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Wireless cancels as more UK fests call time on 2020

Festival Republic’s Wireless Festival and an open-air the 1975 show are the latest losses to the UK’s 2020 summer calendar, in a week that also saw Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Music Festival and metal event Bloodstock move to 2021.

The UK’s summer festival season is looking increasingly uncertain, as organisers wait for the government to reveal details of its exit plan. The country has been in lockdown since 23 March.

“Wireless Festival will no longer be taking place this year,” reads a statement from organisers. “As you know we’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation, and it’s become clear that cancelling is unavoidable.

“Subject to contract, Wireless Festival will be back next year on 2 to 4 July 2021 and will be worth the wait,” continue organisers, urging fans to “keep your eyes peeled” for news on the virtual edition of the festivals.

The urban music event, which had booked ASAP Rocky, D-Block Europe and Lil Uzi Thug for this year, has encountered licensing restrictions imposed by the local council around its home in Finsbury Park.

The promoter has also announced the cancellation of an eco-friendly show by the 1975 at Finsbury Park, scheduled for 11 July. The show, which was also to feature Charli XCX, Clairo and Pale Waves, was set to be the Manchester band’s biggest show ever.

“We’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation, and it’s become clear that cancelling is unavoidable”

Festival Republic had previously called off the 2020 outings of Download Festival, set to feature Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down, and Latitude, which had a line-up including Liam Gallagher, Haim and the Chemical Brothers.

This week also saw the cancellation of the 20,000-capacity Cornbury Music Festival, which was to feature Dido, Jack Savoretti and the Waterboys, as well as Judas Priest-headlined metal festival Bloodstock. Organisers say the event will be back for a bumper five-day edition in 2021.

Other major UK festivals to cancel due to the coronavirus outbreak include Boomtown (Wu-Tang Clan, Underworld, the Libertines), Bluedot (Bjork, Metronomy, Groove Armada), Black Deer (Wilco, the Waterboys, the Dead South) and Y Not Festival (Royal Blood, Richard Ashcroft, Bombay Bicycle Club), adding to cancellations of AEG Presents’ All Points East and British Summer Time Hyde Park, Live Nation’s Parklife, Lovebox and Isle of Wight Festival, and Glastonbury Festival.

In Scotland, which has limited self-government within the UK, DF Concerts’ Trnsmt (Courteeners, Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi) and Regular Music’s Summer Nights at the Bandstand (Rick Astley, Van Morrison, Primal Scream) cancelled after first minster Nicola Sturgeon suggested public gatherings would be banned for the foreseeable future.

In the neighbouring country of the Republic of Ireland, festivals including Longitude and All Together Now cancelled last month, as the government announced a blanket ban on events over 5,000 people until 31 August, although it recently indicated that smaller events would be permitted from 10 August.

 


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The 1975 to only play festivals with 50/50 gender split?

The 1975 frontman Matty Healy has announced that he will only agree to play at festivals that commit to featuring 50% female and non-binary performers, saying “this is how male artists can be true allies”.

The statement evolved from a Twitter exchange with journalist Laura Snapes, who suggested the artist add a condition to his rider to stipulate a boycott of festivals dominated by male acts.

“Take this as me signing this contract,” wrote Healy. “I have agreed to some festivals already that may not adhere to this and I would never let fans down who have tickets. But from now I will.”

“This is how male artists can be true allies”

Healy admitted that he was sure “my agents are having kittens right now”, but stated that “people need to act and not chat”. The 1975 are represented by Mike Mori at Paradigm (North America) and Matt Bates at Primary Talent International (RoW).

The 1975 are headlining a one-day event at London’s Finsbury Park this summer, in a special eco-friendly show. The band are also making appearances at UK festivals Boardmasters and Edinburgh Summer Sessions, Bonnaroo and Boston Calling in the US, and Rock for People in Czech Republic.

Over 300 festival, industry organisations and events have now signed the Keychange pledge, committing to achieve a 50/50 gender balance by 2022.

Photo: © pitpony.photography/ Wikimedia Commons (CC-BY-SA-3.0) (cropped)

 


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Environment top of agenda for major UK events

The 1975 and Massive Attack, two British bands at the forefront of the effort to make touring more sustainable, have recently announced headline performances in London this summer.

Festival Republic, whose managing director Melvin Benn has spearheaded various environmental projects at UK live music events, is promoting a one-day event headlined by the 1975 in North London’s Finsbury Park on 11 July – the Manchester band’s biggest-ever show and, according to a statement from the promoter, the greenest event ever put on in the park.

