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Let’s look at the facts…

Now that the festival and outdoor event season is over for 2017, we’re in the midst of storing tents and packing away the bunting, whilst also busy excitedly planning ahead for 2018.

To help us prepare for what our beautiful glamping guests want and need for next year, we have been analysing the data provided to us in the insightful UK’s Festival Market Report 2017.  The report – which gives an in-depth examination of consumer demographics, preferences and behaviour – is based on research using a sample of 8000 festival-goers who partook in the annual UK Festival Census, an extension of the UK Festival Awards’ voting platform. 

Areas covered include festival-goers’ opinions on ticket prices, improvements they’d like to see implemented at festival bars, what types of music they consume, their most prioritised amenities at festivals, and much more.  In this blog, we pick out some of the interesting statistics we think are particularly relevant to the glamping industry, together with some facts about the behaviour of festival-goers in general.

The early bird

50% of festival-goers took advantage of Early Bird offers and almost a quarter of them (22%) booked at the first opportunity they got.  We are delighted that so many savvy festival-goers are organised enough to plan ahead and often reap the rewards of doing so.  Some festivals give substantial discounts for those that book early and we would always recommend this as a fantastic way of saving some money.  With Great British Glamping we almost always have incentivised booking deals so if you book your accommodation early you benefit from a discounted rate.

Music

It comes as no surprise to us that music is still the number one thing that people enjoy and go for at festivals, and we have been lucky enough to see and hear some incredible live acts this year.  As many readers will know, live gigging is massively important to acts in the modern age and this was positively confirmed again this season.  There’s nothing quite so great as a cracking live performance in the open air.

The luxury option

Increasingly, festival-goers are taking advantage of more luxury options available to them.  This year 5% of people opted for a VIP and/or Glamping option, following a recent year-on-year increase.  Perhaps more interestingly a huge 84.8% of festival goers paid to use a premium toilet and almost half of everyone asked (46.4%) think festivals should make more use of these sorts of premium facilities.  In fact almost 9 out of every 10 people asked (88%) would consider paying for a more VIP-style access in the future.   It proves to us that people at festivals enjoy the outdoors of a festival but that element of luxury and premium facilities should not be overlooked; the demand is there.  In fact, at some of our festivals our Glamping Village comes with its own private loos and showers, adding real value to our guests.  We’d love to see that glamping figure increase as awareness of what we can offer rises.

Staying connected and technology improvements

Free Wi-Fi is the number one improvement that people would like at festivals (perhaps just Wi-Fi at some festivals would be good but often that dis-connectivity is simply lovely).  Other improvements include further ticket discounts for bigger groups, phone charging and better credit/debit card facilities, or even being able to pay for goods with a smart wristband – a relatively new concept that some festivals have trialled in the past couple of years.

Of course, you can’t please everyone, but what is abundantly clear is that festivals are showing no signs of abating.  In fact, recent news stories show that festival attendance is at an all-time high with a 12% rise in the last 12 months.  This is literally music to our ears as we strive to offer a better experience for our guests year-on-year.

Do you have any thoughts or ideas on what festivals can improve on, or more specifically that Great British Glamping can offer that would improve your experience?  We’d love to hear from you.  Stay in touch with what we are up to and get social by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

And if you’d like to say hello you can get us by email on hello(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)greatbritishglamping.com or talk to us on 07919 021 912. 

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Planning a Fun-Filled Family Festival

Although many people would gasp in horror at the idea of taking your children along with you to a festival, there is definitely a shift in the industry toward more family-friendly festivals.  An ever-increasing number of events are actively embracing the family-festival vibe and it’s now more common than ever to see family groups enjoying the live event scene.  In fact, many families now use festivals as a great mini-break; the array of live music, acts, entertainers and workshops combined with fantastic atmosphere and a sense of outdoor adventure is a very popular choice.  Roll-in a glamping accommodation option and it really couldn’t be easier to escape to a festival with the children in tow.

Great British Glamping is a family business, and with two young boys we appreciate many of the challenges that going to a festival may bring!  In the years that we’ve been working with different festivals, we have been so pleasantly surprised at just how well some of them cater for children and just how easy it can be to take them along with you for a truly great British weekend!

