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

LGBTIQ+ List 2024: Joona Juutilainen, Fullsteam Agency

The LGBTIQ+ List 2024 – IQ Magazine’s fourth annual celebration of queer professionals who make an immense impact in the international live music business – has been revealed.

The ever-popular list is the centrepiece of IQ’s fourth Pride edition, sponsored by Ticketmaster, which is now available to read online and in print for subscribers.

To get to know this year’s queer pioneers a little better, we interviewed each of them on the development of the industry, the challenges that are keeping them up at night and more.

Throughout the next month, IQ will publish a new interview each day. Catch up on yesterday’s interview with Jason Brotman (he/him), founder of Five Senses Reeling/Obsessed and partner/head of global touring at PEG.

The series continues with Joona Juutilainen (he/him), a booking assistant at Fullsteam Agency.

Tell us about the professional feat you’re most PROUD of in 2024 so far.
I had my first sold-out show at Tavastia club, which is one of the most iconic venues in Finland and the Nordics. As a rather new promoter in the industry, that was one of the highlights of my career so far.

What’s your most pressing challenge in the industry at the moment?
To get artists to Finland. We’re not that far away from the rest of the Europe! And of course, with prices going up it’s more and more difficult to make events that most people can afford.

How would you describe Finland’s live music business at the moment?
It’s lively, looking better all the time and I love that we have a huge range of different genres. It’s not easy though at the moment since for example our government is raising taxes and the cost of living is really high. People don’t have that much money to spend on culture or even on their daily groceries. 

“It’s more common to say that we have safe space principles, but how it shows in practice is important”

Name one thing the industry could do to be a more equitable place.
It might seem a small thing but unisex toilets. Plus everyone taking safe space principles as a self-evident and really working on it. It’s more common to say that we have safe space principles but how it shows in practice is important. Also, we need more non-male acts! 

Shout out your biggest ally in the live music industry.
My co-worker and sister Emma-Lotta Juutilainen and founder of Fullsteam Rauha Kyyrö. Emma-Lotta was one of the people who inspired me to get into the music industry. Rauha has shown incredible courage with how to be one with oneself and be unapologetic about it. I really admire both their careers and it’s a huge privilege to work with both of them. 

Name one queer act you’re itching to see live this year.
ALOK at House of Culture this June and Måneskin this year at Provinssi.

Do you have a favourite queer space in Helsinki?
There are not that many queer places in Helsinki that I’m aware of but one of the great places that I have heard about is DTM. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to visit DTM yet, but in my understanding, it’s a safe place for everyone. We definitely need more queer spaces in Helsinki.


Get more stories like this in your inbox by signing up for IQ IndexIQ’s free email digest of essential live music industry news.

Euro festival bosses preview ‘challenging’ 2024 season

European festival bosses have reflected on mixed fortunes for the 2024 festival season.

While some events have reported bumper sales and speedy sellouts, others have been forced to take a break or call it quits altogether.

Regardless of boom or bust, the challenges of staging a festival in the current climate are being felt across the board.

In 2024, organisers are grappling with a laundry list of problems, from extreme weather to spiralling costs and a lack of headliners to unpredictable ticket sales.

“Sales are okay but not outstanding compared to 2022 or 2023,” says Christof Huber, director of festivals at Gadget in Switzerland and chair of European festival association Yourope.

“There are a little less stadium shows compared to 2023 which helps”

“There are a little less stadium shows compared to 2023 which helps, but it’s also needed for this festival season.”

Stephan Thanscheidt, CEO of FKP Scorpio, adds “The overall conditions of the festival market remain very challenging. Frankly, it has become very challenging to promote festivals in a way that keeps pushing things forward and is economically viable.”

Skyrocketing costs have been a primary concern for festival organisers and, according to Thanscheidt, that’s not set to change.

“Tight margins are by far our biggest challenge,” he tells IQ. “The costs in virtually every area of festival production have risen considerably since the pandemic with no signs of slacking off.

“Exploding costs in all areas paired with cautious purchasing behaviour are keeping all promoters on their toes. Of course, we do not want to simply pass these costs on to our guests. Music and culture must stay as affordable as possible, and I consider it our duty to find ways to mitigate this troubling development, both by cross-financing as well as using synergies across our group.”

“People rewarded our booking efforts with a high demand”

Whilst acknowledging spiralling costs, Jim King, CEO of European Festivals for AEG Presents, urged festival organisers to “concentrate more on value than they do on cost”.

“The first natural reaction when costs go up is to have fewer stages and smaller production,” he told delegates during February’s ILMC 36.

“But if you reduce the value, you reduce the experience and then you’re on a downward spiral. If you look at the most successful festivals, they’re actually adding more value to the ticket. We worry too much about ticket price and not enough about the value of the ticket.”

Indeed, festivals that have adopted the “go big or go home” attitude with booking lineups and enhancing experiences have prospered in the challenging climate.

“It’s great to see that strong festival brands like Paléo Festival Nyon or Lowlands, which have created great lineups and also are famous for their unique experiences, have sold out right after going on sale,” says Huber.

“The demand is there, it’s supply that’s an issue”

FKP Scorpio’s Southside and Hurricane festivals are also set to sell out, thanks to blockbuster lineups led by Ed Sheeran, K.I.Z, Bring Me The Horizon, Avril Lavigne and Deichkind.

“People rewarded our booking efforts with a high demand,” he says. “Especially in these challenging times, I’m very grateful for the continued trust of our festivalgoers. We consider ourselves very lucky that our festival brands continue to be successful.”

Other festivals that have been rewarded for first-class lineups include Reading & Leeds, which has reported a sell-out Saturday headlined by Lana Del Rey and Fred Again.., as well as the 20th anniversary of Tomorrowland Belgium, the return of Germany’s Wacken Open Air, the Netherlands’ Down The Rabbit Hole and (of course) the UK’s Glastonbury Festival.

