Springsteen Sparks Pinkpop

Promoter Jan Smeets was thrilled to see Bruce Springsteen play in front of 61,000 people on the last night of this year’s Pinkpop Festival, even if the Dutch gathering’s overall crowd figures fell 10,000 short of last year’s blockbuster.

The festival sold all of its 31,000 three-day tickets in advance. The opening day headlined by The Cure sold a further 6,000 one-day tickets, the second day headlined by Linkin Park shifted a further 12,000 one-day tickets. Then, on the last day, The Boss pulled 30,000 one-day visitors.

According to the way Pinkpop calculates its crowd figures, by adding its one-day sales to the 31,000 three-day tickets, this year’s festival had 79,000 “unique visitors.”

That’s short of last year’s 91,000, when the headliners were Coldplay, Foo Fighters and Kings Of Leon, but still tops the 72,000 it had in 2010.

Visitors to this year’s Pinkpop reportedly included John Reid, the former Warner Music International chief exec who’s been Live Nation Europe’s president of concerts since the beginning of the year, and UK chief ops officer John Probyn, which will prompt speculation that his company wants to buy the world-famous festival.

Started in 1970, the “Guinness Book Of World Records” credits it with being the world’s oldest festival.

The festival has always had close links with LN-owned Mojo Concerts, which has had a contract to book the event since 1986.

Smeets, 67, said that he and LN have been talking about the festival “for seven years” and that “I can’t go on forever.”
“We’re partners and I think we’re good partners,” Reid told Pollstar, without divulging if the world’s biggest music company already has a slice of Smeets’ festival.

Pinkpop is also one of the first major events of the European festival calendar and this year basked under the summer sun that left most of the continent experiencing a mini heat wave.

As the temperature rose, Smeets was mindful of continually warning the crowd of the conditions, encouraging them to wear sun hats and drink plenty of water.

The upshot was the festival sold about 20,000 sun hats, although the crowd also drank about 62,000 litres of the free water available all over the Landgraaf site.

Other acts helping to make it a hot Pinkpop May 26-28 included Mumford & Sons, Keane, Kasabian, The Hives, Herbert Gronemeyer, and The Specials.