The latest industry news to your inbox.

I'd like to hear about marketing opportunities


I accept IQ Magazine's Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy


Cancelled Swiss fest ‘unable to provide refunds’

Vevey's Vibiscum Festival had reached "only half" of its ticket sales target two weeks before it was due to start

By James Hanley on 20 May 2024

image © Wladyslaw

Organisers of Switzerland’s Vibiscum Festival say they are currently “unable to provide refunds” to ticket holders after the event was cancelled due to poor ticket sales.

Vibiscum’s third edition was set for 30 May to 2 June in the town of Vevey, with days dedicated to hip-hop, rock and electronic music, plus a closing afternoon classical music programme. Acts booked included Hardwell, Lost Frequencies, Hamza, Shaka Ponk, Zola and Crawlers.

Launched in 2022, Vibiscum is sponsored by food and drink conglomerate Nestlé, which is headquartered in Vevey, and grew quickly, attracting 6,000 people over two days in its first year and 32,000 across three days last year, when it was headlined by Orelsan and DJ Snake.

But festival director William von Stockalper opted to pull the plug on the 2024 event after it reached “only half” of his 18,000 ticket sales target two weeks before it was scheduled to start.

“To be frank, we had been thinking about it for a week but we were still hoping for a significant jump in sales,” Von Stockalper tells Blue News. “For a festival like ours, the current trend is to sell at the last minute, but given the sales, it would have been too risky to bet everything on that. It was a terrible choice, the most difficult decision of my professional career.”

“We are working on solutions, we will do everything to offer compensation”

Moreover, a statement from the festival says that refunds are not currently being offered to ticket holders.

“Due to the financial difficulties we are facing, we regret to inform you that we are unable to provide ticket refunds at this time,” it notes. “We understand that this may be frustrating and we sincerely apologise for this situation. However, we would like to assure you that we are fully committed to finding a fair solution for all affected festivalgoers. To this end, we are actively exploring all available options to compensate ticket holders.”

Von Stockalper, who is president of Vevey-Sports football club, reiterates there will be no refunds “immediately”, but speaks of reimbursement “in one form or another”. “We are working on solutions, we will do everything to offer compensation,” he insists.

Nevertheless, the situation has raised the ire of rival promoters such as Michael Drieberg, boss of Live Music Production and Sion Under the Stars, who lambasts it as “indecent” and “crazy”.

“We can’t just say to ourselves that it’s ruined, that we’re not paying anyone and go back to taking care of our football club. It’s too simple,” he tells Blick.

“It has become increasingly difficult to find well-known artists at affordable prices”

Elaborating on the reasons for Vibiscum’s cancellation, a statement on the festival’s website reads: “The lack of ticket sales has made it impossible for us to cover the costs of artists and other vendors essential to making the festival happen. Despite all our efforts to promote the event, we have not achieved the objectives necessary to ensure its financial viability.”

Day tickets for this year began at CHF95, up from CHF67.20 in 2023.

“After the first two editions, we had to increase ticket prices to cover the increasing costs of organising the festival,” continues the statement. “We are aware that this increase may have dissuaded some people from participating in this adventure, and we are deeply sorry for this.

“We also understand that this year’s programming may not have generated as much excitement as we hoped. It has become increasingly difficult to find well-known artists at affordable prices, especially those who have not recently performed in the area.

“We are deeply disappointed and saddened not to be able to realise our dream of offering the inhabitants of Vevey the festival they deserve and remain, despite everything, proud of the first two editions.”

However, Dreiberg argues the market was already oversaturated and brands Vibiscum’s cancellation “the chronicle of a predicted shipwreck”.

“A new major festival in the region, with a budget of five to 20 million francs… is no longer possible today,” he says. “There is no more room.”


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.