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.
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!