Indie Festivals Contribute Over $1.3 Billion to the British Economy

AIF’s latest report reveals the growing power of indie music festivals in Britain.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF) has published a new report revealing that the UK’s indie music festival scene has contributed over £1 billion ($1.3 billion) to the British economy between 2014 and 2017.

At its Festival Congress, the UK trade association revealed that festivalgoers spent £386 million ($506.5 million) in 2017.  Of that amount, people spent £34.7 million ($45.5 million) in the local area of the festival they attended.

Reported by respondents in AIF’s annual survey, the £1 billion figure is based on an audience of 800,000 people across 65 AIF member festivals in 2017.  Since 2009, when the UK trade association first tracked average spend, audience spend per person has increased by one-third, from £364.17 ($477.43) in 2009 to £483.14 ($633.40) in 2017.

The three-year figure also shows growth in members’ contribution to the national economy.  In 2015, AIF reported local indie festivals contributed £1 billion over a four-year period between 2010 and 2014.

Breaking down average spending, the UK trade association found spending on accommodation has more than doubled since 2009.  Nine years ago, the average festivalgoer spent around £24.23 ($31.77).  That number rose to £54.59 ($71.57) in 2017.  Spending on food and drink also rose 40.5%.  Off-site spending – the money festivalgoers spend to prepare for an event – rose from £19.93 ($26.13) in 2009 to £32.61 ($42.76) in 2017.

When asked about the single most important factor influencing ticket purchases, an average 53% said it was the “atmosphere, vibe, character and quality of [the] event.”

Speaking on the results, Paul Reed, AIF’s CEO, 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.

You can view the full report here.


Featured image by Luke Addison (CC by 2.0).