Melvin Benn: “I have reason to feel triumphant”
Just two months after the British government confirmed the full reopening of the country’s live music sector, Festival Republic has completed all seven of its domestic events.
The Live Nation-owned promoter has not only delivered Reading, Leeds, Latitude, Clapham Common, Wireless, Wilderness and Download Pilot – it has also been an integral part of the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP), which paved the way for the UK’s reopening.
On the back of a particularly busy summer, and in advance of Benn’s double keynote interview with Folkert Koopmans at the upcoming International Festival Forum, IQ met with the Festival Republic MD onsite at Wireless Festival to discuss his last event of 2021.
IQ: Amid a global pandemic and frequent uncertainty, you may be one of the only festival promoters in the world to pull off seven festivals in 2021. How triumphant are you feeling right now?
MB: It is an achievement. I think I am probably the only one. The team is exhausted because we have had to work incredibly hard to make these festivals happen. We’re sat here on 12 September, exactly two months from 12 July when the prime minister announced that things could open up again. And actually, until the 12 July, as much as we thought something might happen, we didn’t know. So we’ve literally had two months to put everything together. That’s really tough – particularly, on the back of the pandemic and the difficulty with the supply chain and other post-Brexit issues. I’ve got reason to be triumphant.
Today (12 September) marks another significant win for the British live music sector, as the health minister has said vaccine passports will not be required at events. What was your reaction to the news?
If I’m being really honest, our ideal world is no vaccine certification at all. So we’re really pleased about that. Would we have carried on with Covid certification (as a pose to vaccine certification) if we had to? Yes, we would’ve just got on with it because we want to make shows happen. What the health minister appears to have confirmed… is a massive step forward for us. It means that the government is pretty happy with its control of Covid. It’s a great statement for us as an industry too. The UK live music scene is truly open now.
No Covid certification or vaccine certification is a massive step forward for us
Unlike other Festival Republic events, Covid certification and testing were not enforced at Wireless, only recommend. What was the thinking behind that decision?
Two reasons. One is, legally, I don’t need to. Another is, it’s not a camping festival – people weren’t here for lots of days. And tracing the contraction of Covid to a particular location in London is really hard because people move around London so much – especially with the transport. We’re very largely a London audience. It didn’t seem to make any sense from an economic standpoint. All the crew, staff and artists are being tested though.
Wireless moved from Finsbury Park to Crystal Palace Park for this year only. How have you found the new location?
Amazing, really fantastic. It’s a beautiful, historic park and I’ve loved learning things about it, and about the neighbourhood. The beauty of the park is what really drew me to it. It’s also really special to have an audience arena that’s on two levels. I think it’s probably the best sound in London because of the nature of the way the site is. All the agents have been telling me as much.
I think Wireless probably has the best sound in London because of the nature of the way [Crystal Palace Park] is
It sounds like you’ve got an affinity with Crystal Palace Park. Will you be returning in any capacity?
We’re going to go back to Finsbury Park next year with Wireless but I will be returning to Crystal Palace Park. There are a couple of things that I’m looking at… some concert days. I’ve one activity that I think will be really good – a big American thing that I’m very excited about. I’m not able to say what it is but it’s already contracted for mid-July 2022 and then I’m going to build some concert dates around it. I’ve gone into a long term arrangement with the park and the trust and I’m committed to Crystal Palace now.
One pandemic-related problem is international artists dropping out of lineups. Wireless hasn’t just retained its international lineup, it has also included surprise guest features from the likes of Drake. What’s your secret?
The thing is, hip-hop acts are generally not travelling with so much backline, or a full band. They rehearse in a smaller space. It’s very expensive for a band to rehearse and get hotels and bring crew and a team. Hip-hop has the ability to travel lighter, with fewer people and therefore, for what is one-off shows, it’s still worth travelling. Bands need to be amortising those costs across lots of festivals around Europe. The drop out of American acts has largely been due to mainland Europe not being able to host shows.
We’re going to go back to Finsbury Park next year with Wireless but I will be returning to Crystal Palace Park
Wireless has a storied past with guest features. Why do you think this is?
