'Expensive DJs are Killing the Festival Business'

'Expensive DJs are Killing the Festival Business'

Famous DJs that ask too much for their sets endanger the future of festivals, according to Duncan Stutterheim, festival organizer and founder of ID&T.  


In the Dutch city of Groningen Eurosonic Noorderslag, an annual showcase festival, took place. This year, Duncan Stutterheim was one of the central speakers on the Noorderslag Seminar. Stutterheim is the founder of ID&T, the company that organises Mysteryland and many other events.  


The image that Stutterheim drew of the festival world was not a very positive one. "Many festivals can no longer be made profitable because the big DJs charge so much for their performance, 40.000 euros or more. Those are amounts that we under no circumstances pay in the Netherlands, but which we do pay in Australia for example. For the the five festivals we organised there, the cost of DJs amounted to 16 million euros. We did not earn a penny on those events."  


EDM DJs such as Hardwell, Armin van Buuren, Martin Garrix and Tiësto are mostly the ones who ask such high prices. "The prices have multiplied by ten in the past few years", Stutterheim says. "Mainly because of the big success in the US. If clubs and festivals in Las Vegas and Miami pay that much, then the DJs start asking those amounts everywhere."  


Pay no more  

Stutterheim no longer wants to pay those high prices. "EDM is killing the business, DJs should really lower their prices. It is foolish of them to ask those amounts, because that way they miss out on a large part of their audience."  


ID&T has never paid those amounts, he emphasizes. "But in America, they do it easily. We have had a lot of trouble selling TomorrowWorld in the US, because we did not want to pay DJs those amounts and therefore do not have the best DJs." As a result, festivals are suffering. "The DJs who ask that much money are killing their own business."  



The people at Tomorrowland mitigate his statements somewhat. "A lot of DJs like to come to our festival and only ask the standard fees", says Debby Wilmsen, spokesperson of Tomorrowland. "Many DJs have been coming to Tomorrowland for 10 years already."

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