Kilimanjaro Live to expand with new Wales office
UK promoter Kilimanjaro Live has announced the opening of a new office in Wales, headed by former Orchard Live boss Pablo Janczur.
The Welsh division aims to build on Kilimanjaro’s previous history in the country with bands and projects, such as Stereophonics, Wakestock, and shows with artists such as Ed Sheeran at venues including Cardiff Castle, Principality Stadium, Cardiff City Football Club, Morfa Stadium Swansea, Swansea Singleton Park and Wrexham Football Club.
“With over 20 years of experience in live entertainment across Wales, we’re very pleased to welcome Pablo into the Kilimanjaro Live fold,” says Kili CEO Stuart Galbraith. “His knowledge and energy within this sector is second to none, and to have him on board will bolster our live music offering across the country, linking in with Kilimanjaro Live in London, Regular Music in Scotland and Singular Artists in Northern Ireland and Eire.”
Kili’s parent company DEAG enhanced its UK activities by acquiring a majority stake in Scotland’s Regular Music last year, and previously launched Singular Artists in Ireland in 2020 with veteran promoters Fin O’Leary, Brian Hand and Simon Merriman.
“Our combined strengths in the indoor and outdoor sector has great potential for growth and innovation”
Janczur, who will divide his time between Kili’s London and Welsh offices, adds: “I’m delighted to be Joining Kilimanjaro Live and bringing my experience and expertise in the Welsh market gained over the past 20-plus years.
“Our combined strengths in the indoor and outdoor sector has great potential for growth and innovation. I’m excited about the next chapter working alongside the team and contributing to further growth here.”
Orchard Live was Wales’ biggest independent concert promoter prior to it ceasing trading earlier this year. The company promoted shows with acts such as Queens of the Stone Age, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Diana Ross, George Ezra and Sam Fender
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.
DEAG sets out ambitious growth strategy for 2023
Deutsche Entertainment AG (DEAG) has set out ambitious expansion plans for 2023 in the company’s H1 financial results.
The German-headquartered live entertainment group is aiming to generate revenue of over €300 million (compared to €325m in 2022) and a further improved EBITDA compared to the previous year (€30.9m).
Throughout the ongoing fiscal year, DEAG plans to stage approximately 6,000 events across its key European markets and sell 10 million tickets (compared to nine million in the previous year).
These aims will be bolstered by the restart of DEAG’s M&A activities in the second half of 2023. The company says it currently has “several acquisitions in advanced stages of negotiation”.
In today’s H1 2023 results, DEAG says it is on track to achieve these full-year targets. Revenue in the first half of the year was at around €123m, compared to €133.4m in the previous year and €63.9m in the pre-corona year 2019.
EBITDA was over €5m, compared to €10.1m in the same period of last year – though DEAG notes that its major tours and festivals are primarily scheduled for the third quarter.
“We are leading our company into a new, exciting era that will be characterised by profitable growth”
Explaining 2023’s lower H1 results compared with 2022, the company says figures from the prior year still reflected rebound effects stemming from the pandemic, financial support from European funding programs, alongside significant events and tours in the second quarter of 2022.
The company’s results also reveal a shuffle on the executive board, with Detlef Kornett becoming a co-CEO alongside founder and CEO Peter Schwenkow.
Kornett, who has been a board member since 2014, will continue to head off international business affairs and marketing at DEAG and, together with Schwenkow, oversee corporate strategy and drive further growth.
“We are excellently positioned and will continue the dynamic growth of previous years”
Elsewhere, David Reinecke will take on the position of chief financial officer, effective 1 October. He succeeds Roman Velke who has worked at the company for five years, and who will continue to support DEAG in an advisory capacity.
Reinecke brings to the role global management experience in finance, particularly in capital markets and investor relations, garnered from his previous roles across cities such as New York City, Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, and Munich. His most recent position was director of corporate finance and CFO at the German bank N26.
Other board members include Christian Diekmann who is responsible for the business in Germany and leads the expansion of the Christmas Garden, and Moritz Schwenkow who is responsible for ticketing and technology.
“Just in time for DEAG’s 45th anniversary, we are leading our company into a new, exciting era that will be characterised by profitable growth as well as innovation and expansion into European markets and ticketing,” says Schwenkow.
