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Experts Gather to Discuss the Compound Semiconductor Cluster in South Wales Business News Wales
As Wales transitions to a post-Covid, post-Brexit economy, place-based innovation clusters of expertise hold the key to creating well-paid high-value jobs that bring wider prosperity to the Cardiff Capital Region.
Highlighting Wales’ contribution to Net Zero Week, an online webinar will bring experts together to examine the wider economic power of CSconnected – the world’s first Compound Semiconductor (CS) cluster based in South Wales.
Compound Semiconductors are tiny next-generation electronic chips that are smarter, faster and more powerful than their silicon cousins, capable of supporting emerging technologies that require ultra-high performance.
CS technologies are used in a range of applications that can help reduce global carbon emissions, from more effective navigation systems to more efficient electric vehicles.
Based on a successful Cardiff-led consortium bid for £43m from the UKRI’s Strength in Places Fund, CSconnected is the collective brand for advanced semiconductor activities in Wales.
Chaired by former First Minister Carwyn Jones, the session in July will discuss recent findings from Cardiff University’s Welsh Economy Research Unit which highlighted the impact of the cluster and how it can contribute to Net Zero.
The Annual Report: Compound Semiconductor Cluster in South Wales showed that the CS cluster in total supports 2,390 jobs and contributes £277m in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the Welsh economy.
Cluster employment grew by 14% to 2021 Q4 (14%), with over 80% of employees resident in Wales. And the cluster generated over £71m in wages and salaries, with average pay levels around 60% above the Welsh average.
The report, published in January, noted CSconnected’s resilience to the economic shocks of Brexit and Covid-19 pandemic, in part driven by a global uptick in demand for goods driven by next-generation CS chips.
During the online webinar on 7 July, Carwyn Jones will be joined by Peter Davies, CS lead for Cardiff Capital Region and Deputy Chief Executive, Monmouthshire County Council; Max Munday, Director of the Welsh Economy Research Unit, and Chris Meadows, Director of CSconnected, which signed up to the COP Cymru 10-year Net Zero pledge.
The one-hour session, will also focus on the question of how Wales can build an economy based on the principles of fair work, sustainability and the industries and services of the future – and what lessons can be learned from existing success stories both within the cluster and across the Cardiff Capital Region.
The webinar takes place from 9am to 10am on Thursday 7 July 2022. Please click here to sign up for the session via Eventbrite.
June 29 (Reuters) – Australia’s Star Entertainment (SGR.AX) appointed Tyro Payments (TYR.AX) head Robert Cooke as its chief executive on Wednesday, saying his experience in the financial services industry would help steer it through a period of intense regulatory scrutiny.
Shares of Star Entertainment, the country’s No.2 casino operator, climbed 2.4% to hit their highest in nearly three weeks after having fallen 28% so far this year, while Tyro plunged more than 20% to touch a record low of A$0.620.
Cooke’s appointment comes three months after Matt Bekier stepped down as Star Entertainment’s CEO in the wake of multiple inquiries over possible breaches of anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism laws at the company’s casinos. read more
“There are challenges for The Star that have been well documented. They will be my priority and focus,” Cooke said.
In a separate statement, Tyro said Cooke had served a six-month notice period, stating that he would step down as the payments terminal provider’s CEO.
Earlier this month, Queensland launched an investigation to review Star Entertainment’s suitability for a licence after an inquiry in neighbouring state New South Wales accused the casino operator of allowing breaches of anti-money laundering protocols at its Sydney resort. read more
Reporting by Tejaswi Marthi in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber and Subhranshu Sahu
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Are you a Los Angeles teacher? Make your voice heard and tell us what you think the most important issues are on your struggle. We will keep your identity anonymous.
With the contract between the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) and the Los Angeles, California public schools expiring June 30, teachers, school nurses, school librarians and other staff should be forewarned that in these so-called “negotiations” they face two opponents, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and their own union. The coming contract will be the fourth contract since the six-day strike of January 2019. In each of these struggles the UTLA leadership has represented the interests not of educators and students, but of big business, the LAUSD and the Democratic Party.
UTLA, which bargains for 35,000 educators, nurses, librarians and other public school employees in Los Angeles, California is negotiating a new two-year contract with the LAUSD, attended by 600,000 students, making it the second largest school district in the US.
The current contract struggle takes place in the context of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has seriously impacted the lives of students and educators, and also war, rampaging inflation and impending recession.
Teachers are making enormous personal sacrifices, as they work under enormous pressure, compounded by the COVID pandemic and the lack of any safety measures in public schools. During the first year of the pandemic the retirement rate increased 26 percent. In addition, at least 55 percent are considering early retirement. Schools are hemorrhaging staff largely due to an insufficient living wage and educators are experiencing “burnout.” This is taking place despite the recent estimate of a $33 billion budget surplus for California’s TK-12 public schools.
UTLA’s bargaining proposals presented last May are based on a platform released last February named “Beyond Recovery,” a so-called “social justice” approach, supposedly based on consultations between parents and teachers. UTLA president Cecily Myart Cruz explained that after supposedly recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, the school system had to move on.
The union has advanced a series of demands, largely for public show, that it has no intention of seriously fighting for. For the most part the demands raised by the union are subject to interpretation or are so general as to be meaningless. They include fully staffed schools, measures to attract and retain educators, higher pay and better working conditions, equitable access for all students, lower class sizes, more learning time, fewer standardized tests, ethnic studies, special ed, equitable access to technology, safe schools, opposition to criminalizing students, healthy green public schools, support for students, families and communities (homeless, food insecurity), equitable school funding.
The teachers union is also demanding a 20 percent wage increase over two years with 10 percent per year. In 2021 the UTLA negotiated a 5 percent one-year raise. If achieved, these raises would barely match current and anticipated rates of price inflation in Southern California.
Management’s counterproposal rejects the union’s wage demand and calls for measures that strengthen the existing reactionary anti-strike clause of the 2019-2022 agreement. In essence, the strike clause solidifies the role that the UTLA and both national education unions (NEA and AFT), already play in isolating strikes and policing their own members.
The school district is demanding significant changes to the existing anti-strike clause that, in addition to outlawing strikes and slowdowns, would leave workers at the mercy of the courts. LAUSD’s counterproposal specifies that:
“There shall be no strikes, stoppages or interruptions of work, or other concerted activities which interfere directly or indirectly with District operations during the life of this Agreement or any written extension thereof.” Moreover: “Any employee who violates this Article shall be subject to discipline up to and including termination of employment.”
UTLA itself is being enlisted as the teachers’ police to “immediately take whatever appropriate action is necessary to prevent and bring about an end to any concerted activity in violation of this Article.” This would require UTLA to inform teachers that “engaging in such activity may lead to disciplinary action, and that the activity is prohibited.”
Despite the gravity of these provisions, the day following the district’s counter, UTLA’s only “action” was posting a Facebook banner that read “Our union is strong because our members are strong.”
In some ways, UTLA’s current demands and posture are a repeat of those in 2019. The Los Angeles teachers’ strike of January 2019 was abruptly ended in six days, and sold out by the UTLA. In addition to a small wage increase, the new contract failed to meet the teachers’ most critical demands such as reducing class sizes, stopping the expansion of charter schools, and increasing school budgets. The union dutifully pushed for a “yes” vote on the 40-page contract, isolating strikers from each other and giving UTLA members no time to meet and discuss its terms.
