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Festivals ’24: Tomorrowland, Parklife, Afro Nation

Tomorrowland, Kendal Calling, Parklife and Afro Nation Portugal are among the latest raft of major festivals to drop their 2024 lineup announcements.

The 20th anniversary of Tomorrowland Belgium will take place in De Schorre over two weekends from 19-21 and 26-28 July. Held under the ‘LIFE’ theme, more than 400 acts including Armin van Buuren, Amelie Lens, Bonobo B2B Dixon, David Guetta, ANNA, Vintage Culture, Tale Of Us, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Solomun B2B Four Tet and Swedish House Mafia will appear across 16 stages.

In addition, Paradise City Festival has confirmed Bonobo, Marlon Hoffstadt, Maribou State and Lola Haro B2B Marcel Dettmann between 28-30 June at Ribaucourt Castle, Perk, Belgium. Organisers are also introducing a a seventh stage, dedicated entirely to chill-out, downtempo and ambient performance.

Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj, Dadju & Tayc and Lisandro Cuxi have been added to Afro Nation Portugal, joining the likes of Rema, Asake, J Hus, Tyla, Ninho, Omah Lay, Major League DJZ, Uncle Waffles and Focalistic on Portimao beach on 28-30 June.

The second wave of names also includes Musa Keys, MFR Souls, Ch’cco, Yumbs,Tango Supreme, Tman Express, Sfarzo Rtee, Nicky Summers and Brooke Bailey.

“We have the perfect ingredients for a fantastically celebratory weekend”

The UK’s Kendal Calling has announced five headliners for its return to Lowther Deer Park in the Lake District from 1-4 August. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Paolo Nutini, The Streets, Paul Heaton with guest singer Rianne Downey, and Keane top the lineup, which will also feature a unique DJ set by The Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess and retired footballer Gary Neville.

Sugababes, Declan McKenna, The Reytons, The Snuts, Kate Nash, Pale Waves, Katy B, CMAT, Lottery Winners and Heather Small also join the bill. More than 60% of tickets have already been sold ahead of Monday’s general sale.

“After the week we have had, bring on the summer,” says Kendal Calling co-founder Andy Smith. “It is with much joy and excitement we share with you the biggest Kendal Calling lineup to date. From the incredible Paolo Nutini closing the Sunday night and Keane, Sugababes, Paul Heaton & Rianne Downey and Katy B gracing our fields for the first time, joined by old friends Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds and The Streets closing the Friday and Saturday night respectively, we have the perfect ingredients for a fantastically celebratory weekend.”

Manchester’s Parklife on 8-9 June will star Doja Cat, Disclosure, J Hus, Kaytranada, Becky Hill, Peggy Gou, Four Tet, Anne-Marie, Sugababes, Camelphat and previously announced European exclusive debut of Fisher & Chris Lake present Under Construction.

The Heaton Park event will also feature Digga D, Mahalia, Rudim3ntal, Nia Archives, Hybrid Minds, Patrick Topping, Barry Can’t Swim, Folamour, Dom Dolla, CASISDEAD, Wilkinson, Shy FX: Specials, Interplanetary Criminal, Sammy Virji b2b Interplanetary Criminal, Kenya Grace, ANOTR, PAWSA, TSHA, Girls Don’t Sync, Max Dean, Hedex, Bou, Uncle Waffles, Skream, Jyoty, Loco Dice and Sub Focus, among others. Early bird tickets rapidly sold out after the introduction of a “festival-first” reduction on ticket prices in December 2023.

“We’ve built up such a beautiful community from the people who put the festival together, the artists who perform on our stages and the people who come along”

Truck Festival will be headlined by Jamie T, Wet Leg, The Streets and Idles. Set for Hill Farm, Oxfordshire, other acts will include The Kooks, Declan McKenna, Yard Act, Holly Humberstone, Sea Girls, Black Honey, Peace, The Snuts, Soft Play, The Mysterines, Sundara Karma, English Teacher, The Magic Gang, Willie J Healey and Bob Vylan.

“When we sit down to plan Truck every year, we treat the weekend like the ultimate summer party – complete with friends, amazing moments and the artists we love all in one place,” says head of marketing Sam Harris. “To welcome long-awaited headliners like Jamie T and The Streets to Hill Farm is a true honour, whilst having Wet Leg headline their very first festival with us is going to make for a very special weekend.”

