|WEDNESDAY 10 JULY 2019||COMPLETEMUSICUPDATE.COM|
|TODAY'S TOP STORY: With 37 days to go until the Woodstock 50 festival is due to begin, authorities in the town set to host the event have declined to issue the required licence. A key concern for the local council seems to be that they are considering all this with just 37 days to go... [READ MORE]|
Woodstock 50 denied licence for new venue, will appeal
Preparations for the 50th anniversary celebration of the Woodstock festival have been somewhat eventful, with organisers losing their financial backer, production partner and venue along the way. The latter, the Watkins Glen International motor racing track in New York State, pulled out of the project last month.
The Woodstock company, which has remained bullish throughout all these dramas, insisted it would quickly find a replacement venue. Soon after, it was confirmed that Vernon Downs, a casino and horse racing complex also in the state of New York, was the first choice new home for the big 50th anniversary show. Even if that meant a capacity cut was likely and no camping facilities would be available to punters.
However, staging the festival there requires securing the relevant permits from the town of Vernon, which usually asks for 120 days notice from anyone seeking permission to hold an event with a capacity of 8000 or more. And by that point, 120 days were not available, with Woodstock 50 due to take place from 16-18 Aug.
Not only that, but - according to the Poughkeepsie Journal - Vernon town attorney Vincent Rossi says that when the Woodstock team did submit their late-in-the-day (aka too late) application for a licence, said submission was "inadequate". He adds: "Each application submitted, one for each of the three days, was one page long with no supporting materials".
However, in a subsequent statement to the Journal, the Woodstock company denied it had provided insufficient documentation. Positing that "certain political forces may be working against the resurrection of the festival", organisers said: "Local reports claim Woodstock's filing for the permit was 'incomplete', but that is not the case".
"Woodstock 50 officials were informed by the town of Vernon that most questions had been answered", the statement went on, "and asked only that Woodstock submit medical, safety/security and traffic plans by this past Sunday, which it did".
Retaining a positive tone, despite the latest setback, organisers then added: "With a venue chosen, financing assembled and many of the artists supporting Woodstock's 50th anniversary event, the organisers are hopeful that their appeal and re-application tonight will prevail without further political interference".
It is true that Woodstock has a right to appeal the licensing decision and that is now happening. The appeal will go before Vernon's planning board. Organisers could also go the legal route and seek to overturn the council's decision through the courts, though that option would result in further delays, and there's no time for any of them.
Among the specific issues of concern, Rossi said a particular problem is that, because the new site won't allow camping, there is the question of where ticket-buyers are going to go each night. "If you have 65,000 people leaving Vernon Downs at 10pm at night", the attorney mused, "where [are] they going to go?"
Then there is the fact that, in the attorney's opinion, there just isn't enough time to sort everything out. "They didn't even come in the neighbourhood of the [120 day] time requirement [and] there's no time for us to review the documents ahead of the festival", he said, before noting that - if Woodstock chooses to go the court route - that will result in even more delays.
"I just don't see a viable solution to the problem unless the court overrides the decision", he concluded. "[And] at that point, we'd be talking about Woodstock 51".
Some have also honed in on how Woodstock's statement said that "many of the artists" booked to play are still "supporting Woodstock's 50th".
There has been speculation as to whether or not any of the artists booked to play the festival might now be looking to bail, the change in venue possibly removing any contractual ambiguities as to whether acts can quit the event without consequences. Does the use of "many" in that statement mean that not "every" artist previously announced is still on board? Team Woodstock has declined to clarify what was meant by that remark.
And so the saga continues, with tickets yet to go on sale. Tick tock, tick tock.
Jay-Z allies with cannabis seller Caliva
With nonsense talk like that, it will come as no surprise to any of you that Caliva is making Jay-Z its Chief Brand Strategist as part of this partnership deal. What will that involve, you wonder? Well, it means he'll "play a crucial role driving creative direction, outreach efforts and strategy for the brand".
"Anything I do", says the Z man, "I want to do correctly and at the highest level. With all the potential in the cannabis industry, Caliva's expertise and ethos makes them the best partner for this endeavour. We want to create something amazing, have fun in the process, do good and bring people along the way".
Actually, for all your snarky cynicism, there is potentially one interesting element to all this. Caliva says that one thing its new celebrity pal will focus on is increasing "the economic participation of citizens returning from incarceration - many of who are not seeing the monetary benefits of legalisation - through advocacy, job training, and overall employee and workforce development".
Which is as good a use as any of some direct-to-consumer full spectrum vertical integration.
Spotify launches 'lite' app for users with older phones and limited connectivity
Why? Well, because "music is meant to be enjoyed by everyone, regardless of your network connectivity, data plan, and whether or not you have the latest phone", obviously! The streaming firm says that Spotify Lite is a small, fast and simplified version of its main app, with a bunch of extra features "making it ideal for older devices and operating systems".
Launching the new app - which can be used alongside or instead of the main app - the firm's Senior Product Manager, Kalle Persson, said: "Spotify Lite was built from the ground up based on user feedback from around the world, allowing millions more to enjoy the world's best music experience - especially in areas with limited bandwidth and phone storage".
Spotify Lite is currently available for Android users in 36 markets, with the focus on countries in Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.
BBC appoints a Controller Of Pop Music
The Beeb announced the creation of the new pop music boss job back in April, with the BBC's Director Of Radio & Education James Purnell explaining: "The pop stations - Radio 1, 1Xtra, Asian Network, Radio 2, 6 Music - [and] BBC Music and the music TV commissioning heads will report into the new controller. This is a great opportunity for the pop music stations to work more closely together and for the BBC to maintain its effective voice with the music industry".
