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Dutch gov to ease restrictions as 150,000 protest

Multi-day events and festivals in the Netherlands will likely be able to take place from 25 September under certain conditions.

According to nu.ul, the Dutch government is deciding on the conditions today, ahead of a press conference tomorrow (14 September) evening.

The conditions, which will be based on findings from Fieldlab Evenementen, will likely include a 75% capacity limit.

The cabinet is also considering how Covid certification and testing could aid the sector’s reopening.

“The culture sector is getting better news than has been leaked”

Culture minister Ingrid van Engelshoven provided a glimmer of hope during her appearance on the Good Morning Netherlands programme this morning, saying: “The culture sector is getting better news than has been leaked so far. I am hopeful that things will go in the right direction tomorrow, also for the events.”

The news comes after an estimated 150,000 people across ten cities took part in the second Unmute Us protest on Saturday (11 September) to demand the immediate restart of major events.

Saturday’s march was the largest-ever protest in the Netherlands, more than doubling the attendance of the first demonstration on 21 August which drew 70,000.

“This second flawlessly organised demonstration proves once again how strong our industry is in this area”

More than 4,000 organisations joined the movement, including festivals Lowlands, Mysteryland, DGTL, Down the Rabbit Hole, Awakenings and Paaspop – all of which have been cancelled this year due to restrictions.

Ruben Brouwer, director at Mojo, which promotes Down the Rabbit Hole, Lowlands and Paaspop among others, says: “Our industry consists of professionals who can organise large-scale public events well, neatly and safely.

“This second flawlessly organised demonstration proves once again how strong our industry is in this area. The event industry has proven time and again that it can organise events safely. So there can be no other cabinet decision than full opening on 14 September.”

The protest comes after the Dutch government extended the ban on large-scale events until at least 19 September amid fears over the spread of the highly infectious delta variant.

 


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ID&T, Mojo announce post-pandemic party (date TBA)

Dutch promoters Mojo and ID&T, along with Heineken, are organising the Netherlands’ first large-scale event without restrictions which will go ahead as soon as it is permitted.

The event, dubbed ‘Celebrate Life’, will take place in Amsterdam venues Ziggo Dome (cap. 17,000) and AFAS Live (6,000) on an unspecified date in the post-pandemic future.

“We haven’t danced together for over a year. Not partied for a whole year. As soon as the corona measures give us free rein, we will see you at the front of AFAS Live and Ziggo Dome! The moment the government gives the starting shot, we are shoulder to shoulder again. This can be during the weekend, but also take into account a weekday. We will of course inform you immediately,” reads a statement on the Celebrate Life website.

“The moment the government gives the starting shot, we are shoulder to shoulder again”

De Jeugd van Today, Maan, Ronnie Flex & the Fam and Vunzige Deuntjes Soundsystem have been announced for the four-and-a-half hour AFAS Live event, which is open to all ages.

Benny Rodrigues, Freddy Moreira, Kris Kross Amsterdam, Lucas & Steve and Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano have been announced for the 18+ Ziggo Dome event, which will run from 21:30 pm and 06:00 am.

Dutch residents are able to pre-register for tickets now which cost €50.40 and €61.60 respectively, or €89.60 for a combi ticket.

An event similar to Celebrate Life was announced at the beginning of the year by Live Nation Belgium, Studio Brussel and the Subs.

Billed as Belgium’s biggest “post-Covid party”, ‘I Want to Dance Again‘ will also take place in Antwerp as soon as restrictions on major events are lifted.

 


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More than 1m registrations for 10k Fieldlab test

More than a million residents have signed up for Fieldlab’s largest test event yet, the 10,000-capacity 538 Koningsdag (King’s Day) festival in the Netherlands.

Registrations opened this week to unprecedented demand and all 10,000 tickets were raffled on Thursday (15 April) evening.

The rock and pop festival, which is organised each year by Radio 538, will be held as usual at Chasséveld in Breda on the 24 April.

Newly announced acts include Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Emma Heesters, Gerard Joling, Kraantje Pappie, Krezip, Kris Kross Amsterdam, Lucas & Steve, Maan, Miss Montreal, Racoon, Rolf and Sanchez.

“Newly announced acts include Afrojack, Armin van Buuren, Emma Heesters and Gerard Joling”

Ticket holders will be required to take a rapid test no more than 24 hours prior to the start of the event and only those with negative results will be admitted.

Attendees must also take a second rapid test five days after the event. Vulnerable groups are excluded from participation.

538 Koningsdag is just one of many large-scale test events announced by the Dutch initiative. Yesterday evening the 3FM Awards 2021 took place at TivoliVredenburg, attended by 1,000 visitors.

