Swiss Philosophical Over Medusa Invasion

The reaction to German ticketing giant CTS Eventim’s decision to get a foothold in the Swiss live music market by buying Thomas Durr’s Act Entertainment has met with a muted response compared to the one that greeted German promoter Folkert Koopmans’ decision to start up Greenfield Festival.

Reacting to CTS chief Klaus-Peter Schulenberg’s moves to establish his Medusa promoters’ group in Basel, Philippe Cornu – who had most to fear when Koopmans (who’s part-owned by CTS) started Greenfields near his Gurten Festival – was philosophical about the latest events.

“The only comment is that there seems to be no way other than to accept the development of global networking of all kinds,” Cornu said.

Durr was already partnering Koopmans and fellow German-based promoter Koko Entertainment in Greenfields.

Marc Lambelet of Black Lamb Productions, an agency that books tours and festivals in cahoots with Derrick Thomson’s Cult Agency, said, “I have no problem with it. We are in a free market and everyone is free to buy whatever he wants.

“As long as we all have the same rights and opportunities, I am cool with it,” he added, although he also said he believes globalization has its limits when it comes to dealing with people locally.

“The Swiss audience is not to be compared with the German one, especially when we are talking about festivals. The difficult tasks for foreigners is to adapt to local ways of doing things rather than trying to impose on the audience a way of operating that has been developed somewhere else.”

Of the other major promoters, Harry Sprenger of Free & Virgin said he didn’t think Schulenberg moving in would be something the Swiss promoters would exactly welcome, but also pointed out that the future will show which direction everything goes and how flexible the Swiss promoters and agents will be.

“The Swiss market is a small market and there are already a lot of promoters, agents or whatever you want to call them trying to making a living out if it.

“With Germans invading the market it could, and I emphasise could, mean that the money-making possibilities may get even smaller. That could lead to the competition among the Swiss promoters and agents reaching an even more painful level,” he added.

The arrival of Medusa group didn’t draw any comment from Andre Bechir of Good News, which is by far the country’s leading promoter. But Peter Schwenkow of Berlin-based DEAG – Medusa’s main German rival and part-owner of Good News – was dismissive to the point of saying he didn’t feel the purchase of Act (or the earlier CTS purchase of the TicTec ticketing company) were that important, as the two companies were too small to be worth commenting on.

— John Gammon