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Dynamic Market Conditions for Music Festivals

Andy Robertson

The 2-year shut down of the entire music festival sector has made it challenging for festival organisers to survive. As the pandemic came to an end and the festival season got going it's clear that numerous external factors are now influencing ticket sales and the potential profitability of music festival organisations.


Most would agree that there was a substantial pent-up demand to return to music festival events this year after being confined to home for a prolonged period. As dates and events got confirmed in the first quarter of 2022 ticket sales seemed to have been buoyant with many music festivals quickly being sold out. However, in the last few months there have a been a spate of festival cancellations and some concern about lost momentum. What are the likely factors influencing current sentiment and how can organisers manage this.

Ticket Pricing and Sales. 
For those fortunate enough to hang on to their tickets purchased in 2019 they have been able to attend their selected festival at old prices. Festivals that experienced substantial refund requests at that time have had to make new sales and this has often meant large increases in ticket prices. There is no doubt that this is probably impacting on sales volumes and slow ticket sales have been cited by organisers as a reason for cancellations this year. Whilst the larger festivals always enjoy healthy ticket sales the smaller and medium sized events often find their sales peak just before the event dates and for some this is a risky strategy. Organisers have had no choice but to raise ticket prices because of rising operating costs. 

Pressure on Disposable Income. 
With external factors like rising inflation and falling real earnings many festival-goers have found their disposable income dwindling this year. Unfortunately for music festivals the expenditure by potential ticket buyers is being diverted to paying bills and a reduction in expenditure on entertainment. This situation is likely to continue into next year too making it difficult for festival-goers to justify the ever-higher prices of festival tickets.

Addressing Concerns with Ticket Cancellation Insurance.  
While the coronavirus still lingers and continues to be a potential threat plus the numerous cancellations this year it’s making potential ticket buyers nervous about spending hundreds of pounds on a music festival ticket. Buying a festival ticket can end up being a bit of gamble should the event get cancelled or the operator ceases trading. There are an increasing number of insurance products available for ticket buyers where for a small premium they can get their money back in the case of cancellation.

Cost Control and Planning.
Festival organisers may need to be creative in managing their business in the current climate. This requires robust financial planning along with good cost control and meticulous planning. The more organised the festival is the more likely they can survive the current challenges.

For festival organisers planning their events using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics.  The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by Thibault Trillet via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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