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V Festival returns for 2020 as online event

The UK’s V Festival – which in its heyday drew crowds of 170,000 across two sites in Essex and Staffordshire – will return as a one-off digital event later this month.

V Festival 2020 will be broadcast as a three-part television special on 21, 22 and 23 August. Festival headliners are Olly Murs, Dizzee Rascal and Anne-Marie, who will perform live from the original V Festival site at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex.

In addition to new performances livestreamed from Hylands Park, the ITV2 special will also feature archival footage of past V Festival performances, as well as interviews with artists about their favourite V sets and memories. More performers will be announced in the coming weeks.

Cilesta Van Doorn, executive director of brand and marketing at broadband company Virgin Media, which is behind V Festival 2020, says: “We are thrilled to announce that V Festival will be returning in 2020 with a virtual twist. Festivals are a catalyst for connecting to each other, and they’re often social events as much as they are musical.

“Although we can’t flock to the fields physically this year, we’re so excited to enable people to stay connected not only to incredible live music, but to their friends and families online too.”

The last edition of V Festival, which debuted in 1996, took place in 2017, after which it was replaced by a new event in Chelmsford, Rize Festival. Rize did not return in 2019 following a disappointing first year.

“To come and sing at Hylands Park again was an easy ‘yes’”

“V Festival holds a very special place in my heart […] as not only did I used to go every year with my mates and camp as a punter, but I later got the chance to actually perform there and be invited back four times,” says Olly Murs. “Headlining the MTV stage in 2015 was definitely a career highlight of mine, as was jumping on stage with Madness to sing one of my favourite tracks of all time, ‘It Must Be Love.’ I’ve had some pretty special memories at V, so to come and sing at Hylands Park [again] was an easy ‘yes’.

“It’s great that ITV2 and Virgin Media are bringing V Festival into people’s living rooms, and I’m very glad to be a small part of that.”

Paul Mortimer, head of ITV’s digital channels, adds: “V Festival is a huge part of the UK’s festival history and the ITV2 team are so pleased to be able to play a part in bringing it back to the masses for one year only.

“The star-studded line-up music fans have come to expect from V Festival will be bigger than ever. We’re dipping into the archives to showcase some throwback performances, too, so people can reminisce on some of their favourites memories from past years.”

V Festival 2020 will air on ITV2 from Friday 21 to Sunday 23 August.

 


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Lizzo, ASAP Rocky to headline first-ever Virgin Fest

The line-up for the inaugural Virgin Fest has been announced, with acts including Lizzo, ASAP Rocky, Anderson .Paak, Major Lazer and Ellie Goulding making up the bill.

Virgin founder Richard Branson first revealed his plans for Virgin Fest in 2018, following the end of the brand’s partnership with the UK’s V Festival. The festival launched following the acquisition of the Kaaboo festival brand by Virgin’s music festival arm – also named Virgin Fest – last year.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Virgin brand, the festival is taking place on 6 and 7 June 2020 at the Banc of California Stadium (22,000-cap.) and Exposition Park (160-acre) in Los Angeles.

As well as its music programme, which also features Jorja Smith, Kali Uchis, Japanese Breakfast, Clairo and Celeste, Virgin Fest will showcase an interactive fair with new technologies and gaming.

“By combining Virgin’s signature hospitality and ingenuity with a strong sense of purpose, our team built the festival of tomorrow, today,” comments Virgin founder Branson.

“We are proud to bring Virgin Fest to LA and to be on track to become one of the United States’ greenest festivals”

“We are proud to bring Virgin Fest to LA and to be on track to become one of the United States’ greenest festivals.”

Sustainable initiatives such as a single-use plastic ban, solar programme, surplus food donations and a partnership with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will help reduce the event’s carbon footprint.

“Music is an emotional force of transformation – it can change people’s moods, their outlook on life, and sometimes, it can unite the world,” says Jason Felts, CEO and founder of Virgin Fest.

“We are embracing the dream that music can bring to get us to a better place – for our fans, for our people, for our communities and for our planet. We envision a tomorrow where festivals live and breathe the extraordinary – Virgin Fest looks to lead that charge.”

Tickets for Virgin Fest are available here. A two-day pass costs US$229, with VIP options available for $499 and mega VIP tickets for $1999.

