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VNPF demands further support for Dutch live sector

Organisation's new Pop Stages and Festivals in Figures 2020 report shows concert revenue fell €92m last year

By James Hanley on 02 Nov 2021

Saturday's 'Unmute Us' march took place in six Dutch cities

The 'Unmute Us' march took place in six Dutch cities in August

The Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals (VNPF) has warned the sector will remain in need of financial support as long as Covid-19 restrictions remain in place.

The warning follows the recent publication of its new Pop Stages and Festivals in Figures 2020 report, based on data from 101 Dutch music venues and festivals.

According to the study, revenue from ticket sales and catering at domestic shows plummeted from €121.7 million in 2019 to €29.7m last year as a result of the pandemic.

“In 2020, almost 23,000 fewer performances were given by artists than in 2019,” says the report. “For pop venues affiliated with the VNPF, this led to €92m less income. As a result, many employees lost their jobs. The impact of the pandemic on the entire live music industry is still profound today.”

The damage was mitigated by generic and sector-specific support, with 83% of music venues receiving additional financial resources from support measures. However, events in the country are currently restricted to 75% capacity and are required to close between 00:00 and 06:00 CET.

Financial support remains necessary as long as restrictive measures are still in place

“The VNPF expects similar or worse results in 2021,” it concludes. “Financial support, such as guarantee schemes… are still very much needed. With the end of the generic support measures as of 1 October, pop venues and festivals, artists and suppliers could run into further problems, now that programming and receiving audiences at full capacity and at night is still not possible.

“There is understanding for restrictive measures that combat the coronavirus, because the stages and festivals want nothing more than for society to be able to open fully again, but the measures must be effective and proportional. In addition, financial support remains necessary as long as restrictive measures are still in place.”

In September, the Dutch event sector lost summary proceedings brought against the state due to the latest restrictions. Twenty organisations including Mojo, ID&T, Unmute Us and Apenkooi Events demanded in court that all events and club nights be allowed again without restrictions on capacity and time.

The sector has continuously argued that the government restrictions do not reflect the three months’ worth of findings from the Fieldlab Evenementen studies. However, the judge said that the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) factored in the results when giving advice to the outgoing cabinet.

The Dutch government has attempted to soften the blow of the restrictions by announcing a €15m fund to compensate promoters and venues for lost revenue from indoor standing shows – on top of its €385m guarantee fund.


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