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Norway’s 2021 festival season obliterated

Norway’s 2021 festival season has been effectively wiped out with the cancellation of Live Nation-owned festivals Bergenfest and Tons of Rock, Superstruct-backed Øya Festival, Over Oslo, Picnic in the Park, Stavernfetsivalen, Seljord Festival and Country Festival.

The cancellations come after the minister for culture last week (6 May) announced preliminary guidelines which would restrict festivals to 2,000 attendees until June, 5,000 attendees until August and 10,000 thereafter.

The restrictions come in spite of the government’s NOK 350m festival cancellation pot, which the minister said aims to “create predictability now, so that the industry can start planning different scenarios”.

“There is also uncertainty related to what the economic support schemes that include Bergenfest in practice”

Bergenfest, which would have take place between 15–19 June 2021 at Bergenhus Fortress in Bergen, was cancelled last night.

“With current restrictions on outdoor events in June, it is not possible to complete Bergenfest 2021 as we know the festival. There is also uncertainty related to what the economic support schemes that include Bergenfest in practice. It is therefore unfortunately time to confirm the inevitable – Bergenfest 2021 will not happen in June this year,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.

Bergenfest will return between 14–18 June 2022.

Øya Festival, which would have taken place between 10–14 August 2021 at Tøyenparken, Oslo, was cancelled the day after the proposed restrictions were revealed.

“It feels like a little nightmare to have to cancel Øya for the second year in a row”

“It feels like a little nightmare to have to cancel Øya for the second year in a row,” general manager Tonje Kaada wrote on the festival’s website. “Our big wish over the past year has been to gather artists, the audience, festival workers, volunteers and partners for a unique festival experience in Tøyenparken, but it will not be possible with the guidelines that the authorities presented this week.

“There is too much uncertainty associated with the existing framework, and even the best case scenario with 5,000 people, it’s not compatible with the audience experience Øya Festival wants to provide. We have no choice but to realize that it will not be happening in 2021. Even though we are sorry, it is a relief to be able to provide a clarification to everyone who has been waiting for it. We’ll roll up our sleeves and start over now.”

Øya will return between 10–13 August 2022.

Norway is the latest European market to pull the plug on the 2021 festival season, following widespread cancellations in Germany, the UK, Switzerland, Denmark and France.

 


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Live Nation Norway cancels Tons of Rock 2021

Norway’s biggest rock and metal festival, Tons of Rock, is the first major Norwegian festival to cancel its 2021 edition.

The Live Nation-owned festival had been scheduled to take place in Ekebergsletta, Oslo, across three days in June but the organisers say this year’s event is not possible.

“Since the summer of 2020, we have been working on all possible scenarios and options to make it possible to complete the festival,” reads a statement on the festival’s website.

“It has been and is a difficult and demanding time, and it is now clear that it is not possible to hold the Tons of Rock Festival in 2021. This is very sad and frustrating for all of us in Tons of Rock, for the artists, suppliers, collaborators and mostly for our amazing audience from all over Norway and more than 50 nations.”

The Norwegian government previously announced a NOK 350 million cancellation insurance fund for festivals, allowing organisers to plan for this summer without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

“It has been and is a difficult and demanding time, and it is now clear that it’s not possible to hold the festival”

However, Norway’s minister of culture, Abid Raja, said in a press conference that the scheme is expected to cover July and August events – meaning Tons of Rock’s June edition would not be insured.

Though Tons of Rock would have been ineligible for that particular government support, the festival did benefit from the state’s compensation scheme for organisers and subcontractors in the cultural sector.

In February, the festival was granted NOK 36.1 m, the full amount applied for by the organisers, for the cancellation of the 2020 edition – caused by the government’s extended ban on major live events.

The festival will return next year between 23–25 June, with headliner Iron Maiden.

Other major Norwegian festivals including Live Nation-owned Bergenfest and Superstruct’s Øya Festival, are still going ahead at the time of writing.

 


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Norway’s festival sector compensated NOK 120m+

Live Nation Norway, All Things Live and Tons of Rock will benefit from the latest round of compensation from the Norwegian government’s scheme for organisers and subcontractors in the cultural sector.

The scheme, funded by the ministry of culture and distributed by Norway’s cultural council (Kulturradet), has so far paid out approximately NOK 1.4bn to more than 2,000 applicants across various compensation schemes for 2020.

For the latest tranche, which covers the period of May to August 2020, the cultural council is distributing more than NOK 120m (€11.7m) to some of the biggest players in Norway’s festival sector.

