festival republic

Festival Republic eyes new event in Scotland

Scone Palace

Scone Palace. Photo as seen on Facebook

An application for a new music festival has been submitted to the councillors of Perth and Kinross for Scone Palace in Scotland. The project is led by Festival Republic. The music event organiser has applied for a public entertainment licence to host an event in May 2018.

The new festival comes in to fill the gap created by T in the Park, which was cancelled this year.“We can confirm that Festival Republic has applied to host an event at Scone Palace to be held in May 2018. At this stage we have no further comment,” a spokeswoman for Scone Palace, told The Courier.

The councillors of Perth and Kinross will consider the application for Scone Palace at a meeting of the council’s licensing committee on Thursday 7 December.

The Courier reported that Festival Republic applied for a one-off licence. It is uncertain whether the event will only take place in 2018 or it might be a case of the organiser is testing the venture.

Big footfall

Scone Palace is home to the 30,000 capacity Rewind Scotland, the festival run by The Rival Organisation and Into The Groove. Access understand that Festival Republic could only run an event for a maximum capacity of 25,000 people per day, inclusive artists and staff.

Access also understands that the proposal considers two stages, bars and funfair rides. It has been reported that Festival Republic is planning for a public car parking facility, a pick-up and drop-off point for cars and taxis and a shuttle bus service. Camping would also be an option for festivalgoers.

The cancellation of T in the Park, prompted the launch of TRNSMT. The new Scottish festival was staged on Glasgow Green this year with success. The festival will return next years and will be held over two weekends.

Geoff Ellis of DF Concerts, the organiser of T, has not ruled out the return of the festival, however, it is believed that its relaunch would be as a smaller camping festival somewhere else in Scotland.

Festival Republic will have to present a complete management plan prior to the event.

Festival Republic adds Finsbury Park show

Queens Of The Stone Age

Queens Of The Stone Age to headline Finsbury Park show in 2018

Organiser Festival Republic has announced a new show to take place at Finsbury Park next year (30 June). Named “Queens of the Stone Age and Friends’, the one-day festival will see headliners QOTSA share the stage with Iggy Pop, Run the Jewels and the Hives. The full line-up is yet to be announced.

The show “Queens of the Stone Age and Friends’ takes place the day after Liam Gallagher’s headline gig in Finsbury Park (29 June).

Festival Republic is the driving force behind Wireless and Community Festival, two events that have been held in Finsbury Park, in Harringay, north London, for many years.

Access understands that the announcement of the QOTSA gig follows the unsuccessful appeal by Friends of Finsbury Park – a residents’ group – for Wireless to be banned.

Wireless is an annual music event that has been held in Finsbury Park since 2014. Residents have argued that anti-social behaviour is somewhat inherent to its festivalgoers.

The opposition to large-scale music shows is also based on the damage caused by the footfall the event brings to the 115-acre site. It’s believed that Wireless had attracted 45,000 people a day. The group is also concerned that the festival restricts access to the public space.

It’s the second consecutive move by Friends of Finsbury Park against Wireless. In 2016 the residents’ group challenged a judge’s decision that allowed Haringey Council to hire out the park for large-scale events, however, the case was dismissed.

Wireless 2017 brought to the stage a line-up made up of Chance the Rapper, Nas, Skepta and The Weeknd, to name a few.

Access understands that Friends of Finsbury Park has applied for permission to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Festival Republic to trial campsite waste project at Reading

Festival Republic, the Knowledge Transfer Network and Julie’s Bicycle are trialling a campsite waste project at Reading Festival 2015.

The project will test festivalgoers’ interest in additional camping services, such as tent cleaning and packing away, designed to add value to tents and camping equipment, encouraging festivalgoers to treat their equipment better and ultimately take it away at the end of the festival.

In a survey conducted by Festival Republic, discoveries led to 30% of Reading Festival attendees leaving their tents and camping equipment, with 79% reasoning they were ‘too tired’ after the festival, whilst 59% viewed tents and camping equipment as ‘cheap and easily replaceable’.

