Festival attendance back to pre-pandemic levels; Organizers still struggling with costs

The number of visitors to music venues and festivals was almost back to pre-pandemic levels in 2022. But despite their return, organizers are still facing financial difficulties due to increased costs, the Association of Dutch Music Venues and Festivals (VNPF) said, NOS reports.

The VNPF figures are based on 48 music venues and 55 pop festivals. The first quarter of 2022 still had coronavirus restrictions, but those measures disappeared entirely in the second quarter. According to the organization, that led to a “reservoir’ of catch-up concerts and events. Despite only operating fully for three of the four quarters, visitor numbers returned to almost pre-pandemic levels – 7.6 million last year compared to 8.6 million in 2019.

But the sector is facing increased costs, and that is putting strain on event organizers. The prices of energy, personnel, purchasing, and artists all increased significantly last year and are still rising this year, the VNPF said.

Municipalities are helping to cover price increases with subsidies where they can, but it is not enough, the trade association said. “That means that the talent development of both artists and staff and the retention of good staff will come under further pressure.”

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