While the LAUSD agreed to hire more school nurses and librarians, the union agreed to an escape clause that allowed the district to renege by claiming that there was no money.
Three years later, most of the hiring commitments have gone unfulfilled. The betrayal of the 2019 strike set the stage for a tighter union-management alliance against Los Angeles teachers. This includes the July 2021 agreement to reopen public schools for the 2021-2022 school term, based on the flimsiest of health protections in overcrowded classrooms with the pandemic raging throughout Southern California.
This follows the line of the Democratic Party administration of Governor Gavin Newsom, which has overseen the abandonment of COVID mitigation measures under the Biden administration’s policy of “living with the virus.” Meanwhile, California Democrats continue to starve public schools of critical funding and resources while supporting the spread of charter schools.
In carrying out the mass infection policies of the Democratic party, UTLA presented an ultimatum to teachers warning that if teachers voted “no” then the district would unilaterally impose reopening anyway. Showcasing the level of opposition in the district, only 12,000 UTLA members voted, with more than half, or 18,000 UTLA members abstaining. The real aim of the school reopening was to facilitate the reopening of the California economy by sending parents back to work, endangering their own safety and that of students and teachers.
That agreement was followed by a contract and wage reopener in September 2021 that, besides attempting to spread illusions, did nothing to improve the safety of LAUSD employees or students. Rather, over the past nine months, nearly all COVID-19 safety mitigations have been lifted in the district. Mask mandates were lifted in March. And by mid-June, the district announced the end of its weekly PCR testing for students. Take home rapid antigen tests will be given to COVID-19-symptomatic students as well as exposed students. Hundreds of thousands of students and staff have been infected and reinfected at schools, and under the present policies, this will only continue with diminished surveillance and reporting.
These present “negotiations” consist of more empty promises regarding protections from COVID-19, in addition to preparation for attacks on living standards and democratic rights on teachers and students.
Yet, with the current contract expiring this Thursday, as of today the UTLA leadership has not called for a strike or any other job action.
This year’s so-called negotiations are taking place in the midst of a world-wide surge in strikes and protests, including public school teachers and educators across the globe. This past week, 50,000 rail workers in Britain struck in a direct challenge to the right-wing Johnson government in response to inflation rates that have reached over 11 percent, while 120,000 teachers in New South Wales, Australia are set to walk out next week.
The LAUSD demands for the UTLA to serve as a strike suppression force are an indication of the fear by both the union, the school district and the ruling class that the ongoing explosion of strikes and walk-outs by educators, health workers and logistics workers will reach a revolutionary dimension.
It is critical that educators draw the lesson of all these experiences and follow the example of other educators in the US and take the fight into their own hands. New organizations of struggle are needed. Teachers must form rank-and-file committees, independent of the unions, to mobilize the working class based not on what the powers-that-be claim they can afford, but what is necessary to guarantee the social rights of all workers, including the right to high quality public education.
The successive betrayals by the UTLA leadership require the formation of workers’ committees that fight both against management and against its agents in the unions. We urge UTLA members to join the Educators Rank-and-File Safety Committee to carry out a common struggle in defense of wages, health and safety, and education rights across the world.
South African rugby often is a thing of beauty.
The three-time Rugby World Cup-winning nation is one of the premier forces on the sport’s international stage, and that’s proven no different as of late, as the national team has the look of a side that could win a historic fourth title, officially putting it a step above all of its other world rivals.
Cool and calculated in their rugby, the Springboks now enter the final full year of competition before they have to put their World Cup title back on the line. The moves the team makes from now until then will be critical in their hope of ensuring that South Africa stays on the top of the table.
What’s ahead for the Boks as they prepare for a trio of matches at home against Wales?
Here’s a look at what’s to come for the world’s top-ranked side with those tests ahead and streamed live on FloRugby:
It has been almost three years since South Africa won its most recent Rugby World Cup in 2019 in Japan, but thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent restrictions, the Springboks haven’t had a return match to celebrate in front of a capacity crowd since then.
Because the South African government lifted all limitations on public gatherings and events last week, the Boks could be greeted by nearly 52,000 rugby-mad attendees July 2 at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria for the first match in a three-test series against Wales.
It’s a shame South Africa hasn’t been able to be in front of full stadiums for so long because the Springboks have been the class of the rugby world for almost all of that time.
Having been the world’s No. 1-ranked side for all but two weeks since winning the World Cup final in Yokohama, South Africa had a strong end to 2021, with consecutive wins over New Zealand, Wales and Scotland, before a narrow one-point loss to close out the year against England. All matches listed were played away from home.
Coach Jacques Nienaber didn’t exactly have the easiest of jobs to do following his appointment in January 2020 (pandemic, no prior head coaching experience, pressure following a World Cup win, etc.), but the longtime national team assistant has aced most tests put before him thus far, putting the Boks in prime position next year to potentially be just the second team – after New Zealand – to win consecutive Rugby World Cups.
Records can be a bit deceiving, and there’s a great example of that being true when looking at the prior rugby history between South Africa and Wales.
The Springboks are 30-1-6 all-time against the Welsh, a run that included 15 straight Boks wins from 2000-2014, the last two tests of which came when Wales last toured South Africa.
However, coach Wayne Pivac’s Wales has won five of the past eight meetings and lost by a combined 12 points across the other three meetings, quickly making Wales-South Africa in recent times one of the most consistently exciting fixtures in world rugby.
Because of that recent history, it would be unfair to simply write off the Welsh as underdogs next month, especially considering that some of the most decorated names in the sport – such as lock and captain Alun Wyn Jones, the most-capped player (150) in the history of the game – still are going strong for the national side.
Still, the Springboks undoubtedly will come into the series with the expectation of three wins in three matches, especially with the talent the squad has and in having full home stadiums behind it once again.
Just don’t be fooled into thinking that despite the difference in world ranking (No. 1 vs. No. 9) that all the games will be uncompetitive snooze fests. However, the recent tests have indeed been defensive-heavy as neither nation has scored more than 24 points in any of the past five matches.
With South Africa featuring one of the richest talent pools in world rugby, squad selection can get difficult at points for Nienaber.
The solution? Bring a massive 43-man roster along for the ride.
Only 23 players will make the matchday squads, but the numbers brought along for development camp signal that Nienaber is evaluating his options both for The Rugby Championship later this year and, for further along, defending his team’s Rugby World Cup crown from the touchline next year.
— Springboks (@Springboks) June 27, 2022
Full crowds finally will get to see the heroes from Japan three years ago with no pandemic-related restrictions.
World Cup-winning captain Siya Kolisi, elite fly-half Handre Pollard and center Damian de Allende are some of the more well-known names on the list, but the overall strength and power possessed by the Springboks’ scrum – a critical part of their most recent World Cup triumph – makes for a unit that has few or no equals internationally.
However, the uncapped names on the roster could make for intriguing pieces against Wales, too.
Loose forward Evan Roos was the player of the year in the recently-finished United Rugby Championship, with the 22-year-old Stormers star hoping to break through into the national side as a young talent to watch.
