The Iceland Airwaves music festival lost ISK 57 million [USD 553,470] in 2016, Vísir reports. This was revealed in the company’s most recent annual financial statement.
“This is a difficult operation,” said festival director Grímur Atlason. “It isn’t easy.” Lower than expected attendance and higher costs associated with luring high-profile international acts to participate were among the reasons that Grímur cited for this loss. Organizers had expected 10,000 guests at the 2016 event, for instance, as opposed to the 8,500 people who actually came.
The strong exchange rate made it more expensive for travelers to come to Iceland that year, Grímur noted. There were also much higher costs associated with retaining international musicians for the festival—more expensive flights and an increase of more than 50% on the cost of accommodations for musicians.
It was due to the significant losses accrued by the 2016 festival that last year’s event needed to be a more stripped-down affair, Grímur explains. In order to keep costs down, fewer acts performed in 2017, and Harpa concert hall was not used as a venue. “We cut down the cost by almost ISK 80 million [USD 776,800],” he noted, adding that Iceland Airwave’s future is bright, now that these reductions have equalized the festival’s operating costs once again.