What’s really nice about Wireless is, it’s exclusively within the genre. Every hip-hop act, grime act, drill act wants to be here and they all know each other and they all feed off each other. They know each other’s songs inside and out so they can come up and guest really easily. That’s a joy. You can feel the buzz in the backstage area. Friends are bumping into friends. It is the festival they want to play.
More information about how to attend the International Festival Forum (IFF), along with the full event schedule, is online at www.iff.rocks.
Sellouts and cancellations: Mixed fortunes for UK fests
Wireless and Parklife have joined a slate of other UK festivals in selling out their 2021 editions, while other festivals such as Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival and Margate’s Hi-Tide have decided to call it quits on this year, citing a lack of insurance and uncertainty as the reason.
Wireless Festival 2021 sold out of first release tickets within 24 hours of going on sale, even with the line-up yet to be announced.
First release tickets ranged from £75 for a day ticket to £195 for a three-day weekend pass. Final release tickets will be on sale soon.
The London festival will return once more between September 10-12 this year, but it will move from its traditional Finsbury Park location to South London’s Crystal Palace Park for the first time in its history.
Wireless Festival 2021 sold out of first release tickets within 24 hours of going on sale, even without a line-up announced
Wireless promoter, Live Nation-owned Festival Republic (FR), previously announced that one of its other big-hitters, Reading Festival (cap. 105,000), has also completely sold out.
Weekend tickets for Leeds Festival (75,000-cap.) are also gone, according to the festivals’ Twitter account, with only limited Friday and Sunday day tickets remaining.
FR also recently confirmed that Latitude Festival plans to run at ‘full capacity’, provided ‘the prevailing situation in the UK is deemed safe’.
The four-day festival, which takes place at Henham Park in Suffolk on July 22-25, will feature performances from Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, First Aid Kit and Snow Patrol, with more still to be announced.
Parklife enjoyed similar success to Wireless, selling out its 2021 edition in record time
Parklife, Manchester’s premier hip hop and electronic festival, is enjoying similar success to Wireless after selling out its 2021 edition in record time. Tickets ranged from £84.50 for day passes to £199.50 for weekend VIP.
Megan Thee Stallion, Skepta, Jamie xx and Little Simz are among the artists scheduled to play Parklife 2021 on 11 and 12 September in Heaton Park. See full line-up below.
Junction 2 Festival, Mighty Hoopla, Sundown Festival, Boomtown, Creamfields and Field Day have also sold out their 2021 editions after British prime minister Boris Johnson revealed plans for lifting all restrictions by 21 June, prompting a festival frenzy.
However, Johnson’s reopening roadmap hasn’t instilled confidence in everyone. Cambridge Folk Festival has pulled the plug on this year’s edition, planned for 29 July to 1 August, citing uncertainty about the organisation of large-scale events this summer.
“Despite the government roadmap out of lockdown, we still don’t know whether artists will be able to travel internationally and what steps organisers would be required to take to keep the public safe,” Cambridge councillor Anna Smith told Cambridge Live.
“Despite the government roadmap out of lockdown, we still don’t know whether artists will be able to travel internationally”
“With summer and the need to make binding contractual commitments fast approaching, we couldn’t delay a decision any longer. We are all so upset that we can’t have the festival this summer, but we look forward to being together again in person in 2022.”
Cambridge Folk Festival is one of the longest-running folk festivals in the world, having launched in 1965.
Elsewhere, Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival today called off its 17th edition, set for 29th-31st July 2021 at the Belladrum Estate near Inverness.
“We have been working closely with the rest of the UK event industry in lengthy conversations with Westminster Government to provide an insurance policy for our industry. Without this, the risk of pushing on with planning with no certainty on what the future holds is simply too huge,” reads a lengthy statement on Belladrum’s Facebook page.
” [Belladrum] feels there are still too many uncertainties surrounding the potential restrictions that may be in place”
“We don’t want to deliver an event we aren’t proud of or compromise in any way on the magic that makes Bella so special to all of us.”
Margate’s Hi-Tide Festival (cap. 15,000) is postponing its inaugural event for the second consecutive year, also citing the uncertainty around this summer.
