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FKP Scorpio MD runs rule over ’23 festivals

Stephan Thanscheidt tells IQ he is "very pleased" with this year's Hurricane and Southside but admits concerns for the wider market

By James Hanley on 03 Jul 2023

FKP Scorpio's Stephan Thanscheidt

Stephan Thanscheidt

FKP Scorpio MD Stephan Thanscheidt has reported a strong summer for the promoter’s flagship events, but warned of struggles across the wider German festival sector.

The twin Hurricane and Southside festivals took place from 16-18 June in Scheeßel and Neuhausen ob Eck, respectively, headlined by artists such as Muse, Die Ärzte, Placebo, Queens of the Stone Age, The 1975 and Loyle Carner.

“We’re very pleased with this year’s editions,” Thanscheidt tells IQ. “With 78,000 attendees at Hurricane and 60,000 at Southside we were almost sold-out, which is something that very few big festivals in Germany can say this year. Most importantly, our guests and artists had a great time and the weather was near-perfect.

“We’re also happy that we continue to make progress in making our festivals ecologically and socially more sustainable. Our gamification-based garbage concept ‘Trasholution’ generates donations for local charities, while all main stages at Southside as well as other infrastructure are powered with renewable energy. ‘Gamechanger’, our new band contest for female acts, was also very well received north and south.”

“We’ve worked very hard to achieve this success in an overall troubled market”

It was also recently revealed that both Hurricane and Southside set advance booking records after putting tickets on sale for 2024. Fans bought over 50,000 tickets on the first day of the presale, setting a new bar in the 20-plus-year history of the twin festivals, which have a combined capacity of 143,000. Weekend passes were priced from €199.

“Obviously, we’re over the moon in light of the overwhelming support and trust our guests put in our work,” says Thanscheidt. “For us, the sale onset for 2024 is a strong sign that people had a great time at Hurricane and Southside. Additionally, our ticket fares are moderate in comparison to our competition because we’re doing our hardest to shoulder or mitigate the rising production costs ourselves. Be that as it may, we’ve worked very hard to achieve this success in an overall troubled market and couldn’t be any happier right now.

“We’re constantly improving existing concepts based on audience feedback and our experience. Regarding the next edition I wouldn’t speak of many changes because both festivals proved this year that they’re successful the way they are. That doesn’t mean that we won’t improve, however, more sustainability and the next steps towards more diversity on our stages are our focus at the moment.”

FKP will also stage M’era Luna festival from 12-13 August near Hildesheim, topped by VV and Within Temptation, as well as Highfield, which will be held in Leipzig from 18-20 August with the likes of Die Ärzte, K.I.Z, Marteria, SDP, RIN and Beatsteaks.

“Rising costs for virtually everything continue to take their toll”

Thanscheidt suggests the success of FKP’s festivals bucked the trend seen elsewhere in the country so far this summer.

“Rising costs for virtually everything continue to take their toll,” he says. “Because of this, less demand and purchasing power, a lot of festivals are struggling, and we suspect their number to further decrease in the future. We consider ourselves very lucky that the demand for our remaining festivals such as Highfield and M’era Luna is stable, with the latter probably being sold-out shortly before the festival weekend.”

The company also has tours later in the year with acts including The National and Queens of the Stone Age, with Taylor Swift Eras stadium dates in Germany coming up next year.

“Apart from our successful festival summer, the rest of 2023 shapes up to be a comparatively calm time,” adds Thanscheidt. “With record-breaking stadium tours just behind us and Taylor Swift just confirmed for 2024, this is a welcome breather for our team.”


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