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The world’s leading promoters & the 40 top markets they operate in.
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Mojo Concerts remains mighty in the Netherlands as it has been for nearly 54 years, but there is certainly more than one game in town these days, and promoters as diverse as FKP Scorpio’s Friendly Fire, Greenhouse Talent, Double Vee Concerts, and electronic music festival giant ID&T each make a strong showing.
“We always said there was a ‘Mojopoly’ in the market, but that has been changing for ten or 12 years now,” says Greenhouse Talent head promoter Wouter de Wilde. “We have been in the market for about that long, and so has Friendly Fire, and the pie is cut, and everybody has a piece of it.” The main impact of increased competition in the Netherlands has been steadily rising ticket prices. Inflation and rising costs, to which the Dutch market is as exposed as any other in Europe, have further exacerbated that situation.
“The industry is going to change,” says De Wilde. “We will have a less spontaneous audience, and they will pick and choose. I don’t think prices are going down again. Ticket prices were always fairly low in Holland, and I think that’s done.”
“The industry is going to change, we will have a less spontaneous audience, and they will pick and choose.”
And while smaller artists face a challenging start to their live careers, the biggest acts just get bigger. Greenhouse Talent sold 130,000 tickets for Rammstein at Goffertpark in Nijmegen in July, and they have sold a further 100,000 for two more shows next summer at Groningen’s Drafbaan/Stadspark.
“They are massive,” says De Wilde. “In size, I would compare them to Coldplay and Bruce Springsteen – that’s the Champions League of acts at the moment.” Over at Mojo, the pipeline of shows and festivals has been a heavy one, and now it begins again – with the significant difference, says Mojo head promoter Kim Bloem, of a respectable lead time this year.
“We only did our first shows at the end of March, and we had 2m visitors, which is what we normally do in a full year, so it was crazy. I’m really proud of what we have all
achieved,” she says. In 2023, in addition to its dozen or so festivals – Lowlands, North Sea Jazz, Pinkpop, Down The Rabbit Hole, WOO HAH! x Rolling Loud, and the rest – Mojo has stadiums with Metallica, The Weeknd, Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Harry Styles, and other such crowd-pullers.
But Bloem also notes that, in contrast to some markets, smaller shows in the Netherlands are also holding up. “Knock on wood, in the clubs and theatres, things are going really well. I still think audiences feel some sort of urgency to go to shows of all kinds – unlike for instance a musical, that people know they could go and see a year from now.”
“Knock on wood, in the clubs and theatres, things are going really well. I still think audiences feel some sort of urgency to go to shows of all kinds – unlike for instance a musical, that people know they could go and see a year from now.”
Mojo’s response to the staffing shortage was to take matters into its own hands with a platform, Crewdepartment. nl, to collate festival jobs in fields such as security, medical services, production, office, hospitality, cleaning, and tech. “I think that worked out really well,” says Bloem. “Things still need to be safe. Artists expect a safe environment for their crew, their fans, and themselves.”
In September 2021, after nearly two years of Covid distress, electronic music festival giant ID&T was bought by well-funded festival giant Superstruct Entertainment from owners Axar Capital for an undisclosed sum. That deal was followed in July 2022 with the 30-year-old ID&T’s purchase of a stake in Dutch electronic music promoter Apenkooi Group, which operates brands including DGTL, STRAF_ WERK, Pleinvrees, Amsterdam Open Air, and The Gardens of Babylon, as well as promoting Barcelona-based international party brand elrow’s events in the Netherlands.
ID&T has 70 events, including Amsterdam Open Air, Mysteryland, Thunderdome, Awakenings, Defqon.1, Milkshake, and Sensation, as well as two talent agencies and a creative workshop. The 27th edition of Mysteryland on the former Floriade site in Haarlemmermeer was the biggest ever – its 133,000 visitors putting it in the top three of Dutch festivals by size, along with Live Nation’s Pinkpop and motor event Zwarte Cross.
“We have a very good outlook for 2023, especially on the headline shows,”
Part of FKP Scorpio since 2012, Friendly Fire harbours a roster including George Ezra, Run The Jewels, alt-J, The 1975, Kensington, Agnes Obel, and Blink-182, and a hand in festivals and events such as Best Kept Secret, Indian Summer Festival, Tuckerville, Live at Amsterdamse Bos, DDW Music, and Strange Sounds From Beyond. Alongside Khruangbin, Phoebe Bridgers, alt-J, Yade Lauren at AFAS Live, Hans Zimmer, and Dutch heroes Kensington did big business for Friendly Fire at Amsterdam’s Ziggo Dome this year, the latter selling out six nights and almost 100,000 tickets as singer Eloi Youssef played his final dates with the band.
“We have a very good outlook for 2023, especially on the headline shows,” says Friendly Fire’s Rense van Kessel. “Most things we have on sale seem to be selling well, despite the negativity in the world. Perhaps one thing is connected to the other. Some highlights for me include The Teskey Brothers – twice sold out at AFAS Live – and Måneskin and George Ezra, who have both sold out the Ziggo Dome.”
Other industrious Dutch promoters include Rotterdam’s Double Vee Concerts, which works with Big Thief, Jack Johnson, Mogwai, and Lucinda Williams, to name just a few.