Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

The end of the festival season, the start of the chin-stroking

It’s time for the circus to leave town for another year. There may be a few more outdoor music festivals to come, such as Planetlove, the Green Village, Spirit of Folk, Navan Live and Mystik, but last weekend’s Electric Picnic …

Fri, Sep 9, 2011, 09:30

   

It’s time for the circus to leave town for another year. There may be a few more outdoor music festivals to come, such as Planetlove, the Green Village, Spirit of Folk, Navan Live and Mystik, but last weekend’s Electric Picnic usually signifies the end of the season for the big boys. Time to count the money and prepare for 2012.

But it would be interesting (and, yes, nosey) to be a fly on the wall this year as the promoters count that cash and do the sums. Ireland’s economic woes ensured another tough summer for those who put on live shows for a living. There may have been more festivals this summer than in previous years, but the numbers in attendance were down.

Both Oxegen and Electric Picnic failed to sell out and this will have a knock-on effect on the bottom line for all concerned. This will certainly impact on promoter Denis Desmond, whose MCD Concerts owns Oxegen and who also has an interest in the Electric Picnic, via his investment in Festival Republic, co-owners of the Picnic along with John Reynolds’ POD.

The economic situation is unlikely to have changed hugely by next summer, so promoters will have their work cut out for them again in 2012. It’s noticable that the Oxegen website, for example, doesn’t yet carry information about next year’s event, with rumours persisting about a possible change of venue away from the much maligned Punchstown location.

Of course, concerns about poor performance are industry-wide and will surely be debated and discussed at the UK Festival Conference in London in November. Other topics on the agenda for the one-day conference include preparing for bad weather (especially after Pukkelpop), social media and how to stand out in a crowded market. Festival Republic chief Melvin Benn is set to be one of the key speakers.

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