Music festival season kicks off in Europe | Music | DW

The festival season in Europe finally resumes in June, starting with a three-day weekend due to the Pentecost holiday on Monday.

In Germany, Rock am Ring and Rock im Park expect a combined total of over 160,000 fans, who can expect to enjoy around 70 bands.

Primavera Sound opens in Barcelona, ​​as do smaller, micro festivals including Rock Hard Festival in Gelsenkirchen and Orange Blossom Special in Beverungen, closely followed by Melt! June 9-12, Hurricane and Southside the following weekend and the Roskilde Festival in Denmark, June 25-July 2.

People are excited and optimistic ahead of the festival’s first summer after a two-year hiatus due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions; everyone wants to socialize, dance, party and have a good time after such a long time at home.

Few cultural events offer as much community spirit as music festivals. Whether you like hardcore metal or soft electronic music, the festival scene in Germany and its European neighbors offers enormous musical variety and range.

Finally unleashed again

“We’re not excited about postponing for two years, we want to do live music and allow others to experience live music,” says Jonas Rohde, communications manager for FKP Scorpio Concert Productions, who organizes, among other things, the sold-out German festivals Hurricane and Southside.

The events, which run from June 17-19, feature Seeed, Deichkind and Kings of Leon, among others, as well as Charlie XCX and Nura. “Our goal is to finally deliver the festival we promised our fans,” Rohde told DW, adding that they’ve mostly managed to stick with the previously planned lineup.

Even though fans are looking forward to the festival summer of 2022, the organizers are nostalgic and nervous. The pressure of the pandemic and economic losses of up to 95% at times was a discontinuity never experienced to such an extent before, Rohde said.

FKP Scorpio was lucky as they more or less managed to keep their team throughout the pandemic. The business owes its survival mainly to festival-goers who kept the tickets they had purchased for events scheduled for 2020 and 2021, “and we want to thank them for that, because it cannot be taken for granted”, said added Rohde.

Less trained staff

However, things generally didn’t go so smoothly for all gig producers. “The pandemic is probably the worst thing that can happen to a culture like ours,” said Holger Jan Schmidt, general secretary of the European music festival association Yourop.

 Tomorrowland Festival, crowd and outdoor stage

Tomorrowland in Belgium is one of the biggest dance festivals in Europe

Over the past two years, the industry has lost many experienced, mostly freelance professionals to elsewhere, according to Schmidt.

“Many festivals and service providers are either looking for staff or working with a large number of inexperienced staff,” Schmidt told DW,

“It will take years to compensate adequately at all levels and in all areas of festivals,” he said.

The large number of events carried over from previous years creates a demand for personnel and equipment far in excess of what the market can supply, he added.

Events with budgets determined in 2020 must now be staged under 2022 conditions – including, Schmidt pointed out, “massive price increases due to scarcity of materials and personnel, rising energy costs, inflation and additional costs incurred by colleagues to keep teams together during the pandemic.”

The festival market in Europe is very heterogeneous, but it remains a challenge for almost everyone, he said, adding that he is convinced that “the very creative scene will successfully rise to the challenge and unleash a magic very special this summer that only we can create”. “

The case of Roskilde

One of Europe’s biggest music events and one of the most famous rock and pop festivals in the world, Denmark’s Roskilde Festival is renowned for being particularly magical. Fans and artists love it.

But Roskilde is much more than just a cool festival – the “European Woodstock” is a non-profit festival. Profits are donated to charities, NGOs and cultural organizations around the world.

At a time when people are looking for alternative forms of economy and lifestyles, Roskilde plays a pioneering role.

Once a year, the small town of the same name becomes the fourth largest city in Denmark: 130,000 people take part in the Roskilde Festival, and around one in four people volunteers.

 Roskilde main stage, stage lit up at night, crowd in front

The Rolling Stones once rocked Roskilde’s legendary main stage

The Roskilde Festival has also suffered greatly from the pandemic, and many people the festival team worked with for years are no longer there.

Even the festival’s 50th anniversary celebrations, which would have taken place in 2020, could not take place in the form that fans and organizers had hoped for, which makes the joy of its return this year all the greater.

Roskilde fans mostly kept their tickets; the festival was sold out before the pandemic hit. The festival also benefits from the fact that many volunteers work in key positions, so there is no shortage of experienced security personnel, according to chief security officer Morten Therkildsen.

“We are looking to the future,” Therkildsen said, adding that for Roskilde organizers, “the most important thing is to do something for the young people in the community and change things for the better for them.”

The festival offers 5,000 additional tickets for those under 25. “Our young people are taking good care of each other, but the level of enthusiasm this time around will probably be a bit higher than usual, like, ‘Yes, we’re back!'” As a result, there will be quiet areas as a novelty, for young fans new to the festival scene.

And for the first time in decades, fans will have to do without a long-standing tradition, which usually had several thousand people rushing to the festival grounds at the same time as the event kicked off. It was suspended.

This article was originally written in German.

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