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De organisation behind Pinkpop unsuccessfully tried to book Coldplay, Ed Sheeran and Neil Young for its 50th edition. The Dutch festival was also thinking of adding a fourth day if four headliners could have been arranged. Rob Trommelen of Mojo Concerts, the festival’s main booker, reveals this in an interview with Festileaks.
For a while, it seemed like Pinkpop 2019 would last four days. In June 2018, festival director Jan Smeets hinted at this in an interview with Festileaks, and in December it seemed like the local government of Landgraaf granted the festival permission for an extra day. Yet, it did not work out. Head booker Rob Trommelen explains:
“It was the plan, we even had the permit already. But then you also need to have a lineup. We did not want to have a weak fourth day. Coldplay was on the list for a long time, but they eventually decided to stay at home. In that way it’s similar to Eminem, although Coldplay dropped out at an earlier stage. We also talked to Neil Young for a while. We even had the idea to build a fourth day around Neil Young, but Pinkpop is too early in the year for this; he only comes to Europe in July.”
“It was mostly about this fourth headliner: if there was one, we probably would have gone for four days. Sometimes you think you have a choice between five or six headliners, and then a few suddenly drop out. And when this seemed to be happening this year, we decided to just focus on three days; then at least we can be happy we pulled this off well.”
After the press presentation on Wednesday 13 March, where the complete lineup of the 50th Pinkpop was revealed, Jan Smeets told Festileaks that they also contacted Ed Sheeran: “We did talk to him, but Ed Sheeran is in Japan at that moment, so he didn’t want to come. He said: ‘I am here then, so I will stay here; I won’t move the whole circus to Pinkpop.'”
If the singer-songwriter will perform at Pinkpop next year, Smeets does not want to say: “When the time is there, he will want to come.”
Pinkpop and Pentecost
Recently, Pinkpop has often moved away from the traditional Pentecost weekend. Early in the year it is harder to assemble a great lineup. Nonetheless, Pinkpop will be held during Pentecost this year.
“Because the timing of the holiday has caused us problems with finding artists who are on tour, we often move our festival now. This year, we wanted to organise Pinkpop during Pentecost again because of the 50th edition. It’s quite late this year, so there were very few problems with the programming. But if Pentecost is earlier in the year, we will move to the middle of June again, like we did last year, to present a strong lineup.”
In January, festival director Jan Smeets already said that Pinkpop will not be taking place during Pentecost in the next ten years. The competition during that weekend is just to strong, partly because of the American festival Bonnaroo. In the coming years, Pinkpop will therefore focus on the second weekend of June.
Pinkpop was organised for the first time in 1970, making it one of the oldest annual music festivals in the world. The Dutch festival often boasts impressive lineups. In the past decade, headliners included Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Metallica, Muse, Paul McCartney, and The Rolling Stones. Pinkpop covers a variety of music genres from indie, rock and metal to pop, hip hop, and dance.