“I am very pleased that the supervisory board has agreed to my personal request to expand Detlef Kornett’s position to the role of co-CEO. I welcome David Reinecke as the new CFO and at the same time thank – also on behalf of the supervisory board – Roman Velke for his excellent work and great commitment over the past years. We will use the combination of a competent team, excellent business and attractive market opportunities to fuel DEAG’s further growth momentum.”
Kornett adds: “DEAG has already founded around 20 new companies or successfully integrated them after acquisitions in recent years. We want to continue our successful track record in our M&A activities, with a focus on further expansion into new European markets as well as acquisitions to expand our ticketing platforms. As one of Europe’s leading live entertainment providers, we are excellently positioned and will continue the dynamic growth of previous years.”
In the first half of this fiscal year, DEAG organised events such as Disney on Ice and Riverdance as well as concerts and tours with Sam Fender, Limp Bizkit, Rod Stewart, The Who, Iron Maiden and Kiss, among other artists.
The company also had a strong festival summer with open-air events in the genres EDM, classics & jazz and rock/pop and welcomed more than 800,000 visitors to its festivals between late June and early September.
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.
Belladrum introduces parking charge to cut traffic
Organisers of Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival are introducing a car parking charge for next year’s 20th anniversary in a bid to ease traffic congestion after the 2023 event was marred by lengthy delays.
The Inverness-based event, owned by DEAG’s Kilimanjaro Live, is the Highlands’ biggest music festival and starred acts including Travis, Bastille, Sam Ryder, Sigrid, KT Tunstall, The Zutons, Pale Waves and Kiefer Sutherland from 27-29 July.
More than 25,000 tickets were sold for this year’s festival, but wet weather and large numbers of motorists arriving early was blamed for long queues, with reported traffic delays of up to five hours to get into the site.
However, with tickets for next year’s edition going on sale this Friday (18 August), promoters have announced they are taking action in a bid to avoid a repeat.
“We are re-introducing car park passes, which must be booked in advance”
“Those caught up in the traffic on the Thursday this year will hopefully be pleased to hear that we are re-introducing car park passes, which must be booked in advance,” says a website post. “This will encourage more car sharing, manage the car park capacities and speed up entry to the festival. You will have the opportunity to select the car park most convenient for where you want to camp. A window sticker will be sent to your home address in advance to ensure you are directed to the correct car park.
“Vehicle passes will cost £12 per vehicle. The profit from the sale of these passes will be used to benefit the local communities. Full details will be announced in coming months following consultations with community groups.”
Belladrum’s return is set for 25-27 July 2024.
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.
Five-hour traffic delays at Belladrum Tartan Heart
Scotland’s Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival has apologised for traffic delays of up to five hours to get into the site.
Organisers said wet weather and large numbers of people arriving early had resulted in the long queues.
The Inverness-based event, owned by DEAG’s Kilimanjaro Live, is the Highlands’ biggest music festival.
More than 25,000 tickets were sold for this year’s event, which took place between 27–29 July, marking an increase in last year’s sales.
The festival site on the Belladrum Estate is around a 30-minute drive from Inverness but on social media, festivalgoers said they had waited for up to five hours and even longer to reach car parks or drop-off.
“We had a very large number of people arrive early and we believe that this, along with the wet weather, was the cause of the long queues”
Some drivers turned around while others set off to walk to the site – something Belladrum’s organisers urged people not to do for safety reasons.
“We are incredibly disappointed by the traffic issues that so many festival-goers and local people experienced today,” said organisers.
“We have used the same routes, the same traffic management and parking companies and the same number of police officers in the same locations.
“We had a very large number of people arrive early and we believe that this, along with the wet weather this morning, was the cause of the long queues which then continued throughout the day.”
The organisers said they would seek to avoid a similar situation next year, Belladrum’s 20th birthday year.
DEAG’s summer festivals to attract crowds of 800k+
DEAG is on course to attract a record number of visitors to its festivals this summer, with crowds set to soar past 800,000 across its core markets of Germany, the UK & Ireland, and Switzerland.
The company has expanded its portfolio over the past few years with acquisitions such as Regular Music, tickets.ie. platform, Indian Spirit, Classic Open Air and Airbeat One, and is anticipating a 40% year-on-year increase in visitors in 2023.
