They have been dancing, listening, shouting, watching, and this year, 2001 especially, a huge part of the European festival audience have been using their computer mouse in order to get several hours of festival entertainment and live music. As a substitute for this year Glastonbury Festival in the UK – the festival was cancelled due to problems about security earlier this year – the website Playlouder arranged in collaboration with the festival organisers the first virtual version of Glastonbury Festival from Junne 22 to 24. And the idea of turning an open-air-event into a cyber-event has been successful. During the weekend the playlouder website had around two million hits, most of the hits were made during Orbital´s 1994 Glaston set. The festival was kicked off with a live webcast from a one and a half hour long performance by Stereophonics, and during the tree days the web audience were presented to a lot of archive materials from earlier festivals.
The managing director of Playlouder, Paul Hitchman, told BBC News Online, that the response to the virtual festival had been phenomenal.
But like the people behind this global music web event, the many organisers behind this summers real festivals have naturally been very excited about how many people would buy tickets for their festivals. Especially for Leif Skov and the rest of the leading team from Roskilde Festival in Denmark this years festival has been expected with great excitement. After last year's tragedy where nine people were killed in front of Orange Stage, every important detail at the festival has been examined to improve security. But the ten thousands of festival guest this year seems to have remained unaffected in a positive way to all the media attention that the security issues have created.
65,000 people bought tickets to four days of live music, and with nearly 35,000 people from the press, business people, staff people and Sunday guests, around 100,000 guest have visited Dyrskuepladsen in Roskilde.
After the festival, leader Leif Skov said, that next year there will be a new Roskilde Festival, and that he and the rest of the festival team were of the opinion that the audience had backed up the festival this year.
– It seems like people have given the new security improvements a good reception, and that they have felt safe. During the festival we got some reports about some people, who on earlier festivals didn’t want to go close to the music, but now they dared doing it.
In Denmark there are also great enthusiasm among the organizers of Langelands Festivalen, which just have finish. Economic the 11 festival is ending with a profit on two million kroner.
– It's probably the best festival ever, the leader of the festival, Jens Møller Andersen, said.
The same statement is coming from Sweden. In second weekend of June the 16. Hultsfreds festival was kicked off, and during tree days 43,000 people visited the festival. Over 29,000 were guests who paid for their tickets, and that made the festival beat its own record and made it the best festival ever. And that's important – not only for the festival staff.
For the little city, Hultsfred in the Swedish Småland, which is inhabited by 5,500 people, the festival has great importance today. But in 1986, when the festival was grounded, many people wanted it to disappear. Since then it has been growing year after year, and today it is an important part of the community in Hultsfred.
One of the local politicians, the 54-year old Bosse Bergman, says that the festival has created new jobs, and it has given the little city the opportunity to develop as a municipality.
All over Europe and the rest of the world, the festivals are presenting audiences both huge and famous artists and bands and less known names. It's often a mixture between new and old, and many new and young bands are using the large festivals in order to get an audience. But in spite of the fact that new bands are born every day, it seems like the old and most famous names still are the best selling, when it comes to festival gigs – especially this summer.
A German journalist has felt himself inspired on the website yahoo.com to write about the comeback of the rock dinosaur this summer – about musicians from bands like AC/DC, The Eagles, Roxy Music, Jethro Tull, Manfred Mann and names like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, who not only have the grey hair in common, but also the fact, that in the year 2001 they are getting hold of more people than in their best years in the 60´s and 70´s.