AEG Presents' European festivals chief Jim King has told Music Week that "everyone is going to be working for less" as the live industry recovers from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
The promoter said that deals would need to be reshaped across the board moving forward, given the "extreme" risks event organisers will face over the next couple of years.
“Even with fee reductions, the risk promoters face in 2021 and 2022 is extreme," said King, speaking in last week's magazine. "The critical part is artists working to get the supply chain working. Everyone is going to be working for less, but to find a new, fair balance, we have to respect that artists also have costs and their crew needs paying.
“The need to rethink all deals, not just for artists, is critical. We have to grow back from a lower cost base so we can keep more shows in the calendar and protect jobs.”
King, promoter of London's BST Hyde Park and All Points East festivals, both shortlisted for the Festival Of The Year award at the 2020 Music Week Awards, said the growing belief that the risk of coronavirus being transmitted at outdoor events was "very low" offered hope for the open-air circuit as it bids to get back on its feet.
“While the development of operational solutions for both indoor and outdoor formats should run in parallel, I feel we need immediate traction for recovery," he said. "Outdoor potentially offers earlier success where there’s content opportunities that deliver a less operationally demanding creative environment that lends itself to almost self-managed social distancing."
We must be ready and work with the supply chain - especially the artist community - about booking 2021 in a pragmatic and flexible way
King also stressed the need to keep ticket prices affordable for customers.
“Fans need enough money to go out more than once a year, so give them the chance to see their favourite bands at the prices intended," he said. "Don’t restrict supply, which then forces them to pay five times face value. That just means four other concerts may lose demand, stifling the recovery of the supply chain. In a recession marketplace, that would be cutting our own throats.
“Naturally, I hope we’re able to return to the same high intensity festival experiences, with that level of physical and social interaction. My concern is that won’t be possible for a little longer, but we must be ready and work with the supply chain – especially the artist community – about booking 2021 in a pragmatic and flexible way.”