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The world’s leading promoters & the 55 top markets they operate in.
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Historically, Romania has been a tricky territory to predict. An artist who can sell 50,000 tickets in Bucharest’s Parliament Square might only play an indoor
arena in neighbouring Bulgaria. A buzz act from the rising local trap scene might sell well one year but fail to build their fanbase to ensure strong support the next.
“We are a very atypical market,” says Laura Coroianu, managing partner of Emagic Live, which has been instrumental in opening up the Romanian market to international acts over the past two decades. “What works in the West or even in Poland or Hungary does not necessarily work in Romania. Across the Balkans, music tastes differ incredibly from country to country. You need to be very well-connected to the local musical scene and preferably live here to understand what works and what doesn’t.”
Emagic – one of the key promoters in Romania alongside Best Music Live, ARTmania, D&D East Entertainment, Events Romania, Fun Time Production, and German Quality Entertainment – certainly know what works. Legendary heritage acts are generally winners. In a co-promotion with Live Nation Central and Eastern Europe (LNCEE), Emagic sold out a Depeche Mode show at Bucharest’s 45,000-capacity Arena Națională stadium and also staged a successful Guns N’ Roses show there this summer. Meanwhile, two Coldplay dates for 2024, also co-promoted with LNCEE, became the fastest-selling shows in Romanian history. “I think we have proved in the last 18 years that Romania is a solid market for touring,” says Coroianu. “Our national stadium is a perfect venue for big international acts.”
“I think we have proved in the last 18 years that Romania is a solid market for touring. Our national stadium is a perfect venue for big international acts.”
The country’s infrastructure is somewhat unbalanced, however. Between the grassroots clubs and the 4,000-capacity theatre level there are few good mid-range venues to help local talent and growing international acts develop. And between the theatres and the stadiums, there’s a shortage
of big indoor venues for arena acts.
“Bucharest is the only capital in the EU, as far as I am aware, that does not have a 15-20,000-capacity venue,” Coroianu says. There’s been an explosion in festivals – indeed in February next year, Romanian festival Untold will launch an edition in Dubai, expecting 70,000 people to attend.
“The audience has a lot of events to choose from, and they will get even more [picky about where] they will spend their money,” says Emil Ionescu, general manager of BestMusic Live, which has promoted successful tours by Pantera, Eros Ramazzotti, Tom Jones, and Steve Vai this year. “I think festivals will rule the market in the next ten years, but the success will be in the niche events,” he says.
He adds that challenges include: “The difficulties of selling out all-standing shows compared to seated ones; the country’s distance from Western Europe; poor roads and two-hour waits at customs since the start of the war in Ukraine; VAT and income tax increases forcing promoters to raise ticket prices.”