The Vaccines, Future Islands, Lankum Jockstrap, Ash, Caity Baser, CMAT, The Darkness, Waxahatchee, Corinne Bailey Rae, David Ducovony, BC Camplight, Marika Hackman, and Baby Queen are among 25 new music additions to the Latitude bill.
Duran Duran, Kasabian, Keane, London Grammar and Sara Pascoe headline the event in Henham Park, Suffolk from 25-28 July.

Love Saves the Day will return to Bristol’s Ashton Court on 25-26 26 May, headed by CamelPhat, The Streets, Rudimental and Sub Focus present Evolve. Other confirmed names include Girls Don’t Sync, Shy FX: Specials, Wilkinson, Groove Armada, Ben Hemsley, Hedex, Bou, Eliza Rose, Shanti Celeste and Saoirse.

“We are always honoured to kickstart the festival season with Love Saves the Day,” says festival director Tom Paine. “We’ve built up such a beautiful community from the people who put the festival together, the artists who perform on our stages and the people who come along every year for a good time – it’s absolutely amazing, and we can’t wait to be back at Ashton Court for 2024.”

“When we’re thinking about our bookings, the line-up has always been put together with the fans at the core of our decision-making”

Placebo and James Arthur are the latest additions to Bristol Sounds – joining Skindred, The Breeders, Gentleman’s Dub Club and The Skints which runs from 22-30 June. The harbourside concert series has expanded from five days to seven for 2024.

“Bristol Sounds is fundamentally a festival for the people of Bristol, and each year we like to curate a programme that will catch the attention of everyone and anyone,” says promoter Conal Dodds of Crosstown Concerts. “It’s such an eclectic mix of genres and gigs, you’re guaranteed to have a great time. When we’re thinking about our bookings, the line-up has always been put together with the fans at the core of our decision-making, and we can’t wait to watch the crowd’s reactions as their favourite artists take to the most incredible stage in the city.”

Skepta has revealed the full lineup for the inaugural Big Smoke Festival, the new one-day music event heading to Crystal Palace Park on 6 July.

The grime MC has curated two stages personally and will headline the Big Smoke stage with his only UK performance of 2024. He will be joined by The Streets, Mahalia, JME, Lancey, K-Trap, Odumodublvck, The Den featuring Frisco, Flowdan, Sir Spyro, Infamousizak, Manga, Thafirst and a special guest to be announced. The Más Tiempo Stage will see sets from the likes of Loco Dice, Uncle Waffles, Syreeta and Kitty Amor.

And Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in North Wales will feature Bryan Adams, Simple Minds, Paloma Faith, Kaiser Chiefs, Jess Glynne, Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Madness, Paloma Faith, Tom Jones, Gregory Porter, Katherine Jenkins and Manic Street Preachers & Suede between 18 June-13 July.

“At long last, we’re thrilled to bring Doja Cat to Roskilde Festival”

Denmark’s Roskilde, set for 29 June-6 July, has unveiled Doja Cat as part of its lineup. The rapper was due to play to play the festival in 2020, prior to the onset of the pandemic.

“At long last, we’re thrilled to bring Doja Cat to Roskilde Festival,” says head of programme Anders Wahrén. “In 2020, she was a star in the making, and in the meantime, she has arguably become the most hyped and popular rapper in the world. The years of waiting to bring her here is finally coming to an end.”

Alongside previously confirmed acts such as Foo Fighters, Kali Uchis, Skrillex, and PJ Harvey, Roskilde has added Ice Spice, J Hus, Jane’s Addiction, Jungle, Khruangbin, Brutalismus 3000, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Lankum, Medina and Nia Archives (UK), to name a few.

Elsewhere in Denmark, Camila Cabello, Janelle Monáe, Beth Hart and MØ have bolstered the Tinderbox bill, which already boasts the likes of Lenny Kravitz, Future Rave aka David Guetta and MORTEN, Bryan Adams, RAYE, Avril Lavigne, Kaizers Orchestra, and James Arthur. Tinderbox takes place in Odense from 27-29 June.

“We’re very excited to be able to present Camila Cabello in Denmark for the first time,” says festival booker Nikoline Skaarup. “She’s been part of shaping the global pop scene of today and bringing new music traditions into pop culture with a string of irresistible releases. Janelle Monáe too has constantly been pushing the limits for popular culture and throughout their career shed light on important cultural and social issues while crafting some of the best music we’ve heard.

