Ministry of Sound has announced six weeks of reopening parties.The series will kick off on June 25, running from 10pm to 6am every Friday and Saturday through to July 31.
On Instagram, Ministry of Sound wrote: “our opening six weeks of parties will celebrate the sounds of the UK with an extra emphasis on homegrown superstars.”
Its website adds: “We’ve come a long, long way together, and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Dust off your raving shoes, call your friends, cancel your Zoom subscription and let’s never speak of quizzes, banana bread or Joe Wicks ever again. It’s Summer 2021 and it’s time for a FUCKING PARTY.
“Line ups are being finalised as we speak and we’ll update you as soon as we can. For the moment all you need to know is: Friday 25th and Saturday 26th June, 10PM – 6AM, bring your crew, we’ll do the rest. Let’s have it!”
Any ticket purchases will be eligible for a full refund or transferable to a later date if there is any delay on the government’s roadmap to easing lockdown restrictions which means the event cannot go ahead as unplanned.
Earlier this month Printworks announced plans to go “back to basics” for three reopening parties on September 17, 18 and 19, which will be “a pure celebration of club culture” with no line-ups announced in advance and a rule of no social media, no cameras and no distractions.
Read our guide to what nightclubs are opening here.
A longtime staple of the New York house scene, DJ Carlos Sanchez, has passed away. The news comes three years after the likes of Francois K, DJ Spinna and Soul Clap played a fundraiser event to cover the medical expenses of Sanchez, who had been diagnosed with kidney failure in 2018.
Sanchez produced under his given name and the Carlos Sanchez Movement, and released the bulk of his music via New York-based house label Maxi Records. He also worked as a professor at Pace University, where he taught a World Music & The Underground course. Sanchez additionally played a pivotal role in the underground dance music community as a promoter, and heavily influenced the programming at New York clubs Leviticus and Save The Robots.
Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are all the rage in the music industry right now.
DJs like 3LAU and Steve Aoki have sold theirs for seven-figure sums. Kings Of Leon just racked up around $2 million selling them bundled with their new album. And, ever the auteur, Grimes recently sold a bunch of NFT-affiliated artwork for around $6 million in just 20 minutes.
The dirty little secret of these types of transactions? People are buying unique digital collectibles – but they typically aren’t buying underlying copyrights. And considering most digital art (including music) can be easily replicated with a swipe of an iPhone, questions are getting louder over the uniqueness of the assets those splashing large sums on NFTs are actually securing.
As Pitchfork described it earlier this month: “Born out of the visual art world, NFTs create a sense of scarcity that’s inherently artificial – the token is rare, not the artwork itself.”
That all may be about to change.
Bluebox is a suite of blockchain-based tools launched by distribution and services company Ditto Music.
Bluebox uses the blockchain to record full or fractional ownership of recorded music and/or publishing copyrights, and splits royalty payments accordingly. Ditto believes the platform will lead to “higher collection rates [while] massively reducing the loss of earnings currently experienced by artists”.
NFTs are the final piece of this puzzle. This Thursday (March 18), UK artist Big Zuu is selling 75% of the rights to a song on his forthcoming album, divided up into several different chunks and wrapped up into NFTs.
Another Ditto-affiliated act, Taylor Bennett – brother of Chancelor ‘Chance The Rapper’ Bennett – is selling 75% of the rights to one of his upcoming recordings, also through separate NFTs.
Both artists are holding on to 25% of their respective copyrights.
According to Ditto Music co-founder and CEO, Lee Parsons, where this gets interesting is after these NFT sales have been completed. Because it means multiple people will be able to automatically collect digital royalties from their share of this music, via Bluebox.
“This year Bluebox is launching both a copyright exchange and an IRO ‘initial release offering’ platform,” he explains. “Similar to sites like Polkastarter or Coinlist – where blockchain projects harness power of community to fund initial offerings – Bluebox IRO will let artists pre-sell music to a community who will then be able to own a piece of their art, as an NFT.”