German electronic dance festival Airbeat One attracted 70,000 people to its 20th anniversary last weekend, which featured headliners such as Charlotte de Witte, Hardwell, Steve Aoki and Fritz Kalkbrenner at the airfield in Neustadt-Glewe in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Before that, more than 400 DJs thrilled the electronic dance fans at
Elsewhere, in Switzerland, the Sion sous les étoile festival featured artists including Soprano and Joss Stone from 12-16 July and set a new attendance record of almost 60,000 visitors.
In the UK, DEAG’s Kilimanjaro Live staged Kew the Music with the likes of Bastille and Jools Holland at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, near London. The previous weekend, stars such as The Lumineers, Rod Stewart, The Who and Dermot Kennedy drew more than 50,000 visitors to six sold-out shows at Regular Music’s Castle Concerts in Edinburgh, Scotland.
“DEAG’s festival segment is showing fantastic growth across all genres of music in England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland”
“DEAG’s festival segment is showing fantastic growth across all genres of music in England, Scotland, Ireland, Germany and Switzerland,” says DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow. “The outstanding response from audiences points the way for us to new formats, new locations and a gratifying further development of this extremely interesting music festival field.”
Other successes included Rave the Planet and the Kessel Festival in Stuttgart at the end of June, along with the sold-out Legends at the Sea in Büsum. In addition, the UK’s biggest retro festival series Let’s Rock, attracted around 100,000 fans to 10 locations.
Upcoming DEAG festivals include the Sylt Open Air 2023 at the end of July with Sarah Connor and Scooter, Summer Nights in Glasgow; the Wider Than Pictures Series in Dublin; Germany’s Nature One at the beginning of August with over 70,000 fans expected; Indian Spirit in Eldena as well as the new PennFest in Buckinghamshire, England, as well as the established Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival” in Scotland.
For the first time, around 75% of the tickets for DEAG events were sold, some exclusively, via DEAG’s own online ticket distributors, myticket.de, myticket.co.uk, gigantic.com and tickets.ie.
The big business of touring entertainment
It’s boom time for touring entertainment as people seek out social activities that bring them closer to their favourite TV shows and films, opportunities to learn in an interactive way, or ways of treating three generations of their family.
Touring entertainment is big business right now. As Nicolas Renna, whose company Proactiv Entertainment has been in the sector for 35 years, says: “When I first went to ILMC maybe 15 or 16 years ago, promoters that worked with family entertainment were in the minority. Feld was there, and a few others, but that was about it. Now, although we’re not equal with the music promoters, this segment has become more and more interesting for people, even the rock and pop promoters.”
Indeed, rock and pop promoters have increasingly been getting in on the action. No longer content to promote shows such as Disney on Ice, companies are increasingly creating or acquiring their own touring product. DEAG-owned Kilimanjaro Group acquired musicals producer Flying Music in 2017 (the firm behind West End production Thriller – Live and The Rat Pack Live From Las Vegas) and is opening an exhibitions space in London this year. Last year, CTS Eventim-owned FKP Scorpio announced it was starting a new business dedicated to theatre and family shows, called FKP Show Creations. As well as promoting shows across Europe, it’s launching an arena touring production of beloved opera Aida.
Denis Sullivan, vice president, international tours at Feld Entertainment, has spent years in this sector. He says: “This is an evergreen industry; people don’t take time off to make a record and can tour every month of every year.”
He says the growth in demand for what can loosely be called ‘family entertainment’ is illustrated by the fact that Feld – one of the biggest firms in the business with products such as Disney on Ice, Monster Jam, Marvel Universe Live! and Jurassic World Live Tour – has a rehearsal facility that can set up two full-size arena shows side-by-side, and they both are constantly in use. “There’s something going on in them every single time. The number of products we put out ourselves is significant, and we will continue to do [so] because the audience is there.”
“The sector is growing because there’s something for everybody in our shows”
With over 12 years’ experience in the events industry, Ticketmaster’s VP client development Alex Berti spearheaded the company’s Ticketmaster Attractions segment. “We’ve seen a significant increase in the number of immersive art events, as the digital mapping and projection technology that powered these events became more accessible and more portable,” he says. “This meant producers could secure rights to an amazing piece of content and tour it around the world. That’s been a key driver to growth in this sector. For us, it’s meant supporting producers in multiple markets across a product’s lifespan and ensuring the client and the customer get the same experience in every market.”
