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Sawdusty Surfer

Future of festivals...

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I listened to most of (shonky internet so missed bits) a quite interesting online Zoom type discussion by a few movers and shakers in the UK and European festival scene this afternoon. Just wish Chris Tofu had been involved as well.

Sorry if it has already been posted.

 elsewhere. Hope the link works. Everything below is copied and pasted.

he 2020 festival summer will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

With much of the season already cancelled, and the rest awaiting their fate, how are Europe’s festival elite coping? In unprecedented circumstances, what’s been learnt, and how have such monumental challenges been faced? And looking to the autumn and beyond, what does the road the recovery look like for the vital summer sector?

Greg Parmley (ILMC) hosted our second IQ Focus virtual panel - Festival Forum: Here Comes '21 - with guest speakers...

Jim King (AEG Presents)
Stephan Thanscheidt (FKP Scorpio)
Rachael Greenfield (Bloodstock Open Air)
Anders Wahren (Roskilde Festival)
Mathieu Jaton (Montreux Jazz Festival)

Make sure you follow IQ to get get notified about the next IQ Focus session.

https://www.facebook.com/iqmag.net/?__tn__=%2CdkCH-R-R&eid=ARDfWQlYHvGJuQPbPOjkS7DDKqD3jx4JWcZ5nC6pYkabxs-li69wwjwRCIwuFHg1BIvOlJ7uolr-FHN_&hc_ref=ARSLaQBpsORWu-t1Udjn5Y_rDXTVWnKDlj0bva7LWHmUJbhVBoNVZMgXic5pGT7k54k&hc_location=group

 

 

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Thanks Sawdusty - really interesting stuff! Great that gigs like Bloodstock is running over 95% of bands and over 90% of tickets. 

39 mins in though...Gotta say, I kind of agree with Jim 😕

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15 hours ago, Sasperella said:

39 mins in though...Gotta say, I kind of agree with Jim 😕

Yes - to summarise, he basically agreed with everyone that social distancing simply isn't possible or desirable at a festival, also the current alternative is impossible: everyone is wrapped in PPE with a lot of hygiene facilities in place. He said that unless there's some other solution  (vaccine or a medicine to cure people easily), then next May will be like this May re: festivals. 

Not thought about it like that, but he is right.

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4 minutes ago, hfuhruhurr said:

Yes - to summarise, he basically agreed with everyone that social distancing simply isn't possible or desirable at a festival, also the current alternative is impossible: everyone is wrapped in PPE with a lot of hygiene facilities in place. He said that unless there's some other solution  (vaccine or a medicine to cure people easily), then next May will be like this May re: festivals. 

Not thought about it like that, but he is right.

he is absolutely correct , not a nice thought going forward , but whats the point of a festival without the freedom and community spirit that makes the experience so magical .

my hopes and tickets for that matter are dependent on the whole world pulling together without the red tape and coming up with a treatment or a vaccine for this virus 

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4 hours ago, hfuhruhurr said:

Yes - to summarise, he basically agreed with everyone that social distancing simply isn't possible or desirable at a festival, also the current alternative is impossible: everyone is wrapped in PPE with a lot of hygiene facilities in place. He said that unless there's some other solution  (vaccine or a medicine to cure people easily), then next May will be like this May re: festivals. 

Not thought about it like that, but he is right.

I don't know much about organising festivals, and I tend to be a bit on the pessimistic side regarding next summer, but who will leave it as late as May to make the call?

I have no idea what, if any (but presumably some) losses have been incurred with this year's cancellations. What festival could afford that risk again? A call is going to have to be made by festival organisers later this year about what should happen next summer. Who would take that chance given all the uncertainty? Will there be acts to book? Will insurance and h&s requirements be met? Will councils give licenses?  And even if every box is ticked, what festival could financially take another hit like this year should the virus flare up again?

Like I say, I'm on the pessimistic side of the fence so take my comments with a grain of salt if you like, but I'll be surprised if next summer is business as usual. 

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Good stuff...I think one of three things has to happen before we see a return to big festivals 1) A vaccine is widely available 2) Much better treatment options or 3) The virus plays itself out (mutates to a less deadly format).  I just don't see the current medical situation and social distancing options working for big festivals/concerts. All-in-all, 2021 is possible but I wouldn't bet my life savings on it.

That said, I do think we will figure it out at some point.  On a positive note...

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/05/dave-grohl-irreplaceable-thrill-rock-show/611113/?utm_source=pocket-newtab

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Future of festivals to be discussed today at 3.00pm BST on BBC News Channel. Going to be a couple of festival organisers talking and will be fielding questions from the public. Ask questions by email or Twitter.

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On 5/15/2020 at 1:19 PM, Big durbs said:

Very interesting stuff ! fingers crossed for next year

I think you have a point here. It could be that next year is in doubt too. I hope not but I'd say a strong possibility. 

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8 hours ago, semmtexx said:

I think you have a point here. It could be that next year is in doubt too. I hope not but I'd say a strong possibility. 

On a positive note, CV19 is a form of SARS , and when we were under threat of that , it just dissipated in the summer heat and never came to much , I appreciate this is a very different animal, BUT , there is the outside chance it will just do one and bugger off on its own accord . 