The two-day festival was due to make its debut from 3-5 July at Dreamland Margate theme park with headliners Fatboy Slim and Madness. The organisers hope the festival will launch in 2022.
Final line-up for VR Wireless Connect revealed
Festival Republic and MelodyVR have announced the full line-up for Wireless Connect, a three-day virtual reality music festival taking place from 3 to 5 July.
The event will see exclusive performances – filmed in MelodyVR’s LA studio and custom-made studio in Alexandra Palace, London – from acts including Stefflon Don, Mist, Steel Banglez, Jay1, as well as additional footage from Wireless 2019 featuring Skepta, Young Thug, Rae Sremmurd and more.
Other performances will come from Yungen, Unknown T, Big Narstie and Deno in the UK and from Saweetie, iann dior and 24kGoldn in the US. The full line-up and schedule can be found here.
Free to watch, Wireless Connect fans are encouraged to make a donation to the Black Lives Matter movement
Free to watch, Wireless Connect fans are encouraged to make a donation to the Black Lives Matter movement via a Crowdfunder, which launches at 5 p.m. BST today (29 June).
Radio station Capital Xtra will air artist interviews and provide the soundtrack to those bringing the festival experience to their home.
A celebration of rap, grime, hip hop and RnB, Wireless Festival was forced to cancel its fifteenth anniversary edition this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Acts billed to play the event in London’s Finsbury Park included ASAP Rocky, D-Block Europe and Lil Uzi Thug.
Ben Samuels, North America president of MelodyVR, was one of a number of music industry innovators to take part in the IQ Focus Innovation Session last month. All previous IQ Focus sessions can be watched back here.
MelodyVR announces LA gig as Wireless prep gets underway
Music-focused virtual reality (VR) company MelodyVR has announced hip-hop act Cypress Hill will perform live via its platform this Friday, as the VR pioneer begins filming for the digital edition of Wireless Festival in London.
Working in partnership with Festival Republic, Melody VR is helping to produce Wireless Connect, the virtual reimagination of this year’s Wireless, which will be aired from 3 to 5 July.
The company is filming artists performing live in a recently unveiled, custom-built, 360° studio in London’s Alexandra Palace theatre.
London-based audio specialist is working with the Wireless Connect team to deliver broadcast audio mixes in stereo and immersive formats. Spiritland founders Antony Shaw and Gareth Iles have previously worked with festivals including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Big Weekend.
MelodyVR is filming artists performing live in a recently unveiled, custom-built, 360° studio in London’s Alexandra Palace theatre
In keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, artists and performers remain in isolation for the duration of the performance and do not come into contact with the public, the MelodyVR team or other on-site crew.
Wireless Connect will be accessible to anyone with a smartphone and free to watch, with viewers encouraged to make a charity donation over the course of the weekend. The full line-up will be announced on the Wireless website soon.
Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, hip-hop legends Cypress Hill are performing as part of Melody VR’s Live from LA series. The show, which will be available to watch in 360° for free via the MelodyVR app and VR headsets, will be broadcast live on 19 June at 6 p.m. PT/3 a.m. (20 June) CET and will be available on demand from 25 June for those who miss the original broadcast.
Other artists to have featured in the series include John Legend, The Score, Katelyn Tarver, DaniLeigh and Zella Day.
Ben Samuels, North America president of MelodyVR, was one of a number of music industry innovators to take part in the IQ Focus Innovation Session last month. All previous IQ Focus sessions can be watched back here.
FR boss unveils plan to restart industry at full capacity
Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, has designed an incentive-based plan to allow the restarting of live shows at full capacity, through an increase of testing and contract tracing.
Social distancing has proved a controversial topic within the live industry, with many sharing doubts as to the viability of putting on reduced-capacity shows.
The Full Capacity Plan aims to facilitate the reopening of the leisure sector without capacity limitations, by increasing public use of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Trace App and upping participation in testing through an incentive-based scheme.
The plan would see those who have bought tickets to shows or booked a table at a restaurant invited to attend a high-street shop to collect a home-testing kit and download the NH tracing app.
