In this week’s special issue, Pollstar captured the state of business in France by speaking to some of the country’s leading promoters, agents and venue operators. They unanimously confirmed that business was back, even booming.
In most cases, 2022’s ticket sales surpassed pre-pandemic levels, the audience, no matter its demographic, seems confident to return to shows and festivals. All things considered, including the challenges that do remain, a clear picture emerges: France is leading the European live recovery.
On this page, you will find all the interviews as well as the main story to browse at your own leisure.
The French business is back in full swing, according to the country’s leading live professionals. Whether you speak to agents, promoters, or venue operators, they’re all saying the same thing: 2022 was amazing, and 2023 is set to be even better.
Some are booking shows as far in advance as 2026. And while only a short while ago it seemed like only blockbuster concerts were selling out, the club and theater business is catching up.
Matthieu Drouot didn’t think he would have to take on the reins of his father’s company as early as he did, but the responsibilities were imposed on him, when Gérard Drouot passed away in January 2022, “the toughest year of my life,” according to Matthieu, “and I say that after thinking that 20 and 21 had been be the toughest.
Angelo Gopee has been managing Live Nation’s business in France for almost 15 years. In all that time, and even after three years of COVID, his philosophy hasn’t changed: “We are talent developers. And our most pressing challenge is to find and put on the headliners not only of tomorrow, but of the coming five years,” he said.
To Gopee, the status and size of an artist don’t matter. If they’re good, and if promoters give them the right stage at the right time, they will fill arenas and stadiums at some point.
We’re breaking records,” said Nicolas Dupeux, CEO of Paris Entertainment Company (PEC), the umbrella organization running three of the city’s most iconic buildings: Accor Arena, the notorious Bataclan, and adidas Arena, currently under construction, and scheduled to open in February 2024.
Dupeux expects ticket sales to increase by 20% compared to 2019. Aside from the strong business performance, there were a couple of other hot topics he talked about.
‘Paris La Défense Arena Is A Memory Marker’: A Chat With Frédéric Longuépée
Paris La Défense Arena, the biggest indoor arena in Europe opened in 2017. It is a unique building in many ways. With a modular capacity ranging from 10,000 to 43,000 seats, it offers flexibility in a capacity range that’s attractive for stadium acts. Frédéric Longuépée, CEO and president, said, “It’s an entertainment venue welcoming rugby, and conventions, in that order. In other words, when there’s a conflict of dates, entertainment comes first, simply because you are booking events 18 to 24 months in advance. What is more, the economy is on the entertainment side, not on the sports side.”
La Seine Musicale is easily one of the most spectacular concert buildings in the world. Sitting on the river Seine, overlooking the vast city of Paris like an ocean liner, it is a sight to behold.
It didn’t take long, from the moment coronavirus restrictions dropped early last year, for the audience to return. Whether that’s “just a post-COVID effect, I don’t know,” says Olivier Haber, CEO of La Seine Musicale. “But we sell tickets. For the moment, we are scheduling concerts and shows until 2026, which is unheard of. Before COVID we were planning 18 months ahead, or two years at max, but never three or four.”
Pollstar reached out to Jean-Paul Roland, managing director of Les Eurockéennes de Belfort, to find out if the festival business is picking up as spectacularly fast as the concert and touring activity in France.