended period to help support the recovery of the festival sector.”

 


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Awakenings director Rocco Veenboer steps down

Awakenings director Rocco Veenboer is stepping down after almost 30 years at the helm.

He will, however, remain at the Netherlands-based techno empire until 2027 as a consultant.

“I am 55 years old now and it is time to pass the baton to the new generation in terms of duties and responsibilities,” he said.

The festival, promoted by Superstruct’s ID&T, was founded in 1997 as a techno party at the Gashouder in Amsterdam. The event eventually expanded to include venues such as the Klokgebouw in Eindhoven and the Graansilo in Rotterdam.

“These have been fantastic decades”

Awakenings is best known for its large-scale weekend festivals in Spaarnwoude and Hilvarenbeek that attract tens of thousands of people each day.

In recent decades, Awakenings has grown into the largest event brand in the Netherlands with as many as 300,000 visitors per year.

“In 1997 we organised three parties, which together attracted around 10,000 visitors.” says Veenboer. “At the time, we were one of the first to do major audio-visual work. Looking back now, we have welcomed over 3.5 million people to Awakenings. These have been fantastic decades. I’m grateful that I lived in Amsterdam in 1988 and then got to be part of the musical house and techno revolution.”

The third and final day of Awakenings 2023 was called off due to weather warnings, marking “the most heartbreaking day in the past 26 years of organising Awakenings”.

 


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From the Fields’ Andy Smith breaks down ’23 season

From the Fields co-founder and MD Andy Smith has reflected on the mixed fortunes of the UK promoter’s Kendal Calling and Bluedot festivals this summer in a new interview with IQ.

Held in Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District from 27-30 July, the 40,000-cap Kendal Calling sold out for the 17th successive year, headlined by Nile Rodgers & Chic, Kasabian, Blossoms and Royal Blood.

“It’s been a phenomenal year,” Smith tells IQ. “It’s been a hard year, but it’s definitely been worth it.”

The goodwill generated from this year’s festival has helped it break its first-day sales record for the second successive year, with more than 40% of tickets for next year’s edition, set for 1-4 August 2024, snapped up yesterday.

“We’ve got a very eager and passionate audience,” Smith tells IQ. “People love the festival – it’s as simple as that. We’ve got a very strong, loyal audience who come every year and they know that it sells out every year – 17 years in a row – so they just want to know that they have a ticket and then not think about it again until we announce the line-up, at which point they get all excited again. I wish I was that organised!”

In another positive development, the festival saw a greater uptake for its Thursday opening night attractions this year, which helped ease traffic issues over the weekend.

“It’s normally a three-day camping ticket with the addition of a Thursday night for traffic measures, trying to reduce the amount of cars arriving at once,” explains Smith. “With Scouting For Girls and Chic & Nile Rodgers, we had about 60% of the audience coming in early, which resolved the traffic issues, so that was a great success.”

“Every year we seem to have record amounts of rainfall, and this July is no exception with it being 40% above the norm”

The site’s infrastructure also held up well against the expected weather challenges – with the help of some novel tactics from organisers.

“Every year we seem to have record amounts of rainfall, and this July is no exception with it being 40% above the norm,” says Smith. “It normally turns into quite a mud bath, but we managed to avoid that this year despite having our fair share of rain.

“One of the things we did, which we’d never done before, is we didn’t cut the grass,” he continues. “People turned up and thought we were mad because the grass was up to their knees in places, but there was a theory behind it and it was twofold. Firstly, for the immediate enjoyment of the customers – once you’ve had 10,000 people walk across any high land, it isn’t knee-high anymore and you end up with a carpet below you. That meant that, even after 10 hours of rain on Saturday night, the fields were green and they still were 12 hours later.

“Secondly, from a sustainability [perspective], when you mow 2,000 acres of grass, you turn it all into silage, which goes straight to the cows and into the atmosphere as methane, which is no good. But when you trample it into the ground, it stays there. It’s like a carbon sink, so that was very good for our sustainability policies and very good for the environment and for customers.”

From the Fields’ 25,000-cap science and music event Bluedot was not so lucky in its battle against the elements, however. Taking place at Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, between 20-23 July with artists including Pavement, Roisin Murphy, Leftfield and Max Richter. But it was forced to cancel Sunday day tickets due to extreme weather conditions after an “unprecedented amount of rainfall” rendered the day ticket holder car park, pick-up and drop-off point and entrances “impassable”.