Those who test negative and agree to use the tracing app would be allowed to return to concerts, pubs, theatres and sporting events.
Although the UK government currently has the capacity to test 1.4 million people a week, fewer than 700,000 weekly tests are taking place, “because there is no incentive”, says Benn, who oversees events including Wireless, Download, Latitude and Reading and Leeds festivals.
“I am proposing the Full Capacity Plan to stimulate the debate about getting back to normal opening rather than partial opening”
“My plan is to create incentive, to test at least double the current capacity and be aiming for 12 to 15m people a month being tested minimum,” explains Benn.
“I am proposing the Full Capacity Plan to stimulate the debate about getting back to normal opening rather than partial opening because partial opening is financial disaster opening.
“[The plan] is simple and easy, inexpensive in comparison to the subsidies that the government is currently paying and very achievable with good organisation.”
A provisional timeline foresees a pilot scheme beginning later this month, in partnership with the British government, with the first events going ahead in accordance with the plan in August.
If all goes well, the industry may be able to restart at full capacity by November.
The virtual edition of Download Festival, Download TV, is taking place from 12 to 14 June, with exclusive footage from headliners Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down, whereas the virtual-reality Wireless Connect will air from 3 to 5 July.
Kiss, Iron Maiden to headline virtual Download fest
Festival Republic has revealed the line-up for the virtual version of Download Festival, Download TV, with exclusive footage from headliners Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down.
Download Festival was among the first major UK events to cancel it 2020 edition due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In its place, Download TV is airing on the original festival weekend, from 12 to 14 June, available to watch on the festival’s social channels and on YouTube. Fans can subscribe to Download TV on YouTube here.
The virtual event will feature a day time programme of interactive activities, live artist Q&As and lockdown performances, with the evenings bringing footage of live performances from the acts billed to play the event this year, including Korn, Deftones, Babymetal, Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Creeper, the Offspring and the Darkness.
Past Download performances from headliners Kiss and System of a Down will be resurfaced for the event, while Iron Maiden promise “something just for Download TV”.
Festival Republic has revealed the line-up for the virtual version of Download Festival, Download TV, with exclusive footage from headliners Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down
Download fans are encouraged to put tents up in their gardens, wear festival merchandise and send photos and videos in to the festival page to ensure a “celebration of the Download community”.
Fellow Festival Republic event Wireless Festival is also taking place in a virtual form this year, partnering with music-focused virtual reality company MelodyVR to produce Wireless Connect. From 3 to 5 July, pre-recorded live performances will be brought to Wireless fans in 360° virtual reality.
Performances will be recorded from MelodyVR’s studio in Los Angeles and the 10,400-capacity Alexandra Palace in London. The Wireless Connect line-up will be announced in due course.
MelodyVR’s Ben Samuels was among tech leaders to take part in IQ Focus panel The Innovation Session yesterday, discussing the most effective ways to monetise virtual shows. The panel is available to watch back on YouTube or Facebook now.
Wireless cancels as more UK fests call time on 2020
Festival Republic’s Wireless Festival and an open-air the 1975 show are the latest losses to the UK’s 2020 summer calendar, in a week that also saw Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Music Festival and metal event Bloodstock move to 2021.
The UK’s summer festival season is looking increasingly uncertain, as organisers wait for the government to reveal details of its exit plan. The country has been in lockdown since 23 March.
“Wireless Festival will no longer be taking place this year,” reads a statement from organisers. “As you know we’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation, and it’s become clear that cancelling is unavoidable.
“Subject to contract, Wireless Festival will be back next year on 2 to 4 July 2021 and will be worth the wait,” continue organisers, urging fans to “keep your eyes peeled” for news on the virtual edition of the festivals.
The urban music event, which had booked ASAP Rocky, D-Block Europe and Lil Uzi Thug for this year, has encountered licensing restrictions imposed by the local council around its home in Finsbury Park.
The promoter has also announced the cancellation of an eco-friendly show by the 1975 at Finsbury Park, scheduled for 11 July. The show, which was also to feature Charli XCX, Clairo and Pale Waves, was set to be the Manchester band’s biggest show ever.
