Apple Sparks London-Based iTunes Festival

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Apple is now pushing a limited series of live engagements in London, according to information released this week.

Throughout July, the iTunes Festival will feature more than sixty artists at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London.  The series, sparked by Apple UK, features notable groups like Amy Winehouse, Travis, Groove Armada, Stereophonics, Beverley Knight and Crowded House, according to  The first performance will come from Mika, and each artist will play to an audience of roughly 350.  Entrance is free, though tickets will only be handed to online contest winners.  A total of 31 gigs are scheduled, and every performance will be recorded and positioned on the iTunes Store.  Meanwhile, the iTunes Festival destination will flower with photographs, blogs, videos, podcasts and artist interviews related to the performances.

The festival concept taps a number of rich veins, most notably the British music scene and the irreplaceable summer concert experience.   For Apple, the move further bonds the company with music, and bolsters the importance of both iTunes and the iPod.  The first run is likely to spawn similar efforts in future years, stimulating fan excitement and memories.  The festival also has the potential to introduce the world to promising new acts, and rally interest around new releases from established artists.  Meanwhile, the Institute of Contemporary Arts brings a rich cultural history to the table, one that traverses multiple art forms.  The ICA exhibited Jackson Pollock artwork in the 50s, and housed the second-ever performance from the Clash, among other things.