Live Nation Norway has been granted NOK 24.7m as an organiser – just under the NOK 25m it applied for.

Nordic live entertainment powerhouse All Things Live will receive NOK 36.4m – two million less than they applied for – for around 20 concerts that had to be cancelled in 2020.

While, Live Nation-owned Oslo festival Tons of Rock will benefit from NOK 36.1m, the full amount applied for by the organisers.

Other successful applicants include Kristiansand beach festival, Palmesus (NOK 27.1m); organiser of Ålesund Live, Summer party at Giske and Jugendfest, Momentium Live (NOK 8.4m); and Fredrikstad-based all-ages festival, Idyll (NOK 8.7m).

“The largest players in the sector are also large employers and an important part of the cultural sector’s business chain”

“The applications for the compensation schemes show us both how hard the cultural sector has been affected, and how diverse the Norwegian cultural economy is,” says Kristin Danielsen, director of the cultural council.

“The largest players in the sector are also large employers and an important part of the cultural sector’s business chain. Therefore, I would have liked to have had the application process completed earlier.

“At the same time, it has been important for us to process the applications thoroughly. These are community funds, and it is our responsibility to manage them in the best possible way.”

More than 1,500 applications were received for the compensation scheme for the period May-August and more than 1,200 applicants received their decisions in the early autumn of 2020, with a few more applicants yet to be notified.

The Cultural Council is now processing applications for the scheme that applies to September, and the period of October–December has an application deadline of 1 March.

The scheme is designed to compensate organisers and subcontractors that were financially impacted by the Norwegian government’s ban on live events which was extended into late 2020, causing the cancellation of the country’s biggest festivals.

Norway’s ministry of culture last week announced a NOK 350 million financial safety net will allow festival organisers plan for July and August 2021 without the financial risk posed by a potential Covid outbreak.

 


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Norway festivals cancelled, but small events to return

Concerts of up to 200 people will likely once again be permitted in Norway as of Friday 15 June, as the country’s live music sector begins its slow return to normality.

The first live events will return this week, with shows for up to 50 people permitted from this Thursday (7 May), providing a one-metre (3’3”) distance is kept between attendees. From 15 June, the government will also consider allowing events for up to 200 people should infection rates be kept under control, said health minister Bent Høie last week.

The concrete timetable for the lifting of restrictions on concerts – which follows a similar, much-talked-about announcement by Spanish authorities, where events of 30 people (in venues with over 90 capacity) may return from 11 May – welcomed tentatively by promoters’ association NKA, nevertheless comes too late for Norway’s large live events, with the country’s largest and best-known music festivals finally called off last week.

Bergenfest (scheduled for 10–13 June) and Tons of Rock (25–27 June), both owned by Live Nation, and Øya Festival, part of the Superstruct stable, will no longer take place in 2020, after the Norwegian government extended its ban on major live events until 1 September.

“For the larger industry players, events of up to 200 people will not even be close to being financially viable”

Large-scale live events are banned in most of continental Europe this summer to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Going further than Norway, the Netherlands has prohibited all festivals, concerts and club nights until 1 September, while in SwitzerlandIrelandGermanyBelgium and Denmark a ban is in place until 31 August. Hungary has banned mass gatherings until at least 15 August, and Luxembourg and Finland until 31 July. France, meanwhile, has given mid-July as the earliest date when events could go ahead, while Austria has identified the end of June.

“While it is positive that there are now clear signs that society can gradually be reopened, at the same time it will be a long time until we can be together as normal,” comments Norwegian Live Music Association (NKA) head Tone Østerdal. “Our industry was among the very first to be shut down, and will most likely be among the very last to open completely. In the meantime, the focus must be to keep concert organisers and the rest of the players in the music industry afloat.

“For some of the smallest, allowing events for up to 200 people could represent such an opportunity, and I think we will see many positive initiatives going forward. At the same time, we should not underestimate what maintaining the infection prevention rules will require of promoters – and for the larger industry players, events of up to 200 people will not even be close to being financially viable.”

 


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Festival Fever: 2020 line-up announcements continued

Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ rounds up line-ups from Spain’s Primavera Sound, Belgium’s Tomorrowland, the Netherlands’ Best Kept Secret, Italy’s KappaFutur Festival, Norway’s Tons of Rock and the UK’s 2000 Trees.

(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)

 


Primavera Sound

When: 3 to 7 June
Where: Parc de Fòrum, Barcelona, Spain
How many: 35,000

The 20th anniversary edition of Primavera Sound sold over 10,000 tickets in under 24 hours.