Roos’ teammate, Deon Fourie, also is uncapped and coming off a Man of the Match performance in the URC final over the Bulls, but at 35 years old, is hoping to get a maiden Springboks appearance as the prime of his career wears thin.
Festivals have transformed the live-music business and become a vital revenue stream for the music industry, reshaping live entertainment into an economic engine for growth and commerce while challenging humanity to live by its own best principles, celebrating both the individual and the power of the masses.
Like other great art forms, festivals evolve by building upon the past — beginning with the idealism of the anti-war and counterculture movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s through events like Woodstock and Glastonbury, to the changing cultural landscape of the 1990s, where events like Lollapalooza, Warped Tour and the Free Tibet concert series served as a bridge for today’s biggest festival names and brands.
Ranking the festivals that have come to dominate today’s festival landscape is a difficult task that will undoubtedly generate strong emotions, disagreements and debate. Ten people could attend the same festival one year and have 10 totally different experiences. Much of what makes a festival great is totally subjective, but most fans who enjoy and attend festivals have had some part of their life affected by the experience. With that in mind, Billboard has ranked its inaugural Top 50 Festivals chart based on influence both within the live-music ecosystem and as part of the larger music and cultural community. We want to hear your feedback on how we did and your ideas for future charts. Email email@example.com with your feedback, and have a great festival season.
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park, Live Oak, Fla.
Launched by String Cheese Incident in 2013, this Halloween-themed, cross-genre arts and camping festival takes place among the swamps and Spanish moss-covered forests of North Florida at Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park. Mixing contemporary touring bands with avant-garde artists and sounds, Hulaween has evolved into one of the country’s most coveted cross-genre festivals. Curating dynamic lineups that range from electronic, jam and indie to bluegrass, funk, soul and hip-hop, Suwannee Hulaween’s ability to subvert the confines of genre boundaries is evident year after year.
Pimico Racetrack, Baltimore
Launched by Glow CEO Pete Kalamoutsos, Moonrise is Baltimore’s longest-running electronic dance music festival and the Mid-Atlantic region’s most consequential dance fest. The festival takes place on a 150-year-old horse racing track and is now owned by Pasquale Rotella and his team at Insomniac, who plan to expand the event with the launch of Project Glow, a first-of-its-kind electronic music festival at the RFK Festival Grounds in Washington, D.C.
Mana Wynwood Convention Center, Miami
The III Points festival is a music, art and technology festival in the heart of Miami’s arts district. Established in 2013, the festival has since been pushing boundaries in terms of the way audiences experience art and music. The two-day event takes place with over 90 performances across six stages, as well as immersive art installations, food vendors and cutting-edge stage designs.
Private ranch, Gonzales, Texas
Float Fest has a pretty simple concept: Arrive, jump into an inner tube and float several miles down the San Marcos River in Texas to a festival site featuring such musical tastes as indie-pop, electro, hip-hop and progressive rock. The event also attracts a large college audience from the nearby Texas State and University of Texas. Taking a break from the stages, attendees can bring their own floats to splash around in the summer sun.
National Mall, Washington, D.C.
Pharrell Williams launched Something in the Water in 2019 to celebrate his hometown of Virginia Beach, Va., but decided to move the festival after local police shot and killed his cousin in 2021. Now the festival is taking place in Washington, D.C., and fans will not find out who is performing until a few days before the show starts. For fans of Pharrell, Something in the Water is both performance art and political activism and they are more than happy to put their faith in his creative genius.
Kentucky Exposition Center, Lexington, Ky.
Produced by Danny Wimmer Presents, Bourbon and Beyond has developed an impressive following in the live-music business with many agents, promoters and managers talking up the event as Kentucky’s version of California’s BottleRock in Napa — a mix of impressive headliners, like this year’s Kings of Leon, Jack White, Alanis Morissette and Pearl Jam, and up-and-coming Americana artists, as well as a focus on food and drink. This hard-rock and alternative festival is shaping up to be the insider fest of 2022.
Nürburgring racetrack and Zeppelin Field, Nuremberg, Germany
These two festivals share a lineup much like Reading and Leeds, but instead of being located miles apart, they take place in the same town — Nuremberg, Germany, in the state of Bavaria. Rock am Ring happens at the Nürburgring racetrack, while Rock im Park occurs at the historical Zeppelin Field. Both festivals focus on hard rock and metal and serve as an important launch pad for German and European acts, including Berlin’s own Rammstein.
Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Welcome to Rockville — promoted by Danny Wimmer Presents — is considered America’s largest rock festival and moved to Daytona after several years in Jacksonville, Fla. With a focus on being a massive platform for hardcore, metal and hard rock bands and livestreamed by over 1 million fans annually, Welcome to Rockville has performances on four stages along with award-winning spirits, craft beer and the best food and year-round sunshine Daytona Beach has to offer.
Arena VFG, Guadalajara, Mexico
Launched by Mexican entertainment firm CIE, Corona Capital is the hometown festival for Mexico’s second-largest city and is known for bringing English-speaking bands to the country to show how many fans live south of the border. From its roaming beer vendors to its wild afterparties, the festival’s “anything goes” attitude hasn’t let up, even as the festival scene becomes more corporatized.
Town Park, Telluride, Colo.
There are few outdoor experiences more magical than camping in the Rocky Mountains during the summer. It is an enlightening experience especially when surrounded by one of the season’s jewels — the annual Telluride Bluegrass festival. The Town Park campground is the Valhalla of camping with permanent bathrooms, waterfalls and stages so close that you can listen to the music from your tent. The show’s lineup includes Americana, jam bands, alt country and, of course, bluegrass.
Foro Sol, Mexico City
Festival Iberoamericano de Cultura Musical Vive Latino is an annual music festival held in Mexico City that celebrates every Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking country in the Western Hemisphere. For many, it’s the most important rock show in all of Mexico but also highlights other genres through the Carpa Doritos Gozadero, a space dedicated to other music genres such as techno, deep house, hip-hop, trap and dancehall. Launched by concert promoter OCESA in 1998, Vive Latino has been many artists’ first introduction to the country as well as Mexico City, the hemisphere’s largest live-music market.
The beaches of Gulf Shores, Ala.
The annual three-day music festival is held along the public beaches of Gulf Shores and at famed restaurant/venue The Hangout. With an emphasis on Southern hospitality and legendary performers, Hangout Fest has taken over the Gulf Coast city since 2010 with a huge lineup featuring just about every genre and providing a sneak peek of what’s coming this summer in the United States. As far as we know, this is the only festival in the world where you can watch the main stage from a hot tub.
The Mann at Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
Curated by and named after Philadelphia’s own critically acclaimed band The Roots, this summer tradition is a celebration of Philly’s famed music scene. While the gravity of its Grammy Award-winning hosts and their many musical collaborations and connections may be what attracts the masses to the festival (you never know who will take the stage), most of the day’s music rings out with vibrant discovery of new sounds coming from each of the Picnic’s three stages. From burgeoning local rappers on the Cricket Stage to breakout experimental artists on the main stage, the festival boldly faces forward, embracing its historical ties to the Black community.
Doheny State Beach, Dana Point, Calif.