Other upcoming large-scale Fieldlab events include a Racoon concert on 7 May (3,500 people) and a nightclub test event in Amsterdam on 15 May, which can be attended by 1,000 people.

Alongside the government-approved Fieldlab tests, the state has also announced 80 concerts across nine days as part of an extensive pilot programme of cultural activities – marking a test event boom in the Netherlands.

 


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‘First-ever full-length concert NFT’ sells for $1.2m

Dutch DJ Don Diablo has sold what is thought to be the first-ever full-length concert NFT (non-fungible token) for cryptocurrency to the value of $1.2 million.

The hour-long show, ‘Destination Hexagonia’, was created exclusively for the auction and sold within four minutes for 600 Ethereum (the second-largest cryptocurrency on the blockchain) on the SuperRare marketplace.

Destination Hexagonia was filmed over a year with videographer Paul Snijder, using green screen FX and 3D-rendered characters and sets to align with Don’s sci-fi aesthetic.

The Destination Hexagonia NFT will be delivered to the auction winner in a unique handcrafted box with a hard drive containing the only copy of the concert’s high-quality file.

“We didn’t just want to create the world’s first-ever DJ set NFT, we also wanted this to be a next-level, sci-fi animated live concert experience,” says Don Diablo.

“We almost feel like this particular piece has become priceless because we worked on it for nearly a year”

“At this point, we almost feel like this particular piece has become priceless because we worked on it for nearly a year and put an incredible amount of love and effort into it.”

Money from the auction will be invested back into Don Diablo’s Hexagon Foundation, which he founded to help artists create, share and sell their art in the NFT space.

Don Diablo previously sold an unreleased song titled Genesis as an NFT for around $200,000, which came with a holographic synthesizer and a physical hand-built hologram cabinet and cartridge to display the art.

The groundbreaking sale of Destination Hexagonia follows a recent boom in artists selling NFTs, which reached a peak when Kings of Leon generated more than $2 million from their NFT collection, ‘NFT Yourself’.

Grimes, Shawn Mendes, Steve Aoki, Quavo, Lil Baby, 2 Chainz, Jack Harlow, Tory Lanez, Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, 3lau, Ozuna have also released collections recently.

GET Protocols Olivier Biggs recently told IQ how the live business can harness non-fungible tokens, particularly with ticketing.

 


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Fieldlab shares results of initial Back to Live tests

Seated indoor events can take place as soon as possible – even with a high prevalence of Covid-19 infections – provided a certain set of measures are adhered to, according to a study conducted by Fieldlab Evenementen.

The Dutch initiative has shared the findings from the first part of its Back to Live test series, which involved a business conference and a cabaret show by the Dutch comedian Guido Weijers. Each event took place during February at the Beatrix Theater, Utrecht, with around 500 attendees.

Based on the results of the study, Fieldlab says that these so-called ‘type 1 events’, which take place indoors, with seats and where the public behaves calmly, can take place with 50% occupancy and without social distancing.

However, visitors must be tested before and after the event and wear a mask while walking around the venue. The recommendations are also based on a venue having good ventilation and separating large groups of visitors.

“Indoor, seated events, where the public behaves calmly, can take place with 50% occupancy and without social distancing”

Fieldlab has now presented the research results to the Dutch government and hopes that the Outbreak Management Team will provide advice on organising events in the near future.

The researchers say the results of the study are “encouraging”, noting that 98.4% of the visitors who attended the events adhered to the instructions and 80% of the visitors downloaded the CoronaMelder app in advance, so that track and trace could be carried out easily.

The number of contacts within a meter and a half and lasting longer than 15 minutes was limited, especially during the theatre test. This number was higher at the conference because people actively sought out colleagues and peers.

The Back to Live series, which has so far included concerts, festivals and other live events, will continue with the 3FM Awards in a few days time and the Eurovision Song Contest in May.

Alongside the Fieldlab events, the Netherlands will also host more than 80 concerts across nine days as part of an extensive pilot programme of cultural activities, announced by the Dutch government.

 


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TicketSwap expands with two senior hires

Amsterdam-based fan-to-fan ticket marketplace TicketSwap is expanding its leadership team with two senior hires ‘in anticipation of strong demand’ for live music this summer.

Margriet Rijff joins the company as COO and Oscar Kriek takes on the newly-created position head of business strategy.

Rijff was formerly a senior executive at beauty booking platform Treatwell, where she helped grow the platform in 11 countries through launches, mergers and acquisitions.

As COO of TicketSwap, Rijff will oversee operations across all markets from the Netherlands to Brazil and facilitate the platform’s ‘aggressive expansion’.

“I am very pleased to be joining such a talented team with an amazing culture,” says Rijff. “The company has great potential to help music fans and event organisers. I’m particularly excited to help TicketSwap grow internationally, and make buying and selling second hand tickets easy, transparent and safe around the globe.”

