Hultsfred Facebooks Up To It

German festival producer FKP Scorpio found its first venture on Swedish soil tough going as it tried to revitalise the bankrupt Hultsfred Festival.

Lack of trust among Swedish festivalgoers was a major obstacle, particularly as close to 4,000 are still waiting to hear if they’ll get their ticket money back from last year’s canceled festival.

Hultsfred 2010 was scrapped 10 days before showtime, and the fans’ confidence in the market was further tested when this year’s Arvika Festival, scheduled for the same July 14-16 weekend as Hultsfred, was also scrapped at about two weeks’ notice.

The result was Hultsfred doing about 11,000 per day, 6,000 more per day than last year’s Hultsfred would have managed but 4,000 per day below what FKP Scorpio chief Folkert Koopmans hoped.

“Another problem was that Hultsfred was always on that site for three months each year, from the time they started the build to the time they’d finished breaking it down,” Koopmans told Pollstar. “We didn’t find it necessary to start the build until a week before the festival, which further increased the impression that the festival may not be happening.”

Despite losing money on the event, Koopmans says he’s reasonably happy with the outcome.

A negative reaction from a small section of the media that included national daily Aftonbladet was soon countered by a rapidly growing Facebook campaign started by fans who said the festival was a big success.

The Facebook response and the beauty of the site lead Koopmans to believe that within three or four years he can return Hultsfred to former glories, when it regularly did 25,000 per day.

FKP’s second Swedish festival venture, a new event on an old military airbase at Norrköping, is targeted to start in 2013.

The Hamburg-based promoter is working with the local authority in a bid to improve the site, which is believed to be capable of handling crowds of 50,000.

The acts helping to inspire Swedish festivalgoers to praise Hultsfred on Facebook included Morrissey, The Prodigy, Suede, Primal Scream, Beady Eye, White Lies, and Hurts.