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Music Festivals Canceled This 12 months Reveal Rising Prices of Producing Giant Occasions

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For 4 a long time, the Riverbend Pageant delighted music followers in Tennessee with headlining acts like Lionel Ritchie and ZZ High, however this 12 months the present gained’t go on.

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“Riverbend is reevaluating and restructuring with the intention to achieve success sooner or later,” the organizers stated on their website.

After years of development, some music festivals are in retreat. At the least 10 reveals within the US have been canceled this 12 months, based on Bloomberg analysis. Extra budget-conscious customers are an element, however so are rising prices for staffing, phases and the performers.

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“All the things’s costlier, together with the artists,” Cameron Collins, founding father of pageant organizer Brew Ha Ha Productions, stated in an interview.

Tickets for April’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Pageant are nonetheless obtainable for the second weekend after occurring sale in January. Delaware’s Firefly Music Pageant, which operated for 10 years that includes performers like Inexperienced Day and Dua Lipa, said on social media it’s taking one other 12 months off and can return “when the timing is true.”

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AEG Worldwide, which owns each festivals, declined to remark.

The troubles mirror what’s occurring in different client companies, from theme parks to casinos, and mirror tighter budgets after a surge in post-pandemic journey. The price of going to a multiday music pageant can high $1,000, together with lodging and journey bills, to not point out $15 beers.

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“Live shows are mainly the equal of a flight someplace now while you’re paying $200 to $300 for a present,” stated Connecticut-based live performance fan Patrick Suter.

Pageant promoters are taking steps to ease the burden. Music lovers should buy two-day tickets to the 4 days of the Bonnaroo pageant in Tennessee, an possibility some are calling “half a roo.”

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Seaside Life Pageant, being held in Might in Redondo Seaside, California, lowered basic admission costs this 12 months, and is together with ticketing charges in that quantity, a part of an trade shift towards all-in pricing. Merciless World, one other rock pageant every week later in close by Pasadena, waived ticketing charges in a February promotion and nonetheless has basic admission tickets obtainable.

“They type of begin to cannibalize one another,” stated Morgan Milardo, managing director of the Berklee In style Music Institute in Boston. “It splits the market in half actually.”

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Among the many different casualties this 12 months: chef Man Fieri’s Flavortown Music Pageant in Columbus, Ohio, which was canceled earlier than its debut, and the Okeechobee Music & Arts Pageant in Florida, which is taking a pause. So too is the Beale Avenue Music Pageant in Memphis, which noticed attendance fall to its lowest stage in three a long time final 12 months. The organizer attributed the decline to “financial challenges” and considerations about security.

The robust atmosphere means the organizers might consolidate as bigger promoters look to broaden into new markets.

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“Our key executives are on the market having these conversations every day,” stated Chamie McCurry, chief advertising officer at pageant manufacturing firm Danny Wimmer Presents. The corporate runs seven festivals, together with Kentucky’s Bourbon & Past, the place nation singer Zach Bryan is headlining and a basic admission ticket prices $330.

After the Covid-19 pandemic, artists raised their charges to make up for misplaced revenue. Distributors are attempting to recoup cash they misplaced and repay debt they incurred to remain afloat in the course of the shutdown.

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“Prices went up rather a lot in late ’21, ’22 into ’23, and we’re all applauding now, sure, most of these prices have stopped going up, however they nonetheless went up rather a lot,” Joe Berchtold, the chief monetary officer of Stay Nation Leisure Inc., stated at an investor convention this month.

The most important participant within the live performance enterprise, Stay Nation stated ticket gross sales at its festivals in North America this 12 months are pacing forward of 2023. The Sea.Hear.Now Pageant in Asbury Park, New Jersey, offered out minutes after tickets went on sale on March 7. Native hero Bruce Springsteen was a headliner.

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“It’s frequent for just a few occasions to fluctuate or fall off for quite a lot of causes, so there’s all the time just a few of these anecdotes,” Stay Nation stated in an announcement. “However on a macro stage the reside music enterprise is extra sturdy than ever.”

Cities, in the meantime, are in search of a solution to maintain the festivals, which they see as a supply of tourism income. After a feared cancellation earlier this 12 months, Blues on the Inexperienced in Austin, Texas, will return because of a vote of assist from town council and a brand new sponsor.

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Photograph: Firefly Music Pageant in Dover, Delaware, canceled plans for 2024. Photographer: Kevin Mazur/Getty Photos for Firefly

Copyright 2024 Bloomberg.

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