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Belgian Festivals Work Together On Bookings

BELGIUM (VIP NEWS) — Belgium's Sfinks Mixed festival and Esperanzah! Festival have teamed up on a collaborative booking policy.

Sfinks Mixed, which launched in 1975, will be staged July 30 to Aug. 1 in Boechout in the Flemish province of Antwerp. Its line-up includes Youssou N'Dour and Buena Vista Social Club.

The event has partnered with the Esperanzah! Festival, held in the Floreffe abbey further south in French-speaking Namur, Wallonia, which runs Aug. 6 to Aug. 8.

Patrick de Groote, organizer of Sfinks Mixed, explained that the events did not consider themselves rivals.

"The Esperanzah! festival runs the weekend after Sfinks Mixed and we both keep on hearing that our festivals are competitors," says de Groote. "We want to communicate that this is not the case. We have decided to team up and book some of the acts on both weekends to keep the [artist] rates under control instead of bidding against each other."

De Groote says that Columbian artist Toto La Momposina was one of the acts booked by both festivals. "The collaboration of two festivals persuaded her to travel to Europe and made it possible to do a full tour – it's a win-win situation for artist and promoter," de Groote says. Guitarist and composer Goran Bregovic is another artist playing at both events, following the tie-up.

The partnership on bookings is set to expand in 2011.

"This is a collaboration between friends, no merging or take-over," he adds. "We want to show that working together is far more interesting than competing. Each festival keeps its own image, autonomy and communication, but we do work together wherever possible."

In addition to sharing some of the artists, both festivals also want to promote the other and exchange information. "Each festival has built its experience on the field of the sustainable and environment-friendly organization of the event," says de Groote.

Both festivals have a daily attendance of 15,000 and ticket rates are comparable, beginning at €50.

The Esperanzah! Festival, whose line-up includes Ojos de Brujo, Hocus Pocus and Abraham Inc, attracts a slightly younger audience than the family oriented Sfinks Mixed. –According to Billboard