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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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Goldenvoice UK announces 10-day All Points East festival

AEG’s Goldenvoice UK is bringing the British Summer Time model to the East End, today announcing plans for a new ten-day event in Victoria Park next summer.

The festival, dubbed All Points East (APE) will be staged in the 213-acre east London park from 25 May to 3 June 2018, and combine two weekends of music with a BST-style free-to-access midweek offering.

The announcement follows the news that AEG Presents/Goldenvoice has been awarded a five-year contract by Tower Hamlets Council, which owns the park, for exclusive use of Victoria Park for events, meaning other festivals that have traditionally taken place in the park will be forced to move. The company has a similar exclusive on Hyde Park until 2019.

Field Day has already confirmed it plans to relocate, while Lovebox and Citadel promoter Live Nation has not yet commented.

The first music event, All Points East Festival, will take place from 25 to 27 May. Headliners are The xx, with Popcaan and Lykke Li also named in the launch announcement.

The second, APE Presents, comprises three “huge standalone headline shows”. The first to be announced is The National on 2 June, with support from the War on Drugs, Future Islands, Warpaint and the Districts.

“We’re confident that this is the most exciting new event in the country”

Similarly to BST, the four non-music days in the park will feature “entertainment, incredible food, an outdoor cinema and much more”, all free to access. The festival’s name is apparently inspired by All Points West, a short-lived New Jersey event that ran from 2008 to 2009.

“All Points East will be ten days of amazing live music, food, enjoyment and positive community engagement,” comments Jim King, AEG Presents’ executive vice-president of live music. “It’s about seeing the best artists, with the best production in one of the UK’s truly great community parks.

“We are thrilled to be able to launch this new festival concept and bring some of the world’s most exciting artists to Victoria Park. We’re confident that this is the most exciting new event in the country. We are aiming to attract the fans of credible and more independently focused artists.

“When you see the full line-up, then the vision for what we are aiming to deliver creatively should hopefully be very clear.”

Adds Tower Hamlets mayor John Biggs: “The council is pleased to be working with AEG, who were selected following a rigorous procurement process to deliver some exciting events in 2018 which can be enjoyed by local people, Londoners and visitors from across the UK.”

Tickets for APE Presents go on sale this Friday (27 October) at 9am via AEG’s own AXS platform and Amazon Tickets – the official ticket agent and “official ticketing partner”, respectively – with All Points East Festival following a week later, on 3 November.


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First-year success for Haven festival

Beatbox Entertainment has spoken of the success of the inaugural Haven festival, its first event in Copenhagen, after selling close to 20,000 tickets in its debut year.

Despite losing headliner Chance the Rapper to “scheduling conflicts” with three months to go, the 20,000-cap. festival – held, in a departure from Beatbox’s greenfield events Tinderbox and NorthSide, on the site of former shipyard on 11–12 August – fell just short of selling out, with around 150 tickets left, spokesman Sigurd Hartkorn Plaetner tells IQ.

“In a narcissistic way it was a little bit frustrating [not to sell out],” jokes Hartkorn Plaetner. “But it’s better than if we did sell out and lots of people didn’t come.”

Haven 2017 headliners included Bon Iver, Iggy Pop and Beach House, as well as the National, whose members Aaron and Bryce Dessner co-curated the event alongside chef Claus Meyer and Mikkellers brewery founder Mikkel Borg Bjergsø.

“It’s not really a festival. It’s a two-day experiment”

Hartkorn Plaetner says all the collaborators were “super involved in building up the whole festival”. Musically, he says, the booking philosophy was to focus on quality, rather than quantity – “We could have said, ‘We want 50 acts, a bit of world music, a bit of African music, et cetera’,” he explains, “but we decided we would rather have have 20 really, really strong acts” – with visual arts and a strong F&B line-up also key to the festival’s success.

“It’s about taking various disciplines and making them something you can experience together,” he continues. “At traditional festivals you drink beer to get drunk between concerts; at Haven, the shows were as much something you see between the beer experiences!

“The way I like to think about it is that it’s not really a festival. It’s really a two-day experiment – but you can’t say to your friends, ‘Hey, do you want to get tickets for a two-day experiment…?'”

Haven Festival will return in 2018.


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