Creating a market
Often, family show producers are pioneers – the first to go into markets that are yet to fully open to the worldwide touring entertainment industry. For many young children, a Disney on Ice show or an interactive moving dinosaurs exhibition is their first experience of live entertainment. It’s not too much of a stretch to say that family show producers are helping create the concert-attendees of the future.
What these companies are doing is giving people their first taste of an experience that cannot be replicated online, on TV, or on any other platform. They’re showing the children who come to see shows that going to see something live, at a venue, is cool.
If there is such a thing as a positive to come out of the pandemic, it’s that the growth of the sector has been accelerated by the ending of lockdown restrictions. While the concert industry is reporting being busier than ever before with the sheer number of shows on sale, demand for entertainment as a family group has been accelerated by the fact that people were kept apart for so long.
“The sector is growing because there’s something for everybody in our shows,” says Sullivan. “The shows might be predominantly targeted towards kids but mums and dads are going to go and have a great time because there’s something in it for them, too. Every successful Disney movie, for example, has something for the whole family unit.”
“Covid was a creative catalyst in our industry, producing a rapidly changing environment, which led to new models of collaboration”
And that’s not restricted to the live entertainment sector. Touring exhibitions are also seeing a boom time, reports Manon Delaury of Touring Exhibitions Organisation (TEO). “The touring exhibitions business was growing significantly before Covid, but the pandemic accelerated that,” she says. “But we’ve also seen expectations change. For example, people are craving very social experiences – people want to experience things together as much as possible. The multi-generational aspect has also become very important. And, of course, social media is a key factor.”
The other upside of the enforced pause was that it enabled exhibition organisers time to reflect, collaborate, and share information. “That led to a boom of new productions being developed and announced, and new collaborations between the private and public sectors, between entertainment and educational. That’s generated new experiences with a multi-layered, enriched approach,” she says. “These have triggered new ideas for engaging with audiences, and there are new, interesting approaches for bringing generations together to have the social moments we’ve all been craving.
“I think Covid was a creative catalyst in our industry, producing a rapidly changing environment, which led to new models of collaboration.”
Christoph Scholz is director of SC Exhibitions – an arm of long-time German music promoter Semmel Concerts. He is calling for more data reporting for the sector. “We all feel the market has grown, but there’s no data. So we need to be careful with claims about the amount of growth we’re seeing. I urge the exhibition industry to stand up and to share data on things such as ticket sales and ticket prices, because it will benefit us all.”
Scholz says 2023 is shaping up to be SC Exhibitions’ busiest year to date, with a new exhibition Disney 100 just opened at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, and a second unit at the Olympic Park in Munich, a new Marvel exhibit which will be revealed in July, plus SpiderMan: Beyond Amazing, and Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes.
“For this segment, we have to create the audience from scratch”
At ILMC’s dedicated strand to this sector this year, Scholz told a panel that exhibition revenues have grown from 2% to 10% of the company total.
But for anyone thinking this is easy money, Proactiv’s Renna sounds a note of caution. “This is very different to rock and pop. We create demand for shows people don’t know about; we create new audiences. If you have an artist such as Coldplay or Madonna, people know them and will come if they like the act. For this segment, we have to create the audience from scratch.”
And let’s not forget the enormous upfront costs required to get a production or exhibition on the road. Semmel Exhibitions, for instance, invested €3.5m in the Marvel: Universe of Superheroes exhibition experience before a single ticket had been sold. GAAP, an agency specialising in booking theatrical shows, spent recent years developing a new exhibition called Sensory Odyssey, which merges digital art, cinema, interactive technologies, sensorial techniques, and cognitive sciences. It raised €4m in private capital for the exhibition, which debuted in Paris.
FKP Show Creations was launched last year by the pan-European promoter. It’s spearheaded by CEO Jasper Barendregt. “In this market, it’s a bit like the Wild West at the moment,” he says. “There’s a lot of gold- digging happening. There’s a lot of content in the market, and there’s a lot of promoters jumping on it.”
