Independent festivals contributed over £1bn to UK economy in last 3 years – report

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has published a special 10-year report today confirming that its members contributed an estimated £1 billion in revenue to the UK economy in the three-year period between 2014 and 2017.

Research carried out by AIF, published in the trade body’s 10-year report and presented at the organisation’s 2018 Festival Congress, shows that audiences at AIF Member festivals spent more than £386 million in 2017, with £34.7 million of that being spent in the local area of the festival they attended.

These figures are based on an audience of 800,000 people across 65 AIF member festivals in 2017, with an average spend of £483.14 per head reported by respondents to the annual AIF audience survey.

The new £1 billion, three-year figure shows growth in AIF members’ contribution to the national economy. In 2015, AIF reported that independent festivals contributed an estimated £1 billion to the UK economy over a four-year period between 2010 and 2014.

Since 2009, when AIF’s spend tracking began, audience spend per head has increased by around one third – from £364.17 in 2009 to £483.14 in 2017.

Over that period, the amount spent on festival tickets has increased only modestly, from £154.09 in 2009 to £185.89 in 2017 (up 20.6%).

Meanwhile, spending on accommodation has by more than doubled from £24.23 per head in 2009 to £54.59 in 2017; spending on food and drink has risen 40.5%; and off-site spending (the money festival goers spend to get ready for an event) has risen from £19.93 per head in 2009 to £32.61 in 2017.

The AIF’s 10-year report contains a wide range of facts and figures informed by almost 30,000 responses to the organisation’s annual surveys, including stats and trends around transport, camping, social media and crime.

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Across the ten year period, when asked about the single most important factor influencing ticket purchases, an average 53% of people said that it was the “atmosphere, vibe, character and quality of event”.

“Not only are these independent festivals providing music fans with fantastic experiences, they are thriving businesses.”

Paul Reed, AIF

AIF CEO Paul Reed said: “That AIF member festivals have contributed another £1 billion to the UK economy – and at a much faster rate than the last billion – shows just how healthy the independent festival market is right now and how quickly it is growing.

“Not only are these independent festivals providing music fans with fantastic experiences, they are thriving businesses that the country can be proud of, and they are helping support the many other businesses around their sites that festival-goers make use of every year.

“We are very proud to be celebrating AIF’s 10th anniversary this year.

“Our special 10-year report is full of insightful statistics, trends and information that show how far our community has come and where we need to aim our lights on the road ahead.”Music Business Worldwide