“To be able to present these two artists alongside Beth Hart and MØ – who’ve also been and still are voices of their generations – makes it a very rewarding day to be a festival booker.”

 


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Fests ’24: Eurockéennes, Gent Jazz, Mallorca Live

As the year draws to a close, there has been no let-up in festival lineup announcements for 2024.

France’s Eurockéennes de Belfort is offering discounts for students and under-30s for next year’s edition, which takes place from 4-17 July.

The 35,000-cap event will be headlined by David Guetta, Lenny Kravitz and Sum 41, with the supporting cast including  Big Flo & Oli, Gazo, Dropkick Murphys, Black Pumas, Idles, Pretenders, Romy, Purple Disco Machine and Blondshell.

Now under the management of Greenhouse Talent, Belgium’s Gent Jazz will return for its 23rd edition from 5-20 July. Confirmed names so far include Diana Krall, Jamie Cullum, Patrick Bruel, Air, Chris Potter, Brad Mehldau, Bill Frisell and Joshua Redman.

Meanwhile, Pet Shop Boys, Blondie and Underworld head the lineup for the seventh Mallorca Live Festival from 13-15 June. More than 50 other artists have also been added to the bill, including Belle & Sebastian, Jeff Rosenstock, Shame and Sleaford Mods.

Also in Spain, Madrid concert series Noches del Botánico (Botanical Nights) has unveiled its first 14 nights of programming, running between 7 June to 27 July. Headline acts include PJ Harvey, Status Quo, Queens of the Stone Age, Glen Hansard/St. Paul & The Broken Bones, James Blake, Take That, James Blunt, Simple Minds, Passenger and Toto.

Plus, Benicassim has added The Libertines and Yungblud to previously announced headliners Black Eyed Peas, Royal Blood and Wade from 18-20 July.

Set for 27-30 June, Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen will welcome the likes of The Chainsmokers, Queens of the Stone Age, Placebo, K.I.Z, Nina Chuba, Tom Odell, The Hives and Róisín Murphy, while Zurich Openair, which runs over two weekends from 23-24 & 30-31 August, has booked Sam Smith, Macklemore, Louis Tomlinson, Raye, Loyle Carner, Jorja Smith, James Arthur, RIN, Lost Frequencies and Aurora, among others.

“We are very satisfied with how pre-sales are going, because reaching these numbers in December is extraordinary”

Slovenia’s MetalDays will be topped by Accept, Blind Guardian, Emperor, God is an Astronaut, The Amity Affliction, Caliban, Legion of the Damned, Tiamat, Unleashed and Rage between 28 July and 3 August.

The electronic music-oriented Kappa FuturFestival will bring acts including Four Tet B2B Floating Points, Tiesto, Skrillex B2B Blawan, Seth Troxler, Nina Kraviz, Carl Cox, Adam Beyer, The Blessed Madonna and Honey Dijon to Turin, Italy, from 5-7 July.

Italy’s Lucca Summer Festival has also unveiled a new raft of artists such as Swedish House Mafia (30 June), the Smashing Pumpkins (6 July), Lenny Kravitz (12 July), Mika (19 July), Sam Smith (20 July) and Toto (24 July). More than 120,000 tickets have already been sold for the series, including 70,000 for Ed Sheeran’s 8-9 June dates.

“We are very satisfied with how pre-sales are going, because reaching these numbers in December is extraordinary,” Mimmo D’Alessandro of promoter D’Alessandro e Galli tells La Nazione.

And 21 Savage is the latest addition to the lineup for Poland’s Open’er Festival, set for 3-6 July, joining Foo Fighters, Dua Lipa, Benjamin Clementine, Michael Kiwanuka, Doja Cat, Sam Smith, Yaeji, Loyle Carner, Masego and Floating Points.

Plus, Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Sum 41, The Breeders, Nothing But Thieves, Benjamin Clementine, Black Pumas, Michael Kiwanuka, Floating Points and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats will line up alongside Dua Lipa and the Smashing Pumpkins at Portugal’s Nos Alive from 11-13 July. And Denmark’s Tinderbox (27-29 June) has added Bryan Adams, Raye, James Arthur and Lauren Spencer Smith.

Elsewhere, the inaugural Pitchfork Music Festival Mexico City will star Godpseed You! Black Emperor, King Krule, Kelela, and Sky Ferreira across multiple venues from 4-9 March.