“It was a shame we had to refund day ticket holders on the Sunday, but it just wouldn’t have been fair to drag them in and out of the car park”

“That a was a very tricky production,” concedes Smith. “We had more rain there than we’ve ever had before, but we had an audience that was prepared for it: they know to wear cagoules, they know to wear the right shoes and they know to bring some spares. With certain shows, you get audiences who are more or less prepared and Bluedot’s 100% saw it coming.

“When we knew [adverse weather] was inevitable, we got an extra 1,500m of trackway down – I think they got 130 tons of wood chip from our local [supplier] – and a number of other measures that were put out throughout the weekend, which ensured the show could go on. Considering the amount of rain, it was very impressive work by the site crew and by the management to keep it going.

“It was a shame we had to refund day ticket holders on the Sunday, but it just wouldn’t have been fair to drag them in and out of the car park. But for everybody on site, it’s strange – the audience seems to come together a lot more in times of adversity. So whilst one may not have expected it to be so well received, looking at the socials afterwards, it seems to have been one of the best we’ve had yet, if not the best, which is just phenomenal.”

Returning to Kendal Calling’s Leave Nothing But Memories sustainability programme, From the Fields launched new game Flappy Tent to raise awareness of the impact of festival-goers leaving tents behind and commissioned local band The Lancashire Hotpots to write a song about the issue.

“Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better, and surveying Kendal Calling site on the Monday morning in 2019 was very depressing,” says Smith. “Then we had the two years off, and then last year pretty much everybody took their tents away. It went from being an uncountable mess down to about 284 tents.

“I was very worried this year, because it rained a lot. But by the initial count, it’s looking like we’ve done the same as last year, which I actually think is really good. Through all these initiatives, I think the message has got through.”

Kendal Calling and Bluedot have been backed by Superstruct Entertainment since 2019 and 2022, respectively.

“We’ve got support where we need it,” adds Smith. “We’ve always had great team but there’s that extra level that’s very refreshing, especially when you’re days into a festival and it’s quite tiring. It’s great to have somebody on the end of the phone who’s got a fresh mind and fresh pair of eyes. Nothing’s changed unless it’s been needed and we find their level of support so refreshing. It’s a wonderful partnership.”

 


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Wacken allows no further admission due to weather

Around 35,000 ticket-holders are believed to have been denied entry to this year’s Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) after organisers allowed no further admission due to adverse weather conditions.

The 32nd edition of the German metal festival kicked off today (2 August) and is set to run until Saturday, but the site has been hit by rain and thunderstorms in the run-up to the event, leaving the camping areas “impassable”.

Promoter International Concert Service (ICS) advised fans travelling to the event yesterday to temporarily stop their journeys and find a suitable waiting spot, with “massive rain and possible thunderstorms” forecast, but has since permitted no further entry.

“Due to the weather, the acceptable number of visitors for the Wacken Open Air 2023 was reached,” says a statement from ICS. “Any further arrival must be stopped and cancelled immediately. This decision has been made for the first time in the history of the W:O:A. We are very sad, but unfortunately the persistently difficult weather conditions leave us no other choice.”

According to SRF, police say that around 50,000 people had gained admission to the 85,000-cap festival before the ban on additional visitors was imposed. The expanded four-day event sold out in a record six hours when tickets went on sale for its 2023 event last year.

“Despite all our efforts, we had to announce the final admission stop for Wacken Open Air 2023 early this morning, caused by the ongoing weather situation and the effect on the festival grounds,” elaborates ICS in a message to fans on Instagram.

“All ticket holders who were unable to enter the festival will receive a full refund of the ticket price”

“All ticket holders who were unable to enter the festival will receive a full refund of the ticket price,” it continues. “Information regarding all further available products will follow as soon as we get them. Full information about the refund process – including when fans can expect to receive funds – will be sent to you shortly.

“We know that many of you have made huge efforts to attend Wacken 2023 and went on a long journey to come to the festival. We wanted nothing more than to celebrate with every single one of you 85,000 metalheads here on our holy ground. But in the ongoing challenging conditions, we have reached the maximum number of visitors we are able to accommodate this year.”