It’s no wonder with such huge demand for experiences and ‘immersive’ exhibitions. “Something that changed throughout the pandemic was people were watching a lot of Netflix and Amazon Prime at home, and suddenly they’re able to see it and experience it in cities. The pandemic has accelerated demand for these products,” says Barendregt.
“Being entertained while learning, playing, and participating is the new normal”
To illustrate demand for family entertainment, he says FKP Scorpio was promoting a Paw Patrol tour before the pandemic and sold “a lot of tickets,” but it was halted by the lockdowns. Of course, by the time things opened up again, the children of the people who had bought tickets had out-grown Paw Patrol, so they had to sell the tour again to a new audience. “And we did. What we’ve done is we sold a Paw Patrol tour twice. There’s a huge amount of people who want more and larger shows for really young kids.”
And Liz Koravos, managing director of Kilimanjaro Group’s new UK exhibition and cultural venue The Arches at London Bridge, says: “There has been an obvious shift in the market, likely influenced by the immersive ‘unicorn’ experiences of Van Gogh and the likes of Secret Cinema, but this can be seen through all disciplines, as the lines between exhibition, film, show, performance continue to be blurred. Being entertained while learning, playing, and participating is the new normal. With thrilling new content and the recovery of tourism following Covid, we think there is a very healthy exhibition market, and the demographic is widening.”
Ups and downs
As with concerts, demand for family entertainment can go in waves. With over 20 years’ experience at one of the most established companies in this sector, Maria Maldonado, Feld’s vice president – Latin America & Mediterranean Europe, says there have been other boom moments before things returned to a more ‘normal’ level of business: “We’ve had peaks and valleys as leaders in this industry. So, we had years in the mid- 2000s where we got High School Musical and Disney Live! on the road, or more recently when we had Frozen or Encanto out, and they were huge. We’ve seen quite a bit over the decades, and this is a growth moment.”
Barendregt says: “In the next seven or ten years, I think the big brands are going to get bigger, and there will be more demand for them to be on the road. That’s a good way to go because the marketing money was spent on the television show, television series, and so on. So going on the roll with it is fantastic.People don’t want to stay in front of their televisions, they want to experience it in real life. Especially if it’s not too expensive – somewhere between €20-€35 is where most tickets are sold at the moment.
“That’s why experiences work fantastically, because a lot of people might not be able to go on holidays, so they think, ‘If I’m not going to go on holidays, I’m going to see Jurassic World or Monet’s Garden’. Because it’s affordable; it’s more expensive than cinema, but you also get a lot more than cinema – it’s a whole experience.”
“We’re also seeing a live music component brought into exhibitions, to give them an immersive environment for the visitors”
The current wave of experiences has been driven by a combination of creativity – partly inspired by technological advances, partly by demand from people to want to get closer to the action. But what does the future hold?
Proactiv’s Renna says the trend for more people producing their own content will continue. “There might be maybe less IP-driven content, because the IPs will be fewer but more powerful than before. However, events such as the Christmas Garden we do with DEAG will continue to do well. It’s about right venue, right partner, right promotion.
“Exhibitions are something we will continue to develop. It’s a large investment up front, but once you get started, it can run for many years, and it can go to many markets.”
Delaury is noticing an increasing interest in creating exhibitions dedicated to music and popular culture, such as exhibitions about the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, and others. “There’s definitely a trend of bringing music experiences to travelling exhibitions, focusing on an artist, a trend, or a movement, but we’re also seeing a live music component brought into exhibitions, to give them an immersive environment for the visitors.”
It’s certainly a boom time for touring entertainment, and as more and more innovative concepts travel, it can only be
a good thing for this part of the business. Technology and creativity are working hand-in-hand to drive forward experiences that people will remember for years to come. It’s a risky business, often with huge upfront costs, but get it right and you can keep the show on the road for years without needing to take a break.
All that said, the most important thing, as Feld’s Sullivan says, is: “We want everyone happy at the end of the day and to send them home with a smile.”
A preview version of the Touring Entertainment Report 2023 is below.
DEAG sees high demand for corporate bond placement
DEAG has successfully completed the placement of its corporate bond 2023/2026 with an issue volume of €50 million, which was oversubscribed by “significant margin”.
