“You really have to make yourself indispensable in this market.”

Liberation Festival in Zwolle 2024

Noos News

  • Anushka Lackerfeld

    Online editor

  • Anushka Lackerfeld

    Online editor

Festivals and events that have been around for years are struggling to make ends meet despite the support. Organizers are suffering from high prices, tight labor markets, and shortages of materials.

One of these festivals is New Year’s Eve, which has been held in Rotterdam for thirteen years. Ticket sales have already begun. But the festival will not take place this year.

The company behind the festival, JMR Event Makers, receives support from the municipality, but has incurred losses of between 70,000 and 80,000 euros at this festival “certainly in recent years,” according to Jasper Schulte, one of the company’s directors.

The Indische Tong Tong fair in The Hague, for which 55,000 visitors buy tickets each year, also announced at the beginning of May that it would not continue due to financial problems. according to Radio West The organization received about 50 thousand euros in support from the municipality every year, but that was not enough.

Festivals that don’t charge a ticket price also have a hard time. For example, the Rotterdam Pride Festival has been canceled due to costs, the free Almere Festival has been canceled for the second time in a row, and many organizations are switching to a “simplified programme”, such as the Rotterdam Pride Festival. Fishing days in Harlingen.

You really have to make yourself indispensable in this market by thinking carefully about what you offer. Nowadays it really has to be an experience.

Berend Schanz, Director of the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals

The director of the Dutch trade organization Poppodia and Festivals (VNPF), Berend Schanz, has seen for some time that festivals are going through a difficult time. Recently, one million euros were allocated to financially support the Liberation Festivals.

In Utrecht, last year’s edition was in danger of not going ahead due to financial problems, until financiers were found at the last minute.

According to Schanz, it remains to be seen whether such financial injections will become more common, as cultural subsidies are low in the new coalition’s main agreement.


The future therefore looks uncertain for the festival industry, but industry organizations do not expect that there will be no festivals at all.

According to VVEM’s Willem Westermann, festivals have been disappearing for years, but new ones are also taking their place. Despite the rise in ticket prices, the audience still arrives, especially at major festivals.

Both trade associations believe that organizations must do more to attract people to their festival to maintain its long-term financial health. “You really have to make yourself indispensable in this market by thinking carefully about what you offer,” says VNPF director Schanz. “Nowadays, it has to be an actual experience.”

Jasper Schulte, of JMR Event Makers, is also playing with this idea. He is busy discussing whether De Nacht van de Kaap will return next year in a different, simplified form. Only the “crown jewels” will appear after that. Schulte can’t say what that should look like and whether the organization will ever be profitable again.

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