Photo: Andy Witchger/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0) (cropped)

 


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Virgin Fest to debut in LA in 2020

Marking the 50 year anniversary of the Virgin brand, the inaugural Virgin Fest will take place on 6 and 7 June 2020 at the Banc of California Stadium and Exposition Park in Los Angeles, California.

Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson and CEO Jason Felts confirmed the venue and date of the weekend event yesterday (11 December).

The announcement follows Felts’ September acquisition of US festival brand Kaaboo.

The LA festival will take place across multiple stages throughout the 160-acre outdoor space of Exposition Park and 22,000-capacity indoor California Stadium. The line-up is due to be announced in early 2020, along with ticket sales.

“My love of music led me to start Virgin Records nearly five decades ago. I’m thrilled that Virgin’s musical heritage lives on through Virgin Fest,” comments Branson. “We look forward to bringing Virgin’s expertise in customer experience, innovation and entertainment to our festival in Los Angeles, a place that has always been very near and dear to my heart.”

“I’m thrilled that Virgin’s musical heritage lives on through Virgin Fest”

Virgin was formerly involved with the UK’s V Festival, promoted by Live Nation, Metropolis Music, MCD Productions and SJM Concerts. The brand ended its partnership with the event in 2017.

The year after V’s end, Branson revealed plans for a US festival, “an innovative, multi-experiential” event which would focus on “music, exploration, innovation and generosity”.

Environmental initiatives also form a major part of Virgin Fest, which will include a ban on single-use plastics, a reusable cup deposit scheme and the use of renewable energy sources such as biofuels and solar power.

“With a focus purely on people and planet, I am proud to launch a first of its kind music and tech experience built upon a foundation of positivity, equality and unmatched hospitality,” says Felts.

“We hope to uplift our shared humanity by igniting a spirit of community for all, so that our fans feel welcomed, safe and free to enjoy the experience through music and forward thinking regardless of gender, race, sexual preference, religion, political party or disability.”

More information on the line-up, ticket sales and VIP offerings will be available here.

VIRGIN FEST | JUNE 6 + 7 2020 | LOS ANGELES from Virgin Fest on Vimeo.

 


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New festival to replace cancelled Rize in 2020

Festival Republic has decided to cancel this year’s Rize festival following a disappointing first year of the event for local authorities. Plans for a replacement event in 2020 are now underway.

The inaugural Rize festival took place in Hylands Park, Chelmsford last year as a replacement for the southern leg of V Festival (90,000-cap.). The event did not prove as successful as organisers had hoped and Chelmsford City Council reported a large loss in expected revenue.

Roy Whitehead, leader of Chelmsford City Council, told Essex Live: “V turned into Rize which wasn’t widely successful last year. It is a loss of considerable income. It is roughly £500,000 a year which we have to find.”

It is believed that event organiser Festival Republic planned to alter the scale of the event to host a more successful Rize 2019. However, such alterations would have resulted in an estimated loss of £470,000 from the council’s annual budget.

The event organiser is now working with the Council to create a new successor festival for 2020.

“The Council and Festival Republic are currently finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize to commence in 2020”

“The council has been made aware that Festival Republic is not proceeding with Rize in 2019,” a spokesperson for Chelmsford City Council told IQ.

“However, the Council and Festival Republic are currently finalising a long-term agreement for an exciting new successor festival to V and Rize to commence in 2020 and details of this will become available when contracts are in place.”

IQ has contacted Festival Republic for comment.

Rize festival was held on Friday 17 August and Saturday 18 August 2018, departing from V’s traditional Saturday and Sunday dates. Performers included Liam Gallagher, Stereophonics, Bastille and Maximo Park.

The festival replaced the Chelmsford leg of V Festival. The last edition of V Festival took place in 2017 when Richard Branson’s Virgin Group pulled sponsorship to end a 22 year commercial relationship with the festival.

 


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Richard Branson announces new US Virgin Fest

Virgin Group founder Richard Branson has announced the launch of Virgin Fest, a new “multi-experiential” music festival set to debut in the US in 2019.

Virgin was formerly involved in the UK’s V Festival, promoted by Live Nation, Metropolis Music, MCD Productions and SJM Concerts. V debuted in 1996 as twin festivals in Hylands Park, Chelmsford, and Victoria Park in Warrington, with headliners Pulp, Paul Weller and Elastica. The northern England leg moved to Leeds in 1997, before settling in Weston Park in Staffordshire in 1999.

