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Attendances up for Dutch live business

The VNPF reports crowds at venues and festivals increased to 7.6m in 2022, but concerns remain over rising costs

By James Hanley on 02 Aug 2023

The Netherlands' marquee festival, Lowlands

The concert business in the Netherlands has reported a post-pandemic resurgence, but concerns over rising costs remain, according to the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals’ (VNPF).

The newly published Poppodia and Festivals in Figures 2022 report shows venues and festivals received a total of 7.6 million visits in 2022, compared to 883,000 in 2021 and 8.6m in the last pre-Covid year of 2019, despite an “abnormal” year for the business, with corona restrictions not lifted until three months in.

Employment in the industry was also up, with music venues employing more than 8,000 staff last year – approximately 3% more than in 2019 – with more paid working hours and less voluntary work.

The statistics are based on figures from 48 music venues and 55 festivals. However, the report notes that the total expenditure of those venues increased by 8% in 2022 compared to 2019, even though fewer activities were organised in Q1 2022 due to the strict Covid measures.

Chief among its stated concerns are high cost increases for venues, including for personnel, housing, catering and programme, while municipal subsidies “were not increased proportionally”.

“The costs for energy, personnel, catering purchasing and artists rose sharply, and will still do so in 2023”

“In addition to the aftermath of the pandemic, VNPF members also faced high inflation in 2022,” it adds. “Among other things, the costs for energy, personnel, catering purchasing and artists rose sharply, and will still do so in 2023.”

VNPF stages received €36.1 million in Covid intervention in 2021, with the vast majority of that amount coming from the national government and the organisation stresses the need for further support from the authorities.

“The figures for 2022 show that the municipal subsidy is increasing, but not enough to cope with autonomous cost increases,” it says. “This is particularly worrying for the longer term. This means that talent development of both artists and staff and the retention of good staff will come under further pressure.

“Adequate and appropriate subsidies for the subsidised part of our sector remain of vital importance. Organisations that are not subsidised also need the government as a cooperation partner and facilitator.”


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