B’estfest Offers Too Much Choice

B’estfest chief Guido Janssens was disappointed that the crowd for the second edition of the festival wasn’t quite as big as the first, but believes it may have been because he gave Romanian music fans too many choices.

He hoped that adding a third stage and booking more international acts would increase the daily numbers to something close to 25,000, but it hasn’t worked for some sections of the media because journalists are complaining that they can’t watch two bands at the same time.

"Last year we had two main stages and they were side by side and nobody missed a main, but this year some fans were unhappy because – for example – Alanis Morissette and Cypress Hill played at the same time," he said.

"Perhaps a western European audience accepts missing an act because there will be other chances during the course of the summer, but in Bucharest they’ve maybe been waiting 10 years to see an act and it’s a big problem if two play at the same time," Janssens explained.

He says his EMag!c team hoped that 60 percent of last year’s crowd would return and, on the back of word-of-mouth and some glowing newspaper reports of the debut edition, each of them would bring a friend.

That would have put the three-day crowd up to 60,000. But with 16,000 showing for a first-day bill that included Cypress Hill, Alanis Morissette and Unkle, 12,000 turning up for the second day with Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers and NouvelleVague, and 20,000 for Nelly Furtado, Manu Chao, Rosin Murphy and Stereophonics on the third day, the crowd fell a little short of the 50,000 it attracted last year.

Janssens said more sponsorship and a slightly higher ticket price means the event did better financially than in 2007, but still fell short of the break-even figure he targeted.

He said he may have to go back in order to go forward, possibly dropping the third stage and going back to the old two-stage configuration.

Other acts playing Bucharest July 4-6 included Primal Fear, Ross The Boss, Radio Bemba Soundsystem, Miss Platnum and Joe Jackson.