World Cup Puts Boot Into Gurten

Crowd figures for this year’s Gurtenfestival in Switzerland were down 20 percent and Philippe Cornu said the World Cup soccer finals had a lot to do with it.

“Suddenly the whole nation became very proud of its football team and it seemed everyone was wearing a red T-shirt with a white cross on it,” he told Pollstar.

He believes 10,000 Swiss traveled to neighbouring Germany to watch the matches and, coupled with a market that shows signs of becoming overcrowded again, that’s been enough to drive ticket sales down.

Cornu reports that an average of 12,000 per day turned up to this year’s Gurten, which is 3,000 per day down on last year’s figures.

It seems the country has taken its eye off the festival ball as the Greenfield and St. Gallen crowds were also down on last year and major acts including Roger Waters, Guns N’ Roses, and The Who failed to sell out.

The football’s impact became even more obvious when, after the July 9th final, ticket sales for Gurten started picking up.

“I think many people were so focused on the competition and so many actually went to Germany that they weren’t even thinking about summer festivals,” Cornu explained.

He said it’s too early to say if the July 13-16 event broke even because much of the income is from beverage sales and those numbers aren’t in yet.

“At least it was very hot and so hopefully people had plenty to drink,” he added.

Among the acts finding out the Swiss fans had been playing away games in Germany were James Blunt, Wir Sind Helden, Xavier Naidoo, Billy Idol, Manu Chao, David Gray, Kaizers Orchestra, Gogol Bordello, Jamie Cullum, Danko Jones, Editors, Reamonn, and Sportfreunde Stiller.

– John Gammon