Pyrenees Orientalis: Summer Festivals

Summer 2022 will certainly see a record number of festivals organized in the department. With no less than eighteen such events in the four corners of the Pyrenees Orientales. A potentially profitable business for regulators, whether private or public, and makes a strong tourism argument, according to the latest studies on the topic. But in order to stand out and attract more audiences, investment is necessary. Deciphering the economic risks of festivals with the two local giants: Les Déferlantes and Electrobeach.

In 2022, more than ever, due to competition, the Pyrenees Orientales want to do well.

In Frontera production, the transition of Les Déferlantes from Argelès-sur-Mer to Céret is a very important economic issue. In the end, Les Déferlantes wants to be one of the five biggest festivals in France. To compete with Vieilles Charrues (270,000 spectators in 2019) or Solidays (228,000 festival-goers in 2019), Def’ must invest significantly. “This year we have 55 artist referencesexplains Fabrice Llorente, Co-Director of La Frontera, Programming costs after Covid have skyrocketed. Some managers are asking for fees that are far in excess of the 30% increase compared to 2019. But we want the fees to go up. The cost of the 2022 program is exactly double that of 2019.

After two years of scarcity, and in the face of the mass appeal of festivals, artists are inflating the prices for these services that are their main source of income. “Since the disc crisis, musicians live thanks to the neighborhood, that is, their tours and festivals‘, confirms Fabrice Llorente. But it takes that to stand out in the department.

We blew up the initial budget, which was 9 million euros

By catching large plaice, the Déferlantes consolidated their contacts beyond the borders of the Pyrénées-Orientales, with a particular focus on southern Catalonia. All of this has a cost. A month and a half before the festival, the expenses were not finalized. “We blew up the initial budget, which was 9 million eurosconfirms to Frontera co-director. This year, we will not be at profitability. We know that. Our revenue is divided into a third and comes from ticketing, private partnerships, and on-site consumption“.

Déferlantes’ bet hasn’t worked yet, but some signals are shown in green. The ticket office has been constantly and gradually increasing since its opening. The symbolic threshold of 17,000 places, the amplitude of Valmy, is crossed every evening.

These major events have inevitable repercussions on the economy of the region. If Déferlantes will conduct a study in this direction this year, Electrobeach du Barcarès has already calculated it before the Covid era. In 2019, the last typical year for this sector of activity, the Mayor of Parcárez Alain Ferrand clarified that for an investment of 8 million euros, direct and indirect economic benefits amounted to about 25 million euros. Envelope found in transportation, accommodation, catering and entertainment. Because Electrobeach Festival-goers, who numbered over 150,000 in 2019, sometimes come from afar to attend the event. While 35% are from Occitanie, 55% come from other regions and 11% are foreigners. “We are a festival for the public interest of the city of Barcares, but also of the territoryAlain Ferran insists. We have built an entire ecosystem around Electrobeach which is a massive boost to the department nationally.

For this 2022 issue, the investment for Electrobeach is “Largely equivalent to 2019, despite our weaknessholds the mayor of Barcarès. In 2020, we actually paid the artists, so it was a loss. Next, we had to compensate the festival-goers who wanted it. And we didn’t get any help. Domestic enterprises do not support us when we should work together due to the economic benefits of Electrobeach“.

“Double the festivals, yes, but in line with the calendar.”

On June 17 and 18, Morey celebrates its 20th birthdaye Women’s Voices Edition. Louane, Camelia Jordana or Marie-Flore make up the poster for this anniversary. This festival, organized by the municipality, attracts between 2,000 and 4,000 spectators every night, according to the programmed artists. “We are not looking to blow up the scales but just to respect the balance and have a fund to start over the following year, Charles Chivello, city councilor, admits. Our role is primarily to transfer the culture to the heart of the rural areas so that it is not concentrated in the already touristic places.“.And if the female voice has always found its place in summer festivals, the chief justice has some concerns.”It is a huge disappointment that Bacchus got it on our dates. I fully support the proliferation of festivals but we must respect the harmony of the calendar“.

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