Organisers say they will “do our best to deliver a full programme” for those who made it through the gates, with acts such as Iron Maiden, Megadeth, Dropkick Murphys, Wardruna, Beartooth, Ensiferum, Pentagram, Jinjer, Nervosa, Deicide, Burning Witches and Two Steps From Hell lined up to perform.

Today’s opening day is also scheduled to feature a ceremony for the late Lemmy, led by Motörhead bandmates Phil Campbell and Mikkey Dee, which will see the rock legend’s ashes “find a new home in Wacken” as part of the “Lemmy Forever” weekend celebrations.

 


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Awakenings ‘heartbroken’ after calling off final day

Major Dutch festivals Awakenings, Bospop and Wildeburg were cut short yesterday (9 July) due to severe weather warnings.

On Saturday night (8 July), the national weather forecasting service (KNMI) issued a code orange for a raft of provinces including Limburg and North Brabant due to expected severe thunderstorms and hail.

Following advice from a number of authorities, Awakenings, a techno festival promoted by Superstruct-backed ID&T called off its third and final day but the weather wasn’t as severe as expected.

“Yesterday marked the most heartbreaking day in the past 26 years of organising Awakenings. For the past year, we poured our heart and soul into creating the most unforgettable edition of Awakenings Summer Festival,” reads a statement from organisers.

“This challenging decision was based on the available weather and safety information at that time. That the weather subsequently changed is a testament to the unpredictability of such conditions. It also indicates how painful the decision was.

“However, we stand fully behind that decision. Particularly after learning about the impact the hail, lightning and storm had around our area. While it may seem in hindsight that our visitors, crew and venue were spared from severe weather consequences, we know it was the right course of action.

“We extend our gratitude to all those who have reached out, offering messages of support and understanding. It devastates us to read and see the negative comments about yesterday’s decision. We know you’re hurt, we know you’re upset. We are too.

“Yesterday marked the most heartbreaking day in the past 26 years of organising Awakening”

“Just how we poured our heart and soul into the organization of Awakenings Summer Festival, we are fully committed to resolving the issue of refunds for our weekend and Sunday visitors. In the upcoming period, we will get in contact with all of you about a refund plan.”

The festival in Hilvarenbeek, Brabant, attracts more than 100,000 visitors across three days. Around 32,000 visitors were expected on Sunday, 6,000 of whom were from abroad. Shelter was arranged for them on-site “in cottages, restaurants and party rooms”. “They already have a mat and sleeping bag, which makes a difference,” said a spokesperson.

Shortly before that, the third and final day of annual rock festival Bospop was called off. The Weert-based festival welcomes around 50,000 people each year.

“Due to this extreme weather, the local government, in consultation with the organisation, has decided to cancel the Bospop festival today for safety reasons,” the festival management writes in a message. Those present were asked to leave the campsite as quickly and quietly as possible.

Electronic music festival Wildeburg, a three-day festival that takes place in Kraggenburg, Flevoland, was also cut short due to the predicted weather conditions.

“Unfortunately, due to bad weather, we had to make the decision in consultation with the emergency services to cancel Sunday. Our main priority is your safety and with the current weather forecast, it cannot be guaranteed,” a statement said.

Visitors with a day ticket for Sunday were not admitted and campers were told to pack up and leave.

All three festivals announced that they will soon provide more information about financial compensation.

 


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Superstruct acquires trio of European festivals

Superstruct has bought majority stakes in London-based festivals Mighty Hoopla and Cross the Tracks, as well as Austria’s Snowbombing.

IQ understands the controlling stakes were bought from various companies owned by Gareth Cooper (founder and former CEO of Broadwick Live). Financial details have not been disclosed.

The deal marks the second time the two companies have done business together, after divvying up Global’s festival portfolio in April 2019. Snowbombing and Mighty Hoopla were among the festivals that remained under Broadwick’s control.

Established in 1999, Snowbombing is the biggest and longest-standing of the three events. The luxury ski holiday, touted as Europe’s biggest snow and music festival, now brings 100+ international acts to perform around the slopes of Mayrhofen, in the Austrian state of Tyrol.

Fatboy Slim, Madness, Pendulum, Example, Magnetic Man, Sub Focus, Tinie Tempah, Chase & Status, Skream & Benga, Mark Ronson and Dizzee Rascal are among the acts that have performed at the festival.

The inaugural edition of Snowbombing took place in Risoul, France. It then moved to Villars, Switzerland, in 2002-2003 and Les Arcs, France, in 2004 before settling in Mayrhofen in 2005.

