‘Roll on the summer of love’: UK music festivals in song after Covid closures | festivals

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For for a moment it seemed so far away: listening to your favorite artist, pints flying overhead, queuing for portable toilets, losing your friends and finding new ones. But after two years of cancellations and delays, music lovers can once again expect an array of festivals and concerts this summer.

From Paul McCartney at Glastonbury and Tyler, the creator of Parklife, to Adele and Elton John at BST Hyde Park and Liam Gallagher at the Etihad Stadium, there’s something in the music calendar for everyone.

“Summer 2022 marks the start of the next era of the summer music season,” said Emily Eavis, co-organizer of the Glastonbury Festival, which returns in June for the first time since 2019.

Alongside headliners McCartney, Kendrick Lamar and Billie Eilish, the festival has announced more than 80 names so far, including Olivia Rodrigo and Diana Ross.

(Clockwise from centre) Glastonbury 2022 stars Paul McCartney, Kendrick Lamar, Kacey Musgraves, Olivia Rodrigo and Megan Thee Stallion. Composition: AP/Getty/PA

“All concerts are back, festivals will return with bells ringing, and people will be coming through many doors all summer full of excitement,” Eavis said. “It’s a huge relief that these life-affirming gatherings are back, and it feels like we’ve actually turned a corner in this long and difficult pandemic trajectory. We look forward to welcoming people to Worthy Farm again.

Not only has music helped shape British identity, but the UK music industry contributed £5.8billion to the economy before the pandemic, according to UK Music, the umbrella organization representing the commercial music industry. from artists and record labels to the live music industry. The industry now has the potential to play a key role in the country’s post-pandemic recovery.

“Live music is emerging from a Covid-enforced hibernation that has seen around a third of jobs in the music industry wiped out and many stages empty for almost two years,” said UK Music chief executive Jamie Njoku- Goodwin.

“The absence of live music has left a big hole in many people’s lives and has helped us realize the power of music when it comes to lifting people’s spirits and having fun.

“It has been a terrible two years for the whole industry – but there is now cautious optimism that we have turned a corner and everyone is determined to deliver the best summer of festivals and concerts ever.”

Other hugely popular artists featured this year include Ed Sheeran and AJ Tracey at Radio 1’s Big Weekend, a stadium tour by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Rolling Stones at BST Hyde Park, Muse at the Isle of Wight and Iron Maiden at Download.

Ed Sheeran performing at BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend in 2018.
Ed Sheeran performing at BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in 2018. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA

“It really feels like the return is very real and its importance to us as promoters, but also to artists and attendees, is huge,” said Melvin Benn, general manager of Festival Republic, who is at the origin of some of the UK’s biggest festivals. including Latitude, Wilderness, Reading and Leeds and Wireless.

Although a significant number of festivals – including Creamfields, Parklife, Tramlines and Reading and Leeds – returned last year, there is a heady ceremonial feeling about this summer as all restrictions appear to be firmly over. Along with the huge grassroots events, countless grassroots festivals and concerts are springing up all over the country.

Ben Cross, the founder of Cloud X, an entertainment company which operates a record label and organizes live events, including the Cloud X festival which launched last year, said: “This summer in Great Britain Brittany is going to be absolutely amazing.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of not only recognizing, but also investing in and celebrating underrepresented communities. Being able to pursue this mission is liberating. Long live the summer of love.

According to data from the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), more than 50% of UK festivals with a capacity of 5,000 or more were canceled or postponed in 2021, after the season was wiped out by Covid in 2020 .

Paul Reed, Chief Executive of AIF, said: “We are confident at this stage that the summer of 2022 will see a full return to the pitches, but we still need support to help with this recovery.

“That is why we have repeatedly asked the government to maintain the current reduced rate of 12.5% ​​on tickets beyond the end of March. This remains a very difficult time for festival organizers, with pressures along the supply chain, the loss of skilled labour, Brexit complications around the movement of artists and crew, and a 20-30% increase in infrastructure costs at all levels.

UK Music has also urged the Chancellor to drop the ‘hugely damaging’ VAT hike on concert and live event tickets due to come into force on April 1 – a move which has promoters and music chiefs worried. music industry could force an increase in ticket prices.

“The demand for tickets this year is high, so all of my shows are in a really good position,” Benn said. “But unless the government extends the VAT relief, we certainly won’t make up for what we lost in 2020 and to a lesser extent in 2021.”

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