This surfing-centric festival founded by Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder has launched its first Encore Weekend this year, featuring Vedder, Alanis Morissette, The Black Keys and HAIM. Created to honor and protect the California coastline, half of Ohana’s proceeds each year benefit a local nonprofit that aims to preserve and maintain California’s state parks. Keeping in tune with Ohana’s premise, the lineup showcases the best of indie, surfer rock and alternative music.
NOS Events Center, San Bernardino, Calif.
Developed as an alternative to the increasingly commercialized EDM scene in 2007, Gary Richards’ HARD Summer was dedicated to highlighting the next generation of breakthrough artists — often hand-picked by Richards, a performance artist in his own right when he takes the stage as DJ Destructo. Each summer, HARD’s diverse, technicolor-clad fans come together to celebrate the intersection of electronic and hip-hop music culture. Boasting names throughout the years such as Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Future, Skrillex, Major Lazer, and countless other big acts, it’s no wonder HARD Summer has had such a lasting impact on the North American festival circuit.
Sheridan Memorial Park, Minneapolis
Named after James Spooner’s pivotal 2003 documentary on New York’s Black punk-rock scene, Afropunk was launched by Santigold manager Matthew Morgan in Brooklyn in 2005 and developed the moniker into a festival highlighting “the other Black experience” in music. Today, Afropunk is both an event series (that changes its location every year) and a platform for non-mainstream Black music in all forms. This year, Afropunk heads to Minneapolis for the first Afropunk Midwest. The festival hopes to celebrate the bustling community of Black creators and activists living in the Twin Cities while opening space for a conversation around the struggles facing the community at large.
Cloof Wine Estate, Darling and SuperSport Park; Centurion, South Africa
Rocking the Daisies, like the Reeding and Leeds festivals, spreads its musical lineup over two very different sites: a posh family winery and an urban sports and music park in one of South Africa’s largest cities. Programmed by Steyn Entertainment, the three-day festival is also known for its musical collaborations, multisensory experiences and production techniques, along with its commitment to environmental sustainability efforts like its continued support of the World Wildlife Fund.
Petrovaradin Fortress, Novi Sad, Serbia
Exit Festival is a two-time winner of the best European major festival award at the EU Festival Awards and takes place in a historic 18th-century fortress, melding the scenic location with a genre-blending mix of dance music styles and artists spread out over 30 different stages and zones. The main performance space, the legendary Dance Arena, is considered one of the leading open-air electronic music stages in the world, while host city Novi Sad is often regarded as one of the top European capitals of culture due to its museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes and bars combining Soviet architecture and modernized Hungarian-Austrian design.
C. Golf Briseno, Bogota, Colombia
Estereo Picnic is Bogota’s Lollapalooza — a mix of local artists and international touring acts who take over a golf course and country club on the outskirts of the capital city with a thriving fan community and “Hippie Market” that attracts fans to this mountainous festival. Bring plenty of rain gear because it will inevitably get very wet during the torrential downpours that temporarily soak the festival each day.
Lake Perris, Calif.
Sept. 29-Oct. 2
This long-running camping festival in California’s Moreno Valley is a cosmic ode to the metaphysical, dubbing itself the most trusted name in inter-dimensional exploration since 2012. Known for booking psychedelic bands, stoner rock and all things way left of center, Desert Daze takes a serious yet approachable view of topics like mysticism in the music industry and the occult, outfitting itself with illuminated art and custom immersive sound installations. There are film screenings, lectures, sound baths and parties that go deep into the night. It’s hard not to have a good time at Desert Daze — just keep an open mind and bring enough clothes to comfortably travel between galaxies.
General view of the grounds during day one of Rolling Loud Miami at Hard Rock Stadium on July 23, 2021, in Miami Gardens, Fla.
Bayfront Park, Miami
One of the first festivals to face cancellation due to COVID-19, Ultra came back in 2022 with strong attendance more than 23 years after it was launched by Russell Faibisch and Alex Omes in 1999. Ultra, which primarily takes place downtown at Bayfront Park — has divided the residents of Miami: The festival has an economic impact of $170 million but also brings drugs and violence to the city. Held alongside the Winter Music Conference and Miami Music Week, Ultra is an important franchise for the electronic music scene and the first event on the calendar each year for hundreds of artists preparing to tour the EDM festival circuit.
Harvard Athletic Club, Boston
Tired of his hometown being the only major U.S. city without its own trademark festival, Aaron Dessner of The National launched Boston Calling in 2013 with the help of Boston-based Crash Line Productions. In 2016, the rock and contemporary music festival was purchased by Madison Square Garden Co. and is now run by co-founder Brian Appel. Boston Calling has a hard-rock appeal and is a showcase for the festival production talents and capabilities in the New England region along with the importance of Boston as one of the Northeast’s best concert markets.
Douglas Park, Chicago
One of the great punk-rock festivals of North America, Chicago’s Riot Fest has expanded in the last decade to include alternative, metal and hip-hop but will always be best known for its high-profile headliner sets including The Misfits’ first major reunion in 2016. Today, the event has added a circus atmosphere with lucha libre, carnival rides and sideshow performers who push the boundaries of good taste.
Naeba Ski Resort, Niigata Prefecture, Japan
Fuji Rock is Japan’s biggest music festival, organized by promoter Smash Japan and held at a popular ski resort about a 90-minute train ride from Tokyo. International travelers often attend to access the hot springs and lengthy hiking trails that lead to secret gigs around the resort. Fans camp, stay in their cars or book a room at one of the many surrounding ski lodges that can provide visitors with a more traditional Japanese culinary experience.
Downtown Las Vegas
Spread over 18 city blocks in downtown Las Vegas with a backdrop of old-school casinos and the Fremont East bar district, Life Is Beautiful is a celebration for Sin City locals co-created by Zappos founder Tony Hsieh and Rehan Choudhry in 2013. Besides music booked by Another Planet Entertainment, attendees enjoy a culinary village with food from some of the country’s top chefs, an Alchemy Garden with wine and beer, and inspirational speakers and educational panels for attendees. (Billboard parent company PMC purchased a majority stake in Life Is Beautiful in 2022.)
Papas and Beer, Rosarito, Mexico
Aug. 12-14, 19-21
Launched in 2018 at bohemian paradise Papas and Beer, Baja Beach in Rosarito (about an hour south of the Tijuana border crossing) has grown rapidly year over year as a popular weekend getaway from Los Angeles and San Diego. With headliners primarily in the fast-growing Latin trap and reggaetón music scenes, the three-day festival (which takes place over two weekends) quickly sells out every year thanks to founders Chris Den Uijl and Aaron Ampudia and their passionate fans willing to make the trek through Baja California.
Union Park, Chicago
The Pitchfork Music Festival is the ultimate tastemaker conference booked by Mike Reed of Constellation Arts, a longtime Chicago talent buyer and event producer. The festival takes place every July in Union Park — a green gateway near downtown known for its stunning cityscape backdrops. Like its namesake media company, Pitchfork is booked beyond the mainstream and features artists that are culturally acclaimed but not necessarily as commercially successful as the artists playing the neighboring Lollapalooza. While some of the acts booked can be more challenging for the audience, many casual fans say they prefer the laid-back vibe at Pitchfork and its celebration of the city to larger events.