To address this, Festival Republic, not-for-profit environmental sustainability organisation Julie’s Bicycle, outdoor and leisure retailer Blacks, and design and sustainability consultancy WeAllDesign are collaborating to understand this behavioural issue and to trial alternative services at Reading Festival 2015.

This group was brought together by the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) and their trial is made possible by a grant of £20,000 from Innovate UK.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, said: “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with KTN and Julie’s Bicycle, tackling camp site waste is an issue we’re extremely focused on changing. This trial at Reading Festival 2015 will see brand-new services available that will aide keeping camping equipment in the long run. We’re excited for the outcome and moving this initiative forward.”

Alison Tickell, founder and CEO of Julie’s Bicycle, added: “Re-thinking our work so that environmental impacts are addressed as a matter of course is not only better for our planet – it’s better for our long term business prospects too. This project brings together the key protagonists who can help to make our festivals more sustainable, in every sense.”

Frank Boyd, director of creative, design and digital Industries at the Knowledge Transfer Network, which brought together the group, said: “As is so often the case with a big challenge like this, the solution can be found when you bring together different expertise and abilities.

“The KTN exists to help bring businesses and people together for this very purpose. We’re delighted that the work we’ve been doing with partners on this problem has meant that, with the support of funding from our sponsoring body Innovate UK, we are bringing to fruition a project that could be transformative for festivals in the UK and beyond.”

After every Reading Festival, volunteers take part in a salvage operation to scour camp sites recovering tents, sleeping bags and camping equipment left behind at the end of the festival. In 2013, 20 tonnes of reusable items were rescued from Reading Festival camp sites and in 2014, 19 tonnes were salvaged.

Blog: Attitude is Everything and Festival Republic’s flourishing partnership

Reading was my first ever festival and 2015 will be my 27th year there. At the attendance of my Silver Anniversary, I was treated with champagne, cakes and a party in the accessible campsite!

Myself, Attitude is Everything (AiE) and Festival Republic have always had a special relationship; this is due to [Festival Republic MD] Melvin Benn being such a supporter and advocate of improving access, and myself nagging him about making improvements since the late eighties.

Since 2005, AiE has been working closely with Festival Republic to improve access across all of their festivals, but in particular, we have some innovative services at Latitude, Leeds and Reading Festivals, which the two organisations have developed together.

Benn approached me with a unique idea of having AiE volunteers onsite at these three festivals. He asked us to assist with the stewarding of the accessible campsites and running an Information Tent staffed with our volunteers, as well as to work in partnership with Oxfam so that they had deaf and disabled stewards working in their team.

This idea was appealing for a few reasons. Many people’s first work experience in the music industry is volunteering, so why couldn’t deaf and disabled people be offered the same opportunity?

Benn also wanted to have peace of mind knowing that his disabled customers would be supported onsite by a set of disabled volunteers who had expertise in and empathy for the realities of being on a festival site.

Both AiE and Festival Republic saw it as an opportunity to make the recruiting, training and delivery of services by stewarding companies more open, inclusive and accessible to everyone who wanted to volunteer. This is something which Oxfam has really taken on board and prided itself in; the Attitude is Everything Information Tent in the accessible campsite and publicity in the official programmes gives us a public profile to all Festival Republic customers.

Our staff and volunteer team really make an impact on disabled customers:

“I have just returned from a great weekend at Latitude Festival and wanted to say a BIG thank you to Attitude is Everything for running such a wonderfully supportive campsite for me and all the disabled festival goers. Gideon (our senior projects manager) and the team worked so hard to make things run smoothly. I very much appreciated their presence.”

Over 10 years, Attitude is Everything have created almost 500 opportunities for deaf and disabled people to work at festivals.

In 2014, more than 700 deaf and disabled people attended Latitude, Reading and Leeds festivals combined.

In terms of facilities for disabled customers, some notable examples are:

• Both Reading and Leeds have viewing platforms at every major stage, with two at the Main and NME stages
• There are interchangeable Personal Assistant lanyards so that disabled customers can sit with different friends throughout the festival – this was in response to disabled customers telling them that a big part of their experience was enjoying the festival with all of their friends
• Latitude had a ‘high dependency’ toilet cabin with a hoist for the first time in 2015. Reading will also have this facility

And if you may be thinking that deaf people aren’t into live music, the deaf audience for Reading Festival is increasing due to the presence of the British Sign Language interpreting service, which was founded by one of our Information Tent volunteers.

