If taking part in the Schueberfouer has a cost for the two million or so visitors expected over the 20 days of festivities, it also has a cost for the fairground’s exhibitors.
“Each trade pays a fee to the city. For the biggest rides, the fee can be as much as €2,500,” explains Charel Hary, president of the fédération nationale des commerçants forains (national federation of fairground traders). This charge is calculated in proportion to the surface area of the fairground. Some pay €1,000 for the 20 days of the fair, while others pay twice that amount.
This year, each fairground owner pays for his or her site.
This fee also includes the cost of electricity and water, if required. The fairground owner believes that “the fees are still reasonable in Luxembourg.”
In 2022, the City of Luxembourg did not charge this fee to fairgoers when the fair was preparing to resume its activities without health restrictions and against a backdrop of soaring commodity prices. According to the municipality, this contribution was estimated at around €150,000.
“This year, all fairgoers pay for their space,” mayor (DP) told the press on 17 August.
Goods, wages and royalties
As well as paying for the site, fairground workers also have to dig deep into their pockets to pay their suppliers and workers. There are other charges, such as the Sacem, which pays royalties for the music played.
In addition, there are festivities fees: a contribution to a common pot intended to finance advertising and special events, such as Burgomasters’ Day and Queens’ Day, for example.
It is difficult to assess the return on investment for the fairground operators, but one thing is certain: it is real. Every year, the City of Luxembourg receives some 500 applications for a site on the Glacis. Only 211 of them have obtained one for the 2023 edition, which opens on .
A loss-making operation, but not a losing one for the City
The Fouer has many assets, starting with its location in a country with a reputation for high purchasing power. A godsend for the fairground’s visitors, 62% of whom come from abroad.
Overall, the Schueberfouer represents a deficit of one million euros for the town.
It has to be said that the City of Luxembourg is putting its hand in the wallet to host the event: “Overall, the Schueberfouer represents €1.25m of expenditure for €250,000 of revenue, so a deficit of one million euros for the City", explains (DP), alderman for festivals and markets.
The municipality provides security services, with GDL Security agents patrolling the fairground. It also provides connections, electrical cabinet hire, hygiene services for waste collection, sanitary facilities maintenance and traffic management. “The town finances the safety checks when the rides are received, totalling between €50,000 and €60,000,” adds the councillor.
On the revenue side, he cites the placement fee, but also the amusement tax and the tax on drains.
So the deficit is clear on the balance sheet, but Goldschmidt stresses that “you have to take into account everything that goes on alongside it.” After all, the Schueberfouer attracts visitors to the capital, who obviously spend money there.
Is it worth it? That’s up to each and every one of us to judge, but insofar as the Schueberfouer is part of Luxembourg’s heritage, it enjoys a very special affection from many of its citizens and the authorities. And when you love it, you don’t count!
This article was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.