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Lowlands festival director Eric van Eerdenburg gives IQ his thoughts on replacement headliners, booming sales and rising ticket prices
By Anna Grace on 07 Aug 2019
The Netherlands’ Lowlands festival sold out in the fastest time in years for its 2019 edition and demand for tickets remains high as the event fast approaches.
“Everything is on track,” Eric van Eerdenburg, festival director of A Campingflight to Lowlands Paradise – or Lowlands for short – tells IQ, ahead of the event’s 27th edition which kicks off on Friday 16 August.
Ticket sales are “back to where they were before”, states van Eerdenburg, referencing the fall in sales the festival experienced in 2015. “It was just one of those temporary shake-ups.”
After selling all tickets for the 60,000-capacity festival six months before opening, van Eerdenburg says a further 8,000 fans are still trying to get their hands on more via fan-to-fan resale platform TicketSwap.
304 tickets from unused sponsor blocks released to the public on 9 August have also sold out.
The price of Lowlands tickets went up by €10 this year to €210, with glamping options ranging from €72.5 to €660 on top of the festival ticket. The rise is caused by the national VAT rise for cultural event admission and a “steep” increase in artist fees, according to van Eerdenburg.
“We’re very lucky that glamping is really booming, so we can keep the tickets at the cheaper end more affordable”
Ticket prices are rising “too fast” says the Lowlands boss, adding that “we’re very lucky that glamping is really booming here, so we can differentiate the prices and keep the tickets at the cheaper end more affordable.”
However, it has not all been plain sailing for this year’s Lowlands. Speaking to IQ ahead of this year’s festival season, van Eerdenburg described the process of agreeing on a line-up poster as “mission impossible”.
The tragic passing of Prodigy frontman Keith Flint left Lowlands with an empty headline slot which “we couldn’t fill with an equally strong band”. With no international acts of a similar standard available, Lowlands elected for local band De Staat as a replacement.
Fast-growing among Dutch fans, the Lowlands appearance will be De Staat’s first headline show in Holland at a festival of this size. Although reactions to the replacement have been “mixed” and the act is “not as exclusive” as desired – De Staat have a packed Dutch festival schedule – van Eerdenburg is optimistic, saying “we will make it look like a headline show”.
Uncertainty lies around another Lowlands headliner, ASAP Rocky, who was recently detained on assault charges in Sweden.
“ASAP Rocky has now been released but we don’t know if he will be able to perform,” explains van Eerdenburg, saying the rapper’s agency has asked the festival to hold off on replacements for now. The verdict of the trial is announced on Wednesday 14 August, five days before the rapper’s Sunday evening Lowlands performance.
“We couldn’t fill [the Prodigy slot] with an equally strong band”
Elsewhere on the line-up, van Eerdenburg states there is a high level of excitement around Billie Eilish, who has “grown into a headliner in her own right”, since being booked for an early afternoon slot. Eilish has only played once before in Holland, in front of a 2,500-capacity crowd, so “the audience will be very happy to see her.”
Other acts the Lowlands boss is looking forward to include psychedelic rockers Tame Impala, fast-growing Irish rock band Fontaines DC and rapper Anderson Paak.
New for this year, Lowlands is partnering with payment communication specialist CM.com to trial an in-app payment collection service. The alternative to the oft-used RFID cashless system will run on one bar in the festival site, at the food and drinks outlets in the glamping area and in the press/guest area, with the plan to implement festival-wide next year.
Lowlands 2019 takes place from 16 to 18 August in Biddinghuizen, the Netherlands.
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