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The Importance of Festivals to the UK

April 25, 2024

Festivals are one of the UK’s most valuable exports

The NTIA have backed the #YourFestivalNeedsYou campaign, a campaign which celebrates festivals and independent events. The Your Festival Needs You campaign asks operators and festival-goers to show their support for amazing events, by sharing what events mean to them.

 At Insure Our Event, we firmly believe festivals and live music events are vital to not only the UK economy, but also the British way of life and identity. Music is one of the UK’s most valuable exports; our musical artists are recognised world-wide, which stands upon our grassroots music scene. Grassroots artists find their feet and are discover at smaller festivals, showing the importance of festivals and similar events.

The Importance of Festivals for the British Economy

Whether urban or rural-based, festivals constitute a vital and growing part of the UK nighttime cultural economy. Since the pandemic, most festivals have been able to come back, and come back far stronger.

The age group for festivals is widening. Festivals have always been popular with the younger generations, however reports have noted over 50s catching the festival bug, with that demographic growing by a third. That’s parallel the age of headliner also increasing. Sir Paul McCartney became the festival’s oldest ever headliner in 2022, and not forgetting the legendary recent sets of Sir Elton John and Guns N’ Roses.

Older generations typically have more disposable income. This links to increased sales, not only of tickets but also for on-site purchases. It’s an under-reported fact that the festival economy has a massive impact on the wider night-time economy. And the night-time economy makes up 4.1% of the UK economy, contributing £93.1 billion, sitting in the top 5 largest contributing sectors.

Festivals also have a significant impact on the tourism industry and the music industry. They allow us to host overseas artists, and are key to maintaining the British Isles as a musical superpower. Ultimately, festivals benefit the UK economy in a variety of way and therefore need to be supported and protected.

Why do Festivals Need Support?

Here are some festival facts to be aware of:

  • 28 festivals have been cancelled in 2024 already.
  • Ticket sales and on-site sales have drastically increased
  • UK music festivals attracted over 1.1 million foreign tourists in 2022 alone
  • 51% increase in early bird sales for 2024 festivals
  • There’s been a rise in urban festivals and one-day events

These facts clearly show festivals need support. Despite the desire for festivals growing, festival owners are not receiving enough support. This has led to a ‘festivalisation’ of the nightlife industry, says the NTIA. The gap is being filled by one-day event runners, nightclubs, urban event spaces and city-centre premises.

To maintain profitability for these smaller festivals, event owners are having to rise the prices of ticket sales, on-site food and drink, and push merchandise sales. However with the cost of living, this has proved difficult to commit to.

Festival owners and one-day event runners need to protect themselves, and need to be better supported.

What can festival owners do to protect themselves?

1. Early Bird Tickets

Customers have shown interest in using payment plans, as we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the popularity of early bird ticket sales. Event runners should consider incorporating this into their ticketing structures. This provides immediate funds, promotes buzz around the event, and offers returning customers and the engaged younger generations a cost-effective way to purchase tickets amid a cost of living crisis.

2. Stay in touch with your demographic

Create a seamless customer experience at your event through social media, customer service and mobile ordering. If you are planning on running a large recurring event, an event app is ideal. It can bring everything into one place, including tickets, ordering, times and information you wish to distribute out.

Adapt your marketing to suit your demographic. Utilise social media marketing and advertising to promote your event, as well as interacting with other business who perhaps have the same demographic and can share your event.

3. Get adequate insurance

Protect your finances with comprehensive and adequate insurance. Bad weather can cause unexpected cancellations or postponements, keep yourselves protected with adverse weather from Insure Our Event.

Festival insurance from Insure Our Event covers injury expenses, judicial expenses, equipment cover, cancellations, abandonment, terrorism disruption and no-appearance of individuals such as acts and artists.

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