The music industry has been one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus. Venues have closed, gigs have been cancelled and artists are suddenly having to reschedule entire summer programmes in the interest of public health.
Festivals are also faced with hard decisions. With uncertain times ahead, organisers must choose between continuing preparations in the blind hope that mass gatherings can still take place by the summer, or cancelling their event and potentially losing hundreds of thousands of pounds. Numerous British festivals have already cancelled their 2020 events, and it seems European festivals are now following suit. Last month, Primavera Sound in Barcelona announced that it would be postponed until September, while Roskilde festival in Denmark has been cancelled as per recommendations from the Danish government.
Will your European festival plans be affected by coronavirus? We reached out to festival organisers to see whether their events would still be going ahead.
This article will be updated as new information becomes available.
Primavera Sound, Spain
Primavera has been delayed until a later date in 2020. The festival organisers announced on the 30th of March on Twitter that the festival would be moved to the 3rd to 5th of September. However, the festival caused some controversy when it initially announced that it would not be able to refund ticket holders if they could not attend the new date. Many fans took to social media to express their anger with the decision.
However, the festival has since said that it would be able to update ticket holders with more information once the “state of alarm” had lifted in Spain.
Dekmantel is going ahead. A spokesperson for the festival told VICE: “At this moment, it will take place as planned but we’re in direct contact with the Dutch authorities and all parties involved in our festival to closely follow the developments, as stated in our full statement which can be found here."
Love International, Croatia
As of the 18th of March, Love International festival is going head. In a tweet, the organisers said that all planning for the festival was still taking place.
Meadow in the Mountains, Bulgaria
Meadow in the Mountains has been cancelled this year. In a post on its website, the festival announced that it would be postponed until July 2021.
The statement read: “It is with heavy hearts that we have to announce that Meadows in the Mountains 2020 will be postponed to 2021, due to the impact of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.”
Roskilde festival has been cancelled. This year would have been the event's 50th anniversary. On the 6th of April, organisers released a statement explaining that they would be cancelling the festival following recommendations from the Danish Government regarding large gatherings.
The statement read: “The Danish authorities have just prolonged its prohibition against larger assemblies until the 31st of August 2020. The prohibition also goes for this year’s Roskilde festival. We are devastated. Though we feared this would happen, we have until now hoped that it wouldn’t end this way. However, the risk of getting infected with the COVID-19 virus is too large when many people are gathered, and that consideration is by far the most important. Consequently, there will be no Roskilde Festival this summer.”
FIB: Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, Spain
Benicàssim in Barcelona is still planning to go ahead in July this year. In an Instagram post, the organisers announced that until the Spanish authorities advise otherwise, the festival will still be taking place.
Tomorrowland will still be going ahead. According to a statement on its official website, preparations for the festival are still underway.
“It is beyond doubt that the wellbeing, health, and safety of the People of Tomorrow, our partners, our neighbours, the artists, and our team are our top priority,” the statement read. “We are following governmental instructions closely during these preparations. We sincerely hope we will be able to celebrate love, unity, and friendship with all of you this summer.
Hideout Festival, Croatia
UPDATE 14/04/2020: Hideout festival has been cancelled. In an email to all ticket holders, organisers wrote: "It’s been a difficult time for us all lately and we’d like to thank you for your patience and support while we have evaluated the situation and explored every option.
After a full review of the latest advice and restrictions issued by the UK and Croatian Government, and in the best interests of our festival goers and event team, we regret to have to let you know that we have made the decision to cancel this year’s Hideout Festival."
The festival will be giving refunds to ticket holders or the option to transfer their ticket to next year.
Melt! Festival, Germany
Melt! Festival organisers have not confirmed whether the festival will be going head. A cryptic statement on the festival's official website read: "Every day, we receive news about the pandemic – and information that strongly influence and change our daily life. But we are certain that none of this should stop us all from our positive thoughts and an optimistic way of life. Rather, these circumstances could perhaps mark the right time to reflect on what’s really important in life. Take a deep breath. And create space for new impulses!”
VICE reached out to the festival for more information.
Dimensions festival has not yet announced any changes to its schedule. When VICE reached out to the festival, a spokesperson said: "At the moment, Dimensions Festival 2020 is going ahead as planned. We are working with local teams and the government, while continuing to monitor the pandemic closely and will keep our audience updated across the coming weeks."
Bilbao BBK Live, Spain
Bilbao BBK Live festival is going ahead. On the 3rd of April, organisers tweeted that a scheduled ticket price change won’t be taking place, “given the global context.”
Sziget Festival, Hungary
UPDATE 30/04/2020: Sziget Festival has been cancelled. The festival announced over social media that due the the Hungarian government's extension of a ban on large gatherings, the festival would have to cancel.
EXIT has confirmed that it will still take place in July on its website. A statement read: “We’d like to reassure our fans that we are working hard on festival preparation and that EXIT will take place as planned from 9th to 12th of July at the Petrovaradin Fortress in Novi Sad, Serbia.”
The festival has also signed an open letter “standing united” with other European festivals struggling during the outbreak.
Rock Werchter, Belgium
It is unclear whether Rock Wechter festival will still be taking place. Organisers announced on the website that, “due to precautionary measures, all public gatherings in Belgium are currently banned until Sunday 19 April including cultural events. At this point, it is uncertain if and for how long certain measures will be extended. Our preparations for Rock Wechter are ongoing.”
VICE reached out to the festival for more information.
NOS Primavera Sound, Portugal
Nos Primavera Sound in Porto is postponed until September. In a statement on the festival’s website, organisers wrote: “Facing this constantly changing scenario and all the restrictions imposed by the authorities regarding public events and free movement of persons – making it difficult and many times impossible for the announced artist to participate – we are forced to postpone the upcoming edition of NOS Primavera Sound Porto for reasons of force majeure.”
Mad Cool, Spain
Mad Cool festival in Madrid has not yet announced any changes to its schedule.
VICE reached out to the festival for further information.