Announcing the end of the partnership, Branson said last October: “We’ve been proud to sponsor V Festival for the past two decades and there have been some incredible performances on the stage. Now, after 22 very enjoyable and successful years, 2017 was Virgin’s last V Festival.”

The Chelmsford V Festival was succeeded by a new event, Rize Festival, in 2018, although the Staffordshire event has not been replaced.

Writing on his Virgin blog after unveiling his new Hollywood Walk of Fame star, Branson says: “Once upon a time, we built the largest independent record company in the world, and that is the reason I believe I’ve been honoured with a star. Running a record company can be a lot of fun, and, yes, it did involve sex, drugs and rock’n’roll! So I had plenty of stories to share with the audience in Hollywood, from Mike Oldfield to the Sex Pistols, Phil Collins to Janet Jackson, the Rolling Stones to Boy George, Peter Tosh to the Spice Girls.

 

“I could go on and on about all of the moments that brought us here (I’ll share more of them soon), but it’s always most important for me to keep the Virgin brand moving forward and that’s exactly what we intend to do together.

“With that in mind, I’m proud to announce Virgin Fest, an innovative, multi-experiential music festival with all of the fun surprises and red-hot service that can only come from Virgin. We followed the Walk of Fame event with a special Virgin Fest launch in Hollywood, complete with a brilliant performance from Nervo (who says you can’t dance at lunchtime?!)

“Virgin Fest is coming to the US in 2019 and will be centred on music, exploration, innovation and generosity. It will feature a unique mixture of diverse music acts, cutting edge technological experiences, exclusive content, and a commitment to sustainability.”

No dates, performers or a venue have yet been announced for the new event, but Branson says its programming will reflect “the heart of the Virgin brand, [which] has always been music and entertainment”, with a “unique mixture of diverse music acts, cutting-edge technological experiences, exclusive content and a commitment to sustainability.”

“But, true to the Virgin brands,” he adds, “we will make sure Virgin Fest also focuses strongly on customer service. We want our festgoers to come away having enjoyed an amazing experience, not just another music event.”

 


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Rize announced for Hylands Park…but no event in Staffs

SJM Concerts today announced dates and the first acts for Rize Festival, the event replacing V Festival at Hylands Park in Chelmsford.

Taking place on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 August 2018, rather than V’s traditional Saturday and Sunday, the festival will be headlined by Liam Gallagher and Stereophonics. Other performers include James Bay, Manic Street Preachers, Bastille, Maximo Park, Rag’n’Bone Man, Rita Ora, Circa Waves and Craig David’s TS5, with bookers focusing on an “exciting mix of the very best music from classic indie, pop, urban, dance and new upcoming talent across four stages”.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Group announced in October it was pulling its sponsorship of V, ending a 22-year commercial relationship and bringing to a close the festival in its former guise. While the Chelmsford leg now has a replacement in the form of Rize, no event has been announced for Weston Park in Staffordshire, which formerly hosted a sister festival on the same weekend.

A representative for Rize Festival confirms to IQ that Roseclaim – the company behind V Festival, whose directors include Live Nation’s Paul Latham, Metropolis’s Bob Angus, SJM Concerts’ Simon Moran and MCD Productions’ Denis Desmond – will “not be promoting a new event at Weston Park in 2018”.

“We are very excited about working with Roseclaim on a future project here on the estate in 2019”

Colin Sweeney, CEO of the Weston Park Foundation, which manages the park, says: “We have been enormously proud to have been home to the former V Festival over the last 19 years. The significant contribution that hosting the event has made to the charitable objectives of the Weston Park Foundation and the wider regional economy cannot be underestimated.”

Sweeney adds, however, there will likely be another Live Nation/Metropolis/SJM/MCD festival in the park next year, saying: “We are very excited about working with Roseclaim on a future project here on the estate in 2019.”

Liam Gallagher’s upcoming headline show in Finsbury Park, promoted by Live Nation’s Festival Republic, is billed as being presented by “Rize”, indicating the promoter has plans for the brand outside the annual festival.

A full line-up is below:

Rize Festival 2018

 


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SJM announces Neighbourhood Weekender for May 2018

SJM Concerts has announced a new music festival, Neighbourhood Weekender, for the last week of May 2018.

