Tempo Latino, Jazz in Marciac, Welcome in Tziganie… How the Gers festivals resist inflation

Tempo Latino, Jazz in Marciac, Welcome in Tziganie… How the Gers festivals resist inflation
Tempo Latino, Jazz in Marciac, Welcome in Tziganie… How the Gers festivals resist inflation

the essential
Despite frequent attendance, Gers festivals are not immune to rising costs and sometimes have difficulty achieving financial balance.

The festival season has opened in the Gers in the best possible way. With no less than 16,000 people counted throughout the weekend, inside and around the Seissan green theater, Welcome in Tziganie had its last record edition, at the end of April. “There have never been so many festival-goers on the off part,” rejoices Florian Calvez, founder and director of the festival. This popular success could suggest a nice profit to come. It is not so. “The edition must be full and there must be a lot of revenue to achieve a balance,” he says.

Sometimes, a record attendance is not even enough to achieve this famous financial balance. Director of the Tempo Latino festival (July 25 to 28 in Vic-Fezensac), Jean-François Labit knows something about it. Despite a very successful previous vintage (11,500 paying entries), he deplores a deficit of 80,000 euros for the year 2023. Transport, catering, technology, security: no expenditure item is spared from rising costs. “Certain positions have taken 30% from one year to the next, others have doubled even though they are essential”, underlines the organizer, while evoking the “aberrant competition” which exists between Tempo Latino and Jazz in Marciac, scheduled for the same time of year.

“You have to know how to make decisions”

Flagship of festivals in the Gers and throughout the region, Jazz in Marciac (from July 18 to August 5) does not escape the effects of inflation either. Its president Jean-Louis Guilhaumon thus concedes having experienced a “paradoxical” 2023 edition, with attendance significantly up compared to the previous year (+33% in ticketing revenue) and, at the same time, a surge in fixed costs (+14% for the rental of structures and equipment, +15% for staff, etc.). Add to this a “very significant drop” in public aid, and you get a mixed picture.

The Welcome in Tziganie festival saw record attendance at the end of April in Seissan.
DDM – SEBASTIEN LAPEYRERE

Also affected by the drop in subsidies and the participation of certain private partners, the Éclats de Voix festival (from June 11 to 16 in Auch) suffered a deficit of 22,000 euros last year. Enough to encourage the organization to review its plans this year. “I have reduced the scope a little but my objective is still to try to bring in the high end of vocal art,” slips the president of the festival, Patrick de Chirée. Faced with inflation, the room for maneuver is therefore increasingly reduced. “With slightly less working capital, you have to know how to make decisions, make savings on a particular item, negotiate a few fees,” he continues.

Aware that public subsidies “are not an inexhaustible Source”, says Jean-François Labit, the organizers are also working hard to develop their network of private partners, like the Jazz in Marciac Partners Club, which allows the festival to claim self-financing greater than 91%. The use of volunteers (500 volunteers at Tempo Latino, 300 at Welcome in Tziganie) also helps to relieve cash flow, which is increasingly squeezed by rising costs. It remains to be seen whether all festivals will be able to go the distance. “This should not reach too obvious an imbalance, in which case we would close the door,” warns Patrick de Chirée, not resigned however. “I would like to at least go until the age of 30 (Editor’s note: in 2028).” That’s all the bad we wish him.

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