In 2014, 12 main stage bands were interpreted in sign language over the weekend and the festival plans on increasing this service in future years.

If you’re onsite at Reading and Leeds 2015, please come and say hello!

In pictures: Stageco’s ‘Kinetic Cathedral’ at Electric Daisy Carnival

More than 35,000 revellers flocked to Milton Keynes National Bowl on Saturday (11 July) for Electric Daisy Carnival, which featured a ‘Kinetic Cathedral’ stage by Stageco.

The British edition of the dance music event featured sets from dance legends Tiësto, Paul van Dyk, Hardwell, Ferry Corsten and Steve Aoki.

Taking place the National Bowl in Milton Keynes, the stage measured around 28 metres tall and nearly 100 metres wide

The kinetic energy-themed design featured giant owls bookending the stage, art installations and a diverse range of special effects including around 3,000 pyrotechnic sequences.

Electric Daisy Carnival was originated in the US by Los Angeles-based production company Insomniac, which recently announced plans to expand the Electric Daisy Carnival experience to Brazil and Japan.

Insomniac’s main players on the ground at the UK show were production director Alyxzander Bear and festival experience director Conor Bowes, while production manager Neil McDonald and project manager Jen-e Jones handled the local aspects on behalf of promoter Festival Republic.

McDonald said: “With respect to the acts, this is one of the few events that you can confidently say is more about the audience and the spectacle than anything else. It’s one of the hottest events out there right now.

“EDC’s approach to creativity is more familiar to America and Europe than the UK. I don’t think the UK had previously seen a dance event with such a creative drive to it and, of course, that impacts tremendously on the design of the stages and the site, and the whole approach to the event.

“Here at Milton Keynes, they’ve borrowed from a model that has been a tremendous success in America, drawing 135,000 people a day in Las Vegas [where Insomniac presented the ‘largest stage in the world’]. In consultancy with Stageco’s team, Insomniac worked out how that Stageco structure would accommodate all of the scenic elements, such as the owls. What we’ve done here is to effectively mimic what they’ve achieved in America, using as much European-based production as was feasible, although it still entailed six containers of equipment coming over from the States.”

Led by Wies Baaten, Stageco’s crew of 12 arrived on-site three days before the show to unload 17 trailers of equipment and begin the stage build, with assistance from 12 local climbers and 10 stagehands from Showstars.

“Having worked on EDC’s Las Vegas edition, the Milton Keynes stage has been quite easy to build, particularly because the climate allows us to work during the day, which isn’t the case in Vegas,” said Paul Van Belle, Stageco’s head of technicians at the event.

“It’s a very beautiful structure and what I particularly like is the absence of skins – it’s completely open. So it’s all about our black steel, the scaffolding and decking, although we also assist with other aspects of the set such as Jora Entertainment’s cladding, the video screens, the DJ booth with its scaffolding, PRG’s stage lighting and Britannia Row’s PA hangs.

“Our first concern is the base structure – if you don’t do it properly, especially with a stage design like this, you’ll run into serious trouble. These days, we work with a theodolite that helps us to ensure we are completely level. It’s very time consuming but essential.

“The only significant issue for us is time pressure – to have the grids up in the air, ready for production after the second day, and then have the entire structure completed within three days. It’s a bit of a push but we get there. Until our structure is in place, everyone is just waiting around.”

McDonald added: “From my perspective as a production manager, it’s the best green field site to work on in the UK,” he said, “but it is also great for the audience because it was purpose designed to meet all the criteria.”

Bennett Sell-Kline for Insomniac 3 kineticCATHEDRAL 3 MC kineticCATHEDRAL 1 MC kineticCATHEDRAL 2 MC Neil McDonald + Jen-e Jones MC Jake West for Insomniac 6 kineticCATHEDRAL 4 MC kineticCATHEDRAL 5 MC kineticCATHEDRAL Rear MC Paul Van Belle Stageco MC