Superstruct’s acquisition of the festival is a result of the company taking a stake in Snowbombing parent SBH Events – a company controlled by Cooper.

Mighty Hoopla is described as “a pop festival embracing the best of pop, alternative and queer culture” and has featured acts including Sugababes, Steps, Jessie Ware, Cheryl, Chaka Khan and TLC, Kelly Rowland and Kelis.

Mighty Hoopla is described as “a pop festival embracing the best of pop, alternative and queer culture”

Launched in 2017, the festival’s inaugural edition took place in east London’s Victoria Park on the Sunday after the two-day Field Day festival, also produced by Broadwick Live.

In 2018, Mighty Hoopla and Field Day moved to south London’s Brockwell Park (cap. 30,000) after AEG Presents/Goldenvoice was awarded a five-year contract for the exclusive use of Victoria Park for events. AEG Presents’ All Points East was launched that same year.

In 2019, Field Day festival moved again, trading fields for warehouses located at Meridian Water in north London. Mighty Hoopla remained at Brockwell Park and Broadwick Live launched new festival Cross The Tracks on the Sunday of the same weekend.

Hoopla expanded to a two-day festival in 2022, taking place on a Friday and Saturday while Cross the Tracks followed on Sunday. The 2023 edition of the queer pop festival took place last weekend (2–3 June) with acts including Years & Years, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Natasha Beddingfield, Kelis, Artful Dodger and Beverly Knight.

Cross the Tracks, launched in 2019, is dubbed “a family-friendly festival, celebrating the world of soul, funk and jazz with a mix of international artists and local homegrown talent”.

The Brockwell Park festival has welcomed acts including Chaka Khan, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Khruangabin, Gilles Peterson, Joy Crookes, Anderson. Paak, Macy Gray, The Cinematic Orchestra and Sister Sledge. This year’s sold-out edition of Cross the Tracks moved to the bank holiday Sunday in May.

Superstruct Entertainment has now amassed nearly 90 festivals in Europe and Australia, which makes it the second-largest festival promoter in the world after Live Nation.

The company was founded in 2017 by Creamfields founder and former Live Nation president of electronic music James Barton and Roderik Schlosser whilst at Providence Equity Partners.

Cross the Tracks is dubbed “a family-friendly festival, celebrating the world of soul, funk and jazz”

The company has a presence in at least eight markets including the UK, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Australia.

In the UK, it has interests in Y NotTruckNassBlue DotVictoriousSouth West FourKendal CallingTramlinesBoardmasters and Lost Ventures – many of which were acquired when Global’s portfolio was divvied up in April 2019.

Elsewhere in Europe, the company’s network includes leading operators and festivals such as Elrow (ES), Sziget (HU), Wacken Open Air (DE), Mysteryland (NL), Hideout (HR), Sonar (ES), Flow (FI), Defqon1 (NL), Parookaville (DE), Zwarte Cross (NL), Arenal Sound (ES), Øya (NO), O Son do Camiño (ES) and Tinderbox (DK).

IQ also understands that Superstruct has an interest in 10–12 festivals in Australia, some of which operate under the same brand.

Alongside festivals, the live entertainment behemoth also owns festival travel and accommodation companies such as Festival Travel and Liffin, both of which are based in the Netherlands.

 


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Superstruct UK forges deal with resale platform Tixel

Superstruct UK festivals has enlisted Tixel as the exclusive resale platform for a number of its domestic events including Bluedot, Boardmasters, Christmas at Bute Park, Kendal Calling, NASS, Tramlines Festival, Truck Festival and Y Not Festival.

The partnership includes direct technology integrations that will facilitate functions like real-time, accurate ticket validation on all tickets listed (eliminating fakes and/or speculative listings) and the ability for a buyer to list and sell a ticket before ticket barcodes have been distributed.

“We are delighted to announce our partnership with Tixel, which demonstrates the strength and scale of our UK portfolio of festivals and their commitment to enhancing the customer experience,” says Chris McCormick, UK festival’s band partnerships director.

“[This deal] demonstrates the strength and scale of our UK portfolio of festivals and their commitment to enhancing the customer experience”

“Today’s ticket buyer is different to who they were three years ago,” says Tixel CEO Zac Leigh. “We’re much more used to digital and in-app purchasing and around 80% of us say that we’re more likely to buy a ticket if we know that we can easily resell it later. We love that our festival partners are embracing the new behaviours of today’s festival-goers in an effort to super-serve their attendees, and we’re excited to help them do that.”

