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So, how many festivals are there?

Thanks to our good friends at eFestivals, the best list of festivals I have ever come across, tells us that there is somewhere between 800 and 1000 music festivals in the UK in any one year.

In a recent publication on their website eFestivals tell us there were approximately 898 festivals in 2016 and their research suggested that maybe the festival bubble had burst yet again.

Recent cancellations somewhere in the order of 28 events, compared to as far back as 2007 when 31 festivals cancelled, but then there were less than 500 recorded events so the percentage actually cancelling is down from 6.25% to 3.12% in 2016.  To quote from eFestivals “The festival industry in UK saw a massive growth from 2000 to 2011.  Since then for the last five or six years there has been around 1000 festivals a year – indoor and outdoor events which are mainly live music, big, medium and small now appear to be dropping back to numbers similar to 2010.  It is estimated that there will be approximately 850 in 2017”

A bad summer for weather obviously puts off a lot of people and can cause an economic downturn in the following year.  Though there is no clear evidence that one bad year will be followed by another.  Similarly there is absolutely no evidence that a heavy snow fall and freezing cold winter would lead to a hot summer, but us Brits seem to believe that this is what happens!  Many festivals report that with three or four months to go to their festival dates if the weather is really good their ticket sales increase on the assumption people believe that summer is a-coming and camping will be quite nice.  It has no bearing at all on how the weather will be in three months’ time.

So the lottery continues, hope for the best with the weather and keep an eye on competition. AFO honestly believes that competition is really major events on the same day within fifty miles of your event.  Anything else has an audience local to itself.  People are definitely travelling shorter distances to their events and now have greater choice of festivals.  The music scene has a shortage of headline acts.  In all genres and subsequently several artists appear at festivals throughout the season, so travelling a long distance to get to one to see the big star is not needed.

However travelling because of tradition and the special atmosphere that each festival delivers can be a factor.  i.e. Glasto “You have got to go at least once in your life”.  So people do and they travel great distances.

To quote eFestivals again “The landscape for festivals has been changing over the years with new events rising in popularity and some of the more established events drifting off.  eFestivals has tried its best to reflect the festival landscape as it changes.  It will be interesting to see if any major empires topple in next year’s calendar and who will emerge to take over because someone always will.”

(With thanks to eFestivals for their research).

So good luck with your plans if you are running one in 2017.

Steve Heap
General Secretary, AFO

AFO: 5th Jan 2017 15:00:00

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