BBC to fill Glastonbury gap with own music event across UK

In 2018, Glastonbury’s fallow year, broadcaster will hold ‘biggest single music event it has ever hosted’

The BBC is aiming to fill the void left by Glastonbury festival’s gap year in 2018 by holding its own music event at venues in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The corporation will hold the Biggest Weekend at four sites across the UK with 175,000 tickets available to the public.

The one-off festival will be held on the late May bank holiday weekend, 25-28 May.

Glastonbury will take a fallow year next year to allow the ground at the Somerset site to recover. The festival’s last break was in 2012.

The BBC’s festival will build on the success of Radio 1’s Big Weekend, which is held annually and this year was in Hull.

Bob Shennan, the director of BBC Radio and Music, said the festival would be the biggest single music event ever hosted by the BBC.

“BBC Music has a strong history of bringing the nation together for some special moments, and this is the biggest single music event ever attempted by the BBC,” he said.

“We will be celebrating the diversity of music from four different corners of the country, bringing the best UK music to the world and the best global music to the UK.”

Further details about the festival, such as where exactly it will be held and which artists will perform, are yet to be confirmed. However, it will include concerts hosted by Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and 6 Music, with TV coverage on BBC2, BBC4, and online.

The BBC has announced the festival just days after revealing that it had commissioned a new Top of the Pops-style music show more than 11 years after it axed its flagship pop music programme.

The six-part music series will be broadcast live this autumn on BBC1 and feature performances from a collection of the biggest UK and global music stars in each episode.

Unlike Top of the Pops, the new 30-minute show will feature sketches and interviews as well as live performances.

It will be made by the production company Fulwell 73, whose five partners include James Corden and Ben Winston, the executive producer of Corden’s US chat show The Late Late Show.

The BBC has not had a regular flagship music programme on BBC1 since Top of the Pops was cancelled in 2006. However, the new show and the 2018 festival are part of a renewed commitment to music by the corporation.


Graham Ruddick

The GuardianTramp

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