“We have consolidated in order to get through the last year. Now, as events start to pick up, we are stepping up”

Under the role of head of business strategy, Kriek will bring a wealth of knowledge to further enhance the data, insight and services TicketSwap can offer its partners.

Kriek is a mainstay in the Dutch music industry and has experience working with artists, events, venues and most recently in business strategy at See Tickets Benelux.

In addition, he leads the Tech Programme for Amsterdam Dance Event, bringing in various high profile thought leaders over the years such as the CTO of Amazon.

“It’s great to have Margriet and Oscar on board,” says TicketSwap co-founder and CEO Hans Ober.

“Like so many in the live entertainment space, we have consolidated in order to get through the last year. Now, as events start to pick up, we are stepping up. Margriet and Oscar bring a wealth of experience running and expanding international businesses. Together they will really help us forge ahead in our mission of becoming the world’s favourite place to buy and sell tickets.”

The two senior hires signal a rebuild for the Dutch ticket marketplace after making redundant 30% of its workforce in May 2020 due to the financial impact of the coronavirus.

 


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Dutch gov plots 80+ test concerts over nine days

The Netherlands will host more than 80 concerts across nine days as part of an extensive pilot programme of cultural activities, announced last night (6 April) by the Dutch government.

Music venues across the country, including Amsterdam’s Paradiso and Milky Way, will accommodate a total of 11,000 visitors at 87 reduced-capacity shows between 22 and 30 April.

The programme, which stretches across April and includes theatre shows and museum openings, will trial the use of test certificates which display Covid-19 test results or vaccination status.

Participants must show either a negative Covid-19 test result or proof of vaccination upon entry, and adhere to the 1.5-metre social distancing rule once inside the concert.

“There is close consultation with the municipalities about the feasibility and enforceability of the pilots,” says minister for education, culture and science, Ingrid van Engelshoven. “If these are successful, a good start can then be made with test evidence on a large scale.

“If these [pilot events] are successful, a good start can then be made with test evidence on a large scale”

“It is important that we start with this, also for all those cultural institutions that have not been able to receive an audience for a long time. The monuments, museums, theatres and music venues can now carefully open their doors.”

The pilot scheme will run alongside Fieldlab Events’ forthcoming test shows, which includes the Eurovision Song Contest in May and the 3FM Awards, which was announced today (7 April).

The 3FM Awards will be presented on 15 April at TivoliVredenburg in Utrecht with 1,000 people in attendance. Live performances will be delivered by Son Mieux and The Vices.

The most recent Fieldlab Events pilots, two test festivals held at the Lowlands site in Biddinghuizen on 20 and 21 March, were used to trial the government’s new CoronaCheck app.

The calendar for the full pilot programme can be viewed on the central government website. Artists for the concerts are yet to be announced.

 


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Superstruct makes first acquisition since pandemic

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct Entertainment has bought a majority stake in Dutch festival and event organiser Feestfabriek (Party Factory) – the company’s first acquisition since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020.

Feestfabriek is responsible for organising the largest paid-for festival in the Netherlands, Zwarte Cross, which combines music, motocross, comedy and theatre, as well as grassroots festival Mañana Mañana, which has been running since 2013.

Superstruct will add the two festivals to its impressive portfolio, which includes one of the world’s biggest festivals, Sziget Festival in Hungary, Budapest, as well as Wacken Open Air in Hamburg, Germany, which was the company’s last acquisition, in August 2019.

Neither Superstruct nor Feestfabriek has disclosed the terms of the new deal.

According to a statement from Superstruct, nothing will change for visitors to the festivals and employees of the Feestfabriek, nor for the parties that the Feestfabriek works with.

The company also says there are no plans to change Zwarte Cross, Mañana Mañana nor any other activities of Feestfabriek.

“Superstruct works from the philosophy that local core values, creative aspects and specialties that characterise an event will always be respected, so that the events remain truly unique.

“We trust the Feestfabriek team to continue doing it as it has been up to now. It is a long-term partnership and we look forward to working together,” the company’s statement reads.

“We trust the Feestfabriek team to continue doing it as it has been up to now. It is a long-term partnership”

The statement says that the companies combined network of events offers ‘broad possibilities’ associated with programming, international partnerships, new events and joint purchasing.

Feestfabriek owners, Hendrik Jan Lovink, Gijs Jolink and Ronnie Degen, say: “We are pleased that in these difficult times the continuity of the Feestfabriek is guaranteed and we look to the future and growth opportunities with confidence!”

Co-founder Hendrik Jan Lovink has announced plans to step down after 30 years at the company.