Charli XCX, Clairo, Pale Waves, Phoebe Bridgers and Beabadoobee will also perform at the event, which will be entirely powered by sustainably sourced Hydrotreated Vegetable Oil (HVO) fuel – a form of renewable diesel produced from vegetable fats and oils lowering the show’s carbon footprint by 90%.

In addition to the 1975’s one tree planted initiative, which sees the band plant one tree for every ticket sold to their shows, Festival Republic will plant 1,975 trees in the park’s surrounding boroughs of Haringey, Hackney and Islington, in partnership with charity Trees for Cities.

Fans are encouraged to bring old band t-shirts to the show for reprinting with new logos, as part of the 1975’s sustainable merchandise range. Other eco-friendly measures include the use of hybrid-powered generators with solar arrays, and a traffic light system to highlight the carbon footprint of food options.

The 1975 and Massive Attack, two bands at the forefront of the effort to make touring more sustainable, have announced headline performances in London this summer

Elsewhere in London, Massive Attack are headlining AEG Presents’ All Points East festival on Sunday 24 May, adding to previously announced headliners Kraftwerk and Tame Impala. Nils Frahm, Young Fathers, Neneh Cherry and Sevdaliza are among other acts performing on the Massive Attack-headlined day.

The Bristol-hailing band have been vocal on the subject of touring’s environmental impact, commissioning a team of researchers to look into how the live industry can reduce its carbon footprint, performing at the Extinction Rebellion climate protest in London, and pledging to tour Europe by train.

The eco initiatives employed by Festival Republic, the 1975, Massive Attack and others will form part of the discussion at leading live industry sustainability gathering the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) on 3 March. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.

Tickets for the 1975’s Finsbury Park show go on sale at 9 a.m. on 31 January, priced from £52.50 plus booking fee for general admission, with VIP options also available.

Massive Attack tickets will come on sale in due course. More information can be found here.

Photo: Begoña/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Massive Attack tackle touring’s carbon footprint

Bristol band Massive Attack are the latest UK act to tackle the live industry’s environmental impact, teaming up with researchers to map the carbon footprint of typical tour cycles.

In an article published in the Guardian, Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja (3D) announced that the band are commissioning Manchester University’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research to look at “three key areas” where Co2 is emitted in the music industry: band travel and production; audience transport; and venues.

The resulting “roadmap to decarbonisation” will be shared with other touring acts, promoters, festival organisers and venue owners to encourage and facilitate a reduction in carbon emissions across the industry.

“Every industry has varying degrees of carbon impact to address and we need partnerships like this one to look at reducing carbon emissions across the board,” comments Dr Chris Jones, a research fellow at Tyndall.

“It’s more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances. It will likely mean a major shift in how things are done now, involving not just the band but the rest of the business and the audience.”

“It’s more effective to have a sustained process of emissions reductions across the sector than for individual artists to quit live performances”

Last week, Coldplay announced their decision to put a pause on touring, due to environmental concerns. The 1975 and Billie Eilish are among other high-profile artists to work to reduce the carbon footprint of upcoming tours.

While Del Naja notes that stopping touring altogether is “an important option that deserves consideration”, an unrealistic number of high number acts would have to do so in order to “achieve the required impact”.

Carbon offsetting initiatives, such as planting tress, banning single-use plastic and encouraging the use of public transport, says Del Naja, are also unlikely to deliver any meaningful impact.

“Given the current polarised social atmosphere, uplifting and unifying cultural events are arguably more important now than ever, and no one would want to see them postponed or even cancelled,” says Del Naja.

“The challenge therefore is to avoid more pledges, promises and greenwashing headlines and instead embrace seismic change.”

To help reduce the environmental impact of artists’ riders, Coda Agency and A Greener Festival (AGF) launched the Green Artist Rider at the Green Events and Innovations Conference (GEI) in March. Tickets for GEI 2020 are available here.


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The 1975 to plant a tree for every ticket sold

The 1975 have pledged to plant a tree for every ticket sold ahead of their upcoming UK and Ireland arena tour, as the band continue their eco-friendly drive.

Manager Jamie Oborne announced the news on Twitter: “Really pleased to say we will be planting a tree for every ticket sold!”

The pledge elicited a positive reaction from fans, with some users calling the 1975 “the best band in the world”.

