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Third straight sellout for OpenAir St Gallen

Switzerland’s OpenAir St Gallen has reflected on a “very positive” 2024 edition after the festival sold out for a third consecutive year.

Promoted by Zurich-based Gadget Entertainment, the 27,500-cap event triumphed in spite of a myriad of challenges – not least the “rapidly changing and unpredictable weather”.

Top billed acts between 27-30 June included The Chainsmokers, Queens of the Stone Age, Placebo, KIZ and Nina Chuba.

“The festival was completely sold out for the third time in a row with 110,000 visitors over the four festival days and went off without any significant incidents,” Gadget’s director festivals & events Christof Huber tells IQ.

Other musical highlights included Girl in Red, Tom Odell, Makko, Provinz, 01099, The Hives, Róisín Murphy, Maisie Peters, Mayberg, Dominik Hartz, Leila and Jule X. And Huber says the programme stayed true to the event’s ethos by representing “a true meeting of different generations”.

“It was a rather difficult year to compile a lineup that could live up to the festival’s standards”

“Newcomers and a lineup that reflects different tastes and genres were always a core value of OpenAir St Gallen,” he notes. “The festival prides itself to cater to different generations and to reflect this with a diverse offering and experiences on different stages and villages across the festival.

“Nonetheless, it was a rather difficult year to compile a lineup that could live up to the festival’s standards. It took longer than normal to finalise this year’s programme with all headliners and the announcement had to be slightly delayed.”

A major plus was a partnership with Swiss train firm SBB RailAway, which enabled free travel by public transport for festival visitors from all over Switzerland.

“The complete inclusion of public transportation – a first for a Swiss festival – was a great success,” says Huber.

A limited allocation of advance tickets for next year’s OpenAir St Gallen, priced CHF250 (€257), have already sold out. The 47th festival is set for 26-29 June 2025. But despite pulling off another record-setting edition this year, Huber says the growing number of obstacles ensure that promotions of such scale remain “high-risk” endeavours.

“We’re very much looking forward to a summer filled with highlights”

“It is once again looking like a rather difficult year for many promoters due to the sheer number of events, the aforementioned challenges as well as a shortage of headliners touring after 2022 and 2023,” he warns. “Factors such as unpredictable weather, rising costs, cancelled performances due to cancelled flights, or other major events will remain challenges in the future, requiring careful planning and programming.”

There is reason for optimism, however, with Gadget’s stacked summer schedule continuing with Taylor Swift at Zürich’s Letzigrund Stadium from 9-10 July. The company also secured a majority stake in the Stars in Town festival earlier this year.

“We’re very much looking forward to a summer filled with highlights,” adds Huber. “Taylor Swift – The Eras Tour is playing Zurich twice this week. Stars in Town – a festival in the historic city centre – is looking at six close to sold out festival nights. Seaside and SummerDays Festival are once again gearing up to be very special events right by the lake and our Newcomers Festival Radar will mark the end of the festival season in September.

“Additionally, there will be numerous shows from exciting artists as well as a range of mandated festivals.”

The latest issue of IQ features an in-depth profile of Gadget Entertainment as Switzerland’s leading promoter turns 30.


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IQ 128 out now: Take That, Germany, Metal & more

IQ 128, the latest issue of the international live music industry’s favourite magazine, is available to read online now.

In the June/July issue, Gordon Masson goes behind the scenes of Take That’s This Life on Tour, and Derek Robertson charts the success of Switzerland’s leading promoter Gadget Entertainment as the company turns 30.

Elsewhere, Kerrang‘s Sam Law provides an in-depth report on the metal genre, and Adam Woods investigates one of the most robust music markets in the world – Germany.

Readers can also gain insight into the 2024 festival season, find out where some of the first New Bosses are today, and preview the forthcoming IFF (International Festival Forum).

For this edition’s comments and columns, Mamas in Music founder Mary Leay provides encouragement for mothers working in the music business, while MMF’s Manasvi Dethekar shares five takeaways from the association’s recent workshop in collaboration with Futures Forum.

As always, the majority of the magazine’s content will appear online in some form in the next four weeks.

However, if you can’t wait for your fix of essential live music industry features, opinion and analysis, click here to subscribe to IQ from just £8 a month or click here to purchase your print copy.

Check out what you’re missing out on with the limited preview below:


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