Music: Festival summer 2023: Enough staff, but exploded costs

The return from the Corona break was difficult for some festivals - mainly because there was a lack of staff.

Music: Festival summer 2023: Enough staff, but exploded costs

The return from the Corona break was difficult for some festivals - mainly because there was a lack of staff. That should be different this summer, as organizers and industry associations announced in a survey by the German Press Agency. The staffing should hold up. However, there is a burning issue elsewhere: in wage costs. Technicians, waiters and other helpers charge up to 50 percent more, as some in the industry report. This poses problems for the organizers.

"We have the impression that specialists can currently be very selective when it comes to where, when and under what conditions they offer their services," said Stephan Benn from the cultural association Liveinitiative NRW. Organizers would therefore have to pay around 30 percent more for their staff. In the worst case, positions could remain vacant.

Cost increases are reflected

"The industry has to persevere," said Bernd Schweinar from the Association for Pop Culture in Bavaria. So far, the industry expert has not known of any festival that had to be canceled due to staff shortages. "But what matters is the increase in costs," says Schweinar. Festival operators currently have to pay between 15 and 50 percent more for staff. That cannot be added one to one to the tickets.

Last year organizers still had considerable problems filling their positions at all. Many helpers had looked for other jobs during the pandemic. A spokesman for the Juicy Beats Festival said that if the staffing level were to drop, this could have “fatal consequences”, especially in critical areas such as security personnel. In the worst case, there is a risk of cancellation. "That also happened last year."

Wacken Open Air sees itself well positioned

The organizers of the Wacken Open Air also had big problems last year. "We have to watch every nook and cranny to get the man numbers," said co-founder Thomas Jensen in the summer. With a view to the coming festival season, however, he has no major personnel worries, as he said.

The Southside Festival also announced that the staffing level was stable again after the difficult year 2022. According to a spokesman, the costs have risen by an average of 30 percent. In connection with the reduced purchasing power, this is a problem for the already "low-margin industry".

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