Simon Moran’s company becomes the second UK promoter to launch a new event over the May bank holiday weekend, after AEG’s Goldenvoice UK with All Points East in Victoria Park, London – and the second to stage a festival in a green space of that name, with Neighbourhood Weekender set to take over Victoria Park in Warrington, Cheshire, on 26 and 27 May.

Warrington’s Victoria Park was the location for the first V Festival in 1996. Moran owns the city’s rugby league team, Warrington Wolves.

The new festival shares a name with city-centre event Neighbourhood Festival, launched by SJM in Manchester in 2016.

“Victoria Park is the perfect space to host our new festival”

An SJM spokesperson tells IQ the line-up, featuring “some of the biggest bands and hottest new artists”, is set to be announced next week. Daily capacity is expected to be 25,000.

“Neighbourhood Weekender is already shaping up to have a great line-up,” say SJM promoters Luke Temple and Jack Dowling. “Victoria Park is the perfect space to host our new festival. We can’t wait to come back for what is going to be an amazing weekend of live music across three stages, along with a hub of local food and drinks on offer.”

V Festival, promoted by SJM, Metropolis Music, MCD Productions and Live Nation, is set to be rebranded in 2018 after Virgin pulled its sponsorship after 22 years.

 


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V Festival set for rebrand as Virgin sponsorship ends

After 22 years, Virgin Group is ending its relationship with V Festival, Virgin founder Richard Branson announced today, with V 2017 the last year of the UK festival in its current guise.

“V Festival has always been a special weekend for everyone at Virgin,” says Branson. “We’ve been proud to sponsor V Festival for the past two decades and there have been some incredible performances on the stage. Now, after 22 very enjoyable and successful years, 2017 was Virgin’s last V Festival.

V Festival, promoted by Live Nation, Metropolis Music, MCD Productions and SJM Concerts, debuted in 1996 as twin festivals in Hylands Park, Chelmsford, and Victoria Park in Warrington, with headliners Pulp, Paul Weller and Elastica. The northern England leg moved to Leeds in 1997, before settling in its current home of Weston Park in Staffordshire in 1999.

Branson describes working with the festival as “a brilliant journey filled with great people, fun times and exceptional music”, but says Virgin is now focused on “look[ing] at new ways we can disrupt the industry to ensure music is a force for good.”

“After 22 very enjoyable and successful years, 2017 was Virgin’s last V Festival”

“Virgin already is investing in exciting music initiatives such as Sofar Sounds, who bring artists to perform live in an intimate venue and give you the chance to just be still and listen,” he continues. “Seeing my first Sofar gig reminded me of the early days of Virgin Records, where we sat on beanbags and drifted away with the music as we found new bands to sign and fall in love with.

Relaunched music station Virgin Radio is also going strong in the UK, along with our thriving radio stations with hundreds of thousands of listeners tuning in from all over the world.

“We’re really excited about the future ahead and can’t wait to share our plans with music lovers across the globe.”

Speaking to Music Week, Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn confirms the festival will continue under a new name over the same weekend in August, with plans to expand from two to three days at both sites. Programming, meanwhile, will “very much continue to have a pop and dance focus”.

Live Nation bought a stake in V in 2013, while Metropolis joined the company this January.

 


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2-for-1 Wild Life, V tickets in TM flash sale

Ticketmaster UK is planning a Friday on-sale with a difference tomorrow morning, offering buy-one-get-one-free tickets on several festivals and tours as part of its latest 24-hour flash sale.

From 9am on 12 May, Ticketmaster.co.uk will be home to two-for-one tickets on “incredible summer festivals including the likes of Virgin V Festival, Wild Life and more”, says TM, plus offers on tours from UB40, Clean Bandit, Idina Menzel and Craig David, to name but a few”.

The sale will also include “deeply discounted offers” on other festivals and shows.

The sale follows the recent ‘Kickoff to Summer’ ticket promotion in the US by parent company Live Nation, which shifted more than one million tickets priced at US$20 between 2 and 9 May. Eligible tours included Kings of Leon, Future, Depeche Mode, Muse and Thirty Seconds to Mars, John Mayer, Lionel Richie and Mariah Carey, Foreigner, Cheap Trick, Styx and Nickelback.

Kickoff to Summer was preceded by National Concert Day on 1 May, with The Roots, Foreigner, Daughtry, Prince Royce, Nickelback and Jason Aldean launching the promotion with a show at Irving Plaza in New York.

