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Third straight sellout for OpenAir St Gallen

Gadget's Christof Huber tells IQ how the Swiss festival overcame a tough climate to pull off another successful edition

By James Hanley on 08 Jul 2024

OpenAir St Gallen

image © Julius Hatt

Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen has reflected on a “very positive” 2024 edition after the festival sold out for a third consecutive year.

Promoted by Zurich-based Gadget Entertainment, the 27,500-cap event triumphed in spite of a myriad of challenges – not least the “rapidly changing and unpredictable weather”.

Top billed acts between 27-30 June included The Chainsmokers, Queens of the Stone Age, Placebo, KIZ and Nina Chuba.

“The festival was completely sold out for the third time in a row with 110,000 visitors over the four festival days and went off without any significant incidents,” Gadget’s director festivals & events Christof Huber tells IQ.

Other musical highlights included Girl in Red, Tom Odell, Makko, Provinz, 01099, The Hives, Róisín Murphy, Maisie Peters, Mayberg, Dominik Hartz, Leila and Jule X. And Huber says the programme stayed true to the event’s ethos by representing “a true meeting of different generations”.

“It was a rather difficult year to compile a lineup that could live up to the festival’s standards”

“Newcomers and a lineup that reflects different tastes and genres were always a core value of OpenAir St Gallen,” he notes. “The festival prides itself to cater to different generations and to reflect this with a diverse offering and experiences on different stages and villages across the festival.

“Nonetheless, it was a rather difficult year to compile a lineup that could live up to the festival’s standards. It took longer than normal to finalise this year’s programme with all headliners and the announcement had to be slightly delayed.”

A major plus was a partnership with Swiss train firm SBB RailAway, which enabled free travel by public transport for festival visitors from all over Switzerland.

“The complete inclusion of public transportation – a first for a Swiss festival – was a great success,” says Huber.

A limited allocation of advance tickets for next year’s OpenAir St Gallen, priced CHF250 (€257), have already sold out. The 47th festival is set for 26-29 June 2025. But despite pulling off another record-setting edition this year, Huber says the growing number of obstacles ensure that promotions of such scale remain “high-risk” endeavours.

“We’re very much looking forward to a summer filled with highlights”

“It is once again looking like a rather difficult year for many promoters due to the sheer number of events, the aforementioned challenges as well as a shortage of headliners touring after 2022 and 2023,” he warns. “Factors such as unpredictable weather, rising costs, cancelled performances due to cancelled flights, or other major events will remain challenges in the future, requiring careful planning and programming.”

There is reason for optimism, however, with Gadget’s stacked summer schedule continuing with Taylor Swift at Zürich’s Letzigrund Stadium from 9-10 July. The company also secured a majority stake in the Stars in Town festival earlier this year.

“We’re very much looking forward to a summer filled with highlights,” adds Huber. “Taylor Swift – The Eras Tour is playing Zurich twice this week. Stars in Town – a festival in the historic city centre – is looking at six close to sold out festival nights. Seaside and SummerDays Festival are once again gearing up to be very special events right by the lake and our Newcomers Festival Radar will mark the end of the festival season in September.

“Additionally, there will be numerous shows from exciting artists as well as a range of mandated festivals.”

The latest issue of IQ features an in-depth profile of Gadget Entertainment as Switzerland’s leading promoter turns 30.


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