AIF: 'UK festivals remain strong despite recession'

Association of Independent Festivals survey figures released

07 June 2010

The study, which questioned more than 4,700 festival-goers, showed that despite 44.4% of fans saying the recession has affected how much they spend on festivals, it fares well against the 59.4% who say the recession has affected how much they spend on all other types of entertainment.

The 24 AIF members, which include WOMAD, Creamfields and Bestival, will inject more than £130m into the UK economy with over £12m directly funnelled to local businesses, the survey has unveiled.

This year over 69% of those attending festivals will spend three or more days in the local area of the festival, up from 60% last year. Those attending WOMAD will stay the longest with 48.8% prepared to spend four or more days in the local area.

The total spend of a festival-goer this year totals £346 including ticket, with those attending Camp Bestival the biggest spenders with an average of £532 average per person.
Once again the survey has demonstrated that festivals are much more than just a big outside gig, with over 50% of respondents stating that the “General atmosphere and overall vibe, quality and character of the event” is the main draw. “Music generally” was the second deciding factor in picking a festival with 28.3%, whilst the choice of headliners only polled 11.9%.

Once at the festival 43% of respondents will spend 60-79% of time watching music. Reflecting the wide range of entertainment on offer, those attending Secret Garden Party and Camp Bestival spend the least time watching bands with 73.8% and 67.2% of audience spending less than half their time doing so.

The survey also looked at the mode of transportation festival goers use to get to the festival of their choice and once again, ‘By Car’ remains the most popular choice, with 44.5% travelling by car with three or more people. Importantly for those looking to reduce the festival market’s carbon footprint 50.1% said that “a discount on public transport ticket” would encourage them to travel this way.

Speaking about the survey, Claire O’Neill, AIF General Manager said: "It is good to see that for another year despite an overall economic downturn independent festival continue to make a great contribution both nationally and locally. Of course, this survey further cements the knowledge that festivals offer a many entertainments and attractions aside from music, and that is the experience as a whole that so many people love.??

"It is a shame that most people are still driving to festivals, however it was interesting to read many suggestions that a "fast track" queue for coach ticket holders would be an incentive to leave the car at home."

The Association of Independent Festivals is a not for profit body set up in 2008 to represent independent music festivals in the UK and Ireland.

Conceived by Bestival promoter Rob da Bank and Graphite’s Ben Turner, the association’s founder members included Bestival, Cornbury Festival, Creamfields, Evolution Festival, Field Day/Underage, Glade, Loud Sound, Secret Garden Party, Shambala Festival, Summer Sundae Weekender and WOMAD.

With a current membership that ranges from Northern Ireland’s 1,000 capacity Glasgowbury to the 40,000 capacity Creamfields in Liverpool, AIF enables the promoters of some of the UK and Ireland’s most innovative and successful festivals to speak with one voice when addressing the wider music business and government.

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