VF is 10: the future of festivals

United Kingdom United Kingdom | 21 October 2009

This we chat to the likes of Melvin Benn, John Probyn, James Barton and Vince Power to find out where they see the festival industry in ten years time.

Virtual Festivals: Where do you see the festival industry going over the next ten years?

John Probyn (Live Nation): “Interesting one. Ten years, I don't know. In five years I think festivals will go from strength to strength but I think you'll find that the other entertainments, not just the artists on the main stage, but everything else that goes around it, I think that's where we need to improve. Quality of food and beverages, sponsor activity, those are the kind of things we're concentrating on. Security and crime prevention is a massive focus.”

Vince Power (Hop Farm, Beincassim): “I don’t know, it’s interesting. I think the big ones will stay and the little ones will struggle but then, as with bands, it doesn’t matter how many there are; there is always someone willing to try it and then it starts again and goes round and round. Hopefully there will be a bit of reality restored. I’m trying to get mine back to basics which is back to being all about the customer. Having one wristband and coming in and having a good time and not that feeling that ‘this is great but I’m not allowed in here and in there’.”

Melvin Benn (Reading, Leeds, Latitude): “I don't know, I wish I knew. What's really clear now is that the bands' most significant income stream will come from live music which puts festivals in a very good place, in terms of working with the bands in order to connect them to the audiences. That's really what we've been doing and acting as a conduit between the artist and the fans, being able to introduce new bands to new fans. I think the boutique and small intimate festivals are here to stay.”

Virtual Festivals: Do you think they'll start to encroach on the big ones?

Melvin Benn: “No, I don't think so at all. They get all the new kids coming into the market. The big ones and the small ones are in a good place.”

Virtual Festivals: Where would you like your festival to be in ten years time?

James Barton (Creamfields): “Well I've always wanted Creamfields to be – and strangely enough I've never sort of viewed it as being this big mainstream festival - about new people, new music, modern music and new audiences. I really like the fact that the average age of our audience is about 20 years of age you know. I certainly want it to continue being a two-day festival, you know a festival that all the artists want to play and I certainly don't want it to be a festival that becomes complaisant and lives on past glories.

“I always want us to be better and better every year, so if we're still here in ten years, which I hope we are, I hope we'll still be as relevant and important as we are today. That takes a lot you know, I think if you look at the scope of what we do -you know we'd never have booked Neil Young or Bruce Springsteen - while Glastonbury can book The Chemical Brothers and Faithless and I think there's only one sort of festival that has gone on forever and that's Glastonbury, but those guys can have their one year where people don't quite get what they want, that’s what happened last year, but very quickly bounce back so, yeah, let’s hope we're here for 20 years.”

Warren Le Sueur (Jersey Music Live): “Hopefully still in business producing a well-organised festival that is respected throughout Europe.”

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