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The diminutive nation of Luxembourg punches well above its weight in terms of live music.
An affluent population and borders with the major markets of Belgium, France, and Germany mean European tours more often than not include a date here. The venue they all stop at is Rockhal in Esch-sur- Alzette. With two rooms – a 6,500-capacity main space and smaller club (1,500), plus an outdoor site capable of accommodating 11,000 people – flexibility is the name of the game here, and that’s demonstrated by the full schedule.
“Things have been super busy,” reflects CEO Olivier Toth. “We’ve had a lot of shows at all different kinds of capacities, settings, and configurations – everything from 200 people up to 6,500, plus open-air shows for 11,000 people. If you’re a music fan, this year is like the best of 2020, 2021 and 2022 all rolled into one.”
Ticket sales are being affected by the current glut of shows, along with the knock-on effects from the pandemic.
Toth says between May and July there were only three days when there wasn’t a show at Rockhal, and the autumn touring season is starting earlier than ever, with the calendar looking just as busy. As Luxembourg borders Belgium, Germany, and France, Rockhal’s audience also comes from these countries.
Ticket sales are being affected by the current glut of shows, along with the knock-on effects from the pandemic. “As well as the sheer number of shows, some people got out of the habit of going to concerts while venues were closed, so we’re finding the market is a little volatile at the moment,” says Toth.
“We noticed that people don’t always buy tickets at on-sale but wait until the last three weeks before the show, meaning we have to market shows until the very last minute.Another fundamental issue we’ve been discussing is there’s now a generation of concert-goers that missed their introduction to live music – the kids that would have gone to their first gig during Covid but missed out. As a result, they’ve taken on other habits and things to do, so it’s going to take an additional effort to get them away from these other forms of entertainment and introduce them to concerts.”
“Some people got out of the habit of going to concerts while venues were closed, so we’re finding the market is a little volatile at the moment”
Rockhal recently added a balcony to its smaller venue, increasing capacity from 1,100 to 1,500. “It’s proved to be a gem because since we started using it in late March 2022, we’ve found it really adds to the vibe for the audience, and for artists because when they’re on stage they can look into the eyes of people on the floor downstairs and now see people upstairs on the balcony, too.”
As a result of the success of the new balcony, the venue is considering carrying out similar works in the main room, which could add capacity there, too.
Other improvements include updated digital signage with customisable content that can be tailored to each concert, so the audience gets the most relevant information for them.
Acts performing at the venue in 2022 include Sigur Rós, Placebo, Wet Leg, Sting, and Little Simz.