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Concert Economics

02:01 PM Wednesday 6/20/12 |   |

German festival promoter Folkert Koopmans reckons this summer’s ticket sales pretty well reflect the state of the various European economies.

On the second weekend in June, his Hamburg-based FKP Scorpio – which has a double-handful of German festivals – was involved in European events in Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and The Netherlands.

Although he’s pleased with the overall result, he told Pollstar that outside of Germany – the strongest of the European economies – he’s finding it much harder to sell tickets.

He said the exception is Switzerland, which isn’t in the European Union let alone the euro zone, where his Greenfield Festival did 25,000 per day June 15-17 for a lineup that had Die Ärzte, Limp Bizkit, The Offspring, Rise Against, Billy Talent, and The Hives.

He said he’s also pleased that Sweden’s Hultsfred Festival June 14-16, which Scorpio was running for the second year, increased its daily crowd from around 11,000 to more than 15,000.

Last year he felt ticket sales were down because some doubted that the festival would actually take place. After years of teetering on the financial brink, Hultsfred plunged into bankruptcy in 2010.

“Although the festival is going the right way, it seemed as if the market was weak,” Koopmans explained.

The Hultsfred lineup had The Cure, The Stone Roses, Slash, Justice, and Mumford & Sons.

Sweden’s Where The Action Is Festival won’t be happening this year because promoter Luger says it already has a diary full of summer events.

  • Slash

    Rocks the crowd at Sweden's Hultsfred, one of four European festivals staged during the same weekend by German promoter FKP Scorpio.
    June 14, 2012

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Although Sweden Rock organisers were happy with their crowd figures June 6-9, it was the first time in nine years that the 30,000-capacity gathering didn’t sell out.

Koopmans says he wouldn’t comment on the Danish market until he’s seen how such major festivals as Roskilde and Skanderborg perform, but he had expected better from his Northside Festival June 15-17.

Last year the 15,000-capacity event sold out, so Koopmans and local partner Brian Nielsen upped the capacity to 25,000.

About 17,500 per day came to see acts including The Stone Roses, Kasabian, Bat For Lashes, Justice and Mumford & Sons.

“I’d hoped we’d do much better than that and there were signs that we would, but then sales steadied,” he said.

Koopmans biggest disappointment came in The Netherlands, where he has just taken over the one-day Indian Summer Festival, which happened June 16.

Indian Summer regularly pulls 15,000 and Scorpio has failed to build on that.

Koopmans says this was partly because of a change in the country’s VAT laws. Such was the protest against the Dutch government increasing the VAT on concert tickets from six percent to 19 percent that it’s now cut it back to 6 percent.

But that doesn’t come into effect until July 1, leaving Indian Summer tickets subject to three times as much VAT as some of the rival festivals that fall in the second half of the summer.

“Apart from that, some Dutch festivals are offering two tickets for the price of one,” he said. “I don’t agree with that because I think it devalues the event and, even if I did agree with it, I couldn’t afford to do it.

“The Indian Summer ticket was only euro 59 ($74.2) and I can’t afford to sell them for half of that.”

The Dutch festival’s lineup included The Kooks, Madness, Selah Sue, and The Wombats.


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