 


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2024 festivals: Open’er, Rock in Rio, Tinderbox

This week has seen another flood of international festival line-up announcements, as the 2024 programme continues to comes together.

After confirming slots at Belgium’s Rock Werchter and Portugal’s NOS Alive, Dua Lipa has been revealed as the first headliner of next year’s Open’er Festival in Gdyni, Poland, which runs from 3-6 July.

The 28-year-old singer will perform on the Orange Main Stage on Thursday 4 July. Lipa is returning to complete unfinished business after her scheduled performance at the 2022 festival was cancelled due to inclement weather.

“This announcement has an additional dimension – the fulfilment of a promise,” says Mikołaj Ziółkowski, CEO of promoter Alter Art. “I remember clearly the telephone conversation with Dua Lipa at the moment when the evacuation of the area in 2022 had already been completed and the cars with the artist were heading to the airport in Gdańsk.

“She promised that she would return to Open’er for her fans and festival participants on the first possible date, and we promised that we would do everything to make it happen.”

“Future Rave is a booking that we’ve dreamed of for a long time, and to be the first in Denmark to present this brilliant duo is something we’re extremely excited about”

In addition, Rock in Rio has named Ed Sheeran as the first headliner of its 40th anniversary. It will mark the first time Sheeran, who is also lined up for RiR’s Lisbon spin-off, has played the festival’s flagship Brazilian edition, set for 13-15 & 19-22 September. Ne-Yo, Joss Stone and Brazilian artist Ludmilla have also been confirmed.

Denmark’s Tinderbox has revealed the first 13 acts to play the festival in 2024, headed by David Guetta & MORTEN present Future Rave. Taking place in Tusindårsskoven, Odense, from 27-29 June, it has also announced Avril Lavigne, Bathsheba, Benjamin Hav & Familien, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Guldimund, Jonah Blacksmith, Kaizers Orchestra, Cheek Mod Cheek, Nicky Romero, Pil, Suspekt and Tina Dickow.

“We’re very excited to finally be able to share some of the acts playing next summer,” says festival CEO Brian Nielsen. “We’re presenting a multi-faceted lineup representing many different genres and generations of great music.

“Future Rave is a booking that we’ve dreamed of for a long time, and to be the first in Denmark to present this brilliant duo is something we’re extremely excited about.”

Afro Nation Portugal‘s first wave of acts for next summer include Rema, Asake, J Hus, Tyla, Major League DJz, Uncle Waffles and Focalistic. The world’s biggest Afrobeats festival is primed for Praia Da Rocha Beach, Portimao, The Algarve, from 26-28 June.

“Hosting events like Untold at Expo City Dubai is the perfect way to demonstrate the city’s capability to host mega-events”

In the US, When We Were Young returns for a third year to the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on 19 October, with headliners My Chemical Romance and Fall Out Boy. More than 50 bands will each perform an album front-to-back, including My Chemical Romance (The Black Parade), A Day To Remember (Homesick), Jimmy Eat World (Bleed American), Pierce The Veil (Collide With The Sky) and The Used (In Love and Death).

Plus, Rolling Loud California has unveiled Nicki Minaj, Post Malone and Future x Metro Boomin as headliners for Inglewood’s Hollywood Park Grounds from 15-17 March.

The inaugural UAE edition of Untold – billed as Dubai’s first “mega festival” – will welcome the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Bebe Rexha, Don Diablo, Ellie Goulding, G-Eazy, Hardwell and Major Lazer Soundsystem to the 70,000-cap Expo City Dubai from 15-18 February.

“Hosting events like Untold at Expo City Dubai is the perfect way to demonstrate the city’s capability to host mega-events, further reinforcing its position as an international events hub in line with the ambition of our visionary leadership to make Dubai the best city in the world to visit, live and work in,” says Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE).

“Entertainment brings people together, and we are excited to extend this opportunity to over 200 nationalities that call Dubai home. We are delighted to partner with this amazing music festival, and we envisage that it will be a wonderful amalgamation of sensational live entertainment and a diverse mix of cultures.”

Elsewhere, Andrea Bocelli is the first headliner announced for AEG’s American Express presents BST Hyde Park in 2024. The Italian tenor will grace the London, UK concert series on 5 July, and Finland’s Provinssi, set for 27-29 June, boasts PMMP, Bring Me The Horizon, Yungblud, Bad Omens, Apulanta, Jenni Vartianen, Blind Channel, Kaija Koo, Kvelertak, Kaarija, Sanni, Sexmane, Stam1na and Vola.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong’s Clockenflap will host acts including Pulp, Joji, De La Soul, Caroline Polachek, Idles, Alex G, Yard Act, Squid, Tom Grennan, Tones & I, Peking Duck and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls at Central Harbour Front from 1-3 December 2023.