Parc del Fòrum, Barcelona
Since launching in 2001, promoter and festival creator Pablo Soler has expanded the Primavera Sound brand into South America and the United States, including a new Los Angeles festival in 2022. Primavera Sound is a celebration of Barcelona and a showcase of big-name headliners from the Spanish indie-rock scene with songs sung in Spanish, Catalan, English and Portuguese. Each night features smaller club shows across the city through the Primavera als Clubs, and parents who want to party with their kids should check out minimusica — an interactive, kid-friendly programming area. There’s even a daytime conference component, PrimaveraPro, geared toward industry professionals, producers, thought leaders and musicians who work in the music industry.
Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal
Quebec’s famed annual concert has a distinctively French Canadian identity — it’s named after French explorer Jacques Cartier’s first contact with an aboriginal Mohawk tribe in 1535. But Canada’s largest and longest-running indie festival’s bookings tend to have a broader appeal with mostly English-speaking artists. (Those looking for a French-language festival should consider Montreal Pop.) Launched by Nick Farkas of indie concert promotion company Evenko in 2006, the festival has attracted artists from around the world interested in its serene location on Saint Helen’s Island inside the Parc Jean-Drapeau’s Espace 67 — a historic complex that includes a natural amphitheater, an Alexander Calder sculpture and the iconic Montreal Biosphere that houses the Montreal Environmental Museum. Can’t make it Osheaga? Evenko now operates a year-round minifest and event series that works with everyone’s schedule.
Double JJ Resort, Rothbury, Mich.
Few events evoke the emotions and beauty of Electric Forest, where a ranch in Rothbury, Mich., is transformed into a mystical celebration of light and sound. Now owned by Insomniac, Electric Forest was one of the first festivals to combine the electronic music and jam band genres. The true headliner is the Sherwood Forest, the festival’s backdrop known for bringing energy and unprecedented participatory spirit to the site’s incomparable features and amenities. By day, fans gather through a web of hundreds of hammocks draped along the clustered trees of the forest’s maze of installations and gathering spaces. At night, Sherwood Forest comes alive, lit up with state-of-the-art lighting displays, impromptu “secret” parties and costumed characters.
Animal Showgrounds, Roskilde, Denmark
June 25-July 2
Fans have long sworn that Denmark’s Roskilde Festival is one of the world’s most underappreciated and unique fests for all genres of rock and pop music, including acts such as Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Nirvana, David Bowie, Taylor Swift and Cardi B. Organizers always provide a space for up-and-coming Nordic artists as well, and all revenue after expenses is donated to Scandinavian charities. Each year the fest is given a theme — in 2019, the theme was Solidarity, which called on fans to support one another in fighting “hopelessness and despair” in the face of climate change, inequality and political division around the world.
Cidade do Rock, Rio de Janeiro
The original flagship of the Rock in Rio brand, the Brazilian fest is set in Rio de Janeiro’s Cidade do Rock and showcases some of rock, pop and hip-hop’s biggest artists. Launched near the end of a decadeslong military coup supported by the U.S. government, Rock in Rio is both a symbol of music’s transformative power and one of the biggest media moments in the country, watched by millions in and outside of Brazil. For much of the 1980s and ’90s, Rock in Rio was many artists’ introduction to the country, drawing hundreds of thousands of people every year to hear live music and enjoy art on their own terms.
North Byron Parklands, New South Wales, Australia
Australia’s 20-year-old festival, held in North Byron Parklands in New South Wales since 2013, is known for its carefully curated lineup and quirky experiences like the dance-centric Tipi Forest, eccentric craft tents (with names like “Smash Those Bad Dream Catchers” and “Cool As F#%k Charm Bracelets”) and a music-filled kids area known as Little Splendour. Few festivals indulge their fans’ creative instincts like Splendour by finding as many ingenious ways to reinvent itself each year, including plans for a 2022 science tent with lectures and adult-friendly hands-on experiments.
Fort Adams State Park, Newport, R.I.
Launched in 1959 as a counterpart to the Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, this festival has maintained its relevance within the folk music community by pushing the boundaries of the genre: In the 1960s the fest invited both Johnny Cash and blues artist Howlin’ Wolf to perform. The festival closed for 15 years between 1970 and 1985, but today is a premiere showcase for folk, blues, country, bluegrass and other genres including alt country, indie folk and folk punk with a lineup that changes often (many artists simply show up and perform without any advance notice). “We are probably the only festival that doesn’t know its full roster until the day after it’s over,” promoter Jay Street says.
Bramham Park, Leeds; Little John’s Farm, Reading, England
Located about three hours apart in England, the Reading and Leeds festivals are linked by a shared lineup that plays both festivals — Reading in the south near London and Leeds in the north near Manchester — traveling between the two cities each August. Managed by Festival Republic, the rock-centric shows are known for their legendary sets and rowdy crowds, along with heaps of mud, excessive drinking and massive mosh pits. For fans who still want rock’n’roll to be dangerous, it doesn’t get much better than Reading’s Little John’s Farm and Leeds’ Branham Park.
Randall’s Island Park, New York
Launched by Made Events, Electric Zoo is New York’s hometown rave on Randall’s Island — a herculean musical celebration that was briefly the U.S. anchor of SFX, the world’s first and last publicly traded EDM company. Previously owned by a hedge fund, the annual electronic music festival — with past international editions in Mexico City, Tokyo, Shanghai and São Paulo — was bought by New York’s Avant Gardner in June. Its location in one of North America’s best nightclub markets makes it an instant powerhouse in the dance community and, while the festival has been slow to react to an uptick in overdose deaths and safety issues, its fans have remained loyal and willing to come back year after year.
Las Vegas Festival Grounds, Las Vegas
This Goldenvoice festival has only been on the scene for a few years, but organizers let fans know they were ready to throw down top dollar when they booked J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar and Travis Scott to headline the inaugural 2019 edition at the Las Vegas Festival Grounds on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip. Like other festivals in the genre such as Rolling Loud, Day N Vegas can feel a little disorganized and chaotic, but when one compares the cost of a ticket with the event’s ROR (return on rappers), there are few better options for fans looking to max out their music dollars than this deeply booked music experience.
Zilker Park, Austin
Launched during the festival world’s second wave in the early 2000s by C3 Presents — also co-founders of Lollapalooza — the annual event gets its name from the long-running PBS show Austin City Limits and is one of the few contemporary music festivals to take place over two weekends and feature more than 100 acts. ACL happens inside Austin’s “most beloved park,” the famed 350-acre Zilker Park where Barton Creek meets Lady Bird Lake. Longtime fans say the festival’s carefully curated lineup, October dates and embrace of Austin’s food and arts culture make it one of the best large-scale festivals in the country.
Bayfront Park, Miami
Started as a long-shot rap and hip-hop festival in Miami in 2015, Rolling Loud has become a global live-music brand with events held in Europe, Mexico and Asia. Its mainstay event in Florida is now one of the most important music festivals in hip-hop. Built from scratch by lifelong music fans Matt Zingler and Tariq Cherif, Rolling Loud’s early strengths were its daring curation and booking, elevating a new generation of artists with exciting live shows and captivating energy. Today, the biggest performers headline the raucous Miami festival, coming from all over the world, often driven solely by their love and trust of Zingler and Cherif.
