Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot said she doesn’t fear a surge of coronavirus cases tied to Lollapalooza, in part because her public health commissioner “went incognito” to the music festival without valid proof of vaccination and was turned away, Chicago Sun-Times reports. Mayor also said she is “confident that thousands of people — mostly young people, which is our toughest demographic — got vaccinated simply because they wanted to go to Lollapalooza", adding that "every single day, they turned hundreds of people away — either who didn’t have the right paperwork or had an expired test that wasn’t taken within 72 hours. That tells me there is a rigor around the protocols that they were using to screen people”. Lollapalooza is the largest festival of its kind in the world this year.

The electronic music festival Verknipt in the Netherlands has been linked to more than 1,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus, although the organizers have followed all the health guidelines. CNBC reports. In early July Verknipt hosted about 20,000 attendees in Utrecht. Now, 1,050 of those people and counting have tested positive. This is especially discouraging because the electronic music event followed many expert guidelines - the festival was held outdoors, where infections are generally much lower; concert-goers also needed to show a QR code confirming that they were either fully vaccinated, had recently recovered from a COVID-19 infection, or had tested negative within the last 40 hours. That 40 hours window is seen now as the main possible reason for the infection spike.

Gig is elsewhere
June 24, 2021

Numerous tours announced

In just the last 72 hours alone, a bevy of major US tours has been announced. Consequence (has a dedicated live music subsite) picks out a few of the biggest ones:

- Elton John has announced the final leg of his farewell tour
- Lorde has announced the first tour dates behind her new album 'Solar Power'
- J Cole has mapped out a tour in support of his latest album 'The Off-Season' - GZA, Raekwon, and Ghostface Killah are teaming up for the 'Chambers 3 Tour'
- Violent Femmes and Flogging Molly are teaming up for a co-headlining US tour

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has scrapped the plan to ease restrictions on live music in the country next week due to the pandemic, which will bring British musicians, fans and promoters to the brink of losing another summer of live music. Live music events industry believes they are treated differently than other events. Indie venues say a four-week delay in reopening will cost them £36 million, NME reports. The Association of Independent Festivals says 86 percent of the festivals planned for this year in the UK will be canceled, Billboard reports.

EXIT Festival - which takes place at Novi Sad, Serbia across 8th-11th July - will offer 1,500 coronavirus vaccines to international artists and festivalgoers attending the event this summer, DJ Mag reports. David Guetta, Paul van Dyk, Paul Kalkbrenner, Eric Prydz B2B Four Tet, and Honey Dijon feature in this year's line-up. On the other side of the musical spectrum, the UK Download festival - which will take place from June 18-20 - will allow 10,000 attendees to “mosh, dance and hug”, the Evening Standard reports. All attendees will have to take a lateral flow test at home beforehand, and will also need to send a PCR test by post prior to the event. Only those with negative results will be allowed onto the festival site. Five days after the event, those who went to the festival will have to take a second PCR test, and send it off to the Events Research Programme.

Most of the music festivals in the UK still due to take place this year could be scrapped without the safety net of government-backed cancellation insurance, the Association of Independent Festivals has warned. A quarter of UK festivals have already been called off, but 76% of the rest need "urgent intervention" from the government to save the season, BBC reports. Festivals contribute £1.76bn to the UK economy and support 85,000 jobs.

Ticket touts and resale sites such as Viagogo and StubHub impede the tracing of fans in the event of coronavirus outbreaks, leading music industry figures have warned, Guardian reports. Their investigation found that dozens of professional touts have snapped up tickets for eagerly awaited festivals and are demanding massively inflated prices from fans. Festival firms are required to retain attendees’ details for 21 days as part of government efforts to prevent coronavirus outbreaks but industry figures warned the greed of resale firms and touts would make it much harder to comply.

Fests on a hot tin roof
April 21, 2021

Third British festival cancelled in a week

Boomtown festival got cancelled Tuesday morning, days after the arts festival Shambala and the indie rock festival Barn on the Farm announced last week that they would not go ahead. All three cited the financial risk of staging events that could be shut down at a moment’s notice by a reimposition of Covid restrictions. Guardian reports that more than nine in 10 independent events are privately indicating they may not go ahead.

