Are Festivals Overdoing it with the B2Bs?


We are seeing it everywhere this year, unusual and unique B2B Festival acts are on the rise. But regardless of its uniqueness and the buzz it generates, many are not big fans of the trend. Lately, it is MUST DIE! who decided to call it out on Twitter.

Musicians are being forced into B2Bs for festival slots because apparently getting to play your own set alone is so 2015


You probably have been noticing the trend already, B2B acts are all over this year’s lineups. One of the first ones with this practice is the Amsterdam Music Festival with their II=I concept. It started in 2017 with a unique Hardwell B2B Armin van Buuren.

This year major festivals made this trend grow even bigger. Joris Voorn is playing B2B with Kölsch at Tomorrowland Winter in two weeks. Tomorrowland Belgium will host a very special Oliver Heldens B2B TchamiJauz vs NGHTMRE, Nervo B2B W&W and many others. Ultra Miami will have Jamie Jones B2B Carl Cox B2B The Martinez Brothers, Malaa B2B DJ Snake, Adam Beyer B2B Cirez D and the list goes on. Sometimes we even see b2b2b2b2b sets with just a whole slew of DJs jumping on and off the decks at random.

At first sight, we can only be excited about seeing two heavyweights gather forces during one set. There is no doubt that if a B2B act is carefully built and prepared, it can offer a unique experience. An experience that brings together two different-or similar-musical styles. Unique Mashups, surprising transitions and maybe exclusive edits and IDs are what can make the perfect B2B.

But it is somehow true that in many cases, making these acts a standard is compromising an artist’s vision. Hence many argue that this makes it harder for DJs to offer their own experience and open their musical universe.

In addition, if the performance is only sticking together different chops of two distinguished DJ sets, and playing banger after banger from both artists, then it is probably not worth the hype. Therefore the huge risk is that the crowd is left with a compilation of bangers with some high-pass filters and maybe a few reverbs to spice it up.

However, when a B2B is a true merging of two unique artistic universes, with a well-crafted journey and quality transitions, then it can be a once in a lifetime experience. This is the kind of B2Bs we are hoping for.

So let the Festival season begin and let’s see what these acts have in store for us. What’s your view on the topic? And what would be your perfect B2B at a festival?