Following its sold-out fifth edition in January 2014, the EUROPEAN FESTIVAL AWARDS, presented in association with YOUROPE and Eurosonic Noorderslag, will return in the New Year to celebrate the successes of Europe’s music festival industry. The gala award show will open Eurosonic Noorderslag in style on Wednesday January 14 2015 at De Oosterpoort in Groningen, The Netherlands, hosted by Ben Challis. Nominations are now open and will run until September 27, 2014, during which time festivals can put themselves forward to take part in the awards, which features categories including Best Major Festival, Artists’ Favourite Festival, Headliner Of The Year, the Health & Safety Innovation Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award. This year also sees the launch of a brand new Award For Excellence And Passion, dedicated to an individual whose exceptional passion and dedication has created a truly unique and magical entity in the marketplace much bigger than the sum of acts that perform there. Festivals can apply here http://eu.festivalawards.com/apply . Decided by a combination of public vote and industry juries, the European Festival Awards are the only pan-European body solely dedicated to recognising the contributions and achievements of the event organisers and performing artists that generate billions of Euros for local economies and brighten up the summer for tens of millions of festival-goers each year. Last year’s European Festival Awards featured over 350 festivals from 32 different countries, with over 1 million votes cast. View last years winners here. Christof Huber, The General Secretary of Yourope and promoter of the Open Air St Gallen festival adds: “It’s been a very busy festival summer 2015 and we are looking forward to gather in Groningen to celebrate some of the best festivals and achievements in a friendly atmosphere“ Public voting in this year’s awards will run from October 6 – 27 2014. The final shortlists will be announced on November 10 with the winners revealed at the awards show on January 14. Tickets to the event are on-sale now. Platinum Tickets include a gala dinner are restricted to festival organisers (maximum 4 tickets per festival) until October 30, and can be purchased here http://eu.festivalawards.com/tickets. Previous special guests who have performed live have included Milky Chance, Kodaline, Jake Bugg and C2C.
Festivals organisers can now use a free online tool to check their energy performance in less than a minute. Supported by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), this simple tool asks a series of questions and provides the user with an energy rating based on industry benchmarks provided by the Julies Bicycle Industry Green Tool. The tool also provides carbon emissions attributable to fuel use, percentage of Waste Vegetable Oil (WVO) biodiesel compared to industry averages, a print-out of your results to share with staff, and links to information about how to reduce fuel use and costs. Fuel tool here.
Here’s an interesting article that relates primarily to EDM festivals – The Problem With Overproduction At Music Festivals – which argues “By continuing to escalate the degree of overproduction, festivals will eventually become obsolete. Soaring ticket prices will only make people more wary of how much they are investing in a few days’ worth of fun, and those who were once fans of the music will resort to another means of enjoying it. Festivals are merely a setting where live music is facilitated, and if it becomes more important than the music itself, many of us who stay true to the sounds will move towards hearing it in an uninfluenced environment, underground”. The thousands who went to the Insomniac promoted Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and ID&T’s Tommorrowland in Belgium may disagree!
The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has restructured its senior board, and is promising “more fire than ever before”. Alison Wenham and Ben Turner are stepping down as chair and vice chair respectively, after six years each in the roles. Turner, who is one of the original co-founders of AIF, will remain an active member of AIF, and the organisation will continue as a subsidiary of the Association of Independent Music (AIM). “We are incredibly proud of how fair AIF has come,” said Turner. “We now have a platform that promotes creativity, focuses on breaking new talent, and which cares about the future of our business united as one. “This new structure will empower many others to have more of a say, and for AIF to have more firepower than ever before,” he continued. Turner is stepping down because of a move to the States. Jim Mawdsley, CEO of music development agency Generator, replaces Wenham as Chair, with John Rostron, founder of Swn Festival, taking on the position of vice chair. Mawdsley and Rostron began their tenure on 1 September.
Virtual Festivals reports that OxfordOxford has been cancelled by organisers. The three day event, due to take place at South Park, Oxford from Friday 26 – Sunday 28 September 2014, has been cancelled due, in part, to poor local ticket sales. Gaz Coombes, Klaxons, Katy B, Christian Gregory and Celeste were all scheduled to play.
Police are looking into claims made by traders at Galtres Festival that they have been left £125,000 out of pocket, after the event’s organiser appointed administrators. North Yorkshire Police confirmed with The York Press that they’re investigating claims made by traders at the Galtres Festival, , held at Duncombe Park, Helmsley, that they have been left up to £125,000 out of pocket, in the aim of establishing whether any crime has been committed. Around 40 traders estimate they face shortfalls totalling £125,000 and they are unhappy that plans are underway for next year’s event, while they await money for this year’s event. A statement from The Nationwide Caterers Association last week linked the complaints with the implementation of a cashless payment system at the festival. The NCASS statement claimed the payment system “resulted in traders at the event receiving no money whatsoever for four 16 hour days of work.” A statement on the festival website said Galtres Festival Trading Ltd had now been placed in administration and a meeting of creditors was being organised to formalise voluntary liquidation. It said the company had significant liabilities, namely loans to the company, trade creditors including caterers and stallholders, and sums owed to staff and performers.
Festival Republic’s Melvin Benn has told Radio 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq show that the 2014 the summer had been a good one and gave him reason for optimism. Benn, who is responsible for Reading and Leeds Festivals, Latitude and Electric Picnic, joined Kendal Calling’s Andy Smith and The Great Escape’s Kat Morris for a special festival discussion and added “There have been two or three relatively high profile casualties of festivals closing, or not being able to pay the bills, that sort of stuff. Guilfest just found itself in that position recently, Jabberwocky closed before it happened, you know Camden Crawl, there have been a few relatively high profile casualties, but from my experience and, I think probably the experience of Andy [Smith] and Kat [Morris] as well, we’ve all had particularly good years really”.
Andy Smith, Director of Cumbria’s Kendal Calling, was asked ahead of his festival’s tenth anniversary, if organising it had got harder or easier as they got larger? “It was a lot harder when we were starting out because we didn’t have the budget to get the talent that we wanted, we didn’t have the budget to get the decor or the nice site. So the larger we’ve got the more resources we’ve had.” Benn also commented on the increased costs involved in booking artists and headline acts and confirmed that the rise in headliner fees from 2004 to 2014 has been 400 per cent.” Morris commented on The Great Escape’s city based festival experience and the challenge of mounting them every year saying “You have to work within the constraints of the city, so to speak. Lots of the venues that we use might close or change hands between each year and then there’s council restrictions, local residents, etectra, so working within the constraints of the city is a challenge and obviously the landscape of a city changes which we can’t control.” More here.
Steve Lamacq’s festival special also listed the five acts to play the most festivals this summer who are:
1) Clean Bandit (24)
2) Wilkinson (18)
3) Foxes (17)
4) The Wytches (15)
5) Dreadzone (14)
And finally, promoting The Fall’s forthcoming appearance at Salford Festival, frontman Mark E Smith has slammed festivals for becoming ‘totally over-priced’. He added “The Fall aren’t really a festival band” and “We’re a city group, and we prefer to perform in cities. Festivals have become totally over-priced; they’re all about charging 900 quid a ticket so these rich parents can send Jemima and Tarquin for a nice weekend away.”