Founded in Australia in 2018, Tixel’s partners include leading festivals and promoters such as Beyond the Valley, Strawberry Fields, and Corner Hotel, artists such as Tame Impala, and primary ticketing platforms Eventbrite, Eventix, and Oztix. The company officially launched UK operations in late 2021.

Superstruct Entertainment has amassed over 85 festivals in Europe and Australia, making it the second-largest festival promoter in the world after Live Nation. Outside of the UK, the Providence Equity Partners-backed company owns festivals such as Elrow (ES), Sziget (HU), Wacken Open Air (DE), Mysteryland (NL), Hideout (HR), Sonar (ES) and Flow (FI).

 


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Major fests put finishing touches to 2023 bills

One of Europe’s largest festivals Roskilde this week added Lizzo, Busta Rhymes, Loyle Carner, Biig Piig, Dry Cleaning and more than 100 other acts to its 2023 lineup.

They join previously announced acts Kendrick Lamar, Caroline Polachek, Lil Nas X, Rosalía, Burna Boy, Christine and the Queens, Blur, and Queens of the Stone Age.

The 51st edition of Roskilde will take place between 24 June–1 July in the Danish town of the same name. Tickets start from DKK 2400.

Elsewhere in Denmark, promoter Down the Drain has revealed full lineups for its festivals NorthSide and Tinderbox.

Little Simz is the newest addition to the NorthSide bill, which already includes Muse, The 1975, The Chemical Brothers and more.

NxWorries (feat. Anderson .Paak & Knxwledge), Lukas Graham, First Aid Kit, Sam Fender, LP, Yemi Alade and Pusha T are also slated to play the Aarhus festival between 1–3 June.

Little Simz is the newest addition to the NorthSide bill, which already includes Muse, The 1975, The Chemical Brothers

Simz is among the acts set to play the second-largest stage Echo, which this year will be covered by a 20,000-capacity tent.

“This time of the year in Denmark is very bright, in the evenings as well, and a lot of the bigger acts ask for a slot in darkness to get the full effect of their production. We’ve talked about doing this for years, but the pandemic got in the way. Now, we’re finally launching this change and creating an amazing setting for more intimate live experiences – and we can’t wait to see it in action!” says festival CEO Brian Nielsen.

Tinderbox (cap. 45,000), meanwhile, has confirmed Red Hot Chili Peppers, Maroon 5, Black Eyed Peas and Armin van Buuren for this year’s edition, taking place in Denmark’s third-largest city, Odense.

George Ezra, Dean Lewis, Lukas Graham, Mimi Webb, Cat Burns, Gogol Bordello, bbno$, Dylan and Oliver Malcolm will also appear at the festival between 22–24 June.

“Last year, we broke records at Tinderbox, and we’ve tried our very best to give back to our loyal guests by chasing some of the world’s biggest acts,” says Nielsen.

Elsewhere in Scandinavia, Finland’s Flow Festival has unveiled a third wave of acts led by Lorde and Christine and the Queens.

Finland’s Flow Festival has unveiled a third wave of acts led by Lorde and Christine and the Queens

They join a blockbuster bill comprising Pusha T, High Vis, Caroline Polachek, Blur, Wizkid, Tove Lo and more.

The Superstruct-backed festival will return to the capital city of Helsinki between 11 and 13 August. Tickets start from €119 for a one-day ticket, €189 for two days and €225 for three days.

In the UK, Truck festival has added Mae Muller, The Reytons, Gengahr, English Teacher, Feet and Chappaqua Wrestling to this year’s edition.

The Oxfordshire festival previously announced headliners Royal Blood, Alt-J, Two Door Cinema Club and The Wombats.

Self Esteem, The Vaccines, Circa Waves, Pale Waves, Everything Everything, Kate Nash and Squid are also due to play the Superstruct-backed festival, taking place at Hill Farm between 21 and 23 July. Final Tier tickets are on sale now from £160.

Elsewhere, the UK’s Standon Calling has announced two stage headliners, with Shygirl joining the all-female lineup on the Laundry Meadows stage and Sainté and D Double E heading up a new rap and hip hop night called FutureFlow on The Cowshed stage.

