Small festivals penalized by rising concert costs


Concert at the Cabaret vert in Charleville-Mézières, August 24, 2017.

The increase in the fees of “live” artists complicates the economic equation of small festivals like that of venues whose gauge is very constrained. “Our artistic budget, limited to 200,000 euros in 2019, has increased to 300,000 euros”, explains Lisa Belangeon, coordinator of the Au Foin de la Rue festival in Mayenne. The situation reduces the choice of artists, or forces them to plan elsewhere. Christian Allex, programmer of the Le Cabaret vert festival in Charleville-Mézières, will pay 500,000 euros for a Calvin Harris concert on the bill. ” It’s a choice. I will lose money that day, but I will keep a more family-oriented, less expensive program on Sundays”he said.

His colleague Stéphane Krasniewski, director of the Les Suds festival, in Arles (Bouches-du-Rhône), also admits to being stuck between the tightening market, the recipes constrained by its capacity to accommodate a maximum of six thousand people, its stamps limited to €60,000. And again, he recalls that the ease of using volunteers in France and public subsidies allow him to charge affordable prices.

Force on ticket prices

This is one of the major difficulties also encountered by his colleagues or the owners of small rooms. Forcing on the price of tickets to compensate for the ever higher fees of the artists risks discouraging the public. The National Music Center has also stressed that the return of spectators since the end of Covid-19 has remained timid in small concert venues. Yann Rivoal, director of La Vapeur, in Dijon, does not hide his problems: “I now have to completely fill the room to be able to balance my accounts. It is obvious that for certain concerts I lose money. »

Everyone manages. At the head of Printemps de Pérouges (Ain), Marie Rigaud offered herself Juliette Armanet on Sunday July 2. She understands that her rating is rising and pays the price. “Her live is excellent, she does not spare herself, knows how to be generous”she assures.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Soaring fees make music festivals pale

But gold is not everything, and the personal relationship between programmers and artists sometimes remains essential. It is only because they have known each other for a long time that Dominique Delorme, director of the Nuits de Fourvière, was able to bring Sting, Nick Cave or Damon Albarn to Lyon at prices still possible. In return, he co-organized a Blur tour for the latter, in London at the Barbican and in New York at the Lincoln Center, with the Malian musicians he loves. The only way to“take away the piece”.


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