“We’ve been closely monitoring this unprecedented situation, and it’s become clear that cancelling is unavoidable”
Festival Republic had previously called off the 2020 outings of Download Festival, set to feature Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down, and Latitude, which had a line-up including Liam Gallagher, Haim and the Chemical Brothers.
This week also saw the cancellation of the 20,000-capacity Cornbury Music Festival, which was to feature Dido, Jack Savoretti and the Waterboys, as well as Judas Priest-headlined metal festival Bloodstock. Organisers say the event will be back for a bumper five-day edition in 2021.
Other major UK festivals to cancel due to the coronavirus outbreak include Boomtown (Wu-Tang Clan, Underworld, the Libertines), Bluedot (Bjork, Metronomy, Groove Armada), Black Deer (Wilco, the Waterboys, the Dead South) and Y Not Festival (Royal Blood, Richard Ashcroft, Bombay Bicycle Club), adding to cancellations of AEG Presents’ All Points East and British Summer Time Hyde Park, Live Nation’s Parklife, Lovebox and Isle of Wight Festival, and Glastonbury Festival.
In Scotland, which has limited self-government within the UK, DF Concerts’ Trnsmt (Courteeners, Liam Gallagher, Lewis Capaldi) and Regular Music’s Summer Nights at the Bandstand (Rick Astley, Van Morrison, Primal Scream) cancelled after first minster Nicola Sturgeon suggested public gatherings would be banned for the foreseeable future.
In the neighbouring country of the Republic of Ireland, festivals including Longitude and All Together Now cancelled last month, as the government announced a blanket ban on events over 5,000 people until 31 August, although it recently indicated that smaller events would be permitted from 10 August.
Why live music can’t ignore data in a digital world
With over 25 years’ experience behind him, Crowd Connected’s founder and CEO, James Cobb, is well placed to assess how live music is reacting to the challenges of a digital-first world.
The driving force behind Crowd Connected’s multi-award winning software – described more than once as “Google analytics for live events” – Cobb talks to IQ about the seismic changes he’s seen in the attitude of festivals and venues towards new technology over the past five years, and how the pacesetters in the live music industry are increasingly embracing data to compete with digital.
IQ: Crowd Connected is now well established when it comes to enabling live events to benefit from data. But how did Crowd Connected come into existence?
JC: I started in live music in 1994 , working for Paul Walden and Derek Nicol at the Flying Music company. Ten years later, I found myself working with Hugh Phillimore on the very first Cornbury Music Festival.
As a self-confessed data “geek” it frustrated me how little insight we had once the gates had opened. Pre-event I could analyse the post codes of previous ticket-buyers, and use that to predict ticket sales and target marketing spend. But once fans were on site the approach seemed to be cross your fingers… and fire-fight.
That frustration stayed with me and became even stronger as I started designing festival sites and stadium configurations. Where was the data on how people moved around?
So I set up Crowd Connected. Live Nation had teamed up with Innovate UK to look for innovative digital solutions to improve the festivalgoer experience. We entered and won the competition. Our first deployment was Wireless Festival in 2014.
As a self-confessed data “geek” it frustrated me how little insight we had once the gates had opened
What exactly does Crowd Connected do?
Crowd Connected delivers three things: real-time situational awareness, personalised audience communication and audience movement analytics.
In a nutshell, we enable live events and venues to better monitor, measure and engage with the audience.
We’re used by events of all types beyond live music. But we first established ourselves with festivals, who quickly begun using our technology in really creative ways.
Often, that’s to enhance the festivalgoer experience. Sometimes even before they are on site. One US festival in 2019 could see huge traffic jams building up on the way into the festival, using our live heatmaps. So they used our targeted notification platform to send them all a festival playlist to keep them in a positive frame of mind.
Another festival – this time in the UK – was also alerted to traffic issues during ingress, through using our heatmaps. They reported this to the Highways Agency who were a little confused as to how someone had better intelligence than they did.
We’ve had events use our data to support licensing applications; to report footfall figures to sponsors; to analyse which artists are getting the largest audiences; or to evaluate which facilities are being over and under-utilised.
Once you have situational awareness across (and beyond) your entire venue, and you have the means to talk to very specific groups in your audience, you start managing live events in a completely new way.