Coldplay, HAIM, Michael Kiwanuka, Damon Albarn, Kano, Idles Wolf Alice, will perform at a Glastonbury ticketed livestream event on May 22, Music Ally reports. Performances will take place at various festival landmarks, and sets will broadcast as part of a five-to-six hour production directed by Paul Dugdale. The four airings have been staggered for different timezones - at 7 p.m. in BST, EDT, PDT, and AEST. Tickets cost £20 from WorthyFarm.live, the capacity is unlimited, with funds supporting the festival and its charities. Performers waived their fees. On the other side of the Atlantic, and a few months later everything is happening old-school way. Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival will return to Manchester, Tennessee, from September 2-5, 2021, with Grand Ole Opry, Megan Thee Stallion, Foo Fighters, Tame Impala, Lizzo, the Creator, and Lana Del Rey headlining, according to NPR.

World's second largest concert promoter has begun bringing back part-time and full-time employees who had been furloughed or saw their hours reduced during the pandemic with the first phase of employees returning April 1, Billboard reports. The second phase of AEG's rehiring involves full time employees who were moved to part time status. Those employees will be returned to full time status starting April 1 with the process expected to be completed by June 1. The third and final tier involves employees that were furloughed during the pandemic and are now expected to return to work full-time in the fall. AEG's main competitor Live Nation plans to begin staffing up as capacity restrictions are lifted on venues owned or leased by the company.

A music festival took place in the Netherlands, with 1,500 mostly young people participating in an experiment about the spread of Covid-19, BBC reports. The rest of the country is in lockdown, yet the Dutch government has financed this electro-music festival and a scientific experiment that aims to see if there's a safe way to allow large-scale social gatherings to restart, without increasing the spread of the virus. The participants all had to be negative on Covid-test to take part at the fest and will be tested again next week.

Isol-Aid started in March as a one-off festival, but the success of the first one gave organizers strength to continue. It has since grown into a weekly event, with an average of four artists performing, Guardian reports. It has since hosted 881 artists, resulted in record deals, evolved to a paid gig (to compensate the artists), with around 35,000 viewers on average tuning in each week. Bigger artists like Julia Jacklin, Stella Donnelly, and Middle Kids appear alongside lesser-known, like health-care workers doing music as a hobby. It's streamed on TikTok, where performers stream on their own account and then direct audiences to the next act, as well as on Isol-Aid.com. On Sunday, March 21, line-up consists of Jaguar Jonze, Hockey Dad, Julia Stone, and Isaiah Firebrace.

Sweat and tears of joy
March 17, 2021

The majority of UK festivals this year - on!

This year's editions of UK festivals Glastonbury and Download are cancelled, since they were to happen early in the summer. Others, who were scheduled for late summer, or have been rescheduled, are planning to go ahead, "confident that fans will be allowed to mosh, pogo and stage-dive with the risk of injury, rather than disease, their main concern", as BBC puts it. Dozens of fests should go ahead, among them All Points East (headlined by Jamie xx, Kano, Slowthai, Arlo Parks, Bicep), Hyde Park (Pearl Jam, Duran Duran, Pixies), Camp (Fatboy Slim, Kelis), Creamfields (Deadmau5, Carl Cox, Eric Prydz, Tiesto, Bicep), Isle Of Wight, Latitude (Lewis Capaldi, Bastille, Snow Patrol), Reading & Leeds (Stormzy, Post Malone, Liam Gallagher, Queens Of The Stone Age), Y Not, Womad...

“We’re approaching things by saying, ‘Let’s not even pretend that we’re trying to replace the live club experience’” - James Minor, who oversees SXSW Music, says to Texas Monthly about this year's edition of the famous festival. Instead of bringing 45-minute sets as part of an six-hour event at a club, each showcase will be a single hour of entertainment, because “people’s attention spans are a lot shorter online”, Minor says. There are no big-name headliners this year, he says, instead, this year’s festival will be focused on launching the careers of artists who’ve struggled with getting attention during the pandemic. “It’s supposed to be the coming-out party for what happens next in music" - Minor explains. Some of the bands who are going to perform are English new rock stars Black Country, New Road, country artists Jade Jackson and Aubrie Sellers who will perform together, Danish heavy metal heavyweights Iceage, Montreal shoegazers No Joy... SXSW 2021 is due March 16-21.