“We have really managed to build something special together, the Zwarte Cross is rock solid and the Feestfabriek can continue for years to come on all fronts. That is why this feels to me (however contradictory it may be) as the right moment to be able to leave the Feestfabriek and to focus on other beautiful things that life still has to offer me and my family,” he says.

Lovink will leave after this year’s addition of Zwarte Cross, which has been rescheduled to 23-26 September and relocated, though a new location is yet to be determined.

“With this relocation ahead we can’t say with certainty that the event will take place in 2021. There is uncertainty for everyone… the size of the Zwarte Cross is not exactly helping in this case,” the statement reads.

 


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Dutch gov reveals details of €385m insurance fund

The Dutch government has revealed details of its event cancellation fund, announced in January, which will allow event organisers to plan for the second half of 2021 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

On Friday (19 March), the government confirmed it is reserving €385 million for the guarantee fund, which will cover events that are scheduled between 1 July 2021 and 31 December 2021.

Events that were, or are, planned before 1 July 2021 and that have, or will, be moved to a date between 1 July and 31 December 2021 are also covered by the scheme.

An organiser can claim under the scheme if the event is banned by the Dutch government due to Coronavirus and the organiser cancels the event as a result.

In that case, the organiser will receive a maximum of 100% of the costs already incurred. Of this amount, 80% is a donation and the remainder is a loan to be repaid to the government.

The scheme will not apply to new events; events that have not taken out cancellation insurance previously; free events

Events must be organised in accordance with the Coronavirus restrictions applicable at the time of the event in order to be eligible for the scheme.

The scheme will not apply to new events which are to be held for the first time, events that have not taken out cancellation insurance for the previous two editions, free events and events outside of the Netherlands.

“It is a very important signal from the government to society that our sector can start organising events after 1 July with the original capacity,” says Jolanda Jansen from Alliance of Event Builders (Alliantie van Evenementenbouwers), an umbrella group whose members include promoters’ association VVEM and festival/venues body VNPF.

“This expresses confidence, although it remains a damper for the events that should take place earlier and cannot be moved, and are therefore now left out.

“Now that the guarantee scheme is in place, we would like to ask the government once again to take into account the National Event Plan in their roadmap as the starting point for our sector. People need perspective and want to know what to expect this summer.

“We will enter into discussions with the organisers to find out for which summer events it is feasible to start preparations”

“We are going to study the scheme thoroughly for feasibility and we will enter into discussions with the organisers to find out for which summer events it is feasible to start preparations now. But we are of course enthusiastic that there is finally a scheme to fall back on and that the government is expressing confidence in the event summer 2021.”

Events scheduled between July and the end of the year, that can demonstrate they were insured against cancellation for previous editions, can register their event from 1 May and will then be informed within four weeks whether they are eligible for the scheme.

Since January, when the government announced preliminary dates for the fund, major festivals including Paaspop, DGTL, Dauwpop, Awakenings, Utrecht Central Park Festival and Zwarte Cross have pushed back their spring editions until the autumn in order to be covered by the scheme.

Lowlands has also announced its 2021 event, which includes a line-up dominated by international artists.

 


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Lowlands forges ahead with international line-up

The Netherlands’ Lowlands festival has unveiled the first slate of artists for its 2021 edition, which is currently scheduled to take place between 20 and 22 August at Biddinghuizen.

The first 54 confirmations for the Mojo-promoted festival include a number of international artists including Arlo Parks, The Chemical Brothers, Liam Gallagher, Jack Garratt, Kaytranada and Slowthai, with more to be confirmed.

Though the organisers say the attendance of international artists is dependant on restrictions, they add that “the most important thing at the moment is that all these acts have wholeheartedly indicated that they will be there when the circumstances permit”.

“All these acts have wholeheartedly indicated that they will be there when the circumstances permit”

In a statement, the organisers have also said they assume the 60,000-capacity festival will be able to go ahead without social distancing measures but are working on ‘various scenarios to organise Lowlands safely, which could include quick tests’.

Last year, tickets for Lowlands 2020 sold out in five hours but due to a number of refund requests, a small number of tickets will be available for this year’s edition. A three-day festival and camping ticket costs €230. See the full line-up below.

Lowlands 2021 line-up

The Netherlands has made a number of preparations to ensure its 2021 festival season has the best chance of going ahead including a series of test events, a €300 million event cancellation fund and the introduction of 100 new test rapid test centres for gig-goers.

And, while other major European markets, including France and Germany, are seeing the dissolution of their 2021 festival season, a raft of major Dutch festivals have already announced plans for this summer season.

Paaspop, DGTL, Dauwpop, Awakenings, Utrecht Central Park Festival and Zwarte Cross have all revealed details on their 2021 editions – though all have pushed back their spring editions until the autumn in order to be covered by the government’s event cancellation insurance scheme.

 


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