Here are some of the more family-friendly festivals we work with:

3 Wishes Faery Fest

The 3 Wishes Faery Fest in Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, Cornwall on 15th-19th June is the UK’s largest and most famous faery festival.  It is brilliantly child friendly and under 7s get in free.  They have lots of music acts to suit all ages and tastes together with a quieter camping area for those that have children or prefer a quieter night.  Most people get completely into the spirit of the event by dressing up which would delight most children!

Staxtonbury

The Staxtonbury Music Festival held on 7th-9th July in Staxton, near Scarborough, North Yorkshire makes no secret of the fact that family groups are their main priority.  The entire site is enclosed and safe with designated family areas as well as a multitude of attractions the question will be what will the children do next rather than what will the children do! 

They go to town on children’s entertainment for all ages, from Magic Mike Shows, Punch & Judy Shows, Little Steff’s Musical Storytime, they also have free tennis, football and golf coaching and the most popular of all ‘Farmer Tom’s’ Haystack.  There is an arts and crafts Marquee as well as children’s discos on the Friday and Saturday evenings. Not to mention bouncy castles, slides, bunjees, quad bikes, waterbalz, climbing walls, zorb footballs and the list goes on!

Faerie Festival

The Faerie Festival in East Sussex on 19th– 21st May is a small but beautifully formed festival that caters amazingly well for children.  Under 5s are free and their children’s activities are also provided by a specialist entertainment company at no extra cost, providing a wide range of activities from dressing up, dancing, puppet singalong, toys, sandpits and lots and lots of bubbles!

Tips and Advice

We know how much ‘stuff’ having children means you haveto bring with you when you leave your house.  Our beautiful bell tents are at all three of the festivals above and come equipped and furnished allowing you relative luxury without having to pack everything you may need before leaving home.

Here are a few tried and tested tips that we have gleaned over the years for you to bear in mind when planning your family festival:

  • Pack wipes, wipes and more baby wipes!  (Perhaps also potty for tiny glampers)
  • Get a cheap waterproof poncho for your children, (and you maybe!) they sell them in most discount shops so you don’t have to worry if they get ruined, but they’ll stop the damp getting in if the weather isn’t kind
  • If your children are younger then take a decent pushchair of the three-wheeled variety if you can, or a sling if you have very little babies.  It provides somewhere to rest and sleep for tired legs
  • Pack lots of little and easy activities for your children, stickers, colouring books and a few of their favourite toys
  • Lots and lots of snacks
  • A small first aid kit is always handy, with Calpol, bite/sting cream and plasters and don’t forget sun cream and sunhats
  • Be prepared for every type of weather – this is the UK after all.  Layer your children up so that they stay warm and dry
  • Always let them dress up – neon face paints, glitter and hairspray are big favourites at GBG HQ
  • Consider ear protectors if you think the music may be loud

Most of all – have fun!  If you’ve been to festivals pre-children, then your experience this time around will be just a little bit different.  You will love seeing the excitement and joy on your children’s faces as they run around and discover new and crazy things.  Don’t forget to enjoy yourself, break the rules a little bit and you’ll be surprised just how adaptable children can be!

If you are attending any of the festivals that Great British Glamping is a part of then please do give us a call or send us a message to find out more about how we can help you make it that little bit easier, whether you have children or not, we’d be delighted to chat through some options with you. 

Talk to us on 07919 021 912 or send us an email hello(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)greatbritishglamping.com

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The Great British Festival

In this blog, Great British Glamping looks at the rise of the UK Music festival, we provide our thoughts surrounding why it’s enjoying continued growth and give you a little insight into life at a festival when you choose the more luxurious option of Glamping.

More often than not, when thinking about UK festivals, images of Glastonbury mud and downpours of rain spring to the fore.  Wellies wading through mud with excited ticket-holders hauling cumbersome rucksacks and trolleys laden with cider through the gates.  Baffling tent instructions and trying to locate your friends on a vast campsite add to the woes.  Plus, you’re dying for the loo but daren’t leave  to join the queue in case someone nicks your perfect pitching spot…

Hardly a glamourous mini break, right?  So why is it that more than 3.5 million of us attended a music festival in 2015, allowing the UK Music festival sector to be one of the only few in the UK to buck the trend of a slump, enjoying uninterrupted growth pretty much year on year?  And how come it’s now worth more than £2bn  annually and could rise as high as £3.5bn by 2020. 