The latest festival to be cancelled for next summer, however, is the UK’s Neighbourhood Weekender. The SJM Concerts-promoted event has been staged in Warrington since 2018, with this year’s edition headlined by Pulp, Paul Heaton and The Kooks. An online post by organisers offered no reason for the cancellation, simply saying: “Neighbourhood Weekender will be taking a break in 2024 but we’ll be back in 2025. More news on dates and line up next year.”


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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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Live Nation, Roskilde and more plan test project

A number of major players in Denmark’s live music industry are organising a test project to gather knowledge and evidence on how major events can take place safely during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The partners behind the project include Live Nation Denmark, Dansk Live (Denmark’s live music association) and major Danish festivals such as Roskilde, NorthSide, Tinderbox and Smukfest, as well as organisations outside of the sector.

The project, dubbed Safe 2.0, will take place in late summer and autumn with an aim to find out:

Safe 2.0, funded by the ‘Restart’ team for culture and sport, will use a similar model to the one used during a test series of football matches earlier this year.

All attendees were required to show proof of a negative antigen test in order to gain entry to the 3F Superliga competitions, organised by the Divisional Association.

“The hope was initially that we could secure knowledge that could ensure a faster reopening for the benefit of festivals”

Organisers say Safe 2.0 will implement Denmark’s vaccine passport (Coronapas) as soon as it becomes available in autumn.

“Safe was originally developed together with the Divisional Association in the autumn of 2020, but we are now at version 2.0 of the project, where the focus is on cultural activities,” says Dansk Live’s Esben Marcher.

“The hope was initially that we could secure knowledge that could ensure a faster reopening for the benefit of festivals and venues. Even if it did not succeed, we are happy to be able to start the project now and secure knowledge that can prove crucial in the future.”

Safe 2.0 comes too late for the raft of festivals that were called off in May due to government restrictions.

Roskilde (26 June to 3 July), Smukfest (4–8 August), Northside (3–5 June), Tinderbox (24–26 June), Beautiful Party (4–8 August), Jelling Festival (20–23 May), Copenhell (16–19 June) and Heartland (27–29 May) were cancelled this year.

Vig Festival (8–10 July), Thy Rock (25–26 June), Nibe Festival (30 June to 3 July), Ringsted Festival (5–7 August), Langelandsfestival (18–25 July), Radio ABC Beach Party (17 July) and Kløften Festival (24–26 June) were also called off.

 


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Danish festival giants join forces for comeback event

Live Nation has teamed up with nine of Denmark’s biggest festivals – Roskilde Festival, NorthSide, Heartland, Copenhell, Smukfest, Tinderbox, Jelling Musikfestival, Nibe Festival and Grøn – for a one-off event that will mark the reopening of the country.

‘Back to Live’ will take place at Refshaleøen, a former industrial site in the harbour of Copenhagen, on Saturday 4 September – days after the country’s current Covid-19 restrictions are due to be lifted, allowing large events to take place.

According to the organisers, the concert will also serve as an opportunity for the festivals involved to “gain experience and collect empirical data on Covid initiatives” in relation to organising large live events.

“Two years without festivals have been hard for the entire music industry and both the audience, artists and organisers need to feel the community,” reads a statement from the organisers.

“The crisis has also strengthened the dialogue and cooperation between the festivals”

“At the same time, the crisis has also strengthened the dialogue and cooperation between the festivals and revealed a pronounced need to focus on the importance of live concerts and their significance for community and unity in society.”

The one-day outdoor concert will kick off at 2:00 pm (CET), hosting performances from “some of Denmark’s biggest names in rock and hip hop” including Dizzy Mizz Lizzy, Dad, Suspekt, Tessa and more to be announced.

Tickets for Back to Live are on sale now for DKK 545 (€73).

Currently, in Denmark, 10,000 people are allowed at “public events”, thanks to the country’s Covid-19 ‘passport’, Coronapas, which certifies that the bearer has either tested negative for the coronavirus or is immune/vaccinated.

The government recently clarified the restrictions from August onwards but the news came too late for Denmark’s major music festivals, which cancelled en masse last month citing a lack of information.

