Music festival: a paradigm under threat than ever

In the heat of the summer of 2022 and in front of rave crowds, rapper Orelsan has surveyed the stages of Pause Guitare, Musilac, Garorock, Francofolies, Vieilles Charrues and many more. Laylow, the other character of French rap, also ignited the French festivals: Cabaret Vert, Crossover, Bauregard, Marsatac, We Love Green, Garorock … The tour – with dozens of dates – of these two major names testifies to the frenetic race that French music events are involved in.

The frenzy that popular artists know how to play goes far beyond these stars: Stamp prices are flying and threatening certain festivals whose economic model – the ticket office and public subsidies – relies heavily on this substance. This factor–decisive–among many others, rocks some festivals. In the face of explosive costs and returns that do not increase or even decrease, the financial equation, for many, is flying high. The summer 2022 season has been a symbol of heightened tensions in the music festival sector.

Musilac, in Aix-Les-bains, is on the verge of bankruptcy, with a deficit of 1.2 million, while Garorock (Olympia production), in Marmande, has seen its attendance drop to 140,000 in 2022, from 160,000 in 2019. To be revealed about at the end of September by Prodis Captivated fears must be confirmed for Challenges By dozens of players in this sector. Testimonies that reveal the extent to which this common good – culture – is caught in the vortex of a market economy. The sector, shared by private festivals and union structures, appears to be at a turning point in its history.

I’ve been shooting all summer

Competition intensifies between festivals

For the festival to be profitable today, the occupancy rate must reach from 95% to 100%, compared to 80% in 2019. “These events have always been fragile with very low margin rate but the inflationary context, Covid-19 and the economic crisis are weakening them more than ever”, notes Françoise Benhamou, an economist specializing in culture.

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