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FKP Scorpio MD: ‘We’re proud about our comeback’

Here, the promoter's head of festival booking reflects on the 2022 season so far and shares his hopes and fears for the wider market

By James Hanley on 27 Jun 2022

FKP Scorpio's Stephan Thanscheidt

Stephan Thanscheidt


FKP Scorpio MD Stephan Thanscheidt has given his verdict on this year’s festival season following the sell-out success of Germany’s Southside and Hurricane events.

Held from 17-19 June, the twin events were topped by Kings of Leon, Rise Against, Seeed, Martin Garrix, The Killers, Deichkind, Twenty One Pilots and KIZ.

The events return to Neuhausen ob Eck (Southside) and the Eichenring motorcycle speedway in Scheessel (Hurricane) from 16-18 June 2023.

In addition, FKP joined forces with DreamHaus and Loft Concerts to launch brand new open-air festival Tempelhof Sounds in Berlin earlier this month on the grounds of Tempelhof Airport – where the Berlin Festival once took place, and the German Lollapalooza Festival launched in 2015. Tempelhof Sounds was headlined by Florence + The Machine, Muse and The Strokes.

As FKP’s head of festival booking, Hamburg-based Thanscheidt is responsible for a programme of over 25 festivals across Europe. The company’s festival repertoire also includes Highfield, M’era Luna, Rolling Stone Beach, Metal Hammer Paradise, A Summer’s Tale, Plage Noire and Deichbrand.

On the international side, FKP Scorpio hosts Provinssi (FI), Sideways (FI), Greenfield (CH), Gården (SWE), Indian Summer (NL), Best Kept Secret (NL), Tuckerville (NL) and Aairport (DK), among others.

Here, in a quickfire Q&A with IQ, he reflects on the 2022 season so far and shares his hopes and fears for the wider market…

“We are facing the same challenges as everyone else, most notably a shortage of qualified personnel and a significant increase of expenses”

How pleased were you with the response to this year’s Southside and Hurricane festivals?

“We’re more than pleased with this year’s instalments of our flagship festivals. Both were sold out and all 150,000 attendees had a great time. That’s not taken for granted given the difficult circumstances our industry still finds itself in. The presale for both events has already started and is shaping up to be very dynamic. It’s also worth noting that we were very successful with a festival premiere this year: Tempelhof Sounds took place in Berlin the weekend before Hurricane and Southside and sold well over 40,000 tickets, surpassing even our expectations.”

What were the biggest challenges in the run-up to the events?

“We were facing the same challenges as everyone else, most notably a shortage of qualified personnel and a significant increase of expenses. A lot of people, for example in lighting, sound, planning or other areas, aren’t working in the sector anymore – with corona naturally being the main cause for this. The high inflation caused by the pandemic and the horrible war in Ukraine are additionally contributing to the issues we’re facing in production of live events today. It really shows in the light of recent developments that our big network of skilled labour in the value chain is a tremendous asset to have.”

How is the rest of your year shaping up?

“We’re proud about our comeback from the pandemic. In addition to the aforementioned, our European festivals, Deichbrand, M’era Luna and Highfield are just around the corner. Apart from the festival sector we’re promoting shows of the likes of The Rolling Stones and Ed Sheeran or new concepts like The Masked Singer. It’s not a given to not only get back into business after two years of break, but also bringing new ideas to the market.”

“Although we’re managing quite well, the live sector does not yet stand firmly on its own feet like it used to”

How is this year’s festival’s season going in Germany overall?

“The before-mentioned problems have caused some festivals to cancel – luckily not for us. One festival had to be stopped on its second day recently due to a lack of security personnel. Additionally, a lot of festivals had to cancel because the ticket sales did not go so well. Combined with the rising costs of producing live events, the risk of failure is bigger than ever.”

What are your biggest hopes and expectations for the market now moving forward?

“I would simply hope for more stability for the whole industry. Although we’re managing quite well, the live sector does not yet stand firmly on its own feet like it used to. At the same time, I’m positive that this will gradually change once the bulk of postponed events finally took place and the economic situation is more stable. What we’re still sure about is this: People love to experience live music, maybe more than ever – no amount of uncertainty will ever change this.”

 


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