The band, who this year headlined festivals including Reading and Leeds and Sziget, are embarking on a twelve-date tour in February and March 2020, playing arenas including London’s the O2 (20,000-cap.), Manchester Arena (21,000-cap.) and the SSE Hydro in Glasgow (13,000-cap.).

“Really pleased to say we will be planting a tree for every ticket sold!”

The tree-planting initiative follows the launch of the 1975’s sustainable merchandise range. “We are not making new shirts for now. Unsustainable,” the band’s frontman Matt Healy announced on Instagram. “This run is all old shirts that we had kept and reprinted.”

Fans were encouraged to bring old the 1975 shirts or those of any other bands to Reading and Leeds festivals to be reprinted with the new design.

The band also recorded a song with teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg for their most recent album Notes on a Conditional Form, with all profits going to civil disobedience movement Extinction Rebellion.

Tickets for the 1975’s arena tour go on sale on Friday 20 September at 9 a.m. (BST), with presale tickets available from Wednesday 18 September. A full list of tour dates and information on how to buy tickets can be found here.

 


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Dubai “go-to” tour destination with arena success

Dubai’s 17,000-capacity Coca-Cola Arena, which opened its doors three months ago, has already hosted shows by Maroon 5, Westlife, the 1975 and Alicia Keys, playing a key role in placing the United Arab Emirates on the international touring map.

The multipurpose arena was born as part of a collaboration between Dubai-based developer Meraas and AEG’s Asian/ Australasian venues arm, AEG Ogden.

The largest venue of its kind in the region, Meraas and AEG Ogden hope the arena will become the premier destination in the Middle East’s burgeoning live events scene.

The arena is fully enclosed and climate controlled, transforming Dubai from a “winter-only” touring destination into a year-round option for promoters. Floor space measuring 3,870 square metres and a variety of seating and stage configurations allow for a range of event types.

“Dubai is already a major entertainment hub for the entire region and the opening of Coca-Cola Arena has helped to further establish the city as the go-to destination for acts visiting the Middle East as part of global tour schedules,” comments AEG Ogden’s chief executive of Coca-Cola Arena, Guy Ngata.

“Dubai is already a major entertainment hub for the entire region and the opening of Coca-Cola Arena has helped to further establish the city as the go-to destination for acts visiting the Middle East”

“Meraas has shown a great vision to expand Dubai’s live entertainment offering and in doing so has an asset that will become one of the world’s great live venues.

“Together with Coca-Cola and all of our partners and stakeholders, there is a real passion in establishing the venue as the perfect fit for international touring artists, productions, sporting activity and shows of all genres,” adds Ngata.

Coca-Cola announced a ten-year naming-rights agreement with AEG Ogden in April, in what the soft drinks giant deemed a “milestone deal”. The arena also counts Indian ticketing platform BookMyShow among its partners, signifying the first global arena deal for the company.

“Despite only being open for a few months, Coca-Cola Arena is already firmly established as one of the city’s biggest attractions,” continues Ngata. “We look forward to hosting even more great live acts and events as we develop and expand the events industry in the UAE to even greater levels of success.”

Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena opened on 6 June, with a performance by Canadian comedian Russell Peters, before Maroon 5 made the arena’s musical debut on 14 June. A list of upcoming events can be found here.

 


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Reading/Leeds celebrates hottest, biggest year yet

Nearly 200,000 people a day collectively attended the twin Reading and Leeds Festivals in the UK last weekend (23–25 August), according to promoter Festival Republic.

Hundreds of artists, DJ and comedians played the 2019 editions of the long-running events (Reading is in its 48th year and Leeds its 21st), which occupy the end-of-August public holiday weekend in England. According to the BBC, it was the hottest August bank holiday on record, with Sunday temperatures reaching 33.3°C (92°F).

As Skiddle notes, the festivals are now a “faint shammer of [their] former rock-purist roots”, offering a greater spread of artists from all genres, including the highly anticipated Reading/Leeds debut of rising star Billie Eilish. The NME’s reviewer, Thomas Smith, says Eilish’s Reading show “may well have been the biggest crowd at a Reading show there’s ever been. “When the camera side of stage pans out to show the punters what they’re in the middle, there are audible gasps at the sheer volume of bodies packed into the field,” Smith writes.

It was the hottest August bank holiday on record, with Sunday temperatures reaching 33.3°c

Headliners were the 1975, Foo Fighters, Post Malone and Twenty One Pilots, with other performers including Bastille, the Distillers, Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals and Bullet for My Valentine, who played a surprise show.

