The BBC has confirmed it has secured a full live broadcast performance from Taylor Swift at The Biggest Weekend.
In the latest issue of Music Week, Rhys Hughes, BBC head of live music & events, popular music, revealed that discussions were ongoing with Swift’s team about the extent of the coverage.
Jan Younghusband has told Music Week an agreement has now been reached for the whole performance, which will air on BBC One after 7.30pm on Sunday (May 27). While most acts sign up to the broadcast opportunity where the BBC is a festival partner, some big names have held out in the past, including Eminem at Reading & Leeds 2017.
“It’s going to be Taylor Swift’s debut on [BBC] television – she certainly hasn’t done a live set on television in my time here in the last eight years,” said Younghusband, head of commissioning, BBC Music TV. “This is her debut with a full proper live set, so I’m very excited about that.”
Swift did perform at Radio 1’s Big Weekend at Norwich in 2015, though the set was screened on BBC iPlayer rather than a live TV slot on a major channel.
“The set is 30-40 minutes, she’s absolutely live and it’s really exciting,” said Younghusband. “We’ll screen the whole set and there’s no edit. We’re so delighted to have her on the BBC.”
The performance comes ahead of Swift’s UK stadium tour, which launches on June 8 at Manchester Etihad Stadium. Her Reputation album campaign has continued this year with exclusive releases via Spotify, following a windowing strategy upon release of the record.
Ed Sheeran will open the sold-out Radio 1 event in Swansea at 12 noon on Saturday (May 26) as he is booked to play his own show in Manchester that evening. Sheeran’s Biggest Weekend set will be screened as live on BBC One on Saturday night.
“Others are absolutely live,” said Younghusband. “Florence + The Machine, Sam Smith, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will all be live.”
While big names will secure prime slots on TV networks, the BBC has 20 hours to fill featuring performances from among the 100 acts at four UK-wide sites.
“It’s the first time that we’ve done a festival that encompasses all our music, it’s really great to see the classical stuff in there,” said Younghusband. “It’s going to be interesting to see how our audience comes to that across television, because it’s been the first time we’ve mixed it all up on radio and television over the weekend.”
“This is what we love to do, for us it’s exactly our strategy to do something that will reach out to the entire country,” she added. “So, having the four sites is the most ambitious thing we’ve ever done in years.”
To read more from Jan Younghusband on The Biggest Weekend and Glastonbury, pick up the latest copy of Music Week – or subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss a big industry story click here.