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At least 60 Dutch festivals cancelled in 2024

At least 60 Dutch festivals have been cancelled this year, according to national press.

This figure marks a record number of festival cancellations – excluding the Covid pandemic years – writes AD. In addition, only 30 new festivals have been introduced.

In the last week, the UB40-headlined Chillville in Breda was cancelled at the last minute due to “a major shortage of event materials and personnel” and Mañana Mañana in Gelderland, promoted by Superstruct-backed Feestfabriek (Party Factory), announced that it would not return after its 10th edition as “ticket sales are not enough to make the event profitable”.

In addition to rising costs and a shortage of resources, many organisers are grappling with changing municipal and national policies.

Psy-Fi Festival in Oldenzaal suddenly had to pull the plug because the municipality “made a complete change in the zoning plan,” causing the festival to run into serious time constraints.

The BouleVaart festival in Krommenie also had to deal with stricter regulations; in addition to an event permit, an environmental permit and acoustic research were suddenly required. “Everything has made organising more difficult, I don’t think we will ever do it again,” said the organiser.

In addition to rising costs and a shortage of resources, organisers are grappling with changing municipal and national policies

Meanwhile, Amsterdam festival organisers fear that the city’s new permit policy, set to be trialled next year, could lead to bankruptcies.

Set to come into effect in 2026, the new policy aims to give new and smaller events a better chance of getting scarce festival locations in order to “better meet the needs of all Amsterdam residents”.

Events councillor Touria Meliani wants to set up a committee that will determine who gets a place based on substantive criteria. By the end of this year, events would know whether they have a place on next year’s calendar.

Festivals including DGTL, Amsterdam Open Air, De Zon, Loveland and Zeezout have hit back, saying the approach is “too late” and “unworkable” for both new and established festivals.

“You cannot organise a safe and successful festival in six months,” the organisers wrote in a full-page advertisement addressed to the municipality and published in Het Parool last month.

The organisers have launched a petition against the new policy, which has been signed by 18,613 people at the time of writing.

Another major issue on the horizon is the government’s plans to raise the tax rate for the cultural and creative sector from 9% to 21%, which has also prompted a coalition of organisations to launch a joint campaign asking it to reconsider.

“The festival offering is always changing. The audience too. Taste changes, people enter a different phase of their lives”

A statement from the coalition reads: “The proposed increase in the VAT rate will inevitably lead to higher prices, which will put pressure on the accessibility and affordability of sports, media, books, culture and catering for the public. It affects everyone in the Netherlands in daily life and in several areas. It is an additional burden on the valuable free time, club life, curiosity and (mental) health of every Dutch person.”

Despite a raft of major challenges facing the Dutch live music industry, Berend Schans of the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals (VNPF) says there’s no immediate need to panic.

“The festival offering is always changing. The audience too. Taste changes, people enter a different phase of their lives.”

Schans also points to festivals and concerts that sold out very quickly despite the higher prices, such as Lowlands (€325 for a weekend ticket) and AC/DC (€170 for a standing room).

The Dutch festival market isn’t the only one that’s been hit by a high number of festival cancellations. The UK has seen over 40 festivals shut down, while Australia’s festival scene declared a crisis earlier this year.


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