Smeets In The Pink

The European outdoor season began in earnest when Pinkpop, the world’s oldest festival, broke its attendance record by attracting a crowd of 182,000 across three days.

The 42,500 three-day tickets sold out in four days – another record – and a further 55,500 people bought single-day tickets.

The biggest crowd was the 62,000 that came for Rage Against The Machine, Queens Of The Stone Age, Alanis Morissette and Counting Crows on Sunday, but that wasn’t enough to match the single-day record of 1994, when 72,000 turned up for a one-day festival celebrating Pinkpop’s 25th anniversary. The current daily capacity is 65,000.

"What can I say? The weather was beautiful and everywhere you looked it was busy with people having a really good time," festival head Jan Smeets told Pollstar.

His comments came two days after the festival – and two days before the June 5 meeting that would see the beginning of the planning for the event’s 40th birthday in 2009.

Pinkpop, which began at Landgraaf in 1969 over the Whitsun / Pentecost weekend, is cited as the world’s oldest festival by the Guinness Book Of World Records.

This year’s event was the first time it hasn’t been held over that weekend because Whitsun was earlier this year.

In 2005, the last time Whitsun fell earlier in the calendar, Smeets stuck with the dates and endured what he described as "a financial disaster" as only 20,000 per day turned up May 14-16.

It was impossible to get the right grade of headliners so early in the season and he vowed it was the last time it would happen. He said future festivals would be a week before Germany’s Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park.

The other acts helping to keep Smeets in the pink in 2008 May 30 to June 1 included Foo Fighters, Metallica, Kaiser Chiefs, Editors, KT Tunstall, The Verve, Justice, Gavin DeGraw, Kate Nash and Blood Red Shoes.