Belgrade Fest’s Hard To Call

It’s hard to know if the new Belgrade Calling festival was a success, as there are conflicting reports coming out of the Serbian capital.

Macedonia-based promoter Avalon has rubbished local reports that the festival featuring Jessie J, Ozzy Osbourne & Friends and Faith No More dropped euro 750,000 ($925,000) and says it’s too early to say if it made or lost money.

“We can assure you that the festival did not make or lose any serious money,” explained Avalon chief Boban Miloseski.

There are also differing accounts of how many showed up to the four-day fest June 27-30. Avalon reckons the daily figures for the first three days were 10,000, 14,000 and 12,000 but other Serbian music business sources say it was closer to half of that.

The fourth day was free-entry and Avalon says there was a crowd of 9,000 for a lineup of mostly Balkan acts.

Miloseski says the rumours concerning the money lost and poor attendance may come from competitors who have their own agenda but admits to “budget guesswork from the moment the festival was announced.”

He also says Avalon is contractually unable to divulge the cost of the talent or how much income came from ancillary sources, such as sponsorship and concessions.

The company is also confident that Belgrade Calling, which had sponsors including Telecom Serbia, Hewlett Packard and Microsoft, will still be in the festival calendar in 2013.

The festival was configured for a 45,000-capacity site on the beautiful park in Belgrade’s Ušce district, the confluence of the River Danube and the River Sava, which has previously hosted 70,000-capacity shows from the likes of The Rolling Stones, Madonna and Metallica.

The Avalon figures putting the average daily attendance for the three ticketed days at 12,000 would mean the event did a little more than 25 percent business.

The other acts on the Belgrade Calling bill included Orbital, Public Enemy, The Cult, Paradise Lost, Black Label Society, Satyricon, The Darkness, Public Image Ltd, and Ugly Kid Joe.