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Sustained growth for Portuguese festival market

A report by Aporfest reveals ticket sales and the number of festivals in Portugal has grown steadily since 2012—although, it warns, it's still difficult to turn a profit

By Jon Chapple on 16 Mar 2017

Queen and Adam Lambert, Rock in Rio Lisboa, Portugal, 2016

Adam Lambert with Queen at Rock in Rio Lisbon 2016


image © Sapo

There were 249 music festivals held in Portugal in 2016 – 39 more than in 2015, or an 18% year-on-year increase – according to a new report by Aporfest (the Association of Portuguese Festivals).

Aporfest’s findings, presented at last week’s talkfest festival conference in Lisbon by Ticketea marketing director Ismael García, also reveal ticket sales grew by 300,000 to 2.1 million.

Portugal’s population is approximately 10.5 million, appearing to suggest one in five Portuguese bought a music festival ticket last year. However, according to García, the growth in sales in fact owes much to what Eventbrite calls ‘super fans’ or ‘hardcore festies’, with 30% of respondents saying they had been to two or more festivals in 2016.

The Portuguese festival scene has seen sustained growth in the past three years, growing from 127 events in 2013 to 156 in 2014, 210 in 2015 and 249 in 2016. According to talkfest director Ricardo Bramão, the number of festivals cancelled in 2016 also fell, to 14, a “figure lower than in previous years”.

Rock festivals were the most popular (attended by 25% of all festivalgoers), followed by alternative music (23%), indie (18%), electronic music (9%), pop (8%), jazz (6%), hip hop (4%) and metal (3%).

The most popular events overall were Rock in Rio Lisbon, NOS em D’Bandada, Sudoeste and Nos Alive (see graphic below).

Aporfest top 15 festivals 2016

While steady growth can only be a good thing, Aporfest cautions that the market remains immature and reliant on subsidies from local authorities.

Festivals that last more than three or four consecutive editions are rare, as it is “difficult for events to be able to attract new sponsors and audiences and achieve profitability”, the report reads. “In recent years, the only festivals that have grown steadily are those that are supported or supported by municipalities.” The organisation also expresses its concern the gulf between “the so-called ‘big festivals'” and smaller players is growing, with a majority of Portuguese festivals now having fewer than 1,000 attendees.

 


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