The cultural world has also been hit hard by the exploding energy prices. The sector is currently in a perfect storm with disappointing ticket sales and an empty war chest after corona on top of sky-high energy bills. Ken Veerman, who provides strategic advice to cultural organizations, does not rule out the possibility that certain cultural houses will go under, but he believes that the sector will also survive this crisis. “They should not panic and all shows are starting to be cancelled,” says Veerman.
These are difficult times for the cultural sector. After corona, the public does not seem to be able to find their way back to the autumn performances as quickly as hoped and at the same time, the halls are confronted with enormously increased production costs.
A tough test, but Ken Veerman advises cultural organizations not to panic and to cancel everything in haste. “We don’t know how long this crisis will last and when energy prices will fall again, so it’s impossible to keep postponing the shows. But you cannot pass on the higher costs to the visitors either, because they are already hesitating to buy tickets because they themselves are confronted with rising costs.”
Veerman has three recommendations for culture houses. “Measuring is knowing. Accurately map out your consumption and costs. That is important for good building management”, he gives the first tip. “Be strict with your own consumption.”
In addition, Veerman advises cultural institutions to experiment with solutions. “Consider turning down the heating. You can also follow shows with a jacket on. Of course it’s easier to headbang your head during a metal performance than when you have to sit still for two hours during a performance.” Veerman also advises clustering performances and not doing performances at other times in the winter, for example around the Christmas period.
Finally, Veerman advises organizations to communicate correctly with the public. “We have to get through this storm together. It doesn’t hurt to ask the audience to keep the coat on because it’s a bit colder. “It is not only up to the audience to solve this, but we have to do this together, in dialogue.”
Ken Veerman does not believe in doomsday scenarios and also believes that the sector will survive this crisis. “The need for art and culture continues to exist. The cultural sector can also handle this.” According to Veerman, that does not mean that no culture houses can get into trouble. “It is far too early to write off the entire sector, but we cannot rule out an individual accident.”