Eventim Talks Up Waldbühne

Ticketing giant CTS Eventim is talking up how much better the 18,000-capacity Waldbühne amphitheatre in Berlin has been doing since the company took over operations there.

A statement from PR agency Engel-Zimmermann April 19 said 15 “major events” are on the summer calendar and the venue expects to break its ticket sales records.

In 2010, more than 115,000 visitors enjoyed shows in the unique atmosphere of the famous forest-clearing arena. Acts included Pink, Prince, and Leonard Cohen.

The statement said this year’s figures will be even better, and quoted Eventim vice president Rainer Appel saying he’s delighted his company’s commitment to the site has enabled it to return to being “a venue of choice for large and important artists.”

In September 2008 Eventim controversially won a four-year lease to run the venue, which had spent the previous 27 years under the stewardship of German arch-rival DEAG.

Papers including Berliner Morgenpost wrote reports suggesting DEAG chief Peter Schwenkow could take legal action against the local authority.

Some papers said DEAG, which bid for the contract in cahoots with Anschutz Entertainment Group, challenged the council’s decision because of “procedural errors.” Schwenkow was quick to dismiss the idea.

“You can’t destroy something that you’ve been building up for over 20 years by spending two years having a public argument about it,” he told Pollstar.

The city wouldn’t reveal the value of the individual tenders but both companies are believed to have met the euro 750,000 guarantee it wanted. CTS is believed to have offered the authority a higher percentage of any additional earnings.

Some German columnists even suggested the venue went to Eventim for political reasons, pointing out that Schwenkow – a Christian Democrat – had stood against Berlin’s Social Democrat Mayor Klaus Wowereit in the 2006 elections for the city parliament.

This year’s Waldbühne season sticks with its usual mixture of classical music and rock music, with the latter category represented by Peter Maffay (May 28), Kings Of Leon – which plays its only 2011 appearance in Germany June 14 – The Eagles (May 23), and Joe Cocker (Aug. 13).

The classical season traditionally features a performance by the Berlin Philharmonic, while the 2011 lineup also includes a triple-header with vocalists Anna Netrebko, Erwin Schrott and Jonas Kaufmann (Aug. 16).

The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra conducted by Daniel Barenboim plays Aug. 21, and the season ends with the opera “Dido & Aeneas.”