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Euro fests cross borders to find audiences

World News
April 1, 2019

Report reveals age ranges and gender balance

EUROPE              

MORE THAN 70 per cent of festival association Yourope’s members promote their festivals outside their domestic markets, according to a new survey by the pan-Europe organisation.

German audiences are targeted by 72 per cent of Yourope festivals; the UK’s by 39 per cent, Switzerland’s by 33 per cent, France’s by 30 per cent and the Netherlands by 24 per cent.

The survey shows that 27 per cent of Yourope member events spent more than €100,000 ($86,000) in order to promote their event, while 25 per cent spent more than €250,000 ($215,000).

A further quarter spends up to €50,000 ($43,000), while only 23 per cent keep marketing costs below €25,000 ($21,500).

Fortunately, for over half (53 per cent) of Yourope’s almost 100 members, there is public funding available to help with the costs. The most common type of grants for festivals are regional funds, the report notes, – with very few events receiving national governmental or European-level financial support.

Unsurprisingly, association members report a broad range of turnovers. Just over 20 per cent had turnover of less than €500,000 ($430,000), while a similar number saw revenues of less than €1 million ($860,000).

Members with turnover of €1m-€2.5m made up 19 per cent of the association. The largest group within Yourope are festivals with a turnover of €2.5m-€5m ($2.15m-4.3m) at 25 per cent.

At the top end of the market, 12 per cent achieved turnover of €5m-€7.5m, four per cent reached €15-17.5m ($13m-15m), while six per cent of festivals reached a turnover of more than €20m ($17.2m).

Yourope festivals booked on average 97 artistes each, 54 per cent of which were from Europe, despite the enduring popularity of US artistes worldwide. The organisation says this strong showing for European acts is reflected in the growth of domestic talent across the continent, which can also be seen in record sales.

The fans

The survey found that members’ events attract on average more female festival-goers than male. Just 25 per cent had audiences made-up predominantly of men, while 25 per cent had an equal gender balance. 50 per cent had more female attendees than male.

Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of audiences were aged 15-29.

Festival popularity shows no sign of slowing down, as Yourope members increased ticket sales 22 per cent over the five years from 2014, when the number of sales reached 3.99m, followed by 4.3m in 2015, 4.6m in 2016, 4.7m in 2017 and 4.8m in 2018.

The majority of Yourope’s promoters described 2018’s festival season as “good”. Only a minority failed to sell over 80 per cent of their event capacities.

The organisation says an internal opinion poll suggests that festival promoters are concerned about continuously rising artiste fees, the availability of headlining acts, tougher competition between events, challenging weather conditions and a changing overall economic situation in Europe.

Consolidation, as external investors – particularly private equity funds – buy promoters and festivals across the continent, was a cause for concern as Yourope members felt it might lead to higher fees for top artistes, which is already a significant issue for medium-sized events.

Yourope members include Serbia’s Exit festival (cap. 50,000), Lowlands (65,000) in the Netherlands, the multi-venue Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, Germany’s Melt Festival (25,000) and Pukkelpop (66,000) in Belgium.

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