Discretion The Better Part Of Gampel

Wary of the competition from a crowded Swiss festival season and clashing with a Metallica show, Open Air Gampel was pleased that keeping an eye on costs was the main reason it made a profit.

The near 20,000 per day crowd was a couple of thousand down on last year and 4,000 shy of the festival’s capacity, but Cult Agency’s Derrick Thomson , who books the international acts, was more than pleased with the result.

“It’s always great to sell out,” he told Pollstar, “but there are times when you sell out and don’t make money.

“At Gampel we didn’t sell out, but we did make money,” he said, pointing out that rising artists’ costs – which he believes to have gone up 30 to 40 percent in five years – have also led the event to be cautious.

“We restructured to produce a less expensive festival with a chance of a decent profit, and it worked despite the appalling weather,” he explained.

Thomson was also pleased that temperatures as low as 13C (55F) didn’t quell the festival vibe, another reason he said he’ll look back on Gampel 2008 – the 23rd edition – as a success.

The acts helping Gampel’s Swiss bankers make sure they had some money to count August 16-19 included Die Fantastischen Vier, Nightwish, The Hives, Mando Diao, Beatsteaks, The Futureheads, Anti-Flag and Kaizers Orchestra.

A week earlier and 160 miles north, festival director Christoph Bill reported that the 19th Heitere Open Air Zofingen was only a thousand short of its 36,000 three-day capacity.

Fears that the high winds might damage the old trees on the festival site were soon dispelled when the weather changed and the event, which is based on the small-is-beautiful principle, enjoyed three days of sun and only the occasional shower.

German acts including Die Fantastischen Vier, Wir Sind Helden, Sportfreunde Stiller, and Miss Platnum were prominent on the August 8-10 lineup, which also had Danko Jones, Hooverphonic and locally born singer/songwriter Stephan Eicher.