However, a number of the festivals – Roskilde, Nibe and Smukfest – have planned alternative events this summer.

 


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Denmark’s festival season wiped out due to restrictions

Denmark’s festival season has been decimated for the second consecutive year after the government announced that a maximum of 2,000 participants will be permitted at festivals between 21 May and 1 August 2021.

The announcement came last night (3 May) and was followed this morning by a raft of festival cancellations including Roskilde (26 June to 3 July), Smukfest (4–8 August), Northside (3–5 June), Tinderbox (24–26 June), Beautiful Party (4–8 August), Jelling Festival (20–23 May), Copenhell (16–19 June) and Heartland (27–29 May).

Vig Festival (8–10 July), Thy Rock (25–26 June), Nibe Festival (30 June to 3 July), Ringsted Festival (5–7 August), Langelandsfestival (18–25 July), Radio ABC Beach Party (17 July) and Kløften Festival (24–26 June) have also been called off.

The government’s reopening agreement states that 2,000-capacity events are permitted, provided attendees are divided into sections with a maximum of 200 people in each.

“It is a day of mourning”

After 1 August, the capacity limit will be raised to 5,000 with sections of up to 500 attendees. Events with 10,000 attendees will not take place until it is ‘assessed as sound from a health point of view’.

The agreement comes after the government’s expert advisory group warned that festivals with more than 10,000 participants should not be carried out as usual, which cast serious doubt over the viability of Denmark’s 2021 festival season.

The organisers of Roskilde, which typically gathers 130,000 people each year, say its enforced cancellation is not surprising.

“We are devastated by the fact that we can’t get together at our festival and contribute to recreating the communities that the corona crisis has destroyed for so many,” says a statement on the festival’s website.

“The cancellation is very serious for the festival, for the charity society behind it and for our community. And it is serious for the artistic environments and the growth segments of culture.”

“We are extremely annoyed that the politicians are writing off the festivals already”

Esben Marcher, head of Danish live music association Dansk Live, dubbed the government’s plan an “over-cautious reopening that does not leave much hope for the festivals”. “It’s a day of mourning,” he added.

Smukfest spokesman, Søren Eskildsen, believes that government acted hastily: “We are extremely annoyed that the politicians are writing off the festivals already, as we believe that it is too early to make such decisive decisions on the basis of conjecture about what the situation will look like in three months’ time and what can and cannot be done at that time.”

The reopening agreement has effectively rendered Denmark’s DKK 500 million (€67.2m) safety net redundant for the organisers of festivals and major events.

Announced in March, the safety net was designed to cover organisers of recurring events with at least 350 participants, taking place between 1 May and 30 September 2021, in the event that the Covid-19 situation results in the cancellation, postponement or significant changes to an event.

 


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Danish experts advise against 10k+ festivals

Danish festivals with more than 10,000 participants should not be carried out as usual, according to the government’s advisory expert group.

The working group – which comprises cultural institutions such as Roskilde Festival – has submitted a 54-page document of recommendations on how events should be able to take place this summer.

In the report, the experts recommend that no more than 10,000 guests attend a festival but only once Denmark has reached the final stage of the restrictions.

According to the group, major events of this capacity should only take place in ‘phase 2’ – when all citizens over the age of 50 have been offered their first vaccine.

The Danish Health and Medicines Authority’s vaccine plan, which was last updated on 14 April, suggests that everyone in the over-50s age group should have received their first vaccine by the end of May.

In addition to this, all participants of a major event must have a corona pass and the event must be divided into sections with a maximum of 2,000 attendees in each. Accommodation at the campsite is not allowed and the festivals must make a health plan, says the expert group.

“We have a very hard time believing that it is realistic to carry out festivals in Denmark before the end of the summer”

The recommendation for indoor concerts with standing audiences is a maximum of 3,000 participants in phase 2.

Following the report, major Danish festivals Jelling Music Festival, Heartland, Northside, Copenhell, Tinderbox, Roskilde Festival and Nibe Festival, as well as live music association Dansk Live, have penned a joint letter urging the government to “work quickly with the recommendations” to give a final decision about the fate of the summer.

“We had all believed and hoped that we would get an answer when the government announced the plan for reopening Denmark on March 22nd. Instead, we got an expert group that has now spent precious time onto find recommendations for the reopening of major events.

“We fully recognize the great work that the expert group has put in…but the work has been started too late and we have a very hard time believing that it is realistic to carry out festivals in Denmark before the end of the summer,” the letter reads.