Allow us to look at some of the main reasons why Festivals are doing so well…

Growth of choice of festival – accessibility and for all

It’s not just the big boys of Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds and V Festival anymore; there’s not as much pressure to lure people in with big headline acts, in fact many festivals in the last few years are focusing more on the experience rather than one or two big draws.

The number of UK festivals has rocketed over the last decade and the industry is brimming with new and different festivals every year.  This explosion not only creates choice for the individual over exactly what they want to get out of a festival but it also means they are much more accessible; you can go to one that’s nearer your home, take your children and generally create much more of an ideal experience. 

As with any good industry, the festival scene has had to change with demand and it  seems to have done that particularly well.  There are many festivals now that are particularly aimed at families with specific babysitting services, food options and safe enclosed areas.  Some festivals such as Latitude have changed their focus in recent years to include literature readings and stand-up comedy into their experience.  Whilst others still concentrate heavily on the quality of music, with more big headline acts across more stages and days.

Festivals luxury style

Long gone is the old reputation the old-school music festival held of sex, drugs, and all that jazz.  Socially festivals have moved up the scale with the likes of David Cameron at Cornbury festival in Oxfordshire; Prince Charles popping into Glastonbury, and if you’d been in the backstage bar at Womad in past years, you would have seen Prince Harry and his friends lining up the pints!

These days festivals are not only safe, stylish and increasingly more environmentally friendly, but you can attend them in luxury.  Yes, of course you can rough it should you choose, opting for the crawling-into-your-tent once you’ve found it in the dark approach, but paying that bit extra to enjoy and benefit from a glamping experience may just be worth every penny.

Glamping options now range from yurts and tipis, to themed huts and gypsy wagons.  If you stay with Great British Glamping, you’ll get to stay in a beautiful, large and roomy pre-pitched tent, constructed with heavyweight, breathable canvas – meaning none of the nylon ‘tent sweats’ you’ve probably woken-up with before.  Creature comforts like posh loos, showers and even pamper tents can all form part of the offering, as well as dedicated chill-out areas and room-service style breakfast orders.  After all, if you’re going to be embracing the thrills and spills of a live music festival in the British outdoors you might as well Sleep Under 5 Stars with Great British Glamping.

Live music a key route to profitability

Since 2008, musicians have made more money from live performances than from record sales.  “Album sales are in meltdown,” according to a report from Mintel. “The reality is that there is not much money to be made in recorded music. Live music has become a key route to profitability.”

If you go back twenty years, sales and marketing support was substantial with the release of every album an artist launched.  This support and publicity from the record companies is getting less and less now with the rise of online music portals such as Spotify, Apple music and the download charts.   Times have changed and the income gained from live gigging and promotion to fresh and new audiences is the direction that a lot of artists are now taking.

Risks

There are of course risks with going down this road, because there is a fine balance to juggle the promise of the festival in all its glory with actual ticket sales, which make up around 85-90% of any festival income.  If you don’t get the ticket sales in early enough then the cash flow isn’t enough to sustain the festival and then the festival cannot provide all that it has promised.  This is where smaller festivals tend to fail.  You still need to pay everyone regardless of how many tickets you sell.

There is also a huge risk of over-saturation in the market and it’s hard for the smaller festivals specially to make a significant profit.  More and more people are being lured into the idea of running a festival, seeing it as easy money but it rarely is.  Festivals are costly beasts, with considerable organisation factors such as toilets, staging, production, lighting and sound, insurance, performance fees and marketing to often young, savvy individuals with so much choice; it is certainly a difficult undertaking.

None the less, when you’re sitting in a huge field with your friends and family, listening to your favourite artist with a beer in your hand, knowing that you’ll be sleeping in luxury, you can see why nothing beats a great British festival!

