Trending Europe: Bling-bling events going DIY?

By Paul de Kuyper on 26-06-2018

Different newspapers across Europe are reporting about an increase in luxurious, privately organised graduation parties. Is there a trend taking place and is it influencing the established live music scene? Paul de Kuyper – founder and CEO of the European music platform Gigstarter – shares his vision.

Le Soir writes about the graduation ceremony going american in Belgium and Elsevier talks about luxurious graduation parties in the Netherlands. Interestingly, The Guardian reports about bars and venues struggling in the UK. Could there be a correlation? Gigstarter amongst others has a broad offer of graduation party artists, therefore we wondered if this is really true, and if so, what is happening? Looking briefly at our stats we do see a trend that fits this description, although at Gigstarter, it isn’t limited to luxurious, private parties.

in het wild

What looks like an ‘extravaganza-trend’, to me is more a symptom of bigger trends that have been going on for a while. Of course, one could argue that the EU and the UK have been climbing out of the economic crisis and that the demand for luxurious goods and services is growing again. But what if transparency is improving the accessibility to, and the affordability of, luxurious goods and services? Not only does the amount of fancy parties increase, privately held events are organised more often in general, at least at Gigstarter. Last year we received 800 booking requests for private events in this quarter (Q2-2017); this year the number of requests has doubled to 1,600 booking requests for private parties in this quarter (Q2-2018).

Surely, part of this development is a result of Gigstarter’s own expansion in Europe. Still, we see this growth taking place in all countries; also in more ‘mature’ Gigstarter markets such as the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. In these countries – especially in the Netherlands, where Gigstarter’s market share is around 10% and we therefore can assume it says something relevant about the market – private event growth is 26% compared to last years’ same quarter. Does this cannibalise gigs at live venues? Fortunately not. Professional bookings for venues, festivals, business events and bars grew just as much. So maybe we should turn the logic around: what if Gigstarter keeps growing because the need for live music is increasing in the professional scene as well as in the private scene?

Live music decentralising

The DIY philosophy goes beyond IKEA… It is facilitated by all the possibilities the internet provides to each and everyone of us. Gigstarter adds a degree of freedom and people like to do something with it. Call it empowerment, call it autonomy or call it disrupting the market... The average price of a performance was 400£ in this quarter and was the same value last year. Almost 70 percent of the requests on our platform are for private purposes on a European level. That leaves 30 percent for the professional scene, more or less the same as last year. Venues that close do so because there’s a local saturation if you ask me, I like to call it venue gentrification, something that's been happening here in Amsterdam as well. Many factors result in overall live music growth; what is clear is that live music is decentralising. Live music was a luxurious good for a long time, in 2018 that has definitely changed.

in het wild band

Attending @liveEvent. For real.

But isn't what we're seeing just Gigstarter's growth? I don't think so, because if this was the case the growth of private bookings would already be reducing compared to professional bookings growth. Especially in our more mature markets. Nowadays –and in great part thanks to Gigstarter– It is easier to find an affordable artist for let’s say 200£. Furthermore, people are more and more individualistic and used to being in control... Not rocket science to deduce why private events with live music are growing in general. Luxurious parties grow, the same way small parties, musical nights at the local pub and self-organized festivals grow. Very good news for artists and music lovers indeed. I would even want to go a bit further: a live event is a temporary relief from our daily online habits. Therefore I trust that this DIY live trend, or counterweight if you wish, will only keep increasing.

Do you want to organise your own festival, garden party or living room concert? Start your search for live music now on

Are you interested in the music industry, tips for artists and Gigstarter? Please read our blog.

Gigstarter makes live music accessible to everyone. On you will find live music for your party easily. This service is free of charge for both artists as bookers. Take a look at the site and follow us on Facebook to stay updated about Gigstarter events and new talent.

No hassle. Just music.

Tags: live music, DIY, europe, bling bling, private parties, luxurious events, venues closing, living room concerts