New Orleans Fairgrounds, New Orleans
April 29-May 8
Located at a horse racing track just outside of the city’s 7th Ward, Jazzfest is an open-air museum, street festival and pilgrimage dedicated to the musical legacy of The Big Easy. Fans walk between two sprawling main stages to access a maze of creole and Cajun culinary options, smaller stages featuring on-the-rise touring artists and about a dozen massive tents highlighting the best in gospel, African music, jazz, R&B, swing and big band sounds. Each day the festival ends around 7 p.m. and the city’s many venues and performance spaces reverberate with afterparties for New Orleans’ living legends like Dumpstaphunk, Trombone Shorty, the Neville Brothers, The Meters and dozens of other acts.
Napa Fairgrounds, Napa, Calif.
Dave Graham and his partners at Latitude 38 have completely changed how the world looks at the festival-going experience with this Napa, Calif., festival built around food, wine and the true rock stars of the culinary world: award-winning chefs. With a general admission experience that rivals most festivals’ VIP sections and a lineup of contemporary and classic artists that provides the festival’s signature soundscape, BottleRock is an easygoing event with plenty of specially crafted food and beverage options, no long lines and options for every price point.
Empire Polo Fields, Indio, Calif.
April 20-May 1
This annual Palm Springs festival happens the week after Coachella on the same site and is widely considered the largest celebration of country music on the planet (“I can’t think of anything bigger” fans often say when discussing the size of Stagecoach). With major Nashville acts headlining the main stage and alt country, Americana, bluegrass and roots music groups performing on the smaller stages, Stagecoach has something for all fans of Western life, including bountiful barbecue pits, “hillbilly chic” fashion boutiques and a full-scale replica of the old Palomino bar in North Hollywood.
Bonnaroo Farm, Manchester, Tenn.
What began as a jam band festival on a 700-acre farm in an effort to entice and emulate the fan communities that came out for shows by Phish and the Grateful Dead, Bonnaroo has become one of the largest camping-based contemporary music festivals in the world with visitors packing in truckloads of gear for the long weekend. While jam-centric acts Widespread Panic and String Cheese Incident typically get top billing, the festival has become more mainstream since Live Nation bought out Superfly’s ownership of Bonnaroo in 2020. For many, the Roo is both a rite of passage and an annual tradition for attendees looking for a festival that places positivity and kindness as its highest values. Bonnaroo is a great option for adventurous types not afraid to get a little dirty. Even during the most difficult moments on the Farm, attendees are always expected to have a good attitude and be willing to help one another.
Grant Park, Chicago
Few cities do summer quite like Chicago, where every neighborhood, block and brownstone comes alive in June and July in celebration of the Windy City’s music, food and city park system. The crown gem is Grant Park in downtown Chicago that sits alongside the Chicago skyline and the shores of Lake Michigan and is home to the Lollapalooza festival featuring 170 top touring acts in rock, pop, dance and EDM spread over nine stages. At night, the city buzzes with afterparties and unofficial underground shows throughout Chicago’s iconic venues. If you’re looking to fully immerse yourself in all forms of music in one of the country’s best concert markets, this is the festival for you.
De Schorre Recreation Area, Flanders, Belgium
This long-running Belgium festival is often celebrated as the world’s largest dance music party on one the festival world’s largest sites — a space known as the Tomorrowland Holy Grounds, which is steeped in mythical imagery with water ways, sprawling greens and destinations like the Rave Cave, the Garden of Madness and the famed Mouse Bar. Attendees say Tomorrowland is the most mystical and imagination-defying experience one can have without leaving planet Earth. Like its cousin and rival Electronic Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland is one of the few events that truly has it all, including the world’s biggest superstars across EDM, house, techno, drum’n’bass and trance spread over 10 intricately designed stages that push live production beyond anything most people will ever experience. Built around the idea of imagination and storytelling, Tomorrowland is its own universe waiting to be discovered and a bucket list experience for dance music fans.
Various locations, Austin
Even when it launched in 1987 with only 700 attendees, South by Southwest was already too crowded for the 15 venues that played host in its first year (only 150 were initially expected to attend). Today, SXSW is a global platform for film/TV projects, music artists and tech companies wanting to be discovered by the event’s 80,000 registered attendees and 150,000 fans who flock to Austin for its barbecues, parties and free shows. It’s a festival where buzzy young bands still get discovered in dive bars and major artists play secret shows in tiny sauce-stained honky-tonks. While music discovery has largely gone the way of the algorithm, SXSW is still the best feet-on-the-ground festival for discovering new bands and sounds. (Billboard parent company PMC purchased a minority stake in SXSW in 2021.)
Golden Gate Park, San Francisco
The annual San Francisco festival might be one of the youngest fests in the top 10, but its founders’ credentials — festival gurus Superfly Entertainment and the independent Bay Area concert company Another Planet Entertainment — and its location inside Golden Gate Park, just blocks from the Pacific Ocean, give Outside Lands a level of instant credibility within the live-music space. Known for its consistently well-curated lineup, a long-standing commitment to high-end food and wine from Bay Area restaurants and chefs, and a willingness to take risks on everything from comedy to cannabis, Outside Lands is discovered each year by thousands of new fans looking for a one-of-a-kind experience that’s both credible and authentic.
Las Vegas Speedway, Las Vegas
Pasquale Rotella’s annual dance festival — held each summer “beneath the Electric Sky” — has gone from quasi-legal Los Angeles rave to major Las Vegas economic engine, with tens of thousands of hotel rooms booked and nightclubs bristling with activity each year. The dance music world takes over the Las Vegas Strip every May for North America’s ultimate spectacle of sound and light featuring the biggest names in house, techno, drum’n’bass and other genres. Every Ferris wheel, performance stage and art exhibit at the expansive festival site on the outskirts of town was either commissioned by Rotella or created by one of his senior staff members who spent years with the promoter trying to capture his vision. Each night of the festival is packed with global superstars spread out across EDC’s seven stages, but it’s the community EDC has created — where fans are deemed “headliners” by Rotella and productions grow bigger and bigger each year — that speaks to the event’s power and longevity.
Worthy Farm, Somerset, England
No other festival or event has done more to nurture, develop and celebrate the idealist peculiarities and cultural eccentricities of modern festival culture quite like the merry men and women of Glastonbury. Launched by dairy farmer Michael Eavis as the Pilton Pop, Blues & Folk Festival just 13 months after the original Woodstock festival, Glastonbury would serve as ground zero for nearly all of the counter-cultural movements of the 1970s and 1980s and is one of the few festivals to take a “fallow” year every five years to give the land and locals a break. Today, Glastonbury is more relevant than ever, from its iconic Pyramid stage to Eavis’ dedication to raising awareness about the dangers of global warming. The festival has been through many different incarnations over the years, but it has always served as a force for good in the music world.
Empire Polo Fields in Indio, Calif.