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2015 Season Review

As the outdoor part of 2015 for Great British Glamping draws to a close and activities turn toward packing-down, cleaning and sorting kit before storing for the winter, we thought we’d take a look back at what was a fairly busy season.  Aside from pre-season activities and meetings with clients and suppliers, attending trade shows, conferences and exhibitions, our first large event was back in May (only a few days after a major house move too, just to keep things interesting).  We headed to the Welsh mountains to build our village in the beautiful scenery that’s home to Fire In The Mountain, a charming folk-inspired celebration that draws festival goers from across the UK and beyond.  The initial fair weather soon turned typically ‘seasonal’ for Wales and we ended-up packing-down in some of the worst rain we’ve encountered.  Thanks to a few days of fine sunshine once back at HQ – and some fantastic help from friends and family – we managed to get everything dried-out and packed ready for the next outing.  The next festival took us to Cornwall – a GBG favourite – and we created a glamping village at 3 Wishes Faery Fest which afforded perhaps the best views our guests would enjoy all summer.  The weather was on side this time and long sunny days ensured happy times at this great family festival.  We then hit a busy period which meant lots of time out on sites and little time in between to re-charge and re-stock.  A run of several festivals on the bounce saw us spread far and wide, with time in the Home Counties, North Yorkshire and the South West.  We worked with some fabulous festivals, met some great people and gained a host of new friends.

July rolled into August and we headed towards our final festival of the 2015 season, Fieldview Festival in Wiltshire.  This year’s theme at Fieldview was certainly well planned; Club Tropicana vibes spread to the British weather and a mini-heatwave bathed the festival site in three days of glorious sunshine.  A simply stunning new site and a great line-up rounded-off the festival season in style.

In between the festivals we catered for a range of private events, such as weddings and parties, and also tried-out some new equipment and methods of operating.  We travelled over 4,000 miles, hammered around 5,000 pegs into various bits of the country (not to mention pulling-them out again), hosted over 400 people as guests under our canvas, sold-out at six festivals and created some beautiful bridal suite tents.  Some of us even wore glittery facepaint…

2015 was fun, busy and at times stressful and even a bit scary, but here at HQ we’re already well into planning for 2016.  One consistency across this year that we are committed to carry forward into 2016 is the quality of service that we give to our clients and guests – this is something that we hold in very high regard and simply won’t compromise on.

Thank you to anyone who’s been a client, guest, supporter, friend or general good sport in 2015 – we appreciate each and every one of you.  Here’s to a great 2016 – we hope to see many more of you on the next stage of the journey.

Blog image courtesy of Rupert Barker – many thanks!  Check his work out here www.rupertbarker.com

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Festival character trumps headline acts according to AIF

With the news this week that Snoop Dogg is to headline Mutiny this year, preceded by the announcement recently by Glastonbury Festivals that Kanye West will make his somewhat controversial debut there, do the headline acts on the bill actually matter that much to the majority of ticket holders?  Well, research by the Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has shown that festival goers value the ‘general atmosphere and overall vibe, character and quality’ of the event over headline acts.

AIF launched a new initiative, ‘Festival Fever’, with the aim of highlighting the cultural and economic impact of independent festivals, with a focus on the broad experiential multi-arts offering of its member events.

The organisation released figures showing that their member’s events have contributed an estimated £1bn to the UK economy over a four year period.

Extensive audience research conducted by AIF has also revealed that over 635,000 music fans attended AIF member events in 2014, which ranged from 1,500 capacity Barn on the Farm to 75,000 capacity Isle of Wight Festival, and that last year £296m was generated by independent festival goers.  From 2010-2014, over £80m of this came from audience spend along the supply chain including local businesses.

In 2014, only 8.3% of respondents cited individual artists or headliners as the main reason they purchased a ticket for an independent festival, with 58% saying that the “general atmosphere and overall vibe, character and quality of the event” was the key reason for attending.

Almost half of those interviewed (49%) said they chose attending an independent festival over taking a summer holiday last year.  Also in 2014, 58.2% cite “general atmosphere, overall vibe and character of event” as the single most important factor in attending.  8.3% cite “headline acts” and 21.5% “the music generally”- illustrating the broad, multi-arts experiential offering of AIF member events.

Paul Reed, general manager of AIF said: “Our extensive research clearly shows that the independent music festival sector is thriving and enjoying an extended period of fantastic growth.
Over the last 4 years our members events have contributed an estimated £1bn to the UK economy, primarily through audience spend, which has benefited the entire country, particularly local businesses in the areas where these festivals take place.  To celebrate that success we have launched ‘Festival Fever’ to highlight the importance of independent music festivals and to illustrate the huge diversity of wonderful events and experiences our members stage throughout the year.”

