Gone are the days when the festival calendar was a short and simple selection of three-day events tailored to specific music genres
Festivals are serious business and fans are expecting more choice, better flexibility, and interactive experiences. With the first festivals just around the corner, here’s a quick look at the five trends shaping the 2015 festival scene.
THE RISE OF ONE-DAY EVENTS
Festival organisers have realised the benefits of holding one-day events; not just financially but being able to capture new audiences who might be put off by the camping experience. A huge benefit of one-day events is being able to schedule them around major festivals, which mean that better headliners can be secured, and lower ticket prices of course. With music fans’ tastes changing all the time, one-day festivals can better target niches; like Electric Daisy Carnival in Milton Keynes, which celebrates the best electronic music, and the boutique music and arts festival Somerley Tea Party. This also means you can fit even more festivals in your diary.
Festivals, by nature are about celebrating the great outdoors but this year we’re seeing the rise of eco-friendly events. There’s Shambala, which has won awards for its provision of 100% renewable energy, and Wood Festival, which is completely powered by renewable energy. There’s so many to choose from – don’t forget Green Man in picturesque Brecon Beacons and Eden Festival, which takes place in the hills of Dumfries and Galloway to promote sustainability. Did you know that audience travel emissions to music venues are the single biggest contributor to the music industry’s environmental impact, accounting for a huge 68% of the festival sector’s total emissions? Don’t feel bad about it; instead, leave the car at home and take a ride with Big Green Coach, the largest events travel company in the UK. They travel to most festivals and for every passenger they protect five square feet of Amazonian rainforest. This might not sound like much but in the past two years they have protected 800,000 square feet – equivalent to 18 acres (or an area the size of 10 x Wembley Stadium pitches). Impressive!
FLEXIBLE PAYMENT SCHEMES
Payment schemes are something that the music industry has toyed with for years and finally they’re starting to work. With people struggling for disposable income and festivals costing hundreds of pounds for the full experience, these deposit schemes are rising in popularity. The idea is simple; you put down a nominal deposit and then you can pay off the balance in the months leading up to the festival. It’s easy and interest-free, so the perfect cost-spreading solution. It’s not just the smaller niche festivals that are taking this approach; festivals like Reading & Leeds, Isle of Wight, Download, Creamfields, Bestival, and Boardmasters, are on board. Remember those eco-aware folk at Big Green Coach? They’re the only coach providers currently offering deposits so now you can pay for your responsible travel to your eco-friendly festival bit by bit. Win.
For years, journalists have filled their pages with festival fashion but now the brands themselves are seeing the value of associating themselves with their customers’ favourite festivals. Two brands that have executed this brilliantly are H&M, who sponsored Californian festival Coachella and even released a special fashion range in time for the event, and New Look, who are headline sponsors for this year’s Wireless. So, it seems that the festival world is moving with the times; with more choice, a savvier business model, and partnerships that fans actually benefit from. Creating communities is the key to this, which they can do with multiple stages offering a host of music genres all at one time, as well as relying on social media to create pre, during and post-festival conversations.