Once you have situational awareness across (and beyond) your entire venue, you start managing live events in a completely new way
How does Crowd Connected get the data?
We integrate into the official mobile app for the festival, venue or show. Event fans come with their smartphone, expecting a first-rate digital experience to complement the physical joy of the live event. For a big event like a festival, that’s £20m+ of hardware.
Today’s smartphones can provide step-by-step tracking throughout the duration of the event. We take this data plus some smart algorithms to produce a single, accurate journey around the event site for each app user that’s granted permission.
So, while we don’t develop apps ourselves, we work with all the major app developers.
So what’s changed over the last five years?
We’ve seen a huge change in the attitude towards technology.
I remember in the early days approaching a leading UK festival. I was told there was no point talking to them. They believed in an organic and thoroughly non-digital live experience. Data was viewed as a dirty word.
That festival is now a Crowd Connected client, seeing real value from the situational awareness and analytics tools they now have. And it hasn’t spoilt the festivalgoer experience. It’s improving it.
That illustrates that you can’t compete with digital if you don’t embrace data. This has now dawned on pretty much the entire live industry.
You can’t compete with digital if you don’t embrace data – this has now dawned on pretty much the entire live industry
Who’s using Crowd Connected?
We can mention some names, but not others. If our clients don’t want us to disclose that we work for them, then, of course, we won’t. That can be a bit frustrating sometimes, but we’re a privacy-first company. Privacy and security of user data, and confidentiality for our customers.
The big companies – Live Nation and AEG – were early adopters. Leading festivals like Coachella have worked with us since the very beginning. Many renowned independents use us too, for example Roskilde.
Over the past couple of years we’ve worked with hundreds of festivals and venues across the globe. I think we’ve got to the point where major events are thinking they can’t afford not to – at the very least – consider the value of this kind of technology.
What’s next for Crowd Connected?
One focus for 2020 is to make sure smaller festival teams get real value from our technology. Maybe they don’t have the in-house personnel or technical expertise that the big players have. But that shouldn’t matter. We want them to use digital tools and data like ours to help take the live music experience forward in the 2020s.
So we’ll continue to innovate. We’ll continue to listen to our customers, to develop new features. As smartphones get ever smarter, our mission is to help live event promoters do the same.
Festival Fever: what’s in store for summer 2020
Continuing the series of 2020 line-up announcements, IQ has a look at what organisers of Parklife, OpenAir St Gallen, Rock in Rio Lisbon, Colours of Ostrava, Download Japan, Wireless Festival and Roskilde have up their sleeves for 2020.
(See the previous edition of Festival Fever here.)
When: 13 to 15 June
Where: Heaton Park, Manchester, UK
How many: 80,000
The line-up for Manchester’s Parklife festival was announced earlier this week, with a mixture of major hip-hop, electronic and pop acts topping the bill.
Tyler the creator, Carl Cox, Jorja Smith, Hot Chip, Giggs, Bicep, Four Tet and Roisin Murphy are among artists performing on the Saturday, with Khalid, Skepta, Lewis Capaldi, Anderson Paak, Robyn, Peggy Gou, Eric Prydz and Nina Kraviz leading the charge on Sunday.
Co-founded by Sacha Lord and Sam Kandel, who also started the Manchester-based Warehouse Project club nights, Parklife is majority controlled by LN-Gaiety, following a 2016 deal.
Tickets for Parklife 2020 are available here, priced at £125 for a weekend ticket and £95 for a day pass.
A mixture of major hip-hop, electronic and pop acts top the Parklife 2020 bill
OpenAir St Gallen
When: 25 to 28 June
Where: River Sitter valley, Saint Gallen, Switzerland
How many: 30,000
Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen is entering its 44th year in 2020 and its first as part of the newly formed powerhouse Gadget abc Entertainment Group AG, in which CTS Eventim acquired a majority stake last week.
This year’s festival will see performances from Twenty One Pilots, the Lumineers, Alan Walker and Of Monsters and Men, as well as German acts AnnenMayKantereit, Kontra K and Deichkind.
