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“We can finally go wild again!” Many visitors to concerts and festivals have spoken this sentence this year, or even cried with big smiles on their faces. The first steps on the pristine green meadow or that first beer in a plastic (hard) glass guarantees goosebumps. Also this weekend, chills will undoubtedly pass through the body of visitors to the Lowlands at Biddinghuizen.
But is this experience still feasible for a wide audience? After all, life has become much more expensive this year. People notice this not only in the supermarket and at the pump, but also in the digital queue for tickets to concerts, festivals or when buying expendable coupons.
How the Lowlands became so expensive, and how festival-goers deal with it, can be seen in the video below:
Festivals are getting more expensive, in the Lowlands they don’t mind
For example, a Lowlands ticket costs 35 euros more than last year, when the festival was canceled due to Corona. The price of beer or soft drinks has now exceeded the €3 limit. Therefore, the three-day festival has become much more expensive than it was before Corona.
It’s a trend that’s been visible for some time, says Lowlands manager Eric van Eerdenburg. The price increase this year is mainly due to a shortage of grain (needed for beer), lower fuel shipments (equipment at the festival runs on diesel generators) and a significant shortage of building materials (for stages, among other things). We should not expect a decrease in prices in the future.
“I’m very concerned about that,” Van Eerdenburg says. “You see that the infrastructure is getting more expensive. For example, we are competing with Schiphol for security guards and many of the materials we need for the stages are, among other things, used to build emergency shelters for asylum seekers. History shows that prices don’t usually go down anymore. They go as soon as they go up. “.
The first festival that was allowed to run again since Corona was Paaspop in April. Here’s what was included in its build:
The 2022 festival season starts with Paaspop, everyone is anxious
It’s also becoming more expensive to book artists, not just Van Eerdenburg notes. “We are in an area of constant tension,” says Wouter de Wilde, head of reservations for concert promoter Greenhouse Talent. “We are always looking for a deal that works for all parties. On the one hand, we look at the cost of the ticket, and on the other hand, we find out what the artist needs to do for a show.”
He notes that finding this balance has not become easier. This is likely to be at the expense of newer and smaller bands.
“I feel like people can still pay 90 euros for a Rammstein concert or another great artist, but instead give up two or three spontaneous visits to pop venues with smaller shows.”
‘The visit is likely to be postponed’
Jeroen Bartels, director of the conference center at Tivolfriedenburg in Utrecht, is also concerned. “People now go to parties they can’t put off. Often the big name of your city or country only comes once, so you have to go there right away. Small bands roam in multiple cities, so you also have multiple opportunities to see them.. Then you might be more inclined to postpone the visit.
He can’t even call it a trend just yet, it’s too early for that. But this will become a pattern in the coming period due to the rising cost of living, Bartels predicts. “Our calendar is quite full and ticket sales are going really well too. But if you look deeper, you’ll see that the younger teams are having a harder time.”
Bartels points out his legal mission: to keep this kind of culture accessible to a broad audience. This can be done by investing in sustainability, but also by looking critically at the prices of bars. “We try to take into account people who have a small wallet, for example by offering smaller beers at a lower price.”
Thus, keeping the cost of concerts down is something the whole sector is working on. In the Lowlands, for example, they’ve been offering luxury options at various price levels for some time which are very popular, says Van Eerdenburg. “There is a group of people willing to pay for it. And they are very welcome. Then I can lower the price of regular tickets for people at the regular camp site with a throw tent.”
However, the festival director worries that there is a large group that can no longer afford it. “Look at the young people: they pay 700 euros for a small room for students. Energy prices will soon be added to that. It cannot be otherwise that this will become a market for people who are in a better position.”
So making choices is likely to become a reality, believes De Wilde of Greenhouse Talent. “People still want a good vacation, go to their favorite festival, or buy a ticket to their favorite band. But they probably won’t do all three anymore.”
“It’s a choice between a city trip to London or Paris and the Lowlands with luxury,” says Van Eerdenburg. “Then that last one might be worth more,” he winks.
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