Spent the day at the UK Festival Conference yesterday, very interesting day with all the key players from across the industry together. A two minute summary/key points list around the different sessions below:

The Crime Busters

  • Partnership between festival organisers, security teams and the police is working very well with lots of up front intelligence.
  • Online ticket scams remain an issue, educate the ticket buyers
  • Festivals are very safe with much lower crime rates than typical towns and cities
  • One area of concern is organised criminals targeting smaller festivals now that the big festivals have well developed crime prevention

Non-Ticketed Events Should Be Banned

  • Overall opinion was heavily in favour of ‘No’ but with some strong points (below)
  • They must be organised by professional, experienced event management companies
  • Understanding the environment, location, draw, capacity, contingency factors are all paramount
  • Licence granters must not be the organisers

Best Practice for Leveraging Brand Activity at Festivals Without Selling Out

  • Expect another year of reducing budgets
  • Move is much more towards ‘experiential’ (hate that word) i.e. tangible benefit to attendees
  • It’s now more than just the attendees, it’s the whole position of the event within the market (especially online) with an appreciation of the broader number of followers
  • Looking for year round association, not just the few days of the event

UK Festival Market Report 2010

  • Market still growing, although exact data hard to define (approx 700 festivals)
  • PRS, Government Policy & Policing costs all possible issues
  • Average age of festival goers 31, average age of ‘first timer’ 18
  • Average spend £363 (inc ticket)
  • Average attendance 2.1 festivals pa
  • Biggest ‘downers’ – bands that clash, cost of food and drink
  • Reasons for choosing – line-up, being with friends, organisation
  • More of – cashless payment, Wi-Fi, festival information and of course toilets.

Making Your Festival More Profitable

  • Big variance and issue around policing costs, no easy answer
  • Focus on the bottom line from day 1!
  • Build and grow in a controlled fashion – you will not get 50,000 people in year 1!
  • Build partnerships and trust with suppliers, who grow with your festival

Battle of the Bands

  • Promoters want the cost of bands to come down, agencies want then to go up!
  • Market is changing now that a bands primary income is touring/festivals rather than album sales
  • Many bands are on the road continuously leading to a ‘staleness’, hence more reunion bands as they are attractive as they haven’t been on the road for a few years
  • It’s not all about the headliners, increasingly it’s about the whole festival experience and ‘like minded’ attendees

Dispatches from the Field

  • It isn’t easy getting to the top, there is no quick route other than a lot of hard work and a true passion for festivals!