The 1975 debuted tracks from their upcoming album, Notes on a Conditional Form, as well as environmentally conscious new single ‘People’, featuring activist Greta Thunberg, while Foo Fighters were joined on stage by frontman Dave Grohl’s daughter, Violet, as well as special guest Rick Astley.

Organisers also tout the festivals as the most environmentally friendly yet, with “a robust green initiative in place across both sites”.

Tickets for Reading and Leeds 2020 are on sale at noon today (27 August).

 


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530k attend most headliner-focused Sziget yet

One of the biggest festivals in the world, 530,000 fans attended this year’s week-long Sziget festival, falling slightly shy of 2018’s record-breaking attendance.

The 27th edition of Providence Equity-backed Sziget took place from 7 to 13 August on Obuda island in Budapest, Hungary. Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Florence and the Machine and Martin Garrix were among the more than 1,000 acts playing at the festival.

“The performances on Sziget’s main stage this year were outstanding in many ways,” says Sziget chief executive, Tamás Kádár. “We increased our funding for mainstream performers even more than last year as part of our ongoing growth strategy, bringing us nine headline acts for seven festival days.”

Hungary Today reported that organisers spent 500 million forints (US$1.7m) more this year on securing headliners, out of a total budget of more than 10 billion forints ($34m).

Two nights saw back-to-back headline performances, with Twenty One Pilots performing ahead of Foo Fighters on the closing day and a Saturday night combination of the National and Macklemore.

The first day of Sziget festival, headlined by Ed Sheeran, reportedly sold out with as many as 60,000 fans attending Sheeran’s show and 95,000 visitors on the festival site. Several fans complained about overcrowding and congestion on social media.

“The performances on Sziget’s main stage this year were outstanding in many ways”

Organisers told a Hungarian news outlet that “an unexpected, brief rainstorm” resulted in more fans leaving immediately after Sheeran’s performance than expected. “We decided to break up the crowd by only allowing visitors to leave intermittently from the festival area in order to avoid external congestion,” reads the statement.

Speaking of the extensive line-up of headliners, Kádár says that it was “a great pleasure for us to programme world stars who cover a wide, diverse fan base over different genres”, as well as “artists who fit in well with our [environmental] Love Revolution campaign messages, such as The 1975.”

Organisers celebrated Sziget festival’s most sustainable year to date, preventing the use of 1.5 million one-use plastic cups and 600,000 straws through a reusable cup system and “Don’t Suck” anti-straw campaign.

A new low-carbon dining block was introduced this year, providing attendees with sustainable food options.

Talks by Dr Jane Goodall of the United Nations (UN) peace envoy, the UN Refugee Agency’s Emitithal Mahmoud and former US vice president and climate change campaigner Al Gore also featured on the main stage.

 


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Brits Week previews UK music’s biggest night

The 5th War Child Brits Week kicked off last Monday, giving fans the opportunity to see leading UK artists in intimate settings across London in the run up to this year’s Brit awards on Wednesday 20 February.

Brits Week, the series of intimate live performances by leading UK acts that precede the Brits are already underway, celebrating the best in British music whilst raising money for non-profit War Child.

British breakthrough act nominees, Idles, opened Brits Week on 11 February, playing at the 350-capacity 100 Club. You Me At Six performed on the same night at Scala (1,145-cap.), followed by performances by AJ Tracey at 100 Club, Nick Mulvey at Wilton’s Music Hall (400-cap.) and Enter Shikari at The Dome (5,039-cap.) throughout the week.

A DJ set from singer-songwriter Frank Turner in conjunction with Xtra Mile Recordings on Friday at 320-capacity Omeara, and a Sunday-night performance from Mabel at Bush Hall (425-cap.) closed out the first week.

Performances still to come include last year’s British group and British album winners, the 1975, who play at Islington’s 600-capacity the Garage this evening (18 February). Jake Bugg and Jade Bird join forces tonight at Omeara, Bring Me The Horizon play on Tuesday at the Dome and Anne-Marie performs the night before the awards ceremony at Omeara. A final performance by Tom Odell on Friday 22 February closes out Brits season.

The Brit awards take place this Wednesday at the O2 Arena in London. The awards ceremony will be hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall and broadcast live on ITV.