For shrewd collectors, this creates the opportunity to buy “shares” in an artist’s work before it’s even been released – also creating an alternative source of funding for the artists themselves.
“TO THE BEST OF OUR KNOWLEDGE, THIS IS THE FIRST TRUE MUSIC COPYRIGHT NFT.”
LEE PARSONS, BLUEBOX / DITTO
NFTs, says Parsons, are the missing component to make this process run smoothly.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first true music copyright NFT,” says Parsons of the upcoming sales from Big Zuu and Taylor Bennett. “As a true copyright NFT, both the creators of these copyrights and their NFT investors will be paid monthly royalties from streaming stores via a Bluebox wallet.
“Right now this is only possible on Bluebox’s architecture. The NFTs will also be eligible to trade on the upcoming Bluebox NFT exchange.”
The famous London nightclub has announced a 42-hour reopening weekend, with its Friday session running from 10pm-10am and its Saturday session running from 10pm right through until 4am the following Monday.
Two UK festival directors have called on the government to tell fans and artists that getting vaccinated is a requirement to attend music festivals this summer.
Josh Robinson, events director of drum ‘n’ bass festival Hospitality Weekend in the Woods, said: “A lot of us want to urge government to follow the example set up already in other areas, like travel, where people will have to show proof of vaccination or of a recent test.”
Gareth Williams, director of folk festival Cropredy, said: “What we really need is for government to say everybody needs a vaccination to get in. We need that clarity, rather than each having to go to people and explain.”
Hospitality Weekend in the Woods sold 16,000 tickets in five hours for its debut edition. Robinson said: “The demand is pretty unbelievable. It would normally have taken eight or nine months to sell that many. The roadmap has given fans the impetus to start buying, which is great, but we are operating like a bank or something, in a strange scenario where we are just holding people’s money in case we have to return it.”
As well as the potential of lockdown restrictions being extended and cancellation being enforced, the health and safety procedures are causing a headache for organisers who want clear directions outlined by the government in order to confirm plans.
There will be two stages, one outdoors in a field during the day and the second inside a natural cave (pictured) for night. Savage cofounder Ouissam recently played in this cave for a special stream with local platforms Phoq Creative Studio and Phoq TV. Later this year or 2022, Savage hopes to throw an edition of Equation Festival at this location.
The Hanoi venue has been closed since February due to pandemic restrictions but it plans to reopen next week. As of March 5th, Vietnam recorded six new COVID-19 infections, bringing the national caseload to 2,494, according to official data.
Gilles Peterson’s festival will return to the Cambridgeshire countryside on August 19-22 and boasts a wealth of live music and DJ talent that spans jazz, house, disco, grime, dubstep, dub, rap, r’n’b, drum ‘n’ bass, jungle and techno.
The line-up is embarrassingly good with the likes of Alfa Mist, Children of Zeus, dBridge, KOKOROKO, Nubya Garcia, Overmono and Yussef Dayes just a few of the live acts playing.
DJs include SHERELLE, Mala, DJ Storm, Colleen Murphy, ANZ, Joy Orbison and Kahn & Neek, not to mention many others.
It’s hard to pick our favourites from the line-up so just check out who’s been announced below. The curation is no joke!
