IOW Festival boss: 'the festival market is saturated'

Organisers speak out after 31 events cancel this summer

Photographer:Sara Bowrey

Sophie Morton - 09 August 2011

Many are experiencing slower ticket sales than usual, and are struggling to sell out.

31 festivals have been cancelled or postponed already this year, just three short of matching last year's record.

Some, such as Newcastle's Ignition Festival, were only pulled with 48 hours to go before they were due to open, leaving many fans disappointed.

Melvin Benn, managing director of Festival Republic, which runs Reading, Leeds and Latitude, spoke to the BBC about the challenges he had been facing.

He said: "There's no question that tickets have sold slower than they previously did. Money is definitely tighter.

“There will be a million people that go to festivals this year. The idea that somehow festivals are no longer popular is quite frankly ludicrous.”

Isle of Wight Festival organiser, John Giddings, blamed overcrowding in the market and believes he knows who the losers are going to be.

"There are just too many events now in the UK and it's impossible for them all to survive. The market is saturated. I don't think there will be a big casualty, I think there will be smaller ones,” he said.

However, Michael Eavis, who organises Glastonbury Festival, said he doubted the popular festival would last beyond another “three or four years.

He said: “There is a feeling that people have seen it all before.

“Some artists and organisers agree that festivals are finding it hard to give people something new.”

Melvin Benn believes this could lead to a revamp of the whole festival experience, “becoming less dependent on headliners and more dependent on an overall vibe, an overall feel and experience.”


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