Las Vegas-based event Life Is Beautiful is set to host The Killers, Kendrick Lamar, Odesza, Khalid and The 1975

Previously announced headliners for the 2023 event include Years & Years, Self Esteem, Bloc Party and The Human League.

Anastacia, Confidence Man, Dylan, Squid, Katy B, KT Tunstall and Melanie C will also perform at the 17th edition of the boutique music and arts festival.

Festival founder and director Alex Trenchard says “We’re so proud of this year’s progress in booking a gender-balanced headline bill.”

The Broadwick Live-owned festival will return to the Hertfordshire countryside between 20 and 23 July 2023.

Across the Atlantic, Las Vegas-based event Life Is Beautiful is set to host The Killers, Kendrick Lamar, Odesza, Khalid and The 1975 for the September edition.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Omar Apollo, Kim Petras, FLUME, Nelly and Bebe Rexha are also lined up to play the 10th-anniversary edition of the music and arts festival.

Las Vegas mainstays such as Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, Jabbawockeez, Magic Mike Live, Piff the Magic Dragon and Tape Face will also be on hand for performances and appearances.

The Rolling Stone-owned festival will return to downtown Vegas between 22 and 24 September.

 


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Meet the world’s second-largest festival promoter

The global Covid-19 pandemic may have brought a halt to music festivals worldwide, but for one firm in the space, it only accelerated an already energetic acquisition schedule. And for such a monumental shift in market share across the festival business, it’s a roll-up that has taken place with barely a press release issued, or comment given.

According to research conducted by IQ, Superstruct Entertainment has now amassed over 85 festivals in Europe and Australia, which makes it the second-largest festival promoter in the world after Live Nation.

Superstruct Entertainment was founded in 2017 by Creamfields founder and former Live Nation president of electronic music James Barton and Roderik Schlosser whilst at Providence Equity Partners.

At the time, Barton said: “The relationship with Providence is – it’s an easy pitch. To bring a level of professionalism and organisation to what we’re trying to do, to try and be not just the most creative festival platform out there but the best run.”

Superstruct has a presence in at least eight markets including the UK, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Australia.

Superstruct has a presence in the UK, Denmark, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Australia

In the UK, it has interests in Y NotTruckNassBlue Dot, Victorious, South West Four, Kendal Calling, Tramlines, Boardmasters and Lost Ventures – many of which were acquired when Global’s portfolio was divvied up in April 2019.

Elsewhere in Europe, the company’s network includes leading operators and festivals such as Elrow (ES), Sziget (HU), Wacken Open Air (DE), Mysteryland (NL), Hideout (HR), Sonar (ES), Flow (FI), Defqon1 (NL), Parookaville (DE), Zwarte Cross (NL), Arenal Sound (ES), Øya (NO), O Son do Camiño (ES) and Tinderbox (DK).

Its most recent acquisition, and the first of 2023, was The Music Republic, the Valencia-based organiser behind iconic Spanish festivals Arenal Sound and Benicàssim (FIB).

IQ also understands that Superstruct has an interest in 10–12 festivals in Australia, some of which operate under the same brand.

Alongside festivals, the live entertainment behemoth also owns festival travel and accommodation companies such as Festival Travel and Liffin, both of which are based in the Netherlands.

“[Superstruct] has a commitment to building a strong portfolio of live entertainment brands”

While neither Schlosser nor Barton has rarely spoken publicly about Superstruct’s ambitions, the latter of the two referenced a “commitment to building a strong portfolio of live entertainment brands… and supporting the different festivals in their growth in their respective markets” upon the acquisition of Global’s festival arm in 2019.

And in 2021 they said the ID&T acquisition reflected Superstruct’s “deep conviction in the value of experience-focused live music festivals and our excitement about the significant joint growth opportunities that lie ahead as live events return”.

Superstruct Entertainment is headquartered in Kensington, west London, and employs more than 30 people. The company is directed by Schlosser as CEO and Barton as chairman.

Providence Equity is a global asset management firm with $32 billion aggregate in private equity capital commitments. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 170 companies spanning media, communications, entertainment, software, and services industries across North America and Europe.

Providence is headquartered in Providence (Rhode Island, US) and also has offices in New York, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and New Delhi.

Superstruct Entertainment declined to comment on this article.

 


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