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The changing scene of music festivals

Monday 4 March 2019 Data Insight & AnalyticsDemographic Data

Eliza Adriani's picture
By Eliza Adriani

Leading UK festivals are rushing to announce their headline acts in a bid to encourage potential festival goers to book tickets. The UK festival scene has seen a rise in the number of both festivals and attendees over the past decade, but organisers still face issues with profitability, with as many as 1 in 10 festivals facing closure over the next few years.

With many competing events now taking place, how can organisers increase their profit margins and ensure they are targeting the right audience? And how much has the festival landscape changed since the first festival was held in the UK over 50 years ago?

 

MUSIC FESTIVALS THEN AND NOW

Typically, certain festivals have featured acts who were geared towards a specific genre of music. For instance, Reading festival has historically featured more “metal, rock and punk” artists, however it has now drifted towards a more commercial line-up, reflecting the current music listening preferences of the public.

A BBC study showed that in the decade of the 90s, around 70% of the main headliners were rock acts, however this figure has now decreased to 33%. *

Jay Z headlining Glastonbury in 2008 paved the way for festival bosses to start booking headline acts and artists that are deemed more ‘mainstream’.  However, last year’s Reading and Leeds line-up drew heavy criticism from fans, calling it the ‘worst ever” due to the lack of guitar bands scheduled to perform.

However, festivals book acts to reflect the current consumer trends of the music industry and the demand for mainstream acts exists, with data showing that the largest consumer group of pop/commercial music was those aged between 18-34, with 35-49 year olds being the second largest**.  Acts are booked based on their popularity as they are more likely to sell tickets.  But, different age groups have different digital behaviours, so they cannot be targeted using the same marketing channels. In this case, customer segmentation is an efficient tool to help optimise promotional resources to increase responses to messaging. By incorporating this into marketing plans, Festival organisers will be able to get a better return on investment instead of adopting a more general approach towards engagement.

 

 

The VIP touch

The introduction of more exclusive services and ‘VIP’ packages at festivals has also raised expectations for many customers. Recently, Parklife announced that all 2019 ticket holders will receive access to exclusive discounts and parties, in a bid to convince customers on the fence about purchasing tickets. In addition, the rise of luxury festivals such as Summer Solstice and the now infamous Fyre Festival show that in future, we can expect demand for more exclusivity and VIP privileges at festivals. So how do you target those who are willing to spend more money to glamourize their festival experience?

Although different age groups listen to the same type of music, their propensity to engage with different marketing channels varies.

62.7% of Glastonbury attendees prefer to be contacted via mail, whereas only 4.3% prefer email. ***

By understanding who is currently attending, there is more opportunity to engage with ticket holders through using the right communication and marketing channels. It is becoming increasing important for festival planners to proactively identify the demographic and digital behaviours of their customer base in order to effectively tailor marketing techniques and optimise engagement.

 

THE FUTURE OF FESTIVALS

The UK festival scene has experienced significant change since its conception and there is still a large consumer base who fork out hundreds of pounds every year to drunkenly dance in a field along to their favourite tunes.

However, with the ever-changing music scene, high consumer expectations and the vast selection of festivals saturating the market, organisers now have the added challenge of targeting those audiences who want a more niche festival experience. 

If you would like to find out more on how to better target your audience and tailor your marketing campaigns, get in touch.

 

 

Sources:

*     https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-40273193
**   Target Group Index, Kantar Media UK 2018
*** Target Group Index, Kantar Media UK 2018

 

The UK festival scene has seen a rise in the number of both festivals and attendees over the past decade, but how can organisers increase their profit margins and ensure they are targeting the right audience? And how much has the festival landscape changed since the first festival was held in the UK over 50 years ago?

The changing scene of music festivals