OpenAir St Gallen received the green operations award at the 2019 European Festival Awards, with Wepromote – the joint venture between OpenAir St Gallen, Gadget Entertainment, Incognito Productions, wildpony, SummerDays Festival, Seaside Festival and Wepromote Live – taking home promoter of the year.
Tickets for OpenAir St Gallen 2020 are available here, priced at CHF 239 (£188) for a four-day ticket and CHF 77 (£61) for a single day.
Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen is entering its 44th year in 2020
When: 3 to 5 July
Where: Finsbury Park, London, UK
How many: 50,000
Festival Republic’s Wireless Festival is returning to London’s Finsbury Park this summer for three days of urban music, headlined by ASAP Rocky, Skepta and Meek Mill.
Within a day of announcing the line-up, all weekend tickets and single Friday and Saturday tickets had sold out.
Other artists performing at the event include Quality Control Takeover, DaBaby, Roddy Ricch, AJ Tracey, Aitch, Burna Boy and Young Thug.
The line-up announcement for Wireless’ flagship UK event came days after the billing for its German edition was revealed. ASAP Rocky will also head up the 40,000-capacity Frankfurt festival, alongside Kendrick Lamar.
Sunday tickets for Wireless London are available here for £72.50, with joint Friday and Sunday passes also still available for £137.50.
Tickets for Wireless Germany can be found here, with a weekend ticket costing €149 (£125) and a day pass priced at €79 (£67).
Within a day of announcing the line-up, all weekend tickets and single Friday and Saturday tickets had sold out
Colours of Ostrava
When: 15 to 18 July
Where: Dolní Vítkovice, Ostrava, Czech Republic
How many: 45,000
Czech Republic’s Colours of Ostrava festival is this year featuring acts including the Killers, Twenty One Pilots, Martin Garrix, the Lumineers, Sigrid, LP and Youssou N’Dour.
The festival, which takes place in the industrial area of a former mining site in the Czech city, hosts acts over two dozen outdoor and indoor stages, as well as providing a programme of cinema, theatre, literature and art.
The Colours of Ostrava team also organises the free Festival v ulicích (Street Festival) in the centre of Ostrava, and the Czech Music Crossroads, a music showcase conference
Four-day tickets for Colours of Ostrava 2020 are available here for €125.
Colours of Ostrava is this year featuring the Killers, Twenty One Pilots and Martin Garrix
Rock in Rio Lisbon
When: 20 to 28 June
Where: Bela Vista Park, Lisbon, Portugal
How many: 80,000
The Lisbon edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio added two more acts to its 2020 line-up this week, with singers Ivete Sangalo and Anitta joining artists including Foo Fighters, the Black Eyed Peas, Camila Cabello, the National, Liam Gallagher and Post Malone.
Promoted by Rock City, in which Live Nation recently upped its shareholding to a majority stake, the festival’s flagship Rio de Janeiro event hosted the likes of Drake, Red Hit Chili Peppers, Bon Jovi, Iron Maiden, Pink and Muse across two four-day festival in September and October 2019.
Last year, Rock in Rio founder Roberto Medina hinted at the possibility of launching a Chilean edition of the festival, in what would be the first expansion of the festival brand within the Latin American region.
Tickets for Rock in Rio Lisboa are available here. Day tickets cost €69 (£58) and weekend passes are priced at €112 (£94).
The Lisbon edition of Brazilian mega festival Rock in Rio added two more acts to its 2020 line-up this week
When: 29 March
Where: Makuhari Messe Event Hall, Chiba, Japan
How many: 9,000
The Japanese edition of Live Nation’s Download festival franchise is returning for its second outing this March, with a headline performance from My Chemical Romance.
Other artists playing at the festival include Evanescence, the Offspring, Jimmy East World, Ministry and In Flames.
The flagship UK edition of Download Festival is celebrating its 18th year in 2020, with performances from Kiss, Iron Maiden and System of a Down.
Download is also returning to Australia this year, with festivals in Melbourne and Sydney on 20 and 21 March respectively. My Chemical Romance will also head up Download down under, alongside Ministry, Jimmy Eat World and Lacuna Coil, as well as domestic acts Dead Letter Circus, Hellions and Orpheus Omega.
