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Sustainability of popular music festivals. Example of the Sziget Festival (HU) Alice Zoghaib, Univ Paris 8 European Festival Research Project Le Mans research workshop, 18 Nov 2006. Popular music festivals in Europe Challenges.

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Sustainability of popular music festivals


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sustainability of popular music festivals

Sustainability of popular music festivals

Example of the Sziget Festival (HU)

Alice Zoghaib, Univ Paris 8

European Festival Research Project

Le Mans research workshop, 18 Nov 2006

popular music festivals in europe challenges
Popular music festivals in Europe Challenges
  • Growing number of pop. music festivals: supply exceeds demand (Latarjet report)
  • Increasingly competitive environment: to increase audience, festivals compete for famous groups (fees take off)
  • Public subsidies stagnate
  • Stronger need for private sponsors

Pressure on programming quality

context of hungarian music market
Context of Hungarian music market
  • Music diversity threatened - 5 American companies own 65% of music recording industry
  • Smaller independent labels support alternative artists or those forbidden during communism (BAHIA, partner of Sziget)
  • Public support (NKÖM) for music «creating national identity»: not for alternative music groups and festivals

Same problem for all alternative festivals in the EU:

How to combine sustainability and quality in a competitive environment ?

example of sziget festival
Objectives :

Created in 1992, this festival aims at gathering European artists

foster Balkan traditional and present music groups

Festival description:

One week

Theatre, dance, plastic arts, alternative music, international groups

400 000 visitors

Sustainable festival with strong artistic objectives

Example of Sziget Festival

Relevant example for many festivals

in Central Europe (Serbia...)

sustainability progressively achieved
Sustainability progressively achieved…
  • Established in 1992:
    • 40 000 persons without advertising
    • Budapest lends the location for free
  • 1995 Bankruptcy. Pepsi owns the festival until 2002 (sustainability achieved in 1997)
  • 2003 : Sziget Kft’s created
    • Financial and programming autonomy (trusted to 5 Hungarian cultural actors such as Bahia)
    • Grocery (sponsoring contracts with suppliers, total control of all the prices of goods offered on the festival site)
    • Diversification of partnerships and first public subsidies
balance between public and private funding
Balance between public and private funding
  • Budget: 6.6*, profit: 0.2*
  • Revenue: 6.8*, of which:
    • 60% ticket sales
    • 35% sponsors (advertising or trade fees)
    • 5% public subsidies for not-profit-making activities: 0.4* (average amount per year) not inclusive free location (2*) ; exceptional contribution in 2003 (3*)
  • Economic impact:
    • 1 HUF invested = 1,8 economic growth.
    • Visitors spending: 36*
    • Taxes for the state: 2.5*

*2005, in million Euro

an organisation model for other festivals
An organisation model for other festivals ?
  • Budapest business journal:
    • “Sziget model sets profitable example” (sustainability, external growth, unchanging % of Balkan artists – 40%)
  • Progressive public support needed
    • At the creation (at least location) and throughout festival expansion to avoid big sponsors ; cf. Latarjet report
  • Sustainability and autonomy
    • Balance of private / public partnerships
    • Multi-sponsorship rather than few big sponsors
  • Partnership delegation for international festivals:
    • Ex.: “Sziget France” created partnerships with AFAA, SACEM, FCM, music press, transports…