“These nominations illustrate what an incredible year it has been for British talent and remind us what a great time it is to be a music fan”

Hugh Jackman opens the ceremony, performing a song from his award-winning film, The Greatest Showman. Calvin Harris will perform alongside multiple Brit award nominee Dua Lipa, Rag’n’Bone Man and Sam Smith. Fans can also expect performances from Little Mix, the 1975, Ms Banks and this year’s outstanding contribution to music winner, Pink.

This year’s Brit awards see four nomination each for UK pop sensations Anne-Marie and Dua Lipa. Anne-Marie is up for British female, British single, British video and British album. Future Forum’s keynote guest, Dua Lipa, has two nominations a piece in the British single and British video categories.

George Ezra and Jorja Smith are up for three awards each, whereas a host of artists including the 1975, Calvin Harris, Jess Glynne and Florence and the Machine have received two nominations each.

Kamasi Washington, Travis Scott and Shawn Mendes are all up for international male against 2017 winner Drake and four-time Brit winner Eminem, whilst international female sees Ariana Grande, Camila Cabello, Cardi B, Christine and the Queens and 2014 nominee Janelle Monáe all shortlisted.

“These nominations illustrate what an incredible year it has been for British talent and remind us what a great time it is to be a music fan, both in the UK and beyond,” says Jason Iley, Brits chairman and chief executive of Sony Music UK and Ireland.

“I’m delighted to see the nominations representing talent across a wide variety of genres – from returning artists to some incredibly exciting new talent – who are set to become the stars of the future.”

 

The full list of nominees can be found below:

British album of the year
The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships
Anne-Marie – Speak Your Mind
Florence + The Machine – High As Hope
George Ezra – Staying At Tamara’s
Jorja Smith – Lost & Found

British female solo artist
Anne-Marie
Florence + The Machine
Jess Glynne
Jorja Smith
Lily Allen

British male solo artist
Aphex Twin
Craig David
George Ezra
Giggs
Sam Smith

British group
The 1975
Arctic Monkeys
Gorillaz
Little Mix
Years & Years

British breakthrough act
Ella Mai
Idles
Jorja Smith
Mabel
Tom Walker

Critics’ choice
Winner: Sam Fender
Lewis Capaldi
Mahalia

British single
Anne-Marie – 2002
Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
Clean Bandit ft Demi Lovato – Solo
Dua Lipa – IDGAF
George Ezra – Shotgun
Jess Glynne – I’ll Be There
RAMZ – Barking
Rudimental – These Days
Siagla and Paloma Faith – Lullaby
Tom Walker – Leave A Light On

British video
Anne-Marie – 2002
Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa – One Kiss
Clean Bandit ft Demi Lovato – Solo
Dua Lipa – IDGAF
Jax Jones ft Ina Wroldsen – Breathe
Jonas Blue ft Jack & Jack – Rise
Liam Payne and Rita Ora – For You
Little Mix ft Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
Rita Ora – Let Me Love You
Rudimental – These Days

International male solo artist
Drake
Eminem
Kamasi Washington
Shawn Mendes
Travis Scott

International female solo artist
Ariana Grande
Camila Cabello
Cardi B
Christine & The Queens
Janelle Monae

International group
Brockhampton
The Carters
First Aid Kit
Nile Rodgers & Chic
Twenty One Pilots

 


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Goldenvoice announces LA-based Coachella sideshows

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival promoter, Goldenvoice, has announced a series of LA-based concerts in support of the festival.

The 6th edition of Goldenvoice Presents April will take place throughout the greater Los Angeles area from 6 to 21 April, offering fans the opportunity to see some of Coachella’s participating artists in a more intimate setting.

The 35 shows include performances from the 1975, Mac Demarco, Pusha T, Playboi Carti, Chvrches and Blood Orange.

Coachella headliner Tame Impala is scheduled to perform at the 2,000-capacity Fox Theatre on 11 April, just two days before the band’s Coachella appearance. Fellow headliners, Childish Gambino and Ariana Grande, will not be participating in the Goldenvoice Presents April series.

Mega-festival Coachella (125,000-cap.) returns to the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, on 12 to 14 April and 19 to 21 April. General admission tickets for this year’s festival sold out in under an hour.

The Coachella 2019 line-up sees artists including Janelle Monáe, Khalid, Weezer, Aphex Twin, and Billie Eilish perform alongside headliners Childish Gambino, Tame Impala and Ariana Grande.

A complete list of Goldenvoice Presents April 2019 performers, dates, venues and ticket information can be found here.

 


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