Fusion’s $2M Deficit Highlights Post-Pandemic Reality

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Scene from Fusion Festival 2019. Since 1997 the four-day festival with music, theatre, performance, cinema and installation has been taking place on a former Russian military airfield in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. (Photo by Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Germany’s Fusion Festival celebrated its first edition in three years, June 29-July 3, and promoters were left with a financial deficit of $1.5 to $2 million.

Promoter Kulturkosmos informed the Fusion community of this deficit via its newsletter. It exemplifies the reality of putting on a festival in a post-pandemic environment.

When Fusion tickets went on sale at the end of 2020, their price had been raised by €70. This wasn’t near enough to offset the immense price hikes in all areas that have been occurring worldwide in recent months.

As promoters write in the newsletter, prices for most materials, services, technology and infrastructure, were 20% higher than in the previous year, sometimes more. “What we had also underestimated was the additional work and the associated costs for setting up the festival and the infrastructure after two festival-free years,” they write.

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The funds released by Germany’s government to help business that are struggling due to the employment bans enforced during the pandemic weren’t enough to compensate Fusion Festival’s expenses, hence a lot had to be covered by ticketing income.

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Susanne von Essen, spokeswoman of the Kulturkosmos association promoting Fusion Festival, and Martin Eulenhaupt (r), chairman of Kulturkosmos, at a press conference on the grounds of the Fusion Festival 2019.

What is more, Fusion Festival’s capacity had been capped at 80,000 by the authorities in 2019. Before that, Fusion used to put 70,000 tickets on sale, while another 15,000 people came to the festival contributing as staff, artists, teams etc.

For the 2022 edition, 64,000 paid tickets were sold, reducing the number of paid tickets that usually contribute to the festivals income by 6,000.

Promoters are calling on private donors to help out in the short term and keep the festival solvent. They will also launch a presale for 10,000 Fusion 2023 earlier than ever, Sept. 26.

Tickets for Fusion 2022 were sold for €220. “Another increase in the admission price is out of the question in view of the rapidly rising living costs and the limited financial resources of many of our guests,” promoters write, saying a reduction in the admission price was “equally impossible.”

In addition, organizers announced the sale of real estate acquired in the past for various purposes. There’s a Paypal link available for anyone willing and able to donate, and a bunch of merchandise will be released soon.

“We are optimistic and confident that with your joint support, we will overcome this crisis and continue to focus on the creation of parallel worlds in the form of extraordinary festivals,” the newsletter concludes.

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