The UK is one of the countries in the world with the fastest-growing number of people vaccinated against Covid-19, with 10 million extra vaccinations currently available in the UK which will start to be given out this week. It's predicted that all over 50s could receive their second jab by the end of March, with all over 40s receiving a vaccination in April and the 30-39 age group beginning to receive their jabs by the end of that month. The 18-29 bracket will receive doses from May. MixMag says rightfully this is all good news for clubs that can currently reopen from June 21, as well as for the festival season in the UK and abroad.

What do we crave for the most?!
February 26, 2021

Reading and Leeds festival to go ahead this year - tickets sell out

Tickets for Reading and Leeds festival have been sold out, two days after organizers confirmed the event would go ahead this year, NME reports. One of the UK’s biggest outdoor events has been confirmed for this year after the announcement of the UK government’s roadmap to reopening the country from Covid lockdown. Two city weekender is due to happen in August, and it will share a lineup which includes headliners Stormzy, Liam Gallagher, Post Malone, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Disclosure and Queens of the Stone Age.

Smaller summer festivals in the UK are "still possible" this summer, despite the cancellation of Glastonbury - Paul Reed, the head of the Association of Independent Festivals, told the BBC. Glastonbury 2021 was cancelled by its organizers, but, as Reed says, it is "a different beast to most festivals and most likely ran out of time due to the size and complexity of the event". Smaller events could still happen if the government ensures organisers can access cancellation insurance, Reed believes, adding - "for most festivals, the cut-off point is more likely the end of March". The UK government doesn't still believe that insurance is the right way to help the concert industry, Guardian reports

Wadada Leo Smith

New York’s jazz festival Vision has been rescheduled and adapted for the sour times we live in now - it will take place both live and online starting Thursday, October 8 with a livestream solo performance by trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, Jazz Times reports. A series of events - including performances by Oliver Lake, Andrew Cyrille, Amina Claudine Myers, and William Parker - will follow through Monday, October 12 that will be both livestreamed and held in front of an outdoor audience. The outdoor edition will be limited-capacity, socially distanced. Daily outdoor tickets are $75, and virtual tickets are $15.

Dr. Bouncer
October 05, 2020

"Phased return" of festivals next year

This year festivals were virtual or none, a return to normal is expected in 2022 or 2023, and next year will see a “phased return” for events with hybrid models featuring some digital elements next to live ones, Guardian reports. What is to be expected next year at the music festival entrance are thermo scanners, interactive wristbands that vibrate to mark a lack of social distancing, and rapid on-site testing.

A new model for large scale festivals - Good Day Sunshine in Western Australia will feature a rotating stage and four distinct, individually ticketed areas for patrons divided by a fence, the Fader reports. The 5000-capacity fest is set to take place on October 31st. Performers will play in the single, rotating stage, while each separate area will be treated as its own 1250-capacity sealed-off event space, with no overlap of staff or patrons.

Bury the Glasto
September 16, 2020

Wild Fields - a shape of festivals to come?

"There’s no freewheeling carnage here, nor the chance to indulge in the classic fest camping ritual. Instead, this is a communal celebration of excitement at actually being outside and watching music" - NME reports from Wild Fields, a socially distanced festival, perhaps a new model for festivals. It is modest - there are three stages, two bars and a merch stand, the audience is spread in pods, and the line-up is made of local bands. "By providing a legitimate festival experience – or at least the closest we’ll get to it this year – the team have forged a celebration of everything we’re missing in 2020: the dissonant echo from a stage plopped in the middle of a field as we escape the real world, and all its woes, for the spiritual relief of music in the company of like-minded souls" - NME argues - "It all creates an atmosphere that digs into the heart of what festivals have always been about: escapism".

"Festivals can go ahead safely with adequate testing" - Reading and Leeds boss Melvin Benn has told UK parliamentary committee about reopening venues at full capacity, Music Week reports. "You can’t have festivals with social distancing. You mass test" - Benn said, adding - "trying to open without full capacity is just not an option".

Internet scammers have hit UK festival-lovers this year charging them to view live streams of festivals across the country, Guardian reports. Facebook phishing scams with fake pages and events were charging individuals £2.95 to £7.50 view live streams – even though they are often free to view on official festival pages.

