Beeb To Run Paid-Entry Fest

The BBC has announced a new two-day music festival in Manchester, but – unlike its Big Weekend in London – this time it won’t be giving tickets away.

he free-entry Big Weekend, which is staged on Hackney Marshes, is a hit with punters but not popular with rival promoters.

Two years ago, Isle Of Wight chief John Giddings told Pollstar he wasn’t happy his festival was forced to compete for acts with a free festival that’s paid for out of the public purse.

“What it amounts to is that I’m subsidising the competition. I understand that record companies want their acts to play a Radio 1 show but I’m not happy about paying for it,” he said. Dean James, then chief exec of MAMA Group, was another promoter not happy with the nature of the competition.

He said the BBC event “significantly impacted” his Lovebox Festival, which was staged a week earlier and pulled 20,000 fans per day to a 50,000-capacity site at London’s Victoria Park.

“For them [the BBC] to turn up with a free event in an Olympic year was about as welcome as a fart in a space suit,” James told London’s Evening Standard.

The lineup for 6 Music Fest, which is being run by BBC Radio 6, will include Damon Albarn, Haim, The National, Franz Ferdinand, Jake Bugg, James Blake, and Gilles Peterson.

The festival is Feb. 28 and March 1 at Victoria Warehouse, near the BBC’s new base at MediaCityUK in Manchester’s Salford district.