“Experience” confirmed as #1 thing on festival-goers minds before they buy a ticket
Listed as the number one priority by patrons before they buy a festival ticket is “atmosphere, vibe, character and quality of event”, according to a survey by the UK’s Association of Independent Festivals (AIF),
That independent festivals are savvy enough to provide these to their audiences are shown in figures released by the AIF, delivered at its Festival Congress to celebrate the 65 member association’s 10th anniversary.
The study showed that the 65 member festivals contributed £1 billion (A$1.81 billion) in revenue to the UK economy between 2014 and 2017.
They drew a total audience of 800,000 who spent £386 million ($698.74) in 2017, with £34.7 million ($628.1 million) of that being spent in the local area where the festival was staged.
The average individual spent £483.14 ($874.58) in 2017, up from £364.17 ($659.22) in 2009 when the AIF began collecting data on audience spend.
These include £185.89 ($336.45) on tickets, £54.59 ($98.80) on accommodation and £32.61 ($50.02) in getting ready.
46.5% of audiences preferred to spend their money on an independent festival than going abroad for holidays
Music is no longer the priority at a festival, and the conference discussed what non-music experiences audiences are demanding.
These included a wider choice of good and drinks, especially the fast-growing taste for craft brew, spiritual paths as yoga, and lifestyle choices as environmental issues.
Use of camper vans has doubled in the last decade.
Many festival promoters made the point that unlike their elder sisters and brothers, today’s millennial attendees didn’t get themselves wasted.
In fact, they kept (relatively) clean so they could remember more of the overall experience.
It was also crucial that festivals continued to offer experiences that were specifically festival-centric, or audiences would just start going to local gigs just for the music.
AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “That AIF member festivals have contributed another £1 billion to the UK economy – and at a much faster rate than the last billion – shows just how healthy the independent festival market is right now and how quickly it is growing.
“Not only are these independent festivals providing music fans with fantastic experiences, they are thriving businesses that the country can be proud of, and they are helping support the many other businesses around their sites that festival-goers make use of every year.”
Reed also noted in the report that awareness of festivals is increasingly dependent on social media.
“There is also heightened awareness around welfare issues, such as drug use and sexual safety, and increasing interest in issues around sustainability, such as single-use plastics.
“Independent festivals are leading the way on many of these important audience-facing issues, and our continuing dialogue with members enables us to take the temperature of the industry.
Read the full report at the AIF website.