More For Less At Brit Fests

A group of British festival organisers has joined a massive marketing initiative to persuade Europeans to visit their events.

The Association of Independent Festivals (AIF), a nonprofit body that includes Bestival, The Big Chill, Glade, Creamfields and Leicester’s Summer Sundae Weekender, has negotiated to become part of the £1.8 million campaign run by VisitBritain, the organisation responsible for promoting the U.K. as a world-class tourist destination.

Apart from the benefits offered by the weak pound, potential visitors are also being offered 20 percent off festival tickets.

VisitBritain’s campaign will target the 25-35 age group in continental Europe, with 18 countries having a local-language Web site where tickets can be booked.

Using the slogan “See More For Less,” VisitBritain will focus on perks including Britain’s relatively compact land area and encourage visitors to take in a number of attractions during a short, inexpensive trip. The campaign launches this month.

“I hope this campaign encourages people to explore even more of this great country and experience the many special places that Britain has to offer,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The AIF and its members will join the project’s other major partners including Jurys Inn, easyJet and BritRail, representing a significant marketing boon for AIF’s member festivals.

While British people have been forsaking native festivals in favour of foreign locations in recent years, particularly Belgium’s Rock Werchter, Serbia’s Exit Festival and Benicassim in Spain, it’s hoped the VisitBritain campaign will boost the flow in the opposite direction.

“Let’s make no bones about it, the British festival market is the best in the world and we need to shout about it so this deal is great for AIF and for the independent festival sector as a whole,” said Radio 1 DJ and Bestival founder Rob da Bank. “One of the reasons I wanted to set up AIF was so we, as independent festival promoters, all got talking and this deal would not have been possible without us existing as a collective of creative businesses.”

AIF co-founder Ben Turner, who brokered the deal, said VisitBritain has been completely open to his organisation’s thinking and ideas, and shares “a similar understanding of the true importance of the Great British festival to U.K. tourism and creative culture.”

He said he’d like to see the relationship grow and mirror the trend of people wanting to base international holidays around music festivals.
“We believe that this new genre of tourism is now officially recognised through VisitBritain,” he explained.

Laurence Bresh, VisitBritain’s regional director for Europe, said the link with AIF has opened up the door to more than 20 of Britain’s finest festivals.