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South Africa to host ‘biggest country fest outside US’

A new two-day country music festival is coming to South Africa this autumn, in what organisers are calling one of the genre’s largest events outside of the US.

The inaugural Cape Town Country Music Festival is set for 26-27 October at the 60,000-capacity DHL Stadium. Since its first show in 2011, the stadium has hosted international acts including U2, Rihanna, Foo Fighters, and Justin Bieber.

American artists Kip Moore and the Zac Brown Band will lead the programme, with an array of local and international artists set to perform across the two days. US country stars Darius Rucker, the Brothers Osborne, and others will join the lineup, in addition to 10 South African artists.

The festival builds on recent success for country music in the African country, with Moore selling 44,000 tickets across three shows last spring in Cape Town and Pretoria.

“The door is now wide open for the entire country music genre”

“When we went to SA for the first time last year, the surprising part was it felt like a grassroots fan base that had been with us all along. There was a spark in that audience that I’ve been itching to light again,” Moore says.

Local DJ and Heroes Events producer Wimpie van der Sandt, who helped bring Moore to Africa in 2023, is producing the festival. The founder of Afrikaans-broadcasting BOK Radio made history last year as the first South African to receive a Country Music Association award nomination in the international country broadcaster category.

“The success we had last year with Kip Moore in South Africa proved there’s a vibrant and healthy country music scene over here. People in the music industry were sceptical when we explored the market, but we proved the concept and that gave us confidence to build the biggest country festival in the world outside the US,” van der Sandt says.

One of Moore’s managers, Gaines Sturdivant of Red Light Management, will serve as an executive consultant.

“Wimpie and I dreamt up this idea together on a napkin after watching Kip’s jaw-dropping success in South Africa last year. I am incredibly proud of the new ground Kip has plowed for country music and music in general.”

“CTC ’24 is the next iteration, and the door is now wide open for the entire country music genre,” Sturdivant says.

Tickets for the October event go on sale tomorrow, 16 February.


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Twitter inks live-streaming deal with Live Nation

Social network Twitter, known primarily for its 140-character microblogging platform, today announced a major expansion of its live video offering, signing live-streaming content deals with Live Nation and 15 other news, sport and entertainment partners.

New York Stock Exchange-listed Twitter, which is estimated to have close to 700 million users and turned over US$548m in Q1 2017, says the deal with Live Nation will see the world’s largest promoter “deliver select Live Nation concerts and original content exclusively on Twitter”.

Other content partners include news outlets Bloomberg and BuzzFeed News, broadcaster Viacom and sports leagues MLB (baseball), WNBA (basketball) and PGA Tour (golf).

The partnerships, announced at today’s Digital Content NewFronts conference, are, says Twitter, part of a concerted effort to grow the service’s “premium video” offering. “People have always come to Twitter to see and talk about what’s happening,” reads a statement. “Over the last four years, we’ve brought users video content around the things they’re already discussing on the platform, working with the world’s top TV networks, sports leagues, publishing houses and magazines and professional news outlets.

“In 2016, we started building on this to bring live-streaming video to Twitter to create a one-screen experience for great live content and the conversation around it. Brands align with all of this content to reach engaged audiences at scale.”

“Fans around the world will be able to experience concerts live on the same platform where they talk about what’s happening in music”

Since launching its live video service in Q4 2016, Twitter has streamed more than 800 hours of “premium”, or professionally produced, video content to an audience of 45m viewers.

According to Josh Contine of TechCrunch, who is attending NewFronts, the Live Nation/Twitter concert series will kick off Saturday 13 May with a show by Zac Brown Band (pictured). Future performers include Train, Portugal the Man, Marian Hill and August Alsina.

“Music has always been one of the most tweeted-about topics on the platform, and now fans around the world will be able to experience concerts live on the same platform where they talk about what’s happening in music,” says Live Nation chief strategy officer Jordan Zachary.

In the video space, Twitter (and subsidiary Periscope – it of accidentally-live-streaming-The Cure fame) is once again competing with Facebook, which is similarly pushing its live-streaming offering, Facebook Live. Facebook Live recently signed a deal to broadcast 22 Major League Soccer matches this year, raising speculation a music partner could soon follow suit.


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