AIF co-founder Rob da Bank added: “Wow – who’d have thought our little organisation which started off with 5 festivals meeting in a broom cupboard has grown to be a economic powerhouse generating over a billion quid in 4 years for the economy… fantastic stuff.  I’m even more excited to hear the news that about 50% of our target audiences want to go to a festival more than anything, even over a summer holiday.  That is the dedication of the UK festival goer…  I salute you!  Bring on Festival Fever…”

AIF members participating in ‘Festival Fever’ campaign will wear a digital badge across social media stating ‘Proudly independent,’ with another key component being the launch of ‘AIF TV’, a dedicated YouTube channel, which will host a competition for the best festival fan footage shot at an AIF member festival in 2014.  The winner will receive an ‘Ultimate Festival Season Ticket’ giving them access to all 50 AIF member festival events throughout the year.

At Great British Glamping we’re proud to work with a range of small to medium-sized festivals providing beautiful pop-up glamping villages for festival goers, taking some of the hassle out of attending festivals and making the experience of guests more unique and memorable.

 

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What is and why go Glamping?

The word ‘Glamping’ might sound like a bit of a nonsense but it was coined as a way of representing a recent twist on the traditional camping holiday and is a portmanteau of ‘glamorous’ & ‘camping’ – in essence taking the concept of camping and making it appealing to a wider audience.  Moves towards more glamorous camping started to appear around ten years ago and the word soon started to appear in more common use.  While it might offend the more traditionally minded camper, glamping has risen in popularity over the last decade and shows no signs of slowing down either; there are now many well-established luxury camping sites across the world and the use of luxury or boutique tents and other structures is commonplace at festivals and events globally.

So what does glamping actually entail?  It is essentially camping under the stars but with the added benefits of some of the home comforts you’d expect at home or in a boutique hotel.  At Great British Glamping we offer a range of similar but distinct glamping experiences – all designed to give great degrees of comfort whilst still recognising and embracing the fact that ultimately you will be sleeping under canvas in the great outdoors.

We cater for private events such as weddings and parties – where you may want to provide sleeping accommodation for your guests onsite but don’t have the rooms or equipment to do so yourself.  We can effectively build a pop-up hotel for your guests to ‘check-in’ to on arrival, drop bags, change, make-up and chill before the party or wedding, and of course being on-site makes the end of the event very easy indeed; guests have only a few metres to walk to get to their beds.

We also offer a concierge glamping service, where you get to stay in one (or more) of our beautiful natural canvas bell tents. You simply tell us when and where you’d like the tent and once you’ve booked the pitch we arrive before you to pitch the tents, set-up the furnishings and make everything ready for your arrival, leaving you to relax and unwind without any of the usual hassle associated with arriving at a campsite.  After the stay, we arrive to strike the camp and deal with the equipment, making the end of the experience as easy as checking-out of a hotel.

Great British Glamping also love festivals.  We specialise in providing pre-erected and furnished accommodation to festivals across the UK, and work with festival organisers to ensure real value is added to the festival experience.  You’ll see our pop-up boutique glamping villages at various festivals across the season, and we’re working behind the scenes to expand our service and offering. We take delight in making the festival experience as fun and hassle-free as possible.  Perfect for couples, groups and of course families who want to maximise their enjoyment at the festival and not have to worry about bringing and putting-up their own tents.

Whichever way you choose to go glamping, you can be certain it will provide a new set of memories for you to cherish.  Embracing and adventuring into the outdoors but from a base that offers relative luxury and comfort is ideal.  You really do get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

So, is glamping for you?  There are, obviously, camping purists who wouldn’t dream of moving away from what they know and enjoy, but there is a large swathe of people who are put-off the thought of sleeping under canvas or roughing it in any way.  Some of these people won’t enjoy glamping – and that’s fine.  But for others glamping offers a great introduction into staying outdoors without having to sacrifice all the comforts of home.

If you want the experience of camping but none of the hassle, then glamping is something you should try.  It’s fun, it’s relatively low cost and it’s definitely a good way to appease family or friends who aren’t so keen on outdoor living.  It’s simple, relaxing and kids absolutely love it.  It’s perfect for a romantic treat and also for using as a base to enjoy a festival or wedding.  So, why not sleep under 5 stars and give glamping a go…?

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