The granddaddy of them all, Coachella is the best attended, most relevant and highest grossing music festival in the world. Livestreamed each year to millions of fans worldwide, no other festival transcends culture or has as much influence on the music industry and music fans as this annual rite of passage in the desert. Spread out over a sun-soaked grassy polo complex outside of Palm Springs amid foothills that paint the sunset sky in hues of purple and blue, Coachella is both a celebration of Southern California culture and a platform for artists of all backgrounds to share a moment with the festival’s massive audience. While influencers and celebrities draw the most attention, most attendees are young, working music fans who are passionate about the live experience and will continue supporting concerts over the long haul. More than half of the attendees at Coachella buy their $524 ticket before the lineup has been released through Goldenvoice’s payment plan system which splits the cost of a ticket into four or nine installments. In exchange, Goldenvoice provides a live music experience produced, staged, and delivered at the highest level possible. Sure, money can buy attendees greater creature comforts, but attendees who invest their time dancing, singing along and taking in the festival’s artistry are the ones who always stand to gain the most from the Coachella experience.
South Africa expecting ‘hard grind’ in opening clash with Wales The Independent
South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber says the Springboks are expecting a “hard grind” Test series opener against Wales on Saturday.
Wales have arrived in South Africa on the back of a poor GuinnessSix Nations campaign that ended with them losing at home to Italy.
Two of their three appointments with the Springboks are at altitude, starting in Pretoria.
And Wales have lost all 10 previous games they have played against the reigning world champions on South African soil.
But Nienaber said: “Wales have been training together for a few weeks now and we have no doubt that they will give everything against us on Saturday.
“They are an experienced squad and they have top-class players in their ranks, with some of them having represented the British and Irish Lions last year, so we are expecting a hard grind of a Test.
“They have physical forwards and backs that spark something from nothing, so we need to deliver a quality performance in order to get our season off to a strong start.”
Leicester number eight Jasper Wiese will start for South Africa at Loftus Versfeld.
The Tigers forward, who scored a try when Leicester beat Gallagher Premiership final opponents Saracens on June 18, features in a powerful Springboks side skippered by Siya Kolisi.
Kolisi is among nine players that started South Africa’s 23-18 victory over Wales in Cardiff last November.
“We have a talented group of players, and we believe the match-day squad we selected ticks the boxes in terms of what we would like to achieve in the opening Test against Wales,” Nienaber added.
“We have a plan for the season in terms of giving some of the young players a chance to show what they can do at international level, while at the same time taking stock of the seasoned campaigners and where they are in terms of their rugby.
“Unfortunately, with such a big squad there will always be a few unlucky players, but it is a fine balancing act to ensure we win Tests, build squad depth and transform as a team in the way we play.”
How to boost the message of progressive federalism? Morning Star Online
WELSH Labour leader Mark Drakeford has suggested that the UK Labour Party should promote local identities as part of its work to engage with the public.
The connection between geographic identities and political affiliation had perhaps been noticed a bit earlier in Wales, Drakeford said at an event marking 100 years since Labour won the popular vote in Wales.
He also suggested Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was making progress in linking people’s identification with Manchester with Labour values.
I welcome his comments generally and think these topics are well worth exploring.
The public identify with communities, localities, regions and nations, and with concepts such as sovereignty and control.
Conversations about geographic issues can lead to conversations about power, decision-making and class politics.
Geographic, territorial justice requires class and economic justice. Britain’s north-south divide has illustrated this for decades.
Morning Star editor Ben Chacko reported on June 18 how progressive federalism and regional questions have been raised at recent AGMs of the People’s Press Printing Society, the co-op which runs the newspaper. Hopefully the Star can help develop the conversation on ideas for a future federal Britain.
Discussions on British regional and national issues are also under way in the Communist Party of Britain’s new progressive federalism commission.
It was launched to develop ideas and public support for a federal Britain with new democratic arrangements between England, Scotland and Wales.
It followed the publication of a party pamphlet on post-Brexit Britain, entitled Johnson’s Post-EU Britain or Progressive Federalism?
By coincidence, members of the Spanish Communist Party, the PCE, living in Britain have recently been promoting a similar discussion about a future “plurinational” federal arrangement between Spain, Catalonia and the Basque country, based on consent and democracy rather than outdated, unfair systems and force.
Likewise, the aim of Communist Party of Britain’s new progressive federalism commission is to build a fairer, federal Britain where sovereignty — democratic decision-making and economic powers to intervene on the public’s behalf — genuinely lies with the people and is distributed fairly nationally and regionally for the benefit of ordinary people.
There have been many developments in Britain — Scotland, Wales and England — in recent years which illustrate important regional and national questions.
Examples include Brexit, the Scottish and Welsh parliaments which include some elements of proportional representation and votes for 16-year-olds, English devolution deals, regional combined authorities and regional elected mayors. We also seeing reform of English district and county councils, such as Cumbria and North Yorkshire.
However, these many developments have been inconsistent and there are various democratic deficits.
Different governments, left and right, and different movements have shaped these events at different times. And the change is ongoing.
In Westminster regional development changes, we have seen the ending of the old regional development agencies, the comings and goings of regional development corporations, the launch of local enterprise partnerships, the “Northern Powerhouse” project, freeports, town deals, levelling up etc.
But one of the common characteristics of these has been the lack of public participation. Overwhelmingly, these have been projects focused on regional business communities and some regional politicians.
The general public may have been aware of the big landmark ideas or developments — successes or failures — but the public have been spectators rather than participants and decision-makers.
Some developments over the past 20 or 30 years may seem profound. Others may seem trivial, constitutionally “dry,” bureaucratic, undemocratic or a distraction to the “urgent issues.”
But I believe everyone interested in progressive politics needs to understand what has happened, regardless of whether they agree or not, so they can then engage the public to explore better solutions.
In particular, I believe the English left needs to be well aware of all these developments and to engage with them confidently.
Importantly, the left needs to link these sometimes confusing developments to people’s everyday lives, experiences and struggles, to community, geographic and class identities.
Hope and optimism are needed too. How can progressive federalism boost political participation and help put decision-making powers into localities and regions?
If the mainstream English left doesn’t enter this conversation, other movements will. Recent years have seen the rise of new regional political parties and movements, such as the Yorkshire Party and North-East Party.
In the West Yorkshire mayor elections of 2021, the Yorkshire Party gained 58,000 votes. There are also a number of smaller ultra-local parties in north-west England across Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Cumbria.
By not promoting local, regional and national democratic, economic intervention and sovereignty discussions and proposals, the English left risks allowing the political right to set the agenda about post-Brexit Britain and the right to be perceived as being innovative in regional change.
The current Westminster government is regularly making headlines about levelling-up, town fund deals, devolution deals and regional freeports. But what does the left propose?
The left needs to promote positive ideas about national and regional change which can engage with people’s community and geographic identities and connect with the politically disillusioned.
National and regional characteristics and identities are not set in stone. These change over time, reflecting the dominant political, economic and social forces of different eras.
Progressives in England need to get to grips with these developments and also create engaging new proposals for a federal Britain.
Drakeford criticises move to repeal Trade Union Act in Wales South Wales Argus
FIRST minister Mark Drakeford has accused the UK Government of throwing “sand in the eyes” of the public after it was confirmed that Westminster would try to repeal an act banning the use of agency workers to cover striking staff.