The Berlin-based company considers the demand, which was driven by institutional and private investors from Germany, Europe and overseas, to be “validation” of its growth strategy. Proceeds from the issue will be used to refinance the corporate bond 2018/2023.
The volume tendered for exchange amounts to around 30% of the outstanding bond and will be allocated at approximately 65%.
“DEAG’s operational strength, its strategy and our company’s positive prospects have convinced investors,” says DEAG CEO Peter Schwenkow. “I am extremely satisfied with the success of the bond placement, for which national and international demand was extremely high.
“We will continue our growth course and I am convinced that we will soon be welcoming new companies to the DEAG family”
The German live entertainment company says it is in advanced conversations for potential acquisitions. It is hoping to conclude a number of deals in the second half of 2023, with a focus on further strengthening its ticketing activities and expansion into new European markets.
“We will continue our growth course and I am convinced that we will soon be welcoming new companies to the DEAG family, opening up more new markets and thus further expanding our strong market position in Europe,” says Schwenkow.
DEAG revenue in the 2022 financial year increased 258.3% to around €325 million, compared to €90.7m in the previous year and €185.2m in the pre-corona year 2019. The firm expects group revenue to again top €300m in 2023, and anticipates further improvement in EBITDA, which was around €31m last year.
“We would like to thank all investors for the confidence they have shown in DEAG. The response from Germany and abroad was equally high. This bond offers investors an attractive investment opportunity and at the same time secures an attractive financing instrument for DEAG as part of our capital mix to finance additional growth in the years ahead,” adds Roman Velke, CFO of DEAG.
Euro festival bosses upbeat ahead of 2023 season
European festival bosses tell IQ they are approaching the 2023 season with positivity as a mixed picture emerges of the sector’s fortunes.
Download’s Germany spin-off was cancelled yesterday, with organisers citing production issues caused by the “massive number of open-air events”. The event joined a number of other major festivals including Falls Festival (Australia), Rolling Loud (US), Summerburst (Sweden), Hills of Rock (Bulgaria), InMusic (Croatia), Wireless Germany, Hear Hear (Belgium) and Tempelhof Sounds and Tempelhof Sounds Presents (Germany) in not returning this year.
FKP Scorpio CEO Folkert Koopmans, meanwhile, recently laid bare the post-pandemic financial struggles faced by the scene, reckoning that only 20% are still profitable. However, more encouraging reports have surfaced elsewhere in the marketplace.
DEAG chief Peter Schwenkow tells IQ the business is “on track with our business plan” for the summer ahead. The Berlin-headquartered company added Germany’s electronic music-oriented Airbeat One and psychedelic trance festival Indian Spirit to its portfolio last year, and also runs outdoor events such as the UK’s Live at Chelsea, Kew the Music and Belladrum through its Kilimanjaro Live subsidiary.
In its Q1 report last week, DEAG revealed more than 500,000 tickets have already been sold for its open-air festivals, and Schwenkow describes demand as “strong and late”, adding that cost control is the circuit’s overriding concern.
“Frankly, it’s a challenge to navigate rising costs while keeping the ticket prices as low as possible”
Also in Germany, FKP Scorpio MD Stephan Thanscheidt has a similar viewpoint when it comes to the biggest challenge facing the business.
“That would be, without a doubt, the rising production costs, which averaged across all sectors are over 40% higher than before the pandemic,” he tells IQ. “The reasons for this are the long-term consequences of the pandemic and the terrible war in Ukraine, which have made energy in particular more expensive. This effect is, after all, felt in all sectors of the economy and had in the meantime made itself felt in Germany with the highest inflation in 70 years.”
Thanscheidt continues: “In this climate, we have to finance every single item of our major events ourselves: Every metre of construction fencing, the entire technical infrastructure such as stages, sound, lighting and video technology, but also tent structures, sanitary facilities, space rentals, rapidly rising personnel costs and artist fees, GEMA, insurance, cleaning, innovation as well as sustainability.
“This incomplete list alone makes it clear that a very large part of our turnover is spent on covering these enormous costs. At the same time, we do our utmost to pass on only a fraction of these costs to our guests, as the comparatively moderate increase in ticket prices shows.
