For the first time in 20 years, number of festivals stabilises

The massive Lowlands music and dance event kicks off on Friday but for the first time in 20 years there has been no increase in the number of festivals in the Netherlands, reports.

Research for the event organisers’ association VVEM would appear to indicate the market for festivals is now saturated. According to VVEM figures, the Netherlands hosts 698 arts and culture festivals which attract more than 1,000 visitors on an individual basis.

Last weekend, for example, there were at least seven dance events in Amsterdam alone. And some of the big events, like Dutch Valley and Dancevalley have been hit by falling visitor numbers.


This year’s PinkPop festival was not sold out for the first time in years and organisers have begun offering special ticket deals, event marketeers said.

A weekend ticket for Lowlands, which sold out quickly, was €185 including campsite and shuttle bus.

A reduction in corporate and government sponsorship is also having an impact on the arts and cultural side, said.

For example, the performing arts fund contributed €3m to festival funding last year but has a budget of €2.1m for 2013. Just 13 of the 25 festivals which used to get a four-year funding deal still get subsidies.

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