Minister of culture Joy Mogensen has not commented on the recommendations directly but has referred to the government’s DKK 500 million (€67.2m) ‘safety net’ which will cover eligible festivals and major events between 1 May and 30 September 2021.

 


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Down the Drain celebrates festival success

Independent Scandinavian promoter Down the Drain Group has hailed the 2019 festival season a success so far, with fair weather, high attendance and advances in sustainability.

Down the Drain Group, the promoter behind several Danish festivals and the parent company of concert organiser Down the Drain Concerts (formerly Beatbox Entertainment), acquired Tinderbox and Northside from FKP Scorpio in April 2018.

Tinderbox, which took place from 27 to 29 June in the Danish city of Odense, welcomed a record 45,000 festivalgoers this year to see performances from Neil Young, Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, the Chainsmokers and more.

Elsewhere, 35,000 attended the tenth edition of Aarhus-based NorthSide (6 to 8 June), which saw 100% organic food options at and a ban on single-use plastic bottles. Danish brewery Tuborg launched recyclable glasses at both Tinderbox and Northside this year.

The environmental effort harnessed praise from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon: “We’ve been to about a hundred billion festivals and this is the first one where there are absolutely no plastic bottles,” said Vernon. “That seems just a little bit more important than drums, guitars, and bass.”

“With Superstruct backing the group, we are very much looking forward to taking these amazing festivals to the next level”

“Five years with Tinderbox have flown by and it’s incredible to think that we have created 20 editions of festivals including Northside, Tinderbox, Haven and GrimFest in just ten years,” says Down the Drain Group chief executive, Brian Nielsen.

“In this time Down The Drain Group has emerged as a serious contender on the festival market – not just domestically, but throughout Europe. Now with Superstruct backing the group, we are very much looking forward to taking these amazing festivals to the next level.”

Providence Equity-backed Superstruct Entertainment invested in the Danish promoter in May. Superstruct owns and operates festivals across Europe including Sziget (Hungary), Sónar (Spain), Øya Festival (Norway) and Flow Festival (Finland).

Early Bird-ticket options for the 2020 edition of Northside have already sold out (4 to 6 June), with some remaining for Tinderbox (25 to 27 June).

 


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Danish festivals go single-use plastic free with Tuborg

Northside, Tinderbox, Roskilde and Green festivals are tackling plastic waste in collaboration with Danish brewery Tuborg, introducing new, reusable plastic glasses to the events.

Each year, the four festivals dispose of over two million plastic bar cups. This year Northside (33,000-cap.), Tinderbox (55,000-cap.), Roskilde (85,000-cap.) and touring concert Green (20,000-cap.) will only provide sustainable, reusable plastic cups, developed in cooperation with Tuborg.

The new glasses are made from polypropylene and can be washed onsite in Tuborg’s mobile dishwasher until worn down. It is expected that the glasses will endure 25 uses before sending the material back to the supplier for recycling.

At Roskilde, festivalgoers will pay a one-off charge of 5 DKK (US$0.8) for a cup, receiving 1 DKK ($0.2) back upon return. The rest of the cost goes towards paying for the washable recycling system.

The initiative was developed in conjunction with Danish environmental organisation Plastic Change, which has acted as an advisor to Tuborg throughout the project.

“This year, Tuborg is literally making life a little greener at festivals”

“This year, Tuborg is literally making life a little greener at festivals,” says Christian Sveigaard, marketing and sponsorship manager for Tuborg. “It’s a great day for Tuborg and a giant step towards reducing unnecessary plastic waste through a more circular business model.”

“The project is an important victory in the fight against unnecessary disposable plastic,” comments Henrik Beha, founder of Plastic Change. “It will also change the use-and-throw-away culture, which is one of the core challenges of the growing plastic waste. We see it as a big step forward that will undoubtedly inspire others to go in the same direction.”

Peter Woods of Down the Drain Group, the promoter for Northside and Tinderbox, says the festivals are expected to lead the way with environmentally friendly initiatives, given the audience they attract.

“I am particularly proud that we as an industry can stand together and take shared responsibility, when it really counts,” says Woods.

The introduction of recyclable plastic cups follows a string of eco-friendly festival initiatives around the world this year, including the single-use plastics ban at Glastonbury and ID&C’s new green wristbands, made from recycled plastic and bamboo.

 


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