Talking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the first minister was asked about plans from the Westminster government to repeal the 2017 Trade Union Wales Act, which forbids the use of agencies to temporarily fill the vacancies left by workers who are on strike.
The legislation was passed to protect the rights of workers in devolved areas like health and education.
Mr Drakeford barely disguised his anger over the fact that the plans were revealed “without a word of discussion” with the Welsh Government.
“It speaks volumes of the disrespectful agenda that this Westminster government has towards devolution and of course we will resist it”, he said.
On the principal of replacing rail workers with agency staff, Mr Drakeford saidL “It’s nonsense. The idea that you’ll find an agency worker capable of driving a train, of operating a signal box. These are hugely safety critical roles. This is just a piece of nonsense”.
He then went on to attack the Conservative government more generally, saying: “It’s sand in people’s eyes. Where was that government last week when it ought to have been around the table helping to resolve this difficulty? Why wasn’t it there speaking up on behalf of the travelling public and funding a solution?
“We’ve got a government that’s absent on the job – it doesn’t engage where it ought to engage, and it indulges in makebelieve sorts of policies… to disguise their own abject failures”.
The latest UK Government attack on workers’ rights and devolution – appalling, cynical and undemocratic from a party that doesn’t understand the first thing about social partnership. And it will be resisted. https://t.co/eANtoGS1Fq
— Jeremy Miles (@Jeremy_Miles) June 27, 2022
Numerous Members of the Senedd have objected to the move, including Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds who said: “This latest move by the UK Government is a disgrace. This is just the latest episode in a sustained assault by the Conservative Party on the democratic legitimacy of the Senedd and devolved lawmaking.
“The fact they are overriding our Parliament to try and trample on workers’ rights only makes it all the more disturbing.”
Newport County unveil new kit for League Two campaign South Wales Argus
The Exiles have a new look for the 2022/23 League Two campaign under kit manufacturer Hummel, who revealed the shirt with the tag line ‘It’s the Amber of the Exiles’.
Like the past two seasons, the club will wear black shorts unlike the all-amber effort of 2019/20.
Supporters can pre-order the kit at newportcountystore.com with the adult shirt costing £45 and £35 for juniors.
𝐈𝐓’𝐒 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐀𝐌𝐁𝐄𝐑 𝐎𝐅 𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐄𝐗𝐈𝐋𝐄𝐒! 🧡#NCAFC are delighted to reveal our home kit for the 2022-23 season!
— Newport County AFC (@NewportCounty) June 28, 2022
The club will unveil their away and third strips later this summer.
County are currently on a pre-season training camp in Cheshire and play their first friendly fixture on Friday when they take on Undy AFC at the Causeway (kick-off 7pm).
James Rowberry’s side get the League Two season under way at Sutton on Saturday, July 30.
Here are your rugby morning headlines for Tuesday, 28 June.
South Africa assistant coach Deon Davids says that the Springboks are under no illusions over the challenge Wales will pose in the upcoming Test series.
Wayne Pivac’s men face the world champions in Pretoria this Saturday in the first Test of their summer tour, with Tests in Bloemfontein and Cape Town to follow. Given how Wales finished a lowly fifth in the Six Nations, the general consensus appears to be that the Springboks will comfortably secure a 3-0 whitewash.
However, Davids insists they will not be underestimating Wales in the coming weeks. “Listen, everyone is focusing on the Italy loss,” he said.
“A couple of years ago, we also lost against Italy. What we need to understand is if you look at the other Six Nations games, Wales were actually in those games right until the end.
“They are a competitive side, they play with a lot of passion and a lot of pride. They’re in a situation where they want to turn things around, they’ve got experienced campaigners, British and Irish Lions.
“We are under no illusions that it’s going to be a tough series and that is how we’re approaching it.”
Northampton Saints have confirmed the racist abuse Luther Burrell revealed he experienced at the hands of past team-mates did not take place during his time at the club.
In an interview with the Mail on Sunday last weekend, Burrell said racism was “rife” in English rugby. The 32-year-old centre recalled players joking about slavery and remembered being called a “n—–“.
And Northampton, where Burrell spent seven years between 2012 and 2019, have released a statement on behalf of their chief executive, Mark Darbon.
“Everyone at Northampton Saints was saddened and appalled to read Luther Burrell’s comments published yesterday, detailing the racist abuse he has experienced during his playing career,” said Darbon.
“The Club condemns all forms of discrimination, and yesterday reached out to Luther to offer our support and applaud his bravery in speaking out.
“We were reassured during our conversation that Luther did not experience any racial abuse during his time at Northampton Saints. The Club will continue its ongoing work to make sure that Franklin’s Gardens remains an inclusive environment for all Northampton players, staff and supporters.
“We have invited Luther to return to Franklin’s Gardens in the coming months to contribute towards the Diversity and Inclusion projects already being delivered by the Club’s community and commercial staff.
“Saints will welcome and support any wider action taken by the RFU and Premiership Rugby to improve education and awareness across Rugby Union, so that we can eradicate discrimination from our game.”
The All Blacks have been engulfed by Covid chaos ahead of their Test series against Ireland.
Overnight, Will Jordan became the sixth member of the group to test positive. Earlier this week, head coach Ian Foster, assistants John Plumtree and Scott McLeod and centres David Havili and Jack Goodhue all tested positive. All will be forced to isolate at home this week while the All Blacks prepare for the July series opener against Ireland at a sold-out Eden Park on Saturday night.
Lock Sam Whitelock insists the players will take the lead despite the setback.
“If anything for a player, it’s quite nice for it to happen early,” said Whitelock, who is also overcoming a thumb fracture ahead of the first Test. “It makes us take the lead, which we normally want to do anyway. If anything, it means we’ve got to do it a day earlier than we normally would.
“The leadership have been together for a couple of campaigns now and we know each other pretty well. So it’s not doing too much differently … it’s maybe everyone taking a step up in the right areas. We all lead in different ways, so we’ve got to carry on doing that but make sure we’re right across the whole board because we don’t have our normal coaches there.
“It’s a really cool challenge and something I’m actually looking forward to. It’s different, but how awesome we get to have a week in here that’s so different.”
Brentford have appointed rugby sevens guru Ben Ryan as their new Director of Elite Performance.
Ryan coached Fiji to Olympic gold when rugby sevens made its debut at Rio 2016, delivering the country’s first ever medal at the Games. Before that, he worked as England head coach for six years and did some consultancy work with the WRU after leaving his Fiji post.
The 50-year-old’s arrival in the newly created role is part of a restructure of the Premier League side’s hierarchy after the departure of co-Director of Football Rasmus Ankersen last year.
Ankersen had shared that position Director of Football Phil Giles, who will now take on the role alone. Speaking about Ryan’s appointment, Giles said: “When Rasmus left us in December 2021, I spent some time thinking about the future direction of the department and what skills and experiences I felt we needed moving forward.
“Director of Elite Performance is a role I think will help us reach even higher levels of performance across both players and staff. After a thorough recruitment process, Ben emerged as the outstanding candidate.
“He brings huge experience of how to reach elite level across a range of sports and has a coaching background which will help him work effectively with Thomas [Frank]. He is also a Brentford fan, so already understands the Club, knows what we’ve achieved already, and what we want to achieve together in future.”