ID&T's long-running Dutch EDM festival remains unaffected by by SFX's financial woes
Sign up for IQ Index
The latest industry news to your inbox.
The ID&T COO talks insurance, refunds, fan demand and why she's aiming for an A-list line-up of international talent at Mysteryland 2021
By Jon Chapple on 19 May 2021
Rosanne Janmaat, chief operating officer of ID&T, has said the Dutch festival giant aims to give electronic music fans as much of a show as possible this summer when its flagship event, Mysteryland, returns in the final weekend of August.
Unlike the majority of rock and pop events, dance music festivals should be able to welcome international artists this summer, given how much smaller DJs’ touring footprints are compared to even a small band. “It’s different compared to events with pop or rock bands who come with their own production and their own roadies,” explains Janmaat (pictured). “For us it’s acts who comprise one or two people who play with records or with a USB stick.”
“Another big difference,” she continues, “is that with pop acts, they schedule do a tour in a certain territory, if one show falls away it doesn’t make sense to do the rest of the tour – they’re not going to fly out to do just one show in the Netherlands, for example. But with DJs, that’s quite common.”
However, as the Netherlands’ oldest and most famous electronic music festival, sky-high fan expectations mean it’s not possible for Mysteryland (which typically has a capacity of 60,000 people a day) to go ahead in a reduced, limited-capacity format complying with some form of restrictions on mass gatherings.
“If we reduce the capacity, that’s not the experience fans are buying the ticket for”
“We’ve had a lot of conversations about this, but with Mysteryland, for instance, if people have paid for admission they expect the full monty,” says Janmaat, “and if we reduce the capacity, we would also need to lower the number of stages or change the line-up, and that’s then not the experience that they’re buying the ticket for. So it wouldn’t be fair to the customers to change the format.”
At press time, that line-up had yet to be released, though the festival has announced the hosts for the 21 stages over 3 days which will be dotted throughout the Haarlemmermeerse Bos, the 115-hectare (285ac) park north of Amsterdam which has been the festival’s home since 2003.
“We tend to call ourselves creators instead of promoters,” continues Janmaat, who was promoted to COO at the beginning of this year. “Of course, the line-ups need to be top of the bill, but we create a whole themed world with lots of creations in it to mesmerise our audience. Even if someone comes for a certain DJ, they might end up in a really small, different stage because it’s so nice, creative and inspiring, and that’s always the adventure we’re aiming for.”
For ID&T, much of its end-of-summer planning will hinge on developments over the next few weeks. The next step in the Netherlands’ reopening plan, originally set for 11 May, has been postponed until tomorrow (20 May), and a controversial clause in the €300m cancellation fund for festivals that could require promoters/organisers to assume sole responsibility for the loan portion (20%) of the fund, despite it benefitting the entire industry, is proving a sticking point. “This is something we’ve flagged with the government,” explains Janmaat.
“We tend to call ourselves creators instead of promoters”
Despite the uncertainty, Janmaat is hopeful that her remaining summer events (at the time of writing, Mysteryland and Decibel Outdoor are still on, with the likes of Defqon.1 and Sensation having cancelled earlier this summer), all of which take place from the end of August onwards, can still happen in the kind of format fans expect from an ID&T format.
Whether that will be possible remains to be seen, though the promoter can take comfort either way in the fact that a year away has done little to dampen fan demand for its shows.
“Across the board for the company, 92% of fans have held onto their tickets,” Janmaat says. “We are very thankful that we have such a loyal fan base. Even now we are receiving emails on a daily basis from people saying, ‘Hey, listen, if you get a ticket back would you please sell it, because I missed out?’ And that’s for the ’22 edition of Defqon.1…
“For Mysteryland, we only have Sunday tickets left – Saturday and weekend passes are completely sold out. So our takeaway is that people can’t wait to go to a party again.”
Mysteryland 2021 takes place from Friday 27 to Sunday 29 August. Limited Sunday day tickets are still available, priced at €69.90 (GA) and €160 (premium).
Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ Index, IQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.