Fingers firmly crossed 

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18 minutes ago, Big durbs said:

On a positive note, CV19 is a form of SARS , and when we were under threat of that , it just dissipated in the summer heat and never came to much , I appreciate this is a very different animal, BUT , there is the outside chance it will just do one and bugger off on its own accord . 

Fingers firmly crossed 

Fingers firmly crossed here too pal. I like that - ‘cv19 to do one and bugger off!’

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I think if festivals do bite the dust again next year we'll all have even bigger worries economically. 

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8 hours ago, Mouseboy11 said:

I think if festivals do bite the dust again next year we'll all have even bigger worries economically. 

i think it's very likely a few will bite the dust before next summer (no matter what they're saying now) as so many are on a knife-edge financially in normal times.

Without wishing ill on any event, I'm not sure that'll be a bad thing for festivals as a whole. A little less competition should help make others that bit more viable in the longer term.

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41 minutes ago, Neil said:

i think it's very likely a few will bite the dust before next summer (no matter what they're saying now) as so many are on a knife-edge financially in normal times.

Without wishing ill on any event, I'm not sure that'll be a bad thing for festivals as a whole. A little less competition should help make others that bit more viable in the longer term.

I agree with your competition point but my worry would be the smaller festivals going ala 2000 trees and slam dunk as they’re independent and we’re left with the big festivals with no competition and less appealing bigger festivals. 

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1 minute ago, foolee said:

I agree with your competition point but my worry would be the smaller festivals going ala 2000 trees and slam dunk as they’re independent and we’re left with the big festivals with no competition and less appealing bigger festivals. 

I'm pretty sure the likes of 2000trees will be fine. They've launched a crowdfunder and I'm pretty sure I've seen they're well on the way to their target.  Many other festivals have done similar, so those with strong loyalty should be fine.

That sort of loyalty tends to come from a uniqueness with what they do - so hopefully the best should survive.

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Bad businesses will die and good businesses will thrive during these times. 

The festivals that have put the work in and actually give a shit about their customers will be OK.

The money grabbing festivals that treat clientele badly will fold. 

Whilst I don’t wish anybody lose their livelihood, this will hopefully mean a correction so that all festivals are focused on delivering the best product possible, which ultimately means a better experience for us all. 

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1 hour ago, nikkic said:

Bad businesses will die and good businesses will thrive during these times. 

nah, it doesn't really work quite like that, unfortunately. 

There's all sorts of factors in the mix, such as what would have been very good business decisions in normal circumstances (such as big investments) becoming very bad decisions because of a very-unexpected set of circumstances.

And of course there's the enthusiasm factors, too. Some might end up giving up because this summer's wipe-out was one too many knocks for them (perhaps after very bad weather last year impacted hard on them).

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3 hours ago, Neil said:

nah, it doesn't really work quite like that, unfortunately.

It really is like that, as you've alluded to earlier in the thread.....
 

6 hours ago, Neil said:

i think it's very likely a few will bite the dust before next summer (no matter what they're saying now) as so many are on a knife-edge financially in normal times.

You simply can't operate on a knife-edge year after year in normal times, as many festivals have done. Eventually something will happen to cause the business to fold. 

The pandemic has simply sped up that process for a lot of bad businesses. 

The ones who will survive, the good businesses, will be the those who either.....

A. Have cash reserves to see them through

Or 

B. Have built up enough of a reputation and/or good will from their punters that they can get some sort of investment to keep them going. Whether that's private investment, tickets rolled over or crowdfunding. 

 

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Lots of good (and depressing) points of view. Been hearing rumours that when the rescheduled Cochella gets cancelled, they’re thinking of moving it to October 2021 and not bothering with April 2021, presumably to give it the best chance of going ahead. While Glasto dates are last weekend in June every year, do we think they could move it to later in the summer next year to give it a better chance of going ahead? 

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39 minutes ago, TorontoScot said:

Lots of good (and depressing) points of view. Been hearing rumours that when the rescheduled Cochella gets cancelled, they’re thinking of moving it to October 2021 and not bothering with April 2021, presumably to give it the best chance of going ahead. While Glasto dates are last weekend in June every year, do we think they could move it to later in the summer next year to give it a better chance of going ahead? 

I was thinking this the other day. We're actually only 10 months away from the same point they made the call this year.  

They must be thinking about a contingency for moving it later at least. 

 

 

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Expect by January to have a clearer picture of what things are going to be like for 2021. If events can't go ahead next year expect a lot of festivals to fold, also expect most venues to close as well.

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27 minutes ago, Leyrulion said:

I was thinking this the other day. We're actually only 10 months away from the same point they made the call this year.  

They must be thinking about a contingency for moving it later at least. 

 

 

Obviously no idea if they'd do it, but I'd like to see 2021 moved to late August. Everyone that I've spoken to that are involved to a greater or lesser extent are saying this. Don't want to sound like a doom monger but it is what it is. x

Edited by Sawdusty Surfer

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20 minutes ago, Sawdusty Surfer said:

Obviously no idea if they'd do it, but I'd like to see 2021 moved to late August. Everyone that I've spoken to that are involved to a greater or lesser extent are saying this. Don't want to sound like a doom monger but it is what it is. x

I wonder if there will be a cut off point as to when they have to commit to booking artists for the late June weekend...if they agree to move it early enough (I.e before the resale) it perhaps gives more of a chance of it going ahead! 

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