Glasto’s Richards Predicts Festival Consolidation

On a panel at this year’s Festival Congress, Robert Richards, the commercial director of the UK’s most iconic festival, talked about medium-sized events struggling under the current economic situation. 

Photo: Joel Ryan/Invision/AP
Fans enjoy the sunny weather at Glastonbury June 25 before the first full day of music launches Friday.

Sharing the stage with Tim Harvey (Wilderness), Zac Fox (Kilimanjaro Live), Chris Tofu (Continental Drifts/Global Local), Freddie Fellowes (Secret Garden Party) and Ralph Broadbent (Count of Ten), Glastonbury Festival’s Richards predicted that some form of consolidation in that space is imminent.

He afterward told Pollstar “there’s too big a selection [of medium-sized festivals] with fairly similar offerings.

“Their costs are very high, and they’ve only gone up significantly in the past years, because of health and safety and increasing costs in general,” he said. Plus, “the demographic that go to those festivals have suffered a lot of economic issues which means that they’ve got less disposable income.”

He mentioned opportunities for smaller-sized, boutique events.

“Medium-sized festivals have to aim for bands that will bring the crowds in, and they cost money. A lot of money. When you go down to the boutique festivals, their USP is that they don’t have big bands. They’ve found an economic model, which, I think, works very well.

“Their costs are lower and they can differentiate against other competitors. Boutique festivals can offer a real bespoke experience for the individual.”