Alabaster dePlume / Alfa Mist / Ashley Henry / Black Country, New Road / Children of Zeus / Corto.Alto / Crazy P / Dan Kye / dBridge presents Black Electric LIVE / Demae / Diabolical Liberties / Ebi Soda / Ego / Ella May / Emma-Jean Thackray / Erika de Casier Ezra Collective / Goya Gumbani / Greentea Peng / IG Culture presents LCSM / Joe Armon-Jones / Jose James – performing The Dreamer / KOKOROKO / Leon Vynehall / Levitation Orchestra / Lex Amor / Lovescene / Lynda Dawn / Matthew Halsall Melt Yourself Down / Moses Boyd / Nick Walters & The Paradox Ensemble / Nubiyan Twist / Nubya Garcia / Overmono / Puma Blue / Sahra Gure / Sarathy Korwar / Secret Night Gang / Shackleton / Sons of Kemet / Steam Down / STR4TA / The Colours That Rise / The Heliocentrics / Tyson / Wu-lu / Yussef Dayes
DJ sets from:
25 years of BBE / Addison Groove / Afronaught / Al Wootton / Alexander Nut / Andreya Triana / ANZ / Appleblim / Aqwea / Benji B / Bradley Zero / Call Super / Channel One / Charlie Dark / Coco Maria / Colin Curtis / Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy / Dan Shake / Danuka / Dennis Bovell / DJ Flight / DJ Paulette / DJ Storm / Donna Leake / Dr Banana / Dubkasm / El-B / Eliza Rose / Fabio & Grooverider / Faith – Terry Farley, Stu Paterson & Dave Jarvis / Floating Points / Gilles Peterson / Global Roots / Idjut Boys / Iration Steppas / IZCO / Jamz Supernova / Joy Orbison / Kahn & Neek / Kev Beadle / Kira Robin / Kruder & Dorfmeister / LAANi LEFTO / Lemon Lounge DJs / Loefah / Luke Una / Mala / Matthew Herbert / MLE / Mr Redley / Mr Scruff / On the Corner Soundsystem / Patrick Forge / Poly-Ritmo / Rebecca Vasmant/ Shannen SP / Sherelle / Shy One / Sophie Callis / Swing Ting / Tarzsa / Tash LC / Tina Edwards / Touching Bass – Errol & Alex Rita / Zed Bias
It goes without saying that the UK is home to Europe’s most diverse festival scene. From hosting metal weekends in muddy rural fields to dance music in Northern warehouses, it has it all.
Reading and Leeds attracted thousands of devotees year upon year to its two sites based in the north and south of England, along with swathes of young people fresh out of school.
When festival honcho Melvin Benn announced that the bank holiday weekend blowout will be going ahead, ticket sales went through the roof.
Traditionally a rockier affair, the festival has worked hard to create a patchwork of genres to appeal to as many people as possible over the years. Most memorably, Billie Eillish played to her largest ever crowd back on 2019’s main stage following the prolific success of her debut album.
This summer people can expect to see the likes of Stormzy, Post Malone, Liam Gallagher, and Doja Cat – and that’s just the bare bones of a lineup that is constantly being updated.
A successful vaccination rollout means that most attendees should be good to go. Those that haven’t been vaccinated will be expected to do a live COVID test in front of a doctor in the days prior, which will provide them with a ‘health passport’ of sorts for entry.
It’s looking as though a similar system could be implemented internationally in order to ensure maximum safety.
2) Sziget Festival
Where is it?
When is it?
Organisers are finalising dates, but traditionally the second weekend of August.
A truly global experience, people of over 100 nationalities travel every year to spend time amongst Budapest’s landscape, accompanied by music from almost as many countries. Entitled the ‘island of freedom’, this is one for those that enjoy a bit of arts and culture mixed in with their chart toppers.
This year Hungary’s biggest and brightest is shrouded in mystery.
Ticket holders from last year’s cancellation have been fortunate enough to be offered guaranteed entry this year, but there is little information on who is playing so far. The last festival was lucky enough to play host to The 1975, Ed Sheeran, and Florence + The Machine as headliners. If that’s anything to go by, you can expect a real combo.
We’ll be honest – we don’t know much else. But the website maintains that there will be a Sziget 2021 and we want to believe them!
Rebranded as Exit 2.0 given last year’s wave of cancellations, this year’s dance masterpiece celebrates its 20th anniversary with performances from David Guetta, DJ Snake and a back to back set from Four Tet and Eric Prydz.