Confirming she had got the new gig, Clarke said yesterday: "My career has been defined by music, and as a music lover I want the BBC to continue to bring the world of music even closer to our listeners. These are exciting times for the BBC and the music industry globally, where change is affecting us all at a rapid pace. I am really looking forward to working with the industry and our partners to continue delivering amazing music for our audiences".
Alongside Clarke's appointment, the BBC also announced yesterday that Mohit Bakaya will become Controller of Radio 4, while Jonathan Wall will be the first ever Controller of the BBC Sounds app, which has become a brand in its own right.
Announcing all that, Purnell said: "It's an exciting time for the audio industry and these are some of the most sought after jobs in radio. There were many impressive candidates, but I'm delighted Jonathan, Lorna and Mohit are taking on these important roles".
Tegan And Sara announce new album of old songs
The album's release will coincide with the publication of their autobiography 'High School'. It was while writing that book that they discovered their previously lost first steps into songwriting. They note that 'Hey, I'm Just Like You' is "the record we never could have made as teenagers, full of songs we never could have written as adults".
"While working on our memoir, we discovered lost cassette tapes that had been unheard for over 20 years", says Tegan. "They contained dozens of our first songs, written between the ages of fifteen and seventeen. We immediately recognised the songs as an essential part of our high school story".
"With only minor tweaks to lyrics and structure, we tried to remain true to the original essence of each song", adds Sara of the new recordings of those works.
'High School' is out on 24 Sep, with 'Hey, I'm Just Like You' following on 27 Sep. Watch the trailer for the album here.
Pharmakon announces new album Devour
This is the fourth album producer Margaret Chardiet has made as Pharmakon, and she changed her process this time, recording live in the studio with engineer Ben Greenberg. The album's five tracks are the result of two continuous takes, bringing a new intensity to her already oppressively intense sound.
She explains: "In our cells, our minds, our politics and our species, humans are self-destructing. But this behaviour does not happen in a vacuum. It is an instinctive inward response to a world of increasing outward violence, greed and oppression. Turning these wounds toward ourselves can be seen as an attempt at 'balancing feedback', within a never-ending positive feedback loop of cause and effect".
"With this view, the blame is placed not within the individual", she continues, "but with the world they must contend with, and a society that is designed to fail them - to keep them gnashing and wailing, inflicted with an all-devouring hunger that inevitably turns in on the self. Those that pit them against each other grin from the sidelines, bellies full".
However, she adds: "Those who see beyond the veil need to obscure the horrid sight by any means necessary, but respite is always brief - nothing can dampen the glare from behind the veil. This album is dedicated to all who were lost to their own demise, all who have been institutionalised; whether in prison, psychiatric facilities, or drug rehabilitation. It is for all those ostracised by and isolated from a totality which chews them up alive in a self-cannibalising caste system".
So, there you go. The album is out on 30 Aug. From it, this is 'Self-Regulating System'.
AEG has created a new European Festivals division, appointing Jim King as its CEO. King was previously the company's EVP Live Music. "We wanted to give him the freedom to accelerate AEG's activity in the festival space hence the creation of this division and his leadership role at the head of it", says AEG Europe President Alex Hill matter-of-factly.
The PRS Foundation has announced it is promoting Joe Frankland to become its new CEO. He takes over from the music charity's previous high-profile boss Vanessa Reed, who has departed to lead American charitable organisation New Music USA.
Music publisher Sony/ATV in the US has nudged Sam Reas up to Director Of A&R. She joined the company in a Creative Assistant role in 2015. "I couldn't be happier", says Reas.
EDUCATION & EVENTS
The Institute Of Contemporary Music Performance has announced a partnership with the Association Of Independent Music that will see the creation of a new scholarship allowing one person to study on the music college's Cert HE Music Business And Entrepreneurship course free of charge. Info here.
Ariana Grande has released the video for 'In My Head', taken from her 'Thank U, Next' album.
Villagers have released new single 'Summer's Song'. Says Conor O'Brien: "'Summer's Song' is the closest I'll ever get to writing a pure pop song. I just had to roll with it and I'm glad I did; it was really just an excuse to make the horns sound like sunbeams. Boy it's fun to play live".
Octavian has released the video for 'No Weakness', from his 'Endorphins' mixtape.
Lower Dens have released new single 'I Drive'. The song is taken from new album 'The Competition', which is set for release on 6 Sep.
Swimming Tapes have released the video for 'Keep Her Closer', from their debut album, 'Morningside'.
Check out our weekly Spotify playlist of new music featured in the CMU Daily - updated every Friday.
Warner launches teddy bear record label
"Launching Build-A-Bear Records is another example of [our] commitment to fun, safe, family-friendly content as we build upon our foundation in the kids and family space", says Kevin Gore, boss of Warner's Arts Music division, which is leading on this partnership alongside the mini-major's music publishing business Warner Chappell.
"[Build-A-Bear] is making some really interesting moves to expand on its wildly successful retail offering", Gore continues. "We're excited to partner with them, and our friends at Warner Chappell Music, to bring Build-A-Bear Records to life".
Build-A-Bear allows you to customise your teddy bears and that includes adding sound chips so that the toy seems to talk or sing. So, there you go, there's your rationale. "Music has been a part of our beloved retail experience for over a decade, with millions of sound chips added to our furry friends each year", insists Build-A-Bear boss Sharon Price John.
As for what Build-A-Bear Records will be up to, well, says Warner, it will "release original albums, singles, and playlists - including soundtracks from upcoming films, television shows and digital shorts - as well as sign and develop artists and their releases".
But which artists? No official word as yet on upcoming Build-A-Bear signings, though a sneaky Warner Music insider has leaked this secret list of the acts that the new label is hoping to sign in the months ahead...
And if anyone tells you it took three whole members of the CMU team 30 minutes on Slack to come up with that list of ten mediocre pop ted puns, well, they can... get stuffed.