The importance of live gigging…

The shape of the music industry is always changing, but perhaps never more so than over the last five years.  If you go back to the 1980s and 90s the picture of the industry was very different.  Record companies were king.  They’d invest huge amounts of money into marketing, sales and publicity for the music acts they thought were going to be profitable, and these acts were often then catapulted into the major league.  At Great British Glamping we remember heading to Woolworths to buy 7” vinyl singles and recall fondly when cassettes took over (meaning with a Walkman you could take your music with you…)

Now, in 2018 a very different picture has become evident in terms of how we purchase, listen to and find out about the acts that we love.  The record industry is becoming more and more unstable, with the rise of online portals such as Apple Music, Spotify, Amazon etc and the big record companies simply don’t wield as much power anymore.  Music choices are diversifying as people can find and listen to whatever they want, whenever they want, and pretty much wherever they want.  This has had an impact on live music too, with the number of festivals increasing significantly year on year.  It is also now common to see major acts from the past reform to take advantage of the new interest in live music. 


So, the question now is how do artists both new and established make their money, given they cannot rely on single and album sales alone?  The answer is live gigging.  In fact, according to report by Mintel, since 2008 musicians now make more money from live performances than from record sales. 

“Live music has become a key route to profitability and as an artist, touring income is and should be where you make 80-90% of your money.” Mintel, 2017

Another reason to rely on live gigging is the change in technology and the explosion of the online world.  It’s easier than ever to ‘steal’ music from various sites and listen to your songs via other methods without paying a penny to the artist.  Live shows cannot be stolen!  And although it’s a long road perhaps to get your music heard, each festival or show that you perform at, you are showcasing to more and more people.  Word of mouth and personal recommendations cannot be underestimated, especially with the rise of social media and its live functionalities, gigging means that it’s not just the people at the festival that may be hearing the show.  The media, and the internet, have also helped to make live music events seem unmissable.  Appearances at these festivals and shows can help musicians to gain international and even global recognition. In the UK, the broadcast of such events is now and established feature of summer television, where, with use of the red button you can flick between stages and performances with ease, right from your sofa.

For the vast majority of artists, playing live is as natural as a chef being asked to prepare food.  It’s why they became an artist in the first place; a chance to get immediate feedback from their fans about their music and grow a following.  But, perhaps surprisingly for other artists, those that are a bit more ‘manufactured’, it’s actually often not automatically assumed to be part of their job. 

There is no such thing as an overnight success like there perhaps was back in the late 20th Century.  Playing your music to new and established audiences is the route now that a lot of musicians must take.  For new artists and those looking to get signed to any kind of record deal, playing at live shows is essential.  Many festivals have a new acts section or stage which is a great way of getting yourself out there, learning what works, which songs people respond to and how it all operates.  There are a huge number of scouts that spend their days visiting festivals and shows to source new artists.  And you never know what can happen from just one gig, it only takes one person to like you and put their faith in you.  Also changed are the days when you’d have to post your demo tapes to every radio station in the land.  The rise and success of entities like BBC Introducing mean it’s much easier to get your work in front of the right ears.

Live gigging has, and will continue to play a huge part of an artist’s route to success and It should be what artists want to do.  Even superstar artists endure endless weeks, months or years on the road because they love being in front of an audience.  Without audiences there wouldn’t be a music industry.  We look forward to seeing you in an audience this summer somewhere…


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!


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



Great British Glamping – Event Crew 2017

Great British Glamping is a growing, family-owned business based just outside Bath which provides glamping accommodation to festivals and events across the UK.  Our continued growth means we are now seeking temporary crew members for the 2017 season to help at some key events, ensuring we deliver the very best experiences for our guests this summer.

This season we are particularly looking for the following crew members:

A. Event Build and Pack-Down Crew

A vital role in ensuring that our glamping village is built and ready for guests – be that at a festival or wedding – often working to tight deadlines and definitely involving physical work outdoors, come rain or shine.  Our crew will arrive on site with laden vehicles and create a beautiful canvas village of bell tents complete with furnishings and bunting.  After the event is over, our crew return the site to normal, packing-down the tents and kit, and loading-out ready for the next event.  A clean driving licence and own transport is preferred but not essential.

B. On-Site Crew for Festivals

There are times when we can’t be in two places at the same time and this is why we’d love to hear from people who would be willing to attend festivals as Great British Glamping Hosts – onsite for the duration of the festival and primarily there to welcome our guests to the glamping village, checking them in and handling any queries they may have during the event.  You’ll also be responsible for checking guests out at the end of the event.  It’s relatively straightforward with a couple of days of relative downtime in between guests arriving and leaving.  This responsibility would ideally suit a couple, or a couple of friends, who know how festivals run and who could be great ambassadors for us, ensuring our guests are taken care of and any issues are dealt with promptly.

Both the Event Build/Pack-Down Crew and On-Site Crew could be the same people – let us know if you’d be up for both elements, but also highlight if you’d prefer one or the other.  It’s worth pointing out that we’re looking for crew over certain dates this season, so you will have the ability to do lots of other work when you’re not working with us.  We are looking for enthusiastic, committed people though.  We don’t have time to waste, and likewise we won’t waste yours if you’re not right for the role at this point in time.


Drop us an email to hello(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)greatbritishglamping.com with some information about yourself.  We’d like to know where you live, your relevant experience in similar roles, and anything interesting that means you’d be a great member of our crew.  Feel free to attach a CV but we’re really looking for personalities, so use your imagination too.




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.


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!


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


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.



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…?