‘Things Are More Or Less Back To Normal’: Q’s With FKP Scorpio’s Stephan Thanscheidt

Hurricane Festival 2023
Stephan Thanscheidt, on the third and last day of Hurricane Festival, which went down in Scheeßel, Germany, June 16-18. (Photo by Lars Penning/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Pollstar reached out to FKP Scorpio’s CEO and head of festival booking Stephan Thanscheidt to reflect on the 2023 festival season, which is slowly but surely coming to an end, and get his general take on the health of the German live entertainment market.

Big Business & Small Struggles: Germany Returns To Full Strength

Judging by your German tours and festivals this year: how healthy is the market, how challenging are the increased prices in all areas of production, and how do you overcome those?
We reflect upon an extraordinary festival season in Germany, characterized by seamless operations. The majority of the time, we were blessed with splendid weather, we saw mind-blowing shows, and well-orchestrated productions. Our ticket sales flourished, and the feedback by our audience was very positive.

Thus, in hindsight, we feel that things are more or less back to normal. The acquisition of personnel and production materials has become less arduous. Also, we notice that people are more willing to go out and enjoy concerts and festivals.

Nevertheless, the financial aspect presents a conundrum. The costs associated with our productions have double or tripled, obviously we cannot and will not compensate for this by tripling the ticket prices. Economically, it is still a challenge to work with diminishing profit margins on one hand, and global predicaments like energy crises and inflation on the other. While we are alert for these problems, it is noteworthy that our festival pre-sales achieved unprecedented records. Furthermore, we are more than ready for significant upcoming tours, including an engagement with Taylor Swift and many outstanding artists and projects, which we will announce in the next months. These factors kindle our optimism for the future, and we eagerly anticipate the prospects of 2024.

Southside '23 | Philipp Kratzer | www.instagram.com/pmk.photo/
Tash Sultana performing at Southside Festival 2023. (Picture by Philipp Kratzer)

Have the challenging times also created opportunities for a promoter of your clout?
Well, yes. During the difficult Corona times, we showed loyalty and solidarity towards our artists, partners, and team. People noticed that and wanted to become part of our company—as employees or as artists—and we seized the opportunity. But we did not take advantage of other companies that struggled.

What recent success stories and upcoming shows/events in the market would you like to highlight?
Talking about success, we have to mention 2022 as one of the most successful years in our company’s history. And this despite the fact that Corona dominated the first three months of 2022 and we more or less cramped 2,5 years of events, tours, and shows in 8 months.

And now, 2023 is looking great when it comes to the festivals; the pre-sales development is promising, as are the preparations for 2024 and 2025. We have Taylor Swift coming up and some other very promising developments, which we will talk about more in the upcoming weeks and months. But we can say that it will be worth the wait.

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