“Frankly, it’s a challenge to navigate rising costs while keeping the ticket prices as low as possible. So far, we’ve kept our prices on the lower end of the spectrum at our own expense, but we won’t be able to hold this up forever – the economy as a whole needs to go back to normal.”
“Advance sales for this year have started with record sales in 2022, and the overall demand is still strong”
Speaking to Radio Eins, Stephan Benn from German cultural association Liveinitiative NRW estimates that festival ticket prices have risen by 30% on average in the country (albeit tickets for several 2022 events were frozen at 2020 prices).
Tickets for Nuremberg’s Rock im Park are priced at up to €300 – an increase of around €70 on last year – necessitated by rising costs of 45% “in many areas”, according to spokesperson Carolin Hilzinger. Elsewhere, metal institution Wacken Open Air sold out in five hours after raising its admission price from €239 to €299 and adding an extra day, while Lollapalooza Berlin increased prices by €10 but has sold more tickets than at the same time last year.
Thanscheidt says that ticket sales for FKP’s festival season got off to a record-breaking start, and remain healthy. Its flagship Hurricane and Southside events will welcome the likes of Muse, Die Ärzte, Kraftklub, Placebo, Billy Talent, The 1975 and Queens Of The Stone Age next month.
“Advance sales for this year have started with record sales in 2022, and the overall demand is still strong,” says Thanscheidt. “The fact that our festival brands like Hurricane and Southside are among the very few major festivals in Germany heading for a sell-out this year is a great result in view of the overall economic situation and increased costs everywhere. We’re thankful and happy, although margins are very slim to non-existent – even with a fully sold-out festival.”
“Squeezing festivals and their clients with exploding artist fees is not a sustainable development for the entire industry”
In Switzerland, Paléo Festival booker Dany Hassenstein is toasting a record-breaking sellout for the Nyon event, which will host artists such as Rosalia, Indochine, Martin Garrix, Black Eyed Peas, Sigur Ros, Alt-J, Aya Nakamura and Placebo.
“We are observing increasing general demand from all generations,” Hassenstein tells IQ. “Festivals’ social and environmental responsibility is more and more important. Support from festival for social media content creation by visitors is a must.”
Nonetheless, Hassenstein points out issues regarding “general inflation, overall rental costs and lack of qualified staff”, as well as rising artist fees.
“Squeezing festivals and their clients with exploding artist fees is not a sustainable development for the entire industry,” he adds.
“Sales for 2023 are holding up well, with audiences choosing festivals as good value events that they want to attend”
John Rostron, CEO of the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) tells IQ that sales are “holding up well” within the organisation’s membership, which reached 100 earlier this year.
“There are no plans for any Association of Independent Festival members to cancel their festivals,” notes Rostron. “Sales for 2023 are holding up well, with audiences choosing festivals as good value events that they want to attend. Lots of people are taking up payment plans too, paying a little every month, and that seems to be helping everyone make their way to their favourite events.”
Rostron points out, however, that a few member festivals have announced that this year will be their last event.
“There are some similar themes for each one choosing to come to an end: the rising costs of putting on an event – the fees artists are charging and the supply chain costs, which have risen by around 30% are the two biggest problems – have all increased what was already a risky business into something they no longer want to be involved in.
“Of course, the odd thing is that all of these events are either now sold out, or way ahead in terms of selling tickets, as everyone wants to make sure they go one last time. So at least they’ll all have a really good send off.”
Festival Republic MD Melvin Benn also offered his thoughts on the current state of play. Launching the company’s upcoming series of events in Dublin’s Marlay Park, Benn said the cost of putting on large events in Ireland is “not prohibitive yet” and doesn’t expect it to become so despite costs “going through the roof”.
“We work hard every single day to keep the prices at an economic level,” said Benn, as per the Irish Examiner. “I think we do that successfully which is why we have the equivalent of seven sold-out nights at Marlay Park. I think it’s a testament to how we work so hard to keep them down.”
DEAG stays on course as revenue jumps 55% in Q1
DEAG boss Peter Schwenkow says demand for event tickets is at “an extremely high level” after the business revealed a 55% jump in revenue for the first three months of 2023.