Spanish and French editions of the festival will not be returning in 2020.
Tickets for Download Japan are available here for ¥16,500 (£115). Camping tickets for Download UK can be found here for £250 and tickets for the Australian Download events are available here for AU$194.93 (£99).
The Japanese edition of Live Nation’s Download festival franchise is returning for its second outing this March
When: 27 June to 4 July
Where: Roskilde, Denmark
How many: 85,000
Roskilde Festival’s 50th anniversary edition is shaping up to be a big, with 32 more acts added to the line-up this week.
Faith No More, FKA Twigs, Anderson Paak and Kacey Musgraves are among artists joining previously announced acts Taylor Swift, Tyler the Creator, Thom Yorke Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes, Deftones and more.
“What is unique about this generation of artists is how fast they make their mark – both artistically and when it comes to drawing attention,” comments Anders Wahrén, head of programming at the Danish non-profit festival.
“Artists like FKA Twigs, Anderson Paak and Kacey Musgraves are important to music, but are also important voices for the young people too.”
Tickets for the full eight-day festival experience plus camping are available here for DDK2250 (£257).
Roskilde Festival’s 50th anniversary edition is shaping up to be a big, with 32 more acts added to the line-up this week
Summer Nights at the Bandstand
When: 30 July to 15 August
Where: Kelvingrove bandstand, Glasgow, Scotland
How many: 2,500
Regular Music’s annual concert series is returning to Glasgow’s Kelvingrove bandstand this summer for 13 nights of live music.
This year’s line-up includes performances from Rufus Wainwright, Yusuf/Cat Stevens, KT Tunstall, Van Morrison and Rick Astely, as well as a two-night run by Primal Scream.
All twelve shows sold out last year, which featured acts including Bloc Party, the National, Burt Bacharach, Father John Misty and Patti Smith. Tickets for this year’s Summer Nights went on sale last week, with the Van Morrison, Yusuf/Cat Stevens and Rick Astley shows already selling out.
“Kelvingrove Bandstand has such a fantastic atmosphere and the feedback we have had from both artists and audiences is that they have a great time just being there,” comments Regular Music director Mark Mackie. “They really are unique and special nights under the stars.”
Tickets for Summer Nights at the Bandstand 2020 are available here.
ASAP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar to headline Wireless Germany 2020
Wireless Germany returns for its third year in 2020, following a brief hiatus in 2018, with a line-up featuring Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky, Young Thug and Roddy Ricch.
The German edition of the Live Nation festival franchise is taking place for the second time in the 40,000-capacity Old Rebstockpark in Frankfurt on 10 and 11 July. Last year’s festival saw performances from Travis Scott, James Blake, Rae Sremmurd, J Balvin and Rita Ora.
In addition to headliners Kendrick Lamar and ASAP Rocky, acts including Young Thug, Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch, Apache 207, Tyga, DaBaby, Trettmann, Shindy, Shirin David, Mero and Tierra whack will perform over the two-day event.
ASAP Rocky, who was forced to withdraw from multiple European festivals last year following detention in Sweden, is appearing at Atlas Weekend festival in Ukraine, Hydeout in Singapore and MCD Productions’ Longitude festival, which he is also headlining alongside Kendrick Lamar, as well as Tyler the Creator.
Wireless Germany returns for its third year in 2020, with a line-up featuring Kendrick Lamar, ASAP Rocky, Young Thug and Roddy Ricch
Kendrick Lamar is performing over the summer at British Summer Time Hyde Park in London, Belgium’s Rock Werchter, Lollapalooza Stockholm and Nos Alive in Lisbon.
Tickets for Wireless Germany go on sale on Wednesday 29 January at 10 a.m., with a Magenta Musik Prio pre-sale beginning today (27 January) and a Ticketmaster pre-sale opening tomorrow.
Wireless’ flagship UK event, the country’s biggest urban music festival, is taking place in London’s Finsbury Park from 3 to 5 July 2020. The festival will this year have a 9.30 p.m. final night curfew, following restrictions implemented by the local council.