 


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Festival Focus: Lollapalooza, Arroyo Seco, Sziget

With the 2017 festival season fast approaching and many events close to finalising this year’s line-ups, we’ve introduced a new, slimmed-down Festival Focus for 2017 to ensure we cover as much news as possible – keeping you abreast of all the latest developments in the festival world with the minimum of waffle.

Read on for all the latest festival announcements (headliners are in bold), or click here for the previous FF. And if we’ve missed something, or you’d like to see your event featured in a future Festival Focus, feel free to drop news editor Jon Chapple a line at jon@iq-mag.net.

 


Gorillaz, 16 December 2010, Adrian Pua

Demon Dayz Festival, UK (Goldenvoice/X-ray Touring, 10 June 2017)
Gorillaz (Gorillaz photo by Adrian Pua)

Arroyo Seco Weekend, US (Goldenvoice, 24–25 June 2017)
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, Weezer, The Shins, Andrew Bird, etc.

Global Citizen Festival Hamburg, Germany (Global Poverty Project/Live Nation, 6 July 2017)
Herbert Grönemeyer, Coldplay, The Chainsmokers, Ellie Goulding

Trnsmt, UK (DF Concerts, 7–9 July 2017)
Stormzy, The View, Cabbage

Deadmau5, Club Answer, 2009, Hyunji Choi

Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, Spain (Maraworld, 13–16 July 2017)
Deadmau5, Stormzy, Crystal Fighters, Pete Doherty, Courteeners, Dua Lipa, Mura Masa, Kaytranada, etc. (Deadmau5 photo by Hyunji Choi)

Glastonbury Festival, UK (Glastonbury Festivals Ltd, 21–25 June 2017)
Ed Sheeran, Foo Fighters

FYF Fest, US (Goldenvoice, 21–23 July 2017)
Missy Elliot, Björk, Frank Ocean, Nine Inch Nails, A Tribe Called Quest, Erykah Badu, Solange, Iggy Pop, Run the Jewels, Flying Lotus, Anderson .Paak, MGMT, etc.

Karoondinha Music & Arts Festival, US (Hawk Eye Presents, 21–23 July 2017)
John Legend, Odesza, The Roots, Chromeo, Alessia Cara, X Ambassadors, Needtobreathe, St Lucia, Alunageorge, etc.

Rita Ora, 87th Academy Awards, Disney–ABC Television Group

Lollapalooza, US (C3 Presents, 3–6 August 2017)
Chance the Rapper, The Killers, Muse, Arcade Fire, The xx, Lorde, Blink-182, DJ Snake, Justice, Alt-J, Run the Jewels, Cage the Elephant, Wiz Khalifa, etc.

Osheaga, Canada (Evenko, 4–6 August 2017)
The Weeknd, Muse, Lorde, Major Lazer, Alabama Shakes, Justice, Solange, Vance Joy, Cage the Elephant, MGMT, Foster the People, Father John Misty, Die Antwoord, Liam Gallagher, etc.

Sziget, Hungary (Sziget Cultural Management, 9–16 August 2017)
Pink, Wiz Khalifa, Rita Ora, Paul Van Dyk, Alex Clare, Dimension, The Courteeners, The Vaccines, Her (Rita Ora photo by Craig Sjodin for Disney-ABC Television Group)

V Festival, UK (Metropolis Music/SJM Concerts, 19–20 August 2017)
Pink, Jay Z, Rudimental, Craig David, Pete Tong, Ellie Goulding, Jess Glynne, Stormzy, George Ezra, Madness, Jason Derulo, Sean Paul, Dizzee Rascal, James Arthur, etc.

Eminem, Lollapalooza Chile 2016

Glasgow Summer Sessions, UK (DF Concerts, 24 August 2017)
Eminem, Run the Jewels, Danny Brown, Russ (Eminem photo by paniko.cl)

Reading Festival/Leeds Festival,UK (Festival Republic, 25–27 August 2017)
Eminem, Haim, Migos, Giggs, You Me at Six, Blossoms, Frank Carter, The Pretty Reckless, Billy Talent, Everything Everything, Cabbage, Milky Change, Lethal Bizzle, Black Lips, etc.

Rock en Seine, France (Nous Productions, 25–27 August 2017)
At the Drive-In, PJ Harvey, The xx, Flume, The Kills, Franz Ferdinand, Cypress Hill, Frank Carter, The Pretty Reckless, Ty Segall, Mø, etc.

 


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