Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The state of the gigging nation – sellouts and washouts

As part of a feature for today’s Ticket reviewing the summer’s gigs and festivals, I talked to many of the players in the Irish live music market about their activities. The feature covered sellouts, gigs which didn’t sell out, the …

Fri, Sep 25, 2009, 08:58

   

As part of a feature for today’s Ticket reviewing the summer’s gigs and festivals, I talked to many of the players in the Irish live music market about their activities. The feature covered sellouts, gigs which didn’t sell out, the general state of the live music market, ticket prices and plans for 2010.

I also approached Denis Desmond, the boss of MCD Concerts for an interview. A spokesman for MCD asked that questions be forwarded by e-mail. Questions dealing with MCD’s shows this summer, ticket sales and prices and Desmond’s involvement with Festival Republic and Live Nation were forwarded. As you can see from the feature, we received a short statement in return.

For the record, here’s the list of questions which were sent to MCD.

Looking back, how would you sum up summer 2009 for MCD, tickets sales and gig wise?

You had a number of sell-out shows – AC/DC, Oasis, Take That (the co-promote with Aikens) – yet these were shows which went on sale in 2008. Do you think economic cutbacks (ie less disposable income) means the days of rapid sellouts for big outdoor shows are over?

With regard to this, were you surprised by the fact that neither Coldplay (who sold out 2 o2 shows last year in minutes) nor Oxegen (which as always sold out in the past) sold out in advance? Also, did it surprise you that those extra “production tickets” for U2 took so long to shift? What do you attribute this to?

Do you think Irish gig-goers have changed their going out habits because of the recession?

Do you feel that high ticket prices are having an adverse effect on show attendances? Do you think this is the only reason?

With regard to ticket prices, are you seeing agents becoming more realistic when it comes to fees and consequently setting ticket prices? For instance, I note that some of your forthcoming shows such as Florence & The Machine and Speech Debelle have quite low prices.

Or is the battle to get acts still seeing agents playing one Irish promoter off against another and pushing the fee, and consequently, the ticket price up?

What changes have you made at MCD to adopt to the recession? What cutbacks have you introduced? Are you booking as many shows as you were in the good days?

You now own a chunk of the Electric Picnic via Festival Republic. What attracted you to the Electric Picnic? Will MCD the “hands-off” role going forward which was taken this year? Did you go down to Stradbally this year?

Ireland has always featured very highly on the Pollstar and Billboard charts for gig grosses – do you think this position will be maintained?

What effect has the opening of o2 had on your business? Will we see more gigs which were held outdoors now move indoors?

Are you still in talks with Live Nation regarding the sale of MCD?

What can we expect from MCD in summer 2010? Any acts you’ve booked you’d like to spill the beans on to the readership of The Ticket? Are you looking at doing another festival or do you think the market is well catered for at present?

Finally, what was your favourite live gig this summer? And why?

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