The German-headquartered live entertainment group reported revenues of €48 million for Q1, compared to €31m in the same period last year and €25.5m in the pre-corona year of 2019. The firm says that EBITDA of €3.1m represents almost a doubling of operating profitability, as 2022’s Q1 figure of €2.8m included significant funds from subsidy programmes.
It credited the expansion of its event formats and a diversified event pipeline for the results, as well, in addition to the companies it has acquired over the past four years. DEAG purchases in that time have included CSB Island Entertainment, Fane Productions, Gigantic.com, C² Concerts, Scottish promoter Regular Music, Ireland’s tickets.ie. platform, and German festivals Indian Spirit, Classic Open Air and Airbeat One.
The group also includes Kilimanjaro Group (UK), Wizard Promotions (DE), UK Live, My Ticket (DE, AT, UK) and Belladrum Tartan Heart festival (UK).
“Growth of more than 50% is above our plan and indicates that we are on track for a strong financial year”
“We are very pleased with the start to 2023,” says Schwenkow. “Growth of more than 50% is above our plan and indicates that we are on track for a strong financial year 2023. After the first quarter, we see ourselves on the way to achieving our annual targets of more than €300 million in revenue with a further improvement in EBITDA.”
Ticket sales reached four million, with successful productions including sold-out concerts with Ed Sheeran and Limp Bizkit, hit productions Riverdance and Disney on Ice, plus the “Christmas Gardens,” which drew two million visitors across 19 locations, and international literature festival Lit.Cologne, which pulled in 105,000 attendees.
Tens of thousands of tickets were also sold for Rammstein singer Till Lindemann’s winter 2023 European tour within the first 48 hours. DEAG has also reported strong demand for tickets for concerts in its new hip-hop and rap music segment, with 25,000 tickets sold for concerts by the likes of Samra, Tream and Jazeek – a double-digit percentage increase year-on-year.
“We have again seen demand for tickets at an extremely high level in the first three months,” notes Schwenkow. “We intend to continue developing our ticketing platforms and expand into new markets. We are in advanced discussions with potential companies and are confident that we will soon be able to announce further partners to the DEAG family. Together, we will grow, expand our event formats and bring enjoyment to visitors beyond their everyday lives.”
“One focus will be on the area of ticketing and expansion into new European markets”
DEAG is aiming to sell more than 10m tickets for around 6,000 events in 2023, with upcoming concerts including Iron Maiden, Kiss, the Scorpions, Rod Stewart, The Who and Sam Fender. More than 500,000 tickets have already been sold for its open-air festivals.
The company adds that its growth strategy continues to include the implementation of further acquisitions in the second half of the year, with several deals currently in the pipeline.
“One focus will be on the area of ticketing and expansion into new European markets,” states the report. “Due to its good operating performance and very solid financial basis, DEAG has already been able to arrange attractive financial terms for financing further business expansion in recent months.”
80k+ tickets sold for Rammstein singer’s solo tour
More than 80,000 tickets have been sold for Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann’s 2023 solo European tour in just 48 hours, organisers have announced.
Concerts at Emsland Arena, Lingen, Jahrhunderthalle Frankfurt and Sporthalle Hamburg in Germany have already sold out, alongside a show at the Lotto Arena in Antwerp, Belgium.
Promoted by DEAG’s Handwerker Promotion, the tour will kick off at the Quarterback Real Estate Arena in Leipzig, Germany on 8 November, followed by 10 more concerts in Germany. Additional stops will also take place in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Belgium, the UK, the Netherlands and France.
“We are very excited about this gigantic reception and congratulate Till Lindemann and all parties involved on this brilliant success”
“We are very excited about this gigantic reception and congratulate Till Lindemann and all parties involved on this brilliant success,” says Handwerker MD Fred Handwerker.
Support on the tour will come from Aesthetic Perfection and Phantom Vision. Lindemann is also booked to perform at the Blue Ridge Rock Fest in Virginia, US, which runs from 7-10 September.
Lindemann will also join his Rammstein bandmates for the Rammstein Stadium Tour, which returns to Europe from May to August this year. In 2022, Rammstein and European promoter MCT Agentur obtained an injunction against secondary ticketing platform Viagogo, banning the resale site from reselling tickets for the band’s 2023 European stadium tour.