Focus on European Jazz Festivals

Survey results from 2001 jazz festival study (press release)
European jazz festivals spend budgets of approx. 250 million EUR per year, to present jazz music at its best to 14 million visitors all over Europe. These budgets are mainly financed via 115 million EUR ticket sales, ca. 60 million EUR from private or corporate sponsors and 40 million EUR subsidies.

ACORN Consultants based in Miami / Munich have recently surveyed the European jazz festival scene for the first time ever. Much of the study is derived from responses to a questionnaire sent to 450 festival organizers. The field research survey from February 1998 to September 1999 was supplemented by additional results from ACORN-Market Research on the general European jazz market.

Considerable Economic Performance
The current European jazz festival market consists of 1.000 festival events p.a. (not including another 90 festivals in Eastern Europe). With an average duration of 5.6 days it offers nearly 5.600 festival days per year, attracting 11 million paying visitors to watch approx. 208.000 musicians showcase the latest musical trends and styles. With a broad variety of different festival types and programmatic concepts – 55% small (<5.000 visitors), 35% medium (5.000 – 25.000 visitors) and 10% large festivals (>25.000 visitors) – organizers concentrate on a musical niche market because the share of the jazz segment is less than 1.5% of the entire market for music recordings.

Dynamic Festival Growth
Contrary to the trend of sales in the declining jazz recording industry, festivals are developing surprisingly well: the number of visitors is increasing and every year more than 25 new festivals come up, which means that the overall festival market is growing at a rate of 3 – 4% p. a. In Dec. 1999, Germany was the leading festival market (>300 festivals), followed by France (150), Italy (130) and the UK (120).

Festival density comes to Ø 400.000 inhabitants per festival event and is considerably higher in Scandinavia, Switzerland, Netherlands or Germany than for example in the Iberian countries or in Greece.

Budget and cost structure
The organization of a jazz festival requires an average festival budget of 298.000 EUR per event. Besides expenses for artist fees / charges (>50%), the main costs are for “technical equipment“ (12%) and “marketing / sales” (11%). Seat capacities are worked at Ø 80%. Capacity utilization rates, as well as income-spending-structures differ significantly according to dimension, program focus and duration of the festival performance.

Financing problems
Organized as private initiatives and associations (62%), financing questions are the main problem areas for festival promoters. Despite increasing fixed costs and falling public subsidies, festival organizers constantly succeed in attracting a larger number of private sponsors to support jazz festivals. Sponsoring shares in U. K. (27% of festival revenues) are specifically higher than in the rest of Europe. ACORN expects an approximation towards U.S. conditions, where public support for cultural events does not exist and sponsorships reach already more than 50% of festival budgets.

“Knock-on” effects often underestimated
Two specific benefit ratios confirm that knock-on effects of festival performances on local and regional economic structures are worth consideration: each EUR of the festival budget inputs creates further benefits of at least one more EUR – the direct money flow into the business circulation of the festival region is 6.3 times higher than initial public subsidies.

Cooperative deals increase
Joint operations and building cooperative networks between not competing festivals become significantly important. Main areas of reinforced networking are compiling information about trends and artists, coordination of programming and routing as well as improve marketing efforts. The actual degree of cooperation is far below other industries.