Surrounded by incredible woodlands, Exit festival has grown lots since it’s inception back in 2001. It prides itself on being a stimulus to the Balkan creative industries, with an emphasis on being an environmentally conscious place to enjoy your favourite dance artists.
It’s incredible value for money too – €109 euros gets you four days in the city of Novi Sad, with an extra camping supplement for €30.
A more diverse festival when it comes to activities, We Love Green offers a selection of music, comedy, art and talks. There’s even a dedicated area to tasting the best Parisian food stalls.
WLG has had its entire roster of artists carried over to 2021, so those attending will be fortunate enough to experience dance duo Disclosure and rapper of the moment Bad Bunny. Eclectic British legends Gorillaz have the entire first night dedicated to a special concert experience that promises a range of surprise guests.
Given they have collaborated with everybody from St.Vincent to Skepta on their recent project, it’s not one to miss.
5) Tomorrowland Festival
Where is it?
When is it?
TBC – but traditionally the final two weekends of July
You only need to look at the famously gargantuan set designs of this festival to know that it is the place to be. Tomorrowland prides itself on taking people on a mystical, EDM-driven journey filled with dragons, stained glass dancefloors and circus tents.
In fact, it’s so in demand that the whole thing gets a do-over one weekend after the other – Coachella style.
Arguably the world’s most famous dance music festival, many DJ’s play the best sets of their careers to crowds amassing 400,000 people. We don’t know a huge amount about Tomorrowland’s plans for 2021 but as of yet its organisers say preparations are ‘ongoing’.
If all goes to plan you can expect it to be bigger and better than ever.
Given the newest cancellation of neighbouring festival Primavera which takes place a month prior, people are now relying on Mad Cool to bring the best artists over to Spain for the summer.
As one of Europe’s newest big names, in its five short years Mad Cool has attracted some real game-changing performances. This year you can expect to enjoy Haim, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Cardi B and Twenty One Pilots in the Spanish heat, but there are well over 100 different acts to choose from that’ll keep your schedule jam packed.
And it will cost you just a fraction of your average Iberian getaway for a four day stretch.
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Festivals are beginning to be announced for August and September, with smaller festivals confident that they are nimble enough to adapt to date changes and the latest safety measures in order for them to go ahead.
Festivals in the UK and elsewhere in Europe are being announced. Organisers hope that the vaccine, rapid testing and the reduced risk of infection outdoors will mean that festivals can go head this summer. You will of course need to pack twice the amount of hand sanitiser, plenty of wet wipes and your best designer face masks.
Read on for our guide to music festivals in 2021 including a list of which ones have been announced.
CAN MUSIC FESTIVALS GO AHEAD?
In current circumstances, with the UK and Europe in lockdown, festivals cannot go ahead.
However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that festivals can resume from June 21, provided that the UK keeps its coronavirus infection, death and hospital admission rates down.
As it stands, the majority of music festivals are currently being announced for late August and September, with a few notable exceptions.
This is in line with the roll-out of the vaccine in Europe – the UK government has said it would like to have all adults vaccinated by the end of July and other countries such as Spain have been vocal in saying they want to get their population vaccinated while also working on opening up to tourists and using a COVID passport to help do so.
UK festival dates are also in line with the government’s roadmap to ‘normality’, which says that nightclubs and festivals could open up from June 21.
WHEN WILL MUSIC FESTIVALS RETURN?
Major UK festivals such as Parklife, Boomtown and Eastern Electrics will happen in late August and September.
London festivals that have been announced for September include the Mighty Hoopla, Cross The Tracks and Hospitality In The Woods.
Junction 2 remains scheduled for early June while it’s sister event Ion will take place in Albania in mid September.
The organisers behind Newsam Park and Mint Festival are adamant the events will happen this summer (July and September respectively).
Headroom in Wales will happen at the end of July.
Glasgow festivals TRNSMT and Riverside are set for July and September respectively.