UK Festivals To Allow Onsite Drug Testing
Festivalgoers who want to make sure they’re not taking drugs that have been laced or otherwise tampered with will be able to test their product at selected UK festivals going forward. Melvin Benn’s
According to The Guardian, the company that promotes Leeds, Reading, Download, Wireless, V Festival and among others, “is seeking the support of the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) and West Yorkshire police before launching the scheme.”
“Festivalgoers will be able to take their drugs to a testing tent run by the Loop, which usually conducts forensic testing of drugs seized by police.
They will then tell them what is in the drugs before destroying whatever was handed over,” the report states. The drug testing would be enabled by The Loop, which already pioneered its scheme at last year’s Secret Garden Party.
The Loop’s founder, Fiona Measham, told The Guardian that “she believes up to 10 festivals will be involved this year, including a number of independent events, and hopes front-house testing will become commonplace in nightclubs and city centers.”
Benn told the paper that he could only move forward with the scheme once the NPCC announced its support.
West Yorkshire police’s assistant chief constable, Andy Battle, said: “We can never condone the use of illegal drugs, but we recognize that some people will continue to take them and we need to adapt our approach in the interests of public safety.”
While Benn ruled out that the 2017 edition of Download Festival, June 9-11, would already host The Loop’s drug testing facility, he said it was likely to be present at Leeds Festival, Aug. 25-27. Fiona Measham, co-director of The Loop’s drug testing program, confirmed that Secret Garden Party (July 20-23), Kendal Calling (July 27-30) and Boomtown (Aug. 10-13) would also be participating.
Similar drug testing ideas have been introduced in Australia but have been bogged down with opposition from local police and government officials.
Several UK festivals in 2016 were overshadowed by drug deaths, including Leeds Festival, Creamfields, Boomtown and T In The Park.
A Tribe Called Quest Cancels European Dates
Jonathan Short / Invision / AP – Q-Tip and Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest
Wireless Festival, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, UK
Due to a shoulder injury suffered by founding member Q-Tip, iconic hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest canceled its three scheduled European festival appearances. A Tribe Called Quest was scheduled to perform at We Love Green Festival in Paris, June 10, Parklife Festival in the UK, June 11, and Roskilde Festival in Denmark July 1.
Q-Tip said in a statement issued by We Love Green Fest: “Have a bit of unfortunate news to share … I’ve injured my shoulder and now need to have surgery which means Tribe won’t be able to perform for our faithful fans in the UK, France, Denmark.
“I’m hoping for a speedy recovery and looking forward to getting back to these countries as quickly as possible to perform for all of you. Much Love – Tip.”
It seems the band’s U.S. dates at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival, July 15, and New York City’s Panorama, July 30, are unaffected.
Roskilde has already announced Ice Cube and Digable Planets as a replacement. Head of Program Anders Wahrén said: “We had obviously really looked forward to presenting A Tribe Called Quest this summer, but we fully understand the doctor’s strict orders that Q-Tip cannot perform after his surgery.
“We have been hard at work the past couple of days to confirm Ice Cube and Digable Planets even though neither of them is currently touring. Digable Planets will fly to Europe only for this show, and Ice Cube has managed to fit the show into his busy schedule in the middle of a basketball tournament he is organizing. Both acts are hip-hop legends in very different ways, and we are certain that our audience will look forward to experiencing the big influence they have each had on American hip-hop.”
Cannes Film Fest Evacuated Again
The Palais Des Festivals, hub of France’s annual film festival in Cannes, was evacuated May 20 after an abandoned bag made security personnel suspicious.
The evacuation took place while the audience was waiting for the start of director Michel Hazanavicius’ Redoubtable, “which is in competition for the prestigious Palme d’Or prize, when the security scare took place,” according to bt.com.
After about half an hour and finding out that the suspicious bag wasn’t dangerous, security gave the all-clear signal. It marked the second year in a row that the Cannes film festival had to be evacuated.
Last year, a technical defect caused security to assume the worst and call for an evacuation. France, like many other European countries, is on high alert following numerous terrorist attacks on the continent.
One of the most brutal ones occurred July 14, 2016, when a Tunisian resident of France ploughed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, only 30km away from Cannes, killing 86.
Herbie Hancock at New Dutch Jazz Festival
Groningen, the Dutch city that hosts Eurosonic Noorderslag every year, will host a new Jazz festival named Rockit, Nov. 11.
The first edition is co-produced by Mojo Concerts’ North Sea Jazz Festival and will take place at the Oosterpoort, where Eurosonic happens.
The name derives from Herbie Hancock’s 1983 song “Rockit.”
Hancock is also headlining the premiere, which will see a fusion of genres and styles performed on stage, according to organizers.
In total, 18 acts will play the five halls within the
Tickets are available from May 19 starting at euro 52.
Mojo’s Michelle Kuypers talked to Pollstar about the motivation behind the event: “We have started to organize a few boutique jazz festivals five years ago, when it became extremely difficult to book upcoming jazz talents, because of the cuts in funding for culture in the Netherlands, while at the same time it was very difficult to get media attention for acts that are not already known to a larger audience.
“With the organization of festivals we could book the young talents next to renowned names, and create a momentum for them, that also resulted in media attention. We believe every art form needs new impulses to be able to grow and that because of that it is important to be able to offer them a stage and a platform to reach a large audience both at the festival as through the media paying attention to the festival.
“We came to the point that presenting all these artists only once during North Sea Jazz was not enough to establish artist careers, while we need successful artists to draw the audiences.”
The first festival Kuypers and her team organized was So What’s Next in Eindhoven in 2013 in partnership with the Muziekgebouw Eindhoven, followed by Transition in Utrecht in 2015 in partnership with TivoliVredenburg, and now Rockit, through a partnership with the Oosterpoort in Groningen.
The festivals cover the different parts of the Netherlands from north to south, as well as different times of the year, with North Sea Jazz taking place in summer, So What’s Next and Rockit in fall, and Transition in spring.
“The organizations that we are partnering with had a strong wish to present jazz on a larger scale,” Kuypers said. What is more, it has become difficult to attract audiences for current jazz, “while the legendary artists of the 1950/60/70s that have built a name and audience for themselves are becoming very scarce. By combining our forces we are able to present exciting jazz festivals, which present contemporary jazz and pay respect to the founding fathers, and that draws a larger number of people a lot of which are quite young.”