Patience Pays Off At Area 4

Patience may well have paid off for German promoter Folkert Koopmans, who appears to have made a success of his Area 4 Festival after five years of trying.

More than 20,000 per day were at the Lüdinghausen site Aug. 21-23, which was enough for the FKP Scorpio chief to do a little better than break even and convince him that at last he’s established the event as a regular in the festival calendar.

Koopmans created Area 4 in 2005 as a one-day festival to run at the same time as the Greenfields Festival he’d just started across the Swiss border at Interlaken. He hoped to increase his buying power by offering acts two shows on the same weekend.

He was disappointed with the numbers that turned up to the site next to Oberhausen Arena but opted to stick with the project. The next year, he switched from Oberhausen to Lüdinghausen, about 50 kilometers away, which has a camping facility that enabled him to extend it to a three-day event.

It would have been disaster if he hadn’t pulled the 2006 event, and he readily admits it was a decision that saved him a lot of money.

“I went on sale with only three acts announced and then Audioslave, which would have been one of the headliners, pulled out. I couldn’t get a strong enough bill and so I decided to give up for that year,” he explained.

The 2007 event was little better than 2005 in terms of crowd-size, but the writing was on the wall for 2008 when Slipknot pulled out through illness with a little more than a week to go. Koopmans found himself refunding tickets as well as trying to sell them.

It ended up doing a little more than 15,000 per day on a 25,000-capacity site and he would have liked to have been 5,000 closer to filling it.

This year his patience was rewarded when a lineup including Die Toten Hosen, Faith No More, Rise Against and The Offspring gave him the 20,000-plus crowd he believed the event should be worth.

It was a weekend of mixed emotions for Koopmans. His Highfield Festival, which ran over the same weekend and also had Die Toten Hosen, Faith No More, Rise Against and The Offspring, sold out its 25,000 capacity – but it’s the last time it will be held at Hohenfelden.

The local farmers have decided they no longer want to rent him their land to stage the event.

“I don’t know what the real reason is but we’ve obviously paid them decent money and fulfilled our obligations, otherwise the arrangement wouldn’t have lasted for 12 years,” he told Pollstar.

Although he’s sad to leave the site where the festival – which regularly sells out – has become established, the Weimarer Land area of eastern Germany isn’t short of rural districts that would welcome such a crowd-puller.

It’s likely to be a couple of months before he decides where future Highfields will be. Koopmans used the last festival at Hohenfelden as an opportunity to welcome various local authorities and show them what staging such an event entails.

The other acts helping Highfield go out on a high at Hohenfelden included Arctic Monkeys, Maximo Park, Wilco, Farin Urlaub Racing Team, Deftones, Apocalyptica and Vampire Weekend.