While these major festivals have delivered impressive lineups against all odds, securing headliners has been no mean feat.

“The challenge across all my UK business has been the availability of headline talent,” King said at ILMC. “When they’re prepared to confirm, how we can get that show announced and then the sales window that we’re dealing with. The shows we’re putting up are selling very strongly. The demand is there, it’s supply that’s an issue.”

“The challenge across all my UK business has been the availability of headline talent”

Download Festival boss Andy Copping has echoed those challenges, telling Planet Rock that the 2024 edition was the “hardest year” to secure a line-up, having approached 21 bands to find headliners.

Huber says the drought of headliners could be a symptom of increased domestic touring during the pandemic. “A lot of domestic artists took breaks after touring intensively after Corona,” he explains. “Therefore, the competition for international artists was quite intense.”

Another challenge that has become more prominent in recent years is the impact of extreme weather on festivals, which in turn has driven up insurance premiums.

In the last 12 months, a raft of major events have been hindered due to extreme weather including Primavera Sound Madrid, Awakenings in the Netherlands, Bluedot in the UK, Slovenia’s MetalDays, the UK’s Kaleidoscope, shows by Louis Tomlinson show and Ed Sheeran in the US, Burning Man, Taylor Swift in Brazil, Elton John in New Zealand, Wacken Open Air in Germany, Sol Blume in the US.

In the US, adverse weather coverage has “increased significantly” in the last five years, according to Jeff Torda from Higginbotham. Backing this point, a recent Billboard article claimed premiums in North America had tripled in recent years.

“There will be more shows that fail because the barrier to entry, financially, is so high and the risk point is so high”

While in the UK market, Martin Goebells at Miller Insurance says, “Today additional premiums for adverse weather are 50% higher than eight years ago.”

Another major source of cancellations has been the challenging economic climate, in the UK and Australia in particular.

In the UK, PennFest, 110 Above Festival, NASS Festival and Barn On The Farm have been called off due to financial challenges, while Connect Music Festival, Leopollooza, Long Division and Splendour were called off for varying reasons. A further 100 festivals are at permanent risk without action, according to trade body the Association of Independent Festivals.

Meanwhile, Australia’s festival sector is “in crisis” after cancellations from Splendour in the Grass, Groovin The Moo, Coastal Jam, Summerground, Vintage Vibes, Tent Pole: A Musical Jamboree and ValleyWays. A first-of-its-kind report found that only half of the country’s festivals are profitable.

King says that unfortunately festivals failing is part and parcel of the business: “The attrition rate is always going to be high. There will be more shows that fail because the barrier to entry, financially, is so high and the risk point is so high. I think it’s devastating. But that’s the direction of travel. I think it’s very difficult to change.”

The coming months may prove challenging for some but with the consistently high demand for live music experiences, many festivals are looking forward to their biggest and best editions yet.


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.

How organisers can benefit from the hotel demand they create

When a major act’s tour dates are revealed, it is not just their fans who get excited as they jump online to snap up tickets. Tour announcements are music to the ears of hoteliers, who can hear the beautiful melody of their cash tills ringing months in advance of a band or performer coming to town.

“Putting on an event requires a huge amount of planning, forward investment and risk, but hotel operators are free to increase prices and enjoy a surge in bookings on the back of the hard work of others,” says Bayon.

The balance of risk and reward between the different parties does not seem fair. “It’s crazy that artists and promoters have been missing out on the demand their events create. We understand why and it’s mainly down to it not being core to the model of selling tickets and adding roll dates.”

Sound Travel recognised that many music fans were booking hotels near music venues once they’d bought their tickets and after the hotels had taken advantage of the announcement and increased their prices. So Sound Travel saw the opportunity to make things easier for customers and create incremental revenue for the ticketing ecosystem with its innovative packaging model.

Leveraging its deep experience in the hospitality sector, Sound Travel has developed a comprehensive portfolio of partnerships with the UK’s major hotel groups, including Hilton, Marriott, and Accor. In addition, through strategic ticket agent partnerships, Sound Travel can offer concertgoers a seamless ticket and hotel package via its proprietary technology platform.

Sound Travel has developed a comprehensive portfolio of partnerships with the UK’s major hotel groups

These partnerships ensure that Sound Travel’s clients, including rights holders, promoters, venues, sports associations and ticket agents – all benefit from the extra revenue generated. In addition, the hotels also prosper from their association with the events.

“Everyone wins,” Bayon said. “It’s a data play using the ticket as the trigger point. We secure rooms in bulk from hotels close to the venue before they even know events will occur and then focus demand on these hotels. Then, when gigs are announced, and hotel prices surge, we have already locked in low prices, allowing us to generate extra revenues for the organisers whilst offering convenient, price competitive packages of hotel and tickets to customers.

“We have had a very positive response from all parties. For rights holders and organisers, our service is entirely de-risked. They don’t have to do anything other than provide an allocation of tickets for which we share a healthy profit share.

“Hotels like it because they get bookings maybe six to nine months in advance, they receive upfront payment from us, and notwithstanding the challenges of the last two years, hotel bookings are pretty much guaranteed as fans normally do not cancel.

“Most importantly, the customer enjoys a much simpler booking experience as they can buy their event ticket and a convenient and well-priced hotel room in a single transaction. In addition, they know if the event is cancelled or deferred, Sound Travel as a bonded package provider, will either return their money or rearrange everything. Covid-19 disruption has opened customers’ eyes to the benefit of this packaged approach.”

Sound Travel will be attending this year’s ILMC34 event. If you’d like to meet and discuss how you could earn more from your tickets through a brand new revenue stream then please contact [email protected].

See how it works below:


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.