Festival Business Still Booming

The recession may well have caused the cancellation of some smaller UK festivals but the summer outdoor market is still booming, according to PRS for Music.

Speaking at The Great Escape May 13, PRS chief economist Will Page told delegates that in 2009 music fans spent £275 million going to festivals, almost £50 million more than in the previous year.

“This seems to be a UK phenomenon,” he said. “I don’t think anywhere else in Europe has seen the same explosion in festivals.”
In 2004 live music produced half as much revenue as recorded music, although PRS figures for 2008 showed that it had drawn level or even edged slightly ahead.

In 2009 the total amount spent on live music was £1.45 billion, with festivals contributing 19 percent. The previous year’s festivals accounted for only 3 percent of live music revenues.

Fellow PRS economist Chris Carey said recorded music also performed better than expected, particularly in comparison with other markets such as the U.S.

Thanks to record-breaking albums such as Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed A Dream, which last November became the fastest-selling debut of all time, and sales of Lady Gaga’s The Fame, revenue from recorded music was up 1.4 percent despite CD sales falling by 6.7 percent.

“In the rest of the world revenue from recorded music dropped by 8 percent,” Carey explained. “If everyone else is going down and you are flat, then you are winning.”