Lollapalooza has announced a massive four-night livestream including archival footage from previous editions of the festival, as well as new, original performances from the likes of Kali Uchis, Vic Mensa, Jamila Woods, Tanks and the Bangas, Pink Sweat$, H.E.R., and more. There woll be three special performances throughout the weekend - the first Porno for Pyros reunion in 24 years, a tribute to David Bowie with pianist Mike Garson, and a special performance of Kind Heaven Orchestra featuring Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins. The lineup also boasts “fan-favorite” archival sets from Paul McCartney, Metallica, The Cure, OutKast, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Lorde, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Tyler the Creator, Run the Jewels, ASAP Rocky, Chance the Rapper, Tenacious D, Cypress Hill, Jane’s Addiction, Alabama Shakes, Tove Lo, Portugal. the Man, Kehlani, LL Cool J, Princess Nokia, Polo G, and more. Lolla2020 livestream goes down Thursday, July 30th – Sunday, August 2nd beginning at 5:00 p.m, on YouTube.

No virus farming hopefully
July 20, 2020

Festival formerly known as Herd Immunity went down fine

The three-day rock festival formerly known as Herd Immunity Fest took place as planned Thursday (July 16th) through Saturday (July 18th) outside the Q&Z Expo Center in Ringle, Wisconsin, in the US. It made headlines for its name, and for the fact that it was going to be staged in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, causing some bands to drop out. Despite the problems, the festival, renamed to Mini July Fest, was held with Sponge, Flaw, Saving Abel, AC/DC cover band Thunderstuck, and Static-X filling the bill. Organizers limited tickets to 2,500 in an effort to maintain social distancing, but the photos and videos from the cornfield suggest the number of attendees was considerably less than that.

Ugandan electronic music festival Nyege Nyege will take place this year as well, from September 3 - 6, as both physical and online celebration, Fact reports. Nyege Nyege Tapes and Hakuna Kulala will be throwing a party in full compliance with COVID safety measures, featuring a stacked lineup including Afrigo Band, Jose Chameleon and East African dancehall queen Cindy, as well as a full Nyege Nyege roster including Kampire, Slikback, MC Yallah, Fulu Miziki, Nilotikaa and more. Digital edition will involve live reports from the site, 360 degree live cameras, virtual stages, an industry-focused “artists only” area, with international crews joining the party from Portugal, Canada, Spain, Palestine..

Static-X

Next month the world will see the first post-corona festival, a nu-metal fest pointedly named Herd Immunity Festival, Metal Injection reports. It's taking place in Q&Z Expo Center in Ringle, Wisconsin, July 16-18, with tickets going for $105.50. No big names there, really, just the seemingly bravest - Static-X, Nonpoint, Dope, a reunited Bobaflex, Blacktop Mojo, Royal Bliss, Flaw, Kaleido, SAUL, Versus Me, a Metallica tribute band called ONE, an AC/DC tribute band called Thunderstruck. It appears the promoter Ardent Entertainment is intending to carry on as if everything will be fine - there is no mention of social distancing practices or any assurance of sanitary precautions above and beyond the norm. However, as CoS reports, soon after the festival was announced Nonpoint dropped out, because of the name, and the festival organizers dropped the "herd" part from the fest's name.

Live Nation has set up a plan for concert season 2021 that would see artists taking more risk and financial burden, as Billboard reports. Live Nation wants to reduce artist fees by 20 percent from 2020 levels. If a festival is canceled because of poor ticket sales, the giant promoter wants the artist to get 25 percent of the guarantee (now it's a full guarantee). If an artist pulls out of a fest without good reason, Live Nation wants the artist to pay a penalty of double that guarantee (now, artists owe the promoter nothing in that case).

The World Health Organisation has issued their latest recommendations on holding mass gatherings during the current coronavirus pandemic advising that governments and local authorities can consider allowing mass gatherings to take place when it is safe to do so, Republic World reports. "Mass gatherings are not merely recreational events; they have important implications on the psychological well-being of large number of individuals (eg religious events), can play an important role in promoting healthy behaviours (eg. sports), provide employment for a great number of people, and could leave a legacy of improved assets or capacities developed as a result of hosting a mass gathering event” - WHO suggests in their latest recommendations. “Since mass gatherings have substantial political, cultural, social, and economic implications, authorities should assess the importance and necessity of an event and consider the option that it may take place, provided all associated public health risks are adequately addressed and mitigated”.

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