Danish music festivals gearing up for a fight

Four major festivals have joined together to blacklist the groups behind the newest entry on the festival scene.

Danish music festivals gearing up for a fight
Roskilde Festival and three others are refusing to use the booking companies behind the coming Tinderbox festival. Photo: Bobby Anwar
We’re still eight to nine months from the summer music festival season, but competition is already fierce amongst Denmark’s largest players. 
The establishment of the new Odense-based festival Tinderbox has the country’s other major festivals bracing for a fight. 
Roskilde Festival, Smukfest, Jelling Musikfestival and Nibe Festival have joined forces to blacklist the booking companies behind Tinderbox, multiple media sites reported on Wednesday. 
The Danish booking firms Beatbox and Skandinavian, along with German company Scorpio are behind Tinderbox, while Skandinavian and Scorpio also work together on the Aarhus-based NorthSide Festival. 
The four other festivals are encouraging their partners to stop working with the booking agencies, arguing that the Tinderbox team has an unfair double role as both booking agents and festival organisers.
“It is totally unacceptable that they, through their booking negotiations, can have decisive influence on which artists we can get for our programme,” the four festivals wrote in a joint message to partners that was obtained by BT. 
Roskilde Festival’s music director Anders Wahren told Politiken that the move has been under consideration for awhile. 
“We have kept an eye on industry developments and we can see that people from Skandinavian, Beatbox and Scorpio have aligned themselves with several festivals and booking agencies. These are agencies that we have previously also dealt with. This is inappropriate because when we negotiate we lay cards on the table that we wouldn’t normally show our competitors,” Wahren said. 
Smukfest spokesperson Claus Visbye also criticised the “dual role”. 
“The companies have put themselves in a dual role in which they both arrange festivals and at the same time negotiate contracts on heal of their musicians,” Visbye told Berlingske Nyhedsbureau. 
According to BT, two other Danish music festivals are considering joining the call to avoid the booking agencies. Industry insiders say that the blacklisting could result in fewer Danish artists performing on the summer festival circuit, as so many of them are represented by the Beatbox and Skandinavian. 
The Roskilde, Smukfest, Jelling and Nibe festivals say however that they will try to book the artists directly. 
The summer music festival season is big business in Denmark and the Tinderbox festival will squeeze itself in to a crowded field when it holds it inaugural festival in June, just one week before Roskilde Festival. 
The Roskilde Festival, the largest of Danish festivals at around 130,000 people, will already begin ticket sales on Tuesday, nine months before the 2015 event gets underway. It also tried to steal a bit of Tinderbox's thunder by announcing a significant change to its schedule on the same day that the Odense festival held its introductory press conference

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Denmark’s summer music festival hopes fade

The possibility of large-scale music festivals taking place in Denmark this summer has been described as “unrealistic” following the publication of expert recommendations for coronavirus-safe events.

Denmark’s summer music festival hopes fade
The Roskilde Festival during the glorious summer of 2018. Photo: Sofie Mathiassen/Ritzau Scanpix

Music events such as the Roskilde Festival, the largest of its kind in northern Europe, would not be able to take place as normal and must be without overnight guests under the recommendations, submitted in report form by an expert advisory group to the government on Friday.

The group, appointed as part of the national reopening plan, was tasked with looking at how festivals and other large events can take place this summer.

The recommendations will provide the basis political discussions which will form an agreement over large events which will be integrated into the reopening plan.

READ ALSO: Denmark enters new phase of reopening plan: Here’s what changed on April 21st

Seven various scenarios, including one for outdoors, standing events, were considered by the expert group in forming its recommendations. Two phases have been set down for eased restrictions on large events, which are currently banned due to the public assembly limit.

In the final phase of the restrictions towards the end of the summer, a maximum of 10,000 people would be permitted to attend an event. All attendees would be required to present a valid corona passport, and audiences would be split into sections of 2,000.

Although that could provide a framework for some events to take place, Roskilde Festival, which normally has a total of around 130,000 guests and volunteers including sprawling camping areas, appears to be impossible in anything resembling its usual format.

The festival was also cancelled in 2020.

Roskilde Festival CEO Signe Lopdrup, who was part of the expert group, said the festival was unlikely to go ahead should it be required to follow the recommendations.

“Based on the recommendations, we find it very difficult to believe it is realistic to organise festivals in Denmark before the end of the summer,” Lopdrup said in a written comment to broadcaster DR.

The restrictions would mean “that it is not possible to go ahead with the Roskilde Festival. That’s completely unbearable. But that’s where we’ve ended,” she added.

The news is potentially less bleak for other types of event with fewer participants, with cultural and sporting events as well as conferences also included in the recommendations submitted by the group.

Parliament has previously approved a compensation scheme for major events forced to cancel due to coronavirus measures this summer.