The Liberation Festival in Utrecht cannot take place this year. Due to the corona crisis and increased costs, extra money was needed, but the organization was unable to raise that. Other festivals are also sounding the alarm. The Liberation Festival in Groningen will continue and, unlike last year, will be free again.
The festival in Utrecht has been struggling with financial uncertainties in recent years, says a statement. In addition to the aftermath of the corona crisis, the organization has to deal with “rising inflation, sharply increased wage costs, tightness in the labor market and shortages of materials”.
“This has led to a cost increase of 30 percent, which the organization cannot and does not want to pass on with admission tickets or by increasing the consumer price.”
An additional contribution of 100,000 euros from the province of Utrecht was not enough to save the festival. In the event of bad weather, there would be too little funding. The financial risks for the organization are therefore so great that it is considered irresponsible to continue the festival.
The future of more festivals hangs by a thread
Liberation festivals are usually free. The organization does not want to ask visitors for money. “We want to be accessible and freely accessible. Everyone should be able to walk in to enjoy the music,” explains director Manja Kerstholt to the AD.
The Utrecht Liberation Festival hopes that the 2024 edition can still take place with the help of partners. Every year around 40,000 people visit the festival in the Transwijk district.
The festival in Utrecht is not the only one that is struggling with financial problems. The alarm bell is sounded on the Bevrijdingspop.nl site. An appeal is being made to parties that want to support the festivals or have ideas on how they can still continue.
It is not known which of the thirteen other festivals has the future hanging by a thread.
Liberation Festival Groningen will continue
The Liberation Festival in Groningen will continue, it was announced on Wednesday. Unlike last year, when an entrance fee of 5 euros had to be paid, the festival is free this year.
There was a lot of criticism about the introduction of the ticket price and threatening emails were even sent to the organization. The province and municipality then decided that the festival would only receive a subsidy if the festival was accessible for free.
There are, however, some caveats to note: The Dagblad of the North the location is smaller, fewer artists are booked and there are fewer substantive program components, such as lectures.