In keeping with its 2019 line-up, which rejected the “pale, male and stale” festival bill model, this year’s festival sees an equal balance of male and female performers, with Lana Del Rey, Brittany Howard and King Princess among prominent female acts on the bill.

The Strokes – who were also recently added to the Rock Werchter and Nos Alive line-ups – Iggy Pop, Massive Attack, the National and Bad Bunny are also performing at the festival.

Primavera Sound Barcelona is – alongside festivals in Oporto, Los Angeles and Benidorm – one of four Primavera Sound events planned for the tastemaking festival’s 20th year.

Tickets for Primavera Sound are available here, priced at €195 (£165).

The 20th anniversary edition of Primavera Sound sold over 10,000 tickets in under 24 hours

Tomorrowland

When: 17 to 26 July
Where: Boom, Belgium
How many: 70,000

Dance festival franchise Tomorrowland is returning for the 16th year of its flagship Belgian event, with acts including Eric Prydz, David Guetta, Marshmello, Amelie Lens, Afrojack, Helena Hauff and Maceo Plex making up the line-up.

The festival, which takes place across two consecutive weekends in July, is part of the mega Tomorrowland festival brand.

A winter edition of the festival launched in the French Alps last year. Tomorrowland Winter returns in March 2020, featuring acts including Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix and Steve Aoki.

The presale for Tomorrowland Belgium begins on Saturday 25 January at 5 p.m. (CET), with general sale starting on 1 February.

Tickets cost €295 (£249) for a standard pass and €510 (£430) for a comfort pass. Fans can pre-register for tickets here.

Tomorrowland is returning for its flagship Belgian event, with Eric Prydz and David Guetta

Best Kept Secret

When: 12 to 14 June
Where: Beekse Bergen, Bergen, the Netherlands
How many: 25,000

Another headline slot for the Strokes, FKP Scorpio’s Best Kept Secret festival also counts the National and Massive Attack as headliners.

Badbadnotgood, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Belle and Sebastian, Metronomy, Diiv, Jarvis Cocker and Etep winners Fontaines DC also appear on the line-up.

The FKP Scorpio festival portfolio includes twin festivals Hurricane and Southside, Provinssi, M’era Luna, Seaside Country Festival and Gården.

FKP Scorpio is majority owned by German powerhouse CTS Eventim, which earlier today took a majority stake in the newly founded Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG, uniting abc Production and the wepromote group.

Tickets for Best Kept Secret festival are available here for €184.

Another headline slot for the Strokes, Best Kept Secret festival also counts the National and Massive Attack as headliners

KappaFutur Festival

When: 4 to 5 July
Where: Parco Dora, Turin, Italy
How many: 20,000

Italian electronic music event KappaFutur Festival is this year hosting acts including Amelie Lens, Diplo, the Black Madonna, Carl Cox, Denis Sulta and Motor City Drum Ensemble.

The festival, which is part of the European Commission-funded soundproofing project MONICA, is helping to develop technology and best practice to limit the impact that inner city festivals have on nearby communities.

Tickets for KappaFutur Festival are available here, for a discounted price of £38 for a day pass and £59 for a weekend ticket.

KappaFutur Festival is this year hosting Amelie Lens, Diplo, the Black Madonna and Carl Cox

Tons of Rock

When: 25 to 17 June
Where: Ekebergparken Sculpture Park, Oslo, Norway
How many: 10,000

The biggest rock and metal festival in Norway, Tons of Rock will be headlined by Iron Maiden, Faith No More and Deep Purple in its second year under Live Nation ownership.

Other acts appearing on the bill include Bring Me The Horizon, Disturbed, Airbourne, Within Temptation and Gojira.

Launched in 2013, the three-day rock and metal festival received recognition from the Norwegian Concert Organisers (NKA) in 2017, being crowned the best Norwegian festival.

Tickets for Tons of Rock are available here, priced at NOK 3040 (£257).

The biggest rock festival in Norway, Tons of Rock will be headlined by Iron Maiden, Faith No More and Deep Purple

2000 Trees

When: 9 to 11 July
Where: Upcote Farm, Cotswolds, UK
How many: 15,000

Independent UK festival 2000 Trees released its first line-up wave earlier this week, with acts including Jimmy Eat World, the Amazons and Creeper appearing on the bill.

Previous acts to have performed at the festival include Frank Turner, Enter Shikari, Deaf Havana, Slaves and Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes.

Tickets for 2000 Trees are available here for £156.

Photo: Julian Dael/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

 


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